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.

26 October 2014

A Bag in the Road

At first she thought the lump in the road
was discarded corn casings,
the fine silk of corn tassel,
the curve of bag from stripped husks

left fom corn pickers, maize huskers,
the cobs were sent to cribs, shelled and ground for pone
or left for seed at the chandler
(seed corn must not be ground),

the botany of maize bran, of grain foraged 
from fields now bare. A world she knew.
But there was movement, slight, not from 
wind breeze or road heaves or passing cars.

She saw it, felt her heart beat faster,  
a wretch start in her stomach, she walked
on heavy feet that didn't want to carry her
to or away from that curved bag with the gold tassels.

For Margaret's Play it Again Toads over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I picked Hallow's Edge by Ella that had us take a line from a ghost poem. I used "at fist she thought the lump in the road..." from Red String by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

22 October 2014

Ritual Disguised

A grain of red where my heart used to be,
the smallest of wounds barely visible,
portal to trick things out and in, free
but with unknown dangers able

to bring me to my knees. A grain of prayer
offered in sacrifice to bring healing balm
and let escape the tigers who bare
their teeth like shards to slaughter calm.

A grain of peace planted deep
within, may it flourish in dark soil,
spread its roots in the tangle that keeps
all in place while veiled in its roil 

is well- churned moil swirling grains
of smokey doubt harbored in the red 
wound as steady beat entrains
strict rhythym in place of easy tread.

Offered for Grapeling's Get Listed Ghost Stories over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Out of his October words I used: portal, trick, sacrifice, slaughter, veil, smoke and in the title: ritual, disguise. Original inspiration, however, came from Kerry's Sunday Mini-challenge: In Other Words- A grain of __.

13 October 2014

Gnawin' On It - Happy 41st Anniversary!

"They say it's hard to keep it going
When you're together for so long
They say combustion's for the youngsters
We should be glad we get along
But they don't know nothin' 'bout it
The way you love me it's a shame
'Cause there ain't nobody better
Blowin' embers to a flame."

Let's just keep gnawin' on it, Honey, ain't nobody better!

10 October 2014


Here in this land
where harvests really happen,
a long way from home,
this land where I now stand

and watch the gathering of grapes,
the press of olives just picked,
the harvest of gourds
that wear withering leaves like capes.

Strange that something so foreign
to my coordinates throws me back 
to where I began,
from harvest years to dawn.

A city child steeped
in one country's history
with hair and skin of another,
people in search of a land to dream deep.

And how those city ways
shaped me, formed the curve of my spine,
gave me the resolve needed for what I faced,
left me with enough for all my days.