Oddments

In search of story


29 Comments

January 19.23: Coping, but barely

If you were light

and could play on a rose,

would you slide,

do you suppose,

down velvet hill,

where shadow splash

marks your soft plop

with grinned panache?

Then would you climb back up,

find that shy frill,

and pirouette there

in lucent trill?

Would you leap tip-to-tip

with weightless toes,

like drunken sprite

in perfumed throes?

Under, behind

each vale and peak,

would you dodge and dive

in hide-and-seek?

Would you stop perhaps

and oly-oly-ocean-free

to bask in the stillness

of unfurling reverie?

 

There is mystery here, dear reader. Apparently some call “olly-olly-oxen-free.” I was intrigued to see that some people who were kids in the Chicago area called “oly-oly-ocean-free” because that’s where I was a kid and that was our cry. So, oxen or ocean, nobody knows, though I did like the suggestion that olly/oly came from all-ye as a call at the end of the farm day to put everything, including the oxen, away for the night.

I remember it as inviolable. Once called, nobody could be tagged. Non-negotiable.

 

Many thanks to Susan Rushton for the beautiful photo!

 


14 Comments

December 6.22: Coping, but barely

An ordinary window,

an ordinary day,

an ordinary glimpse,

then mental tour jeté.

A camera must be had!

Indecorous dash ensued,

then, breathless, stealthy, sly,

I engaged in conduct crude.

In blushless want of manners,

intrusive imposition,

brutally dismissive

of my need to get permission,

I zoomed in on his person,

with brain and camera focus

on this feathered fisherman

and his wintry bare-branched locus.

He appeared a bit put out

at what the flower said,

which made his handsome feathers

stand up atop his head.

I wish I could have heard

but this is all I got;

I could sneak clandestine photo,

but eavesdrop I could not.

And thus the common day,

as if by magic word,

was instantly transformed

by a Merlin of a bird.

It was because of Walt Kelly’s brilliant Pogo illustrations that I knew this was a kingfisher. It was the Internet that told me it was a Belted Kingfisher. Why it isn’t a Collared Kingfisher I do not know. The Internet also told me that it is common in central Indiana. I think not. This little guy was a first for me.

I stood in the middle of my living room, far back from the window. This fine specimen was on a tree across the pond. All hail the power of the zoom!


16 Comments

November 13.22: Coping, but barely

“The Last Rose of Summer,”

that plaintive Irish keen,

sang itself inside me,

soaring yet terrene.

This brilliant ruby voice

of color ‘mid the browned

insisted that its smallness

was yet a mighty sound.

November madrigal,

enrobed in regal satins,

sleeps now in quiet earth

awaiting springtime matins.

 

 

Some will tsk and say that a moss rose is not a rose, that Portulaca and Rosa have nary a botanical thing in common. But you know what Shakespeare said, dear reader: “a rose by any other name.” If my grandma called it a moss rose, then it’s a rose. Grandmas rule.

 

With thanks to Irish poet Thomas Moore.


24 Comments

November 7.22: Coping, but barely

Brown birds,

brown leaves,

crackles, crumbles,

webs in eaves.

The glossy crow

in polished black

perpetual

melancholiac.

Pallid sky,

 sunlight void,

droops a greyness

ichthyoid.

Pond of slate,

grass turned rubble,

wind that moans

of toil and trouble.

The year grows weary,

needs to sleep,

gardens snuggle

in winter’s keep.

Beshawled and flanneled,

I watch the earth

beshawl itself

with color dearth.

 

 

With apologies to Shakespeare.

 


19 Comments

October 26.22: Coping, but barely

There was a time

when I would climb,

jump and hang and crawl,

confetti’d leaves

in shoes and sleeves,

telltales of autumn brawl.

With summer old

but not quite cold,

the air a heady brew

of acorn dust

and toadstool must,

the world was strangely new.

The leafless trees,

my youthful knees

together rocked the day;

in nature’s gym

my scuffed-shoe vim

had eternity to play.

I’d like to now,

but, holy cow,

I just can’t make me do it;

if I should try

I fear that I

would very shortly rue it.

 

With more thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

 and Fort Harrison State Park.

I think I can say without fear of (much) contradiction that I am not the only one in this blogging room who would love to kick leaves all the way up to that big old dead branch, climb on it, jump up and down, hang from it, walk it like a tightrope. Nor am I the only one who would decline the temptation. There isn’t enough liniment in the world.

 

 


20 Comments

October 14.22: Coping, but barely

It wrapped me like a cloak, that papery sound. October’s leaves, battered and bruised, but holding yet, whooshed thickly in a wind tantrum determined to strip away every remnant of summer, thrashing the trees and twisting each leaf, growling down from the dishwater sky and around our little homes, impatient for winter.

The air was warm still, but one muscular shove from the south bore an invisible stream of ice, a whisper in the tumult, frost-winged specter. I felt it and knew then it was saying what it came to say, this insistent rush.

I bent over the lavender, itself bent low. Spent, sleepy, it offered up a final incense as I trimmed back its floppy stems. Two fat bees lumbered through the air to watch and sniff. They too heard the Babel of the papery leaves, in tongues of crimson and copper, and saluted the deep purple of my harvest. They too knew the time.


19 Comments

September 25.22: Coping, but barely

Ceres paints in shades of cream,

daubing light like candle gleam

in autumn;

a mother’s sign when daughter leaves,

soft-whistling wind in union grieves

in autumn;

in seed-pod spike, in brittle stem,

desiccated requiem,

in autumn;

grasses in allegiance tender

bow their annual surrender

in autumn;

luminous mantle, light as breath,

gentle over sleep and death,

in autumn;

mother’s vigil thus ignited

over waning year twilighted,

in autumn.

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

and to artful arranger D.J. Berg.