So my sharing of a poem has proven to be a groundswell of burgeoning support; well not exactly. Twenty percent of my readers though asked for more, which when you think about it considering that I only have 5.2 readers means one person wanted to see more poetry.
Rather than just throw some out there I decided to do it this way so I can mock myself because I am not a very good poet. I have loved writing since I was a kid but poetry was something that always fell short with me. I think personally it was just a timing thing. Maybe too its a matter of perspective on what you see as important. Writing to me has always been about telling a story and poetry is about words. Yes there are still stories and hidden meanings but poetry is much more about language. Many people I think get hung up on poetry because they don’t venture beyond what is assigned. So you might read ee Cummings, or Robert Frost. A few might be brave and venture into sonnets and Shakespeare, but I doubt that many people could name more than five poets. I was lucky to briefly be friends with a peson who loved poetry and at least introduced me to different poets. There used to be a website that had a way of alphabetically searching for poets and poems and it was a huge data base. You could pull up Dylan Thomas and read a selecton of his work, not all of it but enough for you to realize whether you wanted to read more. Not easy Dylan Thomas. That is how I introduced myself to poetry by going to this data base and reading a lot of poetry from different poets, different styles different time periods.
I did all of this without any real intention of writing a poem myself. It just seemed awkward and antithetical to anything I had ever written before. Eventually I gave it a whirl. I was proud of it too, and then realized how stupid it was like a twelve year old girl had written it. I still have it and I cringe when I read it. I tried again though and I experimented with different styles, with rhymes and couplets and stanzas and boy I thought I was something. I didn’t take a risk though and poetry like any writing requires you to take a little risk. The more I wrote or attempted the more things bounced in my head and poetry like stories where an idea captures my imagination os about phrases. I get caught up in phrases. The first phrase was “A shock of white and then nothing.” I still like that phrase.
A Shock of White and Then Nothing
Red streamers, vibrant, violent, clawed and pinched
Brilliant bursts of blue spots, luminescent, fading
Yellow like a sunburst, a golden warmth
Green, verdant and alive, a smell of growing things
A shock of white and then nothing
Death’s smile gruesome, a keening silence
It is all action and deed, thoughtless, uncaring
Providing only silence, without any comfort
Other than an icy grip, a cold hand
It is a heartless beating, a tamed uncaged beast
Leaving behind only memories, fading, aging
Like an old picture, forgetting accomplishment
The kind words, the work of many hours
A tear shed, a void, the smell of old clothes
A shock of white and then nothing
Its still a very early poem written around 2005 or 2006. For awhile I churned out at least one poem a week. As you can see I was fascinated with death, still am, punishment, death and forgiveness, the themes of my life searching for a forgiveness that will never come longing for a death that will likely only bring more punishment. Those themes I have explored and I am in good company. I may write another blog on the importance of Anne Sexton and her poem “The Rowing”, which I read with some regularity. Its my favorite poem of all time, some of my favorite writing of all time. A little while later all this poetry reading and writing had this strange impact on me. It broke down walls I thought were strong, battered right through them and left me a weeping mess. I started to cry a lot, and it wasn’t so much sadness, but it was happiness, it was guilt it was remorse. It was everything all at once and then it washed me clean, lifted me and connected me to a part of me that I can only describe as the deepest part of my soul. I explored that as well.
I turn to you at the dawn of a new day
Your back is to me, I wrap you in my arms
Pulling you close, feeling your warmth
You are beautiful, asleep, peaceful, loved
The shape of your eyes, the line of your neck
The strength of your hands, perfect
Your beauty is more than that visible
Your beauty captured me before ever we met
Your beauty carved a simple niche, a
Cubbyhole of space, a warm haven
For the coldest night, the stormiest weather
A spoon for my soul, a symphony of
Beating heart, a single breath of crystal
A shining place of light and security
Beyond any previous conception of love
Yes indeedy I got sappy. That is what I do best. So with all these gushing soul chirping tears of joy let’s cry over everything I naturally fell in love with sonnets and for a really long time that was my preferred poetic style. One thing I noticed that the more poetry I read the more I became aware that it wasn’t all just freestyle let it fly without any real thought to how you were getting there. I can’t rhyme when I do it sounds like something a third grader would create. Its probably not even that good. I liked sonnets because they gave me a structure I had to adhere to fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. I didn’t always get it right but I did try. I stayed sappy for awhile and then those themes just kept coming back like they always do.
Shadow wrought and a luckless death inspired
Clinging to such crevices and corners
Slinking where thought fears to tread so lightly
Winged death, draining all color from life
Inspired by childhood nightmare, it so creeps
Singing a song of despair, quiet scream
Breath like ice, such fey spirited haunting
Why do I awaken alertly stained?
Fear wringing my soul dry, gasping I search
A dog’s howl upon the night, blood like ice
Enshrouded death takes you, beating heart pumps
A pale echo upon your memory
Leaving only a single deep cried tear
Creeping, uncaring, fairy dark shadow
Yea see I like that dark, so much I was rewarded by blindness. Such is life. I explored this in another poem, another phrase I fell in love with so much so that I used it as a title for the first of a series of superhero books called the Calvn Ring series. Yes of course its unfinished.
