Archive for the ‘poetry’ Tag

Allegory for Peace

Listening to the news, reading news accounts online, hearing of events in conversation, in whatever way it comes to me, the news never fails to distress and unnerve me. I don’t see any good that comes from following it. Yet, it is necessary to be aware, at least generally, of what is happening in the world. As Veteran’s Day approaches in the US and stories abound of heroism and sacrifice, juxtaposed with news accounts of aggression, incursion, and death, my mind and sensibilities are unsettled.

My family is full of military heritage and patriots. My personal experience of late full of struggle for equality and authenticity. And the world continues to evolve, revolve and devolve by turns with respect to individual and communal quests for peace and equality. It’s all such a jumble. And, as is sometimes the case when my mind is swimming in stress and unresolvable puzzles, my mind creates in order to make sense of what is impacting on it at the time.

Imperfect, rough and unedited, the following clawed itself out of my brain after viewing a particularly unnerving documentary about soldiers returned from war and the art they created to express their experiences. Their art was both beautiful and raw, evocative and frightening. This bit of verse is none of that, but does serve to siphon some of the nervous energy that seeing their art created in me.

An Allegory of Peace

In everwood
Beyond the sunset
And under the shadow
Of the forever tree
Lived a simple soul
Still and quiet when at rest
Yet full of vigor and passion
For life and love and the beauty
Of the human heart
~
Peace, a fitting name for such a one
Crowned in equity
Cloaked in justice
Shod in freedom
The might and nobility
Gravitas and grace
Of Peace was coveted by all
Yet Peace was hard won
~
Elusive, Peace could only be reached
Through paths often perilous
Winding from fields of honor
And courts both lawful and profane
Uphill to plateaus of logic and peaks of erudition
Down slippery slopes of expediency and compromise
Over narrow bridges spanning chasms of ideology
Teetering on the precipice over abysses of war and pain
~
From age to age
Seekers of Peace carried many bags of motive
Some filled with hope and reason
Some dark and heavy with vengeance
Others light, full of optimism and faith
Many bristling with weapons of fearful hate
~
Their journeys fraught with doubt and danger
Peace seekers seldom emerged
From such treacherous paths unscathed
~
Some who sought Peace’s repose
Who braved the treacherous paths
Who gained and lost ground in the fight
Often fell within sight of Peace
Yet theirs was not a vain struggle
Nor their sacrifices empty
For the trails of their labors
Paved wider roads to Peace
~
Others survived the journey
Each one with a story
A parable of warning
Or a song of triumph
But each with a scar, a badge of sorts
A testament to the hunt
~
A few who succeeded in their quest
Lived for a time in that fair land
Enjoying the fruits of Peace’s reign
Even in small ways not always recorded for posterity
Staying in that cool and quiet glade
Singing their ballads and hymns of praise
Awash in the glory of Peace
~
Others who lost their way in the hunt
Battered and torn by brambles of strife
Bruised and weary of the climb
Stopped searching and settled
In a rocky valley of limbo
Where all paths circulate in endless
Rings of repetition hedged in stubbornness
Passing by highways to equality
Snubbing pathways of logic
Rejecting gateways to common ground
~
Those that dwelt in this desolate place
Roiled and seethed with bitterness
Resenting the gains that
Seekers on paths beyond the hedgerows
Seemed to make against the mountain of evolving ideology
Angry at the erosion of their historical stronghold
These by-dwellers in the valley of stony resistance
Struck out against the Peace seekers on the outside paths
~
Cycle after cycle of struggle and strife
Wars both physical and ideological
Raged in varying degrees constantly
All in the name and pursuit of Peace
~
But the progeny of the Peace seekers
Who rested in the reflected glow of Peace
Heard the sound of ongoing strife
Heard echoing cries for the bounty of Peace: equally, freedom, choice, self-determination
These beneficiaries of prior struggles
Answered the call
~
Poppies and ribbons, crosses and flags
Symbols of the causes of their forebears
“Lest we forget”, “Never forget”, their refrain
~
No longer at rest, never truly in repose
Seekers of Peace know
That the struggle goes on
In small ways and large
Over all the world
In ways sometimes unseen and unacknowledged
Yet ongoing
At home and abroad
With reason and diplomacy
Through logic and law
From heart to soul
Respect to respect
Until every warrior returns home
Until all are equal under law
Until every seeker finds Peace

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Sharing Is Growth

I’ve mentioned my love of words and my recently acquired appreciation for poetry, especially micro poetry. I’ve even shared a couple of my rough first attempts at verse here on this blog. But if you follow me on Twitter you know that I’ve begun to share even more micro poetry, or, as Butch Jaxon @butchontap calls them, #peeps.

