Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Poem: What Snakes Really Do

What Snakes Really Do

When I visit the zoo
 and look through the glass,
I imagine the snakes
 alert in the grass,

they silently coil
and wait on their prey;
they sit without moving
 most of the day,

but just when you think
 they’ve fallen asleep,
they’ll spring from their perch
and make a quick leap,

they’ll snatch up their prey,
and swallow it whole,
then slither away
 to hide in their hole,

I like to imagine
 what snakes really do;
It’s not all that scary
‘cause they’re in the zoo.

Monday, July 25, 2011

True Story: Case Closed

 Case Closed

Living in a big city presents a unique set of problems. There are ongoing issues of traffic, noise, road construction, detours, and people behaving badly.  It’s hard to feel empowered to impact any of these.
When I started hearing a constant noise every time I stepped foot in our backyard, I didn’t immediately feel like I could do anything about it.  I did the initial cursory walk through the neighborhood to see if I could find the source, but to no avail.  It was a high-pitched noise, sort of like a low decibel tornado warning.  It started really getting under my skin and inside my head.  My husband could hear it too.
I did a drive-around about a week ago, but couldn’t find the source.  I told myself that even if I found the source, it would be difficult to negotiate a fix to the problem.  
Tonight, when my husband got home from work, he said we should get on our bikes and try to pinpoint the offensive noise.  We rode through the neighborhood with our ears cocked.  We wound past houses and condos, eventually weaving between office buildings.  We ventured onto a busier street, and still following our ears, pulled between two restaurants.  Feeling a rush of adrenaline, we realized the noise had reached its loudest peak and we had found the culprit.  

The squeal was emanating from what looked to be the hood vent fan on top of the Poong Mei Korean/Asian Bistro, almost a mile from our house.  I asked my husband to watch the bikes and I went inside.  A lovely Korean woman approached the counter.  It was 4:00 in the afternoon and she and a gentleman (probably around 40 years old) were the only people in the restaurant.  To kill time while I considered my options, I asked about their carry-out menu and then she told me about the special discount nights the owner planned each week.  When she made the comment about the owner, she pointed to the gentleman sitting at the back table.  I made a quick decision and asked if I could speak to him.  I explained the noise problem and asked him if he would accompany me outside so he could hear the offending noise for himself.  I tried to be incredibly polite.  He looked at me a bit bemused (can you blame him) and followed me outside.  
My husband was waiting with the bikes, so we all walked over to the side of the building and I pointed out the problem and explained that we could hear it very far away.
Now, here comes the best part.  He was incredibly kind and apologetic.  He got on his cell phone and called his maintenance person and told me they would look into it tomorrow.  He said that it may have saved him from having a more serious problem down the road.  We thanked him profusely for taking action and for listening to our concerns. 
We rode away with great satisfaction, knowing we had actually made the city a few decibels quieter.  How empowering!  We also found our new favorite restaurant.  How can we not frequent a place with such an incredibly nice owner?  
If you live in Columbus, OH, please go to the Poong Mei Korean/Asian Bistro on Reed Road. Any owner of an establishment who conducts himself in such a civilized manner deserves the highest recommendation. 
Big cities aren't so bad after all. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Poem: I Wish I Could Recall

My father passed away when I was 23 and he was 63.  
He was a wise man.  
I wish he had been around much longer.

Why do I remember
Such a thing?
The way he sat
By my side,
Homework on my mind,
Math problems due,

But he would talk
About bigger things,
Moral things,
Historical things,

I feigned interest
Truth be told,
Politely commenting,
Smiling, remarking,
Secretly wishing
The lecture would end,

I wish I could recall
One word,
One snippet of wisdom
From then,
To guide me now,

Had I known
He’d only be alive
‘Til I was 23,
I would have
Recorded, remembered,
Listed his words,

Yet who I am,
 How I act,
What I speak,
And how I live,
Are all an extension of him,

I live his words,
At least
I hope I do,

I miss you dad.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Poem: Pining for a Pal

Pining for a Pal

Penelope peeked through a slit in the door
and what did she find across the floor?

