Some of my very favorite poetry is found in the songs people write. Songs tell stories of love and rejection. Some write about objects like trains or jet planes. Simon and Garfunkle wrote about the city of New York in Sound of Silence. On of my favorites is a song by Steve Goodman about a train they called the City of New Orleans. The mix of images and metaphors is wonderful, down to earth, and unforgettable. The music is just the icing on the cake!
Poems, and Prayers, and Promises blend with melodies and harmonies transporting us to other places and times with unforgettable lyrics. They share life as it really is as they connect to more than one part of the brain. Some of the greatest poets of our time are singer songwriters. Their songs can take us to locations and situations we have not visited in fifty years. Although many over the years considered country music repetitive and uncouth, Merle Haggard was considered the Poet of the Common Man. Perhaps the critics should take a second look… or listen and enjoy this train ride with Steve Goodman on the City of New Orleans. This is Americana and poetry at its best!
It may seem the waiting is is driving us bonkers. We are asked to stay at home and not gather with our friends or extended family. But, instead of feeling trapped, find freedom in what’s going on all around. Spring is bursting forth in all its glory. It doesn’t wait for any virus. Count your blessings, open your eyes, and know this too shall pass.
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.” Albert Camus
Our first trip abroad riding up the Rhine River
Fifty years together required something special
Amsterdam to Basel in eight days
A Viking River Cruise
An afternoon of delightful cruising
Riding on the canopied top deck
Staying out of the sun on a very hot day
Floating by vineyards
planted up and down the hills
Past magnificent old castles and churches
perched high up on the bluffs
Quaint little towns along the river bank
with names I could not pronounce
People on Sunday outings swimming
in the cool water along with
cattle standing up to their knees
What an amazing ride it was
No thought of social distancing required
So glad it was last summer instead of this one.
Photos: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse Lillian suggested that since we were not able to go traveling because of the Covid-19 pandemic, that we write a poem that takes every one along with us on a trip we have taken in the past. Last year we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary with River Cruise up the Rhine. It was wonderful. Here is just a tiny bit of what we experienced.
Today at d’Verse, Frank Tassone offered to us two master poets. One was William Shakespear who was a prolific English poet and play-write. The second was the most revered Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō(松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694), who introduced hokku which later became haiku poetry. Both men changed the world with their words. This is the goal of all of us who write. Our hope is that our words will shed light on the truth of the world around us in a way that has both present and lasting affect.
I write poems on my
journey with teacher Bashō
New beans sprouts today
Such different poets
Shakespear and Bashō
Both pushing flowers
Bashō visits Shakespear’s stage
So many words are spoken
“All’s well that ends well”
What more needs to be spoken
Clear as fresh spring air
Lost in endless lines of verse
Shakespear’s never ending voice
Bashō speaks more with
less, like a set c-4 charge
I wrote my Haibun above, then added a few non-conformed haikai ranga verses following that give comparison of the two from Bashō’s perspective.
Art is often unappreciated till the artist is long dead.
By then a new generation who reads and hears
or looks and sees values the beauty others missed.
Artists paint and poets write their understanding of truth
in hopes that it will resonate with another soul.
Words bring light in a dark night of disillusionment.
Truth is often ignored, denied, or rejected
So we wrap it in enticing words that draw you in
then lay it out with arrows that gently pierce your soul;
Hoping that a few will stick long enough to make a difference.
~Dwight L. Roth`
Painting : Dwight L. Roth
This sums up why we write and create art…
“Posterity may even, will likely even, forget us entirely. And yet, we are writing. And we are, for the purposes of this discussion at least, thinking about writing something of immediate force that might remain relevant to the future.” ~ Czeslaw Milosz
I had a visit today from an Eastern Blue Grosbeak. He comes to my feeder a few times a year. I am not sure if they are migrating or just tend to stay away. I always like seeing their gorgeous striking colors. This bird was hungry. He hopped right into the cage and ate for five minutes. I thought he would fly away when I got closer to get these photos, but he kept right on eating. It was wonderful to see him again.
Today we were asked to write poetry from our book shelf. Bjorn, at d’Verse, called it found poetry. The challenge is to arrange and make a poem using book titles from our shelf, without changing any titles. I thought these were a very fitting group for the times we are experiencing. See what you think?
Since the weather has warmed up I have been out in my garage painting again. The 42 x 42 inch painting above was given to my neighbor. They asked me to paint a large sunflower for their daughter. That is the last painting which I worked on today. I still a have some work to do on the seed part of the sunflower. The middle photos are a painting I did on my old Washburn Guitar. It has had significant damage with a hole patched in the body and a head that got snapped and glued back together. Amazingly, it still holds tuning and plays very well. I am a fan of old steam trains as you can see.
Some of you may have already read this when I posted this a year or so ago. Today we are to write about our pets at d’Verse. This is the best poem I have about our cat named Tiger, who lived with us for 15 years.
The runt of the litter a striped gray and black
A cute little kitten to take along back
Playful and funny he sure entertained us
It wasn’t long till Tiger made a big fuss
Bigger and stronger he raced through the house
Upstairs and downstairs chasing imaginary mouse
Not in the morning, not in the evening, but at 10:00 at night
Waiting at the rail giving me a big fright
Neurotic and nervous he licked and coughed
Oh, no! Oh Shoot! He’s up on the loft
Creating giant hairballs so yukky and soft
But Ruth didn’t hesitate she picked him right up
Grabbing him quickly she must interrupt
Off to the laundry to cough on the paper
Hoping to get there to end this bad caper
An independent soul he was always so moody
I’ll come to you when I am good and ready
Saying, “Don’t pick me up unless I tell you!”
Any other time I’ll scat and you’ll be blue
Engines purring he climbs up in my lap
Settling down for his short cat nap
I’ll sleep, he’ll sleep and then he’s gone
While I am still snoring as I sleep on
He’ll be roaming the house while he’s all alone
He thought he was sneaky but we knew better
Our bed was a no no and he was a fretter
Climbing on our bed while we were away
That warm spot that indent we knew where he lay
It’s me for a nap but it’s Ruth who he loves
The feeling is mutual as she gives him soft rubs
Sometimes I am jealous of this moody feline
Especially when he cuts in and takes up my time
Tiger came first on many occasions
Knowing he was the king our special obsession
For sixteen years he watched out the window
Then ran to the door as we said hello
We were grieved when he left us it was time to move on
But we loved him dearly and are sad that he’s gone.