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October Fashion

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Morning wears crisp cotton and smoky tulle

October Fashion

Morning wears crisp cotton and smoky tulle
woven through with gold light.

North Shore mountains are sensibly dressed
in darkest denim, their tops
hidden, cozy under unrolling
bolts of blue- and grey-tinged fleece.

The park has thrown on a shawl
of embroidered leaves
in tangerine, scarlet, yellow
wine, olive.

Even dwarf cedar has accessorized
her sensible green bouclé
with red leaf appliqués
of delicate Japanese maple.

© 2004 Capper’s Magazine. Also published by Prairie Messenger in 2006

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This is a repost. I first posted “October Fashion”  here exactly five years ago today. I hope fall is treating you to her head-turning style wherever you are!

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday hosted today by the lovely Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Nature, Poetry Friday, Re-post

 

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The sun dreams palely down

Sun dreams palely down - poem & photo by V. Nesdoly

Click on image to enlarge

This is Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada and I should probably be posting an overtly thankful poem. Let this be its substitute, for it sings the praises of some of the things for which I am most thankful: the ability to walk, beautiful places to walk, someone to walk with, fall colours, fall mists, the Creator who has designed the cycling of the seasons and this most gorgeous one.

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Patricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Two weeks after surgery (Limp – 3)

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Introducing my best friends during rehabilitation: cane, picker, long-handled sponge, shoehorn, sock dresser, and two-wheeled walker (and I thought only little old ladies used these–oh wait…)

Two weeks after surgery

(March 17, 2014)

Why does it hurt so far from the incision?
My muscles are a straitjacket of pain
to natural walking unseen, inner prison.
Will I ever walk easily again?

Deep in my hip a tremolo of weakness
that frightens me when stepping with a cane.
At physio a modicum of redress.
Back walker-creeping I feel old and lame.

Violet Nesdoly © 2014 (All rights reserved)

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This poem is the third in the series of poems I wrote about a mishap I had this spring. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in LIMP sequence, Personal

 

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Membrane (Limp – 2)

Rainbow bubble on the beach

Membrane

“The membrane between the normal and unthinkable is exceedingly thin” – mother of an autistic child

fall, fracture
pops rainbow bubble
thin unseen
fragile skin
between normal everyday
and life ever changed

disappeared
flight 370
Oso Slide
membrane slashed
now mud, rubble, tears, searching
no going back

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

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Around the time I had my accident, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing and the people of Oso, Washington suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Viewed from the perspective of those incidents, my mishap was peanuts. Still, all three contained elements that reminded me of what the mother of the autistic little girl my daughter used to babysit said the day she told her story to the women at our church–the poem’s epigraph.

This poem is the second in the LIMP poems series. Click on the “LIMP sequence” category below to view all.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Form poems, LIMP sequence, Personal, Shadorma

 

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Poem sequences (introducing LIMP)

In Diane Lockward’s June newsletter,* the Craft Tip article “Poetic Sequences: Practice Makes Potential”  by Oliver de la Paz tells of his visit to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain. On that visit he came across one room where the paintings, drawings, and studies  on the walls, as well as the  sketchbooks filling a table were all remarkably similar in texture and colour. That’s because they were all studies of the same subject—the painting Las Meninas by Velazquez.

La Paz likens these artist studies of Picasso’s to what poets do when they write sequences. He says, “By writing a series or sequence of poems on a singular subject, we can create a volume of individual poems that are at once independent and in dialogue with adjacent poems in the series or sequence. These are generative exercises—painting studies and sequential writing.”

Two advantages la Paz sees in writing sequences:
1. They allow for a close study of a subject from different angles and perspectives, at different times of day, in different seasons, through different moods etc. (depending, of course, on the subject).

2. One doesn’t have to “mine for” a different subject every day. He says, “I’ve found that working in sequences frees me from obsessing over a blank page. Psychologically, I’m prepared to work with content that has already been worked over.”

