Home

this place i call home 

it’s a long day and a drive home

into the setting sun and dusk

as i pull up in front of my house,

stand at the curb,

and look at this place 

i call home…

a soft glow emanates 

from the porch light,

revealing an old rocker

and the plain grapevine wreath

that hangs on the wall behind it

i realize this simple facade

is a postage stamp 

on the letter of my life…

a statement of who i am

and where i live…

my shelter and my refuge…

where i rest and lay my head…

and it’s all i need…

this place i call home…

by Sylvia L. Mattingly, March 25, 2021

Photo by Sylvia L. Mattingly

Sliver of Moon

sliver of a moon

only a sliver of a moon
hangs above the horizon…
a thin white arc
against the dark night sky…

every night i watch it rise
and every night it widens…
illuminated by the cast off
light of the sun…

a waxing crescent
grows with the passing days…
blossoming into
a wondrous nocturnal flower…

there for us to see
in all its celestial glory…
yet time ticks by
and the waning begins…

and like the ocean tide
that washes over the sand…
our nighttime treasure
slowly ebbs away…

Sylvia L. Mattingly
Completed January 27, 2021

Photo by Pixabay

POEM

This Winter Day

Why can’t you decide?
First, you let a few white flakes float down
then you drop an anemic sprinkle on the ground.

I decide this cloudy day I can abide
then the sun peeks out from behind the trees.
Winter Day you are such a tease.

At least there is no ice on which to slide
but the Meteorologist says just wait a day
and you’ll need your sleigh.

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – January 26, 2019

She

Sharing Time

For well over forty years I have been in possession of a poem handwritten by a patient when I was a nursing student. I have never shared it because I do not know whether it is original or if he simply copied someone else’s poem. My guess has always been that it was not the latter. Today I have again made serious efforts to find the poem on the Internet. I’ve Googled keywords and even whole stanzas without finding it. I’ve researched poetry sites as well without results. 

Another concern I’ve had is patient confidentiality, but since I will not be revealing anything about the patient and I don’t even remember his name, I believe that it is safe to post the poem. 

Over the years I have read these pages several times, trying to understand the poem better, trying hard to remember what the person looked like who gave it to me or what he said at that moment. I cannot recapture that scene. I remember that I was assigned to his care for at least several days. I recall a few things of interest that surrounded his hospital stay and certainly his diagnosis. Always, I have felt that I was entrusted with something beautiful and that it needed to be shared. 

That is why I am posting it here for you. I believe that it needs to be heard. I look forward to what you think of the poem, “She.”


Note: Unfortunately this WordPress platform will not allow the four line stanza formatting used by the poet. The poet’s words have been transcribed exactly as written except one word which I was unable to make out and have marked by “????”. Where there is an apparent misspelling or wrong use of a word these have been noted by “sic”. Punctuation is also transcribed exactly as handwritten. 


 

She 

Sometimes I see her for you see

She’s the part of reality

Walking in twilight she’s so fair

With shinning eyes, the stars her hair

Sometimes I see her walking there

In starry tiered imaginings

Where dreams are born & if you care,

Go find the one with stars for hair. 

For those who care, theres (sic) an easy way

One takes the road mid night & day

To places lying everywhere

That just exist for those who care

From there they go inside their soul

To see themselves & others whole

To find themselves & if they do

They may even find her too

For she’s as real as she can be

Yet not for every eye to see

Just how to meet one so acclaimed

Just find her first then ask her name

II

I met her, was it yesterday?

Between the mountains & the see (sic)

Traveling for to find a place

Where I could bad thoughts erase

The Timeless plane of many lands

A place that held no grasping hands

I came upon a city fair

And there she was beyond compare

I told her we could travel far

To lands beyond the farthest star

To places ever springtime fair

Where even I would have no cares

But she said, “No, why can’t you see?”

“That all there is lies here with me

“And seeker, through (sic) you have no fame

“You have to do but ask my name”

I looked at her then softly left

For then I knew she placed me free

In a quiet grove I softly wept

For starry eyed seekers who were like me

That woeful day I left that place

Last saw the sunshine on her face

But under the starry midnight sky

I often stop to wonder why

And then with smiling face I stare

And see the starlight of her hair. 

Yet now I see her everyday

On every walk, in every way

But now she turns her face from me

Why? I know yet cannot say

For if I stopped then she would come

Thus giving all of what she is

Yet I cannot for I can see

I’ve gone too far to stop just yet

What do you say seeker, isn’t it sweet

to see the sun rise in the sky

to the right of where the shadows lie?

To close your mouth and blind your eyes?

