May Morning after NaPoWriMo2017

Standard

It has become a habit this poetry writing in the morning. I am not a morning person. But writing in the quiet is very soothing to one who does not usually have the power of speech until two hours after rising, except to exchange civil greetings. The poetry writing neural pathway seemed to have formed a groove that I want to keep fresh and well-traveled.

But it is May Day, or Bealtaine, and in Ireland the air has turned almost balmy. Everything is all leafy and juicy green. There is sunshine and the washing machine is humming. So are the bees on the comfrey. The world may be a Bealtaine bonfire, but the birds are singing their hearts out. Which may also be why it is important to keep on and write poetry. It’s a way of building a healthy moral and emotional immune system. It builds resistance.

So, one more poem. I haven’t decided yet if I will keep posting regularly or not. I have a full collection of poems in the works. Time to get back to that. My friend Helen Shay and I are also hatching another ‘poetry conversation’, a two-hander of poems that can be performed. So keep in touch. Follow the blog if  you want to read updates.

The raw second or third drafts have been what was posted here. Yeah, there will be a lot of revising and organising in May. The NaPoWriMo2017 site joked that May is NaPoReMo – National Poetry Revision Month. I didn’t read that until I had finished a reworking of a poem drafted last September. And the person named in the poem will now have to write me one back!

paper bag poem

Paperbag Poem

 

The preserving jars

Carefully wrapped

By the shop assistant

Arrive home

Perfect

 

Smoothing out

For recycling

Recalls a September

Forty years or more

Pristine

 

Paper lunch bags

Half a cream cheese

And pimento olive

On white bread sandwich

Fridays

 

High school cafeteria

As amphitheatre

Time cascades down

Like a slinky marching

Backwards

 

Suddenly

Richard Knecht is standing up

Blowing into a brown bag

Punching it

Goes  ‘pop!’

 

Here is a brown paper bag

Naked of my name

Pencilled in

My mother’s precise

Handwriting

 

I am free to fill it

Scrawl over it

With crayon, tempura or ink

My imprecise

Imaginings

 

 

To breathe into it

Toe let it go ‘Pop!’

This brown paper bag

A memory

And object

NatPoWriMo2017 Day 30

Standard

The final day of Poetry Writing Month. I have thirty-two poems down for this April, most have been sparked by the prompt, even if they went a bit tangential.  I quelled at the diplodic verse and the ghazal, didn’t really get the clerihew or noctourne, but fell as much in love with the elevenie as I am with haiku. The final prompt for NaPoWriMo2017 is to write about something that is repetitive. Which is a good topic to return to again and again (!)

Ingress

 

Cat’s paw patting

At the windowpane

Hovering on the sill

Neither in nor out

 

Let me in!

Again and again

Prove to me

My liberty

 

Admit nothing

Not appetite, nor love

Plush pelt,

Purr or head bump

 

Stretch seductively

As an Ingres’

Odalisque

With her slave

 

Always to hand

To come hither

Again and again

To open

 

Admit

Enter the point where

Stars and planets

Will not collide

 

They revolve

As thresholds can

In sleep

In dreams

 

Watch how they

Admit you

Enter, then freefall

Elegantly onto cat’s paws

 

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 29

Standard

The penultimate morning of a month of writing a poem a day, NaPoWriMo2017.  Today, the prompt asks us to take our favourite poem (what, only one?) and pick a noun. Free write around for five minutes. Then, construct.

It had to be a Mary Oliver. But which one? In the end, I realised the one that sings in my heart most is The Journey. And the noun I chose is the title word, since I have always had a fondness for those words with that jour syllable within. And I have also always loved the Irish farewell of ‘Safe journey, safe home.’

Sojourning

 

Stillness within movement

Encased in the metal jacket

A bullet train, a jet plane

Propulsion towards barriers

Speed, customs, immigration

But now is the in between

Neither here nor there.

 

The day opens, a fresh page

The hand moves across it

In transit

As plodding as Shank’s pony, sometimes

Loud and crowded as the Port Authority

Everyone everywhere is making

Their connection, like poetry.

Safe journey. Safe home.

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 28

NaPoWriMo2017Day29
Standard

I have no stomach for the terse I told myself. I don’t want to do Skeltonic verse. It feels like writing with two left metrical feet.

So this is not Skeltonic verse, but somehow the words still came out a bit terse. Damn, those dipods! Anyway, the last of my notebook’s pages were filled today. I will have to open a new one for the last of NaPoWriMo2017.

