Write Me Up

Official writing with some random thoughts

Wednesday is poetry day! June 18, 2014

Filed under: Wednesday is for poets — Dorothy Lynn @ 10:00 pm
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At least it is here on my blog. At least, it used to be. I am going to try and be better about regular postings since school is out and my days are a little less hectic. Honestly, I’m still pretty busy with wedding planning and moving and such, but I can definitely manage a twice a week deal.
So for now, I leave you with some poetical advice. Read Robert Frost. Any and all of his poems. Just do it. Because he is honestly one of the best American poets ever. The fact that most people recognize his name is a big deal for poetry, but when you really take the time to dig deeper into his work, you find so much more depth and beauty than just the inspirational pieces we all had to read in school. I have posted a few of his poems on here before. Just check out my Wednesday Is For Poets category to your right, and you will find them. But I also want to post another one today. It is long, but that is good. In our Twitter-pated and instant gratification culture, it is very refreshing to take the time and read a well written, deep, long piece of poetry. So please, read the whole poem. It might take more than three minutes to read. It might mean that my blog gets a few less views and is less user friendly because it is more than 120 characters. I don’t care. Take ten minutes and read it. Then, if you can possibly spare it, take 15 more minutes and read it again, slowly. Trust me, it is worth it.

The Bonfire

“OH, let’s go up the hill and scare ourselves,
As reckless as the best of them to-night,
By setting fire to all the brush we piled
With pitchy hands to wait for rain or snow.
Oh, let’s not wait for rain to make it safe.
The pile is ours: we dragged it bough on bough
Down dark converging paths between the pines.
Let’s not care what we do with it to-night.
Divide it? No! But burn it as one pile
The way we piled it. And let’s be the talk
Of people brought to windows by a light
Thrown from somewhere against their wall-paper.
Rouse them all, both the free and not so free
With saying what they’d like to do to us
For what they’d better wait till we have done.
Let’s all but bring to life this old volcano,
If that is what the mountain ever was—
And scare ourselves. Let wild fire loose we will….”

“And scare you too?” the children said together.

“Why wouldn’t it scare me to have a fire
Begin in smudge with ropy smoke and know
That still, if I repent, I may recall it,
But in a moment not: a little spurt
Of burning fatness, and then nothing but
The fire itself can put it out, and that
By burning out, and before it burns out
It will have roared first and mixed sparks with stars,
And sweeping round it with a flaming sword,
Made the dim trees stand back in wider circle—
Done so much and I know not how much more
I mean it shall not do if I can bind it.
Well if it doesn’t with its draft bring on
A wind to blow in earnest from some quarter,
As once it did with me upon an April.
The breezes were so spent with winter blowing
They seemed to fail the bluebirds under them
Short of the perch their languid flight was toward;
And my flame made a pinnacle to heaven
As I walked once round it in possession.
But the wind out of doors—you know the saying.
There came a gust. You used to think the trees
Made wind by fanning since you never knew
It blow but that you saw the trees in motion.
Something or someone watching made that gust.
It put the flame tip-down and dabbed the grass
Of over-winter with the least tip-touch
Your tongue gives salt or sugar in your hand.
The place it reached to blackened instantly.
The black was all there was by day-light,
That and the merest curl of cigarette smoke—
And a flame slender as the hepaticas,
Blood-root, and violets so soon to be now.
But the black spread like black death on the ground,
And I think the sky darkened with a cloud
Like winter and evening coming on together.
There were enough things to be thought of then.
Where the field stretches toward the north
And setting sun to Hyla brook, I gave it
To flames without twice thinking, where it verges
Upon the road, to flames too, though in fear
They might find fuel there, in withered brake,
Grass its full length, old silver golden-rod,
And alder and grape vine entanglement,
To leap the dusty deadline. For my own
I took what front there was beside. I knelt
And thrust hands in and held my face away.
Fight such a fire by rubbing not by beating.
A board is the best weapon if you have it.
I had my coat. And oh, I knew, I knew,
And said out loud, I couldn’t bide the smother
And heat so close in; but the thought of all
The woods and town on fire by me, and all
The town turned out to fight for me—that held me.
I trusted the brook barrier, but feared
The road would fail; and on that side the fire
Died not without a noise of crackling wood—
Of something more than tinder-grass and weed—
That brought me to my feet to hold it back
By leaning back myself, as if the reins
Were round my neck and I was at the plough.
I won! But I’m sure no one ever spread
Another color over a tenth the space
That I spread coal-black over in the time
It took me. Neighbors coming home from town
Couldn’t believe that so much black had come there
While they had backs turned, that it hadn’t been there
When they had passed an hour or so before
Going the other way and they not seen it.
They looked about for someone to have done it.
But there was no one. I was somewhere wondering
Where all my weariness had gone and why
I walked so light on air in heavy shoes
In spite of a scorched Fourth-of-July feeling.
Why wouldn’t I be scared remembering that?”

“If it scares you, what will it do to us?”

