Straws

Our lives are made of moments, some plain, some filled with awe.
Looking back I was surprised how many included sipping through a straw!

My mother showed me how to sip orange juice to go with grahams;
Then coca cola and ice cream sodas helped make me who I am.
Chocolate milkshakes, creamy and thick should be against the law.
The memories sweet, of all those times sipping through a straw.

In college I learned about Scotch Mists, served with straws black and thin;
As were those Mai Tai’s with rum and gardenias that almost did me in.
Anything sipped through a straw was yummy. To me a special treat,
Until the memories of hospital stays I do not wish to repeat.

When your lips are cracked, your mouth is dry and your body feels so raw
There is no better thing the nurses can bring than water to sip through a straw.
It’s funny the things that come to mind; the adventures, the things you saw.
My life’s special moments have often come when sipping through a straw.

Straws is written by Lindsey Ein: wonderful writer, wonderful friend, and mother to our dear son-in-law. She shared this poem with dVerse LIVE on Thursday – I’m just a bit late posting it.

For the Love of Sound

The only job she could land
landed her in an out-of-the-way town.
She’d cajoled and connived her way
to a choir of four.
Refusing to admit defeat,
she would not
call them a quartet.

David, eyes cast down interminably,
droned a background hum
for whatever tune was sung.
Delilah, the defiant one.
Deliberately off-pitch to shine,
spotlight stolen by default.
Dissonant in life as well.

Miriam, the honey-blonde.
Sensuous red lips
licked and dewed before each word,
mouthed dulcet tones too late.
Behind in every measure,
she flashed her thigh for all to see
beneath unbuttoned robe.

And Carl, the rapper.
Lordy, what a snazzy guy.
Snapped his fingers
while chanting words.
Smelled of weed with eyes glazed,
unwilling to shed
his percussive beat.

She smiled and waved her baton,
directing the motley crew.
Sweat dribbled down her chest
to that delicate spot
between her ample breasts.
Music is as music does,
always music to her ear.

She’d defied the warnings,
music her one true love.
So here she stood,
tone deaf and proud.
Her quartet, after all,
was magnificently loud.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets across the globe.

Today, Laura asks us to write a “sound poem” choosing one word from five lists she provides. She also points us toward Hart’s Thesaurus of the Senses, a valuable resource for poets. Laura, I ordered a copy yesterday. The words I used (or forms of the word) were drone, dissonant, dulcet, dribble, and chant. I also added a fifth word from the list, honey. Truly had fun with this prompt. Thank you, Laura! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

PS: dedicated with humor to my daughter and son, both of whom direct a chorus and/or choir; and son-in-law, who composes choral music.

Image from A Scrub’s Life, February 1, 2017: “Sometimes We Can Be A Little Tone Deaf”

And the Evil Shall Continue . . .

They lived in the forest. Two offspring of Elsinora, the Witch of Evildore. They’d been learning her trade for many years. Memorized spells, chopped beetle wings, boiled cat’s blood. Now the time had come. Elsinora smiled through blistered purple lips. They were ready. They’d consumed all her ancient books; syphoned memory strands from her pustule covered head.

“Rest now, my dearies. Come to me and bring no book. For this one day we’ll give to idleness. Let’s take your measurements as you rest. Boot size for broom stirrups. Breath velocity for hexes. Quickly now, my loves, as the spirits have ruled. I shall disappear when the moon ebbs and you shall rule the lands. Control those naive two-legged creatures who assume they are the dominant strain. Come sit with me and I shall gift you reign over all, on this my dying day.”

Written for the prosery prompt at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Ingrid hosts and asks us to include the line “And bring no book for this one day we’ll give to idleness” within our work of fiction that is 144 words or less in length, sans title. The line must be used word for word, but the punctuation may be changed. The line is from Wordsworth’s Lines Written at a small distance from my house which is included in the collection Lyrical Ballads. Image from Pixabay.com

Beware the Evil Tra-La-Lah

She sweetly sings Come be with me,
lullabyes them deep in sleep to kidnap.
Children, her calliope.

She crashes children’s dreams with glee
mists their minds, makes one commanding clap
and sweetly sings Come be with me.

Spins dulcimer tones in heads so wee,
savors treble clefs, craves their fiddle-dee-dee.
Children, her calliope.

Plants cotton-candy poisonous tree
in tussled heads so sweet, such evil trap.
She sweetly sings Come be with me.

Disguised she devil-sings come follow me,
codas dream with one giant gingersnap.
Children, her calliope.

Parents, heed my tale and listen carefully
lest you lose your children as they nap.
She sweetly sings Come be with me,
children, her calliope!

Bjorn is hosting Meet-the-Bar night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. He asks us to write a nonsense narrative poem. We must clearly tell a story. “The characters and their actions may seem absurd or playful, but what they do makes sense in a nonsense way. It is fine to use invented words, but it should be clear from the concept if they are creatures, things, or even verbs.” Photo from pixabay.co

Juxtapositioning

Ancient eucalyptus tree.
Pock marked bark-skin,
peeling, barren in places,
adds beauty to greening canyon.

Elderly man in thick glasses,
blue-veined hands hanging limply,
shuffles across street.
Driver sits, hand poised over horn.

