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13 OCTOBER 2016

Revision #5 of the poem which I’m writing for Breathing These Words, a sub-project of Breathing Lights.

 

Dar Luz

~to give birth (literally, to give light)

 

We gather to remember the generations

who alighted this Albany threshold

with hand-held candles, lanterns, lamps,

flickering garlands.

Luces de Navidad.

 

For the seamstress, carpenter, or barber

who once cleansed this space with broom and mop,

who swept away autumn’s samaras

and in winter brushed off the glittering snow—

let us nestle at our feet a shining shrine.

Un santuario centelleante.

 

Set down here some old gold

picture frames—photos of children posing

for street parades, seated on gleaming ponies.

Set down some stark silhouettes of new recruits

who from these steps had kissed their mothers

farewell. Soldiers, sailors, pilots, nurses.

Las enfermeras, los enfermeros.

 

One of us may wish to place here

a wine or soda bottle, rinsed and filled

with the blossoming stems

of curbside roses. Another may drape

a necklace strung with a single polished cross

or star, crescent or oval.

Medialuna, estrella, cruce, óvalo.

 

Which one of us can spare

on behalf of those brides and myriad widows

an old cookbook, scrawled recipes for lemon pudding?

Who can bequeath to tomorrow’s children

rubber balls & jacks, shimmering marbles?

Canicas relucientes.

 

These windows glowing with a new century’s

battery cells magnify our gifts. Light strips swell

from dim to bright, timed to the moon

waxing above us, sphere fertile with reflections

of distant undying flames.

Otra luna, otro sol, otras llamas.

 

We must occupy rebirth: this threshold

given light, this doorway in clear view

of Pearl Street and our glimmering river.

La calle de las perlas. Las perlas de nuestro río.

 

by Therese L. Broderick

 

 

 

10 OCTOBER 2016

Today’s revision of a poem (due November 4th) that I’ve been composing for Breathing These Words, a sub-project of Breathing Lights.

 

Dar Luz

~to give birth (literally, to give light)

 

Lingering at its quiet door—this threshold

Foreclosed, entry to a vacant house

Awaiting rebirth as a home with a view

Of Pearl Street and the twinkling river.

Casa con vistas.

We stand here with due respect

For generation after generation

Who once illumed this passageway

With hand-held candles, lanterns, lamps, garlands

Of flickering bulbs.

Guirnaldas de luces de Navidad.

Let us model a small shrine at our feet

Honoring owners, tenants, hired help

Who once cleansed this space with broom and mop,

Who swept away autumn’s samaras

And in winter brushed off the glittering snow.

Nieve centelleante.

Upon this threshold set down gold & silver

Picture frames harboring silhouettes

Of this avenue’s inhabitants; and crystal vases

Filled with the blossoming stems

Of curbside roses; and necklaces draping

Crosses or stars, crescents or ovals.

Medialunas, estrellas, cruces, óvalos.

Which one of us might kindly spare

A long smooth yellow ribbon, satin,

For every resident warrior dead

Or missing in action? Who can bring

For the kitchen’s lost brides and widows

An old cookbook, scrawled recipes for lemon pudding?

Who can bequeath to tomorrow’s children

Some balls & jacks, shimmering marbles?

Canicas relucientes.

Soon, to magnify our visit, these windows

Will be lit with temporary tenants—

Light tubes on a timer, batteries pulsing

Bright to dim, dim to bright.

Above their glow will swell our November moon

Waxing Gibbous, moon pregnant

With more moons, radiant reflection

Of distant undying flames.

Otra luna, otro sol, otras llamas.

 

 

4 OCTOBER 2016

2 OCTOBER 2016

 

DRAFT #2 of a poem

by Therese L. Broderick

for project Breathing These Words

Albany, New York (USA)

 

DAR LUZ

~ to give birth (literally, to give light)

 

Tonight I pledge to this venerable address

My words, las palabras, my voice, la voz.

