|New work from the River Writers, May 4, 2012
By Doris Earle
Are you listening?
Birds are singing!
Butterflies are winging!
Bells are ringing!
Vines are clinging!
Stars are winking!
Are you watching?
Spring is springing!
The following are by Marylyn Cork from exercises at the River Writers’ annual retreat at Priest Lake on May 4. Seven members participated in the retreat, hosted for the second year by Kathy Vancil at the Priest Lake Community Church. Additional work from the retreat will appear on the library website after the May 18 meeting if club members remember to bring it with them.
Assignment: Write about nature. Include the following words: hard drive, stapler, telephone, car, billboard. (15 minutes allowed).
Gee, I don’t know where to go with this assignment! I’m a lover of nature, to be sure, but combining that with the above words seems impossible.
I guess I could say my love of nature and the outdoors is my hard drive, spurring my appreciation of green and growing things, like beautiful flowers—and sunsets, waterfalls, wildlife, and so much else. Birdsong is much more compelling to me than the ring of a telephone, and I have just as hard a time hearing it now that my ears have gone bad. One of my favorite pastimes to engage in with my sister and boon companion, Rachel, is to climb into her car and go for a drive just to look at the sights of the countryside. We are so fortunate in this area to live amidst nature’s beauty, with always something lovely to feast one’s eyes upon. Mother Nature spreads it all out before us, in her own version of posting her accomplishments on a billboard. She’s a great self-promoter!
She fastens green leaves on the trees as effortlessly as one fastens sheets of paper together with a stapler, and colors them through the growing season until they fall lifeless and brown in the fall. Then she pastes snow on bare limbs to create picturesque sculptures. I feel more at home in the out-of-doors, more at peace with myself and the world than anywhere else. I especially love tree-covered mountains and all that they contain and symbolize. I feel at home in the mountains. They are my refuge and my strength, my ever present help in times of trouble and discouragement.
Assignment: Write down ten words that you think are most beautiful. Write a short story about one of them. (15 minutes).
Words: melody, brook, lovely, dawn, snowflake, perfume, graceful, waterfall, joy, love.
I think melody is one of the most beautiful words in the English language. I enjoy the sound of it tripping off the tongue, three syllables that combine to form a simple word that describes a plethora of beautiful sounds that fall pleasantly on the ear. Who doesn’t thrill to beautiful music—whether it be the haunting strains of “Danny Boy” or the plaintive “September Song”, a lilting piano composition by Chopin or Lizt, Gregorian chant, lively folk music—or any other of dozens of favorite melodies of pathos or joy.
Then there’s the music of a child’s laugh, expressing his delight in living, the purr of a contented cat, and sounds from nature—the sough of the wind through swaying treetops, bird song, the tinkle of wind chimes, the trickle of water over rocks in a brook, the soothing roar of a waterfall in the distance, the thrilling boom of a sudden thunderstorm over the mountains on a hot July day. Even the music of a lovely poem read aloud by someone who really does it well.
When I was young I used to ask myself which of the five senses I would prefer to lose if I had to give up one. I could best get by without my hearing, I decided. How foolish I was! Now there are so many sounds I miss being able to hear!
Assignment: Write at least two haiku poems in the 5-7-5 syllable pattern. (15 minutes)
Three untitled, 1 titled
Bare, brown Montana (5)
hills supine in mid-day sun (7)
slumber like doped beasts (5)
Bare hills wear wrinkled
hides, sprawl in warm sunshine like
drowsy, sated, dumb beasts
White mock-orange dances
on green hillsides under skies
as blue as lupines
Titled: Saskatoon (service berry)
dressed in white buckskins dance like
feathers in the wind
And here are three haikus by Kathy Vancil
Prairie dog looks out
Searching sunlit grasslands near
No talons today
Campfire rings dry ground
Paper, kindling, wood and gas
No matches, cold night
Ivory soap in mouth
Sudsing tongue and teeth afresh
Cleans words up again