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Invictus

 

My grandmother who is pictured above, Jean Castrovinci, asked me to memorize this poem by William Ernest Henley. It was one of her favorites, and she said to me. “You will need these words, one day.”  Oh, how right she was. This poem has served me well in many instances.

The photo of my grandmother was taken in the 1920s.

INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole.
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced, nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed. 

In this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gait
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. 

Christmas Poem

Christmas Poem

 

I have been alone on Christmas.

I have leaned my forehead on the kitchen window

Melting the frost outside until the water  

Ran down the glass in rivulets.

Sick with grief, I could only think if I’d been better

Christmas would not have escaped me.

Years later, I am still fragile,

But I am now stronger than the night,

And my heart burns brighter than Venus

In the early morning sky.

I know now, I am not alone. 

The heart of the Christ child will 

Always guide me and point me to

The Star of Bethlehem. 

 

Note to ALL my Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccan, and LGBQ readers: I wish you safety, joy, good health, peace, prosperity, a million belly-laughs for 2017, and the joy of creativity. Most of all, I wish you love. xoxo

 

 

 

An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

I’ve always loved Dolly. She is an example of all that is good in humanity.

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

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I Want to Ride a Butterfly to the Moon

My friend and mentor, B. Aline Blanchard’s poem, I Want to Ride a Butterfly to the Moon, inspired composer G. Paul Naeger to write this wonderful orchestral piece. Here, Aline recites the poem with the Orchestra on the Hill behind her. Such beauty!

 

Composer G. Paul Naeger
Performed by Orchestra on the Hill

Poetry, Narration and Photographs by B. Aline Blanchard

Animation by Chris Florio and Caleb Owen

“Non-Racist Trump Voters” Have a Moral Obligation to Stand Up to Hate

Dear Trump Voters, I’ve seen a lot of you being very angry at being assumed a racist. I’ve seen you claiming you love everybody and believe your “rough around the edges” candidate really does too, …

Source: “Non-Racist Trump Voters” Have a Moral Obligation to Stand Up to Hate

The Inky Binky Spider…

The Inky Binky Spider…

With weeks to go until the election, I’m wandering the globe, shaking my head.

I took the photo of this spider today, and of course, I put it through the hoops of cropping, and processing.

I wanted to see the spider–the one I dreaded falling onto my arm as I extended my camera–because I’m not sure that once this election is done, I’ll be able to differentiate between the spider and its web.

Have You Met My Friend, Proust?

Have You Met My Friend, Proust?

Proust was a man of many words.
If you could say it in five,
He’d say the same thing in 50,
and I loved every line.

So often, I find myself
staring at the empty page
seeing a polar bear
in a blizzard eating snow.

My words become
Lightning bugs
Signaling in the night;
only to disappear
as I draw close –
twisting my ankles
on the roots of despair.

Hats off to you, Marcel.
It took you 54 pages
to give your mother
a kiss goodnight and
It took me 30 years to read
Remembrances of Things Past.

I suppose somewhere in
the Universe, that makes us
Even Steven.

Just one thing before you go
back on the shelf–
May I borrow your pen?

 

NOT A PHOTO OF MARCEL PROUST:

The photo is of my great-great-grandfather, John George Stubenbord (1844-1914). He was 27 when Marcel Proust was born, and from the buzz handed down in the family, he was a good man. i have no idea how many words he’d have used to describe my poem.