Henry Fonda Tea Rose

Henry Fonda Tea Rose
My Special Rose

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Our home sits among the trees on a hillside lot. It is difficult to walk, much less grow veggies here. The flower beds put in by the former owners are filled with hostas, azaleas and lovely rhododendrons, for which I am so grateful, but I do miss a little plot of ground to grow (or attempt to grow) some things to eat. When I go to Home Depot and see the variety of flowers and blooming shrubs,, I can't resist a few annuals for the color and beauty they add. However, I still find myself wandering by the vegetables sitting in their little peat moss pots, and I want to grab a basket full. I haven't the flat area of soil, I haven't enough sun, and I've reached the age when I can't get down there on my knees and dig those planting holes. I am frustrated.

We swore we wouldn't fool with those upside down hanging tomato baskets again. But, you know, hope springs eternal, so there they are. One year they were pretty successful, but last year, a nuisance and very few tomatoes. I still feel like I have to turn my head upside down to check on them. Wrens always build a nest in the top, even though I have to pour water on them. They fly out mad as can be, but go right back in again. Ms. Wren had better luck raising her babies than I had growing those tomatoes. Not enough sun, you see.

All last week I watched for places that got some sun for a few hours each day, and I think I have found me a spot about the size of a bathtub that might work. In addition, there's about 10 feet x one foot of space in front of the iris bed. Today I bought okra, sweet bell peppers, eggplant, two bush tomatoes and a pkg of bush beans. No corn, squash, or pumpkin, for obvious reasons. If I have to crawl to plant them, I will.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More About Nancy's Class at JC Campbell Folk School

Sometimes I think I have a condition called, in pilot's jargon: "Having My Head Up and Locked", because I failed to mention one of the highlights of the week with Karen, Robyn, Ruth, Barbara and, of course, Nancy Simpson. We had special visitors on Wednesday who came to tell us about their journeys from classes with Nancy to publication of chapbooks. Brenda Kay Ledford and Glenda Barrett joined us at Orchard House for great one on one discussions about their ups and downs and all arounds in this wonderful world of writing. Happily, they read us some of their best "stuff". It is a real thrill to hear a poet read their own writing,; that is when you really know where their voice lives. Many thanks to both these lovely people for coming to inspire our class, and an extra thanks to our instructor, Nancy, for this nice surprise.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Exploring Poetry With Nancy Simpson

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Poetry class at the John C. Campbell Folk School with Nancy Simpson as instructor. Three of us were day students, Karen Holmes, Barbara Groce, and myself. Barbara and I carpooled, and it made the long drive on winding narrow roads much more pleasant.
Mornings were spent discussing examples of lyrical, meditative and narrative poetry, and even an ancient style of poetry, the Pantoum. We read together Theodore Roethke's Journey into the interior and a selection from Mary Oliver's book Why I wake Early, called "Bone". I found Billy Collin's exerpt from his book, Picnic Lightning, called The Death of the Hat to be a fascinating example of Meditative poetry. When we began reading examples of Narrative poems, which tell a story, the two examples we studied were Bettie Sellers' , Liza's Monday and Robert Morgan's Mountain Bride. Both brought on great discussions, since their themes were mysterious and a bit scary.
After lunch, the five of us gathered in the computer lab and did our best to write examples of the type of poem we had discussed in the morning. If we managed to come up with something, Nancy led a critique session. We read our work, then passed it around for the others to make comments about. Some days we bloomed with creativity. Other days, nothing seemed to come out of my head but garble. Eventually, we all had something to read on Thursday evening to an audience that came to the Keith House to hear us. Nancy feels we were well received. No one worked harder than she did to bring out our best work.
The last day, Friday, I had to miss as I had to take Norman for a kidney stone procedure. Barbara Groce called and told me the class spent their last day talking about getting published, and Nancy gave me the materials she handed out, so that I wouldn't miss too much. It was such a worthwhile week, and meeting new friends was one of the best things about it.
I hope I have another opportunity to attend writing classes at the folk school. It's a wonderful place to be. Thanks so much to you, Nancy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Delightful Dorothea

This morning, "Coffee With the Poets" at Phillips and Lloyd featured Dorothea Spiegel. We who came were treated to a variety of poems from Dorothea's chapbook, "From my Desk". As Dorothea reads, you can hear the twinkle in her eye, telling you she doesn't take much in life too seriously. Her witty, insightful poems often have a little "twist" at the end, which always brings a smile, a sort of "Yes, that's so true!" moment for the listeners. One poem, however, caught me by surprise, because it revealed a passionate understanding of a man. Her man. Enjoy:
I said to myself, "How great a man!"
People listen to him, and his word is law",
and I watched you and glowed with pride,
but I carefully kept my feelings inside.
Then I saw you were a mortal man:
concerned, confused, guilt-ridden, shy,
kind-hearted, angry, hurt and proud,
and my feelings almost spoke aloud!
I asked myself, "What is a man?"
And now, my feelings all unleashed
here in your arms, at last I can
answer myself, "This is a man."
Dorothea Spiegel

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Moment of Reflection

Is there any season as welcome as Spring? So far, this has been as close to a traditional Spring as we have had here in the mountains in a long time. Two Springs ago, we were robbed of Georgia's famous sweet peaches, blueberries and all manner of fruit delicacies by an early false Spring, followed by a hard freeze that lasted five days. Even the lovely dogwood blossoms sagged on their branches, and beautiful hostas changed overnight to something resembling boiled cabbage. Spring last year was skimpy, so much being damaged the year before, and the drought took its toll, also. But this year, we've had these wonderful rains to bring the daffodils into glorious bloom while it was still quite cold. The rains have brought wonderful blessings of new growth, but a little sadness from time to time. Hence, my little poem:

A Small Daffodil

On my stroll back from the mailbox,
I see the much needed rain has beaten
my daffodils' faces down into the mud.

It seems unfair that a bulb waits
so many months, and dares at last
to risk all, in fickle Spring.

Yesterday, this one turned ruffled cheeks
toward Sun for warmth, and hoped
for a kiss, but gray clouds moved by.

Today, I shake off the rain, or tears, from
damaged petals, but see the broken stem.
One day to live, one heartbreak to die.

So, I tried to honor my special small daffodil.