28 November 2014

Giving Thanks

I'm struck lately
by the bounty
of time given 
in retirement,

the stretch of day
to do as I want.
The burden is to choose
wisely, to plumb

my heart and play 
my stars, each day.
The grace
is the freedom 

of choice itself. 
What excites me,
interests me, draws me,
expands me? 

How can I move
toward those?
How can I fall
more in love with

life, this life, my life?
Read, write, run,
nurture family,
talk to John,

visit friends,
settle after years of travel,
become a hub,
although the 'of what'

can't be known yet. 
Weigh in
on what matters,
Step toward it.

Be an ally.
That's all. Except to
give thanks 
for this life.

 For Brian at dVerse Poets Pub who asked us to write what we're thankful for. I took the photo of the Swan Boats in Boston this past summer.

26 November 2014


It's the sheer scale of the problem that daunts,
and the skew of things contoured by years
of seeing blacks as shadowed strangers.
Lack of contact clouds judgement, fears

fly without relief from here to the horizon
at each report of black on white crime
with dirt retold on 24 hour news again
and again magnifying fear each time

as if we were waiting to be reoffended.
Are we? Offended is the right word 
but are we? Women are blamed for rape
and violence against them. Absurd.

Only men, allied with women, can stop rape and violence
against women. Only whites, allied with blacks, 
can stop racism. Increase contact, read, listen,
speak up, speak out, have each other's backs.

Posted for my biracial grandchildren and for Grapeling over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who gave us a word list inspired by his plane travel but which I took in another direction in the wake of Ferguson, MO and too many similar incidents. In spite of the scale of the problem, we must believe we can effect change and then do it. If not now, when? If not me, who?

20 November 2014

Who I Am

I'm red hair 
but not its quick temper,
except sometimes.
I'm freckles
that trace a map
of other lands on my face.

I'm muscular legs
that run me where I want
and take me to unfrequented places.
I'm fingers curled over
a keyboard capturing words
black on white.

I'm hungry mind seeking words,
filled by reading them,
yearning to learn new ones, 
playing games of them.
I'm celtic mix that savors
family, gathers it, celebrates it,

cheers it on, helps fix it.
I'm broken one
at home with other broken ones,
on their side, arms around their shoulders.
I'm woman in love
with other women, 

with bone feel for our 
persistent plight.
I'm woman in forty- year love 
with a man, a singular
bright light man who
shows me clear blue sky.

I'm mother, brave
enough to bear a girl child
and raise her to be brave.
I'm grandmother to two dear ones who
bring me dragons and build new worlds.
I'm threshold ready to expand. 

I'm wise elder to my tribe
and beyond.

Posted for Brian, who's hosting at Poetry Jam and asked us to write about who we are.

07 November 2014

Fair Bones

The good thing about bones
is there can be no comparisons,
who's thinner, who's better looking or better dressed.
We can tell males from females, of course,
the angles of bones and width of spaces,
but expectations don't hinge on that
or judgements formed.

The problem with bones
is the lack  
of skin to hold us in, 
the vulnerability to breaks,
the hunger
that can never be stilled 
and the question we debate endlessly
of contact with the living.

We know things 
and want to pass them on,
especially to those 
who share our marrow
but the how 
eludes us.

That's what bones seek:
to be wrapped in skin again, to eat, to talk, to be heard.

Gay Reiser Cannon has us writing about "fair" over at the dVerse Pots Pub, Meeting the Bar. She gave various definitions but since I'm on a bone kick, I chose fair as "having a disposition free of favoritism or bias" for this and found bones to meet that standard in an exceptional way.

06 November 2014

Bone Dreams

I dreamt last night.
It answered my question
about whether the dead dream.
Must mean dreams come from bones
not brains, bones as scaffolding 
for psych and soul with the DNA of generations 
carried deep within 
bones' marrow.

But about that dream,
some ancestral reverberation 
straight from the marrow,
grandfathers galloping through,
priests stealing things from children,
a girl rising up to accuse the priest,
she took things back too, wanted to reclaim
her grandfather's treasures, 

That's what you can do with bones:
stand, yell, take, hold, dream.

Inspired by Grace at dVerse Poets Pub who wrote about The Book of the Dead Man by Marvin Bell and asked us for a poem written by one dead. The link has expired but here it is posted for Mama Zen with Words Count in the Garden who wrote of the circus and requested 90 words or less about which performer you are. This is skeleton man, or dead man walking.

04 November 2014

A Country You Carry in Your Pocket

A country you carry in your pocket,
stays there as forgotten as pocket lint
but filters your perceptions, marks you plain when 
you walk through the world, it's not only you,
your country is in your pocket, carried lightly
or heavy in its heft, gravid as you meet others
with other countries in their pockets.

Posted too late for Mama Zen's Flash Fiction 55 over in the Garden so here it is for Kerry's Open Link instead. Inspired by Brian at the dVerse Poets Pub who shared the first line in one of his posts. It got me thinking of my experiences living in Italy and traveling around Europe.

29 October 2014

This Poem Is the Poppies

This poem is the poppies,
one red ceramic poppy
for each British soldier killed
in WWI, a castle moat
filled with a red sea planted
in waves by silent volunteers
stretched as far as eyes can see
and farther than hearts can bare.
This poem is the war
did not end wars.
It happened again
and again and again.

Posted for Gabriella at dVerse Poets Pub who has us writing War Poetry. I saw this exhibit in London in September where a single red ceramic poppy was planted in the moat around London Tower for each soldier lost in WWI. There will be 800,000 when finished so this is just a fraction. WWI was called the war to end wars at the time. There were over 37 million military and civilian casualties.

27 October 2014

A Poem in October

October here is not the October of my youth,
days remain warm even while nights cool,
sun invites final days of outside dining,
children catch last hours of outdoor play.

Grapes, harvested in great trucks, are pressed
and judgements made on the stamp this year's weather,
vines are cut back to trunk, ground tidied for the coming year,
all focus is now on making wine with the year's distinctive vintage.

Olives, coaxed from generations old trees, spill on the ground
to be scooped into burlap bags and quickly pressed for oil,
shared with pickers, family and friends before sale of all excess,
pruned branches burn in fields and scent the air with turf- like smells.

Octobers of my youth were things of color,
an extravaganza of New England fall colors,
New England at its best, a lavish 
showiness of reds, yellows, oranges, fuchsia,

the abandonment of Pilgrim reserve to flaunt a ruckus of color,
whole mountainsides wild with flamboyant spectacle,
the boisterous rave of hills doubled in reflective lakes,
even small ponds mirrored the elaborate abundance of color

to dazzle us before the bare thickets of winter appeared,
fallen leaves filled yards, got pressed to preserve color
against the black and white of winter,
were fingered while lingering in front of winter fires.

Posted for Open Link Monday with Magaly at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and prompted by Kerry's earlier encouragement to read Dylan Thomas's  Poem in October
I took the photo in New Hampshire.