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Saturday, April 19, 2014

POEM #19- Chitchen Itza


Chichén Itzá, by xtinabuena, Wikimedia Commons
As you know if you read my blog regularly, you know I've been participating in Mary Lee Hahn's "Our Wonderful World" Poetry Challenge. Each day, we travel to a different Wonder to write poetry; so far we have been to the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Golden Gate Bridge, the CN Tower, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works in the Netherlands and lots more. Mary Lee and Kevin Hodgson and I have written every single day. Several other folks, Cathy Mere and Carol Varselona, have traveled with us some days.

Today we are journeying to Chichén Itzá, on the Yucatan Peninsula. I've been struck, as I have researched a lot of these places- pyramids, temples, mosques, etc.- by humans' search to know/understand/connect with their creator. Sometimes I've been struck by the beauty of their efforts. Other times, I've been saddened by the depravity or destruction involved. Today,  I was struck by both. I started with one poem, then felt like it was going in two entirely two different directions, so I broke it into two separate poems. I'm including them both.


"A Question"

Did Creator God’s
eyes twinkle
as He watched
small humans
chart movement of
His great fireball
across earth dome
measuring three hundred sixty-five
two or three or ten times
discovering precision
of Patterns
hand-created
millions of years
before?

© Carol Wilcox, 2014



Chichén Itzá”

Great Holiness
Humans seeking
to understand
Creator God
chart movement of
great fireball across earth dome
then construct temple
 to honor Sacred Precision
Great God smiles

Great Depravity
Humans seeking
to please Chaak,
giver of Rain,
hurl bejeweled beauties
into sinkhole wells
human sacrifice
Great God weeps

© Carol Wilcox, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

POEM #18- MACCHU PICCHU

Alpacas, by Philippe Lavoie, from Wikimedia Commons

This month I'm dragging myself, kicking and screaming, through Mary Lee's "Our Wonderful World," poetry challenge. Actually, as much as I've complained, and as hard as it is to find the time to write a poem every single day, I really am enjoying the challenge. I love making myself write every day (I wrote in the Slice of Life Challenge last month, so I've blogged 49 days in a row, but who's counting??). I love learning about all of these places. It's fascinating to think about how these ginormous edifices were built, mostly without modern machinery. Most of all, I love the little community that has formed- Mary Lee (you can also read her poems at her new Poetrepository) , Kevin (Kevin's Meandering Mind), and I, just kind of tromping vicariously all over the world writing poems and cheering each other on.

Today, as I researched Macchu Pichu, I thought about the big stuff- the Inca civilization, the incredible construction, the audacity of Spanish conquistadors, etc., but I was particular struck by this teeny tiny fact. Each night, after the tourists have left, alpaca, who I think are a native species, are led into the funerary hut, where they spend the night grazing, to keep the grass in the area short.

"Alpaca"

One thousand years ago,
when the highlands of Macchu Pichu
echoed with cries of White-Tipped Swift,
and Collared Trogon
and rainbow winged butterflies
flitted through lush tropical forests
we were there
grazing

And seven hundred years ago
as Inca craftsman hauled
enormous blocks of stone
up steep slopes
to build temples and tributaries
and observatories
we were there
grazing

Six hundred years ago
Spanish conquistadors arrived
plundering pillaging
decimating ancient civilization
and we were there
grazing

One hundred years ago
a little boy
led eager anthropologists
eight thousand feet
up steep mountain slopes
to vegetation covered ruins
and we were there
grazing

Tonight
as darkness fall
three thousand tourists
will cease their climbing
and exclaiming
and clicking
we will still be there
grazing

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

Poetry Friday today is at Robyn's Life on the Deckle Edge.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

POEM #17- Petra

Petra, by David Bjorgen, from Wikimedia Commons
 "Petra"

Three hundred years before Christ
 Nabataeans,
Arabian nomads,
abandon goatskin tents
chisel homes into cliffs
build elaborate conduits
create a new way of life.

Fifteen hundred years
and a half a world away
the Anasazi
abandon the ways of nomads
build houses that climb the side of cliffs
learn to farm and create pottery
create a new way of life.

Looking at those worlds
of cliff climbing houses
I cannot help but believe
we are all connected
somehow.

(C) Carol Wilcox

Mesa Verde, Colorado

A little about my process.

I am and always have been a morning writer.  That said, at this point, writing poetry in the mo just is not possible. This is that crazy busy time of year in schools. I'm working three jobs right now (literacy coach, managing the after school clubs, and also teaching for our ELL department). Every weekend, I drive to Colorado Springs, usually both Saturday and Sunday, to be with my mom, who has had some major health issues and has just been moved into assisted living.

So this year, my poetry writing has pretty much looked like this:

1) Get up in the morning. Read Mary Lee and Kevin's latest creations. Feel amazed at their brilliance.
2) Google the place we are writing about. Skim a few websites until I find one or two that are interesting to me. Today, for Petra, I am especially liking the American Museum of Natural History.
3) Sometimes I copy the article into a word document and highlight or mess around to see if there is a found poem waiting to be writing.
4) Kind of put the place in the back of my head for the day. Think about it as I am going about my day. Yesterday, I got some ideas while I was sitting in a huge traffic jam on the way to work (45 minutes on I-70). The day before I had some thoughts while I was proctoring our states blessed event (then had to try to remember them for a whole hour because we are not supposed to write anything down while we are doing the test).
5) Get home from work at 6. Eat. Walk the dog. Sit down to write at 7:30 or 8.
6) Procrastinate for 30 minutes or so.
7) Wish I would never committed to this dang poetry challenge.
8) Reread the article.
9) Try to write something.
10) Post about ten o'clock.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

POEM #16- Panama Canal

Photo by Autoridad del Canal de Panama, on Wikimedia Commons
I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's month of torture poetry, "Our Wonderful World." Every day this month, Mary Lee selects a new wonder and invites others to write along with her. Head over to Year of Reading to read Mary Lee's poems, then go on to Kevin's blog to see his amazing visual and auditory creations.