Musing, I ponder our value system.
We should learn from nature.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse where the word to use (or a form of the word) in our exactly 144 word poem sans title is “muse.”

Photos taken yesterday from our patio, which opens to a beautiful canyon. We’re in an apartment rental in sunny San Diego until early March, escaping Boston’s winter (as in 11.2 inches of snow on Friday!).

Ode to Life

What spirits roam this earth?
Moon gods no longer constant
fatigued by cloud-strung battles,
wax and wane their beams.
Seasons test the sun,
warmth succumbs to winter gales.

Spirits gone these many years
hover o’er our heads.
Their whispers ride the winds.
Arise my children, each day sublime,
whether warm or cold or dark or light,
reach out, touch hands, and dance.

Smile hope upon your neighbors
be they far or near.
Smile hope upon your loved ones
be they on earth,
or in the heavenly sphere.
All gaze upon the same bright stars.

Love this day together, my children,
for I am with you as they are too.
Greet each day sublime,
hearts flush with gratitude, no fear.
Listen for their whispers
they are always there to hear.

Image by freepik.com

Tremor Me Frustrated

I remember mother’s shaking hand,
coffee sloshing from cup,
cup knocking against teeth.
Fork spilled food in restaurants,
wine stained damask cloth.
I did not understand.
I do now.
Essential Tremor is its name,
inherited trait.
Tremor me frustrated.

Essential tremor disorder is a neurological condition that causes your hands to shake rhythmically. The head, trunk and voice might also be involved, but hand shaking is most prominent. The cause is not known, but it is often passed down from a parent to a child.
Essential Tremor Disorder | Johns Hopkins Medicinehttps://www.hopkinsmedicine.org › conditions-and-diseases

Photo is me with my mother, in 1969 when I was about to go off to graduate school.

Yes, my hands have begun to shake in the past six months. It has affected my handwriting, which is most upsetting to me. I will admit, it’s why I’ve not been posting lately to my blog. My normal process is to rise early, write by pen in my journal, creating first drafts of poems. I then go to the computer to type in the first drafts and edit from there. Lately, I cannot read all the words I’ve written. So — to keep up my blog and to keep writing, I must change my process. I must skip the journal with pen-in-hand and go straight to the computer. Essential tremor is a minor problem in the scheme of things. However, now I realize how it can affect self-esteem and bring on frustration. I must keep my sense of humor and, for example, never order soup in a restaurant again!

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It was Open Link Night on Thursday and I’m a bit late to posting.

Are you with me?

Dump the pointy-eared pixie!
I may be tinsel-tipsy,
but what’s with that guy?
Elf on a Shelf, the supreme tattler.
Old St. Nick sure didn’t hire him.
Why cultivate fear in a kid’s heart
when Rudolph’s coming to town?
Unconditional love,
so much better!

A quadrille written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Mish asks us to use the word tinsel, or a form of the word (not a synonym) in a poem of exactly 44 words. Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash
Elf on a Shelf is a product predominately sold in the U.S. Parents can set the elf out and move it about the house every night when the children go to bed so it seems like the elf is alive. The children then hunt for the elf the next morning. The real purpose of the elf is to spy on the children and make sure they’re being good so Santa will come on Christmas morning! Parents actually tell the children they must be good or the elf will let Santa know they’re on the naughty list! I’ve never liked this idea – no offense to anyone reading this who uses it during the Christmas season. Just my opinion.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Every time I see them
it creates an image in the present
which in seconds or hours
or a day or years,
depending on recall,
is always in my past.

We gathered to honor the matriarch.
From Texas, Illinois, California, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, North and South Carolina,
Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Virginia too.

She was the rock, the foundation.
Granddaughter of Swedish immigrants,
upholding the traditions.
Her life, lived for so many.

A career in nursing, a ministry of sorts.
She offered healing to the afflicted.
From surgical assistance to the elderly’s pains,
to the scrapes of school-age youth.

She taught her children compassion.
Lessons passed on to grandchildren
and their children. To nieces,
extended family, friends and neighbors too.

She faced the depths of loss and pain,
courageous and resilient.
Sustained by faith in God and love of life,
she taught us even through her death.

Family gathered to pray, to sing,
to share a meal. Tears and smiles comingled.
Yesterday’s emotional today,
so filled with love and caring support.
That is the essence of this family,
what we share and treasure most.

Those moments of yesterday’s today,
far too quickly in our past.
But still they give us hope and strength,
to face all of our coming tomorrows.

Written in memory of Janice Stewart. The family gathered on Saturday, December 11th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois to celebrate her life. She will be missed by so many.

PHOTOS:
Hjalmer Hallberg immigrated from Sweden. He and his wife, Anna, settled in Chicago, Illinois. The photo on the left shows their five grandchildren. From left to right: George Hallberg, Nancy Jahnke, Lynne Gehrke, Janice Stewart, Donald Hallberg. Neil Netherton, Nancy’s brother, passed away many years ago. He was Hjalmer and Anna’s sixth grandchild. The second photo was taken immediately following the celebration of Janice’s life at St. Paul’s Church on Saturday, December 11th.