Poetry: Honor the CAS Brigade

Memorial Day greetings as we acknowledge our remembrance with parades and poems, and we mark the unofficial threshold of Summer with humbled celebration.

I wrote a poem for Memorial Day…

Agree.

Honor the CAS Brigade

Not the six hundred, your life or mine.
My life for yours, in what noble cause?
You, comrade, have set my stage,
presented me with this chance,
and roll life forward to repay.

Has the world truly lost you?
Is it peace we’ve all gained?
Willing you were, but not for the price
to pay for my freedom, this high liberty.
Did you pay all my dues? What is my debt?

You did not die to win over another,
’twas peace you willed not mere death.
Shall I follow your glorious footsteps?
What cost for Liberty the price to pay?
Was the sum too dear for us to say?

Back to you, no debt can now be paid.
Was there glory in your demise?
Hail Liberty! is now your shroud,
I bow my head and we salute your life,
as today we stand to morn your death.

Comrade be known to only so few,
your loves, your bests, your suffering pains.
Dress right in honored memory
and in memorial spirit. Your life for mine –
no greater sacrifice, no higher honor.

Me. Standing before you,
your stone,
your memory.
Your life!
I’m humbled.

Yet honored.
Not that you died,
But that you lived.
And because you lived, you died,
So I may live. That we can live.

To my fallen fellows,
to my comrades of ideal,
may your sacrifice be honored
within our best brigade.
I salute your life.

Bill Reynolds © 27 May 2018

Look both ways in Memorial to our fallen comrades, yours, mine, ours. Allow no gaps.

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Poetry: A Blaze of Glory

Warned ya: F-word used cuz I do.

A Blaze of Glory

I should be dead.
Hush! Be quiet.
Listen to me.

I shudda been dead years ago.
Every rock wall or cliff I ever saw
was for climbin’ up or down
got kinda hairy sometimes, ripped pants,
scrapes, scratches, and snakes
got bee stung once.

Every train was our ride, tracks for playing
and high trestles for wide river crossings.
A train’s comin’?
I knew two guys who
killed themselves
jumpin’ off a them bridges.

Every roof was to be jumped from
after a building’s been climbed, got
wrenched, twisted, and sprained —
never broken.

Me and Jimmy swam
butt-naked
in that filthy, dirty, Susquehanna
in our bathing suits, which means naked.
Immunity.

We climbed up shit.
Like towers, bridges, trees, buildings.
Shinnied up rusty poles. If we fell,
we’d die. Motivation!
If a train came, we’d die.

Fucking people jumped
from there
into the river
to kill their selves.
My uncle did – Dad’s brother,
Was his name? James maybe,
Something. Yes it was James. Same as Dad’s dad.
His sons said he was trying to save a dog.
Uncle Jimmy weren’t savin’ no fucking dog,
But glorious if he had.

We poached – fish. Got shot at!
Fuckers missed us – on purpose likely.
When you get shot at,
you hear the bullets buzz past.
Crack, crack,
buzz
buzz.
We left — pronto.
Fish were prolly scared anyway.

It was fun to be
scared. And nothing
scared us more than
death.
But Jimmy and me – we
would live forever.

Then Jimmy died
after heart surgery.
Took him off a machine that
breathed
for him – how fucking
inglorious!

I’ll die too.
Too fucking late for
glorious.
Or is it?

Tom died too. Jumped
off a tower. ‘chute didn’t open.
BASErs say gear malfunction.
Midnight. New Year’s Eve.
BASE jump. Glorious.

Jack died of fucking cancer.
He knew. He called me cuz
he knew. I knew too. When his
wife called to tell me. I
fucking couldn’t talk – I
went totally fucking Dumb.

Give me the Light Brigade.
Fuck pas. Gimme a rifle,
a cause, a revolution, a reason.
Fernando!

Teach me how to
die. All the lessons of
life – not one teaches
me how to die.

Love hard, live fast,
die old. But die for a reason.
If yer gunna die, have a cause.

¡viva la revolución!
Aces’n eights ain’t my hand.
I’m not motherfucking dead yet.

There’s more.
More to tell, more to do.

I toast my comrades: to their glory. Salute!

(Bill Reynolds, © 14 May 2018)

In life, there is a reason for each season. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

NOTES: While I think a poem should stand on its own without gloss, my editorial reconsiderations include these.

If you like, read the Charge of The Light Brigade (esp. last stanza) by clicking here.

Pas is physician assisted suicide.

Fernando is the song by ABBA, click here to listen.

 

Poetry: Everybody Has a Mother

52 years ago.

Everybody Has a Mother

I had a mom. And I loved her too.
Then she died, as all mothers do.

Now I have this woman here,
Texas gal and hell-of-a-dear.
Not my mother, no siree,
Nor sister or brother, but oh is she
Mother to the progeny,
who are something
that’s part of me.

She is my lady,
you can see,
love ‘er to bits like a
long-time lover
should.
She’s their mother.
They all love ‘er –
she loves ’em too,
as mothers do.

I love her so,
And likewise them.

Mom o’ my children,
all Texas born.
Now all growed-up
with kin a their own
Tex-bred kids
of one kind or other.

We love ‘em all,
short, fat, skinny and tall.

We love ’em up,
but she Loves them
more than I,
‘cuz that’s what Moms
can do. Love them all
a lot, you see,
more than you and more ‘n me.

Daughter, sis, and cuzin to some,
Wife to me, a very special one
Good sport of a kind and sort,
Mom to three,
Oma to more.

Yolonda,
this poem, my dear lady,
is just for you.

(Bill Reynolds © 12 May 2018)

Y’all be lookin’ both ways cuz Momma be comin’ with a spoon.
Mind the gaps.

Poetry: Sonnet – To Magic

My inspiration was from Edgar Allen Poe’s Sonnet — to Science (click to read it). Reading Poe’s poem gave me chills of guilt. While not anti-magic, I’m pro-science. Knowledge makes the universe more interesting. We will never know or understand everything. Magic and scientific exploration will go on. Yet, I do share Poe’s lament.

 

 

Sonnet – To Magic

Magic! True father of science thou art!
…Who brightens all things with thy happy cries.
Why say thou to poetic scientific hearts,
…A scolder, who brightens our dullest eyes?
How should we love thee? Or how deem thee wise,
…Who of magic wouldst leave him to his thing?
To see for answers in the quelled skies,
…Albeit he soared with daunted left wing?
Did thou set Diana into her car,
…And give Hamadryad her tree of wood
And seek shelter on some happier star?
…Hast magic not set the Naiad to flood,
The Elfin to green grass, given to me
…Summer dreams beneath the tamarind tree?

(Bill Reynolds © 9 May 2018)

With magic and science, look both ways and be mindful of many gaps.

 

Love is the biggest magic of all.

**Note: I am not a fan of analyzing poetry, but my editor questioned some lines. This explanation relates back to Poe’s sonnet. “Line nine, Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? refers to the Roman goddess of hunting and virginity, who rides the moon across the sky at night. With science, people saw that the moon, instead of being a carriage for a goddess, was actually a lifeless rock, so science metaphorically dragged her off the moon. The next two lines talk about the Hamadryad, which is a nymph from Greek and Roman mythology that lives in a tree and dies when the tree dies. Science, however, believes the tree lives without such creatures, and so the idea of the Hamadryad has been driven away.”

 

Reflections: My 2018 A to Z Blog Challenge

Hello out there,

I enjoyed the 2018 A to Z Blog Challenge more than 2017. Last year, I just couldn’t break the code. This year, it went well.

I did two challenges during April (as did others like this or this). I wrote poems for the National Poetry Month and mythology for the A to Z Challenge. Unlike last year, I decided not to piggy-back them by using one post for both challenges. Thus, I posted twice on most days and consider my blog stats questionable. Views, likes, and follows were consistent throughout the month.

As with last year, the A to Z reveal in March got a lot of attention. In April I posed to my blog 56 times.

I think my poetry (NaPoWriMo) was favored over the folklore and mythology creatures in A to Z. I got some comments, such as “I did not know that” regarding the myths. I enjoyed most of the research and writing. While I finished both challenges, I was burning out.

On April 1st, I was almost two weeks ahead in writing for A-Z blogs. However, I wrote the NaPoWriMo poems each day based on the midnight prompts 29 out of 30 times. The one day I did not use the prompt, I wrote the poem from a previous idea. As time passed, I lost my advantage on A to Z. By April 29th, I was writing Z for the next day’s final posting. I was ready to stop before the challenges were completed.

While I stopped doing morning pages for April, a good outcome of the April challenges was getting my brain back to daily creative writing and poetry. My writing had slowed to a virtual stop during our move from Washington state to Texas. These challenges helped me to perk-up and I feel more like writing now. I restarted MPs May 2nd.

Since I did two challenges simultaneously and posted twice per day, it makes sense that my 2018 numbers almost doubled what they had been in 2017.

I tried to keep my A-Z posts brief (<600 words) and used at least two graphic images per day. I felt that format might help visitors do a quick reading and move on. When I read other blog posts during April, I did not always finish when they were long reads.

As was the case last year, I was unable to predict the popularity of any post or poem. I am grateful to all who clicked like when they did. And my special thanks to anyone who took the time to comment either in WordPress or on Facebook.

The most interesting thing (it shouldn’t have surprised me) I learned was that people who know me personally prefer when my writing sounds like me (my voice, in their opinion), despite the quality of the writing. It’s as though I’m forgiven when the reader can hear my voice.

I also find that when I can ditch my inner editor for a while, I enjoy writing more. That finding my voice method leads to some “trashy” flapdoodle twaddle, but when I can channel my inner Bukowski, I can feel it (his attitude). I like it. I find pleasure in writing dark, real life, miserable shit, but I avoid it more than I want to. I’m not sure why.

Maybe I am making a mistake allowing my concept of public opinion to dictate my writing style or content. If I was going to publish other than my blog, then that might be wise. But I do this for pleasure.

For now, I need to write from the inner me and stop letting what I think others may think guide me. I’ll work on that. But such letting go isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m a bit programmed.

Thanks for listening. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

Bill

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Et nos unum sumus

The 30th (and final) Global Poetry Writing Month prompt challenged me to write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact.

I picked the last two sentences from Chapter 24 of Bill Bryson’s book, A Short History of Nearly everything. At the end of page 415, he wrote, “It cannot be said too often: all life is one. That is, and I suspect will forever prove to be, the most profound true statement there is.”

 

et nos unum sumus

Life
Life is
All life is
All life is one.

Cells.
Just one. Or many.
DNA and all that
One. All one. All life.

Look and see.
Germs to grass to trees,
Animals, birds, fish, and
We’re all one, all related.

Practical profundity,
Quintessential cousintry,
Uncle monkey’s nephew
The lion with the lamb.

All from the same space dust,
Them, you, me; all of us,
Will wonder never cease?
So little difference, you from me.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/30/2018)

Look both ways — know we are not alone.
Mind the gaps, so you can fill them with love.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

A2Z Challenge – Z is for Zeus

Gunna stick with the Greeks, but Romans would be Jupiter.

Zeus is the “Father of Gods and men” who rules the Olympians of Mount Olympus and is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. He is youngest child of Cronus and Rhea and he married Hera although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione.

He is known for his erotic escapades, but aren’t they all? That horsing around resulted in Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne). With Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe, and Hephaestus.

His pappy, Cronus was daddy to several children with Rhea. They were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. He swallowed them as soon as they were born because Gaia and Uranus said that he was to be overthrown by his son, just as he had previously overthrown Uranus, his own father. That is family drama for Greek gods. There’s more…

When Zeus was about to be born, Rhea and Gaia came up with a plan to save his ass, but in such a way that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which Cronus promptly swallowed.

Zeus and his brothers divvied up the world, Poseidon got the sea, Hades the lower world, and Zeus the heavens and the upper regions. The earth was common to all. Zeus was also the source of all prophetic power, signs, and sounds – good as well as bad.

Why was Zeus the most important god? Because he is the presiding deity of the universe, ruler of the skies and the earth, and was regarded by the Greeks as the god of all-natural phenomena on the sky, the personification of the laws of nature, the ruler of the state, and father of gods and men.

Look both ways and don’t mess with Zeus.
Mind the gaps. Challenge met!