Blueberry

I Have Your Back. Acrylic on watercolor paper. #lexleonardartist

Blueberry

  1. Take a handful of blueberries, toss them one by one, her attention, the prize awarded.
  2. They shatter, those berry blue words, like bullet splatter behind her back.
  3. Let their juices flow between the cellophane wall separating you from her with her cherry berry dyed hair.
  4. Draw your berry blue bloodied finger along the line of demarcation, a line for which you shall never pass.
  5. Let her know even though she will not turn to hear, twist to look, let her know you have her back, will you always have her back if she returns.
  6. You will have her back at the slightest drop of a single berry blue rolling its escape from the clamshell carton on the kitchen counter, remind her it was a mistake.
  7. Your hands stained, guilty for there is no excuse, no words to make amends in the blue puddle of berries gone.
  8. Your berry blue words streak sad, speak your words, this be your poem, your truth without remorse, your bloody berry blue words without regret, your poem to her, and to every blueberry lost.

………

Author’s Note..

I am drawn to surrealism and find this writing exploration unsettling. This image I painted has always bothered me and I didn’t know where it fit. I think it fits here with today’s prompt. A good practice piece again to push boundaries, experiment.

From NaPoWriMo:

‘Finally, here’s our optional prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.”

Beginning With Light

Beginning With Light…

Beginning With Light. Acrylic on watercolor paper. #lexleonardartist

Beginning with light,
without it there can be no life on 
top of this plain
where feet, toes curled
tickle dry brown 
interspeckled with tender green 
answering back, 
listening, and yet, too cool 
for bare arms, she accedes —— it is there
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

Back and forth, black wings
from nest to Source
and back again. Dark night
sustenance, a treacherous stillness
unwelcome — but 
a required embrasure 
a grace miscalculated
a path toward light 
That perches in the soul –

In her room a tiny brass box
with lid open spins — en pointe
balanced confidently
a mantram rhythm bound to Self
but free knowing
her purpose, 
her path,
And sings the tune without the words –

She reaches down 
fingers brush dry and green —
it is spring
and turns the wheel to the new 
from dark night, to the light,
the constant springs
And never stops – at all –

……….

Author’s Note

From the kind folks at NaPoWriMo:

“And now for our (optional) prompt. This one is a bit complex, so I saved it for a Sunday. It’s a Spanish form called a “glosa” – literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem. The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza. Traditionally, each stanza has ten lines, but don’t feel obligated to hold yourself to that! Here’s a nice summary of the glosa form to help you get started.”

While I was still teaching, I always shared this video with my first graders during National Poetry Month. It is beauty and grace in words and action. They understood and it was magic watching them moving their arms and hands in concert with the girl even though no one knew her language. We watched it many times.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/video/77372/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers

For The Sake of Mitigation

NaPoWriMo

For The Sake of Mitigation

He said begin each day proclaiming, “Today is going to be a great day.” My knee protested. We walked to the open space, our refuge, the Bean and I. Labored. He was patient. He knows. They cleared away bushes, trees. “For the sake of mitigation.” To keep us safe from fire. Fire that burns from indifference, not from within that quickens marrow. I wonder about Fox who follows us weaving within the woods rose and willow. Raven registers displeasure, a loss of camouflage against Hawk. “I’m sorry,” my offering against sadness. Maybe tomorrow.

Winter Violets

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Winter Violets – acrylic and pen n watercolor paper – 18′ X 24″ – Lex Loenard

 

I didn’t know they are called winter violets
I know them as johnny jump ups, violas
They don’t bloom here in winter’s bite
They wait for spring to introduce themselves
They tuck in wherever they please
I cannot design their path
A surprise, a nod to independence, survival

                                                         winter violet
                                                         she carries
                                                         a tiny fire
                                                                   – Ami Tanaka

My grandmother grew them in her lawn
Candytuft their partner
Honeyed liquor for bees
Judicious steps for bare feet
A summer’s expedition 

                                                       violets here and there
                                                       in the ruins
                                                       of my burnt house
                                                                      – Chiyo-ni

It is snowing, again
Another kept quarantine
Amid no-contact solitude
Amid numbers piling up
Like snow
Like leaden slats of blighted ruins
Waiting for Phoenix to rise again
Or little purple yellow faces
Peeking out from beneath
A kept quarantine

                                                       no limit to kindness
                                                       winter violets
                                                                       – Mitsu Suzuki

There is a kindness of canvas
An artist’s peace
If just a glance, a moment to dwell
An offering
Rising through depths of piled forfeiture
There is a spark of hope
Purple yellow faces
A cycle not denied

 

Author’s Note –

I was graciously invited to attend an on-line reading of haiku by some amazing poets from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. They read one haiku – their own or another’s – and spoke of the meaning. It was in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day. The theme was taken from The Poetry Society of America who invited poets to write about “poems they return to in difficult times – to find solace, perspective, or even moment of delight.” Thank you Cj Prince and Victor Ortiz for this brilliant opportunity to learn and grow.

In the short hour, three of the haiku included winter violets. The images stayed with me and deepened as each new winter violet popped its head up to speak.

I took it to the canvas first and played with a different process than I usually do. It is very difficult to photograph this image. It just doesn’t do it justice. You may get a better idea of what it looks like if you do close-ups of the above image.

