dVerse Poetics #2 oulipo

At dVerse Poetics Pub today, I found the prompts so intriguing, I decided to try one more. I am attempting oulipo lipogram. I have fashioned a haiku in which there are no words with the vowel “e”.

free public domain image

free public domain image

icy scabbards hang
from my forsythia bush –
wintry arctic blooms.

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dVerse Poetics, Meeting the Bar – Poetry techniques

Meeting on the Turret Stairs, Sir Frederic Burton

Meeting on the Turret Stairs, Sir Frederic Burton

Today at dVerse Poetics Pub, Meeting the Bar, we are using several writing techniques – reduction, oulipo, and conceit.  I have decided to use reduction on a poem I wrote awhile back.  I saw this painting by Frederic Burton and was immediately touched by it and the story behind it of two ill fated lovers.  Note the fallen rose at her feet.

 Reduction

Meeting on the Turret Stairs
This last sacrament,
This last kiss, eternity
Locked in a moment –
Faithful heart will cease to beat,
Roses fade, love lives always –

Original
Fair princess and saintly knight,
Her bodyguard, sworn to die for
Her even before their love bloomed.
Their love was forbidden.
He was deemed suitable to guard her
And give his life
Yet the king denied the knight’s worth
To love his daughter.

Her brothers will soon kill him
Obeying the will of their father.
The lovers,
One last time
Meet on the turret stairs.
She, beyond sorrow
Cannot look upon his face.
He, loving her beyond death
Feels this last kiss
A holy sacrament.
His face says what his heart cannot.
The rose, his last for her
Drops on the stairs,
Unheeded.
It will fade
But their love will be forever.

Posted in General Poetry, Haiku | Tagged , , , , | 43 Comments

The Walk: Part IV – Tsunami: One year Anniversary, 2012.

In 2011, I became friends with a Japanese engineer who was transferred by his company in Fukushima to one of their branches in the USA. I was in charge of reviewing and approving applications for licensure made by foreign engineers, specifically Japan and Canada. There were items needed to complete his application and he had been notified of the deficiencies. A back and forth of emails and phone calls ensued. One day, he just showed up at the office and was sent to me. A handsome and proud man, he asked me to see the man in charge. I told him I was the “man” in charge of his application and licensure. I removed us to a private conferring room and went over his files with him. He said he could never get the information needed. “Don’t you understand? Do you have any idea what a tsunami is and how this was total devastation?” I was dealing with frustration and deep grief. Eventually, we found a way for him to obtain the required information.

The day after I called him to let him know that finally, the process was complete and he had been approved for licensure. On Friday, he came to the office again requesting to see me. Because I had worked so hard and helped him so much (at one point serving him green tea and homemade udon during a long session. I had brought my lunch from home that day and shared it with him) he wanted to take me to lunch. When I told him that was not allowed, he asked if I would take a walk instead. It was peak cherry blossom season and in the office park were over 65 cherry trees. I knew exactly where I would take him. This began a long and deep friendship. Every Friday, if he was in town and I was in my office, we would walk and talk. We learned much about each other.

I wrote a series of poems about this friendship – The Walk – and there are various parts to it. This is one of those parts, posted in memory of those who lost their lives during the tsunami of 2011 and in honor of those who survived and rebuilt.

free public domain photo

free public domain photo

She looked at the calendar and sighed.
It was not Friday, the usual day of their walks.
It was the one year anniversary of the tsunami.
She knew he would be there
In their place under the cherry trees.

The cherry buds were barely beginning to show color.
A bit of pink, bit of white, bit of red.
Holding themselves tight
On this day.
No blooms today.

She walked to their place.
He was standing
Huddled in his coat
Looking diminished by his grief.

Tears coursed down his cheeks –
Rain running down a smooth brown rock,
A statue, the bark of a tree.

Softly she walked until she came beside him
And gently touched the sleeve of his coat.
She looked into eyes that had witnessed hell
And still was looking through that broken window.

