Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winter wonder - One deep breath

Crows dancing
across the sky, interwoven,
shouting for joy.

Winter bare trees
come alive with black leaves
between the sets.

While we don't get much in the way of snow, we do get birds in the winter.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jazz man,
play your song
to the beating rain


to the mark.
gone before you know
how they will echo in your heart

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city winter
grey snow beside the road,
on the sidewalk

Morning frost,
lace curtains
on windshields.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

2 poems: the last piaster

The Last Piaster is a poetry prompt site that I found today. Their first two prompts looked challenging, so I tried.

Piaster 1

Oh, to rush to you,
seeking union, wholeness, grace,
to become one,
lost in timeless now,
but find myself still me,
transformed by the trip.

Skipping, dancing,
clasped together, we whirl,
laughing joyfully
over rapids,
through your snags, Shenandoah,
downward to the sea.

Piaster 2

Blind, his fingers look
across painted concrete
for the switch.

Dull yellow light,
smells of dust, mold, creeping time
below the house.

A treasure unearthed!
My cold hands clutch the jar:
homemade peach preserves.

Turning, we climb
up steep stairs, the warm kitchen
our reward.

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One Deep Breath: vision

Hopes to visit in peace a farm,
somewhere in Iraq,
on the porch

A year ago, I wrote about climbing the steps to the Lincoln Memorial with my dad and hearing him tell how Dr. King's famous speech affected him. This year, I'm writing about hearing a vision that is not so famous, but is an extremely powerful one. As I have frequently written about here, my father is a National Guardsman who has served twice in Iraq. When I first sat down to write this week's poem, I wasn't sure what I would write. I thought of my dad and of Dr. King.

I think our rememberance of Dr. King has a tendency to oversimplify his message, which was one of justice for *all* people - he spoke not only of the injustice of judging people by the colors of their skin, but also of the injustice of war, the injustice of taking from the Many to further enrich the few, of the ways that violence harms everyone - the person committing violence, the victim, even the person "on the sidelines" is harmed - each has a piece of their humanity taken by the act of violence. And Dr. King said that the way to counter this is not to engage in more violence, but to reclaim our humanity, to act as human beings with compassion and strength, the strength that rises above violence.

And I thought of my dad's return from war each time. I thought of his interpreter in Iraq, who had been a doctor until the war, when he and his family were threatened if he continued to treat people. My dad told me that he hoped to bring his interpreter and the interpreter's family here to the United States. He hopes to take S. to see my grandfather's farm and to meet the family, and he hopes one day to travel again to Iraq, so that he can see S.'s family's farm, sit out on the porch, and talk about something really important - how crops are grown on that land.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Childhood Christmas memories

Christmas morning,

two special presents arrive:

foam toy swords and snow.

Three children race outside,

wearing only pajamas

First snow

The promise of snow
appears in low grey clouds,
sharp tang in the air

Sunlit snowfall
Cold whispers drift on the wind
Silence in the woodlot

White flakes fall softly
gilding black branches upraised
to embrace the sky

The storm has passed
Heavy snow begins to melt,
leaving fine lace

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Cutting edge?

It's pretty sad when a woman who has refused to even consider getting a portable mp3 player finds herself more in touch with the cutting edge of automotive tech than the radio guy whose job it is to talk about the auto show in Michigan.

If that sounds somewhat smug, well... I'm feeling a little bit smug. When asked to name some of the cars to pay attention to, he (of course) listed several luxury brands, and then commented on one of them (a BMW, I think) that even Americans will have to begin thinking about smaller cars in connection to luxury.

And I thought, "Well, duh! Jeez, I could have told you that more than a year ago." In fact, it was just under a year ago that my husband and I replaced our car that had finally sputtered its last with a used Civic hybrid. And I'd already driven a friend's Civic hybrid for a day, and discovered that it was, as I've been known to mention on a few occasions, a miniature luxury car. The ergonomics are incredible, the interior finishes very well done, the lines snazzy, the drive... sweet.

I mean, come on, people! Hollywood, perhaps the second most image conscious town in the USA (the first being, of course, Washington DC), has long given the Prius the stamp of approval. George Clooney drives a Tango. And, well, the Cooper Mini has been out there for a little while now, and while its fuel economy isn't as good as a regular Civic, it's got serious glitz factor going. The "new trend" toward smaller cars with luxury detailing has been going on for a little while now, folks.

And well, I can tell you, as someone who drives a hybrid, people often ask to "go for a ride" when they find out. Recently, someone at work even commented, "Yeah, I heard you drove a fancy car..." And I drive the 2003 model - not the most up-to-date one. My only "complaint" is that it takes less than a tank of gas to drive from Washington, D.C. to Ohio, so I forget to stop and wind up with stiff muscles at the end of the drive.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For two women who taught me.

Sitting on your couch,
Holding sea shells far from home,
I watch you crochet,
your hands and hook dripping lace
that foams on your lap.

Your children beg you,
"Come to Florida, with us"
But hills are your home,
So you teach me old ways,
hoping memory will live.


In the county home,
Dark, dusty, lonely, sad
I come to visit,
for you have magic hands
that can crochet new worlds

Bright colored cheap yarn
brings sunshine indoors to you,
Making new flowers
I sit on your bed, learning,
your hands guiding mine.

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Some mornings...

This morning, my cup of Earl Grey, hot, sweet, lemony... I needed that.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another childhood picture

Twelve years old,
apron on, making dinner,
younger children wait.

Dinner finished,
Bathtime finished, bedtime story
Then a book to read.

Up until midnight,
cup of tea, dinner ready,
waiting for Mom.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Childhood stories

Two sisters sit
Underneath shared quilts
Telling stories
Outside, the winds howl and moan
Blowing high drifted snow.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Little racoon
peeks out from the storm drain
watching traffic

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Those plastic bags

Over at her blog, Salihah by Sea, Salihah wrote about jurisdictions trying to cut down on plastic bag waste. Now, I have a largish collection of grungy-looking canvas bags (even when they've been washed, they still look grungy. *sigh*) and even one cute little heart shaped bag - it's actually a grocery sized bag that folds down into it's own zippered pouch - useful, handy, and very, very cute. There is also a version that is a rectangle. The cute bag lives in my craft bag that goes everywhere with me, along with my crochet hook collection and a few random balls of yarn. That way, any impulse grocery runs can be easily cloth bagged, and I try to remember a few of the grungy bags for larger runs.

But I also have a work in progress that I consider both incredibly appropriate and well, hard on the hands. I'm crocheting a bag out of plastic shopping bags. Essentially, you cut the bags into strips, then use the strips as yarn. It's slow going, not just because I'm making the "yarn" as well as crocheting it, but because I can't do it for very long at any one time - there's no stretch or give at all. Even cotton, which is notoriously hard on the hands, is easier. I also found along the way, that 1 grocery bag makes up nicely into 1 "scrubby" - cut the bag in a spiral after removing the bottom seam (while most instructions tell you to cut off the handles, too, I just sort of incorporate them in the spiral). Then crochet a circle using all the plastic. If you just hold it in your hand, it will feel soft, like a bunched up plastic bag (which it essentially is), but if you rub it against your hand, you can feel how it works as a scrubbie.

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Silver grey fog
veils winter bare branches
Crows fly over.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Back to the banjo

While I've been playing over the last few weeks, I haven't been taking lessons since the middle of December - there's just been too much going on for both my instructor and myself. But I sat down, and played, and played pretty well, I think, though I did make a couple "typos" from not really having warmed up.

And now, I'm looking at some "grown up" songs: "Pretty Polly", "Fair and Tender Ladies", and "Man of Constant Sorrow" (And looking at getting a songbook! Woot!)

A year ago, I had never even held a banjo. Now, I can tune one, replace the strings, play the g scale and a handful of songs. I can even sort of "noodle tunefully" which I would never have believed last April as I tried to figure out exactly how to get both of my hands to cooperate in making the notes. The nails on my left hand are all short now, sacrificed to the need to catch the strings going straight down for clear fretting. I've figured out how to hold a banjo and a small child *at the same time*. I even sort of fudged up an accompaniment for a friend's kid when she wanted to sing a sad song. Basically, it was just a minor and e minor trading off with each other, but she seemed to like it.

Yeah, I'm hooked.

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Moonlight - One Deep Breath

Moonlight shines down,
glazing the lake with diamonds.
Night birds call.

The moon so big
children reach up to take it,
trying to play catch.

Breath glows white
Watchers stamp their feet
Crescent moon sails on.

Whistle blows sadly
Under a winter moon,
the midnight express.

A ghost in the sky,
Opal eyed visitor,
The moon peeks at day.

whisper to me again
by moonlight.

Crescent moon,
a perfect moment is here
to see your valleys.

How did this happen?
Just a cup of tea, outside,
went to take a sip.
How did this get here?
The moon hid in my cup!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008


A series on an American woman who chose to wear a Saudi style veil, apparantly so she could write a 4-part series complaining about the experience, and particularly complaining that women who veil should be discriminated against more.

*sigh* If she'd bothered to, you know, try asking someone who covers, Muslim or not, we could have told her a little about it, and far less of it would come as a surprise. (Such as: most people in a grocery are not going to even look at what you're wearing. They're there to get their cornflakes, baking soda, and tomato soup and couldn't possibly care less.) Heck, half of her complaints had to do with not knowing anybody (or asking anybody) who actually wears a covering on a regular basis. And most of the rest seemed to be that nobody actually hassled her, though some people *did* whisper about her at her gym.


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008, everybody!

Here's hoping and praying for a year of strides toward peace.