Category Archives: Memory

National Poetry Month 2021: I Am From – A Poem by Miriam Hurdle

April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry.

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

Each April, the Academy offers activities, initiatives, and resources so that anyone can join in National Poetry Month online and at home. Please visit National Poetry Month for a list of activities.

In 2014, I joined the Poetry for Pleasure group, which is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program for the retirees or age 50+ individuals.

The Poetry for Pleasure group meets once a week for two hours during the regular quarters and intersessions at the California State University, Fullerton. We study the lives of the poets, classic and contemporary, and their works. Members signed up to lead each session. The leader would share the introduction, then the members would take turned to share and read a poem by that poet. Besides studying the poets and their works, we study types or themes of poetry such as humorous poems, poems from a 4-legged point of view, or poetry about love, family, and seasons.

In the second hour of the meeting, members would read their own poems. One member had been in that group for many years prior to my attendance. She was 90 years old when I first met her. She still wrote new poems until early 2021 at 96+ years old when she died of Covid complication. I remember her citing poems she wrote at age 6. It was an inspiration to watch her coming to the poetry group every week reading poetry of her own and others.

The group publishes an Anthology once a year. Each member has a share of eight pages to publish their unpublished poems. The last section of the Anthology is a themed poetry contributed by anyone in the group. One year, the theme was I Am From. The poems could refer to an actual location or a mental, physical, and emotional state, or a family origin. Such as…

I am from Boston where…

I am from a family of seven…

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The following was my poem contributed to the anthology.

I Am From –

From a familiar land of Hong Kong, I came forty-some years ago –

to a land of the unknown in Portland, Oregon, following the rainbow.

From a dramatic scene of a skyscraper jungle crowded with people –

to a forest like of sky-reaching trees and behold the first snow.

From restaurants filled with muffled noises drowning my own voices –

to cafes so quiet I could hear the whispering and chewing of Époisses

From television, music, and chattering sounds saturated everywhere –

to air filled with crispy rubbing leaves and whooshing wind brushed my hair.

My surprising discovery was the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear –

which was masked by the environs from my discovery for many years.

The foreign land of the unknown now became my home.

Even when I traveled to places around the globe,

I long for coming back to my bed in my present home.

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I will post poetry related posts during this month including the poets and their works, selection of my published or new poems, and other poetry projects.

What would you write if you were writing a poem or a thought on I Am From…? I would love to hear from you!

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There are some things a poet cannot accept

A beautiful tribute to Sue Vincent from Jim Webster. Thank you, Jim, for speaking for all of us and let Sue know what you were doing before her passing. She held all our love and appreciation with her.

Sue lived a courageous life. She was still writing when her legs were too weak to stand up. She showed us to be true to ourselves and be vulnerable. She didn’t complain about her dying but continued to value her living.

Sue, you lived a life greater than life itself. We all missed you tremendously and we’re thankful for the precious words you left behind!

Tallis Steelyard

There are times when a poet must make a stand and say, “This has happened without my cognisance and I will not accept it!” Today has not been the best of days. Today I got a note from a patron. Common enough, especially from her, as she was always quick to praise, swift to encourage. But today the note had a bitter flavour. She was sitting awaiting death. A week? Longer?

And what can a poet do? A poet can protest, a poet can stand tall and say firmly that this will not do. A poet can bang the table with his wine glass obvious of the fact it has shattered and the pieces lie glistening but incoherent, shards of dreams never now to be dreamt.

Others have known Sue for longer than I, others will doubtless feel the grief more keenly, will mourn longer, but my job as a…

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

This week, as we are approaching the end of 2020, Amy invited us to share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic.

I love travel. I know I won’t return to many places I had been and always treasure the experiences of being there and seeing those places. Yet if I must choose between travel and spend time with family and friends, I choose the latter. It is the relationship that makes the moments precious.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho

Our family photo which was taken in 2006. One young girl on the left got married a few years ago and now has a baby daughter. The other one on the left just got married last month. The three little ones are in college. Lynton’s dad, second from the right, died 12 years ago.

