Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview at Poet's United

Writer, blogger and raconteur of all things Nature, not to mention one of my most longstanding and supportive readers, Sherry Blue Sky,  of Stardreaming, has done me the honor of interviewing me for the community poetry site Poets United

Normally I would be blushing modestly and leaving a link in the sidebar, but I wanted to give Sherry the shout out she deserves for this entry in her continuing work, the "Life of a Poet" series, an entertaining and professional read that provides the opportunity to get to know a wide array of online poets of all stripes and styles.

She's worked tirelessly for the last two weeks, asking the most interesting questions and encouraging me to plum the depths of my collection of dusty, ancient photographs and memories, and has assembled a piece which, as always, gets down into the real details of why and how an individual poet writes, and where s/he is coming from, and for sweetener, also has some nice pictures of the dogs and garden. I hope you'll stop by and read it at the link below, as well as check out the many prompts and features Poets United offers. They have one of the most extensive memberships in blogdom, and a blogroll that includes some of the best poets and writers online.

My pedestrian life story, made all sparkly by Sherry, is here:

Thanks so much, Sherry, for all the hard work, (and my dogs thank you for their shot at stardom as well.)You did a great job. And thanks to everyone at Poet's United for having me. Please feel free to wander through the digital Castle and explore all the dark hallways and cobwebbed dungeons. Just don't feed the gargoyles--they tend to get a bit cranky.



The soul within, smooth, reflective curve
glossy with the sheen of old smokes;
Something about the light, he said
There is a wild piece of it in the dark.
It winks in the corner of the mirror,
an absent flame, the memory of a flame
whiskered by the haze.
Reaching out to touch it you feel
first the illusion, then the fingertips finally
the smooth cold feel of the mirror
asking which is real.

It’s over, the light show,
Peace and love 
take your pick which is
only a curve reflecting forward,
which some piece of light
kindling the backward glancing eye

January 1988
slightly revised August 2011 

Image: Mirror in your eyes by ~h318 (Harshita) on deviantArt
Shared under a Creative Commons 3.0 No-Derivatives License

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tenement Blue

Tenement Blue

There’s not much room in a tenement blue
three room fourth floor walkup, but legs can run.
Cover's in the slum-dirty dystopian streetscape,
ghettoed too thick for the grab of garnet-nailed fingers
gifting purpleblack coins, too far to hear names.

Vacant as a rubbled building, feral as wind
she plays birds all day, thin arms flapping.
On the very next jump, she’ll go up,
a rising speck of sparrow in fields of sky,
not the drying embryo in a fractured brick egg.

High in her masted nest of broken glass
she chirps until the giant’s stick knocks her out,
drunk’s acidsweet breath flooding her lungs,
learning  the freeze, missing the center
as he pulls her harder than he has to

down to the big bed
where her mother is always blind
missing, nowhere, in three rooms
raptor eyes shut so all of the girl
can be invisible. 

Little bird isn’t minding
the neon patterned bed that wavers
in the windowlight; too small, tiny hands
no wings, just the falling to show
for cheeps hushed to silence. 
On the floor cotton feathers, yells

gone to whispers, rustling wind sounds
inchoate touchshadows all
in that hungry fishgrey belly of
a deaf ocean, of a ship rolling.
She boards up her eyes

against the day-blink, engine off,
charts lost, course unplotted
boxing the compass, drifting
from the thick tillering fingers,
pressed small as a diatom

taken in salt waves of
tenement blue.

June 2011

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at  dVerse Poets Pub

Day-blink – Moment at dawn where, from some point on the mast, a lookout can see above low lying mist which envelops the ship
Boxing the compass – To state all 32 points of the compass, starting at north, proceeding clockwise. Sometimes applied to a wind that is constantly shifting.

Thanks to Fireblossom, Anna Montgomery and Brian Miller for their help and encouragement in writing this poem.

Sea Change

Storm Clouds on the Washington Coast

Sea Change

I saw the sea
for the first time in
San Francisco
one of many first times.
It bewitched me to it.

I’d leave the sleepers
ride the buses, meet the gulls
at the beach for breakfast
or go with whoever had
a car or a microbus

to Point Reyes
all of us young as caterpillars
capering fools in butterfly motley
in another endless California day,
tidepools of life

myriad and interlocked
shafting back sun and illusion
wandering the rocks
dancing naked round a bonfire
with colored ribbons for eyes.

