Miserere Mei

House sign "Noah´s ark"(1676) in Ams...

Image via Wikipedia

Linked to dVerse Poets Pub for Crit Friday, looking forward to input from the talented poets Luke Prater and Beth Winter.

Join up and learn about the value of positive critique!



Miserere Mei

Creation emerges from primal sea,
from deep abyss, from virgin womb.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Atrahasis built an ark. Utnapishtim
built an ark. Noah built an ark.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

In flooded fields, on watery plains
humanity has met its fate.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Waters of the Jordan, Baptismal
cleansing, Water of life.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Purify, cleanse, receive new life.
Plunge into dark waters, the unconscious.

Miserere mei, Domine
Miserere mei, Dr. Freud.

Flood myths are part of many epochs and cultures. The cleansing symbolism of water prevails in ancient and modern religious beliefs and speak to the innate sense that we, as humans, have of our inadequacy. This poem draws on stories from Sumerian, Mesopotamian and Hebrew traditions, as well as Freudian psychology.

I wrote this in response to a prompt from One Stop Poetry http://onestoppoetry.com and am linking to One Shot Wednesday. Sadly, this wonderful blog is going to hibernate. All of us owe many thanks to the wonderful poets who labored tirelessly to make One Stop Poetry such a success and a welcoming home for so many of us.

Hopefully many will continue to be active and I take this opportunity to encourage you to imbibe with fellow poets at dVerse Poets’ Pub: http://dversepoets.com/ a new site where you will encounter many of your friends from One Stop Poetry.

Watercolor–One Shot Wednesday


Image via Wikipedia


I chose Payne’s Gray
instead of black.
It’s not quite death—
more like a nightlight
in the next room.


Submitted to One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry: http://onestoppoetry.com

And I Will Die


Image by Extra Medium via Flickr

And I Will Die

On that morning
birds will shatter stillness
chant their purty, purty, purty
languish in the heady scent of citrus blooms

On that morning
light will slip through gauzy curtains while
dust motes dance, abandoned to
the whisperings of April’s breath

On that morning
clouds will roll in like frothy waves
stretch to lick the azure sky
dissolve into fragments of remembrance

On that morning
alone in the first kiss of dawn
I will die
and live again.

Previously posted and today linked to One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry: http://onestoppoetry.com


After the Rain

Dew, Flowers, Narcissus

Image via Wikipedia

After the Rain

Diamonds settle on mounds
of Dianthus while
sparrows splash with joy
in sparkling puddles.

Fresh scents suffuse morning
light: lemon
honeysuckle, spice.
Verbena and persimmon.

Today, I touch the moment
but think of yesterdays
when once we walked
in rain and sand beneath

a canopy of stars
we tried in vain to count.
The promises you made
did not endure forever.

And now, alone, I ponder
life transformed by dew.
Taste the sweetness of
tomorrow and a memory.

Linked to One Stop Poetry’s One Shot Wednesday: http://onestoppoetry.com where, if you take the time to browse, you’ll discover some wonderful poetry.


Warhol–One Stop Poetry

Own work made in the style of Andy Warhol

Image via Wikipedia

Over at One Stop Poetry, http://onestoppoetry.com Brian Miller gave us the prompt to write to the art or life of pop artist James Rosenquist. Today’s been a day of deadlines, limiting my ability to do justice to this topic, so I hope it’s acceptable to substitute a poem I wrote about another pop artist, Andy Warhol, when we had an exhibit of his work at Nevada Museum of Art where I’ve been a docent.


Maybe Andy was on
to something.
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.
Tomato, Chicken Noodle,
Split Pea,
Bean with Bacon, Pepper Pot.
Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Comfort.
Bring it on.

Did you ever stop?
Really look at art?
I mean art in a grocery store?
“Wake up!”
Andy would say.
Listen closely.”

I pick up a navel orange.
Its dimpled skin
leaves a scent-mark
on my fingers.

“If you want to know me,
look at my art,”
“I’m a deeply superficial person.”

So I stare at him,
but he doesn’t glance back.
Eyes drifting to some
far-away place where
wholeness waits,
or to a party where
touching never held room
for emptiness.
The pull of gravity so great
the Mass collapses in
on itself,
Black Hole. Black Whole.

All that sparkles is
not diamond dust.
Even that wouldn’t adhere.
Your world
became glittered in so
much plastic.

Redemption plays in
pink and yellow
electric chairs.

Curl up,
snuggle in its lap
and die alone
while the nurse who
was there for you,

Oh my God,
I am heartily sorry,
So much pain.
I repeat, I repeat.
Marilyn in
black and gray
and brown,
blue and pink.
We are heartily sorry
who we aren’t,
what we are
and what they made us.

