Two new poems in Jerry Jazz Musician

Coltrane stains the air / with dusky shadows / quivering across the bay

A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2021 Edition

Thank you Joe Maita for publishing “Don’t Ask this of Me” and “Passage Dreaming” in the Winter 2021 collection of jazz poems. These two pieces are in the company of some exceptional writing. Jazz aficionados will want to check out the Jerry Jazz Musician website for jazz photography, interviews, poetry and more.

DON’T ASK THIS OF ME

Coltrane stains the air
with dusky shadows
quivering across the bay
like words lost
between tenor-
haunted notes.

The waning moon sheds
a string of luminescent
pearls across dark water
each wavelet a silken shiver.

Burnished shiraz lingers on lips
bay-water laps ankles
voices hum with pining
under the sax’s spell.

Sound spills

                     on waves

                                     of breath.

Thoughts unravel
seeking
deep within cascading notes
          their flight?
               their poetry?

A fish breaches
its rupture creating circles
ever-widening
dives into hidden depths.

***

PASSAGE DREAMING

Rain cleanses city
     veils sky
softens colour
     sound.

Musical strains
     lift
praise through grey
     dawn.

Piano and tenor sax
     slip
into harp and flute
vibrate
with creation
                      chaos
light as a feather
                           falling
through time

notes
collect and break
apart

travel like a seeker’s
                                  heart
along a helix
                      of blue

spiral
          cascade
slip
       through clouds
                                like rain.

“DON’T ASK THIS OF ME” is a tribute to John Coltrane (1926-1967): jazz saxophonist and composer; renowned for experimental music and for introducing a movement toward spiritual transcendence in jazz.

“PASSAGE DREAMING” was inspired by the music of Alice Coltrane, also known as Turiyasangitananda.

I’d love to hear from you, K.

“DUTY / DEON” wins the January Arc Award of Awesomeness

children to their curiosity / … / poets to their truth

Thank you shayne avec i grec for choosing my poem “Duty / Deon” as the winner of Arc‘s January prompt, Duty. Just click the link here to read the poem.

This is a thrill to have my writing recognized by Arc Poetry Magazine.

Please like (if you do) and share your thoughts (either way).

K.

“Haibun: of Hunger & Fire” published in Amethyst Review

Thank you, Sarah Law, for accepting my “Haibun: Of Hunger & Fire” for publication in Amethyst Review.

HAIBUN: OF HUNGER & FIRE

A chorus of chick-a-dee-dee-dee greets late winter dawn and spring-hungry us, who clutch mugs of hot coffee against the chill. A flock of chickadees cluster in the barberry bush now doused with snow, their black caps barely visible within the weave of pencil-thin branches. But their bobbing dark heads give them away among last summer’s shrivelled red berries and a few clinging leaves. In groups of five or six, they wing to the feeder and back again, a circus lilting through air, sunflower seeds clasped in their toes. Blue jays, nesting in the evergreens across the way, also wake hungry. They screech a slurring jaay, jaay – whether to intimidate or pre-emptive to mob – I don’t know. The tiny chickadees keep a distance from the raucous bully-blues. You stoke the fire; sparks rise; woodsmoke scents the air.

Snow blankets barberry
Birds jostle for sunflower seeds
Sparks quickly settle

A “haibun” is a Japanese literary term that we can trace back to the poet Matsuo Basho (17th century). Essentially, it is a paragraph-long prose narrative followed by a 17-syllable “haiku.” Haibuns tend to focus on landscape scenes and anecdotes. Style-wise, a haibun is imagistic and captures a moment in time.

I hope that you enjoy this one and that you will leave a comment and share.

“Haibun: Of Hunger & Fire” can be viewed here: https://amethystmagazine.org/2021/02/10/haibun-of-hunger-fire-a-poem-by-kathryn-macdonald/?fbclid=IwAR3h4_NzuMNSsb1Xij6rvQTxIipTfxDCYmHb3k8wQItI4KQT6-_Edu7Dh4Y

Thanks, Kathryn

2 Poems – “Alone” and “Song” published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Does the caged bird sing / of loss…


 “The Meaning of the Blues,” by Christel Roelandt

Alone

Halyards play jazz
snapping rhythm
against sailboat masts.
Floating docks moan.
The sloop rocks.
Me? ….Hollow in the shadow
of angry words flung I hum
a sad Billie Holiday song.

.

Song

Does the caged bird sing
of loss
of sunshine and breezes
of light
of green shadows scented with blossoms
a lilting ballad Billie Holiday blue
a yellow memory?

