“Stargazing” by Karen O’Leary

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Stargazing

Silent sparklers twinkle;
Sisters carry my dreams.
Spotlighting the new moon,
September’s gentle beams
Showcase a fresh pathway
So new for this seeker.
Soothing lights…heaven’s hope.

 

 

Background for this poem:

In research about the Pleiades poetry form, I found it is seven line form to represent the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster. Each line has six syllables because only six of the stars are readily seen readily by the naked eye. The form was developed in 1999 by Craig Tigerman.

*poetry form Pleiades

 

Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including The Literary Librarian, Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

Find Karen’s Writing at:

Whispers journal

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Two-Way Gratitude” by Karen O’Leary

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Two-Way Gratitude

Eighty-year-old Sid
steps behind the till,
waving off his wife.

Stevenson’s Gift Shop
is an icon on Main Street
of our small town.

“Two bits minus
two bucks credit,”
he says with a smile.

He slips my book
into a brown business
bag, “Come again.”

I hand him a twenty,
“Keep the change.”
His wife sighs.

Our town was built
on kindness & respect,
something I honor.

Background for this poem:

“I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota. People help people. My Dad has Alzheimer’s and the support he and Mom have is so heartwarming. The kindness and respect are models for those fortunate to witness or be a part of it. This poem is based on life in our town.”

 

Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Concise Writing—The Cinquain” – an article by Karen O’Leary

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Concise Writing—The Cinquain

By Karen O’Leary
JUNE 21, 2019

 

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from editors over the years is that they hate poems that ramble on and on. Poetry is communication. Oh, how we cling to our lyrical imagery, a bunch of flowery words that end in a sea of nothingness, leaving the reader with “so what?” The message we are trying to convey should drive the poem. Anything that doesn’t forward that message should be weeded out. It’s not always easy.

I don’t always succeed in trimming enough, but short forms have helped me hone and weed out more of the frill. One of my favorite short forms is the American Cinquain, invented by Adelaide Crapsey. Though there are other ways to write cinquains, I would like focus on the syllable count “2-4-6-8-2” format, for this discussion. These poems are typically un-rhymed. I cannot begin to cover the development of the form over the years.

It’s hard to ramble too much when the structure only gives the poet a total of 22 syllables to work with. The title is pivotal. Those that are seasoned in the art of cinquains often use the title as a sixth line—launching the poem without repeating something that is stated in the five lines.

Below are a couple of examples which I hope will be helpful and that you will enjoy—

 

Enya’s Star

a touch
of magical
words, shining to uplift
souls, blends the grace of heaven’s light
in song

 

Tapestry of Dreams

weaving
rainbow moments
and fields designed with dreams…
the collage reflects a passion
for life

 

I know what you are probably thinking—”she repeated dreams in the title and in the poem.” I was going to choose another example but I wanted to convey the tapestry as a weaving of strands and yet, it was essential that the reader know this is about dreams and desires that go into that passion for life. It is very different than starting that same poem with “Weaving Rainbow Moments” as the title. I hope you agree. Sometimes we get caught up in semantics instead of focusing on the piece as a whole.

I would like to invite you write one cinquain, or more. Please post them as comments – one poem per comment – so that every cinquain becomes a highlight all it is own. This should be approached as an activity to try without worrying about the perfect poem. This way we can enjoy them without being overly critical in hopes that we can learn from each other.

I am grateful to Amarine for inviting me to share time with you at this beautiful journal. She is wonderful to work with. Please consider sharing poems for regular submission too.

 

About the Author:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including The Literary Librarian, Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“r-e-u-n-i-o-n” by Karen O’Leary

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r-e-u-n-i-o-n

first one
that enticed her
after years of stilted
honey…the homelike sing-along
drew her
the folk
music, a balm
of childhood memories,
rich in acceptance and warm zeal…
at home

 

Background for this poem:

The poem is a culmination of family reunions over the years. As a child, extended family reunions on my father’s side usually had some type of sing-a-longs. There were some talented musicians to lead us. With our printed music sheets people belted out folk songs. Off key or not people enjoyed the memories that went with the music. I enjoyed catching up with various people in the relaxed atmosphere.

 

Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

 

Find Karen’s Writing at:

Whispers journal

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Walking in Time” by Karen O’Leary

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Walking in Time

grandpa’s hour glass broke
years ago…
for him
time
stood
…still…
time
ticked on
at a pace
that left him silent
our hearts had bonded
so we walked
in love…
still
time

 

Background for this Poem:

This poem, while fictional, is born of the special bond I had with my grandpa.  We often walked in silence, content just being together.  He patiently taught me how to wash eggs as a preschooler, a task that probably took him twice as long.  His quiet strength has been a model for my life.  For those stuck in the past, time does stand still, but yet time still continues on. My grandpa is in heaven now but is still tucked in my heart.

Poetry form–Fibonacci

 

Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

 

Find Karen’s Writing at:

Whispers journal

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Sundown” by Karen O’Leary

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Sundown

Dakota dust clings
to dad’s sweaty skin.
We bring cold water
& ham sandwiches
to the men working
to get the crops planted.

Today they beat
the storm as steady
rain soaks the parched
soil, nourishing water
for the tiny seeds
they just tucked in.

 

Background for this Poem:

This poem is born of my growing up in rural Minnesota as a child that appreciated the opportunity to share in the farm life on vacations with my cousins. We brought the sandwiches out to those that were working in the fields. Rain was deeply appreciated when the crops were in. I’ve lived in North Dakota for most of my life as an adult. The rural life is a vital part of the Red River Valley.

 

Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.

 

Find Karen’s Writing at:

Whispers journal

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019