Category Archives: poetry

February Lament

In an attempt to avoid catching stomach flu, I used the bathroom in the other house, which meant a fifty foot trek across glare ice each way. One of the cats threw up in my recliner. Somebody called me and wanted to sell me rocks. That might not seem so bad but I do know what I need, want and can afford, and taking in consignment in February does not appeal to me. I did tell the person that my shop isn’t heated. I hope I didn’t sound rude and crabby. Having given up on accomplishing much of anything, I decided to celebrate Shrove Tuesday (Carnaval, Pancake Day, Butter Day, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) via my avatar in the virtual world called SecondLife. A virtual world is a pixelated fantasy that some people take far too seriously. In all fairness, it must be recognized that SecondLife is a fully realized world. My avatar has shopped, socialized, established businesses, attended classes, plays, church services, concerts, poetry readings and lectures, participated in sports, examined museums and galleries, shared coffee, conversation and music with like-minded residents, all these activities were positive. Tonight I/she looked for a Mardi Gras party, and stumbled into a club called Tops and Bottoms. There, a female avatar dressed in feathers was doing an exotic dance for tips from the gentlemen. One thing to remember about SecondLife is that some of the women are men, but most of the men are men, but not always. He/she invited me to sit and watch the dance, or to dance myself if I chose. (I, too, was wearing feathers). When I finally realized what kind of place I was in, I teleported to another area. I did manage to dance a samba and get a photo. Correction. My avatar danced. I sat at a computer.

Piggy Slippers and Lounge Lizards

Blue Pajamas/Bad Dream

It was like one of those dreams people claim to have, where they are naked in public, or wearing pajamas. I was at a ballroom in pajamas, and curlers in my hair. And piggy bedroom slippers. In spite of how bad I looked, a gentleman asked to dance. He wasn’t put off by my appearance. He said we could go upstairs and he could show me what was under his clothes. The words that came to mind were “lounge Lizard” although I don’t really know what that means. I excused myself. I don’t really care for men in white tuxedos.

bluepajamas

The Moon in SecondLife

poetry for a change

FRAGILE BIRD

Still wearing those french cut jeans,
Still keeping my hair perfumed and glossy
Gold; silver earrings fall against my jaw, I move in shadowed time
And live for those seconds of tension.
The young ones stand before me and sway
And to me they are as alike as cattails,
Heavy and cylindrical on their stalks.
This is my private swamp.
They have no right to be here.

Eating their cones,
They start and grin, and we begin
The dance.
I feign disdain.
They forget their ice cream.
It runs in rivulets between
Their hot fingers.

I have three yards of grace.
I am pushing…whatever age…
Their faces go blank.
They shrug. Nothing is lost.
They lick up the sweet syrup,
And I go on.
I am a fragile bird flapping and flapping
Forever caught in midair between
The door and the place of peaches and vanilla
And other flavors.

old norse poetry

Many, many years ago I did independent study in ancient Scandinavian literature at the local university, under the direction of a professor of English who had grown up in Cavalier, North Dakota.  I visited that area once and found it to be true, that quite a few of the residents were of Norwegian or Icelandic descent.  This professor whose name was Ruth has long passed on, but I have a book she loaned me and which I sadly did not return.  The title is Skaldic Poetry, and now and then I thumb through its pages.  The time has come for me to delve into the intricacies of Old Norse poetry, which has been made less daunting by the presence of Wikipedia on the web.

My first observation is that Old Norse poetry can be viewed  as consisting of two broad types, eddaic and skaldic.  The eddaic is straightforward, informal, anonymous.  Authorship of skaldic poetry is assigned to known poets, some of whom may have been kings, is fairly complex and employees fixed literary devices.  Some skaldic poetry is so obscure that allusions may be lost on the modern reader without extensive footnotes.  And I will get back to this topic when I sort out the relevancies.

poem about my avatar

This night is not for sad souls such as I,

My hours underneath these stars are long,

A thousand lights of lust have passed me by

I do not know what I am doing wrong.

I think it is because I did not learn

The little lessons of deceit and guile,

The whirling of the skirt, the eyes that burn,

The rippling hair, the elemental smile.

Too late for me. I love my face too much

To sacrifice one angle or one line,

The truth will keep me from a lover’s touch,

And hold from me the shared glass of wine.

And yes, I wonder……have I chosen well?

I’ve kept the parts that are my very own.

Ah, had I bought the dream that vendors sell,

I do not know whose heart I might have won

ballads

A ballad is a poem that tells a story. Very basic. A ballad has a musical quality and uses regular rhyme and strong rhythm, often iambic. It might also have a refrain. These devices lend themselves to memorization and some of the early ballads were a part of oral tradition.

Sometimes ballads are associated with children’s poetry. Think of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, and all those poems kids were exposed to in school (and maybe still are). “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service. “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”. “The Highwayman”. “The Wreck of the Hesperus”.

I confess to an unsophisticated enthusiasm for ballads because they are delightful to read and write, and recite.

One day I decided to write a bawdy ballad. Yes, I know I should be ashamed of myself but it was fun.