RETURNING TO THE SOIL – Prompt #53

It has been one year since Marie Elena and I had this hare-brained idea that we could establish a poetic garden that finds beauty blooming in the starkness of every day life. As we start our second year, no better place to start again, than with a re-seeding of our “Poet-anical” Garden. We return to the soil AND the prompt that got us started. And so…

Every garden starts with a seed. A small part of the big picture; a beginning. And so we begin our second year at Poetic Bloomings.

The prompt for this Sunday reflects that idea. Write a “seed” poem. It could literally be a seed of a plant, or an idea that sparks a greater effort. It could be the beginning of a life, or whatever you feel would be the start of something big. Write about the flower you have “adopted” on your Recollection page, and show your bloom. Just get started. That’s a beginning in itself.

MARIE ELENA’S SEED

REACH (a sonnet)

My feet are planted firmly here at home,
Yet seeds are scattered farther than my span.
Words blossom in encouragement-rich loam,
And flourish far beyond this gardener’s plan.

What joy, as peace and beauty grace the way,
What nourishment that seeps into my soul.
My senses overflowing every day
On shade-tinged path, or sunny poppy’d knoll.

One kernel sown, yet harvest so diverse –
A multiplicity of voice takes flight
And broadcasts as poetic seeds disperse
To transplant hope, wherever they alight.

In gratitude, two kindred gardeners toil
To cultivate Poetic Bloomings soil.

~~~~

NOTE:  Poetic Bloomings seeds have blown across the following borders … a statistic that is altogether amazing and humbling.

United States, Denmark, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria, Philippines, India, Singapore, Germany, Latvia, Nigeria, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Poland, Austria, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal, Egypt, Senegal, Croatia, Belgium, Japan, Czech Republic, Norway, Georgia, Netherlands, Trinidad, Tobago, Kuwait, Ghana, Peru, Belize, Guatemala, Argentina, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Angola, Slovakia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Albania, Puerto Rico, Yemen, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Malta, Gabon, and Russia!

Would that all visits be as harmonious as those stemming from our modest garden.  A Poetic Bloomings wave of greeting to all, and  “Peace be the journey.”

~~~~

WALT’S SEED

AND THE SUN SHALL REIGN DOWN

Darkness disturbed.
The first sprout of Spring is seen
and senses the early breath of a breeze
bathing it with the gentle movement
of a life begun. Showers have touched
the soil, deep and aromatic; fertilized
and fed to nurture and grow, strong in root
and tall in beauty. Our sprout reaches
skyward to embrace the golden life-giving orb.
And the sun shall reign down to caress
the beginnings of beauty in bloom!

*****

In our effort to promote our poets, Marie and I wish to thank and congratulate the following poets who had posted poetry on the first day and have remained dedicated to the growth of beauty through verse.

PATRICIA A. HAWKENSON –  – DE JACKSON

VIVIENNE BLAKE – ELIZABETH JOHNSON 

LAURIE KOLP – ANDREW KREIDER

HANNAH GOSSELIN – BARBARA YATES YOUNG

DAN PAICOPULOS – CONNIE L. PETERS

PAULA WANKEN – KELLY DONADIO

IAIN DOUGLAS KEMP – MICHAEL GROVE

PAMELA SMYK CLEARY – CLAUDETTE YOUNG

KIMIKO MARTINEZ 

And we’ve grown tremendously since then. Thank you all!

The POETIC BLOOMINGS badge is available under the P.B. Badge tab above. The HTML code is provided to allow you to show your inclusion in our garden. Join the growing that we are sowing!

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #52

Every ending is a beginning. In death and in life, we see how one thing can spawn a rebirth of sorts; a new beginning. This exercise has brought out some outstanding pieces by our poets. We were asked to take an end line from one of our poems and use it as an opening line for a new poem.

Since this was the last prompt for our first year, we offer our poets each a share of our BEAUTIFUL BLOOM. Everyone has done such exceptional work, that we wish to honor you all with this last designation for the year. A great ending and a leg up on a great new beginning in our second year. Thank you all for this community.

HOWEVER, one piece of work epitomized the process and the nature of the prompt. Paula Wanken’s first Cento was a very ambitious undertaking and incorporated every last line from her poems posted during the year. In closing out this prompt we reflect on this wonderful work:

FROM EVERY ENDING COMES A BEGINNING by Paula Wanken

memories unknown
tug at her words…and her heart…
at what had been hidden inside
your tin can; please…
so different than reality;
he didn’t make it
easier
than this lonely, broken heart can spare
of our memories;
never
complete without it,
the reason
they stopped coming
I still know all of my letters
end

I welcome God’s words: For I know the plans I have for you
for falling in love,
my soulmate, my wife;
never: give up,
to be rushed…

lost
I’m walking alone
me
…afraid someone will read between the lines and see my tears

You have moved…backwards,
and took a walk in the park
again
I miss you.
There’s just one YOU!

the Lord is my Shepherd
is the Giver of such gifts;
we reap the Spirit’s sweet fruit
their lives will create
once again;
His world fades to black
neither at midnight, nor noon
to give you life…
that I trust will shine on my world once more

it’s simple, really:
enjoy days of spring,
bask in His presence
seen in each spring bloom
and watered daily

to help you see it
I come back to write
of farm living…
the magic of another Christmas Eve
on which I sleep…
and favorite superhero underwear

and a writer was born

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR POETS FOR A REMARKABLE YEAR. CONGRATULATIONS!

POETIC BLOOMINGS BADGE

We are celebrating our first year of poems at POETIC BLOOMINGS. And to commemorate this milestone, we are offering this badge for inclusion on your blogs and websites to signify your part in making this the great community it has become.