Every moment of life is precious and can never happen again and therefore is a reason to appreciate, be grateful for and celebrate the fact that you are alive.” – Zelig Pliskin

Eight years ago, we took our family trip to China and stopped by Hong Kong to see my family. Seven of us were in the middle of this photo, with my siblings and their families on the left and right sides. Will’s mom (behind Will, in green) died three years after the trip. My sister, third from right, died last year when we were in Hong Kong for my nephew’s wedding.

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” – Thomas Jefferson

This is a group of my lovely lady friends celebrating Christmas in 2019. We missed each other tremendously.

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” — Elisabeth Foley

Many of my friends and I were in this chorale last year singing in the annual performance of Messiah. The past weekend would have been the usual schedule for the performance. It didn’t happen this year.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” – George Moore

This precious photo was taken with my daughter Mercy and granddaughter Autumn last year. We cancelled our trip this year because the Covid cases were worse than when it started.

Precious moments are small elements of time, we show and share love and kindness, with those we care about.” – Tom Baker

The family of four – from left, Autumn (3 years old), Mercy, Nora (8 months), and Will. Our hearts are together even when we’re apart. We’ll keep in touch with them and will see them very soon.

Thank you for reading!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

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Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge theme from Amy for this week is “Under the Sun.” It’s about photo captures anywhere under the sun. I applied the theme to both indoor and outdoor.

Last year in June I babysat my granddaughter, Autumn, by myself while my daughter, Mercy, and her husband went to Iceland on vacation. Some friends said I was brave. Some said it would tire me, but I could handle it. The advice was, “When she sleeps, you sleep.”

Mercy made a spreadsheet of suggested daily schedule and activities, a list of her friends and phone numbers, the doctor and phone number. My mind was at ease without worrying of what to do to fill the days. They rented a car even though I wasn’t planning on driving.

They took a late afternoon flight to arrive early the next day to make the most of their trip.

“I missed Autumn already. Please send us a lot of pictures.” Before boarding, Mercy sent me a message.

“I will do that.” I returned her message.

When Autumn woke up in the morning, she looked for mommy and daddy. I said, “Mommy will be back. Daddy will be back.” She said, “Daddy went to work. Mommy went to work. Daddy will be back. Mommy will be back.”

We went to the park in the afternoon. There were kids playing with the water feature. I looked at the backpack, there was a change of clothes, no I let Autumn play with other kids.

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The next day before nap time, Autumn had a temperature of 101.2. After she woke up from the nap, the temperature went up to 103. I kept Mercy updated. Deep down, I regretted to let Autumn play with the water for too long on the previous day. I hoped her temperature wouldn’t prolong. Most of all, I didn’t want Mercy to cut their vacation short.

I called Mercy’s friends to pick up a few items from the store for me. They came after work. One of them was a nurse. She checked on Autumn and wrote some instruction for me. The other friend bought what I needed, plus some Popsicle.

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Autumn had a good night sleep. I put her on a soft diet, plus the Popsicle. We didn’t go to the park and just did some quiet activities around the house. By the afternoon, her temperature came back to normal. It was such a tremendous relief for me. My first-time babysitting Autumn full time was okay.  I’m glad Mercy didn’t have to cut their vacation short.

“It seems to be a 24-hour thing.” Mercy messaged me.

“I think so. I’m glad it was a 24-hour thing.” I returned the message.

The remaining days, we went to the park, the library, and walked around the neighborhood.

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Mercy and Will had a fabulous trip. We exchange messages and photos many times a day. They got home in the late evening on their return. Autumn was excited to see Mommy and Daddy when she woke up the next day.

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

 

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a fabulous day under the sun.

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107, Ann-Christine invited us to look at the difference in the winter when we compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere. 

The first time I saw snow was my first year in Portland, Oregon. It was in November. I walked along the hallway from one classroom to the next. My eyes glanced through the floor to ceiling window. A thin layer of white stuff drifting down in the air. I stopped and observed. Each layer above seemed to get thicker and whiter. I realized what happened and called out while jumping up and down, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing!” Some male students walked by and looked at me. Probably the last time they saw and heard of it was from their little kids.

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When I finished school in Portland, I went on to Seattle Pacific University for my second graduate study. The city welcomed me with seven inches of snow. When the snow came to a pause, I put on my knee high, custom made leather boots and my leather gloves to make the first snowman. The leather gloves got hard and stiff after they were dry. My boots were fine, probably they were made differently.

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Is winter warm or cold? I think winter is warm because it’s the time for events such as Christmas concert, Christmas light cruise, Christmas parties with family and friends, and my daughter’s birthday the day after Christmas.

One New Year, we visited my sister’s family in Vancouver B.C. We couldn’t go skiing in Whistler B.C. because the heavy fog came in. We managed going to a nearby mountain for my husband, niece, and nephew to do snowboarding.

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Back home in southern California, our chorale started rehearsing for the Messiah concert first week of November, leading to the two performances before Christmas. This is the highlight of the year for me.

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The adult fellowship group at church has many Christmas parties. One year we had a catering dinner at a deluxe retirement home. The chef built a gingerbread village every year. He made one gingerbread house at a time throughout the year and froze them. By early December, he assembled the village with a train track and an electrical train going around it.

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The last two years, we went on the Christmas Light Cruise and watched the Christmas Boat Parade.

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Two years ago was the first-time snow and Christmas met. My husband and I went to Portland, Oregon to spend the holiday with my daughter’s family. I saw snow before the plane landed and was so excited to have a white Christmas.

Most exciting of all during Christmas time is my daughter’s birthday on the day after Christmas. Here, Mercy opened the birthday card from her daughter Autumn.

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Is winter warm or cold in your part of the world? I would like to hear from you.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Share Your World by Miriam Hurdle

Please check out Sally Cronin’s Posts from Your Archives with my archive post and my kid photos. 🙂

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Today we start a series of four posts from the archives of poet Miriam Hurdle, who is a regular contributor to the blog. This time I am selecting the posts and the first one I would like to share with you. This week I thought we might find out a little more about Miriam and this post was in response to a prompt on Cee’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018

Share Your World by Miriam Hurdle.

Cee posts excellent questions in this week’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018.

A piece of clothing from…

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RIP My Beautiful Sister

I had written a post about my sister Canty’s Home going on January 29 when I returned from Hong Kong.

It was my nephew Enoch’s wedding on January 19, 2019. Mercy, Will, Autumn, Lynton and I traveled to Hong Kong to share his joyous beginning journey of marriage. We arrived on January 12. Three days later, I got a message from sister #12 Yolanda, the mother-in-law to be, letting me know that sister #8 Canty was in the hospital. Later that day, Canty’s son messaged me that his mom had liver inflammation and hydrocephalus, congestive heart failure.
 
Sister #13 Queenie was also traveling from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to attend the wedding. I had scheduled the visit of Canty as soon as Queenie arrived.
 
On the 17th, the third day of being in the hospital, Canty’s condition made a sharp decline at noon. We all rushed to the hospital by taxi. She was unconscious when we were by her bedside. We took turns to massage her head and hands, speaking to her. She seemed to hear us as the muscles of the forehead gradually relaxed.
 
Queenie arrived in that early evening and made her way to the hospital. By that time, the monitor couldn’t detect the blood pressure. The doctor said she was on 100% oxygen and received mediation to sustain her heart. Her breathing and heartbeat were artificial for some hours.
 
After Queenie spoke to her, I went close to the bed and saw the blood coming out of her nose. I got the attention of the nurse. The nurse couldn’t stop the bleeding and informed us that, “It’s time.” Before the nurse closed the drape around her bed, I saw the blood gushing out of her nostrils.
 
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Canty was a Ballroom Dance instructor in her early years. She continued to be active in dancing.  She participated in the Dance Championship on November 4, 2018 and received an award. She posted some photos on social media. I messaged her on January 4, 2019, saying I wanted to see her dancing. She sent me the video clip of her Championship dancing. I said, “See you next week.”
It was saddened to say good-bye to her within two weeks of sharing her thrilling moments.

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