Theme for August and Poetic Intro: “Branches”

Whenever I think of August I think of it in terms of the last summer month- the last days of hot sun with everything growing and flourishing all around. I also think of family reunions. If they haven’t happened yet during the usual break people take in summer, then they will this month. Lastly, but not really lastly in these thoughts towards this wide-catching theme, I think about swings and long hours of play outside in August.

So for our Almanac this month we decided on the theme of “branches”. The growth, the roots of family and influence, play… Here’s a poem that hails all that is August!

Branches

August is a family tree
a reunion

an examining of roots
and an amazement at just how high, tall and wide
these things
can grow

The deep heat of the summer is passing
and all that sun, all that water
has given way to life on the edge of harvest,
a marvel of stretching and greenery

and the summer pause gives room for aunts and uncles and cousins
it gives room for the rumination of root and where all this comes from
it gives room in that open, blue sky for 

branches

to stretch and angle themselves closer and closer

to the light

 

July Almanac Theme: Go

Each month for our Almanac we choose a theme that fits the season then present things around that theme. This month our theme is “go” and we filled our paper publication with pages about road trips and games you can play in the car and all other sorts of get-out-of-the-house material.

And what’s funny- we stayed true to our theme. This is the FIRST post about “go” we’ve had a chance to do because we’ve been traveling so much! Things have slowed down now, so more posts will be coming… but goodness, what a first few weeks!

Here’s the poetic intro that gives insight into the theme:

July is an open road

with a sun setting and music blaring
like a panoramic scene from a movie loved

An expanse is calling out
about new constellations and colors unseen

with no need for a map, just feet for streets
because every town becomes a one-horse town

when you’ve stayed for too long

and in traveling miles there’s the discovery
of something that has been there
all along

The road is begging for distance gained
and is offering a revision of how sweet home truly is upon return

so head out

go

 

June Theme and Poetic Intro: “COMMON”

June is here and Betony and I are in Kansas with family. That’s why we’re a little late posting this month’s theme online. But, as you’ll get the feel with the poem, it fits that we’d be late this month.

Here’s to having some empty and free days this month, to be filled with all the people and things you love!

“Common”

June is a day. An empty day

free of projects, appointments,
obligations, meetings, productions,
schedules, units, measurements, team functions

a sunrise and a sunset with nothing but the common, plain,

everyday life
in between

What happens when the day belongs to you
and yours?

Summertime? Family? Life?

It begs questions because of it’s rarity

but great moments of the nothing, mundane, everyday,
common Life
is what makes the days

worth living

 

 

—- Featured image from Kathryn Buncik’s Art

www.kathrynbuncik.com

 

“Mount Jericho” Poem by Joel McKerrow

MOUNT JERICHO

by Joel McKerrow, spoken word poet from Australia

joelmckerrow.com

I have been running recently,
everyday, head first around this mountain near our home.
Only its not a mountain,
it’s a giant’s belly rotund and laid down to rest.
Only its not a giant either,
it is a rubbish tip, was a rubbish tip, once.
I run twice the two mile round trip
on the track around the edge of that old rubbish dump.
A mountain of the waste of humanity piled high
and eaten now
by a sleeping giant.
I run around and around, the giant heaving beside me,
his belly always on my left, always rumbling,
I have learnt more from this pile of rubbish than any other in my life.
When the rubbish dump was closed the council covered it in soil,
let green grass grow till it covered the decomposition occurring underneath.
The animals come to feed here.
Everyday that I run this track I am reminded,
of my own mountain of waste and decomposition, the one that lies underneath.
I am reminded that on top of it all grows green grass, a fertile soil.
Rich because of the decomposition, not in spite of it.
Life comes out of the death of so much, the animals come to feed here.
How much on these runs would I love to find a finish line,
how much a reward, a prize for my efforts, something more
than just the normality of life that waits to greet me.
Yet, everyday, toward the end of my run I climb the the path as it curls upward around the mountain until I am standing atop its heights.
I know, though there is no finish line, but this is prize enough,
this is fortune, this is reward, this is the reason, this is an ending and a beginning, this

is all that matters…to stand atop that which once was the waste of my life.

The race has been run, today it was a cold race and a lonely one too. It is Easter weekend and a fitting time to realize that death is only ever a lonely beginning, that waste is too a rebirth, that rubbish dumps are places of resurrection.
I stand atop my conquered giant, hold his head in my hands, I dance there, on the mountain, I know who I am and the reason that I run, this is enough,
until I turn the corner, run back down the hill and run around again and again.

The other day
I managed to run five times around her,
ten miles straight.
I called her my Jericho
and she let her walls
come
tumbling
down

(Background picture from artist Wes Bruce- thecuriouslife.us)

May Theme and Poem: “Prize”

We have been choosing a theme every month for our Giants & Pilgrims “Almanac”. We’re hoping the pages we’re posting each around these themes enliven your season, enrich your days and bring focus to where you’re at in the month. It’s been doing that for Betony and I.

May’s theme is “prize”. For us, it always feels like May is a big push of business before the season of summer hits. It’s good to know what you’re racing for; keeping your mind on the prize… Here’s a poem fleshing out those ideas in broad, not-too-obvious ways.