Use this HTML code to add the badge to your blog or website. Let the world know you bloom beautifully:

<a href=”http://poeticbloomings.com”><img title=”BloomBadge” src=”https://poeticbloomings2.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/bloombadge.jpeg&#8221; alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>

WEB WEDNESDAY – MARK WINDHAM

MARK WINDHAM

Today we have the privilege of highlighting yet another impressive Poetic Asides poet, Mark Windham.  We met Mark during the November 2011 Chapbook Challenge, which also happened to be the first time he had ever posted poetry online.  He has since been published at Postcardshorts.com, has had a poem in the inaugural issue of the Misty Mountain Review, stories and poems in two issues of a local publication (The North Georgia Writer), and one of his poems was one of five winners chosen for the dVerse Poets / M:P MAG competition.  Phew!  It amused me that Mark prefaced all of that with “Publications are pretty limited thus far.”  I’d say this accomplished in approximately five months is something to brag about!

When asked to share a poem Mark feels best represents his style and spirit, here is what he disclosed to me: “My writing is evolving so much that I really cannot define a ‘style’ that fits me.”  He ended up providing three poems, each representing a different aspect of himself or his writing.  He said I could choose one, but I decided to share all three of these pieces of Mark with you.

Mark’s poems follow, each preceded by a short exposition.

MARK:  “[The first] is more about who I am, and an example of playing with form.”

Tip Toes

It

happens

whenever

my little girl

is kissing my cheek

up on tip toes to reach.

or my son stretching to prove

he is nearly as tall as me.

Both a bit taller than yesterday.

It happens again whenever we kiss,

up on your toes, arms around my neck,

putting us right at eye level,

and I know that I love you

more than I did before.

I watch them growing,

holding you close

and my heart

skips a

beat.

 

MARK:  “[The second] is representative of the kind of piece that I typically like the best; it blends fiction with poetry to tell a story, define a place, create a character and it usually has a ‘dark’ side to it. A lot of my work has a darker element to it; this one does not go too far that way. That would not be appropriate for a garden.  This also first appeared on Poetic Bloomings for the ‘old’ prompt. It has since been online at The Book Times as well.”

 Old Granddad

 I visit him when I am in town –

sometimes I think he knows me.

He is always in the basement pool room,

though to him it will always be ‘billiards’.

He doesn’t play anymore; arthritic hands

cannot hold cues, blurry eyes will not line

up a shot on the faded red felt of the table.

A tear by the side pocket marks his last shot:

table light broken, dust on waiting balls.

Old black and whites of him are on the wall,

from his heyday Grandma used to say.

Dark hair slicked back, wingtip shoes.

I remember watching him dance

around that table when I was small,

amazed at the shots he would make,

the depth of concentration, flash of his eyes.

I never placed significance on the highball

always in his hand, or on the edge of the table –

brown liquid and ice. Everyone of age had one.

Now the glass is the first thing I notice,

clenched in fingers that seem to have been

gnarled to the task. He drinks always, but not a lot.

He is usually watching TV – news, weather,

I don’t think it matters – but he pays attention,

just a little more, when I put on the Hustler,

smiles at every rack break and salutes Fast Eddie

with a raised glass when he orders J.T.S. Brown.

MARK:  “[And finally], because I love being able to say a lot with very few words; short, clear, concise and conveying bigger meaning.”

Black and White

White

butterfly on

black

man’s shoulder;

not nearly so

white

without him…

nor he as

black.

MARIE ELENA: Such diversity in style, feel, and content.  I’m happy you shared three poems, Mark.

Tell me about your writing aspirations.  I didn’t realize you write not only poetry, but short fiction (which I will share a sample of momentarily).

MARK:  Discovering the online poetry community has sparked a fascination with the craft and art of poetry. There is a world of talent, information and community that I was unaware of a few months ago. It is very motivating. I find myself wanting to learn more and try different forms and styles and ideas and, and, and … Write!

I think everyone that puts a blog out there has some aspiration to be published. I have started submitting some work and have the starting point for a chapbook in place. I don’t know if there is a longer manuscript in the future, but I like the idea of it.

I also enjoy fiction writing a great deal. I have posted several flash fiction pieces and have completed a couple of shorter (250-word range) stories. Walt’s introduction to Flashy Fiction has provided several fantastic prompts. I do have a full-length piece in the works that poetry has (pleasantly) distracted a bit from, and several story ideas waiting for time to devote to them. I am planning to have a first draft complete this year.

MARIE ELENA: You briefly alluded to your blog, which is entitled “Awakened Words.”  Such a poetic name!  I love to hear how people go about naming their blogs.  Will you please share your inspiration?

MARK:  I first started putting ‘words on a page’ my senior year in high school. I was blessed to have an English teacher that made the subject of reading and writing poetry interesting. I wrote quite a bit that year, and through my freshman year of college. After that it was very sporadic. I wrote a piece for my wife on our wedding day … and that was about it for a long time.

Several times since then my wife has asked why I did not write anymore. About a year ago she asked a couple of more times, then also suggested that I should write a book. Like any good husband, I started listening (yes, sometimes it does take a while). I put a few words down, which led to a few more. Suddenly, the words were ‘awakened.’

MARIE ELENA:  Now, see?  A lovely story behind the title!  I’m glad you listened to your wife.  What are you hoping to accomplish with your blog?

MARK:  My original thoughts were that it was going to become part of a ‘platform’ for the book I was working on. Then I became engrossed in the online poetry world and it has evolved into a predominantly poetry blog. I suppose there is still somewhat of a platform motive behind it on the poetry side, but it has really turned into a way to remain involved in this online community I have discovered.

MARIE ELENA:  As I ask of so many of my interviewees, do you consider yourself a poet?

MARK: I was discussing the ‘bio’ (the one you are supposed to provide to potential publishers) with someone recently that has provided me with a wealth of advice, inspiration and assistance (whom I met through one of your previous interviews 😉 ). She told me that you call yourself a ‘writer.’ Let others call you a poet if they feel it appropriate. I think that is good advice.

MARIE ELENA:  Don’t leave us hanging here … can you share who this mysterious “someone” is?

