living 4today& knowing//the name of the lion

ice wind whips, west/Cross on the highway
in the tight throat of a traffic jam,
a lion painted on the front car pane
with yelloW marker, duct taped to a ray
of strings/ IMAGINE — Lennon

died with only forty. “i’ve had” i say
“five more years already”, check the rear, sway
over, snow piles on the street’s vibrating vein,

“you play the sax, right?” “no, there was no time”,
“write poetry?” “a poet?” “never met one”
& time’s icy fingerS crack

hard against the pane, i climb,
freeFall on frayed ropes along
life’s fragile line, smiling at the lion, counting back

Sam has us write Miltonian sonnets at dVerse today, give it a try and join us when he opens the doors at 3pm EST


48 responses to “living 4today& knowing//the name of the lion

  1. There are few things I love more than a modern poem anchored by traditional form, showing that the form doesn’t master the poet – but the other way around. And this is a superb example, where you use an arsenal of modern poetics – punctuation, discordant word breaks, arrhythmia, non-standard stanza breaks, urban metaphor – to mark this as a contemporary piece. And yet, the musicality of the Miltonian sonnet remains, with the subtle slant rhymes and pentameter making the lines sing, underlining your theme of life’s precious urgency.

  2. “hard against the pane, i climb,
    freeFall on frayed ropes along
    life’s fragile line, smiling at the lion, counting back…”

    …Thanks, for sharing your [poetic words] sonnet based on Miltonian sonnets
    [Unfortunately, I have not shaken hand with Milton? yet, but your Sonnet have piqued my interest in Milton… too!]
    deedee 🙂

  3. nice….def some cool elements to this claudia….and i love how you play within form defining it and not letting it define you…cool connections to john lennon as well…the IMAGINE…and interesting thoughts as well as to looking at what you accomplished so far in life…and from here we choose what else we include from here forward as we are not promised tomorrow…

  4. “five more years”… hmmm. only ten million more to go. Plenty of time to learn to play a sax… We are stardust, we are golden, Claudia! 😀

  5. Love the way you played with the form and made it your own, Claudia. Love how the ‘lion’ is invoked in the title, the first stanza, and again in conclusion. Nicely woven throughout.

  6. I wish I could break through the strictures and allow modern expression in form the way you express yourself. I’m still working on mine. I think I need to rename my lion first. Excellent

  7. I love this, even knowing I missed a lot of the nuances you’ve included. What you’ve done for me is create a feeling of urgency–grab life and run with it. Maybe not your intent but…wow!

  8. Claudia, you are giving us a fourth dimension here.
    Superb modernism.
    Mind you, Sam’s comment is poetry as well.

  9. Never let life pass one by, as we could any day go to the sky or down below, but we won’t talk about that show haha great write once again at your site

  10. I think Sam said everything I wanted to say, and much better than I would have said it. One of the great strengths of your work is the way you adapt forms to your requirements and voice, not the other way round.

  11. The trick to living for today is to figure out what’s important–and doing just that. I would say writing poetry like this fits the criteria of what’s important! Nice flowing piece, like a life well-lived.

  12. Your style is one that held within the form shockingly well. I loved the images and feel they left, tho I’m going to confess, I’m certain I did not pick up the meanings to it all…I love when things make me sit and ponder a while…a river of churning word with the banks of sonnet. Beautiful.

  13. Excellent Claudia – love the way your thoughts flow into wonderful descriptive words and form.

    “& time’s icy fingerS crack

    hard against the pane, i climb,
    freeFall on frayed ropes along
    life’s fragile line, smiling at the lion, counting back” (Brill!)

    Anna :o]

  14. Your reflection on Lennon, reminded me that I’m often surprised to think I’m now so much older than Kurt Cobain go to be..sad to lose talent early.

  15. In case you didn’t see my comment embedded in the conversation I wanted you to know that I love this – so edgy and experimental 🙂

  16. I know to the depths of my poet’s soul that I will never achieve this kind of freedom with form poetry. Bravissimo.for your lion sonnet.

  17. Such a modern sonnet – and you manage to include so much in such a distilled way, and yet also give us a sense of immediate moment. Well done, Claudia. k.

  18. Wonderful…loved the reflection of thoughts drawing a parallel with john lennon…loved the play of words for the form…as if the poem defined the forn..when the call was to do it the other wau round!

  19. Let’s see – Lennon was shot in 1980. So you probably just entered Gymasium (Sexta) – a huge transition in your timeline. Thus Lennon’s murder must have been a big bookmark — for me it was President Kennedy’s assasination for that time of my life. But “Imagine” was released in 1971 — you’d have been only about 3 years-old — You would have to read in history books, what Lennon was trying to address in that song — though it has a universal element.

    You are about 49 deg North, I am at 40 deg — so I was surprised to read of your cold weather – it is warmish here. And curious if you ever played sax and if you lamented not having time for it as you lamented Lennon’s death. Or if was just a bookmarker to illustrate time’s personal passage.

    Often we love songs and poems just for phrases and forget the author’s intent. Perhaps you just remembered the word “Imagine” more than Lennon’s lament for that time. Lennon want us to imagine a world with no religion and a utopia of love — ’tis fun to imagine, but it will never come. And the icy years will keep cracking our memories, as we bookmark our years.

    But why did you smile at the Lion [of Judah] standing on a yellow stripe?
    (a) Was a seasonal Easter element to add a haiku flavor to your poem. And you smiled to the season. Icy cold easter?
    (b) Do you smile at a German driver who boasts of his music tastes. Because in front of you, as you drive, is a car with the 1972 Ethiopian Flag (when Lennon’s Imagine came out) on the window with Rastafarian Rosary hanging there? Ah, the ethnic diversity of Germany! Where religion will become an issue if they allow their land to go the way of France. I can’t ImAgiNe the fraying of culture!


    Thanx for letting me use your poem to play — as you do with others’ days!

  20. Feeling like I need to put on my snow tires 😉 Excellent sense of frostiness, and thoughtfulness–incredible that he died at 40–yikes! Time does fly