Thursday, April 14, 2011

And the Poetry Continues

April poetry is a luxurious feast of perfectly ripened and juicy words.  I haven't taken the time to write or read poems for a long while, but after opening my dusty volumes and setting the poets' music free again, I can't imagine why I waited. 

Here's one that I read aloud and then memorized because it is exactly right for those nights when I'm fortunate enough to look up and find the moon shimmery in the night. It's the pacing of the piece-- punctuation's job, but also the colorful imagery and the tangible nature of that dot perfectly placed. That's what I want to capture in my prose--the pacing and the fresh imagery. 

There was, in the dusky night, 

On the yellowed steeple

The moon,

Like the dot of an i

      Alfred de Musset

This is one of my favorite  William Butler Yeats' poems, He and She. Just part of it, the part I like best.
I love to read this one, especially the second line. It has a special cadence that is perfect to my ear.

She sings as the moon sings:
         'I am I, am I;
The greater grows my light
        The further I fly.'
      All creation shivers
      With that sweet cry.

So after reading all of this masterful poetry, I had to read some of my compressed thoughts that I'd fitted into this demanding, tight form. I found this in one of my journals. Now how crazy is it for me to post my poems along with Yeats and Musset? A lot crazy, but it's my blog, so I guess I can do what I want. Is there a blog reviewer out there that will complain? Let's see.

I wrote this a few years ago when I was in England. You know you can't walk the countryside of England without coming to an ancient cemetery. So there I was with my pad and paper sitting by a gravestone something like this, marking the beginning and the end of someone's life. This is what I wrote. I was younger then, so cut me some slack when you critique this.

Ask the Stone 

Lichen pocked and cooled with the April air,
Lonely you are and lonelier with the blossom dust
Settling like impatient moths that fan you for the moment, then take leave
When the Wind calls in the siren's voice. 

Lichen pocked and warmed with the August sun,
Deep you are and deeper with each season’s leaves and grass
Mulching at your roots and like a thick sea secreting your inscribed face
When the Earth calls in the emperor's voice. 

Lichen pocked and brittled by December cold,
Old you are and top-heavy with your rakish tilt that pulls you south
And staggering, it might seem, in a drunkard’s dream
When Gravity calls in the winner's voice. 

Your name was long and full of sounds
Not easily said aloud, but calling to the mind like chimes in high branches,
It sang of journeys and spice and times now locked inside leather-bound books.

A blank face turned to the sky 
Its sculpted pate still proud with chiseled curls
Basking above the propertied one who sleeps below.

Who do you belong to? 

Ask the Stone.

         C. Lee McKenzie


  1. Ah Yeats....

    I LIKE your poem!

    Here's one about the moon by Vachel Lindsay

    The moon? It is a griffin's egg,
    Hatching to-morrow night.
    And how the little boys will watch
    With shouting and delight
    To see him break the shell and stretch
    And creep across the sky.
    The boys will laugh. The little girls,
    I fear, may hide and cry.
    Yet gentle will the griffin be,
    Most decorous and fat,
    And walk up to the milky way
    And lap it like a cat.

  2. I like this very much! The repetition in the first and fourth lines works well, and the imagery is mysterious and absorbing. I love "Your name was long and full of sounds."

    I have also copied down the verse from the Yeats poem. The third and fourth lines especially sing to me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lovely poem! All of them, the ones you shared and the one you wrote.

    I'm doing April Poem-A-Day with some of my writer friends, so I understand what you mean about wondering why you waited to read or write poetry. I forgot how lovely it was TO write poetry!

  4. I re-discovered my love of poetry last year. This year I've been "reading" the poetry foundation's app.

    It's a difficult medium to write in and I think you did a fantastic job! I know I couldn't do it!

    Also, I love your new blog background!

  5. Thanks for sharing the poetry and the photos. Your poem was beautiful, C.Lee. Duly impressed.

  6. I really enjoyed your post and Keats, most pleasurable to read.

    Thank you for your lovely comment much appreciated , although I have lived in Ireland for a while I am English.


  7. Thanks for sharing the poetry and the images, really beautiful creative work. Love it :)

    Take care

    Short Poems

  8. Thank you all for your comments. I'm so happy to find people who share the love of words well crafted and touching.

  9. Loved it!! I haven't written one in a while either. Maybe I will this week. :D Thanks for the inspiration.


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