A prompt: “It never reaches earth except as ashes” from Robert Frost’s A Loose Mountain.

Icarus aimed high
A modern sort of man, filled with ambition
Intent, calculating, planning,
most definitely achieving.
If they had had a Wall Street, he would have fitted right in.

But, no Wall Street,
And Hercules already had the strong market cornered
Apollo clearly understood grooming,
In its many senses.
So there with not a lot left, he dreamed of the sun.

Maybe not a financier go-getter
Maybe lying on sun-warmed grass
Idly scratching where the hay had got under his chiton
Hearing chirps and chitterings.
He dreamed about flying sky high, beyond the chattering.

A watching blue-jay startled from its pecking
A gull wheeled and yawed on a drift of wind
A goose  whonk-ed, quark-ed, beating easy elegant wings
Icarus too, flew, beyond his care.
Beyond reality. Dreams never reach the earth except as ashes.



Ghost in a White Dress

Hurray for Molly who has re-started the writers group. We met last night and one of the prompts – a line from opening a book: “Imperceptibly the world became haunted by her white dress”

Ghost in a White Dress

Ghost living here knows how egg yolk and coffee drops drip.
She wears a scarf, delicately ingeniously twisted
in casual arrangement, display of sophistication
elegant poised stillness, sophistry covers reality, paralysis.
Threatening thoughts trip and slip.

Possessed in a dress with the ooh and aaah
Shop assistant sly smile warm eyes casual stranger
Shopper passing with a Wow that’s you
Hemmed in a mirrored world, haunted, visible
This person wears white.

This person flowing draped covering unseen promises
Listened to a shop-girl and a passing stranger
Thought I will be that kind of person
Just once. Just now. Just a while. Wow.
This person here. In a white dress.


Swoops from roof to branch

Hurray for Jane who has started up the ‘writers’ group again – open a book – read a phrase and write for 8 minutes. 3 offerings from an hour yesterday evening [the titles are the prompts, and they all came from Lisa Starr’s “Mad With Yellow”.]

3. Swoops from roof to branch

 What appears
swoops into vision,
wholeness shifts
blueness cleaved in perception
Not where I was
Not what I was thinking, feeling
in the bubble of myself.

With suddenness
Every day in every way
Some part of other, another,
a piece of world just comes
and then existence
shrieks a confirmation
See, we are, you are, they are.

Outside my window
on bright mornings
They come, the sparrows, the waxwings
the friends whose names I do not know.
They tell me how joyous it is
to live and swoop through a slice of air.
Unwitting witnesses to our being.

Why don’t you just go home now?

The title is a prompt from Lisa Starr’s “Mad With Yellow”.

Why don’t you just go home now?

That has to be a silent thought and it is horrible to remember that it was in my head just immediately when an unexpected visitor dropped in just after I had put food in the oven I wondered if there would have been another time when the visit would have been welcome I doubt it but at least at other times I might have been spared the popping into mind repetition for the whole half-hour of exchange.

I regret to say that although I did not speak it I doubt I controlled the non-verbals very well. It is hard to get a grip on those without a mindset transplant. They are not offered on any plan I know of. That person dropping in makes mean me and not the necessary pre-prepared me. Unsolved resolved hurts drop in for attention. I can’t get interested in subjugation necessary for civility.

This makes me wonder about politics where several elections in different countries have brought surprising results. Could the end of career pre-prepared politicians be happening? Public Relations groomed clotheshorses offering banalities OK generalities papering the inequalities and realities of us. Why don’t you just go home?

she thinks I trust too much

Hurray for Jane who has started up the ‘writers’ group again – open a book – read a phrase and write for 8 minutes. 3 offerings from an hour yesterday evening [the titles are the prompts, and they all came from Lisa Starr’s “Mad With Yellow”.]

1.she thinks I trust too much

Who is she
to speak of this?
As if to trust had failed.
Not once, but often,
taking the risk along a different road
from hers.

I listen.
The birds chitter
drop summered wings
to the feeder. Knowing
they need to fatten well before winter comes
once more.

What’s trust
If not a stepping out
into life and love beyond
the fear of stopping?
I want to answer, tell her, shake her, wake her.
Not kind.

I think
Quiet. she fears too much.
I hear myself, tell myself,
Is it me who speaks? Too much of much.
Listen now.

Grey Day Framed in Gold

Written at Block Island Poetry Project – inspired by Joe Heithaus workshop where we had to lay a paper frame down… somewhere… then simply describe what was inside… for twenty minutes. He had previously read an unbelievably lovely poem, translated from chinese, Lei Shuyan’s Creation.

After that, he said “get outside your frame now and write whatever you please”. You can see that I have borrowed from Lei Shuyan or his translator.

Grey Day Framed in Gold

Where no beauty exists
Grass beyond grey green lichen
Words and scribbled grey lines
Frame a grey day.

Shadowed edge lays
Quiet on a layer. One shone speck
visible on plastic nothingness
A corner of dark mystery.

There lies the grey of a book cover
Covering unseen unknown thoughts
Found words, evocations
Force eyes forward out of mind.

Feet move sideways
The six of up, down, sideways,
mahogany, turquoise, window light sheen
marches on once white paper.

The golden mean makes magic
marking again
This world of wonder
Walking through the fissures of the brain.

Pan, God of the Wild

Listening to Debussy: Pan, God of the Wild.

Pan, god of the wild, has voices for all, all seasons.
Music rises, reminds my mind of soft mild summer wind
insinuating gentleness, whispering to the senses
blood rising, shifting, lifting.
The breeze dies leaving mind blank to find hallucination
Vision and voice fill emptiness.
Birds seen through glass do not sing
Each foot settles soundless on a wintry twig
No tale told. No leaves sussurating sound.
Spring entombed nameless, waiting for sap to rise.

Music finds an inner ear away from light and sight
that the night may be auspicious.
Passion brings the dancer with the castanets
Rhythm packing heartbeat, invention
An Egyptian woman, exotic, skilled in enamoration, persuasion.
Convention. No modern view. No arab spring.
Sapped energy, re-enactment. Again vision, envision that bird
Throat throbbing boundless call
moving solid air from tree to tree, awaiting response.
It is spring, cool, grey sky in monotone holds all colours.
Give thanks to the morning rain.

At Reid Concert Hall free lunchtime program Margaret Wakeford and Simon Coverdale piano duo: Works by Debussy, Hindemith and Schubert. The Debussy was Six Epigraphes Antiques and we were offered this wording:

1. To invoke Pan, God of the summer wind

2. For a nameless tomb

3. That the night may be auspicious

4. For the dancer with castanets

5. For the Egyptian woman

6. To give thanks to the morning rain.

After writing the poem, I looked up more about it, and discovered that the music was written in homage to Pierre Louys‘ poetry celebrating lesbian love: The Songs of Bilitis.

I am happy that the poem I wrote in response to the music and the six phrases was for me a celebration of all, everyone, everywhere, however different, and somehow nameless. Though I didn’t catch that Debussy piece originated via his friend Louys from one of the loves that cannot speak its name, it still seems that what I heard matched the music played. I was listening.