Poem a Day: 30

The prompts today were Praise and Fruit. I included some new words I have learned in the last couple of days, defined at the end of the poem. Today is the last day of Poem-a-Day. Now for editing, now for reading.

I Have Two Daughters: A Beltane Song
(with gratitude to Eavan Boland for the first line)
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I have two daughters:
Their names are Memory and Loss.
Their names are Fearless and Anna.
Their names are Wisdom and Fate.

I have two daughters:
Their eyes are deep brown wells.
Their faces are carved from jade and quartz.
Their hands flutter like swallows when they dance.

Their names are Ylem and Horaios,
seed under soil and the moment of bloom,
potential and fruition, hope and beauty.

(My first living child arrived by the knife
a year to the day after I began to bleed
a lost land into nothingness.
We named him for his grandfathers.
The lost one lives in a garden with a name
too complicated for written word.)

Their names are Nile and Susquehanna.
Their eyes are the roots of continents.
Their faces are made of water and song.
Their hands sound like the wings of moths
whispering against the screen door.

The fruit carries within it the singing potential
of seed, of blossom, repetition of genes,
like we all carry within us the child we have been,
the daughters we are to ourselves, past and future.
The seed is the death of the flower,
and also the source of the tree.
That which was will be again.

I have two daughters:
Their names are Elizabeth and Praise.
Their eyes are mystery and vortex.
Their faces are the moon and Pleiades
Their hands are wings of mist and cobweb.

(ylem: the primordial matter, the essence of beginning
horaios: the beauty of rightness, the satisfying click
when everything falls into place)

Poem a Day: 29

The Prompts today just didn’t seem to be mashable. Here’s the one for the Poetic Asides blog. We were supposed to write a poem titled “Total _____” I guess I took that blank too literally.

Total Blank
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I’ve drawn a total
loss of words a total
what’s the thing a total
you know I can’t a total
quite remember total
like in Scrabble
this brain fog
words just
dissipate
and I’m
left with
a total
blank

The other prompt, from my friend Linda, was Swallow:

Return
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

We’re no Capistrano,
but every year, just the same,
some day in early May,
we wait to see them
winging low over the fields,
swooping so close
they could be trying
peer into our faces.
Every spring,
we watch,
hands shielding
our eyes,
for their return.

Poem a Day: 28

Today’s Prompts were Angel and Looking Forward/Looking Backward. All I could think of was Look Homeward Angel, which I haven’t read. I looked up some quotes and made a glosa.

Pillar of Salt
a glosa
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

“. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. . . . Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,
the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? . . .
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
―Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

How can we help it, but to turn our faces homeward,
like the nameless wife who shifted her shoulders sidewards,
silent salty tears on her cheeks, for one last longing
homeward glance, one final chance to see—but salt
was all she saw, punished for wanting a parting glimpse
of all she was losing, all the remembered places
of childhood and family home. None of it her choosing, she
was swept along in the vortex of fearsome husband
and fiercer god, to completely lose her past, all traces:
a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. And of all the forgotten faces,

every stone upon the future path, each leaf, each door—
reminders of the life she’d lost. Perhaps better to be salt
than live a life of regret, pooling always in her eyes.
But we, who live onward into the stream of time,
how shall we turn our gazes forward while we carry
lost childhood on our backs like sacks, growing heavier with age?
If the angel is intended to look homeward, which direction shall we tell her?
Behind this salted pillar of me are childhood homes, and the home
of this moment, and ahead of me, home rests upon an unturned page.
Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,

of loss, of memory, of the spiraling nature of time, where all
turns inward. Look inward, Angel. Look into the pools
where no-time swirls and tense no longer makes sense,
where past inhabits future, and now is all we can know,
Our gazes seeking lost whens turn our spines to spirals,
and salt explodes into flocks of singing birds, then
mirrors back onto itself, and the child running in the meadow
is suddenly an ancient tree silently observing time’s curl—
grief the cord that binds all times together, the weight of memory again,
the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?

