Shampooing

A poem for my Mom.

At the kitchen sink,
the unceremonious baptistery of our ritual,
I lay all my hopes for re-creation in the skillful art
of your hands, and bend my head under
the drowning rush of tap water.
 
Your hands, slick with shampoo,
caress my hair and scalp until the suds begin to bubble
their familiar cleansing litany.
 
Under the water again,
I watch the bubbles swirl around the drain
and disappear, carrying away
the residue of my world.
 
The water stops.
I lift my towel-dried hair
and breathe the welcome air,
full of the promises of a clean beginning.
 
………………………………………………………………..
This poem is being shared at One Stop Poetry for Mother’s Day. Click here to submit your own poetry and read the work of other great poets. Happy Mother’s Day!

Crucifixion

The first time I saw Him covered in blood
it was my own, and I could silence his cries
in the warmth of my arms.
The pain then was mine alone to bear,
easily forgotten in the presence of new life,
in His presence.
.
Now all of the miracles and wonders have
come to this dark place,
this dark day,
this day of blood,
and a pain that cannot be eased
with hope of something better,
because this day will end in death.
.
My beloved!
Shamed, disfigured, disgraced–
.
There is nothing left of light but memory.
……………………………………………………………………………………….
This poem is part of a series that began with the poem “Nativity,” written a few years ago.

April PAD Prompt Day 4: Type of Person

The Religious Narcissist
.
Because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
he knows he is infallible.
.
God speaks directly into his ear,
so do not question when he
contradicts, blasphemes,
adulterates, manipulates Scripture
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
.
his choices might destroy families,
pull houses to the ground,
set towns ablaze,
bring his child to her knees–
but he feels no call to answer
the plea in his daughter’s eyes
that beg him to come back down to earth
for just one moment and affirm her
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God.

Poem Share: Margaret Atwood

For Day 2 of National Poetry Month, one of my all-time favorite poems by one of my all-time favorite poets, Margaret Atwood. I love this poem because it sets you up to think one way–nice, warm, and fuzzy–then it jars you into a completely opposite perspective. If only I could use such few words in such a powerful way!

You Fit Into Me by Margaret Atwood

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Poem Share: Psalm 91

To kick off National Poetry Month, I have chosen one of my favorite poems to share. Yes, this is a psalm from the Bible, but the imagery and metaphor in this poem make it particularly powerful as it speaks to the strength and power we have when we are faithful in our relationship with God.

Psalm 91 (New International Version, ©2011)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

(read online at BibleGateway.com)

Favorite Word #2 and Writing Prompt: Serendipity

Serendipity is “the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.” (Collins English Dictionary-Complete and Unabridged 10th Edition, 2009)  The initial meaning of the word when it was coined by Horace Walpole was “the ‘discovery of things unsought’ or the experience of ‘looking for one thing and finding another.'” (Robert K. Merton as quoted by Richard Boyle, http://livingheritage.org/serendipity.htm)

I first encountered this word as the title for my 5th or 6th grade reading book. It was love at first sight. Not only is the word beautiful and fun to say, it sounds like what it means, which gives the word more dimension and depth. Furthermore, my first encounter with the word was a moment of serendipity. I still remember turning the book over to get started reading (yes, I have always been a bookworm) and there was this wonderful word!

Prompt: (1) Write a poem about serendipity, using any of the meanings given above. (2) Write a prose description of an experience of serendipity. Share your writing in the comments or share a link to your site. Happy writing!

Here’s my attempt:

Fall

Rushing from point A to B to C to D
the cars faces places whiz by without memory.
Then a blaze of fire-red glory
from a lone-standing tree
stills the speeding spin inside of me.
Oh! Serendipity.

Favorite Word #1: Epiphany

e·piph·a·ny  [ih-pif-uh-nee] –noun, plural -nies.

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
(This word has a few other meanings as well, but I have chosen to highlight my favorite way to use it. You can explore all of the meanings of the word here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epiphany)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I first encountered this word in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, when Stephen Dedalus has an epiphany about his love of beauty and his life as an artist. It was an epiphany for me to discover that there was actually a word to describe this experience. They are those moments when you are just doing the normal, everyday thing and something that you see or hear shifts the whole universe and the real meaning of yourself in relation to it is exposed.

My first epiphany happened in my senior year of high school. It was the end of my senior year, and we were watching the movie The Razor’s Edge based on the book of this name by Somerset Maugham. The story of Larry Darrell searching for meaning in his life really moved me. At that time, I was also searching for transcendent meaning, but questions about God and spirituality were not encouraged. I saw myself in Larry Darrell. I saw that my questions weren’t wrong. I vowed at that moment to keep asking the questions no matter what. It was a life-changing moment for me and still characterizes the way I live my life.

One of my poems that uses this word can be found here: http://karlaspoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/epiphany-light-and-water/

What about you? Have you ever had an epiphany? Have you ever described an epiphany in your writing?

I hope that you’ll join me each Friday as I discuss my favorite words.

Drug Dealer’s Lullaby

I want mom to love me more than she needs to get stoned
Hush little baby, don’t you see
Your mommy’s sold your soul to me
I want her to love me more than she needs
Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Your mommy’s gone, you won’t be heard
I want her to love me more
Hush little baby, don’t you cry
Your mommy’s at home getting high
I want her to love me
Hush little baby, don’t you whine
Your mommy said your body’s mine
I want her to love
Hush little baby, don’t you scream
Here’s a little something, make you feel like a dream
I want her
.
…………………………………………………………………………………………….
This poem was written for One Shot Wednesday, hosted by One Stop Poetry at
http://onestoppoetry.com/2011/02/one-shot-wednesday-week-32-hosted-by-moondustwriter-2.html

Epiphany: Light and Water

At mid-day,
while the wildish wind hums
and the trees keep slow swaying time,
the Sun likes singing
an intense, but gentle song
to the Lake of Hokkaido;
for she listens with deep appreciation,
absorbing his vibrant yellow tones
as they call forth
the deepest green of trees,
the most brilliant blue of sky,
the warmest glow of gold,
until she is filled
with warm, clear light.
.
Then, glowing with gold,
resplendent with green,
radiant with blue,
she proudly reveals
her bottom of mud and stone,
her shape,
her depth,
in a tranquil, undulating song
that tells of her joy
at finally being known.
.
And in this duet
of peaceful,
passionate resonance,
Light and Water
find themselves more splendid
in each other.
.
.
This poem was written for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry–Where Poets, Writers and Artists Meet.  To read more poets and submit your own work, connect here: http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/01/one-shot-wednesday-week-28.html

Awakening Romance: Light and Water

A night of cool reflection
brings the Lake of Hokkaido once again
to this moment
of patient anticipation
when the gallant Sun
pulls himself slowly
over her mountains
and with quiet knowing
of the places that need gentle awakening,
touches her lightly,
first here,
then there,
until he sees
the pale pink blush
and tremulous ripples
that encourage him to climb higher
and peer into her more deeply,
pulling from her inviting blackness
shades of indigo, orange, and gold.
.
She loves the warmth of him
that penetrates beyond her reflection
and moves her to sing again
of the heights of mountains,
the whisperings of trees,
the secrets of limitless sky
.
She loves his light
that moves her to reflection
and deepens the peace
of her darkness.