~ Be Still ~

“Poetry is pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe, and bringing them down to earth.”  ~ Marisa De Franceschi

"The Listening Place", South Lochboi...

“The Listening Place”: Be Still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chairs were fairly comfortable. The room was not crowded, but neither was it bare. It was filled with people who love the written word. I must admit that my appreciation for poetry has been acquired—like the taste of beer or olives or octopus. And now that I have acquired it, I like to feed it.

Recently an opportunity to feed the poetry beast was offered at my local library. Three local poets were featured. They provided the audience with three very different flavours of the genre. To say that one poet was better than another would be a misnomer, but of the three, one appealed to my sense of the familiar more than the other two. One poet drew on the raw realities of life beautifully—but her poetry was to my mind uncomfortable.  Another was a true poet, in that if poetry is not his first calling, it most definitely is his primary form of expression. His was an educated palate and his poetry brilliantly executed. I was jealous of his implementation of the English language.

I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience.

The poet who “spoke to me” at the poetry reading was Marisa De Franceschi.  She believes in “pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe and bringing them down to earth”. When a poet does not do that, does not bring their poetry down to earth, I am lost in their wordiness.

Her book of poetry, Random Thoughts, is rift with images brought down to earth. One of her poems, called “Be Still” spoke to my depths. She said that it was derived from her personal observations of the ships on Lake Erie that she could see from the windows of  her summer cottage in Wheatley, Ontario. Here are a few of my favourite lines:

“Out on the Lake,

When the gale turns ferocious

There is only one thing for the mammoth ships to do.

Stop and stay put.

Be still….

They sit still and wait…

They wait for the winds to calm,

Wait for them to have their say.

The ships will continue their journey

When the tempest dies down….”

I think this poem provides us with great wisdom. As we venture out into the fray of everyday life–sometimes we just have to sit still and wait and let the tempest die down in order to head out again. This is good advice for the holiday season as we rush around–we need to be still sometimes to appreciate all that it has to offer.

What steps are you going to take this holiday season to “be still”?


Tranquility (Photo credit: EclecticBlogs)

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60 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I like this one. We don’t get too excited or stressed over holidays. We buy enough booze, buy a 30-something lb turkey, put it in the oven, drink, eat, play games, watch the queen, cook a little and eat some more. We usually have about 15 or 20 people for dinner, but they are just friends and family and aren’t looking for the perfect magazine setting. It’s always a nice day.

    We also started going smaller on gifts. For the kids we do Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.

    That said, I’ve made no plans yet. I guess I should get a move on.

    • I love your something you want, something you need etc–I may just take this under advisement–though I think I follow it without knowing it –always been big on them having something to read and both my boys in their twenties like to read

      I love that you do not get too stressed–everyone should take a page out of your book–you should do a post about it–I feel better just having read how you handle Christmas

      • Good idea, maybe I will. Though I have to admit that a lot of the lack of stress is because my husband cooks the dinner. I just clean the house and set the table. Division of work and all that..

      • how is your leg doing btw?

      • Much better, thanks! It turned out to be just a sprain, so it’s healing nicely. I have only a small hitch in my giddyup. The cat and I, we walk the same.

      • you have a wonderful attitude and always make me laugh–glad you are doing okay

  2. Love the poem too. I will think of this poem when I feel harried the by holiday rush. In order for me to feel like I have a grip on Christmas, I make sure I spread out the tasks over a series of days/weeks, so Christmas is joyful and not stressful.

  3. I’m going to sit in a corner and eat chocolate!! LOL 🙂

    • excellent plan, can I and TBM join you?

      • Why certainly 😃

      • You two haven’t started yet have you. I can bring a chocolate cake I baked this week.

      • you are in! (and not just because of the chocolate cake–but that is certainly a bonus)

  4. The world provides enough tempests over which we have no control weather in the weather or in the metaphoric sense of the complications of daily living. I am learning not to be the source of the tempests I face.

    • that is a good thing to learn–you are right–there is enough tempest out there without us creating more

  5. Loved this post. It is so easy to get caught up in the gale, especially during the holidays. This season I’ll write out cards, bake a few cookies and get each of the kids one gift. I stopped putting lots of Christmas lights outside years ago and now do just one candle in each window. And I will count my blessings instead of concentrating on buying ever more “stuff.”

    • you sound like you have Christmas handled nicely–I love the candle in the window

  6. I just got home from 18th b’day party (even tho I’m not 18 ha!) and read this and love it – am gonna have to read again tomorrow!

  7. I like to sit still at the computer, writing ;). I love that quote!

  8. Great post and something we should all do more of, sit still and listen. 🙂

  9. I plan on being very still for the holidays. Quiet for my mind and warmth for my soul.
    Loved your writing on poetry. I too can identify with the realism and not so much on metaphorical writing. i can get easily confused if there are too many layers and noise in the writing. To each his own, right? that is the beauty of creativity– we each can draw from and to what we desire

    • that is it — too many layers, too much noise = confusion
      as an english major I had to tear too many poems apart to find their real meaning–and it was interesting, but today I do not want to go through all that

  10. Awesome post. We need to take time to “be” and not “do.” I guess that’s why we’re called human beings.
    I didn’t know that you are a fellow Ontarian! Yay us!

    • that is why we get along so well–coming over for a Christmas drink? I am having a virtual Christmas Party on the 15th of December–be there or be square–you have to come dressed as your favourite author, bring an appetizer from the 1970’s (not one you have saved–it has to be fresh). James Taylor and Rodents and Rebels will be playing. Robin Coyle is coming as Dr. Seuss so you have to come up with someone else.
      Margaret Atwood will be reading in the lounge area–she promised not to talk in monotones and to smile.

      • Ahaha! You kill me. Now I can’t stop picturing Atwood with a big dumb grin on her face. Too bad about Coyle though…I’ll have to put my Seuss attire away until next year.
        The 15th just happens to be my birthday. Can I come as Woody Allen? Only female. I have the right height and hair colour. And I am extremely neurotic.

      • you can come as Woody but you cannot bring your adopted daughter/wife. Atwood is practicing her smile–she told me her mirror is not used to it

  11. Love this Lou. I loved that poem. When my oldest grandson was little there was a cartoon about a rabbit. He would spread his arms and say Be Still and Listen. And while your at it don’t forget to breathe. It is my new motto.
    We need to take the time to Be Still. We miss so much we don’t take the time to be still and just listen. Thanks for this.

    • you have the perfect spot–where you live–and the perfect tree to be still-thanks Charlene!

  12. Wow Lou this was great…I too am cultivating my appreciation for poetry and consider myself a neophyte. But I too, need to have the words grounded for them to resonate – and this poem’s wisdom comforts the very core. I loved it.

    • glad you liked it — thanks for coming over – hope you have a good rest of the day
      I need to connect to the poetry or it is lost on me

  13. “I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience.”
    I, too, am like this. Thanks for the lovely poem which I was able to both understand and to see an application in my own life.

  14. That was a beautiful one my friend, sometimes we do need to take a second out of the hectic and into the peaceful!

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. I like this post a lot. I agree that the poem is applicable to how we handlle life- not just for a holiday but for life in general.

  16. That is a beautiful poem. I, too, like poetry when the words and sentiments marry the earth. After having just spent about a week or so in more quiet stillness, my soul feels fed. Thank you for this post, LouAnn.

  17. This is a beautiful poem 🙂

    It’s a very hard thing to ‘be still’ – I’m trying, but with everything going crazy around me, it’s not easy

  18. Being retired…we have more time to ‘be still’ . I love after we put the Christmas tree up and the Nativity Scene to just take time and listen to some Christmas music and look at the tree and lights…and think of the meaning of it all…Diane

    • I love just looking at my tree once it is up and enjoying all the memories

  19. Well I only recently started liking beer so you’re saying there’s hope for poetry as well. I wish I understood poets more. Everyone here seems to quote their favorite. I do have a favorite poet: Dorothy Parker and I have a drinking glass with this poem on it:

    “I like to have a martini,
    Two at the very most.
    After three I’m under the table,
    after four I’m under my host.”

    Don’t judge me 😉

    • ha ha – that goes well with my favourite poet of all time, Ogden Nash
      “Candy is dandy
      Liquor is quicker”

      I will not judge you if you do not judge me. And I love Dorothy Parker by the way.

      • I’ll have to remember that one! Parker rocks–too bad she had such a depressing life. The bio on her by Meade is pretty good.

      • It is seriously the only poem I remember–even nursery rhymes are beyond me, but that one I remember.

        I kid all the time about putting rocks in my pocket and walking out into the lake so I seem angst ridden — I know that wasn’t Dorothy, but any woman writer worth her metal was depressed (just kidding)

      • Was it Woolf who filled her pockets full of rocks?

      • yes it was Ms. Virginia

    • I love those lines! Thank you! 🙂 🙂

      • it is odd how we get to know each other — the books you mentioned were just one example–you just knew I would like them

  20. keeping the joy in the busy keeps the holiday still for us. no shopping on black friday, no shopping with grouchy shopper, sitting by the tree. it’s joyous.

  21. Beautiful words in that poem and I love her philosophy. I hope you had a lovely and stress free Thanksgiving holiday – or is it still going on through this weekend? If so, enjoy! 🙂

    • thanks for the good wishes, but since I am Canadian we had our Thanksgiving in October–but it was a lovely weekend–my youngest was home from college and we all had a great time

      • Do you know, I was just thinking that and foolishly read the other comments after I had written mine! I usually do it the other way round. I then realised that you were anticipating the next holiday!
        I think I need a bit more stillness in my life! We don’t seem to have stopped moving since July and any minute now the family (three children, two spice, two grandchildren) will all be here again. I shall love that but must create some stillness in between! 🙂

      • yes, we do need that to get ready for the next festive onslaught

  22. […] ~ Be Still ~ (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com) […]

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