Hope

 

Spring 2020

After almost thirty years puttering in our small townhouse patch attempting to grow all manner of inappropriate things for the sun and soil conditions, I recognize that to be a gardener is to cultivate hope. And in the summer of 2020 more than anything, I needed a sanctuary of hope, someplace to sit and think or more likely, not think, and just breathe and be. Astonishingly, in the tire fire that has been 2020, an Asiatic lily bloomed after 10 years of nothing. All I did this year was move the plant one foot where it got just a bit more sun, enough to coax four flowers.

This fall I’ve had two acceptances for pieces of my writing. That gives me hope, too. The difference? Time. I retired on April 1 this year and I’ve had time to write, edit, research potential homes for my writing, and submit. I moved into the sun. 

Fittingly, my first published poem is about hope. You can find it in Bywords, an on-line magazine published in Ottawa, Canada.  “Bywords mission is to publish the poetry of current and former Ottawa residents, students and workers and to promote Ottawa’s literary, spoken word, storytelling and nonfiction activities.” Works are chosen by a panel of readers with poetry, academic and publishing credentials and to those folks I say thank you. I am tickled beyond belief that my first published poem appears in Ottawa’s own Bywords.

 

 

The Crime Scene

Scarlet petals speckle the patio.
– a begonia bloodbath.

Behind the fence on Bryson Lane
no one heard the chipmunk’s nutmeg
foot falls or smelled the yells

of crushed blooms or suspects
a Raymond Shaw betrayal. But
over in the fence corner,

the hydrangea is snappin’.
“The fallen blossoms weren’t there
yesterday and someone is to blame.

That’s the thorny rose of truth.”
Water oozes from the blooms
and snuffs the torch at the flower’s

core. Under the lawn chair,
that chipmunk surveys the scene
on tiny haunches, a twitch of furry nerves.

He knows a plant can’t fudge happy
and it won’t sing unless it wants to.
Go figure. It could have been

last night’s spilled bucket of cold fall
wind. We’ll never know whodunit except
it was inevitable, as these things are.


Thirsty Thursday

Joy is not meant to be a crumb.

from Don’t Hesitate, by Mary Oliver

The play on the word crumb tickled me. First is the obvious meaning: something small such as a fragment of bread or a cake. And the by-product of something small like a fragment. Maybe something so small you can barely see it. Joy should never be small, even if it is fleeting.

Then there’s the other meaning of crumb: Someone who is an objectionable person. If joy was personified or an object, would it be a crumb? Nosiree. Joy would be a cake, definitely a three layer delight.

Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Thirsty Thursday

“Wrong was easy: gravity helped it.
Right is difficult and long.”
Wendell Berry

I lifted this quote from a blog called earthweal where Brendan writes essays on nature and climate change and posts related poetry challenges. His posts are insightful, loving, hopeful and beautiful and might inspire you to pick up your pen in your thirst for peace in CoVid time. 

The quote from Wendell Berry struck me as appropriate for the challenge we face during the pandemic – giving up convenience and what we used to think of as normal for doing something that might be a lot harder and take much longer than the time it takes to drink our double-shot caramel macchiato. 

MarshRoseThese days time feels like an ice-cube in August. Stay cool, friends.

Susanne

P.S. – In case you hadn’t noticed, I am posting less frequently as I work on a long project. If you’d like, you can find me on Instagram where I drop pictures of my adorable dog or from my daily walks. No politics, no platform, no mean memes. I am NOT an influencer, just a human.

Social media and I have an uneasy history and the account is private so if I don’t recognize your name, I won’t confirm the follow request. There are limits, dear people. 

 

Amiss Me

Aghast I stood and beheld my name
spelled wrong – dear God! – again.

To you it’s naught but an oft repeated
joke, hardly funny anymore, and
I suppose I should invoke patience
and ignore it – again. After all,
what’s in a name?

I lied, said I bear no grudge,
don’t gnash my teeth, nor
pull my hair or sleep
with spirt unperturbed.

But this inharmonious consonant
that hangs around my desk
jabs me constantly,
reminds me all that is not right here.

I’m not sure who’s more stupidly
blind but here’s the thing:
soon a new schmuck will appear
and relieve misspelled me,

when I toss forever the errant “z”,
the day Susanne with her “s”
breaks free from her cubicle
and cares less.

MisspelledMe

How?

How azul the pool,
how vermelha the vinho,
how frisky the wind in the trees,
how blinding the sun-blasted sea.

How deftly the swallows
wet bellies and beaks,
lift and swing in the breeze,
how swiftly they whisk past me.

How, of nine who recline,
I alone stare not at my phone,
how I applaud the acrobats
who whirl by me.

The pool in Portugal

 

My Bouncing Boy

goldenguy

The Sé Cathedral of Evora, Portugal

 

Your stride is a rubber ball bouncing down the street.
You ribbed, “Scientists studied my feet to improve
rocket launchers, and they said my feet hear
heat and that’s why there’s air beneath my heels.”

On Gower Street that rotten urchin, Andy,
called you “Springs”. I expect he’s dead now,
little shit, or living in the Goulds with the missus,
his Lazy-boy recliner stick rubbed shiny,

the carpet farting mouldy biscuit and white bread
aroma from 40 years of spilled Black Horse lager.
Womp womp. But you – thank you! – bounced us
out of there.

“You’ll find your soul mate too late,” wasn’t true.
I knew the deal when I saw your naked feet, not
bionic or battery operated at all, just wide, muscles
at ease. They smelled like sweat and antifungal

cream. You exceeded the dream I never had and
after all these years you still bounce like that boy,
your head bob-bobbing above the rest, your
eternal spring our crow’s nest.

**

Written for d’Verse‘s prompt “thankfulness” and posted in open link night. Lovely work to be read there. Pop over and discover poets and poetry to suit all tastes.

 

Disappearing Act

I want to be one of those shimmering
stick figures framed in my bedroom window
under glass as they meander to the point,
quivering in the glitter of sun on waves.

Their dog trots forward to the high and dry
marker buoy while the other two straggle,
appear, disappear, appear in the play of light.

They turn shoreward and I lose sight of them.
I pull on shoes still gritty from yesterday’s walk,
head for wave-shaped rocks, pick
through barnacle spotted tide pools,
around boulders covered in kelp hair,
gulping Fundy’s perfume – gull shit,
sun-roasted dulse, tidal mud –
crunch sand, crush shells.

Behind me today’s footprints
will soon wash away
in the rising tide. I scan
the shoreline for the
window and hail
myself, sparkled,
splintered, a
tidal creature
a piece
of it all.

Written in response to dVerse prompt: Descriptive Detail

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Modern Romance

No one ripped my bodice,
no kiss lifted
my right leg acutely,
nor did I ever tango
or tangle in slick Tide
washed sheets rapturously.

But once, a guy yanked
my hair and cold-cocked
me on the headboard.
I roused, laughed. What else
could I do? Of course,
I groaned and swooned,
played the sexual buffoon.

He came. I went
and showered, closed
the curtain.
No knives flashed,
no violins squealed.
Rose scented bubbles
trickled down
the drain.

man kissing woman on street

Photo credit: William Recinos – Unsplash (Acute leg lift)