Mountain Memories

Dark Hollow Falls Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA, from Adobe Stock Photos

Mountain Memories

An antlered deer bounds to sheltering trees.

A doe and spotted fawn graze lush meadows.

Seeking sylvan sanctuaries of peace

in our youth, we find the hidden hollows.

We view mountain vistas in morning mist,

green valleys and winding river below.

Ravens glide on updrafts in sky-blue bliss,

silent above an ancient hemlock grove.

We descend a steep trail beside a stream,

water music echoes through the forest.

At journey’s end, the waterfall of dreams

is singing the “Hallelujah Chorus”!

My dreams now play reruns of old memories,

of blue mountains and green river valleys.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

View of the Shenandoah Valley from Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, Photo from Adobe Stock

Save Mother Earth!

Mother Polar Bear and Cubs, Photo by NOAA from Unsplash

Save Mother Earth!

Lawmakers and scientists

and assorted ethicists…

Each nation sent a delegation

to help Mother Earth find salvation.

Scientists made their presentations,

consensus of their deliberations:

Mother Earth is sickened by pollution.

Scientists proposed their solution:

Pesticides and poisons are lurking everywhere.

Clean up the land, sea, and air.

Resources are strained by overpopulation.

Keep wild lands and habitats in the equation.

The governmental delegations,

after prolonged deliberations,

agreed on enacting regulations

to be strictly enforced in every nation.

Ethicists were the next to speak:

“Your governmental coercion plan is very weak!

We must set hearts and minds on fire…

educate and motivate, persuade and inspire!”

Suddenly, youthful eco-activists appeared,

determined to make their message heard.

“The future belongs to us!” They chanted.

Protest signs proclaimed what they wanted:

“Save the Rainforest!” “Clean up the Sea!”

“Organic Food!” “Renewable Energy!”

“Save Wildlife Habitats!” “War is an Outrage!”

“Protect Polar Bears!” “Lower the Voting Age!”

Young speakers took the microphone.

They said, “No group of experts can work alone.

Scientists, governments, and ethicists must

work together to earn our trust.”

“The future belongs to us! We take a stand…

The children of the world demand…

Stop your games and endless debate

and save Mother Earth before it’s too late!”


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Environmental Protest, Photo by Mika Baumeister from Unsplash
Solar Energy Farm, Photo by Zbynec Burival from Unsplash
Wind Turbine, Photo by by Natalie Douglas from Unsplash

Raccoon Party

Baby Raccoons, Photo by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay

Raccoon Party

Footprints,

festive dark stains

in exquisite detail…

a raccoons-only patio

party!

Photo by Pete Nuji from Unsplash

Raccoons,

I need to know…

why were we excluded?

Not even invited to watch

the fun!

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash

Humans,

are you clueless?

Garbage cans tightly locked…

You don’t invite us to dinner…

Ever!

Baby Raccoon, Photo by ebo23 from Pixabay

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

My Daughter Katey During the Great Texas Whiteout

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

Florida was home.

Katey had not played in the snow

since leaving Russia.

Katey moved this year.

Texas snowfall surprised her…

First snow since age four!

Whiteout in Texas…

power off, roads hazardous.

Katey shoveled snow.

Historic blizzards…tragic.

Playing in snow…Katey’s joy!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Photos by Ellen and Katey


Texas is experiencing unheard-of back-to-back blizzards and below-zero temperatures. This may be one of many examples of extreme weather events due to global warming. Increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes and wildfires, craters forming in Russia’s Tundra, and melting polar ice are some other possible examples.

Texas is not well-prepared for blizzards. Items such as Snowplows and snow tires are in short supply. The low temperatures are overtaxing the power grid and causing power outages. Some people’s water pipes have burst. A few areas have orders to boil water. Many people are stuck at home with a dwindling supply of food and without heat. I am grateful that my daughters and their household have experienced only a very brief power outage.

My Daughters, Katey and Ellen
Rez Plays with Katey’s Snow Angel
Don’t Do It, Ellen!
Yay. Snow!

Walk with Me

Twin Fawns, Photo by Gary Meuleman from Unsplash

Walk with Me

My heart is in the mountains.

My feet are in the sea.

My head is in the clouds,

My arms around a tree.

We can talk to the animals…

Come, walk the world with me.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Identity Crisis

Photo by shot-by-ireland from Unsplash

An unexamined life is not worth Living–Socrates

This quote, as described in Plato’s Apology, is from the trial of Socrates, where he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” of Athens. Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he chose the punishment of death rather than exile, and died by drinking poison hemlock. The “Socratic Method” teaches by asking questions and is still used today.

This poem contrasts the “unexamined life” in the first half of the palindrome with the “examined life” in the second half of the palindrome. I believe that we should not drift through life, accepting conventional wisdom without question. We should take responsibility for our own lives by asking the difficult questions to discover our true purpose. A purposeful life is meaningful and is in service to others.


Identity Crisis

Purpose of life?

Lassitude banishes purpose.

Here am I. Why am I?

Obscurity supersedes clarity.

Anxiety outpaces curiosity.

Crisis of identity.

Randomness overpowers intention.

Why wonder?

Complexity of world…

Perplexing!

World of complexity.

Wonder why…

Intention overpowers randomness.

Identity of crisis.

Curiosity outpaces anxiety.

Clarity supersedes obscurity.

I am why. I am here.

Purpose banishes lassitude.

Life of purpose.

