Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Review: Charles Dickens

Title: Charles Dickens

Author: Jane Smiley

Copyright: 2002

BR 14255 2 Volumes

Maybe your bedtime dreams aren’t yet fixed on sugarplums, but with Christmas Eve only a week away, some reference to “A Christmas Carol” or Scrooge or the hauntings of Christmas past has no doubt graced your mental stage. Charles Dickens was not simply a master storyteller. His writing reaches into the minds and hearts of every age. He knew what readers liked, and he gave it to them.

The stories Dickens penned arise from his own 19th century life–the smokey London streets he covered on daily five to six mile walks, and the raggedand well-to-do people he encountered. Books like “Bleak House: and “Oliver Twist” reflect the miserable social conditions he worked tirelessly to alleviate when he wasn’t writing. And in “Hard Times”, Dickens champions rights and protections for workers such as miners. Even governmental neglect does not escape his sharp criticism, whether it underpins one of his novels or is prominently discussed in an essay for his weekly periodical. As for his characters, Dickens uses them to express every emotion known to humankind. They act out of cruelty, greed and compassion. They long for love and tolerance. They laugh and cry and strive to overcome the hardships dealt to them.

Jane Smiley’s brief account of Dickens provides a fascinating glimpse into the writer’s life and work, his friendships, passions and shortcomings. A man of remarkable energy and insight, Charles Dickens portrayed the world as it existed in his time, and well understood the place of individuals in improving it for everyone.

No Pool No Page

Writing a poem is like jumping

Into the deep end of the pool.

Think too much and I’ll remember

I never learned to swim

It’s always best to let go

Flail a bit with arms and legs

Feel my skin dissolve into nothingness

Let my essence lead the way

Let the water in me

Commune with the water around me

As if there is no pool and no paper

As if all is Poetry

Frost Comes

frost comes
grass stiffens
and I run to find my mittens

frost comes
birdies fluff
got my mittens
where’s my muff

frost comes
wildflowers fading
woolens on my shelf cascading

frost comes
Foggy glass
cloaks my eyes as people pass

frost comes
earmuffs muffle
frozen strangers by me shuffle

frost comes
then the snow
if I don’t feel
I’ll never know

**from One With Willows, 2019

Grateful (cont’d)

Grateful to loveand to be loved

***And I am grateful for you, my Darling Readers, grateul for your company on this amazing journey, for your willingness to read my scribbles, for your comments and conversations. Thank you, thank you! Wishing you sweetness on this Thanksgiving Day, and the blessings of shalom throughout these winter holidays.


Grateful to feel

The sun in my face

The rain on my cheeks

The wind in my hair

Grateful to hear

Leaves rustling overhead

Children playing down the street

My own breath moving

Grateful to know

The sweetness of this moment

The delight of living

The gift of simply being me




I long to stand like Ponderosa pines

Breathed and breathing

Naked to the wind and the rain

Poised always to receive

Always to give


I long to dance like Oregon air

My face open and giddy

My embrace wide as the sky

Moving always to give

Always to receive


I long to love like Love

Always loving


Why Autumn?

Why Autumn?

Why mist upon my upturned daybreak face?

Why endless rainy afternoons or bright forever skies?

Why bashful sun?

Why fearless wind

Knocking down fences and moaning through the rafters?

Why frosty walks and wood smoke wafting by?

Why chilly nights huddled beside you?

Why Autumn?


100 today

Around the middle of June, I decided to try doing sit-ups. My daughter (and yoga partner) was already gone for the summer, and I new I needed to do something, something physical, to keep from losing everything she had taught me over the previous nine months.I hadn’t done sit-ups in years, didn’t especially like them, and frankly thought I would fail. But I couldn’t think of what else to do.

I asked my husband if he would partner with me in this new endeavor, and he agreed. I’m sure he was thinking, "Anything to get you moving…", but he simply said, "Sure."

We started with 20 sit-ups each, alternating turns of 10 sit-up sets. To my amazement, I was able to do them with little trouble.

"It must be the yoga," I declared afterward. "I never could do these before my yoga sessions."

I felt so good afterward, not just physically good, but like I was really doing something to take charge of myself. We kept going. Most important for me, we made exercise part of our morning routine. Every morning, after feeding Ari and spending a little time as a trio–even before we eat breakfast–we stretch out on the livingroomm carpet and get busy. Every morning, day after day after day.

And, what do you know, the number of sit-ups has gone up and up–30, 50, 90, and today I reached 100.

i’m not sure where I’ll go from here. Frankly, I never expected to get this far. My weekly yoga sessions have resumed, and combined with my morning exercise I am feeling better than ever.

And I must let you know what Ari thinks of all this.

While he tried his best to get in the very middle of things when we started–taking his position right where he could block our movements–he has resigned himself to our routine. Once we take our places, Ari now settles down on his doggie lounge, and simply waits.

The moral of the story is that you can indeed teach a dog new tricks. I’m proof of that!

*smiling face*

Words Flutter

Words flutter between us

Friendly and fanciful

Frolic in the moment

Frisky and free

Only to fall

Feet fumble and hands hover

Moving is all they know

The heart stands at the threshold

Bows when silence returns

Gets down on all fours

Searching for every last feather

Every lost letter of meaning