Looking Worse for the Wear

Cracked, crazed the jug held cool water
Disappointment to the potter
Hoped for perfection settled for useful

Convicted felon branded bad
Tough demeanor hid a good lad
Wants to prove worthy of a second chance

Dented, dinged but held at the seams
The sturdy pitcher still held dreams
Despite rough handling over many years

Black eye, broken nose marred her looks
Crushed spirit survived reading books
Appearance notwithstanding she held love

A broken handle and chipped rim
Pink painted pattern, pretty trim
Kept mother’s favorite coffee piping hot

People nearly broken apart
Still hold sweetness within their heart
Vessels cracked or perfect pour the same cream

This is a Tripadi, a Bengali poetic form written in tercets. The tercets have a syllable count of 8/8/10 with a rhyme scheme of a/a/x where x is an unrhymed line. There is no stated limit of stanzas. This poem was inspired by a chance meeting at the grocery store.

I was intently pondering my options among the broccoli crowns when a young couple came up and stood near me. They were having a very serious discussion of fresh versus frozen broccoli. Because this is Indiana where we are helpful and friendly (most of the time), I struck up a conversation. We had a very nice chat and before we parted they both thanked me for speaking to them. It seems that they have experienced some negativity due to their looks and life experiences. He was pretty heavily tattooed (not a cohesive design but pretty hodgepodge) and she had some serious scarring on her neck and arm. They told me about their rough lives. He had been in a gang as a teen and ended up in prison and now couldn’t find any job but working at a fast food place. She had survived a house fire unlike her 2 siblings and then was rejected by her mother (who was accused of setting the fire). It was as if neither of them had ever found kindness until they found each other! It made me consider that the appearance of the container doesn’t alter the sweetness of the beverage within….

Looking at Language

I love language. Playing with words is too much fun! I hope you enjoy this little romp…

English language nouns delicious
Mixed with verbs to savor
Adjectives add a salty flavor
Are a diet filling and nutritious

Around the tongue and past the lips
I roll words wondrous rare
Enjoying taste and texture fair
Never enlarging my hips

The language French too rich
With vowels in multiple union
Consonants refused communion
Leave a taste of tar and pitch

Spanish a rhyming lingo
When rolling Rs are hot
Speech is like a pepper pot
Though I speak it like a gringo

The speech of peoples far away
Sound striking strange to hear
An acquired taste for mouth and ear
With pleasing flavor and bouquet

The joy of American English preached
The comfort of words most common
The privilege of the hegemon
English not yet impeached

A little poem using enclosed or envelope rhyme (ABBA, CDDC, EFFE, etc.). Just a little bit of fun with words. Although I would love to be able to speak and understand any foreign language I’m very deficient. I can remember just a tiny shred of Russian and a little Latin as well but that’s as far as I can go….

Looking at Paris

Yellow sunset over Paris
Ferris wheel obscures Polaris
City spins below
Glow of lights on snow
Love spins slow
I know this

This is my entry for the the Skeptic’s Kaddish W3 Poet of the Week Prompt by Melissa Lemay – to write a poem in any form using one of 2 Marc Chagall paintings as inspiration and incorporating the colors into the poem. I chose the above picture and used the Welsh form of the Clogyrnach. That is a rhyming and syllabic form of a 6 line stanza with a syllable count of 8/8/5/5/3/3 coupled with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/b/b/a. I was feeling a little rambunctious and added some additional rhymes. (Can you find them?)

Looking to Relax

On David’s blog, the Skeptic’s Kaddish, he hosts this week’s poet of the week, Suzette Benjamin. Her challenge is to write a Haiku or Tanka on the theme of “a favorite way to relax/unwind”. I used to love the Haiku. I used to write Haiku. But the funny thing was that the more I wrote and learned the less satisfied I was with my results. So I stopped writing them. I had been playing around with the Haiku again. Then this prompt. I took it as a sign that it was time to give Haiku another shot.

