aging

SOJMO (HAWK)

ANNUAL REPOST FOR FATHER’S DAY: My father loved telling stories, so although this starts out as a poem about him, it turns into one about me.  No doubt though, it was his predilection for oral history that influenced my love of writing (especially loooooooong poems).

 

Dad was a great story teller

A bard who hoarded words

And plots, heard in the kitchen

Where he slept on the ledge of a stove

In old Romani slave quarters

Surrounded by the rich earth

Of what is now Moldova

Somewhat drunk by the wine

The children consumed

Because the water was poisonous

And it was thirsty work to be

Stomping grapes for the winery

Where he was born

Grandson of a slave

Free yet not

***

His favorite story

Was about the Sojmo

The Hawk

Also called Turul

A Hungarian word

Learned from his cousins

Who migrated to Roumania

Turul, the shamanic hawk

Perched on the Tree of Life

That strongly-rooted tree

Connecting Earth with the skies

And the Netherworld

Turul, who saved the Hungarians

From Attila the Hun

And other conquerors

Making them a powerful people

My dad liked the name Hun because

His name was Huna

His mother said he

Approached life like a savage

Like a conqueror

And Huna felt proud

***

Sojmo has been a part of my life

For many decades

I never saw one while living in Philly

But once I moved to Florida

Nature claimed me as a personal fan

And I observed birds and trees

Plants and clouds

Lightning and rainbows

So lonely, though, for a friend

Although I worked daily and met

Good people

So lonely for a man

One day, sitting by a lake

I cried out to the universe

A hawk flew at me

Sitting frozen, mesmerized

At the last second it swooped up

But we had read the eyes of the other

And I knew all would be well

A few months later I met a man named

Hawk

***

Years passed

First good

Then very bad

Then better

Then simply years

No expectations

Simply years

***

Life’s happiness

Feeding and watching

Backyard cardinals,

Woodpeckers, blue jays

Mourning doves and finches

Feeding and watching the antics

Of my dogs, sitting by the graves

Of older dogs who

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

Then the crows came

Korako

And ate the fledglings and eggs

While I shouted, while the dogs barked

And one day they disappeared

Never returning

Occasionally circling the yard to remind me

So I imagined

That they have the power to return

And destroy the backyard birds

***

Envision my surprise

When instead of korako

I heard a whistle and saw

Five hawks

Sojmo

Repeating the savagery

That korako displayed

Last summer

Half-heartedly I shouted

Banged the metal trashcan lid

With a Live Oak branch

Fallen on the ground

From the wind and rain

The previous evening

The dogs half-heartedly barked

The man named Hawk

Refused to chase them

Siding with Sojmo

Because, I guess,

They are his totem, after all

***

Ah, do I make anything out of this?

Just birds of prey following their instinct

Looking to feast upon birds well fed

From my feeder?

Or is the appearance of Sojmo

The other bookend

The other end of the promise

And now the taking

None of the five hawks

Flew toward my face

To look me in the eye

What do I make of this

Mind-tableau

Sojmo sitting on a Live Oak

That could be the Tree of Life

Reminding me of the connection

Of the Earth and Sky

With the Netherworld

***

Sojmo

Ending another chapter

Of a life…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

IF ONLY

chords notebook 3

 

What is the exact moment

I’d return to

If possible?

So many times

Need to be changed

Like not saying

“I do”

But now

In my oldness

The key to happiness

Lies in wood and strings

So if I could go back

To 8 months after

My sixteenth birthday

The day I said,

“I’m quitting guitar lessons”

I’d think

I’d persevere

I’d be a guitar player

In addition to hack writing

Beloved blogetry

I’d compose

I’d stop smoking and sing daily

I’d learn all those chords

I would

I would do

I would do what it takes

To get over that

Learning curve

Vision of me then

Long black hair

Freshly ironed straight

Almost to the waist

Yet not pretty enough to be

A performer

But smart enough to understand

Music tames the sadness

That savages the psyche

And who knows

Maybe I would have written

The Grammy song of the year

Deciphering musical notation

Acquiring the discipline

Dreams require

But it is today

And in celebration of

My newest

A baritone ukulele

D, G, B, E

Guitar chords!