Yes, try to climb that mountain where 

You were born & had no cares

You’ll see the walls & hateful stares

of the ones above you left behind

You’ll dream about the sunlit skies

Your own little world you once held dear

Your place is lost, you’ve wondered why

And so you learn that which I fear

Your place in life I’ve never known

To step to mine you’ve never tried

And so I thread my path above 

And, now and then, say this to you

Just find a place & sleep in the sun

And tell yourself you’re (sic) seeking’s done

She doesn’t exist for eye to see

Just a dream that never could be

So part of her is just called life

And part of that is sweet and fair

And that you find with much to spare

Yes, you can see it everywhere

Yet part of her cries all the time

It’s exploited, raped and bind (sic)

To racks where greed can find the time

To twist out life & leave just sins

And lastly she is partly love

A part of her most never known

The part of her that’s most abused

A part of her most vilely used

Look seeker see her raked (sic) with pain 

Which (????) braid her starlit hair

to make a rope to hang us with

They hate us for they know she cares

And then she smiles and so is free

For she is all that can ever be

Now as then in Babylon

The spirit of eternity

And so existing around the bend

Kept out of sight from those obsessed

She’s there for those who seek her out

Who want the curse of happiness

For they must share her loveliness

And they must bear her loneliness

And for the sake of living yet

Must die a little to forget

 

tfEdls3SRE+6isx7nW0+hg

Author unknown by blogger.

Crooked Creek makes no claims to ownership of this poem.  

 

Seasons

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” Gary Zukav

IMG_5849

Inertia

When I ended the last post I stated “more to come!” with an exclamation point no less. I was excited to go forward and begin our second year in Crooked Creek, but that was three weeks ago. There are times that no inspiration comes. I want to write but cannot seem to start, much less complete anything meaningful. It is not that I do not have ideas or opinions (you know I have opinions), but that I am overcome by inertia. That is the best way I know to describe my chronic depression. It is a bit like I imagine being stuck in quicksand would be, wanting desperately to move, but not being able. Something very powerful holds me back with arms of steel. I know I need to act, to move but it is extremely difficult to do and so much easier to sleep instead. During these past few weeks, I have not taken my daily walks at the park that I enjoyed all summer. It is not possible to explain the reason, or whether there is a reason. Every single act takes all the power I possess, whether it is to prepare food, interact with friends or show up for appointments. Daily life is fatiguing during these times as is the effort of trying to appear as though nothing is wrong. 

A few close friends and of course, family members are aware of this lifelong struggle. I share it with you (readers) today in the hope that it will benefit you or someone you know. If you live with clinical depression please know that you are not alone. If someone you care about is depressed perhaps this will help you to understand their actions or lack thereof. Their lethargy, their cancellations, their lifelessness when you feel they should be excited has nothing to do with you. If they see their doctors and counselors and take prescribed medication then they are trying and likely to get better. Depression cycles, sometimes triggered by external events, but often without obvious reason. 

Seasons

Speaking of cycles, I find it hard to believe that it is October! Can you believe summer is over and we are well into autumn? The past couple of days I did some walking in my neighborhood but found it not worth the effort. Today I returned to my beloved Pope Lick in the Parklands and what a difference it made. Since I was last there flowers have changed, grasses have dried and leaves have fallen. I glimpsed only a couple of very small butterflies. A tiny squirrel was the only animal to show its face and I don’t think that was on purpose, but because of the necessity of gathering for the coming winter. The golden finches seem to be gone. Walnuts are ripe and thumping to the ground below. 

IMG_5840

The cool breeze and temperatures in the 60s made walking in the sunshine so easy. Before I knew it I had walked almost 3.5 miles and I was not particularly tired. It is important for me to remember today’s walk and the inspiration that being in nature provided. For me, it was more invigorating than a massage or one of those healthy kale smoothies or even church. Winter is coming, but the sky is still blue, the air is refreshing and there are weeks of majesty ahead before the next season which will have its own splendor. 

Finally, I must remember with Tom Brokaw, “In the seasons of life, I have had more than my share of summers.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”                                        Sarah Ban Breathnach

IMG_5858

If you desire more information about depression you may want to read this blog post by John Pavlovitz: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/05/10/one-reason-to-keep-living-fighting-depression/

Challenge Accepted 2

Challenge Accepted 2

The Crooked Creek Poem Challenge was an idea born over four months ago on Facebook when Cindi Carman used George Ella Lyon’s poem as a template to write her own “Where I’m From” poem. Cindi, an original follower of this blog, has graciously agreed to share that poem here. 

