Saturday, June 29, 2024

Celebrate Life-Seeking Wabi-Sabi

As I transfer from a hospital-bound stage to recovery mode, I write this blog as a celebration of life. I look back at the beginning of May when I started writing short pieces that were threads of a worry journal. I thought this would help me chase away the anxieties swelling inside.

As isolated days continued, my brain was consistently on speed dial. Health worries spilled over into stressful moments. I started realizing that anxiety limited my ability to enjoy the moments of life that lay in front of me. 

After I read Tricia Stohr-Hunt's Poetry Friday blog post on wabi-sabi, I researched the topic and found a meaningful quote to inspire me. Beth Kempton, a Japanologist and author of  Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, writes:

Be grateful for even the tiniest of miracles because they add up to this thing called life. 

Tricia Stohr-Hunt along with her Poetry Sisters invited Poetry Friends (hashtag #PoetryPals) to join their June writing challenge with the topic of wabi-sabi. I was impressed by the array of poems flowing with different formats and content. I wrote my first tritina poem, a modern poetic form with three tercets, three end-words in an ABC, CAB, BCA, and a single final line, envoi, with all three end words.

Seeking Wabi-Sabi
turquoise waters soothe restless thoughts
waves gently meet a school of fish searching for their space
uninterrupted by thick seaweed-two sides of beauty
landscapes unfold to share moments of grace and beauty
color-coded clouds shift across a sky of prepared thoughts
I pause to view nature's perspective and ponder her ideas for each space 
instantly nature shifts her weather from a calm to a temperamental space
thunder, lightning and torrential rain encourage people to find beauty
in imperfections and appreciate the transience of nature's thoughts

Will humans see the value of a celebrating each moment in nature's space of revolving thoughts and beauty?
@CVarsalona, 2024, draft
Happy Poetry Friday!

Stay tuned for a a couple more book reviews and a peek inside the
Poetry Parade Gallery of Artistic Expressions at my padlet for now..

Friday, June 14, 2024

"Bless The Earth" - Each and Everyday

Are you a concerned citizen of our planet Earth? Many people gather together each year to find ways to protect our Earth. Elementary school children also honor Earth each April on Earth Day. In reality, we should celebrate our beautiful yet fragile Earth daily.  A new children's anthology, Bless The Earth, edited by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling blends poetry with beautiful illustrations in a fabulous new collection of poetry to celebrate and care for our world. The illustrator, Keum Jin Song, also shares beautiful artwork that children and adults will appreciate. Join me as I review this amazing book of praise from the initial two-page spread on Bless The Earth to the last page about the editors.

This amazing book is written for children, who are the future stewards of our planet. It should be a treasured part of classrooms and libraries where children can read the collected praise poems and inspirational quotes and use the book as a mentor text.  As June and Nancy say in their introductory note, "This anthology knits together humanity, the environment, and spirituality in an engaging way." 

With love for our planet, June and Nancy gathered a collection of poems from different poetic voices to focus on themed sections: dreams and prayers for the world, elements of our planet, all creatures, and seasons. The last section of the book focuses on caring for our Earth. It reads as a call to action for young environmentalists. 

The poetry collection starts with a rhymed praise poem to Earth by Nancy Tupper Ling. Nancy paints a beautiful picture of the gifts nature gives to the world.

Many poets contributed to the anthology. I especially thank Matt Forrest Esenwine for sending me news of Bless The Earth. Matt and other poet friends, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Charles Ghinga, and Irene Latham, have poems published within the collection. Each poet's voice becomes a poem of wonder and gratitude. See both Matt Forrest Esenwine's and Charles Ghinga's poems below.

As an extra bonus, one child's voice is featured among the adult poets in the collection. I am impressed by Jillian Pappan, age 10, from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. Her reflective and imaginative poem,  "If I Could See the Sky", is full of wonder and purpose in life. The title could be a writing prompt for intermediate to middle-school-age children who are dreamers, nature lovers, and artists. 

There are at least 60 poems with varied formats included in this anthology. Children will enjoy reading and writing poems using the mentor texts provided in the collection. Teachers will find the book a wealth of ideas for new lessons, especially since environmental and ecological issues are in the news these days.  This summer is an ideal time for children and teachers to dig into this anthology that praises Earth. Perhaps, thoughts on becoming future stewards of our planet will evolve after reading this book.

Below you will find a song, Love Song to the World, that pairs well with Bless The Earth. For some musically inclined children, this song may be an incentive to write lyrics that flow like poetry for the opening of school. 

As a person who enjoys nature and thinks about keeping the Earth pristine for future generations, I highly recommend this book with its ties to humanity, the environment, and spirituality. 

May summertime be filled with thoughts of gratitude for our beautiful planet Earth. Thank you, June Cotner, Nancy Tupper Ling, and Keum Jin Song for a wonder-filled anthology that my little grandgirls will read throughout the years as will many other children.

@CVarsalona, 2017, Long Island, NY

Note: This book review will be featured on my Poetry Parade Padlet here.

Now, I am off to Poetry Friday where a poet-friend on the side of the United States is hosting the Roundup. Thank you, Denise Krebs for opening your space for the Poetry Friday poets and sharing your thoughts on the sacred seven poem format and poetry ops. 

Friday, June 7, 2024


May passed by with complications. Now it is a beautifully sunny day in June. American author and theologian, Joan D. Chittister, writes "June is the time for being in the world in new ways, for throwing off the cold and dark spots of life."  I am eager to regain my strength and return to "normalcy" as my magnolia buds spread their gorgeous white florals.

Last week the Poetry Sisters, Tanita, Mary Lee, Tricia, Laura, and Lizinvited writers to write in the spirit of poet Lucille Clifton's "homage to my hips". Since my body has been under attack since May, I praise my body for its resilience to a recent challenge. I join Michelle and Linda B. who signed in as #PoetryPals last week.

Lately, everything has been in slow mode for me. For instance, Poetry Friday is already filling with many poetry friends signing on as I get ready for another doctor's visit. 

I  join the Poetry Friday Roundup at Tracy Kiff-Judson's blog, "Tangles & Tales". She is cooking up a delightful and tasty post titled, Cooking Up InspirationSee you there. I will make the rounds slowly this weekend.

    Created by Tracey