Family Name

I followed my family name

to Yorkshire cemetery

where those old family headstones

held the dates of birth and death

those old Anglo Saxon names

etched upright in native stone

surrounded old Roman church

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

bell tolled to gather us in

stone baptismal at the door

I drank from silver chalice

the vicar had offered me

in the rite of communion

aware of ancestral lips

that had taken worship there

////////////////////////////////////////////////

I search Proctor family name

Old English word proketour

occupational surname

for those who worked as steward

from the Latin procurare

to manage spiritu cors

keeper of the key— that’s me

_____________

NaPoWriMo prompt to delve into your name

Family Name

On Carmel Point

To My Dear Robinson Jeffers,

When the fog rolls and the horn sounds

I will think of the stones you carried

up the hill on Carmel Point

to set a foundation for Tor House

You kept going higher and higher

until you met the hawk

the world expanding around you

your small window with a view of the Pacific

I want life and death to come as naturally

I want to thank you for placing stone

upon stone in such a way it formed

narrow pathway to the highest point

__________________________________________

Yes, my dear,

“Against the outcrop boulders of a

raised beach

We built our house when I and my

love were young.

Here long ago . . .

. . . all that we saw or heard

was beautiful.” Robinson Jeffers

___________________

NaPoWriMo prompt on letter to a favorite historical figure and response by that person. One of my favorite poets. I visited his house and Tor House in Carmel one day while road tripping. Original take on this experience written in 2016.

On Carmel Point

A Stone for Peace

Tramway granite from near Aioi Bridge

target of first atomic bomb

on Hiroshima City

6 August 1945 8:15am

stone stayed

silk burned

odor of charred meat or burning hair

I took note of this at the Vatican Museum

A Stone for Peace

from Hiroshima

displayed on the wall

carved into stone is Kannon

Goddess of Mercy

who prays for eternal peace

_______________

dVerse prompt on war— in 1991, 188 slabs were individually hand carved to be distributed by Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima.

A Stone for Peace

Peter Piper

So many times

this nursery rhyme spoken

a tongue twister

with its own history

Pierre Poivre

missionary from France

with an eye on peppers

places to plant and grow

and a recipe for pickling

no refrigeration

so Peter Piper picked

and pickled

__________________

dVerse prompt on stream of consciousness following my first experiment with pickling peppers. This rhyme was a childhood favorite.

Peter Piper

Picking Cotton

MEMORIES of cotton picking days

picked along with men and women

all over the South

people of all colors

fourteen footer dragged behind

filled with cotton

picked from each boll

start when you’re old enough

to hold a sack

sang in harmony

as we picked

infant scooting behind

too small to pick

“cotton on the roadside

cotton in the ditch

we all picked cotton

but we never got rich”

_____________

photo from SMU Degolyer Library

Picking Cotton

Dystopic Thinking

Dystopic thinking today

as I work in the garden, contemplating Voltaire.

How has education

brought me to this point

of doubting all that I know?

History is not repeating itself.

How can this pandemic

be compared to the Spanish Flu of 1918?

We know so much more but do little.

Communication is faster

so what is going on in Italy

I can know right now.

In Spain the same. Now the US.

But look at the geography.

Look at the size of countries

and compare it to US.

Italy is smaller than Washington State.

How can there be comparisons?

The one common factor is

that the disease spreads quickly.

Test- track-and isolate. Too late.

The microbe is loose.

By accident or design?

Nobody knows or somebody knows.

Maybe we will never know.

What we do know is

that staying home keeps us safe.

Not everyone can stay home

so in Italy

there are still new cases regardless of a lockdown.

People have to go out to get food.

Whole families die at home.

After a month of staying at home,

groceries delivered and sterilized,

no outside visits,

I can’t say that I am lonely or stir crazy.

I like to stay home.

But what would it be like without internet,

without the food supply,

without air conditioning and lights?

In the winter, what if there was no heat?

What if there was no gas

to keep the car going if I wanted to relocate,

live in the mountains, hunt for food?

Are we being tossed back

into the Neanderthal of life

or just a temporary bleep in the radar

of what we always thought was progress?

Too many questions and who cares

what the answer is.

I find answers to be too dystopic.

_______________

NaPoWriMo prompt to write 20 minutes spontaneous writing and make it a poem.

Dystopic Thinking

Morse Code

dits and dahs

dots and dashes

get your rhythm

don’t be slow

tapping out

a universal

language

dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit

••• – – – •••

HELP

___________

NaPiWriMo prompt to look at old technology. Morse Code has been around since 1844 and still used today. Most interesting use was the POW who used the code to spell out the word torture with the blinks of his eyes.

Morse Code