Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Morning Baking - Poem by Carolyn Forche

The Morning Baking - Poem by Carolyn Forche
Grandma, come back, I forgot
How much lard for these rolls

Think you can put yourself in the ground
Like plain potatoes and grow in Ohio?
I am damn sick of getting fat like you

Think you can lie through your Slovak?
Tell filthy stories about the blood sausage?
Pish-pish nights at the virgin in Detroit?

I blame your raising me up for my Slav tongue
You beat me up out back, taught me to dance

I'll tell you I don't remember any kind of bread
Your wavy loaves of flesh
Stink through my sleep
The stars on your silk robes

But I'm glad I'll look when I'm old
Like a gypsy dusha hauling milk

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Holding Me Connected Right Now

Always good to have a cat, at any time.

Print Journals that Accept Online Submissions

Diane Lockward, on her wonderful blog Blogalicious, has compiled a list of print journals accepting online and email submissions.  Click on the link to see the list, and to visit her site. 

And thank you, Diane, for the list! I'm finding it most helpful.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Musings - Day One Of. . .

I don't know where to begin. It's the first day of learning that my dad has Leukemia.  He was diagnosed this past weekend.  It feels very surreal.  I'm feeling very sad.  Now that I'm trying to write about it, I'm finding it difficult. I'm not sure how this journey will pan out. I'm not sure how long it will be. I'm just hoping for the best.

Short post today.  I'll do better next time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

National Poetry Month, a poem for Monday, 19 April 2010

The Love-Hat Relationship  
by Aaron Belz

I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.
It is the relationship based on love of one another's hats. 
The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial. 
You don't necessarily even know the other person. 
Also it is too dependent on whether the other person 
is even wearing the favored hat. We all enjoy hats,
but they're not something to build an entire relationship on.
My advice to young people is to like hats but not love them.
Try having like-hat relationships with one another. 
See if you can find something interesting about 
the personality of the person whose hat you like.
From Poets.org 

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Tulips, and Other Things Growing in my Garden Right Now

Poetry Reading - Ted Kooser

Friday Poem

After Reading Lao Tzu
by Amy Newlove Schroeder   

The one who speaks does not know.   
The one who knows does not speak,

wrote the old master, which perhaps describes
the situation. Meaning we were all sad.

Meaning that when you were seized by desire,
it was nothing more than flesh, bared above the collarbone

she poured the long night of herself
into empty coffee cans and cornfields

and brushed by air. Meaning: It's chemical. So
that when the moon rears its parched head,

her eyes a mask on her face, the livestock snorting and pacing,
her absent husband...she died young

when you feel a finger grazing your neck,
it's only wind created by the movement of

her daughter crying and lighting
fires under the bed

your own body. Downdraft. Live
stock. Because sadness is multiplied

don't worry, she told me,
you can?t inherit this

by sadness. A cradle of no compare.
Loose conspiracy of mind and body,

dough swelling over the edge of the bowl,
the yeasty smell of it, a disease that is

a blanket over the window
a pillow over the face

known and not spoken and
also the other one,

who speaks and does not know
what to say.

Today on Poets.org

Saturday, April 10, 2010

David Bowie Heroes (video)

My Tulips Today

Friday, April 9, 2010

Visit to Chimacum Woods, Spring 2010

Four of us visited Chimacum Woods for a tour of the rhododendrons in bloom, and a day for taking photos.  It was a typical "March" day - hail, sun, rain - all on the 9th of April.

Today would also be the 116th birthday of my grandfather.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poetry Everywhere: "Yesterday" by W.S. Merwin

 I was just watching this on PBS a few minutes ago. 

The Interrobang

Ladies and Gents, let me tell you about a certain punctuation mark that is relatively unknown (and therefore possibly under-utilized, depending on what you believe): The Interrobang.


Also known as the Quesclamation Mark, it was created in the 1960s by the head of an advertising agency and is the combination of the question ? and exclamation ! marks, and it solves a couple of different dilemmas. The first is the issue of the order in which one might arrange the two marks at the end of the statement (is it a statement?! ... !?) one has just written. One need no longer debate their proper sequence, and need not spend precious time on a raging internal battle over the matter. Second, one might also consider two punctuation marks (excluding quotations and parentheses) excessive. "Two punctuation marks for one phrase? The nerve of some people!" With the interrobang the problem is solved.

