Stories about life, love and travel that inspired the poet to write. Listen to poetry readings and responses.
On my eighth podcast poetry show I reflect on how I was inspired to write through my work with children. I give ideas for parents and teachers on how to use my poems to educate their children on different topics.
Do an artist study on Hunderwasser, learn about the Magic E to help with spelling, and learn about self-concept through songs and drama. Some of the poems can be sung at bed time too!
I talk about the inspiration for my book, ‘One Little Caterpillar’ and how I used it to teach concepts in English. Each time I read the story to the children, it captures their attention straight away. They’re expecting to see caterpillars but they see hands. Once all the caterpillars hatch, they crawl all over the children’s body to find a leaf, and we say ‘Ewwwww!’ to shoo them away. In a sense, we are the trees.
The simple lyrics tell a longer story through the pictures which are transformed into actions. The actions use hands, body and it can be acted out as a group, much like a play.
Another story that is also a play is called ‘Colour My Ball.’ It has blank pages so that the children can draw their own illustrations. The book is about a group of friends who enter a mirror. I got the idea for the poem when I was mixing play dough colours with the children at the school I was working at. We were also mixing paints and creating our own mask, reflecting our feelings.
I also watched a dance class of children who were doing dance improvisation and playing with props. And as I was taking the photos, I was creating the story and choreography.
The illustrations don’t show the full potential of the ideas I have in my head. I haven’t written these anywhere, though I’d like to develop it into a dance musical some day.
I also created my own poems to teach skills such as spelling. This next poem is called ‘Magic E’. It teaches about how the vowel changes its sound when an ‘e’ is added at the end. For example, ‘rid’ turns to ‘ride’. As the poem is read, it gives examples of different words and tells a fun simple story.
Many of my poems are about developing self-concept. Who you are, what you look like, how you feel and so on. These help children develop their own self-confidence and feelings which in turn help them identify in the feeling of others and empathize. Being egocentric helps them keep safe and learn to take care of themselves.
I sing a poem called, ‘Little Mirror’. Listen to it at the 11.30 minute mark of the audio. The poem is about looking at your own reflection as you discover how to stand tall, and what your laugh looks like, and so on, as you develop confidence.
The poem ‘Yellow Shadow’ is about a guardian angel or a spirit that follows you, much like your own shadow. The yellow shadow looks after you. It’s also a symbol of protection from the dark.
Sometimes children might feel scared at night at bedtime. They need a little light, not too much to keep them awake, but just enough so that they can feel at ease. And also the yellow shadow is a symbol of confidence, a spark that gives confidence. Listen to it at the 15.20 minute mark of the audio.
Truth: As I create these Poetry Podcast Shows I have in the back of my mind the hope that my family will some day listen to them. I haven’t had the chance to sit down and chat to them about everything I’ve experienced. I also hope that if some day I’m gone, that my family, especially my nephews and nieces will have a place to listen to Auntie.
Listen to the full audio here for more poems and stories about how I was inspired to write with children.
What I do know about my grandmother is what my father always told me. “You have her voice, you have her eyes.” She had style. I saw a photo of her published in a book. She was posing for the camera in the most distinguished way with my grandfather next to her. I stared at the old photo hard, trying to see some of her personality that I could take away with me. I dearly wanted to know her and perhaps learn more about myself so I created her in my mind.
My grandmother was just 15 when she met my grandfather, who was much older than her. It was illegal to marry that young in Greece so they went to Marce, France. So the story goes.As a baby she sang to me. It was over the time we visited Greece. I have the vision of her cradling me in her arms and it won’t leave my head. Tragically she died young. She had diabetes and for some reason did not care for it so it spread. The doctors needed to amputate her leg because it got infected and she died because of the loss of blood.
If you ever visit the island of Kalymnos, you will find a statue of a woman holding a ‘laina’. She is the symbol of strength for the island. The woman worker who prepared the house. She gathered food, dealt with household chores and cooked for the family. How interesting that in such a male dominated culture a woman is the symbol of the island. She’s interesting to me because of her beauty, strength and grace. Likewise, my grandmother is highly spoken of and my grandfather who was great in his own way, seemed to be her shadow.
The Pull of A Spiritual Bond
Chasing My Roots
I look and act like my grandmother. She is the one I hold onto. She is my dream of who I want to be; graceful and kind with a thorn by my side, that allows me to breath among human kind.
I remember her, I have a kind image of her. A young woman, the reflection of a mother of the past. Living a life of the now, holding onto that while everything else is destructive and in ruins.
