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Category Archives: Pantoum

Play with words

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Image: Pixabay

Play with words

Toy with words and you play with fire
Gather memories like moss and kindling
Quartz against quartz, ideas friction and spark
Wisp of smoke is a portent

Gather memories like moss and kindling
Focus thought to a pinpoint through the lens of time
Wisp of smoke is a portent
Soon we will be warmed and fed

Focus thought through the lens of time
Harness the heat through wires and coils
Soon we will be warmed, fed
And pondering in haze of pipe’s warm glow

Harness the heat through wires and coils
Inspiration, like lightning, breaks the rules
Brood in haze of a cigarette’s glow
Tossed-away word can also spark a conflagration

Inspiration, like lightning, breaks the rules
Destruction is sometimes the corollary of illumination
Tossed-away word can also spark a conflagration
Burn a reputation like a politician in effigy

Destruction is sometimes the corollary of illumination
The smoke of a living sacrifice
Burn a reputation like a politician in effigy
The firecracker effect of one life on eternity

The smoke of a living sacrifice
Quartz against quartz, Word frictions, sparks
to reverberating bang of One Life on eternity
Toy with Word and you play with fire.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Inspiration – Prompt

If I recall right, the pantoum form (wanting to write one) was the inspiration for this poem. That and the desire and pleasure of playing with words—specifically the word word, which has rich layers of meaning in the Christian faith.

Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate the Word riding into Jerusalem in kingly fashion and the expectation by the crowds that He would reveal Himself to be Israel’s Messiah. How differently that turned out. Thankfully, that was not the end of the story!

~*~*~*~*~

VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Form poems, Pantoum, Religious

 

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pulse

Music-Mural

You’ll find this lively musical mural in downtown Langley, B.C. (Photo © 2013 by V. Nesdoly)

pulse

“Music to me is like breathing—
I don’t get tired of breathing,
I don’t get tired of music” – Ray Charles

music is the moon-pull of the blood
it snares the heartbeat
in hypnotic rhythms
of smoky blue jazz

it snares the heartbeat
with swaying taproots
of smokin’ hot jazz
while husky voices croon

swaying taproots
of sashaying saxophones
those husky voices croon
a pan flute of echoes

and sashaying saxophones
fingers snap, feet tap
a spoon band of echoes
and triple-tonguing trumpets

hands clap, toes tap
voice hums, whistle parrots
those triple-tonguing trumpets
circulating in the bell tower of my head

voice hums, whistle parrots
the hypnotic rhythms
circulating in the bell tower of my head
for music is the moon-pull of the blood

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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June is African-American Music Appreciation Month in the U.S. I discovered that fact on the Brownilocks website (my go-to place when I want to find out what’s being celebrated when).

When I read that, I thought immediately of the poem, above, that I wrote in 2012. I was part of Tabatha Yeatts’ poem swap that summer and she gave the quote above the poem as a prompt for us.

I sent the poem to my swap partner, and later entered it in a contest, where it garnered an “Editor’s Pick”  and was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Time of Singing.

Music of all kinds has opened up for me in the last few weeks. That’s because the car we recently bought has no CD player. In my search for what to do for music especially on long trips (can’t travel without lots of music!), my son suggested we subscribe to Spotify. I did and find I can download tunes to play offline and the Bluetooth receiver in the car cordlessly picks up what’s on my iPad. Woot! We’re groovin again.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by MsMac at Check It Out.

 
 

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Complaint

Spider web in branches

“Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?” (Photo by Violet Nesdoly)

COMPLAINT

Women’s work is never done…
The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is there anything to eat?
Mom, there are no clean socks.

The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Mom, there are no clean socks, and
We’re running out of milk.

Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Please drive me to the mall, you said
We’re running out of milk.
I fell. It’s bleeding!

Please drive me to the mall. Oh no,
You forgot to load the dishwasher.
I fell. It’s bleeding!
Does this fridge smell?

Who forgot to run the dishwasher?
I think I paid that bill.
This fridge does smell.
I’d swear there’s something sticky on the floor.

I know I paid that bill.
Vacuum and dust, Company’s coming!
Mop up that something sticky on the floor.
These library books are due.

Vacuum and dust! Company’s coming –
Is there anything to eat?
These library books are overdue …
Women’s work is never done!

© Violet Nesdoly

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I see that today our Poetry Friday hostess is sharing a pantoum she wrote as part of a seven-pantoum challenge! What fun.

I love pantoums. That’s the form of the poem, above. The first one I ever read was “Julian at Ten” by Nelson Bentley. It was in the book Writing Personal Poetry (by Sheila Bender), and I was mesmerized. How did he do that—get that back-and-forth, swaying, sashaying sensation with words?

