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I'm going to once again set aside the theme I'd adopted and planned to use this month, for something that came up for me and more or less demanded, in my personal estimation, to be shared.

The last place I'd ordinarily recommend is Facebook, which has more or less become the "poster child" for all that, or at least much of what, is wrong with social media these days. But there are diamonds to be located in the dross sometimes, and this poem, and the process of how I got there, is an example of a diamond, IMHO. So, this time, I'm going to share three poems, one of which is my own, and the other two, along with a bit of accompanying dialog, to show how I arrived at the poem I created. I thought the process was both interesting and fun, and I'm hoping those of you who read this diary will agree. So, follow along below the fold, and hear the story of how I arrived at this particular poem for this time around.



Means "beautiful voice" from Greek καλλος (kallos) "beauty" and οψ (ops) "voice". In Greek mythology she was a goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, one of the nine Muses.  

 Join us every Tuesday afternoon at the Daily Kos community political poetry club.

                    Your own poetry is always welcome in the comments.

                       Bongos, berets & turtle neck sweaters optional.                                

                            The keyboard is mightier than the sword.    

Here is the first "inspiration poem" that got the process started:

Lay Me Down in the Tall Grass

I wear a blue dress
Vivid as a kingfisher
With daisy's on the breast
You still wear your uniform,
Tie askew, shirt untucked

We meet by the bridge
On a school day in May
Hold hands down the path
Dodging cow pats
Over the turnstile

Through the field
Long grass tickles my legs
Run down the hill
To the river, laughing
No blanket, just a carpet of grass

I lie down and close my eyes
You brush feathered grass
On my dewy cheek, my neck
and lower still, till I shudder
I open my eyes

You block the sun
Looking down at me
And we kiss, the sweetest
softest lips on mine
The birds chorus, a crescendo

Bees buzz their busy path
Landing on dandelions and cow parsley
Daisy chains looped around my wrists
And a floral crown
Like one of Hardy's maidens

The river bubbles over slick rocks
and trout and eels swim
Butterflies flutter by
And you coil a lock of my hair
Around your finger
And whisper, "I love you."

© Sian Rebecca Williams

(I have not edited this poem, nor the other one not composed by me that follows, in any way. There was also an image with this poem, which I have not attempted to include, because I am not sure about the source. You can go to the Facebook page for MVPS if you would like to see it.)

Lie down on that summer grass
Inhale that summery smell
Feel it, run your fingers across it
Spread your fingers palms down and press
And now with the back of your hands
Let the grass tickle
The sun is smothering my face
The sun is permeating my bones
It's so sexy
It is so darned sexy
Lying on the grass
On a hot, sunny day.

I think of my youth
The teenage passions
The thrill of it
Lying on the grass in the park
Squinting into the sun
Wishing he would and then he does
It's gone all dark
His face hovers above mine
Blocking out the sun
His mouth covers mine for the very first time
I remember.
And it was so sexy
Just so darned sexy

© Meg Marsden

The first poem was written by the daughter, and the second by the mother, of a pair of poets who, among many others, share their writing on the "Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society" on Facebook. The story of how I got involved with poets from and/or related to Martha's Vineyard, a place I've visited exactly once in my life, is related to the loss of my husband and a story I'll save for another time, or may be gleaned from earlier stuff I've written on Daily Kos. (Lee McCormack, whom I've spoken of and shared poetry by here before, is, of course, part of MVPS too.) But, be that as it may, I derive a lot of enjoyment, and opportunities for learning, as well as occasional sparks of inspiration, from the group. These two poems, along with some dialog that came with them, which follows, are what inspired me to write my own poem, which also follows.

Meg's response to Sian's posting of her poem:
"Lovely Sian and it put me in mind of the following which I wrote a long while ago and you will never have seen..." (Which, of course, included the poem you just read immediately above this.)

Sian's reply to her mother:
"Mum I have read it before, you posted it on my wall ages ago. Love it!"

And, my response to both:
"Okay, now the two of you together have given me an idea for another poem...."

(I should mention here that some of Sian's poetry has given me ideas in the past and I've messaged her previously that she is one of my "muses.")

And here is the poem I came up with. I went in a different direction than the two of them, but I think you can see how what they wrote and the dialog between them, influenced what I did:


My mother sent me Patchen
When I was on the cusp
When passion burned within
Like steel in the mold
Like lava at the heart of volcanoes--

My mother knew me,
Mind and heart.
Lover of books, she
Sent me keys, hints
To life's mysteries.

