Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Covid's Everywhere!

COVID is on the upsurge.

Like a silent snake, it comes

slithering into human spaces.

Circling and coiling,

it spreads its venom,

infecting all in its vicinity.


While I do not have COVID at this time, I have recently experienced unexpected stress related to it. My thoughts go back to the first breaking news of COVIDIt has been a very long two years and two months that the pandemic has raged. Research has helped medicine advance. Vaccines, boosters, and anti-viral medicine are available but the sting of COVID's slitering pathway is still felt . "Globally, as of 6:43pm CEST, 24 May 2022, there have been 523,786,368 confirmed cases  of COVID-19, including 6,279,667, deaths reported to WHO." -World Health Organization

My thoughts are with all who have experienced the stress, discomfort, and negativity of COVID-19, and the health caregivers who have worked endless hours to minimize the effect of this pandemic. We have listened and learned these past two years. "Ultimately, the greatest lesson that COVID-19 can teach humanity is that we are all in this together." -Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw 


Last week I missed slicing because I had cataract surgery of my left eye. I am still healing but am happy to be able to introduce the Poetryliscious Gallery Padlet with several slicers' artistic expressions. 


It's Slice of Life Tuesday and I end my day with the Two Writing Teachers and their reflective community of writers.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Introduction to the Poetryliscious Gallery Padlet

After days of on-off-spring rainstorms, my garden blooms with an array of perennials and some herbs that I thought perished last year, Hardened earth full of pumpkin-colored clay combined with overwatering during the humid summer led me to believe that I would not see my beautiful perennial and herb garden this spring. Little did I know that "Flowers whisper "Beauty" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall." (Dr. Sun Wolf) => and return!

Since Nature nurtures its world. It is up to mankind to do its part by caring for our precious Earth. Seeing my blossoms standing tall in the sun, brings new life to my gardens, and hopes for a bright end of May. 

Join me to celebrate springtime in May at my Poetryliscious Gallery Padlet by clicking here. My padlet is a repository for a variety of poetic blossoms featuring the talents of a community of reflective poets, photographers, and artists across the globe who are inspired by nature during springtime. 

Please note that I will create a Poetryliscious Gallery online soon. In the meantime, you can see archived spring galleries, spanning 2014-2018 below by clicking on each title below.






The Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted this week by poet/children author, Carmelo Martino, at the blog  Teaching Authors. She has a sneak peek of STEAM Poetry and her original poem published in Imperfect II. Join me there for more poetry goodness.

I am recovering from cataract surgery on the left eye this week so I need extra time to read colleagues' work. I will work on the Poetryliscious Gallery and post all work on my blog, Beyond LiteracyLink. I will also publicize the gallery and padlet on various social media sites.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring Day

Yesterday, a "silly thing" thing happened to my almost 5-year-old granddaughter. She and her sister ran up and down the little hill behind my patio with a giant balloon my husband bought me for Mother's Day. As I was videotaping the event, Sierra lost hold of the balloon that went sailing into the sky. She was sad but amazed at how far it soared into the air. "That was silly," Sierra said and then, decided to write a story poem with me for this week's blog post.

My balloon was flying in the sky.

I ran and lost hold of the tie.

It floated up really high

but I didn't cry!

We all said bye-bye.

©Sierra (soon to be 5-years-old), 2022

"Grandpa made me a kite to fly tomorrow."
Spring Flight

Up into the spring blue sky
It floated:
The giant balloon
And a little girl's
©CVarsalona, 2022

I used the mentor text - Barbara Juster Esbenson's poem, "Autumn Concert"
from Swing Around the Sun. (See here)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Rose Cappelli, author-poet, who always imagines the possibilities of verse. Join me at her website here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Mother's Day Joy

What joy Mother's Day brought this year! My family of eight enjoyed our moments together. Two generations of mothers graced our table laden with a delicious brunch featuring signature cocktails. Shirley Temple were prepared by my sister for the little grandgirls who were adorably dressed in matching outfits. We ate, played with the beautiful balloons. Grandpa bought, smelled the rose, and spring bouquets, We ate, played with the beautiful balloons Grandpa bought, smelled the roses and spring bouquets for the table, and enjoyed everyone's company. 

