Treasuring Poetry 2022 – Robbie Cheadle discusses the War Poets

The poet I was hoping to feature today, Walt Page, has been unwell and was unable to participate. I decided that I would share a beautiful poem of Walt’s today called Sometimes When it Rains. Walt told me I was the inspiration for this poem and I love it.

Sometimes when it rains

Sometimes when it rains
she loves to go walking
snuggled inside
her warm rain jacket

Walking in the rain
is a sanctuary for her
a time when she can
create her poetry

it is her time alone
to be inspired
she loves being with her family
and she loves creating her poetry

those of us who follow her poetry
are blessed with her friendship
we know she is probably out walking
and we look forward to her new poems

~The Tennessee Poet~
©Walt Page 2020 All Rights Reserved

Walt is currently on a sabbatical from writing poetry, but he has years of wonderful poetry available to readers of his blog here: https://waltswritingsonlife.wordpress.com/

For the past 14 months, I have been deeply down a WW1 hole, reading book after book about this devastating and world-changing war.

My interest in books about WW1 is due partly to my general fascination with war and partly as research for my work in progress, The Soldier and the Radium Girl, a novel set in the USA and France from 1917 to October 1939.

My interest in war poetry was sparked by Sally Cronin from Smorgasbord Blog Magazine who shares poems by the war poets during the week leading up to Remembrance Day.

This year, Sally shared poems by two specific war poets which interested me so much, I read up about them and subsequently read one of each of their works.

Siegfried Sassoon

Sassoon photographed in 1915 by George Charles Beresford

This is what Wikipedia says about Siegfried Sassoon:

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English war poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon’s view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war. Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his “Soldier’s Declaration” of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital; this resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen, who was greatly influenced by him. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the “Sherston trilogy”.”

Siegfried Sassoon features as a main character in Regeneration by Pat Barkers. I had just finished this book when I read Sally’s post about him: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/11/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-poetry-rewind-in-remembrance-the-war-poets-siegfried-loraine-sassoon-cbe-mc-by-sally-cronin/

You can read my review of Regeneration here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4354087186

I elected to read The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon available from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0571202659/

The War Poems

Over the past few years, I have read the odd poem by Siegfried Sassoon and found them to be very moving. These poetic encounters were usually on Poppy Day when the world commemorates both WW1 and WW2. Although I had a high level appreciation of this war and knew about trenches and a little of the horror, I had never studied WW1 or read much about it outside of these Poppy Day poems.

Over the course of the last 14 months, I have been extensively researching WW1 and have read a number of books detailing life for both the soldiers in France and for the civilian populations at home. My research has covered the British, French, South African, and American perspectives of WW1. These books, which included All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, and Regeneration by Pat Barker, really opened my eyes about the dreadful conditions in the trenches, the filth, the rats, the dead bodies, and the fear, as well as the heartbreak of losing a generation of young men. As a result of all this reading and my immersement in life during this time of worldwide conflict, my appreciation and understanding of Sassoon’s war poetry grow and I decided to read it all.

Reading this book was an excellent investment of my time and energy. Siegried Sassoon’s words are powerful and hard-hitting, striking right to the core of the war time experiences of these young men – their hopes and dreams dying around them along with their friends and leaders. This is a book that all youngers should read, after being given some context to WW1, so that this time can be remembered and timeous steps taken to prevent a re-occurrence at any future date. Remembering history and the mistakes of mankind, are best weapons against complacency.

The poem that moved me the most in this collection was The death-bed. You can listen to me reading it here: 

Vera Brittain

Brittain shortly after World War I

What Wikipedia says about Vera Brittain:

Vera Mary Brittain (29 December 1893 – 29 March 1970) was an English Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, writer, feminist, socialist[1] and pacifist. Her best-selling 1933 memoir Testament of Youth recounted her experiences during the First World War and the beginning of her journey towards pacifism.”

You can read more about Vera Brittain here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_Brittain

I recently read Vera’s memoir Testament of Youth and posted by review to Roberta Writes here: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2022/01/19/roberta-writes-book-review-testament-of-youth-by-vera-brittain/

In conclusion

Finally, I am sharing one of my poems about a different kind of silent war. One that can still be contained and prevented from destroying our planet through carbon emissions and overuse of plastic if we reign it in. A compromise can be reached between profits and sustainability.

