MEMERE–prompt #75

MEMERE

Prompt #75: Invent a Grandparent

 

Once she stopped a runaway horse before

the horse ran over a little boy. The boy’s

father was so grateful, he got her pregnant.

He set her up in a shack on the edge

of town and paid her every month, enough

to get groceries for herself and my dad.

That grandfather died before I was born,

and I am just as glad.

 

Memere always had dogs, stray ones she tamed.

She could tell fortunes by watching crows.

I liked visiting her. Dad didn’t mind,

but Mother worried every time.

I used to sleep in her loft

on a feather bed she made.

She taught me how to kill chickens,

how to bait a hook,

how to build a fire with wet wood.

 

Memere had different names for the stars.

She had three books:

The Oxford Book of English Verse,  

My Antonia, and

Moby Dick, which she knew by heart.

She never did believe in God, she said.

What went on in the woods and sky

gave her enough religion to get by.

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PAGE 56, 2017

With thanks to contributors. You know who you are:

 

The temperature was dropping

and a light snow was falling.

Even the sky above the City

had a green tint,

and the rays of the sun were green.

It had, however, but a bare

and uninteresting church,

built in the latest and worst

period of Perpendicular,

with a slate spire and no bells to speak of.

 

The Manichee, therefore, was entirely

embedded in the visible world.

To the new generations of country

and village boys now pouring into

the university in such large numbers,

she had become, in a curious way,

an instructor in manners,–what is called

an ‘influence.’ A lady doctor dressed

in silks was an oddity, and Oscar

Maroney’s curiosity, once engaged,

had to be satisfied.

 

They asked her where she was

making for, and she answered: “You are come

to the very edge of the Wild, as some

of you may know. ….Because it is not ‘engaged’,

the Faith becomes vacuous. In the strict sense,

however, the term historical

criticism refers to the ways in which

a historian might use the New Testament

to learn about history.”

 

Italics signify the couple of little tweaks I made.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

~Prompt–for a book you haven’t written

 

 

First of all, I must thank my parents.

Without them, I would be normal,

and this book would not

have been possible.

 

My husband did not

comment on it, or even read it.

In fact, for the past eight months,

he has been living

in a tent in the woods.

I love you, sweetie.

Words cannot express

my gratitude.

 

My children are grown

so I thank them for not

getting in my way

(except for two hysterical

phone calls which only

kept me awake nights

for a week or so).

 

I am grateful to my agent,

despite her claim that

I was the direct cause

of her most recent breakdown.

I am not responsible for everything,

but she is responsible

for finding a home for my work.

 

All my editors—every single

one of them—have been

marvelous.

 

The Spring St. Poets

have provided occasionally helpful

feedback and comic relief for years.

Thanks, guys!

 

It takes a village

to produce a book, so I owe

a great deal to my neighbors

who put up with my midnight

hurdy-gurdy/bagpipe fests

and afternoon target practices,

and only called the police three times.

 

These poems

are for them.

 

 

MP   March 1, 2017

‘QASIDA

‘QASIDA

November. I drove through the woods alone.

The chapel had not changed—yellow stone,

pine benches, carven altar, the wide, worn

boards of the floor, pale ceilings adorned

with stenciled flowers. I watched the sun

mark the walls with pattern as it shone

through the western window, low.

Once this was a shelter from the storm

around us.  Once, with you, I won

what my heart desired. But you are gone.

On the forest paths, in shadow, once we roamed,

no need for touch or speech. Some

nights we sang by the lake while moon-

light and starlight from heaven’s dome

brushed us with silver. My voice, a golden horn,

blessed the stones with song. Oh, none

but I can praise our music well, or write this poem!

Free and wise and fair were we, born

between the mountains and the sea, who turned

the wild wood into home.

 

The Qasida is an elaborate form. This is a feeble attempt.

MY IMAGINARY FRIEND: Prompt #39

MY IMAGINARY FRIEND

Prompt #39

The poor thing can’t sit still.

She cries a lot, wrings her hands.

 

I ask her to come outside with me

but she wants to sit under the table

 

in the dark. She wants to tell me

stories about the terrible things

 

that happened, or might happen.

She’s fussy about her fingernails,

 

the fit of her socks. She goes to bed

at the same time every night and rises

 

every morning at sunrise

or just before. She never has time

 

for anything important, and

she never does anything

 

trivial. I don’t take her anywhere

but she follows and precedes me

 

everywhere, asking, asking,

Who is to blame?

 

What do you want?
Who is imaginary? What is real?

VOWELS WITH MEGAN

A few years ago, I was mentor for a high school student working on poetry. We did assignments together. Here is my poem about the vowels.

 

A shaft of orange light, unexpected

before the end of

a long gray day

 

Eel black, luminescent

through the thick green river

 

I am winter-pale peach,

being, thatched with white and black

 

O luminous apple-green:

Mutsu, Greening, unripe Mac

 

YoU are fresh and blue,

tinged with the scent

of summer clover

 

And Y is it sometimes silver,

sometimes jade,

flickering just on the edge

of visible light?

 

 

Dec. 12, 2006

STILL RESISTING–a prompt poem

STILL RESISTING

Prompt #3 again: What did you most resist before you found it suited you?

 

I don’t do things I resist.

 

I resist swimming because

I sink like a stone,

I don’t like fish nibbling my toes.

 

Running makes my hips hurt.

Bicycling is too much work.

Inflexibly, I resist yoga.

 

Beets taste like dirt, only worse,

so I resist them. And goat cheese.

And martinis. And cocktail parties.

 

And answering the telephone

before noon. And attending

meetings of any kind of committee.

 

If I don’t like a book

or a movie, I stop. I resist

literary criticism with a passion

 

that borders on insanity.

Resisting does not diminish my life.

It suits me. I like

 

screens that keep out the bugs.

I like jackets and boots

that keep out the wet and cold.

 

I like my resistances.

They keep me unbitten.

They keep me dry.