if trees had wings—
need not trust to fickle winds
to safely bear their seed
if the heart could hear tomorrow…
choose to go or stay
Copyright © 2018-08-12, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Also published this date on the Quilted Poetry blog and inspired by a photograph (third one from the top) on Thomas Gable’s post: Spring is Near on the blog When Timber Makes One Still.
reflected in the water
the sunset sky
dark clouds dot the surface
stepping-stones across the lake
Copyright © 2018-07-25, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Sometimes, at waking, the most odd and unexpected trains of thought roll through my mind.
time does not heal
all wounds, but only stretches out
the tepid stream
life—an endless river
immortality its death
Copyright © 2018-06-13, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
In the midst of all, I have misplaced text files for poems I wrote and meant to put here and/or email to my writing partners for this National Poetry Month challenge. I hope to have all gathered together (more poems written as necessary) before Midnight (local).
I’ve a number of them, I think, at QuiltedPoetry.net. I’ll get those copied here, also. I like having these month-long challenges and class work gathered together in a specific spot. And then exporting the file WordPress files to save for a backup.
I hope that you’ve found something amongst these (rough drafts) poems that have intrigued you or been otherwise a good read.
nahaiwrimo prompt for Day 21: PRINT
“I just finished reading ‘The Printmaker’s Daughter’ by Katherine Govier about Hokusai’s daughter and their lives together early to mid 1800’s . The book got me thinking about woodblock printing, printing presses with moveable type, print making on silk or paper or other materials and how that has changed over the years since the invention of the Gutenberg press. How our civilization has changed because of print! Press on!”
Bring Your Own Plot
Print has gotten smaller
in books as years go by
and letters crowd the line
with two or more ascenders
where only one should be, and
below the quivering baseline
the descenders stub their toes
I do not know what choice to make
to maximize these story times—
read very fast for fleeting joy…
or memorize my favorite lines
to savor when the light fades
and shadows darken all
We will call up treasured stories,
the characters and I, and we
will plot out better endings
in which none of us will die
Copyright © 2018-05-02, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Prompt for Day 19 is from the Cayahoga Library:
An “origin story” is the backstory of how a character became a protagonist or how superheroines (or -heroes) received theirsuperpowers. Write a poem that imagines your backstory as either a poet or a superhero(ine).
The Vicissitudes of Childhood
I learned to talk aloud
by learning how to read
line by line, books read—
two pages, pointing out
each word and saying it,
and when I’d read them back
I’d open up my mouth again…
to eat a bite of baby food
while Mother turned the page
Copyright © 2018-04-21, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Brewer: “For today’s prompt, write a response poem. Respond to whatever helps you get your poem written…”
dry leaves dance above—
leaping higher than treetops
stripped by April winds
green shoots kissed by dirt and rain
pledge autumn one more harvest
Copyright © 2018-04-29, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
This poem is in response to a poem not from this challenge, but one that I wrote for the 2008 SFPA poetry contest; the theme was “Energy”. The poem’s title is “Future Freedom”. It’s the second poem on this page of my QuiltedPoetry.net blog.
Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a story poem. Think of a story, could be a long, complicated, winding story, but for a poem, it may make more sense to make it a short, direct story.
Sort of a plot summary of a book that I wrote, many years ago, and then put aside. I have no suitable photos to go with it. Comes to mind, again, every once in a while, morphing over…nearly 4 decades.
“Blood to Blood”
Not who he thought, his father,
not he who was seated as chairman
in his grandfather’s boardroom.
His true father, not by name, but blood,
one who labored in his mother’s gardens,
holding his hand as he took his first steps,
sharing carrots with him from those gardens.
Eating green peas nested in their pods,
they watched koi fish swim among the lilies.
As he grew, listening to rain and
painting the colors of the wind,
he came into his heritage and ran.
Not a heritage of wealth,
but fear, fleeing to the one
who taught him how to run.
Copyright © 2018-04-28, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
The prompt that I chose for April 25 was from NaPoWriMo: Today, we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself! (Mine definitely includes the statement: “Do Not Feed More Than Four Cookies Per Hour.”
DO NOT ENTER
Life is Contagious
Death is Certain
Copyright © 2018-05-05, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Now, I have to look over my files and posts, again, to make sure that I’ve got everything on this blog.
tucked away in grey-pink clouds—
wake the morning sun
Copyright © 2018-04-24, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a temptation poem. Nearly everyone is tempted by something: fame, glory, money, chocolate. Today is the perfect day to give in to the temptation to write about your (or “a friend’s”) temptation. Also, I totally understand the temptation to write about The Temptations today.
Tempted to Silence
as the years move on
as I move with them
or we go separate ways
I have less to say
there is less to hear
around me that inspires…
I don’t know what I miss—
words of kindness, uplifting
without self-serving thoughts
a different world, perhaps,
outside the door…with hope
for more than me and mine and yours
If I were alone, again
if there were no one to care
if I were there or here
I would take a lease
on a cabin in the woods
for enough years to die
listening to rain and bird calls
wind and ice and hearth fire
pencil scratching paper
the opening of a door
Copyright © 2018-04-18, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
Prompt from #RonovanWrites #Haiku – Original post with more photos.
sunlight on his wings
the joy of his dance
Copyright © 2018-04-17, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
I love to dance
strong horizontal sweeps
of the tail fin below…
gill covers and filaments
vibrating, my head up
looking at the bright waves
of sunlight as the lights
flow on above me
the water moves
and I am still
Copyright © 2018-04-16, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
Cuyahoga Library Prompt: ‘Open a dictionary to the letter “m.” Scan until you find the first word you don’t know the meaning of that intrigues you, and then write a poem about that word.’
camouflage soft ground that has
no base to stand on
Copyright © 2018-04-13, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
From Wikipedia: “Muskeg consists of dead plants in various states of decomposition (as peat), ranging from fairly intact sphagnum moss, to sedge peat, to highly decomposed humus.” [Article].
