By Eithne Cullen
Welcome to my page for June. I’d like to start with a quotation from John Steinbeck, one of my favourite writers: In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different. I think it captures the flavour of the month well.
We’re thinking about transformation (release and reshaping) here at Pen to Print and this theme ties in beautifully with the month of June. It’s no longer spring and all the signs of nature around us are a reminder that summer is in full swing.
We’ve certainly had some strange weather: April was frosty, dry and cold! So a bright summer releases us and reshapes our lives.
June’s a great month for thinking about seasons, romance (June weddings) and the fruitfulness of summer. I found this lovely quotation from Longfellow, who clearly thought it the best of months and claimed it as his own: The fairest daughter of the year.
Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights
And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;
The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;
I am the fairest daughter of the year.
(c) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A writer who is new to us, Lena Yang, wrote to us at Pen to Print and, as well as telling us she’d been reading the magazine, submitted this poem. It fits the theme of transformation exactly. In her poem, she decides to:
Tear away my to-do list,
Replace it with a to-be list.
I think this is a great calling on us to be a little more precise with what we want for ourselves.
Lighting up a fire,
Under the dark blue sky.
What do you see?
If the flame dances with tune,
I wonder what melody it would play.
Flames are burning hot,
Smoke intertwines with wind.
Let it burn,
Let it go.
For those anxiety and doubts,
For those disappointment and sadness.
I do my shadow work every day,
I am a diligent student of life.
Every time I rise,
I get reward from the divine cosmos, with
Drops of wisdom.
Stepping into the new age of Aquarius,
We put thousands of years behind,
A new cycle is beginning.
We are all warriors, and
Fighting our battles within.
We are all kings and queens,
Take and embrace what is rightfully ours.
We are all gods and goddess,
In the process of ascension.
Tear away my to-do list,
Replace it with a to-be list.
Be resilient, positive, and beautiful.
Be patient, hopeful, and forever young, and
Mostly be love.
This is my truth.
What about you?
I have no idea where you and I come from.
I also do not know if we will end up in the same place.
But look on the bright side,
We are all sharing the same space on this planet called Earth.
You and I, everyone, and every living thing.
We are fellow alchemists,
What are you transforming today?
What do you see under the dark blue sky tonight?
(c) Lena Yang, 2021
Writer Diya Paresh Padiyar is a Pen to Print regular, who again, first came to us as a reader. She’s shared a poem with us, which fits well into the theme. There are two sides to everything. Change and transformation are possible by switching our view and investing in hope.
The Other Side Of The World
I took notice of
the moon lighten sky
In that night’s hour
It looked so wry
The moonlight didn’t suffice
In battling the high tide
And this made me look for
Hope on the other side
On the other side of the world
Where the day was still bright
I wondered how it felt like
Not living in the dearth of light
Because this side of the world
Was filled with dark
And I envied those
Who could live in spark
But, the silent, starry sky
spread even hope
That both misery and joy
Is divided among hemispheres…
That the sun rises on both sides
And sets away all fears.
© Diya Paresh Padiyar, 2021
You can connect with Diya on Instagram: @teenagerwritings
In Blue School Memories by another Pen to Print writer, Karthy Sooraj, the changes we all go through in our transformation from child to adult – including the hurt of unrequited love – are captured well. It has a particular appeal to me, as I went to school in the days when there were no selfies or mobile phones, and I fondly remember the sound of the typewriter before quiet keyboards were invented.
Blue School Memories
My school years ran in an era without any mobiles or social media.
No internet to surf on, than the old clac-clac typewriters in school office.
The fragile ribbon lifted up and hit the tiny metal letters hard on paper.
I liked the libraries, and encouragement of community librarians as always.
Being in a mixed school, the segregation of gender was routine.
Girls and boys separated in P.E lessons, preferred in their own hang outs.
The loud buzzer echoes in my mind for the morning, lunch and school finish.
Teenagers raced out of their classrooms to be with their mates, as always.
The GCSE results were the hot topics of the headmaster’s assemblies.
Everyone strived to attain best results, many re-took their disappointing results.
Students were smartly dressed in their black and white, grey and navy uniforms.
I was happy blazers were not worn then; I loved wearing blue as always.
In winter many wanted to leave the playground and be in their classrooms.
On spring days playground was chilled, and in summer wanted to be out in the sun.
The crispy leaves crept in the opening doors during the autumn days.
A sharp descent of seasons has spun past quickly as nature always energise.
Those days are still dotted in my mind, the past hours seems like milliseconds.
I liked colourful paintings – sadly art never fell in my hands, though I inspired others.
I enjoyed the bubble gum blue slush puppy from the old ice-cream van.
I loved my chocolate since childhood and spend money on sweets, as always.
A love was hidden throughout, it was that love hate pair I remembered.
He was intellectual, ambitious; she was young-looking, had truly loved him.
She hugged his black jacket left in form classrooms, on his late arrival he took it.
She shadowed him in the corridors, fields, playground, he blocked her as always.
He liked the glamorous wealthy girls and never bothered to get to know her.
He noticed her love, mocked her in front others and at football, far away out on the pitch.
She realised, she never meant anything for her unrequited love as crippled as it can be.
Decades passed, destiny bumped them, she was gone and he ghosted her as always.
On a May Day I say goodbye to everyone, voyage to work destinations and retirement.
The young chapter is forever closed, to accept the life cycle is for young to age fast.
None of my youth was saved electronically, then remembering the sky blue reflections.
My youth was my history not my destiny, and I embrace time that forever runs.
© Karthy Sooraj, 2021
This picture, by Anju Dominic, of a girl standing in her secondary school playground, is a perfect image to catch the mood of the poem.
David Cullen’s character Eco Smith is really keen on transformation; trying to save the planet by all possible means. David has shared another of his cartoon strips with us, so we can follow her efforts to reshape the world and make it whole for the future.
Like Eco Smith, many of us are concerned about the impact we make on the planet. Transformation of the planet we are passing on to our children and our children’s children should be a positive force, not a negative one. Connect with Eco Smith on Instagram: @davidcullen_art
Coincidentally, July is plastics free month, so we can take some time to reflect on our effect on the planet and use the challenge to make positive changes ourselves.
Have a look at the information on their page: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.