It was the first time I baked a lemon risotto. It reminded me of my Italian heritage and a long line of female bakers.

It was a sweet day of happiness, a Mother's Day I will never forget.

family day wrapped in love
smiles tell a sweet tale
©CV, 2022

It's Slice of Life Tuesday and I end my day with the Two Writing Teachers and their reflective community of writers.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Nature's Spring Love Notes

May is here revealing its celebration of springtime. It gently enters with a sprinkling of April showers. Daybreak streams radiant light through shutters. Dazzling dewdrops splash over fallen pink buds. Fragrant, budding florals parade. My senses are awakened with subtle hues and fragrant, budding florals perfume the walkways. Nature, like a master artist, paints a joyous tapestry of abundance flowing from living art.

nature pens its love note

earth replies with radiance

abundant blessings flow

©CV, 2022

The fastest way to bring more wonderful examples of abundance into your personal experience is to take constant notice of the wonderful things that are already there. -Esther Hicks

Please visit my Poetryliscious Gallery Padlet here. Notice each poetic offering from Poetry Friday poets, who joined me in paying tribute to springtime ==> Marcie Flinchum Atkins, Linda Baie, Rose Cappelli, Tanita Davis, Leigh Anne Eck, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Molly Hogan, Michelle Kogan, Michelle Kogan, Denise Krebs, Carol Labuzzetti, Jone Rush MacCulloch, JoAnn Early Macken, Bridget Magee, Sally Murphy. Tim Gels is working on his piece and hopefully, other poets will join with their short image poems or photograph prompts. 

Thank you for joining me for another Poetry Friday Roundup at Jama Rattigan's website, one of my favorite bloggers. I honor springtime with a tribute to its flagship month. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Spiritual Abundance-Spiritual Journey Thursday

Today, six weeks since my first cataract surgery, I eagerly returned to my yoga practice. Upon entering the session, I felt energized and knew the experience would be a renewal of mind, body, and spirit. As soon as the teacher started the session, I settled into a sacred space of quiet and peace. I listened to the soft music, the sound of my breath, and the instructor's voice. She invited us to think about the concept of abundance as we arrived on the mat. I paused to indulge in the moment. Returning to the mat was a gift, an appreciation of life. 

 Abundance Upon Arrival
Come to the mat, a sacred place of tranquility.
Feel the energy. Indulge in self-love upon arrival.
Listen to each breath and be filled with appreciation.
©CVarsalona, 2022
(Sijo poem)

Click on Enhance Self Love Healing Music and meditate.

With much appreciation for the gift of abundance upon arrival, I offer the following scripture verse from 2 Corinthians 9:8 to close my day. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Abundance from above graces earth and all its being. Let us become aware of abundance as a heavenly gift. I am grateful and appreciative that the spirit of abundance fell upon me this morning in a serendipitous manner.

May all my readers and the Spiritual Journey Thursday community find an abundance of love this weekend. Happy Mother's Day!


Thank you author-educator Susan Koehler for hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday today and offering her thoughts in prose and poetry. You can join me at Susan's blog, Susan Koehler Writes

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Weathered Conversations

Are there some topics that are not for family discussions? Perhaps, they belong in a debate forum or are kept for like-minded individuals. In my house, there is one topic that becomes a heated conversation every time the news or a political event is viewed. It rises like storms. Needless to say, as far as I am concerned, some conversations are part of a great divide.

While planning to join Taylor Mali's Golden Die Contest + Anthology challenge, I searched all over my house for my Metaphor Dice kit that I purchased from Taylor Mali at an NCTE Convention several years ago. It was hard to believe that I have been in the new build for a year and I still cannot find some items. (Cluttered boxes are still scattered around.) In order to play along with Taylor Mali and my poetry friends, I needed to find a substitute for my dice. I uploaded the app and then found the official list of words for the contest. In case you are not familiar with Taylor's writing tool, he states that his metaphor dice "randomly group CONCEPTS, ADJECTIVES, and OBJECTS together to form metaphors and similies worthy of consideration and exploration." My choices for a metaphor poem were politics (concept), looming (adjective), and tsunami (object). I stretched my thoughts about politics within my house to deal with the world. 

Each month, I follow and join the Poetry Sisters' challenge under the hashtag, #PoetryPals. This month's challenge was to write poems in imitation of Taylor Mali. Since my mind was thinking in terms of shorter poems, not longer ones like Taylor writes, I created an image poem. The skinny poem was not one that I submitted to the contest. 


Thank you to Janet Fagal, for chairing a Zoom workshop with Taylor Mali and emailing me about the Metaphor Dice poetry contest. 


It's Slice of Life Tuesday so I am heading over to Two Writing Teachers to celebrate writing with a reflective community of writers.

Slicers, there is still time to add your image poem to my Poetryliscious Gallery here.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Nearing the End of NPM22

I am completely amazed at how fast this month passed. While recovering from my first cataract surgery. I learned to have a deeper appreciation of my one word, appreciate, the combination of medicine and faith. Perseverance stepped in during the journey and my muse visited often as I wrote poetry and read others' work. The healing process was long; I often fell asleep while growing new ideas and/or visiting poetry friends' blog sites. Responses to comments left at my blog or on other blogs were in a very slow mode but I made it through the month with these personal projects and more poetry:

  • Proudly posted my Day 9 line in the Progressive Poem and passed the baton to my poet friend, Linda Baie.
  • Introduced my NPM22 project, the creation of a Poetryliscious Gallery and a padlet to house a variety of artistic expressions, image poems, photographs, and inspired writing. Thank you to Poetry Friday friends, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Molly Hogan, Denise Krebs, and Carol Labezztta for offering their work. Others, are in contact but have not placed their work on the padlet. You can see their nature photos and/or image poems on my Poetryliscious Gallery padlet. 
  • Organized the artistic expressions offered for my Winter's Embrace Gallery that hopefully will be unveiled while winter still holds court in springtime.
  • Wrote my annual Earth Day blog post with poetry and a digital graphic as my focus. 
Thank you, Laura Robb for tweeting the above quote sent to me via Twitter.

This week in between naps, I wrote drafts of metaphor poems for Taylor Mali's Metaphor Dice Contest and anthology and the Poetry Sisters monthly challenge. I will share my samples, labeled #PoetryPals, as soon as I put the finishing touches on them. 

I, also, created an image poem for Margaret Simon's This Photo Wants To Be A Poem


Thank you Jone Rush MacCulloch for providing a "gathering place for poets and lovers of poetry" this week at the Poetry Friday Round Up. Join me at Jone's blog to read about her good news where she shares works she created.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

April Moments

Dear Readers,

It is time for April moments to hasten to their end. The month passed by quickly and I realize after reading the poem, April Moments, that the month is near its end. I pause in gratitude for the joy April brought, even with its "winterinspring" weather. Holy Week led to Easter Sunday and family gatherings. There were cherished moments to savor and poems to write during National Poetry Month but now April hastens to its end as Verne Bright wrote.

I decided to write a golden shovel poem to pause and be thankful for the month that passes on. Indulge me for a moment as I write.

April's Appreciated Moments

Why is it that life in spring seems glorious? Do the
Birds know their songs sound sweetest in April?
Shall we celebrate earth's quiet moments?
Stop our hurried steps! Savor springtime bliss? Let us hasten
To bask in the sunlight. Let warm breezes lead us to
Appreciate April moments, soon to approach their
Final, blissful hours of the month's end
©CVarsalona, 2022

In my Earth Day blog post, I share a beautiful video, Love Song to the Earth, and invite all to view the padlet containing Poetryliscious Poetry and image poems. I am anticipating more artistic expressions to be added this week. Perhaps, the padlet will entice more friends to add their blissful moments of springtime as a tribute to National Poetry Month. Thank you to slicers, Diane Anderson, Terje Akke, Bob Hamera, and Molly Hogan. If I have missed anyone else, please let me know. Thank you also to Poetry Friday friends, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Carol Labuzzeta, and Jone Rush MacCulloch. 

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday so I am heading over to Two Writing Teachers
to celebrate another day of writing with a reflective community of writers.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Invest In Our Earth


Poster created by NASA. See the whole poster here.

Each year, Earth Day is celebrated around the globe. This year's theme is "Invest In Our Earth". As residents of the earth, we need to take on the role of steward and keep watch over the bountiful creation provided to us. 

"Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness."   - Eckhart Tolle 

This year, asks people across the world to "invest in technologies and practices that can benefit the earth".   

Recipe for Change

Observe our beautiful earth through nature's eyes, protective and calm.
Become a watchful steward; recycle waste properly.
Commit to a green future; next generations need your help now!
©CVarsalona, 2022, sijo

Listen to Love Song to the Earth.

Quote  to Inspire Poetry:
The earth is what we all have in common. - Wendell Berry

There is beauty in fragile flowers, the
turn of light upon the grass. The earth
wrapped in shades of vibrant hues is
resplendent in springtime, but what 
if we neglect our mighty land?  Will we
deplete earth of its riches or of all
it has bestowed on mankind. Have
we forgotten what is necessary in
our haste to have superfluous interests in common?
©Carol Varsalona, 2017

On April 26th, I will gather image poems and artistic expressions that are offered
for my 2022 National Poetry Month Poetryliscious Gallery

You can find my padlet repository for the Poetryliscious Gallery here.
The Twitter hashtag is #Poetryliscious.

Thank you to poet-author-teacher, Margaret Simon, who is the host of Poetry Friday this week. It is Margaret's turn to add line 21 to the Progressive Poem and she does so with grace. 
Join me at Margaret's blog post to read other posts filled with poetic goodness for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Childhood Thoughts (PoetryCUBED)

Coming from an Italian family, tomatoes were always a treat. My Nonnie would buy bushels of juicy, ripe tomatoes and make tasty pasta sauce, pizza, and salads. Every Sunday, I would stand on my tiptoes to dip my bread or meatball into the sauce. The hearty, lip-smacking taste always delighted me. 

I spent each summer with my Nonnie learning how to enjoy the ordinary routines of life. She taught me how to wash clothes with her old-fashioned wringer washer and dry our wash on a clothesline. When older, I learned the art of making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. I added salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and parsley while stirring the squishy mixture. To this day, I love the smell of tomatoes sauce on top of a plate of spaghetti. 

I cherish the time I spent with my Nonnie learning how to cook and bake. While there were no dogs in our family or neighborhood, my one precious little cat, Frankie Boy, was my 4-year-old friend until he jumped out of my hands and was hit by a car. It is amazing to me how photo prompts can bring back memories long forgotten?

There is one last memory, the question that I always remember. Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Do you know the answer? Do you remember the Encylopedia Brittanica? It was a favorite research tool in my K-8 elementary school. I always found the best information between the pages. You can find the answer to my probing question here.

licking good
tasty treat

heart love

taste, wink, smile-
childhood thoughts
in a jar
©CV, 2022, Tricube


Long-ago memories flowed from three photo prompts offered by poet-author Matt Forrest Esenwine in his National Poetry Month challenge,
PoetryCUBED Contest.

Check out the following rules Matt offers. 
Perhaps, you will be interested in offering your own poem.

  • Use the 3 images ("cubed") above as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not. 
  • The only hitch is that you need to include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for a meeting place on Slice of Life Tuesday to connect with a community of reflective writers.