Tag Archives: poetry

Yahrzeit: A Day of Remembrance

In Jewish tradition one observes the passing of someone close to you four times a year. Yom Kippur, Feast of Tabernacles, Passover, and Feast of Weeks. And then there is the annual remembrance, Yahrzeit. Yahrzeit is observed on the anniversary of a person’s death, using the Jewish calendar. In my case that would be April 17 of this year. My husband was half Jewish but I know his abhorrence for that time of year, so I choose today; the anniversary of his departure on the Gregorian calendar.

To understand the tradition you must know something of the Jewish approach to such things. There are periods of grief, but there are also periods during which the memory of the person is preserved in all of its living grace. A way of learning to treasure those that went before us, and a hope of the path we will follow into some unknown “then.”

I’m not terribly good a formalized prayers, so I have chosen to write a poem. If memory serves it may be the first in a year.

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He left me in the spring.
Not in the dead of winter,
When cold, gray skies surround me.
When days are short,
And love itself,
Huddles ‘neath the rain and snow.

He left me in the spring.
Not in the chill of fall,
When brilliant colors oft betray
Arrival of the frost.
And love itself,
Feels the bite, and seeks the warming hearth.

IMG_1632

He left me in the spring.
Not in the heat of summer,
When days are long and hot.
When the grass grows brown,
And love itself,
With thirst, seeks cool and breezy shadows.

He left me in the spring.
When birds sing, and trees grow green.
When flowers bloom and life awakes.
Perhaps to show me future hope,
When love itself,
Becomes the strength
– to face life on my own.

Deer

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Filed under Personal Journeys, Poetry

Reflections ~ On a day gone by

I touch you,

But you’re not there

You miss me

But I’m right here

I die a thousand deaths

as one by one

life’s memories

slip away

One by one,

the things we did

are lost

in a graveyard

of the mind.

Courtesy of WANA Commons, Jenny Kaczorowski

Courtesy of WANA Commons, Jenny Kaczorowski

Happy Anniversary to my one true love, my soul mate, my best friend.
July 12, 2014

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys

Reflections ~ Bed of Thorns

Today I bought a bed.
A small bed
For a small place
In a room to call my own.

 

It’s “my room”
You say, and invite me in.
To show me a place
That I might lay my head

 

It’s “your room” now
Not ours.
Few pieces of me
Remain.

 

A Push-me Pull-you
In the nightly dance
As I try to see,
Am I welcome – or not?

 

With a heart torn in pieces
I surrender at last
And order a bed
Of my own – just in case.

 

The pain’s only greater
When you don’t remember
It was I you evicted,
And invited last night.

 

In the light of the day
We cling to each other
And you now remember
How much we once loved.

 

And I see our passion,
It’s still burning bright
But imprisoned within
This damned disease.

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys, Poetry

Review ~ Wild Woman Waking: Finding the Path to Who You Are

Wild Woman Waking by Morgan Dragonwillow with photography by Tui Snider

Morgacover18n is a dear friend of mine. One of those found in the madness known as Facebook. This is her second visit to my little alcove. You may remember her previous offering, Dancing within Shadow. Her poetry touched me then, and it continues to do so. Through her poetry she finds a way to paint a story of the pain, discovery and joy of her life. She openly shares her journey so that others may find the strength necessary to seek their own path, their own journey to healing.

Morgan’s work is beautifully illustrated by photos from another friend of mine, Tue Snider. This lady has an incredible eye for detail and can turn the mundane into an amazing inner journey. Who would think that a photo of a drain in a boat house would have artist interest? Somehow, this photographer can and does.

Here are just a few bits of how these artists have managed to create together. I chose this first piece because it speaks to me. I know something of the journey from insecurity and fear to strength and peace.

Fall

When you are hiding
within yourself
afraid to be who
you really are
it is hard to speak
your inner truth
fear is a constant
companion
daring you to trip
daring you to fall
but falling is
the only option
because standing
hurts
too
much

Another one that resonated with me so deeply was “Fire.”  I don’t recall have a circle of friends I could feel this free with; but I do know a few people who can make my heart dance and sing.

fire sm

Fire
Born in the dark of night
slow
moist
and sacred
embrace your brilliant self
wake to your desires
to the blazing morning fire
velvet
soft
wild
open
where the soul remembers
bringing women to the circle
to dance laugh and celebrate.
in the dazzling joy of life

And just one more teaser of Tui’s work, finding extraordinary in the ordinary:

Pic3 2Check out Morgan’s musings, and Tui’s impressions of the world around us. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something just for you.

