Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Poetry Today: Trends & Traditions 3
Edited by Anthony Servante 

Let’s discuss the premise before looking at the words. It is an axiom in academic writing that poetry must speak for itself. A writer cannot interpret meaning for the reader, giving insight to his own words as if they required his presence to clarify the work’s intents. The poem must stand up to the scrutiny of the reader alone. All poetry, artwork and links belong to the respective authors and are used here on a one-time basis only. Thank you. 

With this axiom in mind, we proceed to our poetry for today; we have works by Belladora Maria Ahumada, Michael H. Hanson, and Sabrina Fontaine Kaleta.

Let’s begin with the artist/poet, Belladora.

Biography: "Belladora Maria Ahumada has offered her poetry and art for two decades. In 2003 she attended the Leonardo de Vinci College in France for her first art show. She also had the pleasure of teaching an art class. In 2006 she traveled to TN to record a CD with Jim Kelly. This was recorded at Tom T. & Dixie Hall's studio.  Her poetry has been enjoyed by thousands. She was recently featured in the book "Indiana's Got Talent." Bell was also the creator of the 3D world Castles which was retired in 2006. As a freelance writer she welcomed the opportunity to showcase her work in prestige trade papers such as the AntiqueWeek, Auction Exhaange and Farm World. Her photography has also been published for other writers."


 "Wild Angel"
A wild angel
Can capture a star
Or rope the moon
She can fly beyond time
And be back at home before noon
She can drift
Upon any cloud
Dance inside a storm
She is what women are made of
When love goes wrong
She can turn up the heat
Or take you between
The depths of cold
And until she heals
Her wings will not fold
She can whisper
What you need
Or soar away
For she is the feather of freedom
That alters men and play
Don't be too harsh
To judge her
For she was once simple and true
But time altered her life
From the mold of men like you

Secret Love by Ahumada

Tangled Hearts
Your love is tangled inside me
Like my skin is to my flesh
Not one day passes
I am not your captive without rest
Vines that escape from my heartbeats
Fall to the floor like sprinkles of empty calls
Just wilted leaves that drink from my memories
Recalling our love's fall
I stare back to yesterday
Wishing I could save what we knew
But we created too many endings
Of me without you
If your heart ever gets empty
Take home these heartless leaves you left behind
Then my tears won't nourish nothing
And your name won't live inside

Wild Angel splits the narrator three ways, which is traditional for Romantic English Poetry, you know, William Wordsworth, John Keats, those guys. The point is to draw the reader into the emotion of the main narrator, the voice behind the "you" and "she" in the poem. At once, the reader is the object of the "angel", that is, "men like you" (meaning the male reader). Earlier in the poem, the word "men" serves to address all males, then narrows the field with the use of the pronoun "you", which would be me or any male reader. And still earlier, the angel is described with typical romantic symbols (star, moon, cloud, etc.) as a distant coquettish bird, narrowing the distance between "men" and extending it with swoops and dives. In romantic terms, love is unattainable, but it can be experienced as temporal as we experience our short life. Thus, it is we who have "molded" this vision of the "wild", another term for temporary nature, cyclic in her seasons. And so the angel is death as much as life, as love begets new life by draining lovers of their life essence via marriage and having kids and such.

Tangled Hearts extends the love metaphor for death, only here in terms of plant-life. "Leaves" represent the transitory nature of romance. But Belladora ties the "vines" to her body, heart, skin, thus the fallen leaf symbolizes "love's fall" (here a play on the word 'fall' for failure and autumn, a season known for its beauty and relation to death) or the decay of the human form. Without the cyclic nature of romance, the female has no role to reproduce and becomes an individual, equal to man. Our narrator asserts her individuality by rejecting the "heartless leaves" of "man", and proclaims, "Then my tears won't nourish nothing/And your name won't live inside." No man, no child--leaving woman for woman's sake. A sentiment worthy of Mary Shelley, our female Romanticist who wrote Frankenstein. Nature couldn't make the perfect male for her, so she made her own. As much as the narrator wants her "freedom", so to speak, she still needs a man, her heart forever "tangled" to the temptations of companionship.  

Next we have our old friend, Michael H. Hanson. 

Portrait of Michael H. Hanson

Biography: Michael created, and co-wrote, the first three books in the Sha'Daa shared-world anthology series (Sha'Daa: Tales of The Apocalypse", "Sha'Daa: Last Call", and "Sha"Daa: Pawns). He also has two collections of poetry in print ("Autumn Blush" published by YaYe Books and "Jubilant Whispers" published by Diminuendo Press).

For more information on Mike, his poetry, his fiction, and his Sha'Daa series, visit:


Sea Of Me (rhyming version)
by Michael H. Hanson
You will not drown within this sea of me,
be not afraid of my tumultuous waves
that look so daunting from your vantage point
yet are the most gentle of wet enclaves.
My undercurrents are subtly sweetened
enticing even experienced swimmers
who sense I’m much more than a placid soul
betraying occasional amber glimmers.
My waters are dark, yet warm to your touch,
a bottomless bath of silvery moonlight,
a moist and welcome amniotic tub
granting a magic weightlessness each night.
Fear not crossing my splashing boundary,
you will not drown within this sea of me.

