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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One more poem -- this time, a curse (general issue)

For my probably-last poem post, here's one with no autobiographical aspect. I particularly wanted to point that out because the poem is, as the title indicates, a curse (in the ill-wishing sense). The final lines may suggest a spurned lover, but could cover other situations. Feel free to recite it at any enemies you may acquire.

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Curse

May your blood boil by night,
and freeze by day . . .

May the passing of clouds across the sky
be to you
as nails dragged shrieking
across flat dry stone . . .

May the trees whisper soft nightmares
as you shivering pass by . . .

May the moon’s light be blinding
and the sunlight
dim . . .

May you know no more piece
than I

and may you never forget me.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Even more serious - poem about a murder, plus some backstory

I went to Stanford University for my undergrad degree (English and American literature). I liked spending time in the Memorial Church, enjoying the quiet, looking at the impressive stained glass windows. (You can see photos of the windows at this link.)

One night, when I'd been visiting the church again, I tried to leave and discovered I'd been locked in. The minister had failed to notice me when he locked up and left. This was long before cell phones, and there was no pay phone anywhere I could see in the accessible area. After a while, however, the minister came back for something, found me, and let me out.

I believe it was a couple of days later that a girl was stabbed to death in the church at night. As you can imagine, what would have struck me as tragic and shocking in any event had an extra impact, given my recent experience.

So I wrote this poem. The imagery refers to several of the windows.

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On the Murder in Memorial Church

Strange impotence:
stained glass night-frozen,
unable to beam
its pictured Salvation;
Jesus the healer,
caught trapped in a corner;
Christus crying into the darkness,
take this cup away! –
the Agony presiding
invisibly helpless;
unillumined, the desperate
disciples
will drown.


Another, more serious poem, siding with Lot's wife

Here's another post about my decades-old poetry, recently unearthed.

I can only remember writing two poems with Biblical subjects, and one -- re Job -- is hiding somewhere. But here is the other, untitled but basically siding with Lot's wife rather than Lot.

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When Lot’s wife
turned to salt from grief;
her posture proclaiming,
I will be a dry monument to tears,
her protest,
I give not my leaving to this, God;

Lot
stood
stunned
still

Lot looked up
The Lord rumbled faintly
Lot looked down
Salt crystals gathered at his feet

Lot
looked up
looked down
and proceeded on,
careful not
to look round.


-------

Next time, a poem with a truly serious theme -- murder.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Well, I used to write poetry . . . (first of several)

I started out -- no later than age nine -- wanting to be a novelist. I wrote my first novel-of-sorts at age ten. But I didn't write my second until after I turned 55. What, if anything, did I write in the meantime?

Well, first I tried poetry. I kept at it through high school and the beginning of college. Later in college, I tried short stories, until I let myself be discouraged as to all creative writing by a stunningly clueless teaching associate. For decades, all I did was jot down a line or two of potential poetry once every blue moon. Then, while I was pregnant with Daughter #1, I started writing picture book manuscripts. Fast forward seventeen years or so, and I followed that daughter into National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo) -- and the rest, if not history, is a total of eight novels with two more in the pipeline.

But back to poetry.

Recently, pondering the awe-inspiring bad luck of a friend, I was reminded of a poem I wrote long ago about Job (as in the Biblical figure). I dug up a folder of my poetry and looked for it. I didn't find it, but I did find a few others I liked enough to bring into the light of day.

Here's the first, one of the lightest in tone. I believe I wrote this during or after my high school physics class. If I were writing it today, the title might include the word "nerd."

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Love Song

Every mass
has an attraction for every other mass
which varies as the inverse square
of the distance between them.
That is,
if you allow me
to decrease the radius of my orbit
you will find me
increasingly attractive.

I wish to
race toward you at ever-increasing speed
(known as acceleration)
(which, times my mass,
which is constant,
would become the force with which I would
collide with you,
hopefully
"knocking you off your feet")
until we engage in
a perfectly inelastic collision
(in which the two bodies concerned
collide and
stick.)

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And yes, I know the punctuation at the end is incorrect, but it works better that way.

Here's one more, untitled, frivolous and fanciful.

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The conductor and the violinist
are near each other.
Bow and baton
time after time
come perilously close.
Will they cross swords?
The conductor looks angry.
We can expect a duel
any minute.

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Next time, a poem or two with more emotional heft behind them.