MARK:  I don’t think she would mind.  It’s Margo Roby.

MARIE ELENA:  I should have known.  (Excellent advice, Margo!)  And if someone were to call you a “poet,” would you consider it a compliment?

MARK:  Of the highest order.

MARIE ELENA:  Good answer, Mr. Poet.  Where would you say your greatest inspiration comes from, writing wise?

MARK: Like so much of my writing, that is an evolving concept for me. Inspiration comes from so many places. There is family, faith, a news story, morning fog, this online community and all the great writers (people) that participate, a picture, a word … So much. Lately, I have been very ‘prompt dependent’ for my writing. That is good in the sense that it keeps me writing, always tuning the ‘craft.’ I do think it takes away a bit from natural creativity, but I see that starting to flow the more I write and think about writing.

 MARIE ELENA: I can understand firsthand the draw from writing fiction to writing prompted poetry, and getting completely absorbed in the poetic community.

So, how much time do you spend writing?

MARK: Not nearly enough! Yet. I have been writing a lot over the last few months, but have not spent near the time I need to on revision and ‘craft.” I try and complete ‘form’ prompts as often as I can. It is good for discipline and increasing knowledge. I also like to experiment with the page; punctuation, spacing, flow, location, white space, etc. So, I guess it is more time than I think.

MARIE ELENA:  Actually, I find it can sap much of the day before I know it.  What does a typical day look like in the life of Mark Windham?

MARK:  Terribly mundane by some standards I’m sure; a full time job, two kids in school, three dogs, track, gymnastics, church, etc. Typical of most families these days, always busy. It mostly revolves around the family though, and we all usually end up on the couch together at the end of the day. Which makes it a good day!

MARIE ELENA:  A true family man!  Good for you, Mark! What can you tell me about your own upbringing?

MARK: I grew up throughout the southern U.S. Born in Mississippi, lived in Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Dad changed jobs a couple of times, was transferred a couple of others. ‘Upbringin’ was probably fairly typical, I imagine. Dad traveled so Mom was in charge at home and had to be somewhat strict, but not overly so. “Wait ‘till your dad gets home’ was not an option; that might be a week or more.

My sister still lives in Virginia, Dad is in Maryland now; Mom passed away a couple of years ago after a long fight with cancer. I ended up in Georgia (Atlanta area) in ’94, met my wife-to-be and have been here since.

MARIE ELENA:  I’m so sorry about your mother, Mark.  Having both my parents still around (two doors down), I can’t imagine … and don’t want to.

I knew from your beautiful poem Prayer for My Children that you are a dad.  Tell me about that.  How much influence do your wife and children have on your writing, and on whom you are as a person?

Prayer for my Children

Strap a balloon to your
back and sail across
the skies of your dreams,
then slash the strings
and fall into the abyss
of love.

Leave off the mask, show
the world who you are,
no pretenses or games.
Keep your finger on the
button of joy, make time
to enjoy silence.

BEAUTIFUL WINDHAM CHILDREN

MARK:   Family is everything; first middle and last. They drive actions and decisions, schedules … everything. I met my wife, Kathy, in ’95 after moving to Atlanta. We both worked in the restaurant industry at the time. I was a manager for a national chain and doing very well career wise. After we got married I examined the lifestyle and decided that a change in career was in order. The late nights, weekends and holidays was not going to be what we wanted for our family.

My wife and children are definite influences on my writing as well; whether it is inspiration and content, or as editors and filters. My children are at such different stages of life, and. they evoke different ideas and concepts and ‘words’ My oldest daughter is 20, lives out of state, and is going through the growing pains of becoming an adult and dealing with those decisions. My youngest is nine and still daddy’s little girl. My son is 13, growing rapidly into a teenager, and all ready to be a man.

You will find all four of them throughout my writing here and there.

 

MARK AND KATHY

MORE MARK AND KATHY

FOUR-LEGGED WINDHAMS

 

MARIE ELENA:  So would you say family motivates you more than anything else?

MARK: Family and faith are foremost. That is what gets you through the day, makes you want to be a better person, influences your decisions, provides motivation, etc.

MARIE ELENA: Absolutely, Mark.  Absolutely!

Another thing that influences decisions, provides motivation, and can make us better people is adversity. It seems everyone goes through difficult times. What would you say is the most difficult trial you’ve been through, and what did you learn from it?

MARK:  Most Difficult? Always a fun topic. 😉

Going through the death of my mom was obviously difficult, but I think the fact that she had been fighting for so long provided a modicum of preparedness. Prior to that, we had gone through the failure of a couple of businesses. That was brutal. My wife and I had been self- employed for several years, running a successful accounting/consulting practice. So, naturally, I made the decision, against my wife’s wishes, to start another business with family members. We then compounded the problem by opening an additional unrelated business. Both of these failed miserably and we were forced to close them. The emotional and financial strain that followed created the biggest stress that my family has ever been through. What did I learn? A few things. First, listen to your wife! Second, don’t take on more than is reasonable; some sacrifices are not worth it. Third, never, never, never (did I say ‘never’?) go into business with family. Money has the potential to ruin any relationship.

 MARIE ELENA:  Such a shame, isn’t it?  But so true.

Finally, Mark, if there was only one thing we could know about you, what would you want it to be?

MARK: I think I outlined that fairly well in the other questions. Family is first; a husband and father is who I am before anything else. As far as writing goes, what I put out is still evolving. I am probably more curious than anyone to see where it ends up.

MARIE ELENA:  Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into the man behind the poetry, Mark, and for blessing us regularly with your words!

I’d like to end on a different note than I usually do on Web Wednesdays.  I’d like to share with you an engaging short fiction piece Mark wrote for Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Enjoy!

Two Kinds of People

After Daddy went to work for the ‘lectric company we started having dinner a little bit later during the week. Momma always insisted we eat together, so we did not start until he got home. Sometimes that meant reheating everything but she never complained. At least not while I was around.

