Poetry Friday: “New Year”

New Year

Another new year’s eve,
hope and promise drawing near.
Celebration bittersweet;
I mourn
another year.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllMary Lee & Frankie at A Year of Reading have today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Autumn’s Palette, unveiled!

Since we’re still in the midst of the holidays, I’m still on a small pseudo-hiatus. The family spent Christmas together last week – which is why I was absent from the Poetry Friday festivities -and this week is just as busy!

New Year’s Eve is, of course, this Friday…our first big storm of the season is upon us as I write this…my son turns 6 years old TODAY…and since he’s home from school this week due to the holiday break, we’re spending some extra time together. But there is one thing I wanted to make sure I shared with you:

Carol Varsalona’s “Autumn Palette” is live! The children’s educator/writer has pulled together a huge assortment of children’s poetry and photos celebrating that most colourful of seasons, and it’s now available for viewing. Two of my poems are included, and I hope you like them.

Children’s writers and poets from all over share their thoughts on autumn and each poem is paired with a photo, creating a giant gallery of ekphrastic wonder! (and if you don’t know what that is, look it up!)

You can find the gallery HERE – so please check it out, and leave a comment so Carol knows you visited. She’d love to hear from you! Enjoy your holidays, enjoy your first days of winter, and enjoy the beauty of fall with Carol’s “Autumn Palette!”

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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Cookies vs. Blog

Christmas time’s a-comin’…

This is going to be a short post because I have a number of pressing issues I need to attend to.

Like cookies.

You see, construction work on our house was finally completed this past Sunday ($20,000 worth of ice dam damage from last winter!), and only now can the family and I dive into all our Christmas traditions that we’ve put on hold.

Like cookies!

Yes, I need to get voiceover work done. I have a new picture book manuscript I need to start sending out. I have CYBILS-nominated books I need to read and judge. And the house – especially the upstairs – is in such a state of disruption that it’s hard to find the floor, much less anything else. But I’m determined not to let the important aspects of the holiday slip by.

Like cookies!

Oh, I have cards to send, stockings to hang, gifts to wrap…and a slew of other responsibilities like taking care of the kids while mom’s at work. A guy needs to have his priorities straight, though.

First, we set up the Nativity scene on top of the dining room bureau. This is, of course, what Christmas is all about. Then the outdoor lights went up. Then the 4-foot-tall fake tree was erected in the sun room, since we had no room for a real tree this year.

Pretty much all of that was done before construction began. Unfortunately, we had to put a hold on everything while walls were ripped open, siding was replaced, roofing was redone, and drywall was plastered.

But construction is complete, finally! (New paint and floors are still to come, but we’ll take care of that next year) So it’s time to rejoice in the spirit of the season! The advent wreath is on the table. The shopping is done. Our Christmas mass plans are nailed down.

There’s just one thing that absolutely, positively, needs to be taken care of at this point.

Cookies!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “What the Snow Clouds Know”

I originally wrote this poem early this year as a challenge from poet Joyce Sidman on writer/blogger Michelle H. Barnes’ blog. Since we’re only a week away from Christmas with still no snow in the forecast, I thought I’d share it today!

What The Snow Clouds Know

What’s born above will soon be gone
to comfort what it falls upon.
Beauty blooms before the dawn.
This the snow clouds know.

Limbs are weak; snow is strong.
Days are short; nights are long.
Coyote sings a lonesome song;
this the snow clouds know.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulllLooking for more poetry? Please visit my fellow New Hampshire-ite Diane Mayr at Random Noodling for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “At the End of Her Ninth”

We said goodbye to my cat, Cleo, last week. She was 17 1/2 years old – so it really felt like losing a big part of the family. She was like my daughter, my wife, my grandmother, and my angry next door neighbor all rolled into one.

At the End of her Ninth

Cleo - 17 years oldThe click of claws, wail
unmistakable,
proclivity for curiosity
unshakeable,
feline force of will
unbreakable…
mouths one last, silent
meow.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Please be sure to visit Tara Smith at A Teaching Life for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

In a season of expectations, find peace in reality

My expectations have been too high.

For what?

A lot of things, actually…but I’m trying to change that.

This time of year is filled with expectations: the arrival of Jesus, the arrival of winter, the hope of a new year, and myriad other things.

In fact, our church has been using the concept of “Great Expectations” as a theme for Advent this year. Because of that, I’ve been making an effort to adjust my own expectations…in many ways.

from Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations"

The problem with expectations

It’s fine to look forward to certain things and get excited about what’s in store for the future – whether it’s preparing for parties, unwrapping gifts, or simply getting to work on time. But the problem is, very often, our expectations are far different from reality.

