entries for the contest Defining Poetry
|Moon Jelly (for Annabella)
In the brackish waters of the creek
pale moon jellies
bob and weave
like ghostly marionettes
their tentacles and bellies
with you, dear girl.
As the tides rise and fall
and the planets rock and roll
I orbit on, growing old
while you become lithe and tall.
We both have stories to be told.
The jellies float, pulled by the moon
as our mothers' milk, blood, sweat, tears
ebb and flow to Gaia's tune.
From dark to full ever turning
youth to age, strength to fear,
and this coolness that becomes yearning.
Week 4 of the contest brought 3 of my favorite poets---Emily Dickenson, Elizabeth Bishop, and Rita Dove.
Elizabeth Bishop's work is as finely crafted as a cabinet made by a master woodworker----intricate, detailed, fine turnings and subtle shadings. I couldn't hope to match that artistry but did choose to use her poem The Shampoo http://www.ibiblio.org/cheryb/women/THE-SHAMPOO-Elizabeth-bishop as the starting point for this week's entry.
She took images from nature; lichens, the moon, stars and placed them in a personal context while making a statement about time, age, love. The Shampoo is a love poem to Bishop's partner---it is sensual though not explicit, moving though not maudlin.
I decided to begin with an image from nature and also to address aging and the cycles of time. My piece is a love poem to my granddaughter Annabella. I was particularly struck by Bishop's use of unobtrusive rhyme and followed her rhyme scheme of ABACBC across three stanzas. I loved this line in Bishop's poem--- the shooting stars in your black hair in bright formation are flocking where, so straight, so soon?--------such startling imagery that could easily have been trite and tired.
I've also included here two previously written poems---one mentioning the Belle of Amherst (Emily) and a poem written for Ms. Dove.
"for Rita Dove"
"The Noon-Day Witch"