Day Fourteen: Special January Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day Fourteen of Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, I’ve responded to these two works of art.

The Confessor

With unruly hair, capped-tamed,
she stood before the white-wigged judges
to confess the sins of her wandering mind.

On and on her words poured out
to dance around the room—
the dreams she’d seen, the visions hued
in blue and gold and silver-

streamed they rushed from head and heart,
of a specter at a portal, a future seen
of cities now invisible, but that would someday gleam–
tall towers reflecting the sun, rising high

and bridges spanning rivers, and ships that sailed the sky.
No witch, am I. Only a dreamer.

The watchers sighed. The dazed and dazzled judges called for order,
and she was punished, a time in the stocks and weary-work
to check her mind’s meanderings.

But even a small spark can flare a blazing fire. She still dreamed—
and now, so did the others.

Day Thirteen: Special January Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day Thirteen of Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, I’m Responding to “Second Autumn” (KR) and CO19.

Unknown

Why is that sometimes spring and summer seem to come again,
but autumn only once?

The azure skies that fade into violet sighs,
the leaves of russet and gold, turn brown, fold within
leaving only a crunch—

they turn to dust.

Now I hear the geese in honking V, pull free time’s stitches—
land to sea.

And if I sit on moonlit porch—and listen–
will I hear the rustling ghosts of what was or what might have been?

A summer night. A picket fence. A snake. A bite.
Life or death? What happened after? What happened then?

Day Twelve: Special January Ekphrastic Challenge

My poem for Day Twelve of Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge. I wrote it, and Ithought I had sent it to him, but somehow it ended up in my mail drafts folder. Yesterday was definitely one of those days! I’ve responded to two works for this one. This one seems appropriate for MLK Day.

For Visionary Leaders, First Responders, Resisters, and All the Helpers, Everywhere

We’re in the same boat—
Death swims all around us, floats

with crocodile grin in skeletal face,
glides, sometimes without a trace–

a certain-skater,
a shadow-waiter

for color to flee. Let him be–

if there’s no hope–to do what he must,
when blood flows out and cold winds gust.

Beware the fakes and winter witches
who line their pockets with others’ riches–

but—call the intermediaries, if you can
the ones who stop the flow and span

the distance between wish and despair–
the bringers of light, the helpers who care–

those who take us from frozen tombs
to whisk in spring’s incipient blooms.

Day Eleven: Ekphrastic Challenge

My poem today for Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge responds to all three works of art.

All the Strands Carried, Come Together and Dissolve

The talking heads talk, on TV screens
and from online streams, pontificate and remonstrate
elucidate, and then negate—
but flowers do not wait

for thoughts and prayers, the analysis of fools’ blares.
Unaware of blithering-blather, the slathering lather
of rabid madness—

feeling neither hope nor sadness,
they simply do

until they’re through.

And, I am born, as are you–
in their petal-dust, scattered or buried,
river-ferried or eagle-carried,
or by winds and air brought here—again,
again, again–

then on a sigh, we’re here to live until we die,
and nourish once more the flowers that grow
and glow—
with a wave to bees, a waltz for trees—

a balm we seize,
a thread connecting bodies, earth, air, sea-
from the stars reborn, hearts, heads—we.

Day Ten: Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day Ten of Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, my poem responds to two works:

Just Over There

These fuzzy-brained days–
I’m a hand-puppet, waiting for direction,
a sense of what to do, which way to go
some sense at all
to my sensibility—magical realism it may be
when the surreal is real
in this inside-out and upside-down world—where is the key
to unlock it?

Somewhere, a butterfly flutters, and the world shudders;
Somewhere a rabbit hops, escaping a predator, or setting off a bomb.
Crow caws, and I open my eyes,
there is light, crystalline bright—
just over there. See?

Day Nine: Ekphrastic Challenge

For Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 9, I’m responding to “Ennui with eye “(KR) and “Ignore the real world forever” (MH).

I’m weary of the grey January sky–
the pewter-plated clouds simmer in gloom
but never warm, despite their chafing, and
their mumbling conversations drone on endlessly,
causing the wind to bite in reply. And I–

I want to ignore the real—this forever-frost that beckons
with a glistening smile, and then attacks with fierce lion claws,
pinking my skin, but

I want color,
bright red blooms and blue horses,
grazing on emerald grass. I want to wake
from a summer dream,
to a robin gathering golden rays into song.

Day Eight, January Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day Eight of Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, my poem responds to all three works of art below.

The Dance

An unlikely traveler,
with no longing for adventure,
only a desire to live without fear.

Money exchanged, his life rearranged–
one suitcase and a view
of storm-chased clouds and waves like horses,
galloping toward a hazy horizon, somewhere ahead

perhaps, there’s a quiet island, a house
with windows looking out on azure sky and singing seas,
golden-downed ducks and geese
with bicycle horn honks—he laughs, it would be

a dream, he thinks, as a whale breaches–and
for a moment they are eye-to-eye,
connected, branches of the same ancestral tree–
all of us–swaying to a universal rhythm.
Shuffle, slide, snap, and with jazz hands twirl,
smile. Tilt your head, in wonder

of the world. He wants the dance to continue.

January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 5

This is Day 5 of Paul Brookes’s Special January Ekphrastic Challenge. I misread Kerfe’s title as Beneath Cloud Wings, but that’s what they look like to me. 😀

Beneath Cloud Wings

Some hearts shatter–
their fragile shells swift-scatter
in the wind,

where owl-scoped and scooped,
the bleeding shards
are nested and guarded beneath cloud wings

to be reformed. Then re-hatched,
they flutter and fly,
soaring—knowing they may crash and crack again.

January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 4

For Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 4, I’ve responded to all three pieces of art.

Reborn

Ominous clouds gather—
shadows obscure the light,

leaving the world
a tangle of black and blue aches

And after the storm,
amidst the chaos,
the rebuilding begins—

we soar joyfully, reborn amongst flowers,
in colors never before seen.

Day 3: January Ekphrastic Challenge

Responding to all of today’s artwork for Paul Brookes’ Challenge, January 9, 2021, Day 3.

Beckoning

After the bang that breaks the silence
of nonexistence, of before all-time–
a closed fist opens, letting out light
in a rush of song; sailing sirens, the stars
attract, beckoning us and what was becomes ever-after,

never looking back,

we seek the end of darkness, beyond horizons
and the silvered-humming of the moon—
finding patterns in vast arrays, finding ourselves there—
made of stars, caught by time–and
timeless.