Burning Bright: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 19

Burning bright, each season’s swift turning,
she comes named and nameless, always here
assuaging aches and calming yearning,
giver of life and light—see her,

she comes named and nameless, always here
reaching the apples, making fungi sprout,
giver of life and light, in darkness, see her
circling–a serpent, in and out

reddening the apples, making fungi sprout,
not angel nor demon, she is desire
circling. A serpent in and out,
beyond time–she’s earth, air, and fire–

not angel nor demon, she is desire,
assuaging aches and calming yearning.
Beyond time, she’s earth, air, and fire-
burning. Bright, each season’s swift turning.

A pantoum for Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 19. My poem didn’t make it into the post, but you can read the rest of them here.

Distances: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 18

How do we measure distance?

Between yesterday and tomorrow,
the light of long-dead stars echo

like a voice, a song, a laugh
lingering in memory, and dreams

that bridge the distance
between imaginary and real,

to tumble over and over like waves–

but where does a wave go? And does it roll,
or unroll onto the shore as it picks up and deposits the sand,

each grain a part of something larger—
a rock, a meteor, a star—

the distance between before and now
a footprint on the beach, gone.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see all the art and read the poems here.

Beneath the Surface: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 17

Inspired by John Law, “Back from Shopping” and Kerfe Roig, “Badger”

Sturdy women coated and scarved,
against the cold, damp English day. Tight-clad legs step
clop clop on water-pooled streets. The little one’s hand grasped—
everywhere unseen dangers lurk.

There will be no jumping now. Come along, her mother says,
and goes on talking about Bess’s too-soon baby, Tom’s gout,
and Will who lost his job—again.

Beneath the surface of their words, stories swim,
fish waiting to be caught,
the meanings elusive, not quite hooked.

The woolen hats and packages move with the women, yellow, red, and green
contrasts with the grey all around.
In the fine drizzle of the fretting sea,
the shops are nearly invisible,
like the badger in their garden, a fog-creature of the night.

The girl wonders if he lives beneath
the surface of the puddles. She jumps, despite her mother’s hand,

and laughs. Then a laugh bursts from her mother’s surprised O mouth.
They continue walking. It’s almost time for tea.

She will save some scraps for the badger. See if he surfaces, like love.

For Paul Brookes’s Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see all the art and read all the poems here.

She Is: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 16

In the spindrift of stars,
she’s felled, stayed by strands
silvered in the night

she circles in cycles of moon phases,
phrases repeat in her mind, bridging seen
and unseen worlds,

the doors that might open—if—
in the tides of sea and blood—there is life
flowering,

in her womb, in the earth,
the repeating petalled patterns,
the roundness of berry and belly,

the strength of limbs, rooted
to the earth, while reaching for the sky,
seeking light

she howls as it fills her. God, human,
something in-between? This is the truth—
she is what she is, and what she has always been.

She circles in cycles. Repeats.
Ever and always. She waits.

For Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 16. I was inspired by all three works. You can read all the poems here.

Too Late: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 15

Cosmic after-
glow, echoes of light,
energy
and matter
through time, before time
before our time–eons

of coursing
color no one sees–
from the sky
to the sea
repeating cycles, fractals
and Fibonacci

on the beach,
a nautilus shell—
you hold it,
marveling
at its spiral curves, ancient
sailor, now moored here

amidst stones
and gull laughs, soaring
as Gaia
cups the world.
This is how life unfolds, in
circles and seasons

without hate.
Too late for her, or
him, or them—
the Other—
though filled with stardust, too. See
how cycles repeat?

A shadorma sequence for Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 15. We’re halfway through! You can read the other poems here. My work is inspired by all three works of art. I am behind on replying to comments and visiting other posts because I’ve had to finish paying work this week, but I will catch up in the next couple of days. This will be my NaPoWriMo poem for today because I know I won’t have time to get to the prompt.

The Shadow People: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day14

It began—after The Before. You remember?
When the world was colored with optimism,
primary colors and pastels, sun-spackled roofs, rose gardens,
blue skies? Even the winter ice sparkled with trapped starlight.
We went to work and school and shows,
traveling on buses and trains through the city.

I used to make up stories about the people we saw in the windows—
the little girl with the dandelion, the woman
who danced in a red dress? All those windows dark now.
Please say you remember.

Then cough by cough, the world turned greyer.
The flowers lost their brilliant hues, fragrances disappeared.
And the shadow people came.

They walked out of my dreams
to gather around the TV set–strangely drawn to it.
They follow me now, almost eagerly, like ghost puppies.

They have no faces, but they look like me. Haunted.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 14, I was inspired by all three works of art. You can read all the poems here.

Once: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 13

Once the harbor was a bustling place
of summer light, with salty tang– the sky a vivid blue,
all day and night, we gathered and chattered–of clouds no trace.
Once the harbor was a bustling place,
full of hope and sweet mysteries–our love was new,
but star-crossed by autumn storms–gone ship, captain, crew, you.
Once–the harbor was a bustling place
of summer light, with salty tang, the sky a vivid blue.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 13, I wrote a triolet based on all three works of art. You can read all the poems here. I haven’t written a triolet in ages, and I forgot how difficult it is to get so much in eight lines with the repeated lines and rhymes. But here it is. This will be my NaPoWriMo poem for the day, too.

Magic Comes: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 12

Magic often comes unseen,
in midnight sky, a sparkling flash,
on morning beach, a treasure stash—
a seabird message left for you
in colored stones of ocean hue.

Magic often comes unexpected,
a wish upon a star, synchronicity, chance,
or perhaps more than happenstance—
that needed doggy grin, the outstretched hand—
none of it planned,

nature and nurture, combined, entwined—
reactions or fate? Other realms or in-between,
ensorcellment in the glimmering sheen—
the magic, unexpected, unseen, and seen.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 12. There were only two works of art today, and my poem is inspired by both of them. You see read the other poems here.

Looking for Clues: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 11

One step forward, round and round,
the labyrinth circles—go or stay?
In the in-between, are answers found?
Past finds future. What is the way?

The labyrinth circles—go or stay?
She’s a shadow figure lost in blues,
Past finds future. What is the way?
Where are the clues?

She’s a shadow figure lost in blues
in her mind-forests, she searches dreams–
where are the clues?
Nothing here is as it seems,

in the in-between. Are answers found
in her mind-forests? She searches dreams–
but nothing here is as it seems–
just one step forward, round and round.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. I decided to change it up a bit, so I wrote a pantoum this time to reflect the circles of Kerfe’s work. I revised it a bit from the one posted on Paul’s site–but these are all rough drafts. I couldn’t quite work in John Law’s work for this one. You can see all the art and read all the poems here.

Connected: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 10

Star-sparked and sea-born,
all connected–
homeless man, his faithful dog,
hawks, the trees—you and me–
from unknown light and ethereal blues,
every shape and all the hues,
space dust and double helix spring, repeating
fractals in everything—patterns spread, threaded
through the eye of time,
from star to sea, we slither, smile, bark,
howl at the moon, fear the dark—

and so, the universe never asks—what is
the beginning, what is the end—
it just is, when and then, again.

Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 10. I was inspired by all three works today. You can read the other poems here.