Tag Archives: poems

Exciting News

I have happy news for our family.  Rhiannon Lee (Annalee or Anna to old time readers, Rhia nowadays) and I have published a children’s poetry book!

Poems from Under a Toadstool

It all started when Rhia showed me her mushroom doodles in her journal last year.  I fell in love with them and told her they should be in a children’s book.  She suggested that I could write poems for a book and they could be the illustrations (many, many years ago I was a poet) and we decided to collaborate.

So she gave me her drawings to scan, and every so often I would sit and work on mushroom poems (and nature poems, and related poems…).

Poems From Under a Toadstool (If Ever)

Poems from Under a Toadstool

I added a glossary to the back, since some of the poems had bigger words like biome and mycology, and space for kids to add their own poems, drawings and spore prints at the end.

Poems from Under a Toadstool (Mycology)

We were in no hurry.  It was just a fun joint project.  Then she got the opportunity to move to West Virginia for three months, and she started working extra hard to earn extra money for all of her expenses.  That lit a fire under me to get the book finished and out into the world to help her out.

The book was published last week and is available on Amazon (affiliate link) if you’d like to take a peek .  If you’re interested, you can order it through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  It would also help us out enormously if you asked your local library to carry it!

Half of the profits will go to Rhia as she embarks on this new adventure.  My half will go to support my nonprofit children’s nature magazine, Wild Kids Magazine, which costs a fair bit to host since it sees so much monthly traffic that we regularly get overage charges to our web hosting.  I offer the magazine for free to do good in the world (just like Magical Childhood), but it would be great if it didn’t cost so much to do good some months!  😉

I’m also working on putting up a free print of one of the illustrated poems for folks to print out.  Look for that soon.

Wish us luck, and wish us extra luck as Rhia heads off next week on this exciting new chapter in her life.

        

    

 

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Seasons

Forgive me if I post a little sap today.  This time of year brings back a lot of memories and I thought I’d share them.

This September marks 17 years since my last miscarriage.  Or since the start of it, I suppose, since that one (my twelfth) sort of began in September, two days after our wedding, and lasted for several months of questions and waiting and bleeding and a D&C and more bleeding and finally emergency surgery on New Year’s Day. 

That was a very long fall.

I wrote this poem that fall, trying to hold on to the hope that I could ever become a mother.  I thought I’d share it today.

autumn 

past quiet farms with their rows of trees,
past the wide fields of blonde, spent crops,
past the thin lakes where the pelicans drifted,
we drive in silence, squinting
at the eastern sun with its blood-red tints.
i know this road by heart.

each friday, and then mondays and wednesdays
too, we made this trip.  at first
full of hope, then fear, and then
acceptance.  i have grown used
to the needles, the tests, the death.
for a month i have kept her anyway, waiting.

 and some say i handle it wonderfully.
 and some say to just try again.
 and some say to get my sh*t together
 and come back to work.

the doctor says they don't know why.

we drive on to the hospital.

out the window, i watch the crisp trees
shed their own deaths.  for seven years
these seasons marked my failures.
i do not mourn their green. i am tired of grief.

we drive on, past all that once grew.
winter is coming, again.


(Alicia Bayer)

Two and a half years later, we had our first baby.  We were not sure if we’d ever have a child and then we had Victoria, then Anna, then Jack.  We decided to be practical and stop at three, and then were delighted to be wrong when Alex surprised us and became number four.  We were even more delighted to be wrong last year again, when I thought I was too old for babies and we thought we were being so careful, and baby Fiona blessed us with her delightful presence. 

It’s fall, and I’m watching the pelicans drift on the lakes, knowing they’ll soon by flying off until the weather warms up again.  Every time I look at those magical white birds, I remember that day so long ago.  I am so amazed by my luck and my blessings. 

I have never liked fall, but more and more it reminds me of that moment 17 years ago, watching the pelicans and holding on to hope in spite of logic. 

And I’m so thankful for that change of seasons.

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

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American Music

Jack, Anna and Victoria dancing in the Wilder Pageant last year

Long time no see!  Sorry for being so quiet.  All is good here.  We’ve been busy with Baby Fiona (now 9 months old!), the Wilder Pageant (the 8th year for the girls!), time at the lake to beat the heat and other fun things.

I stumbled across this poem today and I thought I’d share it.  I wrote it for a friend’s son when he was six and he is now a young man with a child of his own.  Boy does that make me feel old!  😉  I think it’s good advice for all of us, though, and it seemed like a good way to pop back in and get back to yapping with you all…

American Music

(by Alicia Bayer)

Anthony, I remember it all:
Dancing barefoot in your living room
To the Violent Femmes and your mother’s laugh…
Making a snow-beast,
Finding the kittens,
You playing with my feet.

