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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

There are so many things I could do for this post because I get attached to things and I can’t possible keep them all — so many people and things gone but not forgotten. But given the season, I wanted to keep it light and not be too much of a downer. So I decided to do a repost of something I published when I first started this blog.

I dug these boots out of the back of my closet.  I’m trying to clean things out..the usual New Year’s resolutions.  I’d probably keep them for a Halloween costume or something if they still fit, but they are WAY too tight.  Before discarding them, I took a trip down memory lane and decided I would give them a little “memorial”; a photo and an off-the-cuff poem…

Image

Viva Le 80s

The boots were ripped from a dark back closet corner;

layers of dust had dimmed them some,

decades converted playful to garish.

In their heyday

they were club fodder, party wear, perfect companions

for a young woman’s feet as they danced the night away,

hugging and supporting them,

best friends through twenty-something dramas,

crushes, lost boyfriends, flip-flopping passions.

But maturity and years, life’s weight,

layered on and the boots got tight, were obsolete;

they became jokes, banished ghosts of youth.

Back in the light, they need a new home,

a new friend,

New retro-chic feet.

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Endurance implies a length of time to me. Not only to endure challenging physical conditions such as weather, but to endure cultural changes and societal changes. To live on long after death is best kind of endurance there is.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Grave of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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white birch trunk

Straight to the Sky…

I’d like to get away from Earth for awhile,

and then come back to it and begin over…

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,

and climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, til the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

Robert Frost, “Birches”

 

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I was so impressed by the old tree I talked about in my previous post that I couldn’t resist revisiting it.

In honor of National Poetry Month, a fragment of Wordsworth:

This solitary Tree! -a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed.

(From Yew-Trees by William Wordsworth)

old tree

Old Tree Roots

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

Hermann Hesse

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This week’s topic is UP.

Yesterday I attended a poetry event at the Fuller Museum in Brockton, MA. The event was free, although there is usually an admission price for the museum. Although it is very close to me, I have never been there before.

This is what I saw as I went UP the steps to the front door.

Fuller Museum, Brockton

Fuller Museum Entrance

The architecture of the building is modern, but the shingles give it a rustic feel. It blends well into the grounds; there’s a pond behind it, complete with a swan.

The poetry event was downstairs. Because it hadn’t started yet, I wandered a little in the first floor, and looking UP, I saw this in a hallway:

Icarus by Mark Davis

Icarus by Mark Davis

Close-up of Icarus

The sculpture is called Icarus by Mark Davis. Most people know the story that inspired it. Icarus wanted to fly; he made wings out of wax and feathers for him and his son. But his son soared to close to the sun; the wax on the wings melted and he fell to the earth. It’s about being greed and arrogance; living in dreams and ignoring what is important.

I contemplated the sculpture and thought about the story. I had received rejections on some poems I sent out the other day. Normally, I would have taken this to heart. I was disappointed but I have so many other pressing things in my life I didn’t dwell on it. I decided to go to this open mike event and read them. So though they won’t necessarily be read (right now), they were heard and I was content. Baby birds appreciate life and start with short flights…

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Yesterday I had a poem posted on Poet’s Corner (click here to read it).

If you haven’t checked out the blog before, you should! They post a poem daily; many different poetic styles are featured. It’s a great way to discover some creative bloggers!

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Rocks, bought and collected

When I was a child I loved rocks; an abandoned gravel pit was my playground. When my father cleaned out the garage, he found bag after bag of my treasures. I still have a few on display in my home today.

I supposed that is why rocks have figured in a lot of my poems over the years, beginning with this very simple poem, written in my youth about a crush.

Rocks

You love rocks —

Aspire to be one.

I love rocks too,

but you don’t seem

to belong

in my collection.

In my twenties, I took part in a poetry workshop, during which I wrote and shared a long poem entitled “Nothing to do with Hesse.” I dug it out and reread it as I worked on this post, thinking that it seems so stilted as I read it now, but at the time it impressed another young woman in the workshop, though I didn’t know it. Months later a woman approached me on the train and said, “You’re the one that wrote that poem about Hesse…what a great poem that was!” One of those memorable moments in an ordinary life. This excerpt is where the rocks come in:

A little girl

spent hours alone,

cracking and collecting stones,

exploring the backyard gravel pit

as her private planet…But

that has nothing to do with him.

(Again about an unrequited attraction…my favorite topic in my youth.) It was when I wrote this poem the other day that it occurred to me that I was often writing about rocks, and that they seem to be an important symbol for me.

Heart-shaped rocks

Heart-shaped rocks

Heart Rock

Sometimes I wonder if I am salvageable.

When there is nothing left

but my rock of a heart,

What then?

The only way to know

if there is anything worthwhile inside

is to hurl it against another rock —

or smash it

with a hammer —

only then might the plain gray shale

reveal its story,

old as the earth,

the sediment of years

in multi-colored layers;

only then might it become someone’s treasured

inspiring wonder,

or…

it could be the same,

through and through,

a dull disappointment tossed away,

ground to unknowable

dust.

 

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Naptime with Zoee

You don’t like me napping –

not now —

You burst the sun into my darkened room

giddy with your brilliant gift;

you stand on my stomach

kneading my middle-aged dough

with gusto.

In return

I knuckle your soft brassy cheeks,

admire your whiskers

arresting as the moon;

you push with your purring face,

fit it tight and

warm under my chin.

I’m awestruck and still;

stymied intentions discarded.

I know how fragile this is:

Just breath and taste

this momentary bond

complete.

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Yesterday we finally saw the sun and blue sky. I think I see a huge white bird flying. Watching clouds can be so absorbing.

It made me think of this poem by May Swenson:

THE CLOUD-MOBILE

Above my face is a map.

Continents form and fade.

Blue countries, made

on a white sea, are erased,

and white countries traced

on a blue sea.

It is a map that moves:

faster than real,

but so slow.

Only my watching proves

that island has being,

or that bay.

It is a model of time.

Mountains are wearing away,

coasts cracking,

the ocean spills over,

then new hills

heap into view

with river-cuts of blue

between them.

It is a map of change,

This is the way things are

with a stone or a star.

This is the way things go,

hard or soft,

swift or slow.

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This morning I pulled out a poetry book I hadn’t looked at in a while, looking for inspiration. These sunless days are difficult.

I found inspiration, but not the kind I expected. In the back of the poetry book was the agenda for my father’s funeral service with copies of the two poems I read. I succumbed to some tears and wrote this in one fell swoop, like a stream of consciousness:

In the back of the poetry book

I found

the order of service

for the day we buried my father

encased in the poems I read –

Not mine –

they said what I couldn’t say

and still can’t.

Why are my words

buried in this living coffin?

Where are the magic words

that could change everything?

Dead to a deaf world

they have no choice but to lie there

forever;

If only they could rest somewhere and find

the promised peace,

be stretched out on a page

caressed by so many waking eyes,

absorbed into regretful hearts

as the important last glimpse

before eternal silence.

We found a poem of my father’s,

his mind preparing for death;

We placed it over his smiling face

like a veil,

framed it like the precious voice

from the grave it was —

miracle of life after death –

Why didn’t we see this before,

everyone said?

If my father were alive,

he would probably say the same.

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