There, upon the windowsill, a small white stone,
a branch of dogwood, pink with bloom, your eye
caught by the yellow green of a single leaf. Beyond,
a green stone, an oak leaf burnished brown, then
a wide flat stone upon the crest of a hillside enwrapped
by vines, and triplet red leaves of ivy, one plane
of many layers, grief and rage and joy entwined.
One gaze encompassing all, the map home: a stone
of salt, leaves of cinder, ash scattered in the doorway, then:
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

Poem a Day: 27

Today’s prompts were massive and road. I was watching the clouds on the way to do one final clean-up task in my classroom at school, and this poem spilled out.

Thunder and Her Children
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

When Thunder’s Children
walked the cloud-road
over the rim of the world,
massive mountains
arched their backs
to touch the children’s feet.

When the children
raced each other
back up the ribbons of sky
into the arms of their mother,
the earth sighed into hollows
and water pooled in the valleys.

WhenThunder sang
her sleepy brood to sleep,
trees sprang from the hillsides,
raising their joyful branches,
shaking their leafy crowns
and humming with her song.

And while the children slept,
Thunder curled herself around them,
and dreamed meadows into being,
and birds flying, and small animals
burrowing into the earth,
and all that is Became
while Thunder rested.

Poem a Day: 25

Today’s prompts were to write a poem that includes cloud words, and to do a re-mix of a poem from the month. I realized I have sort of been writing one long poem all month. Oy. I did a bit of a mash-up, and it holds together rather startlingly.

Re-Mix, With Clouds
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

It seems that
there is nothing now
that is not this:
the spiral unravels
the lions of jazz are dying
the World Snake sheds her skin
the tides turn
In the burning rooms of time,
we wait for the new world to appear.

Our feet take the rocky trail away from the village
to follow where blossoms may lead.
All we have seen before is somehow
new now, more verdant.
Fronds unfurl where dragonflies
hover above, large as dragons.
But I know of two who nearly lost the trail,
wandering far into the shadows.

Coyote is a fixture in the myth
of this lonely landscape. A howl
echoes within the embrace
of wildness and winsome, where we bump
against our own internal resolve

Plague Doctor! Plague Doctor!
Whither shall we wander?
Only to the garden gate—no further.
The egg and the seed are the medicine.
Grief is the egg of the moment,
just before you hear your name.

We’re trapped in the strata,
the cumulus, the haloed nimbus,
hallowed cumulostratus,
beneath the blue robes of the Beloved,
draped over us like a veil,
beneath Fortune’s shifting skirts:
like winter, she will come again,
trailing a net behind her
to rescue the words she has lost.
Could she have stayed within the boundaries?
She has folded her heart
into an origami bird, ready for flying.

We must relinquish our control.
This now is a narrowing funnel,
thinning the potent possibilities
to this stretched limbo of waiting.
I listen for your trilling whistle, clear and bright.

In the ending was Spider:
What has once been will be again.
Close the door on your way out.

Poem a Day: 24

I had to rush around today to do some sudden work that came up, so I rushed the poem. The prompts are Anchor and Nature.

Anchored
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

feet bare on bare earth
breath in sync with breeze
heartbeat rhymes with
the beating heart of sycamore

on a breath send roots
down and down through
soil through loam around
stone around bone

anchor to the core
of the mother

Poem a Day: 20

Today’s Prompts are Isolation, and Seven Sins.

Isolation and the Seven Sins
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

The first one is coughing, right?
Or. . .coughing without covering your mouth,
or coughing into your hand instead of your elbow.
Does sneezing belong here, too,
or is it just a matter of degree:
an uncovered cough goes ten feet
while a sneeze blasts twenty-seven.

The second is touching your face.
Don’t touch your face!
Don’t scratch your nose!
Don’t rub your eyes!

Then there’s forgetting
to wash your hands,
or not using soap,
or not singing Happy Birthday
twice through while you wash.
I’m having a whole lot of birthdays lately.

Getting too close to people
who don’t live in your house,
that’s the fourth one—
sidling up to strangers in stores,
saying, “Is this the line?”
while they edge away
from you as politely as they dare.

Three more? Okay. Here’s one:
Not wearing a mask in public.
Don’t go to the bank
unless you look you’re
going to rob the bank.
You’ve got to learn
how to smile with your eyes.

Number six is definitely hoarding.
Nobody needs that much toilet paper, hon.

