September Days

 

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 The Apple Barn

 

He lived alone by the old apple barn

after being released from confinement

he was happy except 

in the extreme heat 

of the early autumn days

when the bees would hoard all of the honey

and dive into the barrels of warm cider he made

like aero-stuntmen from the old days

he’d cuss and leave them to it

the bees would fall drunk around him

on the sweetness of the cider

he lived alone by the old apple barn

gathering apples where they fell

watching the stars on summer nights

steering his dreams by moonlight

after moving to the Ashfield hills

he was happy except 

in the extreme heat 

of the early autumn days

when memories bobbed up and dived

so many leftover dreams

when he lived alone by the old apple barn

 

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Posted in nature, poetry | 2 Comments

 Flutter Press, in the form of Sandy Benitez, and I have been in contact.  I’m very excited to be published by Flutter Press again and to have artwork by Diane Kremmer for the cover. It takes a village to raise a child, It takes a community to proofread, give feedback, help to refine one’s chapbook. I’m grateful to my long-time critique group, Candy Curran, BG Thurston, and Sharon Harmon for helping to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to Helene for assisting on technical issues.  While the blueberries have just passed, I still have the last ones picked in my refrigerator.  I’d like to share them with you here.

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Blueberries

They were heaven—sweet food from the fairy realm

I ate as we picked along the road, into the field where 

three sheep watched us warily

we picked into the woods at the swamp

The first time mum and I picked blueberries I was three

Mum gasped when she stepped into the swamp

then wiped a muddy high heel in the leaves

I laughed at the silliness of wearing heels and skirt

looking back she likely just didn’t take time to change 

when she saw how I took to these berries

The day she died I brought her homemade blueberry ice cream

dad said she wasn’t going to want ice cream anymore

he sat at the kitchen table, and she lay alone in the next room.  

I sat with her while breath rattled in and out

slower and harder each time

I pick wild sweet berries and eat bowls of them with thick cream

mix them with lemon and maple syrup for blueberry pie in July 

far from home now in forest edge garden each year

I enter a contest with the birds to see who can harvest the most

 And I remember the first time

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Posted in Poems | 6 Comments

Blue Horse Gabbeh

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Blue Horse Gabbeh

This small carpet glows

with turquoise light

twilight falls in the tapestry

a horse slips down dry hills

behind cypress trees

she whinnies as dusk approaches

saying come for a ride

I do

 

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Posted in Poems | 4 Comments

New Chapbook This Fall

I’m happy to share that Flutter Press is publishing my second chapbook this fall.  It should be ready in October, available in western MA indie bookshops and on lulu.com and in another month amazon.com.  The theme of the book is immigration to assimilation, as experienced by my family & me.  During September Sandy Benitez, of Flutter Press will be working on it, and I’m looking forward to her cover design.  Sandy is an artist at putting together the covers.  Diane Kremmer, of Britsh Columbia,  CA is the artist who created both this cover and the cover of my first book.

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Best, Elaine

 

 

 

 

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Remembering Ruth Denison

Ruth Denison was one of my Darma teachers. I’ve held her memory and her teachings with great appreciation. IMG_7709.jpeg

Ruth Denison Teaches 

Ruth sits across from me

her specter notices

I have not put

down my spoon

between mouthfuls

I comply and note 

the sweet-sour of applesauce

She next points to posture

I tip my pelvis and 

slowly fill my lungs

tight back muscles loosen

she reminds me 

to feel my breath 

to notice my chest rise and fall 

Step slowly as you

feel the breath  fill

Notice as it leaves

notice and let go

move with  intention Ruth orders

eyes fill with tears 

mind notices clinging

heart notices grief

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Posted in Buddhism, Poems, poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Have You Been to Provincetown?

This week I’ll share some photos from Provincetown, on Cape Cod, MA.  Commercial Street has about four or five blocks that are filled with a huge diversity of shops, restaurants, cafes, and people from all over.  You can find anything from an ice cream cone, dim sum, a fine meal, a whale watch or fishing trip, art galleries, or a town beach that looks into the bay.

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The West side of town stretches towards the lighthouse point and National Seashore beaches. Streets are skinny and filled with cottages, old homes, and a riot of gardens.  The east end of town is quieter.

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IMG_7676.jpegThese photos are all taken on a mile stretch of Commercial Street, Provincetown.

Do you have a place that calls to you, that you love to return to?  My family vacationed on the cape when I was young Like many families we’d drive to P-town to spend one day ‘shopping’.  We’d walk Commercial Street,  buy linguica rolls in the bakery, and find other ways to spend the money we had saved for vacation. Today families still spill out of the parking lots to fill the shops, while others head to the National Seashore beaches.  Traffic– getting on and off the cape, is a major issue now, so if you go, try not to travel down over the bridges on Friday night or Saturday.  I’d love to hear where you enjoy visiting to relax and recharge.  What places are evocative for you?

Posted in environment, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, Poems | Tagged ,

The New Girl

I wrote this poem for my old nephew/new niece after some conversations and sharing.

 

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The New Girl

 

Beard plucked out, 

face smooth, soft page

boy hair. Now

you are more girl than me.

Traveling from your past

to the present, my younger

self is now revealed

in your new woman face.

What could I give you

to ease your transition

from a vibrant young man

to a woman, I wonder.

. 

Parts of me were hidden in you,

needing this to nudge them out.

You’re finding your truth, a different

voice, and a new way to walk.

 

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Posted in Poems | 5 Comments

The Healer

 

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The Healer

She murmurs softly as she

cools your limbs with

a  damp washcloth

glazes your parched lips

with oil       holds lemony

tea for you to sip

She combs out knots from your

hair and sings softly to you

as you rest on the pillow

Then she threads a needle with your hair 

and carefully mends holes 

in your delicate fabric

 

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I have strong memories of being cared for when I was very young, ill, an had a high fever.  I’d be swabbed with cool washcloths that chilled me, drink hot herbal teas and chicken broth, and such.  Hence this poem.  Many of us have those memories tucked away– maybe Vicks Vaporub on the chest, drinks of cola or ginger ale, or dabs of ointment on measles, chickenpox, or other bumps.  What are your memories of being cared for when you were young and not feeling well?

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Best,

elaine

Posted in Poems

Book Review

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Peter Graarup Westergaard’s new book of poetry, Danish Northwest, is one I savored slowly, not wanting to finish. And when I did, I began to read it again. The book was written originally in the dialect of Northwestern Denmark and Danish, and translated into English as well.

The book has a strong sense of place, both in time and geography. Using spare words, portraits are drawn of the people, so that they came alive for me. The stories told in each short poem are clear Some are funny and easy to relate to, others are evocative. The book unfolds like a fine movie. The poems touch not only on the countryside and the culture, but also the people who lived in the town, on the farm, and gives glimpses into their day to day life, joys and hardships.

This poem below popped out to me as t sets a foundation for words to come.

Ode to a Craftsman

In my hometown of Nors, Jensen
the master bricklayer, transformed
a pallet of bricks into a solid wall

bound by the mystery of his cement.

With his solder stick he measured
each straight line and said to me then

how any good craftsman could build

what he wanted from these foundations

As I read the poems, I’ve felt peered into the past in this corner of Denmark, I saw children take giant steps past the tractors. I found myself wondering if the Troldborg Man turns into a normal-sized hare. I can almost smell the grasses of the countryside and see the farmyards, neighbors, village dances, and more. The book is divided into three parts, past, present, and future. My favorite poems are in the ‘past; section, and wonder how this will differ with other readers. The book is available on amazon. Here’s how to find Peter and his book online. https://petergraarupwestergaard.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Danish-Northwest-Hygge-Poems-Outskirts-ebook/dp/B07T88Y1WX/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Danish+Northwest&qid=1563645231&s=gateway&sr=8-2  

https://www.amazon.com/Danish-Northwest-Hygge-Poems-Outskirts/dp/1838590390/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Danish+Northwest&qid=1563645209&s=gateway&sr=8-1 

Posted in Poems

Blueberries are Ripening

 

Blueberries

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They were heaven—sweet food from the fairy realm.

We picked along the road into  the field where

three sheep watched us warily,

then into the woods at the swamp.

The first time mum and I picked blueberries I was three.

Mum gasped when she stepped into the swamp

then wiped a muddy high heel in the leaves

I laughed at the silliness of wearing heels and a skirt,

but she likely just didn’t take time to change

when she saw how I took to these berries.

 

The day she died I brought her homemade blueberry ice cream.

Dad said she wasn’t going to want blueberry ice cream anymore

as he sat at the kitchen table. She lay alone in the next room.

I sat with her while breath rattled in and out

slower and harder each time.

 

I pick wild sweet berries and eat bowls of them with thick cream,

mix them with lemon and maple syrup for blueberry pie each July.

Far from home now in forest edge garden each year,

I enter a contest with the birds to see who can harvest the most,

and remember the first time.

 

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Posted in Poems