Posts from the ‘Poetry’ Category

PICKUP GAME

parkville real one.jpg

My hometown … the field in this poem is at the arrow .. .the houses in the town are mostly gone now, moved out by the mining on the Mesabi Iron Range … but imagine all these town blocks filled with houses and families who have boys who want to play ball.  This is for them.

(dedicated to my boyhood friends who were there . . . )

Boys gather automatically

At Berquist’s field

No signal or notice

The game is on

They call their own strikes and foul balls

(No umps, no sir, never ever)

Disagreements work out one way or another

 

Jimmy, fast on the bases

Gary pitching, so smooth, so clean

John behind the plate with his classy Finnish catcher’s glove

Ole Olson batting so tall, hitting so hard

Charlie and identical twins Rob and Ron

Cover the outfield

Ready to catch ‘em all.

 

Ernine and his brother Etsie

the greatest nicknames in town)

Pull up on their bikes, shouting encouragements

as they lower their kickstands

Pull their gloves off the bike handles

No question, they know what to do next

One heads to the infield, straight to shortstop

One to the team at bat

Joining Jeff, Steve and Roy

On a bench by the third base line

Awaiting a turn to bat.

 

Just a year or two older,

Kim and Tom and John Lee

Lend their age-wise experience

In hitting, catching and pitching.

 

Early spring brings snow shoveled baselines

The summer sun hangs up in the sky longer and later

The fall skies get cooler and darker quicker

The game continues anyway

Until the ball is only a sound as it is pitched or hit

 

All comers welcome

Side by side, turn by turn

Just for

The fun

The pleasure

The joy.

 

 

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Poetry Time: Joyce’s Acorn

JOYCE’S ACORN

 

Equations rule physical existence.–

 

Gravity forces Newton’s apple

To fall at a specific speed.

 

Air pressure of a certain strength will

Lift the Wright Brothers’ airplane.

 

A ship at sea remains afloat

According to the laws of displacement.

 

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 

And so many more . . .

 

Plain.

Simple.

Perceptible.

 

NO such equations

Describe the effects of

 

Motherly love.

 

Apathy.

 

Child-like laughter.

 

Deep-seated hatred.

 

Such conditions defy all calculation.

 

Complex.

Abstract.

Intangible.

 

The mystery lives on:

How is it all possible?

How is it all NOT possible?

Week 23 – I’m getting caught up so here’s some poetry

I’m a week behind my goal of writing something every week, so I’m stretching my goal a little by putting up some writings I’ve already done.

So here’s a few little things for your consideration.  i would appreciate any comments that will help me be a better writer.

 

This first one is just to be silly.

 

Forgetfulness

I’ll never forget good old

Whatsisname…

You know who I mean

The one with the funny right eye that looked off to the left

Hair white and black like a skunk, except the stripe ran ear to ear

One leg shorter than the other with arms to match.

No sense of style so he wore stripes with polka dots

A lot.

I’ll never forget good old

Whatsisname…

You know who I mean

He lisped when he talked, but not the esses – it was on the Pees.

He had a habit of twitching his foot when he was talking to girls

To the point of driving them loony

He bit his fingernails to ragged edges

Like uneven hedges.

I’ll never forget good old

Whatsisname…

You know who I mean

He drove that beat up car that he painted lime green by himself

He sang out loud in church, usually a word or two ahead of the congregation

His laugh could call crows from three counties away

and played shuffle board with the old folks down at the city hall

every fall.

I’ll never forget good old

Whatsisname…

You know who I mean

He lived where the Baptist church used to be

And grew cabbage and onions every season and

Made his own stew –

Always had three or four stray dogs

But there is something I can’t claim.

His name.

I’ll never forget good old

Whatsisname…

You know who I mean

*******

This one comes from a memory of that first day of spring, and since we’re just past that, I thought this might be appropriate.

 

JOYRIDE 

When I was growing up

every spring

I’d roll out my bike from the back of the garage

brush off the bars, oil the chain, adjust the seat and

Ride –

Ride –

Ride.

 

Speed down the road

lean into the turns

fingertips on the handlebars as I go

shirttails randomly flap behind me

cap nearly lifts off my head.

a master of dexterous, natural skill –

the audience of my own joy.

 

I look back now from my vintage age

my body less limber and supple

yet I sense those long-ago motions

echoes of youthful speed invoke the notion

that in a couple of seconds I could be

perched on my bike

freely careening

 

And again I am fleet.

Once more the wind fills my ears

and the years

disappear.

 

Taking a Class at the Crossing

I took a class today at the CROSSING, the arts center here in town.  Sonya Chamberlain offered ideas on how to start a poem.  Using a few different prompts and ideas, we wrote poems.  I came up with some things that I will develop… but for now, there they are in their rough form as of the end of class today.  Thanks to Sonya, Krista Soukup and Audrey Gruber for a constructive two hours of my Tuesday….

 

First —

 

The plot gets complicated when apologies are needed.

Explanations?  Too many.

