Poet and blogger, Christy Birmingham-Reyes, shares her thoughts about poetry and a review

thumbnail_Treasuring Poetry

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I am featuring Christy Birmingham-Reyes as my Treasuring Poetry guest. No only is Christy a wonderful and heartfelt poet, but she has a superb blog where she shares insightful and useful posts about life, parenting, working, caring for elderly relatives and many other amazing topics. You can follow Christy’s blog here: https://whenwomeninspire.com/

Over to Christy

Hi Robbie, thank you for offering me a spot in this great series on poetry! It’s a pleasure to be here. I enjoyed the time spent thinking about my answers to the five questions on this rainy, windy day on Canada’s west coast. Here we go:

My favourite poem is Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. It was written by Frost in 1923 and published that same year.

My interpretation of this poem is that nothing stays in bloom forever. The moment is fleeting when the flowers blossom and trees are abundant with leaves. As the season ends, the flowers and leaves fall, just as humans too have a period where they are “in their prime” and grow frailer over the years.

While the interpretation above could be one that you might say is depressing, I disagree and find hope in the words of Robert Frost. To me, the poem is a reminder to enjoy today and to fill ourselves full of the golden moments we experience in life.

Cherishing the moments of happiness and taking in nature’s beauty is something we must not forget to do amidst the business of daily life. Now, more than ever, I feel grateful for the “small” things that are so big in their importance.

For example, today, I went for a walk between the rainstorms. The smell of the air was amazing to me, and I breathed it in deeply. That moment was golden, and it renewed my energy.

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

I would not want to write like any other poet, although I do certainly admire Maya Angelou’s writing style. To be a copy of someone else is not possible, and I would not succeed in doing so. Instead, I choose to put my efforts into trying to be my best self, in my writing, as a wife, as a daughter, and in other areas of life.

Maya Angelou’s poetry is candid. It is full of moments that take my breath away with their authenticity. She was true to herself on each page she wrote, and I can tell she wrote from her soul.

Thank you for having me over for a visit today! It has been a pleasure to chat about poetry and the emotions it draws out of us as readers. Stay safe xx

About Christy Birmingham

Christy Birmingham

Christy Birmingham is a freelance writer in Victoria, BC, who has a BA in Psychology and has taken professional writing courses at the University of Victoria. She is the author of Pathways to Illumination (Redmund Productions, 2013), her first poetry book. Her work also appears in the Poetry Institute of Canada’s From the Cerulean Sea: An Anthology of Verse (2013) and the literary journals The Claremont Review and Tipton Poetry Journal.

Versions of the Self

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration.

Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

My review of Versions of the Self

Versions of the self is quite an extraordinary book of poetry. The poet, Christy Birmingham, has a very unique style of writing which I found very intriguing. I also thought this style worked exceptionally well for the content of this book which is all about different versions of self. It imitates the flow of thought but in an easy to read and fascinating way.

I felt I would like to get to know the poet as I read her poems. While she does write about a mixture of various emotions, there is a thread of sadness or melancholy that runs through many of them and I felt that the writer had suffered pain in her past relationships. The poems become lighter and happier as you move through the book and I found myself hoping that this is a reflection of Christy’s life.

These are a few of the verses I found the most compelling in this beautiful book:

“You direct me forward but

I want to go back,

Back to when we were wrapped in

Clean sheets, before the

Lies melted on your tongue.”

From Lack of Direction

***

“You were once a masterpiece

Now, your colors run down the fabric of

My past,

Shades of yellow and orange that have

Grown thick in consistency,

As the price of fine art rises with inflation.”

From You, Colors, and Realization

***

“You came to see me at a pillow rich with creativity,

Where I had hope beyond reason for tugging at my heartstrings.

You know exactly which strings to play on your

keys to keep me smiling.

From You, Unique.

Purchase Versions of the Self

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms: Teaching your child to read

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Growing Bookworms

When my son, Gregory, was a small lad, he was eager to learn how to read as quickly as possible. He became positively frustrated because he was not able to read. Our local protocol is that children only start learning the alphabet in grade 0 (reception) and learning to read in grade 1 (the year they turn 7). Greg was only 5 when his inability to read became a problem for him.

I decided to start trying to teach Greg to read myself, after all how hard could it be … I’d been reading since I was 5 years old and I have two degrees and a great deal of determination. Well, it turned out to be a little more difficult and complex than I anticipated. We did get there in the end, but I am sure the path to success would have been easier if I have followed a few simple steps up front.

The four main steps in teaching a child to read are as follows:

  1. Making them aware of the written word all around them;
  2. Teaching your child about the different sounds – phonemic awareness;
  3. Teaching your child, the letters of the alphabet and the sounds related to each letter phonics;
  4. Demonstrating to your child how the different sounds fit together to form words.

