we were when
I stand alone surrounded by distances, covered with a vast blue, green layered behind and below. I have come to the precipice to find my place in the landscape. I intended to bring beautiful words, to leave poetic gifts as tokens on the wind, to tie threads of song to the sky.
But I find nothing more is required of me than to be here, present, alive.
to the earth
For Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday, a haibun inspired by the photo provided by Frank Tassone, above.
I’ve had this song on my mind for awhile.
also linked to earthweal open link weekend
journey like a river,
found in the places
that are always home
sing the music of oceans
weaving patterns of mercy–
journey like a river
become part of each movement,
every path transformed,
found in all places
pass along what has been given–
ride the sky like the wind,
always at home
Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, immediately made me think of Paul Simon’s “Peace Like a River”–and that made me think of “American Tune”–hence the 2 part title. The poem is a cascade, always a good form when writing about water.
Sue titled her photo “Yearning” and I think that’s an emotion Paul Simon captures well.
…and I dreamed I was flying…
“Days full of rain, sky’s comin’ down again
I get so tired of these same old blues, same old song
baby, it won’t be long ‘fore I be tyin’ on
my flyin’ shoes, flyin’ shoes
till I be tyin’ on my flyin’ shoes”
–Townes Van Zandt
The leaves of autumn linger in my mind,
disturbing the returning of the sun.
I thought my time of shedding skin was done.
Instead I crumble, fragile, in the wind
that blocks the way before I can begin.
The threads I gathered turn away unspun–
the landscape ebbs, and with it shelter—one
by one the seasons falter, fall behind.
If only I could tie myself to stars
and rise, my surface shining like the moon,
my sails like wings that shimmer in the sky–
I’d find a motherland in my guitar,
that I could voice with harmony and song–
a refuge where my dreams could wake and fly.
I was listening to Lyle Lovett’s 2-CD salute to Texas songwriters, “Step Inside This House”, which includes so much wonderful music including four songs from Townes Van Zandt. There is a mystery and a melancholy to all of his music, and “Flyin’ Shoes” has always been a favorite of mine. Townes died in 1997 at age 52 after years of substance abuse and mental health problems. I hope he’s got those shoes tied on tight.
I wanted to try another sonnet for the dVerse challenge this month. This one uses the Petrarchan form, which has a very different rhythm from the Shakespearean. I’m still reading my way through everyone’s sonnets, but I want to thank dVerse for providing such a good forum to explore this poetic form. I’ve learned a lot from not only my own attempts at writing, but from seeing the variety of responses.
I also used the Secret Keeper’s prompt words,
LEAF | HOME | ALTER | LIGHT | FRONT
And here’s Lyle.
It’s 4 in the morning, almost December–
each day I return to you hoping you’re better,
New York is a hospital, dying and living,
machines full of numbers, the music of beeping—
Do you dream of your house with its ceilings and stairs?
Are you living inside it now, making unseen repairs?
As your past comes by full of stories and tears,
what you gave what you feared–
all the things left unsaid…
drowning in the unsaid—
Now each day is the first and the last and the always,
no masks to uncover, disguise what the time plays–
We come and we stay and we go meeting only ourselves,
spending fortunes and throwing them away like wishes in wells—
You hand us no thoughts and your eyes gaze beyond,
skipping dreams through the air like stones on a pond—
I see you there still breathing harshly with pain,
what abides, what remains–
will we waken or sleep?
to release or to keep—
Oh what can I tell you, what can I tell you,
what can I possibly say?
All the sorrows forgiven, lost tomorrows now riven,
our lives intersected and frayed…
All is circling round to the center of you–
you can be who you need to be now without fearing the truth—
And thanks for the gifts that you didn’t intend–
thread to bind and to mend—lives I didn’t expect—
And the years collapse spilling stories and tears,
nothing left now to fear–
all the words disappear…
Inspired by William Edouard Scott (above) and Leonard Cohen. The responses to Scott’s painting (which immediately brought to my mind Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”), can be read here, at The Ekphrastic Review. My thanks to Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting my poem for publication.
