I believe in being prepared for any given situation. It isn't because I'm a pessimistic person; I think it is just good common sense. Hence, I've entitled my blog "Even Nothing is Something."

This covers my butt in any event. On any given day I can feel great exaltation that I have done something grand. I can scribble fiercely when my thoughts are leaping across the meadows of my mind like a happy little colt in the month of May, or my mind and writing can be as dry and arid, as cold and without life, as the Gobi desert - because even Nothing is Something.

I want to thank all of my fellow artists who work through other means and forms and who sell their work on the wonderful artist's site "Etsy," a place to buy and sell all things handmade, along with vintage items and supplies for their craft. They are a great group of people.

Those who have links to their site on my blog represent only a few of those whom I wish to include. Just click on one of those links and join the Etsy community. It is free. They are a great group of artists who have relieved me of my money in the most delightful of ways. If it weren't for their encouragement, I would have never shared my work through this blog.

Thank you my darling friends!

Enjoy my blog - The Poet or Not - More or Less

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clarification and another Apology to Caryn

I promised to include here the poem that shares the name of my book manuscript, THE POET: A RIVER TO THE SEA. You will find a poem here entitled "River to the Sea." This is NOT the piece of work that will preface my book. It is a much happier poem than "River to the Sea." I promise. I also vow to do more Haiku - that is always a cheery bit of writing.

Would It Be Too Pathetic For Me To Beg Some one Of My Followers To Read This?????

I have decided to try something new - a poem that is semi-epic in nature and completely unlike anything I've done thus far. My reason for attempting this piece of business is that I've been reviewing the chosen poems for inclusion in my book manuscript: THE POET: A RIVER TO THE SEA and I'm finding that so much of my work is downright SAD, as in boo hoo sad.

Much more to my credit is the poem that reflects the title of my book, but I'll share that another day. It will take years for my followers to read this new one and give me their feedback. Woe is me.

The Jade Bracelet

Along the banks of
the Perfume River,
within sight of the
temples, towers and
pagodas reflected in
the still blue pearl waters,
walks a young Vietnamese
youth with his virgin
love, a girl child who
has been promised
in marriage to another.
They move silently,
in harmony with the
tropical jungle as the
tall grasses blow in
the wind suffused
with the calls of
exotic creatures of
flight - just as exotic
as the young girl
with skin the color
of amber and eyes
the color of emeralds,
her femininity crowned
with glossy hair, black
and draping to her
waist - thick and straight,
wearing an Ao Dai the
color of gossamer
white clouds. A bracelet
of jade encircles her
wrist, a gift from her lover,
a secret from all others,
their love forbidden.
Tomorrow she must
marry. On they walk to
the foot of the Ngoc Tran
Mountain and into the
temple of Heaven's
Goddess, the Jade Cup,
where the cliffs rise
steep along the banks
of the Perfume River.
Blossoms scent the
air, heady and sweet as
young love. Here at
the foot of this mountain
the River Perfume is a
deep abyss of shining glass,
a jewel in the sun. The
maiden and her companion
hold hands and inhale the
scent of an age old culture
wafting up from the fragrant
banks. Out onto a bridge they
walk, high above the river,
where they leap to preserve
their love and to enter a
sanctuary of eternity. At
night, in the deepness of
the jungle, the hollow roots
of the Kopek Tree drums
their story through their water
of sound, while out on the
waters of the Perfume River
there is a perpetual ripple of
their young love across the
liquid sea. Sometimes, at night,
in one of the many hamlets
along the River of Perfume
there comes the sound of a
song within the quiet of the
water before it rushes to the sea.
A long time ago another young
man and his maiden love walked
the banks of the Perfume River
and found, entwined within
the many grasses and undergrowth
of these fragrant banks, an
emerald jade bracelet, a bracelet
that now encircles the wrist of
a great, great grand daughter
wearing Levi 501 jeans and
riding a Honda through the
streets of Ho Chi Ming City.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Soliloquy of Reflection

