Thursday, May 30, 2019

Naomi Shihab Nye-Themed Roundup

Welcome, it's a Naomi Shihab Nye-themed roundup at Mary Lee Hahn's blog site this week. Did you know that Naomi has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate for 2019--2021 by Poetry Foundation?  Today, I dedicate my post in honor of Naomi, the amazing poet whose soulful heart and creative talent weaves words that dig deep into emotions. 

In preparing for this post, I read Naomi Shihab's poem, Famous, many times. Its simple repetition and depth of message in the final stanza resonated with me.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous

or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do. 

I watched the video rendition of the poem here and then, thinking of my granddaughter who is celebrating her 2nd birthday in two weeks, I wrote.

My Grandma Wish 

I want to be famous in the eyes of a child,
who knows me by name, not because I did anything spectacular,
but because I never forget what being a grandma means. 
©CV, 2019

I used Naomi Shihab Nye's poem, Burning the Old Year, as a mentor text to write a birthday poem for my little Sierra Kathryn.

Remembering Early Years

Photos flash in chronological order.
Comments written on digital screens,
jubilant baby smiles,
rise like beach gulls,
soaring into year two.

So much of beginning life is remembered,
videos of first attempts, cherished toys.
Pink and perky milestones,
so little is a lost memory.

Where there was babyhood and suddenly isn't,
a babble of words flows, celebrates, fills the space.
I begin again witnessing wonders of grandbaby life.

Only the things I didn't do,
the moments I wasn't there,
Remind me to savor your childhood.
©CVarsalona, June 2019, Sierra Kathryn's 2nd Birthday

Now I am off to celebrate Naomi Shihab Nye-themed poetry at the Poetry Friday Roundup that Mary Lee Hahn is hosting.  

-A previous blog post on Sierra Kathryn, is at Grandma Wishes.
-Please check out my invitation to salute spring, a creative challenge for the upcoming Spring Splendor Gallery that I posted last week. I would be delighted to have my Poetry Friday friends offer a digital inspiration on springtime. (Deadline: June 13th)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Day to Remember Veterans

On this beautiful spring day, sunshine announces a day to honor all fallen heroes, men and women who died while serving the United States. 

I started my day thinking of my 90-year-old uncle who enlisted as a Marine during World War II and I found a poem written by Commander Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret.) in 1981 when he was a high school senior, a JROTC cadet. 

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,
 and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform.
So young, so tall, so proud.
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him.
How many died on foreign soil.
How many mother's tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many dies at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No freedom isn't free?

(You can read the rest of the poem here,)

Thank you to my friend, Jo Ann, for sending me this image in gif form this morning. 
Using the strike line, "No freedonm isn't free?, I wrote a golden shovel poem in draft form.

Why do we say no
so often when freedom 
rings strong? Isn't 
it important to be free?

I came back to this draft tonight after my Memorial Day Barbecue and decided to try another Golden Shovel with a different strike line. This one reminds me of all the men and women that enlisted in WWII at a young age but stood so tall and proud as they went off to war.

So young, so tall, so proud.  (strike line)

Today we celebrate in red, white, and blue so
we can honor young,
fallen heroes so
brave as they stood tall
in defense of our freedom-men and women so
eager, full of hope for America, and proud.

Listen to the song Fallen Soldier by Nathan Fair.

May this day lead all of us to consider what war means and how we can become more humane to one another.

Previous poems and digiital inspirations that I have written during Memorial Day Weekend over the past years.

If you would like to know why Memorial Day is a holiday turn read the Wonderopolis Wonder of the Day #1237.

I am sending this off to Two Writing Teachers because it is now the start of Slice of Life Tuesday. 

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