A difficult Funeral, Beautifully Expressed by Imagery-Rich Poetry

We’ve all had to attend a funeral. It is a difficult thing to do, especially when the person we love has died suddenly or at a young age or both. When I found out that my Aunt Donnise was ill and in the hospital, I went to see her. My Uncle was understandably distraught. She died a day or two later and I am told she was reaching out her hand into the air and speaking of Jesus.

During the time tWoman in Black Long-sleeved Cardiganhat this was happening in my life, a song was very popular and getting a lot of airtime on mainstream radio. This song, Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, gave me great comfort in an odd way. The poem I wrote of attending my Aunt’s funeral was greatly influenced by this song, and also by another song by my FAVORITE band of ALL TIME, Rain King by the Counting Crows. You will see in the poem a line in quotes from the My Chemical Romance song and a reference to black-winged birds from the Counting Crows song. I hope you will check out these two brilliantly written songs, and I hope you will read the following poem that I wrote about my Aunt Donnise’s funeral.

In Memoriamraven-988218_960_720

 

Giant pillars stood there
rooted in their weaknesses,
wearing their faces of sin.
Tears like ashes
spread across their cheeks.
Smiles, no one wanted
to smile.

Pillars wrapped in cloaks
of brick and color and voice.
Their stained-glass faces
depict gifts I still
don’t deserve.

(“Paint it black and take it back.”)

I walked in,
crows on my shoulders
feathers in my skin
dust pouring out of my eyes
and watched them speak of you.

I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.

I am glad He took your hand.

Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

If you enjoyed this original poem by Christina Ward, please leave a like and/or comment and check out these that you may enjoy:

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

Holiness ~ a poem about Grace

Gone ~ A poem

If you have written any poetry in memory of someone you love, you are welcome to add a link to a comment!! God bless, and hug your loved ones. Our time with them is short.

~Christina

A poem Inspired by the Green Lacewing – Your garden Helper!!

Green Lacewings are a delicate insect with intricate lacy veining on their wings. You may have never noticed them before. If you see them, be happy! They are a very beneficial insect to have around your garden because of the garden pests (insects and larvae) that they predate. So munch away at those pests dear Lacewings…today we celebrate you through this whimsical poem…

See the source image
Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

See the source image
Alpine Asters

The delicate smile
Of a green lacewing
Landing there, on
An aster reaching
Toward Heaven.

A union made
By chance of the breeze,
Nature’s own, entwined,
Tickled with the soft,
Cool dews of April.

If I could become so small
As to land upon flowers!
To flit about in that freedom!

If I could climb into
your copper eyes,
Would I remember
How it tickled me so?

If you could please,
I’d like to visit the garden.
I need to feel the whisper
Of your wings
As we dance among
The bees.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy the poetry here at Fiddleheads & Floss,  please be sure to like and follow. Have a wonderful day!

~Christina Ward
poet / blogger / nature enthusiast

A blog suggestion for my fellow nature enthusiasts: https://ncnaturalist.wordpress.com/

“Yesterdays” is Featured in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine

Celebrate with me!!!

“Yesterdays” is featured in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine

Woman Posing Like Fairy

Happy Dancing y’all. If anyone wants to share the post featuring my poetry, I’d be delighted. It’s a great day to be a writer.

~Christina

Desperately Seeking Oblivion

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Desperately Seeking Oblivion

He wants to taste it,
quick on the tip of his tongue
sliding with ease
down into his gut…

Someone should tell him to stop
swallowing it whole.

A strange enigma,
[oblivion]
tasting like nothing,
encompassing, delivering, numbness…
a capsuled oasis in vast desert
to which all will dig and crawl
our tongues in our hands.

Sometimes the depth to which he thinks
is too deep for him to take…

So he swallows down, an
emptiness that won’t settle.
Again and again it rises
hissing in the back of his throat,
an esophageal argument
without victor.

He swallows it down again.

Thank you for reading my poetry. Be sure to follow, and check out my other poetry posts. 

Christina

The George Washington Project – One Year Anniversary

To live a fulfilled life, we need to keep creating
the “what is next”, of our lives. Without dreams and goals
there is no living, only merely existing,
and that is not why we are here.
– Mark Twain

We all want to be a part of something BIG, to do something special and unique with our lives. It is just human nature to want to leave a legacy. Cross stitchers are no different, stitching and crafting carefully, patiently, and producing finished pieces for themselves or loved ones. These works of art take hours, weeks, months, YEARS of time to complete. Let me introduce you to one of those projects that takes years… a venture that is a collaboration of 112 stitchers from all over the United States.

