Monday, May 29, 2017

LIFE OF A POET - BEVERLY CRAWFORD

We have a lovely visit for you today, my friends. Beverly Crawford has found her way to us, and I couldn't wait to interview her. Beverly writes at Worditude, and is sharing some of her story with us today. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea, and pull your chairs in close. There is a one-room schoolhouse in this feature! You won't want to miss a single word.



Beverly crocheting


Sherry: Beverly, I am so happy to be visiting with you at last. Would you give us a snapshot of the poet at home?

Beverly: Four years ago I sold my home, my son and wife sold their home, and we pooled our funds to buy a lovely home a stone’s throw from Eagle Creek Park, in northwest Indianapolis, which we share quite happily with two cats, who allow us to live with them.  I am still quite independent and have a busy and active life, but I am now free of upkeep of a house and yard.  My son is a respiratory therapist at a local hospital, his wife a retired nurse, and my daughter is a pharmacist who lives in Salem, Oregon.


I'm happy to say I'm 83.  You may or may not use that tidbit!   My husband was a city firefighter.  I was widowed when I was 45.  After his death, I went back to work full time as a medical transcriptionist, and ultimately became a regional supervisor for a medical transcription company.     

Sherry: You are a very young and vibrant 83! I love that you have your family around you. I am sorry you were widowed so young. Where did you grow up, Beverly?

Beverly: I grew up in a very rural area about 100 miles south of Chicago.  It is rich, flat prairie where crop rows (corn and soy beans) stretch to the horizon. My father was a tenant farmer on a tidy little farm of 160 acres.  I attended a one-room country school for the first 8 years of my schooling, and I’ve told a bit about that in a couple of my poems.   (See “School of Life” in the February archives on my poetry blog, and also in “
Books“  more recently).
Sherry: I loved both poems, and would like to include one here, if I may, as it tells such a wonderful story of your childhood.






It was a little one-room schoolhouse
Where I learned to read and write
There were no indoor facilities
But we did have electric light
The teacher sat at his desk in front
Near the bench for recitation
The pot-bellied stove stood at the rear
In our house of education.

When teacher rang the morning bell
We came in from playing tag
To start each school day morning
Pledging allegiance to our flag.
In desks of various sizes
For we were grades one through eight
We worked hard at getting lessons
To progress at rapid rate.

We were taught to be competitive
And to always do our best
To bring the best we had to give
To any given test.
At recess we played softball,
Cops and robbers, fox and goose.
And even on the playground
We learned the simple truths.

We learned honesty, compassion,
Integrity and pride
The tools of successful living
That must not be put aside.

In today’s education system
Modern conveniences are rife
But I’ll take my one-room schoolhouse
Where the teacher taught us life.





Sherry: I envy you that childhood, the teacher, and the one-room schoolhouse, Beverly. Those were kinder, gentler times, I do believe. When did you begin writing poetry?

Beverly: I’ve written poetry almost ever since I can remember. I also have written essays for quite some time (although I guess they might qualify as prose poems).  I have never attempted to publish anything I’ve written, but I have notebooks of poetry and essays.  I love the cadence and rhythm of rhyming poetry, but I’m learning to appreciate other forms.

Sherry: We enjoy your work so much. Would you like to share three of your poems with us?

************
ROOTS

Two people from different backgrounds
Your lives joined and you began
A family of various people
We now lovingly call our clan.

These days our numbers are many
Our paths scattered far and wide
But we remember the lessons you taught us
As we walked in the fields at your side

“If you can’t say good about someone,
There’s no need to speak at all”.
“Tis not ours to judge a fellow
For his sins and shortcomings and all”.
“God gives us different ways and faces
But we’re all equal in his sight”.
“You can’t stray far from happy
If you remember wrong from right”.

Special times we still come together
In our high heels and shiny boots
To learn still at the seat of our knowledge
In the home where we have our roots.
Grandchildren and great grandchildren
Eyes all sparkling and bright
The table groaning with bounty
Our hearts filled with simple delight.

