THE ANSWER

Final Words by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompt

For yesterday’s poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub, Laura challenged us to think about last words and choose some famous last words to inspire our poem.

The Poem

The Answer

“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
~ Karl Marx

How cruel and yet delicious
all those smiling, resting faces
all those relaxed, unworried death masks
forever frozen as last seen
in loving minds

How cruel and yet delicious
to know the time of one’s passing
to gather everyone ever loved together
to impart an answer
a lifetime sought

How cruel and yet delicious
the final not knowing but feeling certain
it will be there in time
feeling tongue-tipped and out-reached
seat-edged in life-searched readiness

How cruel and yet delicious
hearing gulps of held back sobs
tasting one’s own saliva, one’s juices
for a final time, becoming thick
with enzymes preparing for decay
smelling each familiar perfume
not disguising each unique sweat
visually sucking and sucking every
detail as if it will be the forever
memory: that cute sneeze,
that child’s whine,
that cuticle bitten,
that hair swept from that eye,
one’s own slowing, rattling breath and

then it’s there
it comes
the answer
THE ANSWER
electric, eye-bulging epiphany of all epiphanies
the room leans in edged, sharp
and everyone hears AH-HA!
before eyes dim, chest stills
and nothing more.

Motivation to Wade into Cold Water

Motivation 2 by Maria L. Berg 2022

Motivation

Today I’m re-visiting motivation. When I explored motivation in April, I talked about it as a force toward pleasure and away from pain. Motivation came up again when I explored need and talked about Maslow’s pyramid. Today I looked up some definitions and found that motivation is a force that imparts motion as if from a store. In other words, I’ve got a whole bunch of motion stored up somewhere and the force “motivation” will dole it out to me. But what is this force, and how do I trigger it at will? I think my definition still needs work.

The sun was out this morning, so I took my net-lights outside for the first time. I am definitely motivated by the surprise of trying something new.

Imparting Motion by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s poetics prompt, Merril invites us to think about summer with an ekphrastic prompt. I wrote to the image by Edward Henry Potthast, Summer Day, Brighton Beach which shows children wading into the ocean. I waded a bit into the lake this morning, wasn’t quite motivated to swim.

The Poem

Wading In

Hear them shrieking in the distance
oh, they must be having fun
the waves crashing against them splashing
oh, I can’t wait now let’s run

But it’s freezing, my feet are tingling
oh, this bite has just begun
up it’s reaching, and soon numbing
then forgotten in summer sun.

The Beauty of Dissonance

Beauty by Maria L. Berg 2022

Beauty

Today is the first time in this exciting study of abstract nouns that I’m revisiting a word to study it more deeply. When I first approached beauty on the second day of the A to Z Challenge in April, I found a thorough definition on dictionary.com. My Merriam Webster’s defines it only slightly differently (the quality or aggregate of qualities . . . gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: Loveliness), so I still have the same questions about inherent beauty and perceived beauty. This morning I thought, if beauty is defined by culture and/or group-think of an era or time-period does it really exist at all?

To start to explore these questions, I turned to philosophy. In the book Does the Center Hold? by Donald Palmer I found an interesting passage about Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872)’s thoughts on beauty. He believed that a human being is fundamentally good and from the beginning of the species every human community has aspired, consciously or unconsciously, to achieving: love, truth, beauty, happiness, wisdom, purity, and strength. The book says “among others,” but sticks to that list. Guess which abstractions I’ll be focusing on further 😃. Next month?

This got me thinking about the famous ending from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats :

 “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Does that narrow down Feurbach’s list–and my study–to only two abstract nouns? Or only one? And how would I choose? I would think that would include wisdom. If truth and beauty are indeed the same, if I focus all of my images on beauty, will I be making images of truth? Will I eventually look at my beautiful image and see truth equally in the image?

Looking at beauty physically, many people believe symmetry is beautiful, others like asymmetry. Some look at a mole on a face and see a blemish, others see a beauty mark. Looking at beauty mathematically, the artists of the Renaissance believed in the golden ratio. I think of this when I include the curve from my metal mirror in my photos like I did for Value.

Looking back at the images I created for beauty before, I can see what I was going for: the shapes, a geometric representation of flowers and leaves, shows the conflict of the wild beauty of nature and the human desire to tame it. I also see this dichotomy of beauty in the glowing primary colors: yellow (sun and flowers), red (flowers, some berries), blue (water and sky). And the green–a combination and a contrast–a union of blue and yellow contrasting with red, but also representing the leaves that surround the red flowers or berries, the grass that meets the water, the floor to the ceiling of sky.

When I look at those images, I see all of that, but I also don’t see beauty. I think the images may try to do too much. They feel busy. Though the colors and shapes give pleasure to my senses, the images don’t exalt.

How do I want to explore beauty today? This time around I want to look for beauty in simplicity. I think there’s graceful movement in beauty, or beauty in graceful movement.

Looking Forward, Looking Back by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft prompt, Björn invites us to explore dissonance in our poetry. I love dissonance, especially the discordant combinations I create in my songs. I guess I haven’t really thought about the poetic tools of linguistic dissonance before. Great prompt!

The Poem

An Unexpected Irritation that Lingers

There is a man in the bushes to my left
He crunches and snaps, rustles and breaks
His every movement is destruction–
I believe he thinks–in the name of clearing,
taming nature to his will

I cannot see him through the thick
rhododendron he stomps and the
Japanese camellia he mangles caught
under the cherry-plum, but I see
the hedge move with a crack and a snap
and I know he has crossed

under the cherry-plum into the
leaf-shadows of this rhododendron
shuffling and crackling the crisp, dry
leaves as irritating and attention hoarding
as a jay or a spotted towhee, but his caw
is much worse than the jay’s screech.

When he finally speaks
the only thing he says is
cut your trees, cut your trees
cut your trees!

In Awe of Water

In Awe of the Possibilities by Maria L. Berg 2022

June’s Abstractions

Here we are already starting June. As I mentioned yesterday, this month’s daily abstract nouns include a mix of new words and further study of previous words. And, as before, Sundays are homographs to guide visual poetry (vispo) from the images created through the week.

Awe

While defining “poetry” for my online poetry class, What Is Poetry? An Introduction to Literary Analysis, I found that dictionary.com provides circular definitions for everything, not only abstract nouns. I found a much better definition in my physical dictionary, so from now on, I’ll be mining for meaning in my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Tenth Edition.

Awe is an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. What an intense combination: to fear greatly, respect, and be excited with amazement and admiration all at the same time.

I am in awe of the flow of ideas and joy of process I’ve found in this study of abstract nouns. Awe describes

For today’s images, I put the two new reflective balls in the mirrorworld to see what they would do.

Awe by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today’s prompts

On Wednesdays, Robert Lee Brewer offers a poetry prompt on Writer’s Digest. Today’s prompt is to write a water poem.

The Poem

I Water as I Walk

The air is thick with it
the clouds fat with it
and yet they hoard their
precious cargo, leaving the
new seeds thirsty

It makes up seventy
percent of me, sloshing
about somewhere in there
as I tread–new sprinkler head in hand,
length of hose uncoiling,
dragging behind–

staring out at the lake as
I shower the crusted earth,
the irony is not lost on me
that there is water everywhere
but the land needs me
to drink

A Wealth of Options

A Wealth of Sunlight by Maria L. Berg 2022

Wealth

These last couple months studying abstract nouns have provided a wealth of discoveries, great quantities of new ideas, an abundance of new techniques, a profusion of thoughts, and a plentiful amount of new tools. I feel like these last two months have been a 101 course in abstractions–an overview–and now it’s time to take a more advanced look at the ideas I’ve only had a glimpse of so far. But there is still a wealth of abstract nouns to look at and explore. I’m having trouble deciding, so I think I’ll do both.

Continuing this study into June, I will choose some new abstract nouns and some that I want to revisit. I’ll post the new calendar tomorrow for those of you interested in looking ahead at what I’ll be exploring through the month.

Today’s weather was beautiful, and I’m hoping June will bring many more sunny days, so I can bring my new net-lights outside to play with the sun on the lake. And today I got two floating reflective balls that I’m excited to float on the lake. I’m already excited about their potential for bokeh shapes from a few pictures I took of them in the yard.

I hope you’re enjoying this wealth of content and that you are as inspired by the study of abstract nouns as I am. I’m really looking forward to revisiting some of the words I’ve already explored and diving deeper into sensory perception and imagery associated with those abstractions. If you have a suggestion for an abstract noun to revisit, or one I haven’t looked at please let me know in the comments.

Flower Thoughts by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s poetics prompt, Punam inspires with the work of Amrita Pritam. The challenge is to choose one of her lines from a list and use it to inspire our poem.

The Poem

In the Little Empty Space

“Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” ~Amrita Pritam

I believe I can squeeze through
the jagged rocks
and hard place threaten
but a slim, distant light
still begs me on.