Then I moved to write with the inspiration of the poets – Mitsu SuzukiChiyo-ni, and Ami Tanaka. Much gratitude.

I see her in the distance…

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With one hand free we walk
he pulls and tugs, sniffs and wanders
I touch down off the stoop
careful not to stumble
pulling back on his leash
a safety bar for me
in balance with him

A few steps on scratchy
grey-to-match-the-day sidewalk

right turn around the corner of the house
down the driveway
then a quick left
and we are free

I see her in the distance
Mothertree
as he pulls and zig zags from sniff to sniff
she on top of the hill
waiting for us

First we must cross emptied streets
quiet in their distancing

We maneuver around dip of open space
spindly arms of buff bowing to earth
in honor of sprightly green pushing up,
frosted blue this fine April day

Past the stand of trees
blackened branches cradling bird nests
soon to be filled
then up the hill toward her

Upon arrival we see
her sap flows again
from a old wound partially healed over
but only partially
she allows an opening
a way for me to know she is alive
and well and ready for spring

Author’s Note:

from NaPoWriMo:

“Our (optional) prompt for the day takes a leaf from Schuyler’s book, as it were, and asks you to write a poem about a specific place —  a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild places.”

Social distancing is our way now to show our love, honor every being of this Earth.

 

April 1st: Grace

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Birds were my alarm this morning
Teasing me to open my eyes
Take my first breath
Gentle myself in their call

Without judgement or demand
Their delight lightened my spiral
Changing its course
Leading me into the grace of this day

Author’s Note:

Day 1: NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo

Hello, friends! This is my first poem for National Poetry Month.

Today’s prompt is “to write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life.” It is always optional to use the prompt and I never know if I meet the criteria. And I really don’t worry about that very much anyway. I write what makes me happy and I hope that is what you do also.

If you can, please visit the site. They share some fun resources – a metaphor generator which is quite unique and I couldn’t really grasp any of the rather weird metaphors. I might try again later when I’m in a more playful mood. Oy. And they shared a link to an Emily Dickinson poem as an example of using a metaphor. Wellllll, I won’t lie. I had to Google a commentary on the poem to understand it. Then I realized how obvious it was. There is NO judgement here on myself. It’s all about learning. 🙂 

I have a few friends who are being VERY brave and are humoring me this month. I have such sweet and wonderful friends. They have agreed to jump in and try writing poetry. They are amazing writers but don’t write poetry. They are going to give it a try. BRAVO!!

So I thought I would share one process I do sometimes. Poetry is about the essence of a thought. I see poetry as writing pared down into exact words, not too many and not too few. It is not over descriptive using flowery words. It is about your voice. The one inside your head that is precise and brings images to mind. 

I always have a movie running inside my head as I write. If I am writing a story, I write what I see. If I am writing a poem, I’ve done this long enough that I can edit the imagery into less words for my poem.

So I challenge my friends who are reluctant poets to start with a simple narrative. Then take away the unnecessary words. Especially words like “the” or “and”. Pare it down to just a beautiful image – even if it is not a specifically beautiful image.

Here is my example of my narrative and then the poem. I really didn’t end up taking away words from the narrative. But I gathered the essence of what I wanted to say. The narrative was the movie. The poem, my review. See what you think. 

So here is my process today:

Metaphor: Birds are my alarm clock

I didn’t set my alarm clock last night before I went to bed. It was late and I was feeling the spiral of these days taking me deeper. I thought I should sleep in. It was the birds I heard call me awake this morning. Not the beep, beep, beep of the red eyed glowing demon pushing me out of my warm cocoon.

This morning the birds were my alarm clock. They were a symphony of delight. Gentle in their call. In joy I gave gratitude to all that surrounds me that I may not pay attention to or acknowledge. This is the day of moving into wonder and grace given to me without judgement or me needing to prove my worth. This is the day I step into grace.

 

 

Misnomer

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Misnomer

I walk to hear birds

They are back
after winter break
building nests, returning
in sunrise I hear them
distant

Squeaky chatter
you tip your wing
a glimpse of orange golden glow
Sits atop

How can there be seagulls in Colorado?

sea….gulls

I am told there are no such things as
sea…gulls,
a misnomer

They are opportunistic
Make homes near reservoirs
Cold is no bother
as long as they are well fed

They also live in the Arctic

gulls

Simply
gulls


I wonder which they
prefer?

Colors

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Shaman Dreams, detail, by Lex Leonard

Shaman Dreams, detail, by Lex Leonard

First you learn to see
hues and tints
shadows and light
they are always there
not always noticed

Let go of what
you think you see, what you
want to see. Allow for unexpected
to surprise you

It will

You watch, without
judgement, without need

See, it will unfold
invite you into a new
way of being

 

Authors Note:

Happy National Poetry Month and Glo/NaPoWriMo!

Spring

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Spring

 

Winter negotiates spring,
i
ts last watered drops, ice tears
nourish that which will be,
release of what no longer serves.

After snow, graupel,
downpour of rain, I see your
green blush arms reach
to azure sky. I await, I inscribe your
nod to a new found spring.

 

Awww. It’s spring, at least in part. NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo begins tomorrow.

I welcome this as much as longer days and quick melting snow and birdsong.

Won’t you join me?