Photo by Taylor from Unsplash

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


A Palindrome Poem.

There is a central word.

The first half and the second half of the poem

are mirror images of each other.

Hearts to You!

Photo by Susan Matthiessen from Unsplash

Hearts to You ❤

Hearts to you, WordPress Family!

You are empathetic and kind,

characterized by warm hearts

and open minds.

Perceptive and thoughtful,

in touch with your muses,

writing words of wisdom

that creativity infuses.

Photos and videos illuminate

humanity, nature, historical attractions.

Music is a multicolored source

of daily satisfactions.

Hearts to you, fellow bloggers,

you mean a lot to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day

to my WordPress family!

May the love and joy

you give away

return to you

each and every day.

May all of your dreams

and wishes come true

May all of your endeavors

bring success to you.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Roses are Red

Photo by Waldemer Brandt from Unsplash

Roses are Red ❤

Roses are red,

violets are blue.

I’ve always wanted

a Valentine like you!

Roses are yellow,

violets are white.

I’ll put on my red dress…

We’re going out tonight!

Roses are pink,

violets are yellow.

I’m your kind of girl…

You’re my kind of fellow!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Valentine’s Day, Robert! ❤

Going out is postponed until after the pandemic,

but we will enjoy a cozy dinner at home!

To My WordPress Family

Photo by Renee Fisher from Unsplash

To My WordPress Family

I am often tired these days, I admit.

It’s become impossible to ignore.

I can’t push through it,

don’t have the strength anymore.

Mental clarity waxes and wanes.

Energy fluctuates unpredictably.

Well-being punctuated by pain…

I look forward to a return to normalcy.

I am sorting it all out…

A series of tests is underway.

For now, I have to slow down,

I’ll do the best I can, day by day.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


For the last couple of months, I have been having increasingly severe cardiovascular symptoms. I am not sure of the cause, but suspect so-called “long covid.” I had a mild heart attack in 2007 and have two stents in my heart. Maybe one is blocked.

I will let you know when I find out about what is happening. Until then, I will carry on the best I can. I would rather talk about ideas, emotions, family, the environment, nature, culture… and not my health! I just wanted you to know that if I don’t read as many posts as usual, it is not because I don’t want to.

Lost & Alone

Photo by jaime-fenn from Unsplash

Lost & Alone

Lost and alone you are now!

Destination unexplored.

Light becomes darkness,

day becomes night.

Friendship unanticipated,

unfounded fears…

companions are strangers!

Shared experience,

shared fire and food.

Seen and heard…

Empathy.

Heard and seen,

food and fire shared,

experience shared.

Strangers are companions…

fears unfounded,

unanticipated friendship!

Night becomes day,

darkness becomes light.

Unexplored destination…

Now are you alone and lost?


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


This is my first attempt at writing a palindrome poem. My thanks to David, at Ben Alexander for his explanation of his method for writing a palindrome and for his encouragement.

Lounging Around

Photo by olia-danlevi from Pexels

Lounging Around

Stretched out on green grass,

finding pictures in the clouds

and four-leaf clovers.

Supine in the snow,

arms and legs stretching outward.

Sculpting snow angels.

Photo by Vlad from Pexels

Sprawling on the rug,

playing with a new puppy.

Wiggles and wet kisses.

Lounging on the beach…

eating ice cream, feeding gulls,

talking, holding hands.

Photo by tima-moroshi from Pexels

Sleeping warm in bed,

snuggled under the covers,

alarm set for six.

Lolling on the couch,

old movies, buttered popcorn.

Relaxation mode.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Soaking in the tub,

warm bubble bath, soft music.

Children fast asleep.

Bedded in a tent,

cricket songs and coyotes.

Camping with the kids.

Photo by patrick-hendry from Unsplash

Dozing in a hammock,

taking an overdue nap.

Smell of fresh-cut grass.

Loafing on the chaise,

watching grandchildren playing.

Iced tea with lemon.

Photo by Barbara Webb from Pexels

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Florida in Red

Poinsettias, Photo by primalfelines from Unsplash

Red Leaves

Autumn at Christmas.

Red poinsettias linger,

welcoming the spring.

Photo by Ryan Stone from Unsplash

Red Sky

Red winter sunrise.

Short winter days grow longer.

Red winter sunset.

Male Cardinal, Photo by George Berberic from Unsplash

Red Birds

Cardinal’s crimson.

January…spring fever.

Woods ring with bird songs.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Florida’s Change of Seasons

The change of seasons is subtle in South Florida. Times given vary, but are approximate for where I live.

In Florida, most trees and plants are green all year, but some are deciduous. Red Maples and Virginia creeper are among Florida’s deciduous plants. Their leaves turn red in late December and fall around New Year’s.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and grow well in South Florida. They typically bloom in December, and their red bracts stay on the plants for several months. Pink and white are other popular poinsettia colors.

As is true in many places, winter sunrises and sunsets tend to be especially vivid.

Male cardinals get their bright mating plumage in mid-January, and the woods, which have been silent for a while, are alive with bird songs. Spring and baby birds will not be far behind.

United We Stand

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Our best days still lie ahead. Together we will choose hope over fear, unity over division, and truth over lies.

Joe Biden

Statue of Liberty, Photo by Joel Naren from Unsplash

United We Stand

We Americans are a strong people.

We will reclaim our democracy

and restore the American dream.

“Equal…under the law,”

“endowed…with…unalienable rights…

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,”

“a government of laws, not of men.”

