To Describe – a November Poem-A-Day Challenge – Diminishing Somonka

Spinning galaxies…
Bluest feathered bird that flies…
Deepest sapphire seas…
Night-sky bed, where the moon lies…
How shall I describe your eyes? 
~
In turn I will attempt
(The way you wear those glasses…)
To tell how you tempt!
different from other lasses…
one in a million asses!
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For today’s prompt, write a description poem. Pick someone or something to describe. Get in depth, or just brush along the surface.

 

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POETIC FORM:

Diminishing Somonka
 
A form I created by marrying the Somonka and Diminishing Verse poetic forms:
  • two Tankas (5-7-5-7-7), written as two love letters to each other.
  • remove the first letter of the end word in each successive 7 syllable line.
 
Variation: Poets can remove sounds if they wish like “flies” to “lies” to “eyes.”

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AUDIO FILE:

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Changed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

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Recently, I spent a week enjoying the family vacation of a lifetime — on the island of Saint Martin — with my Dad, his wife, three siblings, their spouses, and mine. I feel indescribably fortunate for the chance to experience several firsts, thanks to the generosity of my father. I’d never traveled outside of the U.S., and it was a pleasure to find that whatever the language, whatever the culture, people are more similar than we are different. I enjoyed conversations and stories with several really beautiful souls; and I was reminded that the world is truly smaller than it looks. 

I had never been sailing before, and was a little nervous, but ultimately thrilled to share a sunset cruise — on a catamaran — with a delightfully funny and friendly crew, where I got my first taste of salt-spray, racing seagulls, and the rise and fall of gorgeous, blue-green ocean waves. I’d never swam in the ocean, and not only was it incredible, it was exhausting, in the most challenging and wonderful ways! The sand was gorgeous, the water clear, and in order to remember this first, for a very long time, I gathered a tiny handful of sand and bits of rock and shell to bring home with me. I’d never eaten lobster thermidor, or snails, or several of the delicious vegan dishes my brother whipped up during our stay in a luxury, open-air villa — with breathtaking views of the water, the distant volcano, fiery flamboyant trees and other lush vegetation, two gorgeous, wild kestrels nesting in the corner of the dining patio, and a very loud, wild parrot that greeted the day — and all of us, at five a.m. — with a dozen or more hellos.

There were some things I have wanted to do for many years, like having my passport stamped, swimming in the sea, and experiencing island dining at it’s finest. However, there were other opportunities which I’d not imagined I’d ever have: 

I opted out of the extreme sports experience with the water jet propelled boots. I’m not that crazy. But, I did go with my family on a speed boat day trip around the island. We waded through the ocean up to my chest, to eat delicious mahi and drink pina coladas on another beach, and when the option came to get into the water, with fins and a mask, and swim with gorgeous fish and majestic sea turtles, I was nervous. However, there was a wolf’s voice in my head… the same voice that has pushed me and cheered me for nearly a year, to hike and climb, to stretch and challenge myself. She reminded me that I’m stronger than I used to be. I’m braver than I think, and I might never again get the chance to snorkel with my strong and courageous, seventy-one year old father. She wouldn’t let me stay seated and let this opportunity pass me by. So I stepped off the end of the boat into the ocean. I put my feet in flippers, and strapped on a snorkeling mask. I ducked my head into the water and swam.  Within a couple of minutes, I was watching a school of bright blue and perhaps yellow fish, and a few minutes later, three different sea turtles! It was an amazing experience, and one I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

The opportunities for courage didn’t end there.  Because I realized it was time for my husband and I to step out on a limb and tell some of my family about my amazing, wonderful, polyamorous world, and specifically the two people who’ve become such a huge part of our daily lives that we’ve become one family living in two homes. I did sit down with my brother who lives in L.A. and share my happiness with him, and then later we spoke both to my dad and step-mom.  They were surprised, and incredibly loving. Mom had a few questions about jealousy, and logistics. Dad wanted to be sure we were happy, and though he doesn’t agree with our choices, he supports our right to make them our own. It was both a scary and wonderful set of conversations. When we returned home, Dad called and invited the four of us to come to dinner this weekend, and I was amazed at how wonderful it felt to share my whole truth with family. I’d never expected to do that, or to really want to as badly as I did. Our little quad is part of the family, and at least two of my parents are welcoming and glad to get to know them. I can’t imagine being happier with the outcome of this chance to take a risk and be vulnerable.

I knew when I boarded the plane to leave the country for the first time, I’d come home a little different. I hoped to have my pale-and-freckled-skin version of a tan, a little more salt in my blood. I expected to come home a lot more relaxed and refreshed, with beach hair and a suitcase full of laundry and souvenirs. What I didn’t expect was to come home changed, stronger for having been vulnerable, for having challenged myself to do things that were scary. This week that I’ve been back has been punctuated by trips to the pool and the creek, in a relentless search for sun and water. It’s also been accented by a growing realization that I am made better, stronger, and happier by the relationships in my life, and the people who make up my family.

This gypsy, wanderer, part island-girl poet is grateful, and that, so very much.

islandgirl (2)
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She’s Not the Old Me

mirrorgirl
I catch sight of her
in the passing mirror.
She is not the me
I remember being there.

In your eyes, I see
you too have glimpsed her–
subtle changes that surprise,
like a stranger, staring
across a crowded room.

There’s shift in the tenor
of my own rich voice.
I have a new way
of reaching for my glass,
or for your hand.

I feel as if I’m on a test drive
in someone else’s body–
in someone else’s mind.
My heart has always been
this strong and fearless,
but not the rest of me–

until you began to push.
Now I see her, growing
stronger and more true.
I believed you, when
you said I really could.
Now I catch myself
staring at a new me.

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AUDIO FILE:

I Am

image

“I am a bouquet of wildflowers and thorns, a tangle of thistle and clover, a riotous fistful of color and contradiction. I am joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, walking the earth with bare feet, trailing the dust of a billion brilliant stars from my billowing skirts. I am wind and rain. I am the dark shadows of the forest path. I am questions and answers, confidence and anxiety, earth and sky. I am wise and naive. I am girl and mother, seductress and sage, priestess and supplicant, innocent and sinner, huntress and prey. I gather to myself the beautifully broken and breathtakingly whole, the wandering and the waiting, the tribe of souls lost and found in the desert oasis I call home. I am stained by their brilliance, soaked in their passion, I am humbled by their love. I sit in their midst, singing and silent, awed and oh, so grateful.”

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AUDIO FILE:

Hiding – a Blackout Poem

solace

We are ourselves,
in necessary time
–the virtuoso quiet
of an internal pulse,

underestimated–
until we grow ready,
for the names
that have caught us.

We have been too easily
seen and too easily named.
We live in a time of
imaginings and longings–

too much, too often
— squeezed into
our sense of self,
our sense of others.

What is real is almost
always precious,
does not care to be known
with no place to hide.

A creeping necessity,
creative and subversive,
leaves life to itself
–to become solace.

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SOURCE TEXT:

HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care. Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named. We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence. Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

… Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. 2015 © David Whyte – Now Available – http://davidwhyte.stores.yahoo.net/newbook.html

AUDIO FILE:

Some Storms

image

Some days are rainy,
cold and wet, perfect
for holding hands
and for walking in.

Some times you will
dance in puddles,
laugh with me and
let the rain wash you.

Some how your words 
can still confound, like
such heavy rain and
low, rumbling thunder. 

Some one cannot judge
your distance, counting
wild beasts or southern
states, between silences.

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AUDIO FILE:

Breathe

Picture

Today she said to me, just breathe.
I know it’s hard, but there are trees.
There’s a path here, through these woods.
You can find it, hike and run it.
You’ll feel better,. Just breathe.

Today he said to me, just breathe.
I know it hurts. You’re not alone.
Just keep sharing, and believe.
It gets better, if you trust love.
You’ll find a way. Just breathe.

Today she said she couldn’t breathe.
My heart stopped beating in my chest.
My lungs clamped shut, and tears ran hot.
My fears they came to shout at me.
What if it’s too hard for us to breathe?

Tonight these words play in my head.
Just like a song set on repeat.
She said breathe. He said just breathe.
I cannot breathe, she cannot breathe.
I cannot sleep, I lie in bed, and breathe.

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AUDIO FILE:

Your Fire

welder

 

there’s a fire in your bones
and you play with the flames
and I love just to watch
you make them dance
I have never seen you happier
than when you’re in that furnace
but when you’re struggling
and your body is tired
the sparks start to fade
and I wish I could light
the fire for you again.

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AUDIO FILE: