Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Maja Trochimczyk's New Volume of Positive Poetry, "Bright Skies" (June 2022)


ISBN 978-1-945938-49-8, color paperback
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm), 184 Pages
85 poems, 160 color photographs, 6 portraits
ISBN 978-1-945938-52-8, eBook in ePub format
ISBN 978-1-945938-54-2 color hardcover.

Maja Trochimczyk Reads "From Minium Chronicles", "Ocean of Jade" and "On Landscapes: A Guidebook" from the book on YouTube: https://youtu.be/m0i17jPRPLs

Maja Trochimczyk Reads Poems from "Bright Skies" on YouTube:

Maja Trochimczyk dedicates this collection of poems, “Bright Skies,” to her children and grand-children, asking them to read and enjoy her verse “when they grow up.” The volume features 85 poems written in 2009-2022 and organized into five sections – Spring, Summer, Babie Lato, Autumn and Winter. The seasons of poetry include reflections on nature, beauty, love, life, and spirituality. The focus is on positive emotions, learning to be calm and content, full of compassion and wisdom. It is a life-long quest, and these poems are an invitation. 

The poems are illustrated with 160 photographs taken in the poet’s neighborhood – Big Tujunga Wash, Angeles National Forest, Descanso Gardens, and Oxnard Beach. The surprising “Coda” brings a set of recipes for old-fashioned Polish dishes mentioned in poems. Bringing together favorite memories of her Polish childhood – making and flying kites, plays with soap bubbles – and the delights of sunny Southern California gardens, parks, and beaches, the book includes lessons how to seek and find the daily dose of domestic bliss. This book is a legacy from a well-lived life, and a companion to "Into Light: Poems and Incantations" - another collection of positive, inspirational poetry illustrated with photos.



ABOUT THIS BOOK

"From pears in a California garden to a recipe from her Polish grandmother for pickled pears, Maja Trochimczyk leads her readers into a lovely world. She sees the beauty of a rose, a bird, a sunrise. She has brought her childhood memories from faraway Poland into the splendid light of Southern California. Woven into each poem is a word picture, accompanied by a photograph of local scenes from her neighborhood – Big Tujunga Wash, Descanso Gardens, Oxnard Beach. These wonderful, heart-warming poems are full of exquisite metaphors and images, where spirituality comes through clearly, without labels, devotions, or being overly didactic. My favorites, “Mason Bees” and “On Landscapes: A Guidebook,” bring together vivid descriptions of Nature with inspirational life-lessons that Nature imparts. They are  perfect in substance, style and language. Seeking contentment in domestic life – peaceful home and garden – is an important message for everyone today. The book includes even an original version of marriage vows and ends with a surprise: a selection of old-fashioned recipes for traditional Polish dishes mentioned in poems. Readers will grow in knowledge of beauty and joy surrounding them, shared in daily doses of bliss. "

~ Marlene Hitt, poet and historian, author of "Clocks and Water Drops"



Preface

This collection of poems is inspired by the births of my two granddaughters, Aurelia, born on 12 September 2021 and Juniper, born on 16 September 2021.  I planned to write a book of poems for each girl, just as I did for my grandson, Adam, born on 16 September 2016.  The poetry book dedicated to him, entitled I Give You the World, contains one long poem describing things that I love and cherish in this life, illustrated with photos of my family, travels, and gardens. An abridged version without family pictures appeared on my blog; this version is further shortened here. The purpose of the book for Adam was to introduce the Polish-born boy to his American & Canadian family and their lives. He now lives in the U.S. and is able to share these delights in-person.

Since Adam got “the whole world” as his birthday present, what can I give to his five-years-younger sister, Aurelia, and his cousin, Juniper? I found 85 poems and over 160 photographs that I decided to share with them, in a book to be read when they grow up. This is not a children’s book. With gratitude, I described  delights that I found in my garden and home, during walks, adventures, and travels. I wrote about inspirational moments and discoveries, summarizing my life’s wisdom at 64.  This volume of “positive poetry” contains verse originally written in 2009-2022 and is a companion volume to Into Light: Poems and Incantations (2016). It is a necklace of love and blessings; each bead – a poem.

I hope that the readers attracted to the themes of seeking light and enjoying life in the garden will find here something to enjoy, something to think about, and something to do in their own lives. After all, we live in the Garden of Eden and can make this Earth a Paradise, if we only want to.  Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                  Maja Trochimczyk

Los Angeles, 1 June 2022



Table of Contents

 Table of Contents ≈ v

Preface ≈ viii

Prior Publication Credits  ≈ ix

 

Spring ~Wiosna ≈  3

1.       A Springtime Revelation ≈ 4 

2. Only in California  ≈ 5

3. The Day of a Plum Tree ≈ 7

4. Outside my Window ≈ 9

5. Spring Cleaning ≈ 11

6. An Artichoke of a Poem ≈ 13

7. On Being Green in Vincent’s Garden ≈ 15

8. Da Capo al Fine ≈ 17

9. A Ballad of a New Heart ≈ 19

10. An Invitation to the Dance ≈ 21

11. A Ballad of Angels ≈ 23

12. Practical Advice for a Frazzled Passer-by ≈ 25

13. Skylark’s Lesson ≈ 27

14. Oh, The Art of Looking ≈ 29

15. On Being a Bird ≈ 31

16. the doves of love ≈ 32

17. A Mystery Solved ≈ 33

18. Double Delight ≈ 35

19. Diamond Days in Crystal Gardens ≈ 36

20. This Afternoon ≈ 39

21. From Minium Chronicles ≈ 40

22. The Golden Hour ≈ 42

 


Summer ~Lato ≈ 43

1.       June in Gold and Blue ≈ 44

2. The Song of the Summer ≈ 46

3. A Tale of a Hare ≈ 48

4. A Drink of Water ≈ 50

5. Mason Bees ≈ 51

6. The Golden Time of Honey ≈ 53

7. Dreaming Bees ≈ 55

8. A Pear in a Tree ≈ 56

9. A Day Trip to Venice, California ≈ 57

10. Carving Sand ≈ 59

11. A Champagne Sunday ≈ 61

12. Aquamarine ≈ 63

13. The Ocean of Jade ≈ 65

14. The 23rd of July ≈ 67

15. Tatarak ≈ 69

16. Flying Kites ≈ 71

17. “Let me go!” ≈ 73

18. Soap Bubbles ≈ 74

19. High Noon ≈ 75

20. Matka Boska Zielna ≈ 76

21. In Morning Light ≈ 78



 

Babie Lato ≈ 81

1.       On Thursday Afternoon ≈ 82

2. Sapphire ≈ 84

3. Amber ≈ 85

4. A Revelation after Il Paradiso ≈ 86

5. Up, Up, Up ≈ 88

6. From Yesterday’s Dream ≈ 89

7. Sunfire Foxes ≈ 91

8. Sweet Nothings ≈ 92

9. The Year of Crystal Fire ≈ 94

10. Just to Make It Clear ≈ 96

11. A Chromosome Ballad ≈ 97

12. Twin Flame Promise ≈ 98

13. Diamonds ≈ 100



Autumn ~ Jesien ≈ 101

1.      On Cosmic Breath ≈ 102

2. Landscapes: A Guidebook ≈ 103

3. A Cosmic Rainbow ≈ 106

4. Today – For Us ≈ 110

5. I Give You the World ≈ 112

6. A Golden Poem for a Girl of Gold ≈ 122

7. Gold Wishes ≈ 124

8. Juniper ≈ 127

9. The Fierce Explorer ≈ 128

10. The Aril ≈ 130

11. Fall Yucca ≈ 132

12. This Evening ≈ 135

13. Diamond Rain ≈ 136




Winter ~ Zima ≈ 139

1.       California Winter ≈ 140

2. Standing in a Pool of Silver ≈ 141

3. The Antidote ≈ 142

4. A Music Box Christmas ≈ 144

5. Rules for Happy, Holy Days ≈ 146

6. A Ballad from the Field of Glory ≈ 147

7. A Jewel Box Sunrise ≈ 150

8. Winter Solstice ≈ 152

9. The Star of Christmas, the Way of Light ≈ 154

10. Gifts ≈ 156

11. New Year’s Day in the Wash ≈ 158

12. Your Rainbow ≈ 160

13. Imagine, a Poem of Light ≈ 161

14. A Declaration ≈ 162

15. Arbor Cosmica ≈ 164

16. Hymn of Light ≈ 166


Coda – Recipes for Poems ≈ 168

Spring – Mazurkas ≈ 168

Summer – Pickled Pears and Plums ≈ 169

Babie Lato – Szarlotka ≈ 170

Autumn – Bigos and Salads ≈ 171

Winter – Barszcz, Kompot and Kutia ≈ 172

 

About the Author ≈ 173



SPRING - WIOSNA

Outside my Window

  

A round spot of gold light

appears on the slope of my California hills

green in the spring, shadowed by rainclouds.

 

Suddenly, an epiphany of light, a hole in the sky

appears among thickening shadows, dusk

approaching soon, much too soon.

 

The bright circle stretches into

an arrow, points west, along the ridge

and the gully. The arrow of light, my arrow

tells me to go, do, act, lead and follow.

Be the light, bring the light. Enlighten.

 

Before I can even reach for pen and paper

to write down this command, this call to action,

it is gone.  All is shadow now. Murky darkness.

 

Yet the memory of cloud epiphany lingers,

etched onto my retina. This spot of light,

this arrow will always be with me —

every day, each morning I will turn the circle

of contemplation into the arrow of action,

the dawn star into a comet, inexorably 

reaching its end.

 

Is it not the story of my life?

This spot of light on a mountain meadow

after one winter storm, before another?

 

I catch it, hold it, and keep it safe

among my treasures. Things not to be

discarded.  Unforgettable thoughts.

 

Another pearl for my precious necklace

woven from brilliant moments — 

jewels of a well-lived life.




SUMMER - LATO

Matka Boska Zielna

 

~ for Mother of God of the Herbs (August 15)

 

Look at the greening hill slopes charred by last year’s wildfire

that’s magic. Look at the mountain sunflower that grew

at the edge of the asphalt on Oro Vista road, it already blooms

out of nowherethat’s magic, too. The postcard-size garden

by the old, wooden house, a shack, reallyfills with flowers

every spring. Fruit appears on orange trees after bees collect pollen.

 

The scent of sweetness, the cheerful noise of bee wings

is it not far more miraculous, a thousand, a million times

more delightful than the 100 floors of steel-metal-glass

of skyscrapers proudly pointing at the sky? Incomparable

with a patch of weeds, nature’s miracles of renewal.

 

How proud we are of our empty metallic constructions

that will rust in the jungle, abandoned, like stone pyramids

of the Mayas, shrouded by vibrant green of leaves and

branches. Thousands of years of human fame obliterated

by the steady, living, fertile abundance, the overflowing

force of life, of matter, our Mother.

 

Roots, shoots and tendrils spread out, germinate,

flow through the soil in search of water, nutrients,

life, more life, ever growing, ever richer, dancing,

singing the abundance of beingthe song of creation

we are we are we arewe are all

we are oneoneone



BABIE LATO

Diamonds

There is Universe within my heart

A myriad galaxies dance in my mind

I’m a microcosm of Divine design

 

In a seashell there is an ocean

In dark coal mine white diamonds grow

In your eyes I find ageless wisdom

The One Love that sustains us all

 

In your guilt I see my darkness

In your beautyradiance and light

In your voicethe calling, the calling

 

Mountain air on a spring morning

Sparkling diamonds, radiant and pure

For all forevers you enfold me in Love 

 


AUTUMN - JESIEN

The Aril

 

“Aril” is the word for me.

Not “arid”—as in the desert of wasted years, hours.

Not “arduous” —as in working so hard every day

to make ends meet. These ends, they never meet, anyway.

 

Just aril. As in my garden at noon. As in ruby-bright

pomegranate shining in full sunlight. A jewel bowl

of arils I pick from exploded fruit to freeze for winter.

A handful of overripe arils that taste rejuvenating,

like fine wine. Tartly-sweet juice stains my fingers

burgundy-red—or should I say, aril-red?

 

Oh, the delight of untold riches!

 

You watch me blissfully chew the seeds

and say in disbelief: “You eat them whole? Really?

When I was a boy, my brother told me that

trees would grow out of my ears if I swallowed

pomegranate seed—huge trees would grow

and grow and grow and grow…”

 

We laugh at the vision of these arid, forgotten years.

It was an arduous journey that took us through

the wilderness to this vivid moment of sharing

this magic, life-giving nectar of arils,

ruby-red arils.



WINTER - ZIMA


Arbor Cosmica

                             ~ for my children

 

No fear, no hate, not even a mild dislike*—

we leave our heavy burdens, shards of memories

broken, all too broken, at the bottom of crystal stairs

beneath clouds of white camellias, petals swirling

through air like the snow of forgetfulness

 

Perfect symmetry of blossoms

points the way—up, up, always up

rainbow crystal stairs, revealed

one by one as we ascend—inwards,

outwards—dancing spirals of our DNA

 

We get to know this place—these depths,

these heights—for once, for all lifetimes

 

With each step, pure notes resonate

and expand into clear, spacious chords—

the music of the spheres rings out, wave by wave

expanding from our open hearts

 

Each chord—harmonious, different—

each melody in this vast symphony

sweetly twines around another, and another

until all are One Song, One Wisdom—

of stem and flower, of leaf and root

in this Cosmic Tree of humanity

 

Arbor Cosmica—

 

We have been here

all along without knowing




Maja Trochimczyk with Grandson Adam, 2019

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Maja Trochimczyk, PhD, is a Polish American poet, music historian, photographer, and non-profit director. She is the author/editor of eight books on music and Polish culture in Polish and English,  as well as five poetry volumes and four anthologies, most recently We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology (co-edited with Marlene Hitt, 2020). A former Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, she is the founder of Moonrise Press, President of the California State Poetry Society, Managing Editor of the California Quarterly and Poetry Letter published by the CSPS, and President of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, promoting Polish culture in California. Hundreds of her poems, articles and book chapters appeared in English, Polish, and in a variety of translations. She presented her research at over 90 international conferences and received many awards from Polish, Canadian and American institutions. Among other honors, she is the winner of the Creative Arts Prize from the Polish American Historical Association (2016) for her two books about Polish civilian experience during WW II and its aftermath, Slicing the Bread and The Rainy Bread. Since 2010, she has maintained a series of blogs on poetry, Polish history and culture, with a total readership of over 970,000 visitors: moonrisepress.com; californiastatepoetrysociety.com; poetrylaurels.blogspot.com; chopinwithcherries.blogspot.com, etc.