Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Dizzy Paradelle

Who is the poet writing the poem?
Who is the poet writing the poem?
Who is the dreamer, who never wakes?
Who is the dreamer who never wakes?
The poet who is writing the poem
never wakes the dreamer.

Who is the watcher, the one who knows
Who is the watcher, the one who knows
who lives behind the purple prose?
who lives behind the purple prose?
The watcher is the one who knows
who lives behind the purple prose.

The poet who is writing the poem
is the dreamer, who never wakes,
is the watcher, the one who knows
who lives behind the purple prose.

a paradelle for Brian at dVerse. I am just about dizzy enough today to manage this form, a poem that goes in circles. It was kinda fun. Check out the links. Pub opens at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Memory of Iqbal

from the "Me to We" files

Picture one small boy, 
sold by his parents 
at age four for $16,
chained to a loom
fourteen hours a day
from age four to ten,
in order to "repay the debt".
Picture him escaping, 
being recaptured,
hung upside down for punishment,
then chained back to his loom.

Iqbal was heroic.
He escaped again,
his activism and speaking out
saving thousands of other children 
from his fate.

He lost his life at twelve,
they say for
speaking about the rights of children
to have a childhood.

Iqbal's life and death
sparked the heart of a boy his age
across the sea,
who began the movement called
From Me to We.

And we'll remember you, Iqbal,
for eternity.

Free the Children was begun by young Canadian Craig Kielburger when he was twelve, after reading about Iqbal in the newspaper. Craig began a movement against child slavery called Free the Children with eleven of his middle school friends. Craig is a young man now, and he and his brother run the international organization and continue their work, which includes hosting an annual televised marathon to inspire other young people to join the movement. It is called From "Me" to "We".

The story of Iqbal can be read here.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Boycott

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ordinary Is as Ordinary Does

The Bread Making Bowl , 
round and tan colored,
sits on top of the fridge.
No one bakes bread here any more,
so instead it gathers odds and ends of miscellany
that cant find another spot to live.

I remember my mother's hands,
forming the dough into a round,
then plopping it onto the bread board, covered with flour,
kneading, shaping, working the dough,
smiling with satisfaction,
then back into the bowl it went, 
covered with a cloth, to rise.

An ordinary weekly event,
one that gave her great pleasure
in her later years.


I wonder how old
the Palestinian is
who remembers a time
when he last spent
an ordinary day.


I wonder is there is
an Israeli Jew alive
who remembers a time
before war and death and sorrow.


In my world,
an ordinary day
is one of my
greatest pleasures.

To the suffering of the world,
my prayer:
may the bombs cease.
May you learn 
the extraordinary joys 
of an ordinary day.


for Poetry Jam, where the prompt is Something Ordinary. Which puts me in mind of the quote by  Einstein:   There are two ways to live. One, as if nothing is a miracle. The other, as if everything is a miracle. I favor the latter view. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Ms Jasmine, praying for a breeze,
in my old front yard. Pup lurks behind the bush,
which is now quite huge and lush.
Jas is nine today. Those nine years went fast.

The grass, crisp and brown, dreams of rain.
Trees, bees, birds, frogs, wait,
suspended in a miasma of wavery, hot, 
swooning parched-ness.
Dogs lie upside-down,
hoping for a stray breeze,
but the air is unmoving, unmotivated,
has taken up residence in the hammock
and cannot be budged.

The day is loathe to quicken; 
the hands on the clock
tick desultorily; minutes later, 
you hear a faint, fatigued tock.

Everything that lives is exhausted
and hiding in whatever shade it can find.
I actually saw someone fry an egg 
on a sidewalk once.
He didn't eat it.

Once, when I was five, we traveled 
down the coast  to San Francisco.
Stopped for ice cream at a wayside store 
and I was mortified because my parents 
had stripped me to my underpants for coolness 
and made me go inside the store that way.
Even ice cream was not worth the shame.

We drove a short ways till people passed us,
shouting and pointing:
"your car is on fire!"
and we all got out. 
Dad poured the iced lemonade on it
to douse the flames.

When we hit the city, dad was flummoxed 
by the rushing eight lane traffic, 
zooming in every possible direction.
Opening the map, stopped at an off-ramp, 
stressed, impeding traffic,
he was chagrined when someone shouted
"why dont you build a garage around it?"
He never got over that.

Dog days of summer. 
Early mornings smelling
just as they did in childhood.
I remember the smell 
of Grandma's canvas hammock,
and how I'd curl up in it and read and read,
the smell and feel of bathing suits,
plucked, still-damp,
off the line,
for the next swim.

I remember
the time I swam during a thunderstorm,
the sky gunmetal gray,
the waves all mine,
lake-scent and willow-whisper
engraved on my heart.

for Victoria's prompt at dVerse : the dog days of summer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Poems from the Past

July 22, 1999

Graceful heron,
swooping across
the evening sky
like a pterodactyl,
Prehistoric bird
perched on a treetop,
my heart swoops with you,
then stills,
standing by the silent pond,
waiting for the night to settle
around us both
softly as feathers.

*** *** *** ***


July 9, 1999

Song of the frogs
in the fading light
soft fade the hills
in the falling night
God touching earth
with a gentle might
and all is beauty
within my sight

soft falls the light
on garden walls
a rose-hued mountain
as day's curtain falls
a froggy symphony
serenades the night sky
and grateful, grateful, grateful

Two poems from my last summer on the West Coast - Port Albion, a small community in a tucked-away, undeveloped area, half an hour from Tofino. I lived in a teeny basement "suite", on a pond, and Pup spent his days blissfully roaming. He even gave loud backtalk to a black bear, who swatted its paws at him, which didnt deter him from getting right in the bear's face with Attitude. Pup never backed down. Alpha to the last moment of his life.

Every late afternoon the sky, the mountain I lived beside, and the pond below, turned this most glorious shade of rose.  One night I was standing by the pond when a heron flew right above my head. And every night, the frogs sang to me. It was heaven. Late that same fall, I moved here to Port. Sigh. Pup mourned, as did I, the loss of our wilderness Eden. He would sit at the window, looking out at the city streets. Anyone who thinks dogs dont grieve, check out these photos:

"Where did my wilderness go?"
I felt - and feel - the same way.

This is posted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry. Happy Weekend to all!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Son of Heaven

The Tianzi Mountains (Son of Heaven)
photo credit:

Mist curls on the Tianzi Mountains.
In the siheyuan,
Rice Mother gives First Son
the choicest morsels.

Son of Heaven.

The Tianzi Mountains were named after a farmer who led a farmers' revolt and named himself Tianzi, a name for Emperor, (Son of Heaven).

A siheyuan is a courtyard surrounded by buildings on all four sides. The doorway above indicates this siheyuan belongs to a lower middle class family.
source: by SnowyOwls

Zhangjiajie in Spring

Zhangjiajie in Autumn

Zhangjiajie in Winter

for Hannah's prompt at Real Toads for Transforming Fridays : the Tianzi Mountains


This poem is white lightning
in a gunmetal sky, 
striking a lone twisted pine
on cracked parched earth,
the tree briefly aflame, 
then ashes.

This poem is a small autistic boy
with no speech, a big will,
an aging grandmother,
and Tomorrow looming.

This poem is an old woman
pondering two unrelated thoughts,
primed at a faltering pump, 
and glistening with life's tears,
because the story 
in all three stanzas 
is the same.

for dverse where Claudia  encourages us to use strong metaphors without employing "like" or "as". I chose Hannah's boomerang metaphor form as the easiest way to do this.