Category Archives: Essays

Autumn – Stanza 13

kin can be elusive, notorious in fact with
legacies to be recalled by generations hence
more curious than how they lived, accounts
of how they died, some of causes natural
while others met the sword midst battle cries

~kat

For Jane Dougherty’s Daily Stanza Challenge.

I have found that records of how my ancestors died can be an interesting window into the times that they lived. I discovered the obituary for my 3rd Great Grandfather, Henry Orwick. Henry was born on the 2nd of July 1833 in Virginia. He married my 3rd Great Grandmother, Malinda C. Martin, in Indiana on 10 May 1855 and from census records it appears that they made their home in Indiana, where they lived for the rest of their lives.  Henry served in the Union Army, when he was 30 years old, in the 144th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. The 1864 United States Census records that Henry was a Hog Farmer, having slaughtered in excess of 100 lbs of the beasts that year.  Henry and Malinda had 5 or six children. My great great grandmother, Amanda was born in 1874. But it was Henry’s death that caused quite a stir. Here is the excerpt of his obituary,  found by a distant cousin (I assume) at the Cordyn, Indiana Library. It may actually be the most interesting thing about this common man who I call great, great, great…

Sudden Death of Henry Orwick

Henry Orwick, of Leavenworth, died suddenly at that place last Monday. He had been deputed to serve attachment papers against a steamboat tying at that place, and while holding the line attached to the boat, he was seen to throw up his hands and fall backward.  It was, at first thought he had been shot, but it was afterward learned that he had died of heart failure.

 

 


August – Stanza 12

tree strong, sure, with roots meandering deep
elusive broken chains, some stories silenced,
ever undisturbed, to sleep between the lines
of history’s pages, glimmers only glimpsed
by those remembering, distant reminiscing kin

~kat

For Jane Dougherty’s August Stanza Challenge.


I had a thrilling find on my father’s side of the family tree this past week! A photo posted on ancestry by someone who is likely a distant cousin of mine, of my great, great grandparents August Vilhelm Johansson, his wife, Charlotta Sofia and their children take before the family emigrated to America from Sweden in 1903. I’m guessing the young girl leaning against her mother’s knee is my great grandmother, Hanna Bernhardina Johnson (surname obviously Americanized). Along with the photo I was also able to discover another link in the root of this side of my tree: the names of Charlotta’s parents, my great, great, great grandparents, Carl Gustaf Giesche and Helena Sophia, née: Martensdr. That is where the story ends for now…to be continued. 😊


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse -12 August 2018

I’m sure there is a message somewhere in today’s ReVerse. In fact, I can feel it. Several of the verses are lifted out of my daily stanzas. This month I have chosen as my daily theme, the stories of my ancestors.

Fast forward to 2018. If one reads the lines below, taken out of context as a whole, applied to the present time, I think the lesson is clear, if not a bit cliché. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We have heard this saying over the years. It is coined to make a point, especially when things feel out of whack and off the progressive course, where leaving things better than we inherited them is being derailed by our worst selves. The quote is in fact attributed to George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) who was a Spanish-born, philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. He lived in America from the age of 8, though he never become a citizen, and established himself as an esteemed professor in the philosophy department of Harvard where he himself graduated. Never married, he return to Europe later in life. The quote above can be found on page 284 of “Reason in Common Sense” the first volume of five from his greatest work, “The Life of Reason”. In its entirety, it is “sometimes considered to be one of the most poetic and well-written works of philosophy in Western history.” (According to Wikipedia)

If we take an honest look ourselves in the mirror it is easy to see that we are doomed, so to speak for ignoring our history while at the same time clinging to an idealized version of it. Yes, a reread through the lifted lines from the past week’s work below makes it perfectly clear. Though we have sought to amuse ourselves by stumbling down into a rabbit hole, we are now discovering that it is, in fact, a black hole in disguise. We do seem to be imploding. So sad, but perhaps needed in order to set us back on track. Have a great week. I’ll leave you with this poem from George…

There may be Chaos still around the World

BY GEORGE SANTAYANA

There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life’s fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature’s shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid’s drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.
They threat in vain; the whirlwind cannot awe
A happy snow-flake dancing in the flaw.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse -12 August 2018

around the time when separatists sought freedom
was his name, a roving love philanderer
we sipped tea here, from porcelain cups with pink roses
penned in history’s tomes the story of a clan
came on horseback through the town, they say, naked
some city folks pot bright flowers in their concrete spaces.
are we there yet
but what of peace…love
makes his bed, alive for centuries, not dead
hence ended by his bastard son, poor fellow
After days of sweltering heat, even the seashore was little relief to beach-goers…
cast time in shadows
rendezvous en rouge
that most of us will fade into obscurity…
she is not whispering
i have loved like a fool

~kat

A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 5 August 2018

So…yep, last week was not the greatest of weeks. I give it a three. In other words not a total wipe out, but as weeks go, I’ve seen better.

It should not be at all surprising that today’s ReVerse has a mean, melancholy streak. It’s weird how that happens. Try as I might to infuse each day’s verse with happy thoughts, affirmations and the like, the truth niggles its way to the surface. It’s like a gray funk that disturbs my serene surface; like those globs of sludge jiggling on a stagnant pond, bits drifting on the breeze, splattering into oblivion. Yep, this past week was ugly like that…don’t ask.

But next week will be better. How can it not be? So please forgive this week’s dreary dirge. There is hope. Call me crazy, I still hope, even in the darkest of times.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 5 August 2018

the alchemy of magic thrice infused
three dimensions mete where flat planes meet air
there is no truth
the power to overcome
it won’t do any good
plead the fifth, to any third degree
before the harbor maiden raised her beacon
denying the adoration of those poor
in the dumps, in a blue funk
come and gone, sparks of light,
lay the bones, worm-stripped bare, no trace
who settled scores, who buried men alive,
the roses have gone
through our fingers

~kat

A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 29 July 2018

I love this week’s ReVerse! I had set for myself a daunting challenge: to write a trio of terza rima stanzas exploring things that slip between the cracks, which of course, they don’t really do, because the cracks

ARE the in between abysses where we lose things. Cracks between the cracks, as it were. That is to say nothing is truly lost to us if we are paying attention.

And pay attention I did this week, to the ‘nth degree. Rather than being exhausting, it was inspiring. A prime for the old pump. I even managed to tackle all my favorite challenges this week, save my own “word of the day” musings. To be honest, the words of the day have been at best, meh, lately, so I’ve given it a rest. This week’s word was punnet, a small container or basket for strawberries or other fruit. Um, so ok. Now you know. Not much more to say about that. 😉

But back to today’s ReVerse! Did I happen to mention how pleased I am with it? Of all the words I wrote this week, these lines are some of my favorites. They play nicely together, don’t you think? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all do a reverse and together, get along? Yes, wouldn’t that be lovely.

Have a great week. There are only three more days of Terza Romas to explore…hmmmm, three. Hold that thought. See you on the flip!


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 29 July 2018

remembering when that tree was still green
in the beginning…us, I remember
with you, I would go
no one will remember your words
a swift swing of a bat rendered them headless.
there’s still life left in what some throw away
for these days pennies don’t amount to much
slow turns the screw ‘til truth cannot exist
lounging in streams of sunlit bliss
which makes me wonder
precious treasures overlooked, throngs unfazed,
fair-haired ladies in waiting,
in these trying times
“How much farther?”
“Is that a thing?
between, in darkened cracks where stuff falls through
forever, when they’re botched.
i never wanted to
i live for the sweet
the sun shining too bright
blue, red crush, misting

~kat

A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


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