Considering we’re halfway through winter now, I thought it’d be great to share my best poem as of late. This piece of information would be helpful for you to know, dear reader: I use a beach chair to sit by the fire during wintertime. Enjoy!
Out my front doorway
Look there you’ll see
Epic waves of wind
Crashing into trees
Tides shift the shoreline again
My leaves, a sea, litter the ground
As sticks and twigs bob here and there
Some splash in sanguine, making sound
Glance off my back porch
Notice the small and tiny leaves
Incessantly they strike down and let up
To resemble black and white piano keys
Peace hits me exuberantly
As I savor season change
Yet I experience it sullenly
As leaves decay, looking gross
Clumping together by my shed
The temperatures, turning bitter
Hit endlessly my body and head
Sweat drenches me with blankets
And that damn space heater I fear
Might suddenly trip, burn or kill me
By the bathroom when I come near
Can I now recall
This winter from fall
Than this beach chair
As into our lives we stare
Sipping whiskey by the fire
You join me now free to admire
Growing up in southern Louisiana, I’ve always been fascinated with cypress knees, which are a part of the bald cypress tree. The Cajun French call them boscoyos, and the TV show Swamp People once pointed this out. If you’ve never seen boscoyos, here you go:
I took these pictures recently walking in a lake. Yes, you read correctly; I was walking in a lake that has been drained in the Lakewood subdivision of North Little Rock, AR where I live.
Even though many have wondered what boscoyos are for implicitly, botanist Francois André Michaux, in 1819, explicitly said, “No cause can be assigned for their existence.”
Nearly two hundred years later, no one, especially in the field of science, has yet discovered the specific purpose of boscoyos. Some think they help anchor the tree, others propose they slow floodwaters, some that they oxygenate the roots, and finally others that they catch drifting sediment. However, the research proves not one of these, although sediment has been found within the “underwater cave” portion of the cypress knee, as more easily seen below.
Hopefully this is enough background info for you to begin to understand why I wanted to write a poem about boscoyos as well as for you to better understand the term and poem below. Here’s two more puzzle pieces that continue to amaze me: Charles Darwin referred to the origin of boscoyos as an “abominable mystery.” Hurricane strength winds aren’t enough to knock down cypress trees! Ok, last alluring addition: boscoyos are classified in the redwood family. BOOM!
I’ve always enjoyed watching storms roll in. My love for this pastime grew in college, as I had a particular roommate we lovingly referred to as Dirty Steve or Steve Dave that enjoyed sitting together on our porch to smell, hear, sense, and fully take in incoming storms.
Since I currently don’t have an adequate porch on the side of the house that storms blow in on, I recently moved my rocking chair to the front area of our house, which has the perfect windows to observe outside movements. It was then, encountering the storm come in, that I had the idea to write a poem that captures, only in part to be sure, my experiences with thunderstorms.
Below, you will find my poem “Thunderstorm Winking,” but first, acclimate yourself with this GIF in order access deep emotions associated with how you encounter storms moving into your life.
Recently, I’ve begun writing poetry. I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but that’s not the point. I used to hate poetry, because I didn’t understand it. All that changed when I had a breakthrough realization this year: Poetry is Music’s Cousin!
I have always loved music. I sang in the choir growing up, I was in a cover band (of sorts) in college that did open mic nights, and I wrote a song once with my very talented classic guitar playing friend, Tony. Music for me is a way to express emotions, life, experiences, and hope. Poetry is very similar.
In January, I went on a sermon planning retreat with two of my closest friends, Matt and Matt. We stayed at a house on the Clinch River in Andersonville, TN. I decided to take a stab at writing my first poem, as I reflected on the reality that both Blues music and being near a river put you in a mood. I wanted to capture those feelings.
Poem Background: The Powell River and Clinch River meet, eventually running into the Tennessee River. The last stanza of the poem points this out. Check out the top right of the picture below to see. Not only does Blues and the nature of rivers “swing,” but the shape (geographically) of the Tennessee River swings baby!
Also, I wrote this last stanza with the classic Blues AAB pattern in mind. Quick Lesson: a lyrical phrase is repeated, then followed up by a response phrase that contrasts or sums up the entire idea. “St. Luis Blues” Example:
I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down
It makes me think I’m on my last go-round
I essentially did the same thing for my poem. Even though the 3rd line is a repeat to the 1st and 2nd, it is a response in idea: Clinch is meeting Powell, Powell is seeing Clinch, then the entire Tennessee River (including Clinch and Powell as drain off rivers of the Tennessee River) swings. I hope this makes sense. Please let me know what you think of my 1st poem.
Clinch River Blues
River like the Blues
Puts me in a mood
Feeling that good ole’ ancient groove
Slow goes the small swirls
Faint twists, surface twirls
All roll down mighty fine like pearls
Roll left, now swing right
Thump bass, drums in flight
Steady guitar all through the night
Keep on rolling River Clinch; get to your meetin’
Keep on rolling River Powell; what’s that you seein’
Keep on rolling Tennessee; you’ve got me swingin’
Za bop a do zay way de bop, yeah…