Tag Archives: poetry

Reflections about Beauty and Sorrow

Carol A. Hand

Seeing the beauty around me
brings both joy and sorrow.
I realize the fragility
that may not survive tomorrow.

I remember the forest that
inspired my childhood song
cut down to build houses,
a sanctuary long gone.

I remember the dreams of peace
from my youth now gone bye
chickadees still sing and crows still circle high
but new wars begin as drones fill the sky

Here birds greet the morning as tree tops turn gold,
While many children go hungry
And my heart hears their cries
Because leaders want power and their hearts have grown cold.

They poison the waters in the rush for oil,
as oceans are warming as sea levels rise
they poison the air and poison the soil
they close their hearts to the earth’s cries.

Let me greet every morning as long as I live
mindful of beauty and suffering
and mindful of the hope
only love can give.

lake superior sunrise

Photo Credit: Lake Superior Sunrise and Silhouettes – Photographer Jnana Hand

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vision from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

With these shifting layers of sight
I wonder what is real.
Do I see your fear and sadness
Or only what I feel?
The letters that I type
dance upon the page
now clear, now blurred
making distance impossible to gauge.
I’ve always lived on the margin
never feeling I was a part
of the laughter or the fighting
never knowing how to start
to bridge the distance
between myself and others
that I felt within my heart.
I have loved you from the sidelines.
Perhaps more than you’ll ever know.
But I’m happier in nature,
peaceful and alone.
My vision doesn’t matter then
when my imagination can roam
first close than far, now shallow then deep
feeling no one is judging me
for the company I keep,
for my fumbling social awkwardness
because I don’t belong
in the busy fray of jostling
to rise above the throng.
I don’t mind the solitude.
Although I have sometimes wished to be
someone who only sees one layer
not this shifting cacophony.
But in the end I’m grateful
for this often peaceful place
it allows me to see your beauty
and live in blissful grace
as the turmoil rages around us
I can still see what could be.
A life of peace and wonder,
A deeper unity.

26487_1293977706690_1147731241_30741016_7796006_n

(for my beloved daughter, Jnana – March 2, 2015)

***

In a World Ruled by Windigos

Carol A. Hand

In a world ruled by windigos,
What can we do
To end a hunger that they can never satisfy?

The_Wendigo_by_Ashere

Photo Credit: Windigo, by Ashere

They tear open the earth
For coal, diamonds, and oil
While farmers commit suicide and hungry children cry.

As the land that fed people
Becomes barren arid soil
The life that once flourished has rapidly begun to die.

They cut down her forests
That give us air to breathe,
And they poison her waters and blacken her sky.

koch brothers

Photo Credit: The Koch Brothers, Fox News Radio

Although legends say only medicine people
Can send their evil spirits away,
If we stand in solidarity together to protect life and expose the lie
That there are no options to their rule as we idly wait to die,
I believe we can reclaim our world if we’re courageous enough to try.

 According to an essay posted in Indian Country Today,

“The most important difference between Windigo and the European vampire is that surviving an attack by Windigo does not turn you into one. The creature is evil and the human who takes that form must have an evil heart rather than just stumbling into the path of a hungry monster. People can turn into Windigos, but they must be predisposed to evil.”

Read more here.

***

Just Be Who You Are

Carol A. Hand

Today, I just want to share one of my favorite songs. I wish I could find a free recording to share, or record my own version, but alas, I can’t. What I love most about the song, though, are the lyrics. I hope they touch your heart as they do mine.

chickadee w

Photo Credit: Black-Capped Chickadee

Little Chickadee
(by Cheryl Dawdy)

She is only a little chickadee
Just a common backyard bird
And she knows no care or worry
She is happy in this world

Just a simple little chickadee
With a simple song to sing
She’s not a peacock or a toucan
Not some fancy colored thing

But she can fly
She can fly
Anywhere she’d care to roam
And call anywhere her home

Then I said, “Tell me, little chickadee
Don’t you wish sometimes to be
Someone bigger, someone more beautiful?”
And this is what she said to me

“If I were bigger or more beautiful
If I had fancy colored wings
It would not make me someone better
‘Cause these are not important things

‘Cause I can fly
I can fly
Anywhere I care to roam
And call anywhere my home”

Now she is only a little chickadee
Not the boldest bird to see
But she knows that she’s most fortunate
There’s no one else she’d rather be

‘Cause she can fly
She can fly
Anywhere she’d care to roam
And call anywhere her home

She is only a little Chickadee

 Recorded by The Chenille Sisters on their album, Teaching Hippopotami to Fly

chickadee flying

Photo Credit: Chickadee Flying

If you’re lucky, as I was when I first heard Little Chickadee on a children’s radio show, here’s a link to the show

If you’re able to connect to the show, whatever you hear may touch your heart, surprise you with people’s creativity, or make you laugh.

May you all have a wonderful day ❤

Giving Thanks

Carol A. Hand

In recent times, there are many moments of everyday when I am reminded of all there is to grieve in the world – deliberate cruelty, environmental destruction, disease and war, and continued oppression that will cause death and suffering for generations yet to come. I know it has been thus throughout history. Yet as an elder, at this moment, I chose to celebrate the beauty and wonder of life. Today, at this moment, I choose to share images and words of gratitude for that which makes life worth living.

The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee
(by N. Scott Momaday)

I am a feather in the bright sky.
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain.
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water.
I am the shadow that follows a child.
I am the evening light, the lustre of the meadows.
I am an eagle playing with the wind.
I am a cluster of bright beads.
I am the farthest star.
I am the cold of the dawn.
I am the roaring of the rain.
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow.
I am the long track of the moon in a lake.
I am a flame of four colors.
I am a deer standing way in the dusk.
I am a field of sumac and the poome blanche.
I am an angle of geese upon the winter sky.
I am the hunger of a young wolf.
I am the whole dream of these things.

You see, I am alive, I am alive.
I stand in good relation to the earth.
I stand in good relation to the gods.
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful.
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte.
 You see, I am alive, I am alive.

tree of peace images

Photo Credit: The Great Tree of Peace

I send my sincere wish for all my relations. May we live in peace with each other and in balance with the earth we all share.

Work Cited:

N. Scott Momaday (1998). The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee. In B. Bigelow & Bob Peterson (Eds.), Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 years (p. 72). Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Well Met

Carol A. Hand

Oh little child how will you survive?
You were born with a light in your heart that shone from your eyes.
Ancestors will walk with you to keep you alive.

me 1

With a gift to see beauty in others,
Feel their fears and their pain, you’ll carry a burden words cannot name –
An inheritance from your Ojibwe great grandmothers.

me 4

Born in age with rules already in place
To exploit and control, to oppress and enslave, to extinguish hope
That we could all live lives of grace.

me 2

You lived many places but could never fit in.
Your attempts to escape from the burden and grief were all wasted time
The ancestors spoke – it’s past time to begin.

me 3

They walked beside you and guided the way
As you fumbled and struggled to live with courage and kindness and honor your path.
But it’s changed now with age, it’s a new day.

me 5

You’ve earned time to retreat
To the world of your thoughts, to be guided by dreams sent from the wise ones. Have patience and trust
When people can hear you, you’ll meet.

Note: The greeting well met “is an expression of welcome, and means no more than the modern good to see you. Shakespeare used it for example in As you like it…”

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ballad of Suicide

Cheryl A. Bates

I saved a self-destructive friend, escaped from a predatory friend and regretfully,

had to leave a truly kindred “friend” behind.

Bruised, battered, and in need of repair, I escaped from the burdens my kindred friend continuously bared.

Selfishly, I isolate my wounds from those I think don’t care.

While she gives her spirit so generous and loving; masking a secret so deep with despair.

With nothing left for anyone or myself, somehow she always showed me she cared.

I promised her I would return. Just hang on my dear, that day draws near.

She taught me to love and laugh at the simple treasures we shared.

A memory, an escapade, a trip to into the lake.

Dripping and squishing we’d dance on the bank.

A loud crack of the ice, a wide eyed stare, she’d giggle at my inexperienced scare.

Grab the net, a fish to snare; rip goes my pants, she’d fall into fits of hysteria.

Her laughter and care taught me to not take myself so serious.

Polar Bear Plunge, Oshkosh, WI 2012

(Photo credit: Author/ Polar Bear Plunge, Oshkosh, WI 2011)

My car, packed and ready for the trip, slightly earlier than our long ago plan.

One last phone call, I finished grading early, we can share more time and make more fond memories.

She hesitated and said “No, I have it all arranged, you should come as we’d planned.”

So, I agreed, and waited.

 The day before I was to leave,

a ring of a telephone shattered my heart and buckled my knees.

“She gone” I remember the speaker said to me, “She’s really gone.”

The words were like a foggy dream, never did I realize, she’d hidden from me,

a plan of her own.

My heart bleeding; my mind searching for meaning, I drove two days without seeing.

Country western played on the radio, a moment of clarity, that’s one of her favorites.

A moment of relief quickly replaced with disbelief, she’s gone, she’s really gone?

Relief didn’t come until I saw her, body cold and lifeless,

yet, so peaceful.

Gone to what is beyond; her love, her laughter, her mischief, her joyous heart.

Seven-eleven, death is freedom, obtained with one sure fired bullet.

Her despair ended, her spirit freed

to know what peace there can be for a tortured soul.

Horse Creek, Cherokee National Forest, TN

(Photo Credit: Author/ Horse Creek, Cherokee National Forest)

Though I am still broken and my heart still aches,

the darkness around me, slowly lifts toward the dawn.

When I am unsure, her gentle nudges remind me of my strength.

Her presence is around me, whispering to me through the wind in the trees.

I hear her laughter in the bubbling creek, and  I feel happy.

I feel her smiles, imagine her deep blue eyes – I don’t feel so alone.

She knows now what we all seek to know, that which is eternal and free.

So, just hang on, my dear,

I promise I will join you again someday.

Copyright Notice: © Cheryl A. Bates and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cheryl A. Bates and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No One’s To Blame

Carol A. Hand

I wonder, were your eyes always devoid of light and grace?
I don’t remember seeing past your handsome chiseled face,
Or the golden curls that fell almost to your waist.
Years passed, sometimes so slowly without warmth or desire to embrace.

