Here’s a poem in tune with this Halloween Season, “The Poor Ghost” by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). She came by her creative skills quite honestly, coming from a very influential and gifted family. Rossetti was often compared to Elizabeth Barrett Browning in discussions of which was the best female poetic mind of their time.
THE POOR GHOST by Christina Rossetti
‘Oh whence do you come, my dear friend, to me, With your golden hair all fallen below your knee, And your face as white as snowdrops on the lea, And your voice as hollow as the hollow sea?’
‘From the other world I come back to you: My locks are uncurled with dripping drenching dew, You know the old, whilst I know the new: But to-morrow you shall know this too.’
‘Oh not to-morrow into the dark, I pray; Oh not to-morrow, too soon to go away: Here I feel warm and well-content and gay: Give me another year, another day.’
‘Am I so changed in a day and a night That mine own only love shrinks from me with fright, Is fain to turn away to left or right And cover up his eyes from the sight?’
‘Indeed I loved you, my chosen friend, I loved you for life, but life has an end; Through sickness I was ready to tend: But death mars all, which we cannot mend.
‘Indeed I loved you; I love you yet, If you will stay where your bed is set, Where I have planted a violet, Which the wind waves, which the dew makes wet.’
‘Life is gone, then love too is gone, It was a reed that I leant upon: Never doubt I will leave you alone And not wake you rattling bone with bone.
‘I go home alone to my bed, Dug deep at the foot and deep at the head, Roofed in with a load of lead, Warm enough for the forgotten dead.
‘But why did your tears soak through the clay, And why did your sobs wake me where I lay? I was away, far enough away: Let me sleep now till the Judgment Day.’
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. 2020 has been a beast I hope to not encounter again (but I’m not holding my breath). So we take the opportunity to look toward the horizon. We’re not sure what awaits us in the distance. But we may have an idea what we’d LIKE to be there.
So we ask you to write a “horizon” poem. It can be whatever you envision a horizon to be. The choice is surely yours.
NEVER HAVE I EVER
Never Have I Ever is a party game, where one says, “Never have I ever ___.” (fill in the blank) Those who have actually done that thing lose a point. Out of points? Out of game.
I’ll go first. Never have I ever seen early-voting lines, let alone those that extend for blocks, for days.
Now, how many of you are still in the game?
Truth is, it’s not a game. The stakes are high. The views, dissimilar.
What do you see in the distance? Hope? Fear? A kinder country? Loss of freedoms? Peace? Chaos?
Don’t answer that. Because, you know, never have I ever witnessed a greater loss of kindness and respect in discussions.
But, there is a vanishing point where the look-back perspectives align. Then we will see, and smile at the vanity of it all.
In the greater distance, I see celestial shores. No lines needed. We will know for the first time what it actually feels like to be united. To have no doubts in our King’s kindness, love, and justice. We will know for the first time what it actually feels like to be equal children of the Living God. To be home.
Never have I ever longed more deeply for a non-foreign Shore.
I return with regularity. To empty my mind; to achieve clarity. And it is a rarity that I can attain both. But along this shoreline, life reveals itself. It pulls memories from my mental shelves and splays them before me in these azure skies. Sights for my weary eyes, it is no surprise that I return. These thoughts inspire by my mind’s mire!
I find a place, a space where I can plant myself. And vacate the moment, searching the horizon for some semblance of beauty that reminds me of you. The sky is blue. But, it is not maudlin, nor melancholy. Brilliant and bright and jolly, cloud pocked and wholly enveloping. And portraits of you start developing in my heart.
seagulls take their terns we are birds of a feather we soar to the clouds
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CONNIE! (Today)
Let’s all remember to not mention Marie’s Birthday tomorrow! 😉
Again we take a break from the Friday “For Your Consideration” prompts and return to the Reading Room. Here we feature a lesser known work of a famous poet, or a poem by a poet we’re reading for the first time.
This re-boot of a popular feature here at Poetic Bloomings kicks off with excerpts from Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake”.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE (excerpts) by Sir Walter Scott
CANTO SECOND – THE ISLAND (Part II)
Hail to the chief who in triumph advances! Honoured and blessed be the ever-green pine! Long may the tree in his banner that glances, Flourish the shelter and grace of our line! Heaven send it happy dew, Earth lend it sap anew; Gaily to burgeon, and broadly to grow, While every Highland glen Sends our shout back agen, Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain, Blooming at Beltane, *** in winter to fade; When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf on the mountain, The more shall Clan Alpine exult in her shade. Moored on the rifted rock, Proof to the tempest’s shock, Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow; Menteith and Breadalbane, then Echo his praise agen, Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen Fruin, And Banochar’s groans to our slogan replied: Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin, And the best of Loch-Lomond lie dead on her side. Widow and Saxon maid, Long shall lament our raid, Think of Glen-Alpine with fear and with woe; Lennox and Leven-glen Shake when they hear agen, Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands! Stretch to your oars, for the ever-green pine! O! that the rosebud that graces yon islands, Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine! O that some seedling gem Worthy such noble stem, Honoured and blessed in their shadow might grow! Loud should Clan Alpine then Ring from her deepmost glen, Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
CANTO THIRD – THE GATHERING (Part II)
The heath this night must be my bed, The bracken curtain for my head, My lullaby the warder’s tread, Far, far from love and thee, Mary To-morrow eve, more stilly laid, My couch may be my bloody plaid, My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid! It will not waken me, Mary! I may not, dare not, fancy now The grief that clouds thy lovely brow; I dare not think upon thy vow, And all it promised me, Mary. No fond regret must Norman know; When bursts Clan Alpine on the foe, His heart must be like bended bow, His foot like arrow free, Mary. A time will come with feeling fraught! For, if I fall in battle fought, Thy hapless lover’s dying thought Shall be a thought on thee, Mary And if returned from conquered foes, How blithely will the evening close, How sweet the linnet sing repose To my young bride and me, Mary.
