Category Archives: Poetry

#poppies #poetry In Flanders’ Fields, by John McCrae

The beautiful image of poppies that graces this post is by Tijl Vercaemer from Gent, Flanders and was found on Wikimedia commons. The beauty and serenity of the poppies, rising from the fields where such terrible conflict once happened, is a fitting accompaniment for the poem, In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, the text of which follows the picture.

From Wikipedia:  “In Flanders Fields” is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. In Flanders Fields was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.

In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, a 1919 collection of McCrae’s works, contains two versions of the poem: a printed text as below and a handwritten copy where the first line ends with “grow” instead of “blow.” (…)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

While bed-ridden and recovering in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, after World War II, my father had little to do but read or crochet afghans. To keep busy, he and the other recovering soldiers in his ward made endless numbers of Remembrance Poppies to commemorate fallen American soldiers. Dad always wore his poppy on his left lapel, as it was close to his heart.

Memorial Day is more than just the official launch of Summer here in the US, more than just an Indy car race. Families have always cared for their family graves, but it became a designated day after the American Civil War in 1868, established  as “Decoration Day.” It was a specific time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Every family had soldiers who served and gave their lives in the never-ending wars, as we do today.

Officially, Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. In the US, it is a 3-day holiday weekend. Banks are closed on Monday, and the US Postal Service is also closed. The American flag is traditionally set at half-staff until noon to honor all those whose lives have been given in the service of our country. At noon, it is raised to the top of the staff, signifying that we, as a nation, will rise again.

My paternal grandmother never failed to keep our family’s graves neat and tidy, bringing flowers every week for my uncle, who had died while serving in the Korean War. As she got older, this tradition aggravated my father, who just wanted to listen to the Indianapolis 500 car race on the radio. He couldn’t bear dwelling on the loss of his brother, or the friends he had lost in France in WWII.

But he took her to the cemetery, anyway.

After each great and terrible war of the last two centuries, the hope was always that we had fought a “war to end all wars.” World War I, also known as The Great War, was spoken of in literature as just that: a war to end all wars.

With each conflict we still hope, but we are less able to believe it, today less than ever.


Sources and Attributions

In Flanders Fields, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, PD|75 years

John McCrae died of pneumonia January 28, 1918, near the end of the Great War. In Flanders’ Fields is a staple poem for Memorial Day services.

Wikipedia contributors. “In Flanders Fields.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 May. 2018. Web. 24 May. 2018

Poppies Field in Flanders, image By Tijl Vercaemer from Gent, Flanders #Belgium. File:Poppies Field in Flanders.jpg. (2018, January 13). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 15:55, May 24, 2018.

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The problem with hitchhikers…

A good poem for a Saturday, written by Sue Vincent!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

They’re lurking in there,
This I know,
I put them there
Some time ago;
The are the fish
The eye forgot…
And have I seen them?
I have not.

*

A barbelled snout
I just might see
If I am looking
Carefully,
But over head
And wormlike tail
Their reticence
Has drawn a veil.

*

I’m told they do
Come out to play,
Though not, apparently,
By day.
They do their foraging
At night
And keep their colours
Out of sight.

*

Now given choice,
I might have bought
Some fishes
Of a different sort;
The type that might,
Occasionally,
Come out
That I might
Watch and see.

*

My loach had hitched
A ride with me,
Within a plant
He came for free.
But lonely loaches
Can’t be done,
It isn’t fair
To have just one,

*
And that is why
Within the water,
I have fish
I didn’t…

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#FlashFictionFriday: The Morning Crier by Shannon M. Blood

Every now and then I come across a poet whose work really strikes a chord in my soul.

Local Olympia area poet, Shannon M. Blood, produces work that is deep and lays bare the raw emotions we all keep hidden.

The Morning Crier appeared on her blog yesterday, and I found myself thinking about her prose and turns of phrase off and on all day.

When you get to the end of my reblogged sample, please click on the link to read the rest!


THE MORNING CRIER

It’s 4 a.m. and Robin Redbreast

scrapes nails over chalkboard

Sól lights her pine-fed torch

stabs bloody fingers deep in earth

 

I play possum to your prod

shun the unwashed kiss

oak floor groans with your retreat

a williwaw births new gooseflesh

 

(read the rest of the Morning Crier at Tidbits by Shannon)


Credits and Attributions:

The Morning Crier, © 2018 by Shannon M. Blood, All Rights Reserved

Book Illustration of a Robin and Wren By Plate printer Joseph M. Kornheim (1810-1896) published by Frederick Warne & Co. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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#FlashFictionFriday: Elegy for Hawking

Stephen Hawking, Star Child,

Entered the world in the Year of the Horse

While bombs fell over London.

Rebel,

Always went his own way

Even when his way was difficult.

Revolutionary,

Freed his mind to travel the cosmos.

Sat taller in his chair than giants stand.

Quantum thinker,

Body shrunken to a singularity,

Mind as expansive as the universe.

Dreamer,

Stephen Hawking

Left us in the Year of the Dog

While we baked Pi for Einstein

And marveled at what we had lost.

 


Stephen Hawking,

Born 8 Jan 1942; died 14 Mar 2018 at age 76.

Author, Motivational Speaker, English Theoretical Physicist.

Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a position once held by such notables as Charles Babbage and  Sir Isaac Newton. Afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS), Hawking was confined to a wheelchair and was unable to speak without the aid of a computer voice synthesizer. However, despite his challenges, he made remarkable contributions to the field of cosmology, which is the study of the universe. His principal areas of research were theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity.

Hawking also co-authored five children’s books with his daughter, Lucy.

Hawking’s book list can be found at Amazon: Stephen Hawking’s Author Page 

Popular books

  • A Brief History of Time (1988)
  • Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993)
  • The Universe in a Nutshell (2001)
  • On the Shoulders of Giants (2002)
  • God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History (2005)
  • The Dreams That Stuff Is Made of: The Most Astounding Papers of Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World (2011)
  • My Brief History (2013)

Co-authored

  • The Nature of Space and Time (with Roger Penrose) (1996)
  • The Large, the Small and the Human Mind (with Roger Penrose, Abner Shimony and Nancy Cartwright) (1997)
  • The Future of Spacetime (with Kip Thorne, Igor Novikov, Timothy Ferris and introduction by Alan Lightman, Richard H. Price) (2002)
  • A Briefer History of Time (with Leonard Mlodinow) (2005)
  • The Grand Design (with Leonard Mlodinow) (2010)

Forewords

  • Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy (Kip Thorne, and introduction by Frederick Seitz) (1994)

Children’s fiction

Co-written with his daughter Lucy

  • George’s Secret Key to the Universe (2007)
  • George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt (2009)
  • George and the Big Bang (2011)
  • George and the Unbreakable Code (2014)
  • George and the Blue Moon (2016)

Stephen Hawking, StarChild, Image By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Stephen Hawking,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stephen_Hawking&oldid=830584312 (accessed March 15, 2018).

Elegy for Hawking, by Connie J. Jasperson © 2018 All Rights Reserved

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#flashfictionfriday: A summer evening spent fishing

A summer evening spent fishing

On black waters beneath a sunset sky.

Forested hills climbed high in the west,

As dark as shadows and just as safe.

Bears and their young came to fish the creek

That runs past the woods next door.

Deer swam across the lake to eat

Grape leaves and my mother’s roses.

Sunsets seen from my father’s boat

While fishing for perch or crappie.

And morning came, bright and young,

Filled with the scents of home.

Of potatoes and onions, crisp and brown,

And fish frying for breakfast,

And cinnamon rolls just out of the oven,

And coffee perking on the stove.

Smells that signified Sunday morning.

And when the washing up was done

I took my book to the alder grove

And drowsed the day away.


Credits and Attributions

A Summer Evening Spent Fishing, by Connie J. Jasperson © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Indian Sunset: Deer by a Lake, painted by Albert Bierstadt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons ca. 1880 – 1890

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#FlashFictionFriday: The Garden Choir in February

 

The crocus suite opens with a lone voice

A tenor, singing a hymn.

