LOOKING FOR HELP

Marie and I need to compile a concise list of our contributors for the first year of POETIC BLOOMINGS. We began in May 2011, so if I can get 12 volunteers to take a month each and make a list of all poets posting POEMS (poems only) for the Sunday prompts for the month you assume, it would be a great help. We will deal with the IN-FORM POET in another undertaking. The earlier months have fewer entries and would require less effort, so I would appreciate any of our more ambitious poets picking up the more recent prompts, and leaving earlier ones to those that still want to assist us but have less time to devote. All mystery behind this will be revealed when these months have been tabulated.

On completion, e-mail the lists to the poeticbloomings@yahoo.com  address. All that is required is the month and names of the poets (indicate multiple postings with an *). I do not need poem titles or any other information.

Please post a comment to let me know if you can help and which month you can pick up, to avoid duplication. Thank you for a wonderful year of poetics and your continued support.

Walt and Marie Elena

IN-FORM POET – THE ALLITERISEN

The Alliterisen (Complex and Rhyming), is a form created by Udit Bhatia, which is a simple seven-lined poem with a specific syllable pattern and two alliterations per line.

Alliteration is the succession of similar consonant sounds. They are not recognized by spelling, but rather by sounds. For example: Glorious Graves, and wonderful waves.

The syllable structure for the Complex Alliterisen is as follows:

1st line- x syllables
2nd line- x+2 syllables
3rd line- x-1 syllables
4th line- (x+2)-1 syllables
5th line- x-2 syllables
6th line- (x+2)-2 syllables
7th line- x syllables

This allows for infinite syllable sequences.

In the above sample, let’s say your first line has eight (8) syllables:

1st line- 8 syllables
2nd line- 10 syllables
3rd line- 7 syllables
4th line- 9 syllables
5th line- 6 syllables
6th line- 8 syllables
7th line- 8 syllables

The Rhyming Alliterisen consists of 7 lines, with 7 syllables each, and has one alliteration in every line. The rhyme scheme is as follows: aabbccd.

xxxxxxA
xxxxxxA
xxxxxxB
xxxxxxB
xxxxxxC
xxxxxxC
xxxxxxD

Yeah, I know… it’s very regimented. But if we don’t challenge ourselves we don’t improve! Give it a try.

MARIE ELENA’S  RHYMIN’RISEN:

A MUDDLED INTERMINGLING

Miss Little Libby Loudly
Adds deaf’ning discourse proudly
While Weensy Willie Whisper’s
A calmly quiet lisper.
Then enter Mugsy Mumbles
And grumpy Gertrude Grumbles-
Inspire intermingling.

WALT’S COMPLEX ALLITERISEN:

LOVE’S LONGING

Assured, I stand in silent shadows,
wildly wondering about a love lost.
In my mind she is an angel;
in my heart of hearts, she belies beauty.
Her hand, softly sensual,
and tender touches tell her tale.
My dream is daunting; love languishes.

THE WALK OF LIFE – PROMPT #57

 Are you a leader?
Do you follow?
Do you walk with the masses
or in the silence of your own thoughts?
Only you can know where your direction leads.
Give us a glimpse of your journey, 
knowing we’ll be with you every step of the way.


MARIE ELENA’S PATH:

Elements of Design
a sonnet

Her longings go beyond where he has led.
His nightmares see her leaving him behind.
She takes his hand, in hopes that he will tread
Uncertain pathways – pages yet unlined.

His ruler and his compass firmly gripped,
He pointedly denotes their journey’s source.
Just staring blankly, feeling ill-equipped –
No dots to link; no way to chart their course.

She tenderly removes the tools in hand,
Endows him with a palette of rich hues,
Presents him with a canvassed-life unplanned;
Excitedly, they watch the tints diffuse.

Her watercolor fantasies achieved;
His fear of spontaneity relieved.

WALT’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE:

WHERE I GO, WILL YOU FOLLOW?

The journey is long in this life.
We share our joys; suffer through strife
learning to give and love and grow,
teaching to others what we know;
this experiment in true-life.

In this life, we find it is rife
with heartaches that cut like a knife,
but we carry on even though
the journey is long.

From here until the afterlife,
I will walk all paths in this life.
The world has so much more to show.
So much to see before I go,
and here I’m stuck in this mid-life?
The journey is long.

