Blog, poetry, Writing

A Writing Challenge – Opposites

I am taking on this writing challenge this week. It has to do with articulating different perspectives. If you would like to join in, just save the picture and give it a shot.

The idea is to write a short fiction piece, poem, haiku, etc., that reflects the emotion or situation you feel the photo evokes.

Photo Courtesy of StockSnap on Pixabay

After you write the first piece, write a second piece exploring an emotion or situation opposite of what you first perceived. Different situation, different character traits, or different feelings.

In a week, I will share posts of anyone who decided to take on the challenge. Use the hashtag #OppEmo or link back here if you would like for me to share your post.

Blog, poetry

Children Evoke Memories

Day 233

My Shadow
by Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Blog, poetry

Fences Make Good Neighbors

Day 126

IMG_8546As we did our morning walk I noticed that most of my neighbors have fences along the roadway. It is a small road, not heavily traveled by anyone other than those that live here. My mind wandered to a beloved poem by Robert Frost — “Mending Wall”.

This poem is often misunderstood and used to promote the idea that barriers make us good neighbors. I am not going to get political here, but it is a topic often in the news these days.

I often think about how grand this land must have been before mankind decided to parcel it off and separate us from one another. In my little country area, a couple of neighbors have horses, but most do not have livestock of any kind. So I cannot help but wonder why so many fences. They are in constant disrepair much like the fences in Robert Frost’s poem.

We have 3 1/2 acres of land, none of which is fenced. We have a lot of wildlife that traverses our property: black bears, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, wild turkeys, opossums, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, field mice, and so many birds. Fences are not an effective deterrent to many of these creatures. So it must be people we want to keep away.


Mending Wall
By: Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Blog, poetry

Classic Poetry

Day 113

Classic poetry has always been (as my granddaughter would say) my jam. My mom always read the classics to us as children and I, in turn, read them to my children when they were young.

I never gave the content much thought other than to be taken in by the descriptive lines and my mother’s ability to captivate us in the way she read them. It wasn’t until I was reading them to my sister when she lay dying in the hospital, I realized how sad many of them were. I even found myself skipping some of the lines about death and dying because suddenly it was all a little too real for me.

Two of my favorite poems were Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man, both by James Whitcomb Riley. It is interesting to read about the inspiration for both and how they inspired works by other people. (Little Orphan Annie and Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy) I can close my eyes and still hear my mother’s voice as she recited the poems from memory.

I fell in love with all the great poems: The Wreck of the Hesperus, Annabel Lee, The Highwayman, Abou Ben Adhem. I loved the rhythm, the imagery, and the movement associated with each. Maybe this is why I have such an affinity for the written word.

As my children got older, they, too, learned to love these poems. They also found poems they loved and wrote poems of their own. While living in Alaska, my daughter fell in love with the poems of Robert Service with her favorite being The Cremation of Sam McGee. I am sure she can still recite it in its entirety. (I text her and like clockwork, my phone rang and she started reciting it from memory. I will do her a kindness and not tell you how many years ago she first memorized this poem.)

My Grandmother’s Edition

How wonderful to think that our written words could live long after us and inspire the generations to come. Through the years the book of poetry my mother read from disappeared.

My daughters did some research and bought me a copy which I treasure. (I went down to photograph the book and realized I now have the previously ‘lost’ copy and my gifted copy may have ended up with my daughter. I suspect thievery.)

I wonder if current students still study these authors and know these poems? I sure hope so.

“The heart, like the mind, has a memory.

And in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.” 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow