Thursday, July 31, 2014

An interview with Helen Dehner

This week we get a glimpse of Helen Dehner's beautiful life and writing.

helen in Barcelona.jpg

Tell me a little about you, what you do for a living, your educational background, your family (and pets), the place where you live.

Whew!  Here we go!  I am the oldest of three daughters, born in 1941 a few months before Pearl Harbor.  I was raised in Caseyville, Illinois ~ just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri.  Caseyville was, and still is, very small.  A town where everyone knows your name, your story, your business.  In many ways my childhood was idyllic.  Great friends, Girl Scouts, band and choir.  I was introduced to the flute when I was nine, performed in a small vocal group during my teens.  I also directed the Junior Choir in our small church.  During hot, humid summers I spent hours with my maternal grandparents .. helping with farm chores.  Complaining (silently) as I herded cows to pasture, slopped the pigs, fed hay to  horses, weeded, harvested corn, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, etc.  My father died the summer I turned sixteen.  It was sudden, tragic and life-altering. My mother remarried five years later to an amazing man twenty-five years her senior.  Fred lived to the ripe old age of ninety-seven.  He was a great husband and stepfather.     

After graduating from high school I enrolled in a private two year college all set to  become an elementary school teacher.  Well, you know what they say about best laid plans ~ the degree was put on hold when I married my high school sweetheart.  Three sons followed  ~ in rapid succession.  My husband continued his education, graduating from medical school the summer our boys turned 4, 5, and 6.  Our  daughter was born the following year.  

Sadly, after twenty-two years our marriage ended.  Happily, we have remained close ~ enjoying holidays and special events as a blended family ~ his wife, their two daughters, our four children and two grandchildren. By this time we had all migrated to Minneapolis.  I returned to school after the divorce and within two years accepted a position in a large travel agency.  I remained with the agency  for the next eighteen years!  During those years I traveled the world, literally.  I was fortunate to have had so many wonderful travel adventures.

I have lived in seven States:  Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida and Oregon.  Today I call Bend, Oregon home.  Bend is in Central Oregon on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain Range. Bend’s climate is considered high desert, with lots of sun, scant rain, breath-taking scenery and four seasons – none of them extreme.  We have beautiful snow covered mountains year round, fresh air in abundance, the best water in the world, and every outdoor sport imaginable.  A paradise! 

 What got you started with writing poetry?

I wrote a bit growing up and during high school/college.  I began writing in earnest in 2002 ~ the year I brought my mother to live with me.  She had Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy Body dementia (mid-stage) ~ writing helped to balance me.  I was privileged to care for my mother the last five years of her life.  Years filled with joy, sadness, humor, frustration, love and fear ~ could there be any greater inspiration?  I continued writing after her death in 2007 and in 2008 discovered the wonderful world of blogging … the rest is history.    

I love looking at the photos on your blog from the places you’ve been to. Have you ever been to a literary destination? If not, is there a specific one you’d like to visit? 

During many trips to England I’ve visited the Dickens Museum, Jane Austen’s home in Hampshire, Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-on-Avon, Wordsworth’s home in the Lake District and the Brontë home in Yorkshire.  I thoroughly enjoy poking about in libraries, old churches and museums, I can get lost for hours on end.  Our family spent countless weekends at the Smithsonian during the two years we lived just outside Washington DC.  
 I would love to visit Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, Thomas Wolfe’s home in Asheville, Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst.      

Do you collect souvenirs from the places you visit? What are they?

I have carted too many souvenirs home over the years ~ coasters, calendars, books, small paintings, candles, CDs, DVDs ~ most of them gifts for friends and family.  I do have a brass candlestick holder I found in a dusty, dark antique shop in London that I cherish. 

Being a woman who enjoys traveling, you’re probably familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s quote: ‘Fish and visitors smell after three days.” (Believe me, we use it a lot here, I had no idea it was his until I searched the Internet for the origins of the saying to include in this interview!) Which three living or dead poets/writers would you like to risk and have over for longer than 3 days? 

In all candor, I think of myself as a musician who dabbles in poetry.  Leonard Cohen, Jim Morrison and Joni Mitchell are three poet/song writers I seriously admire.  Three days, three months, three years ~ I could never get enough of them.  Joni Mitchell’s lyrics are incredibly poetical, her voice is magic, she has done it all ~ folk, jazz, pop!  Jim Morrison was a complicated genius, so talented ~ gone too soon.  I have a serious crush on Leonard Cohen who is not much older than me, unattached (as far as I know) and sexier than any man I can think of!!  I melt when I listen to his music, period!  Are you reading this, Leonard?  

