Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Poetry

ALONG WITH HIGH STYLE

Rouge on lips or toenails, the glimmer of gold jewelry or a gemstone, the glossy photograph or the slick magazine, the light in a drop of costly perfume, the shimmer in a particular weave or pattern of spectacular cloth, or the haute (hoity-toity) air of a trendy boutique: each reflects eternal desires and feminine intrigue. The interplay of status-seeking, gamesmanship, the swift-changing hunt, and the theater of fashion spreads out far from its urban epicenters – and crosses nations, languages, continents, and ages. How quickly a little girl insists on her own definitive style! The poet and poetry are not immune, either, infused with their own tastes and passions. Where a dictionary observes  gloss as “the luster or sheen of a polished surface,” there is also the danger of “a deceptive or superficial appearance” as well as “an effort to hide or attempt to hide (errors, defects, etc.).” Still, a gloss may also attempt to interpret or translate. The curve or the motion, the smile or the gaze, skin itself, or hair in sunlight or moonlight, each concealing while hinting of revelations. So often, awaiting next month’s editions.

These are the poems that conclude my newest collection, Foreign Exchange.

~*~

Foreign Exchange

Foreign Exchange

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

CURRENT, CURLING

1

 prevalent, from the west
clear and cooler, from the north
rain on the way, from the south
tempest, from the east

reading the wind

in a flag
in smoke
in running clouds
or water in a clear thistle tube

2

listen, a storm approaches
through leaves and hills
the same sound as falling water

surf repeats its snare drumming
along the shoreline

matching a far-off airplane

all voice great power
resounding

in a stream
in the tide
in air
even in a light bulb

what’s present, now
within some great
motion

around each wing
the flow of thought
keeps running

3

ring around the moon
as a warning

listen, rainfall
will warm the ocean

and swimming is best
just after high tide

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

PRELUDE & FUGUE 29/

such a beautifully speckled trout
balancing on its head

*   *   *

n June
swirling
a long fish
a fish as long as the boy

a boy balancing a large fish on his head
in June swirling a long fish

a fish as long as the boy
a boy balancing a large fish on his head in June
swirling

a long fish as long as the boy
balancing a large fish on his head

red, yellow, blue, and green
under a decorative fish such a beautifully
speckled trout of a man running
back with quahogs and a tan Beyond Frog Hollow
tours halibut? red, yellow, blue, and green
man running tours under a decorative
fish back with quahogs and a tan
halibut? such a beautifully speckled trout
Beyond Frog Hollow red, yellow, blue, and green
a man running tours of halibut?
I really do need to get to know fish:
how to identify them under a decorative
beautifully speckled trout
red, yellow, blue, and green back with quahogs
and a tan Beyond Frog Hollow man runs
tours under decorative quahogs and a tan halibut or
such beautifully speckled trout Beyond Frog Hollow
I really do need to identify

~*~

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see all 50 Preludes & Fugues, click here.

LISTENING WITH HANDS AS WELL AS THE HEART

People typically listen with their heads, attentive to logic and thought, or with their hearts, to feeling and insinuation. But there’s also a frequently untapped ability to listen with one’s hands, as I recognized at a Susan Stark concert in Brunswick, Maine. There, two Quaker pastors from Kenya (themselves excellent, forceful singers) sat with arms flexed out before them, as if each held an invisible beach ball squeezed slowly. They were appraising the vibration of the room, the presence of Holy Spirit moving. This time, the current was plentiful and active. Try it, in public – at a governmental hearing, a poetry reading, a concert or play, a sporting event – and you, too, may observe how the sense of each occasion may differ. Watch a master carpenter or a first-rate baker, as well, to see how hands ponder a task, running ahead of mental comprehension. A musician often seems to hear music through the fingers, as if playing, even when no instrument is present. Perhaps a surgeon does the same with medicine.

The impression shapes the central section of Foreign Exchange, my newest collection of poems. Please feel them for yourself. These poems celebrate  movement perceived through a Third Ear, between the hands. The tactile response.

~*~

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

 

THAT BIG BEE FUNNY MOTION

long enough we could see the flashes of ruby throat
a flash of flight in front of me
only one thing that could be, such fast motion

later, sitting in the crossbars of the feeder
before dropping to the sugar water

continue to see flits around the house
that big bee funny motion

a hummingbird at our feeder, size of a dragonfly

hummingbirds arrive late April or May
leave in August or early September
fly 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico
bulk up in Georgia and Florida adding
an ounce of fat to their four-ounce bodies …

to wit, some most amazing creatures

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

 

HEARTBEAT

she’s the one with the comb and scissors

the fruit of my womb

for her thirteenth birthday
she wanted a rented limousine
six hours, unlimited mileage, to sashay

through the Mystery Cafe “where murder
is always on the menu” but even then
adjusting our calendars was the killer

maybe I’d appreciate the suggested list
to just pull the trigger
against Mother Nature and Aging

what I was fit to tap out this evening

please stay tuned or advise with directions

crazy for lovers

Adam and Eve at puberty, separated by a large apple

a red candle-lit cloud kiosk on Copley Square in Boston

let you peruse the 

apple perched on a suspended steamer trunk

a map of European geology free of political borders

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of
Partitas, click here.

TURNING FROM OIL TO LIGHT

Many of my years as a newspaper editor included handling the business section. The daily markets tables included not just stock prices but other items, some with exotic titles. “Bright Sweet Crude,” for instance, is a grade of petroleum in the futures trading. Well, why not transform it to the renewable energies of the Animal Kingdom, as I have in a collection of poems by that name?

Foreign Exchange is another, based on the floating rates of currency transactions. This time, as my newest collection of poems, “foreign” can be anything we encounter outside of ourselves, and the “exchange” can be the experience of discovery.

Just wait till you see what I do with Composites Update, Rough Rice, or Chicago Eggs a year down the pike.

For now, consider a brief flash. Something that sparkles or shimmers. A half-seen motion, perhaps recollected later. Illumination. A beacon. A guide. A break in the night. Sometimes, this is something even the blind perceive. A word of truth. Prophecy or healing. A vision of eternal mysteries. A star or hint of coming dawn. And then, as James Nayler instructed: “And as thou followest the light out of the world, thou wilt come to see the seed, which to the world’s wisdom and glory is crucified” (Journal, 349). Everything is transformed and made new. Mind the Light.

And then touch it, a Foreign Exchange, indeed.

~*~

Foreign Exchange

Foreign Exchange

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

TOPOLOGICAL DISPARITY

1

any stretch of shoreline
is not two sides of the same coin
viewed from water or land

even assuming you know the twisting roads
or clusters of housing and wharves
or white steeples and beacons
the familiar melts unevenly

even the maritime charts and roadmaps
conflict
one measured in knots
and the other, miles

for many good reasons
the pieces rarely fit

even if you could walk on water
and still the rough waves

2

land is a kind of insurance
if you don’t crash

any grounding and the atmosphere
both move, often in contrary
currents, you navigate a facade

blue is never the ocean’s true nature
even on a summer day
unnoticed red or yellow modulate

when rain comes up
the beacon vanishes
in fear or arrogance

3

no matter how similar
they initially appear

waterfowl bridge this disparity
moving, air

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

ESTABLISHING A RHYTHM

greens

plant and weed     beside the kitchen     and
the forerunner of a fern bed     behind lilacs

on the swampy side     ignore omens     asking

the real question

if you’ll ever cry      Where are we going?
“it’s a big mistake”     Going     where?

my earth sinks / would always sink     if

it weren’t for stones     floating to the surface

each winter

land bridge jeopardy

cruel ground

stone soup     rather than potato     I intended
to tame     with compost, yes      and worming

so it was     holes in dirt     with next year’s
garden already planned out     she’s ready
to hear    I’ve never been fond of mowing
a lawn     but take to composting anyway

digging in

royally singing     in praise of red wigglers

like a man

so truly      the Cadillac

on my daily
commute

extending the scale      new construction
along all his options     have me wondering
how the routes would be     by the time
I retire

what will be planted     where forest was

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

PRELUDE & FUGUE 39/

a dingy moored on still water
dancing to Bix tonight
in front of the boulder and island

*   *   *

in front of the boulder and island
moored on still water
spires, houses, and the brick millyard
red between granite

a dingy in front of the boulder and island
moored on still water spires,
houses, and the brick millyard

red between granite
a dingy
in front of the boulder and island
moored on still water

spires, houses, and the brick millyard
red between granite
a dingy

dancing to Bix tonight in a blue lake
against mountains reflected foliage
along a green river moose drab
on a sandbar amid dancing to Bix
tonight foliage along a green river
in a blue lake against mountains moose
amid reflected sallow dancing tonight
foliage along a green river, Bix on a sandbar
looking down from the hill in blue
lake against mountains dancing
to Bix tonight moose dun foliage along
a green river sandbar in blue mountains
against moose reflections looking down the hill

~*~

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see all 50 Preludes & Fugues, click here.