Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘Identity Poems’ Category

The Wild Hunt

with 4 comments

(A memory from the Chocolate Box)

The recent storms brought back memories of my childhood in Ireland, when I was told that the thunder and lightning were made by the Wild Hunt. To me, there was nothing more exciting or terrifying than to imagine the black horses and their dark riders loose on a stormy night.

The Wild Hunt

On stormy nights, when the Wild Hunt Rides,
And there is no balm that soothes,
I watch the sky for the flash of their swords
And the thunder of their hooves.

Their horses black as the leaden clouds
Buck and charge the sky.
The mountains shake as they raise their heads
And echo a warrior’s cry.

What prey do they seek on these stormy nights,
What leaves the scent of blood?
What cowers in fear before the Ride
That comes in a raging flood?

It is man that they hunt through the dark of night.
It is we that cower and pray.
Yet, how the heart leaps at their warrior cries
As they thunder on their way.

On stormy nights, when the Wild Hunt rides,
There is no balm that soothes.
But we watch the sky for the flash of their swords
And the thunder of their hooves.


Written by Gail Kavanagh

May 28, 2009 at 8:49 am

5-6 word memoirs – a Haiku life…

with 2 comments

Someone in my writing group suggested doing summaries of your life in 6 words-

seems like a haiku life almost, anyway did a few in 5/6 words- here they are.


Ocean girl dives for poetry dreams.

I look for words out windows.

Rain is my memory eulogy.

Dry plants beat my brother’s coffin.

Mother dreams big daughter banker.

Father dreams big daughter academic.

Daughter dreams big great parent.

Brother dreams sister stops hopeless dancing.

Sister dreams brother stops hopeless attitude.

Yellow are my feathers to fly.

Blue are my weaknesses denied.

(c) june perkins- words and images all rights reserved.

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

another year another flower

Written by June

May 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Whose Hands?

with 6 comments



I remember her hands, slim and graceful,

gently rounded fingernails

sometimes painted with a soft rose nailpolish,

sometimes cut up from yardwork or from building something.


Hands that could wield a hammer or a needle,

 pounding work or delicate work,

                sometimes doing construction as when building her house

                sometimes doing embroidery or cruel needlework.



Hands that made crocheted gifts for Christmas one year and

hand drawn with the recipient’s interest painted on tee shirts the next. 

                sometimes making and carving candles

                sometimes making beaded flower arrangements for all.


Hands that hammered two by four’s

hands that carried large cement blocks

                sometimes up scaffolding while building a chimney

                sometimes making a retaining wall.


Hands that made things from scratch

hands reddened from boiling water or strained black raspberries,

                sometimes making tofu or bread

                sometimes canning veggies and making jellies.


Hands that hammered wallboard

hands that spackled and sanded each wallboard joint

                sometimes painting ceilings and walls

                sometimes slapping on tar to waterproof basement walls.


Hands that danced through the air

as explanations needed visual expression,

                sometimes in graceful dancing

                sometimes in pointed conversations.


Hands that changed diapers

hands that delighted to convey love to others through touch, 

                sometimes to hold and caress

                sometimes to massage and heal.


But what has happened to those hands?

Whose hands do I now see?

                sometimes bloated from water retention

                sometimes aching from too much work

                sometimes not seeming like the same hands of yore

                sometimes I wonder: whose hands are they?


They are my hands now: aging, not as graceful

hands that convey the passage of time,

                sometimes still able to massage and heal

                sometimes to make bread or draw

                sometimes to build something or paint

sometimes pull weeds and plant.


More likely than not they are dry, needing lotion

or aching from too much writing or weeding

                always wanting to impart love and touch

                always wanting to distill a little more beauty

                                into gardens, or recipes, or creative gifts

                                into life, work, people, love.


They are my hands now—no one else’s

 I am proud of the legacy they reveal

                only to those who have the wisdom to see

                life enhances, not detracts, from the beauty of hands.