Also linking to dVerse, “The Art of Confession”.
The mandala was photographed wet (left) and after drying (right). The mystery and surprises of watercolor.
into everything as fire
blended with pure sky
I Ask the Hoopoe Three Questions
In my dreams I am always traveling: as Joni says, “looking for something, what can it be?” My home is the stairway down to the subway, up to the train platform, watching the landscape moving beside the bus.
Here I am again, on the road…in the median I see the bird—huge, red crested, black and white striped wings. I step off the highway into the lush green.
Hoopoe is both real and mythical. It is associated with death, war, and disease, but also with purity, virtue and leadership. Sometimes it is a messenger between heaven and earth.
I like best the hoopoe in the Sufi story-poem, “The Conference of the Birds”.
What did you
find at the end of
Dark and light
intermingling inside your
eye? Do you know Crow?
I really did have this dream, and spent a few days online looking for the bird. I knew the hoopoe from the Sufi story, but I don’t think I knew what it really looked like. It’s a beauty! dVerse also had a prompt earlier in the week about hometowns, which was the starting point for my haibun .
And any excuse for some Joni Mitchell (I was at this concert).
Happy Draw-a Bird Day!
“When your rooster crows at the break a dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone…”
–Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
You say you’re leaving–
but your crowing lingers,
louder than the blackest cry,
echoing down that dark side
where your soul wanders, lost,
afraid to open either window or door.
Did you really once love?
I wonder not why, but how–
how and where and who—
Who? The call that you can’t hear
is not for you. Not your name,
but a chorus for a new dawn—
(when you’ll be gone)–bound
for a land beyond the telling.
It’s all right then; it’s all right.
It’s Draw-a-Bird Day, and I’d like to say (almost) good-bye to the Year of the Rooster. I did 3 Bird Day posts with roosters last year, but my initial post, for the Chinese New Year in 2017, has an eerie similarity to this (not so fond) goodbye. As I said in that post: “The disruption of the Year of the Monkey gives way to more intensity….the cockiness of the Year of the Rooster. Most of the predictions I read online for 2017 were not too positive. They recommended keeping your head down, staying organized, and working hard.” My poem even mentioned the Dark Side.
Let’s hope the Year of the Dog is kinder to birds (and all other living creatures as well).
From here a line, a border,
the horizon. From there, shapes
patterned in shades of indigo.
From everywhere. Scattering blue stardust.
Skies changing in rhythm
with the planet, encircling. The night
that follows day that follows night.
From here a line, a border,
paths seeking yonder, wild,
a prelude to unwritten chords.
Mirrors that merge into
the horizon. From there, shapes
following the ripples in the fabric
of years, dark and light. The collision
that becomes its opposite. Waves
patterned in shades of indigo.
Almost nothing. As old as the universe,
born again, dying. Becoming again,
a point of turning. Echoing
from everywhere. Scattering blue stardust.
This cascade poem is in response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above. It was also inspired by Maria Popova and all the links in her end of the year rumination, “In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective”, and, (with a title “Blue” how could I not think of her?) Joni Mitchell.
“We are stardust”–yes we are! Now if only those bombers really DID turn into butterflies…
the textbook opens to page 13 (for Laura Nyro)
If you could
learn to be lucky–
if you could
to stars–would the road go on
out and down with luck,
the patterns so recently
aligned in those stars.
Why not drink
of sweet blind dumb luck?
Tempt fate to
work its will?
Why not open the gates to
floods of temptation?
on darkened rivers,
out of hands
of sight the treasure map–
out of luck the tide.
The birdlings are back…in this case, it’s serendipity. “The Song Is…” blog has published several of my works inspired by Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell (the Joni piece appeared here already). The above poem appears on the blog with a different piece of artwork, but this one was also done for the Laura Nyro theme.
And to prove how much I have always liked and used the shadorma form…also serendipitously for along the interstice and Shadorma November…