Poetry Friday – Will you teach me to write poetry?

Today is Poetry Friday. A happy birthday to all the May birthdays, including Michelle Kogan, who is hosting today.

Today we began a road trip. We’re meeting up with one of my daughters and her hubby. We’ll take the long road to Seattle to visit my other daughter (one of those May birthday folk) and her family. On the way up, I was playing poetry-writing-catch-up from the last couple of days. My husband asked me a bit about what I was doing, and then said, “Will you teach me to write poetry?” Yes! That’s easy, I said, Just keep doing what you are doing. 

He is such a good contemplator, muller of ideas, and feeler. He takes daily time to write, and when he shares with me, I always love how poetic it sounds. Next he asked to have me teach him some forms to try. I said, Of course. That’s a great idea. You’ll like forms. It’s like word games only better because you get to also create something. 

Then I shared my sibling poems with him to show what forms I’ve been working on. I’m looking forward to this vacation and some shared poetry experiences with my love. I hope he’ll let me publish one of his on my blog in the future. That’s my goal.

Here is a fun opportunity, I wanted to remind you about. The Poetry Marathon is coming up! Write a poem an hour for 12 or 24 hours. It starts Saturday morning, June 15. Sign up here by June 10.

Image by Maria Zangone from Pixabay

Poetry Friday – Clunker Exchange Poem “Unchained”

It’s Poetry Friday, and Patricia at Reverie is hosting. She has a sweet poem about one of the sugar pine seedlings she planted in the forest. Thank you, Patricia, for your lovely invitation to new and old Poetry Friday people.  

Here is my clunker poem, thanks to Linda. As soon as I saw her list of clunkers, this line jumped out at me: “only sure of light pushing her brush.” I thought of this painting my mom made when I was in college. It has always held mysteries and some answers for me about my mom and dad’s relationship. She did tell me the dark square represented my dad’s death. (He died when I was seven.)

Unchained

She was unsure
before her partner
of the double chain broke
She didn’t put the darkness
into many words
only into paint
only into life and love
only sure of light pushing her brush
ever upwards

And here’s a golden shovel with the favorite part of Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” poem I shared on Jone’s blog last week:

I am here today and I
don’t know when I will go.
Know this: I am
exactly in the time and place of
what is graced in
a full and favorable life. A
prayer is what I give, a prayer
is an upward awe-gaze.
I am here today to rest and
do nothing better than to
know, really know, God is
how I have peace
to live the days left, to
pay homage in rapt
attention.

Sibling poems, one line, more or less (continued).

The Poetry Marathon is coming up! Write a poem an hour for 12 or 24 hours. It starts Saturday morning, June 15. Sign up here.

Finally, have you heard of Jessica Jacobs and Peter Metres? They each published a book of poetry with almost the same cover. When they learned of the other’s book cover, they started a conversation and realized they and their books had a lot more in common than just their covers. I’ve ordered both of their books after reading and watching their conversations.

Poetry Friday – Jack Gilbert

Today is Poetry Friday and Linda is hosting. She shares a whole list of clunkers in her annual clunker exchange. 

Jack Gilbert once said, “I’m not a professional of poetry, I’m a farmer of poetry.” I liked that. He could have been a popular professional poet, but he eschewed the limelight. Read more about his life here.

I am reading his collected poems right now, and I especially like his poems about love and loss. The ones about his wife, Michiko, who died in her thirties, are especially poignant.

Alone

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody’s dalmatian.

read the rest here

Another thing I like about Gilbert’s poetry is his well-developed sense of place when writing of a European city, a Greek island or the steel city of his youth, Pittsburgh. Last month, I wrote about Gilbert and Pittsburgh in this prompt by Wendy Everard called Inspirational Places.

My family in Pittsburgh, 2007

Pittsburgh’s in Jack Gilbert
by Denise Krebs

As we rode Duquesne Incline,
he already was old, living in Berkeley. Steel City
watches over the growing of knowing,
for heirlooms of progeny. But this
morning, the three rivers backdrop
for thunderstorms, Andy Warhol and
the bridges of a city bring light to our
dark, pathways of connections.
To this city we came just to
give our kids a taste of Primati Bros.
(way too much cole slaw for my taste),
and the Pirates, and Randyland, a
show of hue saturation and celebration.
His hometown was the
landfall of his view from Paris,
the eye of his childhood, always
new. As each of us have our own past, in city or
country, we are products of our nurturing.
His lifetime weaving carried the thread of his
native city, coloring the world, his poetry with
land-roots of comfort and claiming.


This golden shovel striking line is “As he watches for morning, for the dark to give way and show his landfall, the new country, his native land.” By Jack Gilbert in “Looking at Pittsburgh from Paris”.

