Monday, April 9, 2018

POEMS OF THE WEEK BY ANNELL, WENDY AND ROSEMARY

We have three beauties to lift your hearts today, my friends, written by  Annell Livingston, who blogs at SomeThings I Think About, Wendy Bourke, of Words and Words and Whatnot, and our own staff member, Rosemary Nissen-Wade, whose new blog is entitled Enheduanna's Daughter.  Each one speaks to the way the beauty of nature uplifts and restores our spirits. We think you'll love them.





Annell, in front of one of her paintings
at an exhibit in Santa Fe




TAOS, WHERE THE RED WILLOWS GROW

Early Feburary
The golden dried grasses
Along the road
Reach for me

Silvery grey skeltons
Of leafless trees
Reminience of old lace
Still mourn the passing of fall

In the morning
Snow on the mountains
Like powdered sugar
Dusted on cupcakes

The afternoon sky clear and blue
Like the sound of a bell
Or like water...
You can see all the way to the bottom

The red willows grow along the Rio Grand
Whispering in winter’s chill
Like your words for Hayes
“Meet me in the mountains”

You carried his body there
Later, returned with a hand carved marker
I wonder...did you go there
Was he waiting
Wagging his tail in greeting

A boy and his dog
Who can say
When it comes to life and death
Or perhaps, it is the intention

Wish or dream
After death in the “who knows?"
Will you meet again, the ones you loved
On a distant shore, in a foreign land

Follow your heart
To the edge of the world
And there you will be
Where the red willows grow
 



Sherry:  The imagery in this poem is so beautiful, Annell. I can see it, the red willow, the boy carrying his dog into the mountains. 

Annell: I am honored that you want to use my poem.  

The word “Taos,” is a Native American word, which means, “where the red willows grow.”  You see them a lot here, especially, "where they can put their feet In water.”

We have had a very dry winter this year...and one day it snowed, and I was struck at how the scattering of fresh snow looked like powdered sugar, dusted on the mountains.

Thinking about the mountains, I remembered when my nephew’s dog, Hayes, died.  He loved his dog, much like your relationship with Pup.  He carried his body to the mountains.  The place where they had spent so much time together.

Later, he carved a plaque, that read “Meet me in the mountains.”  He returned, to place it there.

He died suddenly, not long after.  I couldn’t help but wonder, did he return to that place?  Did he find his dog there, waiting?

The poem circled around..."back to the place where the red willows grow.”  The “edge” of the world, Taos, New Mexico.  The beginning and the ending......

Sherry: Just so beautiful, Annell.  I share the wondering: will we meet our dear ones again? I have to believe we will. I love "Follow your heart to the edge of the world." Thank you for this glimpse of beauty, of the desert, and beyond. 

When Wendy wrote the following poem, it really spoke to my heart. By this time of life, as seniors, we have seen so much, lived through so many hard-won human rights. The discouragement of witnessing things we never dreamed would happen in North America, and having them go unchallenged, strikes such weariness in our hearts, in what are supposed to be our “golden years”. This is another form of grief, and a deep one for so many of us.

