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Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

The pull of the waves

Summer is here, and with it comes the talk of summer plans; vacations, adventures, travel to places near and far. My budget these days does not allow for a true vacation, only the trip back to Minnesota in September for my daughter’s wedding, which as lovely as that will be does not count as a vacation. So I have set my sights on a day trip to the Oregon coast. It will involve renting a car, since I sold my car seven months ago and have not been behind the wheel since then. But I’m willing to brave the roads and traffic to experience the ocean once more. Being only an hour and a half from the Pacific Ocean still takes my breath away. And the Oregon coast is full of massive waves and wind, with a rocky, seaweed cluttered shore that calls to my heart. I had a vision of my ocean before I even saw her, and wrote a poem about what I saw in my heart from miles away in Minnesota. And when I finally came to meet my ocean, she was even lovelier than I could imagine.

My Ocean

 

My ocean is not a beauty queen

With perfectly coiffed beaches of white sugar sand and a sparkling smile from the sun’s dazzling rays

 

My ocean is not a party girl

Inviting everyone to frolic in her waters and gyrate on her sand

 

My ocean is not a crowd pleaser

Offering up temperate waters to swim in and perfect waves to ride upon

 

 

My ocean dresses plainly

She wears weathered chunks of wood and slimy emerald green seaweed around her neck

Her shore is tangled wet tresses of gray and brown

 

My ocean seldom entertains guests

Her close companions are the rain, who touches her with drops of adoration

And the wind who dances with her in a passionate frenzy, spinning her into a whirling dervish

 

My ocean’s palette of colors is not bright and perky

Her color wheel contains the muted tones of the earth

Pallid shades of oyster gray, of muddy brown, of tarnished silver, of sun deprived green

 

My ocean is not the prettiest girl in the room

 

My ocean is not the most graceful dancer on the dance floor

 

My ocean is a natural beauty

A goddess unadorned

 

Her shores are cluttered with treasures from her toy chest

Her demeanor is solemn and stern

She languishes under a sky of heavy, sated clouds full of moisture

 

My feet sink into the putty of her sands

And I gaze out at her, captivated by the truthful declaration of her waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hallmark moment in the coffeehouse

There are certain places that inspire me more than others; the local coffeehouse around the corner, the park so close to my home with the massive trees dotted throughout, and a teahouse that is like hanging out in a friend’s house, sitting on well worn sofas and chairs. My muse loves these places and pops in for a visit as I visit these favorite places in my lovely Portland. It happened again as I stared across busy Burnside Street from the coffeehouse window, spying greeting cards in the window of the dollar store. This is how it happens at times, so simple, a gentle nudge – and the words build around one small thought.

Greeting Card to a Writer

          (on the cover)

Don’t despair…

Hang in there!

(inside)

Even though the well is dry

The rain shower of words will fall

Soaking the parched paper

Ink flowing once more

The desert of writer’s block

Transformed into literary lushness


Emotional energies

I’ve been reading a wonderful book by Melody Beattie entitled Finding Your Way Home. This morning I read a chapter about emotions and dealing with them in a soulful way. And there was an exercise that consisted of picking out an emotional trigger from a very long list and journaling about it. The one that spoke to me was grief, but instead of journaling about it I found a poem coming through instead. As I see it, grief is a never ending journey; one with many twists and turns, shifting and changing as we deal with the often painful certainty of death in our lives here on earth.

An Arrangement

Grief and I

Have an arrangement now

I allow it to visit

But not so often anymore

And visitation time

Is much shorter than before

So we shake hands

And both agree

To this new arrangement

A Mother’s Day poem

My grown up and out of the nest children were the inspiration for this poem; one of the first poems I wrote when I started writing in earnest, when the words started coming out. Letting go of our dear ones is sometimes the hardest thing a mother has to do, but it is what we are working towards during all those years we raise them – and we hope they are able to fly without falling.

A Mother’s Love

A mother’s love

Is a special kind of love

It is unconditional

You never have to think about it

It just is

And that love allows you

To let go of them

When they are ready

To watch them fly

Of their own accord

But always standing in the wings

If they need a loving reminder

Of how strong they are

 All on their own

 

My poem came true

As I lay in bed, gazing up at yet another cloudy day through my skylight, a poem came to me. It was a gift, lifting my spirits, the words coming to me again after what seemed to be such a long absence. And as the day started to wake up, the clouds melted away like cotton candy, and I was blessed with the sunny day I wrote of at the end of my poem.

Sky

 

For days on end

I see a blanket sky

A white shroud above me

Draped over the blue

And the sun hides under the covers

Sometimes the moon peeks out at night

But then it quickly hides again

Along with all the stars

They play hide and seek with me

I hear them giggle like little children

 

Maybe the sky is more like a blank canvas

All raw and white

Ready for the artist to begin

Alright, I will paint the sky purple

Like my purple robe that lays at the end of my bed

No, I’ve decided on blue, the usual color of the sky

Like my blue yoga mat that sits in the corner

But that’s much too predictable and safe

Now the sky becomes bright green

Like the green rain jacket I wear

When the sky sheds its tears

And it cries here quite often

I try not to cry along with it

As I wait for the sky to fold up its blanket

And dazzle me with the true blue brilliance

Of sunny days

 

Change of scenery

Usually when I read or write I prefer the quiet confines of my home. But there are those times when I just want to, need to get out of the house and immerse myself in the cacophony of people and places. And one of my favorite places is only a block away, a small local coffeehouse, with a vibe that calls to me at times. I can find myself becoming lost in a good book while the conversation and music swirls all around me, and sometimes I have to reach for pen and paper to write down thoughts that filter through it all. I never want to define myself as having to do this or that as a writer; sometimes I find I need a change of scenery in order to find my muse.

