Love in Ten Lines

Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo

April is celebrated as NPM by the Academy of American Poets, among other groups. Use #npm15 to connect w/like-minded folks.

Well, cruelly or not, here it is April already. Happy National Poetry Month (more details on this in a later post)!

As for a poetics of the personal, I was asked almost a fortnight ago by fellow writer and friend Sarah Potter to wax poetic on the subject of love, following certain parameters and with strictures that I still managed to both tangle and mangle, for the “Love in Ten Lines Challenge.” You’ll have to forgive me on several fronts. I’m steadily pedaling back up to speed on blogging—both writing and reading/commenting—after a bout with spring sinusitis that decided to invite my eye in for the party. I’ll spare you further allergological details (in any case, they happened after I’d written these two poems anyway).

Briefly, here are the rules of the 10-line love challenge:

  • 10 lines only, on love.
  • “Love” must appear in each line.
  • Each line must be exactly 4 words.
  • Include a quote about love (it can be your own quote).
  • Use any language you choose.

As grateful as I was to be invited, no obligations attached, by Sarah to take part in this challenge, I’m a little rowdy with the rules, I guess. I’m supposed to formally invite other bloggers to take part, but I feel as if I’d be imposing on y’all if I call out specific people, even though I do have several of you in mind. But everyone is so busy. That said, if you’d like to take part in this challenging premise, I informally welcome you. Then we can probably just call it a free-verse free-for-all.

Finally, who doesn’t like a good word brawl with one’s language every now and again? (Even if you get a bit of a black eye, as I feel I have here . . .)

A Museum of Moments

Love, my heart’s Braille,

written for unseen loves,

suitors untailored for love,

in love with veils,

of ragged things unloved.

gagged love, silken bonds

fixed fast. Everyone loves.

We covet coursing love-

blood. Strange museum, love:

where we all sight-see.

Beloved Dust

My little loves, fay

folk, loved beyond mortal

measure. Love carves us

out of softwood. Love

chips love away, shapes

each love in fashion.

Shavings, sharp edges; love

leaves behind even love

itself sometimes. Love sears

into each beloved grain.


Oh, a final finally. The quotes!

“Love is not love/
which alters when it alteration finds.” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

and, for more on fissile or weathered love, we have the Peter Gabriel lyric:

“. . . In lovetown,
I can’t settle down.
And do those teeth still match the wound?
Take a good look around
In lovetown.” (from “Lovetown,” available on the 2-CD release “Hit” [disc two of which is called “Miss”])

Flowering: A Poem

'Thai maroon' guavas, a red apple guava cultivar, rich in carotenoids and polyphenols. In public domain, by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

These are “Thai maroon” guavas, a type of red apple guava cultivar. Image in the public domain, by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Flowering

 by Leigh Ward-Smith

You want me for

your hot guava girl.

Succulently sweet,

            not too loud.

Squeezable, tease-able,

not too proud.

Juice, jelly, jam:

able to be quashed

under the press of your flesh.

Pulp: pink or cream,

and willing.

Prone to ardor, rot, parasites.

You’re convinced my fruits will mummify

without your potable vigor, sure

my feathered veins will wither.

Still, I propagate in any soil

I desire.

 


This poem—which probably would have been titled “The Botany of Desire” if Michael Pollan hadn’t used it already, darn him!—was inspired by last week’s Grammar Ghoul (Chimera) 66-word challenge #4, whose deadline I missed a few days back. My advance apologies for the formatting in this; I’m not an html expert.

The prompt word was guava, as you might have guessed. For more on this fascinating fruit, you can try the University of Hawai’i Knowledge Master database on pests, crops, and much more, as I did. And also be sure to visit Grammar Ghoul Press, which has a garden-ful of weekly prompts, boys and ghouls.

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Haiku High Jinks: On Word-Building and LEGOs

CandLego--Daily Imagination Haiku_2

Imagination power! Kid 2 thinks of the Bard (WS LEGO not seen above) as “Shakesbeard” and “Shakesbeer.” Which do you think he would like better?

 

Poet Ludens*

e.e.’s axiom:

which-y words flaying, zinging

out like darts in flesh

*Inspired by “what if a much of a which of a wind.” Text here at poem 75.

 

The Play-bow

The play-bow. RIP, big guy.

Ode to An Absent Friend

The red slide of your

back. An arc, bowing willow,

bark tethered to moon.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Imaginations

Three-headed robot.

’Sooth, “Shakesbeard” shall slay them all!

Words flare, sabrepoints.

