A Light Beyond the Hedge

Poetry and Somewhat Social Commentary

A Fairy in my Garden

When my sisters and I were little, our father told us if we ever met a fairy and were offered something to eat or drink, we were to absolutely refuse the offering. Otherwise, we could be captured and taken into the fairy kingdom. Sometimes, I wish I’d had the opportunity. 

I took this photo outside my back door on September 22, 2014. I’ll let you decide. 

Fairy 9-22-14 png

Hope and Light

(For Janet and Karen)

In the darkest days of my youth,
I had moments that were devoid of hope;
each day, I carried cement bags of sorrow.

I began clawing lightness from other sources.
Literal sources—a light bulb, a candle,
the last embers of day slipping beneath the horizon.

Day after day, I pleaded, promising everything
until finally hope drifted in to my life,
like an entitled breeze, demanding daylight enter.

I didn’t care how awkward the entry.
I wasn’t expecting a soft caress—instead
I knew with all my heart:

Hope is the first crocus of spring,
the bulb pushing through the frozen surface;
the sigh of an old dog settling into sweet sleep.

It’s the realization that all is never lost.
Hope became my most cherished companion,
my reason for going on.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

I went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts today and there was so much to see. I am a sucker for the paintings, so I took a few photos with my phone camera and am happy to share them with you. I didn’t record the artists’ names, so you’ll just have to take a trip. So, if you are in Richmond, the museum is located at 200 N. Boulevard and there is no admission fee. 

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In the Morning

Virginia and Grandma at the Little Beach

I am a burnt ember
in the morning –
The dreams have been 
scorched out of me. 

Startled, I awake
covered in soot,
my throat dry
from crying.

It’s finally quiet,
the movie-reel 
images have stopped–
nothing more I can do
or not do.

I lay my blackened face
against my grandmother’s
ghost and she keeps me
from drifting away.

As she always has,
as she always will.

From My Hotel Window – Boston, March 2015

Whenever I check into a hotel, the first thing I do is take a picture out of the window. Sometimes, I photograph the drab landscape of the air conditioner handlers, and sometimes it’s just a blah nothing. But… sometimes, I have an interesting view, and this is one. I used my phone and then an app called Paper Artist, which came with the phone. The poem, posted a few days ago, called Street Scene — Boston 2015, was hatched from this window. Let me know what you think!!Boston scene

Be-YOU-tiful YOU!

Virginia Wagner Galfo:

This is a beautiful, self-affirming post from a great blogger!

Originally posted on Finding Hope's Sunshine:

Be You tiful

You be the very best YOU that you can be, and wear it proudly!

You are different from every other person on this planet for a reason.

There is no one else who can be YOU, or fill your role.

So just be YOU!

You have been made with faults so that people see you, for who you really are, not who you pretend to be.

Enjoy your failures. They define you.

You have been made with shortcomings, so that you will learn to lean on one another.

Let your weaknesses create community.

You were made with pain, so that you can see the hurting in the world.

Reach out. Listen and love the people around you.

You have been made to endure hardship, for it grows compassion and understanding.

Your tears have enlarged your heart.

You have been taught, so that you may teach.

You have been given courage, to show the way.

You are not alone…

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Street Scene – Boston, March 2015

Boston

Looking down 10 stories
from my hotel room
to a street canyon-ed by snow,

I watch  tiny figures
hurrying against the wind,
gripping collars, heads down. 

Only a homeless man,
a grey blanket wrapped
around him, 
moves slowly. 

I decide I need a smoke,
so I make my way down
to the street and the doorman
tells me it’s too cold to go out,
but he smiles as he says it. 

I huddle against the building
as the grey-blanked man 
approaches and  I hold out 
a cigarette – an offering.
He stops, and says, 
“I quit smoking in 1992.”

I pull a five dollar bill
out of my pocket and slip 
it into his hand–a hand
that’s brutally cold. 

We stand together and suddenly
I take one of his gloveless hands
between mine and begin warming
it up–and then the other hand. 

I ask him his name, and he replies:
Eugene.

Later that night
In a lovely restaurant,
as the snow fell silently,
Skirting the streetlights
in lacy gowns, 
I thought of my father, 
decades gone,
and the grey-blanked man.

My father’s name was 
Eugene, and I don’t think
he was ever warm
whatever he was missing

Stalked him and pushed him
into the ever-colder nights
with no more than a grey blanket
for his wandering soul.

 

 

What have the Africans done for Sicily?

Virginia Wagner Galfo:

This is a fascinating discourse on the African influence still evident in Sicily today!

Originally posted on The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife:

Africans are so often portrayed as the underdogs, nowadays, that we sometimes forget they conquered southern Europe twice and ruled it for centuries.

The Sicilians don’t forget, though, for the Africans invented pasta as we know it, shaped their language and gave them the word Mafia, and brought them their citrus fruit trees, taught them to make dazzling coloured ceramics and founded street markets that still flourish like chaotic souks in central Palermo today.

The Capo market in Palermo, founded by Africans over 1,100 years ago. The Capo market in Palermo, founded by Africans over 1,100 years ago.

The first wave of Africans were the Carthaginians. Carthage is now Tunis, in Tunisia. They spoke Phoenician, a Semitic language related to Hebrew, and were a cultural and ethnic mix of colonists from Lebanon and indigenous African Berbers. They never ruled Sicily without a fight, but first started founding cities here in the 8th century B.C. and always had a foothold on the island…

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Dallas – Late Afternoon in December

Pictures

Afternoon light

bounces from  

the pictures you

nailed to the walls

that kept us out.  

Soft power blue

and damask silk

still speak of 

unmet promises,

but 

the late afternoon

light is begging me

to forgive you. 

Instead, I furtively

polish glass with the 

hem of my blouse

and ignore the empty

footsteps that follow

me into the night.

 

I’ll Ride With You

Originally posted on Finding My Sunshine:

You know, every time I hear that some idiot has gotten hold of a gun and committed unspeakable crimes I brace myself for the almost inevitable revelation that he or she was “mentally ill.”

Then, in that moment, in addition to the horror of violence, the destruction of lives, and the grieving of loved ones and communities, stigma is resurrected. All the work we all do to reduce stigma, to educate others, to prove to society that the mentally ill are not dangerous and should not be feared or discriminated against becomes moot. These unspeakable acts offer proof to society that the mentally ill ARE dangerous. That we should be feared. And we, as advocates of mental health, need to work that little bit harder once more.

The same can be said for Muslim communities. Except, unlike mental illness which is largely invisible, Muslim individuals cannot hide their faith. And, quite…

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