Friday, August 30, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Angels Among Us

By Tiara Stingley

Her breath has become more shallow
For days now
She has grasped
 
With frail hands at the air

Wisps of arm movements 
Unable to find any earthen substance 

"They just tend to become so lost in the end, don't they?"
The nurse remarks as she exits the room 

Stepping closer ,
Intrigued by a dear lady who has been at once friend and patient for two years 
I know that soon I will be unable to pat her hand 
Or hug her neck 
Or hear her say
" this is my favorite girl"

Distant eyes 
Suddenly become
Clear
"They are so pretty aren't they?"

"Who sweet lady?"

" the angels"

To some ... She is lost ...
To me ... She is blessed



Tiara Stingley is a Doctor of Physical Medicine — or, as we still say in Australia, a physiotherapist — who lives in Tennessee. As is obvious from this poem, she works with the aged. She also has a degree in Exercise Science and has been officially recognised as an 'outstanding' kinesiologist.

This poem was posted in a facebook group called 'small stones: Writing Our Way Home' which 'was inspired by a short mindful writing form created by Satya Robyn, and has evolved into a place where people can post their creative writing and receive support from each other'.  As you can imagine, it moved many people. Tiara graciously gave me permission to use it and her photograph. The photo is from January last year. It was very hard to find one of her by herself in her facebook photos. She usually appears with arms around friends or family members, everyone smiling broadly. She is clearly a people person.

Her only other poem online is also drawn from her working experience and it too is very moving.  Well, there's also what she posts to the facebook group — but as it is a closed group, there's no point in giving you that link. However, you'll be pleased to know that she is considering a compilation or a blog. On learning that, I suggested both! (Tiara, if you do start a poetry blog, please link it to Poets United, so we may enjoy more of your work.)


Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Verse First ~ Original Obsessions

Verse First ~ Original Obsessions

Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

OBSESSIONS


Here are today's simple instructions:

1. Set a timer for 15 minutes
2. Write a list of your personal obsessions. DO NOT edit yourself at this stage. Let it flow!
3. Select three obsessions from your list
4. Write a three-stanza poem, one stanza per obsession
5. Make sure the stanzas are strongly linked, logically connected.
6. Edit with a hypersensitive eye. It's not done until each word is right. Take your time.
7. Link only original, well-honed pieces.

Looking forward to some strong, tight writes. 

~ Kim


Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ To the Depths of Whatever I Am

Kids, the Poetry Pantry is always well-stocked with goodies, and I savor every one. But when I got to this humorous poem recently about how it feels to be a poet, I knew I had found our Poem of the Week.  Dances With Vodka writes at her blog of the same name. Enjoy. This poem will make you smile.




I can't remember
the first time I was called a poet
or by whom;
Though I do recall
something within me sank
to the depths of whatever I am

That's an intense responsibility,
you know...
Do I even have a choice in this matter?
Or is this like a given name,
stamped on my birth certificate?
Did I check the box on my driver's license:
"Will donate organs, blood,
observations of life and the human spirit"

If this was given: Why me?!
If this was chosen: Was I drunk?!

We won't even discuss
whether or not I must
or must not be great--
Or if I can just keep it simple
on the surface,
and rhyme about the food I ate;


All that, and my pride aside--
It doesn't even matter.
Someone pushed
a roller coaster ride
Straight through my chest
and my heart is alone,
screaming in the front seat--
strapped down
by a lifetime of words

First words
Last Words
Words soaked in late evening summer sheets
Words stuck in traffic
Words naming babies
Words Coming Home
Kind words, apologizing
for the wrong that other words have done.
Words needing someone.

Some frogs complain about being green
So I shoved some black and blue pens
in a bindle,
and headed out to trade them,
with hopes that I can leap over this crazy scene

Do you know how many poems
a poet can give birth to?
And some don't even grow up to fit their name.
I never got my body back
after that first stanza.
My head feels like a thesaurus's bloated twin.
And I'm poet-tired
from all these early lyric cries
and midnight feedings.

Sleep doesn't call me anymore--
won't even spend the night on a weekend,
or admit that we had something once.

This is rarely a day at the beach
But I'm forever shaking off the sand,
And even if I don't leave my pages
out in the sun--
aging lines appear,
and rhymes form
like freckles everywhere.

Staring at this mirror,
through young, but weary eyes--
I can only surmise,
that one day,
my hands will cramp
and not recover,
finger tips still stained,
prints leaving evidence of passion,
 and the tumult of a mind gone mad;

And there is very little doubt,
that on their way out
those final words
will read:
Oh, God! Why me?

But there is fire in fear;
A bright secret
slips through parting clouds,
and a voice
cowering beneath a soft sheet of breath,
whispers...
"Thank You!"

Thank YOU, Dances With Vodka, for posting this humorous gem in the Pantry. Keep dancing!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Poetry Pantry - #164




Joshua Tree National Park - California
(Aren't the cacti beautiful?)

                                                           

Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

I really enjoyed reading last week's discussions of times when everyone beat their fear...thank you to each of you who shared.  Always fun to get to know a little bit about one another outside of the poetry we write.

This is one of my favorite spaces to post poetry each week.  I hope you look forward to it too.  An older one or a new one, it's your choice.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!















Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Reasons

By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

"Well, I am not up to a poem," he says.
He says I can't expect to write them
every night. I've got other projects—
prayers, japa, worries—
living here takes a
lot of mental effort—
and my writing projects are similar 
to one another.
Besides, I just borrowed energy and
inspiration from two nondevotee
poets. With all these reasons, my
gremlin rests his case.

I don't care. Mist white
like gauze or smoke, but sitting
in one place on the hilltop. It's darker,
Ekadasi night, and I did sixty-four.
Did I once call out to The Lord?
Maybe. He knows. The names
are the way for this age and I did
it. I chanted all day
in my room, looking out the window
at the hill and sky. It has to be a
good way to spend an Ekadasi.

Now that I'm writing I can feel
from the day's chanting
freedom from worry. I worry too much.
All day I put it aside and chanted,
and to hell with those reasons. I'm
happy to write melodies on a page, my pen
a clarinet in the darkening light.

From Gentle Power: Collected Poems 1995-1996. Port Royal, Pa, GN Press, © 1996

Ekadasi, pronounced Ee-KOD-uh-see, is a fast observed for religious reasons by the Hare Krishna community. 'I did sixty-four' refers to rounds of chanting.


Satsvarupa was a young poet before he became converted to Krishna Consciousness. After that his spiritual life became the subject of his poems, and as far as I know the earlier work has not survived. I am not a devotee, but I live in a small town that has a big Hare Krishna population, and have learned a little about the religion from friends who follow it, many of whom I met when they learned Reiki healing from me. I was designated 'a friend of the devotees'.

In 1998 I visited one of them who had moved to Mayapur in India, the headquarters of the movement. There was a big international conference there at the time, and there were books for sale. I wasn't interested in the religious volumes, but I was delighted to discover some books by Satsvarupa, whom I'd never heard of before.  

His poetry is clearly written for a devotee audience, very specific in its allusions and peppered with names of deities and so forth. It was fortunate that I had some understanding of the religion and its practices, otherwise I might have found his poetry hard to grasp. As it was, I fell instantly in love with it. It just gets to me. I think the people at Mayapur hoped I might become a convert, but it wasn't that. I'm moved by his honesty about his very human struggles to live up to his faith. I like the directness with which he engages with his experience. And then there's that indefinable something which makes art art. He is my age, I discover, so perhaps that's why I respond so readily to his poetic voice.

Most of the poems, however, I couldn't wish to have written because they are from the standpoint of a religion I don't share. This one, though, I can relate to very well. I suspect we all have our inner gremlins telling us why we needn't write a poem just now. And I expect we can all identify with the poet who, nevertheless, recognises his vocation and writes the poem.

Wikipedia tells us that he is an artist and sculptor as well as a poet, and has long been one of the most prominent Hare Krishna priests (despite the self-doubts in these poems of earlier years). He has also written many books of prose. He is a modern man, with his own website containing journal entries, poems and paintings, and even has a facebook page. His books may be obtained at his Amazon page.

I'm sorry: you'll have to go to Wikipedia to see his photo. I'm having computer troubles tonight and the image I planned to use just won't upload. For similar reasons, I can't provide a link to the Amazon page, but if you Google just Satsvarupa, it will come up.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Verse First ~ I Cried Out

Verse First ~ I Cried Out


Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?


I CRIED OUT



Write in the first person. Avoid cliches; eschew the ordinary. Surprise, inspire, educate, elucidate. That's it. That's all I'm giving you poet-friends. Now write me a poem. ;-)

~ Kim





Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ Look to the Clouds

Kids, lately we seem to be doing a lot of sky-gazing in our poetry. It's so beautiful up there in summer!  Recently, our very own Mary, who writes at In the Corner of My Eye, and does such a stellar job of captaining our poetic ship at Poets United, wrote a poem in which an artist explores many watery surfaces and winds up finding what s/he seeks in the sky.  It will lift you up as you read. Enjoy this week's Poem of the Week - Look to the Clouds. 





Look to the Clouds


I painted an ocean in many shades of blue,
then bounded into the waves to  look for you.

I painted a river that flowed toward the sea,
then wandered the shoreline, wondered where you'd be.

I painted a waterfall descending from a mountain peak,
then searched for your reflection in the accepting creek.

I painted a lake surrounded by a stand of trees,
then tried to hear your voice whistling in the breeze.

I painted a puddle just before the water cleared,
thought I discerned your image, then it disappeared.

I painted and painted from morning until night
then beheld you in the clouds, an angel in white.

Thank you, Mary, for your consistently uplifting poetry, and for all you do to make Poets United a friendly neighborhood to hang out in! We appreciate you!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Poetry Pantry #163



Tauranga, New Zealand, jet boating adventure

Tauranga, New Zealand,  jet boating

Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  

The pictures above were taken in Tauranga, New Zealand.  I tried jet boating, which scared me, but I did it.  It really was a 'wild adventure,' but sometimes it is good to challenge oneself and conquer one's fears.  I am in the second row, second from the right. In the comments, perhaps you could mention what you have done that made you face your fear.

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, August 16, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Tasmanian Magpies

By A.D. Hope (1907-2000)

Ethiopia! They used to say,
Fluting at dawn through pure, clear rills of sound,
The magpies of that earlier day,
Ethiopia! Ethiopia! From all around.
Dulcimer of no Abyssinian maid
Was ever so plangent or so doucely played.
Ethiopia, Ethiopia!
Echoes went through me of Mount Abora.

Another country, another age! I still
Hear them at early morning in the trees;
The same pure grace notes, the same exquisite trill,
The lilt, the liquid ease,
But not the enchantment of that warbled name;
The magpie dialect here is not the same;
The magic syllables have gone
That brought me full awake and roused the sun.

Lost Ethiopia. Is that loss in me?
Monaro magpies bursting into song
Soar through new cadences, fresh jubilee;
But in an unknown tongue
Rejoice. Can it perhaps be true
That I have lost those languages I knew 
In boyhood, when each bird,
Stone, cloud and every tree that grew
Spoke and I had by heart all that I heard?


Alec Derwent Hope is one of the most renowned of Australian poets — for his wicked wit, his unashamed erotica, his insistence on formal rather than free verse, and above all his brilliance. He was both loved and revered in his lifetime, and was a friend and mentor to a number of other poets. I didn't know him well personally — we lived in different cities and only once appeared on the same poetry festival program, by which time he was a sort of 'elder statesman' of Australian poetry, though unpretentious in person — but we had mutual friends with whom he was popular.

He worked as an academic and was also known as an astute, if sometimes stinging critic. Further details of his life and distinguished career can be found at the Wikipedia link on his name, above, at PoemHunter and at Australian Poetry Library.

You can read further samples of his work at Famous Poets and Poems, or a comprehensive selection at Australian Poetry Library. One Tony Vaughan-Johnston gives a splendid reading of five of Hope's poems on Youtube. Some of his books are still available on Amazon.

And why would I wish to have written this particular piece? The Australian magpie (pictured), which is a different species from the European and Asian magpies, has a most beautiful song which I love to hear. Our literature refers to 'carolling magpies' and their 'liquid notes'.

I grew up in Tasmania, and Hope is quite right in everything he says about the Tasmanian magpies' particular call.

So, in posting this poem, I am both indulging and alleviating a touch of homesickness.




Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Verse First ~ Edit to Elevate

Verse First ~ Edit to Elevate

Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

EDIT TO ELEVATE

What Is Poetry?


Poetry's
the ordinary
edited~elevated
extraordinary
Poetry
Is art

©Kim Nelson

Today, write a poem about something exceedingly ordinary, something completely mundane. Edit it to elevate it. Turn it into art. Choose your words carefully, using only those conveying your specific intent. Remove everything that doesn't serve you well. If you're comfortable, leave a note below your post inviting others to critique in order to further elevate the work.

I look forward to reading  your art. ~ Kim



Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Poetry Pantry # 162

My grandfather's (man with white shirt) blacksmith shop - early 1900's



Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, August 9, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Lying in Grass
By Herman Hesse (1877 - 1962)

Is this everything now, the quick delusions of flowers,
And the dawn colors of the bright summer meadow,
The soft blue spread of heaven, the bees' song,
Is this everything only a god's
Groaning dream,
The cry of unconscious powers for deliverance?
The distant line of the mountain,
That beautifully and courageously rests in the blue,
Is this too only a convulsion,
Only the wild strain of fermenting nature,
Only grief, only agony, only meaningless fumbling,
Never resting, never a blessed movement?
No! Leave me alone, you impure dream
Of the world in suffering!
The dance of tiny insects cradles you in an evening radiance,
The bird's cry cradles you,
A breath of wind cools my forehead
With consolation.
Leave me alone, you unendurably old human grief!
Let it all be pain,
Let it all be suffering, let it be wretched—
But not this one sweet hour in the summer,
And not the fragrance of the red clover,
And not the deep tender pleasure
In my soul.

Translated by James Wright



Wikipedia tells us (as part of a long article on his life and writing) that Hesse was 'a German-born, Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include SteppenwolfSiddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.' 

He died in 1962, on August 9, so this is the 51st anniversary of his death. 

Here are biographical details in his own words, and here is his Nobel acceptance speech.


To tell the truth, for the most part I like Hesse's novels much better than his poetry — though I must add that I read both only in translation. Much of his poetry seems to me to have a gloomy vision. This one has too, but is redeemed by his insistence that the very real suffering of the world not outweigh the beauty of this present moment (or hour).


He wrote a lot of books, and his Amazon page is in fact a number of pages.


You can find more of his poems online at Poemhunter.


A lovely prose piece on trees is featured at Maria Popova's 'Brain Pickings' blog.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Verse First ~ Difficulty

Verse First ~ Difficulty


Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

DIFFICULTY

(or why to avoid it in poetry)


Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate, frequently comments about difficult-to-read poetry. Joel Whitney of Guernica Magazine asked him about this. Here is a portion of Collins' response:

"More often than not in poetry I find difficulty to be gratuitous and show-offy and     camouflaging, experimental to a kind of insane degree--a difficulty which really ignores the possibility of having a sensible reader."

I could not more heartily agree with Mr. Collins! Your assignment should be clear. Write a poem, no more than three stanzas, that is completely free of "gratuitous, show-offy, camouflaging" text. 

I look forward to reading your accessible, enlightening writing. ~ Kim


Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
For best results, use HTML mode to edit this section of the post.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Life of a Poet ~ Kelvin S.M.

Kids, we have a rising star in our community that I believe we will be hearing a lot about through the years. Kelvin S.M. writes at   Kelvin S.M. Poetry,     and you will also find him tending bar at dVerse every week. I was so happy to scoop him for an interview, so we can say We Knew Him When, after he becomes famous!



P.U.: Kelvin, so happy to be interviewing you!  Let’s set the scene. Where do you live and what do you love the most about it?  What does life look like at Kelvin’s on an ordinary day?


Me 2013


Friday, August 2, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

The Soul
By Miroslav Holub (1923-1998)

In Queen Street
on Friday night
— lights blooming but
already pomegranate-heavy
with Adult Entertainment —
a yellow balloon
was hopping around
among herds of cars,
holding its helium soul together,
two lives left,
to the music of singing ironclads,
hopping, filled with its yellow
balloon-fright
before wheels
and behind wheels,
incapable of salvation
incapable of destruction,
one life left,
half a life left,
with a molecular trace of helium,

using its last resources,
its string searching
for some child's hands
Sunday morning.

(From Interferon, or On Theatre, trans. by Danan Habova and David Young.)


Czech poet Miroslv Holub was also a scientist, specifically an immunologist, who liked to use scientific metaphors in his poetry. Wikipedia tells us that his work, being unrhymed, lends itself to translation, has been translated into over 30 languages, and is particularly popular in the English-speaking world.

The Poetry Foundation credits him with holding science as his vocation and poetry as his pastime. He himself saw no conflict between science and poetry, but recognised that many of his scientific and his literary friends regarded each other with suspicion.

Much of his poetry could be taken politically, as I'm sure it was meant to be. I find it quite dark, though alleviated by sardonic humour. I like this one that I've chosen here for its lighter mood. The image of the bobbing balloon is so strong that I long for the happy ending in which the string finds the child's hands.

I also love the fact that the poem is one sentence.

A number of Holub's books are listed on Amazon. There seem to be not many of his poems online, but those few worth reading: The DoorCreative Writing (with audio), The Heart.

(Don't confuse him with the actor or singer of the same name.)



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).