Monday, February 23, 2015

LIFE OF A POET - WOLFSROSEBUD

Today, my friends, I am pleased to present a poet who is very well-known in the blogosphere,  Patti Wolf, of Wolfsrosebud's Blog. I am sure many of you are familiar with Patti's work, and have bumped into her in the 'sphere. This poet lives in Wisconsin, where it is still winter. So bring your woolly scarves, let's go in and sit by the fire and sip on some hot chocolate, while we chat.




Sherry: Patti, thank you for allowing us to visit! I am so looking forward to this. Would you like to set the scene for us, give us a look at the poet at home?





Patti: Home grown and rooted deep in Wisconsin woodlands, my house, surrounded by 30-40 foot pines, is where my inspiration comes. Nature (creation), Scripture (often David’s Psalms), and well known greats (Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Willa Cather) have affected my writing style. I have a few secret modern on-line poets who I admire (shhh… I’m not sharing).

I wonder if the heart of a poet is a seed tucked in at the moment of conception, or if it is birthed out of the trials of this fallen world. No matter, where it comes from, it blooms at the moment a writer can say, “I’m a writer!” Some think one needs to be published. Not true. A writer can craft words in such a way that make word pictures to the reader. As for the poet, this person can not only bring visuals to the reader but also makes the heart sing.

Sherry: You are right. Publishing is not what makes one a writer. Writing is. Is there a story behind the name of your blog? I love that there's a wolf in it!


Patti: Wolfsrosebud comes from: “Wolf,” my last name, “Rose,” a third generation female name and a favorite auntie on my mother’s side, “bud,” well, we all are opening up in some way as we tap into our creative gifts. Roses are a favorite flower. My Daddy use to sing The Yellow Rose of Texas to me as a young child while sitting on his lap. 

I have few memories of interaction with him, since he was a quiet man. Expressing love was hard for him. His mom dying at age ten, in child birth. Then all the siblings, seven in all, were sent to different families. He was a farm hand and learned to work hard early in life. Born in 1912, he saw many changes in this world. He served at Pearl Harbor and was there the day it all happened. I believe he battled with the pain of what he saw, but never talked about it. He lived to the ripe old age of 89. It was those late years, as he battled Alzheimer’s,  when we really connected.  


Sherry: What an amazing story, Patti. He had a very hard life. It is wonderful that, in those last years, you and he had time to grow closer. Where did you grow up? Looking back, can you see anything in your childhood that you think contributed to your becoming a poet?

Patti: Here is the first and last stanza of a self-portrait poem I wrote a while back, regarding my childhood in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. I think it may answer the first part of your question:


My Mislaid Childhood
 
At times, I think of my childhood
a secret garden oasis in the busy city;
near one of the greatest lakes.
As I muse, my mind does engage
the delightful paths of my home town
and, for a moment, simpler days return.
The ice cream truck’s bell ringing along streets
drips in my mind’s vintage picture book.
A girl’s treasured day dreams for future days,
and her memories of youth are a comforting prose.

I can see streets of people walking without faces.
The boom box sounds of passing cars…
boisterous voices celebrating emptiness;
with navy boys, barely men, strolling waterfronts.
There’s no beauty in dirty urban paths;
just hope in something else sweetly green.
The call of the whistling trees past city’s bounds,
which sing and extensively call… calling me still.
A girl’s treasured day dreams for future days,
and her memories of youth are a comforting prose.


Since nature consumes most of my poetry, I’d have to say the longing I had as a child to live in the country has influenced my writing. I still can smell the open meadows I longed for as a child and the fall walks with my Dad in the countryside; which is pretty much where I live now. Matter of fact, I believe one of the roads he would visit every fall was only a few miles from my home in Hartford, Wisconsin. There I live with my husband and youngest grown son.  




Sherry: It sounds beautiful, Patti. Your poem harked me back to that time of girlish dreams. And yes, in this next poem, I can hear your love of the natural world.

The Wood

The leaf does fall from fading trees,
as autumn strikes with early flare;
where linger summer’s dusty breeze
and blows the leaf in open air.

I stroll the empty forest lane…
where birds once sang a lullaby;
the timber and branch now  wane
while squirrels scamper very sly

and hurry dirty path to hide.
I stop in wonder to feel the breeze!
Would summer stroll in sullen stride,
as leaf does fall from fading trees?


