Thursday, October 13, 2011

Poking around in the garden

It's been a month since my last post, and I thought I should get back to writing about my writing, if that makes any sense. Since my heart attack, I've had a bit of trouble getting back on track with my poetry. My friend Chris lost her husband in July, a year ago, and she's also been struggling with her writing. She's my mentor and suggested that we take on a two-week assignment and then share our results.

The assignment was to go out into the garden or yard every day and find a poem. It was fun for the first week and then we were finished with the easy poems. Or so I thought. But I did find more good material during the second week. At the end of two weeks, we put all our work into a file and exchanged them. Chris's poetry, as always, was very good. Most of mine were fair, and I've worked on them since we traded. I've incorporated Chris's comments to great advantage.

One of my first poems is one of my favorites, about a green ceramic frog in the garden by the fountain.

A green ceramic frog 
A green ceramic frog 
hides in the tall grass 
near the fountain.
He smiles like a happy child,
lying on his stomach in the sun, 
chin propped on an elbow, legs 
kicked up in back and crossed.

Do his bulging eyes look 
for a dragonfly for lunch or 
for a princess to kiss him? 

Another trip into the side yard yielded a view of the holly bushes on which I always scratch hell out of myself when I'm weeding or raking up the winter leaves. Here's what came of that trip.

Prickly curmudgeons
three holly bushes 
share a dark garden corner 
prickly curmudgeons 

We had a heavy rain one night and the yard was still very wet when I went out that morning for my next topic. I found a spider's web I never even would have seen if not for all the rain drops on it. I looked closer and saw the brown spider who had spun the web. I'm sure I'm anthropomorphizing when I attribute his attitude as one of being upset.

Brown spider in a leaf
Diamonds of morning rain glisten 
on a spider's web spun across coils 
of a garden hose next to the house. 
The raindrops highlight the random 
structure of the web, their weight 
dragging down the threads 
so carefully set. 

In a leaf from a nearby ash, dry, curled 
and wedged between the wall and hose, 
hides a brown spider who sits, head-down 
in the leaf, resting because its web 
is too visible and not likely to snare 
anything. The spider stretches his legs, 
lifting his body, ready to run from me. 
Today has not begun as a good day for him. 

The last poem I'll share on this blog is one I wrote based on a dragonfly I saw out in the back yard. I spent a good deal of time, when I should have been writing, watching the many dragonflies that crossed over our backyard during the heat of the summer. They are special creatures that capture my imagination and make me smile when I see them.

The last dragonfly of the summer
This morning, the first full day of fall, 
a dragonfly flits around the back yard. 
The first one in weeks, and perhaps 
the last one this summer. 
Short days and cold nights 
mean less food for them. 

I will miss their zooming flight, 
their gossamer wings, 
their electric blue and green bodies, 
and the pure joy they bring to my heart. 

Well, one more poem, this one for my geology friends up in Wyoming and my grandson down in Denton.

Three small rocks stand apart 
Three small rocks stand apart in the garden 
between the low spruce bushes and the ash,
put there by her grandson, 
gathered on hikes in the mountains, 
symbols of his enduring love for her. 

More next post. Hope you enjoy reading these poems as much as I enjoyed writing and revising them. Thanks, Chris, for your daily haikus, mentoring, and especially your friendship.