In Her Library, the Day Before She Dies–dVerse Poetry Forms, Sestina

Image: Pixabay
Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

In Her Library the Day Before She Dies
a Sestina

i.
I enter, hear the ticking of a clock.
The room is dim; drawn shades withhold the light.
Tick, tock, tick, tock—the thunderous passing time,
a slant of sun showcases motes of dust.
How many months since she has entered here?
Crushing mementos of the years long past.

ii.
Each shelf embraces mem’ries of her past.
Too many are the num’rous raucous clocks.
That one says twelve, but two o’eight this here,
and one that’s stopped is shrouded from the light
(so like her mind, unused beneath the dust
of years now gone, of unrelenting time.)

iii.
Photos of kin that mark an older time,
when she had naught with which to mark her past.
Piles of books, themselves becoming dust:
a lusty novel cached behind a clock,
and one, more recent, titled “See the Light,”
inviting her to grasp each moment here.

iv.
A cordless phone, askew, I find right here.
The musty air, oppressive, scents of time
elapsed. Let’s open windows, let in light,
diffuse the moldy taste of all that’s past,
quiet the ceaseless marking of the clock,
breathe deeply air that’s fresh and free of dust.

v.
I cannot shake that cringy feel of dust,
the peering stares of generations here,
the constant toll of years, the ticking clock,
reminding me of my own fleeting time,
that days creep onward, leave behind the past.
I cannot silence dread of dimming light.

vi.
I search within to find the source of light,
to free my spirit of malignant dust,
discover there abundant joy. The past
is gone and beauty dwells right here.
How gifted I have been through boundless time,
not measured by the menace of a clock.

Envoi
I view the past through eyes of sacred light,
eschew the nagging clock, the grimy dust.
Embrace grace here and in this hallowed time.

The poetry form challenge at dVerse today is the challenging SESTINA and I am pleased to be hosting it. I have attempted to write this in iambic pentameter. I’d be grateful for any critique you have to offer.

Please don’t be afraid to give it a whirl. It’s quite fun.

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Poetry Lives

Photo: David Slotto

Poetry Lives

She sips poetry,
gulps color, texture,
darkness, light.

She covers cold-
ness, emanates warmth
strokes coarse, jagged bark.

She shields innocence,
shelters the poor,
embraces the wonton.

She revels in birdsong,
delights in tender moments,
blesses beauty’s gifts.

She sips life.
She sips death.

Written for dVerse Quadrille, including the wonderful word “Sip.” This is the first poem I’ve written this year. It’s good to be here with you after a long drought.

Death Scene–Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge

Death Scene

Written and linked to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge.  This week’s challenge is CROW. The story is true. My Irish mother always claimed that the black bird was a sign of death. I used that as a theme in my novel: “The Sin of His Father.”

 

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for Non-commercial reuse.

She only lasted four weeks from the day of her diagnosis. I spent much of that time with her–witnessed the rapid progression of her cancer, helped to manage her pain,tried to comfort my mother, her husband and children. I wallowed in a feeling of helplessness.

We watched tennis players enjoying nearby courts and a multitude of large blackbirds feeding on newly sown grass.

Life begins, life endures, life ends.

outside crows forage
black contrasts on summer green
inside, my sister’s waning

November, Interrupted: dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

November, Interrupted

Outside, I see the barren pewter skies of late November, consider how I was taught as a child that this is the time of year in which we are to reflect upon death. Nature seems to cry “emptiness,” though I know that, in reality, life surges beneath the surface of what appears to be.

Wind howls, inviting our outdoor chimes to sound a song of hope when, in a flash, color fills our naked fruit trees as a slew of winter birds fill their branches. Bright yellow and red accents of the cedar wax wings, the stunning burnt sienna of robins and breath-taking tones of blue of Stellar Jays. Even tiny monochromatic chickadees bestow joy as they nestle together in the maple, where scattered orange leaves cling stubbornly.

ornamental pear
stretches out her fruitful arms
fertile emptiness

Written and linked for dVerse, where today Kanzen Sakura invites us to post a haibun on any subject as long as it is a non-fictional account of something that happened to us, concluding with a traditional haiku. This happened just this morning! Please join us.

life–dVerse Haibun Monday

Cedar Wax Wings--Source Unknown

life

around me
(though chill seeps in)
life flourishes

winter birds
cull berries from leafless trees
drink from rainwater puddles

a lone purple flower
flaunts beauty at
my garden gate

three weeks ago today
i was there to receive
her last breath

eternal life flourishes

On October 30th, I arrived in Huntington Beach, California, to celebrate my almost-96 year old mother’s birthday on November 5th. I spoke to her the day before I left and she was happy I was coming, telling me, as she did quite often, “Don’t forget you are my little girl!”

When I arrived, I found that she was non-responsive. The night before she had told her caregiver that she was tired and was ready to die. The following day, she did just that–peacefully and with loved ones at her side.

I returned home yesterday, after three weeks sans Internet, tending to what I term “the business of dying.” That explains my absence. I have a lot of catching up to do here at home, so I may not be real present this week either, but wanted to take advantage of today’s wonderful Quadrille prompt at dVerse that asks us to use the word “breath” in any of its forms in a poem of exactly 44 words. Please join us. Little by little, I will get around to reading yours.

 

The First Time–dVerse Poetic

 

The First Time

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

The first time that I witnessed birth,
saw the crowning of the head,
that shock of thick black hair,
heard the melded cries of mother
and her son, the pain and ecstasy
in resounding dissonance,
the joy and fear and victory
of shattered boundaries—
that first time I beheld the
mystery of newborn life
I shuddered in the face of Awe.

The first time that I prayed in silence
without words or thoughts and stood
like Moses by the burning bush
that would not be destroyed and
offered (to the One who is and was
and will be) all that I have been and
am and shall become without limit
that first time I embraced
the mystery of the divine
I shuddered in the face of God.

The first time that I tasted love,
sought urgently to touch and hold,
looked into eyes that knew
my secret sacred spaces,
longed to please before receiving
pleasure, lost track of time, luxuriated
in the scent of passion,
that first time I received the mystery
of you, of all we could become,
I shuddered in the face of Bliss.

The first time I attended death
and held an old man’s icy hand and
looked into his eyes that saw beyond
me, wiped a brow expressing
nuances of sorrow and of joy,
the scope of everything we can imagine,
that first time I received a dying breath
and closed those eyes
I shuddered in the face of the Unknown.

I apologize for re-posting a poem that has been around before, written originally in 2010, but it fits Kelly’s prompt for dVerse Poetics, right down to the title, and I confess it is one of my favorites, because of its significance in my own life. Those of you who’ve been around, please don’t feel compelled to comment–but there are so many newbies at dVerse, I wanted to offer it again.

Funereal Reflections

Photo: Wikipedia Commons--Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse

Funereal Reflections

The world moves on in timeless reverie
while doves o’er head turn westward to their homes, beyond.
Yon raven waits upon a gnarly tree.
Two empty spaces rest beside your tomb. For whom?
And night, tonight, descends on you alone.
We gather then, disperse and go our way, go home,
sure we shall live to tend another day.

Your life, a whisper in the ear of earth,
too soon forgotten by the race of men—so cold.
Can we embrace the promise of rebirth?
The blackbird swoops and preys upon a wren, more loss,
and we bare witness—cruel death again
invades a waking moment, ruptures ease, (such fear)
forsakes our very search for timeless peace.

This is my second poem for today’s prompt at dVerse Meeting the Bar. I took a poem I wrote in 2012 to Gay Cannon’s prompt for Rime Royal which demands strict adherence to iambic pentameter and a specific rhyme pattern and switched it up a bit, alternating iambic pentameter with hexameter (6 iambs), also known as alexandrine. Because Iambic Pentameter tends to be neutral, kind of like Tofu that depends on the flavors you add, I wanted to see what alternating rhythm would do to the mood. I’ll let you speak to it. Please check out the post on dVerse to learn more and bring a poem of your own.