Saturday, July 12, 2014

Before I Die: when I heard the ghosts -- Writing challenges


. . . Before I Die;
. . ... . when I heard the ghosts
 
Setting: (from a poem, Rain, as written by Claribel Alegría)
"... memories: the reedy voice of the servant telling me tales of ghosts ... Rain is falling and memories keep flooding by ... "**1**

I wanted the voices brought, and memories of my life which come flooding by, to be written in this poem.
 
My Poem: 

. . . Before I Die;
. . ... . when I heard the ghosts

I heard those ghosts a lot from my old cronies now gone.
Those retired too late, who died before a year was up.
I'll not do that said I.
I will see the world
before I die. 

I traveled here and there, all over Europe nine times.
No countries I missed that I want to see.
Been to Australia and New Zealand,
Central America,
though the Panama canal,
most of Canada, 
China for a month, 
and all fifty
of the United States. 

I heard those ghosts, a lot from my dad, may he RIP.
He told me he had wanted to be a lawyer, the very best.
But then my Grandpa asked his help, later he was too old.
I'll do that for my dad I said,
I can do that
before I die. 

I went to school (had sat out eleven years), enjoyed every minute.
Years, eleven more, sitting in the back of the classroom with the bare-
footed hippies, their yellow dogs waiting at the foot of the stairs.
My loves I touched not,
they, doing their calculus in the back 
while pretending to listen as the
British literature teacher
rambling on.
Enjoyed it all and
had my degree,
before I died.  

I heard those ghosts, "they sat beside me, the ghosts
and the bed creaked, that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever." **2**

Those ghosts told me of marriage, how to make it last
But too late now, she was leaving forever. 

I had heard their voice, those ghosts, she was gone forever.
So I lived my life with a new freedom,
bought a motorcycle,
was immersed in my school,
Sundays at the park, listening
to bands playing **3** under the trees,
or to poets on their stumps.
I did that,
I was alive. 

I heard those ghosts, memories of my mom,
she always said "you won't find a nice girl in a bar."
Told how she'd like for me to have a mate. 

So I went along my way, for sure I wasn't looking for a mate,
too busy with my job, play, and university work for that. 
But one day a young lady was waiting for me after school,
waiting with my friends at the table.
I often thought after that,
"how could I ask her out?"
Baseball was the answer,
she went, with me and my four.
Six months later we were wed.
Again, till death do. 

I hear those ghosts, often while driving in the rain
or laying in the bed, staying there until past eight.
I'm retired.  But life goes on, what the Hey? 

They tell me of the tidbits of life like when my beloved dog died,
a new grandchild is born, or another is wed.  How life does go on.
One, a little scary, asked if I was ready to met my Maker.
After some soul searching
I thought I was not,
was too busy for all that.
Surely there is time
before I die 

But that Voice I heard wouldn't give up, it was a Ghost's voice different
than any of those before.  I remember that day He said, "Behold,
I stand at the door and knock," Then He asked if I would let him in.
 
I said yes, that I was sorry for all before
and knew that He was the one,
the only one, 
who could save me
from all my sin.
Would He please? 

I am thankful for all those ghosts who filled me in
on all the things that I had forgotten.  All the things
my mother asked me to do, above all to heed the Lord.
 
Well, He said "Yes, Heaven waits for you,"
and now I will live
still after my death.
I'll obey Him as I can,
and trust Him
until I die.

- - - - - -
 
Picture and Poem Copyright, © 2014 Jimmiehov, All Rights Reserved
 [click on a picture for a larger sized view]
 
- - - - - -

This poem is linked with Herotomost at the Real Toads, Friday Challenge (Link # 1)
and with Grace at the Real Toads, Sunday Mini-challenge (Link # 2)

Notes:
1)  Herotomost's challenge was to use a refrain technique (link) that he has used in several of his poems.  Although his (check them out at Link # 1 above) were an appendage of the prose nature, they can also be incorporated into the poem in either verse or prose. 
 -- My refrains pretty well cover the writer hearing the ghost or ghosts.  The message from the ghost(s) helps explain the setting of the situation in the verses that follow.
2)   [**1**  and **2** ]Grace's challenge was to write a new poem based on one of Claribel Alegria's two poems, Sorrow or Rain. Or a part would do.  I chose the part of Rain, copied below, to use as a springboard and prompt for my poem.
--The excerpt from Rain (you can read all of the poems at Link # 2 above): 

**1** ... memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.


**2** They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever ...

3) **3*The ZZ Top group (link) was one of the many fledgling singing bands out under all those trees in the Houston, Texas, parks. 
-- ZZ Top got their start in Houston in the late sixties, the time I was there with my motorcycle on Sunday afternoons.
4)  This poem is true to me, as I, the writer, relates to various time (lives) in my life.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

July Word List from the Toads -- Spring Garden Pleasure


 
Spring Garden Pleasure 
.
Fresh every spring come late,
flowers of pink burst through the earth
Nature in its beauty dares to defy gravity 
  .
My small chain of pleasure,
a string of pink and green at the side garden
Each year I eagerly look forward to their visit 
  .
Too soon, blooms fade and drop
In summer's exchange giant leaves,
fronds of green, grow from their small bulbs
 .
Ginger plants gone wild
  
 
- - - - - -
 
Pictures and Poem Copyright, © 2014 Jimmiehov, All Rights Reserved
 [click on a picture for a larger sized view]
 
Today I am linked with "M", (or Michael, known among the Toads as Grapeling)

M gave us a list of ten words, (fresh, burst, defy, chain, struck, forward, exchange, customary, refer, and close)of which we are to use at least three in a poem. 
His post at the Toads showed some very pretty flowers from his California garden and I took that at a hint to show something from our Texas garden, which in actuality is our side yard plantings background to soften the neighbors poolside scenery.

The pink flowering plants in my pictures was originally one plant which we transplanted in the bed on our property line border.  Now it comes up, "wild" as I say it, for a pleasant surprise.  And it is spreading from one plant to now about six feet long.  BTW, those leaves will grow to over six feet in height.  Everything is larger in Texas (past blog link)

For several years we did not know what the plant was.  Then a blog post pasted it on my Facebook and a friend told me it was a "ginger plant."  I have confirmed that, via a Google search.
.