Monday, October 22, 2018

POEMS OF THE WEEK: MEN'S VOICES: HANK, FRANK AND LEE SAN

It's time to listen to the voices of some of the men in our community, fellow poets, so today we have poems by Hank Kaykuala, who writes at Rainbow, Frank J. Tassone, who blogs at American Haijin, and Cheong Lee San, more familiarly known to us online as dsnake, who writes at Urban  Poems. You're going to love them. Let's dive right in.







EMPTINESS IN THE SKY

Evening lull but an
emptiness in the sky to
bring throes of longings

where you were but now
shadows of apparitions
dancing in the void

unsatiated
sudden and mysterious
you left unannounced



Sherry: I can feel that emptiness, when someone has departed unexpectedly.

Hank: When Chev at Carpe Diem presented a prompt, yuuuagi (an evening lull),  a summer kigo, Hank's thoughts went back to some past events. Hank was leafing through an old tattered photo album some years back and discovered a picture of an old flame. It was just as tattered and long forgotten. It was a brief encounter Hank remembered. It could have developed further, as she was such an adorable little lass. It was stifled when she left without a word. 

The above was the background musing in Hank's head when thinking what to write then. 

Sherry: Old photos are certainly full of nostalgia. Sigh. Thank you for sharing, Hank.

Frank recently wrote about a departure in a poem that truly touched my heart. Let's take a look.







The woosh of passing wind as I move on,
the bam!bam!bam! of hammers fall away.
These wheels that crunch on gravel just beyond,
a highway exit ramp to the blue way,
where life slows down with every town I pass;
and burdens born from crow-caws to day’s rind
yeild to a precious peace I know won’t last,
but let the growls of grief slip from my mind.
Where, then, can I lay my head for the night,
remembering her ever-waking snores,
until the clock’s cukoo at dawn’s first light,
sets me once more on my own tour-du-force?
But where else can my happiness endure
than in your arms like all our days before?

cricket songs
silence from your side
of our bed
  

Sherry: That silence from the other side of the bed speaks loudly, Frank. Thank you for sharing this very moving poem. I admire the way you introduced so many sounds. 

Frank: This sonnet-haibun demonstrates how the writer and reader construct meaning together. I had intended a humorous jaunt, inspired by Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130", in which the narrator undertakes a journey to escape his wife's snoring. A few understood it as such, and Bjorn actually discerned the inspiring sonnet. Many other readers, however, perceived a heartwrenching story of grief.

Looking back on the poem, I can see their point. I was struck by how sorrowful the tone was, and the stark imagery in the haiku clearly did not portray the light-hearted humor I intended! It's as though the poem took on a life of its own and presented the mournful journey of a widower seeking-in-vain to escape his sorrow over his lost love.

From a craft standpoint, I find sonnets a challenge, so I'm delighted that it worked well in conjunction with the haiku. I enjoyed writing it, and I'm happy it was so well received.

Sherry: Wow, Frank, thanks for this explanation. I totally read it as a poem of loss and grief and am smiling to think how we bring our own interpretations to other peoples' poems. I am relieved this is a poem of humour and not heartbreak. Yay! And you executed the sonnet very ably!

The following poem by Lee San will close this feature with a note of hope for the times we live in, when it seems values we believed were steadfast are shaking in  unfriendly winds.








"Can we not raise our hands in anger?
beat our swords into ploughshares instead?"

and Peace 
raises her hands and releases the white petrel
where it circles the storm clouds

says Hope
and the golden flame in her hand
flickers but still burns strongly in the wind

says Love
and the stalk of red rose
bends with the wind but does not break

says Faith
and her hands cup the the sunrise
weighing the golden orb of the growing sun

and they look at the grey skies turning black
the sea sneering and scattering the dunes

and they are not afraid.


Sherry: The imagery in this poem is so beautiful, Lee San. I especially agree that these virtues may bend, but do not break.

Lee San: This poem is the response to a picture prompt by Rick Mobbs, a talented painter from New Mexico. Weekly, he would place one of his paintings on his blog for us writers to ponder over it. That was somewhere in 2008.

So around two years later I came around to writing a poem over the painting (you know how tardy I can be). The names Peace, Love, Hope and Faith came to me quite easily and I wrote the poem and promptly forgot about it. At that time I thought it was not that 'complete'.

Recently, I came across it on one of my thumb drives (that's my tardiness at work again). I did some minor edits and decided that it would be a very good and appropriate time to post it. You know, the crazy times we are living in now? So I added in a link to a Pink Floyd song and that's it.  And hope that with these four sisters, the dark tides will turn. :)

Sherry: We need to cling to these values more than ever before.  How we long for the dark tide to turn. Thank you for this note of hope, Lee San. 

