Strange Birds

Poets are strange birds,
no wings but what they weave
for themselves out of scraps
of their own and others’ lives
or cobble together from twigs,
leaves and mud paste.

Some hobble. Others falter
in the face of an unrelenting wind.
A blessed few take off in flights
almost too beautiful
for words.

Published in Eye Contact, Spring 2017


Peace to your !

Ode to Poetry

Over on The Skeptic’s Kaddish, I learned that it’s National Bad Poetry Day. An appropriate day to post this poem from 2015. Peace to your !


Ode to Poetry

O divine and lofty verse
Whose beauty has no equal,
Let me your many charms rehearse:
You’re lovelier than a pit bull.

nah…let’s see…

O lines that echo endlessly
For days and days and days,
Ear worms I would never flee,
To you I give just praise.

not good…how about this…

O poetry melodious,
You roll smoothly off my tongue,
I’m grateful you’re not odious,
Like my mother’s egg foo yung.

really not good…arghhh…

O poetry melodious,
I cannot seem to think
Of any praise not odious.
All my verses stink.

sigh…one last try…

O poetry, your glories
Mirror the music of the spheres,
So heavenly your harmonies,
Delightful music to my ears.

ahhh…almost makes me want to cry

Life Cycle of a Poem

conception
gestation
creation
(birth)

elation
hesitation
deflation
(no worth)

analyzing
revising
surprising
(not bad)

perfected
directed
rejected
(so sad)

inspected
corrected
redirected
(sigh)

anticipating
still awaiting
speculating
(why?)

validation
jubilation
congratulations
(sold!)

publication
celebration
remuneration
(gold!!)


Peace to your !

[A very sparing young poet named Nick]

A very sparing young poet named Nick,
Having mastered the compact limerick,
Yearned for verse
Even more terse,
So he strove to compose a slimerick.

Nick was not only sparing, but picky,
Which made the slimerick extra tricky.
Nothing he tried
Satisfied—
They were all, in a word, slimericky.


I’m also posting my first response to Monty Vern’s Silver Lining June collaboration. In a silver lining poem (Monty’s invention), the last words of each line in the poem are the key words, in order, of another line of poetry, with appropriate credit given to the original poet. The borrowing poet can forget those pesky little words like a, the, and of and can write about an entirely different subject. Thank you, Monty, for the opportunity to participate! Peace to our s!

[“A molten gold flows away from the sun” from “Evening Sea Wind” by Carl Sandburg]

Self-Sabotage

~after Carl Sandburg

Once the heart becomes molten,
Carefully cup the blistering gold
In your hands and gloat as it flows
Through your fingers. Then put the blowtorch away.
Tomorrow, stare at the sun.

fear of poetry

Poetry. It’s only a word. It will not hurt you.
Exposure therapy can help you overcome
your fears. The poetry exercise below was
created especially for this purpose. Use it
when the blank page begins to mock you.

P O E T R Y P O E T R Y P O E T R Y P
O E T R Y P O E T R Y P O E T R Y P O
E T R Y P O E T R Y P O E T R Y P O E
T R Y P O E T R Y P O E T R Y P O E T

Poem title from chapter 51 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.


National Poetry Writing Month begins in a few days. A sure antidote to fear of poetry, since there’s only one day (technically) to work on each prompt. I almost always have something acceptable by the end of the day, which creates a nice feeling of accomplishment. Peace to your !

1:23 AM

in the wee hours of the morn
a poem cries out to be born

       turn on the light
       write, write, write

pat your baby on the head
climb back into bed

Middle-of-the-night inspiration isn’t my preference, but I know that if I don’t write things down right away, there’s little likelihood I’ll remember the lines in the morning. Peace to your !

Brainstorm

All writers have their droughts, the rain gauge dry,
The page as empty as the plains; long days
When not a single cloud drifts in the sky
And inspiration fades to distant haze.
Be constant then in taking to the skies;
Be quick to seed each passing cloud you find.
Sweet rain will fall; ideas will arise
From this precipitation of the mind.
And if the rains delay? Do not lose heart:
A single lightning strike can set afire
The parched and lifeless page, and fresh new art
Emerge out of the ashes of desire.
Amid great dryness, writers, never doubt;
By fire or water growth will come about.


We recently had company from California, where pretty much the entire state is affected by drought. Meanwhile, in my part of the country, we’ve been having thunderstorms fairly regularly. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could shift rain (and inspiration) from areas of abundance to areas of lack? Peace to your !

Poetic License

At first I was only permitted
to go driving on the
neat streets of Rhyme.

When I got my poetic license,
I headed out into
the wider world of verse.

I made a brief stop in Haiku,
had a few laughs in Limerick,
sang the praises of Ode.

Then I ventured into Fiction—
it was a bit of a stretch to get there—
and I let myself get carried away:

I crossed over the line
into Non-Fiction, and that
was the end of my poetic license.


Daughter number three will be getting her learner’s permit soon, and then we begin 65 hours of behind-the-wheel experience before she can test for her actual driver’s license. It seems like an appropriate time to post this poem. Peace to your !

Artache

When I embraced art for art’s sake,
I wasn’t prepared for heartache.

I thought I had a thicker skin
To shield the fragile poet within

But learned how easily I bruise,
Held captive by the world’s reviews.

Seeking escape for my aching heart,
I find refuge in the arms of art.


One of my metapoems written in 2013. What author hasn’t felt this way at some point? Peace to your !

“I’m No Michelangelo”

National Poetry Writing Month begins tomorrow. I’ll post a new poem each day (as nearly as I can), using prompts from Maureen Thorson’s napowrimo.net website, which I’ve been taking advantage of since 2016. My thanks to her for promoting the gift of poetry. Peace to your !


I’m No Michelangelo

Looseleaf is my canvas,
A pencil is my brush,
But I’m no Michelangelo
Whose works make people gush.

No Sistine Chapel ceiling
Will my poems ever be.
Word painting’s just a hobby,
And my biggest fan is me!

© Stephanie Malley