Thursday, June 25, 2009

Horoscope words words words


Totally Options Prompts encouraged us to think "horoscopes" for poetry this week. I dove in and looked up my horoscope for Wednesday on nearly a dozen different websites. I didn't know what I was going to do with all of them, but I then thought about putting them in a Wordle.

So a cut-and-paste later, I had a massive Worldle that was too hard to read. So then I used one of the Wordle tools to restrict the number of words and got something that I thought might inspire me.

But now I find it too distracting all in itself. I trace words around and around. And so I decided that sharing this word-picture will be my contribution this week. Enjoy, and let me know if you find a poem in it!

(click on the image to see it bigger)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Still Cloudy


It's been gray and cloudy and rainy here for so many days on end that I feel like I'm growing mold in my mind. That influenced where I went with the abecedarian poem I wrote for Tricia's Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect. With so much water in the air around me, I had to put a bit of ebb and flow into the alphabetic effect.

Still Cloudy

Charcoal clouds crowd the sky,
covering blue and carrying drizzle.
Dull days drag on,
an endless effort to endure,
each day echoing every other.
Flat light makes for faint faith
that flooding will ease and
evaporate. Encircled by erosion,
an evil essence drenches the ego,
'til duty droops in dreary drudgery.
Can't the confounding cumulonimbi
cruise away? I crave contrails
curving across clear cerulean.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Grandma's Yard


Back in March I wrote about the trees in my childhood yard. I've been meaning to follow it up with a post about my Grandmother's yard. I finally wrote it!

Grandma's Yard

My grandma lived on the other side of our small town. It was just over a mile away, so we were over there at least once a week. In nice weather, we spent a lot of time in the yard. Grandma's house sat on a corner lot, and she owned the next lot too, so there was a lot of space to play.

The first trees we always saw were the two large cedar trees on the narrow side yard by the street. They kept the east side of the house shaded and kept the grass from growing. Hidden in the shade, beneath a small roof was the "side door" that opened to the landing of the basement stairs. Morning glories climbed up a trellis on each side of that door, white blooms on one side, dark blue-purple ones on the other.

Mom would drive past those trees and park in the small, blacktopped "driveway" next to the back door. That parking place had rosebushes along both sides. My favorite was a shade of pinky-orange that Grandma told me was her favorite too.

We nearly always used the back door, going through the back porch into the kitchen. The only time we used the front door was at Halloween when we pretended to be strangers and thought that we would confuse her with our masks.

A concrete walk ran across the yard from the back door to the garage. We sometimes tried to catch leaves of grass on fire, using a magnifying glass, but never had any luck. There were no trees in the yard between that walk and the street, just a pole where the clothesline hung. With no shade, the sheets and shirts and housedresses fluttered in the sunshine on washday, and dried quickly.

On the other side of the street, the closest tree was a large shade tree. I remember it as a tulip poplar, but I may have that wrong. I think there was an elm tree at one time, but like most elms, it became diseased and had to be cut down. Near the southwest corner of the house was the largest maple that I had ever seen. I loved playing with the maple wing seeds that would flutter down like helicopter rotors.

On the southeast edge of the house were some kind of evergreen bushes, trimmed to stay between the house and the walk. They sometimes had fleshy red fruits on them and since the grownups hadn't said anything about them, we dared each other to eat them, telling each other they were poisonous. They didn't taste like much, so we never ate very many and since they never made us sick they couldn't have been poisonous after all.

To the south of the maple, in a nice sunny spot was where Grandma had rhubarb planted. We were told from an early age not to eat the leaves because they were poisonous. Since all the grownups told us that, we didn't dare to try them.

At the back of the yard, on the south edge along the alley, was a pussy willow that had grown out of control. It was taller than some trees.

On the west edge of the yard, next to the neighbor's back yard, was an olive tree. I liked its soft grayish leaves, and wondered why there were never olives on it. I decided we lived too far north, where it was too cold for it.

Along the west side of Grandma's house, under the dining room windows, were spirea bushes. They bloomed their soft sprays of white just in time to use as filler in our May baskets.

Another spring flower was what Grandma called "nekkid ladies." These flowers sprouted up on fleshy-colored stems, and bloomed a soft pink. Only after that died down did the green leaves come up. We always waited until the greens died back before cleaning them up, so that the flowers would have enough energy stored to come up the next spring.

Grandma had peony bushes at either end of the row of naked ladies. I think they were white or maybe pale pink. And Grandma got help digging them up each fall. She stored them in the basement until spring.

My favorite thing growing in Grandma's yard was the redbud tree growing in the northwest corner of the yard. It was very large – big enough to climb. And Grandma did let us climb it, much to my mother's dismay (she wasn't big on tree-climbing as an activity).

But best of all in Grandma's yard was the swing. When I was little there was an old glider-style swing that had benches facing each other. Four of us could (and did) swing back and forth at the same time. It was wooden and eventually fell apart, but while it lasted it was like flying.

There were tulips and forsythia, daffodils and dandelions. We searched the clover patches for the lucky ones with 4 leaves. And on hot summer afternoons, Grandma's painted metal chairs beckoned us to sit down with a cold glass of lemonade, where we could kick off our shoes and run our toes through the soft grass in the shade.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Late Limerick


Mad Kane is once more providing inspiration for limericks. These days she is providing a first line, our job is to complete the poem.

I've been busy, but finally finished the prompt from last week (now that the next prompt is posted). Oh, well. Here it is anyway.

There once was a guy with no hair
who wandered with nary a care.
He heard no one's jeers
due to fur in his ears.
It had moved from up top to in there.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Unexpected Guest


I haven't been writing, but now that my spring concerts are over, I should gain a bit of time to myself again. I also have some vacation days to sneak in before the end of the month, so here's hoping the muse will work with my limited time.

Totally Optional Prompts this week was "Unexpected Visitors" and that fit in nicely with my first foray into the world of Facebook.

Unexpected Guest

I'm sitting pretty in my p.j.'s,
comfy on my couch,
watching the world from the window
of my little laptop.

Then another singer sells me
on the plan of a page
for our chorus fans to adore us,
a focus on Facebook,
another window to the world.

So I sign up,
join forces on Facebook,
post some particulars,
sweep open the shutters,
cast open the curtains
of my world window,
and I wait.

Just two-days time
passes by and Pop!
a blast from the past casts a query,
"be my friend," she extends
a once-familiar wave wandering
toward my open window.

I cringe and cram coverlets in the way,
heaving heaps of unknowing
into the chasm of change
built in separate states,
wincing away from the wide-open window.

I click ("don't be sick!"), and
tick, tick, tick, the time
rolls back, and I'm smack
dab in the long-ago days,
with a faded photo from
there and I recognize the "then"
in us both, our backstories bridge
the welcoming at the window.

I greet my guest with a grin.