poetry


Random quote of the day:

“all the things we are
taught, all the loves we chase, all the deaths we
die, all the lives we live,
they are never quite right…”

—Charles Bukowski, “Cut While Shaving”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“In what language does rain fall over tormented cities?”

—Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions, LXVI (tr. William O’Daly)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”

—Theodore Roethke, Notebooks 1949-50

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn.”

—Stanley Kunitz, “The Testing-Tree”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Poetry is not personal.

And so, the spring!
Green grass, fog, blossoms,
the daffodils headless
after the gardener passed through.

Birdsong, God yes, birdsong,
morning, noon, twilight,
even a damned nightingale
passing through on its way
from point A to points farther north.

The crack of the bat,
the smell of the crowd,
young bodies turning to fancy,
fancy bodies turning to fever.

Bleating lambs with gay
red X’s spray painted on their coats,
and orange tags stapled to their ears,
frolicking and jumping while
they still have a chance
to be something more than chops.

And so, the spring!
(Nothing personal.)

 

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

Boot straps

Sometimes the wild creatures in your heart
get too scared, remain restless, hide away.
My mother the horse-whisperer would have
spoken gently, stroking calmness back into
those creatures, and walked them through
the fear.

Sometimes you don’t have to put the bucket
far down the well before it fills.
Other times you hit the rocky bottom.
My grandfather, the water witch, would have
gotten out the willow rod and paced the land
to find a new well.

Sometimes you need to heal but it takes so long
and the medicine you need is so hard to find.
My great-grandmother the herb witch
would have walked the hills until she found
what she needed.

Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up
and do what needs doing.
Only you can find what you need,
only you can recognize the magic
when you see it.

Generations behind point me to the path.
But only I will recognize the magic when I see it.
And I must walk the walk.

 

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

“It’s all lagers and cigars here”
says the ancient postcard,
remembering a time when,
a long-gone long ago.

Lately, the Crone has slipped
me cryptic messages, all lagers
and cigars, remembering when,
whens that never were except in dreams.
I accept them all, those never-whens,
as absolute fact, an internal terrain
as real as terra firma.

Those dreams once meant something
more than fantasy, something realer
than real, a world burgeoning
in silence and sighs, forming on paper
and on screens, going forth into that
other world, the one most folks
mistake for real.

“When shall we two meet again,” she asks,
“over lagers and cigars?”

I have no answer except “soon”
and “someday.”

She laughs at that.
She recognizes the sound of dreams
disappearing into the mist,
like gorillas on the brink of
extinction.

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

Sometimes my anger is an ice scalpel
cutting with pleasure, glorying
in slicing, hungering for deeper cuts.

Sometimes my anger is a bludgeon,
turned outward to smash and bully,
to get my way, to assuage my ego.
This anger never holds sway:
guilt beats me back as hard as I hit.

Sometimes my anger is a snake
devouring its own tail. But this
Ouroboros, instead of infinite wholeness,
destroys, particularizes, breaks apart.
It consumes me, digesting my own bloated
corpse, dissolving me to nothingness.

Sometimes my anger is a vision,
sweeping away denials and delusions,
forcing me to see things as they
truly stand: in dreamless clarity.

Sometimes my anger is a fire god,
burning me clean and truly righteous,
pulling me up from the pyre to stand
and speak, to do those needful things.
To change myself, and thus the world.

 

My friend Kevin, after reading in last week’s poem about rivers devouring children, said I was a real Metal poet. I agreed that sometimes I was a #FullMetalPoet. This week’s entry does nothing to dispel that notion, I suppose, but that’s why I love poetry. Like all the best things in the world, it doesn’t always have to be pretty.

 

 

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

If you’ve been following this project at all, you may remember that it started as a recreation of a classroom experience. After five weeks of only allowing us to do shorter form poetry like haiku and tanka, the teacher allowed us to move on to longer poems: one poem a week, at least 20 lines, any form. So I think I’m going to try that for the next five weeks.

Now, these will be little more than working poems, nothing to set the world afire, and the only reason I am doing this exercise publicly is to force my own hand. The object is to produce something, anything on a regular basis. I have seen some positive things coming from the short poem exercise, so I’m hoping that trend continues.

Since it’s Monday, my week for this phase of the project will go from Monday to Monday. So here’s number one, actually inspired by one of the shorter poems:

***

Who can know the soul of rivers?
I don’t. They turned our rivers to concrete
long before I was born, choking them
and channeling them on their journey
homeward to the sea, floodtide or flow.
We think they are tame, yet they fool us,
routinely eating children and the unwary.

Oceans I have seen and lived beside,
and no one would mistake them for tame.
Yet who can know the soul of such a vast,
primordial giant, changing with every glance,
moving moment by moment, hour by hour,
the protean mother surrounding the world?

Who can know the soul of rivers?
Wild or contained, channeled or flooding,
they flow through us but are hidden,
on their way home to the mother of us all.

***

ETA: Oops. I just realized I only made it to 17 lines above.
ETA #2: I remembered that the teacher was asking for poems to be at least as long as a sonnet and assumed that was 20 lines, but it’s actually 16. So I’m good!

And just for the hell of it, here’s a random box from my found paper one-a-day box folding project:

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

 

The windows are too
high to see the rain but I
hear its staccato
splatter notes and the subtle
music of splash on wind chimes.

 

 

 

*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

 

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