16 December 2014

Holiday Travels



I'm in Orlando, Florida for a stretch of time with the grands alone- yes! Then my daughter and her husband join us in Jacksonville at my sis-in-law's for Christmas and New Years- double yes! I'll write when I can but major family fun is job one.

Happy Holidays to you all, hope your family time is fun too!

12 December 2014

Clean Your Bones and Catch Some R & R



Bones are surprisigly 
difficult to keep clean,
turns out white wasn't 
the best choice for beings
without skin. A search
brought me years ago 
to a distant island spa 
for bones- a pink lake
surrounded by a rim
of sand for scraping feet
and a dense woodland
of paperbark trees 
against which to rub.
Salt crusts cover
the shoreline and whiten 
stained bones. 

The flattering pink color
might come from 
organisms 
(that don't harm) 
or might arise from a dye,
but we choose not to use 
that word, what with it being 
a spa. Pink draws 
the ladies though. They carry
home clear pink water
in necklace amulets
that catch the interest
of friends and spread
the word. Bones
worldwide come. 

The bright pink
lends an appropriate
other- worldly air, the pratical
aspects of bone care
are tended to while
peer to peer contact
is facilitated. A whole 
package solution.


For Hannah at Real Toads who has us writing about Lake Hillier, a bubble gum pink lake that sparked  this (much) lighter tone in my bone poems series.



10 December 2014

Bone Whisperer


Winter solstice, 
short nights 
and cold in our bones,
we gather in the dell 
among the alders
to greet our newest member.
Fear wreaths her head 
as she feints left to run,
so I am called 
to calm her and explain 
the bone scrum we form. 
She doesn't know 
our ways,
the comfort 
we derive
from bone on bone,
but she brings 
the latest news,
other nights
so recently hers,
perhaps she brushed 
a loved one 
lost to us
and carries 
their faint scent.
We have orchards
of hunger
for all she has.


Posted for Mama Zen at the Garden who asked to use homophones in our poem. I used feint and faint. I also found words in another prompt and used dell, alders, wreaths, and orchards but didn't write down the source and now can't find it again. If anyone can tell me I'd be grateful. This is another in my bone poems series. 

07 December 2014

Bone's End



By the end
all I sought
was peace,
pain dove so deep
that suffering 
fused to bone.
Bone's meant to
hold up and not be
source of the final fall.
Can bones be haunted?
I was at this failure
so fundamental.
Death came
as sweet escape,
a swift descent 
to the ground of all being.


From the bone poems' series, a Flash 55 for Marian at the Garden. I took the photo of a dolmen (portal tomb) in County Clare, Ireland.

06 December 2014

This is My Brick


"We pave the sunlit path toward justice toether, brick by brick. This is my brick."
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple




If Tim Cook's brick is his announcement of being gay and the support that that might give someone else, what is my brick? I was going to say apart from raising a daughter to be a thriving woman, mother and environmentalist. But maybe Kelly is my brick even if her outcome is in her hands now. From the moment of her birth, when she first looked around in her old soul kind of way and I breathed in the scent of her, I was utterly and hopelessly in love with her. Her announcement when she was barely three and disagreed with something I said that I should think my thoughts and she would think her thoughts put me on alert that mothering Kelly would have its challenges. 

I can't take credit for her since she was so inner directed from the beginning, such her own force of nature not looking for much direction from me. But being her mother was deeply satisfying, great fun and a unique source of growth for me as a woman. Still is. It's her birthday today. (For the next month and a half until my birthday, my Dad is 98, I'm 68, Kelly is 38 and my granddaughter, Kamala, is 8.) I used to marvel when she was young because she wouldn't hesitate to tell someone what she thought or give them advice even if they were older. She had that clear thinking and confidence. It was the beginning manifestation of her wisdom.

If we're paving a sunlit path toward justice together then my daughter is a vital brick in that path. The justice of saving the rain forest, the justice of interracial harmony, the justice of attachment parenting and educating children based on their interests and inner drives. Plus, she plays a wicked game of Scrabble. I only began her trajectory but she has flown far and true and built a life based on her values. I admire her for that and feel grateful to be her mother. I'm glad we've done the (occasionally) hard work needed to change and solidify our relationship as adults. I love that we're friends and part of each other's lives. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart, I'm really glad you were born.

