Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Forgiveness

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”— Oscar Wilde


“I learned a long time ago that some people would rather die than forgive. It’s a strange truth, but forgiveness is a painful and difficult process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s an evolution of the heart.”— Sue Monk Kidd

Midweek Motif ~ Forgiveness

Sorry is the best word to earn happiness and peace if we are the wrong doer. What if when we are the victim? Is it easy to say, ‘to err is human, to forgive divine?’ Is forgiving someone our weakness or strength? Has the word ever posed any challenge in your life?

We are all ears.

Well, let me tell you secretly my heart sincerely yearns for the nemesis of political crooks.

Here are some Forgiveness poems for you:

He Strained My Faith
by Emily Dickinson

He strained my faith —
Did he find it supple?
Shook my strong trust —
Did it then — yield?
Hurled my belief —
But — did he shatter — it?
Racked — with suspense —
Not a nerve failed!
Wrung me — with Anguish —
But I never doubted him —
‘Tho’ for what wrong
He did never say —
Stabbed — while I sued
His sweet forgiveness —
Jesus — it’s your little “John”!
Don’t you know — me?

a total stranger one black day
by E.E. Cummings

a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me--

who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was

-but now that fiend and i are such
Immortal friend the other’s each

Do Not Be Ashamed
by Wendell Berry

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness,
and they will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will rise
in his evening flight from the hilltop.

The Rest
by Margaret Atwood

The rest of us watch from beyond the fence
as the woman moves with her jagged stride
into her pain as if into a slow race.
We see her body in motion
but hear no sounds, or we hear
sounds but no language; or we know
it is not a language we know
yet. We can see her clearly
but for her it is running in black smoke.
The cluster of cells in her swelling
like porridge boiling, and bursting,
like grapes, we think. Or we think of
explosions in mud; but we know nothing.
All around us the trees
and the grasses light up with forgiveness,
so green and at this time
of the year healthy.
We would like to call something
out to her. Some form of cheering.
There is pain but no arrival at anything.

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

(Next week Sanaa’s Midweek Motif will be ~ A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees )

Monday, October 21, 2019


Today we are visiting another of our new members, Lori Ryan, a fellow Canadian, who blogs at WRITING UNBOUND: a Collection of Words. Lori lives in  Ontario, in eastern Canada. I am so looking forward to getting to know her better! Let's dive in.

Sherry:  Lori, it is so nice to meet another Canadian poet. Tell us a bit about yourself, won’t you? 

Lori: Hello Sherry.  As you mentioned I’m Canadian.  I love living here and have travelled around much of the country.  I love the diversity of Canada both in people as well as landscape, although I could do with a little less of this crazy climate!

I’m married with two children.  They are awesome people and make me laugh all the time.  My kids have a resiliency of spirit and the kindest hearts imaginable.  They make me so unbelievably proud.  As a rule, I don’t share their photos online, but this is one of my favourite pics of them having fun diving off the dock at the cottage. 

I work in publishing as an education resource consultant.  I find books that tie into the Canadian curriculum and make recommendations to schools and libraries.   I feel really lucky because I’m one of those people that loves their job.  The publishing world has definitely changed since I first started… 20 years ago!  I’ve watched the shift from print to ebooks.  I will always be a fan of the printed word but I think there’s room for both. 

Actually, that is why my blog is called Writing Unbound.  I’m not sure I will ever have my poetry published in print so I consider my blog to be a book without binding.  It also playfully expresses the idea that there is so much to write that it’s boundless.  

Sherry: It is boundless indeed. When you look back at your childhood, do you see indications that you feel contributed to your becoming a poet?

Lori: When I was a child I struggled learning how to read.  I was given books that came with a record and a small record player to play them on.  (I still have it actually.)  I remember listening to a book of nursery rhymes; to the rhythm and flow of the writing and the rhyme of the text.  By listening while reading, the words slowly started to make sense to me.  I can still recite all the nursery rhymes by heart.  I take inspiration from children’s literature and nursery rhymes quite often.

Sherry: That is a cool story! Was there someone back then you feel was a significant influence, who encouraged or inspired your writing?

Lori: I had a lot of teachers that supported my writing.  A few submitted my work for competition.  I had short stories and poetry that were selected for school publications.  

I struggled learning how to read; but I also struggled with writing.  The structure of language was a mystery to me.  When I was in Grade 9, my teacher Mrs. Quinlan, pulled me aside, she couldn’t understand why I couldn’t structure a sentence properly.   She worked with me one-on-one to fill in all the gaps I was missing.  She showed me how punctuation can change the understanding of what is written.  How grammar is just as important as the words when trying to convey meaning.   I credit her for instilling in me a love of the written word that would carry me right through University. I still love playing with words and meaning and structure.  Although I quite frequently write poetry without punctuation.

