Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last Monday of May

image by deegolden

The weird Y at W Bostian Rd reminds me of the little house we rented when we were young and living on love.  When I drive it I think of our oldest son slicing his thumb with a razor blade in that garage trying to cut into a tennis ball to see the “guts.”  That afternoon I was pushing his little brother in one of those kiddie cars in front of the house when he came out to me, blood dripping from his hand, a brave and amused smile on his face.  I took him inside to survey the damage.  I admit I had to sit because the room was spinning.  And it hasn’t stopped.  I suppose it never will.  We’ve added two more sons and each have gotten cut badly enough to have stitches, but I’ll never get used to seeing them bleed. So on this day of memory and honoring I say a prayer for the mothers who have had to endure so much more.

memorial day
a mother’s heart

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse:  Meeting the Bar-the haibun, a combination of prose and haiku.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


T206 Honus Wagner Baseball Card
Image in the Public Domain

When you’re rare
you’re worth a lot.

Even if you’re just
the kid brother afterthought
working in a coal mine
at 12 years old—

you can


Like becoming
one of the
first 5 players elected
to the National Baseball Hall of Fame,

or becoming
the first
to get your signature on
the Louisville Slugger,

or have yours
be the most valuable
baseball card in history.

Like Honus,
there’s only one you,

and it might be schmaltzy
to say, but—
that’s pretty rare.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Monday, March 10, 2014


Now, Mama Deborah was a prophet;
she knew what would happen.
She’d said a woman
was going to get the job done.

Sisera had been
dreaming of spoils—silver,
and purple garment plunder,
a woman on each shoulder—
his mother, so proud.

Until his mighty 900
were swept away
in the torrent of Kishon,
and he alone, on foot, found Jael.

And let’s just say
the stars were not aligned
in his favor.

You’d like some water?
I can do better,
here’s some milk.

Get cozy,
here’s a blanket,
that’s right,
take a load off.
There now,
rest your head—

they may not have made swords
fitted for feminine hands,
but trust me, a woman
knows how to get creative
when she must—

you may feel
a little sting;
this peg, this hammer
are no
small things.

And it happened, just
like Mama said.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Notes:  Deborah was a prophetess and judge (and poetsmiles) in ancient Israel.  Sisera was a notorious commander of the army of the Canaanites who had oppressed the Israelites for many years.  Jael was the woman who defeated him by driving a tent peg through his temple with a hammer, pinning his head to the ground. 

To read both prose and poetic accounts of the story of these heroines go here:  Judges 4, 5.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

All Your Places

a blurry photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

say the names

and see them
like your eyes have hands
to touch them

say the names—aloud
of the places
where all your blood and bliss were sown

say the names

to your children, speak them,
so they can say them
back to you when you’ve grown old

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Kim Nelson invited us to write a poem about The Places You Love inspired by Sherry Blue Sky’s poem Saying the Names with Love which was inspired by Al Purdy’s poem Say the Names.  I wrote three, but the other two I am still messing with so I am going to link this one to Verse First (very late) and to The Poetry Pantry.  I was really moved by Sherry’s and Al’s poems and when I had read them I immediately thought of a recent trip I took to the Grand Coulee Dam.  I learned that during construction of the dam the reservoir flooded many tribal lands and cultural sites of the local American Indian tribes as well as causing salmon and other fish to be unable to migrate.  I know the dam is very valuable because of the hydroelectric power it generates and irrigation it provides, but these words of Alex Sherwood in this photo from the exhibit brought tears to my eyes.  I kept going back to read them again.  What if my most favored places, the most meaningful to me in my history, were gone or severely altered?  Or, as I have been doing some reading on memory loss, what if it was me who was altered and could not remember “my” places?  I also love the personification Alex gives the river in his words.  His words are poetic to me.  These are long process notes for what is a short poem, so thanks for bearing with me if you stayed to read this long!  Maybe I’ll feel satisfied enough to post the other poems I’ve written inspired by this prompt at a later date.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Night Witches (Nachthexen)

They flew in the cold,
in the pitch-blackness of an evil sky,
riddled with bullets.

No radios.

No parachutes.

2 bombs.

Engines cut
on the Polikarpov U-2,
to creep
up on sleeping monsters,

to visit their dreams
with light,
and bring the Reich and Reign
closer to hell.

Started them up
in mission, resolute,
crawling out on the wings,
on a limb,

for the rest of us.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner


Did you know women flew airplanes in combat in WWII?  I didn’t until I visited the Flying Heritage Museum recently.  The 588th Night Bomber Regiment was made entirely of women who flew the PO-2.  They would sneak up on the enemy by cutting their engines, drop bombs, and then restart their engines to get away; even crawling out on the wings, mid-flight when necessary, to get the props going.  And then go and do it all over again throughout the freezing night.  Truly heroic.  The Nazis began to refer to them as Night Witches because of the terror this tactic inflicted.  Seemed like the right time of year to write about them.

The photos:  (top) a few of these amazing aviators.   And (right) the PO-2, the tail number honors the 23 who earned "Hero of the Soviet Union" citations. And (left) the lettering on the fuselage translates into "Revenge for Dusya," a tribute to the first Night Witch to be killed in combat.  30 of them were lost in all.  If you click any of the links here I recommend the "Revenge for Dusya"...really some fascinating reading from the book A Dance with Death.

Linking up to OpenLinkNight at dVerse, an amazing site for poetry.