with thanks to Jennifer Jowett on #verslove at Ethical ELA today. Jennifer used the idea of wire structures and blind contour drawing to inspire today’s invitation to compose: “Today, trust the pathway of your words. Find a starting point and let the words take you where they want. You might find yourself meandering, stopping here and there to absorb, or moving quickly until you reach a finish. You might play with extensive enjambment to keep the eye moving continuously. Or you might try something else entirely. Your journey is yours to explore.”
Just this week, the opening line of this poem came to me. As did the last. I wrote them down so I could figure out what to do with them…then came today’s prompt. I dedicate this “wire structure poem” to children…young and grown…your interpretation is your own.
For Day Eighteen of National Poetry Month
Double Helix, Pulled Apart
separated by walls we didn’t make
shattered by hearts we didn’t break
scattered by paths we didn’t take
yet eternally connected
by blood we cannot take away
by cords we cannot break away
by history we cannot make aright
perhaps united in silent ache today that love will find a way
with thanks to Gayle and Annie in today’s #VerseLove at Ethical ELA, at this invitation: “The goal is to select a character trait or an emotion and give it a back story. How did they get to be who they are now? Fill in the details–what they wear, where they travel, who they hang out with. Have fun with the creature you meet and get to know them a little better. Take it past the formal definition of personification into something bigger (or smaller…) than that. Make them into a living, breathing, quirky individual.”
It just so happens that my “one little word” for the year is awe. How can I resist the chance to personify her? She is leaning in even now, to see what I will write…and waiting to be revealed.
At the beginning of the year I wrote a little poem that remains one of my favorites: Awe (The Blue Hour). If you click on that link you can scroll past the intro to find the poem. Today I attempt to rework it for Awe personified.With her help, of course.
For Day Seventeen of National Poetry Month
She slips into the world quietly born on the blue hour at the falling away of day and the coming of the night unexpected but longed-for child of Reverend Reverence and his indigenous wife Waking Beauty
she takes their breath away at first sight they weep as they embrace their tiny perfect child
Awe grows up studying the stars under Waking Beauty’s tutelage At her father’s knee, she listens to stories of dreams and their interpretations loving the sound of his rich, resonant voice and the rustling of his fingers turning fragile pages
She thinks, When I grow up, I want to weave blankets of stars and dreams and give them away free for the taking
She thinks it, but Awe doesn’t speak it aloud in fact, her parents grow worried that she may never speak until she startles them one gray, misty morning by bursting forth in song at the breakfast table her voice so high and pure that Waking Beauty spills the juice and Reverend Reverence nearly falls of his chair instead he kneels in thanksgiving while her mother dabs her eyes with a napkin
Awe sings for a moment crystal notes hanging in the air before dissolving into giggles just as a shaft of sunlight spills through the window
She decides she’ll be an artist
In smock and beret, palette poised she considers the blank canvas envisioning at last determining that there is no blue without yellow and orange and dips her brush
It is not enough for her to recreate nature however
Awe must live and breathe it and through it
So she walks in every season through the countryside through city streets often wearing her cloak of invisibility undetected until someone brushes against her and realizes she’s there
she picks her moments for revealing her presence a peek at a time of herself behind the cloak smiling at transfigured faces yes, full revelation would be entirely too much
Awe is tireless in her weaving of experiences swimming the oceans undaunted by depths and mysteries scaling the mountains unperturbed by heights and ice she goes on through the storms in the lightning, in the havoc even in the horror she is there especially in the aftermath when people band together to begin healing one another
She stops by the house of worship and lingers in the stillness just waiting
the bird on the rooftop understands and sings for all he is worth
Awe walks on through shadowed back alleys warming her hands over the crackling fires in our souls at her whisper, we beckon one another to stop, come and be warm instead of passing by in blue wisps of smoke curling upward and outward in tendrils of wrongs
yes, even in the deepest darkness Awe slips in quietly carrying her candle illuminating faces and nodding at her reflection in the eyes of those who see
silently offering her free blanket woven of stars and dreams and the color of forgiveness in the blue hour
My drawing- the landscape spells AWE. Enhanced with Cartoona.
also shared with with the Poetry Friday community, with gratitude to all and especially to Jama today for hosting
with thanks to Ruth Ayres at SOS – Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog, for reiterating this truth: “Habit is essential for writers. If we develop a habit that allows us to enter into writing, then we will write more often.” She encourages the “magic” community to pay attention to the routines that make blog writing happen.
