Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Portal

Something opens up when one faces his father’s death – even the possibility of death. When I went down to see my parents one Christmas, my father was too sick to get out of bed for any length of time.  It became apparent that he needed to go to the hospital.  It was then that we found out it was his heart.

The first doctor doubted that he was a candidate for surgery, but then the surgeon told Dad the odds. There was a chance he would not make it through the operation, but a greater chance that he would not make it without surgery. Dad opted for surgery.

During the days that followed, it was as if I were once again waiting for my father’s return. My mind went back to childhood moments of anticipating the hour when Dad would come home. This time, though, it was a trip from which he may never come back. The days of waiting held moments of crystal-clear memory, like a portal to the past. The waiting also brought questions about the future.

Early one morning while driving to the hospital, a bright crescent moon came into view as I turned onto the highway. I was suddenly taken by its beauty and for one brief moment felt nothing but joy.


one small arc of light
shines from a thin crescent moon
like a door ajar




Venus and the Crescent Moon by David Lee



_______________________

*For notes on writing haibun, see yesterday's post.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writing Tips: Haibun

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This is the third and final installment (for now) of Writing Tips from the Gifts of a Wordsmith poetry workshop led by Tina Mozzelle Braziel* at the Birmingham Public Library. I have used “Writing Tips” as a means of celebrating National Poetry Month and also for celebrating the local opportunities we have to learn more about poetry. The poetry workshops continue, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, in the first floor conference room at Birmingham Central Library downtown.

Writing Haibun


For a couple of years now, I have been writing haiku on my blog, with a new poem each Saturday. That endeavor began when I received so much reader interest in a post about writing haiku. Later, I increased my knowledge of haiku and posted what I had learned in Notes from a Haiku Workshop.  I was not acquainted with the haibun genre, however, until it was covered in a session led by Tina Braziel at the Gifts of a Wordsmith poetry workshop.

The haibun is a genre that combines prose and haiku. It was developed by the famous 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō.   Bashō was a master of the art of haiku, and would often use the haibun form for what me might call a travel log today. He would write brief accounts of his journeys accompanied by a haiku.

In writing haibun, there is a brief prose reflection followed by a haiku. The haiku and the prose will serve to enhance one another, but each could stand on its own. In other words, they are related, but the haiku does not repeat the prose, and the prose does not explain the haiku.  

Here is one example of a haibun that I found online at Poetry Form – the Haibun: 

    Missing Man
   
    Mid-November after I rake the leaves I stand at Central and First,
    holding the Stars and Bars. All of them died in Nam — my brother Joe,
    my cousin Freddy, mom's youngest brother Jack. Sometimes I just have
    to come out on the streets and stand with my flag. There's no parade.
   
            The smell of burning
            could be diesel
            could be napalm
                               First published in Frogpond 34:1 (Winter, 2011)

So that evening at the poetry workshop, after Tina explained haibun and offered some examples, we each set out to write our own. I was impressed with the work that came from that small group. When I went home, such was my enthusiasm that I shared my first haibun with my wife and had to tell her about others that were written and shared that night.

When I first wrote about haiku on my blog, I did so with the intent of encouraging others to get involved with writing poetry. I saw the haiku as a form that anyone can write. Moreover, it can become a kind of meditative process to allow the writer to pay attention to his or her surroundings. I think the same is true of the haibun form. It is a form that anyone can begin with and it provides some structure for meaningful poetic expression.

For a more detailed introduction to haibun, see Writing and Enjoying Haibun, by Mary Mageau


Tomorrow, I will share a new haibun that I have written, Portal.


__________________________

*Note: Tina Mozelle Braziel and Alicia Clavell lead Gifts of a Wordsmith, an adult poetry workshop and Birmingham's Central Library downtown on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. It is free and open to the public. Tina Braxiel is also the director of a creative writing program for high school students which will take place in June, in connection with the UAB English Department. Check out the details at http://www.uab.edu/cas/english/about-us/events-and-series/ada-long-creative-writing-workshop


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Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Music: Worried Man Blues (Woody Guthrie)

"Worried Man Blues" is a song that falls into the categories of Folk Music and Roots Music. It was recorded in 1930 by The Carter Family, and in 1969 by Johnny Cash, who married into the Carter family. In between those recordings, it was covered by Big Joe Williams, Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and the Kingston Trio. I has been covered in later years by Devo, Van Morrison, Elliott Murphy, and others. There is no more authentic rendering of the song than in this recording by Woody Guthrie.






