Winter Trees

Winter Trees

Winter trees have bones,
some strong and straight
others curved and flexible,
some quite ethereal and spiderwebish
resilient in most every kind of weather.
Leafless, naked without their greenery
yet majestic and grounding
inspiring hope for tomorrow,
a tomorrow filled with promise.
Spring is on the way day by day.
Soon winter trees will be clothed again
ready for the dance of awakening.

______________________________
Photo of a winter day, Feb. 2, 2016 (c) Sharon Vander Meer

Something Different

If  you’ve never been to my site before you won’t see anything different, other than the fact I haven’t done much since my marathon poetry writing self-challenge in which I wrote a poem a day from Dec. 1 – 25. I’ve written a couple of other blogs since January 1, but that’s it.

notebooks.jpgIf, however, you are a follower you will note a new look. The “new look” may be new again tomorrow, I can’t say for sure. I’m in flux right now, wanting to write but being frustrated by what to write and who my audience is, or who I think it is. Unfortunately I’m not sure I’ve figured that out yet.

And then I remembered. According to one of those cockamamie tests on the internet, my word for 2016 is Innovative.

With that it mind I decided to think outside the box. Unfortunately someone hid “the box” and I can’t find it anywhere. So here is what I’ve come up with, which applies to any blogger out there who wants to have readership:

  1. Write.

Okay, that’s it. Every day sit in the spot you feel most creative and write. Even when it’s bad writing you’re flexing your brain and developing ideas you can make something of down the road.

I have two almost finished novels. They’re just sitting there waiting. I’m the roadblock to these books being completed. Whether I’m blogging or writing poetry or short stories, or working on a novel, the first step is to write.

In an interview with Noah Charney, Jodi Picoult, whose last seven books have all hit number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, talked about her approach to writing.

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it — when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Discipline leads to success, maybe not Jodi Picoult success, but success at some level. If nothing else there is satisfaction in knowing you tried and knowing you did your best. I’m preaching to me, now, because right at this moment I need a kick in the pants and nobody can give me that other than me or better than me.

Tune in tomorrow for more on my innovative approach to writing and blogging.

 

A Rooster Tale

RoosterWhen I was a kid, we lived in a trailer house on my grandparents’ place. They had a farm with requisite chicken coop, cows, and garden. It was also the residence of the meanest rooster God ever created. It had wild red eyes that glowed in the dark, sleek reddish-brown and dark green feathers, oily with evil.

I hated that bird and was thoroughly terrified of him.

I was about five when the rooster from hell crossed my path for the first time. My brother was six. To this day I believe that rooster lurked in the yard, waiting for my brother or me to come outside. He was a sneaky creature, full of cunning.

Sixty-five-plus years have not dimmed my memory of the terror I felt the first time that cannonball of pure wickedness homed in on me. All I could do was stand there and scream my head off. Fortunately someone, probably my grandmother, came into the yard and scooped him up before he could fly into my face and peck my eyes out! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I swear I can still smell that bird’s chicken yard breath!

For days afterward I wouldn’t leave the safe haven of our house. My parents had little patience with slackers, and threatened me with dire consequences if I didn’t do my chores, which meant at some point, going outside.

With quivering, wet-noodle legs barely holding me up and a belly watery with anxiety, I opened the door carefully, scanned the yard to see if the evil one was anywhere around, then stepped outside, watchful and alert. About the time I started feeling easy in my mind, that foul fowl came cartwheeling right at me, a flurry of feathers churning up dust. An awful squawk raised the hair on my arms and neck. After one breathless second of terror I was off like a shot heading up the steps to the house screaming, “ Mama, Mama, Mama!”

My mother hated that bird almost as much as I did, but she wasn’t afraid of him. She hauled out the broom and went after him with a vengeance. “Shoo, shoo! Out of here or it’s into the pot for you!”

My father didn’t hate the rooster, but he didn’t like the fact that my brother and I were terrorized by something with feathers. Dad told us to yell or throw rocks at the rooster to scare it off. “You’re bigger than that bird, don’t let him scare you.”

As I recall, I wasn’t bigger. In my mind I was about the same size and I didn’t have spurs.

Nevertheless, with my father’s words as a motivator I made up my mind, no crummy chicken-legged piece of poultry was going to keep me prisoner in my own house. My brother and I started carrying a stick or a broom with us when we were outside. The yard became a battlefield, one we defended resolutely, usually with me standing behind my brother as he did battle for both of us.

