Friday, May 28, 2021

Remembering Long Island

Crane Neck Across the Marsh, 1841 by William Sidney Mount, one of the first and "finest" 19th-century painters of everyday rural life in America

On days like these shorelines call me to a gentler place, one where to-do lists slip away.  While it is still spring, warm breezes and rising temperatures of summer fill the air. My mind drifts back to Long Island shores as I explore the above painting found on Google Arts & Culture

Peering into William Sidney Mount's Crane Neck Across the Marsh artwork, I have a longing to be back at the seashore, being in the moment with peaceful surroundings. I sense that Mount, a longtime Long Island resident, understood the beauty of its terrain. 

For my poem today, I am using Laura Shovan's "10 Little Words" idea to create a poem. The words come from Mount's letter to Benjamin Thompson, 1848, about digging for colors. (William Sidney Mount, Painter of Rural America) My words are: explore, pigments, astonished, bright, red, mingling, sandstone, orange vermillion, tide, water, encased, spoon.

Morning light streams through silhouette shades. 
A vision of beauty stands before me. I explore each layer. 
Earth-toned pigments of bright-red and orange vermillion
streak the landscape. The artist's brush mingles with nature's
softened hues creating a masterful work of art.

Conjuring up sandstone dreams, I move into a New York state
of mind where tidal waters spoon droplets of spray into sea-salted
air. I breathe in, close my eyes for a moment, and remember. 
Astonished by the artwork's vivid reality and richness of shoreline colors,
I recall peaceful memories of a Long Island day at the shore.

©CV, 2021, draft

This month, I am playing with words for the Poetry Sisters' challenge of creating an ekphrastic poem and posting on social media with the tag, #PoetryPals. The challenge consisted of writing an ekpharastic poem using a photograph taken in a museum. I actually forgot the last part so I searched. I was pleased to find the Mount oil painting at the Long Island Museum-gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Heyser, Jr., 1961. 

Now it is time to link up with the Poetry Friday Roundup with our host, Michelle Kogan, Chicago artist/poet. In her usual flair for color and poetry, Michelle offers the poppiness of springtime with much poetry goodness. Birthday greetings are in order, too. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Unearthed Cicadas

The sun was beating down from a clear sky. Following instructions, my husband and I scouted out areas by a large tree in the back of the brewery for an extended family gathering. I placed my purse on a weather-beaten picnic table like a miner staking his claim. Then,  I looked down to find a massive gathering of cicadas risen from their earthen tombs. Some were attempting to fly; others laying lifeless. It was a strange, eerie scene that we did not photograph in our haste to move.

Withing in the depths of dirt 

their winged bodies lay

in clumps of half-awake beings.

Waiting to unfold onto earth.

Quietly, they clustered,

Emerging from deep sleep below-surface

Only to be choked by intense heat.

Some attempting to fly

Edged their way forward

Hanging from worn picnic tables.

We moved quietly away

Worried these creatures would attack

But they were only interested in survival.

Those above ground huddled together.

Some flew away while others staggered 

On the ground in the dirt.

These large, bugged-eyed creatures

Huddled together like colonies of ants-

Such a sight to behold

that shocked me

but what a science lesson

it became for a toddler's mind.

As my granddaughter approached we looked quickly at the picnic area strewn with cicadas and peeked at the holes they dug. Hand in hand we walked away to a more pleasant sight that was bug-free. My hope is that she will remember her first sighting of these creatures seventeen years in her future. 

In 1689 Basho wrote:

閑さや (Stillness)
岩にしみ入る (seeping into the rocks)
蝉の声 (the cicada's voice)

life emerges

from a tiny hole
creeping outward

bug-eyed with wonder
they awake from slumber
unaware of what awaits
©CV, 2021, cherita

Join me at Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Gearing Up for A Gallery Reveal

As this year progresses, I sit back and ponder what may have been a winter of discontent with  raging storms, the heaviness of pandemic days, and the challenge of my life move. But there is more to reflect upon. I recall the freshness of a winter day with its bright sunshine and mounds of snow greeting morning. I think of dark nights in which the snow did not even whisper its way to earth, but seemed to salt the night with silence. (Dean Koontz) I recollect snowflakes, soft and white, dancing their way to earth and then, I drift into a sanctuary of thought. It is in winter we behold the charms of solemn majesty and naked grandeur. (James Ellis)

Photo of the aftereffects of a Long Island winter storm by Judi Drucker

Why now in the heat of spring do I think of winter?  Fueled by sights and sounds of this past winter, I quietly sit designing #WintersEmbrace2021 Gallery. Within its range of artistic expressions, I contemplate how many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose if there were no winter in our year! (Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

winter embraced earth
warming the coldest of hearts
silence altered thoughts
©CV, 2021

I hope this post entices you to join me as I gear up to unveil Winter's Embrace Gallery. Stay tuned for the gallery to become a springtime gift that cools down our heated days. 

In the meantime, I am off to a virtual retirement party for Poetry Friday's calendar keeper, teacher extraordinaire, author, cherished poet, and friend, Mary Lee Hahn

#MarvelousMaryLee has been a supporter of my galleries for years, so what better way than sharing some of her treasured words from past galleries. 

A dual language ekphrastic poem fit for winter

Since winter edged its way back into spring in one of its sprinter moods, I share one of MaryLee's spring image poems.

I also would like to share Mary Lee's poem on gratitude and give thanks for the poetic gifts she has bestowed on the Kidlit poetry community.

In gratitude
for living among poet friends
who share corners of their minds,
heartbeats of their thoughts,
and the depth of their emotions.

In gratitude
for a bright star named Mary Lee-
keeper of the Poetry Friday calendar,
NCTE presenter with a smile for all,
beloved teacher with lessons that energize her students,
and revered poet friend.
©CV, 2021

#MarvelousMaryLee, may your retirement open the door to another chapter in your book of life!

Hooray for #MarvelousMaryLee
our Poetry Friday host, Christie Wyman,
for throwing a surprise party for our #MarvelousMaryLee.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Writing, A Unique Gift

Writing holds a unique gift. It is my quiet time to meander through the back channels of my mind, a time to allow words to ruminate and float in a circular pattern. A sequence of thoughts builds within only to be mulled over and splashed across a page like an artist's brush on canvas. With each stroke, a new layer forms until a single thought develops into an expression of joy. Digital tools enhance my word weaving process adding a different look while poetry adds enough zest to radiate my thoughts in many directions. 

Welcome to my New Gardens

 A guided tour of my perennial and herb gardens will be uploaded when I can get access to my account but for the time being join me at Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Winter's Embrace in Spring

A few weeks ago, I woke early startled by a raging windstorm that kicked up with enough might to drag furniture across the patio.  In the weeks that followed, thunder cracked and rainstorms broke with sudden fury until the sun decided to shine. I am amazed at the sudden shifts in weather that cause strong wind tunnels in our Northern Virginia community. 

These constant weather changes bring back thoughts on winter's embrace this year. It has had a sprinter-stance presence causing a "little winter" during springtime. Did you know that there is such a term? I did not, so I did some research. According to the Urban Dictionary, sprinter is the time in late winter/early spring when a few days feels like spring and then winter sneaks in again.

The Farmer's Almanac defines "little winter" as a dogwood winter in the middle of spring. I found that term appropriate since dogwood trees are just starting to bud in my neighborhood.  Having spring-like weather in winter excited me enough to plant early. Was I naive with an optimistic frame of mind? Mother Nature's sudden pattern change made me realize that she enjoys stirring the pot and mixing her seasons. 

Let's take a look at how Bob Hamera views on sprinter weather:

The above thought describes a WOW moment of a dogwood winter!

Photo from Farmer's Almanac

This photo shares the morning view after an April Sprinter in Pennsylvania.
April sprinter

Flurries spring into action
Bringing blankets of snow. 

Lay me down to sleep
While Spring plays hide 'n seek and
Flowers long for warmth.
©CV, 2021

 May the blossoms of spring stand tall and bring you bouquets of peace.

 Digital Art, ©CV, 2021, Virginia

"Sunny warmth, snow a memory, bleeding hearts debut! It just may be spring!"
-Linda Baie, 2021, Denver, Colorado

Poet and Children's Author, Irene Latham is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. I am excited to join her and extend my gratitude to Janice Scully for notifying me that I am the lucky recipient of the Book Giveaway of D-39: A Robodog's Journey, a new novel in verse by Irene.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Mother's Day weekend is usually the best time to plant on Long Island but now that I moved to Virginia, I took the cue from my neighbors and planted earlier. Some of my herbs and flowers were hardy enough to endure the changes in temperature. Some did not so as Mother's Day approached, landscaping our new patio with beautiful beds of herbs and perennials became my focus. It was time to stop and smell the roses and not fret about unpacked boxes inside the home.

The builder's landscaping team arrived a few days before Mother's Day weekend and swapped out plants that were not on my wish list for beautiful flowering azaleas, a young holly bush, budding knock-out roses, and a cherry tree. The challenges of my family's life move started to turn to joy as I watched the plants enter the ground. 

Next on the agenda was a visit to the wholesale nursery with my gardener to choose a beautiful combination of perennials and herbs for my new gardens. While the weather felt more like a cool end-of-winter day rather than a spring one, I layered up and took off to the nursery with my husband. The first task was to find the weeping cherry tree for the back lawn that my husband had on his wish list. Who wouldn't want such a tree? After all, we now live in Virginia, well-noted for their blossoming cherry trees. Following that, we roamed rows of perennials to choose an assortment that would bring color to either side of the patio. The trip proved to be delightful. 

Early on Mother's Day, the gardeners arrived with truckloads of river rocks, large stones for decorative edging, and my tree and plants. The team diligently despite the coldish weather. When they finished planting and edging all the beds with large stones, I realized that Mother's Day will be celebrated in joy from the fruit of their labors. 

Welcome to my gardens,

A delightful Mother's Day gift to
Stop to smell the roses.

Walk through. 
Let nature bring happiness
Filling life with blossoming joy.
©CV, 2021

I hope everyone's Mother's Day was filled with Blossoms ofJoy! (To hear more about this topic click on the link above to read other slicers' thoughts on this topic.)

"The lesson I have thorougly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love a garden gives."
-Gertrude Stein

I am strolling over to a garden of blossoming slices of life at Two Writing Teachers

Friday, May 7, 2021

Terse Verse Tidbits

As you may know, I am in the midst of life move to Virginia challenges. I planned to work on the unveiling of my Winter's Embrace Gallery but life interrupted my plan. Maybe these terse verses explain.

Stress is a mess
that puts me to test.
I wince and I wine
over deadlines.
To-do-lists are the way
I end many a day
with ughs and wishes
right after dishes.


Today, with nine different tradespeople coming in to fix new house issues, my attention got diverted once again. That is okay, I am back at my desk, alone, quiet, and happy to write. If you have not seen this month's Spiritual Journey Thursday posts at my blog, please do so. I thank the following contributors for their different perspectives on the theme, Blossoms of Spring, that I posed.

1.Linda M.4.Karen Eastlund7.Ramona
2.Fran Haley - Blossoming of Joy5.Ruth (Blossoms)
3.Margaret Simon6.Chris Margocs

Jan Godown Annino sent an interesting photo of a rose with a haiku that I comprised into an image poem for her. I am delighted to share this with you as a blossom of joy.

Yes Jan is right! Joy finds a way to showcase nature's beauty and clear a path to peaceful moments, letting life interrupted move on. Perhaps, later today, I will have more time to design and write but for now I have to pause for a text discussion with the gardener. 

I am back waiting for the next storm but I want you to know that I sign off on a more positive note, thankful for a little bit more quiet time to write. Now off to visit join the Poetry Friday Roundup at our host, Bridget Mcgee's Switzerland blog site, wee words for wee ones. Bridget has a fun short story for us to listen to there. Happy Spring thoughts to all from soggy Virginia. Did April forget to turn off her weather faucet?

