Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Universe Is a Writer

After reading Fran Haley's inspiring blog post, Ode to the Wind, I turned to write a Golden Shovel poem in response to her quote, "The universe Is a writer". There was such a lyrical quality to her prose and sensitivity in her ode that I decided to design a video poem. Unfortunately, the download of the Lumen 5 video did not work well tonight so I am offering the link. You can access the video poem here

Each day I listen to the
undulating sounds of the universe.
Wind whispers its pandemic rage in what-is
fashion as birdsongs call out
morning tune known by you, the writer.
©CVarsalona, 2020

is nearing its end. I have been either writing a poem or curating others' poems daily
for my Nature Nurtures 2020 Gallery of Artistic Expressions. 
You can offer an image poem or nature photo
until the first week of April 2020.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Quarantine Life Video Poem

Yesterday, I wrote a skinny poem series, Look Into the Future, and decided to transform the first stanza into a reflective 38-second video poem. I used the Lumen 5 platform then, uploaded the video to my YouTube channel. You can access the link here.  It's interesting how this quarantine time has left many people pondering what is now and what will be. 

In this new normal place and time, we
find solace in each other's company
in virtual spaces of connection.
We gather to listen to stories,
to be close together 
despite a virus that
spreads and

Video created with Lumen 5.

I join Two Writing Teachers for the last Tuesday of National Poetry Month.
I am grateful for this writing community of distant friends.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Look Into the Future

Into the future, I stare
I stare into the future.

Future life is unknown.
is future life unknown?

With positivity, I imagine possibilities.
with positivity, I imagine possibilities.

Will mankind
Will mankind?

This week's Ditty Challenge from Michelle H. Barnes

For this week's TLD challenge, Patrice Vecchione selected "Into the Future: Take Yourself There Now" (Chapter 53) from Part III of My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice

Patrice writes:  Is the future a place you wish you could arrive at now? I remember feeling that way. Or maybe here and now is fine. For the length of a poem, venture into that place called future, as you imagine it; peer into its unknown terrain, and see what you find. The Padlet can be accessed here.  

created a skinny poem series for this challenge during National Poetry Month.  

I am accepting poetic/artistic expressions this week for my #NatureNurtures2020 Global Gallery. If interested in learning about the gallery or offering a piece of work, click here

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Spring Is in the Air Skinny

Spring is in the air and buds are popping everywhere. The allergy season is sneezing its way into recognition, and kleenex boxes are strategically placed around the house. What is odd this season is that boutique boxes of kleenex are seldom seen on shelves. Quarantine life is fraught with dilemmas, this being a minor one. My husband, the masked wonder, managed to find two multi-boxed packages at Costco so allergy season can continue now that kleenex is close by.

I thought the skinny format would work nicely with a new poem and a nature photo I took a few years ago. I even found a ditty tune I created in 2016 to accompany it. 

Spring is in the air,
Spring is in the air.
©CV, 2020

Now, please enjoy my invented ditty song, Spring is int he air, created with the app, Ditty. Unfortunately, this app is no longer in existence.

The Skinny poetry format was created by Truth Thomas in 2005. The Skinny Blog explains that "The Skinny" is a short poem that consists of eleven lines. "The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (The first and eleventh lines can be an; margin: however, they can be rearranged. The 2nd, 6th, and 10th lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the 1st and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word." 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Walk with Nature

"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir

Take a peaceful walk on #NatureNurtues2020 trail with some Poetry Friday poets. Find joy and comfort within this mini-gallery that shares our planet's beauty. Notice hints of dark storms that come our way and discover hope to walk onward.

Find comfort in Georgia Heard's poem that lifts us up with resilience and hope.

Walk with Rebecca Kai Dotlich listening to the trees tell their story.
Do these words breathe life into our stories that hope for positive tomorrows?
With positivity in our hearts, be awakened by birdsong.
Join Janet Wong as she looks for birds.
Spend a quiet afternoon in Georgia with Robyn Hood Black penning her haikus and creating video poems.
"In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence."
-Robert Lynd
Join Christie Wyman as she hears an early morning chirp.
Paint your thoughts with the beauty of spring's greens as seen through Michelle Kogan's eyes.
Live Your Poem, each day In April with Irene Latham.

surrender to
nature's embraceable peace
lean in and learn

Reflect and recharge!
-Carol Varsalona

I hope you are inspired to continue your own nature walk, of course with your mask on.

