Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How we survive . . .

This nest was painted by Savana oa a recent grandchild visit.
I thought it went well with the Paul Zimmer poem which I have been saving
for months since I recycled some literary periodicals. 
Maybe because of the tree. Sigh.

How We Survive Childhood

Orvil Peacher and I were fifty feet up
In the old oak when he lost his grip
And plunged crashing through branches
Toward certain, terrible damage.
But at the last possible moment
Before his wreck he managed to clutch
A limb and hang on for dear life.

A long time Orvil dangled in silence.
Then slowly he lifted his eyes to peer
Up at me aghast in the canpoy.
In the same daunting voice
He'd used to dare me hight into
That venerable oak, he said,
"I'll bet you can't do that!"

Paul Zimmer

New England Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, 
Winter 1995, page 20.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

It all begins again

PACIFIC BLUES, photo by jhhymas

I've been spending the day with the new book of Tom Killion's prints 
and the poetry selected to go with them. 
I am also reading in Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee
which is all about us, human beings.
While the seas are rising now, aeons ago more water was trapped in ice 
and the California coast was very different, 
providing access to the sea's bounty for earlier peoples. 
Planning to leave California, which is so beautiful this time of year, 
makes me treasure every outing,
even ones that take place through the pages of books.

Point Reyes
                      Gary Snyder

Sandpipers at the margin
                  in the moon---
Bright fan of the flat creek
On dark sea sand,
                 rock boom beyond:
The work of centuries and wars,
                  a car,
Is parked a mile above
                  where the dirt road ends,
In naked gritty sand,
Eye-stinging salty driftwood campfire
                  smoke, out far.
It all begins again.
Sandpipers chasing the shiny surf
                 in the moonlight---
By a fire at the beach.

California's Wild Edge; the coast in poetry, prints and history, Tom Killion with Gary Snyder, unpaginated. Heyday, 2015.

Small beach watercolor, jhhymas.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fifteen Marines

I am putting things away to prepare for our trip to Idaho.
Instead of re-shelving Paul's book of poems, 
opened it and found this poem. Since this is the Memorial Day weekend, 
I thought it might be a good choice to unpause this blog. In this photo 
from a long-ago Yuki Teikei Haiku Society winter holiday party,
Paul is in the dark red shirt at far left. 
He is giving Betty Arnold encouraging feedback on her reading, 
as her husband, Jim (in black shirt) looks on and smiles.
Paul's wife, KerryLynn, looks on from the right. 
You can just see the host, Patrick Gallagher, beyond the white doorframe. 

Today, Fifteen Marines

Today, fifteen marines 

fell in a helicopter--the same kind
you called a flying coffin--the one
they flew you in from Kaneohe Bay
to Barber's Point.  And I,

this late night in Illinois

think of you in Yuma, your burr cut,
your straightened back, your look,
on duty or asleep, way off, and of
those others once again.

Tonight, in their selected trees,

the hawks are sleeping, marsh and red-tail.
Knobby talons grip the limbs,
fierce eyes closed for now. Come dawn,
look sharp, my sons, look very sharp.

Growing in the Rain; 

poems by Paul O. Williams, page 44.

The structure of this three-stanza poem could serve as a template for one of your own. In the first stanza, there is the thing that caused you to begin to wonder and think. In the second, an associated memory; and in the final stanza an associated nature image. Each stanza is placed in a specific place. I would love to see any of your resulting poems!