Calando–Writer’s 4th Wednesday

I’ve chosen a previously published poem from 2012 in response to my prompt for Writer’s 4th Wednesday over at The Bardo Group. Music lends itself to allegory.

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Calando

Life lived in a minor key
incomplete
(not empty)
waiting for the final chord.

You walked alone
and yet the song you sang
(gentle, haunting)
lingers.

Dolce, my sweet friend
dolente, largo,
until alone, as you lived,
calando.

Photo: juned1.com

Photo: juned1.com

Using musical notation, this brief poem is about a loved one who suffered from agoraphobia. She died a few years back  from cancer. Many have commented on her life as wasted. I chose to believe she had her own symphony to compose, and it was full of a gentle, generous beauty.

Dolce-gently
Dolente-sad
Largo-slow
Calando-dying away

Agoraphobia is literally translated as fear of crowds. It is a type of social anxiety disorder.

Calando–published in my poetry collection, Jacaranda Rain.

Excuse Me, Sir–Do You Have the Time? dVerse Poetics

Photo: Kyle Therrian

Photo: Kyle Therrian

Excuse me, Sir–do you have the time?

It’s time to watch the bees that ravish stems of lavender,
to listen to the cluck of quail, the song of wrens.

It’s time to hold our world, her pain, in caring arms,
to see great beauty in an aged face.

But can you tell me, sir, what time it is?

It’s time to feel your heart that beats within your chest,
to watch the setting sun slip out of view,

to touch the velvet smoothness of a rose,
or roughest skin upon acacia’s trunk.

Forgive now, for it’s time to heal the past,
to mend the wounds of rancor and of hate.

My watch has stopped, dear friend—
just let me know the time.

The time is now. It’s always, only now.

Photo: naturespaceandhope.com

Photo: naturespaceandhope.com

 

Written for dVerse Poetics where Mary has us reflecting on and writing about TIME. I suspect that, when I edit this, it will take on a few additional stanzas! Please take the time to stop by and enjoy. The doors open Tuesday, 3:00 PM EDT 

Of Hand-Holding and Hugs–Monday Meanderings

 

Photo: love.catchsmile.com

Photo: love.catchsmile.com

Today, David and I had a couple of errands to run—one of which took us to Target to get some dog-care items that we can only find there. As we exited the store, David took my hand. I don’t think I would have noticed because it’s just what we do but then I spotted a middle-aged couple ahead of us, hand-in-hand. And headed in our direction, a young couple, his arm around her. I couldn’t but smile and feel grateful. Here we were: young, 40’ish and older (that’s us), still reaching for one another, still loving and caring for each other.

This brought to mind that today would have been my parents whose 62nd Wedding Anniversary. Both of them had lost their first spouse at an early age and remarried in their 30’s. Right up into their 80’s people would stop them to comment on their obvious affection for each other. And that affection extended beyond us, their family, to many, many fellow travelers on the road of life. One time when I was visiting them, years ago, noted author and lecturer Leo Buscalia made his way through several tables at a Denny’s restaurant in Pasadena to comment on the obvious joy they still found in one another. He said something to the effect that—this is just what I’m trying to communicate in my books.

Mom is still alive at 93, living with a slowly progressive dementia. I called her today but decided not to bring up the date—she remembers my Dad every day and misses him so much. I was afraid I would trigger a bout of unnecessary grief.

Each day I learn more about the fact that, if a marriage or committed relationship is to be for the long haul, both partners have to be willing to put in a lot of work. I learned that first hand growing up, watching my parents deal with the huge challenges of a blended family from very different backgrounds—one that included two daughters the exact same age. (I won’t go into detail about that!)

bestinshowdailySo this week—for those of us who are blessed to still have our partners, let’s focus on being present, expressing love and acceptance, going out of our way for the other. For those of you who have lost a loved one, nurture a loving memory with gratitude—even if that relationship did not have a happily ever after ending. It’s possible to learn something from everyone who is or has been a part of our lives, isn’t it? And for those who are still waiting—may you be open to both the wonders and the work aspect of a relationship.

Sorry that this sounds a bit preachy but when someone has lived a long while, has failed, gotten up and kept on going, when someone keeps trying to love and accept—maybe you will forgive them for thinking they have something to share. God knows, our poor world needs a bit more hand-holding and a lot more hugging.

Have a love-filled week.

 

Find Leo Buscalia’s books at Amazon.com 

Titles include:

Love: What Life is All About;

Living, Loving and Learning;

Loving Each Other and more.

The link will take you there.

After Closing–a Haibun

Photo: findingtheperfectworld.blogspot.com

Photo: findingtheperfectworld.blogspot.com

I sneak into the Pub after closing. The air still zings with the echoes of poets and their words. Energy pulsates. I touch words leftover, discarded in favor of others. I can’t let them lay there, rejected, so I scoop them up and slip them into my pocket, bulging now with promise.

It’s time to clean up, I know, but I’m in no hurry, so I slip into a booth in the back, light the candle and spread the words on the table, ignoring the scent of ale that still pervades the room. I realize I won’t be able to use them all tonight, but promise them I’ll keep them for another time.

Someone slips a key in the lock of the front door that I’d secured just minutes earlier, and flings it wide. Before I know it I hear a couple of voices, then three, then another until a low buzz builds into a cacophonous roar. They’re back, these poetry addicts, and it won’t be long before they notice me.

I hide the words in a couple of napkins—one with those I’m using and the others for next time.

I know they were here, a familiar voice says. Who could have taken them?

