I drafted this about a week ago when I posted this photo, just as a sentence, knowing I wanted to work with it. The photo was a difficult catch, the flurries in movement and the rose hips holding still and glistening. I tried to capture the feeling of the movement and contrast that I remembered, and that still inspire me.
I composed the first draft poem in the past tense as was the original statement.
Then I felt it would work better in present tense.
I think I’ll leave it here for today, and I know I’ll come back to it.
This was just a quick realization while standing in my kitchen one afternoon: five and five and five and stars. I wrote it down and stuck it on the refrigerator and today, January 1, I decided I would write at least a few words each day, aiming for five days a week. This little scrap has been waiting. So we’ll see how I do with that goal.
I don’t know when I will close the door
for the last time
long days of summer freedom
endless open windows as if
outdoors was in
warm days, birdsong, butterflies
cool nights, lightning bugs, crickets
days and nights of sundresses
my bare feet on the tile
on the wood
on the concrete
on the grass
on the soil of my garden
sundress now dropped in the laundry
days brief and shadowed
quick change through shorts and tanks
and tees and capris
to pants and long sleeves
socks between my feet and the Earth
I close the door
envision one of many bright spring mornings
I was not originally a lover of summer, preferring the quiet solitude of winter. At some point when autumn arrived I felt a pang of something…regret? loss? I realized I would miss the freedoms of summer: the open windows, easy cool sundresses, bare feet, even in hot weather days were less complicated by working for comfort. And once I began working at home I realized that the long afternoons of summer were just as quiet as I worked in solitude. Maybe, in some ways, better than winter?
No need for comparison. I still love winter. And I love summer too. And spring and autumn, the lead-up to each one, eases that transition in the most joyful way in spring, and the most solemn and contemplative way in autumn.
Summers are overly busy when I am a vendor at various weekend or even weekday events, though I still enjoy the long days of solitude in between. But writing time is scarce, though the inspirations are not.
When September arrived and I decided I would quit the events for the work I had in hand at home, I also decided I would at least take some notes on my thoughts and draft quick poems or essays and develop them later if need be. I used the “notes” application on my phone to record my voice as my hands were busy much as I once used my little tape recorder as I drove to work in the morning.
I pledge to myself to develop these ideas and get myself back in the habit of writing. I hope you enjoy!
Just past snow
through the detritus of last year’s final folly
faded brown and crackling beneath my feet
you reach a slender tendril of faith
to bear aloft your flag of conquest
a complementary flower
arms open wide
let the rain fall soft on our faces
herald the joy of spring.
I’m always happy to see the periwinkle flowers, and this year I haven’t yet had the chance to move all the leaves so they display their soft blue-violet in front of reddish-brown leaves, a color complement.
Usually I’ll run my mower over the yard to pick up and mulch the leaves and let them fall back where they were, and the vines grow atop the mulch. But this year they’ve had to push their way through the maple and mulberry leaves that fell last autumn.
This is what happens when I wake up and the snow is enchanting and I hear that a maternity hospital in Ukraine was bombed by Russia and I have to do something with all of it.
Someday They Will Sing
where have all the flowers gone,
long time passing,
young ones have picked them,
every one of them
gone for soldiers,
returned to graveyards
and graveyards gone to flowers,
long time ago,
and again and again
when will they ever learn,
why did they never learn
(#SlavaUkraini, and for all other people oppressed by war.)
I drafted the poem on the trail on Saturday, what happens when I come face to face with nature on a trail feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sun and breeze filling my head and my thoughts. I have been singing the song since the invasion began and was singing as I walked along, and every so often wrote another line of my thoughts.
The song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” was inspired by a traditional song of the Cossacks, Slavic peoples who lived in rural regions of both Ukraine and Russia, though the source of the song is Ukrainian. Pete Seeger adapted some of the lyrics and wrote the first three verses in 1955, Joe Hickerson wrote the rest in 1960.
It once was that men marched off to war while women stayed behind and tended the flowers in the graveyards, but I have heard a few folk singers (can’t remember) who have sung lyrics updated to reflect that young women become soldiers as well as young men, in fact, young people of all sorts become soldiers. With both society’s norms and folkways and beloved folk songs, breaking the mold can be difficult, but I could finally feel an update was natural.
I watch the creative soul of Ukrainians in this fight, so many musicians, artists, poets, writers, playing piano at the borders, making art to describe the conflict and their opposition, making Molotov cocktails instead of beer, a brass band of soldiers standing in fatigues to play the Ukrainian national anthem around the spot where a Russian missile hit, and the least I can do is awaken my own, possibly my inheritance from my Ukrainian ancestors, to reflect my support.
I turned off the lamp
but light still shone,
my bed awash with cool blue
pulls my thoughts to follow a path
up toward the full Wolf Moon
the imperative solo light of January nights;
I hear her distant howl across the valley
and feel her pull on me
to follow her path
past the effect of old wavy glass
through the tangled branches of the spruce
to the clear cold blue night of adventures
that might have otherwise been mine.
A poem in progress inspired by the actual nearly-full Wolf Moon that shone in my bedroom window last night, so bright I could do nothing but watch her slowly move past the branches of the spruce, distorted by the wavy glass of my old windows, and think. My camera had captured the distortion in even more depth as it always does, as if it either wants to prove to me how my vision had dismissed the distortion of the glass as a mistake yet I should see it as it actually was, or show me how distorted my views really were. Those long, cold, quiet nights often bring reflections of could have beens and should Is, especially when the Wolf Moon howls for my attention.
My daily photos often inspire poetry or prose that I try to get back to and develop into something more finished. That’s what this site is for. So my hope is that I can collect these thoughts here and find an easier way to get back to them.