As it turned out the battle was won by default. One night something got into the hen house and the rooster met its end. I’ve always suspected my dad had a hand in that, but maybe not. Dad insisted it was a fox.

That rooster, as much as I despised him, and my father’s insistence that we couldn’t let a silly bird whup us, taught me a lot about not allowing fear to rule my life.

In 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a speech to Congress:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

There are a lot of roosters in the world, stirring up hatred and violence in every barnyard around the globe. Freedom from fear is something we lack in this anxiety-filled world. We’re afraid to speak out, we’re afraid not to speak out. We’re afraid we won’t have enough money to live. We’re afraid of terrorism – domestic and global. We’re afraid of illness. We’re afraid of death. We’re afraid nobody will like us. We’re afraid we won’t or can’t live up to the expectations of others. We’re afraid to marry. We’re afraid not to marry. We’re afraid our leaders are dolts. We’re afraid our homes are vulnerable to thieves. We’re afraid we are vulnerable to violence. We’re afraid of millions of problems that can arise in an instant over which we have absolutely no control.

The good news is that we have at our disposal two weapons to overcome that fear, much like the stick and the broom we used to defend ourselves against that wild-eyed rooster. We have courage and vision.

It begins with courage based on wisdom and discernment, and is under-girded by a vision of ourselves as winners, not victims. Courage gives us confidence, vision gives us possibilities.

In 2016 be courageous and visionary. Don’t let the roosters win.

___________________

 Updated and reprinted from an opinion piece written by me in the Hermit’s Peak Gazette in January 1999. Thanks, Marylena Melton for sending this to me. Given the state of the world, this seems as relevant today as the day I wrote it nearly 15 years ago. Interestingly the words President Roosevelt wrote 75 years ago resonate as well.

A Rooster Tale – Happy 2016

Happy 2016

 

When I was a kid, we lived in a trailer house on my grandparents’ place. They had a farm with requisite chicken coop, cows, and garden. It was also the residence of the meanest rooster God ever created. It had wild red eyes that glowed in the dark, sleek reddish-brown and dark green feathers, oily with evil.

I hated that bird and was thoroughly terrified of him.

I was about five when the rooster from hell crossed my path for the first time. My brother was six. To this day I believe that rooster lurked in the yard, waiting for my brother or me to come outside. He was a sneaky creature, full of cunning.

Sixty-five-plus years have not dimmed my memory of the terror I felt the first time that cannonball of pure wickedness homed in on me. All I could do was stand there and scream my head off. Fortunately someone, probably my grandmother, came into the yard and scooped him up before he could fly into my face and peck my eyes out! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I swear I can still smell that bird’s chicken yard breath!

For days afterward I wouldn’t leave the safe haven of our house. My parents had little patience with slackers, and threatened me with dire consequences if I didn’t do my chores, which meant at some point, going outside.

Chicken YellWith quivering, wet-noodle legs barely holding me up and a belly watery with anxiety, I opened the door carefully, scanned the yard to see if the evil one was anywhere around, then stepped outside, watchful and alert. About the time I started feeling easy in my mind, that foul fowl came cartwheeling right at me, a flurry of feathers churning up dust. An awful squawk raised the hair on my arms and neck. After one breathless second of terror I was off like a shot heading up the steps to the house screaming, “ Mama, Mama, Mama!”

My mother hated that bird almost as much as I did, but she wasn’t afraid of him. She hauled out the broom and went after him with a vengeance. “Shoo, shoo! Out of here or it’s into the pot for you!”

My father didn’t hate the rooster, but he didn’t like the fact that my brother and I were terrorized by something with feathers. Dad told us to yell or throw rocks at the rooster to scare it off. “You’re bigger than that bird, don’t let him scare you.”

As I recall, I wasn’t bigger. In my mind I was about the same size and I didn’t have spurs.

Nevertheless, with my father’s words as a motivator I made up my mind, no crummy chicken-legged piece of poultry was going to keep me prisoner in my own house. My brother and I started carrying a stick or a broom with us when we were outside. The yard became a battlefield, one we defended resolutely, usually with me standing behind my brother as he did battle for both of us.

As it turned out the battle was won by default. One night something got into the hen house and the rooster met its end. I’ve always suspected my dad had a hand in that, but maybe not. Dad insisted it was a fox.

