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The Poets

October 26, 2012

The Maple


When times of desperation greet me
With tempest and with livid storm
And violent winds wish to defeat me 
And swallow me within their swarm

I will remember where I’m rooted
And there with courage will abide
And though the winds my leaves have looted
Maintain my faith though it be tried

So let the darkest storm clouds thunder
Let rain and wind their havocs wreak
The world around me wide will wonder
How I am strong, yet seem so meek

-jwm

Of the Poem:

Stanza:
Quatrain
Meter: Nine syllables with lines 1 and 3, tetrameter with 2 and 4
Rhyme Scheme: abab per stanza

The idea came from a parable Arthur Schopenhauer (I think it was Schopenhauer) told about a pine tree- the point of the parable being that pines, though they're not the most becoming of trees, are nobler because they're less susceptible to change unlike other, more beautiful, deciduous trees.

The reason for the poem, unfortunately, is a tough time I'm going through (a sort of reminder to myself to be strong) .

October 24, 2012

A Very Cool Poet


Denise Levertov, born this day in 1923,  is the first female Beat poet that I began to read and study … I love her- her style is cool, the way she employs imagery is cool, her chosen subjects are cool, and I’ll go as far as to say that she’s among the coolest of the Beat poets.

This poem, St. Peter and the Angel, is an awesome story about deliverance and the curious mixture of dread and jubilance that comes with the realization of it. Check it out, you’ll enjoy her storytelling, I promise …



St. Peter and the Angel
by Denise Levertov (1923 – 1997)

Delivered out of raw continual pain,
smell of darkness, groans of those others
to whom he was chained--

unchained, and led
past the sleepers,
door after door silently opening--
out!
    And along a long street's
majestic emptiness under the moon:

one hand on the angel's shoulder, one
feeling the air before him,
eyes open but fixed . . .

And not till he saw the angel had left him,
alone and free to resume
the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of
what he had still to do,
not till then did he recognize
this was no dream. More frightening
than arrest, than being chained to his warders:
he could hear his own footsteps suddenly.
Had the angel's feet
made any sound? He could not recall.
No one had missed him, no one was in pursuit.
He himself must be
the key, now, to the next door,         

October 09, 2012

An Elegy to Heather Tripler

This poem is a repost that I dedicate to the memory of Heather Tripler, a young homeless lady who died in a small park in Grand Junction this day in October of 2008. We’ll never forget you, Heather.

  


Emerson Park
An Elegy on the Passing of Heather Tripler

There’s snow there now where once she lay
Alone that Autumn eve
And though that day seems far away
I still lamenting grieve

For she- a daughter, mother, friend
She pined, I’m sure, in grief
For hard distraught there came her end
By Death, that surly thief

She roamed, she roamed through deepest dark
Alone, no friend to guide
And when she came upon that park
There on a bench she died

No tear went forth, nor word was said
To her who lay asleep
Til angels by her bed were led
In solace ever deep

“Awake, dear child, slumber’s past”
They said in one accord
“Come to the warmth and light at last
For therein is the Lord”

-jwm



Of the Poem

It was 2008, October 10th, when I was home from work and the news was on. A young lady, it was reported, was found dead on a park bench in Grand Junction. She was 34 years old, homeless, and apparently died there as a result of alcohol poisoning. I was utterly grieved by the news of this.

Words elude me. What can I say that might articulate the emotions that are stirred up in me even at this moment? How can I articulate the content of so tragic an event as Heather’s?

Perhaps these words, written to Heather’s mother, might express them the best …

"As I mentioned to your sister and your daughter, I’m so sorry for your loss. My daughter is 9 years old, and it would wreck my world if I lost her. This is honestly the closest to empathy that I can reach with regard to the emotional pain I’m certain you feel. I’m truly sorry that you and your family are without Heather. Any attempt to console you I imagine is fruitless, yet I have no doubt that you’ll see Heather again in the hereafter.

I don’t know Heather, but the first time I heard of her plight it grieved me so heavily that I still have difficulty articulating it. It was shortly after she died that the first snowfall of the year occurred, and as I was standing at my doorway looking at this beautiful sight I couldn’t stop thinking about her and that dreadful event. It was then that I felt, deep in the inner reaches of my heart, that I had to memorialize her in the form of a poem; that I had to say ‘something’ in honor of her.

I didn’t know what I would write, but there were two simple rules that I knew I had to follow … first, let the poem come to me rather than forcing too many ideas onto it; and second- and perhaps most importantly- to write it as if Heather were standing right there watching me write it (so as to get a sense of her approval, I think).

Those were the hardest 20 lines that I’ve ever written in a poem, but when I completed them I felt a beautiful sense of connection with Heather.

In the end I feel my point was to express (in the first stanza) the anguish I felt when I first heard of her death; to express (in the second and third stanza) her humanity in the midst of that lonely night- which the media seemed to entirely ignore; and to express (in the last two stanzas), the best way I knew how, her reception into the arms of the Lord.

The truth is, I wanted to express to Heather herself that I was listening. My original intention was to keep the poem to myself, but the second I finished it my conscience compelled me to try and contact her family and share it with them- and I did.

I’ve thought about Heather so much over the last two years. And though I’ve never met her, I’ll never be able to forget her."

As of April 9th, 2010