from the unknowable beyond
to hearten us, for we miss
and grief’s jagged edges cut us
even as the edges of mortal life are
remaining, as we do, on this side
living; broken; aching
every night, all night
tenderly, I watch over you
and reaching out to inspire you
from beyond the very fringes
Harkened through the snows of New Jersey,
Heeded through the storms of Cleveland,
Purest nothing, on nothing, absorbed me,
Sheerest nothing, on nothing, I am
Upon nothing, nothing I, one/dering
About nothing, not touched much by snow,
Where nothings, together, not nothing,
Where something within ached to go,
Nothing, listened, through blustery blizzards,
Whispering, nothing, nothing, here I am
Through cold nothing, I heard, I shivered,
Something, mine, called [from] Jerusalem.
The writing challenge: We were to focus on the theme of ‘paradox’ and select one of the following to build poems around, of which I selected #2:
1. Here are some lines from Paul Dunbar’s The Paradox: – select ONE and build your poem around it.
I am thy fool in the morning, thou art my slave in the night.
I am the mother of sorrows; I am the ender of grief;
I am the bud and the blossom, I am the late-falling leaf
2. Take the last lines of Wallace Stevens’ The Snow Man and write a poem that is imbued with the existential paradox implied there. [the meaning of which is the ridding of our usual human observation and viewing winter as a ‘man of snow’ not a snowman! (more HERE)]
For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
steady, solid, here
I am alwayshere
for you here
for your arms
for your backside
for your back to rest
rest upon me now
rest your weary legs
rest against me; the
rest are flashy, true, still
true I am always
true inside, always
true outdoors, always
true, I am dull, but still
still, unmoving, reliable
still your beating heart
still your breath, your mind
still here, still
I am still here
I am still
I am dull
I am still
The writing challenge: To take the perspective of a color in our poems: maybe the vibe and personality of each color is just as we have perceived it. Maybe not. So… let’s leave reality for awhile, slip out of our human bodies and become nothing but a color.
I have always had a fondness for dark, dull colors, and my poem above was written from the perspective of the color brown.
‘Let’s have fun, guys!’ – a d’Verse poetics prompt
Lost in thought I
From my mind
Pop it into my mouth
Chew it pensively
As more sprout
From my brain
Pushing out of
My twisting sulci
Above my gyri
King oysters proliferate
I gather them all with
Through my cranium
Of the woods
And shaggy lion's manes
Pushing through my ear
Balloon out across
My scalp and forehead
Full of black
Trumpets and wood
Blewits spreading up
My tender cheeks
Bursting with huge
Over my face
Sigh shiitake! Well,
At least they are all
At d’Verse, we were asked to have some fun with fungi, as the starting point for our poems.
And… I can honestly say that I had fun… and I am a guy.
OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! your haunting
calls, dire warnings ere impending
falls, unheeding ape-men charging
tall, ignoring farsighted soarings
OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! you've studied
death, counted those countless muddied
breaths, swooping, swiping with bloodied
sneath, men's legions life-and-limbless
OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! this hallowed
Land, sought endlessly by shallow
men, mauled bodies from green gallows
hang, you ~flutter~ 'bove friendlessly
OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! OOOP! harbinging
croon; was it crowned bird's unhinging
tune that left this sand Land tinged in
prune, seeped deeply dark in Cain's sin?
The hoopoe actually gets its English name from the sound it makes while singing. The song is a deep, haunting ‘oop oop oop’ that has led to the bird being associated with death and the Underworld in Estonian tradition. The song itself is said to forebode death. Across the majority of Europe, it was thought of as a thief and as a harbinger of war in Scandinavia…
For the purposes of my “war poem” above I deliberately address the hoopoe as a harbinger of death and war, but it is only fair to note that this elegant bird is regarded very positively in most cultures, including throughout the Middle East and in Islam.
The bird known as the hoopoe… has been a common motif in the literature and folklore of eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, from ancient to modern times. As a solar symbol, it was often associated with kingship, filial piety, and wisdom, and its body was believed to possess potent magical and medicinal properties…
The intervals between our letters
are dependably constant.
Our friendship forged for the ages.
Our affection warm and lasting.
Our love spanning vast oceans and generations.
I write to you about the New York City blizzard
that has snowed us in this Chanukah, while my grandchildren
throw themselves upon my sticky jelly donuts. We are getting old,
dear friend; how many frayed and yellowed letters in shoeboxes?
Most days I usually stay at home in my cozy nightgown. I look
often at your photographs. Some days we still speak. Other
days I reread your elegant script. Your tinkling laughter
continues to ring in every syllable.
We were specifically instructed to: write our poems as continuations of where the poets of our choice left off, thematically, in the same mood, rather than literally, giving special thought to our own final lines.
by Gail Newman
The country between us has no borders. The barbed wire has been cut. The walls decimated. The moat drained beneath the bridge. I cross over to you carrying a metal lunch pail filled with bologna sandwiches, mayonnaise spread from crust to crust. We sit in the grass, our skirts spread over pale legs. Some days I wear jeans, a blouse with open collar. I look into your face as into a mirror. Some days we speak. Other times we remain silent. As if we could hear music inside the words.
Death begets darkness
Dimming skies above flutter
Essence of shades
Swirls through existence
Emerging budding gushing
Teeming multitudes of energies
Energies of multitudes teeming
Gushing budding emerging
Existence through swirls
Shades of essence
Flutter above skies dimming
Darkness begets death
d’Verse prompted us to think about connecting or connections—in any sense. It could be connecting ideas, connecting historical moments, or your own connections with people, places, nature, or art. Also, to think about how we are connecting words, phrases, lines, and ideas in our poems.