Day 20: Spring

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Short, sweet melody of the year
when eyes delight at every step
bare tree today, is prickly tomorrow
prickly today, budding tomorrow
budding today, blooming tomorrow
blooming today, Awe tomorrow

Slowing footsteps, freezing them
Bending faces out of shape
Each turn in time, I clutch my heart
I slap my forehead as I would in grief—

I cannot make sense of this Beloved Spring

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Day 13: Tiny Little Ant

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How peaceful and fine
it is to watch a moving ant

A march, a scuttle
a momentary pause

routes and patterns
much too advanced

I wonder what you’re planning next

There’s crumbs out yet
you appear to ignore them all

Sometimes its you, scoping about
And then some moments your friends too

I go about baking
your visits alongside
Comfortable and conscious
at the same time

It’s time to clean the counters now
but I cannot bear wiping
where you’re hanging out

And when I see you there
with a crumb
crouched beneath the bowl of fruit

My heart is a thousand smiles

Tiny little ant,
how do I thank the Lord
He put you graciously
in my soul.

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Day 12: Friendship

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Friendship

Time is strange
but stranger than all
are the things with time
God arranges all around

A friendly face, a genuine joy
on my face
and my friend’s alike

I remember the parting day when
I cried on the whole walk home

And yet here we are
our separate orbits visible
again
Shouting so happily
back and forth
again

Like time had not
so much as flinched

I told them
I tell them all
People don’t easily
just fall out of Space.

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Day 6: Earth Song

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Inspired by a friend’s posts, I tried three times to write about what I’m feeling, but couldn’t do it quite right. It may not be time yet. But before I even wrote what was on my mind, I was reminded of a song by Michael Jackson. His words say, rather perfectly, what I would have liked to.

It’s a strange world. We walk on carpets, on pavement, and stone. What does it feel like to have Earth under us anymore. I feel as though we’re all sedated, and forgot how the universe works—that there are cycles, forgot that we owe back, forgot that there’s no free lunch, but most of all, forgot compassion. Isn’t that what makes us human at all?

But it isn’t over. Not yet asleep, we’re somehow still in the stage when things are drifting down. There are voices, faint and few—who know not sleep, and try their best to keep their eyes open. Our eyes flicker too when we hear them. I know they do.

Even the sun doesn’t come out all at once. Steps and stages are part of the Design. It takes each raindrop to make rainfall. Should we not intend—try—just a little bit, when our eyes flicker this way at our souls?

 

Earth Song (listen to it too)
Michael J Jackson

What about sunrise?
What about rain?
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain?
What about killing fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores?

What have we done to the world?
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son?
What about flowering fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying earth, these weeping shores?

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

Hey, what about yesterday
(What about us)
What about the seas
(What about us)
The heavens are falling down
(What about us)
I can’t even breathe
(What about us)
What about apathy
(What about us)
Burnt despite our pleas
(What about us)
What about the holy land
(What about it)
Torn apart by creed
(What about us)
Where did we go wrong

Someone tell me why
(What about us)
What about babies
(What about it)
What about the days
(What about us)
What about all their joy
Do we give a damn

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Day 5: Ode to Telfair

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I sit forever at the Meadowcroft light.
It doesn’t like to turn green you see.
And so I’m forced to use my time,
for refuge sits just to my side.

The green sways green all seasons long
And tall grasses strut their blooms.
They sit like Wonka’s yellow teacups
at the edge of dancing hay.

Beyond this scape, a bed of roses
is soft shocking pink, blushing mild
how indeed, it lives so full
at both ends of its own pendulum.

Bunches of trees are planted together
so have you the fortune of a stroll
there are bouts of shade
all along your taken path.

It’s concrete, concrete, everywhere
But the grackle calls me away at once.
How it swoops down on lawn and cars alike
jumping about in its black and blue
velvety like the starry skies.

And that one turn from Whole Foods to SH6
How horrid it always is. Congested, busy, such a pain.
But when duck and its tiny twelve step off the curb
the highway stops and genially swerves.

Between Target, fast food, and sandy banks
a little pond flourishes with turkey-like fowl.
Why, even the weeds here are so beautiful,
professing flowers like sheer butterflies.

But did I mention the butterflies?
How they dance around my driveway
And everyone else’s too.
Monarchs and small yellow ones.
And with them I dance too.

Also in and around my garage
jump tiny frogs smaller than my hand—
So small, two or three
could snuggle into my palm.

There’s crocodiles in that one park
and slugs in the morning path.
But stand and admire not long
Fire ants reign most parts of town.

It isn’t easy to drive straight down the road
such birds are flying right above
A flash of blue, or full yellow coat.

Dragonflies, the size of smaller birds
buzz around as you dodge and duck.

Above the artificial, man-made lake,
stand on the wooden bridge that’s been drawn
30 small turtles will gather near below
in the water under your stance.

Magnolias towering, ominous,
stand like soldiers everywhere,
Polished leaves and flowers large
They evoke my unfixed stare.

Between the shopping mall,
old trees shade the two way road
reds and violets bloom and gloat
a world of green glitters
lush and heavy in the afternoon sun.

Fruits trees are not uncommon folk.
Oranges hang off the backs of homes
Banana trees peek from within.
Hibiscus and herbs
figs and frangipani.
The aging date palm
by the post office road.

This land between two high roads,
new homes and cookie-cutter stores.
Where the signal is so often red,
Life whirls around
as Blessing
as air.

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Day 4: Enigma Variations

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Today’s poem is written using the daily prompt offered on NapoWriMo.net:

One of the most popular British works of classical music is Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The “enigma” of the title is widely believed to be a hidden melody that is not actually played, but which is tucked somehow into the composition through counterpoint. Today I’d like you to take some inspiration from Elgar and write a poem with a secret – in other words, a poem with a word or idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly.

