Monday, November 30, 2015


This week, my friends, we are pleased to bring you an interview with Toni Spencer, who blogs at  kanzen sakura. Toni has a very interesting story, being a Southern belle with a love of all things Japanese. Pull your chairs up close. As this is the South, there is the scent of magnolias in the air, and we are on a wide covered porch, sipping sweet tea.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Poetry Pantry #280

Photos Taken in the State of Virginia
by Toni Spencer


Green Forest


Trees and Sky

Winter Clouds

Hello Friends!  Hope everyone is doing fine and is ready to share some poetry with us today!  Can you believe it is almost December?   I haven't been around much in the blogosphere this week due to celebrating Thanksgiving; but I am hoping to get back into the swing of it now!

Today's photos are shared by Toni Spencer (Kanzensakura) who Sherry has just interviewed.  The interview will be published tomorrow here at Poets United, so be sure to stop back and learn more about one of our newer posters.  Always fun to get to know some behind-the-scene details of people's lives, I think!

Did you read Rosemary's feature this week on "I Wish I'd Written This?" She shared a most excellent poem by Tanya Levy.  It is called "I Trust My Truth."  I really think some of the best poetry is shared by the un-well-known poets in the 'sphere,' and Tanya's poem is one of them.  Take a look.

Be sure to stop back on Wednesday as well.  Susan's prompt for Midweek Motif is "Energy - Vitality."  Doesn't she come up with wonderful ideas to challenge us?  I think so.  Smiles.  And I love reading the poems that people come up with.

With no further delay, let's share poetry.  Link your ONE poem below. Stop in to comments to say hello.  And enjoy each other's poems.  I will see you all on the path!

Friday, November 27, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

I Trust My Truth
By Tanya Levy

I trust my truth

Even if my truth goes against the group

I trust it

Even if my truth allows a chance to grow into the unknown

I trust it

Even if I am off center and need to ground again

I trust it

Even if I keep it to myself

I trust it

Even if I shout it from the mountaintop or write it upon a page

I trust it
When I honour my intuition it allows my truth air to breathe

When I honour my intuition I find my own center

When I honour my intuition I can be totally myself

Vulnerable and open in each moment
I release what is not my own

I allow myself to remember

I am born of stars and moonbeams

Soil touches my feet and leaves sprout in abundance

Balls of blessed energy and helpers of all dimensions surround me
I remember to trust my truth

As it flows in abundance in all directions and is trusted by all elements

I let my truth out to breathe and leap to the heavens

So healing can get through on earth
I remember to remember

All the things Sacred 

All the things known and unknown

All the things written upon skin, sinew, heart tissue

Tongue and teeth

All the things written bone on bone

All the things felt in our tissue

All the music that sings upon the wind

And settles upon the water

All the words of the animals and songs of the birds

All the messages coming to me from all energetic beings

All that is, was and will be
My truth is universal, sacred, and personal

Known and unknown

Mysterious and hidden in plain sight

Held within one raindrop and written in each

Tree trunk

In each blade of grass

Each leaf that falls

I trust my truth for it speaks

Most loudly in the silence

And most deeply in the heart

© Tanya Levy 
September 24, 2015

When I selected this poem, the terrorist attacks in Paris had not yet happened. In the light of them, and their aftermath, it seems now more important than ever to follow our own truth, not a received truth imposed by others (not indoctrination, not brainwashing, not public opinion, etc.). 

Tanya Levy is a counsellor, a writer and a photographer. She says she enjoys taking pictures of heart-shaped clouds, nature and light; and that, from the age of two, she had a journal and pen in her hand – which has not changed. Known for humour, sensitivity and passion, she also has a love of signs and synchronicity. 

You can find her taking random sky photos in shopping marts and writing poetry on coffee shop napkins, or at her facebook page. Also she has recently opened an etsy shop.

I know her online, through a facebook poetry group. She writes in various styles and forms, including micropoetry. 

Some of her longer poems, like this one, are also meditations. I appreciate this one in both ways, and enjoy the powerful use of repetition. She also creates pieces which are intended specifically as meditations. This photo of her, with a radiant smile and the light above her, seems very appropriate! 

You can hear her speaking some of her work on Soundcloudor on YouTube. 

I enjoy her light-filled photos too –

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Survival

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. 
All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, 
to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.” 
― James Baldwin

*** *** ***

“. . . and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive” 
― Audre Lorde
The Black Unicorn: Poems

Midweek Motif ~ Survival

Breaking the cycle of violence 
against women and girls.  Stopping violence altogether.

Today, I am thinking of the ones who 
don't survive.  Of the ones who do.
 Of surviving  huge violence and 
violence others might perceive 
as small.   I want to write,  but how 
to take one event and emotion
 from among so many that 
stuff up our mouths?  

Your challenge: Speak about survival so that others may listen.  Write a new poem because that is what we do. 

*** *** ***

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 Energy, as in Vitality)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Life of a Poet ~ Laura Bloomsbury

Today, my friends, we are flying across the Pond to visit Laura Bloomsbury, in London, England. Laura writes at Tell Tale Therapy, and you likely have read some of her poems in recent weeks. I wanted to stop by and let her know how happy we are she found Poets United. I am pretty sure we will be arriving right at tea-time, so let's all share a pot of Earl Grey tea, while we chat. There is bound to be a crackling fire against the November chill, which will be most welcome. If there isn't, we will invent one, because we can do that, here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Poetry Pantry #279

Photos of Central London, England

by Laura Bloomsbury

Westminster - Sunset

London Skyline - River Thames

Trafalgar Square 

Pageantry - Horse Guards - Parade

City Hall & Tower Bridge, London

St. James Park

Red Bus & Flowers

Good day, Friends! Hope all is well with everyone.  We just had our first winter storm of the season, and quite a storm it was indeed.  It is beautiful outside, but still.....I am not a fan of the cold and the driving.  I am sure that some of you shared this storm with me too.  

