Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frosty Haiku

Farewell, October!

Bitter Fruit

Frosty death descends
Tomato's yellow blossom
 Withers, fades to brown

Dance of the Ginkgo

Autumn's dance at end,
Ginkgo waltzes on, naked
Ball gown at her feet

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Bloomers

Philos, Eros, Agape? Just say Love

Crush Crush

Whitman, Plath, Melville, Poe, two Dylans, the Bard,
Donne, Langston, even Frost, and Emily Dickenson,
Oh yes! Darlings, all.  I really try my best
Not to become obsessed with you…and fail.
I flail ever about, in love, ever in love…
Ever crushed by love’s press on my chest,
Arcane punishment, reserved for those
Who will not confess to sins uncommitted…
Love of the mind is not witchcraft, after all.

My love no dainty dagger wields, nor espada ropera;
Rather with Claymore, cutting both ways and thrusting,
Love slays my poor heart again and again, unrequited,
Love, but the pain is worth it! My lady loves, so fair,
Shall I name you, too? Kay, Connie, Kathy, and Lori;
Miss Harviel, the Dosters, two Beths, two Pams,
And lovely, kind Rita: affairs of the mind and heart, 
No more, no less, and yes, you, too, Kim Jane:
How in heaven’s name could I not love you?

And even my dearest Dana Bug: I loved the poet,
An affair of the mind, long before we two were one.
Shall I go on? No…no need, you know who you are,
Dear friends.  I think you know, too, how much
I care for you…as St. Jackson Brown sang,
"Look at yourself, I mean, what else would I do?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The battle is joined

The Serpentine Seven

Slithery scales, nail-tough,
Rough-crowned heads,
Dreaded fangs and talons
Balanced by spear-point tails
Only hell’s smithy could
Have envisioned, saw-tooth
Spines, precision cut.

Twisting turning intertwining
Winding their way around
My being, seven dragons
Now awake, unleashed,
Born to chase savage demons
Whose screaming meemies
Shatter seeming tranquil dreams

Teeming demons, mine, legion,
Legend, nigh unto unbearable
Terrible in their relentlessness,
Too long suppressed, grown
Fat inside and out, stout
Demons, yes, but no match
For seven dragons, summoned.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Driven to write a Magpie

Driving North*

I cry over dishes, laundry
A flipped plate of left-overs
The cup of coffee I forgot
On top of the Cherokee

I agonize over words
Typed, said and unsaid
To people I don’t even know
And family I know too well
Life in Hell, is what it is

Someday I’ll just drive
North, I think, Toledo, Detroit
Flint, on up to Mackinac,
Never looking back to see
Who, if anyone, is following

I’ll find a quiet spit of beach
State park, most likely
Strip and with my Mother
Commune one last time
Then spin the loaded wheel

*based on a dream I had a number of years ago.

A Magpie Tale.  To read more, click here!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grave Affair: A Magpie Tale

Still Sitting Shivah
by Lemuel Crouse

Honored buried dead
Broken-down bodies
Resting deep in red clay
I find cold comfort here

Ritual and rite observed
Voice given to The Word
Mourners brought low by
Song and grief now gone

A solemn vigil I still keep
Ever weeping seven days 
Seven months seven
Years seven times seven

Heaven knows how long
In abiding sadness I
Have watched and prayed
For the day of resurrection

No marble monument bears
My story no marker or name
I alone will ever know whose
 Death forlorn is mourned here

I know, Lemuel...
*lights candle*

To read more inspired and inspiring Magpie Tales, click here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Enduring Spirit

For the Lady of Willow Manor, on the Occasion of her Birthday

This week I introduced my class to Tecumseh (read more here and here), the great Shawnee war chief, political leader, and statesman of his people.  Just over one hundred ninety-eight years ago, Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames in Canada, but, having lived here in his old homeland for a couple of years, I am sure his spirit lingers.  I left campus late Tuesday afternoon, with cloud-swept skies overhead, and saw this deer, all by her lonesome:
She is standing on the railroad track, in much the same way as Tecumseh's family found themselves standing in the way of westward expansion into the Ohio Country and beyond.  And so it was that I had Tecumseh and his people on my mind as I drove home, past this:
I drive past Tecumseh's birthplace every day.  There is some confusion about this, as the Shawnee town in which he was born was called Chillicothe. Some people, therefore, have assumed that he was born near present-day Chillicothe on the Scioto (home to the outdoor drama), but actually he was born in "Old" Chillicothe, now called Old Town, north of Xenia.  On more than one occasion, just south of Old Town, I have seen this hawk:
It's a red-tail, and because I have seen it so many times near the birthplace marker, I have taken to calling it Tecumseh.  The name itself is the Shawnee description of a meteor or "shooting star."  The hawk usually flies off when I slow down, but one day it just sat there, as if keeping vigil, so I was able to stop and take several pictures, including the one above and this one:
The same day I talked about Tecumseh and saw the deer on the track, I saw Tecumseh, the hawk, perched on "his" favorite wire.  He pulled his usual trick of flying off as soon as I slowed down, but I felt so blessed to see him and I felt the goosebumps pop.  This is a sacred spot...I feel it in my bones as I drive past.  The story of Tecumseh is a could have been written by a Russian...but it continues to inspire.  About this time last year, I wrote a sonnet in response to one of Tess's Magpie prompts.  I repost it now, my humble gift to a person who celebrates her Native American DNA and who has become a dear friend.  She has inspired me, perhaps more than she realizes, with her talent, her passion, her wit, and her spirit.  I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  Here's to you, Tess!

Artist's depiction of Tecumseh

The Open Door
A Sonnet

The day grew cold; the moon eclipsed the sun.
I took the Shawnee warrior's path toward home
Through shadowed lands where buffalo had run,
And restless spirits from the past still roam.

The whisp'ring waters sang of one who fought,
His name became a terror to his foes.
Tecumseh, valiant leader, bled for naught,
His dream had died, not so his children’s woes.

They sang of little brother, clumsy lad,
The Noisy Rattle, much too fond of drink.
His wife had watched him waste, her visage sad,
As long he lingered nigh unto life’s brink.

But from death’s bed the Open Door had ris'n,
The Tenskwatawa, prophet for a seas'n.

George Catlin's portrait of The Tenskwatawa

Happy Birthday!
Love, Dr. L (M)