POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS, a site established in May 2011 and which reunites Marie Elena Good and Walter J Wojtanik to help nurture and inspire the poetic spirit.

THE POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM – POEM #7

In the random selection process, we have our first “repeat offender” with the inclusion of one of Robert Frost’s classic and best loved poems, “The Road Not Taken”, number 72.

Robert Frost

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

PROMPT #215 – “AND I QUOTE” – INSTALLMENT #2

Here’s the quote:

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m Possible!”
~Audrey Hepburn

Image result for audrey hepburn

How is the impossible even possible? We wonder if we are capable to achieve great things because they seem daunting, haunting our every thought and action. “What’s the use?” we ask. We think we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

But, take this quote from Audrey Hepburn, star of the silver screen and a World Ambassador. From humble beginnings, she rose to her status in films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “A Nun’s Story,” and “My Fair Lady,” to name a few. Once retired from acting, she took on the challenge presented by third world countries, focusing on the starving and sick children. Always charming, always a loving soul. For Audrey Hepburn, she made the impossible, possible.

So, what’s possible for you? What do you consider out of your league? What have you or do think you can achieve?? Write a “possible” poem. Or an “impossible” poem. Or a hopeful dream … something you’d like to do but haven’t yet. Something “bucket list” worthy. Impossible? Positively possible!

MARIE’S “POSSIBLE”:

CURIOSITUNITIES

Castoff the conception that curiosity
killed the cat.
Inquisitiveness is
the origin of opportunity.
Actually, cultivated curiosity
converts to curiositunity,
and curiositunity
attracts astounding actuality.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018

 

WALT’S “POSSIBLE”:

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO A WILLING HEART

I started writing at thirteen,
lyrics for a song I hacked out
on the old organ we had at home.

Melody first, a little loop
of sound full blown into a
song, my first attempt.

Looking at the words
scratched onto a page
of spiral notebook paper

tattered and lined
random thoughts
of a future love long gone.

It had form and meter,
it had rhyme, my reason,
a poem of sorts on my page.

A poem never to see 
the light of day for years,
dead ended in a rusted file cabinet,

along with every other lame attempt
of poem and prose that
had me believing I had talent.

Maybe talent, but nary a whiff
of confidence to show the
work that was even at this early

date, very personal, a glimpse
of my inner self, the now me
in miniature, immature,

but with a dream.
To see my words light up
the pages of this book of life.

The flesh was willing,
but the spirit was weak,
my ambition was a wishful thought.

I wanted to write in the worst way,
and that was what I did,
in the worst way.

As the years passed,
I still tried to convince myself
that I was a writer, a poet

a composer, an untapped
resource in a disconnected
reality, a dreamer

working for his hearts desire.
Hard work, hard words
mired in the muse of my mind.

But determined to live
according to the dictates
of my nightly mystic visions.

I dusted off my file cabinet,
shooing the dusty webs from the 
hidden treasures long buried.

I sent my words into the world
unsure of their worth,
afraid of their power.

Given to the eyes of
others of a write minded bent, 
sharing similar uncertainties

of their own. They labeled me,
tattooed me with an identity.
They called me poet.

The name I wanted;
the name they offered.
Nothing is impossible.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2018

INFORM POET – GNOMIC POEMS*

Gnomic poetry is aphoristic verse containing short, memorable statements of traditional wisdom and morality. It utilizes proverbs, maxims and common sayings to convey what one wishes to express.  The Greek word gnomē means “moral proverb.” Gnomes are found in literature, from the biblical book of Proverbs to early Greek literature, (both poetry and prose) and onward.

Gnomic poetry is most commonly associated with the 6th-century-BC poets Solon and Simonides and with the elegiac couplets of Theognis and Phocylides, which were used to instruct the young.

Gnomes appear frequently in Old English epic and lyric poetry. Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man (1733–34) offers a more “modern” example of the use of couplets of distilled wisdom interspersed through a long poem.

*Based on information from Encyclopedia Brittanica.com

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WALT’S ATTEMPT AT GNOMIC POETRY:

TALES I COULD TELL, Walter J Wojtanik

Oh, the tales I could tell,
if you only knew.
People would stand and cheer,
but, you can’t see it from here.
Never let fear or common sense
stop you or become your defense.
Neither hide, nor hair,
who knows what’s there?
Do you even care?
I wouldn’t dare say for sure,
that there is a need for a cure
It’s your only way out.
Without a doubt, oh,
the tales I could tell.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2018

THE POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM – POEM #6

Going back to basics, this poem expounds on the simplicity of this complex world around us. Russian modernist poet, Anna Akhmatova is one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon. Today we expose you to her work in the guise of “I Taught Myself To Live Simply”, listed number 38 on the Best (85) 100 Poems.

Anna Akhmatova

I TAUGHT MYSELF TO LIVE SIMPLY

by Anna Akhmatova

I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life’s decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door
I may not even hear. 

