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For a quarter-of-a-century
this was my home.
Year by year
I seeped into every wall,
used my heart
to jump-start
the gentle buzz of life
until each room
was permeated
with the fragrance
of joy.
There were dusty shelves
and dirty windows,
unwashed floors
and unwelcome clutter covering every flat surface,
but
love
covered
a multitude of sins
and
laughter
rang
to the rafters.

Leaving was like
tearing a scab from a wound.

This house will heal —
but it will never
be mine
again.

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Frank is our host at dVerse today and challenges us to use a polyptoton somewhere in our poem.  A polyptoton is a stylistic device in which a word derived from the same root is repeated (like “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton).

We moved during the course of this year.  Need I say more?

Ode to Choje*

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800px-Quiver_Tree_Forest_Namibia

You raise
fat, fleshy fingers
in praise of sempiternal sky.

You rise
from unyielding ysterklip,
painting the desert sand
with lucent lemon blossoms.

You lend
your limbs
as quivers and cups.

You stand
like stalwart stewards
of the bountiful earth.

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It’s Quadrille Monday and De Jackson (AKA WhimsyGizmo) is the host at dVerse.
She challenges us to write a poem of exactly 44 words (not counting the title) and to include (this week) the word “quiver.”

*Notes on Ode to Choje
Aloidendron dichotomum
, known as the quiver tree, is a tall, branching species of succulent plant indigenous to the Northern Cape of South Africa and southern Namibia).
Known as choje to the indigenous San people, the tree gets its English name from the San people’s practice of hollowing out the tree’s tubular branches to form quivers for their arrows. The quiver tree is classified as critically endangered.  Numbers have diminished steadily, in part because of goats and plant collectors, and also because climatic conditions have affected seedling growth.
“Ysterklip” is Afrikaans (directly translated as “ironstone” in English) and is commonly known as dolorite.

PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons
Simone Crespiatico
Quiver Tree Forest, Namibia

The Stranger Who Was Your Self

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At first it was spite that drove her.  But soon she began to enjoy her times at the gym.  She’d listen to all manner of podcasts and music.  She noticed her appetite decreased. It was easy, almost natural, to pass on all the high-kilojoule sugary things in favour of fresh fruits and vegetables.

One Saturday evening, nearly a year later, as the waitress was showing them to their table, Katie stopped halfway through the restaurant.  “Mark!” she exclaimed.  He stood, his facial expression metamorphosing as he recognised her. 

“Katie!  You . . . you look . . .”

She’d planned what she’d say.  Your loss, buddy!  Or  Eat your heart out!  Instead she gave him a sincere smile.  “Thanks, Mark.’  She turned and followed the waitress.

At the end of the meal she read the fortune in her cookie:  “You will love again the stranger who was your self.”

 

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At dVerse, Kim from Writing in North Norfolk, asks us to write a Flash Fiction story in 144 words that includes the following line from ‘Love After Love’, a poem by Derek Walcott:   ‘You will love again the stranger who was your self’.

I am a woman of many words, so this was difficult for me, BUT lots of fun!  Why not try your hand at Flash Fiction?

African Summer

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Silenced under a blanket of heat, the dark inert night
holds its breath, strains to hear the unvoiced whisper,
seeks signs of spirit, any reason for hope.
A train whistle calls out across the lonely sky.
Lungs lined with fine brown dust, each creature still.
Waiting. Hoping. Praying. Tears long since dry.

The moon reflects vulture-picked bones, deathly white and dry,
but she brings no chill to the deep airless night.
Even the incessant cicada lies voiceless and still.
A drawn-out sigh of a worn aardvark creates not even a whisper.
Gaunt trees raise their spindly fingers to the barren sky
while below the labyrinthed termites are encased in terracotta hope.

Patient panthera with crust-coated eyes, dares to hope.
The immobile cubs sprawled abreast her teats, cracked and dry,
will again playfully pounce and wrest glory from the sky.
Like statue stands the quill pig through the night
striving to unearth the faintest whisper
of breeze, but yet the bush is deathly still.

While all seems lost, surrender but a waft away, still
there beats within each creature some forgotten hope.
Then comes a subtle suggestion of a whisper,
a minute stir of cool draught, a curious fragrance atop the dry
crackling wild domain which lies beneath the static night
and a distant murmur echoes across the sky.

In the periphery (could it be?) a rip in the starless sky
but as eyes turn to look it closes into swift still.
As heads return to earth (there it is!) a rumble in the night.
(And yes!) another flash. A distant scent of green hope.
Minutes like hours pass. (Now nothing.) But in the dry
air there passes like a phantom, a voiceless whisper.

Then it starts.  Pit!  Pat!  Pitter!!  Patter!!  The soft whisper
of fat full drops falling from the night sky
hitting the dust, sending small clouds of dirt so dry
into wet wind, washing the world, making mad mud, still
pounding the earth, running rivulets of sweetness.  Hope
is brought to fruition as the heavens crack open the night.

The small quiet whisper in the dark still
has opened the sky and brought bountiful hope
to the once dry land of the African night.

 

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SESTINA!  Yes, over at dVerse Victoria is challenging us to write a Sestina.
It is a long poetic form written with six words which get repeated at the end of each line.
I’m not lying, this was really a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  And I am not fully satisfied with this piece and will probably continue tweaking it over weeks to come.
But it was a great challenge and I encourage you to join us!

My Voice

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“You have got to find your voice!”
the writing instructor urgently intoned.

But where do I start the search?

I looked under the bed
and discovered
abandoned shoes,
divorced socks,
dog-eared paperbacks
and dust bunnies.
But no voices.

Tomorrow
I’ll rummage through
the cupboards.

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De Jackson, aka WhimsyGizmo, is our host this week for Quadrille #85 at dVerse.   A Quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words, this week including the word VOICE.
I wrote a bit of silliness, thinking back to a writers’ group meeting when we talked about voice.  Why not join the fun and find YOUR voice!

Well Come Home

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Yellow-billedKite

My dusty eyes
grieve
scanning the wild African sky
for your silhouette.
Long past identifying shades,
weary of lesser things,
I almost despair
before
I recognise
the triangular rudder
manipulating heavenly currents,
rejoice in the feathery fingers
pulling clouds
like so much water across canvas.
You have come home,
conducting my dreams
over the firmament.

Now my soul is settled —
the pieces are each in place —
the raptor returns.

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Laura is the host today at dVerse, and she has introduced three foreign language poets, challenging us to select one of the poems and write our own interpretation.  I chose ‘Migratory Birds’ by Desanka Maksimović, who was a Serbian poet, professor of literature, and a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.  Her poem about wild geese migrating, carrying away dear things, made me think of Yellow-billed Kites and how my heart is so sad when they migrate north in our winter.  I saw my first YBK, unofficially marking spring, a few days ago.  And my heart leapt with joy.

Sommersprossen

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Spring,
they say,
is the season of sprouts.
After the long cold winter,
warming Earth
embraces seeds.
In grateful reply,
green returns.

The hills and valleys
of your countenance
so respond.
Each kiss of sun
germinates a freckle
across the landscape
of your face.

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Mish is hosting #84 Quadrille at dVerse and asks us to write a poem of exactly 44 words (not counting the title), including the word “freckle.”
Come join the fun!

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