Beautiful Morning on the River!

Day 12:

Yesterday, before the three of us left Canada for home, my grandparents took us out on a long boat ride. It was sunny and beautiful, we passed islands and bays which are parts of my earliest memories. It was wonderful visiting the river again, and I was even able to drive for a bit. As we were going my grandfather said, “You’ll have to write a poem about the river today, about the sun and the boat ride and the islands.” (Or something along those lines) Well, I didn’t get to it yesterday, but I figured I owed it to him, so this is for you, Grandpa!

St. Lawrence Love Affair

When I take the helm,

clean and smooth

and sliding under my cool palms,

the boat beneath me

fades away.

My family’s voices

grow muffled, then silent,

and it’s only me and the river.

And I can feel the pulse

of this miles-wide vein,

an artery of life which is somehow connected

to the world’s wide-open heart,

yet still alone and strong and proud.

A Saint

sent from Heaven to be my other half,

Lawrence and I.

And he smells like sunlight and of mossy monoliths of stone

when I leap into his embrace of

weathered wood and bulrush fields,

and together we chase the cormorants

and dive with the loons,

traverse Needle’s Eye

and number the Thousand Islands.

He hides gold doubloons for me

in Molly’s Gut,

hums against my toes

with a chill that thrums up the delicate bones of my foot.

When I at last depart

his aroma stays tangled in my hair,

reminding me

to come back…

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

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End of a Looooong Day…

Day 11:

Well, here’s what’s going on. I’ve just spent all day stuck in traffic in a hot car with no AC, and now it’s about 10:15 PM and I have no motivation to dig into my creative brain functions (which seem to have locked down for the night already) to produce yet another sparkling work of art which would take me about 2 hours. So, that being said, I’m not planning on leaving all my nonexistent faithful readers out in the cold, dark loneliness tonight without something offered from me. Here is a piece which I finished quite a while ago and like quite a lot, so I’ll share it with you. Enjoy 🙂

Possession is Forever

Because we know the smell of the wet wood,

and count the breaths it takes to soar up

river,

this utopia is ours.

It waits for us

the way it waits for the loon

to resurface with tossing head and shrugging shoulders.

For we have written our names here

in the sunlight that beats our backs,

and we squeal when the riverweed tangles

with our ribbon legs.

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

Moose, Maple Syrup, and Memories

Day 10:

I drove up to Canada this weekend with my mother and sister to spend a few days in Ontario with my grandparents at their lovely little riverside cottage. I will always love this cottage and feel more at home here than back in Jersey…there are so many memories in this place it’s almost as if the very stones are made of them. Pictures can never do it justice, you have to be here to understand what I mean. But perhaps I can communicate it a little better through verse.

Inherited Homeland

I retreat whenever possible

to my ethnic Canada,

seeking solace (however brief)

from the claustrophobic noose

of America ‘the Beautiful’.

This sense of relief

must be genetic because

just across the border

my soul breathes a little easier,

tasting a breeze filled with

white mountains and icy water,

flox leaves and pine

and black squirrels.

A sleek loon calls out to me

in the darkness

which glitters with starlight

on the black crystal river

and I know,

as surely as I know that

the foundations of this place

are sacred with memories,

that as long as St. Lawrence water

dilutes the blood

in my veins,

I will belong here.

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

So Long, Spring Season

Day 9:

Yesterday, I participated in the Sectionals track meet with my team, and it ended up being the final meet for my season, as I didn’t qualify to continue on. I didn’t have as successful a season as I had hoped for, but I did my best. I’m looking forward to next year, when I will get another chance…three more, actually, as I’ll be running Cross-Country in the Fall, as well as Winter and Spring Track. In the meantime, I will train, and prepare, and daydream about how great my Senior year will be (sportswise).

The Track-Runner’s Daydream

One of these days

my stomach will leap

with excitement

rather than nervousness,

when the whistles sound.

My limbs will be loose

and confident like me,

the weather will be perfect

cool-warm-cloudy with the hint of a breeze.

The teeth of my spikes

will feel the crumbling rubber track,

I will smell the white-paint boundaries

of my lane,

and own it.

My body will angle

in a spectacular ‘set’,

my heart will stop so I am

perfectly still-

no DQ today-

though deep inside this starting-gate of a body

my soul quivers, anticipating,

like a Thoroughbred

hanging on the bit.

At the gunshot I will unfold,

exalting in my strength;

a machine of lean,

self-assured muscle and sinew,

hot energy at my core

and a cool head atop relaxed shoulders

as I find my stride

and obey the coach:

“Just stay with them!”

Clear the first hurdle and swift

to the next one,

nothing different than

any other time before…

except this time, in the final turn,

I’ll let go of the pain

and forget my cheese-grater gasping,

discipline my faltering legs,

force my lungs open,

and fly.

Off the corner like a shooting star

I’ll kickreachkickreach,

pump squared arms,

now that I’ve tasted a new record

and set my jaws in the victory

I won’t be letting go.

Meters will disappear behind me as I

sail the final obstacle

and stretch over the finish line;

my salvation,

my eden.

One of these days

I will look at that blessed clock,

raise my face and arms

to the sun,

fill my tortured lungs,

and rejoice.

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

Paradise of the Nose

Day 8:

In first block this morning, our ah-mazing teacher passed around a plethora of objects chosen to ignite the olfactory enthusiations of…um…well we smelled the things one at a time, and let them inspire us, pretty much. We passed around lilac, oregano, cinnamon, honey, and a whole bunch of other great stuff, but I got a little hung up on the raw vanilla pod…

Corruption

In my ninth summer,

while baking in the muggy

honey-wood kitchen,

I poured a teaspoon of vanilla—

sinfully dark and tantalizing—

into the cookie batter

and spontaneously placed the dimpled spoon

on my tongue.

The syrupy residue

burned my mouth

and ran down my throat like fire;

sly betrayer, master of temptation

decieving me with its sensual scent.

Now I remember that day,

and vengefully aspire to

steal someday into homes

                                    and pantries

                                    and grocery stores

                                    and storage rooms,

liberating the innocent plastic bottles

from shadowy shelves.

The powders would re-form into thin pods

like flexible licorice sticks,

I would force the essence

back into dry, shriveled seeds

and smuggle them with me

to Tahiti,

Madagascar,

India and Mauritania,

and on their humid native shores

full of cinnamon breeze

their dead tissues would reincarnate

from their crucifixion on the drying stakes

and regain the moisture

stolen from them,

ready for me to reunite them

with their mother vines

so they could grow

longer and darker

and spread luxurious perfume

through a sweet forest,

creating an olfactory paradise

where the natives and I would flourish,

running barefoot

between the vine-stakes

and growing high on the fumes

while our skin sweats

and darkens

in the equator sunlight.

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

Asian Form Poetry

Day 7:

So my HIP teacher handed me an article about a poetry journal called Canadian Zen Haiku, and suggested I submit something. The journal only submits Asian poetry forms (Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, Renga, Japanese form poetry). I decided, why not, and looked up how to write Tanka. This is what I found:

Like haiku, its shorter cousin, tanka usually is well-grounded in concrete images but also is infused with a lyric intensity and intimacy that comes from the direct expression of emotions, as well as from implication, suggestion, and nuance…The tanka aesthetic is broad and all-encompassing. You can write on virtually any subject and express your thoughts and feelings explicitly.

Tanka is a 5-line poem which can be composed in 5-7-5-7-7 form or free-verse, so I chose free-verse.

Tanka traditionally has no title, but this piece was inspired by my experiences cliff-jumping on the St. Lawrence River with my family. Finding yourself suddenly in the middle of a breath-stealing nothingness is mind-blowing, and certainly makes you feel a bit different afterwards…

Untitled

long summers spent awaiting

the turnaround point where

we are recreated

leaping into sunlight

and letting go

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR

At Long Last

Day 6:

Well, here it is! The actual reason I’ve been posting half-hearted poems for a day or two.

I started this piece a few days ago, and I know I had planned to post everything without revision, but I couldn’t let myself with this one. It’s too important to me to be shown to the world without being as good as it can be.

It’s about Jackie, my sweetheart, my baby,  greatest horse in the world, the usual. I’ve gone through some tough times with Jax but we seem to have come to an agreement and now being with her is simply a joy. Some people claim to not understand us horse-people and why we love riding so much, so I tried to communicate that in this poem; the best part about horses isn’t the riding.

Disclaimer: It’s a long one, make sure you’re comfortable…

Four-Legged Soulmate

When I clatter back through the door

and into the warm kitchen,

glowing and bubbly with stories

of my Jackie—

the palomino she-devil—

some things I keep to myself.

I tell no one

about how her lean neck reaches

over the splintery barrier between us,

standing on her toes

to watch for my return.

Or how she nudges

against my stomach, my chest, my pockets

with an insistent muzzle

hunting down the expected treat,

and her short whiskers

tickle my palm

in thanks.

How she sometimes allows me

to kiss her velvet nose

before I leave;

right on that white stripe

which breaks the plane

of her tapered face

                                    like a river.

How her coat is always muddy,

but sheds the dry grit

like a butterfly’s chrysalis

to reveal a still-shining golden coat,

creating a loud landslide of flaky dust

onto the spring-straw below.

I keep silent

when I imagine

her pretentious scrutiny and long, curling eyelashes,

how her breath smells

of sweetfeed and grass,

and the heavy, comfortable weight

of her head resting

in my arms.

Only I know the feeling

of her smooth, flaxen mane

running and twisting through my fingers,

of the short, silky hair of her side

and how it feels against my face

whenever I lean in to smell her undeniable

horsey-ness

and hear the deep thrumming bellows

of her lungs.

I listen to the grind of molars as she grazes,

the draw of water over her tongue,

the flex of her throat,

the tugs in her joints

when we walk and her head bobs beside me,

periodically rubbing against my arm.

I see and hear it all,

I know the power in those gilded limbs,

have felt the strain in my shoulder

when she tosses her head,

have clung to her

like a limpet

when she would lash out in frustration

beneath me.

And I wonder how

that same energy and strength

could have settled under my hands

and yielded to my long legs

and stood so still that we both felt

the steady pulses of our hearts,

and for a second

they seemed to match up…

 

(c) 2011 Marie KR