Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown poems

Planting Seeds: NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 22

Planting Seeds

My father planted row on row,
straight furrows where the wheat would grow
nourished by the winter snow.

He knew the how of planting, and when.
He’d watch for all the signs and then
plant his yearly crops again.

Though farming’s in my family tree,
the seeds I plant are furrow-free.
I scatter seeds, then let them be.

Fanned out by an erratic hand,
they grow wherever they may land,
or thirst and wither where they stand.

If planting were a matter of need––
if I’d a family to feed,
of course, I’d plow and water and weed.

But as it is, the mystery
of what might grow means more to me
than the science of agronomy.

And though he worked from dawn to dark,
Dad’s life was anything but stark.
He paused to watch the meadowlark

and trace its flight from post to limb.
He watched the clouds catch light, then dim––
and a single drop course down one stem.

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt today had to do with planting a garden.

New Foal

IMG_9512 (1)jdbphoto 2016

New Foal

From his mother’s teat, the new-born colt
raised his head with a sudden jolt,
his new world noisier than before
as the truck drove up with its engine roar.
A small boy sat with his window down,
surveying the scene with a subtle frown
as the older man jumped out to walk
slowly toward him, lest he balk,
and reached a hand to touch his coat,
fingers exploring, as though by rote,
feeling bones, sinew and muscle.

“This one here will have some hustle,”
he said to the boy who stood beside,
thinking of his horse who’d died.
“You want to name him?” his father said.
The boy’s toe shuffled. He hung his head.
The tiny colt looked up and snorted—
edgy now, but well-deported.
He moved to the boy to butt his arm.
His nose was soft and smooth and warm
as it nudged the small boy’s skin.
His father watched the pact begin.

 

I saw this unusual colt alongside the road almost a year ago.  I pulled off as soon as possible to snap a few shots and have been waiting for a chance to use them  Not exactly a new-born colt, but close.  I’ve been waiting long enough!

The prompt today is “jolt.”

Blind Misfortune

DSC08409Mixed Media collage “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdbphoto


Blind Misfortune

What you blindly get into
in youth can be the end of you.
Those days of passion, counting coup
are never risked when days are few.
The shorter our remaining years,
the greater seem to be our fears.
Thus, old men send the young to war,
forgetting what life’s really for.

They forget love’s throb and ache
and living just for living’s sake––
that need to feel adventure’s thrust––
the drive to do what’s fair and just.
Once passion ebbs, the quest for gold
drives these men turned crass and old.
They give libido other names
as they turn to other games.

Warheads coming now erect,
it seems a waste not to connect
them to their targets, so far away.
It’s only strangers who will pay.
All those enemies of mind,
with no thought of age or kind:
mothers and children meet their ends
and old men never make amends.

They send their own youth off to war
because this is what they’re for.
And young men taught by fantasy
on football field or on TV
are fodder for the greed of those
billionaires in evening clothes.
So the young men blindly go
for reasons that they barely know.

The WordPress prompt word today is blindly.

Open Hand

jdbphoto2015

Open Hand

Wings held lightly without crushing
survive to join the world’s wild rushing,
while love held by a tight-clenched fist
quells half our reason to exist.

Some laud passions most rapacious—
grasping, volatile, tenacious;
but this is not the love I feel.
I do not seek to swoon or reel.

The tenacity of a skin tight glove
might stay my soaring to heights above.
I need your love like an open hand.
Not for me the wedding band.

The bond I seek from you, my dear,
is not the gauntlet that I fear
but rather, fingers whose sensations
are left free to life’s elations.

Butterflies kept in a jar
lose that beauty seen from afar.
That grace of movement caught on air
is what makes their beauty rare.

I love it when your arms enfold,
but if you love me, loose your hold.
The measure of my tenacity
is that I’ll come back to thee.

jdbphoto

The prompt word today was tenacious.

Jump!

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Jump!

I am on the cusp of something,
grasp the tail of it, lose my grasp,
hurry off to pick up the dog from the groomer,
pick a fresh papaya.
If I could get my teeth into my future,
I would be gap-toothed—with a space between
for slipping away.

I have an urge to sell my life off
chair by chair,
painting by painting,
shirt by shirt––
until, stripped bare,
I have only myself to sell
to the zephyrs,
dissolving up into the universe.

Or perhaps I’ll finish all those novels
on the cusp of completion
for 30 years or 20 or 10—
Every decade a new story begun,
attempting in the telling
to sow my secrets to see what they will yield.
Fame or disgust or apathy?
The problem with daring to surge ahead from the cusp
is that we find out for sure.

“She is on the cusp,” they are always saying.
“Why doesn’t she jump? We’ll catch her.”
My muses hold the net. How loosely?
Dare I trust them?
That time before the beginning so safe
that perhaps I’ll stay here
on the cusp.

 

The prompt word is “cusp.”

Another Sunset

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Another Sunset

This bald
 horizon line,
teeth of far-off cliffs.
 
An orange that  hurts, it is so bright—
the face of the sunset
makes its daily pilgrimage.

Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Today, facing the hard stone 
of an offshore outcropping.

We, the tender-hearted,
wait for you each evening.
We line our hearts up for you. 

Over here, I’m the girl
In red sequins at the front,
waiting for your black velvet brother.

 

WOW #8.  The purpose of this prompt is to white out words in a given passage or poem to create your own piece. I added a few words as well to make the poem mine. Here is the original:

 

February Elegy by Mary Jo Bang
© Mary Jo Bang

This bald year, frozen now in February.
This cold day winging over the ugly
Imperfect horizon line,
So often a teeth line of ten buildings.
A red flag flapping
In the wind. An orange curtain is noon.
It all hurts her eyes. This curtain is so bright.
Here is what is noticeably true: sight.
The face that looks back from the side
Of the butter knife.
A torn-bread awkwardness.
The mind makes its daily pilgrimage
Through riff-raff moments. Then,
Back into the caprice case to dream
In a circle, a pony goes round.
The circle’s association: There’s a center
To almost everything but never
Any certainty. Nothing is
More malleable than a moment. We were
Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Some summer sun
Asked us over and over we went. The sand was hot.
We were only yesterday tender hearted
Waiting. To be something.
A spring. And then someone says, Sit down,
We have a heart for you to forget. A mind to suffer
With. So, experience. So, the circus tent.
You, over there, you be the girl
In red sequins on the front of a card selling love.
You, over there, you, in black satin.
You be the Maiden’s Mister Death.

Label Machine

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Label Machine

Pure rayon or crepe de chine?
Trust the labelling machine.
It for sure will have it right
and easily can solve your plight
when you have that puzzling quandary
over what to call your laundry.
It’s easy.  You are simply able
to look inside and read the label.

With people, it is not the same.
Labelling may unfairly blame
someone of a certain hue
for something they would never do.
You may as well class cleft of chin
as a mark of sloth or sin
as to choose one’s place of birth
as a determiner of their worth.

It’s clear we’ve failed our populace
when we see how many of us
trust bigotry and generalization
to determine policies of  nation.
“Give us your tired and your poor”
has been swept right out the door.
The symbol of what’s free and fair
now stands forlorn with empty stare.

Behold: the Statue of Liberty—
a symbol of hypocrisy.

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The prompt today was label, one of those maddeningly short and simple words in the English language that I have had to repeatedly look up to make sure I’ve spelled it correctly.  “Lable” just looks right to me!!!!