The American Sentence

For Prompted Positive Poetry   Hello everyone. It is good to see you all. You realize of course you do not have to do the prompt; however, this is one of my favorite poetic forms. You will discover that I prefer brief, uncomplicated forms. I was taught how to write haiku when I was 11 by a professor of Asian studies at Duke University. I quickly became addicted to the brief Japanese forms and have been writing them for 50 years. In 1963, Allen Ginsberg created a take on the classic haiku: The American Sentence. The rules are simple: Exactly 17 syllables in a complete sentence form. And one sentence, not a multiple of them. That is it. Somehow Ginsberg could not follow the rules for classic haiku – always the rebel! Like me, Ginsberg was a great admirer of Ezra Pound who wrote the iconic:
In the Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

I love the American Sentence. It is like distilling the essence of a thought. Cutting down the scene, thought, image to the barest of words. However the sentence can bring you joy, break your heart, give you a new vision of nature, make you laugh out loud. I often work harder on an AS to get the right words that I ever do one of my longer poems. After all, it is exactly 17 syllables. You have to edit and be careful to give the exact meaning to my words. I hope you will try this form! Below are some samples of my American Sentences and of Allen Ginsberg.

Mine:
Spring returns with a canopy of blue overhead – the vernal sky.
Even after death, you are still my anchor in sad stormy weather.
In the summer sky, bits of sand light the night sky.
The mockingbird sings at night to the music of the honeysuckle.

Allen Ginsberg:
Crescent moon, girls chatter at twilight on the bus ride to Ankara.
Taxi ghosts at dusk pass Monoprix in Paris 20 years ago.
That grey-haired man in business suit and black turtleneck thinks he’s still young.

Voice of the Wolf

For Carrie’s Sunday Muse BlogSpot. I managed to fix my puter.  Yayyyyy!

 

Photography by Sarolta Ban
View website HERE

 

Voice of the Wolf
“Our lives are richer when we listen to what wolves have to teach us.” Jim and Jamie Dutcher

She approached the old woman slowly,
head down in a gesture of peace.
We are all wolves howling to the same moon,
she said.
the old woman put down her paper.
she pondered what the wolf said.
We are all wolves howling to the same moon,
the wolf said again.
This time,
the old woman rose from the bench
and followed as the wolf led her to the woods
and to the full moon.

 

 

 

Bulbs and Bees

A haibun on the subject of spring for dVerse Poets Pub haibun Monday.  I prefer the haibun in the manner of Basho rather than the long descriptive westernized haibun.  This is also linked to Earthweal whose subject is renewal.

 

Bulbs and Bees
“To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” William Wordsworth

Bulbs and Bees
When we moved into this house, my husband and I planted a few hundred daffodil bulbs to naturalize among the trees and boundary lines. Every year, they come up among the fallen dead leaves, pushing them out of the way. Then they begin to bloom – such sweetness of fragrance that lifts my heart. The bees come awake about this time of year. I press my stethoscope against the hive listening to them buzz. I must confess to stroking the green fronds of the daffodil and weeping as I remember Brad and I planting the bulbs so happily that first autumn we lived in our home. Such joy we shared with each other and with the creatures of the woods and of course, my bees. Every year the daffodils return bringing spring on its heels.
gazing at the blue skies
the colour of his eyes –
I smile at the clouds

 

 

Ghosts of First Snows Past

Today was the reception in memory of Brad. When I came outside from the church to go home, it was spitting snow, the first of the season. The Japanese have a term for first snow – hatsuyuki. It is considered a quiet and holy event. The snow did not stick but the snowflakes swirled wonderfully.  This is for Fireblossom’s prompt at Sunday Muse BlogSpot.  She explains that southerners have a tradition of bottle trees.  We had one when I was growing up.  I have one now, bottles from that old tree and from a private collection. A friend in Beaufort, NC has one of the old homes.  When they excavated their basement, they dug up thousands of opium bottles.  It seems the original mistress of the house was an opium addict and buried the bottles rather than have her secret come out.  My friend took the bottles to the Duke lab nearby and had them irradiated (she worked there).  The older bottles turned a deep purple, the newer bottles a pale aquamarine.

