Noel Cinquain – Day 7

CHRISTMAS TREE, NIGHT, STAR -- Geralt -- PX

Noel.
Light up the tree.
Hang strands of brilliant glow.
Let your light shine to tell the world
Noel!

 

This post completes the’ Seven Days of Noel Cinquain.’  Hope you’ve enjoyed them.

 

 


photo courtesy of Geralt @ pixabay.com

 

 

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Noel Cinquain — Day 6

ANGEL, GEOMETRIC -- Geralt - PX

Noel.
Hark to the sound
Of angel song above,
Announcing God’s great gift of Love.
Noel!

 

 

 


photo courtesy of Geralt @ pixabay.com

 

 

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Thawing The Ice

The following story is an excerpt from my Christmas anthology: STOCKING FULL OF STORIES.  If you’re interested in more stories, you can find the book on Amazon in paperback or digital.


 

ABSTRACT WHITE CHRISTMAS POND-B & WTHAWING THE ICE

Misty laced up her skates and glided smoothly across the ice. It had been more than a year since she’d come to her favorite pond. The trees were stark silhouettes against the deep snow, barren and seemingly useless in this white wilderness. She felt that way herself. The gray world around her matched her gray and barren heart. Words came back to her now from the whispering past.

“You can’t just give up, Misty. Marcus wouldn’t want you to quit skating. He wouldn’t want you to give up the life you’ve always loved.”

She continued to circle the pond, listening to conversations in her head – all from last year. After the accident. “I can’t skate alone. I’m no good by myself. It’s always been Marcus and me together – from the time we were seventeen.”

“But you’re so gifted, dear,” Mother had insisted. “You were skating beautifully long before you even met Marcus. Why, from the time you put on your first pair of skates – remember? – the pink pair you got for Christmas when you were six? – from that very first day, you’ve been a star in the making. All your fans want to see you back out there on the ice.”

Misty had merely hung her head and wept. She new her mother meant well, but she’d never be able to understand. And Misty was glad her mother had never known that kind of loss.

But her family didn’t understand about the fans either. Yes, her own family were her personal fans, but the fans in all the ice rinks around the world hadn’t been hers. They were fans who loved Misty and Marcus – together – “the darling duo” as they’d been dubbed in more than one news story. The fans wanted to see both of them on the ice, not just one lonely girl –  lost now in a world that had been her own kingdom little more than a year ago.

The cold wind bit at her, but she welcomed the pain. It matched the pain in her heart. And she welcomed the gray world she skated in now. It matched the world she lived the rest of her life in with Marcus dead.

So she skated – round and round the pond – one hour – then another. And with each trip around that pond of her childhood came the memories – like warm flashes of sunlight:  the first time she’d skated in her pink skates; the first day she’d invited Marcus to skate with her there; the first competition they’d entered – and won; the grueling hours of practice that both of them had loved.

Gradually, as the happy memories flooded back and thawed the ice that had held her soul in its lonely, gray world for the past year, Misty began to feel alive again. A smile spread across her face and she flung out her arms as if to embrace this precious pond with its stark trees and white emptiness. She found herself skating into routines she’d used before she and Marcus had become a team. And gradually, she found herself adding moves to those routines. They weren’t done consciously. They just flowed from her as naturally as water flows down a hill when a barrier has been removed.

Her heart began to sing. Her body followed suit. And although the pond and all it’s surroundings were still as gray and barren as they’d been when she’d arrived, Misty discovered that she was now skating in sunshine – in the warmth of her love for Marcus and in the fire of the passion she felt for skating. Perhaps her family and friends had been right after all. Perhaps she did still have a life to live and a gift to give to the world from her kingdom on the ice.

 

 

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The Day I Forgot To Hate – by guest author Ted Pavloff

Sunday was V-J Day in the United States, celebrating the end of World War II. In honor of that wonderful time of relief from the trauma and sorrow of war, I’m sharing two short stories set in that time period. The stories are by my father, Ted Pavloff, who is now with the Lord. He may not be here with us any longer, but his stories are still with us, just as alive and as powerful and encouraging as they were when first written. Today, I’m posting the first story, and tomorrow, I’ll post the second.

THE DAY I FORGOT TO HATE

(“Even though the characters and events in this story are fictitious, it was born out of my experiences during combat in the South Pacific Theater during WWII.” —Ted Pavloff)

The gray light of dawn was filtering through the dense leafage when we finally pushed our way out of the heavy undergrowth into the small clearing; Corporal Willmet, PFC Conte, and myself. We three made up one of the frequent patrols to probe the eerie stillness of no-mans-land during the bleak hours of night and early morning.

We had sought out this particular clearing many times before (a queer, growth-free patch, isolated in the midst of solid jungle) to comfortably relax with a cigarette and sort out the results of the current trek.

