Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Golden Hour

"Bursts of gold on lavender melting into saffron. It's the time of day when the sky looks like it has been spray-painted by a graffiti artist." - Mia Kirshner 

Excitedly, they raced up and down the slight slope as the birthday party began. It was the golden hour just after nap time and the beginning of a delightful late afternoon family event. Big sister and little baby romped in the grassy area beyond the patio. Their world was painted in shades of joy. 

After dinner a sweet secret brewed. Out from the small guest bedroom, a little girl transformed into a princess glided past me ready to don her royal crown and greet guests for the gathering. Loved ones circled to wish the birthday girl years of wonder and celebration at the count of four. But waiting was not her strong suit so, within a second, all four candles were puffed into the air just like her wishweeds did on her spring nature walk.

a sweetened surprise
awaits a little princess
wide-eyed wishes ready now
golden hour approaches
with promised love
©CV, 2021

As the golden hour moved closer to sunset, two little princesses walked to their coach where dancing dreams lulled them into a restful sleep. What new adventures will await a four-year-old with talents still not untapped is yet to be seen. 

A Slice of Life for Another Special Day

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Birthday Surprise

For me, writing in the quiet of night is a treat but there are other magical moments that light up life.

This week, my granddaughter turned four so naturally, I wrote a poem to celebrate her amazing years of life. It was a pantoum poem that my granddaughter and I call a story poem. I added digital photos of her to entice her into the poem.

While I was not present at the children's party (I am hosting the extended family's "big people's" party this weekend), I enjoyed an online conversation and found out that there were many surprises at the party, one of which brought me Grandma joy. During the Google Duo call, I listened to Sierra's exciting details about the party with her best friends.  I then shared the story poem I wrote. First, we looked at the digital photos I created from infancy through toddler years. Next, I asked if I could read the story poem. Sierra is a reader and loves a good read-aloud so she listened carefully. At the close of the poem, I heard, "Thank you, Grandma." How endearing those words were! 

Now. let me share the events of the party where magic was in the air. The video that was sent to the family showed an excited child rushing to the back door and down the path to the wooded backyard. Ah, yes, an awesome sight awaited her! Her Mommy remembering her own childhood parties in a backyard miniature house, constructed a child-size outdoor house and Daddy helped erect it. The little house set in a wooded setting of their back year was complete with a patio laid down by the carpenter. Two Adirondack chairs, a child-size picnic table, and window boxes full of flowers against a natural setting added additional charm to the setting. Photos posted were filled with excitement and joy so I decided to write a tricube poem. It is a good format because of its simplicity that allows a story to flow.

Yesterday, I had a virtual tour of the birthday surprise. I laughed when I saw my seventeen-month-old granddaughter quite content playing on the floor of the little house while big sister enjoyed creating a bracelet from the kit given by one of the partygoers.
I am now preparing for the family birthday party at my new house on Saturday. Even though, Sierra said will not be her birthday date, I responded that the big people want to celebrate your special day. Afterall, you are only four once.

Little house in the woods,

How charming you are
With your storybook gable.

What tales will grow as your years unfold?
Mix wonder and childhood dreams
Create stories to last a lifetime.
©CV, 2021

Now, it's time for the Poetry Friday Roundup at poet and nature photographer Buffy Silverman's blog site

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Today You Are Four

It is quiet in the house except for the hum of the twirling fan. Only cracks of lights enter the darkened room. I steal a few moments to be alone with my thoughts. It is the eve of my granddaughter's fourth birthday. A whoosh of camera-ready moments rushes past me, from infant to toddler to a curious little girl. The years of her joyous life "whisper loud enough to make me stop and take stock."*

I dedicate the following pantoum poem composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of the pantoum is the same as the first.
It was but yesterday
when you entered a calico-colored world
with your curious stance
that brought so much joy.
When you entered a calico-colored world,
you became our wonder baby.
Your curious stance grew
in natural settings.
You became our wonder baby`    
listening, learning,
in natural settings
that often led to new discoveries.
Listening, learning,
you skied and climbed hills.
leading to new discoveries,
opening a new world of wonder.
You skied and climbed hills.
Your toddler passions have grown each year,
opening a world of  new wonders.
Today you are four!
Your toddler passions have grown each year.
I watched with pride.
Today, you are four-
it was but yesterday!
©CV, 2021

Birthday love  💖 is sent to my "big girl" granddaughter, Sierra.
Thank you for always sharing your exuberance for life.

*Line lifted from my writing friend, Fran Haley, in a comment to slicer Chris Margocs."