Let us assemble a front porch shrine,

nuestro santuario: shining gold or silver

 

Picture frames that harbor silhouettes

Of immigrant couples who braced

These rooms, stairwells, porches, roofs,

Who died in front parlors, who gave birth

 

To children in wallpapered third-story

Bedrooms. Let us offer a yellow ribbon

For every soldier who kissed his mother

Goodbye from the sidewalk; and for every warrior

 

Missing in action, let us hold a vase cut

From crystal, or a bottle of brown blown glass

Filled with tap water and the blossoming

Stems of storm cellar roses.

 

Here I stand. Here you stand. We face

A vacant threshold, the sealed front door

To a once-upon-a-time dwelling—

Yesterday’s casa con vistas. But this evening

 

windows are brightening with lullabying

Light bulbs, smooth tubes, their soft throats

Pulsing bright & dim, breathing along

With the blinkers of overhead passenger planes,

 

With the flaring greens of lightning bugs

Who skim the grassy lots flowing

From the Hudson to the Mohawk rivers,

From the Normanskill to the Poestenkill.

 

Let us lay here a notebook of scrawled recipes

For every newlywed wife who had to flee

Another burning row house, leaving behind

Her grandmother’s first cookbook; and let us

 

Set down a hand-stitched doll or rubber ball

For every child who ever yearned to crawl,

Stand, walk, run, skip, hopscotch, or jump over

Ropes held taught by friends from down the alley.

 

Let us be quiet, too—un silencio nocturno

Inviting the placid moon, la luna de paz

Phase by phase to occupy this evening’s cradles.

Welcome mats, door wells, window sills, altars.

 

 

26 SEPTEMBER 2016

Here is an early draft of the poem I’m composing for the Breathing These Words project affiliated with Breathing Lights.

I’ll be revising this poem until November 4th, when I’ll read it aloud on the streets of Albany, New York, the city in which I live.

I structured this poem with sturdy, utilitarian, four-line stanzas in order to create in readers and listeners a sensation of stability and proportion — desirable qualities of houses and other buildings that have been skillfully constructed, that will remain standing for a long time.

I’m investing this poem with Spanish-language words and images. I often hear people speaking Spanish in my city’s public library, commercial gym, grocery stores, businesses.

POEM DRAFT

by Therese L. Broderick

DAR LUZ

~ to give birth (literally, to give light)

 

I stand with friends to face the vacant

Threshold at the foot of this front door,

This once-upon-a-time dwelling,

Our tomorrow’s casa con vistas.

 

From an upper window is lullabying

An illumination, bulbs whose soft throats

Pulse bright & dim as if breathing in sync

With the flashing reds of nocturne airplanes

 

Or with the flaring greens of lightning bugs

Who lease the grassy orphan lots stretching

From the Hudson River to the Mohawk,

Sand Creek to the mouth of the Normanskill.

 

I stand with friends to offer this place

My words, las palabras, my voice, la voz

Let us assemble, together, a radiant shrine

To be called Nuestro Santuario:

 

Silver frames that harbor photos or sketches

Of the people who inhabited

These rooms, stairwells, porches, roofs;

Who died in the front parlor, who gave birth

 

To children in a wallpapered third-story

Bedroom. Let us offer a gold-ribbon bow

For every soldier who kissed his mother

Goodbye from this sidewalk; and a vase cut

 

From crystal, or a shiny bottle of brown blown glass,

Filled with tap water and the stemmed

Blossoms of tulips or storm cellar roses—

For every warrior missing in action;

 

Let us set down a notebook of scrawled recipes

For every housewife who had to leave behind

A flaming kitchen, departing too frantically

To rescue her mother’s cookbook;

 

Let us place here a worn wooden toy or rubber ball

For every child who ever yearned to crawl,

Stand, walk, run, skip, hopscotch, or jump over

Ropes held taught by friends living down the block.

 

Let us be quiet, too—un silencio nocturno

Inviting the placid moon, la luna de paz,

Phase by phase to occupy evening’s cradles.

Door wells, window sills, altars, welcome mats.

 

 

 

25 SEPTEMBER 2016

25 SEPTEMBER 2016