05 December 2014

Unwitting Evangelists



Some folks live in negative territory every day, 
live on the wrongside of the demographic altogether. 
Errors of brain wiring force them into a granularity 
of vision that would terrify the likes of us. 
They struggle, with unyielding integrity, 
to leverage what right functioning they have 
and build some kind of strategic staircase to normality. 
Aberrant fears drill down into vulnerable minds 
feeding back godawful beliefs they can't quite shake, 
shame cascading over it all as if crazy 
wasn't enough to cope with. It's like some sinister 
reduction in force of brain's powers.

In this space, getting ducks in a row 
becomes an effort in grounding. They try to capture 
their colleagues, stakeholders who must come 
to the party, like Alice to the mad hatter, in another 
effort to keep their doors open, to make
their thinking 360 degrees once again. At the close of play,
though, the paradigm rarely shifts, hallucinations,
like low hanging fruit, pre-prepare them 
for the idea showers that never end. Brain storms abound.
They yearn to be platform atheists to their version 
of holistic cradle-to-grave disorder. Instead, 
they're product evangelists even as it loops back on them

and drives others away. Challenges- 
how to conversate, how to sprinkle magic 
over bizarre behaviors, how to touch base offline, 
overwhelm them while answers steer clear. 
Going forward means being lost in a maze on no one's radar
at the end of the day, actioning damaged from the get-go.


Tony Maude has us writing biz-speak, jargon and buzzwords over at the pub. After 36 years working with the seriously and persistently mentally ill, these phrases, silly in a business setting, became a way to better speak the mentally ill's remarkably difficult story. They have my respect.

01 December 2014

Right Now



The mountains are gone this morning, closeted by gray clouds. Everywhere is wet from last night's rain and the start of more today. Night winds blew the tablecloth on the balcony into the arms of a chair as if purposely placed there. I've kept it on late this year with its golden background and whispy gray-green olive leaves in collaboration with the warm, sunny weather of these last three months, autumn stretched into December. 

The vines are bare, pared back after the recent harvest. Pruned olive branches are piled in the groves of our neighbors. Wind blows bits of fog from the hills' crevices and smoke, like a thicker, deliberately-placed fog, dots the fields as discarded branches burn despite the misty rain. The scent is of earth and rain. 

Sun, behind cloud layers, looks more like moon. Andrea Bocelli, on my playlist, fills the room with his glorious voice. As sky lightens and ground fog creeps back, the mountains are suspended in air, blue ghost mountains. There is only this moment of full presence, of clarity and connection.


For Marian's Open Link Monday at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who talked about the importance of our attention as poets and writing what we experience and who asked us to write about what's going on in our little corner of the world.

28 November 2014

Giving Thanks



I'm struck lately
by the bounty
of time given 
in retirement,

the stretch of day
to do as I want.
The burden is to choose
wisely, to plumb

my heart and play 
my stars, each day.
The grace
is the freedom 

of choice itself. 
What excites me,
interests me, draws me,
expands me? 

How can I move
toward those?
How can I fall
more in love with

life, this life, my life?
Read, write, run,
nurture family,
talk to John,

visit friends,
settle after years of travel,
become a hub,
although the 'of what'

can't be known yet. 
Weigh in
on what matters,
Step toward it.

Be an ally.
That's all. Except to
give thanks 
for this life.


 For Brian at dVerse Poets Pub who asked us to write what we're thankful for. I took the photo of the Swan Boats in Boston this past summer.

26 November 2014

Race



It's the sheer scale of the problem that daunts,
and the skew of things contoured by years
of seeing blacks as shadowed strangers.
Lack of contact clouds judgement, fears

fly without relief from here to the horizon
at each report of black on white crime
with dirt retold on 24 hour news again
and again magnifying fear each time

as if we were waiting to be reoffended.
Are we? Offended is the right word 
but are we? Women are blamed for rape
and violence against them. Absurd.

Only men, allied with women, can stop rape and violence
against women. Only whites, allied with blacks, 
can stop racism. So, increase contact, read, listen,
speak up, speak out, have each other's backs.


Posted for my biracial grandchildren and for Grapeling over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who gave us a word list inspired by his plane travel but which I took in another direction in the wake of Ferguson, MO and too many similar incidents. In spite of the scale of the problem, we must believe we can effect change and then do it. If not now, when? If not me, who?

20 November 2014

Who I Am


I'm red hair 
but not its quick temper,
except sometimes.
I'm freckles
that trace a map
of other lands on my face.

I'm muscular legs
that run me where I want
and take me to unfrequented places.
I'm fingers curled over
a keyboard capturing words
black on white.

