Sunday, May 31, 2015

Poetry Pantry #254


2 Views of Baby Robins in Nest









Good day, Poets!

Hope each one of you is enjoying a good weekend. Today I have two photos of baby robins to share.  Same robins, different camera position.  Hard to get too close because one of the parents hovers overhead and squawks.  It's spring here, and young life is delightful to observe when one is lucky enough to have a good view.

Tomorrow Sherry Blue Sky has another fascinating interview with a Pantry regular.  I won't disclose who it is, but the subject involves 'myth making.'  I hope you are curious and will return to read the interview/discussion.

And on Wednesday for Midweek Motif Susan will encourage us to write on the subject of 'sustainability' and how it could be achieved.  Do return for more details.

And, if you haven't read it already, be sure to scroll one page back and read Rosemary's article on Tanith Lee,  her fiction as well as her poetry.

With no further delay, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  Leave a short comment when you post; and be sure to visit the links of others.  I will look forward to reading what you share.


Friday, May 29, 2015

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

19-9-1947 - 24-5-2015 

Though we come and go, and pass into the shadows, where we leave
behind us stories told – on paper, on the wings of butterflies, on the
wind, on the hearts of others – there we are remembered, there we work
magic and great change – passing on the fire like a torch – forever
and forever. Till the sky falls, and all things are flawless and need
no words at all.

Tanith Lee





One of my very favourite writers has just died. Well-known as an author of fantasy and horror novels, she was also a playwright — and a poet. Unfortunately her poetry is hard to find. The words above are hers, but are more accurately described as poetic prose. They are now the only thing on her website, red against a black background; presumably at her behest, ahead of time, or perhaps chosen by her husband. The press report says she died peacefully in her sleep after a long illness. 

I just finished reading one of her books a few days ago! (Cast a Bright Shadow.) And only yesterday, knowing nothing of the news I was about to learn, I was thinking that I must re-read The Silver Metal Lover which I found when I was a young mother, soon after it was first published in 1981. It has remained one of my most cherished books, and I have re-read it several times. I consider it the most beautifully romantic book ever written.

It was also the book which introduced me to its author. Though I think nothing equals its perfection, her other books are wonderful too. She created magic and beauty. 

She was incredibly prolific. Just have a look at this bibliography! Here is her Amazon page (which is of course many pages long). If you love poetry — as I know you do — you will love her fiction too, which loses nothing by being written in beautiful language.

You can read one bit of it for free online (complete with typos by whoever transcribed it, but nothing can spoil the tale). She rewrote some fairytales, and this is her version of Cinderella.

Her Wikipedia entry says:

Lee's style is frequently remarked upon for its use of rich poetic prose and striking imagery. Critics describe her style as weird, lush, vibrant, exotic, erotic, rich, elegant, perverse, and darkly beautiful. The technique she uses is very descriptive and poetic which works well with the themes she uses in her mythical stories.


And she tells great stories! But I am explaining why I include her in a column about poets. Simply, it is because she was one — even if many other things besides. Though her poetry is difficult to find on the web, bits of poetry are scattered through her novels, forming part of the story — including this untitled piece from The Silver Metal Lover.


 A rose by any other name
 Would get the blame
 For being what it is -
 The colour of a kiss,
 The shadow of a flame.
 A rose may earn another name,
 So call it love;
 So call it love I will,
 And love is like the sea,
 Which changes constantly,
 And yet is still
 The same.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Weeds/Weediness

source


“A man of words and not of deeds, 
Is like a garden full of weeds.” 

― Benjamin Franklin

“With the exercise of a little care, the nettle could be made useful; it is neglected and it becomes hurtful. It is exterminated. How many men resemble the nettle!" He added with a pause: "Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.” 
― Victor HugoLes Misérables



Wikipedia: "dandelion . . .  is a well-known example of a plant  that is considered a weed in some contexts (such as lawns) but not a weed in others (such as when it is used as a leaf vegetable or herbal medicine).