That rooster, as much as I despised him, and my father’s insistence that we couldn’t let a silly bird whup us, taught me a lot about not allowing fear to rule my life.

In 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a speech to Congress:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

There are a lot of roosters in the world, stirring up hatred and violence in every barnyard around the globe. Freedom from fear is something we lack in this anxiety-filled world. We’re afraid to speak out, we’re afraid not to speak out. We’re afraid we won’t have enough money to live. We’re afraid of terrorism – domestic and global. We’re afraid of illness. We’re afraid of death. We’re afraid nobody will like us. We’re afraid we won’t or can’t live up to the expectations of others. We’re afraid to marry. We’re afraid not to marry. We’re afraid our leaders are dolts. We’re afraid our homes are vulnerable to thieves. We’re afraid we are vulnerable to violence. We’re afraid of millions of problems that can arise in an instant over which we have absolutely no control.

The good news is that we have at our disposal two weapons to overcome that fear, much like the stick and the broom we used to defend ourselves against that wild-eyed rooster. We have courage and vision.

It begins with courage based on wisdom and discernment, and is under-girded by a vision of ourselves as winners, not victims. Courage gives us confidence, vision gives us possibilities.

In 2016 be courageous and visionary. Don’t let the roosters win.

___________________

 Updated and reprinted from an opinion piece written by me in the Hermit’s Peak Gazette in January 1999. Thanks, Marylena Melton for sending this to me. Given the state of the world, this seems as relevant today as the day I wrote it nearly 15 years ago. Interestingly the words President Roosevelt wrote 75 years ago resonate as well.

Gifts of the Magi – 25th Poem of Christmas

Gifts of the Magi

God’s great gift
Inspired newness of life,
Faith-centered, driven by
Trust sparking compassion,
Service, mercy, kindness, and empathy.
One act of goodness
Fosters another and another,
Telling of courage and generosity, and of
Hope for a better world – created
Each day – good deed by good deed.
Magi brought gifts fit for a king
And practical in the way of the time,
Gifts that could be used and shared,
Inspiring all to do the same with gifts given to us.

_________________

Image: www.hqwallbase.net

Christ Child – 24th Poem of Christmas

Ring out the news
Christmas bells ring and chime,
Heralding news, happy and sublime.
Resonating with sounds transcendent,
Inspiring hope and joy, all magnificent.
Sing we now with heaven’s angel throng
This happy news in heartfelt song.
Comes He now, a wee infant heart,
Hearing, seeing, breathing, life to impart.
Immanuel, God with us now and forever,
Leading us to live, laugh, and endeavor,
Declaring faith and joy at the birth of this baby boy.

___________

Image: From the web

Nativity – 23rd Poem of Christmas

Nativity

Noel! Noel! Break the silence of the night!
Angel voices shout to all –
This One comes to bring new light
Into the heart of anyone who hears His call,
Verifying the promises of old:
Into this world would come a child,
To bring change and newness to every soul!
Yes, because of Him we are reconciled.

________________

I am nearing the end of this personal challenge to write an acrostic poem a day from Dec. 1-25 using words and phrases with a Christmas focus. The first line in each sentence begins with a letter that spells out a word, in this case Nativity. It has been meaningful to me, and I hope to people who have read the poems. Thanks for the likes and shares.

The Manger – 21st Poem of Christmas

Mother and Child

 

There He lay in a trough where animals took food.
His place of rest could hardly be described as the best,
Emptied for use as a crib for this inexplicable little babe.
Merciful and mighty? You would never know it.
And why should you? He is born in a stable
Not in the gilded halls of a queen with midwives in attendance.
God came to earth as human as anyone, a child
Endearing to those who claimed him as their own, and yet
Radiating power, bringing kings and shepherds to their knees.

Star of Wonder – 20th Poem of Christmas

Celestial Beauty

Stars, our celestial guides,
Transform the night sky into
A map to places longed for but unknown,
Radiating light so travelers may find their way.
One travels this track in the belly of a maid,
Father Joseph leading the beast of burden
Wending its way to Bethlehem.
Others follow a singular star, searching for a king
Not a child, not a babe in the arms of a tired woman.
Didn’t they hear there would be king? And yet
Each magi kneels and gives gifts to this child
Recognizing the man he would become, wise and wondrous.