Summer Blue, by Marilyn Braendeholm

Summer Blue
by Marilyn Braendeholm

The garden gate is slamming —
the wind’s picked up, and August
is disappearing into drizzle;
sets petunias on their weary way.

A march toward mould and mess.
Odd how a slick of rain melts
purple blossoms into streaks
that stick to your fingers and

stain you like a typesetter
in a print shop — summer stains,
permanently blue. Blue, yes,
it’s the end of summer blue.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 320.

Marilyn Braendeholm, aka ‘Misky, lives in England surrounded by flowers in the summer, jars of sourdough starter in the winter, and old pots and pans when she’s testing recipes in the kitchen. Her poetry is regularly published by the literary magazine, Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream.

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A Voice Within, by Marilyn Braendeholm

A Voice Within
by Marilyn Braendeholm

And there’s the sun. Climbing
the horizon. Drifting. Light
strung through trees. It sings
with a foggy voice, joining
impatient birds. And, I see

the birdbath needs refilling;
blackbirds drum their wings,
spilling water from their
tasselled tails. And, there
in the corner by the fence,

the roses are full heads
of bloom. I’ll cut a pillar
of fired-orange, a bouquet
for the table. A displayed
feast for lunch. And after,

I’ll re-oil the cutting board –
the teak one. I love it, and
my affection for it’s showing.
It’s old. Honourable. Sturdy.
Worn. Like my sensible shoes.

So I take on tasks by minutes.
Each day an epithet at sunset.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, and the rolling hills of West Sussex. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is widely published.

The Last Move, by Marilyn Braendeholm

The Last Move
by Marilyn Braendeholm

My mother had a weightless ease about her;
        my father well grounded.

He was wordlessly quiet, a revolution
        of important thoughts.

Strategy being his favourite, chess
        by choice, and he always won.

Mom said games were for bullies –
        I never understood until Dad lost.

He lost his quiet to an unshaven man
        with a hole in his shoe.

Dad never played chess again, but Mom
        remained weightless as any breeze.

 

Marilyn (Misky) Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is widely published.

The Practical Freedom of Madness, by Marilyn Braendeholm

The Practical Freedom of Madness
by Marilyn Braendeholm

dream-2011 Jacek Yerka (1)

Art by Jacek Yerka

I remember the day that I woke,
mad — and I thought I’d
crackle from the heat of it all.
It felt like every mask I’d worn,
was removed. Like sandpaper,
I was an irritant in my own skin.
And I remember layers of myself,
dissolved — such a practical way
of dressing,
and undressing,
and sometimes I fancy myself
a surreal piece of art, like a cat
who’s stealing my seven lives.

Process notes: This was prompted by an image, Prompt 46 (via Magpie Tales), Red Wolf Poems, and it occurred to me that as we sleep — we all go slightly mad.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind, aging Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is published by Waterways Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Gnarled Oak, and several print anthologies. She blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

A Tangle of Sleeping Beauties, by Marilyn Braendeholm

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Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

A Tangle of Sleeping Beauties
by Marilyn Braendeholm

There on the table is a tangle of fruit,
a jeweller’s asset of sleeping beauties.
They lay broad across cottons and fine
wool, set right toward void, as a crow flies.

It’s a world wrapped up in itself, moonish
grapes and bracelets of peel, sweet citrus
circling the sun – such a deadened world
it must be, all for want of air to breathe.

And framed of gilt they watch but never
hear a rush of larger worlds nearby. Nor
even slightest hope have they for a knight
to wake them from their deeply tangled sleep.

Process note: Inspired by an image prompt at Red Wolf Poems, also the cover art for Red Wolf Journal’s Fall 2015 Issue 7.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

The Courage of Shadows, by Marilyn Braendeholm

The Courage of Shadows
by Marilyn Braendeholm

We shadowed clouds
like passing thunder,
and tucked ourselves
under its darkest rim.
Once so bright,
we’re now swept
so dim, departed
with the glow of day.

That light that comes
from the breaking sea,
that light that comes
from long hills grassy,
pouring down from sky.
And then you asked me,

the wind stealing words
from our lips, How can
deserts change to lakes
and mountains
pour with rain, and
are our noble-hearted
shadows brave enough
to always follow us?

Process note: Exploring shadows based on the changeable nature of light. Inspired by Victor Hugo, “Les Orientales” and an image prompt, Persephone, at Red Wolf Poems.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

Revealed, by Marilyn Braendeholm

Revealed
by Marilyn Braendeholm

I stood by the waves, they stooped white
with foam, their crest
flecking midday
sun, stars of cool
sea caught on breeze, and not a cloud
specked the sky, not
a gull, nor jib blown.
The day shimmered
brighter than song. And I stood there,
bone-tired, and
to me – nothing
was sorrowful.