CANTO SIXTH – THE GUARD ROOM (Part II) – LAMENT
“And art thou cold and lowly laid, Thy foeman’s dread, thy people’s aid, Breadalbane’s boast, Clan Alpine’s shade! For thee shall none a requiem say? For thee, who loved the minstrel’s lay, For thee, of Bothwell’s house the stay, The shelter of her exiled line, E’en in this prison-house of thine, I’ll wail for Alpine’s honoured pine!
“What groans shall yonder valleys fill! What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill! What tears of burning rage shall thrill, When mourns thy tribe thy battles done, Thy fall before the race was won, Thy sword ungirt ere set of sun! There breathes not clansman of thy line, But would have given his life for thine! But, woe for Alpine’s honoured pine!
“Sad was thy lot on mortal stage! The captive thrush may brook the cage, The prisoned eagle dies for rage. Brave spirit, do not scorn my strain! And, when its notes awake again, Even she, so long beloved in vain, Shall with my harp her voice combine, And mix her woe and tears with mine, To wail Clan Alpine’s honoured pine!”
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, (1771-1832), was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and biographer who is often credited with the concept of the historical novel. His style was considered romanticism.
We’re creeping (great word for the time) toward All Hallow’s Eve and the marathon of spooky monster movies on television. Names like Karloff, Legosi, Cushing, Lee have created so many memorable scary bad guys for the silver screen. They called Chaney “The Man of a Thousand Faces” (from the movie of the same name – portrayed by James Cagney).
Think of a character from this genre of film history and use it as the title, inspiration, subject of your poetry. Or write a parody of said character. Give the monster a more “human” quality or traits and see where your fear may take you. If we can face up to/laugh at them, they can’t remain to torment us. Are you afraid of the Boogie Man? Were you ever? Make that your “monster” and write it!
The Blob was unearthed in the year of my birth. It debuted the iconic McQueen.
Still, I’ve not seen a scene on the cinema’s screen. (I’ve an awkwardly fragile fright gene.)
But the theme song is neat – it is hip and upbeat. For a ‘horror’ble soundtrack, a feat!
Hands clenched, fists of rage staged for effect. A check of emotions shows the flow of vile venom, dirt stained denim and a shirt torn and dirty. A forehead stitched and receding, pleading to remain, to cover a brain so twisted, this two-fisted bastard. Hard times were never as bad as the evil that lurks in an ill-used heart. Torn apart at the seams, dreams shattered and a battered companion paying the price for a slice of security. Every impurity imagined drained like a lifeless corpse. Death would be welcomed for this regenerated degenerate. A scowl run afoul of a face unfamiliar, smiles have vacated it for quite a while. Neithersinew nor gray matter flatter this man. A case that humanity has rejected. Save the women and children. The monster’s arrival is sadly expected.
Today we approach another French poetic form, the Rondel Supreme. This form has the following guidelines:
14-line poem broken into three stanzas.
Stanzas one and two have four lines and the last stanza has six lines.
Rhyme scheme: ABba/abAB/abbaAB
The (capital letters) refrains repeat as the last lines in the last two stanza.
No restrictions on syllables or subjects.
YOU WILL KNOWWhen the cold winds blow, it's sure you will know
that Christmas is well on its way.
The Elfin folks will come out to play
when they're knee deep in snow.
We're getting ready for "the show",
on this snow filled winter's day.
When the cold winds blow, it's sure you will know
that Christmas is well on its way.
Even when the skies are gray
we're happy when the North Winds blow,
for that's the way the reindeer go
with this Santa Claus snug in the sleigh!
When the cold winds blow, it's sure you will know
that Christmas is well on its way.
The season changes to something autumnal and thoughts turn to its colorful palette and cozy temperatures and ya-da, ya-da…
Admittedly, Autumn is my favorite season (and mostly for those reasons). But I figure we will change the dynamic here. Think outside the re-usable grocery bag (we ran out of boxes) and write an anti-Autumn poem. Disrespect the colors, demean the smells. Put Halloween in its place.
Do not go gentle into that lousy Autumn. Write it!
OCTOBER’S SLICK TRICK
Love autumn with all of my all, ‘cept the end of October’s curveball: Don’t mean to be mean, but don’t like Halloween! (Please don’t spook me or trick me, y’all.) 😉
The clouds are thick and threatening, the air is crisp and cool, the rain has fallen three straight days, the kids should be back to school. The nights are in the thirties, the mornings full of fog, I wish it were still Summer this weather’s for the dogs.
oops! still figuring this new editor out at WordPress. Left my piece on my work computer and never put it through. Thanks for stirring the soup until I could put something together, Marie!