Sonnet on Psalms 130 & 131

 

Out of the depths I call to You, my God
Open Your ears to hear my desp’rate cry
Count not my sins, raise not Your fearsome rod
Forgive my doubt, protect me lest I die

I wait, I wait through life’s hard trials and fate
In blindness, loss and dark despair I grope
As watchers seek for dawn’s first light, I wait
Though faith is faint, in God’s sure Word I hope

With eyes downcast and meek heart I endure
No off’rings great nor wonderful have I
On God’s great breast I long to lie secure
With Her to succor me and still my cry

Oh Israel, I wait on Love’s bright shore
And put my trust in God forevermore

The Caryatid at the Gates of Hell

[Rodin’s great never-completed Gates of Hell fascinates me, both in its entirety and for the renowned individual figures like The Thinker, The Shades, The Old Courtesan and, especially, The Fallen Caryatid. I also liked it for these purposes because Rodin’s sculpture started as a representation of Dante’s Inferno: today’s challenge from Rebecca was to write an ekphrastic poem: a poem about a work of art. So I tried to write a poem based on a sculpture based on a poem.]

Stone, fixed stone above me, squeezing

Me down into stone

Below me

Twisting, writhing

Stone

Men and women, demons and gods

Half-formed, straining, stretching, beseeching, reaching

Children and Shades

Squirming, thrashing

Abandon hope

 

[Where are my steady sisters

Standing so straight

Carrying their weights above their heads

So straight, so strong, so long

Where once I stood]

 

Now fallen I find myself among these struggling fallen

Francesca and her Paolo

Never then crippled

Now they coil forever in hell’s whirlwind

Ugolino and his children at dinner

Not where they eat but where they are eaten

The thinker, poet, sculptor, dreamer

Dying

Unfinished plaster cast in his studio

And my new sister

That shriveled old courtesan, the helmet-maker’s once beautiful wife

Twisted arm, poking ribs, hanging teats

Is this what I have come to? Is this where I must stay?

 

[Once I stood slender and strong

Surrounded by my sisters bearing our impossible loads

Our robes flowed soft in liquid stone

Our hair, thick and long, like Samson

Held our strength]

 

Until collapsing, crumbling, folding

Defeated I crouch forever at his gates of hell

Forgiveness

[This is very much still a work in progress.]

Dark horses crash through my dreams
Crushing grasses and wildflowers
Muddying meadows
I run, clutching my fraying rope
Determined to catch hold and surmount
Tripping on roots and rocks
Bloodying my hands and feet
Panting, gasping, I run
With the dark horses
Finally, finally, atop my borrowed thestral
I turn back, always back, weeping for
The flower here, the grass blade there
That survives

Survives until the scraggly
Ravenous, sneaky day wolves
Devour the world
The pack hunts so quietly, so efficiently
Even my thestral, tethered,
Falls beneath their multiple mouths

No rope, no whistle
No charm, no psalm
No cross, no garlic
No holy water
Sprinkled sparkling drops
Banishes these memory hunters
These future eaters

Forgiveness is no kind savior
She does not offer herself for me
She will not still the horses
She will not feed the wolves
She will not carry my cross

She waits, crouching behind
One small flower growing
In the fork of one twisted tree
Almost out of reach
She waits
For me to stretch
Yawn, open my eyes
Rub away the sleep and tears
Stretch up and grasp
Her flowered home

Hansel and Gretel: The Movie Scripts

[Just having some fun today, after watching the second episode of the trilogy that Peter Jackson created from The Hobbit.]

Hansel and Gretel
Adapted for Peter Jackson

Episode One:
The Family Menace
Wherein
A young man
Dominated by his
Secretly evil mother
Meets a brave young warrior
A good witch
Who gives him the courage
To join her fight
Against the Dark Web
A league of evil
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Two:
Attack of the Gnomes
Wherein
The good witch
And her brave
But psychologically damaged
Warrior husband
Lead the fight
To keep the forest free of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Three:
Revenge of the Dark Web
Wherein
Our valiant pair
Fight on
As more of the forest
Falls to the Dark Web of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead
(Pausing only
For the good witch
To birth her children
Hansel and Gretel)
Spoiler alert:
The good witch dies

In between Episode:
Rogue Witchkiller
Wherein
Another valiant
But doomed
Mismatched pair
Find love and adventure
Stealing the plans
For the Candy Cottage
Being built by the Dark Web of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Four:
The Children Lose Hope
Wherein
Ten years later
Our widowed warrior
Unhappily remarried to
A beautiful but evil
Warrior witch
Trains his children
In warrior ways
While his wife
Tries to kill them
With help from
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Five:
The Witch Strikes Back
Wherein
The evil stepmother
Tries harder
To kill the children
With the help of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Six:
Return of the Children
Wherein
The original fairytale
Is contained
In its entirety

Episode Seven:
The Gold Awakens
Wherein
Fourteen years later
Hansel and Gretel
Use their magical gold
To finance an army
To destroy
The bigger, better
Candy Castle
Being built by
The Darker Web of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Eight:
The Last Witch-burner
Wherein
Gretel’s daughter fights
(Can you guess?)
The Really Very Dark Web of
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead

Episode Nine:
Working title: Black Gold
Not yet plotted
But we know
There will be
A good witch
A troubled man
More
Witches and warlocks
Goblins and ghouls
Orcs and ogres
And the Walking Dead
And possibly, probably
A bigger, better
Candy Citadel

For The Boys In The West

[Rebecca’s challenge for today, the middle of April, was to write a poem around the idea of a middle. The background of this poem is a tragic bus accident that killed 16 young men who were all members of a Saskatchewan youth hockey club. The poem is about this video]

“For the boys in the west
And all their parents
And everybody hurt”
In the middle of an empty

Hockey rink
Beneath the
Canadian flag
High on the far wall

A man

Chunky in dark clothes
Plays Amazing Grace
On his harmonica
As 16 young men

Skate invisible circles
“For the boys in the west
And all their parents
And everybody hurt”

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Entries in a Dream Dictionary

[The “official” NaPoWriMo prompt for today was “…to write entries for an imaginary dream dictionary…” using one or more of several words. I was having fun, so I used all of the words.]

Teacup:
Tempest cup, my world and worries
Spill over your brim, into my dreams
Brewing ground for nightmares

Hammer:
Thor’s hammer, you strike my fears
Nail them into my dreams
Tethering bolts for nightmares

Seagull:
High flying gull, you carry away my pain
Soar me through sleep’s ether
Gripping talons for sweet dreams

Ballet slipper:
Soft slipper, you firmly tie my longings
Bind them for my waking
Dancing shoe in night’s sonata

Shark:
Sharp-toothed shark, you pierce my failures
Chew up my efforts on razor edges
Blood-drawing carnivore of regrets

Wobbly table:
Uneven table, you hold my hopes
Balance them on too few feet
Shaking confidence in myself

Dentist:
Fearsome doctor, you excise my wisdom
Hold it up for me to mourn
Exacting physician of folly

Rowboat:
Oared boat, you challenge my love
Dare me to risk the deep
Offering room for one more

f

With Apologies to DT

[Rebecca’s challenge to us today was to write a poem “answering” another poem. I chose to answer Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night]

I hope to come gentle into Your good light
Though now I burn and rave all my days
As I rage, rage against the rule of might

Though wise women know power is not right
Because their words drown in warriors’ brays
I hope to come gentle into Your good light

Good women, my last hope, shining so bright
Their bold tangos dance in rainbow bays
As I rage, rage against the rule of might

With wild women who sang the goshawk’s flight
But learned, too early, of jesses and hooded ways
I hope to come gentle into Your good light

Laughing women, wanting life, grab the radiant sight
Bound no more, our comets’ trailing fires blaze
As I rage, rage against the rule of might

And You, my Mother, there on Your glad height
Bless me now with your sweet smile and gaze
I hope to come gentle into Your good light
No more to rage, rage against the rule of might

A Haibun to God

[A haibun is a form that mixes prose and poetry, starting with prose and ending with a haiku that is a related extension, but not repetition, of the prose. The “official” challenge for today was to write a haibun “that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live” but that is not what happened for me, although maybe, in a sense, it did.]

She who writes, writes, and I read, names of God in long lists (even before adding the feminist sensibilities) like incipient poetry, on and on, from religions and nations, tribes and cultures: Creator, Father, Friend of the World, Mighty One, Searcher of Hearts, Lord of Consolations, Beloved, the One Who Dwells in Hidden Places, the Heart of Israel, the One Who Understands, the One Who Spoke, Justice of the World, Rock of the World, the Holy One, Peace of the World, Strong One, Merciful One, Fashioner, Designer, Carver, Molder, Hewer, Architect of the World, Alone the Great One, the Powerful One, Shining One, the One Who Sees All, Greatest of Friends, Protector of the Poor, Guardian of Orphans, Watcher of Everything, Savior of All, the One Who Loves, the One Who Does Not Die, Highest of the Highest and the Unknown. And then, and then, she rebirths the feminine: Great Mother, the One Who Gives Birth, Queen of Heaven, Mother Bird, Mother Hen, Mother Bear, Wisdom, Sophia, Sky Woman, Spirit Creatrix, Goddess.
I dream of God who dreams me
Then Now Forevermore
Silence calls my dream God forth


O

Magdala

They tell of my seven demons
But not of the men who put them there
From before my moon-bleeds started

They say I followed him
Followed? He called me beloved
As we walked side by side

They claim I stood at a distance as he died
But they were not there and did not see
Our eyes close the soldiered distance

They know I hurried to his tomb with first light
But the spices I carried were not for him alone
Never should either of us be alone again

After that I disappear from their telling
My love they resurrected
But me they left, unbelieved, in the empty tomb

I am their Jonah
Jetsam, willingly sacrificed
To their terrible need

Swallowed by their behemoth pride
I ride secretly in the belly of their power
Anointing the others as they arrive

Scared, shivering wretches, women all
Who lack the upthrusted harpoon
That draws the blood and water from his dead body

But blood soaked rooms do not scare us
In their secret darkness
We create life

Our winding grave sheets
Are but placenta
Feeding hope

One day, unconquered, unburied
We will spew forth
To bless, to heal, to consecrate

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