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #56

Don’t give up the fight…but also know when to cut your losses and start fresh. Dispatch your annoyance with a terse rejection and get on with it…much like we’ve done with our selections:

MARIE ELENA’S CHOICE

Walt’s “Enough is Enough” prompt brought out such diversity!  Humor, rants, memories, fears – poems just shy of 700 words, and as few as eight –  all speaking volumes. This week, I offer my Beautiful Bloom to Patricia Hawkenson for “Past the Date.”  Her smart choice of metaphor, well … smarts.  Well done, Patricia!

Past the Date (by Patricia Hawkenson)

You can toss it out
without any guilt
glugging it down the drain
with your head turned
to avoid any possible
stench
and there is no offense,
for milk proudly tells you
when it has had enough.

I have seen your head
turn from me
and I can smell your
disappointment
gritty
and clumped
with bitterness
while empty white jugs
pile like snow on our back porch.

WALT’S RESIGNATION:

This poet brought heart, emotion, sadness and a whole lot of courage toher piece. When life gives all you can handle you need to say:”Enough is enough”. You wipe your hands clean, and you walk away. But as you leave it behind, don’t forget to say:

BYE-BYE by Sara McNulty (purplepeninportland)

She mired herself in the mud
of the mind, soaking up
depression like a sun bath.
Meeting me, a chronic depressive,
she savored steeping me
in her waters of woe.
Commiseration without
solution, unhealthy for both
of us. I began to notice
her phone calls were reserved
for ruminations about her life,
easily ignoring mine. I flicked
off the last morsel of mud,
after a failed suicide attempt
landed me in the hospital.
She called to discuss
the effect this had on her.
I washed, lost her number,
and sought help.

Congratulations Patricia and Sara for your BEAUTIFUL BLOOM awarded poems.

WEB WEDNESDAY – VIVIENNE FRANCES BLAKE

VIVIENNE F. BLAKE

How many interviewers have you come across that unashamedly mention the “maturity” of their guest?  That “none” may now officially be changed to “one.”  Welcome to one of our senior Poetic Bloomers, Vivienne Frances Blake.  Viv is one of our most loyal, consistent contributors.  We appreciate her work, as well as her frank comments.  She is another excellent poet Walt and I first came to know and admire through Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides site.

MARIE ELENA:  Viv, your lifetime has been spent during an era of much change (technology and morals, to name two).  Which changes do you feel have been needed and beneficial?

VIV:   That’s a hard one. I think a beneficial impact has come from the development of communication technology.  My early computing days were one heck of a solitary struggle in the late 80’s, but I’m so glad I persevered.  The internet gave me the chance to earn a BA at 72, and blogging has brought an international bunch of ‘virtual’ friends, with more readers each day for my poetry than I could ever have hoped to attract with any publication.

MARIE ELENA:  Your cap and gown become you, Viv.  Congratulations!

At the other end of the spectrum, what changes have you found to be disturbing or detrimental?

VIV:  Morally, it seems to have been more regressive than progressive, with crime and not much punishment being more prevalent than ever.  The sexually liberated age led to a huge increase in family break-up (my own included) and the scourge of AIDS.  Politically we seem to be going to hell in a bucket, with self-serving and corrupt governments becoming the rule rather than the preserve of historically third world nations.  Media shenanigans are also to blame for much evil in the world.  And as for war – don’t get me started!

Debt

Our forebears preached that debt was bad.
We had to save for all we had.
Now it’s a feature of modern life
For businessman and suburban wife.
Students borrow to stay alive
and so they find they cannot thrive.
But bankers rub their hands in glee
requiring us to pay their fee
They take their bonuses and pay
And live to steal another day
while we poor suckers pay indeed
taxes to subsidize their sinful greed

MARIE ELENA:  Good points, Viv.  Include my own family in the increase in family break-ups due in large part to the sexually liberated age.  I’m so sorry to hear that yours had its casualties as well.

You used to be a physically active young woman.  Now that age has crept up a bit, you have taken to crawling out through the internet wires.  If the internet did not exist, what do you think you would be doing with your time … both for entertainment, and for furthering your writing?

VIV:  I would be doing what I do now:  quilting, cooking, enjoying friends and family.  Having been bitten by the writing bug, if there were no internet, I would probably write a good deal more – maybe finish turning a novella into a novel and continue with a boys’ adventure story that I started for my grandson, and really should finish, before he grows out of the genre!

