Friday, July 5, 2013

VALERIE WORTH POEMS ABOUT SUMMER THINGS

fresh Chilton County peaches!
july

The heat
Bloomed with
Damp, tacky
To the touch,

Like petunia
Stems, or the
Nap on a
Ripe peach.

- Valerie Worth

Okay, this poem: who knows what petunia stems feel like, and who puts that in a poem?! Awesome. I DO have lots of of experience with peaches. I am, in fact, a Georgia peach myself, having been born in Georgia. And it's one of my favorite fruits. I remember my grandfather who lived in north Florida would drive over to Georgia several times during peach season and bring home a truckload of u-pick peaches -- usually Alberta and O'Henry varieties. He then sold the peaches to the local grocery store...and we all feasted.

crickets

Crickets
Talk
In the tall
Grass
All
Late summer
Long.
When
Summer
Is gone,
The dry
Grass
Whispers
Alone.

- Valerie Worth

When I think of summer, two of the first things that come to mind are fireflies and crickets. There's something magical about cricket-song... how you can be alone and yet feel as if in the company of some great benevolent spirit. And they are great to fish with, too. :) (sorry, crickets!)

porches

On the front porch
Chairs sit still;

The table will receive
summer drinks;

They wait, arranged,
Strange and polite.

On the back porch
Garden tools spill;

An empty basket
Leans to one side;

The watering can
Rusts among friends.

- Valerie Worth

Sometimes Paul and I like to watch those house hunter shows -- I find them just stimulating enough to keep my attention yet there's nothing in them to raise my blood pressure. On one of the shows recently, a young woman was searching for her first house, and the one thing on her "no" list was a porch. She said it made a house look "country." I guess I'm a little bit country because I love a porch! Especially those old-style painted concrete ones with cool steps to sit on. Here's a pic of part of the mural in my dining room. Look: a porch!


lawnmower

The lawnmower
Grinds its teeth
Over the grass,
Spitting out a thick
Green spray;

its head is too full
Of iron and oil
to know
What it throws
Away;

The lawn's whole
Crop of chopped
Soft,
Delicious
Green hay.

- Valerie Worth

One of the empowering moments of my childhood was the first time my 17-months-older-than-me brother turned the lawnmower over to ME, little barefoot sis who wanted to experience the vibration of the handle. I didn't even care that he was the one who got the credit for mowing... I knew what I had done.


fireworks

First
A far thud,
Then the rocket
Climbs the air,
A dull red flare,
To hang, a moment,
invisible, before
Its shut lack shell cracks
And claps against the ears,
Breaks and billows into bloom,
Spilling down clear green sparks, gold spears,
Silent sliding silver waterfalls and stars.

- Valerie Worth

I'm not a fan of fireworks. While I can appreciate their visual beauty, I don't enjoy the noise. I'm pretty sure this is an "introverted" thing. I'm sure we will be hearing more fireworks in our neighborhood all this weekend. I'd rather just read this poem. :)

flies

Flies wear
Their bones
On the outside.

Some show dead
Gray, as bones
Should seem,

But others gleam
Dark blue, or bright
Metal-green,

Or a polished
Copper, mirroring
The sun:

If all bones
Shone so, I
Wouldn't mind

Going around
in my own
skeleton.

- Valerie Worth

"Flies wear/ Their bones/ On the outside." Brilliant! Put a positive spin on a pesky little devil, now there's a poetic trick we should all try. This poem makes me want to write a "Flyswatter" poem. I think I will. Happy summer, everyone! I leave you with a pic of my dear friend Pat showing off how she caught a fly with her fingers. :)

Be sure to visit Keri at Keri Recommends for her very first Poetry Friday Roundup! Also, if you are interested in more Valerie Worth, see the top left sidebar for links on previous posts in this series. Happy day!

20 comments:

  1. Have I said this in previous posts: I think Valerie Worth makes me so in awe that I might think I'll never write a good poem! I could respond to each one of these too, Irene. What wonderful summer delights the poems are! We have few crickets here in Colorado and no fireflies. I do believe children are missing out! And I have such fond memories of playing on the steps of a grandmother's porch. Guess I'm a bit country too! Thank you!!

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    1. No fireflies! Linda, you need to come to Alabama and visit me. :) And you know, Valerie Worth is definitely awe-inspiring. She teaches us to be really observant and keep looking for those unusual comparisons.... which is exactly what YOU do. xo

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  2. Earlier today I was on a tremendous porch with an aqua ceiling -- the house was built in 1880! Thanks for sharing this lovely collection of poems and your personal connections to them. Enjoy those peaches!

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    1. Keri, I think an 1880 aqua-ceiling-ed porch sounds AWESOME. Thank you for stopping by.

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  3. HOW can someone not like a porch? Shaking my head... (And loving Valerie Worth!)

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    1. Yay for porch-loving poets! Thanks for stopping by, Ruth. xo

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  4. I'm with Linda. Valerie Worth is brilliant. Love them all! Thanks for sharing. I write this while sitting on a porch on a south Louisiana cottage. Porches may be country, but I love the country.

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    1. Margaret, I love a porch too. Thinking of you down there in the bayou... xo

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  5. Another great little collection!

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    1. Valerie Worth makes it easy, Mary Lee. Happy day to you, and thanks for stopping by. xo

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  6. I don't think I will ever look upon a fly again without thinking of bones on the outside, or a front porch without imagining what the heck is going on with the back orch! It's all the details she zeroes in on and transforms that makes Worth such a great poet.

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    1. Tara, yes those bones on the outside make a fly seem less like a pest and more like a marvel. And isn't celebration one of the chief aims of poetry? At least it is for me. Thanks for stopping by. xo

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  7. I was told by a workshop mentor (not at all meanly) that my short poems probably would never sell because people want to get a bit more of something for their money. I understand what he's saying, but then I think of Valerie Worth. Her poems are small, and, they sold! Thanks for sharing these ones today!

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    1. Yes, Diane, there is hope and a home for small poems! Definitely something to give us all hope. I think maybe you just need LOTS of small poems?? Keep going with your work. xo

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  8. not flies today or yesterday... too cold You need to write a poem about a cold day in July :)

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    1. a cold RAINY day in July. Rain rain go away!

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  9. Love the watering can rusting among friends and also your Tom Sawyer-esque lawnmowing story. (I would have wanted to take credit!)

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    1. Michelle, I love that watering can rusting too! And you know, I have always been a bit secretive. I like to treasure these things for myself. :) Thanks for stopping by. xo

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  10. Love, love, love Valerie Worth. The way she always, always, always chooses just the right word to convey an image blows me away every time. I will think of her the next time I sit on my concrete porch (it's not painted, but the concrete feels so cool on your feet on hot summer days). Thanks for this gorgeous summer collection!

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    1. Carol, thinking of you on that concrete porch! Thank you for stopping by and sharing the Valerie-love. So inspiring! xo

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