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Borders, Overgrown

09 April, 2017: Borders, Overgrown


by Alice Cone
Borders, Overgrown
The moisture seeping from the petals
of the musty mountain ash makes the whole lawn
smell of sex.  Everything is overgrown,
the encroachers in the bed three feet high,
dandelion, ragweed and sedges mixed in with the phlox
and thorny rose, the tall magnolia and the holly,
the mounds of sweet verbena.
The border has been shredded by the mower.
She lies beside that scattered edge,
where the odor of dirt and grass and smoldering blossoms
finally plows her under,
where her roots spread like fingers just beneath the surface
so that soon she upholds
everything on earth.

“Borders, Overgrown” by Alice Cone, from As If a Leaf Could be Preserved. Finishing Line Press, 2006. Also published in Artful Dodge 38/39, 2001. Used by permission of the author.
Alice Cone teaches creative writing at Kent State University and conducts poetry workshops in the community through the Wick Poetry Center. She is a part-time nanny to a preschooler and a sometime barista at Last Exit Books and Coffee Shop. The author of two chapbooks, As If a Leaf Could Be Preserved (Finishing Line Press, 2006) and Shattering Into Blossom (Interior Noise Press, 1997), Cone received her MA in creative writing (poetry) from Boston University in 1980 and was a member of the 2000 Cleveland Poetry Slam Team. She has completed two novels, Morning Glory Philosophorum and The Way of Mirrors. The mother of two grown children, Cone lives in Kent.


Write a simplified glosa. Begin by placing a quatrain by another poet at the head of your poem. Now write a four-stanza poem, with each stanza containing 10 lines and the 10th line being a line of your quatrain (stanza one ends with line one, stanza two ends with line two, etc.). The final challenge is to rhyme lines six, nine and 10. Diane Seuss has one titled “'Glosa' at Rattle."

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. ...

--- How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love with Thee

And shall we sit and talk awhile,
Under the big oak tree.
A sweet song floats on the air,
From the lovely orange-breasted robin.
He seems to want to create a fancy mood
As his shadow dances in the sun’s rays.
Does he have a mate or prefer to be alone?
I take your hand and look fondly to the sky,
As I begin to speak, the song continues to play.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

To stare upon you, t'would seem the world
Simply stops spinning by.
Your chestnut brown waves of hair
Pull my hands up to brush through,
The feel of which I could not mistake.
Blue eyes I stare into, feels just right
And I know it simply has to be.
For no one else exists at this moment in time.
As perfectly right as a day becomes night,
I love thee to the depth and the breadth and height.

Your voice, it seems, would speak to me
For hours and hours of all things.
I would never tire or think ire
Of what you say or feel.
That laugh I hear so often near,
And it bellows with such a might.
The sounds of which I could never leave,
Or bear to ever be without.
Even in times of bitter dark, with you there is a light
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.

A smell of wood and crisp air follows
In the air where you had been.
To close my eyes and drink it up,
Helps me to clear my mind
Of all things bad or wrong or unclean.
I know I need to savor this place.
Keep your hand in mine to feel the strength
Of this song that knows no end.
I love you whether in any time or space,
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
4/12/2017 2:32:17 PM

Chantelle Brady
Separate, yet connected, you
are my life, my love
you purr when you are happy
and murp to say “play”
you are my pretty kitty
and I will watch you go
up to the window to chitter
with you birdie friends up high
though you sink down so low
How can something so?

invite the child in me to play.
everything’s a toy
bottles, plastics, pens, and caps
boxes and shoes are too
when I lose my keys
I know that you are full
of energy and want me to stay
with you and play tug-of-war
you grunt as you tug and pull

And affect me with your beauty,
Oh, most majestic cat
especially when it’s sunny out
and the rays shine upon your fur
I just want to touch
your coat so beautiful
I try to rub your belly but
you say no and scratch me
you away and pull
be so painful?

in the most fundamental way.
you play, you sleep, you eat, you poop
you meow and purr,
and murp and chitter
you sleep on my feet when I am awake
and when I’m asleep you trample
around. I love you my Suzy
my pretty little girl
even playing with your jingle mouse
Especially when it's purple.
4/10/2017 10:08:59 PM

N. K. Hasen
Full Of Sleep

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
— Willam Butler Yeats

Life plods through the rolling hills
But, life has finally caught me still
No more can one travel abroad
Through places far and wide
Now stuck to one place all alone
With remaining treasures which I keep
I sigh and ponder why
I cannot visit distant shores as
Days get shorter; in they creep
When you are old and gray and full of sleep,

What to do and pass the time
For weary I have become
Most days and nights I stare
From windows trying to finds some fun
But, my treasures are ones I rely on
Use to bring them by the brook
Held them aloft and read right in
I found many places from within
As in the flames I saw a look
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

Books lie by my bed still
Devour in endless haste
I found the book, one I hold dear
I placed it to my heart
Opened pages wide
As I read my throughts took
Whole roots began to grow
Remembering my youth from long ago
It may me stop my outlook
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

I remember you came through
Your love for me was all you knew
Books we read by the hour
Travels to distant shores
We dreamed as such lovers
Before we took the leap
Then life throws a curve
One too short from reading
Life we had before your sleep
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep
4/9/2017 9:38:00 PM

Susan Rebecca Teller
Interesting. Quite challenging too.
4/9/2017 11:23:50 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.