Fashion Advice

fashion advice

As I was surfacing into consciousness this morning I asked myself, What does my soul want to write this morning? And the true answer was, Something fluffy. Because into every dark season there must be some light relief. Mondays don’t always need a Ms. Motivator. Fashion qualifies for a more gentle theme to enter a new week.

It will come as a surprise to many (especially my brother) that I actually do scan the fashion columns. Okay, it is pretty much limited to Jess Cartner-Morley in the Guardian, but still…I maintain a social anthropological interest in clothing and fashion. And one of her columns is the direct source of inspiration I sipped at this morning when my Poetry Daily motor was idling.  In addition, along with some college buddies, I confess to maintaining an aesthetic interest in historical dress and costume. We salivate together via Facebook tags. I  will also admit that I harbour a deep appreciation of handbag design. Imelda Marcos can keep the shoes!

Anyway, I digress. Here is today’s Poetry Daily.


Fashion Advice
 
It’s got to be all colour.
Or it’s all black.
No half-measures.
 
Here’s where I pause to consider
how culture is
a mirroring
 
of what’s happening, what will
be history.
Trends are zeitgeist.
 
Time maybe to be getting
the real New Look –
a compliment.
 
We don’t have to be matchy-
matchy, maybe
just try for a
 
compromise. Bi-partisan
mix and match looks
that dialogue.
 
That look great on the many
shapes and sizes,
in-betweens, too.
 
Set a new trend that will not
divide wardrobes.
Resist advice.

Change the course of history.


 
Copyright© Bee Smith2018

Featured image Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash


 
 
 

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Haiku Out November

haiku walk

Yesterday, despite gloomy weather forecasts, I led the final Creative Ireland Haiku Mindfulness workshop. Rain held off and we even saw a splash of sun and fluffy cloud. This workshop included the entire student body of Curravagh National School, Glangevlin, Co. Cavan. So, with two teachers, my beloved husband bringing up the rear herding stragglers, the seventeen pupils took a nature walk up Claddagh Glen in Florencecourt, Fermanagh.

Yes, that’s right! Seventeen bright sparks make up a school in the upland reaches of Co. Cavan. It is a two room, two teacher school and just pure pleasure to visit and work in. While the youngest pupils were not haiku writers, they were taking pleasure in the nature walk, learning names of tree species, and ferns, mosses and lichen. As I have heard others say, “Nature teaches stillness.” And stillness is key to mindfulness. We paused for some moments to listen to the river flow over its rocky bed and enjoyed that quality of silence when twenty pairs of ears listen to it. Or the roar of the Cascade Waterfall.

Footage of the Cascade Waterfall in Claddagh Glen, part of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.

Haiku is often one of the first poetry forms introduced to school children, along with acrostics and list poems. Yet, it is a real challenge for children who are just learning to form sentences to start chucking out the definate and indefinate articles. However, what they have no problem with is letting their ‘imagination eye’ rove and see wonders.  One lad regaled me with how a bush could be a castle and a palisade of straight young ash trees became sentries. No goats or herons appeared but they were mesmerised by a spider’s web on a tree.

Back in the classroom, with a cup of hot chocolate in hand they told everyone what images had really impressed them – the hollowed holes at the base of a tree trunk, that spider’s web, tree rings on felled trunks, the big waterfall, and the much smaller one running down the rock face with the many kinds of fern.

I now have a wealth of haiku written from four differant groups – the general public, some residents of Loughan House,  and the children of St. Hugh’s National School, Dowra and Curravagh, National School in Glangevlin. Now I will sit down with artist Tamaris Taylor and we will select some for illustration that can be on permanent display in Dowra Courthouse Creative Space.

Not to forget my own poetry practice for today. Or my ‘poetry daily’ as one friend has styled it. (I like it. It’ll stick!)  Two haiku, one inspired by yesterday’s outing. And one about this morning. I really am getting up early. I replied to a friend’s message who found it patently weird to hear from me at dawn’s break. This morning lark turnabout is freaking my friend’s out!

Small cascade flowing
over rock face baby's tears
Water's power
The year winds down
Wind me up clockwork style
To power through December

Have a great weekend as we begin the final month of 2018.

Waking in Darkness

I wonder if I will be able to keep up this poem a day poetry writing practice through to the New Year? I would like to think so, but the pace is ratcheting up for holiday preparation. I have hand made Christmas presents on the go – one and a half done, one and a half to go, and no they are not poems! I have funded projects to finish and have two schools visits over the next two weeks. And like almost everything in 2018, schedules have been very changeable. There has been a lot of flux and flow under the bridge, perhaps mirroring a general instability or jitteriness. But this poem a day writing has become a still point in what often manifests as a Crazyville world. It’s very wearing. And though I am more often a night owl who cannot fall asleep, some evenings even I drop off early. Then, eight hours later I lie awake listening to how the house breathes.

Waking in the Darkness

Waking in the morning darkness

at a time beyond the hour

of fear and trembling, no

waking at the time of cat’s eye clarity

in a silence so profound

it is undisturbed by whirr

of owl wing or bat’s squeak.

The world is just breathing.

In night’s muffled velvet 

Venus sparkles large and cold and bright,

a maharajah’s giant jewel.

And she is not lonesome

in a suddenly crowded sky.

It is as if all the dying stars from

light years’ away have burst

their last glory to their final witness

one soul speaking to another.