I loved the sea till I went there
with you in the pelting rain
deep into your silent labyrinth
at the far northern edge of west
close to the border, one of your many

forsaken homes, shuttered buildings
dirty piers, failing fishermen, mist wrapped
cold, salt mazed with melted iceshelf
mixing up sullen rolling breakers
poured bitter from a cloned infinity.

I should have paid attention then
to how the sea changed itself
in your presence. Instead I took your hand
turned my back, and now I live
where no wave will ever break

August 2011

posted by roaddog52 on smugmug

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

It’s quiet in the lab; the outside sky
is Maya blue, impending prophecy ignored
by silent shadows ceaselessly pumping
black caustics into a dead beast’s heart.

Across the world more Hekate’s cauldroned
chaos soup is boiling in a row of cookfires
stretching to a cemeterial horizon, steaming,
roiling up the blistered bones of zombies’ dreams.

Somewhere these butchers' laboratories mate
precise, unholy at a viceblown intersect, palsied
cannibal hand of intent and scalding stew of storm,
centrifugalized to flense a fresh-flayed numen.

Where their crookblade cross comes down
the tiny cells explode, jet beads hot arterial splatter,
maroon buckshot birthing flying screams, monsters,
lost causes in the burning dead of shuttered night.

The beast jumps up, the blood of its tormentors
silversweet in a short unlife that mocks the gods;
cracking tarmack, the plague cart calls at every house,
as the briefly interrupted dance of death resumes.

August, 2011

Posted for  Poetics  at  dVerse Poets Pub

Todays host for the prompt is the inimitable Brian Miller, asking us to see what's really there, if we can stand it.

Image, detail from The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
1562, oil on panel

Optional Musical Accompaniment

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee 
at the End of the Day

We sat in trance to watch the pale sun rise
drinking chicory coffee whitened with
each others’ scents and sighs,
writing poems in the curl of steam
above the cups, chalking on the skies
that spellbright starwild chase that burns the blood
and ends in darkness, quick release, exanimate mud.

“These still must be gobbled down,”
you said, so professorially weird,
grey as grey could be today
in your wooly suit and beard.
All was not as well as hoped, but much as feared,
for loving is the gate I can’t pass by
and being loved a knot I’ll never tie.

I’m not afraid to keep these mocha kisses,
or braid a supple rope of words
to belt a habit culled from misses,
but what are you, which ghost do I love now?
Even as I ask, the heart confesses:
You love the thing that always runs before,
the shadow come to howl at heaven’s door.

Yet still we drink our coffee here and sing,
those songs that suit our joint imagining;
all bits of you blown scattered across the years,
each artifact dug from bone and cleaned with tears;
the amber eyes, the brown, the sailor blue,
the crack of wise, the note that’s always true,
the bridge that builds itself from golden air,

while you sip, and morning softly greys your hair
from yellow, currant black, till nothing’s there.

August, 2011

Image: courtesy google image search
originating site

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday Flash 55 ~ Giant Mistake

Gulliver and the Liliputans, trade card for J. & P. Coats spool cotton, late 19th c

Giant Mistake,
Hedgewitch’s 119th Surreal Dream

Working in
the campaign kitchen,
you hand me the poster.
Make a copy you say
of the tired Giant,
clutching spear,
eyes wild,
fighting the tiny army
shackling his ankles
piercing his hairy thighs with
iron hawsers, holding him
furious at bay.
Running the copier,
I doubt
even a Giant
can live through this.

August 2011 

will be
Posted for   Friday Flash 55    at the  G-Man's

Yes, folks, another dream. Wish I could post the actual poster I 'saw' in it for you, but this old illustration will have to do. Not going to pretend I have it figured out, but my best guess is, things don't look so good for the country come next election.

Image: Trade card, advertising J. & P. Coats spool cotton, showing Lilliputians tying up Gulliver. 
color lithograph, circa 1875
source: wikimedia commons


Hedgerider's Lament Repost

This a repost for Form for All  at DVerse Poets Pub
The topic today is the sestina, and Matt Quinn of Poemblaze blog  is hosting. Thanks to him, and to Gay Cannon for bringing us the chance to explore a challenging but rewarding form.

Hedgerider's Lament~Part II can be found here
Hedgerider's Lament~Part III can be found here

The Hedgerider's Lament
Part I: Yule Sestina

It’s the time when amber green light soaks the sponge of mist,
dripping softly where worlds rub shoulders in vast night,
dreaming in the nest where brown eggs shift and crackle in the air,
where I’m looking, looking, hearing soundless bells in the blue.
The grass bends, the sparrows talk, and magic guards this place
as I edge myself along the walls of the razorleafed hedgerow.

I see them all, patient, living, bent to purpose in the hedgerow
waiting where the edges are sharp, or under the amber green mist.
Horehound lolls silver tongues, mint droops, amanita puts in place
red spotted chairs for sprites and roofs for toadlings. Shadow night
hides monkshood in its cobalt cap, telling me something fatally blue,
and ladyslippers wait for mousewomen where foxgloves dot the air.

My skull is a tangling rootball of hair and bone and air.
My skin is ambergreen bark against the razorleaves of the hedgerow.
My eyes are storm clouds flickering outwards, grey and blue.
My rabbit nose is twitching, pink in the dripping mist,
breathing in and out, sifting and shaking the smells from the night,
passing hands above the edges, feeling leaves for the right place.

I see a medicine fire drifting the air with grey, burning in the place
where a fallen piece of star has struck a match against hard air,
making sage smoke and sweetgrass smolder in the night,
like tobacco in the pipes of gnomes carousing in the hedgerow.
Other nights I lift a glass, beg them wash their beards in mist
but tonight I cannot stop to joke for the place is near, so cold and blue.

I can hear the worlds go sloshing in their shells, spinning in the blue
almost touching, noses pushing membranes towards the place
where the new year sleeps in the old year's arms, damp with mist
and the quick bear the dead upon their backs, howling thru air
sharp silenced by what dwells just past the hedgerow
because the time is not quite yet, though it nears in the shortening night.
Day has sighed and gone, spent from matching itself to night
so perfectly. My hair jigs up in Tesla’s dance, jumping white & blue.
I feel them creeping, riding the top of the razored hedgerow
where it's thin as my skin. Now all but my hair is frozen in place.
Burnt tumbled smells, the soft horse muzzle of the night air
nudges them at me, while at last the steelsharp leaves begin to mist.
Now I can see you blur and move, in mist waves of ribboned night.
I reach out to the air. There where the thorns have turned  blue
is the place I can pull you from your lost world, thru the hedgerow.

 ~December 2010

If this seems familiar it's because all three of these sestinas were originally
Posted for One Shot Wednesday at the inimitable One Stop Poetry

With thanks to Rabbit
The first of what will hopefully be four sestinas loosely based on the neopagan festival days of Yule, Candlemas, Beltane and Samhain.


ireland's fangorn


All sun's length she sits
nested high in the world tree
alone, surrounded by
the howling, blue
painted greenwitch
oracle of the ward songs
in her iceglass
barelimb chapel
keeping vigil.
At night when the moon
hangs heavy and hunger
sings to the tides,
she flirts her feathers down to
probe the chambered nautilus
and fetch the glitterfish
called to her
rattling net hung
with bone charms.

She's felt his questions
pressing on her
all day so heavy
the singing
so heavy for something
made of air
the sword unsheathed 
so red cutting from
the southern ocean’s rim.

She can hear him reading
from the old gods’ psalter
feel the sigh as the pages
slip to almost dawn,
till he finds
the leaf forgotten,
the star fallen
just before
the world ends
and the kingfisher flies.

June 2011
revised August 2011 

Asteria was the name given, variously to: " the Titan of nocturnal oracles and falling stars," and mother of Hecate, "the ninth Amazon killed by Herakles when he came for Hippolyte's girdle,"  "one of the Danaids...who, with one exception, murdered their husbands on their wedding nights.." and " of the Alkyonides [who, after Herakles slew their father] along with her sisters...flung herself into the sea and was transformed into a kingfisher.."  ~wikipedia 

All in all, a name with plenty of room for poetic interpretation. 

Image: ireland's fangorn(Yew woodlands at the Killarney National Park, which is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland,) by Justin Gaurav Murgai
Shared under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mother of Love

Roses by night.

Mother of Love

By the dark moondrop pool
I walk my watch,
the sky strobing stormlight,
the heat failing, warped and wrapped
to a humid white cast
on the broken leg of darkness. I can't
wake up the feeling sleeping inside my skin;
hold the sky still for me, so I can see 
what's there, or not

through the chromatrope of the clouded moon
that shows my face of many colors shifting
bleaching to bone, fleshing to rose,
the gyre and thrum of the black bullroarer
pounding in my ears, and limitless nothing.
Nothing's whispers, nothing clearer
than the cold sulfur witchfire
burning night’s garden down and 
down again.