“United we stand, divided we fall…”

United we stand.

Please see the sources for the quotes used in this poem at the end of the post.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Flag of the United States of America, Photo by Elements 5 Digital from Unsplash

Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Sources of Quotes in the Poem, “United We Stand”

“Equal Justice under the Law” adapted from the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Inscribed on the front of the US Supreme Court building.

“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” President Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

“government of laws, not of men” President John Adams

“United we stand, divided we fall.” Origin unknown. Motto of the State of Kentucky

Christmas Eve at Our House

Christmas Eve at Our House

Cozy Christmas Eve,

phone visits with family,

walks in the sunshine.

Red Virginia Creeper provides Seasonal Color for our Back Yard
Woods View from Christmas Eve Walk
Table Set for Christmas Eve, Centerpiece Created with Foliage from our Yard

Rustic centerpiece,

classic steak, baked potato,

just the two of us.

Our Christmas Tree Plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

Yuletide carols play.

“We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

Stockings are hung with care.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Good Intentions for 2021

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia from Unsplash

Good Intentions for 2021

I will

find a balance,

time for important things:

work, play, health, creativity,

romance.

I will

simplify life,

streamline daily routines,

minimize material things,

relax.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Looking forward to 2021, I think the situation looks very fluid. We will need goals, but even more, we will need to be flexible. I usually make New Year’s resolutions; this year, I have settled for good intentions! 🙂

❤ Happy New Year! ❤

How Long is Forever?

Photo by tristan-le from Pexels

How Long is Forever?

Dear One,

epitome

of patience and kindness,

will you stay with me forever?

Love me.

Promise

me forever…

tenderness and passion,

undying love and loyalty.

Love me.

How long

is forever?

Much longer than never…

an indeterminate journey...

Love me.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy New Year,

Wonderful Fellow Bloggers!

Things have gotten a little crazy here!

I am taking a break

and will do my best to catch up on my emails.

See you in 2021. ❤ ❤ ❤

Love Flourishes

Blackbirds at Myakka State Park, Florida, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Love Flourishes

Timeless memories,

shared hopes for our tomorrows,

we live in the now.

Our energy wanes.

Wit is replaced by wisdom.

Our love flourishes.

Love lights the twilight.

In winter’s chill, we are warmed

by each other’s gaze.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Cheryl Batavia and Robert Snyder at the Myakka River

Happy New Year!

❤ ❤ ❤

After six happy years together, we are making it official. We plan to be married in 2021 after the pandemic ends, probably late summer.

We wish you all the joys of the season and a peaceful and prosperous 2021. May love light your life and warm your heart! ❤ ❤ ❤

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, Photo by Katey Batavia

Barney, the Purple Dinosaur

In October, from Russia, Katey and Joe,

came to Florida twenty-five years ago.

Friends and relatives sent gifts of welcome.

Hanukkah and Christmas gifts filled our home!

That January, when Katey turned five,

we agreed that a book was the best gift to give.

On Katey’s birthday, when Papa came home,

the birthday plans all came undone!

When Papa came in, Katey was overjoyed.

Between Papa’s feet was a Barney toy.

From the wheelchair, Barney saw his new place.

A gigantic grin spread over Papa’s face.

Katey kissed Barney’s purple cheek,

and the talking dinosaur began to speak.

In his goofy voice, Barney said, “I love you.”

It was unmistakable, Katey loved him too!

We lost Papa six years later in January,

weeks before Katey’s eleventh birthday.

Barney lived with Katey for twenty-three years.

His demise last year left Katey in tears.

This year, I found on Amazon,

Katey’s Christmas present, a Barney clone!

Barney now lives in Texas, where he’ll say,

“I love you,” to Katey every day.

Katey Batavia and Barney, Photo by Katey Batavia

Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


My late husband, Drew, and I adopted Katey and Joe from Russia in October, 1995. We lived in Miami Beach, and Drew, AKA “Papa,” was a very devoted father until his death in January, 2003. Katey now lives near Dallas, Texas with her older sister Ellen, a cat, a dog, and two other roommates. The new Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, just joined the household.

How Do You Spell Merry Christmas?

Santa by Tima Miroshni from Pexels

How Do You Spell Merry Christmas?

(Acrostic)

Manger scenes telling the Christmas Story

Exchanging gifts with friends and family

Relatives and friends visiting

Remembering to hang your stocking

Yummy food in December

Christmas Pageants with lines to remember

Hanging mistletoe up high

Reindeer flying across the sky

Invitations to parties and balls

Singing Yuletide carols

Trees we decorate

Making cookies and cakes

Advent wreaths with candles

Santa and his elves

Christmas Eve, Photo by Vicki Yde from Unsplash

Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


The acrostic is an old fashioned staple of school and Sunday school programs. Each child holds up a letter and recites his “piece.” The letters often spell MOTHER for Mothers Day, HAPPY THANKSGIVING or MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Christmas Wreath, photo by Cheryl Batavia

Merry Christmas!

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!, Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

(My memories from the 1990s)

On the eighth night of Hanukkah,

We’re celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa.

Candles will shed soft light

on the faces of our family tonight.

Children light the menorah carefully.

Their father smiles approvingly…

A quiet moment lingers like a dream…

before latkes, applesauce, and sour cream.

Enjoyed by glowing candlelight,

Hanukkah gelt is a sweet delight.

Children eagerly await

opening present number eight.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

We sing,”Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.”

Our pennies are on the table.

