Tea and Poetry Tuesday

“Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally course in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.”

Thomas de Quincy

 

Drum Dream Girl

On an island of music
in a city of drumbeats
the drum dream girl
dreamed
of pounding tall conga drums
tapping small bongó drums
and boom boom booming
with long, loud sticks
on bit, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.
But everyone
on the island of music
in the city of drumbeats
believed that only boys
should play drums
so the drum dream girl
had to keep dreaming
quiet
secret
drumbeat
dreams.
At outdoor cafés that looked like gardens
she heard drums played by men
but when she closed her eyes
she could also hear
her own imaginary
music.
When she walked under
wind-wavy palm trees
in a flower-bright park
she heard the whir of parrot wings
the clack of woodpecker beaks
the dancing tap
of her own footsteps
and the comforting pat
of her own
heartbeat.
At carnivals, she listened
to the rattling beat
of towering
dancers
on stilts
and the dragon clang
of costumed drummers
wearing huge masks.
At home, her fingertips
rolled out their own
dreamy drum rhythm
on tables and chairs…
and even though everyone
kept reminding her that girls
on the island of music
have never played drums
the brave drum dream girl
dared to play
tall conga drums
small bongó drums
and big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.
Her hands seemed to fly
as they rippled
rapped
and pounded
all the rhythms
of her drum dreams.
Her big sisters were so excited
that they invited her to join
their new all-girl dance band
but their father said only boys
should play drums.
So the drum dream girl
had to keep dreaming
and drumming
alone
until finally
her father offered
to find a music teacher
who could decide if her drums
deserved
to be heard.
The drum dream girl’s
teacher was amazed.
The girl knew so much
but he taught her more
and more
and more
and she practiced
and she practiced
and she practiced
until the teacher agreed
that she was ready
to play her small bongó drums
outdoors at a starlit café
that looked like a garden
where everyone who heard
her dream-bright music
sang
and danced
and decided
that girls should always
be allowed to play
drums
and both girls and boys
should feel free
to dream.
Notes:
This poem was inspired by the childhood of a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers. In 1932, at the age of ten, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga performed with her older sisters as Anacaona, Cuba’s first “all-girl dance band.” Millo became a world-famous musician, playing alongside all the American jazz greats of the era. At age fifteen, she played her bongó drums at a New York birthday celebration for U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, where she was enthusiastically cheered by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. There are now many female drummers in Cuba. Thanks to Millo’s courage, becoming a drummer is no longer an unattainable dream for girls on the island. [note from the author]

 

Margarita Engle, “Drum Dream Girl” from Drum Dream Girl.  Copyright © 2015 by Margarita Engle.

The Light Unbound by C.S. Wachter

The Light Unbound (The Seven Words Book 4) by [Wachter, C. S.]

The Light Unbound is the 4th and final book of C.S.Wachter’s The Seven Words series. It is YA/Adult Fantasy.

Prince Rayne again falls prey to the evil Sigmund and in his frustration turns his back on the One and what he was called to do. Then he meets a child-like ancient, named Mite, who helps Rayne find anonymity in the Camp of the Forgotten.

In the meantime, his friends try to figure out why Prince Rayne is behaving in ways that are totally contradictory to his true character. Lexi struggles most as she wants to believe in Rayne, but something just doesn’t seem right.

There is also a black cloud approaching across the Cameron Sea, and mind-altering shadows threatening all Ochen. And when members of the Interplanetary Council die from a mysterious illness, the young prince declares himself Imperial Emperor of all Ochen, leaving all of his friends confused and questioning—is this really Rayne, or could it be someone, some-thing else?

This installment of The Seven Words series does not disappoint. It is just as good as the first three and kept me turning pages in anticipation of Rayne’s friends finding out the truth, and also cheering Rayne on to turn back to his faith.

The characters, both old and new, help to move the story along. Some create conflict and tension while others add a bit of humor to the intense story line.

By the end of this book, C.S.Wachter does a great job of making clear connections between all four books and resolving all of the conflicts from all of the story lines. The ending is very satisfying, and many of the characters will live on in my mind for a long time to come. This has become and will remain one of my favorite fantasy series, and if you enjoy good fantasy reads, I highly recommend them.

 

Flash Fiction Friday: The Mystery of the Road Apples

Image result for road apples

Sam and his buddy, Randy, jogging on the rail trail, came to a road crossing. They stopped, looked left, then right.

“Woah, what is that?” Randy pointed down the sidewalk to their right.

“Is that what I think it is?” Sam wrinkled his nose.

They took a few steps to their right.

Sam’s eyes widened. “It is! Those are road apples!”

“Yeah, but what are they doing there?”

“Hey, what’s all the commotion?” Four guys they’d never seen before joined them.

“Ew, what. is. that?” One of the guys stared.

“Who are you?” Randy raised an eyebrow.

“I’m Justin and this is my brother, Brandon.” The tallest boy spoke and motioned one at a time to the others. “The two behind us are John and Brian, our cousins.”

“I’m Randy and this is Sam.” Randy made their introductions.

Sam noted the group’s Polo shirts, black skinny jeans, and the Vans on their feet. “You guys aren’t from around here, are you?”

They all shook their heads as they stared at the mess on the sidewalk.

“Well, here in Lancaster County, we call them road apples.” Sam glanced at Randy, who grinned.

“You mean you eat that?” Justin’s face paled.

Sam chuckled. “No way. Road apples is our name for horse poop.”

The new guys made disgusted noises, and Sam thought Justin was going to toss his cookies.

