Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poem: Life so Sublime

Family Photo - Hilton Head - 1992

Life so Sublime

A rippling creek,
Ducks in the reeds,
Fish swimming by,
Rustling leaves,

Turtles on rocks,
Sun shining bright,
Water so clear,
Refracting the light,

Sweet family time,
Bikes on a trail,
Pausing awhile,
Chins on the rail,

Kids for a time,
Before they are grown,
Life so sublime,
Precious, sweet time,
Love we have known,
Shared in a poem
For you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Measuring a Year

This clip is from the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical "Rent" about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.  The opening song "Seasons of Love" speaks to the passage of a year in the life of a man or a woman.  Following are a couple of verses from that song.

Seasons of Love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moment's so dear

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Measuring a year is a difficult thing.  By what yardstick do we line out the miles traveled, the passing moments?  We try to meet basic needs as Maslov so aptly depicted in his hierarchy.  If we’re lucky enough to have access to food, water and shelter we might just have the energy left to meet our psychological needs such as love and comfort.  For those fortunate enough to pass those hurdles, there might be enough stamina left to give back to the world in a meaningful way - sharing our gifts, being a friend, making life better for others. 

Measuring a year means something different to every person on the planet.  If we get up each day and vow to do one thing that improves the plight of another human being then the day has served a purpose bigger than ourselves.  Living with integrity serves a purpose.  One smile, an outreached hand, a warm embrace – they all have meaning.  We can’t all be Mother Teresa, but we can live with a heart full of love. 

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes seems like a lot, but it can pass in the blink of an eye.  What will you do with your year?  What will I do with my year?

Tomorrow I will wake up and see what unfolds.  I can't do everything, but maybe I will do one thing that makes a difference.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Poem: Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace

Fiona and Colin

Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace

 The day a child is born,
the world aligns most perfectly;
clouds form whimsical shapes,
flowers lean toward the sun,
traffic flows in harmony,
music emanates from
your mind,
your heart,
or maybe
it’s you singing
the praises of one wee child
born on a
Tuesday full of grace
into a world where all things
are possible.

 Monica Cubberly-Early Custom Designed Portraiture
Columbus, OH  614-679-0902

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thurber House - Columbus, OH

Thurber House - Columbus, Ohio

James Thurber (1894-1961) is best remembered for his New Yorker cartoons and short stories, but is also treasured for his many books: My Life and Hard Times, A Thurber Carnival, The 13 Clocks, Many Moons,  My Year with Ross and several others.  He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and his childhood home has been preserved and now houses Thurber House a non-profit organization with the following mission statement: Our mission is to celebrate the written word for the education and entertainment of the broadest possible audience and to continue Thurber's legacy of humor. Thurber House: Where laughter, learning and literature meet.   

Inside Thurber House you will find the James Thurber Museum, a bookstore and the offices of the Thurber House staff.  There is an upstairs apartment that is the summer home to a children's author-in-residence each year.  Thurber House sponsors evenings with authors, literary picnics, writing workshops and the annual Thurber Prize which is given to an outstanding humor writer.  The award is presented at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City and the author speaks in Columbus a few months later at the Thurber Birthday Gala. 

There is much to learn about James Thurber and this wonderful organization.  A good place to start is to read one of his books.  I forgot to mention that his home is thought to be haunted.  Several people have had unusual things occur while in the house.  An episode of Ghost Hunters was shot there last year.  Here is my poem about the incomparable James Thurber and the home that keeps literature vibrantly alive in the city of Columbus.

Thurber House

The house speaks 
‘Neath the eaves,
On wooden stairs
It speaks,

Stories whisper
Through the rooms,
James alive
In vivid words,

His genius quite the treat,
Laced with images complete,

He lingers in the shadows,
Creaking, crackling
In delight,
We need not fear
His presence here
For humor
Fills the site,

Thurber reigns
A treasured king,
Written words his
Royal crown,

His life and times
We keep alive
Lest others dare forget,
James Thurber’s wicked wit.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poem: Lift Your Eyes

Amelita Mirolo Barn Framework - Photo - Rita Bourland - Sept. 2010

Lift Your Eyes

Lift your eyes,

To sparkling skies,
Clouds that drift,
Billowing past
On whispering winds,

Lift your eyes,

To birds in flight
Soaring high,
Making nests,
Finding food,
Singing songs,

Lift your eyes,

To dark of night,
See the stars
Shine so bright,
See the moon
Hanging low,

 Lift your eyes,

To sights unseen
 Songs unsung,
Dreams to come,
A day well done,

Lift your eyes,

Through rafters high,
Past towering trees,
Beyond the stars,
There’s much to see,

Just lift your eyes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seek your Soul

SECCA Gardens – Sculpture by Mark Jenkins – photo Rita Bourland

While visiting one of our sons in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we spent an afternoon at SECCA (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art).  The center is surrounded by lush greenery with sculptures appearing in unexpected places.  I found this one to be particularly intriguing.

Seek your Soul

What is it that makes up a human soul?  We have the same organs, veins, bones, muscles – organic matter like the fabric of the earth.  What seeds buried deep inside give birth to humanity, making us singular, unique, capable of hope, despair, love, hate and spirituality? 