Sherry: Beautiful, Patti. A theme of strong devotion runs through your writing. Would you like to talk a bit about the connection between your writing and your faith?

Patti: I don’t know if you remember being thirty, I’ll never forget it. It was the year my life and faith were challenged; as well as my writing. You know how gold needs to be refined, (“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” Proverbs 17:3), I was tested beyond anything I could have dreamed would be part of my life. I became a widow and mother of an infant and toddler in a ten day period. No good-byes, no planning, and no idea I would need to make a choice: to cling to God or have Him become my greatest enemy. My dreams had been shattered. My hopes buried deep in the earth. Yet through that time, my faith grew like a little mustard seed.

Sherry: I can't begin to imagine the depths of grief and shock of that time. I am so sorry, Patti. Your story blows me away. And it also inspires, that we can rise from such loss and go on to create fulfilling, affirming lives for ourselves.

Patti: As the years have passed, and many other life-changing trials, He has become my constant strength during weakness. Some things are hard to explain, until one experiences them. Most days begin with a time of reading the Bible. Something from Scripture can inspire not only my day, but my writing. Here’s an example: 




Winding Path

An empty winding path
I gazed at where it led;
down shaded sunken stone.
Gazed at its endless shore;
ever leading, ever ending course.

Then deep within I stood
encompassed by deep wood.
Where wisdom wins, weakness wails
surrounds my shallow soul;
where voices echo woodland still.


Proverbs 8:1-2Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet.”

Sherry: How very beautiful. What do you love about poetry, Patti?  What keeps you writing it?

Patti: Most poetry prompts are composed in my “think tank” sauna. Don’t laugh, it really works for me. Oh, I may need to take a thing or two with me: rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, research material, Bible, and note book (the paper kind) in my hot spot. The sauna became important a few years back when I was troubled with respiratory problems. Ladies and gentlemen, that little sauna has helped, physically and inspirationally, to be a more committed writer. After all, it’s quiet, hot, and has special lighting to improve my attitude all around. An hour spent in it, brings about an automatic “win, win”.

I still long for those poems which come sporadically in the moment, and they do sprout at the most unusual times. In the middle of the night, as the old owl is humming her tune to lull her little ones to sleep. Just as the houseful of guests arrive; dare we say, “Excuse me I need to go write!” Or on that meandering walk through woods, sitting upon a hillside, or digging toes in at the beach; all good options for me to write.





I’ve played with many different forms of writing, but for the last four years poetry has been my most productive and fulfilling; most likely due to its short form and variety. It’s a good expression of the heart of the writer; how we can communicate and show our pallet of words. I’ve done novel writing, devotional, and instructional. It’s poetry which seems to spring most from my heart. It’s a challenge in communicating something in a short line of prose or painting a picture with a new set of words I’ve discovered. It’s part of life.

Sherry: So well said. And I love the sound of that sauna! What are your dreams or goals for your writing in the years ahead?

Patti: This is a tough question. I’ve been around the block a few times already. The question may be better asked, “What would I like to finish that I’ve started?” 

Sherry: Yes! That is my question, too! LOL.

Patti: I have an unfinished juvenile fantasy manuscript waiting for its debut. That may be my first goal. I’ve always wanted to hook up with an artist and write picture books for young children; things with real life lessons in them to help them deal with our ever changing world. Most likely, they would be centered on the world of creation. Also, it would be cool to see my lyrics set to music. They are Christian contemporary songs with a deeper meaning to them, to help encourage people through difficult times. Those few things are the first to come to my mind.

Sherry: You have a variety of creative outlets. That is wonderful! Are there other creative activities you enjoy?

Patti: I’ve tried water color painting, but need more training. I’d love to play piano and have no energy to learn; that’s why I’m writing lyrics and working with a musician. Photography goes with my poetry and hangs on my walls at home. Sewing has been part of my life since I was sixteen, about the same time I started writing. 



A dress I made for my granddaughter
(my flower child)


In the last few years, I’ve sewn dozens of little girl dresses for my Goldie Grand’s (granddaughters), even more dresses for American Girl Dolls, and designed wall size quilts; all short projects which can been done fairly quickly. One of my most recent art outlets has been carding with my daughter-in-law who is a Stampin Up demonstrator. We’ve been doing this for about a decade now. Gardening fills the warm weather seasons. Believe me, there is art in designing a flower garden. These type of things feed my creativity.



One of our many backyard projects


Sherry: It all sounds very fulfilling! You sound very busy, and happy! Tell us a bit about the chapbooks you have produced, and the time you spent publishing a quarterly.

Patti:   Back in 2000 I put out a quarterly poetry rag, Chattels of the Heart. I started out with local poets; it expanded to nationwide and then ended up worldwide. It only lasted a few years and was good therapy at the time, since I was caring for my elderly father who had Alzheimers. I thought it was so cool interacting with other poets. Little did I know, a decade later, I would meet hungry on-line poets multiplied. It’s wonderful so many are holding the torch for poetry. It’s been amazing to watch it grow. 

Around the same time, I managed to put my publishing talents to home computer use and designed a few other books. More serious pieces: Kids Can Write, Empty Nest Devotions, and Chapbook Design were self-published from my home computer. Smaller chapbooks of poetry were also put together for my writer’s conferences that had been sponsored locally by Chattels of the Heart. It was a cool time of rubbing shoulders with fiction writers.

Sherry: When did you begin blogging, and how has blogging impacted your growth as a writer?

Patti: As for Wolfsrosebud's Blog, it’s going into a fourth year. I still remember the first on-line poetry site I found, (sorry, it wasn’t Poets United), and I was amazed and excited at the same time. Since I’ve discovered so many opportunities for on-line prompts and poets' fellowship, this has encouraged me to practice my art daily/weekly and stretch my wings a bit. It’s brought structure to my work. I find myself able to write more freely and try things I would never have dreamed of attempting.

Sherry: It is exciting to connect with other poets from all over the world, isn't it? And to share our love of writing.

Patti: Just a bit about my Kids Protégé Month, which happens in April…I’ve spent 35 years teaching (early childhood, home education – now a second generation, Sunday school, woman’s studies, and writing classes). Life is my classroom. The biggest science lab is outside my door. Every April, Poetry Month, I dedicate my blog to writing for children. I try to get down on a child’s level, to see the world through their eyes. Hopefully, a young writer or two will one day emerge. 




Picking Posies

I’ve come to pick the posies…
this sweet springtime of the year.
Finger each small plum violet
and insert them in right here.

I’ve come to pick the posies…
pluck a dandelion, can it roar?
Watch birds fill the open sky,
dash right out the garden door!

I’ve come to pick the posies…
dance among the white clover;
wear the petals as a crown.
I’ll weep when spring is over.

I’ve come to pick the posies…
the Son pulls back dark clouds.
I’ll stop and smell the sweet roses
and sing of spring blooms aloud.

I’ve come to pick the posies…
smell each heavenly lily,
then cradle them in my palm;
though grown-ups think me silly!

I will come to pick the posies…
this springtime of His year!

“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.”  Song of Solomon 2:12

Sherry: That is truly uplifting, Patti. Beautiful! Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Patti: I travel little. No need to, since everything is at my back door here in Wisconsin. Woods, lakes, hills, and four seasons; what more could a girl need?  Although I must admit I did get to visit one of our on-line poets last fall down in Branson. That was sweet. 

Maybe someday our on-line troop can do a poets weekend. Keep it simple. Bag a lunch, select your six most enduring poems, and enjoy the fellowship of other poets. Of course, it would need to be in the States, since I don’t go too far from home… LOL. All kidding aside, it’s been an adventure getting to know poets all over the world these past four years. I believe it fills a need each poet has to help nurture their craft. Thanks to all who make on-line communities a place to grow.

Sherry: A real-time gathering would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Sigh.



This was taken  by my granddaughter 
on one of our cabin vacations

Patti: In closing…Around our house a good howl comes out regularly. It all started with our three boys years ago. One person would howl and within minutes the house echoed with wolf calls. It was a great tension releaser. Now the grandkids have come; we’ve passed the tradition on. So fun to listen to the squeaky voices trying to be wolf-like; even our golden has joined in the fun. Yes, a Golden can howl like a wolf if so desired. Mostly, during his puppy dreams! 




Here’s a new poem just for this event… dedicated to Sherry, who works so hard helping maintain things, along with others, here at Poets United:


The Wolf and Lamb

I’m not my rabid wolf brother!
You’ll find no fear in me.
My pack cares for each other;
no wiry reason you should flee.

My timbre, a beckoning call,
a midnight song in darken wood.
As winter moon slips, now falling;
those stories are a falsehood.