Here are a few of the many lines he wrote that include Pittsburgh:

  • Even Pittsburgh will vanish, leaving a greed tough as winter. (“They Will Put My Body into the Ground”)
  • It was Pittsburgh that lasted. The iron and fog and sooty brick houses. (“The Spirit and the Soul”)
  • Whisper Pittsburgh with my mouth against the tiny ear and throw him higher. Pittsburgh and happiness high up. (“Trying to Have Something Left Over”)
  • So that all his life her son would feel gladness unaccountably when anyone spoke of the ruined city of steel in America. Each time almost remembering something maybe important that got lost. (“Trying to Have Something Left Over”)
  • The Pittsburgh lamps inside of him make it look maybe not good enough (“Carrying Torches at Noon”)
  • Smell of Pittsburgh after rain. Smell of winter steel and grease… (“Threshing the Fire”)
  • Is it because Pittsburgh is still tangled in him that he has the picture on his wall of God’s head torn about by jungle roots? (“A Taste for Grit and Whatever”)

See what I mean?

My May poems about my siblings continue here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Poems – Siblings: One Line, More or Less

Today is Poetry Friday, and Buffy Silverman is hosting with photos and a three-act drama mask poem about a hognose snake. 

In May I’ll be writing daily poems about my siblings, one line, more or less. I came from a family of seven siblings. Now there are only four of us left. In 2012, my oldest brother died, then in 2018, my oldest sister died, and last Sunday, I lost another sister. All have died without warning or illness. Judi just went in her sleep, and I am so sad. I’m going to spend this month updating this post each day with another poem remembering and honoring my siblings.

This one line, more or less process was inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. See the description of her month-long one line, more or less poems here. and all her crow poems are here. Diane Anderson joined Amy’s challenge and wrote a daily poem about robins in April. Here are Diane’s poems at newtreemom.

I

Small house, six siblings, steady shenanigans


II

Five girls between boy bookends
Full house of playmate dividends

couplet


III

Rick, Lynne, Chris, Judi, Lori
Then came me, followed by Keith
Mom laughed with great joy (and fear)

septercet


IV

Additions came, each nephew/niece contained
great hope and sustenance. Years of joyful gain.
Now I ponder losses; the inescapable pain
as I accede to this birth-to-death rhythm ordained.

quatrain


V

Home
Sisters and brothers abound
grow, move away,
still love
Family

elfchen


VI

after all night shifts, she slept on the beach
we swam in the ocean; just
once I needed saving

my young lifesaver, wanting a reward,

(I guess) woke her up and told
the tale. “Thank you,” she said.

kimo


VII

flying east
following love
“Do you want a return ticket?
Just in case?” my surrogate father
asked me.
big brother
love stays.

trinet


VIII

Happy you
laughing through
thoughts of time
together
glad to claim
not so tame
share the name
bellwether

snam suad


IX

Statin talk after dinner of steak
makes us think about the soundness
of our arteries. Loved ones
gone too quickly remind
us of life’s risk here
on earth. Playing
Balderdash
distracts
us.

nonet


X

Sweet
eldest
sister, more
obligations
than one should endure.
Swimming upstream alone
surviving abuse, widowed,
raising boys alone, losing dreams,
abusing alcohol. Lifelong rise
up to recover for one more dear day.

etheree


XI

We’re dropping like flies,
we have been known to say
around here. My heart has sunk
into a deep wetland of tears and
sadness. Clearing the distant
memories, bridges between
earth and heaven. Thoughts of
you explode into this book
of your hidden life, endless
treasures of love continuing.
Your silent star shines.

Poetry Sparks


XII
Sisters and brothers love’s boon
Life together as one invite
Argue or delight?
Both were normal
No thought of the mournful
end of the seven of us quite
Sisters and brothers

We didn’t always play in tune
but the bond stayed tight
and all seemed right
wondered I of death immune
Sisters and brothers

Rondeau Prime


XIII

You Were Always My Favorite

  • You painted my fingernails
  • You taught me to read using Go Dog Go
  • You and Ken came to my softball games
  • You worked as a telephone operator
  • We had matching dresses once
  • You brought K.C. into our lives
  • Your daughter Amy’s middle name is Denise
  • I got your room when you got married
  • My daughter Maria’s middle name is Christine
  • You would have been my kids’ guardian if we died

When You Weren’t

  • I cut my foot and you said, “You better not have picked a scab.”
  • You hit my head with the bristles when you brushed my hair.
  • You wouldn’t accept that my use of “Hilary’s word” deplorable
    could be a legitimate criticism of your candidate’s actions.

List poem


XIV

Rick was the father I didn’t know
Wedding day he walked me down the aisle.
Lynne married young and bestowed
Gifts like a rich Santa Claus–that style!

Chris is a sister so frank and refreshing
Now lives in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Judi was a quiet, deep, book-loving blessing
She loved and valued others so humbly.