Pull tedium’s thread
Unravel the mind and heart
Breathe in love’s perfume

And because it is how I roll, a little explanation: When I’m really stressed and need to unwind I like to do a little visualization. I imagine the worry is a knitted sweater. And I find the thread and just pull. I also wind the yarn into a ball and then toss it away. To finish my “unwinding” I find Sparky and get my hug quota. I can smell love. I can hear the words “I love you” in each heart beat. Yep. That’s my relaxation.

Looking for the Hum

The living
Hear it, feel it
The hum electric
Transfer from heart to skin
Universal vibration
Conduction through touch and through sound
Some call it love others name it lust
Primal imperative, a new life formed

Our crabapple tree in the front yard has finally leafed out. The little red tinged leaves have expanded to an acceptable size to entice the tree frogs to take up residence again this spring. I love their constant chorus as they trill their love songs. Each evening as the sun sets, the wooing begins. They drown out the chirps of crickets, overpower the fading sparrow tunes, and even the lone cicada is silenced. The air is alive with the blended frequencies of each male frog making his case for love. As they take a breath, the females send out their tentative responses. By the time I’m in bed their songs have faded as they pair up. Only the forlorn solo voice of the unmated remains. A sad tune but now the only sound vibrating through the night time hours.

And if you are wondering, this is an Etheree. That is a syllabic form of 10 lines. The first line is one syllable and each line following adds a syllable until you conclude with a 10 syllable line.

Looking Under Rocks

Sometimes to find out what’s going on you have to look under rocks. Shortly after beginning my job (way back in 1991) I discovered that the big boss was a predator. He liked to hire young single women that he could manipulate. He called me into his office and started asking me very inappropriate questions. I let him know that his lines of inquiry were not appreciated. In the next couple of years I “rescued” a woman who needed a ride after work and had been told that the boss would gladly drive her to her class. After the first time, she was in tears dreading having to get into a car with him – I provided the ride instead. This pattern repeated itself until he made a fatal error. He targeted the wrong woman. She was smart and resourceful and very wily. I don’t know for sure what she had on him (photos? video?) but whatever it was, he was soon persona non grata and lost his job, his reputation, and nearly his marriage.

I survive by grace
You invade my space
Everyday I am beset
You explain my lack
I pick up your slack
Understand I’ve got your back

I escape your ire
I avoid the fire
Recommend another drink
I provide the room
Guarantee your doom
Engineer the drunken wink

You deny your guilt
Your defense will wilt
Understand a bully’s fate
Once again a groan
For misdeeds atone
Chauvinist’s power deflate

I produce photos
You appear sans clothes
A baboon has more finesse
Picturesque blackmail
Afternoon in jail
I remain employed, I’m blessed

This is an Alouette. A form created by Jan Turner. The name means skylark and is meant to mimic birdsong. It is a syllabic and rhyming form having a minimum of 2 stanzas. Each stanza has 6 lines with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/c/c/b and a syllable count of 5/5/7/5/5/7. The metrical preference is to have the accent on the 3rd syllable of each line.

Looking at Evil

I had a very deep and meaningful conversation with my sister. We don’t often speak about religion. Mostly because we both moved away from the faith in which we were raised. During our weekly phone chat she told me that she had been listening to podcasts done by a Catholic Priest. Which considering her preferred denomination was quite startling. Even more so is that she is leaning into the Catholic Church as it appeals to her more conservative point of view. We talked for almost 3 hours. The discussion ranged from school shootings to political machinations to racial violence and poverty. She went on to say that she had had an overwhelming feeling that she needed to pray for protection against the forces of evil. I shared a prayer we use at church every Sunday (St. Michael the Archangel). When we prayed it together, she said she immediately felt a sense of safety and love surround her…

Prayers for protection breathed
Into the night air
“Protect my family from all evil prowling”
Mothers call on angels
“Guard them while they sleep”

All the angels and saints
Close ranks, take up arms
Demons are loosed, Satan seeks the unwary
They defend innocents
Keep their gaze on God

Danger stalks day and night
Mothers’ pleas rising
“Wrap my children within your protecting wings”
Sighs, “Steer them to safety”
The angels obey

This is a Double Ennead, a syllabic poetry form invented by Colleen M. Chesebro. It consists of 3 stanzas and each stanza has 5 lines with a syllable count of: 6/5/11/6/5 for a total of 33 syllables per stanza. This results in a poem of 99 syllables. Punctuation and rhyme are up to the individual poet.

Looking Into Faces

I went out with my Fashionista friend before we left on vacation. We ended up at the dreaded mall. There were so many storefronts that were empty. The mall had been a hangout for teens and the retired mall walkers but they are mostly gone. There were a large number of people occupying the benches and chairs. It appeared they were taking refuge from the stormy weather outside and perhaps trying to find a place that was safe from the dangers of living on the streets. I looked into several faces and saw only a world weariness, expressions that were hopeless and had lost any zest for life. Most had vacant expressions and were slack jawed. But one man had a wild look in his eyes as if he were wrestling with an inner demon.

My sad lot so reflects the world’s disgrace
Disease and sickness inform my whole life
My weary bones bear witness in my face
Wild eyes, dead soul reflected in the knife
I search for faces that still bear some light
Seeing empathy and God’s divine spark
The people who still shine in darkest night
They washed away all trace of sin’s black mark
My face contorts as I make the hard choice
To kill or end this life by my own hand
Compound the sin and give evil a voice
I resist and to Good my soul remand
Day breaks and hope enters this broken world
Hold high heaven’s banner of grace unfurled

This poem is a Sonnet. The sonnet is composed of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. I often struggle with the sonnet. This poem has a fairly dark topic but I hope that the possibility of redemption brightens the mood.

Looking to Tend the Garden

We live in Love Town
A quiet place for two
Peace is our heritage
Just for me and you

It is a happy home
We have a sunny view
Filled with joy and laughter
And troubles far and few

I live alone in Love Town
My heart was shown untrue
I wander in this empty place
I wonder what to do

I’m tending a wilted garden
Where hope and fun once grew
Watered with my falling tears
Hoping love will grow anew

The above is a simple little quatrain, that is a poem with 4 line stanzas where even lines rhyme. There is no requirement for meter or syllable count only that the lines should be of similar length.

We were sitting around on Sunday night discussing longevity in marriages. Sparky’s parents will have been married 68 years soon. His oldest brother and sister (who got married a week apart) will be celebrating 45 years of marriage and of course Sparky and I will be headed to 40 years of wedded bliss in September. My sisters have both been married 35 and 34 years. Seems when we get married it “sticks”. So it was an interesting discussion about what makes marriages last. After a lot of reminiscing and talking about funny episodes it came down to just a couple things:
1. Humor – It is important to recognize the funny parts of life and marriage and laugh together.
2. Forgiveness – We all make mistakes. Cut the other person some slack and accept apologies and forgive the little things. Sometimes there might be big things but even those can be forgiven.
3. Put the other person first – If that is done then there won’t be any big things that require forgiveness!

Looking Consonance in the Eye and Assonance in the….

This week’s W3 prompt was set by no other than the host himself David at the Skeptics Kaddish. His prompt was to write a poem of at least 6 lines using consonance and/or assonance. That is the device of using repeated consonant sounds or repeated vowel sounds. I used both. Well, we stared each other down for a couple days then did a little dance (like cats before the brawl). And then – BAM! Consonance and assonance jumped me and we went a couple rounds. I got in some jabs and a few solid slaps while consonance had both hands in my hair but assonance kicked my… butt.

My brain is not on the thought train
I take the inane lane to attain naught
Slate blank, taut, I strain
Mate bade me to bed trot
Its late but I may yet sate this muse
Rake great lines in heaps straight
Taint the page with words abused
Nay ain’t a gnat’s trace of my poetic trait