Poem – I shall set beauty

This morning I read a beautiful poem by someone I know who suffers from cancer. I was overwhelmed by her courage, and the wonderful images she had conjured up. It inspired me to write the poem below. (Just in case any reader is concerned that I am the subject of the poem – I am not, thank goodness.)

I shall set beauty seagull - 180424

I shall set beauty

Against this thing,

This gnawing thing,

Against this greedy, gnawing thing

That steals my body, steals my ease,

This greedy, gnawing, agonising thing

That steals my light,

I shall set beauty.

 

The beauty of an owl’s flight

In the dark night,

The beauty of a gull that glides

Above the endless tides,

The golden beauty, pure and bright,

Of an angel shining with gentle light,

These will defend me in my fight.

 

And yet the beast grows strong,

It feasts, a glutton,

It swallows all I savour,

It swells, burgeons,

Spawns

As I grow frail

And slowly crumble.

 

What help is beauty as the end draws near?

Even the gold of angel’s wings cannot stop fear,

The gull soars free while I lie helpless here.

 

And yet…

It is enough…

 

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Waking up in June

Although most of what I post on Autumn Leaves is my own, original work, just occasionally I read something exceptional and want to share it. This poem is by Karen Rawson, and in my opinion it’s outstanding. It will be one of my ‘go to’ poems if I need cheering up, because it’s just bursting with joy!

k. Rawson

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Waking up in June

Hey Koolaid, get your summer on
Morning dew, I don’t back down.
School’s out, summer!
Playground, dayground, butterfly garden
I can swing so high the chain goes slack
Squealing on the breath-catch dizzy-down.

Ready or not, here I come!
Barefoot and coppertoned, hear my rally:
I’ve got a pool pass, wanna see it?
Olly olly oxen free
Jarfull of night and firefly
I don’t see no streetlights;
I can stay out late ya know

Twenty-five cents buys a fresh box of crayons
Didja wanna know a secret?
Look inside:

I’ve got a million colors.

98 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy J. Hardy Carroll. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

A tidbit for you….I am actually in this picture…

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The Sirens

I don’t often attempt to write poetry, and this piece was originally intended as an exercise in descriptive prose. However, a rhythm gradually infiltrated the writing, so I tried laying it out as a poem and worked on it in that form. Whether that makes it a poem, I leave for you to judge! BTW It helps if you know the story of Odysseus and the Sirens.

Siren 171120

The Sirens

A nightingale that heard them sing

Would blush for shame.

The lines of melody intertwine,

The words blend, rhyme.

Oh, to be whole, free from the pain of loss!

So many heroes dead, friends hewn by sword,

Skewered by spear, or crushed by rocks.

Now peace. The voices offer peace.

“Helmsman, steer to shore!” I beg,

But wax-stopped ears are deaf.

I struggle with my bonds.

My vessel’s oarsmen beat the waves to froth and past we go,

Past surf that breaks on rocks like knives,

And on the rocks the Sirens feast

On rotting flesh and broken lives.  

When You Call Me…

For my guest post this Thursday, I’ve chosen “When you call me…”, by Kasturimib2010. This is a beautiful poem about love. The poet describes her delight in hearing all sorts of diverse things from her beloved. The illustrations that she chooses demonstrate very clearly and vividly the depth of empathy and mutual comprehension between the two of them. I like the poem very much indeed.

V i a k a t

WP_20150719_007(2)

I am not really the person whom you call up
just to ask “what else is going on,”
No.
I’m the person who loves it
when you call me because that book last night
made your chest ache and you couldn’t sleep.

You call to make me listen
to the sound of rain falling on your courtyard.
To tell me about your dreams of traveling to Antarctica,
or how some art moved you inside,
or maybe to describe
that rare streak of colour across a grey sky.

You can talk to me about the time
when a human made you lose all hope
and yet you found it back in an animal’s eyes.
Tell me about the time when you bunked work
to roam around the city aimlessly,
or the time when you wanted to give it all up
to seek a higher truth.

These are some of the things…

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In the moment – time flies!

Life flies past so quickly, doesn’t it?

I reflect on what I remember:

It’s nearly a year since the Brexit referendum.

It’s five years since London hosted a dazzling Olympic Games.

It’s eleven years since my first wonderful grand-daughter was born.

It’s seventeen years since we celebrated the millennium with fireworks and apprehension about whether all our computers would crash.

It’s forty-two years since I married Daphne, and forty-one since the birth of our first beloved daughter.

It’s forty-eight years since mankind took the giant step of sending a man to land on the moon for the very first time.

It’s sixty years since the Russians launched Sputnik 1, and a new era of exploration began.

The personal; the newsworthy; the significant; the trivial; they’re all there in my memory, and none of them really feel a long time ago – ok, well maybe Sputnik, although the memory is clear enough!

What a rush!

We can, though, slow down our perception of time if we practise living in the moment. We pay mindful attention to what we are experiencing as we experience it, and time slows for us. In particular, we pay attention to our feelings, nurturing the positive, and gently looking to let go of the negative. We have time to appreciate, time to enjoy; time to say “I love you” to those closest to us; time to fully enjoy their presence with us. Our time is both slower and richer.

Cooking ingredients 170530

I sometimes find that cooking helps me reach a state of mindfulness. It’s an activity where you have to focus on what you’re doing, and be alert to what’s happening. You pay attention to the appearance of the ingredients, and to their smell and to their taste. It’s a small step from there to being fully ‘in the moment’ and appreciating with your whole attention who you are and what you are living. I wrote a brief poem about this.

Season to Taste

I taste and season, stir and cover,

Chop potatoes, pepper, beans,

Making a meal, family-making,

Making pleasure, making love.

Not too salty, fine-chopped onion,

Taste and season, stir and cover.

Flavour contrast, savoury and sweet,

Unlikely partners, no meat,

Celery and chili (discreet).

Taste and season, stir and plate,

Food for my family – come and eat!

Cherry Blossoms (4/5)

Frederic is an excellent poet, and he’s written a sequence of five short poems about cherry blossom. I’ve reblogged my favourite, but they’re all well worth reading, and I recommend a visit to his site to read the others. While you’re there, you might enjoy his poem “The True Poet”. I like it; it seems to me to be very French in sentiment. But is it romantic with a post-modern slant, or is it just romantic? I’ll leave you to judge!

WORDS IN THE LIGHT

they raise their arms to the sky
but never ask for
anything

I admire the way
cherry trees pray

~

Cerisiers et le Ciel, Tokyo © 2017– F.G.M.

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Poem – Persistence of Vision

This poem celebrates my forty-two year marriage to Daphne. It started life as free verse, but gradually, without my conscious design, iambic pentameters started to elbow their way in. Finally I realized that my sub-conscious was wiser than my conscious; iambic pentameters, with their remorseless di-DUM, di-DUM, are the very thing for conveying the brutal march of time.

Daphne portrait for poem 170420

Persistence of vision

Maybe the outline always has been blurred.

You stand before me, upright, curly-haired

And blonde, your blue eyes steadfast, thoughtful, kind.

Attraction blossoms, sight leads on to touch

And we become, as near as dammit, one.

Then two are three and four and more, a girl,

A boy, another girl; skin stretches, care

Writes lines of love upon your loving face.

The days, though gentle, tug and dull and hurt

And suddenly the curly hair is grey,

The skin is scarred. Despite the pain, you will

Not bow your head; your courage is undimmed.

The person that you were is who you are.

Wisdom and love defeat the passing years.