Once Was a Woman

I’ve been doing a little series of short-form poems with the idea of a middle-aged woman at the center of a fairy tale. I have been playing with writing prose fairy tales on the subject, but short-form poetry works more easily into my schedule, and the condensed qualities of poetic forms lend themselves to the cryptic and mythic thinking of the fairy tale. In these beginning stages of perimenopause, I fine myself comparing notes with my younger self at menarche, noting the ways that the hormonal shifts affect me: energy pits, headaches, emotional bounces, self-doubt, bursts of confidence. I’ve done quite a lot of fairy tale analysis over the years, from feminist reinterpretations, to Jungian dream-style considerations, to uncovering layers that reveal ancient goddess stories. The constant through most of the stories is the girl, the girl, the girl. I’m walking out the other side of the woods now, or walking into a different woods altogether. I feel a need of re-imagining the girl-hero’s journey as she begins her croning time.

Gratitude List:
1. Fairy tales and what lies beneath them
2. Warm blankets
3. Stir fry on noodles, with hot sauce. The other night, we added brussel sprouts to the stir fry, and the boys just ate it up without comment or complaint. And they chose chopsticks over forks. For some reason, that made me especially happy.
4. People around the world who are standing up for human rights and for the planet.
5. Tiny little personal escapes throughout the busy moments of the day. Five minutes into a poem. Two minutes into a deep breath. A glance through a Luci Shaw or Jean Janzen book on the writing process, a quick dip into the world of a beautiful picture, a quick friendly chat with a colleague or student.

May we walk in Beauty!

Broken Vessel

Today’s Prompt is to write a response poem. I’m tired and grouchy, so this might have to be it for tonight–more prose than poem. I have grading to do and a manuscript to edit.

by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Every day, another outrage,
a rage outside the norms.
And yet, it’s only what we expect
from a man who began
by race-baiting the Mexicans
and took it down from there.

Day by day, the rages get outer and outer.
You think that escalator couldn’t carry him
any lower, but it does,
and he’s jumping up and down
to make it go faster.

Can’t ignore it because it doesn’t go away.
Can’t respond because he begs attention.
Hate and outrage feed the monster,
but silence normalizes, so we’re caught
in this limbo of no right response.

Gratitude List:
1. Fairy Tales
2. Poetry
3. Songs
4. Awakenings
5. Revelation and revolution

May we walk in Beauty!

Out in the Wind

Here was the prompt for a borrowed poem:  Because today is 3/11/13, I decided to go to a book near at hand, turn to page 13, scan down to the 3rd line, and choose eleven words to use in some form in a poem.  I sort of cheated, by looking through four books until I found one that I could work with.  This was Barbara Walker’s Feminist Fairy Tales, from the tale of Princess Questa.  I chose the phrase, “. . .went out to walk the dunes in the wintry wind, weeping. . .”  The final poem is perhaps a little overwrought, but it was cathartic to run with it, to see where it took me.  (This was to be March Monday Morning, but I seem to have trouble posting poems in the mornings).

Out you went in the wintry wind
to walk the dunes, weeping
with only a scattering of sandpipers
to witness, and a scuttling crab.

The wind tore the tattered foam from the waves,
sent shreds of lather scudding like sailboats
over the sands, and wrenched your voice from you.

You keened your word
into the force of the gale
a wail, like a siren.

The wind snatched it up with such unholy force
it sucked the breath right out of you.

But your word was carried like a seed pod
in the womb of the wind, to break open
high above all our fields, releasing
a thousand seeds to fall to earth
as the wind itself grew ragged
and shattered into calmer breezes.

We felt them fall, like a net upon us,
and now we wait, our breathing bated
to see what will grow.

Gratitude List:
1.  The perfect hexagonal symmetry of a purple crocus in the lawn, three petals curving inward, three curling out.  No wonder the bees find themselves at home in there.
2.  Sorted Legos.  That seems a little OCD, but something about having them all sorted into piles of color shifted the boys’ attention, and their play become more focused and cooperative for a time.
3.  Tiny green things poking up their heads in the greenhouse.  The way onions come up folded like laundry and then gently unfold into the sun.
4.  Corn casserole–yay for last summer’s frozen bounty!
5.  Courage for the difficult conversations.


One way to keep the cats from actually sitting on the counter. . .

2013 March 025