The very core of our being is rooted to the earth.  Gravity pulls us down each day, reminding us that we are of the earth, at least while we are in our human form.  We go about our days giving birth to ideas that emerge from our complex brains.  Seeds germinate and ideas grow into actions.  Actions impact others; sometimes for the betterment of mankind, sometimes not.  The mind of each person is capable of creating a garden of beauty or a desolate, hopeless landscape.  We have the power to take the seeds, nurture them with love and sunlight and then unleash them in a flourish of fanciful flight, knowing they will float freely on a gentle, giving wind.

We have that power.  

The human soul is separate from the organic matter that tethers us to earth.  It lives temporarily within the shell of our human bodies, but it must be tended with great care.  Its purpose is greater than our imperfect human form, than our unsettled human hearts.  

Sit on the earth, feel the deep connection; allow your thoughts to delve deeply into the very core of your being.  Somewhere, in a world where time and space are absent, our souls exist.  Seek your soul and there you will find the truth and there your garden will grow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Poem: Daisy the Doodler

Illustration by Philip Bourland

 Daisy the Doodler

Daisy, my neighbor, drew doodles all day;
she’d rather draw doodles than go out to play,

she once drew a dizzying spiral with arms,
and a two-headed dino with dastardly charms,

she drew a small doorway that creaked in the night, 
then added a ghost who showed his delight,

she drew a big tree with a hole in its trunk,
and filled it with twigs and a shy baby skunk.

she doodled on paper, napkins and such,
 she doodled until it was time to eat lunch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Poem: Something Lasting

Artwork by Diane Phalen @  www.dianephalen.com
 Something Lasting

Cotton blocks
Pieced together,

Busy hands
Take needle, thread,
Move to and fro,
Up and down,
With rhythmic
Perfect stitches,
Sewn with purpose,
Loving thoughts,
Through fabric, batting, backing,
Creating beauty,
Something lasting,

We stitch our lives
From day to day,

Something of worth,
Something lasting,

Quilting a life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Poem: Speak Soft, Sweet Words

Mother's Day 2011

Speak Soft, Sweet Words

Speaking soft, sweet words,
Baby talk,
Talking child,
Questions asked,
Answers weighed,
Lessons learned
Along the way,
By you,
By me,

When you were young,
I was wise
In your eyes,

Now wisdom is yours
As well,

Be kind,
Be true,
Listen well,
Ask questions,
Weigh answers,
Speak soft, sweet words,
Live fully,
Love wholly,
My son.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wishful Thinking

Star light, star bright, 
The first star I see tonight; 
I wish I may, I wish I might, 
Have the wish I wish tonight.
(Nursery Rhyme –late 19th century)

We are wishful, hopeful people.  There’s no denying it.  If you’ve ever made a wish when blowing out your birthday candles or crossed your fingers in the hopes that something good will happen, then you believe in the possibility of magical things happening.  And isn’t that wonderful?   

Wishful Thinking

I found a four leaf clover

And made a little wish,

I plucked it from the garden

And saved it in a dish,

A penny on the sidewalk,

A shiny copper find,

I put it in my pocket

And made a wish so fine,

My birthday came last Tuesday,

The candles blazed so bright,

I blew them out and made a wish

For all things good and right,

A storm blew in on Wednesday,

And then the sun came out,

A rainbow arched across the sky,

I wished for those without,

A falling star on Sunday

Streaked with glowing light,

I made a wish for you and yours

To have a peaceful night,

Make a wish most any time,

Make it good and true,

Wish for all of those you love,

And they will wish for you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cheer not for Death

I have had mixed feelings this week after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden.  On many levels I am glad he was found and glad he will no longer be able to plot attacks on innocent people, but I have been saddened and perplexed by the cheering and celebration that have erupted across the country.  It does not reflect the actions of a civil society and does not allow for a more contemplative view of what occurred.  Cheer for life and the accomplishments of life.  Cheer not for death. 

 Cheer not for Death

Cheer for parades,
Marching bands,

But not for the death of a man,

Cheer for home runs,
Olympic feats,
Horse races,
Slam dunks,
Breaking a record,

But not for the death of a man,

Cheer for new life,
First steps,
Swelling songs,
Soaring arias,
Ballet pirouettes,
Strains of a violin,
Plucks of a harp,

But not for the death of a man,

Cheer not for death.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Poem: Weighty Words

Weighty Words

Feathery, floating,
Weighty, angry, soft, sublime,
Tempting, arousing,
Tragic, emotional,
Transparent, opaque,
Dreamy, exotic, platonic,
Desirous, contented,
Descriptive, dissenting,
Dissecting, projecting, directing,
Sympathetic, empathetic,
Entertaining, amusing, bemusing, hilarious,
Contentious, condescending,
Debatable, erroneous,
Factual, laughable, imaginary,
Nonsensical, open-minded,
Personal, private, professional,
Quiet, quixotic, railing,
Who, what, when, where, how words,
Everyday words,
Fancy words,
Showing off words,
All words leave a mark,
Indelible, undeniable words.