Musings about life on Earth in all its aspects…

Month: April, 2014

The Monastery’s Seven Hours

Matins, midnight’s bout of prayer,File:BritLibRoyal14CVIIFol006rMattParisSelfPort.jpg
by yawning monks kneeling there,
eyes half closed, or all the way,
hoping for the break of day.

Lauds‘ laudatory monks, alert,
warmed by the sun, all assert
their blessings, state them to and fro,
no need for rooster’s morning crow.

At Terce, thrice now the prayers have rung,
the blessings chanted, the psalms sung.
The monks, all now fully awake,
bellow their prayers for all our sakes.

Sext is when the monks all ask
blessings on these gifts, the tasks
of kitchen cooks. These monks, cowled,
just men like us whose stomachs growl.

None the hour after the lunch,
when eyes again, I have a hunch,
get heavy-lidded and partly close
against the sun’s bright pm glow.

At Vespers the candles are brightly lit
and day’s end comes to the pews to sit.
Monks ponder charity and bits of grace,
till contentment falls on each one’s face.

Compline marks the end of day,
“Now I lay me down,” they say
These monks, serene, now each has found
peace as the liturgical hours go ’round.

– Roy Beckemeyer, April, 2014

This poem was an exercise for a poetry workshop I am leading called “Poetry by Sevens,” in which we write poems inspired by some subjects typically grouped in sevens.  For example, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Seven Dwarves, the Seven Deadly Sins, etc.  This one used the Seven Hours of Liturgical Prayer.  I tried to think of monks as just men, not some sublime praying creatures.

The illustration is from Wikimedia Commons and is a self portrait of a 13th Century  Benedictine monk, Matthaeus Parisiensis.


Poetry Month American Cinquains

Poetry Month American Cinquains (A five-line poetic form in which lines 1 through 4 have 2, 4, 6, and 8 syllables, respectively, and line 5 has 2 syllables).

April 1 (inspired by a drive through the Flint Hills after prairie spring burns):

The green
already there,
woven among black ash
remnants, fiery tweed of renewed

April 2 (inspired by a Kim Stafford reading at Watermark Books, a William Stafford Centennial event):

for poetry.
Might it be genetics?
Talent passed from father to son?

April 3 (inspired by this also being Jazz Appreciation Month):

swing notes, two-four,
Dorian, Phrygian,
sevenths, ninths, elevenths, thirteenths.
It’s Jazz.

April 4 (inspired by the first thunderstorm of the spring):

Out at the edge
Of hearing. The clearing
Of a storm’s throat, a stage whisper:

April 5:

Writing paper.
Pen. Letters. Elegance.
Illuminated manuscripts.
By Hand.

April 6:

A list
poem is always
fun but then there must be
some scheme or logic, rationale,

April 7:
Contretemps. Cavalcades.
Conditioning. Crepuscular.

 April 8:

I’m a
container for
all that blood, corpuscles –
white and red – and plasma. The stuff
of life.

April 9:

old dogs
lying beneath
our feet breathing softly
what more could we need in old age
than this

April 10:

perch in clusters
on pear trees like close friends
bees flit, flirt, hum as petals start
to fall

April 11:

Tax day
is a comin’
another check I’ll write
not enough deductions for a

April 12:

Where the
heck are April’s
showers? Here comes young May,
looking to plant flowers. Too dry?

April 13:

A – P –
R – I – L – T –
H – I – R – T – E – E –
N – T – H – April Thirteenth –

April 14:

catch snow, don’t scowl,
stand sturdy and strong, tall,
but think of Amsterdam in spring,
and yearn.

April 15:

of blood red moon
old earth’s shadow once more
makes the moon’s visage dimly blush,

April 16:

with an iPhone
takes patience, eyesight, small
fingers, I have learned – then again,
have I?

April 17:

On this
day in the past
Thornton Wilder was born.
Gairrison Keillor told us this

April 18:

On Calvary
Crucifixion and death.
God’s Friday, Pious Friday, Good

April 19:

have specialties
like gynecology,
cardiology. I prefer

April 20:

Mornings the sun
rises, brimming over
with forgiveness, atonement for
our sins.

April 21:

Bloom intensely.
Color with abandon
Every day of every spring.