Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Poem About How Assumptions Inform Perspectives



View from a Different Bench                 
By Susan L. Lipson

He sits on a bench in the mall,                            
Eyeing passersby,
Unaware of my spying
From another bench, across the hallway lined with shops.
His gaze scorches a snapping, young mother
Who is berating her crying toddler,
Slapping her tiny hands as they grab at her mommy’s thighs,
Shushing the child as she begs to be picked up.
I see an invisible speech bubble above the watching man,
And in it the words: Pick up your baby, you ingrate!
Some of us would give anything to be blessed with a child!
You don’t deserve to be a mother!

Yes, I agree! I say to myself,
Missing my days with my crying toddlers,
Imagining myself sitting on the bench beside him,
Sharing our feelings,
Connecting with this stranger through our mutual love for children.

And then I hear him bellow from his bench
At the unappreciative mom:
“Can’t you make your kid shut up?!
Some of us are trying to enjoy a peaceful day here!”

Some of us.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Poem To Capture a Conversation

Back and Forth
By Susan L. Lipson, October 2015


You toss a ball to me                                   
Stiffly
And I catch it, flashing a smile at you
That you don’t, or can’t, return.
I toss it back
Casually
And you let it drop and roll, sighing,
Because you didn't like my throw.
"C'mon," I encourage you, "throw it back,"
And I pick it up and hurl it at you
Sharply,
Noticing you wince at its impact.
You whip the ball at me now,
And I leap to grab it
But miss,
And you sigh with exasperation
That I just didn’t get it—
That I just don’t get you.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A See-Saw of Words Becomes a Circular Poem



     "The more ____, the less _____," offers a playful, thoughtful see-saw of words on which to balance contradictory concepts. I played with those concepts today, after posting another of my "freeze frame" moment photos on Instagram. A friend recently commented that she enjoys the way I observe the world through photos. I replied that my new photography hobby helps me slow down to notice things, and to dedicate a few sacred moments to conjuring thought-provoking captions. From this conversation, built upon the verbal see-saw, this poem evolved:

Circular Treadmill
By Susan L. Lipson

The more we rush,
The less we observe,
The more we feel unfulfilled,
The less we strive,
The more we stagnate,
The less we grow,
The more we disconnect,
The less we feel we matter,
The more we need to matter,
The less time we seem to have to make our marks,
The more we rush,
The less we observe…


Monday, November 24, 2014

Poem that Ponders a Paradox

Want Denies Fulfillment
by S. L. Lipson

If I say, “I want,”
I either desire or lack.
Instead say, “I will.

When I say, "I'll try,"
I have not yet done, nor do--
I stay inactive.

Though I say, "I will,"
my promise is not a deed,
unless I will it.





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Haikued View Sparked by One Memorable Word--Oubliette!


While reading GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn, I came across an unfamiliar word that I paused to look up: OUBLIETTE. Images of oubliettes led to poetic verbal images in haikus, and final to this poem, prompted by one memorable word!


Haikued View from an Oubliette
 by S. L. Lipson


Conceived in a room,
We start our lives in darkness
Shackled by a cord.


Concealed in that womb,
Till light fills the oubliette—
  Walls quake and free us.



Contained by no one,
We reach for others, and yet,
Live behind new walls.


Connected by windows,
   Lest despair's fog makes them walls--
A mind's oubliette.

                   
   
Consoled when fresh rain
      Defogs our glass, refracts light,   
                                                                   Refreshes our view.


Reborn throughout life
Climbing walls, we gasp for breath—
For new light each day.


WHAT SINGLE, MEMORABLE WORD HAS INSPIRED YOUR POETRY? Feel free to share one below (and to share my poem with other poetry lovers)!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!

Gardening
by Susan L. Lipson

To help them flower and spread,
I add to the seeds of my ideas
inspirational flow,
figurative fertilizer for nurturing full color,      
and empowering light after germination.

And then I weed,
ripping out random growths
that strangle their laconic beauty,
detract from their tones,
cover their distinctive petals and leaves,
and clutter their well-aligned lines
with verbose foliage.

I try to resist clipping a bloom
or forming a bouquet to share
until each flower's growth has peaked,
to avoid publishing prematurely harvested blooms,
which will wilt in the shadows of disappointment.

In verbal vases
I present the bounty,
hoping that you see Beauty and Truth.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Neither Positions Nor Possessions...


Tonight I watched a moving, memorable Holocaust documentary with Oprah Winfrey and Elie Wiesel, filmed at today's Auschwitz. (Please, after reading my post, scroll up again to line 1 and click on the hyperlinked phrase above!)

At one point, Elie Wiesel told Oprah, "What I realized here is that nothing mattered…positions or possessions, nothing." His eloquent words inspired this poem:


Sorry To Burst Your Bubble, but…
By S. L. Lipson 

                                
          P ossessions
          O r
          ositions

                     P ersuasions                                      
                     O r
                     P ermissions

                                 P olitics
                                 O r
                                 P ontifications

                                          P op!
                                             F izzle!
                                                F ade!
                                                   F ly...
                                                  

                                      Only Love survives.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Digest This!


#NationalPoetryWritingMonth (#NaPoWriMo14)

April 23, 2014Shakespeare's Birthday!


