Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

gingham girl

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~ Irish blessing

I have no story to tell and no memory to share ’cause Ivy and I have yet to know one another. But oh what a darling granddaughter has graced my family. And, I’m so very excited my son and his family are moving home. Perhaps our walks around the neighborhood in Scottsdale when you were so little will continue on a beach near Nana’s house and we yet have memories to make.

Well… come to think of it….yes a memory or two for you to know when time will tell. A memory that is strictly mine but perhaps you will like to hear some long time from now.

Dear Ivy,

There was a short time when I walked you for hours on end to keep you sleepy and content. I was there in Scottsdale for a couple of weeks when you were about six months old. We spent many an hour walking the walk…. inside the house, outside the house, along the many pathways in your neighborhood. I knew the blocks well and I knew which side of the street had the most shade. I’m no fan of the heat and so we walked away the cooler morning hours. I got stopped so very often by neighbors who wanted to admire your very adorable ‘baby ways.’ I was proud to call you granddaughter. Pride, however, got me in trouble ’cause stopping to show you off almost always wakened a sleeping baby and we would need to move on quickly to “rock” you back to sleep.

I remember shading the reclined stroller with your blanket and very quietly moving it aside to see if you were sleeping. Sometimes your big, beautiful eyes were wide awake and staring right back at me as if to say, “didn’t work, Nana. Keep on walking” Mind you… you never were terribly fussy when awake but restless, as if you needed the motion and sway of the stroller’s gait. So on we went for another block or two and then another peek under the cover to see if sleep befriended you. Such a sigh of relief when your little body relaxed into that calm state of deep sleep and I could quickly get us home to park the stroller in another room and then take a short rest myself before we started the routine all over again.

We were such good walkers way back then and I look forward to showing you my park and my beach and my small town with all its many charms. We will walk all of them together some day soon.

Love,
Nana

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lilacs and trees_n

Dear Nick,

After all these years, your lovely, tenacious lilac tree has surpassed my border of arbor vitae trees in height. The boughs drape beautifully over my side of the dividing line between our properties. And, it will always be your property in my mind. How many bouquets came from this lilac bush to be placed gently on my front porch as a kind and chivalrous gesture?

I lost count after you left and have been too too reluctant to go cut a branch or two for an inside bouquet. I know you wouldn’t mind in the least but I’m not at all sure of the intent of the new property owner, as he is more than a bit of a curmudgeon.

Funny, huh? I know that description was often given to you but ‘they’ weren’t witness to the charm that you shared with me. I’m not at all sure that my ‘charms’ would win over the new owner of your property and I’m not going to test them out. I’d rather remember the many lovely conversations we shared over the fence before the lilacs and the arbor vitae grew to such immense heights. Even Jack in the Beanstalk might find the height intimidating and Rapunzel might not have enough hair to let down. So… Nick and Julie’s chats before the armor of nature’s growth will remain with me.

The warmth of sunshine this last April week erupted the aroma of lilac, as it permeated the air and nearly drove me mad with delight.

Geez! I love that last sentence and I think you would too. We would smile knowingly at its ‘romance novel’ appeal.

I miss you Nick!

May that lilac tree grace the property line we share for all my days left to enjoy both its’ beauty and perfume.

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Strange how life plays out. Something so monumentally important at the time, hasn’t been thought about in over sixty years. Well…. except for an occasional glimpse back when ‘room mothering’ the yearly Valentine’s party at the kids school.

Flash forward to last Sunday during our small “the Artist’s Way” group get-together at the local coffee shop and we’re struggling to come up with a prompt for the following week’s artistic “expression.”

Please allow me a moment and short digression to explain.

Some months back several of us were tempted to sign up for a class titled the ARTIST’S WAY at one of the local art galleries…a class based upon the book of the same name in which Julia Cameron outlines in twelve chapters how to go about igniting or re-igniting the creativity that she believes lies within all of us. Practicing two vital tools… morning pages and the artist date…. and along with lots of effective exercises and activities, she helps the reader overcome beliefs and fears that can inhibit the creative process. The class was steep in price and so we all came to the conclusion (correct or just plain cheap) that we could get together on our own and make our way through twelve weeks and twelve chapters. And… we did just that, I’m proud and pleased to say.