What sound does the darkness make?
A sound of breeze on the air
A tickle on the cheek, a rush of breath
The sound of a heart beating
Is it a scream, or is it a whisper?
The sound of a tear falling
Does it smell like the ocean at dawn?
A salty brine of crashing wave
What sound does darkness make?
Is it the sound of sadness?
A haunting of past mistakes,
Of tears shed, a cacophonous quiet
Is it hope the darkness brings?
A reckless anticipation, fearless
Scanning the horizon, searching
As dawn’s rays bring forth light
Obviously it’s not a sonnet. I still love that concept. Sometimes the darkness screams and sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it is silent and sometimes its the board creaking in the hallway. It fascinates me.
Quick hard, ruthlessly it plunges through me
Hanging on the edge of a blade afraid
Sliver of steel, so cold inside my core
Staccato warmth filling my hands, painless
Stumbling, gripping night like a vice so hard
Shall you thrust it home again, yes I say
A knife of my undoing, sliding up
A shudder of pain, falling to the ground
Wonder of me, receding into dark
A pool of blood widening beneath me
Shall it end so, like some vague memory
Wouldst thou remember my laugh so mirthful
Is there no touch of your hand, brow soft kissed
As I roll over will there still be sky
So hey twenty percent of my readers need to be more careful of what they ask for. Now don’t you just love the wouldst and the thou like I was from the 1700’s, sheesh. When you are a little fascinated with death you wonder if death was a person what would he be like? Would he resemble the mythological stories a hooded skeletal figure in black wth a big scythe or would he be more dapper and wear an 80’s track suit, all shimmery and probably red or purple, maybe even sky blue? I wrote a poem and shared it with people and got a huge response despite not liking it myself. When I say huge I think four people liked it. I wrote 2 with this same concept if I died would death welcome me maybe cook a meal for me something warm and comforting. I tend towards the weird.
Monumental struggle, my day’s only thought
Some colossal blunder to blight my way
A path long rutted over and weed chocked
I wonder at the pain such life has cost
Like aged stone wearied from crashing wave
Tumbling upon its surface, eroding
Shall some child one day play in that warm sand
Digging small hands into what once was stone
Shall my life be chaff to slide through fingers
I wonder of death, shall it take me now
Will death cook a meal for me to welcome
Or shall I feed upon scraps like a dog
Shall I ever embrace that peace of love
And find solace my head upon her breast
So let me say as I get closer to ending this horrible poetic journey. Its actually so embarrassing that I am chuckling a little. When I have shared poems before I have always felt on solid ground, they might not like what I wrote but they wouldn’t tell me. Now I am blogging it and its public so naturally anyone can read it. The blog posts I love that I spend so much time with rip out part of my guts for never get read. It is hard not to be hurt sometimes. That’s part of my life too though. That’s what I am here for. I am sure of it. Sometimes though images just stick with you. When I lived in Atlanta I got up early to get myself to the grocery store and I passed this house and the entire front yard was full of black birds, probably just crackles or thats what I always called them but to me it reminded me of a field of crows and as I drove by they all took to the sky. it was beautiful.
A Field of Crows
Blackened earth on a field of fading green
Summer’s glory fading to fall’s fell death
Avian flock, feral, foreign and fey
Shall my death be fodder for such menace?
A foul upon my soul, painless and quick
Golden eyes stare right through that blackened veil
A shudder fills me with such cold dead dread
A life lived so cheap, without a harvest
Love so cheaply tossed away like refuse
A lovely smile so taken for granted
Pecked away like cold flesh torn asunder
Oh fowl messenger of death’s fall harvest
Shall you look upon me with sad regret?
And the sky filled with black clouds flown away
Well you didn’t seriously think that I would write a happy poem, Of course I could never do that not when I can hit on all my favorite themes. I love the words in that poem love how it reads the alliteration the use of foul and fowl, I do. It mighit not be great but I like that. There is beauty in death though peace for most. So when I moved back home from Atlanta I lived in this house in Hurst with a covered driveway and most of the time that’s where I parked. I used to lov to sit out there and watch storms roll in and I was out there once and all these white clouds were going by on a breezy day and it was exactly how I felt, how I always feel, wispy and tossed about. So I went inside and wrote a short poem that is my absolute favorite that I ever wrote. I still love to read it which is saying something.
While walking outside
A warm and breezy day
My gaze rested upon
A bit of low flying cloud.
I marveled at this wisp
of beautiful fluff
holding steady in the breeze
to the slipstream
or whatever clouds hang onto.
I longed for that kind of strength
The kind to outlast the fury
Of all that God throws at me
And I hang onto myself
Wondering at the spite
Hurled against me so fiercely.
And I hang on, and on
To the slipstream
Or whatever clouds hang onto.
And that’s a wrap.