Cousins

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

This poem was written in response to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination related to imagery. The recommendation was to make a list of images conveying grief, anger and love ( I added delight since that is what I happened to be feeling a the time), and then exploring what they have in common.

Cousins
 
I grieve
with a deep ache
a longing for something lost;
I hold an emptiness
as thick as a 500-year old tree.
 
I delight
with a child’s joy
a spontaneous spirit;
an unbound energy
as light as the free-flowing air we breathe.
 
I anger
filled with fear
a disconnect with my Self;
an instant reaction
as sharp as the blade of the kitchen knife.
 
I love
my heart wide open
a need to touch something true;
feeling for solid ground
as real as the earth below my two feet.
 
In life’s vast field,
grief and delight, anger and love
play like cousins
in the grass of spring.

Little Chipmunk

Backyard Chipmunk

This poem was written in response to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. The chapter on syntax and diction suggested a poem where each line ends with a verb. (Spoiler alert: I often don’t completely follow the rules. ;] )

Little Chipmunk
                                                     
Up his little head peaks
from his little hole-door open.
His little mind questions,
Where’s everyone positioned?
His little body scurries
across the lawn faded,
the autumn yard shaded.
To the feeder grounds he races
for its lesser seeds discarded.
His little cheeks balloon,
his little heart delights
to his little home he runs.
His house with abundance fills.
Oh, yes! Winter, she is coming.

A Place to Stand

Wysteria – Catania, Sicily, Italy, 2018

A Place to Stand

I’m looking for a place to stand, a place past

judgement and labeling, past anger and hatred, a place beyond

fear. My feet keep moving, stretching, searching, hungry to find space

where my heart can bloom and my soul can sing. I stay awake and pay attention because

this place is subtle, like the flavor of saffron lingering in my mouth. It’s a nuanced spot

that only speaks when you slow down, when you reach inside and listen deeply

to your body’s wisdom. The location settles you in a contented solitude, a seclusion

that moves you past the duality of good and bad, stability and freedom, attachment and aversion.

When you follow your embodied experience, you find a place to stand where

your being is washed in light, where your heart opens like a flower, where possibility

flows like a river over your feet standing along the stony shore. 

Autumn’s Decoration, A Colorful Declaration

I was sitting on our deck yesterday morning, a gift of a fall day, nearly 60F at 10 am, not a cloud in the big blue sky, the sun casting a beautiful glow across the yard. I noticed that all of the hostas had crumpled, and that became an invitation to notice all there was to see and experience around me. The poem below came to me.

  Autumn’s Decoration, A Colorful Declaration
  
 The hostas have crumpled like a hot air balloon landed 
 and deflated. 
 The lime and yellow strands of the lily’s limbs are lying 
 down as if praying to a god in the east. 
 The leaves of the birch dapple the lawn in yellow polka dots spread
 like sprinkles on birthday cake. 
 The elm stands almost bare, with some determined leaves hanging
 like ornaments on someone’s holiday tree. 
 The neighbor’s oak stands glorious in the morning light,  
 mirroring the sun. 
 And, behold! 
 Among the plants quieting for winter in the flower bed, 
 a patch of iris is blossoming.  

Passageway

Keswick, England

I wrote this poem to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. The suggestion was to write down as many definitions of time as I could in 3 minutes, pick the definition I was most attracted to, identify traits and images associated with that definition, and write a poem that never uses the word time.

Passageway
 
tick tock, tick tock
the clock speaks its words
opens the passageway
 
our days measured
in seconds, minutes, hours
days, weeks, months
and, if we’re lucky, years
 
ticking tocking clocking
we hustle about
to be there now
or here then

birdsong

Wren singing in the spruce trees of my back yard

This poem was written to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts by Christopher Salerno and Kelsea Habecker in Chapter 7: Sounds of Poetry. The prompt was to write a poem about a bird using only monosyllabic words that mimics the sounds birds make.

birdsong
 
the bird, her song
how it floats
on the air, moves
from her small soul
to my ear and dips
down to the depths
of my heart, rides
the wind and sings
of the gold of the sun
not like her friends who
tick, tick, tick to time
click click like a clock
chirp, chirp and chortle
coo coo of love
no, her voice rises above
the noise, soft and gentle
serenading me.

Fanore

Fanore, County Clare, Ireland

Another poem written to a prompt provided in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. On the technique of imagery, the prompt guided me to imagine a vivid physical setting from somewhere that I’ve traveled, focus on specific imagery from the scene, and transport the reader to that place.

Fanore
 
The long grass slumbers,
a field of feathery green;
succumbed long ago
to the wild winds off
the Atlantic sea.
 
A jumble of old fence,
worn wood posts and crooked cable,
finished blocking
the seekers from this
soul sanctuary.
 
Where the earth rises
to a crest, an alter high,
the view opens;
her arms spread so wide,
inviting you in.
 
The breathless blue sky
dips to meet the deep dark sea.
A mystery -
their infinite play
to the horizon.
 
Waves crash and collide
speaking to the stony shore.
Salty mist moist;
the hair on your skin
quivers with its touch.

Autumn

Fall leaves, Iowa City, Iowa

This poem was written in response to a prompt in How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. The suggestion was to use an image from someone else’s poem. I selected Ranier Maria Rilke’s Autumn with images of leaf, earth, falling.

Autumn
 
The rustle of the poplar leaves,
one leaf touching another
singing sweetly
a final farewell
 
The golden earth hungers
after a hot full summer,
looking up with a promise
she opens to receive
the falling fruit

Octopus

Jellyfish – As close as I’ve gotten to a photo of something like an octopus!

I continue to work my way through my new poetry workbook/journal, How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. Chapter 3 included a prompt to write about the similarities between humans and octopus with their 8 arms, 3 hearts and 0 bones. Below is the resulting piece that came to me one morning this week.

Octopus

Oh, my friend, that I could have been born with
eight arms to move through the world. I would reach
even more with my helping hands spread
in so many directions.

And, not one, but three hearts! The life energy
that must move through you! I think of the love
I could express with a triad of pulsing organs
centering my body in fluid space.

You have no bones? No hard calcifications
inside of you to render you firm? You make me dream
of moving the soft tissue of my being
with a flowing grace, elegant and spectacular.

Digging

Digging
 
The brown squirrel
digging in the dirt
determined to bury
the birthing fruit
does he dream
of the big bold oak
who will one day
bow to him
and say
Thank You?