Category: On Poetry

Dec 17

Crossing the desert

Riding home at dusk just north of Phoenix, where the mountains ease into valley and where the saguaro cacti first begin to appear on the landscape, I was captivated by their beauty as silhouettes in the waning light. They looked like crosses. I thanked God for giving me the ability to see beauty, but more so for giving me the ability to see life through a unique perspective. It takes 75 to 100 years for a saguaro to grow its first side arm. These are old cacti. I don’t know for sure, but the Indians must have considered them holy landmarks as well. Saguaro Cactus at Sunset

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Oct 27

Changes

My daughter texted me that she is currently stuck on David Bowie’s song “Changes.” As many times as I’ve listened to the song, I never really listened closely to the lyrics or read them until today. What great lines — “turn and face the strange,” “so I turned to face me” and “ripples change their size but never leave the stream.” As the country slips into fall and times change along with landscape and temperatures, my daughter and I are facing more major changes in our lives. But we are “facing the strange” with faith. We are trying to remember to look at the indescribable beauty of light and color in autumn trees, to revel in cooler breezes that whisper into our skin. When the progression to something new is so evident, remember to pause for pleasure. It’s there moving in the ripples always waiting for us to see it. blog of seeds

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Jan 27

Fluttering of wings above great fortune

Tooting my horn remains difficult though I know that self-promotion is crucial these days. I hide my little successes under modesty, trying to stave off a pet peeve – pride. But, my recent luck (really nothing in the scheme of things) amuses me. Yesterday an editor phoned seeking to publish one of my poems. Mind you I’ve had almost a hundred works published and it’s not The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, or even Poetry, but it is — an editor from out of state who had enough interest to call. Thank you, Gail of Kaleidoscope Magazine. You’ve given me a flicker in my recent dusking of spirit. Poets always dream of being widely read and crafting words that move others, but perhaps love and the care of another human being in need may be my greatest accomplishments while on this earth. My words may be more like the fluttering of wings above that great fortune.

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Oct 10

Hugo where I go

“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” Victor Hugo

Be like the bird who, halting in his flight on a limb too slight, yet sings, knowing he has wings.  Victor Hugo

“Let us be like a bird for a moment perched
On a frail branch when he sings;
Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song,
Knowing that he has wings.”  Victor Hugo
Saw a variation of this Hugo quote on a site but could not share it. So I searched for the quote elsewhere on the Internet to cut and paste. Funny thing is, I found several variations. I find it difficult as a poet to imagine having my words paraphrased or rewritten when we as poets select just the right words for a multiple of reasons after must consideration. Which version do you like the best? This brings me to the topic of translations. Great vehicles to share great words … but at what cost. Would you want your poems shared in another language if your exact words were lost?

Last thing I want to share, this comment also from someone out there on the Internetsphere,  “I think the hard part is singing even when you know you don’t have wings!” My sentiments exactly. Where Hugo, I go.

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Sep 08

Live long and google

Live long and Google! Thanks to our innovative and happening friends at Google my day has been made (right here in the home stretch to the midnight hour)! Not sure how long the Star Trek interactive icon has been up, but I just saw it and checked it out. Great stuff, Google. Happy 45 years to all forward thinkers and dreamers. This almost tops my Star Trek find at Goodwill this week. Thanks also today to Valerie Johnson of Chicago’s best poetry magazine ever,  Poetry. How many can claim they’ve done it for 100 years, yet alone, done it right (and/or done it with poetry). Valerie made the trip to Springfield to collect a Centenarian award from the Illinois State Historical Society. Beyond 100 years, and Star Trek and Google, good folks like Valerie, surpass the stars in my books. There’s nothing better than the humble and kind. Make sure to check out the Poetry Foundation, and if you are in Chicago, the awesome new green building they are housed in (by John Ronan Architects).