For a child, Benevolent Nature
protects and keeps Life simple,
carefree; Life is like a slinky
that moves with no other
purpose than to make one
laugh. Youth is Delirious and
Puerile, Oblivious to Time;
those Elderly have always
been that way; they have
never been Young with smooth
cheeks and straight backs.
They have always been
Ignorant of Romance, while
Youthful bodies Percolate with
Passion and Sensuality. Life
is filled with a Cornucopia of
Wonder, the Impudence of
Egotistical Juvenality, a Great
Extravaganza, a Full Palette
of human experiences. Eventually
this Illusion disperses like a
Vapor and the Juvenal becomes
aware of the Transience of
Life. Yet, they remain Selectively
Ignorant of any real Premonitions
of Death. Than, as if by Chicanery,
there is a Sudden Twist given
to the Kaleidoscope of Life, a
Peek at Rancorous Old Age,
a Splendid Misery, causing them
to shout, "Unfair!" Life is Now
preciously Animated and Fervent,
while Death remains in the Wings,
dramatic as a Shakespearean
Actor who cries out, "I die!"
Beguiled by Vigor they, too, begin
to seek the Fountain of Youth or
the Ambrosia - that food of the
Ancient Greek and Roman gods,
which ensured their Immortality.
Suddenly, Remembrance is
Enormous and Obliterating. The
Past defies forgetting, and what
are we but our Stories? They are
the Hands that have Molded our
Hearts and Minds for Today. Life
becomes Divided, like a Curtain
falling between Acts, and we
are that Youth, an Actor playing
two parts - those between Days
Gone By and Days Now lived.
Another Twist of the Kaleidoscope
of Time, Senescence Awaits us,
leaving us the Loneliest approach
to Tomorrow, and, at best, only
a casual wish for death, nothing
more malignant, as others who
are now Young eat the same
Succulent Fruit that we did in
Yesteryear, that promised Fruit
of Life. We must hope their Future
retains all that we may have
lost, otherwise, Life would seem
nearly useless and sad, but for
those days of youth. There is
for us now a Painful Recollection
of Our Time of Opportunity, Our
Chance to Grab the Ring, Our
Time to slake the Thirst for
Love. But, now all we may have
is a horrible, Haunting Grief
for all that is Gone. Life Echoes
Remorse - If only we had known.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Poetry in Pain

In the order of blogging, this post is now going to precede one that is very important to me. It is a thank you to Danna Hughes for helping me to find at least some informtion regarding a dear friend, a Vietnam Vet, who fell off the grid of my cyberspace some time ago. It has been at least 3 years since I connected with Rich. Danna is the founder of the organization "Wives of Vietnam Veterans."

I had written a poem in his honor, hoping he might find it on an internet search. The title of this older posted poem is, "The Keeper of the Gate." Rich is a prolific researcher of the internet writing community, particularly as it pertains to Vietnam. With just the right clicks of his mouse, or by typing my name into a search engine, by golly, he just might find me. And, Danna has promised that should he be in touch with her, as he sometimes is, she will pass along my blog and email address.

I've learned that he is happily enjoying love and life again in a wonderful relationship with a nurse who works for a VA hospital in the State of Washington. I'm wondering if he wore a tuxedo for his wedding. Rich far more prefers an oilskin outback coat covered with the hair of lambs, kids, goats and llamas. I wonder if Llola is still alive, his first llama and the one I named. Rich chose to spell her name with two Ls in honor of her specics. That is Rich. But, apparently he isn't living on his ranch anymore - the place where I best knew him and where "Keeper of the Gate" is composed of so many memories.

Now, finally, to the subject of this post. Just when we begin to accurately bat back the fast balls of life, life throws us a curve we could never have expected. Such has been the case with mine. When I started this blog, I made a promise to my readers, a promise all poets make, I would neither hide my pain nor run from the poetic task of sharing it in common with others.

I wrote this poem while I slept. When I awakened, I was tempted to trust my memory and scribble it down when I was truly awake and ready to face the day. You know how that goes! I decided to do the sensible thing and crawl out of bed to scratch it out on paper before typing and posting it.

The title of this poem is taken from the title of my book manuscript of poetry: THE POET: A RIVER TO THE SEA.

Note to my many readers who haven't become followers: Please, take the time to click on the link to become a follower. I enjoy all of your emails and appreciate the time you take to read my work. But, I would love to have at least one more "follower" to give me a baker's dozen! LOL This is called shameless self-promotion!

