Love Will Always Win

It’s been a month since I posted my last story. Where is my muse? Nothing creative is emanating from my mouth, my fingers, my brain.

breathless
she tries in vain to sing
nothing but darkness emerges
her voice silenced by despair
when will her muse return

Perhaps this poem that I wrote on Twitter awhile back is more appropriate for this sad, unholy week, when we are mourning the loss of 49 souls and wondering what evils lie ahead.

Purple Angel

Poem Copyright: Janet L. Brown, Image Copyright: Kerri McClellan-Fotolia.com

Many have said that it’s no longer enough to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. They say it’s time for action. We can see it in the blocks-long winding line of people who volunteered to give blood in Orlando. And we can hear it in the public discourse about gun control legislation (or lack thereof).

In his  June 12th statement to the press, President Obama once again asked the country to do some “soul-searching” about the ease with which people can get assault weapons in the U.S.

We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.

– President Barack Obama

I wonder if we can finally agree on legislation that would ban or reduce the sale of these weapons, or at least build a database to ensure that access is limited.

A California pastor’s sermon went viral over the weekend, as you already may know, because he blamed the victims for their own deaths.

The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job.

– Pastor Roger Jimenez, Verity Baptist Church

This is the worst kind of hate speech–words that are delivered by a pastor, who we are supposed to be able to trust! Fortunately, no one seems to agree with him. Love is stronger than hate. Love will overcome the devastation wrought by any man. Even if he has an AR-15. Even if he has a pulpit from which to spew hate. Love will always win.
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Daydream

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Our last challenge for NaPoWriMo2016 is to write a homophonic “translation”  of a poem written in a language you don’t know. In other words, write a poem that mirrors the original in sound–-or what you imagine to be the sound–of the original words.

I selected a poem by José Marti (1853-1895), a champion of Cuban independence from Spain and a prolific writer and poet. This particular poem is part of a collection that was dedicated to his son, who was born shortly before Marti was deported/exiled to Spain. Its title means “I Dream Awake” (I looked it up), so I tried to give the mirror poem a dreamlike quality, while also keeping in mind that the collection honored his son.

The original poem:

Sueño despierto

Yo sueño con los ojos

Abiertos, y de día

Y noche siempre sueño.

Ysobre las espumas

Del ancho mar revuelto,

Y del león pujante.

Monarca de mi pecho,

Montado alegremente

Sobre el sumiso cuello, —

¡Un niño qu me llama

Flotando siempre veo!

~~~~~~~

My mirror poem:

Daydream

Your swanlike carriage languishes

Ably escorting me through days

And nights of struggle

Stealthily approaching

Dancing and marching in rhythm

Before entering the crypt

The arena is deserted

And the lion prowls alone

Core of my compassion

Mighty legend, a young man

Voice sweet and low as a cello

Effortless as the wind

Floating beyond the veil

~~~~~~~

Reverie

NaPoWriMo Day 29: We are challenged to write a poem in which each line starts with “I remember.” We’re asked to focus on specific details, and not whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I remember the youth group, our trip to Vermont. At night, we listened to comedy albums, back when we thought Bill Cosby was still a good person.

I remember the concerts, astounding acoustics for our college choir. Drinks at the Yacht Club (which had no yachts, and no body of water) before…and after.

I remember the Artist’s Café, the heady lunches in late afternoon.

I remember spring break. We got married.

I remember the move to Wisconsin, the blizzard with snow so deep only snowmobiles could traverse. No power or water—only the cheese shop was open.

I remember Main Place, the Saturday brunches that lasted till the bar closed Sunday morning.

I remember dinners with John at the Inn, Friday night fish fries and dance bands.

I remember the trips to Arkansas–warm, sunny Christmases and barbequed goat on New Year’s.

I remember Summerfest and 70’s music.

I remember the divorce.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Words Aren’t Enough

NaPoWriMo Day 26: This is inspired by a prompt posted on Twitter by @MadQueenStorm. The prompt is a question: “What do you do when words aren’t enough?”

