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While Rosewater Simmers

21 April, 2021: While Rosewater Simmers

Read a Poem

While Rosewater Simmers

By Genevieve Jencson

I romance myself. Press my palms
to the lithic landscape ripe with lichen
and sea pink. There is a skull
under my skin. Sometimes I forget
until my bones sing. Humerus
sighs in the scapular cavity. Femur
moans in the acetabulum. I lace
my fingers between my ribs and breathe
to take more space. We grow old
together. We love each other
in our rosy bed, sheets speckled
with garden dirt and rhubarb crumbs.
“While Rosewater Simmers” by Genevieve Jencson, from Lanugo. Dancing Girl Press. 2015. Used by permission of the author.
Genevieve Jencson is a writer and performing artist living in Lakewood, Ohio. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Northeast Ohio MFA, and a BA in English from Hiram College. Online publications of her work include Sidereal Magazine, Wicked Alice Zine, and Dressing Room Poetry Journal. Her work has been published in print in jubilat, Rubbertop Review, and Alimentum and in her poetry chapbook Lanugo (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). Genevieve has performed dance at cultural festivals including “Rooms to Let: CLE,” “Wintertide at Gordon Square,” “Firefish Festival” in Lorain, and “One World Day” at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. She also sings harmonies for the band Shy Moon.

Write a Poem

Some current research suggests that trees communicate with each other. Write a poem in which trees communicate seriously or one in which they communicate humorously or ironically.
Lola Farron
Our friends are injured,
Standing are bare.
Some are hunched or slanted.
Injured by a warming earth storm,
They cry out for mercy as their branches lay on the ground...
heaped and piled in disarray... like cadavers after a mass killing.
4/22/2021 8:41:53 PM

Mary M Chadbourne
What a delightful set of images--being one with the garden and feeling it in ones bones. Lovely.
4/21/2021 7:48:01 PM

Sierra Polsinelli
The Oak

Ahhh.... he sighed
he was old and knarled
twisted in spots
but his wide spread branches
were still full of buds
any dead wood blown away
by the winter winds.

The branches and buds rustled and paused
as he reached out
his fingery roots
deep into the soft, wet Earth
that lived so far
below the surface.

Stretching, reaching
groping, exploring.
Now where was that Ash?
Pondered the old oak,
some might call him
The Mighty Oak.

Ah ... there he was – still sleeping
Wake up young woodling
Spring is here
If you’re not careful
you’ll miss all the best food.

Young Acorn yonder
has sent her roots deep this Winter.
She’ll be a mighty oak one day
maybe mightier than me.

He sent his thoughts
Down through the roots
Now was the time to
heal wounds, strengthen roots
make sap flow.

He was the healer.
He sought out the sick
and fed them the choicest nutrients
through the fine network of roots.
He knew he was best at
reading the pathways.

He was the old oak
Father of many
Friend to all
Master of the network.
4/21/2021 5:13:04 PM

Gina T

I have read many, and want
to read many more, trees,
of their sacrifices, the pages
in books that whisper
of their past, hidden lives:
enchanted woods, maypoles,
juniper, flame, a tree
in Brooklyn, Green Bay,
pomegranate in the dictator’s
garden, under mercy trees,
forests and stands,
groves and arbors,
hanging trees and gallows.

So innocent as children
when we played hangman
with our stick figure
coming into focus line by
line by board by nail
faster than the crucifix.
Those planks hold our
bodies lowered for the last
time from cradle to grave.
They have loved us
and watched as we were
severed from our souls.
4/21/2021 4:40:59 PM

Leigh-Anne D
Mother Maple Whispers in the Wind

Oh my dear sweet sapling,
Rest in the moonlight, my dear one.
At the dawn, awaken and rise up,
reaching your young limbs upward
to greet the warm and loving sun.

Do not fear the storms the come.
Drink in the heavy showers
of compassionate clouds,
and stretch and wiggle your roots
deep into the welcoming, nutritious earth. 