Excuses? Too numerous to the point of being humorous…

When all we need is a sincere and honest

“I’m Sorry”.

 

Second—

 

The Lord sits with me out front watching –

Ballerinas float across the stage-

Jugglers fling flaming torches high into the air-

Trained animals scurry through hoops

And balance on balls

And play HABANERA on Honking Horns

 

And the Lord and I look at each other and giggle at

These Practiced Shenanigans

 

And wait for the second act of

Wars and Starvation

And Human Desecration.

 

And the Lord and I look at each other in silence

As we realize such things are

Practiced Shenanigans, too.

 

Third —

 

WHY DID YOU JUMP ACROSS THAT PUDDLE?

 

The mother grilled her daughter;

 

Don’t you know your shoes are ruined and muddy?

It cost more than your grandma paid for

a pedicure and her dry cleaning combined!

 

Don’t you know you might fall and scratch a knee

And make us go to the emergency room for stitches

From some sterile doctor?

 

Didn’t you think your dress

Might tear ..

Or your hair

Might get wet or

You’d splash all over me?

 

The little girl picked herself up from the ground

And with an unexpected wisdom and said

“Because life is short.”

 

Fourth — some haiku

 

Ballerinas float

The plot gets complicated

Because life is short.

 

And

 

My life was so still

I’m a puddle jumper now

Watch me dare to act!

 

Fifth –

 

MAKING THE BED

 

Nothing but mattress and box spring

Looking bare and clinical

Bring in the cottony mattress pad

Lay it across and tuck in each corner

Smooth it out for the fitted sheet.

 

Four more corners to place just right.

Four more corners to smooth and tighten.

 

Find the top of the next sheet-

Wider hem at the head.

Hospital corners at the foot

More smoothing.

 

A comforter next, draped evenly at the edges

End with pillow cases and shams

 

A matched set, ready for resting.

Dawn Cantata

I wrote this a few years ago … and saw a very nice similar one from the wordpress website POESY PLUS POLEMICS …

SONY DSC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark eastern seashore

A silhouetted pier defined neatly by red marker lights

Night closes with a cadence of muffled drum blackness –

The downbeat of morning commences as

Muted purple evolves into bassoony blue.

Reedy orange opens to brassy apricot overtures

Bowed strings of gold shimmer,

introducing the sun.

Scudding clouds and aqueous crests

Echo colorful reflections of an

Antiphonal Amen.

The sands offer a warm round of applause

The Eveleth Clown Band – a poem

I wrote this poem a month ago for publication in the HOMETOWN FOCUS paper up in my home area on the Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota… for those who have never experienced the Eveleth Clown Band, well…..

That World Famous Band

I dream that I’m a member of the Eveleth Clown Band

I get to honk a horn real loud Hold a plunger in my hand…

And direct a loud strong chorus of IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO BEER

And even lead a version of Those Iron Range School Cheers

And wear some silly goofy clothes

A tiara, big shoes, and pajamas

I want them all in neon colors

Purple, Green, Bananarama.

I get to spoof political groups

Be silly and ‘tongue in cheek.’

I get to dance and frolic about

I hope it lasts all week.

See me weave down Grant Avenue Make music with that crew

And revel in our nation’s birth As Rangers always do.

So raise your voice and clap your hands and stomp your feet on the ground

… The Eveleth Clown Band is passing by – I love their freestyle sound.

Father’s Day 2013 .. a poem for my dad

I wrote this poem in 2010 for my dad, who died in 1991.  This picture was taken at his retirement from the railroad in 1980.

Dad's Retirement Cake,1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIS VIEWPOINT OF LIFE

 

Dad would sit at the kitchen table,

Light up a smoke, sip his coffee

Look out the north window and start in…

“The Wrens’re back – gotta put up their houses.

Lotsa Evenin’ Grosbeaks this year.

Orioles are singin’ out behind the g’rage.

Gotta put out more suet for the Nuthatches.

Jeez, them mean Grackles and Jays

Are scarin’ the others away.”

 

Late afternoons, he’d say,

“Let’s go check out the yard.”

And he’d look, not very hard,

Finding nests all around.

“There’s a mama Robin on her nest

‘bout twelve branches up this pine.  See it?”

I usually didn’t but said I did.

He’d push back branches in the hedges,

Find an acorn-shaped nest of a yellow-green Warbler

He’d mutter and wink, “Amazing – so small.”

 

Come fall, He’d take me Partridge hunting.

Walk the rock ridges north of town

He’d point out soaring Cooper’s Hawks

Juncos on the ground

And surmise why the Canadian Geese were strangely still around.

He’d spot Bald Eagles high in a dead tree

Marvel and gasp at their high flight.

 

Then I was older, I had my own yard

With wire-roosted Cardinals, Bluebirds and Wrens.

We talked on the phone one June night

He asked, “You still got them Bluebirds?  They don’t come up north.”

“They’re here, Dad.” I said.

“Well, take care of them Bluebirds”, then he hung up the line.

 

He died the next day; I had had my last session.

I hear all the birds, dad.

Thanks for the lesson.