Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown poems

Morrie’s Ball: NaPoWriMo–last day for 2020!

 


Morrie’s Ball

I throw the ball and throw the ball,
over my head in an arc to the garden downhill from the pool
where every midnight I do aerobic exercises and yoga,
trying to stem the freezing-up of joints,
the spreading of spare tires around the waist.

I am allergic to the sun,
and so these sometime-between-midnight-
and-3 a.m.-sessions in the pool

have come to be habit,
with both me and the small black shaggy dog
who leaves his bed in the doggie domain,
no matter how late I make the trip to the pool,
carrying his green tennis ball.

It is the latest in a long progression of balls
chewed to tatters until they are incapable of buoyancy
that sink to the pool bottom to be picked up by toes,
toed to hand, and thrown down again.
When they are replaced in the morning with a fresh ball,
he still searches for the old one,
like a child’s nigh nigh, grown valuable through use.

Again and again he drops the ball in the pool
and I interrupt every fifth repetition to throw the ball.
Like an automaton, he returns with precision,
then is off like a flash so fast
that sometimes he catches the ball I throw before it hits the ground.
This little dog, faithful in his returns,
sometimes jumps up on the grassy mound
I’ve made for him in a big flower pot by the pool,
chews the ball,
drops and catches it before it falls to the water,
drops and catches,
as though teasing me
the way houseguests might have teased him in the past with a false throw.

Or, sometimes he drops it on the grass,
noses it to the edge and then catches it before it falls.
Over and over, constructing his own games.
Then, bored or rested up from his countless runs,
he lofts the ball into the water precisely in front of me
and I pause in my front leg kicks
to resume my obligation.

But this night, he returns listless after the third throw.

“Go get the ball, Morrie,” I command, and he runs with less speed and vigor down the hill to the garden. I hear him checking out his favorite places,  but he does not return, and when I call him, finally, he returns, ball-less, jumps up on his mound and falls asleep.

He’s getting old, I think.
Hard to imagine this little ball of energy
as being anything but a pup.
He’ll bring it to me tomorrow, I think.
But tomorrow
and tomorrow
and tomorrow
brings no Morrie with a ball.

When I go down to the hammock the next day,
his enthusiastic leap up onto my stomach
is the same, his same insistence
that I rub his ears, his belly, his back.
But no ball proffered for a throw.
No Morrie returning again and again for more.

I am feeling the older for it,
like a mother who sees her last child
off to University or down the aisle, fully grown,
but I am reassured three days later,
when I arise from the hammock
to climb the incline up to the house
and see lodged firmly in the crotch of the plumeria tree
five feet off the ground: Morrie’s ball.

He sees me retrieve it
and runs enthusiastically up to the pool with me,
where I peel off my clothes
and descend like Venus into the pool,
arc my arm over,
and throw the ball.
He is back with it
before I get to the other end of the pool.
If they could see
through the dense foliage
that surrounds the pool,
what would the neighbors think
of this 72-year-old skinny dipping,
lofting a ball over her head
for her little dog
in broad daylight?

Morrie and I don’t care.

Happy Ending

The final NaPoWriMo challenge for 2020 is to write a poem about something that always returns.

 

House Fairies?

Book Fairy

House Fairies?

The back door came unhinged in the hovel she lived in.
so when she got back home from wherever she had been,
there had been a kind intruder who sparkled up the place.
Tidied up the dishes and polished up its face.
Brightened up the house by cleaning all the glass—
giving the mirrors and windows more than just a pass.
Plumped up all the sofa cushions, scrubbed down all the floors.
Polished all the bathroom fixtures, fixed all of the doors.
Grime and dust and smudges that had grown over the years
were abolished in one massive cleaning in arrears.
Who the house fairy might have been, she never quite determined,
but her house was clean and glowing, its corners all de-vermined.
At first she was in shock and astonished at the brass
of the home invasion, but then it came to pass
that she kind of liked the order, the cleanliness and polish.
She wondered who it was who might have come in to abolish
all of her disorder, her smudginess and mess,
replacing it with all this pristine loveliness.
She never found the answer, but to encourage even more,
for the whole rest of her life, she never locked the door!!!

Prompt words today are sparkle, unhinged, hovel, brighten and year.

Macho

DSC08411Mixed Media Retablo  “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown

Macho

That stern detective, hewn from stone,
is a kid when he’s alone.
Looks at cartoons, lives on snacks—
bubble gum and Cracker Jacks.

Just goes to show you cannot tell
what delusions you must dispel
to find the truth of those you know.
You must look at what’s below.

 

Prompts today are hewn, detective, jack and snack.

