Note from Kay: I return from last week’s Journal to the Self Instructor Certification Training intensive, a five-day event that gathered women from Kentucky to Hong Kong. The quality of people who gather to do this work leaves me with thoughts and impressions not yet word-ripe. My friend Linda Barnes, meanwhile, finds words every week to express the inexpressible. She doesn’t call this a blog, but she sends a poem with essay and prompts every Monday. You can sign up to receive her Poem of the Week HERE. I am grateful for Linda’s permission to share yesterday’s Poem of the Week with you.
Changes, Changes –by Linda Barnes, 10/2/2017
Fall is not only coming, I think it’s here already. The tomatoes insist on remaining green. The weeds are releasing their seeds into the quiet air. Leaves have begun to color and crisp and sift to the ground. I’m drinking my morning mocha hot again.
Whenever he can find a spot of sunshine, the dog splays full out and soaks it up, as if it were the last sweet butter and his fur a giant tongue.
While this week’s poem would have been better last week, I didn’t know it then. I guess timing isn’t everything, after all. There is no deadline on memory.
For my Jewish friends, a New Year has begun, with all its hopes for continued and deepened spiritual connection. The Autumn Equinox has passed, and thoughts of pumpkins and apples, nuts and sweet potatoes tickle our taste buds.
In Australia, meanwhile, my friends are celebrating a balmy spring. As the Chinese wake for a new Tuesday, it is cloudy and cool. But calling Beijing will not tell me what my own tomorrow will be like.
Each of us live in our own universe, individual territories overlapping like Venn Diagrams. Today in Las Vegas, many of these overlapping circles ended in death and terror, forming their own Black Hole. Each time there is a death, an entire universe of memory and plans is erased, and the shock waves ripple out through circle after circle, setting the world atremble.
What can poetry do in the face of such loss, such pervasive diverse reality? I don’t know the answer to that, but long ago I made a commitment to send out a poem every week, to offer what I can to family, friends and strangers (as my tagline testifies), and so today I am here at my computer.
I’ve heard it said that the British believe in making tea when things are topsy-turvy. As for me, I turn to poetry.
Porch Swing in September
The porch swing hangs fixed in a morning sun
that bleaches its gray slats, its flowered cushion
whose flowers have faded, like those of summer,
and a small brown spider has hung out her web
on a line between porch post and chain
so that no one may swing without breaking it.
She is saying it’s time that the swinging were done with,
time that the creaking and pinging and popping
that sang through the ceiling were past,
time now for the soft vibrations of moths,
the wasp tapping each board for an entrance,
the cool dewdrops to brush from her work
every morning, one world at a time.
© Ted Kooser
1. Imagine that some object in your environment is its own world. Write what it might be thinking as the seasons change.
2. Write the imagined memories of a familiar object.
3. Write a list of 5 things you are reminded about today. Choose one and expand on the memory, mentioning details of all senses.
Inflicting poetry on family, friends and strangers since 2004.
All but Kooser poem is (C) 2017 Linda Barnes and used with permission.
Share your thoughts with Linda! She’ll respond to every one.
Big News! Journalverse will accept a limited number of new members from Oct 31-Nov 4. If you have friends or colleagues who want to know about Journalverse, stay tuned. We’ll have a “friends and family” coupon you can use to invite them.