Monday, July 11, 2016

Where Have All the 'White Hats" Gone?













What happened to all the heroes of old?
The ones that wore white hats ‘n rode
straight into the fray. Strong and bold,
they walked with swagger, spoke their mind,
lived life with conviction. You would find
they didn’t spew words for the sake of spewin’
nor pump themselves up to be more than they were.
They knew right from wrong; quiet and strong…yet
when push came to shove, they would stand and defend
the helpless, defenseless; both stranger and friend.

Where have all the ‘white hats’ gone?
At the end of the day the world has turned gray.
We’ve misplaced ability to ride tall it seems,
caught in a darkness that destroys all our dreams.
As once true grit spins its downward spiral
we curry resolve for our own survival.


© Ginny Brannan 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Another One for the Books...


http://www.bigfoto.com/themes/fireworks/

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom….boom…


Living in a valley between two mountains
sound amplifies a hundredfold…
You hear train whistles wailing down the track
long before you ever see the lead engine.
Thunder echoes on forever. And lightening?
Lightening illuminates the whole valley
silhouetting the mountains on both sides
reflecting in the river that divides the two states.
As a child, living here in this town where
Vermont and New Hampshire are interchangeable
I always thought we have the best of both states.
The Connecticut River divides us, but there are bridges—
two in our town, one a few miles to the south,
another twelve or so miles to the north.
Business is conducted on both sides of the river;
family and friends may reside, or work, on either side.

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom…boom…


The townsfolk on my side, the Vermont side, have made
their exodus down to the riverbank this fine summer's eve.
Chairs line the sidewalks along Rockingham and Atkinson Streets,
the parking lots at IGA and the gas station across the way
are filling up with even more of these ‘children of all ages.’
The parking lot of the Dari-Joy—known to the locals as "Joe's"—
is filled to capacity. The yellow neon lights attract all variety of
moths, mosquitoes and other insects— just part of the atmosphere
on this warm July night. Hard to tell who is in line for ice cream
or just milling about before the show, but one thing for sure,
Joe's is doing one heck of a business tonight!
We take our prospective places along the wooden rail
at the top of the bank, eyes focused on the hill across the river.
We cannot see the school on the upper level across the way,
but as we watch, the first trail of light goes up and bursts into
a waterfall of fire! It lights up the sky, then a quick flash, and—

BOOOM!!! BOOM….BOOM….boomboom…boom…


the sound ricochets off the mountains and down the valley.
It is followed by another… and another…
Occasionally a loud whistle replaces the boom 
and lingers—seemingly to infinity.
Down the way a baby cries, excited children laugh and cover their ears,
parents and the older folk comparing this display to those of years gone by.
The sprays of fire reflect upon the water; smoke lays heavy in the air,
smell of sulfur drifts downhill and across the river.
We watch as trails of fire are sent skyward one by one,
“ooohing” and “ahhhing” after each colorful explosion.
Suddenly five trails go up at once, followed by five more,
and five more…the Grand Finale!!
The flashes fill the sky, the sound is deafening!!
Surely they must be hearing this in Springfield and Charlestown
to our north, or in Keene or Putney to our south.

Spontaneous cheers, whistles and clapping erupt from the crowds.
Another 4th of July is on the books, and we declare it the best one ever…

…until next year!

© Ginny Brannan 2016


Image: Lori Larue 2016. Used with expressed permission
Childhood memories of growing up in a small Vermont village on the Connecticut River.
The image above is looking downriver (south) from the Vermont side. The bright lights to the right is the Dari Joy, forever "Joes" to me…and beyond that the gas station, the IGA (no longer, now a different business there) and further down the street, our downtown area. The mountain to the left is Fall Mountain on the N.H. side. Our own hills are behind to the right of us in this photo. When I was a child there was a beautiful Arch Bridge spanning the river. Deemed unsafe, it was replaced with the plain single span seen here. People would (and still do) line the river bank to see the fireworks displays. No longer on the 4th though, they are done for Old Home Days on the first Saturday in August now, and are much larger, the more vivid 'Gucci' kind. I still hold on to the memories of those simple childhood 4th's though!

Many thanks to Lori Larue for allowing me to share this beautiful night image of my "hometown" in Vermont!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Dragonfly




Ever transforming
stronger than you first perceive
I am ‘dragonfly’

* * * *

What is it about the dragonfly
that attracts me…
As a children we were told
they were “darning needles”
would “sew your mouth shut”
…we ran in fear of them.

Yet over time I have come to appreciate
how they morph to “become”
what they are meant to be—

Throughout my life
I have adapted and transformed:
transparent, translucent
I wear my heart on the outside.
I may appear stationary,
but am always moving,
discovering, growing;
like the dragonfly,
becoming who
I am meant
to be.