But! The arrangement of the marks changes the tone of the phrase, you argue! One expresses excitement while the other expresses the state of being dubious (dubiousness?):

"Are you serious?!"

"Are you serious!?"

Or maybe you think that the quesclamation mark, "the spork of punctuation," is just plain ugly.

The writers of this article most certainly belong to the interrobang appreciation camp, and want to know if You call that a hat?!.

I am both bewildered and delighted by this whole interrobang business. But mostly bewildered. 

What about you? Bemused? Horrified? Intrigued? All three at once?

Guest post by the author's daughter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Are Your Favorite Poems?

This being National Poetry Month, I'm wondering what your favorite poems are.  Last night I read with a friend at the Little Boston Library, and we shared some favorite poems.  I read Robbie Burns' "To A Mouse," and Jenifer read Hayden Carruth's poem "The Cows at Night."  And today in my Pilates class I was talking about the library reading and many of the people in my class began reciting poems they remembered as kids in school.  It was great fun.

So, my questions are:

What poems did you learn by heart, and what poems remain favorites of yours?  I'd love to hear what you hold dear.  If you comment, and are able to, please post a link to the poem so that other readers might enjoy them, too. 

I have many faves, and over time I'll add them here. Here's one for starters:

--Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. 

*  *  *

What do you know by heart?

"Thisis poetry at it's peak!"

Couldn't resist.

; )

Poetry Prompt for Tuesday

magnetic poetry, originally uploaded by surrealmuse.

Photographer's note:

"Close up shot of the homemade magnetic poetry set I created with a french dictionary background."

Take a close look and pick out ten words. Write a ten line poem using those words.

National Poetry Month, a poem for Tuesday, 6 April 2010

This is from Poets.org:

The Apple Trees at Olema
by Robert Hass

They are walking in the woods along the coast
and in a grassy meadow, wasting, they come upon
two old neglected apple trees. Moss thickened
every bough and the wood of the limbs looked rotten
but the trees were wild with blossom and a green fire
of small new leaves flickered even on the deadest branches.
Blue-eyes, poppies, a scattering of lupine
flecked the meadow, and an intricate, leopard-spotted
leaf-green flower whose name they didn't know.
Trout lily, he said; she said, adder's-tongue.
She is shaken by the raw, white, backlit flaring
of the apple blossoms. He is exultant,
as if some thing he felt were verified,
and looks to her to mirror his response.
If it is afternoon, a thing moon of my own dismay
fades like a scar in the sky to the east of them.
He could be knocking wildly at a closed door
in a dream. She thinks, meanwhile, that moss
resembles seaweed drying lightly on a dock.
Torn flesh, it was the repetitive torn flesh
of appetite in the cold white blossoms
that had startled her. Now they seem tender
and where she was repelled she takes the measure
of the trees and lets them in. But he no longer
has the apple trees. This is as sad or happy
as the tide, going out or coming in, at sunset.
The light catching in the spray that spumes up
on the reef is the color of the lesser finch
they notice now flashing dull gold in the light
above the field. They admire the bird together,
it draws them closer, and they start to walk again.
A small boy wanders corridors of a hotel that way.
Behind one door, a maid. Behind another one, a man
in striped pajamas shaving. He holds the number
of his room close to the center of his mind
gravely and delicately, as if it were the key,
and then he wanders among strangers all he wants.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Crab Creek Review and the Poetry Book Giveaway

Just a quick note to say that Crab Creek Review is participating in the Poetry Book Giveaway. Here's what they have to say:

Kelli Russell Agodon, the co-editor of Crab Creek Review (with co-editor Annette Spaulding-Convy) has organized a poetry book giveaway for National Poetry Month on her blog, Book of Kells. So how could Crab Creek Review *not* take part in it?

Here's our giveaway for National Poetry Month--

Crab Creek Review is offering 4 chances to win for National Poetry Month.

Here's our giveaway. . .

Click on the above link to visit the Crab Creek Review site to find out more about what will be given away!

National Poetry Month, a poem for Monday, 5 April 2010

This one is on the Academy of American Poets site, for day 5 of National Poetry Month:


by Daniel Johnson

We drank hard water.
Spoke in plain language.

Said what we didn't

with a joke or a look.
One went missing—

let silence drill its hole.
A second fell ill.

We cloaked our mirrors.
Slashed a red X

on the door to our house.
Pass over us, I asked

the raven sky,
or burn in me

a second mouth.

