Swallow Me Whole

a poem of Contemplation

Image from Pixabay

Beneath this earth
so many souls. In this ground
right where I stand,
my bare-heeled ache on the grit;
do they linger here?

Do their solemn hazes pass me by 
as my breath drifts me
one day to the next?
Am I aware of
that chill, that pressure in the air
shifting, disturbing,
a moaning whisper to my
human ears?
Does it shift me?

I turned on the light
I asked you to leave

In the pierce of afternoon sun
an oak; a bleak, towering,
ivy-choked oak.
An angular ghost.
The last leaf fell long before
I appeared, a shifting soul, 
nowhere to go.
I contemplate its lean.

When comes the terrible fall?
When comes the violent creaking
that will rip me from my sleep?

Sudden noises — squirrel-gray 
antics on maple boughs,
on living, bending boughs or dead
bark-bare and bony limb; 
no difference to them,
with their inexorable ramblings
all toenail and chatter.
They gather and they gather.

How soon will I sink into 
worm-foul and rot?

They will scurry across my grave.
They, or their generations of they.

The dead tree refusing to fall…
These wiry-tailed rodents’ gatherings…
These shadows of souls carried quietly by…
and I?
Barefooted, sore-footed I;
standing in the dirt
left to ponder it all.

How soon will this earth
swallow me whole?

At Home Amongst These

a poem

https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-grass-mushrooms-amanita-33695/

The squishy-cool green beneath my feet
meandering before me, a path between trees.
The bright arms of the sun reaching down,
fingers of light, bringing growth to the ground.
 
I can no longer get lost this way.
 
I have come again. I wander again
through the moss-strewn aisle
in gripping fear and anxiety-laden… 
I know they’ll be lost if I wander awhile.

I have been here too often.

The moss knows each tentative step
each catch in my breath, I gift my tears
falling softly from my chin, a tender
sprinkling of salt drains away my fears.

The trees creak with the breeze,
interrupting me, reminding me
of the cellular world, uptake of nutrient
the vascular world outside of me.

I stoop and take note of basidiophytes,
all dome-topped and mysterious,
the feathery gills underneath
each whisper-soft and musty fungus.
 
Worry melts from me as I picture
beneath them the faeries and gnomes 
in secret they watch my bare feet pad by
giggles on breezes drift up from their homes.

They remember my name. I am sure of it.

I find a cool spot to stretch and to lay
my back in the moss, a bryophyte bliss
works its way through my bones, my skin
prickles and settles, I’ve so missed this.
 
This tender release. 

If I lie here for a moment
in sweet rest, in soft sphagnum hug, 
with the sun shining warmly… 
with whispering friends, meandering bugs.
 
I’ll rest and release, breathe in, out…
the world will make sense to me again.

Oh, sing to me.


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The Waters Run Clean Through Me

a poem about the North Carolina Mountains

https://www.pexels.com/photo/bench-cascade-creek-environment-355321/

Deep in the North Carolina wood
 nestled between steep mountainous 
 rises, a gorge, through which run
 waters, crisp and cool and clean.

A bench waits there for my soul.

The waters run clear, cross rock
 and moss, with dribbling sounds
 and meandering thoughts of the
 distant seas. The canopy hangs over.
 
 Shady oasis of quietude waits
 for me to climb into its folds.
 A genteel hug whispered through green
 to wrap me up in wonder once again.

A hike for a day, I must go.

I’ll climb on the rock, spread 
 my wings to gather the sun
 rub my toes in sphagnum
 hear the cool-water melody flow…

Oh, Carolina, you are good to my soul.

Let the breeze sway and creak in the pines!
 May the babbling waters find their gentle way
 and the mockingbirds ramble song to song,
 let your nature carry its secrets on.


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On Dappling Pond

a poem about the beautiful Mandarin duck and the not-so-beautiful Muscovy duck

Mandarin duck, Pexels.com

On Dappling Pond

White, crisp half-moon,
  the blue crested melt
  to ruddy hind swoop.
Tawny wings tucked under,
  belted by royal blue.
Sleek chest, brazen
  blue as ocean-deep.
Neck ringed in
  maple majesty lace.
     Enlightened, resplendent,
         spectacular.

All nature’s paintbrushes!
Were they hog hair
or badger?
Were they
rinsed clean in muddy
waters encircled by sawgrass;
sandy-fawn stippled?

The Mandarin navigates,
whisper-smooth and waggle,
the Carolina grasswort; rising
variegated greens
wind-bent and skyward.

Mucsovy regards the
radiant fowl,
disturbed at such
     reckless abuse of color…
for one dappling duck?
Pinkish beak dipped under,
up with a snail? Asnail!
Vexed, perturbed,
Muscovy waddles, plops
with a splash and a glide,
     nature’s sculptor’s pride,
     its gnarly head held high.


I hope you enjoyed On Dappling Pond (I am quite fond of this one) and will stick around to read some more of my poetry. I have made it easy to find ones you may like and you can find links to poems on the poetry tab, or use the navigation menu and search features on the homepage. Thank you again…what did you think of On Dappling Pond?

Muscovy ducks are widely varied in blacks and whites–but the red bumpy face is usual. This is a snippet from a picture on All About Birds website.

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National Poetry Month Challenge — Poem # 3

Old man Shoes

I wrote this poem as a response to Intimately Intricate (on Medium)’s April Prompt: New Dawn. The poem was chosen for publication here:

Intimately Intricate April Prompt New Dawn

As is true of many poetry prompts, my poem will often take me into uncharted waters…in this poem I wrote from the perspective of a young boy, and used HUMOR in my poem. WHOA. That is pretty different for me! Tell me what you think…


https://www.pexels.com/photo/boy-wearing-black-hat-sitting-on-case-near-flowers-1049950/

Old Man Shoes

I am told the new dawn came
 while I slept fitfully 
 wrapped in the taco of a dream.
 Or a dream Of a taco
 though I’m not sure which.
 I am told it was quite spectacular
 but I slept way too shortly
 and woke up rather hungry
 and somehow wanting cheese.
 Was misty and spooky
 He said to me, while I chased
 colored hoops with a spoon
 Is that so, I said halfheartedly
 You bet! He said and hiked up
 his socks, slipping on his 
 old man shoes.
 I in my pj’s and you in your suit
 I sure don’t want to be you
 If that means the new dawn comes
 and I don’t get my usual snooze.
 Hey Dad, I said wiping milk 
 off my chin, Yeah son? You said
 with a scruff on my head…
 Can we have tacos soon?

National Poetry Month Challenge–Poem # 2 Lightning

Challenge: Write 10 poems this month to celebrate National Poetry Month.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/island-during-golden-hour-and-upcoming-storm-1118873/

Lightning

You were the cold air to my warm.
Every time I tried to rise
you crystalized
dropped me down
one terrifying electrical pulse
after another.
I charged and fell to the ground.

The air outside is electric.
I am drawn, mystified,
bursts of wind on my face
pulling me out, beyond
the trap of my front door.
Hands on the metal fence
eyes wide, heart bursting.
Exhilaration! That scent on the
air…my God! I can feel it!

The storm approaching, quickly,
violently, with flashes of white
and thunderous cracks
vibrating my spine,
lifting my tiny hairs
tingling, jolting, jarring,
awakening.

Leaves upturned, showing their whites,
vulnerable, submitting to ozone
and flash of terrifying release,
fingers of God pointing, choosing
ground to fire, fire to tree
tree to Thee.

I can smell the power,
feel it stirring within me.
Choose me! Choose me!
Please.
Lift me on fiery wing
to Thee, to Thee!

From the safety of the door
behind me, Get back in the house!
You barking at me.
Always barking at me
or growling your menacing growl.
You coward.
Back in the house?
You are the only one safe in there.


Come inside?
Through the kitchen where you
pressed my face to the floor?
Past the stairs where I slept
and wept upon the carpeted corners
reeking of dust and neglect?
Past the bathroom door where
the mirrors know my bruises
and the tear-swelled lids of my eyes
as well as it knows it’s purpose, hanging there.

Like it’s safer in there than out here?

I know my purpose too, you know.
I intend to rise.
I intend to rise.

I stand, gripping tight to chain-link
the ground yielding vibration with the
rolling roars, shock waves splintering
connecting, fury unbound
they revolt and celebrate the sky.

                                                                  (Duplicity is a real bitch.)

Flash!  Again…again!…stir me, shake me
beat me wise,
friction then repose

I lift, face to the sky
electricity in the air
lifting me higher, higher
leaving you
     down
        there.

National Poetry Month–Poem #1 “Safety Pin”

Join me in this challenge–write 10 poems this month to celebrate National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month Goal for myself–Write 10 Poems, Here is Poem #

Safety Pin

Cotton dress with floral print.
 I have chosen it carefully but
 I run out of gas! With
 Intent to impress
 folding under to shame,
 I begin my walking,
 My purse in tow, the shiny vehicle slows.
 No. Not the boss.
 I am thankful with verbiage
 Humiliated, I am
 Riding with a suit
 that costs more than my car
 discarded on the side of the road,
 to the office where gossip greets.
 He walks in, greeted with 
 enthusiastic handshakes
 and pompous attempts
 to garner his attention.
 I keep behind in my
 cotton dress with floral print,
 Invisible.
 I slink to my desk under
 Scrutinous stares, whispers.
 How did you come to work
 with the boss?
 I ran out of gas I say,
 Stretching out my arm to see
 the odd feeling, I probe
 a hole. A hole in my
 cotton dress with the floral print.
 In the absence of a safety pin
 I staple the fabric
 And set about my work.
 Invisible still.

