Ode to Okra

My dear okra plant, you are absolutely divine.
Hibiscus cousin, slow to grow,
ultimately sprouting green tendrils
and yellow blossoms fine.

Soon ‘tis time to harvest and prepare
your lantern shaped, bright green pods.
First I wash, then gently pat dry.
Slice crosswise with considerable care.

I heat the olive oil until very hot,
then slide your delicate sections into pan.
‘Tis time to sauté, tossing and turning
until beautiful slime coats the pot.

Carefully removed from heat,
I carry you slowly across the kitchen floor.
Reach screen door to our outdoor porch,
out I slip, without missing a beat.

Then, mustering all my culinary style,
I heave you onto the compost pile.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 20. Today’s prompt is to anthropomorphize a food, perhaps one you feel conflicted about. Phots from Pixabay.com

And added to dVerse, Tuesday Poetics where Misky has asked us to write about food.

How Long is a Blue Moon?

Do not concern yourself.
Only twice in a Blue Moon:
that’s what the sages say,
the peacekeepers, historians,
the literati and oracles too.

Only the Harbinger keeps watch,
collects viable bodies of evidence.
Tracks events pointing backwards
to repetition of historical eras,
measuring time needed for a Blue Moon.

Adolph Hitler’s evil ran rampant,
stacked skeletal remains in godless towers
as ashen clouds floated to the skies.
It was during the time of the Blood Moon,
a horrific sliver of time gone by.

Only the Harbinger understands
the Blood Moon is but the crescent stage
in the life time of a Blue Moon.
It is the beginning soon buried within the tides,
too often forgotten in the ebb and flow of time.

Completion of a Blue Moon is near.
The Harbinger has placed its warning voice
in the human of its choosing.
As sunflowers wilt and blood is spilled
that chosen voice bids you listen now.

The innocents lie dead in our streets
and still this evil invades our land.
A different man, but mark my word,
he is the evil we face today,
many of our people, fighting to their death.


Can you not hear me?
How can you not understand?
Twice in a Blue Moon is now.

Writing for two prompts today:

It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Merril is hosting. She’s created a list of names of actual English country garden roses and asks us to use one or more of them either in the body of our poem or in its title. “Twice in a Blue Moon” is actually the name of an English country garden rose!

NAPOWRIMO, Day 19, asks us to write a poem that begins with a command.
Photo is from Pixabay.com

Spring Time on Butrick Street

Rain drops glisten daffodil petals.
Forsythia blooms in Mrs. Jester’s yard.
Buttery yarn disappears from hank,
chain-stitched and double-crocheted
by arthritic fingers on blue-veined hands.
Children with yellow chalk-smudged cheeks
squat on sidewalk squares.
Round smiling sun in place,
they draw happy flowers below.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 18 and dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe: both prompts coincide nicely in this poem.

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse. The word to put in our poem of exactly 44 words (sans title) is “chalk” and the pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.

The NAPOWRIMO prompt is to “write a poem that provides five answers to the same question – without ever specifically identifying the question that is being answered.” The question I’ve answered is “What are yellow things you might see in the spring? My answers are daffodils, forsythia, yarn, chalk-smudged cheeks, and the sun. Photo is from Pixabay.com

** I grew up in Waukegan, Illinois. The house I lived in from the time I was two until I went into third grade was at 144 South Butrick Street. Mrs. Jester was our elderly next door neighbor.

Zoey

This twelve-week old puppy
melts my heart,
tickles my funny bone
and tests my aging knees.

On the floor to tug and pull
then up to retrieve that bouncing ball.
It rolled to a place unknown to you,
where only I can stretch and reach.

Then on the floor to redirect.
Chew this toy, or this one here.
No . . . no . . .
not that shoe.

Then up again to attach your leash,
and out the door to poop and pee.
Then on the floor to toss and fetch,
then up again for kibbles and treats.

Then squatting down I attach your leash
and out the door we go to pee.
Not now you say, then tug to run
to greet the robins and have some fun.

And when it’s time for you to nap
tired out from all that serious play,
you circle twice and then curl up
to sleep and dream inside your crate.

And I, my friend, so tired too,
need no circles to find the couch.
I sleep, one ear half-alert
until I hear you stir and bark.

Then we start all over again.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 17. Today the prompt is to “think about dogs and then use them as a springboard into wherever they take you.Photo is of our new grandpuppy, Zoey!

A Voice from Ukraine

I promise you, there is beauty somewhere.
Stand quietly outside to hear birdsong.
See stars shine in the ebony of night.
Hear the innocence of a small child’s prayer.
Marvel at harmony in evensong.
Your freedom as a right, shines ever bright.

In our war, even as lives are taken
there is pride, resolve, purpose in the fight.
One newborn who survives shines hope ‘ere long.
The world’s sense of justice shall awaken.

Help us.

First and foremost, the illustration is titled Freedom and is painted by Ukranian artist, Vika Muse. This past Tuesday, she gave permission for dVerse Poets to feature her artwork and write poems inspired by them.

Vika Muse wrote about another of her paintings, The Air of Freedom, “I wish I could have manta rays in the sky…instead of Russian bombs and military airplanes. I’ve noticed that my disturbing paintings didn’t make me happier. They cause even deeper depression. So I’ve tried to draw my future. It is bright and sunny. There are no bombs and war…Only beautiful landscapes and dreamlike sky. I hope I’ll meet such a future some day.”

Vika Muse says this about Freedom, the painting that inspired my poem today: “This artwork was made due to the hope, that we have the light at the end and the name of this light – is the Victory. That we will survive and rebuild our country.”

You can find artwork by Vika Muse at @get.muse and http://www.inprnt.com

And a thank-you to Mish at dVerse for discovering this artist so we can all see and marvel at her wonderful work.

Today’s post was specifically written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 16. We are asked to write a Curtal Sonnet, a poetry form invented by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

A Curtal Sonnet is 11 lines (actually 10.5) which is precisely 3/4 of the structure of a Petrachan sonnet which is 14 lines in length. That is, it is shrunk proportionally. The rhyme scheme is abcabc dcbdc The final line is a tail or half line. Another, what I call, sudoku prompt!
I’ve taken poetic license because of the intensity of the poem, to ignore the final line’s “c” rhyme requirement, but it is the requisite 2 syllables. The other lines are all the requisite 10 syllables.

The Septuagenarian

Society’s expectations?
She doesn’t give two hoots
about being who she’s not.

It’s taken her a while to get there,
seven decades to be exact.
Wrinkle creams and hair dye be damned.

She wears flat shoes on every occasion,
air-dries her hair in all its grey glory
and orders dessert, which is mandatory.

Happily sleeveless when it’s hot,
just stare if you dare at her crepe-like skin
and notice her knees with those very high hems.

Stereotypical sayings are bantered about,
she’s older and wiser and been round the block
but look at her now as she picks her own route.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 15.
Today we’re asked to “write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in.”
We’re invited “to investigate some of the ‘why’ behind resolutely not giving two hoots about something.”
Although my poem is written in third person, this is how I feel at seventy-five.

And she asked him . . .

Isn’t what amazing?
Ants tugging five-thousand times their weight?
Fibonacci’s relationship to the nautilus shell?
Humming birds’ wings
beating fifty-three times per second?
Women growing human beings inside their bodies?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And definitely yes.

So what makes you so amazing?
You forcing me to take your name if we wed?
You making laws to govern my body?
You body-shaming me
while you’re lugging around your beer gut?
Yes. Oh please, please tell me, yes.
Exactly what makes you so amazing?

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 13. Today’s prompt challenges us to write from the perspective of “everything’s going to be amazing” . . . I admit. I went a little off-kilter with this one!

Point by Point

Easel, palette, brushes,
good light, steady arm
and patience.

Brush dabbed in paint,
he taps dots one by one
as blank canvas slowly disappears.

Dots of different hues.
Some just slightly darker
than the twenty-three before.

Some paler
than the two after those.
Dot after dot after dot.

Millions of dots.
Each insignificant by itself
until parasols start to appear.

And finally,
two years after that first tap
he taps the last.

Standing back, he wipes his brow,
sees years of work represented there
in just one Sunday afternoon.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 12 where today we’re to write about something tiny.

I’ve always been enthralled by the Pointillism Movement in art. George Seurat began A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte during the summer of 1884. “The tiny juxtaposed dots of multi-colored paint allow the viewer’s eye to blend colors optically, rather than having the colors physically blended on the canvas.” The 10 feet wide masterpiece is in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago. (quotation and image from rawpixel.com)

Perspective

Here on this observation deck
wind whips around me.
I lean into it, one hand on rail
other on my woolen hat.

I stare at ship so far below.
Placed on Lysefjorden’s glassy sea
like a miniature game board piece,
by someone’s winning hand.

Snow topped mountains
climb into cloudless sapphire sky.
Their massive girth surrounds me,
the sentinels of time

Humbled, I begin to understand,
I am the Lilliputian in their land.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 11, where today, we’re asked to write about something large.
Photo from our cruise through the Norwegian Fjords in 2017.