Do you follow any writing ritual?

No rituals.  I use a PC in my loft / office.  I keep a notebook on the table next to my bed as I sometimes ‘dream’ poems.  I love responding to all sorts of challenges ~ art, form, photography, topic.  I need peace and quiet when I write, any time of the day will do.  I also  ‘compose’ poems during three mile daily walks .. get home as fast as possible and make a mad dash for the computer!    

Do you keep a traveling record?

I do not journal during trips.  Photos tell the stories, keep memories alive, inspire me and my writing.  

Is there a poem you wrote you would like more people to have read? 

I wrote these poems during the last two years of my Mother’s life ….  

:: I’m Still Here  

Though you can’t remember
Without cues from the past
Though you can’t recall
Dreams and plans for life
Though you live in your own world
Within a shrinking border
I’m still here to guide you through, I’m still here.
Loved ones still remember
All the magic that you cast
Sharing strength and wisdom
With everyone you touched
Though you live in your own world
Within a shrinking border
I’m still here to guide you through, I’m still here.
The key to life is memories
Long ago, real and imagined
A smile on your face the light in your eyes
Remind me it’s not time for our goodbyes
Though you live in your own world
Within a shrinking border
I‘m still here to guide you through, I’m still here.

 :: The Journey to Dinner

I watch 
as their day comes to a close
the continuous shuffling of bodies and souls
some of them walking unaided
some of them walking assisted
some of them being pushed in chairs
familiar journey to a room
most of them can't recall from day to day
I wonder 
will he or she be there the next time I visit
 I've grown so fond of them all

If you could not express your feelings & thoughts through the medium of poetry, what other medium would you choose?

Music, music, music. I would put more energy into singing and playing that flute of mine! Actually, Bend has a ‘senior citizen’ orchestra and choral group.  I still have time!

Is there a topic you still haven’t covered in a poem and would like to try in the near future?

I’ve covered death, war, love, passion, sadness, euphoria, politics, family, anger, humor ~ I think the only topic left is religion ~ which I won’t do!  Smiles.

I’m a disaster at rhyming, I have given up trying it, definitely not my thing. I’ve left you a comment once, saying how much I liked your rhyming because it’s simple and carries a playful tone (to me). Do you ever struggle with writing? Is there something you feel like you can’t write? I mean, form poetry, poems about war, etc?

You know Kenia, my poems gravitate between goofiness and gravitas. I enjoy rhyme, I also enjoy free form. I don’t have a style, nothing is predictable about my poetry. I struggle with sonnets and octaves and pantoums ~ but I’m willing to try anything once!

Will you please leave us a piece of personal inspiration, a quote, song or poem you always feel good about?

At the bottom of Poetry Matters is a quote from Gail Godwin that has inspired me for ages: 

“There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing.  They are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing.” 

Thank you again Helen, for your time and kindness. It was really great to talk to you. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kerry Says ~ Can You Hear Me?

Copyright IronShrineMaiden on DeviantArt
Fair Use Principles

This is ground control to Major Tom, 
 You've really made the grade 
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear 
Now it's time to leave the capsule 
 If you dare. 

 This is Major Tom to Ground Control 
I’m stepping through the door 
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way 
And the stars look very different today

Few of us who were around in the 70's could fail to have been impacted by David Bowie's Space Oddity (1969). Written at a time when the world was fascinated with space travel, shortly on the heels of Armstrong and Aldrin's first steps on the moon (July 20, 1969) and the release of Stanley Kubrick's ground-breaking movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the song took its place as an icon of progressive thinking in the latter half of the Twentieth Century. 

Copyright: Vincent Green on DeviantArt
Fair Use Principles

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, 
 I'm feeling very still 
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go. 
Tell my wife I love her very much, 
 She knows. 

 Ground control to Major Tom, 
 Your circuit’s dead, 
 There's something wrong 
Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Several interpretations of the lyrics have been discussed over the years, including feelings of alienation, the world’s loss of meaning to the individual, death, the afterlife. Bowie’s own interpretation went through several changes. Now it is fifty years on - we are living in the future scientists, artists and story-tellers had only begun to imagine and loss of human connection is more prevalent than ever imagined. Increasingly, people live vicariously through media networks, online social interfaces consuming gigs of data like buckets of popcorn with eyes glued to touch screens, while failing to reach out a hand and really connect with those around them. Yet one of the most fundamental characteristics of what it means to be human is the need to be heard.

