Keep celebrating poetry’s big month

There’s still a couple of weeks left in National Poetry Month — still plenty of time to submit your best poetic effort and/or a copy of your favorite poem. If you are submitting your own work, include a brief explanation of your inspiration. If you are submitting someone else’s poem, include a few lines about why and how this poem became one of your faves. Please DO NOT submit poems as separate postings to BAMirror; attach them to this posting through the “Leave a Comment” function. Already posted: Two poems by BAMirror reviewer Tony Villecco.

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18 Responses to "Keep celebrating poetry’s big month"

  1. Barb Van Atta

    The following poems were written by BAMirror reviewer Tony Villecco:

    GERANIUM for GT
    My window sill is cluttered;
    paper clips and pencils, blue lined pens,
    index cards which obliterate the
    view from this towering
    brick façade.

    But shouting out at me
    I see my geraniums spilling
    color from their home on the sill;
    their branches like little
    torches.

    Hues of pink and red and orange
    greet me every morning
    on this frigid winter day.
    They laugh to think their beauty
    can mock the frosty glass.

    Like tiny painted finger nails, they wave
    at me, these minute, almost opened
    flowers shyly showing a glimpse
    of the rainbow, spewing a line of
    red against my yellowed wall.

    IN DREAMS
    I thought I dreamed the war had
    stopped.
    It wasn’t just the
    present world, with all the
    madness of men but the bullet
    holes from long ago;

    the spears and rifles and
    looting and lynching.
    The pain and blood and pointless
    loss of life had never happened.
    No Nazi’s ever lived.

    I thought I dreamed that history was
    wiped cleaned of man’s inhumanity
    to man. The only things on earth were
    the scent of lilacs.
    The silence of a baby breathing.

    No Civil War and division of states,
    no confederacy and Yankee loathing.
    Never a Great War when young boys
    were dashed
    like fragile porcelain on French and
    German shores.
    No World War Two.

    I thought I dreamed that Vietnam was
    just
    some concoction left over
    from the crazy drug filled sixties
    when flower power was the rule and
    guitars
    could lull you to sleep.

    No war, no hate, no loss of life;
    And in my dream there were people
    embracing and stroking the hair of their
    little girls, petting the fur
    of their Dobermans and collies.

    I thought I dreamed all of this
    but when I awoke to the sad
    realization of what was happening,
    I longed to sleep again and maybe for
    awhile,
    wake up on another distant planet.

  2. Cats and the elderly are two of my favorite poetry topics, among several others. It’s been awhile since my creativity has added something new, but here are two I’ve done some recent rewriting on.

    I’m Perfectly Cool!
    By Mickey Ray 
    “It’s far too hot,” my nagging wife cried,
    Her body bent and arched
    “The heat has left me miserable
    My throat is sore and parched!”
     
    “Why, it’s cool as Autumn!” I replied back to her
    “Refreshing and crisp, the air!
    Feel the breeze and the coolness,” I added as well,
    “The day is brisk and fair!”
     
    She looked at me, in disbelief
    Her cheeks were glistened with sweat
    “Are you daft, old man, it’s hotter’n hell!”
    She nagged, feeling little regret.
     
    “It’s ninety-six degrees out there,”
    “ ‘n’ goin’ higher, the man reported”
    “Do you really believe all that you hear
    On the TV?” I retorted.
     
    “There’s no lick of sense in you,” she cried
    “It’s a heat wave! Can’t you tell?”
    “I’m cool as a cucumber,” I said to her
    “No matter how much you stomp and yell!”
     
    She took one final look at me
    Then sighed and left me there.
    I stood still as stone, melting on the spot
    And smiled from ear to ear.

    ———————————-

    The Catship
    By Mickey Ray
     
    Gnarled, wrinkled hands
    Like wizened oaks
    Smell of camphor and lilac
    And sometimes death
    As they evoke purring
    With loving if not final strokes
    I hear your plea
    Release is but a breath away
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way
     
    Clouded orbs of watery blue
    Behind opaque glass eyes
    Stare ahead or out through windows
    Filled with nothing
    Searching for a final path
    Of painless bliss and joyful reunions
    I leave your lap
    And pad softly to your face
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way
     
    I give you my secret name
    In rumbled words that
    Pass into your hands
    As only cats can do
    Gentle ever so gentle
    The rise and fall of your breath
    You bring me to your lips
    You call my name and ask to go
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way
     