I'm hungry mind seeking words,
filled by reading them,
yearning to learn new ones, 
playing games of them.
I'm celtic mix that savors
family, gathers it, celebrates it,

cheers it on, helps fix it.
I'm broken one
at home with other broken ones,
on their side, arms around their shoulders.
I'm woman in love
with other women, 

with bone feel for our 
persistent plight.
I'm woman in forty- year love 
with a man, a singular
bright light man who
shows me clear blue sky.

I'm mother, brave
enough to bear a girl child
and raise her to be brave.
I'm grandmother to two dear ones who
bring me dragons and build new worlds.
I'm threshold ready to expand. 

I'm wise elder to my tribe
and beyond.



Posted for Brian, who's hosting at Poetry Jam and asked us to write about who we are.

07 November 2014

Fair Bones


The good thing about bones
is there can be no comparisons,
who's thinner, who's better looking or better dressed.
We can tell males from females, of course,
the angles of bones and width of spaces,
but expectations don't hinge on that
or judgements formed.

The problem with bones
is the lack  
of skin to hold us in, 
the vulnerability to breaks,
the hunger
that can never be stilled 
and the question we debate endlessly
of contact with the living.

We know things 
and want to pass them on,
especially to those 
who share our marrow
but the how 
eludes us.

That's what bones seek:
to be wrapped in skin again, to talk, to be heard.


Gay Reiser Cannon has us writing about "fair" over at the dVerse Pots Pub, Meeting the Bar. She gave various definitions but since I'm on a bone kick, I chose fair as "having a disposition free of favoritism or bias" for this and found bones to meet that standard in an exceptional way.

06 November 2014

Bone Dreams


I dreamt last night.
It answered my question
about whether the dead dream.
Must mean dreams come from bones
not brains, bones as scaffolding 
for psych and soul with the DNA of generations 
carried deep within 
bones' marrow.

But about that dream,
some ancestral reverberation 
straight from the marrow,
grandfathers galloping through,
priests stealing things from children,
a girl rising up to accuse the priest,
she took things back too, wanted to reclaim
her grandfather's treasures, 
hand-carved.

That's what you can do with bones:
stand, yell, take, hold, dream.


Inspired by Grace at dVerse Poets Pub who wrote about The Book of the Dead Man by Marvin Bell and asked us for a poem written by one dead. The link has expired but here it is posted for Mama Zen with Words Count in the Garden who wrote of the circus and requested 90 words or less about which performer you are. This is skeleton man, or dead man walking.

04 November 2014

A Country You Carry in Your Pocket


A country you carry in your pocket,
stays there as forgotten as pocket lint
but filters your perceptions, marks you plain when 
you walk through the world, it's not only you,
your country is in your pocket, carried lightly
or heavy in its heft, gravid as you meet others
with other countries in their pockets.


Posted too late for Mama Zen's Flash Fiction 55 over in the Garden so here it is for Kerry's Open Link instead. Inspired by Brian at the dVerse Poets Pub who shared the first line in one of his posts. It got me thinking of my experiences living in Italy and traveling around Europe.

29 October 2014

This Poem Is the Poppies









This poem is the poppies,
one red ceramic poppy
for each British soldier killed
in WWI, a castle moat
filled with a red sea planted
in waves by silent volunteers
stretched as far as eyes can see
and farther than hearts can bare.
This poem is the war
did not end wars.
It happened again
and again and again.


Posted for Gabriella at dVerse Poets Pub who has us writing War Poetry. I saw this exhibit in London in September where a single red ceramic poppy was planted in the moat around London Tower for each soldier lost in WWI. There will be 800,000 when finished so this is just a fraction. WWI was called the war to end wars at the time. There were over 37 million military and civilian casualties.

27 October 2014

A Poem in October



October here is not the October of my youth,
days remain warm even while nights cool,
sun invites final days of outside dining,
children catch last hours of outdoor play.

Grapes, harvested in great trucks, are pressed
and judgements made on the stamp this year's weather,
vines are cut back to trunk, ground tidied for the coming year,
all focus is now on making wine with the year's distinctive vintage.

Olives, coaxed from generations old trees, spill on the ground
to be scooped into burlap bags and quickly pressed for oil,
shared with pickers, family and friends before sale of all excess,
pruned branches burn in fields and scent the air with turf- like smells.