River to the Sea

I live on the ragged edge
of sanity, where I
have peered over the
terribleness of a
precipice of a passion
that could kill. And,
I have heard ululations
of mourning carried by
waters of Rivers to the
Sea, seeping into the
silence of suffering,
where there is no redress
for a bruised and aching
heart. I am a concubine
to the throes of anguish.
The black cowl of night
settles upon my shoulders,
while the burdened but
faithful moon climbs down
from the sky to sit across
from me by night, surrounded
by a rainbow, bringing gentle
tides of waves, washing my
weary soul, cleansing this
blanched and bleary life
prostituted to pain, an
unwilling participant in the
unexpected destruction of
trust and love, abandoning
me in the rubble, musing over
this precipice of pain, until,
somehow, my weary heart,
bathed by the washing of
Rivers to the Sea, begins to
hum a lullaby leading me,
finally, to an untroubled sleep.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wives of Vietnam Veterans

It has only just occurred to me that I should let my few followers, and especially those who have been so kind in taking an interest in my hopes, know that through the founder of "Wives of Vietnam Veterans," Danna Hughes, I have learned that my friend, Rich, is alive and well, living in Spokane, Washington.

My great hopes of finding Rich are expressed in one of my older posts, in a poem entitled, "Keeper of the Gate." How happy I am that Danna has been like a keeper of the gate for those of us married to Vietnam Veterans. Without her help and interest I would have never known that my dear friend, Rich, is still out there enjoying life to the full, as he always did.

Eventually I will write a poem about this. I already know the title and the image. It is of the Kopeck Tree, a tree that grows in tropical climes to great heights of 150 - 200 feet. It has a most unusual feature: hollow roots filled with water. For ancient tribes, these roots that have a support system over 30 feet in width served as a means of communication. When tapped and/or drummed the sound carried through the jungle. There is so much to share about this marvelous wonder, and a poem will serve it well. It will be an honor to write of it.

In "Keeper of the Gate" I used the symbol of a Banyan Tree, whose roots are aerial, to symbolize my reaching out to Rich over the vast amount of space between Pennsylvania and Washington State, all in the hopes of finding out what happened to him. We lost touch so abruptly that I was never settled. When I knew him best, he lived on a ranch in the rurals of Washington State and I helped name his animals. We shared much over the years.

This post is for you, Rich. It is for you and for the woman who now shares your amazing life. I hope to reconnect with you and to meet her someday when our paths once again, as they must, cross.

Poetic Tomfoolery

My paternal grandmother was a wonderful woman. She taught me how to be a lady. Grandma didn't even don a pair of slacks until she had gotten so far up in years that the arthritis in her legs demanded more than stockings for warmth and comfort. Her daughter, my Aunt Helen, bought Grandma slacks for Christmas.

I'll never forget that Christmas morning. I just happened to be coming in the front door of the house we shared with my grandparents when Grandma tried to sneak out the side door of her bedroom and slip into the hallway where she could hide out in the music room. She didn't want anyone to see her wearing slacks until she had gotten rather used to the idea. When Grandma was embarrassed, she would cover her face with both hands and leave out one of her hearty laughs. She took one look at me looking at her and did just that.

Grandma finally got used to wearing slacks every day of the week except Saturday. On Saturday we got all dressed up and Grandma and I would paint our nails. I can still smell the nail polish of that era; it smelled like Juicy Fruit chewing gum. Prior to her introduction to slacks, Grandma most often wore what were called "house-dresses" throughout the week. These were always covered with a coordinating apron. But, on Saturday, Grandma preferred beautifully lined wool skirts at a length an inch or so below her knee. With those she would pair a lovely pullover sweater. I remember she wore a skirt of forest green with a cream colored sweater; it was my favorite. I usually wore a dress rather than skirts.

She had strands and strands of pearls from which she would allow me to choose for our Saturday afternoon attire. And, I remember those earrings of the time that were shaped like a "U" with decorations on both sides so you could choose which side you wanted to show. The darned things could easily slide off your ears but, since my parents wouldn't allow me to have my ears pierced, and Grandma had never had hers pierced either, it was the best we could do. It was enough. Oh, and Grandma had a real passion for shoes. Before she retired, Grandma bought a new pair of shoes every payday.