Religiously speaking, as our pastor explained, the Israelites of Jesus’ day were expecting a king in the manner of King David: a warrior, fighter, take-charge kind of guy who would march right in and restore their kingdom. So when they began thinking Jesus may be the one, they got their hopes up based on their expectations of what their king would be like.

However, when Jesus instead preached peace and love, refused to take any role in the government, and allowed Himself to be persecuted and tortured, they were so aghast they rose up against Him. He did not live up to their expectations.

Likewise, in our personal and secular lives, our expectations often get in the way of us enjoying life when reality sets in. A few examples…

Long lines at the mall…who’d have known??

People always complain about waiting in lines at stores this time of year. Everyone is shopping and everyone is in a hurry – so when everyone gets in line to check out, everyone gets annoyed.

Not me. In this particular case, I understand expectation vs. reality.

I assume that I’m going to be in line for at least half an hour. No, I probably won’t be in line for that long, but that’s what I tell myself to expect. Then, when I end up only being in line for 20 minutes, I feel like I’m 10 minutes ahead of the game!

And you know what? My day is not ruined and I leave the store with a smile.

Assuming, of course, my 2-year-old daughter isn’t screaming.

Speaking of high expectations…

Expecting my daughter to not scream about something is unrealistic. Remember what I said at the beginning of this post about my expectations being too high lately? This is what I was talking about.

You see, she stopped taking regular naps a few weeks ago, which is killing me – I have no more time to work, other than the evening. This means I cannot market my voiceover business, write children’s books and poetry, or even update a blog until after the kids are in bed.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time; 2-3 hours is about all I have, if I want to spend any quality time with my wife. Consequently, my paychecks have plummeted while my anxiety has skyrocketed. And my expectations have been so far off from reality it’s driving my nuts!

I keep hoping my daughter will take a nap, but of course she doesn’t. I keep expecting her to not draw on the floor with Sharpies while I’m cleaning the cat pan, but she does. I keep expecting her to not play in the cat pan while I’m wiping off Sharpie from the floor, but she does that, too.

I keep anticipating that today is the day she won’t fight and flail and scream because I want her to wear long pants instead of a summer skirt.

But it never is.

Today was different!

No, she didn’t change. What changed were my expectations.

I woke up this morning assuming I’d get absolutely nothing done.

Call me defeatest, but I was simply trying to be realistic! Anyone with kids knows how hard it is to clean a house with a 2-year-old around: as soon as you fold the clothes, the kid is climbing into the kitchen sink; as soon as you pull her out of the sink and wipe the counter, she’s throwing the folded laundry on the floor.

And somewhere in the midst of it all, she’s finding another Sharpie that we thought we had hid and is drawing on a wall.

Or her face.

Speaking of Christmas and my daughter…hard to believe she was just 4 months old on her first Christmas!

So today, I tried something different. I planned to accomplish nothing – and it worked! I didn’t expect to get the dishes put away and reload the dishwasher, but I did. I didn’t expect to be able to get some yard work done, but I did! I didn’t expect to be able to get any voice work done, but —

Oh, wait. I still wasn’t able to do that.

Dang.

But by setting my expectations lower, I found I didn’t get upset or frustrated like I have been, and my daughter and I are both the better for that.

Revising expectations: not always lower…just different

I’m not saying you should always lower your expectations. I’m just suggesting that altering them to be more realistic is probably not a bad idea.

Should you expect a holiday bonus this year? Should you expect one as big or as little as last year? Should you expect to get a great parking spot at the mall two days before Christmas? Should you expect every driver on the road to always use their turn signals and never cut people off?

Should I expect to sell two more picture books next year??

Well…probably not. It’s not going to keep me from trying, certainly; setting a goal of selling two picture book manuscripts is absolutely worthwhile. But I’m not expecting that to happen. I sold one this past year, so the expectation of selling two the following year may be a bit too ambitious.

Oh, and by the way…now that I no longer expect to be able to decorate for the holidays due to the massive construction work at our house, I’m much more at ease. I am, however, still coming to terms with my office/studio being crammed full and covered in plastic:

house 1 house 2 house 3

YOUR “Great Expectations”

Is there some area in your life where you find that reality is not in line with your expectations? Do you know of any ways that you or other readers can alter our expectations about things, so we feel less disappointment and be more at peace with our lives and the world?

Myself, I’m still a relatively new player to the publishing game and have two poems coming out in two separate anthologies in 2016, so I’ll be happy if I sell at least a couple more poems.

I also expect to gain at least one new voiceover client within the first half of the year – far less than I should, but considering my parenting situation, I really cannot expect much more!

I also expect that the new Star Wars movie is going to rock our planet with awesomeness far beyond all expectations!

That’s not too much to expect, is it?

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up!

Poetry Cubed logo

Today’s the day!

Earlier this month, I challenged readers to come up with a poem utilizing imagery from these three pictures:

 IMG_0637 

It’s a little contest I call “Poetry…Cubed!”and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, how good you are – or how good a job you do writing the poem – is less important than your willingness to tackle the challenge. (Remember what I’ve said before: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!)

So now that November is over, I can share all of the poems that have been submitted:
.

The Visit
I won’t be alone
Tonight in my small cabin.
I’ll have company.
I’ll light a warm fire
and decorate with branches
for my puppet guest.
People think I’m odd.
But folks are disappointing.
Toys are constant friends.
– Deborah Holt Williams
.
.
A Seasonal Game

Autumn offers sweet solace
as Summer fades away
lulling us into complacency
while Winter lurks on our doorstep
Like syrup coating a bitter pill
it distracts us in early days
with brilliant splashes of color,
maple leaves and bittersweet,
the pulsing heat of a wood stove,
and camaraderie in the stands
where frosty cries fog the frigid air
as fans cheer the flying pigskin
Autumnal beauty hovers,
a neutral zone before
the full blitz of Winter’s winds,
But inexorably Winter slips in
and picks off those vibrant leaves
one by one
In its unrelenting offensive march
it drives forward and blasts us
into our homes to await
the tender shoots of Spring.

– Molly Hogan

.

Thanksgiving Day

Applauds
fumbles
Hike
pass
Last second
Five o’clock dinner-plate
Cranberries in a boil
Turkeys blazing in
Grandmas’ oven
Yesterday grandpa
Chops firewood
Tonight we bless
Those we love
Happy Thanksgiving

– Jessica Bigi
.

cbhanek cubed poem

– cbhanek

.
Under Wraps
How bitter it feels to be sweet when you’re not
When you lose what you love
And pretend you don’t care
When all’s gone that you’ve sought
The voice in your head says
Keep cool! Soldier on!
Hold still that façade
Soon the pain will be gone
So while you burn at your core
You keep a stiff lip
You’ve learned well how to hide it
That heart that’s too tender
The one that is falling
The one that you’re holding
So fast in your grip
.
– Leslie Lotz-Skimmings

.

West Virginia

Misty ghosts of
Blue-gray uniforms
Crowing mountains
Berry-leaved branches
Razing towards glory
Somehow not
As gram remember
Though still in
Her mountain beauty
The cools that warmed our stove
Grew snapdragons’ feet
Distrustful it is
Victory – victory
Streets a blaze
Grams remembering
The heroes that battled here and
The beauty of her mountain home
Lights a candle and prays

– Jessica Bigi
.

November Haiku

Autumn dances
in gusts of red, gold stars;
bittersweet flames

– Anonymous


Sweet Revenge

The stove burns brightly.
I’ve tricked them again,
fed bittersweet berries
and now they have lain
aside all their worries,
asleep as I sought.
Dear Hansel and Gretel –
now time for the pot.
Oh no! He’s awakened.
My plan to be slick
is failing, I’m falling
into my own trick.

– © Linda Baie 2015, All Rights Reserved

.
November

Autumn, in a bittersweet mood, once more
makes a puppet of me, puts me right here
next to the wood stove, makes me say
“I don’t know if the fire will catch,”
makes me turn and watch as the fire catches,
makes me turn back and clap my hands,
makes me say “Time for tea,” makes me dance
a little let’s-have-tea-by-the-fire two-step
just like last year and the year before.
I’m nothing in November if not predictable,
but it’s out if my hands, firmly in his:
Autumn, the puppeteer who paints the scenery,
pulls all my strings, knows all my lines,
and me, his well-loved marionette, his little toy.

– Julie Larios

.
Writing a Cubed Poem

Word jock
Writer’s block
Inspiration glows
Ink flows
Rhyming shoots
Cubed fruits!

– Karen Eastlund
.

Barbeque
Intermission
Tackle
Touchdown
Entertainment
Rally
Shout
Wallow
Evaluate
Enounced
Teams

F
O
O
T
B
A
L
L

Hot Coals
Under Feet
Go Team Go

– Jessica Bigi
.

Her, in November

Love’s seeds burst open
on the vine
as autumn plays its games;
the fire, ’tis sweet,
but once lit, none
dare try contain the flames.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

I love how the same three pictures can stir different thoughts, feelings, and images within different people. Thanks so much to everyone who submitted their work!

Out of all the poems entered, ONE lucky writer was chosen at random to receive his/her choice of:

And the winner is…

Leslie Lotz-Skimmings!

Congratulations, Leslie! Just send me an email letting me know which of these three prizes you would like, and I’ll get it to you! Thanks again to everyone who participated, and for even more poetry, please visit Buffy Silverman’s blog for today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!