e e cummings

One of his poems of gratitude:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky, and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday, this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

by e.e. cummings

Sigh.  This is one of those poems that I like to let wash over me.  Imagining that I’m laying on my back on a Huck Finn type raft, floating downstream, gazing skyward, dreamy.  Hearing e.e. cummings read his poem for the first time, I felt joined with him in this prayer poem of gratitude.  Wow!

Writing Prompt:
What does this poem evoke for you?  Read and/or listen to it a few times.  Savor the way the words flow.  What images arise?

 

Dream of a Legend

IMG_9912One of my first poems, written over twenty years ago, was a copycat poem inspired by Gregory Corso’s poem,  Dream of a Baseball Star.  I call my version…

Dream of a Legend
© by Christine O’Brien

I dreamed of Maid Marian
sitting at daybreak
on the steps of the whitehouse, singing.

She was in a flowing gown
and her longbow lay at her feet
–wood and taut.

“Gloria Steinem says you are the Legend,” I cried.
“So do I.  I say you’re the Legend!”

She picked up the bow and with nimble hands;
stood there primed as she would in Sherwood Forest,
and smiled; flinging her schoolgirl irony
towards some invisible foe
–awaiting the cue, all the way from Nottingham.

It came; hundreds came!  like fireworks!
She drew the bow and let fly and let fly and let fly and hit
not one single target nor bullseye.
A hundred misses!
Friar Tuck, dressed in a tuxedo
Shouted:  TO HELL WITH YOU.
And the “merry men” bellowed their dismay
dispersing the ghostly noblemen from their palaces.

And I shouted in my dream:
Marian!  send the arrow:
Open the hearts of the men:
Hooray for the equality!
Yes, the woman the peacemaker!
Let a minstrel’s song praise the true Legend!
Glory the truth be told!

Writing Prompt:
Borrowing someone else’s poetic form and inserting your own content (or passionate plea) is often a great way to find inspiration.

Note:  Whether or not you are a baseball fan, do Google and read Gregory Corso’s original witty poem!

 

Galana…part two

elephant.1I am elephant
© by Christine O’Brien

I am elephant
–wild–
tough of hide
wide of eyed
beneath my trunk
a semi-smile,
and knowing wise
retreating eyes
glazed in trauma.
Little body,
floppy ears,
these wide eyes have
cried their tears.
Take me back to my mama
remove from me all the trauma
of mama lost.

My shrieking cries
could topple trees
and echo louder
than a gaping mouth
collapsed on the forest floor.
Mama,
bloodied and beaten by men
who neither see nor care
–the fear implanted.–

It’s her tusks they want
though I don’t know why
my cries go inward
and I want to die.
I become a whimper,
a shiver,
and charge in circles
while they carve
my mama to free her tusks.

— who will feed me
teach me how an elephant behaves
show me how I’m naturally brave
that ours is a way of respect
and pride
that though my hide is tough,
my heart is not?

Elephant, noble and proud,
…and left to ourselves,
there is wisdom
How do we live free and safe?
Our mothers, their young?
–freedom to roam the forests
and forage?
–freedom to play
in an elephant way?
–to watch the sunrise, the sunset
with neither fear nor dread.
today I watch as my mama
lays dead.

Writing Prompt:
Creating art is an ACTION.  A strong feeling response  can be expressed through poetry, prose, painting and other art forms. Through this expression, we help ourselves by taking an appropriate action.  And, perhaps, we reach others by sharing our art or writing.

 

 

Does this poem have relevance for you?

The images in this poem remind me of a surrealistic painting.
Of Mere Being
by Wallace Stevens
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

Writing Prompt:
This is one of those poems that people read over and over trying to capture the relevance of it to their own lives.  Have you found something that is meaningful to you in these few verses?  Appreciating the imagery could be enough.

Degas as Inspiration

Looking through an art magazine, I came across the image of Degas:  Les Femmes Qui Se Peignent.  I have not posted a photo here due to possible copyright infringement.  However, I suggest that you Google it to get an image of where the inspiration for this short prose poem came from.

