06 May 2015

Good- Bye for Now

Our apartment here in Italy is under contract and we hope to close in July and head back to the states. What a grand adventure these last six years have been. Living in Italy immersed in another language and culture, traveling around Europe, making friends internationally, getting better acquainted with our extended family in Ireland is one of those life- changing, deeply enriching experiences that has forever changed me and my world view. From what I thought this might be to what it has been is so much more, so much richer as to be a whole other reality. My imagination was way too puny.

So, while I yearn for home, I am grateful to my Honey for working in Europe and inviting me to all the places he's traveled, to our friends here for making it all possible with friendship and generous assistance whenever needed, and to our family who only supports us and cheers us on despite not having us nearer. Altogether, and with our own bravery, it has meant an extraordinary opportunity in this, the youth of our old age. I've taken the first steps into retirement and into elderhood; I welcome the next stage.

I want to focus on the process of packing, saying good-bye to our friends and wrapping up our life here. I'm taking a break from my blog, which I started when we decided to move to Italy, while I do this. The next stage will be different in ways I can't imagine and will call for changes in my blog that I also can't imagine. Becoming acquainted with this virtual world of writers sharing your lives and considerable skills has been an amazing door opener for me. You've been my mentors, my inspiration and support in my efforts to stay conscious and write it down. I thank you. I wish you smooth journeys.

12 April 2015

Two Ways of Looking at Bone

Bone is a most interesting thing.
It encrypts brick and feather
it's shaped 
with shades of blue
like ice midwinter
that Maine winter of cerulean snows
when a small boy's 
sledding yells rappelled 
down the hill.

But now 
spring is a carousel
that spins a kindred melody
(Are daffodils ciphers 
bloomed to mock death?)
brings a bone wish 
to walk again 
the garden 
to feel earth's curve 
under spine.

Inspired by Hannah Gosselin's blog, Metaphors and Smiles, back in March where she gave intriguing instructions for a Guided Poem. I liked it and have been playing with it since. Today's post by Grace over at Real Toads about Wallace Stevens pulled it together though. It's another in my Bone Poem series.

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. That 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, not triumphant,
but 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!