Looking at the Festive Trees

Dogwood trees
Clusters of pink blooms
Raindrops fall
Shake the branch
A perfusion of petals
Confetti parade

Tulip trees
Burst with spring flowers
Pale pink cups
Fill with rain
Buds and blooms weigh down branches
Boughs bend near breaking

This is a 2 verse Shadorma describing the flowering tree situation. First, a little about the Shadorma – it is a Spanish form of 6 unrhymed lines per verse. It is a syllabic form with a strict number of syllables per line. The pattern is 3-5-3-3-7-5. Because it has a limit on the syllables, it forces the poet to carefully select words to convey the message.

As for the flowering trees, that is another thing entirely. I think flowering trees practically scream spring. Our neighbor has 2 enormous Tulip trees. The Tulip tree is the state tree of Indiana. Periodically different organizations encourage planting these trees by giving away seedlings or saplings. I suspect that is how the neighbor ended up with these 2 monsters. The problem with the Tulip tree is that it likes to grow very large and then fall over or break off. They are not trees that do well in high winds. In the spring there are small (and sometimes large) branches that snap off and fall. There were 3 but one blew over about 10 years ago. We were all very lucky since it fell away from all the structures and landed in the street. The flowers tend to be large and hold a good volume of water. Walking under one after a rain is like taking a shower! The flower petals are thick and when they fall on the driveway they are slimy. If you step on one it is a smaller version of the proverbial banana peel! Can you tell I’m not a fan of these trees?

Now the dogwood is one of my favorite trees. There are several on campus that I have the pleasure of passing, to and from the parking lot. Sadly their flowering time is short – a kind of here today and gone tomorrow. If there is any wind or rain the petals just detach and it rains petal confetti. I noticed that the trees were just starting to flower on Thursday and by Monday morning there were only scattered mashed and soggy brown remnants of petals on the sidewalk. I think this is because they were initially planted in a sheltered area but with new buildings going up they are now exposed to the wind and weather. Maybe next year I’ll get to see the flowers on the trees instead of on the sidewalk!
As a note – to get my poems in April posted I’m going to be posting nearly daily until the end of the month – enjoy because it won’t last… May will be back to the regularly schedule of M-W-F posts!

Watching the Sleep Carousel Spin

My mind’s carousel spins out of control
Eyes closed to fight dizziness
I will myself to sleep

This is my Looking Foolish Scavenger Hunt offering for today – prompt #4 Going to Sleep. I wrote this as a Kimo. The Kimo is a post-Haiku from from Israel. It consists of a single stanza of 3 lines with the syllable count of 10-7-6. Like the Haiku there is no rhyme.

I have been very busy at work. In fact I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to do much of anything outside of the necessities. Couple that with having a horrible head cold and I’ve been having a difficult time getting to sleep and staying asleep! I can’t go into details but I’m having difficulty with deadlines and goals. I’m struggling with personalities and perceptions. And I have a killer cough. It is the kind of cough caused by post-nasal drip. Although this is more than a drip. It is more like a cascade! The end result is that I cough hard enough to wake myself (and Sparky and the recently deceased) which is only squelched with a drink of water. That of course results in the “bladder alarm” going off every hour. Between my mind being preoccupied with trying to make sense of the work situation and the complications of having a cold, I do not feel rested. On the bright side, my vacation is looming closer every day and I’ve been getting a really good abdominal muscle workout.

Looking for Blue Lilacs


Colors of Lilacs
Late spring flowers
Late to bring color
Colors run
Colors fade
Fade into summer
Fade to brown
Brown edges
Brown crispy petals
Petals long and short
Petals drop off
Off the bushes
Off to the side
Side of the house
Side away from the sun
Sun warmed
Sun burned
Burned skin
Burned away
Away from the sidewalk
Away from garden
Garden of Eden
Garden of delight
Delight in light
Delight in green
Green grass
Green leaves
Leaves that flutter
Leaves that cool
Cool shade
Cool breeze
Breeze that tickles
Breeze that teases
Teases the trees
Teases the bees
Bees gather nectar
Bees scatter pollen
Pollen sunny
Pollen golden
Golden moments
Golden rest
Rest in the garden
Rest in the shade
Shade so cool
Shade and fragrance
Fragrance of roses
Fragrance of lilacs
Lilacs for my mother
Lilacs to remember

The form is a Blitz Poem developed by Robert Keim. It requires counting and a little bit of forethought. A Blitz Poem is 50 lines long. It begins with a short phrase as line 1, line 2 uses the same 1st word as line 1. Lines 3 & 4 start with the last word in line 2 and lines 5 & 6 start with the last word in line 4. This is repeated until you get to line 49. Line 49 is a single word which is the last word in line 48. Line 50 is the last word in line 47. The best part is the title. I can never figure out a title for my poems and so most do not have titles. However the Blitz Poem is very specific about the title – it is the first word in line 3 with a preposition or conjunction and then the first word of line 47. Confused? Don’t be. Just read this poem out loud and enjoy. Oh yeah, this is prompt #3 in the Looking Foolish Scavenger Hunt for NPM.

