Friday, November 1, 2019

Poetry Friday: A Villanelle to Winter's Chill

Tanita threw out this challenge:  A villanelle on a wintry topic, including a pair of words (or homonyms thereof) from the following: bleak, draft, gutter, chill, chime, glitter, gust, harsh, rime, nip, thaw.

Brrrrrr!  A chilling task...and yet...faced with this, I ended up with....

...a love poem. How'd that happen?

How close

How close are we to ice and avalanches?
Far! Far! These are but gusty jabs and powder stings;
for kiss of starling’s tail knocks snow from branches.

Landing there, in tree still quick with green, he stanches
this dusting of winter’s rime, and clears himself a seat.
How close are we to ice and avalanches

if tree, armed in white, shrugs? forgoes stern glances?
offers us, again, shelter for embraces sweet
while kiss of starling’s tail knocks snow from branches?

We laugh, walk on, our linked arms a pair of flanches
circling our summer hearts, which shudder and beat.
How close we are! To ice and avalanches,

we seal our eyes; instead, swear love. If then winter blanches
pale our days, rosy still our shielded heat.
How close we are to ice and avalanches!
Yet kisses knock snow from branches.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My Poetry Sisters' glittering poems can be found here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha Yeats' The Opposite of Indifference.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Poetry Friday: Pastoral

A pastoral is a poem that idealizes rural life. You know: bucolic meadows, docile cows, sun-drenched fields of hay. 

I suppose it does sound nice... but even we city folk know better, don't we? (If you don't, well, then, Ken Burns' excellent film, Country Music, is waiting. Hard times and rural life go together.)

Perhaps that's why when I tried to write a simple pastoral about the wildlife in my backyard---I had recently seen foxes and falcons, after all---my poem refused to shine with dew.  

Falcon in my yard


Falcons rake the sky at first drumroll of light;
Foxes trot brashly into chill brag of night.

Squirrels scale windows, screen to screen;
Wasps daub bordellos fit for their queen.

Cranes patrol water’s fish-quickened edge;
Crows bully rooftop’s can’t-touch-me ledge.

It is only I who stumbles, by love undone
From rising to the setting of the merciless sun.

Only I who serves no time or place
But when you breathed and where you faced.

Nature knows not how to stop and pray;
It flames to a greatness, day after day.

Thus, your grave is tumbled to its knees
By brambled flowers and roots of trees.

Thus moss fills the slanted letters
Of your name, a raucous bird unfetters

Worms from soil to carry high to nest.
What fallacy to say: Here is Thy Rest

For nothing alive pauses to give guard;
It is only I who finds this stillness hard.

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Note:   This sub-genre of the pastoral is known as the pastoral elegy.  It's supposed to be written in the "voice of a shepherd, mourning a friend." I don't know what a shepherd's voice sounds like, so this will have to do. 

Thanks, Rebecca, for the challenge!

My poetry sisters have turned out lovely pastorals, which you may find here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today at Library Matters

Friday, September 6, 2019

Poetry Friday: Snakes in Eight Lines or Less

Laura's challenge this month was to write a poem comparing a snake to something fresh---in eight lines or less. Since I'm currently evacuated due to Hurricane Dorian, I could see no other choice but this:

Hurricane slithers  
the coast, rain-venomed
tongue lashing inlets
and bays. A ruddy-banded
snake, it neither uncoils 
nor shutters an eye, yet crawls
the map, striking land, 
swallowing towns.

                       ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved) 

I can't wait to see how snakes inspired my poetry sisters!

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Poetry for Children