Cottonwood Wings

a poem for my son to read at the funeral


You might want to read this first



In the Spring, God brings forth life
Cottonwood drifts by on the wind.
We water our gardens with tears
for we have lost a dear friend.

Her kindness grew like tulips
Proud and colorful and tall
Her compassion, a vine reaching  
our lives and touching us all.

Our beloved Beverly was so
Warm-hearted, sweet, and caring
Loved her family with all her soul
Though cancer, in the end, unsparing.

A kind and quiet woman who
grew like the flowers
and paled into silence
in her last waning hours.

Her Spring was cut short,
Her candle burned low,
in God’s precious time
she knew she must go.

Though it’s hard for us
in this bountiful spring
we let go and know
God’s given her wings.


I was asked to write a poem for my son to read at his Step-mother’s funeral next week.

He is to speak at the funeral, at which time he will read the above poem, no doubt through shaky nerves (to my knowledge this will be his first “public speaking” engagement), and through a heavy wall of emotion. He is with-holding so much emotion about this whole thing.

As a mother, my heart is breaking for him. He has no memories of his life prior to her entering it. It is a terrible loss. How in the world do you honor that in a poem? Yet, this is the task I was given.

To make it simple enough for the country-folk family members to be able to appreciate, make it rhyme so it sounds to them like a poem, make it personal enough that it touches their hearts, Christian enough and reassuring enough so that they are comforted in their time of sorrow.

What an arduous task, but I wanted to do something. And this is what I do–so I hope you have enjoyed reading Cottonwood Wings. I am honored to have written it for my son. (I think it will mean a lot to him.)

(In Memoriam, Beverly Mullis; wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, friend)

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On Dappling Pond

a poem about the beautiful Mandarin duck and the not-so-beautiful Muscovy duck

Mandarin duck, Pexels.com

On Dappling Pond

White, crisp half-moon,
  the blue crested melt
  to ruddy hind swoop.
Tawny wings tucked under,
  belted by royal blue.
Sleek chest, brazen
  blue as ocean-deep.
Neck ringed in
  maple majesty lace.
     Enlightened, resplendent,
         spectacular.

All nature’s paintbrushes!
Were they hog hair
or badger?
Were they
rinsed clean in muddy
waters encircled by sawgrass;
sandy-fawn stippled?

The Mandarin navigates,
whisper-smooth and waggle,
the Carolina grasswort; rising
variegated greens
wind-bent and skyward.

Mucsovy regards the
radiant fowl,
disturbed at such
     reckless abuse of color…
for one dappling duck?
Pinkish beak dipped under,
up with a snail? Asnail!
Vexed, perturbed,
Muscovy waddles, plops
with a splash and a glide,
     nature’s sculptor’s pride,
     its gnarly head held high.


I hope you enjoyed On Dappling Pond (I am quite fond of this one) and will stick around to read some more of my poetry. I have made it easy to find ones you may like and you can find links to poems on the poetry tab, or use the navigation menu and search features on the homepage. Thank you again…what did you think of On Dappling Pond?

Muscovy ducks are widely varied in blacks and whites–but the red bumpy face is usual. This is a snippet from a picture on All About Birds website.

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Medium is a Great Way to get Your Poetry Noticed

Here’s how!

Book Opened on Top of White Table Beside Closed Red Book and Round Blue Foliage Ceramic Cup on Top of Saucer
Photo courtesy; Suzy Hazelwood, Pexels.com

Hiya Fiddleheads!

Green Fern
photo courtesy; Fabien Burgue, Pexels.com

(That’s what I call my writer friends these days–out there nurturing your dreams and rising in the sun!)

If you are interested in promoting your poetry, your articles, your photography, then this is the post for you.

Where have I been lately? I have been on Medium, making a little money for my poetry and getting some exposure for my writing.


Medium allows me to post my poetry into “publications” which are like online magazines, which have one or many editors that approve your posts. Several of my poems have been published this way in the month I have been on Medium, and since I am in the Partner Program, I make a little money while I am at it. THANK GOODNESS.


Check these out! You may be impressed with the clean interface and impressive presentation of my poems as published on these Medium Publications:

***note that P.S. I Love You has over 120K followers!


Publications worth checking out!!