One night I heard them after I went to bed. Momma did not sound happy.

“I don’t understand why you are the one that always ends up staying late. Aren’t there other men that can do the work?”

“Sure there are,” Daddy answered. “But it is usually overtime and we could use the money.”

“I know that, it just seems to be happening a lot lately. I miss you being around during the day; coming in for lunch.”

“Well, I miss that too, but we both know that farming was not paying the bills anymore. It should pay off in the long run. The bosses notice. When it comes time for raises and promotions I am hoping to be at the top of the list.”

Momma did not sound convinced. “That is how it should work, but you are too humble to toot your own horn. You know what they say: there are two types of people in this world, those that do the work and those that take the credit. And the first group is less populated.* Just make sure you are getting the credit for the work.”

She was fond of that phrase; ‘two kinds of people.’ She used it a lot to teach lessons. I remember asking her one Sunday afternoon why we were giving our food away. I was confused because she was always telling me to clean my plate and not be wasteful and we did not have food to just throw away.

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me for a minute before answering. “Well, Bobby, there are two kinds of people in this world; those who put themselves first and those who put others first.** We always want to be part of the second group. The Miller’s are going through a tough patch and we can spare some of what we have. We will not go hungry.”

Momma always made sure you knew which group she thought you should be in. So far, she has always been right.

*Indira Ghandi (in some variation)
**Bill Purdin

FROM EVERY ENDING COMES A BEGINNING – PROMPT #52

So here we stand at week 52 of our wonderful garden walk that we call POETIC BLOOMINGS. The journey has been extremely enjoyable, uniting tremendously talented poets from around the world into this supportive and nurturing group. For your participation, Marie Elena and I say Thank You! For sharing your poetry with the rest of us, we are totally blessed!

As we close out our first year, we take a reflective look back at our bodies of work at POETIC BLOOMINGS, with a strong direction and an eye toward the next phase of our growth.

Our prompt this week asks you to take the last line of any poem you have written, and make that ending line the beginning of a new poem. We welcome you to attribute the site and prompt for which the original poem was written, and provide a link to it or your own blog where it has appeared if you wish.

As April Poetry Month winds down, we are gearing up for some exciting new ventures here at POETIC BLOOMINGS. We welcome you to continue along with us and be an integral part of this Garden.

MARIE ELENA’S BEGINNING:

IN ABSENCE OF THE HEALER

And comfort remains
the shortest route
the only means
to her emotional health,
as medications
are minimally effective,
and add their own
intolerable symptoms.
The comforter/encourager –
though not the healer,
remains the role
of immeasurable impact.

Last line from Poetic Asides April 2 prompt: Write a Visitor Poem – MY DECEASED GRANDPA (a dodoitsu)

***

WALT’S BEGINNING:

THE GRIP OF POETRY

And let your poetry take its hold,
for the world needs to know
the power of your words;
they touch hearts and placate souls.

Giving tender and supportive caresses,
which nurtures the lives so possessed,
and let your poetry take its hold;
let others share your success.

The last line from POETIC ASIDES Day 18 Prompt – Favorite Regional Cuisine poem – FOOD FOR THOUGHT

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #51

It made sense to delve into all we see, hear, taste, smell and feel as fodder for this week’s poems. Also any sense of being became fair game. All poems presented by our fabulous group of poets rate as incredible blooms in their own right! Even those new to the group jumped right in to touch us with their work. All add a sense of community that is hard to find in such an inclusive and supportive way. So now, it also makes sense to announce:

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM

My Bloom for this week is offered to one who presented us with an old, smelly poem.  Yes, it was previously written, but it suits the prompt splendidly. (One advantage to being a host is that I get to make executive decisions. 😉 ).  Vivienne Blake’s “A Smelly Poem” vividly arouses and sears my senses, both physically and nostalgically.  Vivienne, I’ve also heard that our sense of smell is the most vivid memory sense.   I believe it wholeheartedly, and admire your use of it here to evoke memories that encompass vastly different snapshots of life.  BRAVO.  And feel better.

A SMELLY POEM (by Vivienne Blake)

A whiff of Charlie says Mum to me,
while 4711 brings Grandma back.
Chypre brings thoughts of a rival,
encountered via my man.

Cabbage and sweat and the outside loo
take me to my first wartime school;
polish and piety, to the convent.
Intense incense and I’m on my knees
fasting, struggling not to faint.

Roasting lamb is my in-laws’ house,
mixed in my mind
with the odour of dust
and disapproval.

Plenty of smells around babies
make me wish for those days again
when adorable powdered skin
demanded to be kissed,
or the pong of poo cried
“change me now”.

A tropical interlude taught me
aromas I’d never known –
frangipane and stinking fish,
fresh sea breeze and rotting seaweed .

Memories push and shove to bring back
the mixture of perfumes and stinks
that have been my life.

WALT’S  BEAUTIFUL BLOOM:

Every poem about the senses makes plenty of sense. All are expressive and touch us all in their way. One such poem danced around many sensory images in a very concise and powerful piece. This work by Sara McNulty presents the stimulus for it being my choice:

SENSE AND NONSENSE (a double nonet) by Sara McNulty

I am not imbued with a sixth sense
or I might have felt marriage one
was doomed, cloud cast a gloomy
filter behind which hid
common sense, napping.
Sociopaths
feel no true
sense of
love.
When
I woke,
my eyes clear
for the first time,
I smelled the rank stench
of foul jealousy, not
flattering, nor was ripping
phones out of walls, face distorted,
remotely related to true love.

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO VIVIENNE BLAKE AND SARA McNULTY!

IN-FORM POET – THE TRI-FALL

The Tri-fall, created by Jan Turner, consists of three 6-line stanzas, for a total of 18 lines.  The rhyme scheme per stanza is a,b,c,a,b,c.  The syllable count for each stanza is 6/3/8/6/3/8.    This form has no specific meter, requires little-to-no punctuation,  and may be written on any subject matter.

MARIE ELENA’S “FALL”:

No More o’Nonna!

Let me show you my pics
just a few
I promise not to take too long
I’m transfixed. Aren’t you, too?
Almost through
Just bear with me and play along

Don’t you want to see more
and agree
She’s just so very cute and sweet
I hope I’m not a bore
but you see
she really makes my life complete.

If I appear obsessed
annoying
did you happen to think maybe
It’s just that I am blessed
enjoying
this tub-o-chubsweetness baby?

WALT’S TRI-FALL:

GARDEN PLOT

In the garden of love
I plant seeds,
hoping they come to full flower.
Graced with light from above,
all their needs
are tended hour to hour.

Through our patience we see
what will “grow”
will be nurtured in heart and mind,
filling our souls. We’ll be
glad to show
all the tender moments we find.

 In our garden we share
heartfelt words.
Poetic bouquets we’re giving.
And through those words, we care.
What ‘s heard is
the sound of this life we’re living.

IT MAKES SENSE – PROMPT #51

In Spring, we find our senses becoming heightened. Write a poem that involves a sense (touch, sound, etc.). Or it could be a sense of direction, common sense … what ever makes sense to you, write about it.

Marie Elena’s Sense

A Spring Internment

 We buried you today,

lowering you into

the short space

between wives.

 I sensed murmurings

among the living

and the dead –

the air dripping with lilac

and admonition.

 “She wasn’t even gone a full year,

when he began seeing

h   e   r.”

 Whispers breathe down my neck,

or perhaps it is the night air,

 but I realize life is too short

to concern yourself

with who lies in the grave

next to you.

 

WALT’S TWO SENSE:

All my thoughts converge

random ideas bombard

making little sense.

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #50

Making a comeback isn’t always an easy thing (as my late return signifies). But a full return to stature is well worth the effort put into it. The hardest part is facing the truth and making the attempt. And so we return to another Saturday and new BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS to consider:

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM:

Though there were many truly excellent poems this week, for me there was one clear standout:  Sharon Ingraham’s Mother to Mother, inspired by Michelangelo’s Pieta.

Oh, the tears! As a mother, I can’t express it any better than Hen, “…my heart just broke into a million pieces.”

Written by a “non-religious” soul, this piece stirred my own believer’s heart as though written by The Psalmist himself.   Sara McNulty said, “I am not a religious person at all, but this transcends any simple beliefs.”  What a feat, Sharon.  You’ve shown us the power of words.

For me, Mother to Mother is not just a standout for this week, but one of the most amazing poems I have ever read.

MOTHER TO MOTHER (by S.E. Ingraham)

Mother to mother I understand
Your need to hold your son
To cradle him, hush his pain
Sing sweet psalms
of lullabies to him
When the wind soughs gently
from the east
I swear I hear your soft melodies.

And as cold as that cave was
Wherein they laid him down
It was no match
for the bone-deep chill
Death set upon his brow,
Echoed by the sculptor
When he chose
to immortalize you both
It surprises me not you would
feel a need
to warm him.

Mother to mother, I have
many times tried
to envisage
the pain you must
have endured
the day your son
was put to death
I cannot
Nor can I wrap
my mind
around the horror,
the devastating sadness
you must have felt
when you went
to the cave
To fetch him,
gather him
unto yourself

Oh – but that version
doesn’t fit with any
of the Biblical accounts
I’m told …
Oh really? I can’t help
but reply
to whomever
the doubting
Thomas or whoever it is
questioning me …
Were you there then?
Did you see what transpired
between mother and son?
Did you?

Did you hear the sobbing
as she begged
them to spare her son?
Ragged sobs that changed
to wails that eventually
rose to keening
His mother, and his aunt
who were joined
by other women –
all keening
throughout the night
A sound so eerie,
so heart-breaking it caused
grown men to weep
And wolves in the hills
to howl incessantly
As he hung there
on the hill, on the cross
dying slowly

Mother to mother I feel
your pain
And my heart aches
for you
and your loss
It disturbs me
that your complete story
is not recorded
In Biblical references,
However the apostle, John
did mention,
after all was said and done
and your boy was risen
there were many more signs
of his resurrection
so many
that all the books
in all the world
could not
contain them therein;
Perhaps your story is in these.

Mother to mother – one last thing
before I take my leave
You might not know this
but the artist who created
this magnificent sculpture
became very famous
People travel here
from the world over
to view La Pieta, the name
given this piece
And the artist, Michelangelo,
signed this work of art
This master artist
who captured you—
The mother of God
in all your youthful glory
With you son laying crucified
across your lap—
Your replication
was the only thing
he ever signed
Maybe he realized how
important it was …
to tell the rest of your story

S.E.Ingraham©

WALT’S  LATE BLOOMER:

I appreciate Marie’s selection of Sharon’s wonderful poem. And that probably tips my hand as to which way I was leaning.

But my selection is of a work that shows the uncertainty of any kind of return, especially a short lived one. The keepsake of dried flowers hold a mystique all its own and has through the ages. And the inclusion of the fragrant sachet illicit other memories here in our garden. Richard King Perkins II this is your bloom:

AN EXPRESSION OF DRIED FLOWERS by Richard King Perkins II

After a year, the separation ended so she had a yard sale
and sold all the trappings of her brief independence.
She gave up her lover
and her tiny apartment
and went back to the stately pillared home
her husband had built for them.
It was for the good of the child, they both agreed.
Months later, the returned wife realized
her memory box had disappeared
somewhere in the shuffle,
like a grey tooth beneath her pillow.
Gone were the dried flowers, drawings and stories,
and little glass bottles
she’d kept since she was twelve.
The recent love letters,
she had destroyed on her own.
If she suspected her husband, she never said.
The wife merely forced herself to smile
and enjoy all the trappings of comfortable servitude,
simpering like his time-worn basset hound
crouched in front of the fireplace.
Months earlier, as he tossed her memory box
into a construction lot dumpster,
the husband hadn’t recognized
that most of the dried flowers
were ones he’d given her
and this was why she had left him in the first place.

Congratulations to S.E. Ingraham and Richard King Perkins II.

WEB WEDNESDAY – HANNAH GOSSELIN

HANNAH GOSSELIN

This week I have the joy of featuring a natural talent (“nature” being key here), Hannah Gosselin.  Hannah is a young woman I’ve grown to know and love (yes, love) since meeting her at Robert Lee Brewer’s 2009 Poetic Asides April Poem-a-Day Challenge.  “Sweet Hannah” is possibly the first (if memory serves) poet for whom I wrote a poem.  Her amazing ability to express nature inspired the following.

Naturally Hannah (By Marie Elena)

She whispers scenery

onto the page,

and into my mind’s eye.

Visions of nature

so exquisitely expressed

that I see the play of

color and texture;

hear the song of

wind and water;

smell the scent of

earth, and all therein.

No flat black words

against white page.

She whispers scenery.

Pouring over three years of her exquisite poetic thoughts has been an absolute joy to me.   For me, a very recent piece of hers entitled Patience embodies the heart of Hannah’s poetic soul:

Patience (by Hannah Gosselin)

Even as their arms stretch to grow,

they know when to twist, to curl

to grab and pull themselves forward.

There’s something for the learning

for the receiving in the observing

Morning Glory’s very pattern.

Patient lengths reaching upward

understanding when to reject

the aching urge to curl,

accepting the ancient answer.

In persistence, pursuing

each leg of this tenuous journey,

joyfully, pushing toward the light.

Bud pods discard their dewy garments

not a mere moment too, soon

tasting the early air on first opening;

layers peeling, revealing soft sheets,

unfolding like inside out origami,

morning in all its glory, out pouring.

© Hannah Gosselin, 2012

 The above stunning piece was written for Poetic Asides April PAD.  The poem below, Hannah’s own choice to share, was written for the same challenge.

~LISTENING~

Words, like fresh krill,

crunch between teeth.

Water-rendered sound,

formless in one’s mouth;

heart-filled, briny, beating,

waves candid, thick with clue.

Wind dismisses reason,

directional tool presented

in poignant length, starfish arm;

reaching discretely,

allowing space to translate.

Sun, shadow of distant moon,

Earth, hearing heated core,

water, ever of the waves,

tree-line, of towering  timber;

deep calling unto its’ own.

Navigational prowess?

Heeding the hand of nature.

Lost to the cause of preparation,

willing of the written word.

Listening with wide heart,

mindful of each beat,

hesitating, as she implores.

© Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

MARIE ELENA:  Both of the above are simply outstanding, Hannah, and represent you perfectly.  You just recently began blogging (yay you!).  The title you chose, “Metaphors and Smiles,” nods to the warm smiles for which you are known, and is a delightful play on “metaphors and similes.”  Tell me, please, where this clever title originated.

HANNAH:  So back in the beginning of November 2011, I began to get my gumption up to start a blog. I’d been noticing many in our writing community who have blogs, and it seemed to me to be a fulfilling avenue to connect with other writers. I had been speaking with Walt of our very own “Walt Woj,” and he graciously extended the offer to help if I had any questions in the process. He had been struck suddenly with Metaphors and Smiles. This is a snippet on what he had to say about it.

Walt says and makes my heart happy on Jan. 29th 2012, while discussing blogs with Pamela S. Cleary and I: “The more I see your blog title, the more I have to smile. But not for the reason you think. It just fits you and what you do. Metaphors and similes go together like Gump’s “Peas and Carrots.” But the smiles are purely Hannah. You get the credit for that. It made the suggestion just an after thought. Smile on, my Maine friend!”

MARIE ELENA:  Mega kudos to Walt! It really is perfect!  So, what made you decide to blog, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

HANNAH:  I hope to gather a body of work that represents me well, then perhaps move forward to publish a book of my poetry. I’ve also enjoyed writing some short fictional pieces. These works usually contain either a spiritual or moral “goody” that I plant with the hope that people will be uplifted or glean something. I thought I might make a separate book of short stories with those someday, too. The short fiction has been inspired as of late by the Flashy Fiction blog that I have been co-administrating, but the writing of short stories actually preceded even my poetry writing when I studied through ICL (Institute of Children’s Literature), back in 2009.

MARIE ELENA:  Hannah, you have over 400 followers! How on earth did you get so many in so short a time?  Got any secrets you can share?

HANNAH:  I’m not sure how I gained so many followers!! I have some blog followers that make up about thirty and some comment followers but the majority of the readership is coming from facebook. Unfortunately the details on those people are vague, and I’m not sure how they count it, it may be people that have only clicked and read one poem of mine but are not necessarily “following,” me per say. Either way it is a boost to the ol’ morale to see the readership number rising.  It makes one feel as if they’re being heard.  😉

So, you would like to know my secrets? I think one of the most important secrets has been to write every day and venture out into the world of blogs who prompt with the purpose of connecting and sharing with other poets. Back in February of this year, after a month of writing small stones with WOWH (Writing Our Way Home), I began stalking our very own De Jackson!! She had shared a link with me one day when I was in a place that I needed a bigger, poetic, fish bowl. Ever since then I’ve been tagging along and, while being blessed by her words immensely, I also have gained knowledge of a plethora of blog prompting places that she frequents.

MARIE ELENA:  If there is a better plan than stalking De Jackson, I sure don’t know it!

Hannah, you mentioned your writing course through The Institute of Children’s Literature.  Had this been a brick-and-mortar institution, you and I probably would have met!  How did you hear of them?  Can you share some of what you learned?