The Corporate Giant

It rears upwards

into the blue sky,

a monstrosity

of reflective glass, and

shiny stainless steel

towering over

the ant-sized people

who scurry about

in its imposing shadow.

***

An emotionless giant

it is bereft of a soul,

It feeds on small businesses

corner cafes, fruit and nut shops

independent butcheries, bakeries,

confectionaries and cake shops.

Even book sellers and

small stationers

are swallowed whole

disappearing into the gaping maw

of the corporate giant.

***

It shreds and ingests

taking the sustenance it seeks

spitting out the bones

independence and individuality

creativity and the unique

mere entrails, unwanted and discarded.

***

It stamps on difference

in its pursuit of profits

imperfections and blemishes

an unacceptable blight

on a perfect track record.

***

What remains will finally

emerge as a mirror

reflecting the sameness

uniformity and consistency

it holds so dear.

***

Providing its market

with the conformity

and rigidness

that has taken over

and turned the world grey.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Dark Origins – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

In the spring of 1843, Charles Dickens read a government report on child labour in the United Kingdom. The report, compiled by a journalist friend of Charles Dickens, comprised of a series of interviews with working children. It detailed the long hours, crushing work, and poor conditions suffered by these children.

The new and heartless attitude towards child labour was a result of three things:

  • an increase in the population by 64% in 30 years;
  • workers leaving the countryside and crowding to the cities in search of work; and
  • the demise of cottage industries and there replacement with mundane and menial labour in factories.

Employers thought of the workers as commodities whose labour was measured purely on output and productivity.

There was a lot of controversy among the wealthy classes and the clergy as to whether assistance should be extended to the poor. A lot of people were of the opinion that people were poor due to their own laziness and malingering and that giving help would exacerbate these tendencies.

The work houses of the day split up families, provided minimal food, and extracted hard labour from its occupants, including children, in an effort to discourage the poor from seeking help.

I am reminded at this point of the song Food, Glorious Food from the musical Oliver based on the book by Charles Dickens:

Rev. Thomas Malthus advocated letting the poor go hungry to decrease the population. His view was that it was better to let the poor starve to “decrease the surplus population”.

Charles Dickens’ response was to write the novella, A Christmas Carol, which eloquently expressed his views on employer responsibilities towards workers.

If you don’t know the story of A Christmas Carol, this is a very brief overview:

The story opens with Ebenezer Scrooge sitting in his counting house on Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, is sitting shivering in the anteroom because Scrooge won’t spend any money on heating. He turns down his nephew, Fred’s, invitation to a Christmas party and chases away two men collecting money for charity. At the end of the day, he returns to his cold, dark home.

After Scrooge has retired for the night, he is visited by the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley is weighed down by heavy chains and is destined to make his way through the afterlife dragging them after him because of his mean-spirited and selfish life.

Picture caption: https://www.charlesdickenspage.com/illustrations-carol.html

Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts that night, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The ghosts show Scrooge where he made mistakes in his past life due to choosing money over love and life, how his clerk and the Cratchit family are suffering because of his present day meanness, and show him a lonely future death. Scrooge is offered, and takes, an opportunity to change his ways and find redemption.

If you are interested in listening to A Christmas Carol beautifully read by Stephen Humphreys, you will find the links on Rebecca Budd’s blog: Clanmother: https://clanmother.com/2021/12/07/stephen-humphreys-reads-a-christmas-carol/

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas if you celebrate or Happy Holidays.

Although I cannot compare my take on Victorian child labour to Charles Dickens’ brilliant works, I have written several times about this and I thought I would share this short extract from my book, Through the Nethergate, about a serving girl in a tavern in Bungay in 1589.

“The rich, amber fluid flowed into the waiting tankard, in striking contrast to the damp, darkness of the barrel filled cellar.

The small, frail girl stood with the tankard in her trembling hand. She was hungry, thirsty and cold. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since last night’s frugal supper of leftovers in the Inn’s kitchen. A wave of dizziness washed over her as she contemplated the drink. Its golden depths seemed to entrance her as she lifted it to her lips.

At least the kitchen was warm, she thought, remembering the delicious heat of the enormous, roaring fireplace. The kitchen was a much better place to steal a moment of rest than this freezing cold
cellar, in the bowels of the building.

