#Writober Day 9: The Wisdom of Honey and Owls

Finding the Wisdom in Naivete and Naivete in Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

This week, being the first week of all the fun challenges of Writober, I didn’t write much about this week’s study of contradictory abstract nouns. This week I was looking at the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete. Yesterday, I came across a Proverb (in my daily gratitude journal: Proverbs journal from Ellie Claire) that took my thoughts in a new direction.

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:14

Not only did this interesting Proverb connect wisdom to honey, it also connects wisdom to hope which is where this whole contradictory abstract nouns study evolved (Find the despair in hope and the hope in despair). In the context of finding the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete, honey got me thinking about Winnie the Pooh, and the book The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. I hadn’t looked at my copy in a while, so I pulled the cute book off the shelf and began to read. I quickly found some interesting quotes I enjoyed:

“earth was in essence a reflection of heaven”

“The more forcing the more trouble.”

“Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it.”

But those quotes have to do with Lao-tse, not a bear with a head full of stuffing, and honey.

Benjamin Hoff goes on to compare Pooh to P’u, the Uncarved Block in his original simplicity, unspoiled or changed: natural, simple, plain, honest. These are all the positive qualities of naivete as I understand it.

In discussion, my cousin also brought up Forrest Gump as an example of naive wisdom. The table was split two to two if that type of simple-minded action that leads to “success” is wisdom.

So if Winnie the Pooh is naive wisdom, is the bee making the honey wise naivete? I found a couple of fun articles about the wisdom of bees:

Animal behaviour: The wisdom of the bees

The Wisdom of Bees

The point of these studies is not only because I find it a fun mental exercise, but also to come up with an image that joins both conflicting abstract nouns. For the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete, I think the honeycomb is an excellent symbol.

The Hive in the Mirror by Maria L. Berg 2022

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is Owl. It’s interesting that in The Tao of Pooh, Owl is seen as the opposite of wise. Lao-Tse wrote, “The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.” And Owl is the scholar in Pooh’s stories. However, he’s also not scary or Halloweeny, so I’ll move on.

Strix Searching for Unattended Babes by Maria L. Berg 2022

While reading an article about how owls can teach us about silent flight, I came across a reference to strix—man-eating owls that were described in a poem called “Fasti: the Roman Book of Days” by Ovid. Book VI: June 1: Kalends begins “Carna, the first day’s yours. Goddess of the hinge: She opens the closed, by her power, closes the open.” That sounds like a goddess of wisdom to me, but the goddess of wisdom (and war, handicraft, and practical reason) is Minerva. Carna was a nymph.
Further along in the story it says she was given a white thorn to drive away evil from the threshold. This evil is then described as greedy birds, with large heads, eyes that stick out, gray feathers, hooked claws, and beaks fit for tearing. These “Strix” attack children with absent nurses, and drink blood. I like this line of the poem:

“Whether they’re born as birds, or whether they’re made so
By spells, old women transformed to birds by Marsian magic,
They still entered Proca’s bedroom.”

Ovid
Creating Mythical Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

This gets me thinking that owls are considered wise because they are actually wise old women magically turned into birds. Owls are also associated with Minerva (Athena in Greek myth), the goddess of wisdom. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Minerva appears to Arachne:

“To warn the girl against such insolence,
Minerva took the form of an old woman”
the goddess put false gray hair on her temples;
to prop her tottering limbs, she gripped a staff
and, in that guise, approached the girl and said:
‘Not all that old age offers is mere chaff:
for one, the years bestow experience. . .’ “

The filter I cut for the owl prompt last year was too cartoonish to be at all scary, so I’ll try to make a strix filter this year.

Beware the Strix by Maria L. Berg 2022

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is Magic in the Now. It’s fun that the link in the prompt leads to a post about incorporating myth into your poem since all of today’s prompts have me talking about myths.

Poetic Bloomings

The Poetic Bloomings prompt today is about prepositions. Actually, it’s about the ups and downs of life, but then says, “Or an in and out poem if you so choose” which got me thinking about a conversation I had with my mother yesterday about how to diagram prepositions in a sentence. If anyone is interested, here’s the answer: Diagramming the Prepositional Phrase. I was never much of a sentence diagrammer, but it’s an interesting way to get to the heart of a sentence, the subject noun and its action verb.