To a Mouse

I'll be reading Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse" tonight at the Little Boston Library Family Poetry Night, so I thought I'd share the original Scots Dialect version of the poem, and the version I'll be reading - it's translation.

Robert Burns is often thought to be Scotland’s early Poet Laureate, but that was not what earned him his living. In Burns' case he earned most of his money, sparse though this was, from farming. This is why he is also known as the "Ploughman Bard". It was while he was ploughing one of his fields that he disturbed a mouse's nest, and his thoughts on what he had done led to his poem, "To A Mouse", which contains one of his most often quoted lines from the poem.

To A Mouse - Burns' Original Poem

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

The translation:

The Standard English Version

Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
Oh, what panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With a hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With a murderous spade!

I'm truly sorry that Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startled
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not that you may steal;
So what? Poor beast, you must live!
An odd ear from twenty four sheaves of corn
is a small request:
I'll get a blessing with the rest,
And never miss it!

Your tiny housie, too, is in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are strewing!
And nothing now, from which to build a new one
Of foliage green!
And bleak December's winds ensuing
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted
And weary Winter coming fast,
And cosy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Until crash! the cruel plow passed
Right through your cell.

That tiny heap of leaves and stubble
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out for your trouble
Without house or home
To endure the Winter's sleety dribble,
and frosty cold.

But Mousie, you are not alone
In proving that foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go oft awry
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
Instead of promised joy!

Still, you are blessed, compared with me!
Only this moment touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye
On prospects turned to sadness!
And though forward I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

Kitsap Regional Library, Family Poetry Night at Little Boston Library

Little Boston

Family Poetry Night
When: Monday, April 5, 2010, 6 – 7:30 pm
Where: Little Boston Branch
Age Range: All Ages

Library Address/Phone Little Boston Library / 360-297-2670 / 31980 Little Boston Rd NE - Kingston, WA 98346
Special Event KRL Special Event, Themed Event

Families and friends are encouraged to come to the Little Boston Library and share your favorite poem. Please make sure your selections are appropriate for all ages. Light refreshments will be served.

Centrum Journal, Part Three

I'm back, adding parts of the journal I kept during my stay at Centrum a couple of weeks ago.

* * *

17 March, 7:44 am. Birds, some blue sky, heavy clouds over Whidbey.

It feels weird not to go outside right now. It really is a nice way to wake up, going for a walk, and the spaces are so inviting. Being here, I’m really loving walking, and wasn’t ready to stop last night. But it was getting darker, and I was expecting rain. A few errant drops did hit, and the clouds were quite dark grey. But right now the tide is high, so I’ll wait for a while before going to the beach. I didn’t go there at all yesterday, instead walking the bunker trails. Apparently I haven’t finished seeing them. There are more, but as I said, it was getting dark, and the light wasn’t making for good photos. I’d love to find a map of it all, but then again, maybe it’s just better to stumble across the hidden bunkers unaided by extra info.

The seagulls are out, and probably there are deer lurking. I see those every day, either on the lawns, or in someone’s yard. It rained last night, but not as hard as I expected. Nothing looks really wet. I hear that back home the wind came, and broke two trees – a cedar up near the neighbor's, and a hemlock – in half. Also, another tree fell between another neighbor’s two driveways during the day. The wind here wasn’t quite so bad; not in the least. That would have been quite something to experience.

Retreating in the woods is very different from doing so in an open space like Fort Worden, with a view of the ocean’s expanse, the little ferry going to and from Whidbey, occasional barges, and right now, a little tug hauling something many times its size. The light is soft, nothing remarkable. Except that madrona tree out in the middle of the lawn (by the 1912 brick building) seems lit from within, and the light o the grass is nice. Now there are crows – no, I’m mistaken. What I mistook for crows, and one robin on a white van that’s been parked there since I’ve been here, are really the end pieces of a roof rack. But in looking again, the one on the front driver’s side that looked like a robin with its orangey breast, is now black. Maybe for a few moments, that really was real. Must have been.

Oh, looking again, not even a minute later, the light has brightened.

I’m not sure what’s happened to the neighbors (living in the bottom opposite apt.) have gone. I think I’m once again on my own. (There goes the little ferry again – all lit up).