Even more happy a conclusion than finishing the book and exercises, was the realization that we wanted to continue working on creativity together as a group and not let our weekly sessions fall by the wayside. We decided to come up with our own prompts for initiating creative expression.

So… last week, after sharing our projects on expressing an animal that we felt some affinity for, the brain-storming began in earnest and two words kept surfacing…. favorite artist and fear! One might think diametrically opposed so that made it even more interesting to offer either or both as this week’s prompt.

Okay! So my explanation got wordy. So be it!

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Working away on the artist aspect to our prompt, I looked at the calendar and realized that our following get together would be on Valentine’s Day…. well a certain childhood fear emerged big time like rushing in out of nowhere… one minute the hose is off and the next it’s gushing feelings through you like they never left and you’re back in third grade again.

I don’t know when the rule was imposed that if you’re going to give out valentines in the classroom, you must have one for everyone. How obviously brilliant and why did it take so long to figure that out ’cause in my day no such rule applied, making this holiday an unwelcome popularity contest… who would get valentines from whom and who would get the most?

OldDesignShop_ValentineHi2Hi indeed!

Now just who gets the innocuous greeting valentine and who doesn’t? Mom walked me up the hill and over two blocks to Wilson’s Variety Store to buy the usual packet of school valentines and then back home to agonize over the awful decisions to make.

School Valentine 01‘Cause you see… there was always one or two in the packet with implied or downright explicit meanings. Who, if anyone gets those? And…. are you daring and brave enough to put them in that classmate’s ‘mailbox?’ So many tough decisions to make and so little time, as Mom always waited till the day before to make the long walk up the hill for valentine packets.

And, FYI…. and, I know a simple kiss shouldn’t be on the mind of third graders but…. after all, he had already kissed me in the first grade and so I found the courage to plant that valentine in Richard’s mailbox but not the courage to sign it. Wonder if he ever figured out who that was from? He was pretty popular in those days with all the girls in the classroom, so I’m sure it pleased him to no end to think that it could have come from any of us.

So, in the end, simple childhood fears. Would I get any valentines? How many would I get? Would I get one from Richard? Would there be embarrassment to pay for lack of valentines? And, on and on and on. Like being mortified if you were the last picked on the Red Rover team because your athletic skills were slim to none. How did we all live through the growing up process?

To this day, while I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, neither do I love and embrace it. Perhaps third grade played a significant role in my feeling today. Who knows? Must admit to harboring the same little fear that I won’t be remembered on Valentine’s Day.

And, as for this week’s prompt: fear and/or favorite artist. Well… I made a collage centered around a rendering of Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’ (go figure!) placed strategically amongst many valentine renderings and I’m rather fond of the outcome.

P.S. In addition to a collage to share tomorrow with the group, I’ve made valentines for each and every one of them…grant it they all have rather innocuous greetings in them but at least every one is receiving a valentine.

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Ian’s Lilacs

Ian and lilacs

Ian’s silent proclamation….

So here sits Nana, cuddled softly in a blanket of fur,
when along comes Ian to curl up beside her.
Now Ian’s a little tyke who just lately learned to ride his bike.
As Nana slowly sips her warm cider,
she notices a tickle that feels like a spider.
Eeks!‘ Nana exclaims.
Then quickly she wonders, as she spies Ian’s sheepish little grin,
Is some sort of child’s game about to begin?’

Evidently, Ian has learned more than riding a bike.

‘Why, whatever is that tickle on my arm?’
she inquires of her adorable grandson.
‘Do you see a spider there, Ian?’
As with any bashful child,
away from Nana tilts the head, as Ian’s
eyes light up her face with that sparkle of delight,
giving her an answer that is so deliciously alright.
 
