OH, THAT LINGERING FEELING

The first day of Autumn has passed around these parts, but you’d never know it by the weather conditions. Yesterday we broke the ninety degree barrier for the first time this year. Predictions call for a repeat today. After a wet and undesirable “summer” season, we finally get August weather… a week from October. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take it, knowing what Buffalo winters usually hold in store. Admittedly, Autumn is my favorite time of year. I enjoy the cooler days, the flavors and the scents (they tell me they’re lovely). I especially love the color palette of fall. It just seems summer wants to linger.

What else tends to linger? Good, bad or indifferent, write a “lingering” poem. (Linger could be lasting, or ever-lasting) If it stays, it plays.

WALT’S STAYING POWER:

AS LONG AS YOU REMAIN

As long as you remain in my heart,
you are never gone. You are
the one who has brightened my days
always and in all ways.

I can never miss you.
You are never gone. You are
what a smile is to a bad day
always and in all ways.

I hold you here where my heart resides
deep inside, you are never gone.
You are the one that had become
a habit I couldn’t break. It would take

as long to purge you from that place
as it would take to traverse space
and come back here safe and sound. I have found
the seed you had planted continues to blossom.

No gloom befalls me. You enthrall me
as you always have, all ways and forever.
You are never gone, as long as I breathe.
I believe in the joy of you! It’s true.
As long as you remain.

***

We will begin featuring your Project: Poem – Connection poems shortly. As stated, the project poems pages will remain open, so no “catching up” will be necessary. When you’re happy with your poem, post it and your work will be highlighted. Not playing favorites here (except when the prompt calls for it – the popular “Playing Favorites” prompt) so I will post these pieces as they were received. Thanks as always for your exceptional efforts.

~W.

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FORM FRIDAY – ACROSTIC

We will be toying with the ACROSTIC.

An ACROSTIC is a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval.

A simple ACROSTIC may merely spell out the letters of the alphabet in order; such an acrostic may be called an ‘alphabetical acrostic’ or Abecedarius.

Now for the “what” of the poem.

Today, September 22nd, is the official First Day of Autumn. And our thoughts turn to the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of this flamboyant season. I’m thinking apple cider and pumpkin pies, the cheers of a football crowd and visions of the many vibrant hues as the leaves change their colors before they fall and we rake them into piles and in some circumstances are able to burn them adding another aroma of familiar times. Choose something of Fall or that reminds you of Fall and make that your title/acrostic poem.

WALT’S ACROSTIC:

APPLE CIDER

Aromatic and sweet,
Purely a treat when
Pumpkins are prevalent.
Liquid love in abundance
Every sip makes taste buds dance.

Crushed and filtered,
In quarts or gallons,
Doughnuts come in tandem
Even apple pies will suffice,
Respite ripe for the pickin’.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

LAST DANCE OF SUMMER

And so, this week marks another “end of Summer”. Although the weather conditions around here (Buffalo) call for brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the 80’s, Summer will give way to the Autumn of our year (as some of us bask in the autumn of our years!)

But before we pay full homage to the Fall season, let us have one last fling – one last dance with this Summer. Maybe your conditions were optimum; the perfect Summer. We know our friends, brothers and sisters have suffered greatly in the south and southeast due to the damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But we can all find something on which to hang our garland.

I ask that you think of those moments, play your favorite summer song and dance (in poetic terms) in tribute to the last days of summer. And to keep you on point, include the idea of a “dance” and be use to include the word somewhere in your poem or title thereof. Summer goes so quickly, it seems. Give her one last go-around!

WALT’S SUMMER DANCE:

WALTZ: SUMMER DANCE

The soft summer sunset
places our silhouettes against the sky
and the cast of evening magic in your eyes.
The crash of the lake at our feet
as we shuffle in the heat of our dance,
is like the single sound of two hearts beating.
You, the gardener of my soul,
I am lost in the music of your laughter
and your gaze robs me of simple speech.
I love you with the truest love,
it is nothing compared to an eternity.
I find myself riding the red-eye to morning,
because you have charmed the love right out of my heart.
Your influence permeates everything I touch,
and the blessing of you has been a well dealt hand in my life.
I live every waking second in loving reflection of you.
Summers may come to a close, but my heart knows.
I will dance with you until the music fades.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

Keep good thoughts and prayers for Salvatore Buttaci as he undergoes surgery this morning.

