February 24, 2019

Three Poems by Marianne Lyon: "Tin Cup", "Oh, I’m a Dog " and "Hosanna"

Marianne Lyon has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.

Tin Cup

     Begin to notice
a braid of women
like a to-do list
trudging to village water spigot
yellow plastic containers
balance on turbaned heads
I follow them into their deep story

     Begin to observe
hollow stares like burnt-out fires
eyes meet not others crumpled faces
glares cling to far horizon

     Begin to consider
what is crowded out of them
Is every-day pilgrimage
to promised-land’s rusted pipe
all their thoughts can hold?

     Begin to swallow
my pompous acumens
accusing their poverty
philosophizing that suffering
is one valid means
that can put us in touch
Who am I to judge?

     Begin to hear
what they do not say
when breeze carries her soft humming
to baby hung on back and
ahead avid kid bounces smile-face
unbridled spoon rattles tin-cup-drum

     Begin to understand
tap-a-tap-tap, tap-a-tap-tapping
doesn’t add despair to her ledger
before, dog-tired shuffling
now her stride sighs, matches cup’s
syncopated language
that metallic music
could be courageous salve
for her bleeding wounds.
But, who am I to judge?

Oh, I’m a Dog *

He gazes from a distance
takes in everything
missing nothing I do
I untie him
he twirls, innocent
tongue hangs a dance
tail conducts the band
slip on his leash
we begin evening stroll—
salve for my leaden soul
letting go
of wanting my day
to be written
another way
his body becomes tense—
a spring
surroundings seethe
nocturnal creatures
scurry out of mounded holes
he stops as if listening
to evening breeze
I stand there, gaze at him
like he’s on stage
ad libbing his essence-soliloquy
watching his comic “dogness”
watching him dialogue with
his textured world—
a candid sniff
wild dig at curious root
intimate lick of my shin
pulls gentle on leash
he owns me
luxuriates in play-filled now
while my nows often seem
shaped, shadowed
Oh, to be a dog
joyful energy snaking
out like heat waves
he yelps for me to get a move on
not growling:
“I wish I was a cat.”

*Excerpt from The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr


Dirt artery snakes ragged through village
mud shacks teeter from nudging hot
outside they perch on wash basins
splattered plastic chairs
window sills

Passing jeep snatches their glare
hollow stares follow makeshift scooters,
humped children carry water
looks radiate equal measure of
horror and hungry sorrow.

My brain starts to scatter, jump fences
hopeless faces dissolve like soap left in bath
portraits appear, each crazy frame glitters
snatches of transformation
He droops with sadness
like coming back from burying the dead.
Limps to village Acacia tree, plucks a leaf
clutches chest like a fire flames inside

Another speaks silence big and fat
tears a leaf from low branch, greedily another.
She staggers in familiar dance of despair
then suddenly legs lift into wild jig

More gather like knots around Acacia
winged arms lift sacred leaves
begin to sway polished and elastic
begin to unravel lives of want
begin to undam a wealth of joy

Marianne Lyon

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