We hope you enjoyed these poetic offerings, my friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



26 comments:

  1. Hello all.. yes I do remember Frank's sonnet... and am amazed how differently we can read a poem. The sonnet 130 by Shakespeare is one of it's own in the sense that love comes from admiring the the flaws of a loved one... I do recommend the reading by Alan Rickman to really appreciate the full strength of that poem... the poem by Hank I do not remember reading, but I love how it closes... the poem by Lee was really one that I love... if we are in their company we will never be alone.

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  2. Thanks Sherry for featuring Hank in the series. Elated and humbled to be featured together with Frank and Lee San. Wishing everyone the best!

    Hank

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  3. You are most welcome, Hank. It was truly a pleasure! And I agree, Bjorn, as long as these qualities lie within the hearts of mankind, we have hope.

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  4. Thank you, Sherry, for sharing my poetry along side Hank and Lee’s Stellar poems! 😀

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    1. Thank you, Frank, for taking part and sharing your wonderful poem with us.

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  5. I very much enjoyed these wonderfully rendered poems - and, as always, the backstory behind how a poem is inspired - and ultimately 'birthed' -is fascinating. All 3 of the poems, I felt, had a an unique 'take' with regards to the direction they went in. The titles are fab. (I seem to be into titles lately, having paid them almost no attention at all … for years.) Thanks once again to you Sherry, for making this happen. Great job on this Poets!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Wendy. Three fine poets!

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  6. Sherry, all of these poets are amazing. I am very familiar with Hank's writings and it is a pleasure to see him featured here.

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    1. Thanks Truedessa Ma'am! Pleasure to see you here too!

      Hank

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  7. Thank you, Sherry, for this feature. I am in good company! :)

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    1. So happy you shared your beautiful poem with us, Lee San.

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  8. So good to read all the male voices together... thanks for the feature Sherry.

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  9. Wonderfully interesting and beautiful poems..Thankyou Sherry for this feature! And congrats to all three talented poets.

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  10. I liked the complimentary but diverse writing styles of the gents featured here. I love the range of emotions offered too. Good stuff.

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  11. How wonderful to see these three together in one place! They really complement each other. I enjoyed Hank's story behind his poem about the 'shadows of apparitions / dancing in the void' and the contrast between the stillness of the photographic impression in his poem and the sounds in Frank's. I especially enjoyed Frank's 'burdens born from crow-caws' and 'growls of grief' - his haiku is so poignant. On the other hand, Lee San's allegorical poem contains stunning imagery of the white petrel circling the storm clouds and the stalk of the red rose bending with the wind. I also like the personification of the sea and the sibilance in 'the sea sneering and scattering the dunes'.

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  12. Oh these were wonderful to read....sadness and grief buoyed by the 4 sisters of peace, love, faith and hope. We do indeed need these. I find writing about grief is so cathartic. Thank you all for your talent, and your beautiful words!

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  13. Three poets whose work I always enjoy – and these are particularly engaging examples. Hank, I think your nostalgic poem is one of the loveliest of yours that I've read (so far). Frank, I love the idea of a sonnet haibun and will probably not be able to resist trying one myself some time. Lee San, each verse of your poem is at once beautifully descriptive and rich with perfectly-chosen symbolism. As a whole, it is inspiring in a way both gentle and strong. Thank you yet again, Sherry, for a wonderful feature.

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    1. "perfectly-chosen symbolism" . i liked that. but i took a long time to choose the words. :)

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  14. What a treat these poems were. Hank that pang of longing now she has gone comes through so well. I too have felt that pang of longing not now hearing her breath or even her snores what pleasure they would bring. The futile ugliness and hurt of war is borne by the ordinary combatants whilst leaders and politicians count their gains spouting half truths and lies hoping all escape doors are ready should they need them. Having witnessed WW2 as a child I well understand the helplessness of ordinary people Lee San. Thank you too Sherry for putting this compilation together.

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  15. Lee San, I was very moved by your poem. I like the idea of the four sisters! And that they are not afraid. We need them in our world right now. Hank, enjoyed yours as well....sometimes interesting to reflect back on the past and what might have been. Frank, your poem definitely proves the point that writing can be looked upon in different ways depending on the reader's perceptions or experiences. I am glad you said it was a humorous poem because I read it for a second time and GOT that! Sherry, thanks for a wonderful collection & for the time it took to put it together.

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  16. You are most welcome, my friends. I am always thrilled to showcase our wonderful poets. Thank you, gentlemen, for your participation and your poetry. Smiles.

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  17. Three wonderful, very different poets. I enjoyed the poems of each very much. Sherry, I am glad you ended with the hope of Lee San's poem. May it come to pass.

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