P O E T I C --- P A I N T I N G S

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen" -- da Vinci

To write poetry, you must read and, read some more -- Me

Nov 27, 2007

Poetry from the Trenches: Women Poets of WWI

There's a cliché that comes to mind when the subject of women writers is brought up: "A woman's work is never done", to that age old phrase the words under appreciated should be added -- Women's poetry of World War I is no exception.

As WWI raged, women stepped up and became a mighty force, a ridged backbone during the war effort. This was dark time in history for every man, woman, and child all over the world. Poetry was an outlet for many of these people but for the purpose of this essay I'm going to focus on women's poetry.

During this War of Nations, women left their homes to go to work in factories or actually became part of the war effort -- flying planes, making weapons, nursing the wounded, actually active in the trenches.

The women, who worked in factories or were left back home to wait and wonder about their loved ones, often wrote of their experiences and feelings in prose or poetry. Some of the notable women poets were: Madeline Ida Bedford, Eva Dobell, Marian Allen, and Jessie Pope to name a few.

Madeline Ida Bedford wrote the poem Munition Wages. In this piece she wrote about the wages she made working in a munitions factory. When reading the poem, she seems to be bragging how life was better working in the factory but I read a bit of irony between the lines. Her last stanza sums the meaning up powerfully -- Worth while, for tomorrow if I'm blown to the sky, I'll have repaid my wages, in death – and pass by. www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg/projects/jtap/tutorials/intro/women/#wages

Not much information can be found about Madeline Ida Bedford as with many poets, she disappeared from sight.

Jessie Pope wrote the poem The Call. I found this piece to be wistful and sad. She's writing about the lads of war and wondering about the thankfulness of those affected and writes prayers for those fighting the war: Two. I ain't ashamed o' prayers, They're only wishes sent ter God Bits o' plants from bloody sod Trailing up His golden stairs.
Ninety seconds – Well, who cares! One – No fife, no blare, no drum – Over the Top – to Kingdom Come!
She was an English poet and a pro-war propagandist who lived in Britain.

Eva Dobel was a British Nurse who was known to write poems about her patients. She wrote the poem Pluck; But when the dreaded moment's there He'll face us all, a soldier yet, Watch his bared wounds with unmoved air, (Though tell-tale lashes still are wet),
And smoke his Woodbine cigarette.

Marian Allen wrote the poem The Wind on the Downs: Flying, ever flying overhead,
Here still I see your khaki figure pass, And when I leave the meadow, almost wait
That you should open first the wooden gate.
In the above poem she wrote of the landscape and wrote with a naturalistic voice. Not much information can be found on this poet. She may have taken the way many poets of the time and disappeared.

As with all poets, these notable ladies wrote of pain, death, hopes, and dreams. They found poetry an escape mechanism from the bombs, and guns of reality. Even from the trenches of dirt and blood their muse aspired to live on page.

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these”-- Emily Dickinson

Author notes

Women Poets of WWI

oldpoetry.com/oauthor/show/Eva Dobell
oldpoetry.com/opoem/33907 ‘PLUCK’

oldpoetry.com/oauthor/show/Marian Allen
oldpoetry.com/opoem/50172 ‘THE WIND ON THE DOWNS’

oldpoetry.com/oauthor/show/Madeline Ida Bedford
oldpoetry.com/opoem/55288 MUNITION WAGES

oldpoetry.com/opoem/52139 THE CALL

Written July 19th, 2006

Nov 26, 2007

To Him She Bends

She's tired, wearied
from eons of maternal

always bent
soothing brothers, cousins,
and fathers

of Arnon or Jabbok or any wadi.

They all talk too much
and now he babbles too,

Mississippi's baby
in millenium infancy.

Willow's long suffering
stoops silent
with her flowing

ready to sweep away
frowns of currents

that trip over rocks
and gurgles from rips
of tides.

Over there

on a sunny bank
bluebells nod,

hyacinth wave approval
with aromatic accolades
to eternal motherliness,

gardenias and jasmine
stretch scents across his foaming froth
and slip through her fronds
to take her hand.

A Passing Cloud

some day I would like to lasso
a passing cloud

climb up the sunbeam that runs
along its edge

and step off

into the cushion
of fluffy white

I would look down as I float

wave goodbye
to all the little wind-up

as they scuffle around

looking for their corner
in a round room

Nov 22, 2007


this morning I rolled
in the fragrances of sage
and clover, let their
scents sex my skin;

I looked up past
the wingless mango
and asked infinity

how she felt
about her obscurity
and where her indigo
heads as she

travels through forever,
well beyond the sight
of God.

Notions and Thoughts

And I said to myself,
write something, canonize
anything: the rhythmic
swing of children

on rope-twined stars
hung low from the tip of
the moon; how they swish
to and fro in cadence

with lilts of cricket
chirps, monotonous
drones of cicadae, conducting
songs past the night-sky’s

vacuous bucket. Or how
the web-paned tips of treetops
drip a dewed farewell to Halley’s
vanishing vapor.

Write something, canonize
anything, I said to myself.

Of Legacy and Sustenance

It is difficult to scribe you, transfer
your etchings from my mind.
Yet, I know that you are the legacy
dictated before I was born.

Some deity’s hand transported
ultimate parturition
into capsules embedded in my loins.

Burning through the length
of me you stretched open
my portal and thrust from ethereal’s

serous coat and became
the antagonist, the protagonist,
the main character of my purpose.

I breathe and live off your essence,
you are the air that balloons my lungs,
the flexor and vexer that expands
and contracts my heart.

You are much bigger than
macrocosm, and sustain me
more than the “victuals
for my sustenance”
of which Swift daringly wrote.

Sachet In Secret Places

Sniff deep of me,

for I am the white
five point cluster
whose fragrance wafts
on a soft southern

of lazy afternoons
I border verandas,
sips of iced tea
or mint juleps.

This evening
it is the sun
who is ephemeral
and dips
behind mauve
and coral clouds;

my bouquet lingers,
covertly smiles
and drifts citrus scent;

unseen, my aroma will sachet
itself through your window
inundate senses,

perfume erogenous places
where once pale laced
hankies secretly slept
or a sensuous hand
slyly crept.

I am Magnolia.

Nov 21, 2007


It's possible that I'll find
you in the stew perking
on the stove

layered between the bubbling
of beef, sour cream
and mushrooms;

or gripped frantically
at the end of the cat's tail
holding on to self-preservation.

Often, I watch
you swagger
in with my beloved
at 6PM sharp

and listen to heated
debates with his zipper
over the frailty
of restraint's constitution.

But, normally, it'll be
on a rainy afternoon

while I sit in the oak rocker
while creaking to the rhythm

of pat, pat, pat
plate-glass complaints,

that you'll peek from Picasso
or Monet's brush stokes

reminding me
that they too,

were inspired
by someone else's

saturday, gale and marble

saturday's unhappy

she cried
for you this morning

made the sky-sweeps

and the moss squish

you see

gale just stomped
past the sun
with veins rippling across
her eighth ball

don't worry

she'll bake dry
matted fingers
comforting you

coax open
clinched fists

to tickle
ankles of firs

your name
etched in marble

Nov 20, 2007

Macabre: An Observation of T.S. Elliot's --The Waste Land

T.S. Elliot

It seems poets everywhere

(lounging in Bavarian coffee shops
and Teutonic kaffegeschäft,
to those swishing down
Austria’s sugar slopes)

are obsessed with excruciation.


Macabre I say, macabre.

Je ne sais rien
about bards who write
of blue-haired tortoises
slumped over rooks and queens,

pawns of humanity;

inevitable, unavoidable,
a plague infesting itself.

I am not stunned--
no, not now
Eliot’s Waste Land

is the down-trodden's
blood dripping
from his eyes;

their hunger, poverty,
and desperation;

the ink within his pen.

Nov 19, 2007


It's the bruise
with which, she speaks
that bothers me most.

This morning, like every

she watches
from her
gilded coffin settled
on the night-stand;

remember us,
her stare yells,
remember us;

don't forget
how painful was the mandate
of our expulsion;

daughter of my daughter's daughter

listen to the wind's silence;
no longer can you hear
shouts of warriors echo
across our lands

our voices have been
to wails of orphaned

The peach groves
and march of Dixie
are more red now,

our blood has dried
on the soles of their feet.

My lids grieve --

dear mother
of my many mothers

I feel your whisper
penning across
my skin --

how I wish
to have known you.

Nov 18, 2007

Immaterial Substance

You've worn me well,
or I -- you

immaterial substance.

I am that one lone leaf

(I've missed the wind)

dewless, cracked

Of no importance or relevance;
inconsequential and irrelevant.

I wake with you in the mornings
peel off your nights

slip back into your neon

one foot
at a time

again, to wear you well

or you -- me

Beauty Changing to More Beauty

Nov 16, 2007


When I live again,

I'll plant my syllabraries
on a hill and let them sweep
heaven for another 2000 years;

be a thorn
in the foot of Hephaestus
or Artemis or Zeus,

any one of those hedonists
who prop
their feet on the sun;

shade the trail
for Guadalupe Hildalgo
sneak drinks
from the Chetco river.

I'd name myself Sequoya;
be sentinel
for spots of owls,
and Murrelet's marbles;

become the core
of a Sparrow's Eye.