Spring Reflections


It is March 1st, and I ask, is it here to stay in Connecticut? The pussy willows have been open, showing their fuzzy gray catkins, for about 2 weeks now. My purple crocus has been blooming for about a week, and even my daffodils have been above ground since almost the beginning of February. The briskness of my step, and my higher energy indicates, yes, spring is here to stay.

I noticed a few of the local farms have turned over their dirt. Being so close to Ellington, CT., the air was perfumed with the annual application of manure two weeks ago. If I was still planting an edible landscape in my backyard, I would have attempted to put garden peas in the ground last week. That is a sure sign we are experiencing an early spring, just as the groundhog predicted on Feb. 2.

Springtime is a favorite topic of poetry. There are nearly as many odes and ballads to spring as there are to love. The lyrical nature of songs to springtime seems a perfect combination. Few carry hidden meanings or profound realizations. They are simply pretty and full of idyllic landscapes, bending flowers, soft air, and warm sun. One of the most famous poems to spring is Daffodils. William Wordsworth was walking with his sister when they came upon this vast growth of daffodils. Dorothy recorded the experience in her journal, and it inspired William to put it to poetry. Dorothy wrote:

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed and reeled and danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway – We rested again & again. The Bays were stormy & we heard the waves at different distances & in the middle of the water like the Sea.[9]
— Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal Thursday, 15 April 1802

Daffodils at Hubbard Park, Meriden, CT.
     Daffodils by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

    Another very lyrical poem about spring comes from Poetry of Wales by John Jenkins. Many of the poems were written by clergy and reflect the melodic and pastoral views of  the Welsh writers. This particular poem was writen by the Rev. Evan Evans. A brief introduction in the book talks a little about the Reverend.

The poem from which the following translation is extracted was composed by the Rev. Evan Evans, a Clergyman of the Church of England, better known by his bardic name of Ieuan Glan Geirionydd.  He was born in 1795 at a freehold of his father, situate on the banks of the river Geirionydd, in Carnarvonshire, and died in 1855.  He composed a great number of poems on different subjects, religious and patriotic, several of which obtained prizes at Eisteddfodau, and one on the Resurrection gained the chair or principal prize.  This poet’s compositions are distinguished by great elegance, sweetness and pathos, and are much esteemed in the Principality.  Several of them have been set to music.]”

“To the Spring.

Oh, come gentle spring, and visit the plain,
Far scatter the frost from our border,
All nature cries loud for the sunshine and rain,
For the howl of the winter is over.

Approach gentle spring, and show the white snow
Thou cans’t melt it by smiles and caresses,
Chase far the cold winter away from us now,
And cover the fields with white daisies.

Oh, come gentle spring, alight on the trees,
Renew them with life and deep verdure,
Then choristers gay will replenish the breeze
With their songs and musical rapture.

Oh, come gentle spring, breathe soft on the flowers,
And clothe them in raiments of beauty,
The rose may reopen its petals in tears,
And sunbeams unfold the white lily.”

March Events

Saturday, March 12
I will be meeting with the Wit and Wisdom Poetry Club from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at The Arbors in Manchester, CT. The group is part of the Connecticut Poetry Society and has published a few anthologies of local authors works and they have also run a few contests for teens. The group will be participating in the national event called Poetry In My Pocket. Several businesses in Manchester will have baskets of our poems for patrons to choose and carry with them for the day, and hopefully share with their friends and family. I chose one poem from Facets, “Morning Song.” The other two are new, “Walking With Deer” and “Mood and Color – Seasons of Mary  ” I will post the businesses you may find these poems when they let us know at the meeting.
Sunday, March 13
I will be meeting with the Second Sunday Book Club in Ellington, CT. to discuss my book, Facets. I will also be sharing an excerpt from my collection of short stories called Chronicles of Wabbaquasset. It is a large book club of about 17 members. They invite local authors to their meetings to discuss their current book, as well as works in progress. The meeting is from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. I am not certain if they accept new members to the book club, but I will ask at this meeting.
Tuesday, March 15
I will be meeting with the Tolland Writer’s Circle at the Tolland, CT. library from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tolland Public Library is located at 21 Tolland Green. The phone number is 860-871-3620 if you are interested in joining the group. The group has just celebrated its first anniversary. It is a lively group that works on writing prompts prepared by the leader, Judith Dreyer. We share our writing with each other after each prompt, and discuss our current projects. Judith keeps us informed of up and coming literary events throughout Connecticut. This month we will be bringing some of our writing to be printed in a publication through Tolland Library.
Enfield Library Discussion
The discussion and slide show of Facets was canceled on Feb. 24. I unfortunately became ill from the previous night and could not make the discussion. I have since rescheduled the discussion for April 20th at 7 p.m. The photo exhibit will not be up because someone else has the month, but I will be bringing a few of the photos to the discussion, and I will also have handouts and a slideshow of other photos that relate to the poems. The book will be available for sale. The reminder will be sent out to my readers around April 1.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Spring.





