Bards Day 2019 #poetry

This past Saturday poets gathered at The Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington, New York for fellowship, poetry readings, and most importantly…Bards Annual 2019 book launch.

The spirit of Whitman was alive and well as poets shared pieces of their heart and soul through the “glory of expression.”

With much gratitude, one of my poems is included in this wonderful new anthology.

 

Re-examine all that you have been told…dismiss that which insults your soul. – Walt Whitman

 

 

Walt Whitman Bicentennial Celebration

Today, I’m off to celebrate the work of the great poet, Walt Whitman, in his hometown of Huntington.

First stop, the Walt Whitman Bicentennial Convention (Radisson Hotel, Hauppauge) where there will be readings by poets from New York and Virginia, followed by workshops and publisher’s Q&A breakout sessions. Then — if time allows — it’s onto his birthplace and historical site in Huntington Station.

Enjoy the day, read a poem, and remember to get outside into nature and “reckon a thousand acres” or at least a city block.

Love Come Down (a spoken word poem)

Dusted off my KORG synth, recited a new poem, and pressed RECORD.

Feel free to listen.  It’s free…like all good things.

#SpokenWord #Poetry.

LISTEN HERE (FREE)   –    or Download HERE

We lay upon the grass under the stars;

above us the evening sky was dark and clear,

Behold! A shooting star!

Its bright golden tail

scribbled our names across the sky.

 

It was then that we were lifted up

into the rhapsody of a cobalt space

where stars uncoiled like illuminated threads,

encircling us

in the celestial love that God had set into motion

before the foundation of the universe.

 

The stars watched on, some flickering,

some exploding, sprinkling

resplendent flakes of light to the earth below as

sweet music played,

familiar in some way, ancient in another.

 

Within the midst of moonlight,

we spun under Nature’s sweet protection

with no walls; just the roof of a watchful sky.

And I sensed that were loved — in an infinite way.

Love come down…

Feel Him in the motion of a storm, in emotion, in each breath.

 

We step back into the world where time is not our own.

and expectations are like slick green moss under our feet –

that sometimes causes us to slip –

reminding us that we are never in complete control.

Within the worst of times,

when all seems bleak, and all words fail,

and greatness is cut down like a grand old oak,

God is still in the midst.

When we find ourselves alone on a deserted beach –

with only the raging sea before us – He is there.

He is with me.

My family and friends are with me.

Like the sun that spreads its rays across the surface of the earth

awakening all life and penetrating all that lies beneath

with the promise of eternity and the promise of love.

There.

There in the light of who I am

and the ashes of who I was,

I can still see us all together,

floating,

floating like weightless flurries in the air that sometimes —

from certain angles —

glisten like diamonds in the sun

as love comes down.

 

The Inklings

While on vacation in England last month, we spent some time in Oxford.

The main attraction (for me) was Bodleian Libraries’ current exhibit:  Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth.

It’s a breathtaking exhibit where Tolkien enthusiasts can view the first manuscript of The Hobbit, hand-drawn maps of Mordor, letters of correspondence from C.S. Lewis, family photos, favorite pipes, and the rocking chair in which he sat when the sentence, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” suddenly came into his mind.

The exhibit will be coming to New York in January (see the link on the blogroll to the right)!  I plan to go again.

After we left the exhibit — and strolled around a bit — we ended up at The Eagle and Child.  This is the small pub that J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams (and friends) would regularly meet over a pint (or two) to discuss poetry, politics and ideas for their stories.  

I sat at the bar with my husband and son, drinking a pint (of Coca-Cola), overwhelmed with the fact that I was sitting in the very place where these great literary minds created The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the world of Narnia.

Here is where the The Lord of the Rings was read aloud by Tolkien himself.  C.S. Lewis, a positive force in his life, had encouraged him to finish the tale.  Although Tolkien believed Williams was not enthused with his work during their meetings, five years later, Williams asked to borrow the manuscript.  He read it in its entirety and conveyed to Tolkien that he experienced a sense of freedom — and a connection with freedom — while he read it.  He may have been slow with his support, but…better late than never.

