Sunday, May 24, 2009

Original Poetry Sunday - Vol. I, No. 2

My submission for this week attempts nothing more ambitious than to capture a moment - although, come to think of it, we try to do that all the time, don't we? Ask Kodak. And somehow, time just keeps flying by, heedless of our efforts to stop it.


Still Life: Summer

by Sandra Leigh

A child perches on the edge
of a grey-worn wooden porch.
She is five, and her hair
moves in the breeze
like a field of ripe wheat.
One tanned leg is bent tight,
close to her body,
and she rests her head
upon her knee.
Her bangs shade eyes
as green as the leaves
of the Shasta daisies
that bloom against
the grey weathered wood.
A lock of pale hair
tumbles free
and catches on her lip.
She blows idly
at the errant strand,
breeze on breeze,
then rests her head again,
arms tightly hugging her leg.
She looks down at her toes,
splayed pink against
the grey-worn porch,
toenails like tiny shells.
Her other leg hangs free.
It swings back and forth,
back and forth,
brushing the stems
of the Shasta daisies
that front the wooden porch.
The stems are cool, and
the deep green leaves whisper
against her skin.
In the distance, a dog barks,
startled by the noise
of playing cards
on the wheels
of a passing bicycle.
Near at hand, a bumblebee
uncovers the secrets
of a Shasta daisy.
The child splays her toes again,
dreams of bright polish
pink like candy floss,
taps her toes one by one
against the weathered porch,


Obviously, I did not take ReadWritePoem up on its challenge - to use rhyme this week. It's just not me, or I just don't try hard enough. I'm not sure. Actually, I'm a little uncomfortable even listening to rhymed poetry, much less writing it - unless the rhyme is very sneaky. My apologies to centuries of masterful poets who used (and use) rhyme very effectively. I am defeated.

This week's prompt, though, should be a little more approachable. Change. We are asked to write about change. I can do that, I think.

I did listen to Joe Milford's Poetry Show - at least part of it - the other day. I had to abandon it in order to attend WordStorm, which takes place once a month downstairs from Acme Foods. As it turned out, I didn't regret missing the radio show (I trust I can find it again in the archives) because WordStorm was great. The featured poets were Susan Stenson and John Beaton. There was an open mike at the beginning, but as a first-time attender, I didn't feel comfortable taking anything to read. When the group starts up again in September, (of course, I found it just in time for it to break for the summer) I'll be there with bells on. Meanwhile, I found out about a few other poetry-related events here and in nearby towns. The first is a reading by MaryAnn Moore at the central library tomorrow.

The radio show that I kinda sorta heard featured Alan Shapiro. I am now trying to remember the line that he talked about, and I just hope I get it right. It seems that he overheard this line while he was eating dinner in a restaurant. A married couple at a nearby table were arguing, and everybody was trying not to overhear the argument, but everybody did. Shapiro tried for years to write just the right poem for the line, and he finally did it. He read the poem on the radio broadcast. I haven't been able to find it online yet, but I'll keep on trying.

The line, though, (if memory serves) was this one, spoken by the woman to her husband:

"It isn't the egg rolls, Harry. It's the last ten years."


Poem and photograph © Sandra Leigh 2009


John Hayes said...

Beautiful description-- I liked the "breeze on breeze" & the contrast of the grey porch with the green Shasta lilies-- very vivid. The shell toenails are also a nice image, & the counting is a fine ending.

René Wing said...

Oh, I love that poem! i think that little girl was me. How I remember those cards on the bicycle spokes, the bumblebees and the daisies, and the many days of wandering about on my own. And I have to disagree with your opening comments. For me, this poem does much more than "capture a moment"... poems often do more than we think they are doing. this brings up for me feelings about innocence, about joy, about loss and hope... and even loneliness, for this reader. And your writing is exquisitely graceful.

Sandra Leigh said...

Good morning, John and René. Off to a sleepy start this morning. Thank you for your kind words about my poem. I look forward to seeing what's on offer at your places.

Mairi said...

Maybe no rhyme but the repetition of shasta daisies, grey worn/grey weathered, green and toes etc sets up a nice rhythm. I remeber te sound of playing cards in the spokes of the bicycles. Only the boys did it. Do they still? A lovely image all round.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, Mairi. I think the boys are all shooting aliens on their Gameboys (or whatever) these days. I miss the playing cards.

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so in awe of all of you who can write poetry. Wow. You're so good!!

Who needs rhyme? Not me!!

Love your new banner. What beach is that?

Sandra Leigh said...

Hi, Reya. That is the beach at Florencia Bay, off the Wickaninnish Road in Pacific Rim National Park. It's one of my favourite places in the whole world.

You, too, can write poetry. You have such a keen eye, as witness your photography, and you listen so closely to the world around you - and the world in you - I would be amazed if you couldn't write poetry.

We just happen to have this project called Original Poetry Sunday going. Any time you want to post a poem on a Sunday, you can let us know and we'll give you a big cheer (or post it on another day and let us know, and we'll mention it on Sunday). (The "we" in that paragraph is John Hayes and René Wing and I. We got inspired.)

Barry said...

The poem was beautifully descriptive and evocative, and, fortunately, it didn't rhyme.

But it painted a picture in my mind that will linger pleasantly for a long time.

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