Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

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                                   
And I catch it, flashing a smile at you
That you don’t, or can’t, return.
I toss it back
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
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…

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)!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CARETAKER and CAREGIVER: The Ironic Role of an Adult-Child of Aging Parents

How is it that one can be both a CARETAKER and a CAREGIVER simultaneously? This blog post is not an exploration of the irony behind certain English words, but rather, the irony of being an adult-child of elderly parents (ages 79 and 86).

After almost three weeks of a caregiving stay with my parents in Michigan, following my mother’s knee replacement surgery, I finally have the urge to write a blog. Sometimes my mind is too full to write, if that makes any sense to you, and my emotionally challenging hometown visit was indeed one of those times. I’m sharing here some of my memorable moments through two new poems:

By Susan L. Lipson

The staples that pulled together
the skin over her new knee—
as well as me to her, and her to me,
            in a bond renewed by her surgery
those staples have been removed, and yet,
the bond still holds,

Healing has begun with role reversal;
bending has occurred with shared pain and exhausted laughter.
Erosion has ceased, replaced by new support;
and grace and stability, not crutches of any kind,
            can help her—and us—move forward now.

And as for the scars that remain,
which will fade in time with tender care,
those scars will serve as a reminder:
even damaged things can be repaired
and renewed.

by Susan L. Lipson

            “You’re Okay by me” has sufficed
where “I love you” would have been said,
if my Dad didn’t find those words too sacred to utter lightly—
or too frightening to utter at all.
But as we round the track of life,
with him holding my arm—
not to pull his wandering child along,
but to grasp Adult-Me for extra support—
I jar him to a stop by asking if he loves me,
after years of “Me too’s” in reply to my never-echoed declarations.
And he says, “Of course I do,”
but not “I love you.”
And I point that out, and then ask him to say it while looking into my eyes.

Those three words bring redness to his cheeks,
wetness to his eyes,
trembling to his hands,
and an echo from me,
followed by a long hug.

He’s Okay by me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Memorable Words from 9-11-01

Memorable words to commemorate the bitter anniversary of the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City, 9/11/01:

The refrain of a song I wrote that day, simply titled “9-11”

The great Big Apple has been bitten,
And the serpent slithers away,
Spitting the bitter taste of evil             
into our gaping mouths....

Looks like life is not a garden after all.

The trunks of the Apple tree have toppled,
And the tree rings were erased
By the snake tracks that defaced
the land we love....

Looks like life is not a garden after all.

Another passage from a thematically similar poem I wrote in 2001, “Martial Arts”

Combustible humans,
Ignited by the most potent explosive, Hatred,

And propelled by the cumulative venom,
Fermented over thousands of years,
Since the first vile act of Cain against Abel,
These glazed-eyed sheep
Smirk as they advance upon us;
Armed with the crudest weapons
And delusions of grandeur—
And we crumble from disillusionment
About the definition of power.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Prompted by Photos of Abandoned Things...

On Facebook, I discovered a page called "Abandoned," featuring mysterious and/or thought-provoking photographs of abandoned things and places: a cornucopia of writing prompts for me! I just wrote this poem about this photo, and want to share it with you now:

Retired Phone Booths
by S. L. Lipson

The out-crowd rusts together,
around the corner from smirking cell phone towers,
who've made the booths superfluous,
unnecessary for anyone
but the nostalgic,
or the technophobic,
or the Superman wannabes.
Metal huts replaced by
metal rectangles the size of candy bars,
with powers that the booths
never contained.
Like the callers who used to feed them quarters,
the booths, too, have been pushed aside
to make room for Today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Manners Make Us Memorable

          Manners make us memorable, either as courteous, compassionate folks, or as people who practice acceptable social customs out of obligation and respect for traditions, or even as hypocrites who use politeness to disguise disdain. Here, in poetry, are some thoughts about manners:

by Susan L. Lipson

They agreed that it was fabulous to reconnect after so long,
that they needed to get together--DEFINITELY!
And that old sentiments renewed should be called "resentiment."
They laughed together, then exchanged phone numbers, emails, smiles, and hugs.
She texted her long-lost friend the next day, to say how thrilled she felt to be back in touch.
The text evoked a "ditto" and a smiley face in reply. 
And that reply evoked an invitation to get together,
which remained unanswered for two days, 
before being re-sent, along with the words, "You probably didn't get my text, so…".
A day later she re-sent the text again, and then re-sent a new one,
and finally, "resentiment" became RESENTMENT.
And "definitely" became a lie.

You’re Welcome 
by Susan L. Lipson

You’re welcome—to take your place
below her,
once you’ve finished gushing,
“Thank you so much for your help--thank you!”
and she replies nonchalantly,
“You’re welcome,”
but never, “Thank YOU—
Thanks for asking me.”
No, that would mean
you’re welcome
to bother her again,
and clearly you’re not.
To thank someone for effusive thanks
creates balance,
equates giving and receiving,
and negates power of one over another.
“You’re welcome,” blithely uttered,
implies a privilege granted,
a favor tallied,
and only rarely a follow-up offer
to “feel free to ask again, anytime.”

Sympathy Cards 

She called to ask whether we received her sympathy card,
and whether we knew that she had made a donation in memory
of our dearly departed.
She didn’t ask how we are coping with the loss.
She didn’t even mention my mom-in-law's name,
or any memory of times spent with her.
She was just wondering—“no pressure, of course!”—
since she’d never received a thank-you card.
“But that really doesn’t matter, of course,” she assured me,
“since I’m sure you’ve been so busy since….”
And then she assured me yet again: “You know, dear, that you have
my sincere sympathy, in any case—
card or no card.”

Whose card did she mean?

And why must I thank her for mere sympathy,
which is like a carefully wrapped package of nothing,
without the true gift of Empathy rattling within.

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,
But simplified by those who share our burdens,
Leaving us a smaller fraction of grief to bear alone.