NaPoMo poetry party.4


DanielaElza-cropped-Wendy D Photograpy

It’s my pleasure to welcome Daniela Elza to our little gathering. It amazes me how it is possible to create online relationships, and I appreciate ours. It’s been years since I met you in person, just once, at a reading at the Okanagan Regional Library when you launched your first poetry collection. You are a friend, inspiration and encouragement to me.

I appreciate the considerable depth of your responses to the three questions that are becoming our unifying party chatter here. Thank you for that.

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Daniela: The quieter version of life that leads to the quieter version of me has always taught me that there’s so much wisdom there. That I’m wiser than I think, if I can still myself long enough to listen. It takes getting very still, very quiet. Now the whole world is cooperating with me to accomplish this. All my life I’ve fought hard to earn this quiet time. Now everyone says stay home, be a writer-in-residence. The world has also gotten quieter. A place where we can look into the mirror of this still surface the way we look at our reflections in a pond. And see what a mess we have made of the world. Hopefully (yes, I am an incurable optimist), hopefully, we will change a few things in our lives to become more sustainable and better stewards of this planet. It’s telling us to shape up. It’s teaching us that our reckless lives will lead to lots of misery, migration, and epidemics. If you look at what the experts are saying, you will see how we are bringing this upon ourselves. That means we can also choose to change. We have the knowledge. This quiet version of us hopefully will teach us how to also have the will and commitment to accomplish this.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?
Daniela: I am spending it on writing, connecting with friends with whom I’ve been planning to hang out over the last 6 months, on submitting the submissions I couldn’t get to in the last three months, on playing games with my son (who is trying to finish his second year projects at Emily Carr University from home), we are back to having dinners together, playing scrabble, and listening to podcasts with popcorn together. I am spending it on learning to do yoga from home, since my yoga studio (after 25 years in the community) closed its doors forever after March 16. I had been going there for over half of the time they have existed. Now I’m rallying a few friends to get into the habit of doing yoga at home. Once I commit to that, and get the teaching online up and running, I will feel more anchored in my routines. After more than 50 hours of screen time teaching and prepping last week, I am also realizing there there is such a thing as screen hangover. Going back to reading the books that I’ve been waiting to read might just be what I need more of right now.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?
Daniela: Today I cracked open a box of 40 copies of my brand new book. Held the first copy in my hands. I didn’t have to even give my signature to the Purolator delivery man. He said he just had to be sure it’s me (no touching anything). How did he know it was me? I have no idea. But I must be doing something right if it’s easy to tell, just by looking at me in my grungy grey writing sweater and yoga pants.

Daniela Elza’s poetry collections are:

the broken boat (Spring, 2020) preorder now at
http://www.mothertonguepublishing.com/page22/2019-new-books.html
milk tooth bane bone
(Leaf Press, 2013)
the weight of dew  (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2012)
the book of It (iCrow Publications, 2011)
website: http://strangeplaces.livingcode.org/

Your beautifully crafted poem winter light resonates with me. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. And hearty congratulations on the arrival of the broken boat.

Blessings and good health,

Lesley-Anne

winter light
~ daniela elza


how harsh  our winter  is
      on the thin skin of  light
          I pick up    every morning 

to carefully     carry  across.

ice on the pond      in the backyard 
         you put your foot    down
                the morning   fractures.

as days   move through us
         I can never  tell
                where  the surface is

still frozen    where it thaws 
       with a   warm    undercurrent.
                and then     there are 

the words       we throw.

our    son     old enough now
       crouches        on the edge
            picks up a shard.      aims.

pieces glide    down the length 
         of us.     words shatter 
                 on our frozen faces.

on this pond we like to 
   play   as shafts of    light
        pierce   the cold breath of 

the afternoon.      the four of us
      over winter water  and the fear 
              of shadows on ice

what ice can    hide
    what we do    when we pick it up
         in the splintered light.


NaPoMo poetry party.3


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Sally Quon is joining us today from Kelowna, British Columbia. Sally is a writer, photographer (see the feature image above), and self professed dirt road diva. Sally’s essays and  accompanying photos at Featherstone Creative are insightful, and genuine. Welcome to our poetry party, Sally!

You can experience more of Sally’s creative work by following these links;

Instagram:  @sallyquon

Blog:  Featherstone Creative

These are unique times for us all, and perhaps even more so for those with the sensibilities and perceptions of a creative. So I’m wondering, Sally, if you might give us a window into how today looks for you by answering these three questions?

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Sally: There has been a lot of “white noise” in my life.  By eliminating that which isn’t necessary, I have more room to appreciate that which is.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?

Sally: Examining my priorities.  Deciding what and with whom I want to invest my time.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Sally: I received an Honorable Mention for a short Creative Non-Fiction piece.

That’s a wonderful bit of good news…congratulations! Thank you again for being here today, and for sharing your lovely poem.

Blessings and peace,
Lesley-Anne

The Eyes of a Child

I close my eyes and picture
places I once was –
the streets where I grew up,
the steps behind the church,
the woodpile where I used to hide
my cigarettes.

Are they still there?

Years between spaces,
sand-worn with age,
polished beyond recognition.
A glimmer, maybe,

like hope.
Like thinking somewhere out there
things are what they were.
Another child’s eyes
will widen to see
the mice in the shed,
the perfect nook in the crab apple tree,
the brook that used to flow
behind Charley Shipley’s house.

There was a game we used to play
—  hidden treasure.
My sister and I would hide things,
each for the other to find.
Silver coins and bangles
beads from our mother’s chest.

I wonder if we found it all?
Or if something was forgotten,
left waiting all these years?
Can you imagine,

just for a minute,

to be a child
discovering long-lost treasure?
A Spanish bracelet, or
that worn-out exercise book

filled with my lost poems.

 

 

NaPoMo poetry party.2


Welcome back to the party.

Today’s guest is Richard Osler from Duncan, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. His blog Recovering Words is a wonderful depository of poetry, and published frequently.

Richard borrows the words of his mentor Sir Laurens van der Post when he says he lives his life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird. From business journalism with the Financial Post, to financial analysis, money management and back to words as a poet and as a facilitator of poetry workshops and retreats, describes the richness of Richard’s life so far.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, my husband Bob and I were planning to join Richard in Umbria, Italy, for a 10 day poetry retreat. This too is paused.

Richard la Romita 2018

I’m inviting each guest to consider these three questions;
1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?
3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?

In response Richard says this;

In this time of quiet I quiet down inside poems, gardens and an evening fire’s burning eye. And I come back up to the fires burning cold to the touch in the poetry inside my library and allow more time to be curious about the poems that burn me to the quick. And today on the phone with a friend I put him on speaker on my smart phone so I could talk and click the wonder of the sunlight on two yellow roses in a vase on the altar in my bedroom. Yellow light on yellow shouldn’t be a marvel should it? Yet, I tell you, it was. It was.

The poem Richard has chosen to share today is First and Last.

Thanks so much for being with us here today, Richard.
Blessings and peace,

Lesley-Anne

First and Last

 

Somewhere a small boy, already poised
to be something foreign even to himself
stands robed in front of an altar – the wind,
the rain, the wild hewn out of it –  and sees there
a symbol made proud with adze and chisel
from the birch planks it rose from – Ω , omega.
And he knows it, end letter in the Greek alphabet, last.
But paired on his tongue with ΑAlpha and he knows
it too. Beginning letter, first. Α Ω. A hierarchy.
First and last. Not yet confused with the teaching –
the first will be last and the last will be first.
But first and last wedded to become God.
This metaphor raised on an altar made
from stuff of air and ground, the “this is really that”,
and why, now, this memory, as down-under forests
burn and fall, of these names he used for God: Α Ω.

Richard Osler, November 11, 2019

NaPoMo poetry party.1


Back story

Yesterday a friend reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to share some poetry on his lit blog. Rob said he’s planning to host a full month of guest poets on his long time blog in celebration of National Poetry Month 2020.

Yes, I said. And as I looked at what poems I might send to Rob, I felt a tiny shift in me that felt a wee bit like I mattered again in the world (cue all the feelings). And then I began wondering how I might be part of a ripple effect within my own creative community. Bringing us here: day one of this NaPoMo poetry party!