This past Form Friday offering is the CHOKA.

The PROJECT: POEM – Connection has been served up as well.

FORM FRIDAY – CHOKA

One of the most intricate Japanese Poetry forms is the Choka.   Also referred to as a “Long Poem,” the Choka often tells a story.  It does not rhyme, and offers a choice of syllabic form structure, as follows:

5 – 7 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7, etc.

~or~

5 – 7 – 5 – 5 – 7 – 5,  etc.

 

WALT’S CHOKA EXAMPLE:

THE SAVAGE BREAST

Music doth have charms
and the savage breast is soothed.
There is beauty in its song.
I hear melodies
and my heart is stirred to dance;
a chance to ease into love.
And if music dies,
my soul will carry the tune,
and the words of love you sing
will make me the man
you always want me to be.
The music of life plays on.

PROJECT: POEM #1 – CONNECTION

Welcome to the first installment of our poem projects. It hopes to be a series of works that require a bit more thought, some research, and a fair amount of re-writing to get it just write! And so we begin…

A while back, I came across a poem by Ocean Vuong entitled, “Aubade With Burning City”. The prelude to his piece describes:

South Vietnam, April 29, 1975: Armed Forces Radio played Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as a code to begin Operation Frequent Wind, the ultimate evacuation of American civilians and Vietnamese refugees by helicopter during the fall of Saigon…

The concept that he used took randoms lines of the song as heard and had interwoven them into his poem. The result was a strikingly enhanced bit of poetics. Through this process he was able to connect his poem to the classic words of Berlin’s timeless classic to tell a very different story.

Aubade with Burning City

South Vietnam, April 29, 1975: Armed Forces Radio played Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as a code to begin Operation Frequent Wind, the ultimate evacuation of American civilians and Vietnamese refugees by helicopter during the fall of Saigon.
            Milkflower petals on the street
                                                     like pieces of a girl’s dress.
May your days be merry and bright …
He fills a teacup with champagne, brings it to her lips.
            Open, he says.
                                        She opens.
                                                      Outside, a soldier spits out
            his cigarette as footsteps
                            fill the square like stones fallen from the sky. May all
                                         your Christmases be white as the traffic guard
            unstraps his holster.
                                        His hand running the hem
of  her white dress.
                            His black eyes.
            Her black hair.
                            A single candle.
                                        Their shadows: two wicks.
A military truck speeds through the intersection, the sound of children
                                        shrieking inside. A bicycle hurled
            through a store window. When the dust rises, a black dog
                            lies in the road, panting. Its hind legs
                                                                                   crushed into the shine
                                                       of a white Christmas.
On the nightstand, a sprig of magnolia expands like a secret heard
                                                                      for the first time.
The treetops glisten and children listen, the chief of police
                                facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola.
                                             A palm-sized photo of his father soaking
                beside his left ear.
The song moving through the city like a widow.
                A white     A white     I’m dreaming of a curtain of snow
                                                          falling from her shoulders.
Snow crackling against the window. Snow shredded
                                           with gunfire. Red sky.
                              Snow on the tanks rolling over the city walls.
A helicopter lifting the living just out of reach.
            The city so white it is ready for ink.
                                                     The radio saying run run run.
Milkflower petals on a black dog
                            like pieces of a girl’s dress.
May your days be merry and bright. She is saying
            something neither of them can hear. The hotel rocks
                        beneath them. The bed a field of ice
                                                                                 cracking.
Don’t worry, he says, as the first bomb brightens
                             their faces, my brothers have won the war
                                                                       and tomorrow …
                                             The lights go out.
I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming …
                                                            to hear sleigh bells in the snow …
In the square below: a nun, on fire,
                                            runs silently toward her god —
Open, he says.
                                                         She opens.
***
A very powerful expression, the softness of a fallen snow and the harshest realities of a war torn town. A contrast; a connection.
I had written a connecting poem with this piece by capturing the image of the nun placing her in what could be another period of war. The title of this is, “Her God Does Not Hear”:

