Category Archives: Poetry

Two worlds – Draft

I know I’m slacking, but I have a little darlin’ to take care of.  She’s still pretty much a full time job even though her awesomeness hasn’t diminished at all!  She’s such a good baby.  Anyway, I had an interesting dream over the weekend and a surreal moment afterward as I slowly came awake.  I thought I’d try to write a draft to start exploring that situation.

Stark white light pushes at the edge of my eyelids,
Trying to push past my defenses.
It pulsates in time with the blood coursing through my chest,
To my head and ultimately to the capillaries in tiniest parts of the lid.

It rouses me–slowly;
My mind pulses to the slow drowsy rhythm.
Ever more wakeful, I feel the ebb and flow
Of a sea of sleep deposit me on a still and silent beach.

Stasis. I lie balanced on the edge of two worlds.
I’m a god in my dreams, and I do not wish to wake.
Every moment I remain is a restorative for my feeble body.
Yet, I am allowed only the briefest of sojourn.

In the dream, I feel a power I hunger for greedily.
I desire to stay as I desire to control my world.
I am empowered,
And I lust for a world of my own.

I wake and I feel love and hope and happiness.
I have a daughter and a wife and I love them.
Awake I see the false truth of my dreams.
I fear the power they have over me.

Duke

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Tumble-down Haiku

The word tumble-down popped into my head earlier, and I immediately envisioned long rows of worn, dilapidated houses much like you see in pictures of old oil boom-towns around here in Oklahoma.  The image of the sun low in the sky, coloring all the bits and pieces that had managed to last, was pretty strong.  I hope this conveys some of that.

Dull sun fades to rust;
Long shadows like fingers sweep
Tumble-down houses.

This might be an interesting image to base a longer poem on.  I might just do that.

Duke

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Heat – a haiku

It’s April and it’s supposed to be in the 90s today. Thought I’d write about it before it hits, and I get too whiney. Spring is my favorite time. I’m not prepared for Summer to steal it from me. Hopefully this is just another Oklahoma weather oddity that passes through.

No winter forestalled,
The coming of summer heat.
It has conquered spring.

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Springtime Poem Revision

I had a chance to revise the Springtime poem from the earlier post.  I cleaned it up some and tried to make it more personal in the perspective.  I think it is a little closer to an experience in time rather than a description of a repetitive occurrence, which is where I want to take it.  The language is pretty simple for much of it, but I’m fine with that for now, as I wanted to make the story or event more concise before I worry about the verbiage.  Hopefully, the next draft will be tighter and more “poetic,” if that’s even something I should strive for.

Moisture clogs the air, dense and warm,
Clings to it like a robe.
I can feel it on my skin,
Inducing sweat from my pores.
I can feel it in my lungs.
Ever so much harder to breathe,
I draw it in and push it out,
Laboring just a fraction more
As I pull at the thickened air.
I can taste the spring in its thickness.
Fresh pollen and dust, microscopic motes
Swim in each tiny drop, trapped.

With flitting caress, the wind shifts.
It sidles steady one moment,
Only to shuffle and shift aside.
I feel the pressure mount,
As a wall of atmosphere presses
Insistently, bounding southward.
Shoving aside that gentle wind,
It buffets me stiff and chill,
Running stark, dry fingers
Through the heavy bank of warm air.
I can feel it expand around me,
Turgid and impassive,
As it muscles it way beneath that heavy mass.

I feel the passing of transient warmth,
As it succumbs to turbulent and chill,
Drop by drop, molecule by molecule,
Clouds ascend, bouncing and breaking light,
Showering the earth in sparkling brilliance.
I watch them climb and marvel,
Even as I shy away from the sudden cold.
I watch them grow fat and black,
As the billowing mass begins to pull
At the light, and the very air.

I picture the drops growing fat,
As the crash and tumble into others,
An aery pool of water in flight,
Bound by gravity, held aloft by turbulence.
Growing overlarge as they crash together,
Drops, fat and wet, pull to the earth.
Speeding, elongating they plummet
To the ultimate finality of their destruction.
I watch it all.
I feel the first fat wet drops,
As they crash into skin,
Moist with sweat born of the same warmth
That bred the rain and feeds the spring.

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Spring Time Inspiration

It started raining yesterday, and it only just stopped, temporarily, a short while ago.  I’m a couple of days early, but it’s hard to not think of Spring when it rains like this–heavy and long.  I got inspired to write, so I wrote another haiku.

Minuscule tapping,
Pattering on the windows,
Spring’s first rain singing.

I’ve only written a few haiku so far, but I already know that I’m wildly uncertain as to what constitutes a good haiku.  The one above has meaning for me.  It captured my feelings at the time of the first real rain we’ve had in some time.  It’s difficult however to step out of my personal experience and evaluate this poem from the perspective of what it might be for another person.  I’ll try to look into that.  First and foremost, I need to read and study more haiku.  Maybe I, unbeknownst to me, write the greatest and most effortless haiku of anyone anywhere.  More likely, I’m missing some important point, or maybe even “the” point.  I’ll try to let you know if I figure it out.