Interview With David Binder -Beyond the Blog

I was approached about a month ago by David Binder. He wanted to interview me. I said yes. Here is the link to the interview. https://sites.google.com/site/dalanbinder/blog/0635-266post-junemitainterviewwithdavidalanbinder

After answering David’s questions, I realized I had more to say so I am going beyond that interview with much more insights into writing and the artist.

As a writer, I have concluded I am not an artist in the purist sense. I may be disciplined, but writing cannot be restricted to a certain time of day if you want to reach that higher place where art lives. You have to be a a lot crazy to find it. That I am not.

An artist will feverishly write chapters and books for days with little sleep or food. They will gather what ever they can find for a writing surface, including walls.. It is madness and I am not “mad,” I am in a box where writing is done on store bought paper. It is done  with good pens. It is done with computers. I conclude it is not art, but it is writing.

We are in a box of convention. We are locked in our phones or in our Facebook pages. We see too much and think too little. The search for honest and true creativity is not something that is searchable. It is something only a few can attain to be called artists. Art cannot be disciplined. It cannot be pulled out of a busy schedule of jobs, family, domestic chores. It cannot be tamed. It must remain the wild, rarely seen animal that it is.

That said, where does it leave the writer who wants to be an artist? Well, we all are not meant to be artists. That is saved for only a select few. However, you can be a writer even if you are not considered an artist.

Journalism, though it has taken a terrible blow in this modern age, is still a viable profession. We will always need news and up to date information. That said, there are many online avenues to earn a living in journalism, and our visual media will always need good writers.

Non-fiction is a growing genre. To write a book of non-fiction takes two things, discipline and research. You do not need to be an expert at anything to write a non-fiction, but you do need good research skills. One of my favorite books I have recently read is a non-fiction by Justin Martin. It is called Rebel Souls, and delves into the first American Bohemians. Justin spent hours searching through archives and seeking many of the original written material from the 1850’s and 60’s. This is a wonderful book to read, and because I am so close to New York City where it all happened, I can relive some of what Justin put forth in the book. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Rebel-Souls-Americas-Bohemians-Lawrence/dp/0306822261  This book could never have seen the light of day without being a dedicated research professional, such as Justin Martin.

So you want to write a romance. Once again, you can be a disciplined conventional person to write a fictional romance. It can be written at any age, at any stage of your life. Younger writers will be idealists without much experience in the romance department, but with imaginations. Older writers have seen and experienced many romantic moments, and can give a realistic twist to their story. Is it art? I say not, but it is usually entertaining. If there is any romance novelist that is also an artist, I would class Joyce Carol Oates in that narrow place.

So when does the writing cross over into the realm of art? Poets and short story writers do border on the art of writing more profoundly than most novelists, but this is only my opinion. You as a reader can decide to agree or to be inflamed with disdain for that premise.

Why do I contend that poetry and short stories are art? Primarily because those are the two least read genre’s. Those two writing forms are very flexible in experimentation and discovery of motivation and emotion. You don’t have many words to work with to convey your meaning. Most do not find poetry or short stories entertaining, and when you are reading them to get through your English classes, you consider it a grueling experience.

Poetry, especially, requires much more thought. It goes deeply into our secret places, and it is largely personal. I find that writing poetry and short stories defy entrapment and being boxed into a specific time frame.

I have noted my mental state while writing poetry. Often I do get crazy as I try to make the poem work, or as I explore hidden places that most would rather let stay buried.  I write poetry in fits and spurts. It is a type of writing that will prey on your mind over time, and the deeper you delve, the more inner you become. That is where art lives.

I often must leave poetry behind when I find myself in dark moods more than light ones. When I start dreaming nightmarish scenarios, it is because I have been touching on God’s world too deeply. When I find I need to write at 1 a.m, even though I need to be at work by 7 a.m., I am nearing the place of art. It will make you crazy and you will start acting out of your normal range of behavior.

I will never be an artist because it scares me too much, and I am not willing to take the risks. I like living in a stable place. I love my husband and my daughter, and don’t want to leave them out of the picture as I pursue some higher place where art lives. I am human, and will remain human. I will be a writer, but never an artist.