sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Posts tagged ‘Poetry’

A Night at the Opera

For some reason, yesterday I was thinking about recognizing a piece of music, and I realized that there are a goodly number of opera arias that I would have no trouble identifying, including many from Madam Butterfly, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Aida, to name a few.

Yes, I like opera, but, more to the point, my mother was a huge opera fan. Mom and Dad had a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera. Sometimes Dad would beg off for one reason or another and then Mom would take me instead. I check around my extremely large stash of poems – I keep them on Google Drive – and turned up the two below.

Mom’s favorite opera composer was Wagner; mine was – and is – Verdi. The Metropolitan Opera website has videos.

http://www.metopera.org/Discover/video/

Here’s one of the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore:

http://www.metopera.org/discover/video/?videoName=il-trovatore-vedi-le-fosche-anvil-chorus&videoId=1472543314001

About Metropolitan Opera

The poem below is about one time when Mom took me instead of Dad. The opera was one of the Wagner Ring series; I believe it was Die Valkerie. I wish I could bring up detailed memories of the whole thing, but all that’s left are bits and pieces.

Metropolitan Opera

I wanted to capture
the entire performance,
each soaring voice,
scenery and costumes,
the story of Alberich’s ring,
made from Rhine gold,

but all that remains
is a darkened
auditorium,
the conductor
haloed in a
bright spot,
and Brunhilde
trumpeting,

Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho.

About A Night at the Met

 

Mom was far more of a fan of both opera and classical music than Dad was. Dad thought of the opera as a nice place for a nap. At least he was quiet. <grin>

A Night at the Met

A nice place for a nap,
a spot someone else chooses
The whole evening’s a trap,
a land mine of excuses.

A nice way to torture
to the clamor of trumpets
I dream of departure
and piles of fine crumpets.

Why am I here
when I could be in bed,
or at home watching Gunsmoke
or even unwed?

Here I am, stuck
until curtain comes down
pretending to listen
with nary a frown.

Drink a toast to Yo Ho
when freedom will ring.
My imprisonment’s over
when the Valkyries sing.

Celebrating National Library Week

This week is National Library Week. This year I can say that I not only frequent the library, I work in one. I worked in a library right after high school, and always wanted to get back to one. Goal finally achieved. I am a shelver at Taylorsville Library. I am really enjoying my coworkers and the library itself. And I come home with a lot of books. So it’s a good thing I work at a library, not a bookstore. It’s wonderful being surrounded with books, working with books. And I get to help people on a topic I am passionate about, not some generic customer service that drains me.

Here are a few of my poems that express what the library means to me.

Brink of Chaos
The Great Escape
Gateways
Haven

 

My Second Home

The library was my first love
perfect for a book-a-holic,
no budget could sustain my obsession.

A sacred space filled with treasures;
fingers trail on book spines…
so many choices
each one a new adventure–
Do I read an author tried and true?
or experience something new?

Some days I come
not for the books
but the atmosphere.

Sit back in an armchair
wrapped in hushed air,
soak in the rich love of words
infused between these walls,
let it inspire me…
flow through my fingertips
to fill the pages of my notebook.

My Letter to the World: A Poem and a Prompt

Whether just starting as a poet, or well-experienced, you can learn by imitation. Choose a poem by another poet, classic or modern, and write a poem in the same style. There’s a few ways you could approach this:

  • Write a poem as a direct response to the subject.
  • Write your own poem inspired by the topic.
  • Follow the poetry form only.

Here’s an example of one of my early poems. I personalized Emily Dickinson’s “This is My Letter to the World.” I kept it in a similar style, and thought: What would I say to the world?

To: The World; From: Mary

My Letter to the World

What do I have to say to the world
That all but deserted me?
Would anyone listen to a single soul
Through the unheard art of poetry?

Although surrounded by others,
Wanting my voice to be heard,
I’m often isolated
For no one will hear my words.

Can I make a difference in someone’s life,
As others did in mine?
Will anyone read the simple words
That I wrote in my spare time?

