Monday, June 19, 2017

POEMS OF THE WEEK - WENDY, MYRNA AND ELIZABETH

This week, my friends, we have poems of inspiration from Wendy of Words and Words and WhatnotMyrna, of Daily Spiritand Elizabeth, of Soul's Music. The poems seem to share  a theme of digging down deep to hold onto peace and hope, in the midst of the turbulence around us. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Wendy recently wrote a poem that spoke to me. As much as we love and fear for Mother Earth, it is in her wild places, by her lakes and rivers and forests, that we are most likely to restore our peacefulness. Let's read.






P.M. Bourke photo




Again, last night, I dreamt that I was falling – as I often have, throughout the slumbers of my life – though lately, such dreams, have lost their ability to bother me … much. I suppose if you experience anything enough times, over a long period – and live – it loses some of the power it once had, to alarm.

In other aspects of my life, as well, I seem to be developing – in my senior years – a different relationship with fear. As the panoramic vista of the valley of the shadow begins to come into view – albeit, off in the distance (though clearly there is no getting around it) a trepidatious acceptance has started to settle upon me. Though I know (all too well) that, tragically, life can end at any age, the expectation is that human life spans will follow a predictable pattern. Having had the good fortune to stick to that pattern, I am grateful that I have been blessed with (what my Mother used to refer to as) a 'good run’. I like to think I’ve struck a pretty decent bargain for myself … a kind of just-let-me-roll a fair way beyond my threescore years and ten – and I’ll be good to go. I am curious to see if that bargain holds.

This acceptance of the inevitable, may always have been a feature of deepening age … though, the scale of the turbulence and destruction of the times that we live in probably makes coming to terms with our mortality considerably harder than it was for our ancestors. They had planted their seeds (figuratively and/or literally) on a beautiful earth and those seeds would flourish, long after they had passed. Today we – all of humankind – are leaving this planet with far less optimistic prospects. And that – for most of us – is not a nice feeling – and not the way we would choose to leave it … if we had a choice. In effect, we will go to our deaths in fear … in fear, for our beautiful planet. … and all that lives upon it.

That is my – greatest – fear … and I know it is a deeply felt concern that many of you share. I fear for the children of this world. What a world we are leaving to those innocent little souls. I am afraid for their future, and I am afraid for the planet that we are in the process of destroying.

When I was a very young child, a shocking scene from a war torn country came into our living room via the nightly news. And when I asked my Mother what was going to happen to the people that had been filmed, she said: “Life finds a way”.

And so, I turn, again and again, to the sky and the sea and the forests and such places … that are life affirming, and to such people … who are active and engaged in initiatives to heal this earth. I do what I can, to try and make a difference. And I live in the hope that … life will find a way.

this place of giant stones
that time and river transform –
in the vastness of this earth …
so many miracles
waiting to happen

We have come to a place where, those of us, who love this earth … live … and die … in the hope … of miracles.


Sherry: I resonate with the feeling of acceptance, of inevitability. A deep resignation is coming over me, who has for so long believed in the transformation of human consciousness, that light will triumph over darkness. Like you, I find my peace and strength in the wild places, that so want to live, to survive, as does Mother Bear and Sister Wolf. As do the struggling peoples of the world.

I share your hope for miracles. And I love your mother's quote: "Life will find a way."  With or without us, she will. 

Wendy: “This Place of Giant Stones” came out of my very strong concerns about the damage that is being done to our planet earth – primarily over the last one hundred years, through human-caused (anthropogenic) climate change. 

In 2007, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a panel of 2,500 scientists in 130 countries overseen by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization) warned that millions of human lives and nearly a third of the planet's wildlife and plant species could be wiped out if global temperatures rise as little as 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius.  The panel predicted a rise of between 1.8 and 4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, if measures are not put in place to reverse the current trend.

That stunning prediction was issued 10 years ago.  Since then, very little – in terms of what is required to stem this looming disaster – has been enacted.  I find that terrifying:  not for myself (I have lived my life); I find it terrifying for the children of this earth and for all life on this planet. 