Grandma was a lady of strong opinions and she held one peculiar one. She honestly believed that, if you read too much of the Bible, you would go insane. She used to worry about me because, at the time, I was a big Bible reader and regular attender at a Grace Brethren Church, in spite of the fact that I, too, had been baptized Lutheran.

My grandmother had a story she would tell infrequently. Once, many years before I was born, one of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on her door and he wasn't the most diplomatic of chaps. He told my dear grandmother that there were "X" number of churches in our town and none of the people attending were going to heaven. Well, Grandma became quite indignant. The poor bugger didn't have time to explain that Jehovah's Witnesses believed the majority of mankind would continue to live on an earth restored to paradise conditions and also see the end of all evil, including death. Grandma assumed he was telling her that she and her mates were going to die and go to hell. I can imagine he didn't have much opportunity to explain because, although a lady, when riled, Grandma could cuss, only because her husband, Papper, taught her.

Papper was a dapper chap all on his own, but, of a Saturday night, he liked to drink his share of Old German beer and get more than a little loopy. He never fell down or totally lost control of himself; he would just begin to imagine himself to be a great musician. And, he always drank at home. Papper wasn't a bar hopper. Oh, he had a peculiar enough habit of his own - he would periodically shake salt onto the back of his hand and lick it off before he took a swig of beer. He always drank from the bottle, and the beer was delivered to our house every Saturday morning by one of the local beer distributors.

I'll keep this short, or shorter anyway. Grandma was a hale and hearty woman. She loved to laugh and she laughed a lot. She literally died laughing. She and my baby brother were watching television and, while laughing at some commercial, Grandma died instantly when an aneurism in her brain burst. Since she had stopped attending church after she and Papper married, the local minister didn't know her from the six foot hole in the ground that would entomb this beloved woman. At the funeral he didn't even know her name. He kept calling her Grace. At first, I thought he was referring to the little ditty known as "Amazing Grace."

One more thing that I loved about my grandmother was this: Before she fell in love with Papper, church was where Grandma fulfilled her social needs. At the time, it was customary of churches to sponsor many events called "Box Lunches" where a gal showed up with a boxed lunch to share with a date. Grandma would say, "Yes," to all the boys who asked her to attend this ocassion with them; then she would go with the first one to knock on her door. Papper was the first of three on the Sunday she met him, a delightful man full of blarney, a full head of red hair and good luck.

Now, to this bit of poetic tomfoolery. This is a work in progress. Who knows where it will travel in the future.

Just Call Me Grace

Grandma was born a Lutheran
and she would die one too.
Least that’s what she’d say
when Jehovah’s Witnesses
came ‘round wanting to read
something to her from that
Bible of theirs. Grandma
always said too much Bible
reading would make you
insane; she believed it too.
Never did know of her going
to church of a Sunday, but
there was always that big
family dinner. I suppose
if she had invited the latest
preacher man she’d have
been considered less of a
sinner and he might a known
her name. But, Grandma
she’d sit with Papper of a
Saturday night while he
drank his fill of Old German
beer. We all prayed he
wouldn’t find the mouth
organ Grandma bought him
as a gift and then wished
she hadn’t; she hid it before
Saturday night. If Papper got
lucky and found it, we could
be guaranteed a Saturday
night fight. It was bad
enough we couldn’t hide
the old player piano, where
Papper’d sit on the bench
and pick and peck on the
keys, more and more pie-eyed
as he drank his Old German
Beer and licked salt from the
back of his hand. When poor
Grandma died she was sorely
missed; she was both a lady
and a broad who knew how
to take care of her family. The
preacher man who came to
do the sermon was a might
shady because he didn’t even
know Grandma’s name, but
he pretended to know her
heavenly status and kept calling
her Grace, like he had her
confused with one of his
hymns. He really made us fairly
ticked; someone must have
straightened out his sin between
the funeral home and the
grave site, where he finally started
to call her Clara. I’m sure
Grandma would have understood
and said, “Just call me Grace, so
long as I end up in the bosom of
Abraham and his wife Sarah."