Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bones of Bamboo

We grow as tall
in the noise of silence
as the bamboo knife allows,
stretching our green stalks
skyward into the blue.

Barely a babe weaned
from earth’s breast
we spring from the cradle
into the swagger of full grown.

Inside our hollow hearts
music burrows its notes
waiting for the day
our bones will hang
its melody on the wind.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Hannah offered a bamboo forest in Japan as inspiration for our poetry. Real Toads Transforming Friday

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rest From Stones

Even the geese know home
I am a gypsy seeking a warm heart
to call my own and a place
where the welcome mat speaks truth.

I don’t wish for what lies
over the rainbow…..
only  that my feet will
find rest from walking
this path of stones.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Noise In A Haiku


christmas is noisy
giggles rattle the rafters
carols out of tune


©Susie Clevenger 2013

My grown daughters are home for Christmas. You would think they are the age they were in the picture. I love the noise. :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sugar Dipped Smiles

Camera flashes
capture sugar dipped smiles
among last minute ribbons.
Holly decorated windows
picture frame a season’s goodwill.



©Susie Clevenger 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dead Leaf Song

Dry words on brittle paper
sing their dead leaf song
from a worn shoe box.
Lost innocence sleeps
in a dusty womb.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Written for Kerry's When I Write Tanka (Part 1) ~ Hisashi Nakamura at Real Toads.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Calling All Angels

For the first time
in months the room
is silent.

The balloon tether
to gasping machines
no longer needle pins
into tiny arms.

Peace shines
on a child’s face
that had worn
pain’s frown
for far too long.

A parents’ goodbye
summons angels
to escort their son
to dance on stars.

Winged children sing
Jesus Loves Me
to comfort a family
who will greet morning
with the sorrow of empty arms.



©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Fireblossom prompted us to write about angels. I knew immediately what/who I would write about. Several years ago I got a call to come the the hospital. A little five year old boy named John whom I had been asked to pray for had lost hist battle with cancer. As I walked through the hospital doors I saw a few friends and family waiting outside John's room. I looked inside and all the machines had been removed and his little face no longer had the grimace of pain. I and the rest of the group stood silent and tearful outside his door. I truly can't explain what happened next. As we stood comforting one another we heard children singing Jesus Loves Me. The sound of their voices surrounded us. I looked toward John's room and his parents hadn't moved. They still sat on the bed with John in their arms. Across the hall I could see a man watching a crime show in his room. I couldn't find the source of the music. Stunned and in awe our small group looked at one another and then one of them said, "Well, yes he does." Soon after I asked a nurse if she or perhaps the hospital played the song as a custom at the death of a child. She said no and she hadn't heard it. Again I can't explain it. I just know when we so needed comfort it came with the voices of children.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Of A Broken Child

Oh Christmas tree
how lovely….

Mama hated
all things Christmas.
It took her back
to dreams drowned
in her dad’s cheap booze
and the hungry stomach
of poverty.

My sisters and I
were too young
in the monochrome days
of our childhood
to grasp why bitter
always hung from the tinsel.

It was when
we were grown women
we came to understand
it was a broken inner child
who placed dolls among
complaints of falling needles.


©Susie Clevenger 2013


 Peggy at Real Toads prompted us to write about Christmas memories. I have been thinking a lot recently about my mother. Christmas was a difficult time for my sisters and I growing up, but it is through my own emotional healing I realized the pain of my mother. As with any poem you write what moves you at the moment you sit down with a pen. 


















Sunday, December 15, 2013

Barefoot Light











Tata Madiba, I walk
your freedom path barefoot
because I know I will
never fill your shoes.

Hate still gravels many hearts
and though my soul is bruised
from rejection I climb another
mountain to share love.

Madiba, I light my candle
from the flame of your spirit
that the grave cannot extinguish.

Let me not cry for change
if I am not willing to become it.
Tomorrow will never be better
if I don’t do all I can for today.


©Susie Clevenger 2013

Nelson Mandela was the world's mentor on how to bring change. May I follow in his steps to do what I can to bring change to my world.

Posted on Real Toad's Nelson Rolihlala Mandella ~ In Memoriam


Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Heart Without Snowshoes

The snow was so deep…
It was up to my knees
and I could barely walk.

A drifted country road
piled high with impossible
was love’s frozen separation.

Foolish with bravado
I thought I was stronger than the wind,
but it burned a chilled no into my lungs.

Surrounded by a white postcard,
reality wormed its way into my thoughts.
The only choice was to retreat.

I cursed cupid as I turned to retrace my steps.
Damn the imp’s winter arrow shot into my heart
that knew nothing about walking in snowshoes.

  

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Corey over at Real Toads challenged us to have a family member give us the first line for our poem. Well, I asked my husband. He had been watching The Weather Channel at work so he tossed me my snowy opening. I thought, "Really?" He is asleep so I can't get his response. Waking him up is not an option. :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Learning To Sing Hallelujah


This is my daughter Carrie and her friend Julie

The song burnt my lips
with tears formed
from my hollow
hallelujah.

With raised hands
I thought I reached
for God….

But I only wanted
to accost heaven
with my list of demands.

How empty desire comes
when it begs for self.

It was in the midnight
of my precious child’s pain
I learned the meaning of faith.

Prayers of vanity fell like stones
and supplications for healing
became my day and night.

Now another day of her smile
is the joy I thrive on.

When impossible tries to bury me
trust finds its way into my spirit
to flood it with true hallelujahs.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2013

This is Dawn who I wrote this poem for.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Whispers In Porcelain

Painted Ladies ~ Jennifer MacNeil

Whispers of yesterday
cling to the paint
in porcelain curls.

Faces once admired
and captured in art
are now lost to anonymity.

Brooches sturdier than bones
have survived beauty’s death
only to lie among a collector’s questions.


©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Margaret Bednar provided the beautiful photography of Jennifer Mac Neil as inspiration for our poetry. Please visit her webpage to see more of her outstanding work, Jennifer MacNeil Photography

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Throat Song



I walk on a white sheet
marring its cold lace
with my footprints.

Many have traveled
this crystal path
on their search for caribou.

I raise my eyes to the gray sun
and sing a throat song thanking 
my Eskimo ancestors for traditions.

My hunt is guided by their teachings
and I know my spear will find its mark
to feed the hollow stomachs of my children.


©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Isadora Gruye gave us the following instructions for our poetry:
For your challenge today, my muddy buddies, I am asking that you write a poem using the word Eskimo but do not reference snow (or any adjective there of). Remember the further you stretch yourself from the norm, the better the result will be.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Riddled With Warts

I am the toad
that peeks
with awe
at humans
who speak
with pens.

Lost on a lily pad
that barely floats
I scratch the air
searching for
words to croak.

Poetry comes
when poetry comes
and settling for ants
when hungry for wings
leaves verses riddled with warts.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Real Toads Open Link Monday

Monday, December 2, 2013

Another Sunday Morning



Another Sunday morning
and I don’t know how far
I have fallen in your eyes.

Love was once music played
at full volume until
the stars were deaf.

We danced in
the velvet underground
heedless of the need for redemption.

I’m not sure when Saturday night
turned off its neon
to greet stained glass.

I kept spinning as I was
while you stepped into a philosophy
that condemned me.

It’s another Sunday morning
and I just don’t know how much further
I can fall in your eyes.


©Susie Clevenger 2013