Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Online Literary Journal


I have two poems in the "Featured Poets" section, "Superbia: Ontario, 1859" (from my sonnet series, "Seven Deadly Sonnets") and "The Measure of Their Days".

I hope you'll stop by and read all about a fearless tightrope walker and the sing-song of my mother's wringer washer.

Blondin, Niagara Falls, 1859

Let me know if you think the deadly sin in the first poem is PRIDE or ENVY, or a little bit of both, and whether the wringer washer sang in iambs or trochees ;-)  .

Many thanks to Editor Christine Davet and her editorial team, and to Alicia Stallings, for her comments and suggestions on the latter poem during our one-on-one consultation at West Chester last year.


Friday, February 24, 2012

New Poems and Translations

I just completed my newest MS, Winterbourne, and have submitted it to a Canadian publisher for consideration.

Wish me luck!

Also, off to Wilkes-Barre tomorrow. Weather forecast: snow, snow, snow . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The Last Word

I never saw a zyzzyva,
its habitat sub-tropic;
but I’ve been told it’s beastly, bold,
its mercies microscopic.

It spends its days in baneful ways
devouring field and garden;
you can be sure this epicure
won’t beg the palm tree’s pardon.

With frightful mien, it can be seen
attacking jacaranda;
it loves to chew on new bamboo –
a match for any panda.

It has a greed for guava seed,
for pepper and papaya;
an orchid shoot will always suit
this ravenous pariah.

No Hall of Fame displays its name,
no Air Miles Plan rewards it;
and Webster thinks the weevil stinks,
but, in the end, records it.

© Catherine Chandler.  First publishesd in Umbrella, Spring 2007

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Cathy and Hugo, January 1972

Sonnet CXVI
by William  Shakespeare 


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests.. and is never shaken.
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love is not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out.. even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Friday, February 10, 2012

I filled my bags . . .            

Where All the Ladders Start

I visited her shop this afternoon
to rummage through the clutter and the schlock.
As usual, old tins and jars were strewn
pell-mell across the floor. I’m out of stock
in dancing bears, she yammered, but I’ve got
a thousand smithereens up on the shelf.
I’ll take a shiny penny for the lot.

I knew I’d have to fetch them for myself;
and yet, the price was right. I filled my bags
with broken glass, with beads and brittle bones;
then for good measure, reams of tattered rags,
a rusty can, a box of sticks and stones:
the rudiments of memory and art –
            the poems howling from my shopping cart.

--- Catherine Chandler  [first published
in 14 by 14, Issue 7, December 2008]

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Of Things Past

Catherine Chandler Oliveira and her father, Bernard F. Chandler, Sr.

Of Things Past

Briefly thyself remember . . .  
 - William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4, Scene 6

I.      99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

That summer when I couldn’t see
for grief – for who could guarantee
he’d ever walk again? – I’d sing
this song and pump my rusty swing,
till every bottle left the wall,
then start da capo (it was all
or nothing) in a voice, though small,
as if the magic chant might bring
my father walking back to me.

II.        Madeleine Moment

Ah, there’s Poughkeepsie. Nineteen fifty-four.
I skip along the Hudson. As the boats
go by, my father calls to me and quotes,
‘Still waters run deep’, as clearly as before
his polio; when, like this chewing-gum,
my life was one sweet, succulent cliché;
where, dauntless in the sun that could not stay,
he climbed the evergreen, I ate the plum.

© Catherine Chandler
"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" first published in Able Muse, Summer 2009
"Madeleine Moment" first published as "Sapodilla" in Umbrella, Spring 2007
"Of Things Past" first published as a two-part poem in Lines of Flight, Able Muse Press, 2011


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Love and Friendship/ Amor y Amistad

Avenida Los Amigos, Los Pueblitos, Argentina

Love and Friendship

by Emily Brontë

Love is like the wild rose-briar;
Friendship like the holly-tree.
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms,
But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again,
And who will call the wild-briar fair?

Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now,
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That, when December blights thy brow,
He still may leave thy garland green.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

O for the touch of a vanish'd hand . . .

Playa Brava

Break, Break, Break

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me. 

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay! 

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still! 

Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me. 

  -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feeling bitter today . . .

Vinegar Tree

Late Fall. The staghorn sumac’s crown
is now ablaze. Though geese have flown,
the tree’s red conic drupes will feed
the phoebes, thrush and grouse in need
of food through months of ice and snow.
But brew the bitter tufts just so,
and they can etch a pearl. I know.
For I have gathered up its seed,
fair-weather love, and drunk it down.

© Catherine Chandler, first published in The Lyric, Fall 2011

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance. (M.C. Richards)


               Los Pueblitos, Argentina, January 2012