MARIE ELENA:  So how many of your 70-plus years have you spent writing?

VIV:  Funny you should ask that, Marie:  not that many, considering my advanced age.  When I was very young, my sister and I used to write appalling boarding school stories, from the depths of our ignorance.  A little later, there was a joint family effort with Dad to write a Nativity play for school, followed by a stage adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy, in which I played the title role.

Of course, there was a lot of oral writing of doggerel batted across the table at Sunday lunch during my childhood.  Dad would come out with a scurrilous statement and we’d take it in turns to add a line, usually ending with a limerick or three.

A long ‘dry’ interval then until I found myself working in business-to-business public relations in my forties, and even then, my writing was confined to press releases, case histories, brochures and the like, though I did write a book called “Help Yourself” about support available for small businesses which is way out of date now, though it had wide circulation at the heart of the 1980s recession.   I’d forgotten all about it until your question, Marie!

Poetry didn’t come until about 5 years ago, as part of my Open University degree studies, undertaken originally to make my French more correct, and learn more about French culture, history and politics.  As soon as I had the French Diploma under my belt, I turned to Creative Writing courses, and bingo!  I found my passion.

MARIE ELENA:  Your family sounds like great fun, and you all must have the “quick wit” gene.

What advice would you give young writers?

VIV:  To read lots, which helps with vocabulary;  to keep a notebook and pen beside them at all times; to learn the ins and outs of formal poetry – even if they never write any – for the rhythm and for the discipline of sticking to rules, even if later they are thrown out of the window; to be careful of grammar, spelling and presentation of their work.  Here’s a rather sarky advice poem:

 To a poet

Never use one word where
three would work much better.
Examples of verbosity,
of words such generosity,
ignoring pure simplicity.

Fill the page, I dare you,
with words and words of wisdom,
beauty, sense, all  buried in
a mound of purple phrases.

Perpetrate absurdity,
assuage my curiosity
to see how far you’ll go
in creating a monstrosity.

To express yourself at length,
is that the right of writers?
No.  Stop.
Try  brevity.
the soul
of –

Or a more sensible one:

Inspiration

Some things it is not:
a divine wind
the great flatulence of God
something from outside us,
a poetic dictator
who forces us to write.

What is it, then?
It’s the thought that comes into your head
in the middle of the night
but is gone by morning;
the ability to see poetry
in mundane events.
It is the spark, the germ of an idea;
the determination to share
your spark, your idea
in a poem for everyone.

MARIE ELENA: You’ve shared such excellent points and poems, Viv.  Which poem of yours would you say particularly flaunts your style and passions?

VIV:  This week I have been looking through a large pile of my poems, trying to find a cohesive set for a submission of 20 poems for a pamphlet competition.  It struck me that there are three main themes to my output:  nature, weather and landscape being the largest group; memories; and lastly, political rants, with a thread of humor running through all three categories.  If it was hard to choose 20 poems, to select just one for you seemed almost impossible!  I decided to give you the first poem of mine to be published – accepted simultaneously by First Edition and also by the e-zine Long Story Short – while I was still studying,  smarting a little under the strictures of university tutors.

In Defense of Clichés

A cliché is a wonderful thing,
a means of encapsulating
a truth universally acknowledged.
Or is it?

At the end of the day,
to be perfectly honest,
safe as houses
makes much more sense
than safe as banks.

I hear what you’re saying
but I want to move the goalposts.
When push comes to shove,
the fact of the matter is that
we need to think outside the box.

In terms of ballpark figures,
a hundred and ten percent
of what I say
is pushing the envelope
of credibility.

Literally, in terms of
blue sky thinking,
the cliché is an awesome resource
for adding value.

Let’s face it,
the mind boggles
 at the crackpot idea
of doing without.
the comfort blanket
of received phrases.

The long and the short of it is,
we should all sing from the same hymn sheet:
and agree the bottom line:
a cliché is A Good Thing.

And one of my nature poems

Break Fast

Up through a heap of sugared beech leaves,
 I poke my nose, whiffle the air.
No.  It’s not yet time.

I woke to hungry rumbling
but no scent of mollusc greets me
and I cannot stand the cold.

Back to sleep until Spring.

*

It’s the end of a perfect dream
of moistened, creeping worms,
and willing females.

