“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.” Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook
Thank you to Paul Brookes, Renee Espiru, Debbie Felio, Sheila Jacob, Carol Mikoda, Anne G. Myles, Marta Pombo Sallés, Sonja Benskin Mesher and to newcomers DeWitt Clinton (whose new collection will be out soon), Vageesh Dwivedi (a novice showing much promise), and Taman Tracy Moncur (an activist poet and Brooklyn girl like me, I suspect). The work of these poets certainly enriches the day for all of us.
Contributor websites/blogs are added so that you may visit and get to know one another. I hope you do. Some don’t have sites but you can probably catch up with them on Facebook.
Enjoy! … and do join us tomorrow for the next The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging and pro.
After Reading How Poets Often Die, I Do Hesitate to Read Ou Yang Hsiu’s “Reading the Poems of an Absent Friend”
Some old poet friends are not dead
Yet. One even lives exiled in far
Away Japan. Perhaps I’ll disappear
As I’m too old to be discovered
By any up and coming new
Lit clique. What part of friends
Stays in the sublime end of my
Old mind? Sometimes when I read
They’ve died I’d just as soon
Close the blinds and stay reclined.
Most all stayed up all night
Just to finish their new lines.
Now they’ve got their good books.
I do hate reading what they’ve
Spent their whole lives on
And I hate it that they’re gone.
Sometimes I have not written all
Year and when I do I know it’s
Nothing more than old oatmeal.
It’s incredible how long I’ve
Been drawn to this poetry life
And how often I can’t even
Find a word or two to make
Anew, and wonder, who turned
My brain into yummy worms?
Once I found an old Pole’s
Book of lines, left the day
For nothing else except to turn
More pages all the way to night.
I never am too keen to
Reread some old medieval
Gore but I could pick out
Any poem and think it’s
Something quite new. I wish
I knew what poets do.
Most men wouldn’t be caught
Dead writing with short lines
Would rather count the scores
Of grown men running plays.
I told my wife the other day
How long I’ve been devoted
To this quiet task of digging
Through what I already knew.
So if I could I’d just sit
Right here in our red room
And gaze outside to find
What brings such joy inside.
In fact I’d take my old dead
poet friends, and a few lines
made last night, catch the next
starry ride right out of here.
DeWitt tells us, “This poem is one of 114 I’ve adapted from Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese and the entire collection is forthcoming from Michael Dickel’s is a rose press.
DeWITT CLINTON is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, USA. Recent poems of his have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review,Diaphanous Press, Meta/Phor(e)Play, and The Arabesques Review. He has a new collection forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.
With bewitching beauty you walked again,
And the years of temperance, was all in vain.
The whisper’s melody was still the same,
And the longing ears ,were in heaven to acclaim.
Neither tequila nor the weed,
Your addictive eyes quenched the need.
Pattern of your long braided hair was well acquainted,
As if the steps were learned yesterday,that my fingers repeated.
It felt like the time stood still,
Unpacking each and every dimensions of my will.
And then came into play, My futile fate,
Rushing wildly through my window, as if it was in haste.
The breeze was soothing ,but brought the pain,
And my only lifeline was disconnected again,
Still didn’t open my eyes, struggling to connect again…
Vageesh writes, “Currently I’m doing B.tech from mechanical engineering. I like to write and express. I’m from Uttarpradesh, India.”
The Ultimate Transformation
Seniors captured by time
now prisoners in a body
no longer in sync with the mind…
A body transformed
through ages and stages
forming the persona that resides within…
That persona forever in search of new dominions
living out dreams and schemes
reaching heights of happiness
encompassed by depths of despair…
The body grows weary
eyesight becomes dim and bleary
days flee as hearing fades…
The bones no longer dancing
to the rhythm of the heart…
The bones captivated by a falling star
shoot through the galaxy
with a proclamation
announcing a new soul ready
for the ultimate transformation…
TAMAM TRACY MONCUR says, “I enjoy writing. I write for the sheer pleasure of writing. Writing helps me organize my world and express what matters to me at any given moment in time. I’ve been a Civil Rights activist, taught elementary school for twenty-five years, worked with my husband, Grachan Moncur III arranging musical compositions and performing. In 2008 I self-published a book entitled Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a project that was very close to my heart. I am now a retired teacher, a community activist, and a seasoned senior who still loves to write.”
A small dark shape on kitchen tile
Stared at by our cat,
Move closer, it is a sparrow bairn,
Chest balloons out as my sigh releases.
Scooped up, as I take it out to the garden
It stands on the scoop.
Over the fence our neighbour stands hunched
in dark tears “My mam won’t be coming out of hospital”
Working with children is what I said I would do
Eight years of higher education said I was ready
Children from poverty, neglect, abuse
I’d create safety to help calm the unsteady
of their worlds where parents weren’t there –
out searching for something to calm their addictions
leaving the young ones abandoned and scared
easy to make that outcome prediction
I’ll work with the children and not the abusers –
the parents, their friends, whoever committed
these horrible acts – I am the accuser
and judge and jury – against them I’m pitted
’til I heard their stories of their own horror
and I realized abused children grow up
without anyone being their restorer
to sanity and filling their self worth cup
imitating was all they could know
trying to be different had no guide
resulting in return to the old ways, though
reassured them of something to hold on inside
so I’ll work with the children and just their families
but I can’t get involved in all the systems
that confuse and contribute their own brutalities
often retraumatizing rather than helping the victims
But who am I kidding when I say I will not
it’s all so related – system, child, family
there’s no way to separate it all out
that is what I’ve come to see
So whoever you are, whatever’s been done
I know there’s much to your history
No one has to go it alone
who can judge your journey – certainly not me.
Everything you are made of begins
in a gigantic transition
as universe explodes into being
stardust becomes everything
transformation begets you,
your sister, your cat, the bees,
the tree, stones, water,
so: stop. Cease all striving.
Stop all struggle. Breathe: in, out,
like a butterfly coming and going,
to this flower, that flower.
Rest. Stay in this tender space. Before
you know it, without aid of will or anxiety,
you arrive in a new place
the right place, just the right
place. No harm will come to you
as your divine self
slides gently into that personalized
pocket on the overalls
of The Universe of Now.
Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do?
At eighteen, I stepped into the other world,
the one that sounds fantastical but is not.
Drainage pond at the bottom of a hill on campus,
behind it a small straggle of winter woods,
beyond that, a path towards the sports fields.
Grass still green in the mild mid-Atlantic,
twiggy dried milkweed standing and fallen.
Plain as plain, just hidden, just waste.
An ordinary afternoon, and I felt surfeited with reading;
walking down the hill, I cast away my mind.
At the water’s edge I looked at the surface;
the water looked back at me. The world had eyes:
perceived me as I perceived it, all the same.
The bare treetops in the distance moved in my arms.
I felt the cawing of the crows that rose inside my chest.
But no crows there, no chest here, only that cawing,
that burning and empty annunciation
of how we too are the shine in the tufts of the cracked pods,
falling and lifted in the wind through everything.
All of this I could see, while I rubbed my eyes,
as if to dislodge a film that was not there.
This happened. I was a freshman, with no one to tell.
Why do we seek imagined worlds? We know nothing
of what is real, how wondrous and complete.
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.
My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.
My poetry was recently read byNorthern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
Thank you for sharing your love of words. Comments will appear after moderation.
“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”Ursula K. Le Guin
These responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, the lesser being of a lesser god, June 13 certainly take us through time and geography, touch lightly or deeply on theme, all while warming our hearts and spinning our minds along the way. Enjoy! and Thanks! to Paul Brookes, Irene Emanuel, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Marta Pombo Salés. These poets seem always up for a challenge.
Thanks also and a warm welcome to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt to Debbie Felio, Carol Mikoda and Anne G. Myles, accomplished writers all. Debbie’s work was featured before on The Poet by Day but not for Wednesday Writing Prompt, so here she is introduced in this context.
Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome to share their work on theme.
Least of These
I find myself
in losing self
amid the grander
moments in creation
for why would I
settle as the larger
of the lesser
among so little
grant me the serenity
to seek the enormity
of a great God’s creativity
lesser me at the edge
of Grand Canyon’s
lesser me in the depths
of roaring oceans
lesser me in the wonders
of rainbows and cloud banks
snowstorms and tornados
lesser me counted
as one of millions
stars and galaxies
never am I so grand
as when the Grandest
includes in His resume
the lesser me.
DEBBIE FELIO is a poet/witness living and writing in Boulder, Colorado
Stand next to one wall, let’s say
the north side, of a massive
building. Look up into the
sky, noticing only a
few puffs of clouds. Sweep your eyes
back down, catching sight of this
wall — gray, smooth, unending — and
Instantly, the personal fantasy of
leaving only wisps. Lungs
breath sucked away.
a loss of all
color and detail.
CAROL MIKODA teaches writing and new teachers in upstate New York. She lives in the country where she walks in the woods, studies the sky to photograph clouds, and grows vegetables and flowers. She also sings and plays piano, guitar, and bass. Although she enjoys travel, her cat, Zen Li Shou, would rather she stayed home.
ANNE G. MYLES, originally from the east coast, and now Associate Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, specializing in early American literature. You can find some of my earlier academic thoughts about Mary Dyer in her Wikipedia entry, as I recently learned to my surprise. I have been drawn back to my lost origins in creative writing in the past year or so, and poetry (the form in which I was trained) even more recently, including but not limited to working on a series of Mary Dyer poems. I hope to begin sending work out soon. I have a blog about matters related to my recovering my creative voice at “How public — like a Blog –,” annegolda.blog
My god is
Imperfect, a perfect image for me.
Humbled by its mistakes.
My god is a mistake.
A wrong answer,
Its winters often in spring.
Its summers sometime in autumn.
My god is a fracture, a flaw.
Gender fluid. Defined by its
Inhumanity, it is complete
in its incompleteness. Aspires
not to aspire. My god is contradiction,
counter intuitive. Fresh in its decay.
Its more is always less. Thank god.
With ebbs and flows
like sea and lake waters
the ground was trembling,
confidence was at stake.
Wanted to do your best
so never felt at rest
you are too self-demanding
so confidence faded.
Too much self-exigency
leave me please, let me be
tell it now.
That parent, sister, brother,
that relative of yours
or that good friend or lover
if not, the teacher you had
someone said: great, keep up
or someone said, instead,
I think you have no talent
you will not earn a living
you are now wasting your time.
Your confidence fluctuating.
Ghosts of self-exigency
ghosts of negative people
let them vanish.
like storms amid the sea
till everything seems awash,
like strong winds on Earth
till each house looks swept,
What light dwells in your soul
what thoughts in your mind
this is not to be disregarded,
disrespected or dismissed.
From your uniqueness, your creation
comes as a true revelation.
Let the ghosts of comparison
fade away from the sea
from the land you inhabit.
As the sun shines on you
so will confidence.