My Top Ten Poems: #7 “Frozen Heart”

     From every ending there comes a new beginning. With the arrival of a new decade, change is on the horizon. What will the world be like ten years from now? That’s something that I don’t know. What I do know is that I plan to make the most of the upcoming year and decade.

     Next month will mark the seven year anniversary of this blog. That being the case, I have something special planned. For now, though, I continue with my list of the top ten favorite poems that I have written.

     In at number seven is “Frozen Heart”. When I wrote this poem, as usual, I had a specific idea that I wanted to convey. That idea was illustrating the cold nature of those who seek to control the world. To begin the poem, I settled on the idea of describing what it’s like to step outside on a cold, northern, winter morning. From there, I wanted the coldness to seep inward until it ultimately encases the speaker’s heart in ice. Once that occurred, the speaker then reveals that he or she seeks to “capitalize the world.”

     In the end, I feel that I was able to convey my original message. When I wrote this poem it seemed to easily flow out of my mind. That’s not always the case, but it is always welcomed. I like when things come easily. That being said, I know that hard work is what’s needed to accomplish most things in life. As we march into the new year and decade, I plan to work hard but will always welcome those things that come easy. Until next time, here’s my number seven favorite poem:

Frozen Heart

Cold breath
expels outward
as I step out
on an icy morn.
Frosty air engulfs
my senses
sending shivers
up and down my spine.
The coldness seeps inward
encasing my heart in ice.
It pumps frozen blood
up and down my veins
and I coolly continue
to capitalize the world.

by Cody McCullough

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My Top Ten Poems: #8 “The Tall Firs Are Dancing Today”

     The holiday season has begun. Arriving with the season is the cold weather that will inundate the northern United States until the vernal equinox helps to brighten the landscape next year. Usually, I enjoy the relaxing nature of the long winter months, but this year I feel like hibernating until it is all over.

     I suppose it could be that I just want my leg to be completely healed, or that I’m getting too old to enjoy cold weather, or maybe it is something else entirely. Regardless of the reason, I know that I can’t wait for the next season to arrive. I imagine I should snap out of my melancholy mindset and use the long winter days as an opportunity to write more.

     Yes, that is exactly what I should do, or rather need to do. Still, though, something tells me I am in for a long winter nap. In the meantime, here is a piece that talks about the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is number eight on my list of top ten poems, and I’m definitely feeling the mood that it lays down today.

The Tall Firs Are Dancing Today

The tall firs are dancing today.
The wind blows their foliage back and forth,
like a sea of hands waving at a parade.

Below, the just sprung tulips try to hide.
Petals sealed tight, they weather the storm,
like little turtles hiding their heads from danger.

Water drops fall from the sky.
Their pace is sporadic, but their onslaught is relentless.
Like warriors, they eradicate all that is dry.

Underneath blankets, I lie.
I want to dance and have a parade with the trees.
Like the tulips, though, I hide.

by Cody McCullough

green bud leafed plant

My Top Ten Poems: #9 “Life Continues—Unconquered”

Life Continues—Unconquered

Dream fades,
Eyelids retract,
Sun illuminates,
Body moans,
Spirit awakens,
Pulse quickens,
Consciousness streams,
Reality unfurls,
Day begins,
Legs traverse,
Life continues—
Unconquered.

     For a long time, I’ve been a night person. A real “moondog” as it were. One who revels the time when the responsibilities of the day have been put to rest and there is finally time to enjoy one’s self and forget about everything that must be done. Lately, however, I’ve been looking at things from a different perspective.

     More and more, I’ve found myself enjoying the comforts of the morning. As Hemingway once famously wrote The Sun Also Rises. As I sit here writing this now, the sun’s warm rays are stretching out from across millions of miles and caressing my wanting skin. Whilst the scent of fresh brewed coffee wafts up into my nostrils. Yes, it is a good morning and a new day. A new beginning if you will.

     My poem “Life Continues—Unconquered” is about just that. It’s about waking to a new day and embracing it. Embracing everything that the morning has to offer and leaving the world of dreams behind even if your body moans a little.

     It’s also about overcoming adversity. We all wake up in an imperfect world, but we continue with our lives anyway. Not everyday is easy. In fact, many aren’t. Life, though, isn’t about giving up. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and traversing each day as it comes to you.

     Indeed, the unconquered life is one in which you never stop moving forward. As the sun continues to rise in the east and set in the west, we continue to march on with our lives. From the long ago days of the ancients all the way into the unknown future: life continues—unconquered.

silhouette of a man during sunset

My Top Ten Poems: #10 “The Past”

     Sometimes I think of the past as though it were a reel of film. A series of individual moments captured and recorded before being spooled up and shelved. A flimsy record of the past collecting dust deep in the cavernous recesses of some ancient library archive.

