Thursday, April 23, 2015

Devil's Garden Poetry Assignment

"All Dick's Grass"
Click image to view larger

Canyon Cataracts

Moqui Marbles, Coyote Gulch, the Grand Staircase, petrified wood; Marlon Brando
loved Escalante, and you loved me. Red-rock Cave, Golden Cathedral, Slot Canyon,
Wild Cat Gulch; dream images fade in sunrise. Toadstool Trail, Hoodoos, Rimrocks,
Natural Bridge, The Woman’s Dance; over time, our hearts grow blind.  Bryce Canyon,
Indian petroglyphs, Devil’s Garden; we fail to see, with true delight, even the most
exquisite scenery; we fail to see each other. Under the falls, spray; eyes almost opaque.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
20150423-1023-2nd, Thursday, April 23, 2015, 1st
Iowa Poetry mooc assignment 2/2, define the line, then write a poem following that definition of line.  My definition, the breath.

(NOTE:  This poem is NOT directed toward Keith!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Visit with Van Gogh, in French

{pre}A la rencontre de Van Gogh/Rencontre avec Van Gogh

Je déambule à travers de larges touches de soleil,
des champs de blé courbés, des femmes chargées
du blé en gerbes, des arbres sombres
au loin. A la lisière du champ, il est assis, affaissé,
immobile, et rempli de lumière. Je m’assieds
près de lui, contemple cette fin d’après-midi,
le chaume des champs ,
L’âpre surface de la terre/l’épiderme rugueux du sol
Dans ses yeux sombres et sauvages,
L’espace d’un instant, je vois des galaxies
entrer en collision, d’étincelantes cités des ténèbres
tomber en ruines. Il reporte son regard sur sa palette,
sur les champs par-delà sa toile
mes doigts jouent avec un éclat d’obsidienne,
sentent l’arête de la surface lisse,
les ténèbres de son implosion.
Un trou noir s’épanouit au cœur de son âme.
Le bord de ma manche, l’ourlet
de ma robe, ma chevelure soufflent vers lui.
Une grande lumière émane de ses ténèbres,
illuminant la nuit qui tombe.{

Mary Stebbins Taitt, ........

Mary Stebbins Taitt ........ translated by Marie Rivet
This poem originally appeared in Montserrat Review in March of 1999
see my version here.  (I accidentally created two different poetry blogs.)

[The stupid blogger keep translating it (poorly) back into English)  Click "show original" (above) to see in French, and to see my original poem in English, use the LINK!]

Monday, August 27, 2012


Mists of water fall
and fall. No damp squirrel, no
bird, no elm leaf stirs.
Elm leaves and their lean
branches droop, pulled down
by a weight of rain.
In silhouette, sparse
leaves and lean branches etch themselves
against wet grey sky.

a cycle of three haiku

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Brilliance Afield

Brilliance Afield

Burning the wild lands, the moon rises gold; gold the eyes of wolves
Running in a rapid crouch up the snowy hill.  Exhaling,
I slip into the aspens, follow their tracks into a threshold of
Light under the firs.  The moon squats fat among them. I
Linger and watch, afraid.  Discard the fantasy that
I could be accepted, that I could be safe, that I could run.  With them.
A screech of owl cries. Wolves sing: close chorus, far response.
Nothing contains the fierce sacredness of this music.  I want to
Call back from this hidden body.  I pluck a tuft of fur from a drift,
Embrace bare branches, moon-bruised sky.  In

A cloud-smudged mirror of ice, shadows flicker, a broke
Face of moon shimmers.  I whisper: elk, caribou, antelope.  Stubbornly,
I reclaim the dream of hunting with the wolves.  Oh folly!  Will I return to this
Evening over and over, sifting through these images, lies and dreams?
Late-night owl calls again.  Wolf tracks fade in drifting snow.  I glimpse
Deer, then fox.  Braid my tracks into theirs.

1)This is an Acrostic poem. Acrostics are often used as games or doggerel. I have chosen here to attempt a serious acrostic poem. 
2)I would like to invite anyone interested to "play along" by writing serious (or not-so serious) acrostic poems and then posting the links in my comments section. I am sure you all know that in an acrostic poem, the first letter of each line creates a word when read vertically. It is a fun way to write about love or friendship or any other topic.
3)Poem and art by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt, published in Avocet. I'd love to think all of you subscribe to Avocet and have already read my poem, but I am guessing that is not the case. Because published poems are often read only by those who subscribe, I think I may post one of my published poems, maybe once a week, to share them with you. I hope that's OK.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Botanical Gardens
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
photo by me
click image to view larger

Haiku: What the Heart Feels

What the heart feels when
anger and hatred are set
aside: love, peace, joy.