HER GOD DOES NOT HEAR*

by Walter J. Wojtanik

The incendiary incidents escalate, too late
      for Sister Mary Should’ve Told All.
           The snow and ash and shrapnel fall

It’s beginning to look a lot like…
Someone will pay for her insolence,

the innocence assumed will not be exhumed
or extracted. The fact is that death does not allow …peace on earth.

                                     Goodwill… will be buried! It is scary

for the children to see this carnage at such an early age.
           It does not matter. They have no concept of god to which
                     to run.

                          Gunfire mires the remnants of civility
                                           to a smoking heap of nothingness,

As the nun’s hands remain clenched
          unsaid prayers will not help her now.

                                     How can it help anyone?

I’ll be home for… a short while longer if I feel stronger or am ready to die!

                            Deafening explosions erase all memories
of a father’ voice…
           of a mother’s touch…
                     so much fordreaming of a white…

Milkflower petals mimic snowfall. The black dog’s in need of a

                    shroud covering, a blanket to hide all that remains.

Open, he declares.

                              No one dares.
                                         No one cares.

Do not open until…in the air there’s a feeling…

                                                              No one survives!

         And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?

***

This project requires you to choose a subject that connects to another medium be it, poem, song, quotations or parts of a public speech and connect them in a way as illustrated. Find something that speaks to you.  Let a fragment inspire you and lead into your poem. Complete your line with a parse from your source. You can pull it together, I know you can! List the sources and give this a fighting chance to become an outstanding poetic piece.

The Projects will be left open for comment and submission. Revisit these “prompts” for information. Again, they’ll be easier to find under the Project: Poems tab. Good Writing.

***

*My poem uses parts of the following:

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

“Glory to God in the Highest”

“White Christmas”

“Silver Bells”

“And So This is Christmas (War is Over)”

Random Christmas Card Greetings

HERE COMES THE COLD

Revenge is a dish best served cold. ~ Khan Noonien Singh

Waking up the past few days it is becoming more apparent. Summer is fading fast and Autumn is rapidly approaching. I can tell by the frosty mornings around these parts. Oh, I’m sure we’ll get our flashes of warm days again, but “you-know-what” is on its way. I have much to do before that time runs out.

But let us address the issue of cold. We’ve seen folks with “cold” attitudes toward things. We’ve dealt with temperatures that were not so temperate. Who doesn’t like a cold beverage on  those warm days? Or a chilled glass of wine? An ice-cold beer? Who doesn’t scream for ice cream? Gazpacho teases the palette in a very cool way.  And let’s not forget all of our brothers and sisters who have suffered through the ravages of mother nature with the hurricanes and floods and earthquakes, leaving them “out in the cold.” So, embrace something cold and tell us about it in your poem.

WALT’S CHILLING WORDS:

A COLD DAY IN HELL

A constant rain kept falling for three days
to saturate the grass and feed the streams.
Autumn weather cannot be predicted.
The atmosphere was draped in foggy haze
and attitudes inflamed to shatter dreams!
Such is life the way it is inflicted.
Another rainy day in Buffalo.
We pray for days in which the sunlight beams
But days like those cannot be predicted.
And soon we will be knee deep high in snow.
Frigid!

FORM FRIDAY – SEVENLING

The sevenling was created by Roddy Lumsden.

This 7-line poem is split into three stanzas.

The first three lines should contain an element of three. It could be three connected or contrasting statements, a list of three details or names, or something else along these lines. The three things can take up all three lines or be contained anywhere within the stanza.

