You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.
This year I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.
For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.
On August 17, I was back at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. It was a very nice day to be out on the road.
At the start of my short trip…
and here, about to turn into the gates of the college.
There is a subtle air of increased activity here. I feel it. Cars in the big parking lot, people walking around the campus. I notice some guys playing tennis – they don’t look like summer campers to me. Students come back to campus next week; maybe some sports teams are already here? Is tennis a fall sport? I don’t know.
I checked on the squash vine on my way up. It’s still hanging in there, literally and figuratively.
I took a short walk before I went into the library. I’ve seen these signs around campus.
They refer to Maxim 55 of the 100 maxims composed by Father Jean Pierre Medaille, founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, one of the short sayings he wrote in the 1650’s for the sisters to use as guides to live by. “When you serve the dear neighbor, do it with an unselfish love and generous heart.” (information from the August 2017 issues of Connections, the college’s newsletter.)
These signs, and others reinforcing the college’s dedication to caring for all and against hate, have been up for about 7-8 months. I have felt this care from the staff at the library myself, and I have really appreciated it. I think the school lives its mission.
On my way to the library, I noticed the cornerstone of the main building, St. Joseph Hall. Full of symbols; I do not know much about them. I will do some research, I think. Everything has meaning and is trying to speak, if we can hear and listen.
And this fire hydrant. The colors really are something, aren’t they? I don’t know who chooses what paint to use, as there is no universal hydrant color, it seems. Just needs to be kind of flashy. I like that.
I cannot forget the crepe myrtles. They are still in bloom. But now, you can see they are beginning to become their autumn selves; some blooms are fading and there are less of the bright ones.
I went to my desk at on the 3rd floor. In a couple of weeks, I will be joined by students and the quiet will be – not so complete. How will I react? I admit I am looking forward to having some students around again myself. And if I get tired of noise, I am more familiar with the building now and can find a silent space, I feel sure.
All right. Today’s work.
This one is a palindrome poem. I learned about them some time back from Jane Dougherty. I wrestled hard with this one; it has taken weeks. Oh dear. And if it doesn’t work out right, don’t tell me. My head is still spinning.
waiting for relief
thick crowding leaves hanging limp.
Heavy dense air deceptive
summer afternoon thunderstorm
Summer still so deceptive
Hanging leaves crowding
thick overloaded branches
relief for waiting trees
exhausted long before.
I wrote this poem having been prompted by a sighting in Center City Philadelphia last week. Seersucker suit. I wonder if this will be my last poem on this subject or not.
End of summer
The promise of a hot day
breathing out from building skins
still warm from yesterday
the concrete humid
the plate glass windows misted
the sidewalk in shadow
A ghost in a seersucker suit
crossing the sunny street
across waves of baked asphalt smell
Striding past the department store windows
reflecting forty years of summers
only the ghost and I can see.
Turns the corner.
I run to catch up
the sound of heels tapping light on the pavement
leather briefcase in hand
summer-weight suit bagged out in the seat
I follow the ghost
around the corner
Now, some little vines…
Dusting the shelves.
The stars said it can’t wait.
Better not disappoint them.
was it sugar or salt
the thought of it
too much for his sanity
she kept a diary,
perhaps a bad idea.
he blackmailed her.
You humiliated the poor man
a decent man in spite of everything
and it’s nothing a good pair of tweezers wouldn’t fix
sweaty muscular men
screaming and in quite a state
it was beyond embarrassing
Thank you for reading! Until next time.
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