PROMPT #353 – TAKE COMFORT WHERE YOU CAN GET IT

Autumn is upon us and as the season takes hold we take comfort wherever we find it. It could be from a bowl of hot soup, it might be a warm blanket or a seat next to a warm fire. What is your comfort? We’re writing a comfort poem!


MARIE’S COMFORT:

Fall


There’s a chill in the air. Just enough to grab a sweater
and cute boots.
Enough to birth sweet, crisp apples.
The kind of perfect chill that calls my dad to mind -
the pride I felt watching him direct the Star-Spangled Banner
for the football pregame on a perfect autumn afternoon 
that smelled of popcorn and stadium dogs. 
The kind of chill that warms my heart and feeds my joy.

Fall:  The season of my heart.
Fall:  Collapse.

As I drink in the season, life collapses at the feet of a friend.
She writes of the woeful loss of her husband
with words that both singe and chill.

I know her only from afar, 
but I know her. 
How often have her stirring words
and soothing photos of the beauty surrounding her
touched my heart, and lifted my spirits?
How often has she bravely shared the slow slide of Alzheimer’s
as it stole her sweetheart far too soon?
When the news came to me,
I spent much time vainly stringing words
and counting syllables -
only to realize there’s a chill in the air,
and no words warm enough.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

Dearest Janet:  May you feel the strength of our Father’s love, and the warmth of your Poetic Bloomings family.  Gentle hugs …

WALT’S EASE:

ALLA FREDDA TUA CAPANNA

To Your Cold Hut (Translated)

In my travels, I have seen great opulence,
I have seen great want, just a scant spec of existence.
But even such a life will spark a persistence to survive.
The key is to keep alive. As the seasons transform
from the warm climates to a chilled alternative,
it is imperative we care for those sisters or brothers.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing a meal to feed you,
a warmth to fill you and seed you
with the spark of life meant for all.
I will call on you to bring you sustenance.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing clothes more substantial
than the tatters you cling to in modesty.
I honestly care to share with you
to fill your chests with my excess.

I will come to your cold hut
bearing logs for your fire,
meant to stoke the desire within you.
It is within you to lift yourself up
in the glowing warmth of love’s flow.

I will come to your cold hut
to comfort you in your time of sadness,
hoping to fill you with the gladness
which your life truly deserves.
It preserves your sanity, your humanity.

I will come to your cold hut
to share the joy of Christmas,
bearing gifts of life
meant to lift your strife
and bring you its blessings through love.

I have a purpose to help where I can
and be the kind of man I was meant to be,
to see the suffering of others,
buffering my sisters and brothers
from its pain, again and again.
And I will come to your hut in love.

In that, I take pause.
I am (everybody’s) Santa Claus.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #352 – MANY FROM ONE

On Wednesday, during our exploration of Wallace Stevens’ work through his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, I instructed you to be mindful of this piece of poetics. Stevens observed his subject from many different angles, yet staying true to his subject, blackbirds.

I ask that you choose a subject, be it something in your travels or something in your realm of influence, and write your observations in as many parts as you see fit. The point of view is all yours. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so they say. There are many views of your chosen subject. Write them!

MARIE’S OBSERVATION:

GOLDEN DOOR

1.  Statue of Liberty

Mother of Exiles:
the unofficial greeter
who lights the entry.

2.  E pluribus unum (from many, one)

Though it may sing, the
human voice can’t, on its own,
create harmony.

3.  Breathe Free

Asphyxiated,
come! Inhale liberty, and
exhale oppression.

4.  Golden Door

Inexpensively
opening up a child’s world:
Little Golden Books.

5.  Rings True

You opened my heart
and sealed life-long allegiance
with just a gold band.

6.  Treasure Box

To the hungry child,
the dream door to open is
a fridge full of food.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021




WALT’S WIDE VIEW:

THE CHRISTMAS STAR

I

It shines in the night
To the children’s delight,
Clear and bright
It makes the world seem alright!

II 

They came from afar
At the behest of this star.
Leading them to the place
Where the Child born of grace lays.
Above Him it stays.

III

Twinkle, twinkle Christmas star
High in the sky is where you are.

IV

In the silence of night
The shepherds take comfort
By your fervent glow.
Angels call and the keepers know
That they need not be afraid.

V

Multitude of stars shine
But their combined light 
Is not as bright as the one star,
A constellation of itself.

VI

Christmas comes
Not in foil wrapped boxes,
Not with ribbons and bows.
God knows where the Son rises
And there are no surprises to find.
For where the star glows
Can salvation be far behind?

VII

Polish tradition states
That the meatless meal on your plate 
is not consumed before the star’s first light is seen.
A familial scene of togetherness.
The adults prepare their Christmas eve fare,
While the children keep watch in the skies.
Soon the starlight will come.
Star light, star bright, first star we see tonight!

VIII

My eyes don’t deceive,
For every time I leave for my flight
On that special night, the Star of Christmas 
shows its bright light. Christmas has come once again,
and I and my reindeer friends embark
into the dark night with only that star to lead.
Everywhere the starlight touches
Does as much to announce the day.
And I in my sleigh bow my head at that blessed sight,
I am Santa Claus, and all is right. 
It is Christmas!

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021


POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM # 70 – “THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD”

This week, the tables have been turned. Instead of me introducing you to new works by a previously lesser known poet, I have been taken to school on Wallace Stevens. I thank Daniel Paicopulos for steering us in Mr. Stevens direction.

More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk at the office, and led a quiet, uneventful life.

Though now considered one of the major American poets of the century, he did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of his Collected Poems, just a year before his death.

Stevens died in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 2, 1955.

Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens – 1879-1955
THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD



I

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

I chose this piece by Stevens for its study of a single simple subject. Keep this thought in mind as we near the next Sunday Seed! 😉 Walt.

PROMPT #351 – THE DAY AFTER

Today is September 12th. Twenty years after The Day After. We’re writing “The Day After” poems. You decide what day you are referencing and write that poem. “The Day After Tomorrow”, “The Day After I Lost My First Tooth”, “The Day After The Earth Stopped”… Let’s revisit that day. The day after.

MARIE’S EXAMPLE:

The Day After

If it comes,
the day after
holds no guarantee.
No absolute assurance.
No perpetual protection.

The day after
comes with promise.
With lessons.
With knowledge.
With newness.

It is ours 
To perceive.
To learn.
To discern.
To embrace.

The day after
is a gift.
Be thankful
if it comes.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S EXAMPLE:

THE DAY AFTER I’M GONE

There will come a day 
when I'll no longer be.
I'll be free of this mortal coil
and foil anything that would spoil
the world I leave behind.
The day after I'm gone
music will still play on,
filling every ear with a clear vision
of all that it conveys.
The love I feel for those that stay
behind will be kind and long lasting,
casting little doubt of what my heart was about.
My poetry would be a decree
of all my heart was able to see,
a gift from me to all who find that my words
touched their hearts deeply.
On that day, the day after I'm gone,
the sun will still rise though my eyes
will not see it. The birds will sing brightly,
the stars will shine nightly and memories
will be rightly held close to heart.
It will all start the day after I'm gone.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #350 – NIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR

We’re writing a night poem. The shining could be the moon and stars. The armor can be an alcove of trees. The romance is whatever stirs your emotions! Take your words and try to get medieval on us. Or better yet, make us swoon.

MARIE’S NIGHT:

Still


If time stood still, would I continue on?
Would forward movement cease then to exist?
Could sun and moon be viewed from dusk to dawn,
And deadlines not be met, yet not be missed?

Would falling stars suspend themselves in space,
Like frozen fireworks across night’s sky,
As lovers fused beneath in warm embrace
Would never need to say the word goodbye?

Would guarantees be suddenly fulfilled, 
Or would our contracts be for naught, and nixed?
Would all that’s overflowing go un-spilled?
Might what was once detaching be affixed?

If all that was foreshadowed was foregone
As time stood still, would we continue on?

© Marie Elena Good, 2021


(The first stanza was taken from a poem I wrote in 2013.  I liked that stanza at the time, but not the remainder of that poem.  I decided to use it as the first stanza of a sonnet, and use the first line as an echo at the end.)

WALT’S PEACE:

NIGHT FALLS

Evening descends like a hushed silence,
and tranquility is its marker.
Your song is a lilting lullaby
in the shadows of the night.
There’s no threat of violence
as the midnight sky grows much darker.
The constellations fill the sky
contradicting darkness, bringing light.
I see you in silhouette.
I see you in whispers.
I see you in every moonlit sky.
You are the vision this night craves.
It saves me from the pain of my wretched soul.
It takes its toll. From the moon to the stars,
from Venus to Mars, from these hearts of ours. 
When love calls, night falls.

© Walter J Wojtanik

POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM #69 – “IN SCHOOL-DAYS”

Around these parts, today marks the first day of the new school year. And no more appropriate time to introduce a “School” poem and another obscure poet.

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the fireside poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is remembered particularly for his anti-slavery writings, as well as his 1866 book Snow-Bound.

John Greenleaf Whittier – 1807-1892
IN SCHOOL-DAYS
By John Greenleaf Whittier

Still sits the school-house by the road, 
A ragged beggar sleeping; 
Around it still the sumachs grow, 
And blackberry-vines are creeping. 

Within, the master's desk is seen, 
Deep-scarred by raps official; 
The warping floor, the battered seats, 
The jack-knife's carved initial; 

The charcoal frescoes on its wall; 
Its door's worn sill, betraying 
The feet that, creeping slow to school, 
Went storming out to playing! 

Long years ago, a winter sun 
Shone over it at setting; 
Lit up its western window-panes, 
And low eaves' icy fretting. 

It touched the tangled golden curls, 
And brown eyes full of grieving, 
Of one who still her steps delayed 
When all the school were leaving. 

For near it stood the little boy 
Her childish favor singled; 
His cap pulled low upon a face 
Where pride and shame were mingled. 

Pushing with restless feet the snow 
To right and left, he lingered; --- 
As restlessly her tiny hands 
The blue-checked apron fingered. 

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt 
The soft hand's light caressing, 
And heard the tremble of her voice, 
As if a fault confessing. 

"I'm sorry that I spelt the word: 
I hate to go above you, 
Because,"---the brown eyes lower fell, --- 
"Because, you see, I love you!" 

Still memory to a gray-haired man 
That sweet child-face is showing. 
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave 
Have forty years been growing! 

He lives to learn, in life's hard school, 
How few who pass above him 
Lament their triumph and his loss, 
Like her, because they love him.