On This Date


by Annie Lighthart  On this date many things happened. Governments were heaved into being, creeds were repeated, maps and speeches given and believed. There was quiet on this date. A little boy lived. There was sleep, and one birdcall stitched all the way through. On this date there was longing. Someone walked through a room. One hand brushed loose crumbs into the other. The earth received them out the side door on this date, on this day. “On This Date” by Annie Lighthart from Iron String. © Airlie Press, 2013.  (buy now)

Oh, For a Muse of Fire


Time to get to work. Doing the inspiration-kick-myself-in-the-ass thing this morning again.  O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that have dared On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth So great an object: can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or…

Time


Originally posted on unheardunspokencogitationum:
Time heals the biggest wounds It spreads over the hurt parts Slowly wrapping them up with Patience, teaching them to let go Gradually making the pain subside Like a dull bearable ache in you That you learn to live with, smiling It teaches you gratitude for little Things you never thought mattered But as a wise teacher it waits for You to catch up with and learn to Smile again realizing you survived It will plant hope in your heart again Letting you know feel the world has A-lot to offer to you and one failure Is not…

Only bravery


Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:
“For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point — and does not break.” – C.K. Chesterton Courage is not only a virtue, or one of the most important virtues, or even the most important virtue that a man can posses. Courage is every single virtue at its breaking point. One cannot be good without being brave; this virtue of his will be tested by men, will be discouraged. One cannot be ambitious unless he is brave enough to keep on going when it seems that the entire universe…

Tunes of Life


All those years ago And I remember the first time, In the moonlight, When you stood before me Shy, uncertain, serene, While I tried to start breathing, Soaking in the sight of you With your gown fallen, body free. All these years, as you leaned in Asking me to find the music, To clumsily compose songs of our life, Teaching me how it should go, With you as the instrument upon which Our song would be played.

Four Dead in Ohio: 1970


If you weren’t alive or aware of the world on May 5, 1970, this probably won’t mean much. And, it was a different time. That’s a trite way to put it, but it’s all I can think to say. But the screaming headlines around the world the next day about the killings at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard shocked me to my innocent, Midwestern, trusting core. I suppose a similar impact would be for those who remember 9/11 as the traumatic event of their lifetime. The anti-Vietnam protests had been raging on campuses and city streets for a couple of years by then,…

A Bucket of Crabs


I’ve been working since I was 15. This sums up waaaaaaaaay too much of what it’s been like. Might be time to focus on who’s providing the bucket. the great escape by Charles Bukowski listen, he said, you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a bucket? no, I told him. well, what happens is that now and then one crab will climb up on top of the others and begin to climb toward the top of the bucket, then, just as he’s about to escape another crab grabs him and pulls him back down. really? I asked. really, he said, and this…

Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree


This was going to be just an anniversary rerun, happily marking one year today since my stroke. And I apologize for the need to make this a little darker than I’d intended. But I think you’ll see why. I’m doing well, happier than ever, tapping deeper into the craft I love, and enjoying new friends —you— as never before. I’m living much more healthily, have lost 23-pounds on the way to 35 or more, and the satisfactions of this blog alone has reduced stress. I want to be around for a while, tasting the sweetness and bitterness of life in equal measure. I’ve never felt…

Thunder


One day you’re thinking about ordinary things, Groceries, taxes, walking the dog, the upcoming weekend, Problems a friend is having, plans to celebrate a graduation, Finances, cleaning out the garage, And all the plans… trips we wanted to take, Places to finally see, places we put off seeing Until the kids were launched, happy, safe. Then we hear thunder over the horizon, Like the pounding of many hooves, And the sky darkens, the air grows cold, the sun loses all warmth. The pounding, the thunder, the messengers’ announcement Comes up through your feet, sinks into your bones, and you know what it is.…

the ride


Originally posted on anntogether:
it is difficult stepping away from those tracks against a crystal skyline, pillars of graceful loops and effortless curves are intriguingly sexual and artistic we approach without planned caution and when in tactile position become overwhelmed with complex magnificence nearly all our senses fire off excited for limitless possibilities the engine pulls up with its H.G. Wellsian glow Dalí inspired cars follow, enticing soft-shapes open up we board, as sure-footed as the person ahead of us the ride begins at a drugged snail’s pace then we plummet down, down, down, around, around, sideways, upside over… we stopped appreciating…

