Monday, July 30, 2018


Recently I read a poem that moved me very much, penned by Grace Guevera, a Canadian poet who lives in Mississauga, Ontario, and who blogs at Everyday Amazing. I wished to feature it by itself,  and you will see why when you read it.


My body stretching like a tear
along the paper*

   that second night 
   of mourning
My hands caught air
of your fragrance, 
   bamboo, eucalyptus,  
   aloe vera

My mom dragged her feet 
   in slow circles
while my brother silently grieved - 
   he's a wounded sparrow -

Outside the window,
  the bird's nest, a music of hungry
        cries & squeals
  the busy cars honking 
        thirsty for summer rain

The wind turned,
dripping of sun's tears-
        the sky, blue-matted 
                        blanket, times
        another season
                        knitted new
        canvas, bright orange

My eldest placed his new born
child into my arms
       He, feather-light
       Weighs our universe 

They brought him and autumn   
rushed in, tossed its cape of starlings,   
tattered the frost-spackled field.**

* First lines, from Louise Gluck, The Egg
**Ending lines, from The Corn Baby by Mark Wunderlich

Sherry: This poem goes straight to my heart, Grace. The grief, your poor mother pacing in circles, then the new baby placed in your arms, weighing your universe.

Grace: I wrote this poem due to two recent events in my life - the death of my sister last April, and the birth of my first grandchild, a boy, last May.   I used the prompt of Amaya (here - MTB — Bridging the Gap) to write my poem.  I used two quotes, one for the opening, and another for the ending, building my own lines in the middle.

I thought about the cycle of life, just like mother nature with her seasonal changes.  On one hand, I was sad to see her going ahead of us (my mom is still alive), yet on the other hand, I am filled with hope with the birth of my first grandchild.

Sherry: It often happens this way, one soul leaving as another arrives. I am so very sorry for your loss, Grace. And so happy for you that your new grandchild is here to fasten your family's hopes upon. Thank you so much for sharing this very personal passage with us.

Wasn't this beautiful and moving, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Poetry Pantry #413

Singapore - China Town
Photos by Lee San

Chinatown from the Main Thoroughfare

Shop houses

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

Street Scene

Another Street Scene

Greetings, Friends.  This week and next week we will be enjoying photos of Singapore's China Town taken by Lee San (dsnake1).    They really are a delight for the eye, aren't they? 

Thanks to those of you who have participated in the Poets United offerings this week. On Monday Sherry shared poems by poets Colleen, Sanaa, and Donna.  Wednesday Sumana's Midweek Motif theme was Wilderness.  And on Friday Sherry shared very meaningful poetry written by a talented Canadian poet.

Stop back again Monday to see what Sherry has to offer us.  And Wednesday Susan's Midweek Motif will be "a bundle of contradictions" or "Anne Frank's last letter."

With no delay, let's share poetry.  Link your one poem below.  Stop in and say hello.  Visit the poems of others who link.  See you on the trail.

Friday, July 27, 2018

I Wish I'd Written This


dirt road
open windows

beautiful one, too perfect for this world

the immediacy of mosquitos
humidity choking breath

my beautiful singing bird

five year old ogitchidaakwe*
crying silent, petrified tears in the backseat
until the dam finally bursts

you are the breath over the ice on the lake. you are the one the grandmothers sing to through the rapids. you are the saved seeds of allies. you are the space between embraces

she’s always going to remember this

you are rebellion, resistance, re-imagination

her body will remember

you are dug up roads, 27 day standoffs, the foil of industry prospectors 

she can’t speak about it for a year, which is 1/6 of her life 

for every one of your questions there is a story hidden in the skin of the forest. use them as flint, fodder, love songs, medicine. you are from a place of unflinching power, the holder of our stories, the one who speaks up

the chance for spoken up words drowned in ambush

you are not a vessel for white settler shame,

even if I am the housing that failed you

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

*(ogichidaakwe is holy woman)

Leanne Simpson wrote this poem, made into a song, when her small daughter experienced racism for the first time. One feels the pain of a mother who cannot protect her child from a sometimes hostile world. In her closing line, she takes the blame on herself for failing her child. But the fault lies with the one causing the hurt, and the nation-wide dominant culture of colonialism and oppression. My whiteness is part of that cultural hurt. I struggle with that.

I have just discovered this amazing poet, writer, singer/songwriter, activist and academic, and am excited to share her with you. Ms Simpson is a noted and powerful voice on indigenous issues in Canada. She is from Mississauga, Ontario, and has authored many books and papers, making many appearances where she speaks eloquently on these topics. Active in the Idle No More protests,  her songs, story-telling and spoken word performances speak about the effects of colonization on indigenous cultures, about racism, the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada, and the very personal feelings of being indigenous in a settler society.

At the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ms Simpson said, “I felt angry, not reconciled.” (Rather than reconciliation, perhaps we should be aiming for reparation. In my opinion.)

Leanne Simpson is of Michi Saaqiig Nishnaabeg ancestry, and is a member of the Alderville First Nation in Mississauga, a sub-nation of the Ojibways.

She has been quoted as saying, “Poetry holds space for other worlds. Worlds that exist in spite of the tremendous violence of colonialism or anti-Blackness. Poetry allows us to feel and taste and breathe freedom.” Aho.

If you are interested in reading more of her work, I recommend “i am graffiti”, “Broken Berries”, and “Spacing”. She writes so powerfully, with love, humour, and anguish, about the truth of her life, and the lives of her people. She has many books out, and you can find out more about her and her work at her website here.

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Wilderness

   “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”— Edward Abbey

Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoi

“To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.”— Tacitus

Midweek Motif ~ Wilderness

This week we are away from our frenzied, civilized lives into the wilderness, places untrammeled by man: in reality or in imagination (like hikes with friends or solitary day trips).

You might also discover a bit of wilderness, traces of the wild in the cities / in people too.

Is wilderness a place? Is it an instinct? Is it an idea?

How does wilderness make you feel?

Share some wilderness moments in your poems today:

A Voice In The Wilderness
by Audrey Hepburn
I roamed the streets of Rome,
It felt like home,
People told me to stay,
But I said no 'This is my Roman Holiday',

I was a flower seller, poor and dirty,
but sang like a canary,
Henry Higgins said maybe,
And called me his Fair Lady.

I was being chased,
Life was a maze,
Four men made it a craze,
It was more like a game of charades. 

by Carl Sandburg

There is a wolf in me . . . fangs pointed for tearing gashes . . . a red tongue for raw meat . . . and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.    
There is a fox in me . . . a silver-gray fox . . . I sniff and guess . . . I pick things out of the wind and air . . . I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers . . . I circle and loop and double-cross.

There is a hog in me . . . a snout and a belly . . . a machinery for eating and grunting . . . a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fish in me . . . I know I came from salt-blue water-gates . . . I scurried with shoals of herring . . . I blew waterspouts with porpoises . . . before land was . . . before the water went down . . . before Noah . . . before the first chapter of Genesis.

There is a baboon in me . . . clambering-clawed . . . dog-faced . . . yawping a galoot’s hunger . . . hairy under the armpits . . . here are the hawk-eyed hankering men . . . here are the blonde and blue-eyed women . . . here they hide curled asleep waiting . . . ready to snarl and kill . . . ready to sing and give milk . . . waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird . . . and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want . . . and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.

 Anecdote of the Jar
by Wallace Stevens

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

    Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
                (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~ "a bundle of contradictions" or Anne Frank's last letter)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Poems of the Week by Sanaa, Donna and Colleen

I have some meaningful poems for your enjoyment today, my friends, penned by Sanaa Rizvi, who blogs at A Dash of Sunny,  Donna Donabella, of Living From Happiness, and Colleen Redman, of  Loose Leaf Notes. Let's not wait another minute. Enjoy!


In my darkest days you are the first
glow of dawn that lights the sky,
your pain is as though splitting of 
seashell that hems in understanding.
I am muse, I am song, yet I am woe
which others reckon their own,
as unadulterated heart I am sound
of the sea crashing upon rocks.
I wish to write words to delve deep
into the poetic mind and retrieve
irrevocable nothings that touch,
hear and taste a world which keeps
me from being myself.
I, am forever bound, to ameliorate
agony of knowing desire better.
Sanaa: Sigh... I remember this poem as if it was written yesterday. It was for Susie Clevenger's prompt where she had featured Frida Kahlo.

The poem 'Ode to a Passionate Muse' is a glimpse of my sub-conscious. It's everything I have ever felt about poetry since the day I began writing.

I believe poetry is like a one-sided conversation where one has to express, keeping in mind that nothing should be left out and that there should be no room for confusion.