©  Ginny Brannan 2016

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As a seasonal symbol in Japan, the dragonfly is associated with autumn. More generally, dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially Haiku. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I like to believe that my “spirit” animal is a dragonfly. I am definitely drawn to these creatures. The dragonfly, with protruding eyes and exoskeleton, is not nearly as pretty as his butterfly cousin, though in their lifetime both metamorphose, adapting, becoming something else.  I’ve learned that even youth, the dragonfly nymph faces adversity, and must learn to swim the currents to survive. Their delicate, translucent wings disguise their real strength. In this stage of my life, more autumn than summer, I too have changed— writing poetry, finding my voice, and in the past year have discovered a courage and inner-strength strength I did not know I possessed…yes, I am drawn to dragonflies…

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Poetry as a Spiritual Practice…New Book Release!

On this 2016 Summer Solstice Full moon, comes a collection of personal essays, poems and meditations as we undertake to illuminate the powerful role poetry plays in unleashing our spirits ...


Using the waxing and waning of the moon's phases to illustrate the ebb and flow of our own voices, we share the depth of our calling and explore the mystical experience of birthing a poem and the spiritual bonding of our sisterhood ~


Available here at Amazon
* * *
All proceeds from the sale of these books will go to "Write Girl," a mentoring program that encourages girls to explore and develop their creative talents, both written and oral.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
I'm honored and excited to share my writing in this beautiful book:
Intro to Chapter 7—Last Quarter Moon, 
and to have four poems chosen for inclusion:
Possessed
The Writer
Tale Spinner
The Undertaking
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Published by Golden Dragonfly Press
Available through Amazon beginning Monday, June 20th!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Synchronicity

Image by John Burk. Used with Permission

I look to the west as setting sun crests
on the Holyoke range, their time worn brow
casting deep shadows upon the Quinetucket,
their doppelgängers mirrored in the still water.
Past these hills lie the Berkshires
and a bit further, the mighty Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk
meanders past Albany while the thick-grown
woodlands of the Adirondacks and Catskills
turn somber in the fading light.

There is magic in these hills;
if you listen carefully you can 
hear the voices of the ancients
murmuring through the trees.
I know you hear them too,
when the wind whistles just so
and the river sings her song.

We really aren’t so different, you and I…
inspired in accordance
by our ever-changing views—
I burn my words in black on white,
then somewhere in the waning light
I'll pass my torch to you.

© Ginny Brannan 2016

I wish to extend my sincerest thanks to photographer John Burk for permitting me to use one of his amazing photos. The image above is called "Connecticut River Oxbow Sunset & Mt. Tom." It captures the essence and beauty of the Connecticut River as I have often seen it. You may find more of his lovely work at http://johnburk.zenfolio.com

***************************************************************************************
*Quinetucket: Reference to the Connecticut River. Per Wikipedia the word Connecticut is a French corruption of the Mohegan word Quinetucket, which means "beside the long, tidal river."  The word "Connecticut" came into existence during the early 1600's, describing the river, which was also called simply "The Great River.

**Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk (Hudson River) per Wikipedia: The Hudson was known as Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk (River that flows two ways) by the Mohican tribe who formerly inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Matter of Trust…










Children should be seen and not heard.
Trust those who love you.
Age = knowledge and experience.
Always respect your elders.
          
                * * * * * * * * * *
So many lessons in our youth
are learned and re-learned early on
the main one is “You’re just a child,
who speaks in stories and half-truths
no time to listen, move along…”
           
            But there are evils that are wrong
            a side that others may not see;
            when shared aloud, they won’t believe
            cannot handle,  won’t respond…
            until you think you’ve misconstrued.

While lost in youthful fantasy
a grandpa breaks a sacred bond:
to fondle adolescent girls
who happen to be family—
easy prey; then he absconds…

            And they are left to carry on
            in silence carrying the shame,
            not understanding what he did
            nor quite the way they should respond
            —they shelve away and then move on.

Senility might be blame
at  ninety did you even know?
While decades pass and they retain
the scars you left so long ago,
mistrust of loved ones still ingrained.

     I always thought that I’d outgrow
     the guilt I carry deep inside.
     No, you were not a paragon
     and over time I’ve come come to know
     through all the years that you’ve been gone
     how thoughts of you bring mixed reviews
     ….yet your and I still know the truth…
   
 ©Ginny Brannan 2016


Written in first person, inspired by a story I recently read, and another story heard long ago.
Some things are never forgotten…


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Certain Resonance


I feel the weight, the ache
 of a hundred living souls
 resonating within me...

Their empty eyes stare, while crackled voices 
share tales of years gone by, yet still
can't recall the “whens “or “whys”
of how they got there.

  * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I am no seer, but I know what the future holds…
     
If you are lucky, you’ll find contentment somewhere
in that space, that place between past and present.
Or
You'll remember your yesterdays with perfect clarity
while locked in a body that no longer does your bidding.

(We will not speak of “Door Number Three”
for it holds a tale a different kind;
of loneliness and chronic pain;
and diseases that destroy the mind.)

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are days this weight feels amplified,
like electrical current crawling ‘cross my skin.
Struggling to keep the calm and status quo
I cry inside for all of their ‘might have beens.’


© Ginny Brannan 2016