The strong, rich taste of the ale brought a smile to the girl’s pale face. She greedily drained the tankard, closing her eyes and allowing a feeling of well-being to permeate through her skinny, undernourished body. The girl, called Lizzie, worked as a servant at the pub and she was twelve years old.

She knew she should be grateful for the job, but it was hard to forgive the heavy-handed punishments metered out to her by Will, the owner of the establishment.

A rough hand grasped her shoulder, its thick fingers digging viciously into her flesh.

“What have you done?” the loud, grating voice of Will blasted through her euphoria.

Lizzie jerked with fear and the tankard fell from her fingers, clattering to the stone floor before rolling away.

She looked up into piggy eyes staring out of a fat and well-fed face. Will’s usually florid complexion looked even ruddier and coarser than usual.

“Why, you little thief,” continued Will. “You know what we do with thieves in this Inn.”

A short while later, Lizzie found herself chained to the wall of the cellar. Her pleas and cries for mercy had fallen on deaf ears as Will, filled with righteousness and piety at her ungodly action, attached the manacles to her wrists and ankles.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Treasuring Poetry – An introduction to Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse edited and compiled by Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige

Today, I am delighted to introduce you to Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, The Moons of Autumn, a delightful collaboration of syllabic poems by a variety of poets, edited and compiled by Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige.

By way of background, Colleen Chesebro has run a weekly syllabic poetry challenge on her blog, Word Craft: Poetry and Prose for years. She has been a guiding light to the poetry community, sharing her knowledge about the many different forms of syllabic poetry and encouraging poets to experiment and all learn together.

What inspired you to put together a poetry anthology, is it a once off or will there be others?

My inspiration for the syllabic poetry journal came about when I realized that many of the poets who joined in my weekly challenge did not have the ways or means to publish their own books of poetry. I envisioned a yearly journal filled with creative syllabic forms. I’m not aware of another journal that presents both Japanese and American versions of syllabic poetry. This is a different concept and I think it has paid off.

Also, to note, the poet’s retained ownership of the poems submitted to the journal. All rights reverted to the respective author/artist upon publication. All we asked, was if their work was republished, we appreciated a mention that the Word Weaving Poetry Journal was the first place of publication.

While I planned this journal, I realized I wanted to host a poetry contest on wordcraftpoetry.com with paid prizes. It was logical to use the royalties from the sale of the Word Weaving Journal to pay for the prizes. As for another journal… I’ll let you know after the poetry contest in 2022. I’m aiming for the month of June for the contest on wordcraftpoetry.com. I’ll reevaluate at that time.

Which poem in the anthology touched you the most? Please provide the test of the poem and the author

This is a hard question to answer. My co-editor, Jules Paige and I first selected our favorites. We deliberated for some time over the poems… they were all so good! In the end we selected Ken Gierke’s gogyohka poem:

warmth of a pale light

found as clouds part

rewarded

while seeking the moon

on a cool autumn night

© Ken Gierke

We both felt this gogyohka best illustrated the concept of the “Moons of Autumn.” At the end of the Journal, Jules and I shared our three favorite poems by D. L. Finn, Merril D. Smith, and Ken Gierke.

If I had to go in deeper, my next favorite would be D. Wallace Peach’s tanka prose Idyll. The imagery in this poem is one of my favorites.

“Moon-spun”

November’s moon spins upon the tip of a white fir. Her fairy light whispers across the glades where alders part their leafless fingers into spindly shadows. The night glow sends the trolls trudging into the deep forest, brittle twigs crunching beneath their knobby feet. With nothing to fear, the deer lie down in a silver meadow. Old owl watches the coyotes croon to autumn’s stark beauty as they whiff the delicate scent of the coming snow.

a moon’s enchantment

befalls the northern forest

her magical light

banishes luring prowlers

inviting the night to sing

© D. Wallace Peach

What attracts you to syllabic poetry as opposed to other forms like freestyle and rhyming verse?

Syllabic poetry, especially the Japanese forms with their brevity of words, fills a special place in my heart. Not only do I like writing these forms, but I also enjoy reading what others have written. There is a simple beauty in haiku that I don’t find in other forms. Written mindfully, haiku are small poems with large meaning. It’s those a-ha moments of connection, I find the most pleasing.

For example:

summer clouds—

kayakers floating

the river

© Colleen M. Chesebro

In this haiku, I worked on imagery. The idea was to connect emotions by associating two or more images together in strange and unusual ways. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I find it is always best to look for alike or contrasting images to feature in my poem.

I targeted the “summer (my kigo) clouds” and the “kayakers floating the river,” as a summer activity. Clouds float – kayakers float, which are alike images.

A haiku should present an event in an image. It should SHOW us what happened without telling us about it or what emotion to feel. In the haiku above, what emotions do you feel?

Haiku poems share a specific event or observation. Haiku are not generalities, and we never use a simile or metaphor. Most haiku are written in seventeen onji (Japanese sounds) which equates to around twelve syllables (3, 5, 3). Most rhyming poetry doesn’t give me the same emotional impact as the simple haiku does. Although, I do enjoy creating some of the syllabic forms that use rhyme and meter.

What advice can you give people setting out on the path of writing poetry?

Poetry is about expression and creativity. Poets should write poetry daily. If you don’t practice, how can you perfect your craft? I write my poetry on my author blog at colleenchesebro.com and in a handwritten journal.

It’s best to get involved in a poetry community with poetry challenges where you can stretch your wings and try new things like we do on wordcraftpoetry.com. If you can’t find a challenge you like, start your own! Learning how to comment, critique, and write about the work of another poet is crucial to your own poetic journey.

Write more poetry! Find what forms bring you the most joy to write. Write them! Then, learn everything you can about that type of poetry.

Submit your poetry to literary journals and contests. I’ve had more poetry rejected than accepted, but that hasn’t stopped me yet.

What are your plans for Word Craft: Prose & Poetry going forward?

Wordcraftpoetry.com will continue to be a safe place to write syllabic poetry. We’re in our fifth year of the #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge. Each week, I strive to make the challenges interesting. In 2022, we will have a few new prompts to freshen up our creativity. I will continue to feature a poet and their poem almost every week. Depending on the challenge week, the poet will choose the prompt for the next month’s challenge. It’s important to me to involve the poets in the challenges. That is what community is all about. Stay tuned. Who knows what I’ll think of next!

Thanks so much, Robbie for featuring me and the Word Weaving Journal on Treasuring Poetry.

Colleen M. Chesebro
Colleen M. Chesebro

Author biography

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. She sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.

Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. The debut issue of the journal published October 2021, with a kindle and print version of the journal.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for the Carrot Ranch literary community at carrotranch.com. She hosts a challenge as a guest of the Saloon, every third Monday of the month.

Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read” in 2020.

Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.

Find Colleen Chesebro

Find Colleen at Word Craft: Prose & Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.

Find Colleen’s author blog at colleenchesebro.com.

Find Colleen’s pagan blog at awitchsbrew.wordpress.com

My review of Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

This book, edited and collated by talented poets Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige, is a delightful collection of meaningful poems by a variety of different contributors. The theme of the book is Harvest Moon and each poem gives insight into the meaning of this expression to the particular poet. Some poems are practical and some are ethereal, yet others are colourful and then there are the silvery ones, but they all share the common feature of being beautiful.

The poems in the book demonstrate as wide a variety of styles as there are contributors, with a common thread of all being syllabic. I came across a number of forms that were new to me, including senryu, haiga, and gogyohka among otehrs. There are also the more familiar syllabic forms such as haiku, tanka, haibun, tanka prose, etheree, nonet, shadorma, and cinquain.

My favourite poem in this collection is written by Kerfe Roig. I like it because it is filled with mystery and delight:
“who is this Other
come to greet me
glittering shadowed
behind and before
a changeling of light”

All the poems are gorgeous and this collection is a most worthwhile read for poetry lovers.

What Amazon says

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andreea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, and Cheryl Wood.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about charity

Christmas is just around the corner and many people are gearing up for holidays, family gatherings, presents, and lots of delicious food. Of course, not everyone is in this privileged position and there are millions of people who will not have any of these things.

I thought December would be a good time to write about teaching children about charity.

People who care about earth and the people and animals we share it with want to raise generous children who understand the importance of charity and giving back to society. It is a good idea to raise the concept of charity with our children early on and this can be done in a way that doesn’t scare them or make them fearful.

From a young age, I told my children that while there are many children whose families are wealthier than we are and who have more than we do, there are millions of children who have far less. We discussed children that have lost their parents and who are living in orphanages or as foster children. We spoke about schools that give children a hot meal at lunch time and I explained that for some of those children it is the only meal they get in a 24-hour period.

