To Skin

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Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbors!

In my search for a poem of gratitude today, I came across “To Skin” (which I wrote some years ago but don’t believe I ever made public—at least not here). It reminds us of one thing we have to be grateful for which, though all around us, is easy to take for granted.

michelangelo-71282_640

Graphic from Pixabay.com

To Skin

Here’s to you
millimeter-thin layer cake
dermis, epidermis, hypodermis
dyed in the color of my race.

So tidily you enfold
crimson river of blood
yellow fat, pink muscle
grey bone, palette of reds—
burgundy liver to scarlet lung.

Body-sized organ of translucent turf
you possess an intelligence
that knows the difference
between lips and soles
lids and ears,
multi-tasks the switchboard
of smooth and rough, blazing and frigid
thrill and ouch, burn and itch.

Impervious to water
soft armor against malevolent
microbe and virus
yet vulnerable,
you blush
under sun and wind
bleed when cut
shrivel and distort when burned
swell, sweat, weep, toughen
discolor and scar.
Plump and smooth when new
you age into crepe, wrinkles, folds
jowls, doubles, triples and aprons
but still you blanket and protect.

So here’s to you
my lifetime-guaranteed
layer of cling-wrap,
boundary
and, till I reach eternity,
outline of my dust-to-dust
identity.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol at Carols Corner.

Echoes full of knowing (NPM ’16-Day 14)

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Bats-night

Graphic: pixabay.com

 

Echoes full of knowing

I look a lot like little mouse
little mouse with wings.
At dark leave attic of your house
to hunt for creepy things.

I swoop and swirl, dive and glide
but hardly use my sight,
prefer in dim moon-shade to hide
while scrounging food at night.

I have the rare ability
to somehow find my way
with sound waves and agility,
don’t need the light of day.

Sing little notes so high and fast
you humans cannot hear them.
Know when mosquitoes, moths fly past,
with my sharp teeth I spear them.

My little songs come back to me
in echoes full of knowing.
My ears and brain like eyes, you see
that tell me where I’m going.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This month at the blog Today’s Little Ditty,  guest poet Marilyn Singer’s challenge is to write an echo-inspired poem. Today’s poem is my attempt.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday. What a lovely coincidence to have as our Poetry Friday host today Michelle  of the above-mentioned Today’s Little Ditty. Hop on over to enjoy the amazing poetic fare. During National Poetry Month it’s a veritable feast!

 

 

 

Freelance Writer’s Almanac – January 2014

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Freelance Writer's Almanac icon - violetnesdoly.com
Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first post in the Freelance Writer’s Almanac series.

Today we start a new year. It’s interesting to look back and see what happened 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago with a view to remembering, reflecting on, and perhaps writing about these things.

Of course if you choose to write about any of these subjects, you’ll need to give it your own angle.  I have linked a few resources, but to do a proper job, you’ll need to sleuth out more info. Also double-check all dates, because even as I put this together, I found date discrepancies in my sources.

2014 is the anniversary of the following big events:

100-year anniversary (1914)

  • The beginning of World War I
  • Woodrow Wilson signed a Mother’s Day proclamation.
  • The Panama Canal was opened.

75-year anniversary (1939)

  • The beginning of World War II
  • John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was published.

50-year anniversary (1964)

  • This was the year of Beatlemania. The Beatles began their U.S. tour by appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in February.
  • A powerful 9.2 earthquake hit Anchorage Alaska.

25-year anniversary (1989)

  • The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil.
  • Chinese students protested and were massacred in Tianamen Square.
  • The Berlin Wall was opened to the West after 28 years.

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Carnation - flower of JanuaryThe flowers of January are the Carnation and the Snowdrop

Garnet - the birthstone of JanuaryThe birthstone of  January is Garnet. It means Constancy.

Here are some things that happened in January throughout history. I chose events  and facts that interest me in the areas of history, the arts, faith, science, food, Canadiana and other cool things. But of course these just skim the surface. There are more links to check out at the bottom of the post.

January

1

  • New Moon

2

3

  • On this day in 1745 at the age of 27, David Brainerd committed himself to reach the Indian tribes of Colonial America with the gospel of Christ. He died two years later but lives on in The Diary of David Brainerd pdf file (published by Jonathan Edwards) TCA p. 17.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien Day. Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892.

4

  • World Braille Day – 205 years ago today Louis Braille was born in Coupvray France (1809). He himself was blind from age three.

6

  • National Weigh-In Day (always the first Monday after New Years)

7

8

  • Earth’s Rotation Day. “On 8 January 1851, using a device known as Foucault’s pendulum, Frenchman Léon Foucault demonstrated that the Earth rotates on its axis.”  Read entire article

11

  • On this day in 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson received the first insulin injection to help regulate his diabetes. Canadian scientists Banting and Best had isolated the hormone the year before – TCA, p. 33.

12

  • Today is the birthday of Jack London (born John Griffith Chaney in 1876). He wrote books about adventure and courage like White Fang and Call of the Wild (two books I loved as a kid). He said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

13

  • Stephen Foster Day. Stephen Foster, musician and song-writer (“O Susanna,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Old Folks at Home” and many others) is sometimes called the Father of American Music.  This year is the 150-year anniversary of his death (January 13, 1864).

14

  • How cold is it? On this day in 1733 Yeneseisk, Siberia recorded a temperature of −120 F. The air was so frigid that birds dropped frozen to the ground and smoke couldn’t rise – TCA, p. 39.

15

  • The first Super Bowl game was played on this day in 1967.

16

  • Full Moon
  • Religious Freedom Day. The Ordinance of Religious Freedom passed the Virginia Legislature on this day in 1786 (TCA p. 42).

17

  • U.S., British, and Saudi air raids on Iraq started the Gulf War in 1991.

18

  • Winnie the Pooh Day – A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh and other children’s books was born on this day in 1882. He said: “Almost anyone can be an author; the difficult business is to actually collect money from this state of being” – TCA p. 47.
  • Thesaurus Day – Peter Mark Roget was born on this day in 1779. His claim to fame was the 1852  publication of the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Roget’s Thesaurus).

19

  • French painter Paul Cezanne was born on this day (in Aix-en-Provence, 175 years ago, in 1839).

20

  • 81-year-old Myles Coverdale died on this day in 1569. In 1535 he printed the first complete  English Bible, called the Coverdale Bible.

21

  • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast its first programming from London to the world on this day in 1929 – TCA p. 53.

22

  • The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion from the moment of conception until just before the moment of birth, was rendered on this day in 1973 – TCA, p. 54.

23

24

  • The Russian city St. Petersburg was renamed Leningrad on this day in 1924. After the fall of communism, it was renamed St. Petersburg.
  • Sir Winston Churchill died on this day in 1965 at the age of 90.

25

  • Robbie Burns Day – Robert Burns, the Scottish National Poet, was born on this day in 1759.
  • On this day in 1915 Alexander Graham Bell inaugurated transcontinental telephone service.
  • This day is the 90th Anniversary of the beginning of the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, 1924.

26

27

  • The Soviet Red Army liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz on this day in 1945.

28

  • I make a birthday cake for someone special at my house on this day!

29

30

  • New Moon
  • On this day in 1939 Adolf Hitler called for the extermination of European Jews.

31

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Sources and links to check out for more days:

Trees of the Book by Kimberley Payne, Illustrated by Esther Haug (review)

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About the book

Trees of the bookTrees of the Book is a colorful storybook / workbook designed to introduce seven- to nine-year-olds to trees of the Bible and more. Folksy title and heading font, as well as Esther Haug’s pencil crayon, water color wash illustrations give the book a look that says, “Welcome kids, this is for you.”

Within the book author Kimberley Payne explores seven common Bible trees, devoting a two-page spread to each. Features include a Bible story retold in first person by the tree, questions about the story, facts about the tree, an activity (like word search, maze, crossword puzzle), and more places one can read about that tree in the Bible. The book ends with a glossary explaining  unusual words, a list of Bible people and who they are, eleven more project suggestions, and solutions to the activities.

Payne’s clear, simple writing style is perfect for early elementary students. The book is detailed and long enough to provide real value, yet not so long it would drag on as a unit. The additional project suggestions take the study past science into ecology,  art, language arts, and studies of Bible characters. I love how the conclusion to the book reminds readers of another very special tree:

“And how can we forget the tree that was used to make the cross that Jesus was  crucified on? “Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others —one on each side and Jesus in the middle” (John 19:17)”Trees of the Book p. 20.

Trees of the Book would be a great resource for parents home-schooling their kids, teachers in Christian schools wishing to inject Bible knowledge into their study of plants and trees, or leaders and counselors in club or camp settings. Children could also use it independently.

Payne is hoping to publish more books in the Science and Faith Matters series in the months ahead.

I received Trees of the Book as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

About the author:

Kimberley PayneKimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Kimberley has volunteered as a teacher in many children’s programs at her church, as a teacher’s aide for students’ reading in the classroom, and within the library at her children’s school. She works as an Elementary School Secretary for the Catholic School Board. She combines her teaching experience and her love of writing to create educational materials for children about family, fitness, science and faith.  www.kimberleypayne.com

  • Buy Trees of the Book from Amazon