A POEM BY LYNN UNGAR
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath —
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love —
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
Poem ©2020, Lynn Ungar. Lynn’s first book of poetry, Blessing the Bread, earned her fans around the world. In her professional life she serves as a minister for the Church of the Larger Fellowship, an online congregation for Unitarian Universalists and other religious liberals. In her free time she trains dogs for competition in obedience, agility and canine musical freestyle (dancing with dogs). She is also an avid singer and contra dancer. Lynn lives on the east side of the San Francisco Bay with two Australian Shepherds. For more, visit www.lynnungar.com. IMAGE: Creation of the World III, Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis.
An ekphrastic poem inspired by The Egg by Susan Doolittle
Which came first…
Who better to guard
the mountains than
Great She Bear
oak and pine
where Noctua / Owl
keeps watchful eyes on
grown by Eridanus.
Sister river flows
clean and pure,
sings bubbling songs to
Grus and Vulpecula —
crane and little fox —
We can almost imagine Aquarius,
great water carrier
divine this lush, verdant sphere,
pour life from a star-crystal pitcher.
But man gives and man takes
hardly in equal measure —
The ghost of Lepus, rabbit,
runs quick from Orion
hunter and destroyer
wondering: is this your Eden before
or our Eden finally after?
Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. Poem presented at the Guilford Poets Guild Fantastic Ekphrastic event at Guilford Art Center, March 1, 2020 in response to its 2020 Student Art Show. IMAGE: The Egg by Susan Doolittle. Susan’s stoneware egg is carved, painted, and glazed with animals, trees, plants, rivers, and oceans. It’s crowning glory is the cobalt blue sky with stars. Throughout the years, there have been hundreds of constellations named in the sky, some with familiar names, some with Latin counterparts, like Ursa Major/great bear, Noctua/owl (noke-tua), Eridanus/river (eri-dah-noose), Grus/crane (g-roose), Vulpecula/Little Fox (ool-peck-oola), Aquarius/water bearer, and Lepus/rabbit (lay-poose) who is said to be chased in the sky by Orion/hunter.
Stop dysfunctional everything – speak art, poetry, wicked love.
Poetry courtesy of Words Cubed, ©2020, Jen Payne.
It’s the first love I resent so much I can’t look back,
can’t muster enough for even a retrospective love poem —
the glare of that reflection is blinding, still, and perhaps for the best.
She so young and hopeful and revoltingly naive.
He so wrongly fit one wonders why no one said anything those first long years,
put a stop to the nonsense before
that first virginal kiss, that awkward stumble into love,
that goddamn Brides magazine under the mattress after the glittering rooftop proposal.
What were any of us thinking?
It was no more a match made in heaven than my parents
who would suffer like good Catholics for only a few more years themselves.
Thank god he went to war, ate a dog, voted for George Bush —
I might no longer recognize myself.
Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. Image: Lovers by House, Jeffrey Smart
BEHIND THE LENS
by Nasirah Kathrada (@nnaskatz on IG)
Published 2019 by Artson Publishing House
Behind The Lens, by 15-year-old Nasirah Kathrada, is an anthology of poetry which is predominantly about social issues. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in learning more about what people in Africa and the Middle East have to endure on a daily basis. Photography by Abubakr Adam.
“My aim is to give voices to those who have been suppressed, my aim is to show the world the truth.” — Nasirah Kathrada
This Book Tour is proudly brought to you by Indie Blog Hop – the totally free book tour site!
Be the change you wish to see in the world — be the change you fear.
Serve it up in bite-size pieces and make peace with it because resistance is futile.
Change comes and change comes and change comes
and you change and you change and you change.
Extra change in your pocket
is just reserve for the next detour.
Better to live in fluidic space, liquid and organic,
bending time, not biding,
moving from here to there effortlessly.
Because an object at rest stays at rest
but an object in motion stays in motion
and we all know it’s the motion in the ocean that counts.
©Jen Payne. This poem appears in the Guilford Poets Guild 20th Anniversary Anthology, Our Changing Environment. To purchase your copy, click here.
As if she is brand new,
I touch the soft folds,
remark at the marks,
notice the skin and
its propensity to
count time with lines.
There is no preparation
for this reflection,
this time spent
They call it pause
for good reason,
as these mirrored moments
for it is here I pause
— and pause again —
as if she is brand new.
©Jen Payne. Image: Standing Odalisque Reflected in a Mirror, Henri Matisse. This poem appears in the Guilford Poets Guild 20th Anniversary Anthology, Our Changing Environment. To purchase your copy, click here.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.
Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.
There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.
Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.
We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919) was a popular poet and author at the turn of the century. Her works include “Poems of Passion” and “Solitude,” which contains the lines “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death. Her and her husband lived in Granite Bay in the Short Beach section of Branford, Connecticut. The two homes they built, along with several cottages, became known as Bungalow Court, and they would hold gatherings there of literary and artistic friends. (Source: Uncover Branford) IMAGE: November Morning by Willard Metcalf.
WAITING OUT THE STORM
Poems by Jennifer A. Payne
5.5 x 8.5, Paperback, 44 pages
$15.00 (plus tax + shipping)
Poems on death, grief, and gratitude, written from the shoreline of Connecticut and the wide and windswept beaches of Cape Cod. Dedicated to the memory of MaryAnne Siok.