The Reply

The Reply

(after Glenys’s request

  made known to me)

 

A spring day,

what’s to reply to!

The season

just begun.

The sun is shining.

I speak between clouds.

The wind is chill.

Chill wind or no

the washing will dry.

Words come to me.

Poets and lovers of poetry;

there will always be poetry.

 

Benita H. Kape © 15.8.2017

 

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Petals: Now Let Us Engage Her Elsewhere – NaPoWriMo 2017, day twenty-nine – prompt: choose concrete noun from fav. poem then free writing, adjectives, other nouns – go ahead write a poem.

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Petals: Now Let Us Engage Her Elsewhere

.

Somewhere in the poem

there will be a small child.

She is always talkative, and busy.

Sometimes she is deeply engaged.

We must explain everything at

her level so that she may

more fully understand.

.

Today her animation centres

around flowers. But wait,

she goes back for leaves;

another flower, or part thereof,

plucking so quickly she brings

little in her hand. She is running

back for more but we must call

her in from the rain.

.

When she comes, her warm hands

brush mine with a single petal

and staring back at the blank, barely

discernible, space,  certainly not

a half plucked bloom, she begins

to cry and cries the more

on seeing that the oblong petal,

having been singularly plucked

can never be put back whole.

.

When the rain stops we show her

this happens to plants anyway.

Flowers drop petals, drop flowers.

She pulls back unconvinced.

.

Now let us engage her elsewhere

lest our/her small timeframe is lost.

.

Benita H. Kape © 29.4.2017

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

The poem I chose was by Brian Turner, Otago, New Zealand “Flowers”.

Petal was my key noun. Petal, in that poem, was used in a way one didn’t quite expect. There was definitely no child in Brian’s poem.

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Forestalling, a Nocturnal – NaPoWriMo 2017 – Day seventeen – prompt: a nocturnal poem

My moon

Forestalling:  a Nocturnal

 

Celebrating the things of the night.

The expanse of stars across an ocean.

The moon in its many phases.

.

Moon friend beneath the trees

A wise old face is winking at me.

Winking forever in sunlight and dawn.

Celebrating the things of the night.

.

I kiss your cheek and a star appears.

The cat comes by to nuzzle

before an evening of prowling.

Returning to sharpen her claws on the

nearby tree trunk.     And, to camel her

own celebration of night before resting.

.

I do not see all that goes on in the garden

at night.

I am saying my prayers celebrating

the things of the night.

I am inching my way to the forestalling

of eternal night.

Scatter my ashes at the foot of my moon friend.

24/7, he’ll wink at you.

We will be celebrating the things of the night.

The kiss of a star on his cheek.

Benita H. Kape © 17.4.2017

 

camel  found from  “Of Jeoffry, His Cat” by Christopher Smart

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form! Need more inspiration? Why not listen to one of history’s most famous nocturnes, Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2?

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A Thousand Reaching Arms – NaPoWriMo 2017, day sixteen – prompt: after Ross Gay

 

Backyard seat 2013

The Back Garden, no problem

 

A Thousand Reaching Arms of Jasmine Creeping

 .

Haeri mai; welcome friends, any who enter

my front gate. Along the footpath

you will see

an overgrowth;

agapanthus,

which are also known

as Lily of the Nile, yes,

they have engulfed the border against the fence line:

but it is the Jasmine creeping entwining over

and beneath their feet; who reaches out for the street.

It is she who has gained a highlight.

We must trim it. Cut it back from any further advancement.

.

Dear friends, Even as I go to check

Jasmine sweeps out one of a thousand arms.

I could say I fall for Jasmine. Of course, I do.

I almost tripped, my ankle grasped by this trailing footpath vestment

She has breathed new life, entwined around

the camellia, happy to strangle,

fresh after warm late summer/

early autumn rain.

But she, who is responsible

for an obnoxious compliance notice; the one,

so recently placed in my letter box by the City Environment officer.

“Clear your footpath. I will be back in two weeks,” he says.

Well, yes Sir I will do this in between writing poems.

Poems for Jasmine, camellias, oranges and lemons, cherry trees

and Irises. And dancing; dear friends,

when I have complied with the officers’ compliance

we will dance on my green lawn,

or maybe we will dance every morning at dawn

to ease the burden, not reminding ourselves

of this irreverent caution. But I suppose we cannot

let jasmine take over the world. Perhaps no cars

could travel down the street for jasmine, certainly

not old folks walking or children on tricycles.

.

We are coming into

our season the camellias claim.

Strong slender vines ramble through every branch;

sharp shiny green camellia leaves,

and smaller slim Jasmine leaves advertising prosperous growth for both.

Make a little room please; camellia and autumn roses whose thorns

are beautiful and have their own conversation.

.

I wait for the bright pink, brilliant many shades of red;

two variegated bushes pink/red/white,

a growing hedge of winter-flowering camellias.

With clipper and spade we shear away a tangle of wiry tendrils;

dear Jasmine, we are now in compliance.

.

The rude good health of lemon tree and orange. Cherry trees,

almost ready for their winter hibernation. Irises bulbs were split:

spread now their rigid leaves and make me want to sing for the spring

which we will welcome in the months ahead;

many winter months ahead.

