Friday, April 13, 2012

NaPoWriMo - April 13th

April is National Poetry Writing Month. In celebration of poets everywhere, and to encourage those who are just embarking on their literary journey, I will be posting poetry (not mine) each day for the month of April. Please take a look and enjoy this special art.

William Holt


I have been making poems for 65 years. The earliest one I have was written down by my mother when I recited it at the age of three. I have never been especially prolific; all the poems I care to allow people to see could fit in one medium size book.
Anything may bring about a poem--a sudden flash of memory, a chance remark, and animal crossing my line of sight, a marriage announcement in a newspaper, a feeling of frustration. I try to let the subject matter determine the form, which may be that of a sonnet, a villanelle, a clerihew, a double dactyl, a triolet, or a composition in free verse.

For many years I taught college and university English. I'm now retired and enjoying it greatly. My son, a far more prolific and often published poet himself, said that retirement has improved my output. But I doubt that it will ever increase to more than about twenty poems a year.

Many of my poems are collected in the anthology A Stony Path, available on the Authonomy web site, along with my paranormal crime novel, Faust's Butterfly.

Fred Holt, 1908-1988 

Covering a wall in my study
Laden with heavy books 

Is a bookshelf he made 

Thirty eight years ago, 

Sturdy enough to hold a ton 

Yet light enough to carry, disassembled, in one hand.

In my garage 

Stands a wardrobe, finely crafted by him 

Forty two years ago, 

Framed with aluminum

Faced with polished maple, 

Lined with lovely aromatic cedar. 

He shared with me his love for 

Cabinet making and Coleridge 

Baseball and Bach 

Stonework and Stevenson.

Scholar, athlete and craftsman,
He worked with his hands
And relaxed with his mind,
Making music and poetry
My childhood constants
When all else quivered with constant change.

But my hands and nerves were not his 

And I turned from all things 

Needing his quick reflexes 

And clever fingers
To the things of the mind alone.

Half the man 

My father was, 

I have been a teacher of writing,
A spinner-out 

Of articles
Stories. Words are the only tools
I handle with any skill.

So his play 

Became my work 

And his work 

Except for a few things he made and others kept

Died with him.

Talk Therapy--Daedalus and Oedipus

How could I hope my warnings about the wings
Would even be heard? He hated me
As most teens hate their parents. When I see
My mirrored face, I hate myself. Such things

Just reek of common life. To call it a dysfunction
Begs such an obvious question I would think
You'd be ashamed to ask. Please, so much ink
Has been poured out on this, it's ready for extreme unction.

All I have done is wrong. Poor Perdix might have died
When I attacked him, though Athena stopped me,
And though I'd been well warned, I would not see
My course had gone astray because I'd simply lied

To my prideful self, claiming these artisan's hands
Had special privilege, just as my anger did
So when I lost myself in work, and hid
From my own son--no! Here on these sands

I look on the sunlit Aegean, mourn his death
Caused by my cleverness and my desire
For freedom. My wings I've consigned to fire
In sacrifice to Apollo, and I pray with every breath

For some relief, pour ashes on my foolish head,
But there's no sign in sea or sky he hears.
I must move on at last and dry these tears
However I may wish to join the dead.

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