In Progress: Problems with Beethoven

Flickr CC: sheep purple

Megan left her piano to-do list sitting out. How could I resist? I stole her title and a few of the items from her list. I wish I could post audio of her practicing at night. Her Beethoven is coming along nicely.

Problems with Beethoven

(for Megan)

The E in measure 75.
Measures 48 to 49: I’m doing them wrong.
The need to practice excessively and slowly.
Measures 97 to 108: Oh, God, really?
Memorizing the last two pages.
Getting the notes down.
Practice, that is all.
Everything goes so fast.
He never looks me in the eye.
My sister has gone to bed.
The hair.
What is he staring at?
Outside is frozen darkness.
I am unseen.
Mother has turned down the heat.
No more coffee.
And after this, math.
Seriously. Hello?
He never looks me in the eye.
Everything goes so fast.

© 2015 Stephanie Parsley Ledyard


In Progress: On My Porch

Some mornings, Natalie wants to go outside and wave Aaron off to work in the dark. Occasionally, we’ll stay and watch the morning come, and even though it makes us behind on some other things, it’s a magical start to the day.

Flickr Creative Commons: The Auto Motovated Cyclist

On My Porch


On my porch,
there is a small chair for me
and a rocking chair for my grandmother.
But we both sit on the step,
our bare feet flat
on the cool sidewalk,
to watch the morning come.
Grandmother wraps me in my old baby quilt.
The street lamp scatters
light through our tree onto the ground,
like a painting
in the big museum.
Not so far off, the highway
already rushes and hums
like a seashell held to my ear,
and I think of my mother
riding to work on the bus,
and the people in cars going to jobs
in tall buildings,
and maybe children in the back seats,
looking up at the very same sky.
Darkness hangs like sleep
in my eyes.
© 2014 Stephanie Parsley

Night Sketch 1

Photo © 2014 Stephanie Parsley

At the foot of my bed lies the sleeping cat, neither curled nor stretched, just gently curved, head resting on paws.

On the floor beside me lies the sleeping, sighing, elderly dog, paws twitching, twitching, breaths short, then longer, pausing, then starting again. To my left lies my sleeping husband, chest already steadily rising and falling after the week of commuting and work. Across the hall sleeps my sweaty daughter, hair smelling of dust, tired from the day of play, tantrums, and talking (so much talking), clutching her stuffed Minnie Mouse beneath her still, little arm. 
The cat at my feet, on the white quilt with colorful squaresshe is as sweet in her sleep as if she were my own child, sleeping.
My teenager down the hall, stretched on the couch with her homework and crackers and baby carrots scatteredshe has left sweetness behind for a time, embodying beauty, occasional grace, frequent slovenliness, and annoyance too, at me.
But oh, the cat, how precious she is, her paws clasped before her, eyes closed, as in prayer, sleeping.

© 2014 Stephanie Parsley


Photo © 2009 Stephanie Parsley


The boy
darted out, froze
on a lane line, arms hard
against his chest. A car stopped at
his shoe.
on smallness, he
hugged himself, but it did
not fit, there in the road, in rush
One arm
bore a green cast
from elbow to wrist. Our
eyes connected as he waited,
ran past.
Boy, I
should have told you,
should have rolled down my window, called,
Watch out, son, your life matters to
to me.
© 2013 Stephanie Parsley
A real boy inspired this poem, and I couldn’t stop with one cinquain about him, maybe because I very nearly ran over him on my way home from work.I think it was Halloween. It was turning cool out, and the boy had on short sleeves. 
Thanks once again to The Miss Rumphius Effect for the poetry stretch. This one, from November (written then but just now revised), was to write a cinquain — with a total of 22 syllables distributed over the five lines: 2 for the first line, then 4, 6, 8, then 2. 
I was glad to re-remember this boy. I hope he’s loved.

Ideograms, I have mixed feelings about you.

But I wrote one anyway.

This week’s poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect involves writing a cardinal ideogram poem. I ditched the “cardinal” (numerical) aspect and used letters instead. This type of poem involves looking at the shape of numbers or letters and incorporating the evoked images into corresponding lines of poetry. For example, in my poem, “Thunderstorm,” below, the T brought to mind a lightning bolt, the H a window pane, etc.

The ideogram really did make me stretch. So I guess that’s good.

photo: Wikimedia commons

T     lightning slices
H     window flashes, rattles
U     gutters spill
N     sit up small in bed
D     wrap arms ‘round
E     wind whips, rages
R     run, run for shelter
S     sirens bay
T     trees sway and lean
O     cellar: damp black nothing
R     match touches candle, illuminates
M     huddle, wait
© 2013 Stephanie Parsley

Opposites Poem

Photo by: Mikecogh, Flickr Creative Commons

This past Monday’s poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect was all about opposites. I resisted the challenge of writing an opposite poem because I could not think of a perfect pair of words to write about. But this morning, I eschewed perfectionism, got out pen and paper and gave opposites a little try. Glad I did!

On Trying to Write a Poem About Opposites:

eludes me,
try as I might
to fashion a poem
that’s not at all trite.
My effort with opposites,
try as I may,
ends in

(c) 2012 Stephanie Parsley