Friday, December 20, 2019

Wild Fridays: Deaths and Entrances


This is the Death card from the Voyager™ Tarot (my favourite deck to read with professionally) along with the beautiful image on the backs of these cards, which is a cross-section of our DNA. (Death, it seems, might be encoded into our DNA ... inevitable. Or is it merely change?)

This is not the traditional skeleton figure of most Tarots (wielding a scythe or riding a white horse, depending on the deck) but it does show images suggesting profound grief, finality, and even a hint of terror.

However the Death card doesn't refer to physical mortality; it uses that concept in a symbolic sense to denote the death of an old way of life or an old way of being. Furthermore, the message of the Death card is Rebirth, Transformation. Any drastic change is liable to occasion grief, even when it is self-chosen. We must respect that grief, but we're not supposed to get stuck and wallow in it; we're supposed to come out the other side, into something new. Carrying on the symbolism: we're supposed to be reborn.

And so farewell, 2019

As we come to the end of this year at Poets United, we find ourselves facing the ending of some things about the way we have been, as well as the new beginnings that must follow. We contemplate all this with some grief for what is over, the realisation that such changes are inevitable, and the prospect of an exciting new future.

Above all, of course, we mourn the departure of four of our staff members. I've been researching our early posts for the little History segment I've recently included (see links at top of page). I've been here a long time but wasn't quite in on the beginning, so even though I greatly value Mary and Sherry's contribution to this community, I hadn't realised the full extent of it. Robert Lloyd, who founded Poets United, credited them with being the backbone of it when he was creating and developing it. When he had to leave his own creation after only a couple of years, he left it in their capable hands. It's they who are responsible for Poets United being the wonderful home it has been for us all over the ensuing years. 

I came on staff shortly before Robert left. Mary and Sherry made this newbie very welcome and were unfailingly supportive ever after. I've come to realise that they have gone out of their way to encourage many members of our community who needed a bit of personal reassurance. (If you're a new poet starting out, or one who has worked mostly solitary before, jumping in here can feel daunting.)

Then Susan and a little later Sumana joined our staff, completely aligned with the values we already had, and adding their own unique flavours to the mix. 

All these women have looked after us very well! The fact that each is a wonderful poet in her own individual style points to the diversity and inclusivity of this community – as well as its nurturing effect on our skills, allowing us to grow in our craft. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

I look back now and think, 'How DID they manage to keep going so long?' And doing such a wonderful job while they were at it! Much as we'll miss their guidance, we can't grudge them time to focus more on their own lives and writings.

It was fortuitous that Magaly and Sanaa had recently come on board, bringing enthusiastic new energy. Then we twisted Rommy's arm (very gently ... well actually we didn't even have to) and she joined us. All the staff, including those retiring, were unanimous that she was the right choice. 

Onwards in 2020

In another sense, we're not losing anyone. Our retiring staff members are not resigning from the community as a whole. We'll look forward to seeing them around, just not in the same capacity.

We've been discussing various options as to who does what in future, and decided I'll stick to the Wild Fridays (where you never know beforehand which topic I'll come up with on any particular Friday) while Magaly will look after us on Sundays and Sanaa and Rommy will take it in turns to come up with the Wednesday prompts. It's always been the case that the Poets United team members have each other's backs; so if any of us has an emergency and can't do one of our regular days, we'll yell for help and one of the others will step in.


Elsewhere

Our sister site, 'imaginary garden with real toads', was also started by Robert Lloyd and then handed over in 2011 to Kerry O'Connor, who has run it so brilliantly ever since, with the help of several other wonderful poets. I and many others have loved their very creative prompts and the high calibre of poetry to be found there. 

Coincidentally that too is now coming to an end – not merely a change of staff but a discontinuation. Kerry has announced that the final post there will be on 30th December. 'All good things ...' as they say. I'm sure many will be feeling sad about that, me for one. I always enjoyed playing there as well as here. Many of you have done the same.

Fortunately the site will remain online as an archive. And what a wonderful resource it will be! It has already been a place I've liked to explore when stuck for inspiration. I'm very glad I'll still be able to do that for years to come.

(Following their good example, we're going to be getting our own archives into order in the near future, so they may always be revisited.)

Meanwhile ...

We here haven't quite bowed out of 2019 yet. Magaly has a final Poetry Pantry for you this coming Sunday. Then it's holiday time until January 5th, the first Sunday of the New Year, when we welcome you back again.

Don't be surprised if you see some changes then to the way we look. We've been using this version of Blogger for a long time – and it includes some aspects that aren't even part of Blogger itself, but were brought over from a Yahoo group which our founder Robb Lloyd once administered (the precursor to this community). It's been getting rather clunky behind the scenes; time to update. We have plans to make it sleeker and more pleasing to the eye, while at the same time more navigable: more user-friendly for both staff and participants.

Post-script

How ironic that at this point some of us (I for one) have been having trouble with the last Midweek Motif, unable to leave comments or access people's linked poems. I know several of you have been experiencing similar frustrations. 

I fared a little better on my tablet than my laptop. On the tablet 
I can at least access and read everyone's poems. I still can't leave comments at the PU blog, nor on your poems if you're using Blogger. However, I have been able to comment on Wordpress blogs – so it's evidently a Blogger issue. 

Neither Magaly nor I could find a problem with the html coding, the first place either of us thought to look, nor with Settings etc. We believe it's to do with some updating which we're aware that Blogger is carrying out at the moment, and will shortly be resolved.

Thanks for your patience, folks. Hang in there! 


Note: Deaths and Entrances is the title of a book of poems by Dylan Thomas, published in 1946, focusing on the conjunction of birth and death. (The title poem and others reference World War II, which had recently ended.)



27 comments:

  1. Thanks for your kind words, Rosemary. It sounds like you have exciting plans for 2020 on the site. I look forward to them. Toads will post a final prompt on December 30, and on the 31st, we hope people come back for a final chat with Kerry, Marian and I: a retrospective of our years at Toads. What an amazing journey it has been, on both sites. My poetry and I have grown because of all of you. Hope you and the staff have a wonderful holiday break, and that the Dratted Glitch is gone by the new year! Smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, I second your "Dratted Glitch" be gone wishes!

      Delete
    2. LOL Hope you won’t be disappointed if the exciting changes are largely cosmetic. We won’t be tampering with the intrinsic qualities which make this such a fine community.

      Delete
  2. Death of any sort--including in a tarot deck--seems to spook at first sight, doesn't it? The process shakes our usual and leaves us wondering about tomorrow. Maybe that's the reason why I really like the explanation you've shared about the Death card. It reminds me that change is not true death.

    Endings, transformation, and rebirth burst into the world holding anxiety's hand, but opportunity also gets mixed up in the dance. And I think the latter makes the face of change a wee bit less terrifying. Well, it does for me.

    Thank you for the information, the reflections, and all the rest, my dear Rosemary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "holding anxiety's hand"! How well i know that.

      Delete
    2. Yes, we find change scary, despite being told and indeed being able to observe that it is ‘the only constant’. In hindsight all the changes that have befallen me have been for the best in the long run, even when they didn't seem so at the time. But no need to be anxious re PU changes. It will look rather different while staying essentially the same.

      Delete
  3. The subheads and illustration make this so easy to read, Rosemary. It's a lot of information. It's good to know I can look forward to 1/5/2020 as the opening PU feature of the new year. I'm sad that the Imaginary Garden blog will end this year. But how interesting that PU and IG grew out of the same root! That was/is one mighty strong root. I'm glad a stem or two of the old root still grows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too, will miss the Imaginary Garden... πŸ˜”

      Delete
  4. As of right now, Rosemary continues to have issues commenting. She can read the comments, but can't reply. She's convinced Blogger is possessed (all right, the last bit might've been said by me *cough*).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Magaly. Seems that between the two of us we have successfully magicked it back into working order. If anybody else is still having problems, and you have already tried (a) clearing cache and cookies (b) changing browsers – try again!