PRIZE

May is a finish line

The last push for the work in the fields,
tired hands planting the final seeds

So the school year has closure
the wedding planning is about done

the spring season brings
projects to an end
and people look to summer traveling

Because go, go, go is best followed with

rest

and a sense of completion,
a Voice that says job well done,
and permission to breathe deeply

April Poetic Intro: BRIGHT

Our April theme appears here late, after a wondrous trip to Iceland. The Almanac this month hits on several themes: April Fool’s (we’re including some comedy here this month), Spring, and the celebration of Easter. This poem paints the themes in a esoteric fashion.

BRIGHT

April is a smile
a spark
an epiphany
a new dawn
These days are given to
the pranksters
the believers
the early risers
Bright mornings, bright ideas, bright souls
Because with every rain there’s a clearing
And a new sun to enjoy

 

POEM by Spoken Word Artist Dale Fredrickson

New Growth

Through winter nights,

I brave barren heart;

slowing down finding myself in shadows,

shedding all parts within me past spent,

sitting in silence mounded by sorrows.

 

Frozen dirt stubborn,

I yearn for spring’s mysterious garden;

It’s secrets breaking through frosty harden.

 

Snowdrifts melting —

the gardener within me begins again:

 

God lives on the edges of spring’s daylight.

warming frozen dirt, breathing new life,

cultivating daring dreams, fresh insight,

building trellises where community thrives.

Dirt softens spring pushes through —

I burst with renewed joy and delight,

flourishing gardens growing within heart,

fresh gripping roots of purpose for this life,

found in this hope, sowing seeds now my part

A Collection of St. Patricks Day Blessings and Toasts

Here’s to your health!
You make age curious,
Time furious, and all of us envious.

The health of the salmon to you:
a long life, a full heart and a wet mouth!

-Irish

To your good health, old friend,
may you live for a thousand years,
and I be there to count them.

-Robert Smith Surtees

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist,
For he’s a saint so clever;
Oh! he give the snakes and toads a twist,
He banished them forever.

Who’d care to be a bee and sip
Sweet honey from the flower’s lip
When he might be a fly and steer
Head first into a can of beer?

Ale’s a strong wrestler,
Flings all it hath met;
And makes the ground slippery,
Though it not be wet.

Here’s a health to the future;
A sigh for the past;
We can love and remember,
And hope to the last,
And for all the base lies
That the almanacs hold
While there’s love in the heart,
We can never grow old.

May you enter heaven late.

Come in the evening, or come in the morning,
Come when you are looked for, or come without warning,
A thousand welcomes you will find here before you,
And the oftener you come here the more I’ll adore you.

-Irish

Here’s to Dan Cupid, the little squirt,
He’s lost his pants, he’s lost his shirt,
He’s lost most everything but his aim,
Which shows that love is a losing game.

Here’s to fertility-
the toast of agriculture and the bane of love.

I drink to your charm, your beauty and your brains-
which gives you a rough idea of how hard up I am for a drink.

-Groucho Marx

I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.

Say it with flowers
Say it with eats,
Say it with kisses,
Say it with sweets,
Say it with jewelry,
Say it with drink,
But always be careful
Not to say it with ink.

The love you give away is the only love you keep.

-Elbert Hubbard

Eat, drink and be merry
for tomorrow you diet.

May you always have red-eye gravy with your ham,
hush puppies with your catfish,
and the good sense not to argue with your wife.

-Toast From Tennessee, quoted by Timothy Noah in the New Republic

To Mom’s cooking:
May my wife never find out how bad it really was.

To soup: May it be seen and not heard.

March Theme: “Green”

Here is our poem for March; exploring why we chose the theme “green” to describe these days…

March is a begging garden
Fingertips ready for dirt
Jeans longing for grass stains

The hints of the first warm days 
find us oustide immediately
Our hearts looking for any excuse to walk

Enjoying those tips of green in the 
fields we see

A prologue of the good garden to come

 

Presidents for Giants & Pilgrims

So my friends Kelly Cook and Daniel Mothershed aided me this President’s Day, the same day I had set to release the album. Together we wrote a series of false quotes from all sorts of leaders of the free world.

With each statement posted advertising the new album I would giggle to myself and hum “hail to the chief”. I included all of our work below. It just made me laugh too much not to share it.

“This album is cherry! It has real teeth!”
-George Washington

“Better than an extra large bathtub!”
-President Taft

“More legit than I’ll ever be.”
-Jefferson Davis

“They’re not as good as The Civil Wars, but who is? I listen to their new album while fighting vampires.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“If you buy one album this year? Buy Frozen. Two? Giants & Pilgrims: Almanac No. 1!
-President Coolridge

“Upon hearing this new album I smiled and said aloud, ‘hashtag, thanks Obama'”.
-President Obama

“It sounds like a Cuban Missile Crisis in my soul; the fall of communism in my heart. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for Giants & Pilgrims.”
-President Kennedy

“Check out song 3, two minutes in. Who’s playing that great sax solo? It ain’t Hillary.”
-Bill Clinton

Here’s the link to the album that all these fantastic leaders are talking about:
https://giantsandpilgrims.bandcamp.com