poetry


I am reminded recently that April is Poetry Month. When I was still teaching public school, I knew all the various, and somewhat useless, monthly designations. There was usually more than one, and months could be so weighted down, it’s a wonder they progressed one to the next at all.

Poetry was my least favorite subject to teach but being an English teacher, I was obliged and the grade sevens that I taught were giddy whenever I steeled myself enough to endure more than a few days of it in a row.

Age as not modified much my indifference to poetry, but in keeping with the month, I will share this little gem that I stumbled across in a vain search for some bit of rhyme that didn’t render me even more indifferent:


Front cover of the book Love Letters of Great ...

Image via Wikipedia

Rob courted me with the assistance of Yahoo and Google. 600 and some emails later we were married.

In the wee hours of yesterday morning, some douchebag hacked the older of the two accounts, which exists only as a storage box for old correspondence/love letters between Rob and I. It’s derelict otherwise.

The culprit changed the password but forget to change the settings, so it wasn’t difficult to get back in and lock it up. But what to do about the history before junking the account?

The server cleverly prohibits exporting old files en masse. For that service, one must “upgrade”.

“I don’t think so,” Rob said.

And he sat down and within an hour managed to jumpstart the process of moving all my precious mail intact and to another location.

I’ll close that account now. But it deserves this final eulogy for the part it played in something awesome, love.

 


I submitted a couple of piece to the Canadian Federation of Poets anthology drive a while back. They are attempting to put together a number of anthologies on different topics. I received a rejection email and then a callback on just one of the three poems I submitted.

The anthology is titled The Poetry of Marriage. I am not sure why they liked my poem. It doesn’t portray marriage as a rom-com or take a Disney princess view. I am totally in favor of marriage. I think those who eschew the legalities are nitpicking and taking a huge risk with the future well-being of their partner should anything ever happen*. It strikes me as funny that of the three poems I submitted, I should end up in the marriage anthology.

I don’t know when the anthology is coming out. I have to send a reply with my consent and vital data back and they will let me know. 

If I liked poetry more I would be jumping up and down, but I am at the core of my soul so not a poet. I don’t read it and have a hard time listening to others read their poetry aloud**. I only taught it under duress in fact and any school year that I could skip the whole things was a coup. However, I can write poetry and at different points in my life I have written only poetry. I had close to a dozen pieces published under my maiden name in fact. 

But as Rob reminded me, a publishing credit is a publishing credit. So there.

 

*And I am aware that some common-law relationships are entered into with the full battery of legal documents necessary to ensure that neither party will be hurt in the event of a tragedy but that’s just not the norm. Most couples believe that bad things happen to other people if they’ve bothered to give it any thought at all.

**Mostly because poetry is the realm of the wanna-be writer. People enamoured of writing but not talented, flock to poetry. This has always struck me as odd because poetry – the good stuff – is far more difficult to write than prose.


If you don’t know why I am doing this see Sunday’s blog post and then join me.

Forgotten

There are no answers

Except the ones already here

Rain drapes them like a haphazard cloak

Packed away with the winter woolens and forgotten like Mama’s ring and the China doll from before the war

Somewhere between the peonies and the irises, they bloom unseen

Lost like tomorrow’s yesterday

Dots in my history where stories should have taken root and grown.


Twas three nights before Christmas and out in the garage
The cat was all toasty, the mice frozen in the yard

The stockings, found finally, were flung cross a living room chair
Waiting to be filled with the year’s supply of socks and underwear

The youngest daughter was nestled, though not quite asleep, in her bed
with visions of dollhouses prancing in her head.

While I at my keyboard slaved over this rhyme
My husband the elf hoped to finish the dollhouse in time

From out in the garage I could hear all the clatter
Because finishing the darn thing was all that mattered

I peeped through the windows behind frozen sash
Remembering he’d said it would be done in a flash

The streetlights revealed a crisp crusty snow
And hoar-frosted trees cast a wintery glow

When suddenly before my wondering gaze did appear
A cart load of elves pulled by one tiny reindeer

Okay, that didn’t happen. A girl can dream can’t she?
No nose-wiggling was going to produce that tiny mansion.

So back to my desk and my writing and thoughts
To wonder where the meaning of Christmas was lost

Not on my child. She knows it alright.
It’s all about Santa who comes in the night.

Nor on my husband whose heart is in the right place.
It’s all about putting a smile on her face.

The older two daughters consulted with Dad.
To discover the gifties to make us all glad.

‘Tis I who am grinchy and Scroogey to boot.
Thinking we should’ve saved money not bought extra loot.

We’ve pared back this year, but will we be safe?
In this unfamiliar world, where so many chafe?

‘Tis not too long ’til Christmas, there is still much to do.
But the cards are in the post and the packages too.

Time to lay fears to rest
And hope for the best

Happy Christmas my friends and a Joyous New Year
As John Lennon said best, let’s hope it’s a good one without anymore fear

This was an original 50 Something Moms piece.


 A Valentine for My Husband, Rob

 

Every woman needs a Sasquatch of her own

Life being incomplete without one

Earth signs are best 

but at least born in an Oxen year

Able to shoulder all manner of burden

Physical and Emotional

Soft 

but with firm and unyielding flesh 

and principles

Impish, teasing,

able to giggle and explain (nearly) everything

Confident of being able to do (nearly) anything

Beacon bright blue eyes, 

furry all over 

and with very warm feet

Every woman needs a Sasquatch of her own

Life being incomplete without one

 
Today is a Second. It is our second Valentine’s Day as a couple. To anyone who hasn’t been widowed, this would be hard to understand, but to those of us who have experienced the death of our most loved one, it shouldn’t be very hard at all. During the first year of widowhood, there are Firsts. The first birthdays: theirs, children’s, yours that the person is not there to help celebrate. The first wedding anniversary that doesn’t count towards the total. Holidays whose meanings and traditions will change because of their absence. Rob and I have done all those things as widowed people. But today is a special day for us because today is the first Second of our life together. We have been together for over a year. The birthdays and holidays from this point on will be ones we have celebrated as the two of us and it is such a wonderful feeling. Seconds become thirds and fourths and a decade followed by another one. A damn long time.
 
Happy Valentine’s Day my lover. Here’s to our “second” and the damn long time to come. 
 
 

 


I received my first rejection email  the other night. It was from an online poetry magazine called Blue Skies. I believe that it is run by a member or former member of the Fort writing group. I had gotten word of an open call for submissions from the leader of the Fort group and submitted three poems before the first of the year. They were about Alberta places: the Fort, Edmonton and a range road near our home. The rejection was short and to the point, which was “sorry, but I don’t like your poems”. At least that is how I read it. 

Poetry, in my own opinion, is one of the most subjective forms of written expression, and for the most part I don’t enjoy reading others poetry or even listening to them read it. I think that is because many poets are pretty ordinary writers and it shows in their choice of topic, theme, word choice, comparisons and structure. By far the most common has to do with emotional upset, particularly of the romantic variety, and consequently it reads like the bad poetry of a heartbroken 15 year old. Plaintive and cliche. Of course there are those poets who write about things – like their cats – or are “landscape” artists who drone on about flowers and meadows and the brilliant blue sky.

I didn’t really love the poems I submitted because I was tied to writing about Alberta as a place. That was the theme. The work was a forced and I guess it showed too much. Oh well, I am not a poet by nature though I can write it and an ever inspired to do so spontaneously on occasion, but I really just consider poetry a writing exercise more than something to do on purpose day in and day out.

Since I haven’t much invested in these poems, I am going to publish them myself here and on my Anniegirl1138 site. 

Prairie Canopy

Sitting atop the earth like a crown

A canopy covering

Cloudy or crisply stark 

Close enough to touch

Where far off rains occasionally drape its horizon

And the moon might hold a mid-day chat with the sun

A clean blue awning over all I can see

That darkens gradually from the prairie to become a backdrop for the clouds

Range Road 213

East past the tracks in Josephburg

Right at the gymkhana field

Forest lined but for acreage drives, canola fields and ponies grazing

Rolling and narrow it leads to the Yellowhead

From there, anywhere

Edmonton Skyline

Just past the Camrose exit 

Heading west on Yellowhead Trail

And nearer than it looks 

Sits Edmonton

So much like a cutout, 

A child’s toy,

Waiting to be reached for 

Scooped and carried

Away from refineries 

Hazy obscurity

That the problem with writing to order. It’s soulless.