Things have been their usual busy, though not in the usual ways. I’ve had to cut back on many activities and redirect time and energy to a complicated family matter in another state. (Is it just me, or do “complicated” and “family” seem redundant in that sentence?)
I’ve also had a steady stream of editing work, for which I am very grateful, but all this has left me little time to write. I am equally thankful for the many writers in my life, whose posts and e-mail keep me grounded in the creative world. One such recent e-mail so tickled me that I played around with until it formed a rough poem, which I share with you here.
Recently in the course of writing a poem
I thought of the word louche (disreputable).
I didn’t really remember its meaning but it felt
right. I looked the word up and it was exactly
the meaning I was looking for. This experience
is one of the most rewarding things about writing.
(found poem, e-mail from Alexander Metro, 13dec19)
frosted leaves, seen on morning walk
This came to me in the middle of the night, woke me up and hounded me until I wrote it all down. It feels somehow necessary. I hope it will be a comfort.
Candlelight vigil outside a Trump rally
We are each of us
mourning: those who are inside
rallying, those who are outside
praying, those who remained
We have lost friends, family,
community; faith, heart,
hope; our footing, our bearings,
We are all of us
afraid: of each other, of the future,
of more loss.
We are none of us
beyond reproach, beyond help,
Divided as we seem, we are one
in our grief,
in our fear,
in our need
for one another.
After a brutally hot and dry September, it finally feels like autumn here in the Bluegrass. I’ve been reading a lot about cli-fi (climate fiction) lately, and it seems to have seeped into my poetry.
Memories of the fall
the trees dropped their leaves in relief
after weeks of drought and record
heat, thankful for cool clear nights
but far too tired to put on a show
One of the few bits of color I’ve seen
I’ve not written in weeks nor posted in months, but the frenzy of summer is giving way to the winding down of autumn, thank goodness. This poem was inspired by a lovely post from Michele Bledsoe at The Secret Kingdom: https://secretkingdombook.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/42-dogs-and-the-art-of-repetition/
an artist titles her painting “42 Dogs”
and I think about dogs like snowflakes
unique and beautiful, infinite
in variation: size, shape, color
and then I realize dogs are nothing
like snowflakes, which are more
or less uniform in size and color
and pile up by the millions
on the lawn and front walk, and blow
into drifts against the house
and I am so grateful
that dogs are warm and soft
eyed and that snowflakes are not
in the least bit like dogs
Volunteer ironweed (Vernonia sp.) that appeared in my yard
I was raised to understand that patriotism is placing the welfare of the whole – community, nation, society – above personal interests, trusting that service to others becomes, in the end, service to ourselves. Those ideas seem lost amid public expressions of individual freedom that grow louder and more ostentatious each year.
They say birthdays cease to have meaning after a while, and I always thought that was a comment on the passage of time. Now I’m not so sure.
This year on the Fourth we have plans to celebrate family birthdays –
except for Uncle Sam’s – he’s been acting so strange of late
we feel like we don’t know him anymore, which is saying a lot
because we have a pretty high tolerance for strange in this family.
Most of us are afraid for him – his health, his stability – but some
are afraid of him, of what he might do next. We don’t really know
how to talk about any of this – with ourselves, let alone with him –
but he doesn’t seem to be listening anyway. So we’ll have cake
and ice cream, and candles but no fireworks – not even sparklers –
and sing “Happy Birthday” and open cards and maybe a few
gifts. Then we’ll sedate the dog and turn in early, burying our heads
in the pillows to muffle the sounds of gunfire and other explosions.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) from my yard
This was inspired by the paintings of Carolyn Young Hisel, seen in Luminous, a 50-year retrospective of her work at the Headley-Whitney Museum. My poetry circle took a field trip at the end of April to see the exhibition, which was amazing.
A woman is leaving
A red piano waits to carry her
on notes we cannot hear; a red boat
is moored at world’s edge
like a patient pony. She will dance
to the threshold, draped in lace;
she will step into the green wave
where the sun sets. Her head turns
to the luminous door, to the view
beyond the open window.
(Reposted from the Lexington Poetry Month website: https://lexpomo.com/poem/a-woman-is-leaving/)
Bearded iris and English daisies, my yard, early May