Healing Up

Surgery was February 13; I was discharged from the hospital on February 16!

Thanks to all for your prayers and good wishes!


I remember fifty or so years ago when President Lyndon Johnson had gall bladder surgery and he showed reporters his scar!   Mine is a bit lower, but it’s a big one down the center, with seventeen staples!

The surgery went so well- better than I imagined it would.  The pain management was a wonder of modern medicine.


I was attached to a small black purse which contained some kind of anesthetic which  pumped automatically and directly into the incision site by a device called an Elastomeric pump.  It was only on for five days, and then I  could take it off myself. I am also on an oral narcotic called Tramadol.    So my pain has been minimal, and I believe that helps tremendously with the healing of the surgical site, though it takes two or three months for the whole thing – inside and out- to heal.


Anyway, I should be back to blogging again from now on. But I’ll be posting it on the Blogger site:   https://annesbirdpoems.blogspot.com

bird feather card-4


Preparing to go under the knife…

I love the cover of this week’s New Yorker:  in my imagination, there is a garden inside my house.

New Yorker


Happy February!     We have a snowy day here in Maryland USA.  It’s cold here, but not nearly as cold as it is in the middle of the country.

I am having abdominal surgery on February 13.  Don’t want to go into gory detail, but it’s repair surgery I need to have, on some radiation-damaged intestinal tissue. Enough said.

As I am paring down some activities in preparation for this major disruption,

I’ve decided to write on just one blog:  the older one.  It has the same title as this one, but it’s on blogspot.

So if you’d like to keep reading the poems I post ( old ones of mine, and many poems of others)  go to    https://annesbirdpoems.blogspot.com/


Hope to see you there.

If you pray, say some prayers for successful surgery for me.



the three rich hours of teh duc du barry medieval

Happy New Year, everyone!

Dave Santillanes remnants

art by Dave Santillanes


Here are some hopeful words from Vita Sackville-West:

“The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a
twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.”

–  Vita Sackville-West


To the New Year

clock 2019

Here’s a wonderful poem by W.S.Merwin:

To the New Year

By W. S. Merwin

With what stillness at last

you appear in the valley

your first sunlight reaching down

to touch the tips of a few

high leaves that do not stir

as though they had not noticed

and did not know you at all

then the voice of a dove calls

from far away in itself

to the hush of the morning


so this is the sound of you

here and now whether or not

anyone hears it this is

where we have come with our age

our knowledge such as it is

and our hopes such as they are

invisible before us

untouched and still possible


  1. S. Merwin, “To the New Year” from Present Company (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by W. S. Merwin. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, http://www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Present Company (Copper Canyon Press, 2005

a place where houses all are churches and have spires



In honor of this day, here’s a poem from Robert Frost:

Christmas Trees

(A Christmas Circular Letter)
The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”
                                                     “You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”
“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”
He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”
Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.
christmas tree by Johanna von Destouches

The pagan origin of Christmas


Christmas tree in the Conservatory at Longwood Gardens Pennsylvania USA


When I was an undergraduate, and reading T.S. Eliot’s ” Waste Land” for the first time, I sought out The Golden Bough for help in understanding his references.  That book was, and still is, a gold mine for me.  Here is what it says about how Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25:

“J. G. Frazer in The Golden Bough notes the pagan origin of Christmas: “It was a custom of the heathen to celebrate on the 25th December the birthday of the sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day … Augustine exhorts his Christian brethren not to celebrate that solemn day like the heathen on account of the sun, but on account of him who made the sun.” (p. 472). Frazer argues (pp. 833 & 842) “If the heathen of ancient Europe celebrated, as we have good reason to believe, the season of Midsummer with a great festival of fire, of which the traces have survived in many places, it is natural to suppose that they should also have observed with similar rites the corresponding season of Midwinter; for Midsummer and Midwinter, the summer solstice and the winter solstice, are the two great turning points in the sun’s apparent course through the sky, and from the standpoint of primitive man nothing might seem more appropriate than to kindle fires on earth at the two moments when the fire and heat of the great luminary in heaven begin to wane or to wax … Indeed with respect to Midwinter celebration of Christmas we are left to conjecture; we know from the express testimony of the ancients that it was instituted by the church to supersede an old heathen festival of the birth of the sun, which was apparently conceived to be born again on the shortest day of the year, after which his light and heat were seen to grow till they attained their full maturity at Midsummer … In modern Christendom the ancient fire-festival of the winter solstice appears to survive, or to have survived down to recent years, in the old custom of the Yule log.””The definition of a Harvest Moon is: the full moon closest to the fall equinox.  The Harvest Moon was thus named because it rises within a half-hour of when the sun sets.  In early days, when farmers had no tractors, it was essential that they work by the light of the moon to bring in the harvest.  This moon is the fullest moon of the year.  When you gaze at it, it looks very large and gives a lot of light throughout the entire night.  No other lunar spectacle is as awesome as the Harvest Moon.”
The Midwinter Festival of Yule