Monday, May 23, 2022

Beautiful Butterflies

 Yesterday, while working in my garden, lo and behold I saw my first butterfly of the season...a beautiful swallowtail! Well, it is Spring! The fanciful site inspired me to share  one of my favorite rhyming poems, a butterfly poem, "Sky Dancers." Enjoy!


Swallowtail Butterfly

Image credit: butterflyidentification.com

SKY DANCERS

 

There's something happy about butterflies.

They flit-flitter as they flutter by,

flying flowers against the azure sky.

 

They alight upon the milkweed, and then

they circle, soar and alight again,

toe-dancing on pink petals in the glen.

 

Ever dwelling in hue and sweet fragrance,

in garden splendor they flicker as they dance.

Pollination is purely happenstance.

 

I delight in their overflow of joy.

(They wouldn't even know how to be coy.)

A flame of mirth! A whirligig! A toy!

 

Do they recall they once were grubby worms,

remember well their dark and squiggly squirms?

Reborn, now grace and beauty each affirms!

 

This almost seems to be sheer fantasy,

sky dancers as enchanting as can be,

springing from blossoms right in front of me!

 

So, merrily a-nectaring they go,

reaping and sowing sweetness in day-glow…

Seems they have learned what all of us should know.

 

In contemplation of their simple ways,

I wish to add their ballet to my days,

to sky dance gracefully on wings of praise!

 

Maude Carolan Pych


Image credit: pbs.org


For more poems by Maude

or to order her books

visit her website at www.maudecarolanpych.net.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

"Pieces Falling" by Ann Van Hine

 PIECES FALLING


By Ann Van Hine

Navigating 9/11 with Faith, Family, and the FDNY

One woman's journey

Ann Van Hine is a friend and fellow member of the North Jersey Christian Writers Group (NJCWG). She is the widow of a fallen 9/11 firefighter. I just finished reading Ann's book and would like to take this opportunity to highly recommend it to others. "Pieces Falling," tells Ann's story of navigating the very personal loss of her husband, Bruce--a New York City firefighter who died on 9/11--amid the very public tragedy that shocked the world. 

Her book is published by Illumiex Media.com and is available at Amazon.com.


Since I'm featuring Ann's book about 9/11 today, I'll stay with the theme and post a poem that I wrote shortly after that horrific event. More than twenty years have passed but that day still weighs heavily on our hearts.


WAITING WITH ARMS OUTSTRETCHED

Written in the wake of the September 11, 2001, Attack on America

  

We’ve been told God doesn’t belong in our schools

He doesn’t belong in public buildings

not in the town square, not at baseball games

We may not pray to Him in our classrooms

His Name has been shushed from graduations

Our witness at work has been silenced

Crèches and menorahs have been removed from government properties

and replaced with roly-poly Santas, tinseled trees and dreidels

Christmas and Hanukkah have been neutered

with wishes of “season’s greetings,” “happy holidays”

We’ve been closeted by the separation of church and state

in this free country founded as a safe haven for religious freedom

 

but when those 767s flew into those magnificent towers on September 11th

when those great towers imploded, when thousands died tragically

and shockwaves of grief and terror riveted our planet

suddenly our churches filled

God’s name arose boldly on banners all across the land

It was posted, plastered, scrawled, and spoken

prayed to by the President, our leaders, newsmen

It appeared on school message boards

bumper stickers, lapel pins, buttons

It was superimposed upon flag decals glued to our windowpanes

It was emblazoned upon our chests on patriotic T-shirts

and it appeared over and over and over on subway prayer walls

along with Scotch-taped photos of those who were missing

Thousands proclaimed it loud and clear

at candlelight vigils and a prayer service at Yankee Stadium

and we all sang it with tears

“God Bless America,” our truer anthem

 

If we’ve been complacent; if we’ve swept Him aside

packed Him away in attic trunks

with things we thought we wouldn’t need anymore

He’s waiting with arms outstretched

love streaming from His eyes

and we need Him to heal our shattered hearts

 

Oh, let’s keep the “God Bless” in our “America”

and Americans, let us “Bless God”

O let us never let go of Him again

 

Maude Carolan


Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Poem About Mother

 Happy Mother's Day

I'm posting a photograph of my mother at my wedding in 1964.

This was before we were enlightened about not wearing animal furs for fashion.