If I suck it all in tight
and purse my lips
and set my jaw
and close my eyes
and never breathe again,
I might distract them

from the original question
concern them enough
to forget, and not suffer
while I emerge
on the other side

Enjoying My Solitude

Solitude by Maria L. Berg 2022

Solitude

This week is the first week of a three week course I’m taking on FutureLearn.com called How to Make a Poem offered through Manchester Metropolitan University. This week’s assigned poem is to collect language by observing an environment in the style of George Perec’s exercise in his essay. “the Street.” As someone who enjoys her solitude: seclusion; state of being and living alone in an area that is remote and unfrequented especially on rainy days, this is a bit of a challenge. The idea is to capture overheard language or signs, menus, etc. Solitude isn’t very conducive to this exercise as described, but the exercise also doesn’t exactly lead to found poetry in the way I understand it.

For today’s images I have two new tools to play with: net lights and printable transparency paper. I think I’ll hang the net lights in the mirrorworld since it’s supposed to rain for about a week. My original idea for the printable transparency paper was to print some of my black and white photos to use with blackout poetry, but I’m also curious how it might work for printing a filter. So many possibilities.

As you can see, I still haven’t been able to fix my printer, but in this case, I like the lines and color stripes.

To Take Dreams verse one by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

It’s Open Link Night at the pub, so I thought I would start try my printable transfer paper as a blackout to “find” poetry.

The Poem

To Take Dreams verse two by Maria L. Berg 2022

To take dreams

some mediate, contain
by providing that
highest provocation
and that dream
of mind from mystery
matter outdone
their equal
these two dreams
that wheel

by symbols at one
and world be else
said key to the dream self
dual one as thumb
as not fruit
converse of is beauty
the dream add
the little soul
the devil
how his counting
on no self objective
them also

found from Rose Windows by Painton Cowen ©1979




Being Sensitive to Sensitivities

Sensitivity by Maria L. Berg 2022

Sensitivity

To a vision scientist like me, sensitivity is only a semi-abstract noun. If you look at the state or quality of being endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses, that’s measurable through scientific experimentation. However, the state or quality of being readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences and having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others is not as measurable and easily pained, annoyed, etc. is probably measurable per person, but not as scientifically, since we’re getting into moods.

I’ve always been highly sensitive, both emotionally and perceptually. I was told by my advanced biology teacher in high school that I should never have children if I was so sensitive to the smell in the room that I needed to leave. He sent me to the library, and I never had children. He must have had an amazing sixth sense. Now approaching the mid-century of life, I still have perfect vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch: though my sensitivity to others and ideas of my sixth sense have diminished, for now, in exchange for contentment and sanity, I think. Which brings us to another definition of sensitivity: requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic.

As for my images I like how my sensitivity made me think of anxiety and squiggly lines of too much, but when I looked at the images I saw another definition of sensitivity I enjoy which is: constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes~ as a balance or thermometer or microscope.

Overlapping yellow and pink triangles that have the texture of crinkled plastic and squiggly lines drawn with sharpie on that plastic.
Too Sensitive by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s poetics Ingrid brings corvids to spring. I am surrounded by raptors and corvids and find it fascinating that crows chase bald eagles around the sky. It’s the craziest bird behavior. One would think that eagles would just take out the crows, if they were a threat; the eagle could turn and destroy them: toss their nests, eat their eggs, or eat the crows. But from what I’ve seen, they don’t react much at all. However, this spring I’ve had two rather aggressive Blue Jays, and I am sensitive to their presence.

The Poem

Strike a Pose

So bold, look at you
in my morning window
blinds closed, I know you’re
there, when I let in the spring
sun your striking blue feathers
somehow bluer than the bluest
sky: not cerulean, not royal, but
playing in between, you contrast
with the giant pink blossoms of
the monster rhododendron
not a plant, not a flower, but
a life choice, and you have chosen
it, next to my bedroom window
with your deep, thoughtful,
striking pose, I can’t help
but admire your bold stare
and then you
SHRIEK
SCREAM
make unbird noises
not even the semi-annoying
CAW which is never at my window
but still loud from high above while
harassing an eagle and remind me
that you are the kind of bird
who raids other bird’s nests
and may decapitate other birds
Am I being sensitive to your
horrible sound, or would it
bother me so much if I didn’t
know you were a murderous
tyrant striking such a strong
contrast of black and blue

The Power to Recognize My Power

Power by Maria L. Berg 2022

Power

Power has a long list of interesting meanings. The idea of having power over a person came up in the definition of Mercy the other day, so my first thoughts this morning went to the evils of authority or influence: fear, torture, corruption. But the main definition of power is ability (power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.): ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. In physics it is work done or energy transferred per unit of time. In math the product obtained by multiplying a quantity by itself one or more times. It is energy, force, or momentum.

