Monday, March 30, 2015

LIFE OF A POET - LOCOMENTE

Today, my poet friends, we are once again making an international flight to India, to visit the poet we know as Locomente, whose real life name is Satya. Satya writes at Locomente....Romancing Words. Let's pour ourselves a cup of chai, of which we are growing very fond, and enjoy a visit with this beautiful young poet. Satya has shared a wealth of colorful photos about her beautiful and ancient culture, so this will really  feel like a visit to India, for those of us who are armchair travelers.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Poetry Pantry #245

Poppy's Photographs from Crete
(and one from Canada)
-Serene Aquamarine-


Agios Nikolaos, Crete.

Ombros Gialos, Crete.

Agios Nikolaos, Crete

Plaka, Crete

Lake Simcoe, Ontario Canada

Greetings, Poets! We have finally entered spring, and I must say I am not unhappy to leave the season of winter behind.  Spring is always such an optimistic season, I think, as things begin to green up again.

Today we have Poppy to thank for more wonderful pictures.  She chose the theme of "serene aquamarine" this week.


Be sure to check out "I Wish I'd Written This" this week. Rosemary is a bit under the weather so Sherry did the feature.   She shared the poem "Being a Person" by William Stafford & included some details about his life as well.  (Scroll back one article.)Get well, Rosemary.

Susan, for this week's Midweek Motif, will have us write about "cherry blossoms." Do you see them in your area?

I am still looking for photographs from your part of the world.  Let me know if you have some!

Share a poem with us below by linking it using Mr.Linky, and visit others who also link.  Enjoy!


Friday, March 27, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This


Being a Person                                                                                                         


Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own 

call. After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone's dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn't be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.


              - William Stafford



You can see why I wish I had written this. Sigh. Rosemary is a bit under the weather, today, my friends, so  I am bringing this poet to you, who wrote so wonderfully (and prolifically) during his lifetime. Stafford lived from 1914 until 1993, but he got a bit of a late start as a published poet. He was 46 years old when his first major collection of poetry was published.  Traveling Through the Dark (whose title poem is one of his best-known) won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry. Not a bad start! During his lifetime, his body of work totaled some 22,000 poems. 

Stafford observed a quiet daily routine of writing. His work focused on the ordinary events of daily life. He died of a heart attack on August 28, 1993, having just written the lines:

'You don't have to
prove anything,' my mother said.
'Just be ready
for what God sends.'



Wow. Stafford was born in Kansas, and received his BA from the University of Kansas in 1937.

He was a pacifist as well as a poet. When drafted in 1942, he declared himself a conscientious objector, and performed alternative service in forestry and soil conservation (for $2.50 a month!) from 1942 until 1946, in Arkansas, California and Illinois. While in California, he met and married Dorothy Hope Franz, and they had four children, including one child who died, two artists, and the poet and essayist Kim Stafford.

He received his MA from the University of Kansas in 1947. His Masters' thesis, the prose memoir Down In My Heart: Peace Witness in Wartime, was published in 1948.

William Stafford was appointed 20th Century Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1970, a position now known as Poet Laureate. He taught, during his lifetime, at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon, Manchester College in Indiana, San Jose State, California, then returned to Lewis and Clark.

Not only do I wish I had written this poem, but his dedication to his craft inspires me to work harder on my own. 


Feel better, Rosemary! For any errors or oversights in my presentation of this material, I humbly apologize.

source: Wikipedia
Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders 




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Captivity


“We are determined to answer evil with GOOD, slavery with FREEDOM, 
rape with hope!  We are against slavery, rape, beheading, torture, 
violations of human rights, corruption and misuse of religion!” 
― Widad Akrawi

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” 
― Frederick Douglass



“The caged eagle become a metaphor for all forms of isolation, 
the ultimate in imprisonment. A zoo is prison.” 
― Nadine GordimerGet a Life



Midweek Motif  ~ Captivity

The United Nations uses March 25th to observe two separate International Days for victims of slavery and other forms of captivity.  Follow the links to read more about the United Nations' resolutions:

YOUR CHALLENGE:  Describe a captivity in a poem using imagery and narrative story ~ OR, simply use captivity as a motif.

my own photo in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Excerpt from  To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth


by Phillis Wheatley1753 - 1784 

. . . . .
Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song,
Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung,
Whence flow these wishes for the common good,
By feeling hearts alone best understood,
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat:
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrows labour in my parent’s breast?
Steel’d was that soul and by no misery mov’d
That from a father seiz’d his babe belov’d:
Such, such my case.  And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?
. . . .   (Read the rest HERE at Poetry.ORG.)
The Captive Dove 
byAnne Bronte 
Poor restless dove, I pity thee; 
And when I hear thy plaintive moan, 
I mourn for thy captivity, 
And in thy woes forget mine own. 

