Tag Archives: Poetry

Linda Ferguson, Rainer Maria Rilke

In which Carrie works on her identity . . .


This is the week for writing practice, vocabulary building, study and worship.  I have before me two slim books to help.  One belongs to a friend, the other to someone I might have had as a friend.  Rilke speaks to me as one in his Letters to a Young Poet.  There are nine total.  I will read one or two a day as advice on ways to approach poetry.

Linda has seventeen poems in her chapbook, Baila Conmigo.  One poem has this title.  Others are “Mama Gets Some Road Rage,” “The Speacialists,” and a particular favorite, “Dancing to Mendelssohn’s ‘Venetian Gondola.'”  Her poems here, unlike the ones she shared during the time I took a writing workshop from her, are more elusive and sharp.  I get the feeling the poet has given her all here, not holding back from her reader’s probable judgment, and the fact of that is inspiring.  We all want to cut loose sometimes, like a child at an outdoor fountain on a blistering summer day.  I’d like to do that myself.

So I leave for a week armed with these two friends and a vow to say “I love you” thirty times a day to mirrors I happen upon.  I plan to read one or two from each book every day while I, with aggressive love, cut loose from an old set of debasing practices.  I will write, and create something I like.

Perhaps by Wednesday or Thursday I will know more and care more about what is vital in me.


I Am From: My Grandmother

In which Carrie writes an I Am From poem in the voice of her mother’s mother, Grandma…

I Am From

: the red head of my grandfather Gordon.

: liver and onions, and wheatened cinnamon rolls.

: hand-sewn skirts and initialed kerchiefs.

: the twenties, the thirties, the nineties and on.

I am from the back of my favorite horse

who I rode,

with the boys,

all of us five, me the only girl.

I am from my sister, my mother

who I still call Mother even though she is gone from me, in a way.

: Boring, Estacada, Sisters, Nehalem:  I am not from a small town.

I am the small town: Rural.  Tree-lined. Transparent. Neighborly.

: my husband, my children, my girls.

: the whirring wheels of my old Raleigh bicycle.

: where re-use, recycle was everyday practice, not a movement.

I am from a cocoon: my grandchildren always will think of me in a Monarch’s flight.

I am from the giggle of my young great grandchildren who I impart tribunal forced marches in the lovely place we live:

from which we enjoy and pass on to them.

I am from the library, the Cascades Range, the schoolhouse, Time.

I am Lois

By Carrie Anne Ebner

On A Long Coat

In which Carrie revises an original poem…

On a Long Coat

I remember you best as
the ankle-length oilskin coat framing
You might be in a film
from the seventies,
or on the cover of a Larry McMurtry novel.

I’d always be riding a few lengths behind
admiring your silhouette when the sun dips west.
Your good mare’s ears
pricked forward
ever-compassing toward the barn.

All of that light dust
kicked up.
I inhaled, and ate you up.

Like shared atoms and ashes from the ancients.
Your piano song in time with hooves.
Your pomegranate given for the season.
I’m in your shadow again,
I huddle within it.
It warms my thin skin.

I’m finding other coattails
like in that John Hiatt song
With an image of a painted pony,
a Navajo rug across its withers
galloping questionmarks, like cat tails,
across my serious forehead.

I’m constantly wondering
When will I discover my own?

Your trenchcoat would not fit me right
or the evening gown silk of the modernist novel,
neither the business suit of our utilitarian frustration
nor the ones without any
who have yards to spare.

I won’t ever be the tech savvy pirate,
the mongering artist,
absent of the art,
a philosopher’s shunned poet,
guilty as charged,
the poet’s honored philosopher king
with the periodic elements on her hands,

Here: I can perfectly envision myself,
in a bathrobe
the color of forewarned
draped across these two stiff joints
holding up my canopy,
hidden from view.

It was you.
And you.

Or, I have “one hand over my mouth”
on Billy Collins’s couch,
devising a philosophy of myself
(only not at the expense of others).
Am I a resemblance of you?
Are we amongst the few?

Where was I,
where looked my inner eye
when I sought distance from my what,
my how,
my who?

By Carrie Anne Ebner

The Just by Jorge Luis Borges

In which Carrie copies a poem by Jorge Luis Borges even though she probably isn’t supposed to yet feels that he would want her to regardless of copyrighted material…

(Spanish below the English translation by Alastair Reid)

The Just

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating color and form.
The typographer who set this page well, though it may not please him.
A woman and man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

Los justos

Un hombre que cultiva su jardín, como quería Voltaire.
El que agradece que en la tierra haya música.
El que descubre con placer una etimología.
Dos empleados que en un cafe del Sur juergan un silencioso ajadrez.
El ceramista que premedita un color y una forma.
El tipógrafo que compone bien esta página, que tal vez no le agrada.
Una mujer y un hombre que leen los tercetos finales de cierto canto.
El que acaricia a un animal dormido.
El que justifica o quiere justificar un mal que la han hecho.
El que agradece que en la tierra haya Stevenson.
El que prefiere que los otros tengan razón.
Esas personas, que se ignoran, están salvando el mundo.