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

Oh, What Two Little Letters Can Do

Happiness by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happiness

This morning I was wondering, how is happiness different from other abstract nouns I’ve explored: comfort, joy, or delight? Then I looked up the definition and there they all were: good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy: delighted, pleased, or glad. So luck was in there too.

Though one can be happy about a singular result–a bit of luck, a pleasurable experience, a hummingbird hovering in sunlight–I think happiness as something internalized, attained through acceptance, appreciation and gratitude. Not the kind of happiness found through the rose-colored glasses of denial and ignorance, but through awe, wonder, and curiosity.

The Declaration of Independence declares that we have been endowed by our Creator to pursue happiness, but the men who composed that document would have had very different ideas of happiness than I do, than almost anyone living has today, I would think. And they didn’t say we have the right to attain happiness, to spend every day in happiness, but the right to pursue it. The first definition of pursue at dictionary.com is “to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.” I hope that’s not what they meant.

Sunday’s experiment with additive text, got me thinking about lettering and generating text, so, I put some letters in the mirrorworld. Starting with an “A” made it clear to me that when the bokeh flips, it flips upside down and backwards.

Realization Generation by Maria L. Berg 2022
Generating Laughter by Maria L. Berg 2022

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s prompt is to write a food poem. Misky invites us to play with our food and lick our fingers. The prompt made me want to go play in the garden. My favorite meal is one I’ve freshly picked. It brings me so much happiness to grow my food.

Unexpected Harvest by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

How My Garden Grows

Impressed by the determined kale’s
waving green leaves that persisted,
refusing to perish through
the long, recurring winter
towering over the weeds,
with my shovel and garden gloves,
I attack and turn the soil, finding
roots and rocks where I had planted
just last year, and also finding
something very strange
a mystery appeared

Every year I dig up old nails
or a little plastic toy
but this I can’t identify
tossing my gloves in the wheelbarrow
filled with fir cones and weeds
I turn it and turn it
inspecting it in every way
careful not to cut my dirty fingers
I think of lighting hitting
a beach, making glass of sand
but this is dirt and no lightning
has struck and it was buried.

At first I feared it was a curse
this dirty, sharp-edged glass
figure, but after cleaning
off its outer coat it brings to mind
a little gardener, laboring
hunched over carrying
a heavy load, a bountiful harvest
what luck to discover
such a good omen
as I begin to sow
maybe his sharp points
will ward off bunnies
and curious dark-eyed
juncos and crows,
leaving those tasty kale leaves
whole to flourish

Sad Birdman in the Kale by Maria L. Berg 2022

An Impromptu Combination of Combines

Continuing my Sunday visual poetry, I’m abandoning my magnets for a new overlay idea that goes well with today’s homograph “combine.”

A Curious Combine by Maria L. Berg 2022

Combine

As you have probably noticed, I like to unite prompts for a common purpose; many prompts join forces to create one poem. I join many ideas into a close union, creating a new whole. But how will I simultaneously cut, thresh, and clean those ideas with my mental combine harvester; evaluate my prospective players, and which combine will use my results to create a self-serving monopoly (That last cabal-style definition of combine is unusual to me. I’ll have to look into it)?

Today’s new technique was inspired by yesterday’s search into Vispo, short for visual poetry. A description of a book mentioned transparencies which made me think about how I take a picture of my collages then more pictures after adding words. With transparencies, I could create this additive process over and over.

When I started my Words on the World project, I ordered two different thicknesses of colored Sharpies and a large amount of clear plastic sleeves to cut the filters from. Cutting open the sleeves creates pages for layers of transparencies. I printed out some of last week’s photos and tried it out.

Questionable Combination by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #258 is “Impromptu” and to write a poem (or piece of prose) in exactly 48 words.

Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #957 is TROUBLE, FLIGHT, TICKET.

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) is “heat.”