Spinning dreidels with Grandma, it’s clear,

“A great miracle happened here!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the second temple. There was enough oil in the temple lamps to burn for only one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight nights. “A great miracle happened here!” is the message conveyed by the Hebrew letters on the dreidel. A dreidel is a top that is spun in a traditional gambling game. Our children and their grandma played for pennies.

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights. At sundown, the Hanukkah menorah is lit. One candle is lit on the first night. Another candle is added each night until, on the eighth night, all eight candles burn. Children receive a present on each night of Hanukkah.

A traditional Hanukkah food, latkes are grated potato pancakes fried in oil often served with applesauce and sour cream. The oil symbolizes the oil that burned for eight nights in the temple lamps. Hanukkah gelt is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Our family also enjoyed chopped liver on matzos (similar to crackers) and matzo ball soup at Hanukkah.

Cactus-Tailed Cat

Cactus-Tailed Cat, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Cactus-Tailed Cat

In nineteen thirty-six, in Sunday school,

someone said: Did you hear about Harvey?

You mean that guy who always acts the fool?

I heard that he has Hepatitis B!

Oh, wow! I didn’t know that he was sick!

They think he could die. We might lose a friend.

We’ll cheer Harvey up. Think of something quick!

A dozen roses would be nice to send.

The Sunday school class wanted to be kind…

Roses were too expensive, it was clear.

A cat with a cactus tail…What a find!

What a perfect gift to bring Harvey cheer!

Harvey, my Dad, was too stubborn to die!

Fifteen-year-old Harvey dodged tragedy!

That cactus-tailed cat was the reason why

they joined the Church…Harvey’s whole family!

Harvey became a Methodist preacher,

devoted to service for fifty years.

He was a story-teller and teacher;

he visited the sick and calmed their fears.

My Grandma gave me the cactus-tailed cat

that changed the family’s way of living.

The cat’s now a gift for my daughter that

honors her life of service and giving.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem is based on a true family story as told to me by my grandmother and my father. The first three verses are an imagined conversation showing how the Sunday school class decided to send the cactus cat to my father in the hospital.

The cactus-tailed cat is ready to send to my daughter, Ellen, in Texas. Ellen is an ordained Baptist chaplain and is taking seminary classes. She has taught Recovery classes for several years and is an administrator for the program.. I am not sure what her future plans are.

Disclosure: The cat is posing for this photo with an improvised cucumber tail. She is looking forward to getting a new cactus tail when she arrives in Texas.

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Native American Corn, Photo by Marcus Winkler from Unsplash

Reflections on Thanksgiving

1620 was a year of tribulation.

The Mayflower voyage was no vacation!

In America, one hundred Pilgrims arrived.

By spring, only fifty-three remained alive.

Befriended by a Native American tribe,

they grew corn and learned to thrive.

1621 was a year of jubilation,

harvest time at Plymouth Plantation,

when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

gave thanks together and got along.

A time for gratitude and celebration,

plans for peace and co-operation.

Peace and cooperation were transient,

but Thanksgiving was a hopeful event.

Brotherhood, the spirit of Thanksgiving,

can transform our way of living!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Harvest festivals have been observed all over the world since ancient times. Several States claim to be the site of the first Thanksgiving in the US, but Plymouth, Massachusetts, though probably not the first, is the most well-known. Native Americans rescued several struggling American colonies in the early days. The Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims at Plymouth, teaching them to grown corn and celebrating Thanksgiving with them.

The history of our country, as in many countries, has been blemished by racism, persecution of indigenous peoples, slavery, and religious intolerance. Many people have fought these evils, and many wrongs have been righted. The fight continues. The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is a hopeful example of brotherhood and peace.

Abracadabra!

Photo by Ameen Fahmy from Unsplash

Abracadabra!

Questions work magic!

Great discoveries appear

when we seek answers.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written in response to Ingrid’s EIF Poetry Challenge #8, and was awarded third place. My sincere thanks to Ingrid for posting the challenge on Experiments in Fiction and to Jaya Avendel of Nin Chronicles, who judged the challenge.

New Era of Optimism

The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC, Adobe Stock Photos

New Era of Optimism

New leader chosen…

New era of empathy,

integrity, and truth.

New rule of law,

new dawn of democracy…

Call for unity.

Quell the violence.

Preserve the environment.

End the pandemic.

Rejoin the global family

in achieving common goals.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Joe Biden was declared President-Elect of The United States of America today, 10/7/20. Inauguration Day is 1/20/21.

Grandma

Grandparents & grandchildren, Photo by Aletia2011, Adobe Stock

Grandma

Our Grandma, Frances Ellen Tustin,

had to babysit, so she left after two years of school.

She had learned to read! She used that skill

to educate herself and lived her life to the full.

At twelve, Grandma worked as a hotel maid.

Married at seventeen, she had two sons.

She and Grandpa worked hard to support

their family during the Great Depression.

Our grandparents moved a lot, flipping houses.

Grandma wallpapered, painted, and plastered.

The last house they renovated was her childhood

home, using all the skills they had mastered.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Unsplash

Grandma lived there for more than thirty years,

raising chickens, planting grapes and fruit trees.

She grew asparagus, strawberries, and flowers,

and cultivated her garden into her eightees.

Grandma decorated her home with hooked rugs,

handmade quilts, and afghans she crocheted.

Her grandchildren were always proud

to wear the beautiful clothes she made.

Photo by Mae Mu from Unsplash

Cooking in restaurants and caring for the sick…

Grandma had many jobs over the years.

She was a long-time Sunday school teacher

who had earned the respect of her peers.

We always ate well at Grandma’s house…

Everybody loved her black walnut cinnamon buns!

Grandma fed us chicken cacciatore and cookies.

We gathered eggs in the henhouse. That was fun!

Photo by Natasha Skov from Unsplash

In summer, Grandma gave strawberries

to friends and neighbors and made strawberry pies.

A huge bowl of strawberries waited for us at

Grandma’s. We couldn’t eat them all, but we tried!

The Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls Grandma made

were in demand at local gift shops.

The dolls she made for her great grandchildren

were always loved a lot!

Photo by Non Vay from Unsplash

Most of my generation wanted to be like Grandma.

Great granddaughters, and great nieces, too,

are named “Frances” or “Ellen” or “Tustin,”

a gentle reminder: Be known by the good works you do.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Two Armadillo Poems: Armadillo Neighbors/ Armadillo Territory

Photo by Victor Miyata from Pexels

Armadillo Neighbors

We lived near the beach

with armadillo neighbors

…not too neighborly!

At night, they dug grubs,

leaving holes and piles of poop…

We never saw them!

We filled holes, scooped scat.

They gnawed watermelon rinds

we left out to dry.

One evening at dusk,

I saw two dark shapes walking

along the hedgerow.

As I got closer,

I saw they were not raccoons…

Yes, armadillos!

They scooped out a den,

lived under our shed, eating

watermelon rinds.

One day they were gone.

We never met their children…

There were no goodbyes!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Armadillo Territory

Photo by Skeeze from Pixabay

Armadillo Territory

Our new neighborhood

is wooded…armadillo

home territory!

Out walking one day,

I met three armadillos

digging up breakfast.

They were cute, half-grown.

I stood there chatting with them…

They never looked up.

Recently, I saw

an armadillo stroll by,

armor slick with rain.

Undisturbed, he walked

along the edge of our yard

and into the woods.

One day I followed

a busy armadillo

all around our yard.

She went on eating,

politely ignoring me,

as she fed on ants.

She did not fear me…

No one shoots armadillos

around here, I guess!

That night and the next,

the armadillo dug dens

and abandoned them.

Armadillo’s gone!

House hunting in the woods?

We said no goodbyes…

An armadillo digs its way

into your heart.

Maybe she’ll be back!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Fright

Photo by call-me-fred from Unsplash

Fright

Masked monsters and ghouls

brought no fear last Halloween…

Now, fear grips us all!

Now it’s the unmasked

we fear at the food market…

Covid’s stalking us!

Oooooooooh! wear your mask in public!

Eeeeeeek! Keep six feet betweeeeen us!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


For a nostalgic Halloween poem read, “Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present” if you missed it.

Scary statistic: a recent study found that 20% of grocery store clerks have undiagnosed Covid19 without symptoms and are capable of spreading the disease.

The Benefit of the Doubt

The following poem may be disturbing to some readers. The examples given are fictional.

Some people seem to have everything we want and don’t have. We might not be eager to change places with them if we knew their secret heartaches.

Many people have problems we don’t know about that would explain their negative behavior. Some may need professional help in solving their problems. Others could benefit from just a little kindness and understanding. Judging them isn’t helpful.

Although people must be held accountable for their actions, some circumstances call for a little leniency. Everyone accused of a crime deserves due process.

Photo by Khadeejah Yasser from Unsplash

The Benefit of the Doubt

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out!

Photo by Zach Lucero from Unsplash

The woman who wears too much makeup

may be trying to hide

bumps and bruises inflicted

by her drunken husband last night.

That student who sleeps in school

may have spent the night

listening to his mother and her boyfriend

have a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Photo Courtesy of allgo-an-app-for-plus-size-people from Unsplash

That girl who weighs too much

may be comforting herself with food

over nightmares of childhood abuse,

and diets don’t do any good.

The boy who robbed the liquor store

has never harmed a fly.

He may be raising money for treatments

and hoping his mother won’t die.

Photo by Brent Gorwin from Unsplash

That guy who brews your coffee

may be sleeping in his car

and feeding an addiction that takes

all he earns at the coffee bar.

The man who hanged himself

maybe hadn’t figured out yet

any way to repay the bookie

an overdue gambling debt.

Photo by Matthew Schwartz from Unsplash

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Gandhi, Hitler, a Book, & Dog/God by da-AL plus Cheryl Batavia’s poem

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — supposedly Mahatma Gandhi said that. (Isn’t this picture of him great? He’s drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. My novel-writer side can’t help but wonder if he knew that writing longhand enhances creativity — and I bet intelligence!) First off, he didn’t….

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. By Kanu Gandhi – gandhiserve.org, Public Domain.

Second off, if anyone said it, is it true? I love animals and have followed a vegetarian diet for years. All the same, I’m definitely nowhere near a saint, particularly given my now-and-again deviations into the hypocracy of eating fish. My father was wicked to his family, yet tears rolled down his cheeks when he heard that local geese were slaughtered. Hitler and was a vegetarian for the last part of his life. And he adored his dog…

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The $5 Challenge

Photo by Joseph Greve from Unsplash

The $5 Challenge

I heard the stories as a child…

of Dad skipping school and running wild,

breaking the ice to go for a swim.

Skunky smell emanating from him…

sent home or banished to the hall.

Given his grades for playing basketball.

Joined the Navy by lying about his age,

used the GI Bill to go to college.

Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,

but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill

for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.

In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!

Photo by Hello, I’m Nik from Unsplash

By dropping my hated typing class,

I thought I could get all “A”s at last!

But the honor roll with a “B” or two

just seemed to be the best I could do.

The quest became a pain in the neck,

and to this day, I still hunt and peck.

The next two years, until graduation,

I focused on directing my own education.

I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!

There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe from Unsplash

After that, I took art class seriously

and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.

Like my father before me, banished to the hall,

I read a book and didn’t mind at all.

I was multitasking in trigonometry…

Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!

Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…

I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!

Mt. Rushmore, Photo by Brandon Mowinkel from Unsplash

My history teacher was a boring jock!

Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock

that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,

but I got an education despite the rude things I did.

No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!

Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…

I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.

No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!

Photo by Anna1991anna from Unsplash

Married at eighteen, then job and family.

Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,

“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”

After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…

Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”

At forty, I graduated and consecutively

started teaching and earning my masters degree.

Elementary Classroom, Photo courtesy of CDC from Unsplash

Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”

Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!

Dad went back to school after I was grown.

He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Word to the Wise

If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!

Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!

The Joke & the Divine

Photo by Nikola Knezevic from Unsplash

The Joke & the Divine

Young Mary told a naughty joke…

The Reverend heard her as she spoke.

In stern rebuke, he raised his hand,

with eloquence gave reprimand,

and when that great Divine had done,

he walked away and stood alone…

He thought upon her clever wit,

and, quite unholy, laughed a bit.

He bowed his head in bitter shame…

and then, poor man, he laughed again!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written when I was in high school, about 1966. I remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am not sure whether my father, who was a minister, was pleased when I teased him by writing this poem. However, he may well have laughed about it when I was not around! He did have a sense of humor.

Great Discoveries of Love

Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction, Photo by Hikarinoshita Hikari from Unsplash

Great Discoveries of Love

Like Galileo looking at stars and planets

through his telescope,

I see the light in your eyes.

Just as dinosaur bones are found

buried in rock strata,

we discover a love as old as time.

Dinosaur skeleton, Photo by Adam Mathieu from Unsplash

Like Gregor Mendel’s

cross-pollinated peas,

our love is expressed in varied colors.

Just as Leeuwenhoek found the miracle

of microscopic life in pond water,

we find life’s wonders in ordinary things.

Photo of Earth from Space, Courtesy of The National Library Association from Unsplash

As cosmonaut Valentina Tereskova

explored outer space,

we explore the inner spaces of our minds.

Like the “forty-niners”

mining for gold in California,

I find my treasures in your heart.

Mathamas Gandhi Leads a March, 1930, Photo by WikiImages from Pixabay

As Gandhi changed the world

through nonviolent means,

we live in peace.

Nurse giving an injection, Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control from Unsplash

As Florence Nightingale

made hospitals survivable,

we take care of each other.

Oil from wells in Titusville

brought new energy to the world,

Likewise, you energize me.

Divers, Photo by Eduardo Nascimento from Unsplash

Like Jaques Cousteau,

diving deep into the oceans,

we explore the depths of feeling.

View of Mount Everest, Namche, Nepal, Photo by Ananya Bilimale from Unsplash

As Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition

climbed to the peak of Everest,

we climb the heights of inspiration.

The Lost City of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy, Photo by Denise Jones from Unsplash

Even as Pompeii

was buried by Vesuvius,

we will soon be buried.

I hope, when we are discovered

under the ash and hardened lava,

I will still be holding your hand.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

What a Strange Creature is Man!

HOT & COLD, Poured acrylic painting by Cheryl Batavia

Detail of statue of a satyr, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

What a Strange Creature is Man!

A satyr rescued a freezing man and took him to his cave. The man began to blow on his fingers. The satyr inquired why the man was blowing on his fingers. “My hands are cold and I want to warm them up,” said the man.

The satyr prepared the man a bowl of steaming soup, and was surprised when the man began to blow on the soup. “Why are you blowing on the soup? “asked the satyr. “I am trying to cool the soup,” the man replied.

“What a strange creature is man!” the satyr remarked. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath!”

Satyr statue, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

Retelling of an ancient Greek/ Roman myth. A satyr is a drunken, lustful woodland god with the lower body of a horse or goat and the upper body of a man. I read this myth in Illustrated Classics when I was about eight or nine years old. I have always remembered this story and gradually came to understand the meaning as I grew older.

What does the saying, “What a strange creature is man! He blows hot and cold with the same breath.” mean to you?

Blue Light (Follow-up post at the end of the page)

Photo by David Travis from Unsplash

Blue Light

There was an old blogger on WordPress

whose computer time was endless!

When her eyes were exposed to blue light…

she suffered from blurry eyesight.

Computer glasses relieved her distress.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


After experiencing eye discomfort and blurry vision, I went for an eye exam. I will have a slightly updated prescription and the new glasses will have a specialized reflective coating that shields my eyes from excessive blue light.

My eye doctor told me that the blue light emitted by computer screens and other devices with screens can be a cause of eye problems, including macular degeneration, which can eventually cause blindness.

There are several options to protect eyes from blue light. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may want to check with your optometrist. If you already use eye protection from blue light, feel free to comment about it. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.


Follow-up: After 10 days of wearing my new glasses that filter the blue light emitted by screens, I have not had another major episode of blurry vision. After some twelve-hour days on the computer, I did notice slight blurriness.

My eyes are definitely better with the new glasses than they were before. I am also using eye drops from the optometrist for dry eyes, trying to drink more water to keep from becoming dehydrated, and keeping room air humidified. I know I should cut my screen time further, and maybe more frequent breaks would help.

I have been noticing a return to my normal sleep patterns–seven hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights. Again, I know I should be getting off the computer a while before trying to sleep, because blue light can cause insomnia. I think the glasses are helpful in preventing insomnia caused by blue light.

Good luck to anyone who is having vision problems due to longer computer time. I appreciate all the helpful comments about this subject, and I hope this post has been helpful.

I Can Give You Many Things

Photo by Inna Lesyk from Pexels

I Can Give You Many Things

Flowers made of paper,

penny bubblegum rings,

a Monday morning caper,

the courtesy of kings.

Old newapaper clippings,

walking in the snow,

my last haircut snippings,

a collection of E. A. Poe.

If you want them, take them…

It’s very easy to see

you’re the only item

that’s ever mattered to me!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


High School Poem

“I can give You Many Things” is another one of my high school poems remembered out of the blue today. It also has a vintage melody that is only in my head and sounds like it could be straight out of 1900.

“The courtesy of kings,” is an old expression referring to being on time. I assure you, I was always late in high school! I might not have been able to keep that promise. E. A. Poe, of course, is the macabre American Poet, Edgar Allan Poe, a perennial favorite of high school students.

Another necessary disclosure: In 1965, you could buy bubble gum for a penny, but it came with a baseball card, not a ring. To get a prize, possibly a ring, you could buy Crackerjacks, a snack made of popcorn and redskin peanuts and coated with a sugary glaze. What can I say? I liked bubble gum and rings, not baseball cards. Maybe it was poetic license. 🙂

Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Taylor Rooney from Unsplash

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Cauldrons of magic potions steaming,

Black cats awakening from dreaming.

Cardboard witch astride her broom

cackles under the harvest moon.

Disney princesses in jeweled crowns

are panhandling all over town.

Frankenstein’s monster is resurrected.

Roaming mummies have been detected.

Blow-up ghosts hover mysteriously,

orange lights twinkle in shrubbery.

Hanging from the live oak trees,

paper skeletons dance in the breeze.

Photo by Conner Baker from Unsplash

Spooky music is beckoning,

roving children are threatening,

“Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”

on every suburban street.

Little pirate brandishes a toy sword,

winning him a sweet reward!

Cat Woman says,”Thank you.”

Neighbor says,”Have fun, you two!”

Jack o’lanterns glow,

grinning at the passing show.

Flickering candles beneath

backlight their jagged teeth.

Vampires in windswept black

pantomime a plastic-fang attack.

Howling werewolves with hairy arms

induce us to pretend alarm.

A little troll walks with a giant bunny.

Funny thing is, he calls her “Mummy!”

Diminutive dragons are holding hands

with a Cat-in-a-Hat they call “Dad!”

Wolfing down all the candy they can eat,

Halloween’s children fall blissfully sleep.

Mom chews bubblegum. Dad eats M & Ms.

“Oh no! We can’t stop! When will it all end?”

Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Ben Shan from Unsplash

Corona virus’s real-life fear

has downsized Halloween this year.

On this Halloween night,

scary movies will inspire the fright.

Not as much soliciting door-to-door,

parties smaller than in years before…

We hope next year’s a different story…

Halloween restored to its silly glory!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Every Precious Day

Robert & Cheryl, Lunch at One of our Favorite Places, December, 2014

Every Precious Day

Sunny days, dark days…

We’re growing old together

every precious day.

You are intellect,

ethics, affection, passion,

thoughtfulness, and joy!

Magic of the moon,

Venus, Mars, and all the stars…

sunshine of your smile.

Wherever I go,

my thoughts are always with you…

Can’t wait to come home!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Birthday, Robert!

September 20, 2020

Ambition

Photo by Ante Hamersmit from Unsplash

Ambition

There is no relief

in the master of grief,

Ambition who has no soul…

He offers only a goal.

He lashes and goads

into stony roads

of passion and desire

where every step is higher.

Upward go I, though I grieve,

to heights I must achieve.

Ambition’s wanton slave,

I climb toward my grave,

and Ambition, I can swear,

has planned me tasks for there!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


A poem written during my high school years. I woke at 4:30 one morning with this poem on my mind, and wrote it down from memory.

Nobody Cares

Photo by Daan Mooij from Unsplash

Nobody Cares

Nobody shares

my sorrows…

nobody cares!

Nothing repairs

my broken body…

nobody cares

about my pain.

Society tears

my heart out.

Nobody wears

my shoes.

Everyone stares

when I am angry,

everyone glares

when I demand my rights.

Everyone swears

that I am wrong.

Nobody cares

about the law!

Nothing repairs

my broken heart,

no one shares

my lonely nights.

No one dares

to get close to me,

nobody’s there

to dry my tears!

No one cares

about my good intentions,

no one shares

my utopian dreams,

no one dares

to champion my cause.

All my prayers

go unanswered.

Everyone fares

better without me.

Nobody cares!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem is an effort to portray the thoughts of a person who suffers from depression. In extreme depression, the person may feel hopeless, that the world is against him, and may be suicidal. Some are suffering from physical pain or are reacting to tragedies in their lives.

I have known two people who commited suicide. One had a wife and young children. One was a middle-aged man who had been an intelligent, popular friend when we were in high school. I have wondered many times what thoughts were in the mind of someone who would take their own life.

Sledding

Male Cardinal, Photo by Joshua J Cotten from Unsplash

Sledding

Saturday morning…soup in the crockpot,

wholegrain bread rising, birdseed scattered

on the snowy porch. Cat at the window

watching cardinals, jays, and finches!

Photo by Sergio Arze from Unsplash

Sunday afternoon…packing a picnic,

dressing in long johns, boots, and mittens.

Daughter excited! Driving up the mountain

to George Washington National Forest.

Photo by Pezibear from Pixabay

Building a fire, soup pot on the grill.

Sledding downhill, trudging uphill,

sledding down again. Cheeks red with cold,

ice-matted sleeves, jeans wet at the knees.

Photo by Yvonne Huijbens

Steaming mugs of homemade soup,

homemade wholegrain bread.

Sitting tired and happy at a picnic table,

laughing, talking…making memories!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Beauty Berries

Female Cardinal
Male Cardinal

Photos by Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash

Beauty Berries, Photo by Cheryl Batavia


Beauty Berries

Cardinal perches, so alive,

atop a beauty berry bush,

fluffing feathers, bright-eyed,

she surveys the bounty.

Clustered along the branches,

green pearls ripening

to plump, shiny berries…

magenta meals for birds.

Fuzzy leaves fading

at summers end,

reveal beauty berries

in all their autumn splendor.

Echoing in the woods beyond,

cardinals are calling…

rippling silver songs

of unadulterated joy!


Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

BABY, Service Dog

BABY on the Job with Joseph Batavia

BABY, Service Dog

BABY’s not a pet…

she’s my service dog.

BABY’s well-trained;

she has a very important job.

BABY knows it’s time to work

when she is wearing her vest.

BABY reads my every mood.

She knows when I am stressed.

BABY loves to work;

I take her everywhere.

I am calm and safe

because my service dog is there.

BABY on the Job in the Forest, Photo by Joseph Batavia

Then we go home to chill;

I take off BABY’s vest.

BABY eats her supper

and flops down for a rest.

I find a movie on Netflix

and lock the door.

BABY cuddles up beside me,

and I listen to her snore.

BABY is my friend.

a member of my family.

I take care of BABY,

and she looks out for me.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl


Service dogs are trained and certified to help disabled people to live independently. The first and most well-known service dogs assist those who are blind, but service dogs and other service animals now help people with a variety of disabilities. For example, there are dogs who assist those in wheel chairs and people with epilepsy. Remember not to distract a dog who is wearing a service vest. Never pet or feed a service dog without the owner’s permission.

Honeybunch & Sunshine

Photo by The Lucky Neko from Unsplash

Honeybunch & Sunshine

Babysitter’s cat

had kittens. Wow! Honeybunch

was so excited!

Calico kitten,

Sunshine, was a birthday gift…

Honeybunch was three.

Photo by hp koch from Unsplash

Small girl and kitten…

Honeybunch and her Sunshine

became lifelong friends.

Sunshine was sunny…

swatting and chasing cat toys,

purring and snuggling.

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson from Unsplash

Cuddled in slumber,

Honeybunch and Sunshine roamed

in the land of dreams.

Hiking through the woods,

Sunshine walked with Honeybunch

down to the river.

Photo by omid armin from Unsplash

Honeybunch grew up,

Sunshine lived for fourteen years…

They were lifelong friends.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Purple Ruella

Purple Ruella, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Purple Ruella

Ruella flowers open

with the sunrise,

bringing joy…

and vivid butterflies!

Ruella mingles with stick-tights,

so you think it’s a weed?

You must be joking, friend…

a weed? No, indeed!

Mexican petunia

is its other name.

Even if it were a weed,

I’d love it just the same!

The garden book warns

it’s invasive; don’t be surprised

if you hear me describe ruella…

as “naturalized!”


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Parenthood

Photo by Jordan Whitt from Unsplash

Parenthood

Child in agony.

Parent watching powerless

to take pain away.

We share children’s pain…

from scraped knees to tragedies

to their misspent years.

If we didn’t love,

we wouldn’t feel the anguish…

wouldn’t share the joys!

Photo by Wonderlane from Unsplash

Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hello, everyone! It’s so good to be back! 🙂 I have a new computer battery. Two new features, Archives and Categories, have been added to my site. Just click “Archives” at the top of the menu next to the folder icon, and you will find both of them there.

Over the next few days, I’ll be catching up on my emails. I know I’ll find some gems! ❤ All the best! Cheryl

What’s this World… Coming to?

Photo by Nashua Volquez from Pexels

What’s this World Coming to?

Costs today are skyrocketing.

Look how much the plumber’s pocketing!

Technology is changing way too fast!

Let’s continue doing thngs as we did in the past.

Singers today sound like sick cats!

Why do parents let kids dress like that?

Nothing these days is made to last.

Quality and service are things of the past!

You won’t hear me making remarks like this;

I may be over the hill, but I try to resist!

Well, you might hear me say a thing or two,

but only when I’m sure that it’s true!

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia


This will be the last post for a while. I will be taking a break, doing some computer maintenance, and catching up on neglected tasks. When I return, I will need to reduce computer time to give my eyes more rest. All the best! Stay safe and be happy! ❤ ❤ ❤ Cheryl