I snuffle again and honeyed air
meets my cautious nose.
Hmm. I think, that’s better.

Ah yes, the time has come
to leave my winter bed of fleas,
to feast and make love,

carefully.

MARIE ELENA:  Those poems are great!  I particularly like “In Defense of Clichés.”

Please tell me a bit about your career as a BBC production secretary.  That sounds fascinating.

VIV:  So long ago!  Not exactly a career, either, as I was only there for four years, from 17-21.  Initially I worked in the West Indian Service, moved to Music Division, where I worked on the linking announcements for concerts, using and updating an extensive reference library.  It was all a bit serious after the jollity of my first job, and I soon moved on to work as secretary to the Fashion and Beauty Editor on Woman’s Hour, meeting (albeit in a humble capacity) the great and the good of many different worlds.

But I have done so many different jobs – temping when needed to earn a crust, eventually finding my niche as Press and Public Relations Officer to the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK.  I went freelance for a few years before we upped sticks and went to work in Seychelles for two years. Jock had reached total disillusionment with the British Health Service (he was a dentist) and we needed to fill in time before pensions became due.  That was when I found my vocation as a teacher – of business studies to Polytechnic students, and later here in France, of English to Baccalaureate students written off as “nul en anglais.”  Every one of my students has since passed.

 MARIE ELENA:  Such an interesting and eclectic work experience you’ve had!  As an aside, I must say that I’m getting a kick out of your presumably British’isms (“earn a crust,” “we upped sticks,” etc.).  Fun!

I know you enjoy music:  what type of music strikes your fancy?

VIV:  Here’s a sample (Fantasie Impromptu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa0Z6g1XJkU&feature=player_embedded)

MARIE ELENA:  Oh-so-beautiful.  I’m glad you shared the link.

Sunday Night at Gran’s

Give us a toon, Winnie, Grandma would say
as we settled down after our tea.
Ripples of liquid poetry flowed
from the fingers of my spinster  Aunt,
to enchant us and set the mood.

Give us a song, Joan, she’d say
 and the Eriskay Love Lilt would woo us
in silvery soprano notes
from my youngest Aunt
when shivers down spines would seduce us.

Now you, Bob, would elicit
a song far too explicit
for  young ears, Gran complained
as French Uncle Bob crooned
 Auprès de ma Blonde
 il faut bien , il faut bien dormir.

Bob set the tone for Grandpa,
deaf as a post but still game
to warble a rude one
we all knew by heart:
Johnny with his Cam-er-a.

How about Marion? And my Mum
would groan and play with aplomb
and much too fast, her party piece.
Hungarian Rhapsody Number two by Liszt.
Played like that, it was jolly.

Duets would follow from unwilling siblings
Sylvia and Vivienne.
London Pride we could do without squabbling
but my Grandfather’s Clock was a killer.
A veil will be drawn over vile din from fiddle.

Gran would contribute her best to the party –
the beautiful Alice Blue Gown.
Then the signal to wind up—
crashing chords from the piano
as we asked God to Bless This House,
before we all went to bed.

Music – a constant strand of gold throughout my life. – mainly classical, but also with a penchant for jazz and folk; actively playing piano, clarinet and singing until relatively recently, now passively listening.  Other instruments have been dabbled in as the opportunity arose.  For a brief time I ran a scratch orchestra at home and have been more or less permanently addicted to singing in choirs and amateur operatics.

 Tinnitus

These hands that once caressed the keys,
creating music with delight,
rippling notes with careless ease
producing  airs and harmonies;
unruly, they resist command.
How sad that time deforms my skill,
a victim of grey cells’ slow decay.
The treble slips, the bass is at odds
as wrong notes crash in jarring chords,
unwanted pauses pain the ear.
Where is the music of younger days?
Dumb machines can’t still this need.
Although the music is not dead,
it lives, an i-Pod,  in my head.

MARIE ELENA: Such a sad poem, Viv. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

You have a few publications under your belt.  Are there plans for more?  Do you have a writing/submission routine you follow?

Viv:  Not really.  I don’t submit as much as I used to –   as many major competitions as I can afford and to good free ones.  As I’ve said, blogging gives me a greater readership than any work I could publish could hope to attract.

I write most of the time, mainly poetry, late at night and early morning being at my most prolific, though I’ve also written a lot at times of crisis.

 MARIE ELENA:  I’ve seen photos of where you live, and they are absolutely stunning.  If you would please provide a few photos and tell me about your home, that would be just wonderful!

VIV: This house – hopefully our last  – is pictured at the end of my ‘House That Jock Built’ poem  here: http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/the-house-that-jock-built/ We bought the plot for the fabulous view  and designed the house ourselves, with a large sunny workroom for me, and a tool-filled workshop for Jock, landing library, guest bedrooms and bathroom upstairs and our suite downstairs. Most of the ground floor is taken up with the living/dining/kitchen space, which works brilliantly, with three lots of patio doors onto an open verandah shielding us from midsummer sun but allowing us to feel part of our lovely rural surroundings and to eat outdoors frequently.

MARIE ELENA:  Could it be any more breathtaking?

The Linden

My skeleton is

bared in purest form,

in slumber for a time through winter’s chill.

Equinoctial gales send my branches wantonly waving,

’til comes the rain, replenishing my strength for summer’s work.

I stir again. My nascent leaves begin to bud and burst out green.

Birds arrive in feathered phalanx. Calm, all is still.

I preen my regal form in fecund glory.

Summer’s heavy cloak bears down on me,

flower pennants brown to seed. My leaves are liquid gold,

now winter nears.

Inexorable cycle

as my robe

flutters

down.

Through

rain, through

frost and snow,

in solitary splendour, I reign.

 

MARIE ELENA:  Rather than my usual sharing of a poem that particularly struck my fancy or that I found particularly memorable, I’d like to share a few excerpts from the War Memoir section of Viv’s blog, “Vivinfrance.”  Written for her grandchildren, I cannot encourage her enough to find a publisher of children’s literature, and get these memoirs into the hands of a larger audience.  I also encourage you all to visit Viv’s blog to read them in full.  I’m hoping this little sampling will whet your appetite.  I simply cannot imagine that it wouldn’t.

WAR MEMOIRS

“I remember the buzzing of bees in the buddleia by the French windows. But no, it’s louder than that. Look up: the sky so far above me contains a whirling swarm of insects, chasing each other, swooping, curling upwards and away only to drop down to resume the senseless circus. I did not know it then, but those loud insects were Spitfires and Heinkels, Hurricanes and Junkers, their young pilots desperately trying to shoot each other out of the sky. It was the summer of 1940 in South-West London.”

“But at night the almost total darkness was broken by the beautiful patterns made by the searchlight beams, so-called because they swung about searching for enemy aircraft during the raids.”

“I learned to read there. I don’t remember any preamble, any ‘a’ for apple, ‘b’ for ball. I have no idea how I did it. It just arrived. It seemed as though one minute I could not read and the next I could read anything.”

“It was then that I lost my father, albeit temporarily. In 1941 he went into the RAF. I cried my eyes out when Mum said ‘He’s not Daddy any more. From now on he is AC2 Showell, 1866919′ – a number that is still engraved on my brain, a brain that can’t even remember its own car registration. A few days after he departed for a place called Castle Donnington I sat down to write him a letter. Barely literate at the time, I printed slowly and laboriously, with a chewed pencil, onto feint-lined paper:

‘DEAR A C 2

WE MISS YOU IT IS RANING THER WAS A RAID LAST NIGHT

I HOPE YOU ARE ALL RITE

WITH LOVE FROM VIVI

I addressed the envelope, with the title and number, and gave it to Mum. How she kept a straight face I’ll never know, but later I heard her roaring with laughter with Gran. My cheeks burned with resentment. How dare they laugh at my letter? I’d done exactly as I’d been told, proud of my ability to write. So that’s another thing I lost: my pride.”

“My father’s father – a mischievous punster, round and wicked (of which more later) used to take pity on us from time to time and send us a chicken for Sunday dinner. The smell coming from the kitchen drew us irresistibly and we’d sit round the table in the brown dining room, salivating until Mum brought in the miracle bird. All would go quiet for a while and then someone would bring out the inevitable ‘just like a rich family in peace-time.’”

MARIE ELENA:  Again, Viv, I encourage you to find a publisher.  Your experiences are valuable to our children, and your communication style is perfection.

Now, as I end all my interviews: If there was only one thing we could know about you, what would it be?

VIV:  I put all of myself into my poetry – and what you see is what you get, often clichéd, frequently rebellious:

The Significance of Meaning

 I try to find the meaning of a poem.
They tell me that it’s more than just the words.
I find that nothing’s really as it seems
when clarity of language is divorced
from reality, perverted to create
poetical effect with metaphor,
confusing images, zany punctuation.
Consonance and assonance should work
within a frame of rhythm, rhyme and meter
to weave a magic cloth of sensual beauty,

Who am I to question this tradition?
The meaning, should it be the raison d’être,
the be all and the end all of a poem?
Or is it something I don’t need to know?

What I would like to add is my appreciation for the nurturing and happy environment you and Walt provide for us poets to play in.  Poetic Bloomings is the gem of gems in the blogosphere.

MARIE ELENA:  Such a kind thing to say!  Thank you, Viv, and thank you for gracing our site with your poetic spirit.  Walt and I are thankful to count you as a “Bloomer.”

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” – PROMPT #56

We’ve done favorites of things we like. Today, take the opposite tack and write about something you could just as soon do without. Put one hand up and say “ENOUGH!” Use the other hand to write your poem and purge the offender from your system.

MARIE ELENA’S BANE:

VICE

Once
Twice
Rolled the dice
Twice
Thrice
Paid the price
Sound advice:
That’ll suffice.

WALT’S BAD MEDICINE:

ENOUGH!

I feel the drip, drip, drip
making my voice nasal,
and throat irritated. Into my lungs,
bronchi inflamed. Enough of this
my fight is against my “-itises”
Sinusitis and bronchitis
might as well go to hell.
I’m not well and it is their fault.
ENOUGH!

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS PROMPT #55

This was a prompt that I knew would illicit a great response and exceptional poetry. Our poets did not disappoint on both counts. We’ve learned a lot about your home and origins and in turn about you. This was indeed a grand exercise. The sheer numbers do contribute to the difficulty in choosing just two poems for honors.

MARIE ELENA’S  PICK OF THE BLOOM:

First, an “attaboy” to my partner for his prompt.  Truly in my “top five” category!

It seems with each and every prompt, it becomes harder and harder to choose only one poem to honor.  Such is the case today as I agonize over half a dozen poems that BEG a “bloom.”  Some focus on family and, really, what is home if not family?  Some expertly describe landscape and location.  Some are brilliantly creative.  But I finally decided to honor Jlynn (Janice) Sheridan’s “When Suburbs Were Born.”  Though there are certainly other poems just as worthy, this poem oozes everyday life and breath in Chicago’s ‘burbs.  The author manages to incorporate scent, sound, sight, fret, familiarity, custom, routine, vision, scene, and sentiment in this uniquely “Jlynn” piece.  Bravo, and congratulations Janice!

When Suburbs Were Born by Jlynn Sheridan

Sweet home Chicago, I singeth not
of you but your sprawled tentacles
far-reaching along the Northwestern
rail line, the conductor bellowing for
tickets, his clickers chewing like mad
magpies, snatching prey before the
next stop.

We time our walk to school by these
oil-stench trains. If we pass Baby Park
by 7:54, cross the street to avoid the DOM
(dirty old man,) by 7:56, don’t stop to
gape into the knot holes in the abandoned
barn searching for dead cows by 8:01.

If we bypass the sweet temptations of
the Cake Box, the cigar store with the
swinging saloon doors where we buy
baseball cards with the pink Bazooka
Joe gum inside,

then hurry by Hillenbrans where I bought
my first bra, then eyes to the pavement,
our worn shoes scurrying passed
Bar one,
Bar two,
Bar three

where early commuters catch one more
before their chase for their train, slowing
us up as they decide which door to go in.

If we get passed all that by 8:07, we can
reach the station and avoid the three-minute
wait for stops at the crossing gate, and we
can safely trip over the four-rail gravelly
train highway just in time for the red light
at Northwest Highway.This rush of road
leads the clan of commuter trains into
the big city,

toward Sear’s Tower, and the lions in front of
the Field Museum, Wrigley Field, Comiskey
Park,
Mayor Daly,
de dems,
de do’s,
de El,
de Loop,

Navy Pier, Lake Michigan where the fancy
ladies shop along The Magnificent Mile
but we don’t because we live on the south
side of the tracks, the tracks we have to cross
to get to school every day, where we have to
meet up with the fancy north-siders who do.

WALT’S HONOREE:

My choice is for a poem which captured my original intention when I proposed this prompt to Marie. Where do we find home? Is it in early memories? Is it just a place? Do we carry it with us? My suspicion is it is a little bit of each. And so, I chose Connie L. Peters “WHERE I GREW UP”

WHERE I GREW UP by Connie L. Peters

Huddled in hills
in western Pennsylvania
sat a little pink house
(sometimes yellow, red or white)
by Charlie the Oak Tree
in a neighborhood where a creek
and a small road ran through,
by the name of Shannon, our name.
Mostly relatives
were scatted about
some longtime friends, too,

My four sisters and I
rarely stayed indoors
climbing trees, sled riding,
exploring the woods,
playing pretend games
after all the old shows,
eating fruits from trees, bushes
and even out of the gardens.
We were mad when
a new neighbor moved in
and wiped out the best blackberry patch.

Pappap sold the land bit by bit
and house grew up all over
hidden in the summer by the foliage
but in the winter we saw them encroaching.
The little road became busier
until kids no longer played on it like we did
when we needed a smooth, flat place.
We grew up and left and the pine trees
covered the yard, hiding the little house
until it was abused by renters and torn down.
But still, standing tall, is the Oak Tree, Charlie

IN-FORM POET – NAANI

The NAANI is one of India’s most popular Telugu forms,  Naani means “expression of one and all.”  It consists of 4 lines, totalling 20 to 25 syllables. It is generally untitled, although the subject may be inferred in the first line. The poem is not bound to a particular subject, but is often about human relations. The form was introduced by one of the renowned Telugu poets, Dr. N. Gopi.

NONNA’S NAANI:

Conversation
Is not necessarily
communication.
Her eyes and smile speak fluently.

WALT’S NAANI:

We converse.
Airing our differences
in the dance of give and take;
agreement through our compromises.

COMING HOME – PROMPT # 55

Marie discovered the geography of our contributing poet/gardeners revealing some interesting locales. So for this prompt, we are going home. We’d like to play up the international flavor we’ve developed here. Write a poem about or inspired by your home. It could be where you were born, your hometown, the country from which you originate. Teach us a bit about your origins, or customs and plant yourself firmly into the fertile poetic soil of our garden and ultimately root deeper into our hearts.

MARIE ELENA’S HOME:

Northwest Ohio

My Buckeye roots extended northeast
to the “Center of Steel Production,”
now known as the “Rust Belt.”
Following a short southern plunge into the Gulf
of Mexico, they rummaged northward again,
and have deeply rooted themselves
into Northwest Ohio’s flat terrain.

Not a hill to be found,
it clambers to give the eye something
on which to feast.

Myself, I relish the curve of the Maumee,
Eerie temperament of a storied great lake,
the stately Buckeye,
flowering Dogwood and Poplar,
scarlet Sumac, Redbud, and Sycamore.

A Spring palette of fair pastels
and equally fair temperatures
transforms to Summer’s
Petri-dish, and
brightly flamboyant panorama,
followed by a plunge in temperature, and
Autumn’s rich jeweled hues.

Soon, bare branches are laden
with dazzling white snow, that
glitters on moonlit evenings,
flaunting the crimson Cardinal.

Yet, the best is this:
Each time we pull into the drive
of our humble brick one-story,
I hear my voice say,
“I just love my home.”

WALT RETURNS TO WOOD:

LACKAWANNA

Oh, steel town why did you steal my heart?
Our family had flourished as you imparted
your gritty resolve upon us all. Generations
of ancestors learned the lessons burned
into their minds and souls. The home made of
and built upon Wood was a good place to grow.
Aunts and uncles and cousins, scores of
neighbors watching and looking out; caring
for the common ground we shared, no fences
commenced to spring. The unity of this close-knit
community was all the security we needed.
Greed and avarice did not exist where the
Dutch-Elm ravaged and desecrated, leaving us
wood-less. But, I guess for the time and age
it was the perfect stage upon which to perform.
Courtesy and respect was the norm, aid and comfort
flowed as a fountain of goodwill and love.
But Wolfe’s treatise rings true. The place has changed.
It is starkly deranged from my memories,
and it’s a sin. You can’t go home again.
Gladly, I carry as much of it with me;
I leave the rest to fester and decay.