Wind weaves and blows a wild vapor,
soft salmon hood thrown over moon
to cover that blood-speckled alabaster eye.
Wound in blue nocturne waiting
to hide again behind the yellow mask of dawn,
born to change, dying to rise 
from an easy tomb, laughing
at my everdying rose’s pretense,
who calls herself the mother of love.

August 2011

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

Doors open every Tuesday 3:00 PM EST and close Wednesday midnight.  
No cover except a poem. Come join us.

Image: Roses by Night, by jelleprins on flick'r
jelleprins' photostream 
Shared under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off the Shelf Archive ~August

Time to shove in a new selection for the Off the Shelf Page before the month is completely gone. I recently ordered several poetry collections on sale, to replace lost originals or read a few new authors. Among them was a slim and cheap volume of T.S. Eliot, one of the most influential and widely read poets of the 20th Century. I'm not going to bother giving his bio as I imagine anyone who writes or reads poetry knows his name and has been exposed to his work, which is not very voluminous. Nonetheless, sometimes a rereading of words absorbed years ago reveals something new and valuable, and so it was for me thumbing through this new book of old poems of Eliot's. I've selected a portion of the first of his lengthy Four Quartets (Burnt Norton) the work Eliot considered his best, and responsible for his 1948 Nobel Prize for Literature. 

You'll find it here, in the  Off The Shelf Archive for September 

And to make room for Eliot, below is the previous selection, two shorter poems by D.H. Lawrence. As always feel free to make comments on either selection here, as comments are disabled off the main page, and suggestions for next time are always welcome.

Two Short Poems by D.H. Lawrence

Won’t It Be Strange—?

Won’t it be strange, when the nurse brings the newborn
to the proud father, and shows its little, webbed greenish
made to smite the waters behind it?
or the round wild vivid eye of a wild goose staring
out of fathomless skies and seas?
or when it utters that undaunted little bird-cry
of one who will settle on ice-bergs, and honk across the

And when the father says: This is none of mine!
Woman, where got you this little beast?—
will there be a whistle of wings in the air; and an icy
will the singing of swans, high up, high up, invisible
break the drums of his ears
and leave him forever listening for the answer?

The Gods! The Gods!

People were bathing and posturing themselves on the
and all was dreary, great robot limbs, robot breasts
robot voices, robot even the gay umbrellas.

But a woman, shy and alone, was washing herself under
     a tap
and the glimmer of the presence of the gods was like
and like water-lilies.

by D.H. Lawrence

Image: Mother, by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
1895, Oil on canvas

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshots

We had a gorgeous overcast and cool (for us) day here, especially for the tail end of a very scorpion-like stinging August, so I spent much of it trying to catch up on a few gardening chores. I don't have any poems to share today, so I thought I would post some of my very amateur shots of what's going on in the yard and garden at Castle Hedgewitch instead.

I'll start off with the tree damage we got the other night when I was bemoaning the power outages from the straightline winds of 70 mph that passed over us, thankfully doing not much more than blow a few shingles off the roof, and chew up this silver maple:

Below are a few shots of a morning glory that volunteered from seed. It's an old heirloom variety known as Grampa Ott, and is a bit more purply than shows in these. He's rambling all over my front bed this year, and the heat hasn't seemed to faze his antique ass. Two years ago when I gently nurtured him from a wee sprout tenderly started indoors in the depths of winter, he refused to do anything but get spider mites and die. I guess he's more a free bird sort of morning glory:

He's even rambling over the purslane in my container garden:

Finally, some of the cannas are starting to rebloom.They're a bit bedraggled from all the heat and an unfortunate lack of care due to my hatred of going outside when the temps replicate the seventh circle of hell, but they're taking no prisoners anyway. 

This one, Burning Ember,  is one of my favorites for it's almost surreal orange tones--and this is after I turned the saturation DOWN : 

If you're wondering what those long metal structures are in my neighbor's yard along the fence, they're her two loafing sheds for her horses, Pecos and Renegade, shown here helping with the mowing near the mimosa killed by this summer's heat:

These are some of the baby cows my mutt was chasing  on the property behind us. Mother is not in evidence today; she may have already become someone's dinner.

Those of you who are real photographers, thanks for bearing with me, as my gifts definitely do not extend in this direction. However, I hope everyone benefited from the wholesome exercise involved in getting out and communing with the garden, however vicarious. 

Regularly scheduled poetry programming will resume shortly.