Please say hello to our first guest and my friend, Anne Linington. Anne and I met through Faithwriters, an online writing community in 2006, and have continued a virtual friendship every since. Anne is a lay minister (Reader) with the Church of England, and lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight. Anne reads her poetry at open mics, and leads a monthly poetry group at Carisbrooke Priory.

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Before you share your poem Anne, I’d like to ask you 3 questions, questions I will be asking each one of our poetry party guests:

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Anne: The importance of structure for the day which will be useful as we head to retirement.

2. We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Having been given this gift of more time, what are you spending it on?
Anne: Sharing more of my writing, not necessarily new material, but older articles and poetry.

3. What is one surprising thing that happened today?
Anne: I offered to share my seventeen years experience of “Contemplative prayer” with others via Facebook.

Thanks for starting us off so well, Anne, and for sharing your beautiful gift and heart.
Blessings,
Lesley-Anne

 

The Plough

How could I have known
When I opened the creaking gate
to the field of my life,
And invited you in
To do the necessary work,
That your activity would be so painful
And yet ultimately
Bring about a harvest?

Setting your plough
To dig down deep
To turn over
And break up
Almost touching the deep bedrock
Of my soul
Revealing me in all my created
Rawness.

Leaving me exposed
Rich pickings for hungry gulls
Whilst all that I had previously
Thought worthwhile
Is torn from its root
Dies
And is re-interred
In the soil
Of my life

Now I lie open and naked
As my neat furrows are
Rained upon
Reduced
Frozen
Broken down
Emptied of all former life
Waiting

Then one day
The returning sun of your love
Gently warming
O’er lengthening days
Begins my re-awakening

Precious seed is sown
In prepared ground
Watched over
Anticipated
And the Autumn pain
Brings life
And hope.

Anne Linington ©

What is Asking to be Looked At


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You are turning away again,

you know you are.

Call it what you will –

balancing the check-book, work,

sock-matching-sock tucked one inside the other,

there, there, almost done.

You check your email often,

tell yourself surely there is more,

something else that needs tending.

 

Meanwhile, right there,

just outside the glass and

watching with shy eyes from the shadows

of the old yew that needs cut back again

to let in the light, there is something –

asking to be looked at,

asking to be spoken.

 

It will not be revealed without tenderness.

It will not scream for your attention

or grab your knee like your brother used to

creeping down the stairs

and crawling under the Yamaha while you

repetitiously practiced scales.

This will be a slow unveiling.

 

Go outside.

Stand very still.

Wait. Listen. Ask.

Maybe now you will say

warm breeze, or good morning,

or sunshine on opening tulip. Then slowly, tenderly

you might rename each thing, one by one by one,

a crescendo of words pouring from your lips, glorious and unending…

and there will be no pain as your heart rips open.

 

LAE2017

Monday poem 2017.8


Dry-Bones

1. For the paradox of wandering

in a mapped landscape,

for my half-blind eyes

and Your tiny blinding light,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

2. For the altered state of

ice over lake water, the kindness

of snow on snow on snow covering

a multitude of sins,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

3. For the cravings of knowledge

and the fear of the unknown,

for all that is or will be

and all that never will be so,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

4. For endings of childhoods

and each best loved dog,

the incremental demise of body and mind

that You say one day will rise,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

5. For closed doors

and open roads,

for edges of the wild world

and the nothing that is everything,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

6. For this moment, this chair,

fingers synapsed and sure,

breath, room, silence,

Your imagined and almost certain presence,

I give you thanks, Oh Lord.

LAE2017

Friday Poem 2017.7


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The heart,

always the heart. Those matters

of heritage, lifestyle,

and circumstance.

We make promises

and say what we mean

when we first say it.

Forever after we are somewhat unsure;

Did I say always? Sometimes?

Yes, I will walk each day,

eat more raw broccoli

and taste collard greens.

Yes, we will be kinder to one another, practice

lightheartedness, and forgetfulness.

By now some arteries are permanently closed,

but collaterals may grow, who knows.

Damage is indicated by various dashed lines

on the cardiac print-out. Your family doctor

will interpret these with you, and review

your wellness plan.

Blockages, self-righteous debates,

where to win feels like death by drowning;

selfish for air we grasp at anything.

How much tissue

has been greyed out

where once bloody and vital?

LAE2017