Friday, August 7, 2015

Words for August, Summer's Last, Grand Stand

Let us speak of August, the beautiful blue trickster of a month. The days are still long, though not quite so long. The gardens still bloom, though not quite so colorfully. And the days are so often a celebration of blue sky and golden light we think they
will last forever.
            But the signs of change are all around us.We hear the crickets, the wild song and dance of the full month of summer. When we hear the crickets, the cidada song, the long lean buzz of the locusts -- they sing the locust electric -- things are already growing late.

         Here are my words for the August edition of Verse-Virtual, three poems are grouped as "Big Universe, Little Me."
          The first poem, "Talking to India," has its origin in a computer problem (as so much does these days). The internet stops working and I am directed to India for long-distance assistance. To this encounter I 'deep thoughts' about yoga. The guy from India is the technical one; I'm entranced by notions given form in the age of Sanskrit. (Postscript to this misadventure: the plug came out of the wall.)
The second poem, The Nightingale Role, is my "Darwinian take" (as another V-V poet termed it) on the life and labor of the male avian singer made famous by Keats's Ode to a Nightingale. Concluding with practical advice for female nightingales.
The last, "Holes at the Heart of Things," is a look at some recent developments in subatomic cosmology, a field in which I am not knowledgeable but feel predictably astounded whenever I encounter it.
Please give them a look, as you enjoy the last full month of a spectacularly sun-filled (and rather too dry) summer.
Here's the link to my contribution:

The works of all the online poetry journal's contributors are easily found by clicking on the site's "current poetry":
        The August issue of Verse-Virtual, a miracle marriage of new age technology and an ancient art, offers scores and scores of new poems by a wide range of poets and perspectives. People who write poetry are a pretty diverse group. They're not all English majors. Not necessarily teachers or professionals in a word-driven field (though some are), nor necessarily anything with a role you can put a convenient name to. All of them explorers of life's embodied metaphysics.
          Among the poems in this month's edition I've tuned into so far are Steve Klepetar's meditative tales of an invented ancient Chinese poet (loosely based on Li Po), whose experiences include wading into the sea and filling a bucket with water, discovering in this "land of the dead"...

Only water’s skin, as it slowly pulls

an unbelieving shore back into arms
of darkness, where all things have their start.

            I think I can identify with that 'unbelieving shore.' I don't believe it either.

            In the course of Barbara Crooker's poem describing the ninth century statue Our Lady of Rocamadour we come across:

She is serene, shining
in her ebony wood, a dark star.
She holds her small son, reigns
over the history of loss.

            And then suddenly encounter this dark starburst:
I pray for my damaged son, rocking
as if tossed on stormy seas and chanting
“Goats, goats, goats. They always
make me laugh.”  What can we do
with so much tenderness?

            The journal's editor, Firestone Feinberg, in his "one sentence reviews" points to Dick Allen's poem "Heading Out," which takes us patiently, unobtrusively from 'heading out' on a quotidien errand to stepping out on our final journal:

Sometimes a dog barks, a leaf falls.  It’s ordinary.  Your passing goes
unnoticed by almost everyone on Earth.

            Look out for that last step, this makes me think. It's a doozy.
            Amanda Pfeifer's "The Day Robin Williams Died" (another note of thanks to Firestone for pointing this one out) somehow evokes the meaning of that strange relationship between people we don't know and pieces of our own lives:

I sat in the bathroom holding my elbows
in case they floated away

a piece of childhood returning to the ground

            And some poets just happen to be demon gardeners. In a poem about having to go to work titled "And Later that Day I See My First Japanese Anemone," Kenneth Pobo concludes:

The pomegranate has 
three deep orange blossoms.
I lock the door, drive off.
Anything is possible.
            Anything is possible. It's August in the land of poetry (all lands, all the time). And a big hunk of that realized possibility ends up in Verse-Virtual.