{lissa’s poem}

Occasionally I need to repeat something I said to myself. I wrote this the day after the 2016 election in response to Melissa Wiley’s poem, and I need to hear it again. Maybe you do, too.

tenacious

“the grit that vexed the oyster, formed the pearl,”
my mantra, this, as living shreds my plans;
“and still we rise” and rising, we unfurl

our battle standard, bloody in our hands.
in disillusioned pain; in shock and fear
our doubts, now kindled, conflagration fans,

what, from disaster? how, to persevere
when we’re defeated, running on exhaust?
from deepest pressure precious stones appear,

Hail Marys passed when better plays are lost
A root, determined, granite stone will split
Some harvests sweeten only after frost –

why claim “all is not lost,” like hypocrites?
we tried. we failed. regardless, we don’t quit.

{p7 on pf lift a glass & w r i t e}

Every once in a while, I go through my blog’s drafts folder and find posts I began and never finished, or finished and never published. Sometimes, the reason is crystal clear – they were too moody, too personal, too specific. We always want to show our best selves in public, after all. But, every once in a while I find unfinished gems. I started a post last June, after Robin Smith died, and I was “all up in my feelings,” as it were, pondering her exhortation to me to keep writing despite the chaos in the world. (And there was chaos closer to home, too – after Robin passed, we had houseguests from across the country to entertain, my Mom went back to work, Tech Boy got a new job, and within two weeks, we’d abruptly moved out of a place we’d been for the five years since we moved back from the UK – it was A LOT. Too much, really.) I was groping my way through what those words meant to me. I did eventually publish something on writing near the end of June, and will eventually share the blog fragment — but today is more for my thoughts based on those words.

The fragment was some very descriptive thoughts on writing – and writing through life’s chaos – and as a jumping off point for the Seven Sisters Poetry Challenge this month, that’s my topic. Now, this month, Sara’s challenge was for us to write a toast. Or, kind of a toast, anyway; more of a salute to a…thing. Toasts for non-drinkers don’t come up a lot, but I gave it my best shot in three glasses.

three tools, one toast

A quill! A quill! The poet needs a quill
to scribe in blood the pain of loss
to lance the flesh and drain the wound
to coolly plot a double-cross
signal a shipwreck left marooned
A quill! A quill! All hail the mighty quill.
      ♦
A pen! A pen! All celebrate the pen
chips ice from frozen seas inside
a two-edged sword, which cut both ways
a whetstone to the tongue applied
we cross out lines and then rephrase –
A pen! A pen! All celebrate the pen.
      ♦
A word! A word! the writer seeks a word
elusive as a unicorn
it hovers just beyond one’s reach
grasped for in joy and hurled in scorn
its figure lent to grace your speech
A word! A word! the writer seeks a word.


Sara’s rules for “A Toast! A Toast!” were merely that we had to begin and end each poem with the same two words. (After setting the challenge, even SHE found this supremely difficult!!!). The crew is off in seven different directions this month, so we may not all get to this challenge at the same time, but we raise a glass to Laura in Cyprus, Sara in an airplane between here and there, Andi in the garden, Kelly in the studio, Tricia under a pile of final projects, Liz dashing between school and daughters, and me packing for vacation. The poetry must go on!

Poetry Friday is being hosted by the gracious Brenda Davis Harsham at Friendly Fairytales. Pop over to visit her beautiful garden-centric blog.

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Peachtree 38

still running

and, Monday again –
already the schedule twists,
disrupting set plans
no time to waste on chewing
just grab a straw and swallow

Could there maybe someday be a Monday in which we move briskly after the alarm? A day when we are not subsequently engaged in flinging things around in a tizzy before we have Something Scheduled? Perhaps someday?

National Poetry Month has been a joy – thanks to everyone who participated at their individual blogs, and thanks to all of you who flitted through this month. Here’s to poetry, and the random thoughts that pass through our brains.

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At first, I thought it was a raccoon. The ones we have here are the size of small dogs… but raccoons (especially these jumbo beasts) are messy wee buggers and leave destruction in their wake. Were one visiting my solar fountain, I’d probably also have pulled wires, broken pottery, mammal hair and bits of crayfish left behind. So, it’s probably not a raccoon (unless somewhere there is an exquisitely neat and polite one).

As I mentioned the other day, I think I might be inadvertently playing a game with a crow. Which is fine; it’s all part of my cunning plan to someday lead an army of crows to make war on the squirrels. (You knew I had this plan. Don’t act like you’re surprised.) Every morning, Young Corvus is lurking in the back garden, but flaps away (in a rather ungainly fashion, which is why I posit s/he is Young Corvus and not Suave, Old and Wise) when one of us goes out. And every day… right in the middle of the walk, a glitter of glass stones.

I somehow have gotten involved in this… replacing the Shiny, because Reasons. And today, I baited the fountain with colored buttons and beads, as well as new glass stones, because More Reasons. Silly ones.

I mean, if we’re going to play, we have to play for points, right? Could you imagine if s/he decide they want to TRADE shiny items…

I Spy, With My Beady Black Eye

greedy as a child
Young Corvus comes calling
coveting baubles
deft pilferer of trifles
a charming corvid crime spree

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Today, I’m combining two things: our 2nd Tuesday of the month image prompt, plus today’s tanka.

Since we posted this at Wonderland, I’ve been wondering and wondering what’s been… bothering me about this image, which this month comes from Flickr user Claus Rebler of Korneuburg, Austria. I’ve finally figured it out: there’s a distinct lack of… life.

We’ve got golden hay – basically dead grass. We’ve got a beautifully rendered sky. We’ve got not one bird, not one insect. The perfection of the image is eerily sterile and a bit worrying, when taken from that perspective. And yes – I have watched one too many farming horror movies, I guess. (Actually I don’t care for horror movies at all, having been forced by Mean Boys to watch a part of Children of the Corn when I was five. [Parents: when visiting the homes of friends with children of their own, be sure your child knows that it’s perfectly acceptable to walk away from said children and come and sit by you if said children are absolute wastes of carbon.] Ugh.)

I have a teensy postage stamp of a back garden, and I have dropping by the resident phoebe, goldfinches, starlings, doves, the odd kestrel, uncounted wrens, robins, and massive, shining black crows. How does this whole field not have one crow? (I’d like to give this field my crow, because my crow will not leave the shiny bits of glass in my tiny fountain alone. Each morning I wake to them scattered on the ground. Each morning, I put them back. The crow has likely decided that this is a game…)

What is a farm without bugs and birds? What is growth without …life? How is a story without antagonists?

Untitled

riddle of the prairie

under sterile skies
Rapunzel’s straw, in bobbins
already spun gold
a sanitized fairytale
happily ever after

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Lynedoch Crescent D 417

Have you ever said just the right thing, and watched someone you love light up? The Biblical Psalms say that the right word is like golden apples in a silver bowl. (Being an imaginative child, I always assumed this was real metal… but I suspect not everyone in Ye Olde Times was running around with the golden apples of myth… and unless they’re stainless steel, silver bowls tend to be a mite pricey, not to mention annoying to clean.) When I said just the right thing to someone who needed to hear it today, I felt like I had been given gold for real. It’s lovely.

shared

“an apple a day”
a saying to keep healthy
imagine the gift
of sending golden apples
showering like silver coin

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Iona 84

Today we’re having lunch with friends who are going to Iona Abbey this summer. My memory of that place remains close enough to touch – how I want to order up another sun-splashed summer day and return… but you just cannot order sun in Scotland. It’s a gift – you take it when you get it, and celebrate it.

Abbey

this Hebrides isle
with white-sand beaches offers
jaded pilgrims peace
within her mists Iona
wraps kings and princes in sleep

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Nephew 1 was a very solemn baby who stared a lot, and who could hardly be coaxed into a smile. Unlike his little brother, he’s tended to be a bit of a loner, so we were excited to hear he’d joined an after school team.

It’s an Airsoft team. Air. Soft. This harmless sounding team sport started in the ’70’s in Japan, tailor-made for fans of guns in a country that doesn’t have them. Airsoft moved from Japan to the UK – another non-gun country – and was meant to be about safely team-building, skills and sharpshooting. Nothing to do with real violence. Americans got hold of it in the 80’s, and… yeah. Nephew 1 was invited to play by a classmate whose father takes them both to run through the woods, scoping out other fathers and sons and shooting, keeping score, counting out loud the time you’re “dead.”

It’s “only a game.”

And yet….

afterward, we sat, silent
“it doesn’t matter
him learning to hold a gun,
if what he’s holding
in his skin is the target,”
my husband said, his gaze pained.