Midweek Motif ~ 
Weeds/Weediness


Challenge:  Must we rid ourselves of weeds? What if we don't?  What if weeds and valued plants reversed themselves in our gardens? In what areas are we weedy or tolerant of weediness?


"What would the world be, once bereft,
of wet and wildness? Let them be left.

O let them be left; wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem Inversnaid



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Monday, May 25, 2015

BLOG OF THE WEEK - an Update with ZQ

Here is an extra-special treat for you, my friends - an update with ZQ, of ZoralinQ, or, as he describes himself, "R.K.Garon, in mortal form". We last caught up with him in an interview in 2014, and very much enjoyed the visit. So much so we decided to go back for a follow-up and see what high-hearted mischief he has been up to since. 







Sunday, May 24, 2015

Poetry Pantry #253


Photos of Moab, Utah, USA
by C. C.

"The colors in Moab are absolutely stunning and breathtaking."

A Moab View

"I took this picture early in the morning because the subdued colors made it so contrary to what I typically think of when I think of Moab, Utah.....and because the clouds were so very low in the sky."

"It always boggles my mind to see anything green, or really anything at all, growing out of the hard, dry, red ground in Moab. It seems such an unlikely place for anything to grow and yet things grow. I love the metaphorical meaning that can be found in that!"






Good day, Poets!

Hope each one of you is enjoying a good weekend. Today I am sharing photos taken by C.C. in Moab, Utah.  Beautiful, aren't they?

Tomorrow Sherry Blue Sky has another fascinating interview with one of our very loyal poets. You all will be familiar with him, I am sure.  He's here most every Sunday.  Curious? You will just have to check back.

And on Wednesday for Midweek Motif Susan will encourage us to write on the subject of "Weeds and Weediness."  I like thinking where one can go with THAT prompt.  So many meanings to consider!

And, if you haven't read it already, be sure to scroll one page back and read Rosemary's interesting article on the poet Jim Cole and his dog Cheeba.  If you are a dog lover, don't miss it!

With no further delay, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  Leave a short comment when you post; and be sure to visit the links of others.  I will look forward to reading what you share.



Friday, May 22, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This










Dog Bones

By Jim Cole

Cheeba lays at my feet
a muffled barking in his sleep

his legs are twitching
and i wonder what he is chasing

is it a memory ?
or is he on a shamanic journey ?

i am no dog whisperer
but he knows whatever i am thinking

and somehow responds
before i say or do anything

some people have this instinct
an empathic intuitive distinctive

paranormal gift of knowing
i have it when i am used for healing

sometimes i think Cheeba
is a gift to me for my own healing

he knows what i am dealing with
and i affectionately call him Buddha dog

we often put our foreheads together
and we watch as we silently meditate

he doesn’t come when i call
but he finds me whenever i am lost in

deep thought and not paying
him with enough attention from within

without him i would be alone
spirit of my spirit and bone of my bone


Yes, you are getting two poems this time — the three-line poem to Cheeba with the photo, haiga-like, and the longer piece which echoes and elaborates on it. 

I have known Jim Cole for perhaps nine years now, first on MySpace then on facebook. He styles himself The Love Poet, and he can certainly lay claim to that title, as his poetry is written with the express purpose of spreading Love in the world.  

Here is what he said about himself when I asked him for biographical notes for this article:

'An old world poet who is a modern mystic, poet Jim Cole writes to remind us of our Oneness of consciousness in an emerging compassionate climate of change. Poetry became his voice in the 1960s and continues today as he admits he is a survivor of four suicide attempts beginning at age 7 and ending at his awakening at age 40. He shares his daily experiences of pain as a remembrance of release from the past and an enduring hope for the present.'