Our Challenge today is to consider this theme of alienation, what it means to really hear and respond to the needs of others or the concept of Futurism. The complete lyrics for Space Oddity may be read HERE. I leave you with this video clip of Astronaut Chris Hadfield performing the song on the International Space Station.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Personal Challenge ~ Susie

Hello to everyone in the garden, this is Susie. Helen passed the baton of a personal challenge to me and she didn't make it an easy one. She provided some beautiful photos from a hike she and her daughter made to the Blue Pool on the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon as inspiration, but she also challenged me to write it to Hannah's Boomerang Metaphors Poetry form.

Boomerang Metaphors: 
* Create three, “This poem is a ____,” statements.
* Support each statement in separate stanzas, (one can choose the length of the supporting stanzas and whether or not to rhyme or employ free verse).
* Restate the statement that’s being supported in the last line of these supporting stanzas, (as mini boomerang metaphor refrains).
* Then name the list of three, “This poem is a _____,” statements again as a boomerang metaphors refrain.
NoteOne may choose to state the closing refrain slightly morphed but mostly the same. As it seems, words that go out into the world do tend to come back touched – slightly transformed.
* The title encapsulates the three listed elements, “This Poem is a ____, ____ and a _____”

Having just struggled with Hannah's form I wasn't sure I could do it justice on my second attempt. Since the whole point is to challenge myself to go beyond my normal, I took a deep breath and put on my thinking cap and began to write.

Photo: Helen Dehner

This Poem Is A Blue Pool

This poem is a pool
This poem is vulnerable.
This poem is trust.

This poem is clear water
painted with sky,
rocks, and pine. It is as
deep as yesterday and
as wide as first sight.
This poem is a pool.

This poem is toes on
the edge gripping stones,
flirting with gravity,
wishing for wings.
This poem is vulnerable.

This poem is wisdom
that knows shifting earth
can be a leap into disaster.
It is a voice that brings
the rebel to the security
of solid ground.
This poem is trust.

This poem is a deep blue pool.
This poem is tempting fate.
This poem is wisdom inducing trust.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

When researching the Blue Pool I came across the tragic story of University Of Oregon tennis star, Alex Rovello, who died from a fall into the pool. (You can read about it here.) This along with Helen's photo helped me find the direction I wanted to go with my poem. 

Thank you so much Helen for the challenge. I have been struggling of late with my poetry. I needed a nudge to get it going again.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

photo credit: tanakawho via photopin cc
Greetings to all poets on this last Monday of July. Many thanks to all who linked up last week - I was moved by the many posts written as tributes to those who had lost their lives in the political unrest which has been so prevalent this month. On that occasion, I asked what was the poet's task. Today, I ask what is the poet's vision?

Arthur Rimbaud said: “A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences... where he becomes all men, the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist...  He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them!"

Sometimes, this label of "poet" seems difficult to live up to, yet we all do our part, in our own styles, to express what we see, feel and understand of the world around us. However, what is a poet without a reader? This is why we take the opportunity to gather in the Imaginary Garden each week, not only as a source of inspiration but also to share our work with willing readers. Please link up a poem of your choice, and visit the blogs of fellow poets, who share this space with you. And have a wonderful Monday.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Play it Again, Toads! #7

Welcome to the seventh "Play it Again, Toads!".  The images posted here are an OPTION - they do NOT have to be used in this challenge.  If you DO use one, you must combine it with an archived challenge.   You may select a challenge from the three I highlight below OR choose any challenge the Imaginary Garden has ever offered.  The archive in on the right sidebar - 2011-2014.

The images are from a kayaking trip my husband and I took with two of our children a couple of weekends past.  The lake is located just around the corner from our home and is the fist time we have enjoyed a day upon it's surface.  It won't be the last!  How is it I (we?) often enjoy such treasures close to home so rarely?  I think prioritizing is in order.  

Here are three challenges from previous July posts:

Please, original poems only and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below.  Make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.  

Remember, Open Link Monday is around the corner and available for those who are unable to finish this weekend.  I look forward to reading your poems and I will be checking back here for any late submissions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Transforming Friday with Nature's Wonders

Hello Toads and Garden dwellers!

We're back to China for the Tianzi Mountains!

