Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor Lauren McBride had a poem included in Kepler's Cowboys, a print anthology that features stories and poems set on worlds discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope (pictured) http://hadrosaur.com/keplers-cowboys.html.
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Green Thread” by Vivian Finley Nida. Nida is a Teacher/Consultant with the Oklahoma Writing Project, affiliated with the University of Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in the Oklahoma Writing Project Centennial Anthology, Oklahoma English Journal, and Westview: Journal of Western Oklahoma. Nida holds a BA in English and an MS in Secondary Education from Oklahoma State University and is a retired teacher of English, Creative Writing, and Advanced Composition. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma City.
Vivian Finley Nida
At the kitchen table the girl swings
bare feet above polished jade linoleum
sips sweet tea, mint sprigged, embroiders
stems to support first apron’s wide-eyed daisies
Outside they bow to St. Augustine runners visiting
Nandina stretching behind them
The air conditioner wakes from a dream
of glaciers, blows his Arctic breath
Like a pine frosted by the wind
she shivers to the porch and
backs against warm shingles in honeysuckled air
shoos an iridescent fly
Envious, she looks at Kitty in her fur coat
who brushes legs and pleads
with emerald eyes for arms to hold
Glad for the company she crosses
the lawn, passes weeping willow, heads
to the other side where she sits
in flowered clover, pierces and threads
stems, chains necklaces and searches
for four-leafed rarities
that stretch luck
Poet’s Notes: This began as an exercise using a color in the title and continuing to present it without restating it. As soon as the kitchen floor came to mind, I knew green was my color. With its association to new beginnings, I placed myself as a child there and the images of this carefree time simply unfolded—a stretch of luck!
Editor’s Note: I was transported to a happy place as I read. The green thread is woven throughout in a magical way.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Harbinger of Spring
When her back began to ache
Instead what pushed through her skin
Were petals, pink and gold
Layered about each other like delicate scales
She at first felt crushing fear and disgust, but
Once outside, the wind touched her new appendages
And scattered them far beyond what her eyes could see
Where they touched the earth, flower buds grew
In a thousand different shapes and hues
Poet's Notes: This one is inspired by a show called Haibane Renmei where mystery surrounds a set of girls who sprout wings. Instead of ordinary feathered wings, I thought it would be cool if their appendages were made of something else. With the thought of spring, the appendages easily became flower petals, and my character became the Harbinger of Spring, similar to winter's Jack Frost about whom I've also written poems.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor Mary Soon Lee has had three poems published. "Sheep" and "Traveling," both of which are part of The Sign of the Dragon, appeared in Ship of Fools #76, a print-only publication http://meadhall.homestead.com/Ship.html. "Advice to a Houseplant" appeared in Nanotext, another print-only publication.
In addition, Lee’s poem "Hero," first published in Star*Line, won the 118th weekly Poetry Nook contest. It is also part of The Sign of the Dragon and may be read at http://poetrynook.com/forum/contest-winners/118th-weekly-poetry-contest-winner-hero.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Namaste: An Experiment of Poetic Yoga
Terri Lynn Cummings
Existence drifts on a miles-long stream
Flowers lift their faces
while the past sweeps past in currents
Each bloom, the face of an ancestor
fades in and seeds our voices
As rain finishes with us
air sharpens, life deepens
all futures speak in unison
We blow through the straw
of childhood, gasp
at clouds of raspberry
orange, and lemon
Sunrise sings for the universe
in which we grow
No place to sit on fluid time
since Moon circles
full bellied, feet aching
waits for music to stop
Life moves to hold still
Fingers and palms press together
in greeting. Opposing sides harmonize
Poet’s Notes: Ideas for this poem were born from a collection of paintings. Local visual artist Beth Pemberton had asked me to write brief poems for an upcoming exhibition of her work. Her paintings included serene landscapes and contemporary drawings. One painting named “Namaste” inspired this longer poem for Songs of Eretz Poetry Review.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Indiana End Times
in the cornfields
the rhymes of Riley
and the songs for mother
were lost in a vortex
of blood and madness
the Wabash ran dark;
the face of evil moved
upon its waters
the farmer tore out his eyes
and juggled them like blind suns
the sky went out
the Hoosier folk-soul
was flayed and slain
on infinite smoking altars
and we staggered helpless
down the cow-path
Poet's Notes: Apocalypses are popular these days, so I thought I would treat Indiana (my birth state) to one. An apocalypse entails suffering, and Hoosiers certainly deserve that. The "Riley" referenced in the second stanza is the beloved Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), who often rendered his verse in Hoosier dialect. Like much of Riley's work, this poem has a rural orientation.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Pski's Porch Publishing has just released invert the helix, Frequent Contributor John Reinhart's first full-length poetry collection. According to Reinhart, the seventy-nine pages of poetry contained in invert the helix represent the experimental side of his work with hints of Aram Saroyan and Rob Stuart as well as Reinhart's own brand of visual and surreal moments. The book is available in trade paperback for twenty dollars here:
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Equinox” by Ron Wallace, the winner of the 2017 Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest. His bio may be found here: http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2017/01/announcing-winner-of-2017-songs-of.html.