Ghosts of First Snows Past
“All Heaven and Earth
Flowered white obliterate…
Snow…unceasing snow”
― Hashin, Japanese Haiku

the temperature dropped from 56 degrees
to 25 in a couple of hours.
the first snow began to fall,
swirling like tiny white butterflies.
the bottles hanging on my crepe myrtle
hung perfectly still.
bottles of purple, blue, aquamarine, clear.
some were new and some were
perilously old –
two hundred or more years old.
they hadn’t done much trapping of spirits
but they sparkled gloriously in the sun,
shivered in the rain,
slept through the snow.
I walked from the car to the bottle tree
and touched some of them gently.
I thought about you and the first snow.
I remembered our first snow together.
It came in the night as we lay
together under my old quilt.
I felt it in my dreams
and I went to the window.
I awakened you and we stood with our arms
wrapped around each other,
watching the snow.
I touch the empty bottles and wonder –
are we caught in one of them,
held together for all time?

Pacifico

A 55 for the Toads Prompt – Art Flash 55. I have done a 55 in honor of Galen and in honor of Kerry who visualized these beautiful oracle cards. I will miss all of you. Hope I see you around on the blogosphere.

Pharos ~ The Lighthouse
Kerry O’Connor
@skyloverpoetry

 

Pacifico
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” John F. Kennedy

the ocean is almost silent
but for the suck of sand and
snap of bubbles –
a heartbeat rhythm.
the body always a sea folded
in on itself,
a nautical chart folded into a paper cup.
it is peaceful most of the time.
glinting in blues and greens
reflecting the bright moon at darkest night.

Cafe Royal 06/08/2018

This is a poem I wrote while I was working on my PhD in Fine Arts. I am re-posting it here today with revisions. Why? Because I have been deeply depressed and this poem suits my mood. This poem is part of my Dorian Gray series, written along with a thesis about Oscar Wilde and his times.

Cafe Royal 06/08/2018
“…your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” ― Anthony Bourdain
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”  – Oscar Wilde

The third cafe mocha of the morning,
the young man with the antique face
put down his cup and stared at the handsome waiters.
The Café Royal always had the most…delicious waiters.
His eye was arrested by one of the waiters
taking an absinthe to someone –
It was 11:00 am in the morning.
Surely too early for absinthe.
He spotted her.
At the table alone, grief in every inch of her body
She put down the newspaper –
Lowering it down slowly as if,
as if it were a baby or a mortally ill cat.
The waiter flamed the absinthe for her.
He said something to her.
She raised her eyes to him and then lowered them.
Picking up the absinthe,
Picking up the newspaper.
The young man with the antique face
continued to stare at her until
she looked up and saw him.
For once he was ashamed of his actions.
He stood and walked to her table.
She looked at him from head to toe
and said
Nothing.
She lowered her face again and
one of the gorgeous waiters came
with another absinthe.
Don’t, he spoke. Please don’t.
He put his hand lightly on her wrist.
I know grief he said. I know pain of loss
and heartbreak. I’ve watched my friends dying
One.
By.
One.
She put her head down and began to read the paper again.
Upside down he read:
“Anthony Bourdain, 61, found dead by suicide”
For once he was almost human.
For once he almost paid for her drinks and walked away.
Dorian Gray sighed. What the hell,
One only lives forever.
He sat down at the table and looked into her eyes.


Reeve Darney as Dorian Grey in Penny Dreadful

 

 

First Snow

For Amaya’s prompt at dVerse, birth or birthing. For Poets United, Sumana’s mid-week motif, Winter Poems.  In Japanese, the word for first snow is hatsu yuki. It is a holy event.

 

First Snow
“When snow falls, nature listens. ”  Antoinette van Kleeff

Today the November sky opens up and gives birth to the first snow.

first snow2

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