Octobers of my youth were things of color,
an extravaganza of New England fall colors,
New England at its best, a lavish 
showiness of reds, yellows, oranges, fuchsia,

the abandonment of Pilgrim reserve to flaunt a ruckus of color,
whole mountainsides wild with flamboyant spectacle,
the boisterous rave of hills doubled in reflective lakes,
even small ponds mirrored the elaborate abundance of color

to dazzle us before the bare thickets of winter appeared,
fallen leaves filled yards, got pressed to preserve color
against the black and white of winter,
were fingered while lingering in front of winter fires.


Posted for Open Link Monday with Magaly at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and prompted by Kerry's earlier encouragement to read Dylan Thomas's  Poem in October
I took the photo in New Hampshire.


26 October 2014

A Bag in the Road


At first she thought the lump in the road
was discarded corn casings,
the fine silk of corn tassel,
the curve of bag from stripped husks

left fom corn pickers, maize huskers,
the cobs were sent to cribs, shelled and ground for pone
or left for seed at the chandler
(seed corn must not be ground),

the botany of maize bran, of grain foraged 
from fields now bare. A world she knew.
But there was movement, slight, not from 
wind breeze or road heaves or passing cars.

She saw it, felt her heart beat faster,  
a wretch start in her stomach, she walked
on heavy feet that didn't want to carry her
to or away from that curved bag with the gold tassels.


For Margaret's Play it Again Toads over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I picked Hallow's Edge by Ella that had us take a line from a ghost poem. I used "at fist she thought the lump in the road..." from Red String by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

22 October 2014

Ritual Disguised



A grain of red where my heart used to be,
the smallest of wounds barely visible,
portal to trick things out and in, free
but with unknown dangers able

to bring me to my knees. A grain of prayer
offered in sacrifice to bring healing balm
and let escape the tigers who bare
their teeth like shards to slaughter calm.

A grain of peace planted deep
within, may it flourish in dark soil,
spread its roots in the tangle that keeps
all in place while veiled in its roil 

is well- churned moil swirling grains
of smokey doubt harbored in the red 
wound as steady beat entrains
strict rhythym in place of easy tread.


Offered for Grapeling's Get Listed Ghost Stories over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Out of his October words I used: portal, trick, sacrifice, slaughter, veil, smoke and in the title: ritual, disguise. Original inspiration, however, came from Kerry's Sunday Mini-challenge: In Other Words- A grain of __.


13 October 2014

Gnawin' On It - Happy 41st Anniversary!







"They say it's hard to keep it going
When you're together for so long
They say combustion's for the youngsters
We should be glad we get along
But they don't know nothin' 'bout it
The way you love me it's a shame
'Cause there ain't nobody better
Blowin' embers to a flame."

Let's just keep gnawin' on it, Honey, ain't nobody better!

10 October 2014

Harvest


Here in this land
where harvests really happen,
a long way from home,
this land where I now stand

and watch the gathering of grapes,
the press of olives just picked,
the harvest of gourds
that wear withering leaves like capes.

Strange that something so foreign
to my coordinates throws me back 
to where I began,
from harvest years to dawn.

A city child steeped
in one country's history
with hair and skin of another,
people in search of a land to dream deep.

And how those city ways
shaped me, formed the curve of my spine,
gave me the resolve needed for what I faced,
left me with enough for all my days.


29 September 2014

Keep it Slow and Savor


In love, start, then keep it slow and savor.
Just kiss at first stretched out full side by side,
focus on each sensation and flavor,
keep it slow and savor.

Speak quiet words to your belov'd, confide
how love is a cherished gift, a laver,
bathed and refreshed in the ebb flow of tide

this season and next, each act a paver
building the whole for days and years 'till wide
and high is love's monument and favor.
Keep it slow and savor.


A too late Roundel for Margaret's Play it Again over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads writing for Ella's (second) Chakra prompt, so posted for Fireblossom's Open Link Monday at The Garden and (also too late) for the dVerse Poet's Pub.

25 September 2014

Where I'm From



I'm from paved over cow paths 
leading to a central common
where modern stands side by side with
historic and holds the pride of hub to the rest.

My people came here from elsewhere
and left the map of those lands on my face
so I never quite fit, didn't look like most others.
My wandering ancestors

came from other places searching
for what they thought more important
than home, willing to make a new home
rather than live without, or who were driven

out by those who wanted what they had.
It all left its mark, so I call one place home
but search ancestral homelands to find
those left pieces of me to make me whole.

Meanwhile, my displaced people displaced others
to claim what they had, as if one could have
what another had by the wish or the taking.
My heritage is immigrant and for how long homeless?