I am a morning writer. I love the rich, dark silence of the sleeping world around me, the freedom to hear my own uncluttered thoughts, the anticipation of gifts from the burgeoning day. I love the neighbor’s rooster, how his loud crowing wafts through the stillness; there are a few roosters in this neighborhood and sometimes they echo each other in a chorus of wild, rustic, joyful aliveness. It is a song of my soul. For a second, I have a sense of my young grandfather a hundred years ago, preparing for his farm chores, walking the fertile land he cultivated and loved all of his life, as darkness turns to light.
And so I write.
An acrostic, for Day Sixteen of National Poetry Month
Hallowed Are these moments Before the dawn Immersed in words The breathings of my being
with thanks to Dr. Stefani Boutelier on Ethical ELA’s #VerseLove today. She writes of the way a title can change the interpretation of a poem, or how it might add layers of metaphor: “I invite you to write a poem where the title helps identify its content, theme, or purpose. The topic and form are up to you–the focus today is on the title.”
I will share my poem’s title at the end.
For Day Fifteen of National Poetry Month
The stories of time before my time I lived them through your telling felt them through your pounding heart breathed them with your young lungs until I wanted to run coughing from the reek of smoke the acrid taste of ash and I think of how you spent your years giving yourself to others despite the ghosts that surely clung as smoke clings to clothing and as I enter the doorway I can hardly breathe for the cloying scent of flowers and there you are on the table ready and waiting in your little box conveniently resting in a little white tote I dare not trust the handles I just wrap my arms around you and carry you against my heart like I did my babies only there’s no car seat needed now
still, I must keep you safe in your new lightness so I strap the seatbelt across us both pondering the measure of a man larger than life so reduced
but I’ve got you, I’ve got you cradled close see now, I’m driving you home sun and shadows flickering over us like old newsreels of liberation
Title: What Remains
Dedicated to my father-in-law, a World War II veteran.
with thanks to Dr. Padma Venkatraman and the Ethical ELA #VerseLove invitation to write a quatrain today on hope, especially, hope overcoming hate: What does hope mean to me? How do I see it? She suggested using a metaphor.
I see hope is as vital to our existence as humans. When I started this blog, I wanted it it to be uplifting and hopeful. The world already has far too much anger and hatred. I struggled with condensing a metaphor for hope that would fit in four lines! I finally settled on a sunflower. It’s too big for all I would say here in regard to hope overcoming hate. Maybe I will try it in another form later. Part of my inspiration comes from sunflowers being planted to absorb radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Technically lines one and three should rhyme but I claim poetic license.
For Day Fourteen of National Poetry Month
Hope turns its face to the sun Warming its myriad seeds Hope’s roots absorb toxins Cleansing each soul that it feeds.
with thanks to Andy Schoenborn for the invitation to write on “what we have taken and what has been taken from us” in today’s #VerseLove on Ethical ELA – a reflective poem using the words take and taken.
A double etheree, on Day Thirteen of National Poetry Month
New morning brimming with yet unwritten possibility asking nothing of me only offering itself for the things I shall make of it once the ribbon of light releases this present day; what shall I take of it?
