Looking Blind

Here it comes – the last entry for the NPM Flex Scavenger Hunt using prompt #13 – Write a Rant Prose poem or write about blindness. I haven’t ranted in quite awhile so I might be a little rusty…

Blind ambition
Blind love, blind justice
Blind rage and blind fury
The whole of the human race just stumbling around
I’m there too groping my way through life
A cave spider following a silken thread
Is it my thread or someone else’s?
I want to believe I’m in charge but I can’t see
The future, the past, and the present is
A jumble of sounds, smells, vibrations in the air
Bombs exploding, the smell of death approaching
I delude myself by saying I can see
And I do see – dust and dirty dishes, clock hands
Tasks and chores and age stalking me
Then I realize I’ve kept my spirit eyes closed tight
Because I don’t want to see the hungry and homeless
The poor, the traumatized, those fleeing war,
The marginalized and the corpses left to rot in the street
I am afraid to look because I just might see me

I can’t think of anything quite as terrifying as blindness. The possibility looms. All kinds of things can cause loss of sight. Some avoidable and many accidental and capricious in who will be affected. As afraid of physical blindness I confess to be, there is another blindness that is worse. When we lose sight in our “spirit eyes”. That is when we cannot see the goodness in the world. When we become blind to the divine spark in others. This kind of vision is being eradicated in this world. And it scares the bejeezus out of me. Even when physically blind, the soul can see the glory of creation. When I consider what heaven must be, I think that it is where love, hope, kindness, compassion, sympathy, praise, and thanksgiving and gratitude are made visible. Not to be seen with the eyes but with the heart and soul. My hope is that the eyes of the soul never lose the ability to see clearly…

Looking for Healing

This is my entry for the NPM Flex Scavenger Hunt using the 12th prompt – Write a Waltmarie poem or write about healing. The Waltmarie is a 10 line poem where the even numbered lines are 2 syllables
and the odd numbered lines have no restriction on syllables. There is no requirement for rhyme but the even numbered lines when read sequentially form their own mini-poem.

In medicine disease is a condition
True health
Is conferred by power of salvation
Of self
Blocking havoc and disorder
Through sleep
Illness traps grace at the dream border
My wealth
The gift of honest confession
I keep

Well, this month has been a very busy one what with NPM (writing all this poetry) and Easter and all that entails. I have been zealously guarding my sleep time. When I don’t get my rest I feel out of sorts all day. Although I fall asleep easily, lately I’ve been waking up often. My Fitbit confirms that my sleep quality has been suffering. I think I’ve figured out the issue, I’ve been worrying about things that I have no control over. This worry has now been shrugged off and placed at God’s feet. Relieved of this burden, my slumber has improved in quality and I feel renewed and refreshed. And so it goes – I forget that my physical health is intimately tied to my spiritual health. Once that is restored, the headaches, tension, and uneasiness evaporate.

I also had the opportunity to try out a new recipe for Beer Roasted Chicken. We had this lone can of beer in the fridge since Super Bowl Sunday. Since I’m not a beer drinker and Sparky prefers other brands, I decided to make use of it. The recipe is thus:
1 whole chicken
1 can beer
salt and pepper

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub skin with salt and pepper. Open can of beer and place chicken over the can being sure to insert it into the body cavity far enough to stabilize the chicken. Place chicken in baking dish with high sides to stabilize the bird. Cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 3 – 3.5 hours. Remove foil and brown for another 10 minutes.
The only tricky part was getting the beer can out. Luckily that wasn’t too difficult with 3 people helping (granted one was taking the photos for me). The meat was tender and moist and the best part was that it didn’t taste like beer!

Looking But Not Understanding

This is my 11th NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt – Write an Ottava Rima or write on the theme of vision. The Ottava Rima is an Italian form with an 8 line stanza having 11 syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of: abababcc.