To see thee stand prepared to fly,
 And flap those useless wings of thine, 
And gaze into the distant sky, 
Would melt a harder heart than mine. 

In vain ­ in vain! Thou canst not rise: 
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
 Its slender wires delude thine eyes, 
And quench thy longings with despair.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE at Poetry Soup.)

For those who are new to Poets United: 
  • Post your Captivity poem on your site, and then link it here.
  • Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  • If you use a picture include its link.  
  • Please leave a comment here and 
    visit and comment on our poems.
(Our next Midweek Motif is "cherry blossoms.")

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Monday, March 23, 2015

LIFE OF A POET - POPPY

What a treat I have for you this week, kids. This will be our very first visit to GREECE ! We are zooming from all points of the globe to visit the poet, Poppy, who writes at  Poppy View, in Crete. Poppy is a fantastic photographer, as well, so get ready to enjoy some stunning views of spectacular scenery. And there are a couple of unexpected musical treats as well. This is going to be such a thrill! The plane is touching down. Let's hop off and go sit on Poppy's terrace, abloom with flowers.




Sizzling hues heat up cool, white facades, Archanes, Crete.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Poetry Pantry #244

Poppy's Photographs from Greece -- Paths



Tree trunks sprouting from underneath a paved road, 
climb up sienna facades.

Grassy paths and steps amid ancient Roman tombs,
above the village of Agios Thomas.


A path leading to the Monastery of Panagia Pantanassa.

Follow the pretty brick road; most lead to cafes and taverns.


  A gravel road leading into the olive groves.

A path of clover, under a connected canopy of olive branches.


Greetings, Poets! We have finally entered spring, and I must say I am not unhappy to leave the season of winter behind.  Spring is always such an optimistic season, I think, as things begin (slowly at first) to green up again.

Today we have Poppy to thank for the wonderful pictures from Greece.  She chose the theme of "paths," so all of her photos involve a path!  Lovely, aren't they? Thanks, Poppy.

Be sure to check out Rosemary's The Living Dead:  Here Comes the Flood by Daevid Allen, if you haven't read the article.  Daevid definitely can make a scene come alive!

Monday be sure to stop in and read Sherry's newest interview of a fairly new poet to our scene, one who also takes beautiful photographs.  Do you think you know who she is? (Smiles.) Stop back and see!

Susan, for this week's Midweek Motif, will have us write about the prompt "Captivity." Stay tuned.

I am still looking for photographs from your part of the world.  Let me know if you have some!

Share a poem with us below by linking it using Mr.Linky, and visit others who also link.  Enjoy!


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

Here Comes the FLOOD
By Daevid Allen (1938-2015)

Great Gorganzolas!
Hold everything!
The world just stopped!
I have just experienced a day of inundation unequalled in my experience here.
It rained for three days & three nights with such intensity that the river opposite my house suddenly rose up, swallowed my garden & then rapidly climbed the wall of my two story house, swamping my garage & car below.
On the third day I awoke from a third dark & stormy night with an uneasy gut feeling.
Such was the current of water rushing down from the hills that the field at the back of my house became a raging river that carried away everything around my house that was not securely moored....
Simultaneously the ocean just through the trees raged & breached the sand dunes adding extra currents to the chaos.
I was isolated safely above the water but for how long? The waters had entered the bottom of my house & were rising up the inside stairs
Stranded with no electricity I watched amazed as fish leapt out of the water beneath my balcony & birds took refuge beside me out of the pelting rain.
Cars floated about on the road like boats & thunder & lightening pounded my ears with magnificent doomsday surroundsound.
I delved about in my powerless house & found a tiny portable radio & a couple of dubious batteries which let me tune in to local bayFM radio. I was listening for only a couple of minutes to a cheery voiced female talking about nearby Lismore being evacuated when they suddenly went off the air presumably due to power failures in Byron Bay.
Was this the end of the world as I know it?
The other weird thing was that there were no signs of life from houses nearby.
Had they all been evacuated in the night?
By now it was midday & the rain on the roof was deafening. My laptop? No luck, battery too old...I was starting to pine for a human sighting....the phone?? YES!
I rang Gilly to find that her situation was even worse. The water was only two steps below her front door & was also pouring through the roof in the middle of the house.
Her car was submerged up to the windows & she was generally more worried than I....in fact I felt much better to be the reassuring one.
I returned to the balcony to see a yellow inflatable rescue boat rushing up the river.
Many of the single story houses must certainly have been washed through & their inhabitants would be in shock.
Then more & more boats appeared. Also kayaks, canoes, surfskis & surfboards to the rescue.
Helicopters fussed noisily overhead.
Most of my near neighbours remained above the water line & those in danger had been safely extracted & taken up to the community centre.
Suddenly the rain stopped & it was party time. What else better to do?
A cheerful call from Gilli told me she was safely back at work in the studio at the dry end of her house. Then Ynys rang from Turiya's place high up in the mountains intrigued by my predicament & unhappy not to be sharing it.
As the sun set I opened a bottle of wine, lit every candle I could find & played my new acoustic guitar all night!
After my first really peaceful sleep for days, I awoke this morning to find most of it had drained away.
My car, though the water had risen just over the interior seats, miraculously still worked!
The garage was a chaos of sodden reel to reel tapes, wet clothes & ruined electrical stuff.
Then the state premier landed in a helicopter on the new brighton oval & did a couple of prime time tv news spots outside the all but obliterated New Brighton store declaring us a national disaster & promising us all new bedding, washing machines & more plastic stuff. Ahh politics!!
I wandered my neighbourhood finding mud & debris strewn everywhere with low lying houses in total confusion but also that generous atmosphere of jokey acceptance & togetherness that comes from surviving the vicissitudes of nature as a community.


daevid alien. new brighton.
friday 1 june 05


I received this piece by email shortly after it was written (about what was indeed a memorable, though thankfully brief, local flood). I think it's wonderful writing, but it's not a poem. Later Daevid turned it into a poem, which I heard him recite at a spoken word event. It was even livelier and funnier that way. However I don't have a copy of that version.

But here is a poem. (Scroll down a little way.) You can listen to some music too, and explore the site for many treasures.

Daevid Allen, musician and poet, died a week ago, on March 13, of cancer, aged 77. He died at home, surrounded by his four sons.

His life was fully lived. The Wikipedia entry, at the link on his name, above, gives you details of his fascinating career. Obituaries are being published all over the world. I like this one in particular.

Talented, innovative and visionary, he was also known for his humour and good nature. Much loved by many, he'll be greatly missed.

He was a founder of the legendary band GONG (which describes itself as a prog-psych-space-jazz fusion group); in his youth was a friend of Robert Graves; and was still travelling the world to perform as recently as 2013. His last poetry performance was in February this year in his local community at Byron Bay, Australia, where he quoted from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? 
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? 
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. 
And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb. 
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."


On the GONG website, he recently sent a message in similar vein:

daevid allen - a message for you 
[posted Thr 5 Feb]
Hello you Kookaburras,

OK so I have had my PET-CAT scans (which is essentially a full body viewing gallery for cancer specialists) and so it is now confirmed that the invading cancer has returned to successfully establish dominant residency in my neck. The original surgery took much of it out, but the cancer has now recreated itself with renewed vigor while also spreading to my lung.
The cancer is now so well established that I have now been given approximately six months to live.
So My view has Changed:
I am not interested in endless surgical operations and in fact it has come as a relief to know that the end is in sight.
I am a great believer in "The Will of the Way Things Are" and I also believe that the time has come to stop resisting and denying and to surrender to the way it is.
I can only hope that during this journey, I have somehow contributed to the happiness in the lives of a few other fellow humans.
I believe I have done my best to heal, dear friends and that you have been enormously helpful in supporting me through this time
So Thank you SO much for being there with me, for the Ocean of Love
and Now, importantly, Thankyou for starting the process of letting go of me, of mourning then transforming and celebrating this death coming up - this is how you can contribute, this would be a great gift from those emotionally and spiritually involved with me. 
I love you and will be with you always - Daevid xxx 


Though he was unafraid and seemingly irreverent in his artistic expression, Daevid was conscious of the sacredness of art. Thom the World Poet, who was a great friend of Daevid's over many years, tells a story of a poetry gig they turned up to somewhere, long ago, to find they were the only people there. Daevid wanted them to recite anyway, which they did. At first Thom expressed the opinion that it would be a waste of time, but Daevid said, 'No. We're sanctifying the space.'


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The Sun


“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.” 

― Emily Dickinson

“Even 
After 
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
Look
What happens
With a love like that,

It lights the whole sky.” 
Hāfez-e Šīrāzī حافظ





Midweek Motif ~ The Sun

There is an event, called Sun-Earth Day: 

"Sun-Earth Day is a joint educational program established in 2000 by NASA and ESA. The goal of the program is to popularize the knowledge about the Sun, and the way it influences life on Earth . . . The day itself is mainly celebrated in the USA near the time of the spring equinox. However, the Sun-Earth Day event actually runs throughout the year . . ."  (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The structure of the Sun


And we are coming up on the March Equinox, spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern Hemisphere:  
The March equinox (or Northward equinox) is the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading northward. The March equinox is the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

File:ChichenItzaEquinox.jpg
Chichen Itza pyramid during the spring equinox – Kukulkan, the famous descent of the snake

But as Poets we are free to use the sun as myth, symbol, mood, etc:

Ra in his solar barge

Your Challenge:  Make the sun the center or the central image of this week's poem.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE at Poem Hunter.com)


by Emily Dickinson

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!


For those who are new to Poets United:  
  • Post your Sun-centered poem on your site, and then link it here.
  • Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  • If you use a picture include its link.  
  • Please leave a comment here. 
  • Please visit and comment on our poems.
(Our next Midweek Motif is "captivity" : 
thinking of terrorism, slavery and other violence.)


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Monday, March 16, 2015

A Chat About Ebola Orphans with Leslie Moon : How We Can Help

Today, my friends, we have a serious topic to discuss, and the way one poet is trying to help. One of our own, Leslie Moon of Moondustwriter's Blog, is a poet whose love and pain over the plight of the children of the world often shows up in her poetry. And she doesn't just care, she takes action to help. I asked Leslie to tell us about the project she is currently working on, an anthology of poetry, which will raise funds for the children orphaned by Ebola in Liberia. I asked Leslie if she would chat with us about the situation, and let us know how we might help. We will need strong coffee for this, my friends. Pull your chairs up close and let's dive in.





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Poetry Pantry #243

Spring at Walt Disney World
by Patti Wolf











Greetings, Poets...and a Happy Sunday to you!

Here we are just a week away from spring in the Northern Hemisphere and a week away from autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.    And it is the day after Pi Day!  Pi Day comes only once ever 100 years. And this was a very special Pi Day. This year is the first time in a century that the date is 3/14/15, which describes the first five digits of pi, 3.1415.

If you haven't read Rosemary's wonderful article on Helen Reddy and I Am Woman, do go back, do check back and read it.  Looking to the week ahead, Sherry has an extra special article tomorrow. Stay tuned.  And on Wednesday Susan is prompting us to write about The Sun! Many of us can use a bit of Sun-shine after the long winter.

Patti Wolf has  shared some "Spring at Walt Disney World Photos" with us this week.  And, yes, I am hoping some more of you have photos that you are interested in sharing with Poetry Pantry!   Leave me a note in the 'comments' if you do.  I would like to feature them.

Share ONE poem, using Mr. Linky below!  Leave a comment.  And visit others in the spirit of community!   And...enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

And I wish that you'll all hop over here and listen to it before you read it (even if you've heard it often before). If you're as old as me and lived in Australia in 1972, this might be the first version you fondly recall, as it is mine.


Yes, we've just had International Women's Day and that's why I thought of it again, though for me it never dies.

OK, here are the lyrics, and I sure would love to have written them. On the other hand, I'm glad she was the one who did, and sang them with such power too.



I Am Woman

By Helen Reddy



I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

Chorus
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

Chorus
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Chorus
Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

(Fade)

I am woman

I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

There are other, later versions of it on YouTube. One attracted this comment:

what kind of a retard goes around singing this?
Has this bitch given anything to humanity (other than sucking dick i.e).
Imagine a man going  "I am Man.. hear me roar.. I am strong.. I am invincible.. blah blah" 

To which I decided to reply:

At the time it was written, women were even more put down and discriminated against than they are now, and there was a much more widespread belief in society that that was how things were ordained to be. (I know; I was there.) It was hard to fight against it. This was a brave song for its time and she was brave to write and sing it. It helped many of us.

Of course that's only part of the story. There are places in the world where women are even now put down and discriminated against as badly, or worse, than they were in the Western world in the seventies. And even though many of our brothers do understand, there's still a long, long way to go. In Australia we still don't have equal pay for equal work; and just under half a million Australian women reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.

Perhaps we are not so strong or invincible? I think of the young Indian woman who died after savage rape on a Delhi bus. But then I think of Malala, who still speaks out for the education of women even after the attempt to murder her for it. There are also the many who are strong and enduring in traditional ways: giving birth, working to feed and raise their children, teaching their children, looking after elderly parents....

I see Helen Reddy's song as an assertion of what can be rather than claiming it is already achieved — and an acknowledgment that it must start from the inside. I see it also as something to be achieved collectively; a reminder that we do need to stand together in sisterhood ... and indeed in brotherhood, as many men already do.

Song lyrics are poetry too, often very good poetry (think of Cohen and Dylan). These are powerful words, stated with originality and clarity, and very nicely rhymed to boot.  

The Wikipedia link on Reddy's name leads as usual to the Wikipedia article about her and her fascinating career between Australia and the USA. We Aussies still like to think she's ours, but she has joint citizenship and at present is living back in America, where she has spent much of her adult life.

The story of the song itself can be found in Wikipedia too, and is an interesting read. (Well, I think so.) Click the link on the title.

She has written a memoir, The Woman I Am, which is available on Amazon, and Google supplies us with several quite recent (2013) interviews. She's a complex woman who has met many challenges, including a rare illness which has plagued her a long time. Despite the rude and stupid comment on YouTube, she has contributed much in both her public and private life.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).