I held your hand as we crossed streets
And stepped out of pick-ups.
You laughed when I mimicked Aunt Lillian,
Hugged me every time I left
And remembered me when I returned.

Oh Anthony, I missed a year
And you grew up completely.
You hate the Femmes
And don’t like dancing. You find me odd
And go off to watch cable.

You are six
And as old as your mother,
Both of you
Like playmates out of reach, wild things
That wised up and moved on.

Sweet child, I know that growing
Is the biggest part of living.
But please, for that child in you,
That piece of your mother, that bit of the past,
For the dark and the bright and the never,
What your mother lost and your mother dared,
My sweet thing, sometimes,
Dance.

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This is a Home Where Children Live

This is a Home Where Children Live

You may not find things all in place,
Friend, when you enter here.
But, we’re a home where children live,
We hold them very dear.

And you may find small fingerprints
And smudges on the wall.
When the kids are gone, we’ll clean them up,
Right now we’re playing ball.

For there’s one thing of which we’re sure,
These children are on loan.
One day they’re always underfoot,
Next thing you know, they’re gone.

That’s when we’ll have a well kept house,
When they’re off on their own.
Right now, this is where children live,
A loved and lived in home.

~Judith Bond

 

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Flight

Victoria wearing wings made out of an old sheet, Summer 2000 (age 2)

I am alone tonight. 

I was alone last night, too. 

This is the first time I’ve been absolutely alone (without at least one of the kids) for this long in over thirteen years of parenthood!

Daryl and the kids are volunteering at a wonderful event called History Fest out of town.  We volunteer there as a family every year, but this year I am too pregnant to go along and take part.

They are staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and I was going to go with them and stay there, too, but I haven’t been feeling very good and I have so many things I wanted to get done around the house before Monday (when our baby comes!).

So at the last minute, we decided I’d stay home on my own.

I have friends nearby who can come if needed, and Daryl and the kids are not too far away.  And I never, ever, ever go into labor early. 

I’ve actually enjoyed my new-found time alone!  I’ve accomplished a ton of things around the house, got lots of extra sleep and have relished the quiet in this house this is so used to being so noisy!

Just the same, it will be nice to have my family back tomorrow.  I suppose I’m good at chaos.  🙂

This time on my own reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago when I only had two little girls.  I think about the lines of this poem often, because after all these years it still sums up how I feel about my family.

I plan on updating it soon, to reflect the changes we’ve gone through since I first wrote it.  Just the same, the meaning remains.

I thought some of you might like it….

Flight
……

    I know women
    who would lose their children
    like throwing off a robe,
    unbraiding a red ribbon
    and discarding it, to let
    their wild selves fly free.

    I know women
    who put aside their children
    like cheap jewelry by the side of the bed.
    I know women
    who never seem to wear them at all.

My girls, I do not want
to be free of you.
You are like my wedding rings
which I could have easily slipped out of
but wear
every day that my heart beats.

I want you near me.
My girls, my husband,
when I see a sunset
I want these two eyes
to be part of the eight who see it.
I want our laughter and stories
to be so tangled
that our memories weave into one dream.

This is my time with you.

Soon enough, you will be off
swimming your own new seas.
Soon enough, we will step back and watch you
blooming and bursting in solitary ways
in your own fresh, separate skins.

How could I waste this?

Oh my darlings, you are not my cage.
You are my wings.

~Alicia Bayer

 

 

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Childhood Doesn’t Wait

Here’s a sweet poem with some important reminders for all of us…

Childhood Doesn’t Wait
(Author Unknown)

I was sitting on a bench
while in a nearby mall,
When I noticed a young mother
with two children who were small.

The youngest one was whining,
“Pick me up,” I heard him beg
but the mother’s face grew angry
as the child clung to her leg.

“Don’t hang on to me,” she shouted
as she pushed his hands away,
I wish I’d had the courage
to go up to her and say…

“The time will come too quickly
when those little arms that tug,
Won’t ask for you to hold them
or won’t freely give a hug.

“The day will sneak up subtly
just as it did with me,
When you can’t recall the last time
that your child sat on your knee.

“Like those sacred, pre-dawn feedings
when we cherished time alone
Our babies grow and leave behind
those special times we’ve known.

“So when your child comes to you
with a book that you can share,
Or asks that you would tuck him in
and help him say his prayer…

“When he comes to sit and chat
or would like to take a walk,
Before you answer that you can’t
`cause there’s no time to talk”
Remember what all parents learn
so many times too late,
That years go by too quickly
and that childhood doesn’t wait.

“Take every opportunity,
if one should slip away
Reach hard to get it back again,
don’t wait another day.”
I watched that mother walk away
her children followed near,
I hope she’ll pick them up
before her chances disappear.


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A Little Picture and Poem by Victoria

Presents have boxes
Presents have bows
You won’t get a present
If you bite my toes

 

Happy Thursday!


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