Friday, May 24, 2019

Invitation to Salute Spring

Each spring, the peony bush sits quietly in a dark bed of soil waiting for its lush foliage to spread. Amidst the noise of garden mowers and clanking garden tools, it slowly awakens to springtimes tunes of chirping birds. Morning greetings filter the air as the bright blue sky quickly fills with gushing grayish rain. Soil soaked with nourishing raindrops, watches pollen blankets being washed away. Then, as the rain slows down, peony branches bow in reverence for Mother Nature's gift. Earth fills with the splendor of spring and the peony bush dressed in deep green allows its red buds to slowly open. Perhaps, tomorrow will be the day that the dress rehearsal opens to a springtime showcase.

Dress rehearsal:

though mine
I hesitate to pluck
the peonies

As I prepare for a Memorial Day barbecue, I reflect:

in the stillness
Between the arrival of guests,
The peonies.

I wonder how long I will have to wait for my peonies to salute spring. Will I ever be able to write of my beautiful peony in the simplistic manner of the 17th-19th century Japanese poets from the Endo period? 

what peonies!
one poem per flower
will not do

Please join me at the hashtag, #SpringSplendorGallery, on Twitter to share your image poems, haikus, nature photos, musical compositions, artwork, and inspirational quotes on the splendor of spring.  For those who frequent other social media sites, you can email me your offerings at cvarsalona at Deadline: Thursday, June 13, 2019.

Do you have:

half a mind
to dress up and bow down
to the peony

or bow down to the beauty of spring?

for peony blossom viewing
a spring look is fine
and rosé wine

(the above haiku was created using Torin's haiku as mentor text)

for peony blossom viewing
a pale kimono is good
and chinese tea

2016 Peony Surprise
Now I'm off to post this invitation to Poetry Friday's host, Dani Burtsfield. Dani has a beautiful golden shovel poem to share. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Instructions For My Digital Notebook

When Michelle Heidenrich Barnes invited Liz Steinglass to Today's Little Ditty, an intriguing ditty challenge evolved. One of Liz's favorite poems, "Instructions for the Field", in her new book, Soccerversebecame the mentor text for the project.  For the writing challenge, each writer was asked to write a poem giving instructions to an inanimate object about how to do its job.

Since I am designing several digital galleries of artistic expressions, I decided to write a poem about an interactive digital notebook. My digital notebook in Google Docs is a companion piece to my poetry journals. It is my sacred space to record thoughts, add images, and create digital inspirations as a risk taker of thought. It is the place where I ponder, reflect, and "find my voice". Because it is an important part of my writing life, I have created templates for other writers to hone their writing skills during professional development.

Stage 1: Create the poem after many drafts in my digital notebook. 

Stage 2: Create a digital inspiration, an image poem, to add a different perspective.  I decided to change the name of the title and add one of my nature photos as a signature logo.

Digital Tools Used: 
Google Docs-Interactive Digital Notebook, Blogger, FotoJet, PicMonkey, iPhone, iPhotos, Preview

Do I keep the simple design in pink or the swirled background digital inspiration with the signature logo to submit to the challenge?
Not only will I offer this post and poem to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes' challenge at her May 2019 Padlet but add it to the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Quiet Moments

It started as a cloudy-spotted sky with slight drops of rain. As we traveled from Long Island, over the Tappan Zee Bridge, and up Route 17, the rain became more frequent. The sky, a shade of gray, provided the canvas for nature's paintbrush. Verdant green hues flanked the highway on either side. They flashed by quickly as we drove north to our destination in Central New York. Awed by the grandeur of the paint chip scene, I began a series of camera shots to preserve the beauty. Surprised by the colors of this spring day, I sat back to reflect during the quiet moments after the shower. The wooded countryside had a tranquil quiet and I experimented with word choice as I wrote. 

Listen to the song, "Walk With Me" by John Bongiorno. It offers a soft tone much like what was playing on satellite radio as my husband patiently drove through the light rain.

Rain is grace;
rain is the sky descending to the earth;
without rain, there would be no life.
-John Updike


Now, travel with me to Margaret Simon's blog where she is hosting Poetry Friday this week from Louisiana. You will be delighted to read some of her students Nature Pi-Kus. Perhaps, you would like to spend some quiet moments outside reading, reflecting, and writing a poem about what you notice. 


If you missed my post last week showcasing Poetry Friday friends who offered beautiful digital inspirations for Abundant Autumn Mini-Gallery, please click here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The World is Full of Poetry

National Poetry Month may be over but for me, poetry is a year-round exploration of words that dance within the images they create. I have gone back in time to work the digital poetry gallery I started designing in autumn so I can share a sneak peek today. Within the gallery halls, earth's majesty gives rise to a chorus of voices singing the praises of poetry in motion. Join me as I paint earth in fiery hues of an autumn day for:

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." (Albert Camus) 

abundant autumn sets no limits
brush-stroking earth with spun-gold colors-
tranquility leaves its calling card
 ©CV, 2019

In a slide presentation below, I offer a sneak peek at Abundant Autumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions. The offerings from some Poetry Friday colleagues illustrate the concept of autumn as a second spring with their brilliant color schemes, imagery, and poetry. You can access this presentation on Google Slides here. The cover to the slide show and the authors are below.

Thank you to the following Poetry Friday poets for their Abundant Autumn digital inspirations:
Linda Baie, Ramona Behnke, Catherine Flynn, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Jan Godown Annino,
Mary Lee Hahn, Brenda Harsham, Molly Hogan, Michelle Kogan, Jone MacCulloch, Diane Mayr, 
Kay McGriff, Margaret Simon, Jane Whittingham, Christie Wyman.

The world is full of poetry.
The air is living with its spirit;
and the waves dance to the
music of its melodies,
and sparkle in its brightness." 
-James Gates Percival, poet 

Enjoy listening to The World is Full of Poetry from Earthsongs

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the full Abundant Autumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions with digital inspirations from around the globe. In the meantime, I am heading over to Elizabeth Steinglass' blogsite.  She is sharing about her new book, Soccerverse, that inlcudes 22 poems about everything soccer. 

Special Note:
If you are interested in offering an Abundant Autumn #imagepoem to my gallery, send it to me  either at my email (cvarsalona on gmail) or to Twitter under the hashtag, #AbundantAutumn.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Spring Gifts Spring Forth

A spring-inspired world surrounded me as I drove to the northern edge of Long Island for a professional development workshop yesterday. Signs of springtime were popping all over. Bushes were accentuated by vivid colors and multi-hued florals saluted the sky. The sun shone brightly and the world was gifted with a gorgeous day. Listening to music and feeling the breeze made me rejoice in spring and think about all the poetry gifts I received during the season. 

To all those who brought sunshine to my mailbox or computer screen, I send thoughts of gratitude.

Special feelings of gratitude are being sent to:

-39 Poetry Friday poets who offered their poetry at the Poetry Friday Roundup I hosted

-Irene Latham for her beautiful Live Your Poem poetry card

-Jone MacCulloch who sent me an original photo with a poem poetry postcard

-Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for co-hosting #WonderChat/#NYEDChat at the beginning of National Poetry Month plus an added bonus: an aromatic gift from Janet (Coffee from Brazil)

I created a blackout poem with the Bean Box sweet smelling label.

-At the end of National Poetry Month, some of my poet friends joined me at #NYEDChat for an exciting fast chat, Inspiring Children to #ThinkPoetry Beyond National Poetry Month. You can find the archived transcript here.

-Have you seen the 2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem with its playlist and an original song created by Donna Smith

Now, I am ready to join the Poetry Friday Roundup at the wonderful Jama Rattigan's delicious blog,  Jama's Alphabet Soup, An Eclectic Feast of Food, Fiction, Folderol and Chewy Culinary Verse. While you are there, please check out the following from Jama by clicking here

There were so many poetic gifts during the past National Poetry Month. 
I hope you enjoyed some of them and continue to #ThinkPoetry.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Spirit of Spring!

Spring is upon us. Welcome to Spiritual Journey first Thursday. I am delighted to be the host for this month's gathering.  The topic I chose for the community to ponder is "Spirit of Spring" that breathes new life into the world. I have chosen to continue to #ThinkPoetry beyond National Poetry Month during the month of May. Join me by adding your offerings.
Part I
Found Poetry with Scripture Verses

Flowers appear on the earth:
the season of singing has come,
the cooling of doves is heard in our land.
(Song of Songs 2:12)
They waited for me as for showers and
drank in my words as the spring rain.
(Job 29:3)
Let my teaching fall like rain and
my word descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants. 
(Deuteronomy 32:2)

Part II
Paint Chip Poetry
(Color Choices to create a poem:  Breath of Spring, Fragrant Spruce, Green Energy, Grass Green, Green Mist, Green Sprinkle, Heartland, Herbal Green, Morning Dew, Misted Pollen,
Nature, Paradise Green, Spring Morning)
Morning sprinkles spring with sparkling dew.
Let us soak up the blessings!
Spruce trees fragrant the woodlands.
Let us smell the fresh aroma of spring!
The mist of falling rain caresses the Heartland.
Let us feel the blessings and
Be energized to fortify and renew
Hearts weary from winter's long sleep!

Nature's breath renews earth daily,
opening flowers on spring mornings,
coloring landscapes of grass green
as pollen dances in the breeze.
Life living moments unfold each day.
Let us burst with joy
as we uncover a herbal paradise
of springtime splendor!

Enjoy listening to two versions of the song, Indescribable.

What I learned from researching scripture and writing from the heart
about the spirit of spring. 
It is important to:
  • Give homage to our earth and the Lord for creating it
  • Turn to faith to nurture our souls as rain nourishes our planet earth
  • Believe in the spirit of spring for it will offer limitless possibilities if we reach out

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


After an inspiring night of sweet as honey conversation with my poet friends and #NYEDChat colleagues, I sit still to relax. One half-hour of quick conversation has my head spinning and my heart racing. My thoughts swirl as I continue to #ThinkPoetry. With energy still high, I recall tweet after tweet, question, comment, response, fingers pounding keys at such a fast pace that I could not keep up. Is this not the process of moderating, keeping an even keel, making sure positivity floats through the conversation, and then, amidst guided talk, draw the chat to a sweet ending?

Through one direct message, I was able to bring together this amazing group of poetry friends to share the power of poetry at #NYEDChat. Many thanks to each and every one of them for helping me send out #poetrylove.

Now in the quiet of a house asleep, I compose my thoughts around nine paint chip colors to use as I #PlayWithPoetryNPM. Imagine lovely colors of spring in front of me, pushing me to include their vivid color swatches in my thoughts. Yellow shouts out "Sweet as Honey, Delicate Lace, and Raffia Ribbon." Orange chimes in with "Seed Pearl, Paper Heart, and Peachy Confection." White adds the luster with Honied WhitePolished Pearl, and Varnished Ivory. All these colors mix together to create a bouquet of ideas that I would like to blend into a poem for the close of #NationalPoetryMonth.

Created with Buncee

My mind fills with
unpolished pearl thoughts,
as delicate as wisps of 
honied white breath
stretching, ribboning
like raffia, gracefully
waiting to release
onto lacey landings
of glossy white paper.
In silence, I listen for
the muse of night
to polish my words
into confectioned wonder
and let them soar.
©CVarsalona, 2019
Thank you to my friend, Dr. Mary Howard for helping me understand how to archive #NYEDChat with the Wakelet app. Click here or use the QR code below to view the transcript.

Let my words soar right over to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

On a Spring Day: Poetry Friday Roundup

Welcome to the Poetry Friday RoundupI am hosting the last Poetry Friday community gathering of National Poetry Month. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the earth is green. Let's celebrate springtime and poetryliscious poetry!

I live on the south shore of Long Island, a short distance from the beautiful south shore beach, my family's go-to place to visit in any season. There the ocean roars makes lapping sounds, and its boardwalk invites all to walk, reflect on nature, and be inspired. On Palm Sunday, my husband and I traveled to Long Beach, a dense fog settled on the beach, making it impossible to see the ocean. We have never seen such a thick fog settle on the beach in this way. It was an intriguing phenomenon of nature that inspired me to write. You can access my post and poem here. A couple of days later, I created a wordless, nature video and placed it on YouTube and on the Wonderopolis Wonder Ground

For days I continued to think about the foggy day. How could I share my collection of nature photographs? To remind me of my unique spring walk at the beach, I gathered an assortment of gray paint chips (gullwing gray, wish, silver satin, gray clouds, sweatshirt gray, anchor gray, overcoat) and drafted a paint-chip poem. 

Sweatshirt-Gray Day

Gray clouds hover
upon my silver wish.
Gullwings of satin-
gray dip and swish.

Silver haze coats
sweatshirted skies.
Gray clouds linger-
nature's surprise.

My heart flutters.
Gray gullwings fly.
Fog sits in majesty,
wonder of the sky.
©CV, 2019

I invite you to view my wordless, music video, Into the Fog Seaside Walk, created with the Lomotif app. If interested, write a poem to accompany my video?  (Click below to view the video.)

I look forward to reading through all the offerings for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup! 


Mister Linky's Magical Widgets' link-up moved to a new address.
Please see this week's Poetry Friday Roundup poetic offerings HERE.
(If you are trying to link-up, please click on the word HERE to add your blog post.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Celebrate World Book Day

Alexa, good morning!
Good morning, it is World Book Day! It is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to promote  reading, publishing, and copyright."
Sierra, did you hear that? Alexa said it is World Book Day. Would you like to read a book?

"Yeah," my 22-month-old grandbaby said as she immediately took out four of her books and sat down on the floor to read them to her babies. I watched with wonder.

Stephen King says, "Books are a uniquely portable magic." They can transport a reader to a new place, engage them in a fantasy, or provide information. At a young age, my grandbaby has learned that books are friends she can take anywhere with her. 

As a reading specialist for years, I know that books are a source of entertainment and enjoyment for most children. For those who have not experienced the joy and magic of reading, we need to share our passion for reading and help each child discover the power of books.

On World Book Day, in particular, let's remember to enrich children's lives at an early age with daily reading. so they can grow to be lifelong readers. 

I am joining Two Writing Teachers tonight for Slice of Life Tuesday.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Inspired to Bake

Easter is just days away. My kitchen fills with the sights and smells of Holy Week baking just like my mother and grandmother's kitchens before me. I recall these women, my creative baking mentors whose hands lovingly crafted honey dolls fashioned out of dough, Easter bunny cakes with just the right amount of coconut, and mounds of delicious cookies. Their artistry was well known in their neighborhoods. Remembering the Easters of my life, I bake for family and friends to celebrate the spiritual and temporal joys of the Easter season.

Messy baking tins, bowls filled with different colored frosting, and platters of chocolate dipped cookies waiting for the finishing touches are lined up. From my mother and grandmother, I learned that the presentation stage is an important part of the creative process. 

Usually, I take photos of my finished creations but there was such a rush this morning that I had no time to photograph the Easter week treats that were carefully placed in an open weave, spring-green plastic basket laced with a pink bow. Easter filler was placed in the bottom of the basket. On top of this, I stacked chewy brownies, different varieties of chocolate chip cookies, and Easter eggs of brownie dough covered in yellow, buttercream frosting with a touch of Triple Sec, and finished with a layer of coconut. I was pleased with the presentation and so were the recipients.

Baking by Phoebe Boswall is a fitting poem that shares the experience of baking and remembering a loved one. 

Smells of baking remind me of you.
Your red apron, my small striped one with the torn pocket.
Your soft stretched skin, fingers kneading dough
into a ball. My fat floury hands
grasped for your amber necklace,
Quick, Phoebe, the oven.

You played with flavours,
made little blobs of buttery dough on the tray
Your warm kitchen my safe haven.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Image result for undecorated easter bunny sugar cookies

Smells of baking remind me of you,
Anise seeds, almond extract, sweet honey,
they lift my senses, taking me back to childhood-
little fingers stroking an oversized rolling pin,
playing baker, standing by your side on summer days.
Your warm kitchen, small for modern day baking,
was my childhood playground and learning ground.
I remember your wisdom with each cookie I create.
©CV, 2019

I join the delightful, children poet, Amy Vanderwater at The Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Roundup as National Poetry Month continues.