THE George Washington project.

George painting

Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, oil on canvas, 378.5 x 647.7 cm, by Emanuel Leutze, now featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The George Washington Project is a coming-together of 112 US stitchers, The United Stitchers of America, who will join their talents together to stitch the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware painting. This grand undertaking is the brain-child of Heather Russell of McAlester, Oklahoma. Heather has spent countless hours organizing, planning, creating the charts and kitting up the supplies for each stitcher. Her vision for this project is immeasurable. We thank you deeply Heather for your commitment to making this project happen!

Facebook pages were created for the project and several admin were added: Heather Russell, Lisa Kirk, DeNitaAnn DeValcourt, and Margie Herreres. They worked very hard to organize our group, to answer questions for us as we work along, to provide guidance or files that we need, etc. and for their assistance we issue them a hearty THANK YOU!

OUR MISSION

Our WHY, if you will, is varied amongst our stitchers but the primary reasons I understand after interviewing some of them and by following along with our Facebook groups is that we want to beat the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cross stitch. We want to be involved with a PATRIOTIC  project that, when completed, could be featured here in the US (we hope to be in a museum, when completed.) And, it’s just COOL. Most of our stitchers just have the general feeling that we are doing some thing AWESOME.

PROJECT DETAILS

The George Washington Project, being done by the group called United Stitchers of America, is a 5 year project. This project will be an estimated finished size of 333 inches by 213 inches, that is an estimated 28 by 18 feet. Our work is being stitched on 18 ct  Aida fabric which was donated by our sponsor Wichelt.  Sullivans is sponsoring us by providing the floss for all our stitchers. There are 233 colors used and 9446 PAGES of cross stitch pattern, divided into grid squares (see pic. Below) between the 112 stitchers. The grid squares are counted horizontally, left to right, and each stitcher has a grid square. Most grid squares involve a 100 page cross stitch pattern, although there are some smaller panels, as you can see in the picture. For example, if you count over to panel 77, which is my panel, there are 100 pages of pattern and 37 colors for this panel. When it is completed, it will be sent back to Heather who will collect all panels and stitch them together into one grand final piece

*OUR SPONSORS –  I have to thank our sponsors who helped to make this project possible.  Wichelt who provided the fabric for all of our stitchers to use. And Sullivans who provided all of the embroidery floss. Thank you for your gracious donations and support for this project—you will forever have my business!!!

** The current Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Cross Stitch is held by  The Battle of Grunwald, by a group of Polish stitchers, and measuring 32.38 x 13.97 feet.

George gridding
The pattern of grid squares represents the different panels assigned to the stitchers.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

We have a blog and a Facebook group and would LOVE to have your support for our efforts. What YOU can do to show your support…

    • SHARE this article on all of your social media platforms (links at the bottom of the page)
    • Our United Stitchers of America blog is currently under maintenance..but I will add this information as soon as it is back up and running

Rebecca Hill

Rebecca Hill
Fredericksburg,VA
Project Manager, Army Veteran
Panel #110

“I stumbled on the project for Stitching George a little by accident. I was looking through a group and saw it and went… YES! As a Army veteran, and American history instructor, this project just called to me! I was excited to be accepted into the project, and feel history being stitched under my fingers. It has been fun to give little tidbits of information to my kids as I work on the project and watch their interest in history grow as well.”

Rebecca is a hard-working woman who wears many “hats,” such as blogging book reviews, project manager, college history adjunct, social media manager, blogger, and mom extraordinaire 🙂 You may find her at:

A Tale of Two Pages Blog
Twitter
Instagram

Timothy 3

Timothy Johnson
Coconut Creek, Florida
Flight Attendent
Panel #40

“I heard about this from one of the angels working with Rainbows. Thought wow I can be the only boy. Woot woot. Means the world to me to be a part of history and making a legacy with the other angels working on this. Being part of a team of super talented stitchers is a blessing with stitching historical art.”

Timothy is a flight attendant who travels the world. “George,” along with his other cross stitch projects have traveled the world with him. He has entertained all of us so much with his humor, wit, and hysterical pictures. He runs an inspiring charitable Facebook group that you can find here:

Rainbows For Peace and Comfort

Christina

Christina Ward Jarrell
Claremont, North Carolina
Freelance writer, Poet, Blogger
Panel #77

“It is a great honor to be a part of this project. I am excited to be a part of history and to honor my love for my country through my craft. It is wonderful to see so many different people coming together and working together to make this project happen. So far I have made some wonderful friends through this experience. I look forward to seeing this project to completion.”

