Then and now . . .

My school days,
saddle shoes, skirt and top.
Their school daze,
slippers, top and “cozy” pants.
My school days,
chalkboard in big classroom.
Their school daze,
computer screen and clicking keys.
My school days,
penmanship lessons
with nun in long habit.
Their school daze,
zoom math with talking head,
mute button and breakout rooms.
My school days,
long walk there in rain or snow.
Their school daze,
bed to desk with bathroom stop.
My school days, so long ago.
Their school daze, one big blur
in one lost year.

Written for NaPoWRiMo, Day 10‘s prompt which asked us to recall lyrics to a song we know, then look in a junk drawer in our house and see what’s in it…and then come up with a poem that somehow weds the two. For whatever reason, I thought of the old song School Days which my mother used to sing to me when I was young; and which I sang to my grandchildren when they were young. The drawer yielded a ruler and I won’t tell you what else! I started thinking about this past Covid year and what it’s done to children in terms of their school days….and voila, here’s the result.

Kid by Design

Box of colored chalk in hand,
hmmm…. how do I do this again?
First, pick the perfect sidewalk spot.
White chalk, start close,
draw one square.
Yellow chalked rectangle on top,
divide it into two and three.
White chalk again,
I like consistency.
Draw square four, same as one.
Green rectangle right above that,
evenly make into five and six.
White me a seven.
Orange rectangle next,
divide precisely into eight and nine.
Sky blue ten crowns them all,
all squares point to heaven.
Brush straggly gray hair off face.
Ooh yes, scratch nose where it itches.
Small rock in hand, stand steady, stand tall.
Neighbor man walks by and smiles,
stares at my colorful cheeks and nose.
“Hi” I say. “Care to play?”
“Nah” he says, “but you go ahead.”
So . . . stoop and throw . . .
hopscotch through my private rainbow
right on up to that promising blue.

A “List Poem” for the NaPoWriMo Day 9 prompt. Image from Pixabay.com

Between Here and There

What, cruel fate?
When body ages naturally,
stooped and frail but moving still,
enjoying time with family and friends,
you dare to strike unexpectedly?

You send blood careening to skull
where corpuscles wreak havoc,
inflict destruction without mercy.
Life gasps bereft of speech, bereft of steps.
Minimal movement left, only on left side.

Now dear Starr, comes time to leave,
the good life lived.
Sustained by faith,
your one love gone far too soon,
waits impatiently beyond.

Ascend into the universe,
soar upon angel’s wings.
Painful our goodbyes
though we understand your need,
your exhaustion, your readiness.

Your body upon its own journey,
earthly path to far past stars.
We hold your hand, not to tether you.
Rather to show our love, provide comfort,
an assuring touch in this transition time.

And when you are gone from here, 
body spent, spirit uplifted, 
you will be here with us
and simultaneously there.
Forever imprinted upon our heart.

This is dedicated to my sister-in-law Starr and her family. Starr, eighty-three, entered hospice this past weekend. She has five children, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She lost her husband, my wonderful brother, to a massive heart attack when he was only fifty-one. We shall all miss her terribly.

Written for dVerse where today Grace hosts with a prompt entitled “The Body and Poetry.”

Also included in NaPoWriMo Day 8 – National Poetry Writing Month – where the challenge is to write a poem every day in April.

If you could choose . . .

anxiety
panicky, out-of-control
debilitating, all-consuming, frightening
nervous, sleepless / composed, content
empowering, stimulating, calming
mindful, cognizant
serenity

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse. Lisa is our host and asks us to consider “opposite poems” …… giving us several options for our creative process today. One is to follow this form:
Line 1: a noun/subject
Line 2: two adjectives that describe the noun/subject
Line 3: three ‘ing words about the noun/subject
Line 4: four words: two about the noun/subject and two about its antonym (opposite)
Line 5: three ‘ing words about the antonym
Line 6: two adjectives that describe the antonym
Line 7: an antonym (opposite word) for the noun/subject
The noun and its antonym I chose: anxiety and serenity

Also posted for NaPoWriMo Day 6. Illustration: some wierd photoshopped photo of me done years ago.

