National Poetry Month, Day 17–Semana de Santos and Salud de Paz

Semana de Santos and Salud de Paz

I
Robed in passion purple, the chosen
travel from distant Guatemalan villages
to walk on alfombras (floral carpets) –
        roses, chrysanthemums
        leaves, rice, beans, quinoa,
        colored sawdust –
offering of humility before Easter,
bear the burdens of saints,
brass band plays funeral march.

II
They wear scrubs –
        green, purple, blue, calico
        patterned or plain –
doctors, nurses, dentists
walk all day on shiny tile floors
made of green polished stone.
They come to Salud de Paz before Easter,
repair hernias, cleft lips, tired wombs
rotten teeth, itching skin
relive burden of tumor, bleeding,
listen to music from I-pods and marimbas.

III
They wear colorful wool cloth topped
with woven Huipils of batz’I luch (true design)
mothers, sisters carry babies on hips
wrapped in bright blankets, arrive
at Salud de Paz clinic in Toyota pickup beds,
by colorful local bus or walk in broken sandals
up steep ridges bearing the soil of poverty –
a parade of proud Mayan ancestry –
hold cell phones to their ears
purchase calling cards by the minute.

Lynn M. Hansen
Modesto Branch, CA

National Poetry Month, Day 16–Journey from the East

JOURNEY FROM THE EAST

THE OCEAN

ocean’s
    dark-toned depths:
        silent, heavy; dense as sumo-wrestlers:
             a muscular giant embryo
             its epidermis lying loose like pie-crust not yet pinched down
the
   surface lies
        pearled, smooth as a child’s shooting-marbles,
             but rocked gently by the tail of Namazo, the giant cat-fish,
             asleep now in ocean’s belly

THE WIND

comes
   god of wind,
        sly-eyed Fujin, hurling himself from the soul-shore of mystical Japan;
             unleashing his feared bags of demon scream-pitched gales –
             howling, angry, water-shattering forces
that
    slam the top
        of the water-sheath…like a jet plane crash landing, as it skims…
             a skipping stone across the rough sea-surface coupled
             with sounds of giant pressure cookers exploding

THE WAVES

waves
    bounding off:
        rolling, surging, roiling, twisting…frisky
             as juvenile huskies in Fuji’s fresh snow: yapping,
             snarling warm-up tones of Tokoyo’s symphony orchestra
then
    bewitching
        fingers of the mysterious yokai knead the water into jiki, fine white porcelain,
             and toss them high into the air in sprays like corn stalks
             that land shattered into chards to grind into foam for the caps, then defiantly

THE JOURNEY

turn
    in eastward
        flight; hearlded by brass bands, twisting, surging,
             thrashing-passion of irrational, unsatisfied manic lovers:
             Disneyland’s wild ride, bounding for somewhere unmapped

hell
    perhaps not:
        mad trajectory, with overloaded chords, playing unformed leap-frog and
             disappearing with each towering masterpiece — churling on the shoreless deep
             as the borderless mass moves away from the Rising Sun

THE CRASH

the
    wind is gone
        Fujin has retreated
             many days the waves have ridden the ocean surface, rudderless –
             under the sun, under the moon — in round, deep knolls, pushing onward

then
CRASH against
    rocks unseen beneath the top
             pop! a hail of champagne corks, up and up, then falling back but not to regroup;
             a shudder: death is here, alone, unheralded

THE LANDING

peace
    the small wave,
        a mere suggestion of its once all-power,
             is carried by an invisible force, across starfish and floating seaweed it does not see
             toward shore

quiet
    as the now-dead
        wave lands softly on the shallows and sinks into the warm sand
             letting go of its life with a small sigh
             as it returns to Amaterasu Ō Mi Kami, the Great Spirit of life and death…

…where it all begins and where it all ends…

Mary Halverson Schofield
Minnesota Branch

National Poetry Month, Day 15–Orange Moon

Orange Moon

Somewhere up there
there’s an orange moon.

Once in a blue moon
there’s an orange moon.

There’s a cloud cover
like a down comfort
thrown over the earth.

I am on the earth side
so I will not see that
there’s an orange moon.

I have seen such a moon.
In an unobstructed view
from the dock on the New River
a lusterware platter
held me transfixed.

I will not see this orange moon
but I can imagine
a giant luminous lusterware platter
above the fresh green
of the oaks and willows of the delta.

I will remember, when it is said
“there’s an orange moon,”
and know that
blue moons are a measure of time:
orange moons are a measure of faith.

by Bet Wooten
Delta Branch, MS

National Poetry Month, Day 11–sometimes…

Sometimes I mourn the loss of fog

which hung like a curtain
outside winter windows;
not transparent sheers,
but thick gray-white drapes
that obstructed views,
closed us in,
muffled sounds,
hid the nearby orchards and vineyards
transformed, now,
into neighborhoods
which cover the soil,
hold on to sunlight and heat,
suck up moisture,
repel vapor.
In its way,
that fog was reassuring,
whispering the message
that, although we lived
with the usual creature comforts,
we were still close to the earth
somehow,
not just one more subdivision
amid suburban sprawl

by Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch, CA

Please share our April National Poetry Month daily poems with your contacts.

Check out www.nlapw.org for our novel coaching auction, new books by women, and more art and music!

National Poetry Month, Day 13–Mistral’s Stars

Mistral’s Stars

(inspired by Gabriela Mistral’s poetry)

The ground beneath these feet
holds the weight of corrosive decay
spanning centuries. The lump
in this throat the unsung songs
of generations of swallows. This mouth gives
utterance to unexpressed longings of nomadic tribes
always circling that same precipice of extinction,
always tonguing the moist wounds of rejected saviors
in an attempt to slake their unquenchable thirst.

At nightfall, Mistral’s stars flutter from the heavens
and are blown towards the sea until fragments,
scorched by flames, turn into cinders as tiny
as black seeds, seeds that burrow into ash
and blossom into the Blessed Mother, cloaked in azure,
her head crowned with a diadem of morning glories
the color of aubergine, her obsidian eyes luminous
with tears spilling into a cratered moon.

by Calder Lowe
Modesto branch

National Poetry Month, Day 12–Journey

Journey

Visit with me.
I’m just passing through
Got to meander through green mountains and
Valley back roads and sit on rolling river shores
Then I’ve got to smell the desert date trees
Just once more.

Smile at me.
I’m only passing you
Leaving a bit of spirit, a poem or two
Some laughter, sunshine and dawn moonlight
If you want some
And then I will move on.

Pick my pockets.
No telling what you will find there
Yellow rose petals and pine cones
Bird melodies and rainbow clouds
Pastel pens and healing stones
Lifesavers and jelly beans…
Yes, I have my iPhone somewhere.

Traveling free and living whole.
Nice to have met you here.
No one’s journey is ever long.

Marilyn Lewis-Alim
Huntsville Branch, AL

National Poetry Month, Day 11 and Art of the Week

Autry Dye, Pensacola Branch, Acrylic

Autry Dye, Pensacola Branch, Acrylic

Hortense And The
Burden Of Pretense

She was painfully aware of her
Kangaroo heritage at all times.
She tried to hide her
Tendency to hop—
With a fake limp
And long skirts.

She struggled to be dainty with
Her teacup so no one could tell
She was not English
Like everyone else.

With social refinement,
She kept up her correspondence
With her peers even though
The envelopes mixed with her cud when
She moistened them with her
Delicate black tongue.

She was excruciatingly self-conscious
Because her nose was too shiny.
She was certain it was bourgeosie
To powder it excessively in public.

She felt that her lumpen ears were too big
Under her fashionable wig. She feared
People would think her a changeling.
She did not wish to appear to be
What she was not.

Cassandra Quinn Thomas
Pikes Peak Branch, CO

National Poetry Month, Day 10–Spring Tapestry

SPRING TAPESTRY

Winter’s imagery
ice white layers retire,
awakens lush green.

Drifting snowflakes halt.
Hummingbirds, bees, butterflies
eager pollinates.

Falling white parade
flake formation no more march.
Floral hues strut.

Chrysanthemum die.
Crocus, daffodil, tulip
from earth’s womb come forth.

Ski slopes, cross country
trails of hoary covering
acquiesce to fields.

Snowmen melt away
in the presence of strawmen-
scarecrow patrol guards.

Shovels, snowblowers
hushed, out of sight on leave
from clearing pathways.

Trowel, hoe awaits
bulb exchange, soil rearrange,
garden talk, green stalks.

Cold weather delights
resting, recline in leisure.
Come summer teasers.

Outings, festivals
meetings, eatings- no restraint.
Staying in WE AIN’T.

by Lorayne D. Simmons
Western New York Branch, NY

National Poetry Month, Day 9–Morning’s Light

Morning’s Light

Morning rises from the night
in silent splendor,
draped in a gown of gold.

She finds me at woods’ edge,
alone with my thoughts.
And comes to me in all her fullness.

Casting aside my burdens
I run through the wildflower meadow—
arms uplifted into the dawning day.

JoAnna O’Keefe
Cape Canaveral Branch, FL

Thanks for the great response to our plan to publish a poem every day by women during National Poetry Month, 2014.
Spread the word to your contacts, and NLAPW members, please continue to submit!

www.nlapw.org

National Poetry Month, Day 8–Phoenix

Phoenix

Start some new poem.
Make it of unfeathered bird wings
and let them fly newly made
into oblivion-
one brief song unfettered and free.

Anna Di Bella
All Cities Branch, NY