From my own self I made you...
A seed like me  before I sprouted and grew so tall.
So, too, with sun and rain from above
and rich clean soil from below,
you will grow to be big and broad.

Set your roots deep -- as deep as you can.
Raise your bows to the heavens
with gratitude for all you are given,
and offer shade, solitude, and a home
to all the other living beings within your view.
4/21/2021 4:06:03 PM

Bill Ritz
People Love Trees - Trees Hate People

Of course trees communicate with each other.
As soon as I set my foot
at the edge of their habitat
they rustle their warnings to the assembly.
As I wander among them
they swipe at me - my cap a target.
Closer, their children poke, scratch at my eyes.
The adults trip me with their roots!
And when I fall, they rustle jubilantly,
their leaves laughing hysterically.

Oh, how I loved my October Glory Maple.
I treated her like my child.
I provided water, nourishment, and love.
I didn’t wait for ill-health to call the tree doctor.
He was summoned to prune, groom and fertilize.
For keeping the tree healthy, and well-groomed:
No gratitude, only resentment.
For when I attempted to adorne and decorate,
she knocked me from my ladder
and mocked me when I fell!

Oh, the one-sided love and admiration.
The ungrateful recipients in return loathe.
In violent rejection, they’ve sacrificed themselves,
throwing their huge torsos onto abodes.
But they shall continue to be loved
as they continue to loathe in return,
and continue to consort with one another.
4/21/2021 12:14:35 PM

RE: "While Rosewater Simmers" lovely imagery! pinkish; with the sound of the letter "L" communicating romance, love and age. I loved it! Thanks for posting/sharing it this morning.
4/21/2021 11:54:11 AM

POEM DAY 21: Write a poem in which trees communicate.


Shy trees.
Their conversations
broken, like having coffee
with strangers to keep from penciling-in gaps,
origins beyond the planet’s edge. Imagine a
massacre—a place where branches of many trees
have burned, were beaten to death and sliced into saw-dust.
Still, they spoke. They cleared space, kernels of silence took over.

A genealogy
of trees: some tall, a few acorns.
Some passing for shrubs; others black,
then white; many speaking in color.
Imagine unspeakable stories living as circles
deep within the bone, a marrow of thought,
like water tossed in the air on purpose.
Tree-stories accommodate surprises.
They build homes, complicate streets and maps.
Trees gossip when they’re in a visitor’s way.

Shady trees.
They’re always over-weight, kind;
absorbing the sky to intrigue outsiders.
They pretend to whisper; yet say nothing.
Their sounds quiet the world. They teach
winter-sunlight to listen for darkness.
They absorb the mantra writers spit into journals.
The moon catches its reflection in their branches.

Not admitting
plant-roots have dialects
betrays music. Trees planted outside a cemetery
sing in peculiar languages of ups and downs,
breezes or change. Their conversations honor guests.
They yell from town to town; fence post to homelands.
Everyone knows their secret.
Each child learns to press a talking leaf inside their prayer-book.

Lonely trees?
They live on the edge, a creek-bank, for example.
Their voices belong to no one.
Their faces are blank. There’s always a piece of fruit
threatening to fall to earth
or waste away deep within a crevice.
It’s here their conversations start wars,
tree-words admitting entire orchards eventually die.
Conversely, tree laughter lives forever; it fits into just the right place,
carried down-stream, tasted; spreading like bacteria;
mutating the sky.

That’s it—
conversations between trees,
stories they tell each other:
shadows for coolness,
branches to mourn; a war made into peace,
roots for solidarity, circles within, oblivion, deafness;
horizons not our own…intrigue, plots…

something we listen for;
something we trust will be heard;
something tolerated, worthy of remaining behind.

© Tovli 2021
4/21/2021 11:51:14 AM

How beautifully written.
4/21/2021 11:15:55 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.