So looking at both prompts, and the conclusion of my study of the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete, I have mindfulness of the ups and downs and ins and outs of the now. Let’s see:

Wise Interiors

Another faux-summer sunny day, full of smoke
I want to write outside, but can’t stand the smell
not of burning wood: acrid, electric, distance-collected
Tempted by the glistening water, I lock the glass door
Yearning for what could be the last swim,
before the refreshing water is too
cold for my skin, and receded further than I
can dive in—timing and body deny
me the pleasure

In this room now, I am fan-cooled,
comfortable-couched: content
But the water’s out there, in the smoke-air
the light is out there, glistening smoke-colors
possibility is out there smothered
and yet I can head up or down,
to find an In to wisdom—of body
and mind, and spirit, and herb, and bee
and use light to figure it all out

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s inspiration is a digital painting by Austrian artist Stefan Koidl. From my new found knowledge from watching Monstrum, I believe the creature in our image is a Leshy. Here’s the beginning of “Levi and the Leshy:”

During an oddly-warm late fall, when the dry leaves falling on the concrete were loud and surprising, my cat—who wasn’t really my cat, but spent all his time on my porch, or following me around—changed his routine, and started heading into the woods instead of a little cuddle in the morning.

I don’t know if I was jealous or curious, but I needed to know what he was doing. It became my imperative after I found a strangely artistic, unnatural sculpture of mud, twigs, feathers, and bones on the mat where he normally left me a bird or parts of a squirrel.

Maria L. Berg #Writober7 Day 9 2022

Unlocking New Doors

Wonder World by Maria L. Berg 2022

I’m sitting at my desk, looking at these pictures, singing “This is freakin’ fun, this is freakin’ fun.” Though many of this morning’s experiments didn’t work (the filter didn’t work with my other lenses, so I couldn’t put “WONDER” on the mountain), I’m still so excited about my ability to put words in my world. I love to put wonder in the world and it is also one of Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompts. It was also fun to discover that the color of the ink is captured, so that can add more possibilities. I’ve decided, as a little side project, I’m going to put my favorite words on my world, one a day all year. I won’t post them here, but maybe at the end of the year, I’ll make a book of them or something.

A fish-eye lens view of the lake and sky with the word "WONDER" in orange floating in the clouds.
A Sky Full of Wonder by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

Poetic Bloomings Prompt #367 – Old or New challenges to write an “open door” poem or a “closed door” poem.

Opening Doors

A revolving door is
at first, fun, exhilarating
pushing the heavy bar
running in circles
watching sidewalk then lobby
park then escalator
man walking dog
woman with briefcase
through the glass

Now I’m stuck and want out
to reach my destination
but I’ve built up speed
and inertia keeps
a body in motion

I want new doors
perhaps heavy oak
with worlds of secrets behind them
I want keys to locked doors
big, ornate, heavy keys
that are kept in locked chests
that need little keys to unlock them
because the process
is the adventure
and unlocking those doors
opens awe and wonder
that won’t come around again

Wonderful Snow by Maria L. Berg 2022

I haven’t heard from any of you yet about what you would like to experience this year on Experience Writing, so I thought I would try a poll. Thank you in advance for sharing your answers.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Return with the Snowglobe

Waking Up Inside a Snowglobe by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning I received a real snowglobe world.

My Snowglobe Footprint by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

The prompt at Poetic Bloomings today is Prompt #366 – Many Happy Returns which challenges us to write a return poem.

Fleeting

She will never return
that woman of yesterday
before this morning’s snow
before the candycane
melted in this coffee
she is but a blip of history
a snug memory
of the woman I used to be
She will never return
that woman of this morning
before putting on boots
to make footsteps in the snow
before grabbing the camera
to make snowglobes
before jumping back
under the covers
to cuddle with the cat
and listen to him purr
she was still half asleep
and she stayed there
with all the possibilities
ahead of her
I will never return
the me staring out the window
at the large white flakes
falling from the thick gray
meeting the water, so I
really do feel like I’m
in a snowglobe
I am but a moment
now a snug memory
a blip in history
I will never return

Receiving Snow by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Jingle Bells by Maria L. Berg 2021

A few days ago I realized that Bells managed to get on my prompt calendar twice. I thought about replacing it, but then I concluded that I hadn’t done much with the bells filter I created the first time around. I had some fun detailing my bells with pieces of label stickers.

Ringing in Christmas by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

The prompt at Poetic Bloomings today is Prompt #365 – Do You See What I See? which challenges us to write from the perspective of an item associated with Christmas.

I Worry She’s Forgotten Me

I stand in this dark corner
by the closet in the hall.
She moved me here
to clear a path for the couch,
but never put me back by the door.
She left a windbreaker
and a floppy summer hat
as if to define me,
define my purpose,
or a purpose I once had.
This change of station
has me worrying
that she won’t use me this year.
But I was filled with anticipation
as the festivities started early.
She pulled out decorations
and new lights arrived
and then more came.
But something’s wrong:
she moves the lights
from room to room
hanging them in colorful defiance
of the encroaching dark,
but she takes them down again.
A week ago, she set up Santa’s village
and fixed the toy shop’s roof,
but now it’s put away.
It’s as if she’s taunting me
every single day.
The first year, I felt strange,
out of place, over-dressed
and embarrassed when she
hung lights and decorations
where coats and hats
were meant to be.
But as the gifts lay at my base
and I saw the smiles
in my lights
on her face
I began to enjoy
my stand-in role
she created.
Every year she has added
to my Christmas costume.
Last year colorful ostrich feathers
bedecked me as a modernist palm.
And yet I stand bare
my basic shape of function showing.
Will she or won’t she?
It’s torture,
this waiting,
not knowing.

Christmas Bells Are Ringing by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

Let the Heavens Ring by Maria L. Berg 2021
December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I Hear Hooves on the Roof

On the Rooftops by Maria L. Berg 2021

This morning I cut a new filter. I made a reindeer and I really like how it turned out. I had so much fun making reindeer fly around outside.

Reindeer by Maria L. Berg 2021

New Poem

There’s a fun prompt over at Poetic Bloomings today. Prompt #364 – The Muse in Music challenges us to pick a Christmas song title and use it as the title of a poem.

I Hear Christmas

I hear Christmas in the crackling fire
in the wind at the window
tap, tap, tapping to get in
in the chime of the doorbell
the creaking of hinges
the clanging of silverware
and scraping of plates
in the turning of the record player
the fun familiar songs of youth
the somber traditional songs or yore
of birth and death and forgiveness
in the tearing of paper
and crumpling of bows
in surprised laughter
and disappointed woes
I hear Christmas coming
like lights turning on
each day another room
until all the brightness at once.

Takeoff by Maria L. Berg 2021

If you’ve enjoyed the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. While you’re looking, please click the hearts to like the images on the RedBubble site. It will help my work get attention. Thank you.

In Flight by Maria L. Berg 2021
December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

My Halloween Horror Movie

Ghosts of Judgy Jack-o-Lanterns by Maria L. Berg 2021

There’s a fun prompt over at Poetic Bloomings today. Prompt #357 is Featured Presentation: choose a Halloween movie as a title or make up a Halloween movie title of your own as the title of a poem.

The Gathering

We savor our horror
especially this time of year
to experience fears
vicariously in dark safety
to shiver and quiver
while others face danger
mouths filling with blood
while we taste butter-flavoring
and salty-crunch while
the sound of bones breaking
screams and mangling
bring us no pain
except that brought
on by the empathic brain

my hands itch and tremble
sweat breaks at my temple
a freeze from my scalp
shivers down as I wheeze
My horror movie
is titled The Gathering
imagining the panicked
drive through the rain
in applied discomfort
conscious of all the
possible deaths along
the way. White knuckles
clutch the steering wheel
knowing the true horror awaits
questions, whispers, and plates
tones, bones and nothing to say

No, I scream, No!
shield my eyes
but spread my fingers
she has made it through
dinner, her offering praised
but then I shut my eyes tight
I can’t take a sliver
of projected light
I must look away
when someone says
diet while she’s
eating her cake
I

Pretty Potato in the Wind

The Sunday poetry prompt #348 from Poetic Bloomings is Weather or Not. This prompt feels very timely since I took my flower pictures in the wind this morning. That little purple potato flower did not want to stop dancing to pose for my camera.

Flower-a-day #8

The pages of my sketchbook with all the flowers so far.

And yesterday–the first time one of my closest friends came to this house, and during this summer of record drought and heat–it was so cold and cloudy she put on a sweatshirt that looked like two fuzzy blankets sewn together, and as she went to her car, it was raining. We had a great day, and I am seriously happy about the rain, but really, weather? She didn’t even see the mountain.

The Weather Couldn’t Cooperate

We sat bundled in
my Adirondack chairs
and stared at
the black plume
building behind
the firs.

I had imagined
dives and floats in
the summer sun,
a little brisk, but balanced
by hot tub dips
if or when needed

but the gray, thick clouds
didn’t break, and the breeze
began to bite, smelling heavy.
Like hanging weights in the nostrils, she said.
A cold wind, sharp with electrical fire
is not what I ordered for our visit,

her first visit in
these long-short fifteen years,
but the plums were ripe
and tasty as was the wine, inside
was warm, and the sweet frosting melted
as did the time.

As we said our goodbyes
we were both
delighted by the rain.

Thinking about the smell of beautiful mistakes

Today I spent some time finding new poetry resources and sites to follow. I found a lot of prompts for today, but two stood out and I thought I would combine them (as I like to do) and write a poem.

The first is the Sunday Writing Prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The prompt is “Beautiful Mistake.”

The second is PROMPT #333 from Poetic Bloomings which is “Sweet Smell of Success.”

photograph of camellias by the NaPoWriMo poster
a beautiful mistake like this sun glare

A Beautiful Mistake Recognizes the Smell of Success

Beauty asks bubbles on a wire to interrupt
the ugly lips in the oven entertaining
a mistake exudes the middle thumb, wondering
while perfection glues pests to lenses on command
Success smells like powdered teeth complaining
that failure belongs as blinking noise