Friday, June 22, 2018

The Dawning







Those who know me well ... family and friends ... will be surprised to find I've written somewhat favorably about the beginning of the day.

Mornings have generally not been easy for me.

But this poem is not just about morning. It's about the experience of returning to an awareness of surroundings, discovering "words already dancing/ across the softly-lighted/ ballroom of my mind," of being on the verge ... after all that struggle ... of beginning to put words on paper.

Yes, it speaks to me about what I like best, writing, that activity which takes over after that "ballroom" activity, the real "dawning" that occurs with the writing itself.

The poem:

THE DAWNING

When the earth is still
hovering between sleep
and consciousness, when
birdsong is finding voice
and a distant bell
sways in the gentle wash
of sound, I come floating
out of a recurring dream,
yawning, stretching, eyes
struggling in darkness,
feet reaching cautiously
for the reality of floor,
words already dancing
across the softly-lighted
ballroom of my mind.
© 1999

(originally published in Sisters Today)

Today's word: yawning

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Call of the Mousse



























It was one of those day trips that you take with a group of strangers.

You do some walking, some talking and gawking ... then comes the highlight, lunch ... if you're lucky it will be in some fancy place with big windows and a view of the city.

And so it was.

I don't remember many of the details, but I do remember the view of the city ... and the excitement when the dessert arrived. Of course, my doctor had recently put desserts (my favorite food group) on a forbidden list.

I could watch. Period. Oh, but I made some mental notes, jotted a few words on a scrap of paper later, when the bus was rolling toward home. That night it all came together in this little poem.

Then, after the usual polishing and tweaking ... patiently sending it out ... and waiting ... and waiting ... it was published.

Time has passed ... quite a bit of time ... but my mouth still waters a little as the memory is renewed.

And now ... on this morning after I've slept like a log ... awakened as hungry as a bear ... can't wait to get to the breakfast table ... the poem:

CALL OF THE MOUSSE

Fearing that my doctor
might instinctively know,
might be informed
by some skulking spy
in our midst, or that I might
blurt out a full confession
while sitting on his table,
I declined chocolate mousse
when it came crashing
through the underbrush
of after-lunch conversation,
and I sat silently, hungrily
watching while the other five
at my table devoured theirs,
particularly the lady
who, moments before,
had surrendered her fork
with the sad announcement
that she simply couldn't
eat another bite.
© 2001

(originally published in Potpourri)

Today's word: chocolate

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Buddy







This one was written a long time ago, but the memories remain strong.


I might as well tell you now, Buddy was a Beagle, much in evidence in the neighborhood ... his neighborhood ... his yard ... and sometimes in his vehicle, as his people took him along for the ride.


But, as the poem relates, he was often indoors, too ... at the window, looking out on the world. Often, when I'd look out to see if it was raining, or snowing, or a sunny day suitable for a stroll in the neighborhood, there would be Buddy looking out his window, too.


Buddy moved away a long time ago, but the memories remain, and I still sometimes expect to see him looking back at me from across the street.


The poem:



BUDDY

Sometimes,
when I'm alone,
I look out
my front window,
and there's Buddy,
staring back at me
from across the way.


Resting his chin
on the back
of his gray sofa,
he trains a sharp eye
on the street,
watching for dogs,
or squirrels,
or maybe even cats.


He watches, puzzled
that I have no leash
as I trot off
on my daily rounds,
for I'm sure
Buddy must think
I'm a Beagle, too,
as house-bound
and lonely as he.
©1996


(originally published in Anterior Poetry Monthly)

Today's word: house-bound

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Alone




































I don't recall the date, exactly, but I do recall that winter evening, sitting, trying to read, pausing as I felt the house "filling with quiet," then reaching for a pen, a scrap of paper, so I could record my feelings.

My thoughts did seem to be "shy and skittery," like field mice, it occurred to me. I imagined the sound of their tiny feet, running in a quiet place, like the house where I was alone that winter evening, or perhaps a country church ... during prayer.

Fortunately, my being alone was a condition of short duration ... only a few evenings, as I recall ... but it helped me to identify with those for whom sitting alone in the quiet of a house, apartment, or room, is a continuing thing.

I hope I managed to capture a degree of that, too. The poem:

ALONE

The house fills
with quiet tonight,
only my thoughts
moving about,
shy and skittery
like field mice
in a country church
during prayer.
 © 1999
(originally published in Riverrun)
Today's word: skittery

Monday, June 18, 2018

Treacherous Dust




























Do things still get dusty? 


You bet. At least things in the vicinity of my usual haunts, the corner where my computer sits, waiting for the familiar touch of my flying fingers ... the file cabinet where treasured bits of writing are stored ... even one of my favorite reading chairs in another corner.


My earliest exposure to the never-ending battle against dust came as I watched my grandmother fighting it. 


I remember how those motes rose in the sunbeams invading the house, then settled back. I'm sure she managed to capture many of them with her dusting cloth, but it was those which escaped that I found most intriguing.


I imagine they're still up to their old tricks, because I can dust the screen of my computer in the evening, and the next day they're back, lurking, smirking, daring me to try again.


This poem, originally published in Capper's, is my tribute to those dust particles:


TREACHEROUS DUST


Resting at will,
but never sleeping,
it rises lazily
ahead of the cloth,
starts settling
back on everything
the very minute
your back's turned.
© 1996

Today's word: motes

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Renewal








Symbolism isn't always apparent when I take a photo. 

In this instance, I was simply prompted by the colors, the reflections, the quiet of this spot in Charleston Falls Park. 

But now I see the greening of renewal, the fallen tree both as a symbol of decay which will lead to renewal and as a footbridge, offering a choice at that juncture, of wading through the stream of events, or of taking a dry, if somewhat acrobatic, crossing ... all symbols of passages.

Appropriate, I was thinking last night ... looking at the calendar, marveling at how fast this year seems to be going.

I know ... it's still a bit early, maybe, to be thinking about year's end ... parties, resolutions, turning over a new leaf ... all that stuff.

But renewal, I think, can really come at any time of year ... any day ... any moment. 

End of sermon.

And now the poem:


RENEWAL

How sad sounding
the rains of spring
were, thudding
on the empty drum
of my young life.

Renewal lacked
meaning for me,
but the years
have washed away
that emptiness.

Now the song
of those gentle
drops on my roof
nurtures dreams
of beginnings
and new growth.
© 2002

(originally published in Brave Hearts)

Today's word: beginnings

Oh, by the way ... I've learned that Chosen Words recently welcomed its 100,000th visitor ... and, of course, I have no idea who it was (the counter just clicks when somebody takes a look -- and I don't know who has visited, unless they leave a note) ... but I thank you, one and all, for stopping by.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Outside







Memories! How we cherish the good ones, make them forever ours, polish them, enhance them, store them away, pull them out to comfort us in our old age.


Such is this memory of our grandson, now a young man, but barely a toddler then.


How proud I felt, watching him go to that window, then pointing and pronouncing that word with all the authority he could muster: "Outside!"


I just had to write a poem about it. I know ... I know ... it would embarrass the life out of him, if he were to find out that I had posted it here.


You won't tell, will you? Promise? Then here it is:

OUTSIDE!

"Outside!" he says,
tiny finger folding
as it touches the glass
of our dining room
window. "Outside!"

It carries the tone
of discovery, that ancient
"Eureka!" still echoing,
an air of possession.

He runs repeatedly
to the window, pointing
and exclaiming, savoring
this, another horizon
beckoning, a romance
budding, perhaps growing
until he's my age
and beyond, this love
of the outside world.
© 1999

(originally published in Capper's)

Today's word: beckoning