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

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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.


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.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet Lynda McKinney Lambert and a review

Today, I am delighted to welcome artist and poet, Lynda McKinney Lambert, to Treasuring Poetry with her thoughts about poems and poetry,

Which of your own poems is your favorite?

I chose a poem on page 127 of my latest publication, Songs for the Pilgrimage, DLD Books, 2021. “Talisman,” is located in Part IV: Landmarks and Landscapes.

“Talisman” (This is a free-form poem)

by

Lynda McKinney Lambert

(written April 30, 2016)

Visualize a talisman-

precious stones and crystals

woven in bold patterns

plenty of Japanese glass seed beads 

tiny drops of perfect symmetry.

I select flawless beads 

stab them onto steel needles

hundreds of stitches.

thrust them one at a time

upwards into the heavens

endlessly.

I plunge my thin needle

deep through layers of stiff cloth

make my stitches sure

hold tight.

I’m a warrior woman

thumping my spirit-drum

made of dappled starlight.

I measure timeless days

counting beads in

a mystical circle

held together

with a bronze toggle clasp.

A Talisman brings

protection from evil

healing for weary spirits

nourishment for aching bodies

courage for new directions

on a pilgrimage

over treacherous pathways

guides my dimmed eyes

and nervous steps.

Black onyx ovals

are like a vintage fan

unfurled with a flourish

or a sacred victory flag

prepared to cast an invocation.

my fingers stroke cold stones

glossy-smooth, polished, faceted.

gifts for a King.

Copyright, August 2, 2020. All rights reserved.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

My Process:

My poems are created in the same way I create a work of art.

First, the studio must be in pristine condition.  I go through this cleansing activity of putting everything in its proper place, cleaning the surface of my working table, and laying out my materials.

Second, I begin to put a few things down on the paper. I may b begin with just a word that has been flashing through my mind for some time. I may begin with an idea or a color, or an object that I want to describe.

I start making a list of all of those things. I also refer to the thesaurus and the dictionary to expand my possibilities and to give me insight into the deeper meanings of words I am working with.  I continue laying this all out on my list until I have quite a lot of information from which to begin the work.  I like to work with at least forty words, phrases, or ideas initially.

Third, I begin selecting from my list. As I select a word, I cross it off my list after I have put it down on the page where I am building the poem.

Fourth, I continue this selection process from my pool of ideas.  As I am working back and forth from the brainstorming sheet to the poetry sheet – I am deleting, moving, or adding in my process. 

Since I am a person who likes to begin with chaos, I continue sifting and sorting and I am actually bringing order to the chaos. 

Fifth, After I’ve laid down a considerable amount of line, I begin the process of deleting and paring it all down to the essential essence. I want my poem to become sleek and spare.  I remove every article that I can in this process. I do not want any extra words.  I consider them a distraction that hides the core of the poem.  I am ruthless at this time in the process. 

Sixth, after I’ve taken away as much as I can and exposed the essence of what I am describing, I call it finished.  I will read it over many times during the process to get a feel for how it will sound when spoken. At this point it passes from an idea to a living sound. The poem is an object that stands alone. It has taken on meaning in ways I could not have imagined when I began the building process. I am satisfied.

I chose this poem for it exemplifies the parallel between writing and making mixed-media fiber art

The focus of my attention for this poem is on the making of the object that will become a talisman.

When I am writing, I am conscious of being a weaver as I move my words, sentences, and punctuation around the page.    When I am making art, I am conscious of how everything fits together as I plunge my thin, sharp needle through tiny faceted beads, Czech and Swarovski crystals, circle around gemstones and capturing found objects. My needle is my paintbrush, forming the shapes and values that take me on a journey.

When I begin to write or make art, I prepare for a journey.  I carefully lay out all of the things I will need for my travels. I expect to reach a destination at the time when I begin to write.  

Photo_ “Evening Vespers,” Talisman
Photo_ I Only Have Eyes For You”  is an award-winning  Talisman.

About Lynda McKinney Lambert

Lynda’s interdisciplinary interests led her to a career in teaching across disciplines in fine art and English literature. She retired from her position as a professor of fine arts and humanities at Geneva College in 2008. Retirement from her international teaching schedule opened the door for her to pursue her love of writing full-time.

Lynda works from her rural western Pennsylvania home in The Village of Wurtemburg. Her five published books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, and other retail book sellers. Lynda’s newest book of poetry and personal non-fiction essays was published in April 2021 – Songs for the Pilgrimage.

 Her second chapbook, Primavera: When Spring Break is Over, is ready for publication.

She is creating a collection of poems for  a chapbook for the summer season and one for the autumn season in the year ahead.