The tension love holds, the veins I hold in place and the heart I guard for dear life. Oh how it plays in my mind, that thought I left behind in the anonymous land I love.
Every time I visit Greece I’m immersed in emotions that haunt me in beautiful ways. I yearn for these feelings when I am far. Do we all feel a spiritual bond with a specific family member? Or is it just me? Are my genes so strong that they are pulling me in her direction or am I over-romanticizing the thought?
I ventured abroad 10 years ago to find my roots as I searched for clues to my identity. It’s a funny ole thing to do because one might think they they already know themselves. But I needed to search my past and it wasn’t because of untold stories. I was drawn by my past spirits.
A home will always have this power of attraction. The problem was that I was pulled between Greece, the origins of my family and Australia, the place I was born and grew up in. The power of this pull eventually came from different directions as I made my home in different cities of Europe. And attracted me so deeply to Paris.
I have family living in France that I never met properly. I’ve seen them once when a few members visited my aunt in Kalymnos. It was the first time I heard Greek spoken with a French accent. It was delightful and I pondered about visiting them. But what would I say since they are now so distant? And besides, the bond I have is with my grandmother.
When I visit Greece again I will search for the photo of my grandparents and add it to my post.
By Bike To Australia & Back
Inspiration of Greece
A story of poems that illustrates a continuous beginning. Fresh and anew again and again. My poems are about absorbing the world around me with a pencil and paper in my hand. The way I see my life and the lives of others as I build my own outlook. There are poems for every mood in each chapter, sequenced like a story. A story of every day life, love, family and travel.
The Romance With My Art
Oh how I yearn to learn the language and live in France one day. Paris is the place for artists. It’s where one goes to create, to be appreciated, to discover and to be discovered.
Paris was where I had my portrait done and where I returned again and again for various reasons in my life. When in doubt, I turn to Paris.
The last time I was in Paris I danced! I wrote my impressions and formed them to created poetry. I love being with my arty friends because they don’t see me as weird. They yearn to have their senses challenged in the same way as I do. I talk to them about my ideas and I can see in their faces that I’ve triggered something. They speak with no words and I then know I’ve created a spiritual bond. Just like the one I have with my grandmother- perhaps?
Poems That Touch The Soul
“Sometimes we need to step away from our immediate surroundings for all to become clear and find truth.” I started writing to introduce my poetry book. Included are color photos of our dance adventure in Paris. If they give the same impressions as my own, you will experience unexplained emotions that can never be replicated or told again.
I continued to write, “This is true for myself. It is how I came to write my poems as I realised my subconscious love and passion for dance. My varied life experiences at home and abroad led to self-discovery and a realisation of a life of dance that I have always led that relinquished my disappointment of lack of pursuit.”
I explain my nomadic life and it is this life I have led in the pursuit of finding my artist self, the spirit of my grandmother.
“Life is dance, and without dance there is no life, and love for these are inseparable. I’m a dancer and poet at heart. Two inseparable art forms, one soul. “Poems that touch the soul & don’t adhere to the pattern of life”, refers to a nomadic lifestyle that lends itself to reach the unexplored self. This is an art form, one of its kind because it can dance and has always danced. It unites strongly through poetic philosophy that delves into ethical boundaries, aesthetics, education and love. A concept that encompasses and revolutionises a soul. It becomes true in its purest sense as every word put to paper is felt by my heart and a final breath celebrates creation.”
This poem illustrates the journey of finding my artist self through my grandmother of whom I’ve never met. I can feel it.
I do have her voice, I do have her eyes. And what more, I have her name ‘Maria’. Traditionally girls are named after their grandmother in Greece. I chose the name Malena which represents my artist self.
The poem is published in my book, Sudden Clarity. Last night I created an audio for this poem just so I can share it with my readers.
Colors emerge with age
Rusty browns and creamy whites
Classic and timeless
Up to the present day
Poise and stance romanced
I searched for the thought in my head
Like an apparent fate
That raced to catch the bait
Only to return home instead
I went in search for you
I found you
And ironically returned without you
Hidden virtue of love and sacrifice
The torture runs again and again
The thought remains in my head
To let go of it
And free it
Is a symbol of love
Freedom of self,
A vision of self
Is a hidden virtue of love and sacrifice
And there she was
I saw her from afar
I looked back
And there she was
I saw her below
And I thought that was me
I saw her near
Enclosed in a city
In a coffin
I saw she was
It was a coffin for me
Like the flowers he gave
The frozen flowers,
Like the photo
Of the love
That buried her head
Two decades apart
She unlocked her heart
It was a place
He buried his head
People walked by
Without a care for a soul
A heart, a body
When it grew old
And youth, a past
A curse to bear
Use her, describe her
Malena was her name
Was her ultimate aim
Ich habe eine kofer in Paris,
Was her claim
I might be related to the Greek Australian journalist John Mangos!