Already the birds

give us a good report

They never tangle with Jasmine.  So I find

myself dancing from tree to tree, communications

for the joy of a garden and a recent and ready safer entry;

no tendrils to hesitate our footpath stroll.

Dear friends, enter at my gate. You many

not smell Jasmine at every turn

but you will be dancing. Dancing

in the garden for camellias and birds.

Dear friends, enter at my gate. You too

may sing as you enter. Haeri mai. Everything is ka pai.

 

Benita H. Kape © 16.4.2017

 

* Haeri mai –  welcome

* ka pai       –   all is good

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.

 

 

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Rowing Down a River – NaPoWriMo 2017 – Day fifteen – prompt: a poem about middles

Rowing Down a River

.

I find myself in the middle of incredible

joy. I find myself in the middle of passion.

I have at times, found myself in the middle

of arguments. And at times I have been

in the middle of making difficult decisions.

.

I am neither above or below.

My mother was an only child.

Of her nine children, I was the one

in the middle. My middle name

belongs to my mother. My first

to my Dad.

.

I take the middle slice of cake, the middle

fruit from the tree. My house is neither

top or bottom of the street. I have rowed

a raft down the middle of the river. I have

oft’ times found myself in the middle of love,

hope and peace. I know there will be other times

when I am in the middle of great sadness.

.

I think this is not the middle of the poem;

it is the end. I find myself in the middle

of a whole month writing poems. I find

myself in the middle of true passion.

Benita H. Kape © 15.4.2017

Last, but not least, here’s our prompt for the day (optional, as always!). Because we’re halfway through NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reflects on the nature of being in the middle of something. The poem could be about being on a journey and stopping for a break, or the gap between something half-done and all-done. Half a loaf is supposedly better than none, but what’s the difference between half of a very large loaf and all of a very small one? Let your mind wander into the middle distance, betwixt the beginning of things and the end. Hopefully, you will find some poetry there!

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Zen Masters – GloPoWriMo 2017 – Day Six – Ways of looking at things

Flipped Slippers

Zen Masters

 .

I look my cat in the eyes.

She looks back into mine.

It’s a mutual admiration.

.

I look at her feet, all four, individually.

I’ve read that cats would never let you

touch their pads and in between, tactile

and cushiony. Nice to prove the experts

wrong. I believed Adolf Huxley when he said,

“If you want to write keeps cats.” I think on

some counts he got that wrong; (more on

that later.)

.

One cat will do for me. One whose feet

fascinate me, the long hours she spends

on my knee. I caress each pad. She spreads

each claw, and as she feigns sleep I see in her,

delight. If her claws communicate sharp,

and grip in any way, it’s only to make clear

her ecstasy.

.

If I’m taking more notice of my writing desk

than her; (like now): she’ll let me know that too.

I look on her as she carefully, gradually scatters

my papers. And then she’ll walk across

the keyboard, nudge away the books

I’m piling on the printer.

.

Oh, yes, she looks me in the eye and smiles.

Smug, smug cat; perhaps she saw what I was

reading. Cat quotes, this one by Eckhart Tolle.

‘I have lived with several Zen Masters, all

of them cats.’

.

Benita H. Kape © 6.4.2017

 

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view. The most famous poem of this type is probably Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. You don’t need to have thirteen ways of looking at something – just a few will do!

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Nature At A Distance – NaPoWriMo 2017 – Day Five – prompt: nature poem

Rainbow trout 001

Self, fishing on Lake Waikaremoana. Poem inspired by Mary Oliver who writes alot about the sea

Nature  At  A  Distance

 

Two men setting lines;

sustainable the catch.

It’s a good day,

a day they’d like to match.

At sundown back to shore,

keen men asking no more.

.

As far away as it can be

a fishing show on Sky TV.

I watch a boat far out at sea

in the oceans of the tropics.

.

Next segment sees our presenter

on a virtual factory;

less sustainable, “net” fishing.

Prawns, quick to the belts

and quick the sorting .

Other live fish, not required,

ride the fast belt back into the ocean.

(What was the percentage of their dead?)

Live prawns, here, the only payroll.

.

Then, alarming the fast sorters.

the fast sea-snake slithers amongst

the catch. He’s discussed, then

quickly dispensed of. But back

to work to sort and box and pack.

By this time, stowed four thousand

boxes, then head for home to work

through the night unloading.

.

When the preliminary

to the next segment shows

I turn away from the screen.

With no desire to watch men hunt

and grapple sea-going crocodiles;

that today was all I want to see

of nature at a distance yet I am captured,

stirred; can smell the sea and seaweed

so I strike out for the local beach I’ve heard

pounding not too far away. Avoiding

the boardwalk I tread the shoreline

feeling nature close and raw, the soft

air and the brine. To see, feel and smell;

nature close I stand in awe.

I stand in awe, even at a distance.

Benita H. Kape © 5.4.2017

Day Five (as always, the prompt is optional). In honor of Mary Oliver’s work, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is based in the natural world: it could be about a particular plant, animal, or a particular landscape. But it should be about a slice of the natural world that you have personally experienced and optimally, one that you have experienced often. Try to incorporate specific details while also stating why you find the chosen place or plant/animal.

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