Morgan Dragonwillow is a shadow poet and recovering perfectionist that strives to inspire other poets and writers. She especially enjoys helping those that have had trouble letting go of the fear holding back their words from landing on the page. It thrills her to her marrow when her words inspire someone to write; it is one of her greatest joys. Morgan released her first poetry book, Dancing within Shadow, in March 2013. She is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving into what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for all types of creativity, especially writing and poetry. She writes poetry to be able to say things, feel things that she can’t seem to express or feel anywhere else. Morgan lives in Marietta Ga. with her partner, their Pekinese, and their long haired Tabby. She loves creating of all kinds but words are her passion. You can connect with Morgan from the links below.
Morgan Dragonwillow’s Amazon author page
Morgan Dragonwillow’s Shadow Poet & Author Page: Dancing where others fear to tread.
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
Twitter

Tui Snider is a freelance writer and travel blogger specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. She is also a photographer. Her articles and photos have appeared in BMIbaby, easyJet, Wizzit, Click, Ling, PlanetEye Traveler, iStopover, SkyEurope, and North Texas Farm and Ranch magazines, among others. She also wrote the shopping chapter for the “Time Out Naples: Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast 2010” travel guidebook. Unexpected Texas is her first book. For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is “Even home is a travel destination,” and she believes that “The world is only boring if you take everyone else’s word for it.” She has worn a lot of hats in her life – literally – and is especially fond of berets. Her first book, “Unexpected Texas” is a guide to offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas – Fort Worth region of North Texas. You can find Tui all around the web.  Tui has been a guest here as well, check out her book Unexpected Texas.

Feel free to say hi:

Tui Snider’s Amazon author page
Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel blog
Facebook author page
Instagram
Pinterest

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Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Current times, Poetry

Perk News for 2013 Songs of Kiguli: Museum for African Art Donates Book

One of the advantages of working with a project that reaches across the borders of countries and cultures is the opportunity to meet other people passionate about their interests.  This is what we found in the Museum for African Art located in New York City.  In response to our plea for support they offered up their catalog and said, “Pick something.”  We believe we found a treasure that expressed what we were trying to accomplish and did so within the spirit of our project.  We selected a wonderful book entitled Personal Affects: Power & Poetics in Contemporary South African Art.

personal_affectsStraight from the catalog description the “artworks represent artists’ responses to a week-long stay in New York and visits with the international team of curators. The common thread throughout the exhibition is the highly personal point of departure of their working methods, informed by their varied experiences as South Africans.”

Participating artists include Jane Alexander, Wim Botha, Steven Cohen, Churchill Madikida, Thando Mama, Mustafa Maluka, Jay Pather, Johannes Phokela, Robin Rhode, Claudette Schreuders, Berni Searle, Doreen Southwood, Samson Mudzunga, Clive van den Berg, Minnette Vari, Diane Victor, and Sandile Zulu. Exhibition catalogue with Introduction by curators David Brodie, Laurie Ann Farrell, Churchill Madikida, Sophie Perryer, and Liese van der Watt, and essays: The Enigma of the Rainbow Nation: Contemporary South African Art at the Crossroads of History by Okwui Enwezor, Towards an ‘Adversarial Aesthetics’: A Personal Response to Personal Affects by Liese van der Watt, and artist interviews by Tracy Murinik.

Published by the Museum for African Art, New York and Spier, Cape Town. September 2004. 176 pp.

It is through art (and writing) that our species expresses those things which touch us most deeply, that give rise to all that is good, and bad, within us.  It is how we convey emotion and thought across language and cultural barriers.  Understanding the power of the word and art will prepare the students of Kiguli for a lifetime of successful leadership in their homes, communities, and perhaps their nation and the world.

The museum book is part of a package making up the perk for a $100 donation to 2013 Songs of Kiguli.  We labeled this perk “Hill of Antelopes” which is taken from the name of the capital city, Kampala (Kasozi Kempala). Won’t you join us in supporting a cause that gives us an opportunity to reach out, person to person, and help build a better world?  Just one more thing, helping to pull this project together will make the smiles on nearly 700 children that much more bigger and brighter!

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Stop by our fundraiser and check out all of our perk packages.  We only have 6 days to go.  We have received dozens and dozens of complements on the project and the work to date.  That, of course, is appreciated.  It is time, however, to back up all that praise with a bit of cash.  Help us deliver on a promise to light up a corner of Africa with poetry and music.

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When Poetry Makes a Difference

Why is a book of poetry, The Songs of Kiguli so terribly important to bright and inquiring minds living in the rural areas of Uganda?

1236165_10200400083191948_1324088671_nThe Kiguli Army School was originally founded to provide an inexpensive education to the children of soldiers in the Ugandan Army.  At inception it was registered as a Universal Primary Education school or UPE.  UPEs were set up by the government of Uganda to provide free primary-level education to children across the country.  Registration does not mean that the operating costs of the school are covered.  Books, stationary, school meals, and much of the salaries paid to teachers and administrators are not covered.

The cost of teacher salaries was not supported by the government until 2001 since the ministry of education had difficulty locating the registration number.  From the organization of the school until 2001, the teachers were paid out of the army’s “Rational Cash Allowance (RCA).  This is a fund providing small stipends for soldiers.

In 2002 things began to change for the better.  Luwero Industries, Ltd. Provided a location for the school and constructed 4 classroom blocks.  With this contribution came more students from the families of workers at Luwero.  The school is now providing education to the Nakasongola military fraternity and the children of Luwero workers.  The school is able to keep the contribution required from the families to a reasonable amount due to the proximity of the campus to corporate housing, local villages, and the homes of the fraternity.