The power of sequences came to my attention even before I read the newsletter article when I judged a poetry contest a while ago. Though the entries had no names on them, I suspected several were by the same person because they were about the same subject. The subject was a certain creek. The first poem about the creek didn’t strike me as particularly strong. But as I read the second and third poems about the same location, I saw how these “studies” fortified and bolstered each other, the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

I have found myself naturally circling back to some subjects in my own writing,  perhaps because they were new experiences for me and writing about them helped me understand them better. The death of my mother was one such. So was my broken hip this spring. Beginning in March, when I was newly recovering, to April’s poem-a-day challenge, and on, I wrote quite a few poems about my unaccustomed state.

The other day I collected them and found they were a sequence of sorts. I’m going to be sharing them here over the next little while (though not arranged in the order I wrote them).  I call them my LIMP sequence. As in the poems about the creek, when these LIMP poems appear with others of the same subject they seem more complete than they do as individual poems. So, welcome to my LIMP sequence! Below is the first one.

Runner with cane

My trusty cane

Limp

(After Genesis 32:24-32**)

Jacob wrestled with an angel
I fell down some stairs.
The surgeon plated, screwed it
but I was unawares
somehow he took a bit off
I now walk with a limp.
Does God bestow a blessing too
with this gait that’s gimp?

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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*You do know about Diane Lockward’s excellent newsletter, don’t you? It comes out every month with a prompt, a craft tip, a writing-book tip and other goodies. If you don’t subscribe, you know you should. (You can subscribe in the right sidebar of her blog Blogalicious.)

**The Bible story is that one night Jacob wrestled with an angel, the angel injured Jacob’s hip, and Jacob wouldn’t let the heavenly being go until the angel blessed him. Jacob did get the blessing but along with it came that lifelong crippled hip.

By the way, I’m walking just fine these days, the cane long retired. Even the limp is growing less noticeable every day!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2014 in LIMP sequence, Personal, Religious

 

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Paul Simon reunion

Approaching train

…Can’t you hear that hearts-and-bones / train in the distance…

Paul Simon reunion

Duncan, my dear, take me to the Mardi Gras
to the outrageous hurricane eye
for the mother and child reunion.

Just because I was not born under African skies
not born in Puerto Rico doesn’t mean I don’t belong
in that Kodachrome Graceland of peace like a river.

Wartime prayers sung to an American tune—
there was something so right about that song
sung by Darling Lorraine.

You can call me Al if you like
the obvious child hearing spirit voices of father
and daughter—still crazy after all these years.

Can’t you hear that hearts-and-bones
train in the distance, while we sit here stranded
in a limousine of the late great Johnny Ace?

You be the boy-in-the-bubble
born at the right time, slip slidin’ away
into the cool, cool river. Adios Hermanos.

It’s late in the evening. He’s gone at last.
Now it’s just me and Julio down by the schoolyard
imagining what they’ll say:

“He was quality.
She was last seen wearing diamonds
on the soles of her shoes.”

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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A lovely surprise phone call from the contest administrator of The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS) delivered the news that “Paul Simon reunion,” above, earned an Honourable Mention in this summer’s Sparkle and Shine Contest.* Another entry of mine (“Christmas on the Wet Coast”—of which an earlier version was published on this blog, but prior publication was okay) earned a Judge’s Choice award. Both will find their place in the Sparkle And Shine Anthology due out later this year.

I was especially thrilled at the placement because the contest’s judge was Jan Wood, a friend of mine (no worries about favouritism hanky-panky though, as there was no I.D. on the poem entries) who is an amazing poet and a frequent winner in all kinds of Canadian places.

TOPS runs many contests, with reasonable entry fees, quite a few open to non-members.  Check out the list of upcoming contests HERE and join in the fun!

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by kids’ poet extraordinaire, Amy LV at The Poem Farm.