Curiosity Kills Boredom by Maria L. Berg 2022
Curiosity Leads to Delight by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

At the Poet Combine

This impromptu combination of light and words

I dream will take flight

layered to create heat

the heated air lifting

or get me into trouble

this brave trust

punch my ticket

above the troubles

to the improv

cut, threshed, and cleaned

to a shiny core of deeper meaning

#SoCS: Sticks and Stones and Words

Fragility by Maria L. Berg 2022

Fragility

The quality or state of being easily broken, shattered, damaged, or destroyed: delicate; brittle; frail: vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: lacking in substance or force; flimsy: in a weakened physical state; slight; tenuous: fragility comes to everything and everyone at one point or another. I think of thin, brittle, sheer tissue; skeletal frames; loose connections, crumbling.

For my images, I thought about how fragile the paper filters I created with paper punch shapes were. I pulled out the roll of paper to make a new one, but then thought about the loosely connected fragility of old lace. I have a collection of old lace trim, and tried placing some over the lens shield. I really like the effect.

A Fragile Connection by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s prompt is to write about a phrase from childhood. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s journal:

I thought of discipline first: Just wait ’til your dad gets home, and I’m gonna count to ten, but there has to be some fun phrases from childhood. I thought of Step on a crack . . . ; Tag! you’re it; Jinx! you owe me a coke; but none of those really spoke to me. Then I thought of Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me–a phrase used a lot as a kid that proved not to be true–and I’m rubber and you’re glue; your words bounce off me and stick to you–fun to say, but also not true. The sticks and stones saying goes well with today’s abstract noun “fragility”, and both phrases feel like they would work well in a poem.

Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Human Fragility

Sticks and stones–

so abundant / all around on the ground
quick to hand / broken from a dry branch
weaponized / slung, thrown, whipped, battered, broken
with the slightest aim / anger-fueled force

–may break my bones,
but words–

symbols and sounds / agreed upon to have meaning
combined with malicious intent / to produce hurt in the perceived fragile
shouted and chanted to taunt / because repetition erodes caverns from the cracks
because words evoke emotions that / though we’re told they don’t matter

–can [never] hurt me.

A Fragile Ecosystem by Maria L. Berg 2022

Closing Out All the April Challenges

This Sunday is the first of the month, and all the challenges are over, but I thought I would close with a visual poem guided by a homograph.

Coming to a Close by Maria L. Berg 2022

Close

I really enjoy homographs that have different pronunciations. Close can be an adjective or adverb; a noun or verb.
Pronounced klohs
adjective – near in space or time: near in relationship: parts or elements near to one another: compact, dense (a close weave)
adverb – tightly: near or within proximity
Pronounced klohz
noun – the end or conclusion (the close of the day)
verb – to cover an opening; shut: (tr) to bar, obstruct, or fill up: to bring the parts or edges of (a wound, etc) together or (of a wound, etc) to be brought together, unite.

I think of: closing a lid; closing a door; cutting it close; That was close!; close ties; close friends; personal space: too close; closing in on a solution.

Closing by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

The April Challenges are over, but there are still plenty of prompts to be found. For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #257 is “Luminous” and to write a poem (or piece of prose) in exactly 30 words.

Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #950 is CROWD, BUSY, RUSH.

E. M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt #22 This one’s new to me. The Sunday Ramble is 5 questions about a topic to ramble on about. Sounds a little like Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which I enjoy. Today’s topic is “Random Questions to Trigger Imagination” and the questions are:

  1. If people get a purple heart for bravery, what do the other colors of hearts mean? (Make up your own heart meanings and colors.)
  2. If you were given $5 Million to open a small museum, what kind of museum would you create?
  3. if you could build a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would it look like?
  4. What would the adult version of an ice cream truck sell, look like, and play for its song?
  5. What animal would be the cutest if it was down-sized to the size of a cat?

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) is “remuneration”–money paid for work or services.

