Posted tagged ‘Love Poem’

Like Lichen

November 22, 2018

Like Lichen

LIke lichen is like an ear is like
some leaves
is how I love you–it’s just the shape
nature makes in me.

Like a fern is like a fir, like any tree truly,
like the dendrites that bring feeling
to a hand or body,
like the fingers of that hand, the limbs
of that body–
a shape nature makes–

like a nut, an egg,
like a planet, a seed, a heart–

like a riverbed or tributary,
like roots, like lightning,
like the capillaries that traverse
even stone–

the shape nature makes in me,
the love for you. 



A love poem for Thanksgiving and my prompt on With Real Toads.  Check out my most recent book if you have a chance.  Momoir, Maybe, available on Amazon.  (Or a host of children’s books.) 

And many thanks!  



April 19, 2017


I am asked to write about love
as an everyday object,
and I think of our down blanket, which we use all year
in the mountains, though you grow warm about as soon as you take root
while everything human in me seems cut off
from its grounding–I’m talking feet but also

And I think too (still waxing symbolic) of our lack
of bathing suits, an aspect of the isolated streams
in our mountains, the way that lack allows us
to really feel flow’s
caress and grip;

and okay, it’s a little precious
to talk of love in terms of down blankets and lacks
of bathing suits–even though I could go on at length
about loft and stretch–
because honestly it would probably be a lot more interesting if I’d just move
to the bodies beneath
the down blanket, the lack
of bathing suit–
to the lavender caverns of muscle (yours),
the pales of lugubrious flesh (yes, those would be
and whatever it is curves as gently
as a feather
when it rests,
what keeps afloat a head (let’s call it
your shoulder),
what blankets a shoulder
(let’s call it
my head),

that what
that touches both our sides
that warms,
that bares–



Very drafty poem for April and Sanaa’s prompt on Real Toads to write of love in the context of an everyday object.  Pic is mine–it wasn’t really drawn for this poem, but I like it!  All rights reserved. 

Too Heavy a Freight

September 6, 2016


Too Heavy a Freight

I tried to put our love
upon a scale,
but not wishing to be weighed,
it swam away, slipping on
slick fins, scales then only armor,
though too flimsy, oh mon amour,
to repel much ill.

Yet, how that brittle mail lightened
each swish-sway,
my sun, moon, hanging
in the balance.


55 word poem of sorts for Kerry O’ Connor’s week-end prompt on Real Toads, special bonus for poems inspired by the marvelous paintings of the Nigerian painter, sculptor and musician known as Twins Seven Seven, born Prince Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyelale Osuntoki (3 May 1944 – 16 June 2011) in Ogidi, Kogi State, Nigeria.  This painting is “Golden Fishes in Dark Sea.” 

Some Times (Poem 7 for April)

April 4, 2016

 Some Times

In moments when the blue breaks
into brightness, then to black,
the shades that crowd the farthest shore
no longer will stand back.

They reach in willow whisper,
grasp in spilled-ink din,
tug against my hold on you
pulling me to them.

It’s none of it ill-meaning,
this grip that cuts joy neat,
no more than blows of northern wind
do, conscious, wish to beat–

until at last receding,
calming as a sea;
they let return cerulean
with breakers far and lee

and you and me, we ride waves cupped
like Mona Lisa smiles,
filling palms with re-joined blue
that fills all cracks this while.


Draft Poem 7 for April National Poetry Month.  I will link this to Real Toads Open Platform tomorrow (Tuesday) hosted by Marian.   (I’ve been a bit ahead of the game but have some trying days ahead so who knows? Ha!) 

Pic is unedited; all rights reserved.  


March 9, 2016

Heart Out of the Box2


We are finite
on this fine night
so warm people sit out
on a roof, their feet
dwarf stars,
and I want to hold you
as you are
and as I am
though we aren’t that
even in the next minute
that much closer
to that final lover
whose arms we’ll fold into
no matter how loved, how close
the stars.


