Posts Tagged With: poetry

OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER MISSED A BEAT.

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Old friends from Fremont visited me two days ago. They were camped nearby and called. With a little background, Sandy and David Barron were the youngest members of our square dancing group, the Kuntry Kuzzins back in the early 1970’s. Square Dancing is one of those activities that you have to drag your husband too in the beginning, then once he realizes how much fun it is, he’ll go without you if you’re sick. So we enjoyed them, often teasing Sandy that she was the “baby” of the club even though she was a mother of two. We were excited when they bought a house.  Sandy was always a bit shy. David, out going, from a large extended family. A nice young couple, building  the American Dream.

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We talked for several hours and I realized what an amazing couple they are.  They look the same.  Neither has aged much. David has less hair.  I didn’t know David was a disabled Marine from Viet Nam. It never came up.

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We checked through their pictures on the phone and I got to see the grandson David helped raise. Their son Mathew’s two beautiful daughters. A great-grandson. Neither Sandy nor Dave have a college education, but their daughter, Jennifer, has several degrees and a fantastic job. She worked during college days beside her mother as a motel maid, making beds and cleaning rooms.  Sandy worked outside the home for 22 years. But, even more revealing to me, Sandy and Dave took in nine foster children. I had two foster children and love them and have contact to this day.  But I was stunned at nine. What a commitment over all of those years.

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What a pleasure to sink back into a friendship, after a long gap. I guess you can tell I’m impressed. I enjoyed getting caught up with mutual friends from our club.  His sisters, brothers, step-father and some amazing tales. I didn’t know Sandy’s siblings.

They brought me flowers and I took pictures of the bouquet. This new computer is driving me nuts.  I could not get those pictures out of my camera. So, you’ll have to settle for a poem by David J. Irvine, called Ownership.

Man’s pet, the kitten, lives nine lives.

Man one: three score and ten.

Man claims the ownership of earth,

Of every glebe and glen.

What modest claim do kittens make?

The ownership of men.

It speaks to the bonds of love… for Sandy and David, those loving bonds are kids and grandkids and other people’s children.

 

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SISTERHOOD.

DSC07746 (Copy)Women treasure their friendships and plant deep roots with each other. Lizz Emerson is one of the strongest women I know. Out of a job? No problem, I’ll have one tomorrow. From a non-opportunistic background, with no education, she raised her children, on her own, since they were little. One daughter has been a city supervisor and is now running for congress. Another has her own catering business in Sacramento. Both success oriented like mom.  Lizz, called me and said, I couldn’t make your birthday party, so its belated birthday party time. I’ll bring the food, what do you like? I told her I like vegetarian food and, voila. Let it be done.

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DSC07739 (Copy)Hor’s de ouevres.

DSC07743 (Copy)A Mexican casserole with fresh corn, and olives rolled in lasagna noodles.

DSC07744 (Copy)A Greek spinach and cheese casserole. She brought the food cooked, and placed cheese on top before we put it in the oven to warm-up.

DSC07741 (Copy)She brought all the condiments, a Greek salad and dessert, too. I didn’t get pictures of everything. Plus, her instructions were that she wanted every guest to go home with food.

DSC07745 (Copy)First to arrive was Jan Stewart, who also couldn’t attend my 75th. I like to describe Jan as an expert at pushing all the negatives away, forgetting them and making haste to see sunshine in everything and everyone. She practices esoteric healing and she practices love. Love thy neighbor, love thy neighbor’s dog, love all children, help everyone you can. I’m grateful to be in her sphere and have felt her love and helpfulness.

IMG_4853 (Copy)Karen Phillips is my housemate. She’s been with me for 10 years. Loyal, conscientious, she literally keeps the home fires burning.  I could not have chosen a rambling lifestyle without her. Gathering my mail, watering my plants, keeping my place looked after and occupied. You name it, she does it. An excellent cook, she feeds me when I’m busy. This picture was taken in 2010.

DSC07747 (Copy)Margo and Pam were the last to arrive. Pam Quyle, raised a son on her own with no support.  Pam is a potter and drives a big truck delivering clay all over the Bay Area, besides making pots. She has one day a week off and arrived straight from work. Harried and tired and said, POUR THE WINE.

Margo Osborn has a son, a grandchild, divorced and in her late 60’s and continues to work. I love talking to Margo because she has such a diverse background and speaks with ease on any subject. Both she and Pam are associated with the wine industry. Margo’s winery was sold and she is the only employee retained from the former staff. Lucky for them, she is the most popular wine advocate in the county, as in “everybody knows Margo.” She speaks several languages and has a magic way with people. She was in Italy during my birthday party.

We managed to discuss all subjects important to women with no men around, as in breasts, bras, sex, men, food, life, shoes, healing our wounded souls and bodies as we age. Not necessarily in that order.

DSC07750 (Copy)Pam took a picture of all of us.

DSC07755 (Copy)And, someone took a picture of she and I. We share so many experiences. Lizz making me go out on New Years the year my husband died. Pam’s 25 year old son taking his first steps on my deck. Karen and I learning together how to deal with her adversarial boss. Jan performing reiki and meditative healing when my spirits were low. From Margo flows hiking club, zumba, health, sharing and “yes, let’s do it.” Our roots are deep. Girlfriends. Sisters all. Happy Valentines day.

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TAX DAY IS OVER, SORT OF.

We tend to think of taxes as our own personal burden. But,  tax accountants routinely give extensions to people so tax day can be different for some people. Good for them, because their work is so concentrated in three months, it is hard to get the job done. And it gives us a bit of extra time to gather our paperwork as well.

This poem has been around a lot. It has no attributable author and is presumed to be in the public domain but it kind of expresses most of the pain of paying our taxes.

Tax his land, tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his car, tax his grass,
Tax the roads he must pass.

Tax his food, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
If he cries, tax his tears.

Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove me to my doom!”
And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

As for me, I don’t mind paying as much as I mind the process because I’m not very mathematical and I hate DOING my taxes. I only met one man who claimed not to mind paying his taxes. His parents were immigrants from Portugal and he claimed to be ever grateful to live in a country like ours that provides us enough opportunity to earn a good living and pay taxes. He is unique. He is a friend gone, now. And I salute  his memory every year at tax time.  Larry Santos, a deputy sheriff from Alameda County.

 

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WE NEED A RAINY DAY.

There’s a song that starts I LOVE A RAINY DAY, … Well it’s cold and wet and miserable today, especially since I turned the pilot off on my heater and cleaned up my wood stove for warmer weather.

I can’t say I’m loving this rainy day, but we definitely need it. And, there is comfort to hanging out in your robe and slippers for half a day, to work on a project set aside and waiting. For me, a couple of unfinished rugs and one needing repair. And a chance to slog through saved scraps for quilts and begin another while other blocks lay forgotten and tucked away.

I took the time to read some poetry and I like this one enough to share. It is in the public domain.

Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry, Now

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

By A. E. Housman

And, another:

I normally don’t like poems that don’t rhyme, but this one reminded me of journey’s I’ve had on trains and it was just as described in this narrative poem.

The Dining Car of the Southern Crescent, By John Campbell

The Southern Crescent
snakes its way through
the rolling fog shrouded
piedmont landscape;
a young man on spring break,
returning home from
college, crosses the creaky
passageway that leads from
Pullmans to the dining car.

Breakfast smells give rise to
an ambitious order of fresh coffee,
country ham with red eye gravy,
grits, scrambled eggs and
biscuits with blackberry jam.

The waiter, agile and accomplished,
dressed in a white starched apron,
steadies himself against the swaying
motion of the train; with serving tray
in hand and balanced, he places the
piping hot breakfast on a table decked
with a linen table cloth, pewter
creamers, thick silverware, coffee
cups and saucers and plates etched with
a crescent moon insignia; a small
bundle of daffodils sit in a crystal
vase near the window.

The young man with the vittles before him,
relishes a feeling of adult composure
and delight. “How could life be this good?”
A breakfast fit for a king, waiters
eager to please, railway views of
rural Carolina: tenant shanties,
grazing black angus, abandoned junkyards,
brownstone depots and sleepy towns.

He, still unfamiliar with the niceties
of the wealthy elite, or even the
acquired dignities of his college
professors, avows, while pouring
coffee from a silver carafe into
a Syracuse China cup, that the
dining car of the Southern Crescent
is a place of utmost refinement.

 

John Campbell’s poem was delivered to my mailbox by A Poem A Day, that I subscribe to. His poem is available framed from Poem A Day, and is not in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

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CLOUDS.

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One cloud black and brooding, maybe hiding thunder and lightening along my road, as I drove to the dump. We rarely see a a building cumulus, those rare beauties of the sky.

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Gotthold called  them chariots of the sky. I turned around to take the picture before they disappeared.

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By the time I reached the highway, they were bigger, bolder. Again I stopped and thought what beauty, and how much better they would look without the interference of signs and telephone poles and wires. So, I decided to look up a poem about clouds. I couldn’t find any that weren’t ominous. Though I own 34 books of poetry. I was stunned when I counted them. I didn’t take the time to look in every book, but each time I pick up a tome, I’ll be chasing clouds.

 

 

 

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ANNIVERSARIES OF THE HEART

I love this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It really suits my feelings at the end of a year. I miss those family members gone, and as I go through the rituals of Christmas and the new year, I think of them, little memories tickle in, mostly sweet, some regrets. And, I appreciate the sentiment of “anniversaries of the heart.” Here then, the poem. And, a ritual my mother and I shared for more years than I can remember.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

img178Orella Elizabeth Moore around 1970 (Copy)

My mother was a hard-working person, who tried to make everyone’s dreams come true at Christmas. She cooked enough on Christmas to practically keep all of us full until the New Year. An early riser, she would get up before everyone and savor those early morning moments with her first cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the morning paper. Other than that, she rarely took time off for herself, but the week between Christmas and New Years was hers. She’d set up the card table and begin a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone and everyone could take part. If someone dropped in, she would engage them in the puzzle. Time floats away as you concentrate on working a puzzle and she chose them to be challenging. Then on New Year’s day, the puzzle finished, we took down the tree and put the ornaments away. I kept that ritual going in my home after she died but then, somewhere, I stopped working puzzles. And this year, for the first time, I missed putting my ornaments away yesterday.

A couple of days after Christmas, I got into my stuffed full quilting closet and there, the “anniversaries of the heart”, lay hidden. Memories came pouring out. Lacey doilies she had crocheted. Patches she had made for a bedspread. Her handwriting on wisps of paper pinned to fabric describing its future use. Her button collection.

I kept scraps from clothing she wore or made for my daughters. The closet had so many unfinished dreams, I’ve yet to finish the job.

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With most of the material and stuff I’d put into the closet gone, it is looking much neater on this side. My sewing machine is giving me trouble and out of the closet. I gotta find something better.

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On this side of the closet, those nicely closed drawers were so stuffed full, the bottoms were warped and the drawers couldn’t close.

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My office is practically unnavigable for the stuff I unloaded from that closet. Yes, it was full of unfinished projects, but marvelous memories it contained have inspired me anew to finish them. Thanks Mom. Thanks Henry.

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