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April is National Poetry Month: Barbara Ungar on Laundry Line Divine


Barbara Ungar Illustration

Hortus Conclusus


after Madonna on a Crescent Moon in Hortus Conclusus

                        by unknown Master, German, 1450’s

    I. Rose

When my mother was but a bud
of five weeks inside her mother, Rose,
Mom’s millions of microscopic eggs

were already intact, long before she bloomed
into Shirley. So you, too, were carried
by your grandmother first,

cradled in your mama’s calyx.

Grandma Rose almost survived
the bloodiest century,
transplanted from the Old World

to the New, where she’s scattered
in a rose garden by a lake,
fertilizing the hybrids. And now

I move through rows and rows
of roses—Memoriam,
Comanche, Moonlight, Montezuma

bounded by a low stone wall.

II. Mobius

The egg is in the woman
as the woman in the garden
the garden in the world
world in the galaxy
galaxy in universe
universe in the Unnamable
as the Unnamable is in the egg.



Barbara Ungar
Barbara Ungar

Barbara Ungar has published four books of poetry, most recently Immortal Medusa and Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, both Hilary Tham selections from The Word Works. Her prior books are Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a silver Independent Publishers award, a Hoffer award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing poetry award. She is also the author of several chapbooks and Haiku in English. She has published poems in Salmagundi, Rattle, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other journals. A professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, she coordinates their new MFA program.

A native of Worcester, MA, she grew up in Minneapolis, MN, where she began writing poems at the age of six. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Stanford, an M.A. from City College, and a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of CUNY. She lived in Dublin, Ireland for a year, and on the Greek island of Symi for a summer. She spent several years traveling around the world, ending in Italy. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The Eve of the Last Day of National Poetry Month

Poetry has immense power to capture the unsayable. Brene Brown tipped me off about this next poet, Shane Koyczan. He has fashioned a set of words designed to illuminate pain and does so with utter and complete grace.

” . . . and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer, because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit.”

April has been National Poetry Month, this particular month full of unexpected sorrow and surprising beauty.
May is Putting Motherhood on the Front Page month here at Laundry Line Divine. More beauty and maybe some sorrow too. All welcome.
I will be posting the Out of the Mouths of Babes posts upfront and here for you to see when you drop by.

Thank you for all the poetry you have shared with me this month. I love expanding my poetry stance and you
have all helped me do that.

Jimmy Lawrence reading his wonderful story

One of my Powder Keg Sessions writers, Jimmy Lawrence offers us a poem.
I celebrate Jimmy’s treasuring of beauty.

Looking at a Photo of my Woman Friend

And now that time,
like the tide receding.
Still a roiling confluence
of old remembered passions
and the sense of fire dimming
as I look at the photo
of a valued woman friend.
My eye as of old
(as of the young man I was, I mean)
goes straight to the pouch above her sash
as if weighing it against
the HardBodyBabe benchmark
that once ruled my days.
Then quick, my mind
(as of the older man I am now, I mean)
and my withering sinews
and my cooling loins
dismiss the thought
as I would a buzzing bee too near the face,
once deemed full of beauty and danger
something irresistible, marvelous
yet approached with caution,
is now just a bee
to carry honey for someone else to find,
to lavish upon hungry lips.

I move my eye to her valued face
to find instead
the love and warmth and wisdom
of the lioness of many seasons on the veldt
the life of daily courage
visible in her loose and drooping belly,
the mark there too of the young
all borne and gone
the coat now marred and scarred, dusky-golden,
as the sand
afire with day-end glow
and the spending foam to sea returning

© James Lawrence 2013

James Lawrence
LSA Editor/writer/photographer
Plane & Pilot magazine

One more day of poetry here on the Line.
Then May begins.
Is your May Pole dressed?

#NaPoWriMo gets personal with Lori Landau, Lorna Crozier and Lorrin Krouss

Lori Landau Lorna Crozier

April is National Poetry Month and I am celebrating with my friends.
Here is Lori‘s latest collaboration with a poem.

Over in the Powder Keg Sessions department of this site, Lorrin Krouss has a new poem titled A Bookworm’s Dilemma. This humorous peek in to the passion of a mother who reads, will bring a smile to anyone who has let the kids run wild while you fall in to the arms of your favorite author.

Celebrate National Poetry Month on Laundry Line Divine


Poem for Boston by Suzi Banks Baum

Land of the Crocus People SBB

Of boys, bombs and daffodils.

Instruction: Encounter poetry on a daily basis: let it move you.

Requiring it to move me from
Replaying the scene of a young man bleeding in a boat in the
Backyard of a man, watchful over this boat.
This narrow-bodied boy casually weaving with ease
Through thronged men, women and children
On a jubilant spring morning
In a city celebrating.

This pale skinned boy
Carried a kitchen pot destined to take legs
From the man into whose eyes he gazed as he stood up
From delivering that pot.
Designed to take legs,
The very legs that ran an Olympian length, 26.2 miles in honor
Of other fallen children. This boy.

This bleeding boy
Shot bullets into thick-thighed heros
Protecting students on a campus along
A river running with spring petals
Yellow flecked.
Running red.

Running with dread.
Running, this narrow-bodied prom date of a sweet-voiced
How can a poem pull me from the image of
His warm body bleeding in a boat
As seen by a helicopter hovering
Over a stilled neighborhood?

How, his one heart beating, son of a mother
This narrow-bodied boy
Could wreck such debilitating damage.
Tearing the fibers
Of running shirts and uniforms.
A rain of particles, deftly fingering torture
On himself.

Cutting us all off at our knees, where, praying among
Petals of warming spring days
We petition for boys, for girls protected by the
Broad body of their father pressing them in to a wall.
Oh, the bodies of men, of boys,
Narrow, broad, thick
Lost in love for an unexplainable mission.

Let me be
In the region of a poem, in
The space
Where ankles, calves and kneecaps once held
Tall men to the ground.
Upon which forsythia and redbud
Clutter the finish line of this life.

@Suzi Banks Baum April 21, 2013

Ursula Kern Italian Mary

Prayers, here.
And everywhere.
For us each. For the new ones and the old ones.
And all of us in-between.

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