Write On! on New Year zach neal on The Christ-child aneal26 on A Day In Australia Lauren on A Day In Australia
2014 is upon us and here in the Midwest we are bejeweled with snow and more snow!! Winter’s icy grip blows over our homes and creeps into our feet and hands when we bravely venture out. It is both beautiful and daunting. It awakens our senses and our wonder. Steaming hot drinks and loads of good books fill the evening hours burning brightly with lighted candles and a roaring fire. Below is a poem I wrote last year heralding another New Year celebration. My family loves to ‘ring’ the new year in on an old school bell from my childhood. My Mother rang this particular bell to call us in from the ‘bush’ valley. Its tone was loud and clear and my siblings and I never missed hearing it! Now we enjoy the tradition of each having a turn to ring the bell calling out “Happy New Year!”. May our “bell-notes” ring in each of your hearts as we welcome in 2014 and with it great hope and good cheer! Slate clouds quarry late sky Cold holds and frosts panes Rounded invisible air Lightly births soft snow And seconds fall before us Then crystal ring the bell notes Golden swung as hands strike twelve Yesterday’s door shuts firmly Old tidings swept into the past Rung on silver crested peals Man’s exhortations of happiness Echo within night’s neighborhood And eternity’s banner white-shining- Flutters overhead on seraph’s wings At start of another new year. Ann Neal
“…..We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 Within the last 24 hours several Facebook friends have posted beautiful photos of the setting sun in their area across the nation and abroad. As a gold, rosy glow cast its own flame across a snow covered winter wonderland here, before bright stars pricked the night’s sky, my heart stirred to a single star… a silver star shining long ago heralding the birth of a king-child, sent to save man. May our hearts be fully open to receive His gifts of grace and love this Christmas season and always!
One bright star set swinging On heaven’s pendulum To singing stars and heavenly hosts Doorkeeper to God’s holy presence A thurible swung in heaven’s cathedral Arrests as Jupiter aligns with Venus And royalty-love double blaze To halo crude stable in promised land On a silent celestial night All heaven is hushed Creation kneels in awe As king-child is birthed in Bethlehem And a Prince of Peace, Mighty God Reaches tiny flesh-fingers To clasp my hand.
Once again the winter temperatures are plummeting. Last night as I lay snug in my bed I was comforted to hear the low, mellow notes of an owl in our backyard. It’s soft “hoo hoo hoot” reminded me of another winter past…. I was outside enjoying our first heavy snow when, quite unexpectedly, an owl flew out from the evergreens, sweeping right above me. It was a sacred and haunting experience. This poem was written later in an effort to capture it.
Virgin snow frosts rounded earth As I step forth on a winter’s night Ten thousand stars shimmer invert And violet shadow dapples white
Up cobbled path to crested hill Trillium asleep below My world is wondrous and silently still Covered in fresh powdered snow
A wooded owl alights and wakes Icy mounds from evergreen tower Velvet wings pulse and shake Billowing life into dormant hour
I watch its heavy laborious flight Downy warmth riding frigid air It glides and wings beyond my sight Fullness of sound suddenly bare
Old hemlock a frozen fountain bright While ribboned branches glow Woods transformed under heaven’s light Moonlit woods after first snow.
Lately we have enjoyed a full moon. With temperatures dropping at night, the moon’s glow cast its silver path frosting barren trees and wind swept yards in platinum light. I remember another night long ago, a warm night, spent by the Pacific ocean. My family spent up to a month staying in homes, during the summer, right on our favorite beaches. On one holiday there was a ‘blue moon’. My twin sister and I walked up to the headland and looked out across the ocean to get a better view. I shall always treasure the memory of its sacred radiance and silent beauty.
Footstool to God Comfort to man Earth’s companion To spin and dance Throughout eternity A blue moon ascends Lighting the bay’s horizon
Glowing luminous orb Maritime compass within night’s sky Emitting radiance over Starry cope and audience A diadem of single pearl Dropped from heaven’s treasury To anchor sacred Gateway into Zion. Ann Neal
My great step-grandfather owned a wonderful house on the headlands of Cronulla, Sydney. It was very close to the beach and when you looked directly out from the living room and bedroom windows you only saw the sea. My family and I visited St. Anne’s several times that I can remember during my childhood and it was magical! The house sat behind two very tall gates that blocked the house from the small side-street. Once inside the gates you entered another world. There was an unusual rock garden full of succulent flowers. Beside the old double garage was a glassed green-house where more delicate flowers were grown that were unable to tolerate the salt air. The house felt rich and “old worldly” compared to my modern home in Pymble and this added to our enjoyment and intrigue.
On sandstone blown and wind combed cliffs Clung St. Anne on planted parcel Below and not too far A sapphire sea tossed and churned Throwing tides and waves To shape pools and speckled shells While ten thousand diamonds flicker flashed It’s silver path splaying bright into far horizon
Sun-laced doe worn Club chairs and sofa Circled gallery seascaped walls Their waters double washed Thin under ivory panels Crisply fanning luxurious Billowing to salt seasoned breeze Steady off bordering ocean
Crystal door knobs jewel glowed Small moons lighting dark corridors A costly mahogany dining table Carved space singularly narrow Seating one score and more Its velvet curtained kitchenette quaint Staging nightly merriment As adults impromptu played
The house smelt of tobacco pipe and sea Sunlight and haze smoked sleepily Settling easy upon great grand-pop’s form His sun-closed veranda faced hidden cove Where sandy beach and families gathered And there at his ample desk Decked high in papers and journals He contemplated his last days content.
I love birds!! I grew up to the sound of birdsong, waking each day to kookaburras, only to be joined by parrots, galahs, cockatoos and many smaller birds. When I was first married my husband and I lived in a quiet, wooded area. Across the road lived an elderly man, who lived alone, and loved birds. Every day he would fill his bird feeders, watching and waiting for his feathered friends to arrive. The most remarkable thing about him, however, was his whistling! He whistled from dawn to dusk. I like to think he was communicating with the birds that came to his yard. He attracted many!
Herbert lived alone In old wood cabin Set between the evergreens His ample acreage Crowded maple and oak And chambered small garden
We awoke each morning To his whistling tune Fife song carried on mellow breeze As he shuffled around outside Filling containers with seed
He was Saint Francis An hermit in rural suburbia Hidden from life’s fast lane Content to be at home Among feathered friends
His whistle toned all day A strong and piccolo voice Masking fragile age Providing ease for companion Willing joy into lips and heart
Now Herbert is long gone So too his tiny cabin Yet his whistle rises loud Trilled on warbler’s wings and others And high in his windy pines.