Sitting in the backyard this evening with my family, I thought I’d snap one more photo for this week’s photo challenge. Yup, we were relaxing around a fire. Beneath the photo, I’ve posted a poem from my book Private Hercules McGraw, a poem that is loosely connected to the photo. My book is available on Amazon.com.
photo by S. Thomas Summers
Regiment settled near a little church
one Saturday night – tents speckled
graveyard grass, the wings of sleeping
angels. Every man was listening to
ham sizzle – music we’d soon forget –
on fires that bloomed like angry roses,
but I snuck off with a blanket and granddad’s
copy of the Good Book. Curled in a corner
of the church, I found Psalm 23 – laid my head
on its promises. Grandpa stuck a curl of birch bark
in the pages so I could find it easy. Can’t read
it none, but he said when I went off that Psalm 23
would usher me through blood and hell.
Sunday morning dragged rain off the mountains.
Lord nudged me awake – said it was time to rise.
I asked if He might march with me a spell
before the sun opened its eye.
A Writer’s Dream Room
The photo featured here…well, it’s beautiful. Isn’t? It’s a reader’s/writer’s dream. Perhaps one day I’ll have a room like this in my house, a room with dark brown, leather chairs, shelves heavy with old books, a fire place, and most of all, a room draped with a silken quiet. Yes, there I could read, and write, and think, but I don’t have a room like that.
Yesterday, I started a poem in a local karate dojo, where my son is taught karate. Kids were everywhere: noise, noise, noise. And I was sitting on a plastic chair – no brown leather. And I couldn’t find the glow, the warmth of a fire – or a fireplace for that matter. Still I wrote anyway, the first few words of a poem. I saw my son smiling. I watched him diligently punch this and chop that. He was happy. That made me happy. It made me warm. Guess my dream room can wait.
Below are the words I spoke of, the first words a new poem crafted in a karate dojo. In the poem, my new book’s protagonist, writes about waking up after killing a Confederate soldier, killing him brutally, and after being injured himself.
The Ache of Light
September 3, 1861
When my eyes opened again,
light draped over me like an ache;
it soaked through skin, into bone
and caught fire.
I admit it. I like how being a writer feels. For example, somehow, my world seems vast, as if my writing provides me with a ticket to…well, to anywhere. I’ve access to the world: the darks of Africa, the peaks of the Andes, the deeps of seas, and the heights of clouds. That’s a good feeling. I can go anywhere. And perhaps more importantly, since I visit these places, I gain experience. My mind is sharper and wiser for it. Now, I don’t mean a literal ticket nor do I mean literal journeys. Nevertheless, I still feel boundless. I’ve been everywhere and will be everywhere. Ironically, I’m rarely more than 25 miles from home.
Writers, am I making any sense? Let me know.
An early incarnation of Santa by artist Thomas Nast.
I believe in Santa Clause. I also believe in darting around my house wielding a lightsaber. And then there are those times when I believe I’m a dragon trainer (my son is the dragon), a superhero, a sea monster, or a…well, whatever a moment of play calls for. Yup, I believe.
Believing in Santa isn’t foolish. It’s symptomatic of something incredible – imagination and wonderment. I’ve written before about wondering and why I wonder. Quite honestly, I don’t know why, but I do and I’m glad. I’m a literature teacher. I surround myself in wonderment as I “work.” I’m a writer. I create my own realities, realities I step into, realities I breathe in. It’s astounding, absolutely astounding.
Yes, I believe in Santa Clause.
This Christmas, sip a time or two from belief’s goblet. It’ll make for a merrier Christmas. I promise.
One more Christmas post to make. I’ll do that tomorrow, Christmas Day. See you then.
This afternoon, my wife and spent some time in a splendid place, Silkenwool. It’s a shop that imports Persian rugs. Its collection includes antique and contemporary designs in silk and wool. Silkenwool also sells home furnishings including blown glass, luxury lighting and giftware by American and Italian artisans.
As I strolled through the shop, fascinated by the craftsmanship that surrounded me, blown glass, wood cravings, tapestries, I was overcome. I wanted to write. Surrounded by art, by creativity, I wanted to get creative. I wanted to make art. It was, it is a wonderful feeling.
Thankfully, I wasn’t overcome with the desire to buy anything. That stuff is expensive!
About ten days ago, I posted an explanation as to why I feel writing is a sweaty process, metaphorically. A writer needs to swing a hammer. It’s work, hard work, but a hammer also grants the one who wields it power; therefore, writing grants the writer poewer. Obviously, that power is the power to create – not just words, but entire worlds, worlds that look to the writer for beginnings and ends, worlds that look to me. Arrognat? Maybe a bit, but one feels a bit arrogant while swinging a hammer.
- John Henry, Bard – Why the Hammer? (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
Posted in The Hammer, Writing
Tagged Art, Arts, Business, Business Services, Communications, Hammer, Thor, United States, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing
I admit it. I failed this challenge. It was offerred on poet Adele Kenny’s blog, The Music In It. I was challenge to write about a phone. If you read on, you’ll discover there is no phone in my poem. There was, but the poem didn’t like it; therefore, I removed it. I never disobey the poem. It’s smarter than I am.
To the Book Seller
I thought of you today as I passed your shop,
imagined you settled on a stool behind the counter –
your hands spread the wings of a new volume
of old poetry: Whittier or Longfellow. The scent
of crisp paper warms a moment like a coffee
liberating heat – yours a blend of cinnamon,
two splashes of whiskey. Each book remains attentive,
in its place – a silent company. Each covets your attention,
your fingers to scrape the edge of pages, the stiff line of its spine.
A young lady, her hair still damp – an afternoon’s
light rain – cradles Kerouac and Nabakov. Excuse me,
she asks, which do you prefer? That depends, you say.
Will you be pouring red wine or white? Her eyes - as green as spring.
- Writing Challenge: Shadow (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
War begins to influence even Everly’s children.
April 22, 1861
My children: dear little Abigail –
a voice so soft. Sing me your songs:
fairies, angels, and all things
laced with sugar. And my Phillip –
only two years older than your sister
I’ve watched you lay a stick
on your shoulder as a soldier
burdens his shoulder with a musket.
I’ve watched you take aim
at imagined enemies.
Charge, you cry – charge.
- Classroom: I am Lieutenant – Poem 5 (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
- Parade: I am Lieutenant – Poem 6 (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived during America’s Civil War; therefore, soldiers may have read this poem. And it’s a good one for Halloween. So, please enjoy Longfellow’s Haunted Houses.
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
- Of haunted houses and harmless phantoms (beyondthestarsastrology.wordpress.com)