"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Resting Place

The end of choice, the last of hope; and all
Here to confess that something has gone wrong.
Philip Larkin


Iosias Sepultus in Mausoleum Patrum
Salvador Dali


It begins with a death. Preferably in the 15th century but any year will do. Even this year of our Lord. Cue a train of mourners – two abreast – they have apparelled themselves in momentary grief and clutch, perhaps, a symbolic rose apiece. For props, two stone angels leering from twin alcoves – inexplicably one wears a sly grin. Naturally, the overcast sky provides pathetic fallacy. An oaken door, bulleted with iron rivets, on a creaky hinge. Double doors would be better. They swing inward and this is where you come in. No expense was spared for your conveyance – four onyx horses wearing plumes or a long automobile in muted black. Bystanders cross themselves. Six men of equal height bear the palled form of what once was you. This is your room now, behind the barricade. The living step back, take a bow. A scattering of petals they have cast aside on the marble stairs is the only reminder of blood in the entire scene. 

Are you nearby, waiting for me in the wings? 


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The Weekend Mini-Challenge in the Imaginary Garden is hosted by Kim, who has provided us with Philip Larkin's poem, The Building, as inspiration.

Shared at Poetry Pantry # 363.


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Escape

Nap ~ Jose de Almada Negreiros (1939)
Fair Use


There’s a swing hanging lopsided from a cherry tree
in the front garden, and she still likes to dangle there
though her legs are too long and the branch above creaks.

She is often reminded this is her father’s house, his rules
and ‘no child of mine will run wild in the streets’
but there are beautiful boys with kind brown eyes

and they beckon with the promise to adore her.
Her new breasts were made to pillow a lover’s cheek
and the heart beneath to tempt its first breakage

but her daddy won’t let her out the gate to find her way
around corners so she dreams as she swings her legs
calculates the cost of a kiss and plans her escape.


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A little slice of life inspired by the video "Watch the Corners" by Dinosaur Jr ~ Music with Marian in the Imaginary Garden.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On the 99th Anniversary of Mandela’s Birth

Clouds, Pretoria
Pieter Wenning
Public Domain


being a non-partisan patriot i read the news
and suffer the dubious agony of all my predictions
coming true but one doesn’t have to be a soothsayer

to read the marks of blood carelessly splashed
across the walls of parliament: this is not the south
africa of mandela we’ve lately been told so why

do we still speak in shocked tones when new revelations
of graft are leaked like pus from an overdue boil
when good women are silenced with threats of death

and the incorruptible offer their necks for the axe
our land is after all the unaborted child of colonialism
and blame can always be laid at the foot of a statue

or hurled as abuse at the journos with their fake news
while the stalwarts grind their teeth and allies hedge their bets
so long as we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater


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As a person, I prefer to skirt around the issue of politics but as a poet, the day arrives when it is worse to remain silent than to speak. Mandela Day is that day for me.

I hope the message has something of a universal theme but for those who may be interested, here is one f the headlines of the day:

"In case I do not make it..." ANC MP, Makhosi Khoza's message to Jacob Zuma.




Sunday, July 16, 2017

An Apocalyptic Conclusion

And however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have already ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us.
The Uninhabitable Earth: David Wallace-Wells

Ice Floes Under Midnight Sun
William Bradford 1869



How easily I can recall that July
when we revelled in yellow warmth –
no fire in the grate, perhaps an extra blanket
thrown across a knee and soon discarded.

That was the winter the Antarctic calved
the biggest iceberg ever – no matter
it was tilted away from the sun – we thought
how cool to have seen that in our lifetimes.

Oh, of course the pundits howled
and bandied phrases like planetary clock
blamed us for mass extinction despite
our best efforts to save the rhino.

We were unimpressed by the hype –
even presidents thought it a joke
as they exchanged lucrative handshakes
with the oil barons and admired new pipelines.

Yes, those were the days, halcyon
I’d call them now that time has unwound –
we castaways can only curse this perfect summer
desperate for any Ararat rising from the boiling sea.

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On the occasion of the birth of A68 (Giant Iceberg Splits from Antarctic BBC.com)

This weekend's prompt in the Garden has us Imagining a Changing Earth. Brendan has laid down the gauntlet: "I suspect the only way we can visualize something like this is through the collective of individual attempts..." And this, then, is my attempt to imagine what should be impossible given all the forewarning.

