writer’s block

Been struggling to find inspiration lately. Maybe I’m just jaded? I mean, how many more shootings can I write about? And the royal wedding was splendid and all, but I didn’t even know it was happening until it was over. (Yes, I’m out of touch.) I’ve been searching for meaning and struggling to find it, even in my triathlon training. Like, who cares? What’s the point? I keep thinking about my friend from college in Africa. I’ve been back in the States too long. Maybe once I finish this grad school thing, it’s time to go where I feel like I can really make a difference.

Below is a poem I originally published on February 20, 2013. It seems appropriate today.

writer’s block

I’m reaching and falling.
I’m hemming and hawing.
I’m trying and failing.
I’m rowing, now bailing.
Stop.

Another day.

(Go outside.)
(Never give up.)

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. — Anais Nin

For an audio recording of the above, click below:

 

 

 

 

the wild wind blows

I’ll be honest: I’m discouraged tonight. Life isn’t always easy; in fact, sometimes it’s downright hard.

That said . . . There are certain universal truths that we must all cling to during difficult times. One of them is that, like music, poetry can make everything better. :)

This poem is perhaps my favorite to date because it is one of my technical best. I originally posted it on September 3, 2013.

The Wild Wind Blows

The wild wind blows,
In caverns – slows
The beating of my heart.

In darkness deep,
Where creepers creep,
I dream of days, depart —

To summer sun
Where rivers run,
And all the world’s an art —

And all of love
A perfect glove,
And you, the perfect part.

The wild wind blows,
A blanket, snows,
Alone, I’m miles apart —

In darkness deep
And silence steep,
From you who has my heart.

To listen to this poem, click below:

love is beauty

Speaking of poetry . . . I may not be able to write poems anymore, but this lady sure can. She made me cry.

I looked in the mirror and what did I see,
but a little old lady peering back at me,
with bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair,
and I asked my reflection, “How did you get there?

You once were straight and vigorous, and now you’re stooped and weak
when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique.”

My reflection’s eyes twinkled, and she solemnly replied,
“You’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside,
a living gem and precious of un-imagined worth,
unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth.

The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel
should purify and strengthen and polish up that jewel.

So focus your attention on the inside, not the out—
on being kinder, wiser, more content, and more devout.

Then, when your gift wrap is stripped away, your jewel will be set free,
to radiate God’s glory, throughout eternity.”

The “little old lady” reciting this poem is Wanda Goines. She was 92 when this video was recorded in 2015. According to ABC News, she wrote the poem years ago, but it only became known when her caregiver posted this video on YouTube. Today it stands at almost 3.5 million views . . . Not bad for a little old lady!

I’m 33 and can already relate to this poem. I say “already” because, at 33, 33 doesn’t seem so old. When I was 23, 33 was “pretty old”; at 13, accordingly, it meant “almost dead” . . . This perspective will change yet again when I am 43, and 53, and 63. When I am 73, 33 will probably mean “baby,” and that, to be honest, scares me. These last 33 years have been far from easy; if 33 equals “baby,” I’m terrified of what’s to come.

But that’s kind of Wanda’s point, isn’t it?

Life is hard — for everyone — and over the years it does things to our appearance that we don’t always like. At 33 I have more wrinkles than I did at 23. I have more gray hairs. (Okay, I haven’t actually seen any yet, but that’s because I’m blonde . . .) I get sore more easily. I take longer to heal when sick or wounded. If had a rock-climbing accident today like I did at 18, I probably wouldn’t survive.

No one is immune. Everyone will die.

And that’s why Wanda is right on. In this world of superficiality, where youth is worshiped and beauty idolized, even the rich and famous get old, and no amount of plastic surgery or fancy clothing can change this. The only thing we have control over is how we live. How much we love, care, laugh, strive — these are the things that matter. These are the things we’ll be remembered for.

I am reminded of Princess Diana. She was a beautiful woman, certainly, but I would argue that she’s remembered as much for her kindheartedness and love as she is for her beautiful face. By contrast, certain celebrities considered beautiful today somehow become less beautiful in light of their selfish or foolish actions. We are what we eat, and also, how we act. Love is greater than beauty. Love is beauty.

 

Note: This is a reminder to myself as much as it is for the reader. Lord knows  I worry about my appearance far too much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the search

bachelier-phantom-chamberAnd if I could inside me,
find all of me that’s you.
I’d bleary, eye the darkness,
then plummet down to you.

I’d through the winding tunnels,
across the creaking planks,
eschew the jaundiced suitors,
the lust of lesser ranks.

I’d scale the wintry mountain,
I’d swim the briny sea,
I’d fight the zinging cobra,
I’d crawl on hand and knee.

And, desp’rate, I would find you,
and headstrong I would be.
For there I’d find inside you,
your desp’rate search for me.

For an audio version of this poem, click below.

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Image: Google

little we see

Because it’s been too long and there hasn’t been time and my mind’s been on and you’ve been on it.

This.

FullSizeRender-14

Lake Sonoma

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The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours.

— William Wordsworth

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Little we see . . . or even notice? With all the hustle and bustle, and bad news and bad guys, and pressures and deadlines, and so on and so on, sometimes it’s more than this introverted thoughtful can handle. We live in a beautiful world. Our beautiful home. And yet what do we do with it? Where do we stand?

Don’t believe me (about the beautiful part)? Check out this video.

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I sought to write

kafka-320x382

I thought to write,
but as it were,
my thoughts were but
a sully blur.
And eyes were glass,
and heart was pale,
oh, what an ass,
a sorry fail!

And still I tried,
I tarried on,
I sought to find
the words were gone.
But all they did
was laugh at me,
around and ’round,
“Tee-hee! Tee-hee!”

Determined now,
I hurried on,
Forget the night,
I’d seize the dawn.
I grabbed my pen,
I found my ale,
some coffee, too,
forget the kale!

And there I sat,
and sat, and sat,
’til glazey-eyed,
I saw a bat.
I swung and swirled
and tipped and twirled,
I missed the words,
but rocked the world!

And then I sat,
and sat and sat,
’til, eyelids drooped,
I heard the cat.
And in he came,
and out I went,
Forget the words,
this writer’s spent.

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Note: This is based on a real life story: After days at work, this has often been me. Oh, how I have wanted to write. Oh, how words have evaded me.

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For a (very bad) audio of this poem, click below.


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Image: Google — Kafka burning the midnight oil
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leisure

IMG_4018I haven’t posted any poetry in a while, and this time, I won’t be posting mine. Instead, I wanted to share a poem by William Henry Davies, which my dear friend Fraggle pointed out me yesterday. It is, I must say, both fitting and sublime.

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What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

— William Henry Davies

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Image: Liane Dimond — Bodega Bay Cows

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on my way

pathwayI can only be me.

Must live the life I’m given,
and wear the skin I’m in,
be wary how I’m driven,
and of the walls within.

Must mind to whom I listen,
think deeply, unafraid,
to ask the questions hidden,
no matter where they’re laid.

Can only be . . .

And always kind to others,
must selfless, always brave,
think not of petty druthers,
a loving pathway pave.

Must worry not ’bout others —
their glories or their stays,
or envy all their treasures,
I’ll follow my own ways.

. . . me.

For when this life is over,
for when my race is run,
I’ll worry not ’bout Rover,
just want to see the Son.

And me is who He’s given,
so me is who I’ll stay.
And me has always thriven,
when me is on my way.

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*For an audio recording of this poem, click below.

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Image: Pinterest

poetry

canoe2

Poetry’s in the journey . . .

Poetry I cannot force,
it comes and then it goes.
Like a river at its source,
it ebbs and then it flows.

Words, you see, are only that,
and rhyme and rhythm, too.
Poetry’s not pit-a-pat,
but here in me and you.

–in the sun and in the rain,
the things that quiet tears;
in the love and in the pain–
experience of years.

Then the poet, what is she?
She’s nothing like a muse.
Rather, she’s a puppet, see,
and words her only use.

So poetry, my fickle friend,
I wonder what’s in store?
Will you stay until the end,
or show me to the door?
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For an audio recording of this poem, click here:

“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”
Charles Bukowski

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Note: The first stanza of this poem came to me in a moment of frustration when I was trying very, very hard to write another poem on a very different subject–and getting nowhere. Since that time, it has taken me FOREVER to finish this. Fickle is right!

Image: Pinterest

Related Articles:

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glue

try too hard3You say you want the real me,
I say I want it, too.
But how can I destroy me,
reveal myself to you?

We all of us have demons,
dark things we’d rather hide.
Though, honest, we’re not heathens,
still it can’t be denied . . .

That none of us is perfect,
no beauty is unflawed.
And what appears a defect
should sometimes be hurrahed.

But maybe that’s my downfall —
it’s too late, I’ve bought in.
Won’t listen to your windfall,
perfection is my sin.

You say you want the real me,
I say I want it, too.
But how can I destroy me,
when I am my own glue?

Click below for an audio recording of this poem.

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost

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Image: Google

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the visitor, revisited

full moonTruth is, I’m struggling.

I’m reaching and falling.
I’m hemming and hawing.
I’m trying and failing.
I’m rowing, now bailing.

Stop!

Another day.

from my poem “Writer’s Block

My mind has been going a million miles an hour in a hundred different directions lately, and it’s making writing difficult. I’ve been working on a new poem (which I love) for the past several days, but I’m having a hard time finishing it. What am I trying to say? It’s a question I haven’t been able to answer . . . Continue reading

the thing about poetry

imagesEvery time I write a poem, it starts with the first two lines. Maybe I’m experiencing an emotion and the words come tumbling out.

The tears do tumble down my face,
the one who doesn’t cry.

Or perhaps I’m riding my bike on a cool summer evening, or walking beneath the stars.

Empty streets, and she awake,
the one who walks alone.

Maybe I’m in the supermarket, or listening to birds outside.

Little birdie out my window,
chirping, calling, “Come and play!”

Whatever it is, those first two lines are the key to the rest of the poem. They will either make or break it… Continue reading

empty streets

moonlighted2Empty streets, and she awake,
the one who walks alone.
She will not the world forsake,
and she’ll do it on her own.

There’s a love, it is an ache —
it’s all she’s ever known.
While her love the world did take,
to her, it’s never shown.

Not to say the world’s a rake,
or one she would disown.
But the moonlight makes her quake —
it’s here her heart is flown. Continue reading

the butterfly

jar_butterflyThe tears do tumble down my face,
the one who doesn’t cry.
You wonder why I’ve lost my grace
who watch the poet die.

There is a place ‘yond time and space,
it’s here alone I fly.
And yet it’s here you’d me encase,
my wings apart you’d pry.

And so it is when you embrace
this poet from the sky,
be not surprised, in keeping pace,
if all I do is sigh. Continue reading

i love you

redtreeI’ve often been told I’m a “sympathetic soul.” I’ve never given it much thought, but in recent months I’ve realized: It’s true. I love you and you and you and you and . . . Why? How can I love you? I’ve never even met you.

Why?

Because I’m human, too.

I don’t care what you look like or where you live or who you believe in or what you wear. I don’t care if you’re male or female, rich or poor, French or Peruvian, educated or uneducated . . . I don’t care if you like horses or if you like to eat horses . . . I don’t care if you love travel or if you’ve never traveled . . . Continue reading

mirror, mirror

mmMirror, mirror on the wall,
couldn’t you just make me tall?
Thinner, too, yes, that’d be great,
with abs of steel to compensate . . .

For all I lack (it is a lot),
maybe then I would be “hot,”
worthy of the magazines,
so full of pretty, lovely things.

Or what if you just made me blind—
could we then be of one mind?
For no matter how I try,
what I see just makes me cry.

After all, you know it’s true,
looks are the important view.
It matters not what lies inside:
Beauty isn’t one to hide.

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the world from above (for real)

When viewed from above,
this world that we love,earth2
seems awfully small,
though we thought it tall . . .

And all of our lives,
just busy beehives,
like rats in a race,
pursuing the chase.

And all of our dreams,
not rivers but streams,
all flowing to naught—
or that’s what we thought . . . Continue reading

a poet who didn’t know it

I used to think I couldn’t write poetry. To me, poetry has always meant rhythm and rhyme (versus free verse), and I didn’t think I had it in me. As I have continued to write more and more, however, I have found that, maybe, I was wrong.

Overall, Shift is not a blog about poetry. It’s a blog about travel and ideas and perspective. I still have much to share, and I am loving the conversations arising out of posts such as “Success, or Something Like It” and “Let There Be Light.” But, as my tagline aptly states, the only thing constant is change, and that’s true for writers, too. We all go through phases, and I hope readers don’t mind that I am now also sharing some of my poetry.

Recently, I created a “Poetry” section for my menu to make locating my poetry a bit easier. In doing so, I remembered one of my favorite quotes from one of my literature classes in college. This led me to looking up more quotes on poetry, and, voilà, this post appeared. Continue reading

on and on you go (take two)

Please don’t hate me! I was not content with my first version of this poem. Something about the third stanza (and a few other things) just didn’t fit. So I revised it, and here it is. Most of you know by now: This poem is dedicated to “wind.”

dress3From here to there and everywhere,
on and on you go.
I hear you there, or is it there?
Your face, you’ll never show.

O’er sea and over mountain,
continent and plain,
from Asia to the Balkan:
the world is your domain.

At times I’ve seen you angry,
you howl and wreak havoc.
It’s then I shiver meekly,
and stand in awe, dumbstruck.

But when you’re sweet, you’re lovely;
you caress my soul.
Your whispers soft and balmy,
you can take me whole.

And though I cannot touch you,
on wings you fly me high,
to places where I knew you,
under another sky.

Which version do you prefer?

Image: Pinterest

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little birdie

54_SPARROWS ON WINDOWLittle birdie out my window,
Chirping, calling, “Come and play!”
Can’t you see I want to join you—
Work, I must, this day away!

But when I’m through, I promise you:
Nothing here could make me stay.
I will find you through and through,
We will play the day away!

Image: Pinterest

walls

castle-walls04

In sadness I fly
on what could be,
what should be.

In madness I try
to find vic’try,
make his’try.

In gladness I cry
I’m empty,
can’t touch me.

And then I break down.

*image credit: spokenwizdom.wordpress.com

tgif

painting_med2

me

Friday.
Yay!
Bars.
Cigars.

Beer?
“Here!”
Wine.
Dine.

Me.
(See?)
Home.
Roam.

Alone.

And I prefer it that way.

*Enough with the bad poetry, already! Back to my “usual” stuff soon.

*image: theeventpainter.com