The Hairbag Poet-Goodbye Cliff

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

 

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Poetry Friday round up is at My juicy little universe with a focus on climate change here.

Though my poem doesn’t focus on climate change, it does focus on how one person can make a difference and affect lives for the better.

This weeks post is a sad one for me.  A coworker of mine recently passed away.  This hit our team pretty hard. His name was Cliff. Cliff was a great guy! He was amazing at his job, and always willing to help anyone solve any problem. Cliff and I were both going back to school for our masters degree and Cliff was always a huge help to me whenever I needed any technical help with the computer, or designing a project. He never hesitated to help when I would ask.

Cliff was a father, a husband to be, and a veteran. He served his family, his country, and his community with such dignity. Cliff always seemed to have a smile on his face.  In his last and final moments Cliff had pulled over to help two vehicles that were on the side of the highway, and was struck and killed by a third vehicle. But in his spirit of service, even after his death, he continues to help others as his organs now breath life into a new generation. Words can’t express how much Cliff will be missed in our hospital family, but I tried a few anyway.

This week, I am dedicating this pantoum poem to you Cliff.

Thank you for your service!

Today I fly my flag half-staff.
I’ve lost you dear old friend,
but most of all I’ll miss your laugh,
My tears I can’t suspend.

I’ve lost you dear old friend
the time feels like it just stands still.
My tears I can’t suspend,
I don’t see how this is god’s will.

The time feels like it just stands still
I flourish in despair.
I don’t see how this is god’s will,
I bow my head in prayer.

I flourish in despair,
Today I fly my flag half-staff.
I bow my head in prayer,
but most of all I’ll miss your laugh.

God Bless you Cliff!

The Hairbag Poet

 

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The Hairbag Poet-Madness Round 2

Hi and welcome to my series The Hairbag Poet

As you all know I am participating in the Madness Poetry competition. Round 2 starts today and I am happy to report I will be participating. Round 1 was a close call! I was up against a wonderful challenger whose poem was so beautiful I would have voted for it myself, if she wasn’t up against me. So head on over here pour a cup of coffee or tea, relax, and read some fantastic poetry.

Madness Poetry
Ed DeCaria

And don’t forget to wish me luck!

The Hairbag Poet (a.k.a. Jean O’Connor)

The Hairbag Poet: Madness Poetry 2019

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here

Friday’s poetry roundup can be found at Linda Baie’s site here.

The Thinkier Trophy

I’m so excited to announce that once again I will be competing in Ed DeCaria’s  2019 March Madness Poetry competition beginning March 3rd!  64 Authletes (Writer athletes) will be competing against each other for the title, and the grand prize: The Thinkier trophy pictured above.  Head over today and sign up to read, vote, and have fun!

The match up brackets mimic basketball’s March Madness brackets. The Authletes are provided a single vocabulary word (think SAT/GRE Vocab.) and must create a poem suitable for children, within a defined character limit (Not Easy!).

Ed has the voting divided into three sections: the authlete vote, the student vote, and the community vote. We as writers get to vote all throughout the competition, even if we lose, and this vote carries some extra weight. The student vote comes from schools that have signed up their classrooms to read, and vote on the poetry entries. The student vote also carries heavy weight considering the poems have to be kid friendly. The community vote consists of everyone else who chooses to sign up to read, and vote for their choice of best poem. The voting is open for two days, at which time everyone can vote, and comment on their favorite poems. The winner then proceeds to the next round. With each round the authletes are cut by 1/2 until only one winner is left standing.

This is my second year entering and I am so excited, and nervous. There is so much great talent participating. I will be writing under my proper name: Jean O’Connor

Wish me luck!

The Hairbag Poet

The Hairbag Poet-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

Tara Smith at Going to Walden is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

I know it may sound weird but I often treasure the time I spend in my car, waiting, while my children are at their activities. I call this my “found time.” I use it to read, write or do homework depending on my mood, or my deadlines. Last night, while waiting for my daughter’s swim practice to end, I decided to read. I had been doing some research on female poets and had begun researching Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Although I had known of Millay’s work, I didn’t know much about Millay the women, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the cold and empty parking lot I was sitting in, outside of the pool my daughter was swimming in, just happened to be on the campus of Millay’s alma mater, Vassar College, and the inspiration for her Drama in 5 acts “The Lamp and the Bell.” Millay wrote this play for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Vassar College Alumni Association, and dedicated the play to members of the Class of 1917. It was performed at Vassar in 1921 with an all female cast. You can read the play here.

Vassar College

Millay was a poet who garnered success and fame during her lifetime. Her career launched at the early age of 20 when she won recognition in a poetry contest for her poem Renascence. Though she was born into poverty, a wealthy fan paid her way to Vassar College. It was at Vassar that Millay explored her sexuality and her writing. In 1923 she received the Pulitzer-Prize for poetry for The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.  Though Millay was world renown, she eventually married, and settled in the town of Austerlitz, NY, on a 700-acre farm named Steepletop. She died at the age of 58 after suffering a cardiac arrest, and falling down the stairs inside her home. Her work speaks for itself.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver

BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

“Son,” said my mother,

   When I was knee-high,

“You’ve need of clothes to cover you,

   And not a rag have I.

 

“There’s nothing in the house

   To make a boy breeches,

Nor shears to cut a cloth with

   Nor thread to take stitches.

 

“There’s nothing in the house

   But a loaf-end of rye,

And a harp with a woman’s head

   Nobody will buy,”

   And she began to cry.

 

That was in the early fall.

   When came the late fall,

“Son,” she said, “the sight of you

   Makes your mother’s blood crawl,—

 

“Little skinny shoulder-blades

   Sticking through your clothes!

And where you’ll get a jacket from

   God above knows.

 

“It’s lucky for me, lad,

   Your daddy’s in the ground,

And can’t see the way I let

   His son go around!”

   And she made a queer sound.

 

That was in the late fall.

   When the winter came,

I’d not a pair of breeches

   Nor a shirt to my name.

 

I couldn’t go to school,

   Or out of doors to play.

And all the other little boys

   Passed our way.

 

“Son,” said my mother,

   “Come, climb into my lap,

And I’ll chafe your little bones

   While you take a nap.”

 

And, oh, but we were silly

   For half an hour or more,

Me with my long legs

   Dragging on the floor,

 

A-rock-rock-rocking

   To a mother-goose rhyme!

Oh, but we were happy

   For half an hour’s time!

 

But there was I, a great boy,

   And what would folks say

To hear my mother singing me

   To sleep all day,

   In such a daft way?

 

Men say the winter

   Was bad that year;

Fuel was scarce,

   And food was dear.

 

A wind with a wolf’s head

   Howled about our door,

And we burned up the chairs

   And sat on the floor.

 

All that was left us

   Was a chair we couldn’t break,

And the harp with a woman’s head

   Nobody would take,

   For song or pity’s sake.

 

The night before Christmas

   I cried with the cold,

I cried myself to sleep

   Like a two-year-old.

 

And in the deep night

   I felt my mother rise,

And stare down upon me

   With love in her eyes.

 

I saw my mother sitting

   On the one good chair,

A light falling on her

   From I couldn’t tell where,

 

Looking nineteen,

   And not a day older,

And the harp with a woman’s head

   Leaned against her shoulder.

 

Her thin fingers, moving

   In the thin, tall strings,

Were weav-weav-weaving

   Wonderful things.

 

Many bright threads,

   From where I couldn’t see,

Were running through the harp-strings

  Rapidly,

 

And gold threads whistling

   Through my mother’s hand.

I saw the web grow,

   And the pattern expand.

 

She wove a child’s jacket,

   And when it was done

She laid it on the floor

   And wove another one.

 

She wove a red cloak

   So regal to see,

“She’s made it for a king’s son,”

   I said, “and not for me.”

   But I knew it was for me.

 

She wove a pair of breeches

   Quicker than that!

She wove a pair of boots

   And a little cocked hat.