Did you know that I might be related to John Mangos?
Whether it’s fact or fallacy, I’ve been told this all my life. Before I changed my maiden name, people asked me ‘Are you related to John Mangos?’ all the time!
“John Mangos has had a thirty-six year career in journalism, the past thirty-three years in television. He is currently a news presenter for the Seven Network and is a regular guest on the Sunrise and Morning Show programs.” http://www.johnmangos.com/biography
Looking back at my own childhood I find happiness, peace and love for which I treasure. I remember the way my father had a type of charm with us. We loved him wholly and did not leave his side.
Now I watch him in action with my nephews and nieces. Thomas, my two year old nephew is a clear example. Everyone is absolutely bemused by his attraction with Papou. Papou is Greek for Grandfather. He turns to tantrums and fits of cries when he has to leave Papou.
Thomas makes coffee and washes Papou’s clothes, and plays a game on the swings called kounia bella in Greek. When Papou goes into his room to take a nap Thomas screams and bangs on the door for him to come out. My family is dumbfounded. Thomas is like a little alien who has taken over the house and we can’t do anything to stop him.
Thomas empties and fills the tool box, and puts things where they belong in the kitchen. He can’t rest until everything is put to order. He has an uneasiness about him and he doesn’t stop walking about the yard and the house.
He is like a little man going about his little man’s business. When Thomas has a problem he runs to Papou for support. At the sensitive age of two Thomas is free to explore the garden. Watching him play is like witnessing a secret waiting to be revealed.
Thomas has a home education based on love. He is learning to love himself and others as he builds his own beautiful world. My own childhood is where I discover the heart warming experience of unconditional love. My past is a place where I try to learn about myself but I don’t have the answers because I’m so distanced by the events. So I focus on emotions, building a secure identity from which to explore; fulfilling an unpredictable, exciting new life and a story to tell.
My father was like a wizard who burst into song and laughter, even when times were tough. He told stories by inserting our names in them as the main protagonists. My mother was like the beautiful, strong Afroditi The Goddess of love. My parents were a big influence on my life and I have a spiritual bond that will never break.
As a girl, I was surrounded by games, stories and songs and connecting to these in adulthood led to discover my gifts. Over my travels abroad I’ve learned to take away my fears and take more risks. My parents were always with me spiritually, like a voice in my head during the tough times. They taught me that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.
To read on, please click here on my published article on iuEmag!
Hand me downs
The gifts my mother returned
I gave with myself in mind
In idle youth,
My mother’s gifts
mirrored the woman I always wanted her to be
grace, beauty and womanhood
I coaxed her with the possibilities
A life she deserved but sacrificed for me
Relevant only now
I opened my eyes
When gifts became hand me downs from my mother who recognized
I gave a part of me
She kept me preserved and new
Sorted in scattered bundles all over the floor
The dresses, skirts and accessories
My mother had no occasion for
My reward and anguish of giving to someone who sacrifices
Is a lifetime of hand me downs
to my mother who holds my memories
I’m at her mercy
It takes courage to write honestly
When one is open to the unknown
Though I do
because happiness is a habit I try to share
upon a swift turn of my head and a glance
Who would have thought
I finally wore the clothes a real woman was born to bear
By Maria Grujicic
This poem is dedicated to my mother, the most giving soul I have ever met. Like every giving soul people do take advantage, but even so she is so beautiful that it doesn’t seem to affect her. Her goodness lives on in her, she has grace, she has virtue, but she has her true self. She has lost her youth but she is still alive and strong. And she gives this power to me.
Physically and mentally closed
The heart links to the soul
Connection versus entrapment
In a body of beings
From a patterned obligation
A meal with contents of cultures
Who will buy what, pay for what
BYO or of the what
Beauty, neglect, unaware
What is the value?
It’s a habit of mine
A pattern seen only by the passing of time
Rituals of a mind
Places and people combined
Purpose of direction
A meeting place each year
In, on, at
A point in time they meet
Relationships are based on that
Comical stances race to find something new
And perhaps a different character in you
Poem By Maria Grujicic
Copyright 19th December, 2012
Hi Everyone! I’m pleased to announce that my poetry book “SUDDEN CLARITY” is out now. It is so far my best work and I couldn’t have done it without my artist friends from around the world. And of course my husband who is also an artist!
No words are enough to describe my feelings. Keep on dancing!