RoadWriter

Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the tag “poem”

Another Step Down the Road

Yeah, I seem to be writing a story told in verse as a succession of poems about these two guys …

Another Step Down the Road  ColdSnow

 

One foot in front of the other,

under dark sky as I seek.

The cold is becoming my lover

and hunger an enemy to cheat.

 

I set out in search of adventure,

escape from the burden of land,

freedom from all expectations,

and work I could take in my hand.

 

Instead I’ve  been cold, wet and hungry.

I sleep under stars all  alone.

Yet still open road’s voice will call me

while her breath leaves me chilled to the bone.

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Journey

Here’s a companion poem to the one I posted yesterday:

Journey

 

Wanderer, wanderer where do you go,

all alone on the road when the wild winds blow?

Where did you come from and why did you leave,

who are the loved ones you left home to grieve?

 

Hunched in your cloak with your pack on your back,

bent almost double by the weather’s attack,

you pass by my hovel. I stare out at you.  sky

When will I ever bid loved ones adieu?

 

Held to a life of hard labor and toil,

grubbing for greens as I turn over soil,

I dream of far shores and adventures galore,

yet never will I set a foot out my door.

A Token for the Train

I love writing in rhyme, and I have a large number of poems lying around that rhyme. I’m especially fond of this one, which I’ve worked over a number of times.

 

 A Token for the Train813235889_2877218121_0

 

I clatter down dim staircase

to seek shelter from the rain,

duck beneath a turnstile

as I’m kind of short of change.

Platform’s crowded with commuters

who all mutter and complain.

 

Lights first dim and flicker,

fade to black as rumbles sound,

faint at first, volume increasing.

Bodies crowded all around

push me one way, then another.

Cries and caterwauls abound.

 

Folks scurry for an exit.

but I forget which way is out.

I bumble, blind, in darkness

while folks wander round about.

There’s a thunk from on the train track.

Guys beside me scream and shout.

I hear a high-pitched whistle

then the echoing refrain

from the screech and scream of metal

as it protests from its pain,

squeals and squeaks of brakes engaging

while they work to stop the train.

 

The slap of footsteps echo.

A man’s jumped down to the track.

Listen to his grunts and groaning

as he pulls the jumper back,

heaves him on the platform.

My head’s spinning; things go black.

Someone hauls me upright,

electricity flicks on,

train doors close; it leaves the station.

Now the crowds of folks are gone.

I scamper up the stairway

to the street where I belong.

Make Visible: The Feminine

I’m a poet with a particular point of view. In these next blog posts I’ll post poems on different subjects from my point of view. Each poem is an expression, through me, of inspiration or Spirit or emotion. What you see in this light is what you bring to the poem.

“The Feminine” is often expressed in writing by men. I offer you this poem, by a woman about femininity and what it means to be a woman. To me, just to me.

No Woman is an Island

More like vast continents
covered in dark forests,
hidden lakes and tributaries,
golden cities.

This land, dotted with small towns,
broad highways and dirt roads
is easy to get lost in.

There are no maps,
no signposts.

It’s not my fault,
if you lose your way…

© Anne Westlund

Boreal Forest

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Make Visible: Organization

I’m a poet with a particular point of view. In these next blog posts I’ll post poems on different subjects from my point of view. Each poem is an expression, through me, of inspiration or Spirit or emotion. What you see in this light is what you bring to the poem.

What is it about staying organized? It’s a noble pursuit, so they say. It’s so hard to get and stay organized. A poem can be about anything, anything at all, or even nothing at all. This is my poem about organization.

Disorganized

If I was truly organized
I’d know where everything was
every last paper
every last book.

I’d pay my bills on time,
find the keys
and my favorite lipstick.

But bills pile high on the dresser
my desk has layers to excavate
can’t find my slippers.

You tell me organizing is easy.
In a minute I’ll lose my pen,
then this poem will be over.

© Anne Westlund

 

Disorganized a huge mess
Disorganized a huge mess (Photo credit: Yuba College Public Space)

Come back on Friday, May 31 for Make Visible: Home

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

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Looking back on November: Poem a day

Again this year I participated in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Poem A Day challenge. The poems are supposed to form a chapbook, but I wasn’t aiming for that. I simply wanted to write poetry.

My muse has been in an un-serious mood most of the month. I’ve done a lot of rhyming and a lot of, well …

Here are a couple of poems:
Poetic Formless

Dust like stars. Any storm in a port. The eye of my apple. Dust the bite.  Blind a turned eye. Fuse a blow. Worm an open can. A death worse than fate. Ice the break. Knot the tie. A society of pillars.

Moons with rock piles made of diamonds, worlds of water where huge ships sail, never reaching shore, jungles full of purple cows, green tigers, and yellow elephants, dragons, fairies two feet tall, ten-foot-tall giants, magic wands, movies that turn themselves on with a blink of an eye.

My car sprouts helicopter wings. I look down on the cars lined up on route 95 as it winds through downtown Providence, and I open my mouth and sing, loudly, beautifully on pitch, remembering all the words.

The Truth about Truth

I desire a Truth
in my Christmas stocking.
Instead, in my head,
I hear a voice mocking.

“Truth’s much too fat
to be hung from a ledge
above a hot fire.”
Alas, though I pledge

she’ll never get burned,
she just shakes her large head.
Perhaps I will dream her
tonight in my bed.

She’ll plop on my blanket,
speak low in my ear.
I hope I’ll be able
to shut up and hear.

When He’s Gone

Alas, my laptop, Joe, is dead.
He tripped and fell right on his head.
The light went off. I almost cried,
the night my laptop, Joseph, died.

I had another laptop, Lou.
Unfortunately, he’s finished, too.
I spilled some coffee on his head,
and now my laptop, Lou, is dead.

Alas, I fear I’ll be offline
until November 12 at nine
AM when I return to work,
and leap onto my desktop, Kirk.

So for a time, I bid adieu
while I consider what to do:
to buy another or repair
or find someone who has a spare.

 

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A Poem for Halloween

English: Pumpkin carving - photo taken in dark...

English: Pumpkin carving – photo taken in darkness to show the effect of illumination from within (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Character Parade
By Lin Neiswender

 

Porch lights off,
Too old for this
Bed calls to me
Time to remember
Nearing years’ end

Every minute precious as it’s recalled
Baby dressed like pea in a pod, held by Mom
Toddler plays the Great Pumpkin role,
Bucket clanking knee
Another knock at the door,
“Trick or Treat!” on sweet young lips
Pirates swagger up the walk, brandishing homemade swords
Beating flowers, bushes, leaves into submission
Hobo tips the hat for candy rewards
As gypsies twirl in flowing skirts
Occasional ghosts or Presidents in mask
Super heroes, fairy princesses whisper soft “Thank you’s”
Most polite, a few greedy

Blow out my pumpkins,
Bring them in,
Another Halloween at its end
Time flies faster than I can ken

©2012 Lin Neiswender

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More on Limericks

Cover of "The Limerick"

Cover of The Limeric

I love rhyme. I love limericks, and I’ve written quite a few. Here, since I now have the perfect excuse,
are a few new ones.

Here’s one:

There once was a young lad from Kyoto
one evening while viewing a photo
saw a face so grotesque
it resembled a desk
and was sure he had seen Quasimodo.

and another:

One evening while cooking some rice,
a lass went to look for some ice.
When she failed to return,
the rice started to burn.
The poor lass had to cook her rice twice.

A note on meter in limerick:

The feet (metrical feet, not the things at the ends of your legs) for a limerick is typically an anapest
dum, dum, DUM or an amphibrach
dum DUM dum
with the first, third, and fifth lines consisting of three feet of three syllables each, and the third and fourth consisting of two metrical feet.

Edward Lear popularized the limerick,  but in contrast to modern limericks, they contain neither humor nor  a punch line, and the first and last lines were often the same.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lear

Although Mr. Lear wrote some limericks
I’m thinking they really are gimmericks,
First and last lines the same
make them seem pretty lame.
and of humor there’s nary a glimmerick.

And here’s one about Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick:

Expressing intention to pass
on a third term, the governor of Mass
saw his influence ebb.
It’s all over the web.
Is he planning to seek greener grass?

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My Voice

I’ve been thinking about voice a lot lately. Voice, as in writer’s voice, what is it, where does it come from, what influences it. As a writer, I love words and word play, have a good knowledge of English grammar, can speak, read and write French well enough to carry on a conversation, read a book, and appreciate some of the differences in the grammars. I enjoy humor and like writing all kinds of humorous poetry.

Many things have influenced me as a writer, but one of the biggest was my father. An attorney who appeared twice before the Supreme Court, he love the English language and was adamant about correct usage. Every time my sister or I would make a mistake, he would repeat the whole rule and its explanation. Not simply the correction. The whole, blasted thing. He also refused, generally, to give us the meaning of a word; he made us look them up ourselves. At the time I found the whole thing beyond annoying. Now I view it as one of the biggest gifts he could have given me.