Lori is now my neighbor and friend
skillfully helped us remodel our dwelling.
Keith is the one on whom we depend
Loves to travel, in family ties excelling.

Six siblings had always been there for me
Three remain–relish each other is my plea.

sonnet


XV

She was born
in Gaza–
tiny spit
of land in
Israel–
an at “home”
alien.
And I have
the birthright
to mourn the
loss of one
elder while
she loses
everything
everyone?


XVI

I remember just one family vacation
we took with my dad and mom and
six of us kids. (My older brother
was in the service, I think.)
We went to the Grand Canyon.
There were a few tiny
photographs of our trip:
Attending a pow wow.
Looking over the edge of the canyon.
Staying in a hotel with a pool.
Going out to a restaurant.
Then I remember I bought
two polished stones
at the gift shop.
When I was getting my hair brushed,
I dropped one and picked it up with my toes.


Where I start writing one less line each day…

XVII

My dad bought the little house
for my mom. Two bedrooms
in the suburbs. She wasn’t happy.
She had a son and two daughters
and one more on the way.
By the time I came along,
they had built another bedroom.
Eventually they pieced together
more bedrooms by transforming
the garage and laundry room
into two more. I remember a time
when all siblings were home
and rooms burst their seams.
As they married, we played musical
bedrooms, filling in the gaps.


XVIII

Pink sky morning brings chirping.
Warming liberates reptiles
emerging from winter cold.

Hope in this new day will stay.
Lifetime bow of family
ties up love like rose-tinged clouds.

Queue up the crescendo for
dulcet and devout playing
on this blooming day in May.

Life is a bouquet of kin
to rejuvenate the soul.

septercet sonnet


XIX

We watch the quail as they
are ready for the first hatching.
Gleaners gathering seeds and also us,
who watch them noticing their
fill of the allurement of
the living. No need for a
barn or coop to raise their young.
For the green light of
the fragments of consequence, we
winter on through loss and ends.
That is why what
comes next is all a gift
on this mystic mansion of creation.

golden shovel

From Jack Gilbert’s poem “Moreover” this striking line: “We are gleaners who fill the barn for the winter that comes on.”


XX

This journey is full and sweet
Thanks to those brothers and sisters
who shine in our life-creating, as
the abounding world glitters

stories of memory
stories of faith and joy
stories of unease
stories of safe convoys

We are finer for having had years–
years and days and moments
Together stronger, together better
Full with beloved proponents

Patrol Poem

XXI

In answer to your questions:

  1. Yes, thank you.
  2. Fine.
  3. Maybe.
  4. No, thank you.
  5. She’s doing great.
  6. His name is Randy.
  7. Thank you for saying yes.
  8. No.
  9. You know you left way too soon.
  10. We’re making it, but we miss you.

List poem  – (One time my brother wrote me a letter answering my questions with a numbered list of answers like this.)


XXII

Friend
Sister
neighborly
giving partner.
You have become my balm for homesickness.
Notice, as you restore memories, that
more awaits you
A healthy
future
hope

Double Tetractys


XXIII

So many
birthday feasts
through the years

All the nieces
and nephews
celebrating

Life in this
family
Happy love

tricube


Siblings

I never doubted your care
Everyday living conveys
faithful love and repair
of failures and hurts
Six humans: no compare
You were there for me
with kind and witty flair
We were gifted a graced way
to hold and love and share

Magic 9


XXIV

Life is an obstinate investment
tended and nourished just so
in fidelity to hope’s assessment
Life is an obstinate investment
never subject to divestment
changes though ‘til time to go
Life is an obstinate investment
tended and nourished just so

triolet & Metaphor Dice


XXV 7

gift giver
birthday rememberer
Perfect book gift chooser for me
my whole life long. Continued with
my kids
then theirs

trinet

XXVI 

family and friends bring life and light
laughter, cooking, reminiscing night
fifty years, growing family bright
becomes future generations’ sight–
memories tucked away to fill the heart
with the thrill of love and hope done right

Hir a Thoddaid

XXVII

time is short, slow down
no need to speed up to fit
everything in now
more is not always better
be all-in while we have time

tanka

XXVIII
my May poems are soon done
I have grown closer to you
My dear sisters and brothers
June rest now, thank God

dodoitsu

XXIX 3

XXX 2

XXXI 1

Poetry Friday – Sourdough Dansa Poem

Today is Poetry Friday and our wonderful host is Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. She shares a treasure chest of poems by young poets–so inspiring!

This week, I have another poem inspired by Alan j Wright; it’s the dansa. Today I flew to my daughter Katie’s. I thought it was  appropriate to write on the topic of sourdough, since Katie and I have flown cross country with our sourdough starter, Stanley Beast. It was born in Bahrain during the Covid pandemic, April 2020 and survives today, thanks to some creative transporting. Read more about the dansa form at Alan’s post with his dansa, “Whistler in the Winter Wind”. More info on the dansa at Writer’s Digest here.

