A Nameless Poem in a World Full of Wonder

A friend of mine shared a poem he wrote on Facebook that speaks volumes in its simplicity. I’m sharing it here with his permission. I was itching to give it a title, and then realized that part of its beauty is that it nameless. It just iswhich is kind of the point.

I sit and ponder
Searching for answers
In a world full of wonder

Days come and go
Everything changes
Will we ever know

Days of joy and sadness
Peace and turmoil
Brilliant ones and those of darkness

How I miss some days
Thankful some are past
Nothing ever lasts

Cool summer breezes
Autumn chill
Gales of winter
Yet I cannot feel

Dusk approaches
Without fail
Hide if you must
To no avail

Prepare for the dark
And wait for the light
For surely it’s coming
Your soul will take flight

To sit and ponder
And search for answers
Robs you of joy
In this world full of wonder

The past is sadness
Yet it has gone
The future brings worries
It steals our song

Live for today
It is our present
It’s where we are

It’s where we have been
It’s where we are going
Live for now
And welcome not knowing

Thank you, Casey Sullivan, for voicing these feelings about the embracing the now in a world full of wonder.

As I was preparing this post, I saw a photo my son posted of a friend on Instagram, which he took just before finals week at the end of their freshman year at the University of Texas.  It is such a perfect match for Casey’s poem.  Looking at the picture, I can almost feel my son and his friend enjoying and absorbing the now of the near-dusk at Lake Travis in Austin, TX.

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Photo credit to Thomas W, with thanks to the model, the beautiful and smart Desiree

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (except the poem and photo)

my days by the water

i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember

seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double

sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies

potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad

“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves

bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine

i’ll always remember
those days by the water


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Image by Bikurgurl

I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple:  write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.

This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in.  Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas.  My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter.  My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out.  My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.

My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula.  I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there.  Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived).  A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons.  “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences.  They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms.  They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland.  Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.

So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday.  So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.

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In this photo, my brother was the awkward tween
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Mom on the deck; she made those macramé plant hangers
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My Dad and brother, fishing in the Intracoastal Canal, at the end of our road
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The view from the deck, some years after my childhood but before Hurricane Ike

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Two Cat Haiku: Made Thoughtful by Sunlight

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Sleepy by sunlight,
Fiona sits, and waits, and
contemplates her fate

“I’m a cat goddess
because I’m a calico – 
destined for greatness!”

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…and because there aren’t enough cat pictures or haiku in the world:

(It was Elise of the Kittyclysm blog who convinced me that we need more cats – check out her blog here.)

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

My brother Steve was the cutest child ever.

He was younger than me, and I treasured him like a brilliant little pet. He was sweet and shy and peculiar. There never has been, and never will be, a person like him. He is gone from us now, but lives on in our hearts.

When Steve was 5, he submitted a poem to Highlights magazine (a children’s publication), and the whole family was proud and astonished when it was published.  I have always loved this poem for its clarity and directness and simplicity.  I have been accused of helping to write it, but I will only admit to being an 8-year-old editorial consultant.

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The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

I am a bee, so look at me:
My stripes are yellow and black.
They’re on my head,
And on my neck
They’re even on my back.

For more Steven Harvell memories, you might click here: How Far is Heaven? Remembering Kim-n-Steve

No Place for Hate: an “Award-Winning” Poem

Glover Gardens will soon be an empty nest as our last millennial leaves for college in August. I’m combing through photos for the graduation party slide show and stumbled on this memory from his 2nd grade year.  Texas schools had a wonderful No Place for Hate anti-bullying campaign with a poetry contest that year, and my kid’s submission was selected to be read aloud at the annual PTA meeting.  I loved the poem at the time and still do.

Bullying, by Thomas Wenglinski

Any bullying here?

‘Cause I don’t want a sneer.

I hate it! I hate it! Yes I do!

I want to change things…That’ll be new!

In Texas, we have No Place for Hate…

If you don’t like it, go to another state.

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I will never forget that sunny spring evening in Southeast Texas.  The kidlet had a baseball game the same night as the PTA meeting.  He read his poem in his baseball uniform and we left immediately afterward for the game.

Those were the days when dinner was eaten on the fly as we careened from one kid activity to the next and the issues of the day were making sure the requisite uniform was clean and findable and the homework got done somehow.  The big highs were wins like poetry contests and pop fly balls that somehow landed in the baseball glove.  I treasure those sleep-deprived halcyon days even while I look forward to the next step in his journey.

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It is a beautiful thing to watch our kids grow into themselves and soar into their new journeys, but a little bittersweet, too.

Now You Know: a Poem for My Brother

Today would have been my brother’s 49th birthday.

This is a quiet little poem for him.  I’ve written others that may be shared sometime.  And I will probably write more.

Now You Know

Now you know the secrets of sunsets and sand dollars

Now you know the recipe for rainy days and rainbows

Now you know the why of the wind and its whispers

And now you know how much love I had for you in my heart


A longer reminiscence about my brother and our magical childhood at the beach in Southeast Texas can be found here.

Kim and Steve Christmas Card

Celebrating Ruth’s 95 Years

IMG_0228There was a large gathering for my grandmother’s 90th birthday five years ago, and I wrote a poem at that time to celebrate her life.

A smaller group of us joined her this year for her 95th, and we read the poem once again. Here it is, with its introduction from 5 years ago.


Grandma,

As we gather to celebrate the 90th anniversary of your birth, the momentous changes that have transpired since the beginning of the 20th century to the current day bear reflection. You arrived in 1920 in one world, and have lived to see it become yet another.

  • From the jazz age to the digital age
  • From flapper to rappers
  • From Betty Crocker to Martha Stewart
  • From the Victrola to the iPod
  • From Encyclopedia Brittanica to Wikipedia
  • From the Model T to smart cars
  • From the WPA highway project to the information superhighway
  • From biplanes to the space shuttle
  • From Halley’s comet to the Hubble
  • From Jim Crow to Barack O

You have successfully navigated many changes. And so, Grandma Ruth, we honor you with this poem.


Celebrating Ruth

You have seen, you have done, you have sought

You have learned, you have shared, you have taught

From the God we can’t see to the world we can – using microscope and telescope, encyclopedia and concordance – seeking knowledge has been your boon

Words and ideas spilling out of you like so much light from a harvest moon

Poems, plays, songs and stories, lesson plans and Sunday school lessons

Always hopeful, always learned, always in tune

You have seen, you have done, you have sought

You have learned, you have shared, you have taught

From Calgary to Midland to Colorado and the Texas Coast – with letters, pre-dawn calls and visits that were sometimes surprises – keeping family ties strong is the goal you harbor

Love and advice spilling out of you like so much color from an April arbor

As daughter, sister and wife, mother, aunt, friend and teacher

With an open heart, open house, and open larder

You have seen, you have done, you have sought

You have learned, you have shared, you have taught

From homemaker to career woman to volunteer – cooking, singing, sewing, teaching, researching or worshipping – doing things right is the result that you bring

Finished products, energy and analysis spilling out of you like so many songbirds welcoming spring

Spirited, lively and fun, uncompromising and curious,

Always inspired, always tenacious, doing the right thing

You have seen, you have done, you have sought

You have learned, you have shared, you have taught

From childhood through adulthood to your 90th year – with songs, lessons and plays, and as leader, follower and disciple – spreading the Gospel is your amazing grace

The message “We are saved!” spilling out of you like so many smiles from a grandchild’s face

The Lord is your Shepherd and leads you beside still waters

Always reverent, looking to His higher place

You have seen, you have done, you have sought

You have learned, you have shared, you have taught

We thank you.

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