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 ~

Flosstube Video 1 – Two-Handed Cross Stitching and Parking Method

Hi fellow stitchers and the curious stoppers-by, it’s a dreary North Carolina day and perfect for stitching. Some of you are aware that I am participating in the United Stitchers of America : Stitching George Washington project and I have been meaning to post a few updates. It is nearing the end of year one of this project and my panel#77 is coming along. I am currently stitching pages 9 and 10.

A fellow stitcher and I were discussing stitching methods. She stitches the “classic” cross stitch way (one hand holding the hoop or q-snap, and one hand stitching) which is how I learned but had to abandon due to some health complications. I created a video for her and my group, but wanted to share it here for my cross stitching followers.

You can find it on my NEW Flosstube channel:

 

 

Trust me, it’s pretty raw and my cat is howling hysterically in the middle of it, but still a good demo of two-handed cross stitching and parking method. Please remember  to like and comment to let me know your thoughts. Thanks you! Happy Stitching!

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.

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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

 

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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

No Return, A Heartbreaking Poem about the Soldiers of the USS Indianapolis

No Return

Suspended,
rafts drift with blood
and oil they spread on
their gaping faces.
Dorsal fins flashing, stirring
like soup spoons.

Death waits below,
saucer-eyed, evolved.
Dog tags slink down the
esophagus of the sea,
silver coins shimmer
then vanish.
Faces toward Son,
they that remain uneaten
claw themselves,
beg to be found.

I am here,
settled into couch
you, laid out beside me,
your head in my lap.
You look up at me and flash a silver smile.
Your irises, soft shifting blues,
a hungry mercury sea
drawing me in…
I slip from raft,
soldier to mermaid,
surface to thermocline.

Christina Ward, 2009

USS Indianapolis(pic. from: http://www.ussindianapolis.org)

Author Note: The USS Indianapolis sunk in the last campaign of WW II, on July 30, 1945, just two weeks before the end of the war, when it was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-58 Many men lost their lives in the two days they spent adrift. Only 316 men of the 1199 were rescued on August 2, 1945 when they were spotted by a patrol aircraft. This poem was inspired by the plight and suffering of these soldiers and I hope it serves as an honoring of their suffering. To the men and women who serve our country, thank you could never be enough, but it is a start.

Thank you.

Cornucopian Dream ~ a poem for my fellow Earth lovers

 

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**Trigger warning, rape reference but only metaphorically speaking

 

 

Cornucopian Dream

It topples, crumbles
into soils that regret
to bear their yield.

We burn it, borrow it,
bend it and stake it,
box it,
ship it,
buy it,
b
ut we cannot make it.

We cannot build minds
that know the end,
minds that know no want,
minds that know enough
must surely be
enough.

Abscission is approaching
and on her heels
is Winter.

She must be angry that we
have raped her Mother.

 

 

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I earned my Bachelor of Science in environmental science, I have been told a “junk” degree, but it sure wasn’t, and isn’t, to me. I treasure my environmental education, and the liberal arts college I earned it from. It is difficult to hear people discredit science when it comes to Climate Change, something that YES is a naturally occurring event, but not at the RATE at which it is happening. Imagine you are driving a car toward a concrete barrier, and you are destined to hit that barrier. You are going 1 mph. Are you afraid? Probably not. Now imagine the same scenario, only you are going 100 mph. Completely different feeling, right? Well, the simplest way to explain Climate Change is to say that humans have sped up the natural process so much so that it is no longer safe, not for the earth, and not for all of its inhabitants.

My writing, if you are following it, is permeated with references to nature. I cannot help this. It, simply put, is part of who I am and often the core thought that births the poem. The preceding poem is addressing the burden I feel concerning our precious planet. It was written in 2008, but still touches  me. I hope that you can connect to the core purpose of it and that it touches you as well.

Christina Ward

A blog suggestion for my fellow earth lovers: https://ncnaturalist.wordpress.com/

Gone ~ A poem

Gone

 

Civilization swings
one extreme to the other.
You try in vain to understand it all.

A silenced moon hangs low, red,
angry,
and you are on the other side
walking a tightrope of a dream.

Hasn’t anyone told you
that you are gone?

You know I care about you,
you said.

That night I dreamt of sunflowers,
Schweinitz’s, the kind
you don’t see much anymore.

Fingertips pulling at my hair from behind
remind me that
Somewhere beyond my quiet porch,
bent around corners I no longer see,
the rain is whispering your name.

Hasn’t anyone told you
that I am sitting here?

I smile,
because sunflowers are beautiful,
even if I can’t see them.

 

Christina Ward
8/22/06

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Author’s Note: Schweinitz’s Sunflower is endemic to my region of the world. This precious flower species (pictured above) is a member of the Asteraecae family and has been on the federal endangered species list since 1991. (Gale 2000)

 

“Distribution

Schweinitz’s sunflower is endemic to the piedmont of the Carolinas, where it is currently known from 10 populations in North Carolina and six in South Carolina. The North Carolina populations are located in Union, Stanly, Cabarrus, Mecklenberg, and Rowan Counties. The species has been extirpated from Stokes and Montgomery Counties in North Carolina. All the extant and historic sites for the species in South Carolina are in York County. Thirty-eight percent of the historically extant populations have been destroyed. Most of the remaining populations are small, with four of them containing less than 40 individuals each.” (Siler, R.)

 

REFERENCES:

The Gale Group Inc. (2000). Schweinitz’s Sunflower. Beacham’s Guide to the Endangered Species of North America. Retrieved from https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/science-magazines/schweinitzs-sunflower

Siler, Robert. Schweinitz’s Sunflower – Helianthus schweinitzii . Retrieved from http://www.scwf.org/schweinitzs-sunflower

 

 

Dear Mr. Valentine

A hastily written but mightily felt wish of the heart…

 

Dear Mr. Valentine,

 

You sleep next to me like a happy rock.
As night rolls over into tomorrow,
I sit staring at our future.
Two creaky rocking chairs are there
Gnawing at the porch as we rest our aching backs
And laugh until breathing hurts our ribs.
Waterfalls and grassy balds and eagles
We’ve shared will occupy our minds
As we, together, will forget to say
The things we forgot that we meant to say
And laugh, still more.
This tea is so good, you’ll say.
I made it for you, I’ll say.
We are great old people aren’t we, Babe?
We’ll agree.
Just like we’ve always said we would be.
Dear Mr. Valentine,
as you lay there sleeping
As the night turns over to February 14,
I just want you to know I don’t need any flowers.
I remember all the ones we have seen.
I don’t need a ring or shiny things.
I remember the suns and the moons we’ve seen.
I don’t need you to say a bunch of romantical things.
I see them in the way that you still look at me.
Just promise me that
We will make great old people someday.

 

Christina Ward
2/14/19

 

 

Because sometimes you just decide it’s Valentine’s Day, and there are things to say. To the “happy rock” sleeping next to me, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for reading…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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