Pine Cone, a poem by John Anstie for his granddaughter and to honor 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change

“Grandchildren restore our zest for life and our faith in humanity.” Anon



In the midst of turmoil,
our Mother Earth besieged
by bloody conflict,
in a world beleaguered
by well healed negligence,
humanity is laced
with latent evil …
its one great flaw.

Children are dying
We are dying with you.
I am crying for you.

Yet, whilst this goes on,
you walk the woods,
harvesting your pine cones
and put them in your wishing well,
your unconscious prayer
for a better world,
for love, for life,
that sow the seeds
of perfect purity
in heart and mind,
that will not fade with time.
This is the magnificence,
the magic of your spirit
that is untouched
by a tainted world.

Then, in one gesture,
one single act of generosity,
of utterly moving faith,
you beckoned me
come close to you.
You looked me in the eyes;
and I was hypnotised.
Then, you gave it to me,
one single piece of magic,
a piece of nature’s bounty,
and bade me keep its secret
as covert as a spy.

Each time I hold your gift,
when we are far apart,
I’ll think of you and
remember this moment,
by which you have renewed
my faith in all our futures.

You could melt the heart,
like chocolate on a Summer’s day.
You could soften steel
in hardened minds.
You and your magic
are our future.

© 2018, poem and words below, John Anstie, All rights reserved; photo illustration, male Cedar of Lebanon, courtesy of Rosser1954 and generously released into the public domain.

“Five years ago, my then 4-year old granddaughter gave me a pine cone. She had found it as we walked in the woods and called me to her, very secretively, and put it in my hand, confiding in me that it was magic secret and that I should tell no one. She bade me keep the secret, which I have done for five full years. Today, 29th September, is the annual celebration of the campaign that calls itself “100,000 Poets for Change” (100TPC), one of whose initiatives for 2018 is to read a poem to a child … finally I feel today is the day that I should share that magic moment with the world for the sake of the mission of Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, who established the 100TPC and its mission of peace and sustainability; and for the BeZine and its founder and Chief Editor, Jamie Dedes, whose mission is to promote peace, sustainability and social justice. Let us appreciate, value and respect our more …

… thank you Jessica.”

AN INVITATION

COME OUT AND STAND FOR PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE: This is just one sample of the work being shared by poets and writers for 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change (100TPC) Global 2018.  Join us at The BeZine Virtual 100TPC to read and to share. Support this extraordinary Global push for peace, sustainability and social justice.


John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

HEADS-UP U.K.

As a part of his commitment to 100TPC John Anstie was at Grimm & Co.today reading poems to children and young people at lunchtime.

November 3, 2018

HALLMARK OF HARMONY

John is also a bass singer with Hallmark of Harmony. Mark your calendars for what promises to be a most enjoyable event.

Click on the posters to see all the details.


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

Imagine Loneliness Without Solitude, a poem


Imagine nothing,
nothing to read, no way to write
no way to see your thoughts laid out in gray on white

Imagine loneliness,
loneliness without solitude
no way to clear the mind or cleanse the soul

Imagine children,
children conceived in hate
mothers unable to provide or protect

Imagine,
just imagine
knowing only
war
abandonment
poverty
ignorance
powerlessness
hunger
pain
pain
only pain.

Imagine,
just imagine dying before you are old enough to know who you are

© Jamie Dedes

An early version of this poem was published online in Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War. Some of the first poems from that effort were collected in an anthology. All the poems are now archived at a university but at this point I’m at a loss to remember which one. The poem was later published in Salamander Cove. I pulled Imagine out and dusted it off today in response to current events and the associated reckless rhetoric.


Thugs from hell have taken freedom’s store
The rich get richer, the poor die quicker

& the only god that sanctions that

Is no god at all but rhetorical crap

excerpt from The Ballad of Girly Man in Girly Man by Charles Bernstein

Goddess Mothers and True Heroes

Originally published on The Bardo Group blog

“All you need is a sense that there is no such thing as ‘no’ and everything is possible.” Moira Kelly

This shining face, this sweet spirit with reason to be bitter and yet he is not. He is a hero and pure inspiration. When Naomi Baltuck (Writing Between the Lines/Life from a Writer’s POV) posted this video on Facebook, I was as touched as anyone would be. I had to wonder though about his mom. What kind of hero is she, I thought, remembering the heroes of my childhood: Josephine Baker and my spiritual mother, Pearl Buck. Each of these women grew their families in unique – and extraordinarily unselfish – ways.

“All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.”  Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

Josephine_Baker_1950Josephine Baker was born in America but became a French citizen. She was a dancer, singer, actress and civil-rights activist.  As a child living in St. Louis, Missouri, she suffered from discrimination, abandonment, and poverty.  As an adult she had one miscarriage. She adopted twelve children, two girls and ten boys. They were from diverse races and cultures because, in addition to caring for them, she wanted to show that people can get along despite their different backgrounds. In the early ’80s two of her sons went into business together. They started Chez Josephine, which is on Theatre Row (42nd Street) in Manhattan. They dedicated the restaurant to their adoptive mom’s memory and decorated it with her memorabilia.

“. . .  the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.” Pearl Buck (1892-1973)

220px-Pearl_Buck_(Nobel)Pearl Buck was an American novelist, writer, humanitarian and the first woman to be awarded the Noble Prize in Literature (1938).  She grew up in China and spent most of her life there until 1934. She had a deep affection for and knowledge of the countries of the East, not just China. She suffered through the Nanking Incident when the National Revolutionary Army captured Nanking (now Nanjing) in 1927.  Many Westerners were killed, their homes destroyed, and their property stolen.  Her only biological child, Carol, had phenylketonuria (PKU), which causes mental retardation and seizures.  Pearl Buck adopted seven children. At a time when mixed-race children were considered unadoptable, Pearl Buck founded Welcome House, Inc., the first international, interracial adoption agency. At the time of this writing, Welcome House has placed some five thousand children since it was established 1949.

“The greatest act of kindness changes generations. Wherever there is the greatest evil, the greatest good can be achieved.” Moira Kelly (b. 1964)

emmanuel-kellyThis brings us to a contemporary hero: the mother of Emanuel Kelly, the young man in the video. Moira Kelly is an Australian humanitarian whose work has garnered her many awards and acknowledgements.  When she was eight years old, after seeing a movie about then Blessed (now saint) Teresa of Calcutta (now Kolkata), Moira committed herself to working with disadvantaged children.  She is the legal guardian of twins from Bangladesh, Trisha and Krishna. They are surgically separated but originally cranially conjoined twins.  Moira Kelly also adopted the Iraqi-born Emmanuel and his brother Ahmet, both born with underdeveloped limbs. Among her efforts is Children First Foundation, formed to provide transportation and healthcare for children with urgent needs in developing countries.

These women are mothers in the best senses of that word. Their ideals are real and they stand by them. They have saved children from abandonment and loneliness, from poverty and hopelessness and from early death. They are goddess mothers and true heroes.

© 2013, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved;  Photographs of Josephine Baker and Pearl Buck are in the U.S. Public Domain; I don’t know the origin or copyright of the photograph of Moira Kelly and her sons. If it is yours, let me know and I’ll credit you or take it down as you wish.


Zbaida
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO MY MOM

and to all mothers and the fathers, grandparents, siblings and others who

assume a mothering role for motherless children.


(c) – Mom & me

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers


“BROKEN HOMES,” Single Moms, Remarkable Sons … Gill Scott-Heron, jazz poet

Gill Scott-Heron (1949-2011), American jazz poet, spoken-word poet, muscian and author

Gill Scott-Heron (1949-2011), American jazz poet, spoken-word poet, musician and author

“All I really want to say
Is that the problems come and go
But the sunshine seems to stay . . . “

My son sent me On Coming from a Broken Home (an excerpt from the album, I’m New Here) for Mother’s Day in 2011.  Since then I publish some version of this piece every two years. I think Gil Scott-Heron’s message here is important. 

Gil Scott-Heron died around this time in 2011. He’d started out fiery and angry. Some will remember his forceful The Revolution Will Be Televised and other such works. He was always an artist of political integrity. It showed in actions such as refusing to perform in Tel Aviv because “we do not like wars.”  Over time his style mellowed, but his ideals remained.

Gil Scott-Heron is considered by many to be the grandfather of rap and the father of political rap.  Famously, he didn’t accept those titles; he was critical of young rappers, felt they needed to study more, to promote change and not perpetuate the status-quo.  He is quoted in ChickenBones: A Journal as saying …

“They need to study music. I played in several bands before I began my career as a poet. There’s a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There’s not a lot of humor. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don’t really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing.”

In the poem shared today it’s interesting to see what Heron does with his personal experience.  I like that there’s nothing of the victim mentality in this piece. I like the way he talks of dealing with life as it is. I appreciate that he points out that single-parent homes are not always the result of abandonment but are often made so due to parents who were lost in war or in jobs as police officers, firefighters or pilots.

“They lost their lives, but not what their lives stood for.” 

On Coming From a Broken Home (video below, escerpt from I‘m New Here) is a good example of how art can explain, validate and give us new perspectives … perhaps even encourage us to talk with one another. The piece is from Gil Scott-Heron’s last studio album, I’m New Here. It came out in 2010 not long before he died.

As always if you are viewing this post from an email, you will have to click on the link to this site to see and hear the piece.

Header photograph/Heron at the WOMARD festival in Bristol England, 1988 by Robman94 under CC BY SA 2.0 license.