Awareness of the written word

Pointing out word usage in your immediate environment helps your children understand the purpose of words and reading, and their usefulness in society. When I drove my children around, I always pointed out road and other signs to my boys. I also pointed out newspaper sellers who sold newspapers that people read and always took them into bookstores so they could see the books. We also had lots of books at home which I read to my sons every day, sometimes for up to two hours. I can remember taking two-year-old Greg with me to the obstetrician and my sitting and read to him for between 2 and ½ and 3 hours. Last time I visited, the receptionist still remembered my son as “the boy who sat and listened to stories for three hours.”

As a result of my efforts, my boys came to appreciate the purpose of reading and writing as an important communication tool. This led to both demonstrating a keen interest in learning how to read.

Awareness of sounds

There are lots of different ways to help your children become aware of sounds. The methods my boys and I enjoyed the most were singing nursery rhymes and songs and playing “Eye spy” in the car.

There are other fun games you can play with your child including the following:

  1. Making up songs and poems using different rhyming words;
  2. Listening games where children close their eyes and identify a sound such as crumpling paper;
  3. Playing with words to see if you child can identify the error, for example saying let’s stay instead of let’s play;
  4. Play dancing, clapping and stamping games;
  5. Reading rhymes and sentences that use alliteration and assonance.

Phonics

This is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (letter groups).

You can find some great step-by-step information on teaching children phonics here: https://www.theschoolrun.com/phonics-teaching-step-by-step

There are lots of fun YouTube videos to help you teach children Phonics.

Blending sounds

Children need to be familiar with the blending of sounds to form words before they can read. One of the best ways of demonstrating the blending of sounds is by reading repetitive books and rhyming books.

My boys loved the Poppy and Sam Farmyard Tales books and the Dr Seuss books. I read these to them repeatedly until they could point out the words and say them because they had memorised the books.

You can purchase the Poppy and Sam Farmyard Tales books here: Amazon US

You can purchase the Dr Seuss books here: Amazon US

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Other methods I used to familiarise my children with words and sounds were letting them listen to audio books, they loved the Roald Dahl books and listened to these repeatedly. I think I still know most of them off by heart.

Michael was a sickly boy and was off school for over 40 days per year during his first years of schooling. During these long periods of convalescence at home, he listened to a huge array of audio books including many of E Nesbit’s books including The Railway Children and Five Children and It. He also listened to all the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton and even some non-fiction books about Romans, Vikings and mythology.

My oldest son is an enthusiastic and copious reader and recently read 1984 by George Orwell. He has Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton next on his list.

Michael isn’t as fast or advanced a reader as Greg, but he still reads every day and enjoys reading. I think my efforts to instil a love of reading in them have played a bit role in their attitudes towards reading.

Did you teach your children to read? What methods did you use?

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. I also have three short stories in Death Among Us, a collection of short murder mystery stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are all published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have recently published a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

***Just a note here, since Robbie is so modest. She has five stories of dark fiction coming out in anthologies during October in 2019. “The Siren Witch”, “A Death Without Honour”, and “The Path to Atonement” will appear in Dan Alatorre’s Nightmareland  horror anthology, and “Missed Signs” and “The Last of the Lavender” will be featured in the WordCrafter paranormal anthology, Whispers in the Dark.



Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.

 


Poet Annette Rochelle Aben shares an interesting poem and some thoughts on poetry and poets

thumbnail_Treasuring Poetry

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I am delighted to welcome Annette Rochelle Aben to the Writing to be Read “Treasuring Poetry” series.

Annette has shared her favourite poem and the some of her thoughts about poetry.

Résumé
Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.”
― Dorothy Parker, Enough Rope

No matter how rough you think your life is right now…  getting out of it could be more distasteful. So, get over it and carry on!

I love the dark humor and sarcasm that actually help bolster emotional stability.

I would LOVE to be as talented (clever) as the late, great Shel Silverstein. [Shel Silverstein was a poet and musician known for children’s books such as The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends.]

This man’s poetry entertains as well as educates. His poetry begs to be re-read for each time, you pick up on a different aspect of his messages.

Here is an entertaining example of Shel Silverstein’s poetry:

About Annette Rochelle Aben

I was born writing! At least this is how it seems. I had the good fortune to be published while a sophomore in high school, so continuing the journey by publishing books has been a natural course of events.

It is my pleasure to announce that the book I have just released is # 1 Best Seller! And that is: A Haiku Perspective 2018 which is available in both Kindle and paperback formats! Enjoy celebrating a year of my life as told using the framework of Haiku style poetry.

Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is a book filled with beautiful photos and remarkable tanka poetry. People LOVE this book because of the comfort it provides. Many have gifted it to others and been thanked over and over again.

A Tanka Picture Book is exactly as the name suggests. I took photos of a variety of everyday objects, works of art and nature, then wrote a tanka poem for each. I suggest this book for all the right reasons. It will entertain, provoke thought, stimulate conversation and be a great addition to your library!