Yesterday I started experimenting with two new ideas. First, expanding upon the hinge idea from my door filter, I created a series of filters that I call transformer filters: geometrical designs with sections not completely cut out, but folded. These filters can create many different shapes depending on which sections are “open.” Second, I created a light grid. Using an old aluminum grid from the laser-cutter, I placed a string-light in every fourth square. Combining my new filters with my power grid is like quilting with light.

Energy by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s Meet the Bar prompt, Björn challenges us to try the Constanza form created by Connie Marcum Wong in 2007. It’s a new form to me and appears quite challenging. Let’s see if I have the power to complete a Constanza.

The Poem

Recognizing Power

When moon’s aglow and murders caw
and streetlights burn in amber rows
the night excites and passion grows

the city girls sing la-dee-da
to walking beats of clicking heels
a destination soon reveals

with hips that swing a tra-la-la
manipulating lookers on
but don’t get close or they’ll be gone

a magic power there–ta-da!
distracts the eye while coins are palmed
and every protestation calmed

their laughter echos, ha ha ha!
where shadows imprint eyelids closed
be careful dancing when you’ve dozed

When moon’s aglow and murders caw
the city girls sing la-dee-da
with hips that swing a tra-la-la
a magic power there–ta-da!
their laughter echoes, ha ha ha!

To the Nth Power by Maria L. Berg 2022




Every Limitation an Opportunity

Opportunity by Maria L. Berg 2022

Opportunity

When searching out a new opportunity, we open ourselves to “an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal: a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.” What is favorable? Affording advantage, opportunity, or convenience; advantageous. And advantageous? Furnishing convenience or opportunity; favorable; profitable; useful; beneficial. The circular nature of abstract nouns is a merry-go-round.

For today’s images, I wanted to attempt to put doors in the mountain, but I lost my opportunity because the clouds came in, making the mountain disappear before I got up. However, changing my point of view provided new opportunities.

Blooming Opportunity by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s poetics Lillian provided a challenging prompt to use compound words from a list.

The Poem

Navigating Twilight Hours

Exhausted from a glutted day so good,
night announces her arrival with a star.
Fish spark algae trails in the still water,
proof of life hiding like sweet honey.
Dew is but an inkling to the dark earth.
Quake in awe of the mystery at hand.

Shake the salt when tail-feathers show.
Off his game, his flight won’t block the sun.
Burn the branch from which he screams all day.
Time will slow, so night can catch the moon.
Light the path until their shadows cross.
Walk on the glow until blistered and exhausted.

Pink Squirrel Opportunity by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Mixed Mercies of Sleep

Mercy by Maria L. Berg 2022

Mercy

I’m finding this study of abstract nouns fascinating. We think we know what these words mean, but the more I study them, the less clear they become. When I dive into their definitions, I always find something surprising. Mercy has a very interesting definition: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.

Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. “Stricken by misfortune” brings in ideas of destiny and luck, and forbearance brings patience into the mix. But it’s the next part of the definition that surprised me: “an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.”

The wording implies that an offender or enemy is a person in one’s power. That any person is in another’s power is a warped idea. Power struggles are one of those facts of life from beginning to end that are an instinctive part of the human struggle that is intertwined with the question of evolution and/or creation; and the basic questions of nature vs. nurture. However, I was even more interested in the idea of the offender, or enemy being that person in one’s power. When I think of an offender, or enemy, I think of bullies: people out for a fight; people looking for those they perceive as weaker than them, to belittle and have power over. How would that person be a person in my power? There’s a lot to think about there.

For today’s images, I thought of my door filter that I created for “Close” and used again for “Adventure,” symbolizing the mercy of giving someone a way out. What could symbolize removing suffering? A mouse with a thorn? Too obtuse, the viewer would have to think of the fable of the mouse and the lion, and interpret, a line in its paw as a thorn removed from a lion. Instead, I tried to open and close my door filter to flowers.

Mercy 2 by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

For today’s quadrille, Sarah challenges us to write 44 words about sleep.

The Poem

Merciful sleep,
thick, heavy fog
with power
over me,
have pity
this one night
keep out intruders
lock the doors
and hold them
fast from the
dreams of
suffering
and sorrow,
haunted
memories of
possibilities
filled with desires
that you steal
away come
morning

Mercy 3 by Maria L. Berg 2022