(And what, you may be asking, is a “Sparkle and Shine Contest”? The theme list on the contest guidelines almost reads like a poem itself:

Poems to be about fame, glitz and glamor,
poems about astronomy, astrological poems, horoscopes,
space travel, silver and gold coins or body or face paint, fireworks,
poems about fashion, celebrations, parties, start-struck poems,
poems about prisms, poems about shooting stars or falling stars,
poems about polishing shoes, glass, leather, furniture, silverware & tea services,
famous people poems such as actors, singers, politicians,
sports figures and authors and gem poems, such as diamonds, rubies,
emeralds etc. whether in a natural setting or in a jewelry setting. )

 
16 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Found, Poetry Friday

 

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Conspiracy of Light (review)

Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. LewisConspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis by D.S. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There is, then, creative reading as well as creative writing” said Emerson. Canadian poet D. S. Martin has read. C. S. Lewis creatively over years in order for us to now enjoy Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C. S. Lewis. From the first lines of the first poem:
“A glance over your shoulder / assures you you can always get back” to the final “Destination” it is a magical trip.

Martin takes us in 77 poems through seven sections that include poems that look at the role of the poet, riff on ideas and lines from Lewis’s writings, explore his fantasy settings, muse about communication, the vastness of God and the final state to which we aspire.

You may wonder, do readers have to be familiar with Lewis’s writings themselves to get these poems? No. They stand very well on their own, though Martin has included an acknowledgment section where he names the inspirational source of each poem.

Lewis’s (and Martin’s) philosophical bent is seen in many of the ideas on which Martin expands. What proves something is true?

“Some things are only known
once you step in” from “Proof” p. 5.

What is real? From “The Poet Weaves Three Worlds”:

“The marvelous he believes …
The marvelous fictitious fantasies …
The world his eye perceives …
The poet twists from these
a three-strand cord of truth” p. 35.

Many of these poems whisper eternal truths that we pick up in echoes from Bible texts like these ending lines from “The Sacred Fish”:

“Better is one day in his boats
than thousands elsewhere” p. 19.

and these bits from “The Dogs” (obstacles, challenges, troubles):

“I want to tell them to move
to pick them up and throw them into the sea
like a mustard tree
or a handful of mountain” p. 26.

What I like about these poems is the way Martin has made the ideas his own by bringing in elements of his generation. In the poem “Something” (about music) the title evokes the song by the Beatles and the poem contains the line “his guitar gently weeps” p. 36.

In “On the Latest Impending Doom” which, the notes tell us, got their inspiration from Lewis’s poem “On the Atomic Bomb’ Martin gives his dooms a 21st century feel:

“So you’ve found a new engine of doom
running on fossil fuel …
Who needs new science to kindle dread
whether coastal cities be blooded or simply left behind” p. 66.

Most of the poems are free verse. There are a few sonnets (though not of the traditional rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter variety) and one very traditional rhymer. Still, Martin’s crafting fascinates me. He uses lots of rhyme—perfect and imperfect within and at the ends of lines that sing to each other across stanzas unifying the piece as well as making it a pleasure to read aloud. “After Evensong” is one such that I thought had an almost lullaby quality to it:

“Like cranky toddlers we can fight
so long not strong enough to stay vertical
or resist rubbing our eyes
although wise men know darkness is deep
& in the end the dark is right

For soon we all are ravished by sleep…” p. 63.

I could go on about the titled sections and the way titles of each are hidden within poems, the whimsical wordplay within many of the selections and the wonderful note of hope on which the book ends. Having found so many goodies on a quick read-through, I now want to return and reread to see what other surprises this collection will yield in both the categories of idea and technique.

Conspiracy of Light reminds me of the moon. In reflecting the sun’s light, the moon shows off its own topography. In the same way Martin’s poems reflecting on the brilliance of Lewis, reveal the man who wrote them.

(A shorter version of this review was first published in Faith Today.)

View all my reviews

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Conspiracy of Light is part of the Poiema Series of poetry books from Cascade Books of which Martin is the series editor. It also includes Scape by Luci Shaw, Gold by Barbara Crooker, Second Sky by Tania Runyan,  and Particular Scandals by Julie L. Moore.

You might like to try writing a poem for Martin’s blog The 55 Project. Poems need to connect in some way with Isaiah 55. Visit the blog and look in the right sidebar under “Join The Project” for contact information.

D. S. Martin also blogs Christian poetry from all eras, featuring a new poem and poet every Monday at his blog Kingdom Poets.

 

 
 

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