He also encouraged us to read widely. I recall reading Damon Runyon and O’Henry among others at about age twelve, and having to look up about one word in every sentence. Talk about vocabulary building! And I can still recall discussions about points of grammar around the dinner table.

The New York Times crossword puzzle was another big influence, in that it led to my developing my own algorithm for generating rhymes. I am an auditory learner, and one day while doing the puzzle, searching for a word where I had the first letter, I realized that there were a very limited selection of sounds that could follow:
Consonant plus L sound: for example C plus L as in clap
Consonant plus R sound: for example C plus L as in crap
For some, Consonant plus W sound:   C plus W sound would be cwap — nope, that one’s not a word.
For S, C, and T: consonant plus H
For letter q: KW is the sound
Special case : S : S plus most of the others: S plus C , S plus C plus L, S plus C plus R…

But NOTE well.  We’re talking about SOUNDS, not spelling. I use C for the K sound.
If you’re visual and this throws you off, this system might not work for you. fat frat flat

I’ve used this algorithm for years. I love to rhyme, and although I now occasionally look up the rhymes using rhymezone.com, I can go through my own algorithm pretty quickly. I do better that way, because it forces me to contemplate each word and whether or not it would fit in the poem.

Although I love music and play the flute and the piccolo, I don’t listen to music as I write, nor do I see images when I listen to music. When I listen to music, I listen to music. It evokes emotions, but I don’t see pictures unreeling in my brain. I know some writers are inspired by music, like to write to music, and the like. I don’t, not in the way most people mean. I do find music to be very freeing when I’m letting my mind wander, contemplate plot, character, or whatever.

I have written several poems that were music-inspired. In  the cases I can remember, I was in my car listening to the radio when a particular song — or songs — got me started on a poem. Here is one of them. The first part of the first stanza was what was happening when the Kenny Chesney song started to play on the radio. I did have to go search out the titles of some of his other songs in order to fill out my conception of the poem. I’m nobly resisting the urge to revise it. It was published in an ezine:

Crack Up

Swish through car-lit darkness
Past squares of light,
street signs sparkling green and white.
Roll down your window,
feel the lemon air
ruffle what’s left of your hair.
Kenny Chesney blaring on the radio
loud enough to silence the thoughts in your head
waiting to be drowned in a cold beer.

Your wheels slide through ghosts of clouds,
past skeleton trees waving bare arms,
past lighted windows with families eating
roast chicken, green beans, potatoes
while the letter from your daughter
crinkles in your back pocket,
your seat belt chafing as
Kenny croons Who you’d Be Today.

The smell of leaf smoke drifts
through the window
as you drive at twenty-five miles per hour
past the cop in the turn-out on your left,
as the rain starts dripping down your windshield
and your windshield wipers quit.
You reach for a beer
as Kenny starts singing Keg in the Closet

Your car drifts into the center of the road
as you drop the empty on the floor,
reach behind you for another,
one hand on the wheel.
The car skids on wet leaves
going around that curve in the road
you forgot was there
and Kenny sings Steamy Windows.

The sweat drips down your neck
as you wrestle with the steering wheel,
brake on the empties,
your seat belt unfastened.
Skid into the tree.
Glass arrows your cheek your eye.
You’re bleeding from your ear.
Somewhere Kenny’s singing How Forever Feels.

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Make Visible: Inspired by Nature

My poem, “The Banquet,” was inspired by deer in our side yard.  As a writer, don’t be afraid of using nature as inspiration, especially as a jumping off point to a longer piece.  Your poem doesn’t have to be explicitly about flora or fauna, but could evolve into a metaphor about something else entirely.

Poetry prompt:  Go for a walk outside.  If something from the natural world catches your eye, start a poem with that image as the kernel.

The Banquet

The deer eat the weeds,

the apples, the lower branches of trees.

Such enthusiasm!

What feast have you set out

before them?

Like watching a puppy or a child eat.

Of the seven deadlies, gluttony…

Now it’s the ice cream aisle,

the frozen dinners and pizza,

the deli, the chip and pop aisle,

the white bread, the lowly potato.

You are laughing at us,

I know.

How disappointed you must be in us?

With our rice cakes, salads without dressing,

low-carb diets.

Come eat!

Life is a banquet, the table is set.

Are there no takers?

“Manna makes me fat.”

“Fishes go right to my thighs.”

So we starve in the desert,

refusing what you have offered,

this miracle.

© Anne Westlund

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Photo by Chris Westlund

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