As we near the close of Native American Heritage Month, I decided to share a poem I wrote last year that focuses on the heartache and loss that came to so many of the American Indian tribes at the hands of greedy people and government agencies. This particular poem emphasizes the history of the Cherokee people because they are part of my personal heritage. But we want to remember that every tribe was affected negatively — even in heart-breaking ways — and unfortunately, all the prejudice and ill-treatment has not completely disappeared yet.
Today the old chief passed, Enwreathed by potent memories Of battles fierce, of freedoms lost, Of smoking pipe with enemies Who swore to keep the peace treaties But quickly spurned such promises When greed for lands gained upper hand. Today the old chief passed And hastened to his ancestors, To mountains, valleys, fertile plains, Sparkling rivers, fields of grain, Miles and miles of vast domain Where Cherokee live free again, Never again to be betrayed. The old chief passed today.
I’m still working on my coffee poetry book, and I’m thinking about including this poem in the mix. I’m not sure yet, because I’m not positive it’s clear and understandable. If any of you who read it on here have an opinion about whether the point is clear — or confusing — let me know in the comments. Thanks. And — hopefully — you’ll enjoy it.
A CUP OF JOSEPH DANIELS???
I heard the story this way, And perhaps it’s mostly true: That way back when, in World War I, Coffee’s popularity grew.
It seems a Joseph Daniels, Navy Secretary then, Made efforts strong to change some things And bolster moral men.
He instituted new rules So Navy guys would think, And contemplate the consequence Of inebriating drink.
Banned alcohol consumption, And, naturally, that led To stewards brewing coffee more For sailors to drink instead.
According to the legend, This mark the guys did toe, But much disgruntled at their loss, Nicknamed their coffee “Joe.”
I’m working on a new coffee poetry book. It will include a little more than poems though. I think I’ll use several of the coffee photos and quotes that I used in my coffee lovers journal and intersperse them between the poems. I’ll have to see how the plan works out. Right now, I think it is destined to be more of a “coffee table” book [no pun intended :)] with full color inside. I have loads of coffee poems already written of course, but I have to write some new ones as well. Today, I thought I’d share one of the newest — hot off the press, so to speak.
MY BEVERAGE OF CHOICE
I have a great respect for milk and tea, And I drink both of them occasion’ly. I’m not a snob, though some may think me so; It’s just that I’ve a favorite drink called ‘Joe.’
It’s quite a nickname, that, and quite a tale Of how it came about, but truth to tell, That story isn’t pertinent to this rhyme, So I will share it all another time.
For now, I’d like to focus on my cup. Its freshly-brewed aroma lifts me up. The coffee’s hot and black and medium roast. To celebrate, I’ll make a tasty toast:
To coffee, life’s elixir, piping hot ⸺ The energizing drink that hits the spot. But comforting as well; it soothes my soul. My beverage of choice: it wins the poll.
Life gets so busy, and I’m finding it harder and harder to post on the website the way I used to. I miss it. And I decided today that it has been entirely too long since I have written some cinquain — or since I have written about coffee. So I decided to combine the two subjects and here’s what I came up with.
I need A pick-me-up. And I know what will work: A cup of fragrant, fresh-brewed joy — Coffee!
It’s great At any time. One cup won’t be enough. I feel inspired to brew up a Full pot.
I came across a new challenge today — well, new to me. It’s hosted by Jim Adams on his WordPress site at this link. The challenge is to write a story or poem based on the theme “Better Left Unsaid.” So I’ve let my poet muse have sway and posted my response below.
BETTER LEFT UNSAID
I could have told him how I felt About the lies he’d told behind my back. I could have spoken out and said That he a basic moral code did lack. I could have talked to mutual friends, And told them scores of ugly things of him. And when I’d finished, they’d have said They were inclined to believe all of them. But once I’d had revenge on him, What would the outcome be inside of me? My sinking to his level so Would mean I was as vile of heart as he. But if I leave those thoughts unsaid, I’ll rise above them, so I’ll remain free.
