Tag: Poetry

I began a poem about my mother early this morning and titled it, “Mutti.” I was trying (she’s been gone over 17 years) to “retrieve her multitude of unspoken words.”

I glance over at a 9×12 flower painting, separated from its frame, lying on the dining room table where I am sitting. The landscape has just recently been returned to me. I had given it to a friend who yearned to see the blue petals of her European childhood.

I am still grieving this British-born friend, who died just a few months ago. A mutual friend, who returned the painting, had brought up its subject. She thought it was “Edelweiss,” I thought it was cornflowers. We were both wrong. We hadn’t accounted for the yellow/orange centers of the blue flowers. On the back of the painting, I notice “Alpine Forget-Me-Not,” written in my father’s handwriting.

My father, the artist, has been gone over 18 years….And now, it will soon be spring. A rebirth. I can feel the change–that brutal morning cold has abated; the California hills are green and flowers bloom. Perhaps, the poem may yet finish itself.

Gudrun. Mouw (c)

Journal Entry

The day I finished reading, The Sun and Her Flowers, I saw an interview with the 20-something poet and also learned about the international admiration for this book, which has been quickly translated into numerous languages. Apparently, Rupi Kaur’s fame began with a controversial Instagram image.

I like how the author has made the idea of poetry popular, which by itself is an immense achievement.  Born in India, the poet was raised in the west with a multicultural family awareness, which I know something about from my own experience. Overall, the poetry style seems quite innovative.

I was struck by how the poems in The Sun and Her Flowers dramatically expand the possibilities of the genre. Sometimes, the poems are simply short statements; other times, there are italicized summaries at the end (which serve as captions; there are no titles). Often the language seems designed to jolt and surprise. At other times, the poems are quite prosaic. 

In the interview, the poet responded to critics, who have called her too simplistic, by saying she was fine with that, but in the end she wanted the reader’s stomach to turn.  

Though this book is interesting, in the future I would like to see the kind of poetic mastery that could, perhaps, slow down the reader in order to deepen one’s experience, move one towards a rich, intuitive silence and keep the poems from falling flat emotionally.

 

Personal Updates The Process of Writing

After Fires from Three Directions

 

Past red-orange retardant,
wind diminished, intuition says:
return to Santa Barbara County
do not be overwhelmed
by unacknowledged fear.

I enter our home filled with a surfeit
of noise and hear…a man’s voice,
the drop of lumber, whirr of automatic tools,
the closing and opening of doors,
his music.

Heat continues, and no rain comes down
in that ancient October way. Who will refuse to see
earth’s change, or the need to investigate
how we lead our lives? May we listen well
and learn from nature’s plea.

 

Gudrun Mouw (c)
October 9, 2017

A Poem

A ceiling of morning fog contracts around us. Now that the intense heat wave has passed, a cooler brain may function once again. Happily, it’s hoodie wearing time.

Reading “The Search Engine,” a story in Sherman Alexie’s Ten Little Indians, I am fascinated by two powerfully drawn and unique characters who demonstrate the anguish, the calling, the questioning and the imagination of poetry. The world of poetry has many pitfalls, and Alexie highlights the ups and downs in his startling, harsh, fearless and heart wrenching story telling. I am brought to serious reflection about my own journeys in the arena of poetry writing, and I can only hope I have the courage to continue the endeavor and answer the call when it arises.

Journal Entry

 

When I am liberated by silence…
My whole life becomes a prayer.

—Thomas Merton

 

I still see that light shining around
any object; and I still feel that current,
sometimes so strong I may not
have feet on the ground.

And that space inside grows larger,
like a scary no beginning, no end;
vibrating, vibrating until the silence
is no longer silent.

 

 

Gudrun Mouw (c)
July 4, 2017

A Poem

Remembering

 


We remember, and the memories float
like clouds that shape themselves
then dissolve into something else.

We remember, and the past comes to life
as if there is no difference.

We remember how the years pile up
like children’s blocks we try so hard
to keep from crashing down.

We remember and at our best embrace
sweet gratitude.

 
Gudrun Mouw (c)
May 9, 2017

A Poem