Oldest Friend

 


Oldest Friend

She is my very oldest friend—I met her as a child.
Then she was the feisty one while I was shy and mild.
Diametric opposites, still we are never parted—
one of us the loner, the other open-hearted.

She makes friends everywhere we go. I’d rather be alone.
For all my hermit tendencies, she stirs me to atone.
She thinks up the parties and though loath to go along,
I give up my solitude to join the social throng.

We have coexisted throughout a lengthy life.
I thrive when I am single. She wants to be a wife.
When we are together, one must devour the other.
One at a time we make the choice: single girl or mother?

One succeeds the other  in  a continual chain.
As soon as one’s exhausted, the other shows again.
Our relationship is infinite. Neither can break away.
While she drinks all the shooters, I am the one to pay.

When I am the diligent student, she shares in all my glory.
I get to write the manuscripts. She gets to live their story.
One-by-one we take our turns determining our fate—
one of us always timely. The other always late.

Perhaps our friends are tired of not knowing which will show—
the one who’s energetic or the one of us who’s slow,
but our very oldest friends will simply wait to see,
knowing that whoever shows, either will be me.

 

Prompt words today are diametric, chain, infinite and devour
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/rdp-thursday-diametric/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/02/28/fowc-with-fandango-chain/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/your-daily-word-prompt-infinite-february-28-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/devour/

Time Temporal

 

This sonnet I wrote six years ago is an extended antonym of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet18,”  written four hundred and ten years ago. I didn’t have many readers way back then at the beginning of my blog, so thought I’d repeat it here for the Sonnet challenge, along with Will’s original. Sorry, Will!!! And sorry.  Although I often use enjambment in my poetry, I fear there is none here.

Time Temporal

by Judy Dykstra-Brown

Shall I contrast thee to a winter’s night?
Thou art less lovely and more tempestuous.
The lack of wind doth still November’s empty stalks,
Oe’r which the winter hath too long a power.
Sometimes the too-cold moon hides ‘neath the clouds.
Then rarely doth it’s pitted face shine forth;
And dark from dark can sometimes rise,
Spurred on by fate or providence’s static plan.
But thy short winter shall soon pass away,
Restore to thee the homeliness of death.
Nor shall that birth that brought you forth to light
Still claim thee when temporal time shall stop thy growth.
As men lose breath and eyes lose sight,
So dies this poem, and draws thee with it to thy grave.

Sonnet 18

by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

For dverse poets.

 

Water Fetish

Water Fetish

From my time of birth up to my years septuagenarian,
if it were my choice, I always chose to be riparian.
I hate the sound of silence, for I find it rather static,
but I love the sound of water, be it tidal or erratic.

A little water rushing by or falling from a height
is lulling to my hearing and pleasing to my sight.
It contributes to my happiness, creates a sense of calm—
a sensory diversion that serves me as a balm.

So to add to my contentment, no need for feast or cake.
Just plant me by a river or a waterfall or lake.
All I need is just a little water in my view.
If you want to make me happy, just provide the H20!!!

Click on any photo to enlarge all.

The prompt words today are erratic, feast, riparian and contribute. Here are the links:

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/09/12/fowc-with-fandango-erratic/
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/wednesday-rdp-feast/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/riparian/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/daily-addictions-2018-week-36/contribute

Compulsion to Rhyme II

 

Compulsion to Rhyme II

By now you’ve read my oeuvre once or twice before.
It’s bulging out of file cases, stacked upon the floor.
It’s quickly filling up my blog and straying to the media.
Soon I fear I must compose my own encyclopedia.
It started out a habit but soon became compulsion.
My housecleaner surveys my poems with undisguised revulsion.
Spiders live within the files, cats use them for their beds,
so they serve grander purposes than cluttering up heads.
Perhaps someone could stop me with a cudgel or a gun,
but lacking that, I fear that when my final poem is done,
my heirs will have to market my oeuvre by the ton.

 

The prompt today was oeuvre. In case you’ve never encountered the word without its buddies hors and d’,  used alone, oeuvre means the works of a painter, composer or author, regarded collectively.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/wednesday-prompt-oeuvre/

Shadow Play

DSC00024

Shadow Play

The dark
is stark.
The night,
too tight.
Its lack of sight
is nighttime’s  plight.

I also fight
direct sun light.
Full height,
its bite
too much
as such.

Before I fade,
I seek the shade,
half light, half dark
in which to park.
Veiled light?
Just right.

 

For Fandango’s “Stark” prompt.

 

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

 

jdb photos. Click on any image to enlarge all.

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of,
I hone in on what I hold dear.

Swimming down to sandy bottom,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Trying to reach that sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

 

This was actually written as a song.  I had a melody in my mind as I wrote it, but it awaits a more talented composer of music than I am. The daily addiction prompt word was “hone.”