In looking over my poetry selections for the 3 rd quarter, I realize several of them have a theme of breakage, rage, powerlessness. But, instead of getting mired in the crap, these poets reclaim their power. This kind of poetry is so important in our troubling times. Also, though, we read here about the restorative power of nature, the beauty in our world that continues despite indifference and even active destruction.
Keep the faith!
Crone by Lucy Whitehead in Mooky Chick.
It’s so gratifying to see creative work by and about older people, especially women. Every poem I’ve read by Lucy has been extraordinary but this one really hits home on a cellular level. I don’t know Lucy’s age but it doesn’t matter – her insight and courage to write the neglected story of older women is all I need to know.
“They told me
to be scared of growing old. But
when the ancient crow that had been sleeping
inside me split my skin and started to shed
the young woman with her burden of being loved,
I found my wings.”
Chorus Frog by William Woolfitt in EcoTheo Review.
Oh, such beautiful imagery in this! William’s poem is ethereal, it puts me in another time and place and there’s something magical in the mood it evokes.
“The season of cracking open, bloodroot,
egg strings. My grandmother chops the cloddy
ground. Many years without him. Onion sets,
new moon peas.”
Still Life of Second-Line by Lizabeth Yandel in The Los Angeles Review.
This poem is about a shooting at a second-line parade in New Orleans, something that happens all too often. Lizabeth writes with precision, horror, and empathy. It’s very well done.
“Sketch the face of the man whose head was shot
but my hand mis-draws lines like this:
we were at a parade, he just got caught
in the crossfire.”
Understory by Stephanie Harper in Panopoly.
Stephanie is a master lyricist. Her words wash over you like cool water on a hot day. She sets a scene and fills it with wonder and curiosity. This one is a beauty.
‘tween my gone people & me by Tyree Daye in Boston Review
This poem feels like a meditation, a benediction, and a condemnation. I love Tyree’s style, how he gets to the heart of things, peels away the layers.
this wound same as my grandmothers
same as her mothers and a valley of women before them
no one taught my mother so no one taught me”
Or How Can We Ever Cut Down to the Bare Essentials? By Hedy Habra in Verse Daily.
Hedy is one of my favorite poets. This prose poem feels voyeuristic in the best possible way. It’s set in someone’s home whose world becomes smaller and smaller until it isn’t. Such intuitiveness!
“He soon realized he needed fewer meals and only one change of clothes. His lightness became manifest when feathers seemed to grow out of his bones, filling him with a desire to embrace the movements of the wind.”
Never So Simple by Sossity Chiricuzio in Stirring Journal.
This is a very powerful poem about the after effects of abuse. Sossity reclaims her power and her identity in this gut-wrenching piece. She writes with the skill of a surgeon about a subject often given to a sledgehammer. Bravo!
“I know that when the hairs on my neck stand up that danger is somewhere near.
Curls my fists into hammers seeking the reassurance of an anvil.
Tastes like a roofie hiding in my drink.
Like rage sunk deep in my marrow.”
Enough by Suzanne Buffam in The Slowdown.
There are stories and poems and books galore about women’s rage these days. It’s often overwhelming. I prefer succinct but pointed words and Suzanne fills the bill in this poem. Who hasn’t felt like this?
I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.
l learned it ftom my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her”