To My Notebook

 

Nearly full

First draft

Authoring of my life

Between Autumn Equilux ‘15

And Bealtaine ‘17

 

Four square, blank pages

Covered in inimitable scrawl

Graffittied book of days

Spontaneous sputterings

With ink

 

Some stressing, some blessing

Some poetry

This is prayer

So Sam the Man

Says, in short

 

Full, with lists

Of Martha’s musts

And Mary’s musings

Her always tricking around

With words

 

All those

Beautiful words

Which, I hope

I will never ever

Lose

 

Notebook,

Keep them safe

Aide memoire

Confessor

Poet prentice

 

All filled

With the ragbag random

Like a Lifer

Marvelling at the crunch

Underfoot of fallen leaves

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 27

Standard

It is ironic that on Poetry Day Ireland today’s prompt threw me right back to my origins. That Proustian madeleine for me is a Hershey’s Dark Special chocolate bar. You can take the girl out of PA, but apparently  the woman’s stomach is still ensconced there. Like many translocated people, what we miss is the food of our childhood. I have resided in three countries, so today’s prompt “to explore the sense of taste” was pure nostalgia.

Happy Poetry Day Ireland, from Ireland, even if my stomach is still in PA (that’s Pennsylvania for those of you not raised in state.)

Do You Miss It?

 

Do you miss it?

they ask. And I say, No!

 

Which is not entirely

a lie. Here’s why.

 

I may not be

a PA shoofly pie

 

kind of woman.

And please! Hold the scrapple!

 

But here’s the thing…

Streusel topping.

 

On apple pie.

Cinnamon. Butter. Sugar

 

It takes me home. Well,

no more. Maybe 40 years ago.

 

I don’t miss it.

Or birch beer. Or Rolling Rock.

 

But it lingers

On the palate.

 

Like the taste of chawed

curl of silver birch bark.

 

Penn’s Woods. And orchard

apple butter on toast.

 

When they have me

on the slab, opening me

 

they will find Marcellus

rock seam. It tastes

 

of green. Or did,

before they got a craving

 

for gas. Which spoils

the appetite for your supper.

 

So no. I don’t miss it.

Except, I guess, I do.

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 26

Standard

Only a few more days left to NaPoWriMo2017.  I have written twenty-eight poems to date, having decided to dedicate April to etching a poetry writing groove in my neural network.  What I witnessed on the dog’s evening exercise was crying to be recorded.

Today’s prompt is to write about what might future archaeologist would make of our civilisation.  And although there is nod to the topic, I went off on a tangent, as is my wont. So this is sort of antidote to paleology.

Without Object

 

I did not lift my smartphone

capturing that twilit glimpse –

a cygnet pair honking

their elation. First flight:

wings’ strength, sinew testing

their new form, span and rhythm.

Flap and landing plunge. Then glide

across lough towards sunset.

 

If in future time they crack

the code of ancient silicon,

chip away all the data,

construct story around all

the photos, diary notes-

“Dentist, 3pm, Tony” –

excavating this midden

of the digital era,

what meaning will overlay

the absence of a record?

 

This maiden flight of two swans

still wearing sooty plumage:

sunset, shoreline, springtime, soul,

the sound of their wild joy.

The old dog’s response to their

call. Their lunge at lough water.

Moment without artefact.

Without object, what story?

NaPoWriMo2017 Day 25

Standard

I am not strictly on prompt today. This is the set task for NaPoWriMo2017. “In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos.”

It’s doubtful this poem would qualify, but it did spark the conclusion for how to address a subject I have wanted to introduce to a poem for years. And I have got a serious crush on the elevenie since Sunday’s challenge.  A new way of “tricking around with words,” as my friend Christine beautifully describes the process.

I do still have those gloves in a box. They will probably make their way into an art project at some stage. The right collage are just crying out for them. Not even children have hands that small anymore. And this from a woman who has to buy kid’s ‘magic gloves’ so that winter woolies will fit her own abnormally tiny hands.

 

My Grandmother’s Kidskin Gloves

 

Gloves

Kidskin tight

Inherited from Mom

They would only fit

Me

 

Grandmother

Outgrew them

As did I

No one wears kidskin

Anymore

 

Mementos

Keep close

Those left behind

On my many travels

Alone

 

Grandmother Uncle Charlie c 1955

My Grandmother and her brother photographed around the time I was born