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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Haiku: Cherry Blossoms

 

springtime sun
cherry trees in bloom
wakened hearts

                   ~ CK








____________________________
Photo by Charles Kinnaird: Cherry trees in bloom at the Japanese Garden (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley

A view from Mount Cheaha (photo by Joe Ly)

An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley

Concerning Alabama’s State Parks

Dear Governor Bentley,

It was with great concern that I read the news that 15 Alabama State Parks are set to be closed. One of our state’s greatest assets is its natural beauty. The state park system has stood as a tribute to that beauty for many years. They have served as vacation spots for families and places for recreation. In promoting tourism, Alabama’s State Parks have attracted many to this state to enjoy it mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches. Whether one wanted to water ski, climb mountains, fish in streams, relax on the beach, or take a walk in the forest, Alabama State Parks have provided a wonderful respite for many.

It is truly a sad day when our state suddenly tells the public that it must lose two-thirds of its beautiful parks. I therefore appeal to you, Governor Bentley, to see that this great loss does not occur.

We need to pay as much attention to our own natural resources as we do to foreign companies. We have given so many tax breaks and exemptions to German, Korean, Japanese and Chinese companies to attract them that we are essentially subsidizing foreign businesses. I think most Alabamians would be willing to subsidize our own natural treasures in order to keep the state park system intact.  

A multi-faceted approach to saving our parks might be in order. In addition to subsidizing this most worthy enterprise, we could also look into ways to make those parks that are operating in the red more profitable. Seven of the parks are turning a profit. That indicates possibilities for the other parks. We could ask what measures practiced by the profitable parks could be implemented in the remaining parks. We could do more advertising to promote tourism, bringing more visitors and revenue to our state to see some of our proudest treasures.

On behalf of the good citizens of Alabama, and on behalf of our children and grandchildren, I ask, Governor, that you not let the legislature rob us of so great a treasure as we have in the natural beauty of our state parks.


 Lake Guntersville Resort State Park (AL.com File photo)
Frozen Castle Formation in Rickwood Caverns
(photo from The Armchair Explorer)



"Whether you arrive by land or water, there’s no mistaking the beauty and serenity of this 2,550-acre resort park. On the shores of Wheeler Lake, the resort features a stunning, waterfront lodge with restaurant and convention facilities, championship 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, full-service marina with permanent and overnight docking slips, modern and primitive camping, lakeside cottages, cozy cabins, and a rustic group lodge." (from the Joe Wheeler State Park website)














Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ancient Oak

  
Looking out the window
From a cluttered second floor office
His eye caught an ancient oak
With great spreading limbs
Down on the town square.
He closed his eyes briefly
And took a deep breath.

“Hey Mamma! Look at me!” the boy shouted.
“Look at you? Look at you where?”
“Way up here,” he shook the branch of the live oak tree
Where he sat perched on a limb
Feeling on top of the world.

Today
He is not on top of the world
As he ponders the task ahead,
But the tree calls from the courtyard
Down on the town square
With hope in its branches.

                        ~ CK


Photo by Teo Caramel (Getty Images)


_______________________

*For notes on The Greater Romantic Lyric, see yesterday's post.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Writing Tips: The Greater Romantic Lyric

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(Notes from a Poetry Workshop)

 

I think that it was during my first visit to the poetry workshop at the Birmingham Public Library that Tina Braziel* talked to us about the Greater Romantic Lyric and let us try our hand at it. M.H. Abrams described this form used by the Romantic poets (e.g. Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge). Abrams, in “Structure and Style in The Greater Romantic Lyric,” described it as a meditative process in which the poet examined his natural surroundings which would then evoke a memory, a thought process, or a feeling associated with the outer scene. The result would be some change or insight within the poet.  The reader of the poem then becomes privy to that “sustained colloquy,” that is, the conversation or inner dialogue through which the poet comes to a new awareness.

Tina explained that the movement in the Greater Romantic Lyric is outward, inward, then outward again. The poem begins in the present tense, looking at something outward, usually in the natural world. The poem then goes “inward” to the thoughts of the poet in the form of a contemplation, a memory of the past, or a projection into the future. Finally, the poem comes back to the present with its outward view once again.

