Monday, September 17, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 19 - Vertical Narrative

This is another one from my university days. I've chosen one of my mom's paintings as a companion to the poem. Titled 'Ships at Sail', the painting and the poem were created within a few years of each other. I'll be showcasing 13 of her pieces on my Thursday Thirteen this week.

Vertical Narrative

When I was five
I looked to the heavens
Unsure of 'forever and ever

If everyone wanted that
Ascention to paradise
Why should that lack of
Unnerve me

Why did everyone point
And ask if I could
See the face
The Man in the Moon

Why did they gather
Gazing upon canvasses of
Blobbed color
Even holes torn

Twisted bronze
Sculpture or


How I remember that night
When two eyes
A smile emerged
From the lunar surface

Riddles of design
Recover from their sojourn
To the Tower of Babel

I am left reaching for
The face of Creation
Happy for now with
My stake in the
Garden of
The very

Poem copyright 1993 Julia Smith

Watercolor ink and sand, copyright 1995 Paulette Phillips

Monday, September 10, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 18 - Liberation

Believe it or not, I wrote this in grade 11 after recovering from my first broken heart. My first boyfriend and I broke up and I spent a year being single before starting a new relationship with my second boyfriend. Clearly, not a casual dater!


How freed my soul
With blinking eyes
That smart at light
Weep tears at day

My soul, whose cell
Carved far below
Dripped with mildew
Rats and cold

Clung fast at first
To slimy stones
With unworn nails

To breathe the dust
And not let go

Now bent, my soul
Could feel the sun
Shrivelled flesh
Sprung pink with life
My trembling bones
Felt sick with joy
Stumbling clear
Before I knew

I think of you
But dream no more
I wonder
Would I rush
Back to the dust
At your late call

Who knows at all
To fall

Copyright 1981 Julia Smith

Monday, September 3, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 17 - Citadel

Here's my very latest poem, finished today. It feels so nice to have a few in the works. I find poetry to be more like sculpting. It's a very different process for me than prose. I often write a stanza and then leave it for a bit, standing back to see how it wants to reveal itself to me.


I've built my own keep
Brick by smiling brick
No room at the inn
How they suffer
Bottomless and vast
I kick fresh straw
Free another corner in the stable

I'm greedy with compassion
My outstretched hand
Beacon of sanctuary
They see a wave of cheer
Though it flails to break a fall
I limp and soldier on
Grimace or grin, hard to say

I'm pilloried by pride
So many heads
Invited to my shoulder
My neck stiff with them
Progress is glacial
Boulders uproot to be
Dragged, scouring the bedrock

I've built my own fortress
The bricks all made of smiles
The bedrock is compassion
The moat was dredged by pride
My arms stretch wide like ramparts
Chains release the drawbridge
I am their refuge. They are mine.

Copyright 2007 Julia Smith