Running Away from Home

 

I slipped out

Through the open door

Down the hallway

Down the stairs

Down the street

 

I slipped through

The unlocked door

Of the coffeehouse

 

The place where some come

To meet and mingle

Others sit solitary

At a table

Under a canopy of hipster music

We are draped in coffee smells

Balancing bodies on tiny wooden chairs

 

I read pages out of a book

Then I glance at the street scene

People walking

People walking dogs

The espresso machine sounds angry

Clanging and hissing as it labors away

I scribble random words on the paper

A swirl of the coffee cup

A last swallow of the caramel coffee

 

Then I decide

I don’t want to run away from home

And I retrace my steps

 

 

Men in kilts

With yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, I was reminded of all that comes with those celebrations while reading a fellow blogger’s post; one of those components being men in kilts. I remember when I first saw a man wearing a kilt here in Portland, as if it were the most natural thing in the world – and here in Portland, it is! So of course the writer in me found a poem in that, and I share that with you, as well as the wonderful post that inspired me at:   http://travelspirit333.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/st-paddys-day-party-bus/   Be sure to visit Sherry’s blog, it is full of other wonderful posts, and I thank her for the inspiration!

His Feminine Ways

 

Give me a man

Who is not afraid

To wear a kilt

Unabashedly

Showing off a calf

Or daring a peek at a knee

In the ways that women do

The pleated folds of the skirt

Draping around his form

The breeze blows under the fabric

What is to be revealed?

If I am so lucky

The site of manhood

Will be apparent

Underneath a plaid pattern

True masculinity

Is on display

In the boldness

Of a man wearing a kilt

Reluctant sharing

I went to a very moving play this afternoon called Red, and it really got me thinking about art in any form and how the creator feels about sharing their work. It is an account about the artist Mark Rothko, and how he struggled with his art during the creating of a commissioned piece for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. In one breath he would talk of how he longed for his art to be received and perceived regardless of the reaction, but then in the next breath he would express doubts about letting it be viewed at all; fears came forth that it would be criticized or not understood. It is something that I believe most artists struggle with, the doubts about how their precious work that has heart and soul poured into it will be received. I have felt that ambiguity; so anxious to share my words with a sense of bravado, but secretly hoping that they will be met with gentle thoughts. But even after receiving the familiar rejection letters that we all have to experience as writers, I still want to share my words, taking the chance and accepting all the varied reactions that they engender.

The Pretty Words

 

All my pretty words

Birthed into verse

Now what?

Some of my babies

Have left the nest

Flying off

Safely, I hope

I do worry

A bit

Will the outsiders

Handle them with care

Or judge them harshly

The words that still

Live at home

I encourage them to stay

For now

I see them

And I smile

My precious babies

All my pretty words

Gifts on a rainy day

Today was going to be an “inside day”, as I watched the rain pouring down on my skylight, and heard the wind whipping all around. But then my soul had other plans, bringing to me the delicious thought of walking in the rain with my charming red umbrella, my sights focused on having a nice cup of coffee somewhere. And I found a delightful coffeehouse I had not been to before, where I became inspired to write a new poem. I had failed to bring any paper or pen with me, but the nice young man at the counter found me a pen as well as some paper, so I didn’t have to use a napkin as I had originally planned. After I left the coffeehouse, I was led to a bookstore nearby, where I was led to a wonderful book about angels that just happened to be on sale. And as I walked home, the bottoms of my jeans soaked and dragging on the sidewalk, I was given a final gift. I spied the row of bright red tulips, shyly poking their heads out in the cold rain, as if to tell me, “Don’t worry, spring will be here soon!”

Joy’s Disguises

 

I found joy

In the gray blanket of sky

In the cold, wet raindrops that tickled me

In the wind that blew my umbrella inside out

 

I found joy

At the little round table of wood

That held my plain white coffee cup

That contained the warm, brown elixir

That chased away the chill in my bones

As I gazed out the rain splattered window

 

I found joy

As I listened to Patsy Cline singing “I Fall to Pieces”

As we all sat at our separate tables, sipping our coffee

As I watched the rain walkers strolling outside

 

I found joy

In the disguises

Of blindly perceived separation from one another

Of the dreary delusions of a cold, rainy day

Of all I had previously thought of

As joyless

 

 

 

 

 

Another love poem to my precious Portland

I’ll admit it – I am head over heels in love with Portland! Every time I step out my door and onto her streets, the love affair is renewed. This morning was a tease of blue skies, just a whisper of a breeze, along with coffee and an oh so delicious pastry at a nearby boulangerie (just a fancy word for a bakery that delights the wordsmith in me). And on the way home, a poem jumps up and down inside of me until I find pen and paper.

The Capricious City

 

She calls to me

A siren song

The temptress

“Come to me”

Is there a place for me to stay?

“There is room for all in my heart”

What will I find?

“I give you a feast of freedom to be yourself

A song of unbridled passion

A dance of misplaced steps”

 

Then her wry sense of humor is exposed

As I walk her streets

I spy

A tiny pink car on three wheels

Men in tights on bikes

Doll parts in the window

Interesting and disturbing

All in the same breath

 

Still, I accept her invitation

And nestle in her sweet bosom

As she sings me

Lullabies

From her rose-shaped heart

 

 

 

 

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