 A Slice of Life for a Special Day

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Reflections on Winter and Sprinters


Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
-Yoko Ono

Looking backward to winter may cool down the heat and humidity for me, or at least, it will bring back some interesting memories. It seems like this past year was endless with the pandemic's hold on life and nature's multi-layered weather conditions that extended winter into spring creating a new phenomenon, a sprinter
The Urban Dictionary describes sprinter as "the Canadian season which occurs between Spring and Summer when Mother Nature forgets that it is supposed to be getting warmer and suddenly reverts to Winter for no apparent reason." 
It took patience, perseverance, and faith. Now, it is time to remember those sprinter moments with humorous thoughts. 

My fellow poetry writing colleague, Kay McGriff, posted on Facebook her interpretation of an Indiana sprinter this April. I decided to add a dodoitsu, a Japanese poetic form that I attempted earlier this week.

Nature  surprises springtime,
Powder puffing its landscape
With a chilled blanket of white-
Late April Fool's gift.
©CV, 2021

I found some "sprinter humor" on Twitter by vinn f, @dreamanxiety, 2018, and decided to change the words into a poetic format just for fun.

when I go outside
to shovel the snow
will it be considered
"spring cleaning"?

Recent memories from nature's sprinter storms will be part of the Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery. Winter has passed. Hopefully, sprinter storms have passed and I have persevered inching my way closer to unveiling my Winter's Embrace 2021. Stayed tuned for the upcoming unveiling of my newest gallery filled with artistic expressions based on winter and winter-like weather. 

I'm now off to celebrate Poetry Friday with our host this week, Carol Wilcox at Carol's Corner.  Carol is introducing a new poet to many of  us, Jeannette Encinias, and states that her poetry is filled with "glorious, richly detailed sensory images."

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Bringing Nature Inside - Slice of Life

Nature is a gift even during hot, humid weather. From inside my air-conditioned home, I look out to view the beauty of velvet green grass, the edges of green leaves, and the pizzazz of vibrant blossoms. Since some of my beautiful, young plants have perished under the heat and others nibbled on by the local wildlife, I decided to bring nature indoors for my viewing pleasure. I created an outside and inside wreath with vases of artificial flowers to keep the spirits up on hot, humid days. 

Branch out
With graceful charm.
Stetch to grasp spring's last days.
Welcome the heated breath of June.
©CV, 2021

I have one more poem with a new-to-me format, the dodoitsu. Thanks to Donnetta Norris for introducing me to the Japanese poetic form that has 4 lines with neither meter or rhyme. It does focus on syllables (seven in the first three lines and five in the last line. Writers Digest also notes that the last line "focuses on love or work with a comical twist." 
Have I mentioned before that my husband often says I lack a humorous side?This is true so below is my feeble attempt at humor based me trying to organize the unorganized parts of my new house. No matter what I do, I create more of a mess with the vast array of unopened boxes. 
circle of love welcomes all
to enter our new abode
with care step lightly across
the box danger zone
©CV, 2021, draft

It's Slice of Life Tuesday so I amtraveling over to Two Writing Te.achers to offer my slice
May the essence of spring fill your life with joy as it has done for me.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Winter's Digital Dazzle

Like a freight train, the February storm lumbered with force through Long Island, derailing outdoor plans. Snow upon snow blanketed earth. It glistened in white gowns of white lace. Meteorologists on high alert watched in amazement until the first blast quieted down for a winter nap but this was just the beginning. 

With winter just a blurred memory away, I turned to my digital photo album to find a picturesque winter scene of Long Island. Through the magic of digital tools (PicMonkey and FotoJet), a winter wonderland of snow emerged as a piece of artwork. I remembered the lush, alluring whiteness after the storm. It was a time to be dazzled by the purity of the snow and its ethereal beauty.

robed in white
earth celebrates at nature's altar-
blessed awe
©CV, 2021

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." Lewis Carroll captured the above scenes so beautifully that it made sense to pair his quote with my digital artwork. The end result made me feel as though I stepped away from the camera and into a winter's dream.

While Long Island snuggled with a long winter sleep, Maine also became part of the storm's travels. Molly Hogan captured a spectacular nature photograph that I coupled with an inspirational quote by Thomas Merton. 

As wide-eyed wonderers of nature the contributors to Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery capture the essence of childhood joy, the quintessential beauty of a quiet, snowy day, and the solitude of a reflective walk. 

While life interrupted plans for an earlier unveiling, my hope is to share the majesty of winter's frozen charm before the heat of summer melts away the iced magic of winter's embrace.

Do you have a dazzling digital expression that you would like to share 
at Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery? 

In the meantime, I am strolling over to this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Margaret Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche. Margaret our inspired host has a sampling of her poetry with collage art for our delight. See you there.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mid-Year Review of 2021 One Word-SJT

Life is about transitions. I look back on this year. Winter was filled with urgent to-do lists. Sell the Long Island house, find a spot open for COVID vaccinations for myself and my family, call the movers, and in the weeks before the move have an estate sale of my antiques and collectibles. I pause to reflect on my 2021 one word, begin, knowing that it has brought me through many challenges since I asked it to be a guide on my life journey. 

