Monday, October 30, 2017

ANNELL LIVINGSTON: AUTUMN ~ A TIME OF REMEMBRANCE

Autumn is often a time of remembering,  a season with moments of nostalgia. I have noticed this theme in some of our recent poems, and noticed that Annell Livingston, of Some Things I Think About, has been writing a series of poems that capture the many moods of autumn very well. I asked her if she would chat with us about this and happily she said yes. As fall can be cool and crisp, pour yourself a hot beverage, and pull your chair up close to the fire. Let's dive in.







Sherry: Annell, I was moved by your recent poems, by their theme of autumn, reflections, remembering, and loss. Would you like to talk about this a bit?

Annell: For me there is something melancholy in autumn, that hovers at the edge, just out of sight.  It is a time for so many good things, the color of the season, the temperature is cooler, apples freshly picked.  The aroma of spice in the air.  So much to love, but in taking inventory, we realize something isn’t here.  Old friends and loved ones leave a longing.

Sherry:  Autumn always affects me that way, too. I love the beauty. It is my favourite time of year. Yet there is such nostalgia for years gone by, and for what has been lost.

Your poem, “It Died in the Autumn of That Year 2014”, spoke of this, as you remembered your mother’s death. Let’s take a look:


It Died in the Autumn of That Year 2014

my kitchen in the casita       is small          only the 
smallest refrigerator   

will fit the tiny cubby  squeezed into the corner   it was five 
years ago    
            
the refrigerator died        i was in texas        my mom 
was sick  
                 
i was there to be with her    in the autumn of that year   
the monarch butterflies

covered the tree in the front yard    they drained the last blossoms     energy for the last leg 
                      
of their trip home to mexico   most days were sunny  the sky 
blue-gray

the color of my mom’s eyes    i was there six weeks     a 
tender time     
                     
the last time for my mom  her death was peaceful 
one morning        
she took three breaths

she did not exhale                that was it                 that 
was the goodbye

after her death              we cleaned her house for
the last time        
the refrigerator, too

strange what ends up there      who put it there     where 
did it come from

what was it            questions hung in the air        no one 
to answer

a storm had come in           when i returned home
in the snow          
my refrigerator was silent 
                               
it chilled no more                it was also dead                  it was 
as if death

followed me home            wanted to be my friend         was not 
through with me

there it sat                      quietly reminding me            of where 
i had been

what had happened         my mom had died         i would not 
see her again

sears would replace           the refrigerator         but could not
replace my mom

October 10, 2017      


Sherry: So moving, Annell, the time you spent at your mother’s bedside as she lay dying. It is such a privilege to companion someone through that time, especially one’s own mother. The three breaths – the last goodbye – struck me, as I read.

Annell:  I wrote it almost as it happened.  It was in November of that year I went to her home in Texas to be with my Mother.  The morning I arrived, the Monarch butterflies covered the low coquet tree in the front yard.  The blossoms were dying, end of season. The butterflies, were sucking the last juices before they began the last leg of their migration on the way to their home in Mexico.  

My Mother was a tiny woman, and she grew more beautiful each day, before her death.  When she died, she lay in her bed, like a glowing pearl.  A beautiful woman at peace.  She lived to be 96 years old.  And probably that was a long enough life for anyone, but it seemed too soon for me.

Sherry: I love that she grew as radiant as a pearl. They say as we live, so shall we die. Your mother must have lived a very beautiful life. 

Annell: As women, it is said, we become our Mothers.  To say goodbye is such a tender thing.  I am so grateful to have been there, to be with her as she took her last breaths.

In the poem I used that unknown thing found in the refrigerator, to say, “at death, questions hang in the air.”  Questions you didn’t even realize you wanted to ask.  And there is no one to answer.  It is the silence after.

Upon returning home, my refrigerator had stopped working, and would work no more, just like death.  With a little shopping, the refrigerator would be replaced.  But not my Mom, there would be no replacing my Mom, she left an emptiness in my heart, that cannot be repaired.


The beautiful Issa,
named for the Japanese poet

     
Sherry: So poignant, Annell. The theme of autumn, in the poem that followed this one, lists all of the sights, smells and joys of autumn so beautifully. It also touched on memory and loss, remembering your son, whose death followed your mother’s. (Truly, life is hard.)  It is such a beautiful, tender poem.


AUTUMN…               my favorite time of year           new mexico ablaze

the mountains              red, orange and yellow             leaves falling gold  
     
a cool wind blows        snuggle into my jacket              a fire in the kiva

the smell of pinion burning      pumpkin pies cooling       on the back porch               

the sky a clear blue       green chilies roasting                hot, medium or mild
   
crisp apples                  in road side stands            melancholy plays at the edge

list what is here            what is missing                         …a small blond boy

grown to be a man       still my own                             my son...

October 9, 2017

Sherry: This poem knocks me out, my friend. Yes, he will always be your beautiful boy. What is it about autumn that carries our thoughts back to those long-gone days? I have been doing my own remembering, under the amber sun. Maybe because this time of year was always the start of school when our kids were young. I miss those years. But I am so very grateful to have had them!

Annell: Though it a worry for every parent, I don’t think I ever really thought of my Son’s death.  That would be impossible, he couldn’t die before I would.

Something I found about the death of a child, (and they will always be our children, even though we recognize they have grown to adulthood,) is that all the memories, of the past seem also to die at the moment of death.  Before he died, I could remember so much of his life, as a baby and as a small child, to his growing to be the man that he would become.  These were joyful memories, but now there is a period at the end of each thought that wasn’t there before.  And that is his death.

He was a beautiful blond child, straight and tall.  Full of wonder.  He grew to be a beautiful young man.  Willful, with a mind of his own, and near his death, he grew more beautiful each day.  It was in the spring, I was aware of honeysuckle, and butterflies.  And the day he died, I thought I saw butterflies fly from his fingertips.

Sherry: Oh my goodness, how amazingly beautiful. His spirit, flying free. 

Annell: Like most Mothers, I was young, I thought I “knew.”  But it is not until they are through with us, are we prepared to be parents.  They teach us a lot.  I realized at his death, he was my teacher, and it was through him I learned the lessons I needed.  If I could do it again, I would certainly be better prepared. 


Sherry: That is my regret, also. That I did not have the strength and wisdom as a mother that I have had as a grandma. No one does. Yet we were strong, and we gave our children everything we had. One can do no more.

The following poem reveals your strength and wisdom so clearly, Annell.


We Leave Traces in Our Wake

my path is a mystery           i don’t know        and know that i 
do not know

the winds of change            swirl around me           a storm on the horizon            

there are signs of danger ahead       we each struggle       to know                      

to understand                           …and yet…            
we continue                  to travel               

the road we are given            we lift each foot        and place it 
on the path

leaving traces               in our wake              we list the possibilities             

we live on the fringe        our power is limited     we look to the 
stars for inspiration     

October 8, 2017   
                        

Sherry: It so often feels like that: we take one step after another. Amazingly, this leads us on a journey beyond anything we ever could have dreamed.

Annell: Your words are true.  We don’t know, and yet we continue.  The current times are very troubling.  So much we do not know.  Some days, I wonder how can we continue?  And yet, we do. 

Sherry: It is hard, these days, to see surfacing old pathologies we thought we had left behind. Sigh.

I was so pleased to read the following poem, which reflects my own philosophy so well. With all of its grief, its losses, its fleeting years, in autumn I am most grateful for the gift of living in this very beautiful world. Let’s sink into the joy of this poem (and enjoy one of your recent art works as well):


Fragments Geometry and Change
#229 - 30" by 30" acrylic on canvas



We See A Wonderful World Before Us

life is not to be endured       rather to be lived            in 
gratitude

we are given much        perhaps yesterday was    a missed
opportunity

tomorrow you will have   another chance     sometimes the way 
is not clear

but given time      and a new perspective             we see with 
new eyes         

a different path appears     not the old dusty road     we have 
been traveling

we do not accept the petty hate     of the patriot      we stir the cauldron

chant the old chants         of the ancients                the future 
is our vision

we are told               it is too late         yet, we see a wonderful 
world before us   

October 8, 2017  


Sherry: That says it all, Annell. I love the stirring of the cauldron. Time for the Divine Feminine to rise!  All my life, I have been in love with the beauty of the natural world. No matter what happens in our lives, our eyes lift to the heavens, take comfort in blue sky, in clouds, in stars. “We see with new eyes.” Indeed, that is the true journey of our lives. We live, and  are transformed.