Closing by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

When Staying at the Hotel Magique Réal

At my magical
realism hotel where
crowds rush to try
the strawberry pop-rocks
that make them sprout
wings and fly
the first to reach
the luminous-gold
heart that means
a dream will never die,
hanging in the
ceiling sky, is remunerated
an unimaginable sum
in magic hotel money.
And if that isn’t enough
excitement to keep
every patron busy,
they can visit the Museum
of the Fantastical and Silly
with a tank of whales
the size of cats and
giraffes the size of mice
that swish their tails
to swat at pesky
winged-humans
the size of flies.

#SoCS & Day Thirty: Moving On with Zealousness

Zealousness by Maria L. Berg 2022

Zealousness

Ardent activity, devotion, or diligence. What is ardent? With great conviction or zeal. I have no idea why I follow circular definitions with such intense emotion; passionately and fervently; such zealousness; I guess that’s something more for me to explore.

Here we are at the last day of April: the last day of National Poetry Month; the last day of the A to Z Challenge; the last day of the Poem a Day Challenge; and the last day of my photo challenge. That’s a lot of endings, and yet I feel like it’s only a beginning.

While exploring abstract nouns, I’ve encountered so many more abstract nouns I would like to explore in the mirrorworld, and I now have new filters and techniques for that. This has been a great month of discovery. I hope you’ve also discovered a zealousness for your topic and art and poetry.

For today’s images, I tried something completely new. When I first set up the mirrorworld, I had a moment that felt really magical: When I pointed a flashlight at an object in the mirror, the light showed on the object. It felt like I had found a gateway to new dimensions. Today, I put the camera on a tripod, and light painted with a flashlight to create still and moving bokeh at the same time. It was very challenging and will take a lot more practice, but that’s where zealousness helps.

Ardently Zealous by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s prompt is “zip, zero, zilch.” All great words. Here’s a sections from my journal this morning:

I thought zilch might have some more interesting meaning
but it’s only–nothing
Zip, on the other hand works
with zealousness–ardently active–
zipping around and
zero has the same shape
as the filter I used, and
circular definitions–though
maybe more oblong definitions
which is what abstract nouns
really have–distorted
by history and perception.
I like zilch: I never use it.

Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a cento. A cento is a poem made up of lines from other poems. I like how creating a cento is described in the example as patching the lines into a coherent quilt. I recently bought the new book and CD by Dolly Parton. I also borrowed books from my local library by Adrienne Rich and Robert Bly. For this cento about moving on in zealousness, I’ll be quilting with lines from Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton, Silence in the Snowy Fields by Robert Bly, and The Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a moving on poem.

Zeal by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Moving On With Zealousness

Day Twenty-Nine: The Birth of Yearning

Yearning by Maria L. Berg 2022

Yearning

Yearning is a deep longing: a strong, persistent craving or desire accompanied by tenderness or sadness for something unattainable or distant. Thinking about how to represent yearning, I thought about how the other abstract nouns I’ve explored this month are entangled with yearning: Ambition, Goals, Ideas, Needs and Hopes can induce yearning; people yearn for Beauty, a certain Quality of life, Respect, Success, to have Value, Wisdom, a Xanadu, and of course Thrills. It takes Patience to live with and through our yearning.

I looked back over all these different aspects of yearning that I’ve represented through abstracts, and listed the filters and techniques I’ve tried. I took in what a big month of discovery it has been for me, and yet, I yearn for more.

Today, I wanted to create even more depth than the mirrorworld provides, so I opened the curtains across the room, strung lights over the glass door and tried taking pictures from outside into the mirrorworld–didn’t work. However, the trees reflected in the mirrorworld looked interesting, so I focused on that. I also thought black and white represented yearning better than all the neons of yesterday.

Yearning II by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth, both positive and negative.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a poem with The Last (Blank) as the title.

Yearning Hearts by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

The Last Gift

I was born
at the magic hour
of midnight on
the day Picasso died.