Lynda’s poems appear internationally in journals and anthologies. She lives with her husband Bob and they  celebrated their 60th anniversary on April 14, 2021.

Lynda earned a BFA and MFA in Painting. She also received the  MA in English degree with her focus on poetry.

Lynda – Photo from  August 27,   2021, with a bouquet of flowers she received for her 78th birthday.

 

Purchase Lynda’s books:

My e-books on Smashwords.com

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1080756

Authors Page at DLD Books.

http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert

Learn more about Lynda

Smorgasborg Café and Bookstore – Meet the Authors_Review

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thriller Daniel Kemp, #Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, #YAFantasy Jean Lee | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine (wordpress.com)

Robbie Cheadle Book Review of Star Signs: New and  Selected Poems.https://www.lyndalambert.com/robbie-cheadle-review-of-star-signs/

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me.

This interview is featured on Marcia Meara’s Blog, The Write Stuff.  September 3, 2021.#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Lynda Lambert | The Write Stuff (marciamearawrites.com)

Showcase: Songs for the Pilgrimage.

Published by Charles Portolano, editor of The Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry.https://www.lyndalambert.com/showcase/

NFReads – An Interview with Lynda McKinney Lambert.https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-lynda-mckinney-lambert/

Poem, Photo, and Explication of the work.https://www.lyndalambert.com/autumn-gifts-poem/

My review of Songs for the Pilgrimage

Songs for the Pilgrimage by [Lynda  Lambert]

What Amazon says

From the Prologue and Epilogue of Songs for the Pilgrimage

The word pilgrimage refers to a religious journey. Individuals commit to traveling to reach a predetermined destination, such as a shrine or holy place. The excursion is a trek from one location to another. Pilgrimage has been an abiding theme in my writing for several decades.

My first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press, 2002, now out of print), was inspired by my annual journeys to Salzburg, Austria, where I taught a month–long drawing and writing course. I revised and expanded the previous collection of stories, poems, historical notes, and journal entries for this new book. Songs for the Pilgrimage features writings, drawings, and photographs I created over four decades.

I conclude with an artist’s prayer:

My studio is yours, Lord. Be my welcome guest today. Your goodness and unfailing kindness have been with me all my life. I have tried to make your glory visible in the works of art I have created. Someday I will close the door of my studio for the final time, but I will not be alone. Together, we will go to your home, where we will continue to collaborate on glorious projects throughout eternity. Amen.

May I Serve You?
Here are the stacks of paintings
for you to look at tonight.
I carefully brought them out
of storage closets
arranged them here
in the kitchen—
where my children used to play
games around a square oak table.
Once, food to nourish the body
was prepared here, by my hands.
Tonight, there is an
abundance of food
for your soul.
Come into my kitchen and
taste the world,
prepared by my hands.

© 1997

My review

Songs for the Pilgrimage is an unusual and interesting collection of poems, interspersed with journal entries from the poets annual journeys to Austria where she taught a month long drawing and writing course. The journal entries provide a lot of insight into the poet’s life and experiences during these times and dovetail with the poems which expand on these experiences by vividly depicting the sights, smells, and thoughts of the poet. The poems are mainly freestyle and cover a full spectrum of observations including interpretations of different artworks, songs, and music.

My favourite poem in this collection and the one that demonstrates the vividness of the imagery presented in these poems is called How Vivaldi Learned to Dance:

“Antonio Vivaldi heard a new beat
began to dance inside his soul
Concerto Grosso came to visit him
D-Major opened his eyes at dawn
every set of notes in the strong
foot-stomping beginning
gave his soul a new pair of wings
horns, oboes, 2 violins, Vivaldi cast the spell
imagination approached the heavenly realm
just as his nimble feet urged him to dance on clouds
kicking up his heels, high off the pungent streets
lively staccato andante reminded
Medieval Venetians to stroll on sunny afternoons
narrow passageways, the scent of Italian lilies floats
over cobblestone paths Vivaldi’s thoughts
pulsed cautiously into the Adagio duet
quiet staccato notes changed his rhythm
roaming violin twins began a centripetal dance
slow and steady – up, down, up, down, up
the long final chord ended his journey on
urban bridges of arched stone
violin solos of his butterfly visions soared
where playful frantic allegro takes flight
X is the unknow factor when the master musician
yearns for one more summer day in Venice
Zeitgeist. His presence spanned the Baroque ages.”

I chose to share this particular poem because I feel it represents everything I enjoyed about this book. The vivid imagery is demonstrated in may places with the depictions incorporating the senses of sight, sound, movement/touch, and smell, the references to the music show the poet’s appreciation of Vivaldi, the Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher, impresario, and Roman Catholic priest and her love of all of these things, including her religion. There is a strong theme of faith and religious respect running through this book. There is also a haunting attraction for Venice and all it offers which ties in with the overarching concept of a pilgrimage.

An intriguing and enjoyable book of prose and poetry.

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 Leon Stevens and book review

Today, I am delighted to host artist, poet and author, Leon Stevens.

Leon Stevens

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Wow. Starting off with the hardest question…I have written about many aspects of my existence, but I think some of the poems about ego and human nature are my attempt at understanding why people act the way they do. I still don’t get why some people are jerks.

Ego (Part II)

An ego is a big cat

That needs to be stroked

By you or someone else

Smaller cats are easy to please

And the bigger the cat

The more dangerous it is

To rub the wrong way

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

I wrote a series of poems about ego after spending some time observing how people interact with each other as individuals jockey for position within a group. While they do that, they seek affirmation to justify their perception of themselves. There are positives to egos, but if an ego is too aggressive, it can leave you rolling your eyes and shaking your head.

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

I don’t set out to write any particular form of poetry. Usually, as the words come to me, they will dictate how the poem will manifest itself. This leads to some erratic rhyming and rhythmic patterns, but often I find that a well-placed, unexpected rhyme can have a powerful effect.

My poems tend to be short—no more than a page—often 4-6 lines. They are like a snapshot of a moment or experience rather than a slideshow or movie.

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy reading the most?

I honestly do not read a lot of poetry. Maybe it is a way not to be influenced, which I hope makes my own poetry unique. I do follow many blogs that feature poetry, so most of what I do read comes from those sites.

I grew up with my father reading the poems of Robert Service. The Cremation of Sam McGee Is one that has always stuck with me (Dad had it memorized along with many others). It is a tale set during the Klondike gold rush which has a humorous, macabre twist.

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Poem credit: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45081/the-cremation-of-sam-mcgee

Book review: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

My review

Every now and then you discover a book of poetry which has you nodding your head in agreement and identifying with the views of the poet. For me, this was one of those books. Leon Stevens has an unerring way of aiming a poetic arrow straight at the heart of a difficult issue and exposing it for exactly what it is. This exposure is done with great dry wit, but it is nevertheless, brutally honest and truthful.

The poems in this book cover an array of topics including, inter alia, the poets personal viewpoints on specific matters, environmental experiences, the human conditions and how we relate with others, people and places, and ponderance and muse. There is a sprinkling of the poet’s own sketches throughout the book, and these, complement the humour and the simple, straightforward messages woven into these compelling poems.

This poem, called The Tendency to Cluster, was my personal favourite in this collection and demonstrates the points I’ve mentioned above:

People like orbs
Drawn by gravity
Unable to exist alone
Each dependent on the orbits of others
The only thing that keeps them
From being flung away
Needing others to define them
Needing to know
The quantum state of others
There are people
Content with singularity
In the colder outer regions
Emptiness brings strength, warmth, life
Occasional objects pass
Piquing curiosity
Worthy to share space (for a while)
Mostly continuing alone
Comfortable that orbits won’t decay

If you enjoy poems that speak clearly and simply about important matters, then you will enjoy this collection. Even if you don’t share the poet’s viewpoint, these poems will still make you think deeply.

Purchase Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He became a writer out of necessity. Along with song writing, poetry has allowed him to make sense and accept events and situations in his life. He published his first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, a book of original classical guitar compositions, and a collection of science fiction short stories called The Knot at the End of the Rope and other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com for free sample eBooks.


Treasuring Poetry: Meet poet and author Miriam Hurdle

Today, I am delighted to host poet and author Miriam Hurdle for the July edition of Treasuring Poetry.

Welcome Miriam Hurdle

Hi Robbie,

I’m delighted to be your guest on Writing to be Read to talk about poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite

Among the published poems in Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude, several poems are my favorites in equal measure for different reasons. One is in the section of Songs of Marriage, one in Songs of Tribute, and one in Songs of Inspiration.

The time I wrote this post, my heart turns to the poem “Healthy Grieving” in the section of Songs of Tribute.

Healthy Grieving

Randy and my husband were true friends.

No appointment needed for

a barbeque, a movie or a game, just

knocked on each other’s door.

The conversation could go anywhere,

no worry about apologies.

When one needed a helping hand,

the other one is always there.

Twelve years was a long time,

such true friendship rarely came by.

People say, “Big boys don’t cry.”

I don’t know why.

Boys have emotion, as we all do.

My husband had never cried,

not until after Randy died.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

There is a narrative precedes the poem. I wrote the poem to pay tribute to our neighbor, my husband’s best friend who died of a mountain bike accident. Here is the excerpt.