When you’re sick, words are not often enough. Platitudes don’t really help. People remind you that things could be worse. “At least you can be thankful you’re alive and breathing.” Hmmm….maybe so, but if you’re in constant pain, it doesn’t really feel like living. Words sometimes hurt more than help. So I often rely on music for comfort.

~~~~~

I sing

soulful melodies

express what words cannot

~~~

I smile

rousing symphonies

take our hearts to a better place

~~~

I listen

downbeats of jazz

infuse us with energy and love

~~~

I sigh

you hold my hand

we wait for peace to return

~~~~~

Sunny

For NaPoWriMo Day 25 (yes, I am running behind!) we are challenged to take a line from an existing poem and use it as our first line. But…we must take the poem in a completely different direction than the original.

I took the first line from “The Fall of Rome” by W. H. Auden, “The piers are pummeled by the waves.” Auden’s poem offers a dark view of the state of civilization. While I do not disagree with his assessment, my poem takes inspiration from a restaurant in Sausalito.  From that perspective,  life was joyous, not despairing, and the view from the piers was quite sunny!

sailboat

the piers are pummeled by the waves

each hard, rhythmic slap

in time with the beat of jazz

the miles of blue I hear

and see before me

gulls dip and dive for bread

honking thanks as they take wing

sailboats glide

laughing and waving

sun cuts through the fog

sparkles off our glasses

bread, brie, fruit, wine

all these are ours

and the ocean, too

for one long day

life is good

~~~~~

Symphonies

NaPoWrMo Day 24:  This draws inspiration from the prompt posted by @MadQueenStorm, “if we were symphonies.” 

~~~~~

if we were symphonies

I would play mine

and send it through the air

resonating through the trees

warbling from the throats of birds

echoing through the streets

bouncing off buildings

all the way to your house

when you hear it

would you think of me?

~~~~~

if we were symphonies

I would play yours

to keep me company

in the solitary dark

I would dance with your allegro

drink wine with your adagio

peal laughter to your scherzo

hug you to the rondo

would it resonate loudly

or fade into the space between us?

~~~~~

Serpentine

NaPoWriMo Day 23: Today I took inspiration from NaHaiWriMo, where the prompt is “serpentine.” It reminded me of the winding road to Seal Point at Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California. It’s a lovely drive…if you’re not the driver. Making your way through mountainous terrain in deep fog takes patience and skill; I have little of either.

cliffs and sea lions
white knuckles
on a foggy drive

1024px-Point_Reyes_National_Seashore_headlands_from_Chimney_Rock

Source: Wikimedia – Public Domain

 

Earth Day

NaPoWriMo Day 22: We are challenged to write something about Earth Day today.

bumblebee tom tolkien copy

Photo Credit: Tom Tolkien Creative Commons CC by 4.0

This is the same subject I wrote about last Earth Day. For more information about the dwindling population of pollinators such as butterflies and bees, check out the articles listed below. The last one is interesting in that it describes the necessity to hand pollinate fruit trees in China, but also provides a bit of good news about bee populations in the U.S.

Wikipedia – Colony Collapse Disorder

Wired – Wild Bee and Butterfly Declines

Wired – It’s Hard Work Being a Bee

If you like the photo above, you might want to visit Tom Tolkien’s photostream  and blog.

Frail

NaPoWriMo 21: So…this is a day late! It was inspired by prompts posted on Twitter by @FieryVerse and @WrittenRiver. The prompts were “lonely orchid” and “how strange.” I originally tweeted a haiku; this is an expansion of the story.

~~~~~

frail

lonely orchid

on her night stand

blooms bowed in resignation

all that’s left

of their weekend tryst

~~~~~

now

her emotions swept under

a weak facade

how strange the weight of reality

that crushes her

infuses the air 

~~~~~

frantic

she breathes in hard

against the heaviness

and opens her eyes

to another impossible Monday

alone

~~~~~