I’m now reading The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter, which casts light on the lives of these three writers and the dynamics of their personalities.

Writing is a solitary practice, but with support and encouragement from friends, great art is realized.  Great literature also has a ripple effect in that it inspires others to see the world differently.

Sharing our stories

The practice of writing is a solitary one.

Often that practice can make one feel distant, which I suppose makes sense.  Stories of imaginary lands, essays about childhood memories, and faces that only you can see in your head are yours…and yours alone.

That’s why it’s so important to share your work.

The gap – that distant feeling – will shrink once you’ve actually communicated those memories (or stories)  to a reader. Waiting until your work is perfect, in my opinion, is not a good plan. Not a good plan at all.

Because…it will delay joy.

My story, Imperfect Steps, is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Yes!

Stepping outside of our comfort zones, “submitting” to life,  and saying “yes” to new challenges is the message of the book which is available now where books are sold.

May we all step outside of our comfort zones, try something new, tell our stories, care less about what others think and feel that sense of newness and joy that comes with saying yes to new adventures.

LUNCH

Saying “yes” with fellow CSS contributors in NYC

The Chicken Soup for the Soul series continues to encourage millions of readers and also supports important  anti-bullying programs, animal care and rescue, and various charities, all of which empower others that are in need.

Knowing what makes you happy

You must be the judge of your own happiness. – Jane Austen

I need to remind myself of this fact every so often.

When I experience the pleasure of simply staying home, by myself, I find that I am my best creative self.

I’m not surprised, however, when I’m crafting a poem, journaling, or reading, to hear the world whisper into my solitude saying, “Come outside and play with others.”  And I must admit there are a couple of options today:  the Mets game or meeting a friend for a hike.  But the simple pleasure of sitting in my little yard just journaling (and listening) are more appealing.

I know what makes me happy. blog happiness

Knowing what makes you happy is key in finding a sense of peace and moving forward.

To sit under a cloudless sky, happily in solitude, interrupted only by the occasional Blue Jay or Cardinal may seem boring to most, but it allows my mind to creatively wander.  I can actually hear myself think — and the voice I hear sounds calm and wise and happy or better yet…content.

We all deal with that constant nag of being productive, but it is sometimes just that…a nag.  The nag’s voice is not so sweet, and frankly, it’s annoying. So, I’m ignoring him today.

Hope you all find some creative solitude this week…

let your mind wander…

and find your happiness.

Downtown Poet (Edna St. Vincent Millay)

Yesterday after work, I took a walk by the former home of Edna St. Vincent Millay at 75 1/2 Bedford Street.

I suppose the address includes “1/2” as the building itself is squeezed between two others, uniquely the slimmest on the block.  A befitting address, I think, as her voice was poetically unique.

Her middle name derives from St. Vincent’s Hospital (now closed) on 12th Street.  It was the hospital in which her uncle had been healed just before she was born.  She actually preferred being called Vincent, but her teachers refused to use the name, one calling her ANY female name but Vincent.

The shops on and around Bedford Street have of course changed, but the spirit of art still hangs in the air; the scent of coffee, bold paintings in shop windows, a flower stand on the corner of Cornelia Street.

From the corner of Bedford, one can see the red plaque that hangs above her former door and the thought of her sipping on a cup of coffee on the stoop beside 75 1/2 made me smile.

The plaque reads:

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) – The irreverent poet who wrote “my candle burns at both ends” lived here in 1923-1924 in the time she wrote The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.    

The area is still charming and full of life, but (as you can read in her stanza below) there were times in which she craved the open air of the shore.

EXILED

Searching my heart for its true sorrow, 

This is the thing I find to be: 

That I am weary of words and people, 

Sick of the city, wanting the sea; 

Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness 

Of the strong wind and shattered spray; 

Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound

Of the big surf that breaks all day ….

* * * *

I snapped a few photos, felt an urge to blog about it (as I’ve now done), stopped by See’s on West Eighth Street for a few pieces of dark chocolate,

and, although not sick of the city myself…

headed home to the (sometimes salty) air of Long Island.