Written by thalia

September 9, 2008 at 10:50 am

A Woman’s Work

with 7 comments

Here is a poem I wrote years ago that seems appropriate for this prompt. It’s still hanging around the web somewhere on a couple of poetry sites. I was prompted to dig it out by Kezza’s post and her reply to my comment.

Here we honor the work of woman
The dirty, disregarded, essential work of woman;
The healing, cleansing nurturing work of woman.
Here we honor woman’s work.
Our woman’s hands are working hands,
Supple to knead the dough, shape the bread,
Strong to wash the linen, lift the child,
Scrub the floors, scour the pots
And banish all that is corrupt.
Soft to heal the sick, touch the brow,
Gentle to mix the healing herbs,
Blessed to do the work
That feeds and clothes and heals humanity.
Give us woman’s work to do and watch
The wounded heal, the tables prosper,
Watch the children grow plump with in our care,
Watch the garden flourish and the linen dry.
Watch the men lay down their arms for ours.
And never underestimate a woman’s work.

Written by Gail Kavanagh

September 8, 2008 at 12:16 am

Posted in Identity Poems

Cicada Hands

with 6 comments

This was written for a friend on flickr and is in response to his photo of his Dad’s hands.

Dad & the Cicadas 2004, originally uploaded by Mr. TRONA.

For Mr Trona and family

Father has changed now
But always I shall see his
Cicada hands
The gentle bend of their fingers
As beseeching time beckons.

His memory is not the sum of him
Nor is his skin
Not even the words that gurgle out of the
Brook of his mouth.

Father is here now as he was
Back then time beckoned him
To where he is now.

Outside of time is mother’s love
A Wife’s love,
My love, his love
Nestled in cicada hands.

((c) Image Mr Trona, (c) Words Gumbootspearlz

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

September 7, 2008 at 3:39 am

Time On My Hands (written as response to “hands” prompt)

with 6 comments

Most of the time I don’t notice it.

Getting older, that is.

I think of some punchline about how if you don’t like what it is you’re looking at, turn down the lights.

Maybe the problem was that my eyes were dilated.

Sitting in the opthalmologist’s examination room for half an hour — which was 25 minutes longer than I was told the wait would be — seemed like an eternity. The room was dark, except for several lighted buttons built into a cabinet and a flourescent wall washer dimly illuminating part of one wall above the sink.

I sat for a few minutes. Then paced. The room was really too small for a satisfying pace. Five small steps, then turn; five more, and turn again. Suddenly that seemed ridiculous. I sat back down. Raised my arms above my head and stretched. Curled them down to my feet and stretched. It felt good.

Had I known the wait was going to be so long, I might have made a phone call, written a blog post, made a grocery list, written out a “mind dump” (that’s another story), or Something. But five minutes is no time at all, not when you’re waiting for the door to open any moment, waiting for the doctor to come in and shine her bright light directly into your naked, vulnerable eyeballs.

After all the sitting and the pacing and the stretching, she still had not arrived to join me in that frigid room, and so I sat some more. My dilated eyes focused on my hands arranged quietly on the fabric of my black cotton skirt.

My hands hurt, but I had not noticed, had not wished to notice, how arthritis has begun to sculpt hollows in the bones and heap up lumps in the knuckles.

Written by Beth

September 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Identity Poems

Virtue Hands

with 2 comments

For Kerry’s prompt on hands- I wrote this a while ago but it seems to fit with your theme.
I love taking photographs of hands. I’ll post a collage when I find a chance to make it.

Virtues Hands

Virtues hands virtues hands

Palms that knead the bread that could feed us all.

Fingers you strum the heart of a guitar

Type the words of freedom’s song

Making daisy chains for him

It’s your homage to a king.

Hands that plant a tiny seed

Words becoming a mighty tree.

Virtues hands virtues hands

You dig and plant

You nurture you sow

You’re the handprints in the wind

And the angels put you there

You lead and you do

What the Hidden words say.

Virtues hands virtues hands

Palms that knead the bread that could feed us all

Fingers you strum the heart of a guitar

Type the words of freedom’s song

(c) words and image all rights reserved Gumbootspearlz, June Perkins. 2008

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

September 3, 2008 at 11:58 pm