carry the end
back to the beginning?
who will remember the lost, re
the disappeared? Who will fill life
with futures, release those
fragile wings to
I decided to do my May grid and a butterfly cinquain for both the NaPoWriMo Day 30 prompt, “something that returns”, and Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday prompt theme, chosen by Elizabeth from Tea and Paper, “the day after”.
When Nina and I first started blogging at memadtwo, one of my recurring themes was endangered species. I posted twice (here and here) about the Monarch Butterfly, and wrote in one post:
Most people know that monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada to central Mexico to hibernate in winter. This can mean a trip of nearly 3,000 miles!
Between 2012 and 2013 the amount of butterflies who wintered in the Mexican forest decreased by 40%. The forest habitat itself is disappearing as a result of illegal logging. But the extreme weather conditions of the last few years, due to climate change, have also caused lower hatching rates. Another factor is the loss of milkweed plants, the primary food source for monarchs, killed by agricultural herbicides.
Perhaps the coronavirus will provide these beautiful creatures with some respite from human destruction.
When looking for music about migration I remembered Steve Earle’s song. Monarchs remind us that borders are only the lines that we ourselves choose to draw.
Thanks to Maureen Thorson and all the participants in NaPoWriMo 2020 for helping me to travel all over the world and creating bridges that reached far beyond the walls and borders of our politics and our forced isolation.
you seem to be complete
a smile like ripe fruit
you are everything
a palace and a simple path
reduced to molecules of grey light
sewn with stars
a valley and a clear mountain stream
a tree growing inside a fabulous beast
you are beyond and over
crowding me with vastness
newborn and ancient
an omen only just imagined
you take my hand unlayer
my heart open me and fly
Being allergic, I am petless to answer the NaPoWriMo Day 29 prompt, but my dreams are full of creatures of all kinds.
Patti Griffin wrote this wonderful song for her dog.
I open my grandmother’s trunk and the smell of cedar recalls my father’s woolen army blankets, faded and frayed. The inside of the chest had become their home, a refuge from the memories woven into fibers that had crossed the ocean twice.
My father would not talk about the war itself, but he brought home with him both blankets and cots. We never used the blankets.
On hot summer nights my brothers and I opened the cots to sleep in the basement, unaware of the secrets they could tell us, the images seared into our father’s eyes and carried in his bones.
all those silences–
invisible ink written
on the wings of birds
Day 28 NaPoWriMo–the prompt is to describe a significant space from your life.
“All the world’s a stage…”
I was not even born then, and yet I remember it well. In colorized black and white, that moment—where is it now? It disappeared while we were somewhere over the rainbow.
Those were the days!—drowning in background music, we listened for cues, trying to follow the footlights through the portal. We wanted to capture that perfect world, inhabit it, pretend it into now and forever.
How do we measure a time that never was? We continue as dreams, a montage of cinematic stillness, myth disguised as memory. A voice calls from behind the curtain—is that me? Is that you? We rehearse our scripts of storied pasts, fools exposed by darkness, shadows of artificial light.
searching for signs
we adjust our eyes–
crow in a cherry tree
For NaPoWriMo Day 27, I’ve used the prompt from Frank at dVerse to write a haibun inspired by either Shakespeare or Basho.
Stephen Sondheim turned 90 this year. Another master.
I’ve taken the art from my archives.
theft—listen and learn
awareness opening out
side the cage of you
For the NaPoWriMo prompt Day 25, we were to read and listen to James Schuyler’s “Hymn to Life” and then do a number of suggested exercises after free writing for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of combined reading and free writing I was unable to go on. “Hymn to Life” is everything I don’t like in poetry–overwrought, self-indulgent and self-centered, a string of random loosely related observations that pretend to be profound–taking way too long and using way too many words to (maybe–I didn’t finish) say something meaningful. What point was he making? You can tell me life is a circle in a lot fewer and more illuminating words. Had I been his editor, I would have suggested reading Basho.
Or perhaps he should have listened to John Cage…
Each script pulses as air on thousand wings–
again seen and written in sky cloud wings
Waves of dark starlings shape great turns,
exhale in wonder as distance disappears on wings
We say “scientists”, but we too fly in awe and delight–
can we track and keep our shape without wings?
But others catch the shifts in murmuration as dark–
we watch as neighbors turn so each can safeguard against wings
Flock of bird script maintains starling shape,
appears as never before in waves, then turns on wings
Sometimes the sky keeps one thin light track–
it is written on pulses–seven shifts seen again again again again again again again—wings
Cave Canem posted a prompt in their Week Four Literary Balms that I’ve been thinking about for awhile:
Take your favorite poem and use it as a word bank to create a new work. It can be a response to the poem, it can be a remix of the poem, it can be made into a prose poem or have couplets, as long as ALL the words are used.
–Contributed by Cave Canem fellow Teri Ellen Cross Davis.
This morning I read a poem by Sarah Kotchian in Persimmon Tree that resonated, and I made a list of all the words it contained and then started to write. The ghazal form seemed to work best–I used some of the words more than once, but all and only the words in a poem. Just making the list was a revelation, to see the kinds of words she didn’t use, as well as the ones she did. I highly recommend this as an exercise with a poem or poet you like.
Some new and old art, with a poem off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 24.