Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Greeting Card Poem: "Brother/Sister 5"

I miss my brother.  It has been years since I have seen him.  I don't know why, but we hardly even communicate anymore.  We used to be pretty close and had great fun together.  The fifth in my series of greeting card poems for a sibling to give to a sibling was inspired by this lost relationship.

New Greeting Card Poem: "Thank You 5"

I received the perfect gift recently from a loved one.  It showed that she really knew what I needed.  It did not come from a store or in a gift box, but the thoughtfulness and timeliness of the gift really made a difference in my life.  The fifth in my series of thank you note poems was inspired by this experience.

Review of "They Romp with Wooly Canines" by Patricia Smith

They Romp with Wooly Canines by Patricia Smith was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on April 30, 2013.  "Romp" is an apt description for this slice-of-life, people-watching poem about a romantic, bearded mountain man, his woman, and her dogs.  Written in a loose, prose-like style, the piece is nevertheless unmistakably a poem or song.

Review of "It's Good to See You" by Douglas Rudoff

"It's Good to See You" by Douglas Rudoff appeared in Daily Science Fiction on April 30, 2013.  "An astronaut on a journey from earth to an extra-solar planet must decide if he wants to accept an invitation to spend four days with his ex-wife with whom he has had no contact for years."

The author reveals in his notes that the original title of the piece was "Four Perfect Days," referring to the clever device of the MC and his ex cycling out of cryo-sleep every eight years but with only a four-day overlap.  Much of the backstory is left to the reader as is the ending--both good decisions, I think.  6 out of 7 rocket-dragons.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review of "The Sparrow" by Gerald Stern

The Sparrow by Gerald Stern was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on April 29, 2013.  In rambling prose-like poetry, the poet records his observations of a sparrow feasting on a piece of bread then, toward the end of the poem, ponders the differences between himself and the sparrow.  The poem was a bit too narrative in style for my taste.

Review of "Shades Of The Father" by M. Adrian Sellers

"Shades Of The Father" by M. Adrian Sellers appeared in Daily Science Fiction on April 29, 2013.  "A young man wonders why his father left him only a pair of sunglasses in his will."  Well-written, particularly for flash fiction, but predictable and not terribly original--4 out of 7 rocket-dragons.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guest Review: "Mutability" by Percy Bysshe Shelley


Editor's Note:  My son, Jason A. Gordon, was invited to review a poem for Songs of Eretz.  He chose Mutability by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) (pictured).  The poem is in the public domain.


Mutability 

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest.--A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.--One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

It is the same!--For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (c. 1815)


Through various forms of imagery and metaphor, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) describes how life is subject to sudden and drastic change for any person at any time. “We are as clouds,” he begins, forced to obey the whimsy of the wind. In a moment, “night closes round, and [we] are lost forever.” Percy is stating that while we may feel happy and free, “night” may close around in an instant. Even the bliss of sleep may be ruined by a bad dream. A day may be going fine, but one bad thought, or one bad occurrence could ruin everything. People are afraid to admit that their lives are so subject to change. The thought that we could lose our job, home, or routine at any time–for a plethora of reasons–scares us. We go about our day convincing ourselves that everything will be fine, and nothing bad will happen. However, we must learn to accept change, “for, be it joy or sorrow,” the only thing that is truly consistent in life...is change.

Jason A. Gordon

New Greeting Card Poem: "Girlfriend 2"

In answer to Vachel Lindsay's My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree (see the review in Songs of Eretz of the offering from Poem-A-Day from April 28, 2013), I composed a poem for a girlfriend that compares her to a young tree.  I read it to my wife and received muchas smoochas.  I doubt the Prairie Troubadour received any from his lady for his effort.  I think I may steal his nickname as well.

Review of "My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree" by Vachel Lindsay

My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree by Vachel Lindsay aka "The Prairie Troubadour," (1879 - 1931) was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on April 28, 2013.  The Troubadour used some interesting metaphors in his attempt at a romantic poem.  I'm not sure this one would have earned him any smooches from his lady.  There are so many good ways to compare a lady to a young tree, including the opportunity to allude to several Greek myths about pretty ladies.  The Troubadour, however, calls his lady "democratic," describes her as "strong as death," and evokes "Judgment's trumpet."  He was not exactly a honey-dripper, was he?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review of "The Goddess" by Albert E. Cowdrey

"The Goddess" by Albert E. Cowdrey appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  "A native of India befriends an antebellum southern plantation owner and, through hard work and unfailing faith in his pagan goddess, accumulates wealth and power."

There is not much of what most would consider to be speculative fiction in this interesting historical romance, except for a little paranormal/religious imagery at the end.  I enjoyed the story, but think it is an usual pick for inclusion in F&SF.

New Greeting Card Poem: Birthday 5

A birthday can be used as a time to take stock, to reflect on one's life and where it has gone...and where it may go.  The fifth in my series of birthday card poems addresses this somewhat serious subject.

Review of Poetry by Alfred Kreymborg

Poetry by Alfred Kreymborg (1883 - 1966) (pictured) was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on April 27, 2013.  The take home message that I derived is that there is little difference between a good poem and a bad poem in the eyes of a critic, and any criticism is absurdly arbitrary and subjective.  TouchĂ©.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Greeting Card Poem: Anniversary 5

Strong marriages grow stronger with each passing year, and the eternal love that was pledged on the wedding day is even more powerful.  The fifth in my series of anniversary greeting card poems captures this sentiment for those, such as I, that are lucky enough to experience it but perhaps do not know how to put the feeling into words.

Review of "Chasing Unicorns" by Terra LeMay

"Chasing Unicorns" by Terra LeMay appeared in Daily Science Fiction on April 26, 2013.  "An innocent young man is initiated into a band of poachers who kill unicorns in order to harvest their valuable horns."  The editors warn that the story is "not for the faint of heart," but I've read more disturbing stuff.

The reader is bombarded by the introduction of no less than six characters (possibly more, I'm still not sure) right at the outset.  There then ensues a tedious bit about powdering horn and dividing it into one gram packages.  The horn is supposed to detoxify poisons, but perhaps it is used like crystal meth.  The unicorns are supposed to be pure and holy, but act almost demonic when cornered.  I finished the story in a state of confusion.  Still, I do like unicorns, which probably added at least a rocket-dragon to the grade of 3 out of 7 for this one.

Review of Baudelaire in Airports by Amy King

Baudelaire in Airports by Amy King was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on April 26, 2013.  The poet informs the reader in her notes that Baudelaire (pictured) enjoyed lingering in airports, observing the people there, and imagining exotic backstories for them.  This poem is supposed to evoke that feeling, but I must confess it did not do so for me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Greeting Card Poem: Thank You 4

It is not easy to write a thank you note poem for an unknown gift giver.  For the fourth in my series of such poems, I wrote a poem to thank and honor a person who gave of himself--the ultimate gift that any person can give.