Viral gratitude ~ 5.18.20

Susan Leslie Moore has captured my heart with her words in her poem,

I Have Tried Hard to Have Appropriate Feelings.

It is personal and honest, and at the same time casts a poetic spell in the very best way poetry zings to the soul and spirit of life itself. Yes–zing and sing. Her line about the polar bears touched a deep chord, and reminds me that I/we are connected to all life, and that tears are meant to heal us.

The highest compliment that I can give another poet is, “I wish that I wrote this very poem.” They are few and far between, but oh so satisfying when they grace our being.

This poem was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye and published in the NYT Magazine section. The poem is from Ms. Moore’s (book),
That Place Where You Opened Your Hands

~

I Have Tried Hard to Have Appropriate Feelings

By Susan Leslie Moore

I have folded them away like sweaters.
Kept my distance from the moon, visited the sick.
~
I am proud of the life in my head. Nobody knows
the garden I’ve seen. I am tender with the suburb.
~
Some days even the ceiling worries me, the way
it keeps the roof on.
~
I only cry when the polar bears get to me.
The ones stranded on the melting ice.
~
Otherwise I’m kept in line by the steady curve
of my driveway, the tight fists of the roses. I can easily
         converse
about the sweet peas and our eventual disintegration.
~
The sky has more to say to me than I could
ever hear, given the restricted space between
houses. Frogs sing at night and the whine of the train.

 

Viral gratitude ~ 5.17.20

This poem, by a Pittsburgh poet who lost his wife to the corona virus, really struck me hard. It is both personal and universal. The poem is by Bart Solarczyk and is published in his poetry book: Tilted World.

Blue Blanket

She’s sick
& sleeping
on a sofa

~

wrapped
in a big
blue blanket

~

we will never
be children
again

~

blue blankets
can never
be the sky.

 

O Oh and OOOOOOOH

A Pantoum: The pantoum is a poem of any length, composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of a pantoum is often the same as the first.

O  Oh and OOOOOOOH
(for Vicky)

O  a letter;   a symbol;   a sound;   a poem;
swells to fullness on pursed lips: moon.
Climaxes to the oh oh oh oh oh OOOOOOOH  moan
and softens – in the tender of “oh, I didn’t know.”

~

Curves to fullness on lips of moon.
Sets our limits — our boundaries with NO — not good!
Listens in the tender of “oh, I didn’t know”
quickly politicizes when “in the hood.”

~

Sets our limits — our boundaries in NO — not good!
Vibrates and honors the breath of OM.
Quickly politicizes when “in the hood”
O chorals God; Hours; Ovaries; Our Own.

~

Vibrates and honors the breath of OM
O  a letter;  a symbol;  a sound;  a poem.
O chorals God; Hours; Ovaries; Our Own.
Orgasms in the oh oh oh oh oh OOOOOOOH  birthing moan.

ag ~ December 2016
~ revised May 2020

 

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.22.20

I enjoy working with palimpsest poems. Yesterday’s blog was an oldie updated for the current times. 

As I was sitting down to breakfast afterward, my muse beckoned, “Write this down.” I said, “Now? The toast is going to burn.” She said, “I don’t have all day—do you want to do this or not?” And with a long sigh, I pushed aside my morning repast, because when the muse calls, it’s always now or never. Elizabeth Gilbert writes about this in her book, Big Magic. The stories of creatives sparring with their muses are sweet, funny and real. 

So I am offering another palimpsest written with my muse. By way of explanation, when in that creative flow, music, paint and words come pouring out faster than one can comfortably record. There is little editing to do, and Awe wraps an arm around your shoulder or slaps you a high five when finished. At all other times, the writing/creating ranges from labor intensive to procrastive dawdling. This is why all artists, writers, musicians etc. immediately answer the call when a muse invites.

For Earth Day and all days: Let Spring Breeze: Another palimpsest on the poem Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon. And if you have not read Jane’s original poem—you should. It’s cadence and message are inviting, soothing and moving. Google it and choose The Poetry Foundation’s link to it.

~

Let Spring Breeze

Let the tart of rhubarb
tongue the sweet of strawberry, moving
from fingers down to belly.
~
Let the asparagus thrust forth
as a young suitor who begins courting
his heartthrob. Let Spring breeze.
~
Let the Crabapple buds unfurl
to the soft sun spray. Let pink pink
and streams swell over stone and silence.
~
Let fox cubs chase and tumble.
Let dandelions interrupt. Let the light
storm shades. Let Spring breeze.
~
To the worm in the compost, to the robin
on her nest, to the lilac in our lungs,
Let Spring breeze.
~
Let it come, as it will, and give
thanks. Not for Winter’s end,
but for what’s to begin. Let Spring breeze.

~

ag ~ 2020

 

 

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.21.20

Let Chaos Be

A palimpsest on Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon

(Palimpsest: a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been expunged to make room for later writing but of which traces remain; using the bones of the original writing as the basis and springboard for the new piece).

In this version, I slightly altered my original palimpsest/poem to align more with current events:

Let Chaos Be

Let tongues wag 140
characters on Twitter feeds,
#hashtag words rife   knife.

~

Let emotions loose
like mice in a field with summer
on their feet. Let chaos be.

~

Let red and blue placards sprout
from neighbors’ lawns. Let fake news
rupture the resounding silence. 

~

Let traffic halt. Let deer graze.
Let great trees fall apart.
Let chaos be.

~

To the microphones on podiums,
to science debates, to viral statistics
let chaos be.

~

Let it be, as it explodes. Fear not.
The pandemic is here to correct
our naiveté, so let chaos be.

~

ag

 

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.12.20

Wind and Wildflowers
not for long
all the doubts
that spindle
on the legs of
a newborn fawn
not for long
forget-me-nots
rising in the compost
of a late autumn
breeze
not for long
the egret’s flight legs
tucked in
to compress its center
of gravity
not for long
the orb-weaver’s
perfect web
bending the morning light
into beads of dew
not for long
an evening that begins
with the brilliance
of one star
long gone
not for long
the dance
of heat lightning
on the meadow’s
queen anne’s lace
not for long
the darkness
between the kindle
of a firefly’s
flare
not for long
lost stories
of the wind
and wildflowers
in my heart
ag ~ June 2013

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.5.20

s
o
m
e
times
the tiniest
flowers in the
teeniest of vases
catch our breath and
give the cheeriest hello
in a split second of delight
on a day that would otherwise
pass as a drama too complex
and sophisticated for the
delicate loveliness of
wood sprites unless
we unleash our
true selves to
play with
these
tiny
s
t
a
r
s

~

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.1.20

An oldie-but-goodie poem for the first day of April:

 

April

So much waiting to be born.
Blackberries not yet on the

bramble path, much less so
sweetening tarts and tongues.

Spring peepers chippering
moonlight–oh what a wonder to

be the pond that enjoys such a
buxom chorus. Sap waiting to

rise in rabbits and wolves–
their winter stains bled and shed

for the next generation’s fur
and teeth. Wood violets and dandelion

laboring earth and leaf debris
no less faithful the insects and

breezes that scatter their seeds
and gaiety. Wide vees of geese

to unzipper sky of cloud and fog,
percussing wings and wills of

summer grazing across fields,
streams and highways. Green,

pink and yellow ready to stir
north into tulips, roses and corn.

Yeast with water and wheat
rebirthing warm and

wrinkled hands–rises and yields.
Rises and yields. The soft dough

braiding Spring into Easter bread,
Babka and Challah.

 

ag ~ 2017

Changing the Hardware

I read this line recently from the poem Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror  by Kelli Russell Agodon:

“and we’re replacing our cabinet knobs because we can’t change the world, but we can change our hardware.

And I was quite taken with this breath of wisdom. Kelli is speaking about “America” here, but since we are America, she is also speaking about us and our own brokenness that requires change/growth. Changing cabinet knobs or discarding unused keepsakes or any such movement makes a lot of sense. It’s that traditional time of year for fresh starts. I myself am discarding old poetry books that meant a lot to me in the past but now are ghosts of a past life. My hope is to make room for new poetry—not even for new poetry books, but simply new poetry. It’s my way of changing the hardware for a new age. 

I would highly recommend reading Kellie Russell Agodon’s poem. It’s not easy on our hearts, but it hits the mark on where we are at in this country and personally on whatever side of the aisle you reside. 

How To Wear Melancholy

How To Wear Melancholy

A palimpsest on Picture of a Soul  ~  by Elizabeth Spires

A sweatshirt I inherited.
I sleep in it. Or it folds into my midnight poetry.
Pale blue, of course.

A wearied sag,
Stained with every tear
and slowly fading into rain.

It should be a rag
discarded yesterday, today, tomorrow,
still it ripens every autumn.

Here, can you feel it?
Stretch marks
once round and perky.

On the doorknob
In the closet. Waiting.
Leaves falling fast.

© Andrea Grillo 2018