My poem for Day 23 of National Poetry Writing Month simply had to use a literary conceit to honor the great poet! And here it is, full of words not usually considered poetic, to say the least, but in a sardonic, Shakespearian tone.


Digest This!
By S. L. Lipson

If social intolerance for minorities
could be modified by enzymes,
like lactose intolerance,
then the verbal diarrhea
spewed by bloated egos
would be mitigated,
and the acid of cramped minds
would not be regurgitated;
then all would feel settled,
and the growling and discomfort would cease.
In the absence of such enzymes, though,
we might try dietary restrictions:
limiting our slanted media consumption
as a first step.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Whimsical Thoughts Hatch a Poem

     
          I stepped outside my front door to relish the sunlight glowing on the winged reader statue who sits in my garden. As I poised my camera to take a photo of her, I moved closer, quietly, and then asked myself, "Wait--why am I creeping up on her as if I'm taking a picture of some wild creature? It's not like she's going to move!" After snorting at my own silliness, I suddenly imagined that the book in the statue's hands was my own novel, now in submission to agents. What if this reader were my Muse, pondering my pages--pages she had inspired? What if she were making a routine landing to check up on my progress, and then she would leave the book on the pedestal, to allow me to etch more words for her next visit? Or maybe she'd fly off with my pages, to inspire a reader (maybe an agent or a publisher) by carrying my words into their hearts and minds. Suddenly, I thought of this poem, and then ran back inside to write it: 

To the Muse in My Garden
by S. L. Lipson

Soften your heart, my Muse;
Look up from the words I've laid in your lap,
Smile, nod, gather my pages to your heart,
Then leap up and fly away with my treasure,
To land in the garden of another dreamer,
Waiting to be moved, too.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Poetic Sigh of an Empty Nester

Ours for Hours

By S. L. Lipson 

The top of my hourglass,
filled with the promise of
densely packed, precious family moments
only two weeks ago,
has emptied now,
like my nest.

Sparkling grains streamed too quickly
through the narrow passage called “winter break,”
and with a sad whoosh,
settle into the bulbous base
as memories,
while my kids resettle into their
homes away from Home.
And I wait for the next rotation
of our glass.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Behind the Armor

I will now share my poem about self-protective behaviors that alienate us from each other. In all forms of communication, we cannot connect with others unless we drop our shiny, unyielding facades to expose our emotions, face vulnerability, and reveal our hearts--our true mettle.




Behind the Armor
by Susan L. Lipson

Clouded knights
wear arrogance for masks,
aloofness for protective suits,
meanness for shields,
while battling insecurity,
fear,
loneliness,
and weakness. 

Ninjas prefer hand-to-hand combat
with emotions,
building thicker skin through baring it,
from struggle to sweat to sigh to
enlightened daze.

No heavy armor required
when we are who we are.
No hasty judgment pronounced
when we know who they are.


The next time you feel insulted by someone's apparent arrogance, feel sympathy for the insecurity that hides behind the actions. When your warmth is iced over by someone's coldness, have compassion for her fear of emotional sharing. And when a bully tries to make you feel small, pity his misguided need to put others down in order to raise himself up. Channel all of these feelings into actions and reactions guided not by judgment, but by understanding. That's how we shed the heavy armor that weighs us down and prevents us from connecting with each other.

That's also how we writers connect to our fictional characters, to make them real for readers: we must first know their naked selves before we can hide them beneath armor for our readers to uncover. The joy of finding the cracks in a character's armor, and eventually uncovering that character's heart, is one of the great joys of reading, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy



A 13-year-old student asked me the other day, "What's the difference between sympathy and empathy?" I happened to have a poem, written years ago, to explain. Here's an excerpt:

Sympathy is what you SHOW to others; Empathy is what you FEEL for them.
Sympathy is external; Empathy is internal.
Sympathy is a polite action; Empathy is a compassionate one.
Sympathy is expected in polite society; but Empathy is a welcome, cherished surprise.
Sympathy can be expressed by greeting cards; Empathy is only expressed in sincere words and/or hugs.
Sympathy is announced; empathy is understood.
Sympathy shows caring; Empathy creates sharing.
Sympathy is to shine another’s beaten-up shoes; Empathy is to wear those shoes.

Loss is cluttered by the sympathetic shoe-shiners,
And simplified by those who share our burdens,
Leaving us a smaller fraction of grief to bear alone.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorable Lines on My Face Make Me Who I Am--Not "Old"


Lately, my friends keep lamenting over age spots and wrinkles, discussing this treatment and that treatment that will help them stay young-looking. Here is my poetic response:

The Lines on My Face

The lines on my face
SHOW, don’t tell
a story
of a writer
blessed not by a well of angst
from which to draw word pictures,
but by a fountain of bittersweet joy,
from which I gather
well-read palmfuls to splash
onto my new wrinkles
just in time to turn them into
fantastic crows’ feet
and grin marks,
hydrated by freshwater happiness
and saltwater lessons.
My fine lines,
though written with strength,
are not the type discussed by Oprah’s Book Club,
nor are they admired
by the “Beautiful People,”
who see them as defects of aging,
rather than privileges.
The lines on my face
help to make me ME—
as do these lines above.