     Finding myself in this dingy and decrepit archive, I unspool the film and stretch it out with my hands. Holding up the film, I focus in on an individual frame. So that’s how it happened, I think as I realize the past to be different than the perceptions and beliefs I had formulated in my mind.

     Yes, that’s exactly how I think of the past. The past was a real place of free will and choices. A place of unlimited potential that slowly faded as the unrelenting progression of the present pushed over it and onward toward a new day. Thoughts like these are what led to the entirety of this little project of mine. Soon it too will be pushed over by the progression of time. Not yet, though. Now is the time for me to take a little stroll down memory lane by revisiting some of my earlier work by discussing my top ten favorite poems.

     In at number ten is the poem that started it all, “The Past”:

The Past

Only remnants remain,
Ruins and ghosts,
Trying to speak to us
Across a great chasm;
But we cannot hear
And must imagine,
Interpret, and reinvent.

     “The Past” is the first poem that I published on this site. As such it certainly deserves a spot in my list of the top 10 poems that I have written. Looking back at it now, I can certainly see why I decided to kick off The Past, Present, and Future with it.

     When I wrote it, I wanted “The Past” to be a piece that would both encapsulate the main idea behind my first collection and also be able to stand on its own. I opted for a short piece that illustrated the fleeting nature of the past. Indeed, the past is not a place that we can reach. That being the case, there is a quite a bit of imagination, interpretation, and reinvention in our understanding of it. That idea winds its way through my whole collection to a certain degree.

     Well, that’s it for now. Next month I’ll discuss poem number nine. In the meantime, feel free to perhaps spend some time thinking about the past and what it means to you.

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What’s in a Title?

     Titles sell books. They also pique the readers interest and hopefully make them want to read the story. Needless to say, they are very important. That being the case, it’s not surprising that I have spent so much time coming up with the title for my book.

     The first title for my book, A New Beginning, morphed more into one of the underlying themes of the story than the actual title itself. After moving on from A New Beginning, I’ve toyed around with other titles before settling on one that felt right. That title is 2021: A Time Odyssey. Well, there you have it. That’s the title of my new book.

     As for the story itself, I’ve decided that I should hold off on revealing too much while I’m in the process of seeking publication. Once I have that all figured out, I’ll reveal more. One thing that I can say about the story at this time is that the story is a wild ride that is told through diverging timelines that build toward a climactic convergence.

     While I continue to pursue publication, I’ve decided to do a countdown of my top 10 favorite poems from the Past, Present, and Future. Next month, I’ll reveal number 10 and explain my thoughts on the poem.

     That’s it for now. These are exciting times, even if they are a time of healing, and I look forward to sharing my work with the world when the time comes.

novel books

On Change

     Change is constant. For better or worse, it is one of life’s certainties. When it’s for the better, it’s easy to embrace. When it’s for the worse, it can be quite a challenge to accept. Lately, I have found myself facing the latter challenge.

     Change for me came in the form of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Accepting that my life will be much more difficult for the next several months has been more than a challenge. I know that there are much worse things in this world, and the change that I’m experiencing is only temporary. Still, though, it has been exceptionally difficult. Learning how to navigate the world without the mobility that I used to have has definitely been arduous.

     Even challenging changes, however, sometimes present silver linings. For me the silver lining has been extra time for writing. I was able to use this extra time to finally put those finishing touches on my novel. Complete at last, “A New Beginning” is now a reality.

     Next month, I’ll reveal the actual name of my novel along with a synopsis of the story. Hopefully by then I’ll have healed some and will be getting around better than I am now. In the meantime, feel free to search for those silver linings amidst the constant changes of life.

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Enjoying that Bend Life

Still working on making time. In the meantime, I thought I’d reblog a post from my recently revived travel blog: Four Traveling Macs. Let me know what you think.

Four Traveling Macs

Dark starry nights offset by bright sunny days are what I remember most about growing up in Bend, Oregon. Of course, now-a-days Bend is known as a vacation destination for outdoor enthusiats and so much more. If you’re thinking about visiting Bend, here are 8 great activities to include during your stay.

  1. Float the Deschutes: There’s no better way to cool off on a hot Central Oregon summer day than to float down the crisp, cool water of the Deschutes River. Rivervend Park is a great place to put in. Continue floating down the river to the man-made rapids just below the Colorado Avenue Bridge. More advanced users may want to try out the whitewater channel.
  2. Traverse the Bend Ale Trail: The Oregon equivalent to “When in Rome…” would be: When in Oregon, drink craft beer. The Bend Ale Trail allows you to do just that. The trail includes…

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