Let's take a look at Rosemary's poem first. This one really speaks to me, as my own legs are tenuous these days, and I am constantly in between walking too far, and not far enough. Check it out.
I Walk Too Far, and Not Far Enough
I walk on my feet, and in my imagination. If I don't walk further on my feet, my muscles will melt. I read that somewhere and it frightened me. If I walk too far into my childhood, that could be frightening too. Or sad. And sad it would be if my muscles did melt - like my mother's did, and my husband's, and they kept having falls. Each of them, finally, was taken to hospital after a fall and never came home again.
I walk the streets of our little town: behind the shopping mall, skirting the park. I don't power walk, I linger, photographing the quaint old buildings and majestic trees. But I cover the ground. It is late in the day, but I must resume daily walking. It has lapsed too long.
At home, at my desk, I walk into the past: up and down the big back lawn after my Nana died; and again, after the birth of my little brother. Alone with my thoughts, I walk past the summerhouse and into the veggie garden, sit down on the wooden plank that swings on ropes underneath the weeping willow, and bend my head far back. My long hair trails, brushing the ground, as do the translucent willow fronds.
green willow tendrils in Spring
tiny leaves still curled
Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2016
Sherry: How I love this poem! I can see you with your curly mane brushing the ground, swinging under the weeping willow, which was a tree of significance in my childhood, too. I walk at least as far, likely farther, in memory these days, as I do on the ground. It is a time of integrating past and present. I so resonate with this poem, my friend.
Rosemary: I enjoy writing in the haibun form, which is offered regularly at dVerse these last few months. The form attracts me whatever the subject of the particular prompt. I like the challenge of writing in prose-poetry (not strictly a requirement in a haibun, but I prefer it), and the challenge of creating a haiku which goes with the prose but doesn't just re-state it (this is a requirement.)
This topic was Walking, and as I had not been doing any for a while I wasn't able to follow the suggestion of using a recent ramble through nature. I actually made sure of doing at least a bit of a walk around town after shopping, for the haibun and for my neglected fitness! (See - poetry is good for you.)
The poem doesn't actually say so, but it was written on May 13th, my late father's birthday. I don't mention him, and I don't have to for the reader, but he is actually all over that last prose stanza: he mourned my Nana (his mother-in-law, whom he loved dearly), and celebrated the birth of my little brother; he planted the veggie garden and made the swing. (Not bad for a bloke with a gammy leg.) My big back lawn was a place of magic for me, not least because of his constant care of it and the surrounding garden beds.
Sherry: I could feel the wonder of that back yard as I read. Thank you, Rosemary, for taking us along in memory with you.
Steve's poem seems to be one of integrating past with present, and has such an air of gratitude for the life he has lived, it speaks very positively to the reader. Let's take a look.
I watch at last while others pass me by,
their glad parade my happy respite now:
the songs, the dancing and the wondrous show,
all certain pleasures shining as they go.
I marvel while I watch at the remind
of every feeling that the young may hold,
of worlds unfurling, vast, before their feet,
and all strange puzzles they'd presume to know.
I am not near so wise as once I wished,
nor happy in that way that glosses dreams.
I greet the mornings now as a fair gift,
imparting with each newness all I seem,
or ever was, or ever may become,
no hasty needs to pierce the centered calm,
nor mar those graces morning might bestow.
And when these glad parades have had their play,
and airs are emptied of their new spun song,
there lingers always something in my ear,
the echo of old anthems ringing on,
and fading fanfares of parades at rest,
for every age must hold its own the best.
And though new fanfares rise to satisfy,
each morning grace shall be my symphony.
Steve King 2016
Sherry: Steve, I was enchanted by the rhythm and lilt of this poem, which rolls off the tongue like those of the old classical poets. Well done!
Steve: Thank you for including my poem "Symphony" in this post, Sherry.
Over the years, I've produced quite a number of works in ten syllable meter. Most recently I've focused on the fourteen-line sonnet, though I wasn't paying strict attention to traditional content or stanza breaks. "Symphony" seemed to me just an extension of the recent output, with the advantage that a few more lines gave an opportunity for additional development.
I would call this an aspirational poem; an idealization of human development. I had no particular idea in mind when I began writing, and certainly could not see through to any end. But once I found the idea of a parade, the rest of the work seemed to fall into place quickly.
The poem is meant to bring a positive sense of a mature observer taking in what is going on in the world around, using the parade as a convenient metaphor. The spectacles and ceremonies, now animated by ones who are younger, are part of a natural progression. He watches - seeing clearly, a bit amused and somewhat detached in his 'respite'. Our protagonist can still remember the feelings of excitement and power that came with his own new-seeming discovery of the magic of the world so many years ago. He isn't saddened or wistful. He is satisfied with what he, himself, has found and done and is generous in considering those who are now trying to do likewise.
He has been a full participant in the world's clamor. He knows that now is the time for others to fulfill their rightful part. In the middle section, he recognizes that much of what he has experienced is only distraction, that there are limits to what the individual can achieve and understand. He has simplified his interests and pleasures. As the clamor goes away, he has an ability to see more deeply into his narrowed field. There was a time for taking the world by storm. He has finally arrived in a time and place where considerations of self-appraisal and self-understanding are paramount.
The last section is amplification of that theme. He will never forget his earlier experiences of the world, but his new won peace is certainly worth celebrating. As he refines and examines the inner parade of his own experiences, a grander and more extended symphony - the fruit of experience and perspective - will sometimes rise to rival the sounds of the perpetual parade going on around him in the world at large.
Sherry: So well said, Steve. Your protagonist sounds as if he has gained much life wisdom. And peace. Just lovely. This integration of past and present is the work of our more senior years, and you have expressed it so well.
Now let's take a look at one of my favourites of ZQ's poems. It leaves the reader with a warm feeling in the heart. I simply love it. Let's dive in!
R.K. Garon - our own ZQ
Roaring, rolling in baritone harmony,
Making the announcement through distant trees—
Before we can see, the leaves last cling
Scattered in colorful confetti for the last dance that encircles our feet.
Winter is coming in requiem for time bereaved.
Awakening our forgetfulness remembering those souls— and things
Buried below the frost; those we loved—
And those we lost.
Yes, let us then, have the season pass—
To go and gather fire wood in our arms,
To stack in warmth of memories—
As we stand fast embracing what we have,
Remembering great people and events—
Now glowing as popping sparks in the hearth of our hearts,
Where love— is never— lost.
- R.K. Garon (ZQ) October 2015
Sherry: Sigh. I love the fullness of emotion in this poem. I especially love the title, which reveals your own very warm and glowing heart, my friend. Will you share some of your reverie, as you penned this beautiful poem?
ZQ: This is a snapshot of my thoughts before I wrote this. Sometimes when I write it is concrete; other times it becomes an abstract (metaphor) of my thoughts.
I remember my mother writing in my eighth grade graduation yearbook, something to the effect “…the time you face will always change; may you confidently and gracefully change with it, without regrets.” Well, needless to say, changes, whether in love, work, friends, or events… I didn’t necessarily take change gracefully or with confidence, which of course, was often fueled with regret. I was not a fan of time then.
Her words and the lesson eventually “Kicked” in with two major factors:
1) Family: was/is a wonderful transition and exciting evolution of time with an invitation to become a part of the changing … accepting and understanding the Buddhist principal of “impermanence,” allowing me to watch my love and our children grow, mature, and pass on to another time in life… “forced” to act (embracing change) with love, confidence, and grace without regret. How beautiful time was/is giving me such memories as it passed!
2) The seasons/nature: another wonderful teacher. Always the same but never the same experience. Springs new life, Summers joy, Autumns albums of that time, and winters eraser asking me to begin anew.
Although I speak of impermanence, memories of those I have met in my life, parents, grandparents, friends, childhood lovers, wife, children and events with wonderful images, past and present… The thing that I have found is— that love is infinite as time is. I wrote this piece in a wintertime of my life in a depression and awoke (enlightened), with confidence, grace, and a life no longer with regrets, awaiting eternal peace.
I carry a bell in my pocket for the last fifteen years, and when I hear it, and others ask what is that sound? I repeat “Body, speech, and mind in oneness, I send my heart out with the sound of this bell, may the hearers awaken their forgetfulness and transcend all anxiety and sorrow.”
Sherry: So beautiful, ZQ! I love the idea of the bell and the prayer. I like what you say about awaking enlightened from your winter of depression, remembering with gratitude the wealth of love you have lived and shared in your lifetime. What an amazing journey it has been!
Thank you to our three fine poets today, for the gifts of your poems and reflections. I feel very full-hearted with the richness of it all.
We hope you enjoyed today's feature, my friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!