Friday, March 31, 2017

Alter Ego

I recently purchased a collection of poems from Paraclete Press, called Astonishments by Polish poet, Anna Kamienska. Thumbing through it this week, I found this delightful poem. I don't know much about the poet or the translator or the playwright whose work sparked this poem, but I relate to the message. I'll bet you will, too. (The book is out of print, but Paraclete Press has put the entire work in pdf format online.)

Alter Ego
by Anna Kamienska

One day I decided to invent a poet
who would write instead of me
and would also instead of me agonize over not writing
somewhat pathetic
somewhat ordinary he wouldn't feel ashamed 
of apostrophes exclamations points
he could at the same time look at the world
through my eyes and eyes not mine
for they make us rigid fix us
in what should be changeable
full of surprises like time
I wished to leave myself
without ceasing to be me
Did anyone ever manage it
I laughed like the bride in The Wedding
     Enter oh ghost

A certain homeless ghost did accept the invitation 
incarnated within my darkness
and making himself comfortable declared
     I'm great at silence

**The Wedding is a poetic play by Stanislaw Wypianski (1869-1907) built around the image of th wedding feast, a Walpurgian-like dance with ghosts.

And of course, April is National Poetry Month. I have a project that has been sitting in the wings for some time. I've set aside April for my alter ego to work consistently on it. I might post an update on my progress, but I'm not ready to make it public.  So I'll be working quietly this month.

I will be participating in the Kidslitosphere Progressive Poem. And I will post on Poetry Fridays, sharing some of my favorite adult poet friends that you might like to know.

Amy hosts the roundup today at The Poem Farm.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pondering: Eternal Beauty

Soul’s Eternal Rapture

by St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-395)
translated by Scott Cairns in Endless Life: Poems of the Mystics

The soul that looks
            finally to God, conceives
                        a new, mouth-watering

desire for His
             eternal beauty,
                        and tasting this, she
awakens to an ever
             greater yearning—
                       an ache never
to be fully satisfied.

Read the rest here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Bucket of Popcorn Poems

After the "ode to an object" challenge from Helen Frost over at Today's Little Ditty this month, I've had popcorn on my mind. 

This was the challenge:

Choose an object (a seashell, a hairbrush, a bird nest, a rolling pin). It should not be anything symbolic (such as a doll, a wedding ring, or a flag). Write five lines about the object, using a different sense in each line (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). Then ask the object a question, listen for its answer, and write the question, the answer, or both.

Ode to My Mother's Popcorn Pan

As you warm to the flame,
she holds your tented lid against your heavy frame
and scrapes your weight back and forth
until tender, sweet corn bursts inside.
The scent of butter calls us to the kitchen.
Do you remember the salty pleasure
of popcorn on Saturday night?

©2017 Doraine Bennett

Enjoy these as you make yourself a batch of popcorn!

Popcorn kernels
In the pot
Jump and dance
When they get hot.

And when they've
Carried on enough,
They do a flip
And turn to fluff!

© Cathy Drinkwater Better


When Walker and I bought our movie tickets
And went into the lobby,
There were brown boxes
Stacked seven feet high
And ten feet wide
And twenty feet deep.
You could hardly get by.
What was this cardboard castle?
We took a closer look.
On every box was printed one word.
In small letters:
"Could you eat that much popcorn?"
Said Walker.
"I already have," I said.

©James Stevenson

Catherine hosts the Roundup today at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pondering: Connecting Threads

Photo by Orin Zebest

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
       ― Herman Melville

Friday, March 17, 2017

Saint Paddy's Day

Last night I held my sweet, little grandson in the crook of my arm. Together we watched the green stars shining on the ceiling of his darkened room. I began singing, and he watched me instead of the stars. I felt like the center of the universe.

I've been trying to call back to mind the songs I sang to my own babies just before bedtime and find that I've lost a lot of words. They will come back, but there are stretches of hums in most of my lullabies these days.

As I wondered what to post for St. Patrick's Day, I remembered the Irish lullaby, "Too-Ra, Loo-Ra, Loo-Ral." It was a song I sang way back when. Written in 1913 for the Tin Pan Alley musical, the song was a hit from the start. When Bing Crosby sang it in 1944 in Going My Way, the record single sold over a million copies, according to Wikipedia.

With a Bing Crosby fan in the house (hubs), my Pandora account is often tuned the Bing Crosby channel. And yes, I've seen Going My Way more than once.

I hope you enjoyed you day celebrating the saint.
I hope you wore green and didn't get pinched. 

Enjoy this version of the lullaby, and then read an excerpt from St. Patrick's most famous poem, called "St. Patrick's Breastplate."

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,

And one last thing before I go. Balloons Literary Journal, Volume five is live and I have two poems in it! I'm delighted to be in this lovely book. More on this next week.

Robyn hosts Poetry Friday roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pondering: Silence

God's silences are His answers. If we only take as answers those that are visible to our senses we are in a very elemental condition of grace. ...You say, "But He has not answered." He has, He is so near to you that His silence is the answer. [It] is big with meaning that you cannot understand yet, but presently you will. Time is nothing to God...[He] will give us the blessings we want if we won't go any further, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing us into this marvelous understanding of Himself.
     --Oswald Chambers,  If Ye Shall Ask

Friday, March 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: Pools of Peace

Photo by Richard Blake Verdoorn

The Waterfall 
for May Swenson
by Mary Oliver

For all they said,
   I could not see the waterfall
      until I came and saw the water falling,
         its lace legs and its womanly arms sheeting down,

while something howled like thunder,
   over the rocks,
      all day and all night –

like ribbons made of snow,
   or god’s white hair.
      At any distance
         it fell without a break or seam, and slowly, a simple

preponderance –
   a fall of flowers – and truly it seemed
      surprised by the unexpected kindness of the air and
         light-hearted to be

flying at last.
   Gravity is a fact everybody
      knows about.
         It is always underfoot,

like a summons,
   gravel-backed and mossy,
      in every beetled basin –
         and imagination –

that striver,
   that third eye –
      can do a lot but
         hardly everything. The white, scrolled

wings of the tumbling water
   I never could have
      imagined. And maybe there will be,
         after all,

some slack and perfectly balanced
   blind and rough peace, finally,
      in the deep and green and utterly motionless pools after all that

Michelle hosts the Poetry Friday Round up at Today's Little Ditty

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pondering: Deep Peace

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.
               --Gaelic Blessing