Thursday, January 16, 2020

The lowly toothpick

It's January... a cold, windy, gray kind of day. What could be a better time to consider the work of the toothpick!  No kidding... I was looking through some of my poems, wondering what to post today, and I ran across this little ditty about toothpicks. So... I figured... why not???

The Toothpick

The toothpick is a tool
That's so simple
Any fool
Can poke one
'Tween two teeth
To get relief

Yet I give that pick
High praise
For its work on
Baking days
When it declares the cake's not done
In bas relief

© Karen Eastlund

The definition of a bas relief is a piece of artwork that is sculpted, carved or molded in such a way that it barely protrudes from the background flat surface.
A bas-relief inside a crypt in Egypt.

Toothpicks have done many jobs, but would you think of a toothpick as a map? Check out this excellent article by William Boyle, full of toothpick lore as well as memories of his grandfather's penchant for toothpicks:

It's Poetry Friday! You can find more poems by following the links on Catherine's blog:
Thanks for hosting, Catherine.

Have a great week, everyone.  

Friday, January 3, 2020

An Oldie but a Goodie

A poem recently popped into my mind, and I realized it was from a Christmas present I received when I was 3. If ever you doubt the importance and magic of poetry, consider that I still remember bits of a poem that came to me almost... well... let's just say many years ago.  My copy looked like the one to the left, but the background was blue instead of green.

The poem was from this beloved Giant Golden Book which, believe it or not, I've kept it all these years. Recently I've seen updated versions of this same book, but mine has something these newer versions do not.  Open the cover and... Ta DAAA!  Up pops Santa... still intact!

The poem I loved, and still love, tells about Grandfather Monkey, (who lived on the isthmus), who is winking and thinking and dreaming of Christmas.  Too fun, yes?

This poem is probably still copyrighted, so I won't quote it, but I still love the rhyme of isthmus with Christmas, and I love the arc of this poem, which begins with the grandfather thinking of all the good things he would like to get for Christmas, and ends with all the good gifts he gave his grandmonkeys... as well as the gifts he received. 

This was one of my favorite books as a child, and is still a treasure today. 

I commend it to you, if you should see it in the stores. At the time it was quite special to find gold paint on certain pages. I thought that was truly luxurious!

I hope my favorite story is still included: The Goat Who Played Santa Claus!  Something about that story seemed so warm and wonderful to me.

I hope you included some poetry in your holidays this year, and that your new year will be full of rhythm, rhyme and wordplay!

One Little Word 2020

Spiritual Journey Thursday:  One Little Word

We used to be able to clean the house and get Thanksgiving dinner on the table in a couple of days. Now we start days ahead to make the side dishes to take to my son’s house. Energy levels change.


I have a number of big projects that I want to work on this year, and it will take serious patience on my part to sit down and dig into them. At the same time, I want my projects to show my best efforts. I want the quilt I have promised to be orderly. Ditto the history project I have begun.  And the blog!

I will need to be patient.

In my attempt to find a word for this year, I considered “Purposeful” and  “Write” … both with the idea of cultivating a disciplined writing life. I like the idea, but I also know myself. I write when and what I can. 

I am working on patience.

I was looking for a poem or quote to exemplify this idea, and I came across this verse: 

Good fruit takes patience… Luke 8:15.

Patience is my word for 2020.

These beautiful cakes were served at a New Year's Eve wedding we just attended. It surely took great patience to make them, and they were indeed "good fruit."  

Best to you all for a wonderful, happy and healthy 2020.

Friday, December 20, 2019

A Quiet & Peaceful Sharing

In this season of waiting, I find myself rushing, stressing, and fussing. In an attempt to find quiet and peace, I share the following words and music with you, wishing you all a wonderful, joyful and peaceful season of celebration.

In the bleak midwinter
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

This one is so lovely and relaxing:

Best wishes to all...

Friday, December 6, 2019

A crazy thing just before Christmas

Our basement had become a dungeon. It desperately needed work. So our Christmas present to each other is to have it refurbished. 

Yesterday we had our washer, dryer, basement refrigerator and some other heavy equipment moved to other spaces in our house to make ready for the workers on Monday.  It isn't exactly decorating for Christmas... but... it must be done. No more putting it off. We will face the dungeon dragon and overcome it!

So when I came across this poem by Ogden Nash, it seemed perfect for the occasion. I hope you will enjoy this as my Poetry Friday offering.