But I love how Wendy begins to lift our spirits halfway through the poem, as she takes solace in nature, and reminds us to do so as well. Let’s read:








~~~THIS DAY~~~

another day of burgeoning
earthly burdens … I grow older
… and it is as though …
the last drops of tranquility
are trickling from my heart …

such are these inglorious times …
and yet … I cannot believe …

that we are born … we endure …
we gather wisdom … we are moved …
we love … we nurture a soul …

only to arrive … miserable …
at journey’s end … only to eschew
that which is all around us ...

no … it cannot be so …
look here ... in the light of day …

see how the mighty fir trees
sway … their ruffling boughs,
green and buoyant against
a splendorous sky …

and there … a glaucous-winged
gull soars … higher … higher …
with stunning flight of grace …
towards mesmeric spirit clouds …

all this … and more … there …
to fill the heart with joy


~ ~ ~ this day ~ ~ ~ 





"Wispy Promises" by Wendy Bourke



Sherry:  This poem expresses how I have felt all through 2017, such discouragement over human foibles, while still uplifted by the beauty of nature, and of the human spirit, as well, as some principled souls speak out. We can do so much better than this. And we must.

Wendy:  The poem ‘this day’ is about grief of another kind.  It came out of an intensifying feeling that I find myself grappling with, in these troubling times … and that is:  a growing sense that the state of the world is worsening – and not improving.  Indeed, I think there is a widely held belief emerging, that we are approaching a dark place, on this planet, from which we will not be able to turn back. 

Over the course of human history – even in the darkest hours – it is my sense that there was, at least, a glimmer of shaky confidence that … we will persevere over this … we will heal … and we will go on.  It was kind of ‘a given’ – even in times of war – that good would prevail and life would return to ‘normal’.  That optimism … that hope … is no longer evident to many.  I, for one, have found myself searching for hope … for that which lifts me up.  I find it – always – in the beauty … and the power … of nature. 

The fact that we have to pause, and seek out, positive life-affirmations, does not lessen their impact or their value when we find them.  The act of ‘owning’ those moments that fill the heart with joy, rather than coming upon them, serendipitously – may, in fact, be a good thing.  Perhaps, we value it more, and are inspired to work harder on climate and political initiatives, to insure the survival of our beautiful earth, when we consciously seek it and revere it.    

In truth, all any of us have, are the moments we cherish in memory and the moment in which we are living.  All we can do is cherish the moments … live each day thoughtfully … and proceed with peace and hope in our hearts.     

Sherry: This is true, my friend. And thankfully, Mother Earth continues to bestow her incredible largesse on us. Thank you for the beauty of this poem. As I read, you lifted my heart back to hope. 

And now, to close on a high note, let's read Rosemary's glorious "Love Song to the Earth", to remind us just how generous Mother Earth really is. In spite of our poor stewardship, she continues to heap upon us, for our delight,  her blue skies, sunrises and sunsets, autumns and springs.








Love Poem for the Earth


Planet, you had me at hello.
It was love at first sight and then some.
The minute I opened my eyes
on you, gorgeous world, just that glimpse
in my newborn gaze was enough.

Enough, and a feast. As I grew
I found out more and more to love.
Oh, you expansive, abundant beauty!
"Infinite variety?" Shakespeare knew
less than he thought. Infinite variety is You.

Do I need to count the ways? The rivers
and meadows, crags and oceans, the trees
and birds and tigers and dolphins and bees?
And the moods! The sunsets and moonrises,
storms and stars and perfect autumns ...

Mind you, the eternal summer's
a bit much lately. Lovely Earth,
what are you doing to us? Oh –
we did it to you? No no, not me, I didn't.
It was them, all the others. Don't punish me!

Don't punish us. Let us live and love you.
Tell us it's not too late! You say that love
speaks louder in actions than words?
You sound like my Grandma. Well, as for me,
of threescore years and ten, I've had a few more.

Planet mine, ground of my being,
Earth of my heart, my dear, my delight,
my long, long love, great light
of my tiny life: seventy summers
were little room to feast on you –

to drink you in through eyes and ears
nostrils, hands and tongue. And so
I'll go about the woodlands, and the sands,
walk on your mountains, bathe in your rivers
while I can; giving thanks. Giving thanks.

[With acknowledgements to William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, A.E. Housman and Anonymous, for some small borrowings.]



Sherry: Sigh. This fills my heart with joy and gratitude, Rosemary. Mother Earth is so incredibly beautiful. How did your poem come about?     

Rosemary: I wrote this poem specifically for an upcoming occasion: Love Poems for the Earth : a free afternoon of Dangerously Poetic Music and Poetry, in Murwillumbah. (Their facebook page is here: Dangerously Poetic)

The singer is a friend of mine, lovely to listen to. The "Dangerously Poetic" group is based in Lismore, another town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (Australia) where I live.  They do "pop up" poetry events all over the region and this time it's our town's turn to host them.

I thought it would be fun to do something in the open section, and when I looked through all my stuff I didn't find anything that said quite what I wanted. Lots of poems about specific aspects of the natural world, of course, but I decided I needed something more. Also it is a long time since I did any performance, and although one CAN perform anything, poems written for the blogosphere are not necessarily crafted quite the same way. So, all in all, I decided I needed a new one.

And of course, what it says is true: I HAVE been in love with the earth all my life. I know I'm not alone there, especially amongst poets – hence the theme of the evening.

I'm also quite nervous; it's been SO long since I did any spoken word stuff. This particular group of poets is from another town in the region, so can be regarded as "local" but too far away for me to want to drive it very often, if at all. The same applies to other poetry events in the region. Anyway, I know from experience that some nerves help a performance, but I'll be relieved when I'm out the other side of it all.  Perhaps after the event I’ll let you know how it went.

Sherry: Yes, do, Rosemary! I am sure you will be brilliant!


*****

Sherry: Rosemary got back to us before this feature posted, to let us know how the event went. Fill us in, my friend! We are all ears. Was it wonderful?