Travel with me to Christie Wyman's blog as she hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup with an interesting birdsong poem based on one of Thoreau's journal entries. You will find the next line of the Progressive Poem, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

#SharingPlanetBeauty_Earth Day 2020

Today is the day to sing your praises to Mother Earth for sharing the planet's beauty.

Happy Earth Day!

"There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth." - Rumi
(quote shared by Hoda Maalouf)


Reasons to kiss the earth:

When winter-in-spring cushions earth with blankets of white

(with inspiration from Michelle I created a haiku)

When the scent of the flowers overwhelmingly fill the air
romantic fragrance
sweetly perfumes earth's garden -
©CV, 2020

(Meredith kindly bottled the scent of the flowers
for a virtual whiff of fragrance while viewers preview the mini-gallery.)

When spring sky sends love

When songs offer messages of hope

This video, Mother Earth, was created by the students of Pokrovsk Pedagogical College.


From sunrise to sunset Earth Day bathed the planet with beauty and civic-mindedness.

Thank you to connected colleagues from across the globe
for their beautiful offerings of love for Planet Earth.

Meredith Johnson
Lori Lite
Hoda Maalouf
Manju Rajput

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Crowdsourced Poem_National Poetry Month

From the quiet corners of three separate shelter-in-place areas, a thought grew into a well-conceived #NYEDChat Twitter chat. With the topic, "Poetry Soothes Souls during Trying Times", in place, questions were created by my guest moderators/poet-authors, Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and me to encourage tweeters from across the world to discuss the comfort and joy that poetry can bring. 

On Monday night, April 20, 2020, #NYEDChat aired for a half-hour on Twitter. People poured in from across the states and as far away as Canada and Brazil. They chatted, reflected, responded, and inspired by each others' comments. After 524 tweets, I created a transcript of the chat using Wakelet. In addition, I created a crowdsourced poem from some Question 1 responders.

Question 1: So many people seem to be turning to poetry during these trying times.  
Why do you think that is? 

I thank my guest moderators, Georgia and Rebecca,  for their time and willingness to inspire others. Appreciations are also sent out to all those who joined the chat and provided a wealth of resources and thoughts.

It's time to join Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday. I plan on adding the above poem embossed on a digitized scene outside my window #NatureNurtures Gallery. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Nature Nurtures Neighborhoods

As COVID-19 continues to rage here on Long Island, nature shares its beauty. With a heart full of gratitude, I step outside my home to notice my surroundings and let nature nurture my soul. Tiny buds open with the colors of spring and skies flood earth with glorious rays. Sunrises and sunsets spread their hues of rose tint and sunset orange. 

Step outside.
Neighborhoods come alive
with the scent of springtime.

Please join me at NYEDChat's Annual Poetry Twitter Chat
Monday, April 20, 2020, 8:00-8:30 pm EST
to discuss
"Poetry Soothes Souls During Troubled Times"

Georgia Heard
Rebecca Kai Dotlich 
will guest moderate.

Raise your voices with our poetry community to give
the gift of hope through poetic thoughts.

Today, I join the talented photographer poet Molly Hogan at her blog site where she shares the sensory experience of creating bread and then mixing it with poetry. Her poem is sure to bring comfort to readers. As an aside, Molly allowed me to use one of her lovely bird photographs to pair with one of my quarantine life poems. It can be seen here

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wednesday Thoughts: Quarantine Life

is cloudy, 
as many days are
during quarantine life.
I listen to bird's morning song.
there is a soulful tune to his cooing.
does little bird outside my window feel
earth's sadness or does he sing of hope to come?
©CV, 2020

Molly Hogan, 2020, Maine

a text breaks 
the stillness.
oppressive silence
filling the air.
trying times far away-
grandbaby's fever rises
incessant waiting...
hope lifts
like little bird's
morning song.
©CV, 2020                                                                                  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From Estonia to NY, Nature Nurtures

When my Estonian writing friend Terje Akke shared the following beautiful photo from her homeland, I sighed

blue-purple bloom,
effortlessly beguiling,
springs forth from earth
burgeoning budding-day calls
bringing hope to the hopeless
©CV, 2020


and followed with a handmade, paper collage card with pressed dried petals.

