Small Stones for January, 2016 Week 2


In Week 2, small ruminations on the season, and how it affects mood of the poet and the poem, but also one or two riffs that may become full poems this year.  I decided that 18 days’ worth was too much to post all at once, and have instead chosen to post a week at a time.


Jan. 8 2016

Some days no voices breakMODPO TREASURE against
the quiet of the day, but words rush
forth born of lines rising out of books
urgent in their hunger to be heard.
Other days chatter drowns
the sound of syntax, blocks
the flow of couplet or quatrain,
and every page remains its pristine
and lonely white.


Jan. 9 2016

When do you stop choosing
to climb up when you reach
the bottom of the dark?
Or is there no choice
but to seek out the light?
What thing inside fights
to survive the dark as
the drowning fight in panic
frantic for the air.

Jan. 10 2016

They say that left-handed people are

the only ones in their right minds
to justify the claim of right-thinking
even genius. They list
the actors, the musicians, U.S. presidents
and royalty, but
always begin with genius—
Leonardo, Madame Curie, Albert Einstein.

And what of writers?
Isn’t it easier

to slant to right instead of backhand
or the left hand-smirch of ink—
always the blue-sided fist or even teal.

But even so

they boast their Mark Twain, their Helen Keller

and their artists—

Michelangelo! Escher! Even Klee!
held their brushes slantwise
or suffered paint from wrist to elbow—
muddy umber blend of cadmium, yellow ochre, cobalt blue.

The only fallacies in all the theories

that they’re clumsy, somehow sinister, born of Satan
and on the wrong side of the blanket.

It’s all just jealousy from the run-of-the-mill
Carol A. Stephen

Jan. 11 2016

A month of short days and still-black
skies at morning herald dim hours of winter.
Slow dawn brings chill blue skies: the light
returns. Why is the cost of sunlight
the icy wind of January and what blows in
upon it? The linden sheds more small branches
to delight my neighbour in his not-so-secret wish
to see the tree itself come down.


Jan. 12 2016
The white world has returned, scourge
of the faint-heart driver I’ve become,
snug and cosy, adrift and surfing
in the virtual world technology inflicts.
My penalty? The guilt at the undone,
the unmade soup, unfinished poems,
and all the unread books I fool myself
that someday I will read.

Christmas lanterns 2009031

Jan. 13 2016

Binder after binder I browse
my life in poems, year on year
the ebb and flow of form, of rhyme
or free-flow and line breaks, found
poems, lost words, rediscovered
and throughout the same themes
same stories: time and the river,
time and the body, the creak and sag
the losses: youth, work, husband, lover
the elusive freedom from fear,
the euphoria of joy.


Jan. 14 2016
I wonder why winter
Why it isn’t my season even though
it matches the season of my life
I was born in April, the season of renewal
In a kind world spring children should share
the gift of renewing youth.




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