Yesterday, I found a spot during my walk, a little trail heading off the paved road I was on to an aerial gunner site. I didn’t find any evidence of that, but there was a little bench on the bluff overlooking the water. The light there was amazing, and so was the view. Everything was all the more dramatic because of the light and the rain clouds moving in, so I was taking photos of the sky, and that’s how I spotted the eagle. Two, actually. They flew overhead a while, then headed north, I think. It was a feeling of blessing seeing them. In one of my photos I caught the wingtip feathers against the sky.

I’m not having significant dreams here. I wake up a lot, which is to be expected being in a new place. And, I’m not hearing the loud music and talking during the night that Annette mentioned. In a way, I’m disappointed not to have a ghost experience. But, maybe I shouldn’t complain. Then I’d really not get any sleep. I may have lost my ghost-magnet appeal in these last few years.

Tide’s going out, it seems. And I’m getting hungry. Must be time to eat a granola bar, and head to the beach for a short walk.

Yep, I’m now convinced that really was a robin, posing as a roof-rack support on that white van. That red breast is gone.

* * *

9 pm

I never made it to the beach, heading instead back up to the bunkers. I think I’ve seen the majority of what’s viewable to the public. This took me from about 8:30 until 10:15, when I returned, ready to try writing again. I took more photos, and used up my first photo card and second set of batteries.

Writing has been more successful today. Mostly revisions; I found some free writes from 1 May 2009, and have worked with all of those. There is, to my amazement, some usable stuff in each piece. Nice when that happens, especially when new work doesn’t seem to be forthcoming yet.

Craving bread since the afternoon, I went to Aldrich’s and got a loaf of seed bread, and another salad for my dinner. This hit the spot perfectly, and I also got some more chocolate. My wine has been a glass of mineral water laced with cranberry juice.

Themes I’ve seen in the poems I’ve worked on today: Our (house) fire, and my grandmother. One of those falls into the category of work I imagined I might focus on. I find it good not to invest to heavily on a plan; rather let what comes do its work. Then, if a pattern does arise, and it seems good, I can go with it. So far, so good.

My daily trip to the Commons to check email and internet stuff was thrown off today by the Commons being closed to entry. So, I sat outside in the windy sun, squinting at my almost unreadable screen. I got the job done, albeit quickly. Probably just as well; I can spend too much time doing stuff like that if it’s available. Because it was such a challenging experience, I packed it all in, and returned to the apartment.

I’m getting used to the apartment, too, and am becoming more comfortable in the space as I learn how best to use it. The bed is just fine. And I think I’m completely alone now, which suits me fine, too. No noises to distract me, no voices I’m compelled to listen to, to pick up some shred of recognizable conversation. Now, I think I’ll read a little; then it’s off to bed.

Okay, it’s 10:44 pm, and I’m still up. I just worked on the Satellite poem, trying to make each line end on a direct anagram. I’m really off to bed now! Still, good to be writing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Through Song and Poetry, the Grace Way

I love our church. It's a place where we celebrate life and each other through song, poetry, art. And today was no exception. Here's a little sampling of what our liturgy was like this morning. It's just too good not to share~

Eddie Vedder

Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

* * *

The Rising
Bruce Springsteen

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life)

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

* * *

Here Comes the Sun
The Beatles

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right

* * *

The Round
Stanley Kunitz

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.
So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
"Light splashed . . ."

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

* * *

god send easter

and we will lace the
jungle on
and step out
brilliant as birds
against the concrete country
feathers waving as we
dance toward jesus
sun reflecting mango
and apple as we
glory in our skin.

-Lucille Clifton

Happy Easter~

Friday, April 2, 2010

Poetry Book Giveaway - National Poetry Month

Poet and good friend Kelli Russell Agodon is hosting a Poetry Book Giveaway, in which poets participating will give away two books of their choosing. One is their own, and the other is a book they particularly like, and would love to share with others. To learn more about the Poetry Book Giveaway, visit Kelli's blog Book Of Kells.

So, on to the books. The first book I'm giving away is Jennifer K. Sweeney's How to Live on Bread and Music, winner of the 2009 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, published by Perugia Press.

The second book will actually be a set of two chapbooks, Shedding Our Skins (2008) and Some Other Eden (2005), my books published by Finishing Line Press.

If you would like to be in the drawing for this collection of books, leave me a message in the comments. At the end of the month, one winner will be chosen.

Meanwhile, enjoy the richness of Poetry Month, and write a Poem a Day!


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