“That day, the sea ate up our town.
I lost friends at the nuclear facility.
We tried, we tried but we were helpless.
The sea washed away my home,
The graves of my wife and son,
Friends, people I knew in the neighborhood.
Pets, belongings, altars…
All eaten by the wild animal sea.”

“And now I am here.
Alone. I eat alone, I sleep alone,
I drive alone.
I try to fix a meal to remind me of home
But it doesn’t smell the same
Or taste the same.
Gone…gone…so many just gone,
Swept away like garbage.”

She listened.
She took his hands in hers.
“I promise you –
Japan will rebuild.
The cherry blossoms will bloom.
Children will be born.
I am your friend.
You will make more friends.
Let us light candles for the souls of the lost.
Let us light incense and send our prayers
Out for those who live and who rebuild.
I promise you, on my honor.”

Fitful flakes of snow
caught in his hair
as he lit a candle and set it
at the base of the cherry tree.
He bent down
And she held him close as he wept.
She could only be his friend.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

free public domain image

free public domain image

Posted in General Poetry, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Chains

free public domain image

free public domain image

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” Jacob Marley, A Christmas Carol

*The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot

When you are dead,
What chains will you wear?
Will they be layered around and around and around
Your body from the top of your head
To the soles of your feet?

Today, I listened to a woman
standing on a street corner
Ranting shrilly angrily about how
Those savages are brutally murdering
Those who speak for peace,
Those who are giving aid to the helpless,
Those who try to report the truth
And open our scaled eyes.
“They aren’t human. We should just bomb them.”
“bomb all of them over there
And let God sort them out.”

I turned and walked away
Dragging the chains of my silence
As I walked to my car.

I sat.
I sat.
I sat.
The echo of her anger
Beat against the windows of my
Car like a terrible storm,
Buffeting and howling
Like some kind of crazed monster.

I sat.
I sat.
I sat.
“Do I dare
Disturb the universe?”*

I opened my door and walked
In her direction.
I felt a section of my chain drop.

I spoke to her softly and reminded
Her that fighting fire with fire
Only made more fire.
That hate only fueled the fire.
That we should try to love and forgive.
That we should work together
to stop the madness and
start the healing.
Fuck you hippie bitch.
She snarled.
I said, God forgive us all
And show us a better way.
Fuck you she said.
I turned and walked away

Today in dVerse Poetics Pub, we are using our poetic voices to speak against injustice, murder, and terrorism.

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , | 77 Comments

Ice Prints – tanka 短歌,

icy prints

footprints in the ice
melt and leave no trace behind
impermanent lives
wash down the gutter and merge
becoming one in the sea.

Posted in General Poetry, Haiku | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Monday Musings – The Remains

dried rose

There is always something leftover.
The snow and ice have melted
And soaked into the earth and run down into the creek.
But the azaleas are bent from their weight,
Some branches snapped from the tulip poplar
And lie discarded in the yard.

There is always something that remains.
Coffee cups with a slight residue
In the bottom or a ring marking
The undrunk coffee and left in
The sink overnight.

There is always something unwanted.
Chicken bones, a bit of salad,
A smear of egg on a plate,
The faded teeshirt from last summer –
Worn with so many smiles
And almost like a talisman – at the time.

There is something always that remains.
And though you’ve washed that pink set of sheets
A thousand times, when you make the bed with them,
Your eyes go to that spot,
The semen left behind to dry and crust
After he said he wanted to branch out
And find others more suited to his
Supreme wonderfulness.

There is always something discarded.
The dried rosebuds,
The handwritten notes,
That silly teeshirt he bought
And you wore, almost like a talisman
At the time.

There is always something unused.
Like that beautiful tie
You bought for him the day before he left.
There is always something wasted, unwanted
There is always something remaining,
There is always something discarded.
and this time, it is you.

Posted in General Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Sunday Serenity

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments