Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Empowerment

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. 
Unfold your own myth.” 
― Rumi

image 0
"Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, 
teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
― Marianne Williamson, "A Course in Miracles"

"The term empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. It is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights. Empowerment as action refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognize and use their resources.  
"To do work with power."
Empowering Quotes by Inspirational Women | Of Mercer Blog

Midweek Motif ~  Empowerment

I developed this empowerment motif because it's women's history month. While researching it, I discovered that most places in the world have initiatives for the empowerment of social groups such as people of color, youth, women, gender and sexual diversities, and the aging, the disabled, etc. Empowerment is also a huge goal for individuals. Of course, initiatives exist because of ongoing dis-empowerment.  We seek solutions.

Related image
(Forgive me for using this without permission.)

At what are you empowered?  
What has contributed most to your empowerment?  
Where would you like to see more (or less) empowerment?

Your Challenge:  Write a new and strong empowerment poem. (Though I focus on women below, you need not focus on women in your poem.)

Won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

They shut me up in Prose – (445)
They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still”   –

Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Look down upon Captivity –
And laugh – No more have I –

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Solitude.)

Monday, March 18, 2019


Today we are visiting one of our newer members, Karen (KrazyBlonde), who blogs as KB at KB's Place. Karen lives in the very beautiful country of New Zealand, which is reeling in horror right now after the terrible shootings at mosques in Christchurch on the weekend. I contacted Karen right away to see how she is doing. 

Sherry: Hello, KB. It is good to be chatting with you. What would you like me to call you?

Karen: Hi Sherry, I am happy for you to call me Karen. My original internet name was KrazyBlonde but I shortened it to KB for convenience when I started blogging. My husband’s surname begins with B so now that we’re married my initials are actually KB.

Sherry: Karen, we have all been shocked and horrified at the terrorist shootings at the mosques in Christchurch. Do you live anywhere near where these terrible events took place? How are you doing?

Karen: I think I'm still in shock really, as the rest of NZ is, I'm sure. Nothing like this has ever happened before. NZ is made up of two islands. I live in Auckland in the North Island, and Christchurch is in the South Island, so we are far from the attacks.

Thank you for checking in on me. I don't really know what to say. I am speechless really. My heart goes out to the victims and families of this vicious attack. Steve and I are safe, but still in shock. One of the great things I always loved about NZ was that I believed it was a safe place to live. That has been taken away from me now.

Thank you all for the love and support you have sent New Zealand during this devastating time.

Sherry: We are so sorry, Karen. It seems there are few safe places left any more, given the spread of white supremacy and racism across the planet.

So now, to get to know you better, let's proceed with our interview, difficult as it is to think of ordinary things at the moment.

Tell us a bit about yourself, won’t you? Who do you share your life with?  (don’t forget any critters!) Tell us whatever you would like us to know about you and your life.

Karen: I am 50 years old; I live in New Zealand with my husband Steve, (Whitesnake). Our dear dog, Coco, was part of our lives for many years but unfortunately she passed away two years ago.

Steve and I met via a mutual friend’s blog. Steve was living in Australia and I in New Zealand. We were friends for a year before we met in person. Steve came to New Zealand for a holiday for a couple of weeks and that’s when we knew we definitely wanted to be together. It took a couple of years but we have now been together for ten years and married for six next month. Best years of my life too!

Sherry: A blog romance! How wonderful! There have been a few of those in the years I have been blogging. Smiles. Where did you grow up, Karen? When you look back, do you see anything in your earlier life that you think may have led to your becoming a poet?

Karen: I grew up in Manchester, England. I loved to write short stories and keep a journal when I was younger. I always believed I was the only writer in my family until a visit with my Grandma not long before she died. She showed me a notebook she kept in her bedside drawer and it was full of poems. I was always close to my Grandma as a little girl, but it was lovely to share that special moment as an adult.

Sherry: Oh, that is special indeed. I hope you still have her book of poems. When did you move to New Zealand? I know it is very beautiful there. It is supposed to be much like my home province of British Columbia in Western Canada. What do you love about it?

Lake Rotoiti

Karen: I moved to New Zealand with my parents and sister at the age of 15. As you can imagine, being a teenager is hard enough without the added pressures of being away from family and friends. It was an extremely difficult and depressing time for me but I consider NZ my home now and am thankful to my parents for bringing me here. 

I have travelled extensively around NZ, and it’s a truly beautiful place. I love the fact that you can experience anything here without having to travel too far; hiking in the forests, skiing in the mountains, swimming at the beach, the list in endless. The thing I love most about where I live is the people, they are friendly and easygoing. My neighbours are some of my closest friends.

Sherry: It sounds like a lovely life indeed.  When did you begin writing? And what do you love about poetry?

Karen: I began writing in my journal about my thoughts and feelings from about the age of 10 and I still do! I have always been a reader and started writing short stories of my own when I was a teenager. Poetry didn’t come until much later; I started writing poetry as a way to express my feelings at a time in my life when I was struggling to do so.

Sherry: Are there three poems you would like to share with us today, and tell us a little about each one?

A Private Ordeal – One of my first poems. I was experiencing anxiety attacks at the time so I decided to write about how having an anxiety attack felt to me.

Sometimes I feel so anxious inside
I need to run, I want to hide
It's hard to explain just how I feel
It seems like a dream yet also so real
My friends think I'm so terrible rude
I have to leave early, they think it's a mood
If only they knew just how I feel
It's not for sharing, a private ordeal
Starting to sweat now, starting to shake
I knew coming out was a big mistake
It's hard to move with the walls closing in
My heart is pounding, a terrible din
I have to leave now before they find out
Feeling quite sick, I have to get out
I wish I could tell them but they'd think I'm mad
They'd know how I've missed all the great times we had
Sherry: I know someone who experiences this, and it is very debilitating. You have written this so well.

Consequences – Finding the courage to face the consequences of leaving a destructive relationship.

Twisting turmoil
emotions run amok
feelings laid out
like an open book

Nowhere to run
nowhere to hide
some secrets should
remain inside

The prison consumes
time to break free
no-one to lean on
I must depend on me

The heart is willing
the time is now
a little faith
takes care of the how

Sherry: A poem so many of us can relate to.

Good Times –written to remind me of the good times when times were tough when Steve and I were apart

Remember the good times
They'll serve you well
When life is hard
As tough as hell

Hot summer nights
Lying in bed
His strong shoulders
Resting my head

Laughing and loving
Wasting our days
Entombed in our room
Set in our ways

You doing your thing
Me doing mine
Coming together
For beer and wine

Life carries on
Memories remain
Don't let bad times
Leave their stain

Blue Lake

Sherry: I'm glad he finally made it to New Zealand!

I notice you have an interest in health and wellness and have a blog titled KB’s Health and Wellness Journey. There are some very informative articles in there.

Karen: Many years ago I was asked to assist in managing the health and wellness section of a writing site. Writing and reading about health and wellness on a daily basis furthered my interest in the topic. My blog is about taking that knowledge and incorporating it into my life. I must say, it’s easier for me to write about that than actually do it, but I’m getting there.

Sherry: What other interests do you have besides writing? You list singing and music on your profile. Do you sing publicly, or for your own pleasure?

Karen: Give me a glass of wine and a microphone and I’ll sing till the cows come home. I also enjoy reading, puzzles, music and eating my husband’s delicious cooking.
Sherry: Smiles. Sounds like it's a lot of fun at your house! When did you come to the world of blogging, and how has that impacted your work?

Karen: I came to the world of blogging in 2007 as a way to express myself and communicate with others. It was a time in my life during a relationship where everything I did was controlled. I felt the only way to be myself was through poetry and writing.

Sherry: Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Karen: I love Poets United, a wonderful group of people sharing poetry, what could be better than that!

Sherry: Thank you, Karen, for allowing us to get to know you better. We're happy you found us at Poets United!

Wasn't this a lovely visit, friends? Come back next week,and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Poetry Pantry #443

Protect What You Love
Warren Rudd photo

photo by Katherine Loiselle ~ 
at the Youth Climate Action Strike for
Pacific Rim

Happy Sunday, fellow poets! In a week full of lost lives, in the jet that crashed in Ethiopia, and the abominable attack in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, there was one note of hope: the rise of school children all over the world, marching in the millions for climate change. Here in Tofino, we gathered on the beach, carrying banners and signs, and walked to the tombolo, in support of the kids and their future, and for love of Mother Earth.  

This past Friday, Rosemary's Moonlight Musings sparked a cool discussion around the topic: poetry or prose - which is your first love? Do scroll back, if you haven't seen it. It is not to be missed. I love Moonlight Musings.

On Monday, our featured guest will be Karen of KB's Place. Karen is one of our newer members. She lives in New Zealand, and I contacted her after the terrible events in Christchurch. She will share with us how she is doing in the wake of the shootings. Do check in and leave her some words of support.

On Wednesday, Susan's prompt will be Empowerment. With women rising in positions of power, and young people marching for climate change, this is a timely topic.

Let's see what goodies await us in the Pantry today. Link your poem, and do visit your fellow poets, in the spirit of reciprocity. Enjoy! And thanks for being here. It would be an empty Pantry without you!