Friday, July 21, 2017

DAWN: An Original Poem That Needs Revision




Dawn
melted stars
tucked night in tight
woke the sun,
switched on its light...
then made it shine
into this little room of mine.


I haven't posted for a few weeks. I have been going through a writing "dry spell." It has been frustrating for me. I was on a roll for several weeks working on two different collections--and then my muse went on vacation. That said, I have been really busy caring for my "grandgirls" five days a week. And in summer, I like to take them outdoors...and play with them in the pool. By the time my daughter gets home from work and we finish dinner, I'm rarely raring to write.

Still, I feel so fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my granddaughters. They bring such joy into my life. My daughter is going to take a couple of weeks of vacation this summer--so maybe I'll get into my writing groove once again.

 


I decided to post the poem about dawn, which I found in a computer folder of poems that I had forgotten about. I know it needs more work--but I wanted to participate in Poetry Friday this week.
 
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Katie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Logonauts.
 




Friday, June 23, 2017

The Case of the Missing Caterpillars


On Tuesday, my husband and older granddaughter spotted some interesting-looking caterpillars munching on our dill plant. My husband, two granddaughters, and I checked them out several times during the course of the day. That night, I counted ten caterpillars on the plant. On Wednesday morning, there were just two left. By Thursday morning, they had all disappeared--even though my husband covered the plant with netting.
 
Our family was really disappointed. We had so hoped to see them metamorphose into butterflies.

I'm not sure what ate them. I doubt they crawled away on a long-distance journey. We couldn't find them anywhere else in the garden.
Thinking of those caterpillars brought to mind Christina Rossetti's poem Caterpillar.

CATERPILLAR
by Christina Rossetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry:
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

My husband and I did some research on the caterpillars. They looked a lot like the larvae of the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly--who like dill plants. I'm not sure, however, that they live here in the Northeast.

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Heidi Mordhorst has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.

 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Li-Young Lee and Poetry about Fathers



I fell in love with the poetry of Li-Young Lee when I read his debut collection Rose. Published in 1986, the book won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. In the foreword that he wrote for Rose, Gerald Stern said that when he first came across Li-Young Lee’s poetry, he “was amazed by the large vision, the deep seriousness and the almost heroic ideal “reminiscent more of John Keats, Rainer Maria Rilke and perhaps Theodore Roethke than William Carlos Williams on the one hand or T.S. Eliot on the other.” Stern added that what characterizes Lee’s poetry “Is a certain humility, a kind of cunning, a love of plain speech, a search for wisdom and understanding…”

Stern also wrote in his foreword that the “father” in contemporary poetry “tends to be a pathetic soul or bungler or a sweet loser, overwhelmed by the demands of family and culture and workplace.” He said that the father in Lee’s poems isn’t anything like that. He said the “father” in Lee’s poetry is “more godlike”–and that the poet’s job “becomes not to benignly or tenderly forgive him, but to withstand him and comprehend him, and variously fear and love him.”

 
 
Lee’s second collection, The City in Which I Love You (1990), is a remembrance of the poet’s childhood…and his father. Writing in Publishers Weekly, reviewer Peggy Kaganoff said the book’s poetry “weaves a remarkable web of memory from the multifarious fibers of his experience.”

 
 
 
 
 
For Father’s Day, I have selected some poems from Li-Young Lee’s Rose and The City in Which I Love You to share with you.

Excerpt from Eating Alone

Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can’t recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

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Excerpt from The Gift


To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.
Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

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Excerpt from My Father, in Heaven, Is Reading Out Loud

My father, in heaven, is reading out loud
to himself Psalms or news. Now he ponders what
he’s read. No. He is listening for the sound
of children in the yard. Was that laughing
or crying? So much depends upon the
answer, for either he will go on reading,
or he’ll run to save a child’s day from grief.
As it is in heaven, so it was on earth.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

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Persimmons


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Some old photos of my father, Sigismund R. Drabik (1912-1984): Polish Immigrant, American Citizen, World War II Veteran





 

 
NOTE: I am having trouble with Blogger this morning. I can't figure out why there are whited-out areas on this post.
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The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol's Corner.
 

 

Friday, June 9, 2017

What Is Supposed to Happen by Naomi Shihab Nye




Yesterday was my older granddaughter's last day of preschool. She spent three years at that wonderful place...with many of the same children who have become her "best friends." After school, my husband and I took her to a nearby park/playground where she and her classmates had an end-of-the-year picnic. The kids all had a grand time playing with each other.

My husband and I finally got to meet many of the children she has been telling us about. It was great watching her having fun and running  around with her friends--some of whom will be going to the same school for kindergarten. I know she'll miss the others who will be attending different schools in the area.

As I watched my granddaughter chatting and playing with her classmates, it brought to mind a favorite poem written by Naomi Shihab Nye: What Is Supposed to Happen. It's a poem that I included in a memory book that I put together for my daughter as a high school graduation gift.

My little "grandgirls" are growing up--and I'm left with the same mixed emotions that I had as I watched my own daughter mature, widen her world outside of family, go off to kindergarten and then college.
 


WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
by Naomi Shihab Nye

When you were small,
we watched you sleeping,
waves of breath
filling your chest.
Sometimes we hid behind
the wall of baby, soft cradle
of baby needs.
I loved carrying you between
my own body and the world.

Now you are sharpening pencils,
entering the forest
of lunch boxes, little desks.
People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

 
My younger granddaughter came to the picnic too.
 
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Mary Lee Hahn has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Year of Reading.

 

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Home Song by Henry Van Dyke



This morning, my son-in-law drove by my old home. He took a picture with his cell phone and sent it to me. I loved that house--and my old neighborhood. Mike and I lived there for nearly forty years. I was sad to leave the home where my husband and I raised our daughter...and had spent most of our adult lives. I WAS happy to see that the new owners are taking good care of the place.

Last week, I posted a poem that I had written years ago about the home of my maternal grandparents. I didn't have time to write a poem about my old home this morning. Instead, I'm posting the following poem, which expresses my feelings better than I could at the moment:

A Home Song
by Henry Van Dyke

I read within a poet's book
A word that starred the page:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!"

Yes, that is true; and something more
You'll find, where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.

But every house where Love abides,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

Although I miss my old home, I am content now living next door to my daughter...and so happy that I can see my "grandgirls" every day!
 
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Keisha has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Whispers from the Ridge.