I remember on January 3, 2016. Randy joined us to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We had lunch and saw Star Wars at Irvine Spectrum. It was on Saturday.

The following Sunday, eight days later, his relative came over to tell us that Randy had a mountain bike accident. He and a gym buddy ventured on a long mountain bike ride. The bike hit a vast gap and made a somersault flip. He got thrown off the bike, fell forward and hit the ground, and smashed his head and face.

They rushed him to the close by emergency room but pronounced him dead as soon as the ambulance reached the hospital.

Randy was our neighbor who lived two doors down the street. He was my husband’s best friend for twelve years, ever since he came back to live with his parents. They worked out at the gym together. They enjoyed the Friday movie and pizza day for a while.

After my husband got a mountain bike, he also got one. They biked on the trails in the city. On special occasions, a barbecue dinner was in order. He came over to our house for game nights regularly. A year before he passed away, they switched to another restaurant to hang out in the bar, and I became their designated driver.

Randy was a lighthearted guy, a wonderful friend, a caring son. We missed him very much.

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

Whereas a “form” defines the way a poem arranges sounds, rhythms, or its appearance on the page, “genre” is something like the poem’s style. Many poetic genres have a long history, and new poems almost always seek to explore a new aspect of the traditional style and thus to redefine the genre.

Traditionally, there are nine genres of poetry. Three of them remain in the newer inclusion of poetry genres. They are narrative poetry which tells a story, lyric poetry which is musical in tone, and dramatic poetry which is a long dramatic monologue or persona poem.

I would say I enjoy writing narrative poetry genre. Regardless of the poetry forms, I like to write poems that tell the stories. The poem I included above is a good example in which I shared the story of the friendship between my husband and Randy.

As far as poetry form, I enjoy writing free verse which is free of rules and regulations. It doesn’t follow a consistent rhyme scheme, meter or musical structure. For the fun of learning, I also write blank verse which follows a stricter structure with precise meter. In addition to Haiku, Tanka, I have written a Shakespearean Sonnet, a Pantoum, several acrostic poems, two Villanelle, and one one-syllable poem (all the words used in the entire poem are single syllable words).

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy reading the most?

I enjoy reading narrative and lyric poetry including poetic song lyric. One example of narrative poetry is a poem by the American Poet Linda Pastan in which she tells a story about her daughter.

To a daughter leaving home

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving

goodbye.

This poem is about the poet teaching her daughter to ride a bicycle. The title suggests that her daughter is now old enough to leave home. Pastan cleverly extends the metaphor of the bike as part of life’s journey. When I read this poem, I identify with the poet the joy of parenthood, with the sentiment of missing my daughter when she grew up and has gone on to her own journey.

I can’t talk about poetry without talking about music. I’m a singer of classical, traditional, and some older pop music and memorized many song lyrics for solo performances. The poetic song lyrics influence the flow of my poetry writing.

Examples of poetic song lyrics are, “Yesterday” by the Beatles, “Memory” from the Musical Cats written by Trevor Nunn, and “Killing Me Softly” written by Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox.

What is your favourite poem?

My favorite poem is a popular one by Robert Frost. Its signature phrases have become so ubiquitous, so much a part of the individual life and business alike. I like it because of its message applicable in my life.

I have come to crossroads many points in my journey. As reflected by Frost, I couldn’t take “both,” tried to look down both paths “as far as I could.” Many times, they both were “equally” “fair” but no guarantee. Ultimately, it was my decision that “made all the difference.” Knowing that I would never “come back,”, I willingly took the responsibility for the road I chose to travel with no regret.

The Road Not Taken 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I would like to include the trailer for Songs of Heartstring created by Diana W. Peach at https://mythsofthemirror.com

Songs of Heartstrings Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Find Miriam Hurdle

Website/Blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Miriam-Hurdle-Author-100123351515424

My review of Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude by [Miriam Hurdle]

Songs of Heartstrings is a collection of poems and essays featuring the vast array of life experiences by the author. Miriam Hurdle has encountered both the best and the worst of life through the death of her husband’s close friend, her own treatment for cancer, the birth of her daughter and the close relationship of her parents. Her wonderful joy in life and strong faith in her religion shine through in her poetry and give a lot of insight into her strong spirit and ability to stay positive despite the curve balls life has thrown her way.

This book also demonstrates Miriam’s love of nature and features poems about her garden, a hummingbird and even a spider. Her photographs and pictures are lovely and compliment the prose. 

My review of Tina Lost in a Crowd

Tina Lost in a Crowd by [Miriam Hurdle, Victoria Skakandi]

Tina Lost in a Crowd is a charming book for children about two young school friends who attend a busy concert with Tina’s parents and get lost on their way to the restroom.