Copyright Bee Smith 2018

Dawn to Dusk Haiku

May not have mentioned it, and you wouldn’t need to otherwise know unless you stayed with us,  that I am not a morning person. I need to have a gentle run at the day- say two hours- before I fully have the power of speech. So if I am facilitating a morning workshop I need to get up way earlier because I am definitely not a hit the ground running sort of person. I also reserve that gentle ingress into the day for poetry practice. Given that I was due at the local primary school for 9:30AM, I felt I should spend some quality time with pen and paper beforehand. Because I have been doing this poem a day for over two months now, I was worried I might get ratty with the wee darlings (who are only nine to twelve years old after all) unless I did some poem creating.

Now here it is coming up to sunset before I am anywhere near able to post. Since the workshop was on haiku writing and mindfulness, I limbered up this morning with some.

Dawn Crack

Phone alarm goes off

It’s dark. And chilly

Pull the duvet up!

Pinky mauve fingers

Stroke dawn’s azure sky

Wooly weather. Wrap up!

And, just to round out my day after workshop and life laundry…

Dusk Chorus

Wind down the day

A pink in the west

Last chance for grub at Bird Café

Copyright Bee Smith 2018

Growing Older

There has been one marked change since I started this writing a poem a day lark. I am waking up earlier even though this is the season when I should be making like the bear and snuggling in for hibernation.  I am noted for not doing speech in the morning for about two hours and two cups of caffeine into the day. I am now one cup of green tea into the day and an hour and a half awake and I am already posting my poem for the day.  The silence remains the same, except I am talking (in a way) onto a blank page. While I am putting on the kettle, I felt excited. I had no idea  what would happen in my poetry practice. And then I felt grateful that I am finally seeing a few sunrises, having been an habitual night owl from birth (arriving at 1:14 am.) And maybe I am seeing both sun rise (at least in winter!) and sun set because I am older and have a very flexible schedule.

So, here is today’s poetry practice. I decided to go back and flex the end rhyme muscles since I have been in a syllabic and blank verse kind of groove the past few days.

 

Growing Older

 

Is it because I am growing older

that I am grateful for the being both

night owl and morning lark? I am bolder

in noticing  minute changes, season’s growth.

 

I see moon rise in the east, set in west.

Likewise, the sun in its diurnal round.

I feel more curiosity and zest,

the peace that my being found sacred ground.

 

Maybe the beauty of growing older

is your becoming less and more spellbound.

Less time sets priorities. Be bolder.

You have seen it all and then turnaround.

 

Some patience made me persist to elder,

but also the gift of taking some risks.

It has made me an abler author

of life before time for the obelisk.

 

I am grateful for the beauty of each day,

the rising of sun and moon, how they set.

It prepares me for the final doorway

when I shall become one with that sunset.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018  |

Word Salad

Poetry practice, this writing a poem a day lark,is certainly stretching all my capabilities.  I have added in another little challenge for November in a nod to the 30  days of Gratitude people. So my subject must be something for which I give thanks. One gratitude prompt had words on the list. And this suggested dictionaries to me. I have a large Oxford, an etymological and a rhyming dictionary on my book shelves. Not to mention online resources in a pinch when I am feeling too frail to lift the weighty tomes. I love dictionaries in all forms.

For an added challenge I decided to try a hithertoo unknown poetry form called the octameter. Its invention is attributed to Shelley A. Cephas and I found it on Linda J. Wolff’s blog Write An Octometer. 

The octometer is two stanzas of eight lines each. Each line must be five syllables long. And there is a complicated rhyme scheme, too. It feels a bit like doing a crossword puzzle. The poem references two writing warm up exercises I use in my Word Alchemy workshops. See if you can guess which!

 

Word Salad

 

Who has need of jewels

with a dictionary

in their possession?

Bless Dr. Johnson,

Webster and Oxford!

With a lexicon

you can feast your fill,

word epicurean.

 

Words fresh and crunchy,

word Venn diagram

or cold collation

with syntactic dates.

To be rambunctious

plan to obfuscate.

All language’s cousins

kiss in this cauldron.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

 

 

Fox and Mother Winter

We had our first flurries of snow this morning just after dawn. And it made me feel happy. Just as I realised that making sure that I write a poem a day – good, bad, indifferant – that I keep at the poetry practice – also makes me deeply happy. It has become the stake in the ground that is keeping me centred in this Crazy Train world, where who knows what will happen where and to whom.

I woke up just as dawn was breaking, which is a rare occasion for me.  And I had more leisure to doodle on the page. I posted a haiku on Facebook for my friends. And then two poems emerged, which I will share. Neither are profound, but they do act as a poetry journal entry for what is happening in my world. Which is real to me, woo woo and all. I have kept at a daily entry now for six weeks and this just feels so right. It gives me joy.

 

Fox At Twilight

 

At twilight as we drove along our road

we saw it stop, stilling on the lane’s verge –

tail erect, tip a snowball or pompom,

head turned towards us, eyes glittering.

Then, a graceful duck and dive into hedge.

It was an instant’s benediction.

Be aware. Stay wise. And wild, quick and free.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

 

Mother Winter

 

Crept over our threshold

trailing pink cloud

and the shadow of ghostly moonset.

She arrived with a flurry of crystal pebbles

that glimmered on my dog’s coat,

making it into an old girl’s Princess cloak.

It’s official when you send up smoke signals

from the chimney with a morning fire.

With ceremony, the purple gloves,

the hand-knitted cowl come out from

their special seasonal drawer full of

ritual winter gear.  Even the hot water bottles

have knitted sweaters to keep us all cozy.

The light shall fail early now,

the chill beginning to seep in at three.

Mother Winter breathed it ice cold

at dawn with that ghostly white moon set.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

Featured image:

Photo by Nam Hoang on Unsplash