A Resting Place For Innocence


You won’t live remembering starvation and Fear of the End. Of. Everything. You won’t know how blood spread across the world. Twice, and spawned the thought that maybe Too many of us just didn’t want to live any more; I fear you may remember other things. And you won’t remember when the world Stared for decades at the glowing nuclear flames of Hell Transfixed. Seduced. Blinded. But not humbled, even after all that. But hoping, know it’s a feeble lie, that You won’t know that. You won’t know the unending cruelty Of one to one, many to many, none to one. That last…

2660 Miles in Four Minutes


A photographer named Andy Davidhazy hiked the 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was both a physical endeavor and a photographic one: every mile he traveled, Davidhazy stopped and took a single selfie. The video above is the time-lapse that he created after his epic journey. My feet hurt just looking at this. But what a great record of a huge accomplishment.

Knowing What To Do


“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying…or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you. Before long, all existing things will be transformed, to rise like smoke (assuming all things become one), or be dispersed in fragments…to move from one unselfish act to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness…when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and…

The Curvature Of Dirt


Originally posted on Elan Mudrow:
? The trees are strangers here. Sun fed children, standing Revealed. A stumbling dance We take photos of the young To remember nameless faces To recognize familiarity And apply colors to leaves Branch, stem, and trunk Sprayed out, brown and green, with an occasional blemish, added As the roots run shallow Too close to the surface, which Is our own likeness, re-presented   And the dirt is not real It hides from us, refusing To partake in our activities Of blankets and gardens. We cover it up in growth That is in our likeness, and Name it…

Self-Reflection, Cheerleaders and Naughty Baked Goods.


Originally posted on You've Been Hooked!:
As my fingers bounce around the keyboard it is eight am in the morning in Niagara Falls. It is also Saturday morning and that means the lobby’s voids are quickly filling with travelers. There are families, wannabe jocks in over-sized jerseys, young tramps, cheerleaders, actual jocks, and miscellaneous miscreants of all shapes, sizes and ideologies. The Hook is home. So why do I feel totally disconnected from the world? I worked eleven hours yesterday and I spent every one of them waiting. Waiting to feel at ease in my uniform, behind my desk, or wheeling…

Ordinary Things


Ordinary things be time machines, Containing important futures. Surprising links to before-times. A cardboard box that held a cheap microwave, This morning. Taking scissors to slice along the seam of the bottom, Pulling to break the hold the staples had, Breaking it down… I was 16 again, back in the storeroom Of the S&H Green Stamps store in my hometown, Along Main Street. There were trees along all the streets. My first real job. I unloaded semi-loads of stuff, boxes of stuff, Stuff frugal people would order from catalogues, Or walk into the store to buy with their Carefully saved booklets of stamps.…

Hunger


How cruel these nights, his belly knows, Through rocky valleys gorged with snows; His watchful eyes like shards of ice, The lonely hunter’s hunger grows. On solitary trails of white, In empty days and bleakest night, Ten million nights have come to this, Death strikes true, or life takes flight. A feathered hunter watches near Taunts “Who is that who founders here? “Who is it damned to roam the rocks, “While I soar free and without fear? Red in tooth, sharp in claw, Ruthless Nature tests us all. Eat or die, win or lose, Five billion years, that’s been the law.  Yet we believe, against mere fact, Our charms will make the fates retract What may just be…

I Am the Wind. I Bring News


(Revised, in impatience and hope; One year later and we still wait for Spring) I Am The Wind. I Bring News T’was always thus: The sun rises in the sky, the days lengthen,  Energy stirs the world. I am born of heat and light and urgency. And once born, I move. I must move. I just move.  My siblings and I, spawned from sun-boiled shallow waters and bare slopes, Sweep through budding branches, Laughing, whispering high and low through village And city and farm and thicket, We stroke and excite power lines ’til they thrum like cello strings, Or an impatient lover, eager for more attention.   We pick up debris left…

