It seems no one posted an “official” prompt for today, so I borrowed one from Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet II: the repurposed haiku. The directions read:
Choose one haiku that has words you like. Write each word, one per line, down the left side of a piece of paper. Each word begins a new line of your new poem . . . You are not writing a haiku.
This is the haiku I chose:
Decorating the night sky…
Awaiting the moon
And here is my poem:
awaiting the moonrise
glorious summer evening
sunset projects its technicolor light show
decorating the mesa with jewel tones until
the sun sinks and the sky fades
night smothers the blazing colors like a blanket tossed over embers
sky deepens to midnight black
awaiting the pin-pricks of stars piercing its canopy
the distant suns winking
moon rises and rules the sky
Strange and Wonderful
You’ve always been kind of an oddball
(I mean that in the most wonderful way)
Not seeing the obvious
But pursuing unseen unicorns
Delving the hidden meaning of the mundane
You’ve always been a wonder
Surprising me with unexpected gifts
That I didn’t know I wanted
Showering me with gadgets
I never knew existed
You’ve always been a childlike genius
Delighting in simple discoveries
Pointing out their great complexities
And their momentous implications
Like a tot gleefully blowing dandelion seeds across a flawless lawn
You’ve always been an experimenter
Embracing and abandoning passions
Cluttering the house with all your accoutrements
Ready to flit on to the next great exploration
Like a mad scientist/butterfly
Ours is a strange and wonderful relationship
(You’re strange and I’m wonderful)
My friends tell me I’m tolerant
Or is it just that I’m amused
Viewing the world through your lens
First things first: I’m back! Back from my blogging break of six weeks. I did manage to free up just barely enough space in my study for my new Moxie quilting machine, which is coming home a week from tomorrow. More about that in a future post.
Usually I participate in two challenges in October, OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month) and Inktober (a drawing challenge). I zoned out and missed the start, but now that I have time to write again, I’m going to try to write poems (on odd-numbered days) and create ink drawings (on even-numbered days) for the rest of the month. Today, even though it’s the 19th, my poem is drawn from intersection of the prompts for days 13 (faith and flow) and 15 (surrendering fear):
when I am afraid
I will trust in You
I surrender my fear
believing that You are in control
You see me
You love me
You know best what I need
I lay my concerns at Your feet
I let go
and I’m enveloped by Your Presence
Your peace flowing like a river
transcending all understanding
You know best what I need
I love You
During the middle ages, there was a thriving trade in unicorn horns, which were believed to neutralize poisons. Of course, only royalty and nobility could afford them or even a piece of one. Here’s the source.
I enter a lot of poetry chapbook contests. (A chapbook is a small collection of poems, short stories, or essays, generally less than 40 pages.) I entered three chapbooks into the Rattle Chapbook Prize contest last year. I didn’t win.
This is one of the winning chapbooks. I almost don’t mind not winning, because this chapbook is really good. (If I had to lose, it’s an honor to lose to this one.) The poems center around the end of the poet’s mother’s life, including memories of the mother (Estelle) when she was younger, how she and her husband related to each other as they aged, and observing the strain of caregiving on his father.
As anyone knows who has witnessed the progression of Alzheimer’s, it is a cruel disease that robs the victim of her personality piece by piece, leaving a stranger in her place. The beauty of the poems in Visiting Her in Queens is that they convey with love the challenges of watching a loved one fade away. The poems capture the bitter-sweetness, the affection among the tears.
In the center of the book is a photograph—I’m not sure if it’s one picture cut in half, or two separate pictures that line up really well—of a couple whom I assume are the poet’s parents in middle age. The mother is doubled over with laughter; the father smiles at her. Their fondness for one another is palpable; they were married just short of 65 years.
My favorite poem in the book is “Losing My Parents in a Small CVS Drug Store” which describes his search with hilarity. One employee saw them reading greeting cards to one another. A customer saw them over by the adult diapers. A stock boy caught them in employees’ rest room, where they were admiring the hand soap pump. The surveillance camera caught them eating in the candy aisle. Finally the manager makes an announcement over the public address system: “Attention Michael’s parents—please report to checkout immediately without rushing too much. Your son trusts you and wants you to have your independence but he doesn’t want you to miss Jeopardy.”
Of course, not all the poems are funny. But they are touching. And they are varied. Some of the titles are “The Wish,” “Watching the Golden Gate Bridge Disappear,” “What My Father Heard the Rabbi Say at My Mother’s Funeral,” “Dancing with My Father at My Son’s Wedding,” and “Celebrating His 92nd Birthday the Year His Wife Dies.”
This book will be especially meaningful to senior citizens and to anyone who has been a caretaker. The Rattle Foundation sends out a different chapbook with each quarterly issue of their poetry journal. Copies of this book are also available on their website. It’s only $6.
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