 

 

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Jun 03

The poetry of birds and fish

Years ago, I wrote a sonnet about flying in my dreams. It is titled, Flying, with the closing couplet, “To flight, to search for freedom, we fleet/While fish they wish their fins were feet.” This ties into my day. Today, with great sadness, I watched my dog attack a bird. The bird suffered. Though upset, I was intrigued by the other birds. The robins were screeching. A mourning dove sat guard for a while after the robins pecked a grackle away. A few finches and wrens came and sat on the fence to see what was going on. I wonder if birds do everything on instinct or if there exists some small kind of feelings under all those feathers. On a happier note, Springfield Poets and Writers‘ teen anthology Navigating the Maze is published and copies distributed to contributors. With SPW and Adonis Designs Press, I design and edit the publication, of which the art selected for this year’s cover is titled, Fish. It is the image that one will see on these websites. Now I must tell you, the poem makes allusion to evolution. Fish may love to swim if they too have any feelings under those scales. As a swimmer, I must also tell you that it is as glorious to swim and it is to fly in your dreams. It’s all poetry to me!

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Apr 05

Poet laureates

Happy National Poetry Month! Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein heads to Springfield, Illinois on Saturday, Apr. 21 to be the featured poet at the Vachel Lindsay Home Historic Site, 603 S. Fifth Street. The site’s recurring series, Poets in the Parlor, begins at 2 p.m. Stein will read from his new book, Poetry’s Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age. Seating is limited at this intimate venue. Stein teaches at Bradley University in Peoria and has been Illinois Poet Laureate since 2003. Read all about our current U.S. Poet Laureate and past laureates at one-of-my favorite websites – the Library of Congress.

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Feb 26

Star treks poetic

Look who’s tweeting now – Kirstie Alley, who I might mention was in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as Lt. Saavik, is holding a Twitter poetry contest!!! I would really, really like to win, as SPW could use that money for Navigating the Maze…BUT…it’s such a cool contest put on by one cool lady, that I want to tell everyone about it. So hop on board the tweet street and head to – Kirstie Alley. Just signed up myself three or four days ago on Twitter – Anita Stienstra. Maybe it pays to tweet! Kirstie’s contest ends tomorrow high noon.

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Sep 20

In the Heart of Contemplation – Daniel Day Lewis

Recently saw a photo of Daniel Day Lewis dining at Augie’s Front Burner in my hometown of Springfield, Illinois. A first date with my sweetie was there. Wish we might be in conversation with Lewis over dinner about poetry or metaphysics. Last of the Mohicans continues to be a favorite—unusual since Westerns and historical films are not my forte. But what a masterpiece— the music, the story, the scenery, the acting, DDL with long hair—. I dare say that we all expose a fraction of ourselves in the choices we make, whether that is from words in a blog or the acting jobs we take. I find a sort of poetry in Daniel Day Lewis from Gandhi to The Unbearable Lightness of Being to The Crucible. In fact, fondness for poetry motivated me to buy one of his father’s books when I discovered C. Day Lewis was poet laureate of England from 1968 until his death in 1972. Complete Poems was published in 1992 by Stanford University Press with an introduction by his widow, Jill Balcon. As many times I do in a game of chicken with fate, I flipped open the book and gazed upon a poem, “Is It Far to Go?” followed by an asterisk that notes, “The third stanza is on CDL’s tombstone in Dorset.” The book’s introduction states that Lewis is buried near Thomas Hardy—my footsteps have fallen there. Then there’s Lincoln. DDL plays Lincoln in a 2012 movie by the same name. A story I tell too often at readings is about the synchronicity of landing in central Illinois, the land of Lincoln, with my dog, already named Lincoln when I adopted him from an east coast pound. “An Address to Lincoln” remains a favorite poem, crafted based on the love of a dog and the Gettysburg Address.

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Jul 10

Street Wars

Okay…someone tell me…what is the name of the national or international group that requires its members to drive ten to fifteen miles below the speed limit to slow down traffic and befuddle my need to be on time? Inquiring mind needs to know, because if I can’t beat them, I gotta join them or build that airspeeder real soon.

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