I enjoyed the character of Tina, a lovely and friendly girl who demonstrated politeness and respect towards both her teacher and her parents as well as consideration towards her friend. She has sufficient presence of mind not to panic in the scary situation of being lost in a big crowd.

The depiction of Tina’s family life and her mother’s interest in her and eagerness to plan some fun family outings for the summer vacation are heart warming and lovely to see in a children’s book. I liked the fact that Tina’s mother made a picnic for her family and Tina’s friend, Erica, to enjoy at the concert with good, wholesome food.

The illustrations in this book are a real treat and every page is a visual delight. I would recommend this book to parents and caregivers who like books that encourage good family values and level headedness by children in difficult situations.

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

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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.


Treasuring Poetry – If by Rudyard Kipling and The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

This month I am featuring my own favourite poems and a poem and picture from my forthcoming poetry book, Behind Closed Doors. I hadn’t intended to feature my own work this month, but sometimes life happens and so I am making the best of it.

If by Rudyard Kipling

I love the poem If by Rudyard Kipling because it is so inspiring and uplifting. The objective of the poem was to give his son advice and instruction on how to live a happy and successful life. I relate strongly to this advice possibly because I have two sons.

My favourite lines are as follows:

“If you can bear to hear the truth you have spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.”

The first two lines above warn that his son must learn to endure his own words twisted by dishonest and harmful people in order to serve their own agendas. The second two lines explain the importance of being able to cope with failure and pick yourself up and carry on, even if what you fail at has been your life’s work.

Both of these situations are ones that everyone comes across in life – people who are willing to walk on you in order to serve their own purposes and failure. How we deal with the resulting disillusionment and disappointment has a huge bearing on our lives going forward.

I like to re-read this poem as a reminder to myself to stay strong and on my chosen path in life.

You can listen to my recital of this poem here:

The Listener by Walter de la Mare

In summary, this poem is about a traveler who comes to a house on a moonlit night and knocks on the door. He demands that the door be opened but he receives no answer.

We discover that the traveler has made a promise to return to the occupants of the house, but he has been prevented from doing so until the current time. It is too late and the occupants are gone. He clearly feels some guilt because he cries “Tell them I came, and no one answered, That I kept my word…”

I love this poem because of its supernatural undertone. There is a mystery that runs through the poem and you feel the whisper of ghosts in the imagined echoes of the listener’s words.

You can listen to my recital of this poem here:

Which of these two poems do you like best?

This is a poem from my poetry book, Open a new door.

The Thunderstorm

A deluge of rain tumbles from the sky

like a bucket turned upside down

the beggars impervious to its ferocity

faces impassive, no fear or frown.

***

Young boys stand on the roadside

eyes smoldering with hunger’s pain

need forcing them to continue standing

despite the lightening and drenching rain.

***

One holds a bedraggled cardboard sign

the other a tattered polystyrene cup

each hoping a passerby will pause

and give something to eat or sup.

***

A young mother stands shivering

an old umbrella sheltering her child

his eyes huge and frightened

he’s never laughed or even smiled.

***

In the middle of an intersection

an old man stands bent and alone

his head bowed in supplication to the torrent

he doesn’t complain, sigh or moan.

***

It’s rare to see the elderly on the street

poverty means many don’t live that long

my heart fills with a wrenching pain

for this anguished society to which I belong.

***

At the traffic light outside my offices there are a collection of beggars and window washers. One old man stands in the middle of the intersection. It is hard to extend any aid to him as it is not a good place to slow down. This motely crew is there every day, come rain or shine.

I have a new poetry collection coming out soon. Here is the cover, designed by the amazing Teagan Riordain Geneviene

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a children’s author and poet.

The 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 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

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.


Welcome to the WordCrafter’s “Poetry Treasures” Book Blog Tour

WordCrafter Poetry Treasures Book Blog Tour

Welcome to Day #1 of the WordCrafter Poetry Treasures Book Blog Tour. We’ve got a great tour planned with guest posts from several of the contributing authors to this poetry collection, and an awesome giveaway. Follow the tour and leave a comment at each stop for a chance to win one of three digital copies of Poetry Treasures to be given away. (Winners will be randomly selected following the end of the tour.)

Many of you may be familiar with Robbie Cheadle’s monthly blog series, “Treasuring Poetry”, which has grown in popularity since she began the series last year, here on Writing to be Read. For those who are not familiar with this series, Robbie hosts one author/poet guest each month, with an interview and review of their latest poetry collection. The series is popular because Robbie asks good questions which are designed to reveal some of the inner poetic workings of the author, and her guests are talented and insightful.

