POEM: “shield”

shield” 

during months or years of peace
his wife has been polishing--the shield 
blackened as it hung in the chimney corner
 
respond to the call to fight 
plain duty admits no hesitation. 
a hard interruption of their happy lives, 
the risk of passing 
from the warm company of men 
to the chill shades of death. they knew bravery 
is not an everyday possession.
highly as they prized it

to warm their hearts for the clash 
most Greek armies 
as they charged,
shouted,
that each might borrow from the general stock 
courage. 

what best suits the citizen-soldier 
battle 
in which one short effort carries him forward, 
in which a man’s duty to his immediate comrade 
best spurs his intent.

during months or years of peace
the shield blackened as it hung in the chimney corner
his wife has been polishing



*
--found poem taken from The Greek and Macedonian Art of War by F.E. Adcock. If you are unfamiliar with this type of poetry, it’s a way of collaging the work of another author into a unique poem by clipping, altering, and rearranging pieces into something new.

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.

POEM: “last year’s revels”

Photo by Charles Parker on Pexels.com
last year’s revels”

the toddler rolls from bed, 
a ballerina princess excited 
for the special day ahead,
anticipates her long-awaited party.
strawberry-topped chocolate cake 
with a grape soda chaser,
she’s fueled for festivity:
rainbowed streamers wave 
above a table piled with gifts,
sunshine yellow ribbon
seals each shining gold wrapper, 
as storm clouds gather unheaded
outside her window’s thin glass.

she tears a first package apart, 
eager, greedy for its contents,
frowns at the dimestore damsel’s
impossible figure and painted smile,
tosses her aside for another 
bright box’s glinting temptation, 

enchanted to find inside
flint enough to fire her tinder home. 
caffeine-fueled and sugar-dosed, 
she blazes pirouette on tip-toes,
ecstatic homage to firenadoes 
swirling flame outside her door.
she watches in delight, 
her face crimson bright 
as a demon risen to scorch 
this mortal earth with hellfire.

hay-colored landscapes wither, 
flames kindle the world: fireworks 
enough to entertain her swollen 
all-too-childish brain. she collapses, 
in a fit of giggles watches murder hornets 
bloom across the blood red sky.
her joy indisputable on a face free 
from the thin cotton mask she refuses to wear.

she knows these days are hallowed,
these endless nights will last
for years to come.

exhausted from her revels, 
quietly 
     she tears the Barbie’s bloodless arms; 
     the doll’s blank eyes reflect nothing, 
     the hollow chest holds her silent scream, 
     her frozen face beaming 
     an eternally vacant grin.






#

Today’s poem was inspired by a prompt to write a poem personifying the last year. Many thanks to Diane Kendig and Cuyahoga County Library for their Read + Write Poetry daily postings, which included this prompt!

If you’d like to know more about the craft that went into this poem, next week I will be posting a poem dissection on my Patreon–which is free during the pandemic. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

POEM: “A Short Series of Haikus Falling Like Autumn Leaves through Fading Sun”

A Short Series of 

Haikus Falling Like Autumn 

Leaves through Fading Sun

.

Not the burning bush but

a flaming tree ignited

by God’s dying breath

.

Golden leaves outstretched

to capture sunlight within

this darkened tunnel

.

Trio of vultures

survey sunken waters from

their damned concrete perch

.

Deer peer from wooded

shadows, play hide and seek with

sleek metal killers

.

Bromfield’s ghost haunts

Malabar Farm’s gift shop from

within printed pulps

.

A roadside market

beckens with the promise

of great hanging gourds

.

The cliff’s deep beauty,

once its origin is known,

falls like a sharp drop

.

Daytime’s pattern strobes

across my retinas as

the highway unfolds

.

A wooly welcome

waits on our concrete driveway

worming its path home

.

Rhythmic heat beneath

cool sheets steam windows viewing 

the summer’s last gasp

.

#

The above string of haikus was inspired by a family daytrip to Mohican State Park, with a series of stops along the way.

.

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.

POEM: “Diana Prince for President”

Photo by Roy Reyna on Pexels.com

Diana Prince for President

No Blue No Matter Who

but someone brave and true

an Independent candidate

her only mandate:

to heal the world.

.

Instead of quick fixes, cures

Instead of ignorance,truth

Instead of violence, peace

Instead of hatred, love

.

No need of accoutrements:

lasso, bracelet, or tiara.

Her character’s unimpeachable.

.

Steve Trevor could be her VP.

POEM: “Autumnal Love”

Autumnal Love”.

evening songs tattoed

across an autumn breeze

.

a golden sky’s nutbrown breath

leaves pepper the air

.

birds prepare to flee the coming freeze

frost’s first exhale boldens the winds

.

the burgundy and orange world 

crunches beneath our feet

.

no wonder we call this season

fall

.

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.

POEM: “Original”

Original

.

I sip poetry with my tea,

it seeps out like sun through a window,

it leaks through my fingertips.

I breathe in each page,

I live in these words.

.

Can I claim my voice as my own

when nothing comes of nothing?

There is no sound in a vacuum.

.

Can my whisper be heard

above the roaring wind,

or am I part of the chorus?

POEM: “A Bee Sucking Honey”

close up photo of honey comb
Photo by Archana on Pexels.com

A Bee Sucking Honey

 

Leaving is so hard to do.

A million things call me back

from this respite from the drudgery

of my life’s day to day to day.

 

I sip honey words dripped

from fragrant tongues, flutter

from one to the other

as the dial quickly ticks on by.

 

My time is over. I’m called away

back to toil and tedium, but

my feet, stuck in viscous sweet syrup,

slow this unwelcome parting:

 

I am an insect caught in amber,

unable to tear herself away.

 

*

I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately, and the above poem was inspired by my attendance at multiple poetry readings last year. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to attend them again soon. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and read often!

POEM: “To The Poetess”

GreekStatueNudeWoman

To The Poetess

epic battles of heroes on bloody foreign fields

or gods meddling in the lives of men and women

were not subject fit enough for your sweet lines.

 

instead you delved deep into the bittersweet

affairs of human hearts,  the union of souls,

the intoxication of lovers sharing the common cup.

 

your words like wine lingered on the lips

of ancient vocalists thirsting for vintage reds

singing verses you cultured long ago.

 

your gleaming feast of words filled from apple trees

you strode by long ago as honey breezes blew waves

through your shining locks. your bold steps soon followed.

 

your words are only known to us from ancient admirers

or from torn and tattered fractions lining paper mache coffins.

How great your work when fragments alone

grant you immortality.

#

I wrote this poem last month when I was reading a free ebook, The Poems of Sappho, via manybooks.net

* image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing

POEM: “Social Distancing”

hand touching glass
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

 

Social Distancing

 

Socially distant, virtually inseparable

the links between us:

 

the ways we touch others,

not warm fingers interlaced

but swept across cool keyboards,

 

music shared across balconies,

tasting notes like a crisp wind

crossing borders and boundaries,

not the comforting embrace

 

but the smiling face miles away,

countries or continents or 

six full feet apart

 

so long as we’re not six feet under

we can bridge any distance.

smoothly typed texts, raised

voices spanning gaps, our words

 

heard by ears, read by wide eyes,

felt by drumming heartbeats:

emotion’s rising tide.

 

in this new world of isolation,

We all pull together.

 

#

 

April is National Poetry Month, and although many poetry and writing events have been cancelled due to the current world crisis, we have also come together in other ways through technology. Many open mics, book launches, and other meetups have switched to virtual venues, and people are searching for new ways to come together, support each other, and consume art. 

 

So in the spirit of this unity, I’d love to share some online venues to help get through these trying times. My favorite poetry magazine, Rattle, has a podcast and a virtual open mic called Rattlecast that meets/posts weekly. The FaceBook group for Latitudes Poetry Night has switched from monthly (in person) meetups to weekly Wednesday night (online) Open Mics as a way to support others during quarantine. Different libraries have switched to online meetups for book clubs such as Barberton Library’s monthly Hooks and Books

 

There are also free downloadable ebooks from ManyBooks.Net, Project Gutenberg, and (for audiobooks) Librivox. And, last but not least, many libraries have online resources as well for checkouts–as well as other events. My favorite of these is the annual Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry via Cuyahoga County Public Library; just sign up on the site for April emails with poems from Ohio poets as well as writing prompts.

 

This year, on April 5th, one of my poems from Soul Picked Clean will be the featured poem for Read + Write. I’m so honored to be part of this event and beyond thrilled!

 

So, I hope you enjoyed my poem! If you can, I urge you to take advantage of some of these online resources. If you are quarantined at home, you are helping to save lives. If you need to venture out to work to keep everyone else going during these difficult times, thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, and my heart goes out to you all. 

 

Take solace in the good things, and try to get through the bad. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

2020-03-30: Virtual Poetry Reading for Soul Picked Clean by Cat Russell!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.

Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!

If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp

 

PODCAST LINK: https://authorcatrussell.podbean.com/mf/play/53ujkf/2020_03_30PoetryReading-SPC-CatRussell.mp3


*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.