 

She wove a pair of mittens,

   She wove a little blouse,

She wove all night

   In the still, cold house.

 

She sang as she worked,

   And the harp-strings spoke;

Her voice never faltered,

   And the thread never broke.

   And when I awoke,—

 

There sat my mother

   With the harp against her shoulder

Looking nineteen

   And not a day older,

 

A smile about her lips,

   And a light about her head,

And her hands in the harp-strings

   Frozen dead.

 

And piled up beside her

   And toppling to the skies,

Were the clothes of a king’s son,

   Just my size.

Millay is also most famously known for coining the phrase “My candle burns at both ends…” from Figs from Thistles: First Fig.

Figs from Thistles: First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
   It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
   It gives a lovely light!

(Poetryfoundation.org, 2019)

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

 

The Hairbag Poet-Birth

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

Todays Poetry Friday Roundup can be found over at Sylvia Vardell’s site here.

You can read about the history of this series here.

One of the things I love most about the internet is the ability to come across interesting, educational, or inspiring information. Imagine my delight, when I came across a place that encompassed all of the above. A few months back I was scrolling through my twitter feed, and you know how you click on something, or someone shared something, and you check it out, and before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole. Well that’s how I came across #WOMENSART @womensart1. I was smitten immediately. There is so much cool, interesting, beautiful, and not so beautiful art in every form imaginable: painting, drawing, sculpture, needlework, textile, glass, jewelry…you name it. I could spend hours just browsing through all the images. Well, one day I came across the image you see below. It’s an 18th century training doll for midwives, created by a French midwife. What I love about this piece is how it combines my love of nursing, nursing education, and the creative spirit with which nurses have historically harnessed, with my love of artistry. It is an amazing and artistic teaching tool. I was so inspired I knew I just had to use this picture for a Hairbag Poem.

I decided to use the poetic form of Abecedarian. This style of poetry is related to acrostic, where the first letter of each line or stanza follows the alphabet sequentially (Poetry Foundation, 2018). I enjoyed the writing process for this poem, and tried to stay true to the reality of labor.

 

Angélique-Marguerite du Coudray was a pioneering and influential 18th century French midwife who designed equipment to teach midwife trainees about delivering babies

Birth

A
Birth has an order that starts with
Contractions that lead to
Dilation a cervical action.
Effacement occurs as the cervix is thinning, the
First of three stages of labors beginning.
Get up, take a walk, or a shower or bath
Heed your instructions from childbirth class.
Initial excitement is normal at first,
Just remember don’t panic should your water burst.
Keep calm, call the doctor, active
Labor has begun,
Make your way to the car for your hospital run.
Now here’s the hard part, and it takes a long time,
Often known as transition, or labor half-time.
Panting through pain, don’t
Quit…rise to power.
Remember
Stage 2 is the magical hour. It’s
Time to start pushing, bear down, concentrate…
Uterine contractions exacerbate!
Vaginal tissues stretch and make room, as the baby descends from out of your
Womb.
Xenagogue guides the final egest, then places
Your newborn on top of your chest.
Zeal fills the room,
(Wait…
it’s time for stage 3,
the afterbirth,
placental delivery).

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

 

 

 

 

The Hairbag Poet-Eye Spy

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Hi Ho, and Ho, Ho, and Happy Holidays to all! It has been quite some time since my last Hairbag Poet post, and that’s because my loving (loser) brother has been unable (refuses) to send me any new photos from his west coast relocation. So today I have a guest photographer (my friend Carol) who was kind enough to send me some of her awesome (weird) pictures from Paris (my 2nd favorite city).

For a long time I have been wanting to write a post on Iambic Pentameter. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Shakespeare’s primary writing style was probably one of those banes of high school English Class, along with Beowulf, and The Canterbury Tales. Trying to read Old, Middle, and Early Modern English was not an easy task as a teenager, and quite frankly isn’t an easy task as an adult either. Although I have struggled with the form of Iambic Pentameter, I yearn to get it right.

Iambic Pentameter is actually the combination of two poetic terms: Iamb and Pentameter. Iamb refers to “A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable…It is the most common meter of poetry in English” (Poetry Foundation, 2018). As we know, William Shakespeare wrote all of his plays and poems in this meter. According to Poetry Foundation (2018), a pentameter is a line made up of five feet, and is the most common metrical line in English. “Iambic pentameter is a beat of foot that uses 10 syllables in each line” (Literary Devices, 2018).

Here is an example from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:

“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall…
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity…
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.”

Brilliant right? I’m almost embarrassed to follow William Shakespeare.

Here’s just a quick history behind my pictures today. My friend Carol spent several weeks in Paris this summer while her husband was working on his book. She would often send me pictures from her days wondering the city. One day I received a picture of these weird looking eyeball street posts, and have to admit I was a little creeped out by them, imagining cameras inside those stony pupils watching one’s every move. I thought they would make an excellent subject for the Hairbag Poet.

This is my first attempt at iambic pentameter, and I hope I managed to get it right. I also wrote in monorhyme which is the use of only one rhyme in each stanza.

Photos by Carol

Eye Spy

I walked along the Paris streets last night;
A city swathed in scintillescent light.
I stumbled on a rather frightening sight,
of painted orb like eyeball pegmatite.

A visual, or a vision, watching me?
Big brother, or just streetwise artistry?
Direction générale de la sécurité?
Either way I find the eyes creepy.

I bowed my head and pulled my hood down low
But eyeballs tracked my movements to and fro
on sidewalks optic archipelago,
Paranoia palpable from head to toe.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

The Hairbag Poet-Perspective

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Today I will be presenting two poems. One is from the perspective of the dolls, and the other is from the perspective of the Aliens, characters that you may remember from some of my previous poems. This has been a fun series to write, if not a little creepy.

Today’s poem, and really this whole series has been an example of anthropomorphism. According to Poetry Foundation anthropomorphism is “a form of personification in which human qualities are attributed to anything inhuman, usually a god, animal, object, or concept.” I think children are always bringing objects to life. It’s why I have the photo’s I do. The dolls, and toys in most of these posts are my nieces. However I believe their worn torn world are the result of my brother’s imagination. When I think about it, I feel like my brother and I are kids again, playing with toys; we’re just a little older, and our sense of humor has warped a bit, but we’re creating, collaborating, imagining, and having a good laugh.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

 

Photo by Donald who says, “The barbies attack the fairy village.”

Perspective: Dolls

Warriors come out to play.
Revenge is what we seek today.
Fairy Queen,
you’ve killed our tribe,
and now in hollowed oak you hide.
Come out and face us
one last time!
Let justice judge
your vicious crime.

Photo by Donald who says, “The Aliens still on their trek come upon the battle.”

Perspective: Aliens

We are the aliens
from X-241,
our planet is Ogda,
it’s warmed by one sun.

My offspring and I
landed last year in Maine
in your snowy, cold land
with its icy terrain.

We were chased by clawed beasts,
and a smoking old guy,
so we ran for our lives
as our spaceship stood by.

We escaped to our home,
we regrouped,
and we planned
to return to this land
we could not understand.

So we waited till Summer
when earth neared the sun,
and traveled through space;
another journey begun.

But not much has changed,
this land they call Maine,
remains brutally cold;
a hostile domain.

We’ve witnessed a war
between dolls and a fairy
that’s inhumane, ruthless,
vicious and scary.

Barbie doll heads sat skewered on spikes,
that were severed with ease,
by the Fairy Queen’s strike.

This visual nightmare,
a crime wicked, mean.
“An eye for an eye”
claims this homicidal Queen.

It’s time that we leave now
and head westernmost,
to the fog laden, misty, Pacific seacoast.

I am sad to say that my brother Donald has moved from Maine to Washington State, and we will no longer be sharing the same coast. Though I’m happy for him, and his family, because they are moving to a beautiful area, I will miss them dearly. I look forward to what the west coast will inspire in Donald’s photography, and the future of the Hairbag Poet.