Monday, August 8, 2016

POEMS OF THE WEEK ~ A LOOK BACK WITH ROSEMARY, STEVE AND ZQ

At my time of life, one does a lot of looking back and remembering. So recently when I came across poems on that theme, I swooped in and scooped them up for today's Poems of the Week, quick as a hungry crow. I hope you relish these wonderful poems by Rosemary Nissen-Wade, our very own Passionate Crone; Steve King, who writes at Excursions and Diversions,  and  ZQ, of ZoralinQ. Enjoy!

Let's take a look at Rosemary's poem first. This one really speaks to me, as my own legs are tenuous these days, and I am constantly in between walking too far, and not far enough. Check it out.






Rosemary


I Walk Too Far, and Not Far Enough

I walk on my feet, and in my imagination. If I don't walk further on my feet, my muscles will melt. I read that somewhere and it frightened me. If I walk too far into my childhood, that could be frightening too. Or sad. And sad it would be if my muscles did melt - like my mother's did, and my husband's, and they kept having falls. Each of them, finally, was taken to hospital after a fall and never came home again.

I walk the streets of our little town: behind the shopping mall, skirting the park. I don't power walk, I linger, photographing the quaint old buildings and majestic trees. But I cover the ground. It is late in the day, but I must resume daily walking. It has lapsed too long.

At home, at my desk, I walk into the past: up and down the big back lawn after my Nana died; and again, after the birth of my little brother. Alone with my thoughts, I walk past the summerhouse and into the veggie garden, sit down on the wooden plank that swings on ropes underneath the weeping willow, and bend my head far back. My long hair trails, brushing the ground, as do the translucent willow fronds.

childhood memory
green willow tendrils in Spring
tiny leaves still curled

Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2016

Sherry: How I love this poem! I can see you with your curly mane brushing the ground, swinging under the weeping willow, which was a tree of significance in my childhood, too. I walk at least as far, likely farther, in memory these days, as I do on the ground. It is a time of integrating past and present. I so resonate with this poem, my friend.

Rosemary: I enjoy writing in the haibun form, which is offered regularly at dVerse these last few months. The form attracts me whatever the subject of the particular prompt. I like the challenge of writing in prose-poetry (not strictly a requirement in a haibun, but I prefer it), and the challenge of creating a haiku which goes with the prose but doesn't just re-state it (this is a requirement.)

This topic was Walking, and as I had not been doing any for a while I wasn't able to follow the suggestion of using a recent ramble through nature. I actually made sure of doing at least a bit of a walk around town after shopping, for the haibun and for my neglected fitness! (See - poetry is good for you.)

The poem doesn't actually say so, but it was written on May 13th, my late father's birthday. I don't mention him, and I don't have to for the reader, but he is actually all over that last prose stanza: he mourned my Nana (his mother-in-law, whom he loved dearly), and celebrated the birth of my little brother; he planted the veggie garden and made the swing. (Not bad for a bloke with a gammy leg.) My big back lawn was a place of magic for me, not least because of his constant care of it and the surrounding garden beds.

Sherry: I could feel the wonder of that back yard as I read. Thank you, Rosemary, for taking us along in memory with you.

Steve's poem seems to be one of integrating past with present, and has such an air of gratitude for the life he has lived, it speaks very positively to the reader. Let's take a look.




Steve


Symphony

I watch at last while others pass me by,
their glad parade my happy respite now:
the songs, the dancing and the wondrous show,
all certain pleasures shining as they go.
I marvel while I watch at the remind
of every feeling that the young may hold,
of worlds unfurling, vast, before their feet,
and all strange puzzles they'd presume to know.

I am not near so wise as once I wished,
nor happy in that way that glosses dreams.
I greet the mornings now as a fair gift,
imparting with each newness all I seem,
or ever was, or ever may become,
no hasty needs to pierce the centered calm,
nor mar those graces morning might bestow.

And when these glad parades have had their play,
and airs are emptied of their new spun song,
there lingers always something in my ear,
the echo of old anthems ringing on,
and fading fanfares of parades at rest,
for every age must hold its own the best.
And though new fanfares rise to satisfy,
each morning grace shall be my symphony.

