The day before the Ditty Bops came to town, the ghost of Grover Lewis prowled the backstage canvas tent smoking with one hand and fuming with the other like a dumbshow player.
While the painters and the carpenters hammered and brushed, Grover stood on the amplifier overseeing the pandemonium like he was in someone’s grandfather’s pulpit preaching
from a fragrant text of his mother’s hallowed last words, and the sunset didn’t stop him talking, nor the dawn, nor the scudding shadows before the storm broke in an early morning shower.
The university town was in west Texas, the splendor of short grass barely dried when the educated girls came to lay territorial claim like locusts, and Grover cursed
like the sailors he never knew but the father he thought he knew when he emerged from childhood’s wreckage, a fever growing as evening fell and the once relaxed crowd
grew restless with the opening act’s mulligans when someone pulled down the curtain and the Ditty Bops were forced to appear before their time. The stage lit like a firecracker,
Grover watching like some stricken, besotted lover holding his mother’s tatted lace, singing along, “And all the voices shut you up -Someone put a brick in your coffee cup.-“
until the show shut down and the last sound he heard was his own, as the carnival packed up and the stars in the big west Texas sky, one by one, lit up with all the wideness of a father’s arms
and the transport of a mother’s smile, spelling: who? a geek; where? here; what? endless mystery; when? now; why? where’s your notebook, you’ve a new story to write, past the strophe and into the epode.
See Shay/Fireblossom's "Word Garden Word List #3 (Grover Lewis)" for challenge and prompt words. In researching for this post, I read "Grover Lewis: An Appreciation" by his friend, Dave Hickey, written for the Los Angeles Times in 1995. It and Katy Vine's "Return to Splendor" really gave me a great appreciation of who Lewis was, the man, the journalist, the poet/writer.
I'm sharing this with dVerse's Open Link Night #305 December Live Edition, our host Björn. Click on Mr. Linky and join in!
American poet E. E. Cummings never wanted his name printed without capitals, but somehow he became anthologized that way. And no, he never legally changed his name to lower case either. It’s true most of his poems were written without caps, reflective of his simple, pared-down writing style.
He reveled in his New Hampshire surroundings and saw in its landscape resonances with his inner life. In fact, he spent more time painting than writing poetry.
As we give thanks to God for all His good gifts, shelter and food, family and friends, and the common pleasures of life, one Cummings poem stands out, whose first line is “i thank You God for most this amazing.” Here it is with an accompanying audio recording of his reading below.
i thank You God for most this amazing day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
E.E. Cummings (1950)
This poem was originally published in Xaipe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950). Xaipe is a nonphonetic transliteration of the Greek χαῖρε (chaire), meaning “rejoice.”
Mothers have always wandered and searched still as gravestones in blood-soaked cities and fields for their daughters, their sons.
It concerns them not when lies unravel, whether thugs come in uniforms or turbans by force of law and terror masking regime bureaucrats and zealots.
Ten people, including seven children, were killed by a U. S. drone strike on Sunday. “At first I thought it was the Taliban,” one survivor said. “But the Americans themselves did it.”1 Thirteen U. S. Marine Corps, Army & Navy service members were killed in Kabul’s suicide bombing last week.2Their average age was 22. That same day, August 26th, in Chicago, a security guard shot a man three times for not wearing a mask3.
Whether Mr. Roth’s Poems from the Heart are read over the course of a week or a day, you will feel each time that you’ve just had a heartfelt talk with a friend: a friend with a way with words in all the particulars that touch you to the core. You’ll come away as if you’d been on a companionable walk, finding more in common than not with the poet, and knowing that it was time well-spent for the sentiments shared.
So it’s altogether fitting that the first poem is “Famous Only Among Friends”; after all only such fame is real and meaningful, with time spent and hearts open. And Roth invites us into his thoughts with his signature openheartedness, a style that is thankfully short on obscurities and long on frank and unabashed clarity so that its poetic beauty penetrates the heart.
Throughout this collection of poems, you will be charmed as I was with the poet’s unerring descriptions, the imagery of the woods (“To Be a Leaf”) and hearth-side (“Blackberry Pie”) mingling effortlessly with the deeper truths of life and spirituality.
After my half year of blogging, my fellow bloggers have made me appreciate anew how many words are “set free” to reveal inner worlds, many of which have enhanced mine. Thanks to those like WalliesWentletrap.com who have made 2014 a memorable year with their “words” – pressed or wrinkled! And a Happy New Year of blogging!
Wallie on Words
If words go in one ear and out
With all the meaning left without
How sad it is for little words
To know they are not ever heard.
How sad for letters black on white
To know their only hope is sight
And yet it’s lovely too, that we
Can speak the words, and set them free.