I contemplate my one word's presence in my life, consider what it offers for the future, and deliberate on what can be done to stop brooding over past missteps. Sometimes, I celebrate the word begin and other times get wrapped up in fairytale-like ponderings of an ideal new life. In reality, life is not an easy road to transverse. It is filled with detours, congested pathways, and bridges to cross. I am fully aware that life is fragile and uncertain but can be a hopeful journey if i remain positive. 

From the beginning of January, I trusted my one word. With faith on my side and the word begin, I crossed several hurdles starting with getting lost on the trip down to Virginia. I am not quite sure how I did that but it happened and left me in a quandary. I circled around, tried to find a new route, and finally broke down in tears. Was this a warning on how life could be if I continued to be stressed? Did I slow down when I finally arrived in Virginia? No, afterall there were so many tasks to be completed as we moved into our new home. My granddaughters have provided love and joy that dismisses tense-filled weekly tasks. 

I am happy to say, that I have prevailed through surging storms, service calls, and edginess amidst open and unopened boxes so I decided to revise my January 2021 Commitment Statement. 

with faith
I shall rise above
life's constant challenges,
blossom like a bud of spring,
celebrate new beginnings with positivity,
and begin a new walk on more solid ground.
©CV, 2021

I must admit since we moved, sometimes I felt like the wilting flowers in my new garden. They thirsted for a new beginning but I did not know how to nurture these new young plants.  I want to stand tall like the other blooms in my gardens. They offer their presence reminding me to sing the praises of nature's blessings. 

Like my young plantings, I journey onward despite changeable patterns of life. I will cast doubts aside and focus my thoughts on new beginnings now that I am left with only a dozen or more boxes to unpack on the first floor. As Meister Eckhart said, "Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." I shall make this quote a priority during the next few days, I will also, follow the wisdom of Proverbs 16-9: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

Finding Peace

mapping life's journey 
begins within heartstrings-
wander with hope
©CV, 2021

I thank Ruth Hersey, teacher-poet from Haiti, who as the June host of Spiritual Journey Thursday chose today's topic. Ruth reports that despite the challenges of life in Haiti, she is still flourishing. I will walk beside her as I begin a mid-year journey.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Budding Artist-Poet

The sky was painted in shades of gray as the rain washed the stones on the patio. Inside, the fireplace burned brightly creating warm tones. Out came the Disney Princess crayons, fat enough for little hands. Eyes opened wide. "Grandma, do you have paper?" With excitement, the toddler entered the creativity zone. 

The first stroke produced a curved line. With permission from the young artist, Grandma added leaves. Sierra decided to color them in with bright tones of spring. Then, she added grass. The flower needed petals so Grandma made a large one and Sierra reproduced it in a smaller size. The daisy was now ready to stand against the rain that was coming down outside. 

"What does your picture make you think of, Sierra?"  She replied, "A rainy day."  "Shall we write a poem?" A quizzical look appeared on the little face. Her thoughts about a rainy day were verbally woven together. Grandma wrote them down and added the word chasing. Since blue is one of Sierra's favorite colors, the poem ended with that thought and a few more strokes of blue. 

Sierra's first image poem was created. Grandpa, Uncle D, and her parents were proud of the work accomplished. Grandma followed up with a blog post and a lacey graphic ready for a blog post presentation.

sparked by crayoned thoughts-
touch of spring

©CV, 2021


It's Slice of Life Tuesday this first day of June. My blog post is offered to Two Writing Teachers with permission from my little budding artist-poet. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Remembering Long Island

Crane Neck Across the Marsh, 1841 by William Sidney Mount, one of the first and "finest" 19th-century painters of everyday rural life in America

On days like these shorelines call me to a gentler place, one where to-do lists slip away.  While it is still spring, warm breezes and rising temperatures of summer fill the air. My mind drifts back to Long Island shores as I explore the above painting found on Google Arts & Culture

Peering into William Sidney Mount's Crane Neck Across the Marsh artwork, I have a longing to be back at the seashore, being in the moment with peaceful surroundings. I sense that Mount, a longtime Long Island resident, understood the beauty of its terrain. 

For my poem today, I am using Laura Shovan's "10 Little Words" idea to create a poem. The words come from Mount's letter to Benjamin Thompson, 1848, about digging for colors. (William Sidney Mount, Painter of Rural America) My words are: explore, pigments, astonished, bright, red, mingling, sandstone, orange vermillion, tide, water, encased, spoon.

Morning light streams through silhouette shades. 
A vision of beauty stands before me. I explore each layer. 
Earth-toned pigments of bright-red and orange vermillion
streak the landscape. The artist's brush mingles with nature's
softened hues creating a masterful work of art.

Conjuring up sandstone dreams, I move into a New York state
of mind where tidal waters spoon droplets of spray into sea-salted
air. I breathe in, close my eyes for a moment, and remember. 
Astonished by the artwork's vivid reality and richness of shoreline colors,
I recall peaceful memories of a Long Island day at the shore.

©CV, 2021, draft

This month, I am playing with words for the Poetry Sisters' challenge of creating an ekphrastic poem and posting on social media with the tag, #PoetryPals. The challenge consisted of writing an ekpharastic poem using a photograph taken in a museum. I actually forgot the last part so I searched. I was pleased to find the Mount oil painting at the Long Island Museum-gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Heyser, Jr., 1961. 

Now it is time to link up with the Poetry Friday Roundup with our host, Michelle Kogan, Chicago artist/poet. In her usual flair for color and poetry, Michelle offers the poppiness of springtime with much poetry goodness. Birthday greetings are in order, too. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Unearthed Cicadas

The sun was beating down from a clear sky. Following instructions, my husband and I scouted out areas by a large tree in the back of the brewery for an extended family gathering. I placed my purse on a weather-beaten picnic table like a miner staking his claim. Then,  I looked down to find a massive gathering of cicadas risen from their earthen tombs. Some were attempting to fly; others laying lifeless. It was a strange, eerie scene that we did not photograph in our haste to move.

Withing in the depths of dirt 

their winged bodies lay

in clumps of half-awake beings.

Waiting to unfold onto earth.

Quietly, they clustered,

Emerging from deep sleep below-surface

Only to be choked by intense heat.

Some attempting to fly

Edged their way forward

Hanging from worn picnic tables.

We moved quietly away

Worried these creatures would attack

But they were only interested in survival.

Those above ground huddled together.

Some flew away while others staggered 

On the ground in the dirt.

These large, bugged-eyed creatures

Huddled together like colonies of ants-

Such a sight to behold

that shocked me

but what a science lesson

it became for a toddler's mind.

As my granddaughter approached we looked quickly at the picnic area strewn with cicadas and peeked at the holes they dug. Hand in hand we walked away to a more pleasant sight that was bug-free. My hope is that she will remember her first sighting of these creatures seventeen years in her future. 

In 1689 Basho wrote:

閑さや (Stillness)
岩にしみ入る (seeping into the rocks)
蝉の声 (the cicada's voice)

life emerges

from a tiny hole
creeping outward

bug-eyed with wonder
they awake from slumber
unaware of what awaits
©CV, 2021, cherita

Join me at Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Gearing Up for A Gallery Reveal

As this year progresses, I sit back and ponder what may have been a winter of discontent with  raging storms, the heaviness of pandemic days, and the challenge of my life move. But there is more to reflect upon. I recall the freshness of a winter day with its bright sunshine and mounds of snow greeting morning. I think of dark nights in which the snow did not even whisper its way to earth, but seemed to salt the night with silence. (Dean Koontz) I recollect snowflakes, soft and white, dancing their way to earth and then, I drift into a sanctuary of thought. It is in winter we behold the charms of solemn majesty and naked grandeur. (James Ellis)

Photo of the aftereffects of a Long Island winter storm by Judi Drucker

Why now in the heat of spring do I think of winter?  Fueled by sights and sounds of this past winter, I quietly sit designing #WintersEmbrace2021 Gallery. Within its range of artistic expressions, I contemplate how many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose if there were no winter in our year! (Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

winter embraced earth
warming the coldest of hearts
silence altered thoughts
©CV, 2021

I hope this post entices you to join me as I gear up to unveil Winter's Embrace Gallery. Stay tuned for the gallery to become a springtime gift that cools down our heated days. 

In the meantime, I am off to a virtual retirement party for Poetry Friday's calendar keeper, teacher extraordinaire, author, cherished poet, and friend, Mary Lee Hahn

#MarvelousMaryLee has been a supporter of my galleries for years, so what better way than sharing some of her treasured words from past galleries. 

A dual language ekphrastic poem fit for winter

Since winter edged its way back into spring in one of its sprinter moods, I share one of MaryLee's spring image poems.

I also would like to share Mary Lee's poem on gratitude and give thanks for the poetic gifts she has bestowed on the Kidlit poetry community.

In gratitude
for living among poet friends
who share corners of their minds,
heartbeats of their thoughts,
and the depth of their emotions.

In gratitude
for a bright star named Mary Lee-
keeper of the Poetry Friday calendar,
NCTE presenter with a smile for all,
beloved teacher with lessons that energize her students,
and revered poet friend.
©CV, 2021

#MarvelousMaryLee, may your retirement open the door to another chapter in your book of life!

Hooray for #MarvelousMaryLee
our Poetry Friday host, Christie Wyman,
for throwing a surprise party for our #MarvelousMaryLee.