I’ve written a

Haiku:

Whole new set of chords

Baritone ukulele

Bridge to a guitar…

 

baritone ukulele june 2017

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: My chord notebook & my new Baritone Ukulele

 

MANCHESTER SUNSHINE

 

(scroll down for YouTube video)

 

As we Baby Boomers begin our final journey

To who knows where

I wrestle with thoughts

Of how sure we were

That the sun would shine in

And all would be love, peace, music and poetry

 

Youth was a time

When even the place names

Far away

Magically wooed us

Manchester was one

Appearing in a song from “Hair”

Making no sense to me

Then or now

But a city I’d want to someday visit

 

Perhaps I’m so poor at Geography

Because some places exist

In realms uncharted

An alternate Geography

Living and breathing

In the mind

 

Now, Manchester has a new meaning

Sunshine, stardust, all the magic of youth

Blown apart…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Manchester Evening News

 

 

YouTube video (song begins at 2:49   https://youtu.be/fhNrqc6yvTU

Lyrics for Let the Sun Shine In http://www.songlyrics.com/hair/let-the-sunshine-in-lyrics/

 

TRAJECTORY

 

Live long enough

Might find you’re in

A personal déjà vu

Full circle

Repeating events

People, places

A bit different

But it’s like

This is it

Get it right

This time

Some call it

Instant Karma

But here we are

Older

And like reprising a role

Done when young

The script remains the same

Can we make alterations?

Will we?

Sitting and staring

Like my little girl self

Children are prisoners

So are the aging

But I’m desiring the other side

Would wander in sandy boots

Climb tree canopies

Lift my wings

Through the clouded gateway

Barely brushing the leaves

But hey, deep down I know

Nothing will change

Nowhere to go

It’s me

Still me

And all the years of playing adult

Doing, dreaming

Tangential meanderings

Circumferencing

The full circle

360 degrees

Add that up

(Oh, yeah, it’s all numerology to me)

Equals 9

Tarot Hermit

Seeking the truth

For once, though

I do not mind

The vision of

Swinging a lantern

Through darkness of indecision

It is finally a relief

To be

Alone…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: fenced in

FREE1

 

METABOLICALLY ALIVE

 

It’s like my body moved

Into a new neighborhood

Life has changed so much

Old friends gone

Family far away

New puppies

New situations

Only the birds look familiar

Moved so much these many decades

Should be used to starting over

Must remind myself

I’m a warrior

Living in the 8th continent

Senescent Land

Pangaea-less

No exploration ship

No way to cross back into

Familiar territory

Unlike Campbell’s Hero

The threshold crossing is blocked

Nothing left to do

But smile at the thought

Of a new adventure…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Marco Polo Exploration Ship

 

ABANDONED HOUSE (sonnet)

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Doesn’t take a therapist to know why

I bond with exhausted, forsaken shacks

Nothing but the crows circling with a cry

Prowling, feral cats alert for live snacks.

 

Why empty so long? How did this house fail?

Dirty pink insulation leaking out

Of screaming mouths with crying walls so frail

Mold and dirt and shaky steps, cause for doubt.

 

What happened here in the maddened attic?

Ancient clothes and books hug the swollen floors

Tell me your secret, you ache brick by brick

Relinquish the mystery of closed doors.

 

No one deserves abandonment, ever

Helping lost and wrecked, lifetime’s endeavor.

 

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) from Poetic Alchemy:Talking Blues

(tweaking an old poem)

**YouTube video Ella Mai, Left Me https://youtu.be/yOVNS12CVqE

IMAGE: Abandoned House (public domain)

 

 

 

 

 

 

FADING OUT

 

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

 

Earth pirouettes me past the sun

Innumerable orbits, yet the ballet’s not done

Seems merely an hour dancing on toes

Orchestra adagio-ing as my body flows

Time a frail leaf the winds once blew

Grim Reaper leads me in a pas de deux

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Darcey Bussell & Zoltan Solymosi in Black Swan pas de deux

 

https://youtu.be/VtEQ-BnNNl8 YouTube Swan Lake pas de deux

FADING OUT

*scroll down for a YouTube video*

Earth pirouettes me past the sun

Innumerable orbits, yet the ballet’s not done

Seems merely an hour dancing on toes

Orchestra adagio-ing as my body flows

Time a frail leaf the winds once blew

Grim Reaper leads me in a pas de deux

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Darcey Bussell & Zoltan Solymosi in Black Swan pas de deux

https://youtu.be/VtEQ-BnNNl8 YouTube Swan Lake pas de deux