P.S. I Love You

Written Tales

Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry

The Junction

The Weekly Knob  (this poem is for a writing contest: The Weekly Knob and Writing Cooperative Writing Contest )

 Literally Literary

Intimately Intricate

So what to do first? Here’s what to do if you want to get involved with this and get your work moving, out there, seen…

  • Join Medium — I know, it costs. 5.00 a month. If you are worried about it then spend about 5 days on Medium just reading through things. (You will be limited on how much you can read if you are not a member.) Then you will most likely want to join.
  • Of course create a profile. This is a given.
  • Look for publications on the Medium homepage that have articles in your “lane” of writing–you are welcome to use the ones I listed above. they are great!
  • Join publications (follow them) and if you want to write for them be accepted as a writer for their publication. Look around the publication for “submission guidelines” and you will likely see the process you need to follow to become a writer with that publication. (I now write for 16 different publications!)
  • Next, study the format of other stories that are highly successful on Medium. Pay attention to length, spacing, use of white space, and by all means NO ERRORS in your work helps your article or poem to be approved.
  • Follow the instructions to “submit as a draft.”
  • How to Submit a Draft to a Publication on Medium
  • And–FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS on the publication for submission. Otherwise they will reject your story.

If you have any interest in promoting your writing, by no means do you have to leave your beloved WordPress blog, which gives you a lot of control over the appearance and design of your blog, but I would suggest, strongly, that you take a look at Medium as a lucrative income stream and avenue for self-promotion. I joined the site (for $5.00 a month) which gives unlimited readership and it has been well-spent. I spent much of my online reading time perusing articles, clapping for other readers, highlighting crafty sentences and phrasing that just speaks to me in some beautiful way, or shocks my soul into motion. I try to comment on as much poetry as possible and support other poets as well.

Come on over…the Medium water’s fun!

I’ll be back on soon when I am feeling better to post about my experiences with another acute-pain flare up this week. this one landed me at Duke University for an overnight stay and a bunch of tests and electrodes and…well, it was miserable. But the scary part is passed and I am on the mend. Doing a LOT of resting and a little writing today. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!


May your footprints in the moss leave whispers of good memories.–Christina


Fiddleheads & Floss–WHERE Did THAT Crazy Name Come From???

https://thebiglakemi.com/2018/03/15/15-nature-quotes-to-inspire-you/

A brief poem to get the fiddlehead in you rising…

Evolution


I am rising, unfolding
A fiddlehead taking my place
In the lower vascular canopy.
Can you feel my presence?
Alive.
I am alive.
I cradle my thoughts,
Tiny spores lined up
In patterns beneath me,
Vowels waiting
To be released.
I share them
With the sun.
Can you hear my rising?


The name Fiddleheads & Floss has a meaning that is twofold, as the name suggests. Both are symbolic.

The first, deals with self.


As a poet, of course I had to choose something symbolic; but it had to appeal to the self, meaning — YOU.

Have you ever heard of a fiddlehead? In nature, this is a fern, curling in on itself at night, and then unfurling and rising with the sun in the morning. The vision is truly symbolic if you think of it. Think of folding in on yourself, turning inward, hugging–if you will–that which you have to give the world, all that you were blessed with, nurturing it, growing it, creating, designing—rising—unfurling–releasing

The fiddlehead is symbol for the creative process, the healing process, the process of becoming the person you are meant to be, living in your truth, honoring yourself…fill in the blank for yourself…The fiddlehead is a symbol for being YOUR TRUEST SELF and GIVING your truest self to the world.

https://john.turri.org/credits


There are things deep inside of you that have been there since you were a child, that you have carried in your heart. Perhaps it was not nurtured. Perhaps it was discouraged. Perhaps a dream you thought was unworthy of following because the “world” tells you it was silly or unimportant or of little value.

It has value. YOU have value.

I am here to tell you that these seeds all have value. They are planted within us with a purpose and intention that only come to fruition when WE grow them .

Your seeds, your gifts, your inner contribution to the world is not meant to be kept folded under, kept subdued, despondent, oppressed, dismissed! These tiny seeds wish to germinate, take root, grow, flourish, and bloom into beautiful things in your life.

Your gifts, YOU BEAUTIFUL FIDDLEHEAD YOU, are meant to be shared with the world. So RISE, unfurl, stand in the sun, and share your creative spirit with those around you and BE YOUR TRUEST SELF!

So let’s get to that second part; FLOSS. What’s THAT about? Community. That’s the US part.

What connects us? It’s simple…

Very simple. And very delicate. Like floss.

We’ve already talked about a nature theme/symbol (one of my favorite things is nature) and now a cross stitching theme (also a favorite) is the embroidery floss, which is quite delicate sewing floss that comes in all kinds of beautiful colors and textures.

Think of all the different people of the world. All the communities and cultures of this wide and varied and fantastic planet we live on…the connectivity we all share is…well…delicate.

Our connectivity as humans is sometimes fragile and difficult for us to keep at the center of our focus …but it is always there.

Think of laughter. Love. Music. Poetry. Ambition. Survival. Water. Children. Hope. Death. Beauty. Nature. Words. Smiles.

The floss part of the name came from wanting to honor my love for a life long interest in cross stitiching but also ended up being very symbolic in a community kind of way.

Combine the two images, throw in some alliteration with f + f to satisfy my poetic mind (I also carried this over to Twitter and Medium with @Fnfwriter of Twitter, @Fnfwriter on Medium and Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry Publication on Medium) and there you have the birth of Fiddleheads & Floss; a name which I intend to have trademarked as soon as I am financially able. (I have already had someone threaten to use it—for the record. NO. I have been using this name since 2008.

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Don’t Miss Updates on Christina’s Poetry and Book Releases!

D



Thoughts at 2:04 A.M. on Easter Morning (It’s called Grace.)

https://www.pexels.com/photo/autumn-back-light-clouds-dawn-416738/

I wanted to write something truly beautiful to wish you a happy Easter, and to honor the rising of my Savior, but nothing, nothing I could ever write could touch the magnificence of Easter morning. I feel humble.

Small. Inadequate. Undeserving.

GRATEFUL. LOVED.

Easter Morning

Oh Jesus, my knees are quite clean
this while I think on you in Gethsemane
praying hard on what you knew you must do
I know how oft I’ve forgotten to pray to you

I can’t bear to think of the violence of the cross
the thorns in your flesh, the blood that was lost
In the Philippines today, nails in bloody penance
Whipping their backs with bamboo, disturbing images

How can people rip the flesh of other human beings
and hail the God that created the whales in the sea?
Great grays that swoon and scoop plankton and sing?
Creator of eagles that laugh, carry wind on their wing?

How can a God love humans who behead, bring war?
Humans stoop to such evil, then lower still more?
Yet, Christ kneeled in Gethsemane, for all humanity
Knees in the dirt, heart to the sky, and pleaded for me?

To Creator of the worm of the earth, the soil and sky
for all races and tongues, for all things that fly
for all genders and generations, for mother earth
for every living thing to have in Him a New Birth.

God doesn’t ask that we bloody our backs or pierce our limbs
only that we remember to pray and accept and honor Him.
The cross still stands on a hill, blood-free.
Jesus was there, but he rose for me.

This Easter, I hope you know it too. From Christina here at Fiddleheads & Floss, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this Christian holiday. If you are not a Christian, please disregard respectfully and have a wonderful day. I appreciate all of you!

Domestic Abuse on a Good Friday

20 Years ago today was the worst day of my life

https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-black-and-white-body-dark-271418/

Twenty years ago today was the worst day of my life.

Three days later as I stood in church with my children I remember very clearly a few things:

  • My throat was damaged from being choked and I could not sing the hymns. I could barely speak in a hoarse voice.
  • My children, two small boys, were wearing their suits; I do not remember who got their suits out of the closet, ironed them, or got them dressed.
  • My hair was very short; I always cut my hair when I got upset or had been abused to the point of hating myself and wanting to punish myself.
  • Strange things were happening; people appeared in front of me and it surprised or frightened me. I suddenly would realize where I was without knowing I was there. Blocks of time seemed to be missing. I learned later at the hospital that I had a concussion. When the kind doctor tried to feel my neck I completely freaked out and had to be sedated.

The events of the abuse that night before Good Friday are so fresh in my mind that I could recount them to you in great detail even now, 20 years later. 20 years ago today I went to work in a dazed, traumatized stupor and took my lunch break to drive to the courthouse to get a 50-B restraining order against my husband (now ex-husband.)

“I need to have my husband removed from my home and get a restraining order. (insert details of attack here.)” said a devastated and nearly destroyed me.

“But where will he live?” the lady asked me.

–things you should NEVER say to an abuse victim.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The diagnosis came 18 years later.

Enough about the worst day of my life, the details of which I carry inside my gut like shards of glass…I want to share with you the poem I wrote about that day in church 20 years ago, with my two boys, both also traumatized, standing next to me. I have sometimes used poetry as a healing force in my life and this was perhaps the most important poem I have ever written. I very rarely share it. But with Easter Day looming, my memories get the better of me and I find myself wrestling with the inner turmoil all over again, no matter how much distance is put between me and that day. Here is the poem:

Three Days After

Three days ago
I heard you screaming.

I crawled through darkness
to find you.

Today I heard you
singing hymns that save
and lift me off the floor.

I don’t have to crawl anymore.

I stand
in the rising of
my Savior.

Lift your eyes my son,
flowers grow from crosses
everyday.

We don’t have to cry anymore.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence, help is available to you. There IS HOPE. https://www.thehotline.org/


National Poetry Month Challenge — Poem # 3

Old man Shoes

I wrote this poem as a response to Intimately Intricate (on Medium)’s April Prompt: New Dawn. The poem was chosen for publication here:

Intimately Intricate April Prompt New Dawn

As is true of many poetry prompts, my poem will often take me into uncharted waters…in this poem I wrote from the perspective of a young boy, and used HUMOR in my poem. WHOA. That is pretty different for me! Tell me what you think…


https://www.pexels.com/photo/boy-wearing-black-hat-sitting-on-case-near-flowers-1049950/

Old Man Shoes

I am told the new dawn came
 while I slept fitfully 
 wrapped in the taco of a dream.
 Or a dream Of a taco
 though I’m not sure which.
 I am told it was quite spectacular
 but I slept way too shortly
 and woke up rather hungry
 and somehow wanting cheese.
 Was misty and spooky
 He said to me, while I chased
 colored hoops with a spoon
 Is that so, I said halfheartedly
 You bet! He said and hiked up
 his socks, slipping on his 
 old man shoes.
 I in my pj’s and you in your suit
 I sure don’t want to be you
 If that means the new dawn comes
 and I don’t get my usual snooze.
 Hey Dad, I said wiping milk 
 off my chin, Yeah son? You said
 with a scruff on my head…
 Can we have tacos soon?

National Poetry Month Challenge–Poem # 2 Lightning

Challenge: Write 10 poems this month to celebrate National Poetry Month.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/island-during-golden-hour-and-upcoming-storm-1118873/

Lightning

You were the cold air to my warm.
Every time I tried to rise
you crystalized
dropped me down
one terrifying electrical pulse
after another.
I charged and fell to the ground.

The air outside is electric.
I am drawn, mystified,
bursts of wind on my face
pulling me out, beyond
the trap of my front door.
Hands on the metal fence
eyes wide, heart bursting.
Exhilaration! That scent on the
air…my God! I can feel it!

The storm approaching, quickly,
violently, with flashes of white
and thunderous cracks
vibrating my spine,
lifting my tiny hairs
tingling, jolting, jarring,
awakening.

Leaves upturned, showing their whites,
vulnerable, submitting to ozone
and flash of terrifying release,
fingers of God pointing, choosing
ground to fire, fire to tree
tree to Thee.

I can smell the power,
feel it stirring within me.
Choose me! Choose me!
Please.
Lift me on fiery wing
to Thee, to Thee!

From the safety of the door
behind me, Get back in the house!
You barking at me.
Always barking at me
or growling your menacing growl.
You coward.
Back in the house?
You are the only one safe in there.


Come inside?
Through the kitchen where you
pressed my face to the floor?
Past the stairs where I slept
and wept upon the carpeted corners
reeking of dust and neglect?
Past the bathroom door where
the mirrors know my bruises
and the tear-swelled lids of my eyes
as well as it knows it’s purpose, hanging there.

Like it’s safer in there than out here?

I know my purpose too, you know.
I intend to rise.
I intend to rise.

I stand, gripping tight to chain-link
the ground yielding vibration with the
rolling roars, shock waves splintering
connecting, fury unbound
they revolt and celebrate the sky.

                                                                  (Duplicity is a real bitch.)

Flash!  Again…again!…stir me, shake me
beat me wise,
friction then repose

I lift, face to the sky
electricity in the air
lifting me higher, higher
leaving you
     down
        there.

National Poetry Month–Poem #1 “Safety Pin”

Join me in this challenge–write 10 poems this month to celebrate National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month Goal for myself–Write 10 Poems, Here is Poem #

Safety Pin

Cotton dress with floral print.
 I have chosen it carefully but
 I run out of gas! With
 Intent to impress
 folding under to shame,
 I begin my walking,
 My purse in tow, the shiny vehicle slows.
 No. Not the boss.
 I am thankful with verbiage
 Humiliated, I am
 Riding with a suit
 that costs more than my car
 discarded on the side of the road,
 to the office where gossip greets.
 He walks in, greeted with 
 enthusiastic handshakes
 and pompous attempts
 to garner his attention.
 I keep behind in my
 cotton dress with floral print,
 Invisible.
 I slink to my desk under
 Scrutinous stares, whispers.
 How did you come to work
 with the boss?
 I ran out of gas I say,
 Stretching out my arm to see
 the odd feeling, I probe
 a hole. A hole in my
 cotton dress with the floral print.
 In the absence of a safety pin
 I staple the fabric
 And set about my work.
 Invisible still.

Will you join me in this challenge? Post your poem or link to your poem in a comment below, so we can support each other and together celebrate our craft.

National Poetry Month

https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-light-photography-of-books-1301585/


National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.


https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home

Dusting off the old blog…

Late in February I made two decisions. First, I wanted to start writing again. (The first thing I did was bought a laptop so I could work. It had been awhile since I’d even looked at my blog, and by awhile, I mean years. I started it back in 2008, hit hard at it for a couple of months, swinging blindly in the dark with no direction, no idea what I was doing, and worked my way up to 14 whole followers, most the result of a cross stitch freebie I offered.

I couldn’t even remember how to log in.

So, I figured out the log in stuff, revamped the blog over the course of 48 exhausting hours (still very much clueless about how to edit and post, navigate, or promote) and relaunched with renewed purpose and a clearer vision for what I wanted the blog to be. i still have less than 150 followers but that number is rising a little each day.

The second decision was to finish my book. I researched and purchased Scrivener and worked hard at the tutorial to learn how the features worked, and I set out to inputting the few measly pages I’d written and plunged forward to writing.

A funny thing happens when you honor your dream: doors open. I am writing poetry again. People are reading it. Literary journals are publishing it. Even my local newspaper has picked me up as a columnist and …get this…they encourage me to submit my poetry for publication! So far two of my poems, Bluebirds in Late Winter and Tomorrows have been published in the paper. I started a Medium account: https://medium.com/@fnfwriter and guess which of my posts are getting the highest attention?

The poetry.

Oh, my heart! And here I was posting articles, thinking, I’ve got to have something on Medium to get people to my page, so they see the poetry.

But they COME for the poetry.


Poetry, like all art, has a message for us. It says: care, grow, develop, adapt, overcome, nurture, protect, foster, cherish. It says: your reality is spiritual. It says: achieve your full humanness. It invites us to laugh, reflect, cry, strive, persevere. It says: rejoice! Above all, it says to us: be! We cannot turn our backs on art. Art heals. – from a talk by Roger White, Bring Chocolate, in The Language of There

https://bahaiteachings.org/whats-the-true-purpose-of-poetry

So, here in National Poetry Month, I am going to pay more attention to my craft, without apology. With a renewed confidence that what I am doing, and you, my fellow poet, should do the same. There ARE still people out there that can appreciate the value of poetry, how it moves us. Shows us our own humanity. Allows us to go away to some interesting place where we measure what we know against what we are seeing in the words of a poem, and then let the heart decide how to read it. Poetry makes us think, analyze, process…and in a good way. by choice we go on the journey, either to write it or to read and experience it.

I invite you this month to:


  • Support poets and honor their craft with your attention, your reactions, your thanks. As a poet, we truly do love a reader-response!
  • Read a poem from your favorite famous poet. Don’t have a favorite? FIND a favorite poet and learn their story and style.
  • Write a poem! Or write one every day of the month if you are up to the challenge!

If you’d like to leave your link below to your poetry blog or if you’d like to share a poem in a comment, you are welcome to do so. Thank you for reading and HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!!