Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Mag 166 - Bounder Bash

Bounder Bash

party animals
slink in snarf wine knosh tidbits
pinch bottoms galore

laugh too loud dribble
careen around the dance floor
draw smirks and whispers

rowdy louts push shove
behave boorishly shout out
stumblebums shamble

vomit in the hall
kick the door shatter the glass
wake the neighborhood

such a bloody shame
a good party ruined by nine
how ‘bout moving on ?

party animals
make excuses slink on out
drop cups, sticky crumbs

finger prints stains butts
chipped plates cracked glasses
tinny music echo

sigh clean tomorrow
tumble to bed morning vow
next weekend their house

I'm hoping I'm not the only one who has had a party that they regretted, that got out of control, that made one feel like a dreg at the bottom of the keg. Mine was a high school bash that turned into a sodden fiasco, that I had to explain at the end of the night to horrified parents, that I will never live down, that I hoped would be visited on the boorish party crashers, at some point. 

Ugh ... I still close my eyes and re-visit that night in flashes of images and sensory impressions. 

What should have been a good party? Gone bad, what can I say? 

Let's see what others are offering up over at Tess Kinkaide's place ... behave yourselves!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Distant Hours - Kate Morton

Kate Morton writes a good novel. She has a way with weaving 'mood' so deeply into the plot line of her stories that her readers are gathered close, as if their chairs are pulled in tight to the fireside in a dark, Gothic library. Sometimes, one turns from the fire to look back into the darkness with a sense of curiosity and sometimes, with dread. There are always mysteries just below the surfaces of her settings and characters. There is always one relentless character that serves to reveal all. She has a clever way of drawing the 'particulars' of each of her characters together in a web of events that form a compelling story.

In The Distant Hours, she weaves a tale that begins with a book about a strange, ghostly creature from the bog. In the countryside of Kent, lives the Blythe family. They reside in an ancient castle with lovely gardens and grounds, wooded copses, trails, and paths. Raymond Blythe is the renowned author of a novel about a ghostly creature called The Mud Man that haunts the residents of a castle estate. Raymond's checkered and tragic marital past has brought him three daughters that become tied to him and the estate, as he advances in age and becomes increasingly eccentric (and perhaps, mad?).  His daughters are all equally interesting characters - one mannish and practical, the other docile and maternal, and the last a creative literary wunderkind with a history of emotional and physical outbursts. These three struggle with their desires, ambitions, familial constraints during the era of second world war. They are sheltered from curiosity of the world about them by their famous author/father.

When a young girl from London comes to stay with them as part of the British government's efforts to keep urban children safe during The Blitz - the outer world invades the Blythe family in more ways than one. Years later, the young girl's daughter discovers her mother's connection to the famous author. As she begins to investigate this hidden period of her mother's life, her strained relationship with her mother becomes a major source of conflict. Another family, another set of family secrets to be unwound and revealed. Another parent/child relationship to contemplate - a Gothic web of events that explores just what children do to inspire parents, what parents do for and to children with their fears and expectations, what adult children do to break free from early familial stresses and how emotional distance and miscommunication can warp our perceptions of each other.

Ms. Morton writes a good novel.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Poetry Jam - Stepping Out

All Souls Day – Jules Bastien-Lepage -1882

Stepping Out

Old Gramp blusters through the door,
Trailing sunshine and morning air.
“Come, sprouts! The day awaits!”
Eager, I bounce down off my chair.

Brown hands reach out, hard and soft
A chain of years go marching out-
Hair and collars meet the breeze
Footsteps staccato, strong and stout.

The hedgerows pass and nod our way.
Sparrows startle, flock, and chatter.
Not long, I flag and slow my stride.
Gramp turns, “Child, what’s the matter?”

“I need to rest!”, I whine and plop.
I land down on a sitting rock.
He stops and winks and hunkers down,
Settles for a morning talk.

He talks of times, when on the march,
He watched young families wave and smile,
Raise the flag, and urge him on
Each dusty mile after dusty mile.

Then, they were gone and others faced him,
Far across a field of gold.
That was when he knew for sure
This was a venture long and cold.

He carried on as soldier should, resigned
To do what must be done,
Took care to keep his comrades safe,
‘Til bitter victory could be won.
“You know, he says with serious tone,
My time is precious here and now.
I’ll have the time when I’m laid out
To rest with laurels on my brow.”

“I must keep on and move each day,
And so should you, my little one.
Grab all that you can hold and see
For life is short and is soon done.”

“All rested? Good ! Now, let’s keep on.
This golden day just seems to fly.
There’s coffee in the square for me
And cookies on the plate nearby.”

Perhaps some milk and chocolate too
I think, as we hop up and go.
His words stay with me as we stroll -
What did he mean? Where did he go?

I crane about and look at him.
His eyes look upward, far away
Then, he looks down and smiles at me
And we march off and through the day.

                                                    - 4/24/2013

UGH! To punctuate or not! Comma, commas, commas!

Stories as poems are a challenge … to rhyme or not to rhyme, how to handle dialogue, mixing imagery with story line without letting things get confused, so much to learn! This attempt is shared with other writers at Poetry Jam, a weekly writing share. Click over and see what others have contributed!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mag 164 - Musing


The air is smooth today
Coming soft across the meadow
Its brown scent creeps
In around the starch of my collar
Chills my breast and billows
This Sunday dress
How immodest letting it
Stir the silk of slip
And moving me to look
Far beyond the chatter of this

The air teases softly today
Sweeping up across the meadow
Lifting me far beyond this place
Gravity holds us here
Gravity and obligations
There’s chicken to be fried
Greens to be rinsed and torn
Pie sliced tea brewed
But primrose sweetness hints
At a ramble into the promise of

This breeze will still
The light will change
The birds will chortle and still
You’ll reach out a hand
And I’ll feel one last wisp
Brush my starched collar with longing
Stir tendrils at my cheek
Draw my eyes and heart away
Just for a moment
Before heading toward

An offering for Tess and other readers at Magpie Tales ... ah, Spring is in the air!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Red Queen - Phillipa Gregory

'My boy', 'My boy', 'My boy' ... how many times did I read those words as I followed Gregory's telling of the life and times of Margaret Beaufort and her quest to put her son, Henry on the throne of England. Margaret, a mere tool of the Lancaster family line, is meant to be the mother of royalty. She is like any other noble girl of the 15th century when it comes to marriage. She is considered nothing but fodder; her duty is to marry well, obey her husband, spread her legs to take his seed, and bear him sons and heirs. Case closed. Margaret, however, has a brain in her head and a vision in her soul . She is pious to the point of nausea, seeing herself as a British version of Joan of Arc, bent on a heavenly mission to put a Lancaster heir on the throne of England. She has no control over who she marries and where she lives, or how she raises Henry, her son by her first husband, Edmund Tudor. Consequently, she spends her years attempting to maintain connections that will help her son remain in a safe and viable position to ascend to the throne - this during the notorious War of the Roses.

Gregory has done an admirable job of portraying the back and forth of the changing political alliances during this dangerous period of English history. She gives Margaret a voice that  is filled with frustration, bitterness, longing, conniving, love and hatred. While Margaret continually professes her Godliness and God-given place among the royal upper crust, the reader sees her for the driven woman she is. Unable to make her own mark in the world, she is determined that her son make that mark - living vicariously will have to do, will help her fulfill her destiny. She is both a saint and a sinner in that her ambition leads her to be false in her feelings and dealings with her political adversaries and family members as well as have decidedly un-Christian thoughts towards the women she meets at court. She is a bitter ambitious shrew, as far as I am concerned, but I still was drawn to know her story and the story of the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty.

This is one book in a series about the royal cousins and all their infighting and double-dealing during 15th century Europe. What a tangled web of bloodlines, allegiances, skirmishes, marriages, births, and deaths! It's positively enthralling!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poetry Jam - Shopping List

drawing by Dylan Steiner

Shopping List

apples and oranges
stuffing spice
the current deli special sliced cheese -
day old bread
salami with peppercorns
sweet potatoes
party favors
bags of ice
those chips I love
that wine Mike loves
crossword puzzle magazine
Time magazine
socks and underwear
long life batteries
birthday card
wrapping paper
tickets to ‘Our Town’ at Colonial Theatre
party hats
that vintage transistor radio at the antique store
funky Good Will jacket
tequila with the worm in it
magic re-lighting joke candles !

Who hasn't crumpled the shopping list and shoved it in a pocket ? This black out poem joins other offerings for this week's Poetry Jam - head over and see what the other writers are putting to the keyboard. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mag 163 - Morning Bath

Degas - Woman With a Towel

Morning Bath

You said “Stop!”
And I, a coquette,

I murmured, “What?”
And you, a rogue,

You chuckled.
And I, a vixen,
Ran …

Degas' bathing women can inspire a sense of stolid domesticity, but this model's round beauty and arched pose brings to mind a tease show or a playful attitude.  I so wish that she would peek back at the artist so that her facial expression could finish the flirtation.  

This short poem is shared with others at Tess Kincaid's weekly writing group, Magpie Tales ... head on over and see what others have written in response to Degas' bathing woman.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - Moon Shot

Last week, the moonrise was so spectacular that traffic at this intersection in Keene, New Hampshire was going at a crawl, as people slowed to gawk. The sky went through the most incredible color palette of pink to lavender to purple to deep indigo, as the sun set and cast a background for the rise of the moon. Mount Monadnock was just beautiful in the sunset too. You can just see the mountain at the right in this panorama ...

I'm sharing this shot over at Alyce's blog, At Home With Books. Her weekly photoshare, Saturday Snapshot is open to any and all, so check it out! Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hope Lies Here

Such hope lies here among the cracks
Nascent dreams and unknown deeds
Between the gritty detritus
Curl and wend toward the glare

Prism light shafts piercing down
Draw the hopeful toward the beams
Ever upward into day pushing
Greening curling twirling outward

Crystalline structures follow plans
Ordained by a power mysterious
And as the first drop falls a ‘click’
It’s heard like thunder down below

Birthing streams and wakening mud
The cracks give birth to the riot of life
Miracles work with dust and clay
Creation – nothing to something

More from less - oh, how hopeful

A fast write, like a fast shower, can bring on a sudden burst of something from nothing ... thanks for the idea/prompt that came from Alan who is hosting this week's Poetry Jam. After playing with it for a couple hours, it is what it has become ... over time, it may become something more. I look forward to seeing what others bring to this week's post ...