Kind of an Ode to Duty

O Duty,
Why hast thou not the visage of a sweetie or a cutie?
Why glitter thy spectacles so ominously?
Why art thou clad so abominously?
Why art thou so different from Venus
And why do thou and I have so few interests mutually in common between us?
Why art thou fifty per cent martyr
And fifty-one per cent Tartar?

Why is it thy unfortunate wont
To try to attract people by calling on them either to leave undone the deeds they like, or to do the deeds they don’t?
Why are thou so like an April post-mortem
On something that died in the ortumn?
Above all, why dost thou continue to hound me?
Why art thou always albatrossly hanging around me?

Thou so ubiquitous,
And I so iniquitous.
I seem to be the one person in the world thou art perpetually preaching at who or to who;
Whatever looks like fun, there art thou standing between me and it, calling yoo-hoo.
O Duty, Duty!
How noble a man should I be hadst thou the visage of a sweetie or a cutie!
Wert thou but houri instead of a hag
Then would my halo indeed be in the bag!
But as it is thou art so much forbiddinger than a Wodehouse hero’s forbiddingest aunt
That in the words of the poet, When Duty whispers low, Thou must, this erstwhile youth replies, I just can’t.

-- Ogden Nash

I don't know about you, but this makes me laugh even in the middle of a house project.  And unlike Mr. Nash, we have hired people with appropriate skills to help us, so "we can!"

This Poetry Friday is hosted by Tanita at (fiction instead of lies) Head on over to see everyone and have some more poetic fun.

Cheers to all!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

An Alphabet of 2019

My word for the year was “Alphabet.”  Why did I choose it? Was it just a cheap stunt to pick a word that left me wide open?  Was I really listening to God’s words for me? Was I discerning? If so, what did I learn?

Below is my attempt to make the alphabet speak for my year.  These are the lessons I’ve tried to learn from 2019.

Amen and Alleluia!  Rejoice in the Lord always. 
(Also... another anthology with one of my poems in it!)

Balancing one step at a time.
Blessed Is the Lord by Dan Forrest 

Courage is a constant challenge.

Deliberate and discern.

Earth’s beauty is endless.  

Find words to express truth.


Hard work

Inspiration and insight

Be Joyful... but use good
judgment.   A line dance with a jump and a swivel was not a good choice.  😊

Kindness is for everyone. 

Limits are changing. I must listen to my body, and laugh long and hard.

Music moves me.

Never give up.

Opposition pops up in unexpected places. Do not be overcome.

Practice patience.  Pray without ceasing.

Questions are good.

Remember with reverence.

Sing your own song.  
And another thing: 
Second-guessing is for the birds. Are you a bird?  Are you???

Take time … be still and know…

Urge unity.

Vowels are absent in the alphabet of grace: delve for meaning. In choir we learn: the meaning is in the consonants, but the beauty is in the vowels.

Wishy-washy doesn’t cut it. Welcome opportunity with an open heart.

eXciting new year ahead


Like Zechariah, I stand in awe... praising God...

My best to you in this season of celebration.

Friday, November 29, 2019

A preschool story to amuse you... and a poem!

It's a day to sit back, let yesterday's feast settle, consider the family conversations and enjoy the memories. For me it is a quiet day, and sometimes a quiet day is just what I need. In thinking about my family time yesterday, I remembered some good laughs, which made me wonder if I might be able to share a good laugh with you. So... I am falling back on my days as a preschool teacher, when the 4-year-olds supplied plenty of humor. I hope this story will bring you a hearty laugh.

We talked about Native Americans at Thanksgiving. I made a game with pebbles, one side of each was plain, one side was marked with red. Native Americans played this game, throwing pebbles down much as we throw dice, counting how many landed plain side up and how many red side up. Four-year-olds could play the game to practice counting and deciding which number was greater. 
One child took great joy in playing this game, totally engrossed, shaking the pebbles and calling out with great certitude, "Come on, come on!!!  Mama needs a new set of underwear!"  

Are you laughing?  I hope so... 

Snowstorms are marching across the country, and we may see a little of the white stuff here tonight. I generally enjoy winter, but I know it causes hardship for many. In the spirit of mixed winter emotions, I'll leave you with this haiku. 

Dark tree skeletons
Tickle the cold ashen skies
A faint nod to mirth

    © Karen Eastlund

It's Poetry Friday, so come along & join the poetry party hosted by Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones today. Find it here.  All who have joined this Friday's party are linked at the end of Bridget's post. Follow links for your poetry fix.

Happy long weekend!