Christmas Dawn

This poem, written and published in my first poetry collection titled ‘Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way, is accompanied by a translation into Latvian.
 

Christmas Dawn 
 
I awake in the Christmas dawn light; 
a shimmering snowfall 

echoes upon the mountains. 
Through parted curtains,  

my curious eyes follow 
a shaking of snow 

from pine needled branches. 
 
An opera of sun slowly takes over; 
erasing long blue gray shadows. 
We lie under the soft warmth 

of the red plaid comforter, 
meeting the moment  

of a gentle and tender us. 

 
 

Ziemassvētku Ausma 

(Latvian) 

 

Es pamostos Ziemassvētku ausmas gaisma; 

spīdīgs sniegputenis atbalsojas kalnos. 

Ar šķīrušiem aizkariemmanas interesantas acis seko 

sniega raupšana no priedes adatas zariem. 

 

Saules lāva pārņem opera; 

dzēšot garas zilas pelēkas ēnas. 

Mēs gulējam zem sarkanā pleds mierīgā siltā siltuma, 

satikties ar maigu un maigu mirkli. 

Why I Write Poetry

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     I am often asked why I have chosen to write poems instead of novels, short stories and essays in my writer’s life. My answer is not a complicated one:
Because I want to. Because it lets me be authentic. Because we need poetry. Besides, supplies are basic and simple…a journal, a blue pen and the words that spill out thoughts and memories.
     In the winter of 1997, I wrote my first poem. Actually, it was a running track to tell a friend from Boston what it was like to live in Colorado while sitting in a traffic jam one January morning on I-25 staring at Pikes Peak. Searching like a mad woman in my school bag for pen and paper, words began to spill out and I could not get them written down fast enough. I was afraid I would forget them as fast as they came. And my writer’s heart along with it.
     Writing a poem for me is not a goal-oriented activity. It has been a continual process of discovering who I am and for me I cannot do that in writing a novel. I have discovered that my words can have an immediate and long lasting impression on those that read them; something that is expressed when one feels the same way as I do and can’t or won’t write them down. While writing a poem can be in be a most intimate and satisfying experience, how it touches a reader’s heart and life is the most important and gratifying tribute I could have as a writer.
     I write free verse only; I am partial to the flow of eloquent and rich language. I cannot rhyme or do metered poetry or sonnets-it reminds me of teaching language arts daily to my students at school before retiring from education. I do not care for writing prompts set up by someone’s idea of what a writing subject should be. My writing “prompts” come from observing details of the world around me, what I am seeing in the moment, what I am feeling or what I have remembered from an experience in my life. As an example, in the poem The Wedding Ring Quilt, there is a direct relationship between my words and my writing what I have experienced…not exactly the typical writer’s mantra of “write what you know”:
 
THE WEDDING RING QUILT
This morning, the first snow of spring
kept falling like a curtain of lace across the mountains,
spilling remnants of winter
down into the stunted pine brushed valley.
“I hope it snows six feet,” I said.
Warm, weathered hands
gathered our wedding ring quilt
around the curve of me, knowing the soft why of my words.
 
     I am always looking for ways to improve my work. One of the best ways has been through my writing group that I have been with for the past several years. Their insights and critiques are not just welcome, but truly invaluable. Sitting on my sofa, drinking cups of tea or coffee, fresh pens and journals in hand, wearing the comfiest of clothes lends itself to a ‘sense of place’ with trusted friends that help you figure out words, images and frustrations. But I also have found having mentor and editor that knows my style of writing and where it should go, not only the best investment, but invaluable in my writing journey. A suggested a title change to one of my poems led to a third place prize in the Denver Women’s Unknown Writing Contest. A year later, another poem took Honorable Mention. My education as a poet is always ongoing;  I hope it never ceases.
     My poetry continues to be published in small journals and local publications. My poems have been  published in “Distant Horizons”-a publication of the Wyoming Poets Society, The Story Circle Network, The Pen Woman Magazine, a publication of the National League of American Pen Women and just recently Mary Janes Farm Magazine. 
    
