Category Archives: Poetry

#FlashFictionFriday: If Life were a ’65 Impala

Sometimes  during NaNoWriMo, toward the end of the day I get into a silly mood, and doggerel like this emerges. Don’t worry, it will pass. It may be ugly, but it’s word count! I have owned three 1965 Chevy Impalas (all were used) and one 1973 Chevy Vega, which we purchased new.

While my Vega was never found burning alongside the road,  it was the least reliable car I had ever owned. The interior had gone to pieces in the first year, and the clutch cable regularly broke, leaving us stuck in second gear. We couldn’t afford to get rid of it because we were constantly paying a mechanic to keep it on the road!


 

If life were a ’65 Impala,

A land yacht of steel, guts, and glory,

She would run like a top,

And when we wanted, she’d stop,

We’d travel through life with no worry.

But life is a ’73 Vega

On fire by the side of the road.

The engine’s askew, the interior too,

It was a bad purchase, you know.

It’s nothing but dents, duct tape, and dirt

All held together with paint.

At times, life’s a rolling disaster,

A reliable runner it ain’t.

It stops on a dime half of the time,

And runs real fine ‘til it don’t.


If Life were a ’65 Impala, copyright 2017 Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved.

1965 Chevrolet Impala with a 300 hp V8 big Block Engine PD by Iv-Elouan Bruneau (Iebruneau at English Wikipedia)

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#FlashFictionFriday: Reflections on the Water

A rough, log bench at water’s edge

Pictured in mind’s eye,

Reflections on the water

Of an evening long gone by.

I see us as we were that night,

Grandmother, lake, and me.

Flannel shirt over frayed housedress

Beside denims worn with style,

Philosophies and grand ideas

Beside wisdom without guile.

 

She told me why the stars were hung

In the inky sea above.

A brilliant ebb and flowing dance

A ballet of starry love

To cricket song and bullfrog drum.

But I was bored with country life

And lured by rattle and hum.

“What you seek you’ll never find

In neon glow and city block.”

I longed to leave that place behind

New paths I yearned to walk.

 

And now I stand on memory’s shore

With Grandma once again.

The lake, and shore, and skies above,

Have gone, and gone again.

And simple wisdom I have gained,

Reflecting on the lake,

Grandma’s wisdom still remains

In who I came to be

Though different paths I take.


Credits and Attributions

Reflections on the Water by Connie J. Jasperson © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Moonrise, by Stanisław Masłowski   PD 100 yrs [[File:MaslowskiStanislaw.WschodKsiezyca.1884.ws.jpg|MaslowskiStanislaw.WschodKsiezyca.1884.ws]]

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#flashfictionfriday: The Lilies Orange

I think upon the lilies orange

That grew beside the lake.

Such beauty there among the weeds

For loons and grebes to take.

The peace I found along that shore

Is gone and gone, I fear.

The thief of time has stolen it,

Gone these fifty years.

The lilies bring them back to me,

The lilies and the shore.

I see the high black hills beyond

Though I’ll walk there nevermore.

My childhood home, long gone.


Credits and Attributions:

The Lilies Orange, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Orange Daylilies, By George Chernilevsky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Hemerocallis fulva 2016 G1.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Hemerocallis_fulva_2016_G1.jpg&oldid=259430397 (accessed October 5, 2017)

 

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#FlashFictionFriday: Copper Starbucks Cup

 

I carry my coffee in a Starbucks cup

To the silver minivan,

A kid-hauler, a family bus,

An old lady’s junk hauling van.

I carry my coffee in the copper colored cup

And hit the road again.

 

The smoothness of the new highway

Matching grayness of the sky

The scent of coffee in my cup

Feeding birds take wing and fly.

My coffee and the Starbucks cup

Passing cows and llamas by.

 

My copper colored Starbucks cup

Hurtling south, or north I go.

Grandma’s on the road again

Get in the van, let’s go.

Coffee, cows, birds, and fog

She can’t be stopped, you know.


Credits and Attributions

Copper Starbucks Cup © 2017 Connie J. Jasperson

image: Copper Starbucks Cup © 2017 Connie J. Jasperson (author’s own photo)

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#flashfictionfriday: Foggy Autumn Morning Sunrise

September first has come to stay,

Summer’s moving on,

Cold and chill the break of day,

But we still greet the dawn.

Webs are hung with mist and dew,

Sparkling on the lawn,

I drink coffee on the porch with you,

And watch the rushing throng.


Foggy Autumn Morning Sunrise, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Foggy Autumn Morning (sunrise) Arto J [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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#FlashFictionFriday: Lord Byron: Manfred, a Theater of the Mind

Bad poetry can be written by anyone, but writing great poetry takes a certain genius. Words are bent and shaped by poets to evoke meanings, bent and formed into precise shapes. We novelists and writers of short fiction have the luxury of creating a long narrative. In poetry, the author intentionally limits space, forcing the poet to write within narrow constraints. Thus, allegory, allusion, and indirection are common motifs in poetry.

Poetry doesn’t always rhyme and it frequently involves complicated aesthetics that are both auditory and visual. This is because the reader may not always be reading the poem aloud, and so the visual art of the piece comes into play.

Sometimes, poetry is long, epic in actuality. Consider Manfred, by George Gordon, Lord Byron (From Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge): Manfred: A dramatic poem is a poem written in 1816–1817 by Lord Byron. It contains supernatural elements, in keeping with the popularity of the ghost story in England at the time. It is a typical example of a Romantic closet drama. (end quoted text)

Byron himself referred to his works as “closet dramas,” since they were intended more for the theater of the mind than the actual theater.

