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Small Doses


Wanderer, painter, or potter—which role is the best for me?
A clay pot follows the end of a straw into the roiling sea.
All who are guilty cause chaos; things without names cannot be;
Mercy comes in small doses to sinners who sin without glee:
Number them, mercy’s particles, number them One, Two, and Three!
From darkness create something of light and savor the mystery.

 
  
Poem © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #232
 
More Poetry Pantry #494 at Poets United

Whirling with Marge

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from “Maggid” by Marge Piercy.


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Born of wanderers
following cracks in the earth—
this is her story.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
under loads of straw
so heavy that they must crawl—
three peasant women
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Who chose the desert
over fields of ripened grain?
What were they thinking?
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
wanderers with shoes
escaping Egypt by night
with untied laces
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a child’s naughtiness—
the mother’s heart collapses
like an umbrella
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
bodies by the way
crows picking at putrid flesh—
immigrant children
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
small bones of children
wrapped in tattered white quilts
from the old country
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
abandoned treasures—
among them an old clay pot
filled with untold tales
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Where their empty pots
are suddenly filled with bones—
tell me that story.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
In the stinking hold
of a ship with splintered deck
they make for safety.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Under our pillows
a thousand new dreams open
as flowers in spring.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 206

Stripping Flesh from Bones

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~~ 1 ~~
 
What am I to do
with this blank sheet of paper
and an empty pen?
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
A dream at midnight—
someone mumbling Basho’s name
imitates a frog.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
three clay pots—
white chrysanthemums
in full bloom
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
three stolen plums
stuffed in his left pocket
to eat later
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
wild roses
blooming on roadsides
in Georgia
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
She speaks in tongues
that no one understands
except her god.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
lying down to sleep
in different beds each night—
her long loneliness
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
powers of darkness
gathering near the hedgerow
disguised as egrets
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
As the signpost burns,
I take off my tattered shoes
to walk barefoot home.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
at my journey’s end
laying down my faithful staff
to take up a cross
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
stripping flesh from bones
through every kind of weather—
Dr. Death at work
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Beginnings are hard—
ask the chick trapped in the shell
or the child in school.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #244
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 204

A Whiff of Christmas

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This week’s Sunday Whirl words: fix, apart, snatch, cover, pair, angel, waves, simple, box, clay, lies, moon
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Fix the broken tale,
tinkering with every word
till it sings again.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Apart from her dreams
she becomes a flightless wren,
her left wing broken.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Snatch five minutes’ rest
and then resume your journey—
night is coming on.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
Cover your eyes, child,
things too terrible to see
lie in wait for you.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Pair the figs and grapes—
ambrosial delectations
for our Christmas feast.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
angel in the snow—
some child left it there today—
solace for the stars
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
waves of autumn rain
pommelling the pear orchard
the last withered leaf
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
simple the questions
convoluted the answers—
house wren weaves her nest
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
box of stale cookies
dusty on the pantry shelf—
Christmas long ago
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
clay Christmas angel
tumbling to the blue tile floor—
one unbroken wing
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
lies at Christmastide
separating wheat from chaff
Herculean task
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Moon on Christmas night—
the Magi and the shepherds
look in vain for signs.

 
© 2013 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Panry #180
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 139

Still Life

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This week’s words: flames, yearn, immeasurable, safe, inky, bend, waking, still, erode, clay, sheet, pebble
 
The first line of each haiku or senryu below is taken from Shu Ting‘s poem “The Singing Flower,” translated from the Chinese by Carolyn Kizer.
 


I return to you
at dawn when you are waking—
still your door is locked.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Pounding at your door,
immeasurable horror
still clutches my heart.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Sit in the darkness—
as you brush the blue clay bowl,
bid your heart be still.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
On a speeding train
hurtling through the inky night—
be still, my wild heart.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Permit me to dream
of the things I still care about—
flames in the plum tree.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
My little basket
still holds a pebble and plum—
the plum is for you.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Your singing flower
cannot make me yearn for you—
still I will listen.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Come in the morning
when I am still ripe with sleep—
bend me to your lips.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
I reserve the right
to keep myself safe from you—
are you still amazed?
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
in the barley fields
harvesters still swinging scythes—
a sheet of lightning
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
My poems travel
in orbits that erode words—
still, they can be read.
 
~~ ~~ ~~
 
Guided by flowers,
I am still finding my way
fragrance by fragrance.

 
© 2013 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #173
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 132