April 1, 2017 “Sonnet Despite Rain”

NaPoWriMo 2017 April 1

Sonnet Despite Rain
for E. K.
 
I have a friend who sings each time it rains,
who might, for all I know, dance in it, too.
Even the melancholy moans of trains
sliding through wet nights take on a lighter hue
for her, as if, speeding down now-slick tracks,
all the freight cars are crammed with happy news—
checks, cards, and letters spilling from mail sacks,
all addressed to her, rain-washed clean of woes.

I like the idea of a gentle rain
coaxing flowers from dusty, barren ground
each April, inciting swells of bird song.
Yet actual rain clouds bring me real pain—
drumming their melancholy tapping sound,
insisting my day and my world are wrong.

Leslie Schultz

Check out other participants at the NaPoWriMo Challenge 2017 home site!

Poems in Progress: #30–April 30, 2016–Day the Last for NaPoWr!iMo 2016

Thirty

Spirit House

A smear of lavender paint
adorns our front porch
step, fading
as the concrete weathers.

In our garage, on a high shelf,
the little wren house you painted
one summer’s day
with a neighbor’s child, rests.

Glyphs of exuberance—
streaks and zigzags
orange, raspberry, lemon, mint—
designs flying from the heart.

For years, these four walls
hung sturdily and intact
in your ginkgo tree
at the back of our garden.

When days were lengthening,
wrens descended, then defended
their chosen home from
crows, cats, and us.

Ever busy, those wrens—
tucking treasures in,
raising their young in a cloud
of scolding song.

One early spring, (the year
you began high school?)
the little house burst
open, spilling part of that old nest

onto the wet ground: showing
browned weeds, leaf spines,
tiny feathers, hair and strings,
scraps of dim paper,

and a shiny surprise
of plastic Easter grass
winking neon green and purple
in bright sunlight.

Too warped and rusted
to repair, your little house
had shattered like the eggs
it once sheltered,

its healthy young now
flown. This spring, daughter,
as you ready yourself
to fly into the blue arc

of your own new life,
we shall bring out the old
wren house, to preside,
protected, on a porch table—

a beacon, maybe.
A homing signal,
just in case, should you
ever need one.

Leslie Schultz

First Wren House

Spirit House One

Spirit House Two

Spirit House Gift Painting

Wren near Macon, GA (photo: Karla Schultz)

Wren near Macon, GA (photo: Karla Schultz)

Many thanks to everyone who took time read the hastily done work each of the past thirty mornings! Your presence and comments were cheering and kept me on course. Sometime in May, I think I will do a “post-game analysis” of this poetic exercise, and I might post the highlights. Meanwhile, I wish you a season ahead filled with beauty of every kind, visible and invisible.

Until Some Other Day!

Leslie

Poems in Progress: #29–April 29, 2016

Number 29

Vivid Tulips

Can happiness by grasped by mind alone?
Here is a photo of me at age three,
Knee-deep in drifts of tulips, a cast stone
Thrown by joy into a vast floral sea,

Waves of tulips bending to let me in.
I am swimming there, before memory
Imprints or judgment alters direction,
So young I am content simply to be.

Sunbonnet askew, bare arms plunged in bloom,
The camera sees me gaze, dazed by glee;
No fine gradations of particular doom,
No thought beyond a present ecstasy.

Old photo, you’re incomplete, like the mind’s light,
So sharply focused in only black and white.

Leslie Schultz

Lemon Hart Tulips

Heiberg Tulips

Drifts of Tulips

Until Tomorrow!

Leslie

Poems in Progress: #28–April 28, 2016

Twenty Eight

A Theory of Naming

“…and from the shore
They viewed the vast, immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as the sea—dark, wasteful, wild…”

(John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VII)

Dreaming, I was called
Batten-Down-the-Hatches!
Man-the-Pumps! and then
Dead-in-the-Water.
 
The world deemed me Titanica,
riding the surface,
clueless,
and fore-doomed.

Yesterday,
before I understood this,
I answered to Small Meadow
(Budded Tree, Cat-Mint, Field Lily).

Now I perceive my real name—
Sea Storm,
Tempest-Beneath-the-Waves.
I taste
of licorice and tar.

Tomorrow I sink deeper,
becoming this:
Marianas,
Black-Smoker,
Sea-Vent,
Abyss.

Leslie Schultz

deep-sea-hydrothermal-vent-jj-0011

This poem was sparked by an exercise in Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s book, poemcrazy (Three Rivers Press, New York, 1996). The exercise–a little wayside on the way to what I thought would be the real poem for today–combines one of the possible etymologies of my own first name (“Less Lea” or “Small Meadow”); a recent viewing of James Cameron’s film, “Titanic”, with Julia; and fascination with the recently discovered phenomena of those engines of generation in the deepest regions of the world’s oceans.

Until Tomorrow!

Leslie

Poems in Progress: #27–April 27, 2016

Twenty Seven

“Dark Oceans on Icy Worlds”
for Tim

After days of clouds and spring rain,
sun pours through the dining room windows,
fills the translucent bowls of creamy porcelain
teacups—empty and clean–rimmed with gold,
stacked askew on their tray like whirling orbits.

In the garden, one daffodil, a double-bloom
of peach and white, shakes its complicated folds
in as many directions as the wind
dictates, its whorls of petals predetermined,
like the swirling of galaxies, in patterns

noted by Fibonaci. (We count more easily,
apparently, because he also authored Liber Abaci
and championed numerals then called Hindu-Arabic
or modus Indorum.) Inspired by early travels,
this mathematical Leonardo used what he’d seen

in his youth to make his father’s mercantile
woes ease, and meanwhile re-energized
medieval thought about the Golden Mean.
Now, seeing a headline from my husband’s magazine,
Sky & Telescope, I wonder what it means

that I can travel simultaneously,
leaping past what numbers delineate,
(but respectfully, mindfully)
into speculative realms of astrobiology;
and thoughts of moon jellies at Monterey;

and of the wonder, in their tiny mock-sea,
of golden jellyfish who follow the sun daily
across their Palauan lake, like aquatic
sunflowers, turning away
from what is cold, or merely shadowy.

Leslie Schultz

Double Daffodil

Leslie Schultz

Until Tomorrow!