Today our photos of Central London come from Laura Bloomsbury who is one of our newer regulars.  Thank you, Laura, for sending such a unique and beautiful collection.

And, following the Poetry Pantry on Monday Sherry will be featuring an interview with Laura Bloomsbury.  Please visit tomorrow and find out more about her!  I think you will enjoy.....

This week Susan has "survival" as the theme for Midweek Motif. I think this is particularly apt due to some of the events occurring in our world today.  But then again there are so many ways of thinking of 'survival, and you have a few days before Wednesday to cogitate.  Smiles.

If you missed The Living Dead post on "Ithaca" by C.P. Cavafy,  please scroll back and take a look. Cavafy is a most interesting poet.

With no further delay, let's share poetry. Link your poem using Mr. Linky below, say hello in the comments,  and then visit the poem shares of others.  Come back often to see who else has linked.  Be sure to comment back to those who visit you!  See you on the trail.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

By C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933)

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

C. P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. ed. G.P. Savidis. Rev. ed. Princeton University Press 1992.

This poem has been variously translated, but the variations are often slight and subtle. It's the same source material after all. Obviously this is the translation I like best, but I can't comment as to linguistic accuracy. My choice is a subjective matter of my own poetic sensibilities. It's worth listening to the poem on YouTube to experience it that way. Tom O'Bedlam does a nice job of it with the above wording, but I think it pales beside Sean Connery's great voice and delivery (with background music by Vangelis and images of Greek artefacts and scenery) albeit in a version not exactly the same as the above.

The Wikipedia article about Cavafy (see link on his name, above) gives us a handy prĂ©cis of this poem:

In 1911, Cavafy wrote Ithaca, inspired by the Homeric return journey of Odysseus to his home island, as depicted in the Odyssey. The poem's theme is that enjoyment of the journey of life, and the increasing maturity of the soul as that journey continues, are all the traveler can ask for. To Homer, and to the Greeks in general, not the island, but the idea of Ithaca is important. Life is also a journey, and everyone has to face difficulties like Odysseus, when he returned from Troy. When you reach Ithaca, you have gained so much experience from the voyage, that it is not very important if you reached your goals (e.g. Odysseus returned all alone). Ithaca cannot give you riches, but she gave you the beautiful journey.

I have been having internet access problems, so will leave you to find out more about this poet yourself if you wish, at the link on his name above. But can't resist commenting that the following is interesting (he was a cousin to us bloggers and chapbookers!):

During his life, he consistently refused to formally publish his work and preferred to share them (sic) through local newspapers and magazines, or even print them out himself and give them away to anyone interested.

He is well and truly published posthumously! Books by and about him 
at Amazon run into many pages.

A very full collection of his writings appears at the official website of 
the Cavafy Archive.

Poems and photos posted to 'The Living Dead' for purposes of study and review remain the property of the copyright holders.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mercy

(. . . because this song insisted on being included.)

“The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; 
the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, 
where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.” 
― Sue Monk KiddThe Secret Life of Bees:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.

Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.  - Gilbert K. Chesterton

Midweek Motif ~ Mercy

St. Francis in his famous prayer-poem said "where there is injury let me sow pardon."  

Do we, can we, should we?  

If I had the power to be merciful on a grand scale, I would take in cities of refugees and make sure people who worked all their lives were financially secure to retire and . . . .  I would be the mouse taking the thorn out of the lion's paw.   If only.

Your Challenge: Write a new poem on 
an experience of mercy.  

(Would you believe I wrote this prompt and the next one 
before the attacks in Baghdad and Paris?  
Walk in safety, Poets United, and 
as for words?  Don't hold back.)

I am not one of those who left the land 
 to the mercy of its enemies. 
 Their flattery leaves me cold, 
 my songs are not for them to praise.  - Anna Akhmatova

                        Let’s say it’s half a century later.

                        Let’s say it’s never too late.

                        Let’s say Skull Valley.

                        Let’s say.

                        Let’s say it’s half a century later.
                        Let’s say it’s never too late.
                        Let’s say Skull Valley.
                        Let’s say.
Time has no mercy. It’s there. It stays still or it moves.
And you’re there with it. Staying still or moving with it.
I think it moves. And we move with it. And keep moving.

Eleven years old and soon to be in fifth grade. That’s time.
Boys’ time. Who knows what time it is but them. Eternally.
No one knows time better than they. Always and forever.

Our family. Mama, me, Angie, Gilbert, Earl, Louise.
Kids. Daddy working in Skull Valley for . . .
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE at the Poetry Foundation.)

(This song insisted on being included, too.)

*** *** ***

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

*** *** ***

(Next week, November 25th, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  Find Information HERE and many other places including Wikipedia.  I just read about Sheroes, a cafe near the Taj Mahal run by victims of acid attacks. Let's make the theme, the next Midweek Motif SURVIVAL.     Thanks, Susan)

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