Monday, January 22, 2018

A Day for Flying





But isn't that always the way it is when you're in a hurry?

So, for a few minutes at least, I'm putting hurry aside now. I'm sitting here calmly at the keyboard, serenely typing a few words which I hope will make their way into "Chosen Words." 

Not a worry in the world.

Like, yeah, sure.

Meanwhile, here's the poem (I hope):


A DAY FOR FLYING

Crisp autumn breeze sliding off
some unseen glacier, sun busy
burnishing the copper leaves,

as though trees were incapable
of doing it themselves, and not
a cloud in sight. A day made

for flying. Indeed, overhead
dozens of silent chalk marks
of planes drag themselves along,

blade marks slowly multiplying
on a blue rink, crisscrossing,
widening, turning into fluffy

cotton batting stretched along
the cold, these diaphanous
contrails abandoned in a flight

to somewhere, as though planes
of the world were gathering
on this day to make clouds,

being impatient for the regular
kind and for the needed rain,
the prodigal, dallying rain.
© 1997
(originally published in Potpourri)

Today's word: diaphanous

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Clutter




(No, I don't think the photo represents "clutter." Just the opposite, a slice of orderly progression ... from rough-edged to well-rounded.) 


Regarding today's poem, I encountered a fellow writer/artist whom I hadn't seen for some time ... and he mentioned "Clutter" ... as one piece of my writing that he remembered. So here it is, again. 
 
Mind you, I'm not advocating clutter, even though ... looking around as I write this ... I can see that a stranger might think I'm clutter's chief spokesperson.


I try. Oh, how I try not to clutter up the planet, at least in my immediate vicinity.


In my own defense, I must say that I don't toss litter out the car window ... I don't drop candy wrappers on the sidewalk ... in fact, sometimes, when I'm out walking, I pick up the occasional strayed aluminum can and deposit it in the nearest trash container.


But in my immediate vicinity ... here in the study ... there's just some invisible force which seems to be at work ... and I am powerless in its grasp.


Things just seem to pile up ... mostly poems in progress ... little notes I've scribbled along the way ... magazines that I really must read (someday) ... little watercolor sketches ... big watercolor sketches ... drawings ... notes to myself. Things like that.


Some days I seem to make progress ... but other days? Well, then it's like trying to sweep the ocean back with a broom ... most recently computer problems reminded me of that.


But I promise you this (and it's not a political promise) ... I'll keep trying. Meanwhile, the poem:


CLUTTER, GLORIOUS CLUTTER

Someday I shall have room
for everything I possess,
all the room I ever dreamed
of having, room to lean back
casually and survey the vast
reaches of things collected
in years of serious pursuit
and delayed disentanglement.


But the jam-packed reality
of today is that I shift
cautiously among the poems
poised for avalanche, books
teetering on the brink
of revenge for being left
stacked like cold flapjacks
all these busy-busy years,
treasured items gathering
dust, clipped so long ago
from forgotten magazines.

So much of my past, perhaps
my future, too, nudging me
when I turn, bumping me when
I bend, skittering when
we touch, hugging me like
a lover just before the train
pulls out. And I stand here,
loving it all right back.
© 2000

(originally published in Nanny Fanny Poetry Magazine)

Today's word: avalanche

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Little Envy










Today's poem is about driving ... another area in which I am certainly no expert. 


No, it's not about some adventure, or misadventure, with our former conveyance, The Little Red Car ... whose exploits were often detailed in Squiggles & Giggles, which had a life as a weekly newsletter.


Little Red was fine for local driving, and we still do a lot of that, but now, when we go out of town, those lo-o-o-n-g-g-g trips, we let Little Red's successor rest while we pick up a rental car.

Our regular vehicle is a very basic, usually reliable car, but lacking some of the bells and whistles, not to mention mysterious buttons and tracking devices found on the newer models.


That has led to some adventures, too ... like the time we drove all the way to Illinois before we found out, thanks to a friend, how to dim the headlights.


It usually takes me a couple of counties, at least, before I master the "set speed" and "resume speed" settings.


This is a poem about discovering one of those marvels:

A LITTLE ENVY

Leaving a town,
heading west,
the car senses
my light touch
on a button,
and I marvel
as it resumes
highway speed,
this collection
of steel, plastic
and fabric
with a memory
better than mine.

© 1997 

(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: memory

Friday, January 19, 2018

Unsinkable Tulips







My photo may not show a profusion of tulips, as alluded to in the poem, but I think it does sort of go with today's offering.


I like the way this small group cups the sunlight, how the vibrant color seems to speak of spring.  


I like to keep that in mind ... as I often do ... and you may hear me repeating myself on this ... when we're struggling through another Ohio winter: Remember, this brings us another day closer to ...


That's right ... SPRING ... real spring!

I know, I know ... winter has some visual assets, too ... some snows can be beautiful ... but at the price of bitter cold ... and the cold seems to become more bitter as I age.


But then I keep reminding myself (and any who will listen) that we're another day closer to ... ah, yes, spring ... and I survive the winter.


Meanwhile, the poem:


UNSINKABLE TULIPS

We fretted over
spring's unseasonable
warmth, then frost, snow,
bitter, freezing nights,
and our hopes withered,
but here you are
again, reds and yellows
defiantly brilliant,
leaving us wondering
why we ever doubted.
© 2002

(originally published in PKA's Advocate)

Today's word: profusion

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tomato Patch
























How long ago ... and yet how vivid the memories of those childhood summers helping in the garden that my grandparents had each year.

I'm sure I wasn't much help in those early years. That came later, when I had the stature and muscles to be an effective weed chopper.

Oh, but I still recall how hot and steamy it was there ... how a bit of shade and a drink of water did seem to be so far, far away. But, as the poem indicates, those memories are still valuable to me ... I still treasure them.

Of course, memories tend to lose their rough edges over time. They become smooth and shiny ... much like the blade I remember, chopping those weeds, loosening the soil to help retain the moisture the plants so sorely needed.

The poem:

TOMATO PATCH

I found no poetry
in the tomato patch,
drone of a horsefly
drilling the silence,
drops of my sweat 
salting the soil,
my hoe dispatching 
smartweed, with shade,
a drink of water
so far away. Why,
then, do I miss
that seasoned handle,
so glassy-smooth,
sliding in my hands,
that dark blade
worn thin and shiny,
glinting like
treasure in the sun?
 © 1998
(originally published in Capper's)

Today's word: glinting

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Stolen Minutes








I write a lot about writing. It's not that I'm ... by any stretch of the imagination ... an expert on the subject. On the contrary, the process often baffles me.

Do we know all there is to know about love? Or Nature? Or God?


No! But we pursue these, and other subjects, with a passion, because we want to understand.


So it is with the subject of writing.


I write wherever and whenever I can. Afterward, I don't always understand what I've written, or why I wrote it. But I write.


I keep a scratch pad beside the bed, a pen ... actually, it once was a pen with a light in it ... just in case I wake up with some thought bugging me, something that will be lost if I don't write it down right away.


Sometimes, even that isn't enough to preserve it. My scrawl, coupled with the morning mental fog that follows a restless night, can be a tough code to crack.


Oh, well, there will be another time, another place, and maybe that same thought will pop up like a rabbit, go running across the clover field of my mind ... and maybe, just maybe, I'll grab it this time, tame it, make it mine, all mine.


But don't worry. I've learned to share. Oh, have I ever.


For example:


STOLEN MINUTES

I steal minutes when I can,
take them for my own use,
sometimes to sit thinking
my own odd-angled thoughts,
sometimes watching as a pencil
searches its way across
the untracked page, sometimes
listening to that voice,
imperceptible except to that
part of the ear that feels,
more than it hears, what is said.
© 1996

(originally published in The Christian Science Monitor)

Today's word: imperceptible

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reflecting







In the early days, when I received an acceptance of something I'd written, I felt like dancing on the table in celebration.

In all honesty, I never did dance on the table (or anywhere else, for that matter). But I did feel like dancing, and the table seemed the appropriate place ... then.

I still don't dance on the table.

But then I got an e-mail from Finishing Line Press, publisher of Chance of Rain, my collection of poems all about rain, or its absence ...

Gist of the e-mail: "Congratulations! Your book is now listed on Amazon.com ... "

Oh, wow! I was so excited about that ... and I still am ...

But now, the poem:

REFLECTING

Winter rain trickles

and skitters this evening

as it travels down the slope

of my skylight, like spent

minutes picking their way

through another lonely

night, or a speckled mirror

held to reflect the tangled

yarn basket of my mind.
© 2003


(One of my poems from Chance of Rain, a small, limited-edition collection, issued by Finishing Line Press)

Today's word: dancing