    I take your spirit into myself
    I leap from your bed of ills
    Away from that couch of frailty
    You join with me
    And the others who have been waiting
    Now you know the secret of
    Nine lives
    Not far the journey now
    One passenger to go
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way
     
    The living world will make your bed
    And mourn their loss
    Rejoice! You cry, my journey begins
    They cannot read our knowing grin

    As to another uneasy soul
    The cat and you, with six along
    Climb upon that ancient lap
    Our chorus soothes his weary mind
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way
     
    We rise in purring song to crying lips
    You, the six and I shall say our secret name
    For the final journey
    The ninth now joins the Catship’s crew
    My cargo is complete
    The heaven’s ocean is sailing calm
    And amorphous waves beacon us to Eternal Bliss
    This is the work of the cat
    Ahoy! Let me guide you there
    I know the way

    Mickey Ray – http://www.mickeyray.com/writing.asp

  3. bonnieshearn

    I love the poems, Mickey; your humour and sweet soul shine through…Bon

    I wrote two elegies recently:

    Vernal Equinox: Elegy for Brad
    Sorrow insinuates herself
    In a seamless stream
    As the earth in ceaseless motion
    Tilts its axis
    To fix shafts of sunlight as
    Guides for your ascension
    Spring commemorates her entrance
    With an exit and an iris
    A perfectly purple splendid display
    Here with us instead of you.

    ©Bonnie Shearn

    Elegy For Cheryl
    My friend,
    After viewing a PBS piece
    On cephalopods declared she would be
    A cuttlefish.
    Chameleons of the oceans
    They blend or dazzle
    Neon when their moods swing…
    Or maybe it’s the temperature.
    Pyrotechnic swimmers…
    They can disappear or flash
    Schizoid skin
    She had ceased
    To dream for herself
    Losing them to dark moods
    And fears of space and loss.
    Saving everything.
    Surrounding herself with
    Pyramids of papers
    Books, shoes, clothes.
    Leaving just enough room
    For her body, on her bed.
    A sarcophagus
    With no lid.

    © Bonnie Shearn

  4. Bonnie,
    I really loved reading your Elegy for Cheryl. Very image clear of both her great days and her final sad departure!
    I’m glad I came up to the site as the email had both poems compressed into one paragraph and was hard to decipher.
    So much better to read them as actually written. I certainly hope all our poems will encourage more writers to send in their poetic thoughts!

    I can’t resist just one more! I’d had several poems published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines back in 1990, and this is one of them.
    THE MISSING MEAT
     © 1990 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Detectiverseby Mickey Ray – Pfleger
     
    Mr. Muscher, the butcher, whooped up and down,
    “Where’s the cow that I recently slaughtered?
    Mrs. Klein, I can’t give her the steaks or the liver
    Or anything else that she’s ordered!
     
    She also had dibs on a roast and some ribs,
    Where are they?” he asked his assistant.
    “If stolen they be, don’t look at me!”
    Of his innocence he was persistent.
     
    Mr. Muscher kept yelling, his glands, they kept swelling
    Yet he cried ‘till he had no more voice.
    “I took not a sliver,” said the boy, “of the liver.
    Nor the steaks, prime cut or choice.
     
    But the hoarseness of you has given a clue
    Before this case has begun.
    Take a look, with some pity, at yonder most kitty
    At least, the cat’s got your tongue!

    http://www.mickeyray.com/writing.asp

  5. Nice blog. I’m on a bit of a mission to get my favorite classic poem up in to my top ten posts so it shows on the sidebar. So it would be great if you would have a look. Ozymandias

  6. bonnieshearn

    I love that…clever boy, you!!!! Brad was husband to my friend Barbara. He died on the first day of spring after which Barbara posted a photo of the iris blooming in their which she titled: Brad’s flower..Cheryl and I were friends since our early teens…I miss her tremendously and think of her often.

  7. Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
    by Billy Collins

    I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
    or on any river for that matter
    to be perfectly honest.

    Not in July or any month
    have I had the pleasure–if it is a pleasure–
    of fishing on the Susquehanna.

    I am more likely to be found
    in a quiet room like this one–
    a painting of a woman on the wall,

    a bowl of tangerines on the table–
    trying to manufacture the sensation
    of fishing on the Susquehanna.

