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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Words and Water

When I contemplate the power, necessity, and life-giving force of words, I think of water, which comprises most of our world and our bodies.

Flowing Words
by Susan L. Lipson

Words flow,
Flow like rivers,
Rivers of rhythm surging,
Surging and burbling and pouring,
Pouring into oceans and lakes and streams,
Streams of thoughts and wishes and desires,
Desires shared by readers who immerse themselves and drink,
Drink their fill of rejuvenating, satiating lexical liquid,
Liquid literature swirling into open minds, the vessels of ideas,
Ideas represented by words that flow,
Flow like rhythmic rivers,
Rivers of words.

Dams built,
Built of closed minds,
Minds in perpetual drought and fear,
Fear the flooding of their foundations,
Foundations that cannot withstand the tides of change,
Change that flows through all,
All open to words,
Words that grow,
Grow life.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Inspired by Awe for Another's Words

I have recently started reading the works of Pema Chodron, a wise Buddhist teacher , and found poetic inspiration in a parable she wrote, titled "How To Defeat Fear." My poem, launched by Pema's wisdom, appears below:

Fighting Fear

By Susan L. Lipson

inspired by Pema Chodron’s parable “How To Defeat Fear”)

Preparing for battle,
She bowed to her opponent,
Avoiding his gaze.
He only nodded,
His eyes burning holes in her armor,
His stature seemed to dwarf her.

As she took deep breaths to prepare for her first strike,
He interrupted her: “Before you strike, are you sure you’re ready?
Is your armor thick enough? Are your weapons sharp enough?
Are you strong enough to defeat me?”

Stammering, “Yes!”, she raised her weapon,
Hastily sharpened it on the rough, gleaming rock of courage,
And flashed the point before him.
He laughed, “Try to destroy me! You’ll only miss your mark!”
She clenched her teeth and shut her eyes
As she thrust the spear forward,
Enabling him to block and deflect her strike with ease.

“Please,” she pleaded, “may I try again?”
He thanked her for asking, smirked, and nodded.

She examined her weapon,
Now damaged by his block,
And looked for the rock on which to re-sharpen it,
But the rock seemed to have disappeared,
And all she could hear was him chanting under his breath:
“Surrender…just give up…surrender…just give up…”

She cried, “Why should I?!”
To which he replied snidely, “Because I said so."
She hissed, “But why should I listen to you?!”
He raised one eyebrow…
And before he could retort, she met his gaze.
And he shrank before her.
So she could answer the question for herself.

The battle ended.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Irony in Frost's poems--inspired by anonymous comment on last post

I appreciated Anonymous's comment on my last post about the irony of Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken." I LOVE Frost's poems and his tone. In fact, one of his poems, "Mending Wall," inspired one of my own ironic poems, a sonnet called "Neighborly Love," which has been published a few times, and will also appear in my new YA novel, now in submission. Thank you, Robert Frost, my muse!

Irony is one of the most effective tools for social commentary, and why is that? Emily Dickinson could answer that: "Too bright for our infirm delight, the Truth's superb surprise." So could Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men": "You can't handle the Truth!" Comedians make some of the most insightful political commentary via sarcastic jokes. The bottom line is "Success in Circuit lies" (Emily Dickinson again). Ironic humor takes the painful part of a Truth and mitigates it with a smirk, to make it palatable and indelible.

For my anonymous commentator I will now share my "Neighborly Love" poem below. And I think I'll start posting a series of ironic poetry over the next few posts--thanks for the inspiration, Anonymous!

Neighborly Love
by Susan L. Lipson

In ancient days, no doors were ever locked,
And silversmiths had not invented keys;
If Man had visitors, they never knocked,
For loving neighbors made him feel at ease.
And then one day, Man found his home was robbed;
Some thief had emptied all his walls and floors.
When neighbors heard, the silversmiths were mobbed;
The whole town asked for locks to bar their doors.
They left for church each Sunday with their keys,
To listen to the teachings of their Lord,
And "Love thy neighbor" had been one of these--
They'd seen it in their bibles, locked and stored.
Now when a neighbor visits Man he knocks,
For what makes loving neighbors but good locks?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why We Get in Trouble Sometimes Via Text Messages and Emails

The absence of tone in today's rushed forms of communication is where the trouble lies. Tone is as important as words themselves when it comes to clear communication. The problem with texting and emailing quick notes is that tone is often left up to inserted smiley faces or punctuation (often misused), which hasty readers may overlook or misread, resulting in misunderstandings galore! What we can’t hear, even if only in our heads, often hurts us in terms of understanding the intentions of someone’s words. Thinking about the many “insert-cursor-in-mouth” moments I’ve encountered or heard about from others, I decided to post the following poem to illustrate how specific words are the key to understanding the tone behind the message.

Aah, It’s All in the Tone
by Susan L. Lipson

Slurping hot chicken soup on a cold day, or…
Spilling hot soup on my lap;

Pulling a muscle, or…
Having that sore muscle massaged;

Feeling inspiration strike for a new story, or…
Typing “The End” after the rush of inspiration wanes;

Basking under a hot shower after a week of camping in the wilderness, or…
Discovering that the water heater broke while you were camping—no hot water!

Enjoying a gorgeous view a forest, or…
Watching, horrified, as fire consumes the forest.

Swaying in a hammock between fragrant pines, or…
Falling out of the hammock onto the hard ground.

It takes more than sound to hear tone.

Writers: To meet our goal of affecting and connecting with readers via memorable words, we must not leave tone to the white space between the lines; we must create tone via imagery.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prompted by Poetry...

Miller’s Faithful Ball-Fetcher
(a dog’s-eye view response to Miller Williams’s poem “Listen")
By Susan L. Lipson (4/11)

Where’d it go? Where’d it go?
He threw the white ball, I saw it!
So where’d it go?
No smell to follow?
Maybe the chilling wind grabbed the scent from me?
My nose feels so cold, freezing cold,
Colder than my paws, now sinking into shifting, wet ground—
What humans call “snow,” I think.
Maybe the ball sunk, too?
“I’ll find it, Master!” I bark.
He barks back my name, “Fritz,” and “Come!”
I ignore him and keep searching,
Fearing that he’ll lose faith in me,
The Best Ball Fetcher, his Good Dog!
I’ll make a bigger loop.
Sniff, sniff, sniff…no luck.
He barks again,
And I bark back, “No, I didn’t find it yet!
But I will! I’m trying! I’ll bring it back to you!”
Round and round and round I run,
Till my paws feel numb.
I hang my head.
Failure. Bad Dog.
I shake off the dampness
And trudge toward him,
My tail between my legs.

Why does he pet me now?
He can’t possibly be proud!
So why?
He won’t stop petting me,
Softly speaking my name,
Petting and petting me
With his warm hands,
Till we both feel warm again.


By Miller Williams

I threw a snowball across the backyard.
My dog ran after it to bring it back.
It broke as it fell, scattering snow over snow.
She stood confused, seeing and smelling nothing.
She searched in widening circles until I called her.

She looked at me and said as clearly in silence
as if she had spoken,
I know it's here, I'll find it,
went back to the center and started the circles again.

I called her two more times before she came
slowly, stopping once to look back.

That was this morning. I'm sure that she's forgotten.
I've had some trouble putting it out of my mind.