Sunday, November 19, 2017

Poetry Pantry #379



Source

We have had another active week at Poets United.  I do hope you have enjoyed Susan's Midweek motif -- "Meteor Showers."  I hope  read Sherry's "I Wish I'd Written This:  Lee Maracle - Speaking Truth to Power" about one of the foremost writers of Canada. 

Monday Sherry will be sharing a blog update, featuring a prolific Poets United poet.  And next week Sumana's Midweek Motif is "The Flower - Rose."

This week many of us in the US are celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  If you are one who celebrates, I wish you a happy day.

Now, with no further delay let's share poetry.  Link your one poem below.  Say hello in the comments.  And do visit other poets who share their poetry as well.   See you on the trail.

Friday, November 17, 2017

I Wish I'd Written This: Lee Maracle, Speaking Truth to Power




This powerful poem is read by Lee Maracle, one of the foremost poets and writers in Canada. Ms. Maracle  is from Vancouver, B.C., a member of the Sto:lo Nation, of Salish and Cree ancestry. She is a granddaughter of the renowned Chief Dan George, of North Vancouver. She was one of the first aboriginal writers to be published  in Canada in the early 1970's. Ms. Maracle now lives and teaches in Toronto.

I could not have written this, as I am not a member of First Nations. But I empathize with how this beautiful nation of people - the first who lived on this land for thousands of years - was displaced, marginalized and oppressed by those who arrived here much later. And I so admire Ms. Maracle's strong voice, speaking truth to power.




Her above poem, "Aboriginal Apology", is a triumphant response to the Canadian government's lame attempts to address reconciliation these last few years. So far apologies have been inadequate. Perhaps because reparation would go further than words in addressing the injustices done to an entire people since colonial times.

In articles I have read about her, one of her quotes stood out for me:

"Where do you begin telling someone
their world is not the only one?"

Exactly.

Ms. Maracle has written many books: novels, works of nonfiction,  and poetry. She has edited several anthologies.  She is also an educator, social activist, performance artist, storyteller, playwright, songwriter and Artistic Director of the largest aborginal theatre in Canada, in Toronto.




Ms. Maracle has given hundreds of speeches on political, historical, and feminist sociological topics  related to native people. She has conducted dozens of workshops on personal and cultural reclamation, serving as a consultant on First Nations’ self-government. She has an extensive history in community development.

Lee Maracle is one of the most prolific aboriginal authors in Canada. Her life and her voice are inspiring to all generations. I thought I would introduce her to you, so those outside of Canada can hear her voice, speaking truth to power with such strength.

The long list of her works can be found here

Here is another example of her work.


         LANGUAGE


Do you speak your language?
I stare—I just said: how are you?
I thought English was my language
apparently it isn’t
I thought Halkomelem was gibberish
the devil’s language
that’s what the nuns said
apparently not
Some white guy sets me straight:
Aboriginal people are losing languages
Funny, I thought I had it just a moment ago
maybe it’s in Gramma’s old shoebox
maybe it’s sandwiched between papers
in plastic bags hidden under mom’s bed
Hey, has anyone seen my language?
              Will my words dangle from empty raped mountains?
               laid waste on dead seas
              Or will they sing sweet from the skirt of winds
               remembered songs of hope not realized?

              I weave this imagined dream world onto old
              Suquamish blankets,
              history-hole-punched and worn—
              to re-craft today,
              to re-member future in this new language.
             And I sing I am home again.

              Lee Maracle, from Talking To the Diaspora, 2015



I do hope you enjoyed meeting this amazing and powerful woman.  



