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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day Nine, a VIsual Poem

Today's poem is to be an example of visual poetry.  The challenger suggests leaving the computer and holdng forth on large paper...The examples given look pretty daunting.  How about mine, composed directly on the computer?

                                                          Oh           my
                                                        listen  p   I love  
                                                     I could   o   write it
                                                    all day    e  every day
                                                  wrap my   t   heart round
                                                  it feel its   r    heart beat
                                                   beating    y   with mine
                                                     celebrating writing
                                                          every day and
                                                              every way
                                                                 oh my

                                                                             Shirley Smith Franklin 4/25/15

Friday, April 24, 2015

The twenty fourth...and (disclaimer: mine are often atypical) Haiku Day again

Little is more depressing
than matching dark socks
on a gray day.
                        -- Shirley Smith Franklin 4-17-15

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Abcdarian

She is learning the song,
'h, i, j, k, l-m-n-o-JEFF!'
recites with such determination
I don't have the heart to tell her
that it's 'l, m, n-o-P.'
Then, when, learning to write
her creative spellings, not 'correct'--
never seem to please her teacher,
and I am too busy
to take her to play in the park.
An MBA and two children later,
she still has trouble spelling.
Dyslexic, they call it. But now
she takes her children to the park.

         by Shirley Smith Franklin April 19, 2014

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day Seventeen, an atypical Haiku

Day Seventeen...but where have days from eight through sixteen gone?  I shall not say 'alas', for they
have been full, spent for good purposes, though leaving little time for creative keyboard work.  Let them go.  Today is the greening of the field and the budding of the tree, time for new things to grow from and among the old.  I shall take the prompt from a second NaPoWriMo prompt site (or is it one from a former year?) to write a 4-9-4 syllable Haiku today.  Then it's onward and upward to enjoy the sunshine, clear air  and blue sky. Every spring is a rebirth for me, for favorite old memories and making new ones. Live and in full color.  In person.  Oh, there it is, the poem writes itself...!

Fields green, trees bud,
embrace color, live, in person,
fairest Spring awakes.

                           ---Shirley Smith Franklin 4/15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 8

A palinode...retracts a statement made in an earlier today's poetry challenge.  Hmmm...why would I want to do that?  I am too serious today.  I have changed my mind, even regretted, a number of things, but believing in the greater value of fidelity, have not retracted a number of things that, in retrospect, perhaps I should have.  (like ending that sentence with a verb, a partial one at that.  Regrets, I think I do not want to dwell on them intentionally...the thought to do so comes often enough.  Let's pluck material right from this paragraph...

Retract, pull back,
or telescope, distance:
which shall it be?
Regret, be sorry,
or reconsider, think:
what might have been?
Value, cherish,
or dwell, pause here awhile:
how beats the heart?
Enough, sufficient.
or intention, serious,
within the garden of love.
                 --a fragment of the imagination, Shirley Smith Franklin, 4/15

Friday, April 10, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day Seven: A Poem about Money, or Worth....

Poetry is Money     (-- an exercise in writing about 'worth' -- unedited)

Poetry's purchase
     is entertainment
     of body, mind, soul
     food for spirit
     grist for argument
proxy admission
     to confession
     transporting to
     vistas faraway
     or interior
Poetry's lesson
     not easily learned
          or forgotten
     pulsing its rhythm
     in time or theme
     like learning to sing
Poetry's voice is
        when you believe
     you can fly
     you can fly
     you can fly.

            Shirley Smith Franklin 4/15


Hello Hyderabad/Goodbye Hyderabad

Our visits to Hyderabad this year were unusual in a number of ways. Hyderabad, once the opulent city of a Nizam, then the capital of undivided Andhra Pradesh, is now the capital of Telangana, a new designation and state carved from the inland, northern and western portion of the former state. Unexpected family events marked our arrival and departure.   We had planned to stay and rest for a couple of days, perhaps visiting a relative or two, before going on to Guntur.

The day we arrived, the ranking aunty in the family, in her 90's, was just coming out of surgery for a broken hip.  She'd survived a mastectomy and recovered just a couple years ago, so it was expected she would do well this time too.  Franklin was able to go into the ICU and was the first to see her. She recognized and greeted him, so we left other family with her at Sunshine Hospital (coincidentally just a few blocks from the Yatri Nivas where we'd stayed on previous Hyderabad visits) .  But we decided to continue, instead, all the way to Guntur.

The rest of our trip that mid-December day was uneventful, except for amazement at the new divided highway and being able to enjoy biryani at a nice new restaurant conveniently located half way along the five hour route.

In January we returned to Hyderabad for a few days of visiting and shopping when son Prashant and family were there, bound for the U.S. after a couple weeks in India.  Getting together for any of the above proved difficult...Again we experienced the absolute density of traffic that I described during Christmas holidays in Guntur.  Travel across town to places we had formerly reached in fifteen minutes now could be expected to take an hour . Existing traffic overbridges ("flyovers) are not sufficient: more are being built, as is the extension of an overhead metro railroad, all requiring extensive clearing of the smaller shops lining the roads. And there was new construction and remodelling everywhere.

But somehow we were able to convene a family get together for a couple dozen relatives of ours and daughter in law Hari's families one evening at a restaurant, and a good time was had by all.  Biryani, of course, is a must in Hyderabad!

We were treated to effusive hospitality for two meals by our daughter in law's relatives, who pressed us to stay longer, and stay overnight at their apartment (adjacent to a temple whence cymbals and chanting of the latest festival resounded through the neighborhood), as well.  "Why would you want to stay at a hotel?" one auntie puzzled.  "Who is there to talk to? Just the two of you:  boring!"  Another example of the typical extended Indian family "group think" -- "The more the merrier."

When we returned to Hyderabad at the end of my India stay (Franklin stayed on a few weeks more) mid-February, we planned to shop and attend the wedding reception of his cousin's daughter.  Alas, that was not to be.  A phone call came while we were en route to Hyderabad: our beloved Auntie Vasumathi had passed away in Hyderabad that morning, and the family, including the wedding party, was already on their way to Guntur for the funeral.  The reception, of course, was cancelled.

Since my flight was booked for that very night, there was no turning back for us, and we continued on to Hyderabad, where we stayed at the PLAZA, a shiny new tourist hotel. Staying there at the same time were a convention full of railroad buffs, and the participants of a small but beautiful wedding and reception that took place on the Plaza's plaza, in full view of the glass walled restaurant. The railroaders were full of fun and camaraderie, their laughter bursting out of their meeting sessions and buzzing around the breakfast buffet.  The wedding and its participants were elegant.

The hallways of the hotel were lined with original artwork by Indian artists, satisfying my usually unfulfilled wish to visitan Indian art gallery. ( The Hyderabad galleries seem to be clumped in one area of the city---always too far from the areas where we stayed and travelled.)  A hallway connected the hotel to a building of government sponsored tourism offices of various states, a Lepakshi and other handicraft shops, and two more, tiny art galleries.  For once I had my fill:  Lepakshi alone was crammed with typical folk craft, making quick shopping a real possibility.  The only other place I'd really wanted to shop was a bookstore, and we found one ( a Walden!) not very far away from the hotel.  I was content.  There was just time to eat supper, cram a few more items into the suitcases, take a snooze, and set out for the hour long drive to the airport...a modern gleaming place, worlds apart from what it had been just a few years ago.

Just last year, Andhra was divided into two parts, and the coastal side, where Guntur is, will be retaining the state name but getting a new capital city with its own infrastructure, hopefully to be completed by 2020.  This new city will be near Guntur and will be served by an international airport, now a bucolic but growing facility, just a few miles from home.

What will our next trip bring?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Aubade - Morning Meditaion

Day Six's poetry prompt is to write an aubade, a morning poem.  Wikipedia suggests that it is often on the subject of lovers parting.  Mornings for me usually start with a sound, whatever I hear first.
In childhood it might have been mother calling for breakfast, the smells wafting up from the kitchen adding a compelling ostinato to the music of her voice.  In the present house it might have come from outside where neighborhood youth sometimes follow a path near our house on their way to school,
from my spouse still snoring in bed or walking down the stairs.  How to incorporate some of these in a poem...???  Here's a first attempt...not very poetic, needs imagery, at least, ...but it's a start.

Aubade - Morning Meditation

Good morning, my world.  
I thank God for what is going to be an amazing day.
My husband, snoring,
may not wake up if I tiptoe downstairs to the kitchen.
I'll enjoy silence
while reading a hymn, a Bible verse or two, and devotions.
Do I like silence
because it lets me wake up more gradually, in my own time?
Does God speak to me
or I listen, more clearly when there are no interruptions??
Thank God for silence
Yet I'm distracted, thinking of warmth I left behind in bed.
Shall I fix breakfast
and surprise him that I've waken up before him, and cooked,
or go back to bed,
ignoring birds, their morning calls crescendoing outdoors,
ignore his snoring,
to meditate instead in the warmth of his waking arms.

                                          Shirley Smith Franklin, 4/2015 - tbr

Sunday, April 5, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day Five: Read to see what happened to day three

Let's get that nagging question out of the way first:  What happened to day three was, simply:             my computer ate it.
Okay, so on with day five.  The prompt, as I understood it, was to dismantle any poem of Emily Dickinson and rewrite it, changing lines and words around, even substituting or adding new words. Virtually creating a new poem from the 'remains.'  This sounded free wheeling, took quite a bit of concentration to carry off without taking the time to list all the words separately, but in the end, it turns out that it was kind of fun.
Emily's poem was a twenty-liner of alternating six and seven syllable lines, with her signature dash at the end of every line. Her poem made sense, the kind of sense that is good for contemplation.  Mine,-fourteen  lines long, not so much, unless we consider it a neo-ghazal, a short poem of couplets that don't necessarily have much to do with each other, other than a certain angst.

Emily's poem was titled "This world is not conclusion."


This poem is not conclusion.
Please don't misunderstand its confusion.
Music beckons beyond sound,
stands invisible beyond species.
Sagacity and philosophy
may be guessed, unlocked through riddles.
Generations gain contempt
as narcotics nibble at their souls.
Faith blushes at twigs of evidence
the way crucifixion asks questions.
From pulpits roll strong hallelujahs,
gesture much, and laugh, and really
pluck, beckon and baffle the whole truth
men didn't know.

Shirley Smith  Franklin,  April 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

NaPoWriMo 2016 Days Two and Four

Day Two suggested a love poem without using the word, love.  Day Four suggested a poem about stars.  Or was it the other way around.  In my continuing effort to 'catch up, ' I'll try to write one combining the two, stars and (oops,need I say  'love'!).

That moment when....

I never saw stars before--
Myopic, preoccupied--
with my nose in a book,
who could--
Until I saw your eyes -
joined in premonition
of you.

                                         --Shirley Smith Franklin 2015 

Friday, April 3, 2015

It's National Poetry Writing Month Again...Catching my breath

Eek, it's already April third! I've hardly finished all I wanted to write about my trip and thoughts to/of India this winter, and already the month of April has me thinking about writing a new poem a day in response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 challenge.  I hope you will indulge (along with) my playing with words, rhymes, responding to this month's challenge to create something akin to poetry every day. Well, almost daily.  With some hope that another entry or two from my/our India trip may pop up in the blog as well.

Here's my attempt to write a 'negation poem' suggested in Day One. (Note: that it appears in print means it is copyright (-ed) by me.)

Who Knows?
the beginning of a be revised
by Shirley Smith Franklin

Who knows the moment of a sunrise?
         not you
         not I
         not anybody
not even a ribbon out of time.

Or who has seen the wind blow?
         not you
         not I
         not anybody
not even the shadow knows.

Who can foretell the ending of time?
         not you
         not I
         not anybody
through doomsayers and prophets have tried.

Who rises up to bell the cat?
         not you
         not I
         not anybody
who fears to stand against the crowd.

Who knows why I should love you?
         not you
         not I
         nor anybody
knows why I love you like I do.
But I do.

Who knows the truth these verses hide?
         not you
         not I
         not anybody
but this fool is beginning to lie.