Remembrance

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— LC John McCrae, 1915

Thanksgiving is the time of year we begin our annual pilgrimage of gratitude. As Canadians, with our Thanksgiving in October, we spend a lot of time each year giving thanks, but it is this day, the 11th day of the 11th month, that really resonates with most of us.

At 11:11 on 11/11 we all stop what we are doing. Work comes to a halt; music silenced; conversations paused, and we reflect, in silence. Paying tribute to all the men and women, past and present, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country – for our freedom. In our own quiet ways we offer them prayers of thanks, and pleas for peace.And, we reflect on the things we have, the things that would not be possible had it not been for our heroes. 

I am thankful, and I am grateful. 
LEST WE FORGET

Mandixoxox

An Adventure in Public Speaking (And a Poem)

In March of this year, one of my good friends (and follower of yours truly) got engaged to her other half. Immediately, she started making plans for an October wedding, including extending an invitation for me to write and READ something written especially for the occasion. 

Obviously I said yes (more like “YES! yes! yesss!!!”).

What didn’t occur to me at that moment 5 months ago was that I would have to read in front of a room filled with strangers. This would be stressful enough for someone as shy as myself. Now, add to that the reading would not be something pre-written from a book, it would be a creation of my own making. 

Creative writing often proves difficult for me. I find my mind too busy to focus on one thing at a time, I start too many projects, and generally finish very few (none ever to my liking), and forget about most. This, I am told, is typical of an artist. 

Public speaking has always been my nemesis. In my university days, I took a class aimed at teaching how to deliver a speech – or so I thought. I ended up learning to avoid that class.
In the various positions I have held in my line of work, giving presentations and meetings were an often dreaded requirement. Even as the authority in the room, I had sweaty palms, dry mouth, red face, and a st-st-stutter. Every. Single. Time. 

Writing the piece turned out to be easier than I had anticipated; the words literally came to me in a dream. And, it wasn’t until “wedding week” that I really started to stress out about reading my own work in public. Online forums, such as this one, are great creative outlets because of their anonymity. 

I’ll skip over the train wreck that was the reading of my poem. Focusing instead on what an incredible experience it was to share the day with such a dear friend. I have never seen a bride so exhilarated to walk down the aisle, and I have never felt more honoured to be asked to participate.

 

So! To the new Mr. and Mrs; THANK YOU  for allowing me to take part in your special day (train wreck and all). 

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

 

 

 

Red Light

Red Light

By Gabriel Gadfly
You said you wanted
me to come over,
and even though it
was nearly midnight,
I agreed.

I hit every red light
between here and
your house: start
stop wait and wait
and wait and start
just to stop and wait
again, stuck listening to
weight-loss infomercials,
right-wing talk radio,
that god-awful jingle
for the lawyer that
tries to sound like
a wild-west cowboy.

Idling under these red
cyclops eyes, I wanted
to tell you that this had
to stop, that I was going
home, that I’d see you
tomorrow, maybe,
but I finished the drive
and remembered why:
the red scent of your hair;
your lips against my neck,
saying,
“I’m glad you’re here.
I’m so glad you’re here.”