We were a confident trio, and perhaps our gutsy attitude was justified to a certain degree. Encounters with Japanese patrols and snipers were anything but strange adventure, and the fingers of our hands were not ample to count the number of enemy soldiers we had personally annihilated.

The venomous hatred we shared for the Japanese forged us into a natural combination, and we relished every opportunity to satisfy that bitterness by destroying the enemy. We had come to consider the killing of Japs as a sort of game … a release that made the discomforts of war worthwhile.

The usual mixed sounds of the jungle surrounded us this humid morning as we stretched out on the damp turf. There was little reason to suspect approaching danger, and, carelessly, we dismissed the possibility.

Then it happened. They swept out of the jungle from every side and bayonets were pressing against our stomachs before we could touch our weapons. At first I thought it was a nightmare, and it seemed minutes passed before my mind cleared to the realization that I lay at the mercy of the enemy. I should have been terribly frightened, but whatever measure of fear I might have possessed was totally eclipsed by hate, and I could not detect it.

Desperately I wanted to fight back, but there was small profit in inviting certain death. I ordered my companions to lie motionless and hoped the next few moments would bring the break we would need.

I surveyed the Jap soldiers coldly. They were a poorly clad, hungry looking group and, to my eyes, ripe for the sword. The officer in command was extremely youthful looking and clearly the smallest in stature, but his appearance was deceiving.

His orders poured forth with powerful authority, every word emphasized with vigorous motions of his head and arms. The soldiers reacted instantly, and while three bayonets pinned us in a prone position, the remaining troopers hurriedly appropriated the K-rations in our packs.

Then, with a gesture I considered a mocking insult, the young officer tossed several pieces of Japanese currency at my feet, and turned to rejoin his men. It was at this instant he spotted one of his soldiers who had backed off a few paces, raised his rifle, and carefully aimed at my head. With the agility and speed characteristic of the Japs, the officer threw himself at the would-be killer and dropped him heavily to the ground. The hapless offender suffered several solid lashes across his face before he was finally permitted to join his comrades in a hasty retreat from the clearing.

Obviously pleased over the successful display of his prowess, the officer bowed courteously and smiled, then saluted a farewell.

I did not share his satisfaction. The knowledge that my life had been spared for some inconceivable reason was lost in a hatred that made my stomach ache. Vengefully, I hoped for a future meeting … over the sights of my rifle.

During the week that followed we were spared the relentless torture of night patrol, and the day treks were relatively uneventful. Frequently, and often at unexpected moments, I found myself stabbed by spasms of anger that stemmed from the humiliation of having been successfully snared by the enemy. Even though I had not been harmed physically, I stubbornly refused to be grateful. I was furious that I had been captured at all and vowed revenge upon every Jap I could maneuver into firing range.

Revenge was uppermost in my mind that bright afternoon as we trudged through the jungle on a routine patrol. We were advancing in a widely dispersed position, intent upon sweeping as much terrain as possible with a minimum of commotion.

I was advancing slowly in an oblique path toward a peculiar rise of solid rock, when the figure appeared unexpectedly …. I froze. It was a Jap …. Momentarily, I was mystified over his apparent lack of concern about concealing himself, and also the fact that he was unarmed. He was stripped to the waist and the beads of perspiration on his bronze flesh glistened in the bright streaks of sunlight leaking through the heavy foliage. I crouched low as he stepped to a narrow ledge of the rock and looked about him.

Then it hit me like a blockbuster – it was the youthful officer who had captured and humiliated me in the clearing! Ahhh … finally, I thought, we meet again. I gloated silently and promptly began mental preparations to repay a debt I thought to be long overdue. I studied the situation carefully …. I wanted a clean aim. So with unconscious movements of my body, I urged him toward the near edge of the rock.

As if responding to a spoken command, he leaped from the perch and approached a mound of rock directly in my line of vision, then hastily removed a cluster of loose branches and brush from a small hollow in the base of the mound.

I lined up for the kill. I held my breath. Then just as my finger was closing securely around the trigger, my eyes suddenly spotted the crude wooden cross that had been secured in that hollowed out area.

I peered down the long rifle barrel in confused amazement as he dropped to his knees. His right hand raised to his forehead, moved down to his chest, then to his left shoulder, and across to his right – the Sign of The Cross! My hands grew numb and my arms trembled uncontrollably.

I’m not sure exactly how long the moment lasted. But slowly … surely … as surely as I had taken aim at what would have been a sure target, I felt myself lowering that same rifle and letting it slip from my grip. Without any conscious thought, I bowed my head.

I couldn’t account for my reaction. But a miracle had taken place. My fervent, persistent, burning desire to kill the enemy had melted away.

Within a few seconds I relived every detail of the incident in the clearing, when he and his men had captured us, and suddenly the realization hit me: The Jap officer’s actions in preventing my murder and leaving the money were not prompted by secondary motives. This man was a Christian. Painfully, I contrasted these truths with the hatred that fed my incessant drive to destroy the enemy anywhere I found him, and under any circumstances. Tearfully, I surrendered to my shame.

I cannot be certain of the length of time I remained in a state of remorseful meditation, but when I finally raised my eyes, the Cross was again carefully camouflaged, and the officer had vanished. I lingered only a short while. Then I set out to join Willmet and Conte … strangely happy and refreshed … having been set free from the terrible, unbearable burden of hate.

`

The End


© 1950, 2012 Ted Pavloff

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The Rest of Our National Anthem

 

U. S. FLAG

In the course of any given year, most of us hear our national anthem sung dozens of times.  But what we hear is not really our national anthem, but only a small part of it.  Every time I hear it sung, I am frustrated at having to stop singing at the end of the first stanza.  We never seem to go on to the end of the song and find out why it is that we can trust that our star-spangled banner will continue to wave, and why we can be sure our land will continue to be brave and free.

Several years ago, as a high school teacher, I was given the responsibility of creating a large production in honor of our nation and our constitution, and my instructions included making sure that the whole community was involved.  I immediately decided that this was my opportunity to include the last stanza of our national anthem as part of the program.  I realized that most people did not know the words to that stanza at all, and, in fact, some people did not even know the song had four stanzas total.

I’m asking my blog readers to stop right now and take just a few minutes to think about the final verse of our national anthem.  It has a whole lot more to say beyond the fact that we are proud of our flag and the nation for which it stands.  In fact, the last stanza makes the most important statements of the whole song.

“So thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.

Blessed with victory and peace, may this Heaven-rescued land

Praise the God that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just

And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

We need to sing this last stanza every time we sing the first one, because it is only the fact that God Himself made us a nation and preserved us as such — and that He is the one who has rescued us each and every time from destruction — that allows our star-spangled banner to wave anywhere at all.

I hear a lot of people today talking about how this country is doomed.  I also hear a number of religious leaders preaching that God will judge the United States for all of its evils and allow foreign powers to come in and overthrow it.  Now, I am a strong Christian, and I am deeply troubled by the abortion, drugs, crime, child abuse, pornography, and sexual laxness of our nation. But I also spend an enormous amount of time with God — in His Word and in prayer. And I believe that the Lord has made clear to me that He created this nation for His own purposes.   Except for Israel, this nation is the only one on earth that can point to the fact that God literally called His own people to travel to these shores and found a new beginning.

He did so because he intended this nation to be so established in freedom and justice for all that it would be free to put forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an extent unknown in any other part of the world.  And we have done that.  True, we have not always done other things right. But the fact remains that thousands of God’s faithful people are citizens of this nation, and as such, they live Godly lives, influence others to do the same, and continue to put forth the Gospel.  As long as those people are praying and keeping the door open for God to intervene in this nation — and to fight on its behalf — we will not be destroyed.

So, even though we need to work at getting our act cleaned up in a lot of ways, we can, nevertheless, take a deep breath, put a smile on our face, and continue to lift our voices in song, singing:  “Praise the God that hath made and preserved us a nation.”

No matter how many atheists try to get the words changed — no matter how many elected officials misquote the words of our Constitution in order to try to keep faith out of our government — no matter what —- the words of Francis Scott Key still reverberate through the hearts of millions of Americans, and indeed this is still our motto: “In God Is Our Trust!”

 


If you’d like to learn the words to the the remaining two stanzas of the song, you can find them here.

 

 

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Experiment # 2 in New Poetic Form

I’ve composed a second poem in my new form — as yet un-named. I’ve searched to find any indication that this form has been used by any other poets, but I know I haven’t unearthed all the information. So, as I mentioned in my original post when I introduced this form, if anyone out there knows of it’s being used previously, please let me know in the comments below. Once I’m convinced it truly is a new form, I’ll need to give it a name. So if you have suggestions for that as well, let me know.

Just to review, the form is as follows:

5 Lines.
The first, third, and fifth lines have to rhyme.

Line 1 has 3 syllables
Line 2 has 6 syllables
Line 3 has 12 syllables
Line 4 has 6 syllables
Line 5 has 3 syllables

Meter for lines 1 and 5 is dactyl.
Meter for lines 2, 3, 4 is iambic.

I’m still finding this form pretty difficult, but I like a challenge once in a while. If you want to try it and write your own poem in this form, please share it in the comments section or by a link to your own blog.

Here’s this newest effort:

HEALING HAND - DARK SEPIA - FEATHERED

PARAMOUNT KNOWLEDGE

Knowing God:
Oh, what a wondrous thing
To comprehend such pure love; I’m completely awed,
Learning I am priceless
To my God.