When they had regained their composure, Brandon piped up. “Do they ride horses on the sidewalks around here?”

Sam and Randy shook their heads.

“Then what are those doing on the sidewalk?”

Randy stepped forward. “That’s what we were trying to figure out. Are you up for helping us solve this mystery?”

John and Brian each put an arm out, took a step backward, and shook their heads.

Justin asked, “What do you have in mind?”

Randy shared his plan. “Well I figure this wasn’t a prank or it’d be in front of someone’s house.”

Sam, Justin, and Brandon looked at Randy with raised eyebrows.

“I figure this happened while some Amish boys were out one Friday night on their rumspringa. So we come back here Friday night and watch for them. See what they’ve been up to.”

Brandon and Justin looked at each other and shrugged. Brandon said, “So Amish boys are the ones that dress funny, wearing suspenders and straw hats. Is that right?”

Sam and Randy nodded.

“So, what’s rum schpringer?”

Sam laughed out loud.

“That’s rumspringa.” Randy explained. “When Amish kids become teenagers, they are allowed to go out and pretty much do what they want on weekends. They do some crazy stuff.”

Brandon and Justin looked at each other and nodded. “We’re in.”

Randy grinned. “So, we’ll see you two back here Friday night as soon as it gets dark.”

They all shook hands.

Friday night Justin and Brandon were already at the designated spot when Sam and Randy arrived. The boys squatted in shadow, back from the sidewalk a few feet.

They hadn’t been there long when they heard girls giggling—a group of Amish girls. They were talking and laughing.

The traffic along this road had slowed down. The five o’clock rush had ended three hours ago. The boys watched the Amish girls cross the street and stand in a huddle at the end of the rail trail. They stood gazing up the hill, so the boys did the same.

“Here they come!” One of the girls shouted and pointed up the hill. The other girls squealed and stared in that direction.

Randy, Sam, Justin, and Brandon stood up and took a step forward. They looked up the hill and saw two horse-and-buggies careening down the hill side by side, neck-and-neck.

“They’re racing!” Sam bounced from one foot to the other.

When the buggies were about fifty feet from where Sam and the others stood, a car turned up the road and headed right for the buggy that was on the wrong side of the road!

The buggies shifted, forcing one to clamber onto the sidewalk. It looked like it might tip over, but it righted itself once all the wheels were on the concrete.

As the buggies passed Sam and his friends, the horse on the road dropped some road apples, and the horse-and-buggy on the sidewalk inched ahead and rattled off the corner of concrete, back into the street and pulled to a stop. The buggy that had been forced onto the sidewalk had won the race!

Justin and Brandon looked at the road apples in the road. “Glad it wasn’t the horse on the sidewalk this time. They’d have dropped right in front of us.” They wrinkled their noses, and Sam and Randy laughed. “I guess that solves the mystery of the road apples.”

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

He brewed his tea in a blue china pot, poured it into a chipped white cup with forget-me-nots on the handle, and dropped in a dollop of honey and cream. He sat by the window, cup in hand, watching the first snow fall. “I am,” he sighed deeply, “contented as a clam. I am a most happy man.”

Ethel Pochocki, Wildflower Tea

Moment of Strength
by Kelly F. Barr

I open the door and step outside
Where all is enveloped in white.
Everything’s clean in a sparkling tide,
Peaceful and silent to my delight.

O, for this moment to last a bit longer,
For such is a day of which I dream–
Where I can breathe and grow stronger
And live carefree, or so it would seem.

The silence is broken by delighted squeals.
Children pull sleds and leave a trail;
Amid a snowball fight, their laughter peals.
My moment’s gone. My spirit frail.

A Book Review: Rose’s Redemption by Donna L.H. Smith

Rose’s Redemption is the new release by Donna L.H. Smith, and the second book of the “Known by Heart” series. The first book was Meghan’s Choice, and you can read my review of that book here.

The story setting is still the old western town of New Boston, where Meghan’s Choice also was set. As a matter of fact, Meghan and the main character, Rose, of Rose’s Redemption, are friends–a friendship that began in the first book.

Rose has had a very difficult life, and in Rose’s Redemption, those difficulties aren’t over. As she tries to change her life for the better and begins to hope that she could have real love, someone from her past comes back to find her.

I enjoyed Rose’s Redemption very much. Though, in Meghan’s Choice, Dr. Scott Allison was not my favorite  character, he redeems himself in Rose’s Redemption, and he plays a big part in the new life Rose tries to make for herself. Meghan and the characters from Meghan’s Choice still played a part in this story as well, so as a reader, I got to know them all better.

The characters in Rose’s Redemption are well-developed and I enjoyed meeting some new characters in New Boston in this installment of the “Known by Heart” series. I really like Rose and rooted for her the whole way through the book.

The story’s conflict was also well written, better than the conflict in Meghan’s Choice. I found the conflict in Rose’s Redemption to be more intense and realistic, and it kept me turning pages.

Donna L.H. Smith also had an interesting way of having some of her character’s experience God that drew them to Him. It was tastefully done and not preachy nor was it overdone. I don’t think someone who prefers not to read Christian novels would be offended or find it overbearing.

Donna L.H. Smith’s writing is stronger in Rose’s Redemption and she did a much better job of developing her characters and making me like them and care about them. She also included some subtle hints as to what may come in the next book, and I look forward to reading it.

If you enjoy stories with an old western setting, intense conflict, and sweet romance, I hope you will read Rose’s Redemption too.