Version 2

Where I’m From by Cindi Carman

I am from black crushed pepper,
from Irish butter and Yukon potatoes.
I am from sunshine mixed with blue skies and silver linings,
from lightening and fierce winds.
I am from the pines, red oaks and sugar maples
from trees that whisper in the night.
I am from family dinners and traveling casseroles,
from Bessie Viola and Mary Leona.
I am from never give up and be thankful for everything,
from help others who are less fortunate.
I am from hold your shoulders back and sit up straight
and you are owned by the company you keep.
I am from roller coasters at Kings Island
and swimming at Otter Creek.
I am from city streets and safe neighborhoods,
from the bluegrass distilleries and rich farmlands.
I am from Jam cake and fried green tomatoes,
from Mom’s fried pork chops and Dad’s Army soup.
I am from Barbie dolls, record players and Captain Kangaroo,
a big white basket on the front of my bicycle,
from cookies hidden under my Mrs. Beasley doll.
I am from the laughter of cousins chasing after lightning bugs.
I am from diaries, scrapbooks and antenna T.V.,
from family and laughter and love, I am.


You are still invited to share your own story of origin by using Lyons’ poem as a template. See the Poem Challenge post (July 29) or click on link for more information: https://www.sausd.us/cms/lib/CA01000471/Centricity/Domain/3043/I%20Am%20From%20Poem.pdf

You may add your poem to the Comments Section (remember that + bubble at lower right of your screen) as did another reader, Gerri Nelson who is from the Pacific Coast.

Thanks for your participation Dear Readers!

Solar Eclipse

IMG_5398
Dianne and Allison 

Totality

It is now two days post total eclipse of the sun across the entire United States. It had been ninety-nine years (June 28, 1918) since the last such event, so it is no wonder this was a very big deal! Everyone, citizen or visitor, who experienced this event has their own story to tell. Each location, group composition, and degree of totality was different, but the one aspect of the narrative that has been consistent is positivity. I have talked with friends and strangers and have seen or read many interviews with the media and I have not heard the first complaint. Even those of us who averaged less than 17 miles per hour getting home after the eclipse have stated we would do it all over again. There was something extraordinary about this occurrence that seemed to bring people together and to make us comprehend our finiteness in the universe. I’ll leave the astrology to the scientists, the solar/lunar photos to the real photographers and the spiritual interpretation to the theologians and just tell you about our experience and my thoughts and recollections.

fullsizeoutput_d72
Dianne & Floyd Bynum

Preparations started months ago when my daughter, Dianne, and her husband, Floyd, traveled to Hopkinsville to scope out a place to witness the coming eclipse. They made reservations at Tie Breaker Park which provided a parking permit and a 15-foot square place to camp for the day, or as they like to call it “tailgating.” We expected the space to be crowded, but upon arrival Monday at around 4:30 a.m. the place was pretty quiet. Over the next few hours, folks arrived from many different locations, some as far away as California, Texas, New York and even Quebec, Canada. At daybreak, we selected a nearby site with a shade tree and set up our camp with Dianne and Floyd’s canopy and table that were quickly assembled.

 

 

My daughter, Allison, had borrowed Stan’s (her husband) extended cab diesel truck to haul us and all our gear. She and her daughter, Kate, had packed it with everything we could possibly need and then loaded up Dianne and Floyd’s cargo and mine. The two and one half hour trip down was uneventful except perhaps for the number of donuts that can be consumed by five travelers. It was a good thing at the time that Allison did not know she would be holding down that clutch and shifting those 6 gears for about ten straight hours to get us back home. 

fullsizeoutput_8ea
Allison & Stan Puckett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pre-eclipse hours were spent discussing an upcoming wedding, 

20117075_1788483184500950_7740338112684852442_o
Kate Puckett & Tom Elliott          Photographer: Ashley Hatton, England

playing games, listening to a special playlist, meeting our “neighbors,” and eating.

fullsizeoutput_d84
Playlist by Kate with Allison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a lot of eating. Dianne, whose enthusiasm was contagious from the early planning stages, brought creative food and snacks which included Planets, Meteorites, Space Junk, Moon Pies and Eclipse cookies. In fact we had two kinds of eclipse cookies since the Matriarch (guess who) had also baked them as a surprise. 

We had plenty of room to spread out, go for walks, visit nearby vendors and enjoy watching children play. A large group of dancers was spotted a little distance away in an open field. Their colorful costumes and dancing style made me think they might be Native Americans. When we joined others to watch the dancing we saw they were a group of men and women who appeared to be of Polynesian descent dancing and singing Christian songs and celebrating the day. When asked about their activity they replied: “The angels in heaven are dancing and so are we.” This communal spirit permeated the crowd that included a diverse group of fellow eclipse enthusiasts.