Mind lost to the mists,
She only knows me
By the heart,
At the root.

We hold hands
And remember with our souls.

© KRP, (myself, just to be clear) 2014

I personally think there is more than a little magic to the process of creating poetry, though more strongly felt some times than others, and this particular episode represented the working of the magic for me. I have to give some credit also to some other DKos diaries, particularly The Grieving Room one for Mother's Day, for some of what went into the process too.

So, I end with thanks to other writers, poets or not, both here and at Facebook, as well as everywhere else I may encounter them in life. Carry on!

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule:

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
2:00 PM What's on Your E-Reader? Caedy
2:00 PM Bibliophile's Wish List Caedy
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery michelewln, Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
alternate Thursdays (on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
alternate Fridays 8:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
Fri 10:00 PM Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable shortfinals
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 12:00 PM You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews pwoodford
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight and Indigo Kalliope.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

    by Kit RMP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:00:18 PM PDT

  •  "My mother knew me, Mind and heart." (7+ / 0-)

    It's such a sympathetic magic, when we know each other well enough to see the inner other, the exact hues of our hungers and hopes. Finishing each other's sentences, or buying a book of poetry for a friend: finding a muse who speaks to them direct.

    Poetry reaches past our everyday consciousness, and taps into the deeper lava flowing under the mountain. I like to watch how art replicates itself, and echoes on in the work of others who resonate to similar dreams. So it was refreshing, this Indigo Kalliope, in going beyond the rhyme itself, and showing us more of that human process echoing on in other hearts - how poetry works. Thank you for
    Sending us keys, hints
    To life's mysteries.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:41:57 PM PDT

  •  Beautiful poems. I have a close relationship with (7+ / 0-)

    my mother, as I did with my grandmother and great-grandmother. As a man--not just as a gay man, but as a man--those relationships mean quite a bit. Keepers of family history, whisperers of secrets, comforters able to then say "Now, let's talk about how you go on..." Strong women who taught me how to be a strong human being.

    Here's to our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and all mothers. I wouldn't know half of what I know about life if it were not for them.

    This comment in memory of my great grandmother (1894-1986), my grandmother (1920-2011) and my dear mother, (1945-).

    PLUS: An Encomium:

    All those wet days on Spring picnics too early,
    and the piggy-back rides back from the far field
    where we could smell the pines and see the homestead
    from up in the hills,
    and my impatience with the rhubarb cooling at the window
    during The Secret Storm
    and the benign interference which was only love
    which Ma always knew it was and complained
    but always knew was only love and pride and later
    with winks and nods all the women knowing that
    it does take a village to raise a child, with everyone laughing
    when the cows got through the fence and dragged the
    wash off the line into the pasture,
    an early memory.

    Those women knew what they were doing, those three
    generations with different ideas and experiences.
    Those three generations raised great children,
    and made great lives.
    I am grateful.

    Copyright 2014 by WGH/commonmass


    by commonmass on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:45:37 PM PDT

  •  It just occurred to me after writing my off-the- (5+ / 0-)

    cuff poem that I knew my father's grandmother and she had a significant role in raising me.

    I have often taken that for granted, but I see that it was a very lucky happenstance.


    by commonmass on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:54:34 PM PDT

  •  My Mother's Day poem, (8+ / 0-)

    Mother's Day, 2014

    It starts
    at the moment when
    that first alone step
    is dared,
    pushed aside
    the mother’s patient,
    caring hand.
    Fearless he charges, like
    infantry immersed
    in a moment of mad pursuit,
    no chance left
    for turning back,
    forward only,
    driving towards
    the battle’s sweet
    enticing lure.
    There is no hope
    like a mother’s hope,
    no prayer held
    quite so tenderly
    as a mother’s prayer.
    The toddler soldiers on,
    lost in the fierce newness
    of strife, arriving
    even as the other starts
    to depart.
    The holding on, the
    letting go, the
    holding on again,
    there is no grasp
    quite so lost
    as a child’s grasp, as he
    turns around,
    trying to hold on
    to all that he will never know.
    Like gulls above some
    distant shore, the cries
    hang in the air;
    each, in turn,
    stands in line to learn
    in this brief life
    the hardest part
    is in the letting go.

    © TAK, (myself) 2014

    In walked the village idiot and his face was all aglow...he's been up all night listening to Mohammed's Radio (Warren Zevon)

    by Wonton Tom on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:51:01 PM PDT

  •  My thanks to the Rescue Rangers (7+ / 0-)

    For seeing fit to rescue this diary!

    What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

    by Kit RMP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:14:45 PM PDT

  •  beautiful, Kit RMP (7+ / 0-)

    the wonder of words, and their evoked emotions, refracted light. so beautiful. thanks for this, Kit RMP, so grateful this was rescued so I could read and feel this

    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~ Thoreau

    by newpioneer on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:39:03 PM PDT

  •  Popping in quickly to say (7+ / 0-)

    how pleased I am that Indigo Kalliope is still thriving. Thank you to all who are passing the torch and keeping poetry alive on these digital pages.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design • Drawing Out the Muses now available in e-book

    by asterkitty on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:41:00 PM PDT

  •  Here's a mama poem previously posted in (6+ / 0-)

    Kitchen Table Kibitzing -- I wanted to include it here in this lovely diary full of mama poems. Thanks, Kit RMP.


    On hot summer nights me and my mama
    Would lie on our backs in damp grass,
    Counting whirling lightening bugs.
    On this Earth day and her birthday,  
    May the wild Louisiana ground protect her.

    What are they mama? Why do they have
    Lights inside them? Baby, those pretty
    Lights flicker and spin to attract love.
    If we lie real still and watch them, we will be
    Covered in love, just covered up in love.

    An older me would learn that fireflies
    Flash to attract their mates and it is
    Not good to place them in a jar, which
    Interrupts the mating cycle. These days all
    Firefly cycles are interrupted. Menaced.

    Our planet is heating and the seasons have
    Gone awry. Lightening bugs are
    Suffering, as are all living things. Their very
    Being is choking in interruption as mankind
    Ravages the earth with consumptive greed.

    Today, whirling in sadness, I’m remembering my
    Twinkling mama who walked in grace and
    Conserved everything she touched, long
    Before Earth day, long before Jimmy Carter cared.
    She worshipped the flashing of the fireflies.  

    Walking in sadness for the destruction, the
    Waste and wantonness delivered to a planet that
    Should be revered and conserved with
    Every living thing, covered in love,
    Covered in love, just covered up in love.

    ©Ruby S. Jones
    For my mama and lightning bugs everywhere.

    "Southern nights, have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint Remember the Gulf of Mexico.

    by rubyr on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:47:02 PM PDT

  •  Here's my Mother's Day poem: (7+ / 0-)

    (Note:  I publish under a different name)

    mother's day

    bring the extra chairs down from
    the attic   more people are coming
    for dinner   which is fine because
    we have plenty of food   for once

    who else is coming   i can't really
    say   which doesn't mean it's a secret
    it just means that some people
    hardly know themselves and so who

    are we to demand identification from
    lost souls when we ourselves are
    usually struggling to find our way
    back or we're hiding in the attic and

    longing for the days when our race
    was invisible   these days we feed
    strangers when we know they need
    to eat or when we need to know that

    we exist   sometime after dinner we'll
    go outside and watch the fireworks show
    it's too bad that with all the musicians
    and writers in the family nobody ever

    wants to sing a song or read a poem which
    is a huge waste of talent and tuition money
    but perhaps everyone is just too busy and
    this may sound cynical but i believe

    that the epitaph for the human race will
    read as follows   they were just very very

    Author's note:  Although I created the above poem entirely out of my own imagination, my mother often speaks using metaphysical quips and aphorisms just like this.

    "Soylent Green is people too, my friend!" Guess Who

    by oldmaestro on Tue May 20, 2014 at 09:23:24 PM PDT

  •  Some great gifts of poetry here tonight! (3+ / 0-)

    Thank you to everyone!

    What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

    by Kit RMP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:54:55 PM PDT

  •  My dear Kit, (4+ / 0-)

    This was a truly good diary.

    Even if I didn't say so,
    look at the poetry in the comment thread!

    I read kinda slow,
    so I'm struggling to get through it all.

    But it's good to have excess poetry.

    I noticed something interesting:

    the two poems you quoted first
    were each like a love scene from a movie:
    boy and girl are excited,
    lay down,
    maybe do more,
    yadda yadda yadda.

    Yours was about
    your mother,
    the way she knew you,
    and gave you little hints,
    and now,
    years later,
    the two of you have something deep you share.

    Your poem had no dude,
    no kiss.

    But we all know about the kisses,
    and the rest.

    You wrote about the scheming women,
    behind the love scenes,
    plotting to lure in
    one of us men.

    Of course,
    us men are easy,
    but it flatters us
    you plot and scheme.

    My Tonia stalked me,
    from a distance,
    during the last years of Pam's life,
    since Tonia knew what would happen.

    She knew Pam would die,
    and she knew I would need
    a good, loyal wife.

    Tonia bided her time,
    for four years.

    Then she captured me.

    Now I'm the prince,
    in the kingdom of Queen Tonia.

    Thanks again for the diary.

    I truly needed the day off this week.

    Thanks again.

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:19:22 PM PDT

    •  bigjac, I hope you don't mind (3+ / 0-)

      that your post made me chuckle a little.

      First of all, there's no such thing as "excess poetry" in a poetry diary!

      Second, the point of my poem wasn't so much about women scheming about men, as it was acknowledging the close relationships between mothers and daughters, almost to the point of "reading each other's minds" sometimes, and how, now that my mother, with her Alzheimer's Disease, can't talk about or share anything like that, or even be able to say who I am when we're together; on a level below and beyond words, she knows who I am and what we share, even though she can't say it in words, or even think the thoughts as such. My mother's dementia is only implied in the poem, of course, but that's why I put that tag on the diary. I think sometimes the subtlety of implication serves poetry well. I acknowledge that some folks who don't get it will lose something of the experience in that case, but that's a risk poets (and poetry) have to take sometimes.

      I am happy that you are the prince in Tonia's kingdom, and that my diary gave you some needed breathing space!

      What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

      by Kit RMP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Flo was "Nana." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kit RMP, RiveroftheWest

    That's in the future for Cecily.


    What spinning yellow lights for Flo who died hailing a cab ?
    Only the greed angered monster knows the rules here.
    Only the tit-grabbing cop can be protected, can mock
    A living girl, the departed, our Charity of unspoken prayers.

    Stop that. No more mockeries. Cease and be still.
    Be voiceless to mourning. Save the shrill,
    Self-approving claims rooted in money's deep well.
    No horn. No iPod. Quiesce your calls, burn no wire.

    Your humbling blackness mutes the tolling fire
    And ends the cast bronze ring t'was in nights air.
    Ends too, blaspheme: this latest legal crime.
    Sixteen days, three months. Who cares?

    Who dares? What shadow without sound
    Would shine then the last still light? The stuff of Hope
    And flowers in hair and boy in pale plastic mask.
    They would be important, make themselves a world
    Robed in a Faith they do not know.

    Come with softened eyes and the stuff of elegy.
    Go. The last light breaks as we search for candles.

    Flo is the older gal who was killed in a DUI manslaughter in 2008. That was on Water Street, trying to hail a cab. She was another WTC survivor. Then in 2009 the Wall Street CEO who killed her went to court and got 16 days in Rikers and a $350 fine.

    Her spirit is with us.

    And Flo's killer got a lesser sentence than what's happening to Cecily. Apparently our modern corporatism places no limit to its arrogance.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:45:03 AM PDT

    •  waterstreet2013, thank you for sharing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, waterstreet2013

      your searing poem with us here. Truly a political poem in the strongest sense.

      What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

      by Kit RMP on Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:32:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Flo survived 9/11 by running out of WTC. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, Kit RMP

        She died getting run down in the street like a dog. Similar, but dogs don't try to hail cabs.

        Cecily doesn't understand it yet, but the conviction changes her legal status. She will be punished by the corporations.

        The poem tries to catch puffs of the smoke from those fires.

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

        by waterstreet2013 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:17:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mother's Day Poem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, RiveroftheWest, Kit RMP

    Hello, one and all.  I haven't been around much lately, busy with life and all.  But I thought I might contribute a poem to this thread, though Mother's Day has already flown by.


    I saw my mother through
    My bedroom window late, late one night,
    Dancing in her garden
    In the warm moonlight,
    An unscripted, beautiful ballet,
    Free at last from snares that trapped her during day,
    From her ghosts and fears.
    She seemed so graceful and alive,
    As though she were a girl
    And had not encountered yet the world's dismay
    Or the iron weight of years.
    I was nine or ten.
    I never told her that I watched her
    Or that I woke myself many times
    To find her there but never did.
    Still sometimes when it's summer and late,
    The memory of my mother dancing
    In the moonlight in her garden reappears,
    And she and I are reunited, young again.

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