I have chosen to release my annual haiku collection in time to celebrate National Poetry Month, in April. A Haiku Perspective 2017 is filled with smiles, laughter, wisdom and creativity, all cleverly disguised as haiku poetry. Enjoy!

My book, GO YOU – some encouragement when you need it, is a pep-talk in a book! Each page gives you a quick way to start your day, help you through a moment or even provide someone else words that can inspire them to a better life. We can all use a cheerleader, when one isn’t available, this book fits the bill!!

Most of the books I have published here are centered in poetry, Haiku poetry to be exact. Much of the feedback I receive about the haiku poetry is that people can really understand the messages and they appreciate that the poems are short and sweet!
Angel Messages – a wing and a prayer is my first book about Angels. Filled with photos, prayers, poems and prose of and about Angels, this book will delight any Angel lover in your life. Check out the reviews, people are drawn to the inherent inspirational nature of this book and as result is fast becoming their favorite. You can have it right away using the Kindle option or order a paperback copy (or two) and carry it with you wherever you go.

I mentioned that many of my books are filled with my poetry and several of them combine that with my love of taking pictures. Books that feature poetry and photos include Perspective, it’s all about replacing one thought with another; PhoKu, visual perspective haiku; and BooKu, Halloween haiku. Perspective has a wide variety of pages that can feature prose, poetry and nature photographs, while PhoKu is filled with the photographs I have taken in nature with Haiku poetry added to them, hence the title: PhoKu. BooKu is a “behind the scenes look at how Halloween decorations feel about their jobs. All three of these books are available in print and Kindle formats.

A Haiku Perspective 2015, and A Haiku Perspective 2016 are haiku poetry books. When I first experimented with the haiku writing format, I have no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do. These days, I am writing haiku daily and finding myself thinking in 17 syllables. You can find these books in both print and Kindle formats
There are several other books planned for release this year alone, So please, check back frequently to see what I have published and share what YOU are doing! Cheers!!

My review of A Tanka Picture Book

A Tanka Picture Book Kindle Edition

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her.

One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does.

One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one:

We found paradise

Filled with rolling hills of green

Houses so cozy

Paths strewn with flowers fragrant

Watercolor painted skies

You can purchase Annette Rochelle Aben’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

You can read some of Annette’s uplifting poetry on her blog here: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Are there benefits to singing and rhyming verse for children?

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Growing Bookworms

I love nursery rhymes and children’s poetry. When my boys were younger we used to listen to children’s songs and nursery rhymes in the car wherever we went. We used to sing along and I even bought them bells and shakers so that they could join in the music making.

One of Gregory’s favourite nursery rhymes was Aiken Drum, a popular Scottish folk song and nursery rhyme. It is believed to have its origins in a Jacobite song about the Battle of Sherifmuir (1715).  You can listen to a version of it here:

I find nursery rhymes very fascinating, particularly when I probe the origins of some of them. Ring a ring o’ Roses, for example, is alleged to have originated from the black plague. A rosy rash was a symptom of the plague and posies of herbs were carried by people as protection and to cover up the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a symptom once the disease had progressed and then the sick person usually died and so literally “fell down” dead.

I have often wondered, however, whether there are any specific and acknowledged benefits to be derived by small children from listening to nursery rhymes and being read to in rhyming verse. If I think of Dr Seuss books, they are all in rhyming verse and they are always punted as being a really good choice of early readers.

I decided a little bit of investigation was in order, especially, as my own books, co-authored with Michael, are written in rhyming verse. The experts listed the following benefits to singing nursery rhymes to your children and reading to them in rhyming verse:

  • Children love the sound of their parents voices, so singing by a caregiver calms and sooths a small child;
  • Children enjoy the changes and variation in tone that result from singing and reading in rhyming verse. This helps inspire a love of language in children, thereby naturally increasing their desire to read and write;
  • Rhymes help children learn to identify the different sounds that make up a word, how to play with words, change them and pair them together which greatly aids learning how to read;
  • When reading in rhyming verse, most readers tend to speak clearly and slowly. This is beneficial to children as they are able to hear the way the words are formed properly;
  • Songs and rhymes have a positive impact on children’s language and literacy development;
  • Children that participate in singing and telling of nursery rhymes often learn to speak more quickly;
  • Rhyming teaches children about word families;
  • Rhyming teaches children the patterns and structures in spoken and written language;
  • Rhyming helps children learn how to spell as they realise the words that sound similar often share common letter sequences;
  • The repetition of rhymes helps build memory capabilities;
  • Nursery rhymes or other rhyming stories and tales help preserve your culture and create a bond between generations; children, parents and grandparents; and
  • Nursery rhymes and rhyming verse help children to hear a steady beat which researchers believe results in better reading skills.