Having been reading him for years, I observed that he seemed to be in deep depression when I began seeing his writing, and that after some time he appeared to turn a corner and enter into the enjoyment of life again. This was apparent not only in the verses but also from his profile photos, in which his eyes stopped looking sad. The change in his energy, in both ways, was quite marked — and it attests to the power of his chosen practice of using poetry in the service of Love. I must add that his poems reveal that he also uses prayer.

He has no pretensions to being a 'literary' poet. He prefers simplicity and truth. 

(I think you know I'm a grammar Nazi. I did ask him if I could change 'lays' in the above poem to 'lies'. He politely declined, as he chose it for vibrational reasons. How could I argue? Spiritual / energetic truth of course prevails, and is the foundation of poetry.)

Sometimes I find his work a tad too sentimental for my taste, but many love and cherish it, and there is no doubting his authenticity. And sometimes — often! — the loving heart and the poetic language come together to create something truly beautiful, as in this tribute to his beloved old dog.

Here is a masterly haiku I also wish I'd written:

life explodes
leaves spring from trees
buds go bloom !

I'm giving you extra today, as Jim hasn't had a book published and the only place you can find his poetry online is at his facebook profile

I'm sad to report that his friend Cheeba crossed over on March 18 this year. Many of us know what it means to lose such a special being, and will feel sympathetic to Jim in his loss. Yet it is cathartic to read about such a faithful 'guardian friend' and we are richer for meeting Cheeba in these loving words.


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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Happiness



Two film-makers speak about happiness:  
Alfred Hitchcock (above) 
and Markus Imhoof (below).


Midweek Motif ~ Happiness

Happiness grounds my life despite pain from the physical ailments of aging, from distorted relationships between homo sapiens and the rest of life, and from empathy with people facing environmental disaster, violence, starvation, disease and racial injustice.  It took a long time to find this ground, but I hope to stand on it for the rest of my life!

  • Do you now or did you ever possess happiness? 
  • Will you know happiness when/if you see it?

Your challenge:  Help us to see, feel or anticipate happiness through a poem in any form that makes you happy.


Three Quotes to consider:

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, 
trees, people.  I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.” 

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” 
― Mark Twain

“No one asked you to be happy. Get to work.”― Colette



And One Poem:

                            Nikki-Rosa



childhood remembrances are always a drag   if you’re Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
. . . . 
 (Read the rest HERE at The Poetry Foundation)

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(Next week Susan's Midweek Motif will be Weeds or Weediness.)



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Monday, May 18, 2015

LIFE OF A POET - SANAA RIZVI

This week, my friends,  we are crossing the Atlantic once again to visit Sanaa Rizvi, who writes at A Dash of Sunny.  Sanaa is from Pakistan, currently living in Saudi Arabia. She arrived on the poetry circuit with such a burst of positive energy that I thought we'd ask her if we could pay her a visit. And here is a sneak peek: there will be a musical interlude!




Sunday, May 17, 2015

Poetry Pantry #252


Tulips - Boerner Botanical Garden
Milwaukee, Wisconsin







Good day, Poets!

Hope each one of you is enjoying a good weekend. Today I am sharing photos taken at Boerner Botanical Garden in Milwaukee.  We are at the peak of the tulip season right now, and they are quite beautiful.

Tomorrow Sherry Blue Sky has another fascinating interview with one of our newest poets.  I think you will enjoy it.  I won't 'let the cat out of the bag' today though.  You will just have to check back.

And on Wednesday for Midweek Motif Susan will encourage us to write on the subject of "Happiness."  With spring in the air and summer on the horizon, what better topic to inspire!

And, if you haven't read it already, be sure to scroll one page back and read Rosemary's interesting article on the poet Francis Brett Young, one of our 'poetic ancestors.' Rosemary's articles are always well written & give us new poets to enjoy and appreciate.

With no further adieu, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  Leave a short comment when you post; and be sure to visit the links of others.  I will look forward to reading what you share.