Ah, well! Perhaps the other prompts for this day will turn out better.
I decided to go back to April 9, to the Pilgrimage prompt, and wander a bit through the family tree. My mother was a genealogist, among other things, and we kids got to do research, each in our turn.
Who We Were
[still a rough draft]
Our people came from Iowa
by way of the Norman invasion,
Mayflower I and II, the Winthrop Fleet
by way of rivers on diverse craft
neighbors with neighbors
towns moving together
They arrived in the Firelands
then settled in Iowa and
opened South Dakota—farms
were lost behind the dam, so
back to small-town Iowa
Penneys went into retail, catalog sales
A connection of “our” Bennetts sent
Stanley to find Livingston
the Deans made sausage, and the
Gallops (Kolopp, from Alsace) took polls
The grocery store owner in
South Dakota patented a plow
the Carters served in India
as Methodist missionaries
Evangeline Ink wrote an exposé
novel about TB camp swindles
My generation and the next have been
lawyers, executives, freelancers, clerks
writing and publishing books,
poetry. textbooks, and many stories
nurses caring for the injured and elderly,
builders, handcrafters, quilters,
Myself, I grow wild flax
in the backyard garden, take naps
with the puppy dogs, make up recipes
and do the laundry, play piano, and
hold my husband close to my heart
I read only as many books in a week
as I write poems, a photo for most
no children, but a library
gathered over a lifetime
determined to leave no book unread…
always buying more
There’s always time to write a poem…
time to read a book
Copyright © 2018-04-10, by Elizabeth W. “Lizl” Bennefeld.
NaPoWriMo Prompt: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity, in which multiple things are happening at once.”
geese cry overhead
the dogs sit up and listen
leaves remain silent
I would fly like those wild birds
fly to be with you again
Copyright © 2018-04-10, by Lizl Bennefeld.
I find it interesting, how different the topics are for my online journal from the paper journal that I have returned to since the first of 2018. Things that I would only post, if at all, on my Patchwork Prose site, which still suffers little to no traffic in any given month. (I have not brought myself to write there much.)
I suspect that I am more secretive than I’d thought. Or, more accurately, how much a “private person” I’ve turned out to be, simply because I do not talk much about externals. Because I don’t live in the externals.
Often, a “thing” or “experience” seems not objectively real until I write it down somewhere. Or relive it to myself in words so that it will stick. I have found it interesting that I can go back through memory and reimage, should other events overtake me, and so file a happening in words in my mind or on paper afterwards. Not always, but sometimes. Enough.
When I look back through the written journals before I shred them (I have journaled since my high school years), I find that a lot of what I have puzzled over/pondered, surprises me. Looks unfamiliar. The same is true of my online journals. Excepting, perhaps, the poems that I write.
tulips pushing through
loam to newly fallen snow
wait in line for spring
our rabbits, lacking new grass,
nibble tender tulip shoots
Copyright © 2018-04-08, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
We have a lot of rabbits in our yard and the surrounding neighborhood, which we appreciate, since they provide a lot of exercise for our dogs. First thing in the morning, they are eager to go outside and check for rabbits who’ve stayed out eating past the softer light of sunrise. They have such fun! Especially when the rabbits run off in different directions…or taunt the dogs by making an extra detour around the garden shed before slipping out through the fence.
The prompt for today called for a poem involving one (or more) of the senses. I find that I still miss hearing those voices in the night, singing me to sleep.
in the apartment where I lived
before I married, a quarter century past,
late at night through air ducts
the building sang to me
deep, rumbling chants
basso profondo choir
I recall the voices—
vibrations in my bones—
rocking me to sleep
Copyright © 2018-04-07, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Brewer: For today’s prompt, write an intelligence poem. Of course, intelligence is subjective. What is common sense for one person makes no sense to another. But intelligence is more than IQ and test scores. There’s artificial intelligence, intelligent animals, and military intel. And I’ve found that many poets have a special intelligence of their own.
I’m good with words
Ideas flow from my mouth
guiding the bewildered
the puzzled, the lost
Just don’t ask me to repeat
what I said last—I can’t
My mind has moved
into a new channel
The sound of spoken words
often bypasses memory
The words that I gave you
rest only with you, now
Copyright © 2018-04-05, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Prompt from NaPoWriMo: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two….”
when the patterns that you see
do not mirror the observations of others
patterns can be dangerous
the loaded gun can go off
when patterns go askew
things can happen
even when they don’t
flow with the
a lot like my life
Copyright © 2018-04-06, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Prompt for Day 4 from the NaHaiWriMo page on Facebook.
reconsider this day’s world
warmth and rest can set thoughts free
transforming dreams into flight
Copyright © 2018-04-04, by Lizl Bennefeld.
life of words
filtered through words
life lived at second hand
a slower pace—indepth
without the words
written out or spoken—
if only heard, repeat them
before they disappear
into the aether—
wordless melodies and rhythms
sensory nonsense songs
without the verbs
subjects and adjectives
caught in imaged
letters upon the mind
sounds are only
Copyright © 2018-04-03, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld.
Again, a rough draft, I expect.
the face in the mirror…mine
as I looked 30 years ago
hair cut short—cut off
after all those years
do I appear the same to
anyone but me? will they
know me at a glance?
