I didn’t know you, Anthony Bourdain.

I didn’t know you, Anthony Bourdain.

But you made a difference to me.

Your book, Kitchen Confidential, made me laugh out loud. Its relentless and brutal honesty also gave me complete certainty that I made the right choice by not going into the business of food and letting cooking for others remain a beloved hobby.

Your curiosity and wanderlust were inspiring. The world is a big, wonderful and fabulously interesting place, and your intense hunger for knowledge and new experiences tantalized and nourished me, along with so many others.

The headlong-headstrong way you embraced – and even exalted – peasant and street food helped me to embrace and exalt some of the more humble food in my own family’s background.

I didn’t know you, Anthony Bourdain.

But I’ve struggled with your death.

I’ve been silent for a few days trying to process it.

My brother made the same choice you did, Anthony. He took his own life.

I’ve been silent – and not-silent – for almost five years trying to process it.

There’s an army of people out there just like me who are struggling with your death from a duality of emotions.

There’s the sense of loss from the abrupt ending of your huge contribution to the canons of travel, food and cultural understanding, and a reluctant but absolutely unavoidable comparison to our own unwelcome experiences with the savage, raw, rollercoaster aftermath of suicide.

We mourn you with already-broken hearts, Anthony. There’s a seat at the table that shouldn’t be empty yet.

We cringe and weep for your loved ones, who will struggle for years to understand.

We wish it was different. We know it will never be the same.

I didn’t know you, Anthony Bourdain.

I wish I had.

You made a difference to me. To many.

Today I join the chorus of voices, each mourning your death and celebrating your life in their own way.

Your egalitarian outlook, voracious appetite and adventurous spirit made the world’s menu so much bigger for so many.

Thank you for that, Anthony. I hope you’ve found peace. I hope my brother has found peace. I pray that your family and loved ones will someday find peace and acceptance.

It takes a long, long time.


And for anyone else out there who has read this far and struggles with depression and hopelessness like Anthony, my brother, and so many others, below is a repeat of a ragged little poem I wrote, a plea for you to reach out. The original post is here: My Brother’s Suicide: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light.

 

A Suicide Prevention Poem: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

please hear my plea

if you are out there somewhere

in the dark

considering taking control of your life

by taking your life

please tell someone

just one person

let one person know

that you are at risk

in the dark

and sad

and feeling alone and desperate and unloved

please hear my plea

know that the people who have always loved you

still do

always will

know that your current situation

in the dark

doesn’t have to be

your permanent situation

there’s no death sentence for mistakes or regret

unless you pass it on yourself

please hear my plea

reach out to the light

please tell someone

just one person

let one person know

that you are at risk

in the dark

and sad

and feeling alone and desperate and unloved

you’ll never know

unless you reach out

that you can live in the light again

we’ll never know we can help

unless you tell someone

just one person

let one person know

we’ll never know

that we could have been

the light in your darkness

please hear my plea:

you matter to someone

he mattered to me

© 2018 Glover Gardens

A Mother’s Poem on Mothers’ Day

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the very best thing
that i ever did
was to procreate
(to have a kid)

the world is different
and much more real
my investment’s bigger
(a serious deal)

i watch in awe as
his life gathers steam
he acts on his instincts
(follows his dream)

no words can capture
the simple pure joy
i feel as a parent
(the mom of this boy)

enormous blessings
i take from his youth
he shows me new worlds
(unexpected truths)

the very best thing
that i ever did
was to procreate
(to have a kid)

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© 2018 Glover Gardens

Spring is Calling

O Spring,

you call to me ~

with your cheeky ways

and lengthening days,

your budding flowers

and pop-up showers.

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Scentimental Floribunda rose from Glover Gardens

O Spring,

you call the trees ~

with your gentle breeze

tickling soft new leaves,

basking in sun-bright,

peaceful in moonlight.

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Cherry tree at the Jardin des Champs Élysées in Paris

O Spring,

you call the birds ~

tiny nests built strong,

their answering song

guiding fledglings’ flight

in the morning light.

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O Spring,

keep calling out ~

as long as we breathe, 

we’ll keep answering ~

the birds, the trees and me.

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Bright green spring aspen near Little House in the Rockies (Colorado)

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

 

 

 

Haiku: A Room of Her Own

This artist’s studio, a room preserved as it was at one time at the Museum of Montmartre in Paris, inspires me. I knew when I first saw it that I wanted a room like this.

a room of her own
(where the self can be known)
is a treasure

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More to come on this topic as the room of my own becomes a reality.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

National Haiku Writing Month (#NaHaiWriMo) and the 5-7-5 Controversy

February is National Haiku Writing Month, a juxtaposition of the shortest month of the year and the shortest form of poetry. The hashtag is #NaHaiWriMo, to make the whole thing even shorter. The idea is to write and post a haiku every day in February.

Haiku is a favorite  pastime of mine (see the archives) and I applaud the effort to get more folks to create and appreciate it. I’m going to join the one-haiku-per-day movement for the rest of February, relying in part on a cache of unpublished little unrhymed verses I’ve written and saved, all in the 5-7-5 syllabic structure.

no205-7-5But according to the NaHaiWriMo site, 5-7-5 (syllables, that is) is an urban myth, a somewhat contemptible English interpretation of the traditional Japanese structure for haiku. The late Japanese-American poet Keiko Imaoka explains in the essay, Forms in English, that the more appropriate number of syllables in English (if one was counting, which one should not), would actually be about 11. About. To drive this point home, the NaHaiWriMo site has adopted the “anything but 5-7-5” image shown on the left.  It’s a mantra to remind us haiku writers, in their words:

not to get a case of mumpsimus, or being stuck in your ways despite evidence to the contrary. With English-language haiku, you have no need to persist in any adherence to the incorrect idea or belief in 5-7-5 syllables.”

haikuIn addition to being edifying and enlightening, I find this all rather stuffy and amusing. Why should it bother anyone if I choose a 5-7-5 structure for my little “Texas gal with the bigger-than-she-expected life” haiku pieces? Like a woman who wears an inappropriate dress to a party but feels like a million bucks in it, I think I’ll just write haiku my way, even if it means I have a case of “mumpsimus”. It may be a stretch, but I think it is possible that an English-language haiku could be a decent poem, even if it adheres to that back-water 5-7-5 syllabic form Americans adopted in the 50s when haiku became popular.

Or maybe I’ll just throw caution to the wind and mix up my syllabic count. A haiku a day for the rest of the month – anything could happen!

the rule-makers rant:
“5-7-5 – it just can’t
be a true haiku”

And yes, I know, the piece above does not fit the thematic form of any kind of haiku. So be it!

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

 

St. Francis Prayer of Peace for a World That Needs It

Hello world, friends, family and neighbors: I wish you peace, love, happiness, serenity, interesting hobbies, low blood pressure and job security.

I’m not Catholic but I have a spiritual crush on St. Francis – how can you not love the patron saint of animals???!!! I ran across the St. Francis peace prayer today, and it is too beautiful not to share.

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By Anonymous – da web, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6382528

I hope to one day embody even a small portion of this kind of goodness, optimism, acceptance and love.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Isn’t that lovely? Although it turns out that St. Francis didn’t write this beautiful supplication…the first record of it is in the early 1900s, and the syntax doesn’t match the dialect from the 1200s when Friar Francis lived (see this article). But the prayer was thematically accurate, according to Wikipedia: “As a friar later summarized the relationship between the prayer and St. Francis: ‘One can safely say that although he is not the author, it resembles him and would not have displeased him.'”

And hey, does it matter who wrote it if it is meaningful? And it is meaningful.

Because of my crush, the Grill-Meister gave me a St. Francis bird feeder some years ago, and we keep it full.

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I love love love love love watching the birds, especially the cardinals, enjoy the feeder; it is an investment in peace, love, happiness, serenity and low blood pressure!

For my birthday in 2014, the Grill-Meister commissioned a beautiful work of art representing Glover Gardens in which our St. Francis and my beloved cardinals are featured – see below.

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Original art created by Shannon O’Donnell

The artist said, in her Facebook post of the painting:

This piece was commissioned by Tom for his wife, Kim. He wanted a painting that brought together all of the special pieces they have in their yard — a statue/bird feeder of St. Francis, the wrought iron heart/cross with a butterfly, Kim’s favorite flowers (blue irises), her favorite birds (cardinals), their saguaro cross on the tree with the turquoise center, the “Blessings” sign hanging from the branch, and their bird house (tucked in the trees). I wanted St. Francis to almost “come alive” — like a haven for all the little animals. And as I thought about St. Francis and the birdseed, all I could think of was that it wouldn’t be complete without a little squirrel!!!

Isn’t that wonderful / peaceful / serene? Find the artist here: Paintings by Shannon Gurley O’Donnell. She rocks, and exemplifies the St. Francis frame of mind. You should check her out!

Life is good.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

 

“Give me a word and I will write a poem starting with that word…”

The author of the A Passers By blog says, “Give me a word and I will write a poem starting with that word.”  So I did! My favorite word – and idea – is serendipity.

A poem was created in a very rapid turnaround, and it surprised me! As I said in the comments:

Thank you so much – you made me smile, and laugh out loud, and a little uncomfortable, too. It takes a good poem to do that!”

I had expected a certain kind of poem, and got quite another, reminding me of the value of collaboration and improvisation – when a person builds on an idea from another, the result is almost always unexpected.

Find the poem here: Serendipity.

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Image from the A Passers By blog

 

Christmas Wishes from E. B. White – The New Yorker Radio Hour – WNYC

This heartfelt, ironic, wry and ultimately sweet poem is worth 3 minutes of your time.  Click on the link below to hear it read aloud.

Merry Christmas.

E. B. White sends Christmas greetings to uncertified accountants, old men asleep in libraries, and people who think they are in love but aren’t sure.

Source: Christmas Wishes from E. B. White – The New Yorker Radio Hour – WNYC

Dad is gone…and still our hearts are full

the chair by the fire is empty
Dad won’t be here to read Luke 2
we feel his loss deeply
and still our hearts are full

the stocking for Dad is empty
he won’t be bringing the shrimp dip
everything’s different without him
and still our hearts are full

they’re full because God loves us
they’re full because He lived
they’re full because Dad’s healed now
they’re full because Christmas is

Dad is gone…and still our hearts are full

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Manger scene ornament hand-painted by my aunt
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Last year’s stockings, the last outing for Dad’s

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

 

 

beth and bella and bree and brielle (an amazing poem by a very wise 6th grader)

I just read an awesome poem by a friend and former colleague’s daughter, published in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) Navigator online blog.  Source: beth and bella and bree and brielle.

beth and bella and bree and brielle

went down to the park (to relax one day)

and beth found a firefly that flew to the sky; forward to tomorrow and back again to yesterday that made her run as fast as the wind, and

bella ate some wonderful fruit that made her feel like she could float;

and bree laid down in the soft, summer grass and watched the leaves sway and dance: and

brielle climbed a tree that was as tall as forever and its view stretched out to the green studded meadows and back to her home.

Whatever we think, whatever we were taught to believe will keep on changing with the world’s scenery.

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Wow! This beautiful, gentle, tranquil and philosophical poem is rich with imagery, illustrative of the concept and value of mindfulness, and fills me with hope. Are you with me?

Click here to read the poem online and navigate to other contributions.

Copyright belongs to Brielle Burns, a 6th grader from Texas