Rosemary: Yes, it was a great night, on the balcony at the local cinema. It was a lovely warm evening, with a rainbow (but the actual rain held off). We were entertained by a beautiful singer; there were two featured poets; then, after a short interval, the open section – 10 readers, allowed two minutes each (so I could only do this one poem).

Sarah Temporal, whom I featured in a  recent Moonlight Musing, also read in the open section: her "End of the Road", which some of you heard via that Moonlight Musing. We are both seasoned performers, but were a little nervous beforehand – which is a good thing, because one needs that bit of adrenaline. And we both got lots of applause, and many compliments afterwards. During my poem, people laughed, or hushed, or murmured agreement in all the right places. Can't ask for more than that!  I rarely perform nowadays; it was good to get behind a mic again.

Sherry: I am so happy you performed your beautiful love poem. I knew it would be well received. How could it not?

Thank you, Annell, Wendy and Rosemary, for your poems, and your wonderful presence in the blogosphere, and at Poets United. We appreciate you so much. 

We hope you enjoyed these offerings, my friends, by these three talented poets. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

23 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Sherry for posting my poem with Wendy and Rosemary!!! I loved the poems you selected, and am so glad to know Rosemary read her poem I know she was a hit!!! Thanks again for including my poem.

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  2. Three excellent choices Sherry...

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  3. Thank you, Annell, Wendy and Rosemary, for your beautiful poems and thoughtful explanations. You have dropped such beauty into our day with your words.

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  4. What a delight to be featured alongside Wendy and Annell, poets whose words always thrill my mind and touch my heart with their deep wisdom. Thank you, Sherry, for this lovely feature, and for including me.

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  5. What a treat Sherry to read these amazing poems by these talented poets....I just kept breathing in such a peaceful feeling as I read them.

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  6. What a treat indeed! I loved this uplifting post. It is so appreciated to have poems to read that are uplifting! Thank you, ladies - all of you.

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  7. Great job on this, Sherry! The theme - the ever restorative power of nature - is dear to my heart ... and it is an honor to have been picked and featured with such gifted poets. Annell and Rosemary's poems are stunning - and it is always a treat to read the backstory of a wonderful poem ... the creative impetus behind the writing.

    Thank you!

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  8. You are most welcome, my friends. It is truly a pleasure to work with such beautiful poems, gathering them into a posey to brighten your days.

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  9. Great theme, the restorative power of nature, and the poems you chose for it - and of course three poets we know and love so well. I have read these poems before but the theme gave them a new facet for me.

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  10. Three of our most treasured poets - such a bright start to the week

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  11. Fantastic selections all. i've a soft spot for Taos, Annell. And Rosemary, what can i say? glad your performance went well. was it recorded? i'd love to hear that in your voice!

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    1. Thanks for that nice thought, Eric. It may have been, but I wouldn't know how to get hold of the recording, or separate out my section if I did. But I keep thinking I must work out how to use Soundcloud on my blog.

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  12. Though I love my mountains in the south, the mountains in Taos hold a special place in my heart. There's a little place there, which I call my chapel. How wonderful if on that day my ashes were spread there where I can live in death and peace. Annell's poem touches my heart in a very special way.
    Wendy's poem did what poems do - made me feel all those feelings that are common to many of us nowadays. A little downward despair, then a rise in hope makes her poem see our truth. We must keep hope alive and nature does that for me too.
    Rosemary's poem is a wonderful thing for our earth to hear, and for us too. It is a prayer that uplifted my spirit with gratitude.
    Thank you Sherry for selecting three of my favorite poets to highlight.

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  13. It was a pleasure, my friends. Thank you for reading and appreciating these beautiful poems.

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  14. I”m so impressed by all three of these poems. What a treat!

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  15. Three poets i have read often and individually. Thanked for today's party of the three Sherry

    Much love...

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  16. These are true beauties ladies. Whatever darkness the humans create Mother Earth will always be the light. Beautiful selection Sherry.

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  17. Thank you so much Annell, Wendy and Rosemary for opening your hearts and presenting these glorious poems for us. I think perhaps humans will have to learn the hard way to live on this world and acknowledge that hate and greed are no recipe for survival but love is.

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  18. herry! What a bouquet of beauty!
    Wow, Annell, in this poem "You can see all the way to the bottom"!
    And Wendy "that we are born … we endure …
    we gather wisdom … we are moved …
    we love … we nurture a soul …" I turn with you to another level of wisdom, a depth of existence.
    Thank you, Rosemary, for the "love song." I love the dialogue of it--with other authors, with the earth, and with creation. Just wonderful to acknowledge the shadow and beauty, and give thanks.

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  19. three very unique voices, and i have always enjoyed reading them. :)

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  20. Three outstanding poets and people. Thanks so much for this glimpse, Sherry.

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  21. Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now on LifePoemsProject.com

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