Joyful simplicities are a means
to survive, inspiration keeps the
soul alive, watching seasons as
they have come and gone. One
survives year after year, as the
heart continues on the journey
to where it belongs.
Attend to life’s garden reach for
impossible dreams. Let the
mind seek what it envisions, look
beyond all of the tomorrows and
do not settle for only what the
eyes can see.
Learn to shed the skins of time
never give up hope, the path
leading to dreams will be
easier to find, walk hand in
hand with a true love during
a warm misty spring. Drink
in the aromas of life and it
will bring back memories of
the essence of paradise.
The poem was created from an excerpt from a novella rough draft called “Memories”.
Bitter recollection, the crystal moon glowing nestled in a bed of shining stars. A frozen branch beating against the ice covered windowpane. A fire now a bed of black ash being pulled up the chimney into the night air. Memories come and go some widespread, some angry, linked together like a paper chain trailing behind me in life. I remember the day, hour, was it my destiny? I reach for tomorrow, guarding my life’s memories; I do not want to forget.
Memories, the past has many doors to open, one could spend a lifetime in these corridors of time. Rooms bulging with stories good and bad; they rise to fill our minds with happiness, joy or sadness. Like soft petals falling to the ground, so does the memory of our life fall gently upon our hearts?
I believe that I have a “Sundry” of work filed away for safekeeping,
I begin writing at the age of five or six; I spent summers with my Aunt Vina,
my daddy’s sister. She introduced me to
libraries, Big Chief tablets and big pencils.
It was my job as she, my Uncle Wesley went to work, and I was under the
care of the housekeeper, to write what I had done during the day. Once dinner was over and bedtime neared, she
would gather everyone to listen to my accounting of the day.
Of course, I had help with many of the words, but at least one
paragraph emerged before the sun would set on Birmingham, Alabama. These sentences included a walk to the local
library, lunch, and the discovery of a dead bird, mouse or other creatures that
made my Aunt Vina put her hands over her ears.
At summers end I would return home to Burleson Mountain, life was
different there, very different. No
matter where I would hide my Chief tablet my mother would find it, throwing it
into the stoves wood box. This act would
follow with a lecture on the waste of time my summers were, and that she might refuse
to let me go the next summer, that threat she held over me no matter the day,
month, year. It took weeks of crying me
to sleep before I adjusted to my mother and the anger she carried for me.
I grew from child to teen and I continued to write, keeping a
journal, only to have my mother find them and toss them into the trash. Years of stories and my life covered with
last night’s dinner scraps. I stopped
writing. I was still in my teens when I
wrote a story, sent it off and received a letter back, not a form letter, but
one that encouraged my writing, to find my voice. Maybe I am still in search of that voice,
sometimes I wonder!
This love of writing stayed buried until one day I signed up for a
creative writing course at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Always on the back burner was the hope of
writing. My professor told me that I was
a natural storyteller, but I would need to work on the many components of
writing. I did, and this took me right
into retirement, yes, I had a day job.
It does not matter how much you want to spend your life creating or whatever
your desire, your passion is; you must pay the bills.
With a decent steady income, I was free to write. It sounds so easy when you think about it,
but it took a long time staring at a blank page before my brain was jump
started to create something, anything. I
had so many ideas and the short stories poured out of me, my computer folders
were full and organized. I could not
send anything off…what if they rejected my newborn creation. Well, they did, each time I placed them
lovingly in a box that fit under my bed.
Over a period of five years, I had enough rejection form letters to
wallpaper any room in my tiny apartment.
This including my divorce papers, the lease on an apartment, title to a
car, all of the things needed to survive as a single person.
Within the following years I discovered poetry, many forms,
structured, non-structured. I loved it
all but my favorite was Sylvia Plath. I
felt that I knew her, and that my life was filled with drop-offs, pitfalls and bad
luck. I begin to write poetry about my
life, nine poetry books later I wrote a bio of my daughter’s life she died in
2010, a picture book of my constant four-legged companion Mason and a coffee
table book of my personal artwork. I
continue to wear many hats. I have begun work on my own life story; it may be
the last chapter.
brings my post to full circle and a provocative question to readers and writers
everywhere…is poetry dying.
A character in the film Dead Poets Society said:
don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because
we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to
sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive
Wordsworth described poetry like this: “the spontaneous overflow of
powerful feelings recollected in moments of tranquility”.
I believe that poetry has an important role and
function in society, just as poets do. Poetry
now, in its fundamental value, however, means nothing more than using relatable
mental images in order to communicate profoundly significant truths about logic
and life to human beings.
Dearest Ma…When I was born, you were young ninety-years old, your hair pulled tight at the nap of your neck, still black and bold. At night, you let it down to braid before you went to bed, it fell to the floor, at first I would watch in silence from the crack in the door. The night you caught me I was six, you called me into the room smiling…asking that I bring you a single broomstick. I quickly plucked it from mothers only broom, and rushed back into the dimly lit room. You showed me how to break it into small pieces; when I looked bewildered your smile accented all of your dark wrinkles and creases.
It was then that my eyes opened
wide as you put the stick right through the lob of your ears, its magic I thought; but this is my
great-grandmother I have nothing to fear.
As a child, I did not realize that there was a hole, because when I
would touch the bangles on her ear, she would quickly scold. Just like the time when I tried to
sneak a peek at her button up shoes by raising the hem of her long dress, she did not have on shoes, there
were moccasins on those tiny feet…who would have guessed. Yes, I was only a child without a care,
and I spent many hours sitting at the foot of her old rocking chair.
I never tire of the stories she
would tell, sometimes we cried together and now I can say it…as a child She lived in a white man’s world;
she called it “hell”. Her parents had
walked on the “Trail of Tears”, proud and strong, with every step
wondering where they had gone wrong. She
help raise me and taught me the way, and as her
mind begin to wander in those later years, I was sad when she would tell her stories she only remembered the
bad. This grand old woman dressed in
bangles and cloths of many colors, with that big ball
of hair at the nap of her neck she was a great-grandmother like no other.
She died only days before her birthday, she would have been one-hundred and five, my father said, Ma would have scolded you while saying, and don’t you ever cry. I was fifteen-year old and the world was bright and colorful with natures artwork of fall, a befitting day to bury this beautiful and proud Chickasaw.