Author Archives: John S

mottled

The once-blossoms from pear trees
pushed along in eddies of air,
gather in piles on pavement,

Teardrops darken the soil
where they impact – craters form
and moisture seeps away,

While blackbird nests dot between branches,
the sky torn with their cries;

lined-through words leave only
articles and prepositions,
no substance or action –
and scuttles the memory for lies.

Coffee For (In the Style of John Masefield’s Sea Fever)

I must go down the street again, to the coffeehouse near the Y,
And what I need is a yogurt scone and a grande latte chai;
With a mule’s kick and a banshee song and the white milk that’s shaking,
There’s a grim look on the barista’s face, and the coffee press is breaking.

I must go down the street again, for a caffé mocha, iced.
It’s 2 pm on a Wednesday, this cannot be denied;
And here it is a promotions day with the caramel clouds flying,
And soccer moms with their matcha green, and the frappuccinos vying.

I must go down the street again, this vagrant caffeine strife,
For the blended way and the fruit juice way where the drink is a whetted knife;
And all I ask is an espresso shot that keeps me stone cold sober,
And doubly-steeped herbal mango tea or a smoothie I could go for.

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A “Terrible Poem” written in response to Chelsea Owens weekly prompt to destroy (my words, not hers) a classic poem at https://chelseaannowens.com/category/terrible-poetry-contest/

This one was written in the form of Sea Fever, by John Masefield – the first poem I recall having to memorize in eighth grade English. Thanks Miss Dunn.

Abandon

Chalk sun-faces on an asphalt driveway,
drawn to chase away the chill breeze
and forecasted rain.

Bicycles circle the cul-de-sac
blazing trails, pedals flail.

Shouts and whoops
to Scout
to fetch the ball
and chase the calls.

Children playing with abandon.
Adults watch and see themselves –
their childhood, stranded.

Ireland, here or there

I recently traveled to Ireland with my son, and we experienced the wonderful scenery, the friendly people, the history, and the delicious food and drink that this island has to offer.  We flew into Dublin – and after an exciting time on Saint Patrick’s Day – we set off by rail to the western, more wild part of the country.  The scenes from the train changed from urban to countryside, as we made our way to Cork.  All the little village stops along the way were quaint and the conductor would announce the stop in both English and Gaelic, concluding with a thank you:

Thank you for riding Iarnród Éireann. (Thank you for riding Irish Rail).

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To my ears, it sounded like he said, “Thank you for riding, here or there.

This thought resonated throughout the journey as we went by bus or shuttle to remote locations or simply walked through villages and towns in which we spent the night. There is something exciting and wonderful about rambling through the country-side and discovering new places.  Whether it was the colorful row how houses above Cobh harbor or the barren stones and sea/landscape of the Burren, forests near Killarney or the city street, Ireland offered what seemed like all possible combinations.  And these were accessible from points A and B or C or…Z

Just by what seemed a random direction, any number of beautiful sights and experiences could be found by wandering.

It is no wonder then, that the Irish poets and storytellers, or those that emigrated over the last couple of centuries, spoke and sang so fondly of this beautiful country.  It stands in stark contrast to the tragic history of conquest, famine, civil war and unrest that has plagued the people of Ireland over the centuries.  Both sadness and beauty erupting from the same surroundings is remarkable, and dare I say, poetic.  The countryside simply cries and laughs and inhales – everywhere you look.

Here or there.

 

A response to poetry

Dear poet, I have so enjoyed your poem:

the one about the tree branches
that hang over the river -sometimes dipping into the water.

Yesterday, I read it several times slowly to myself and then once out loud –
when no one was within earshot of my voice.

I liked the sounds that it made and the confines of its place. This contributed to the imagery you’ve drawn and I felt I was moving there, then gone.  The lyrical qualities appeal to me, especially the internal rhymes that feature throughout the piece.

Upon revisiting the words the next day, the meaning
or at least what I thought) was clear.
The branch is not sufficient in its purpose to simply reflect
from the stream.

The eddies created are themselves rhythmic and gleam.

Thank you poet for allowing your words to spill and flow,
so that trees from the riverside can touch them and grow.
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