Do You Strambotto?

Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest (Femme se promenant dans une forêt exotique)

I stepped outside to see the evening birdsong,
and hear the lilacs fill the air with purple
and white aroma, and to drown before long
in maybe-May. Falling beyond the circle
of probability, defying lifelong
perceptions of what’s real, the twilight sparkled
with myriads of realms. Mind–proven all wrong–
accepted its defeat, joyfully humbled.

 

Prompted by Poetic Asides Strambotto Poetic Form Challenge.

Image: Henri Rousseau. Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest (Femme se promenant dans une forêt exotique), 1905. Oil on canvas, Overall: 39 3/8 x 31 3/4 in. (100 x 80.6 cm). BF388. Public Domain.

 

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Notre Dame

Notre Dame

CHURCH FIRE

“Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!” — Joan of Arc

Seasoned wood burns well,
fire spreads fast,
roofs collapse, windows fall,
shards of stained glass,
revolutions, wars,
emperors, presidents,
ashes, ashes…
Hundreds of years young
it stands intact.
The same song rises to the spire,
and cloven tongues
as of fire
rest upon us.

 

Have a Blessed Triduum.

Image credit

April Is Not That Cruel After All

Gagra, Nino_n

It is
(Won’t you agree?)
a dream away —
that filled with spring and promise
fun sun day
where we can touch the wind,
and taste the air,
and be the way we were,
without a care,
free to reclaim
what fleeting time can’t steal,
where we can hope once more,
and laugh,
and heal.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2014 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.

Happy April!

Happy March

Tea time, Nino's art

When we grow young
we find that on upside
to getting wrinkles
is our happiness.

We try no more
to turn the ocean tide —
we ride with it
and readily confess
that there’s one thing
we ever understood,
one truth, yours for the taking:

life is good.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2018 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.

Sorry for the image of cupcakes in case you’ve given up sweets for Lent. Hang in there, and have a beautiful and rich Lenten Season.

 

Are You Feeling Christmas?

Head (Tête); also called Etude de brodeuse

Christmas Wish

I feel no Christmas, cried a little girl,
I don’t feel any of the Christmas cheer,
the tree is up and lit, the garlands swirl,
and Rudolph leads his pack of swift reindeer,

but I feel nothing. Sobbing would not cease…
Old Santa hugged her, Don’t be sad, my dear,
they are not always real — the things one sees,
what’s real is hidden from the eye, but near.

So close your eyes, put on your largest grin,
unlock your heart and let your Christmas in!

© 2013 Sasha A. Palmer (aka Happy)

Wishing you lots of Christmas cheer!

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Head (Tête); also called Etude de brodeuse, 1904. Oil on canvas, Overall (lower edge irregular): 15 x 12 3/4 in. (38.1 x 32.4 cm). BF553. Public Domain.

Let Us Be Thankful

River Scene–Boat and Trees

The leaves are falling off the trees…
Here goes
Another one! Folks bundle up so they won’t freeze…oh,
No! The summer’s gone. Where does the summer spend the fall? Where does it go, you
Know? I miss it
So…the heat and all…but wait! How ‘bout the snow? I love that stuff! It makes me
Grin, when
I look up and let the fluffy flakes fall on my chin, and tongue…no, not just yet — I’ll
Visit, where’s that place you say, where now the summer stays? But
I can’t go till in the snow I’ve played for days and days…
No, I can’t
Go till in the snow I’ve played for days and days!

© 2018 Sasha A. Palmer (a.k.a. Happy)

Image: Ernest Lawson. River Scene–Boat and Trees, c. 1907–1910. Oil on canvas, Overall: 25 1/8 x 30 1/8 in. (63.8 x 76.5 cm). BF484. Public Domain.

Michael Ondaatje Wins The Golden Booker, Congratulations!

margaretcook_leavesofgrass15

  • Michael Ondaatje’s bestselling novel The English Patient has been named the best winner of the Booker prize of the last 50 years.

