Physiotherapy appointment

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Physiotherapy appointment

For one hour a week
us hip surgery survivors
meet on the fantasy island
of the physiotherapy gym.

A technician in orange T-shirt
butterflies from one cot to the next
sets a wedge under knees
straps a weight to an ankle
harnesses a foot in a stirrup
links the stirrup to a spring
places a heel into a red stretchy strip
along with quick instructions
of what to do next.

I raise and lower
stretch and relax
in and out
back and forth
up and down.
I’m good at this!

She reminds us of the rules:
Wear your shoes
Don’t bend past 90
and asks, What do you look forward
to doing after this is over?
Here that rainbow is practically touchable.

Then the hour is past
and it’s back to a cane-stump
down the hall
awkward clamber into the car
and carry on
with my limping life

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration:

This is another poem I wrote while recovering from hip surgery in 2014. The prompt: on April 16, 2014 the Your Daily Almanac poem has the poet’s impressions / epiphany after time spent at the drivers license office.

The challenge to me is to make a poem from an everyday experience. The prompt poem begins:

Renewal
by Jeffrey Harrison

At the Department of Motor Vehicles
to renew my driver’s license, I had to wait
two hours on one of those wooden benches
like pews in the church of Latter Day
Meaninglessness, where there is no
stained glass (no windows at all, in fact),
no incense other than stale cigarette smoke
emanating from the clothes of those around me,
and no sermon, just an automated female voice
calling numbers over a loudspeaker…
Read the rest…

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Life between the rows

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Pink hyacinth–appreciated indoors (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Life between the rows

I look down at my garden
at tight pink hyacinths ready to pop
green spears of tulip
clumped in the randomness
of fall planting
but nothing stirs in me
except guilt.

I should be out there
softening the soil
letting in the air,
stirring it to a rich black backdrop
that will show off the colour to come.

But my healing hip
holds me in its prison
of ache and slow motion.
My body begs to sit and relax
stretch out, watch TV

like the May long ago
when newly received
perennial roots
grew dry and lifeless
as my body insisted
on time to grow strong again.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration

This is another poem I wrote in the spring of 2014 when recovering from my broken hip. The “between the lines” idea came from the poem prompt “Reading between the Lines” posted at Adele Kenny’s site. The poem begins:

While you were sleeping in the chair, perhaps
dreaming of an ageless character
from the unfinished novel in your lap,
the sunlight through the window lit your hair
surrounding your face in a brilliant halo.

Read entire…

~*~*~*~*~

VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Still mothering me

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A favourite photo of my mother as a young woman.

Still mothering me

Five days ago
would have been your birthday.
It’s been eight years …
But you still visit me often
keep me cool every summer
when I slip on the brown sundress
rescued from your closet
wrap your arms around me
every winter week
it’s the old magenta sweater’s turn.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of you in the mirror
as I hobble about on my cane
recovering from my own broken bone.
Two weeks ago I found
your white velcro-flap runners.
Now, like you, I can always
fasten my own shoes.
I’ve been wearing them
on my outside walks.
The other day taking the last tired steps
of my limping trek home
I’m sure I heard your voice:
“You be careful now.”

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (written April 15, 2014 – All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration

Three years ago (March 2, 2014 to be exact) I took a short tumble on some stairs and broke my hip. That resulted in surgery and a whole lot of new experiences for me. I documented some of them in poems (which I’ll share over the next few days—new experiences are great poem fodder, by the way). This is one written at that time, chosen for today because April 10th was my mother’s birthday.

~*~*~*~*~

VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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ADMIRE (Out of Sight)

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On March 2, 2014, two years ago yesterday, I broke my hip. I was away from home helping my daughter with her new baby at the time. I took a careless step on the stair, tripped, fell, and landed full force on the cement floor at just the right angle to do the damage. Two years ago today I had surgery to fix that hip.

Happily by now I’m well again and hardly feel any different than I did before the break. But on every anniversary since it’s happened I can’t help but remember that fateful day.

Recovery took so much longer than the accident! When we got home, two thirds through March, I walked with a walker, and then a cane. I used a device to help me put on my socks. For weeks I showered in my husband’s walk-in instead of my own tub shower because I couldn’t climb over the side.

For a long time walking was a limping business. I couldn’t think or will myself into a smooth gait, no matter how hard I tried. The simple walking action I had always done with no thought was revealed as complex. I began to ADMIRE the ability to walk smoothly and effortlessly, but even more admire the Creator of this ability.

ADMIRE, Julieanne Harmatz‘s one-little-word is the word we’re discussing today. It means to regard with wonder, pleasure, or approval. Some of its synonyms are wonder at, treasure, value, worship, think highly of, take pleasure in.

If you think of it, everything around us is fodder for admiration. The fact that I can think thoughts and coordinate brain and hand to make them visible; that I can eat yummy food and it gets changed into hair, skin, and blood; that we live on a planet that’s located in vast space at just the right distance from a star, our sun, with the exact conditions needed to sustain life… all these things and more are cause to wonder at, value, admire.

But my admiration doesn’t stand alone. It has an object—God, the Creator who designed, created and sustains these myriad of systems. Psalm 104 is an admirer’s poem, full of praise for the natural world. It might be called the admiration of worship. Here are its opening lines:

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord O my soul!
O Lord my God,
You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain… (read the rest…)

Back down to earth, during my convalescence I wrote some impressions of that time. Here I am, still limping along…

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My best friends during recovery – cane, picker, back-washer, shoe-horn, sock thingy, Kindle reader, and walker. (Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly)

Out of Sight

I never gave the walk-cycle a thought
considered all the moving parts
heel, foot, knee, hip
pretibial, calf, quadriceps, hamstring
bone, muscle, sinew
needed to move in sync like an orchestra
to form the ballet of a step
until I broke one part.

Now I’ve added another part—a cane
have begun doing scales, arpeggios, four-note chords
exercising thighs and knees
to help my body relearn
a smooth, unlimping gait.
The ability to walk
always before
out of sight
but now never
out of mind.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Domino train (Limp – 4)

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Posting my Limp sequence has been interrupted by a project that is now all but done. So it’s back to these poems about the mishap I had this spring.

If you’ve ever experienced one event, followed by another, and another, you’ll recognize the feeling of a domino train. This was my experience way back in early April this year. The episode below turned out to be nothing serious, but we do imagine the worst, don’t we!

row of fallen dominos

Photo from Microsoft Clipart.

Domino train

It was minus 15 with a windchill
I was planning another session
on the treadmill

the day I hurtled down
some stairs, broke something
and thought

What will happen next?
Hope this isn’t
only the first domino.

Surgery left me
with one leg shorter
than the other

Now doomed
to orthotics, a fat-soled shoe
or a forever limp

today I felt a bruise-like
pain, deep
in my calf.

Could it be DVT?
Will this be
the death of me?

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Two weeks after surgery (Limp – 3)

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Introducing my best friends during rehabilitation: cane, picker, long-handled sponge, shoehorn, sock dresser, and two-wheeled walker (and I thought only little old ladies used these–oh wait…)

Two weeks after surgery

(March 17, 2014)

Why does it hurt so far from the incision?
My muscles are a straitjacket of pain
to natural walking unseen, inner prison.
Will I ever walk easily again?

Deep in my hip a tremolo of weakness
that frightens me when stepping with a cane.
At physio a modicum of redress.
Back walker-creeping I feel old and lame.

Violet Nesdoly © 2014 (All rights reserved)

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This poem is the third in the series of poems I wrote about a mishap I had this spring. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.

Membrane (Limp – 2)

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Rainbow bubble on the beach

Membrane

“The membrane between the normal and unthinkable is exceedingly thin” – mother of an autistic child

fall, fracture
pops rainbow bubble
thin unseen
fragile skin
between normal everyday
and life ever changed

disappeared
flight 370
Oso Slide
membrane slashed
now mud, rubble, tears, searching
no going back

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

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Around the time I had my accident, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing and the people of Oso, Washington suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Viewed from the perspective of those incidents, my mishap was peanuts. Still, all three contained elements that reminded me of what the mother of the autistic little girl my daughter used to babysit said the day she told her story to the women at our church–the poem’s epigraph.

This poem is the second in the LIMP poems series. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.

Poem sequences (introducing LIMP)

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In Diane Lockward’s June newsletter,* the Craft Tip article “Poetic Sequences: Practice Makes Potential”  by Oliver de la Paz tells of his visit to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain. On that visit he came across one room where the paintings, drawings, and studies  on the walls, as well as the  sketchbooks filling a table were all remarkably similar in texture and colour. That’s because they were all studies of the same subject—the painting Las Meninas by Velazquez.

La Paz likens these artist studies of Picasso’s to what poets do when they write sequences. He says, “By writing a series or sequence of poems on a singular subject, we can create a volume of individual poems that are at once independent and in dialogue with adjacent poems in the series or sequence. These are generative exercises—painting studies and sequential writing.”

Two advantages la Paz sees in writing sequences:
1. They allow for a close study of a subject from different angles and perspectives, at different times of day, in different seasons, through different moods etc. (depending, of course, on the subject).

2. One doesn’t have to “mine for” a different subject every day. He says, “I’ve found that working in sequences frees me from obsessing over a blank page. Psychologically, I’m prepared to work with content that has already been worked over.”

The power of sequences came to my attention even before I read the newsletter article when I judged a poetry contest a while ago. Though the entries had no names on them, I suspected several were by the same person because they were about the same subject. The subject was a certain creek. The first poem about the creek didn’t strike me as particularly strong. But as I read the second and third poems about the same location, I saw how these “studies” fortified and bolstered each other, the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

I have found myself naturally circling back to some subjects in my own writing,  perhaps because they were new experiences for me and writing about them helped me understand them better. The death of my mother was one such. So was my broken hip this spring. Beginning in March, when I was newly recovering, to April’s poem-a-day challenge, and on, I wrote quite a few poems about my unaccustomed state.

The other day I collected them and found they were a sequence of sorts. I’m going to be sharing them here over the next little while (though not arranged in the order I wrote them).  I call them my LIMP sequence. As in the poems about the creek, when these LIMP poems appear with others of the same subject they seem more complete than they do as individual poems. So, welcome to my LIMP sequence! Below is the first one.

Runner with cane

My trusty cane

Limp

(After Genesis 32:24-32**)

Jacob wrestled with an angel
I fell down some stairs.
The surgeon plated, screwed it
but I was unawares
somehow he took a bit off
I now walk with a limp.
Does God bestow a blessing too
with this gait that’s gimp?

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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*You do know about Diane Lockward’s excellent newsletter, don’t you? It comes out every month with a prompt, a craft tip, a writing-book tip and other goodies. If you don’t subscribe, you know you should. (You can subscribe in the right sidebar of her blog Blogalicious.)

**The Bible story is that one night Jacob wrestled with an angel, the angel injured Jacob’s hip, and Jacob wouldn’t let the heavenly being go until the angel blessed him. Jacob did get the blessing but along with it came that lifelong crippled hip.

By the way, I’m walking just fine these days, the cane long retired. Even the limp is growing less noticeable every day!