I sit and look about me
And I think God has planned it thus
We must pass on to those who come after
The gifts you  have given to us.

Beverly: "Roots" was written around the time of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and it is a tribute to their strong leadership in the generations of our family.


Sherry: How wonderful to have had such a strong and stable base for your family.

**************


WHO AM I?

It’s important to know yourself, they say
Retain your identify
If that’s the case, then I’m okay
I’ve always known I’m me.

They call me lady executive
In the job that I have now
But I’m the same little farm girl
Who used to milk the cow.

I sit in on business luncheons
Where we all discuss loss and profit
But I’m the moppet who drove the tractor
When I could barely climb on and off it.

My co-workers think me efficient
And sometimes even wise
But I’m that same pudgy dreamer
Who used to catch fireflies.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror
I can hardly suppress a smile
The exterior is certainly changing
But inside it’s been me all the while.



Beverly: "Who Am I" was written when I was trying to sort out my identity as a lady executive.

Sherry: "Inside it's been me all the while" made me smile. I love it!

*****************


THE ME GENERATION

It’s the “me” generation
It’s in vogue to please yourself
The idea is highly touted
In the books upon the shelf.
Self-fulfillment, self-enrichment
Look out for number one
If it works so well, I wonder
Where happiness has gone?

The divorce rate is steadily climbing
And many are at the end of their rope
Are we so busy feeding our egos
We’re running out of cope?
Our houses are growing larger
At quite an alarming rate
First we have to find one another
Before we can communicate.

Our children grow up with a sitter
Who has problems of her own
When we decide to spend time with them
We find they’re nearly grown.
The men are at the golf course
And the women at the pool.
And the children leave the sitter’s
And go to nursery school.

The husbands go to the mens’ clubs
The wives go to the spas.
Are they so busy self-developing
They forget the way it was
When love was new and joyous
And each lived for the other
And finding time together
Wasn’t such an awful bother?

Could it be we had the answer
In the not so long ago
When we weren’t hung up on possessions
And what we had for show?

When our concern was more for others
And we loved our fellow man
And we weren’t too busy self-developing
To lend a helping hand?

Could self-denial be fulfilling
And self-control enriching too?
Is it just we have the self misplaced.
I wonder, is that true?

There’s a very great difference
Between what we want and what we need
And what we call desire to achieve
Is perilously close to greed.

It seems what we wear not who we are
Is what it’s all about
But ugly is still ugly
If it comes from inside out.

We’re all looking for the answers
And there’s little else to say
But, if we reassessed our values
Would happy come back one day?


***********

Beverly: "The Me Generation" was written some time ago, and was my perception of the changes in social mores, but I think it's as applicable today as it was then.

Sherry: Maybe even more so! I resonate with your worldview, Beverly. I especially love the tribute to your parents. Will you tell us about your art? I so admire the beautiful images you are sharing with us today.




Beverly: When I retired in 1999, I found a pen pal in Perth, Australia.  The two of us shared an interest in using software to make greeting cards.  That mutual interest grew into a long friendship, and our interest grew to include digital art, and the world of blogging.




Today, with a friend in the UK, we co-administer three art challenge blogs that work much the same as Poets United. We issue challenges, and our artist members create digital art, about which we comment and share, just as the community of poets at Poets United. 





I would invite anyone interested to visit my art blog and/or the three challenge sites at the following URLs.

They can also be accessed by clicking on the icons in the side bar of my poetry blog. 



Sherry: Your art is very beautiful. Each one is so unique.  

I love that you are one of the Muses at Three Muses! That’s great! What other activities might we find you enjoying when you aren’t writing or producing art?

Beverly: I belong to a small group of women writers who meet monthly.  We draw a slip from our “topic jar” and write something on that topic, which we share at our meetings.   I also belong to a small art group.  I’ve been keeping art journals for several years.  I guess you could call them visual diaries, in that they contain notes on my daily life, accompanied by some of my poems or essays, and art which may include watercolor, pan pastels, sketches, etc.   I am currently on Journal #24!   

I also keep 9 on-line Scrabble games going with ex co-workers, and with my daughter and her husband, and meet with friends occasionally for cards.  

Sherry: I would love to poke through those art journals. What a wealth of material! Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Beverly: Stacy at Warningthestars.com happened to enter one of our art challenges, and it is from visiting her site I learned of Poets United.   The concept of sharing my poetry and enjoying that of other like-minded poets totally captured my fancy, and I’ve become an enthusiastic participant at both Poets United and dVerse.   I have absolutely NO formal training as a poet, and I knew nothing of quadrille, quatrain, haibun, etc., so I am learning much from all of you! 

I have always just written what inspired me at the moment in a format pleasing to me.  I admit to feeling my poetry is somewhat simplistic and lacks the depth of much of the work I see at Poets United, but I am impressed with the warm acceptance of the poets there, and their acceptance of my rather homespun style. 
  
Sherry: Beverly, we so enjoy your voice, your style, and your poetry. Your voice is authentic and comes from such a good heart. We are thrilled you found your way to Poets United, and hope to enjoy your work for years to come. Thank you so much for allowing us to get to know you better. We have enjoyed this visit so much.


Wasn't this fun, my friends? Do come back next week and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! 


33 comments:

  1. Such fantastic art work, and poetry too. Another interesting interview, Sherry. I always enjoy reading your poetry, Berverly.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Julian.

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  2. Crochet, poetry and digital art, some of my favourite things too, I blog hop on Fridays at 'Paint Party Friday'
    Sherry thanks for serving Bevely up close today

    much love...

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  3. What a treat you have brought us, Sherry! I have enjoyed Beverly’s poetry from the first moment that I came across it. I love rhyme done well and Beverly is so adept at rhyme – it flows so naturally – imbued with a lovely cadence that has, upon occasion, left me awed … it’s so well done. I hadn’t realized that Beverly was an artist, as well. What a talented lady! This is a wonderful interview! Thank you so much for this Sherry and Beverly.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words, Wendy. You have guessed that rhyming poetry is closest to my heart. I admire your work as well.

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  4. Checked out all the 4 sites! My, they are all very professional. It is such an attraction to delve into digital art currently foreign to Hank. Done the conventional art at Hank's Easel and Colours but it is grossly neglected (time consuming) Perhaps digital art is a good alternative. Thanks Sherry and Beverly for a most inspiring interview!

    Hank

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    1. Oh, do try digital art, Hank. It is such a fascinating hobby. Thanks for your kind remarks.

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  5. You are most welcome, my friends. It was such a pleasure to feature Beverly. Beverly, I love your talent with rhyme, and your very authentic and down to earth voice, so lovely to read!

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    1. It's been such a pleasure to get to know you a bit better, Sherry. Thanks for introducing me to the wonderful world of poets at Poets United!

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  6. Bev,I am thrilled to learn more about you and also to read more of your poetry. How cool that you run an art blog or four. I am going to have to do some experimenting with digital art, I think. You are so very talented and ambitious. It seems you are creative in many ways, Bev. From poetry to visual art...and even to playing scrabble. Sherry, what a wonderful article! Thank you both.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Mary. Kudos to Sherry for taking the time to put together the weekly introductions of our fellow poets.

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  7. Beverly, we seem to have quite a bit in common. I like your choice of words in describing your poetry. Homespun is an invitation to sit down, share food, talk, and laughter in a the presence of a warm flickering fire. Not so easily attained in our fast paced click of a finger existence. Yet, you do it with ease that also invites comfort.

    I checked out the Art blogs and am very intrigued, as I am also into digital art, having gotten into it by simple experimentation, which means playing with lines and color, for me. I also like the fact that you are 83 years old. That not only gives me someone to look up to, but hope that I will continue to be an active part of this community for some years to come.

    Thank you so much for sharing your rich diversity with all of us...

    Elizabeth Crawford

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    1. I invite you to participate in any one of our digital art challenges, Elizabeth. You will find the people there as warm and welcoming as the community of poets here. I'll be watching for you! Thanks for your very kind comments.

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  8. Beverly at her finest. Thank you

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  9. This has just been a treat and delight to read! So glad someone sent me this link. I love it! The poetry is outstanding and the writer, a joy.
    voo

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  10. I am so happy you enjoyed this, my friends. Bev is a wonder! It was pure pleasure putting this together. I could read a BOOK about your childhood, Bev, if you chance to write one. Smiles.

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  11. What a wonderful interview - I agree you are 83 years young. It's so good to have you on the trail Beverly - thank you both for starting my day with a smile

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    1. Thanks so much, Jae Rose. It makes me happy to start anyone's day with a smile!

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  12. Totally fun! Beverly, you had me at "we share quite happily with two cats, who allow us to live with them." I love the one-room school house and particularly the poem "Who Am I." Very insightful. You may not play with lots of different forms, but you pour your life experience and wisdom into all your poetry. I like that.

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    1. Thank you, Susan (obviously a fellow cat-lover!). My poetry has always been extemporaneous and written to the rhythm of my heart. It has been so exciting for me to learn the nuances of contemporary poetry at this late stage in life, and I could not have found more welcoming tutors than I've found in this community of poets.

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  13. So glad you found Poets United Bev. What a fantastic world you've taken us into! I specially love your rhyming lines. A beautiful artist you are. Another wonderful interview Sherry.

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    1. Thank you so much ... and thank you for welcoming me into your world as well! I am learning so much from all of you.

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  14. Beverly it's so nice to learn more about you. I've enjoyed your poetry. It is so real, down to earth and straight from your heart. I'm fascinated by all the things you do. I admire such artisitic energy.
    Sherri, thanks for this interview.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Myrna. It's my varied interests that keep me enjoying my golden years!

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  15. I like your sense of humour and direct approach to matters Beverly. Good to have you on board.

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    1. Thank you for welcoming me to this wonderful community of poets!

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  16. I really love your poetry, Beverly,! I write in rhyme more than any other form and so many people think that poetry that rhymes can't have anything serious to say and they are so wrong! Your work is music to my ears! I've also checked out your art blog and thought about doing some with you. I love digital art and animation have been doing it for years for my own work. I like to do animated kaleidoscopes and mandalas too. I'll link in some time when I can. I bike ride with an 81 year old and it's nice to meet another person who is 80-something years young. I enjoyed Sherry's interview with you!

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  17. What a delight your poetry is Beverly. I too remember primary schools in England with overcrowded classes during WW2 in England and the years after but still able to get the education crammed into little minds. What fun you seem to have to with your colabrative digital art...how industrious you are. Thank you both for a great interview.

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  18. Loved this talk. The school of life is such an insightful poem...loved it. Your digital art is simply beautiful...I visit your blogs and your works inspire me a lot!

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  19. What a wealth of talent, creativity and life experiences.. such a beautiful interview Sherry. So good to learn more about you Beverly.

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  20. Beverly is such a kind and sweet lady I feel I know her - love her writing true and genuine...bkm

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  21. I've had a busy week with little time at the computer so I come late to this – and so glad I did come to it. Thanks, Sherry and Bev! I have been enjoying your poetry, Beverley, and I think it often contains much wisdom. If I may get personal, I also love to see your sweet face and warm smile in your photo, and feel as if we are already good friends after our interactions at each other's blogs.

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  22. Missed this interview whilst away on vacation but have to say what an impressive interview Sherry! - Beverly you are an astounding person evidently making the most of life with all your activities and gifts. Glad you are moving out of the rhyme world a little - it's yet another adventure!
    Love this: "God gives us different ways and faces"

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