I thought this was rather an impressive list of benefits and nursery rhymes and stories told in rhyming verse are such fun. So dust off your old nursery rhyme books and grab your Dr Seuss and other rhyming verse books and get going.

Happy reading and singing!

Just as an aside, Puff the magic Dragon is one of the nicest rhyming verse story books I’ve ever read.

 

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.

 


Sue Vincent shares her thoughts on poetry and a review

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I am delighted to welcome author, poet and amazing blogger, Sue Vincent, to Writing to be Read as my April guest for Treasuring Poetry.

Sue shares a lot of her own poetry on her blog, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Sue also has an amazingly poetic dog, Ani, who has a few books in her own right. This is a link to Sue’s latest Ani link: https://scvincent.com/2020/04/23/the-small-dog-on-guard/.

Sue also writes some more serious poetry and other books which you can find along the right had side of her blog.

Take it away, Sue.

Sue Vincent’s thoughts on poetry

I honestly couldn’t choose a single poem. It all depends on the mood I am in for I love poetry, quite literally, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It is a love affair that started early, with Dr Seuss, Robert Louis Stevenson and Marriott Edgar. It was probably Edgar who inspired my love of history, for after learning his irreverent verses, you really had to get the true story. For example, the Magna Carta is possibly the most important document in English history and one of the earliest legal assertions of human rights. The story as I first learned it from Marriott Edgar had King John signing his name by dipping his pen in the jam and concludes with a verse that is possibly more apt today that it has ever been:

And it’s through that there Magna Charter,

As were signed by the Barons of old,

That in England to-day we can do what we like,

So long as we do what we’re told.

Magna Carta by Marriott Edgar

If I had to choose a single work, it would be the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a series of quatrains written a thousand years ago in Persia. My mother gave me a small, cloth-bound volume that her father had given to her many years earlier. He had carried the book when he fought in the jungles of Burma during the war, so the book itself meant a lot to me and travelled everywhere in my handbag so I would always have something to read. The book began to disintegrate at around the time a digital version could be had. It is now safe at home… and the Rubaiyat was the first thing I ever downloaded.

The book contained two translations by Edward FitzGerald. Subsequent translations have been more literally correct, but it is this early work that holds the magic for me, as much of the imagery is quite magical. Many of the quatrains are well known but taken out of context they lose a great deal. Perhaps the most famous is:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on; nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

I have read the Rubaiyat so many times that I probably know FitzGerald’s translation by heart. Even so, my understanding has shifted and evolved as I have aged, yet I am still pondering many of the questions these verses raise. The verses constitute both a philosophy and a quest, and can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on what the reader brings to the poetry. Some passages are sheer beauty, others almost heartbreaking…and yet others seem as powerful and full of mystery as any magical rite:

Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate

I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,

And many Knots unravel’d by the Road ;

But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

 

There was a Door to which I found no Key :

There was a Veil past which I could not see :

Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE

There seem’d – and then no more of THEE and ME.

 

While scholars still debate whether Omar was deeply mystical or irreligious, I believe he was anti-dogmatic and cannot be read literally. He was a mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet and used symbolism throughout his work, touched by humour and underpinned with a love of life in all its glory. One of my favourite passages is the Kuza Nama (The Book of Pots):

Listen again. One evening at the close

Of Ramazán, ere the better Moon arose,

In that old Potter’s Shop, I stood alone

With the clay Population round in Rows.

 

And, strange to tell, among the Earthen Lot

Some could articulate, while others not:

And suddenly one more impatient cried –

“Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

 

Then said another – “Surely not in vain

My substance from the common Earth was ta’en,

That He who subtly wrought me into Shape

Should stamp me back to common Earth again.”

 

Another said – “Why, ne’er a peevish Boy

Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;

Shall He that made the Vessel in pure Love

And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy!”

 

None answer’d this ; but after Silence spake

A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:

“They sneer at me for leaning all awry;

What! Did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”

 

There is something about these verses… in spite of the inaccuracies of the translation… that has intrigued and inspired for a thousand years. There is a passion in the words, they question belief, the nature of life and truth and make you think about what you believe. I would be happy indeed if I thought that any words I might pen would still capture heart and mind a thousand years from now!

 

Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire

To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits – and then

Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

 

Ah, Moon of my Delight who know’st no wane,

The Moon of Heav’n is rising once again:

How oft hereafter rising shall she look

Through this same Garden after me – in vain!

 

And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass

Among the Guests Star-scatter’d on the Grass,

And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot

Where I made one-turn down an empty Glass!

Review of Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection

What Amazon says

“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”A collection of fifty two poems of life, love and inspiration.There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.

My review

I love poetry and I read a lot of poems and poetry books and I found the poems in this amazing little book to be quite profound. Sue Vincent touches on all aspects of life, including the sadder and more emotionally difficult aspects such as loss of a loved one, in a beautifully poignant and yet positive and uplifting way which make them satisfying and wonderfully uplifting.

