Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Treading Between Terrors

Praying Mantis
Photo enhancement by D.R. Wagner

—D. R. Wagner, Elk Grove

"...but meaning I would love her forever."
—Book of Songs

You have taken the morning.
Still I do not see you.
These birds seem tired, pulling
Themselves across the sky.
You have taken the morning.
The sun does not know what to do.

Here the long grasses keep the wind.
It makes no sound as it passes.
Looking from the tops of these
Low hills I listen for some song
But the long grasses keep the wind.
There is such quiet in yearning.

I have not seen you for a single day.
It is like the autumn.
Weeds romp the fields. I pace to and fro.


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

I don't understand
Why the mind chooses to abandon itself at times
Why memory becomes a floating island
Why time has so many pockets on its garment

But most of all
Why we tread between terrors as if we are dancing
Why songs well up without announcing themselves
Why grace often finds a backdoor to leave by

What I understand most is
Why all life turns toward the light
Why the seasons choose the colors they use
Why it is always bliss to be with you next to me


Thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's offerings, including our Seed of the Week: Why. Use D.R.'s "Why" poem as a suggestion for a poem of your own. You might start out with a different statement, such as "Now I understand", or with no opening statement, or...? The point is to get a poem out of the SOW; there's no need to follow it exactly. And no deadline; send 'em to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Song of the San Joaquin deadline is March 15:

Song of the San Joaquin, a quarterly publication of The Poets of the San Joaquin chapter of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc., accepts submissions of poetry having to do with life in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This area is defined geographically as the region from Fresno to Stockton, and from the foothills on the west to those on the east.

E-mail submissions are encouraged at cleor36@yahoo.com/. Please put all identification on each separate poem, including mailing address. If unable to e-mail, send typed manuscripts to: Editor, Song of the San Joaquin, PO Box 1161, Modesto, CA 95353-1161. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for return of unused poems and/or notification of acceptance. Be sure your return envelopes have the right amount of postage. Notification time may range from three weeks to three months. Send up to three poems per issue, name and contact information on each poem. Poem length is limited to 40 lines. Please send a three- to five-line bio. Writers retain all rights. Your submission of manuscripts is considered permission for one-time publication. The editors reserve the right to correct punctuation and spelling. Every effort will be made to contact the poet in regard to such changes. Payment is one copy of the issue in which your work appears. For more information e-mail cleor36@yahoo.com or call (209) 543-1776 or www.chaparralpoets.org/SSJ.html/. For samples of poetry from previous issues: www.ChaparralPoets.org/SSJarchives.html

New stuff!

•••LadybugFlights has a special poetry issue out for March; check it out at Ladybugflights.com

•••Also out: A new collection of short stories, essays, sketches and poetry from ZICA Creative Arts & Literary Guild. CALG is an African American writers’ support group of 40 Sacramentans that meets monthly. Speak, Write, Dream is a celebration of 20 years of their gatherings. The anthology is available locally at Underground Books and Carol’s Books, or online at www.lulu.com/content/8206490.


—D.R. Wagner

Go without wind
Ye birdless wings
And gather the heart of my lover,
For I'm too long alone
In a world without song
And the cruel night is long
Ere it's over.

The rain swells the river
Ye birdless wings,
So now it's too far to cross over.
Sweet wings do my will,
While the night winds lie still,
That she may know
My heart's longing.

Brush softly her lips
Ye birdless wings,
So she may know
Who comes calling.
Bear her sweet light
Through the scarves of the night,
That she lie by my side
Come the morning.


—D.R. Wagner

I put my mouth on yours.
There must be cities like this
Somewhere, with all the lights on,
People dancing in their rooms,
Music flowing from their pores.

Rain reflects a million rainbows,
Streets glistening like your lips.
I can feel your breath move over
My face. It is like coming through
The clouds over a gentle country,
A landscape like your cheek brushing
Mine. I understand this is a way
Of communicating. What are we
Saying? How do we know where
All these doors lead? Here, come
Quickly, look…it is the heart,
Full beyond belief, unable to give
Itself away fast enough, so full it has


—D.R. Wagner

The rain is talking to the back door.
“Pat, pat, pat”, it says, not even listening to itself.
You are coming down the wind, naming
The clouds as you do. The sidewalks reflect
Your footsteps, “pat, pat, pat”, like an old
French song fashioned of late summer and
A piano in a room overlooking the Mediterranean.

Under the leaves of the trees birds huddle
Remarking at how much you look like the rain.
Their badinage is marvelous. They have eighty
Three different tones for describing the way rain
Looks as it falls upon the water, the sea, ponds, lakes,
The rivers, brooks. There is not one that describes
Your coming down the wind. They explode in
Welters of birdsong and squabbling.

All day the sun has refused to look through
The clouds. It had decided to leave the day to
Ducks, swans and the dreams of fish gazing
Toward the sky at the spreading circles of the raindrops,
As if it were a ceiling of water kissing water.
Now it has heard you upon the wind and looks
Through the trees. For a moment the air is draped
In diamonds. They cover you as you roll across
The back of the wind. The air itself inhales.

The rain finally listens to itself, searching madly for
A language, “pat, pat, pat”, it says...” Look
Past the wind, look past the wind.” I do.

Ashland Springs Hotel
Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

this spring
the giant oak outside
will come alive again
leaving itself in green splendor
looking for you at my window
winter spring summer fall
then winter again
as you grew weaker
leaves fell
you followed them down



(And thanks to Pat Hickerson for today's LittleNip, as fragile and beautiful as a cherry blossom.)