A bit of light

Today on Ethical ELA I encountered a poetic form new to me: the lantern. My understanding is that it is a five-line Japanese shape poem beginning with a one-syllable noun followed by successive lines of nouns containing two, three, and four syllables, ending with another one-syllable noun, all connected to and building on the first word.

I was immediately captivated and had to give it a try.

It is challenging.

In my mind the lantern image morphed into a lamppost, a symbol with much personal meaning. Like the indelible image in Narnia, a lamppost marks the way home for me: one stood in front of the house where I grew up. Whenever I was out at night and turned the last corner, I’d see the light of that lamppost.

I went with the image. I kept the syllable count but gave up on sticking with just nouns. I could write a lengthy essay about all the other meanings the lamppost holds for me, but this is poetry; interpretation belongs to the reader. 

It is dark and dreary in my neck of the woods today, pouring rain… perhaps that’s another reason the lamppost remained.

I needed a bit of light.

To the Lamppost

Your
good light
still guides me
home through darkest
night

Intimate conversation poem

with thanks to Barb Edler for the Open Write inspiration on Ethical ELA. Barb invited poets to speak directly to a subject, perhaps a person from the past or present, a beloved or loathed object, or even a dream, frustration, or desire.

Refuge

In the dead of winter
in the dark of night
in the starlit silence
you come

to sleep
in the old
twig-vine wreath
on the front door

tiny warm presence
of which I’d be unaware
if not for the pull
of the stars

the frigid bite
of the night
is worth the sight
if only for a moment

so I open
the door

soft sudden flutter
wings taking flight
in the cold cold night

oh little bird
that I cannot see
you cannot know
how your presence
comforts me

that in this barren season
before the time
of nesting
you find your place
of resting

upon my door

little winged creature
of first blessing

*******

Note: Sea creatures and birds were the first living things blessed by God, Genesis 1:22.

Said wreath. When I woke before dawn, remembering there’s a comet to be observed, I bundled up to try for a view from the front porch. The little unseen bird flew out of the wreath as I opened the door. There is no nest; I am not sure where the bird tucks in but the idea of it sleeping against the safety of my door in winter makes a metaphor of immense comfort to me. I can’t determine if it’s a house finch (they build nests in my wreaths each spring) or a Carolina wren, tiny bird with a big, gorgeous song. In the darkness I can only hear small wings beating for a split second as it takes flight. Whatever it is… it is welcome.

Light bucket


to the astronomer
light bucket
means a telescope
with a wide aperture
and parabolic mirrors
that collect
and reflect
great quantities of light
from objects
in deep space

for the universe
is a dark place

to the starry-eyed poet
light bucket
is a means
of picking up bits
of divine spark

for keeping
the mind’s aperture wide
the soul and spirit aligned
humanity’s parabola
so intelligently designed

for collecting
for reflecting
great buckets of light

for the universe
is a dark place

Image. Danielle Scott. CC BY-SA 2.0

‘Twas the night before… ick

with apologies to Clement C. Moore
and mice

‘Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas
when all through the house

or at least under the kitchen sink
and in the SILVERWARE DRAWER
a creature WAS stirring

yes a mouse

what to my horrified eyes should appear
in the morning
amongst the forks and spoons
—you can imagine—

ICK ICK ICK

so off to the hardware store
we flew like a flash
for D-Con and such…
all we could score…

I spoke not a word but went straight to my work
of rodenticide, with my newfound arsenal
after disinfecting and sanitizing everything in sight
—dash it all, dash it all, dash it all—

tidy, furry, and cute (?)
works from a distance
or maybe in fiction
definitely NOT in my kitchen

with visions of vermin
dancing on spoons
(among other things)
I keep shuddering and scrubbing
in spite of myself

happy Christmas to all
and to all a good-night
except the poor mouse
no more in my house…

Santa Claws: the greeting card (Project 365: 348/365)tehchix0r. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Is it too late to ask Santa for one more thing?

Heron

a triolet

with thanks to the heron

Every morning, at the corner of the pond
when I see the huddled heron
it calls my hunkered heart to respond.
Every morning, at the corner of the pond
with a wave of nature’s reflective wand
my muddled spirit is less bleak, less barren…
every morning, at the corner of the pond
when I see the huddled heron.

Grey Heron. PapaPiperCC BY-ND 2.0.

A heron is, in short, a symbol that all shall be well