    There is little doubt
    that others have been fishing
    on the Susquehanna,

    rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
    sliding the oars under the water
    then raising them to drip in the light.

    But the nearest I have ever come to
    fishing on the Susquehanna
    was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

    when I balanced a little egg of time
    in front of a painting
    in which that river curled around a bend

    under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
    dense trees along the banks,
    and a fellow with a red bandanna

    sitting in a small, green
    flat-bottom boat
    holding the thin whip of a pole.

    That is something I am unlikely
    ever to do, I remember
    saying to myself and the person next to me.

    Then I blinked and moved on
    to other American scenes
    of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

    even one of a brown hare
    who seemed so wired with alertness
    I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

  8. Scott Michael Anderson

    Soul Luggage

    Riding down Route 11
    Train tracks stretch forever down my side.

    Locomotive of loneliness stations through me
    Blindsided by the memory of you here for the ride.

    Easy to forget, hard when you’re forgotten
    Simple when you’re not interested, difficult wearing rejection.

    Your departure; a freight of heartbreak, derailing
    Left feeling like soul baggage no one is claiming.

    It is the drunk of closure
    That lasting hangover.

    As the loner; I realize this
    I’m not the one you wish to hold in your arms, dreams, or kiss.

    Written By Scott Michael Anderson 10/1991

  9. Scott Michael Anderson

    Aperture To Pixel

    In the court of public opinion
    Truth is virtual.

    In the theater of reflection
    Voices and critics, shed roses, shout little blossoms of doubt, slip tiny enunciation of castration.

    In the chambers of the emancipated heart
    Your presence is forgiven.

    To always feel that nothing could help you heal
    To always know how you were found broken and alone.

    Instead of embracing a friend
    Heartache hugging tombstones.

    Written By Scott Michael Anderson 2009

  10. Scott Michael Anderson

    Dependency

    American flags wrap soldiers coffins like bar codes.

    Thoughts, decisions –
    Like roadside bombs; reality detonating.

    Shrapnel of hatred implodes, seemingly transmigration.

    Faith a drug;
    God the addiction.

    Written by Scott Michael Anderson 8/2008

  11. “Tattoo”

    I would never have seen them if
    I had not
    pulled open your shirt;

    those tiny birds flying on your pec,
    where were they going?
    You pulled away but not before
    their little blue wings

    pressed out of your hairy chest,
    that trail that goes down your belly.
    Would I be able to kiss their wings?
    Feel the warmth of your body…

    on my trembling lips?

  12. “Mozart and Wine”

    Sparkle like waves of
    color wash my ears;
    Mozart’s sublime melodies.

    Crystal goblet sweats pearl
    size drops of moisture,
    fingers numb with delirium.

    Such sweet music to
    comprehend! I sit
    while red merlot fills the

    veins, quiets my mind.
    Was there ever such beauty
    as this?

    That music’s potent
    beat could blot out reality; fill me
    up with drunken wonder?

  13. “Angels”
    Some nights I can hear the flap
    of the angel’s wings
    outside my bedroom window.

    I want so desperately to see them;
    but after I have stolen away from the
    blanket and look to

    the moonlit sky, they must have spotted me and fled.
    As I climb back to slumber I hear again,
    the wings and see their shadow hiding there.

    But now I am too sleepy to move so I lie still’
    as they protect me. When morning comes I creep
    to the sill hoping to find one of their white shining feathers.

  14. am so enjoying reading all of your wonderful poetry; so varied and so personal; so beautiful; all of you are inspiring to read!

  15. First published in the BCC literary magazine Blind Curve/Breaking Ground, while I was an employee there.

    Springing Nettle

    In the end it is true — there is little
    behind our trailing lines:
    the starlike, fragile blossoms,
    the exchange of a day for a day.

    We live our lives twined
    in beauty and in sorrow:
    no swan’s wing to lift us,
    no recompense for the sting.

    Yet we need no protection.
    We grow from beneath the sheltering wall, tendrils
    green as green and delicate as the sky.
    In the end, that salty dark, that shining day
    must be all we seek.

    Dearly beloved,
    these careful, sleeping stones
    were warm, once, in the sun;
    we had no choice but to wake, to bloom.

  16. Scott Michael Anderson

    One of my all-time favorite poems is by poet Linda Pastan called “The Answering Machine,” from her book The Last Uncle:

    The Answering Machine

    I call and hear your voice
    on the answering machine weeks after your death,
    a fledgling ghost still longing for human messages.

