year-end thoughts

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It’s been a quiet week between, as I reckon it should be. I had a morning of thrifting followed by lunch with a good friend on Wednesday, but since then I and the pets have mostly been nesting and enjoying the lazy days (James sadly could not join in, as he returned to work on Tuesday).

I love this week between, the time to reflect and begin to plan for the coming year. I am not so much a resolution maker, but I do find it meaningful to take stock and look ahead at the start of each new year. And this is true whether the year has been obviously eventful and full of much growth (as has been the case the past couple years, since I had my job outsourced and then began my fine art and design studies) or a seemingly tame one with only subtle shifts of mindset and focus — a year to pause and breathe.

Despite the at times heart-breaking and awful world in which we live, I still try to face each day, as well as the coming year, full of hope and love, reminding myself of William Blake’s wisdom, that our lives are woven of both joy and woe, if I ever find myself questioning the beauty of our day to day. And looking at the #2016bestnine photos from my Instagram account this past year, I feel very blessed indeed.

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Now off to prepare our NYE party nibbles! Wishing you all the best now and in 2017!

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seed

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seed by chung dong-muk

while picking bamboo shoots

it occurred to me

that it would make me happy

if it were me

standing here and not you

on the day the sun set so fast

i returned to that place again

you were not there but i was

and on a snowy day

when i returned to see you once more

finally i could see that

you were not there but you were

standing in a row and winding

along a row that leads to that spot

snow day

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Snow Day

BY BILLY COLLINS

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows
the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.
In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news
that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—
the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.
So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.
And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.

spring!

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Vernal Vigor
by Chung Dong-muk
When the mighty wave surges
Over the icy cold water
Spring will shake off winter
Like a farewell to an old flame
Like dazzling wildflowers
The mouth opens
To breathe in the warm southern winds
Summer, fall, and winter will return
But none of this before
Spring, bright with laughter, has bloomed.

****

And right on time, the snowdrops on Baldy Hill have arrived. 🙂 Happy spring!!

days

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Days

by Billy Collins

Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.
Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.
Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow
on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.
No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday
you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
without the slightest clink.

christmas sparrow

The View From Our Window

Christmas Sparrow

by Billy Collins

The first thing I heard this morning
was a soft, insistent rustle,
the rapid flapping of wings
against glass as it turned out,

a small bird rioting
in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of transparency into the spacious light.

A noise in the throat of the cat
hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap in a basement door,
and later released from the soft clench of teeth.

Up on a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a small towel and carried it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, it burst
from my uncupped hands into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
and disappearing over a tall row of hemlocks.

Still, for the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms whenever I thought
about the hours the bird must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,

its eyes open, like mine as I lie here tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.

[little tree]

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[little tree]

by e. e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”