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Posts Tagged ‘ars poetica’

 

 

Because you are the porch,

I am the rocking chair.

 

Because you are the pen,

I am the unfinished poem.

 

In the conversation of what happens next,

I am always the pause.

 

I am always the pause

and you the verb.

 

And if there should be a run on sentence

that jogged right through the

 

end of the story, way past the end,

well, I would not be the period.

 

But I would be ever after.

And I would be the one still listening after that.

 

 

 

 

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IMG_6255

 

making up songs

as I set up the tent—

or a song making up me?

 

*

 

beside the lake

rowing the memory

of a blue boat

 

*

 

bald eagle dives into the lake

then rises quickly

in its beak, a heavy poem

 

*

 

sitting with a blade of grass

until it reads me a story—

once upon this morning

 

*

 

laughter in darkness—

this, too,

a kind of campfire

 

*

 

hiking through ponderosa

a subplot wonders

if it could become the main story

 

*

 

cold, clear night—

spiking my tea

with Cassiopeia

 

*

 

third morning camping—

waking up in a chapter

written before this one

 

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This morning the new kitten played with a hair tie

for twenty minutes, kicking it under the table,

swatting it across the room, catching it on a nail

and tossing it into the air. Meanwhile, I tried

to do the same thing with an idea—tried

to bat at it, swipe at it, fling it across the room

and then chase it and pounce on it again.

But that’s not what happened. The idea

sat dead on the desk. I barely even looked at it.

I let my paws make tea instead. And then

went to Facebook. Then vacuumed the room.

Then stared at the idea and wondered why

it hadn’t moved. Boring idea. Dumb idea.

Why did it just sit there, lifeless as a hair tie?

Eventually the kitten, exhausted from frolic,

curled down for a nap. I sat back in the chair,

wondered at what I might learn from the cat.

Picked up the idea again. Gave it a whack. And darned

if it didn’t take on some life as my nose

nudged it into new places. Curious, my whole body

readied to pounce, my tail swishing behind my back.

 

*Yes, friends, we’ve gotten a new kitten, Tamale.

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Even then she was becoming

a dreamer, a lover of bark,

a student of solitude. Even then

she noticed how there were places

and moods that words couldn’t touch—

even then she felt the joy in trying anyway.

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Let yourself be danced.

            —Augusta Kantra

 

 

The poem sits down to be written.

Instead, it stares at the bay.

There’s a highway in the distance

that could take it all the way to California.

The poem doesn’t want to go to California.

It wants to be present, just here,

on the sandy bank beside the driftwood.

It wants to find its inner poem.

It wants to get out of its own way,

to obey its emerging form.

Instead, it watches the tall grass

getting danced by the wind.

It sighs. The poem wants to know

what it doesn’t know yet.

And the poem wants to be good.

Dammit. It tries to lower its standards,

then judges, compares and tries to fix itself.

It lists. It sits cross legged till its legs

fall asleep. It is a book of sorrows,

a tree of anxiety, a wave of failure.

It’s a cage of empty lines. How

did it get into this straight jacket?

The poem gives up. It stares at the bay.

Watches the grasses sway. Notices

how the wind blows its hair,

lifts its hands. The poem doesn’t know

why it’s weeping. In that moment,

the poem is danced.

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For Your Thoughts?

 

 

 

This year it costs 1.8 cents to make a penny.

It is, perhaps, similar to spending an hour

on an eleven-line poem that very few people

will read. And still, they mint the penny.

And still, I write the poem. Because

tradition. Because poems and pennies

are easy to spend. Because sometimes

the small things make life better—

something to wish on, something

valuable beyond its surface, something

humble to catch the light.

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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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explicating the love poem—

only later realizing

I’ve been stained red

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I’m still learning.

            —Michelangelo, on his deathbed

Sometimes I feel as if

I missed something.

Something big. The sermon

that would forge a love affair

with the divine.

The history lesson

that would teach me

how to forgive myself.

The webinar that would train

me in doing the right thing

at the right time. If only

I had read the right book

or met the right coach

or drunk the right tea. If only.

I don’t believe it, not really,

though sometimes

I wish it were as easy

as auditing a class.

Perhaps that is why

I write poems.

I’m taking notes.

Because sometimes

the truth slips into them.

Because it’s surprisingly easy

to forget.

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When you wrote of the spider

launching through vacant space,

reeling from one sphere of meaning

 

to another, you didn’t know then

that you wrote that poem for me.

Two centuries later, this woman

 

reads about the bridges we are all

trying to form, and Walt, damned

if that wasn’t filament coming out

 

through your electric fingers.

 

 

 

https://poets.org/poem/noiseless-patient-spider

 

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