Relief

Today is International Women’s Day, and for Poetry Friday, Catherine Flynn suggested we post about women we admire. This poem was inspired by my mum, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer over 7 years ago. Within two months, Mum had radical surgery to remove the tumours – and her bladder.

At the time the cystectomy was first discussed, I remember reeling, wondering how could a person live without a bladder? Now I know, you cannot just live without a bladder, but you can also love life!

Relief
 
Public toilet;
three cubicles
three ladies
engaged.
 
Two ladies squat.
 
A third 
  faces the bowl,
     hoists her dress,
         cups the bag,
            turns the tap
               and drains
                  her bladder.
 
Gone in a whoosh
like her peace of mind
when first she heard the words
 
bladder cancer.

But miracles and medicine
restored life and lifestyle 
and living.
 
Gone is the bladder,
                  the cancer,
                           that first rush of fear.
 
And the casual observer
would never know
unless
you were 
waiting…
watching, 
mindlessly noting 
feet beneath toilet doors.
 
Three cubicles,
three ladies
engaged. 
 
Two squat
one stands.

© Kathryn Apel - All rights reserved

Mum continues to be a blessing to those around her, and now uses her experiences to encourage and actively support others facing similar challenges. I’m so proud of my mum!❤️

Thanks Catherine, for hosting the Poetry Friday round-up this week, at Reading to the Core.

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February is Finished?

After a Month of Poetry in January, February saw me back at work on submissions and WIPs and generally discovering a whole lot of things that I still need to do! (And blogging was apparently not one of them…)

I created a little book of poetry for my Mum’s birthday, using the design Sylvia Vardell kindly shared. The book was made up of poems I’d written over the years, of experiences I’d shared with my mum – or poems I’d written about/for Mum. Most she’d already seen (some family funnies, and others serious and heartfelt) but it was just good to get them all together in one cute little space. And since Mum is short – and I am not – the ‘Little Book’ seemed appropriate.

This limerick is one of the newbies. Mum often laughs that when I went on Year 7 camp, all the other mums were leaning over, giving their kids goodbye hugs, but Mum was reaching right up to hug me. (Looking back at photos, I think she’d been doing that for a number of years, by that stage.😂)

A Short Limerick

My mum was not one to look UP to,
for reasons that she never 'up' grew.
Not a' tall!
She was small.
That's why she adopted the up-do.

(Yet still she is one to live up to.)

© Kathryn Apel - All rights reserved.

This post is me raising my hand for #PoetryFriday. As we welcome Autumn in Australia (though I’m not sure that I do – because what has happened to our Summer rain and much-needed February floods????😶), Linda is looking to Spring in her post hosting today’s round-up. (There’s a challenge there, too, if you’d like to try it.) Thanks, Linda!

Wrapping Up #MoPoetry2019

For #PoetryFriday I offer you the final week of #MoPoetry2019 Insta-poems. You can read the full collection to-date on my Insta page, @Kat.Apel.

Day 25:

Day 26:

(The second pic with the final stanza from ‘My Country’ – including strike line.)

Day 27:

Day 28:

Day 29:

Day 30:

Day 31:

View this post on Instagram

Ending #MoPoetry2019 with a #haibun for my girl; Amber. Twenty-two years of loving and I can still see that little poddy and the longing in those eyes – though her steps are much more laboured now and there’s no tail-wagging, frisking with delight. —– I’ve not done a Month of Poetry quite like this, pairing pictures and poetry each day. It’s been fun and I've loved the deeper level of creative play it has inspired! Thank-you to all those who played along, either sharing your own poems💕, comments or likes. It's been interesting/encouraging hearing your responses, and seeing which insta-poems resonated with you. Maybe I’ll scatter some more Insta-poems on my page throughout the year… #MoPoetry2019 #haibun #InstaPoetry #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #poetry #thankyou #myworkisdone #scaredofcows #notscaredofAmber #ruralQLD #coungrygirl #farmersdaughter #grazierswife #beefcow #droughtmaster #grazier #ruralQldphotographer

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In a nutshell, a Month of Poetry looks like this…

Thank-you for letting me share each week retrospectively through the PoetryFriday posts. It’s been so much fun reading your comments – and knowing what you’ve enjoyed, and why. It’s also been lovely sharing snippets of my daily life with you. Special thank-you to those who have taken part at different stages – either using the #MoPoetry2019 hashtag on instagram, or by messaging their poems to me. Sharing is fun!

This week we’re The Opposite of Indifference – in fact we are (as always) in LOVE … with poetry.😍 You too can share the love, with more great #PoetryFriday posts on Tabatha’s blog.

Even More #MoPoetry

I do love diarising January in poetry – and have been especially enjoying the dual creativity of picture and poetry. (And the process of combining the two! Such fun.)

Here is this past week’s #MoPoetry2019 for your perusual of the week-that-was. Ending rather excitingly, too, I must say!

Day 18:

Day 19:

Which sparked this little conversation with @annashop_cronulla;

Day 20:

View this post on Instagram

The worst thing about writing a poem-a-day (and sharing them each day!!) is that sometimes, you’re posting a poem that doesn’t feel finished. This is one of those times… (Yes, there have been others.) FORM: Golden Shovel HOW TO: Find a strike line (and attribute it) then put each word from that line at the end of your poem… Fill in the gaps with your own words. In truth, I adore Golden Shovels. But I think I will make a rule to avoid lines with ‘you’ in them – because I should have learnt by now, ‘you’ always complicates a poem! #vulnerable #notreadyyet #bloom #whereyoureplanted #beyourself #motivation #inspiration #waterlily #flowersofinstagram #mybackyard #GoldenShovel #MoPoetry2019 #InstaPoetry #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #poetry

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Day 21: If I thought it was bad posting a poem that doesn’t feel finished, it is worse to look back on a poem you’ve posted and find a BLATANT MISTAKE!!! Urgh! This is what happens when you become too obsessed with design and layout. (Though this is the least creative of all my Insta-Poems – but I was playing with two pictures, so… #stilltooktoolong)

I have inserted an edited version into this post – because it’s bad enough looking at the mistake every time I open my insta-page. (I decided to leave it as it was there (with a blushing comment!)… because of course I didn’t notice it until late in the day…🙄 #nobodyisperfect #iaintnobody…🙃)

I was asked if I wrote limericks. Not many – but here’s one, for a bit of fun. I don’t follow cricket – so if there is a Matt or a Gina playing, this is not about either of them! #justforfun #playingwithwords#betterthanplayingcricket😉#watchinggrassgrow #cricket#backyardcricket #summerfun#MoPoetry2019 #InstaPoetry #poemaday#authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram#poetrygram #poetry #rhyme #wordplay

Day 22:

Day 23:

Day 24: (Why, hello Good News!)

This week we’re going to Walden with Tara Smith, so join the #PoetryFriday excursion for more great posts. And pop back here next week for the final instalment of #MoPoetry2019! Looking forward to seeing what the week produces. Have a great one.

More #MoPoetry2019

Welcome poetry peeps! Once again I’m linking to my #MoPoetry2019 Insta-Poems for PoetryFriday. This week marked halfway… Rolling downhill now! Thank-you Michelle Kogan, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie and Jone MacCulloch for also jumping in and sharing the creativity! It’s been fun. I’m looking forward to another week of word art.😊

Day 11:

Day 12:

Day 13:

Day 14:

Day 15:

Day 16:

Ooops. Turns out I was getting ahead of myself – and today is only Thursday! (All day!!) So – here is one more Insta-Poem, to round off my week of #MoPoetry2019.

Day 17:

If you’ve got a fave, I’d love to hear it. It’s always interesting to know what appeals to others. 🙂 If you’re tempted to join in with some of your own, you’ll find us at #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram.

You’ll find the full #PoetryFriday roundup here; http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com.

G’day Poetry Friday Peeps!

G’day! How wonderful to welcome all you Poetry Friday people, not just to my blog, but Downunder. Yes, the round-up is coming to you from Australia, where it’s the middle of summer (soooo hot!) – yet beautiful, none-the-less. So, slip into your togs, (perhaps I can tempt you for a dip in our beautiful Burnett River, later?) find a cool shady breeze, (you might need to make one) take a wedge of watermelon, or a mango cheek, then kick back and enjoy.