I will not know them
I did not know them then
then, I did not care
now, there is no one else
Copyright © 2018/04/02, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld (Lizl).
This one’s probably a rough draft.
within the bowl
blue trees surround a small house
patterns from childhood
born of her best memories—
Copyright © 2018-04-01, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld (Lizl).
I read both the NaPoWriMo and the NaHaiWriMo prompts for this day, coming away with “bowl” (haiku prompt) and NaPoWriMo’s suggestion to write a love poem to an object. They blended in my mind to produce “Dreams in Porcelain”, combining Mother’s memories of her childhood and her love of collecting such decorative pieces during her cross-country travels. As they reminded her, I expect, of her childhood, the memory of them calls up memories from my own childhood…and the dreams that she had and fostered for us.
Reading about the excess profit taking on generic drugs by companies centered on fast money rather than service to society, I find myself becoming convinced that for me to purchase and use such products would not be something I could bring myself to do. And then I wonder how much that conviction rests on my confidence of life after death.
In dealing with health issues currently, I avoid certain medications and diagnostic procedures. Some side effects that I know run in the family make me choose no treatment, rather than the certain damage to health and quality of life that would result from preventive medication.
A case in point would be the suggestion by doctor and nurse educator that I should use insulin to bring my blood sugar level down quickly. Knowing myself to be less than attentive or oriented to time and place, I refused that option, deeming the possibility of my killing myself by double- or triple-dosing myself through inattention to what I do to be more likely than effective self-treatment. After twelve months, I am now tapering off the medication that I did accept a prescription for.
That raises another question in my mind regarding motivation. Am I simply adverse to interfering with life’s progression? Do I think that nothing bad will happen to me by avoiding preventive treatments? What sort of internal guidelines/proscriptions am I following.
I feel strongly about the choices that I have been and continue to make. I do not know what my internal driver is. At all. Except that it seems to have something to do with the purpose of and framework for living in this world.
I wrote a rough draft for a longer poem, yesterday. I’ve been working on revisions, but it’s not ready to post anywhere.
we didn’t expect
oceans dead, oxygen gone
cities down sink holes
we thought…smog and air filters
Copyright © 2017-11-21, by Lizl Bennefeld.
I believe that the 19th day was the one that I missed in the poem-a-day string. Having given up on the prompts for that day, I found a prompt that did appeal to me: Not what we expected (from PoetryPotion, Nov. 20). Now, I should be caught up on the writing of ’em, if not the posting.
I did write a poem for Day 18 in response to the prompt “what I meant to say”, but decided not to put it on my blog. Sometimes that happens.
Still working on a poem for Day 19.
grasping talons…beating wings
Copyright © 2017-11-05, by Elizabeth W. (Lizl) Bennefeld.
Prompt: #NaHaiWriMo : Swoop
the sun rose
rolled along its silent path—
it’s wandered off unnoted
tomorrow will not happen
Copyright © 2017-10-22, by
Elizabeth W. Bennefeld
Fargo ND USA
not fake news
poor people live there…
let them starve
caught up by someone else’s
timeline…no way out of here
Copyright © 2017-10-13, Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
Tough, getting to sleep, tonight.
Remembering my parents’ graveside military services as the months progress toward first anniversaries. A year ago, plus a few weeks, my mother entered the hospital, and then into hospice care for two months before her death. Father followed her perhaps ten weeks later.
Two years previous, on September 30, my youngest sister died. She also was in the military. I expect that her son Jesse received the flag from her funeral.
Actually, all three memorial services were filled with crowds of family, friends, townspeople, many stories, much laughter, and overflowing love. As the concrete memories of those events fade in the aloneness of the years that follow, such reminders are blessings.
My remaining sister mentioned in a recent letter the memory of our mother and father sneaking off from the family room for a while to spend time alone with each other, when my sister was young. A reminder of the happiness of our family life and growing up in our family.
I recently woke up from a dream (this week, I think) having just seen my (much younger) mother walking out of and away from the woodworking shop that Al and I are building in the back yard, this summer (and autumn and most likely winter, also). Mom was wearing her favorite red t-shirt with the embroidery on it, which she herself had added, and her blue shorts, and when she looked at me, she was smiling. And so, with the continuing loss, there is also continuing joy.
memorial service programs
their photo montage
folded flags, spent cartridges
their ashes…my shattered heart
Copyright © 2017-09-29, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
I am discovering all over again how much writing about the losses in my life helps with the healing process. Happy memories surface, again, and I can think about our shared past…and the many years mostly not shared. All is understood, now, and where there is understanding, there is forgiveness. I look forward to that, whether it’s literal or only a figure of speech.
The tanka practice in week three of the workshop continues. This is one of the practice poems that I think I will not submit to the workshop leader; it feels like just an extended haiku. I like the flower, though. Seems as though I need a photograph, or at least a picture in my mind’s eye, in order to get started. And I’d always thought that I’m not a “visual” person.
brown on gold petals
poppy flowers bask
in the summer sun
Copyright © 2017-09-27, by Elizabeth Wicker Bennefeld.
Perhaps not so much great “reads” in every case. I do enjoy looking at photographs of the out-of-doors and the creatures that live there.
I cannot leave out Mara Eastern’s blog. Her photos in particularly set me to writing off-the-cuff poems to go with them. I strive to restrain myself. But you might take a look at the comments for this blog entry. (My complete poem is here.)
still, silent in their stark frames–
wait for tears to fall
12 months, too short for mourning …
too soon, the memories fade
too short, mourning. Copyright 2017-08-18, by Lizl Bennefeld.
“i did not want to trouble her”
i would not trouble her
with present reality
the look behind her eyes, knowing
that she did not know,
worrying what she’d once again forgotten
that should always have been remembered
i’d said good-bye a month ago,
then left her undisturbed–
living cherished, not alone
in the simple “now”
i could not trouble her,
let her long-feared flaws and failures
drift by unnoticed
to the end of the beginning
of eternal life
together once again with her mother
and her beloved father
those she never, through it all, forgot
Copyright © 2017-07-26, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
if I do not remember
if I cannot remember you…
my love, let me go
let me not remember either
all the rest
or, fearful, fret
at what i’ve lost
that leaves me with such
losing the clear, sweet memories of you
i’ve lost everything
let go the empty shell
“if I do not remember”. Copyright © 2017-07-26, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
These poems, although I posted the second one today on my poetry blog, belong together. Remembering is a way, I think, to let go of grief by understanding the loss. In this case, the loss of my parents, this last winter.
“To Turn Back the Tide”
…and when the tide had turned,
when waking from long sleep, I found
that all was swept away
Who am I in this new world?
If there are paths
I cannot see them … yet
If I should go to sleep, again–
if I would sleep–
until the tide rolls in, once more,
would the safe, familiar world
that I once thought I knew–
believed I lived within–
be here before my eyes,
to welcome me?
And if not? Then…?
“To Turn Back the Tide”. Copyright © 2017-06-28, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Transition points feel foggy … nebulous … like standing on a piece of ground that cannot be seen or felt. Like wading at the edge of an unknown body of water, depths and currents still to be discovered, with morning mist cloaking the past and future in white and shadows. Memories, the only solid ground.
Inspired by The Daily Post’s photo prompt for this week: Delta.
rainbows fade too soon
turning to vapor as night
falls upon the sky
mist rises at the new moon
the night sky falls toward the Earth
Copyright © 2017-06-18, by Lizl Bennefeld.
All rights reserved.
As the last traces of the afternoon’s rainbow faded away, I found myself regretting that it would not…that they never remain long enough to satisfy that in me which longs for a rainbow at the end of the storm. One must pay attention to the rainbow when it appears, remember it, and bring the memory out again as the need arises. Much more need for a rainbow, much more often than they find themselves in the sky. They’re not to be ignored or discounted. One puts aside trivial chores to count the colors and mark their disappearance as they fade again.
“Getting it Right”
I write the story of my life
one day at a time, taking care
to leaf through previous pages,
editing events, adjusting
back stories, tidying errors
and casual mistakes
that I would not have made,
had I known then what I think
I know today…subject
to further alterations
as seem prudent at the time.
There is time. There is always
time to get it right. There is
an eternity to get it all right.
Written out finally with no mistakes.
Copyright © 2017-06-10, by E.W. Bennefeld.
I had at one time, encouraged by others, considered writing an autobiography. As I go through the process of adjusting to my parents’ deaths, I realize that that would be the wrong avenue for me to take in grieving. Better, bits and bites in poetry and limited explorations in prose.
I have other things to do with my time, and I most probably will not have time to get it right. Not in this lifetime, anyway.
Prompt: Something that happens again and again.
“Tulips at Springtime”
One year soon after I was married,
my mother ordered tulip bulbs
to be planted in the fall,
sent all the way from Holland,
from the farm on which they grow.
She planted bulbs and gave us some.
We placed ours near to those
my husband’s mother planted
many years ago to complement
the lily tulips favored
by the folks who’d come before.
My mother’s gone, his mother, too,
but still the tulips grow.
I wonder if the children of
the folks who lived here
half a century ago remember,
too, the blooms that grew,
planted by their mom and dad
and maybe them.
the last memories
“Tulips at Springtime”. Copyright © 2017-04-30, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Prompt: The (blank), replace “blank” to make the poem’s title.
My father’s final worry,
which he took to his grave,
was his children’s children
and their children living
in a world in which
there would no longer be
clean air or water,
healthy food or crops–
a world in which the haves
would eat the have-nots
when the time had come
that nothing else was left.
“The Future”. Copyright © 2017-04-30, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
Note: This poem is loosely based on a description of one of the last conversations he had with his oldest son, before our father died in February. My father had strong convictions about the expanding effects of climate change and what it would mean for the next generations. At age 100+, with no health problems to speak of, Father decided, one evening, to take a nap, and didn’t wake up, again.
The prompt for day 29 from NaHaiWriMo was “What hides in this fog”.
fog hides me
deep fog hides
my form and footsteps
well-meaning trees wrap
their branches with mist
“fog hides me”. Copyright © 2017-04-29, by Lizl Bennefeld.
the lake in winter
gentle touch of winter’s cold
water’s smooth surface
the quiet of falling snow
the chime as each flake fractures
Copyright © 27 April 2017, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
murmuring of wind
the chill taste of springtime snow
a shake of thunder
Copyright © by 27 April 2017, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
NaHaiWriMo prompt for Day 27: “shake of thunder”.
Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Digest:
For today’s prompt, write a regret poem. Most people regret some action they’ve taken over the years, whether it’s saying the wrong thing, making the wrong choice, or putting off something for a tomorrow that never comes. Write about your own regrets, or the regrets of others (this is a great opportunity to write a persona poem).
Angry, still, she would have said,
Just keep away from me!
You ruin everything you touch,
speaking out…butting in.
Let, at least, my dying be
about me, with my friends.
I only care about my own.
My death belongs to me!
Copyright © 2017-04-26, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
I love enumeratio poetry! I decided just to have fun with this, and made a numbered list in response to the prompt. As an aside, here: I have been writing (and referring to) survival lists/guides ever since I started journaling sometime in the sixties, while I still was in high school. As I finished each journal, I would copy my list into the new one, go through the old one to pull out the “creative writing” pages, and then shred or burn the old journal. I quit doing paper journals around beginning of the century.
Write yourself a survival guide as a list poem: What are the things you need to know to survive? What should you have known? What do you need to remember? What do you know that only you can tell yourself? What items do you need? What actions do you need to take? [Sarah Tatro, Poetry Super Highway]
Things I decided, at one time or another, that I knew and needed to remember
(most recent edition)
1. Nobody knows the answers. Everyone is making it up as they go along.
2. It’s better to screw up making your own mistakes than making someone else’s.
3. Make a list of what you know and, if possible, why you think you know it. Then make decisions on the basis of that list, not on what you want to be real when you’re going crazy.
4. God understands your messes, and they don’t bother Him. He doesn’t confuse them with what or who you are, and neither should you.
5. Gain or loss, pleasure or pain, discovery or routine, sickness or health, friends or isolation, life or death. There are no guarantees or promises concerning these, life’s incidentals. And, they don’t count.
6. You are not alone. You are always loved. You are loved and valued neither more nor less than any and every other living being in creation. You are cared for. Always. No matter what.
7. Act justly, observe appropriate opportunities to perform acts of loving kindness, walk discretely with God and everyone else. As one among all the others.
8. We are all equally responsible. God is the One who’s capable.
9. You will never come to the end of things you do not know, or, knowing, things you do not understand. Not in your job description. You are responsible to give and receive love.
10. You have a profound purpose in life. You achieved it sometime before you turned twenty (or ten … or thirty), and you’ll never know what it was. Everything since then has been gravy.
Copyright © 2017-04-25, by Lizl Bennefeld.
I’ve gotten a bit behind in putting my daily poems onto the net. As I may have mentioned, (maybe not here; maybe just elsewhere), my husband is building a workshop in the back yard (18’x24′ — lifelong ambition), and I have, of course, been helping out a bit. (Heavy lifting and such. Yes! Really!) I have yesterday’s poem ready to add, and I’m going to do that before I dig around and find the others. I do not know what happened to a couple of them, and so must do some searching.
In the meanwhile…snow!
There has been much back-and-forth on our poetry association’s mailing list about contemporary English haiku. I am feeling my way.
bare dirt heaped
where a bush used to grow
our only mountain
Copyright © 24 April 2017, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
I chose the “horizon” prompt from nahaiwrimo and wrote this poem in consideration of the weekend’s wet and windy weather.
a day of rest
on the horizon
the sun peers through heavy clouds
forecast, partly wet
frogs take heart in the damp dawn
I stoke the fire, heat the tea
“a day of rest”. Copyright © 24 April 2017, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
NaHaiWriMo prompt: shooting star
Jeweled shooting stars
line the wooded limestone path
on which I wander.
Copyright © 22 April 2017, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
The Jeweled Shooting Star is a wildflower that grows in Minnesota.
The NaHaiWriMo prompt was “shooting star”, but the “write a Georgic poem” (“a poem dealing with practical aspects of agriculture and rural affairs”) was taken from day 22’s list of prompts for our small group.
Jeweled Shooting Stars
take three or more years to bloom,
planted in dry soil.
Copyright © 2017-04-23, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Photo is located at www.wildflower.org.
Prompt: Typically we can only see the moon and stars at night; however what if inexplicably the stars were visible in the blue sky of the middle of the day? How would a poet (such as yourself!) describe this phenomenon? [Silano, Martha; Agodon, Kelli. The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, Two Sylvias Press.]
I didn’t describe the phenomenon. Instead, I wondered, what if there were a lot of stars close enough to a planet to be seen in daylight in addition to the primary sun? Just for fun, I considered how that might be expressed in the context of religious verse.
“The God of the Suns”
While stolid Sol o’ersees the day-to-days
and helps the world go on in myriad ways,
pay your close attention also
to the farther suns that show,
glittering streams of sparkling light
across the sky in day and night.
They touch the long-term course of time
and bring about life’s gifts sublime.
Copyright © April 2017, by Lizl (Elizabeth) Bennefeld. All rights reserved.
Prompt from NaHaiWriMo: “Candle”
All the Years
In your memory
a candle at the window
each day as light fades
Copyright © 2017-04-19, by Lizl (Elizabeth) Bennefeld.
The cobweb that grows in my head
makes changes that disregard thread.
I remember tomorrow,
but to my great sorrow,
I don’t know when I went to bed.
Copyright © April 2017, by Elizabeth Bennefeld.
The prompt was “Cobweb” from #NaHaiWriMo, but I hadn’t written a limerick for a while.
Constellation of Dark Stars
distant sounds of water
broken by the wind
surfaces too cool for light
constant as an old friend
Copyright © 2017-04-17, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Writing prompt: Nocturne (musical).
Prompt from Brewer: ‘For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) System,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.’
Understanding is at the roots of management,
but first one comes to understand the nature
of the one who understands.
Clear the body, first, of tension.
After, clear the mind of thought
and strip desire from the soul.
Ask, then, for what worthwhile purpose
the system must be managed, or if
by nature, it might manage better
on its own.
Management System [a prose poem of sorts]. Copyright © 2017-04-16, by E. W. Bennefeld.
NaHaiWriMo’s prompt (as offered on our small NaPoWriMo writing list) for April 15, was “feather”. I now have a photograph to go with my poem.
feathers, twigs and grass
sparrows, each spring, build a nest
home’s where children are
Home, Sweet Home. Copyright © 2017-04-15, by Lizl Bennefeld.
