The First Poem That Hooked, or Entering the Poetry Portal

I must have been in elementary school, one of those kids that other kids love to hate because their parents were always telling them to “be more like Dora,” you know, the girl who had skipped two grades, the “genius” kid, the one whose parents were always bragging about her (out of her hearing of course).

Continue reading “The First Poem That Hooked, or Entering the Poetry Portal”

Cold Fusion

The stairway is not
the woman
nor the stairway
the bird

The bird sees the woman
but the woman does not see
the light

The light descends
over the flight of the blackbird
over the black form of
the woman

The woman is not resting
nor sleeping nor dreaming
curled weary on
the limestone

The limestone does not know
the hardness of
each step

Each step
is blind to
the descent and
the ascent

The ascent is known
only by the light
and the bird
and the woman

singing
singing
singing


Photograph by Gregory Colbert shared by Carrie Burtt for her Sunday Muse #229 ekphrastic prompt. (Thank you, Carrie.) Click here to join in.

Into the Epode with Grover Lewis

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.


Click here for lyrics to “Walk or Ride” (2004)
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!

Poem and Poet: E. E. Cummings & “i thank You God for most this amazing”

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.

E. E. Cummings, “small woodland scene” (oil on canvas)

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)


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.”

E. E. Cummings, “yellow sundown” (watercolor)
Continue reading “Poem and Poet: E. E. Cummings & “i thank You God for most this amazing””

Break, break the splitting cataracts

Break, break the splitting cataracts
Send skin-sharp torrents to set free
Remold with Spirit-sinew mottled clay
Jarring-fiery Sinai-thunderous
The deep unseen core.

Hide me there upon the Rock
See me a revelry of particulate force
Lifting light, water, earth, and air
Across a timeless mist of song.

You, O God, who overflows my praise
Falling upon sun-spun life baptized
Fathomless One who fathoms me
To dance in the compass of Thy heart
Break, break the splitting cataracts!

Fay Collins, “Full Spate,” Lodore Falls, oil on board

Sarah at dVerse asks us for an ekphrastic poem, "to choose a picture, and let it inspire your words," with the picture being one by artist Fay Collins. Click on Mr. Linky and join in!

Mothers Have Always Wandered and Searched

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels

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.2 Their average age was 22. That same day, August 26th, in Chicago, a security guard shot a man three times for not wearing a mask3.

Review of “Poems from the Heart” by Dwight Roth

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.

Continue reading “Review of “Poems from the Heart” by Dwight Roth”

Wallie on Words | Wallie’s Wentletrap

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!

lampost_line_edited-1

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.

via Wallie on Words | Wallie’s Wentletrap