Winter Prompt #27: Something left behind in a place you’ve never been

SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND IN A PLACE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN

Winter Prompt #27

I left two novels.

I left five collections of poems

and scripts for six plays. I left

an article about conodonts

and a treatise on the rights of women.

I left them on that island in Maine—

I can never remember its name—

it was a two hour ferry ride—

where I didn’t live

in a small, low house in a meadow.

Not right on the shore since I couldn’t

afford it, but a short walk to the rocks

where I didn’t sit with my notebook

and my thermos of coffee

early every morning

whenever the weather permitted.

I left a few pottery bowls there, too,

a cello, a field of daffodils,

and in the shallow soil the buried bones

of a couple of dogs I loved.

Oh, and a little lilac bush that didn’t

amount to much because of the wind.

Winter Prompt #26: Ripped Paper

RIPPED PAPER

In memory of Ursula K. Le Guin

Winter Prompt #26

Tear it all up—

old bills and tax returns, bank

statements, stock certificates,

manuals and guarantees.

            But don’t stop

there. Tear up all the useless

books: archaic sciences, outdated

histories, smug theologies,

the whole thick body

of masculine pronoun,

life as battle,

possession as the highest good.

Winter Prompt #25: Sand

SAND

Winter Prompt # 25

Holiday Point, South Hero,

that summer between houses.

 

Popham Beach in the fog,

the first time I met the sea.

 

Fred’s Beach, Fourth of July,

hotdogs. Fireworks over the water.

 

White Strand of the Blasket, inviting,

dangerous, like its mothering land.

 

Kitty Hawk, where the first flight paths

are measured by stones.

Winter Prompt #23: The First To

 THE FIRST TO

Winter Prompt #23

We were always doomed,

we pioneer women, plodding,

we thought, toward a new land

while the residents of the old one

were sliding grumbling into their graves.

 

The lightless caves

were full of bears,

the forests wild with tigers.

Eagles screamed and fell

from the startling sky.

Nothing was easy.

 

The young ones have not followed.

How can we blame them?

The roads we made ended,

not in the City of God

but in the broken place we started from.

 

Some of us are still here

in our Gothic stonepiles,

wrapped in albs and stoles

tending a dying fire.

 

Some of us look sideways,

step into small houses

with open doors and warm beds,

with gently lighted windows.

We are making bread, sharing wine.

 

And some of us are climbing peaks

we could not imagine

when we started our long walk.

Our music drifts down

into the cities, shakes the towers,

rings the ancient bells.

Winter Prompt #21: A Country-Western Song

 

A COUNTRY-WESTERN SONG

Winter Prompt #21

Refrain:

He came through the night,

runnin’ all alone.

All he’d had to eat

was a thrown-out chicken bone.

 

 

This old cat has seen a lot of years

From the night I saw him first—

A streak of white across the drive,

Just fur and bones, but real alive,

All hunger, fight and thirst.

 

Refrain

 

We trapped and took him to the vet

We thought we’d set him free

When he was fixed and had his shots,

But it turned out he liked us lots—

My good old man and me.

 

Refrain

 

So now he’s sleeping on the chair

All full of fish and cream.

It goes to show that any stray

Just needs a hand along the way

To realize his dream.

 

Refrain, fading. . . .

Winter Prompt #19: Forget Matilda

FORGET MATILDA

Winter Prompt #19

No problem. I never, ever

remember her. Waking at 4 a.m.,

that old fear clutching—I am not

remembering Matilda. Walking

by the sea, filling my pocket

with white pebbles, admiring

the pair of osprey hovering

beyond the tide-line, I do not

think of Matilda. Stretching

my ice-cleats over my boots,

clipping the leash on the dogs’ collar,

following the ways of rabbits

through the snow—no Matilda.

Singing lonesome madrigals,

buying onions and soap,

drinking coffee with my husband,

feeding the cats,

reading to our grandson—

Matilda never enters my mind.

I have long list of sorrows,

but the one thing I do not regret —

I never remember Matilda.

Winter Prompt #15: DOTE

(and then this happened)

 

DOTE

Winter Prompt #15

Today, the given word is “dote.”

Perhaps I’ll write about a goat?

Or something I wrote about before?

A Dr. Suessy sort of note?

 

I will not write about a goat.

I will not write about a stoat

or a note in Dr. Suess’s style.

How about a winter coat?

 

Is a stoat anything like a weasel?

Do weasels eat oats?

People make winter coats from weasel fur,

but only when it’s white.  In winter.

 

Maybe weasels eat groats?

This is ridiculous. A kind of compote

of rhyming words on this white page.

Don’t quote me, please.

 

Compote, compose, compost. . .

Take the mote out of my eye,

and don’t quote me, unless to say,

“It’s all she wrote.”

 

With the mote removed, I can see!

Do you know that anecdote?

Anyhow, “It’s all she wrote.”

I’ll end this with an antidote.

 

This needs work.

Winter Prompt #14: Climb Something

CLIMB SOMETHING

Winter Prompt #14

(for Janice)

Katahdin, behind my husband and our fifteen-year old son,

leapers both. Up from the pleasant green, the sunshine,

up above the treeline, up to the gravel steeps.

The knife edge.

(Just close your eyes and take my hand.)

The boulders.

Thirty miles of boulders, or was it one hundred miles?

John and Henry leaped from man-sized rock

to man-sized rock while I picked my way around

or crept up and over like a semi-torporous lizard.

Two goats and a lizard climb Katahdin.

The summit was in cloud.

There was no “view,” only miles and miles of cairns

marking the trail, or perhaps the hundreds of lizards’ graves.

Winter Prompt #13: PRONGS

PRONGS

Winter Prompt #13

We raised our wands and remembered—happiness.

Not easy for us, whose families were marked,

who could do things sometimes with a careless word.

 

The time Mother made me a chocolate cake

for no reason? Fetching firewood in the forest

with Dad, and he taught me to drive the tractor?

 

Making love on the stony hilltop, with hawks

floating above us on their way to warmer lands?

I raised my wand again, and again.

 

All around me those beings of light springing:

deer, otter, fox, crow.  Don’t get mad.  (Easy for you

to say, who can summon the dead.)  Keep trying.

 

Late that summer night, climbing over the locked gate,

crossing the railroad bridge, silence everywhere,

rounding the darkest corner, fine rain

 

clinging to the pines, then the circle of light

around the lamp in the parking lot.  Exspecto

again, and from the tip of my brittle pine wand—

 

(Ah!  That’s why it chose me!)—

a meadow vole rises, carries me

to safety under the long wet grass.

Winter Prompt #11: Spells

SPELLS

Winter Prompt #11

1.

Great spider, untangle

the threads you’ve spun.

Turn to dust the husks of bees

and flies sucked dry.

Bits of leaf and fur let fall

and in the dark a new web weave

so in the dawn’s light

we may see the shining shape

of all set free.

2.

Audmula lick us from the ice,

Skadi, hunt up the sun,

free us from this Niflheim.

Bragi, loosen my tongue.