Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blessed (and Grateful) Be


Sometimes my heart is washed in tears,
or overcome by foolish fears,

but most days find me safe from harm
with all I need to keep me warm.

 Though every life has best and worst,
I should be grateful last and first

for gifts I’m given, large and small,
that show me God is over all.

Tall trees rise up, embracing sky,
in colors pleasing to the eye.

My spirits soar as shades of blue
emerge through leaves of changing hue.

Each budding branch of early spring
erupts in anthems sparrows sing.

My fingers brush the velvet skins
of blossoms, and new life begins.

 My feet are grounded in the earth,
and they have carried me since birth

to places near and places far,
traveling under sun and star.

My fate belongs to me alone,
compelled by neither king nor throne.

I choose the pathway I will trod,
a freedom granted me by God.

 Words are my joy, their power profound:
unspoken, parsed, released to sound

or written on an empty page,
the hearts of others to engage.

 A family gathers ‘round me near:
loyal husband, children dear,

mother kind and father rare,
brothers and sisters beyond compare.

These golden treasures feed my soul,
comfort me, and make me whole.

The morning dawns and yields to night.
Sunrise. Sundown. All is right.

I offer gratitude each day,
my thanks a gentle price to pay

for blessings large and blessings small
that God extends to one and all.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING 
TO YOU AND YOURS!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Alphabet Rebellion

t
                    b          c
Alphabet Rebellion
 ©1991 Susan Noyes Anderson

I'm dotting every I, and
I am crossing every T.
I'm putting letters down, and
I erase them frequently.

I'm holding whole words hostage
at the point of my pen.
If I don't like the way they look,
I scratch them out again.

G – R – U thinking like I am?
Could our ABCs rebel?
If they went out on a strike,
whatever would we use to spell?

∞§∞

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Protestation No. 24, Penned




I do not need thee; ‘tis a lie
to paint me weakened by thy charms.
Dost think thy sweeting feign would die
than leave the comfort of thine arms?
Forgive me if my brusque reply
some vision of thyself disarms.

I do not need thee; I am strong,
an oak with roots set firm and deep.
Have I not told thee right along
my counsel I would always keep?
Shouldst thou demur, thou dost me wrong;
but never mind, I shall not weep.

I shall not weep for thee, my dear;
I am not smitten by thy wit.
Though others eagerly give ear,
I find in me no benefit
from thy conceit; in fact, I fear
I harbor little taste for it.

But hold, perhaps I overstate;
I would not have thee think me cruel.
‘Tis not for me to castigate
nor offer thee for ridicule.
It is not mine to remonstrate
if thou shouldst choose to play the fool.

And so, a truce, my erstwhile friend;
in truth, I have no feud with thee.
There’s little in thee to offend;
I do not fear thy company.
I need thee not, but condescend,
in service to thy need of me.

∞§∞

Methinks this damsel doth protest too much!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

A Zeal for Giving


Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
Z = A Zeal for Giving


I'm sure most of you have read about, received, and participated in random acts of kindness. Recently, I ran across a video of someone happily picking up the tab for the person behind him at a drive-through restaurant. Especially heartwarming was the fact that his generosity sparked a chain of giving he hadn't anticipated. Those who were given a free lunch decided, quite spontaneously, to pass that blessing along. For a few minutes, all the receivers became givers, with every driver paying for the occupants of the car behind him. We often call this type of activity "paying it forward," but this was definitely "paying it backward!" ;) Either way, what made the situation stand out in my mind was this: the positive action of an individual motivated positive action by an entire group––namely, the long line of people who ended up taking part (aka the "snowball effect.")

This snowball effect really got me thinking. We've all heard stories about undesirable mob behavior, where one person begins to act out in violent or destructive fashion and pretty soon others jump on the bandwagon. Vandalism after a World Series victory might be one example of this, as would the Rodney King attack in Los Angeles a few years ago. There is plenty of evidence to show that bad behavior in one person sort of creates a "safe place" for bad behavior in another, and I have often seen that subject discussed on television and in the press.

Far less frequent is any discussion about the upside of group dynamics: "desirable" mob behavior. (Don't you love the concept of a benevolent mob?) It is heartening to note that our good actions can steer others in a positive direction too, even when it is not something they, as individuals, would normally do. For example, if I let an elderly or pregnant woman with a full shopping cart go ahead of me in line, is it not more likely that the person in front of me will do the same?...and maybe even the person in front of her? I like the idea that one person's kindness creates a breeding ground for group kindness. 

Going to the head of the line when you are tired and uncomfortable may seem like a small thing, but there are wider applications. What about the people on Flight 93 that rushed the cockpit and tried to overcome the terrorists? We don't know for sure who took the first step, perhaps Mark Bingham, but others in the group rose to the occasion. During the Holocaust, when the Krepec family in Poland risked their lives to hide 30 Jewish citizens in their home, the people of their town could have protected themselves and their loved ones by reporting them. Instead, they got on board, putting their own futures on the line by supporting the Krepecs with meals, relief, and most of all, silence. 

You've heard the saying, paraphrased from Mahatma Gandhi, to "Be the change you want to see in the world." More specifically, maybe we need to "Be the goodness we want to see in the world." One thing's for certain, our kind acts are more powerful than we know. Are we ready to lead the way?

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Maitresse

Danseuse ajustant sa brettelle, 1895-96, Edgar Degas


Maitresse
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson


It's music I remember most of all.
Soaring strains of winged Tchaikovsky
brought to earth by steady beat
of wooden cane against a parquet floor.
The ballet mistress, mean with added weight,
despised her torpid flesh and tortured ours.
Through us she danced, each arabesque
a thrust against our firm yet fragile borders.
I foiled each foray, held her off with
grand battement, changement, changement, changement.
Her face was rouge, piqued by my piqué turns.
She chastised us for nibbling a cruller,
gorged herself on crepes and jam.

∞§∞

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Redux

Resurrection Reunion 2, 1945, Sir Stanley Spencer


Redux
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson


Death is a many-splendored thing;

especially when it ends.

The shroud is shed; the raised heart sings

and everyone pretends

that life is bound to be brand new

the second time around,

and all along they knew, just knew

they'd break free from the ground.


∞§∞



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