Quick aside: I am really digging the short form. Twitter’s size limit for each post really forces you to work to get your point across inside the 140 characters. LOVE IT!

But something I’ve been thinking about lately is how unusual it is for me,specifically, to be posting this stuff at all. I mean, regardless if it qualifies as true poetry or just drivel, what I’m posting is full of my innermost thoughts, my most heart-felt emotions. I don’t do that. Really.

Despite this blog as evidence to the contrary, I really am a quite buttoned-up, reserved person. I’m one of those ‘private persons’ you’ve heard of, who doesn’t talk about themselves or about…feeeeeelings. Eeeew! This blog was 44 years in the making and is about as anonymous as can be. Because I’m still closeted, yes. But also because to work through all of this personal growth and coming out hoo-hah, feeeeelings must be examined and confronted. It took me a while to work up to it.

That’s why it’s surprised even me that I not only have an affinity for poetry, but that I’m both writing it and (drumroll) sharing it here and on Twitter.

And I have a theory about why.

Like poets from the beginning of time, and especially modern American poets, love is a big theme of my writings. (It sounds so pretentious to say “my work”, as if I’m a real writer or poet!) It’s also a big source of my inspiration. I think the reason I have taken to writing, especially poetry, is because I’m in love. Deeply.

Special Femme and I have noted recently that since we’ve been together, we each have a new appreciation for the meaning and nuance in song lyrics. I think the same thing goes for poetry.

Not only do I have a clearer understanding of songs and poems of others now that I’ve experienced the love of which they write and sing, there is clarity in my own mind also. I have access to a vocabulary of expression through the lens if my love for her and hers for me that I never understood before, never knew existed.

And even more surprising is the safety I feel from the surety of her regard that gives me courage to share some of what I feel for her and because of her. That’s amazing to me. Personal growth through the love of a wonderful woman. Who knew!?

So, my apologies to all those for whom my new-found sharing ability translates to torture through the broadcast of bad 140-character poetry. But I’m in a groove now and am thrilled at the creativity that seems to be flowing.

Brace yourselves! Lol!

Bullets…Again

A writing trick I’m blatantly stealing from a real writer (who also happens to be one of my favorite bloggers), Victoria Oldham, is this: when you “don’t have time” or can’t find your voice for a fully realized post, make a list. It’s a series of quick hits, not necessarily fully formed or fleshed-out thoughts, but enough to convey the flavor of your experience or the idea you want to explore.

I like the concept, but inexplicably feel guilty for resorting to it too often. But, because it’s been about ten days since my last post and I feel even more guilty about neglecting my blog than I do about using a list, I’m gonna give it a go again.

1. I have been writing, just not for publication here on this blog. I try to write something every day, even if it’s just a note to myself about something I want to spend more time writing about later. Lately, though, I’ve been happy to spend my writing time penning pretty things for #SpecialFemme. That effort is quite rewarding, in and of itself. It has opened up new avenues of creative expression I never expected to be able to explore. Not to worry, though! More blog posts are queuing up inside my head. I just have to find a way to chisel them out of their matrix of half-formed thought. Watch this space!

2. On a related note, I’ve recently developed an appreciation that I’ve never had before for poetry. I am no scholar or collector of poetry. And I really know nothing about the mechanics of recognized poetic forms. But I have discovered the unique satisfaction derived from poetic expression; it’s totally different from writing in prose or narrative style. I am beginning to really like certain forms I’ve seen and even have tried my hand at writing a bit of my own in a free-style mode that wouldn’t be recognized by any prof or critic. Most recently, I’ve become intrigued by the micro-poetry of some very talented tweeters I’ve followed on Twitter. Though the 140-character limit is occasionally the cause of some truly criminal linguistic short-cuts, some of the verse I’ve seen is fantastic. Speaking directly to my heart and, I swear, channelling the very essence of my current experience, these writers have awoken me to an art form I previously despised. Three of my favorites: @SheWhoWas, @Raine_Cooper, and @allforandrea

3. I am SERIOUSLY displeased with the level of quality and reliability of Skype lately. I use it on iPhone and iPad, as well as on my Android smartphone on two different mobile carriers. All platforms exhibit the same problems, in all locations I’ve used it, regardless if I’m on WiFi or on mobile data: horrible signal quality (crackling and attenuating audio, pixelated video) and an extremely high rate of dropped calls. I’ve also noted an increase in the frequency that the Skype app randomly switches my profile status from Online to Offline, despite a strong WiFi or mobile signal. This is incredibly frustrating for any user, I’m sure. But it is having a severe impact on my dating life! Nothing more annoying than having to fight technology when trying to nurture a long distance romance.