Because blossoms bring joy, I thank Irene Latham for her Live Your Poem Postcard with warm wishes sent my way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Blossoms of Joy

Each year, I look forward to May's celebratory nod to nature. This year, I celebrate the bounty of the earth in a new location. What better way to bring joy to my new space than to explore nature, take photos, digitize them, and write poetry when I am not unpacking boxes!

Outside, pots are full of blossoms and ferns. Inside, artificial floral displays adorn the house. I sort, organize, and sometimes have enough time to walk the creek path near my house, listen to bird calls, and view small patches of wildflowers. On Sunday, we went to an outdoor Mass at a local farm's barn. While listening to the priest, nature surrounded us under bright clouds and sky. The colors of spring popped and we were at peace.

Today, I sit at my desk watching the sky turn from gray to clear sunshine while composing this post. As host of Spiritual Journey Thursday this month, I offer the theme, Blossoms of Joy or any variation, for you to ponder and create your own blog post, poem, inspirational thought, or any other artistic expression.     

In praise of May's blossoms and Earth's greenery, I give  thanks to the Almighty Creator,
the ultimate, artistic benefactor of beauty, peace, and love.  

 "May my soul bloom in love for all existence." -Rudolf Steiner
Using this beautiful quote, I created a golden shovel poem.

Blossoms of May
bring joy to my
being and peace to my soul.
In faith, I seek more than one bloom
to spread seeds of kindness in
abundance so love
can reach out for
to brighten Earth's existence.
 ©CV, 2021

In Virginia, I find cherry blossom and trees adorning highways and parks. Their beauty is so inspiring that I requested the builders' landscaping department to plant both a cherry and pear tree on my property. This Friday, my cherry tree and azaleas will arrive. I will enjoy their blossoms for years to come and give "praise with elation, praise every morning-God's recreation of the new day." This line from Cat Stevens song, Morning Has Broken, is a gentle song of praise sung at my church wedding ceremony. It is one that brings back a sweet memory of a fragrant gardenia adorning my hair.

white floral
blooming bright
placed in hair

soft vocals
flowed from lips
church listened

praise lifted
for this day-
©CV, 2021, tribcube poem

Have you ever watched flowers dance? See a short time lapse video of blooming flowers dancing.

like flowers we bloom
with radiance in springtime-
 our mindful practice
©CV, 2021, #poemsofpresence

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. - Revelation 4:11


Members of the Spiritual Journey Thursday community, please add your links below. 

Guest bloggers, writers, and poets are welcomed to join in and add their links!

I look forward to reading your posts. Enjoy springtime.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


During these several days past the end of National Poetry Month, I continue to read posts by fellow poets in my poetry community. Many penned poems daily or in my case as many days as my schedule would permit. It is within this cocoon of poetic goodness that I find peace among the unpacked boxes. Today's entry will be one that fills in the gap of some days of missing writing during April. The digitized photo of my 15-month old granddaughter becomes my poetry prompt to join the Poetry Sisters' challenge for April: write a poem in the style of the poem, Innocence by Linda Hogan. While thinking about this theme, I realized that there is nothing more innocent in my life right now than a baby's ability to feel and emit deep love.

There is nothing more innocent
Than a baby snuggled in one's arms.
Soft, supple flesh cuddling closely
Wide-eyed stares connecting. 
There is no knowing of what
Is to become in the 
great expanse of life.
For now, from babyhood to
toddler exploration, pure laughter
floods life with joy.

One day, she will mature, 
Perambulate about in a normal fashion,
Not struggling with awkward movements,
slowly understanding life's complexities.
For now innocence Is transparent,
Swaddled in a encasement of love.

As an observer of what is to follow,
I watch her growth, learning alongside her-
knowing within her new beginnings
mine are also on the horizon.
©CV, 2021


Reading through Hogan's poem and the Poetry Sisters' responses, I realized how significant our ponderings become in our view of life. Could there be an deeper exploration of this theme? Could I be more introspective? This poem is but one small piece in an ocean of thoughts.

I offer these thoughts to both #PoetryPals and Two Writing Teachers as today's slice of life.