It is remarkable how a little bit of direction from an instructor can get the creative juices flowing. We all spent some time thinking about this poetic form and then wrote what came to mind. As I sat there in the library conference room imagining a natural setting, my mind went immediately to trees, which have long been a source of inspiration for me. I came up with a short three-stanza poem. I could have gone back to elaborate, creating a longer colloquy on the wonder and grandeur of trees and plotting a path to an enlightened turning (the turning is always an important aspect of a poem, being that moment where things take a dramatic change).  Instead, I kept the poem short and simple, trusting the reader to catch where the subject is coming from and where he is headed. The point, I think, with these poetic devices, is not to copy what was an exciting art form during Keats’ and Wordsworth’s day and relevant to their audience. Rather, the point is to learn from these poetic genres and techniques and use them to spark our own creativity.


Tomorrow, I will share my greater romantic lyric, “Ancient Oak.”


__________________________

*Note: Tina Mozelle Braziel leads an adult poetry workshop and Birmingham's Central Library downtown on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. It is free and open to the public. She is also director for a creative writing program for high school students which will take place in June, in connection with the UAB English Department. Check out the details at http://www.uab.edu/cas/english/about-us/events-and-series/ada-long-creative-writing-workshop


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Music: I Think It's Going to Rain Today

Many have covered this song by Randy Newman. It appeared on Newman's debut album in 1968, but before that it was recorded by Julius La Rosa, Judy Collins, and Bobby Darin. Here is Nora Jones' cover.




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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Haiku:Silent Mountains

 

the silent mountains
the forest songs of the night
no need to ask why

                               ~ CK











___________________

Photo: A view of the Great Smoky Mountains


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Duty Shoes, A Nurse’s Memoir

Camille Foshee and I were members of the same graduating class in our small town high school back in the day. She immediately entered a nurse training program and soon thereafter began her career as a nurse. I myself would find my way into nursing twenty years later as a midlife career change.  Naturally, it was with great interest that I read her book, Duty Shoes, A Nurses Memoir.  Camile Foshee-Mason has written an memorable account of her career in nursing that makes for very interesting reading and will illuminate for the reader the important role nurses play in the field of healthcare.

Think about the last time you went to see a doctor, you probably saw a nurse first. If you have ever been a patient in a hospital, you have experienced nursing care as central to your recovery in moving toward optimal health. Wherever you access the healthcare system, you will encounter a nurse. Did you ever wonder what that nurse’s training entails or what the life of a nurse is like? You can find out by reading Ms. Foshee-Mason’s memoir. The book is a great model for young nurses and nursing students to get an idea of what nursing is all about. It is also a wonderful way for others to see what nurses experience from day to day.

In Duty Shoes, you will follow a bright-eyed high school student as she begins to test the waters of a career in nursing and then takes the step into professional training.  The author then opens the reader’s eyes into the world of nurse training and practice as she details how her life unfolded into a rewarding career.  Her book provides us with a first-hand account of nursing experience through many avenues available in healthcare today, from community hospitals to home health care.

There is such vivid imagery in the writing that I could clearly visualize many scenes the author described. There was the doctor at work in the delivery room, the visits to rural homes as a home health nurse, the scene of the concerned nurse standing on the heli-pad watching her granddaughter being air-lifted to Children’s Hospital, and so many other vivid scenes.

Foshee-Mason’s memoir is important in a number of ways. I found it to be an excellent example of how there are many avenues open to nurses throughout their careers and it is also a snapshot of recent history in the field of nursing. Another important contribution is in the author’s recounting her experiences as she trained at a hospital-based diploma nurse program. With so much of nurse training moving to college campuses, hospital-based training is becoming rarer, yet it stands as an important beacon in the history of nursing. Moreover, diploma nursing programs have done so much to shape the role of the nurse in modern society.

Duty Shoes, A Nurses Memoir is a fascinating account that will be of interest to seasoned nurses as well as to nursing students or high school students contemplating a career in healthcare. Camille Foshee-Mason has, in fact, dedicated a portion of the proceeds from sales of her book toward scholarships for nursing students. Her memoir stands as a wonderful testament to the role of nurses and their value in the lives of so many today.


From the back cover of Duty Shoes

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Foghorn Leghorn’s Dream

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Whoa! I’m telling you boy, that was
One helluva dream I had last night!

Now usually, I say, usually,
When I have a dream
It’s about some chick I been-a talkin’ to,
Or maybe I’m easin,’ on down to the creek to cast a line, you know.
But last night I had a dream
That knocked my socks off –
Well if I wore socks, you know.