Before they notice me, I slip out the back. The rest of the work will wait.

Word addicts we are.
We cannot not consume them.
Drink of them deeply.

 

We are closing up a week of celebration for our third anniversary over at dVerse. Please join us.

Image: Michael Michalko

Image: Michael Michalko

Dancing, Music, Dreams

Florence Fountain Image: Wikiart

Florence Fountain–Boboli Gardens
Image: Wikiart

Dancing, Music, Dreams

I’ll wait for you there—
you know the place—
the one where we met in my dream.

The warm summer night,
the chant of moonlight,
the music, the dance and our dreams.

Alone in the darkness,
alone in the crowd,
together we play with our words.

Image: yorkvision.uk.com

Image: yorkvision.uk.com

You take off your mask
so that I see your soul,
touch beauty and pain in this dream.

Community grows
as we celebrate now—
embracing the magic of poetic dreams.

Image: Wikipedia Commons Erato, Muse of Poetry

Image: Wikipedia Commons
Erato, Muse of Poetry

Written for the Ball at dVerse where we celebrate the third anniversary of our poetry community. Be sure to stop by and meet the guest of honor: Poetry. The gates to the garden open Thursday, 3:00 PM EDT.

Fragile Beauty

Fragile Beauty
A Tribute to Poet, Jane Kenyon

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near and drawing close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.

Jane Kenyon
“Peonies at Dark”

As night approaches
we sit in silence
sipping beauty in our garden.
Sparrows feed greedily
as hummingbirds circle our heads
before approaching the nectar, descending
to drink deeply in the waning light.
The heavy mood forgotten
we look to new beginnings
in the darkening June evening.

You turn to me.
I sigh and take your hand
and in the taking release fear.
You are there, and in the night
you remain my light.
The answer to my questions, no one knows.
So now we trust in new beginnings.
You lead me to a fading flower,
lift up its fragrance to my nose.
I draw a blossom near and drawing close

inhale its dying beauty
breath deeply of its tenuous life.
What lies ahead will surely hold our deaths,
another reminder of fragility,
nature’s stunning beauty.
Throughout our lives we live as learner,
probe the center of a flower as though
it holds truth’s secrets, and it does.
I pull the blossom close now and in the shadow of our birch
search it as a woman searches

to know the love she shares,
the lives she touches day-by-day.
I think of Jane, a poet who observed
the details of each moment, giving birth in words
as though a child to live its own life.
Too short her own, and harsh her earthly race
to happiness. Preoccupied with death, like her,
I turn to whom I love and cherish all I know
of gentleness, of care. And in the space
(I find) a loved one’s face.

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 years since Brian and Claudia opened the doors to dVerse Poets Pub and invited me to join them as a team member. These have been poetry-drenched years–an invitation to write more poems than I ever thought I was capable of, an invitation to drink deeply of the inspiring work of poets from all over the world and an opportunity to learn so much about the art and craft of poetry through the thoughtful work of my fellow team members and the reading/self-education that hosting compelled me to pursue.
jane

Yesterday,  we were invited to write an ode to a poet.  For this second post, I’ve cheated a bit, following neither the proscribed form for an “ode” and by choosing a poem I posted a while back, based on the work of Jane Kenyon–an American poetess who died too young and who has mirrored for me the power of close observation–observation of nature and of everyday life.

Jane Kenyon, 1947-1995, grew up and lived her early life in Michigan, moving later to New England. Her poetry is simple and emotionally evocative. In the reading, one discovers a story of her too brief life, told in exquisite detail. Kenyon battled depression off and on, lived for her family, and died of leukemia. The theme of death weaves through her work. She was also a proficient translator of Russian poetess, Anna Akhmatova.

In this poem, I’m not always sure where Jane begins and I end. It goes without saying that, along with Mary Oliver and Stanley Kunitz, Kenyon has been a huge influence in my own writing and my own living.

We hope you will join us at dVerse Poets’ Pub for the week-long celebration of our anniversary. It will be a “Ball”

A Living Poem–a Tribute to Stanley Kunitz

Photo: sylverblaque.com

Photo: sylverblaque.com

 

A Living Poem
a Tribute to Stanley Kunitz

The height of the beauty of a bloom
is in its folded state…

…the roiling possibility
enclosed within the secret vault of self.

I like a garden that dances…

…variegated, like life,
the shadows and the play of light.

I’ve walked into the separate
wilderness of age…

…and there discovered
the wealth of moldering dreams—
the hopes, the losses,
fears unfounded, dispelled illusions.

My garden, my life, my poems—
a planned disorder…

…and I hold only truth
within these hands,
the loamy soil to which I shall return.

The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.

This poem is a reflection on the long, long life of poet Stanley Kunitz. I gleaned the lines in italics from the book “The Wild Braid, a Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden.”

Over at dVerse Poets’ Pub we are celebrating our 3rd Anniversary. Today we are asked to write a tribute or ode to a poet who has influenced our writing, our living.

The Silver Braid Stanley Kunitz and Genine Lentine

The Silver Braid
Stanley Kunitz and Genine

Written when the poet was in his 100’s between 2002-2004, the now deceased Kunitz sat down with Genine Lentine in his vast Connecticut garden to share how his love of gardening and poetry intersected and influenced one another. I strongly recommend this beautiful book of poetry, photography, conversation and reflection to all poets, especially those who share a love of nature and gardening. He is someone I wish I could have met.

Stanley Kunitz Archives

Stanley Kunitz Archives