Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Boycott

“Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers 
refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott 
the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ” 



By The Bombay Chronicle, via Wikimedia Commons



Midweek Motif ~  Boycott


"A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country" as non-violent non-cooperation.  Gandhi called for boycotts of foreign cloth and salt to break India's dependence on Empirical Britain in India's struggle for independence.


Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn for home-spun, in the late 1920s



Your Challenge: Write a poem to describe a boycott, small or large.  




  • Here's some assistance from history:  10 Famous Boycotts by JAY KARLSON 
  • And as you may know, 2014 already has major boycotts around the Winter Olympics and Israeli products,  among others.


Inspiration from Performance Poetry:



Please:  
1.      Post your  boycott poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor  us by visiting and commenting on others' poems.


(Next week's Midweek Motif  on  8/6/2014 will be Hiroshima.)


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Monday, July 28, 2014

LIFE OF A POET - JAMZTOMA

Gather 'round, kids, as today we are throwing a surprise party for our friend Jamztoma! Today happens to be his birthday, so what better gift than a chance for all of us to let him know how much we appreciate his sunshiney, happy, cheerful spirit in the blogosphere! James Toma writes at THE PSALMS OF JAMZTOMA, so let's swoop down on him with our balloons and birthday cake, and wish him many happy returns of the day!






SHERRY: James! Happy Birthday! There is a glittering tree in this photo, but I thought it looked festive, so we'll just call it your birthday tree!



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poetry Pantry #211




Greetings, Poets!

How are things in your part of the world?  What is summer (winter) like where you are?  I spent a day in my state capitol last week.  Madison is a beautiful city really.  The Capitol Building.  The University.  Lake Mendota.  Etc.  Now I know why so many people really choose this city to live in.   We are in the middle of festival season here at our lakefront and downtown.  We have already had our large 10-day-long Summerfest, Pride Festival, Bastille Days, and this weekend is German Fest, followed by Irish Fest next week, Mexican Fest, Indian Summer, and so it goes.  And I must not forget our State Fair which begins next weekend.  I think I like State Fair better than any of the festivals.

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am sharing a photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, taken on Thursday when I was there.  Quite beautiful, I think.  

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

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?

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.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

The Looking Glass
By Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936

The Queen was in her chamber, and she was middling old,
Her petticoat was satin and her stomacher was gold.
Backwards and forwards and sideways did she pass,
Making up her mind to face the cruel looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As comely or as kindly or as young as once she was!

The Queen was in her chamber, a-combing of her hair,
There came Queen Mary's spirit and it stood behind her chair,
Singing, “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will stand behind you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As lovely or unlucky or as lonely as I was!”

The Queen was in her chamber, a-weeping very sore,
There came Lord Leicester's spirit and it scratched upon the door,
Singing, “Backwards and forwards and sideways may you pass,
But I will walk beside you till you face the looking-glass.
The cruel looking-glass that will never show a lass
As hard and unforgiving or as wicked as you was!”

The Queen was in her chamber; her sins were on her head;
She looked the spirits up and down and statelily she said:
“Backwards and forwards and sideways though I've been,
Yet I am Harry's daughter and I am England's Queen!”
And she faced the looking-glass (and whatever else there was),
And she saw her day was over and she saw her beauty pass
In the cruel looking-glass that can always hurt a lass
More hard than any ghost there is or any man there was!


Yes, well, I guess you have to know your English history, which I suppose not everyone in this international audience will. But maybe the palpable emotion of it carries you past the need for factual detail. I hope so! It's one of my favourite things, largely for that emotion ... but enhanced, I confess, by having been brought up on romanticised stories of English kings and queens. Back then, when I was growing up, Australians called England "the mother country" — and to this day Elizabeth II is Queen of Australia as well as Britain.

The poem is about Queen Elizabeth I, whom I've admired since my childhood. But although she was a great leader of her country, she was not perfect, and they were difficult times. She imprisoned and eventually executed her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots who sought refuge in England. She allowed Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester to believe for many years that she might marry him one day, and was very jealous and possessive towards him, yet ultimately decided to remain single. Both these decisions could be seen as matters of political expediency — and/or they could be viewed as being in the best interests of the kingdom. In any case both Mary and Leicester had cause to reproach her, and the memory of what transpired might well have played on the mind of the Queen as she aged. 

