Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Birdie, Birdie – A Poem

(Baltimore Oriole)

Birdie, birdie in the tree,

Are you lonely just like me?

Rise into the morning sky

And fly, birdie, fly!

Tired of the verdant bough,

Hanging low with apples now?

Look, the yellow sun is high.

Fly, birdie, fly!

I wish I could fly like you,

Sing a song or maybe two,

Flutter softly my good-bye,

And fly, birdie, fly!

When the moon began to rise,

I would leave the darkened skies,

Fold my wings where I would lie,

And die, birdie, die.

Up to heaven I would go,

White and pure as new-made snow,

Safe beneath the father’s eye:

Fly, birdie, fly!

All the world would miss my song,

Sweet and pure and not too long,

Partly triumph, partly sigh;

Fly, birdie, fly!

1985

Dawn Pisturino

June 9, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

41 Comments »

Reprise: A Butterfly Birthday

(Monarch butterfly)

[Note: I turned this into a children’s story, but this actually happened to me one summer when I was small. It’s an experience I never forgot.]

~

Amy leaned over and smelled the sweet, honey-like fragrance of the tiny white flowers on a leafy green bush. It was spring — her most favorite time of year — and the big backyard was alive with blooming flowers, buzzing bees, and orange-and-black butterflies playing among the wild dandelions growing in the grass.

The butterflies were called monarchs, and Amy looked forward to their arrival every spring.

As she peered deeper into the bush, Amy spied a small green object hanging from a slender brown twig. She reached into the bush and broke off the little twig. She held the object gently in her hand, admiring the delicate green color. Near the top was a hard ridge tinted with yellow that seemed to sparkle like gold in the warm spring sunlight.

Amy had found a butterfly chrysalis. Some people call them cocoons. They are also called pupas.

Amy had learned a lot about butterflies from her teacher at school. She knew that female butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. After a few days small caterpillars, called larvae, eat their way out of the eggs. They finish eating the eggshells — their very first meal! After that, they attach themselves to a leaf and eat and eat and eat until they become too big for their skin. They shed their old skin, a process called molting, and then gobble it up to get important nutrients. Mmm — delicious!

Caterpillars continue to eat and grow and shed their skin until they have done this four times. Now, they are about 2 inches long. But they still have a long way to go before they turn into beautiful butterflies.

The caterpillars take long walks in search of the perfect place to rest. When they find it, they weave a sticky, silky attachment called a silk button. This allows the caterpillars to hang upside down and begin a process called metamorphosis.

For the last time, the caterpillars shed their skin and emerge as a small, oval object called a pupa, chrysalis, or cocoon. This is the third stage in the butterfly life cycle.

Amy realized what a precious treasure she held in her hand. She gathered a handful of grass and leaves and covered the bottom of a large glass jar. She carefully laid the little green cocoon to rest in the soft little nest. Then she punched air holes in the lid with a nail and screwed it on top of the jar.

She placed the jar on a table next to her bed, where the warm spring sunshine would shine through the bedroom window and warm the little green cocoon.

Every day, she looked at the little cocoon in the jar, and waited. Amy knew that the caterpillar’s body inside the chrysalis would dissolve into a liquid and the cells of the adult butterfly begin to grow. The little cocoon became more and more transparent as the immature cells developed into a full-fledged butterfly. Pretty soon, she could see the orange-and-black wings of an adult monarch inside the chrysalis.

One morning, Amy woke up and glanced at the big glass jar next to her bed. But something was different. The little cocoon was broken and empty. Sitting next to it was a brand new orange-and-black butterfly with white markings on its wings. It was the most beautiful monarch butterfly she had ever seen.

The butterfly sat on a dry leaf, slowly moving its wings up and down. Amy watched in fascination, amazed by the miracle of nature she had witnessed in the big glass jar.

But the glass jar was no place to keep such a delicate and fragile creature. She took the jar outside, unscrewed the lid, and watched the beautiful butterfly flutter away.