I tried to involve my boys in my own charity activities which included making up packs of groceries for needy pensioners, donating books to underprivileged schools, and giving used clothing to various charities.

When children are part of activities that help others who are less fortunate than they are, it gives them a sense of perspective about their own good fortune to have a nice home, food to eat, and schooling. As they get older, they will also learn to appreciate a loving and supportive family. Being generous helps children learn to appreciate what they have and be more grateful. It makes them feel useful and fosters empathy.

My children have both grown into caring and empathetic young men who see a need and are willing to put their own money and time behind helping other people.

Quote from Michael: “Children need to learn about charity because people have to work together to create a good environment.”

Every Christmas, my sons and I undertake 10 hours of community service each. Michael is auto-immune so we do their hours from the safety of our own home and, as Michael and I like to bake, our activities often involve these activities.

Last year we, the boys and I, made 150 goodie bags for the elderly residence of a local old age home. My nephews helped with this activity and the four boys baked and iced 80 gingerbread boys. I made 70 slices of shortbread and each bag contained a baked good, some chocolates, and a Christmas joke.

This year, we baked two beer-box cakes for a Christmas party for an underprivileged school. We had fun adding the sprinkles.

We are also making 150 Christmas crackers filled with three delicious chocolates for the old age home. So far we have made 40.

These are all fun activities to do with children, you can invite the kids in the neighbourhood or your nephews and nieces, and they bring a lot of joy to the recipients.

Another way of teaching children about giving and generosity is through reading to them.

I will never forget the scene from Little Women when Marmee asks her four daughters if they will give their Christmas breakfast away to a poor family:

“‘Merry Christmas, little daughters! I’m glad you began at once, and hope you will keep on. But I want to say one word before we sit down. Not far away from here lies a poor woman with a little newborn baby. Six children are huddled into one bed to keep from freezing, for they have no fire. There is nothing to eat over there; and the oldest boy came to tell me they were suffering hunger and cold. My girls, will you give them your breakfast as a Christmas present?’

They were all unusually hungry, having waited nearly an hour, and for a minute no one spoke; only a minute, for Jo exclaimed impetuously,—

‘I’m so glad you came before we began!’

‘May I go and help carry the things to the poor little children?’ asked Beth, eagerly.

‘I shall take the cream and the muffins,’ added Amy, heroically giving up the articles she most liked.”

This is just one of many wonderful books that teach children about sharing, giving and the real meaning of Christmas.

Another, one of my personal favourites, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Book Quotes. QuotesGram
Picture credit: https://quotesgram.com/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-book-quotes/

I must admit that every time I read that quote I get goosebumps.

This is the last Growing Bookworms post for 2021. If you celebrate, I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a happy holiday period.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms – The importance of teachers

The schools in South Africa are racing towards the end of a year fraught with lockdowns, illness and death. My sons have been on-line for long periods twice this year and many of the students have suffered the losses of friends, parents, grandparents, and other important people in their lives. Seeing how happy my sons are to be back at school and watching them forge ahead with their school work as their teachers valiantly try to reteach material and principles that were taught on-line and which the boys have failed to grasp properly, makes me feel more appreciative of their teachers than ever.

Gregory finishes school today. It is his last day of a 14-year journey and it is all rather emotional for the boys and teachers. His preliminary examinations went very well and he achieved an average of 92% for all 7 of this subjects including AP maths. This is partly due to hard work on Gregory’s part, but a lot of credit must go to his excellent teachers who really went all out to help the boys achieve the best they could. Greg attended on-line and in personal tutorials and extra sessions to prepare for his exams and some of them were over weekends during his teachers personal time.

As part of his leaving experience, he was invited back to his old nursery school, which forms part of his current school campus, and his old pre-preparatory school. How lovely it was to walk those corridors again and see the small desks and sinks, the art rooms and to find Greg’s handprint from when he was a 5-year old boy.

I believe that teachers are one of the most important professional groups in our society. They give children purpose, help prepare them to be successful citizens of our world, and help to inspire them to achieve and succeed both at school and in life.

A teacher imparts knowledge, good values, traditions and helps youngsters recognise modern challenges and overcome them.