Poetry Treasures is a collection of poetry written by eight of the “Treasuring Poetry” guests in 2020, as well as the poetry of the series author, Roberta (Robbie) Eaton Cheadle. The poetry of the late Sue Vincent is also featured, along with a special tribute to this talented and vibrant poet and human being.

Poetry is subjective, often speaking to the reader in ways in which the author never intended, but are nevertheless just as valid as the ways in which those same words affected the poet. But, there are certain poems that just reach out and grab you, and I think that we have some of those featured in this poetry anthology, or at least I hope that we have managed to capture a few.

To introduce this wonderfully unique collection, we have a guest post by one of the contributing authors, Jude Kirya Italaki. You can find more of Jude’s wonderful poetry between the covers of Poetry Treasures.

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Sometimes the most beautiful things are that way because we are able to share them with others. And once those people leave our lives, the beauty we used to see can turn sour.

All that was beautiful, now mocks me
The resplendent night sky, hides secrets in plain sight
The vermillion sunrise, paints scars in bloody hues
And I hide from all their beauty; because it reminds me of you

However, there are things we will always find beautiful. It is important to discover ourselves, hold on to what makes us happy as individuals, and in turn share this with others. When introduced to beauty we did not know before, it might be crucial to love it genuinely, and instead of attaching it to the people who introduced us, we juxtapose it so that the grief of loss may not taint it.

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We’ve got a great blog tour planned this week to introduce you to this wonderfully unique collection of poetry, published by WordCrafter Press. Contibuting authors include Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria Zigler, Annette Rochelle Aben, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Jude Kirya Italaki and Roberta Eaton Cheadle, many of whom will be sharing their poetry and their inspirations in guest posts for this tour. I do hope you will join us and purchase your copy of Poetry Treasures, available in digital and print formats.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Treasures-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B0933KSJR9

Poetry Treasures

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Treasuring Poetry: Meet author and poet M J Mallon

My Treasuring Poetry guest today is talented author and poet M J Mallon. I am delighted to host Marje here and hope you enjoy her thoughts on poetry and her favourite poem.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

This was such a difficult decision, I have at least three favourites! I narrowed it down to the robin. The robin and the dragonfly are my spirit animals and trees are also a huge inspiration. I’ve written about all of these and more in Mr. Sagittarius.

A beautiful picture of a robin by M J Mallon

Bench,

A bird,

Red-breasted,

So, tame you rest,

Beside me robin,

Two friends on a park bench,

One human, one of nature,

I appreciate your kind time,

Until you away… exploring far,

Hinting at possibilities you go. 

I wonder what you notice in your world.

And why you choose that ground to explore,

When you could have stayed here with me,

In mindful meditation.

Maybe you’ll visit me,

Christmas day, perhaps?

To bring good cheer,

Until then,

Peace to, You.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

I’d been studying mindfulness at the sixth form college where I work. Mindfulness is the act of observing and using the full array of our senses meditatively to become more at one with ourselves. I’ve discovered that this is a fantastic practice to adhere to. It benefits an author’s creativity by making you more aware of the nuances of your surroundings.  I’m fortunate in that I work near the botanical gardens in Cambridge, so I often visit and walk and observe the wonder of nature taking photographs of the trees, flowers, animal and insect visitors. Over time, I collected these photographs and wrote poems about them. These, along with various seasonal and short pieces of fiction feature in Mr. Sagittarius. It is a joyful celebration of siblings, magic, loves, nature, the seasons and the circle of our lives.

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

I love writing poetry about life in all its vibrant colours. I am often inspired by photography, (I am a keen amateur photographer – my grandfather and uncle were professional photographers,) or I use images I discover as prompts, often via Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge: https://wordcraftpoetry.com/

Specifically, I enjoy writing poems about nature, trees, flowers, love and Halloween! Halloween poems also feature in Mr. Sagittarius. Halloween is an autumnal activity, (and often a childhood one,) so it links well with the seasonal/circle of life, aspect of my poetry writing.

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy reading the most?

I enjoy reading short form poetry. It is so expressive and brilliant. I love how short verses of poetry convey so much detail in so few words. I enjoy haiku, and tanka, as well as poems that form a pattern on the page. I also enjoy longer forms as you will see from my choice of favourite poem.

What is your favourite poem?

I have always loved Ode To Autumn by John Keats. I can almost taste the words. They are magnificent—that first line: Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness —draws you in and makes you long to read more.

Ode To Autumn by John Keats


  1. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
            Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
        Conspiring with him how to load and bless
            With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
        To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
            And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
              To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
            With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
      Until they think warm days will never cease,
              For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

    2.
      Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
          Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
      Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
          Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
      Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
          Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
              Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
      And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
          Steady thy laden head across a brook;
          Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
              Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

    3.
      Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
          Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
      While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
          And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
      Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
          Among the river sallows, borne aloft
              Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
      And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
          Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
          The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
              And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
https://allpoetry.com/Ode-To-Autumn

Mr Sagittarius by M J Mallon

About Mr Sagittarius

Twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose with photographic images.