Christina lives in rural North Carolina with her family. She is a writer and poetry blogger who has a great love for nature. She is the author of this Fiddleheads & FLoss blog. You may find her other pages here:

Fiddleheads & Floss on Twitter
Instagram

 

Lisa Kirk

Lisa Kirk
Cottondale, Florida
Tupperware Manager, Avon rep.
Panel #6

“When I was a young girl I spent parts of my summer with my grandmother. One summer day 35 years ago I remember her teaching me to cross stitch. My first project was a small motif. However, the memory was something much more and will remain so. I got involved in this project through a friend and then came on board as admin for the Facebook group and our blog. I have a few reasons but the main reason is because Heather’s mom had the vision of this project. Heather started it and then her mom passed away. It’s a great tribute to not only History but her mom.”

Lisa is a manager with Tupperware and an Avon representative. You can find her here:

Tupperware
Avon

gail2.png

Gail Bindewald
Bettendorf, Iowa
retired
panel # 13

“I love this project because it is a grand adventure and it depicts a great moment in our history. Being a retired federal government employee just heightens my patriotism.”

Gail is happily retired. She enjoys keeping her family and friends updated on her progress via her personal Facebook page.

773C2DB1-48AA-4BED-A533-524A6183D33CSharon Kay Drake
Riverdale, California
Disabled
panel #23

I love history and cross stitching, it was a great way to combine the two. I also visited Pennsylvania and went to Valley Forge. Got to go inside Washington’s headquarters and walked all around the place. It was a wonderful experience for me.

Sharon is disabled with terminal cancer, Multiple Myeloma, the 2nd leading blood cancer after leukemia. Thanks to stem cell treatment, she is thankfully in remission. Her positive attitude and can-do spirit are inspirational to us all. (I have tears in my eyes while writing this.) Sharon we are so happy to have you with us on our journey and our prayers and well-wishes are with you to REMAIN in remission!

*************************************************************************************

So today, on George Washington’s Birthday,
we celebrate the one year anniversary
of this endeavor. We are all at varying levels of completion on our panels. Here are a couple of pictures of my current progress to give you a visual.

progress 2.jpg
The hanging threads are embroidery floss that is “parked” into the next square in which they will be used. This technique is called the “parking method.”

progress

Thank you so much for reading about this exciting cross stitching adventure. we hope you will follow along with our progress!!

 Never be afraid to chase after
big dreams or big opportunities.
No matter WHAT your talent is…
use it for something great.

Christina Ward

(Please share.)

Tomorrows ~ a poem about HOPE, by Christina Ward

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This poem is about hope. About reaching into tomorrow and becoming whatever you want to be. It is about connecting with the world around you and truly feeling inspired and blessed by it. What will your tomorrows bring? Will you embrace it? Here is my newest poem:

Tomorrows

 

Here it is.
A new year rising,
a great orange ball
of fire in the sky,
wearing my name
like a smile.

The door behind me
closes so easily,
the dust slipping away,
falling away like ash.
Grays can be
so deceiving.

This year I will dig
through colors and words
and paint them out
with a new fury.
Unbound and imperfect
I form and take flight.

Possibilities hang,
towels in the wind, clean,
smelling like summer,
tomorrow peeking through them
smiling at me.
Hope is fresh in the trees.

I am a fiddlehead
rising,
unfurling.
Can you see me?
The winds that drive me
are ever-changing.

I am feathers and fury,
green and growing,
Cirrus and stratus
stretching my arms in the sky.
I release and release
and unfold.

 

 

 

 

Comments and likes always appreciated. Have a great day everyone! (Note here, if you enjoy my poetry please do share it with others that may enjoy it. My group of readers is slowly growing and I would love to have more readers who can appreciate my work. Thank you so much.)

 

Christina ~

The Poet Cleaning ~ (a poem about being a poet/writer)

2 Boats on Seashore Beside Brown Tree

Ripped from the belly of the sea
pregnant with vowels
our tails slap hard
pendulous swings,
our eyes are benign, panicked moons,
fibroadenomas
sitting inside our heads.

They must be plucked out.

We climb outside ourselves,
hold the knife steady,
scrape against the grain,
shedding our silvers
until we are clean,
carve a canoe-slice across our necks
another, neck to belly,
our insides slide free.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is a great honor to be a writer. Pouring yourself out like we do is both burdensome and liberating. This poem is about the process of self-examination, opening up our authenticity, and putting our inner-most thoughts on display, even if that process can be uncomfortable or revealing.

Scroll down for a “categories” box to help you explore blog posts that may be of particular interest to you. If you enjoy my writing, I invite you to follow this blog. Click out the green “Follow” button, on the right for computers, at the bottom for mobile devices.

Please leave your thoughts, interpretations, and responses to The Poet Cleaning in the comment box below.

Thank you,

Christina

A Poem Entitled “Coming Home” – An Honest Look at Life

 

 

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Let’s face it, living in cheap rental homes is no fun.

But while you are stuck in the financial setbacks and the upward struggles, this “limbo” IS your home. May as well slap a $3.25  Dollar General wreath on that door and make the best of it!

…see my poem below, about making the best of a situation.

Would love to hear your response to the poem.

 

Coming Home

 

There’s just something wonderful
about coming home again.

The back-porch steps know the weight
of your tired ass in the evenings,
the feel of your toes scraping
back and forth
on the cool concrete steps.

The grass knows the shapes
you carve into it.
The blades bend in submission,
then grow tall again
and wait for you.

The music knows just how
to crawl out of windows,
bend itself around corners,
disappear without capture.

Mockingbirds sit and wait,
sing you awake in the morning,
always too early
for sleepy ears.

Coming home,
to a place you don’t belong
is better than having
no place to be.

At least the door knows your key
and turns to let you in.

Advice on Writing With Diversity – Here are 7 Great tips!

Writing With Diversity

We all want our writing to be authentic. I have heard all of my writing life “write what you know.” While this is a great guideline, I think it is important for our writing to appeal to a diverse group of readers, while being sensitive to cultures, races, religious groups and sexual identities not our own. “Write what you know,” to me, is insufficient. How do we walk this line carefully and include diversity in our characters? Here are a few guidelines to consider while developing diversity in your writing.

  1. What is your purpose? No one wants to read “token” characters that are thrown in merely to achieve a diverse character line up. If you are truly committed to adding in these characters, or making them your protagonist or antagonist, proceed with caution. You do not want to produce a book that feels “inauthentic” or “forced.” Feel the characters and develop them with a genuine care for your readers. All of your readers…not just the ones that look, sound, and love like you. A genuine care for your readers will spill over into your writing.
  1. Do not over do it. You do not want to include such a peppering of diverse characters that you are losing your focus on character development. Each character needs to be real, relatable, and come alive to your readers in such a way that they are enjoyable, memorable, and entertaining. Readers do not want to feel like they are reading a melting pot of jumbled characters simply for the purpose of including diversity.
  1. Choose a diverse feature or two that you want to include and be thorough in your character development. DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON THIS. Go to websites. Watch videos of the people you are portraying. Read some samples or blogs written from the perspective you are going to include in your writing. Scroll through pictures. Learn all that you can about that culture so that you can describe your characters with ease. Put yourself “in their shoes” as much as you can.
  1. Ask questions. Talk to your friends, coworkers, Facebook friends that are similar in some way to the culture you want to include. Do this with care and respect. Share with them that you have a character you are developing and would love to have their perspective, input, and opinion so that your writing is believable and so that you do not accidentally include statements, phrases, or descriptions that would be offensive or divisive. Most people will appreciate your intentions to be inclusive and will be happy to help. Again, be careful with your approach so that people understand you are not just trying to “use” them, but to honor them in your efforts. Learning colloquialisms, character traits, hearing personal family stories, or learning about grooming habits that may differ from yours…can all be very helpful in your understanding of the characters you are creating. Also, Ask a few people if they would mind reading a passage if you need feedback, so that they may help you to weed out any potentially troublesome areas, but reserve this approach for people who have responded to you with support and understanding.
  1. This may go without saying but be VERY careful if racial slurs must be included in your writing. Some storylines simply may require it to truthfully tell the story. But be well-educated on how to do this properly. Your audience must not feel like these are included merely to offend and shock. Make sure the purpose of including them is from an attitude of authenticity to the story.
  1. STAY AWAY from STEREOTYPING your characters. Really, don’t we face enough of this in society? Personally, I attempt to push these societal stereotypes in my characters, and I encourage you to do the same. Gently or with ferocity is up to you. But take a good look at your characters to be sure you have not inadvertently stereotyped them. Ask for feedback from trusted sources to be sure that you are not falling into the trap of supporting inappropriate, racist, homophobic, sexist ETC. perspectives. Take a moral inventory here. Readers do not want to feel the author’s voice is judgmental or biased (typically referring to fiction here as there are many genres for opinion-related non-fiction.)
  1. Describe your characters with ease as a PERSON, not a representative of a certain culture or race. We are all human beings with great diversity even amongst our own race, religious background, sexual preference…and we all share certain human characteristics. Find the common ground that makes your characters HUMAN to your reader. Trying also to not interject yourself and your own personality traits and human experiences into your characters will naturally make your characters have a vast array of qualities. This will help your writing to have variance with a flow that seems natural and does not detract from the story. Remembering that your readers do not all look like you, sound like you, worship like you, love like you will help you to vary your characters honestly.

Writing to appeal to a wide audience, without offending, alienating, excluding, or labeling can be tricky and intimidating. Writers who are committed to being inclusive can, and often do this well. Find novelists that do this well and study their work. I wish you the best in your writing and thank you for reading. This list, by far, is not comprehensive, but it is a good start. I welcome your thoughts, comments, and varying perspectives.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow my blog. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Christina Ward

Doe Season in Mamma’s Kitchen ~ a poem about my childhood

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Doe Season in Mamma’s Kitchen

 

Every week or so Daddy brings home a stiff-legged,
russet-colored doe and hangs her by her feet on my swing set.
Mamma blinks her eyes away and silently wipes
down the aged green countertops
with a dilapidated kitchen sponge.

He is careful with the knife in the afternoon sun,
b
lood mixing with sweat,
dripping from his elbows.
The dirt below is painted a muddy sienna
that stays for days.

We are careful where we step,
remembering the blood that had
drained from her nose.

Daddy works quickly.
I turn my eyes from the tongue, hanging there
f
at, limp, pink.
Mamma defrosts the freezer with hot water
that runs across the floor.
We mop it up quickly,
slip out of Daddy’s way as he carries each
veiny lump to the counter.

He washes them carefully.
They drop and slap loudly in the sink.
He wraps them, marks them,
arranges them in piles on the table.

Mamma prepares the flour and the skillet.

 

Christina Ward, 2019

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My childhood was a humble, but blessed one. I grew up in a family of 7: my parents, my 4 siblings and I, in a 2 bedroom, one bath “mill house.” My father was a deer hunter, as are most of the Uncles in my family. I remember gathering around them to hear their “deer stories” which were basically long, drawn-out tales of their hunting adventures. You will never meet a finer bunch of hard-working, nature-loving, down-to-earth men as these.

My final year of college I wrapped up a minor in English with a “concentration in writing” as there was no writing minor available to me, by taking a class in environmental writing. This class was designed for me. I was the only student. I began the words that would eventually become this poem while in that class. I wanted to pay tribute to the legacy of deer hunting and the genuine, deep love for the environment in my family.

A word about deer hunting and the environment: Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, would-be predators for deer (other species populations) have been forced into smaller areas as they retreat from areas they once roamed and hunted freely. Ecologically speaking, the numbers of prey species outnumber their respective predators. When the predators are removed, the populations of the species they would normally prey upon can reach unsustainable levels which could lead to too much competition for food and subsequently starvation, among a host of other issues. The US Fish & Widlife service and state Fish and Wildlife Services are crucial in monitoring population trends and setting hunting parameters which are then used to monitor key populations. The fees collected from hunters to maintain their hunting licenses also contribute to environmental conservation projects.

For more information:

US Fish and Wildlife: Hunting

Article on Hunting and Habitat Conservation

***Trophy hunting of big game  and endangered or threatened species, however, is another matter. I will offer NO argument in favor of that travesty.

Thank you so much for reading my poem. I understand this is a subject matter that can be difficult. I grew up very conflicted with my LOVE for deer (as equal a time my father spent hunting, we spent loaded up in the car driving at a snail’s pace through local state parks to look for, count and watch the deer) and my desire to understand why people would want to hunt them. I understood my father hunted and fed our family but as a child, it was still difficult to accept. I am grateful now to have a better understanding. Again, thank you for reading “Doe Season in Mamma’s Kitchen.”

Please see some of my other poetry on environmental issues, nature, and wildlife. Together we all play a very important role!

Hoppy-Toads in the Summer ~ a poem

Green Lacewing ~ a poem about these beneficial garden insects

Cornucopian Dream ~ a poem for my fellow Earth lovers

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