HANNAH:  I know, Marie!!! I often think about the fact that we very well could’ve met had this been a physical place that we’d attended. The fact that we both began writing at Poetic Asides for the first time at the same time always amazes me, too! I think it was inevitable. We were meant to meet each other. 🙂

I remember well the day that I received in the mail a brochure for ICL. I was sitting on my porch, while summer bursting forth all around me sung of growth and promise. My son, Caiden, was playing with his Tonka trucks in the sand box, while I sat reading an invitation to become the writer I’d always dreamed of becoming – I felt that it was surely a possibility.

I wrote the sampling after being inspired by one of those bubble machines that make huge iridescent bubbles:  I created a story of a boy who was able to step in to one of the magical spheres, and he went on an incredible journey to many different places. Well long-story-short, they accepted me! I felt so proud and excited! It was the first step I’d taken toward furthering my education after high school, and my heart and mind were hungry.

I learned that I write lots of run-on sentences, and that I don’t always put commas where I should!! Yes, I learned that technically I needed to learn a lot more to write properly, but at the same time I learned that I had what it takes to create stories in the creative aspect of it all. The Institute taught me a lot about how to create believable characters, natural dialogue, and conflict.  Grammatical teaching was provided, along with the means of learning how to research the market and submit by query letters to magazines. I bet this is really just the tip of the iceberg, but generally I feel this is some of what we touched on.

For me, this had been a huge step in the direction of just getting back to writing. I have not taken as much of the initiative as I probably should in submitting and getting my writing “out there,” but at least I’m writing again.

MARIE ELENA:  Your “bubble” story sounds like great fun for a child to read.  I hope you polish it up and submit it.

So, when and how did you begin writing poetry?

HANNAH: When I was a little girl and up through my teen years, I enjoyed making cards and writing poetry in them for family member’s Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. I began writing poetry in high school in 1995, my sophomore year, and wrote till I graduated. Then I got caught up in a whirlwind fury of life without boundaries and only wrote random scribblings that really made it no farther than a scrap of paper, napkin or a much neglected journal. This is one that I found recently that kind of surprised me.

May This Be Credence ~1995 Hannah Bowles

An old barn in a sea of snow,

a sunflower stretching upward to grow,

a sleepy willow stooping in shame,

and an innocent colt ready to tame.

An endless journey, the destination

is confidence.

A heartless ploy, the result

is diffidence.

I remembered upon reading this exactly how I’d felt after writing it and after sharing it. I did not getting the response I’d expected, and I felt let down. At seventeen, I really felt good about this poem.

I began to write poetry again in April of 2009 for my first Poem a Day Challenge, and I haven’t stopped since!

MARIE ELENA:  I understand your disappointment in a less-than-enthusiastic reaction to your poem, Hannah.  That poem is skillfully penned, and bares your heart. I’m glad you decided to give poetry a try again in 2009.

Given a choice, would you spend your time writing poetry, or children’s stories?

HANNAH:  Well, that is a hard question, Marie. I enjoy poetry because it is such a tangible way for me to write. Poems are buoyant little spheres of inspiration with an easy to attain beginning, middle and ending. Stories, on the other hand, can be sort of daunting and time consuming.  Yet the feeling I get after weaving a story successfully is a different fulfillment than that of writing poetry. Hmm…I’m leaning toward poetry, but that is because I could cheat and write many poems that tie together, and then I’d really be writing a story anyway. [Big smiles! 😉 ]

MARIE ELENA:  That’s downright sneaky, Hannah!   I do love “buoyant little spheres of inspiration .”  So Hannah-esque!

And here is a Hannah-esque  quote of yours:  “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  ~Anne Frank.  This is so YOU, Hannah!

This might be a silly question, but where does your intense connection with nature come from?

HANNAH:  This quote resonates with me deeply, Marie. I feel that from a young age I was encouraged to see the beauty in nature. Between my mother and grandmother, I was taught a lot about what is out there in the natural world.

When I was eight, I longed to be a veterinarian. I simply adored animals, and felt as though there was an unspoken understanding that breached the barriers of language between me and them. My parents nurtured this interest in one way by purchasing for me a gorgeous set of children’s books written by James Herriot with the most exquisite illustrations. The writing in these books is extremely earthy and utterly delectable, in my opinion. I treasure them still to this day.

I grew up mostly in a rural area: an island that my heart calls home, named Georgetown, in Maine. I spent eleven of my most formative years growing up there, and I believe my relationship with nature deepened then. I feel fed by the time that I spent and spend there –  images still held vividly in my mind from many different times while there.

The thing that amazes me is that in the beauty and wonder – the awe of it all – in this lays, I believe, hidden messages that can be learned. The poem [“Patience,” shared above] that I just wrote today, Easter, explains what I mean by messages or lessons.

MARIE ELENA:  Ah, those life lessons.   Hannah, you’ve shared with me the role alcohol has played in your life.  Is there anything about those dark days and what you learned from them that you can share?  How did you get away from that hold, and what effect has it had on who you are today?

HANNAH:  I believe that individuals are the product of their upbringing and environment, and that we all as beings have the choice to learn from our circumstances and either grow and gain, or wallow and succumb also to the same sorts of traps as previous generations.

Unfortunately, for a time during high school and off and on to varying degrees of heaviness, I fell into a very unhealthy pattern and diluted my person hood with an alcoholism that I loathed and longed to overcome. Until about four years ago (or maybe a little more, it feels like forever ago), coincidentally, or not so much of a coincidence really, this happens to also be when I began to be serious about writing again, and when I began to listen to my heart and ultimately the Source again. Once I got a taste of truth and the clarity that it brings, I could never go back to the way that I was. I will never allow myself to dwell in an ancient past of hurtful wrongs caused by generations of missteps. So, really what this means to me, is that I’m throwing a wrench in the chains of an inevitable repeating history (hopefully, considering free will and the poor direction of this nation’s morals, but that’s another topic, wholly).

MARIE ELENA:  Wow, Hannah, I love this:  “grow and gain, or wallow and succumb.”  That says it all, doesn’t it?  I’m so thankful you were able to grab hold of the reins that could help stop the cycle.