#Poetry #Prose #Photography #NaturalWorld #Trees #Magic #Spirit #Animals #CircleofLife #Humour #Halloween #Cats #Buddha

My review of Mr Sagittarius

Mr Sagittarius is a beautiful collection of poems and short stories, set in the lovely gardens of Cambridge and linked by the visits and experiences of a family of twin brothers and their younger sister.

The story starts with William visiting the weeping willow tree in the garden, a place that was special to his twin brother, Harold, who has recently passed away. William sees Harold’s spirit in a dragonfly that he chats to and finds solace in their one-sided communication.

This is a few lines from a poem about the dragonfly:
“Ancient, sweet fellow
Sacred magic bestower,
Change tumbling on fragile wings.”

When William returns home, he has an altercation with his sister, Annette. During their spat Annette reveals that she has always felt left out and overlooked by her twin brothers. This revelation leads to William and Annette becoming closer and visiting the garden together. Not long after, William passes on and Annette is left alone. She visits the garden and communicates with the spirits of both her brothers over the course of the rest of her long life.

The visits of the siblings to the garden are captured in lovely verse. This is an example I really enjoyed:
“I dream in colour
But now everything is dark
Where has the light gone?
Oh, cruel leafy canopy,
No green meadow, just blue thoughts.”

My favourite of the short stories was The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake. This is a story about making good choices in life and rejecting greed. I enjoyed the tale and the descriptive writing.

Mr Sagittarius is a gorgeous book full of delightfully depictive poems and short stories and decorated with striking photographs. This is a book that lovers of poetry, mystery, and wonder will love.

Purchase Mr Sagittarius: Poetry and Prose

Amazon US

M J Mallon Amazon Author Page

About M J Mallon

I am a diverse author who blogs at: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, poetry, photography, and alternative therapies. My favourite genres to write are: Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories and I love writing various forms of poetry and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka and flash fiction.

I am proud to be included in the best selling horror anthology Nightmareland which received best seller status with best-selling author Dan Alatorre at the helm.

It is one of my greatest pleasures to read and I have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a children’s author and poet.

The 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 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

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.


Deadlines, Reminders and Announcements

Last chance to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest!

Where Spirits Linger

The deadline to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest is April 30th, for a chance to have your short paranormal story included in the 2021 paranormal anthology, Where Spirits Linger. The entry fee is $5, and the author of the winning story receives a $25 Amazon gift card and inclusion in the anthology. See full submission guidelines and send me your ghost stories. There’s still time. Hurry!

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There’s still time to get tickets for the 2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference

2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Writing Conference

Join us for a free Facebook pre-conference promotional and social book event on May 3rd, where you can meet conference presenters and other authors, learn about their latest releases, play games and enter giveaways! You can reserve your spot on the Facebook Event Page to join in on the fun from the comfort of your own livingroom or wherever you happen to be.

Then on May 4th & 5th, the interactive portion of the conference will be held, with interactive workshops & panel discussions will be offered by talented and experienced presenters, including Keynote speaker Paul Kane. Tickets can be purchased for $5 for individual sessions or a full event pass at the discounted rate of $50 for all 13 sessions. Visit the WtbR Event Page, right here on Writing to be Read, to see the full line-up and author bios, and purchase tickets. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we plan to learn a lot, too, so reserve your spot today.

I can’t offer a preview, because the conference will be live, but I can offer a sample from the 2020 WordCrafter Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference to whet your appetites. Below is a video of the Visceral Story Beginnings interactive workshop with Ellie Raine. Ellie jumped in to present this workshop after the originally scheduled presenter was unable to attend. I think you did a fantastic job of picking up the ball.

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Announcing the release of Poetry Treasures, the WordCrafter poetry anthology featuring poetry by 2020’s author/poet guests on “Treasuring Poetry” blog series with Robbie Cheadle, right here on Writing to be Read.

Nine creative and talented poets have come together to produce this unique poetry collection, each one is truly a poetry treasure.

