Change on Change

Welcome to Poetry in the Evening.

We are connected to nature in ways that cannot be fully understood. Poetry allows us to explore the relationship with the world around us. “Change on Change’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a poem about lost love and change envisioned through the lens of changing seasons.

Love flourished through spring and summer, but when the cooler winds of autumn arrive, there has been a parting, a loss. What is left is the sound of the river and the blush on the poet’s cheeks.

With every transition, we are influenced by the events and experiences that have occurred. As winter comes nearer, the poet recognizes that she is no longer the person of the spring and summer months.

Transitions hold emotional nuances that have a poignancy that brings both sadness for what was, but also joy for what has been gained as we move forward.

I invite you to join me in reciting, Change on Change by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.



Change on Change

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

1.

Three months ago, the stream did flow,
    The lilies bloomed along the edge;
And we were lingering to and fro,—
Where none will track thee in this snow,
    Along the stream, beside the hedge.
Ah! sweet, be free to come and go;
    For if I do not hear thy foot,
    The frozen river is as mute,—
    The flowers have dried down to the root;
    And why, since these be changed since May,
        Shouldst thou change less than they?



   2.

And slow, slow as the winter snow,
    The tears have drifted to mine eyes;
And my two cheeks, three months ago,
Set blushing at thy praises so,
    Put paleness on for a disguise.
Ah! sweet, be free to praise and go;
    For if my face is turned to pale,
    It was thine oath that first did fail,—
    It was thy love proved false and frail!
    And why, since these be changed, I trow,
        Should I change less than thou?

This poem is in the public domain. 


Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay

This morning, I explored the origins of poetry.

Poetry was first heard through voice, rather than read from the pages of a book. It was an oral tradition. Poetry was the record-keeper of human experience, knowledge, and belief systems. As language developed, storytellers traveled from place to place reciting stories and collecting new legends and tales.

We are influenced by the ancients, even as we gather our stories into the chronicle of history.

As I recited Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Afternoon on a Hill” the question that came to mind was: Are poets influenced by poets who came before? The answer is a resounding yes!

For example, Mary Oliver was profoundly influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay when she lived for a brief time in Millay’s home helping Edna’s sister, Norma, sort Edna’s papers. Robert Frost influenced Edna St Vincent Millay. Going back further, Robert Frost was influenced by Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. Robert Graves was influenced by Siegfried Sassoon, Johann Jakob Bachofen, and W.H.R. Rivers. And so on…

Perhaps the most vital question is, who influences our creative spirit?

Join me in reciting “Afternoon on a Hill” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, imagining that we are hearing the summer sounds on a late afternoon.

Afternoon on a Hill

By Edna St. Vincent Milly


Purple Hydrangeas


I will be the gladdest thing
    Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
    And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
    And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
    Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
    And then start down!


Purple Hydrangeas

Poetry in the Evening with Robbie Cheadle

Welcome to Poetry in the Evening.

I am honoured that Robbie Cheadle has given me permission to recite her poem, “We love you, Daddy, from her book “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, a collection of unusual poems. This poem reminds me of my Father, who passed several years ago. Even now, the memories of our conversations, which go back to my childhood, strengthens my courage and builds my resilience.

Robbie Cheadle is a prolific writer whose book genres span the ages of children, young adults, and adults. In order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, she writes for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.



I invite you to join me in reciting Robbie Cheadle’s poem, “We love you, Daddy”.


We love you, Daddy

By Robbie Cheadle

Daddy, you must know
You’re our number one guy
When we’re right down low
And when we’re flying high
As tiny mites you tickled us
Which made us laugh and giggle
Told long family anecdotes
Which made us yawn and wriggle
You taught us to look after things
And made us clean our bikes
Polishing spokes ’til they shone
Still, something none of us likes
You are our first port of call
When things are going badly
Your help we all appreciate
Most gratefully and gladly
Our sister into labour went
While travelling in her car
You are the one she called
To come rushing from afar
As we travel our chosen path
Men will come and leave
But you will always be the best
We honestly believe

Behind Closed Doors, a collection of unusual poems by Robbie Cheadle

Cover design by Teagan R. Geneviene

Compiled and Edited by Kaye Lynne Booth

Butterfly Laughter

Summer gardens, butterflies and sunshine bring back memories of childhood. Today, I have walked through a Vancouver urban garden with Katherine Mansfield and heard her poetic words recalling scenes from her childhood.

Thank you for enjoying a summer afternoon with me and Katherine Mansfield.

Entry to Summer Garden

Butterfly Laughter

In the middle of our porridge plates
There was a blue butterfly painted
And each morning we tried who should reach the
butterfly first.
Then the Grandmother said: “Do not eat the poor
butterfly.”
That made us laugh.
Always she said it and always it started us laughing.
It seemed such a sweet little joke.
I was certain that one fine morning
The butterfly would fly out of our plates,
Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world,
And perch on the Grandmother’s lap.

Entry to summer garden

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp was a New Zealander poet, essayist, short story writer, and journalist from the Modernist movement. Her writings explore complex issues that allow us to reflect upon the essentials of life. Her stories and poetry are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages.

What I did not know until today is that Katherine’s elder first cousin was Elizabeth von Arnim, the best-selling novelist who gave us the vibrant adventure of four women who travelled to Italy in her book, “The Enchanted April” (1922).

I am heading down another rabbit hole to find out more about the friendship between Katherine and Elizabeth.

Butterfly perched on a flower.

Poetry In The Evening

Edgar Allan Poe described poetry as “the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”

When I was in high school, I envisioned poets with an aging grace, sitting at a table by candlelight using a quill pen. I never imagined that poets could begin as young and vibrant outliers who changed the world with words.

Poetry is more of a verb than a noun.

When I read poetry out loud to an empty room or under trees, I sense a call back coming from the world around me, reminding me that words ignite our imagination. Poetry encourages us to explore a deeper understanding of our connection to the present, even as it places us within the history of humanity.

This past week, Colleen Chesebro introduced me to the art of crafting syllabic poetry.

Colleen believes that the art of crafting poetry strengthens our writing skills. In her book, Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry, she writes: “When we create poetry, we gain command of language; cultivate a healthy vocabulary, master literary devices such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, hyperbole, and allegory. We learn to work in imagery.”

I am thrilled that Colleen gave her permission to recite her poem, “Luna’s Soft Glow.”

silver Luna’s soft glow highlights night
sky echoes stars, hoarfrost lace glints
upon fallen leaves of gold
tree shadow skeletons
shiver in the wind
autumn rushes
in the cold
before
dawn.

Colleen M. Chesebro
Word Weaving # 1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

Until next time we meet, keep reading and reciting poetry.

James Bay Coffee & Books

My father taught me that in every city, a used bookstore is waiting to be explored!

Traveling to Victoria, British Columbia a few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover James Bay Coffee and Books located at 143 Menzies Street. I invite you to visit this remarkable treasure house of books with me!


A town isn’t a town without a bookstore

Neil Gaiman



Please buy books! They contain centuries of practical knowledge, wise insights and slowly absorbed pleasures. They will remain an easily accessible technology, not easily deleted or altered by the latest powers that be. 

James Bay Coffee & Books