Most of these poems are written in freestyle form with a couple in rhyming verse. The poet has matched the style well to the content of the poem and the rhyming verse poems present the more light hearted and upbeat toned poems.

A few short extracts that I found particularly impactful are as follows:

“The pen paints the souls longing
In jewel tones.” from Purpose

“There were flowers,
Three red roses,
Red as life,
Placed in a cold hand,
One for each heart
Saying a final farewell.
When the tears fall,
There are always flowers.” from Flowers

“Two ravens whisper in my ear,
As Thought and Memory begin.

Within the darkness of their wings
Stir images, both dark and bright,
That dance within the secret heart
And quiet hours of the night.” from Odin’s Ravens [my favourite poem in this collection]

“My pillow held the hollow where you lay,
With love glazed eyes that held me,
Watching as the wildness took me,
Smiling up at me.” from Memory [intensely poignant poem]

Purchase Life Lines: Poems from a reflection

 

About Robbie Cheadle

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Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


#SirChocolatestory – Sir Chocolate and the Valentine Toffee Cupid

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Growing Bookworms

My sons and I have been working hard to bring some of our free Sir Chocolate stories and “How to Make” videos to children who are at home due to COVID-19. Greg and I are recording audio versions of our free stories and posting them to our new YouTube channel with a link to the free PDF download of the illustrated story. We are also creating free animated videos of our recipes and step-by-step instructions on how to make some Easter creations. The PDF instructions are also available for free as a download on my children’s books and poetry, blog https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/.

This endeavor is part of Gregory and Michael’s outreach and community service project which has been put on hold while the schools are closed. We thought this was a nice way of keeping it going. It gives them an interest as they are helping me to make the videos and maintain the YouTube channel.

Today, I am sharing a fully illustrated free Sir Chocolate story called Sir Chocolate and the Valentine Toffee Cupid.

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You can find the audio reading of this book on our YouTube channel: Robbie Cheadle here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA?view_as=subscriber

Greg did the filming this time and not the reading.

You can download the free PDF illustrated book here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/free-story-sir-chocolate-the-the-valentine-toffee-cupid/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.

 


Meet children’s author and poet, Victoria Zigler and a book review

thumbnail_Treasuring Poetry

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I have talented children’s author and poet, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, visiting Writing to be Read to tell us about her favourite poem and poet.

What is your favourite poem?

As I’ve often said, I always struggle with picking favourites, and the fact my favourites will generally change depending on my mood doesn’t help. My three favourite poets are Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, and Dylan Thomas, with Emily Dickenson and Edward Leer right behind them – the latter especially when I want something light-hearted. But as for a favourite poem… Now, that’s a little more difficult. Like I said, that changes constantly. However, this poem by Emily Dickenson entitled “There Is No Frigate Like A Book” is definitely among my favourites:

“There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.”

This is a beautiful poem, Tori. A great choice.

What is your interpretation of this poem?

Something I learned quickly as a child, and know all too well now: a book can take you to all sorts of places, both real and imagined, without you having to leave home. The kind of traveling even those without much money can afford, and even those with ill health can manage without too much difficulty, and that’s a wonderful thing.

I also read a huge amount as a child, Tori, and it also brought me a huge amount of pleasure. 

What emotions does this poem invoke in you?

Sheer joy, because it reminds me of the hours of pleasure reading has so far given me throughout my life, and makes me think of the many places I’ll get to visit, and worlds I have yet to explore, between the pages of those books still on my to-read list.

I also still derive great pleasure from books and reading. My formats have expanded to include ebooks and audiobooks recently too.

If you could choose to write like any well-known poet, who would it be?

I’ve never really thought about it before. I mean, a couple of times I’ve used the style of someone for inspiration, but mostly I just write my poems, and if the ones in my head are similar in style to those by others, so be it. But if I had to pick someone, I’d probably have to go with Edward Leer, especially since he is someone I’ve consciously mimicked the style of in the past, as demonstrated in my poem “A Pair Of Chinchillas Went To Sea” – which I’m sharing for you below.

“A pair of chinchillas went to sea,

In a boat that was painted bright red.

They took some oats, and plenty of nuts,

And some hay to use as a bed.

 

They sailed away for a month and a day,

To a place where it always snows.

Their only regret was that it was wet

Upon their little toes.”

The above poem can be found among those in my poetry collection, Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes – one of a pair of similarly titled pet themed poetry collections, the other being Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems – which was published in 2018, and is available from a variety of online retailers in multiple eBook formats, paperback, and audio. In fact, both titles are available in all those formats, along with the rest of my books.

Thank you for sharing this lovely poem, Tori. I have read this book and you can read my Amazon review here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1YCKVTULTFA4V

What is special to you about this poet’s writing style?

