Somewhere in My Mind

Somewhere in My Mind

There, then gone,
lost          somewhere.

How to address this
when there is no memory.

A hundred times a day,
I go to the well.

Each time I return
with an empty cup.

Nothing to do but go on,
moment to moment,

try to break the spell
as I greet each moment,

looking for the memories
lost somewhere in my mind.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Lost poems and Found Poetry, the prompt from Laura Bloomsberry at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a found poem from one of those provided, with no required adherence to exact wording or order and the freedom to add to the “found” words. I have used Lost in Plain Sight, by Peter Schneider, which was sourced from Poetry Foundation. The original appears below, with used words in bold.

Lost in Plain Sight
  By Peter Schneider

Somewhere recently
I lost my short-term memory.
It was there and then it moved
like the flash of a red fox
along a line fence.

My short-term memory
has no address but here
no time but now.
It is a straight-man, waiting to speak
to fill in empty space
with name, date, trivia, punch line.
And then it fails to show.

It is lost, hiding somewhere out back
a dried ragweed stalk on the Kansas Prairie
holding the shadow of its life
against a January wind.

How am I to go on?
I wake up a hundred times a day.
Who am I waiting for
what am I looking for
why do I have this empty cup
on the porch or in the yard?
I greet my neighbor, who smiles.
I turn a slow, lazy Susan
in my mind, looking for
some clue, anything to break the spell
of being lost in plain sight.

fluid currency

fluid currency

more than ash
innumerable particles
floating, at last
drifting
in the river
the river in me
boundless energy
in the rush of rapid descent
coursing
flowing past fond memories
familiar shores
ever onward, outward
to a world without borders
one with the big expanse

This poem is my second response to Quadrille night: ashes to ashes, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word ash in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

From boating to diving, to kayaking, to just sitting on the shore, I’ve always thought of the Niagara River as my home. My children have promised to scatter my ashes in the river. One last river dive, this time over Niagara Falls, will be mine before I eventually flow towards the sea.

Broken Rib

Broken Rib

I wash all thought of you
from my mind.
Routinely.

Still, you surface
like the broken rib
of a long-forgotten wreck
left behind for better times,
as if the light of day will change
your waterlogged story, erase
the memory of our stormy past.

This poem is my response to Quadrille night: ashes to ashes, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word ash in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme. Wash from your mind any thought that “wash” is not a form of “ash.”

**Returning to this after a couple of hours, I see that I could have
written it this way and included “ash.”

Broken Rib

I wash all thought of you
from my mind.
Yet, you surface
like the broken rib
of a long-forgotten wreck,
as if the light of day will change
your waterlogged story,
erase our stormy past. If only
it had been reduced to ash.

Image source: National Park Service

Cazadero Moss

Cazadero Moss

Beside a leaf-scattered trail
that winds beneath Douglas fir
and redwood, massive
granite boulders lie, almost a wall.
High, relative to a terrain
that continues to rise
above the valley below.

Moss covers the wall,
the crevices between boulders,
as if married to the wall.
A soft blanket of green
where fallen needles and thoughts
collect, thoughts of those
who have stopped to relish
the beauty of this moment,
any moment in this place.

A late response to earthweal weekly post: THE NATURE OF ENCHANTMENT, i am sharing this poem with earthweal open link weekend #88.

Photos: Cazadero Nature and Art Conservancy, in Sonoma County, California.
(click images for larger view in new tab)

My other Cazadero poems can be found here.

Beyond Vincent, There Is Nothing

Beyond Vincent, There Is Nothing

Why attend?

I want to be impressed,
be proven wrong.

I want to know that art
can cross the divide,
be projected on a scale
that does not shadow its own beauty.

Instead, a meretricious display
leaves a foul taste and fails
to honor the work of a master.

This past weekend, we went to St. Louis to attend Beyond van Gogh, The Immersive Experience. I understand that presentations differ from venue to venue, and I have seen images from other cities that did not appear in St. Louis. Video shorts in the banners of sites for the event in various cities have a quality that I found to be nonexistent in the presentation we attended. I considered this one to be underwhelming.  It says something when the highlight of the weekend was visiting a couple of craft breweries in St. Louis.  (And, of course, a visit to the Gateway Arch, even on a cloudy day.)

The presentation was a projection of some of the works of Vincent van Gogh on a thirty minute loop in a room with a lofty ceiling, but with four walls that were 20 feet high in an area that might have been 100 feet by 50 feet. Two large, four-sided pillars stood down the center-line of the room. The projection from the ceiling onto adjacent long and short walls and one pillar was repeated on the other two walls and pillar. Both of the long walls had a “seam” where projections overlapped, creating blurriness and, in some instances, a double image. At times, there seemed to be too much light in the room.

Our tickets were for a 60 minute period, but we were advised to stay as long as we wished. We stayed through four cycles so that we could see all of the presentation, and at no time was the room crowded.

I recognize the importance of accessibility for people who may not have an understanding of van Gogh, but people standing directly against the wall, casting shadows on the projection while they posed for selfies, or parents who paid the price of admission so that their children could stand by the wall talking about who-knows-what as they blocked the view of others, added nothing to the experience.

As for the production, in some instances, the high resolution offered details, such as brushstrokes present in paintings that I likely will never see in person. Of course, the relief/texture of those brushstrokes could not be reproduced, but that was to be expected. One key, touted aspect of the event was a form of animation, such as moving stars in The Starry Night, or a glimmering night sky and a shimmer on the water of Starry Night Over the Rhône, which actually did produce a tantalizing effect. Another effect was the layering of branches and blossoms, unrelated to the art they covered, that spread and grew until they consumed the original projection. This effect was impressive, albeit tacky.

Instrumental music, some of it incongruous, played throughout the presentation. What America (as an instrumental), by Simon and Garfunkel, has to do with van Gogh, I don’t know. As Don McLean’s Vincent (instrumental) played, none of the song references matched scenes as they were presented and when they would have been most effective, including The Starry Night. As for The Starry Night, the focus was on the stars in the sky (until replaced by an animation of swirling lines), with no emphasis on the village. If the cedar, a prominent feature in the foreground of the painting, was present, I missed it entirely.

As I said earlier, I considered the presentation to be underwhelming. This brief interview regarding a viewing of the original in Paris, at L’Atelier des Lumiéres, may be more objective.

This video of the original in Paris is pretty impressive.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh (cropped here)

Photo: The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (click image for larger view in new tab)

Shared with Go LIVE with dVerse!

Out of Reach

Out of Reach

Words come,
go, whether I stop
to think about the pain
or drive it from my mind.
Never really gone,
it rises when I fall victim
to regret, consider wasted
moments when I long
for those out of reach,
no longer here. I reach
for words they will never hear,
never sure if the words
will reach me.

This poem is my response to Poetics: From a place of pain, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is “to revisit a time in your life when you have felt pain (emotional or physical, acute or chronic) and come out on the other side stronger.” I don’t think I’ve ever survived such a moment in a way that made me any stronger. Instead, I consider myself just as vulnerable.

This Heart

 This Heart

Neither glass nor stone,
not impervious nor shattered,
the heart that beats deep within me
has known the ache of life’s trials
and the elation of reward revealed
when most needed. The greatest
of those rewards was found
when it started beating for you.

 

This poem is my response to Quadrille #137: Throwing Poet Stones, the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word stone in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.

The stone and the glass hearts in the photo were found on the shore of Lake Ontario
(Click image for larger view in new tab)

Fair Niagara (revised) ~ verse epistle

Fair Niagara

Think not that I have forsaken you, Niagara.
These thousand miles that separate us
cannot deny that you still flow
through my veins like a lifeblood.

There can be no denying our intimacy,
one that reaches back to childhood. Mine,
bundled in my parents’ arms when I first met you
at the edge of your mighty falls.

Your childhood, Niagara, lies hidden somewhere
in the mists of time. Onguiaahra, your first people
named you. As a passage between two great bodies of water,
they respected your nature, both simple and profound.

The sight of salmon jumping in your lower reaches
or the light returned by a school of shiners in your clear water
take my breath away, yet it returns easily when your warm water
meets the cool air of an early autumn morning.

You cradled me as I swam in your depths
beside muskellunge and sturgeon,
held me afloat as I paddled your waters
in the company of herons and eagles.

Niagara, you have been my quiet companion,
the many hours I sat by your shore
marveling at your wonder and beauty,
contemplating life and the nearness of you.

I have heard the majesty of your cataracts, you with a rainbow
as a crown while singing of the splendors of nature.
I have seen your power and fury on display below those falls,
rushing through a canyon that would contain you,

till you broke free to flow calmly, steadily,
to complete your course, connecting one inland sea
with another. I have watched the sun set over you,
enhancing your beauty and glory.

Yet while my heart still beats for you, it has answered
the call of one most dear who now shares my heart
with you. I seek what comfort I can from the rivers
and streams of my new home, but they do not run as clear.

They do not provide the solace I find in your blue waters,
nor do they lessen this great distance between us.
Before my time has run its course,
I shall return to yours, my fair Niagara.

This is a revision of Fair Niagara, a verse epistle written for Exploring the poetic genre: Verse Epistle, a March 2021 prompt at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, and is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: SAY THE NAMES, a prompt hosted by Sherry Marr at earthweal, where she says, “Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live.”

I’m also sharing this at dVerse – Open Link Night 293 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Read about the source of the word “Niagara” here.

Images
~ The Niagara River, with the skyline of the city of Niagara Falls on the horizon
~ At Niagara Falls in 1953
~ Emerald Shiners (minnows) in the Niagara River
(click images for larger view in new tab
)

Just One Tree

Just One Tree

What is my life to a cedar,
with all of my paths leading here,
contemplating age and survival,

or to an oak, with no false starts,
each of its branches offering
the possibility for growth?

A walnut will stand tall and continue
bearing fruit, while my back bends
and my options grow fewer.

Brief as my life may be, there is
solace in its ending if it should
spare the life of just one tree.

This poem originally was inspired by the first photo above, taken ten days ago on a walk at Runge Conservation Center in Jefferson City, Missouri. It sat unfinished, until I realized today that it could be used to meet the Sept. 20 prompt, earthweal weekly challenge: A TIMBERED CHOIR.