September is ending in the west
a low roll of thunder
a broken promise of rain.
The fireflies have all faded,
not a cicada is singing
there’s just the twist of a lid
that echoes in the night
out beyond the backporch light
where the last moon of summer drops
just over the centerfield fence
above my extended glove.
One last walk-off home run by Yogi tonight
brings the season to a close
breaks my heart
finds me already missing April
moving into May,
June, July and August
as they spiral into the coming of cooler nights.
Soon the dark will deepen
into shades of the first autumn night,
and somewhere out there
in the pitch of distance
unlit and unwanted,
I sense October, hovering,
haunting me like a goddamned ghost
rattling chains and old broken baseball bats
in summer’s aftermath.
Poet’s Notes: As the autumn equinox was approaching on February 22, 2015, the great New York Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra (pictured) passed at the age of 90. That started the thoughts that became this poem. This changing of seasons from summer to fall always moves me to reflect on the passing of youth. Berra, being a childhood favorite of mine, exiting this plane as summer and baseball were drawing to a close, brought me a longing for more summer, more youth, more time.
Editor’s Note: I enjoy the mood Ron creates here as well as the interesting comparisons between weather and baseball. He captures many competing feelings here, not least among them the ambivalence we have for change, competing with the powerful feelings generated when we experience the exact moment of change.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
on all sides,
I still find space
late at night
symbol of rebellious
life – Thoreau’s swamp –
to pee outdoors,
justified as a means
to keep coyotes and foxes
at bay, despite the dog
and the mange that finished
them off years ago,
while my chickens squabble
over Henrietta, late arrival,
and the goats look plaintively
at their empty manger
as if Christmas could answer
Poet's Notes: Self-Reliance, wondrous celebration of individuals, though Crusoeian ruggeds need not apply. This is pervasive individualism in conjunction with social progress, contradictory at the molding surface of popular discourse, but leveling out just like that zigzag course of a thousand tacks, which sounds sharp, or at least pointy. I mean, why not have a voyage of a thousand stuffed raccoons? or beanbag chairs? or jello? And if contradiction is problematic, it is only because we cannot see the moon's reflection through the transparent eyeball we may or may not have become, will become, or will have become, depending on how tense 19th century American literature makes you.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Being from a hot and humid South,
I let myself enjoy
the crunch of snow,
with all its novelty.
I stepped mostly on snow
Just for the sound, never minding
that it was less slippery
than the sections of ground covered
in a barely visible layer of ice.
In Starbucks, the young barista
could not resist her own yawn,
And her mouth spread widely, seeming
almost like an exaggerated yawn,
And she did it right in a customer’s face, inadvertently,
as he stepped up to order, and then upon completion
of her yawn, she laughed at herself
and it was a wonderful, goofy laugh
with a snort, and the customer smiled too.
There was a marble counter along the side
of the coffee prep area, with only two stools,
resembling a bar; and at the bar, there was an old man seated
wearing an armed forces cap, and although the man was old,
his hair white, his skin wrinkled, I could tell
he had been handsome in his youth.