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, November 15, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Meteor Showers

Fireball from the 1998 Leonid meteor shower on Nov. 17,
Photo by astrophotographer Lorenzo Lovato, 1998. (SPACE.com)


"The night is falling down around us. Meteors rain like fireworks, quick rips in the seam of the dark.... Every second, another streak of silver glows: parentheses, exclamation points, commas—a whole grammar made of light, 
for words too hard to speak.” 
― Jodi PicoultMy Sister's Keeper

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me                     

in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” 
― Jack London

“Better was it to go unknown and leave behind you an arch, then to burn like a meteor and leave no dust.” 
-- Virginia Woolf



The November Meteors by Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, 1868


Midweek Motif ~ Meteor Showers


According to Wikipedia: 
meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky.  . . .   The first great storm in the modern era was the Leonids of November 1833. One estimate is over one hundred thousand meteors an hour,[3] but another, done as the storm abated, estimated in excess of two hundred thousand meteors during the 9 hours of storm[4] over the entire region of North America east of the Rocky Mountains.  
Imagine that!
or have you actually seen them?  

(In November, because the single point of origin is 
in the constellation Leo, they are called the Leonids.)  


Your Challenge:  Employ a meteor shower or a meteor in your new poem, whether historical, fantastical or metaphorical.  



Here are all the details you need for 

2017’s Leonid meteor shower, 
November 17 and 18.

The Meteorite


Among the hills a meteorite
Lies huge; and moss has overgrown,
And wind and rain with touches light
Made soft, the contours of the stone.


Thus easily can Earth digest
A cinder of sidereal fire,
And make her translunary guest
The native of an English shire.


Nor is it strange these wanderers
Find in her lap their fitting place,
For every particle that's hers
Came at the first from outer space.


All that is Earth has once been sky;
Down from the sun of old she came,
Or from some star that travelled by
Too close to his entangling flame.


Hence, if belated drops yet fall
From heaven, on these her plastic power
Still works as once it worked on all
The glad rush of the golden shower.

🌠

In the middle of rolling grasslands, away from lights,
a moonless night untethers its wild polka-dots,
the formations we can name competing for attention
in a twinkling and crowded sky-bowl.

Out from the corners, our eyes detect a maverick meteor,
a transient streak, and lying back toward midnight
on the heft of car hood, all conversation blunted,
we are at once unnerved and somehow restored.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

Image result for Meteor Showers Nasa
2003: The Leonid meteor shower

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand, dare seize the fire? 

And what shoulder, & what art, 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet? 

What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water'd heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 

Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
🌠

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.

(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ The Flower: Rose)


Monday, November 13, 2017

POEMS OF THE WEEK by MAMA ZEN, ROMMY DRIKS AND JAE ROSE

We have a treat for you today, my friends, a poem each by Kelli Simpson, well-known as Mama Zen, who blogs at  another damn poetry blog(which is anything but! Smiles), Rommy Driks, of  Kestril's Rhythms and Groove, and Jae Rose, who writes at her blog  of the same name. Each poem took my breath  away, and I thought the combined effect of all three together would certainly brighten your day. Enjoy!






Old Mother Wichita wets with twilight.
Blackjacks bruise purple but for the green

lichen half-rubbed away hip-high
to an old bison's itch.

A rich robe of Indian Blanket sways and drapes
the hill to hollow hovered

by a red-tailed hawk circling
in the blue becoming gold becoming thick

with cicadas, fireflies,
and mockingbird song.

Summer light dies slow,
lingers lazy and long.

Then she sighs herself into a star
for night to wish upon.



Sherry: I am sighing myself, at your beautiful closing lines. Your imagery is so vivid, Kelli. This is beautiful.

Kelli: "Mother Wichita" is about the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near where I grew up in southwestern Oklahoma.  The Wichitas are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth; the Wichita tribe believed that their first ancestors sprang from the rocky points of the range.  

Today, the refuge is home to a large herd of bison and acres and acres of untouched mixed grass prairie.  To say that it is beautiful, inspiring, and humbling, is to say the very least.



Sherry: It is such a beautiful landscape. I can see how it inspires your muse. Thanks, Kelli, for this wonderful share.