This present day, what I shall take of it? Maybe just isolated fragments to hold in pockets of silence little treasures worth saving moments of loving like the ones yesterday has not taken away from you and me.
with thanks to Scott McCloskey for the inspiration in today’s #VerseLove at Ethical ELA. Scott suggested looking through the calendar of national celebration days (you can select a country) and writing an ode to one or more of them, as to why they’re important, or finding different meanings, serious or fun, or simply create your own celebration for the day – as in, Scott says, “to that misshapen paperclip on your desk, that threadbare left sock, or that broken pair of sunglasses in your drawer.”
For Day Eleven of National Poetry Month, here’s my poem on two celebrations occurring today(I KNOW some of y’all out there are going to get the reference and connective tissue here):
Ode to the Day: Of Pets and Old Songs
Here’s to dogs, ambassadors of love constant comforters, day by day warming presences on the coldest night even if they’re not pets even if they’re wild as in the Australian Aboriginal legend of sleeping in a hole, snuggled to a dingo and should it be freezing it might be a three-dog night keeping warm
Here’s to singin’ joy to the world all the boys and girls and to all the pets that warm their hearts and brighten their days —of course now that song is stuck in my head on continuous play like an 8-track tape which I confess to remembering, alas— never mind, let’s just take today to celebrate how, in the end, all things are connected
April 11th is National Pet Day and National 8-Track Tape Day. I combine them with a nod to Three Dog Night & “Joy to the World.”
Some of my pets from way back when 8-track tapes were not yet obsolete. My black cat, Moriah, and my dog, Bagel.
blossoms hang like grapes wisteria decadence threaded through the trees
finches chirruping five pale blue eggs in the nest on the front door wreath
grass, fresh-cut fragrance green carpet for morning sun not yet grown brutal
Wisteria decadence. Took this photo four days ago. I love wisteria and its whispers of bygone days. I have even written a short story in the voice of a wisteria vine, set in rural NC in the early part of the 20th century. Plants, after all, are said to have memory and feelings…
with thanks to Barb Edler who posted the prompt for #VerseLove on Ethical ELA: “Consider the challenges you’ve overcome, the celebrations you can rejoice, the way you may miss something that you never realized you missed”…as inspiration for a “things I didn”t know I loved” poem.
When I returned to college later in life, after having had a family, I was asked to write an essay on “My Most Memorable Teacher.” I’d never thought about this before and was unprepared to write on the teacher who came immediately to mind…but I did write.
I had to.
On Day Nine of National Poetry Month, I give it to you in poem form.
For Mrs. Cooley
You terrified me, you know looming large an immovable mountain in pearls and heels casting your dark shadow over my fourth-grade days
The topography of your years etched deep on your face your eagle eyes piercing my very existence
The fear and trembling of math drills— Dear Lord save me from subtraction!— I look up and there it is in your expression: You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip
I did not know that many years later when I’d be asked to write of my most memorable teacher that you’d spring to mind clear as day overshadowing all others
and that what I’d recall is how you read Charlotte’s Web to the class
I did not know I could love a spider so
and then how you read us Old Yeller
My God my God I almost died with that dog
I did not know that you were the one who made me love reading for there is a difference in being able to and it being the air you breathe
I could not believe how worried you were when I fell on the playground that day how you cradled my distorted left arm all the way to the office and waited with me ‘til Daddy came
I never dreamed you’d come see me at home when I had to stay in bed propped with pillows ice bag on my cast
I saw you and the tears came— I am missing the last two weeks of school I won’t pass the fourth grade
I did not know you could CHUCKLE that your sharp blue eyes could go so soft and watery and I never heard that phrase before: flying colors you pass with flying colors
Would you believe I am a teacher now it isn’t what I planned but here I am
I never knew until Daddy told me years ago that you’d passed how much I’d long to see you again to ask you a thousand things maybe even to laugh
but more than anything to thank you with all my heart
so I do that now in hopes that you and Charlotte and Old Yeller know that my love lives on
Photo: Girl reading. Pedro Ribeiro Simðes. CC BY – reminds me of young me
Thanks also to Tabatha Yeatts for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup