Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Art of Words-#PoetryPepUp

Come join me for Aussie poet, Kat Apel's #PoetryPepUp, Day 1, The Art of Words. While I missed the Zoom meeting tonight because of the time difference, I did create a Zentangle poem. You can too by following Kat's explicit instructions. It's fun to express your creativity through the blending of art and literacy. Ready? Start by linking to Kat's blog  here and Day 1's post here.

While I am familiar with blackout poetry, I am a novice with zentangles. The zentangle poem is a form of found poetry using repetitive lines (zentagles) to frame your poem. It is an endeavor in creative play.

I started with a page from a very old book. There is no copyright date in the book but I am guessing that the book is probably from around the turn of the 19th Century by the way it is bound and the color imprint on the cover. I made a copy of the page and started my drawing. You can barely see the words I boxed because the book is so old but you can read the poem I created using the boxed words below. 

Zentangle Poem
fragrant messages bloom
in the midst of grass.
Sunbeams filter through foliage,
mellow and golden-
rare dignity,
©CVarsalona, 2020

You can join this free week of online poetry challenge led by Central Queensland author and educator Kathryn Apel starting June 1st. Kat is hoping to build our writing muscle and spark creativity. It's pure fun. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Spring's Woodside Beauty

“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible."
-Mary Oliver, Dog Songs 

Come join me as I share nature's woodside beauty in springtime with 
nature photos from Virginia and Maine.

I also created a Golden Shovel poem using Mary Oliver's opening line,
Come with me into the woods where spring is.

Little one travels the trail "Come,"
nature calls softly with
her lilting voice. Sierra turns to me
running deeper down into 
leaves seasoned by wear, following the
twists and turns marked by woods.
We stop to notice where
the birds coo their spring
song because that is where peace is.
©CV, 2020

Ah, stepping softly back into my neighborhood where Spring is a forever gift and one of the main characters in my upcoming #NatureNurtures2020 Gallery. You can see the growing collection of poetry goodness at Nature Nurtures! Padlet but if you do not see what you offered, then please add your artistic expression.

I hope you enjoyed today's mini-meditation (as poet Laura Purdie Salas calls these mini-galleries).

Now turn your attention to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Mary Lee Hahn's blog here. This week she is offering us The Reading Without Walls Challenge, Library of Congress "The Life of a Poet" session featuring poet Marilyn Chin, and adds two poems by Chin. She is also inviting everyone to join her as she facilitates the NCTE webinar conversation with Marilyn Chin in conjunction with the Library of Congress on June 11th. You can find out more information here

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Remembering Family Traditions

While this past Memorial Day was not the usual type of celebration, traditions were honored in a memorable way. It all started over the weekend. Honking sirens in our neighborhood is not a usual sound unless there is an emergency. When we heard them blaring for an extended time this past weekend we were alarmed but then, a stream of trucks, socially distancing, paraded down our street. Families exited their house clapping, waving, and smiling at the first responders who brought an old-fashioned tradition to our neighborhood. Masks and socially distancing are part of today's quarantine life so random acts of kindness are appreciated.

#StrongerTogether is an inspired mantra for what we witnessed.

Inside the house, traditions were also honored. My mother's American holiday doll from the 1940s and my antique postcards are always visible inside the house and festive homemade baked goods are available on the patio for Memorial Day and 4th of July. Since baking is part of the #quarentainment fun these days, I tried out a family recipe, Yum Yum cake, from my slicer friend, Ramona Behnke. It dates back to her mother's baking days in Oklahoma. When she moved to Texas, it came with her but it was called Texas sheet cake there. Now in the state of Washington, Ramona bakes this cake for family and church gatherings. She graciously offered the recipe to me. The delicious old-fashioned cake made with buttermilk and cocoa was a "hit".
Step 1: To honor Ramona's mother and her recipe, I took a photo of my display, created a poem to celebrate the holiday, and sent it via an email to Ramona in Seattle.
a day to recall
past and present traditions
capturing memories
wrapped in frosting and stars
CV, 2020

Step 2: I designed an image poem for social media.
This year the Day of Remembrance was filled with traditions once again.
I wonder if masks and socially distancing will be part of our lives for another year.
At any rate, let' continue to honor fallen American war heroes and be proud of their service.

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers
I am heading over their now with this little slice of life from the Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Nature & Poetry Soothe Souls

The pandemic continues with new regulations.  Each day there are additions to how life will proceed for instance some Long Island beaches, our beautiful treasures, will open this weekend with limited access.  While I am a true afficiondo of beachside walks, I am worried about the influx of beachgoers who do not pay attention to the ruling about wearing masks while walking.  Nature is a healer so I will continue being safe taking a neighborhood walk. Mary Oliver 's inspirational quote will be in my thoughts.  " Hello, sun in my face. Hello you made the morning and spread it over the fields... Watch, not, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness."

Since it is National Memo Day, I decided to write a memo to Mother Nature in a poetic format. 