4. On a note more germane to this blog: I’m stuck in coward mode. I still haven’t come out to anyone in my family, despite promising myself that I’d start with my oldest brother at the beginning of July. It was the perfect chance! I had the house to myself and was off work for a couple days. It was after the end of the fiscal quarter and no work emergencies, no pressing social commitments. I could have taken advantage of the time to pull the trigger, take that next step toward authenticity. But I chickened out. I had planned to start with my oldest bro because he’s always been in my corner, supporting my ambitions, my biggest fan. Yet I can’t bring myself to pick up the phone and have that discussion. It’s simple fear, I know. Precisely because he’s my biggest fan, I fear losing his support. And, yes, I know my fear is preventing me giving him the chance to be supportive in this, too. As I said: coward. I admit it. But I don’t know how to break the cycle.

5. So as to not end on the downer of that last item, and because I think five is a nice round number for a listy post, I want to share something fun. Now, regular readers and friends will have tumbled to the fact that I’m a bit of a geek. Gadgets, tech of all kinds, sci-fi/fantasy, even Harry Potter are all fair game for my geek-dom. I like sci-fi the best, books, movies, tv, fan fic, you name it. I’m also a complete Mythbusters junkie! No surprise, then, that I was in heaven last week when these two obsessions came together in this tested.com One Day Build video. Adam Savage (Mr. Mythbusters himself) building a hyper-accurate replica of Han Solo’s (he of Star Wars legend) DL-44 Blaster (used to off the hated bounty hunter, Greedo, in the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the original Star Wars pic)(I told you I was a geek!))! C’mon, what’s not to absolutely love!?! Check it out here!!

Well, I think that’s enough for today. I’m fresh out of brain power and you need time to recover from that whirlwind ride through my cerebellum. Good luck with that.

Until next time…

Where Geek and Love Intersect, Oddities Ensue

I view this whole self-discovery gig as a three part deal:
(1) recognizing traits I have and optimizing the good while minimizing the bad;
(2) identifying traits I need to develop and refine in my life; and
(3) synthesizing lessons learned in some way that makes sense to my brain, so they stick.

Often these things occur on their own, or coincide in predictable ways, like increasing my innate sense of courtesy while learning to navigate in a new relationship.

But, sometimes these things combine in weird ways, like the way my affinity for technology intersects with my analytical and creative sides and a newly developing poetic bent. I’m kind of a nerd, a gadget geek and word-lover all in one odd, butch package. I like that about myself, too.

Recently, this odd combination of innate and emerging traits produced something that surprised even me in the crazy leap from tech- and history-inspired wonder, to love-induced dreaminess.

Let me ‘splain:

Last week, while I was on vacation in Washington D.C., I visited the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. What an amazing place! It’s geek heaven! Not only is there every cool gizmo under the sun related to flight and space exploration, but cool videos explaining weird facts, a planetarium (c’mon, who doesn’t love a planetarium show), and hands-on interactive displays! Plus, also, and…you can have lunch in a solarium with a spectacular view of the Capitol Building!

So I geeked out over the old planes and the artifacts left over from the development of human flight in equal measure with the awe and wonder of seeing the first liquid-fueled rocket, Gemini space capsules, SkyLab and the Lunar Lander. I wandered those hallways soaking in the history and being generally giddy about finally fulfilling my life-long dream of visiting that place.

But something happened when I sat down to rest. My mind shifted from awe-struck tourist mode to analytical application mode. I started thinking about the courage and grit it took for all those flight pioneers to realize their dreams, acknowledging the determination and fortitude of these great dreamers. Then I began to look at my life and what’s foremost in my heart at the moment, to apply that lesson of determination.

What resulted, again surprising even me, is a poem (of sorts) that honors what I learned that day while using flight as a metaphor for my love and hope for my beloved. She enjoyed it; I hope you do, too.

Flight

Everywhere I look
In this cathedral to flight
Is evidence of genius, fearlessness and faith
Men and women risked it all
To follow their dreams into the air and into space
Not daunted by “can’t” or “don’t”
Each refused to fail, to quit
Believing in themselves and their dreams
They built the world they longed for
And we are heirs to their achievements
~
Let us take inspiration, my love
From these pioneers
Though oceans separate our bodies
No distance can separate our hearts
Come fly with me, my love
Through dreams and waking hope
Soar with me among the stars of our tomorrows
Race with me to the heavens
On wings of flaming desire
Together we will bridge the space between us
And let our love take flight
Traveling together into a future of our making

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