Draft poem for Real Toads open platform. The pic is a photo of a light sculpture made by my husband Jason Martin.  (I’ve edited since first posting, as originally the poem began with “you” rather than “we.”) 

somewhere I have rarely

February 17, 2016

 somewhere I have rarely

somewhere I have rarely
travels a two-lane road
there heaven’s leaven with clean white sheets
though time is crooked and bowed

the bedstead’s kind enough for pine
though the floor is scuffed with pacing
and oh we’re tired and–oh–sore
no matter what’s up-facing

still we try–we too–to find
sunlit in a forehead’s shine
a window to tint lidded eyes
so the mauve inside’s not grief

there oatmeal’s creamy without milk
our skins as smooth as laundered silk
(though hard as knead)
(though hard as need)
(though quite bare-kneed)
(though barred and kneed)

and the warmth that warms to wilt those sheets
where night and mauve and knees do meet
lulls merged lanes and lipreads smile
till time itself lies down a while


Draft poem for Real Toads Open Platform.  Heavily influenced (ha) by the reading of somewhere i have never traveled by E.E. Cummings posted by Kerry O’Connor at Real Toads. 

The pic is a water color of mine, recently painted.  It doesn’t go so well with the poem (and has no elephants or little dogs, which is rather new for me) but still–all rights reserved. 


January 23, 2015



We move at nights as if through sliding sands,
hands cupped.  They’re true sands of a sort–time’s grains,
brain’s siftings–what shifts down from the dreams we man,
woman.  We’re close, yet sleep’s a lonely lane,
feigns, only, a residing populace.

You kiss me back, when I kiss you, surfacing,
pacing contact like swimmers pace the turn,
churn, of head, the breaths in crawl’s spacing,
hastening–but slowly (for in these dunes,
moon’s dominions, all snails glue-footed)–to sink,
unthink, unlink, ourselves, slipping down,
‘round, into, oblivion’s sole skin.

Gingerly, we reach–when self once more floats up
cup-palmed–to catch, to hold–but soft– but softly–touch.


Here’s a sort of sonnet, inspired originally by the wonderful chained-rhyme Scrimshaw Sonnet, of Hedgewitch, Joy Anne Jones.  I am posting it also for dVerse Poets Pub Prompt, by the inimitable Brian Miller (!), called “breaking and entering” about using a form but also breaking the form.  In this case, I’ve used very poor slant rhyme at times, and there’s at least an extra foot or two in the last line!  Plus I’ve broken up the sonnet in an odd place–after the fifth line, rather than sixth or eighth.

This poem has gone through vastly different iterations.  The places that rhyme leads you are always quite surprising to me–and a few changes of words can and did lead to extremely different poems.  I’m not sure any of them quite say what I wanted!  Still, I rather enjoy following rhyme’s lead–it releases the mind from certain types of decision-making in a way that is quite freeing.  

I am actually posting this from an airplane–a long flight–so I am way too cramped to make a new drawing and re-did this pic I had saved.   I am not sure that the above really works–it’s supposed to be a couple lying down in bed!  (Perhaps moving through sand?) 

At Night

January 12, 2015


At Night

So, I breathe your chest
the way the Moon breathes
the Sun’s skin, inhaling
one half of the month, exhaling
the rest.

So, I rest upon your breath
the way the Earth rests
in the path of the Moon,
nearly centered.


Here’s another poem that came from the springboard of the prompt of Grace (Everyday Amazing)  on With Real Toads on David Huerta, a Mexican poet.  I am probably linking to With Real Toads Tuesday open forum.  All rights reserved (as always) in drawing and poem. (Yes, I know it’s not much of an elephant!)  


March 12, 2013



Mist rises like fish jumping, like
heart thumping, like firs
sighing, like memory
crying, like
hope dying–not needed-not even
considered–like dawn
breaking, like love
making, like water curling in
upon its fall, like head on lap on
lips on lips on
hips, like you and me and fingers
fingering, a brush against a nipple,
or being brushed against,
like something somewhere sure
of joy, like
the thing itself.


A revision of a poem from my book,  GOING ON SOMEWHERE, by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco (though the photograph above is mine and is actually of the Hudson River).  Posted for DVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld.

Jaipur (In Brief)

March 2, 2013



Cold inside, I foolishly drink
two cups of strong hot tea.
Now I will sit awake all night
thinking of you.


Here is an older short poem about Jaipur, called the “Pink City”, in Rajasthan, India.  The picture above is not the pink stone typical of Jaipur, but then again, the poem takes place at night.  (The pic is also from Agra, sorry! It is not dissimilar.)  I am posting the poem for Fred Rutherford’s Poetics Prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, asking poets to keep things short. 

A version of this poem is in my book, “Going on Somewhere.”  Also if you like elephants (of which Jaipur has many), check out my book 1 Mississippi (which is chock full of elephants!)  

All rights reserved in photo, poem.