“Scare you. But if you shrink from being scared,
What would you say to war if it should come?
That’s what for reasons I should like to know—
If you can comfort me by any answer.”

“Oh, but war’s not for children—it’s for men.”

“Now we are digging almost down to China.
My dears, my dears, you thought that—we all thought it.
So your mistake was ours. Haven’t you heard, though,
About the ships where war has found them out
At sea, about the towns where war has come
Through opening clouds at night with droning speed
Further o’erhead than all but stars and angels,—
And children in the ships and in the towns?
Haven’t you heard what we have lived to learn?
Nothing so new—something we had forgotten:
War is for everyone, for children too.
I wasn’t going to tell you and I mustn’t.
The best way is to come up hill with me
And have our fire and laugh and be afraid.”

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A poem to read and share May 5, 2014

Filed under: General Blog-tastic Writings,Wednesday is for poets — Dorothy Lynn @ 3:43 pm
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Sometimes I have moments that just hit me with how beautiful and powerful they are, so I memorize them and save them later to write about. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago, and this is the poem that came out of it.

Sassy’s Question

Just a little over a week after your mama died,
and here I am, three thousand miles from where
I stood a week ago, water dripping from my hair
as I stepped out of the bathtub and knew the worst
had happened, knew from the terse tone of the letters,
knew from that tug in my belly that always tells
me when you are hurting, knew that life would never be
the same and that I had to be here with you
a week later, standing on the deck of a boat, water
dripping from my hair with wind whipping around us,
your arms around me, steadying me, blocking
some of the drops rushing around us, the boat motor
roaring, the roses in my cold hands, drenched
in tiny diamond droplets that are so calm, so delicate,
so contrasting this moment that is loud and quiet,
funny and sad, adventurous and commonplace, standing
together with the ones we love when the little
one asks if we are taking a boat ride to heaven.

 

Part the third, walking in the park. September 16, 2013

Continuing the theme of strange coincidences
That aren’t actually coincidences,
I was walking in the park later that day
With my friend from college.
There is a thing that happens
When people ask me about the book
I am writing.
This thing annoys me,
But only because I cannot control
Myself, and I hate being out of control.
I begin to spout my whole story,
Themes, characters, plot outlines,
Names, places, action,
Anything that pops into my head.
For some reason, people still seem interested
But it vexes me to no end.
I wish to be mysterious,
To reveal just enough about my project
To interest a stranger,
Then leave them thirsty for more.
Instead I spray them with a fire hose.

My friend was still interested,
But my sister really had to pee.
So we found a bathroom,
Which, by the way, are difficult
To find in Central Park.
We sat on the ground while we waited
And a man walked by with an adorable
Dachshund in a pink sweater.
Well, the dog walked past first,
Followed by the man.
As we pet the dog, the man immediately
Began to spout the most random story
About his daughter. My friend and I had spoken
A greeting and nothing else,
When he recounted details
Of how his daughter wrote all the time
And never could seem to get a break,
When suddenly a major publisher discovered
Her talent and now she was selling her works.
Not two minutes before the pink-clad dachshund had
Approached us, I had been lamenting to my friend
That I didn’t have much hope in becoming successful
At my passion as far as making it into a career.
After his story, the man wished us a nice day,
And promptly walked away.
After that, I had a little more hope,
In spite of my procrastination,
In spite of my quirkiness,
In spite of my heartbreak and lack
Of motivation, I had a little bit of hope.

 

A walk in the park, continued. September 15, 2013

Even when you are walking in the park, life is not always a walk in the park.
My sister and I had just finished listening to “Amazing Grace” and we sat
in a little protected stone nook overlooking the fountain.
We were talking about my recent break up,
about our hair,
and about God and his amazing ability to interject little points of beauty and hope
into our lives.

He walked past again, but this time,
I noticed his limp. He foot was in a walking cast.
He looked in a hurry. I called out a greeting
as he passed us, and asked how the fundraising
was going. He looked tired.
“I’m in a hurry,” he explained.
“I have to finish this so I can go somewhere
important.”
“I hope you finish in time,” either my sister or I said.
I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow,
he told us that he had to go to a funeral.
He spoke of how he didn’t want to go.
My heart began to crack at his story.
Whose funeral? we wondered aloud.
His mother’s.
His mother’s funeral.
He didn’t want to go.
His sister hated him for his lifestyle,
and he didn’t have much time left,
and he only found out that his mom passed
two days before
because his bitter sister refused to tell him.
His eyes were so tired.

What do you ask when this happens?
What do you say when a stranger speaks
their heart?
How do you comfort such brokenness?
All I thought was to ask a question.
“What was your mother’s name?”
I didn’t even know his name,
but it felt important to know this little
detail. “Rebekah,” was his reply.
My sister and I looked at each other.
My sister’s name is Rebekah.
I can’t even describe his face.
It wasn’t that he almost cried,
or that we had done anything special to give him comfort.
He looked noticed.

Like he realized what we had just been singing,
“Amazing Grace.”

