Another week, another poetry class. Here’s the poem I brought to class and a beautiful red leaf I saw while walking the dog today. The shape is almost more amazing than the color.
How silently this clay sinks
into the soft arms of the earth.
How easily these ashes dissolve
on the spade-turned soil.
Without fanfare, without effort
we return, as a leaf settles
into trembling grass, as snow
vanishes on the drifted bank.
I’m really loving this poetry class; each meeting is like sinking up to my neck in a claw-footed bathtub of hot water and bubbles. I emerge relaxed and refreshed, my mind cleared of all the mundane things that drag me away from writing.
Bad news: my life and the world in general have not cooperated with my expressed wish to do nothing but write poetry. Good news: I’ve managed to keep up with my assignments anyway and do some work that feels valuable both as process and product. This week’s assignment was to express an abstract idea by means of a place, objects, and sensory details, ten lines long, no more than five sentences of varied length and structure.
(This lovely little leaf was waiting on my windshield when I came out of class.)
She drives on fumes to her studio
apartment, where she opens the refrigerator
to confirm there’s nothing in it
but bottled water. She drinks
by dancing television light and the naked
walls echo waltz and tango as she watches
beautiful couples twirl and dip
alone from the bed. Her stomach rumbles,
empty as her wallet and the third
finger on her left hand.
I did it! I successfully completed the writing challenge I posed myself during the month of September, writing and posting a poem each day. Thank you for reading!
Knowing that I was registered for a poetry class to begin October 10, I took some time off to catch up on things (such as housework and bookkeeping) I had neglected during the challenge. It’s a good thing, because I wrote four poems during the first class meeting yesterday and have so many ideas for more that I don’t want to cook or clean or leave the house again, ever.
This is the best of yesterday’s drafting, after a poem by Jan Beatty (“My Father Teaches Me to Dream“) and prompted by a painting by Samantha Gee (“Portrait of a Kitchen“). I photographed the leaf while walking the dog.
My Mother Teaches Me to Sing
You want to know what blue is?
Blue is an empty vase on the shelf.
It’s a ribbon tied to a basket.
It’s a glass you put in the dishwasher,
then in the cupboard, then on the table,
then in the dishwasher again.
It’s a towel hanging from the door.
It’s a fire that traces the kitchen windows,
billowing in from the deep
I worked most of the day in the yard, where I met a most charming fellow, elegantly dressed and with a great sense of rhythm.
Light on his feet
tiny jumping spider with shiny green
body and black legs – except
the first set, which are tipped
in ivory: gentleman’s gloves
and baton or cane
he leaps from fold to fold
along my sleeve, first legs waving
like Toscanini, keen eyes alert
for a lady spider to share
his dance of love
The first televised war is much on people’s minds these days. I might read some of the retrospectives whose titles inspired this poem, but I doubt I will ever watch the documentaries. My own memories are vivid enough.
This is what we do
the embers of war still burn
in retrospect, the searing remains
of a bright shining lie that left
the living charred
and ruined as the fields
It was a busy day, but I found some inspiration between some movie trailers and watching Netflix.
snow falling on stump
in the clearing stands a doe
I feel no more cold
I couldn’t settle on a good title for this one. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Thank you!
Lady Night sips moonlight
from a cupped hand, spilling
stars all over her