To: Mother Nature
From:  CVarsalona, Nature Lover
Date:  National Memo Day 2020
Subject: Nature's Beauty

In gratitude for your artistry,
I request that you continue
painting Sky with sunshine
Earth with rich colors of Spring,
always #SharingPlanetBeauty so
hearts heavy with pandemic woes
heal as we honor life as is.
©CV, 2020


As the host of Poetry Friday this week, I invite you to enjoy a mini-meditation* with this Nature Nurtures 2020 Gallery SNEAK PEEK.
(*word coined by Laura Purdie Salas)
Terje Akke & CVarsalona 

Matt F. Esenwine

Michelle Kogan

Margaret Simon
There are many more image poems on the Nature Nurtures! Padlet that can be viewed here.  If you offered an artistic expression for #NatureNurtures2020 Gallery, please include it on the padlet and send it to my Twitter handle, @cvarsalona and gallery hashtag.  If you would like to send me an offering for the gallery, please send it to my email, cvarsalona at gmail,  by tomorrow night. 

Take a deep breath and enjoy our first Memorial Day Weekend during quarantine life but first read this beautiful quote sent in by Tabatha Yeatts.

Please add your Poetry Friday post here so guests can enjoy more poetry goodness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

In Praise of Springtime Blooms

“Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.” 

-Jessica Harrelson 

Every spring, nature offers a gift to the world, an explosion of buds in an array of colors.  Even though there is a pandemic still raging and the sky is gray on many days, spring's new life signs are continuing to bloom and flourish.  I take a walk into my garden and my heart is lifted.  The hosta plants are a bright green and the peony bush is starting to bud. 

On the other side of the globe, my slicer friend, Terje Akke, is also admiring springtime blooms growing in her Estonian landscape.  She often shares photos from her native land and I add them to the galleries I create. The following blue flower spread is one of the pages from my upcoming new gallery, Nature Nurtures 2020.  I added a 15-words-or-less poem connecting our love of nature and photography.  Thank you, Terje for your beautiful photos and thoughts.

Nature is a constant source of comfort, the main character in my upcoming new gallery, Nature Nurtures 2020. 

Enjoy Vivaldi's Spring to further awaken your senses.

“The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

It's Slice of Life Tuesday and time to join Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Nature Is a Healer

Since the pandemic started raging, human life has been affected by such emotions as fear, rage, and isolation making the old idiom, cabin fever, an ever-growing concern.  Many people have tried to relieve internal stress through daily walks. I find it soothing and even when I walk the same route, I look for changes because nature does positively affect my mood. 

I am not the only one who feels the power of nature. Blogger Mukesh Mani, states at his blog site"Just a few minutes of being in nature makes us feel healed and restored. Nature gives us strength, drains away all negative energy and fills us to the brim with positive energy."   Author, Mary Davis, notes“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

To many, nature has proven to be a healer. Let's take a gallery walk through nature with some of my poet friends to read their poetic perspectives on the theme for my upcoming global gallery of artistic expressions, #NatureNurtures2020.

“Joy is finding the holy in the small and the sacred in the every day,” (Quote by Mary Davis) 
even when winter-like snow nestles into spring days. 
Enjoy a short-sleeve day when the weather turns back to spring.

"The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see." -Mary Davis 

Small clumps of purple flowers pose on a soft green lawn as the sun radiates heat from a cloudless sky.  Standing tall the purple blossoms invite human touch. I lean down to retrieve a few to press in a book as I did as a child. I walk on with my spring treasures breathing fresh air through my mask.
snippets of joy
signs of hope wrapped in my hand -
share  spring's promise
©CV, 2020

You can find more poetry goodness at Nature Nurtures! Padlet here. I will showcase other Poetry Friday poets' work in subsequent blog posts. For now, I am joining the Poetry Friday Roundup at Jama Rattigan's blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup, where she is offering chocolate chip cookies and poetry to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. 

If you would like to offer an artistic expression to the gallery, please send it to the padlet and my Twitter handle, @cvarsalona, with the hashtag #NatureNurtures2020.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Mother's Day to Remember

"Grandma, I love you." A sweet little voice exuberantly greeted me when I popped on a Zoom call. What a touching moment, spontaneously given the day before Mother's Day.  After the call, I reflected on past Mother's Day when my family gathered together and went to church, my mother and I standing at the end of Mass to receive a Mother's Day blessing. 

This year a new normal way of life surrounds Mother's Day. Church bells ring from an empty cathedral and we gather together to view a telecast Mass in our home. The unfamiliar pairs with the familiar-traditional love greetings, flowers, and card, a most welcomed sight from my husband and son.  Yet, we were alone and no sun in sight.

It just so happened that the sun decided to flood the sky with light. It was time for a walk so we sent a text to our friends.  A new idea sprung from the text. We decided to meet later in the afternoon for an outdoor, social distancing gathering.  Masked, we traveled to the other side of town with a tray of homemade cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and salad. Five of us sat in the sun at a proper distance away eating, laughing, and enjoying a few hours outdoors. It was a spontaneous act of friendship that turned a day into a memorable event.

I am offering this slice to Two Writing Teachers

Friday, May 8, 2020

Colors of the Spirit

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those inspired by nature's healing touch seek harmony. Take a walk with me to connect with nature. Its spring colors are captured through thoughts and photography by Poetry Friday poets. 

Rain, Raindrops, Seasons, Water, Macro
Pandemic Woes
nature sheds her tears
slushing through neighborhood streets-
mankind prays
©CV, 2020, Photo at Pixabay

#NatureNurtures2020 Challenge Invitation:
Join a community of writers who seek to bring joy and inspiration by #SharingPlanetBeauty during these trying times. If you have an artistic expression in any form  please send it to me at Twitter using the hashtag, #NatureNurtures2020) or email me at cvarsalona at gmail by the end of this weekend. Also, please include it on the Nature Nurtures! Padlet that you can access here

I'm joining the Poetry Friday community this week at Michelle H. Barnes' blog. for the Poetry Friday Roundup. Michelle is sharing Nikki Grimes' new picture book, Southwest Sunrise, with picturesque images in verse illustrated by Wendell Minor. Nikki even has a writing challenge for all. Take a stroll over to her blog to read about Nikki's hot-off-the-press new book. Perhaps, you would share it with children during #remotelearning time.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Community and Connection in a Time of Isolation

There is a growing sense of isolation as the pandemic continues to reach deeper into the world. Family life has been disrupted. Schools have closed, replaced by remote learning and essential workers continue to work tirelessly, combating the far-reaching effects of a deadly illness. When I chose balance as my one word for 2020, I did not imagine a world that would be so far removed from the one I knew. 

Today, I reflect on this new normal society we all live in. Realizing that each one of us must help establish a sense of "we-ness" in our immediate world, we must think beyond self,  connect with others, and build community strength if we want to combat isolation and fear. Now is the time to reimagine living, working, and learning but this is not easy. Faith, creative thinking, and vision are needed. 

Days range from gray to sun-filled; moods change daily. Listening to the Governor's daily briefing, reflecting, and connecting with family, albeit remotely, are musts. Taking walks, sharing photos, and writing, allow me to draw inspiration from the beauty of nature.   

Earth has no sorrow that earth cannot heal. - John Muir
No sorrow that heaven cannot heal. - Revelation 21:4

 Listen to Crowder's song, Come As You Are, to lift your soul.

Thoughts from one of my rainy day walks:

nature sheds her tears
slushing through neighborhood streets-
mankind prays

I have been adding a bit of inspiration to social media this past month with the design of my upcoming global gallery of artistic expressions, #NatureNurtures2020 at my blog. You can find a growing collection of #digitalinspirations at Nature Nurtures! padlet

Sending inspirational connectors around the globe is my small contribution to #SharingPlanetBeauty. "How Good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" -Psalm133:1
It's the first Thursday of the month and my friend Ramona Behnke from the state of Washington is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday. She chose the theme connection and community as our prompt for today. As a gift of thanks for hosting, I created a digital inspiration for my gallery using one of Ramona's beautiful tree walks with thoughts gathered from her blog. 

Never Cease Connecting with Life. Nature is a Healer! 
We Will All Get Through These Trying Times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Poems of Presence

The practice of writing poetry is an exercise in mindfulness. To be open to the universe of words and to put them down on a page is nothing short of a miracle. - Margaret Simon

At the start of May, there is always an urgency for me to explore what nature has to offer. This year, quarantine life left Long Islanders longing for the joy of a sunny day, the exploration of sandy beaches, and the call of the gulls. When newspaper headlines stated, "LIers flock to state beaches, parks amid warm weather," my husband decided to hop in the car with his mask and head to the beach. Wanting to be present with the sea once again, my son and I joined him. As we traveled to Jones Beach State Park, I noticed the clear waterway sparkling like diamonds. It was uplifting but as we turned into the park entrance, I was alarmed by the number of cars gathering. We did not stay there because social distancing appeared not to be regarded. Instead, we traveled to the next beach town. Along the way, we saw at least 40 people on a line waiting (six feet away from each other) for the ice cream store to open. Our short stay at the next beach in Long Beach, allowed me to briefly satisfy my urge to be present in a moment of joy. On that sandy beach, I felt the sunshine, listened to the roaring waves and watched seagulls dive and swoop as scavengers of life. I communed with nature, the ever-present healer, and gave thanks for a few moments of relaxation during my quarantine life.

This past week, some poet friends were writing epistolary poems or letter poems so I decided to write one also.

On May 1, 2020, at Today's Little Ditty, Michelle H. Barnes spotlighted Margaret SimonMichelle asked Margaret to choose the month of May's Ditty of the Month challenge. She chose poems of presence with this prompt: write a mindful poem about the present moment and add it to the DMC padlet. I am offering the above poems, hoping for feedback. These poems will be added to my #NatureNurtures 2020 Gallery.

I am also joining Two Writing Teachers today for their Slice of Life Tuesday.