It feels like a deep rumble in the belly of the earth. Roaring through the skies like it came right out of the ground, a fat belch set free to shake the darkness in the skies. The churning light, pulsing within its thundercloud womb, burning to strike trees from root — the shift and boil and release.
That rumbling billow cannot be simply the shifting of air. That sound that brings me to melancholy depth, inner cogs grinding away, time anchoring to emotion. A soul sitting still is moved by these sounds. Now, the rain. Paced and steady she is carried in on the bowling thunder that unearths me. I imbibeenergy.
I am jolted. The summer storm alights with all her fury, unleashed on thirsty ground and earth-clinging trees, bending in the throes of her gusts. Dripping patter hammers the roof, drums out the monotony of a day too long and a night too short. She is unleashed, a great pendulum of ferity, flogging the night sky, and I am unbound. My inviolable spirit — reborn, a fat baby slapped again and again.
Hot tea, infused with sugar white, granular, swallowed-up. Powdered creamer swirls, slips inside, a marriage of “Good Morning” and “Wake up” to me, sleepy on the couch.
Pungent warmth to tongue, to throat, to the insides…a dissipation to soothe the memories away. Some days they come.
A survivor, me? The multi-syllabic mess of me?
You have so much to offer, she said, with a genuine smile. She was a nice lady, put-together well-dressed, dignified, attractive, walking in heels up steps. Grace on stilts with a syrupy lure, to share myself…to share me?
My input, my experience my story, my chrysalis shed, to empower other women who shift in bruised realities, someone stealing their right to just be without a price tag on their needs.
Those women are the me I used to be.
I don’t feel very empowered Sitting here sipping tea. The past rises, even if you swallow it whole again and again. Insufficient distance between us for my Soul to rise up and fly free.
My name is Christina. I am a poet. :::i paint with words:::
Christina Ward is an accomplished poet, aspiring author, and columnist for the Observer News Enterprise newspaper. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Catawba College in Environmental Science which greatly influences her work. She also studied creative writing and English at Catawba. Her poetry has been published in the Cameo print literary magazine, the Arrowhead print literary magazine, Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine, and in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine.
You cast stones lift your curses high, chanting carried away, to hide and wait for you… its return three-fold? I think no goddess hears you. It is a barren place, your circle.
It is my pleasure, to wipe your sweet nectar from proboscis and pen, parts of your soul digging into mine. (I use it!) I abuse it, this loving that I must do. After all, you hate the thing that feeds you.
I am Ophelia. I will rise, collect wretched daisies and pass them out one by one, to gaping faces, sterile-hearted creatures that watch me drift downstream and know not my spirit.
But you! Stone in hand your anger rises, a fat red circle in the sky. Your blacks and greys writhe behind bulging, hollow eyes, twist inside your vertebrae. You light your candles fool! You collect your symbols… Idolatry! Curses! Hatred!
It is a barren place, your circle.
I ran into a guy some years ago who professed to be Wiccan, but his “practice” of it was mingled with mental health issues and a gross distortion of what Wicca stands for. Please do NOT consider this poem as a blast of Wicca — it was most certainly not from that place. I am a practicing Christian — and I believe people have every right to believe and practice their faith as they wish. But any time a person is using their religion to do harm to other people — this is not ok with me.
This man heard me make a comment about missing someone I loved who had broken off a relationship with me. The individual I wrote this poem about was so angry at my comment — all I had said was that I missed someone who had meant a lot to me — and this guy lost his marbles. He began calling me all hours of the day and night (I think he thought I was interested in pursuing a relationship with him and I was NOT at all!) cursing me, cursing my name, cursing my children — saying that he had placed an actual curse on me. He then had his WIFE call me and do the same. It was terrifying. They claimed to be calling on all kinds of witchcraft to damn me. He said he was a Warlock with special powers to destroy me.