Photo credit : Zulo

These pillar like structures are located in 'Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province of China', close to the Suoxi Valley. 'Tianzi' which means 'Son of Heaven' is named after the farmer Xiang Dakun of the Tujia ethnic group, who led a successful local farmers' revolt and called himself "tianzi," the traditional epithet of the Chinese emperor.

These tall marble towers go up to 1262.5 meters above sea level and pines grow all over the mountains.Often mist and clouds drape these mountains creating a mystic atmosphere.

 A bird’s eye view...

Photo credit: unknown

Bring any facet of this place that you wish! 

Here's a short clip to get you started. :)

Return with something newly written and please, 
visit your blogging neighbors. 

Thank you for joining in! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Words Count With Mama Zen

I recently attended Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils, an exhibit featuring macro digital photographs of some of the earth's earliest life. So what do you get when you take the remains of small, 450 million year old life forms and magnify them up to sixty times? Unexpected complexity and beauty.

Today's prompt is pretty much wide open.  Let the pictures inspire you; use them if you like.  Explore the idea of complexity writ small. Or, just write me a tutorial on how to take better quality iPhone pictures (are you reading, Margaret?).  Go any direction you like . . . just keep it to 60 words or less.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden...

photo credit: jennyhsu47 via photopin cc
We live in tragic times, dear Toads, and I sometimes wonder how we maintain a hopeful outlook on life, bring children into this world and strive to believe that good will always overcome the destructive forces that surround us. And what is our task as poets?

In the words of Henrik Ibsen:

"...And what does it mean, then, to be a poet? It was a long time before I realized that to be a poet means essentially to see, but mark well, to see in such a way that whatever is seen is perceived by the audience just as the poet saw it. But only what has been lived through can be seen in that way and accepted in that way. And the secret of modern literature lies precisely in this matter of experiences that are lived through...  But no poet lives through anything in isolation. What he lives through all of his countrymen live through with him." Read the full essay HERE.

We have the opportunity to write and share our words each week in this meeting place. Furthermore, we have the opportunity to read what our fellow poets have written of their unique world view. These are liberties which we should not take lightly. Please link up a poem of your choice today, and take some time to read and comment on the work of the other poets who make use of this forum.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday's Mini-Challenge: Boomerang Metaphors

(Wiki Public Domain- A typical wooden returning boomerang)

A boomerang is a thrown tool, typically constructed as a flat aerofoil, that is designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight.

A returning boomerang is designed to be thrown in a closed arch path, which returns to the thrower.

Boomerangs have been historically used for hunting, as well as sport, and entertainment. They are commonly thought of as an Australian icon.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. It is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things without using either "like" or "as". It is not to be mistaken with a simile which does use "like" or "as" in comparisons. Metaphor is a type of analogy.

Hello everyone!

I'm pretty excited to share this form with you...I hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I do. :)

I've been in love with the This poem is a ___, poems. I'd say it's one of my new favorite approaches to poetry and I’ve invented a form to serve the idea and give it a shape that can be repeated. I call it Boomerang Metaphors, (you’ll see why)!

Boomerang Metaphors (invented by Hannah Gosselin)

* Create three, “This poem is a ____,” statements.

* Support each statement in separate stanzas, (one can choose the length of the supporting stanzas and whether or not to rhyme or employ free verse).

* Restate the statement that’s being supported in the last line of these supporting stanzas, (as mini boomerang metaphor refrains).

* Then name the list of three, “This poem is a _____,” statements again as a boomerang metaphors closing refrain.

Note: One may choose to state the closing refrain slightly morphed but mostly the same. As it seems, words that go out into the world do tend to come back touched – slightly transformed.

* The title encapsulates the three listed elements, “This Poem is a ____, ____ and a _____”

A suggestion: One may choose to free write as a precursor to writing this form. I find that it’s really freeing to list a bunch of, “This poem is a ___,” statements before beginning. You may end up with some that relate that you can trio together or some that juxtapose to contrast brilliantly.

I sure hope that you’ll try this form! I had a fun time creating it and I believe it will live in my tool box of writing implements for years to come!

If anyone would like an example of a poem written to this form please, feel free to click over to read the first poem that resulted when I applied the formula that I designed. It's entitled, This Poem is a Hoe, the Wheel and a Sphere. 

Also, if anyone's interested, there's a link at the bottom of that post that will bring you to Poets United where this form was recently featured in a chat between poets.  