And the seventh. Sloth? Is that one?
I’m pretty sure I heard that one,
but maybe that’s a deadly sin.
Aren’t these deadly sins, too?

Poem a Day: 17

A small pool in the base of twin trees along the new trail.

Today’s Prompts were Spider and Exotic. I don’t know if re-mything Spider Mystery is exotic or not, but this is what I came up with.

Spider
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Not all stories start the same.
Try this one:
In the ending. . .
We’re bending the tale
around a whole new fulcrum,
following Hansl’s trail of crumbs
from wicked witch to angry stepmother,
or over other paths not yet traversed
within the standard myth.

In the ending was Spider,
marking her eternal spiral,
spinning her infinite web,
wrapping her magical bundles
(don’t become one of those).

You wonder how she got to this moment,
your mind on the lines that connect
from beam to sill, from ledge to beam again.
You want to know the structure,
sense the essence of the plot,
the way from there to here.

But when you live within the spin of infinity,
beginnings become irrelevant.
Endings, too, for that matter, fade
to insignificance. The middle,
that’s the place where twist and whirl
tingle, where living blossoms
out of nothing, and you catch
the sticky thread of the moment,
knowing you can shift from
arm to arm of time, like Spider,
who even now is watching you
from the center of her web.

In the middle. . .
Now there’s a thread
to hand a tale by.

Poem a Day: 16

The Lady of the Lake is a golden fish.

The prompts today are “bar” and “The Last _______.” Yesterday, I was mulling what the lore of these days might be, and the word Apocalypticon floated through my brain. It turns out there’s already a book by that name, but I thought it might be a good name for a poem.

The Apocalypticon: The Last Revelation
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

One
That spring, Grace found her first morel
on the west-facing slope of the ridge.
Everyone was finding them, actually,
that spring. Everyone was eating morels,
and Emily planted a gangster garden.
Bootleggers and mob bosses graced
her green. All we had seen before
was somehow new now, more verdant.

Two
One of us began receiving messages
from a golden koi who circled slowly
beneath the lilies of a lake. She would not
tell us what the Lady told her, only:
“Take what you need. Too much is at stake.”

Three
I did battle with poison ivy that spring,
apologizing a hundred times a day
for cutting her thousand arms, but
ivy laughed in crimson leaves and
grew like the Revolution was at hand.

Four
Some of us sat with our demons,
telling old tales of battles long gone,
bellying up to the bar of lost memories,
or singing them to sleep with old songs,
while Clare chanted exorcisms
in the sleet on windy mountains
pushing back the forces that threaten
to submerge the story. I know
of two who nearly lost the trail,
wandering far into the shadows.

Five
We stopped using the word normal,
re-wove older linguistic threads, spun
ancient stories into the chapters
we were writing. We re-worded our
vocabularies, re-ordered our syntax,
re-discovered voices we thought
had forgotten how to speak.

Six
We caught our own flocks of wild yeast,
planted potatoes in neat rows,
learned new words for magic and
for prayer, exploring layer after layer
of mysteries, parting the curtains,
and watching the ways of the moon.

Poem a Day: 15

Pear blossoms and barn

Today’s prompts were fun to mash up: “dream,” and “middle of the week.” Also, I had my Creative Writing students write a list poem today, so I wanted to try one of those, too. Pile on the fun.

Transformation
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

On Sunday, she dreamed she was inside an egg,
arms and legs curled tight, and light (diffuse)
swirling through the veil of shell around her.

On Monday, she dreamed she walked a pathway
underneath an overarching fern. Fronds unfurled
where dragonflies hovered above, large as dragons.

On Tuesday, she dreamed of thorn and bramble,
rose and blackberry sending tendrils grasping,
catching clothing, and bright crimson drops of blood.

On Wednesday, the fulcrum of the week, no dream
disturbed her sleep, no portents woke her,
no messages arrived through the veil between.

On Thursday, the forest of her dreams darkened
and wolves prowled just beyond her firelight.
Wolves howled in shadows, eyes a-glint.

On Friday, she died in her dreaming, yet stood
at the edge of the clearing, watching her body
where it lay among mayapples and mushrooms.

On Saturday, the dream spread a wide
gleaming sea in her path. She stepped
into a coracle boat, ivory, smooth as eggshell.