The poem should function as a sort of riddle, but not necessarily a riddle of the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” variety. You could choose a word, for example, “yellow,” and make everything in the poem something yellow, but never actually allude to their color. Or perhaps you could closely describe a famous physical location or person without ever mentioning what or who it actually is.

Dream

I dream a dream
a wish, a prayer

that you and me
we have a beginning
where

rivers gold run passing neath
while we climb together
the tree that starts with T.

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[image source: unknown)

Day 3: Write to your love

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There was an interesting article on HeraldNet about poetry, detailing the columnist Garrison Keillor’s suggestions on what to do about Poetry month. Surprisingly, he is addressing men:

“We resisted poetry in school because we could see that it is full of falsehood. Love is NOT the star to every wandering bark, and many true minds have married who should have stayed friends. April is NOT the cruelest month, March is. The best minds of our generation are NOT starving, hysterical, naked — most of them are well-fed, calm, and stylishly dressed, thank you. Robert Frost’s little horse was absolutely right: it IS queer to stop without a farmhouse near, the darkest evening of the year. Dishonesty has given poetry a bad reputation. You see that uneven right margin and you think, “Oh boy, here we go again. Hallucinationville.”

So I am not suggesting that you sit down and read poems for Poetry Month, but that you write your own poem for someone whom you dearly love.

Love is never easy to express. Rage is simple, loneliness, despair — a child could do it. And they do, especially preschoolers. But love is a challenge, especially for men.” (1)

 

There are no comments on this article, but I daresay if it were on some social media platform it would have been susceptible to objections of all kinds. Demeaning-to-women for some, and stupidly romantic to others. Some would think his advice is deluded from reality, and others may regard it as kitschy. The ending admittance of himself a poet would further gratify all those colorful criticisms:

“Write the poem in black ink on a sheet of white paper — poems should never be sent by e-mail and never never never text a poem — hand it to her and as she reads it, put one hand on her shoulder so that you’re right there when she turns with tears in her eyes to embrace you and forgive you for every way you’ve messed up her life. This is the power of poetry. Poets get the girl.

Football heroes get concussions or need hip replacements. My classmates who played football are walking with canes and moaning when they sit down and they find it hard to figure out the 10 percent tip at lunch. We poets go sashaying along, perpetually 17, lost in wonder at the ordinary, astonished by streetlights, in awe at lawn ornaments, bedazzled by baristas releasing steam into milk for the lattes.” (1)

 

What lies behind his advice is what has value. It’s about language. He uses the example of someone who would be bedazzled, touched, by a handwritten poem—an act that isn’t otherwise easy for the individual presenting it. Love requires looking beyond yourself and speaking to the other in their language, doing something in a way they would like, saying something that would make them feel touched—in short putting them first. It reminds me of a lesson I learned myself once, and have to keep learning unfortunately because it’s so difficult in nature and so hard to perfectly attain:

Certain exchanges between persons require a higher resolve. Sometimes even words and reassurance don’t work. Tangible sentiment in these instances only aggravates the obstacle, making it harder to cross, clouding the air with misunderstanding.

Instead, in these times, one must neatly fold his or her own needs, put them aside, and attend to the other person.

The miracle of the human heart is that it is actually able to defeat its own selfishness. It will surely feel this silent resolve. And it’s going to be painful at times. Breathing will become hard, not once but several times in the day. And days will be so much longer than the passing moments they are to another. But all it means is that you are indeed alive, not because it hurts, but because you’re able to quietly put someone else first.

 

Keillor ends his article reminding us not to underestimate the impact of even the smallest act—the few words we say—when we speak to whom we love in the language they want to hear:

17806928_10103002063926949_967890121_n.png“This is what you learn during Poetry Month. You may lose the vote, fall into debt, suffer illness and remorse, feel lost in the crowd, and yet there is in language, everyday language, a source of such sweet delight that when you turn it to a good purpose, two gentle arms may reach around your neck, just as is happening to me right now, and a familiar voice speaks the words I long to hear and my heart is going like mad and yes, I say, yes I will Yes.” (1)


(1) Garrison, Keillor. (2017). Keillor: April is Poetry Month: use it to your advantage. Challenging adverse reactions in children with food allergies. HeraldNet. Retrieved from https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/keillor-april-is-poetry-month-use-it-to-your-advantage/

 

Day 2: Recipe

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Today’s poem is written using the daily prompt offered on NapoWriMo.net:

Today, I’d like you to write a poem inspired by, or in the form of, a recipe! It can be a recipe for something real, like your grandmother’s lemon chiffon cake, or for something imaginary, like a love potion or a spell.

Recipe

I’ll make a recipe:

Fluffy blue muffins
and tea-in-tea-cosy
peppermint when you’re ill
Grey when you’re feeling fine

Recipes at restaurants, in cafes
that one you sent me a picture of
the one we simply stumbled on

A salad that one Antie made
guesses vital to the one we try

Grilled cheese sandwiches
tomato soup on the side

Many times noodles
with soy and sesame
Chinese cucumbers mild in brine

Florentine and Hemingway
Waffles with butter
Sugared strawberries

Yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in
French toast rolls, Nutella inside

—omelettes of the very, very puffy kind

Garlic bread and lemon pasta
topped with shrimp and crumbs
ginger ale will go nicely, right?

And oh how long we wait
for thanksgiving to come
Stuffing sprinkled with blood red seeds
Bread full of corn kernels
Cranberry sauce, too much pain
we’ll have jam—niece does it all the time.

Fried chicken on determined days
BBQ on summer eves

Pipe hot cocoa in wintry nights
with peanut butter biscuits
watching stories under our throws

Yes, I’ll make a recipe
a recipe for time
full of many recipes—
recipes yours and mine.

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