Night

*I got out my guitar yesterday, and what do you know? An old song I wrote as a teenager jumped in and took over. I’m sharing it below, a reminder that even darkness has its purpose. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and wish you sweetness always.*

Night

by Joan Myles

Night spreads its dark flowing cape

O’er the landscape that once was day

And its cool winds sift through the trees

to gently ease my cares away

Stars climb up ladders of light

to fill the night with shining streams

and the day’s pain slowly subsides

While my soul abides within my dreams

and night sings its lullabye through the hills

hush my child for all is still

there always will

be a new sun after each moon

another tune that you can learn

and if day fails to make you smile

after a while night will return

I woke Up

*After reading Mary Oliver’s "Roses" from her 2015 collection, Felicity*

I Woke Up

by Joan Myles

I woke up last night needing something.

My fingers and toes tingled

and I thought “I need to be sleeping.”

A dull haze of dreaming

nudged me ever out of myself

even as I kept insisting-

“I need to rest.

Need the words to step back a bit,

to quiet their humming if they must crowd my pillow.”

Later, in the midst of writing,

I still needed something

and declared “I need a storm.”

Outside the wind strained to move,

creaked through the fence, stumbled

over garden stones.

“Come on,” I urged from the open window,

“whip the clous into froth

and rattle the bones of houses.”

Here at my desk, consciousness

shines through your soft laughter: “…we are

just now entirely busy being roses."

Two #Hanukkah Songs #Chanukah #Music

*Just in time, a delightful rendition of two Hanukkah songs…thank you, Crystal! My favorite is the second…can you name them? Wishing you sweetness always, my darling friends!*

Mystical Strings

Download Mp3

The Jewish Festival of Lights begins tonight! In the spirit of celebration and friendship, I offer you two Hanukkah songs played on zither and viola.

The first is “Chanukah.” I couldn’t find out who wrote these lyrics and music; so, please share if you know! It’s the 10th song on
this page,
under the “Chanukah” heading.

The second is “I Have a Little Dreidel,” also known by many other names! It is so popular that even non-Jewish people recognize it. Though I’m not Jewish, I have played Dreidel with Jewish friends during Hanukkah, and won some chocolate gelt, too! You know, those foil-covered chocolate coins that often come in a mesh bag and bring the promise of sweetness! You can read more about this fun and popular song
here.

You can also listen to the
First Night Chanukah Blessings
I recorded with ukulele last year.

I wish everyone…

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My Two Shekels

My Two Shekels…a bit of friendly philosophizing

I’m not good with endings.

I write poetry, not stories.

For me, human existence is not linear.

I ride Life’s spiralling currents of energy and intention, feel its spray of emotion and sensory impressions.

I delve into its shadows, dance amid its sunbursts–

With only this fragment of breath suspending me here.

a singular beam of experience, a rush of meaning.

and in this space between gasps of wonder, amidst pools of delight and dread, I claim something as mine, as me.

I’m not good with endings, I know.

And to label something “ending” or even to title a thing feels limiting to the point of absurdity.

Because now is forever opening at my feet, forever revealing the magical mystical path which is not linear, yet always moving, always mysterious, always …

My Two Shekels

My Two Shekels

…a bit of friendly philosophizing

During these days of Covid, I find myself quickly jotting “Be well” at the end of an email, or singing “Be Well” into the phone just before hanging up.

But this morning it hits me:be well…be well…be a well…

And I realize how fraught with meaning my everyday interactions can be if I just take time to think, to avail myself of the moment’s inspirations, if I reflect upon the words I use, the layers of meaning they suggest.

*Be Well*

So I whisper the words, draw them out in long breaths, in then slowly out again.

*bee-ahh-well*

Imagin…

An abundance of water falling from the clouds

gathering into a pool at my feet

collecting in my cupped hands

Spilling out and over

into a dish

a basin

a well.

And I see…

the image of a thirsty child, a world-weary old couple, joyous young people celebrating the renewal of Love and Life.

And in the midst of it all, a well–ever open to receive water, ever willing to dispense what it has received.

Yes, I would be that well, and wish you to be that well–to everyone we love and cherish, to everyone we meet.

So I ask you, please share what you are, what you have, what you bring to this world, to this single and singular moment.

Be a well, my Darlings, be well!

Problem Solved

*This post is thanks to the Food Network*

So maybe this morning you find yourself faced with the day after Thanksgiving wearies.

*Dazed half-smiling face on pillow, eyes still shut*

You have stayed in bed a bit later than usual, and only jump up at the last minute as you realized the rumble and clatter of metal outside your bedroom window is not a train going by because you don’t live near train tracks any more but it’s actually the trashman coming the day after the holiday as you were notified six months ago–

*half-robed blur*

And now that you are coming back inside, your heart racing, your lungs alive with brisk, misty air, the house feels warm and inviting, and there’s still a trace of turkey in the air if only a few scraps remain in the fridge.

