On the occasion of a slowly arriving spring . . .

grey skies droop,
shroud skyscrapers
and urban neighborhoods.
Red breasted robin
pecks through dirty pebbled remains
of once tall snow piles.
Crocus greenery marks the shift,
competes for first-sign-of-spring prize.
Less competitive blooms
await winter’s total demise.
Flannel clad, I snooze,
book close by.

Written for dVerse, the virutal pub for poets around the globe. Today, Mish asks us to use the word “shift” or a form of the word within the body of our quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words sans title.

You Became My Constant

I was not there, the day everything changed.
When was that? When World War II ended?
When Einstein discovered relativity?
When nine-eleven crashed into infamy?

Or when Harry really met Sally?
Or when you simply ate a peach that summer day,
juice deliciously dripping down your tanned wrist.
Somewhere at that moment, I suppose a child was born.

Truth is, everything changes
with every breath we take.
Every pivot, every spin, every loping run,
something new becomes.

Nothing stands still. Except perhaps
sentinel mountains in the Norwegian fjords.
Yet even they are marred by subtle granular shifts
as we gaze up at their rugged rockface surface.

Like when we turned around
and our children became adults.
We noticed when their braces came off that summer,
but we didn’t register the daily shifts.

I don’t understand my image in the mirror.
I know it’s me. But how did it become . . . that?
Wasn’t it just yesterday, I was a brunette
and you introduced yourself to me?

Fifty-seven years later, we walk more slowly,
still hand in hand more often than not.
We’ve passed through so many seasons together,
the path is now longer behind than in front.

And so my love, in this moment
that shall also pass by all too quickly,
I simply must tell you.
I am thankful for every day.
I am thankful for you.

Written to share with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Saturday, March 18, dVerse will go LIVE with audio and video from 10 to 11 AM EST.

Folks from across the globe will meet face-to-face via Google Meet to read a poem of their choosing, and to visit across the miles.

Click here between 10 and 11 AM Boston time on Saturday, March 18th to join us — you’ll find an easy link that will open in your browser so you can meet everyone. Be sure to click on the SATURDAY link. Come and read a poem of your own OR just watch and listen. We’re a friendly goup and the more the merrier!

Photos: That’s George, the love of my life, and I our freshman year in college – many many years ago. Second photo is of us this past summer.

Friendly Warning

Steeped in amniotic fluids,
ejected from maternal womb –
dropped into parents’ environment.

Simmered in their care, their beliefs,
their modeling behaviors and aspirations.
Children grow roots where they are planted.
Tend your garden wisely.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today Bjorn hosts OLN LIVE from Sweden, from 3 to 4 PM Boston time. Click here between 3 and 4 PM EST for the link to join us live with audio and video. Come read a poem of your own or come just to listen. The more the merrier!

Seaside Frolic

Sun beams broadly,
watches innocence frolic
on Cape Cod shores.

Arms akimbo,
children leap
through shallow waves.

Water splashes,
tickles skipping, kicking feet.
Laughter punctuates the scene.

If I could, I would capture this joy.
Carry it in a bottle with perforated lid
and sprinkle it on the world at will.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Lisa tells us it’s time to play at dVerse!

Photo at Provincetown; our grandchildren many years ago.

A Lesson in French

She did WHAT????
That’s gasporrific!
With the gardener?

On the curb,
outside the pub????
When was that?

Did he know?

The honey
on bland porridge.
But beware.

Gaspalicious can turn into
far too quickly.

it’s best to
fermer la bouche!

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. De asks us to include the word “gasp” or a form of the word in our quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words sans title. I had a bit of fun with the word. Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay

At 76 years of age, the phrase, “fermer la bouche” is one of the few phrases/words I remember from my three years of high school French. It means “shut-up” or more politely, “close your mouth”. Other phrases I can still say in French are
Where is the library?
Please pass the butter.
My name is Lillian.
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose.
Hmmmm…..don’t think I should depend on my French if we travel to Paris!

Haiku for Glenn

You’re skywriting now,
in stardust and bright moonbeams.
Still, we’ll miss you here.

Glenn Buttkus. Jun 14, 1944 – February 17, 2023.

Born in Seattle, Washington in 1944, he was a movie buff and an amateur thespian through high school, community theater, and college productions. He was accepted into the U of W’s BFA Professional Actor’s Training Program in 1970, then in its third year of existence. He worked in Regional Theatre in the Northwest for a few years, and then relocated to Los Angeles. In 1977, he took a job at an agency for the blind that was located near Hollywood, and he found a new love: special education. He returned to college, getting his MA in Education and worked with blind people for thirty years. (from m.imdb.com)

Glenn was a frequent contributor to dVerse and other online venues. His was a powerful voice at our OLN LIVE sessions. He is already missed.

Image clipped from his last appearance at OLN LIVE.

A Sorry Tale

I think back to those times.
Friendship spoiled like aged milk.
Curdled putrid,
far beyond its best-used-by date.

I was impressed at first,
by your confidence, laughter,
your louder-than-life self.
We became best friends,
roommates two years in school.

Slowly I realized
you craved attention.
Demanded the spotlight.
Used people
to make yourself the star.

Life’s circumstances
sent us to different cities.
We married, had children,
successful careers. And then,
we were thrown together again.

You relocated to where we were.
Kids in the same school, same grades,
same interests. Old times linked us
in others’ minds,
at church and kids’ events.

But you lived in the Heights,
we lived in the Flats.
You paraded that, flaunted it.
I was okay with that,
merely irritated.

Your husband
exhausted by your demands,
your goal to shine,
became more than irritated.
Driven to depression and anger,
he fled to the arms of another.

So you, ever the diva, consumed by ego,
picked up a knife, stabbed him.
Just once.
He gave you the spotlight.
He died.

On parole, you called me.
Went on and on
about his indiscretion.
Claimed it was self-defense.
Practiced your defense on me.

I hung up that day. Done.
You went to prison.
I went on living,
loving my husband, my family,
and our life.

Just shows you I supppose,
some friendships
were never meant to be.

Written for dVerse where today we’re asked to a) write about friendship and b) begin our poem with the first line of another poet’s poem posted on dVerse. My first line, “Occasionally” is from Christine Bolton’s Senryu. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Who needs a rosary?

Rosary tied to box spring
beneath where my father slept.
God, have mercy on him.
He did not worship You,
but lived You in relationships.

I was taught Papal invincibility
as priests preyed on youth.
They forgave others
behind confessional screens,
required rosaries for penance.

My father,
God rest his soul,
more a father than them.
He didn’t need a rosary,
but many of them did.

Explanation: When I was away in college, I received a phone call from my mother. They’d just had a new mattress and box spring set delivered. And the strangest thing, she said. When they went to remove the old box spring, they found a rosary entwined in the bottom of it. Did I have any idea why it was there?

And then I remembered. When I was in Catholic grade school, learning my catechism, I feared my father wouldn’t go to heaven because he didn’t go to church and he wasn’t a Catholic. So I sneaked into my parents’ bedroom, crawled under their bed and tied a rosary to the boxed spring, on the side of the bed my father slept on. Imagine the indoctrination that happened to make me think that and go to that extreme to save him. I was probably in third or fourth grade when I did this. I just couldn’t understand, I suppose, how such a good man as my father, wouldn’t be allowed in heaven.

Image by Richard Revel from Pixabay

In the Voice of Amy Lowell

Wind whipped branches stir my soul
caught in illumined path shed by moon.
Sunken alone, I battle with desire.

A single note of the lime tree sings,
rippled with ripeness, love’s nectar flows.
I shake my head on the crowded quay.

Thou willst convnce this dear virgin
through thine copious tears,
to publicly proclaim our love and joy.

Written for Thursday’s MTB at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today Bjorn asks us to use AI in the creation of a poem. PLEASE do real below to see how my poem was written, using Artifical Intelligence!

It used to be, teachers worried about students plagiarizing by copying materials from a library; then from materials gathered by Google; and now, enter AI platforms that produce entire papers/essays/poems.

I used this AI site in writing my post today: https://sites.research.google/versebyverse/

How this AI site works or how I think it works and how I used it!
1) You select 1 to 3 poets from a list they provide. They will be your muse. I chose only one: Amy Lowell.
2) You write your original first line to begin your poem, and enter it on the site. I wrote “Wind whipped branches stir my soul.”
3) You click on the blank line provided (called Verse 1) and the site generates about six lines in the style of the poet(s) you chose.
4) You can use one or some of these lines; or click refresh and you get another list of lines. You continue doing this until you’ve chosen enough lines for the length of poem you want and then click Poem Complete.
5) The site then gives you the poem “you’ve written” – your first original line followed by lines the site provided, in the style of the poet(s) you chose.
6) The site provides a lovely image of “your” formatted poem.
7) At the bottom it says “Composed by User. Inspired by Amy Lowell. Composed in Verse by Verse.”

Here is the “poem” with my first line, the AI site Verse by Verse “wrote” for me. (I refreshed a number of times to get these individual lines).

Wind whipped branches stir my soul
Caught from a slide while the moon shed,
Sunken alone her battle with its desire,
A single note of the lime tree sing,
Streak with ripeness, with the fruit
She shook her head, and on the crowded quay
Could force this Dear Virgin through thee tears.
Clotilde had been with love and joy.

Now you can look back at the poem I posted above and see the edits I made from the AI version.

NOTE: Amy Lowel (1874 – 1925) was an early champion of free verse. According to Wikipedia “Lowell was said to be lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell were reputed to be lovers. Russell is reputed to be the subject of Lowell’s more erotic works, most notably the love poems contained in ‘Two Speak Together’, a subsection of Pictures of the Floating World.” Image is Amy Lowell.

All the World’s a Stage (with apologies to Will Shakespeare)

So many footlights burned out
spotlight leaning askew
curtains removed, scrim gone
proscenium arch stands stark.

Program says Act Three.
Audience hushed, anticipates tragedy.
Director expects me, in shrouded black,
to slump upon the floor.

The script be damned . . .
it’s my chance to be a star!!!
Black over-sized poncho
is thrown to the floor.

Behold my sequined skin tight leotard,
fish net stockings over varicose veins.
Audience gasps at my tapping frenzy ~
shuffle ball changes, wings, and Rockette kicks.

Grinning, laughing, 
I finally decide.
This addendum to the script
shall joyously end!

I wink at the conductor, astounded in the pit.
Timpanist catches my drift
and gloriously booms
as I exit like a flying dervish
to joyous hilarious applause.

While the poem is not about me, I did take tap lessons from the age of 4 until my senior year in high school. I still have my own tap shoes (not the ones in the photo)!