Along the same lines, I also did a little writing exercise.  I just wrote some free verse and didn’t even go back to reread it.  I know that it starts being about me and my feelings during the rain, but quickly becomes about the dynamics of rain and further about the life cycle of water in the environment.  It will definitely have to change.  I will likely try to bring the focus back to myself or at least a person so that a reader can actually connect with it.  I’d like to use some of the images and dynamics, but they’ll have to be translated into something applicable to a person.  And lastly, I’ll need more complex language and structure.  This is overly simplistic, but it was just a writing exercise.

Moisture clogs the air, dense and warm,
Clings to it like a robe.
Almost immeasurably harder to breath,
I draw it in and push it out.
I can taste the spring in its thickness.
Fresh pollen and dust, microscopic motes
Swim in each tiny drop, trapped.
The wind changes.
It marches steady one moment
Only to halt and shuffle and shift side to side.
The front moves in and shoves it aside.
The wind driving it forth is stiff and chill,
Stark and dry it runs its fingers through
Banks of humid air.
I can feel it expand around me
As it muscles it way beneath that heavy mass.
It shoves the warms up and away.
Suddenly turbulent and chill,
Drop by drop, molecule by molecule,
Clouds ascend, bouncing and breaking light,
Showering the earth in sparkling brilliance.
Soon enough the billowing mass begins to pull
At the light, and the very air.
What was once dense becomes heavy
An aery pool of water in flight,
Bound by gravity and tossed by turbulence.
Growing overlarge as they are smashed together,
Drops fat and wet pull to the earth.
Speeding, elongating they plummet
To the ultimate finality of their destruction.
Only destruction is temporary.
Rebirth takes some many forms.
New growth, new rain, new water.
It never dies, only changes.

I think there is some potential.  I’ll try to pull together a structured draft with more direction and see how it goes.

Duke

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Another Haiku

Here is another haiku attempt.

Breaking on the rocks,
Foaming seas moan deep and low,
Restless, mournful soul

There are so many approaches to creating haiku.  I think I’ll have to really work to find my voice.

Duke

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Haiku

I submit to you a haiku!  It’s a western style 5-7-5 syllabic verse rather than the more nuanced Japanese forms.  I’m sure I’ll try to play with the forms more as I continue to write haiku.

delicate new growth
rends the walls of winter tomb.
Verdant eruption!

I wrote this yesterday after a series of events brought haiku to mind.  I hope you enjoy it.  I plan to write more, and I’ll explain why.

I was looking over information on manuscript length yesterday and ran across a site that mentioned micro-fiction and flash fiction.  they are, as you might have guessed from their names, very short fiction.  Micro-fiction is typically 100 words or less and anything over that up to approximately 1,000 words is commonly called flash fiction.  These formats sound pretty interesting to me, so I’m going to do more research and possibly try to write some.  Seems like a good challenge and an excellent way of forcing myself to edit very precisely.

An offshoot of this discovery was that I began thinking of writing “short” material.  Naturally, short stories came to mind, and I jotted down a few ideas I had for new short fiction along with further thoughts on some I’d already started working on.  Eventually my thoughts turned to poetry, which is typically short as well, at least in word count for the style that I tend to write.  Lying beyond even the shortest of my poetry is haiku.

Haiku is the ultimate in distilled thought and imagery.  They require deep understanding of what you would like to express.  Writing simple haiku is easy.  Any thought or idea can fairly quickly be transcribed into the form.  That doesn’t mean the haiku would necessarily be good.  Just like with any poetry, there needs to be revision.

I decided that writing haiku would be a good exercise for this blog because I could write drafts fairly quickly while working on something that’s either not ready to be posted or not meant to be posted.  I hope that doesn’t sound like an attempt to create filler for the blog.  What I hope is that it will be a constant exercise in translating thoughts and images into concise, metered poetry.

I respect that although writing what is typically 17 sylables can be done quickly, it is still very hard to do well.  I want to be able to develop a better understanding of what comprises the best haiku.  So while I might post more frequently because the form is shorter, I will still try to perform my due diligence and improve the work.

I will also continue to do freewriting and work on the material I’ve started.  I’ll still create new material as well, but when it’s harder to find time to post, I think I can probably manage to at least work on haiku.  I can even post them from my phone, so rather than being an excuse to slack, which would be an insult to the form if that were the case, I want this to be a pointed exercise in creating better, more concise poetry.

Duke

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Renewal – Writing Exercise

It snowed last night, so I thought about it off and on through the evening and morning.  I decided to do a quick exercise on some of my thoughts.  Nothing really too structured, just some simple imagery.