 

Wall Light Haiku_2.1

The Art-Light Game

Light leapfrogs our wall.

Chiaroscuro hop-scotches,

Pollock play-splotches.

 

 

Written for the weekly (25 January 2015) Haiku Horizons, keyword “play.”

Haiku Thursday: On a Theme of Release

October has become a candypalooza in many parts of the world. But for just a few minutes, why don’t we imagine something different. Perhaps even an Octo-beer. And in that vein, hope you enjoy these haiku drafted written for Haiku Horizons.


 

Frost, Fall, Leaves_20141022_1256

Growing

Do these trees release

willingly, in warm wisdom

learning to let go?

 

Laws of all

We learned from our souls’

terminal velocity

to embrace the Fall.

 

Manifesto

And I will free it

so I can soar, roar, risk it

all and fall, to rise.

 

Lush language

Writer, gulper of

overheard wisdom stolen

from wide-open taps.

 

Writer, brewer

What is writing, if

not distilling strong mood-shine.

Reader, want a jar?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mellowing into Fall: Essay and Photos

Leaves Etc._20140924_0928

Hope you like the cotton-candy clouds, JannaT!

If you didn’t know better, you’d think furry brown Cheetos were crossing the road, crawling from cornfield to cornfield. I’ve done a lot of swerving as a consequence. I flick my eyes up to the rearview and watch their little forms rolling around like horseshoes in the sand. And I hope they’re okay.

Yesterday, a hummingbird flitted into our garage, taking refuge, perhaps, from the autumnal cascade that I almost caught in this photo (believe it or not, that spot in the middle right quadrant is a leaf).

It’s that golden time of year again. When none or few still do hang. Shackled by bony branches. Or are they caught up in some Cthulhu’s claws?

Leaves Etc._20140924_0912

Goodbye, Summer.

The rose bush is putting on a small show next to our driveway — a sole spray of pink popping out of the greens. The chives are preparing for lean times, too. Their ends are droopy and brown.

But two watermelons and one cantaloupe cling to life, desperate to ripen. Before snow, or some other surprise, settles in.

When I was a child, fall upset the philosophical applecart of happiness. The animals and plant lives I loved to follow by limb and with eyesight seemed to have drawn in. Hunkered down. Sloughed off. Or gone under.

The main good things to be said for autumn in the Northern hemisphere — it certainly wasn’t returning to school, apart from cross-country running when I was a teenager — were the twin surfeits of sugar and tryptophan. And the mere prospect of snow made my imagination effervesce, especially when I lived close to the ocean.

Leaves Etc._20140924_0939

He’s playing amid the fallen leaves. I’m learning to relax.

Now, I tend to view fall through a yellowed lens. No, not jaundiced exactly, but mellowed. Relaxed. (It’s the medication. Ha!) Embracing the slowing-down of natural processes. Ah, but what to make of the diminished thing? Perhaps we ought to consult a certain bird of Mr. Frost’s? He did remind us, after all, that nothing gold can stay.

In the meantime, enjoy some other autumnal offerings from around the world of WordPressland. For instance: An essay and photo meditation. A re-blogged poem. A poem reimagined (after Chinese poet Li Po). A stream-of-consciousness fiction piece.

 

 

Handling the Human Heart: Haiku

Reuters--butchery photo

Reuters photograph.

Youth, flayed

Whistle at one life’s work.

That snug abbatoir, childhood,

skips to your lax blade.

 

Her heart

She forgot to know

words more powerful than belts.

Lacerating tears.

 

His heart

Wet vigils kept you

over pallid self-esteem,

sluicing away flesh.

Crane-Desert poem graphic

Because it is your heart

Seagram’s, your Grail, spears

raggedy id. Pinking shears

sawtooth kith — and kin.

 

 

Fear’s edge

You saw its savage

edge through pocket of apron.

A grin slits your lips.


Haiku for this week’s Haiku Horizons, on “cut,” which lent itself to sanguine verses (for me, anyway; be sure to read the other contributors!).

And now for some comic relief (note: this is the “Barbershop/Lumberjack sketch,” the first part of which might gross out the squeamish).

 

 

Euphoric/Dysphoric Haiku

 

Strands of IMacbeth candle

When I am wholly

at peace, bifurcated (k)not:

tallow’s tail — docked, snuffed.

 

Untitled, rhyming 1

This patchwork world frays

arrayed lives, brocaded days.

Best dress to egress.

 

Untitled, rhyming 2

Content comes with age

they say; calm is the loose cloak

saved for darker days.

