Friday, September 12, 2014

Where I've Been and Why

One day nearly fifteen years ago, I tied on my tennis shoes, threw my gym bag into the back of our white Toyota van, and drove myself into town for an exercise class. My favorite teacher was  a free-spirited, large-boned, loud, young woman who seemed to care not a whit that there were holes in her gym shorts. She commanded us through stretches, leg lifts, and arm strengtheners, led step routines with the joy of a drill sergeant about to go on holiday, and was delighted when we flopped on the floor in complete exhaustion. On this particular day she decided to experiment on us with her new, self-taught knowledge of yoga. I was totally hooked. I could tell these stretches with the strange names were accomplishing something in my body that nothing else had done.

That was the beginning of my yoga journey. Since then, I've moved around from studio to studio, enjoying the different styles, creating muscle memories that lasted longer than some of my mental ones, especially the last place I laid my keys or my phone.

Then something very startling happened. My yoga teacher began prompting me to think about opening my own studio as she was leaving town. It had not been in my plans, wasn't something I particularly yearned to do, but I sensed a change coming in this season. Hey, my one little word for this year was "anticipation."

Remarkably, a series of doors began to open like they sensed my approaching presence. I found a yoga training school that meshed with my belief system and my yoga mentality.  I found a room in a good location that worked for my practically nonexistent budget. I picked up my feet and put them down again, trusting that it was God opening these doors.

So for the last four months, I have been absorbed with this baby yoga business, nurturing it like the small, growing thing it is. An infant of any sort is all-consuming, at least for a while. I hope I'm beginning to reach the stage where there is room in my life again for the other things I love, like writing and poetry and long walks.

In the meantime, this quote from Mother Theresa has resonated with me in the last week, so I'm sharing with you today. It's not exactly a poem, but I have broken the sentences up into lines, the way I would like to read them to my friends.

“May today there be peace within.

May you trust that you are

exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget

the infinite possibilities

that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received,

and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself

just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones,

and allow your soul the freedom to sing,

dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

- Mother Teresa
Renee La Tulippe hosts Poetry Friday today at No Water River. Stop by and visit.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Missing Poetry Friday!

Ha! It's Poetry Friday and I've missed so many this summer. I've missed you all! So taking my cue from our lovely substitute rounder-upperer, Irene Latham, I'm thinking about missing things as my last set of grands set out for Minnesota this afternoon.

missing things

three sets of keys lost in pockets
one pink croc
two garden spades
Mr. Potato Head's feet
the crash of block towers tumbling down
Dr. Seuss and Goodnight Moon
apple juice and swim suits
car seats, afternoon treats
arguments to arbitrate
the sudden, unanticipated
I love you, Dori.

Pop and Dori and all the Grands!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Break

If it wasn't obvious already, I'm taking a break from blogging, but I'll be back sometime in August. Enjoy your summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Poetry Friday: A Few Explorer Poems

Iceberg off of Snow Hill Island
Iceberg off Snow Hill Island. Photo by Frank Krahmer/Corbis.

I've been working on a collection of explorer poems for some time now. This week I re-read Elizabeth Bradfield's marvelous collection, Approaching Ice. It's a beautiful book about explorers throughout history who have ventured toward polar ice. Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite for more.

from "Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton (1922)"

     We all have unexplained rhythms
and echoes inside the still-mysterious landscape 
of our chests. The heart's slight variations of tick and tock.

That smooth ticking of reels, regular
     and anticipated, unlike
the unrhythms slap of halyards or
of the snap of a hull's planks and ribs
                                within a clench of ice.

from "Why They Went"

Frost bitten. Snow blind. Hungry. Craving
fresh pie and hot toddies, a whole roasted
unflippered thing to carve. Craving a bed
that had, an hour before entering,
been warmed with a stone from the hearth.

from "Bowditch as First Discovery, First Exloration"

I turned always to the star charts:
White scatter on a dark blue circle.
Transparent sheets to story

the scatter with lines. 

Check in with Jone at Check it Out for more Poetry Friday and enjoy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Movie Monday: #TFIOS

On Saturday, I went to see the movie adaptation of John Green's The Fault in our Stars. Green is an extraordinary writer. The screenplay writers did a great job with the movie version. They followed the details of the book very well and I didn't feel like the plot was compromised, as I do in many movies made from books. Do I think the book was better? Yes. And I'll tell you why.

When I gave my ticket to the girl at the entrance of the theater, she directed me down the hallway and asked if I had tissues. " Seriously," she said. "Everybody that comes out of there is bawling. Look at them." She pointed toward the people exiting the second theater showing the movie.

I had read the book I knew what was coming. So yes, I did stop at the bathroom and grab a handful of toilet paper. Just to be prepared. And although I wasn't reduced to wracking sobs, like the teen girls down the row from me, I was glad I had it.

When the movie was over, I watched a grown man exiting the theater wipe tears from his eyes. Someone exited the theater through the fire door and light flooded the rows of weeping girls. One young lady burst out, "Turn it off! Nobody needs to see me crying." A woman in the row behind us answered, "It's all right, honey. Everybody in here's crying."

Yes it was a good story. Yes there was a lot of truth in it. But, I have to admit, I felt like the movie was emotionally manipulative. I don't think that was John Green's intention. And I certainly did not feel that way in the book. Although it was emotional and touching and very sad, Green never dipped into maudlin sentimentality. I know that the book was written out of the author's experience of working with terminally ill patients. And I know it took him a long time to find a way to tell this story. Even with the sadness in the book, I did not feel myself being emotionally manipulated.

So I've been asking myself what was the difference. Spoiler alert.

And what I've come up with is that the book gave me hints along the way. I knew what was coming before Hazel knew. Green let me see a moment of anger between Gus and his mother, an argument questioning his decision to go to Amsterdam. He showed me moments in Amsterdam when when his face screwed up with pain that Hazel did not see. So that when Gus told Hazel about his diagnosis, Green had prepared me, as a reader.

In the movie it was just an emotional jolt. And then a roller coaster ride to the end.

Should you go see the movie? Absolutely. Take your Kleenex, cry your eyes out. Then like the girl down the tow from me said, "Now I have to go home and read the book!"

Only I suggest you read the book first.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Poetry Friday...or not

I spent a wonderful month of May with Renee learning her lyrical tricks of the trade. But now it's June and life resumes. I've opened a yoga studio. I'm reassessing priorities, re-ordering hours, rearranging rooms. I will return to Poetry Friday. I will. I will. I will! But not today.

There are oodles of poetry offerings over at Carol's Corner today. Stop in and enjoy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Double Dactyl

It's Poetry Friday and Elizabeth Steinglass hosts the roundup today.

The double dactyl is one of the craziest forms of poetry I've every tried to write, but it's lots of fun.

Rules for writing a double dactyl:

1. Two stanzas of four lines each.

2. All lines except 4 and 8 are dactylic metrical feet. A dactyl has a stressed beat followed by two unstressed beats.

3. The first line is rhyming dactylic nonsense, like Higgledy, piggledy.

4. The second line introduces the topic of the poem, usually a person or a place. It helps if the name is naturally dactylic, like Hans Christian Anderson.

5. The second line of the second stanza is a six-syllable, double dactylic word, like parliamentarian.

6. Lines four and eight have one dactyl and one stressed syllable.

7. Lines four and eight rhyme.

Frontispiece portrait of Roald Amundsen, 1872-1928. In: "The South Pole", Volume II, Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection, by Mr. Steve Nicklas.

First to the Pole

Lickety splickety
Roald E. Amundsen
hitched up his huskies and
raced for the goal.

Finishing first, his team
raised Norway's flag as they
claimed the South Pole.

© Doraine Bennett