And speaking of “grow and gain,” something happened to you in the middle of the April 2009 Challenge.  A walk.  A name change.  Care to share?

HANNAH:  Oh, the BIG day!! Yes, I’d love to share! My high school sweetheart and I “tied the knot!” We have been together since 1997 and had been through it all including giving birth to and bringing into this world our first son, and we decided that we should probably make it official. My husband, Marcel (AKA Marco), is such a beautiful soul. He’s my best friend, and I was so happy to share, finally, his last name – bringing the three of us together in a oneness that was truly heart-bursting.

HANNAH AND MARCO'S WEDDING DAY
WITH LITTLE CAIDEN
(BEAUTIFUL!)

MARIE ELENA:  Then three became four.  Tell me about your sweet boys!

HANNAH:  Oh, those boys!!! We ALL know how much joy our babies bring to ourselves and the lives of others. I’m constantly getting “looks” from people in big-box-stores for making crazy baby faces at other people’s children! So fun!

So the five-er is Caiden, and he is a fire-cracker! He recently gave me quite a scare and needed to get a bump on his head glued shut, super scary to this mama heart. Also, a real eye-opener, in that I never want to take for granted these beautiful lives I’ve been gifted for our time together here on Earth. Just a simple slip on pin-needles while running, turned crazy quick. Caiden is a budding artist and has the sweetest heart!

The baby is Leland, I’ve always thought it was a neat coincidence that you have a Leland in your family, too, Marie. Not a very common name – we heard it on an antique program.  My husband and I perked up and looked at each other – we knew that was to be his name. Leland is eighteen months old and is learning so rapidly. He is such a mellow guy, has just learned to give kisses, and has whispered his first, “I love you,”  = melted puddle of heart!

Here are a couple of pictures that I think are wicked cute that I knew you’d enjoy, Marie, and that I thought the rest of our writing friends would like, also.

MARIE ELENA: “Melted puddle of heart” and “wicked cute,” in back-to-back sentences.  You know I love it!  And “… beautiful lives I’ve been gifted for our time together here on Earth” speaks volumes of how much your boys mean to you.

CAIDEN AND LELAND
(little pumpkins!)

CAIDEN AND LELAND

I believe the following poem describes the scare you mention above.  As is typical of your poetry, this piece is complete, well penned, and emotive.

One Ordinary Afternoon

 It really could’ve been any ordinary
sun-filled, fun-spilling late afternoon
at the local playground in our town.
We may have chosen to drive
rather than five-er ride scooter
and baby bounce in the backpack.
It just as easily may’ve happened
to be an uneventful trip, regular slips
on slides and swinging extra high,
brave souls trying fire-men poles and
newish babies bearing, wiggly-bridges.
The added element of glass-filled woods
from neighborhood kids-being-kids,
sets of steep ledge bordering the play place,
could just as easily not exist, but they do.
Five year-old boys could not enjoy
the challenge of grappling “mountain,” walls,
but this one does and he did it quite well, too.
But he knew his mama didn’t approve
of his whereabouts and the “look,”
brought him swiftly, running, tripping,
headlong falling into unforgiving rock.
My innards could’ve easily just flopped
right onto the ground at the sound,
my baby’s head meeting hard gray matter.
The resounding smack could’ve not imprinted
indelibly in my brain, but it certainly has.
My feet possibly never touched down
in covering the space to get to him,
(Still too long), my thoughts wouldn’t stop,
telling me repetitively what I already knew,
it was going to be bad; his sudden jolt,
pause of silence before the outburst.
Blood filled-in strands of bright-blonde hair,
pooling and spilling as I gathered him up,
searching my mind for the next steps.
In moments I could’ve easily lost track of
baby number two, sitting-eating woodchips.
My best friend, whose daughter happened
to be happily playing near-by, could easily
not be living a hop-skip-jump from there.
Anyone easily may’ve not noticed anything
as a woman ran wildly with flagging,
faded, dampened dish-cloth in hand,
with her neighbor who just happened to be an RN
both appearing next to me, breathing smoothly;
taking it all in and with looks of confidence,
melting the panic-stricken, fear inflicted feeling.
Swept up in the wave of compassion,
we could’ve not been gathered up so quickly,
sitting in a van, covering distance to the ER;
glue for wound and glove balloons
to divert his aching attention away .
I could’ve also never acknowledged
the rising-welling, the surprise
in the willingness of people who helped.
All of this was surely, purely an eye-opener,
a penetrating, unnerving reminder,
just how precious our very lives are.
This scar will be more than a pink dent
in the head of a sweet, smiling, beacon of a boy.

 © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012

MARIE ELENA:  You are one whose faith shines brilliantly!  What does it mean to you, and how does it affect who you are and how you write?

HANNAH:  Thank you, Marie, I don’t hear this all that often, and when I do it always surprises me. I suppose it means to me as a being that I place my faith in something much bigger than myself, and anything that my mind could conceive. It means that I will seek strength, peace and above all I will look to Love as the answer, the “cure-all,” in life situations.

As a writer this means that I try to heed the mighty compass and let my words be directed divinely, ultimately, though it doesn’t always go this way. But I step into the creative realm daily and, letting go, I trust that the words will be there. It is both comforting and invigorating to know that I needn’t always rely on myself, but can gain from the Source if I’m an open circuit.

MARIE ELENA:  My usual end question is this:  If we could know only one thing about you, what would you want it to be?

HANNAH:  If you could know only one thing about me I would want you to know that I’m just a shadow of who I’m meant to be. So to expound upon this a bit: I’m trying every day to become more like what was intended for me, before I got in my own way. I long to bring to the surface the essence of what was planted, preordained. I wish, with all my heart, to return to the state of unhindered and unchangeable Love.

Is that more than one thing!? Ha ha!

MARIE ELENA:  Thank you, Sweet Hannah.  As in everything in life, your joy comes across in this interview.

… and one last thing:  You are wicked cute! 😉