I’ve been writing a poem a day for PAD this year, except for day 6 (the prompt was food and I haven’t come up with that one yet). I’ve been doing this almost every year since 2009. Some years have been better than others. This year has been a struggle. But, today I will share two: one from 2013 (forgot the topic) and one from today (topic was a love or an anti-love poem).
They swarm from every side They crawl in and out of my head, Crowding out sensibilities The weight of these words presses me down
Empty cracks fill up with snippets As accusations harass me, overwhelm me They climb up on one another like a pyramid Pestering, pestering, “Give us a poem!”
They appear when my eyes are closed, Besiege me in bed, Stay with me in slumber, Assail me when I awake
Then proceed to disquiet my day Oh how the words worry me They infringe on my free time, Vex my best intentions
And I surrender, surrender
What is Love?
It’s love that takes the verbal abuse Knowing Alzheimer’s has taken the mind —love suffers long and is kind It’s love that drives the clunker And gets the best car for another —love does not parade itself, is not puffed up It’s love that mucks out the barn To give a few minutes of sleep To the one who labors all day — love does not seek its own It’s love that ties the shoes And goes up the stairs for the one who can’t —love bears all things It’s love that seeks the best for others, Even when it hurts —love endures all things It’s love that opens the heart and home To those who’ve lost their way —love hopes all things
This is the third installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages.
“And he would stand at the window, watch the pink and orange of sunrise, imagine the mist tickling the mountain’s ear or chucking it under the chin or weaving a cap for it. ” from A Fine Balance byRohinton Mistry
“… the passing hours had a strangeness to them, loose and unstructured, as though the stitches were broken, the tent of time sagging one moment, billowing the next.” from A Fine Balance byRohinton Mistry
“Darkness hung over Dublin: every shade of gray between black and white had found its own little cloud, the sky was covered with a plumage of innumerable grays…” from Irish Journal by Heinrich Boll
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar; Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home:
from Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth
“… the goodness of creamed peas and of poultry allowed a free and happy life and then rolled in flour and pan-fried…” – from Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
“Look lak she been livin’ through uh hundred years in January without one day of spring.” from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
“So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.” from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
With cold weather coming on Wednesday,, I thought I’d revise and repost these thoughts on weather.
E.B. White was a man who truly had a way with words. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the author of the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web. When talking about the first flakes of snow falling, he said,
“At first it was an almost imperceptible spitting from the gray sky…”
I love the way he put it – such a perfect way to describe this scene. This is how I want to write.
Below are some pictures from February, 2015, when we had that “…imperceptible spitting..”
In a book by Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, she says this about language:
“If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words, we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator.”
Now, at first glance that seems a little overboard. But, when you think about it she makes a great point. I know I am ashamed of my lack of vocabulary. I’ve tried, and failed, to incorporate some kind of self-help ritual to learn new words. But, I won’t give up; I’ll persevere in my efforts. I do not want to fall to a despot. I do not want my lack of good words to allow me to be usurped.
My facebook/twitter-pal and ex-Bhamian (is that a word? well, now it is), Mandy Shunnarah, used to post a word a week; such as words like youthquake and pablum. She is onto something.
To look for community instead of cocktail-party relationships is part of choosing sides in the vast, strange battle. To say, “I’m sorry”; to be silent; to say “I love you,” “I care.” It is these little things that are going to make the difference. For God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to overthrow the strong.
– The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle
I’ve written about this before, I’m sure; I am writing to myself again. I long for community, real and true. I think I’m settling for cocktail-party relationships via social media. I see the words “I love you”, “I care” “praying” all over facebook, but what does it really mean? Is it so others can see you are so concerned? To do so in person is another kettle of fish all together.
It is not easy to say I’m sorry, especially I’m sorry without a but after it. However, it’s often too easy to say I love you – love ya – as an alternate to see ya later. Said too easily and it looses its meaning. Saying I care may be harder; harder still to show you care in a tangible may.
But the hardest may be to be silent. Silent when you want to scream or cry or yell or explain or accuse or complain.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. – Psalm 62:5
Help me, LORD, to be silent. To show love and care. To pray.
“The young writer will be drawn at every turn toward eccentricities in language. He will hear the beat of new vocabularies, the exciting rhythms of special segments of his society, each speaking a language of its own. All of us come under the spell of these unsettling drums; the problem, for the beginner, is to listen to them, learn the words, feel the excitement, and not be carried away.” – – An E.B. White Reader
Have you heard the beat of new vocabularies? Nouns turned into verbs are used all over. We google subjects and we tweet, though we aren’t birds. We text and snapchat each other, but our communication is often abbreviated to words without vowels; we have a new shorthand to meet the needs of a fly by friendship.
I am familiar with several special segments of society that have a language specific to its members. One of these is the field of education, a world full of acronyms and oft used terms. Overuse certainly kills the charm of some words. I can think of some that need to be retired, or at least put on the back burner. Some of these would be: partner (as in ‘partner with’, not ‘Howdy, Partner!’), relationships, ownership, mission statement, intentional, and unpack. Contemporary religion also has its share of overused expressions, such as authentic, relevant, passionate.
The best point White made is to “not be carried away.” Words are wonderful and repetition has its place. But like a parent who threatens “if I have to tell you one more time”, frequently repeated words lose their appeal and begin to fall on deaf ears.