Friday, October 27, 2017

Last meeting for 2017, a potluck of poems was enjoyed by all.

LtoR: Phillip (his back to us), Dolores, Jim, Scott, Stephen, Mark, Jed, Mariel, Judith, Carter, Joanne, Jean in pink.
Since you can't see Steve Cahill, in pink behind the post, here's a picture of him alone, and a picture of his fellow Slam competitor, Marc Creavan:
Marc Creavan, 3rd place at the slam

Steve Cahill, 1st place winner at
 recent Highland Arts Center Slam (Greensboro)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Time and Eternity, by Judith Janoo

Judith Janoo
a poem in response to How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry:

Time and Eternity
        "for patience joins time to eternity," Wendell Berry

There is no end to it
the way time eases
into a moment

makes it home
unblinking moves on
not hurried, not slow
minds its own
           no end to its grace
how it arrives as an offering
spans the hour
dropping sand as reddening
maples in pulsing wind, flare
blazon against white birches
slender sway
dropping leaves that dance
drift, settle
as a note that's held to full
measure, rendering
to earth, sky,
this universe and
the next
its silent enticement
never looks back
needs no map,
comes and gently
goes without closing the door,
time, a string of pearls
a lamppost for the light of eternity.

                                             Judith Janoo




Monday, October 23, 2017

Two from Joanne Giannino's earlier collection

Joanne Giannino

Journeywoman:  Poems 1982-1991 is a collection of poems by Joanne Giannino published by Healing House Press.

Below is a poem from that book, A decade of words


A decade of words

I need these words close
they span a decade
I've kept them from flames
and ensuing (and lifesaving)
from notebooks to looseleaf
to photocopied anthology
read by family members
heard by art school audience
and recorded for performance art
these words are mine
and I am comforted
in their evidence
of my living
and someday
I will shuffle them
into boundness
only to release them
again to cuddle and
remember the
fumbling, procrastinating, caring
poet in me.

Steve Cahill's response to Wendell Berry's How to Be a Poet

S.J. (Steve) Cahill
How to be a poet --

First of all, forget convention,
the restrictions of form.
Don't think about syllables and lines
Or poems with rhymes.
And don't worry about length -- for God's sake don't worry about
     too short or too long
or you'll get caught in the straitjacket stranglehold of that
     suffocating embrace
of writing lines that fit on the page and trying not to push
     envelopes or margins or
write stream-of-consciousness prose-like sentences that go
     on-and-on with free-
range enjambment and making lines break in the middle because
     sometimes a
poem needs a good run-on sentence to give the poem
     a little outlaw flavor.
One of those.
There are no rules Cowboy, and the ones that exist need to be broken.
So let the mind go free, like a runaway horse, or a jungle cat, or an innocent child,
or a squall at sea from hot Mediterranean winds.  Let the mind gush like a Roman
fountain and rage like a flood-stage river.  Let it laugh like an insane serial killer or
tinkle like the music of silver water in a mountain stream.
Let the mind flow like spilled water
-- filling and forming --
hither and thither (Now there's a weird pair of words)
seeking its own level
or overflowing the dam.
Think what happens to lemons to make lemonade.
What happens to eggs to make omelets.
What happens to animals to make sausage.
            (Or maybe don't think about that.)
Think about love and life with ethereal light and music and song
Think about loose cannons and death and wars that went wrong
       Short wars -- The Six Day War
                 Long wars -- The 100 Year War
                           Wars with pretty names -- The War of Roses
The Big One -- aren't they all? -- The war to end all wars that didn't.
Hot wars and cold wars and what we'll name the one that's coming?
We're losing The war on drugs and the War on poverty
The war of attrition -- that one may go either way.
The war against the environment seems to be the only one we're winning.
So the war of words -- which we're having now -- is all you need if you want to
be a poet, so just do it, because being a poet is a pretty good gig:
                             You can stay in your pajamas all day -- Talk in non sequiturs
                             Act weird -- Stare into space and claim to be thinking.
                             And forget to take out the trash
          And you can leave pieces and fragments and pages of stuff like this lying
around unfinished because you are a poet -- and poets can get away with it --
poets have a ticket to ride.  Get on the humanity train and head for happy or sad or
true love forever or broken hearts and lonely despair.  Saddle up a horse with no
name and take a ride on the wild side.  And who knows?  Sometimes even
something like this can end up on life support and help you make it through the
darkness of another long night.
       Whatever you write won't get you into heaven, but it will get you into a
poetry group at The Barton Library and you'll have a chance to read your writing
to some real poets.
p.s.  And they have a blog

                                                                                           S.J. (Steve) Cahill

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Stephen Hickey's piece in response to Wendell Berry's poem, How to Be a Poet

Stephen Hickey
Wendell Berry's How to Be a Poet works for him.  Perhaps there is some inspiration for all of us but I think he leaves a lot out that would later have occurred to him and he would have a never-ending and never-to-be- finished grand and grander opus if he were to add all that will occur to him.
And this is just for him now and him to come.
For the rest of us the problems multiply and need to be adjusted to fit ourselves.
Let us consider, what is the stuff of poetry?  What can it include, what needs to be left out?
Can some things be poetry for some but vain unnecessary mundanities for others?
I guess it's how it's thought of and how expressed that makes almost anything the stuff of poetry.
For me poetry can be what you need at the moment; what Berry describes is of what he needed at the moment he wrote it down.
Poetry is the progression of our constantly changing psyches, what stays with us when we have moved on and reach back for when we need to remember, what we experienced to help us in the now, things that lasted
for our needs now. 
Silence and nothingness seem the poetry of death. The fear and hysteria which they bring
us now are the poetry of the now.  The helpless is the poetry of the what-is-to-come.
The Poetries of the now are the straw that not quite make that bale that might float
and bear us for a while as the hopes of life, no matter how well-filled, will be the vanity
of the eternities we all inhabit.
These are the poetries we will need in the times to come.
These are the poetries we have always had.  There is only hope in the uncertainties
and in the shapelessness of these thoughts.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

a poem by Jean Morris

City Not in America                    

                                               by Jean Morris

Remember how our lips felt?
We believed the moon too large
the bell church sang in alto

Remember how the river slivered?
We might have danced maybe
mist moist lay against us

Remember how glass broke into our eyes?
We tied a scarf around the
statue so it wouldn't tumble into the sea.

Call remember -- whisper remember.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pantoums from Elaine, Carole, Sylvia

Carole Perron, October 2017
Pantoum for June

Let's take a family vacation.                                                  
We'll go somewhere warm.
Pack the tents in the car
Head south to Cape Hatteras.

We'll go somewhere warm.
Let's go to the ocean, see the sand and the waves.
Head south to Cape Hatteras
Maybe even see the outdoor play in the round.

Let's go to the ocean, see the sand and the waves.
The water is warm, it's June.
Maybe even see the outdoor play in the round.
The bicentennial is the buzz word.

The water is warm, it's June.
Pack the tents in the car.
The bicentennial is the buzz word.
Let's take a family vacation.
                                                Carol Perron

The Surfer
Elaine Wright

The blond young man, blessed with youth and strength,
his rippling muscles propelling him out on his board;
the high tide pushing whitecaps toward shore,
upright, and astride the board, he awaited the perfect wave.

His rippling muscles propelling him out on his board, 
pushing through wave after wave until, 
upright, and astride the board, he awaited the perfect wave, 
the one that would bring him to his feet.

Pushing through wave after wave until
he turned his board toward shore, anticipating
the one that would bring him to his feet.
We could tell that he had done this before.

He turned his board toward shore, anticipating
the high tide pushing white caps toward shore.
We could tell that he had done this before;
the blond young man blessed with youth and strength.

Elaine Wright

PANTOUM FOR TOM— Sylvia Manning

Year after year, day after day
his request of life is music before coffee.

“Put the Beatles!” — like a new idea — he’ll say, 
or every once in a while, “Willy!”

His request of life is music before coffee.
We’ve played a Beatles collection till it’s no longer groovy.
Every once in a while he asks for Willy;
He likes Elvis, too, but prefers his movies.

We’ve played that Beatles collection till it’s no longer groovy
in these years since he came to need our care.
He likes Elvis too, but prefers his movies.
It’s the Beatles’ collection that’s the worst for wear.

In these years since he came to need our care
we’ve given him all the music he needs, and then some.
It’s the Beatles’ collection that’s by far the worst for wear.
But he’s learned to find even classical music winsome.

We’ve given him all the music he needs and then some.
As his body grows weaker, his health seems surprisingly sound.
He’s learned to find even classical music winsome,
but with Willy, it’s like an old lost friend’s been found.

 As his body grows weaker his health seems surprisingly sound. 
His movements, his state of mind depend on what we play. 
If it’s Willy, it’s like an old lost friend’s been found,
but year after year, day after day.

 June 9, 2003, Palmview, Texas
previously published in 2003 in Waterways:  Poetry in the Mainstream, NYC

Sylvia Manning at Mullein Hill, 2006

Friday, October 6, 2017

Carter Billis brings us a poem, The Boy That Never Sleeps

The Boy That Never Sleeps

Carter Billis
Sometimes I need to be reassured that I'm not the only      
one in this world,
that there are more people here than I can count
on my fingers and toes.
When I'm walking down a busy street,
it feels like I could walk for miles,
anywhere my feet could bring me.
I'm boundless, ready to see everything I haven't seen,
on my way to meet everyone I couldn't elsewhere,
prepared to do all the things that I've never done.
I wasn't made to be alone.
I wasn't made to be motionless.
I was made to live freely.
I was made not to follow the crowd,
but to explore every crowd there is,
to have time, even if brief, in everyone's lives.
I want to make my way into their photographs,
into the pages of their journals,
into their kindest thought.
I want to repay the energy I'm gifted from others
until there's a never ending flow in and out of me,
enough to keep me rolling until there's
nothing left to see.

(This was for a homework idea to write about a place you'd like to go to or remember from having been there.  Carter must have been thinking of The City That Never Sleeps, right?  NYC.)

And here's the piece Carter wrote in our session October 4th in response to the prompt, quotating Galway Kinnell, "Poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment."  (So read on until the last line.)

recently I've found that poetry ...

I was born on May 29th.  This means that
I'm a gemini. 
Characteristically, gemini's are the signs
that talk the most, and even with my

shy nature, I find this to be true.
I have all of these thoughts in
my mind, and frankly I would
explode if they didn't all come
out somehow.  Usually they're
documented as text
conversations with my friends
or posts on social media, but
recently I've found that poetry,
if that's what you can call
my writing, is an effective way
of expression.  Perhaps this is
prose.  Perhaps it's just endless
banter.  But what matters is that
I'm expressing my thoughts with
as little concealment as possible.

Being There, by Steve Cahill

Steve (S.J.) Cahill
Being There
Being here requires Being There
Being There being a novel
by Jersy Kosinski
in which
The protagonist was a man named Chance
Who was learning disabled — an innocent —
A Jesus-like mystic who wandered about
Seeing the world through the eyes of a child
And said so.
He was without protective coloration or deceit or guile
So responded to every situation and answered all questions
With the simplest of truths which were so misunderstood
And mistaken for parable and metaphor, that the sophisticated urbanites
thought he was much more than he was — and so it is with poets. 

(The prompt this last Wednesday night was from the preface of a new anthology Poetry of Presence:  An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson, with quotation from Galway Kinnell:

"Poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.")