For Poets United with the theme of Heritage Day. I took the photo in Boston during a visit in August.

23 September 2014

This Morning

                                                                                 image by Brooke Shaden



I watched you
pulled from sleep
into the shadowland
between wake and sleep
you murmered
something indistinct
eyes still closed
against the dawn
half remembered dreams
played on your face
before today's task
list takeover
you stretched your limbs
back arched just so
when you opened your eyes
I'm the one you saw
gathering you in.


Inspired by the photography of Brooke Shaden as presented by Grace (aka Heaven) over at dVerse Poets Pub. Brooke talked about finding what you're passionate about and, after 41 years with my Honey, it was an easy answer for me.

20 September 2014

Heavy Arms



The babe was sick when he left
but only slightly as babies do.
He was their first, a strapping boy,
thier farm was large and far from town.

He needed to fish with his neighbors 
to salt the cod and lay in stores for winter,
their open dory powered by rowing in turn
while the rest fished open seas far from shore.

When it was the young father's turn to row
his arms felt far too heavy for this task.
He knew it was a sign to direct him
and told the others to take him back.

He knew something was wrong, his wife 
had need of him. He returned to find 
his small son dead in his wife's arms.
Let me take him, May, he's gone.

He built the casket  
from the wood of his land and lay the babe inside
then carried him down the aisle 
of their church to ask final blessings. 

As he sat next to his young wife
he told her that the heft of the casket in his arms
was the same he felt in the boat,
the sign sent to bring him home.


There were no shortage of such stories in our Irish/Scottish family growing up. This is a true story of my grandparents in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia when they lost their first baby in 1914. My mother was born the following year. The photo is of my grandmother with my mother and uncle. 
For Kerry at The Garden who asked us to write about Superstition or Science. This story, like many, falls somewhere in between.

18 September 2014

To Travel Well


If you want to travel well
you must be prepared to lose things
to lose the certitude of best ways to do things
or right ways or that anyone can know such treachery

to lose the sense of one place as the center 
holding answers for all the world
or that one language can best capture thought
so all others should wrap their tongues around right words

to lose the belief that one religion outranks others
that other beliefs are strange, misguided, unenlightened
or that one culture reigns supreme, the final answer
with keys to unlock all mysteries

if you want to travel well 
you must be prepared to gain things
to gain certitude of best as cumulative
that right energy can be forged collaboratively

to gain ardor that our world is vast and central
and needs protection so answers can be discovered in alliance
that each language builds in a unique world view
not to be neglected even if we choose a common language

to gain the belief that religion's role is to point toward the holy
and that we're all holy within a holy world superceding dogma
that each culture takes its place in the scheme of things as one piece
of the whole which together can shed light on all mysteries

to travel well one must be prepared to be ambushed
by the beauty that awaits day after day
to grow tender toward the children of each place
as they play and meet strangers and live in sometimes unimaginable 

circumstances and call it home yet stay open to travelers
ready to lose separateness and gain oneness and be our teachers in this 
it takes a fearlessness, this traveling, an open heartedness
that stands ready to call sister, to call brother, to say yes.


In response to Poetics: Travel Poetry prompt by Gabriella at dVerse Poets Pub although I missed the deadline and for Grapeling's Get Listed- September with words from "The Art of War" over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. I used capture, neglected, ardor, energy, alliance, treachery and scheme.

16 September 2014

Light from Darkness



I thought of something funny today and went to call you.
Since you're so newly gone, abruptly gone, I forgot
for one gift of a minute, the way I can't in night's long hours.
It's new to me since you're the first of us to go. Dad, at 98, says 

you learn to handle it after more and more deaths of loved ones, but 
I haven't mastered that detachment that doesn't succumb to
grief, doesn't get squeezed by grief's tight band,
doesn't wish for one more chance to say what I worry 

you didn't know: that I love you and miss you. Just that. Instead, 
I must trust you have peace, that you've gone from the formless dark
of death to the light described by poets and saints.


For Open Link Monday at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.

