Category Archives: Poetry

Envious

I’m green with envy
Hearing you complain
About having to care for
Your aging father
It’s such a burden you say

What I wouldn’t give
To be planning my daddy’s
95th birthday party today

But there’s no party
No celebration
Only wishing him near

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The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Quadrille (44 words exactly) using the word “green.” The prompt isn’t live yet in my time zone, but I peeked at some other poets who have their poems up already to find out what the required word is.

My dad would have been 95, but he died 23 years ago so this is as close as I’ll get to celebrating his birthday.

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Blooming Season

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I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend Mother’s Day than walking with my son among 600 or more varieties of iris, along with the many “companion” plants—oriental poppies, fringe trees, lupine, and more. The weather is perfect. The sun comes out enough to keep us warm, but then slips behind a cloud for respite from its rays just as it’s feeling a little too warm with a sweater on.  Who knew there were so many different iris? Two-toned purple Poets Rhyme, burnt orange Drinks at Sunset, gold and pale yellow King of the Road, and vivid yellow with brown beard What It’s Worth (according to the sign, $40—yeah, I don’t think so).

Then there are the darker hues, purples verging on black, that catch my son’s eye because of their names. “These are some pretty edgy names for flowers,” he says, taking a picture of Hello Darkness (my apologies if you are now singing Sound of Silence in your head), Before the Storm, Banshee, and Old Black Magic, to name a few. Finally he decides he’s taken enough pictures.

We continue to wander up and down rows of iris while my husband takes a rest on an orange bench in the shade. The color combinations are simply stunning—I want them all in my own garden but I’ll later have to settle for just two. Then I happen upon what my son decides is the best iris name ever—”It’s as if the iris took my challenge to come up with the edgiest possible name,” he says—and there before me is Pretty Edgy. He snaps his final picture. The day’s perfection is complete.

Iris, iris bloom
Ev’rywhere the eye can see
Divine artistry

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This is posted for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today where Bjorn is asking us to write about walking.

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The Book of Life

I am not frightened by the sight of an
ugly deformed fallen angel
hovering in my room. I’m writing
of his presence because his fleeing in
the name of Jesus is evidence of a
name, my name, being written in a book—
the Lamb’s Book of
Life everlasting in a home of transparent gold

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Another short Golden Shovel for dVerse Poets Pub. I seem to be stuck on poems with “gold” in them. The line I started with was the fifth line from Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt. This is another poem I memorized for speech competitions in high school and has lately been running through my head at random times. I’m quite amazed that I still have it memorized after all these years.

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Speaking of Gold

She saw in nature’s
beauty and majesty her first
glimpse of the Divine, swathed in green
amidst the beauty is
an echo of gold

The home He gave her
turned out to be the hardest
to hold onto as the hue
of the forbidden fruit came to
tempt her and take hold

The loss of her
innocence came much too early
even as the green leaf’s
sprout was still on the tree and a
serpent offered a lovely flower

She could have walked away but
then there was only
nothing to lose or so
said the deceiver with an
invitation of an hour

to spare for then
it would have fallen, the leaf
as the temptation subsides
and yet that was not to
be the fate of the leaf

Temptation bowed to evil, so
rich and lovely Eden
survived, but humanity sank
deep into despair so as to
succumb to grief

Now we long so
earnestly for the Light to dawn
to know where love goes
or see love come down
and heal our souls to
see the break of a new day

A day where nothing
more precious than transparent gold
will pave the way so we can
in Eden forever stay

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The Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is a Golden Shovel poem, which is a poem in which you take one or more lines from a favorite poem and use those lines to be the end-line words in a new poem. The result is that if you read down the right margin of the poem you will see the original line or lines. I chose Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost and used the entire poem. This poem was a big challenge for me because I discovered that you can’t really write a Golden Shovel poem unless you use enjambment, which I have a hard time with usually, but I think I made it work.

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Southern Exposure

For weeks I’d been getting away with pants or at least longer shorts. Up in the mountains of Ramona it wasn’t too hot. But that day we were off to Calico ghost town in Death Valley—the whole family was going and there was no getting out of it. Besides, I loved the desert. Still, it was likely to be 100 degrees or more and there was no way to get away with pants. So I pulled on my pink shorts and tank top, hoping mom wouldn’t notice.

Of course she did. “What’s that bruise on the inside of your thigh?”

I suspect she already knew. Mary Lou’s mom had probably called her the day it happened. (Your daughter’s friend doesn’t get stepped on by your horse without you calling her mom, after all.) I had convinced myself she didn’t know I’d gone over there that morning; that I’d gotten away with the forbidden main-road crossing before school. I was sure she didn’t know about that fateful bareback horse ride and me falling off. But the jig was up. The heat had exposed my secret.

Southern exposure
Reveals what we’d like hidden
In the desert heat

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Had to write another Southwestern-inspired poem, a haibun this time, for dVerse Poets Pub.

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Living Water

I’m a prickly pear cactus
living in this hot Mojave Desert

They call my home
Death Valley for good reason

Life-giving water is scarce
but I know how to survive

When the rains come
I store up this treasure
deep in my veins

It sustains me when
the inevitable dry days come

I’m a Christian
living in this spiritually dry land

They call my home
earth, a fool’s paradise

Life-giving water is scarce
but I know how to survive

When I hear God’s Word
I store up this treasure
deep in my soul

It sustains me when
the inevitable dry days come

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For the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today, Mish wants us to write poetry inspired by the Southwest, by the desert. I love the desert—the warmth and dryness appeal to me in a way the green and rain of the Pacific Northwest (where I live now) never could.

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Sifting Beans

I’m sifting through dry beans
picking out rocks
tossing damaged beans
skipping the limas
keeping the good ones
planning a steaming hot
pot of bean soup with bacon
carrots, celery, and onion
a few of my favorite herbs

Or maybe I’m writing a memoir

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni offers the word “skip” for inclusion in our 44-word poems today. I’m thinking about what to leave in and what to leave out of the memoir I’m writing.

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April’s Almost Gone

Iris are blooming
New flowers are in their pots
The rain comes and goes
April has flown by so fast
May flowers and sun at last

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Remembering Dad

My dad was the best.

I remember when I was a kid how with gloved hand he would take each bullhead off the hook so I wouldn’t get cut by their spiky fins.

I remember how he taught me to shoot a BB gun in our backyard.

I remember how he let me play in the stacks of tires in his shop and then give me money to go get a Mister Misty at Dairy Queen down the street.

I remember how he would drive me to church and Missionettes and youth group meetings every week in middle school.

I remember when he took me shopping to buy my first pinstriped suit for speech and debate class.

I remember him saying he was going to buy me that Dodge Charger for sale on Main Street then bringing home a Ford Maverick instead because he got it for the price of the tow bill and a new engine that he put in.

I remember opening my mailbox at college and finding a card from him with the note “Here’s a little mad money for you. Don’t tell your mom.” and 20 bucks inside.

I remember that he came to my college graduation but not my wedding 4 months later because my mom was too sick.

I remember the huge smile on his face when he came to my baptism when I was 23.

I remember his last call, when he said “Come see me,” but I didn’t hear the urgency in his voice so I bought a plane ticket to Palm Springs for 2 weeks later.

I don’t remember who called to tell me he’d died a week later but I do remember the darkness that followed.

I remember the turbulence on the puddle-jumper from Portland to Palm Springs and wishing it would just crash.

I remember listening to “Indifference” by Pearl Jam and wondering if the pain of losing him would ever go away.

I remember many more things about my dad, but most of all I remember that he loved me and he died far too young.

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The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is to write an “I remember” poem.

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Set Free

She drove away from the pizza place
joyful in the knowledge that she had been set free.

No dark cloud appeared.

She realized she was humming along,
tapping her foot to the beat.

As she waited for her pizza to go,
Bad Company played on the radio.

One day, she stopped to get a pizza
on her way home from work.

She felt a weight lifted and joy return.

When she awoke, she knelt and prayed
for the strength to forgive.

One night she dreamed of forgiveness
and knew it was a message from God.

She pondered taking her own life
because she thought she was forever broken.

She spent years in darkness and anger.

She was never the same; whenever she heard Bad Company
a dark cloud would descend upon her.

Afterwards, he drove her home
and left her broken upon her doorstep.

Bad Company played on the radio.

He assaulted her in the front seat of his Lincoln.

He asked if she wanted to go to a party
and she said yes because he seemed nice.

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The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a story in reverse. I couldn’t help but turn each line of this semi-autobiographical story into a verse.

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