His poems are so fun. They’re great for lifting the mood. The style also lends itself well to writing for children, which is likely a large part of why it appeals to me enough that I consciously mimicked it, since most of my stuff is written with children in mind.

I also enjoy fun poetry, Tori.


Waves of Broken Dreams and Other Poems

What Amazon says

A collection of poems of various styles and lengths, which are about heartache, loss, pain, and broken dreams.

Note: Some of the poems in this book may not be suitable for younger readers.

My review

This is the third poetry book I have read by Victoria Zigler and it is just as beautifully written as the others. This one has a darker theme as it focuses on themes of loss, rejection and broken dreams, as the title suggests.

I have often thought the the best poetry is about sad and emotionally disturbing topics because circumstances and situations that provoke great passion in the poet facilitate the flow of strong words and ideas. Victoria Zigler clearly shares this perspective and says so in one of her upfront poems entitled “When Poets Write Best”. I have extracted the following stanza from that poem:

“I’ll tell you if you want to hear

The reason I think why

Poets write the best when

They feel they want to cry.

The reason is quite simple

And to me it seems right

Writing poems help them heal

And makes their hearts once more light.”

I enjoy Victoria Zigler’s poetry because it is not overly complicated. Her words and messages are straight forward and for me, that makes them much more powerful than verses where I have to look up words and scrabble to understand what the poet meant or intended.

Her love of children and people in general comes through strongly in a lot of her poems. One poem that made a strong impression on me was “Your Penny”. The second stanza of this lovely poem goes as follows:

“There are children everywhere

Who need it more than I

Whole families who’s greatest gift

Is the fact they didn’t die

So, let them have your penny

Show them all your care

Let them know that this year

Somebody is there.”

A lovely book of poetry by a talented poet.

Purchase Waves of Broken Dreams and Other Poems


About Robbie Cheadle

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Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.

 


My experience of obtaining a balance with parental approval

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Growing Bookworms

I have two sons, both of which are quite different in their abilities and attitudes to life in general.

My oldest, Gregory, is a scholar. At the age of five he could read music and played the piano with some aptitude. At six, I taught him to read as he was frustrated by this inability and the schools in South Africa only teach reading during the year children turn seven. By the end of his second year of schooling, Greg had read all the series of books for young children I could think of, including Horrid Henry, Astrosaurs, the Little Men and Little Miss books, Secret Seven and many more.

I moved him on to other books, the Classic Starts series for children and during his third year of school, he started delving into some of the original classics. He also read all of the Shakespeare Junior Classics. The school enrolled him in a mathematics extension programme and he finished the entire additional workbook in two afternoons.

From a learning perspective, my oldest son is a dream. He works hard, perseveres and is determined to succeed. He is a lot like me. He shares my failings too. He only applies himself to things he enjoys, gets bored quickly and needs to be continuously challenged and stimulated. These character traits do not always provide for a peaceful co-existence with peers and colleagues, many of whom do not share our obsessive approach to work and areas of interest. My colleagues often ask me how I know so much about a certain topic and I will say: “It’s an interest of mine.” Greg and I are peas in a pod, we have many interests which we are very passionate about. Greg is not interested particularly in sport or socializing and does these things only when it is necessary.

My younger son, Michael, is different. Michael also likes to achieve, but his aims are tempered by a general enjoyment of life and friends and he likes to relax. He also likes to socialize and spend time with friends. School assignments are not a cause for concern until the day before they are due and, even then, they are approached in a slow and steady manner and not with panic. Michael doesn’t aim for distinctions and is very happy to achieve Bs and Cs on his progress report.

Michael is not particularly sporty, but he loves to join in with the whole “rah rah – all mates together” theme of an all-boys school and loves the war cries. He will break into a vibrant rendition of a war cry at the drop of a hat and I will be in stitches of laughter as he belts out the phrases at the top of his loud and currently breaking voice.

In summary, I am trying to bring up a complete overachiever and a happy go lucky Joe and get both through school, college and relationships.

The interesting thing for me is that both my boys have the same number of achievement certificates from their schools. Granted, Michael was at a remedial school until this year, and they do give awards for a greater variety of achievements, but Michael’s were generally in academic categories such as mathematics and Afrikaans.

With two boys as different as mine, it is not always easy to find the correct balance for encouraging and rewarding them, especially verbally. This past week, Gregory came home with 98% for his English examination and 93% for his mathematics examination. Michael came home with 60% for his Afrikaans examination and 75% for his English examination. I gave them both equal congratulations and made an equal fuss of their achievements. Other members of my social circle and family don’t always understand this approach. For me, I judge my boys’ achievements on their individual histories, attitudes and effort.

Gregory works very hard all the time. He has the intellectual ability to achieve very high marks and this, coupled with his work ethic, enable him in achieving excellent academic success. My worry for my older son is that he spends to much time working, gets to obsessed with achievement of his goals and struggles to balance other aspects of his life with work. In that way he is just like me.

Michael has a learning barrier and struggled to learn to read competently. He qualifies for a time concession for examinations and time will tell whether he need this or not. A child that struggles to read and write in his mother tongue, finds a second language extremely difficult. A remedial school focuses on the core subject of English and mathematics and the second language isn’t as much of a focal point. When we knew in 2018 that Michael would mainstream for high school, I got an Afrikaans tutor for him as I knew his abilities in that language were lacking. He has worked hard to get on top of his deficiencies.

When he started high school this year, Michael was one of the only boys, out of 150, that didn’t know anyone. He was the only boy who transitioned to his high school from his primary school. The first week was hard and he felt very tired. One the second day of school, the boys wrote an Afrikaans test to see what their level of proficiency in the language was and Michael failed. As a result, he is now attending extra lessons in this language at the school as well as at home. When he came home with a 60% result, I was ecstatic. This mark is an indication of his perseverance and resilience, and I will be delighted if he can maintain this mark for the next five years.

Obtaining his Afrikaans result on the same day as Gregory’s mathematics result made me reflect on the differences in my two sons and how I perceive their achievements. I my eyes, their achievements are equal as the input was equal.

This reflection on how we need to consider out children separately and not measure them against their siblings and peers inspired this post. Each of our children is special in their own way and each deserves to be measured against his own input and ability levels and not those of others.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.

 


Meet poet and writer Colleen Chesebro

thumbnail_Treasuring Poetry

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I am delighted to welcome poet, author and blogger Colleen Chesebro to the “Treasuring Poetry” series. The aim of this series is to introduce poets and poetry lovers to each other and to share reviews for some of the lovely poetry books available.

Welcome Colleen!

What is your favorite poem? Include it with your answer

This is a difficult question because I enjoy many kinds of poetry. However, I love the Beat Poets the most. Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg always come to mind, both with their excellent Haiku. However, my favorite poem from Allan Ginsberg is called, “Sunflower Sutra.”

Sunflower Sutra

 BY ALLEN GINSBERG

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.

Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.

The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.

Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—

—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem

and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past—

and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye—

corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,

leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,

Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then!

The grime was no man’s grime but death and human locomotives,

all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis’ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt—industrial—modern—all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown—

and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I name, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos—all these

entangled in your mummied roots—and you there standing before me in the sunset, all your glory in your form!

A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!

How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of the railroad and your flower soul?

Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?

You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!

And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!

So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter,

and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul too, and anyone who’ll listen,

—We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.

Berkeley, 1955

Thank you, Colleen, for this introduction to Allan Ginsberg’s poetry, which I have not read before. This is an amazing and meaningful poem.

What is your interpretation of this poem?

This poem was written before I was born, but it is an example of Ginsberg’s view of a desolate America destroyed by the wiles of modern society. Who knew this prophetic poem would mean so much more to me in the twenty-first century?

Ginsberg’s poetry often railed against societal norms. As a Jew, and a gay man, he experienced a different world than most of us in America. What made this poem different from some of his other work, was at the end, he offered a glimmer of hope.

I also love that he titled the poem a Sutra, which is a Buddhist literature form that uses a string of aphorisms (tersely phrased statements of a truth or opinion; an adage). miriamwebster.com

The imagery of the sunflower suggests that America has been battered out of recognition but has the ability to become beautiful again. Ginsberg gives a political commentary on America’s core values: the freedom of expression, and the ability of the people to share in forward thinking political and social thought. I can’t help but wonder what he would say about today’s political climate?

In this poem, Ginsberg refers to “…memories of Blake.” Here he is talking about William Blake, one the leading poets from the Romantic era. Ginsberg rejected the ugliness of the modern world in all of its industrial glory. This is his way of wishing we were back in the Romantic era before industry destroyed the natural beauty of our land. The last part of the poem is where he compares Americans to “golden sunflowers,” encouraging us all to find and embrace our own beauty in this world.

The poem doesn’t contain beats or syllables. Instead, it moves with the rhythm of our breath. Ginsberg loved spoken poetry. The short stanzas, like a Haiku, share a moment of enlightenment or truth making this poem a classic Sutra.

This interpretation of the poem is fascinating, Colleen.

What emotions does this poem invoke in you?

 This poem inspires me to take poetic action to help spread the word of hope through my own poetry. Like the “crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye sunflower,”(Ginsberg’s Sunflower Sutra) we have to look beneath the ugliness to find the beauty in the world. Once we find that beauty, we should share it through poetic expression.

Sharing beauty through poetry is a wonderful goal, Colleen.

If you could choose to write like any well-known poet, who would it be?

 Ginsberg wrote some pretty raw stuff, (Howl, is long and contains profanity) but I can’t dispute the genius of his word combinations, imagery, or unconventional writing styles.