Missing Her . . .

Handknit, hand-dyed scarf.
Raw wool dipped in boiled walnuts,
transformed to mahogany brown.
Steeped in golden rod,
yellow yarn gleams.
Red wine we often sipped,
created rich burgundy section.
Scarf left behind,
she promised to return.
Summer here, woolens stowed,
save one colorful scarf.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time, come join us! Today’s word to incorporate into our quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title, is wine.

Also shared at NaPoWriMo for Day 5. April is National Poetry Writing Month and the challenge is to write one poem every day during the month of April. Photo from Pixabay.com

And yes: I’ve dyed raw wool with such things as walnuts, wine, onion skins, golden rod, and even beets!

Light at the end of the tunnel….

Rusty, stiff, unwilling introvert
this Covid-confined self.

Like a long steel girded tunnel
beam after beam
day after day
sameness leads nowhere
stretches far ahead,
farther than the mind can tolerate.

Until science leaps through hoops
crosses finish line,
wins trophy emblazoned HOPE.
Elixir in a sterilized needle.
Shots into arms engage wills
energizes souls.

Dim light,
once far beyond the grid
glimmers, brightens,
glows, grows.
Lights up faces around the world.
Emergence is near.

Written for Day 4 NaPoWriMo. The prompt is to use an image from Liminal Spaces@SpaceLiminalBot as motivation for a prompt. I chose the image above.

Swapping Decks

Escaped from blaring horns
hectic pace and sweat filled nights
caused by deadlines and stress.
Driving on two lane byways now.

The wayside diner beckons me.
Apple trees shade the walk,
bees buzz round fallen overripe fruit.
I don’t even lock the car doors.

Inside, large cheerful sunflowers
sit in vases on oilcloth covered tables.
Sheila sashays over with a pleasant hello,
sets down a chipped porcelain cup.

She pours in dark rich coffee right to the brim.
“What’ll ya have? Got fresh melon off the vine
and cinnamon buns are good today.”
Her nametag is printed in thick magic marker.

I sigh and nod my head. No words needed.
She saunters back somewhere, to the kitchen?
No matter. I just sit,
run my finger slowly round the coffee mug’s lip.

I stare out the window. Contemplate nothing.
No deadlines hurtling at me.
I’m in an internet dead zone.
I may just sit here until dinner time.

Placemat menu lists pot roast.
Sounds good to me.

Written for day 3 of NaPoWriMo. Today we are to create a Personal Universal Deck, an idea originated by the poet and playwright Michael McClure. He gave the project of creating such a deck to his students in a 1976 lecture at Naropa University. The idea is to take 50 index cards or pieces of paper and write words on each side of the card *so 2 words to a card; one on the front and one on the back; 100 words in total. The following instructions are given for the words: Divide 80 of the 100 words evenly among SIGHT, SOUND, TASTE, TOUCH AND SMELL, sixteen each. Also include 10 words of movement, at least one body part, and one abstraction (such as peace, patriotism, etc). Then, shuffle the cards and pick out at random, a number of cards. Lay them down and you will see the words looking at you. Create your poem using those words. The cards can be reshuffled and used many times….each time drawing out a number of cards from which to create your poem. You choose how many. I thought the title “Swapping Decks” went with the sense of the poem and also refers to the Personal Universal Deck I created for this prompt.

I picked out these words: blaring horn, cinnamon, buzz, sweat, sigh, sun flowers, and melon! These words were among the 100 that I wrote down on the cards, using the front and backs of the cards as instructed. An interesting exercise! I’m tempted to pull out the “deck of word cards” I’ve created, and use them again, drawing out cards at random, placing them on the table so one word on each is displayed (no fair turning the card over and choosing to use the other word!) and writing more poems from them. In a way, it’s like “found poetry”.