‘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.

LEAVES

LEAVES

 

The tree is dropping her leaves to save

herself for winter. She has nothing

to do with me. What’s the point in saving

things? The trees don’t.

Everything they need now

is underground. I will not be defined by

souvenirs. Between the pages of books

I no longer read, old leaves crumble to brown.

Memory is sepia.

Turn the leaves to ground.

November Writing Challenge # 13-15

. . . because I’ve been thinking about it for a few days. With sincere apologies to the ghost of Samuel Beckett.

 

Cast:

Walker: tall & thin … he has salt & pepper hair … he walks, gazing up & away from the road, always … never looking ahead, behind, or down

Bigfoot

SCENE:  A road, with a single evergreen tree just to the left of center.  Bigfoot is sitting on the ground under the tree. Walker enters and stands beside Bigfoot.

 

8767 (cat typing) Bigfoot:  Nothing to be done.

Walker: Oh, well, but perhaps. . . Have you seen her?

Bigfoot:  No. Have you?

Walker: I have not seen her.

Bigfoot: She is not in the sky. I do not believe that she is in the sky.

Walker: The last time I saw her, she was in the sky. It was a sunny day, a shiny day. Five crows flew together across the road, flying in the same direction. North. The wind was from the south.

Bigfoot: What was she doing then?

Walker: With the crows. She was flying with the crows. Her arms were outstretched and her hair was flying like crow wings.

Bigfoot: Will she come back?

Walker: She will come back, so I am watching for her. All the time I’m watching for her.

Bigfoot:  I, too, am watching. Not in the sky. I am not watching in the sky.

Walker:  Are you happy now?

Bigfoot: Now? No. I am unhappy. Since the wind shifted to the south, I have been unhappy. The south wind carries the scent of oranges, and the scent of oranges always makes me cry.

Walker: Ah yes. Oranges. But is there not a scent of lemon?

Bigfoot:  No lemon. Not yet. Not this time of year. I’ve been thinking about killing myself.

Walker:  Will you do that?

Bigfoot:  Perhaps. Perhaps if I do not see her. Or if I do not see the crows. Or if the wind does not change.

Walker:  The crows will return. I am sure of that. Crows always return. Perhaps they will not be the same crows, but they will be crows,, flying hard through the sky. When the wind changes, you will see that there will be crows.

Bigfoot: Then perhaps I can live.  He stands up.

Walker: Will you go on?

Bigfoot: I might stay here. I might go on. Are you going on?

Walker:  Yes. I am going on. It is time for me to go on. The wind is changing.

Bigfoot:  Is it from the north?

Walker:  No. It is not yet from the north. This wind is from the south west. Tonight, maybe tomorrow, the wind will blow from the north.

Bigfoot: I think the smell of oranges is diminishing.

Walker:  Then perhaps you can live.

Bigfoot: Then perhaps I can live.

Walker:  Are you going on then?

Bigfoot:  I think I am not going on. I think I shall stay here. He sits down. I like this tree. There is an essence of life in this tree.  Perhaps if I stay here she will feel encouraged to return. Or the crows will be encouraged. In the meantime, nothing happens but the scent of oranges diminishing.

Walker:  Perhaps you could go on.

Bigfoot: If I go on, will something happen?

Walker:  Your feet will move. That is something.

Bigfoot:  But is that enough?

Walker: I do not know if that is enough for you. For me it is enough.

Bigfoot: It would not be enough for me. I shall stay. Until the wind changes, I shall stay.

Walker:  Do you have an umbrella?

Bigfoot: I do not have an umbrella. Should I have an umbrella?

Walker: Yes. You should have an umbrella if you will stay until the wind changes.

Bigfoot: For what reason?

Walker: When the wind changes, you may open the umbrella and the changed wind will take you somewhere else.

Bigfoot:  Is something happening somewhere else?

Walker:  Sometimes something is happening.

Bigfoot:  I do not have an umbrella. Perhaps I should go along. He stands.

Walker:  We could look for her together.