The woman handed
the boy
a piece of dense bread.
“It’s dry,” he said.
“Dunk it in your soup,”
she answered.

(This poem was previously posted October 2010) Now I’m off to research Rosenquist. Thanks for the prompt, Brian.

Summer Haiku–One Shot Wednesday

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Image by Larry Meade via Flickr

Purple bruises bleed
into summer’s sky
sun sighs and succumbs

Summer dilemma
green can’t decide what to wear
too many choices.

Blue heron descends
splashes in cobalt water
revels in June warmth

Linked to One Shot Wednesday: http://onestoppoetry.com

Wordsmith Wednesday–A Potpourri of Thoughts about Poetry

Quill etc

While Wordsmith Wednesday tends to focus on fiction writing, from time-to-time I find it compelling to write an article about poetry. This is because many of the people who visit my blog are from the poetry communities I participate in, but even more so because poetry is the handmaiden of superb writing, whatever the genre.

For today’s post, I would like to reflect on a few reminders that can serve poets as well as fiction, or for that matter, non-fiction writers.

  • Don’t shy away from poetic forms. The discipline of adhering to prescribed forms such as those that define rhyme, meter and syllable count can serve as an aid when you run up against a brick wall. I turn to a haiku, an etheree, a quatrain, tercet or any number of “recipes” for writing when it seems as though my muse has gone into hibernation. This has never failed to help me jump-start my writing. There are a number of Internet references to teach you about form. Try Luke Prater’s Word Salad at http://lukepraterswordsalad.com/
  • Write quickly but revise with care. Poetry deserves the same careful attention as prose. Often, words and ideas rush in at you and it pays to jot them down as they come. First drafts of poems will often pour out in mere minutes. I’ve dragged myself out of bed in the middle of the night and jotted down almost-illegible epics that I don’t recognize in the morning. But then the work begins. I once read about a poet who excused himself from a writing conference because he had to revise a poem. He returned hours later and when asked how it had gone told his colleagues that he spent a few hours before deleting a comma and then, a few hours later, added it back in. I hope my days will be a bit more productive than that, but you get the point. I belong to an online poetry critique group and the advice I receive is invaluable. But, as with fiction, remember that you have the final say.
  • Sensory details make your writing come alive. Many beginning poets use their craft to probe emotion, to champion causes, and to express their opinions. Indeed, these are functions of poetry. But to be more effective, it behooves you to pepper your writing with devices such as metaphors or similes that employ those delicious sensory observations that you have picked up in the course of a day. I strongly suggest that you keep your senses, all of them, on high alert and then in the evening, take a few moments to jot down a dozen or so things you remember in your writing journal. You will be amazed at the inspiration you can cull from this exercise–for poetry or fiction.
  • Don’t quit your day job. Most likely you will not get rich selling poetry. You will not find an agent to represent your tome or make the NYT’s best seller list. You will find joy in the writing process. You’ll find that your prose takes on a literary quality whatever genre you dabble in and you can build up a platform for marketing your work if you engage in Internet poetry communities. There are a myriad of these that invite both seasoned and budding poets to post their work. A few of my favorites include Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/; One Stop Poetry: http://onestoppoetry.com/ and Poetic Asides: http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/  All of these sites offer prompts and a forum to post or link your work. I also post a writing prompt on Monday morning which invites both poetry and short fiction.

A Matter of Perspective–Friday Poetically

Chuck Close Portrait

Image by Bklyn_Spencer via Flickr

One of my favorite living artists is Chuck Close. I was excited to see that Brian Miller’s prompt at Friday Poetically addresses his works. http://onestoppoetry.com/

A year or two ago I enjoyed touring students and the general public through an exhibit of Chuck’s art at Nevada Museum of Art. In addition to his well-know mosaic-like portraiture there was a collection of tapestries. Close used digitally manipulated photography to generate computer images that he sent to a tapestry weaving firm in Belgium  The museum displayed this work so that the visitors could carefully look behind the hangings to see all the threads that went into the finished work. It was an amazing experience. To view some of Close’s tapestries, you may enjoy visiting http://www.magnoliaeditions.com/Content/Close/Close.htm

A Matter of Perspective

Stand too close to life
and you will only see
little squares of colors.

Take a few steps back.
Look how the whole
becomes apparent.

If you view a tapestry
from the backside
confusion presides.

Step up, face it head-on
the precision of the image
will stun you.

Go ahead, manipulate reality.
The outcome surprises,
at times, clarifies.