Archives for posts with tag: beauty

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Acceptance
by Jessica Edler

There she was, dark hair, hazel eyes, and wrinkle lines
She stared at me with tears cascading,
Confidence fading.

I watched as she told me of the turbulence of life,
her eyes full of hope and heroes,
Dreaming happiness.

I stared at her unknowing, comfort almost foreign
She dropped her eyes in shame,
Perfection deceiving.

Wavering back and forth on the balls of her feet,
She judged me fiercely with eyes of ice,
Nervous competition.

Broken and beaten through the years, mental torment
She covered her body as her eyes closed,
Conjuring Bravery.

Lifting her face, breathing deep, she reaches out a hand,
Eyes steady and focused on mine,
Knowing truth.

I raise my fingers to meet her own, skin on glass
Her eyes are mine, a staring contest.
Unwavering acknowledgment.

Air leaves our lungs, forgiveness of self in a moment,
Wipe tears from tired eyes, for truth of self lies ahead,
Eventual Acceptance

IMAGE: “Mirror” by Koshiro Onchi (1930).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was simply about finding myself in a mirror. The moment of getting out of the shower and going through the process of analyzing one’s self lost a long time. It is hard to find that person, that “you” in life. When you accept you, as you are, the tears stop and you kind of awaken. This poem was recent, and I have only found myself in that small time frame. Slowly I step into my own body again and accept the changes it continues to go through.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Edler is a writer, photographer, and dreamer. With two beautiful children keeping her on her toes and a husband whose love knows no end, she finds herself trying to balance the chaos of life with writing her novels and children’s books. A lover of chocolate, cookies, and all things sugary, she dreams big and sets sometimes unattainable goals for herself like simultaneously writing six books, and eating lots of cookies. She and Edgar Allen Poe would have been very good friends if the timelines matched up, and, absurdly enough, she prefers to write with a pen because scratching out a mistake is more gratifying than erasing it. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and you can find her at the Tampa Bay ComicCon on July 29, 2017 speaking on creativity and writing!  Find some writing challenges, prompts, updates and such  at jessicaedler.com.

Grade 7
School Picture Grade Seven
by Carol A. Stephen

That day I went to school forgetting what day it was,
forgetting to gussy-up for the school pic, that annual event
to freshen up your collection of tiny wallet pics, crammed
in an oversize, 100-photo wallet girls carried back then,
constant companion chronicling the latest dreadful mugshots
and silly poses four for a quarter taken in a photo booth at the fair.
Mine was shiny plastic, blue and white squares, its strap torn,
no longer closing around the wallet’s fat girth.

That day I wore a white sweater, a Black Watch tartan skirt,
my favourite gold pendant with its dark green fake emerald.
Glass, really, but at 11, an emerald to me. I’d have been presentable, but
my goodness! My hair! Not sure now, but I’d probably slept in,
rushed off too quickly to remember to brush those always unruly curls
A few swipes might have saved me the glow of bright red face back then,
and now, to see that hair all these years later as my brother sifts old      pictures
and decides to share the photo one more time on Facebook.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Whenever I think of bad hair days, this particular photo comes to mind. It keeps turning up like a bad penny, even though it was so many years ago. Most recently, my brother, Norm, found a copy of the small, wallet-size one, and brought it back to life again, as described in the poem. But I haven’t forgotten the feeling I had on that day when I realized it was the day for pictures.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Carol A. Stephen 
is a Canadian poet. Her poetry has appeared in Bywords Quarterly Journal and two Tree Press/phaphours press collaborative chapbooks. You can also find Carol’s poems on-line at thelightekphrastic.com and in videos at treereadingseries.ca/readers/carol-stephen. Twice shortlisted,  in 2012 Carol won third place in Canadian Authors Association National Capital Writing Contest. She’s the author of three chapbooks, Above the Hum of Yellow JacketsArchitectural Variations, and Ink Dogs in my Shoes (2014), as well as a new collaborative chapbook with JC Sulzenko, titled Breathing Mutable Air (2015). ). A second collaborative chapbook of ekphrastic poems, Slant of Light, will be forthcoming in Spring, 2016. Visit her at quillfyre.wordpress.com.

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IN THE DEPARTMENT STORE
by Marge Piercy

The women who work at cosmetics
counters terrify me. They seem molded
of superior plastic or light metal.
They could be shot up into orbit
never mussing a hair, make-up intact.

When I walk through, they never pester
me, never attack me with loud perfume,
never wheedle me into a make-over.
Perhaps I scare them too, leaking
some subversive pheromone.

I trot through like a raccoon
in an airport. They see me,
they look and turn away. Perhaps
I am a project they fear to tackle
too wild, too wooly, trailing

electrical impulses from my loose
black hair. They fasten on the throat
of the neat fortyish blond behind me
like stoats, dragging her to their
padded stools. A lost cause,

I sidle past into men’s sporting
gear, safe but bemused, wondering
if they judge me too far gone
to salvage or smell my stubborn
unwillingness like rank musk.

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…”In the department store” appears in Marge Piercy‘s collection Colors Passing Through Usavailable at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Poet, novelist, and essayist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1936. She won a scholarship to the University of Michigan and later earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. She has published fifteen books of poetry, including Colors Passing Through Us (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme (1999), Early Grrrl: The Early Poems of Marge Piercy (1999), What Are Big Girls Made Of? (1997), Mars and Her Children (1992), Available Light (1988), Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (1982), and The Moon Is Always Female (1980). She is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry, Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (1982). The most recent of Piercy’s fifteen novels are Three Women (1999), Storm Tide (with Ira Wood, 1998), City of Darkness, City of Light (1996), The Longings of Women (1994), and He, She and It (1991). Piercy lives with her husband, writer Ira Wood, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. (Source: poets.org)

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Dragonfly on a rock –
absorbed in
     a daydream
                           by SANTOKA TANEDA

Photo: “Dragonfly on the Rocks” by Kesha Linehan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
 

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AUTUMN 
by Taigu Ryōkan (1758-1831)

My beloved friend
You and I had a sweet talk,
Long ago, one autumn night.
Renewing itself
The year has rumbled along,
That night still in memory.

Illustration: “Early Autumn” by Qian Xuan (1235-1305)

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IN THE DEPARTMENT STORE
by Marge Piercy

The women who work at cosmetics
counters terrify me. They seem molded
of superior plastic or light metal.
They could be shot up into orbit
never mussing a hair, make-up intact.

When I walk through, they never pester
me, never attack me with loud perfume,
never wheedle me into a make-over.
Perhaps I scare them too, leaking
some subversive pheromone.

I trot through like a raccoon
in an airport. They see me,
they look and turn away. Perhaps
I am a project they fear to tackle
too wild, too wooly, trailing

electrical impulses from my loose
black hair. They fasten on the throat
of the neat fortyish blond behind me
like stoats, dragging her to their
padded stools. A lost cause,

I sidle past into men’s sporting
gear, safe but bemused, wondering
if they judge me too far gone
to salvage or smell my stubborn
unwillingness like rank musk.

Image

…”In the department store” appears in Marge Piercy‘s collection Colors Passing Through Usavailable at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Poet, novelist, and essayist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1936. She won a scholarship to the University of Michigan and later earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. She has published fifteen books of poetry, including Colors Passing Through Us (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme (1999), Early Grrrl: The Early Poems of Marge Piercy (1999), What Are Big Girls Made Of? (1997), Mars and Her Children (1992), Available Light (1988), Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (1982), and The Moon Is Always Female (1980). She is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry, Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (1982). The most recent of Piercy’s fifteen novels are Three Women (1999), Storm Tide (with Ira Wood, 1998), City of Darkness, City of Light (1996), The Longings of Women (1994), and He, She and It (1991). Piercy lives with her husband, writer Ira Wood, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. (Source: poets.org)

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THE SUMMER DAY
By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

…From New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1992) © 1992, Mary Oliver, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Illustration: “Grasshopper,” interchangeable jewelry available for just $2.37 from obrose.com.

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PURPLE MARTINS
By Carl Sandburg

If we were such and so, the same as these,

maybe we too would be slingers and sliders,

tumbling half over in the water mirrors,

tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun,

tumbling our purple numbers.
 
Twirl on, you and your satin blue.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.
 
Dip and get away

From loops into slip-knots,

Write your own ciphers and figure eights.

It is your wooded island here in Lincoln Park.

Everybody knows this belongs to you.
 
Five fat geese

Eat grass on a sod bank

And never count your slinging ciphers,

your sliding figure eights.
 
A man on a green paint iron bench,

Slouches his feet and sniffs in a book,

And looks at you and your loops and slip-knots,

And looks at you and your sheaths of satin blue,

And slouches again and sniffs in the book,

And mumbles: It is an idle and a doctrinaire exploit.
 
Go on tumbling half over in the water mirrors.

Go on tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

PAINTING: “Purple Martins” by John James Audubon

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From HARD LANDING
by Rick Smith

The morning air bursts

with bird conversation

dialogue and incantation
debate and invitation.

Wren is drunk with company
and sudden purpose.

Next door,

in a cottonwood,

a mockingbird
 becomes
a cell phone

ringing in the wild.
 
* * * * *
ghost wren

dreaming on a cable

posed

and still

like a shadow

about to dart

into a windless space

flesh and fiber

anticipating

the tension of wound steel

a cello in the night

an ordinary cello

still 

in a windless room
 
* * * * *
Something dangerous,

a red-tailed hawk

and coming fast,

like wind

off Lake Michigan.
 
Wren, lost in dreams,

freezes, off-guard.

The hawk

snaps a yard rat

off a clothesline

not ten feet away.
 
Motionlessness

disguises anxiety.
 
Wren breaks out

of dream time,

arguing with unruly ghosts
 
* * * * *
A grey wren

foolish enough

to believe in Indian summer

stares into a black

and gritty wind

shakes with every gust,

imagines a subtle hand

on a dimmer switch

in a night

slow descending.
 
When wren is absent

where does she go?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Smith began writing under the guidance of Michael Casey at Solebury School in Pennsylvania. Close family friendships and Carl Sandburg and Lenore Marshall also made a lasting impact on Rick’s life choices. He went on to study with Anthony Hecht at Bard College, George Starbuck, Marvin Bell and Frank Polite at the University of Iowa, and Sam Eisenstein at Los Angeles City College. His poems are published widely in anthologies and magazines such as New Letter, Onthebus, Blueline, Hanging Loose, Pinyon, Eclipse, Paper Street, Lummox, Rattle, Rhino and Main Street Rag. His book of poetry, Hard Landing, (Lummox Press, 2010), is a lyrical tribute to the mystical “wren,” a character with characteristics not unlike the human spirit.

Purchase HARD LANDING from Lummox Press or at Amazon.com.

Listen to Rick Smith read “Little King” from the collection at youtube.

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Green was the silence, wet was the light

the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

from 100 Love Sonnets by PABLO NERUDA

Photo: Nimeariel, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED