Friday
Oct142011

Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer

Elizabeth Elson

The Loon

 

 

A solitary Poseidon,

High prince of the lake,

Crowned with midnight black,

Red eyes denote the heartache,

 

There is never consolation,

Watching such an act,

For a single feather,

Quite suddenly he'll retract,

 

"Majestic and sorrowful bird,"

I asked to be abreast,

"With plumage so regal,

Why has it been plucked from your chest?"

 

The Loon gazed up at me and sang his hollow song,

Very soon I learned of what was terribly wrong,

 

A tale of harsh remembrance,

He had flown away,

And in a sad state now,

Mourned the season in decay.

 

It is a very lonesome life,

By the water's reeds,

No mate to nest with,

Now the sadness only breeds.

 

More forlorn than the warbler's call,

The Loon shall sing his song,

But I hope he'll listen,

Before all is dead and gone.

 

"Never lose sight of this" I tell my avian friend,

"Your heart, although it’s broken, is the one I want to mend."

 

Elizabeth Elson is studying literary journalism and Spanish at the University of California, Irvine.

 

 

Minh-Ha Pham

Why Sorrow?

Why sorrow?

 

On a still, moonlit night

By the sandy shore of the wisest sea  

 

Why sorrow?

 

Until flowers wilt and colors fade

And souls turn trembling cold, even on a summer night  

 

Why sorrow?

 

The thorny words, the dos and don’ts of evil men

Resound only through their inner frailty and weakness

 

Why sorrow?

 

For eyes that can see, but choose to be blind

For ears that can listen, but refuse to hear   

 

Why sorrow?

 

With broken promises, fully knowing

They were untrue and not meant to be kept

 

Why sorrow?

 

From pale evening until gray dawn

When lovers dream without conviction

 

Why sorrow?

 

Until your wounded heart shatters with unbearable pain

While tomorrow’s sun will shine, and clouds still move

 

Why sorrow?

 

When the stars light your sky

Desperate to be bright and lovely like the nightingale’s song

 

Why sorrow?

 

With awakened courage, with so many more dreams to weave

Into a beautifully quilted landscape, transformed by strength and    depth of meaning   

 

 

Minh-Ha Pham has a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. She has been a co-author of scientific research in genetics, and she has presented a number of papers on addiction, and on Family Systems, Zen Buddhism and Existentialism in psychotherapy.

 

Randall Mawer

Three poems from Sycamore and Other Poems

 

Litany in a Time of Transpiration

 

…[P]eople seeking help need to provide some information about their own faith journeys. God communicates with each of us in a way that is unique. The more fully we can delineate patterns of God’s communication over the span of our lives, the more effectively we can evaluate what is transpiring at the moment.

-Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community

 

 

 

So, just what is transpiring,

At the moment?

The wind, oh!

Through the window,

Bellying the cheap fiber screen,

Then on, into, through

Heart; sweat, through

Skin, cloth, into

Air again.

Cycles, vicious and other,

Everywhere cycles:

Food chain, clouds bearing east

Tri-, bi-, uni-.

Who

Rides on three wheels in the morning,

Two at noon and one

At the circus?

 

What is transpiring?

Puns.

God never scruples to pick a

Pocket,

So

His Sphinx is ever at the

Gate,

Riddling us,

Rat-a-tat-tat, but

We

 

Have twenty carrots planted

In our ears and can’t

Hear the words.

 

Poor, helpless metaphors

Dying, dying, dying.

 

Faith journeys diverge in a yellow wood,

And I?

I took the low road,

Seeking Dublin,

But when I got

There,

It was a disappointment. Two stars.

Some language

Inappropriate for children.

 

I am the way

(That is unique,

In fact,

Very Unique),

The truth,

The life.

Jesus (he was a handsome man)

Said that,

And…

 

If you want to talk about a span,

Man

(Life included)

Give me a tall horse to measure

Or (better yet)

Give me caissons, pylons,

Verrazano Narrows, Cabin John, Mackinac,

And Hart Crane staring

Astern.

Give me a

Wherefrom,

Whereto, and a

Tollbooth,

For God’s sake.

 

And, hey, do they mean “delineate,”

Sketch out,

Draw lines (in the

Sand), or

“discern”

(Cf. title), see?

