Poetry Postcard Fest 2021: Pantoum and Moon

I want to spiral with stars,
I want to breathe deeply
of the galaxies–
fly into vast silences

thrown towards the essence
of the galaxies,
the echo of silence–
I want to spiral with stars

For the Poetry Postcard Fest this year, I decided to do all moon postcards from my own photos as I had already done a series of them for one of the Kick-About prompts so I had the beginnings started. Last year I did shadormas for the poems using part of the last line of the previous poem as the first line for the next one.

But this year I decided to do a pantoum, giving me two lines for my next poem. These are the first and the last cards, the beginning and the end of the poem. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was as successful poetically, as I kind of got bogged down in the middle by the repetition. Too much of a good thing–41 stanzas is a lot.

Since I made 41 postcards I sent them all–to the 32 people on my list, and the rest I sent to friends. In return I got 25 from people in my Fest group, plus 2 from friends. You can see the ones I received at the top. Last year one postcard arrived in December, so more may show up. Once again I enjoyed the variety in both the postcards and the poems I received. Not to mention finding real mail in the mailbox–that’s always a treat.

I intended to post all the postcards and poems I sent last year for PoPo 2020, but I didn’t get very far. I did do 3 posts with the first 6 cards–you can see them here:
https://kblog.blog/2020/10/02/popo-2020/
https://kblog.blog/2020/10/18/popo-2020-part-2/
https://kblog.blog/2021/06/14/popo-2020-part-3/

They may still get posted at some point…and also more of this year’s moon cards. You can never have too much of either the moon or pantoums.

You can read about the Poetry Postcard Fest, and register for 2022, here.

Also linking to dVerse Open Link Night, where Lisa (who also participated in the Postcard Fest and made and sent me one of her beautiful postcards) is hosting.

recalibrations

where is the center?
always moving–
I can’t locate
the pivot

always moving–
the place of stillness,
the pivot
of this labyrinth

stillness
retracing
this labyrinth
emerging

retracing
beginning
emerging
expanding

to begin,
I relocate–
expanding
the center

For Earthweal, where Ingrid asks us to consider our labyrinthine times.

Newborn

Where there’s life, there hope–
your tiny hand is full of promise,
growing into luminescence,
reaching out, moving towards light.

Your tiny hand is full of promise–
it opens like the sky,
reaching out, moving towards light
like a flower awakening.

It opens like the sky,
complete and infinite–
like a flower awakening,
dancing with the wind.

Complete and infinite,
you sparkle the darkness–
dancing with the wind
like a trail of stars.

You sparkle the darkness–
a mirror, a pathway
like a trail of stars–
everything all at once.

A mirror, a pathway
growing into luminescence–
everything all at once–
where there’s life, there’s hope.

Merril at dVerse asks us to write a poem incorporating a proverb.

where there’s life, there’s hope

what is/is not

everywhere
falls apart
mind to eyes
expanding

falls apart
becomes its opposite
expanding
into stories

becomes its opposite
days into nights
into stories
the sun intersecting the moon

days into nights
future and past
the sun intersecting the moon
enlarging the horizon

future and past
the surprise of delight
enlarging the horizon
to leave is to arrive

the surprise of delight
mind to eyes
to leave is to arrive
everywhere

Brian Rutenberg Low Dense (SOLD), 2010, oil on linen, 63 x 158 inches

The Kick-About prompt this time was a painting by Brian Rutenberg, Low Dense, above. The colors immediately made me think of Monet, which made me think of the grids I did based on Monet’s work. And so I decided to do a grid.

This is a very intense way to look at art, and I learned a lot from it as I not only did some of Monet’s paintings, but an entire book of other artists for The Sketchbook Project. The subtleties of color are amazing when you look closely at them. Rutenberg clearly has an eye for color.

And my second pantoum for the week. Abstract, like the art.

You can see my work with Monet here and here. And my Sketchbook Project book, Art I Like, here.

who am/are

finding myself
I open the cages
I travel on paths
where I once was we

I open the cages
calm and unafraid
where I once was we
everything begins again

calm and unafraid
as intersected species
everything begins again
inside and out

as intersected species
abiding in before and after
inside and out
following life’s tides

abiding in before and after
I travel on paths
following life’s tides
finding myself

Sherry posted at earthweal this week about Jane Goodall and how her work with chimpanzees led her to start “Roots and Shoots, her program, now 30 years old, that inspires young people to plant trees and care for the areas in which they live”.

I knew I had posted before about chimpanzees as part of my endangered species series on methodtwomadness. When I went back and looked, I found that I had also talked then about Jane Goodall and her work.

Chimpanzees are our closest genetic relative. Of course we still have plenty of work to do learning to treat other humans with respect. We can start by opening the cage doors.

chimp 1s

My first pantoum of the week–there will be more.

On Rambling/City Streets

Under concrete still lies the earth.
Am I bridged?  Do I travel on or over?
The air takes my thoughts and plays with them,
embroiders them, suspends them between.