Poetry Treasures

2020 “Treasuring Poetry” Featured Poet/Author Links:

Sue Vincent (December)

Sue Vincent (April)

Geoff Le Pard (October)

Frank Prem (August)

Victoria Zigler (March)

Colleen M. Chesebro (February)

K. Morris (July)

Annette Rochelle Aben (May)

Jude Kirya Itakali

Roberta Eaton Cheadle (Host)

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Treasuring Poetry: Meet poet and author, Ritu Bhathal, and read about her thoughts on poetry

Today, I am delighted to feature Ritu Bhathal, talented poet and author, as my Treasuring Poetry guest. Ritu has a lovely poetry book, Poetic RITUals, a romance, Marriage Unarranged, and is a contributor to This is Lockdown, compiled and edited by MJ Mallen.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

There are a lot of poems I have written, which resonate, but one of my favourites will always be this one:

From Twinkle To Reality

Let me take you down that road,

Much travelled through eternity

The journey to become a mum,

From twinkle to reality.

The plans you make at a young age,

Full of gurgles and laughter,

The horror as you realise,

What really does come after!

The fun of trying,

The monthly wait.

The disappointment,

That feeling, you hate…

The years of trying,

Full of hospitals and checks,

The medication taking you over,

You feel like total wrecks…

Then finally, the day comes

That positive is clear

The goal that you were aiming for,

Has suddenly come near.

The months of fascination,

Your changing body grows

The feeling of satisfaction

That only you can know.

Those pain-filled days, or hours

To reach the prize you sought

The feeling of satisfaction

That this little bundle brought.

I gaze at you in wonder

Are you really here?

I’m overwhelmed with happiness

And a tiny bit of fear.

Will I be able to give to you

All you want and need?

As you look at me, wide eyed

Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God

My heart is filled with joy

I will do all I can for you,

My darling baby boy.

And so the cycle continues

The waits and checks again

We’re gifted with a gorgeous girl

After a little more pain.

My life is here with me right now

Some twinkles from my eyes.

But I’ll never forget those twinkles

That now, do grace the skies… 

A lovely poem, Ritu, that all parents can relate to. I can see why it is your favourite.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

This poem is dedicated to my wonderful children, recognising the struggles to have them, and remembering my 2 angels lighting the sky at night. The words just came to me, one day, as I was running a bath. The poem formed within ten minutes, and garnered a great interest on my blog when I published it, and on my anthology, Poetic RITUals.

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

I have learned a lot about poetry, since I began blogging. I do love simple rhyming couplets and four-line rhyming verses, but I also love the succinct haiku, senryu and tanka forms. It’s amazing how much you can convey in such few syllables.

Which genre of poetry do you enjoy reading the most?

I don’t have a favourite genre of poetry to read. I find that, depending on the subject, all forms can appeal. Sometimes freeform poetry speaks to me, sometimes it is the simple abab rhymes. And who doesn’t love a limerick?

What is your favourite poem?

I have to say I don’t have a strict favourite poem, but I am a huge fan of Pam Ayres.

Here is a great one!

YES I’LL MARRY YOU MY DEAR

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear.
And here’s the reason why.
So I can push you out of bed,
When the baby starts to cry.
And if we hear a knocking,
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch, you see,
And you investigate.

Yes I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it.
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That little sexy dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I just do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!!!

It’s you who has to work the drill
And put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT, it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so, before you see the light,
I DO, I DO, I DO!!

Haha, Ritu, you had better hope Hubby Dearest does not read this.

Poetic RITUals

What Amazon says

Delve into a book of verse exploring different topics and different genres, all with a RITUal twist.
A collection of poetry drawing on the experiences of the writer, ranging from matters of the heart, love for the family, situations in life and some verses written with a humorous twist.

My review

This is a delightful book of poetry with a lot of variety in the tone and content of the poems. They are all written from a very human perspective and cover the day-to-day life of a Mother of two, wife and employee with a lovely twist of humour. As all of these things myself, I found the verses to be very relatable. The book is divided into four sections which each deal with different aspects of life, namely, Family RITUals, Life rituals, Rituals of the heart and Rituals to make you smile.

Who could not enjoy such words as the following:

“Snuggled close while you feed.

Little blessing, sent from God

My heart is filled with joy”

This took me right back to those first days as a Mother and the closeness of cuddling your new-born and breastfeeding.

“A cough or sniffle, fever, rash

You wish you could

make them well

but other than love, and Calpol

It’s a parent’s

Form of Hell”

As a Mother of a child with a chronic illness, this verse had me nodding my head in agreement and feeling Ritu’s anguish.

I would recommend this book which is a keeper. A book to delve into for a smile when life gets heavy going.

Purchase Poetic RITUals

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Other books

You can read my review of Marriage Unarranged here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1UMFET10EPA4M

This Is Lockdown: COVID19 Diaries Flash Fiction Poetry

You can read my review of This is Lockdown here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R10H47WGGWTVWT

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books 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. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.

Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook

Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)

Poetry book:
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)

Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate

Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Spellbound
Nightmareland
Dark Visions

Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past

Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.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.

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.