Recently in Poetry Category

March 26, 2009

Snowdrops by Louise Gluck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

All time favorite poem.

October 24, 2007


There is a girl inside
by Lucille Clifton

There is a girl inside.
She is randy as a wolf.
She will not walk away and leave these bones
to an old woman.

She is a green tree in a forest of kindling.
She is a green girl in a used poet.

She has waited patient as a nun
for the second coming,
when she can break through gray hairs
into blossom

and her lovers will harvest
honey and thyme
and the woods will be wild
with the damn wonder of it.

October 14, 2007

Hot wing haiku

Delicious hot wings
marry with ribs on the plate.
Who knew pigs could fly?
                    - written by me on a (clean) napkin at BW3
                      in response to T's off-the-cuff remark.

Yes, I am a word geek. I admit it.

Riding the lemons to lemonade roller coaster lately, trying to find a balance, a stopping point. Seems like it will never end.

Finishing up the media center and feeling proud then one of my windows broke and was replaced with unglazed glass. Have to find money to replace it myself now.

Finally get everything in place and the bookfair comes this week, not to mention the frequent disruption of meetings and staff training sessions (the recent pork barbeque lunch will be a whole other post, I fear). Seems I will never finish.

Terribly frustrated and unhappy with things I can not control yet some incendiary bright spots have emerged ... who knew I loved drag racing?

Preparing myself for yet another downward trip tonight, knowing the next hill is only 2 weeks away, hoping the sheer force of emotional kinesis can get me there.

Finished William Gibson's Pattern Recognition and found quite a bit of myself in the pages. Interesting insight, complex read.  I closed the book and returned to this world enlightened. Gotta love that.

 More later. Feeling cryptic and fragile, yet strangely energized.

October 1, 2007

Favorite poem...


Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

-Louise Gluck

April 10, 2006


Not much of substance from me but I caught a gem this week that I had to pass on ...


Nothing warms the cockles of my poetically geeky heart like using mathematics in artistic pursuit. When I saw this, poetry written using the Fibonacci sequence or Fibs, I could hardly contain my excitement. So I tried one.

I opened my eyes
And saw you waiting patiently.

Ok so that sucked but I'm WAY out of practice and everything I write lately sounds schmaltzy and far more open than I want to be. Come on, try it. Don't your cockles need to be warmed?

I had more of a post but Firefox decided to crap out on me and I was unable to paste what I had saved to my clipboard ... 2 new Fibs, one was even an extreme Fib.

*big tears*

Trying to reconstruct ... read on to see the results ...

Let's try this again ...

Heals slowly,
Even slower when
the abuse continues within.

And now an Xtreme Fib, going all the way to 13.

Lily pads
Wanting nothing but
To sink beneath the surface
If only to escape the voices telling her to.

Bonus points if you get the reference.

Umm, it's probably a good time to tell you I was once addicted to Haiku.

sleep will come
for a sweet embrace
and not another glancing blow.

June 1, 2005

Borrowed verse

You are tired
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me then
And we'll leave it far and far away-
(Only you and I understand!)

You have played
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break and-
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart-
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows
And if you like
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah come with me!
I'll blow you that wonderful bubble the moon
That floats forever and a day;
I'll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream
Until I find the Only Flower
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

e.e. cummings

*holding out my hand ... 18 hours and counting*

March 12, 2005

in situ

i find myself wishing
that i were anything
but what i am


pressing until my fingers
crush their own tips,
pushing on myself
to make sure i am


i thought i was becoming
more each time but
in searching i only find
raw distortions of me
between the lines.


each word obscures
until i am left as
a dusky myth
in the corner
behind yesterday.

©SMO - '03-'05

in situ

In case you couldn't tell, I'm going through some old files and I thought it might be time to post some poetry here, to round out the offerings. Not that these are my best but these may offer illumination.


Sitting here, every muscle tensed
and waiting, I whisper to you
silently "Come, pull me away from this."

I want to admit the truth
of where I am, this endless velvety dark,
this navy night sky of despair.
Joy has no home here, only
reflection and regret,
reliving my last words and how
I snapped in the face of it all.

How do I open my mouth?
How do I begin to breathe again?

Your lips press to my temple, fingers
travel to the nape of my neck,
a high tension wire singing
with unspoken fears
and you press, for a moment longer
than casual.

In that moment, during the breath
that washes across my brow,
apologies leak from my pores,
fill the air, and you
breathe them in.

SMO © Nov. 2004

October 3, 2004

From the NCSLMA conference...

I know it was a couple of weeks ago but life got kinda turned upside down when I got back, so I'm just getting around to getting my ass in gear here.

Though this was a professional conference for school librarians, there were some very creative and fun workshops to attend, some of which were given by one of my favorite authors, Deborah Wiles. Her specialty is Story (yes, with a capitol S)and how telling and retelling your story gives you a place in the world and validates your reason for being. You know that was right up my alley so I signed up and attended two back-to-back presentations by her. The first was more of an introduction to her methods of writing and readings from her work but the second was a hands-on workshop that we all had to contribute to. Little did I know that I would get a poem out of it.

What Deborah Wiles suggested is that we brainstorm, making lists first ... lists of things that are sensory, rich, whole parts of your past, what makes you 'you'. Some of the subjects could be:

Happy memories

Sad memories

Scary moments

Something that always makes you laugh

Something that always makes you cry

Food memories - favorite family dishes

People you loved/hated

Geography - physican places

History - a place in time




Other stuff - for that stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else!

These things should be both unique to you and universal, things that stand out to you as your strongest memories. You'll end up with many more things than you will actually use in this poem, so save the list for later poems ... I've started keeping a notebook for brainstorming. You'll be amazed at what you come up with when you let yourself go.

Using the same basic structure as the following poem, "Where I'm From..." by George Ella Lyons (below), choose images from your lists that are the richest to you and build your own "Where I'm From ... " poem.

Where I'm From
by George Ella Lyons

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the black porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments-
snapped before I budded-
leaf-fall from the family tree.


Here is my version ...

Where I'm From ...
by Sharon O'Neill

I am from the last house on the right,
a place where words were sparse,
brittle weeds pushing up
through cracks in the cement silence.
I am from aluminum Christmas trees,
from Spam and transistor radios.
I am from the smell of hyacinths,
a Clematis covered chimney and Linden trees
that showered us with chartreuse pollen.

I am from scalloped corn and shag haircuts,
from Anthony and Adeline
and the white cabin on Merrymeeting Lake.
I am from steps- and halfs-
and still being an only child,
from snap-out-of-it and
from pink striped ballerina wallpaper
hidden beneath Tiger Beat posters.

I am from taking the dirt road to MacArthur Park
to ice skating on the frozen reservoir,
from Hostess fruit pies and braided gimp.
From the night my mother took too many pills
to the morning my father was just gone.
I am from the tree branches that kept me hidden
when it was my turn to go to the dentist
to the roof I could watch the stars from
and ignore the storm brewing inside.

I am from floating on my back in the pool,
bobbing for hard, underripe pears
that tasted of chlorine and abandonment.
I am from the pregnant purple balloons
of the hostas nodding along the front walk,
crushed prematurely by ignorant fingers
that didn't understand that
a popped blossom would never know
the joy of opening into a beautiful bell.

This can be adapted to any age or grade level as a lesson and I'm willing to bet you can find no less than 20 full lesson plans online if you would like to have your class do a similar exercise.

It was a lesson in discovery for me ... revisiting many images I had forgotten, expecially some of the more plesant ones that get forgotten by the flood of the darker ones. We'll see where this notebook takes me. It's good enough to me that I'm writing again. *whew*

September 3, 2004

Currently reading...

Lost Wax
by CK Williams

My love gives me some wax,
so for once instead of words
I work at something real:
I knead until I see emerge
a person, a protagonist;
but I must overwork my wax,
it loses its resiliency,
comes apart in crumbs.

I take another block:
this work, I think, will be a self;
I can feel it forming, brow
and brain; perhaps it will be me,
perhaps, if I can create myself,
I'll be able to amend myself;
my wax, though, freezes
this time, fissures, splits.

Words or wax, no end
to our self-shaping, our forlorn
awareness at the end of which
is only more awareness.
Was ever truth so malleable?
Arid, inadhesive bits of matter.
What might heal you? Love.
What might make you whole? Love. My love.

Summer reading for me has included a pile of poetry books (Rukeyser, Rich, Sexton, Williams, Dove, Olds, Atwood ... 2 or 3 a week) that only served to remind me of how I want to write ... and how little I can write any more. When I read this piece, it literally sucked the air out of my lungs. Though I am a huge proponent of editing, I know there are instances where overworking your words can make them sterile, brittle ... a technically perfect poem can be the goal but if it has no soul, it's merely words.

Yes, I'm writing again ... all that reading was intellectual WD40.

On another level, I wonder at the subtext, the way Williams weaves the relationship through the poem while, at the same time, keeping it as an external stimulus to the story by opening and closing with "My love ..." This is a poet that knows how to use a split second in time, a seemingly trivial human moment, and turn it into a broader, more universal message while still keeping it terribly personal. Something to aspire to.

(please excuse cross-posting ... also on Poetry Cafe messageboards ... just trying to illustrate where my writing chops are and possibly warming this place up for some poetry again. Though I've just given myself an impossible ideal to live up to. *DOH!*)

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