I dreamed, of all things,
That I was back in my Mamma’s brood, for goodness sake!
And she was tellin’ me and my brothers and sisters
All the things we got to watch out for –
First off,
There was foxes and ki-yotes and the like,
Hawks that will swoop down on you
And all kind of dangers out there.

But then she starts to warn us
About expectin’ everything from Farmer Jones.
“Don’t get too used to the hen house
‘Cause if you're not careful, you’ll get snatched right out.”
“And don’t think you’ll have fresh feed everyday
‘Cause you’ll start to notice,
As ya’ll get older,
That as the days go along
There will be a brother missin’ here
Or a sister snatched up there.”

“Keep close,” she said,
“ ‘Cause you never know how long you’ve got in this place.”

Well, I’m tellin’ ya, boy
I woke up in a cold sweat!
Well, I mean, if a rooster was to sweat,
I'd-a had beads across my forehead!
Here I am
Always expectin’ to have the upper hand in life
So to speak
But now that I think of it,
All along I’ve had people disappearin’ from me.
Where are my brothers and sisters?
What ever happened to my Mamma?
Everybody that has ever meant anything to me
All gone, nowhere to be seen,
And I don’t even know when it all happened.
And WHY,
I say WHY
Am I just now feelin’ all of this?

I know, boy,
I’m always tellin’ you
To pay attention when I’m talkin’ to ya.
But it looks like now I’m the one
That’s gotta pay attention.

Now I don’t often think about these things.
I usually go blithely along
From one reel to the next
Just lettin’ the script unfold,
Then it’s curtain time in the old theater.

This all got me to thinkin’, though.
This whole thing has got me to thinkin’,
Wonderin’ if that next reel
Will always be there tomorrow.
Wonderin’ if I can be so sure
About what comes after that next curtain.

                                                                   ~ CK


_________________

* For an introduction to the drama monologue, see yesterday's post



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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Writing Tips: The Dramatic Monologue

                                                                                                                                                  Next post >

(Notes from a Poetry Workshop)


During the month of April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I will be sharing a few writing tips that I have been fortunate to learn from Tina Mozelle Braziel who leads a poetry workshop at the Birmingham Public Library*. The workshop meets the first and third Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Because of my work schedule, I am not able to attend every time, but each time I do, I find it very helpful and stimulating.

Last week, Tina introduced us to the dramatic monologue. In the dramatic monologue, she told us, the poet speaks in the voice of someone else. The idea is to write from the point of view of someone who is known – an historical figure, a figure from literature, a biblical character, etc. “You can even choose a cartoon character,” she told us. Often a dramatic monologue begins in a normal fashion, then “gets weird.” She mentioned “My Last Duchess,” by Robert Browning as an example of the monologue getting weird.

To begin our writing exercise, we were asked to think of a well known character. For some reason, in our group that night we all latched onto cartoon characters. Once we picked a character whose voice we would speak from, we were instructed to write down some things associated with that character: objects, landscape, sights, sounds, anything that appealed to the senses that we connected with that character.

Once we had a list of things associated with our character, we were told to think about dreams. There are many different kinds of dreams – falling dreams, chasing dreams, recurring dreams – and in our dreams, images can shift and anything can happen. After a brief discussion of dreams, we were given our writing assignment: have your character tell their dream in their own voice.

Tomorrow I will share what I wrote that night: Foghorn Leghorn’s Dream.

____________________
*The poetry workshop is free and open to the public. It meets twice a month in the first floor conference room of the Birmingham Central Library downtown. The group meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Music: All About That (Upright) Bass

From the "Postmodern Jukebox,"a fun cover of Megahn Trainor's "All about That Base." This one features  Kate Davis (vocals and bass), David Tedeschi (drums), and Scott Bradlee (piano)


From Wikipedia:

"All About That Bass" is a bubblegum pop, doo-wop song in the retro style of the 1950s and 1960s, containing a complex mix of a variety of genres. Lyrically, it is a call-out to embrace inner beauty, positive body imageryand self-acceptance. The song was released on June 30, 2014, as the EP and album's lead single and received favorable reviews from music critics for its catchy tune and throwback sound. The track's lyrical content, however, became subjected to controversy with critics dismissing it for anti-feminism and cultural appropriation. NBC's Today named "All About That Bass" as 2014's "Song of the Summer". Listed as one of the year's best songs by a variety of publications, it has earned two nominations at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Haiku: Blue Dragonfly


   morning light
   the dragonfly waits
   world is one

                 ~ CK








_____________________________
Photo by Malcolm Marler


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul


In the interest of full disclosure, I have known David Brazzeal, the author of Pray Like a Gourmet, since we were freshmen in college. I have also followed along on his blogsite of the same name and have participated in some of the activities and dialogue on that site. Also, it was my privilege to attend one of his prayer workshops (which he calls “prayer tastings”) where he elaborated upon his concepts of prayer. The workshop was done in the context of a shared meal to emphasize the “gourmet” aspects of his approach to prayer. In addition to food and instruction, there was music, interactive participation, and periods of quiet meditation. When David asked me to review his book, I was happy to do so and he sent me an advance copy to review. That being said, I must also say that Pray Like a Gourmet is one of the most complete and accessible volumes on prayer that I have read.

David Brazzeal shares some of
his "prayer recipes"
Beautifully illustrated, the book is organized in an intuitive manner that would make the book a wonderful guide for small group study or for individual practice. What struck me is how the author expands the notion of prayer and offers the reader a prayer guide that is borne out of his own deep longing for a more real and meaningful connection with God.

Just as a good meal will offer a full range to the palate from light to heavy,  from savory to sweet, Pray Like a Gourmet encourages the reader to experience a wide range of prayer practices. Brazzeal offers a number of “prayer recipes” from his own experiences. He describes many simple prayer activities designed to help one break out of his or her prayer-time rut. Throughout the process, the author encourages the reader to live with gratitude and to take note of the world in which we live. One example is his “Slice of life” prayer practice:

Take just one “slice” of your life—focus on a moment of transition, of confusion, of illness, of inspiration, of transcendence. Then begin to “thank” your way through all the details: the people, the events, the decisions involved at that crucial time. Feel free to express your gratitude however you feel at the moment: say it, sing it, draw it, write it, walk it, or eat it . . . the more variety, the better (and the more interesting).

Brazzeal advocates a number of different ways to practice prayer and meditation such as walking through the park and taking note of the people you see, doing a “museum meditation” at the local museum of art, or a “forest walk” to nurture a sense of wonder, praise, and gratitude.

A "prayer tasting" workshop led by the author of Pray Like a Gourmet

A quick glance at the Table of Contents will show the reader something of the range of prayer practices that the author presents: praising, thanking, confessing, blessing, observing, meditating, asking, interceding, etc. He even includes an important section on lamenting. Here the author very skillfully guides the reader in how to bring our sorrows and losses before God. The lament is a form of prayer we can find in scripture, but it is often not covered in your typical religious instruction.  It is certainly not addressed enough within the context of prayer and it is one more indication of the book’s authenticity – that it is not just the “nice and lovely” that we include in our prayers to God. Moreover, as the author points out very early on in the book, prayer is not just a matter of asking for things.

Having been to one of David Brazzeal’s Prayer Tastings, and now having read his book, I can heartily recommend Pray Like a Gourmet for individual or group study. The book also comes highly recommended by others who have previewed it, such as this quote from Brian McLaren: 

If I were a beginning cook, I would want a guide who was experienced, flexible, enthusiastic, and sensitive to the questions and insecurities of an absolute beginner. And if I were a beginner in prayer, I would want David Brazzeal to be my teacher. Even as someone who has prayed for most of my life, I found PRAY LIKE A GOURMET to be nourishing, delicious, and delightful.  

Details: 
  Author: David Brazzeal
  Paperback: 192 pages
  Publisher: Paraclete Press (April 28, 2015)
  Language: English
  Price: $18.99
  ISBN-10: 1612616275
  ISBN-13: 978-1612616278
  Product Dimensions: 7 x 8.5 inches

About the Author

David Brazzeal makes his home in France where he enjoys warm baguettes from the boulangerie and fresh cheese from the marché. Since 1986 alongside his wife Sanan, David has worked with the International Mission Board in Brazil, Guadeloupe, Québec and France, playing a leading role in five innovative new churches. Whether writing poetry, creating guerrilla labyrinths, or electro-meditative music, his work is inspired by the synergy that exists between the spiritual and the creative. He loves nudging those who are creative toward deeper spirituality and those who are spiritual toward heightened creativity.



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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April Is National Poetry Month


With National Poetry Month in full swing, there are a number of opportunities locally to celebrate poetry:

The Alabama Writers Forum (http://www.writersforum.org/) “The Alabama Writers' Forum promotes and facilitates the practice of literary arts through its services to writers and the general public. With individual and corporate associates statewide, the Forum represents the diverse voices of today's writing talent. Its community-based programs reflect that commitment and support established, novice, and student writers.”

The Alabama State Poetry Society (http://alabamapoets.org/) “Our primary purpose is to promote poetry as a vital cultural medium,improve our own skills, share opportunities and support one another, and join with others who enjoy the written and spoken word to delight in good poetry of every form and persuasion.”

The Alabama Writers’ Conclave (http://www.alabamawritersconclave.org/) “one of the oldest continuing writers' organization in the United States. Writers, aspiring writers and supporters of the writing arts may join. Sharing information, developing ideas, honing skills, and receiving practical advice are hallmarks of the annual meeting. The Conclave is responsible for nominating, for the governor’s appointment, Alabama's Poet Laureate.”

The Birmingham Public Library hosts a number of opportunities for poets and those interested in poetry. Coming up this Saturday is WORD UP!, an annual poetry slam competition for students in grades 9 -12 in Jefferson County, will be held on Saturday, April 11, at 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library. ( More information at http://www.birmingham365.org/event/detail/441892581/WORD_UP_Annual_Poetry_Slam_Competition_for_High_School_Students).



 Also at the Birmingham Public Library is the monthly Bards and Brews. This event features a fun evening of music, beer and poetry. There is often an “open mic” component to this event where participants can read their own work. This one rotates to a different library branch each month, so check out the library website, or the Bards and Brews Facebook page for event information.



 

Another event at the library is an adult poetry workshop, free and open to the public, that meets twice a month in the first floor conference room of the downtown Central Library. Tina Mozelle Braziel facilitates the group. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in poetry, at whatever stage they may put themselves in: inquirer, beginner, or experienced writer. The group meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.



So take some time this month to celebrate poetry! I plan to have a few more posts throughout the month in celebration of poetry.


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Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Music: Series of Dreams (Bob Dylan)

The highly evocative song, "Series of Dreams," was originally recorded during the sessions for the 1989 album, Oh, Mercy. Ultimately, it was not included on that album, but fortunately saw the light of day on The Bootleg Series, Volumes 1 - 3, released in 1991.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Haiku: The Gleize Bridge over the Vigueirat Canal


bridge of stone
spans soft flowing water
the heart will choose

                        ~ CK













___________________________
Picture: "The Gleize Bridge over the Vigueirat Canal" (oil on canvas) 1888
by Vincent van Gogh 
Pola Museum of Art, Japan



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Friday, April 3, 2015

Closing Prayer for the Kingdom (The Fifteenth Station of the Cross)

< Fourteenth Station of the Cross



Oh Lord, you taught us to resist Empire by living with confidence in the reign of God, but our hearts are turned by fair winds and vain promises. Sometimes we are crushed under the heels of Empire, and sometimes we aid in Empire’s oppression, whether by active participation or by silent assent. We are the ones who shout “Hosanna!” and we are the ones who cry, “Crucify him!”

In the dark illumination of the Via Dolorosa, we have seen ourselves. We have seen ourselves capitulating to Empire; we have seen ourselves facing sorrow and death. We have also seen Christ among the living and the dying. We have walked the path that separates the Way of Life from the way of death.

In the darkness that is Good Friday, we stop to experience the absence of your light. We dwell in the moment of death and non-being as though the light has gone out. It is only by knowing the magnitude of loss and the depth of sorrow that we can truly honor the Way of Life and the hope of God's reign in our hearts.

You taught us in Matthew 25 that a nation is to be judged not by victories over its enemies, but by how it treats the weakest within its borders. May we therefore set out to care for the sick, give purpose and rehabilitation to the prisoners, provide for the hungry, and make a way for the destitute that in doing so we may all share in the bounty and gladness of the reign of God. Teach us also to care for the good earth. May we come to see all creatures that dwell within this fragile home as integral parts of your wondrous creation. 

May we live with your confidence in the reign of God, even in the face of hardship and death.           
                                                                                                                                                                                     ~ CK

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                         From The Book of Common Prayer:
                         (just prior to the consecration of the bread and wine at the Lord’s Table)

Lord God of our Fathers: God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob; God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Open our
eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver
us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace
only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for
renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one
body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the
world in his name.

Risen Lord, be known to us in the breaking of the Bread.

                                                                ( Eucharistic Prayer C)








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Note: For a meditation on Holy Week beginning with Holy Thursday, see Paschal Triduum: A Personal Journey


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