Birthday poetry

The critique group I shared this with dubbed it the space pirate poem. Aye, then, raise yer glass to another voyage!

From a voyager’s log

full fifty times have I orbited
aboard this good green vessel, broad of beam
and sound, her crew a dodgy
lot at times, both boon
companions and bitter foes

the thousand intractable ills
of shipborne life have gullied me
soft though not yet stripped: I expect
the radiation of yon yellow star will render
me a rattling husk long

before the stellar wind sweeps
my dust to the cosmos

My, Grandmother, what lovely stockings you have!

A few years ago, I wrote about my affection for large spiders (which I call Grandmother Spiders) and how delighted I am that a number of them see fit to hang out around my house every fall. I thought that being a Neoscona haven was pretty cool, but this year I found an amazing lady outside my window who has me in seventh heaven: Araneus marmoreus, also known as a marbled orbweaver.

araneus croppedAs my photographic skills hardly do her justice, let me describe her: her body and upper legs are bright orange, with black and white stripes at the ends of her legs, like stockings. She has a ridiculously large, very round abdomen, cheery yellow in color with elaborate dark brown markings. Between her vivid coloring and the size and shape of her abdomen, she looks more like some artist’s caricature of a spider, made from a large marble and glass beads on wire.

spider 1Early mornings, I’ve been privileged to watch her repair her web from the night’s hunting before she retreats to a modest shelter of leaves and silk she constructed at the top of the window. Most evenings I find her hanging in the center of the web, as pictured here. (The lighting at these times of day also accounts in part for the photographic mediocrity.)

So now I can check another really cool giant spider off my life list (which I didn’t know I had until she showed up at my window. Thank you, Grandmother!)

Found poetry: book spines

So what has happened to my Blog Elul poetry, you ask? I’ve been writing, but the poems have been either too drafty (rough, unfinished) or too personal to post. That’s a good thing, though, because it means I have material to work with later, when I don’t have a daily prompt to inspire me.

I spent a couple hours with a friend at the library today, and I can never resist the urge to make poetry out of book titles. So here’s something I cobbled together using words that jumped out at me from the stacks.


to whisper her name all day and a night
unbroken against the tide
white hot light of the world long gone
a life of joy in a heartbeat

burning once upon a river
too late to say goodbye
guilt by association
hidden places never far from home

Prompted poetry: know

As I typed the title for this poem, my fingers kept keying in “medication” rather than “meditation” (just did it again – three times in a row!) I think that speaks volumes in itself.

Meditation for the day

Be still and know
the Unknowable Source of all Being

Be still and know
all being

Be still and know
the source

Be still and know
the unknowable

Be still and know

Be still




Prompted poetry: accept

This is harder than it looks – so hard in fact that some days it is beyond our ability, though never beyond our capacity.


to accept is to receive, to make a place in our
lives for that which is given, even when
it does not seem like a gift


Prompted poetry: search

Odd as it seems, this is a long poem for me. The first draft was shorter and much more dense and terse, but I feared it would be too opaque. Now I worry I may have gone too far in the other direction – did I draw this out too much? What do you think?


When she began looking, she was in high
spirits, cheerful and confident that it had simply been
mislaid. After sifting through clutter on table
and counter, she paused to consider when she had seen
it last and where.

She retraced her steps through several
rooms, spottily, not quite certain
which day was which, their sameness
as sad as it was bewildering. And still she believed
it would turn up.

She moved every piece of furniture, discovering
all manner of things lost but not at the moment
desired. She saw her cleaning had been lacking in certain
areas but did not allow herself to be distracted
by the shame.

Breathing steadily to quell
the panic she felt bubbling along the edges, she turned
all the rugs, shook them clear of dust
and hair and other small bits from shoes
and life.

At length she dropped to her knees
without hope in the center of the smallest
room in the house. A sob tore from her throat
as she glimpsed a metallic glint
beneath a baseboard.


Prompted poetry: act

Two novels I grabbed at random to read this summer feature works of Shakespeare as a motif. Coincidence? I think not.


There is no script, but the structure remains
obvious: deep darkness sets one act
apart from the next and even though the scene

changes are not always so clearly announced, everyone knows
when the action shifts. The trick to surviving
so much uncertainty is to trust the ensemble, the wit

and timing of the other players. This is also, not
coincidentally, the most difficult part.