     Although I have self published a volume of poetry through Mountain Tapestry Press, I am always finding ways to market my poetry. One of my favorite ways to market is to combine my poems with my photography. Each poem and photo tells their own story-they enrich one another in a different medium. For one month of the year, I exhibit this combination at the Barnes and Noble Café near where I live in Colorado. What is wonderful about this opportunity for me is that I see it as a “ 30 day book signing”. I have seen many people take the time to read my work and grab my business card. A few photo/poem combos have been sold from this exhibit. Another way to market my work is that I take advantage of my local Arts Center. Whenever there is member exhibit coming up, I always enter my work. No other photographers have poems with their work except for me and it is always a unique way to get my name and work out there. I have started writing groups in my community, teach writing workshops, donated poems for special occasions, and teach students at local elementary schools.. I take advantage of small local independent bookstores in selling my book, Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way. In giving back, I have been a book judge with Pikes Peak Library, Colorado Independent Publishing Association,  Women Writing the West, Oklahoma Federation of Writers and a presenter at poetry workshops at Colorado College and CCIRA Literacy Conferences in Denver.
     And so why do I write poetry? Is it because I love to wear black and a beret at a reading? ( Forget the beret; my hair is not long enough.) Is it because I love to write my words in blue scripted font instead of the standard Times New Roman black and white? ( The answer is a definite yes!) Or is it because I have had people tell me that my simple creations touch their heart in language they can relate to and feel deeply when life becomes too chaotic and my words can take them somewhere else for a moment in time?
      I love to imagine someone getting up each morning and having a small connection with a poem of mine over morning tea, smile and begin their day. After all, poems hold their own secrets, don’t they?

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Late Afternoon in Early Winter

The wood stove fire burns slowly,
warmth seeps into ridges of a red fleece blanket
that adorns my shivering shoulders.
Outside the snow softly falls,
swirls of silver and white cover
autumn into bare branched silence.

North winds howl,
white tailed deer scrape snow on their tongues
on a late afternoon in early winter.
Caught in high country silence,
I sit and wonder, will we ever dance together again,
one more time embrace
the soft rustlings of our mountain love.

The late afternoon begins to dim;
Night fall trails and gives way to the gray violet of snowy dusk.
I listen for your voice to echo down the high country ridge;
a gesture of your long awaited return home.
Outside the mountain settles into an early winter,
the deer and I wait for December snows to end,
and the passes to clear,
and embrace the pale glimmer of morning.

The Wedding Ring Quilt

Image

The Wedding Ring Quilt

The Wedding Ring Quilt

This morning, the first snow of spring
fell like a curtain of lace across the mountains
spilling leftovers of winter
down into the stunted pine brushed valley.

The touch of your smile
held the warmth of weathered hands;
eyes of silver and sage glistened
when I said, “I hope it snows six feet.”

You gathered our wedding ring quilt
around the curve of me tighter,

knowing the soft why of my words.

Writing what I experience-not what I know…exactly

I write free verse only; I am partial to the flow of eloquent and rich language. I cannot rhyme or do metered poetry or sonnets-it reminds me of teaching language arts daily to my students at school.  I do not care for writing prompts set up by someone else’s idea of what a writing subject should be. My writing “prompts” come from observing details of the world around me, what I am seeing in the moment, what I am feeling or what I have remembered from an experience in my life.  As an example, in the poem The Wedding Ring Quilt, there is a direct relationship between my words and my writing what I have experienced…not exactly the typical writer’s mantra of “write what you know”:

THE WEDDING RING QUILT

This morning, the first snow of spring

kept falling like a curtain of lace across the mountains,

spilling remnants of winter

down into the stunted pine brushed valley.

“I hope it snows six feet,” I said.

Warm, weathered hands

gathered our wedding ring quilt

around the curve of me,

knowing the soft why of my words.