Friday, April 24, 2020

Skinnys during "Stay At Home" orders

Spending so much time in my upper room, staring out the window musing over what work can be done from a distance, I have noticed a pair of crows hanging out in my weeping cherry tree. They are large, black birds, anyway, and I looked up all the different types of large black birds to try to distinguish between them. Pretty sure these are American Crows.

My Poetry Sisters and I are tackling Skinny Poems once again this month, since we enjoyed it so much last year. Skinny form was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University. The Skinny Blog explains the form this way:

"A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject, although the form generally reflects more serious concerns facing humankind. Also, Skinnys can be linked, much like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. (Note: As a matter of aesthetics, the plural form of the Skinny should be “Skinnys.”)"

 I really like short poems, so I had fun with this one. I just happened to look out the window last week when the crescent moon was high in a brilliant blue sky and the crows were busy. In these days of social distancing, work from home, and "Stay At Home" orders, inside and outside contrasts are sharp. A poem came from that.

Quarantine Rooms

Inside, the room is dark.
Outside,
moon
sails
blue.
Outside,
crow
claims
territory.
Outside
a dark room.
 
   -Andromeda Jazmon
                   @2020



Please also enjoy the Skinnys at my Poetry Sisters' blogs:

Trisha
Tanita
Sara
Liz
Laura
Kelly
Rebecca

And then make sure you visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at Wondering & Wandering. Happy Friday!

Friday, January 31, 2020

January Haiku

I've been writing monthly poetry with my Poetry Sisters for over ten years now. Missed quite a few monthly posts, it's true, but I'm not giving up yet. Every year we look ahead to make plans for the year, and this year we have all agreed to take some time to look back and revise some of those older poems that still could use some work. I'm glad of that because I have to admit I have often scribbled something off in a rush and never looked back. They could all be a bit better, in fact!

We are going to balance that by writing a few other short poems, often haiku, in a balance of foresight and hindsight. Sounds about right for the cusp of the decade. We are ending this month with a haiku on a theme of the new year of foresight.

I know from Chinese cooking that pears are therapeutic. Poached pears in a honey sauce are so soothing and comforting. Just what we need on a dreary day at the end of January. Another thing about pears; they ripen slowly and get sweeter with a few scars. My kind of fruit.


Start of the week;
green pear on the windowsill,
sweet by Friday.

-Andromeda Jazmon


Check out the wonderful haiku by my Poetry Sisters here:

Kelly Ramsdell

And don't forget to visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at Deowriter. Enjoy!

Friday, October 04, 2019

Pastorals with the Poetry Sisters

The Poetry Sisters have been challenged by Sara's daughter Rebecca to write a Pastoral poem this month. Pastoral poetry focuses on the joys and delights of country life and nature's bounty, while at the same time contrasting human endeavors and occupations, or the harmony and disharmony of humans in nature. Serendipitously, I have been studying William Blake lately, and found a wealth of examples to follow. I particularly love this little one: "Ah! Sunflower!"

I am a college librarian on a beautiful suburban campus right next to a large natural area. We have a lot of birds in residence and migrating through. This week some students found a hummingbird that had fallen on the sidewalk after hitting the windows of the classroom building. We tried to nurse it but it never was able to fly away. We passed it onto the professor who does a lot with birds and haven’t heard back if it survived. It was drinking sugar water and getting sleepy, sinking into torpor when I last saw it… (Link to Facts about Hummingbirds webpage).





To a Hummingbird Injured on Migration

Bright heart beating, slightly thrumming!
Cradled by my pulse, broken by this
school of glass and steel. Impact numbing,
zing of feathers, crumpled on the ground.

Who can splint such tiny, trembling bones?
Blessed hummer, you remembered every flower
till you fell in love with window tombstones.
Yet we offer sugar water, crooning low and sweet.

Defending warrior, rest your sword,
Torpor takes your warmth and light.
Meant to fly long miles to seaboard;
tiny toes were never made to stand.

Frail bones broken, wee wings warped
on the temple of our pride; how we
echo your distress! Brief hope corked
at your demise, here our wishes flounder.

                         -Andromeda Jazmon


Please take some time to visit my Poetry Sister's blogs and enjoy their poems too!
Sara
Laura
Tanita
Kelly
Liz
Trisha
Rebecca

And save some time this weekend to explore the Friday Poetry Roundup at the Library Matters blog. Happy Fall!

Friday, September 06, 2019

snake poem

The poetry sisters are thinking about snakes this month, writing short poems comparing a snake to something new. Eight lines or less. Phew, that's a tough one! I don't normally like snakes, but I could right away think of a time a cute little baby garden snake surprised me on my front step. Here's my little poem -


Snake resting on my step -
a baked rock holding heat.
Neither he nor I
intending to move.
With a quick flick he’s gone;
a smooth stone slipping
across the pond.
- Andromeda Jazmon


Check out what my poetry sisters have written:

Laura
Sara
Trisha
Tanita
Liz
Rebecca
Kelly is taking a break this month, but we will see her next time!

And here's the Friday Poetry Round up at Poetry for Children. Enjoy!

Friday, August 02, 2019

Ekphrastic Tanka

Our challenge this month is to take another try at writing ekphrasitc poems of any form, this time in response to the photos taken by my friend Sara. On a trip to Israel she took this amazing photo of the Bell Caves of Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park. I've written a series of Renga poems. Renga is an old Japanese form based on Haiku, usually played by more than one person in a back and forth game. One person does a 17 syllable poem and the next person answers with a 14 syllable couplet, and so on in a chain. In this case I wrote the haiku one day and came back a few days later to respond with the couplets.





Cool roundness of dark:
stone walls curved unto themselves,
light an upturned bowl.

Unseen skillful hands hewed rock,
leaving caverns filled with air.

Rock wrapped around rock:
darkness the core, the curved crust,
light the space between.

The bell an empty cup of
sound, luminescent choirs call

subterranean
summer evenings seeking chill.
Ancient singing echoes still

smoothed as if by water flow,
rock holds the brilliant blazing.
                                 -Andromeda Jazmon

My Poetry Sisters have all written amazing poems in response to Sara's photos. Check them out:


Liz 
Sara 

And don't forget to enjoy Poetry Friday at Heidi Mordhorst's blog My Juicy Little Universe.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Heat Triolets

This month we are working on Triolets, an 18th century English form of eight lines. The first and second line repeat, and there are only two rhymes, so it has a sing-song quality. I looked back through the blog here and found a couple other times we did triolets, and liked them better than what I have the week. I wrote "Joe's Fire" in 2015, and "Birthday Boy" in 2009 with my Poetry Sisters.

Our theme was "heat", it being summer. I found it really hard to think of anything worth repeating on the subject, because, who can chatter when it's so darn hot? I was thinking about the sharp contrast between the chill of my work environment and the blast of humidity at lunch hour, when I scribbled my first attempt:



Walk out the door you’re slammed with heat;
work’s icebox chill dissolves in mist.
An office job just can’t be beat.
Walk out the door, you’re slammed with heat.
Return from lunch, the breeze you meet;
with icy blast your brow is kissed.
Walk out the door, you’re slammed with heat -
The icebox chill dissolves in mist.

 I wasn't too happy with it, as it seems so trivial! I tried again, after re-reading Rumi's lovely 
poem "Story Water", where he points out the great blessing of hot water in these lines:

A story is like water
That you heat for your bath.
It takes messages between the fire and your skin. It lets them meet,
and it cleans you! 

Read the rest of that poem here. 

My second triolet for this month:


Water blesses - hot or frozen,
ice in drinks and steam in showers.
Rumi’s story waters rose in
blessed water, hot or frozen.
Icy drinks can clink the hours,
Summer downpours end in flowers.
Water blesses hot or frozen,
ice in drinks and steam in showers.
-Andromeda Jazmon

I need to work on it a bit more, but it's getting somewhere I think.

Check out the lovely poems my poetry sisters have posted today:


And enjoy the Friday Poetry round-up hosted by Trisha!

 

Friday, June 07, 2019

Skinny poems

This month my poetry sisters and I are trying our hands at writing Skinny poems.The Skinny form was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University. The Skinny Blog explains the form this way:

"A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject, although the form generally reflects more serious concerns facing humankind. Also, Skinnys can be linked, much like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. (Note: As a matter of aesthetics, the plural form of the Skinny should be “Skinnys.”)"

I had some fun making these. I found it difficult, however, to create something that held a lot of meaning and context for a wide audience from such a limited pallet of words. One word per line and repeating the same word three times is harder than I thought it would be!

Here's my best effort so far:

You loved to dance
but
didn't
have
enough,
but
the
music
stopped,
but
Love, you danced!


Liz and Sara are taking a break this month. We look forward to them joining in the coming weeks. Take a look at what my poetry sisters have written in this form:


And visit the Friday Poetry roundup at Michelle Kogan's blog. Enjoy!