Sherry: This is an example of the lifelong impact a caring teacher has on a child's life. Yay, Mrs. Quinlan.

When did you start writing poetry, Lori? What do you love about it?

Lori: I’ve written poetry since grade school.  One of the first pieces I remember writing was a Christmas poem in Grade 4.   I stopped writing when I graduated University and started working.  You get busy with life, and family, and it seemed I never had time.  And then one day inspiration struck and it was as if the flood gates opened.  I realized how much I had missed writing.  How important it is to me.  How I get a better sense of myself through my writing.  

I write on a variety of topics and in an assortment of styles.  I like trying everything and I’m continually editing. I love getting feedback.  I like finding out what other people see in my poetry because sometimes it’s completely different than what I expect. That, to me, is the best part, because you can never be wrong.  We read ourselves into the words and find connection.   I have a fun side too.  I don’t think all writing needs to be serious, sometimes it’s just for fun, and I love playing around with words that have multiple meanings so things can be read in a variety of ways. 

Sherry: I love it when poetry is fun! Would you choose three of your poems and share them with us?

Lori: I picked three poems and one prose piece… I hope that’s ok. :) 

Find Me: A Free Verse Poem

Free verse is my favourite style of poetry.  Most of my free verse writing ends up having a sort of conversational tone as this one does; where it is me speaking to my reader.   I like the intimacy that it creates.  This type of poetry is also the most personal for me.  It is introspective and emotional.  Generally, I am a very outgoing person, happy, and almost always wearing a smile, but I have a darker side too, and I need moments of quiet to “find me” again. 

It is easy to find me
When I am shining
And radiant
Full of laughter
And smiles
Under the glare
Of the blazing sun

But I need you to find me
In my darkness
When I am quiet
And still
A grain of sand
Amongst a million
Grains of sand
Lost beneath the stars
Can you find me then?

Words: ©2017LCR

Image: CCO

Heavy: A 17 Word Write

I like short writes. I like condensing an idea into a bare minimum of words. This is one of my writes where I play with word meaning.   When something is heavy you think of it as a burden to carry but in this case, when it is felt, love lifts us. 

Love is not light
It has depth
And breadth
A hearty abundance
True love has weight

Words: ©2019LCR

Image: CCO

Poet vs. Fighter: A Structured Write

My children train in Tae Kwon Do.  One evening while I was watching their patterns class it struck me how much fighting and writing have in common.  That we each hold weapons in our hands.  Fighters use their fists to punch, writers use their fists to hold a pen.  Watching the movements of the patterns is like watching poetry; there is a beauty and flow to it.  This piece lent itself well to a back and forth structure, as if watching a sparring match and in the end the roles are reversed.  The poet at the beginning becomes the fighter in the end and vice versa. 

I am the poet
You are the fighter
You are the muse
I am the writer

I am the pen
You are the fist
You are the punch
I'm the flick of a wrist

I am the words
You are the blows
You are immovable
I am what flows
I am the stanza                                                    
You are the stance
You are the kick
I am the glance
I am the laurel
You are the wreath
You are the bite
I am the teeth

I am the scholar
You are the trained
You are the genuine
I am the feigned

I am the sword
You are the steel
You are the hurt
I am the heal

I am the thought
You are the cause
You are the motion
I am the pause

I am the poem
You are the prose
You are the round
I am the close

I am the match
You're the igniter
You are the poet
I am the fighter


Image: Woodcut by Ogata Gekko, 1895

The Way the World Ends: A 100 word story

I write prose pieces as well as poetry.  I’ve always loved short story and I started writing 100 word stories.  I like the challenge to create a mood or evoke a thought in exactly 100 words.  For some reason quite a lot of my ideas hit me while I’m in the shower (most inconvenient time for a writer.) The thought: ‘What would be the strangest way you could imagine the world ending?’ Probably the fastest shower I’ve ever had as I had to get out to write this one down.  Lol.

Nobody expected the world to end quite like thisbecause of an overpopulation of butterflies.  It would be a mass extinction by monarch.  Everyone knew about the butterfly effect.  If a single butterfly flapped its wings it could create a hurricane on the other side of the world.  Well, no one thought about the consequences of a battalion of butterflies all flapping their wings at the exact same time.   The weather was just starting to turn, the wind picking up.  How strange that this would be the way the world would end, not with a bang, but a flutter. 

Words: ©2019LCR

Gif Image: No Claim

Sherry: I love the originality of the idea that the world might end with a flutter. You likely enjoy Magaly's Pantry of Prose every month! Make sure to link. I especially love "Poet Vs. Fighter". It is quite wonderful.

When did you begin blogging, Lori? How has it impacted your work?

Lori: I’ve been blogging since 2013.  It’s basically been a run of trial and error.  Seeing what works and what doesn’t.   I’ve tried to keep my blog as simple and stream-lined as possible.  That’s probably a reflection of my writing as well.  I like it to be simple and to the point.  I have a very conversational tone in most of my writing.  And I wanted my blog to reflect that feeling as well.

Sherry: I think you achieve that very well. I see you have a second blog of book reviews titled Reading Abounds. Scratch a writer, and you will find a voracious reader. Name one book that stands out above the rest, to you. Why do you love it? 

Lori: I read so much, both for pleasure and for work, that I needed a way to catalogue all the titles as well as organize my thoughts on them.  I love so many books for a variety of reasons, but one of the books I love most, and might well be the most influential book I read growing up, is “Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt.  

I think it’s the book’s discussion of immortality that struck me the most.  Given the opportunity, would you want to live forever?   But the problem with living forever is that you no longer participate in life; you’re simply existing, watching as life passes you by.  The world around you changes and you always remain the same.  So while death might be a sad ending it also means that you lived.   As a child, I hadn’t given much thought to death, and I think this book deals with it beautifully.   We are not meant to be everlasting.   

Sherry:  That fact is what makes life so precious, I think. What other activities do you enjoy when you aren’t writing (or reading!)

Lori: I love music.  I listen to almost everything and I sing all the time.  Music, is poetry with sound.   I also play the piano.  I love the water.  It is my element and I swim like a fish.  If I was a mythical creature I think I would probably be a siren.   

Sherry: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us that I don’t know you well enough to ask?

Lori: Three quick facts about me:

1. My favourite character on Sesame Street is Cookie Monster.  
2. I’m a Rock Hound and a Numismatist.
3. Orange is my favourite colour because it is the happiest.   

Sherry: I learned a new word: numismatist, a collector of coins! Cool.

Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United? How did you find us? How do you like us so far? LOL.

Lori: I used to have a profile on Google Plus and I was a member of a few poetry communities there.  After G+ closed I started my poetry blog but I missed the interaction with my fellow poets.  I did a blog search to see if something similar was available on Blogger and Poets United was the second result that came up in my search.  I must admit to having watched the interaction between poets for awhile before joining.  I was very impressed by the writing and the engagement between poets; as well as the variety of prompts that were offered.  I am so very happy to have found you.  Thank you for having me. 

Sherry: We are happy you found us, kiddo. Keep coming back. Thank you for this very lovely visit!

Well, my friends? We hope you enjoyed this wonderful chat. Next week will be my last Monday feature at Poets United. Mary and I will be sharing a poem and some thoughts with you, before we hop on our brooms and fly away! We hope you will stop by and say hi.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Poetry Pantry #497

Chestermans sunrise

The Wild Pacific Trail

The Broken Group Islands from the Wild Pacific Trail

Wickaninnish in Blue

Chestermans looking towards Catface and Lone Cone

Menina and me

Cox Bay

Tonquin Beach

Chestermans sunset

Happy Sunday, friends. Today I am sharing a few photos to give you an idea of the spectacular beauty in which I am so fortunate to be living. There is so much inspiration here for creative folk, with which the village abounds: writers, painters, photographers, sculptors, carvers, dreamers - all gather here and feast their senses in this dramatic and ever-changing landscape.

Menina is a friend's dog; I walk her on the beach often, since I am so bereft, living as a dogless person, that I have to borrow dogs. Smiles.

Our countdown to the end of October is upon us. It feels surreal that this is my next-to-last Pantry. Be sure to scroll back if you missed Friday's feature: Magaly hosted one of her interactive Moonlight Musings, on the topic of change. Smiles. Plenty of that around!

On Monday, we will get to know Lori Ryan a little better, in my Life of a Poet series. Do stop by and leave her some words of welcome to our community. On Wednesday, the theme of Sumana's Midweek Motif will be Forgiveness. We look forward to reading your poems in response.

And for my final Friday feature, at the end of the week, I am showcasing British Columbia spoken word maestro Shane Koyczan, in what is perhaps his most popular poem: To the Bullied and Beautiful. We hope you enjoy it.

For now, it is Sunday. Coffee, hot, poems, at the ready. You know what to do! Let's dive in!