Am I bridged?  do I travel on or over?
My fingers want to hold the windwhispers–
embroider them, suspend them between
the bare branches of the trees.

My fingers want to hold the windwhispers
that touch the moon on her journey
through the bare branches of the trees
into the fullness of the reflected light.

I want to touch the moon on her journey.
My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
backlit by the fullness of reflected light.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.

My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
a landscape I too often inhabit.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–

a landscape I too often inhabit.
I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–
how to be someone that is also everything.

I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
How to dance across the invisible threads.
How to be someone that is also everything,
crisscrossing land sea sky stars.

How to dance across the invisible threads
that hold both concrete and earth,
crosscrossing land sea sky stars–
(the air takes my thoughts and plays with them)

This pantoum is definitely a work in progress. For NaPoWriMo day 15, and the earthweal weekly challenge: Toward an Ecopoetry.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

Ersilia

skulls of saints–
the bones of the dead
dismantled–
spiritual songs

the bones of the dead
seeking a form–
spiritual songs,
grey life

seeking a form–
labyrinth,
grey life–
they are nothing

labyrinth,
consumed moon–
they are nothing–
times chant

consumed moon,
intricate relationships–
times chant
blood

intricate relationships
dismantled–
blood,
skulls of saints

A pantoum mash up of phrases from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu” for Laura at dVerse, and The Kick-About prompt #13 “Ersilia” from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The Kick-About prompt immediately made me want to take actual thread and do something three-dimensional to represent the abandoned city of Ersilia. Cardboard boxes were my starting point. Weaving my embroidery floss with a needle between the supports I cut and folded up, it became obvious how the city inhabitants became tangled in a state of impasse, forcing them to move on.

I decided to do a landscape background–the text spoke of viewing the deserted city from the mountains–and I spent a lot of time laying out possible landscapes on my floor from the collage references I had. I then dismantled and retaped a box to make a sort of diorama and glued the landscape pieces down.

Then I had fun rearranging the threaded bones of the city and photographing it from different viewpoints against the background.

Laura’s prompt, to incorporate phrases from Greenberg’s poem into our own verse, made me think of combining those words with phrases taken from the Calvino excerpt. There seemed to be an affinity between the two.

I read “Invisible Cities” in 2016 and posted a review on Goodreads. At the end I wrote: “Certainly it inspires visions that could be transferred to paper…and perhaps some of them will come to form for me at a future time.” And so they have.

turning the crossroads

Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
–Sylvia Plath, “You’re”

feet to the stars
two places at once
and moon-skulled–
who will ride the ghost horse?

two places at once
floating on nothing–
who will ride the ghost horse,
the pulse of here and now?

floating on nothing
above the bones of the landscape–
the pulse of here and now
on every breath–

above the bones of the landscape,
casting the spirit away
on every breath–
sojourners through the dark,

casting the spirit away,
spiraled like serpents–
sojourners through the dark,
upside down, reversed,

spiraling like serpents
and moon-skulled–
upside down, reversed–
feet to the stars

This is what I was trying to post when I realized they had switched me to the block editor and I could not figure out how to add an image.  I actually did finally figure it out, but I still dislike it and find all the extra steps necessary to put a post together annoying. I am glad to still be able to do things the simple and direct way through WP Admin.

Jade, at dVerse, posted in Poetics about clowns and their many manifestations.  She gave us a choice of using clown in our poem, or using a line from one of the three poems she provided for illustration. I chose the Plath line quoted above–could I resist the word “moon-skulled”?

unexplained

unexplained s

gathered in
like harmony
spilling out
like wings

like harmony
a stillness
like wings
unfolding

in stillness
each chord
unfolding
the world

each chord
filling
the world
with song

filling
the edges
with song
reaching

unexplained close up s

the edges
uncontained
reaching
the invisible

uncontained
singing
the invisible
to eternity

singing
beyond reason
to infinity
all needs

beyond reason
spilling out
all needs met
and gathered in

An unrhymed pantoum for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.

the ancient shores of galaxies still call

printed geese 1s

I stand facing the ocean
tides of wing and air–
time fades into mystery,
emptied of illusions

sea sketch 2s

tides of wing and air
held in light–
emptied of illusions
I swim in dream languages

forms die s

held in light
horizon merges into skylandsea–
I swim in dream languages,
wordless songs that awaken stories

elaborate music s

 

horizon merges into skylandsea
consumed by rivers of stars–
wordless songs that awaken stories
mirrored in ethereal blue

ocean pencil drawing s

consumed by rivers of stars
time fades into mystery–
mirrored in ethereal blue
I stand facing the ocean

blue 2s

For earthweal, sacred (sea)scapes.  How many poems have I written about the sea?  As many as I have about birds and stars and moons.  This unrhymed pantoum contains lines from many of them.  The artwork is from my many previous ocean-themed posts as well.