I remember
feeling elated when
reading the date
in beautiful Barcelona
at the museum
and I thought,
that explains a lot.

Could it be his energy
newly sent to roam
came right back
home unknown
to a screaming baby,

Lurking in wait
silently guiding my
choices and my hands
toward abstract thought
and art and places hard
to understand, exploding
color and shape and line
to find a truth behind
the surface?

It would explain
the internal dual
of masculine and feminine
of flamboyant performer
who hides in her room
of wild rogue who
follows the rules
of artist-scientist
practical poet
yearning to fit in

Labeled creative as long
as I’ve lived, but also
weird and strange and
bullied by my peers
for being different. Is
he to blame, dead
pompous artist who
paid his checks
with a scribble
and his name?

I wouldn’t mind
having that gift
if he’s in here
and he’s to blame.

Day Twenty-Eight: Exploring Xanadu

Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

Xanadu

I had to stretch a little bit to find something that starts with X. Xanadu is a proper noun for a mythical place, but it can serve as a metaphor for opulence or an idyllic place, and that is how I intend it today for our abstraction. It is described as a “stately pleasure-dome” in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan.

Exploring the idea of Xanadu gave me an excuse to (re)watch the 1980 roller-skating musical fantasy starring Olivia Newton-John. It was Gene Kelly’s final film, and he was on roller-skates! When I searched to see if he was really skating in the film, I came across this gorgeous gem of cinema history:

and here’s Gene Kelly in Xanadu

Just watching those two clips, it’s easy to see that Xanadu can be any place when in the right state of mind. For today’s images, and just for fun, I cut a roller-skate filter and whooshed it through my world like a muse returning to her Xanadu in the clouds.

The Pleasures of Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a concrete poem, a poem in which the words create a shape. My favorite concrete poem I’ve written is “Humans Need Stories” from 2017. And it goes well with the muses of Xanadu, so here it is:

Shape poem in the shape of a hand
Humans Need Stories by Maria L. Berg 2017

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a sight poem. This should go well with describing Xanadu.

dVerse Poets Pub

Over at dVerse Poets Pub they are celebrating the poems of Joy Harjo. Tonight is open link night at the pub, so head over and link up your best poem from this week.

Skating to Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Finding Xanadu

Remembering Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

Day Twenty-Seven: Words of the Wise

Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

Wisdom

By definition, having wisdom is to possess a power, the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; also scholarly knowledge or learning. Many people relate wisdom to age, believing that it is accumulated over time, thus the symbol of the wise old owl. Some relate it to spiritual or ancient teachings that have stood the test of time. Some believe wisdom is found within through meditation or dreams, tapping into the collective unconscious of ancestral memory. “-wise” as a suffix denotes manner, position, direction, reference, etc. as in counterclockwise or edgewise. Wisdom may lie simply in knowing where you are, your position, your reference points, and the direction you are heading.

Happily, I have an owl filter already cut. For today’s images I will try to capture its accumulated wisdom by hunting for its reference points and direction.

Elusive Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a duplex poem, a form created by Jericho Brown and my favorite poems in The Tradition. I wrote my first duplex and talked about the form last year in my post Playing in the Duplex.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a remix poem. This should be an interesting challenge, to remix one of this month’s poems into a duplex. For today’s remix, I decided to work with lines from day nine’s poem “Hope Breaks Eternal” and day sixteen’s poem “Needs For Sale.”

Wise by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Last Night’s Forgotten Bruise

Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments
Swirling the spiral when need’s a deep bruise pressed

Need is felt like a forgotten bruise pressed
When hunger turns to feed on its own tail

Turning to yearning when finding tales stale
Hope breaks the mold of expectation

Molded clay days of expectation have
A brittle grasp on reason’s crumbs to break

Reason’s crumbs scatter as the days break
and a vacancy needs filling, love’s ache

Hope sees a need-filled hollow, vacancy’s ache
And jumps, unstartled, unique and new

To flip perspective for the world anew
Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments