It must mean something that I’m coming across this and that about my hometown on the web recently (maybe it has something to do with the Cavs realigning the Universe with their winning of the NBA Championship).
Thanks so much to my friend Ava of Fresh Brewed Thoughts for “bridging” this to my attention.
Please visit Bruce Stambaugh’s wonderful site to see all of his beautiful covered bridge photographs.
By Bruce Stambaugh
I’ve been curious about covered bridges for a long time. I wondered about their purpose other than the obvious one of crossing from one side of a stream to another.
My curiosity got the best of me recently. Accompanied by my wife and another couple, we went exploring all 18 of Ashtabula County’s covered bridges. We discovered that the unique architectural wonders were so much more than a conveyance from one bank to another.
If you’re not familiar with Ashtabula County, it’s Ohio’s northeastern most county. It bumps against both Lake Erie on the north and Pennsylvania to the east.
It’s a big county with varied topography and land usage. Its trail of covered bridges is one of its most distinctive features. Most of the bridges are still in use today.
Covered bridge hobbyists admire the intricate architectural details of the wooden tunnels. I…
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Many of the haiku and other poems in Short Verses & Other Curses were written as a therapeutic balm in response to my cancer. I don’t know why or how I survived all that nonsense but I suspect writing the poems helped at least a little.
Recent events make it seem to me that my country is suffering such a life-threatening and cancerous disease so I was naturally drawn to some of the poems I wrote for the collection. To some degree they helped again, if only as a temporary distraction from present reality.
I doubt if these poems have any healing power potent enough for all the ills sickening my nation; however, it is out of love and desperation that I shall share them with you now.
For the next day or so, please feel free to download the collection. If any of the poems move you in any way, I ask that you share your thoughts here in the comment section. If you have any other poetry that you believe will help relieve a troubled soul, I ask that you also share those with us as well.
You may download the collection by clicking on its book cover.
by elizabeth stokkebye
Seventeen and in Paris on my own.
It was my first encounter with the city of love and I was fortunate to stay with an aunt and uncle, who both being workaholics, left me with oceans of time to explore. I hurried out the door to experience the vast world of Paris with its majestic architecture, its towering cathedrals, its world-renowned art collections, its peaceful parks, and its crowds of people.
The air was spring like, mild and sunny, although I was spending my Christmas holiday away from my home in Denmark. Traveling by myself in a foreign world filled me with a sensation of pure freedom. I remember how my breathing felt different: effortless and silent but steady and consistent. It was breathing devoid of depression and anxiety. I breathed without past or future and let the air be present.
Walking along grand boulevards beneath a blue sky sporting white clouds I felt my loving heart circulate blood through my veins.
On my way past one of the many cafés lining the wide sidewalk, my sway caught the attention of a street performer playing his violin. As I danced by him he let go of his instrument and started to sing Ne me quitte pas. I stopped, turned around, and listened to his chanson. Was he performing especially for me?
My youthful disposition was romantic and I was attracted to him. At the same time, I could hear my mother’s voice: “I’m so proud to have brought up a good girl!” I didn’t move. When he was done with the song, he waved me over. I blushed but followed his hand. He grabbed mine and kissed it. I felt the touch of his soft lips. My skin everywhere reacted by turning prickly and my breathing intensified.
“Ma Cherie,” he whispered.
All of a sudden my body felt heavy and I pulled away. Caught between wanting to leave and wanting to stay, I sat down on a bistro chair.
“Please, I need a minute,” I uttered.
“Bien sûr!” he smiled.
He put his violin to his neck once again and with closed eyes, he played the sweetest melody riding through the air and penetrating the toughest disposition.
Paralyzed, I tried to think. Should I leave or should I stay? My sense of freedom had slowly vanished which made the decision so much harder. The guy was cute, romantic and talented.
A waiter came over and I asked for a café au lait. As more people gathered around to listen to the soft music, I started to relax. He didn’t sing again which made me feel special.
Immersed in the music, I let go of time. Slowly, the morning faded, noon hour came around, and with his violin case full of money, he sang out:
“La dernière chanson!”
From his slender body came Que je t’aime and I didn’t know where to look. My gaze fell on a young woman advancing hurriedly towards us and embodying a sense of pure joy. She stepped right up to my singer and kissed him on the mouth.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?
Another day has passed
Another year has passed
And, woe, others shall pass anon
Who amongst us needs such a curse
As that which forever to us will elude
As that which forever to us will delude
Yea, instead, choose to seek thine peace
In that which shan’t ne’er forsake
For ’tis thy present
Often, we of the Newsletter Love share our writings and whatnots amongst ourselves; and occasionally some of it makes its way to this here blogspace. Today, to kick the year off in poetic style, and to spread around some of our newsletter love, I share here a selection of the newsletter submissions from Andy Smerdon, Pleasant Street, and Priyanki. I thank them for helping us to send out and in the years in poetic style. You can read all their work in the current edition of the Newsletter Love. Additionally, I invite you to visit their sites, check out their work, and follow along with them.
I thank you all for hanging out with me here like you do. It means much, very much, to me.
Have a Happy & Healthy & Humorous New Year, my friends.
Poetry by Andy Smerdon
Stop, listen, what’s that sound
It’s another heart
Along side yours
We all know
It’s ours to share
Not just with our kin
Not controlled by the skin
We believe we have that right
To pick and choose who gets our light
Yet demand this gift of all we see
When love is something, to be shared and free.
Poetry by Pleasant Street (formerly Rose Red)
In the dog days of Winter dreaming of green
I get weary shoveling, and
struggling to remain upright
scraping those windows yet one more time
coffee spilling into the snow
leaving an ugly brown stain
a fog rising above the crater-
Shit, I really needed that.
