Sonnet Challenge #17

I seem to have spent so much time recently on travelling and teaching, there’s been little time to paint (except commissions) or write, though the most recent trip to the Phoenix area produced another eight sonnets which I have yet to even type up.  Nevertheless, even without prompting from something or someone, occasionally a poem will fall out of the end of the pen.

Happiness is a gray stick
A thick, gray, gnarly four-foot stick to hold

and lean on, when you have Atlas’s day;

warm wood to grip, not metal, when you’re cold;

a friend to prod dark paths and find your way

between elations clouds, chasm’s dark eyes.

Such is the stick of happiness, who prods

you on from gray dawn to a bright sunrise

with steadiness solider than carrot gods

that promise futures.  Happiness is now,

it takes tomorrow when it becomes today;

yesterday’s a less, not a furrowed brow –

or just a tale that we can laugh a way.

When you walk with the stick of happiness

you’ll go through life with more, and never less.

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Sonnet Challenge #16

Quiver of Quotes came up with some interesting little used words, that piqued my interest for continuing the stream of sonnets.  The flow had taken a break after having finally surpassed (in numbers at least) Shakespeare’s collection.  Here was the one that came to fruition from The Quote’s list.  And thank you as ever to wikipedia.org for giving me enough material!

Armillary Sphere

The mystery of an armillary sphere!

How does it work?  How does it turn around?

Rings built to represent what hangs in air,

or how it is positioned from the ground.

I wonder at the workings of the mind

that dreamed up such an engineering feat;

Ptolemaic turns on earth defined,

Copernican with sun at center seat.

Mankind has realized since he looked up

that stars revolve across the deep blue night

and puzzled at the turnings of this cup

and with the armil, tried to show it right.

Stargazers wonder at the skies so clear,

then track it with an armillary sphere.

Sonnet Challenge #15

This suggestion was ‘the frustration of a red light that never seems to change’.  It reminded me of an incident in the high desert when I was driving up to a show there.  I took a ‘short cut’, which turned out to be the shopping strip.  There was a light at every driveway.  I think I must have passed 30 or so lights.  3 of them were actually green.  I think two I got caught at twice, and one particularly badly time light I was behind it red 4 times.  But before that light, here’s a true story…..

 

The Long light.
I wanted to rush orange but didn’t dare,

my mirror shows a cop is right behind.

We’re at the light that’s turned to red and there

we sit.  And sit.  And sit.  And then I find

the light ahead’s red too, and one car waits

for nothing.  Just like us no vehicles cross

the intersection.  Green!  Ha! He still bates

his breath ahead on wheels that gather moss.

It’ll turn by the time I get there, that’s for sure.

Can’t race – the cop in tow – I thus proceed.

He’s green!  He goes….. but quickly red once more!

I feel the hopes of getting home recede.

We stand and burn gas, stress until we’re mean

at lights that take so, so long to turn green.

Cloud Appreciation Society Newsletter

I always love getting this newsletter whenever Gavin gets to writing one.  The vacations sound a little cold for this desert rat, but the necklaces and earrings on the ‘Buy Cloud Jewelry‘ page look like I might need to sent Santa some fake news about how good I’ve been this year….

How good? My cloud painting ‘The Road to Selfoss’ is on the front page of their website this month.   That’s not fake news!  It was painted from a photograph by my good friend Murray Foote.

Sonnet Challenge #13

“Mongolian Archers” is another of the challenges from Eric in Ventura.  I don’t know if Eric also likes bows and arrows (I suppose all guys are sometimes still in touch with that part of their inner 8 year old) but this was another topic that sent me to Wikipedia…

Mongolian Archers

The horn, the wood, the sinew form a curve.

Fit in the feathered stock and then – release!

The arched trajectory that we observe

was not invented as a thing of peace.

But games are where such archery is fun –

at the Nadaam we will compete at ‘sur’.

But short camel-hide baskets never run!

Our bows have been designed for hunting fur-

wrapped food, and shooting from your galloping horse –

distinct advantage over knights with spears

until development had run its course

and guns and bullets made the west our peers.

But if you’re hunted, if you are our prey

And you can hear that draw – away!  Away!

Sonnet Challenge #12

Eric in Ventura is again the challenger for “Peter Rabbit”.  I’d never read the book so I had to do a bit of research.  (If you like my sonnets, please send wikipedia some money.)

Peter Rabbit.
I’m just a boy inside a rabbit skin –

my mother’s words red rag to this young bull –

“The garden’s dangerous, so don’t go in”

the push I needed with the garden’s pull.

The lettuce was delicious, carrots too,

tomatoes, celery, cucumber!  Argh, too much!

To fix this tummy ache, parsley will do.

But here’s the man!  I must escape his touch.

I’ve shed my coat and shoes and slipped away….

The shed to hide in but oh no, I’m found –

I run, sneak past the cat, ahh, there’s the gate!

And now I’ll streak back home on safer ground.

Mom yelled, “The garden’s not the place to be!”

Sent me to bed with sweet chamomile tea.

Sonnet Challenge #11

We’re back to Eric in Ventura for a very interesting challenge, which brought back a memory too. The challenge was: “miniature lead soldiers that even Andrew Wyeth and H. G. Wells played with. ”

My first husband had these metal soldiers that he would play war games with his buddies on a Sunday.  He used to paint them in the colors that were appropriate to the armies they represented.  Seeing as he worked 6 days, I guess I was technically a war widow from the second day I was married.  On our wedding day, he’d disappeared at the reception; he’d discovered the bar had the soccer on the tv.  That day, Liverpool beat Manchester United 5-0 and it was the happiest day of his life, which apparently had little to do with the fact he’d just got married.  It’s ok, it’s so long ago now, I can laugh at this.

But I don’t think my exes soldiers were lead, so I turned to eBay for some inspiration. I found a listing for 11 battered lead soldiers, some missing arms that were made to swing in marching.

Lead soldiers

The 11 lead soldiers in an ebay listing that helped inspire the sonnet.

Lead Soldiers.

Once we were an army on the field

a green baize table all set out for war

(though none of us could figure out what for),

our generals, two boys, would sometimes yield

to calls from mother.  But until that time

we’d all be marched around and fire and drum

amidst their noise of battle, bomb and gun

and yells as some would ‘die’ along our line.

But they grew up and we were boxed for years,

swinging arms were lost, and many men;

our paint was chipped. Now down to just eleven

were rediscovered, sold as mercenaries.

We’re old, disabled.  War is not the same.

We’re just your heroes from a childhood’s game.