The last time it snowed in my home town in July was 22 years ago (bearing in mind my southern hemisphere perspective where all our cold fronts arise in the Antarctic). Now the temperature seldom drops below 22C (72F). While this makes for an endless number of pleasant days, it does not rain in this season, so the vegetation is parched and conditions perfect for uncontrollable wildfires (Hell and High Water as Knysna Battles Fires HeraldLive.com). I see how the warmer weather is affecting the migration patterns of birds and the cycles of deciduous trees which produce new leaves long before Spring.





Thursday, July 13, 2017

News of My Demise

Because I could not stop for Death -
He kindly stopped for me -
Emily Dickinson


By the Deathbed Fever
Edvard Munch (1893)


Everyone wanted in on my death –
those I used to call my friends
and strangers in the street
even my dentist said this is a small town.

How they crowded around my bed –
bringing grapes and chocolates
eager for a sight of blood
to be first with the news of my demise.

As for me, I just lay there under the sheet –
wondering how long this would take
hugging my body goodbye
apologizing for the inconvenience of my departure.


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Fireblossom Friday: Bang, You're Dead

Monday, July 10, 2017

This Is Now

is a river at its source separate from the sea, i ask
the question, you say, reflects the answer you seek
when love answers love, joy replaces questions
Shabbir Banoobhai

Copyright belongs to Magaly Guerrero



What will you have to show for this life, I ask myself
and wait for the answer only time can furnish
but I don’t have years to waste. This is now.

Memories are stored like dried herbs, still pungent
when crushed in my palm but dry and good only
to season the meat of today when all else is gone. This.

Here I lie upon the silken blanket as sunlight strokes
the curve of my naked shoulder, lights up my hair,
purrs around my breasts and I call for my love. Now.

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Further inspiration from Fragile, Natural, Wild with Magaly, and written for The Tuesday Platform.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Like a Poppy Turns

by your own definition
i drink too deeply
the blood of roses
Shabbir Banoobhai

© Robert Draves



how could you understand
my love of fragile things –
this need to nurture
each bruised petal & broken wing?

I haven’t the words to say
how my heart grows in healing
how it dies a little to see
things crushed or fallen

you cannot know that i
have a crimson soul –
it opens like a poppy turns to the sun
and loves every short-lived thing


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Fragile, Natural, Wild is hosted by Magaly in The Imaginary Garden.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Treeful of Birds

Red-billed Quelea
Source


Red beaks gleam
in the shallow sunlight
of this morning –
my tree full of finches
brown as leaves
now fallen
quivering
their feathers
tucking the night away
under their wings.

In numbers, they alight
like little flowers
blooming –
include me in conversation
their talk of birdseed
and where to find it
until I relent
flinging crushed corn
and millet beneath the tree
retreat to watch
as they float to earth
these tiny fragments of dusk.


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Get Listed! is hosted by Grapeling in the Imaginary Garden.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Penumbra

Star of the Hero
Nicholas Roerich (1936)



This existence is penumbral
not quite full shadow
nor white light
but we learn to wake
and sleep
count the days
scratch our names
on stones
and persist in a tender regard
for boundaries.

The primitive depiction
of naked ancestors
squatting in caves
as inarticulate beings
prone to fight
or flight
answers the question
we fear to ask
as we hide behind
collective unconscious.

The wheel is no measure
of civilised thinking
not much of a jump
from rolling rocks
downhill bemused by
momentum
when fear persists
and turns
quickly to blood
and fine philosophy
burns out
against a backdrop
of human history.

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I have dipped into Hedgewitch's Get Listed! word pool once again for this poem for The Tuesday Platform.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Aubade at Break of Day

It's all the same to morning what it dawns on--
Michael Longley.

Sleeping Woman
Tamara de Lempicka (1935)
Fair Use


Do you know how much I long for you at dawn?
Oh, that burning of my eyelids reminds me
why it is called break of day.
Yes, something is broken.

Sometimes, before I submit to sight and sound
I touch my fingertips to lips for proof
of life, an inkling of breath,
a taste of your name.

A bed is like a grave, and we embrace the death
it promises, the dissociated state
where forgetting is real
and living deflected.

Yet, I know you are in the world, some where
and for this reason alone I quieten
the irrational impulse to check
for shards at my feet.

It is only the light that lies divided on the rug.
I swing my legs over the edge to stand up,
as you too must cross the threshold
of your own new day.

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Play It Again Toads!
I have written the Aubade using words from Hedgewitch's list.