Friday, February 18, 2022

one word poems

 Margaret (Mags), dear blogging friend, has set me on a rabbit trail of poetry, for which shove I am very, very grateful.

I had stopped writing poetry. No idea why. I assumed it was because I'd aged out of the poetry-writing years of life. It was too much of a struggle, too hard. And the ideas for poems did not come to me as clearly as before. They used to come into my head and stick like a burr and develop themselves until I had to spit them out on paper.

Mags gave me this idea: write a poem each day in February, prompted by one unusual word.

I thought, "Hmm." I read a few of her one-word-prompt writings and liked them very much indeed. I thought, only to myself, "Why not? Why not make a little folder on my desktop and write a poem from each of these little words?" The little words are a list of unusual vocabulary words I gathered nearly 20 years ago while reading Trollope or Goudge, I'm not sure which.

I wrote it on an Elisabeth Elliot newsletter, back before such things came via email. Somehow, I kept it all these years. Miraculously, it was in the first place I searched for it!

I've written a poem most days in February since I started. I told myself I'm writing them ONLY for myself. I do not have to consider a reader. I do not have to consider if it is understood, if it is structured, appealing, tight, edited. Nothing. I spit it out when the word prompt has worked its magic -- i.e., when the word from the list has sparked an image in my head, an idea with an image. Then I write it down and try only not to explain, but to show. Poems that explain things are boring from the first word.

They often end abruptly and look a bit like ee cummings's, but they feel right to me, like good chocolate on my tongue. Perhaps now that I'm old I'm ready to write poetry just for me and not care about the world of readers, rather like wearing flowy gypsy skirts at last. Here's one I think I'll share, short and sweet:


when I am old enough

to play in mud puddles

big deep mud puddles

bottomless puddles

splashing laughing

in my Sunday shoes


then I will know

it’s time to go


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

And What Exactly Am I Doing Now?

 You ladies out there of a particular age -- you know who you are -- old enough to be over half-way done, but young enough not to throw in the towel yet .... 

Do you struggle with what to do with yourself? Not exactly who you are, but what you are? I used to be a teacher. I used to be a mother. I used to be a secretary. I used to be a writer. I used to be a gardener. I do believe in allowing myself to move on from some roles to new roles, not coercing myself to being everything forever.

But still. Sometimes I look at myself and at my life and I wonder, "What in the world am I doing?" As my mother would say, I'm piddling. Dilly-dallying. Mucking about and wasting time. When I was a younger woman I seemed to have a tighter vision, more direction, a more organized mind.

I'm not even sure what I'm talking about here, which is a perfect demonstration of what I'm trying to say. I'm going to stop and insert some photographs to help this blog post.

I am still spinning, weaving, painting, and making youtube videos. But the spinning/weaving/painting form the content of the videos, and honestly, I haven't a clue what to DO with the things that I spin, weave, and paint. I discovered yesterday that the local farmers market I've been part of for a decade, is likely dying. Where will I sell the things I make? Do I set up an independent online store? Will my youtube viewers buy my stuff? Ugh. I don't like marketing.

Oh, dear. Now I'm whining. Let's change the subject! 

The first daffodil. She's a harbinger of active days outside. One project that I can really get my teeth into, is working on this property, as much as I'm able. I sometimes contemplate how much I could possibly do. I can learn to use the riding mower. Could I start to tear down the barn? Could I learn to use some tools? Could I take down the garden fencing ... hmm. Don't know. How hard is it to manage a heavy, gas-powered weedeater? Will this be my new exercise program?!

At pushing-60, am I supposed to be slowing down, or speeding up? I've heard rumor that one's 60s are the most productive decade of life. I'm cogitizing how that might look for me. I feel like I would need to organize both my body and my brain, and all my habits, to become more productive than I've been before. Instead, I feel as if I'm mentally slipping down, like a weary bather into a steam pool in a Japanese bath. 

If any of you have any input into these feelings, please do share. I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A Dusting of Snow

 The first cold weekend, we had ice, a thick slab of ice that didn't melt on our north-facing deck for days. A bit treacherous! This past weekend we had a dusting of snow. It lasted for an hour or two before disappearing in the sunlight.

Leo the Cat has been such fun. He's photogenic.

I've been spinning and painting a little, and finally have started weaving again.

It's too cold to be outside (except to check on chickens), so I am hibernating. Our house is COLD. The heat runs and runs, and we bundle up, but we're still cold. I make pots of hot tea and go to bed early under my heavy comforter.

Poor Adam has to get in the car while it's still dark and drive a half hour to teach all day in the cold. And he doesn't really feel well. But he loves his job! He loves the kids and what he does, and he suffers through the cold, which he loathes. He did get one "ice day" that first weekend, and he used his time at home to start making books again -- books with medieval binding. The first one had a ropey spine, the second one had a simple flat spine, and the third one has a leather-rope spine.

So, we old people are surviving over here. To be honest, our cold weather lasts for about 3 weeks each winter, and by mid-February we are all enjoying daffodils and planting our peas in the garden. We can hardly complain!

Sometimes, it's true, the world seems to spin around us in a frightening way -- people's lives falling apart, world events looking ominous, fussing and fighting. I am trying to silence the din of sorrow with prayer. Prayer and blessing -- Praying for others in their trouble, and asking God to pour blessing into their lives, His favor and His grace.

May you experience our Lord's favor and His grace in your lives too!