That's by way of background. Poetically I find it quite moving, and at the end very stirring —thrilling in its defiance. I want to cheer her on! And then the poem falls away on a melancholy, yet philosophical note. We get old, our day passes. There's an inevitability about it when all's said and done.

Kipling's one of my favourite writers, for his fiction as well as his poems. In this poem his use of rhyme, metre and other devices is masterly in creating the moods and effects he wants. (It comes from Rewards and Fairies, stories for children.) 

He was a prolific writer for adults and children, in various genres, and was much admired by the likes of Henry James and T. S. Eliot, who nowadays I think are considered greater writers than Kipling. There was no-one quite like him, and among other things I think he was a great entertainer. Read all about his many writings and his interesting life at the Wikipedia link on his name, above. And here is a site where you can read many of his works online. One that is not there, his novel Kim, is available here as a free ebook. (Hang on a minute while I grab my copy. Oh, how I loved that book in my youth.) He also has a number of pages on Amazon.

There's so much to say about Kipling, it's hard to stop. But above all, I hope you enjoy the poem.

P.S. And then there's a little more to say — in Susan's and my comments below.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Le Tour de France

Every year during July, former world time trial champion Emma Pooley hears the same question: Why aren’t you riding the Tour de France? And every year, the British cyclist is forced to give the same answer: Because there is no Tour de France for women. 



Follow at G+




Today it is at the 17th 
staging area!



Profile

Profile of Stage 17,  23 July





  Midweek Motif ~ Le Tour de France


Your challenge is to write a vivid poem . . . 

. . . about the annual event or any one of its parts, locations, personalities  ...  take us there with rich imagery!

For this once you may use a poem you wrote anytime during this year's race--it doesn't have to be new today.



Here's inspiration ~  Tour de France Poetry 
from Bicycling Magazine:




Today was the final day
in the mountains
and the fog descended,
as did the mists, over wet
roads making for dicey riding.
Froome pulled Wiggins
up the final ascent
while Vincenzo Nibali appeared
to drift away both mentally and physically,
perhaps dreaming prematurely
of the Champs-Elysees
or a vacation somewhere at sea level
with a cool drink in his hand
and warm sand beneath his calloused feet.
Cadel Evans, clearly under the weather,
looked sluggish and burnt,
his dimpled chin tucked down
to his chest, sweat dripping
onto his red and black jersey,
his race is nearly over
you could see it in his face today.



One in a series of poems written for the 99th Tour de France by Todd Colby. To hear Todd Colby read this poem, click on the title above.  For other poems in this series, click here.    Currently blogging at Todd Colby's Glee Farm, Todd's new book of poems, Splash State, will be out September First from The Song Cave. 

~

 Please:  
1.      Post your "Tour de France" poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original work from July 2014  inspired by the Tour de France.
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.


(Next Week's Midweek Motif will be Boycotts.)


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Life of a Poet - Claudia Schoenfeld

I have a wonderful treat for you today, my friends. This week we are meeting with Claudia Schoenfeld, who writes  at Jaywalking the Moonwhom we all know so well as a beloved staff member at dVerse Poets Pub, which has just celebrated its third wonderful year! We will be visiting this lovely, warm-hearted poet in Germany, close to France and Switzerland, which sounds pretty exciting to this armchair traveler!




Sherry: Claudia, I am so happy to be meeting with you. Let’s go all the way back. Where did you grow up? Is there anything you can see in your childhood, looking back, that you think led to your becoming a poet? Is there one person who encouraged your creativity as a child?



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Poetry Pantry #210


Greetings, Poets!

Hope everyone is having a great July so far.  We are finally having some seasonably warm weather here, which is nice.  I waited a long time.  Hope the weather is good where you are.  We are in the middle of festival season here at our lakefront and downtown.  We have already had our large 10-day-long Summerfest, Pride Festival, Bastille Days, and this weekend is Festa Italiana.  Next comes German Fest, followed by Irish Fest, Mexican Fest, Indian Summer, and so it goes.  Something for most everyone to enjoy.

