27 March 2015

This Search for Tribe



This search for tribe
along world's riverbanks
with names of past ghosts
exhausts me. At some point
I sigh surrender, go home
among the ghosts of ancestors

long past whose names I do not know
but whose genes form my riverbanks,
folded and tucked, course bent, 
hands structured, twilight eyes, 
this mother tongue spoken,
my tribe.


Posted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets and inspired by Margaret's archived challenge, Play it Again # 15, back on Saturday over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I chose the one imagined by Ella in 2012 about Poem Sketching- using a word group and developing it into a poem. I'm a little late but the words I used are: tribe, riverbank, ghosts, names. I took the photo in Prince Edward Island where my maternal grandmother is from.

09 March 2015

Strange Dirge



"You pluck strange dirges from the storm
sift rare stones from the ashes of the moon"

You've always been this way.
It's what drew me to you in May

of '71. Me with storms in my life
that needed music and moon-struck strife

that begged a mining of sorts, a sifting through
remains searching for stones you blew

to life like a shaman, prelude to all that came after.
We mined together then and sang out loud until we crafted

our sweet song. The time the strange dirge was sung
over our first daughter you stayed in such a way that along

with storm's barrage and from the ashes, we rose, if not triumphant,
than at least still standing, longing that phoenix might bring bereft

to some other incarnation, any other incarnation than only gone,
us left alone, two not three, with nothing more to be done.



Posted for Grace at Real Toads who introduced us to the poetry of Wole Soyinka, the first Nobel Laureate in Literature from Africa and asked us to use his work as inspiration. The first two lines of this poem are his from the poem: Fado Singer for Amelia Roderinguez. The photo was taken by my Honey at the National Orchid Garden in Singapore.


The Hike


Raptor Ridge, once scaled, 
sets a vista 
flung to the horizon,
nature unbounded,
Mt. Baker on the skyline, 
dappled ferns on Rock Trail, strong sun

on mountain and stone, 
steep terrain, difficult
to navigate, demands switchbacks,
a sweep herds stray hikers 
to Chuckanut Ridge for 
final views of this wide sky.


Posted for DJan for her ongoing example to stay active and for Anna at dVerse poets, Meeting the Bar, who gave us three approaches to create a new poem. One is Reduction and although she suggested we use our own work I was taken by a post of DJan who writes at DJan-ity about her weekly hikes with a group of elder hikers in Washington state. It contained such wonderful names that I wanted to use them in a poem. Who could resist Raptor Ridge? She was the "sweep" in their latest hike staying last in line to keep the group intact. I don't want to reduce her description which you can read here but couldn't help feeling a part of it and inspired. 

02 March 2015

The Weight of Blue


Back when I didn't yet know that goodbyes 
might be final, when time stretched generously to places
untraveled, back when you and I lived
in the pink bloom bubble of always, 
blue came, wrapped us in crenalated
folds dampening other colors, tamping down  
heartfire as it introduced finality. W
bowed under the weight of blue.






Posted for Flash 55 Plus for Kerry O'Connor at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who asked us to add the element of color to our 55 words. I took the photo in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

26 February 2015

Declare Love



Come lie with me beneath the stars
and make this night forever ours.
They say the morrow's war is surely lost, 
you fight and I need no reminder of the cost.

So steal this time with me, my love,
let night sky witness our sacred troth.
Toward midnight I walk a plushy stairway,
you return to soldiers' tent, await the longest day.

Is it ever thus, my gallant one?
Do lovers never win the right to come
first in plans to right the wrongs we see?
Let us declare love the way to set us free.




In response to Claudia and Brian's prompt at dVerse Poets to choose one of the lines from their poems and use it in ours. They've been spinning medieval tales this week. I chose one line from each of them: 'Toward midnight I walk up a plushy stairway'- Claudia's line and 'I need no reminder the cost'- Brian's line. The photo is of a friend's house in the ancient city of Lucca, Italy.

17 February 2015

Half Marathon Run











Two days ago I ran the half mmarathon in the National Maraton to Finish Breast Cancer, Jacksonville, FL. I finished 8th out of 61 women in my age group (65- 69). I feel surprisingly good today and pleased that I finished my 5th half marathon (and 1 full marathon) in this fun event which donates all its proceeds to breast cancer treatment and research at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. 

The fair skies and 50 degree weather provided near perfect running conditions allowing a course record in the marathon of 2:13:19 by Elisha Barno of Kenya. It puts my 2:40:17 for the half in perspective. He and the top elite runners passed me on the course in a flash of long strides and effortless gliding. I stood in awe. Gorgeous. the top woman runner, Serkalem Abrha of Ethiopia, finished in 2:39:14.

The run is through neighborhoods and residents come out with banners, posters, costumes, bands and silly shenanigans of all sorts to support the runners. It makes the run fun and gives boosts of energy along the way when energy wanes from the effort. I was off my goal  with a muscle pain behind my right thigh which slowed me down in miles 12 and 13. But my time beats winners of the next age group (70-74) which I'll age into next year. There are at least three of us who'll age up to this group next year, two with better times than mine, so my goal is to be in the top three next year. The top three of each age group win a prize (this year from Tiffany). Now that sounds like a worthy goal! 

I love to run! 

01 February 2015

Closing out the Decade and Plunging into the Next





I turned 69 a week ago, the last year of my 60's and prelude to my 70's. My 60's have been the decade of great adventures: moved to Antigua and then Italy, retired from my nursing profession, started running with a marathon and five half marathons so far, started writing with this blog, traveled around Italy and Europe with my Honey and spent my birthdays in Trinidad with my daughter, her husband and the grands celebrating with a hike to a place I haven't yet been. Great adventures brought expansion of my world view from international living, the satisfaction of successfully cleared hurdles from growing to love a new sport, the inspiration of exposure to the writers of world-wide blogs, the fun of doing writing I like, thought I couldn't do and improving at it, the awe of exposure to astounding works of art, architecture and more of the world's natural beauty and the exhilaration of tackling and overcoming long-held fears from challenging hikes (including the above plunge off an 8-10 foot ledge last Sunday which felt like 20!). 

There's no way, of course, to know what awaits me in my 70's but I've made some decisions that will tilt towards what I hope for. We're selling our house in Italy to move back to the states to be closer to family, I'll join a running group that includes elders who love to run, keep writing this blog but with a new perspective from being further along the journey and dive into the  life of the diverse community I hope to move to. In this first decade I've stepped into elderhood and found my footing as an elder. In the next decade I'd like to take all that I've received and use it to be of service to my tribe. I can't know how but it will become apparent if I pay attention. 

If the 60's are the youth of elderhood where we make the transition, try out new ways of being, keep what fits and discard what doesn't, then the the 70's are the middle years where we can use who we've become to serve the needs of family and community but with the added wisdom accrued. I'm eager to close this decade gracefully and plunge into the next.

31 January 2015

Bone's Memory




When I picture myself alive I'm in lavender 
fields near home back when muscles
powered me anywhere I pleased. They brought me
one morning to purple flower bustles
stretched out
far as eyes see, lavender cowls
gathered free,
held close against my decline,
becoming only bone, having to surrender
home's fields and time's spine.


Posted for Kerry's Flash 55 at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads with an additional feature of a form she devised with a word count each line and a rhyme scheme. The original inspiration was from Hannah's prompt, also from Real Toads, of Lavender Fields under Transforming Thursday/ Friday Nature's Wonders. Also posted for Open Link Night, hosted by Claudia, over at dVerse Poets Pub. Another in my bone poem series.