A Poem for a Thursday #59

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Clive James. the writer, broadcaster, poet, and literary critic, died a few days ago. I thought this was a good time to share one of his poems.

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I'd like to write your name
On the palm of my hand, on the walls of the hall
The roof of the house, right across the land
So when the sun comes up tomorrow
It'll look to this side of the hard-bitten planet
Like a big yellow button with your name written on it

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I'd like to write some lines
In praise of your knee, and the back of your neck
And the double-decker bus that brings you to me
So when the sun comes up tomorrow
It'll shine on a world made richer by a sonnet
And a half-dozen epics as long as the Aenid

Oh give me a pen and some paper
Give me a chisel or a camera
A piano and a box of rubber bands
I need room for choreography
And a darkroom for photography
Tie the brush into my hands

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I'd like to write your name
From the belt of Orion to the share of the Plough
The snout of the Bear to the belly of the Lion
So when the sun goes down tomorrow
There'll never be a minute
Not a moment of the night that hasn't got you in it. 

Have You Got a Biro I Can Borrow?
Clive James

Visit Brona to read another poem today.

A Poem for a Thursday #58

Photo by Denis Chick on Unsplash

Do you have the urge to travel? Do you want to escape from everyday life and have new adventures? Then you will relate to this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The railroad track is miles away,
   And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
   But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
   Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
   And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
   And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
   No matter where it's going.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Brona shared a poem this week as well.

Winter Plans

The days are dark and cold now. At least fifteen layers are required in order to spend an extended time outdoors. Soon the world will be covered in snow and ice. I'll take it. Snow and ice are better than heat and humidity any day. However, even I agree that winter needs some fun to brighten the long stretches of cold. Here is my list of things to improve any winter.

Hot chocolate preferably with marshmallows. Not the stuff from a packet but the good hot chocolate made with cocoa and sugar and a bit of time.

Ideally, you will be drinking your hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire in your fireplace.

Of course, you should also be reading a book. Winter is the perfect time to read that huge, chunky book you have been meaning to get around to. War and Peace, Middlemarch, a Dickens novel; which shall it be?

If you are anything like me you have a selection of craft projects you started last winter and never finished. Now is the perfect time to finish some of them. Or, alternatively, start yet more projects that will never be finished.

Bake. Fill your house with the warm scents of ginger and molasses, pumpkin, apples, fresh-baked bread hot from the oven.

Embrace the layers. Find the coziest sweater, the softest blanket, the warmest slippers, and just revel in them.

Go for a walk in the snow. Ideally, this should be done while it is still snowing. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Enjoy the muffled silence of a snowy world. Flop down in the snow and make a snow angel. Start a snowball fight.

Go sledding. It is guaranteed to warm you up and make you feel like a kid again. Feel free to be surprised at just how exhausting it is. Was that walk back up the hill so steep when you were younger? Never mind. Jump on the sled and leave your cares, and age, behind.

Go ice skating.  This should be done on a frozen pond but if that isn't available a man-made, outdoor rink will do. Fall down and get up again. Laugh. Admire all the cute little kids who are way better at skating than you will ever be.

Play board games, cribbage, Scrabble, and any other game of your choice. Long evenings give you plenty of time.

Learn a new skill. Have you always been interested in drawing, wood carving, photography, knitting? Whatever your interest is, winter evenings are the perfect time to watch a few tutorials and get a start on making your interest a reality.

Organize; that cluttered closet, those overstuffed bookshelves.

Plan for that next vacation, that house renovation, that party. Whatever makes you happy.

Admire the beauty around you. It is there even if it is not as obvious as the lush, summer beauty. Admire the beauty of a snowflake. Be in awe of the stark branches of tree against an ice-blue sky. Laugh at the antics of birds fighting over the seed you scattered in front of your window. Marvel at their colors against the snow.

Drink tea, read books, be happy.

A Poem for a Thursday #57

Faith Shearin is an American writer who has published five volumes of poetry. She won the May Swenson Award. I didn't find much information about her but I like this poem.

They are taking so many things with them:
their sewing machines and fine china,

their ability to fold a newspaper
with one hand and swat a fly.