Raw and unconventional writing styles make a big impression on the reader. 

What is special to you about this poet’s writing style?

I wrote a term paper about Ginsberg in college because he also liked writing Haiku and Senryu, although his poems are found by searching for Haiku. In fact, he was one of the first to write Haiku in a single line and not in the 5/7/5 format of the traditional Haiku in English that was popular at the time. He argued that with the differences between Japanese and English that particular form wasn’t important for English Haiku. I’m sure this was another reason why academic poets use the 3/5/3 or 2/3/2 format for Haiku in English.

Most of all, his words always speak to me. Listen to the specific patterns of speech he uses in his poetry. He bares it all and says it all, in a style that shouts freedom of expression. He defied traditional academic disciplines and wrote the way he wanted to. That’s pure creativity!

I agree, Colleen, and I take my hat off to his innovation and imagination.

Find Colleen Chesebro

Speculative Fiction Novelist, Prose Metrist, Word Witch

Amazon US Author Page Amazon UK Author Page Twitter MeWe

Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration

What Amazon says

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

My review

This book includes a delightful array of short stories and poems with fairies, myths and magic as the central themes that link them all. The author provides an interesting introduction to fairies and shares her own personal thoughts and ideas about this subject. There is also an intriguing overview of myths and how they originated.

The poetry takes numerous shapes and forms and there are tankas, haibuns, double tankas, cinquains and freestyle poems all of which contribute into making this book an interesting reading adventure.

My favourite story was The Leaving – A Story of Supernatural Magic which features the elderly Miss Pensie Taylor as the main character. Miss Pensie has lived in her house in the same town all her life and is a well know character to the older residents. Her house overlooks a swamp and a graveyard and she has an intimate knowledge of the inmates of the graveyard as her father was the caretaker when she was a child. Miss Pensie is a brave soul with a gift that enables her to see the spirits of those long dead.

One evening, during a heavy thunderstorm, Miss Pensie notices something unusual about the graveyard and goes out to investigate after the rain has abated. She has an interesting experience alone in the darkness.

My favourite poem in this collection is titled The magical Tree and my favourite stanza is the following:

“In Autumn –

the Lady shows us her splendor

whose bright orange leaves herald

the darkness of another winter slumber.”

If you enjoy poetry and have an interest in myths, magic and fairies, you will love this beautiful collection.

Purchase Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Reading and mathematics

Growing bookworks Jan 2020

Those of you who are familiar with the writing of Enid Blyton, may be familiar with her Enchanted Wood series which features the folk of the Faraway Tree. One of the characters in this delightfully imaginative series is Dame Snap, a strict school mistress, who runs a school for naughty pixies and other fairy folk. I loved this series as a child and was quite astonished by the questions Dame Snap poses to the learners in her class. This is an extract from The Enchanted Wood:

“Jo looked at the questions on the board. He read them out to the others, in great astonishment.

“If you take away three three caterpillars from one bush, how many gooseberries will there be left?”

“Add a pint of milk to a peck of peas and say what will be left over.”

“If a train runs at six miles an hour and has to pass under four tunnels, put down what the guard’s mother is likely to have for dinner on Sundays.”

Everybody gazed at the board in despair. Whatever did the questions mean? They seemed to be nonsense.”

Image result for Dame Snap from the Faraway tree"

Dame Snap from The Enchanted Wood

This particular extract came to mind the other day when I was assisting my younger son with his mathematics homework. He had ten sentences to complete, all of which were missing certain vital words to form a well-known mathematics concept. I thought this was quite a difficult way for a mathematics concept to be enforced and tested and it made me realise how important good reading and comprehension skills are to performing well in all school subjects, including mathematics.

As learners progress through the school system, the need to assemble, analyse and interpret data in order to present a view or outcome about a specific problem, increases significantly. In order to do this, the learner must frequently read and understand a mass of research material and extract the salient points for further analysis.

A big component of testing mathematical concepts involves solving word problems, which were called story sums when I was at school. A word problem is a few sentences describing a ‘real-life’ scenario where a problem needs to be solved by way of a mathematical calculation. These sentences are often complex and if a learner does not have well developed reading and comprehension skills, he or she will struggle to determine what they need to do to solve the problem and arrive at the correct answer.

Studies have been done to determine the correlation between good reading comprehension and mathematical word problem skills. The results showed that good performance with mathematical word problems is strongly related to effective reading comprehension. The results indicated that this is because reading comprehension and problem solving both require superior reasoning skills.

Reading understanding and comprehension is increased through exposure to the written word as a result of parents or other caregivers reading to children and later, by children reading on their own.

In summary, children who are read to and who are encouraged to read, generally perform better in all of their school subjects including mathematics which does not merely constitute manipulating figures on a page, but involves comprehension and assimilation of written data.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.