Tag Archives: I’m Sick Today

Six of my favorite works of poetry

7 Jun

Below the six poems are my favorites and best written among my work in my opinion. They are in no particular order. I wrote them between 2011 and 2014. There are others I like, but not as well. There are some I should probably scrap, or start over again. If you would care to read more of my poetry work, select the poetry tab. I don’t mind a comment or two — in fact, I welcome them. — LSM

That Lion There

That lion there,
the one with splotchy, mangy hair
who lies in shade far from his lair
and pants last labored breaths of air —
Once was bold and fierce and strong
and where he walked the wary throng
of meaty prey gave way and long they
watched lest he should charge their way.
He once was young, a cub just born
who clung to mother’s teats and wore no
caution nor no wisdom yet —
essentials that would help him get to lionhood.
And if he could, that lion there
would soon return to those times where
his strength and youth were fresh and fair
and he could do whatever he would damn well do.

Copyright © 2014

 

Waiting to be called

Long laid low along the ridge
the Old Man rests, his crusty visage staring ever upward,
waiting, waiting, waiting to be called,
when he will rise to stand o’re all and look about,
the blue-hazed land rolling out to distanced watered shores,
and he will shake his grizzled beard, and wipe his gnarléd brow
and take his first stiff step, then more,
the residue of his millennialed nap falling to the forested floor
as he glides agefully away with the day’s last light,
his stately shoulders shrouded ‘neath the cooling night.

Copyright © 2014

 

Ah, Autumn!

The Snap! of cheek red’ning chill;
The Crackle! of gold and sable bills underfoot;
The Pop! of jeweled hills in the late day sun;
I love the first bowlful of Autumn,
Poured out and ready to be
Devoured.

Copyright © 2014

 

The Black Cat’s Tail

Crouched to pounce,
White paws afore,
The sleek black cat intently stares,
His lucent eyes, wide and fixed
Upon the object of his glare.
His tail betwixed the left and right,
A metronome of crescendoing beat
Precedes his jumping to his feet
To claim the prize on which his eyes
Have firmly locked.
And, oh, if that small morsel, white and pale,
Had just observed the black cat’s tail!

Copyright © 2014

I’m Sick Today

Today I didn’t feel so well —
My throat was very sore;
And Mama took my temp’rature
And stroked my hair some more;
Then measured out my medicine
Into a silver spoon,
With “down the hatch” she smiled at me,
And then she softly crooned …
“I love my girl, my pretty lass,
Who doesn’t feel so well,
You know I would — if I could —
Ring loud the healing bell!
“And up you’d jump and sing straight out,
‘My gosh! I’m ME again!’
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.”
But, sad to say, I’m sick today,
All nestled in the bed,
And I will sleep the day away
And rest my fev’rish head;
And dream wild dreams of Faerie lands —
Of castles, kings and queens;
Then of the prince who’ll take my hand
And fly to lands unseen . . .
Where he and I will rule with care
The lowly and the proud;
And when a subject isn’t well
We’ll ring the bell aloud!
And all’ll jump up and sing straight out
“Oh gosh! We’re US again!”
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.
Until the long day’s end.

Copyright © 2015

 

The Bone-Pickers

Down
Down
in lazy slow round circles;
their flight like narrowing funnels;
they light on soft-padded claws
Then bob and weave and haw
with eyes on carrion morsels:
the bits and pieces of once-vibrant things,
now nothing but bone and sinew and chunk-white fat
with red-brown meat, drying, lying like that in the sun.
The bone-pickers
ogle and waddle and gobble in order,
positioned by age and weight and strength,
Peck and tear at length till
what remains are bleached and white.
A gust billows, and hot pillows of grainy dust
Swirl and curl aloft – spin brief tornadic dances and die.
The bone-pickers stretch necks, preen feathers and cry to each other,
then wing their weary way back
up
up
in lazy slow circles;
shrinking in hot-sunned air
till barely there
until another sole soul
lies down with vacant stare.

Copyright © 2011
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Is a Puzzlement!?

5 Mar

ImSickToday

 

Is a Puzzlement!?

 

I’ve been writing and posting to what I call my “online writing studio” since November of 2011. I don’t call it a blog. I think the word itself is less than poetic or literary or romantic. Online writing studio infers you can enter and look around at the messy corners, the stacks of paper, the crumpled self-rejections of my efforts.

Over that period of time I have posted 599 pieces of work. I have a modest 23,925 views, which sounds impressive until you divide the totals by 4, which is the real total of my full years online. 8,737 people have stopped by, but many of those are repeats, so you can’t really trust the figure. The number doesn’t distinguish between one-time and repeat visitors.

  • 2012 was my best overall year for stats, with 2,263 visitors and 9,645 views.
  • My very best day ever was December 15, 2012, with 1,085 views.
  • Most people visit my site on Wednesdays. The most popular time is 1 pm.

It’s interesting to look at the data. I’m really not sure what to do with it.

What has struck me, though, is that one poem I posted back in May 2012 is consistently viewed. In that year it was viewed 13 times. In 2013, 25 times. In 2014, 133 times. And last year, 212 times. This month it has been viewed an average of 2 times a day.

Not a lot, I know. Not thunder and lightning impact. But consistently growing in who reads the poem, and very likely who comes back to reread it.

And I scratch my head over that. Nothing I have written appears on my stats consistently like the poem.

Here it is:

 

I'm Sick Today

I’m Sick Today

by L. Stewart Marsden

Today I didn’t feel so well —
My throat was very sore;
And Mama took my temp’rature
And stroked my hair some more;

Then measured out my medicine
Into a silver spoon,
With “down the hatch” she smiled at me,
And then she softly crooned …

“I love my girl, my pretty lass,
Who doesn’t feel so well,
You know I would — if I could —
Ring loud the healing bell!

“And up you’d jump and sing straight out,
‘My gosh! I’m ME again!’
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.”

But, sad to say, I’m sick today,
All nestled in the bed,
And I will sleep the day away
And rest my fev’rish head;

And dream wild dreams of Faerie lands —
Of castles, kings and queens;
Then of the prince who’ll take my hand
And fly to lands unseen . . .

Where he and I will rule with care
The lowly and the proud;
And when a subject isn’t well
We’ll ring the bell aloud!

And all’ll jump up and sing straight out
“Oh gosh! We’re US again!”
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.
Until the long day’s end.

 

Perhaps it’s the photo I took of my daughter, who was sick on the day I wrote the poem. In truth, it was I who watched over her, and not her mother, but I made the choice because — face it — how many dads really hover around their sick children?

Perhaps it’s that every parent resonates with the scene. Or the poem hies back to days when we were small and sick.

Or maybe the fantasy of a sick child’s dreams.

As the King of Siam said in The King and I, “Is a puzzlement!?”

So, I wonder, can YOU tell me why this poem continues to show up in my online writing studio stats?

Tweaking the work

12 Aug

proofing-marks

One of the great pleasures of being a writer is going back and rereading, then reworking something “finished” sometime ago.

Not sure a sculptor nor a painter has that freedom.

Of course, when a work appears in print, it’s a bit more difficult to accomplish. But on the internet? If it weren’t for the easy of editing online I might not publish anything at all.

This online writing studio is like the artist’s studio in that work is in process. I’ve a friend who is becoming a master in what he calls plastic, metal and glass. He uses clay to sculpt a range of beautiful flowers — and was on a rhododendron tear years back. He would lay down layer upon layer of glazes of varying color, fire the work and then carve and gently sand through those layers, revealing the layered colors.

Once he was done with a work, that was it. He could only start again if he didn’t like something.

david statueImagine Michelangelo finishing his great piece David and standing back, only to think, “You know, I shouldda made his manhood a bit bigger …”

I get to go back and tweak my writing (not to be confused with twerking my writing). Change a word or a phrase. Delete whole passages. Add entirely new material. I’m doing that now with my very first book, Through the Glass Darkly, a compilation of short stories I wrote over about a two-year period of time. I’m editing like mad, enlisting others to give me the benefit of their eyes and opinions, deleting stories, adding stories.

I just finished doing that with one of my favorite poems, I’m Sick Today, inspired I'm Sick Todaywhen my youngest was bed-bound with a fever and sore throat.

I guess the challenge is when do you know something is finished? Theoretically, you don’t. Like this life we sail through, the seas and weather change daily — sometimes from moment to moment.

So I’ll continue to review and tweak. And, if you point something out to me about my work that I was myopic about, I’ll think about your input and probably respond by tweaking some more.

Emily Bronte, et. al., wrote her manuscripts by hand. I’m sure to go back and rewrite was a bona fide pain in the arse. Not so bad these days with our technology.

That is one thing I am glad to have access to as a writer. I can go back and tweak to my little heart’s content.

— LSM