Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

We Are the Ones – Chorale Version

One of my poems has been set to music to be performed as a chorale piece by womens’ choirs thoughout North America.

Am I thrilled?  You BET!

It debuted in Wisconsin last week. Below is the link to the video of the performance. There are many other excellent pieces being performed in this video, but ‘We Are the Ones’ – Music by Marie-Claire Saindon – Lyrics by Linda Studley,  starts around 54:24.

https://livestream.com/LawrenceUniversity/200209choirs  

Pinky

There was always something different about Pinky. That was the name we gave to the helium balloon that I brought home from my 60th birthday party. Back on June 19th, 2017, the family and friends managed to surprise me with birthday barbeque at a friend’s home. Which was a pretty neat trick because I’d been moaning that no one had ever thrown me a surprise birthday party; not in nearly sixty years. But somehow they maneuvered it. But I digress, we were talking about Pinky. Pinky came home with a couple of other helium balloons but her brothers, as shiny and colourful as they were, just never soared as high or wandered as far as Pinky. She was a big, pink heart of a balloon with a mind of her own and soon I found myself talking to her.

“Stop dragging your brothers all over the house, Pinky.” I’d say to her as she caromed along on every breeze that wafted in through the window, her less buoyant brothers in tow at the end of their tied ribbon tails.

Soon the brothers faded, deflated and were dispatched to the keepsake box. But Pinky rode the air currents happily, still fully inflated after a month, then another month. One day, as I sat in bed reading and drinking a cup of tea Pinky sailed into the bedroom and floated down between me and my book and hovered.

“Go play somewhere else.” I said and, as sulking, she floated over to the open window and plastered herself against the screen. “No.” I said. “You can’t go outside.”

Another month went by and Pinky, now quite famous in our family circle as being the longest lived helium party balloon anyone had ever seen, still floated, still stalked us from room to room, still silently slid up behind me.

“Good Lord! Don’t sneak up on me like that.” I’d scold her when I’d turn around and find her staring me in the face. Actually one of the children mentioned the idea of drawing a face on Pinky, but somehow I found that  a bit too unsettling.

One evening I fashioned a person in a basket out of paper to hang on Pinky’s string. If a balloon could be pleased, I think Pinky was. She seemed to sail throughout the house with more purpose and seemed to enjoy dangling her cargo so it would brush my face or neck. My quick slap (thinking it a bug) would raise a little breeze that she would dance away on, bobbing as if giggling at my reaction.

More time passed and finally, after three months we began to see a sag in Pinky’s ‘step’. Soon the basket and rider were too much for her to carry. It weighed her down to eye level until one day we removed it just to see her soar again for a while. And she did, but it was a short reprieve.

For a little while she began heading for open doors and we had to be quick to make sure she didn’t go outside, for who knows what would have happened to a balloon in the great outdoors? She would haunt us as we stood getting coats and shoes on at the door, as if sadly complaining that we were leaving her all alone, that she was old and we didn’t care about her anymore.

“Seriously,” I said to my husband one day “I almost feel like I should be arranging for palliative care for her.”

And now here it is, over four months since Pinky was inflated to life, and she is grounded. With only enough breath in her faded pink heart to keep her head up, she has come to lite on my pin cushion. It is a precarious place for a balloon, but I think sometimes she toys with the idea of suicide. Who am I to deny her her choice. She nods now in the air currents from the furnace vent and I nod back.

I will miss Pinky when she finally exhales the last of her helium.

Of all the presents I received on my sixtieth birthday, I think I will always love Pinky the best.

Once Upon a Password

Once upon a password
I used to recollect
the obscure encryption
I invented to protect

my email from those hackers
so they wouldn’t see
my personal correspondence
or steal my ID.

But now it’s getting harder
to invent those ciphers
that defend my info
and permeate my life.

Upper case and numbers,
symbols interspersing,
make it look like comic book
characters are cursing.

And by the time I’ve memorize
the password I’ve arranged,
a faceless message tells me that
it’s time the password changed.

And now I must start over…
seriously? really?
I wonder how you spell
‘password’ in Swahili?

New Year – New Challenge

LindaIt’s been a few years since I did the ‘poem a day for a year’ challenge and I’ve been thinking about picking up the glove and seeing if I can do it again.  It’s quite shameful how I’ve neglected my writing blog, and I apologise to anyone who came looking for new poems and had to go away empty handed.

Here’s to a year full of creativity.

Happy New Year.

Linda

One

I live in a bubble, life
playing out around me in comforting
rhythms, familiar if not predictable.
Passive spectator except on those
rare occasions when the bubble pops
and the world stands forth, stark and clean.

Colours sing that three dimensions,
five senses,
one lifetime,
are not enough
to experience a world so real
and I know that if I could just stay
outside the bubble I could hold time
in the palm of my hand, vanquish
the dragons of pain, fear, and longing, see
inside hearts, and speak without words.

Then a random, mundane thought intrudes
and the bubble sneaks up around me again, clouds
the freshness, lulls my senses.
But just before the bubble closes I wonder
‘is this what becoming one with the universe means?
Was I there and I blew it again?
Will I ever find my way back?’.

I feel in my bones this world
I’ve glimpsed is a stepping stone
to eternity and if I could just stay
long enough to find my way
I would sprout new senses, fly
into a new dimension, the next lifetime.
The dragons growl.
The bubble closes.

The Long, White Struggle

It’s a long, slow slog;
this stuttering transition
from winter to spring

with hopes of greenery
thawed and frozen all along
the dirty, white way

until you cave in,
like a collapsing igloo,
and believe the ice

age has come for you;
encased you eternally,
one hand on the box

labelled ‘Spring Clothing”
the other on your down filled coat,
desperate with hope

even through nightmares
of hard, white piles crushing
your warm breath to mist.

“It’s supposed to get up to plus eleven by next Friday” he says.
I’ll believe it when I see it

Summer of the Horse – a review

 

I used to be a voracious reader; often having two or even three books ‘on the go’ at any given time. Every night I’d read myself to sleep. I’d read for ten minutes while the cookies baked; packed a book in the vehicle to pass the time if I had to wait longer than two minutes for anything. Books were something into which I immersed myself, a respite from reality, a foray into the unknown. But lately my eyesight has not been cooperative of these forays. After half an hour the print blurs and I find myself straining to at least reach a ‘good place’ to stop until my eyes will focus again. Frustrated, I explored the world of e-books. At least I could increase the font size on the screen. Unfortunately, the screen is too small and reading a book when the lines are 4 words long with only 4 or 5 lines visible is ultimately unsatisfying. The e-reader is hard to hold too. Thin and sleek may look nice and fit into your purse, but it’s not comfortable to hold for any length of time.

So, slowly, my reading has dropped off. When something doesn’t satisfy anymore one tends to drift away from it. But this morning I read for an hour and a half. My eyes straining to get through each ensuing sentence, I couldn’t put the book down until finally I just couldn’t see the words anymore. Now here I am writing about the experience (with a large monitor jacked up to 200% zoom I might add) waiting for my eyes to adjust so I can go back and read some summer of the horse imagemore.

What is the object of this obsession you might ask? It’s my newly acquired copy of Donna Kane’s book “Summer of the Horse”. I was privileged to be present at her book launch last evening and, enthralled by her reading of two excerpts from the book, I purchased a copy, eager to dive into a book where the words did not just convey information; they sparkled with all the potential of the English language to be beautiful, evocative, and engaging.

I was not disappointed. I’m only about a quarter of the way through the “Summer of the Horse” but I’m thoroughly hooked and enchanted. Writing poetry has become an essential extension of my life, and my mantra has always been “Be brave, be honest”. Donna has always done that in her poetry, and now she is doing it in her creative non-fiction.

Run, do not walk, to the Dawson Creek Art Gallery and purchase a copy of “Summer of the Horse”. I haven’t even finished it yet and I know you will love it.

Like a Bird

Your heart, like a bird
fluttering, testing the winds2018-04-03-Like a Bird
of change in your soul

before taking flight.
Breath-taking fibrillation
shocks us to the now

where a breathe can hang
like mist in the frozen air
then crash to the ground,

tiny icicles
shatter, chime through the silence
“it’s time to go home”

 

Aubade to Spring

A nervous twitch of heavy curtains,
a wary peering into first light.
What song will I sing? A trill
of joy thrilling at a pool of sunlight
warming my bare
feet or a dirge for dreams
of spring, battered
by northeast winds and smothered
in yet more snow.
Is it all bad?
No, today the sun shines and, at least
for a while, it is ‘aubade’.

The Potential of Motionless Hands

Dry brushes,
silent strings,
still pens.

Canvas awaits,
air hangs empty,
book is closed.

Heart descries a dream,
soul craves a song,
mind requires illumination.

Potential
blooms, rings, transports
each thought into being
human.

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