July 29, 2011

Poetry Friday--"A Petition"


Here's a love poem, a simple expression of one person's desire to be nearly invisible to her beloved, yet always there as a measure of security and steadfastness.
A Petition
by Amy Lowell

I pray to be the tool which to your hand
    Long use has shaped and moulded till it be
    Apt for your need, and, unconsideringly,
You take it for its service. I demand
To be forgotten in the woven strand
    Which grows the multi-coloured tapestry
    Of your bright life, and through its tissues lie
A hidden, strong, sustaining, grey-toned band.
    I wish to dwell around your daylight dreams,
The railing to the stairway of the clouds,
    To guard your steps securely up, where streams
A faƫry moonshine washing pale the crowds
    Of pointed stars. Remember not whereby
    You mount, protected, to the far-flung sky.
Don't you just love this line--"The railing to the stairway of the clouds"?

Visit the Book Aunt for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by Kevin H.

July 26, 2011

July 24, 2011

July 22, 2011

Poetry Friday--Objets Perdus

There is an interesting website called objets perdus/lost items that describes itself as the
site de gardiennage virtuel des objets perdus - galerie de photos / virtual storage of lost items - photo gallery
As you can see, it is in two languages, French and English, which only adds to the exotic feeling I get from visiting it. So what does it have to do with poetry? Nothing other than it could provide a great writing prompt--or two or three. Write about lost items from your past (and please resist the urge to write about the time you "lost" your heart). Write about one of the lost items on the site. Select a few of the French words and work them into a poem. Take a walk, or a ride, purposefully looking for objets perdus. Snap a photo with your camera or cell phone and write about the photo, rather than the item itself.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that each objet comes with GPS coordinates, which you can plug into Google Maps and be introduced to new places. Then you can people these places with your poetic imagination!

I tried a few exercises, and through a combination of things, I came up with:
La Reine Poète

On eBay I bid on a
box of old photographs
and win not knowing
the lives of someone's
lost relatives would
become mine by default
to shape and direct,
destroy, resurrect, to
manipulate. A world
conquered by the
queen of words who
has no life of her own.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.

July 19, 2011

July 17, 2011

July 15, 2011

Poetry Friday--What Are You Doing Instead?

Regularly writing poetry is a hard routine for me to maintain. I did well for nearly two years then fell off. Now, if I write it's generally on the weekend. I'm not sure what's gone, but something has left the building.

Grace Paley tells us what she has done instead of writing a poem;
The Poet's Occasional Alternative

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead        it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft        a poem would have had some
distance to go        days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it        many friends
will say        why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems

because of unreportable
sadnesses I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership        I do not
want to wait a week        a year        a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

[I tried to preserve, as best I could, the spacing between words. An odd use of space and no punctuation! It does, however, make it more interesting since I have to wonder why she chose to lay out the poem this way?]

What do you do instead of writing poems? Can you write a poem about not writing a poem? Give it a shot! Here's one from me:
Sunday Alternative

With skies clear
a passel of sparrows
swooping past the open
window singing, the
frenzy of one fat
cat invalidates proposed
phrases of pastoral
beauty. Nothing now
but to watch life
unfold before my eyes.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved
Spend the morning at A Year of Reading where Mary Lee is gathering armsful of poems for this week.

July 12, 2011

July 10, 2011

July 8, 2011

Poetry Friday--Archy and Mehitabel

Perhaps somewhere in the recesses of your mind, the pair, Archy and Mehitabel, ring a bell. A musical duo? The tap-dancing sensation from the 1930s? A cockroach and a cat?

If you said "a cockroach and a cat," you are correct. Archy and Mehitabel were the creation of the humorist and newspaperman, Don Marquis.
THEY ARE THE MOST UNLIKELY OF FRIENDS: Archy is a cockroach with the soul of a poet, and Mehitabel is an alley cat with a celebrated past--she claims she was Cleopatra in a previous life. Together, cockroach and cat are the foundation of one of the most engaging collections of light poetry to come out of the twentieth century.



You may have heard Garrison Keillor read one of the 500 sketches that Marquis wrote about the characters, on The Writer's Almanac (Minnesota Public Radio). Here he reads "the lesson of the moth," which begins:
i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense
It ends:
but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

Don't we all wish to have something we want badly enough that we would consider self-immolation? Okay, maybe not self-immolation, but at least something that we feel strongly about!

'Tis the season for moths and porch lights, go outside and enjoy it!

Head over to Wild Rose Reader for this week's Round-Up.

July 3, 2011

July 1, 2011

Poetry Friday--Snails


I've seen slugs, but up until 2000 I had never seen a living land snail! When I finally saw one, I was intrigued by the delicateness of its shell as compared to the slimy nakedness of the slug.

Here is a pretty snail poem by Thom Gunn:
Considering the Snail

The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth’s dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail’s fury? All
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.
The most recent issue of Haiga Online, "Iris Fields," issue 12-1 June 2011, is now available and it includes the results of regular feature of the journal, "Haiku this Haiga!" For this issue contributors were presented a snail painting by Mary B. Rodning and were asked to come up with a haiku to pair with the picture. From all the entries one by Michael Dylan Welch was chosen as the winner. His haiku was translated into Japanese and calligraphed; bamboo flute music was added. A slideshow of all the haiku entries, including mine, is included also. You can view the slideshow by going to this page, then clicking on "Traditional Haiga." Enjoy!

Although I've titled this post, "Snails," I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the rhyming picture book by David Greenberg, illustrated by Victoria Chase, Slugs. My kids used to love the book when they were in elementary school! I think it may still be available in paperback. A word of warning, it is not for the faint of heart! The humor is very black.

Stop by A Wrung Sponge for the first Round-Up of the new 6-month Poetry Friday schedule.