“Reasonable cost,” of course, is a relevant term.  Education is being provided with the materials at hand.  But the school desperately needs a number of items not covered by the government, fraternity or corporate support.  Many of the students travel some 4 km to and from school. Reliable transportation is required to and from athletic events.  A maintenance vehicle is needed as well as repairs to the original buildings.  A library has been started and it is in need of more inventory.  The expanding school could also use more space.  The teachers and the administrators would like to see the school lunch program expanded.

It is true that the sale of this little book of poetry, along with its companion DVD and the 2012 edition, will help raise funds to support the projects required by the school.  PDMI Publishing, LLC, is doing its best to build the kind of marketing program that will generate the required interest in this project.  But there is far, far more.  One short review of the thank yous that flow from this rather large school give you some idea of the impact the simple act of publishing can have on the spirits of the students themselves.  Although the poems show that they are already far along the road of understanding the circumstances of their country and the world, this book gives them the sense that they have the power to change things for the better.  Something THEY do can have an impact.  Won’t you join us in training and inspiring the next generation of thoughtful, compassionate leaders of this African nation?

Check out the web page and the Facebook link on my side bar.

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Qwela ~ The Rhythm of Uganda

Here we go with another article in my series about the 2013 Songs of Kiguli project.

The 2013 edition of Songs of Kiguli will be released by PDMI Publishing early this fall. There will also be a DVD with footage of the school and of the students reading their own poetry.  In addition, Qwela has graciously agreed to support the project with their music.  Qwela is a band from Kampala, Uganda with a “unique afro-fusion flavor of music.”  Qwela means pure in rukiga, which is one of Uganda’s ethnic languages.

Although influenced by western culture, members of the band were raised in traditional African families.  Their work is original and it fuses the traditions of their culture with western styles such a jazz and reggae. The mix is their own special interpretation of Uganda and its people.

Qwela small

Qwela formed in 2007 and started their career by producing their own versions of popular contemporary music.  As they grew in their art, so did their repertoire.  Now they produce their own music and are a featured act with a following.  In addition to the influence of jazz and reggae, the band draws on inspiration from rumba, blues, gospel and afro-soul rhythms and sounds.  The band’s music blends African rhythms and melodies with socially conscious lyrics that support and illuminate stories with a message.

Qwela’s mission is to help bring about positive change in the hearts of those living in Uganda and those around the world.  When you visit their page on Reverbnation you should note that 50% of the proceeds from their music go to World Vision.  For these reasons, and many others, they made a perfect match for the Songs of Kiguli project.  Their music speaks directly to the lives, dreams, hopes, and needs of the children in the Kiguli Army School.  They express the heart of the project in song.  Selected music, lyrics and videos can be found on Reverbnation, Qwela.

The trailer for the 2013 Songs of Kijuli uses a clip from Mwana Wangye, “My Child,” the DVD will contain the cut in its entirety:

They say that we can’t make it
but they don’t know who we are
they say that we can’t do it
but they don’t know where we’re from

Iwe mwana wanje we
iwe mwana wanje
Iwe mwana wanje

When I was young my daddy taught me
he said son, here’s the secret to success in life
he said find that thing which you can do best
and just give it your very best shot

Qwela and The Songs of Kiguli are doing just that.

Another piece that will be on the DVD is the story of Okello, a child kidnapped from a burning village to become a warrior in war that is not his.  The tale and the music are haunting.

His little feet are burning
On the hot desert soil
barely hours since the village burnt down
and now he’s taken prisoner
this little dreamer village boy
dreamt of being a football star
now marched by army rebels
to fight a war that is not his

Okello Okello
Imitu bedingo
Okello Okello

Forced into brutality
He was a child no more
He learnt to kill
learnt how to fight
learnt how to survive
but deep in his heart remains
the dream that would not die
and every day he went to sleep at night
he could hear the voices in his mind
they’re saying

First chance to be free
should I run or should I stay
but his little feet start running
cuz he can hear his mama say

“Ati na ba
wi pe wiliba
Akaniyo diluni
dwong pachuba

Okello Okello
Running through the night
Okello Okello
Oh he ran with all his might
Okello Okello
running for his life
Okello Okello
and now he’s free
Okello Okello
free to run
Okello Okello
free to live
Okello Okello
to live his dream

The last piece is a beautiful song written in the native tongue. The video shows a family day of being together, enjoying the outdoors, a picnic, just being family.  The chorus soothes with the sounds of a lullaby,

Don’t you cry, Mama tokaaba saying, everything is gonna be alright, it’s gonna be alright, it’s gonna be okay.

For the DVD , PDMI Publishing will wrap these beautiful pieces around the vision of primary school students who are doing their best to change their lives, their community, and someday their country.  Won’t you help us?  Donations can be as low as $1.00 and all of the perks carry the theme of Africa and education. Learn more about the power of poetry at the links below:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2013-edition-of-songs-of-kiguli

https://www.facebook.com/SongsofKiguli

https://www.facebook.com/events/338374329634484/

https://www.facebook.com/PDMIPublishing

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