my first sestina I ever tried

“Our Seasons”

my heart has shattered like a stone
the snowy clouds swell low and dark
the embers die from lack of wood
sat at table held face in hands
listen for laugh is this a dream
think of garden filled with roses.

every spring we pruned the roses
beyond the tumbled wall of stone
winds they whispered of a dream
when night has fallen land is dark
caressed her body with calloused hands
as we walked home through the wood.

summer flees so we chopped wood
my lover beside me flushed like roses
pulled out thorn deep in her hands
laid kindling on our hearth of stone
a swift sickening has brought the dark
she croons to me in fevered dream

we talked of things of hopes to dream
fall we planned in our home of wood
with lights aglow room not so dark
through open window scent of roses
cooked our dinner on counter of stone
heads bowed in prayer we clasped hands.

planted bulbs washed dirt from hands
loved our world in a simple dream
on shore of pond skipped a stone
laughed did carve initials in wood
her bower sprinkled petals of roses
contrasts of red her hair is dark.

winter when long shadows get dark
held on tight with clenched hands
in the garden we cut back the roses
has this year been naught but a dream
bed with four posts of polished wood
her picture rests on mantle of stone.

in the dark I woke from a dream
with my hands built coffin of wood
wreath of roses in her vault of stone

Authors note: This is my most plagiarized work since I first posted it in 2007. I guess I should be honored. When I first started posting my poetry I made the decision to cast my words out into the world as a dandelion puffball in hopes they would take root.

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thankful for blog friends

“Come Closer”

For many the words are hard to say, get caught
in the throat. Choking and gasping feel the panic
set in. Eyes wander in desperation, sweat flows
soaking clothing. Arms folded, fingers tapping
impatiently. I do, you know, like you and want you,
but; it’s a big step. When you decide, let me know.

So many blogs to read, millions actually. I know
that comments are desired, but sometimes get caught
up in other things. Real life takes over; although you
write such beautiful posts, it’s the feeling of panic
that prevails. Sit at the desk, ponder the screen, tapping
the keys. Agony follows, for today, nothing flows.

I understand the emotions you have, the ebbs and flows
of a relationship. Through a blog, how well can you know
someone after all. We connect, but are we really tapping
all that is there? Or are we simply floundering, caught
up in the anticipation of new growth. Is this where the panic
sets in? When I realize, that deep down, I can’t see you.

There are many things I wish to say, but thank you
for now. Too few truly care, most go with the flows
of life, just floating in the river. Over the falls, panic
and fear, the boat capsizes and they nod. We know
how you feel, been there, done that. Haven’t caught
on yet? That noise in the dark, it’s death tapping.

Death? That’s terrible! Is that what you see tapping
on the window? Long white fingers beckoning you
onward? Crossing over to another existence, caught
by happenstance and time. I don’t see somber flows
of mourners into the graveyard. We all of us know
that death will come someday, but no need to panic.

I was merely pointing out that very thing. No panic
here from me. At least not yet. I find myself idly tapping
a pencil on my blotter. So much to discover, to know
as the computer screen flickers in my tired eyes. You
would think that I could stop; but still the data flows.
Endless streams as someone else’s thoughts are caught.

I am very pleased you have seen me and helped calm my panic.
Together flows our tears as we hug, hands on shoulders tapping.
The sun caught in your eyes, somehow you always know.

This sestina is written as two people commenting back and forth alternating stanzas.

For a friend who passed away in 2010

Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe Language)
Anishinaabe Nanaawdchigewin (traditional medicine)
Chiahyaog (elders)
bakwezhigan (fry bread)
Ishkonigan (reservation)
Geebawug (spirits)

Sestina Carnival Edition #1 was held on June 23rd, 2006

“Sovereign Nation”

after the women cooked the bakwezhigan
the children gather round the chiahyaog
tell us tales before the ishkonigan
when our ancestors walked with the geebawug
we will tell you only in Anishinaabemowin
it is necessary as anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin.

before the people had anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
they ate grains but not bakwezhign
then they were given speech in Anishinaabemowin
and stories were told to the first chiahyaog
one by one revealed the geebawug
this was long before the ishkonigan.

although today we live on the ishkonigan
we still heal with anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
our shaman are guided by the geebawug
similar to the wafting smell of bakwezhign
we tell you this as your chiahyaog
be proud to speak in Anishinaabemowin.

when you speak and sing in Anishinaabemowin
it lifts you beyond the ishkonigan
someday when you become the chiahyaog
and you teach the ways of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
as a lesson when cooking bakwezhign
then you can commune with the geebawug.

behind the veil is the world of geebawug
they speak to our souls in Anishinaabemowin
feeding a hunger unlike bakwezhign
in a vision of hope for the ishkonigan
show the way to anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
they give prestige to the chiahyaog.

listen well children to us chiahyaog
for our heritage is from the geebawug
they gave a gift of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
to preserve our life as Anishinaabemowin
if we keep our faith on the ishkonigan
we will be comforted like bakwezhign.

a group of chiahyaog speaking in Anishinaabemowin
discuss the geebawug on the ishkonigan
as a tonic of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin they consume bakwezhigan

 

“Remembrances of a Life”

November 11th is observed as Armistice Day for the end of WWI. Most countries have renamed the day to something else. In the U.S.A. is it called Veteran’s Day for all veterans of all wars.

dresses herself in uniform of blue
nervously drumming spoon of silver
just yesterday wore diapers white
waves from bus black on gold
mother stands eyes rimmed in red
thinks of child so young and green.

drives to work through tunnel of green
moods fluctuate today she is blue
waves of traffic every light is red
towers of commerce flashing silver
lobby of marble veined in gold
cubicles of infinity walls sterile white.

under endless skies she wore white
entwined in waves leaves of green
digit trembles encircled in gold
wisp of remembrance borrowed blue
tapered candles melt rivulets of silver
procession glides softly carpet is red.

storm roiled clouds rays rising red
wind waves lines of linens white
her tin covered roof gleaming silver
fields of rye sweeping sea green
clearing skies light pouring blue
orb plunges into oblivion molten gold.

crowd roars guzzling brewed gold
hurled sphere stitches rotating red
pennants snap background of blue
runner slides safe home plate white
she smiles at checker patterned green
vendor waves dogs in foiled silver.

rocking chair head glints of silver
memories more precious than gold
ascends the steps in skirt of green
gently tease cheeks blushing red
holding her baby swaddled white
waves of neighbors out of the blue.

stones weathered silver stand guard while while flag waves stripes of red
spotlight shines gold always protects while flag waves stars of white
wreathes of green woven blankets while flag waves field of blue.

of sticks and stones and bombs and drones

“Tis The Season”

The voice of a thousand bells rang out with hope
that winter’s day. Bright colors warmed the snow
and the pallid sun strove to melt hearts. Peace
be upon you and all of yours in this time of strife.
For it is said that one shall come to share our ritual.
Glad tidings for some, but others remained cold.

Speech would not fill empty bellies, nor heat cold
rooms. For the poor and desperate, little hope
in empty promises. Had many a century of ritual
and still the land groaned under tyranny. Snow
drifted high and blame placed on the rich. Strife
was now the norm, black looks instead of peace.

Soldiers marched, steel swords kept fragile peace.
Riven with dissension, leaders thoughts grew cold
and harsh. Crushed beneath edicts, grim strife
erupted. All through the night flares alight, hope
blazed and consumed. Come daybreak, the snow
stained red. Too many were given last rites ritual.

Hollow eyes and paupers graves, the empty ritual
of death. The silence felt in town after town, peace
at last, for no one left. The earth, covered in snow
lay dormant. Spring, far way on this biting cold
day, would return once more. The sense of hope
had been crushed, but still cause for more strife.

Change would come, forced from below. Strife
channeled into words and deeds. Codified ritual
replaced heredity, slowly the actions gave hope.
A concept not readily grasped, perceived peace
to be weak. Throughout the long, dark night, cold
plots designed. Strike they would, in melted snow.

At last the heated rays revealed fresh green. Snow
had gone and with the warming earth, false strife
commenced. Old ways and new corruption. Cold
calculations yielded poor harvests for the ritual
of change had sprouted deep roots. At last peace
and prosperity had replaced the longing of hope.

No longer a burden was snow, but a blessed ritual.
No more harsh strife, but harmony and peace.
No longer starved and cold, but a future of hope.

Despite my deep knowledge of conflict throughout recorded history and the mind numbing headlines of today, I am an optimist – despite all evidence – that one day there will be peace in our times.

For d’Verse Open Link Night poetry pub.

a haiku sestina-sestina haiku

This was an exercise to see if I could combine my two favorite forms of poetry, haiku and sestina, and to place the poem in Japan, and use a natural theme. By far the most difficult poem I’ve written. The rules are in my sidebar.

“The Land Of Sorrows”

distant white capped peaks
pilgrims assent sandals worn
sun releases songs
floating beneath clouds
bright colored ancestors shrine
incense curls to sky

trees bend angry sky
waves frothing to deadly peaks
Kompira-san shrine
long stairway steps worn
camphor and elm among clouds
sea deity songs

drums pound ancient songs
thunder lifts to sullen sky
drowned from swirling clouds
ragged lightning peaks
poor rice farmer spirits worn
downstream floating shrine

sacred temple shrine
petitioners chanted songs
polished wood planks worn
shrieking birds fill sky
Nainokami shakes peaks
landslides choking clouds

flames feed oily clouds
bronze bells tolling mournful shrine
Shinto black hat peaks
white costumed death songs
purification clears sky
new amulets worn

old trembling hands worn
brown eyes contain milky clouds
memory of sky
last journey to shrine
lifetime spent prayerful songs
Amida call peaks

pale clothes worn to shrine
parting clouds hear somber songs
blessed sky sun warm peaks

Linked for Open Link Night 1/12/17.

sweet taste

“Mango Madness”

a wondrous sight for my hungry eyes
a heaping mound of tender mango
thinking of taste makes my mouth water
place my choice in bag colored blue
pay with crisp bills heads of green
walking home under the blazing sun.

harsh light reflecting rays of sun
put on cool shades protect my eyes
the rims are bright very green
bruising my legs bag with mango
past the lake surface is blue
stop to dangle feet in cool water.

relaxing drink from bottle of water
face basks in warmth of sun
helps my balance when feeling blue
leaning back head drooping eyes
wonder what to do with my mango
perhaps some nectar is that green.

nectar is sweet but skin is green
should be mixed with some water
after blending the ripe mango
open the blinds let in the sun
stretching arms I rub my eyes
fill my cup glass tinted blue.

gazing out window sky deep blue
all the trees shadows of green
such a treat for my puffy eyes
all that wonder makes tears water
what a gift is the light of the sun
that grows the tree of the mango.

my favorite fruit is the mango
in my kitchen walls are blue
fading light of the setting sun
shines on window fabric so green
walk to sink listen to water
long day ends splash my eyes.

sipping fresh mango nectar put feet up on couch looks green.
fluff the blue pillow did I turn off the water.
the sun is gone now too tired to care shut my eyes.