My poem is about Mom donning a mink stole this solitary day in her life.

Frances Longo Walsh 1915-1966


A MINK FOR MOM

 

Mom had no interest in fashion—

At home, she wore a cotton housedress

with a bib-front apron over it

trimmed with a bit of rickrack or piping

Two work dresses were enough

one to wear, one to air on the clothesline

There was nothing fussy about her

She didn’t mind if her coat was a bit frayed

around the cuffs. It was warm

Didn’t care if her clothes

were up to the minute

if her hemlines were the right length

if her lipstick was a popular shade

or her hair, the latest style

 

Mom hardly ever got all dressed up

except on the rarest occasions

a New Year’s Eve, perhaps

when she would put on

her black dress and pumps

a rhinestone necklace and earrings

from the back of her bureau drawer

and to us, she looked like a queen

 

That’s when she and dad would go

with our neighbors, the Komorowskis

to Tammany Hall Bar in Secaucus

It was owned by Henry B. Krajewski

the pig farmer who repeatedly ran

for president, then governor, then senator

although he never won an election

They would have a rollicking

good time drinking Polish beer

and eating pierogis and kielbasy

and come home in the wee hours

with noisemakers, silly hats

and Krajewski’s latest campaign buttons

 

When I was planning my wedding

Mom did all she could to help

She worked part-time at Quackenbush’s

and was able to order the gown

of my dreams using her 20% discount

We selected my veil, my shoes

shopped for this, bought that

She made it all about me

 

but I wanted it to be about her, too

so we found a lovely blue gown

its bodice embellished with sequins

(I don’t think my mother had ever

worn a gown before

or anything with sequins)

Then we shopped for accessories

and waited for the big day

 

My fiancé had given me

a beautiful white fox stole to wear

on our November wedding day

then I learned his mother

planned to wear her mink

(This was in the ’60s

before animal activists picketed

and protested the wearing of furs)

I wanted my mom to look just as elegant

as my mother-in-law

so I rented a stole for her to wear

 

Unaccustomed to such luxuriousness

I could see she felt awkward

watched her squirm and fidget

unsure about what to do

wrapped up in all that finery

 

but I also knew she felt cherished

deeply, deeply cherished

 

I still have a photograph of her—

my mom, my queen

mother-of-the-bride…in mink!

 

Maude Carolan Pych



For information about ordering Maude's books
visit her website at www.maudecarolanpych.net.

maudecpych@gmail.com





Sunday, May 1, 2022

21st Annual Arts Festival

 Congratulations, Artists!

Yes! Congratulations to all the artists, photographers, and poets who won awards at the 21st Annual Festival of the Arts, held this weekend at St. Francis School in Haskell, NJ. It was a wonderful event, a favorite that I look forward to year after year. I didn't win any awards this time, but it was still great fun to participate and I definitely enjoyed viewing the artistic entries and listening to the musical presentations, and of course...the poetry!

I'm pleased to share with you one of the poems I entered and read at the festival poetry reading last night. It's titled, "Identifying With Those Sleepy Disciples."

Maude reading poems at Art Festival, St. Francis School, Haskell, NJ.



Image credit: dreamstime.com


IDENTIFYING WITH THOSE SLEEPY DISCIPLES

 

There’ve been times I attended

the Friday night service

at my church

after a busy work-week

and although my pastor’s messages

are always interesting

and often profound

and even though I determine

to pay close attention, still

 

on more occasions

than I care to admit

my heavy eyelids droop

my head nods

and the pen in my hand

makes a jagged mark

across the page of my Bible

or worse, the Bible slides

off my lap, and slips onto the floor

 

As a result

I’ve missed significant portions

of the message, and flushed

with embarrassment and shame

 

That’s when I remember

Peter, James, and John

those sleepy disciples, who

on that fateful evening

after enjoying the Passover meal

walked with Jesus

to the Garden of Gethsemane

 

then Our Lord, filled with anguish

asked them to watch and pray

for His time was at hand

 

I’m sure they wanted

to be supportive, wanted to pray

but their weak flesh got the better of them

and they fell fast asleep

 

That’s when I give them grace

as Jesus surely did

and as He surely gives to me

 

That’s when I forgive myself

and vow to stay awake and alert

next time

 

Maude Carolan Pych