Thank you, for the opportunity to share this form. :) 

Please, visit your blogging friends and see what they've created, too. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fireblossom Friday: Another You

Hello Pond folk, Fireblossom here with another Fireblossom Friday. One of my all-time favorite movies is a little thing called Another Earth. A second Earth appears as a dot in the sky and gradually comes closer. (This would cause disaster on an epic scale in reality, but the movie isn't meant to be taken literally--it's a fable of sorts, about choices and redemption.) 

It turns out that on this other Earth, there is another you, another me, another everybody, but that things stopped being synchronized at the moment the other Earth became visible, and so for more than four years, that other version has been on its own track. 

What would you do if you came face to face with the other you? What would you say? What if you had made a mess of things here....might the other you have done better? What if the reverse were true, and your mirror self were on a downward spiral?

I want you to write about the other you. What if you had married X instead of Y? What if you had chosen a different path in life? If you had a hundred chances at living this life you're in, what might one of those lives be like? I ask only that your alternate self be possible; maybe not likely, but at least possible. In the movie, the point of difference is just four years in the past, but you may place it anywhere. Really, anything the clip inspires you to write will be okay. And, as usual, please write a new poem specifically for this challenge. Then link up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bits Of Inspiration ~ The Yellow Brick Road

Hello my lilypad friends, this is Susie and today we are going to travel the Yellow Brick Road. I have chosen three songs to inspire your journey.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

"You're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
You'll find he is a Whiz of a Wiz is ever a Wiz there was
If ever, oh ever, a Wiz there was the Wizard of Oz is one because
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does
You're off to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!"

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

(You can find the entire lyrics here.)

Ease On Down The Road

'Cause there maybe times
When you think you lost your mind
And the steps you're takin'
Leave you three, four steps behind
But the road you're walking
Might be long sometimes
You just keep on steppin'
And you'll be just fine, yeah

Ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on, ease on down, ease on down the road
Don't you carry nothing that might be a load
Come on, ease on down, ease on down the

(You can find the rest of the lyrics here.)

So let inspiration get your fingers moving down the yellow brick road and write a new poem for the challenge, share it on Mr. Linky and then visit your fellow poets and read their work.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Imaginary Garden ...
Yes! It is our anniversary week in the Imaginary Garden and that calls for a celebration. The Imaginary Garden officially went public on 18 July 2011, which makes us three years old. I am amazed at how our poetry forum has developed over the years, and it has been a real privilege to get to know so many talented poets, and have some of the most ground-breaking creative writing to read, week after week. The support of the real toads has been phenomenal. I take this opportunity to thank all members, past and present for all that they have contributed to make this one of the nicest meeting places in the blogosphere. I am also grateful to all our loyal Followers, who consistently share their work with us, and are a vital part of our community.

Everyone is invited to link up a poem of their choice. In the spirit of our anniversary, I encourage you to dig into your archives for an older piece, today, if you have nothing new to share.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday's Mini-challenge: Claribel Alegria

Hello Toads & Visitors to the garden!  I am happy to introduce to you the poems by Claribel Alegría.  
If there is a return
my wait has been long
and if there is not
it has been barely
a sudden lightning flash.

From Sorrow, by Claribel Alegria
Claribel Alegria was born to Nicaraguan and Salvadoran parents in Estelí, Nicaragua, on May 12, 1924. She grew up in the Santa Ana area of western El Salvador, and in 1943 she moved to the United States. In 1948 she received a B.A. in Philosophy and Letters from George Washington University. Throughout her life, Alegría has emphasized her commitment to nonviolent resistance, even during her close association with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the people’s movement that took control of the Nicaraguan government in 1979 and overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. In 1985, Alegría returned to Nicaragua to aid in the country’s reconstruction.

She has written nine books of poetry and prose. Alegria’s long relationship with her husband, Darwin “Bud” Flakoll – spiritual, extremely intimate, devoted to art and dedicated to humanitarian and social justice activities – started as a three-month fiery courtship and a quick marriage and grew into a rich, collaborative life of testimonio. Shortly before Alegria and Flakoll were to go on a trip to southern Asia in 1995, Flakoll passed away. Alegria traveled to Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta with her husband’s soul, as she has said, and wrote her poetry collection, Sorrow, about that trip – and her posthumous dialogue with her husband.
The terrain in my country
is abrupt
the gullies go dry
in the summertime
and are stained with red
in the winter.
The Sumpul is boiling with corpses
a mother said
the Goascarán
the Lempa
are all boiling with the dead.
The rivers no longer sing
they lament
they sweep their dead along
cradle them
they twinkle
under the tepid moon
under the dark
accomplice night
they cradle their dead
the wounded
those who are fleeing
those who pass by
they grow irate
bubbling and seething
dawn draws near
almost within reach
the rivers are coffins
crystalline flasks
cradling their dead
escorting them
between their wide banks
the dead sail down
and the sea receives them
and they revive.

As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It's as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
a voracious
but I keep loving it
because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning, 
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why. 

She confesses in an interview, "Since I was very young the two main themes in my writing have been love and death. When I was young, however, death was distant. Now death is near, especially since Bud passed away. Now death is my friend. I speak to her."  

The challenge is to write a response to Claribel's poems by writing a new poem or prose poem.   Some examples of responses are affirming what the speaker said or using her title or verse as jumping board of your own work.   Please link a specific post to "Mr Linky" below and visit your fellow writers.   

Wishing you all happy weekend ~ Grace

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Must Refrain.....

Happy Friday my toadalicious garden dwellers....I hope this Friday finds you all on the brink of a great July weekend with lots of fun and frolic.  Herotomost here and I am once again tasked  by the Dominatrix of Dandelions, the Purveyor of the Pond, the Basilisk of the Blogosphere, Kerry, to come up with a Friday Challenge. Today I am going to talk about a little thing that I do in my poetry, not sure how it started, but it seems to have stuck with me and I like the way that it makes some of my pieces feel.  It is the use of a refrain of some sort to separate stanzas that would normally be able to stand on their own, but the refrains seem to give the piece a little more depth and punch. (some folks think they are unnecessary and curse me for doing it, but what the hell, I am a writing rebel!!!!). There may be a sophisticated term for such refrains in poetry, but if there is I am woefully unaware. 

When writing my refrains, it makes me feel like there are two sides of myself waging a little battle for context and reality.  The non-refrain portion of the piece is usually a straight forward, sort of cultural norm style of voice that says what I am expected to say or think and the refrain portion is usually that emotional consciousness side of my brain trying to see past the idealism and find that dark little truth that we may think to ourselves, but hide from everyday interactions with others.  Here is an example of one of my poems with the refrains.  Most of you have already read this so it is merely a refresher.

Lower the Casket

Standing storm calm, still, on that hardened patch of sand
A beach of forever and forever's, broken without so much as a pardon
He pissed himself and tried to stop his hobbled heart from beating
Watching as her silhouette became a soul sickened memory he wanted

Lower the casket fat bastard
This one's a fuck
Hung by the neck with an idiots rope
May God shut the doors lest his shadow fly
And grip heaven in a liars fist

She had blown in on that very beach with a confidence worth measuring
Who wouldn't have wanted to spend eternity probing those eyes
Sharp tongues and the power born of rum soaked dreams....misplaced
Watching the look on her face turn from fancy, to hollow, to hate

Another shovel full fat bastard
This one's a king
Beheaded in haste with a simpletons blade
The wrought iron gates of purgatory sing
Emblazoned with his crest alone

Mind your thoughts and move through this life with a heart like a shelf
And place on it only those things that make you better than the night
Rejoice in the fact that you are not God and certainly not merely a man
And give her, her due and then some, that skin is beautiful history

Say the prayer fat bastard
This one's a man
Bludgeoned with a hustlers hammer
That sacred moment before death's dance  
Was the moment he saw God

So, good or bad, that is what I am talking about.  Now, to the challenge!!!!  I want you talented toads to write me a piece that has some sort of refrain.  It can be a repeating refrain that lends rhythm and punch, it can be a shadow refrain speaking from that bi-polar side of your brain that does not necessarily agree with what you think you should be thinking, or it could be a refrain that adds playfulness and agility to pick up the pace of the message.  If you want to get really creative, it does not have to be poetry, as always it can be anything your little amphibious hearts desire. And also, as always, if you find this challenge creepy, against your religion, not up to your standards or flat out too hard and you find you would rather take a nap, then you are welcome to take that nap or write and post whatever you would like to.  I'm easy, just ask my wife.

And with that I sign off...thank you for thinking about playing and.......

Everyone jump upon the refrain....ooooaaaaaeeeeeaaaaaaooooaaaaaaa....come ride the refrain!!!!!  lol...that was just sick.