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Moonlit Shadows

moonlit shadows s

“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye–it also shows the inner images of the soul–the images on the back sides of the eyes.”
–Edvard Munch

winding beneath the
tangles of neural pathways
I follow myself,
moonlit shadows reflecting
mirages deep, heavy, dark


Jane Dougherty’s challenge this week included the Munch painting above and the words
winding – moonlight – follow – heavily – path

I took a few liberties, but then I always find Munch to be darkly ambiguous.

moonlit shadows close up s

So this is it…I did it…30 poems in 30 days.  Considering I didn’t write 30 poems in the past 2 years, I’m feeling good.  I do have to give a nod to Jane and the WordPress poets she has connected me with for encouragement and support, and also to Charlie at Doodlewash, for inviting everyone to share his month of celebratory days, giving me instant inspiration for every day of the month (I participated a little over half the time).

ms faces s

You can see the entire month’s 30 days of poems and artwork here.  My favorites?  I had lots of fun with the fools, and wrote my first Shakespearean sonnet.  But I learned something with all of them.

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Now I need a break!

Arbor Day

tree window 2s

as lovely as a tree, rooted in the earth, reaching towards the heavens

as enchanting as an ash, central column of life, cosmic axis

as captivating as cherry, awakening the magic of spring

as handsome as the beech, guardian of knowledge, wisdom writing words

as magical as an elder, conjuring, healing, restoring life

as stately as oak, enduring portal, shelter, protection and door

as graceful as a willow, mirroring the moon, fulfilling wishes

as dazzling as holly, solstice companion, glow piercing winter’s grey

as simple as the arbor, center and pivot, beginning and end

tree window 1s

The last Friday is April is Arbor Day, a day to celebrate trees.  From cosmic axis to shelter for fairies, trees have always been honored by humans in stories and myth, symbols of life and rebirth, connecting, protecting and healing.

tree window 4s

The photos were taken when I visited the Jewish Museum in March; the colorful geometry of the window decorations caught my eye first, but then the reflections of the trees across the street in Central Park worked their own magic.

tree window 3s

The poem combines two NaPoWriMo prompts:  long 17-syllable lines from day 27, and using a line or phrase from another poem to begin your own from day 25.  Raise your hand if you had to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees” in elementary school!  Permanently embedded in my brain, “lovely as a tree” seemed perfect for Arbor Day.

When you go out today, instead of keeping your eyes on your device, look around and take in the beauty and majesty of trees.

poetry month

Junk Mail Art: Questions 99 and 88

imagine dragons s

What kind of fool am I?
here be the head of a dragon
Is this just fantasy?
here be the tail of a snake

Is that all there is?
here be the head of a dragon
What do you see?
here be the tail of a snake

Do you believe in magic?
here be the head of a dragon
Is there life on Mars?
here be the tail of a snake

What are you waiting for?
here be the head of a dragon
How soon is now?
here be the tail of a snake

Does anybody really know what time it is?
here be the head of a dragon
How can I be sure?
here be the tail of a snake

Who knows where the time goes?
here be the head of a dragon
What is it good for?
here be the tail of a snake

Is this real life?
here be the head of a dragon
Have you ever seen the rain?
here be the tail of a snake

What kind of fool am I?
here be the head of a dragon
What does it all mean?
here be the tail of a snake

Another piece in the mythology series.  NaPoWriMo had a prompt for a call and response poem a few days ago, and a little research turned up the Chinese saying, “the head of a dragon, the tail of a snake”.  It certainly goes well with the collage, but as to what it means…???  A cryptic response deserves a cryptic call, I say.  Especially since I could combine the saying with “here be dragons”, an indicator on a map for what is unknown.

Call and Response is an old form used in the blues, children’s play songs, and sea chanties, and modern songwriters have employed it many times.  My model here is Simon and Garfunkel’s “Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme”.  And if you recognize the questions in the calls, you, like me, have listened to way too much pop music over the last 50 years.

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The Day is Ruthian

babe ink s

Bat-welder, changer
of games, Bronx Sultan of Swat:
Forever The Babe

babe comp s

Echoing my post from yesterday a bit:  it’s always a good day to celebrate baseball.  And who deserves a day of celebration more than Babe Ruth?  George Herman Ruth put up stats as both hitter and pitcher that still stand in the top 10 of all time, and he did it while maintaining a famous appetite for good food with a physique to match.

babe brown 1s

Fat Cats crushed the House
That You Built, casting shadows
of shoes still unfilled

My haiku draws its inspiration from the NaWriPoMo prompt from way back on day 20 to include kennings (a phrase that describes something without using its actual name) in a poem.  Baseball is full of them.

Let’s hope today finds us all batting 1000.

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Audubon Day

audubon bird copy s

my thoughts trip, whiffling
through rivers melting in air,
shunting the edges,
vagrant from ideas not
born of determinate lines

not conspecific
to glaucous vision, but fledged
in fire, the eye caught
in a jizz of mimetic
trills from a long-addled mind

It’s the birthday of John James Audubon, master bird artist.  To celebrate, I made a loose copy of one of the birds in his black billed magpie painting, and finally answered the day 17 prompt from NaPoWriMo to use 10 words from a specialized dictionary in my poem.  Killing two birds with one stone (so to speak), I also used this week’s words from The Secret Keeper.
(5) Words: | TRIP | FIRE | RIVER | EYE | MELT |

black billed magpie audubon s

It’s always a good day to celebrate birds!

The words from’s Find a Bird Dictionary:

whiffling: descending rapidly from a height once the decision to land has been made, involving fast side-slipping first one way and then the other.

shunting:  moving fitfully along a coastline instead of striking out over the sea

vagrant:  a bird which wanders to a particular area if its orientation is at fault or adverse winds drive it off course but in normal circumstances would not be found there at all

determinate:  a species in which the female usually produces a fixed number of eggs in the clutch

conspecific:  belonging to the same species.

glaucous:  greyish-blue

fledged:  a young bird which has just left the nest (‘fledged’)

jizz:  the overall impression which a bird gives an observer, enabling an experienced birdwatcher at least to suspect its identity, even if plumage details and other diagnostic features cannot be seen. Jizz consists of a combination of colour, size, shape and movement

mimetic:  mimicking sounds

addled:  failing to hatch

trills:  a rapid succession of similar notes

poetry month

Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray

man ray head shot comp

What kind of alive am I?
Each morning, nothing new:
I drink coffee, I drift into the usual black.
Can I change into colorful costumes?  Can I?
Today a gypsy, perhaps a fortune teller too,
surprise myself and try something new,
an animal, a vegetable, an entire zoo:
I could become the old lady who
doesn’t care what other people think or do.
I could ignore them and be free
of any laughter or unkind words that come my way.
Can I sing and dance too?
Be the mask and have the mask be true?
Words have feelings,
and feelings have words:
but both need to sing
and both to begin
without self-censorship or fear.
Innocent joy: I want to
find that lost
forgotten what to do.
I’m not sure how
to make this change of black to red or blue.
Yet it’s false, not right
to pretend I couldn’t choose
bright colors
if I wanted to.
I could give out rainbows;
I could create a few.

i am cherry alive illustrator s

Today is selfie day, and not only have I channeled my inner Man Ray once again for self-portrait #14 in my 100 Self-Portraits series, I’ve channeled my inner Delmore Schwartz for a riff on his poem “I am Cherry Alive“.  When I found the print out above from a long ago Illustrator class that used Schwartz’s work as a source , I knew where this selfie-with-poem was going.

k head shot s2

Anyone who knows me is aware that 90% of my wardrobe is black.  It wasn’t always that way though…

head shot close up s

In this portrait I tried to give myself a little color, while also honoring the way I might have actually dressed back in the day.  No, I don’t think I have the nerve now, but it’s a nice thought!

Delmore Schwartz, supposedly the model for Humboldt in Saul Bellow’s novel “Humboldt’s Gift”, was a gifted New York writer of short stories, poems, and essays, an editor, and also a witty conversationalist.  He had early success, but like so many before and after, abused drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental illness in later life.  You can read more about him, and read more of his poems, here.

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My Name Is…

prince guitar s

doves cry purple rain
as symbol or royalty
nothing compares 2

prince profile s

Too soon.

poetry month

Talk Like Shakespeare Today

shakespears fool s

It’s his birthday!

What fools, what fools, what fools these mortals be
what fools to mimic riches glitter fame
what fools to in those masks refinement see
what fools embraceth folly without shame

Where every likeness hath its own deceit
wherein it looketh match to opposite
pretended twin to answer in repeat
the shoe that forceth toes and heel to fit

With voices like to painted artifice
with jaws that stretcheth into polished teeth
with promises that proveth meaningless
duplicity a smile cached underneath

And will the masquerade yet come undone?
I fear the jester killeth us with fun.

shakespeares fool close up s

Shakespeare knew a few things about fools.  With admiration, and as part of my April Fools series, my first ever sonnet.

poetry month

Junk Mail Art for Earth Day

green man scan s

“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
–Blaise Pascal

Infinite mystery, spirits in green,
essence enduring connected by roots
of and inside of, devouring with growth.
Silence of green, traced in shadow, unseen
spirits compounding with opening fruit,
mystery hidden, unseasoned, renewed
guardian tree spirit, green giving birth,
swaddled in mystery, nourished with blood.

green man close up s

It’s Earth Day!  so some recycled junk mail art seems appropriate.  And Green Man, the male counterpart to Mother Earth, is also a perfect subject.  Did you know that Robin Hood, Peter Pan, the Green Knight, and Puck all come out of Green Man mythology?

I was lucky enough to attend the first Earth Day in 1970 in Washington DC.  I lived near Baltimore at the time, and some friends had been invited to sing at the event.  That was 46 years ago–there’s still a lot of work to be done.  But we can all help every day by using less, and recycling more.

Earth Day 2016 - Trees for the Earth poster

This card is part of my junk mail art mythology series.  The day is part of Doodlewash‘s Month of Celebratory Days.  The poem answers two prompts:  Writer’s Quote Wednesday, theme “mystery”, sponsored by Silver Threading and Ronovan Writes, and another san san, the challenge this week from Jane Dougherty.

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Shattered Together

shattered together s

the site of / lost
secrets laughing / tears revealed
plain words / without embellishment
rocks / melting
now shattered / together

It’s National Look Alike Day, so my original conception was some kind of mirror image collage.  Then I started working this week’s The Secret Keeper words into a cleave poem, attempting to incorporate opposite feelings of the words in each side of the poem. I looked for references to illustrate the idea of both the day and the poem.

shattered together close up s

The results are, as they say, “interesting”.  I do like the collage, and I have a pile of twinlike photos to make a series of it if I so desire.  The poem?  the idea is a good one, but still needs some work I think.

(5) Words: | PLAIN | LAUGH | SITE | ROCK | SECRET |

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