On My Birthday


I wake up on my birthday
With joker at my side, just messing with the numbers,

But grateful to the mirror, which never lies:
“Pretty as ever!” she shouts back as I look squinting close

“And Happy Birthday!”, reads an e-mail from the Credit Union
“Secure another loan before it’s late! Your birthday special!”

So here I am in this tree identification class
On my birthday, because, you know, as you grow older

It becomes important to distinguish
between the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge

And not to eat the poisoned fruit
for the wise men warned of the consequences.

Next, to the right of me, sits young Karen,
So bubbly, hopeful and excited about reducing the erosion

And dear Ms Pat, snow white-haired lady,
She flutters lightly around the room with bags of conifers

And twigs she carries with buds dried up or sticky,
Some opposite but most just alternating, yet sometimes terminal

She glues samaras of catalpa on her upper lip
And with the mustache fuzzy, she smokes catalpa pipes.

And just like that, with scotch pine needles in our hair,
Forever playing, we take down that dulcimer, like Rumi said

And dance with jokers, buds and fruit, and loans,
Kneeling and kissing the ground a hundred ways

And more



About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone? https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Nature, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to On My Birthday

  1. Eddy Gilmore says:

    Very nice. Happy birthday!

  2. gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

    thinking (to distinguish) both books by Mr. Coates: the memoir (the “Knowledge” and the Dream) plus the latest book “Between the world and me.” Amazing, on their day of birth, “they” come hollering! that breathing initiated …

  3. nicoleaugust says:

    Trees always collect the nicest people ;).

  4. DM says:

    Love, love,love! (I once took a poetry appreciation class and discovered just how much I didn’t know on the art of writing poetry One thing I really liked about this poem is how “accessible” it is to this blue color workers brain. Happy birthday Bee! and on a somewhat related note, my birthday is less than a month away, so when I was @ the courthouse yesterday I asked if I could renew my drivers license even though I was still a few weeks out. You bet he said…then he marched me over to the machine to take a new photo..boy was that surreal. Made me take off my glasses, and not smile. (something about the new computer facial recognition stuff) Anyway, the image on my newly minted license, looks a whole lot like my grandpa!~!!!

    • BeeHappee says:

      🙂 Now I am wondering what a “blue color workers brain” looks like.
      Thank you for sharing the story about the ID photo. I suppose we should not be smiling or making faces.
      Goodness, I think I need to take a poetry appreciation class. But you either appreciate it or you do not. A friend recently shared with me some quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”, it has been twirling in my head:
      “And many talented people acquired all that magnificent education, but never put it in practice.
      Most of all, there is this truth: No matter how great your teachers may be, and no matter how esteemed your academy’s reputation, eventually you will have to do the work by yourself. Eventually, the teachers won’t be there anymore. The walls of school will fall away, and you’ll be on your own. The hours that you will then put into practice, study, auditions, and creation will be entirely up to you.
      The sooner and more passionately you get married to this idea -that it is ultimately entirely up to you- the better off you’ll be.”

      “Mind you, hard work guarantees *nothing* in realms of creativity. (Nothing guarantees anything in realms of creativity.) But I cannot help but think that devotional discipline is the best approach. Do what you love to do, and do it with both seriousness and lightness. At least then you will know that you have tried and that -whatever the outcome- you have traveled a noble path.
      I have a friend, an aspiring musician, whose sister said to her one day, quite reasonably, ‘What happens if you never get anything out of this? What happens if you pursue your passion forever, but success never comes? How will you feel then, having wasted your entire life for nothing?’
      My friend, with equal reason, replied, ‘If you can’t see what I’m already getting out of this, then I’ll never be able to explain it you.’
      When it’s for love, you will always do it anyhow.”

      • gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

        what I get out of my “poetry” writing happens before any characters even get committed to paper (and then to word processing)

      • DM says:

        Great quotes! Your comment stirred a possible blog post (what DOES the inside of a blue collars brain look like? ) 🙂 I can’t speak for everyone, just the one I’m familiar with. We had a resident writer/ poet living with us for the better part of a year a couple of years ago..she wanted to teach a series of classes on poetry, I went because up until then, poetry was a foreign tongue, and did not really know how to look at it. Period. Ever since 7th grade Jr high and we were asked to read, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and then attempt to explain what the story was about. The story went completely over my head @ the time, and scarred me. Gave me the deer in the headlights reaction anytime I was asked to “interpret” someone’s creative muse.

        • BeeHappee says:

          I feel like a lot of things went over my head in Jr High, or even 5 years ago. You cannot force something upon someone who is not ready, right. You can check out this YouTube channel of recorded poems, some good ones there to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/user/SpokenVerse
          Interpreting someone’s poems is probably no different proposition than interpreting anything someone says.

          I loved poetry in High School, although we mostly just read Lithuanian and Russian poets and virtually nothing from the rest of the world. Which now I am enjoying exploring, and read at least few pieces every day. I do gravitate, at least at the moment, toward real life poetry without too much abstract or superflous.
          I wrote poems in high school (in Lithuanian) and ended up reciting my stuff at our commencement. And that was pretty much the end of my literary career, because, you know, there was important stuff to be done and studied. 🙂
          I do like messing with it now, whether anyone thinks it is good or bad, it is just fun and helps me a lot. Like photography, poetry too, having to look at the world from all different angles, it makes it look different. Also, I still struggle with words in English when writing in prose, so I feel like shorter lines of this supposed poetry allow me to cheat a little. 🙂

          I am looking forward to your brain post! 🙂

          • DM says:

            I plan to check out that Youtube link today! And you are so right..on a very real level, understanding what others are saying…period is not an exact science..it happens in our home all the time..I hear something my wife says and it is not what she meant. Here’s a link to my other blog where I wrote about the first time I connected with a poem (and included the poem as well : https://ialsoliveonafarm.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/the-farmers-wake/

          • BeeHappee says:

            I had this in my FB chicken group today, and it totally made me laugh and think in general about this ‘communication’ thing we were talking about. This is all the stories: of what really happens and then what we tell and what we hear etc etc. 🙂

          • DM says:

            That is a great picture 🙂

  5. Happiest of birthdays 2 U!
    (Lyrics from the rock group “Rush”):
    sic with Radiorage – Download
    “The Trees”

    There is unrest in the forest
    There is trouble with the trees
    For the maples want more sunlight
    And the oaks ignore their pleas

    The trouble with the maples
    (And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
    They say the oaks are just too lofty
    And they grab up all the light
    But the oaks can’t help their feelings
    If they like the way they’re made
    And they wonder why the maples
    Can’t be happy in their shade

    There is trouble in the forest
    And the creatures all have fled
    As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
    And the oaks just shake their heads

    So the maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights
    ‘The oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light’
    Now there’s no more oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe and saw

  6. Happy Birthday, Bee! 🙂

  7. noblethemes says:

    Very incisive and alluring, once again; very good! And very happy birthday to you! 🙂

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thanks! Incisive and alluring, I don’t know about that. “Tree of Knowledge” sure seems very alluring, this addiction to thought and constant chatter is one of the most difficult to kick addictions. But the plant world and human connection to it is so amazing that it blows my mind sometimes.

  8. migarium says:

    Happy birthday my Earthling friend BeeHappee!

  9. shoreacres says:

    Happy birthday, Bee! After reading the discussion between you and DM, all I could think of was Billy Collin’s great poem about interpreting poetry. Accept it as a birthday gift! It’s one I often re-read.

