Hummingbirds are interesting critters. Their ability to fly not just forwards but backwards and upside down is captivating. Put their flying capacity together with combativeness in defending their territory, add a hot summer day, covered porch, easy chair and cold beer, and voila! Quite the show. But, that’s not what this poem is about. Hummingbirds also hover. They hold their place in space and time. As symbols of eternity, hummingbirds can be hopeful or hopeless. You decide.
The wind drags silken wisps across clean skies and I, like so many before me, make no protest, no outcry; a perfect image of complicity, I clear the path for days to come, I hold a cup filled with the bitter dregs of broken dreams and stormy sky. I tweak clothespins to loosen the tattered garments of dreams we dare dream, of journeys to take and songs to sing – of books we have yet to read — and what of our unwritten stories, you say? Tales extended over time and bound by spiderwebs between the fractures in our hearts? We live on the edge of what could be, what is, what was, of fears, of fantasies, of our imperfect expectation that united, we can stand by and watch our brothers and sisters die, merely for the hopeful crime of living. The wind drags silken wisps across clean skies and I, like so many around me, wear ignorant disregard -- my fear hidden beneath a veil.
Another try at a golden shovel poem, in which the would-be poet chooses a line or lines from another poem and uses each word as an end word in the new poem. The end words must be kept in order, and the original poet is credited. I selected the following three lines from Girlfriends, by Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s 2017 Poet Laureate:
Stanza 2/Line 2: I make a clear cup of sky
Stanza 4/Lines 2-3: We have extended the edge of expectation by merely living
Stanza 6/Line 4: I wear my veil.
She scatters a lifetime’s collection of curios on a frayed carpet
rather like the spray of amniotic fluids at birth
a woman’s journey into the wilds of Africa
hazy descent into a long dream
the never-ending night
with one thousand stars to light her way through an empty gallery.
With one thousand stars to light her way through an empty gallery
her bare feet slide on threadbare carpet
called by the stars at night
to throw caution to the winds and birth
the silver thread of her dream
to follow her treasure map through the wilds of Africa.
To follow her treasure map through the wilds of Africa
she picks her way slowly towards the moon at the end of the gallery
and stops from time to time to admire curios quarried from a dream.
She digs her toes into frayed carpet
afraid of that final push into birth
balanced on the edge of night.
Balanced on the edge of night
she is called to enter the wilds of Africa
and the salted, bloodied tsunami of birth
carries her to the end of the gallery
flooding the threadbare carpet
with holy water to bless the curios of her dream.
With holy water to bless the curios of her dream
she sees where daylight promises to end night
and arches her feet against sodden carpet
hoping to find sun in the wilds of Africa.
She looks back to the darkened gallery
swollen with the pain of birth.
Swollen with the pain of birth
she slowly wakes from an enforced dream
of crooked pictures and dusty curios housed in a starlit gallery.
Setting free her fear of never-ending night
she follows the yellow-billed stork into the wilds of Africa,
soars over grassland carpet.
On the grassland carpet she rests from giving birth
and dreams of dancing in the wilds of Africa
before walking the gallery of never-ending night.
Brought to you by the challenge of creating a sestina using the NaHaiWriMo prompts from November 4-9. Simply put, to write a sestina, pick 6 words, rotate them as the end words in 6 stanzas and then include 2 per of the words per line in your final stanza.
Today’s tanka brought to you by the NaHaiWriMo prompt everlasting/eternal, combined with an intriguing article on early Soviet children’s books and propaganda, a former Argentinian president who dreamed of greatness and started by educating his people, and an overlay of gloomy American news. It’s past time to rethink how we tend our garden.
In April 2017, one of my poems was selected for the Olympia Spring Arts Walk. Another poem, Olympia Almanac, was recently selected for I Hear Olympia Singing: An Anthology of Olympia Poems for the 2018 Fall Arts Walk celebration.
they greet the night
with joyful song and dance
below a fading moon
Tidbits by Shannon 09.09.2018
the temple bell stops but I still hear
the sound coming out of the flowers