Friday, May 15, 2015

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors


Hic Jacet Arthurus 
Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus*

By Francis Brett Young (1884-1954)

 Arthur is gone . . . Tristram in Careol
 Sleeps, with a broken sword - and Yseult sleeps
 Beside him, where the Westering waters roll
 Over drowned Lyonesse to the outer deeps.

 Lancelot is fallen . . . The ardent helms that shone
 So knightly and the splintered lances rust
 In the anonymous mould of Avalon:
 Gawain and Gareth and Galahad - all are dust.

 Where do the vanes and towers of Camelot
 And tall Tintagel crumble? Where do those tragic
 Lovers and their bright eyed ladies rot?
 We cannot tell, for lost is Merlin's magic.

 And Guinevere - Call her not back again
 Lest she betray the loveliness time lent
 A name that blends the rapture and the pain
 Linked in the lonely nightingale's lament.

 Nor pry too deeply, lest you should discover
 The bower of Astolat a smokey hut
 Of mud and wattle - find the knightliest lover
 A braggart, and his lilymaid a slut.

 And all that coloured tale a tapestry
 Woven by poets. As the spider's skeins
 Are spun of its own substance, so have they
 Embroidered empty legend - What remains?

 This: That when Rome fell, like a writhen oak
 That age had sapped and cankered at the root,
 Resistant, from her topmost bough there broke
 The miracle of one unwithering shoot.

 Which was the spirit of Britain - that certain men
 Uncouth, untutored, of our island brood
 Loved freedom better than their lives; and when
 The tempest crashed around them, rose and stood

 And charged into the storm's black heart, with sword
 Lifted, or lance in rest, and rode there, helmed
 With a strange majesty that the heathen horde
 Remembered when all were overwhelmed;

 And made of them a legend, to their chief,
 Arthur, Ambrosius - no man knows his name -
 Granting a gallantry beyond belief,
 And to his knights imperishable fame.

 They were so few . . . We know not in what manner
 Or where they fell - whether they went
 Riding into the dark under Christ's banner
 Or died beneath the blood-red dragon of Gwent.

 But this we know; that when the Saxon rout
 Swept over them, the sun no longer shone
 On Britain, and the last lights flickered out;
 And men in darkness muttered: Arthur is gone . . .

*Here Lies Arthur, the Once and Future King





I confess — I'm a romantic, to the point of soppiness. I was still a teenager when I copied this into a notebook of poems I loved. (I came across it used as a sort of preface to an Arthurian novel by Rosemary Sutcliffe, Sword At Sunset.) Reading it again just now, I was moved to tears anew by the last five verses. This despite the fact that I hate war and am not British! You may allege that Aussies are sort of British too, but only tenuously these days — and anyway, I'm a Republican. But the Arthurian legend, in which I have been steeped since childhood, transcends such considerations for the very reasons Brett Young asserts.

In a way we are honouring two ancestors this time. Although the story of Arthur may be based on a real British chieftan who resisted invaders, we can't even be sure of that. We do know that most of the story, as it has come down to us, is a mish-mash of fictions from different sources. Nevertheless, it continues to inspire. Arthur, for all his failures — and failings — remains a hero figure. Each age reinvents him according to its own needs. He is an ancestor of our imaginations, father to all that is noble in our own characters — and he has always been a great inspirer of poets.

I am currently reading The Betrayal of Arthur by the late Australian fantasy novelist and academic Sara Douglass, which caused me to remember this old favourite poem. The book is an examination of the way the Arthurian story developed into the one we're familiar with today. (Douglass said she didn't want to make it dry and scholarly; she didn't.)

My favourite modern re-telling of the Arthur story will always be T. H. White's five-volume The Once and Future King, though Marion Zimmer Bradley's very different The Mists of Avalon comes close. And my favourite movie version is still Excalibur.

I love Brett Young's poem not only for its poetic and romantic qualities, but also because it manages to undermine the legend in a way that totally reasserts it. Quite a feat!

The link on the poet's name, above, leads you as usual to the Wikipedia article about him. I am indebted to a blog called The Wondering Minstrels (sic) for the text of the poem, saving me from having to transcribe it laboriously from my old notebook. There you will also find a more succinct biography, which nevertheless covers the details of his life and career.

He was best known as a popular novelist. Here is a link to his Amazon page.  He was quite the prolific poet too, and you can download a free ebook of his 1916-1918 poems from Gutenberg.com (many of the poems in it are to do with the First World War). Some of his poems can also be found at AllPoetry.

Wikipedia tells us: 'During the First World War he saw service in German East Africa in the Medical Corps, but was invalided out in 1918, and no longer able to practise medicine.'  I guess he got a close look at heroism in battle against daunting odds.

Unable to practise medicine, he decided to write full-time, which worked out well for him and his readers. Not only was he a successful novelist, some of whose books were made into movies, he achieved unusual commercial success as a poet.

Wikipedia also tells us: 'In 1944, near to the war's end, he published his epic poem The Island, recounting in verse the whole history of Britain from the Bronze Age to the Battle of Britain. The entire first edition of 23,500 sold out immediately, even in wartime conditions, and was then reprinted.' (Imagine!)

There is even an active Francis Brett Young Society in the UK, holding annual readings and outings; you can check the website.

Much of his poetry reads old-fashioned and sentimental to me now, but I think the piece I've chosen holds up very well. I don't expect I'll ever stop loving it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Waves

                                 Midweek Motif ~ Waves


Hello poets! This is Sumana from India. Here I am for the first time as a prompter at our wonderful Poets United Midweek Motif. Smiles. Hope you are all hale and hearty. My head is still spinning from the trauma we had faced a few weeks ago.

The recent earthquake in Nepal sent shock waves throughout the world. This phenomenon is not leaving me at all. Whatever I do wherever I go, like a circular wave my mind keeps coming back to the mighty Waves.

So I also want you to think of Waves today.

Give a voice to waves in any form whether it's sea wave, heat wave, sound wave, radio wave, gravity wave, light wave, stadium wave or even microwave. It would be also delightful to include thought wave in the list.

A few quotes and a couple of poems for the start. You may even use a line or two as a springboard for your poetry. Write in free verse or form, your choice.




"Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end"
                                                            ...Shakespeare

"When a wave of love takes over a human being...such an exaltation takes him that he knows that he has put his finger on the pulse of the great secret and the great answer"

                                                           ...Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

"Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind."
         ...Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


By that Long Scan of Waves

by Walt Whitman

By that long scan of waves, myself call'd back, resume upon myself
In every crest some undulating light or shade---some retrospect,
Joys, travels, studies, silent panoramas---scenes ephemeral,
The long past wars, the battles, hospital sights, the wounded and the dead,
Myself through every by-gone phase---my idle youth---old age at hand,
My three-score years of life summ'd up, and more, and past,
By any grand ideal tried, intentionless, the whole a nothing,
And haply yet some drop within God' scheme's ensemble---some wave, or part of wave,
Like one of yours, ye multitudinous ocean.


Once by the Pacific

by Robert Frost

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Putout the Light was spoken.



Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.
                                      Our next week's motif is Happines by Susan Chast

Monday, May 11, 2015

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ SUMANA ROY

My friends, today we are so pleased to present to you Poets United's newest staff member, Sumana Roy. I am sure you have all encountered Sumana in the blogosphere. She is a frequent and faithful contributor to Poets United, and her work can be found at her blog, Vision. We featured Sumana in an in-depth interview in 2014, should you care to enjoy the photos and learn more about her life as a teacher in Balurghat, India. Sadly, since that time, Sumana lost her only daughter to illness, and the poems we chose for this week reflect the devastating grief that accompanies losing one's most beloved child.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Poetry Pantry #251


OREGON COAST PHOTOS
by Sara McNulty



Rainbow in Backyard

Sunset over Newport Beach

Fog Rolls In Along the Coast

View from Route 101

Oregon Coast


Good day, Poets!

Hope each one of you is enjoying a good weekend.  In this country we celebrate Mother's Day today.  Some of you may be involved in Mother's Day festivities one way or another.  If so, enjoy them; and then come and share some time with us.  Smiles!  Thanks to all of you who join us weekly in our love of sharing Poetry. And thanks to Sara McNulty  this week for the beautiful photos of the Oregon coast.

Perhaps some of you have already seen the announcement at Midweek Motif, but (in case you have not) Poets United is thrilled to have a new team member, Sumana Roy,  who will be doing one Midweek Motif prompt a month.  Susan's excellent prompts will continue to be featured every other week of the month! I know many of you know Sumana from her regular participation here at Poets United.  Please visit Midweek Motif this coming Wednesday for her first Midweek Motif Prompt, which is "waves."  This Monday Sherry Blue Sky will be featuring Sumana's blog as the Blog of the Week as well so we get to know Sumana a little bit more, if we don't already.

Rosemary always has an excellent feature every Friday.  Either "I Wish I'd Written This" or "The Living Dead."  These are always well written & give us new poets to enjoy and appreciate.  She puts a lot of time into her research, so please take a look at the articles when you can.

With no further adieu, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  Leave a short comment when you post; and be sure to visit the links of others.  I will look forward to reading what you share.



Friday, May 8, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

Elizabeth Carothers Herron
photo by Jack Travis

Tears 
 by - Elizabeth Carothers Herron
 
                Kathmandu April 2015

 
The clear round vase on the table
filled with water holds the world
upside down and magnified, reflecting
the chair-back, the shimmering birch
beyond the window. Deeper
 
into the woods, shadows
shield the mystery of what sleeps there
having roamed the night as we
turned toward and away and toward
and dreamed our separate dreams,
while the Kathmandu restaurant
 
whose narrow stone steps I climbed
tumbled into a world turned 
upside down in a street no longer recognizable, 
turned out of itself the way mayhem 
casts out meaning –
 
this pot where the cook melted ghee
beside the splintered back
of a patron’s chair, this blue scarf 
fluttering from the rubble as prayer flags 
fluttered above the entrance. The stairs
 
speak to each other, mystified
by their new arrangement – the first step
grating against the eighth, the ninth
under the fourth, the third beside the fifth.
If this were music, their confusion might
convey the longing for harmony 
lost inside the dissonance of chaos,
the moans and cries of the mortal world
with its icy rivers turned to salt.
 
           
Isn't this the most amazing poem, at this particular moment? I know we are all stunned by the hugeness of the earthquake in Nepal, so much so it is hard to find the words. But this poet did so to perfection. I sent it on to Rosemary who responded with the same "Wow!" I uttered upon reading it, and she suggested I present it here in I Wish I'd Written This, which I am very happy to do.

It turns out Elizabeth Carothers Herron is my kind of poet. At her website, she is described as "an author and educator, writing poetry and articles on art and ecology, the importance of natural systems and biodiversity in the physical and spiritual well-being of individuals, communities and the planet. Much of her work reflects these concerns."  Well, now, those are concerns that speak to me, and to most of us, I imagine.

Elizabeth has several books out, which I shall definitely be investigating. They are listed on her site, and include such inviting titles as Desire Being Full of Distance, Language for The Wild, and The Stones The Dark Earth. Her essays about human relationships to the natural world appear in many literary magazines, and she has other published books as well.

Elizabeth lives in Northern California, and teaches poetry, essays and fiction writing at Sonoma State University, where she is Faculty Emeritus. 

I am so happy to have stumbled upon her timely poem and thus to find another wonderful writer's work to explore. I hope you enjoy! Do come back next Friday, when Rosemary has another wonderful poet in mind for us.

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