Sunrise by Mary Oliver

Recently I have been reading a lot of poems by the amazing poet Mary Oliver. Here’s one that I really love.

This picture I took is actually of a sunset but it's going to have to work.

This picture I took is actually of a sunset but it’s going to have to work.

Sunrise by Mary Oliver

You can
die for it–
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
brilliantly,
letting
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
creating
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

blazes
for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
fire.

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The Only Remnants

Here’s a sonnet that I recently had to write for my English class. We’ve been taking a look at some of Shakespeare’s sonnets and are now experimenting with our own.

A picture I took a few days ago.

A picture I took a few days ago.

And soon we’ll all be numbers etched in stone,
our days faceless and stretched between two dates.
Faded photos in tatters, left alone–
the only remnants of a once rosy face.
With the ever moving tick of the world
day will pass to day and memories will die
fond thoughts and dreams will cease to whirl
neither gold nor silver can it defy.
The stiff rule of the grave’s embrace may not
be bought when life has withered in its way
so while days are long invest in what you’ve got
take all your love and give it away.
Share what clings to your heart, what’s glory filled
by sharing this glory your revel is stilled.

My November Guest by Robert Frost

Today is the last day of my Thirty Day Challenge of blogging everyday. I am happy to say that this month has been a success. Even though I was tempted to skip sometimes, I never missed a day. As a result, the daily traffic on my blog has more than doubled and I’ve been able to share my writing with so many other people. I totally recommend doing this to bloggers who love to write but typically hesitate before posting because they are a giant over-analyzing perfectionists.

To end this month I will post another one of my Robert Frost favorites that relates to next month, November.

A picture I took a few days ago.

A picture I took a few days ago.

My November Guest by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

If you like Robert Frost, check out some more of his poems that I’ve posted like October and Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Musings From a Fall Day

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A picture I took this weekend.

For today’s post I’ve decided to feature some of my little sister’s writing. This weekend while on a hike she was so inspired by everything around her that I had to pass her my notebook and tell her to write down the thoughts (quite visably) bouncing around her brain.

So, here is one of the first creative writing pieces done by my 13 year old sister, Annamaria.

It is a a rock’s natural ability is to crush things, it’s not his fault. A gentle leaf struggles to stay above the surface, but it’s fate is inevitable. Its holes and cracks will crumble while its short, uneventful life will never be seen again– not that many have seen it before. But the rock is still sitting as everything is fluttering around, dreaming, living. What is the rock to do? It watches the leaf’s short, wonderful life…end. Small, trapped, dying. What is it to do?

The Thought Of Something Else– Wendell Berry

“…that old dream of going, of becoming a better man just by getting up and going to a better place.”

A picture I took today.

A picture I took today.

Here is one of my favorite poems.
The Thought of Something Else by Wendell Berry.

1.

A spring wind blowing
the smell of the ground
through the intersections of traffic,
the mind turns, seeks a new
nativity—another place,
simpler, less weighted
by what has already been.

Another place!
it’s enough to grieve me—
that old dream of going,
of becoming a better man
just by getting up and going
to a better place.

2.

The mystery. The old
unaccountable unfolding.
The iron trees in the park
suddenly remember forests.
It becomes possible to think of going

3.

—a place where thought
can take its shape
as quietly in the mind
as water in a pitcher,
or a man can be
safely without thought
—see the day begin
and lean back,
a simple wakefulness filling
perfectly
the spaces among the leaves.

All Too Soon

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
–John Ruskin

all too soon

Today was such a beautiful autumn day. It makes me glad I live in New England.

The dead leaves sweep
through the winding roads
always moving with the wind

The bare trees stretch
out to the distant sky
reaching and reaching

The dim sun fades
into purple dusk
all too soon

The Sleeper in the Valley

Today in my French class I read some more great poems.  Here’s one that I really love called “Le Dormeur du Val” by Arthur Rimbaud in both French and English.

sleeper in the valley
The Sleeper in the Valley

It’s a green hollow where a river sings
Madly catching white tatters in the grass.
Where the sun on the proud mountain rings:
It’s a little valley, foaming like light in a glass.

A conscript, open-mouthed, his bare head
And bare neck bathed in the cool blue cress,
Sleeps: stretched out, under the sky, on grass,
Pale where the light rains down on his green bed.

Feet in the yellow flags, he sleeps. Smiling
As a sick child might smile, he’s dozing.
Nature, rock him warmly: he is cold.

The scents no longer make his nostrils twitch:
He sleeps in the sunlight, one hand on his chest,
Tranquil. In his right side, there are two red holes.

Et maintenant la version originale en français

C’est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière,
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent ; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit : c’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.

Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort ; il est étendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme :
Nature, berce-le chaudement : il a froid.

Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine ;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

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Every week I am excited to get an email from this website I’m subscribed to called Brain Pickings. It features posts on interesting ideas, insights, inspiration on anything from science to poetry.

This week in their newsletter an article on John Steinbeck (my favorite) sparked my interest. Here he offers six tips on writing that I thought I’d share with you all!

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

*Be careful of number six if used in a public setting (source: experience)

Three Writing Lessons I’ve Learned From Blogging Everday

For the month of October I have taken on the 30 Day Challenge of posting on my blog everyday. It’s October 15th, the halfway point, and here are a few realizations I’ve come across that will make you want to challenge yourself too!

writing

  1. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” –Sylvia Plath

When it comes to writing, if you’re a perfectionist like me, you’re often your worst critic.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve written something and then kept it safely pressed inside my notebook to never to be seen by anyone because I thought it wasn’t finished.  With this challenge, I have no excuse to hide my work because I’m too worried about what other people think.  When I need a post for the day, I’m forced to put on display what I’d normally keep to myself.  The result?  Better than what you’d expect.  Some of the most popular posts on my blog ever are of poems I’ve written with no intention of showcasing in the blogging world.

2.  “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London

For writers it’s natural to pick up a pen and paper when revelation strikes.  But what about the days that troop by without any sudden flash of inspiration?  That’s when writing becomes difficult.  A challenge like this forces you to sit down, painstakingly pull words out of your unenlightened brain, and try to form coherent sentences with them.  You may not win a Pulitzer Prize every time, but this work ethic forces you to push your limits even when you’ve hit a wall.

3. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” –John Rohn

Right now I could probably think of a million different things I could be doing instead of blogging. With a busy schedule, loads of responsibilities and the effects of sleep deprivation after hours of homework kicking in, it’s easy to push writing aside, no matter how much I enjoy it.  But, how you spend your time is a great indicator of where your priorities are.  If one of your priorities in life is spending time doing the things that you love (like writing), then you shouldn’t let your mundane routine stifle your passion.  A challenge like this is perfect for making sure you find a way, not an excuse, to pursue what you love.