Carrying the Ashes

Thrilled that this poem was featured 18 April ’18 by National Poetry Writing Month – Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo – GloPoWriMo). The generative prompt for it appeared the preceding day.

April 17
NaPoWriMo’s prompt: “…write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time.” This poem was inspired by, and is a take off of, “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room, by Billy Collins.
Carrying the Ashes
dedicated to Nanci Hamblett Wilson

You know the granite chunks on the beach,
the ones you see from the dinghy,
the ones that wend their way to
the path?
And you know how if you follow the path
up the steepest part of the slope
and climb up into the woods you might
have to grab hold of saplings until
you come to the raspberry patches, picked over
by each of us every summer
right under the grove of tall pine, dripping now
with grandfather’s beard?
And farther on, you know how the path
twists to the left and narrows between juniper
and if you go beyond that you arrive
in the clearing with the long stone ridge
bordered by the small field
followed by the big field that tumbles
right back down to the sea
just to the left of the cabin
where there was the singular chair?
That’s a fine place to stop
and catch your breath.

Of course, the journey’s best done with
your hands free. But you know when
you have a load to carry and your hands are so full
you can’t even grasp a sapling?
Just remember that the beginning of the path
is the steepest and, with each step,
the raspberries are getting closer.
And it helps if you have someone
to chat with when you take breaks
and can switch the load from one to the other
up the path to the singular chair.

So, let me know before you set out next time.
I’ll row the dinghy and you can put your hand
on my shoulder as we cross the granite chunks.
Bring a bowl for the raspberry patch
and I’ll bring an old blanket
and we’ll nibble away an afternoon
where there the singular chair once sat
and catch our breath.

By Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018, inspired by “Directions” in Sailing Around the Room by Billy Collins.


Mow Down

Published in Offshoots 12 — Writing from Geneva

I can see my little boy
squatting in his sandbox
with pine cone people
guarding stick forts
for an afternoon
in the shade
feeding chickadees
watching squirrels race
along the picket fence
that keeps out.

I see him – now –
hunched on red sofa
with game console in hand
splattering bodies of blood
for an afternoon
in the dark
feeding on ugliness

the chickadees go hungry
while squirrels race
along the picket fence
with slats missing.

Mother-Daughter Tankas

Published in Offshoots – Writing from Geneva. Mother to Daughter: Tanka poem to me from my mother, Eve Joanne Linger Hamblett Cassatt:

To Faraway Child at Christmas

Grandfather clock strikes
dinging through the silent house.
Faraway Child, know
in my heart I hold you closer,
perhaps, than when you were here.

Daughter to Mother: Tanka answer to my mother from me:

To Mother from my Garden in May

This morning, Mother,
I caught you hiding in my
white lilac bushes
slowly breathed in your absence.
Dewdrops trickled down my cheeks.

Everyday Haiku

Everyday Haiku, An Anthology is a collection of modern “everyday” haiku by thirty-three writers who spent all of 2014 writing one haiku a day and sharing them in an online group called The Haiku Room. Available at Wandering Muse Press. Here are a few of mine that appear throughout the book:

swiss snowflakes don’t fall
they alight on chosen sites
divine precision

it’s a bit like this —
stray thoughts wrap around my brain
squeeze out poetry

cows bow for thick licks
silver frosted field at dawn
grass popsicle treats

lounging on chaise longue
spring’s tender warmth envelops
growing going on

spring birds twerp off key
winter’s monotone silence
requires tuning

garden’s hung over
stupid tulips stayed open
all night rain drop shots

pitter patter quench
mud rows cup deep steeping wet
spring sips its field tea

forecast’s blunder slipped
mistook rain’s claim on the day
mist took advantage

forsythia star
light shooting through the bleakness
make a wish for spring

waves fold sea to shore —
shore to sea — smooth blue creases
liquid ironing

our liquid lips sipped
each other for that first kiss
we remain unquenched

wishes liquefied
she poured hope to dull edges
in the wineglasses

kitchen wreckage states
last night’s sworn testament in
dinner party dregs

The Morning After

Rock & Sling’s literary magazine created a special post-election USA 2016 issue, Vox,  which happens to include my poem, “The Morning After” written the day after the election.

So. It’s Nov. 9. I’ve got a plan.
I’m going to get a plump chicken.
Smear that sucker with loads of butter and watch it slow roast.
Then watch it cool.
I’ll pick it clean. And I mean right down through the sinew to the bone.
I’ll throw the carcass into a pot and watch it boil for a while.
I’ll scoop out the bones and watch the liquid reduce.
Once it’s down to gravy-material, I’ll add a bit of flour, stir, then drop after drop of milk and stir until smooth.
I’ll call Luna, my golden retriever, and fill another pot with water.
We’ll watch some potatoes boil for 20 minutes.
We’ll watch them cool.
Then I’ll pour the chicken gravy on the potatoes and give them to her.
I abhor chicken gravy but Luna adores it.

Hide and Seek at the Bataclan

Hide and Seek at the Bataclan, featured by The Society of Classical Poets (New York). Paris, 13 November 2015

The hiders: cheaters with suicide-belted access
to ethereal hiding places — traceless
but for grieving faces searching sidewalks.

The seekers: police, army, press corps, beloved
— my son in front of the TV. I try to shove
the new rules into our silent conversation.

The Bataclan echoes, Come out! Come out
wherever you are! but nobody can breakout
from their infinite hiding spots.

Us and them. We’re all entangled in
an eternal endgame. Nobody wins.
Together, we’re all it.