 

Function Sans Form

Meanings labyrinthine,

when content is king and coils

reason ’round the thing.

 

 Blood Lines

Where mem’ries gather,

if I could just let them clot,

would hell or heme bloom?


The Haiku Horizons word of the week is “content,” which can be used adjectivally or nominally, as I’ve done here; be sure to peruse the other contributors to this week’s HH. After you’re done there, enjoy some other haiku or related forms by writers Robert Okaji, who here gives us a haibun, and Sarah Potter, who delivers a Monday morning haiku weekly.

 

Speculative Poetry: The Mirror-Ship

Janus 1: The Mirror-Ship

GENRE: Speculative Poetry

556px-Janus.xcf

A fascinating image from Bernard de Montfaucon’s L’antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures, which is in the public domain. Janus (Latin: Ianus) stands as the Roman god-figure of changes and beginnings, and thus of doorways, passages, gates, and endings; that is why he is represented as looking both back in time and forward.

 

Twinkling from stem to stern, the slim ship

parted the black tide of space, a drip

into the washbasin of infinity.

The jeweled hull reflects not divinity

but instead a cascade of faceted realities.

Unconcerned with its own folded dualities,

the mirror mother-craft plaits, tucks, turns

with, in, and through time forced-flat.

It meanders emotionless and does not yearn

as years yawn into centuries, ion one with eon.

Light welded to night, as collar with frill.

And all that was within your own orbit pulsars still.


I hope that your week so far has been productive and peaceful. In line-of-sight with the speculative poetry theme of today’s post (for which I always gratefully receive input), I’d like to offer up a few markets and resources for you to explore. Best wishes, writers!

  • Strange Horizons is a paying market—imagine that! Thirty-per-poem is offered by this editorial triumvirate, who seek “modern, exciting poems that explore the possible and impossible: stories about human and nonhuman experiences, dreams and reality, past and future, the here-and-now and otherwhere-and-elsewhen. We want poems from imaginative and unconventional writers; we want voices from diverse perspectives and backgrounds.” If you’ve got some stellar horror, science fiction, fantasy, or slipstream poetry, do consider SH, but be sure, at a minimum, to read their definitions and manifesto article first.
  • The annual speculative poetry contest from the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) is ready for takeoff! With an Aug. 15 deadline and a $1-or $2-per-poem submission fee, now might be the time to dust off that speculative poetry for one or more of their three categories: dwarf, short, and long. Among other perks, there’s a $100 first-place prize in each category and “publication on Poetry Planet (StarShipSofa.com) podcast magazine and on the SFPA website for first through third places.” SFPA is also a great overall resource if you write speculative poetry; do consider membership therein.
  • Not speculative fiction, but perhaps of interest to those of you who enjoy memoir and/or essays, personal or otherwise. If you’ve ever experienced a “eureka!” moment—it need not have been while in the bathtub—and can pen a compelling “Life Lessons” essay of no more than 1,500 words, Real Simple magazine just might want to publish your writing and pay you for it (the best combination, I might add). As always, be sure to read all the rules, especially regarding rights protection of your story, and make your submission, if you so choose, by Sept. 18 (e-mail or snail-mail). Good luck!

Haiku: Examined Lives

We Night Birds

We hollow-boned preen

by day, ’til Night feathers nests

and opens pent souls.

Open and Read, If You Dare

Here lie life’s pages

not flitt’ry on the gurney

but splint’ring the eye.

Image from the "As Eye See It" photography blog by Herb Paynter

Image from the “The Way Eye Sees It” photography blog by Herb Paynter.

 

Mama Maelstrom

Dreams pelt swift these days,

open holes in mind-windows,

gouge out doughy hopes.

 

 

Life’s Sentences

I once knew a man

so open-minded, the book

submerged, and tabloid rose.

 With Nothing But Writing to Guide Me

Carry me across

divided worlds, burned bridges

minds, eyes, hearts — o, pen.


Haiku crafted especially for Week 17 of Haiku Horizons, with the prompt this time being “open.”

 

 

Haiku: Nature’s Oppositions

Hiking_20140412_9902

Dialogue with a Shadow

Master of meanings

unbeen. Verbalizing air,

eliding the light.

 

Capturing Sunlight

Both photographs ©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014.

Dialogue with the Day

Pulley up the sun.

Harbinger, bringer, vampire,

eluding the Night.


A big thank-you to Susan at The Wizard’s Word for blogging her own haiku for the weekly prompt (week 16) at Haiku Horizons, which is currently “master.” Check them both out, why don’t you.