LAUREL LEAVES POETRY


Monthly Poetry Magazine



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POET AND POEMS OF THE MONTH


MS. KAY RENZ




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poetandpoemsofthemonth

JULY 2018

MS. KAY RENZ

 

Living in Sonoma County California, Kay Renz served as Poetry page editor for the women’s newspaper, Women’s Voices from 1996-2009. Her work has been published in many anthologies: First Leaves Anthology, Poets of the Vineyard Anthology, The Ina Coolbrith Anthology, The Sonoma Mandala, Crazy Ladies, The California Quarterly, Tight, Women’s VoicesAnthology and Green Fuse, for which she served 5 years as one of the founding editors. Her poetry has won many prizes, such as Grand prize in the 2013 Ina Coolbrith contest, 2nd prize in the Artists Embassy International contest, 2015, and two 1st prizes in United Poets Laurette International (UPLI) Global contestin 2015. Her books are Cauliflowered Veteran, Gestating Hope, Unexpected Pedestrian, and Peeves & Glories.

Viewpoint

I believe a poet’s job is to witness. The poet’s challenge, as a human being, is to be present and willing to express the pain, anger and/or joy of the moment in language that shows the soul connection of human experience, and my hope is that others who read/hear what I’ve created can say, “I know…. I understand….”

 

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TORNADO

 

Hidden in her genes, twirling toward the future, we didn’t see it coming

until now when life should’ve been peaking. It grows stronger,

minute by minute, twisting small parts of her away from her

in “accidents.” Denying turbulence, she whirls within,

sucked into the darkening, funnel cloud

vortex with unbalanced

accounts, arguments

with peers, landlords,

picking up and

dropping things,

losing, breaking,

scattering

wherever

whenever

without warning.

No shelter from

this storm

tearing our world

asunder, snatching

from my child

all balance

as skill,

reason

fly off in

whirling winds.

Huntington’s

is cycling us

into this

last ride

to

get

her.

 

Grand Prize Ina Coolbrith,Poetry Contest, 2015

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Ode to Those Who Came After the Quake

 

(To make a path others can trod, push forgiveness,

willingness to discover friendship, heal.)

 

…and they came from the west to the Mid East,

the Jeelum Valley of Kashmir, thirteen paramedics flew

from the land where two planes crashed into towers.

 

They arrived in the earth’s heart breaking,

the earth heart torn open by quakes. They came,

not with the anger and pain of chaos and war,

but with skills to salve the people’s pain, the thirteen came

from New York, the wounded city, to help Pakistani people heal.

 

Bringing medicine, bandages and most of all hands

and hope to turn the wheel, the great circle of life/death,

of war and nature’s destruction, they let it be known

that they had come for the people only, so hundreds

brought their hurt and pain to make-shift clinics

in the mountains where nations meet, where Pakistan

and India breathe sweet air, where Everest and winter loom,

far from the busy world. All came, riding mules along

rubbled paths to work, to heal the Mother’s fractured heart

where ninety thousand and more deaths threatened.

 

They entered the void, the great gap where the energy

of anger and love blending could turn the wheel of life/death,

the wheel of fortune, for on this path, the thirteen paramedics

welcomed all to benefit, stop the suffering, for it was time

for the healthy and wealthy of all nations to join with grit

and smiles to save the children, the people, and implore

that war cease, that all nations heal, and that the military

fly their giant spinning crafts in and out, air lifting pain

and fear from the people as they fly goods back and forth

to hospitals, carrying loved ones saved, carrying more hands

to aid the people to leave the chaos of famine, disease, floods,

fire and war behind.

 

For the Mother, whose heart continues to tremor all over

needs strong hands and peace filled hearts to turn the wheel.

Her children everywhere, in the rawness of mountains

and cement of cities must choose to follow the path of the thirteen

who came with open hearts to turn fear and panic into passion for life:

humanity working together, bending backs against life’s wheel,

like Sisyphus pushing his boulder uphill.

 

Artists Embassy International’s Dancing Poetry Contest. 9/2018, 2ndprize..

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Inner Passage Reflections

 

Alone on the port side in the grey morning, while

the huge ship slowly inches through ice sheeted water,

the atmosphere is still, frozen; the water slate gelatin

floats chunks of blue-white ice, and within the wonder

of that first glance, the great soul of the world

barely breathes.

