Pilo: In a Dream

Comes to me in a dream,
bearing a green leaf.

Could be from cranberry,
or bog whortleberry.

Whichever it is, this Pilo
handles it with care–

as he does with me.

. . . . .



The Day After, We Still

The Day After, We Still

Feast on possibilities.
Let everyone and everything
reach up toward heaven,

breach the clouds, breathe in
clear air, laugh a little —
give deep thanks for such

grand, expansive views.

Then, with bits of chagrin,
turn toward home again,
packing all the clarity

and charity you can carry
inside, back down
to this fractured earth

where we amend.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne
23 november 2018

Women Poets Live and Write

Women Poets Live and Write, Ask and Wonder, Travel About and Travel On

From Northampton in the Kingdom of England in 1612 to her last home in North Andover in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1672, Anne Bradstreet writes as one of the first women in the Colonies. She dares to wonder: “Why is there no rhet’ric we women expect? Why is there no rhet’ric we expect of women? Do we not now live in a New Land where all voices may be raised and heard? Is this not the finest meaning of Freedom?”

In 1757, one hundred years after Anne’s death, Mary Darby Robinson begins her life journey in Bristol, in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Robinson’s tragic travels deliver her to an early death in 1800 in Englefield Green, Surrey. Robinson’s sad life informs her responses to Bradstreet’s questions. Thus, with a deep sigh, Robinson bewails, “Because we women dwell far too long — left to wallow in our own Caves of Woe and Solitude.”

Thirty years after Robinson lays to rest across The Pond, Emily Dickinson arises — and remains from 1830 to 1886 — within the confines of her home in Amherst, in what becomes the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Dickinson too asks, “Why do we find such Ransom in our Voices? Why do we use Language as Infinite Defense? And why, stroking the melody, do we wonder: Is this the way? What have we to show — today?”

Gertrude Stein appears in 1874 in Pittsburgh, forty-odd years after Dickinson and five hundred miles southwest in Pennsylvania. Stein becomes an expatriate in Paris, France. Before she finishes life there in 1946, she forms a response to her sister-poets. Stein’s explanation, a bit incoherent at first, boils down to this: “there are too many types of obscurity in life, language, identity: after all we know a rose is just a rose that arose.”

Hilda Doolittle also appears at first in Pennsylvania, but in Bethlehem, about three hundred miles east of Stein’s birthplace. Doolittle uses a pen name and becomes known as H.D. She also considers the questions that came before her. H.D. states, “Yes, it does demand all our visionary powers to defy fractures that attempt to define and limit us.” H.D. dies in 1961 in Zurich, Switzerland, four hundred miles southeast of Stein’s Paris.

Another American, Marianne Moore arrives just one year after H.D. in 1887, but hails from Kirkwood in Missouri, one thousand miles west of H.D.’s birthplace in Bethlehem. Moore picks up the threads of literary questions. In New York City, Moore writes till her end in 1972. With Emphatic Reticence, she demands: “What is the source of Feminine Language? Why, poetry is all nouns and verbs. Our thorns may be the best parts of us.”

Louise Bogan emerges ten years after Moore, but fourteen hundred miles northeast in Livermore Falls in Maine. Bogan too works the thorny themes of women. She describes women artists as Alchemists who travel the Landscape and take up the Quest. Two years before Moore passes, Bogan ends her poet-trek in New York City in 1970. She offers this as she leaves: “The Initial Mystery that attends any journey is how did the traveler reach her starting point in the first place? Yes, women poets, perhaps this instant is our time.”

. . . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne
Tiferet | Twenty-Nine
Prose poem mined from
Women Poets: 1650-1960
Ed. Harold Bloom, 2002.

Ode to the Cento and Mary Darby Robinson

O Adversity! O’er my head, the deaf’ning Tempest blew, and blew.
O Antique Woods! Whose branches oe’r-hang the mountain’s crest.

O Beauty, Exulting Beauty! Magic phantom of the hour.
O Bright Stars! Shine on fields where trembling we stand.

O Della Crussa! Enlighten’d Patron of Sacred Lyre! Sing now!
O Despair, Terrific Fiend! Be thou Monster fell’d, condemn’d.

O Eloquence, hail! Goddess of persuasive art! Speak!
O Envy! Deep in th’ abyss where frantic horror bides.

O Health! Bright-eyed maid born of the tranquil mind.
O Heaven! How I could toil for thee o’er burning plains.

O Love! I renounce thy tyrant sway. Go now, away!
O Life! What is this world? Is this thy school?

O Meditation! Sweet Child of Reason made serene!
O Melancholy! Thou Sorc’ress of the Cave Profound!

O Moon! Palest Goddess of the witching hour.
O Morning! Rise oe’r fallow plains and fertile meads.

O Muse! Let me seize thy pen sublime and write.
O Myrtle! Unfading branches of verdant hue.

O Nightingale, Sweet Bird of Sorrow! Why sing?
O Oberon! Who gilds the vapours of the night?

O Reason! Vaunted Sovereign of the Mind! Rule us now.
O Reflection! Thou, whose sober precepts may control.

O Simplicity! Sweet blushing Nymph who dwells inside.
O Solitary Man! So oft seen pacing oe’r the meadows.

O Thou! Meek Orb! Stealing oe’r the dale at night.
O Time! Forgive our mournful song that stole along.

O Valour! Dearest Valour! Bestow thy gifts of Pow’r!
O Vanity! Insatiate Tyrant of the Mind — begone!

. . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne | Tiferet Twenty-Eight
Found cento created with first lines mined from
selected pieces by Mary Darby Robinson (1757-1800)

Long Live the Longlines

Longline techniques use long lines baited —
at intervals — by branch lines, labelled snoods,

or gangions: shorter lengths of line attached
to the main longline — clipped with vowels —

or swivels of syllables — and hooked at each end.
Longlines are defined by where they are placed —

in counted columns — at the surface, or the bottom.
Longlines may be tied to anchors — or left untethered,

to drift. Hundreds or thousands of baited words can hang
from a single line — which oddly target other species.

Pelagic longlines hang near or above the wet working surface.
Demerals plumb the depths — move along the ocean floors.

Some longlines include awkward, untrapped intentions
–knotted nets full of dangling or untangled phrases.

Depending on the weather, longlines may also harvest
incidental catchments of (pro)found reflection.

They can expose expanses of salty awareness that may arise,
help us reassess interior maps — or oceanic boundaries.

No more need to toil or roil about — without longlines of connection.
Navigate safely now — amidst the mists of undiscovered meaning.


. . . . .

Susan Powers Bourne | Tiferet Twenty-Seven
Altered found poem from “Longline Fishing”


As we travel on,
we enter a curve:

one of those steep
learning curves

that rise up along
old back roads —

steep, pebble-packed
inclines, ungraded —

that surprise us —
demand our skills

insist we make more
instant choices:

speed up, slow down,
brake — or simply


. . . . . . . .
spb | 26