20 August 2014

Fare Thee Well Love

 My brother's remains were laid to rest on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at a beach on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The beach was a lovely, secluded spot near where our mother was born. She often talked of their family farm that ran from the mountains to the sea and this beautiful beach fit that description perfectly. When I saw it and remembered Don's desire to visit Mom's birth place, I knew it was the best place to release his ashes. As my Honey, our daughter and two grandchildren drove to the beach we were listening to a new CD, These Are The Moments by the Rankin Family, and the song below started to play as we crested the hill: "Fare Thee Well Love". It made me cry. It was written by Jimmy Rankin from nearby Mabou, Cape Breton and expressed my feelings well. 
 This trip started out to be a retracing of my roots with John, Kelly and the kids in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island and Boston. Having Don's remains added a dimension to the agenda in an unexpected but meaningful way. It was like having him with me to find his final resting place. We found a good one. Nearby was a cemetery filled with familiar Scottish names of our childhood, including many graves with our mother's maiden name, in this the place where my mother, grandfather and his father were born. So Don is back where his namesake, our greatgrandfather, is buried. 
 The day was cloudy in that almost raining kind of way and the sea had small but strong waves to receive and scatter the urn. I like that the urn had footprints on it, the footprints we leave behind as markers of our presence, and was built to dissolve in the arms of the sea. The Atlantic recieved his ashes and blended them with the elements of all other life in this ancient place from which we came. He's home. May he rest in peace. 
 
Fare thee well love by Jimmy Rankin is on this video on YouTube:
 http://youtu.be/X6-mo4jS8VI
  
I feel honored to have had this hard task.

23 July 2014

On the Road Again...


I'm heading to the US for vacation time with family and friends. I'll have five weeks with my daughter and the grands and take time in Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on a maternal heritage tour. It will be quite a journey and I'm excited. I'll check in as able.

May the rest of your summer be filled with fun activities.


19 July 2014

My Other Self- A Video from Rugged Grace

Fireblossom's Friday challenge at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads to write to my other self got me thinking; who would I be in an alternate world? It's been hard to put in words but when I saw this video from Rugged Grace I got excited. My other self is an athlete with a strong, athletic body that I love and find beautiful. So this is a visual poem from tumblr on the members of the Harvard Women's Rugby team who wrote on each other's bodies what they appreciated about their teammates. The video connects to further photos and the article in the Harvard Political Review that inspired it: 'An Exercise in Body Image'. It's a beautiful 5 minutes.
I think I'll take this ultimate self-affirming political step with her- make our bodies strong and love them as they are.


Video: http://ruggedgrace.tumblr.com/post/89333559900

16 July 2014

A Long Road


The road is long,
and not the way
we planned. Is it wrong
to want? We played

the ones who trust,
in what, or whom,
the world, the busts
of saints? What's true

my love? Predict.
You know of roads,
of faith, of strict
response that holds

a hope aloft
when up is how
the road and croft
seems bent. We bow,

exist to serve,
belong with traits
of skill and verve,
but still, we wait.


For Susie's Bits of Inspiration- The Yellow Brick Road over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.
I took the photo in Trinidad.


14 July 2014

Awaiting Return




Swallows swoop the sky at sunset,
ride currents on curved wings, slice the firmament.
Do they await return, like me, or, because of my amazement,

write sky script meassages with hidden meanings,
that mark how far apart we are? Me, an earth-bound being unable to fly 
or follow instincts toward home, they who own the sky.

My wait has been long.



Written for Grace's prompt yesterday which introduced the poetry of Claribel Alegria to the Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. One of Grace's suggestions was to take a line of her poetry and use it in our own poem. I took two lines: "because of my amazement" from her poem Rain and "My wait has been long." from Sorrow (after reading Kerry's comment). I'm a little slower so I post it today for open link Monday on their third anniversary. 
I took the photo in a garden in Ireland.

09 July 2014

Though I am Old With Wandering...



I've traveled in my life,
found fresh vistas for hungry eyes,
moved forward toward the novel and
exchanged the customary close to my heart
to defy convention and shake loose moorings
that constrain even while they comfort. 

Something entirely new can then burst forth,
a friendship forged across boundaries of age and culture.
This place of connection against all odds
is the magic I've found and the highest degree of accuracy. 
We are one, this bench mark mapped,
the landmark of depth, formlines of home
set in our true coordinates.


This is written in response to two prompts at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: the first from Helen to write of the travels in our life and the magic of what we've found and use map terms (used- degree of accuracy, bench mark, depth, landmark, coordinates, formlines) and the second prompt from Grapeling to use words from the July word list (used- fresh, burst, defy, forward, customary). Mario, in the photo with me, is 84 and from Montalcino, Italy.

07 July 2014

Interview with the Grands

Both of my grands live in the rain forest of Trinidad and are schooled at home using an approach called Unschooling, an interest based (rather than curriculum based) learning. I thought it would be fun to ask them about their lives to see how this approach is working for them. I was impressed at how thoughtfully they answered my questions.