PROMPT #214 – YOUR NUMBER’S UP

As you have seen, you can always count on me to challenge your muse every now and then. And it all adds up. I wouldn’t ask you to go out on a limb without testing it myself as well. The equation is simple: Prompt + Inspiration + Perspiration = a formula for a near perfect poem. There are no wrong answers.

What do numbers have to do with poetry, you ask? We use meter and rhythm to pace our poems. We count syllables in Fibonacci and Haiku/Senryu/Boketto. We number 14 lines in a sonnet. But that’s still not the point. Again with phrases and compound words, we will find our inspiration in the inclusion of numbers.

Think in Numeric Poetics and secure your title. Examples? Two-by-Two, A Hole in One, Three Times a Lady, 76 Trombones … That is the basis of our poems this week. Think of a phrase with a number connotation and write your numeric poem. You do the math, or your number’s up!

MARIE’S ENUMERATIONS:

“And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

A Cord of Three Strands

They began, young.

Lovely and in love
Healthy and hopeful
Playful and promising
To have and to hold
From this day

Forward, fast
Furiously fading
As Alzheimer’s attempts
To dilute and damage
Life and love
Strongly seduced.

Still,
Promise prevailed.
“All my love, and love me always”
In illness and health,
Held by God’s hands
And the cord of three strands,
Stands

Against all
Ashes to ashes
Forever co-mingled
In the perpetual presence
Of the One who,
Singly, and synchronously,
Breathed life
And an always love.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018

Forever my love to Mom and Dad, now eternally at rest, in the presence of the One.  

 

WALT’S (GO FIGURE):

IN THE LINE OF THREE

I was born the third child on the third day, the third Walter in the line of familial redundancy. Not a junior, not a numeral, and after my father’s funeral, the last Walter standing. No three-star General commanding multitudes of minions. Just a man with a penchant for poetry, be they tercets or haiku, I am true to the test of three.

A third birthday was ushered in by the death of three, rocking my world at an early age. Holly, Valens and Richardson – mother’s sons all, taking the fall in a stormy Iowa sky. I can’t remember if I cried, but the music died all the same. Later the same year we saw the first of three Walter’s falter and perish and a cherished name was diminished by one, survived by two “sons”. Three seems to be my number, lucky or not, but it’s gotten me this far in the line of three.

The trinity guides
and provides me a purpose,
three steps onward

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2018

INFORM POET – ANAPHORA

The term “anaphora” derives from Greek meaning “carrying over or back.” In poetry, it relates to a continuation created when successive lines or phrases begin with the same words, almost as in a litany. The repeat may be a single word or it can be as complex as an entire phrase. It is one of the world’s oldest poetic processes; anaphora is often seen in the world’s devotional poetry, (look to Biblical Psalms for this.)

Anaphora can set the rhythm of a poem due to the repetition, and it can add a dynamic of intensity to the poem. In a variation of anaphora called epistrophe, the echo comes at the end instead of the beginning. In Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Tears, Idle Tears”, the repeat of “the days that are no more” closes each stanza.

Other examples of poets using anaphora can be seen in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (selected to be featured in a future Poetic Bloomings Reading Room), Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” and Section V of “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot, to name a few. These poets had found inventive ways to use anaphora. 

William Shakespeare frequently used anaphora. In Sonnet No. 66, he begins with the word “and” for ten straight lines:

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly—doctor-like—controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.

In his lengthy (almost book-length) poem “I Remember,” Joe Brainard used anaphora to recall his Oklahoma youth. He started each phrase with “I remember.”

For example:

I remember a piece of old wood with termites …

I remember when one year in Tulsa …

I remember a shoe store with a big brown x-ray machine …

To read an excerpt from Joe Brainard’s “I Remember” CLICK HERE

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Try your hand at Anaphora Poetry.

WALT’S ATTEMPT (An epistrophe):

IN THE MEMORIES OF YOUTH, by Walter J Wojtanik

Childhood dreams live deeply within me.
And love abides in the memories of youth.

Imaginations unbridled; the desires of hearts and minds
find a dwelling in the memories of youth.

Amidst the number of a family, large and vibrant,
a loving mother and father tyrant in the memories of youth.

All in perspective of a young child, point of view lower
and slower to process the responsibilities in the memories of youth.

But love did abide in the memories of days long gone,
of parents long gone, yet alive in the memories of youth.

Lessons were a way of life; the learning curve was in force
in the course of the memories of youth.

Success came in learning of life, rife with knowledge
and the fuel to power these memories of youth.

I learned at my father’s knee; me and a pouch full of nails,
the trials of an apprentice in the memories of youth.

Surrounded by brothers and sisters; a rambunctious bunch
of misses and misters in the memories of youth.

Surrounded still in the decline of numbers,
victims all in the memories of youth.

Hearts full and overflowing with the thoughts so inspired
never to be retired in the memories of youth.

The tragic part of me going back to the place where I was raised,
is finding myself as one of my own memories of youth.