Yes, I know this is not a traditional haiku.
And NO I do NOT know what the flowers are, please enlighten me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Poppies in Rain
Acrylic on Paper
by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt

From the Dark Centers of Flowers

Sometimes, I journey into darkness
while every shadow harbors a malevolent bat
whose wings reach out, sticky as spider webs
to trap me.
It’s a lovely day, friends say, trying
to cheer me. The sun shines; its warmth
caresses my skin, but in the shade, bats gather,
gnashing their teeth as their claws grow pointy.
When I bend to smell the flowers, the bats
ambush me. They pour from the center
of each blossom like flying monkeys,
like a plague of locusts.
When they eat holes in me, I am moth-eaten;
I am Swiss cheese. I am lace curtains
blackened by coal-fired ovens. I am despair.
The sun shines through me.
I am a pattern of light.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
location: Detroit, San Francisco
photosource: me (acrylic painting) (detail from "the Misunderstanding")

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Eggplant Poem (draft)

This is a new poem that I wrote for my poetry class with Dawn McDuffie.  The formatting came out sucky, sorry about that!  :-(  It is a DRAFT:

Aubergine, Solanum melongena, a Recipe

Open your loppers and wield them like the mandibles
of a huge insect. Steer them step-by-step toward the tall rangy plants
that bow with the weight of their fruit.  Swoop and center the jaws
around the fruit-stalk, yank closed the teeth to sever the tough stem. 
Watch the purple, pear-shaped fruit plop onto soil
damp and fragrant from days of rain. Carry it reverently
to the coiled hose, allowing each of your ten fingers
to stroke the rich, smooth skin. Wash the few dirt clusters
from the plump base of the fruit with a soft spray
and dry the fruit on your clean cotton apron. Enjoy the way
the water droplets sink into the fabric and disappear,
leaving only faint and fading dark spots on the paisley pattern.
Brush your lips against skin the color of stormy sunset. 
Inside, place a skillet on the fire, add fat, and turn up the flame.
Slide the cutting board from its home along the window wall
and pull the thick-handled butcher knife from its block. 
Lay your sacrifice on the wooden altar and slice from the shoulders
to the hips.  Pause to admire the creamy flesh and small designs
of seed. In a low, flat dish pour stone-ground cornmeal, flour,
salt, pepper, garlic, and a pinch of Old Bay.  Blend with a fork.
From the egg basket on the sideboard, raise your piles
of fresh-picked spinach, cilantro and parsley, pausing to sniff
the aromatic cilantro, and lift out two brown eggs.  Thump them
quickly against the edge of the sink, pull the shells apart
and let the wet suns in their small seas fall into a flat dish. 
Mix with the fork. One by one, lay the slices in the beaten eggs,
flip them, lay them in the cornmeal, flip them and drop them
into hot fat. Listen for a quick sizzle and a hiss of bubbles.
When the edges brown, turn them over and watch them dance.
When the slices resemble the sunset gold of the elm leaves
that gather in the tall grass outside your window, lay them
on towels to drain and cool. Arrange like petals of a flower
on Grandma’s heirloom Botanica platter, with sprigs of parsley
and cilantro. Danger!  Don't make these more than once a year
and don’t burn your tongue as you groan and savor
the crunchy crust that clings to the hot, soft fruit.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
for Margaret and Keith
111018-1516-2a(3), 111017-1432-1b(2), 111017-0836-1st complete,111016 partial draft a

Further instructions, not part of poem:
layer the leftovers with tomatoes and parmesan
and bake. Cut into rectangular chunks and serve warm.
-OR- Place the fresh fruit in the microwave ten minutes.  Cool.  Carefully scrape the soft pulp
from the now delicate skin, add lemon, olive oil, tahini and garlic
and spread on pita, toast or chips.  Wallow then, in the gorgeous glory of baba ghanouj.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Turn Back the Clock (new Poem)

Turn Back the Clock

I cannot look at the face

of the man who killed Norway's children.

I turn away in horror.

Why? I ask my husband, why

did he kill children?

Why children? How could they have harmed him?

Why did he dress as a policeman, the one person

we teach our children to trust, to go to for help

and safety? Why did he then

shoot them?

Why did he shoot them as they ran, shoot them as they swam

off the island toward the mainland, trying to escape?


did he do it? How could he?

Why? I cry.

And cry.

Fibers of my heart

tear apart


the little strands of muscles part

and all the soul leaks out.

I want to go back in time

gather the children

and protect them.

I want to turn back the clocks

and make them safe.

I want to restore

the lives they have lost

and let them flow forward again

to their own fruition.

I want to go backwards in time

and undo the evil

that made the man

do what he did

before he did it.

"If you want to bake an apple pie

from scratch

you must first invent the universe."

I want to reinvent the world

without that pain.

I want to erase every thread

that led to that event,

unwind it, unravel it

back to its source,

ablate that well of darkness

and set the wheels turning again

so those children run free,

laugh, grow up.

Or I want





those children

who can no longer be saved.

I cannot look at the face

of Anders Behring Breivik.

I want to trust the world again.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

"If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe." Carl Sagan

110725-0900-2a(2), 110724 1st draft

Images harvested from internet, for which I apologize. Click images to view larger.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two more poems being translated into French

Marie de Montpellier (in France) is translating two more of my poems into French.  She's already done two others.  Her current choices are one from Desire ("Forgetting You") and one from Counting Fingers, Smelting Light ("Remembering Ricky").  I am very excited, pleased and honored.  YAY!  :-D  Woohoo!

Friday, June 18, 2010

First IPad Poem


What if, instead of dying flowers, perfume
smelled like mountaintops, like granite

and fir-filtered wind?  Breezes lift our feet
from the rock and fragrance-scented air

buoys us up over golden rows of mountains.
You laugh like a child taking his first step

out onto the taut surface of water
and instead of sinking, we skate

on that tensile surface that quivers
like my heart when you reach

the long pin feathers of your wings
and wrap them all light and tickle

and remember around me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
for Keith
first poem on Ipad,
1000618-1557-2b(3), 100617