A black and white panda with pitiful eyes,
was playing piano and eating plum pies,

He plinked and plunked and pulled on his ears;
he pined for a pal then burst into tears.

Penelope opened the door just a bit;
she tiptoed inside; she decided to sit.

She smiled at panda; he smiled at her,
they played a duet; she petted his fur.

Written by Rita Bourland - Illustration by Philip Bourland

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Poem: Yoga's Good for That

I have been attending yoga classes for the past three years and find it rejuvenating to my body, mind and spirit.  I created a series of cards a couple of years ago with hand drawn illustrations.  Here are a couple of the designs.

Yoga's Good for That

I bend and stand,
Stretch and sit,
Bow and reach,
Breathe a bit,

Find my core,
Downward dog,
Inner calm,
Think of blog,

What to write,
About this gift,
Yoga class,
What a lift,

Finding peace,
Finding balm,
Feeling good,
Feeling calm,

Gentle thoughts,
From within,
Gentle thoughts,
Will stay and then,

I’ll go about
My day to day,
With extra verve,
Extra nerve,

We all deserve
To feel this well,

Yoga’s good for that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poem: No Failure Today

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  
I was inspired by this quote to write the following poem.

No Failure Today
But of course you can fail, 
Is what you might say,
But what if I say
That’s not true today?

Today I am free
To try something new,
Dance, dream and sing,
 Bid worries adieu,

Today there are no
Buts, ifs or maybes,
Today there is only
Yes, I’ll succeed,

So, what will I do
On this magical day?
What will I try?
What will I say?

I’ll give a grand speech
To thousands of fans,
I’ll hold a big snake
In the palm of my hand,

I’ll jump from a plane
With a 'chute on my back,
I’ll drive a fast car
On the world’s fastest track,

Maybe I’ll surf
On a mountain high wave,
Or wind through the jungle;
I’ll be oh so brave,

I’ll travel to China
and walk the Great Wall,
Maybe I’ll even
Grow seven feet tall,

I can do all these things;
no worries for me,
Don’t tell me I'll fail,
'Cause I won't,
You will see.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Act Play: Lightning Bugs at Play

Lightning Bugs at Play

A mother and her five year old son outside on a summer evening admiring the lightning bugs.

Why do lightning bugs light up?

Well, I’m not really sure, sweetie.  It’s just the way they have adapted to the world, and it’s a special way they communicate with each other.

So, it’s kind of like talking?

Yeah, kind of.  Or maybe it’s their way of playing a game.

You mean like tag?

Maybe.  What do you think?

I think they’re playing hide and go seek.  They flash their lights to try and find each other.

You might be right.

Or maybe they’re afraid of the dark.

Could be.  They do live outside though, so they’re pretty used to the dark.

I’m afraid of the dark.


Because I don’t have a special light to keep me safe.

Would a light help you feel safe?

Yes, but I want it to look like a lightning bug.

Maybe we can think about how to do that.  For tonight, you can look out your window before you go to sleep and see all the lightning bugs blinking just for you.  Their light will keep you safe.

I like lightning bugs.  Do you like lighting bugs, mom?

Yes, I like them very much.  But I love my little boy the most. 
Time for a bath and bedtime story.  Goodnight lightning bugs.

Goodnight lighting bugs.  Don’t be afraid.  I’ll be right inside if you need me.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Poem: About Love and Skies and Two Being Two

My husband and I saw Midnight in Paris last night.  I highly recommend this movie.  It transported me, filled me with inspiration, hopefulness and the sense that anything is possible.  I won’t give away the plot, but there is the idea in the movie that living in another time or place might solve our problems or bring us more happiness.  The idea that we can create that kind of magic where we currently reside is what I took away from the movie.  If you go see it, I would love to read your comments.

About Love and Skies and Two Being Two

If you could live anywhere,
Meet anyone,
See anything,
Do anything,
What would it be?

Would life be more magical,


Than now?

Would love be truer,
Skies bluer,
One equal two or

Your point of view
Might change,

If then were now,
And now were then,
And you could never be
Here again,

Then what would you do?

Would you wish to return
To what you have now,
Longing for all that you’ve know to be true,
About love and skies and
Two being two?

I know what I’d do,
I’d stay here with you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Goodbye Harry Potter

In honor of the release of the last Harry Potter movie:

Goodbye Harry Potter

 Wizards and Muggles, goblins and ghosts,
Hogwarts a school with scary dark moats,

Mirrors that talk, teachers with potions,
Boggarts with strange and nefarious notions,

Owls holding notes, screeching black cats,
Dragons and house-elves, banshees and bats,

A phoenix with feathers worthy of wands,
Strange phantom figures lurking near ponds,

Chambers and tunnels, trains in the night
Evil to vanquish before the first light

Winning at Quidditch, taking the cup,
Battles and triumphs, lifting us up,

Good over evil, friend over foe,
Lessons we learned; things we should know,

Harry you’ve been the greatest of friends
Is it really the time
for your story to end?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fountain Pen Wisdom

Fountain Pen Wisdom
This is a new feature on my blog.  Look for it about once a week.  I chose the title because it conjures up a slower time when it took time to write a note or compose a letter; each word carefully selected and meticulously written. 

Look for the silver lining even when the world 
hands you rust and corrosion. 

Hold out your hand and wait expectantly 
for the gift of another’s touch.

Live with light.  It will guide your way 
and inspire others who are cloaked in darkness. 

Rita Bourland © 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whisper, Speak, Sing and Shout

In 1977, Billy Joel wrote a tremendous song called “Just the Way you Are.”  Each time I hear the song, I think about the universal desires we all share.  What we love about another human being is the stuff that fills up our spirits.  Honest conversation, loyalty, trust and faithfulness outweigh appearance, power and money every time.

Whisper, Speak, Sing and Shout

Whisper me your dreams, 

And I will tell you mine.

Speak to me of love,

And I will speak of love,

Sing to me of joy,

And I will sing of joy,

Shout to me of truth

And I will shout the same,

whisper, speak, sing and shout,
be heard,
be known,
be bold,
and I will be the same.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poem: Catching a Bee

Catching a Bee

Silly, silly, silly me,
I climbed a tree
to catch a bee,
I looked at him,
he looked at me,
and then he stung me
on my knee;
Oh, how I wish
I’d let him be.

Illustration by Philip Bourland © 2010

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That's the Kind of Friend I will Be

I heard the music of James Taylor for the very first time in 1971.  I was attending a high school retreat and was in a dorm room with several girls I had never met.  A girl named Sheri had a guitar and was singing one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard.  It was “You’ve Got a Friend”.  I was completely mesmerized.

I have loved the music of James Taylor ever since and have had the pleasure of seeing him in person on four different occasions.  His music never fails to touch my heart.  As a performer, he has the perfect combination of an affable personality, a voice like silk and music that has universal appeal.  It’s almost impossible to keep from singing along when I hear one of his songs on the radio.  He is a beloved performer.  

The music and lyrics to “You’ve Got a Friend” were written by Carole King, another outstanding, timeless performer.

The lyrics to the song touch each listener in a unique way, but I believe there is a wish in every person to have the kind of friend described in the song. So, here are my thoughts on friendship.

That's the Kind of Friend I will Be

I promise to dry your tears
When trouble nears,

I promise
To be a friend,

The best kind of friend,

Who listens,
Brings cookies,
Warm tea,
Warm thoughts
With me,

The kind of friend
You want,
You need,

Count on me,
Count to three
And I will be


Count to ten,
Your troubles will be
A thing of the past,

I will create
A fortress against the storm,

That’s the kind of friend
 I will be.