Ode to Mary Oliver

I see her walking through peonies
waiting patiently for the strawberry moon.
She, the night traveler in my dreams.
She bids me walk slowly, eyes open in my sleep,
to explore her natural world.
Together we soar on the wings of a hawk
as goldfinches sing and wonder precedes us.
Approaching Provincetown,
we marvel at migrating wild geese
making their cacophonous way
to their winter’s resting place.
As I begin to drift near rising
she leads me past fields of goldenrod
to a small pond bedecked in floating flowers,
lily pads asleep and yet to bloom.
Cool winds ruffle my eyelids
like rustling leaves in a tree.
The lilies break open over the dark water
as my dream retreats into dawning sky.
I awaken to a certain sharpness in the morning air
ready to take up pen, inspired by this woman.
She, the night traveler in my dreams.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 25. Today we’re to write an aisling: to recount a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land/country on/in which the poet lives.

Mary Oliver moved to Provincetown in the 1960s and sets most of her poetry in and around this wonderful town. An avid walker, much of her poetry comes from her observances of the natural world. I’ve incorporated 9 titles of her poems in my Ode:
Peonies
Strawberry Moon
The Night Traveler
Hawk
Goldfinches
Wild Geese
Goldenrod
The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water
A Certain Sharpness in the Morning Air

We’ve lived in Boston for the past twenty-five years and spend two weeks of every year in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. Photos from our visits to P’town.

Greening

Deep into the woods, therein lies peace.
Surrounded, enveloped in green,
lush emeralds lull my spirit
birdsong’s lilt soothes my mind.
I crave thy beauty.
I bathe in your
dappled jades,
in your
calm.


Written for NAPOWRIMO Day 9. Today we’re asked to write a nonet: first line has 9 syllables, second line has 8 syllables, third line has 7 syllables, etc.

Photo from our time in Ireland a number of years ago.

Who is the Predator?

They leave the body. Bloody pile of corpuscles dragged to Lake Manyara’s shore. Young zebra, quiet since teeth first gouged neck. Decimated.

Jowls dripping, appetite sated, his eyes bid her follow. Series of slow guttural growls signal acquiescence. Lioness follows beside. Slowly they retreat into maze of acacia trees. Unseen by approaching safari truck.

High power rifles catch glaring sun. Two men peer quietly into distance. Cheetah carcass, day’s first kill, hangs over vehicle’s hood. Not enough, they seek more.

NAPOWRIMO 2022: and so it begins with a prompt to write a prose poem that is somehow about a body, includes dialogue and at least one vivid image. Here, the dialogue is implied in the second paragraph/stanza.
Image from Pixabay.com

Shinrin-Yoku

Serenity, I walk in bliss.
Trees breeze-whisper, nothing amiss.
Soft ferns hushed, shimmer velvetly.
Moist, fresh forest scent, nature’s kiss.
Your lips come to mind. Ecstasy.
I walk in bliss. Serenity.

Shinrin-Yoku is Japanese for forest bathing: bathing in the forest atmosphere, taking in the forest through our senses.

Grace is hosting Meet-The-Bar Thursday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She’s asked us to write a Sparrowlet, a poetry form invented by Kathrine Sparrow. Here’s the elements of a Sparrowlet:
1. stanzaic, written in any number of sixtains (6 line stanzas) I wrote 1 sixtain.
2. syllabic: each line must be 8 syllables each (Often written in iambic tetrameter – I didn’t!)
3. Line 1 and Line 6 of the stanza is written in 2 himistichs (I had to look this word up)
4. Rhymed, rhyme scheme is BbabaA.
5. The 2 halves of Line 1 are inverted and repeated as a refrain in Line 6. The lst line MUST be the EXACT SAME as line 1, just switched around. You cannot change any of the words. (Punctuation may be changed to accommodate the meaning.)
RRA, RRB
xxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxa
RRB, RRA

Luckily Grace included an example of a poem written in this form within her prompt. The example for me, was much easier to follow than the definition itself! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us to try this form — or just to see how others wrote with it!

Photo from a trip to see my niece in Ohio a number of years ago.

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!).

Shhhhh, she’s hiding . . .

buttercup crown
under stocking cap of ivy vine.
Rose petal leggings, freesia shawl,
lily-of-the-valley boots. Winter clad,
she joins thousands of fairies
gathered on mountainsides,
hidden by evergreen fronds.
Spirits bright, they wait for spring,
their fairy lights aglow.
Winter’s secret no one knows.

De is hosting Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us to include the word “crown” or a form of the word (not a synonym of the word) in a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Image from Pixabay.com

The Darkest Day

Mother Nature chagrined,
shrouded in grey low-slung sky.
Rains gush, pummel sideways
as she weeps beyond control.
Strong oaks uprooted,
her scalp bared in raw splotches.

Gales punish the unrepentant.
We the offenders struggle
bending at right angles from the waist,
plodding toward imagined escape.
Our feeble umbrellas abandoned,
their broken ribs litter the sodden path.

Has her sun forsaken us, our sins too great?
Depression’s black hole inverted,
is this vortex our fate?
It drowns even the most optimistic,
hope abandoned in storming grief.
We fear the apocalypse has begun.

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Idea for poem came from yesterday — waking up at 6 AM and finding trees outside our windows blowing like crazy in the midst of a Nor’easter that lasted for almost 12 hours. It downed many trees across the area. Many across
Boston and surrounding area lost power from pummeling rain and wind gusts up to 80 mph. We remained safely indoors. Photo is in public domain in Pixabay.com and is not from Boston.

**I am a positive person – really I am! Sometimes I have no idea why the pen turns to the dark side.


Provincetown Dawn

Gull claims its spot,
lone protruding rock on submerged jetty.
Preens itself then waits expectantly.
Sliver sun peeks out from low slung cloud,
turns near darkness into luminescence.
Bathed in rouging blush,
water glistens in dawn’s appearance.
Gull preens again, swathed in nature’s spotlight.
My contented sigh, applause enough
as curtain rises on a new day.

Photo taken this morning in Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod.

Come Walk with Me

Lilac aphrodisiac, scent my world.
Your goodness blossoms
blessed with sweet delicacy.
From palest to deepest shades,
side by side on Lilac Lane.
Each alone exudes the beautiful,
together you blend as one scene.
I walk slowly, senses awakened.
Serenity wafts, and in the moment,
all is good in my world.

Ode to Joy Harjo

She writes of the sacred land,
red earth cherished by Creek Nation.

Moencopi Rise, Round Rock,
Four Corners, a dreaming place of bears.
Her words are songs of praise
to ochre soil, parched sand,
grey rocks, and dust spattered plants.
Her faith in the whole,
revealed in full and sliver moon
steady and flickering stars.

Prayer is manifest
as horses gallop through hills.
Words written in linear lines
paint images revered by generations.
Her poetic spirit soars.
An eagle spreads its wings,
magnificently embracing
the bluest of skies.

She is those who were before her,
caretakers of Mother Earth all.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Late for the Tuesday Poetics prompt given by Laura. She asks us to consider poems to a poet. I decided to write an ode to poet Joy Harjo.

JOY HARJO is a member of the Creek Nation. She is a screen writer, poet, and teaches creative writing and Native American Literature at the University of Arizona. She has received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Harjo served as United States poet laureate from 2019-2021, and was the first Native American to serve in the position.

Image from Pixabay.com