Mike's inspiration for this poem

Sea Of Me (free verse version)
by Michael H. Hanson
You will not drown within this sea of me,
be not afraid of my tumulous waves
that look so daunting from your vantage point
yet lose their bite in my gentle shallows.
My undercurrents are somewhat hidden
surprising the experienced swimmer
who wrongly assumes I’m a placid soul
unworthy of exploratory plunge.
My waters are dark, yet warm to your touch,
an endless bath that stretches to moonrise,
a wet and welcome amniotic crib
granting sweet and familiar weightlessness.
Fear not crossing my splashing boundary,
you will not drown within this sea of me.

Addendum: In true poet fashion, Mike has taken Sea of Me to the next level and has woven it into a Shakespearean sonnet, using the traditional rhyme scheme of the Bard. Here is Michael H. Hanson's 3rd Variant on the sonnet form:

Sea Of Me (3rd Variant)
by Michael H. Hanson

You will not drown within this sea of me,
Be not afraid of my tumultuous waves
That look as daunting as eternity
Yet are the most gentle of wet enclaves.
My undercurrents subtly console,
Enticing even experienced swimmers
Who sense I’m much more than a placid soul
Betraying occasional amber glimmers.
My waters are dark, yet warm to your rub,
A bottomless bath of silvern moonlight,
An ebullient and amniotic tub
Granting a jaunty weightlessness each night.

Fear not my daring splashing reverie,
You will not drown within this sea of me.

Michael is a poet. He loves words. He also loves art. It is here he finds much of his inspiration for writing poetry. I read the "free verse" version of Sea of Me on Mike's Facebook page, where he posts many wonderful poems accompanied by the paintings or photographs that inspired the words. But I noticed that the poem was a modern free form version of a sonnet, the Petrarchan poetry form that swept the world in the 1200s. When I mentioned this to Mike, he wrote a sonnet version of the same poem. Of this I shall discuss.

Let's get the meter and structure out of the way. Using a new form, Mike applies an DA0A0B0B0C0CDD structure, without predictable meter, not quite free form, but not quite iambic pentameter either, the meter common for the 14 lined, ten syllable per line sonnet. The rhyme scheme for Petrarch and thereafter Shakespeare was ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, each couplet of letters ending with the rhyming word. Note in Hanson's scheme rhymes with the grouping of first and third line endings, concluding with a heroic couplet. The 0s I placed in his rhyme scheme represent free verse or non-rhyming pairs. As such, Mike explores his "rhyming version", a modern approach to the form. He maintains the words of love, the carpe diem pleadings of the narrator that are common in the Italian and Shakespearean versions, but departs from structure to allow the emotion to shine. Although I'm sure the Bard could argue that it shines all the more when formally metered and lined.

Yet Mike invokes the imagery of the sea to strengthen the romantic leanings, putting at ease the nervous lover who shies away from her paramour, "You will not drown within this sea of me." The sonnet here in both forms works as seduction from a bygone age, the Renaissance or even the Romantic Period, playing on the double-entendres of the sea and drowning  for surrender and sexual abandon. It is an immodest metaphor for lust, with the charm of a rogue with a devious pen in hand. The Sea of Me is a timeless piece of poetry, which in the hands of Michael H. Hanson, gives modern poetry a competitive edge with the masters of the past.

Which brings us to Sabrina.

Biography. "I’ve been writing poetry and other bits for over twenty five years. Though, admittedly, the decade before this was latent (I won’t say inactive). As I return, I find that my voice remains constant. Specific topics may change and I may grow, but it’s really all about identity - finding it as a whole and in its bits and pieces; claiming it; understanding it brings us together as much as it separates us; embracing the paradox of it; and ultimately, taking it out into the world, without shame or restraint. That to me is the greatest rebellion - Owning yourself." (For more on Sabrina, check the link under her pic. Thx).



We talk to each other in shadows,
On the cusp of meaning,
Unable to be pinned down.

We think of the next thing,
Or the last thing,
Or two things.
Not looking,
Shouting across rooms,
I am louder than I ever mean to be but never as intelligible.
We hear nothing but the conversation in our own heads,
And the life we’re living there and not here.

We’re preoccupied but not occupied,
By children, work, chores.
It all seems to blend together,
Even when it shouldn’t.
With all this din,
We forget that we actually agree.

Our child spoke in pictures,
when words eluded him.
Now, with words more ready,
Language is still not sufficient.
The piano speaks better.

I listen to him play,
And nothing else,
And I remember us,
All of us.
I am amazed.

Love doesn’t vanish with words,
Or thoughts,
But it can be muted.
It speaks volumes
when I forget it all.
Sit with me quiet,
Not silent.
Let us be known.

Sabrina Fontaine Kaleta

I never know I’m gone,
Until I’m back.
Still, I don’t stay.

That chocolate cake won’t stay uneaten.
I will yell at my children,
Forget everything I ever read,
Until I remember.

Over and over again,
Enlightenment washes over me,
Evaporates like L.A. Rain -
Too soon.

Once you expect it to be easy,
It gets worse.
That book Oprah sold you will only help you buy another.
There is never one right answer.

I find an answer and am smiling like an advertisement.
Tomorrow, I might find another.
Or be out in the wilderness,
Breathless and numb.

In those moments,
I exhale.
Forgive myself.
And find the road back -
Quicker each time.

Sabrina Fontaine Kaleta

The Beat Generation worshipped the Romantics, especially Percy Bysshe Shelley and Wiliam Blake, the old and new schools for the nouveau Roman Movement of the early 1800s to its demise with the rise of the Victorian Era writers (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for one). Here the objective correlative weighs heaviest, T.S. Eliot argues; he says, "which posits a connection among the words of the text and events, states of mind, and experiences" (Wiki). In other words, the poem must act as an object, as a work of art, measurable, defined, and calculable. Although each reader may view the poem differently, the poem alone is the basis for each view. You may hear an echo from my axiom for measuring the critical value of poetry from my introduction; that is because Eliot is the father of modern criticism. But I have taken the axiom a step further and included a subjective correlative (my words) to his objective correlative (Eliot's words). The reader is a part of the poem, just as laughter from the listener is a part of the joke. Emily Dickinson said it best, "Split the Lark--and you'll find the Music--". What this means is that the music is not inside the bird, nor the meaning inside the poem, but both inside the listener and the bird itself, or the reader and the poem itself. The reader needs the poem to make it a poem, while the poem needs the reader to make it Art. (But isn't that a marvelous image: splitting open a Lark and looking for a song.)

To the poetry of Kaleta now.

Here are two examples of Beat Poetry. Speak echoes Howl by Allen Ginsburg and William S. Burrough's Language is a virus from outer space, instances where the spoken word belies communication: "Language is still not sufficient" the narrator cries. Here the objective correlative is the unspoken nature of the intent of the words, that which the words cannot capture, namely, the subjective correlative: Love. In Kaleta's words, "Love doesn’t vanish with words". And within the words neither does it appear. It is to be found in ourselves, in couples who love, not who speak of love. Our poet sums it up: "Sit with me quiet,/Not silent./Let us be known". Ironically, it is with words that she captures the needlessness of words, like a true Beatnik.

In Enlightenment, Sabrina plays on another Beat theme: the presence of nothingness and the nothingness present. It reminds me of the old song (I forget the name of the songwriter), I Know Where You Want to Go, But You Can't Get There from Here. Or Homer and Jethro's How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away? With Kaleta, she juxtaposes "gone" with "stay", "forget" with "remember", "L.A. Rain" (perhaps a bit too regional for out-of-towners, but I get it), and finally "breathless" with "exhale". These are oxymorons, you know, like "virgin mother", two opposites that create a new singularity. In typical Beat fashion, Sabrina travels through the nothinglessness that these oxymorons represent and each time gets closer to finding a presence there; she summarizes her journey thusly, "Forgive myself./And find the road back - /Quicker each time". For it is in the journey that we find home; home is an illusion that we aim for. Even Jack Kerouac "On the Road" understood that.

I really loved reading the works of Ms. Kaleta. There's a world-weariness about her poems that not only takes me back to the Beat '50s but forward to the Cyber Age of Poetry with the restrained enthusiasm of a critic who sometimes forgets he is a reader first above all.

Thanks you, poets, for sharing with our readers here at the Servante of Darkness Blog, and thank you, readers, for joining us today. I welcome poems for our next column. If you have two or more poems, the subject topics do not matter, send them to me at, and be sure to write "Poetry" in the subject line. 


  1. Amazing poetry! I enjoyed every word immensely, and just as much the masterful interpretations and scholarly comparisons by Anthony! What a great service to the poetry community this is. Thanks for sharing and very well done to all! :)

  2. Wonderfully written poetry and beautiful artwork by Belladora. I have been a fan for many many years and have been inspired to write poetry myself from her graceful and majestic words. Bella's art can have you gazing and seeking a portal through her paintings to another dimension. Thank you for sharing!!!

  3. Very nice review of Belladora. I teach at the French school she came to to teach, and I can confirm she deserves to be known much more for her painting and poetry. She is a wonderful person who breathes art and love.

  4. What a great website!!!! And three highly accomplished artists; finely and fairly parsed by an astute writer and critic, himself. I enjoyed all three reads. Belladora, in particular, has always been a favorite. Her words and images still have their separate mysteries. Eric

  5. Nice to have news from Belladora in this website..I always very please to see her paintings and particulary this one so wonderful..And the poetry associate is a so good idea!In the classroom i also saw Bell teaching in France and it was a so great moment for the pupils ,they were so glad to discover an artist like her!
    scuse for my english,
    florence ;-))