It was somehow very easy to envision the younger him,
And then I saw him sitting at a bar, decades ago,
existing there in the purity of the moment as he was now,
with a beer instead of a coffee,
with carnage still vivid and not yet fused
to abstract glory; instead, with the world still at stake,
the victors unknown, the ladies all stylish…
With café americano in hand,
I smiled as I tread carefully down icy blocks.
A modern girl emerged from a building,
with black glasses, reddish hair,
and her coat was powder blue,
The lightest shade of blue I have ever seen
in a coat, and a seasonal thought came to me again,
That women look so beautiful in winter
when they are bundled, when they have their mittens
and scarves, and the color of their hair seems so pronounced
spilling out over their coats from under wool hats or beanies;
It strikes upon the male protective instinct I think, but
They seem so dainty as winter tries to pummel this land,
With lines of stinging cold and white trickling through
the tree-bearing mountains,
in every step and shadow.
More strangers emerge to cross my path.
The old woman with frizzy white hair
and Coke bottle glasses who seemed so eager
to throw her empty paper cup away
after spotting a small wastebin by the bus stop.
Her beady eyes practically lit up as if
she was unwrapping a present, when really
she was gifting her trash to the landfill.
I saw also the little Native boy
who broke up the layer of ice that had crusted
over the brownish, frosted grass,
And for this self-appointed task,
he used both his little boots
and a marker he pulled from his backpack.
His goal was to smash it all up
into smaller ice chips,
to satisfy some wondrous curiosity.
And I am glad for winter and all challenges.
I remember summers here, going through the muck
of pebbled beaches, lifting rocks, watching
crabs scuttle out from under the rocks.
I felt guilty then, having displaced them
from their comfort and hiding,
but looking up now I ask the sky,
“God, if I am ever under a rock, will you —
or better yet, a childlike force,
an innocent and playful force —
come along to lift that rock?
So that I will be made to scuttle
and find somewhere new?
So that I will not find too much comfort
in some dark, protective place
with a weight over me?”
Poet’s Notes: This is one of my more journalistic poems, capturing a morning when I went to a Starbucks to pick up my café americano (venti, black) and then subsequently walked around on icy sidewalks. I freely admit that all of these characters were real, but fortunately the law does not require me to purchase their life rights. Nonetheless, I thank these strangers for their cameos in my poem.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor Mary Soon Lee has had two poems from her epic poem The Sign of the Dragon published recently in other venues:
"Seventeenth Lesson" is online at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, where incidentally fellow FC Rowe is an editor: http://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com/?p=2157; and "Daunted" is in Dreams & Nightmares #105 http://dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.com/order.htm.
Songs of Eretz has been pleased to publish many of the poems from Mary’s The Sign of the Dragon series. Those interested may enjoy those poems here: http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/search?q=the+sign+of+the+dragon.
The contents of the latest edition of Star*Line, the Journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, is noteworthy for the number of poems by Songs of Eretz Frequent Contributors and its editor:
Editor Steven Wittenberg Gordon: one poem
FC Mary Soon Lee: four poems
FC Lauren McBride: three poems
FC John Reinhart: three poems
The SFPA is a group anyone interested in speculative poetry may join for a fee, which includes a subscription to Star*Line--see SFPoetry.com/join.html. Those interested in purchasing a copy the latest issue for five dollars should look here: http://www.sfpoetry.com/sl/issues/starline40.1.html.
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor John Reinhart recently had three poems published in Quatrain.Fish http://quatrain.fish/ and another poem published in issue 23 of Eye to the Telescope http://eyetothetelescope.com/archives/023issue.html.
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor John Reinhart’s chapbook, “Horrific Punctuation”, was released by Tiger's Eye Press http://www.tigerseyejournal.com.
The Flower Symphony
grows wild in spring,
crescendos in summer,
encores in autumn
'til the white curtain falls.
Poet’s Notes: This poem attempts a playful blending of musical performance terms with the wild flowers of spring, the profusion of color in summer, a resurgence of color with fall's own late bloomers, and the hush when snow comes.