I think, people of conscience, have always been predisposed to extend their vision beyond day-to-day concerns.  But the issue of global warming brings a whole new urgency to awareness and active engagement, simply because it is an issue that cannot be ignored.  We all must do our part to try and heal this planet.  As a writer, I write of my concerns … and the impending dire, consequential end result of climate change – is a big concern. 

Personally, as a poet, I find that the haibun and prose/tanka forms, work well as poetic vehicles when writing to extrospective issues (some might say:  universal issues)  – and I have found myself turning to that prose-poem format more and more, lately.  Perhaps it’s a sign of the times.  

Sherry: I share your worry, Wendy. With the new regime in the U.S., I am newly alarmed. The planet doesn't have four more years to neglect climate change.  Those predictions are very sobering. We are feeling the affects already, in many places. 

Thank you for this powerful poem, and for sharing your knowledge and your concern. 

Myrna wrote a poem that really spoke to me. With all the No's on the nightly news, Myrna found an Inner Yes. I think her poem will help us to find ours, too. Let's read:





RUNNING TOWARDS HOPE

I'm giving up
No longer will I persist
Expending energy like fumes
From an old bus
Dark smoke polluting my lungs
In stead my heart will
Positively beat
A different drum
Whose noise rises
Above
the tunes of doom
That I fear

No longer will I focus on what
May be inside black holes
I'll turn my cheek the other way
Only looking where the moon is bright
Enough to illuminate my night
Though I know it is the night
That may reign
In hearts like coal
Waiting to burn
Us, who resist
The blindness of dark power

I will say NO to thoughts
Of peril, feelings of helplessness
That haunt my emotions
I'll let my shadow cling
Trying to defy the sun
While I keep running
Reaching for the brilliance
Of my YES


Sherry: We must reach for the brilliance of that YES! Wonderful, Myrna.

Myrna: "Running Towards Hope" came about after a dinner out with friends.  After we talked about our lives, the inevitable discussion arose.  We are all concerned about the condition of the world, One of my friends spoke about the importance of not succumbing to the weight of the world's problems.  She talked about need to keep our energies in high vibration so that we not only resist negative forces but overcome them.


She spoke of how we need to maintain our spirits high so that we vibrate at higher frequencies.  Then she asked what we all do to rise above the grief when we are feeling low.  There were many responses.  Some refrain from watching the news, others seek the company of children, others meditate.  I realized that at one time or other I also did all these things.  But nowadays I usually elevate my mood by going outside, walking, spending time with nature.   I also get a lot of joy from drawing and painting too but I get the biggest burst of high energy, happiness?, when I write a poem that I especially like.  I know I am not yet at that place of joy, of being able to escape the effects of  what goes on in this world, but I'm trying to take my friend's advice and run towards hope. Though I clearly see the negative, I will try to stay positive.

Sherry: And I will, too, Myrna. Your friend is right. We need now, more than ever, to be beaming positive into the world, to assist the transformation of consciousness, to not let the dark side win. Thank you for this beautiful and wise poem. It is inspiring.

Elizabeth's poem is about turning to one's inner resources for strength - as well as to our online friends, who know our hearts so well. Let's take a peek:






something about a grain of sand
and how the part is a manifestation of the whole
___Thotpurge
I see the pity in your eyes
when you find me here
always in these rooms
alone in a world, I seldom
enter.
Joke about being a Hermit
and, although you smile,
it is softly thinned by nodding
glint of darkness and
disapproval.
You are aware of the gap
and curvature at base of spine
that continues to shorten
my stature, while slowing gait
of others who walk alongside.
Yet, I accept that you don’t
understand, how easily I slip
into this chair, type a few words
and am instantly in touch
with a world beyond your ken.
Because my ‘friends’ are people
who love words, I have tasted
exotic spices of India, smelled
pale orange roses of Australia,
and walked the beaches
of British Columbia with a wild
black wolf, at my side.
You shake your head sadly, say,
“You need to get out.” And never
know how, each day, I travel
further than you have ever dreamed
of being.
Elizabeth Crawford  4/24/2017

Sherry: I am a hermit, too, Elizabeth, so I really resonate with this poem. And with the online community being our connection to other poets, and to the wider world, and that being more than enough. I especially love your closing lines. It is true, we travel farther than our real-life people ever dream. I love this poem. 