Inspiration is an interesting thing.  One gets inspired and then either does or doesn’t do something with that inspiration.  Once I engaged the inspiration, imagination took over.  And who can predict where the writing goes from there?

****
She’d Get By, Right?
© by Christine O’Brien

There had been weeks of gray skies.
She’d get by, right?
In the meantime, dress simply
keep a positive focus
and send loving thoughts to everyone
you’ve ever met.
When memory slips in, turn away…

“Let me be your guide,” he said
as he tucked a sprig of gypsophila
beside her ear, already too familiar.
He isn’t practical she thought.
Yet, there is poetry in his eyes.
She told herself that she needed more space
but his teal eyes could too easily
dissuade her from that idea.

This relationship wasn’t going to be–
convenient.
He worked in a high rise
while she had earthy values.
The night sky had to be star-studded
not city light lit.

The morning they met,
she was sitting by the sea
combing her hair
while the gentle waves teased her feet.
He told her that she looked Indian
and asked if he could braid her hair.
What type of woman allows a
strange man with teal eyes to
braid her hair?

“In honor of the new moon”
he winked leaning into her resistance.
It didn’t take very long for her to realize
that she was falling for his line, his leanness,
his too too teal eyes.

These months later,
entrenched in weeks of gray skies
she asked herself if the heartache was worth it.

She decided that it was.

****
Writing Prompt:
Inspiration and imagination are never very far away.  Get your inspiration and take the time to follow it.  Write a prose poem or a prose piece.

dance with me

A dear friend had been diagnosed with cancer.  For three years, she fought this battle.  I remember her saying that she didn’t think that she had accomplished anything great in her life.  I reminded her of all the people that she drew to her, those she loved and who loved her in return.  What meaning was she looking for beyond that, I wondered.  And then she was…gone.

…dance with me
© by Christine O’Brien

Life came and took her
with a force
whirled her
around it’s dance floor.

Come, dance with me
it said more softly;
waltzed her into a corner
pinned her against the wall
with its direct stare
so close
she knew it’s musky smells.

Come, dance with me
as she dug her fingers into dark earth
played with her cats,
dared to love, again. 

And friends,
she could never have too many.
“I don’t know the dance,”
one naively sighed.
“I’ll show you,”
she said
as she twirled her
around the dance floor.

Come, dance with me
life winks
extending a crooked finger,
signaling,
“I’ve got something more to show you.”
She peeked inside the keyhole
“There’s no great lesson to learn,”
life whispers– “it’s the dance.”

greatblueheron2

Writing Prompt:
Dance is a great metaphor for life.  Do you have a style of dancing that suits you?
Think of something in your life to compare the dance to and write about it using
metaphor.

Earth’s Advocate

Through my writing and painting, I feel a call to service.
My blog is a virtual soapbox where I get to express what’s on my mind.  I try not to be overtly political.  That said, the personal is truly political, so my views are woven through what I write about or might be reflected in what I paint.  This can’t be helped if we are authentic in our expression.  What we write, paint or draw is in the context of the times and circumstances in which we live…is that true?

⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔⇔

#5 in the hexalogy of poems

Earth does not need us to advocate for her.
She has ambitions that outshine our own.
Though it could help us if we hear her roar
she does communicate if we would hone…

to practice connection daily is wise
to stop and listen and learn her true ways
it’s in the wind where she speaks and sighs
“My children, you are numbering your days.”

“Is waking a painful process” you ask
rubbing the sleep from your lightblind eyes
surfacing from slumber a painful task?
Though not to awake could be your demise.

She rocks the cradle and out you will fall
let it be because you hear her sweet call. (to life!)

Writing Prompt:
Do you have a favorite fictional or nonfictional character (in books or films) who exemplifies a “call to service” by the way he or she lives her life?  (It could be Wonder Woman.)  What qualities in this character do you most admire?  Why?