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Archive for the ‘poetry month’ Category

OMG! It has happened.

I was on campus last week to speak on Haiku poetry in one of the classes.  I stopped the teacher who was accompanying me.

“Listen, “ I said. “It is soooo quiet. I don’t hear any human voices.”

We were not alone. There were students all around me but I heard no human voices. They were attached to their electronic devices, strolling toward their destination. It was like being in a zombie movie with shadows of human beings walking all around me in silence. I felt the creep.

At the coffee shop, I observed couples at a table, but couldn’t even eavesdrop to their conversations because there were none. Maybe I’m too late with this poem I’ve shared before:

 

To Children of the 21st Century

 

How do you keep your fingers so free of dirt?

How do you come in from play  without

Mud on your feet, your clothes, your cheeks?

How do you not even sweat?

 

How do you speak without giving eye contact

To the person sitting in front of you?

How do you spend time with your friend

Without conversation?

 

Oh Children of the 21st Century,

Why is there silence in a room filled

With family on this holiday?

How did you become so mute?

 

Do you know how rain feels

Soaking your shirt to your skin?

The smell of sea salt in your hair

After a dip in the sea?

 

Have you watched a little seed

Pushing  its first breath

Out of soil you’ve patted down

A few weeks ago?

 

Can you see a cardinal, a mynah,

A crow, with your eyes closed, listening

To their signature  songs  they sing out to you

In your own back yard?

 

Do you know the feel of your grandpa’s grip

Warm and strong in your hand?

The story behind that  long scar that runs

The length of his arm?

 

Do you carry memories

Of your  grandma’s smiles

Each time you had said,

Hi Grandma. Can I help you?

 

Do you ever count clouds, lying

On soft green grass, laughing

Over silly stuff shared with a friend?

Do you ever cry over a child starving

In Africa or in your neighborhood?

Feel upset over trees being cut

For freeways and shopping malls,

Fancy sports arenas?

 

Have you ever used the eraser

At the end of a pencil,

Writing a poem, a song, a story.

A thank you note?

 

Do you know the feel of crisp

New pages of a book, as they unfold

Moving plots, faster than your impatient

Fingers can follow your eyes?

 

Oh, Children of the 21st Century,

How did you become so dead?

 

From Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless by

frances h kakugawa

 

 

 

 

 

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“There is no poetry for the practical man. There is poetry only for the mankind of the man who spends a certain amount of his life turning the mechanical wheel. But let him spend too much of his life at the mechanics of practicality and either he must become something less than a man, or his very mechanical efficiency will become impaired by the frustrations stored up in his irrational human personality.
An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been jilted. It is an unwritten poem, a neglected music, an unpainted water color, an undanced dance. It is a declaration from the mankind of the man that a clear spring of joy has not been tapped, and that it must break through, muddily, on its own.”
– John Ciardi

 

“Poems are not written to sing of the moon and flowers; they must speak of our hearts in response to the moon and flowers. We must never forget that in our hearts are the seeds of our poems. If we merely speak of the moon and flowers, poems become simply poetical forms, whatever the human heart may be. If these things become a part of ourselves, then we may admire them in verse.”
– Okuman Kotomichi
19th century

 

“A haiku . . . is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.”

— R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 1, page 243

 

 

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   This thing called life,  passion, feelings or  sexuality belongs to us, men and women of all ages.

We still see things we shouldn’t see –

We still feel things we shouldn’t feel-

We still hear things we shouldn’t hear-

We still taste grief, joy, fear,

In a world that vibrates

Through all of my senses.

We are not dead yet.

   Definition

Do not define me by age.

I am not Roosevelt, Truman,

Eisenhower, or JFK.

 

Do not define me by blue veins

bulging out on my spidery arms,

my gobbler, once a Hepburn, Audrey.

 

Do not define me by Rorschach,

On skin brushed with indelible ink.

A Pollock on the wall of MOMA.

 

Do not define me by a new dance step

Shuffling, shuffling –

My heels replaced by clogs.

 

I am

a rabbit out of a hat,

a three ring circus without net,

A whodunit without clues.

War and Peace, chapter one,

The second act.

 

I am

Without epilog.

from my Dangerous Women: Poetry for the Ageless

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When I was in high school, Russia and Communism were taboo subjects; they were feared into silence. One day I read where poets were the most feared in Russia and my passion for poetry empowered me and I became less and less fearful as I kept on writing. I felt the more poetry I read and wrote, the weaker the enemy became. Nothing has changed so we keep on writing.

Poets for Peace

Each time a poet
Puts pen to paper,
There is a sliver of hope
For Peace.

from my Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless

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Yes, I Will

When he takes my hand in his,

His tiny little fingers curled around mine,

I am filled with a great sense of duty,

Duty to keep this world

Free from fear and evil.

 

When I feel his hand in mine,

The contrast: spring to autumn,

I feel compelled to live

Every minute of my life

With love and human kindness

So this world that belongs to him

Will be a place where his deepest secrets

Will be safe,

Where all his dreams and hopes

Become possibilities,

And this world becomes

The greatest, most trusted friend,

Anyone could ever have.

 

Oh, I will live so I can make

All the difference in his life,

For having trusted his hand in mine.

frances kakugawa: from Teacher, You Look Like a Horse

 

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During one of my poetry writing sessions with 3rd graders, this was my contribution. Not quite up to par with my students’ poetry.

 

A Poet’s Declaration

 

I am a star

In the Milky Way.

I am the crest

On emerald waves.

I am a dewdrop, crystal clear,

Capturing sunbeams in the morning mist.

 

I am that dust

On butterfly wings.

I am that song

Of a thousand strings.

I am that teardrop

You have kissed.

I am a poet!

I am! I am!

 

I am that rage

In the thunderstorm,

I am that image

Of a thousand form.

I am magic on each page.

I am a poet!

I am! I am!

 

   Frances H. Kakugawa

   From Teacher, You Look Like a Horse

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To Homo Sapiens

 

I am your forest.

The sound of your ax

Silences my voice.

I am your…

I am…

I…

 

*****

I am Salmon.

I am Black Rhino.

I am Honey Bee.

Soon to be fossilized

Into your earth. Unless

 

You learn to hear

Hummingbird wings.

frances

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