Delusional (The Sunday Muse # 162)

The dark bird witnessed himself, wearing a crown, phosphorescent.
He strutted, wet claws tapping, preening his plumes, feathered breast swelled.
Then he saw a spoiling ripple, he had succumbed to false pride
.

I hope I’m not too late to join the party for this link. I was drawn to The Sunday Muse by https://tao-talk.com/2021/05/29/the-sunday-muse-162-white-mums/ – thank you Lisa 😊. I was also inspired to try my hand at a Sijo myself: https://www.sejongculturalsociety.org/writing/current/resources/sijo_guide.php. I found this poetry form quite challenging- not only the syllable count but grouping phrases within each line. It was fun writing it.

Sunday Muse is at : http://thesundaymuse.blogspot.com/2021/05/sunday-muse-162.html

Birdsong

gray and white bird on green tree
Photo by Andy Holmes at Unsplash

The more I stood and listened, the more I heard.
A zephyr of song became a gale, a storm, a hurricane.
There were no people, just the birds
and their escalating chorale,
filling the space around me,
growing closer, thicker,
pressing me thinner and smaller
until I was no longer standing there
but bodiless, floating, in the warming air
as a thousand feathered chests threw out their primal call
and reclaimed as theirs
the brightening sky,
the waking trees,
the world.

Tonight is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets and Lisa is inviting us to post any poem of our choosing. See the link at: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/27/dverse-open-link-night-293/

‘Birdsong’ was written a couple of years ago. I was reminded of this poem earlier this week when I was aware of how vocal the birds are in our garden at the moment. When I wrote the poem I had been outside in the early morning when I felt almost physically lifted by the sheer scale of birdsong which surrounded me.

Nothingness

Morning Surf Belmar-5.jpg
Photo by Joe Campbell https://www.jcampbellphoto.com/water/

Joe Campbell was kind enough to choose my poem ‘Nothingness’ to accompany his fabulous photo ‘Rising from the Deep’ to appear in the Spring edition of The Parliament Literary Journal which was published on 16th May 2021. (A link to the journal is here. My poem is on the last page. https://www.parliamentlit.com/current-edition)

To drown or swim?
To cleave into the skin
of the smooth, deep abyss
or let your body float
silently, undulating with
each gentle pulse.

You feel it call you in,
its silky tresses taunting,
tempting. It rises, swells,
until each wave becomes
a drag of metal twine
around your quivering form.

As you submit, oblivion
strokes at your mind.
Let go, it croons,
let go and drift down
to the soft dark floor
of nothingness.

A cry. A wrench.
A sharp slice of
cold air rips the deadness
from your lungs and
smacks your face to wake.
Come back they call.

Did you think they’d let you die?

Anchor to the past (A Naani)

silhouette of man standing on seashore during daytime
Photo by Tim B Motivv, Unsplash

A photo
Is an anchor
Tethering us to past inlets
Where we dipped our toes.

Our photograph albums have recently been put in the loft, out of the way, in readiness for decorating, I used to walk past them many times a day as they lived on a bookcase on our landing and occasionally dip into one, reliving old holidays (very old in some cases, as more recent trips are captured digitally). But, whatever the medium, there is no denying the link they represent to our past. And I cannot imagine not having that visual reminder .

I thought I would have a go at a Naani. Shadow poetry describes a Naani as “one of Indian’s most popular Telugu poems. Naani means an expression of one and all. It consists of 4 lines, the total lines consists of 20 to 25 syllables. The poem is not bounded to a particular subject. Generally it depends upon human relations and current statements.”

Rewarded from my window (A Haibun)

I look out of my daughter’s bedroom window – a habit I have acquired before I go to bed. The room is unoccupied for most of the time – drying laundry and empty boxes reside there these days. A large moon hangs in the cloud-breaking sky, directly opposite our house – glowing its other worldly white light through an oak tree. I quickly grab my phone and rush down the stairs, slip on some shoes and creep out of the house into our front garden. I feel strangely furtive snapping the sky in the dark. Gutters drip from the recent downpours. Only a few hours ago an arching rainbow glowed its magic in the same portion of sky where the moon is now centre stage. Clouds muffle the edges of the moon and a faint orange-hued corona surrounds it.
All I had to do was look out of the window. My daughter would have enjoyed it.

Prisms in the day
White light in the dripping dark
Hold me in their sway

Frank Tassone at dVerse Poets is hosting Haibun Monday (https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/24/haibun-monday-5-24-21-flower-moon/). Read the link and the wonderful responses from poets on the link.


Imperfect Moments

two apples on table
Photo by Katie Moum at Unsplash

This peach, pink and ruby and golden yellow,
with just the velvety hint of a granny-cheeked down,
is soft and ripe.
My knife slices until it finds the pit
and as I tease it apart the flesh tells
me that it is ready.
I have caught it just as I wanted it.
Yesterday the yellow was too pale,
and tomorrow the tiny mark where
it hit the floor when I dropped it
will have spread like a sore,
browning, with a ring of white scum.

Today is the day it is sweet and just about
perfect.
Today, this moment.
And so we too are made of moments
when luck or guile have lead to life, or not.

And I ask myself, is only one moment the right moment?
Is perfection all?
And, how precise does the instant have to be to
produce the perfect pinnacle.
And if it has to be so precise,
how will I ever find it, feel it, know it
amongst all the other moments?

I don’t want perfection.
I am happy with a firmer fruit
that I can sprinkle a glitter of sugar on.
Or a small bruise that I can cut out
to reveal its golden bounty.
And when I smell the moment,
it will be sweet enough.

I had bought some peaches for a pudding I was making yesterday and, not surprisingly, they were not ripe. I was disappointed that they were not perfect, not as I wanted them to be. But by the time I had added sugar, toasted almonds, almond essence and some mascarpone and cooked them in my tart they were fine. It hadn’t mattered in the end that they were not perfect …

Who Found Who?

mirror ball
Photo by Hayley Lawrence at Unsplash

I found you at the dance
with leather slip-on brogues
which squeaked across the floor
like angry little mice.

You asked me, did I wanna?
You really asked the space
above my black curled head.
Regardless, I said yes.

You shuffled more than danced.
Your pale blue shirt was soft
against my powdered cheek.
You barely said a word.

You mumbled – what? who knows –
and then I pressed a note
into your sweaty hand
before we left the hall.

I’d spied you first you see.

Bjorn at dVerse Poets has set the challenge of writing a poem with a waltz in mind. “what counts today is the beat. Maybe you can listen to a wiener waltz, and imagine dancing around a ballroom… counting one two three.” See the link and some dancing responses at: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/20/meet-the-bar-waltzing/. My mind went back to dancing in my youth and all those discos.

I’ve put the link below to a classic (no, not a waltz 🙂 )which would have played at the end of the evening at a 70’s disco – perfect if you had someone you wanted to get up close to, excruciating if you didn’t have anyone to dance with.

Searching for Elizabeth Bishop

A sideways view of Bishop
Photo from Wikipedia


Adrift, adrift so young,
a kettle sang through the tears
as you walked the winding pathways
to many different doors.

Memories fill your poems.
The pale death of young Arthur,
your uncle’s trophy loon,
A wet-eyed grandmother.

They drift before
your childhood eyes,
frosted and cold
like the Nova Scotia snow.
.
You set a sandpiper
to search through the grains of sand,
looking for order amongst the quartz.
What did you find?

A puzzling world.
Of hungry, desperate burglars watched through gold-rimmed glass.
Of nature’s obvious beauty condensed for busy folk.
Of many things not right.

It was easier to lose than to find.
Yet, still you searched
for happier days ahead.
And hoped to forget the passing of less happy ones.

Laura was hosting at dVerse last night (https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/18/poetics-poems-to-a-poet/) and set the challenge of choosing “ONE of our favourite poets (a celebrated or a lesser known one) and (to) write a poem either

About them
Or
Addressing them in the direct voice
your title must include the poet’s name
try and employ something of the poet’s style
there are no rules for meter or poetry form
those who choose the direct voice, might like the extra challenge of an ODE.”

I chose Elizabeth Bishop, who I was introduced to through my degree a couple of years ago. I cannot claim, however, that I have been successful in employing her writing style. For anyone who knows her work, I hope they will identify the references to a number of her poems. There was often a theme of searching for a sense of belonging in her work, which I have tried to reflect.

But I Did

pen on white lined paper selective focus photography
Photo by AAron Burden at Unsplash

BUT I DID

I thought of all the
words that rhymed –
entombed and zoomed
first sprang to mind –
then a classic – swooned –
of course,
but after that
the words were forced.
Oh woe is me,
for I am doomed,
I cannot make a poem
with wound.

Lillian at dVerse Poets provided the exacting challenge yesterday evening of writing a Quadrille using the word ‘Wound’. See the prompt and lots of fabulous responses at: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/17/whats-in-a-word/

Being given the task of using a particular word is always fun – and there seemed so many possibilities with the word ‘wound’. I’m feeling in an upbeat mood this morning, so went for a light-hearted approach. (Or, perhaps my other attempts were just too awful 😉 ).

What is the Colour?

Photo by Irina Iriser, Unsplash.

What is the Colour? (A double reversed etheree).

What
is the
colour of
fragmenting love?
If our love dies and
drops crumbling from our hands –
knowing its fragility,
yet holding it too tight, too bound –
what colour will it shade the ground when
flakes settle in the cracks beneath our feet?
Will yellow sour grass clump where last we
sat? Will we taste the acid on
our tongues and see the yellow
stain our flailing hands, or
will a hopeful hue
of cornflowers
dust our way,
turning
blue?

I have recently been reading a wonderful array of different poetry forms on writers’ blogs, and felt inspired to try a form that is new to me. The website Shadow Poetry has a comprehensive guide to poetry types on their website: http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/types.html

I chose to have a stab at a double reversed Etheree today. An Etheree consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and doubled, tripled, quadrupled, whatever you like 🙂