Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Poetry Challenge 30

September 29, 2009

A Birthday Poem

It’s always a challenge to write an occasional poem without getting totally sappy.  So take the challenge–write about an event or occasion: birthday, wedding, farewell to travelers, etc.–without getting, well, mushy.  This works for me as an exercise in negative space–writing about what surrounds the occasion, such as details, objects, images, rather than about the occasion itself.

I’ll post my attempt at this tomorrow.  Send me yours.

(Happy Birthday, Ira)


Here’s a poem in response to the prompt–for all September birthdays.  There seem to be a cluster of them. (By the way, I’m not sure what happens to the formatting of these poems when I place them in a post.  I’ll keep working on that! For now, I’ll try to trick the formatting with extra periods.)


The Way the Season Goes Sometimes:


a flock of yellow warblers

fills a willow just as a few commas

of yellow leaves appear;

then yellow in the birches,

on the hearts of zucchini leaves,

in the ring of petals of a late sunflower,

or an agate shaped tomato.


Then the sky: yellow to orange

to deep rose, the dusky smudge

of clouds on the horizon, above white

peaks, the jig-saw at the edge

of our sight.


We should have known. The season

teeters on brilliance; noon

gleams with light, the blue

stretch of sky, the tease–near

warmth–of September.


In our hurry, these days,

to stack wood, put away

the hose, eat all the lettuce

we can, something falls

from a pocket, or flutters

from a car door to the ground.

A few white flakes zig-zag

down. The things we drop

get buried in forgetful fluff

for months to come, wait


for our return,

shaking off the journey

through winter,

to emerge.


And this from Claire:


A vegan sheet cake cooked with love
before I even knew you
braces, bowl cut, tie-dyed shirt
a photo that didn’t capture the beauty of the moment

the cook since married and gone
mother of two, distant and unknowable
those singing to you, now scattered across the country.
It is the last day of September and I’m in California
watching the fog push up against the hills
and reveling in the last days of summer.
But superimposed on the San Francisco sun is an eastern fall
and despite it all my mouth fills with the memory of melted wax on frosting.

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