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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

I need a new word
for the conflict that
rages within me

I need a word
for the feeling that hits
when I see
a response to force
so primal
so basic
so innately human
yet
so brave
so admirable
so worthy of honor
that
I become a forge
a crucible filled with
heart and spleen
love for the spirit
hatred for the reason

This alloy of
love and anger
horror and awe
this reactive nexus to
the best
and worst
of humanity
surely deserves
a word of its own

k

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from beyond our horizon
comes the sound
    tympanic booms
    savage rumbling
    the faraway growl
        of stomachs hungry for
        power
        control
        more

so we fret
with brows furrowed
    in cultivated concern
    whilst
we mumble apologia and
    with clucking tongues
serve imported tea
    at finely-set tables

but that thrum
    that urgent pulsation
to our distant friends
is the pounding of fists
    on skins stretched taut
a percussive temblor
    shaking hearts and lands
a crescendo of chaos
    building
        to the cymbal’s crash
        to rimshot snares
        to the xylophonic dance of bones

once was a time
this selfsame song
danced upon the breeze
    a faint and subtle rhythm
we listened and
    with pallid interest
chose to admire
    the musician’s technique
rather than critique
    the tune

but the cacophony spread
and others took up the noise
until the world shrieked
    through those bloody measures
and millions vanished
    beneath the grinding treads
        of war

in time
we wrote a coda
    to the obscene chorale
having learned
    that for some
    more
    is never
    enough

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purple-robed dawn creeps
past evergreens cloaked in fog,
lifting night’s dark veil

sleeping birds awake,
unfurl dew-draped wings and sing
the morning to life

a cat on the sill
chitters, a phantom huntress
prowling her grey world

k

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—-

first light begins its
slow creep toward younger hours
dreaming of new life

—-

I wrote that haiku yesterday or, more accurately, I copied that down yesterday, as I awoke with it fully formed in my brain. All Things Natural have been “front of mind” lately, as this week we had our first real break from the rain, and I’ve been spending time outside.

Every afternoon this week, for an hour or two, I’ve been out in the gardens—pruning, raking, trimming, clearing, gathering—in a futile attempt to complete all my cold-weather chores before the season warms and the now-dormant plants awaken. While this is arguably less of a workout than time on the elliptical, I keep at it longer, so I’m calling that a wash.

One thing I cannot do while gardening, though, is watch a video (my go-to for indoor workouts). So, because I’m a over-achiever by training and cannot do merely one thing at a time if I can do two (or three), I indulge in the next best thing: I listen to podcasts.

I’m relatively new to podcasts. I’ve tried audiobooks, but since I have no commute and thus no regular activity where I must remain eyes-alert but idle-eared, I usually got a few chapters into a book and then didn’t have a chance listen to it for a month or more, disrupting the narrative.

Podcasts, though, are perfectly suited to this task, even the hour-long ones. Encapsulated, whole, pithy, geared toward the audible rather than the visual, I can set them up in a row and burn through them whilst puttering with ferns and maples, roses and lupines, listening and working simultaneously.

The two I’ve been listening to this week are both language-oriented, and I recommend them to writers and readers of this blog.

Science Diction:
This podcast is an offshoot/subset of the more well-known Science Friday podcast. I’ve never liked Science Friday, as the faux banter they use to tie together the various “articles” is—sorry guys—cheesy and painfully obvious. Science Diction is a subset of those “articles,” was hosted by Queen of the Vocal Fry, Johanna Mayer (at least through 2021), and focuses on the meaning, etymology, and historical context of science-y (and not-so-science-y) words. Ambergris, jargon, hurricane names, gene names, robots, mercury, these have all been topics of this 12–20 minute segments, and I’ve burned through them all, loving each one.

The Allusionist:
Helen Zaltzman hosts this language-centric podcast, with a voice that is the perfect juxtaposition of posh British tone and working-class American idiom. I’m only a handful of episodes into this (working from 2015 toward the present), but already they’ve covered the origins and history of words/phases such as “bra,” “going viral,” and the c-word. As with all good (IMO) podcasts, they spiral outward from the base topic a bit, to give a broader view of the surrounding context, showing the wider connections to the world at large. They vary in length from 10–30 minutes, and come out once a fortnight.

There are other language-focused podcasts out there, but I haven’t spent time with them so cannot recommend. If you’ve listened to any, please leave a recommendation in the comments. I expect I’ll be burning through a lot of them this season.

k

 

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Waking is hardest
with heart still open
from night’s departing shades
and the dawning world without
so harsh and saber-sharp
eager for blood

My somnolent soul
has yet to splash its face
much less don plate or shield
and so lies bare before
the onrushing sweep of
life’s unforgiving blade

But since memory shows
my every morning has seen its afternoon
courage pulls thews taut
and thus is joined the daily battle
between my dreams
and the unsleeping world

k

 

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I was born in fog
welling from the coast’s cold waters,
mariners’ mournful cautions
echoing ’round my infant hollow,
earth-bound cloudbanks
tumbling over the ringing hills,
billowing down our mist-slick street,
infusing my new world with ancient distance.

I grow old beneath rain
birthed by distant, tropical seas,
cooled by winds scented with
salt and sand and sun-warmed kelp,
sped by sky-high rivers
to beat upon these tree-clad shores
and wash down to feed the tidal flats
with burbling, silted waters of myriad streams.

Between them is stretched a life
where my limbs grew fast as springtime rye
beneath shadows chased by auspicious suns,
where towering guardians of wood and stone
surrounded the humid masses or arid wild,
where my heart tasted honeyed love and sharp-tongued disdain,
traveling inland altitudes redolent
of mineral earth, verdant crops, and heady loam,
but never the cold, deep cradle
whose primeval memory flows in my veins.

Bound by water,
I have slept in many places,
but only near the sea
have I lived.

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your need is my desire
your desire is my hope
your hope is my dream
your dream is my heart
your heart is my home
your home is my love
your love is my comfort
your comfort is my need

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