Elizabeth:  This poem came very quickly. On the spur of the moment, I decided to use the idea of “Inspiration” for the April PAD Challenge. Specifically, where I find it. Which meant many of my poems for the month were inspired by lines, or words, I found in other online poets’ work. 

When I read the line from Thotpurge's Unfaithful Eye, I immediately began hearing echoes of other words thrown at me through the years, by family and friends.

My Mother: "You are still young enough to find a nice man to take care of you." My response: "Can’t find what I’m not looking for."

Older Sister: "Are you sure you are not a lesbian?" My response, after hysterical, raucous laughter: "Yes, I’m sure."

Both friends and family: "But, why would you do something you don’t get paid for?" My response: "Because I love doing it and find the deepest satisfaction in that process?"

The poem itself is a deeply personal response to someone I love and cherish, someone who believes that the time I spend on the computer, writing, is akin to the nerds who turn away from living and get lost in gaming and such. And although this individual knows all about my physical disabilities, and loves me, she is dedicated to getting me out and about, believing that will cure all of my ‘ills’.

After writing it, I finally remembered a piece of scripture that helped me to understand a bit of where it came from:

New Living Translation
"Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."

Which brought me back, full circle, to Thotpurge’s "grain of sand." And also reminded me that a Prophet (for me that means Poet), is never totally embraced in his/her own home town, or space. 

Sherry: I love the equation of Prophet = Poet! And I laughed almost as hard as you did, at your family conversations. We poets are such a conundrum to our families. Smiles.

Thank you, Wendy, Myrna and Elizabeth, for this thoughtful sharing of how you each draw from your depths the resources that get you through and keep you strong. I feel newly encouraged by your words. I hope our readers do as well.

Isn't it wonderful to read the wisdom of three such strong women, my friends? I love it! Do come back, my friends, to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


25 comments:

  1. Wendy's poem is so full of wisdom. I relate to her life stage as well as to the worries and concerns of this human stage. Elizabeth's poem too says things I feel. I find such comfort in the company of my cyber friends and prefer what others think is isolation but to me is an expansion of my world.
    It is such an honor to have one of my poems selected to be with these two talented poets. Thank you Sherry. Let us all remain hopeful.

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  2. We do need to hang onto hope, kiddo. Thank you for your inspiring poem.

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  3. Thank you Sherry, for including my poem in this selection. I really like Myrna's and Wendy's poems, and especially like knowing how they came to be created from personal concerns and awareness. This is such a wonderful community and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

    Elizabeth

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    1. It is a wonderful community of aware and caring people, isn't it? Thank you for being part of it, Elizabeth, since its beginning in 2010.

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  4. Another great collection and interviews.. We are so lucky to have you all on the trail

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  5. Lovely to catch up with these 3 amazing poets....thanks Sherry!

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  6. This is a lovely sampling of poems that work so well together. There are many messages contained in these three pieces, but what I took from them, at first pass, was: What a conversation! And that is the ‘gift’ that being part of a poetry forum, such as Poets United, confers upon those who participate. Elizabeth’s poem makes that point so eloquently.

    “how easily I slip
    into this chair, type a few words
    and am instantly in touch
    with a world beyond your ken”

    We have come to a place, where we are running out of time. We must strengthen our resolve with peace and hope and do what we can. By sharing our hopes for - and love of - this planet, our knowledge, our various perspectives and our ‘stories’ … we empower, inform and lift each other up. I, for example, was shocked by the warnings I came across from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while investigating the hard facts for This Place of Giant Stones. But I probably would not have sought out that information if I wasn’t writing a poem and it would not have been shared. This is just one incidence of the wonderful interactions and connections that happen between poets. In a world of so much negativity – positivity shines a light to head towards. As Myrna writes, in her poem:

    “Reaching for the brilliance
    Of my YES”

    You did a wonderful job on this Sherry. I very much enjoyed, both participating in AND reading this piece. It is an honor to be featured in the company of such fantastic poets.

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  7. Thank you, Wendy. Each of us, in our own ways, is attempting to "reach for the brilliance of (our) YES". I especially enjoy putting together features which focus on topics as close to my heart as this. Thankfully, our members keep coming up with new poems, to keep this space filled up. Thank you all.