    Shall I leave one, telling
    how the fabric of our lives
    has been ripped before
    but that this sudden tear will not
    be mended soon or easily?

    In your emptying house, others
    roll up rugs, pack books, drink coffee at your antique table,
    and listen to messages left
    on a machine haunted

    by the timbre of your voice,
    more palpable than photographs or fingerprints.
    On this first day of this first fall without you,
    ashamed and resisting

    but compelled, I dial again
    the number I know by heart,
    thankful in a diminished world
    for the accidental mercy of machines,
    then listen and hang up.

  17. Claire Gibbons

    I love to write poetry about how surroundings affect people and vice versa. But then, I just like to write.

    If You Can Live

    We sit together to watch
    the pose and flex of the body
    muscle. You turn; the
    amazement widening your eyes
    and limit vocabulary to
    “My God”, I nod to agree.

    He sat speaking of the city
    as if it contained wolves,
    thieves, beggars, rapists, and
    hidden aggressors. I tried to
    match the anxious voice
    but succeeded only as
    certain puzzled patron.
    Nodding
    “If you can live here, you
    can live anywhere.” he stated.

    I noticed the space between
    us. Yet the separation was
    probably safety. A good
    arm’s length.

    Figure in Water

    Quite by lake or stream, no accident, this,
    Large impression, drawn and quartered,
    caught
    on 18 by 24 paper; scene of bathing or
    Playful splash, girls excited by selves.
    We, unsuspected, abstracted breast,
    bottom
    Arm, curve of position, and laughter.

    Our own voices rose and fell in woods; laughter
    Poised (sometimes swollen) lifting, swaying this
    or that branch. Replies of birds, calls from bottoms
    of stone sided walls. Screeching caught
    in some memory zone ( I saw one) in selves
    requiring sight, the dig for ore.

    Yet I’ve done it before. Gone straight for
    Winning then cut the prize in half with laughter.
    Snarling in the background, unforgiving selves
    Surface; serious ones who won’t deny this
    Dented, cardboard box of a head its due. I’m caught
    In coursing, cursing veins which run from top to bottom.

    Switching, I think of flying to the bottom.
    Feathered winged hawk, I’d be. Guided by wind or
    Eddied instinct. I haven’t now. Caught
    Within this framework of incident, Laughter
    More felt and seen by eyes well placed. This
    One would arrange a warning with sharing selves.

    Still they taunt and tease themselves.
    With one hand covering grin and the bottom.
    Pointed to with the index of other. This
    child of a person who won’t quiet or shush or
    command. Why attempt to stop laughter
    Deliciously mixed with fear? Sifted and caught

    On page are penciled lines. Girls caught
    With arm and eye guided, guarded selves.
    Remembering taught rule but construction (with laughter)
    New experiment. I let the line along the bottom
    Use itself to twist and startle white or
    shaded parts. “Figure in Water”, this.

    Into definition, catapult toward bottom
    Of lined page. Then thinking (again) or
    asking (you), perhaps to share a rendering of this.

  18. I dance. That is my inspiration.

    AT THE FEET OF THE GODDESS
    I,
    lone sojourner,
    after many truthful travels,
    have arrived at the feet of the
    Goddess,

    …and she welcomes me
    with Thistledown tea…

    She, a motherless child,
    who is Mother,
    like me,
    to a childlike charm…

    She knew I sought,
    I knew her solace .

    I converse.
    She listens.

    Oh! How she listens!
    The stage is too small
    and the secrets are too large!

    And we speak the same thoughts…
    And we see the same shadows…

    And we move as one
    in a dance of Grace.

    CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

    Pushing and gliding
    wooded trails
    steep slopes
    white snow
    silent thoughts
    virgin paths
    crisp air
    pine trees
    everywhere

    No maps! Give me, give me no maps!
    Give me, give me

    lone sun
    bright fun
    silent run
    pole plants
    pine scent rush
    sculptor’s dream
    my paint brush


    Good Morning Kiss

    As you lay
    at break of day,
    awakening from slumbers run deep,
    allow the sun’s rays to fall upon you,

    and know…

    each light-ambered inflection,
    each spirited mote,
    and every graceful dancing beam,
    has been especially choreographed

    from me
    to you…