“On Building the Panama Canal”
(or parenting, or probably a lot of other things)

When I started this journey
it seemed
as if the trip
would be relatively  easy

I envisioned
hard sweat
followed by
triumphant breakthroughs
cheering crowds
congratulatory celebrations.

I did not realize
the jungles would be so thick
the swamps so deep and strong sucking
Bubonic-ridden rats
so very large and fearless

When I started this journey
And I did not know there would be so much decay
That machines that once seemed impervious
could be reduced to rusty flakes 
in a matter of months
I did not realize there would be so much
malaria of body
mind
spirit

When I started this journey
I did not realize
people would come and go
so quickly.
I did not know friendship was so cheap
or compromise so expensive.
I did not know souls 
could be bought for a dime or a quarter

When I started this journey,
I did not realize there would be
So much sailing bravely forward
followed by waiting endless hours 
for water 
controlled by others 
to rise.

And I did not realize times of ascent 
and smooth sailing
would be so quickly followed 
by times of descent.
That I would so often find myself in deep water,
or with my head under water
that so much water
would need to go
under the bridge

When I started this journey
it seemed
as if the trip
would be relatively  easy

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

POEM #15- (HALFWAY THERE!)

Photo by Raimond Spekking, from Wikimedia Commons
I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's April Poetry Challenge, "Our Wonderful World." I'm learning a lot! First, I have never heard of some of these wonders. Or I have heard of them, but didn't know a lot about them. Or I have heard of them, and knew something, but was totally surprised by the poem that showed up.

And then there is the deal of getting to write right alongside two amazingly talented poets. Mary Lee has such an amazing with way with words. And then every day, Kevin blows us away with a new and unusual presentation of poetry. And me, well, I just kind of klunk along, putting out my poems at ten o'clock every night. But at least I'm trying, right???

OK, so today's wonder is the Delta Works. Today, while I was proctoring our state's blessed event, I was thinking about tulips and windmills and how the windmills actually came from people's fear of flooding. I was thinking that I was going to write something really deep and profound.

And then I sat down at 8 to try and write. And there just were no poems. And I messed around with found poems and haiku and even considered trying Haiku Deck, but there just wasn't much there tonight.


Delta Works

Would you
 buy
flood insurance
if you knew
your belongings
would float
once
every
four
thousand
years?

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014

























Monday, April 14, 2014

POST #14- ITAIPU FALLS

Itaipu, from Wikimedia Commons
ITAIPU- A POEM IN TWO VOICES

Paraná River,
world’s seventh largest
natural border between
Brazil and Paraguay

is it possible
to harness
this immense power




Guaíra Falls
twice Niagara’s height
twice Niagara’s flow

submerged forever

“Here seven visions,
seven liquid
 sculptures
vanished
 through computerized calculations
of a country
ceasing to be human
in order to become
a chilly corporation,
nothing more. “
-Carlos Drummond de Andrade,
"Farewell to Seven Falls"

Unprecedented cooperation
between Brazilian and Paraguayan
governments.
Argentina too!
Look!
Look what we can do
if we work together!



Our people
are farmers.
Ten thousand
will lose their land.
Their homes.
Their livelihoods.

Ninety percent of Paraguay’s power!
One fourth of Brazil’s!

We could be
burning
434,000 barrels
of oil
per day!



Rare fruit trees,
orchids
animals species
Gone.

Breeding and
migration patterns
forever changed

Itaipu! 
One of  the seven wonders 
of the modern world!

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2014












Sunday, April 13, 2014

POEM #13- Golden Gate Bridge

Photo by Anita Dikinme,  Wikimedia Commons

Not quite two weeks ago, Mary Lee Hahn launched a crazy poetry project, "Our Wonderful World." Kevin a.k.a dogtrax (who is a total techno-god and uses a different tool every day to not only create amazing poems, but also presents them in unusual and interesting ways that I so want to try if I survive this darn wonderful challenge) and I, and sometimes others, are trying to write along. Today's wonder is the Golden Gate Bridge. And like most other days, I was totally surprised by the poem, actually two poems, that I wrote.

I started here.


“Bridges”

I’ve crossed the
Golden Gate
Tappan Zee
And Royal Gorge


But I can’t cross
(messing around later: I long for a bridge? Or There is no bridge/to cross?)
the chasm
separating
me from you.

© Carol Wilcox 2014



And ended up here:


“Bridge”

San Francisco
and Sausalito
separated by
fifty mile long
ocean arm

Engineers use
one million tons
of concrete
enough steel cable
to wrap round earth
three times
Twenty ton
steel beams

overcome
brutal winds,
tide and fog
loss of life
to construct
two mile long bridge
250 feet above
choppy bay waters


Building the Golden Gate
seems ever 
so much easier

than bridging
the chasm

between

me

and

you.

© Carol Wilcox 2014