That Moment When Summer Arrives, Whether or not the Solstice Has Occurred The peonies are blown. Rain knocked the petals off the last poppy and laid the daisies down on the lawn. The first fireflies sparkle the humid night. You can smell the grass growing.
Why are you crying? Did I do something wrong?
No, Jackie. No, Punkin'. It's not you. We're crying for the bygones. We're remembering Uncle Jack. Grandpa's trumpet was one of the things from home that he took along with him into the war. The trumpet didn't come back, and neither did he. But you're here, so Uncle Jack will live on.
I'm going to miss this family I've invented from random photographs and scraps of my own family's history. I plan to work on giving them a more proper storyline. Or perhaps I'll just collect them into an e-book. Time will tell. It always does, it seems.
It's been a little nerve-wracking to be the 27th poet to add a line to the 2016 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. I've peeked in on it a couple times a week since the first of the month, but I didn't want fall in love with the direction it was heading, knowing that the direction would certainly change. (And boy has it!!)
I'm glad I got a spot this year -- the schedule filled up fast! Here's who's added lines so far (and who will add after me):
The poem started off with some gorgeous images of birds and wishes, then the ocean and more wishes. A celebration of spring kept the spirit of the poem light in the third and fourth stanzas. In the fifth stanza, we took a short break from the earthly poem and rode Pegasus to the largest moon of Jupiter. The breeze returned with an offer for our speaker: "I give you flight!" What a gift! But the speaker suddenly gets cold feet in stanza seven, line one, at which point, Renee, in yesterday's line, "pushed her out of the plane."
Here's the poem:
A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky. A hummingbird holds and then hies. If I could fly, I’d choose to be Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.
A cast of crabs engraves the sand Delighting a child’s outstretched hand. If I could breathe under the sea, I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee.
A clump of crocuses craves the sun. Kites soar while joyful dogs run. I sing to spring, to budding green, to all of life – seen and unseen.
Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear and finally reach one divining seer who looks up from her perch and beams — West Wind is dreaming May, it seems.
Golden wings open and gleam as I greet the prancing team. Gliding aside with lyrical speed, I’d ride Pegasus to Ganymede.
To a pied pocket, the zephyr returns blowing soft words the seer discerns from earthbound voyage to dreamy night, The time is now. I give you flight!
Yet I fear I am no kite or bird– I lift! The world below me blurred
All right, Pa.
You want me to invent a better story? Youngest son grows up to become the world's first famous ukulele musician. Deprived of violin and trumpet by his older brothers, he discovers a musical passion all his own. Deeply regrets missing out on a life of farm work.
How's that for invention?
The truth will be:
Youngest son inherits farm,
makes agriculture his ambition.
in cattle and crops.
His regrets? None.
the prairie in fall so much brown brown browngold goldbrown gold
the prairie in winter so much white bluegray whitebluegray white
when i cannot bear the monotone palettes any longer i plant drag clay pot from window to window following weak winter sun drip water over dry dirt and wait to feel life life spirit green brush against my fingertips.
A note to my readers: these stories and these characters are works of fiction. With very few exceptions, I have no idea who the people are in these photos. The names of many of the characters come from my ancestors and their friends. Other names are ones I chose to fit the character. The settings are real. My mom is from Denver and my dad grew up on a farm in Eastern Colorado (although some of these photos could be of ancestors/family friends further back who lived in Nebraska and Kansas). If we could sit down together for a cup of tea and a scone, I'd tell you all the little bits of truth I've woven into this fiction. I'd tell you the biggest surprises I've had, and the poems that took the most/fewest drafts. Like Amy LV commented, sometimes I feel like these people are talking through my pencil.
I did not have this all planned out before Poetry Month began, except that I grouped the photos in sets of seven to have ready to load onto the main page for the project. I had no idea I would be telling a story in verse this month. I'm as surprised and thrilled as you are. I expected to be frustrated by the challenge of writing a variety of poems, and instead, I look forward (and often can't stop myself from writing forward) as I discover the story and figure out ways to fill in the gaps. How will it end? No idea. Stay tuned. (If you want to read from the beginning, go back to the poem for April 1, and read forward to today.)
Here at Poetrepository, I have added (with permission) poems that Steve Peterson and Carol Wilcox have written that seem to me to fit with the flow of the story I've got in my mind. Carol Varsalona has also written some fabulous partner poems using these photos. You can find them here.