The role of teachers is often underplayed and misunderstood with parents and others thinking they get lots of free time in the afternoons and during school holidays. This believe is certainly unfounded as every teacher I’ve ever known works a full day and more. They all teach extra murals and many offer extra tuition for students that struggle. Many of the teachers at my sons school are also involved in a community education programme and teach children from less privileged schools and backgrounds during part of their afternoons. Teachers also do a lot of marking and lesson preparation and that takes up a lot of their evenings and holidays. In summary, teaching is not a part-time job.

One of the toughest parts of teaching is teaching children from all sorts of homes and backgrounds about using their imaginations, creativity and challenging them to develop consistency, good work ethics, empathy and emotional intelligence.

I have met a number of wonderful teachers in the blogosphere and I appreciate them all for the wonderful teachers they are. Once a teacher, always a teacher, it’s not really something you stop doing as it is a part of your nature and behaviour patterns.

I am going to end this post by sharing a YouTube video about a special teacher, Jennie Fitzkee, who is a great champion of reading out loud and appeared recently on the Kelly Clarkson show. Bravo to Jennie for helping share the word about the importance of reading and thank you to Kelly Clarkson for raising the reading banner so high.

Here is link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/KellyClarksonShow/videos/1119312005268883

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and author Harmony Kent and my review

Today, I am delighted to feature poet and author Harmony Kent as my guest for Treasuring Poetry. I have read one of Harmony’s fictional books and her non-fiction book, Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer: Inspirational Tools to Fire Your Imagination, and they are both excellent. I have read and reviewed her poetry book, Slices of Soul: A Collection of Contemporary Poetry.

Welcome Harmony!

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

VOYAGE

Into the unknown we go

riding the ocean breeze

tacking this way and that

not too concerned with the far horizon

At peace, keeping an eye on the waves

that toss us about now and then

sailing through bright day

and deep dark night

It matters not

what tempest may come

we will weather the storms together

while we wend our way

We’ve lain our course

taken our soundings

and with love at the helm

we’ll keep a steady pace

Call it what you will

scow, skiff, sloop, hulk, schooner, bucket

so long as we caulk the boards and set the stays

we shall not founder

There’s no glory like it

in the heavens or on the Earth

than sailing free into the fire

of the sun as it sets into the glistening sea

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

When I met the love of my life, right away, we both went through some tough personal times. Those hardships brought us closer, and we’ve now been married for two years.

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy writing the most and why?

Some form of Haiku, because it forces me write with brevity and choose my words with utmost care.

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy reading the most?

As with my writing, my reading is eclectic. I enjoy a broad range of styles and genres.

What is your favourite poem?

Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

And Eternity in an hour

A Robin Red breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage 

A Dove house filled with Doves & Pigeons

Shudders Hell through all its regions 

A dog starved at his Masters Gate

Predicts the ruin of the State 

A Horse misused upon the Road

Calls to Heaven for Human blood 

Each outcry of the hunted Hare

A fibre from the Brain does tear 

A Skylark wounded in the wing 

A Cherubim does cease to sing 

The Game Cock clipped & armed for fight

Does the Rising Sun affright 

Every Wolfs & Lions howl

Raises from Hell a Human Soul 

The wild deer, wandering here & there 

Keeps the Human Soul from Care 

The Lamb misused breeds Public Strife

And yet forgives the Butchers knife 

The Bat that flits at close of Eve

Has left the Brain that wont Believe

The Owl that calls upon the Night

Speaks the Unbelievers fright

He who shall hurt the little Wren

Shall never be beloved by Men 

He who the Ox to wrath has moved

Shall never be by Woman loved

The wanton Boy that kills the Fly

Shall feel the Spiders enmity 

He who torments the Chafers Sprite

Weaves a Bower in endless Night 

The Caterpillar on the Leaf

Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief 

Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly 

For the Last Judgment draweth nigh 

He who shall train the Horse to War

Shall never pass the Polar Bar 

The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat 

Feed them & thou wilt grow fat 

The Gnat that sings his Summers Song

Poison gets from Slanders tongue 

The poison of the Snake & Newt

Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot 

The poison of the Honey Bee

Is the Artists Jealousy

The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags

Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags 

A Truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent 

It is right it should be so 

Man was made for Joy & Woe 

And when this we rightly know 

Through the World we safely go 

Joy & Woe are woven fine 

A Clothing for the soul divine 

Under every grief & pine

Runs a joy with silken twine 

The Babe is more than swaddling Bands

Throughout all these Human Lands

Tools were made & Born were hands 

Every Farmer Understands

Every Tear from Every Eye

Becomes a Babe in Eternity 

This is caught by Females bright

And returned to its own delight 

The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar 

Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore 

The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath

Writes Revenge in realms of Death 

The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air

Does to Rags the Heavens tear 

The Soldier armed with Sword & Gun 

Palsied strikes the Summers Sun

The poor Man’s Farthing is worth more

Than all the Gold on Africs Shore

One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands

Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands 

Or if protected from on high 

Does that whole Nation sell & buy 

He who mocks the Infants Faith

Shall be mocked in Age & Death 

He who shall teach the Child to Doubt

The rotting Grave shall neer get out 

He who respects the Infants faith

Triumphs over Hell & Death 

The Childs Toys & the Old Man’s Reasons

Are the Fruits of the Two seasons 

The Questioner who sits so sly 

Shall never know how to Reply 

He who replies to words of Doubt

Doth put the Light of Knowledge out 

The Strongest Poison ever known

Came from Caesars Laurel Crown 

Nought can Deform the Human Race

Like to the Armours iron brace 

When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow

To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow 

A Riddle or the Crickets Cry

Is to Doubt a fit Reply 

The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile

Make Lame Philosophy to smile 

He who Doubts from what he sees

Will ne’er Believe do what you Please 

If the Sun & Moon should Doubt 

They’d immediately Go out 

To be in a Passion you Good may Do 

But no Good if a Passion is in you 

The Whore & Gambler by the State

Licenced build that Nations Fate 

The Harlots cry from Street to Street 

Shall weave Old England’s winding Sheet 

The Winners Shout the Losers Curse 

Dance before dead England’s Hearse 

Every Night & every Morn

Some to Misery are Born 

Every Morn and every Night

Some are Born to sweet delight 

Some are Born to sweet delight 

Some are Born to Endless Night 

We are led to Believe a Lie

When we see not Thro the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night 

When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light 

God Appears & God is Light

To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 

But does a Human Form Display To those who Dwell in Realms of day

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43650/auguries-of-innocence

Slices of Soul: A Collection of Contemporary Poetry

What Amazon says

Slices of Soul is a collection of contemporary poetry from author Harmony Kent that will both delight and call for deeper reflection. ‘Phantoms’ gives a gritty account of pain that you can never catch. ‘Enough’ expresses the contentment of Zen. ‘Diamonds’ shows the beauty to be found on a drab and rainy day. While ‘The Alchemist’ shows you how a guitar can turn lead into gold. This wonderful arrangement of fifty poems takes you from the abstract of Zen to the melody of music, and will reach into your mind, your heart, and your soul.

My review

Slices of Soul is a compelling and unusual collection of poetry which certainly does give the reader glimpses into the complex soul and unusual life of the poet.

I think it is important to note that the poet spent 13 years living in a Zen Buddhist Temple and that the poems featured in this book were written, during and after this period in her life. I believe that her spiritualism and surroundings had a bearing on the thoughts and ideas expressed through the poems in this book.

The poems are divided into sections: Shaved Head, written during her time at the Zen Buddhist Temple, Short Hair, written during the transitional period of her changing life circumstances, and Long Hair which effectively covers all the remaining sections in the book and were written after she’d adjusted to her new life.

I felt the tone of the poems changed over the course of the book from intense reflections on life, to studies of nature, to fierce expressions of emotion, to gentler articulations of love and contentment.

The two poems that impacted me the most in this collection are from the first two sections of the book, Shaved Hair and Short Hair:

The Path
The ten directions all merge into one
this winding road leads nowhere
and goes straight there

Lost and Found
Deep dark depths
I got lost on purpose
this desolate place
the only way
to get my bearings

Poetry lovers who like poems that make you think about things and see them differently will appreciate this book.

Purchase Slices of Soul

Amazon US

Amazon Author Page Harmony Kent

About Harmony Kent

Harmony Kent

Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include: 

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)

Interludes 1 & Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Backstage (Erotic Romance)

FALLOUT (Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the publishing arena. She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes. Harmony lives in Cornwall, England.

twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/HarmonyK

harmonykent@gmx.com

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 1 poetry book.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Growing Bookworms – Is your child overly pressured?

