Thursday, January 19, 2023

Dawn - A Poetry Friday post

 Welcome to Poetry Friday, a tradition started by Renee La Tulippe and explained HERE.  

Today I am sharing on the topic of dawn. A new year is dawning, and that's probably reason enough, but "dawn" kept popping up this week... if you'll excuse the pun... and I decided to write about it.

I'm a fan of Diane Ackerman's writing and had read two of three of her books before I came across Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and other ways to Start the Day. The title spoke to me because I'm fascinated by the in-betweens, when I can't tell day from night, or green from blue. Also, cranes are on my bucket list. So I ordered the book and read just one entry about a winter dawn before being hooked. Here she writes about a winter sky:

    An opalescent sky becomes the stinging blue of mosque tiles or stage scenery. It's an azure blue, from the ancient word for lapis lazuli, the intense blue mineral flecked with gold that has emblazoned church and palace walls since antiquity. Polished lapis gives soul to mosaic, including dawn's chimeras of jumbled outlines, blurred edges, and phantom forms. We bundle up but trees go naked in winter. I've always loved the way sky is captured in their bare limbs. Held by the delicate tracery of twigs, sky resembles light pouring through leaded stained-glass windows.

If you enjoy beautiful writing, especially nature writing, I highly recommend Diane Ackerman. I know I will love the rest of Dawn Light. It was my first dawning of the week.

The second dawn came from Margaret Simon, who shared a photo prompt by Mary C. Howard this week. It's actually a sunset photo, but I wrote about it as a sunrise... a dawn. My poem is below. 

Photo by Mary C. Howard, found on FB 


Gray city
Gray mist
Gray beach
Gray clouds
Bold black steel
Frames the scene
A man in black walks
Toward a brilliant sunrise
Washing the low sky
Egg yolk yellow
Mango orange
Hibiscus red
A new day
Rises up

© Karen Eastlund

As if these two dawns weren't enough, a friend named Dawn contacted me and offered help for some town projects! It dawns on me that I am richly blessed.

Thanks to Marcie Flinchum Atkins for hosting today. You can find her blog and the links to other Poetry Friday friends HERE.

Wishing you all a good week.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Happy New Year and my OLW (One Little Word)

Happy New Year to all!

Life has been a whirlwind lately, so this is my first post of 2023, writing with my Spiritual Journey writing group. Thanks to Margaret Simon for organizing our group, and for providing this lovely new logo: 

Our group tradition has been to choose One Little Word as our spiritual companion for the year.  I've decided on "beauty" as my word for 2023.  I've been interested in the concept of beauty for some years, and it finally came to me that perhaps beauty has a spiritual component. Beauty comes in many forms, and it fascinates me how our concept has changed over time, and also that we each have an individual sense of it. I hope I can find a way to tie the concept of beauty to my spiritual practice.

One of my loves is young children, and I find great beauty in their innocence and joy. I hope you can indulge me as I share just a few of my friends and family.

I remember a story, I think from Madeline L'Engle: A young child, maybe 3 or 4 years old, wanted to be left alone with the new baby in the family. Her parents were nervous, afraid the older sibling might be jealous of the new baby, and might do harm. When the parents finally allowed the older child to be alone with the baby, they watched as she sat with the new one, studying the newborn. Later the parents asked why she had needed to be alone with the baby.  "I was forgetting what God was like." 

To see the beauty of God in a child is just one of many ways we experience beauty. We feel the beauty of spirit when we notice courage, love, patience, self-control, kindness and more. 

1 Peter 3:4 encourages us:
 Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

Of course we also see beauty in the world, in music, in art, and in many unexpected places. 
So, I hope to continue sharing my year with beauty, and I hope that each of you will share your responses and sources of beauty as we go along.

Psalm 27:4 - I’m asking God for one thing,
    only one thing:
To live with him in his house
    my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
    I’ll study at his feet.

Many blessings for the year ahead.

Friday, December 16, 2022

A Frost Poem

 I don't know about your weather, but yesterday here in New Jersey showered us with a wintry mix, and gave me license to paraphrase that curmudgeonly old phrase: Not a fit day for man or beast.  Where did it come from?  Find the answer HERE. 

I did go out for a quick walk, but aside from that, it was an indoor day. (A cookie baking day. I can't complain.) Nonetheless, I came across this poem that I had stored up for just such a day, and now I will share it with you. 

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

  --Robert Frost  
this poem is in the public domain

Many thanks to Karen Edmiston for hosting today's Poetry Friday. She shares a poem and thoughts about kindness.  You can find her post HERE>

Have a good week, everyone!  

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

For the Beauty of the Earth --

"One is constantly reminded of the lavishness and fertility of nature..."  - John Muir

Thanksgiving on the Farm

O, the farm was bright, Thanksgiving morn 
With its stacks of hay and shocks of corn, 
Its pumpkin heaps in the rambling shed, 
And its apples brown and green and red; 
And in the cellar, the winter store, 
In bins that were filled and running o’er 
With all the things that a farm could keep / 
In barrel and bin and goodly heap, 
Hung to the rafters and hid away— 
O the farm was a pleasant place to stay!

And here and there was the Jersey stock, 
The sheep and horses, old Prince and Jock— 
The turkeys and geese and awkward calf 
And the goat that made the children laugh, 
A pair of mules that a friend had sent 
Out to the farm for experiment, 
Pigeons and fowls and a guinea pig, 
Dogs that were small and dogs that were big, 
Chickens that were white and black and gray— 
O the farm was a jolly sight that day.

-- shared from Bernardsville News Nov 23,1922 p 3

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

It is a special Thanksgiving Poetry Friday, thanks to our host, Jama Rattigan. She serves up some wonderful Thanksgiving food photos and one hilarious Thanksgiving poem. Be sure to click HERE!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Glimpses of Holiness

Thanks to Fran for hosting our Spiritual Thursday group today, and for providing the prompt. She asks us to write about what is holy.

I believe we all experience glimpses of holiness.  I have written about one holy moment for me, you can find it if you click here.

Frederick Buechner writes about a holy moment:

Two apple branches struck against each other with the limber clack of wood on wood. That was all -- a tick-tock rattle of branches -- but then a fierce lurch of excitement at what was only daybreak, only the smell of summer coming, only starting back again for home, but oh Jesus, he thought, with a great lump in his throat and a crazy grin, it was an agony of gladness and beauty falling wild and soft like rain. Just clack-clack, but praise him, he thought. Praise him.

Perhaps holy moments, like angels, are all around us, if only we could see them. Or perhaps they come just a few times in a lifetime. In any case, they give us a glimpse into another life, a deeper connection. I have felt this "agony of gladness" upon holding a newborn, at the innocence in a child's face, walking in the woods with my husband, while singing in choir, to name a few. 

One of my strongest experiences was during a guided prayer. I was guided to a dry place, and a well, and then silence. In the silence Jesus approached me and put his hand on my shoulder and just stood next to me. I felt a deep sense of connection, of understanding. An agony of peace. Like a brother, he knew me. He accepted me. He stood with me. Praise him.

Photo thanks to my brother, Don Evenson

"Holy, Holy, Holy" was one of my dad's favorite hymns. We sang it often in the Lutheran church as I grew up, and I often think of him when I sing it. And thinking of my childhood and the three holies, a funny thing happened when I was a young child in church. An altar cloth had fancy scrolled lettering embroidered in green, and one Sunday I took the little pencil from the pew pocket and copied them onto a bulletin. It was meant to say Holy Holy Holy, but because of the fancy scroll, and because I was in the fog of childhood, I mistook the H for an R, so I wrote Roly, Roly, Roly. I was pretty proud of myself until I showed my mother. I couldn't figure out why she shook her head and looked away.  The memory still makes me laugh. Surely laughter can be included in holy moments.

Here are some words from that good old hymn, and a list of words that I connect with the idea of holiness.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Only Thou art Holy

Words and feelings
that I connect with 

A new creation
Set down right
At home
At one

I invite you to add to this list.

May your heart be filled with the spirit of holiness.

 If we weren't blind as bats, we might see that life itself is sacramental.

   - Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking

Friday, October 28, 2022

Autumn Joy

 Autumn is my favorite time of year. The scorching sun settles down, each day becomes a little easier, and the crisp nights are refreshing. So here, without further ado, is some autumn joy for you!

The poem below came to me via The Writer's Almanac. Barbara Crooker is new to me, but I will surely be looking for more of her poetry. 

And Now it's October

the golden hour of the clock of the year. Everything that can run
to fruit has already done so: round apples, oval plums, bottom-heavy
pears, black walnuts and hickory nuts annealed in their shells,
the woodchuck with his overcoat of fat. Flowers that were once bright
as a box of crayons are now seed heads and thistle down. All the feathery
grasses shine in the slanted light... 

- by Barbara Crooker from Small Rain
find the rest of this poem here.

I can't pass October without celebrating pumpkins. I find them is so compelling. 

Oh, that Jack-O!

Of all the pumpkins in the patch
This one called "Choose ME!"
Tough and bright and jaunty
Bold as it could be

As soon as I cut two eyes and mouth
Seemed Jack-O almost snickered
And I'm sure that rascal winked at me
Each time the candle flickered

© Karen Eastlund

Autumn is beautiful in New Jersey. The colors are still peaking (peeking) and each day I'm thankful for this gorgeous splash of color.

I hope this time of year is lovely where you live also.

Don't miss the Poetry Friday gathering, this week hosted by Jone Rush MacCulloch.  Click the blue link to find more poetry posts:  Jone   Thanks for hosting, Jone!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Wonderful Webs...

 It's almost Halloween, and spooky spiders come to mind. 

I'm somewhat fascinated with spiders and their webs, and I wish I could make something so beautiful overnight.  Just look at these webs.

Thanks to Petra at Pixabay

Thanks to Albrecht Fietz at Pixabay

Thanks to Michael Reichelt at Pixabay

I once found one of these webs with the zigzag pattern just outside a window. I took my entire class of 4-year-olds to see it, even though the window happened to be in the men's bathroom at our church. (Funny, I don't remember how I saw it there. Weird.) Anyway, the spider itself is cool, but the zigzags add another point of interest and mystery. 

I wrote this short poem to a spider web photo posted at Margaret Simon's blog. Thanks, Margaret!  

That moment when...

Around a corner
You snare my face
Such sticky lace
A maze in place
Around a corner

-- Karen Eastlund

Poetry Friday is hosted today by the amazing Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
  Check it out!