I tried my hand at writing one soon after. “Complaint” is probably the second one I wrote, written  some years ago now. I think I was already out of the thick of those mother-always-on-call years but they were still fresh in my mind.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the world for kids.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Light, Pantoum, Poetry Friday

 

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Leah

Rachel & Leah - James Tissot

“Rachel and Leah” by James Tissot

Leah

“…bury me with my fathers…. There they buried Abraham and Sarah…Isaac and Rebekah…and there I buried Leah” – Jacob in Genesis 49:29-31

The morning after Jacob lay with me
even my weak eyes saw his anger.
When I give him a son
he will love me.

Even my weak eyes saw his joy
at the births of Reuben and Simeon
will he finally love me
after Levi, Judah?

At the births of Reuben and Simeon.
Rachel brooded.
After Levi, Judah
she fumed and schemed.

Rachel brooded
bargained for my son’s mandrakes.*
She fumed and schemed
at Zebulun—my sixth!

The bargained-for mandrakes
have produced a son at last.
Zebulun, my sixth
followed by Joseph, Rachel’s first.

Have produced a second son—her last.
She died birthing Benjamin
who followed Joseph, Rachel’s first.
Still Jacob doesn’t love me.

Though she died birthing Benjamin
and I gave him six sons
still Jacob doesn’t love me
though forever now Jacob lies with me.

– Violet Nesdoly – January 2013

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This bittersweet love poem is from a new project I’ve begun: writing poems about the women in the Bible.

You may know the story of Leah. She was the oldest daughter of Laban and sister of Rachel. Rachel was beautiful and Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebekah, fell in love with her, then  worked seven years to earn the right to marry her. But on the wedding night, the girls’ father (Laban) switched Leah (who is described as having “weak eyes”) for Rachel, telling his disappointed son-in-law the next morning that it wasn’t customary to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one was married. A week later Laban gave Rachel to Jacob as a second wife on the condition Jacob would serve him another seven years. The jealousy and friction in that home are well documented in Genesis.

The voice in the poem is Leah’s from beyond the grave. And maybe she’s wrong. Maybe Jacob did come to love her, seeing that he chose to be buried near to her and not Rachel.

This poem is based loosely on Adele Kenny’s prompt about the old becoming new again. I chose the pantoum form because it literally circles back to the beginning.

(*Mandrakes were thought to be an aphrodisiac. In the story, Leah’s oldest son brought them to his mother, but Rachel persuaded Leah to give them to her in exchange for a night with Jacob.)

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis poem is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by the wonderful Linda at Teacherdance.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in History, Pantoum, People, Poetry Friday

 

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U-days

It no longer matters that I’m not good at basketball.
Who cares that I’m the oldest of nine.
Don’t follow my example now!
University is the place to discover myself.

Who cares that I’m the oldest of nine?
My high school dates were awkward and pimply.
University is the place to discover myself
and ace Philosophy.

My high school dates were awkward and pimply —
now every man is mine for the dreaming.
Who knew that I would ace Philosophy
and move from the prairies to the sea?

Now every career is mine for the dreaming
though inbred practicality never forsakes
even when I move from the prairies to the sea
settle in as a teacher.

Inbred practicality never forsakes.
Don’t follow my example now
settle in as a teacher
where it matters again that I’m not good at basketball.

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly

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This is a poem inspired by the March 2009 prompt at Poets Online which challenged: “Write a poem that addresses the age in which you, or the voice of your poem, were, or will be, most yourself.” The entire prompt and published responses are here.
 
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Posted by on June 8, 2010 in Form poems, Pantoum, Personal

 

Calendar

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Essence of spring drifts from the sticky buds,
Robin’s lively lilt now wakes me early.
Under the clouds, crocuses clutch a tight bouquet.
Humming lawnmowers are summer’s elevator music.

Robin’s lively lilt now wakes me early,
The smell of sun screen seeps through all my clothes.
Humming lawnmowers are summer’s elevator music.
Fruit stand has berries and apples by the box!

The smell of sun screen seeps through all my clothes;
Your fun is over, mocks the drenching rain.
Fruit stand has pears and apples by the box:
Houses don sequins and tuxedos.

Your fun is over, mocks the drenching rain.
We laugh and push each other’s cars through mounds of snow.
Houses doff sequins and tuxedos:
Naked trees stand pensive in the cold.

We laugh and push each other’s cars through mounds of snow
Under the clouds, crocuses clutch a tight bouquet.
Naked trees stand pensive in the cold;
Essence of spring drifts from the sticky buds.

© 2002 – Utmost Christian Writers Gallery Archive. Also published in Calendar, 2004
 
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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in Form poems, Nature, Pantoum