for far too many . . .

Brown girl dreaming,
tattered ribbons woven
through dark tresses.
She walks in beauty
always plodding upstream,
seeking answers to secrets
from the center of the world.

Oh, to make a joyful noise
that all might hear in high fidelity.
Shout love triumphs hate.
One hundred white daffodils
strewn upon blood soaked streets
could turn a pinkish hue.
Become peace roses beneath our feet.

Oh for those inalienable rights
to be shared amongst us all.
Beyond the hour of land divided,
us and them transformed to we.
To prosper, pain free,
beyond this faithful and virtuous night
into and during every living day.

Or was that Declaration,
that torch held high
to those across the seas . . .
were those just words and symbols?
The happiness project
never intended to be shared,
never meant to be?

IMG_1599

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day and National Hand Holding Day, International Day of the Word’s Indigenous People, National Rice Pudding Day, and National Polka Day! It’s also OLN (Open Link Night) at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Folks can post one poem of their choosing – any form, any topic. 

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, I’ve posted a “book spine” poem written with book titles, all from the bookshelf on my desk. Reread the poem, and you’ll find these titles, in this order:

brown girl dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

Ribbons – Spring/Summer 2017: Vol. 13, No. 2 (Tanka Society publication)
she walks in beauty (A Woman’s Journey Through Poems)  by Caroline Kennedy
Upstream by Mary Oliver
Secrets from the Center of the World by Joy Harjo and Stephen Strom
Joyful Noise (Poems for Two Voices) by Paul Fleischman
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
A Hundred White Daffodils by Jane Kenyon
The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams
Pain Free by Pete Egoscue
Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

What is that? And where has it gone?

Mr. Rogers . . .
putting on his sweater.
Not Angry Birds.

Pen Pals . . .

Waiting . . .
for book three,
Harry Potter
and the
Prisoner of Azkaban.
Not a Netflix binge.

Family vacation . . .
road trip
with I Spy
and
the license plate game.

So . . .
tell me.
How are you,
really?

To listen . . .
leave space . . .
to wait . . .
slow down . . .
to appreciate time.

To think . . .
before we blurt.

A skill.
A common sense attribute,
I fear is becoming a lost art.
Patience.

letter-1077860_1280It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Jill asks us to consider unseen things, reminding us that only about 5% of the universe is visible matter. Patience is something you cannot hold in your hand.

A Cry for Peace

On a typical hot, humid summer day in Washington DC, we visited the National Air and Space Museum.  A favorite tourist stop for young families, there were many squeals of delight and loads of loud chatter around the space capsules and astronaut exhibits. Parents eagerly read placards aloud and answered their children’s questions.

And then we saw the Enola Gay.  Why does that old plane have that name? Because the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named it after his mother. Why is it here? Is it famous? How do you answer those questions from a four year old who has no idea where Hiroshima is, what it signifies, and stumbles to even pronounce the word?

decomposing raven
lies outside rotting in snow –
infant wails for breast

Col_Paul_W._Tibbets_before_takeoff_6_August_1945

Frank Tassone hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. He reminds us that today is Hiroshima Day 2018. It will be marked by the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony where approximately 50,000 local citizens and visitors, as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, will] gather in Hiroshima to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and also to pray for lasting world peace. Our haibun should somehow deal with this theme.

Haibun: Two tight paragraphs of prose, must be true, cannot be fiction; followed by a haiku. I’ve chosen to write a traditional haiku: three lines: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; about nature; includes a Kigo (reference to a season) and a Kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku). 

Photo: Colonel Paul Tibbets before take-off on August 6, 1945. Taken by US Air Force employee (unnamed) – https://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/photos/ photo #162, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9162980

Allegory

Standing midst the city bustle
carousel with children chortling
dark-suited briefcase clutchers
people-ears attached to cells
city buses garbed in gaudy ads
taxis weaving, hotly honking
rushing quick-stepping humanity
standing midst the city bustle.

Standing midst the city bustle
lone curbside flower bed
stems bedraggled, drooping heads
once gaily bright and newly sprouted
dulled by daily apathy
straw-color shrivel, stripped to shreds
barely living, shadowed existence
dying midst the city hustle.

NaPoWriMo Day 4. Prompt is to realize the importance of description in poetry. It’s all in the details, hence, no photo today
April: National Poetry Writing Month, a poem a day til the month of May.

Want Ad

Needed
super heroes
the twenty-four-seven variety.
Requires
kindness, empathy,
a listening ear,
open heart and mind.
Willingness to wear another’s shoes.
Must self-identify with humanity
not gender, race,
ethnicity, education,
or place of origin.
We need you,
now.

I’m hosting dVerse today and asking folks to think about the words “super hero” and “super power(s)” and write a poem that is somehow related to or motivated by those words. The words themselves may or may not be in the poem. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over to read some super posts!

The Cat and the Elephant

Tis not the end of the world, my friend.
Nine lives I have
and don’t you see?
I’ve really only been through three.

Tsk, tsk, so you say.
These tusks did push us off the land
but sails they’re not,
without the wind.

Then I shall cat-call to the moon,
plead to lunar-up a breeze.
But you so heavy at the knees,
we’ll still be deadweight in the seas.

Your kitty croons, so pitiful and small,
my BAALOOs shall loudly do the trick.
I’ll proudly call up mighty Orca
and she will surely solve our plight.

—–

Suddenly their boat was perched
atop a dorsal fin
as waves did froth and start to spin,
and winds did help them soar. . .

beyond the land of different,
one so big and one so wee.
She looked up and he looked out
to navigate the troubled seas.

————

Readers heed this little tale
as you doth scan my words.
An elephant and a cat at sea,
sealed their fate successfully.

He did this and she did that
with moon and stars
and wind and whales.
Absolutely no buts allowed.

And thus they sailed,
the elephant and the cat,
into a new and verdant land ~
designed to house the everyone and all.

Silent-Night-Catrin-Welz-Stein-Acrylic-Glass-Print

This is my second post for dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets, where I’m hosting and asking folks to choose one of four images from talented artist Catrin Welz-Stein.

The first post, with another image, is Primitive Folk Tale.

Some fabulous poems have been posted using Catrin’s images. Thank you again, Catrin, for letting us be inspired by your artwork!

Pentimento

Shall I sit
complacent?
Stilled
as if painted upon a wall?
Indelible street art
disintegrating in time?
No.

Dreamers, Mother Earth,
I care.
I give voice.
I demonstrate.
I remonstrate.
I strive to keep her arm outstretched,
a beacon of hope
promised to all.

IMG_7085statue-of-liberty-267948_1920

First photo is street art from our recent time in Valparaiso, Chile. Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Amaya is hosting and asks us to consider pentimento. A word about pentimento:  this can refer to an alteration in a work of art…sometimes visible to the viewer, such as the shadow of a flower appearing in a painting of the forest; or the hidden woman’s face in the bent neck of Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist.”  Shifting this into poetry, Amaya asks us to consider a time we changed our mind. Pentimento in Italian means “repentance” so Amaya suggests we think about a change for the greater good.  This started me thinking about Martin Luther King, the 60s, and the recent political scene. No matter the partisan side you lean toward, the election of Donald Trump did create a voice of activism that had been stilled in recent years. I was one of many women who found my voice and demonstrated with my daughter on the day after his inauguration. The recent #metoo movement is another instance of finding voice.

The Story Teller

Her clan’s scheherazade.
Last in her lineage,
skilled by birthright
in the ancient art.

She follows the stars.
Finds her way,
village by village
to listen, to tell.

Stories they share
of birth, death, harvest,
and ceremonial hunts.
All grace her plots.

Mitochondrial details
events infused by voice,
sadness, daily banter, and joy.
Emotional spectrum wide and deep.

She the vessel of tales,
ewer of their heritage.
She is their story teller,
the carrier of life.

Written for my almost 11-year-old granddaughter who decided we should start the year with the same prompt word, “scheherazade,” meaning storyteller. Also penned for dVerse where Paul hosts today, with the word “grace” for a prompt. Apologies in advance to all who read and comment — it may take a while to respond as we embark today on a 34 day journey to S. America and Antarctica!