Process notes: After a very unpleasant day, I stood at the end of Eastbourne pier, and felt refreshed by the sea breeze. This poem form is a “Minute Poem” — a total of 60 syllables. Sometimes it only takes a minute to find yourself again.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is published by Waterways Journal, Gnarled Oak, Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, three international print anthologies, and placed in the top 5 Writers’ Digest Chapbook Challenge twice. She blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

A Dozen Poppies, by Marilyn Braendeholm

A Dozen Poppies
By Marilyn Braendeholm

Mum loved plastic flowers,
silk ones, too. She once made
a dozen oriental poppies from
red and orange crepe paper,
all twisty-turnie around black
pistils and stamen centres
the shade of a menacing thought.

Then she sprayed them with cologne.
Evening in Paris at first, later
Avon Skin So Soft because she
was saving toward Christmas gifts
from Avon. Those were the days
before loyalty cards, and no one
collected points. But Avon saw

the future, and offered vouchers
for money off your next purchase.
Mum sprayed Avon everywhere,
even on last summer’s dried
hydrangeas, and she had
the softest crepe paper poppies
a florist could ever hope to touch.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, bottles of fermenting apple vinegar, Molly, her Springer Spaniel, and a small camera that she keeps in her pocket. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work has found homes with Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, Four & Twenty, Sprout Magazine, Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, inclusion in three international print anthologies, Pyrokinection, B-Gina Review, and few more. She also co-edited the 2014-15 Winter Issue of The Red Wolf Journal.

UNDERTAKING REMEDIALS, Marilyn Braendeholm

Undertaking Remedials
by Marilyn Braendeholm

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photograph (c) Marilyn Braendeholm

I haven’t been here for a while, not since
I was a haughty teen and the priest said
we’d all go to hell no matter what path
we chose. What’s the point, I thought –
no matter what remedials I took, I was
headed for clouds of sulphurs
and an afterlife akin to a lit matchstick.
So anyway, as I was saying, or rather
writing since that’s what I’m doing,
I haven’t been here for a while, and I’m
not ashamed to say that I’ve rather missed
the old place. The smell of damp sandstone
that pinches at your nostrils, and those wooden
pews buffed to a miraculous shine, which
is what comes from 500-years of arses
swiping their way along its considerable
burnish length – slowly sliding in but
sliding out faster, fidgeting and squirming,
broad bums swish-swiping about and each
movement resurrecting a high gloss shine
on these leaf-carved planks of oak. Yes.
Much to my surprise, I’ve missed my
Sunday mornings at our old parish church.
Doubt that I’ll tell anyone that though;
might be a while ‘til I return again.

MERE REFLECTIONS OF DUST, Marilyn Braendeholm

Mere Reflections of Dust
by Marilyn Braendeholm

It’s time. We open lace-frosted windows.
We shake memories from your duvet.
We straighten and pinch pleats into curtains.
We brush away bits of you flaked to dust,
but we leave your shoes paired and lined
as neatly moored boats in the closet.

And three bullfinches watch us, closeting
away their want to flight. Spiegelled to windows,
sat there on lichen-crusted branches, lined-
up like clothes pegs, feathers fluffed into duvets
against December’s chill. Their songs as light as dust.
Long frills of song that silt through closed curtains.

Forever I’ll think of winter smoky smells curling in curtains,
a rush of summer scents at the church doors. Priestly closets
of ritual water, lit wax tapers, and prayers. Roses that dust
cold stone aisles. You tucked up in heaven, our hearts windows
opened to every changeable storm as cold winter sun lines
crosses from lead panes. Shadowy clouds of tumbling duvets.

Forever I’ll remember summer winds and spinnaker duvet-
soft sails filled with holidays. The boat’s lip drinking curtains
of sea, tipped like a chalice filling with blind joy and lined
with the twinkle of your eye. These. Locked away. Closeted.
Protected where air won’t dilute our memories. A window
where we see you, recalling more than today’s sparkling dust.

Forever I’ll remember your hands mending dry walls. Stone dust
dancing with your smile that spilled into a laugh, soft as a duvet
and just as light. You watching weather passing by the window,
your shadow lingers on the floor, your fingers still curl the curtains
and a brown spiced scent spills through my thoughts from your closet.
Our safe harbour. A sanctuary of memories. We’re anchored and lined.

This morning we woke. Your shirts and shoes tidy. In line.
Your old gold watch and bedside clock wound. Dusted.
A hanger keeps your wedding suit of 60-years ago. Closeted.
The past holds our cherished memories — suddenly your duvet
swirls dizzying scents of you as I open your bedroom curtains that
still curl where your fingers held them open against the window.

Your cologne lines your closet with a lifetime of rich memories.
A bright scent freshened by an open window and sun-filled curtains.
I shake your duvet, dust sprinkled with sunshine. I’m filled with you.

Marilyn’s process notes:
This poem (a sestina) was written while my father-in-law was in hospital with pneumonia. He passed away on 6 December 2012 in Denmark. Rest in peace, Far.

Marilyn Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, a Springer Spaniel, and a small camera that she keeps in her pocket. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work has found homes with Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, Four & Twenty, Fib Review, Sprout Magazine, Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, Red Wolf and several international anthologies.

Marilyn blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.