What you see is what you

Get, I guess, and

This book was written by a

Committee, and committees have a

Cow, man, or a

Camel, maybe Joe, and

Would you walk a mile

(In my shoes) for one,

Or not?

 

What is transpiring is

What I read in “Calvin and Hobbes.”

What is transpiring

Is

Language,

The gift of tongues,

Stuff

That

Breathes

(Never transpires)

The breath of life.

 

In its light

We see light.

Lighten our load,

Light up our

View from the ditch/slough/drain

/Gutter

Whereby stands

The tired, good, patient

Samaritan, reaching

Down past his filthy ankles

To lend a

Helping hand.

 

Help us to do unto others

Help us to be done unto by others

Gracefully,

As if

Filled with

Grace.

 

 

 

 

On the Occasion of a Tree-Planting

                By the U.S. House of Representatives Pages,

                     April, 1990, in Celebration of Earth Day

 

The more things change, we say, the more they stay

The same. Take trees, time lapsing through the story:

Branch, bud, leaf-blow, fruit, fall. How else know May,

December’s wracking chill, October’s glory?

But trees do change. Glaze of sleet bends, winds bow,

Lightning rives, wildfire turns all to candle.

The seasons’ certainty is likewise now

At risk, and we have learned at last to handle

Our world as we would a trout too small to keep,

With hands wet and tender, lest fingers spoil all

And fungus fire con sume our children’s meat.

Lessons learned late may save this spring from fall.

Suffice it that for now we delve and pray:

Roots, root. Trunk, branch. Give memory its day.

 

 

Foy Town Road

 

The road south slid round the rocky shoulder

Of what would become Cemetery Hill

When its first dead made Sycamore a town

With a past, this before the railroads and

The churches and the grain elevator,

To be seen for miles, taller, much taller than

The tallest trees, church spires, water tower.

Old Town flanked the track between the hill and ford,

And there, across the same shallows, they built,

In time, the first bridge, and the road rested

Awhile along the creek and then essayed

The long southbound grade, becoming Main Street.

 

Back at the bridge, the merest path went straight

Up a steepening slope, through waste ground, toward

Foy Town, home of the shiftless and ill clad

Since someone knew who Foy was. In between

The track cut deep and deeper into clay,

And scrub woods overhung the way through tracts

Where sand and brambles and broken fences

Made chaos visible. Here random rocks

Sprang up in the road, angling at axle

And oil pan, and dogs on urgent errands

Ran, noses down, twixt banks pitted with caves.

 

Through a special thicket beside this land

Rose an elm, lightning blasted, grape-vine swathed,

Where, high up and haughty, a red-tailed hawk

Clutched the same branch the daylight clock around,

Counting rabbits on the opposite slope,

Tracing the trails of mice, dreaming hawk dreams.

He could not remember views from elsewhere,

Did not anticipate a move, till lunch;

Thus, for the moment, he was eternal,

 And if he marked the woman stringing beans

On the back porch of the hilltop house there,

Off to the west, it was not to wonder

What she would do next or what perplexed her.

She, for her part, did not, indeed could not

See the hawk at all, though her glance crossed his

From time to time, piqued by a sometime sheen,

Quick water threading the dark woods below.

 

 

Randall Mawer grew up in Sycamore Ohio and studied at Wilmington (Ohio) College, Miami of Ohio and the University of Pennsylvania. Sycamore and Other Poems was published in 2000 by Writer’s Club Press. These three poems are reproduced with permission of the author.

References (14)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Janae Stimpson
    Im obliged for the blog.Really thank you! Awesome.
  • Response
    ... הובלות דירות - ההבדל המהותי ביותר נוגע לכך שהובלת משרד צריכה להיות כזו שהוצאה ע י אותו מנוף. אם ניקח למשל את הצורך של בעלי מקצוע אמינים שנבדקו חשמלאים, אינסטלטורים ועוד. מחיר הובלת דירה, ישנן ... Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha ... ...
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Response: check
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Response: check
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Response: our Google+ page
    Lost Coast Review - Poetry - Poems by Elizabeth Elson, Minh-Ha Pham and Randall Mawer
  • Response
    Response: Clair Allinger
    I found a great...

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>