“Alone” and “Song” can be viewed here: https://jerryjazzmusician.com/2020/12/two-poems-by-kathryn-macdonald/

Quarantine Wishes by Kathryn MacDonald

Thank you Between Festivals: A Journal in Time of Pandemic and Lockdown for publishing “Quarantine Wishes.”

Photo by Carol Nemeth

QUARANTINE WISHES

black heads bobbing     chicka-dee-dee-dee
among winter-shrivelled barberries

goldfinches’ ti-dee-di-di     music
lilting like waves through air

plump mourning doves in pairs
singing their sad ooahoo oo oo oo

congregations of ducks     quack-ing
a family of swans silently swimming

fish in the river
and heron along the shore

turtles floating on logs
even a snake or two

children on bicycles
parents jogging along

seniors slowly strolling
young lovers embracing

our hearts want spring
and ordinary things

parks and trails
rivers and bays
the earth renewed
with grass and flowers

blue sky
corona-free

***

To view the poem on Between Festivals: A Journal in Time of Pandemic and Lockdown: https://festivalofthearts.ca/2020/11/27/quarantine-wishes-by-kathryn-macdonald/

I chose the photograph, above, by Carol Nemeth because it illustrates a coterminous moment of trust and serenity, a connection between wild chickadee and a person, a precious moment. Thank you Carol.

Please leave a note and also share. Thanks.

“Shadows,” by Kathryn MacDonald, a poem

Wear Dali’s time-melting /
watch

SHADOWS

When you slip    down
     go deep.

Wear Dali’s time-melting
watch     curl into dream

beyond shallow façades
     dig within night’s folds
the moon’s secrets

where phantom fingers journey
over skin     lips caress     until
encircled     two melt
lost until dawn

                           when light
routs shadows     and time
shoots through your chest.

***

Visit the site for a gallery of paintings, photographs and poetry: https://spiritofthehills.org/expanding-and-evolving/

Please leave a message and share. Thanks, K.

“Honey Light” by Kathryn MacDonald in Amethyst Review

Notice her concentration /
how she stands on stilty legs /

Thank you, Sarah Law, editor of Amethyst Review, for selecting Honey Light for publication (August 8, 2020).

HONEY LIGHT

When you wake in honey light
linger where river meets the curve
of a bay round as a waxing moon
where the pearl-feathered heron
glides with outstretched wings
alights in weedy shallows
to become just another shadowed reed
perfectly still in solitude.

Notice her concentration
how she stands on stilty legs
in harmony with time and place
like the pause between piano notes
the space that makes the music
…..the downward pause of Billie Holiday
…..Cohen’s gap that lets the light come in
stands alert and dreamy at water’s edge.

Do not rush through the honey light
but flow in the effortless action
and inaction of night becoming day
of the moon’s light giving way to the sun
and the sun’s rising and sinking
into the ebb and flow of the sea
step into the shallows
stand in wu wei.….a heron-woman.

Heron-Moira 2019-05-12 #20 sm.jpg (1 of 1) (3).

Please “like,” share and send your thoughts on the poem. Thanks.

Tartan Lament: a poem by Kathryn MacDonald

conjure embraces / your laughter kissing my ears / as we sway to a Coltrane tune.

Thank you, David Jordan, for selecting “Tartan Lament” for inclusion in the June 2020 (#10) issue of Crossways Literary Magazine (Cork, Ireland).

Crossways Cover #10 June 2020

Tartan Lament

Your grandmother’s armchair
cloaked in wine tartan
sits dappled in sunshine.

The cactus you bestowed years ago
blossoms     its paper-thin petals
fragile as a grieving heart

its prickly spines set to pierce
unwary fingers     warding off
touch as I twist a golden band

conjure embraces
your laughter kissing my ears
as we sway to a Coltrane tune.

Curled in the chair’s embrace
another mid-May day settles
with its abundance of lilac

blossoms like those draping
the mantle behind us
as you gifted
your tartan name.

 

I’d love to learn your thoughts about this poem, the way it addresses the theme and the way it closes. Please leave a note…and share. Thanks.

Another pandemic poem: “The Doves Seem to Croon Tippy Canoe Tippy Canoe”

From your small balcony     roof-top high / you listen to doves cooing in their dovecot / tippy canoe     tippy canoe / a rooster crowing. /        You wonder / if you’ve slipped into Alice’s rabbit hole.

Thank you, Felicity Sidnell for publishing “The Doves Seem to Croon Tippy Canoe Tippy Canoe” in Spirit of the Hills’ “A Journal in Time of Pandemic and Lockdown” (July 10, 2020).

Those of us abroad when Covid-19’s impact hit were about to have our travelling lives interrupted. It was to have been a writing trip, a month in a place that I love. Baracoa is a small city near the northeastern tip of Cuba, facing the Atlantic Ocean with mountains to her back. Geography makes it rather isolated and beautiful. I would visit friends, but mostly I would walk the long malecón and then the much longer curve of beach, and I would write. But then the news broke that airlines were cancelling flights, boarders were closing: paradise interrupted.

DSCN1987 (3)
Along Baracoa’s malecon (photo by Kathryn MacDonald)

THE DOVES SEEM TO CROON TIPPY CANOE TIPPY CANOE
     Baracoa and Boca de la Miel, Cuba

1

Rain falls overnight
cleansing heat and dust of day
susurrus song on the pillow.

Travelling news greets morning
airlines suspending flights
a case of coronavirus at home
factories and daycares closed
the mantra of self-isolation repeated
and repeated
while the sun rises above Baracoa
island town
of ocean waves and mountain breezes.

You feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe.

2

Woodcut visions of medieval plague
bodies stacked and dangling from carts
emaciated people leaning from balconies
cross your mind before you quickly wipe
them aside.

3

Walk miles of ocean shore
to lounge upon a sheltered beach.
Eat uva caleta     grapelike berries
from the tree of Columbus’ cross.
Crack almond shells with a stone.

At the small fishing village of Boca de la Miel
listen to riffs of Spanish voices
drift across Made’s verandah
devour fried platano
     sip ice-cold cerveza
walk home to your casa on Calle Maceo
close to the malecón.

4

From your small balcony     roof-top high
you listen to doves cooing in their dovecot
tippy canoe     tippy canoe
a rooster crowing.
You wonder
if you’ve slipped into Alice’s rabbit hole.

Night’s rain has emptied clouds.
The sullen sky has changed to blue.

Time flattens like a Dali watch.
The doves sing their haunting song.

DSCN1896 (2)
Boat huts, Boca de la Miel (photo by Kathryn MacDonald)

You may also like to read a previous post by SOTH: “Some Poetic Reactions to Covid 19” (May 20, 2020) as well as visit the SOTH website.

When this pandemic passes and we travel again, if Cuba is on your list of places to visit, think about contacting my friend Alber the Hiker who is a wonderful guide who will share his knowledge of Cuba from its history to its unique flora and fauna. He knows his island home from west to east, north to south. He’s a great guy.

Writing Tip: If you haven’t yet joined a writing group, think about doing it. They bring creative people together for sharing, inspiration, encouragement, and often, like SOTH, offer publishing opportunities.

Please leave a comment and share. Thank you.

“Daddy” a poem

a prescience perhaps

007 2010-01-12 Canna Lily P Garden
Photo: Kathryn MacDonald

Sometimes the mind drops a memory like a thud into an otherwise perfectly normal day. You might be washing breakfast dishes or riding your bike, when—Wham—the time-machine reverses. But it isn’t simply an old movie that reruns across your inner eye. It is that, but it is also a surprising connection to the present…an insight into who you’ve become.

DADDY

Winter dances in the church hall
families and a band
fiddler and a square-dance caller
piano     guitar     accordion player
shirts that matched (or not).

Swinging my legs
from a chair, one ringing the dance floor
I watched couples spin like tops
to a polka     do-si-do and sashay
in a square and

women peeking over men’s shoulders
as couples smoothly floated by
my hard folding-chair
and I counted     one-two-three
to a swirling waltz.

Daddy stood in front of me
took my hands to lift me down
my head a bit past his waist
my feet on his     we glided
to the song’s cadence

one of the haunting war time
melodies     beautifully sad.
I did not have a word for yearning
yet felt loss and longing
a prescience perhaps.

Writing a poem begins with an action, image, emotion, memory or idea, but by its last line, it discovers something deeper. Ideally, it elicits from the reader a memory and insight in his or her own life. Even if you’ve never experienced a country dance in the 1940s or ’50s, I hope this poem stirs a memory and perhaps an ah ha moment of how that memory awakens a new awareness for you.

Thank you, Bruce Kauffman, Quintessentially Canadian editor, Devour: Art & Lit Canada, for selecting my poem “Daddy” for inclusion in the Summer 2020 issue (page 91).