If I could go to the Post Office, I would have tucked inside the card a poem
but instead, I send a virtual card with wishes
to stay safe during quarantine life.

It's time to join Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday and 
add my National Poetry Month poems of hope with a special announcement.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Roll the Dice-Create a Poem

Recollecting how intrigued I was at the NCTE Conference with Taylor Mali's demonstration of his Metaphor Dice, I decided to enjoy some #quarentainment fun today. After all, it was a rain-sweeping, wind-howling day and I needed a bit of inspiration. I gently shook my dice so that they would fall gracefully on my desk. The word hope popped out and became the central concept for today's National Poetry Month poem-of-the-day. 

I liked the idea that hope is a gentle songbird so I decided to turn this metaphor into a poem of hope. Since the rain was pelting down and the trees were swaying with vigor, the birds were not singing their songs. Luckily, FotoJet has a library of beautiful photos to use. I chose the photo that inspired me and created a digital inspiration for my #NatureNurtures2020 Gallery of Artistic Expressions. Not only has this poem been added to the collection under the hashtag noted above, but it is showcased at my Nature Nurtures! Padlet. You can find many other digital inspirations on the padlet. Please consider creating your own image poem for the collection. The invitation can be accessed here

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Solemn Springtime Morn

In the solemn silence of springtime,
a cooing bird sings his morning song.
Light streams golden glints on tinkling chime.
Path softens as creatures walk along.
Earth whispers softly, sweet voices praise
resurrection's gift-nature ablaze!
©CV, 2020

May the blessings of Easter's Resurrection Morn
spread light on everyone's pathway
during our quarantine life.

Thank you, Linda Mitchell, for nudging me to use take the first line of this poem and write a new poem. (This line was an option I wrote for the Kidlithosphere Progressive Poem and not chosen.)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

#NatureNurtures2020: I Wish

#NaturesNurtures is the mantra I am holding in my heart this month when I #ShelterInPlace. As the news continues to inform us of the apex of COVID-19 and the heroes/sheroes who give selflessly, I am reminded of the words of a Passionist priest, Fr. Cedric Pisenga, who presented his Good Friday television message speaking of selflessness. Then, I read Laura Shovan's #WaterPoemProject Day 19 challenge created by children's book author, Rachel Toalson. Rachel created a water poem prompt: Wishing Well-write a list poem about all the wishes you would toss into a wishing well or pool. It just so happened that simultaneously a Twitter acquaintance crossed my path. As I strolled over to his account, I found a stunning photo that led me to ponder. 

I thought about the I wish poem prompt at Laura's Water Poem Project and made a connection. There are so many ways to bring wishes of peace to others.

I Wish:
I wish I could wish upon a star but none are near.
I wish others could cuddle in darkness without fear.
I wish we could find peace among the headlines.
I wish we could stop what if incessant whines.
I wish I could throw my penny in a dark pond.
I wish I could listen to that penny respond.
I wish my wish for peace to fill the earth.
I wish for lasting Easter joy and mirth.
©CV, 2020

With the last line in place, I traveled back to the black lily pond photo imagining it set against a dark velvet sky waiting for the moon to send light. An image poem evolved.

Reawakening to an amazing sight, I felt my wish growing within morning light and a cloudless, robin-blue sky. May serenity bless your heart and home today as we continue to shelter-in-place, practice social distancing, and wash our hands.

Do you have a digital inspiration (poem, artwork, musical composition, inspirational quote, image poem, or any other artistic expression) to add to my Nature Nurtures Gallery? See the invitation here, a mini-gallery, and the growing padlet of inspiration.