They are taking their rotary telephones,
and fat televisions, and knitting needles,

their cast iron frying pans, and Tupperware.
They are packing away the picnics

and perambulators, the wagons
and church socials. They are wrapped in

lipstick and big band music, dressed
in recipes. Buried with them:  bathtubs

with feet, front porches, dogs without leashes.
These are the people who raised me

and now I am left behind in 
a world without paper letters,

a place where the phone
has grown as eager as a weed.

I am going to miss their attics,
their ordinary coffee, their chicken

fried in lard. I would give anything 
to be ten again, up late with them

in that cottage by the river, buying
Marvin Gardens and passing go,

collecting two hundred dollars. 

My Grandparent's Generation
Faith Shearin

Brona has shared a poem this week.

On Being a Bad Mom

When my daughter left for the bus this morning at 6:20 it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 Celsius). She was wearing a sweatshirt. And her hair was wet. I am pretty sure that makes me a bad mother.

 Have any of you ever tried to convince a 14-year-old girl to wear something she does not want to wear? It is an exercise in futility and not the way I felt like starting my morning. I shrugged my shoulders and let her go. She was going to be cold but maybe, just maybe, if she was cold enough she would wear a coat the next time. (Probably not, but I live in hope.) The bus came about two minutes later and we both went on with our days but it got me thinking.

Sometimes being a bad mother is the best way to be a good mother. Whether or not to wear a coat on a cold morning is not the biggest issue in the world but learning to make decisions and deal with the consequences is. We spend our children's early lives making decisions for them. We decide what they should eat, what time they should go to bed, and yes, what they should wear. We decide because trusting a two-year-old with those decisions is just plain foolish. However, sometimes, as parents, it can be hard to stop making the decisions. After all, we do usually know better. We see the mistakes coming and we just want to protect our kids. But there comes a time when we have to stop micromanaging our children's lives and allow them to manage them.

It is hard. Not because I want to continue making all those decisions but because habits are hard to break. I have been a decision-making mom for 19 years. I can frequently do it better, reach conclusions faster, and analyze the situation more accurately than my kids can. That is what life experience gives you. But what I am trying to give my kids is their own life experience.

I want them to be strong. I want them to make their own decisions. I want them to take responsibility for those decisions. I want them to do the scary things. I want them to push themselves.

I want them to wear coats when it is cold.

I am a bad mom because it is the best way I know to be a good mom.

A Poem for a Thursday #56

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash
There is one simple criterion for me to choose a poem. Does it make enough of an impression for me to go back and read it again? And maybe again. This poem did that. I read it three times in a row.

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and the scratched records...
Since there is no place large enough 
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit 
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

So Much Happiness
Naomi Shihab Nye

Brona has shared an absolutely lovely poem this week.

Quips and Quotes

Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

It is late and I am tired. I can't concentrate on the book I am reading. It is about the flying bombs of WWII. It doesn't necessarily sound very interesting but, I assure you, it is. However, you can't skim read it when you are tired. Instead, I have been puttering around on Goodreads looking at lists of quotes. I am always curious about what catches other people's eyes when they are reading. Besides, it is a good way to get a taste of a writer's style. Since I keep coming across quotes that I want to share with someone I am going to share them here with all of you. The first one is from Stephen King.

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them-words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. 

 I like this from Sylvia Plath. It is from her journals and now I want to read them. This is a good life goal right here.

Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.

Here is another one about writing. It is from Annie Proulx.

You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.  

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary which is a bit mind-boggling. Twenty-nine years. How did that happen? Thank goodness we still like each other. So, in honor of our anniversary here are a few quotes about marriage. The first one if from Anne Shirley in Anne of the Island. I love Anne.

I wouldn't want to marry anyone who was wicked, but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked and wasn't.  

Anne Lamott said this:

A good marriage is where both people feel like they are getting the better end of the deal. 

I like this quote from Erma Bombeck about raising children. I couldn't agree more.

I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home. I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money even though we could afford it. I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your friend was a creep. I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of it to the drugstore and confess, "I stole this." I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes. I loved you enough to say, "Yes, you can to to Disney World on Mother's Day." I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust, and tears in my eyes. I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or your bad manners. I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness. I loved you enough to ignore what every other mother did or said. I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail. I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions at age 6, 10, or 16. I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned but forgave you for it-after discovering I was right. I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be. But, most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.  

And one final quote from Erma Bombeck because I couldn't agree more. This is the principle upon which I have based much of my life.

When the going gets tough, the tough make cookies. 

I think I might be making cookies tomorrow.