Return to the Ocean

Seeing you

in movies and memories

or frozen in pictures

doesn’t remind me quite

of your living presence, your

sweet cologne, that which I seek

sniffing, seeking lungfuls

the instant I exit my car, wafting long

on the cool whipping breezes.

I couldn’t quite remember

how silky felt your touch,

how it clung to my skin

for hours after;

nor your turbulent beauty,

the rumble of your voice,

how much you make me want to

dive right in,

melt into you.

Nor could I justly recall

the sweet salty taste of you on my lips,

the tang of plankton and algae.

Being near you, I feel

excited, electrified, awakened,

comforted, re-energized,

at home,

feel my soul

filling with sparkle

and my every fiber of being

with sweet life.

Three and a half years later,

and at last I’ve returned to you.

NaPoWriMo: Days 21, 22, and 26

Word Magnets

There was one whisper tongue

of raw spring

like life-spray,

delirious

with languid luscious day;

lazy moon

shines

with smooth diamond music.

April Shower Night

Dark gurgling shadows

of green-blue-black

wet with rain

and river water; heavy

with water,

The air

lies close,

like after-shower steam

but better,

because it isn’t hot.

Sleigh-bell jingle

jangle spring peepers,

unable to sing

when those bells do;

their replacement.

Now they croak melodies

into the darkening night,

skin damp

like the air.

Deep blue sky

shot with faint sunset shine

through patches of heavy

rain-clouds, punctuated

by silver sapphire stars, sparking.

Piercing Clouds

Sunlight reach

across valley, shafts through broken clouds;

gleam

behind every blade

of grass, put fire

in every  rain-soaked stone,

soggy bough,

slick buds. Touch the flowers

with their heads bowed in misery

from the cold rain,

cup their chin

and raise

their gaze

to meet yours, bright daffodil eyes

gold and shining rain-glimmer

with adoration.

Lance of fire,

why are you hotter now,

gold-er now, fierce pale glow

filled with rainbow in your every

sun-drip drip-drop golden gray yellow blue

raindrops of gentle joy.

It’s good to see your smile

after winter’s bitter jaws.

Ka-way-too-busy-till-late-in-night. -.- I sigh with regret and sorrow at my inability to keep my commitment to blogging. Who knew that my internet would be too slow for a day, too? Or that I would be stricken with allergies-slash-cold? Oh well…at the very least I haven’t given up yet!

Here have arrived those April showers that will hopefully end up bringing gobs of May flowers. Yes, gobs of them. I love wildflowers; they’re so…wildflower-y! I really wish I could skip through allergy season, though. They’re definitely not fun! I mean, pretty blooms and new leaves are all very well, but do they really have to spew their pollen everywhere like a (pollen) fire hose set on projectile vomit? (Ew)

 Aaaah, there are only four days left to NaPoWriMo. Can you believe it? Where did it all go? Maybe it seemed so fast because it was so hard to stay caught up this year. I haven’t had time for all the prompts I wanted to try, and the poems I wanted to write…and all the days I didn’t want to miss, of course. Every April, though I end up with at least twenty new poems that had never existed before and more than the previous year. I hope the same goes for you.

I didn’t really use a specific prompt for the poems above. Well, except for the first, Word Magnets. That comes from a set of magnetic words specifically geared for inspiring poetry (more specifically, these). If you don’t happen to have some of those to play around with, grab a newspaper (or a book with a bunch of cool words in it). Close your eyes and pick random words; then cut them out or just write them out into a poem, which would be an option I would prefer to use if I was using a book. Sometimes you get really intelligible poetry, but even that can sound much deeper than you initially intended it to be. Those kinds of poems are always fun, because later you come back to it and go, “Wow” when you had no clue what it meant earlier. Random word barf is strange that way.

Stay allergy-free!

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Day 5

Seasonal Battle

Look, breathe, smell, taste

the air, hear

the quiet mumbling

of constant water tumbling

out the ground and down the stones;

moist is the air,

smelling rich of green,

of spring,

of sweet nectar countryside smell,

living smell,

that was frozen in the bitter knives

of winter winds, all water frozen

into pikes. Snow smell

is gone, that snow

melting slowly, cramming

into every particle of  the dirt,

water table water balloon bursting,

oozing out of the earth’s every orifice;

the earth has hay fever.

Once more the seasons turn

to a battleground,

winter versus summer,

but watch the lengthening

sunlight

burning

away the winter,

burning

the cold air,

burning

the snow to bitter meltwater,

burning,

stroking

the skin with a thousand words,

a thousand thoughts. Cold north winds,

cold and harsh, again, bitter

at defeat, receding

to calm warm winds that carry in Spring

with her lacy petticoats.

Smell her perfume

on the wind;

she’s here.

I was a little surprised to see this post connect with two other posts that I’ve already written: one a NaPost about sunshine, the other about feeling fall, which is the idea of fall and spring being “battleground seasons”. The nights are cold, winter’s time, and the days are warm from summer. The temperatures romp wildly up and down the thermostat until the mercury just stops working because it’s so fed up with having to go up and down so far and so often. One day, the wind blows fierce in one direction, and the next day it blows just as hard in the opposite direction. Again, the “cardinal” seasons are at war.

As I grew up, April always meant “high spring”, a really warm time that quickly blends into summer. A lot of my NaPoWriMo posts from years past are about summer, which I find funny now. When I moved to the Northeast in the summer, I found out quick that the seasons come up and smack you in the face. It’s still a little odd to be someplace where the weather is the first thing you check, not some innocent little thing people don’t usually notice because it’s so nice. But for a poet, it’s wonderful to be in a place where you can walk out your front door and in about fifteen minutes of sensual information, you know how the seasons are.

I also got into the mindset of spring just starting on a single day, the equinox. Very interestingly, I found out that the seasons nearly changed so quickly. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had our last snowstorm (which I cross-country ski-ed on roughly three seconds after it stopped, and it was the best ski I’ve ever done–not that I’ve done too much), and that was it. The next day it was 40 and it rained…and rained…. Suddenly the snow was gone, the grass was green, the temperatures had leaped up to 45, and you could immediately tell it was spring.

Wherever you live, your prompt today is to go outside into your yard or a nearby park and just walk around. Look first; see what color the grass is, and the leaves, if there are any. Then listen; do you hear any spring birds, running water? Touch, next; bend down and put both hands on the earth and just feel it. Smell; throw your head back and breathe in, pollutants and all, seeking for the smell of spring. And taste: what do you imagine that the water, the earth, the leaves, the air all taste like? What do they really taste like? You could pick one and just write about that, or do all and write one long poem. It’s up to you.

Feel the spring. It’s here.

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo: Days 3 and 4

Gone Is Winter

Gone is winter

with sharp icicles and snow,

bitter winds and subzero bite:

the teeth have fallen out.

Gone is winter,

the frosty chilly nights

and silent moonlight snows,

with listing whistling winds

blowing

white dust long across the ground.

Gone is winter’s solitude,

the chill in sunlight’s edge,

the silence of the meadows;

no, there’s spring here instead.

Melting Snow

Sad ice clumps

fade into the ground, mud;

bare gray grass.

The latter poem, which is for April 4, is a retake of the normal haiku. Being a bit of a haiku purist in that I’ve done it since I was little, I hesitate to call it even an American “haiku”. It is technically a variation of a haiku invented in America by Robert Kelley, called a lune. The format that I used (via NaPoWriMo.net and originally by Jack Collom)is based on three lines: 3 words, 5 words, 3 words, which fits English far better than the syllabic 5-7-5 format. Basically, it’s a way to get your haiku done fast’n’easy. Hey, no one ever said that fast food was either authentic or good for you…nothing against the lune, though. There are plenty of English haiku variations, from the lune to Allen Ginsberg’s American sentence, and most of them are the seventeen-syllable pieces that we’re used to awkwardly mouthing out and counting with fingers to write. They’re all their own unique form of poetry…but I still won’t call them haiku.

Your prompt for this fourth day of April, fellow NaPoets, is to–guess what–write a haiku! Or a lune! Or any variation, really! You can look it up or make it up, but it should have a similar structure to a haiku, capiche? Or at least something that a haiku lead you to write…prompts are all about stirring up your imagination.

Go whereforth your inspiration leads you by the hand or by the ear!

-Aidyl

Snowflakes and Line Breaks: The Power of Line Breaks in Poetry

Snowfall Snowscape

Swirling slow-motion sugar spritzes cascade

from the cloudy powdered sugar dusting bag

sky.

Swirling sand-blown sifted

that fell and dripping

light and heavy

off and over

a world of silky softness. Here’s to wishing

that you could glide

over and feel the squeaky crunch-poof of stepping

without stepping

and breaking

the thin skin-like layer

of continuous, punching holes

in the landscape of beauty.

One of the weirdest things about poetry that strikes you when you’re first exposed to the art is the line break. Why cut off the sentence there, especially in free-form poetry? You could instead have a full sentence to a line, and that way not split a thought. It would be better…wouldn’t it?

In metered poetry, a line break is necessity; it has to be there as part of the poem, to keep the rhythm and rhyme correct. In a sonnet, you only have ten syllables in a line, and after that you’ve got to start a new line. But in free-form poetry, line breaks are nearly as powerful as the word choice. Each break emphasizes the gap between words. Usually, I read a line break like I read a breath in sheet music; it’s a place where that breath or pause makes a difference. In sheet music, a breath is a natural break between phrases where the singer can avoid suffocating without interrupting the flow of words. In poetry, it is a less natural place to stop that creates multiple meanings or helps create a certain idea. A period denotes the end of a sentence and phrase, but the line breaks can often divide ideas,  while at the same time leaving less of a difference than unique sentences. Take “from the cloudy powdered sugar dusting bag/sky.” as an example. The first line is a description, telling you what the “powdered sugar” is falling from. The “sky” tells you that the powder sugar bag is, in fact, the sky, but it also emphasizes the word “sky”. You begin to think about that word a little more. The period also tells you that the phrase is over, (the metaphor of a powdered sugar dusting bag = the sky), although it leaves the thoughts alone. But why do that at all? It’s once sentence, isn’t it? Check out the difference:

from the cloudy powdered sugar dusting bag

 sky.

—-

from the cloudy powdered sugar dusting bag sky.

The last word, “sky”, almost escapes notice because the reader’s eye is already rushing downwards by the end of the line, looking to the next words. There isn’t as much impact from that single word. On its own, “sky” can feel long and powerful, especially with a punctuation mark like a period or comma; such a mark acts like a catch for the reader’s eye, making it linger a moment on the word.

So you see, line breaks are not boring and made for confusion. They are so much more artistic than I can really explain in words…except for words of poetry. That single pause changes the form of an idea or poem. Try playing around with it yourself. You’ll be surprised to find how even a simple idea can become poetic with a line break in the right place.

-Aidyl

NaPoWriMo 2013: Day 15

Yes, this may not be the most consistent April that there has ever been, but it exists, and isn’t that enough?

Swallows

Riding up like the peak of a roller coaster

and folding wings while swooping,

spread, climb

fold, descend,

wheeling and curving in joy and life

of glory and ecstasy

and beautiful rhapsody

and delight that spring is here.

 In the town that I live, the arrival of the swallows is the signal that true spring has sprung. Their little muddy nests on the undersides of bridges and the eaves of houses are teeming with the activity of the constantly arriving and departing parents. If there’s time to study it during a rare, low flight, you can see the vivid colors. Most usually, though, all you can see are the dark wings and blotches of white. This makes them difficult to distinguish from swifts, which, although they have similar flight patters and shape, are very different birds. The easiest way to tell them apart is that swifts have longer wings. The swallows also have a particular dolphin-like whistling squeak as they soar free in the wind, a sound that suits their flight.

Watching these beautiful birds soar and climb makes me smile, no matter where or when I see them. They’re adorable, and can be counted upon to return annually to the same nests. I can recall seeing them for much of my childhood. Actually…here’s a prompt! Can you think of a bird, flower, insect, animal, or reptile that you see or saw often? Watch it or find a video online depicting it. Make connections between it, the season it’s seen the most, its environment, or any other connection that strikes you, happy or sad. Anything about any animal, whether you’ve seen it in real life or no, can be used under this prompt if you can’t think of anything. A poison dart frog? Fantastic. Comedic, thoughtful, melancholy…that’s up to you.

Happy Monday, if you can believe that such a thing is possible!

–Aidyl

NaPoWriMo 2013: Day 12

Sunshine Language

Drowsy dreamy sunshine sleepiness,

feeling the photons tingle across my exposed skin,

the light particles that have whizzed

across the galaxy.

Like a touch,

like speech,

from a being thousands of miles away,

in reverberating Morse-code

and a hum like a symphony

that is in a language I’m half a step from understanding.

The comprehension comes

when I stop trying to comprehend,

whence the tingle pierces

my skin

and enters my subconscious,

instilling me with pure meaning

like drowsing or divining.

A gentle warm electric blanket

made out of hot pins

that constantly rove over my body

and warm me inside and out.

It’s a comforting touch

because you can feel the presence

of a creature that,

although it is so far in your terms,

it is so close in its,

and you can feel that it is close,

like a warm embrace.

It doesn’t leave in a breeze,

but when you enter the shade

that code of a language

is blocked and you are left with a feeling of emptiness

as if your ears were chopped off or as if

you can’t see

anymore.

Cold and bare,

your skin  is no longer struck

by thousands of tiny particles

that were flung from the heart of a star

with the force of thousands of nuclear bombs.

And it felt so right,

that heat and warmth and contact,

but now it feels so wrong,

this vacancy,

this coldness.

But you have a sunburn,

so put on a little aloe

and SPF 50

before you go back outside

into those welcoming rays.

Whenever I’m sitting in the sun, like I was today, it feels like there’s a tingling across my skin. As I said in my poem, maybe it’s because tiny particles are being flung at me with the force of more nuclear bombs that you can shake a stick at (I love that expression, don’t you?), or perhaps it’s just me. I think its the former, though.

And that feeling of coldness, the lifting of a weight, like when a blanket is taken off you at four in the morning, it’s weird too, but also kind of nice. Especially if you were starting to get a sunburn. I mean, there’s only so long you can stay out in the sun without your skin becoming overcooked bacon. Ew, that’s not a very nice thought, even if you like bacon.

Don’t let your skin look like someone put too much Halloween makeup on it. (Hey, that sounds like a neat prompt…)

–Aidyl