To me, the muse is as though a calling, a strong inner impulse toward a course of action. It's like listening to the heartbeat and attempting to translate rhythm into words and image.

Keeping in harmony with the quote by Kahlo, I sought to describe myself in the process of fulfilling the desires of muse, hence the closing lines.
When I sit down to write, I focus more on emotion rather than imagery because I believe if a reader is able to relate to the poem, only then do the words truly sing. It's when I have managed to pour a bit of soul into my poem is when I know it's finished. 

Sherry: That is a very good description: pouring a bit of your soul into your poems. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem.

Donna's recent poem follows the theme of the poet's love affair with words. Let's take a peek.

image by Donna Donabella

The Drought

Clouds drift along in the blue-grey sky,
Words and phrases obscuring the sun.
Drifting in and out of my consciousness,
Not wanting to be captured on paper.

I am like the earth and sky
Seeking balance between rain and drought.
My heart knows when
It will be time to come home again.

Distracted at present-
A monarch floats into my line of sight,
While a hummingbird peeks through the window
To see only its reflection against the vast darkness.

For now I am content
To let the words drift among the clouds.
Soon enough they will meld into a storm, and
Rain down freely again, singing on the page.

Donna: This poem actually was started a few years ago, and like the poem says, it drifted in and out of my consciousness until it fully formed recently. The finished poem came as I was thinking about how storm clouds form, with needed rain to nourish the earth. My words form too, waiting to rain down on me at just the right moment. Sometimes I have to wait with those words for quite a while as if I was in a drought. And when the time is right the words will speak again like rain falling from the clouds. 

Ideas for poems or beginnings of poems can come to me as lines, phrases or just a subject that inspires me. These words come from deep within or in response to something I am seeing in the moment. That is my favorite way to write poetry.

But poetry can be a bit elusive. I have learned not to obsess about it when the poem just won't come to fruition. Instead I keep a journal of phrases, lines, ideas, and revisit them until they decide to form fully into a poem. It's interesting to see how the poem may change or evolve with time. Somtimes not at all as I thought it would turn out. But I let the poem go where it wants....letting go of my expectations for it.

Sherry: I so love "I am like the earth and sky." Such beauty! We do wait for the words to come and, thankfully, eventually they do.

Colleen's poem explores grief, that country we visit from time to time, and which informs our work. 

The Scenic Route

Sorrow is a beautiful country

where you meet your destiny

or the love of your life

But you won't know its hidden fullness

if you don't speak its underlying language

or trust in the lay of its land

Because its depth is as far as its width

and its jewel is disguised by darkness

You have to dig deep to mine its value

be willing to bear and wear its shine

Sherry: I love the truth in "you have willing to bear and wear its shine". 

Colleen: When two of my brothers died a month apart in 2001, I let myself experience grief to the fullest.  As painful and life-changing as that was, it ultimately made me a better person.  Grief carved me out in deeper places, and I recognized it as an integral part of love.  I began taking field notes from the trenches of grief’s frontline and that turned into a book.   The Jim and Dan Stories  was used in a Radford University grief and loss class for counselors for several years. 

More recently, I came across a book titled The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller.  My poem The Scenic Route sprang from that title and the thought that “sorrow” is such a beautiful word.  There’s heartfelt work involved in sorrow, but there is also a beauty and privilege to tending to it.  I remembered how some of my favorite songs as a teenager were the ones that touched into my sorrowful longing and made me choke up.

In the Jim and Dan Stories, I wrote: “In this physical world, we have to mine for treasure. Gold and silver and precious gems are not usually found lying around on the surface of the earth. It’s the same with us, we have to excavate our own treasure, down through the door of our childhood, through the pain of what hurts, into the grief of our losses. Life nudges us to go deeper because to live on the surface is superficial. There’s so much more.” That still holds.

Sherry: How devastating, to lose two brothers one month apart. I so appreciate your wisdom in being able and willing to travel through grief so bravely. "There's no way out, but through," as they say. Thank you for sharing this, Colleen. 

To finish off, I would love to include your poem equating writing poetry to gardening. It seems the perfect way to close.

Colleen Redman photo

The Poem Garden

Time to weed the poem

to plant a row of words

to turn the phrases

that bloom the colors

to follow the root

to the source of truth

for the sustenance

of the soul

Sherry: I love the idea of planting words for the sustenance of the soul.

Thank you, Sanaa, Donna and Colleen, for sharing these wonderful poems, and for your participation at Poets United. We appreciate you!

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

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Poetry Pantry #412

McKenzie Avenue at Dusk - Saanich, Canada

Greetings, Poets! Do you realize this is the 412th Poetry Pantry?  Considering that there are 52 weeks a year, and we generally take a short break or two during a year, that turns out to be LOTS of years of Sunday poetry.  Smiles.

The photo today comes from Wikimedia Commons.  I think it is pretty impressive.

Thanks to those of you who stopped by sometime during the previous those of you who read and commented on Sherry's wonderful article on multi-talented Annell Livingston, to those of you who wrote on Susan's "Greatness" prompt for Midweek Motif, to those of you read / commented on Rosemary's I Wish I'd Written This feature of "from the Morning Patio."  Each week is a good one at Poets United.  You never know what you will find.

Monday Sherry is featuring three poems by some wonderfully prolific poets!

Wednesday Sumana's Midweek Motif will be "Wildness."

With no further delay, let's share poetry!  Link your ONE poem below.  (Remember - only one poem for Poetry Pantry.  For Midweek Motif, you can share more than one.) Share a comment with us all.  Visit the poems of other poets who have shared.

Look forward to seeing you on the trail!

Friday, July 20, 2018

I Wish I'd Written This

from The Morning Patio

18 May

A jet roars overhead en route to Heathrow. The rattling call of a magpie. An American gray squirrel lopes along the top of the back wall.

20 May
A wren sings in the garden of our Iranian neighbor, whose wisteria infiltrates the elder tree so that it blooms two different ways at once.

24 May
A brick lies in the dirt at the back of the garden, dislodged by the running of cats and foxes along the night-time labyrinth of walls.

7 June
Women's voices carry from a nearby garden. The resident terrier runs semi-circles around the elder tree, wheezing up at its flowering limbs.

8 June
The great, cream-colored roses glow in the sun, even those beginning to turn brown. Three carrion crows—their nasal cries.

9 June
Cardigan weather still. Cigarette smoke wafts over from the adjacent garden. Blackbird and wren trade cheerful riffs.

26 June
Hoverfly in the garden defending a cubic foot of air; someone practicing guitar in another garden—the lives I see versus lives I understand.

28 June
The elder sheds a gray feather. How can such a small tree harbor so many secrets? From a neighborhood dog, the uncanny howl of a wolf.

6 July
A tiny spider sits in a web linking mock orange to clothesline, which runs through the elder tree—she must feel each vibration in the yard.

12 July
The labored wingbeats of a wood pigeon spooked by my turning of a page, two cabbage white butterflies swirling in its wake.

15 July
The sun shines in my eyes through an eye-shaped opening in the mock orange. I tilt my head and watch the London dust drift through the beam.

– Dave Bonta

In 140 or fewer characters, every morning Dave Bonta writes what I call a prose poem and he calls "the world's least ambitious daily newspaper" – first as a twitter post and then as a blog entry – from his front porch in Plummers Hollow, Pennsylvania, a private nature reserve. Except that lately he has been on an extended visit to London, writing instead from the back patio of the house where he's staying, so the name of his blog has become The Morning Porch/Patio.

I receive the blog entries daily by email, and it's always a treat to share Dave's morning. I shared some of his front porch observations with Poets United in February 2015, so this time I am selecting from the patio posts – a very different environment no doubt, yet one he seems to find equally enthralling. He makes it fascinating and delightful for me too. I hope you agree!

He says he always sits outside with his coffee right after his morning shower, but doesn't always write the post for another hour or two. I guess that gives him plenty of time to just pay attention to whatever is going on, and absorb it.

He generously says at his blog:

Copyleft Statement

All content by Dave Bonta at The Morning Porch is licenced for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike U.S. 3.0 license. This means that you can take what you like and use it as you wish, as long as I am credited as the author, a link back is provided (if online), and the resulting work is licensed under the same or similar license. Contact me for permission to reproduce Morning Porch posts in works with more traditional, restrictive copyrights.

Email me: bontasaurus [at] yahoo [dot] com.

So I hasten to declare that this "I Wish I'd Written This" post is licensed the same way.

You may be interested to know about his book, ICE MOUNTAIN, where he is described in the blurb as "poet and naturalist". 

It's available from both Amazon US and Amazon UK, and is an illustrated lament for the effects of climate change on the area where he lives. More details here.

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