July 29, 2010

"HERO" (BTP #13)

(courtesy of Photobucket)

Over at :http://bigtentpoetry.org this week's prompt was to write on the subject of "Heroes".  Mine are few and far between, but there is one hidden hero that means the most to me...


While turning the pages
of this four-color comic,
(that’s not really funny),
all you see are the villains,
with their long, grasping tentacles,
petting their myriad minions
and filling their maws
with what they have plundered.

But where are the heroes
of this often-told story?
They have no bright costume,
or magical powers.
They’re painted in gray-scale,
with a bone-weary stance
and resolve on their faces
as they raise up their armaments.

A shovel, an apron, a chalkboard eraser,
stethoscope, helmet, or tin badge of courage.
They head back to the trenches,
where the struggle is endless,
where the fight’s never finished.
But they refuse to give up,
to lay down their weapons, 
to admit that they’re beaten.

Those villains make certain
to steal all they’re able.
To stuff full their coffers,
and placate their minions,
who increase exponentially
far louder and larger,
like fat, lazy maggots,
eyes stupid, yet cunning.

And our hero keeps going,
his jaw set for the long haul.
With a spine of titanium
to shoulder the burden,
the knowledge of right,
and the strength to still do it.
Appeasing those villains
and the multiple minions.

Yet our hero's still able
to keep the plates spinning,
food on the table,
and live by his code.
While teaching his children
a mantra spoke through the ages,
Of never give up-
Of never give in.

July 22, 2010

From the Persian (BTP #12)

 Over at http://bigtentpoetry.org  this week's prompt was to take a favorite poem and use it to help write one of our own.  The one I chose is just 4 simple lines, but when I first read them at about age 17, I felt something shift inside me.  For my piece, I took the basic message of my favorite and expanded upon it.

If some great hollow emptiness resides
Within a chasm filled with crass desires,

It’s not a hunger for the shallow most,
But in leaving go of gentle, simple gifts.

Here is the link to the original...if you haven't already guessed by my words, the title, or the photo...

July 15, 2010

Evensong (BTP#11)

Over at  http://bigtentpoetry.org this week's prompt was a "hidden message".  Although this piece's message isn't hidden, the italicized words I used are a sort of road map to a place.

Under a starlit prairie sky,
cradled by ebony spires,
The ghost of a buckboard goes creaking past,
While the cactus wren whispers his cry.

Skirting the crackled and fissured plain,
lies a red lake long since dry.
As the buck and doe stand silent watch
for thunderheads of a monsoon rain.

Silvery shadowed  moonlight beams
En-robe each corner of this land,
and cast a magical glow on the valley below,
left shimmering as a dream.

At the end of some blistering summer day,
as I wander the canyon trails,
in this desolate vista I love to call home,
the night can take my breath away.

The relentless heat and sunshine makes me appreciate the lovely cool nights where I live.  Although this is no amazing work of poetry, (I was not able to spend much time on it), I hope it conveys how I feel while out on an evening journey.
 (All the italicized words in this piece are roads and streets in my little corner of the world- the magical and varied land of the Northern Arizona desert.)

July 05, 2010

Robert Frost (Writer's Island Prompt)

One of my favorite poems has always been "The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost.
If you are not familiar with this piece, I hope you will find it and enjoy it as much as I always have.

"The Road Less Traveled" spoke to me.
How I ached to choose the life
of carefree girls in cut-off jeans
hiking through exotic lands.
Or long-haired co-eds in argyle sweaters
roaming Ivy League halls.
I was offered a different road
by an inherited progeria of the spirit.
Barely escaping a train wreck by running
headlong into a burning building.
Spending years fighting that fire,
protecting all others,
my bare hands beating back flames.

Incarcerated by responsibilities,
no chance to run, no place to hide.
Trying not to be what I was taught, but
what is right - what is right
my mantra.
Reading that same poem over and over;
still not finding an answer, an escape.
then over time a subtle loosening,
a dawning realization.
A consciousness of deeper truth.
Frost's words had changed, made sense to me.
My unexceptional life, my life of rules
had turned me slowly into rarity.

July 01, 2010

For Vincent (BTP #9)

 (Wheat Field and Cypresses - Vincent Van Gogh)

Over at http://www.bigtentpoetry.org , the prompt this week was to have a "conversation" with or about something important to you.  I have always wished that I could just sit with Vincent Van Gogh and watch him work, letting him know that what he was accomplishing was more powerful and revolutionary than he realized.  I would never presume that a genius of his caliber would answer my questions, so I did the piece in a slightly different way.

As I look upon your world
of twirling, swirling, dancing skies
created by such magic sight,
a land that only you could see.

I want to come inside that place
of saintly faces plowing earth,
as cypresses reach heavenward
with beseeching limbs unfurled.

Where did you find a palette pure,
That no one else had ever seen,
of greens and blues to make us weep
and golds to take our breath away?

Where sunflowers within a vase
scream of their captivity,
and crows escape to fairer lands,
outrunning their mortality.

How did it feel to be so trapped,
within this solitary life?
Dismissed by lesser, duller men,
convinced the world was only gray.

You had a voice they could not hear,
a language foreign to their ears.
A prophet no one hearkened to,
their hooded eyes could never see.

How I wish you could be born again
into this time of instant praise,
where here we celebrate the new,
And worship to your painted face.
(Van Gogh's work has always seemed like like the most beautiful melodic poetry to me, but where the lines are moved around and the rhymes disjointed and haphazard - I tried to convey a bit of that while writing this piece.)