Friday, December 16, 2016

Gifts, Swaps, and Kind Words

I was slow getting my December swap poem out. (Sorry, Brenda!) Last week was an intensive week of yoga teacher training. This week was a slow return to normal. Slow being the key word.

I came home to find three letters from Joy Acey, my December swap poetry partner. Because I was out of town, I missed the surprise impact of these notes coming consecutively, but still it was fun finding three different bits of poetry hygge in my mail. Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word that doesn't have an exact English translation. Think candlelight, a fire in the hearth, good food and drinks, conversations with family and friends. The art of hygge brightened dark Scandinavian winters. It's an atmosphere that we cultivate at our yoga teacher trainings. I have been actively looking for connections between my yoga world and my poetry world, and I love seeing our poetry swap as a little hygge running from one world to the other.

Five lessons to learn from hygge:

1. Time together is time well spent.
2. The present moment matters.
3. Resting is a priority.
4. Switch off!
5. Gratefulness is important.

While Joy and I are thousands of miles apart (Georgia to Hawaii--I've been there once and it's a long, long way), it definitely felt like we shared a little hygge. Here are my three cards, words and art by Joy Acey.

The first one JOY says:
     Smoke out the chimney
     spirals in the frosty air
     starlight and snowflakes

The second Merry Christmas says on the back:

    The roosters crowing
    over Kauai island
    dripping coconuts.

The last one Myna Bird says:
    golden sun hanging
    plump on the papaya tree
    calling myna bird

and on the back:
    On the first day of Xmas
    my true love gave to me
    a myna in the papaya

Mele Kalikimaka to all!

Tabatha hosts the round up at The Opposite of Indifference.


  1. Lovely. Are you familiar with Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor." I thought of it as I read your "Gifts, Swaps, and Kind Words."

    1. I'm not familiar with that book, Alice. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I've been seeing posts about hygge in quite a few places recently. I think we're craving it in a big way these days. Enjoyed seeing Joy's wonderful poems, and I love your five lessons to learn!

    1. Thanks, Jama. I agree. Life is so fast these days. It's a wonderful thing to make slowing down and enjoying life intentional.

  3. What a wonderful trio of poems. Joy is as creative as she is thoughtful!

  4. Your five lessons plus Joy's cards must have made a wonderful "slow" week for you to return to, Dori. Enjoy the holidays and the new grand baby!

  5. What a delight to come home to poetry in the mail. I would just love that. Slow is not so, I am slow and sleepy and making sure to soak up some rest for the coming busy days. Enjoy every moment.

  6. So now I learn about hygge! Love Poetry Friday surprises. What lovely poem gifts Joy created for you. We're hosting a Winter Solstice party next week. Perhaps we'll be creating hygge!

  7. Thanks for the poem, Constructive Rest, the gel pens and the sock toys. My spine thanks you. Putting my back on the floor and my calves on a chair is sublime. I love the coloring page, too. I got them all yesterday, on a day when I had been standing at a robotics tournament for hours, and driving my kids here and there in a snow storm on icy, unplowed roads. We got home to having to shovel for the second time that day. Good timing for massagy sock toys. :-) Thanks again! They came at just the right time. XOXO

  8. Love the concept of hygge, Dori (thanks for telling us how to pronounce it -- I would have gotten it very wrong!). I can just imagine that spiraling smoke in Joy's poem. Happy Holidays!