Poetry to fall in love with, part 2

skullandcrosstales Mad Girls Love Song by Sylvia PlathDid you know that April is National Poetry Month? It’s mainly an American thing, but I still love the idea of having a whole month dedicated to celebrating poetry.

I recently shared some works from a poet I follow on Instagram and had a great response, so thought I would share some of the ‘classics’ that I loved and studied at school and uni (keep in mind, I was still a bit ‘teenage angsty’ at that point!). I had, and still have, a huge affinity for female poets and these remain etched in my mind today. Enjoy!

Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Because I Could not Stop for Death – Emily Dickinson 

Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me– 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves– 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove–He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility–

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess–in the Ring– 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain– 
We passed the Setting Sun–

Or rather–He passed us–
The Dews drew quivering and chill–
For only Gossamer, my Gown–
My Tippet–only Tulle–

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground–
The Roof was scarcely visible–
The Cornice–in the Ground–

Since then–’tis Centuries–and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity– 

Heart! We Will Forget Him! – Emily Dickinson 

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I — tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you’re lagging
I remember him!

Strange Fruit – Seamus Heaney

Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.

They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease with the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence. 

A Birthday – Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me. 

There are two more poems that I love love love, but they are quite long, so I have linked them instead – Daddy and Lady Lazarus, both by Sylvia Plath.

And to leave you on a less depressing note, my favourite line from any poem, ever:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
(from Ode on a Grecian Earn – John Keats)

It’s the little things: Autumn lovin’

Pavel V

Happy Easter guys! I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling you get at the start of a long weekend. That relaxing feeling of four days off stretched out before you, knowing you don’t have to rush back to work on Monday morning. Knowing you have time, and space, and unknown opportunities just waiting to be discovered. It’s truly transformational! We’ve had a fantastic start to the weekend catching up with friends and family, and it’s only going to get better. Autumn has definitely arrived and the cool air is invigorating and revitalising. It’s my favourite time of the year, for sure. In fact, last week I whipped out my scarf collection, broke out the cardigans and really embraced the change in weather.

skullandcrosstales bus selfie

So whether you’re gearing up for a big night of celebrations tonight, taking the time to do nothing for once, or recovering from last night’s shenanigans, enjoy the best of what the internet has to offer.

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Time with friends ~ Delicious and healthy meals ~ Feeling strong and confident ~ Cool weather and cuddly animals ~ Long weekends ~ Wandering down William St during lunch breaks ~ Popcorn ~ Cardigans ~ Pavlova ~ Matte lipstick ~ Slippers and scarves ~ The Mindy Project ~ Snapchat ~ Commitment ~ Working hard

The links I’ve loved:

Skull of the week:

I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo 1 by Pavel Voinov

18 ways to make the world a better place

 

skullandcrosstales ways to make the world a better placeI’ve always believed that being a good person isn’t about how much money or power you have. It doesn’t take a grand gesture or a million dollar idea to improve the world; improvements are instead forged through the little things we do each and every day. Your actions will always impact someone else, creating a flow on effect that shapes the world around you. So be accountable and be kind – because it truly is the little things that make the world a better place.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 18 quick, easy and inexpensive ways to be the change you want to see:

1. Smile more

To quote Newton Faulkner, “people should smile more”. You don’t have to wander around looking like a dim-witted idiot with a cheesy grin plastered on your face. But when you interact with someone, do it with a smile. Make it genuine and they will notice

2. Think about where you spend your money

Buy your lunch from a quiet little cafe instead of the bustling chain restaurant, pick up a loaf of bread from your local baker rather than a large supermarket, buy gifts from Etsy not department stores and browse local markets and swap meets for clothes. I guarantee the small business owner, artist, local producer or family company will appreciate your money more.

3. Acknowledge courtesy

Whenever someone lets you pull out into traffic or stops to let you cross the road, give them a wave (and a smile) to let them know it’s appreciated – they’ll be less likely to begrudge you and more likely to do it again for someone else.

4. Tidy up after yourself

Think of the person who will have to clean up after you (at a cafe, at the movies, at work, wherever) and do what you can to make their job easier. This can be as simple as gathering all your wrappers and putting them in one place, stacking your empty plates, refraining from putting napkins in a glass that still had liquid in it, or taking your dishes to the kitchen (rather than leaving them on your desk).

5. Put your phone down

In a meeting, at lunch with a friend or watching a performance? Put your phone on silent and preferably keep it in your handbag or somewhere else out of the way. Very few people are so important that they can’t go without checking their phones for an hour.

6. Be generous with life’s little essentials

Be the person who always has a spare tissue, band-aid or bobby pin ready to hand out to those in need.  Giving someone these small things (hair ties, painkillers, tampons, chewing gum, safety pins) can avert a disastrous occurrence.

7. Praise freely

Don’t withhold compliments. Actively seek opportunities to thank bus drivers, barristers, shop assistants, receptionists and assistants. When someone does a good job, tell them. Tell your co-workers, friends and family why you appreciate them. Tell a stranger if you admire something about them. It’s doesn’t have to be a big deal, just be genuine about it.

8. Write it down

A complement can might someone’s day but a written thank you or note of admiration could make their week. Revive the lost art of handwriting and jot a ‘thinking of you’ note to a friend, pen a quick love letter, send a card with a sweet message, or leave a post-it note with a compliment. No idea where to start? Alexandra Franzen’s got you covered.

9. Put things back where you found them

At the shops, in your workplace, at your best friend’s house –it’ll make someone else’s life that little bit easier when they don’t have to go looking for what they need.

10. Make eye contact

With every conversation, every transaction and every interaction.

11. Acknowledge emails

Shoot off a quick response – stay away from “OK” and instead let someone know you have received their email, what action you intend to take, and when. They won’t have to waste time calling you to double-check and you’ll be able to get on with your other tasks much faster.

12. Pick your shit up

There is no excuse for littering, ever.

13. Be a gentleman

This goes for you too, ladies. Hold a door for someone who has their hands full, let elderly people on the bus first and hold the elevator door.

14. Wear deodorant

Seriously – you shouldn’t be able to smell someone unless you’re being intimate with them.

15. Use a grown up email address

Z instead of s, extra ‘e’s, random numbers, things that sounds dirty but aren’t, and words that scream teeny-bopper are not your friend. Follow the standard first.last, minimise underscores, dashes, and any other confusing symbols and you’ll look much classier when giving your address out. Bonus: there’ll be less chance of a typo or mistake stopping you from receiving important emails.

16. Volunteer

Give freely whatever you can – be it time, money, goods, ideas, knowledge or inspiration.

17. Be kind to yourself

Change starts at home, so take a load off and treat yourself right. Invest in yourself, seek happiness, and watch the flow on effect it has in the rest of your life.

18. Always strive to be a better person

Don’t be so quick to judge, don’t let your short fuse get the best of you, give people time, always be kind. You won’t always know the circumstances of other people, or why they’re doing that thing that’s pissing you off. Remember, most people aren’t actively trying to annoy you. Everyone is just trying to do their best.

Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.

- Arthur Forman

It’s the little things: TGIF

skullandcrosstales vasse felix

I think everything I want to say about this week can be conveyed with this: TGIF. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been a great week. I’ve struggled a bit. (well, a lot). But the weekend is here, I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and spend some time in nature, and just…be.

So lets kick our feet up, grab a glass of wine and enjoy this week’s best of the webs.

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Friends who make sure vegetarian options are available for me ~ Sending this week’s paper to print super early ~ The new-found confidence from being able to complete the 12wbt exercise program ~ Lunch with my sister ~ Cool weather and couch blankets ~ Avocados ~ Knowing I have people on my side ~ Bright lipsticks ~ Hot showers ~ Delicious coconut scented moisturiser ~ New episodes of The Mindy Project ~

skullandcrosstales Cullens Wines

The links I’ve loved:

Best book you can write.
Best version of yourself you can be.
Demonstrate these things.
Go and write.

Skull of the week:

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Lesson learned: focus on what you can do

skullandcrosstales focus on what you can do

Last week, I signed up to the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program. As I was browsing the forum and reading about the commitments people had made to themselves, I came across something that really struck a cord – the commitment to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do.

Three years ago, I injured my knee in a car crash. Ever since then, far too much of my life has been spent worrying about what I can’t do. I can’t run, I can’t walk up hills, I can’t squat, I can’t lunge, I can’t kneel, I can’t jump, I can’t sit cross legged, I can’t walk that far, I can’t walk that fast, I can’t keep up, I can’t do what everyone else is doing – I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

And while most of those things are still true I’ve finally realised that the “I can’ts” are not what I should be focusing on, because there are still so many things I can do. There are things I can work towards doing, things I can do to get stronger. And perhaps the most important thing I can do – change my mindset.

I can acknowledge a bad day is just a bad day, without spiraling into “what ifs” and “I’ll nevers”. I can choose not to focus on pain and focus on the things that make me happy.

It’s not easy. Just days after I had this realisation, I found myself sitting on the couch with an ice pack on my knee, thinking “I’ll never be able to get to a healthy weight if I can’t even exercise properly.” Well, the 12 week program has already proved that’s not true, and given me a huge sense of achievement. I may be following the lowest and gentlest exercise program – but you know what, I can do it. And that’s a great feeling.

It’s an attitude I hope to carry into the rest of my life. I don’t want to focus on the things I can’t change – like other people’s opinions or reactions, like legalities and lawyers and skewed systems, like bosses or friends who will never change. From now on, it’s all about focussing on what I can do, what I can work on, what I can strive to improve.

Are you with me? Or is this a technique you already use in your life? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Interested in joining the 12wbt program? You can sign up here.

This is not a sponsored post but it does contain referral links.

Poetry to fall in love with

Today I wanted to share with you some of the works of Christopher Poindexter – a poet I found thanks to a quote card that came with an awesome handmade skull I received for Christmas.

I started following him on Instagram and soon feel in love with his work – its super accessible, emotive and beautiful.

I read a lot of poetry when I was younger – from online teenage angst poetry forums to classics such as Sylvia Plath, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti and William Blake – mostly while I was at uni. But it’s been a while since I’ve read any modern poetry, and that’s why I’m so glad to have discovered Mr Poindexter and his bite sized poetry, which appears conveniently in my Instagram feed but stays in my mind for days.

I hope you fall in love, too.

(All of these are available on hemp paper here for US$10 each)

The Universe and Her, and I poem 194

The Universe and Her, and I poem 194

The Universe and Her, and I poem 82

The Universe and Her, and I poem 82

The Universe and Her, and I poem 71

The Universe and Her, and I poem 71

The Universe and Her, and I 190

The Universe and Her, and I 190

The Universe and Her and I poem 50

The Universe and Her and I poem 50

The Universe and Her and I poem 39

The Universe and Her and I poem 39

The Blooming of Madness poem 197

The Blooming of Madness poem 197

The Blooming of madness poem 182

The Blooming of madness poem 182

The Blooming of Madness poem 62

The Blooming of Madness poem 62

It’s the little things: wine time

Vasse Felix, Cowaramup

Vasse Felix, Cowaramup

I don’t even know where to start on this fortnight guys…it’s definitely been full of ups and downs. It feels like a world away now, but I spent a fantastic weekend visiting my sister who has moved down south, eating delicious cheese and fresh bread, browsing the fresh produce markets, sampling delicious wines, and of course lots of chatting, laughter and good times. I also had my first bath with a Lush bath bomb and it was bliss! (The bath in our rental is teeny tiny, so it was an absolute luxury!) Early in the week my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by having a bedroom picnic (our new favourite tradition!), drinking a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and watching the Veronica Mars Movie. It was perfect. I had a delicious coffee date with two great friends, got excited about checking out some houses for sale, got a great hair cut and colour, had a delicious pizza double date and watched some great TV.

And then…our cat got an eye infection, our stove top hot plate exploded, I worked until 9pm on print day, I missed my bus three times in a row in one day, I had a set back with my knee injury, I’ve been stressed, worried, frustrated, angry and upset with the legal case for my knee injury, I’ve been missing my family and I’ve been feeling guilty for not carving the time to follow my passions…

You’ve got to take the good with the bad though, right? As always, I’m thankful to be surrounded by supportive people – in fact, one of them inspired me to make a potentially life-changing promise to myself, which I’ll share with you next week.

Cullen Wines, Wilyabrup

Cullen Wines, Wilyabrup

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Warm cups of Milo ~ Chocolate hot cross buns ~The new Jezabels album, The Brink ~ NYX makeup (now available in Australia at Target!) ~ Christopher Poindexter poetry ~ Fresh flowers ~ The smell of wet grass ~ Vanilla cupcakes ~ Bright lipstick ~ All the glitter ~ Staying in ~ Tiny rings ~ Re-reading books (it’s so comforting) ~ Going out ~ Playing ball with my puppy ~ Hot showers ~ Cool autumn breezes ~ Slippers

Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix

The links I’ve loved:

Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix

Skull of the week:

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Photos 1 & 2 by Angela Mee