Annell: For me, all the answers are in nature.  When we are troubled, we can go to nature, the forest, near streams, ascend mountains, look to the stars.  We step outside.  The fresh air touches our skin, we are reminded where we are.  We come back to ourselves and we take another step.

In the visual arts, the more autobiographical our work is, the more others can relate, and this is true in poetry as well.  I seek the truth in my poems, but like Emily Dickinson, I want to tell it with a “slant.” The poem is different from direct speech, simply because it is a poem.  It is in poetry I can talk about my deepest thoughts, and feelings, without self-consciousness or apology. 

Thank you, Sherry, for allowing me to talk about my life and my poems.  I have suffered loss in my life, just like everyone else.  But, I am lucky, I live in a beautiful place in the world, Northern New Mexico, land of enchantment.  I have already lived long, have dear friends.  My life is full of love.  Can one ask for more?

Sherry: Well, we can. But it is true, we have been given so much, have lived such rich lives. It is amazing to look back at our journeys, which were beyond anything we might have dreamed.

Thank you, my friend, for another wise and uplifting chat. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your poems, your art and your life. You are inspiring!


We hope you have enjoyed this feature, poet friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! 




Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poetry Pantry #377


'China Lights' 
by Mary













Greetings, Poets!   Today I am sharing with you some photos of the "China Lights"  exhibit that I visited a few weeks ago in my area.  It is the second year that this renowned international lantern festival has appeared here.  The exhibit was created by a talented team of Chinese artisans and technical staff from Sichuan Tianyu, located in Zigong.  It really fills one with awe to walk through this display at night.  What I have shown is only a part of it! I hope you enjoy the photos.

This week we had another fine week at Poets United. Starting out with Sherry's article on poet Donna Donabella, then Sumana's Midweek Motif on Journey, and then Rosemary's fascinating feature on micro-poetry:   Pleasures of the Inbox.   As usual, there is a lot going on here.   Next week will be no exception.   Monday, you will have an opportunity to read an interview with a someone who is very active here at Poets United.  And Wednesday Susan's Midweek Motif will be Saints.

With no delay, let's share poetry.  Share your poem by linking it below. Say hello in comments.  And visit other people who post.  Look forward to reading your poetry!


Friday, October 27, 2017

I Wish I'd Written This

Pleasures of the Inbox 
1: tinywords


the
 librarian
 shakes
 sand
 out
 of
 [...]

-Sally Biggar



Muscle Beach
the effortless lift
of terns

-Bill Gottlieb



a call to prayer
by the sea
the scent of wild roses

-Dan Curtis



the real world
within the real world
tide pools

-Joy Reed MacVane



free Wi-Fi . . .
each to their
own device

-Sam Bateman



Hiroshima Day
hydrangeas
bent low

-Bryan Rickert



a breeze beyond rhetoric rippling meadowgrass

-Matthew Moffett


Like everyone, I'm drowning in emails, but some are welcome. Luckily my Gmail sorts the incomings into categories. Having subscribed to receive tinywords by email, I can see them all together in my 'Forums' box – a small pleasure with which to start my day, or I can save them up and read several at once at my leisure. I usually delete them after that, but I sometimes choose to archive the ones I love the best. The standard is high, and the styles and topics varied. The above are just some I picked at random from the most recent. I'd be very happy to have written any of them.

'tinywords is an international, daily magazine of haiku and micropoetry' says the 'About' section, and adds, 'Our goal is to publish excellent poetry whose ambitions and effects far outstrip its small size.'


It began as a magazine of haiku, but has since broadened its scope. The founder, d. f. (Dylan) tweney is interviewed here about its origin and history. It began as a nice way to use phone texts! (When they were restricted to 160 characters.) This preceded haiku on twitter – it preceded twitter itself – but now the tinywords appear on twitter and there are also some printed editions drawn from the magazine.

Starting in 2001 as a small email list of a few friends, it grew so rapidly that by 2008 it was described by the Haiku Society of America as 'the largest-circulation journal of haiku in English'. This became so overwhelming that it stopped for a while, but then resumed with two co-editors and submissions restricted to the months of February and August.


Contributors range from the inexperienced and unknown to leading lights among contemporary haiku poets. (Mr tweney mentions his gratitude for help from the late Bill Higginson in the magazine's early stages.)


I am delighted to see that there is what I consider a very sensible policy on submissions: while they prefer work not previously published, 'Appearance on Twitter, personal blogs or online poetry discussion forums is no impediment to acceptance'. 

(I keep thinking I must give it a try and submit something some day; but I seldom submit anywhere any more, and so far haven't done so here. I must, I really must. So might you, dear readers, if you're into micropoetry.)


The editors are more interested in good poetry than what does or doesn't constitute haiku, hence the 'broader focus on micropoetry and miniature poetry of all kinds, including but not limited to haiku'. As a reader, I appreciate this! I happen to love both traditional haiku and modern, evolving variations – but above all, I want to read good poetry.

I hope you enjoy these few I've shared with you and are interested enough to read more, and to look at the interview linked above. There's also an interesting podcast interview (by Dave Bonta, of The Morning Porch, who has himself been featured here in the past).




Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Journey


   
    “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu



SOURCE




“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”__ Anna Quindlin, How Reading Changed My Life



       Midweek Motif ~ Journey


Not a single atom in this universe is without a journey. Everything around you including yourself is a wayfarer. Each moment is a journey enriching us with experience.


Share with us those invaluable moments about your tour, trek, voyage, safari, pilgrimage or you might even recount your inner journey.


Even if you are a stay-at-home kind you might open your eyes to the exciting, adventurous, arduous and even traumatic journeys that are taking place all around us and write on any one of them.


A few poems for you:


Up-Hill
by Christina Rosetti

Does the road wind up-hill all the way? 
   Yes, to the very end. 
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? 
   From morn to night, my friend. 

But is there for the night a resting-place? 
   A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 
May not the darkness hide it from my face? 
   You cannot miss that inn. 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? 
   Those who have gone before. 
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? 
   They will not keep you standing at that door. 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? 
   Of labour you shall find the sum. 
Will there be beds for me and all who seek? 
   Yea, beds for all who come.



The Addict
by Anne Sexton

Sleepmonger,
deathmonger,
with capsules in my palms each night,
eight at a time from sweet pharmaceutical bottles
I make arrangements for a pint-sized journey.

I'm the queen of this condition.

I'm an expert on making the trip
and now they say I'm an addict.

Now they ask why.

WHY!       

Don't they know that I promised to die!
I'm keeping in practice.

I'm merely staying in shape.

The pills are a mother, but better,
every color and as good as sour balls.

I'm on a diet from death.


Yes, I admit
it has gotten to be a bit of a habit-
blows eight at a time, socked in the eye,
hauled away by the pink, the orange,
the green and the white goodnights.

I'm becoming something of a chemical
mixture.

that's it!
My supply
of tablets
has got to last for years and years.

I like them more than I like me.

It's a kind of marriage.

It's a kind of war where I plant bombs inside
of myself.

Yes
I try
to kill myself in small amounts,
an innocuous occupation.

Actually I'm hung up on it.

But remember I don't make too much noise.

And frankly no one has to lug me out
and I don't stand there in my winding sheet.

I'm a little buttercup in my yellow nightie
eating my eight loaves in a row
and in a certain order as in
the laying on of hands
or the black sacrament.