One day I’ll rest and graze,
along with humble lamb.
On fertile fields I’ll gaze,
marvel at the great I Am!

Steady eyes upon this land;
my pack cares for one another.
Upon knoll I’ll howl and stand…
I’m not my rabid wolf brother.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…” Isaiah 11:6

My research did show that most common wolf attacks are done by wolves that have rabies. Granted a wolf is still a wild creature and should be treated as one. 

Sherry: Thank you, Patti, for this wonderful poem, and for a fascinating visit. (I love the wolf howls at your house!) I have enjoyed our conversation very much, and we look forward to enjoying much more of your work. 

Wasn't this an interesting visit, kids? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!!


54 comments:

  1. Hey Sherry.... it's been nice getting to know you a bit too. The Grands are coming soon for the afternoon, so I'll reply later to anyone who stops by. Some great work is done to keep Poets United thriving. Thanks to all.

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    1. As always, it was my pleasure, Patti. I love these weekly visits with our poet-friends. Have fun with the grands! They are gorgeous. So happy you are teaching them to howl like wolves - fantastic Wild Women in training! LOL.

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  2. Wonderful -- it's so nice to learn the poets i have been reading a little better.. the nature and how you have found that peaceful place.. love how you use a sauna to write in.. Of course it wouldn't work here as we have such wet saunas :-) .. Thank you Sherry for the wonderful interview.

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    1. Hey Bjorn... thanks for checking things out. Yes, Sherry does a great job. Have a good week of writing.

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  3. What a wonderful interview and inspiring story! I enjoy Patti's poetry and her sharing of Bible passages. Such beautiful words. The spirituality and nature in her poems are uplifting. Love the photography, too. Thank you both for a lovely interview! :)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Loredana. The two go well together for my work and are inspirations for everyday life. Photography is a recent art for me... about four years now. Have a great day.

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  4. Great Read - love that name "Wolfsrosebud" - good to know a bit more from behind the scenes.

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    1. I love that name too, Ollie.........smiles.

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  5. I've always loved the name Wolfsrosebud, too. And I love the sense of joy I get from Patti's blog.

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  6. Hi Sherry and Patti,

    Thank you for a wonderful interview. So enjoyed getting to know Patti through her poetry, as well as this lovely tête-à-tête.

    Poppy

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    1. Hey Poppy, I've liked stopping by your place... a bit new to me

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  7. smiles...cool to learn a bit more about you patti...what a journey you are on/have been on...especially through those thirties....your poetry def echoes your dependence on god...and your being in touch with nature as well....

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    1. oh and hope you had fun with the grands this afternoon...smiles.

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    2. trials make us who we are... it's the work that molds us to write what we do... you know... I've seen it in your writing often

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  8. Excellent interview, Sherry. And such fun to learn more about a fellow Wisconsinite. I always admire the nature poetry that Patti writes & also how she so often connects it with the spiritual side. Patti, I also enjoyed reading about your connections with your granddaughter. You know I share that. Smiles!

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    1. ... we do. It's sweet. thanks for connecting me to UP!

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  9. This was a fascinating interview, ladies. I enjoyed reading more about Patti's close relationship with nature that I can usually see in her poems. I like the idea of the family howl and wonder this is transferable to the classroom!

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    1. it's a lot of fun really... the little ones sound so odd... gotta laugh

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  10. Glad to read the interview and learn more about you, Patti (like a real name - smile). I found we have some things in common besides our writing. I do love the way you incorporate your love of nature and your spirituality in your work.

    Thanks, Sherry, for another great interview.

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    1. ... yes, i do have a real name... often it's "hey, you"... thanks for your kind words

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  11. Thank you Sherry and Patti for such a delightful and engaging conversation...indeed knowing a poet helps greatly to appreciate his or her works...and Patti what an amazing life you have so full of mirth, devotion, strength and talent...you are inspirational....

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    1. i think everyone should be interviewed, maybe that's the direction things are going, it creates a bonding among poets... what can I say God is good

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  12. Hello Patricia, ma'am.. I'm very pleased to read your stories & know a bit more about this wonderful poet that is you. The poems you write about nature & the various life forms around you are always a treat, for me, to read. I'm envious of your environment as I have always wanted to live in the middle of the greeneries where bird songs are not in scarcity. The urban setting is what I have today, and I'm afraid I will have to endure quite some more time the city life before I can finally settle to some bucolic place. Thanks for sharing your world behind the pen. Smiles.