I’m running really late with trying to participate in Sadje’s “What Do You See?” challenge, but I managed to write this little poem before the deadline. As soon as I saw the vacancy sign, I knew I had to write about lost love. The photo is courtesy of Carter Saunders @ unsplash.com.
I’m sure the world can see the sign. It flashes from my eyes. My heart, which once was full of love, Now mourns with tears and sighs.
You filled me with your golden love; At least I thought ’twas so. But suddenly you took your love And said you had to go.
You’ve given yourself to someone new; I’ll never comprehend How I could have been so deceived By nothing but pretend.
My heart is vacant now, indeed, And all the world can tell. I’ll keep it vacant from now on: I’ve learned my lesson well.
The question for this week is “What do I see in this picture?” Well, I have to say that I see a rejected lover here, and my response is to try to put his feelings into words in a short free verse poem. If you’d like to participate in the WDYS challenge, visit Sadje’s blog here.
I gave you the pretty poems about snow yesterday. Now, I’m going to tell you how I really feel:
I am so tired of ice and snow. I’d like a way to make them go. I’d like to send them straight to hell, But that would cool things off down there. And when hell freezes over, well, What happens then it’s hard to tell, For lots of folks have said they’d do All kinds of things if that came true. So, darn, I guess I have to wait And let things melt at a slow pace. But if they last much longer here, I still may send them straight down there.
Well, it’s snowing here in Southern Illinois, USA. We got a thorough cover of ice last night, and now the snowflakes are coming down fast and furious — sort of hurling themselves at the ground, almost as if they are trying to beat each other to the goal. I don’t like snow on the roads and walkways, but I enjoy watching it come down — and I enjoy the fresh, pristine look of everything that is covered in brand new snow. I just wish it could land on only specific areas and leave the others untouched. I’ve written a poem or two about my ambivalent feelings, and I felt like writing another one today. So I decided I’d do a post that is a combination of a few snow poems and snow pictures. The poems are mine, but I’m featuring photos from my good friend Terry Valley, who is a professional photographer in Wisconsin. I hope you enjoy them.
Snowflakes On a mission, Hurling steadfastly down. Racing each other to their goal: Whiteout.
THIS IS DREAMING WEATHER
This is dreaming weather. Nothing much to do Except to watch the blizzard blow And have a snack or two.
Yes, this is dreaming weather: A time to contemplate And set imagination free To wander and create.
Ah, this is dreaming weather: While by the storm confined, Let my heart and soul take wings And leave this world behind.
When I was a child, I thought as a child, And snow was a thing so delightful. From school we were free; we got wet to the knees, And our mom’s day was thrown all off schedule.
But now that I’m grown, I must do on my own All the chores Mom and Dad used to dread: Stock up food by the loads, drive on slippery roads, Shovel snow, and repair that old sled.
Now I look with dismay at the skies leaden gray As I trudge to the store for supplies. De-icer and salt sell out fast with no halt. I need new boots to tread on the ice.
The wind from the north is bitter and harsh, But my temperature, still it is rising; I am in a foul mood, for I see nothing good That can come from a snowstorm arriving.
But then the flakes start, and I feel in my heart – Watching white, fluffy, wonderful, wild Filling all of my world with such beauty unfurled – That in truth I am still just a child!
I was thinking today about the prophet Ezekiel and his experience in the valley of dry bones, when the Lord told him He would give those bones new life. So I thought I’d share a poem the Lord inspired on the subject. The Scripture reference is Ezekiel, chapter 37.
THE SAME GOD TODAY
Bones in the valley, Worthless and dry, Bleached by the sun and The wind blowing by.
God to the prophet Did speak and did ask, “Can these bones still live? Is it too big a task?”
“Lord,” said the prophet, “Only You know.” “I’ll show you, Ezekiel; My Spirit will blow.
“And cause them to live And give flesh and skin; They’ll rise like an army, Give Me glory again.”
When our problems seem hopeless, Too dead to restore, We can look to Ezekiel And his word from the Lord.
For the God who breathed life Into bones dry and dead Is the same God for us If we’ll trust what He’s said.