Category Archives: Poetry

Giants

My final poem for Poetry Month. A tribute to people doing important, unacknowledged work.

Giants

Giants are the smallest men
As measured by scales of Job.
With poison scorn and fountain pens
They slash and jab to rule the globe.
 
In glass towers they strut and spit.
The height a craved collusion.
Fragility keeps them separate
In fantastical delusion.

For city smog mugs their glass
Dying skin cells dust book spines
Ink-stained downsizings fill the trash
And stains streak their ample Calvin Kleins. 

The humble arrive and quietly hedge
Their mops, dusters and garbage bins
Around the small mighty who can't acknowledge
That cleaners are our greatest ones. 
Hand with a cleaning glove, squeezing a sponge.
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The up and down journey through tasks

For this week’s post, I thumb my nose at a piece of writing advice. (Well, two pieces actually, since I just used a cliché.) Good writers, they say, opt for the word “said” during dialogue so as to avoid scenes like:

"Let's go to the movies," he posited. 
"I disagree," she demurred.

Herewith, consider my nose thumbed.

Task

“I want to climb that mountain,” she says.
   The foothill lures her spirit,
   Beckoning wide paths seduce her.
      Flooded with energy, she skips.  

“The path gets narrower,” she notices. 
   A switchback challenges her footsteps, 
   Scribbling tree roots trip her.
      Worried but still powerful, she continues. 

“Should I carry on?” she puffs.
   The incline steals her breath,
   Aching muscles betray her.
      Depleted of oxygen, she schlepps.

“I can’t do this,” she whines. 
   An obstacle blocks her progress, 
   Darkening skies shadow her. 
      Deprived of hope, she sleeps. 

“But . . . my goal is just there,” she awakens.
   The dawn illuminates her next steps,
   Daunting barriers dissolve before her. 
      Reinvigorated by inspiration, she climbs.

“What a view!” she cries.
   A summit reveals her success, 
   Haunting memories flee from her.   
      Satiated with completeness, she savours. 

“Now what?” she wonders.
   The downward path answers,
   Waning desire to remain prompts her.    
      Evolved for a new task, she descends.       

“If I go down, I can climb a higher mountain,” she says.  
      

ABC dialogue poetry

My second poem for April Poetry Month is quite different from my first.

At a workshop sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association on Saturday, Tim Wynne-Jones challenged us with the exercise:

For 6 minutes, write lines of dialogue. The first letter of each new line must be the next letter in the alphabet, A to Z.

Here is my result. Keep in mind . . . I only had 6 minutes so, yeah, it’s a little crazy. And I didn’t get all the way through the alphabet the first go-round. I got as far as O. All the letters after that I completed in a subsequent 6-minute time allotment.

Z Solution

An elephant can't fit through there.
Butt's too big.
Can we push?
Don't think that'll help.
Elephant weighs eight tons.
For F*&!'s sake.
Get me a lever.
How about an axe?
In case of emergency, break ass?
Joker, ha ha.
Keep thinking. 
Look behind the mandrill's cage.
Manny the Masturbator?
Notice how he drools when you walk by?
Oh no, he prefers blondes. 
Perhaps everyone does, even the elephant.
Quite annoying, that is. 
Ridiculous, like this situation. 
Suppose we go around? 
Through the zebra's field. 
Unbelievable how you used the Z word before the end.
Verily, I say onto you ... no worries.
Why? 
X was the real problem, because there's another word for Z.
Yes, this place is a real ...
Zoo. 

Riven

My first poem for April’s poetry month. I decided to do an Ottava rima because it sounded like Ottawa, where I live, even though Ottawa has nothing to do with the number 8. (Ottawa is derived from the Algonquin word “adawe”, which means “to trade.”)

The poem has eight lines with an abababcc rhyming scheme. Inspired by the photo below.

Riven

An ash where deer once roamed in sombre shade,
  Returned to ash by lighting strike — one flash,
Nature's lumberjack felled this spine so splayed,
  With a forked bolt, one cracking, wicked lash,
Defiant though blackened, stripped and decayed,
  It will birth new life from the V-shaped slash,
Out of mottled dust and ashes of death, 
Life ruptures forth, emerges, takes first breath. 

© 2021 Arlene Smith

A little poem to lead us to bigger things

Sunday was World Poetry Day, as proclaimed by UNESCO. In honour of that event, I have written a poem, which I will share with you now.

(Ahem)

I say . . .
I don't care what you say.
I see . . .
Yes, through my eyes.

But . . . that way, we're both blind.

. 

A poem to send us into the day with the intention of kindness to all and celebration of everyone, no matter how different from us they might be.

Our technology gives our generation an opportunity that generations before did not have.

  • We can reach out instantly across the world to share our stories.
  • We can learn and strive to understand the stories of other cultures.
  • We can solve problems together and share resources.

What an opportunity we have! But we’re squandering it with our hate and derision. We’re using technology to create deeper divides instead of to close the gaps.

We’re being little. I’m guilty of it myself.

For today, I’ll try to do better.

Poetry Creation Station
April is National Poetry Month. I have set myself the challenge for that month of writing a poem a week. (I don’t promise that it will be GOOD poetry.)

A good time of year to dance: Hafiz

Here is a phrase I’ve heard some lately: “If I don’t laugh, I might cry.”

Laughing is good. Or dancing!

The God Who Only Knows Four Words

by Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master

Every
Child
Has known God.
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don'ts,
Not the God who ever does
Anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
"Come dance with Me."
Come
Dance.

What Should We Do About That Moon?

by Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master

A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.

That night one hundred beetles and all their cousins
Gathered

And did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the "night candle" rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument,
Said to his friend—for no apparent
Reason,

"What should we do about that moon?"

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless
Questions.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com