Steve King 2016

Sherry: Steve, I was enchanted by the rhythm and lilt of this poem, which rolls off the tongue like those of the old classical poets. Well done!

Steve: Thank you for including my poem "Symphony" in this post, Sherry.

Over the years, I've produced quite a number of works in ten syllable meter. Most recently I've focused on the fourteen-line sonnet, though I wasn't paying strict attention to traditional content or stanza breaks. "Symphony" seemed to me just an extension of the recent output, with the advantage that a few more lines gave an opportunity for additional development.

I would call this an aspirational poem; an idealization of human development. I had no particular idea in mind when I began writing, and certainly could not see through to any end. But once I found the idea of a parade, the rest of the work seemed to fall into place quickly.

The poem is meant to bring a positive sense of a mature observer taking in what is going on in the world around, using the parade as a convenient metaphor. The spectacles and ceremonies, now animated by ones who are younger, are part of a natural progression. He watches - seeing clearly, a bit amused and somewhat detached in his 'respite'. Our protagonist can still remember the feelings of excitement and power that came with his own new-seeming discovery of the magic of the world so many years ago. He isn't saddened or wistful. He is satisfied with what he, himself, has found and done and is generous in considering those who are now trying to do likewise.

He has been a full participant in the world's clamor. He knows that now is the time for others to fulfill their rightful part. In the middle section, he recognizes that much of what he has experienced is only distraction, that there are limits to what the individual can achieve and understand. He has simplified his interests and pleasures. As the clamor goes away, he has an ability to see more deeply into his narrowed field. There was a time for taking the world by storm. He has finally arrived in a time and place where considerations of self-appraisal and self-understanding are paramount.

The last section is amplification of that theme. He will never forget his earlier experiences of the world, but his new won peace is certainly worth celebrating. As he refines and examines the inner parade of his own experiences, a grander and more extended symphony - the fruit of experience and perspective - will sometimes rise to rival the sounds of the perpetual parade going on around him in the world at large.

Sherry: So well said, Steve. Your protagonist sounds as if he has gained much life wisdom. And peace. Just lovely. This integration of past and present is the work of our more senior years, and you have expressed it so well.

Now let's take a look at one of my favourites of ZQ's poems. It leaves the reader with a warm feeling in the heart. I simply love it. Let's dive in!





R.K. Garon - our own ZQ

In The Hearth Of Our Hearts— Where Love Is Never Lost.        


Autumn wind—
 Roaring, rolling in baritone harmony,
Making the announcement through distant trees—
Before we can see, the leaves last cling
Scattered in colorful confetti for the last dance that encircles our feet.
Winter is coming in requiem for time bereaved.
Awakening our forgetfulness remembering those souls— and things
Buried below the frost; those we loved—
And those we lost.

Yes, let us then, have the season pass—
To go and gather fire wood in our arms,
To stack in warmth of memories—
As we stand fast embracing what we have,
Remembering great people and events—
 Now glowing as popping sparks in the hearth of our hearts,
Where love— is never— lost.

- R.K. Garon (ZQ) October 2015


Sherry: Sigh. I love the fullness of emotion in this poem. I especially love the title, which reveals your own very warm and glowing heart, my friend. Will you share some of your reverie, as you penned this beautiful poem?

ZQ: This is a snapshot of my thoughts before I wrote this. Sometimes when I write it is concrete; other times it becomes an abstract (metaphor) of my thoughts.

I remember my mother writing in my eighth grade graduation yearbook, something to the effect     “…the time you face will always change; may you confidently and gracefully change with it, without regrets.” Well, needless to say, changes, whether in love, work, friends, or events… I didn’t necessarily take change gracefully or with confidence, which of course, was often fueled with regret. I was not a fan of time then.

Her words and the lesson eventually “Kicked” in with two major factors:

1)     Family: was/is a wonderful transition and exciting evolution of time with an invitation to become a part of the changing … accepting and understanding the Buddhist principal of  “impermanence,” allowing me to watch my love and our children grow, mature, and pass on to another time in life… “forced” to act (embracing change) with love, confidence, and grace without regret. How beautiful time was/is giving me such memories as it passed!

