Bit by bit, and weekly by weekly, I'll be transferring single poems and groups of poems from this and other blogs over to Substack, which you can access by clicking here: https://raymond5e2.substack.com/.
Thank you for checking it out.
From the archives
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 – The Raven
This morning I watched videoed readings of The Raven.
Great actors like James Earl Jones read the poem’s lines
to music, almost as if it were a film script with a musical score.
I fear they missed the point, rushing through the inside words
to make them fit an outside melody and rhythm.
With Poe, the music already lives, inside the words and lines.
Poe’s words are to be read slowly, deliberately, intentionally.
One word should stumble into the another, like a drunk man
walking, like Poe, bobbing and weaving his way through Baltimore.
My father would read The Raven as it should be read, slowly,
with drunken slurs, and sharps and flats. “Don’t fuck with Poe!
Forgive me son, I didn’t mean to say that word.
But Poe is not a joke.” I learned that lesson well.
They say there’s a moon
Overhead at night.
I couldn’t tell you truly
As I haven’t been outside at night
Since the lockdown came.
This poem’s about the moon
In theory. The prince is dead.
How did he die? He died like this.
A waxing crescent moon guides
A lost navy man back home.
The queen is now alone,
With her lady in waiting, smiling,
and bank accounts galore.
But the Beatles already told us
Money can’t buy me love.
I could never be a royal.
Their lives are open books.
Except when there’s an eclipse,
and darkness and cold surround
For a passing moment in time.
Our (optional) prompt for the day is to write a poem in the form of a “to-do list.” The fun of this prompt is to make it the “to-do list” of an unusual person or character.
It may not be true for everybody –
My story has beginnings that don’t end.
So a proper to-do list must include
Going back in time and picking up balls
I dropped. Not many and not all the time,
Mind you, but often little things, not small
Enough to be inconsequential, add
Up to many over time, so they say.
My temporal to-do list would include:
continuing to play the viola;
staying with Scouting to reach Eagle rank;
writing more poetry and song lyrics;
joining the Navy sooner, not later.
I’d spend less time pining over lost love.
—————————————-April 9, 2021
The prompt invites us to examine liminal spaces. I didn’t like the photographs so I did an independent search and discovered the Sony game Echochrome. This sonnet resulted.
I never played Sony video games –
But I recognize a good string quartet
When I hear one – all those years of playing
Viola were not for naught. Music moves,
One learns so much from its forward motion –
Pathways that touch form continuities,
And if you jump from one path you will land
On another. The gap that’s blocked from view
Between connected paths should not be feared;
A hole that’s blocked from views may not exist –
Until you step in it, of course, and then
You fall to lower levels. Closer things
Overlap things more distant – you see more
Detail in near objects than those afar.
– April 4, 2021
Prompt was the Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken."
The cherry blossoms are
in full display today. A gift
To perpetuity from the Japanese.
We didn’t have to end
that war the way we chose.
I can’t make up for what
the people lost but still
I feel their pain.
We fought another war
that both sides lost:
A sacred cause that should have
been resolved by Jefferson,
Madison and Hamilton
over dinner in New York,
not on battlefields.
(How much might it have cost
To cut a deal? 620,000 lives lost
Is a price we cannot fathom,
a mortgage that forever haunts us,
a note with no maturity date.)
Dogwoods remind me
of cherry blossoms,
white petals, not pink.
The tree that formed
the cross where Jesus died –
A passing Easter thought
Too much is lost in war,
too many lives foreclosed
the fruit of labor spoiled
on the vine. I think about
their roads and choices lost.
– April 2, 2021
Today’s prompt is the animated version of SunRa, Seductive Fantasy
Sun Ra, man,
Our prophet and guide
Saint of inner space
In painting and music –
And growing flowers –
There is no finiteness,
Only infinity, he tells us.
Shapes and seeds
Abound – a never ending
Increase in variation –
LIke a trombone’s slide
Or a trumpet’s valve
Or vibration of strings
Across a bridge.
Every moment is
An improvisation –
A riff on a theme,
Removing the top layers
And building again.
– April 1, 2021
The NaPoWriMo early bird first prompt invites us to find a painting or artifact in a museum and write a poem about it. I am studying a play in my August Wilson group, The Piano Lesson, that is based on a painting/collage of the same name by Romare Bearden. Perfect timing!
I will post a screen shot of the painting, followed by a poem, the first of NaPoWriMo2021!
The black mirror attracts my inspection –
A scaled representation of the whole.
The wooden metronome in its foreground
Reminds one of rhythm and time’s passage,
The pendulum’s swing until the winding
Dies. The young girl, black like the mirror, plays
As her mother directs. The mother’s face,
More blue than black, leans in attentively.
A non-flowering plant rests in a vase.
A paintbrush seems out of place. It could be
A missing conductor’s baton. The sun
Bursts through the window as a slight breeze blows
The curtains askew. A ceiling lamp and
A table lamp compete to light the room.