15 June 2012

fri-write friday 6/15: "past is present"

This Fri-Write Friday, I decided to share more of what can happen with word gardens. This is a poem born of one of my word gardens, using the same guidelines shared on Monday. The “seeds” for the poem were:

Night Folk Philtrum Firelight Wheat
Dripping Cardamom Lazy Molasses Bin
Dining Penny Brown Dappled Lunulae
Shaking Diagram Birth Pregnant Earthen
Starch Sassafras Okra Petrichor Sesame
I hope you enjoy---and would love your feedback on---this latest poem.

"Family of African American Slaves on Smith's Plantation
Beaufort South Carolina"By Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1862
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Past is present

Baby boy, born of night,
I touch the philtrum of your mouth
gently by firelight.

You brown as wheat,
skin dripping with the lazy scent
of cardamom.

Molasses drenched
jars steep in a wooden bin
in the dining room,

and you are shiny
as a penny. Your brown birth came
in the time of okra,

of dappled diagrams
of willow light sprinkling the ground.
You been shaking

like a sassafras
this night, smelling just as sweet. Sweeter
than the starched white

of daddy’s field shirts.
I been pregnant in those fields,
heavy with your bones

pressed into mine,
your lunulae—your little moons—
dug deep into my womb,

warming my blood
to love you more.

You were born
to saltwater folk, to the scent of earth,
petrichor, and I tuck you in—

wooly mammoth
shelter, sesame seeded


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Check out these other Fri-Write Friday posts on Our Lost Jungle:


  1. The first words out of my mouth upon reading - "Oh, good God. I love it." It literally made my heart feel full. Thank you.

    1. What a lovely response, Barbara, thank you so much.

  2. Just beautiful, Khara. LOVE:
    "warming my blood
    to love you more."
    "wooly mammoth
    shelter, sesame seeded

    The only word that sticks out a bit, for me, "philtrum." And that just shows my ignorance. I had to look it up. ;)


    1. Thank you, De. This was an interesting use of my most recent "word garden," in that I somehow wound up pulling almost all the infrequently-used/known words that had to do with the body (philtrum, lunulae) I'd collected ... neither *really* fit in with the rest of the speaker's language, so we'll see how that changes in any revision (because I still love the sound of both words, but maybe this mother will just have to show the image to which she's referring, instead of naming it ...)

    2. I LOVE the sound of the words, too, Khara, and sometimes that halting, the strangeness of the word in context, is poetic in and of itself. ;) That is for the (stunning) poet to decide. :)

    3. That is so true, De. I suppose one of our biggest jobs as writers/poets is to determine when that "halt" is doing something effective and when it's simply a jarring halt.

  3. Hi Khara: I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award... Come check it out: http://meenarose.com/2012/06/16/the-versatile-blogger-award/

    As an added bonus you get to learn 7 random things about me :)

    A little late to the party... Word Garden => such a neat concept. I believe I will start playing with those too. This poem though Khara is filled with so much "rightness". I find it a little hard to describe the sense filling my heart. It is all goodness and warmth.

  4. Khara... this is one of the most profound - simply exquisite poems I have read anywhere from anyone at any time.... It must be published ... it must be read... I am honored to have it as a part of me know... Oh my goodness ... it is a rarity that I am at a loss for words - but I can only say AHHHHHHHHH :)

    1. Thank you, Pearl. Your words have raised a fine "Ahhh" in me now :)

  5. Oh, my, Khara. This one is superb. Possibly your best to date. I love it.


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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