Category Archives: advice

Rose


Rose

We are all filters of the world,
taking the news in—the happy births 
and inane deaths, the charities and cruelties,
the beauties and the gross ugliness
of nature and of human nature. 
These things pass through us or get stuck,
taking us with them into the poles of our own natures.
Those ills of the world we choose to dwell on
change us if we are not careful to let them go again
or to act in a manner opposite—
which causes us to seed new hope
which just might, just might
catch hold in the sieves
of others

and bloom.

A concrete poem is one that takes the form of what it describes. I could find no photo of a rose in my photo library, so the form of the poem will have to do to illustrate its meaning. 

The prompt today was “filter.”

On the Stump

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On the Stump

Hobbling around on the stump of a life,
nobody’s lover and nobody’s wife,
her children and grandchildren all raised and grown,
out of her life and out on their own.

Is her life over? Is it near its ending,
or has she another life that is just pending?
Has she a talent for regeneration?
Is the first sixty years mere education?

A single shoe dropped is only one shoe.
Life isn’t over until it is through.
Perhaps she’s less active removed from the past,
but wind can still fill out a sail at half mast.

The stub of a life can still get us around.
A heart can still beat and the blood can still pound.
Go after adventure for all you are worth,
for every new day is a part of your birth.

 

The prompt word today was “stump,” and I must admit it nearly stumped me. Lately my poems have degenerated into moralistic little lesson-rhymes. I may seem to be up on the stump, but it it is not my intention to preach as it is mainly myself I’m trying to advise. If you want to listen in, you are most welcome.

 

 

 

Leapin’ Lizards

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Leapin’Lizards

Iguanas, lizards, gekkos, turtles, toads and frogs and snakes
are not the things that we should fear in life, for goodness sakes.
These creatures in their own domains present no awful threat.
Just leave them where they are, for none were made to be a pet.

Our tame lives seek to steal the wildness from such natural things,
but wildness is not what curtailing wildness ever  brings.
We must learn to leap ourselves––by entering our lives
and breaking free from prisons–our cages, pens or hives––

to buzz the world around us and see what we can find
to release us from our lethargy and the ties that bind.
If you do not know the way, just go and find a child
and follow him or her to places where they keep the wild.

The beach or any sandpile may serve to be your clues
of how to color your own life with more vivid hues.
A thing as simple as wet sand can take a child to
places where you had forgot you could be taken to.

Castle moats or rivers, dams, mountain tops or caves
huge mansions that are sacrifices to that evening’s waves.
Our wild imaginations are where we all should go
to find a little wildness when our lives are slow.

Go find a dog to walk with if you need a pet
then take him out to some wild beach–and both of you, get wet!
Wildness is for doing, not for sitting on a shelf.
So free the creatures pining there and find some for yourself!

(Click on first photo to enlarge and view gallery)


Those baby sea turtles are being set free, not being collected. Happy Leap Year!!!
(If you want to know more about the release of the baby turtles, go HERE.)

This poem was written partially in response to this strange strange news from my home town that was sent to me by two friends yesterday. Read about it here:  http://www.chapala.com/webboard/index.php?/topic/60430-tiger-in-la-floresta/

It was also in response to the prompt “Leap,” in honor of this being the extra day in this leap year!  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/leap/

Finding a Path

 Finding a Path

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The Prompt: Alma Mater
You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater— about the path of life. (Draft the speech.

I wrote a poem last year that suits gives any further advice I’d give a young person.  You can find it HERE.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/alma-mater/

In the Soup

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In the Soup

Definition: in trouble, as in “I’m in the soup with the boss.”

Without fear, we’d be in traction with braces head to toe––
Each day a speed infraction from refusing to go slow.
We’d fall off tipping ladders and land upon our heads,
or go to sleep with adders sleeping in our beds.

We wouldn’t have good sense about where we should go.
I fear we would be dense––our thought processes slow.
We’d wind up in the jungle sleeping on the ground
hoping for each bungle a solution might be found.

Since fiction often follows fact, I’ve been in many a stew.
But luckily, I chose to act, so “done to” turned to “do.”
In the past I came too near to kidnapping and rape,
and luckily by conquering fear, I’d find means of escape.

After graduating college, I became a bum;
but now I can acknowledge that I was often dumb.
Fearlessness was often what got me into trouble.
My mind would choose to soften the rub of danger’s stubble.

Traveling a foreign region, I was so naive
that my mistakes were legion, so now I do believe
it’s crazy to be fearless. Now even I succumb.
In caution I am peerless––finding fearlessness is dumb!

The Prompt: Fearless Fantasies––How would your world be different if you were incapable of feeling fear?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fearless-fantasies/

 

At Fourteen

There is a whole world out there and you’ll see it soon enough.
It is the world inside of you you’ll find especially rough.
Try to write about it, and try to tell the truth
about the things that happen that you find uncouth.

Write about what hurts you, and hurts that you have done–
all those shadows in you brought into the sun.
Ask those around you why they act in ways that might seem cruel
and try to live your own life by the golden rule.

Take chances and do not be cowed when you achieve less
than what you might have hoped for, and when you’re wrong, confess.
Don’t just do what your friends do. Don’t act before you think.
However strange the ones around you, try to find a link.

The world has enough meanness. Try not to add to it.
Try harder in environments where you seem not to fit.
People who are petty will cut you like a knife,
but the chances that you take will be what will make your life.

Other people’s rules pinch like a too-small shoe,
so don’t let other people dictate what you do.
Do not fear to step aside and go out on your own.
The fields that yield the sweetest crop are those that you have sown.

Post this advice up on your wall and read it now and then.
Use it as a means to reassess where you have been.
Then when you are older, and your life grows thin,
do what I am doing now. Consider it again.

 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From You to You.” Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Tomorrow, write a letter to yourself in 20 years.

                                                   Revisioning a Life

I don’t know if it helps much to revision the past.  I think we make decisions according to our background and our chemical makeup and genes and “knowing” that different choices might have contributed to your life turning out differently doesn’t necessarily mean that you would make different decisions even if you knew how they would play out.

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be around people.  I think this was primarily because I didn’t have a clear enough idea about what to do when I was alone.  If I’d had art classes or someone who encouraged me to write stories when I was small, I might have developed a need for lots of time alone earlier.  As it was, I started reading to fill out my days and nights, but even then, I probably would have traded in those books for more activity.

By the time I got to college, I was accustomed to “wasting” large amounts of time by doing nothing or by playing games, watching TV and listening to music.  I had never been anyplace where there had been clubs and activities to join other than the band, choir and MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) of my junior high and high school years.  I don’t know if it was lack of confidence or lack of interest that kept me from joining activities in college where I would have met more people, but I am quite sure that I had a small town inferiority complex that made me think people would probably not want to meet me.

Although in the dorm and around female friends I was outgoing and a leader of sorts, at mixers with fraternities, I was shy and held back.  I didn’t go to the student union much–preferring the smoking room at our sorority house, playing bridge with the hashers and watching soap operas with the Lenzi twins–my partners in prevarication.  Somehow I fell back on the lazy habits of my youth, even though I was now in an environment that provided more stimulating possibilities.

I see this tendency spreading like a stain throughout my life.  Yes, I traveled all over the world, but once there, in an exotic or  unfamiliar place, I didn’t necessarily make use of all the possibilities for socialization or discovery.  Once again I fell back on nights spent alone, reading or puttering around the house.  It wasn’t that I didn’t meet people and make friends.  I gave dinner parties and big parties and went to the houses of friends.  It was just that I also held back.  Pulled out by friends, I would go, but if I had to make the decision myself, I would stay home.

Now that I am in my retirement years, I still feel this pull and push of life.  If someone asks me to do anything, I do it.  I have had a few big parties but in recent years I prefer dinner with one to four friends.  The vast majority of my time, however, is spent alone, even though I know I could be busy every minute of the day with one or another social activity.  I fill out my days with writing or, in month or two-month spurts, working in my art studio.  I belong to three writing groups, two of which I go to regularly.  The reading series I coordinated, I let die a natural death when the coffee house where we met closed.  Others have urged me to resuscitate it, but i haven’t.

The reason I know I would probably not change my college habits even though I now know I should have been more active is because now that I am in possession of this knowledge, I still choose not to change.  I am a social person who has an even bigger need for privacy and alone time, but now it is because I have two worthwhile activities with which to fill that alone time. Whether there is much value in what I produce is a moot point.  I think we create in order to recreate our selves, in a way.  It is a place where we have a power we grant to ourselves and perhaps in a way this is a success which, although unheralded by the world, creates a smaller world of our own where we can become whatever we want to be.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Revisionist History. Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?