Stark white and cold,
Snow blankets the earth,
Gathers in corner and crevice,
Piled high upon the weak.
Radiant and diffuse.
Renewed from above,
Destroyed from below
By latent heat, by warmth,
By falling too soon.

Fallen leaves soften and mat
Beneath the freezing down.
Succumb to repetition,
Dry and cracking beneath weights,
Wet molding to the ground.
Already dead, yet waiting,
Waiting to be eaten,
By the insect, by the worm,
By something lower still.

Brought low by frigid winds,
Bodies built for cold sleep
And for quick death,
Pace inexorably forward,
Programatically aware of life,
Functions carried out methodically
Onward to death,
Consuming and replenishing
Endless cycle of renewal.

I walked in the yard for a minute this morning and noticed that in some places the snow was very powdery and fresh, and the leaves that dodged the rake tend to crunch and crackle from being so dry.  In other places and on the driveway, the heat stored in the ground always melts the snow from underneath, and the leaves pull in the moisture and mat together.  I used to see a lot of that cycle in the woods around home, and always found it interesting how dynamic the range was.  I don’t know that that is worthy of a poem, but it does add a little color to the thoughts above.

Maybe something will come of it.

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Willful Deception Exercise 2

I noticed the first version of this exercise the other day and thought I’d try another.  Basically, both are just snippets of phrasing with only the most vague idea of what they might be eventually.  I started with the same first line as the last exercise and just let my mind wander while I free-wrote the verse.  Both versions are superficially about love or repressed emotion, but I haven’t figured out where I’ll go just yet.  I’ll probably try to put them together and see what the overarching feeling or sentiment seems to be.  Then I’ll try to write a draft that has an actual direction and see how that goes.

The willful deception of my heart sustains me,
succor to my hopelessness.

Waiting patiently, like a mother,
It calls to me–coaxing me into it’s embrace.
Though wounded deeply, I endure,
Finding respite in misery, wallowing.

Understanding glimpsed through this cage,
Waking from desperate nightmares,
Turning ever away from my path.
Awash with fear I’m too weak to overcome,
I wait, I regress.

Picking moonshadows from the Earth
As I still my mind, mesmerized.
Oh but the fortune I seek zealously
Jealously guarding my offering.
Desperate lust and hope restrained.

The smallest ember glows fitfully dim,
As I, so unaware, search for this misunderstood
and malignant creature.
Craddled in my chest, It beats desperately against
The cage I’ve erected round it.
Freed, It would destroy me.

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Early Dawn – Second Draft

This is actually less a second draft than it is a bit of content with a question.  The question is how should I proceed?  I was thinking of some of the imagery of the late night/early morning, and I started writing some verse.  I like much of the new stanza, but it very obviously doesn’t fit at the end of the poem where it was originally tacked on.  The original three stanzas are much more cohesive–likely because they were written together on the same day, so it’s hard to split them as they flow together well.  Part of the problem is that the new material, while in line with the theme, does not fit conveniently anywhere with regard to the timing of the coming of dawn.

The lack of cohesion was strong enough that I stopped working on another stanza to try to find a way forward.  I think from this point I could go many directions: I could omit the stanza and try to create new verse that fits the earlier draft, I could revise and/or reposition the stanza to try to make it mesh more with the original material, or I could possibly create more verse that would smooth the transition.

I settled on trying option two and three.  I moved the stanza around, and it fits best at the top, but needs revision to change the feel.  There also needs to be at least one more stanza after it to smooth the transition to the appearance of the light.  So as of now, that’s the answer to my question.  I’ll work on that for now and see where it goes.

Waking creatures announce themselves,
With fitful stirrings of leaf and frond.
Roiling water marks piscine play,
On the mirrored surface of crystal pond.
Chitter and click of darkness fades,
As faithless denizens of the night abscond;
Nocturnal beasts retreat silently,
Through fields and woods and the hills beyond

Cool grey predawn catches fire,
Burns ever brighter as the sun ascends;
Radiant warmth fights silently,
Against the crisply coursing autumn wind.
Trees and grasses shiver and sough,
Hum tenuous tones on sway and bend;
Chanting songbirds lend melody,
The ethereal chorus of twilights end.

Hill and swale coalesce in form,
Awash with mornings first tentative rays.
Mounting dawn coaxes color forth,
Drawing vibrant hues from the muted haze.
Golden tones color Fall’s last leaves,
Sharing final splendor in dying days.
Deep violet skies flee fleetly west,
Seeking refuge once more as night decays.

Long shadows creep across the land,
False strength that falters as day grows bright.
Earth and stone sit stolid and cold,
Unavailing resistance to warming light;
Crystaline dew breaks free from bonds,
Restlessly stirring, grasps the wind and takes flight.
Eternal sun dances onward up,
An overarching orb empowering life.

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