I turn my head toward the apple tree
but it does not answer
I remember how July damn near killed me
melting into my clothing
certain that they would find them
in a pile, my body nearly gone
just a grimace where my head used to be.
I think of this memory heading into the wind
and I know that I’ve never felt
so alive in the dead of winter
never felt so sure that I no longer
want to toss it all in
I want this feeling of life
dichotomy of sunlight and frigid air
both surrounding me
with their life-giving forces
hot and cold-dark and light
and I drop the ice scraper
for one moment of pleasure
like some idiot thinking she is 8 years old
-forgetting the sadness in the house-
to make a snow angel
squinting from the sunshine in my eyes
Poetry by Priyanki
Keep flipping the pages
Lost in the books only to be found
The best place to be profound
Unfolding, unwinding so many mysteries.
There is so much to seek
so much to explore
All I feel is to be engrossed in more.
Sometimes I’m short of time
Finishing daily chores of my life’s book
That is also prime to me
As it gives me a sense of my being.
As I move & flip each page
It gives me a feeling of success,
Success of moving on
For not sitting on a page for too long
But I’m also a human being, at times get stuck in life’s routine.
Wherein I just sit & ponder, about all the life’s wonder
All that I got so far.
Did I ask for, or was it an unexpected rain shower…
Then I think , oh! I should have been prepared,
Carrying an umbrella would have taken care.
It would have saved me from all the mess
Oh! look at me? I’m drench all wet,
What shall I do now? Sit & cry
Or dance in the rain & enjoy
Jump in those puddles & let it all go
Or standstill & heighten my sores.
Oh! Let me ask my soul before I go
What does it wish,
What does it say…
Shh!, Let me hear to that voice, it’s coming from deep inside
You know I need to focus more, the outside noises are making me deaf
Then my brain gets lazy, stops working hard to listen to what lies deep within…
& tries to find that easy way,
Of sitting on that page of life’s book & not taking the pain to flip or move
& see what’s coming next,
May be a rainbow or the warmth of sun
But for that it needs to make that turn.
What did you say?
It happens with you too! Oh really!
Is that true?
Don’t you worry
U & I will this time
Silence those noises, disturbing our mind.
All those noises that cause chaos.
& make the turn, that sounds so hard
take the turn of flipping that page
Those pages of our life’s book
Which needs to be closed,
For better outlook
To see what life is holding next
A new beginning is waiting ahead
No matter if the page is interesting, still you need to keep moving,
keep exploring to learn more & you may find that pot of gold
Crossing the life’s rainbow
I don’t want to say at the end.
Life surprises me every now & then
And if the page was mundane then all the more you need to change.
Life’s book is a mix of all
You name the genre
It has it all.
Each of yours life is gifted with it
Fiction, comedy, mystery or thrill
Suspense or action we all go through.
We all are readers of life’s book…
Good or bad, slow or fast
Read it in your stride…
But just remember one little thing,
Keep turning & keep flipping
To keep finding new meanings,
Waiting for you on the next page.
Yes! You can
Now that you think
All you need to
Is keep reading!
If I had a bit more courage and a lot more scholarship, I would have discussed the similarities and differences between a haiku poem and a senryū poem in the introduction of my newly released book of poetry Short Verses & Other Curses: Haiku, Senryū, Tanka & Other Poetic, Artistic, & Photographic Miscellany. However, seeing that I am woefully deficient in both, I will have to enlist someone adequately courageous and scholarly to discuss these subtleties for me.
What little I do think I know about these two popular Japanese poetical forms is that both are diminutive in structure yet powerful in purpose and meaning, with haiku typically involving nature settings and the zen-like moments often evoked by them and senryū typically involving the vagaries – and vulgarities – of the lives that we lead, often by employing humor and sarcasm. But then, what do I really know about it…
I have no answers
I know just that grass will grow
and that leaves will fall
For those of you who appreciate a little more scholarship and authority, here is what Richard Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, has to say about haiku in his beautifully edited and translated book The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets). (I find no direct mention of senryū in the book; though it seems to me much of his discussion of haiku can also be applied to senryū as well.)
The insistence on time and place was crucial for writers of haiku. The seasonal reference was called kigo and a haiku was thought to be incomplete without it.
If the first level of a haiku is its location in nature, its second is almost always some implicit Buddhist reflection on nature.
When the hokku [what haiku were originally called] became detached from linked verse, it also cast off the room the tanka provided for drawing a moral (thought not all tanka do moralize, of course) and what was left was the irreducible mysteriousness of the images themselves.
There is so much to consider about these two subtle yet so often at the same time plain-spoken Japanese poetic forms. Considerations such as:
– Zen and its influence
– the influence of China and its poetry
– various poetic techniques found in much of traditional Japanese poetry, to include haiku and senryū, such as kake-kotoba (pivot words) and kireji (cutting words)
– the 5/7/5 structure and its relevance to the Western haiku poet
Hass’ book covers much of the list; however, instead of continuing to discuss about these poetic forms, let’s just experience some of the best of their kind and enjoy them as they are.
A petal shower
of mountain roses,
and the sound of the rapids
to see lightning and not think
life is fleeting
leaking through the roof,
dripping from a wasps’ nest
Taking a nap,
against a cool wall
Winter solitude —
in a world of one color
the sound of wind
He’s on the porch,
to escape wife and kids —
how hot it is!
Cover my head
or my feet?
the winter quilt
Flowers offered to the Buddha
down the winter river
The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish
A dry riverbed
All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
the old dog
leads the way
and so no sin,
a winter day
From the website HUBPAGES
speaks the sober truth
only when drunk
looking for fleas
The face of her husband
looking for a job —
she is tired of it
An empty sickbed
an indented pillow
in weak winter sun
A falling petal
strikes one floating on the pond
and they both sink
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