I may be a shy, quiet person
But I have a message of my own;
Won’t someone come and discover
The soul within my poems.

The message of my poem remains true today. I want my voice, my poems, to be heard. I’d love it if you shared your own poem based on the prompt.

mary-sig2 (1)

The Story of Mathematics

mtns2The Story of Mathematics

It was the last day of class before Christmas vacation, and our high-school math class was restless and without anything much our teacher needed to cover.

“I can prove the existence of the integers from the axioms that there is a number one and the operation of addition,” he said, and started scribbling on the board.

1+1=2
2+1=3
and so forth.

That was the beginning of my love affair with number theory, the elegant pie-in-the-sky structures mathematicians build; structures that appear to have no application to the real world but somehow do.

The first number poem I wrote was called Round. Round was sparked by my memory of a discussion in a college physics class about the rate at which a cup of coffee would cool and how the shape of the cup played into it. We spent an entire class writing equations about the rate at which the coffee would cool based on the cup shape; we concluded a tall, narrow mug is best – least surface area at the open top.

Another trigger memory from a math class about the sphere having the least surface area per unit volume of any solid figure. One afternoon as both these memories chased each other around the inside of my head, I wrote the poem.

Round

The sphere
is the perfect
shape

for conserving heat,
providing the least
surface area
per unit
of volume,

thus explaining
why Santa

lives at
the North Pole.

It was published, a friend liked it and challenged me to write more.  So I wrote.

About Counting

If you couldn’t count, could you still tell if someone took one of your toys? Maybe, if you only had four or fewer toys. Perhaps you could tell with five, but at some point, we all reach our limit, where we can’t tell unless you we count. And, it turns out, some animals, such as birds and insects, have a number sense, too. So while the ability to count is, in a sense, built into our genes, the symbols we use for numbers and the whole structure surrounding them: addition, subtraction, and all the rest, are our own creations.
If we couldn’t count there would be no computers, no telephones, no electricity, no television or radio or boom boxes. In short, no modern civilization.

Man invented arithmetic. In fact, he invented numbers and counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percents. He invented the whole structure of arithmetic. It did not, as I like to imagine, spring full blown from the mind of some great Mathematician in the sky.

A Few Poems

This is the way I like to dream mathematics came into being:

The Way it Should Have Been

In the beginning there was zero, void.
And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be a number one,”
and there was a number one.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be addition,
so numbers can be added together,”
and there was addition, the first operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and add,”
and they went forth and added.
And there was two, three, four, five, …

And the Mathematician said,
“Let there be subtraction,
so one number can be subtracted from another,”
and there was subtraction, the second operator.

And the Mathematician said,
“Let them go forth and subtract,”
and the went forth and subtracted.
And there was -1, -2, -3, …

And there were positive integers,
and there were negative integers,
the first set of numbers.

And the Mathematician looked
upon what he had created,
and behold, the sum was greater than the parts.

Birth of the Twos

One is the mother
of the integers,
addition their father.

All you need
is love
and number theory.

Addition

In arithmetic,
one plus one
always makes two.

In life, if you wait
nine months
you might get three.

A couple of poems about jokes, plus the jokes

Here are  poem, but before you read it, here are the three jokes I mention:

Mathematician, Physicist, and Engineer:

In the high school gym, all the girls in the class were lined up against one wall, and all the boys against the opposite wall. Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart.

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were asked, “When will the girls and boys meet?”

The mathematician said: “Never.”

The physicist said: “In an infinite amount of time.”

The engineer said: “Well…in about two minutes, they’ll be close enough for all practical purposes.”

Violinist at the pearly gates:

A violin player dies and goes to heaven.  At the pearly gates he is
handed a beautiful new violin and invited to play in the Orchestra of
Heaven, a rehearsal of which is about to begin.  He sits down and
begins warming up.  After a while, a little old man with an unruly
mane of white hair steps up on the podium and begins waving his arms
wildly.  "Who's that?" the new violinist asks his stand partner.  "Oh,"
replies his partner, "that's just God.  He likes to think he's von
Karajan."  

And here is the golf joke:

Jesus and Moses are playing golf in Heaven when they come to the par-three 17th hole, a long carry over water to an island green. Moses tees off with a 3-wood and hits the green. Jesus takes out his 5-iron and says, "I'm going to hit a 5-iron because Arnold Palmer would hit a 5-iron from here." 

 Jesus tees it up and hits a lofted iron shot that finishes 25 yards short of the green and in the water. 



 Jesus shrugs and starts walking on the water to where his ball went in. Just then, a foursome approaching the tee box sees Jesus walking on the water. 

 One of them asks Moses, "Who does that guy think he is, Jesmus Christ?" 

 Moses turns and says, "No, he thinks he's Arnold Palmer!" 

and finally, the poem:

 

Silly Season

 

“Do you remember

any jokes, Mom?”

My six-year-old

stares at me.

 

Violinist at the Pearly Gates?

Jesus golfing?

Mathematician,  physicist,

and  engineer? Nah.

 

Anything we told each other

as kids is politically incorrect.

“Besides lightbulb jokes.”

He’s heard those.

 

“No,”  I say.

“I don’t.”

An explanation, and another poem:

Many years ago, I heard a joke told by a friend (he was German) about a Frenchman, an Englishman, and a German. All three are supposed to be executed by being guillotined. The guillotine malfunctions, and the Frenchman and the Englishman are spared.

The punchline is something like:

 

So the executioner raised his axe, but before he could cut the rope, the German yelled out:

“WAIT! I see what the problem is!”

sandcartoon

Thus the following poem of mine:

 

 

Fixing the Guillotine

Remember the joke

about three men

about to be executed?

 

The Frenchman and Englishman

are spared, but alas,

the German is an engineer.

I actually submitted some poems for publication and they were accepted

.. a couple of them, anyway.

Lvegetation   Like many writers, I’d rather be writing, so I’m often lazy about submitting. Recently, however, I had two poems published. One I submitted and had accepted last fall, and another I submitted recently.

“When I kick the Bucket,” was written several years ago. The title comes from a phrase my father used frequently growing up. In it, I imagine my own funeral. The name of the funeral home is one that was close to where I grew up in Manhattan, and the people mentioned in the poem are real members of my family.It appears in Lighten Up Online, an online humor zine. Here is the link: http://www.lightenup-online.co.uk/index.php/issue-34-june-2016/1008-margaret-fieland-when-i-kick-the-bucket

The next one, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue of a new online journal, Eclipse180. I submitted a set of four poems that spoke to the theme of war, and the editor liked all of them. Her favorite, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue. I’m hopeful that the other three will appear in the summer issue, which is not yet out.

My middle son served in the army and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He signed up for the Army Reserve during his junior year in high school. He went through basic training during the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, and served in the reserve during his senior year. He received a ROTC scholarship and entered the army as an officer — a very junior lieutenant — after graduation. All four poems I submitted were written when he was serving overseas.

Here is the link to the site. You can click on the link for the spring issue. My poem is the last one in that issue. http://eclipse180.wix.com/spring2016

 

 

I am a Poet

*This is a repost from my personal blog: marywjensen.blogspot.com

Poetry Header

 

I’d like to share with you some quotes that really echo how I feel about poetry.

What is poetry?

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”
–Edgar Allan Poe

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
–Carl Sandburg

Who is the poet?

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
–W. H. Auden

Poets don’t publish for the recognition or the money. We do it because we want to connect with the world, with other people. To share human experience and emotion.

“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
–Don Marquis

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
–T.S. Eliot

“Poetry is a language in which man explores his own amazement.”
–Christopher Fry

And, above all else:

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves.
What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.”
–Abraham Maslow

I am a Poet
A genius in disguise
Forms flow from my fingertips
Words and phrases grow within me
Waiting for ripeness
That moment when I write them
And another poem is born
Mary Butterfly Signature

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