Tribute to Walt Whitman / caterpillar poets

Another Walt Whitman poem I wrote can be found here. I’ve read very little of Leaves of Grass but am inspired by Whitman nonetheless! Peace to your !


Tribute to Walt Whitman
who revised Leaves of Grass repeatedly until he died

Sculptors of marble chip and chip away.
Potters knead and shape their lumps of clay.
Poets create, through words alone,
What never cracks, is never set in stone.

caterpillar poets

Oh, to be a Whitman!
   They digest Leaves of Grass.

Living day by daydreams…
   these, too, shall pass.

Eating, dreaming, dying—
   without flying.

Poem title from chapter 58 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.

Just Saying

What I felt in each instance [when her parents died] was…regret for time gone by, for things unsaid, for my inability to share or even in any real way to acknowledge, at the end, the pain and helplessness and humiliation they each endured.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

How easy
it came to us—why
doesn’t Dad
just [insert
action here]: call the doctor,
or get off his butt

and go up
and sit with Mom, or
say something,
or agree
to wearing Depends. Perhaps
it depends on who

is doing
the asking and who
the doing.
This saying
is also true: you don’t know
until you’ve been tried.


The one-year anniversary of my dad’s death is coming up this Monday. He was (not) dealing with his own cancer throughout my mom’s time on hospice. Peace to our s!

the blue socks

everything depends
upon

the white socks
not being beside

the new
blue jeans

in the washing
machine.

Poem title from chapter 54 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.


This is not the first time I’ve riffed on William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow.” My thanks to him. Peace to your !

abracadabra

Pick up your wand.
Tap your black hat.
Say the magic word.
Pull out a…cat?

Put away the wand.
Get rid of the hat.
Make Abracadabra
The name of your cat.

Poem title from chapter 48 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.


I now have a grandcat, as my two daughters living in Chicago have adopted a black cat they’ve named Bean. 🐈‍⬛ Peace to your !

Interlude

May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last.

Cardinal Newman

The one-year anniversary of my mom’s death was this past Saturday. The interlude in the poem occurred a few weeks after she died and lasted only briefly, as my dad went downhill pretty quickly after that. The quote above was on a sympathy card I received. Peace to our s!


Interlude

A feeling from
out of the blue:

Mom did what
was hers to do
.

I felt a lovely
buoyancy too

That vanished
as Dad’s needs grew.

a sengsong pot of possibilities

This lump of clay on the wheel—
   Under the thumb of the potter,
Will it become a vase? A cup? 
   An answer begins to take shape.
The wheel hums; the potter hums. 
   Ah…the pleasure of taking pains.

Poem title from chapter 59 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.

“The pleasure of taking pains” is from John Ciardi’s How Does a Poem Mean? and perfectly captures how I feel about writing and revising poems. Peace to your !