This grief that is mine, that has been mine these many years, that has plagued me with its persistence, has lost its bitterness. Bittersweet perhaps, though never bringing the pleasure of a cherry that is savored in spite of its tartness. It still delivers a chill, yet keeps me warm with the memories that it stirs. It is those that I savor.
This poem is my response to Poetics: Always in Season, the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which offers three options. Mine is in regards to writing “about an emotion or abstract concept,” is to “an emotion or abstract concept. What does it taste like?”
Apologies, for continuing in the vein of yesterday’s response to dVerse. While that one was difficult for me, I was able to write this in a more objective manner.
One memory lingers, unwanted, but I hold it close, nonetheless. One more moment with you, worth any that came before and more than any after. Your hand in mine, you lingered, eyes closed but restless. Then no more, as you went to meet him.
My mother outlived my father by fifteen years, and she missed him every day she lived without him. On her last day, I spent the afternoon with her. When I went to dinner, my sister stayed by her side, so she was not alone at the end. They say that writing can be cathartic. That may be true, but sometimes it stirs memories I might wish I never had. But then, those may be the ones I couldn’t live without.
This poem is my response to Quadrille #136: Let’s Linger, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word linger in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.
Rock and snow my prison cell Stranded in the midst of beauty Blue waves and sky no consolation Thoughts of rescue from this desolation
Now as distant as a passing ship, With its snapping sails A faint syncopation Against the murmur of swans
Taunting me from afar The freedom of their aerial maneuvers Bringing only profound sadness Each passing day
The spark of hope dimmer Until frozen Splintering, shattering Finally gone
“Desolation” has it’s roots in a poem I wrote for a prompt from Jane Dougherty and subsequently edited for The Ekphrastic Review, where it was published in October 2018. It was inspired by In the Blue Expanse, by Arkady Rylov, and can be found here.
In the winter wind, a massive pine brushes the clapboard of this house that has not seen paint in fifty years. Weathered and fading to gray, it is neglected and long past any rustic charm. Snow is cupped in the upturned edges of the siding. Shutters hang at an angle beside windows that once glowed with warmth, but now stand dull and lifeless. There is no bustle, no activity, just banging shutters.
You say you hear laughter from this house? That’s nothing more than echoes from the past. Perhaps you also smell roast turkey and spiced apple, or hear dishes clattering. Broken pieces on the floor are all that remain of those. This home has not seen a festive dinner in years. And that’s no wisp of smoke from the chimney, just snow blowing from the roof of an empty house. But you knew that when you saw those lifeless windows.
This poem is my response to Poetics: Outside Looking In, the prompt from Laura at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which asks us to imagine a house with no family connections, no memories of our own to call upon.
He was a cop, which, by itself, shouldn’t mean anything, but he was also a perfectionist. Everything by the book, which was a good thing when scuba diving. Fewer chances for mishaps and mistakes meant a more enjoyable dive.
A group of friends would do river drifts in the Niagara River, with buddy teams of two. A pickup vehicle was left at the exit point, then we’d drive upriver to the entry point with our gear, drift along the bottom with a float, and surface.
Keeping track of bottom time was essential. Surfacing too late meant a hard kick in if the current had pushed us from shore. Embarrassing as it was, there were times when a buddy team had to call for a ride after surfacing too far downriver.
When possible, divers tended to use the same partner. Knowing their skill level and tendencies meant being able to anticipate their reactions above and below the water. It made it easier to avoid underwater obstacles or tangles with the buddy line.
I had been on several dives with him. He was a good friend and an excellent diver who was training to be an instructor. Dives with him always went smoothly, but I wondered about his patience. As a group, he buddied with his wife.
That’s not always a good thing, when someone insists that everything be by the book. It comes down to knowing your partner’s abilities. Compensating for shortcomings should come naturally to an instructor, more so for a couple.
At the end of one dive, my buddy and I were checking out a boat anchor I’d found when we saw their dive flag go by. Late exit. Drifting next to the float, he was berating her as he untangled the float line that was wrapped around her.
Things were pretty uncomfortable as we sat on the shore afterward, having a snack and something to drink. Talk centered around the finds we had brought to the surface. I pictured him on the bottom, the anchor tied to his fins.
Narrative poetry is not really my cup of tea, but I thought I’d give this a try.
Listening to our shadow on a night picnic, being visited by words, I dress myself with raining moonbeams that bring me magic with dream sense. Giving them our real names, I sing to the stars of my love for you with controlled abandon. What’s my image? Poems and the body, think of them as being here as one, for poems are alive. These are the nights you love me most, full moon me, most mad and moonly.
This poem is my response to Day 18 at napowrimo.net, where the challenge is write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Woolridge’s Poem crazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, from the book’s Table of Contents, found here. I’ve included fifteen of those phrases in my poem so it is nearly a cento. The chapter titles I have used are:
• poem sound and song • listening to our shadow • on a night picnic • being visited by words • I dress myself with rain • bring me magic • dream sense • our real names • controlled abandon • what’s my image • poems and the body • being here • poems are alive • full moon me • most mad and moonly
I follow lines. Curves and angles may draw my eye, but always bring me back to lines. An arc, a tangent, the shadow of a cornice cannot conceal details, divert direction. A hairpin may reverse direction but always takes me forward.
Each one speaks to me, waits to meet the page, carbon to fiber, or the screen, pixels in a lattice, forming lines that tell the story of the lines that inspire me.
Off prompt for Day 15 at napowrimo.net, but still on track to write at least a poem a day in April for National/Global Poetry Writing Month 2021.
What is truth, and what is fiction? Though facts may abound, much is unknown. There is no lack of sources or resources, yet not all is black and white. Insights, opinions from self-labeled experts available at our fingertips, only muddy the waters. Clarity is open to interpretation. If only I might ken their meaning.
This poem is my response to Day 14 at napowrimo.net, where the prompt is to write a poem that delves into the meaning of one’s first or last name.
Expand your mind. Suspend disbelief and bring relief. Seize that fine line between yesterday and tomorrow. This moment, any moment, is yours to uncover. Whatever you find, wherever you find it, you’ll still be here when you get there; always be there, even when you return.
The deeper you go the more you’ll know. With no load to carry, the world is in your hands. Experience sonic expansion. More than memory, the mansion of your mind is a palace, no less than the world that surrounds you. More than you know, and more than that, awaits you.
This ekphrastic poem is my response to Day One at napowrimo.net, where the prompt is to write a poem inspired by the animated version of “Seductive Fantasy”, by The Sun Ra Arkestra.
sun and moon in an embrace
from horizon to horizon
proximity a measure of
darkness and light
the mere sight of one by the other
a shared light, free of shadow
I found this poem in my “Unfinished” folder, in four drafts dating from June 2020 through August 2020. I’m sure it was inspired by something I read on WordPress, but I just can’t place it. I think it makes a good counterpoint to yesterday’s poem.