2)     The seasons/nature: another wonderful teacher. Always the same but never the same experience. Springs new life, Summers joy, Autumns albums of that time, and winters eraser asking me to begin anew.

Although I speak of impermanence, memories of those I have met in my life, parents, grandparents, friends, childhood lovers, wife, children and events with wonderful images, past and present… The thing that I have found is— that love is infinite as time is. I wrote this piece in a wintertime of my life in a depression and awoke (enlightened), with confidence, grace, and a life no longer with regrets, awaiting eternal peace.

               I carry a bell in my pocket for the last fifteen years, and when I hear it, and others ask what is that sound? I repeat “Body, speech, and mind in oneness, I send my heart out with the sound of this bell, may the hearers awaken their forgetfulness and transcend all anxiety and sorrow.”



Sherry: So beautiful, ZQ! I love the idea of the bell and the prayer. I like what you say about awaking enlightened from your winter of depression, remembering with gratitude the wealth of love you have lived and shared in your lifetime. What an amazing journey it has been! 

Thank you to our three fine poets today, for the gifts of your poems and reflections. I feel very full-hearted with the richness of it all.

We hope you enjoyed today's feature, my friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



66 comments:

  1. "quick as a hungry crow"
    Hahaha ... These three poems are the best of the best. I am keeping this posting forever!

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    1. Thanks for the very uplifting comment, Susan. As always, I'm happy to be back in the Pantry. SK

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  2. I couldn't agree more with Susan...wow these were so inspirational, each reflection so touching for me on a personal level....and I may take to carrying that bell ZQ! Love that thought.

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    1. I have a gong on my cell phone for every 4 hours.

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    2. Thanks, Donna, glad to have touched your heart (what more can a poet ask?). Yes, I too am delighted by ZQ's bell!

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    3. Thanks, Donna. I appreciate you taking the time to revisit these. SK

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  3. Three sonorous and unique poems - thank you all - each poem had a distinct and captivating story as well as rhythm and feelings.. I too could picture you on the swing Rosemary - and how adaptable (and admirableIt is to walk just enough - poetry is indeed the best exercise)

    I loved the rhythm of your poem Steve like all symphonies perhaps..There is a great sense of continuity and permanence - even though we age we can still see and enjoy the parade..find happiness in a different way

    ZQ as ever your uniqueness and open heart and thought shines..I am so glad out of the winter of depression came that bell

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    1. Thanks, Jae. I'll be basking in 'sonorous and unique' for a while! *Smiles.*

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    2. Thank you, Jae. I appreciate the commentary. SK

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    3. Haha Jae, it's ringing... listen :)

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  4. admirableIt - by which I mean how admirable it is.. Although another benefit of poetry - new words!

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  5. Thank you, Sherry. I find myself in wonderful company here, with these two rich and splendid poems!

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    1. An honor for me to be on the same stage with you, Rosemary. SK

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  6. I am so pleased to feature these three fine poets, each with a unique perspective and view on the world. Thank you, Rosemary, Steve and Z.Q., for sharing your poems and thoughts with us, today and through the weeks and months, in the Pantry and at Midweek Motif. We appreciate each one of you so very much.

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    1. Thanks so much Sherry for reprising these works. It's always such a pleasure to write for the fine audience at the Poetry Pantry. --Steve

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    2. Thank you, humbly for including me to be with other good writers.
      ZQ

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    3. It is my great pleasure and privilege. I have the best job in the world!

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  7. Oh my goodness! Each of these poems is so filled with depth and meaning. And these three poets...such strength in their words. Thanks, Sherry, for choosing these poems & thanks to each of the three poets for your thought provoking words! (And for your continuing support of Poets United as well.)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mary. The Pantry is such a wonderful place to visit. A great audience. SK

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    2. Perhaps it is Poets United which supports us! (Smile.)

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  8. Sherry, A beautiful selection of poems. Each carries a story with words from the heart. I have visited each of their blogs on many occasions.

    Rosemary - absolutely adore the swing under the willow tree. That is a place I would surely sit and dream.