I’m in the process of writing a poem-a-day as a snapshot diary-of-sorts for the start of 2019, which I’ve been sharing as Insta-poetry. Perhaps you’d like to take a wander through the week with me before, you plunge into a host of poetry posts from around the world. Day 1, 2 and 3 featured in last week’s post, and on Instagram, but feel free to click back. 🙂 (I would delete the Instagram captions from this post, if I could, but alas…)

Day 4:

Day 5:

View this post on Instagram

Yowzers! Sliding in a wee-bit late with this one – because the poem I was hoping to post just would not come together! (Maybe another day?) There is nothing quite like a time-constraint to make your brain freeze – and I am reminded yet again of why I don’t like NAPLAN! (You have no idea how many poems I scrapped in the past hour. I’ve often wondered what would happen if a child produced an exquisite/emotive haiku for a NAPLAN writing sample. :P) Anyway, for Day 5 #MoPoetry2019, I give you a haiku, capturing the serenity of the Burnett River. I love the River Walk of an evening. . . #MoPoetry2019 #haiku #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #Bundaberg #lovebundy #BurnettRiver #lorikeets #InstaPoetry #riverwalk

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Day 6:

Day 7:

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

I’m using the hashtag #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram. You’re welcome to join! There’ll be a newbie up from me today… and more to come each day this month. Meanwhile, the Poetry Friday linkup is below. Can’t wait to check out all your goodies. 🙂

Share your Poetry Friday links here. All are welcome to read… and be inspired! 🙂

Click here to enter

Insta-Poetry

I hope your year has got off to a 🎉cracker🎊 start. 2018 was an amazing writing journey, and I am hoping it keeps rolling into 2019. It’s already been quite productive, writing a synopsis and query letter for that historical Antarctic verse novel I worked on throughout 2018, (So excited about that!) and putting down some words for a new picture book that has been rolling around in my mind the past 12 months. AND … In the spirit of Month of Poetry from years gone by, I spur-of-the-moment started writing a poem-a-day as a snapshot diary-of-sorts for the start of 2019. Some Insta-Poetry! I’m not sure I’ll stick with it for the full month (I am quite happy to fall down a hole with other writing projects) … but wordplay is always a good thing, and good fun! If you want to jump on board, I’m using the hashtag #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram. (It’s just me, at the moment.🙂)

If you’re intrigued by that flower in the top pic, you can see more on my instagram, starting at this post. My camera was a wee-bit busy over the 12hr period it bloomed so beautifully.

Sylvia has the roundup this week, at Poetry for Children. Next week I’ll be hosting the #PoetryFriday roundup – so check back then for links to poetry posts around the world and be inspired! For now… I’m off for a crit & chat with some lovely local kidlit peeps. I may be gone for a while… 😂

So Much Goodness!

One of the nicest things about the Poetry Swap, organised by Tabatha Yeatts, is that you’re so focused on thinking of someone else (the recipient of your poetry gift) that you completely forget that someone, somewhere, is thinking about you. Until one day… a package arrives in the mail.

That was me on Thursday, when a box arrived for me – from Rebecca Herzog. That was a name I recognised! I opened the parcel as we were driving to Bundaberg… and what a treat it was!

Rebecca wrote three poems – each one inspired by a dice game she had created, and included, as my gift. There are 5,832 possible combinations using the cards – which Rebecca informs me, is a poem a day for almost 16 years. What fun!

Road tripping with the Poetry Dice Game.

Novel Teas – I love this!

Not one, but three, very different poems. Blessed!

The first poem I saw was the Eucalyptus acrostic. I think there may be Eucalypts in America? (I googled – and see that yes, they were introduced into California, during the Gold Rush.) For sure we are surrounded by them on our grazing property! But I have to confess, my personal favourite is that little cardinal. These we do not have in Australia – but I adore that wee cherita!

As a gift, it was all kinds of perfect, and I say a heartfelt thank-you to Rebecca, for sending so much joy over the ocean. I will think of you often as I sip tea and play poetry dice. If I can write poems as delightful as yours, I will be thrilled.

You can read more poetry goodness on Buffy’s Blog, where you’ll find the Poetry Friday round-up this week.

Also this week, I updated my Bully on the Bus book trailer, to fit the American market. It has a permanent home on my blog under the ‘Books’ > ‘Bully on the Bus‘ tab, but for today, you can watch it below. 😀

With Christmas so fast approaching, I leave you with some pics taken at Bethlehem Live, which is on for one final night in Bundaberg. Such a beautiful way to get into the Christmas spirit and mix and mingle with members of our community. I love it!

Wishing you all a blessed and safe Christmas.

On Silence and Writing

It has been so long since I posted to my blog, that I feel like I need to just jump in and not even try to play catch-ups … so here I am!

Life has been gloriously busy, with Book ‘Week’ visits waaay back in August, and so many other wonderful activities celebrating literature and/or poetry.

And too, there has been writing. So much writing! Much of September has been spent immersed in words – either my historical non-fiction Antarctic verse novel (which just this morning clicked over 20k! 🎉🤩🎊 Sooooo close to finished!) a kids’ poetry collection, and an unexpected rhyming picture book – that grew from one of the poems …

My bog has been neglected, but my writing has not! Here are two little snippets from my verse novel. Firstly, a cherita, a form I have learnt much about from Diane Mayr’s blog. Technically a cherita doesn’t have a title – though I do have one on stand-by, if needed.😉

The door is barred.

Cast one 
look back

our last
sledge
journey

© Kathryn Apel, all rights reserved

And secondly, a list poem.

The Things We Had Forgotten

          Cook Harbour,
          Staten Island
       Isla de los Estados;

	waves washing 
variegated rubble-stones
	
	inexpressible pleasure of
green grass

	peeping out of the stones 
a flower!

	closely arching 
beech bushes

	overpoweringly magnificent
valley of trees

	barberry shrubs dripping
red bell-like flowers

	airborne insects – even
large yellow moths 

	twittering crowds of
small birds …

       Overcome with emotion
        I am scarcely able
            to proceed.

© Kathryn Apel, all rights reserved

Happy Poetry Friday. It’s good to be back! Now to find out who is hosting the round-up – and catch-up on everyone’s news!

Oh! Tabatha is hosting – with an invitation to take part in the ‘Winter’ poetry swap – which is summer for us Aussies. I am so glad I didn’t miss that invitation!

Reasons to Love Adelaide

  • gorgeous old stone buildings earthed in charm and character. Sometimes it was like stepping back in time.
  • the walks – so many lovely walks – through city streets, and around parks and city walking trails
  • bushwalking and koala spotting – in the wild!

    When your friend wants a photo with a koala … and it won’t come down from the tree!

  • autumn leaves – tree bones and lacework in the sky (We don’t have autumn leaves in CQ.)
  • beautiful weather – and heating on cooler days. (Bliss!)
  • metropolitan sights and eats –with country hospitality
  • time with the Adelaide kidlit community – which is every bit as supportive and FUN as I had imagined. So much laughter. LOVED!
  • critique sessions with Katrina Germein and Janeen Brian. (So valuable!)
  • meeting with Little Book Press, who are doing amazing things to promote literacy
  • bookshop visits
  • book club dinner at Glenelg
  • author visits at Victor Harbor (4 days) and Walford Anglican (1 day) – affirming to introduce new activities and have them so enthusiastically received.
  • exploring Victor Harbor – including a visit to the Coorong, where Storm Boy was set and filmed. Super-special, thank-you Sarah!

Nostalgia washing over me, in Storm Boy country – inspiration for the legendary Colin Thiele.

I wrote. Lots! Though nowhere near as much as some preceding May Gibbs Fellows. There’s a Fellows Journal in the Burrow that we all contribute to, and I must confess, the word counts of some Fellows had me a wee-bit intimidated for the first few days. But then I gave myself permission to polish and perfect as I go, as is my process. One day I took 7hours to write 49 words – but that was a particularly challenging poem! (Writing a non-fiction verse novel makes many poems particularly challenging! Which is half the fun. 🙂 )

For the first two weeks I worked on my historical NF verse novel about an early scientific expedition to Antarctica. That story hooked me the moment I heard it (whilst on a ship enroute to the Antarctic Peninsular)  – and the more I write, the more I love it. I added 3,550 words (more in draft stage still – but I only count polished words dropped into my WIP) to bring my word count over 10,000wrds, and am so excited about this manuscript! Having worked more on this since I’ve returned home, it now totals almost 11,000wrds.

Some of the lunchtime poets! Gotta love kids who come back voluntarily for poetry!

The last week of my Fellowship I was focused on picture books – revising and polishing a number of manuscripts, critiquing with two writing buddies, writing submissions, researching publishers open for submissions and getting work out there! This was a more disjointed period – but valuable! (More ideas in the pot of inspiration, too.)

And finally, I worked on a poetry collection for children! Still not complete – but closer!

It was a productive, inspiring and affirming month! I was spoilt beyond belief and am exceedingly grateful to the May Gibbs Trust – and for the care and attention from the May Gibbs care team, who think of absolutely everything and are beautifully generous, each in their different way. I don’t think I have ever felt so nourished within my creative soul. Thank-you.

I love Adelaide!

Could not get enough of those LEAVES!

I posted more pics to Instagram, under #MGCTF – when I remembered the hashtag!

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere. You’ll find more poetry posts at  Michelle Kogan‘s blog – where you’re sure to get double the creativity with words and art! Thank-you Michelle.