The second three lines should also contain an element of three. The two stanzas do not need to relate to each other directly.

The final line/stanza should present a narrative summary, punchline, or unusual juxtaposition.

Titles are not required. If titles are used, they should be titled Sevenling followed by the first few words in parentheses.

The tone can be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing.

However, with the turbulent weather conditions and the accompanying destruction we’ve been experiencing in the States, I’m asking you to write on the theme of Hope in your sevenling.

WALT’S HOPEFUL EXAMPLE:

SEVENLING (OUR HEARTS GO OUT)

Our hearts go out to the victims of destruction
knowing reconstruction will be long and hard.
Our hearts are heavy for the losses they encounter.

We can offer our thoughts and prayers
We can give financial assistance.
but no amount of resistance will let us

ever forget, we are all in God’s hands

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

 

GETTING TO WORK

Today is known as Labor Day. A day when we honor the working men and women who contribute much to the world through their efforts. Today’s task is easy. Write a work or labor poem. It could be your specific job or function. It could be your dream job. It could be a poem about “going into labor”. Whatever you choose to write, make it work!

WALT’S WORK

LOVEWORKS

We struggle to start,
with a passionate heart
and no idea how a plea of insanity
can render all of humanity smitten,
as if bitten by the love bug.
Any amorous slug would suffice,
and never look twice when the first glance
will cover any chance you have
to topple heart over heels.
You will know how it feels
when your mouth gets dry and try
as you might, you can’t fight the urge
as others delight in your plight.
Your hands will sweat, and you will get
tongue tied inside. You will quiver
and shake; make a fool of yourself.
Stutter, stammer and throw glamor out
the window, it is not pretty.
But anything worth while in life is
worth the effort. Make it!
Take it as it comes; accept a little shove.
And above all else, love is work.
Keep working on love.

***

It has been decided that Mondays will be our prompt day, with Friday being our Form exploration. Special discussions and Poetry Projects can spring up when the mood strikes, so please stay posted!

FORM FRIDAY – TANKA

Our return to the garden wouldn’t be complete without some form exploration. And since we’re writing a “little bit” of poetry, I thought we’d work a short form to start. The chosen form is the Tanka.

Japanese Garden Gnomes

We recall that the Tanka is a Japanese poem of five lines. The first and third are composed of five syllables, and the others seven. In Japanese, tanka is often written in one straight line, but in English and other languages, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units: 5-7-5-7-7.

Walt’s Tanka Take:

Seeds planted in soil
grow and become bountiful.
Thoughts that seed the mind
yield a harvest of words,
blooms of beauty for the soul.

PROJECT POEMS: A New Feature Introduction

Of course, we are all about and all over the poetic process. And our mode of operation has always been: I propose a prompt, and we all hurriedly hack out a poem for that prompt and offer it up for critique and comment. We may re-write or re-work the piece eventually, but for the most part they become drafts of ideas that fester in our thoughts.

But I’ll be trying something new on occasion. I will propose “projects”. Now, let’s not look for the nearest ledge. What I am suggesting is a spark of an idea that REALLY sets out thoughts on fire and will require a little more effort and polish than the random weekly (or bi-weekly, or whatever) prompts you have become used to.

No one is required to undertake these exercises. But if you like to challenge your muse from time to time, this may be right up your cul-de-sac.

They will be identified by the heading: PROJECT POEM: (Subject). These “Projects” will remain open for a while (read: We never close!) and will provide the opportunity to really delve into something special. A PROJECT: POEM page has been created to make them easier to find in one place.

So when offered, research it a bit, begin, put it aside and think about it, re-write part or all of it and polish it into the gem I know it will become. Post your piece when you think it is ready. A Project will be suggested in short order. It will explain the process a bit further. Stay atuned!

W.

***

We are still in the midst of our latest prompt – “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”

We’re looking for a “little” love poem to put us in the mood. If you haven’t already, please join us. And if you already have, don’t limit yourself to just one! This place could use a lot more love!