Will you join me in this challenge? Post your poem or link to your poem in a comment below, so we can support each other and together celebrate our craft.

National Poetry Month

https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-light-photography-of-books-1301585/


National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.


https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home

Dusting off the old blog…

Late in February I made two decisions. First, I wanted to start writing again. (The first thing I did was bought a laptop so I could work. It had been awhile since I’d even looked at my blog, and by awhile, I mean years. I started it back in 2008, hit hard at it for a couple of months, swinging blindly in the dark with no direction, no idea what I was doing, and worked my way up to 14 whole followers, most the result of a cross stitch freebie I offered.

I couldn’t even remember how to log in.

So, I figured out the log in stuff, revamped the blog over the course of 48 exhausting hours (still very much clueless about how to edit and post, navigate, or promote) and relaunched with renewed purpose and a clearer vision for what I wanted the blog to be. i still have less than 150 followers but that number is rising a little each day.

The second decision was to finish my book. I researched and purchased Scrivener and worked hard at the tutorial to learn how the features worked, and I set out to inputting the few measly pages I’d written and plunged forward to writing.

A funny thing happens when you honor your dream: doors open. I am writing poetry again. People are reading it. Literary journals are publishing it. Even my local newspaper has picked me up as a columnist and …get this…they encourage me to submit my poetry for publication! So far two of my poems, Bluebirds in Late Winter and Tomorrows have been published in the paper. I started a Medium account: https://medium.com/@fnfwriter and guess which of my posts are getting the highest attention?

The poetry.

Oh, my heart! And here I was posting articles, thinking, I’ve got to have something on Medium to get people to my page, so they see the poetry.

But they COME for the poetry.


Poetry, like all art, has a message for us. It says: care, grow, develop, adapt, overcome, nurture, protect, foster, cherish. It says: your reality is spiritual. It says: achieve your full humanness. It invites us to laugh, reflect, cry, strive, persevere. It says: rejoice! Above all, it says to us: be! We cannot turn our backs on art. Art heals. – from a talk by Roger White, Bring Chocolate, in The Language of There

https://bahaiteachings.org/whats-the-true-purpose-of-poetry

So, here in National Poetry Month, I am going to pay more attention to my craft, without apology. With a renewed confidence that what I am doing, and you, my fellow poet, should do the same. There ARE still people out there that can appreciate the value of poetry, how it moves us. Shows us our own humanity. Allows us to go away to some interesting place where we measure what we know against what we are seeing in the words of a poem, and then let the heart decide how to read it. Poetry makes us think, analyze, process…and in a good way. by choice we go on the journey, either to write it or to read and experience it.

I invite you this month to:


  • Support poets and honor their craft with your attention, your reactions, your thanks. As a poet, we truly do love a reader-response!
  • Read a poem from your favorite famous poet. Don’t have a favorite? FIND a favorite poet and learn their story and style.
  • Write a poem! Or write one every day of the month if you are up to the challenge!

If you’d like to leave your link below to your poetry blog or if you’d like to share a poem in a comment, you are welcome to do so. Thank you for reading and HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!!

The Calf Song — a poem

The Calf Song

From the backside of a smile
I rise, discontented.


Inside my eyelids
a dream sleeps
between measures
keeping the beat,
each a credulous mark
upon my heart song.


The calf lies waiting,
wobbly legs unable
to bear its load upon its
hoof and foot.


It stands, behind my eyes
rising in ignorant content.


It cannot sing my song
or read my notes
or match my steps through
crescendo,
staccato,
and pause.


The calf accepts
warm milk waiting,
without thought
of the rain.

by: Christina Ward

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy:

https://fiddleheadsnfloss.com/2019/02/16/cornucopian-dream-a-poem-for-my-fellow-earth-lovers/

Poem Chosen for Feature in Vita Brevis Literary Magazine!

It’s not every day that a poem this close to my heart is chosen to be featured in a literary magazine. I almost NEVER write poetry about my children. How could I do justice to them by my meager words…no matter what I write, it could never do justice my love for them. But this poem I wrote when my son was 8 and it is very special to me. Today Vita Brevis Literary Magazine chose to feature it and I am honored.

For the record…my son is now in his 20s and is STILL obsessed with pizza, and is quite the connoisseur of sarcasm 😉

https://vitabrevisliterature.com/poems/poem-christina-ward/

Hop on over and take a look!