 

The only sound is the thunder of ice calving off the glacier.

Gulls screech as they coast, then dive, gently gliding

down, to sit upon the freezing water.

Awe is not enough to describe

this energized silence.

 

Cobalt streaks through the ice along

the mountainous shore of the retreating glacier

as sun peeks through the thick clouds, enveloping

ship and 4000 humans inside a rainbow

of motionless seconds.

 

Time shifts 10,000 years, and Earth speaks;

people clad in bearskin and seal trudge forward

across the Arctic tundra to become us,

modern human. A great breath exhales.

With another thundering, melting ice

crashes into the gray glass sea.

 

Pressing shutter, the eye, captures only a portion

of this surreal moment, the glacier’s edge,

10 feet high of cerulean streaked crystal,

tumbling into its mirror image.

 

Shouts intrude periphery. Ancestors disappear.

Sadness chokes my throat, ire toward those who came

almost two centuries ago, hauling burdens on mules to take

riches from the land and toward those passing through now.

Unconscious of Spirit speaking, they rush to the rail,

complain of cold, of having missed the ice drop.

As long lenses hoist, video cameras whir.

 

Something vibrant, something living vanishes as this mass

of humanity breaks communication with our Mother,

the first ones, and amid my peers’ cacophony,

in this last glance of the ice age,

I stand wide open, raw.

 

Ina Coolbrith Poetry Circle Contest, 8/2013, 2nd prize.

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Root Woman

 

“Blast ye! Creatures of doubt! I’ll not have ye

downcast looks!

It be the dawning of a new age, and I be in trouble,

my lover, shanghaied by blokes bound

I know not where

…the Orient ….Spain…”

 

Named for the Virgin and not willing to bring

the town’s eyes and tongues to your Christian family,

Agnes Mary, you packed your tapestry bags, crystal

and grandmother’s shawl.

To protect your balance along the rocky road

you took your grandfather’s old oak shillelagh.

 

A girl barely sixteen, you crossed the sea

to the New World from the land where Wicca children

once ran free in woods and meadows, where

wee folks danced and rainbows were protected.

 

As indentured maid for a trader family

you drove a mule to Indian villages,

carrying cloth and metal pots to the women.

The chief named you,

“One Whose Hair Burst Into Flame.”

With these people you made a life,

birthing your baby into the medicine woman’s

cupped palms.

 

When the man your daughter knew all her life

as father died, Agnes Mary, you tore the fire

from your scalp, ran deep into the forest where plants

and animals helped you to heal.

Pale ones called you “mad,” said you’d lost your mind

but to the people, you’d found wisdom.

 

At campfire gatherings, you shook that gnarly old stick

adorned with animal bones and feathers over head.

Flames crackling your chants, you danced

to the six directions, dispensed tea made from herbs

the children helped you gather. “Wee ones!” You’d say,

“Ye carry seeds of all the powers. Fey!

Use ye wisdom well!”

 

Now, on nights when the full moon lures me

into her beam, I see your talons pointing to me

and my sisters, Agnes Mary. Fire Hair, you crossed the ocean

to a “heathen” land and found a home. Grandmother,

your roots spirit your daughter’s daughters

to sing their dreams.

 

Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry Contest 9/2007, 1st Prize

Published in Womens’ Voices News Paper, 10/2007

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How does Art become?

 

How much do we think ahead

to the light change, the word choice

to describe clouds swimming across sky

to become ground shadows

flying beneath our steps as we walk

or emerge from brush into painting?

 

Is the image developed play

or a dance that transcends creator and others,

blending minds, perception, spontaneous intuition

and intent, like a forming child,

a surprise of sperm/egg melding,

of DNA shaping each being’s swirl of creation?

 

Do artists think through to the “right” outcome,

with purposeful stroke, foresee the essence

of finished feeling, or gasp with heart throb

when the work, locked into present time,

is no longer a wish, a pulsing of groin?

 

Perhaps all is within flow—

after a mysterious change, a magical shift

of time and perspective,

a tiny movement or decision

a twist of light, color, shape, touch, word

that the profane turns, quickens

to become sacred,

and the piece speaks for itself.

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