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  8. I enjoyed this collection of poetry by such wise women. There is something in each of the poems that resonates with me.

    Along with Wendy, I fear for the children of the world. I fear that all of the things that are happening right now will not be able to be reversed. The damage that is being done breaks my heart & frightens me. Perhaps there will be a miracle. We can hope.

    Myrna's poem resonates too. I do think that we reach a point where we have to say NO to thoughts of peril. I have to do this sometime too in order to maintain my sanity. But then again I do know as well that we must resist, must keep our voice strong, must not give in to the crazy madness. I do have days though when I just try to forget.

    And Elizabeth's poem - so true....how we can travel far beyond our computer to all corners of the world. The connections we make are phenomenal and so very well....and a lot of people really don't understand!

    Thank you, Sherry, for this wonderful compilation - and for your interviewing skills.

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    1. I feel exactly the same way, Mary. Yes, we must resist.

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  9. The 3 wonderful ladies who are prolific in their quests of poetic brilliance. Love them all! Thanks Sherry!

    Hank

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  10. What treasures we have in this poetic community. The poems featured are all so strong and determined in their voice. Thank you so much everyone.

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  11. Oh dear Sherry, you do really have the flair to bring out the gems of a poet! Each word from Wendy, Myrna and Elizabeth is a pearl formed with the beauty of wisdom. Feeling very much uplifted friends.

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  12. A perfectly lovely post in every way. Many thanks to you all for the writing and interviewing.

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  13. The thanks truly belong to the poets featured, my friends. It is my pleasure, always, to put them together, as a bouquet of hope, to brighten your day.

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  14. A might good collection of poetry - humbling too to be part of such a community.

    Wendy echoes generational fears so well
    Love how Myrna refuses to fume like an old bus
    Elizabeth touched on several issues in the ageing poet/hermit in touch with the world

    Thanks for bringing out the best in us poets Sherry

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  15. These are truly magnificent selections, Sherry!

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  16. Yes, I am reminded of the words,"You don't really know them. Have never met them." Said with contempt. But of course if you have never read these women, perhaps you could feel that way...a hermit, you say. But what is a hermit, an artist, a poet, a writer, someone comfortable with herself. What a privilege to read these women, and to get to know them. They share their wisdom and strength wllingly. I love each one, and their "deep" writting, resonates in my heart. I feel I know them better than most I have met in person, one cannot write from the heart without the gut wrenching honesty they share. Thank you each for posting today!!! My Favs!!!

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  17. Annell, you have expressed my feelings so well. I know beyond doubt that my friends in the world of online poetry know me far better than my real life people, because they read the writings of my heart, the things one can't always say out loud to those around us. The blogging world has given me more than I can ever repay. That is why it is my privilege to do these Monday features. Plus I enjoy it so much!

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  18. Whether dealing with the grain of sand or the boulder, we all attempt to "vibrate at higher frequencies." These 3 poems and three poets raise hope without ever truly overlooking the problems. I find hope in this community too. Thank you all. Wonderful conjunction, Sherry!

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  19. And I would like to thank each one who took the time to read and to comment. We who write, do so because we want to be heard. This community encourages all of us to continue. I once knew a young male poet who said he thought that poetry was in its death throes, that he was sure it would die in his own lifetime. I often think of him and his words when I write, and wonder if he was ever blessed with just such a place as this one. I would hope so.

    Elizabeth

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  20. What a lovely collection- three lovely poets telling us how to find and stay in a place beyond whatever holds us back. Thanks Sherry as always for bringing this to us. Elizabeth, so glad that line and that grain of sand inspired your poem.

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  21. Thanks for another great trip offering Sherry. I read Wendy often I am happy to say that 'This Place Of Giant Stones'is one of my favourites of hers. Myrna I also read often and I am easily absorbed into her Running Towards Hope, for its the type of mantra that keep me sane when I feel overwhelmed by everything around me. Elizabeth I also am familiar with her poems and resonate with her lifestyle as hermit. I find that I have morphed into an alone person with difficulty but now I guard that status fiercely except for the openings of time at church and time with my grand child.

    Thanks for another up close and personal

    Much love...

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