Category Archives: Elegy

Blue-footed Booby

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Blue-footed Booby

Graceful Vee of wing and curve of neck
laid out in sea foam on the beach—
it is as though you are making a final goofy move
on feet dressed up in blue first for dancing and then for love.
The means of your death is less a mystery to me
than what has left you and where it is now.
Perhaps, as I cup my hand through air above you,
I hold a part of you not soon enough departed.

Remembering those tiny sea turtles,
alone in the sea for moments,
picked off by the birds,
these mysteries worry me
like tiny flippers
that next great adventure
of the inside of a pelican
as I finally understand why anyone
would choose to have their ashes scattered at sea.
I have always dreaded descent
to the ocean’s dark floor,
when I could have been imagining
washing up on a favorite shore.

Poetry by Prescription: Goodbye Old Paint

Old friend, new friend.

Goodbye Old Paint

What have you eaten that we have forgotten?
What lost earring resides
in the deepest recesses of your front seat?
What coins shaken and pushed into your crevasses?
And do you remember the song made up on the spot
and sung just once, then left forgotten in Nevada?
Do you still carry the dust of Tonopah
or that yearning to actually see something extraterrestrial
on the Extraterrestrial Highway?
Do you carry shards of his boredom while driving
mile after mile of Utah beauty?
Do you still carry my expectations of sharing
the giant faces of Rushmore
and echoes of the fact that he expected more?

What of molecules of the Mississippi crossing
or dreams of the memories of Hannibal?
What sweat from those Mississippi hours
waiting outside the B.B. King Museum?

Salt grains and chocolate crumbs
and DNA of those few souls who rode along in you—
all parked in a parking lot waiting to be bought
by someone who will never know the hidden you.
Just like the rest of the world,
frequented by interlopers.
Only we, leaving you, will murmur “Goodbye Old Paint”
and know that although you neither hear nor answer,
somehow our past is locked up inside of you
and there a part of us will stay
while we depart without it.

The prompt today was by Forgottenman, who wanted me to memorialize his faithful automobile companion, Old Paint (pictured here to his right). To his left is his new love, Soul Red.  To see his prompt, go to his blog here.

NaPoWriMo Day 26: Pied Beauty II

Pied Beauty II

Thanks be to Sara Lee for appled things—
For pies, for apple fritters and for thin-rolled strudel crust;
For pastries of the fruit of Eve and sauce it swims within;
Fresh-cooked in ovens, how their sweet juice sings;
The sugar clotted and pierced— place it on plate we must;
And all taste, for how can tackling it be such a sin?

All things made of flour and Crisco and of apples sweet;
(How can they by nutritionists be so sorely cussed
With words professing they won’t make us thin?)
With their tart flavor are sure our lips to meet;
And meet again.

—Judy Dykstra-Brown

Our prompt today was to write a curtal sonnet in the style of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ famous poem “Pied Beauty”. This form consists of a first stanza of six lines followed by a second stanza of five, closing with a half-line. The rhyme scheme is abcabc defdf. I chose to make it a parody of Pied Beauty as well.

And now, the original:

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins


NaPoWriMo Day 11: Strawberry Hill Forever

Poets have been writing about love and wine, wine and love, since the time of Anacreon, a Greek poet who was rather partial to that subject matter. Anacreontics might be described as a sort of high-falutin’ drinking song. So, today our prompt was to write about wine-and-love.

Strawberry Hill Forever

So take we rum and take we Coke
and sippy-straws so we don’t choke
on ice and limes within our glasses
and fall dead on our tipsy asses.

Let us to Elysian fields
take our drinks and also meals:
cheese and grapes and shepherd’s pie,
potato chips and ham on rye.

Let us frolic in the lee
without your kids—just you and me.
Spread a blanket and have some fun.
Show ourselves to the morning sun.

If perchance you’d prefer wine,
well, you take yours and I’ll take mine.
I’ve chosen well. I think I will
take some Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill

found in a box of college things:
pennants, books and old class rings.
This dinosaur, screw top intact,
we must imbibe, it is a fact,

to stir libidos and memory
so I might take thee on my knee,
cop a feel of thy lovely ass
and roll thee in the green green grass.

Afterwards, we’ll fill our lips
with sandwiches and pie and chips.
No satyr dined on lovelier fare.
No nymph tasted food more rare.

And when the sun falls in the west,
we’ll cork our wine, pack up our chest
and hurry home. We can’t be late.
Your husband’s getting home at eight.

NaPoWriMo Day 2: Maiden’s Dilemma

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem based on myth or legend. Mine was inspired by many.

Maiden’s Dilemma

Each myth, legend or fairytale
from “once upon” to “fare thee well”
shares some elements of story
be they sad, uplifting, gory.

Always a damsel in some distress—
Rumplestiltskin’s name to guess,
for straw once spun out into gold,
or another story to be told.

Too much sleep may be her curse,
ugly stepsisters, or worse.
Murder, treason, sloth and pox
were emptied from Pandora’s box.

These troubles spread from near to far,
(although, in fact, it was a jar.)
Zeus forgave Pandora’s shame
and the imp revealed his own strange name.

But the other women described above
were saved by cleverness or love.
Scheherazade escaped the hearse
with stories, legends, tales and verse.

Cinderella rose from hearth and ashes
and Sleeping Beauty opened lashes­­––
both maids saved by daring-do:
one by a kiss, one by a shoe.

So whatever might have been their fate:
loss of child or murderous mate,
wipe tears and fears away with laughter.
They all lived happily ever after.


NaPoWriMo Day 1: Ode to Picasso

Time for NaPoWriMo again.  The challenge is to write a poem a day.  Today’s challenge is this:

“The prompt for all you early birds is an ekphrastic poem – a poem inspired by or about a work of art. There are no rules on the form for an ekphrastic poem, so you could write a sonnet or a haiku or free verse. Some well-known ekphrastic poems include Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo and Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. But ekphrastic poetry is alive and well today, too, as your efforts today will reflect.”

Here is the lithograph I based my poem on:

And here is my poem:

On Picasso’s Imaginary Self-Portrait

Is it conceit or self-knowledge
that makes you paint yourself
in the ruffed collar
of Shakespeare
or a clown?

Satyr, young at heart,
your merry countenance
masks darker moods and behaviors,
the bright pigments
hiding a more somber undercoat.

your children
and your mistresses
might paint you as master:
stern, egotistical,
but always with the backlit inspiration
of genius.
Yet, old goat,
you paint yourself a clown.