“You are me, and I love you.
You love me…. I love you, too!”
~ charma m curtis
 
 

With special thanks and appreciation to Ian’s Grandma Glad who taught our darling grandson ( a little tyke of few words) this special “sign language” for saying ‘I love you’ in his own quietly loving way. I feel so blessed that he has shared their secret with me.

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Hmm… wonder what she’s thinking? Aunt Dorothy, that is! Is she pleased to have a new baby brother?

Out for a stroll... grandma pearson, aunt dorothy and my father in the baby carriage

Out for a stroll… grandma pearson, aunt dorothy and my father in the baby carriage


So sorry baby brother…

But, I don’t like you much!
You fuss, you cry, you poop, you took mother away from our tea party today.

Besides that, you’re a boy and I really really wanted a baby sister.

‘Stop fussing with my hair!’
Mother says to ask you to forgive me
for thinking such bad thoughts and saying them aloud.

This is just to say
that I am so sorry baby brother
for not liking you so much and
wishing you away.

Forgive me.

I suppose when you’re old enough I’ll have to learn
how to play in the dirty dirt and you
won’t like my dolls whatsoever.

~ julie © may 2013
 

And here she is. Aunt Dorothy, all grown up and quite the young lady!

And here she is. Aunt Dorothy, all grown up and quite the young lady!


 
Guess I’m being somewhat presumptuous in regards to Aunt Dorothy and her ‘thoughts’ on the matter of new baby brothers. I only had my own feelings to fall back on when I became the older sister to a new baby brother. Should I be ashamed of myself for such thoughts? Perhaps! By the way, at this writing Aunt Dorothy is still with us at the age of 98.

 
 

Oh my! What's he done now?

Oh my!… “What’d I do now?”

So there he is… the culprit of whom I speak and the invader of my “cushy” life at home with Mom and Dad. Guess he was, after all, kinda cute and that alone saved his skin on many an occasion. Dear brother Jim…. while we had our ups and downs during childhood, so glad we became friends when all grown up!

Your big sis….
Love,
Julie

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Behold... my mother's father and my grandpa sand

Behold… my mother’s father and my grandpa sand

Dearest Grandfather,

I’ve been asked to compose a “list poem” enumerating some of my reasons for writing. Like an old clock set to the wrong time, my moment to ask this of you, dear grandfather, has long since passed… You were pilgrim here from Norway, learned the language enough to write your epic poem titled ‘Adam’ and made such accomplished use of your new language that you wrote with feeling, grace and beauty in lines such as…

Beautiful is the isle, when in morning hours
The night’s misty veil flees before the sun.
The stream gives forth merry sounds and
The birch grove whispers of wondrous adventure.

Asking of you what I’m about to set forth would be pure pleasure to know… As your grandaughter and a small child, you seemed formidable and rather stern to me. I do remember the tender moment when you gave comfort to a raging toothache that had me engulfed in pain. You came and sat by my bedside and offered solace with a tender hand and words of comfort. It was, perhaps, the most defining memory and moment that we shared together and I hold it dear.

I wonder if some of my affinity for writing has its’ origin in yours. I do wonder…

  

Because writing for me:

  

Facilitates the sound of my own thinking.

Challenges me beyond those pink post-it-notes.

Holds the promise of ‘sweet nothings’ like the secrets in an unopened love letter.

Surpasses the moon as a consolation prize for life’s shortcomings.

Soothes and lulls like the lyrics of a strangely addictive song.

Weeps of new promises to come like the last leaf on the willow tree.

Provides contentment like my cat lying in the sunlight.

Matches the allure and pleasure of getting caught in the rain.

Chronicles niggling memories and stories… for those who follow.

Releases guilt from the taste of a lie.

Gives meaning and expression to my purse filled with brown autumn leaves.

Pulls those fingers out of my pocket.

Yearns for more like the last line in a great book.

Sometimes demands, sometimes allows that I color outside the lines.

Prowls through sunflower moments that blossom into hours of wondering where the time has gone.

Surprises when it gives life to that dead rose in my vase.