It's a ceremony
but like any other sport
it's full of rules.

It's like a musical tennis match where
my mouth keeps catching the ball.

Then I lie on; my altar
elevated by the eight chemical kisses.

What a lay me down this is
with two pink, two orange,
two green, two white goodnights.

Fee-fi-fo-fum-
Now I'm borrowed.

Now I'm numb.


Provisions
by Margaret Atwood

What should we have taken
with us? We never could decide
on that; or what to wear,
or at what time of
year we should make the journey

So here we are in thin
raincoats and rubber boots

On the disastrous ice, the wind rising

Nothing in our pockets

But a pencil stub, two oranges
Four Toronto streetcar tickets

and an elastic band holding a bundle
of small white filing cards
printed with important facts.


Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
               
Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~  Saints 



Monday, October 23, 2017

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ AN UPDATE WITH DONNA DONABELLA

This week, my friends, we are visiting with Donna Donabella, who blogs at  Living From HappinessDonna was away from the blogosphere for a time and, when she popped back up again, I thought it would be nice to catch up with her and see what she's been up to. Let's dive in.





Sherry: Donna, we last talked with you in 2014. Would you fill us in with what is happening for you these days? Maybe you can tell us a bit about your time away from the poetry circuit,  and what brought you back? 

Donna: I retired from education after 30+ years in 2014, and had just started my second blog, Living From Happiness, when last we talked.  And I had begun writing poetry again after a pause of 40 some years.  Living From Happiness has been more a creative writing project these last 3 years.  And my gardening blog, Gardens  Eye View, focused on my gardening adventures.  And it was these gardening adventures that took me away from writing, as I had overdone it in the garden and injured my shoulder.  One of those repetitive injuries that can take a year or more to heal.



Sherry: Oh, I am so sorry to hear that, Donna. We are so happy you have healed and are back!

Donna: So during this physical healing, I was forced away from blogging and writing.  Writing had become a healing outlet for me, so without it I had to find another way to healing.  And so began a spiritual journey where I read, learned, cried, healed, went within and discovered more about myself.  It was a deep healing physically, mentally and spiritually, and I think my poetry now, actually all my creative endeavors, have a different tone.  I reclaimed my power, my truth and my voice in this last year.  




I had given away my personal power, through bad relationships and various jobs, where, as a woman, I had to compromise too much of myself. Thankfully I have been married to an extraordinary man who has helped me heal, and be myself…even like myself as he likes and loves me.  We celebrate our 20th anniversary October 11th.

Sherry: Congratulations to you both! I am so glad the past year has been such a fruitful year for you.

Donna: I wasn’t sure I was coming back to blogging and writing after so long away.  And I was convinced no one would miss me; after all, I have such a small following.  But the death of my Aunt Mary hit me hard.  She was 95, and had been such a big part of my life.  And with her death, the healing I had been doing finally came full circle and my soul poured out many words and 4 poems.  It felt so good and I knew I wanted to rejoin the blogging community, and get serious about this next part of my life’s journey….writing.  I attended a writer’s conference and am working on a project with a blogging friend.  That’s all I can tell about it for now, as we are still in development.  But I will share more as it unfolds.




Sherry: This sounds really good, Donna. We look forward to that. I remember how powerful your poem for your Aunt Mary was. 
  
Anyone who reads your blog knows you are an avid gardener. Your photos are so beautiful, and I especially love your pond.  I remember that you garden for wildlife. Maybe you can tell us a bit about what that involves?




Donna: When I began gardening, I was in love with those pictures of beautiful English gardens and so I created some in my garden.  But I live in an area that has wild areas that are designated “Forever Green" so no one can develop them.  My back yard borders one such area, so we see lots of wildlife.  I learned about this new idea of planting wildlife gardens through blogs, and became quickly interested.  So I started replacing some more invasive non-native plants with plants native to my area.  And I learned about what plants birds, butterflies and pollinators needed, and I was off planting them.