Kahlil, age 11

G. Kahlil, tell me about this photo- why are you dressed up?
K. My mother had a leveling- up party for me when I reached level 55 in Heroes of Order and Chaos, an online game. I was happy to get to that level (now I'm at 63) but sad I only have 7 levels left in the game. This is the outfit I wore for the party. I like the fedora and the purple shirt and tie and think I look awesome in them.

G. You're schooled at home, how do you like that?
K. I like it, especially getting to do the things I'm interested in and enjoy doing rather than what someone else thinks I should be doing.

G. What interests you most these days?
K. Online gaming. My favorite right now is Heroes of Order and Chaos Online. I like it because it's a strategy game and is played with other players all over the world. I get to choose my character and the type of characteristics it has. It lets me do anything, like riding a horse or swordplay. When I'm in a game, lots of types of characters are needed to work cooperatively to achieve levels. I have many friends and I like playing with them. Someday I'd like to design and test games.

G. Tell me about your new business.
K. I'm a Business Manager and represent two businesses so far. My sister has a baking business called Smiles Bakery and my friend has a tie dye business called Color Splash. It's still in the development phase so I've set up a Facebook Page to describe the two businesses and will then develop a website for both of them. I'll help them with the business end of things, like ordering, supplies and money in and out. I'll get a percentage of what they make but we haven't decided how much.

G. What makes you proud of yourself?
K. 1. What I've accomplished in games, the levels I've reached, the characters I've chosen, the friends I've made and the fun I've had.
     2. Helping my sister and my friend in their new businesses.
     3. That I play well with little kids. I like them and they're fun.
     4. That my friends where I live like to come to my house to play.

G. Any last words to my readers?
K. I like to play online games and I know other kids do, too. Tell them to find me and I'll play with them.



Kamala, age 8



G. What do you enjoy doing these days?
K. My favorites things are baking and painting. I like baking because I can try out different things and create things, like when I made a cream cheese and orange frosting for chocolate cupcakes it came out more like a glaze or when I didn't have chocolate chips for cookies, I used cacao nibs in my cookies and people liked them better. I go to You Tube to find new things to make and how to make them.
I like painting because I can do anything and it looks good.

G. Any other interests?
K. Yes, fashion and design. I like to find clothes that look good on me. I look for reasonable prices and something a little extra, like the long necklace that came on my new dress. I also design clothes myself on paper with stencils and colored pencils.

G. What do you like about being schooled at home?
K. I like having lots of free time to do the things I like. I use some work books to learn things but I also Skype you and my friends and do all the other things I'm interested in.

G. Tell me about your new business.
K. It's called Smiles Bakery and I make cupcakes and cookies that people order. I've already had two orders. I made a business card that has a photo of one of my cupcakes and the way to contact me. Mommy got them printed for me but they were my idea.
I like that people can enjoy what I make and that I make money. I'm saving to buy a yogurt machine. I'm thinking about setting up a store front and putting up a sign to sell cupcakes and cookies to hikers and friends.

G. What makes you proud of yourself?
K. Being here right now. Having friends and family to talk to and tell them how I feel. Owning my own business. And my talents, like singing, baking, painting and writing. I'm learning how to write cursive and to spell.

G. Anything else you'd like to say to my readers?
K. I live in nature but I can still pull off a cupcake!

03 July 2014

A Meditation: The Song Of Wandering Aengus - Christy Moore



Here's another thing I admire about the Irish; not only do they love their poets but they put their poems to song. This meditative piece is Christy Moore singing The Song of Wandering Aengus, by W.B. Yeats. Such a gorgeous poem/ song. Just listen and enjoy.

Here are the words:

The Song of Wandering Aengus

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Source: The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)
Shared under the Fair Use Guidelines, no copyright infringement intended.

17 June 2014

How to Have a Happy Summer

Befriend the young;
they're fun to hang out with,
see it all fresh and have unfettered hearts.






Befriend other women;
they walk our path,
mirror our souls and lend their comfort.






Befriend other couples;
they are mentors,
supporters and cheerleaders.





Play games;
they keep you sharp and happy
and give you a way to connect with the young.




Go out for coffee;
find a cafe that writes happy messages to you
and serves little sweet extras to start your day right.




Hope your summer is a happy one. Better yet, make it happy! What would that look like for you?

