Saturday, May 27, 2023


This week life came full circle. Both a new birth and a passing from life occurred in my family. While contemplating how life meets at crossroads, I turned to poetry to let thoughts surface like spring blooms. Coincidentally, my friend Ramona Behnke wrote a post sharing Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's poem Remember. It touched me so much that it became a mentor text for a silent conversation poem between my 94-year-old uncle and me during his last days in hospice. Because I live in Virginia and he is in Central NY, I could not travel to his bedside. The poem became my way of honoring his life.

Joy Harjo has said, "Poetry is like singing on paper". I celebrate my Uncle John's life through verse with the hope that he is spiritually close by listening to the lines.

Remember. . .
Remember the beginning as your mother cradled you into this world.
Remember receiving your father's name.
Remember your patriotic duties during wartime.
Remember your return to civilian life and stepping into college and a new career.
Remember your flights around the globe.
Remember your devotion to family and faith.
Remember your heritage and the delicious meals your mother prepared.
Remember your challenges and joys.
Remember your independent spirit and your willingness to support others.
Remember your nimble fingers creating crosses made of palms.
Remember your niece holding your hand and your family sending thoughts and    
     prayers from a distance. 
Remember your brother and sisters who are waiting to embrace you in eternity.
Remember the Lord is with you in your silent moments.
©CarolVarsalona, oldest niece, written during John's final days at Francis House, 2023

These poetic lines from Harjo's poem remind me of the immensity of the world, the possibilities it holds for each individual, and the celebration of life. 
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
The above poem will be featured in my Uncle's funeral program and read by m eat the gravesite next week. Now, I offer this post for Poetry Friday at Patricia Franz's blog, Reverie. She is celebrating 40 years of marriage and sending Memorial Day weekend wishes to all. Thank you, Patricia for accepting my poetic offering so late.

My antique postcard above reminds me to fill this Memorial Day Weekend with praise for my uncle, a veteran of World War II who enlisted in the Marine Corps at a young age.

His memory and the memory of so many other veterans are remembered throughout this weekend. 

Patricia Franz invites the Poetry Friday community to enjoy some poetry-bathing this weekend. I look forward to reading other poet friends' poetic offerings.


Friday, May 19, 2023

Just "Be" in Spring's Presence

Nature is always inviting you to see her beauty and power.
She is attracting you with her dance, song, and love.
- Author, Debasish Mridha

With the art of storytellers, Springsation poets paint a tranquil museum-like walk through the early part of the Spring season. If you travel to the Springsations Gallery of Artistic Expressions Vol. 2. Padlet you will see a showcase of springtime artistry. As you move mindfully through the gallery breathe, rejoice, and "be" centered in the serenity of spring. Pause, gaze, and let nature mystify you with her endless color palettes, dazzling landscape, and poetic goodness.

         Spring photos were captured by  Diane Anderson, Ramona Behnke, Leigh Anne Eck, 
           Bob Hamera, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Linda Mitchell, Lou Piccolo, Carol Varsalona
After you take a gallery walk through Springsations Gallery of Artistic Expressions Vol. 2. Padlet, read the Cento, collage poem, below. It was created by lifting lines from each of the image poems written by an amazing group of poets who grace the Gallery. 

~Just BE In Spring's Presence~

Open your senses to Earth's beauty.
Follow a flower's fluttered edges.
Her morning song,
Spring's first act,
mounts translucent music
and envelops me in marvelment
as hummingbirds fly on high.
Spring Scoop:
Mother Sun hovers.
Dandelion fluff launches skyward.
A bee crawls inside while
daffodils lift their thirsty heads.
Spring's new beginnings 
flutter in hearts,
peering up into the heavens.
Behold the cycle of life.
 From wayward, wind-caught seedlings,
sunshine buds whisper.
Bare branches banish winter
and announce spring forsythias.
Muddy browns retreat.
Fresh white is in sight.
Trails wind through.
Planes embroider
white criss-cross stitches.
Be present in these movements.
Springsations echo,
awakening splendor.
Reflect on Nature's blessings,
her magic in small moments.
Spread hope, kindness, and love
that our world needs!
Open May's door,
cracked just enough,
to give those caught in Spring
a glimpse of Summer green.

©CVarsalona, designer/poet, with Springsations Poets, 2023

Diane Anderson
Linda Baie
Ramona Behnke
Rose Cappelli
Leigh Anne Eck
Matt F. Esenwine
Margaret G. Simon
Bob Hamera
Devin Hartnett
Jane Heitman Healy
Carol Labuzzetta
Irene Latham
Michelle Kogan
Melanie Korach
Denise Krebs
Jone Rush MacCulloch
Bridget Magee
Faige Meller
Linda Mitchell
Janet Nestor
Elizabeth Neubauer
Lou Piccola
Laura Purdie Salas
Janice Scully
Kiesha Shepard
Donna Smith
Sandie Vaisnoras


Nature will continue to showcase her beauty this month of May in song, dance, poetry, and photos. If inclined you can add more image poems or other artistic expressions to the Springsations Gallery Padlet. I hope you enjoyed the unveiling of the Springsations Gallery. I applaud all the poets who joined me to praise the beauty of Spring.

Please take a peek at Springsations Gallery Vol. 1. You may see one of your artistic expressions in that gallery from 2017. Thank you for perusing both galleries.


For more poetic goodness, please visit this week's Poetry Friday's host, Janice Scully, at her blog, Salt City Verse. She is reviewing books by two of my favorite children's book writers, Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Ghigna. She also has a poem about the weather that has been changing quite a bit this spring. Janice also is one of the Springsations poets.

by Linda Baie

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Reflecting on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a celebration of love. Families gather together and reminisce about past festivities. Photos tucked away in time reshare fond memories of gatherings. 

springtime artistry
nature's muted reflection 
breathe, rejoice-just be
©CVarsalona, 2023

Facetime and phone calls bring out-of-town family members together. This year our family shares the news of hospice care for my 94-year-old uncle and the upcoming birth of a third baby girl.

Mother's Day, our celebration of joyful memories-
our celebration of joyful Mother's Day memories
©CVarsalona, 2023

Listen to the beautiful song of praise for mothers on Mother's Day
by Il Divo. Click hereIndulge in quiet time and memories.

I missed sending this Happy Mother's Day greetings to the 
Two Writing Teachers / Slicer community of writers yesterday
but today is my opportunity to wish everyone well.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Flutterings of the Heart

Spring is the time when God's magic is at its grandest. ~ Toni Sorenson

A magical Spring day opens with softly wrapped gentle heat and a sun-blinking sky. It is time to "Be", breathe in Spring's sweet-scented perfume, and listen to nature. The mallard duck and his partner walk silently to green places of repose, birds swing by waiting for their turn at the feeder, and bunnies hide until they hop to nibble on bird seeds. Small simple observations lead to artistic visualizations. Poetic goodness flows near the fountain waiting to be awakened during May's plantings. The garden is at rest and so are those relaxing in verdant, manicured lawns. Spring provides a restful environment. 

The above prose and image poem haiku combine to create a haibun.

While designing the Springsations Gallery of Artistic Expressions, soft musings from poetic hearts led me to write the following haikus.
small observations
nature sits on dewed petals
spring's marvelment
be still moments
brushed by the Divine artist
earth's creative art
quiet birdsong
chirping sounds of springtime
nature speaks of bliss
©CVarsalona, 2023

(If you are reading or creating, you may want to listen to Music of Nature here. The sounds and photos are soothing.)

I am signing off now, wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day!

May Spring's seeds bring you blossoms to add color to your springtime days.

I am eager to join the Poetry Friday Roundup with today's host, the haiku wiz poet, Robyn Hood Black. My humble poems are inspired by her work.
You will find a sweet haiku about new mothers at the blog post.

Thank you, Linda Baie for creating this small moment photo.

You can see the new blend of art with poetry at my Springsations Gallery Padlet.
If inclined to add another spring-theme image poem to the gallery, please do so.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Let's Celebrate!

I feel like celebrating today after reading Ramona Behnke's SJT post on a children's book, My Mama Had a Dancing Heart.  

Is it that Spring is in the air? The sun is returning after soaking the earth with its gentle but hearty rains or is it that I have a window of opportunity to lounge around instead of being immersed in checking out my endless to-do list? I sneak time to read posts from Spiritual Journey Thursday and Poetry Friday writing friends. I plan on reading the read aloud version of the book which can be found on YouTube here. The book talks about celebrating and this made me pause to ponder what can I joyfully celebrate today.

