A year or so ago, our writing group was challenged to write a sonnet. I completely failed. Fourteen lines ofiambic pentameter(the rhythm of the heartbeat, the rhythm in which Shakespeare wrote his words) with a rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. I could not get a single four lines in the required format. Then I had an idea a few weeks ago that my brain had reorganized itself and figured I could do it. It flowed. Unfortunately the second stanza did not make much sense. I let it sit and reworked it. Writing a sonnet is like working a crossword, our instructor informed us. Here is my first sonnet!
To cloak desire, to hide your fire, to leave
no trace, no trail, no hint of what went right;
to walk as one who fears the grass will grieve
if blocked a moment’s time from rays of light;
No life is this.
I cast a shadow dark
to shelter others from the sun that blinds.
The shark goes where it likes; it leaves its mark,
and spares no tears for fish or human kinds.
True sharks seek blood. We judge their action not.
It takes all kinds to make the world. Some day
we homo saps might learn the truth of what
God tried to show the prophets of his way.
An afterthought, the holy blessèd life;
Embrace the pain you cause and skip the strife.
Note: This does not contradict the Bible, despite what some might think. Those are people who do not understand the difference between a mechanism (what I am describing here) and the cause, reason, or motivating force, which I can give no better answer to than anyone else. I am a deeply spiritual person, and it is aggravating when people accuse me of being an atheist. Consciousness preceded or coincided with matter. Like the bumper sticker says, “God Spoke, and Bang It Happened.”
The ant hills were a bit flattened by the time I thought to snap a photo.
a piece of “micro-fiction” from a prompt about an idea lighting on the mind like a butterfly… for the Peninsula WritersGroup spring newsletter. This is a little different from my usual style…
Cecil and Eileen Go Camping
The idea fluttered by, and by again, finally lighting on her mind for a nano-second, before fluttering off once again. The second time, the spark at the synapse was a stronger blip. This time she could see the butterfly for a micro-second. It was an Eastern Black Swallowtail. Eileen had trained her intuitive mind to show her a specific series of butterflies when a new idea was forming. There was nothing she could do about it but wait, until the Red Admiral and Painted Lady had come and gone. When the Mourning Cloak showed up, the idea was ready for daylight.
“That’s crazy!” Cecil said, his lips split in a wide grin. “I’ll help.”
Eileen emerged naked from the tent, followed by Cecil, in the same condition, for moral support. He turned, reached back into the tent opening, and pulled out a paint brush and the jar of bait.
Eileen’s breathing quickened a little as Cecil opened the jar, and then more as he dipped his brush and started painting her.
The buzz of giant wasps could be heard from afar. Eileen’s breathing steadied. The wasps arrived. Eileen opened her arms and welcomed the sting. Soon the nightly pains would be over. The kindness of the anesthetic paralyzer acted quickly. The atoms which had combined their essences to be Eileen would soon disperse into millions of wasp larvae, some of whom would become bird shit, and others of whom would wing their way around the world.
Cecil didn’t know if Eileen could still hear him, but he stayed, and played his guitar for her. He sang her songs. He watched over her, until the larvae hatched, ten days later. Then he drove down the highway, to home.
For whom does this chimera pipe his silent tune?
The cobra, whose neck he so calmly holds with his left hand?
Or for me, the current audience?
In what key does he play?
Is it a traditional tune?
Or something a little more sexy?
I bought this copper casting at the government store in Mahabalipuram.
The agent said tribal people made these figurines, and this one was probably three hundred years old.
“The people of the younger generation
don’t care about their ancestors’ art.
They’d rather have the money.”
Sadness and uncertainty lurk in my mind.
I too have lost many of my parents’ customs.
On arriving home, I ask my new friend
“Who are you?”
I discover that his pipe,
with a mid-length bulge,
pours forth music, not smoke.
Charmer’s features look African.
Charmer’s bracelets and necklaces
call “Royalty!” and “Ancient Near East.”
But the cobra itself and the exotic flute cry “India! India!”
The melody reaches my ears after all!
That’s must be why I knew he was coming home with me
I saw him.
Now, it’s only the cast copper charmer’s chant that soothes the cobra.
The human snake charmers in India have been silenced by people
who find it cruel to keep a snake in a basket and make it dance on demand.
As if the cobra doesn’t have a way to make known its own displeasure.
Whose mind does the charmer’s melody mollify?
Could the eternal enemy become a friend?
Millions of years ago, our primate predecessors
had already made up a word for
“enemy from below,” and it was “snake.”
But wait! What about the viper in The Little Prince?
Or the Snake in the Garden of Eden?
Charmed, Snake refrained from striking
beautiful Eve, and taught her to
exercise free will, a very difficult task,
efficiently carried out, in a dialogue
only a few sentences long.
A doctorate in Psychology, in a minute.
A gift for a lifetime of life-lines.
But wait! My Pakistani friend says that there are still live snake charmers in Karachi!
Reds and yellows mist the branches of tall trees,
followed by innocent green.
I look past open polygons to tiny skies beyond,
noticing a stray branch pointing westward.
The forsythia flowers crowd their limbs.
Butter yellow, no longer innocent,
hidden by new leaves,
soon they’ll drop to their doom.
Now dandelions carry the forsythia’s forsaken
Shortly, they too, will surrender, and the tatters
of white ones will wander,
in search of a bit of earth.
Winter was unkind to my pussy willow,
but the bamboo, neglected for decades,
has marched forth and multiplied,
in the shadow of the spruce.
In the shadow of the spruce. End of poem. Going to prose now. But I just liked how that phrase sounds. In the shadow of the spruce….
Anyway, lots of people notice the changing leaf colors in fall. The changing leaf colors of spring are more muted. I didn’t used to notice. My friend and spiritual mentor, Reverend Dan Kivel, told me that I’d be able to tell if I had a spiritual awakening because colors would look brighter. I found this to be incorrect. However, I did notice that there were a lot more subtle changes in the colors of the living world around me. In earliest spring, I noticed that what I always thought of as green, because they were tree leaves, which “are green,” were really red, yellow, brown, pink, and then maybe some were really green. I can’t remember if he acknowledged that my change in perception counted as a spiritual awakening at that time or not.
Try Googling “change of leaf color in spring.” Good luck. Not much out there. It’s all about fall.