Verse out of time… MAXINE KUMIN

Maxine Kumin 1925 – 2014, Poet, Author,  Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress (now known as U.S. Poet Laureate). Pulitzer Prize winner who left us with a large and varied legacy of her works ranging from Poetry, Essays, Novels, Memoirs and Children’s Books. 

 

How It Is

 

Shall I say how it is in your clothes?

A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.

The dog at the center of my life recognizes

You’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.

In the left pocket, a hole.

In the right, a parking ticket

Delivered up last August on the Bay State Road.

In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,

A flinging from the pods of the soul.

My skin presses your old outline.

It is hot and dry inside.

 

I think of the last day of your life,

Old friend, how I would unwind it, paste

It together in a different collage,

Back from the death car idling in the garage,

Back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced,

Reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish

Into a ceremony of sandwich,

Running the home movie backward to a space

We could be easy in, a kitchen place

With vodka and ice, our words like living meat.

 

Dear friend, you have excited crowds,

With your example. They swell

Like wine bags, straining at your seams.

I will be years gathering up our words,

Fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,

Leaning my ribs against this durable cloth

To put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.

                                                                             – Maxine Kumin

While there is a wealth of current poets and authors, there is much to be gained by reading the works of those who have gone before us. While reading a book by the late Carolyn G. Heilbrun, I was introduced to the work of Kumin. There is a special joy in discovering another trove of treasures and perhaps some of you will stop by and mention a few that you have discovered recently.

 

Bisous,

Léa

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Three poems by Gaia Holmes — And Other Poems

Feckless Sometimes it makes him angry, this dying, and I keep doing things wrong, forget to soften the stars with almond milk before I bring them to his bedside on a saucer, buy the wrong kind of green tea, the wrong kind of holy water from the village shop. He says there are […]

via Three poems by Gaia Holmes — And Other Poems

In her safekeeping – Carly-Jay Metcalfe

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill

“I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you really love that person and want to help them, be with them when the end comes close. Sit with them – you don’t even have to talk. You don’t have to do anything but really be there with them.”  – Elisabeth Kulbler-Ross

*

In her safekeeping (For Carly-Jay)

On that freezing

winter’s night

I struggle to

stay on path

fighting the winds

I hear the howling

all too close at hand

it is the darkest of night

even the moon has

turned her face

I am alone

frightened

the way ahead

into the unknown

unprepared

my eyes seek

respite

lifting my head

in the storm

a window

in the distance

illuminating the way

unconditional love

inviting – welcoming

offering safe harbour

the guardian

reaches out – her

voice gentle, calm

reassuring

there is no judgment here

she knows intimately 

its weariness, each toll

her embrace 

I am safe in her keeping

steadfast she escorts me

until I am at last

at rest

*

Webster defines courage as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. To possess such courage, is rare. To find it in one so young as Carly-Jay Metcalfe, is remarkable. To have someone like her come into your life, I promise, will illuminate even the darkest of corners. She can inspire like few others. I am indeed privileged to know her. A writer, a speaker and a champion to those whom she reaches out to in the darkest days of their lives.

Carly-Jay knows death on a first name basis. She has navigated in its shadows since first drawing breath. Yet instead of running from it, she faces it full on to guide others. Please, for your own sake, get to know this amazing young woman. She has so much to offer all who open their mind and heart.

In addition to my meager words, I offer links to explore the world of Carly-Jay, get to know her. Death touches each of us and running from it can only harm us. Enlightenment is the key to life. Carly-Jay is the keeper of the key.

http://www.carlyjaymetcalfe.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYaBlW9sSYQ

*

Bisous,

Léa

Mind’s eye

Originally posted on 31 December 2011

“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”  – Martin Luther King Jr.

“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”  –  Hiram Johnson

 

Mind’s eye

My father fought

A war

Years before

My birth

As I grew up

I watched him

Fight it

Again and again

His sinewy hands

Trembled

As he pried apart

Venetian blinds

Scouting the enemy invasion

Of our suburban neighborhood

Armed with a bottle of juice

A newspaper

Or any other munitions

At hand

He held his ground

Paralyzed

By his reality

Bisous,

Léa

Loss for words…

“Trust him not with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.”

–   Johann Kaspar Lavater

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

–   Martin Luther King, Jr.

*

Loss for words

As a small girl

I had a passionate

Love affair

With paper

And pencils

But most of all

With words

Every chance I had

I would finger the smooth

Crisp pages

I marveled as the

Pencil raced, danced, glided

Or stomped

Across the sheet

All of the things

That couldn’t

Be said

Would magically appear

Wanting to be heard

Testimony in the court

Of childhood

Aching to bear witness

To all violations

Of one small girl

But

The judge and jury

Routinely

Purged this small girls room

For any trace

Of incriminating evidence

Verdicts handed down

Fast, furious and ever so harsh

Must make an example

Cease and desist

 Trying to hide my words

Lifting the blue and tan

Checked tile cover

Of the fireplace ash bin

Never used –

Maybe it would be safe

Would guard my secrets

Would reveal dark truths

After I was gone

Censorship ran rampant

And the stakes escalated

Until the words

Turned mute

Just prior to turning forty

A crack – nearly indistinguishable

In the wall

Between me and my words

The decades of mounting pressure

And erosion from neglect

An increasing force

That would be

Reckoned with – at times

The words would be shelved

After all they

Weren’t important

Only childish ramblings

That must be silenced

The little girl survived

And my words

Illuminate

This  journey

Deal

With

It!

*

Bisous,

Léa

Love – can break your heart

 

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”   –  Kahil Gibran

“Love is composed  of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”   –  Aristotle

“Where there is love there is life.”   –   Mahatma Gandhi

 

                                         

*

Love- can break your heart

As our choir sang

Pour les maisons de la retrait

I bore witness

From the corner of

My eye

His devotion

Spills from

Pale blue eyes

Rarely leaving her side

Reading, anticipating

His efforts to

Reassure her

Albeit briefly

Respirations syncopate

As though

One heart beats

Pour tous les deux

I can feel fragile tissues

Weakening

The tenuous hold

On this life

Sa crainte

She could cross over

Without him

 Son coeur se briserait

*

Bisous,

Léa