Sunday, December 10, 2017

Poetry Pantry #382

Vaalannkurkku Railway Bridge - Finland

Greetings, Friends.   I found the photo above on Wikimedia Commons.  I thought it was beautiful and suggested this wintry time of year.

We had another interesting week at Poets United.  Many of you wrote for Susan's Narcissism / Vanity prompt. This coming week Sumana will be prompting us to write to the prompt - Celebration.

Friday Rosemary shared the poem "Afterthought" by the Australian poet Tony Foley!  It really is a meaningful poem, one I think many can identify with.

Don't miss Sherry's feature on Monday.  She is featuring one of the original poets of Poets United.  It is great to see her back once again sharing her poetry.

Just a heads up to everyone:  Poets United will be taking a holiday break in December.  We will have a Poetry Pantry next Sunday,  December 17.  Then we will have about two weeks off to give us all a bit of a break.  Smiles.  We will resume again on December 31, the last day of the year, for those who are interested in ending the year with a sharing of poetry!

With no further delay, let's share poetry!  Link your poem below.  Stop in the comments and say hello! And visit the poems of those who link.  I look forward to seeing you on the trail.

Friday, December 8, 2017

I Wish I'd Written This


No poem is capable of expressing life,
no lyrical phrases adequate to the task,
no bleak aphorisms suited to the tears,
no adjectives alive to expressions of joy,
no metric rhythm sufficient.
So we have to try another angle,
weep like babes torn from a mother,
laugh like kids playing hopscotch in the street,
frown like scholars pondering Sartre,
make love as if death is ruffling your sheets.
See how simple it becomes?
Love and Death dance around
autumn blown leaves,
soft lips brush your cheek
as doors close on starlings.

But, and there's always a but,
you peer around the corner of
desire and find only mist,
then touch the stars and cry
for lost words.

– Tony Foley

Tony Foley is an Australian poet, a friend of mine, and married to another friend I've known even longer, poet and musician Whitefeather Light. They live in Melbourne (where I once lived too) and we keep in touch on facebook.

The bio at his blog says:

I've knocked around with lots of different jobs from cab driver to forklift driver, postal clerk to pollster, but since 1989 have worked in an academic library. I've performed in plays - mostly in character roles with a Russian theatre company. In performance poetry I've been feature reader at many venues around Melbourne including The Perseverance Hotel, La Mama Poetica, Montsalvat Poetry Festival, Victorian Writers' Centre, Dan O'Connell Hotel, Westword, and even been a wandering poet at the Melbourne Wine and Food festival (that was one weird gig). I've had few poems published here and there but don't really care much about chasing publication, mostly I've contributed a piece when invited. I've been filmed for community television and been interviewed on community radio. Oh, I love reading, but that's pretty normal for a librarian.

As a book lover and former librarian, I'd have to agree with that last! 

(The places he mentions are among the most notable poetry performance venues in Melbourne.)

I think most of us must have known those times he talks about, when the words seem inadequate to express the richness and depth of life itself. Of course, he does a wonderful job, here, of expressing that dilemma (smile) and creating a beautiful poem while he's at it. May all our poems 'fail' so successfully!

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Narcissus (Vanity/Narcissism)

Range of Narcissus cultivars
“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. ” Erich FrommThe Art of Loving 
Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return.  George Eliot 
“. . . . 'But... was Narcissus beautiful?' the lake asked. . . .   
'I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.'”  Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist
File:Dante Gabriel Rossetti - "Persephone".jpg

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - "Persephone".jpg

Midweek Motif ~
Narcissus (Vanity / Narcissisum)
The narcissus is one of December's birth flowers.  According to Greek myth, it is the flower that grew when the vain young man Narcissus drowned in the lake in which he admired his own reflection.  There's more to the story--Echo, goddesses, love,  and, related to it is the story of Persephone and Demeter, a pomegranatedeath, winter and summer.  Picking a narcissus flower separated Persephone from her peers, and Hades kidnapped her.  Her story associates her with the life cycle of plants.  

Do any of these stories have meaning to you? 
If not, hold with the beautiful flower itself.

Your Challenge: Write a new poem in response to the themes of one of the images included in this prompt.  (You may also provide images of your own that relate to narcissus and/or vanity).  


Persephone, Falling
One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful
flowers, one unlike all the others!  She pulled,
stooped to pull harder—
when, sprung out of the earth
on his glittering terrible
carriage, he claimed his due.
It is finished.  No one heard her.
No one!  She had strayed from the herd.

(Remember: go straight to school.
This is important, stop fooling around!
Don’t answer to strangers.  Stick
with your playmates.  Keep your eyes down.)
This is how easily the pit
opens.  This is how one foot sinks into the ground.
(In Mother Love by Rita Dove. © 1995, W.W. Norton & Company.  Used with permission.)

Echo And Narcissus, John William Waterhouse (1903)

Encircled by her arms as by a shell,
she hears her being murmur,
while forever he endures
the outrage of his too pure image...

Wistfully following their example,
nature re-enters herself;
contemplating its own sap, the flower
becomes too soft, and the boulder hardens...

It's the return of all desire that enters
toward all life embracing itself from afar...
Where does it fall? Under the dwindling
surface, does it hope to renew a center? 
Image result for Sylvia Plath mirror
Sylvia Plath | Source
by Sylvia Plath I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful- The eye of the little god, four cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Jan Vermeulen Vanitas Still Life.jpg
Ecclesiastes 1:2, Vanity of Vanities, all is Vanity.  Still Life by Jan Vermeulen (1653)

My song has put off her adornments.
She has no pride of dress and decoration. 
Ornaments would mar our union;
they would come between thee and me; 
their jingling would drown thy whispers.
My poet’s vanity dies in shame before thy sight. 
O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. 
Only let me make my life simple and straight, 
like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and
visit others in the spirit of the community— 
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be Celebration. )