    Steve - I remember reading Symphony and I enjoyed it even more this time. You have captured the cadence of life so beautifully.

    ZQ - I think love always burns in the hearth of our hearts. I am loving the symbolism of that small bell.

    Congrats to all for being featured!

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    1. Thanks, T. I appreciate your comments. SK

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    2. Thank you, Truedessa. That swing was a favourite place for sure!

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  9. Cheers for Rosemary's haibun, the walk, the ponderings. Cheers for Steve's people watching pastime and his delightful meditation. Cheers for ZQ's harmony of seasons and the reverence of his little bell

    A wonderful Monday trio

    Much love...

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    1. Thanks for visiting today, Gillena. Much appreciated.
      SK

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    2. Cheers to you too, Gillena, for your vibrant presence in the online poetry world!

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  10. I am not near so wise as once I wished,
    nor happy in that way that glosses dreams.
    I greet the mornings now as a fair gift,
    imparting with each newness all I seem...

    What amazingly wise words.
    Thank you for bringing these poems to us as a special feature. Each has something unique to impart to the reader.

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  11. Three beautiful pieces of work that leave me reflecting and recalling past days, memories and tomorrow... Thank you all ...bkm

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    1. Lovely to have aroused some happy refections for you too!

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    2. And many thanks to all who stopped by to read.

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  12. These handpicked pieces contain some of the most beautiful poems.. !!
    Thank you very much, Sherry for sharing. Enjoyed some of the very best and most moving lines of poetry on this platform today- thank you, Rosemary, ZQ, and Steve. I am glad to read this post.

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  13. You are most welcome, my friends. It was my pleasure to bring these lovelies to you!

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  14. Wow! So enjoyed this lovely poetic respite in my day. Thanks so much to all who made this happen!

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  15. Isn't it wonderful! Three great poets from our regulars in the community.

    Alone with my thoughts, I walk past the summerhouse and into the veggie garden, sit down on the wooden plank that swings on ropes underneath the weeping willow
    - it gives that feeling of serenity in Rosemary's lines that one is forever in good thoughts and very alert

    for every age must hold its own the best.
    each morning grace shall be my symphony.
    - there's so much gratitude in Steve's lines that good things in life will be made within easy reach.

    Now glowing as popping sparks in the hearth of our hearts,
    Where love— is never— lost.
    - retention of love feelings in ZQ's lines makes one forever young. The bell in the pocket is a gem!

    Thanks Sherry and thanks to the chosen three!

    Hank

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    1. You are most welcome, Hank. Lovely to see you here!

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    2. Thank you Hank, for your thoughtful response.

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  16. Thanks for sharing three terrific poems. I was especially drawn to Steve's but thoroughly enjoyed them all.

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    1. Steve is such a master of iambic pentameter, isn't he?

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  17. Thanks so much for this feature. I like all three poets so much and enjoyed the offerings here. (Sigh.) k.

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  18. Grateful thanks to all the kind and wonderful comments,for Rosemary and Steve-as well as for those myself... still living our lives in obscurity but always famous in our minds when we believe, as all of us do, as writers, that "this is good! Let's go to sleep and sharpen the pencils tomorrow, and do it again."
    ZQ

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    1. A pleasure to be on the page with you.

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    2. LOL, I love this! Yes, let's do it all again, today and tomorrow!

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  19. Beautiful selection Sherry, love the note of contentment in each of them...Thank you poets...

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  20. Thank you, Sherry, for giving us this treat (or rather 3 treats). They are all very lovely poetry in their own way. And i enjoyed reading them. But what is as interesting as these poems is the thought process that went into writing them. The how and why of the writing of the poems. Sherry, you have done a great job in coaxing these out. :)

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    1. Process interests me too. I was glad to share mine, and to read of Steve's and ZQ's.

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  21. Oh goodness - I am thrilled now that I could not sleep and could not post a piem in the pantry....what a wonderful delight to fall into step with these three wonderful travelers - walking around town , under the willow, with grace and contentment and the clarion clear call of that bell. Bravo to Rosemary, Steve, ZQ/RK and thank you to Sherry for bringing these beautiful travelers together to walk me to my dreams.

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