    • BeeHappee says:

      That is wonderful, Linda! Love the images there.
      Beating with a hose… Been there.
      Thanks so much for reading and all your gifts. I really feel blessed to be getting older and have new experiences, with each year we can fill our cups a bit fuller, although the concept of birthdays is quite funny. Regardless, I got to eat some Lithuanian ginger-honey cake and Siberian dumplings, so that is always quite good. 🙂
      Thank you, thank you, thank you!
      P.S. And so very much thanks for introducing me to Billy Collins and Thomas Merton. I am liking what I am seeing.

  10. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Keep dancing Kristina Bee amongst the trees. Your wisdom and theirs blended as time blows by.

  11. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Oh, I meant to say, but forgot….Happy Birthday! Just for information”s sake. The memory goes soon after the sight. The good thing is, it makes old things new! Haha. I hope it’s a great year.
    Much love,

    • BeeHappee says:

      Oh, Mary, thank you! Since I already have poor sight and memory, I do not stand much to lose, so that is all good! 🙂 My little one is turning five today, he is so ecstatic, and it brings back such wonderful memories for me, seems like just yesterday I was vacuuming last dust on early January morning in between contractions waiting for the midwife to come. Best memories ever. Even as the memory goes, I think those get recorded some place much deeper.
      I hope you are enjoying all the wanderings in wintry nature. The birds had been active here this winter. One cardinal comes to my window every morning and sings. My girl asked me if I can take her on a wildflower walk on her birthday in spring as I promised her last year, and that makes my heart sing. 🙂 There is this prairie lady here that I want to do a prairie walk with, and she remind me of you for some reason.

      • Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

        Oh, Happy Birthday to your little one! What a beautiful memory, the birthing of him. Yes, I think we remember those peak experiences. For me, it’s short term memory that is not as it used to be.
        Haha, thanks for thinking of me. Prairie walk sounds like my SpiritWalks. I hope you have a nice walk with her.
        Life is so interesting, isn’t it? All you need is Love. 🙂

        • BeeHappee says:

          I would love to take your Spirit walks.
          I was reading yesterday this poem my girl and I wrote for her brother exactly a year ago for his 4th birthday, and he is still very much same, except for losing his marshmallow belly 🙂

          Marshmallow belly
          Bursting with giggles
          Little fingers in jello
          Smiling when it wiggles

          Warm strawberry cheeks
          Painted grass green
          Pirate swords and guns
          Dressed for Halloween

          Summer straw hair
          With Dandelion fuzz
          Saving ants from a puddle
          Watching honeybees buzz

          Sparkly curious eyes
          And a mischievous grin
          He bangs his drum and dances
          And makes us all dizzy spin

          Thirsty eyelashes
          Catching sprinkler drops
          Building paint catapults
          And twirling spinney tops

          Loud little mouth
          Stuffed raspberries galore
          Tumbling ‘cross grass and leaves
          Dropping tired. . . No more. .

          Arms tangled in spiderwebs
          Stealing pots to make hats
          Tasting snow, grasshopper wings
          Feeding mint to neighbors cats

          Knees sneaking into the kitchen
          When nobody is looking
          Chopping up cucumbers and spices
          We can hear he is cooking

          Small dirty feet no bath
          And never trimming nails
          He’d rather rolls in mud
          Digging up worms and snails

          Sharp knives, chocolate and guns
          Are his beloved things
          He screams and hugs and kisses
          And so much joy he brings

          • Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

            Oh, I LOVE this!!!! I can see him perfectly in it. Thanks for sending it.

  12. What? Your birthday is on the 13th??
    And I missed it!! Sorry….

    But I have to admit your new style isn’t really working for me, so I do not visit as frequently anymore.
    But then again, things change and one needs to adapt and/or move on.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Hej, Ron, no worries. Your b-day is the same day, right? We are practically twins. 🙂
      I got tired of writing up summaries of ‘what we did’, so for now at least, I pulled them off. Who knows, I may get into it at some point, it is just not working for me right now.

  13. A belated Happy Birthday.. and enjoyed your poetry
    Many thanks for the follow today also.. Bee happy .. Love that.. Enjoy your week..
    Blessings Sue xx

  14. barnraised says:

    Love this. And happy birthday 🙂

  15. Eegads. This must be where everybody went to discuss things when Ben severely curtailed his blog posts. I would love to participate (and even read) but we just bought a homestead and I think – no, I know – that I’m going to be tres busy (not tres jolie) for the foreseeable future. I just want to know, birthday girl, if you were born on Friday the 13th like me so we can say that all things unlucky for other people are lucky for us. Did you write the poem? Awesome! Can you tell me the difference between a Gray Pine and Digger Pine?

    • BeeHappee says:

      Renee!! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, all poems and photos on this blog site are mine unless otherwise indicated.
      I am SUPER SUPER excited about your homestead and hoping you will need some young farm sitters one day. 🙂 I know that has been a dream for you guys for some time. Looking forward to hear more how the place is looking and what you are raising and growing there.
      I was born on the 13th, hopefully not Friday though. But that is my lucky number indeed.
      I wished I had time and finances to take the full tree ID course they had here, but then again, it gives me an impetus to just teach myself. So we will get back to those pines yet. Take care, and go about your farm days slowly.

      • Thank Kristina, we are excited, too (beyond excited really OMG!! hyperventilate) Bring the kids! We’ll have a blast! I have a tree ID book. I’m teaching myself and that question about the Digger and Gray was a trick question. I admit my shenanigans! There’s no difference. They are the same. Digger was the old name until some native americans objected so now the tree is called Gray. That being said, I find evergreens VERY hard to identify. I’ve got Ponderosa and Redwood figured out but they’re SO different from the other evergreens. It’s the pine trees that are beasty hard. Best to you!

        • BeeHappee says:

          Renee, you trickster, I should have known with you. 🙂 We probably do not have as many evergreens here as you guys do over there? I’ll be happy when I can tell a fir from a spruce from a pine. 🙂
          How many acres do you guys have? What are you planning to focus on?
          I spent a day in cheese making and soap making class lead here by local homesteader who has written three books on sustainable living and teaches sustainability course at MIT (yeah, nice to hear MIT has such a course!) We are off to goat raising next week.
          It is nice to see this coming back, although most people participating were of retirement age hoping to live off the land.
          I am so happy to see your dreams coming to fruition.

          • We have 2-1/2 acres and it’s all arable (chant “no more rocks!) and we have plenty of water. We’re in the middle of raisin grape fields, pistachio, almond and orange trees. Full tilt Meditterranean climate so I have to research what grows well here. I was thinking of maybe going into the compost business as we will have animals and what we don’t use I maybe can sell. Of course I will keep up with blogging (sold an article to Grit on making rag rugs) and drawing with pastel. Send me a picture of your kids! I’ll do it for free. Following the instructions of Corina Sahlin (marblemounthomestead) I recently made chevre and greek yogurt. I would have made gouda but we don’t have a “cheese cave”. When I was a kid I made beef tallow lye soap with a little old lady in Iowa Falls. It was pretty cool and definitely not chi-chi. Good for hand washing clothes.

          • BeeHappee says:

            Renee, I will for sure connect with you. Sounds like wonderful place. My sister lives in northern Italy right next to the vinyards, sounds like you are enjoying some of the same. 🙂 Congrats on Grit’s article. That is wonderful. My grandma had tons of rug rags all over the house yet I never saw her making one, she’d do it in winter when I was away. I’d be interested to try. We made ricotta, mozarella, and paneer, just simple stuff, next time it will be more advanced. The instructor mentioned that she keeps her aged cheeses in the modified fridge that is modified to 55F temp – rigged cheese cave. I will write up a post on cheese maybe.
            We used 3 different vegetable oils and lye for soap, but of course old days it was beef tallow or lard. We are doing just melt and pour soap with kids today for Valentine’s gifts, they are too young for lye.
            Of course, I trust you will keep your writing and drawing.
            Peace and creativity to you!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s