09 June 2014

Simple Joys


My Honey and I took a stroll through our town with friends. Summer weather, sunny and dry, is here to enjoy. We sat for awhile on a bench in a new square just built and planted. I love the old wall next to the newly painted one and the sculpture in the center. We have sculptures all over town. We ate gelato and admired the flowers. That's all. Seems like I've absorbed some of the Italian lifestyle.





It was our first gelato of the season from one of our cafes. I sat on the bench next to the profusion of flowers in the photo. Such lovely colors.





When we returned home my Honey made baked stuffed zucchini and salad with orange and fennel, served with a local white wine. Delicious. La dolce vita.



Wishing you summer's abundance and simple pleasures.

05 June 2014

Stowaways


Yarn hangs on the woven shelter
in the garden. Chosen by children,
it tells their secrets in a color riddle,
favorites deliberately picked,
hung on branches like leaves in the wind,
stowaway messages for other lovers on the bench.


Posted for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Get Listed, hosted by Fireblossom. The words of her list that I used: yarn, choose, garden, love, stowaway, riddle, secret and favorite. This photo was taken in a delightful garden in County Clare, Ireland on a recent visit.

04 June 2014

5 Years and 500 Posts Later...


5 years ago I retired, moved to Italy and began this blog to chronicle my journey into elderhood. It never occurred to me how monumental it was to move to a different culture and learn another language while retiring from my beloved profession of nursing and beginning my next life stage. This is the 500th post on my blog, which is monumental in itself, and what a journey it has been! Since I've also decided to move back to the states, I wanted to take stock of where I'm at and what these years have taught me.

Top 5 accomplishments: 

1. Ran my first marathon and chose running as my exercise. I've continued to run 3 times a week and love it. Why did I wait so long to give myself this gift?

2. Started this blog not knowing the first thing about the blogging world. I figured it would be a way to stay more aware of what happened on my journey and provide information from afar to my family and friends. Along the way it introduced me to a world of people also trying to be more aware and writing their insights down to highlight, share and preserve them. Imagine friendship with such people. Another gift.

3. I embraced my wanderlust and it opened the world to me. I explored Italy and Europe and realized how big and beautiful our world is. I've come to feel like a world citizen. Making friends in so many countries sweetens this gift.

4. Discovered a world of conscious crones to inform and inspire me, through good freinds as we age together as well as other elder bloggers. Makes me proud to be an elder and eager to find new ways to serve my community as an elder with experience and wisdom to share.

5. Closed out the first decade of family gatherings with the young women of the next generation of my family and their children. I hope this is a gift to them because it certainly has been to me. I came to New England from 14 years in California and realized I had lost connection to my east coast family. I longed for bonds with them as adullts and from that simple wish grew a closeness so much more satisfying than I could ever have imagined. I'm forever grateful to them and my sister-in-law, Georganna, (and Peg in the early years before she died) for joining me in this adventure. 


Top 5 things I learned:


1. You know what's sexy? A real conversation! The greatest gift is the long-term love of 40 years together, 40 years of conversations, that takes our differences and turns them into the deeper understanding that opens up a whole other world. I love that. I'm grateful to be on this journey with my Honey. 

2. Grow plants, flowers and herbs and spend part of each day caring for and appreciating them. Read poetry and good books daily and cherish them. Let them change your mind and your heart. Go to coffee, call or write to someone daily to reach out and connect. On good days, do all three.

3. The older I get the more important family becomes, the more insistent their pull. They are written on my heart. Time spent with them and appreciating them makes me happy and nurtures me deeply. 

4. Eat locally grown organic food and exercise regularly. It's delicious and keeps me healthy. It's great for my body and best for our environment. Changing the world starts with me.

5. Find a purpose and dive in. Something that matters to you, that gets your juices flowing, that makes you glad to be alive. Then do something with it, in it or to do with it each day. Feels good and it matters.

Addendum: After 68 years and all this travel, the only philosophy and political view that makes sense to me is that we are one. We need a bigger world view that encompasses us all in all our diversity. I want to be involved in finding solutions that work not just for us all no matter where we live but also for our children's grandchildren. "You only are free when you realize you belong no place- you belong every place- no place at all." Maya Angelou


That was then and 
this is now:
                                                                           

    The grands

           2009








                                                       



               




                       2014                        











                                                                           
                                                                             

                The family
                     2009


                                                                              2014



My granddaughter's shirt says it all- love (and add a little sparkle!). It makes the world go around and makes the journey sweeter. 
For all that has been- thanks. For all that will be- yes.

p.s. One of the things I haven't learned is how to even up blog photos that are side by side!