The orb is my attempt to make lilacs (in a stylized interpretation). I used a blend of white stoneware and porcelain for the body. The glaze is a royal blue that was thinned in an attempt to produce a more translucent finish. It came out of the kiln better than I had hoped. The inspiration for this one is my grandmother and my mother. My Grandma Tena loved lilacs. I remember her bedroom was decorated with a lilac print bedspread and matching curtains. One of her friends had many lilac bushes and he’d cut an armful when they were blooming and she would have them all over the apartment – in nearly every room! Likewise my mother was reminiscing on FB and wrote, “My favorite flower since childhood. We had 3 lilac bushes\trees grandma Bessie had planted… One of them was really really dark purple. They smelled so good. I would pick some and put them in my room and wake up to smelling lilacs in the morning.” When we moved into this house in 1991, I left behind a garden with 4 giant (no one ever pruned them) lilacs. The first spring we purchased 2 lilac bushes. They were really just sticks with leaves but the man at the garden center assured me they would in no time become robust lilacs that would bloom and be beautiful. Little did we know that the 5 walnut trees lining our yard would conspire to keep those lilacs from ever getting very big. I can expect one sickly bloom every other year. I’ll just have to be content with this ceramic version…

Looking for Privacy

In episode 24 of Looking Back, Merit reveals that she dreams and keeps secrets. I think she is supposed to tell her psychologist about the dreams. I think Merit is a little rebellious.

I’ve been having dreams again. Most of the time I don’t sleep long enough to really get into the dream stage. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having exceptionally vivid dreams. They all start out the same but quickly morph into confusing and irrational experiences. They start with me wandering through a house that is familiar in some respects. I have the sense that it is “my” house. I pass through hallways and doors until I open a door and I’m not in the house any more. I walked through one door and straight into a riot. I felt the panic rising in my mind as rubber bullets ricocheted off the alley walls and tear gas billowed into the narrow space. I found myself running. And I ran and ran until everything was left behind. And by everything, I mean all the buildings, trees, sky and ground until it had faded to white. And there I stood in the middle of bright white nothing. In another I end up in a jungle. As I’m pushing my way through the thick plant growth, I end up caught in the coils of an anaconda. As the breath is squeezed out of me, the world fades to white. By the time I can’t breathe the snake is gone and I’m in that white empty place. That is how most of them play out. I start out comfortable, head to uncomfortable and my world becomes a place of white nothing. Ending up in an empty but still safe place is bizarre but strangely comforting. I haven’t discussed the dreams with the psychologist and I probably won’t. It is nice to have a small bit of mental privacy.

Looking Mousey

Movement from the shadows sees
Outside the bounds of reveries
Undercover quiet creeps
Skitters brown a softened blur
Escapes the feline’s paws and purr

This ceramic piece was a redo of an earlier one that I made as a small lidded vessel. I had presented it as a work going away gift. It had turned out OK but not as good as I had hoped since the glaze was too thick to allow any detail to show. This time I made it as an orb and used a much thinner glaze in white and clear. It is much better since I wasn’t trying to get brown and black mice to show up without having the glaze run. I am going to take it into work to display on my file cabinet. It took 3 weeks to complete since I had to wait until one side was firm enough to bear weight and not deform the little figures as I worked to add the mice on the other side. It was a little tricky to avoid breaking off their tails! The poem is an acrostic. For any not familiar with this poetry form, it holds a message in the first letter of each line – spelling out either a phrase or word that relates to the topic of the poem. I used NPM prompt #2 – Favorite animal from the Looking Foolish Scavenger Hunt…

Looking for Certainty

To know certainly
A decision must be made
To seek the unknown

Here is a little Haiku for National Poetry Month (NPM). Since there are only 15 prompts in my Looking Foolish Scavenger Hunt, I decided to go off script for this one.

Some people are just positive that they know the answer. They are the ones with their hands raised, nearly jumping out of their seat, shouting “call on me”! There are pundits and experts who make a living telling everyone who will listen their version of the truth. It can be difficult to know for certain and sure. There are facts and fictions enough to confuse the ordinary person. The only way to find the truth is to seek it. It requires more than opening the newspaper, listening to the radio, or asking your best friend. Often the search for truth will take you into uncomfortable places. You will have to sort through contradictory information. It requires effort.

I work in science, specifically research. Everyday I assist investigators who are searching for knowledge. They are asking questions. Sometimes they find answers and other times, well, they find more questions. I count myself among the “lifelong learners” who make asking questions the focus of their existence. In my office I have a poster on the door. It has been there for 25 years. It states: “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” This is a quote by Albert Einstein. What the poster doesn’t have is the rest of the quote. But I think the rest is the meat of the idea – “Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.”

Looking at Seafood

Here is the latest installment (episode 23) of Looking Back. She has had a tough time but I’m not sure how much of it is bad luck and how much is her bad decisions…

My psychologist wanted to talk about my parents again. I really don’t have anything more to say about them. They are dead. I’ve rehashed the childhood trauma – feeling unloved, unappreciated, invisible, and as if they were too tired to deal with raising another child. So I steered the conversation toward a happier topic, my disastrous second job. It really wasn’t that bad if you don’t take into account moving from Texas to Michigan, having a shrew of a boss, and discovering that you are allergic to shellfish. I was really torn up about the shellfish. I still dream sometimes of shrimp scampi or crab patties. In my dreams I can taste the lobster bisque soup and it is so very good. Of course the seafood in Michigan is all frozen or if you want to spend an arm and a leg, it is flown in but hardly fresh. Michigan winters were cold and snowy with an ever present wind. And they started early and lingered well into what I would consider springtime. I didn’t make any friends. I suppose I didn’t try too hard. I was the new face and the person I replaced was well liked. I felt animosity and finally someone spilled that the boss had told everyone that their former coworker had been fired to “make room” for me. It was a rocky start. I ended up with all the crap assignments. It took 3 years before I decided to call it quits. As was typical from the boss, my going away luncheon was held at Red Lobster. To top the terrible work experience, I ended up barfing my guts out in the bathroom at the restaurant before the Going Away Party had even gotten off the ground! I suppose that means I’m allergic to even the smell of seafood.

Looking Poetically Challenged

April is National Poetry Month (NPM). In the past I wrote a poem a day and posted them. But that was back in the days of Xanga when I blogged daily. Since coming to WordPress, I post 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was contemplating how I could do a one a day program. The challenge isn’t writing a poem a day, it is finding the time to post every. single. day. My friend saintvi reminded me that I haven’t made up a “scavenger hunt” for NPM in a long time. So for NPM 2018 I am putting a scavenger hunt out there for you all to enjoy. The rules are:
1. You have to do original work – no fair cutting and pasting sonnets from a Shakespeare play.
2. You can use whatever style you want.
3. You can do as many or as few of the prompts as move you.
4. If you post a poem from one of the prompts make sure to let me know so I can visit your site and read your efforts!

The Looking Foolish 2018 NPM Scavenger Hunt
1. Waking up
2. Your favorite animal
3. Your favorite flower
4. Going to sleep
5. Water
6. Fire
7. Air
8. Use these words: resistance, funeral, lighthouse, graphite
9. Tip toe
10. Hiccup
11. Sneeze
12. Cough
13. Your favorite dessert
14. Describe your toes without using the word toe(s).
15. Refer to one season, seasoning, and one phase of the moon.

I will post poems twice a week. Now before you get all googly eyed and start thinking about boycotting my blog, I’ll let you in on a secret about poetry – to really appreciate poetry you should read it out loud. That way you can hear the rhymes, enjoy the alliteration, and find the rhythm. I wrote this Vers Beaucoup just for this post. It is a form created by Curt Mongold. The name Vers Beaucoup means many rhymes. Each stanza is 4 lines The rhyme scheme is a-a-a-b, b-b-b-c,c-c-c-d, d-d-d-e, etc. I hope you enjoy this one!

When fades the night
To morning bright
Open eyes let in the light
And I lay still pretend to sleep

Sun ascends slowly in arc steep
I crack an eye and watch it creep
But to my comfy bed I keep
Until chaos shakes me into day

The trumpet blast of children’s play
Annoying chirp of bird song gay
And covers rudely stripped away
To shock the body with chill air

Grabbing sheets I growl a bear
Fix the culprit with an icy glare
Sunny greeting response a stare
Don’t slap my thigh shouting giddy-up

Anger dampened by coffee cup
Drink it down refuse to sup
Acknowledge I’m finally up
As the moon disappears from sight