But, they keep me grounded; they strengthen my resolve
with more of life’s mysteries to solve through the memories of youth.

THE POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM – POEM #5

Poems can express romance and social conscience. They can splay our misery before the world and sometimes they can be downright funny or silly. A master at such poems written with the young minds in mind is the author of this week’s work. This poem is “Sick.” Written by Shel Silverstein, it is listed as number 56. *

Shel Silverstein

SICK

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is—Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

* It appears the list is 85 of the top 100 poems, not ranked but alphabetized. So alphabetically, this poem is 56th on the list, but could easily be number one in your heart!

PROMPT #213 – YOU COME TO MY SENSES

When last we met, we had a play on parts of the body. And an interesting prompt to say the least. And as always, your poems were the most!

But this week, we will use these parts in a different way and in a way none of us have imagined them. Most of them are used in a very defined way. We see through eyes (some through the eyes of a poet’s heart – shameless plug), we hear through our ears, our hand (and in many ways our skin) have the sensory pleasure of touch. Our mouths taste; noses smell. The five senses come to mind.

Disney’s Pocahontas

Here we will be putting our minds to the task. A few years back, Vanessa William had a hit with the song “Color of the Wind,”  from the soundtrack of the Disney film “Pocahontas.”  Hard to visualize, isn’t it? So here’s finally the rub. We want you to present a poem that uses the senses in a totally different way.

What is the sound of sunshine? What is the taste of your thoughts? How does tree bark sound? Do you get it? Choose a sense and twist it in a way we would not imagine. And if it starts to make sense, go with it. Bring it over. Come to my senses.

MARIE’S SENSE ABILITIES:

TIME IS OF THE ES-SCENTS

Too much time to toil
smells like coffee break.
Too much time to broil
stinks of ruined steak.

Too much time spent mowing
smells of outside, in.
Too much time spent crowing
reeks of haughty din.

Time spent giving speeches
hints of stage-fright sweat.
Time spent strolling beaches?
Stale outlook reset.

Wasted time on druthers
leaves stench day-to-day.
Time spent loving others
breathes in sweet bouquet.

© Marie Elena Good

 

WALT’S NON-SENSE:

DOGWOOD

Trees rustle and sway
and make a day of it.
Leaves, cut by the winds of change
rearrange, only to rediscover
home again. Nestled and rested,
the best place to recline.
But I find it annoying,
a noise toying with me.
It is there, somewhere
near the patch of saplings,
rapping an echo as of rabid canines.
It’s fine, but it hearkens to me,
this bark of the dogwood trees
unleashed. Their bite’s not so bad!

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2018

INFORM POET – REIKIKU (A POETIC FORM)

For Inform starters, I offer a form that I had developed a while back. I consider it a Japanese form, molded after a haiku. Read below for its discovery and presentation.

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I had received a reiki treatment in the not so distant past for some various aches and ailments I had been experiencing. Reiki is a therapy often described as palm healing or hands-on-body healing in which a practitioner places hands lightly on or over a patient’s body to facilitate the patient’s process of healing. Reiki combines the Japanese and Chinese word-characters of “rei” (spiritual or supernatural) and “ki” (vital energy). A basic idea held by those who practice Reiki is that this vital energy can be channeled to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. However, there is no scientific support to these claims that this so-called vital energy actually exists, or that there is conclusive evidence Reiki is useful for any health-related purpose. That doesn’t mean it’s a harmful practice.

As Ann Baldwin, (a professor of physiology at the University of Arizona and a trained Reiki master, or practitioner) states “Reiki can do no harm — the worst thing it can do is nothing.”

In spite of all that, I felt better after my treatment. Relaxed. I felt no stress and no anxiety so for me, that “nothing” was something.

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Reiki as a poetic form? In homage to the haiku, I envision the Reikiku in that vein – a seventeen syllable channeling of energy or spirit to ease one’s heart, stress anxiety or emotion. Untitled, is written in four lines with a 5,5,4,3-syllable count. Any rhyme incorporated is purely discretionary. It begins with the trouble you look to ease and works toward that end.

My example of Reikiku:

weariness of heart
finds its peace through love
within oneself
peace will come.

or

 
searching for some truth
I discover it
buried within
truth lives there

THE POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM – POEM #4

 Another Wednesday and another foray into poetic brilliance. Today we see through the eyes of Thomas Moore in this brief poem of the wonders of the world about him in “If You Have Seen.”

 It appears to be the 42nd poem on the list.

Thomas Moore

IF YOU HAVE SEEN

by Thomas Moore

Good reader! if you e’er have seen,
When Phoebus hastens to his pillow
The mermaids, with their tresses green,
Dancing upon the western billow:
If you have seen, at twilight dim,
When the lone spirit’s vesper hymn
Floats wild along the winding shore:
If you have seen, through mist of eve,
The fairy train their ringlets weave,
Glancing along the spangled green;–
If you have seen all this and more,
God bless me! what a deal you’ve seen!

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