While I’ll take life in any season, the transition from summer to fall is bumpy for me. This year, the melancholy I often feel during these pre-winter months has been accented by various family crises. Still, as the song goes, How can I keep from singing? Continue reading Autumn 2014 haiku chain by Patricia K.
I don’t know the names—
No very names.
Oh, chapparal. Oh, sage.
Oh, cactus, tumbleweed.
Oh, coiled up shaker of a shaman’s bones.
Oh, crook-limbed walker on the knuckled sands.
Oh, day-lived blossom, thirsting in its death.
Oh, winged portent of the flight of breath.
In a sun
That beats its laundry past the need of clean.
I am the rag-post.
Croak the long story of my ignorance.
Mark Penny has poetry on WIZ and Everyday Mormon Writer and in Sunstone and Dialogue, and fiction on Everyday Mormon Writer and Lowly Seraphim. He was winner of the Wilderness Interface Zone 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award, a finalist in the Everyday Mormon Writer Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest, and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Mormon Lit Blitz. He hopes the trend will bounce.
Current projects include a poetry collection, a Mormon spec fic collection, a dozen or so novels, a collaboration that will blow your spirit right out of your brain, and a unified theory of narrative.
Photo: Desert Sandwort via Wikimedia Commons courtesy of BLM Nevada, 2013.
Look with wonder on the world
And on the walkers in the world
Familiar and strange as if on God,
For gods they are, unknowing. Continue reading Look with Wonder on the World by Jonathon Penny
Today is WIZ’s fifth birthday! To celebrate that and LONNOL Month, we’re giving away TWO free silver screen classics from days of yore for your viewing pleasure!
This first is a rerun from a previous WIZ Retro Review Giveaway, but it’s one of my favorite old flicks. Come Next Spring is a generous story with a quiet but strong heart. Like many of these older films, rather than relying on in-your-face action sequences and special effects, loud soundtracks, and romantic drama that glues a box-office-compatible couple to center stage, Come Next Spring turns on resonant dialogue and actual, honest questions about family and community relations.
The story: recovering alcoholic Matt Ballot (Steve Cochran) returns to his Arkansas farm and the wife, Beth, and daughter, Annie, whom he abandoned twelve years earlier. He’s more than a little interested to see what’s become of them since he left. As he walks down the home stretch, he meets Annie. Annie is a voiceless creature who keeps company with animals but runs away from her father, who doesn’t recognize her. When Matt reaches the old homestead, he’s surprised to discover not only that his stoical and resourceful wife Bess (played beautifully by Ann Sheridan) has held everything together quite well without him but also that he has a delightful son, Abraham (Richard Eyer), born after Matt ran out on the family. Continue reading WIZ Retro Review Giveaway Double Feature: Come Next Spring and Merrily We Live
The sunset splashes honey colors wide
and floods the valley floor with golden light.
It laps the mountains on the other side
before it circles down the drain of night.
Upon the dark blue dusk, the moon floats high,
adrift within the last of twilight’s glow.
Too early for the stars to fleck the sky,
the city lights take up the task below.
I’m one such light, now flowing through a stream
of weekday traffic like a shooting star.
By merest chance, I caught this evening’s dream
because I had to navigate my car
from basketball to piano for my son.
Thank heaven for the errands I must run.
Merrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.
Photo by Nicholas Tonelli, 2007, via Wikimedia Commons
there once was a city
grim and golden as
a smudge or smear of
candlewax or oil on
restive rolling water
rearing toward the
heavens in fits and
fickle starts as close
as bees there was a
city animal and loud
loud and joyful loud
and lunging at a side
long, serial dream
and then oh
a city grieving
the burned bodies of
the lost the wayward
dead and grieving too
the vital rushing in of
fools who clambered
up into furnaces then
went straight to hell
dark cavities of ash
so dark in search of
breathings and the
dead there was a city
galled and grieving
anger so bright it
could ignite like this
but no not this not
him not her not us
not them and please
dear god not now
then grieving grief
itself then grieving
fear like flares and
wildfire furies sure
but then there was a
city mourning with
its mourners lifting
hands that hung low
emptied by the fire
and furious fall of
their great city left
as grim and golden
as the smudge and
smear of candlewax
or oil on holy water
rising up to Heaven
in fits and steadfast
starts contiguous as
kestrel calls or bees
a city loud and lousy
loud and joyful loud
and feral to a fault
but ever grasping at a
sage a sidewise sweet
resilient serial dream
In my part of the spring world, the arrival of the vernal equinox has not felt much different from the arrival of the autumnal equinox. The green flame is burning unusually low for this time of year. Winds have been abrasive and cold. Usually, the Big Green is well on its way by now, but only the dandelions are turning it up.
So I was wondering–how is spring coming along where you are? (For those of you who are moving into spring, that is.) I thought that it might be fun to give and receive reports of spring’s arrival in the form of haiku. That is, any excuse seems good for starting a haiku chain. Tracking spring’s approach–like news stations track Santa Claus’s progression toward their position–lends itself especially well to a sequence of meditative post-it notes.
What is a haiku? A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but I understand that there are longer and shorter forms.Â In English, a haiku often takes the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, then another short line of 5 syllables, but there are many pathsâ€“pick what pleases you.Â Often, haiku mention the season under scrutinyâ€“in this case spring, obviously.Â If you wish to learn more about haiku, you can go here or here.
For this chain, I’ll post an opener that I brought up out of Crossfire Canyon yesterday when I went down to look for spring there. Imagine my surprise to see that not even the wild buckwheat are bucking up yet. They’re usually the first flower to bloom, after stork’s bill. Then, the wild phlox.
But yesterday, nada.
Or only slightly more than nada.
After I post my haiku, the chain is open for business. Simply post your haiku in the comments below the post. You can riff off the previous haiku or totally cowboy it. Those of you who aren’t springing it up but are actually falling–don’t feel left out. Remind us that hemispheres have minds of their own. Just have fun.
Spring flickers low in
root embers and cold pith, in
rare red sparks of ant.
The boy on his way to school
Saw the earth eating a dog.
Black and brown, warm and sleek,
A lolling grin so like its kind:
It was killed by a car and
Fell among the roadside weeds
Without notice and was still.
How long did the earth dance on
Before the boy saw its muscles parsed
Away in trails of stench–a week?
Two weeks? Â With moon and sun
Rushing to keep pace, the stars sliding
Out of her way, their milky bouquet
Stretched across the ballroom of night,
This boy peddled to and fro past
Those teeth grinning whiter now
That the earth had nibbled away,
Taking in the dog, one sip at a time.
He had heard stories how the earth
Will one day disgorge
Her long meal of the dead,
And later wished he had taken
A tooth or something to
Summon the dog when it rises.
Will Reger was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois and currently teaches history at Illinois State University. He lives in Champaign, Illinois, with his wife and two youngest children. He began writing poetry in the 7th grade and never quite stopped. He also plays the Native American Flute. He has recently had poems published in Fire in the Pasture and songs/cycles (and, of course, here on WIZ).
Photo: “Infrared Road Dog” by Mike Lewinski via Wikimedia Commons, 2012.
Bradley McIlwainÂ is a Canadian-based writer and poet who lives and works in rural Ontario. His poems have been published in national and international print and online magazines. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from Trent University, with a major in English Literature. His first book of poems, Fracture, is now available.
Photo, “Lightning, Superstition Mountains,” by Robert Quinn via nationalgeographic.com, 2008.