Friday, December 11, 2009

Poetry Stretch Results - It's About Time

The challenge this week was to write a poem that referred to time in some way. Here are the results.
(for Marin, days after)
by Steven Withrow of Crackles of Speech

Your first night home
I couldn't sleep, it was like
a small moon had drifted
through an open window
and settled in our room,
complicating gravity.
For weeks we let you
doze off in your swing,
rock-a-bye, lullaby,
pretty pendulum baby.
One night I napped
on the couch near you,
dreaming to the click
of your metronome seat.
When I woke the TV clock
told a strange time.
I blundered off the blanket,
sat up waiting, fearful
you'd stopped breathing.
But you scrunched your nose
and fenced your fist
and gravity resumed
and the new moon grew
and turned the earth
and turned the earth
and turned the earth
to welcome you.

© 2009 by Steven Withrow

6:45 a.m.
by Harriet of spynotes

I wake when the sun pries through the curtain gap
to unmask me in the quiet and not-quite dark.
Fifteen minutes before everyone is out of bed
and milling around the kitchen
and looking for a banana or a signature or a hug or a cup of coffee.
Fifteen minutes, and I am willing
my dreams to stay in my head,
hands pressed over eyes:
the adventurous dreams
where the fate of the world
lies on my capable shoulders
in a thousand different places
plus one.
the peaceful dreams
where there is only one small and quiet thing,
Fifteen minutes to remember things of importance
and things of no importance
at all.

Kneading hands and feet
willing wrists, ankles back to life,
words thunder past,
spiral out my ears,
form a cloud around my still-pillowed head.
make breakfast make a phone call make noise make love
make a nuisance of yourself
make hay while the sun shines
pack lunch pack a bag pack a snack for later
back to work back to back back in the USSR on the radio
turn it up turn it down turn left at the second light turn around
and turn around and turn around again but don’t turn back
Definitely not back.
Drive to work drive to the store drive yourself to distraction

Where was I going?

Once upon a time,
in spring I would hurl back the covers
my feet hitting the floor
before my eyes were open
running to grab the world and
a box of cereal that might,
if I were really lucky,
hold a prize like a ring or a car or a million dollars or a pony.
The early bird always did get the worm in the spring.
At least it did then.
In winter, I am less agile.
But still, I share a morning dance in the bathroom
with my four-year-old self
and a toothbrush microphone,
surprised at the face staring back from somewhere past forty
while snow falls past the window over my shoulder
and snow falls past the window past my ear
and snow falls past the window
too fast
and too deep
to measure.

take a memo take an aspirin take a number take your time
take the dog for a walk take the money and run
take a message for someone too busy to answer the phone
take five take a seat take a bath take a hike
take something you need
take it now take it now take it.

Then give it away.

save it for later.
Later, when you remember:

Where was I going?

And you remember:

the way to get there is
to put your feet on the floor
The rest?
It will be carried along
on the tide of mornings.
The sun is up.
And so are you.

The Extra Five Days
by Heidi Mordhorst of my juicy little universe

Three hundred sixty degrees in a circle
any circle
a circle the size of my eye
a circle the size of the sun

Three hundred sixty-five days in a year
any year
any year except a leap year
a year like the year I was born

Five degrees, five days difference
or maybe six
five nights of sleeping, five days of being,
doing and being and counting

I come around
and come around
and come around and leap

and somehow the wheel of my year
keeps five days ahead of a circle

by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

Something passed this way,
blurring the snow with its feet.
The tracks are dotted
with scraps—bits of tinsel,
gift wrap, even the curved
gold shards of a broken
ornament like a cracked sun.

The footprints are shadows,
blues eddying toward
a great door made of stone
that ends the white sameness.

It is colder than snow
to the touch, and heavy,
but I drag it open,
scraping the shape
of a single wing before
I walk into next year.

--Kate Coombs (Book Aunt), 2009

Michael Coldham-Fussell of Rivers of Meaning shares a poem entitled Space and Time in Mind. Welcome, Michael!

Father Time
by J. Patrick Lewis

When once begun
And on his own,
He stopped for none
And ran alone.

Time took his time.
Days’ ends ahead
Left nights to climb
Into Time’s bed.

The watch and clock
We’ve come to know—
Tick-tock, tick-tock—
Precisely show

That Time this time
Should take a bow,
Still in his prime—
The here and now.

The hour survives,
The minute ends.
Time alters lives
That time transcends.

by Easter of Owl in the Library

I want to write a manifesto about time.
I will scrawl it, bright red, on a dusty concrete wall
While sirens sing in the distance.

I’ve done my time in the trenches
Labor. Dirty diapers. Mommy and Me. PTC.
All the tedious seconds buzzing around me.
I had fun, but time flies.

I want to write a manifesto about time.
I will shout it on a busy corner
While people hurry past, eyes sliding past me.

Time is money
And I want to spend some on myself.
I want to indulge myself with hours and hours of poetry.
I want to squander minutes,
Let them run through my fingers and onto the page.

I want to write a manifesto about time.
I will chant it with a crowd of protesters
While we march toward the Capitol.

Ah, but time marches, too.
It has marched me past
Baby teeth and first days of school
And popsicle stick art projects
Even when I have wanted to stand still.

I want to write a manifesto about time.
I will whisper it over you
While you sleep in your quilted cave.

Soon enough, I will have time on my hands.
Until then, I can stitch out some time for myself.
I can hide it in the corners of my day,
So that it won’t take away from
The best of times:
The time I spend with you.

A Book and a Chair
by Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader

A book and a chair
Are nice to share
When the edges of day
Are melting away
Into the night.

A book and a chair
Are nice to share
Touching and talking
Reading and rocking
Into the night.

Sitting Down to Eat
by Jane Yolen

How many times did we sit down to eat
And you refused the offering?
One time, ten times, a hundred times,
Your mouth sore, your stomach drawn in on itself,
The cancer like some tin-hat dictator
Forbidding you your life. How many times?
How many times did I make soup, straining it
In the blender: tomato, apple, butternut squash,
Sweetening it to tempt you, decorating the dish.
There was nothing I would not try,
Even buying a second blender to be ready
Should you want to eat again. How many times?

Each spoonful a victory, I cozened you
As if you were a reluctant child, begging,
Singing, telling you tales, the old choo-choo,
Spoon chugging into your mouth.
I did not go quite that far, but would have,
Had I thought it would work, many times.
And on the last day, though we didn’t know it
Till after, you ate an extra spoonful, winked
At your son. We didn’t say a word, not one,
So astonished, we took it for a sign
You were on the mend, relaxed our guard,
And you slipped away. No more time.

© 2009 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

for Renee
by Carol Weis

I got her bald-headed
picture sent to my
inbox last week
her face smiling
as tears rush
down mine
a rampage

Two months
of chemo
in time.

© Carol Weis. All rights reserved.

Linda of Write Time shares a poem entitled To My Unborn Grandchild.

Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader also shares two poems about time.
And finally, here's my poem. It's for my boy who's growing up much too quickly.
On the day you joined this world
sand in the hourglass of life
dropped to the empty bottom,
stacking grain upon grain.

Since then a hill has emerged
and, unable to flip the glass
(oh how I wish I could!),
I long to narrow the neck,
slow the march of time
that steals innocence and
propels you to adulthood.
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll add it to the list.

1 comment:

  1. Tricia,

    I have two more poems about time posted at Wild Rose Reader. One is titled "A Poem for New Year's Day."