Category Archives: My Poems

#Writephoto ‘Feast on the Sunset’ Thursday Photo Prompt #amwriting #Poem

This poem was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly Thursday Photo Prompt. Check out Sue’s wonderful blog for more information. 

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Feast on the Sunset

Sip the joy,

Swallow the pain,

Savour the love,

Slowly drink the sun,

Smell the bliss,

Feast on your life.

 *

Sink into the beauty,

Sail through the sorrow,

Search in the sky,

Spray with the sea,

Stay still in your soul,

Feast on yourself.

*

Sprint through the struggle,

Soar through the storm,

Slide like a swan,

Swing to the stars,

Sing your survival,

Feast on your story.

*

Stroke the sky,

Sprinkled with sunrise,

Sway with the scars,

Search for silence,

Start your script and

Feast on the sunset.

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#AtoZChallenge ‘Y’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Burning Oak’ by Joyce Carol Oates #amwriting #poem #NaPoWriMo

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of the  poem, or the author’s name will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

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Today I offer you Burning Oak by Joyce Carol Oates, which starts and finishes with the word ‘Yesterday‘ and Unhappy Trees by Luccia Gray.

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Burning Oak by Joyce Carol Oates

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Yesterday, the sky in mute

horizontal swaths, air

almost too thick to breathe.

we found the stump of an old oak, man-

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sized, burning without flame

at the edge of a clearning __ splintered wood

raw, bulldozed roots exposed__

even the black ants fled

*

in the stink of old grief

made pubic and final, old hopes exposed __

past tense! __ now headless leafless a stump

knocked half out of the earth

*

and the soul just blue smoke vague

and slow-spreading rising without grace

into an indifferent sky no one will paint,

or photograph, or see__

except us: yesterday.

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This poem is about disintegration and regret. The narrator describes the death of a tree, which has become a stump. The oak tree is splintered, bulldozed, roots exposed, leafless, and nobody cares, because no one will paint it, photograph it, or even see it, except the narrator and another person, ‘us’, which leads the reader to believe the real subject of the poem is the end of a relationship, viewed some time after the event. More about Joyce Carol Oates here. 

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Oates’ poem reminded me of a photograph I took a few days ago of a tree, which had been run over, so I decided to write a poem about this fallen tree, or perhaps it’s about something completely different…

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Unhappy Trees

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A drunk driver

On his way home

One dark night, hit  

The gloomy tree.

It had wished for

A better place

To grow its roots.

It had longed to

Be surrounded

By earth and grass.

It’s too late now.

They’ll use what’s left

to light camp fires

And tell chilling

Stories about

why drunk drivers

Should beware of

unhappy trees,

Made to grow by

ugly roadsides,

Surrounded by

cement, on their

way home at night.

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#AtoZChallenge ‘W’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Wild Nights’ by Emily Dickinson #amwriting #poem #NaPoWriMo

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of the  poem, or the author’s name will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today I offer you Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson and Wild Nights by Luccia Gray.

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Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson

 

Wild nights! Wild nights! 
Were I with thee, 
Wild nights should be 
Our luxury!

Futile the winds 
To a heart in port, 
Done with the compass, 
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden! 
Ah! the sea! 
Might I but moor 
To-night in thee!

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This short and intense, love poem by Emily Dickinson never ceases to astound me. The fact that a solitary and introvert recluse, who may have suffered agoraphobia, wrote such a passionate poem is amazing. Although the poem is allegorical, it is clearly about the poet’s yearning to meet, ‘were I with thee’, and make love ‘wild nights’ with ‘thee’, the person she has given her heart to. She compares meeting this person to ‘rowing in Eden’, and longs to ‘moor tonight in thee’. The experience is never accomplished and remains in the realm of her dreams, which is why she describes ‘wild nights’. Presumably, her desires were never fulfilled, so the contained and repressed sexuality is even more powerful in its tragedy.

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Emily Dickinson is a fascinating and enigmatic poet, read more about her here. From the age of thirty, Emily always wore white, and she was buried in a white casket, wearing a white dress. I was fortunate enough to visit Emily Dickinson’s Homestead some years ago. Her white house dress, exhibited on the top floor landing, just outside her bedroom, is one of the highlights of the museum. The dress impressed me at the time and inspired me to write this poem, which is a reflection on her unfulfilled desires, making use of the imagery in her poem, Wild Nights.

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Wild Nights! By Luccia Gray (After Emily Dickinson)

Wild nights! she cried, 

A tiny, frail figure,

Yearning for love.

Futile winds,

Rocked her boat,

Rowing to Eden,

Dressed in white.

*

Wild nights, she cried

As she swayed in the sea,

Neither compass nor chart

Led the way.

Still she craved

Her Nirvana,

Dressed in white.

*

Wild nights, she cried,

Her heart reaching its port,

Where she moored at last.

Finally resting,

In her casket,

Far from the sea,

Dressed in white.

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#AtoZChallenge ‘V’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room’ by Victoria Chang #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of the  poem, or the author’s name will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room by Victoria Chang

While the man is away

telling his wife

about the red-corseted woman,

the woman waits

on the queen-sized bed.

You’d expect her quiet

in the fist of a copper

statue. Half her face,

a shade of golden meringue,

the other half, the dark

of cattails. Her mouth even—

too straight, as if she doubted

her made decision, the way

women do. In her hands,

a yellow letter creased,

like her hunched back.

Her dress limp on a green chair.

In front, a man’s satchel

and briefcase. On a dresser,

a hat with a ceylon

feather. That is all

the artist left us with,

knowing we would turn

the woman’s stone into ours,

a thirst for the self

in everything—even

in the sweet chinks

of mandarin.

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Most poets are influenced by what they see, and especially by other art forms. I think this poem by Victoria Chang captures the moment Hopper froze in his painting and reminds us that the artist wanted the viewer to ‘turn the woman’s stone into ours.’ The poet interprets the picture is about a search for the self.  More about VICTORIA CHANG.

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My interpretation of the picture is more of a sense of a loss of self, of being trapped in nothingness. The girl has no way out. She can’t make sense of the world around her. She’s depressed, desperate, alone and trapped…

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Trapped by Luccia Gray (after Edward Hopper’s Hotel Room)

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Bags dropped,

Hat off,

Dress neatly folded.

Shoulders hunched,

Naked,

Faceless,

Reading

Your wordless letter.

‘To whom it may concern,’

She replied,

‘No way out.’

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#AtoZChallenge ‘U’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Union Square’ by Sara Teasdale #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today I offer you two light hearted poems about unrequited love. Union Square by Sara Teasdale and Plans, by Luccia Gray.

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Union Square BY SARA TEASDALE (1884-1933)

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With the man I love who loves me not,

I walked in the street-lamps’ flare;

We watched the world go home that night

In a flood through Union Square.

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I leaned to catch the words he said

That were light as a snowflake falling;

Ah well that he never leaned to hear

The words my heart was calling.

 *

And on we walked and on we walked

Past the fiery lights of the picture shows —

Where the girls with thirsty eyes go by

On the errand each man knows.

 *

And on we walked and on we walked,

At the door at last we said good-bye;

I knew by his smile he had not heard

My heart’s unuttered cry.

 *

With the man I love who loves me not

I walked in the street-lamps’ flare —

But oh, the girls who ask for love

In the lights of Union Square.

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Union Square is a light-hearted approach to a girl’s search for love. While many of the girls in Union Square are looking for fun, and perhaps earning money in exchange for their favours, the girl in the poem says she’s in love and she’s looking for commitment, yet the man she’s with ‘loves her not’, perhaps because he’s mistaken her intentions, which is why she says he doesn’t hear her, or perhaps because he doesn’t love her, or isn’t prepared to commit. In any case, he girl is a realist. She’s aware that he doesn’t love her, and yet, although there’s a lament, the tone is light. The reader gets the impression she’ll keep looking, and maybe one day she’ll find the person who will love her, too. I like the way the girl is empowered. She’s not going to wait around and cry all day. Lack of love is treated in a humorous, natural way. Hey, it’s not the end of the world, there are plenty more fish in the sea, the girl seems to say.  

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I’ve taken the same theme, a relationship that doesn’t progress because the man is not in love with the woman, and dealt with it in a light-hearted way, too. We make plans, we cancel plans, then we make new plans, and life goes on…

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Plans by Lucia Gray

She thought she found,

Her true love at last.

They walked hand in hand,

Making plans.

She thought she’d met,

The man of her dreams.

She whispered, He kissed her,

Making plans.

Much later she learned

He loved her no more.

She was sad, he was sorry,

Cancelling plans. 

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#AtoZChallenge ‘T’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Telescope’ by Louise Gluck #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

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Today I bring you two poems about the vastness of the universe, perspective and loneliness. Telescope by Louise Gluck and Closer by Luccia Gray.

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Telescope by Louise Glück

 

There is a moment after you move your eye away

when you forget where you are

because you’ve been living, it seems,

somewhere else, in the silence of the night sky.

You’ve stopped being here in the world.

You’re in a different place,

a place where human life has no meaning.

You’re not a creature in a body.

You exist as the stars exist,

participating in their stillness, their immensity.

Then you’re in the world again.

At night, on a cold hill,

taking the telescope apart.

You realize afterward

not that the image is false

but the relation is false.

 

You see again how far away

each thing is from every other thing.

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Louise Gluck reminds us things are not as they seem. The telescope helps us see something closer, but it’s only a temporary fancy. The telescope doesn’t make things bigger or bring them closer, it only creates the false appearance of closeness. Telescope is all about perspectives, how things we look at can seem near and yet be far away or vice versa. However, the poem is also about solitude and loneliness. The final line is tragic, the vast universe makes us think about how distant and alone we are as a planet and as individuals.

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Closer by Luccia Gray

Long black nights

Stars shining

Brighter

Make a wish

Calling dreams  

Closer

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#AtoZChallenge ‘S’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Lament’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today I offer you two poems on grieving, Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Lament by Luccia Gray.

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Lament,  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892 – 1950

Listen, children:

Your father is dead.

From his old coats

I’ll make you little jackets;

I’ll make you little trousers

From his old pants.

There’ll be in his pockets

Things he used to put there,

Keys and pennies

Covered with tobacco;

Dan shall have the pennies

To save in his bank;

Anne shall have the keys

To make a pretty noise with.

Life must go on,

And the dead be forgotten;

Life must go on,

Though good men die;

Anne, eat your breakfast;

Dan, take your medicine;

Life must go on;

I forget just why.

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Lament was originally published in St. Vincent Millay’s book Second April, in 1921.

A lament is an expression of grief. Some scholars have said that there is no grief in this poem. I disagree. It is true that it is not a typical mourning poem, but the mourning is evident. They accuse the widow of being a cold person who does not cry for her husband’s death. They are judgemental and have totally missed the meaning of the poem. People deal with grief, or rather need to deal with grief, in different ways.

I believe this woman is a devastated person who has lost her husband, but she still has two children to think of. The poem was published in 1921, the widow would not have a government pension, and they are obviously poor, so she’s trying to be practical and positive, and reassure her children and herself that they’ll be able to cope.

She doesn’t break down and cry, because if she does, what will happen to her children? She can’t mope around and write sentimental sonnets, because she has two mouths to feed and look after. Dan is ill, and Anne needs to eat, important practical matters. I think she’s a brave and resourceful woman who is trying her best to survive alone in a cruel and hostile world.

She speaks kindly of her husband, he was a good man, but she must forget him and think of her children, if they are to survive. The last line is devastating, she’s forgotten why life must go on, life has lost its meaning for her, and yet she needs to survive. It’s heart wrenching because her situation doesn’t even allow her to break down and cry because she is too overwhelmed by practical considerations.

Anyone who reads this poem and accuses her of being heartless, really needs to read it again with some more empathy.

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Edna St. Vincent Millay in Mamaroneck,[8] NY, 1914, by Arnold Genthe (Public Domain).

EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY, who was famous for coining the phrase, ‘my candle burns at both ends.’ was an American poet who received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923. She was one of the most respected American poets of the 20th century and was known for her poetry readings and feminist views. 

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My poem, also called Lament, is the widow’s reply to those who accuse her of being heartless.

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Lament (After EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY) by Luccia Gray.

They said I was heartless

For sewing jackets from the coats he’d used,

And stitching trousers from the pants he’d worn.

They said I was pitiless

For making toys for Anne with his keys,

And filling Dan’s bank with his pennies.

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They said I was merciless,

To dare to forget I was alone,

And would probably lose my home.

They said I was ruthless,

A widow who refused to weep,

A severe punishment should reap.

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They didn’t mind

That a good man had died,

That my daughter was starving,

Or that my son was ailing.

They just wanted to see me crying.

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I should have told them

I had cried so much

When nobody watched

That my eyes were cracked

 And my heart was parched.

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#AtoZChallenge ‘R’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

 

Today I offer you two poems about remembrance and death, Remember by the Victorian poet, Christina Rossetti, and Remember Me by Luccia Gray.

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Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned.

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve.

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Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) wrote Remember, a sonnet in the style of Petrarch, when she was still a teenager. It’s a classic Victorian poem about mourning and remembrance. She tells her lover to remember her at the beginning of the poem, yet at the end, she seems to change her mind and tells him not to grieve if he forgets her for a while. 

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I haven’t written a sonnet this time, but I have taken her theme of remembrance and death, with a more optimistic note.

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Remember Me

Remember me when I am gone,

With smiles not tears, with love, not fear,

Smile at photos, laugh at memories,

Read my letters, write me poems,

Remember me when you are sad,

I’ll be waiting, for our meeting,

I’ll blow kisses with the warm breeze,

I’ll send music with the sunflowers,

Remember me, I’ll be right there.

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#AtoZChallenge ‘Q’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘The Queen of Hearts’ #amwriting #poem #Nonsense Nursery Rhymes

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today a lighthearted post, which is a relief after the last few intense days. I offer you The Queen of Hearts, an anonymous rhyme, whose main character was made famous by Lewis Carroll in Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

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The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

She made some tarts,

    All on a summer’s day;

The Knave of Hearts

He stole those tarts,

    And took them clean away.

The King of Hearts

Called for the tarts,

    And beat the knave full sore;

The Knave of Hearts

Brought back the tarts,

    And vowed he’d steal no more.

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The Queen of Hearts is an English poem and nursery rhyme based on a character in playing cards. The Queen of hearts is also part of the plot of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Queens of Hearts is a type of light verse, mainly for children, including imaginative characters in funny or fantastic situations. It’s also called nonsense verse , because it includes absurd or meaningless situations and even made-up words. It originated in the nineteenth century. The roots of these rhymes are attributed to Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Although the poems defy common sense and seem illogical and simplistic, they are inherently complex and often contain more meaning that is apparent, however, I wouldn’t dare to guess at the hidden meaning of the Queen of Hearts, would you?

“The Queen of Hearts” from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose.

Here’s my nonsense rhyme.

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The Queen of Hearts

The fairy grandmother said,

‘One more tale and then off to bed.’

The children clapped with glee,

While granny sipped her tea

And started.

According to the Queen of Hearts

In a lighthouse we must start.

A lighthouse in the daylight,

Is useful in its own right,’

Said Rapunzel

As she cast her hair,

For her prince so fair.

But Jack climbed up to talk,

Looking for his beanstalk.

What about the little pigs?

The wolf, he can go eat some figs.

Cinderella found a fella,

Saving damsels with an umbrella.

The lighthouse was so overcrowded,

The ugly sisters were dumbfounded.

They called a witch to cast a spell,

She sent them all down the well,

Where they learnt to row their boat,

Round and round the castle moat.

Then said the King of the castle,

‘Go away you dirty rascals!’

‘What happened next?’ asked Matilda,

Right after the fire killed her.

‘I’m afraid I’m now a ghost.’

Alice said, ‘to that I’ll toast!’

She found a lamp, the Queen of hearts,

While Aladdin tried to eat her tarts.

Thinking it was a clock, the blind mouse

Carried the Queen up to the lighthouse,

And so my little friends, 

This is where this story ends.

And now you better go to bed,

And forget everything I said. 

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That was fun!

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#WordlessWednesday #SixWordStories ‘The search for peace starts within.’

 

This photograph doesn’t really do justice to the beauty I saw when I took the picture.

The stupa is beautiful, as is the Mediterranean Sea and sky in the background, as well as the tropical vegetation, yet however much beautiful stimulation my mind receives, in the end, it’s when I close my eyes, breathe  and look inside that I can find peace, within myself.

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White and gold on blue

Now close your eyes and breathe

What is it you see?

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