The Golden Booker was held this year to mark a half-century of the prize. A panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker’s history. … The English Patient was novelist Kamila Shamsie’s selection from the 1990s … The five books were then put to a public vote.”

“Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list …I suspect and know more than anyone that perhaps The English Patient is still cloudy, with errors in pacing,” said Michael Ondaatje.

  • I saw the movie first, and loved it. Then read the book, and loved it. To me it’s one of the rare cases when you can love both: the book and its screen adaptation.

Four years ago I wrote this wordle inspired by The English Patient:

Cave of Swimmers

What did she care about transgression–
Silhouetted against the orange desert sun–
When I threw myself upon her altar?

What was the demimonde of others
When my entire grand universe
Pulsated at the base of her throat?

When the ancient rites blew away maps
When the fiery Africa became a gray area
What did we care about death?

For each time a candle is lit
In the asylum of the cave
The swimmers are reborn.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

P.S. Though the poem obviously has nothing to do with the current events, the word “cave” is synonymous with Thailand right now. God bless the rescuers. Praying for the complete healing of everyone involved, and for the soul of the diver who gave up his life saving others.

Image credit: Illustrations for a Rare 1913 Edition of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ by English Artist Margaret C. Cook, via brainpickings.

Never Forget

Russians_bury_their_fallen._Kollaanjoki_15.-16.7._1944._Kollaanjoki_15_to_16.7._1944.

Great Patriotic War: June 22, 1941 — May 9, 1945.

26.6 million lives lost.*

Fallen

Lay them down in the fields of sweet barley and rye,
Let them pause just a bit till they’re ready to fly,

Do not bend over them, do not morn, do not weep,
Don’t disturb their short rest, let them sleep, let them sleep.

They will gather their strength, and together they’ll rise,
All like one they’ll take flight to the still paradise,

Where the children await, where the wives of their own
They’ll embrace at the gate, where the fields lie unmown.

 

© 2012 Sasha A. Palmer

*Some Russian politicians and journalists put the total number of losses in the war, both civilian and military, at over 40 million.

Image credit: Soviet soldiers burying their fallen. Public domain.

 

Poetry Business: Free Poetic Challenges & the Hidden Value of Comments

Autumn Landscape (Paysage d'automne)

In the Mind’s Eye

Sometimes we see
Things that will be —
A memory
Of tomorrow

Sometimes we find
It warm and kind
Sometimes our mind
Fills with sorrow

So some sweet day
In June or May
Bathed in sunrays
We remember

How you and I
Share burnt good-byes
Beneath the skies
Of November

Sasha A. Palmer

  • The above poem’s written in response to WD rhupunt challenge. There’s still time to enter: Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on February 28, 2018. WD Poetic Form challenges are free, and the winning poems (sometimes including a runner-up or two) are featured in Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.

It often pays off to read comments to posts. Thinking of submitting your poetry to journals? Not crazy about submission fees? Check out this list of “younger, hungrier” journals provided by Joe Cottonwood in a comment thread on The Passive Voice site:

  • “Allegro, Ink Sweat & Tears, Literary Nest, MOON magazine, Nature Writing, Peacock Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Poetry Breakfast, Rat’s A** Review, Red Eft Review, Roanoke Review, Snapdragon, Third Wednesday, Verse Virtual, San Pedro River Review, Pure Slush, Freshwater, Stoneboat, Muddy River Poetry Review, Red River Review, Gyroscope, Uppagus, Halfway Down the Stairs, Forage, Potomac Review, Slipstream, Picaroon… All these journals require no submission fee; all have some excellent undiscovered poets (and a few clunkers, but then so does the New Yorker).”

Got a name or two to add to this list? Share in the comments.

Happy writing, submitting, and getting published.

If you enjoyed this post, do press “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Autumn Landscape (Paysage d’automne), c. 1884. Oil on canvas (later mounted to fiberboard), Painting: 25 9/16 x 21 1/4 in. (65 x 54 cm) Overall (with secondary support): 26 1/4 x 22 3/8 in. (66.7 x 56.8 cm). BF933. Public Domain.