Monday, June 17, 2019


Today we are featuring poems by Myrna Rosa, Vivian Zems and Grace Guevera that we think you will enjoy. Each one gives us such a lovely portrait of the poet who penned it. Let's top up our coffee and immerse ourselves in the beauty of their reflections.

In my room, 
Messy like the world,
My dogs sleep peacefully.
Their snores are music from their dreams.
I join my mountains in their devotions
To the sky, insects, coyotes, deer, all animals,
all people trampling on trails.

Awed, I stare at this rocky mass 
Jutting into air, so serene
It slows the rhythm of my worries.
But I cannot be still for long.
Blood rushes through soft flesh,
Limbs swerve, shift, shake.

My mountains shine green with tint of envy,
But speak what any good friend would,
"You can move, I cannot.
Become your own prayer."
Then, through the window in my messy room,
My mountains watch 
As I dance.

Myrna's mountains

Sherry: I love the idea of being the prayer. And the mountains watching you as you dance. Sunday mornings have a special feeling to me, too, because of my childhood. Thanks so much for this.

Myrna: Perhaps because of my early years of structured religion, Sunday mornings still seem special to me.  I hear the silence louder, I breathe the air more deeply, as if I am called to acknowledge something sacred.  Most Sunday mornings I sit in my quiet, messy room for a while waiting for thoughts to transform into poems.  Too often this doesn't happen.  Instead, I stare at my mountains.  While they stand still, I become aware there is commotion within them - much like in me and the world.

The morning I wrote this poem, no poetic thoughts arose.  I decided to give up trying.  "Alexa, play Beethoven", I ordered, as I prepared to doodle in a sketch pad.  Suddenly, I remembered an article by a spiritual writer who advised that we need not kneel or be in any particular place or pose in order to emit positive energy or, in effect, pray.  All we do can be prayer, we can be the prayer.  I paraphrase and I don't recall his name, but I believe his advice.  

I then wrote this poem inspired by the mountains I love and the fact that often, as I cook, do dishes or paint, I play loud, rhythmic, salsa music and take time out to dance. I pretend I move the way I did when young, as I shuffle to the music of my heritage (I'm Puerto Rican), expressing my joy, honoring my ancestors, emitting positive energy and, in effect, praying.  

Sherry: I can see you, dancing in your kitchen! Now and then, I do a lick or two across the room to John Lennon. Smiles. Thank you for this lovely glimpse of your Sunday morning, Myrna.

Vivian's poem  "Emergence" speaks beautifully about our passage through life, how we are honed by the difficult passages. Let's read, and be encouraged. 

If I had known
that a nest so beautiful
needed to be built
with broken branches
I would not have
……cried at the tearing
                     ……nor sobbed at the ripping
               ……or despaired at
                    the breaking
                                       of the branches
                                 of me
Sherry: Yes, had we known that pain was growing and stretching us, it might have been easier to bear. I love the nest imagery in this poem so much!

Vivian:  The poem was born out of the realisation that hard times can give birth to new and beautiful beginnings or realisations. Tough times may seek to break you, but perseverance sees you emerging from the tunnel stronger, wiser and full of gratitude - hence the title, ‘Emergence’.

Sherry: I love it, Vivian. Thank you for sharing it. 

Let's take a look at Grace's affirmative poem, "I Am, My Story", a beautiful story indeed.


I am, my story
i was at war with 
myself & the world

i am here,
not to provoke you
that i am not you
that my skin is dark rose
that my hair is thick as forest
that my tongue is quick as snake

i am here, because you have given
me compassion
       & priceless gifts
that i can speak freely
that i can act and believe in my
       faith and decisions
that i don't need to cover my face
       nor hair if I choose not to
that i don't need to step back
       for someone else to go in

i am here, because you made me
see that sky is blue
       not charcoal in dust or gunpowder
see that streets are clean
       not mired in holes or littered by dead
       bodies, whose faces i knew
       whose lives i knew
       whose nightmares I heard
see my reflection upon the emerald lake
       underneath this scarred face & body
       ...a fire in my eyes
       ...a sword my hands move
                                                 to grasp

i am here.
thank you for a new 

Sherry: We are so glad you were granted that new beginning, Grace. So many are denied it. I love that now the sky above you is blue, no longer grey.

Grace: We are lucky to live in a country, Canada, where we respect and afford human rights and freedom to all people. Sadly that is not the case in other countries - where women specially are not allowed to travel or move around without the consent of male guardianship, like in Saudi Arabia, or where women are not allowed to write, speak, dress without the conventional garb, and fight for their beliefs, like in Iran.   

I admire my country for taking in the victims of the ISIS war, specially the children and the women brutally raped, sold and victimized during the war in Syria.  There was also this case of the Saudi teen escaping Saudi Arabia because her family did not afford her the freedom she wanted.  With these events as a background, I wanted to feature my country as a place where you have the privileges of a free individual, who can determine their own future.

Sherry: We are very fortunate to live in this country. We have to be careful that these freedoms are safeguarded, against the rise of those who would curtail them. 

Thank you, Myrna, Vivian and Grace, for your insightful poems. Each one carries a wonderful message.

Poet friends, do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Poetry Pantry #483

Happy Sunday, poets! Sending a sweet smile your way, courtesy of this adorable alpaca. We hope your week was everything you needed and wanted it to be. On Friday our newest staff member, Sanaa Rizvi, featured a Moonlight Musings column which was very interesting. Do scroll back if you haven't seen it. On Monday, we are sharing poems by Myrna, Vivian and Grace, which we are sure you will enjoy. And on Wednesday  Susan's Midweek Motif will be Gardens. It looks like a good week!

For now, let's read some poetry! Link your one poem, leave us a few words in comments, and do visit the offerings of other poets, in the spirit of community. I am looking forward to reading what you have to share. Thanks for being here. The Pantry wouldn't be the same without you.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Moonlight Musings

Poetry readings, their significance and general appeal:

In the words of Dylan Thomas; "Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own."

In the past few weeks I have come to realize how substantial poetry can be when it's read, how a person's voice can affect the one who is listening and instill an idea, attitude and emotion firmly into his mind. 

I believe reading a poem out loud adds a whole new level of intimacy and forms a sort of understanding and bond between the audience and poet though I admit I hadn't attempted it until last week. 

Poems in a sense are aural compositions. W.H. Auden, a British poet who has been widely anthologized in major collections of poetry made a case for listening to poems when he stated; "No poem, which when mastered is not better heard than read is good poetry." In other words, good poetry works better through one's ear rather than one's eye.

Reading poetry is partly attitude and technique. It's a combination of general pause for breath, effect and emphasis on an interpretive question that possesses more than one answer.

All that sounds quite intriguing and simple but the one thing we need to remember is to relax and have a firm grip and control upon the nerves.

And I should know, if you recall I shared a poetry reading in the Poetry Pantry with you all last week which was included along with a poem written for Ella's guest appearance at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

One would (as an initial reaction) think that 'oh she must be used to reading poems out loud,' but in truth I was extremely nervous while recording as it was my first attempt at reading a poem. It took me at least two to three rehearsals before finally settling down and hitting the publish button. On this note I would like to thank and give a big shout out to Magaly Guerrero who encouraged me to explore the options and joys of poetry reading.

And because poems are meant to be heard is why us poets have to understand how to manipulate sounds and cadence of poetry. That cadence is known as "Poetic Meter." All language comes in syllables that are either loud or soft. For instance, consider the word 'Poetry.' It comprises of three syllables where the first is much louder than the middle. When we as poets utilize poetic meter, we tend to stack those loud and soft syllables in a way that creates a sort of rhythm which is hard to comprehend unless the poem is heard.

Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It challenges us to break out of our comfort zone and is a magical art. Here is an amazing article that further explains how a poem should be read: The Techniques For Reading Poetry Aloud.

So tell me, what are your views regarding Poetry reading?  Do you have a distinct style of reading? What according to you is the significance of reading out loud? Would you like to share some tips with us so as to better understand the idea and concept? How many of you love to read out poetry and haven't tried it out just yet? I implore you, come and try with me. 

Prologue - Being A Woman In Times Like These

Among small wet pebbles that outline the fury of sun,
there lie fragments of one thousand and one sea glass
their once glossy surface flat and dark with some having tell-tale
signs of blood,
I unsheathe myself and embrace vulnerability,
as eyes, filled with shadows, thumb through me like a manuscript
my heart
a broken paragraph where despotism is tried and embedded
into the skin,
a series of violet tears spread
promising that a day will come when we will cross the bridge,
fall hard or breathe harder
it’s so simple when you put it like that,
unaware that silence is all that’s left in the end, we cannot unlearn
the fresh taste of trepidation
nor forget words that were whispered into the ear,
but rise
get up from lying because a bridge is unbiased,
it has no preference whatsoever
you have created this burning need for insurgence to prevail
in society,
touching me is the wind as feeling sets fire into my throat
you took me unwillingly
now watch as the sky rewrites our tale and hits just the right note of equity.