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am sharing a photo I found on Wikimedia Commons.  It is a photo of  the Charlotte, North Carolina, skyline.  I am hoping others will share photos with me so that I can share them here....

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

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?

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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

The Marvelous Women

All women speak two languages:
the language of men
and the language of silent suffering.
Some women speak a third,
the language of queens.
They are marvelous
and they are my friends.

My friends give me poetry.
If it were not for them
I’d be a seamstress out of work.
They send me their dresses
and I sew together poems,
enormous sails for ocean journeys.

My marvelous friends, these women
who are elegant and fix engines,
who teach gynecology and literacy,
and work in jails and sing and sculpt
and paint the ninety-nine names,
who keep each other’s secrets
and pass on each other’s spirits
like small packets of leavening,

it is from you I fashion poetry.
I scoop up, in handfuls, glittering
sequins that fall from your bodies
as you fall in love, marry, divorce,
get custody, get cats, enter
supreme courts of justice,
argue with God.

You rescuers on galloping steeds
of the weak and the wounded–
Creatures of beauty and passion,
powerful workers in love–
you are the poems.
I am only your stenographer.
I am the hungry transcriber
of the conjuring recipes you hoard
in the chests of your great-grandmothers.

My marvelous friends–the women
of brilliance in my life,
who levitate my daughters,
you are a coat of many colors
in silk tie-dye so gossamer
it can be crumpled in one hand.
You houris, you mermaids, swimmers
in dangerous waters, defiers of sharks–

My marvelous friends,
thirsty Hagars and laughing Sarahs,
you eloquent radio Aishas,
Marys drinking the secret
milkshakes of heaven,
slinky Zuleikas of desire,
gay Walladas, Harriets
parting the sea, Esthers in the palace,
Penelopes of patient scheming,

you are the last hope of the shrinking women.
You are the last hand to the fallen knights
You are the only epics left in the world

Come with me, come with poetry
Jump on this wild chariot, hurry –

Mohja Kahf


Poets United's own Sherry Blue Sky came across this poem and sent it to me, exclaiming, "Isn't it simply WONDERFUL?" I heartily agreed, and felt I must share it with you all.

You can read about the poet in detail at The Poetry Foundation by clicking the link on her name, above, or at Wikipedia.  Briefly, she is an Arab-American, born in Damascus, who moved to the United States in 1971. A distinguished academic, she works at the University of Arkansas, and on that website you can read about her academic career and her publications.

As well as her poetry and her scholarly writings, she is the author of an acclaimed novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. You can buy this and her other books through her Amazon page.

It seems she is exploring for herself what it means to be an Islamic woman in America, and reaching her own conclusions. This New York Times article is both entertaining and illuminating. And another wonderful poem sees both sides (and the middle!) in a culture clash.

Impossible to categorise a woman such as this, but only to admire. And enjoy! For a special treat, listen to her having fun on YouTube, making improbable subject matter sound wickedly sexy. 

You can find a number of others on YouTube also, as well as some excerpts from her novel. She is an exuberant and engaging performer. By the time I'd watched Fayetteville as in Fate, I'd quite fallen in love with her!


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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ World Snake Day

“Snake looks scary for us and we look scary for the snake! 
Always try to see yourself from the eyes of others!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan


Orianne Society





Midweek Motif ~ World Snake Day



Your Challenge: 
Honor snakes in a poem. 



Have you any snake stories...  
2.5 minutes of this! or more.



...or snake beliefs? 
Shiva absorbed in meditation, as depicted commonly
in Hinduism with a snake around his neck.


Wikipedia is helpful with articles for  Snakes, Reptiles, and Herpetology.  YouTube has more in documentary, song and home video.





Snakes appear in Art and in Fiction.

1870s vinegar valentine snake proposal declined.jpg

Poetic Inspiration:


BY JANE HIRSHFIELD

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his   
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.
. . . . (read the rest HERE at The Poetry Foundation.)


When the snake bit   
Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa   
while he was praying

the snake died. (Each day   
is attended by surprises   
or it is nothing.)

Question: was the bare-footed,   
smelly Rabbi more poisonous   
than the snake
. . . . (read the rest HERE.)

  • from Antony and Cleopatra by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


  •  Cleopatra.                             Come, thou 
    mortal wretch, [To an asp, which she applies to her breast] 
    3765
    With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
    Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
    Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
    That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
    Unpolicied!
    3770
  • CleopatraPeace, peace!
    Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
    That sucks the nurse asleep?
  • CleopatraAs sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,— 

  • ~

 Please:  
1.      Post your Poem to Honor Snakes on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.


(Next Week's Midweek Motif will be Le Tour de France )



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Monday, July 14, 2014

Chat Between Two Poets - Hannah Gosselin

Our talented friend, Hannah Gosselin, of Metaphors and Smiles, has been writing a fantastic series of poems about writing itself, recently, and I asked her if she might like to discuss them, and her writing  process, with us in one of our poet chats. As she was writing the poems, she became aware that she was at the same time creating a new form, the Boomerang Metaphor Poem, which she recently posted about here. I got very excited, as she was creating the topic of our chat with every stroke of her pen. We now get to unveil a unique, Hannah-created form! How cool is that? 

Pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea with lemon and mint, gather 'round and prepare to be knocked out. Let's take a close look at these wonderful poems.







Saturday, July 12, 2014

Poetry Pantry #209


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:K%C3%B6lner_Dom_nachts_2013.jpg
Cathedral in Cologne, Germany


Greetings, Poets!

Hard to believe we are already into the middle of July, isn't it?  We are having a cooler summer than usual, which doesn't please me.   I am already mourning the shortening of the days.

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am sharing a photo I found on Wikimedia Commons.  It is a photo of the Cologne Cathedral, which is in the public domain.  I am hoping others will share photos with me. I have seen it.....years and years ago.

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

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?

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.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

The Soldier
— Anonymous

I climbed the barren mountain,
And my gaze swept far and wide
For the red-lit eaves of my father's home,
And I fancied that he sighed:
My son has gone for a soldier,
For a soldier night and day;
But my son is wise, and may yet return,
When the drums have died away.

I climbed the grass-clad mountain,
And my gaze swept far and wide
For the rosy lights of a little room,
Where I thought my mother sighed:
My boy has gone for a soldier,
He sleeps not day and night;
But my boy is wise, and may yet return,
Though the dead lie far from sight.

I climbed the topmost summit,
And my gaze swept far and wide
For the garden roof where my brother stood,
And I fancied that he sighed:
My brother serves as a soldier
With his comrades night and day;
But my brother is wise and may yet return,
Though the dead lie far away.


From odes collected by Confucius about 500BC,  translated by L. Cranmer-Byng in A Lute of Jade. London, John Murray, 1909. (Wisdom of the East series.)


My father passed this little treasure of a book on to me in 1964, from his own library, along with its companion volume, A Feast of Lanterns, knowing I had loved them when I was growing up. 

In his introduction to A Lute of Jade, L. Cranmer-Byng explains that the odes collected by Confucius (one section of the book) were the folk poems of the common people of the era 1765-585 BC. 

I think it's easy to understand this as the thoughts of any soldier remembering home, and any family thinking of the one who is away soldiering. In those times, in feudal China, I imagine there wasn't much choice about joining the army if there was a war to be fought.

There are places in the world where there is not much choice about it even now.  And even when it is a chosen occupation, that doesn't take away the soldier's home-sickness or the family's concern. It's easy to relate to this deceptively simple little ditty.

The song-like repetitions effectively illustrate the return of the soldier's thoughts to his home and family, and also make the different individual details in each verse more striking by comparison. From just those few details, I get a strong image of the home he remembers.

I wonder if climbing the mountain is a metaphor for dying and looking down from Heaven — but I prefer to take it literally, and that's poignant enough. 

So long ago and far away, I hope he came home safe in the end, as we hope they all do.