Wrinkled Dreams, by Debi Swim

Wrinkled Dreams
by Debi Swim

What will I dream now that I am old
Now that I’ve seen them come and go
What will I feel now that my dreams
Have floated along on ruffled streams
What will I long for in my old age
At this last, lingering, lonesome stage
Warm summer breezes during the snow
Custards and ice cream under willows
Dead-heading blossoms drooping and brown
and turning the seeds back into the ground
Maybe I’ll live to see another spring
With kites of all shapes on taut cotton string
Maybe there are still things to be desired
and like small shaky embers will burst into fire.

Debi Swim has had poems published in two anthologies, online publications and in the Bluestone Journal for Bluefield College. She is a persistent WV poet who loves to write to prompts.

Red in Tooth and Stamen, by Debi Swim

Red in Tooth and Stamen
by Debi Swim

Consider the lily of the field
which neither toils nor spins
Consider the Giant Hogweed
family of Queen Anne’s Lace

Consider the giant water-bug
of ponds, marshes and streams
Consider the small house cat
domesticated, purring feline
Consider nature and her splendor
and remember her hazards
Consider that there is beauty
yet jeopardy dwelling in each
benign and treacherous
So, tread charily upon earth
for even into Eden crept peril
amidst the splendor and glory.

Process Notes: Annie Dillard’s book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, gave me a new perception on nature and the nature of creation. As I’ve gotten older, I have been able (somewhat) to come to terms with life and its inconsistencies and its treacheries. I have a friend who wrings her hands and demands of God to fix this and fix that. I’m not against prayer but I’m beginning to think God just might know better than me. Whether He made a perfect world and we screwed it up or whether He made the world so that we would have to tread softly, I don’t know. The reality is we don’t have a perfect world and so, we tread charily and with respect.

Debi Swim lives in beautiful southern West Virginia where she persistently writes to great prompts from around the web.

Hanging Up the Sickle, by Debi Swim

Hanging Up the Sickle
by Debi Swim

I sowed my youth
in naïve dreams
crystal castles in the air
came crashing down
to rebound
and live a life
I’m satisfied with
and yet
I think of the times
I held back
played it safe
conformed
out of fear, duty, religion
And maybe I didn’t
square bale the moon
preserve the stars
pickle a rainbow
from my garden
when I could
… and
the field lies fallow now
I’ll not plant again
but live on the bounty
of star dust and rainbows
caught and clutched
close to my heart
from those green years.

Process note: “The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau

Debi Swim lives in beautiful southern West Virginia where she persistently writes to great prompts from around the web.

Skeleton Leaf, by Debi Swim

Skeleton Leaf
by Debi Swim

How beautifully leaves grow old.
Tender green buds unfurl, straighten,
strengthen and flutter in the air.
And after the blush of autumn
has drained to parchment brown
the leaf becomes like fine lace,
delicate, fragile, wispy tatting.

And she has become a frail leaf,
beautiful gossamer leaf,
leaving behind
the remnants of a beautiful life.

Process notes: “How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” John Burroughs

Debi Swim lives in beautiful southern West Virginia where she persistently writes to great prompts from around the web.

Life Is A Journey, by Debi Swim

Life Is A Journey
by Debi Swim

I can make it sound redundant
cause it has been done before.
I can make it sound necessary
cause people must be born.
I can make it sound inadequate
cause humanity doesn’t change.
I guess I could call it lots of things
but it’s been going on so long…

Adam, look around you
and help me understand
the expedience of life.
I heard it’s all about the journey
and a destination at the end.
But, the question still remains
is this journey only labor pains?

Debi Swim is a persistent West Virginia poet.

April, May, May Day May Day, by Debi Swim

April, May, May Day May Day
by Debi Swim

Day follows day
insipid as cold oatmeal
I choke them down
fall into bed at night
hoping for a dream
but awake to morning
another day, another day
and hunger grows in me
for something but I’ve
forgotten the taste
of life my taste buds
have dementia and
long for the sound
dingdongding bells
of palsy that drags
half my outlook down
and everything
and nothing
is normal.