If children feel under pressure not to fail, it's because of signals they  have picked up from adults' | Tes News
Picture credit: https://www.tes.com/news/if-children-feel-under-pressure-not-fail-its-because-signals-they-have-picked-adults

In the Southern hemisphere, the children are heading into the final stretch of the school year and most of them will have examinations looming at the end of a busy term filled with classes, homework, assignments, concerts, music, and sport.

In the Northern hemisphere, the children are all facing a new school year with new teacher and class structures. Some will be starting at a new school and will need to make a new set of friends.

For all children, wherever they live, life is stressful. Many children are pressured by parents to perform well at school and achieve. Some are also pressured to continuously practice and excel at sport, music and other extra curricular activities. Many children are driven by their own desire to succeed and do well. Scholarships, gaining acceptance into good universities, and getting a good job at the end of it all, is a common aim.

With our world so much faster and many jobs under threat of becoming redundant due to new technology and robotics, as well as a far bigger world population resulting in more competition for fewer jobs, our children are under far more pressure to achieve then we were. Most modern children are also far more aware of trends in the global job market than we were. This all leads to a lot of anxiety, stress, and pressure for youngsters.

While some pressure on kids to perform is a good thing, many children are under to much pressure and don’t have time to “be kids” anymore. To much pressure can impact kids negatively in many areas of their lives. Some of these areas are as follows:

  • Higher rates of mental illness – stress, anxiety, and pressure wear children down and lead to mental health problems like depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other eating disorders;
  • Higher risks of injuries – children who are pressured to perform on the sports field may ‘push through’ pain and other warnings signs of injury, possibly causing long-term damage to their bodies;
  • Increased risk of cheating – In circumstances where achievement of high marks becomes all consuming and is expected by parents, the desire to achieve at all costs can lead to unethical behaviour like cheating on tests and examinations;
  • Poor sportsmanship – kids who are pressured to always perform well don’t appreciate the benefits of learning to lose with good grace and understand that no-one can shine all the time. Everyone has bad days and difficulties with some or other subject or area of a subject; and
  • Sleep deprivation – Kids who are under constant pressure to perform are include to stay up late cramming for tests and suffer from lack of sleep. This can lead to poor health and bad sleeping habits.

From a parent or guardian perspective, these are five signs you are putting to much pressure on your child:

  • Criticizing your child for things s/he got wrong and not highlighting the things done well;
  • Being overly involved in your child’s studying, practice schedules, and choices of sports and other extramural activities;
  • Forcing your child to study and/or practice thereby not allowing him/her to learn consequences of lack of discipline and not studying or practicing;
  • Telling your child that an exam or sports game is a once in a lifetime opportunity;
  • Comparing your child unfavourably to other children or a sibling;
  • Losing your temper with your child or becoming obviously frustrated by lack of understanding or poor performance by your child.

Do you think children are very pressured in our modern world? Let me know in the comments.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Behind Closed Doors” Book Blog Tour

Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour

We’re wrapping up the WordCrafter Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour over at Zigler’s News with a guest post by poet and author Robbie Cheadle and a review by Victoria Zigler. Please join us to learn a bit more about the author and her book.

http://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2021/08/behind-closed-doors-collection-of.html

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 4 – WordCrafter “Behind Closed Doors” Book Blog Tour

Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour

Day 4 of the WordCrafter Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour finds us over at Miriam Hurdle’s Showers of Blessings blog site with a guest post by author and poet Robbie Cheadle and a lovely review of Robbie’s latest book, Behind Closed Doors, a collection of unusual poetry. Drop in and learn more about this fascinating poetry collection and its author.

https://theshowersofblessings.com/2021/08/25/blog-tour-behind-closed-doors-a-collection-of-unusual-poems-iby-robbe-cheadle

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 3- WordCrafter “Behind Closed Doors” Book Blog Tour

Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour

For Day 3 of the WordCrafter Behind Closed Doors Book Blog Tour we’re over at This is My Truth Now with James Cudney and a guest post from author and poet, Robbie Cheadle and a wonderful review of Behind Closed Doors. Please join us to learn more about this author and her wonderful poetry collection.

https://thisismytruthnow.com/2021/08/25/blog-tour-behind-closed-doors-by-robbie-cheadle-w-review-guest-post/