Bigfoot:  I could look on the ground and between the trees.

Walker: I will continue to look at the sky. I think she will come from the sky. When the crows return.

Bigfoot: When the wind changes.

Walker:  Yes. Shall we go?

Bigfoot:  Yes. Let’s go.

 

They do not move.

Curtain.

THE GIFT

THE GIFT

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Autumn’s vigor will not be spent. I think

each day will be its last. Hard wind all night

and morning comes, still red and gold remains.

Even under gray clouds, the yellow light

pours from the hills. Even October rains

cannot tear the tenacious colors down.

Blackbirds gather to offer their chatter

against the brittle corn. Warblers have flown

away; geese are flying. The winter birds

stay. How is it that autumn now is sweet,

more lingering than spring, kinder than summer?

Winter is a melody I’ve not yet heard,

but I shall sing in time. The seeds are scattered.

The bright green grasses fade around my feet.

METAPHOR

METAPHOR

~for Jennifer, who appeared to me in a dream

 

On my way to prayer

I stopped to honor a tree.

It toppled at my touch.

 

After I had set it right,

paintings sprouted everywhere–

feasts and flowers, long-gone friends.

 

All the streets were colored

and lined up the way I remembered

in New Mexico, or possibly Illinois.

 

I stopped at a diner to eat.

The poet who sat down beside me

showed me a notebook. She wrote:

 

Transitions. Before and after.

This is all metaphor 

for the thing that goes between.

April Prompts: Number 28

April Prompts #28

Kari’s #1:  A gastronomic delight

WHAT THEY EAT

~for Mouawia

The blessed souls in Paradise–

that garden where one can eat

of the fruit of any tree but one–

eat figs.

Picked ripe,

dried soft and seedful,

sliced wide to hold rich

walnut halves,

toothsome, gold. On each

a dribble of

tahini,

richer, barely bitter.

The blessed souls partake

with crunch and glide,

immortal tongues

and throats full satisfied.

The blessed lick

their fingers clean, and sigh.

April Prompts Number 18

APRIL PROMPTS #18

Mary’s #3:  Five ways of looking at your house

(I cheated–I wrote this in March when I first got the prompts.

I couldn’t wait, so I put all the #3’s together and came up with this.)

 

1. (how I got here)

It was the last one we saw.

The long driveway,

the little pond.

What we’d been searching for.

 

2. (a map of my brain)

My hippocampus is filled with it:

the hallway I can negotiate in the dark,

the cups in the kitchen cabinets,

the light switches everywhere.

 

Its sounds no longer twitch my amygdala:

the furnace popping into life,

the water filter recycling in the night,

the way the bathtub gurgles all alone.

 

My pre-frontal cortex works on it

all the time: we need to replace

the bay window, the bathroom floors.

As I grow old, I’m growing fewer flowers.

 

3. (my career as a killer)

In the thirty years I’ve lived here,

I’ve killed two cherry trees,

one crabapple tree,

one plum tree. Cats

are buried

under the spruces in front,

under the old oak in back,

under the arbor,

under my study window,

on the edge of the forest.

Dogs are buried

under the new oaks

and where the plum tree

used to be. The garden

is built on the vegetables

I’ve been killing

for years.

 

4. (people with animal or insect characteristics)

Under the eaves,

in an abandoned robin’s nest,

a flying squirrel stashed mushrooms.

 

Beside the ehimney,

between the walls,

wasps built their winter nest.

 

In the cellar,

on the shelves,

jars of pickles, pails of honey.

 

5. (the initial subject disappears)

In the spring, we could not sleep

for the wood frogs and peepers

in the pond. A barred owl perched

in a birch above and dived for frogs.

Blue herons, too, came to eat,

and deer to drink. Mallards. Water

from the fields and woods around

and silt flowed too when corn grew,

Dogwood likes wet clay.

Swamp maple. Elder.

Little pines. Mourning

doves and sharp-shinned hawks.

A family of woodpeckers.

A pair of smooth gray stones.