Let's Celebrate!

What shall I celebrate
on the morning of a
gray-clouding day?
I pause and see
nature nurturing me
in its sun-cracking,
heart-gladdening way.
©CVarsalona, 2023

Little grandgirls giggle,
Bunnies wiggle.
Crayons jiggle.
We love to play!
It's a Springsational day!
©CVarsalona, 2023

Look around you and find reasons to celebrate life!

Have you checked out my Springsations Gallery Padlet here
I and other poets, slicers, and writers celebrate Spring there.

Another reason to celebrate is that it's Tuesday and time to join Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life here.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Shall We Dance on the Spiritual Journey?

As I celebrate the wonders of Spring with my upcoming Springsations Gallery, I ponder the beauty of nature and the strength of its Divine Creator. Each month, the Spiritual Journey writers join together to write on a topic suggested by the host. This month, Chris Margocs introduces us to a fascinating subject: Shall We Dance? Since my childhood, I have always been a lover of dance. I remember dancing across my living room while listening to Broadway musicals. My love for dancing continued into adulthood.

"The Dance of all the arts is the one that most influences the soul."- Plato

Nature also influences my soul as it moves in a flow from season to season. Leaves find their rhythm even in springtime when the wind stirs in the woods. Raindrops dance and glisten on the sidewalk as a sunshower tip-toes in for a quick step. Some flowers let their petals fall gracefully onto dark chocolate beds and evening sunsets layer the sky with rich layers of color or soft muted shades. 


When a photo of a friend's trip to Cuba appeared on FaceBook, I appreciated the beauty of an eventide sunset. A majestic painted sky brushed with fiery golds, and reds danced among the clouds. I immediately wrote to Justin Stygles and asked if I could showcase his glamorous sunset at my Springsations Gallery Padlet and Springsations Gallery of Artistic Expressions. After many poetic drafts, I share the image poem of two joyous eventide happenings.

Shall we watch in awe as a brilliant sun sets
praising nature for its glorious moments?
Shall we dance a high-energy salsa
filling our souls with contentment?
Stillness and energy
share the sky.
Nature Nurtures Our Souls
Below you will see different movements of Earth's nature dance.
You can take a quick journey from land to sea.

Whether you find stillness in nature or energetic joy, be mindful that all things were made by the Divine. We need to honor Earth and protect it as we dance with hope and journey onward. 
Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God's speaking from the whirlwind, nature's old song, and dance ... - Author: Annie Dillard
I now travel to two sites where writing is honored.
Spiritual Journey Thursday at Chris Margocs blog, Horizon 51

Poetry Friday at the wonderful and caring Linda Baie's blog, TeacherDance
Linda speaks about kindness as a vital part of our world.
Let's all find and spread kindness in all we do.
created by L. Baie, 2023
Please see the new additions to Springsations Gallery Padlet here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Surprise at Dawn

I woke to light cracking through the edges of the shades. While this is not unusual, I was tired and longed to continue my sleep. A lulling sound permeated the air. I was intrigued and slowly walked to the front door where the sweet sounds of birdsong were. Surprised, I stood listening to the dawn chorus, a cacophony of birdsong, from the trees in the wood facing my house. Since I recently heard of the phenomenon called the dawn chorus, I wanted to learn more. Luckily, I woke early on this first day of May, a peak time to enjoy the sweet essence of birdsong.

The dawn chorus is the singing of wild birds that closely precedes and follows sunrise, especially in the spring and summer. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) 

Join me at the Dawn Chorus May Celebration


Nature video of the dawn chorus on May 1, 2023.

Are you interested in learning more about the Dawn Chorus? 


Engage in Student Fun Activities at a Wonder Station: 

  1. Check out the Wonderopolis Wonder of the Day, Who Sings in the Dawn Chorus
  2. Ask students to write a cinquain poem. See the sample above. Use the Cinquain Poem Generator as a template.
  3. Create a Word Art digital at See the sample above the poem.
  4. Visit the Museum of Zoology here.
  • **********************
  • Join me at Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.