March 16, 2018. This poem emerged while studying Zen poets – mostly male, but one female poet made the syllabus. Otagaki Rengetsu (1791–1875) became a Japanese Buddhist nun and one of the country’s most respected female artists – combining her poetry, calligraphy, and pottery. She learned from Kyoto potters and decorated her rough and rugged bowls, cups, and other vessels with her poetry, either painted on or scored into the clay in flowing calligraphy. Orders from tea masters and others kept her very busy. This collage of found images shows both her pottery and calligraphy styles.
March 10, 2018. I spent February studying Zen poetry – reading many of the classics and writing to suggested prompts. Lorraine “Bird” Mejia is a skilled online teacher and manages to pull things from me I did not expect. True with the Zen writing, for sure. But one of the exercises took me a bit off-prompt, smack dab back to the New Mexico mountain where we camp every August – specifically, back to the “snag” (a tree dead but standing, top broken off) where I sit in solitude. I posted about that snag in 2015, and here I repeat that earlier poem followed by my “Zenish” perception. One snag, two takes.
Who knows? There could be more snag poems to emerge …
February 26, 2018. A good friend has been holding the ashes of her cat Sally for a long, long time – unsure any of her places were long-term. That’s become clearer and clearer, and she asked if I had a place in our yard for Sally. Yes. And a place in my heart. A kinetic sculpture gifted by my friend at the time of her latest move marks the spot. Although Sally never saw the sculpture, I sense her energy and that of my friend coming together. It’s Spring, season for new flower beds. And a bed for Sally. The collage pulls the overall scene into a single frame. This post honors my friend, and Sally.
February 16, 2018. My affinity for digital collage is two-fold — for the freedom to make a moon as dominant in the image as in my mind’s eye, and for the meditative process of detailing, removing distractions to emphasize desired geometry — directed by whim.
A nod to recent posts from Michael Fiveson (m5son.wordpress.com) and Stephanie Harper (slharperpoetry.com) – your words stirred mine.
February 4, 2018. Today’s sunshine affirms my optimism that this incredibly cold winter will, eventually, blend into Spring. This poem has been sprouting since last week’s encounter with morning glory seed pods catching afternoon sun rays – shining, seeming to call out for a caress.
January 28, 2018. This poem (for my mother, on the anniversary of her death) was triggered by the surprise appearance of her blanket. Our kitten managed to tug this particular blanket out from the bottom of a stack of blankets and quilts … and leave it where I would step on it getting into bed. I don’t believe in coincidence – I lean toward synchronicity, and I went to bed (but not to sleep!) with Mother, the blanket, and numerology swirling. Mother was 28 when I was born, so she lived 28 years without me. She has been gone now for 28 years, so I have lived 28 years without her. Also intriguing, I am now the age she was at death. A lot to contemplate on a cold night. I got up and wrote this poem!
January 18, 2018. Tuesday Austin Texas shut down due to iced roadways – schools, government offices, many businesses sent out alerts the night before: please stay off the roadways. This happens once every year or so, usually for one day. In colder places, cities take remedial action and keep roadways open. Here, we get a day off (except schools must take away a planned free day later in the calendar.)
I slept in, waking to the lure of chicken soup simmering, gave the day’s opportunity a few select thoughts, and pulled out a jigsaw puzzle. Not just any puzzle – I chose the greenhouse scene, plants thriving while “shut in” – like me. The collage hopefully conveys my sense of being in the greenhouse while working the puzzle.