    - ksm

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    1. the heart can be a sanctuary of sorts... i've often wonder what i'd do if a became a city dweller again... i'd have a fish tank, bird cage, cat, and dozens of plants... maybe even a lemon tree if it'd grown indoors

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  13. Finally I know your name, Patti, thanks to Sherry's interview. Thanks to both of you. I love turning April Poetry Month into an event for kids! Bravo! MY favorite of the poems you put in here is "The Wood." Hauntingly beautiful. I always look forward to your participation in Midweek Motif and the Pantry.

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    1. thanks Susan... i'm spending a week with the grands in Disney and hope to write my April kids poetry... just by watching them... though i'll be going through nature withdrawal

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  14. just to reiterate everyone; that it's great getting to know more about the writers and poets behind the words. Patti, it is wonderful to know of your resilience in life. heart break and sadness is but the balance of life we all must endure. your writing of nature is beautiful and i love that pic of you. gracias mi amiga Sherry for another wonderful interview.

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    1. good and evil... it's part of life... God makes it easier... believe me, He does... thanks for your comments

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  15. What a lovely interview. Patti so nice to know more about your interesting life and talents. I sometimes howl at the moon in comraderie with wolf nature. My husband just laughs. But know I can assure him, i'm not alone.
    Sherry, great questions as always. Enjoyed.

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    1. howls can be a stress reliever.. except for those who need to listen to them... LOL

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  16. Great interview Sherry and Patti! Such a wonderful thing to be surrounded by nature within nature's best - tall trees! Certainly cool for lots of inspiration. Glad to know you better Ma;am!

    Hank

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    1. thank you... gonna mingle about the frozen forest next... unfortunately some of those trees are breaking in our frigid weather

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  17. A wonderful conversation with a remarkable poet! Thank you Sherry and Patti. I enjoyed meeting Patti last year while she was here visiting the area with friends - always exciting to meet up with fellow writers from the web -

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    1. ... and now you in your ice and I in my cold; know that soon the seasons will change. It was a fun day. Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Hey Sherry, this really was a lot of fun. Thanks for all the effort you go to to bring it about. We're all blessed in having a time to get to know each other more. I wonder... who will be next?

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    1. Next is a catching-up update with a long time member of Poets United, who took a sabbatical for a while, and now is back, to our delight! Stay tuned!

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  19. Patti--you touched my heart--there is so much love in your words and in you--thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us here today!

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  20. An inspiring read and nice to know you more Patti. The idea of having a think tank sauna is wonderful.

    Thanks for this Sherry.

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  21. Nice, I have been reading Patti's blog for some time now so I really enjoyed this one ~

    Patti, I can see your love for nature & your photography is stunning ~

    Thanks Sherry ~

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    1. coming from a gentle soul like you... i'm blushing

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  22. Patti and Sherry this was a wonderful conversation that I enjoyed so much! I love my visits to your blog Patti and getting to know you a bit more. I too am inspired by nature...it is my sanctuary. Beautiful poems especially the last one....

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    1. like minds are drawn to the beauty of Creation... thank you for the kind comments

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  23. Thank you, for sharing Patti with us. I am charmed by all of her talents~ It was fun to know more about her name and I loved to imagine all the howling~ I love nature and it provides insight into our soul's aperture. Thank you, Sherry and Patti!!

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    1. ... i have the opportunity to help home education my grand daughter, my second time around since i home schooled my three boys, and one of our greatest subjects to study is nature... i hope one day she'll become a grand poet herself

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  24. Thank you Sherry -a wonderful introduction to a gifted writer...Patti...an honor knowing you and about your great work. May Allah bless you both always with the best amen.

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  25. Not only is your poetry beautiful Patti, it draws the reader in and involves them in the world about them. Great interview.

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    1. you noticed... then I've been a bit successful... thanks

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  26. Wow!! what a great story of hard-work, inspiration and devotion. Best wishes.

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  27. Patti - thanks for getting a view into your world. I believe it is those hard "climbs" in life that refine us and give us a clearer focus (on our God.) I look forward to meeting you one day and reveling in the ways that we carried the light.
    Bless you!!!
    And thank you Sherry for always sharing such a fragrant bouquet of poets on a weekly basis.

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