Sourdough

Living, breathing sourdough
Bacteria and natural yeast
Join for bread’s height increase
In French it’s levain. Hello,
Living, breathing sourdough!

Freshly baked bread, thick piece
Complex and worthy of a feast
Smell the bread, crust all aglow
Yum! Living, breathing sourdough!

Covid time birthed in the Middle East
Then to America you came, Stanley Beast
Two years later after a slight, deathblow!
No more living, breathing sourdough

But Stanley lived on, at least,
For I had shared it, so Katie beefed-
up my starter, mostly nouveau
again living, breathing sourdough

Stanley is again free to release
his magic—careful not to decease
It’s easier to digest, did you know?
It’s living, breathing sourdough


Here’s a little (read a lot) Sourdough Science that may have helped me a bit as I composed.

Clockwise: 1) Jar of Stanley Beast sourdough starter 2) 100g for a loaf of bread 3) Loaf of sourdough 4) Sliced sourdough

Poetry Friday – Trinet

It’s Poetry Friday and Jone MacCulloch is hosting today. She has an interview with Carol Labuzzetta about the new anthology Picture Perfect Poetry, published this week. Thank you for hosting, Jone. 

I remember when I learned that pigs are not able to look up into the sky. Did you know that little fact?

I learned it last year in a trinet by Alan j Wright. I was amused by his poem, and the form was new for me. I often like to try new forms, but I didn’t. Then just last week Alan revisited the trinet, so I was reminded to give it a try. The trinet is 7 lines, with word counts of 2-2-6-6-2-2-2. (Thank you, Alan for the inspiration!)

Words

windswept wonders

wistful terms

welcome to the whistling expressions stirred

haunting the lexicon mining for words

whimsy inferred

sometimes absurd

communication heard


I thought the shape of the first one looked like an angel, so I had to try a second one.

Angel

speaks warnings

wears wings

wondering who started idea they’re singing

guiding, pointing the way to heaven

angel guest

visiting Earth

commissioned above

Image by b0red from Pixabay

A third one, looking much less angelic, was for this week’s “This Photo Wants to be a Poem” at Margaret’s Reflections on the Teche.

Halo

Encircling umbra

Brilliance ablaze

Magical dance of moon and sun

New celestial feats eclipse our understanding

Oohing ahhing

Awestruck, unparalleled

Eyewitnesses ensorcelled

Image by Dave Davidson from Pixabay

 

Poetry Friday – A Date

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is over at Irene Latham’s Live Your Poem blog. She has today’s line of the Progressive Poem, pockets full of poems, prayers and more. Thank you for hosting Irene.

Today’s #Verselove prompt is to write about a date night. Do join in if you want to draft a poem with us.

A Date

By Kevin McFadden

The first seated takes the chance he’ll be
stood up. She’s getting on with the hope she may
get off. One and one make one
in this riddle. Or, more closely, comedy routine:
first, impressions; second, observations.

I wrote a sevenling about a strange date I had with my boyfriend.

We went to that park in Long Beach
It has a beautiful walking path around a lake
I thought a break-up was imminent
We walked and then sat looking at the water
And you asked me to marry you
I was surprised and didn’t answer
Today, we both can’t remember the name of the park

Seven years later, I finally said yes.

 

Poetry Friday – Ode to the Western Fence Lizard

It’s Poetry Friday and Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is the host. She has written a heart-wrenching pantoum about her sweet Cooper.

Thank you to the Poetry Sisters for including us in their March challenge to write a pantoum about an animal. This past week, I spent a few days in the San Diego area, where I met the ubiquitous Western Fence Lizard.

Western Fence Lizard on the trail at Torrey Pines

Ode to the Western Fence Lizard

King of Torrey Pines, Western Fence Lizard
Your deep sunny pushups warm your cold blood
Darting and dashing safely, young Wizard
Horny tight scales keep you dry in flashfloods

Your deep sunny pushups warm your cold blood
Those climbing toes! Longer than your femurs!
Horny tight scales keep you dry in flashfloods
Look at your stunning view, O, Daydreamer

Those climbing toes! Longer than your femurs!
Your dark shadow shows two tails and two heads
Look at your stunning view, O, Daydreamer
If your tail is caught it can safely shed

Your dark shadow shows two tails and two heads
No worries for you where you build your home
If your tail is caught it can safely shed
As human houses tumble into the foam

No worries for you where you build your home
Darting and dashing safely, young Wizard
As human houses tumble into the foam
King of Torrey Pines, Western Fence Lizard

One of the Western Fence Lizard’s views