*happy face reflecting glow of refrigerator light*

Mmmm…those turkey scraps will taste great later–mingled with spicy barbecue sauce slathered over slices of the crusty bread you’re nibling now as you peruse thefridge’s contents for the makings of your morning brew–a few left over yams, and some cranberry sauce and those gloppy grean beans you like so much–you’re really waking up now–but wait a minute, what’s this, the pie is gone, nothing left but this half can of pumpkin, and what good is that!

*horrified face reflecting glow of refrigerator light*

Well, pull yourself together, friend, ease your way out of the fridge back into your morning routine, your favorite brew, because I have the perfect use for that pumpkin–cookies.

**Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together:

2 sticks of butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin

Combine:

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves

½ tsp salt

1 bag chocolate chips

Blend mixtures together.

Arrange cookies on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.

Bake 15 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving

Makes 60 cookies.

Wishing you a sweet day after Thanksgiving…so grateful to find you here!

*2 cups of brew beside plate of cookies*

Grateful

Thanksgiving is in the air. There’s a 20 pound turkey thawing in the fridge, yams and russets are standing by in the pantry, canned pumpkin and chocolate chips nestle in the cupboard beside tins of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

But the gang won’t be gathering this year. Instead, we will have a masked, socially-distanced food swap just past noon in M’s garage, and a Zoom dinner at 4:00. And I couldn’t be more grateful!

Because at this writing, we are all healthy, and have what we need.

And that is what I wish for you, Dear Friends, health and sustenance–Health and sustenance and the spirit of gratitude to appreciate such sweet, simple gifts.

Blessings

`Grateful for Abbie

*Abbie Johnson Taylor’s voice is evident in her music, in her poetry, in her essays and her stories. It is the voice of a woman seeking to balance tenderness and strength, a woman striving to leave her creative mark in a world crowded with voices. I only wonder where I will find her next.*

***

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

I see blue sky above my silent back yard.

In the distance, dogs bark.

A saw whines, followed by other construction noises.

A plane flies overhead.

Far away, a train whistles.

Caressed by a cool, autumnal breeze, I reflect on my life, at peace.

***

The above poem was published in the November 1st edition of The Weekly Avocet. I wrote it in my back yard one Sunday afternoon.

***

Abbie lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband Bill, totally blind, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after they were married. Before that, she was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. Abbie has a visual impairment, and during this time, she facilitated a support group for others likeherself. She also taught braille and served on the advisory board of a trust fund that allows persons with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment and services.

Abbie is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir with another novel on the way. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies. She belongs to several writers’ organizations and a women’s singing group and takes water exercise classes at the YMCA. Please visit Abbie’s website at: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com and her blog at: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com to learn more about her and her work.

Grateful for Carol

* The first time I heard Carol Farnsworth read one of her poems aloud I was captivated by her sincerity, warmth and humorous approach to life. Since that time, my appreciation of her has only expanded. I have no doubt that Carol brought more than sign language to the non-verbal low-functioning adults she worked with for ten years. Clearly, joy and compassion are ever with her.*

***

Hand Signals

By Carol Farnsworth

I sit quietly, the only sound is the hum of the Oxygen concentrator beside the bed. I gently hold Helen’s hand. Her hand is cool, soft to the touch. It rests limp in my hand. I study the hand veined with blue lines and wrinkles. I turn the hand palm up to trace the long life line extending past the wrist. The hand is rough with dry skin. I reach for hand cream and rub some into her palms.

On my first visit, Helen grabbed my offered hand with a fierce strength. Her grip was painful. I talked and sang to her until she drifted into a light slumber and her grip relaxed. I felt my hand was the lifeline anchoring Helen into this world.

On the next visit, I held a hand that lost it’s strength. When I squeezed a light squeeze was felt in return. The strength increased as the time for her Morphine drew near. After receiving the drug, she rested and released my hand.

Another day, the hands were gesturing and Helen laughed and chatted with her deceased sister. She was showing how her to fix soft boiled eggs. Her eyes were open but it was not this world she saw.

Yesterday the hands were hot to the touch. When I attempted to hold one, she pulled back and grimaced in pain. Only the Morphine released her to allow a light slumber.

Now I hold a cooling hand with no muscle tone or movement. I squeeze but there is no response. I gently place the hand under the blanket and rise to give Helen a last kiss on the forehead. I whisper,”I love you, go in peace.” I leave the room, knowing this is the last goodby.

Printed in Spring / Summer. Magnets and Ladders

***

Carol Farnsworth has worn many hats. She is an artist of felted sculpture , actor and singer. She started to write two years ago. She writes poetry and short essays about people and places along life’s highway. She sees the lite side of being blind.

Carol’s writings have appeared in the Avocet, Plum Tree Tavern, Spirit Fire, The Blind Perspective , Magnets and Ladders and the Handy Uncapped Pen.

Carol writes a blog that seeks to entertain and instruct by narrowing the gap between visual and blind individuals. She sees the funny side of life and her stories and poems often reflect this.

In addition to her twice weekly blog posts, Carol is working on a Chat book,”Falling” about Human and Nature’s failing and learning to rise from these fallings.

You can find her blog by clicking the link below

https://blindontheliteside.com/

Carol can be reached at carolaspot