I used to feel important but now I am alone.
Who can comfort me when my heart feels like a stone?
You seem so lost and trusting – for now I think you’ll do.
I know it won’t be long until I grow tired of you.

Your face is now masked in the pictures that you share
I wonder what feelings and thoughts you hide and will not bare?
I remember clearly your cold stare, eyes without any light
After I helped save you from dying one September night.

I awoke to find a nightmare, I’m a burden you resent
Incapable of anything because of the money I have spent.
I fill my days being busy to escape the growing fear
My life feels so pointless, and I feel my death is near.

Freedom has a price – but I’m willing to pay
For the silence and peace that greets me each day.
You made me feel damaged, ugly and gray,
Yet I really can’t blame you because I decided to stay.

I resent you for your certainty, I’ve followed you so far
Hoping that I could prove to you I really am a star.
But with every passing year I feel a growing dread
Time for me is running out, soon I might be dead.

You maligned me to those who hurt others with glee
The bullies’ compatriot – how could it be
That the one I supported for decades and more
Became a would-be destroyer of the hope that I bore?

There are days I hate the way you care for others more than me
I’m suffering and I’m lonely here but you don’t seem to see.
I know that I embarrass you, it makes me feel such shame.
But I know that I can make it hard for you so you’ll suffer just the same.

I continued to work spinning straw into gold
Despite my deep longing for someone to hold
My work kept me focused on healing the pain
Easing the suffering of others again and again.

I deserve to be treated well, to be seen as an important man
But because you pay all the bills, you treat me badly just because you can
So I’ll make sure to buy whatever I want so you can pay the cost.
I promise you’ll pay dearly for the dignity I’ve lost.

Yet age has a way of leveling the past
Superficial beauty doesn’t usually last.
You mocked my learning and stifled my voice
But I’m free from your envy and what I say is my choice.

I’m grateful to be finally free to travel as I will.
I know the cash I got is pittance, but at least you paid the bill.
I’ll fill my life with other things, masking all my pain.
I’m grateful to be done with you and not see you again.

When I read other’s love stories, I’m not sorry you’re gone
My heart is free to dream and sing its own song.
I hope you fare well as I let go of the past
My future is now in my own hands at last.

Arguments

Photo Credit: Michael Josephson 2012

 

Yet I know we both did our best, imperfect though we are.
I really do wish you well but I’m glad it’s from afar.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sometimes Silly – Let’s Draw Pictures and Play: Blogging 101

Carol A. Hand

I share this with love for my granddaughter, Ava, in memory of the days we spent playing this summer. Although I most often post serious prose, and claim no talent as an artist or poet, I am willing to be silly on rainy days when we’re stuck inside.

It’s a dark rainy day,
So what can we do?

Let’s draw pictures and play,

Ahma 6

Photo Credit: Artist Ava, Coloring by Ahma – Summer 2014

I’ll draw one of you.

Ahma

Photo Credit: Artist Ava, Coloring by Ahma

And you’ll draw one of me,

Ahma 2

Photo Credit: Artist Ahma, Coloring by Ava

Then we’ll switch and we’ll color.
Oh no – who can that be?

Ahma 5

Photo Credit: A Shared Creation by Ava and Ahma

(In case you’re wondering, Ahma is the name my grandson gave me when he was first learning to speak – before he could pronounce “g” and “r”. It’s the name my grandchildren continue to use. )

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Toys Under the Couch

No Toys Under the Couch

By Cheryl A. Bates

I sat on the floor for a moment to scratch behind the dog’s ear

and happened to notice there were no toys under the couch anymore.

No singing coming from the bathtub after dinner or

water on the floor to soak my socks.

No lingering smells of baby lotion and bubble bath

no more stories about dinosaurs, ballerinas, or

living room camp outs before bedtime.

No hair clips and tiny toys left forgotten on the floor

to pierce the arches of my feet at midnight after work

when headed across the room to bed, in the dark.

I lay on the floor now but something is wrong,

no sudden full body attacks from a two and a half foot munchkin.

No giggles of delight from when I toss her into the air

No more, do it again Mommie. Do it again!

Gone are the dainty ribbons and bows for her hair

and the sophisticated nail polish of grape purple and cherry red.

Blue jeans with holes in the knees – “no mommie, I want leotards, please.”

“I am a girl,” she proclaims emphatically, all the while gently stroking her newly found backyard toad.

No more crickets in the jar – where she added a little grass and oh, better yet some dirt.

Her eyes twinkle with an idea – she disappears momentarily to return proud,

having added some water.

“But where’s the cricket,” I say. She points to him caringly.

“There he is mommie!” Poor little cricket covered with mud, I’ll let you go after bedtime.

“Here mommie,” she’d say, “hold this while I go play.”

Off she goes to discover more treasures for the day.

I lay on my floor now – I glance over and see

no complacent toads in a cup, no bewildered crickets in a jar, and

no toys under my couch anymore.

How empty life can be.

Copyright Notice: © Cheryl A. Bates and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cheryl A. Bates and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.