All men look to the sky when they cannot sleep
Search the stars and void of space for answers there
Attempt to unravel mysteries so deep
With clear vision reveal God to others, share
In the morning bleary eyes saw angels weep
Hallucinations, demons the crowds declare
In their disbelief they run from what was seen
Calling what the visionaries saw obscene

We are a cynical and skeptical race. We require proof positive and concrete evidence. This permeates all aspects of life from our courts of law to our science labs and even in our relationships with others. And yet we pick and choose what we will believe proclaiming that our version is truth and all other versions are lies. Often our belief is based on word of mouth that would not pass muster in a courtroom. This faith comes and goes, it waxes and wanes. Would we believe based on another’s testimony or do we need to see and hear and feel for ourselves? And even then, having a first hand experience, would we understand what we saw?

I am not having an existential crisis. I am however wondering how I perceive the truth and evaluating how I process information. Is it a shift in my perceptions? I don’t think so but it is a fair bit of navel gazing. Which far too many people forego. I think we need to do a little introspection from time to time and be open to seeing a different point of view.

Looking Wooden

Angry joints held stiff at right angles
Physical attitude tells all
Mother holds the wooden spoon
She’s poised to mete out blows
Compassion stops her
Arms akimbo

This is my latest for the NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt for prompt #10 – Write a Nonet poem or write a poem using the words “joint” and “bent”. The nonet is a count down poem that starts with a line of 9 syllables and each following line is reduced by one syllable. There are no requirements for rhyme or meter.

And now the rest of the story: Sparky has a t-shirt that he found at Goodwill that all of his siblings covet. It has a drawing of a wooden spoon with the words “Wooden Spoon Survivor” emblazoned across the front.

Sparky is one of 6 kids and his mother had her hands full with 4 children in 3 years! To maintain order she was liberal in her use of the wooden spoon. Her reasoning at the time was if one was in trouble it was a sure bet that the others were in on it or were at fault for not trying to stop the activity. The sound of the utensil drawer in the kitchen being jerked open sent terror through the hearts of Sparky and his siblings. Even today the ka-chunk-ka of that drawer results in a sharp intake of breath. The kids would have to line up and put their hands on the kitchen table edge and several swift swats with the spoon would be applied to their backsides. They eventually aged out of that punishment and have straightened up and flown right ever since. This group punishment did accomplish one thing. They all became their brother’s keepers. They were quick to divert inappropriate behavior among younger siblings (mostly for self preservation), were always watching out for each other, and it also gave them a one for all and all for one mindset.

Looking at Passions

The sleepless long for pleasant dreams
Lovers crave the tender embrace
Seeks consent in the eyes and face
The thirsty search for icy streams

The heart’s inferno drives extremes
The primal urge to find a mate
Clouds eyes and reason abdicate
Limbs entwined and thought overthrown
With abandon love’s seed is sown
And wedding vows sealed passionate

This is my offering for NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt using prompt #9 – Write a Espinela poem or write a poem on the theme of passion. This form is Spanish in origin and consists of 2 stanzas with 4 end rhymes across 10 lines with only 8 syllables per line. The first stanza is 4 lines with a rhyme scheme of abba, and the second stanza is 6 lines with a rhyme scheme of accddc.

This is a nod to this date (because I came of age in the late 1970s) and 420 had significance among some of my peers. On a much more personal note, Sparky’s parents are now part of the 420 culture. Both of them have had some significant pain related to various conditions. His father’s spinal simulator isn’t working all that well any more which means he has a great deal of pain preventing him from sleeping. His mother has had a couple of falls and the tests showed some compression fractures of vertebrae. In the meantime she is in a lot of discomfort. After lots of complaining and a ton of questions, some of the grandchildren decided to go ahead and procure some edibles for the grandparents. The results are mixed. It doesn’t seem to alleviate any pain for Sparky’s dad BUT he is sleeping very soundly and feels refreshed upon awakening. For Sparky’s mom it helps sometimes and sometimes not. We think the issue is eating the gummie with a meal versus on an empty stomach. Seems eating with a meal mutes the effect….

