Thoughtful Tuesdays: Our Relationship With Words
By Eithne Cullen
Welcome to June’s Thoughtful Tuesday page.
Most of us think of June as the burgeoning of summer, with long hot days and plenty of sunshine. So it’s perhaps surprising I’m starting today’s page with this poem, which came through our submissions page. Although winter is fading away in our memories, I love the way it tunes in with our feelings about the seasons and the hope spring brings.
The Hope Of Spring
Dull days of winter out ahead,
Once green lushness brown and dead.
We wait for Spring, the verdant time
When warmth returns, and shoots will climb
Towards the sun. But wait! What’s this?
A breath of hope, it’s Nature’s kiss
Of life, to lift our spirits high,
To please our eyes and make us sigh
With joy. The snowdrop white,
A splash of colour, shining bright.
Reminding us of days ahead
When weather’s fine and flowers spread.
Then we’ll forget when Winter came
That we had played our waiting game.
© Ray Miles, 2022
Thanks to Ray for sharing his hopeful poem with us.
Our new theme for Write On! is ‘Mind Your Language.’ As writers, it’s easy for us to say we work with words all the time, but the theme is inviting us to dig deep and explore our relationship with words and language.
Canadian writer, Kimberly Ihekwoaba, uses words to coach and inspire us and there’s so much to consider in Rest Is Productive. I’m particularly taken by some of the advice, as I’m always making myself busy chasing around; forgetting that I, too, deserve some rest.
Rest Is Productive
In case you need a reminder to take a break…
It’s OK not feeling OK. It’s OK to take time to heal. It’s OK to be still and do nothing.
I grew up building the work ethic of an athlete. It meant that discipline was second nature. You didn’t need to tell me twice about what I had to do. I was driven by my desire to perform, challenge myself, and push my limits. I had the mindset of learning and adapting. However, discipline in one area doesn’t mean you have it in another.
The downside of overachieving was that I often didn’t give myself time to rest or recover. And the worst part was having a subconscious belief that my worth was defined by how busy I was. So I became caught up in proving I wasn’t lazy, and overwhelming myself. It was a cycle of thinking of what I hadn’t done while taking a break, and feeling stressed out while working. The icing on the cake with capitalism was feeding lies that being busy was a badge of honour.
The funny part is that most busy people are broke. You are on this wheel of burning energy but, by the end of the year, it feels as though you haven’t accomplished much.
Now I know better. I can do anything. But I don’t have to do everything!
I used to be a ‘yes man’, which turned into a cycle of people-pleasing. The pandemic helped me to slow down. I started prioritising my self-care, permitting myself to do nothing. I permitted myself to lay in bed without guilt. To watch a show on TV without thinking I was wasting time.
The truth is that, if you don’t rest, everything you do will be either half-baked or chaotic. And when you’re under stress, it’s harder to make calculated decisions for yourself. So, by default, other people are telling you what to do.
You end up frustrated by your life and the people around you, because you’re not living a life based on what you want. You’re blaming other people for making decisions for you when clearly you did nothing – which is also a choice.
Close that laptop. Ignore the phone calls. And prioritise YOU. Take care of YOU. Because when you are taken care of first, you can give freely and generously from an overflow. Your work is no longer coming from a place of pain and suffering, but one of joy and inspiration. You have clear intentions about how you want to contribute, making a positive impact in the lives of others.
You deserve to be pampered.
You deserve to be taken care of.
You deserve that break.
© Kimberly Ihekwoaba, 2022
You can connect with Kimberly on: email@example.com
Or follow the blog site link: kihek.com/2021/04/02/rest-is-productive/
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and our Pen to Print illustrators have certainly proved this. When I asked whether anyone had an image of the moon to go with the poem The Birth, these two, very different images were offered. The photo is by one of our editors, Clare Cooper (Instagram: clareatclarelou), and the sketch is by Michelle Sutton (follow her on Twitter @MSuttonArt).
As a writer, I find poetry one of the most rewarding ways of working with words and language. It’s always fascinating, following a rhyme or rhythm to create a piece of writing that engages and holds the reader’s attention. Here are two poems from Akshitha Ramalingam. She’s shared her poetry with us before and uses words in an original and fun way.
The moon blinked,
As the stars winked,
The murky night peeped into,
As the windy whispers echoed in hollows,
The owls blushed,
As, the berries squashed,
The mystic howling vanished,
As the serene tranquillity cherished,
It was then; Tender defeated hard,
Trust embraced insecurity,
Love plunged into wisdom,
And there was born,
The Mighty Birth of The Birth!
© Akshitha Ramalingam, 2022
Ever not fear,
For anything far and near.
A tiny seed of fear sowed,
Can get all the goodness shoved.
It is not the trouble that fears you,
It’s the fear that troubles you.
Worries faced alongside fear,
Merrily catalyses it all with sheer.
Worries faced parted with fear,
Wholly loses its mighty power to shear.
A ray of fear, when in certain;
Can turn mustard into a mountain.
So to be happy, ever not fear,
For anything far and near!
© Akshitha Ramalingam, 2022
Finally, I’m sure everyone has rhymes they like that play with words and make some sense or nonsense. I like the poems of Lewis Carroll, especially when he plays around with nursery rhymes in Alice In Wonderland, such as this one:
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
Here’s the Mad Hatter telling Alice about his recital of a version of a well-known rhyme:
“– it was at the great concert given by the
Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing
`Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!’You know the song, perhaps?”
“I’ve heard something like it,” said Alice.
“It goes on, you know,” the Hatter continued,
“in this way: —
`Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle –'”
I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!
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It’s easy for us, as writers, to say we work with words all the time, but the theme of Mind Your Language is asking us to dig down and explore our relationship with words and language.