Gradually voices join, rising together

Swelling until a symphony of color

Blankets a pocket corner

Of the winter garden

In February.

The first lone soldier

Standing tall and singing

With voice and color proclaiming

This is my time! This is my corner,

My season in the garden

Is February.


Credits and Attributes

The Garden Choir in February, by Connie J. Jasperson, ©2018 All Rights Reserved

Woodland Crocus, By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Early Morning Moon #flashfictionfriday

Early morning moon

Waltzing across the sky at dawn

Lights the frozen land beneath.

Winter morning moon

Not blue, not blood,

Unique only for its rarity.

Early morning moon

Naked, uncloaked by clouds,

Waltzing across the sky at dawn.

 


Credits and Attributions:

By Jeff Fennell from Oregon, USA (Early Morning Moon) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Early Morning Moon, poem by Connie J. Jasperson © 2018 All Rights Reserved

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#FlashFictionFriday: If Life were a ’65 Impala

Sometimes  during NaNoWriMo, toward the end of the day I get into a silly mood, and doggerel like this emerges. Don’t worry, it will pass. It may be ugly, but it’s word count! I have owned three 1965 Chevy Impalas (all were used) and one 1973 Chevy Vega, which we purchased new.

While my Vega was never found burning alongside the road,  it was the least reliable car I had ever owned. The interior had gone to pieces in the first year, and the clutch cable regularly broke, leaving us stuck in second gear. We couldn’t afford to get rid of it because we were constantly paying a mechanic to keep it on the road!


 

If life were a ’65 Impala,

A land yacht of steel, guts, and glory,

She would run like a top,

And when we wanted, she’d stop,

We’d travel through life with no worry.

But life is a ’73 Vega

On fire by the side of the road.

The engine’s askew, the interior too,

It was a bad purchase, you know.

It’s nothing but dents, duct tape, and dirt

All held together with paint.

At times, life’s a rolling disaster,

A reliable runner it ain’t.

It stops on a dime half of the time,

And runs real fine ‘til it don’t.


If Life were a ’65 Impala, copyright 2017 Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved.

1965 Chevrolet Impala with a 300 hp V8 big Block Engine PD by Iv-Elouan Bruneau (Iebruneau at English Wikipedia)

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#FlashFictionFriday: Reflections on the Water

A rough, log bench at water’s edge

Pictured in mind’s eye,

Reflections on the water

Of an evening long gone by.

I see us as we were that night,

Grandmother, lake, and me.

Flannel shirt over frayed housedress

Beside denims worn with style,

Philosophies and grand ideas

Beside wisdom without guile.

 

She told me why the stars were hung

In the inky sea above.

A brilliant ebb and flowing dance

A ballet of starry love

To cricket song and bullfrog drum.

But I was bored with country life

And lured by rattle and hum.

“What you seek you’ll never find

In neon glow and city block.”

I longed to leave that place behind

New paths I yearned to walk.

 

And now I stand on memory’s shore

With Grandma once again.

The lake, and shore, and skies above,

Have gone, and gone again.

And simple wisdom I have gained,

Reflecting on the lake,

Grandma’s wisdom still remains

In who I came to be

Though different paths I take.


Credits and Attributions

Reflections on the Water by Connie J. Jasperson © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Moonrise, by Stanisław Masłowski   PD 100 yrs [[File:MaslowskiStanislaw.WschodKsiezyca.1884.ws.jpg|MaslowskiStanislaw.WschodKsiezyca.1884.ws]]

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#flashfictionfriday: The Lilies Orange

I think upon the lilies orange

That grew beside the lake.

Such beauty there among the weeds

For loons and grebes to take.

The peace I found along that shore

Is gone and gone, I fear.

The thief of time has stolen it,

Gone these fifty years.

The lilies bring them back to me,

The lilies and the shore.

I see the high black hills beyond

Though I’ll walk there nevermore.

My childhood home, long gone.


Credits and Attributions:

The Lilies Orange, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Orange Daylilies, By George Chernilevsky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Hemerocallis fulva 2016 G1.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Hemerocallis_fulva_2016_G1.jpg&oldid=259430397 (accessed October 5, 2017)

 

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