Archive for March 2014

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The two poems I posted in March come from the same poem idea, which is sharing a poem or love poem with someone, and the wait while they read it not knowing if they will like it or not. One of the poems is written in the sestina form, which repeats the end words from the first stanza, among other rules/guidelines. One poem is called “To Give or Not a Love Poem” and the other is “Showing Your Poem to Another.” Sharing gets easier and it’s fun to have others hear your words, but there remains that unknown of will they hate it, love it, or worse, is it just a so what poem.

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Posted March 29, 2014 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Mer Licht or Meow   Leave a comment

 

A noise in the night rouses me from dreams. It sounds like something fell off the bed. I consider that it might be my old cat, Mr. Ping, and think maybe he has died and fallen to the floor, but he is only on life number three of nine, I decide to wait until morning to see if the noise was him hitting the floor. My tender-heart hardens a bit between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. I know that if Ping has succumbed to old age, he will still be there in the morning for me to handle funeral planning.

 

In the morning my cat meows his survival of things that go bump in the night and says he is ready for breakfast. He’s been looking a bit ragged and one day he will not wake from his nap. When it happens, I will take care of his bony little body without the creepy feeling that it once would have caused. Age gives us experience, and/or, resignation, regarding death and the understanding of the cycles of life.

 

Poet Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gentle into that good night/Old age should burn and rave at close of day; /Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” His sentiment is fierce and fine, but a gentle going seems okay, too. No matter how it happens, it happens. Some have wise words in their dying hours, or possibly the person listening to the weakening person’s breath and the quiet exhalation of words might have misheard or embellished that last sentence for posterity.

 

Consider Franciso “Pancho” Villa who when dying after receiving multiple bullet wounds told a comrade, “Don’t let it end this way. Tell them I said something.”

 

German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe, supposedly said, “Mer Licht” (More light).

 

The best words are from Karl Marx. His housekeeper asked if he had any last words and he replied, “Go on, get out? Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

 

Working on one’s perfect, profound, or comedic last words is likely a waste of time, since the opportunity may not present itself and if it did, the chance of forgetting your lines would be great at this stage in the game. But the epitaph on the gravestone or planning your own funeral and/or writing your obituary is something that can be done ahead of time. Although, writing an obituary is chancy, because if you write it too soon, you might miss some great accomplishments and forget to add them, but waiting too long, well you know. Even choosing an epitaph might be like getting that tasteless tattoo at a young age that you regret at 35, so it would be wise to revisit your choices yearly, and consider if it still works for you. Writing your own might be better than what another puts on your stone.

 

A few examples of epitaphs: The words on an unknown vicar’s tombstone from the 18th century read, “He was literally a father to all the children of the parish.”

On the stone of Sir John Strange (1696-1754): “Here lies an honest lawyer, – That is Strange.”

Dr. Keene’s from the 18th Century, “Here lies Dr. Keen, the good Bishop of Chester, Who ate up a fat goose, but could not digest her.”

From Grouch Marx (1867- 1977)”Here lies Grouch Marx and Lies and Lies and Lies. P.S. He never kissed an ugly girl.”

 

The only sure thing is buying the plot and putting your name and birth date on the stone, but what’s the rush?

 

Here’s hoping Mr. Ping has six more lives to go, but in the meantime, he’s not losing any sleep over what his last words will be. I am thinking they will sound something like “Meow” and I’ll interpret them as “Thanks for the memories, sleeping in the sun, on your pillow, on your lap, next to the dogs, on the windowsill, etc. etc. and thanks for the tuna. Ping provides good instruction on being in the moment no matter how many lives one has, or how many times one must reinvent themselves while recognizing that once a cat, always a cat and that’s not a bad thing.

Posted March 28, 2014 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Waiting for Your Love Poem to be Read   3 comments

 

the other spreads the paper

like a map smoothing your river stanzas

and valley rhymes

your long gray highways of words

 

you watch the paper flatten

parts of it an arroyo

so deep, dry and wide

souls have been lost

 

while you watch the reader’s face

somewhere a mother holds her baby to the window

to see a hummingbird for the first time

the bird synchronizes its tiny heart

with the baby’s small one

then baby turns its eyes to the mother

and continues its fall into love

 

the other reads on

somewhere in words or time

a hand reaches across Everglade gators

to a landlocked girl

and somewhere a finger on a wet window writes

“you are my life”

 

the reader reads on

wonders is it the words or  my senses

that bring the moon close

that rock me like a boat on the sea

 

birds rise to explain

that they are more than voices

more than one thing to another

still you watch the other’s face

like a child not sure if she’ll see a smile or frown

if you will be plucked from the “I love you

I love you not” petal

 

eons elapse

storms steal windows and roofs

snakes find apples for Eves

wedding liquor crashes from weak table legs

a grandmother dies        her daughter waits for bluebirds to come

 

the reader looks up from the paper

 

you remember the sound boots

make on the hard crunch of snow

 

Mary Strong Jackson

July 2013

Posted March 28, 2014 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

To Give or Not A Love Poem   Leave a comment

She tries to lift the paper from her purse

without movement, without noise. But the crinkles

loud as ice calving cracks the room’s silence.

Beneath her feet, across her chest, she feels the earth shift.

She pulls out crumpled pages, hears them exhale

under his smoothing palms as if resuscitated.

 

He presses her papers with care, and thus resuscitates

her own breath and the still beating pulse of her purse.

She watches all the papers flatten and exhale

under his palms, until not one more sound of crinkle.

The weather of her blood quiets, shifts

from cracking ice and settling earth to silence.

 

Then he holds her words, and there is nothing so silent.

She squeezes her red leather purse until its resuscitated

gasp snaps the clasp spilling onto her brown shift

dress printed with yellow butterflies. Their wings purse

like velvet lips too ready, too soft to ever crinkle

His eyes lift from the page to look at her. She exhales.

 

He drops his eyes back to the page. She inhales.

As she waits, waves somewhere rock a man in silence.

Somewhere a classroom of tiny ones rhyme wrinkle with crinkle,

and a single dollar given brings back a man. Resuscitated

with change in his pocket, and hope in his purse,

beneath his feet, across his chest, he feels the earth shift.

 

Soon, she must go, time for her night shift.

From the window she watches smokestacks exhale,

remembers her grandmother calling her a prize, a purse,

a purple purse so loud it needed soft pink flowers to silence

its ice cracking exuberance, to resuscitate

those around who could not take her constant paper crinkles

 

and the shock of purple purse girl with abounding crinkliness.

Again her eyes to his. She stretches a leg, sifts a sigh, shifts

her fears of dumb love poem. She thinks how to  resuscitate

herself if gift is rejected,  if he does not exhale

against her neck, but wads her words in silence

and stuffs them into the mouth of her purse.

 

His black eyebrows shift like two ravens. He exhales.

The raven eyebrows unfold their pursed wings, uncrinkling.

She resuscitates, and leans into his tears and kisses in silence.

 

 

Mary Strong Jackson

Posted March 28, 2014 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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