U.S.A. I Love You!

The winter has ended and spring has arrived.
The jonquils bloom yellow in leaves of green.
They paint the courtyard in colors alive.
This house is empty and yet, it’s serene.
It’s filled with memories, happy and sad.
Kids played Red Rover and Hide and Go Seek.
A stay-at-home mom and a hard-working dad.
They prayed together each day of the week.
In spring of their lives, many joys came their way.
And sadness, too, changed their laughter to tears,
but they counted their blessings each night and day.
They held tight to their faith down through the years.
When winter brought sorrow and things went wrong,
they rejoiced in singing their nation’s song.

Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed.

Rain

Rain

Thunder boomed, and lightning flashed. The thunder roared louder. Wind rattled the windows and rain pounded the tin roof.  A
streak of lightning cracked a nearby oak, shattering it into splinters.  Michael shut the door and moved away from windows. The storm passed quickly and a light rain continued to fall. (Excerpt from my novel, Call of the Cadron.)    c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

I Thank You Sincerely

With 31 new poems written and posted, I’m  back at writing a short story. Before I begin today’s chapter, I want to say thanks to everyone who viewed, commented, or followed this blog during my poetry-writing month of January 2013.  Your interest amazes me and humbles me. I thank you sincerely.

This is a good time to also say thanks to Roland Mann,  mentor at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Writers’ Retreat, whose advice I followed to begin this blog. He also helped to set it up. Roland teaches Creative Writing at Full Sail University, Orlando, Florida.  His blog is an inspiration to writers as he shares his expertise in the publishing field.

I’d like to say a special thanks to my blog’s top three commenters, according to a WordPress summary. These bloggers have supported me from the beginning with their comments and I can’t thank them enough.  I’ve never met any of them, but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could?

My top three commenters, from the blog’s beginning a year ago, in this order are: Inger WilkersonCatherine Johnson, and Ginger Pruitt. (Ginger does not have a blog, but she is on Facebook)

Inger has a fabulous blog about recipes and healthy food. Her photos are awesome. Her notes attached with the recipes are like a welcoming invitation to dinner.  And you will want to try her recipes.

Catherine’s blog is a happy place to view, so full of life and adventure as she shares her poetry, her delightful reviews of children’s books and novels. She’s friendly and her blog is encouraging and helpful to writers,  poets and bloggers.

Ginger is someone I met through Facebook, and if she had a blog, it would be outstanding.  Her Facebook posts reflect her sense of humor.  Once she found that I write, and that I started the blog, she has faithfully commented with encouragement.

My top three posts with most views in January 2013 were: Book a Flight for Me, Wild Azaleas, Quotes from my diary and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

My top three topics were: Poetry, blogging, photos.

The views came from many countries.

Thanks, again, to all.

Freeda Baker Nichols,
a poet and a writer,
of Banner Mountain, USA

 

AN ILLINI SONNET (for my friends)

Pattern for the Illini sonnet:Fourteen lines written in three quatrains of iambic feet, using tetrameter and pentameter, concluding with an iambic pentameter couplet.  Each quatrain is set up with one tetrameter, two pentamter and one tetrameter.  Metric feet: (4-5-5-4, ) ( 4-5-5-4,) (  4-5-5-4.) The rhyme scheme is abca, bcdb, cdec, ee

For My Friends

I did not want to start a blog
until one day a mentor said I should
and so I took to heart his sage advice.
At first, my mind was full of smog.
I wondered how some bloggers could
create those posts that made their websites nice.
and then, I started out to write and share
some stories that I thought were good.
I wrote a post about blind mice
and not one blogger seemed to even care.
But then I found that I could write haiku.
Those little gems soon cracked the ice.
My blog took off when bloggers came to view.
And now my blogging friends are quite a few.

c Copyright, Freeda Baker Nichols

Christmas Hope

I cut the tree and pulled it up the path
where boots had left imprints in drifts of snow.Footprints in snow 009 

A song of love inside my heart released
old memories that stirred my soul to move
like dancing stars around a velvet vest.
So long ago I walked this way with him
and wore a gown of red with velvet vest
to find a tree just right for only two.
We cut it down with sharpened axe of steel
and laughingly foot-raced each other home.
He took the star I made of wrinkled foil
and placed it high upon the cedar limb.
We had no gifts beneath the tree that year;
without a job we barely had our food–
and so we knelt and turned our hearts to God.
Today, I took my handkerchief and wiped
small flecks of snow away from blurry lens,
adjusted frames of gold behind my ears,
as silently the falling flakes of snow
soon hushed the sound of tears inside of me.
At home, I put the dull and jagged axe
away to use another Christmas time.
The faded star of wrinkled foil still glows
above my tree where hope is shaped like bells
I cut from crumpled velvet vest of red.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

 

 

Homemade Christmas Gifts Sound Great–But Are They?

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

     Christmas at our house will be different from those of the past.  Last year, our family, consisting of my husband and me, four grown children, their spouses, and five grandchildren, decided to make handmade gifts.  A whole year seemed like plenty of time for each person to make one gift so we drew names with anticipation.

     I imagined that hammers would pound, saws would buzz and needles would click during the year as we set to work making this Christmas so different we would cherish it as one of our best.

     Now, with only a few days until Christmas, nobody seems to have completed a gift and some haven’t even started.

     At least one member keeps saying, “Where am I going to find time to make something?  Anyway, I always liked shopping for Christmas!”

     Another says he can’t make anything.  That’s what he said when we decided on this plan but nobody believed him.  Suddenly, with no homemade gift in sight, we believe him!  But that’s okay.  We know that the person whose name he drew will somehow receive a gift.

     What about the grandchildren, ages eight to eleven–what can they make?  Or do I underestimate them? Some of them have made key chains for yard sales, so I’m sure they’ll think of something with help from their parents.

     Another member moans, “I can’t think of anything to make.  What would he want? What would he use? Whose idea was this?”

     As for the gift for the person whose name I drew, I have a pattern, I have the materials, I even have the time.  So why am I waiting to start the project? I think I like deadlines and work best under pressure.

     I  always liked wandering through the shops on Christmas Eve with carols playing, bells ringing, the rush of the crowd, people buying gifts for their loved ones.  I liked searching for a final gift, then breathlessly finding it just in time.

     When I’m Christmas shopping, the only thing that disturbs me is that of the less fortunate looking longingly at gifts they can’t afford for their loved ones.

     But even that usually doesn’t dampen my Christmas spirit.  My own parents often had little money for gifts but we always celebrated Christmas. One year, my mother had given birth to my brother on December 18th.  But my daddy saved Christmas Day–he made the meal and tried his hand at homemade candy, the family’s only gift that year, unless we count hearts filled with love and gratitude.

     I trust my family is aware of our love for each other as we recall the Birth of Christ in Bethlehem that First Christmas–the reason why we celebrate.

     And I hope the daughter who drew her dad’s name doesn’t make something to land in a yard sale like the big fish grill she gave her brother one year.  And maybe she won’t tape her package so well that it requires a set of all-steel kitchen knives to open it.  In years past, we have all laughed together as we teased her about keeping the transparent tape companies in business.

     Creative we may not be, but a family we are, and this Christmas promises to be different because one of us had the courage to suggest giving homemade gifts.

     Now, as I reach for my scissors, needle and thread, late one evening, Christmas lights in the little town of Shirley blink clearly, brightly and silently.  I am far from the ringing bells, the sound of Christmas carols, but I am close to a love which surrounds me, just as surely as the angels sang to the shepherds that night long ago.  Can I weave this emotion into my small project, I wonder, as quietly, lovingly, I recall the family member who suggested this different idea for gift giving.

c Copyright, 1996, Freeda Baker Nichols

Published in Van Buren County Democrat, 1996