Fair weather forecast—
From beneath my umbrella
I watch the rain fall
Copyright © 2017-04-14, by E. W. Bennefeld.
And from a previous challenge, here is a poem about a longer walk with mist and fog.
“From Past to Future”
A misty path, the past, behind me,
the future’s foggy road ahead,
at this clear crossroads
I’ll abide a while,
light a fire and warm
three cups of tea
to welcome passersby,
inviting them to rest
and be at peace
in this moment,
Copyright © 2016-07-31, by E. W. Bennefeld.
along the dark path
at star rise
fish dance in the light
night sounds call
my head nods over my teacup
[untitled]. Copyright © 2017-04-13, by E.W. Bennefeld.
I have tried to do the bare minimum, and still I feel overloaded, and I want simply to lie down and do nothing at all until at least February of 2022. That not being feasible…I think that I will fix a large salad and reread a favorite book.
The prompt is the one given to our group from NaHaiWriMo, but I have not written a Haiku. Instead, I am sharing a poem that I wrote for the February 2015 Blogging U Poetry 201 writing course/event, which was a lot of fun. This poem was written for day five of the first week.
“Not a Foggy City Street”
When people and penguins pass through doors, they leave
their short-term memories where they no longer are.
This is why penguins, having deemed primordial ice sheets least likely
to sprout city center architecture that would block the view
of morning sunrises and tow’ring clouds that carry snow–
forever multiplying amnesia’s doorways and confusion–
have settled in there permanently. At least until
those they eschewed have blacked ice and snow
and ushered in the age of
“Not a Foggy City Street“. Copyright © 2015, February, by E. W. Bennefeld. All rights reserved.
From the hill nearby
one can spy blue lakes, wonder
at nature’s lush green
a cup of tea, a blanket
the afternoon sun brings warmth
“Wonder”. Copyright © 2017-04-11, by Lizl Bennefeld.
I wrote the three-line haiku for this week’s #RonovanWrites #Haiku Poetry challenge. The NaHaiWriMo prompt given to our group for the day is “tea”.
I wrote this poem while thinking of the photos that I have taken of frost that often decorates my windows when the temperature and humidity cooperate. Much less in recent years as the winters are warmer and the most recent central air heating/cooling system discourage frost ferns.
winter’s fingers paint
white murals on the windows
intricate and fine
sunlight reflects the colors
that tint nature’s works of art
“frost”. Copyright © 2017-04-12, by Lizl Bennefeld.
The prompt that I’ve chosen for Day 9 is “Fitting in is hard to do”, a prompt from the mailing-list group that I’ve been on during the current month. The poem I’ve selected in response to this prompt is “Roots”, a prose poem that I wrote in response to a Poetry-101-Rehab prompt (Mara Eastern’s group, then hosted by Andy Townend) on 18 January 2016.
a prose poem
My roots were firmly fastened to the books that I found in the many libraries in this and other towns surrounding my parents’ village. They brought me there (libraries). They fetched them to me (books). They presented me with new soil; the ground in which the writers grew and learned and wrote from. My roots went deep, are deep but mobile. Not fastened to the ground—to any ground, but nurtured by the soil that gave birth to those books I read, the people who wrote them. Good or bad. True or false. Or telling truth more strongly through their stories than through news reports.
And so I live today within five miles, still, of where I was born. Still asked, “You have an accent. Where are you from?” And when I answer, they respond, “Where have you lived, then?” or “That cannot be!” Here I remain, still a stranger to them all. All but a few. The roots that hold the tightest are not of my father’s village, where I was raised…or in this larger city, birthplace of my father.
I’m not born of, no, nor grafted to that stock, but to my parents’ real lives and home: their travels, loyalties, their loves, their dreams…the universe.
“Roots: A prose poem.” Copyright © 2016-01-18, by Lizl Bennefeld. All rights reserved.
Following the sun
from dawn to dusk, soaking in
energy to stop,
sunflowers face east when grown.
Morning’s bees love warm flowers.
Copyright © 2017-04-09, by E. W. Bennefeld.
I suppose that I could have stayed awake, last night, to write a poem, if I had concentrated on it, but I fell asleep with the lights still on, soon after I sat down in the recliner.
“Who Am I?”
I am lightly anchored to the Earth,
drifting gently on my mooring lines
when the wind is strong … Or, when
the water rises, I pull in the lines
and ride the tide of river flood
or ocean until I stretch a hand
or foot to snag another point of rest,
and tie me down to sleep.
A rumor passed from mouth to ear
in almost silent confidence, saying
‘We were left here, still too young
to travel to the stars, to get back home,
before our parents had to leave. And so …’
they left us here to wait. What happened,
that no one returned to find us? All
the others of us ‘made the best of it’.
Who am I, on this strange ground? Writing.
Watching the sky at night. Listening
to the cries of ocean creatures also lost
and calling out, “I’m here! We’re here!
Come! Don’t leave us here to die alone!”
Where can I leave a cairn that they will find
when I can no longer see or hear or wait
for their final, longed-for landing?
Copyright © 2017-04-07, by E. W. Bennefeld.
“Tides of the Heart”
sea water stretches
toward the moon in vain…no time
to reach its heart’s dream
Copyright © 2017-04-06, by E. W. Bennefeld.
Prompt from NaHaiWriMo: Water Lily
golden fish retreat
beneath white water lilies,
sheltered from the sun
distant thunder calls
Strike! as lightning’s bright echoes
roll over raindrops
Luna’s face shines past dark clouds
frogs trade their logs for moonbeams
Copyright © 2017-04-04, by E. W. Bennefeld.
I got the prompt from the prompt list sent by the group that I’m writing with.
The prompt that selected for today called for a poem about a holiday that I do not celebrate. Information about Allantide, also known as the Feast of Saint Allan, can be found, among other places on the Internet, at Wikipedia, but also on a webpage about Allantide – The Cornish Halloween.
At Allantide, as I did lie here sleeping,
I saw the apple-promised vision clear–
the face of him, my true love dear, appearing,
a ghost in mists of nearness–magic dream.
The face it was of him I loved in childhood,
who saved me from a drowning in the lake.
He beckons, softly whisp’ring, “Come and find me.
Come, join me now, my lover, in the wake.”
Alas, sir, you don’t lead where I can follow.
I cannot bear the water round my head.
I can’t forget the paleness of your features
as you lay there before me, still, quite dead.
I’ll eat this apple in your loving memory,
but stay here, safely kept upon the shore.
Each Allantide, I swear, I’ll give thanksgiving,
but a living love I’ll cherish even more.
Copyright © 2017-04-03, by E. W. Bennefeld.
I find that I am enjoying the writing process, so far, this time around. Even though I do not know more than one of the people in this writing group, I find it stimulating to write. Having the group also makes me feel accountable for getting something written to the deadline. A nice lot of prompts have been offered/proposed each day. The first day, I combined prompts and wrote one poem. Today, I chose and wrote in response to two prompts.
circles in the pond
“Trout and Water Strider”
six feet with hair and bubbles —
good to eat? —
stride across the silver-spangled
ceiling of the world
that moving shadow midst the ripples
of the quiet river bend,
a backwater buffet
but not today
today, I am a meditating presence,
not a predator or prey,
watching while the world
floats past, above my scaled head,
muted, as I hang suspended
in cool, shaded water
not thinking, now, not doing…
being, finally, ‘not me’
“Ghost Echoes” and “Trout and Water Strider”. Copyright © 2017-04-02, by E. W. Bennefeld.
Several of the provided prompts led me to writing the poem “Everything is Gone”. The first suggestion to appeal to me was to write a poem in a couplet style called the “landay”, with 9 syllables in the first line and 13 in the second. The second suggestion was in the form of a question, basically, “When did you become aware of your own mortality?”. For me, that was age five, the first day that I came home from school to discover that no one was in the house but me. My parents told me that when they got home and found me, I was beyond panic…shattered.
Employing the landay, I have taken liberties with it. I have not written a two-line poem, but a poem consisting of four couplets. I have let sentences run on from one couplet to the next. Also, I have begun a new sentence in the middle of the first line of a couplet. I have a hope to jar or shock the reader with a disjointed or awkward feeling.
“Everything Is Gone”
There are no more towels left to trade.
Two last scraps hung from a dead branch, near the dry bucket.
The larger is mine, since Father died.
Mother’s is covering my baby sister’s face, now,
one corner wet, where I spit on it,
for her to suck on, the rest to keep flies off her eyes
until she’s dead. Then I’ll walk away
with cloth to trade for a bite of food before I die.
Copyright © 2017-04-01, by E. W. Bennefeld.
I have tried upon occasion to write a poem for each day of the month, sometimes for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and sometimes during NaNoWriMo. I haven’t always done really well. In the best years, I have generated a lot of notes for poems, which I’ve repaired to over years and created poems from them. Usually not my best work, but…
This year, I have teamed up with a writer whom I have known for years, and some of her friends, to write poetry each day during April, at least inspired by something in the provided prompts.
I am planning to do a separate blog post for each poem that I write during NaPoWriMo. For now. And using the tags #NaPoWriMo and #NaPoWriMo2017.
Alternately, I may post a previous poem that I wrote years ago, or a poem written by someone else.
Among the losses that I am mourning is the closure of SFF Net, of which I had been a member since 1997, I think. Believe I didn’t get a newsgroup until the next year. Yesterday I had my first in-person meeting with C., the grief counselor from the local offices of our regional Hospice association. My late mother enjoyed hospice services during the two months that she was in a nursing home, until she died at the middle of November. (Fortunately, the rapid onset dementia protected her from awareness of the national election results.) Our meeting was productive and relaxing. C. is easy to talk to/with/at; she is skilled in keeping conversation going on track, encouraging the general rambling that produces relevant information and genuine emotional responses. And she seems to enjoy my poetry, saying at one point, you’re very good at that—or words to that effect. It was fun to orient her to the members of my immediate family and activities/interactions before any of the children (of which I am the oldest) had left home to attend college.
I have purchased the latest edition of Stress Management (2012, 30th Anniversary), completed the life event checklist for the past 12 months (total was over 300, again), and reviewed the muscle relaxation and imaging exercises for relieving physical stress in my original paper copy.
April is, I understand, national poetry month, and I have, against my better judgment, committed myself to writing at least one poem a day for the next thirty days. A group led by a woman who was one of the members off the WritingChat group that I joined during the nineties. We’ll see just how long that lasts.
The new floor is installed in the kitchen, and I have moved out cookbooks to dedicate one set of shelving to holding the everyday pots and pans. The second, four-shelf unit is holding paper plates and bowls, dog paraphernalia, blood pressure kit, &c. I still need a proper mop and bucket for wet mopping the floor, which is vinyl. May it never overheat!
The temperature is high enough, again, to sit outside in the gazebo (out of the sun) and read the news, watch the dogs play and listen to my husband’s latest wood-working project in progress. I don’t often use this small computer/tablet, and I find that cannot find all of the keys when I need them. I think that I need to find the touchpad settings and make it less responsive. At the ends of sentences, or when I simply pause, I find that when I am ready to type, again, the cursor has returned to the beginning of the line (or page).
I had a nice selection of photographs and things to say, when I retired for the night, but I turned off the lights and went to sleep, instead. This morning I was awakened by a telephone call from a local who had found my phone number on the Internet in connection to my former (as of 2012-12-31) business. I am loathe to give it up, since it’s been my number since I moved to this town in the late 1970s.
I have made connection with the hospice worker, who will be dropping by later in the week for a nice visit. In the meanwhile, I downloaded the current ebook edition of my Stress Management go-to book (30th Anniversary edition in 2012, and I believe I bought the first edition shortly after it came out). I reviewed and went through the muscle relaxing/awareness procedures. Realized as I did them mindfully that I have continued using them over the intervening decades. My life changes for the past 12 months total over 300 points. ::sigh:: I think that I will incorporate mindful practice of the physical exercises in the daily routines.
My puppy is pacing. I must see what he wants.
Monday is so far in the past, I hardly remember it, now.
Welcome! Thank you for dropping by for coffee, this week. There is Toddy coffee, hot or cold, made with water, milk, or both. Many kinds of cheese for nibbling while we visit.
My weekend has ended with a special treat. We went to Denny’s for supper, and I ordered the salmon skillet. Very good, but entirely too much food. I expect to get two or three more meals from it. With restaurants, I know, there may be a broad range experience within the same franchise, but the one here in town usually does pretty well.
My week has been a bit spotty, but I finally managed to brush my teeth without opening up the extraction site again. Still hasn’t hurt worth mentioning, though. I had a nice visit with my doctor to check up on the progress with the diabetes 2. Met the goal that she had set for the A1C when we met at the end of December, which was my ~2-week visit after the diagnosis. The numbers are going down (the A1C by more than 4 percentage points). As is the cholesterol and my weight: I now have lost 21 pounds since December 13th.
I find that I am extremely tired at the end of this week, however. Since getting through all of the rough stuff fairly well, with nothing on the schedule for the next two weeks except helping with the workshop construction in the back yard and getting to the dogs to the vet towards the end of the second week, I have found my thoughts turning back to my parents. I find that my sharpest memories of them are from when they were in their late seventies and going forward. That was, I think, when we spent a lot of quality time together as adults. Mom, more than Dad. When I think of them, I realize that as with myself, they probably thought of themselves as … ageless, or at least in their thirties or forties. I miss them a lot, although not as much as I did during the last years of their lives, when they turned inward and toward each other’s company and mutual support.
I wonder if this is the time to give the hospice organization a call and check on the grief support services available for the 13 months following Mom’s death, she being the one who was under hospice care during the last two months of her life, when she went into the nursing home.
This Weekend Coffee Share post is on a different site. It isn’t set up to automatically feed my posts to the search engines and such.
Hope you have a good week!
Link to this week’s post by our host at Nerd in the Brain. Enjoy!
standing at the door
to the beginning, hand raised…
still, the second thoughts
I have stayed up too late, tonight, deciding which poems, written during the past three years, I want to share on these pages. I also wonder about what will happen to them when I’ve gone away.
At the moment, I am making WP pages for the poems, while thinking that I want to make regular HTML pages also, as I have planned to do with the Hallowe’en poetry recordings and photo art pieces.
I have, however, added pages under “Favorites” that display four of the poems I like the best of those recently written.
I am so very tired. And I keep seeing Mother and Father, in my mind’s eye, not dead but still at home, living out their days and wondering why I do not write or call. It was difficult in the last year particularly, because my mother’s sight and hearing were failing and my father was nearly deaf (which improved when he had the doctor clean the wax out of his ears during the last appointment with him, after Mother had died).
My mother had forgotten who I was, for the most part, and would not talk to me when I phoned. Now that they both can see and hear, again, I hesitate to write, not knowing how to forward the letters, and I do not know if either, unlike my mother’s mother, would care to listen and respond.
This year…these past six months have been among the most difficult of my life, taking into account life changes. Both of my parents died, ages 94 and 100. The family home is being sold, although to one of my brothers, who is leasing the house from the estate until the paperwork is done for making the purchase. I’ve come around to good health with a major health issue, only to find a couple more that were stress triggered. And so, I am on a more restricted diet. I need to lose weight in addition to avoiding foods with gluten.
And my favorite place on the Internet, SFF Net, is closing down; I was a member there beginning in the autumn of 1997 (I got a newsgroup the following year). I met and got to know so many wonderful people there over the years, and they helped keep up my interest in writing as I struggled through decades of freelance writing and editing gigs. It is so wonderful to be retired, with more free time to write. Even with the additional aspects of living that I must now attend to, each day.
And, yes, I did need a different blog for writing these sorts of things. A place for me. Another of those quiet spaces in which to write, looking up to see in my mind’s eye the pasture in the distance, the creek and slough and the cottonwood and plum trees and lilacs beyond them. I can/would hear the red-winged blackbirds calling as they hung onto the cattails at the edge of the water, accompanied in the background by a high-pitched chorus of frogs.
Quiet spaces for the mind to see, even though decades (and burgeoning allergies) separate me from the places and activities of my grade school, high school, and college years and beyond. I am back on the exercise machine again, building stamina so that I can take long walks, again, come summer, when the school buses do not pollute the neighborhood air. I am not an indoor person by nature, and I strive to become more active. So far, it’s just the elliptical machine, a cheap one from a chain store, but I also have hand weights to add and some dance warm-up exercise DVDs to return to as I’m able.
It’s good, just being able to relax and write, again. Something besides poems in response to sporadic prompts.