Thursday, January 30, 2014

Three Flower Highway

Three Flower Highway

Three flowers I've had
to garden me along:
 first was the white highway
of dream into song.

Red fire was the second
from lightning's first born
struck cold from the flint
that was found in the storm.

Last, gentian blue stem,
  bud dark in the light,
unopened, uncolored
 sweet in the night.

~January 2014

55 words that have nothing to do with snow for      the g-man
(count includes the title)

Image: Blue Gentians, by John Singer Sargent, 1905
Public Domain via

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Turn Turn Turn

A seeker, a weaver
a student and master
voice of the worker,
never a doubter, forever
a singer. No one had to ask
which side you were on.

~January 2014

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Challenge: Words Count with Mama Zen
The ever terse Mama Zen challenges us to write something suitable for twitter in 140 characters or less; I don't have much interest in twitter these days, but wanted to remember a great man, and no words of mine can ever beat his, so the fewer the better.

 Pete Seeger passed yesterday at the age of 94. Thank you, Pete, for outliving McCarthy's blacklist, for all the great songs that others made famous, for your own light which always shone bright for the working man, and for Everyman.

Image: Pete Seeger at age 88 photographed on 6-16-07 at the Clearwater Festival 2007 by Anthony Pepitone, via wikimedia commons
Shared under a Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Repost: Mélusine


Once I was a beginner.
I was rain, I was rush,
I was a barbed hook,
my skull a small cage
for a fluttering bat.
Now in my latter days
I'm the zoo unbound,
furred and finned,
fully winged, 
Mélusine and manticore, 
chimera and koala,
yin yanged as an orca
and just as 

~May 2013

reposted for     real toads
Open Link Monday

Process notes:  Mélusine  " a figure of European legends and folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers. She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down (much like a mermaid). She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails or both... "  

Optional Historical Trivia:  I was reminded of Mélusine (though she only appears briefly here) after writing Jehanne, for Fireblossom's Friday Challenge. Jeanne, the Demoiselle of Luxembourg, in whose castle of Beaurevoir Joan of Arc was first held, was one of the few powerful figures who attempted to protect her, and indeed it was not till after her death that Joan was given to the English tribunal. At various times,like other prominent families in the region, the house of Luxembourg claimed descent from Mélusine. In some sense, therefor, Mélusine is still amongst us, as the Demoiselle's great-niece, Jacquetta,"... was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, Queen and wife of Henry VII. As such, she is an ancestress of all subsequent English and British monarchs, including Elizabeth II, and seven other present-day European monarchs.."~wikipedia

Images: Top:  Das Lüsterweibchen, by Albrecht Durer, 1513
Bottom:Mélusine allaitant ses fils Thierry et Raymonnet. 15th Century
Public Domain

Friday, January 24, 2014



There's an angel in the fire
feathers burning, acrid, ashy black.
Where is the bird-winged host,
her  cloudy birth brothers
the holy triune fatherspiritson
to pull her out?

She keeps her shield
and sword  bright
gold light, her hose fastened tight
in the cell where they say 
the war is over, the king she crowned gone
far away as god. 

The angel in the fire weeps, she reasons,
she argues like a cardinal, while
her dark luminous eyes follow me
as I open windows to let out the stink.

The cross on her standard
won't keep away the crows
but there's no feather anywhere
of  her brother Michael, his deaf-making voice
of cathedral bells, his wings for a tabard
over her soldier's casing.

The horns of the devil
hold up the sky,
pierce the dropping night.
Her sword ignites
like a willow leaf.

Her breastplate with
the hundred dents above the heart
is all that cumbers her.
The salt stained straps cut into
flesh that was the white lily of Lorraine,
yet it will be the last
she lets go for her dress of flame. 

No sign appears, not even rain;
instead she  burns and burns
lost, half-smiling, staring at me
as if there were something I could do.

 ~December 2013, January 2014

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 Fireblossom Friday: Clothes Make The Woman
The inimitable Fireblossom has asked us to write about an article of clothing. To wit:"What I want you to do is to write a poem in which clothes play a significant part...The poem must have some item of clothing as an important component, not just something mentioned in passing." I have also written to her last challenge here, Calling All Angels, which I missed at the time, which asked for a poem about angels.

Process notes: Joan of Arc, (or Jehanne, as she referred to herself) lead a succesful campaign against the English during the Hundred Years War, till she was captured and put on trail by them for heresy. Jehanne cut her hair short and wore the armor and clothing of a male knight of her time,both as symbol and protection against rape. The most prominent "legal" pretext used by the Inquisition to execute her was based on an Old Testament text condemning women who dress in any article of male clothing to death. She was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1431. Jehanne was later exonerated, and canonized as St Joan in 1920

Images: Joan of Arc, by Odillon Redon
St Joan, by John William Waterhouse
Both paintings public domain, via

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Armor Spellsong

Hanna, by Kristen Hatgi Sink
Armor Spellsong

Armor of flowers
work of my hands
protect me.

Songs from twig ceilings
silver shy shadows
break me in.

Green love in glass bottles
medicine  blue sky
open over me.

Badlands bitch burnout
acid alkali wanting
fall on the sword.

Armor of flowers
work of my hands
light of my heart

~January 2014

Kristin Hatgi Sink

55 rose petal helmets for     the g-man
This time, I include the title. (I saw you counting, G.)
Inspired by the photography of Kristin Hatgi Sink, Denver, CO.

Images copyright Kristin Hatgi Sink via Facebook, and Phinest. Her website is linked above, and here is herTumblir site as well.
No copyright infringement is intended. Posted with gratitude under fair use guidelines.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ghost In The Machine

Man Leaning On A Parapet~Georges Seurat
Ghost In The Machine
 “The best portion of a good man's life: 
his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
~William Wordsworth

When the morning's a veil of grey
and the gold is still a closed fist,
the sighing comes over the fields
spilled in a tickling mist
from a silver pail of silence
before the anxious birds
begin their nervy chorus,
before the softshell world
uncracks itself before us.

That's when you seem to turn,
breath of lilacs panting
just behind my ear,
whispers in an old planting;
all you were and weren't
a music changed to noise,
all your fading fragrance
feeding till it cloys.

So shade, take coffee with me here
where the night and light collide,
and tell me what became of
the man who could be kind. 

~April 2013 , lightly revised, January 2014

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This was originally written for a challenge Kerry gave us last April:to take one of three quotes from poet William Wordsworth as our jumping off point. It's a favorite of mine, so I dusted it off for another trip around the block.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter Tanka

 Winter Tanka


From whiskbroom branches
blackbirds drop a watersong
brown rain in their throats
leaf mummies see the moon's face
music-washed night after night.


Winter's hand strokes wind
across the grain, a dry sea
flat in shades of dust
in time the lost mermaid dies
beached high in the bones of grass.


Let the smoke go up
pluming on horseheads of clouds
visible for miles;
let the wildfire come starved
to its briar sacrifice.

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Challenge: Why I Write Tanka, Part II
Dr Hisashi Nakamura has generously shared his knowledge and skill with the short Japanese syllabic form known as tanka in this series at The Imaginary Garden. A tanka contains 31 English syllables in a line pattern of 5/7/5/7/7. I find them very difficult to write, but easier than not writing them, perhaps, today. I have used the bare minimum of punctuation, so I beg indulgence for my grammatical liberties.

Process note on the third tanka: Like many areas of the western US, we are having wildfires this winter due to drought, high winds and human stupidity.

Photographs: Oak-Blackbirds-Maple, Prairiewise Seeds copyright joyannjones 2014