In Samantha's Shoes

Dinner’s in the fridge.
Don’t forget Tabitha’s bedtime story.
Make sure Darren Jr does his homework.

I’ve laced up my take-no-prisoners,
Valkyrie-on-a-broomstick, hell-yes
you’ll-hear-me-roar boots.

You smiled at me,
while I decided between
belladonna or datura -
made me want to reach
for damania instead.

I love these boots.
But I also love the slippers
we’ve made of our love -

the warm, mmm-so-cozy,
love-rare-lazy-afternoons-with-you,
strong-enough-to-go-through-the-wash,
still-sturdy-after-so-many-years slippers.

But tonight, there are great, odiferous, pestilent
hydras to contain and a coven waiting for me to rise.
“The hydra doesn’t stand a chance,” you say
before we kiss and I fly.


Sherry: I love this! Especially, "the hydra doesn't stand a chance". 

Rommy: In Samantha's Shoes came about as a response to a prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Poetry Through the Eyes of Carol Ann Duffy. The prompt asked us to pay homage to Duffy's style by creating a love poem using a common every day image. 

I don't know what specifically called to me about creating a poem around beloved TV witch Samantha from the show Bewitched. Perhaps it was a perverse need to add an element of the fantastical anyway to the main conceit (the idea of a mature love being as comfortable as a cozy pair of slippers). Perhaps it's just that I love playing with a bit of pop culture from time to time in my poems. I've written about Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn) and Phaedra no Delaunay (from Kushiel's Dart). Either way, I really was charmed by the way it turned out.

Sherry: And we are charmed as well. Thanks for this, Rommy.







Autumn

Autumn licks at the corner of our existence 
We are all at once ready and able 
Time ticks on 
Hatter sings and Joker dances 
The peppermint clouds and cinnamon dust waft through the window
Another day
Another day 
Crisp leaves and gentle breezes 
We gather them up like treasures 
Keep them in our pocket
Wait for another year
Another year
I am sure that the breeze will come and wash away the darkness
Autumn comes
Winter stays 
Summer lingers in the background 
We will wait and gather stones 
Open the window and let the light prevail.


Sherry: I love the hope in this poem, opening the window to let the light prevail. Beautiful, my friend.

Jae Rose: This poem came to be solely from the prompt at Midweek Motif: Autumn. I tried to make it more upbeat than my usual scribbles.

Sherry: And you succeeded, my friend.  Thank you for the share, and for lifting our hearts.

Thank you, Kelli, Rommy and Jae Rose, for the wonderful poems, which we very much enjoyed. And for your faithful participation at Poets United through the years. We so appreciate you.

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



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Poetry Pantry #378


Photos of Flanders Field, Belgium
in Recognition of Veterans Day
by Mary











Remembering November 11, Veterans' Day (Armistice Day) I have posted a few photos that I took at Flanders Field Military Cemetery, Belgium, in 2014.  For full affect, I suggest you double click on each photo so that you can read the words.  Many of us are undoubtedly familiar with the very famous poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae.  It is a very moving poem if you have not read it in a while.

Thanks to those of you who participated in Midweek Motif where Sumana presented the theme "Silence."  As I think about it now, the idea of silence goes along with the photos above as well....thinking about the silence of such cemeteries as the one above.

Rosemary posted a really fine poem for I Wish I'd Written This.  It is "Surge et Carpe Diem" by Joseph Hesch.  I found the poet to be an interesting person & I liked his philosophy of writing!  Take a look back if you haven't read this feature.

On Monday Sherry will be featuring three prolific poets and their poems. I think you will enjoy them greatly.  No hints as to who these poets are, but they will be familiar names to you! Smiles.

Wednesday Susan's prompt is  "Meteor Showers" for Midweek Motif.  Plan ahead!

With no delay let's share poetry.  Link your one poem below.  Visit the poems of others who link.  Come back on and off to see who else has posted.  Looking forward to seeing you on the trail!

Friday, November 10, 2017

I Wish I'd Written This

Surge et Carpe Diem

The daylight times feel
so short now, and sleep
holds never more than
a handful of hours.
Life runs away like that
for the old man whose spirit
sees no age in him,
but whose body stabs him
to wakefulness along
the dark trail to morning.
It drops him without warning
into a drowsy torpor while
daylight, who knew him
so well, still calls
from the window
to come out and play.
He ponders where the
remaining shards of each day go,
as if they’re hiding in the pocket
of some thief of latter days.
He realizes no one stole
these missing heartbeats,
these warm knowing gazes,
these potential walks and talks,
these stories left untold.
He’s the one who lost them
to another sunset and he’s
the only one who can steal them
back from each new dawn,
if he’d let his ageless self
rise and seize this day.


– Joseph Hesch





Joseph Hesch is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. His work appears or is forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including Cossack Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Downtown Los Angeles Life Magazine, Frontier Tales and Pine Hills Review. His poetry collections, "Penumbra: The Space Between" and "One Hundred Beats a Minute" are available on amazon.com

He tells me he’s currently working on his first collection of short stories and flash fiction set in the American Frontier, as well as another collection of stories tentatively titled "But Don't Touch."

I first encountered his work via the poetic community dVerse, which I think most of you know, on his blog A Thing for Words – a distinctive voice which held its own among many excellent poets.

His personal story about being a writer is on his blog too, and he has given me permission to share it here, in full or excerpted. I think his way of telling it is so engaging that I wouldn't dream of leaving anything out:




I'm a writer. That's what I do. It's what I've always done. And I've been doing it for a living since I was 20 years old. That's a long time ago.

All that time, I've been writing for The Man, the boss, putting others' words on paper or my words in others' mouths. For almost 30 years, I wrote the equivalent of grey government cheese for zero benefit for my heart and soul.

Ten years ago, an out-of-the-blue heart condition informed me that each day is a blessing not to be wasted because you may not get a tomorrow. Part of that waste was denying the Writer within me the room to breathe fresh air instead of the climate-controlled breeze wafting over my office cubicle. Near-death experiences can do that to you.

I started to write for me. Mostly sassy essays that I shared with friends around the USA. Then I knocked off a bit of memoir at my kitchen table one afternoon about the Christmases of my childhood. I submitted it to a publisher who was putting together a Christmas anthology and it was accepted for publication. 

So I continued to write, for the discoveries I was making in myself and the world I'd ignored for the previous decades. And then everything stopped.

I can't call it writer's block. I had lost that feeling of creating something tangible from sense and memory. It hurts when that happens.

A dear friend noted that my prose always sounded quite poetic to her. "Why don't you write a poem?" she said. In desperation, I did as she asked. I started out with the 5-7-5 structured hug of haiku. 

I then wrote a poem about not being able to write anymore, stringing together those syllabic steps. She suggested I share it with some other folks. They suggested I share it with some literary journals, which I did.

It was accepted for publication. As was the next poem. The poetry recharged my fiction machine and I was back in business as a writer. But this time I was really writing for me. Or I guess I was just really writing.

And here we all are.

So now I write now almost every day. Some days it's poetry and others it's stories. Very little of it is revised. I blame my newspaper roots. Write it, hand it over and move on. It’s not mine anymore. It’s yours.


He also posts poems on facebook, which is where I first saw the one I've chosen. I like the simultaneously serious and humorous reflection on ageing, and particularly the mention of the 'ageless self' which, I like to think, lives within us all. He describes the piece as a 'morning scribble' which he wrote 'literally in 20 minutes after getting out of bed one morning'.

20 minutes! Joe is a very nice fellow, but there are moments when I could almost get to dislike him (lol, j/k). But then he disarms me by describing himself as 'the 
semi-geriatric poet and teller of tales that I hope move readers in some positive way'. What a great motive! And yes, very positive. Always a pleasure to read.



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.