The Day You Looked Upon Me As A Stranger


From: The Writer’s Almanac by Jeffrey Harrison I had left you at the gate to buy a newspaper, and on my way back stopped at a bank of monitors to check the status of our flight to London. That was when you noticed a middle-aged man in a brown jacket and the green short-brimmed cap I’d bought for the trip. It wasn’t until I turned and walked toward you that you saw him as me. What a nice-looking man, you told me you’d thought- maybe European, with that unusual cap … somebody, you said, you might want to meet. We both laughed.…

Contest


From Retkonpoet.com There are 4 or 5 spots left. Readers are free to nominate a poet of their choice, as long as it is not themselves. Please make sure to ask permission of the author you are nominating before submitting their name and blog link to the comments below. All nominations subject to final approval. The ownership and credit of work posted here remains the intellectual property of its original author or publisher, and I make no claim to it. A link leading back to the website or blog of the original author will be provided. All nominations must be submitted by April…

Hands


(revised) What can you tell from a person’s hands? He’s been gone for 32 years, but some of the earliest memories I have of my father were of his hands. Easily able to engulf my little paw in his, my outstretched fingers couldn’t span much more than his palm. He had a doctorate., and an office job during the week, but when he got home to the little farm he and my mother bought just before I was born, he reverted to his true self. The white shirt and suit, the thin dark ties, the polished dress shoes all went into the…

The Land, The Land… Always The Land


I remember the summers of tall corn, and Princess, Running, face slapped and cut by green leaves while she Dashed in and out of the alien-looking bases of the stalks laughing, daring me to follow. I remember feeling the darkness close in, alone in the tall corn, stalks closing over me, afraid. Closing out the sun, closing off a sense of direction, Saved By a laughing dog who found me, asked-why-I-was-standing-still… Running away, free among the stalks Until I followed, redeemed, pulled into the unknown, laughing, too. Summer days among the tall corn, lost, found, redeemed, Long rows curving into mystery, terror,…

Toward That Far Shore


The past month has been one shaky step after another across a river full of undertow and old, unhealed wounds. But each step has led me away from the comfortable, known, safe, stupid and dull, toward the unknown, risky and exciting; toward the resurrection of a sense of mystery, of the smell of a new place at dawn, of winds out of the north with hints of Spring or Canada, and the distant call of wild things hunting in the night. I know that doesn’t tell you the facts. Not the external ones, anyway. But, it’s all I’ll say for now. I suspect, though, that these are the…

Unsaid


When last we saw the sun’s demise, Beyond the world’s red rim, We huddled high above the night, Held up by faith’s thin thread. All through the night’s tear-stained goodbyes, As light and hope grew dim, Still grew within an inner sight, A peace we thought was dead. As morning’s face reveals the skies, In life’s most hopeful hymn, In us new wisdom, burning bright, Knows now what’s best unsaid. ©Hemmingplay 2015

The Wind That Shakes the Flowers


Ill winds slide in from the dark, Rising out of the earth To rake hidden talons Through unsuspecting lives. The light changes on a word, A bloody shade drops across a sun Turned sombre, colder, ugly, distant, alien. A chill grips the heart, and our primal nature Like the wolf, teeth bared, its hackles rising, Turns to the unseen, but familiar, threat hiding in the dark, Its putrid scent fouling the night, A cowardly foe that only strikes by stealth Takes by inches. All we can do is bare our fangs, Hold one another and wait together.

Countdown to The ‘Mud-Luscious’ Season


For my friends in California—or other mythical lands to the far west and South where the winter climate can’t actually kill you— this is to remind you why you live in California—or other mythical lands to the far west and South. I wish I were there, too. But it’s much worse north and east of us. (I haven’t forgotten you, Canada and Boston! Bet you were worried…. Stay tuned for stories of massive flooding in a couple of weeks.) The mountains I’m looking at about a mile away are freighted with white still, as they have been since before Christmas. It was 0-degree F. this morning.…

Power


Yay! The boys (and girls) are back.  This from the first episode, one of the best definitions of power I’ve ever heard. And on a cable TV series, no less.: “Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst. And corrupts the best. I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.“ —Ragnar Lothbrok, Viking King talking with his son on the eve of invading England. “Vikings” on History Channel

Satisfied With Mystery


“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge…

La Lune, La Lune


 Above the night she sails austere, Chill face hides peaks forlorn; Alone she rises from the edge, Alone she lights the sky. Beneath her rolls a world asleep, Or lonely loves’ distress; Or skein of geese, for Southland bound, Wing blackly ‘cross her track. Three hundred million years from now, When you and I have gone, And insects rule what once was ours, Will they remember us? Will they build moonships to La Lune, And scramble ‘cross her skin? Will they find bootprints we left there, And wonder how we fell? ©Hemmingplay 2015  

Pungent Valentine


I hope the author won’t mind me sharing this here, especially since I do it because she’s come up with an unexpected and fresh image or two, and that’s a hard thing to do. That last line is a surprise that hides some troubled days in the past, I suspect. There will be plenty of cloying and sweet sentiments flying about, and Hallmark will make a killing, in any case. (I put the link where you can buy her book. There’s that, too. :-) ) by Carol Ann Duffy Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion. It is…

We’ve Done What Was Asked


  Prow’s on the horizon, wake’s a long bubbling flow, Storms uncounted I weathered, bleak terrors I know. My passage, it seems, leaves no mark at all. I glance back in sadness, then say: “let it go.” The ship presses onward, destination unknown, Taut cables around me mutter, sing, snap and moan, The mast tip groans forward as new gusts arrive, Her sleekness leaps gladly, the sea’s deep her own. Through the darkness she takes me, my eyes cursed and blind, Brine coats me, it seems, for three times out of mind. I pray for the sight of rare stars cloaked in mist, And dream, wistfully, of old friends left behind. Each dawn brings the thought, despite what is past, That this day will bless me with shore…

Old Roses


This is terrific. A small image that opens a door onto something big. by Donald Hall White roses, tiny and old, flare among thorns by the barn door. For a hundred years under the June elm, under the gaze of seven generations, they lived briefly like this, in the month of roses, by the fields stout with corn, or with clover and timothy making thick hay, grown over, now, with milkweed, sumac, paintbrush. Old roses survive winter drifts, the melt in April, August parch, and men and women who sniffed roses in spring and called them pretty as we call them now, walking…

The Third Twenty Years


Pablo Casals had this to say about age and excellence: “The first twenty years you learn. The second twenty years you practice. The third twenty years you perform. And the fourth twenty years you play.” I’m realizing I have a few more performances to go yet, and am looking forward to the play time. Every day starts with the thought “time to quit screwing around.”

That Sickening Feeling


You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished. WILL SELF

Death of the King of Terrors


It is sometimes strange how something comes to us only when we can hear it. The dark wings are whispering closer to people I know and love, and it’s time. “Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no…

We Have Been Here Before


Twitter sent this to me this morning, and it struck me that the same could be said of life in 2015. We are not getting better at this task of being fully human, are we? W. B. Yeats* ‏@DailyYeats   We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart’s grown brutal from the fare; More substance in our enmities Than in our love; William Butler Yeats (/ˈjeɪts/; 13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for…

Big I’s


Originally posted on anntogether:
My Friends, Big I’s I wish I had miles of long hair to toss out a tower window. I wish I knew my children when I was a kid. I wish I kept the little black motorcycle I never stayed upright on. I wish I had a spotted cow in my backyard. I wish I could wear a silver ball gown and waltz. I wish stars were close enough to taste. I wish I felt this young when I was. I wish beds were made of clouds. I wish I could share all my thoughts. I wish I could wear night as a…