Selected Poems from 2011 Part One

This page offers a selection of poems either written or revised in 2011.  Most of these were written between January and June, but do not include selections from the April Poem-A-Day Challenge.  Poems from that challenge have their own page and can be found here.  As with all of the pages under Writing Teacher Writes, these are the humble offerings of  a Language Arts teacher.  Some have been revised, others are still in their draft form.  Comments are welcomed and appreciated, but please be kind.

“Southern Storms”

Air hums with an electric tint; dry grounds

cracked in anticipation. Stretched out

on the porch, I wait: limbs loose,

head tilted back, one foot soothing

back and forth, back and forth the anxious

pup on the step.  Both of us ready.

 

Goosebumps awake along my arms,

like memories of rain that has not

yet fallen, tree branches sway with the

weight of anticipation, anticipated rain.

There’s a soft swish-thump of a tail

marking time between heat lightning’s hello.

 

And thunder rolls. And the train comes.

And for a moment, we don’t know the difference. But dust

turns to clay, staining my soles red beneath my feet.

Tail caked and tucked Pup scoots beneath my knees,

and I close my eyes, waiting to fall asleep to this,

while light and shadows sketch  premonitions of dreams.

“Lessons in Gardening” 

 We paraded proudly down the rows looking only side

To side with our wide-brimmed hats and simple pails of water.

At first we did not notice as they wound

around our ankles, shedding them like shoes.

 

Everything we learned said everything

We’d need was water and sunshine to grow.

Water and sun we had and we smiled,

While creeping roots stole silently beneath.

 

And then our walks got harder.

Calves straining at the tangled vines and our backs

wondered from where they’d come as we bent

fighting to free our legs from their wicked fingers.

 

Turning to our flowering friends, our innocent,

wincing eyes wept, straining to find hidden faces.

But salty tears do not grow beauty from shallow soil

And good and bad swirl together in their reflective pools.

 

“These weeds have turned to trees!” I shout.

Grasping, tearing with rough worn hands

“We’ll never get them down.” But we let the

Never carry over into our night-long toil.

 

The day soon rises on straining shoulders;

Our weathered faces speak the sun.

Pails are cast aside for buckets

And our calloused feet sigh in cool, soaked soil.

 

Our now muscled forms tread lightly on tender,

tended earth.  Knowing eyes keep careful watch

over fledglings finally free.  Lessons hard-learned

have rescued beauty from ignorance .

 

“Difficult Joy” (5/20/11)

 Sometimes we love the difficult.

To be in like requires smiles, but

it is not always so with love.

Joy seeps out, or maybe in,

in sweat and sometimes blood,

In frustration ground out through

the biting the inside of our lip

and deep breaths behind closed eyes.

Reaching out we grasp tight the wrist

of difficult joy, finding that it seizes

our own wrists just as fiercely.

 

“Wishing on our Enemies” 

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy

is a thing people say, right?

We acknowledge that there are

basic human dignities that you

can’t out-evil? Or can you

commit such atrocities that anything,

any kindness is above you?

 

Ding dong the wicked witch,

the wicked witch is dead.

Except Dorothy didn’t drop the house.

And, really, Glenda wasn’t necessarily

rejoicing. That Lollypop Guild, though?

another story.  So, where are we now?

Taking turns playing god? Evil, then us?

 

Now what did we decide again?

Do we take an eye for an eye?

or shall I turn the other cheek?

Would you like the side that’s missing

an eye, just for good measure? If we take

your hand, you can’t slap us anymore,

but then we’re left holding a bloody hand.

 

I rejoice that there is less evil in the world

today more than yesterday; we are safer;

families wrought with pain are healing.

I’m saddened that it’s not because you changed

your mind or your crusade against peace.

and I end up chasing my tail to reconcile

the bitter to the sweet and end up just dizzy.

 

“In the Snooze Button Time Lapse” (5/4/11)

Looking at seventeen hours,
at least, and some change,
of being alert, productive,
of being coffee fueled,
of being meaningful,
knowledgeable and all sorts
of other -fuls and -ables.
But these covers are warm
and the mattress perfectly dented.
The house is finally quiet, and
were those puppy-dog eyes I just saw?
The coffee must be twenty-five feet
away and my book only one.

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