After this terrifying experience, I wrote this poem as a way to cleanse myself of the anger and fear. I wanted it to be clear that it was not a slamming of any religion or belief system — but more a fit of screaming anger at two seriously crazy people who tried to destroy my spirit. This poem was originally posted on MySpace if that tells you how long ago it was. I stumbled upon the poem today in my files and thought I’d share it. Hopefully, no one will take offense — as it was not intended to be offensive.
Interestingly — I only knew this person for TWO WEEKS!!
Thanks for reading Circles and Stones. I am grateful that poetry can be liberating and help us to heal.
We were an old pier, standing in the sea, pilings caked with barnacles, ravaged by the currents, our foundation weak. We waited for the tides to displace us, unplug us from our feeble grip on shifting sands… for the sea to bring us to our knees.
The sandy currents burn with salt life nibbling our shins and worming its way in, the moon setting our time clock spinning, one massive watery shift after another.
Age and weather befell us. Our wooden rot compelled us to fall — can we be blamed for this? I crawled upon the skin of sand to the edge where water ebbed, rose and smashed upon itself.
I could have buried our secrets, there in the sand. The sand crabs scattered and danced sideways across the rise and fall, into holes that swallowed them up. They took no mind of me.
The ocean now digests that which was us.
I wrote my name there — (on the beach where forgiveness was more vacant than the roar of a shell)with scrapings and clawings on malleable sand I am mere letters; a pier no more. I walked away, salt stinging in my pores.
My name is Christina. I am a poet. :::i paint with words:::
I’m nervous. But since I like to look for the elusive silver-lining (seriously, WHAT is a silver-lining anyway?) I thought I’d make a quick list to help me re-focus my thoughts from the nervous energy, the Prednisone coursing through me that makes me a raging meanie (currently with heartburn) and keep my mind off the dismal surgery outcomes for tomorrow.
At least I have a supportive family, who loves me (and who better do the dishes if I am sleeping )
At least my SO has already mentioned making sure we had plenty of soup in the house–perhaps he’ll feed ME!
At least if I can’t eat much i might lose weight. (Ok unlikely but I’ll even take 2 lbs if it’s a LOSS.)
At least there’s netflix.
At least this is a one-time thing!
A least there’s a chair on my front porch that I can sit in to listen to the birds–and it’s supposed to be a pretty day tomorrow!
At least I am reading a good book.
At least I start a poetry workshop on Friday!!! I won’t be able to talk but I can listen.
At least, even in fear, pushing through makes us stronger.
At least the Prednisone isn’t forever–and my family members have already devised a safety plan for themselves. (Yes, I am THAT awful on this stuff.)
At least, I know, that no matter what, God’s got me, my family’s got me, and I am tough.
At least the Gofundme raised the money I need for the surgery!
I asked Robbie “What if the nerve’s messed up and I can’t smile anymore?”
He said “Baby I’ll love you no matter what, besides you don’t smile with your mouth, you smile with your eyes.”
I am thinking of my favorite paintbrush — poetry 🖌
My first experience with loving the poetic word was in a high school literature class when my teacher assigned us to choose a poem and deliver a short speech about it to our class. The poem I chose was Sylvia Plath’s Edge.
…odors bleed From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about, Staring from her hood of bone.
— Edge, Sylvia Plath
There was something so deeply disturbing, yet profoundly magical, in that poem. I was drawn inexorably to those words.
I began writing creatively in high school and poetry as early as 16. A Tale of Two Poems is an article I wrote featuring two of the poems I wrote in high school. And, I don’t think they are too terrible. 😉
Poetry is a living, breathing element of my being, the tool by which I choose to express parts of me I dare others to attempt to understand.
It is my favorite tool, and as I choose to paint, and I paint with words. What poetry means to another individual is completely unique and right in its own way as all of us are touched and moved by it in varying ways.
Despite my initial attraction to poetry, at times writing it has eluded me, the brushes remaining in a dusty cup on a shelf in the corner of life. As a child, I was compelled to pick up this brush and sit with it in my hand, yet no poem would pour out of its colorless brushes.
As I have grown into my adult skin I have both lived and consumed and observed the colors of life that fill my brush again and again.
This gives me means by which to splash myself onto paper, eternalizing that which could otherwise be washed away in time. I have learned through the years that sometimes I write the poem, and sometimes the poemwrites me.
Poetry can breath itself into us, painting our souls with richness, emotion, clarity, and a whole range of other reactions, or it can be bled out of us, inviting others to grasp its music and its colors with canvases of their own waiting to be filled.
Consider the poetry in your life. Consider the paintbrushes with which you write. And always seek to fill those brushes with wondrous color.
Recently I read the novel Tilda’s Promise, by novelist and poet Jean P. Moore for our book club selection. Jean joined us to discuss her novel and I wrote about that here.
Review of Tilda’s Promise
Tilda Carr is afraid to go to sleep. Terrible things can happen in your sleep, like what happened to Harold. After forty years of marriage, Tilda finds herself alone and navigating her grief with as much grace as she is able. A funny thing happens when you are grieving — the world goes on.
Tilda faces the challenge of growing in her grief. Grief is an unwelcome teacher that pushes and pulls at Tilda as she turns her focus outward. The neighbor’s wife leaves her husband unexpectedly and Tilda simply can’t just let this man and his teenage daughter suffer through this alone. Something must be done about this.
Tilda’s granddaughter is also suffering greatly with the loss of her Grandfather, but something else is going on with Tilly. Tilda feels drawn to her pain, burdened with confusion. Tilda knows she must find a way to reach her, to understand her grief through eyes a generation away from her own. Can she really understand? Can she help Tilly through whatever is consuming her? Suddenly the granddaughter she’s known, who is named after her, no longer wants to be Tilly. How can Tilda bridge the grief between them?
Tilda’s Promise reaches into the places of us that want to judge, that want to run away, that want to crumple up and give up — and hands us Tilda, a tender woman who has suffered a great loss. She does not fold in on herself for long. Her attention belongs to the living, and in them, her life can gain traction.
The novel moves compassionately through the lives of Tilda and Tilly who are both suffering insurmountable grief. We are taken on the slow road of sorrow and through these two very different people, we learn lessons that only emotional pain and tragedy can teach us. As the storyline slowly unfolds, we experience renewal, empathy, and strength of character through Tilda, a woman who keeps her promises.
Pain teaches us to redefine ourselves.
I enjoyed the emotional depth of this novel. For a novel to be truly effective, the main character has to face challenges, grow, overcome, and share that experience with the reader. Tilda certainly does that and the reader finds it easy to be invested in her journey.
Other themes worthy of mention in this story involve Jewish customs, which are interwoven throughout the story. I find the inclusion of faith to varying degrees with the characters to add further depth and open up questions about how faith can absorb grief or catalyze growth through grief.
Issues of gender and sexuality are of great importance to the story as well, causing Tilda, as well as the reader, great introspection. Can love overcome confusion?
I welcome you to read Tilda’s Promise and experience these characters through the eyes and heart of empathy. Jean P. Moore handles grief in such a tender way through these characters. Her novel is well-written and compassionate, asking tough questions, some of which must be answered to the readers’ interpretation.
More Information about Jean P. Moore, novelist and poet:
Award-winning author, Jean P. Moore, is a novelist, poet, and non-fiction writer. Her novel, Water on the Moon, was published June 2014 and was the winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award for contemporary fiction. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals such as up street, SN Review, Adanna, The Timberline Review, Angels Flight Literary West, Distillery, Skirt, Slow Trains, Long Island Woman, the Hartford Courant, Greenwich Time, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Additionally, a memoir piece, “Finding Charles,” appears online in Persimmon Tree, Summer, 2011. Several anthologized poems can be read in Women’s Voices of the 21st Century, 2014. Her chapbook, Time’s Tyranny, Finishing Line Press, published in October 2017, was nominated for The Massachusetts Book Award, 2018.
Thanks for reading this book review. Visit Jean P. Moore’s website and subscribe to her newsletter to stay updated on upcoming novels!