Debi Swim poems in West Virginia mostly to prompts from around the net. https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

Shouns, Tennessee 1961, by Debi Swim

Shouns, Tennessee 1961
by Debi Swim

I wish you and I could both be ten again, visiting the house where I grew up on a particular day that piled snow almost halfway to the bottom of the windows. We’d make a snowball and roll and roll till it was as big as we. I would run into the kitchen and sneak out grandma’s old butcher knife and wield it like a lightsaber cutting the round shape into an armchair, then sit down like the Snow Queen. You’d come forward as though to bend in obeisance but instead kiss me on the cheek then touch it with your tongue. I’d be completely shocked and ask why you did that. You’d say you wanted to see if it would stick like on a metal flag pole. I would hurl myself at you in mock outrage and we’d roll around in the snow, clumps sticking to us like frosting. But our cheeks would betray the lie of icy hearts with their cheery pinkness. And, you’d be my Kai and I’d be your Gerda, friends forever.

               Friends first make the best
               lovers in this lonely world
               You, Kai and me, Gerta

Process note: My sister, brother and I did this once, made a huge snowball and cut it into an armchair style throne. I was thinking about this today in a fit of nostalgia and the idea of sharing it with my husband.

Debi Swim poems in West Virginia mostly to prompts from around the net. https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

Fickle Feet, by Debi Swim

Fickle Feet
by Debi Swim

Off go the crows from the roof
with a raucous deep-throated yell
and ebon flick of feathers
like they never cared anyway
for this dratted one-horse town.

The wind carried them away
in uplifting curt currents
while the band bugled below
and couples danced to the beat
under an abandoned roof.

The music swelled in his feet
and his heart thought it in love
with sweet, swaying hips in red
but after their dance she left
for the arms of another.

How embarrassing is love
When it goes wrong
In front of everyone.

Lines from “Crows in a Strong Wind”, By Cornelius Eady
“Off go the crows from the roof”
“How embarrassing is love
When it goes wrong
In front of everyone.”

Debi Swim writes primarily to inspiring prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Patina Means It’s Timeworn, by Debi Swim

Patina Means it’s Timeworn
by Debi Swim

Old age is a greened penny
minted with a long ago date
that then was bright shiny copper
worth more then than now
now it won’t be picked up from
the hot asphalt of a parking lot

but soon it will be polished up
shine once again and placed
upon satin in a box and people
will come by and remember
all that penny used to be worth
then close the lid and bury it

with only a label etched in stone
what was will never be again. Amen

Process notes
My father-in-law is dying in quiet indignity at the age of 95. I came across the poem “To Waken an Old Lady” by William Carlos Williams and that led to this.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts. Blog: https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

To All the Dogs on the Bank, by Debi Swim

To All the Dogs on the Bank
by Debi Swim

There’s a dog howling
I walk through the house
looking out windows
trying to see where it is
I can’t pin down its direction
silence
I relax
then the howling begins again
somewhere in the trees
but the trees are all around
and I can’t decide if it is
from the housing development
on the hill behind poplars
or the house to the right
hidden by maples and pines
where a dog is kept tied up
or behind the house
where sometimes
dogs chase after the deer
through the trees and underbrush
baying and howling
like the hounds of hell
then I remember
the dogs
buried on the hillside
and across the road
beloved little dogs
life cut short by cars
one by illness
one by my permission
eighteen years old
with so many things wrong
but all I can see are brown eyes
that loved me, trusted me,
and he lies in a favorite
blanket, snug, turning
back into dust
maybe that was goodbye
or a howl of outrage
or a greeting to the other dogs
that romp and run these woods
on phantom paws
and I wish I could be buried
on a bank between the woods
and howl my delight
or outrage
and run on phantom feet
through the woods and underbrush.

Process notes: “A Dog Has Died”, By Pablo Neruda
The last dog we will probably ever have died in Dec 2018. He, and other dogs we have loved, are buried on our property. I love that they are near.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts. Blog: https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/