Friday, November 24, 2023

#PoetryPals November Challenge-Happy Thanksgiving

"A poem is a way of capturing a moment in time and making it eternal." -Valerie Worth

Each month, the Poetry Sisters, Tanita, Laura, Mary Lee, Liz. Sara, Tricia, and Kellyoffer a new poetic challenge. This month they are writing in the style of poet, Valerie Worth, whose poems are known for their simplicity and attention to detail. She was inspired by nature and ordinary objects, as exemplified by her poem, Porches. Valerie Worth's poem (see below) is one of her "small, portable pieces of magic" that draws attention to simple items.

You can learn more about Valerie Worth and read some of her poems at Spotlight on NCTE Poets: Valerie Worth, with Lee Bennett Hopkins, a post at Renee M. LaTulippe at No Water River.

On my gathering porch,
Ornamental decor sparkles.
A festive wreath clangs
Against the front door.
Garlands wrap around
A single silent chair.
On the patio, flowers
Explode in fashionable colors.
Fragrant herbs spill over
Vases onto clay-filled soil.
My doors open
Welcoming sunkissed gatherings.
©CVarsalona, 2023


In Thanksgiving

After the fixings
Are prepared and
The table set,
The kitchen hums
With delight.
The turkey sizzles.
Vegetables pop
In sparkling hues.
The soft-lit house readies
To welcomes guests
Into the thankful gathering.
©CVarsalona, 2023

On this day after Thanksgiving, I send wishes of gratitude for family, friends, and the Poetry Friday community. May our host, Ruth Hersey, be blessed as she opens her doors (here) to bring poetic goodness into the world this Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2023

A November Conversation

This week, November's weather swung back and forth like a playground swing. Conversations arose: Chill in the air. 36 degrees to 70 degrees." Beyond human talk, there was a huge stir in the sky when my son and I were in the parking lot of Tyson's Corner Mall in Virginia. A mass of blackbirds swarmed the sky above the building. Dipping, diving, screeching they flew up and down. Loud conversations were heard as in the chasing scene in the movie, The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. Immediately, my son shot the photo. We stood in awe of what we witnessed.

This week I thought about that stunning but eerie scene. When Anastasia Suen posted her #smallpoem challenge with the theme "Conversations", my mind started sparking ideas.

Photo by Derek Varsalona edited in FotoJet
Poem and digital artwork by CVarsalona


November is the month to reflect on what we have learned over the past months. The holiday season begins and conversations are full of opportunities to listen and pause with hope, gladness, and appreciation. It is time to reset our journey with gratitude. 


Thank you to Irene Latham, poet extraordinaire for hosting Poetry Friday and filling my thoughts with wonder. Today, she brings the gift of reflecting, pondering, and poetic goodness. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Gratitude for Our Veterans

 "The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude." - Jeff Miller

November is #GratitudeMonth, the time to share thanksgiving for the large and small moments of life. On this Veteran's Day, I look back to thank those who fought for our country and freedom, especially my Uncle Johnny, World War II veteran who passed on at 94 years this spring.

a single flag
silenced by time
rests in tribute
©CVarsalona, 2023 #smallpoem

Thank you to Anastasia Suen for her Veteran's Day #smallpoem challenge.

Friday, November 10, 2023

November's Slow Down Time

Last week, I woke to the sight of my thriving basil plants limp from the overnight frost. While this was upsetting, I reminded myself that November is coming to the end of its trail. Darkness creeps in earlier. Winds whisper in the night and leaves swoosh across the sidewalks. Nature readies herself for a transition. During this time of change, articles and self-help guides are plentiful. November becomes the time to slow down, let go or rest. I turn to F. Scott Fitzgerald's quote, Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. Autumn is a time for renewal.

As I reset my clock, I decide to pause and reset my self-care goals.: Find ease and peace on a daily level. Indulge in ample amounts of sleep during November's slow-down. Read and write often to unwind. Cherish small moments and find positivity.

In searching for a short poem on November, I found November Night, written by a late 19th-early 20th American poet, Adelaide Crapsey. Below is an example of an American cinquain poem that she created.

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall. 
-Adelaide Crapsey

Intrigued by Crapsey's  word choice and imagery, I penned an American cinquain poem.

November winds
chase crunchy, fallen leaves
dancing a quickstep across trails.
Tune in.
©CVarsalona, Fall 2023

While walking the nature trail this week with my little grandgirls, we listened for sounds in the woods, stopped to pick just right leaves for a collage, and made small observations. On the way home, my 6-year-old grandchild, Sierra, began piecing together a draft of a poem about our November walk in the woods. I captured some of her thoughts and merged them into a children's poem with a photo of the two little girls marching in the woods.

What will you do during November's slow down period of of letting go and renewal?
You can find me soaking in nature.

Since today is Poetry Friday, I am going to soak in the poetic goodness lining up at our host, Karen Edmisten's blog site. Karen is bringing me back to the wonders of Autumn in New York. Join me there.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Path to Renewal in Late Autumn

Looking back to my teenage years, I remember falling in love with fall. I enjoyed walking alone through the leaves listening to crunching sounds while breathing in the scents of autumn. I became a Central New York autumnophile who observed and reflected on the beauty I saw.  

Two weekends ago in Virginia, Autumn brightened the sky. Temperatures were warm and inviting. When my husband suggested taking a country ride to Shenandoah National Park I welcomed the trip. After all, I had years of memories of New York autumns. The short trip was filled with Aha moments. The countryside was dotted with multi-colored trees in brilliant tones. I don't think I ever saw such splendiferous beauty at the end of October. I felt renewed energy as I breathed in the warmth of autumn air and was astonished by the breathtaking beauty found on Skyline Drive as we drove upward stopping at various elevation sites.

copper-colored, regal red, and cinnamon paints
splash across the blue-bonnet sky
nature unveils her autumn gift
along a mountaintop trail

splashed across the blue-bonnet sky
darkened hues edged in white cotton puffs
along a mountaintop trail
offer nature's expansive wilderness view

darkened hues edged in white cotton puffs
above rows of fieldstone edging along the trail
offer nature's expansive wilderness view
a mute testimony to a cultural past*

above rows of fieldstone edging along the trail
majestic trees blaze in brilliant colors
a mute testimony to a cultural past
of copper-colored, regal red, and cinnamon paints 
©CVarsalona, 2023

*Shenandoah National Park: From Idea to Reality article

Breathe in Autumn's breathtaking views.
Be grateful for the Master Painter's artistic touch.

"I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles."
-Psalm 145:5

Be mindful:
Fallen leaves on the ground are the golden song of immortal creativity.
~Amit Ray

I am grateful that this month's Spiritual Journey host, Fran Haley, teacher-leader, and writer, suggested the theme of renewal as our prompt. It is the right choice for the first days of November which allow us to breathe in crisp air and watch the leaves fly by. 

My path to renewal of mind, body, and spirit began with the trip to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and continues each time I step outside into nature's freshened pathway. I reflect on these slowdown days of Autumn that showcase Earth's beauty and provide renewed energy to partake in nature's gifts 

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." -2 Corinthians 4-16  


Because my time is running out this weekend, I am adding my post to the Poetry Friday Roundup. Children's Author/Poet Buffy Silverman is hosting today, She is celebrating the publication of her newest children's book     ==================>.  

November enters with gratitude for life and living.


#smallpoem for Anastasia Suen's November Challenge