FRESH BEAN SPROUTS

new poems stretching toward the sun

Frozen mud and stars

 far galaxies await
your discovery —
look to your feet 

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This early spring season in the interior of Alaska sees freezing nights and thawing days. The other morning I stepped outside under a lovely blue sky and at my feet was another discovery, a dazzling array of stars made of snowflakes and air bubbles  frozen in a puddle. I wrote this haiku in response and later snapped a picture.

This experience reminds me of the value of having a quiet mind. There is so much to see each day, and so much to miss. Is it not some kind of sin to go through life and miss the ordinary beauty of the world around us simply because we are too preoccupied with our lives and goals? I think so.

Cocoa’s Epigram

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I am his Highness’ dog at Kew; 

Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

 

The epigrammatic poem above was written by Alexander Pope (1688-1744). Pope wrote many famous epigrams, “To Err is human, to forgive divine,” and, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep , or taste not the Pierian spring;” both come from his verse book, An Essay on Criticism, delineating his principles of poetic critique. He is the third most quoted of the English poets, just behind Shakespeare and Tennyson.

After reading Pope’s Kew poem, it occurred to me that my pet Pekinese was similar to the ‘dog at Kew’ and needed a poem that plausibly spoke from her lofty canine point of view. Our Pekinese daily plants herself on the picture window sill and surveys her realm, including the people within, until the need for rest overcomes her and she leaves her duties to others, as royals are want to do. The selective breeding of Pekinese originated some 2000 years ago in the imperial courts of Beijing. Their descendants, small but sturdy, retain royal qualities. They are aloof, loyal, fiercely independent, and seem to meditate or study people with a knowing air. I attempted to capture that attitude in my short poem.

I also imaged her asking a slightly different question then in Pope’s poem. All art is creative borrowing, just as the moon borrows and, with the help of the ever changing atmosphere, turns the sun’s light into many colors. In a similar way, whether we are conscious of it or not, we borrow from other works of art. Thus Cocoa’s question is addressed differently, and opens up a number of possible answers. What answer would you give?

 

By the window I lie,

a regal hound with views.

Tell me knave,

whose loyal dog are you?

Belated Happy New Year’s Poem

This little poem came from a late night spell of insomnia. I few nights before I had watched Times Square’s big ball fall sputtering fireworks, the last minute hurrah of the year. A couple of people asked if I made a New Years resolution. I had to say no, not because I am never resolved to do anything, but that I didn’t need wait for the end of the year to do so. Also, it’s important to consider how we break them.

 

Years ago I resolved to absolve

myself of New Year’s resolutions,

so far I haven’t been let down

like the big ball in Times Square.

 

Each day arrives an orphan,

sleepy-eyed and hungry,

a forgotten flower unfolding,

a temporary stay against defeat

Promises are broken only in sleep.

 

 

 

What Can Anyone Make Of This?

 

Like us, clouds weep on suitable occasions
or for no earthly reason at all.
I’ve even felt rain
on a cloudless sky
or watched it improbably fall
from a single cloud
on my neighbor’s head.
What can anyone make of this?
Cloud Man and Tree

A SAMPLE POEM

When I created this blog there were templates with sample posts. I immediately began to play with the idea of a sample poem. The poem below was the result. I posted this along with a prompt for the Wordsmith Studio Poets. If you like give me a sample of what you liked. Better yet join Wordsmith Studio Poets and make a sample poem.

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