 

A walk in the park, a poem…. Roughly September 4, 2013

“Girl, your hair is so fabulous
it actually turned me
straight for a whole minute!”
He grinned as he talked us up.
His smile was sincere and his laugh
Genuine and when he asked
For money for Sandy relief
We didn’t even care if he was
Scamming us or not.
The trees overhead dripped gently
From the morning’s light rain,
And the wind blew my sister’s
Hair into a wavy mane.
It really did look fabulous,
As much as our meeting
With him.

We walked towards the fountain,
THE fountain, right in the middle.
We needed to find it because
Of the terrible angels.
We got sidetracked by the echoes
In the tunnel, echoes of harmony
And violin and classical guitar.
We stood to listen for as many
Songs as they would sing,
And stayed for some repeats.
The soprano made us cry.

To be continued….I have to go practice some music with a bunch of youths!

 

I am from… August 14, 2013

At the end of my trip to Alaska, one of our leaders had us all write a poem called I am from. We wrote it to help us think through who we are not according to the things we do, but according to our relationships and the places and people we come from. Here is mine.

I am from a small house.
I am from the neighborhood of close-parked cars and riding bikes on the sidewalk.
I am from summer nights sitting on the porch singing songs with friends.

I am from the lake.
I am from the green water and muck fights and algae in my hair.
I am from waffle lunch at Grandma’s house on Sunday afternoons.
I am from walking in a line of cousins out to the furthest point of the peninsula.
I am from fishing in the dog’s water bowl and playing pirates in the loft.

I am from stories.
I am from my great grandmother who stood against doctors and rules and trusted her culture.
I am from my great grandfather who ran away and found home.
I am from my grandmother who held her family together with strength and courage and a needle.
I am from my grandfather who fought fire and alcohol and himself and finally conquered them all.
I am from my mother who cares for all–from the greatest to the least.
I am from my father, a warrior for his mind, his heart, and his family.
I am from the green hills and mossy mountain and music that breaks your heart.
I am from trees that spread their arms in welcome and protect with their leafy shade.
I am from the history of words and written life, from years of conflict and beauty boiled down to hopeful art.

I am from questions and yearning curiosity.
I am from stars and atoms and unstoppable force/
I am from the mysteries of thought and consciousness.
I am from the need to discover.

I am from love.
I am form the One who created the infinite, vast spaces and the microscopic worlds.
I am from grace that gives all i need without asking.
I am from the favor of the Most High God, who shelters me under his wings.
I am from the original musician, who sings over me with incomprehensible love.

 

Combination inspiration April 17, 2013

The farm stretches for miles in every direction. It is flat and yellow. The ground is yellow, the sky is grey, and reflects the yellowness of the ground, and even the house is a faded yellowish brown. It is not dull, but brilliant, constantly changing shades and warming, from reddish orangey yellow to warm brown yellow, to cool grey-yellow. But always yellow, except for the trees. They are the crop. They are tall and slender and bright green at the top with fruits that hide under the huge outspread leaves.

They all decided that it would be cool to move into that faded farmhouse and maybe fix it up. They didn’t really know how, and the farm was so far out of any city, but they were friends, and they had the money, and they wanted to just get away. So they moved in and started to live there. There were four of them. At first they had these big ambitions–of getting the crop to be profitable again, of turning the faded yellow of the house into a bright cheery color again–but then they realized that it was already beautiful. They also realized that they didn’t know how to accomplish those dreams. So mostly, they just sat outside on the large patio around a big table made out of wooden planks and talked and drank  and ate together.

Eventually, other friends found them and came to visit. It was sporadic, only one or two at a time, but it increased their number and their sense of belonging. Something was wrong with the trees though.

The trees wouldn’t grow. They stayed exactly the same all throughout the year. Always tall, always slender, always green, always fruited, but never changing. They began to wonder if the fruits were edible. They tried to harvest them and found that they weren’t fruits at all but huge colonies of bees.

The bees lived inside the fruits, now fossilized. They lived on the moisture of the leaves. They never left their nests, but when they saw the humans invading their trees, they began to formulate an attack plan.

The four friends quickly retreated into their house. The bees would not follow, but they heard noises, every day, from the tops of the trees, until one day, as they stood on the front porch of their safe, yellow, home, they saw it. A huge black metallic flying machine, buzzing buzzing buzzing from the treetops, buzzing toward them and buzzing away toward the cities….

 

And then I woke up.

 

Yeah, that’s right, I totally dreamed that last night. Here is a list of things that I think caused my brain to make up that dream:

– The song “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men 

-This exhibit on Australian Aboriginal art at the Toledo Museum of Art http://www.toledomuseum.org/exhibitions/crossingcultures/

(Here is a picture of one of the pieces.) 

-Reading Orson Scott Card’s short story that was a retelling of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum

-Reading The Count of Monte Cristo. (ok, you can’t see this from what i wrote above, but in the dream, everyone was dressed in early to mid 19th century clothes, and they were all nobility….i wasn’t sure how to incorporate that in the retelling of the dream.)