Excerpt from Manfred

When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answer’d owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.

Though thy slumber may be deep,
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep;
There are shades which will not vanish,
There are thoughts thou canst not banish;
By a power to thee unknown,
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
Thou art gather’d in a cloud;
And for ever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.

Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn’d around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.

And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptiz’d thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice;
And to thee shall night deny
All the quiet of her sky;
And the day shall have a sun,
Which shall make thee wish it done.

From thy false tears I did distil
An essence which hath strength to kill;
From thy own heart I then did wring
The black blood in its blackest spring;
From thy own smile I snatch’d the snake,
For there it coil’d as in a brake;
From thy own lip I drew the charm
Which gave all these their chiefest harm;
In proving every poison known,
I found the strongest was thine own.

By thy cold breast and serpent smile,
By thy unfathom’d gulfs of guile,
By that most seeming virtuous eye,
By thy shut soul’s hypocrisy;
By the perfection of thine art
Which pass’d for human thine own heart;
By thy delight in others’ pain,
And by thy brotherhood of Cain,
I call upon thee! and compel
Thyself to be thy proper Hell!

And on thy head I pour the vial
Which doth devote thee to this trial;
Nor to slumber, nor to die,
Shall be in thy destiny;
Though thy death shall still seem near
To thy wish, but as a fear;
Lo! the spell now works around thee,
And the clankless chain hath bound thee;
O’er thy heart and brain together
Hath the word been pass’d–now wither!

 

And a “theater of the mind” is what Byron’s work sparks in me.

The Poetry Foundation says this about George Gordon, Lord Byron:

In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism.


Sources and Attributions:

Quote from: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/lord-byron © 2017 Poetry Foundation, accessed August 25, 2017

Manfred – Lord Byron. Poem originally published 1816, portion republished March 2, 2015 by Hanson, Marilee, accessed August 25, 2017|Hanson, Marilee. “Manfred – Lord Byron Poem” https://englishhistory.net/byron/poems/manfred/, March 2, 2015

Wikipedia contributors, “Lord Byron,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lord_Byron&oldid=796893308(accessed August 25, 2017)

Lord Byron in Albanian dress, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1813. Venizelos Mansion, Athens (the British Ambassador’s residence) via Wikimedia Commons, accessed August 25, 2017.

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#FlashFictionFriday: Oregon Sunset (reprise)

We sat on the beach near the fire,

Two old people bundled against the cold Oregon sunset.

Friends we’d never met fished the surf,

Children and dogs ran at waves’ edge.

Red sky, red mist, red sunset. Fire, water, wind, and you.

 

Wind whipped my hair, gray and uncut,

Tore it from its inept braid,

August wind, chill inside my hood, but I remained,

Pleased to be with you, and pleased to be on that beach.

 

The sea roared loud, filling my ears,

My blood and

My heart,

And where ever you are that is my beach,

My ocean, my sunset.

 

Mist rose with the tide, closed in and enfolded us,

Blotting out the falling stars and,

Laughing at our folly,

We dragged our weary selves back to our digs,

Rented, but with everything two old people needed.

 

The gas fire warmed me

And you warmed me,

And these memories warm me now

When snow blankets our inland valley

And Oregon seems far, far away.

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#FlashFictionFriday: Winter in the Northern Garden (reprise)

 

In winter, my Northern garden

Languishes, ragged and shabby,

Unlovely, decaying, and

Uncomfortably aware she’s grown old.

 

The remains of Summer’s glory beckons,

Begging to be told she is still beautiful,

Still young and fascinating,

Still the object of desire.

 

Ever the gallant gentleman,

Winter obliges, and with a kiss

Ice crystals decorate each twig and branch

Gracing her with radiant beauty.

 

Ruby-red barberries set against crystalline diamonds,

Ice catching the light, scattering it.

Jewels decorating decrepit limbs,

Dazzled, we bow to her wondrous splendor.

 

Beneath the litter of leaves dead and brown,

A new Spring waits,

Lurking in the wings, biding her time,

Politely allowing the old dame one last encore.


Credits and Attrributions

Winter in the Northern Garden © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, first appeared here on February 17, 2017

Suburban Garden, the Geograph project collection © by Ron Shirt and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

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#FlashFictionFriday: Stolen Heaven

Hydrangea_cropped_July_11_2017_copyright_cjjasperson_2017 copy

Sunlight gently falling

On blue,

Lighting the green

Branches that support you,

Leaves that frame you.

Blue the color of

Heaven on good day,

Framed by a green

Limes would envy.

Sleep eluded me and

I was there at dawn,

Witnessing the splendor of

Heaven,

Stolen for a few brief moments

And illuminated by the sun.


Attributions:

Hydrangea © Connie J. Jasperson 2017 (author’s own photo)

Stolen Heaven © Connie J. Jasperson 2017

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#FlashFictionFriday: Tomorrow will be better

Morning came

Along with the bandages and healing,

Along with your frustration and helplessness.

Morning came

And I, as your mother, tended your wounds.

You didn’t ask for this burden.

You didn’t do anything wrong.

You didn’t cause epilepsy.

Tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow your wounds will be healed

Even if your ego isn’t.


Tomorrow Will Be Better, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: After a great sun rise, Photographer: Simon Eugster, SSA CCA 3.0 Licence: {{GFDL}} via Wikimedia Commons

If you or a loved one are suffering from a seizure disorder, the Epilepsy Foundation has resources for you http://www.epilepsy.com/

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