Looking to Serve

The 8th prompt for the NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt is to write a Kyrielle or write a poem on servitude. The kyrielle is one of my favorite forms having 4 stanzas of 4 lines with a syllable count of 8 syllables per line. The last line of the first stanza becomes the refrain repeating as the last line in all following stanzas. The Rhyme scheme is: aabB, ccbB, ddbB, eebB. Not too difficult and I find them enjoyable to read aloud.

I heard the taunts and whispered threats
I guess at stakes when you place bets
Peer pressure and you play the knave
I’m as always, your willing slave

You ignore me on busy days
And forget me in bonfire blaze
When attention is all I crave
I’m as always, your willing slave

From your table you toss me scraps
I toil so hard my strength it saps
My devotion on heart engrave
I’m as always, your willing slave

Into fierce battle’s heated fray
By your side, I will never stray
Call me companion strong and brave
I’m as always, your willing slave

If you haven’t guessed, this poem is not about an actual slave. Instead it is a commentary on the human-canine dynamic. Well, at least the way some people see their dogs. Working in Veterinary Medicine I’ve seen my share of owners both good and bad. The good owners generally out number the bad ones, because mostly the really bad owners do not bring their dogs to the vet clinic except out of necessity. And even the owners who treat their dogs with little respect or compassion are greeted with a joyful wagging tail when retrieving their pet from the clinic. Dogs seem to eagerly enter a contract of servitude with their owners – even when people ignore, demand obedience, give little or no thought to the well-being of the dog – the dog will remain loyal. But the person who upholds the contract will be rewarded a hundred times over with that which goes beyond loyalty and servitude – love.

Looking for Irregular Odes

I settle back take breaths deep
Fluff the pillows and sip my drink
Try to read but start to fall asleep
The words pull me in and I swim in ink
Struggle with letter eddies and commas that leap
Gulp down words I never wrote
I spy a refuge as I’m going under
Poetry’s tendrils to keep me afloat
Dream castle oasis with protecting moat
It’s no use as I give into slumber

What liquid languid dreams I find
Run my fingers through sparkling pools
Splashing through my muddled mind
From imaginations’ stream I’m plucking jewels
Such wealth to these waters assigned
Until a phrase of beauty I spy
Poet’s muse shouts “Stop thief!”
Too late gather red roses and the bluest sky
Summer’s rain and Autumn’s fiery leaf
I slip awake to write of love’s sad sigh

This is my post for NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt #7 – Write an Irregular Ode or write a poem using the words “spy” and “deep”. The Irregular Ode is, well, irregular. The line lengths are uneven, the meter is not enforced, and even the rhyme scheme is shifty! To be sure it must have 10 lines per stanza and it has to have at least one stanza (though you are encouraged to have more). The rhyme scheme I used is: ABABACDCCD, ABABACDCDC…

Today is Good Friday. It is a day of prayer, fasting, and abstinence as I enter the Triduum which marks the most important Christian Holiday. I will probably not be here to respond to your comments but I will be back.

Looking to Bounce Back

“Hey babe, can you give me a loan?”
He asks an allowance cloaked as a loan
Carrying him on waitress tips makes me moan

“Naw,” I answer, “the bank’s tapped out
You’ll have to stay in instead of go out”
But he slaps me hard and begins to shout

“Give me the money, all your cash!”
Ransacks the room, “Give me your cash!”
Screams, “give it or I’ll take you out like the trash”

He heads for the kitchen to the cookie jar
Knows I keep extra in that old cookie jar
By the time he returns I’ve started my car

I’m already halfway down the street
Mama’s house is far down the next street
I look back and he’s chasing in bare feet

This was the last straw and he knows
No more chances, I know he knows
I won’t take his temper or his blows

I’ve seen his sweet side and love’s word
But I have my limits so no love’s my word
No more chances this strike’s your third

My mama didn’t raise no fool
You had your shot but I won’t play the fool
I can’t abide a man who’s willfully cruel

Starting over without you
Take it or leave it – you do you
I’ll bounce back because we’re through!

This is my attempt at a Blues Stanza for the NPM22 Flex Scavenger hunt using prompt #6 -Write a Blues Stanza or write a poem using the theme of resilience. This form was derived from late 19th century Afro-American lamentation and sadness but can be either sarcastic or ironic as well. There are no limits to the number of stanzas and there is no required meter. The structure consists of 3 line stanzas in a monorhyme. The first 2 lines are a phrase and a rephrase of the topic and share the same end word. When diagramed looks like: AAa, BBb, CCc, DDd,…

The problem of domestic violence is found in every city, every state, every single country on the planet. I have read so many news articles about women being battered and beaten and yet they remain with their abuser. Too often they have nowhere to go and such a sense of helplessness that they cannot imagine any escape. I applaud women who are able to leave those types of relationships and forge a new life…

Looking Golden

This is my poem for NPM22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt #5 – Write a Golden Shovel poem or write a poem incorporating the theme of change. The poem is by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the Brontë sisters. She died at the age of 29 yet managed to carve a small space among her more prolific sisters with her novels and poems. This Golden Shovel is written as a Choka – a Japanese form of a series of lines with alternating 5 and 7 syllables and a 7 syllable end line (5/7/5/7/7) in any number of lines often exceeding 100 lines. The poem used is titled Mirth and Mourning and the first part reads:
O cast away your sorrow; —
Awhile, at least, be gay!
If grief must come tomorrow,
At least, be glad today!
I cry loudly, O
And from my breast I cast
All changes away
And all the tokens of your
False love and points of sorrow
I abide awhile
Recall my heart resting at
The sound of your least
Strident words saying “Just be”
Worlds bedecked in flowers gay
Erased the what if
But now I’m drowning in grief
A changeling that must
Honestly and in truth be come
Newborn of tears tomorrow
When faked love falls at
The temple altar at least
Free from you I’ll be
Relieved the change made me glad
Gained freedom from you today

A new face for this year’s scavenger hunt, Monty Vern, has invited me to join his April Golden Shovel challenge. I considered and then asked, “Why not?” Since there wasn’t a good reason not to participate, I’m jumping in. That means that today you get a twofer! This is free verse because…
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep” by Robert Frost from his poem – Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

You tricked me into the
Moon lit night and led me into woods
Asking me what my intentions are
Not waiting for an answer saying lovely
Words and making promises dark
You held me, kissed me and
Now I’ll never wake from this sleep deep

As a post script – I don’t often write love poems so I thought I’d change it up and write about love lost. Sometimes we dodge a bullet and don’t even realize it until much later. Sometimes we know immediately. And then there are the times we can’t move fast enough to not get hit….

Looking to Stop

This is the 4th prompt for the NPM 2022 Flex Scavenger Hunt – Write an Alouette poem or write a poem using the word “yield”. The Alouette is a form created by Jan Turner. The name means “skylark” because the poem is supposed to mimic bird song. To write an Alouette you must have 2 or more 6 line stanzas (a 12 line minimum). The requirements are both rhyming and syllabic. The rhyme scheme per stanza is: a/a/b/c/c/b with a syllable count of: 5/5/7/5/5/7 where the preference is an accent on the 3rd syllable of each line. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t as tricky as it sounds…

Slow to rolling stop
Check for stealthy cop
Took the corner tires squealed
Left skid marks graphic
Merged into traffic
Policeman perfectly concealed

Lights flash red and blue
I was caught I knew
Approached my ride, flashed his shield
What’s your hurry ace?
It isn’t a race
Got a ticket “failed to yield”

So my inspiration for this one, is my friend the fashionista. She is about as conservative a driver as you would ever meet. However, she got a ticket! In our sleepy neighborhood, there is a 3 way stop that happens to be on the corner by the community pool. During the summer there are lots of kids streaming across the road from the parking lot opposite and riding bikes on every sidewalk to and from the pool. There had been some drivers being reckless and blowing through the stop sign. The local police decided to monitor that intersection. There was a police car in the parking lot and then another one on the other side of the park. Anyway, she failed to come to a complete stop. Even though she didn’t run the stop, she earned a traffic citation and a hefty fine. She is an even more careful driver now. She’ll give you heck if you don’t come to a complete stop at any stop sign!!