IMG_5436
Photo by Kate Puckett

The actual eclipse, the event we had come to witness is the most difficult to describe. You have seen the photos and videos. Many of you, using special glasses, watched the phenomenon transpire. We understand the mechanics of this rare occurrence, but the emotions are more complex and really need to be experienced first hand*. As the moon’s shadow gradually overtook the light of the sun, dusk arrived in the middle of the day. Shadows took on different shapes. 

fullsizeoutput_d8f.jpeg
Shadows became crescent shaped.                                       See the contrast on the white board vs. concrete.

The horizon gave an appearance of the setting (or rising?) sun in every direction, encircling us. Cicadas, which I had not been aware of before, were now droning shrilly and loudly as in the middle of the night.

Suddenly, with totality, a brief hush came over the crowd who up to now had been laughing and loudly exclaiming with excitement. As I looked around it was nighttime, but not as dark as midnight.

IMG_5422.JPG
 

TOTALITY

 

It was a unique kind of darkness that was slightly opaque, grayish and almost otherworldly. It was simultaneously familiar and peculiar. For two minutes and 40 seconds, we were able to look at the total eclipse of the sun without protective eyewear. That brief time was adequate for considering important questions about beliefs, hopes, memories, about this life and the possibility of an afterlife. No, I did not come to groundbreaking conclusions about any of these things, but I did feel a deep sense of peace and hope for humankind.

As I observed people over the next several hours, I believe most had similar feelings. On the way home there was much laughter and love among loved ones and strangers. While waiting in line for about 30 minutes to use the restroom on the way home at a McDonald’s in Central City I heard not one complaint. Those in line were sharing about the great eclipse experience. The workers in the restaurant were ceaselessly filling orders with a smile and were receiving from customers gratitude for their work.

Back on the interstate we saw a group of people standing on an overpass and wondered what might be happening. As we approached bumper to bumper with other vehicles the young folks standing along the bridge railing were smiling, waving and making signs of peace and love to us as we slowly passed underneath them. Travelers were responding with horns blowing as we received what was an obvious “Welcome” demonstration above. As our family slowly progressed toward home we laughed, compared feelings and thoughts and of course texted Stan who was working in Jeffersonville and Elizabeth, my other granddaughter, who was attending the first day of classes at IUPUI, in Indianapolis. While we missed them all day, each had experienced a partial eclipse in their respective locations and can begin to make plans for the next total eclipse to hit the US when Indiana will be the spot for prime viewing.  

fullsizeoutput_d8d
Elizabeth Puckett

For now, my goal is to maintain the positive attitude I experienced on August 21, 2017, near Hopkinsville, KY. Recalling the hours of laughter, family interaction and unfathomable solar system display was a good diversion from current world crises. Somehow though I must meld that sense of peace with continued action. It is not enough to silently hope for the greater good of all of humankind. Promoting love and mutual respect, helping those who need it and resisting hate require movement, not simply “thoughts and prayers.”

*Start planning! You can experience this (or repeat it) on April 8, 2024. There is no excuse for not arranging to take the day off, obtaining needed reservations, composing your group and getting protective eyewear. You have seven years so start the groundwork now. 

Please share your recent eclipse experience with us in the comments. If you are planning for the next one tell us your strategy. Let’s keep the sharing going! Thank you.


Dianne’s email on behalf of our family yesterday to Eclipseville, a.k.a. Hopkinsville: 

“My family and I wanted to thank you for a wonderful time in Hopkinsville.  Your town was wonderfully represented by everyone we met.  They were all helpful and polite. We rented an area in the Tiebreaker Park. The event was well planned in that everyone was helpful and courteous and we knew what to do and where to go.  The park was clean and the restroom facilities were clean and adequate.  I’m not sure how you pulled this off with so many people arriving at once! Your emails before the event were helpful and fun.  The eclipse itself was awesome and we’ll never forget it!  We wanted you to know that we appreciate your efforts to make this event so memorable.” 

IMG_5431
Photo by Kate Puckett

 


Dianne prepared a Time Capsule for us to forward to our younger family members. We were so busy and involved that we hardly got it started, but will continue to add our momentoes, written thoughts, memories and pictures to the eclipse glasses and armbands and other items waiting for a total eclipse sometime in the future when the time capsule will be opened. It will hold memories and no doubt some comparisons of how things were in 2017 versus whatever year the star spangled box is opened. 

fullsizeoutput_d94.jpeg

Note: unless otherwise stated photos by my iPhone.      

fullsizeoutput_d70
Allison Puckett, our official photographer will possibly add some good photos in another post. 

August 23, 2017