Monday, December 21, 2015

Front Yard, Back Yard

The Santa Fox
 Around the corner this Santa on the ground in deflated attitude 
on the Daily Walk a couple of days ago. I don't know if they turn on his blower
in the early evening and he comes back to life, or if he is really dead until
the air leak is patched. I thought at first he was accompanied 
by a fox, but now I see it is Rudolph's baby brother.

Patterns on Pale Grey Cement
About a month ago, I was stuck by the beauty of the shadows
on the sidewalk in front of the house, before the leaves fell.

Leaf fall in the Rain
These backyard leaves were blown away last Thursday by Rafael and his brother,
who has become Rafael's Brother to me as he is quite shy 
and I have forgotten his name. But there are nearly this many 
replacement leaves now--
it's a fruitless mulberry and provides excellent shade.
It's the kind of tree that has to be cut back every year;
Rafael and the Brother do that for us, too.

Last July Above The Little Union Canal in Eagle, Idaho.
By next July, we hope to be looking out at this same view.
Our ducks will recognize us, I am sure!


Some Bare Root Roses We Once Planted

In California, bare root roses get planted 
in winter, which is a lot of trouble.

My father has his khaki work plants on
digging by the picket fence in 1949,
when the Wignalls drop by. Dorothy
has a prognathous jaw and gives my mother
her family recipe for trifle.

Fred is tall, skinny, bald and always smiling.
Gay is tall and skinny, too, but not bald
and has her mother's jaw. Her name is strange
even then and we're supposed to be friends.

The Wignalls walk around back, Fred is smiling
and wears a white shirt. My father leans
his shovel up against the fence and offers a beer, 
but doesn't go inside and clean up or leave
the immediate scene.

Later, Dorothy says her husband was insulted.
"I'm sorry," my mother says, "but he only
had this one Sunday to put the roses in."
The roses later leaf and bloom profusely
because my father has prepared the beds
perfectly and with great care.

Laurel Speer               (born 1940)

Vincent, et al.  Geryon Press, 1985, page 15.

This is the poem that suggested to me that I use on this blog some of the pictures of my neighborhoods that I have been accumulating.
Notice that it has stanzas of a differing number of lines. In some ways it is more like a story. It also honors the poet's father in a particular way. Do you have a family story like this? Your task would be to make it into a poem about this length. Perhaps strive for lines that are a little longer, like many of these: about 11 to 13 syllables. I have found that this is a very good length for lines for this type of poem, counting out the syllables seems to help the memories to unravel!

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