Naturally you need water, so we built a pond to give the birds a bath, and entice the snakes, frogs, toads, dragonflies and others to the garden.  And I seeded a wildflower meadow at the back of our property.  You should see it light up with fireflies every summer.  Part of being a wildlife gardener also involves using no chemicals in the garden, so we use natural remedies and planting methods that work to control garden diseases and issues.  I have organic veggie gardens too.  A passion that has so many rewards.






Sherry: Sigh. It sounds so wonderful. I adore natural areas, and yours is magical.

Donna: It has become a bit much for us now, with my injury, and the upkeep is hard, so it looks more like a roadside with weeds and wildflowers than a garden at the moment.  Of course once you build the garden, the critters just naturally show up.  All are welcome, but learning to live peacefully with all, even when they eat your beans or tomatoes or flowers, is hard.  A great lesson though.  And that is the best part about building a garden that is home to wildlife….you create your own nature reserve.  A perfect spot to find peace, solace and serenity. And my garden is the muse for much of my writing.  



Sherry: You have created a wonderful life. For yourself and the wild creatures. Remind me when it was that you began writing poetry? What do you love about it?

Donna: I began in high school, but it was never encouraged and carving out a career as an educator was first and foremost in my mind.  Then when I was at a crossroads in my career with but a few years left until retirement, my job was cut and I had to find another one in a hurry.  As I was waiting, I ran across a call for poems to be published in a women’s anthology.  A high school classmate entered hers, and I thought, what the heck.  I revisited my high school poetry (which I still had) and found 2 poems I had written about grief when my grandfather and first beloved dog both died within a couple of months of each other.  So I entered both with a couple of tweaks, even though they would only pick one.  To my amazement, the editor wanted both and they were published.  Her words to me were to keep writing, and especially keep writing poetry.

I have found poetry to be a pathway to my soul…my inner self.  It allows me to speak aloud about who I am, what are more core principles, my thoughts, my passions.  Words are constantly forming into lines of poetry that just push themselves out through my brain, my voice, my pen.  They are anxious to sing their own song.  And I have come to realize that this is part of my life’s purpose.  To learn and then teach through my writing, my voice.  It is where the next part of my path is headed now, so I am going along and just letting it flow.




Sherry: Poetry is a journey, for certain. It charts our path quite wonderfully. I was struck, recently, by your powerful poem, "So Far", a remarkable response to what is happening right now, and I would love to include it here, if I may.

How Far


How far can a tree bend
against the fierce howling wind
before it breaks in two.

How deep can my spirit plunge
into the dark depths as it witnesses
these horrors against humanity.

How low can a people sink
in the name of greed and self-servitude
bowing in worship to hypocrisy.

I fear a comeuppance is at hand~mighty~
laying waste before the howling gales of lies
forging a path back to truth and kindness.

My heart is near breaking,
knowing the pain that must be dealt
to bring us back from the brink.

Many spirits will break against these storms
as we swing back along a line of sanity
or some semblance we can salvage.

But without these storms we lose all~
our planet, our humanity,
our very souls!

© Donna Donabella 2017



Sherry: One does wonder how much worse it has to get before humanity, as a whole, wakes up to our reality. Would you choose three more poems to share with us, and tell us a bit about what inspired each one?

Donna: It is hard to choose just 3 but let’s start with one I wrote before my injury.  I was celebrating my blogs second anniversary.  I had been feeling melancholy as life seemed to be standing still, and it seemed I wasn’t moving forward or even sure in which direction I wanted to head.  And I was remembering a happy childhood, wondering can we go back to those times.

Some days I sit with melancholy moods.
Slipping back to yesterdays,
where memories are strongest,
yet so very far away.

And I long for those days,
such an absence,
aching now to regain playful flashes.
  
But they seem gone, those firsts….
riding a bike with no hands
learning to swing to the sky
eating hand churned peach ice cream we just made
Yet so many of these memories flood back almost drowning me.

And like an old friend I visit them,
and all the emotions they bring.
These memories relived, an old black and white movie
scratched, moments fading on the screen.some almost gone now.

Can we ever really relive those first times,
going back to yesterday?
Perhaps we can take up where we left off,
building new memories, no longer standing still.
  
Catching up, no time elapsed in our absence.
Senses renewed and awed, reimagined.
New flashes, forever a part of me.

Like watching a fawn discover a grassy meadow,
running free and wild on fresh legs for the first time.
I travel back to that first tree I climbed so high,
with views still magnificent and full of wonder~even in my absence.
©Donna Donabella 2016
  

My next poem was written right before I took time away from blogging and writing.  I had read a quote from Mary Oliver about the gift of a Box Full of Darkness.  It took me a long time to appreciate what that box full of darkness meant to me and my journey to healing one of those painful old relationships.  It seemed it had come round again needed further work to heal it.  And this poem was just the ticket to that healing.


I open this box again.
Its dark demons still survive there.
The bruises, the slaps, the cuts-
Pain still runs deep in the scars.

You told someone recently you remembered me fondly.
And my snort of derision was a surprise.
Maybe a slap back.
But this box full of darkness has risen again.

No longer all neatly wrapped and stored in the attic of my heart,
Where it had burned a hole.
White hot with searing anger,
With anguish and betrayal.

And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten.
But it no longer defines me.
Abused, Used, Victim!
No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor.
I have risen.  Strong of heart, shame resilient.

And while I may feel some residual pain,
And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,
This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.
One you never knew you gave me,
Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.

And so I keep this box full of darkness
Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,
Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.
© Donna Donabella 2016

Sherry: Donna, this is a wonderful testament to your resilient spirit. You are wise to understand the unexpected gift that box of darkness held.
Donna: This last poem is part of a series I started and hope to finish this year, epistolary poems, based on letters I wrote to a series of prompts.  It was also written last July before my injury.  And it shows how creativity was beginning to take on a very important part of my life.  It was during the healing months that I realized just how important a part of my life it would become….it is an essential part of my core.

You come to me on crayon-colored rainbows
scrawled on envelopes and walls.
You ride on the wind with swings flying high,
and bike spokes pinned with cards, clapping like hoof beats.
You roll down hills laughing so hard
you can hardly breath.
And you plunk down in a meadow plucking yellow and white petals
to the tune of, He loves me, he loves me not!

You are part of my soul.
Maybe its most important part.
You have been with me for all my life.
And you are my saving grace.
You are what makes my heart sing.
I am forever yours.

Now there have been times I may not
have been open enough to hear you,
But rest assured I will not let
Fear, Worry, Doubt and Self-Judgement shut you out.
Your voice will sing to me all my days,
and we can ride the clouds to new adventures!

As we lay under the leaves of maple and oak and ash.
And dream of forts, and pirates and princesses.
Making braids of grass and playing tunes on leaves.
Laughing until we can hardly breathe.

© Donna Donabella 2016

Sherry: I love the image of you laughing under the trees. What else do you enjoy besides writing and gardening?

Recently, after taking a class, I became enthralled with making ‘artsy’ photos using apps.  You can see many of them here.  

Sherry: I have been admiring them since you began posting them. They are so pretty. Softer than photos, a quality I like. 

Donna: The process is really quite addictive….like creating works of art and using the camera and phone as a canvas. 
 




I also love cooking, especially using fresh veggies from the garden, and creating dishes without recipes….just using my sense of smell and taste.  And I have been playing around with making drawings using chalk or watercolors…all creative pursuits.


Sherry: A lovely and loving life, well-lived, my friend. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Donna: Even though I was away for 11 months, you welcomed me back as if I had never been gone.  Gratitude fills my heart for all your warm wishes, and kind words and comments.  There is no safer, better place to share one’s creativity.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. 

Sherry: Thank you, Donna, for this lovely visit. It is a joy to read your poems and gaze upon your glorious garden. We look forward to enjoying your work in the months and years ahead, and are happy you are back.

I feel like we have been sitting for a time in Donna's beautiful garden. I do love visiting the lives of our poet friends, each one's life so intriguing and unique. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!