      Delete
  5. That is a gorgeous Death card. I rather love the one in my old reliable Robin Wood deck. Changes can be scary, especially when we don't know exactly what's coming next. But that can be thrilling too. I'm looking forward to a good 2020 with the rest of the crew here at Poets United. Thank you all for all you've done to make me feel welcome. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Rommy. Delighted to have you with us!

    (Now let's see if I can post this comment successfully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Changed browser, cleared history, and ...! (Didn't work the first time I tried, but decided to have another go, and so glad I did.)

      Delete
  7. To elaborate – to un-glitch I had to clear my browsing history on both my browsers (Chrome and Safari) on each of my devices, i.e. repeat the operation for each browser on each device) That finally got things working ... except that Chrome on my laptop is very slow. I guess I'm making Safari the default browser now, like a good little Sheeple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. However it wasn't just me who was having trouble, and both Blogger and Chrome are Google products, so I still suspect a wider issue. Hopefully they'll have it handled soon.

      Delete
  8. Okay first of all, this is a STUNNING Wild Friday!😍😍


    It seems unreal and yet here we are at the end of the year. The Death card reminds me that change is constant, it speaks to me of mortality .. letting go of the past and preparing for what is yet to come.

    It came as a shock to me when I first learned that the Imaginary Garden is closing. I remember being invited by Kerry to join back in 2017 and could hardly believe it! It has been an incredible journey and a profound learning experience. Everything that I know is because of the Garden and its dwellers. I literally grew as a Poet there. So naturally, it feels strange but yes, I am grateful that it will remain online as an archive.

    It seems like destiny, because just as I was getting used to the idea of Toads closing, I was invited to join Poets United a few days later! I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, Rosemary and to the rest of the team! I never thought that I would be so lucky! It's truly an honor to work with and write alongside everybody here.πŸ’–

    Wishing you all Happy Holidays! Here's hoping 2020 will be a fabulous year!!🍾🍷

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sanaa.

      I think at the time we invited you, we didn't yet know Toads would be closing but hoped you could manage both, as Sherry has always done, and as Magaly had already begun to do. Now, of course, we are all the gladder to have you, Magaly and Rommy here. You all have many admirers in the Blogosphere.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for this summing up of a wonderful site, and the people behind the scenes. I do not know anything about Tarot cards, but was surprised to learn about the Death card. Now I am more curious about Tarot cards. May this site flourish and may you all have happy, peaceful holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The site will flourish so long as we have enthusiastic participants such as you!

      Delete
  10. Thank you, Rosemary for keeping us up to date~ I hope to attempt writing poetry again in 2020. I have dabbled, but not like before when I was doing prompts here and at the Imaginary Garden. Your posts are always entertain to read and provide a great resource! Thank you~
    I love Tarot! I so, hope you will share some poetic insight here and on Instagram~ Cheers to you and Happy Holidays!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m glad you find the posts entertaining and useful, and very glad we’ll be getting more poetry from you! (Prose is also an option here now.) I’ll be posting more Tarot cards on Instagram before December’s through.

      Delete
  11. I have spent some wonderful years here with you all. Now looking forward to the new year. Thanks for the update Rosemary.
    I just noticed on the top left of this page it says 'Not secure' What might that mean, I wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sumana. Could you please email a screenshot of the "Not secure" message you see? For some reason, it looks secure on my end. Sigh.

      Delete
  12. Oh Wow! Now I'm not seeing it. How strange!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rosemary, i am not too familiar with the use and meanings of the tarot cards. i look at the cards for their illustrations and artistic styles.
    naturally, anyone drawing a Death card would be frightened and anxious! thank you for the explanation of this card as rebirth and change. :)

    Magaly and Team, i am looking forward to the new design of the site. Thank you all, for taking over the reins and running the show.

    Wishing All a Safe and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dsnake1, Tarot cards and I have a similar relationship.

      Thank you so much for your appreciation.

      Delete

This community is not meant to be used in a negative manner. We ask that you be respectful of all the people on this site as each individual writer is entitled to their own opinion, style, and path to creativity.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Archive