This week, I have the honor of presenting one of the more truly gifted poets around. Her work has been an inspiration to me since 2009, so that says something. And I find it fitting that in my “tribute” to Gordon Lightfoot last week, I wrote “If I could, I would have been Alberta Bound”. In a way, I have done just that, tapping Edmonton, Alberta for the work of one of the Great White North’s wonderful wordsmiths. I give you Sharon (S.E.) Ingraham.
S.E.Ingraham, a long-time frequenter of many of the web’s poetic watering holes – Poetic Asides, the Sunday Whirl, dVerse Bar, Poets United, and of course Creative Bloomings (formerly Poetic Bloomings) to name a few…She admits to being a less faithful member of each than she would like, but comes as often as time and health permits. Even being a retired mental health consumer doesn’t mean she’s entirely out of the woods when it comes to either depression or, in the odd instance, mania, and she’s aware of this, and tries to be careful when it comes to getting enough sleep or down time (emphasis on the “tries to be”).
Since Ingraham began taking her writing seriously in 2008, all she’s really wanted is to have her work read and heard. Due to the encouragement of places like Poetic Bloomings where Walt and Marie Elena have been tireless cheerleaders, plus a generous dollop or two of luck, she now has poems in a number of publications, both print and on-line, amongst them: Pyrokinection, Red Fez, Shot Glass, Otis Nebula, Poised in Flight, Of Sun and Sand, In Gilded Frame…She also just learned that her work has been selected by kindofahurricanpress.com (another very supportive venue incidentally) for the second year in a row to be in their “best of the year anthology” Storm Cycle…
Of other poetry related things over the past year, Ingraham had the privilege of taking part in the Pulitzer Remix Project, writing a poem a day based on “Arrowsmith”, Sinclair Lewis’s award winning novel from 1929. This led to a semi-regular gig reading for the Found Poetry Review, plus ongoing relationships with many of the 80+ international poets involved in the project and its conceptualizer, Jenni B Baker. In additional, a fall online course on Modern and Post-Modern American Poetry taken through Coursera (one of the up and coming MOOC’s) was so good (and gratis) she’s already signed on for next year.
In her life outside of poetry, S.E. (Sharon) is married to the love of her life, Terry – 44 years this month – and they have two grown daughters, Julie and Katy. All of them live on the 53rd parallel in Edmonton, Alberta where it’s, as you might well guess, extremely cold! As of March 4th, there will also be three grandsons in the family as the third is scheduled to be born that day…As well as an extremely loyal but too-quickly-aging border-collie/wolf cross, family mean everything to her.
Ingraham’s work may be found on any one of her blogs:
PROMPT #142 – “TAKE ONE PLEASE” – Choose from one of the titles below and write your poem based on that thought. Your title must come from this list. It will be interesting to compare your thoughts on the exact same themes.
Where Hope Finds Me
A Waltz of Words
Love Never Ceases
WALT TAKES ONE:
WHERE HOPE FINDS ME
Lost boys never quit dreaming,
scheming of ways to stand their ground
with a new found respect for their abilities.
the agility of a Pan, and the nervous sense
of self not withstanding. Demanding much
from what hope they can muster, they may
get flustered from time to time, but are never
out of the game; never the same, they become
stronger the longer in the tooth they find themselves.
Old gents hold those glowing embers well into their
Decembers. They remain members of life’s fraternity.
Battles waged and lost, and hard-fought victories
over hook handed bandits lands us firmly on our feet,
ready if we chose to roam. But the hope of lost boys will
eventually bring them home when villains are vanquished.
(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014
I knew him and he goes on haunting me.
In war, odd alliances are forged
We fell together with a common need
trying to hide from death,
from those who would take us both
Language was a barrier yes, but eyes,
eyes speak many translations and together
we formed a bond and trust without
ever exchanging a word…
The morning I awoke and he was gone,
did it seem extra-quiet?…Did I suspect
at once what he had done for me…
I can’t think I did…
The day seemed like any other in our
situation, that is…difficult to explain
The days were unlike anything we
might have imagined before the tanks
lumbered up our streets
And friends stopped speaking to friends
Hours, or maybe as long as a day later
when I knew he was not returning
I ran through the woods during
the day…I couldn’t think what else to do
Finally I emerged in the dark to find
him hung in the square
I knew then.
(c) Copyright S. E. Ingraham – 2014
I couldn’t resist posting this second wonderful poem of Sharon’s that has touched me dearly with its tenderness and loyalty.
Consider it a Bonus. I love this piece! Walt.
LOVE NEVER CEASES
for Farley, my wolf
You amble now so slow
and I can see you grow old ‘fore
my eyes, wolf I adore
Moving carefully, you’re on ice
snow’s bad but still quite nice,
soft should a sacrifice be that
last step which lays you flat
Frail, a misstep, a fall splat down
break a bone, oh dear hound
I fear to see your mound, your grave
I fear I know I won’t be brave…
(C) Copyright S. E. Ingraham – 2014