Dawn Pisturino

June 8, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

17 Comments »

Blooming Desert

(Pink blossoms on a beaver tail cactus. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

ALL PHOTOS BY DAWN PISTURINO.

We got enough rain this winter for the cactus to blossom. It truly is a lovely sight when the desert is in bloom.

(Rose-colored blossom on a prickly pear cactus. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

But those cactus needles are nothing to mess with! They hurt!

(Creosote bush in bloom. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Creosote bushes are indigenous desert plants with deep roots and waxy green leaves which help them to retain moisture. They mostly stay green year round. But, in the spring, they burst forth with lovely yellow flowers that brighten up the landscape. On the downside, these yellow flowers mark the start of allergy season. Nothing lasts long in the desert, however, so we enjoy them while we can. Achoo!

Have a lovely day, wherever you are!

Dawn Pisturino

May 3, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

Spring Poems

(Photo by Michael O’Grady)

Spring Poems by Dawn Pisturino

April Showers

I looked into the heavens

And saw the face of God.

He was a kindly gentleman

And not too very loud.

He wore a watch upon his vest

Which gave the time of day.

He looked at it: “The time has come,”

Was all he had to say.

And soon a gentle rainfall

Came from the April sky.

It kissed my wondering up-turned face

And poked me in the eye.

But then a very curious thing

Did happen at my feet.

A tiny flower sprouted up,

All blooming and complete.

It opened up its tiny leaves,

Embracing fast the rain,

And if I ever doubted God –

I never did again.

November 25, 1985

~

Spring

Spring! The vigor of new life soars in my veins!

I am free and alive and wonderful,

Free as the silly sparrow twittering in the tree-top,

Too gaily alive.

Alive as the new-sprung fountain of youth in the riverbed,

Which knows not that it is bound by grassy banks,

But runs down the waterway in a mad race for the finish.

And, wonderful as the tiny petals of a flower,

First opening up to the Father Sun

Like a virgin bride in the marriage bed.

Sun gives new life to the blood,

And blood gives new life to the body,

And the body gives new life to the soul,

Ad infinitum, ad infinitum, ad infinitum.

But every Spring plays its part as a new beginning,

And we never tire of the encore.

1987

~

Robin Red-Breast

When Robin Red-breast comes to town,

All the children dance around,

Clapping hands and stamping feet,

Happy with their little treat!

February 2, 1987

~

Have a wonderful Spring day!

Dawn Pisturino

April 25, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

The Pagan Origins of Easter

The Spring Equinox marks the festival of Eostre – also known as Ostara – a Germanic goddess worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons. If “Eostre” looks familiar, it’s because the word eventually morphed into “Easter.”


The pagan symbols of Easter include rabbits, hares, and eggs. Rabbits and hares represent fertility, while eggs symbolize fertile purity. Easter egg hunts can be viewed as a re-enactment of rebirth and renewal rituals practiced by ancient people. Lighting a bonfire at dawn on Easter morning hearkens back to the days when Germanic believers lit bonfires at dawn on the morning of the Spring Equinox. Decorating eggs and wearing new clothes symbolize the end of winter, the coming of Spring, and the birth of new life.


We all look forward to the coming of spring and all the beautiful treasures it brings: fresh green grass, colorful and fragrant flowers, birds singing in the trees, blue skies and sunshine, and warm breezes wafting through our open windows. Spring is the time when we feel energetic and renewed. We want to stretch out our muscles and get outdoors in the sunshine. We feel suddenly motivated to clean out our closets and send belongings we no longer need to the local thrift shop. We shop for new clothes, try a new hairstyle, revel in nature and the world at large. After the oppression of winter, Spring sets us FREE.


Happy Easter! Happy Spring!


Dawn Pisturino
April 11, 2020; April 12, 2022
Copyright 2020-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

Springtime – A Poem

Springtime

by Dawn Pisturino

Springtime struggles to survive

The clasping arms of winter,

Stirring up the honey-hive

And bringing forth the flower.

She hastens to restore the sun:

The melting snows recede;

And when the sap begins to run,

The worm returns to feed.

A flock of sparrows in the sky;

A big, red-breasted robin

Perched to catch a passing fly,

His little heart a-throbbin’.

Daffodils with yellow heads

Bobbing in a row;

Rich brown fields and grassy beds

Waiting for the plow.

Winter, dying in the wake

Of Springtime’s warmer rain,

Thaws the river and the lake

And disappears again.

February 21, 1986

Published in World of Poetry Anthology, 1987 and Best New Poets of 1988.

Copyright 1986 – 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

35 Comments »

Happy Winter Solstice

(Stonehenge)

The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, which means “sun stands still.” “At the winter solstice, the apparent position of the Sun reaches its most southerly point against the background stars” (Royal Museum Greenwich). This year, the winter solstice occurs on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. That means today will be the shortest day of the year, with the longest and darkest night. Tomorrow, the days will gradually become longer, leading up to Spring and the Spring Equinox.

The Julian calendar designated December 25th as the winter solstice. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted, December 21st became the winter solstice and December 25th remained as the traditional date for Christmas.

The winter solstice is also known as the Feast of Juul (Yule). In Scandinavia, fires were lit, including the Yule log, in honor of the Norse God, Thor. In Germany, the Yule boar (sonargoltr) was sacrificed after a ceremony called heitstrenging was performed, in which celebrants made solemn vows on the boar’s bristles. Celebrating Yule included feasting, drinking, and singing. The Yule log tradition was adopted by the Celts in Europe and the British Isles. Burning the Yule log at the winter solstice brought good luck for the new year. Modern day Yule celebrations are still popular.

The Romans celebrated Saturnalia from December 17th to December 24th in honor of the “father of the gods,” Saturn. Celebrants made sacrifices in the Temple of Saturn, held banquets, exchanged gifts, and offered forgiveness to each other for past wrongs.

In Asia, the Dongzhi Festival celebrates longer days, increased positive energy, and the yin-yang of balance and harmony in the community.

Iranians honor the longest, darkest night of the year with feasting and reciting poetry. Eating pomegranates and watermelons is considered particularly auspicious. The festival is called Yalda (Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh).

At Stonehenge, people visit to watch the sun’s rays shine through the stones, which are aligned with the path of the sun. The winter solstice was especially important to ancient people because it was an opportunity to pray for fertility and good harvests in the new year.

Happy Solstice! Happy Yule!

Dawn Pisturino

December 21, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

19 Comments »

First Snow

(Photo from Science ABC)

The first white snow of winter

Falls softly on the ground;

The world looks like a fairy land

With snowflakes all around;

The trees dress up like fairies

Dancing on the snow: —

Magic happens everywhere

The fairies dance, you know.

I love the first white winter storm,

The air is cold and frosty;

I stay indoors where it is warm,

But through the windows I can see

How suddenly the world turns white

And disappears beneath the snow;

The season changes overnight

From autumn’s bright to winter’s glow.


by Dawn Pisturino, 1985.

For my daughter, Ariel.

Copyright 1985-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

34 Comments »

Autumn Leaves

Photo by Yue Xing Yidhna Wang

In 1955, pianist Roger Williams recorded the pop hit, “Autumn Leaves,” which became the biggest selling piano recording of all times — even today. The song hit #1 on the Billboard pop music chart and earned a gold record. Williams, born in 1924, was a popular pianist who scored 22 hit singles and 38 hit albums during his lifetime. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.

“Autumn Leaves,” performed by Roger Williams. Incredible mastery at the piano!

“Autumn Leaves,” performed by Nat King Cole.
Jazz version sung by Eva Cassidy.

Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Giorgio Canali / Francesco Magnelli / Gianni Maroccolo / Massimo Zamboni / Giovanni Lindo Ferretti

Autumn Leaves lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Dawn Pisturino

November 11, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

9 Comments »

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