Writing is my angel sitting on the log of driftwood where I often end up contemplating and composing with my notebook and an old chewed up pen.

~ julie © october 2012

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Grandpa Sand is now great-grandfather to Amy.. not quite a year old. Treasured picture as he passed away shortly before Amy's sister was born.

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Grandpa Sand is now great-grandfather to Amy.. not quite a year old. Very treasured picture, as he passed away just before Amy’s sister, Allison, was born in ’74

I’ve known for years how really treasured this picture is. While the only image of my grandfather and my first born child…. that alone makes it special…. But, if you pay close attention to Amy’s demeanor on her great-grandfather’s lap, you’ll notice that she is smiling, happy, accepting and totally relaxed with someone she just met. I adore her loving gesture as she reached out and touched the lapel of his jacket.
 
Back to reality and just home from the beach and my favorite log upon which to sit … with this result in response to our weekly prompt at We Write Poems:

I Write (because)…

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An epistle to the ghost of Nick

september 2012

  

Remember, Nick?
You winked, called me a sweetheart,
while someone else scoffed in skepticism
and laughed, ‘well… he doesn’t have to live with you.’
But I hugged your words, kept them close to my heart
even if you were a rather cantankerous old flirt.

They cut down your trees, Nick.
‘Would you mind terribly?’ I wonder.
Or, would you be glad for me
that they no longer shade my flowers
and drop their brown needles in my garden?

I miss you Nick.

Why just the other day,
and with another neighbor,
your name came up in conversation.
‘Now where’s his card?’
When found, I had to rub my eyes a bit
to see through the fierceness
into the face of the gentle man
we both called friend.

We reminisced, my new neighbor and I,
at the thought of those old coveralls
and felt beret that so proudly adorned your lanky self,
no matter what the weather or occasion
no matter what the time of day.

‘Like Betty who’s grown to look like
the pug she walks every day,’

we chuckled together and surmised that
you were an artist who resembled your art
and seemed as old as time (meant in the most loving way).
Craggy, stern, and keen facial features
could have been chiseled from stone or forged from the metal
you shaped into sculptures that decorate our town.

‘Oh, Nana, is that Ariel?’
my darling young grandaughters would ask
when looking out my kitchen window at your mermaid sculpture.
Did I ever tell you Nick?
That provocative, egotistical iron lady hanging
from your flagpole and lovingly adoring her reflection
in that handheld mirror
caused me some real consternation when
having to answer their question.

While mildly annoying when we first became neighbors,
I came to adore the view out my kitchen window.
Watching you come and go on that well-worn path
between house and studio through clutter and dilapidation
was comforting and reassuring.
Did you know how often I saw you make that trek,
as I stood working at my kitchen sink?

Then one morning you weren’t there
and we all immediately knew.
They said you died during the night.

I miss you, Nick.

With me as eager listener,
you had so many stories to tell.
When soft-spoken and kind,
you were so very likable.
When too opinionated and judgmental,
as often happened you must admit,
the vitreous vernacular could put many aside.

You were both this town’s nemesis
and its greatest institution.

I worried for your loneliness
when Alice died.
Loved how you called her ‘little bit.’
Shared the exhaustion of sleepless nights
that found you reveling in times long gone.
Hoped to comfort you with a good meal
when you accepted my dinner invites
and understood when the doorbell never rang.

I’d bring over a bowl of soup and say
‘Enjoy, Nick!’
You’d smile your thanks
and we’d nod in understanding.
The next day I’d find a bundle of rhubarb or
bouquet of lilacs upon my doorstep.

They cut down your trees, Nick.
‘Would you mind terribly?’ I wonder.
Or, would you be glad for me
that they no longer shade my flowers
and drop their brown needles in my garden?

julie

~ julie © september 2012

  

  

Written from my desk on this beautiful day in Autumn with thoughts of a friend who would have certainly spent much time today with his friends, the birds of our town’s small nature preserve, down close to water’s edge… and … in response to this week’s prompt at We Write Poems…

Dear Poets of WWP

Thinking of you Nick

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