I have to admit that, though I enjoy all forms of writing, poetry holds a special place in my heart. There is something about the connection that a reader makes with good poetry. It can tug at heartstrings, enrage, make you weep openly, or send you into fits of laughter. There are lines that I quote at the beginning of my homepage that come from a poem I wrote many years ago...
'Words float on the air like pollen. They'll meet a bee and make honey, or a nose and make mischief. It all depends on where they land.'
Such is the way with poetry. When I write a poem, I have an intended central theme and meaning I want to convey. Often I've found that, once a reader adds his or her personal experience, cultural background, and state of mind at the precise moment of reading, my poem takes on a life of its own. It's like a canvas that continually repaints itself.
I mean it when I say that words are magical and mystical. They have great power in the way that they make us connect with ourselves. And our world.
Plant Me Deep
When my days number by the handful,
this wrinkled garment hung loose
upon a withered bone tree,
plan no satin pining box.
Burn my flesh, this poem,
and gather the ash of these words.
Plant me deep with a young fruited tree.
(Imagine me and its roots mingling with the worms,
these bones, fodder that feeds,
the woodsy rot of rebirth.)
Let the Old Mother take up her brush
to paint my dreams—
a green-bud awakening.
My flesh...the juicy bite of a peach
as I revel in her seasons' whirligig jig.
Bake me in a pie
and serve me for Sunday dinner,
where all things are discussed—
what the sun felt like on new flushed cheeks,
and the wind caught your hair in its witchy hands
to weave its tangled memories.
And when you speak of me,
let it be of the nectar's sweetness
and the fullness of your bellies
when chairs scrape back
replete and satisfied.
(Originally published in Seek It - Writers and Artists Do Sleep, Red Claw Press 2012)
Bread and Wine
Warm, pliant softness,
the breaking of flesh—communion,
a tangle of hair, of heart
Bread of my need,
bring, with reverent hands,
your daily sustenance,
love and laughter to feed
my numberless dreams.
This fluid ecstasy, shape-shifter subtle—
the trail of fingers, a legacy left behind
in butterfly heartbeats,
a sharp inhale of breath.
And me, a person of words,
drunk on the wines we choose,
wades silent into your depths,
before the first syllable
(Originally published in “Crave It – Writers Do Food”, Red Claw Press 2011)
hisses through barren boughs
cold as a witch’s kiss.
Scandalmonger of the fields,
grips ragweed by the forelock
to lay across the line
and beat away the dirt.
Hickory switch, finger wagging
at the giggle of snowflakes
leapfrogging through ochre fields
and playing knock-knock—
upon her parlor door.
(originally published in About.com Winter Anthology 2006/2007)
The mind behind his vacant eyes
watched the vultures peck and pull
the sinew of his intellect,
the sockets of his soul.
And with each rip and tear he felt
the words begin to flow,
like lava through a spider’s web,
as ashes through a hole.
He watched her silent silhouette
perched nimbly on the sill,
with eyes of ghostly Guinevere
above a shadow veil.
Like slithering streams of honeyed light
reptilian tresses spilled
in writhing puddles on the floor,
though she stayed statue still.
He pondered at her saccharine smile
half-formed as if in jest,
somewhere between the need and fear
considered her request,
to lay his weary head upon
her alabaster breast,
should he convince himself to pay
the forfeit of her kiss.
The words from every villanelle
came tumbling through his mind.
Had fate decreed that he must too
repeat the staggered lines?
“There are far too many words,” he said,
“there’s far too little time.”
A kiss still stinging on his lips,
he penned the final line.
(Winner of the Poetry Canada Rhyming Poetry Contest and published in Poetry Canada May 2008)
by: Debbie Ouellet
She announces her coming in the wail of a train whistle,
ghost sounds sailing over impossible distances,
tucked into the creases of her gown,
the smell of worms in damp earth,
grass leaning westward to catch a whiff of her approach.
She arrives in a flash of jewels, the golden streak of her crimped hair,
cloak billowing, snapping like crisply starched satin,
raising her skirts, letting them fall in shimmering torrents,
or trickle down, like diaphanous silk across a palm,
soaking the earth with her scent.
She leaves, her dark shoulder turned against the sun
leaving him to follow, clutching the train of her gown
like an ardent lover. The rustle of her grey taffeta skirt,
a knowing smile, she tosses her colour box across the sky
as the promise of her return, someday, somewhere …
on her terms.
(Third place winner for Best Poem in the Azimov's Science Fiction Magazine 2008 Readers' Awards, originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine July 2007)
I Pass the Loom
by: Debbie Ouellet
this threaded needle,
in tattered strands.
I pass the loom,
choose each fiber;
reds and greens;
this garment oddly—
an ill-fit skin
on a bone tree.
(Originally published in Inscribed, July 2008)
Queen Anne's Lace
by: Debbie Ouellet
The daughter of sun and rain,
earth and tenacity—
she sways, bends,
dips a jaunty curtsey—
chatting with the breeze.
No gloved-hand tenderness,
trimmed back, garden walls for her;
leave that to the roses—
posing perfectly pink and red
behind trellis trappings.
Give her open fields,
sweet drenching rain,
love-drunk bees courting,
as she dances with the day,
her milky lace parasol
turned toward the sun.
(Originally published in Tickled by Thunder’s Best of 2005)
by: Debbie Ouellet
white brush dips,
painting the sky purple,
as God rolls his r’s,
like a baritone Scot,
and scratches his signature
across the night.
(Originally published in The Writers’ Journal, July 2005)