Ring the Bells


Twenty seventeen

‘Ring the bells that still can ring’

Drum a steady beat.

©2016 ontheland

My life is squeezing every ounce (almost) of my writing and reading time.  The haiku’s second line is, of course, a quote from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.  His words are so apt for present times that they have been quoted widely (especially recently):

Ring the bells that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering,

There is a crack in everything,

That’s how the light gets in.

∼Leonard Cohen

Winter has officially begun, 2017 will soon be here, and our days will slowly grow longer.  I’ll be reading and writing as much as I can during the holidays, but I predict that my presence will be much reduced.  I am enormously grateful for all those who take the time to read my efforts and for the opportunity to view the writing, photography, and art of so many creative people.  I wish everyone all the best for the holiday period and the new year.

Many thanks as well to Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge for another inspiring year of challenges.  This weeks’s prompt was ‘bells’ and ‘ring’.   The image is a public domain offering from Pixabay.com. The scene is  Mount Fichtelberg in East Germany.

Fire star

At night we trace stars

for predictions of fate, as

we orbit the sun.

Basking in solar rays, we

crave its riches buried deep.

©2016 ontheland

The thoughts in this poem (tanka) were inspired by words attributed to Neil de Grasse Tyson:

Aliens might be surprised to learn that in a cosmos w/ limitless starlight, humans kill for energy source buried in the sand. 

Source: quoted and attributed to Neil de Grasse Tyson, American astrophysicist in “Rays of solar hope among fossil clouds of gloom” by Jeremy Miller, in Resurgence & Ecologist, Issue 291,  July/August 2015

Also in response to Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Prompt Challenge #11: ‘stars’ and ‘fate’.




A grownup is a child with layers on.—Woody Harrelson

I’m a child

with layers on

like an old tree


in clay-sand-humus

tickling the sky.

©2016 Ontheland

This is my final quote in a series of three about growing old—preceded by ‘Mind over matter’ and ‘Fifteen years from now’. I would like to extend my thanks to Kim Russell who invited me to join in with a Three Day Three Quote Challenge.  If you enjoy poetry and creative writing by accomplished authors, I highly recommend her blog:  Writing in North Norfolk.  

My challenge nominees are:

Laura’s Photos

Drink Life to its Lees

My Journey with Hijab

Rules of the challenge:

  1. Post three quotes over three days.
  2. Name three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.




Fifteen years from now


To me, old age is always fifteen years older that I am. —Bernard Baruch

So true. However, putting humor aside, there is no harm in recognizing that you are an elder.  I use this word, to level rather than elevate, to counteract the sense  of embarrassment that sometimes links with old age.  As we age some challenges fall away and others take their place. The longer I can take care of my own physical needs and have a clear mind, I’ll be grateful.

Many thanks to Kim Russell of Writing in North Norfolk for inviting me to participate in her Three Day Three Quote Challenge.  This is my second quote post—the final one will be up on Thursday.  My nominees are:

Deirdre–Words are all I have

Amy–Bedlam & Daisies


Rules of the challenge:

  1. Post three quotes over three days.
  2. Name three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

Mind over matter


Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

∼ Mark Twain

Another Three Day Quote Challenge has come my way—this time, from Kim Russell of Writing in North Norfolk.  If you haven’t yet read her exceptional poems and other writing, you might want to visit her blog.  Thank you Kim for providing me with an occasion for sharing a series of quotes on aging that I  was saving in anticipation of my milestone birthday last month.

I have entered a new decade and I do agree with Mark Twain, it ultimately ‘doesn’t matter’.  Yet matter does enter the picture and sadly, for some of us more than others. Aging is uneven.   I have realized that part of the ‘game’ is recognizing and accepting deterioration and  limitations—and living with them.  The other part is using both mind and matter as much as possible—that’s living after all!

My challenge nominees, should you be so inclined, are:

Mis Lucja

Grammy Writes

The Journey of my Left Foot

Rules of the challenge:

  1. Post three quotes over three days.
  2. Name three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.




Blogging, Living, and Poetry

It’s Friday and I am posting my weekly quote post—usually a Wednesday ritual.  Lately, life and my inner flow aren’t conforming to a tidy blogging schedule.  Approaching spring is having a more profound effect on me than even New Year’s did—I am turning my attention to indoor seed starting, outdoor repairs, and how my routines will need to shift when the gardening season begins.

Lately, my mind has been grasping for the essence of a quote I read recently—about how living life comes before writing.  We have to live if we are going to have something to write about.  Although not necessarily a useful message for everyone, I relate to it.  I want to revisit ‘before-I-started-blogging-last-summer’ activities; respond to the pull of the garden; and spend more time on new/old interests such as reading novels and poetry.  If verbalized, my new internal mantra would be:

I want to blog to live rather than live to blog.

Another recent theme that has been on my mind is the meaning of my recent attempts to write in poetic form.  I have a few responses to that question and one would be ‘why ask why?’.   Another more direct answer would be that one thing has led to the next from Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge to WordPress’s Writing 201–I’ve just been enjoying myself.  I like writing, I like learning, and I like words.

It also occurred to me that ‘it is all writing’.  The more you write, the more fluid you get.   The divide between poetry and prose is not as great as some would think. Prose can be poetic and poetry can look quite similar to prose. Ultimately, the name of the game is expression.   Poetry allows more word play and can also teach precision.

A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.

∼ Vladimir Nobokov, Russian-American novelist, 1899-1977

I like this quote as it turns the stereotypes around, giving precision to poets and imagination to scientists. Obviously, there is both precision and imagination involved in both poetry and scientific research.  The quote also suggests that any type of writing, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, benefits from the magic touch of imagination and precision.

Southern Pinwheel galaxy
This post is in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge.  This week, Colleen Chesebro and Ronovan Hester have announced a new twist to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenges. To read all about it, please visit the challenge link.