All posts for the month April, 2016

Pearl in Translation

Published April 30, 2016 by kdorholt

Pearl (Middle English)

1 Perle, pleasaunte to prynces paye
2 To clanly clos in golde so clere,
3 Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
5 So rounde, so reken in vche araye,
6 So smal, so smoþe her syde3 were,
7 Quere-so-euer I jugged gemme3 gaye,
8 I sette hyr sengeley in synglere.
9 Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
10 Þur3 gresse to grounde hit fro me yot.
11 I dewyne, fordolked of luf
12 Of þat pryuy perle wythouten spot.

“Pearl” in Translation

Pearl favor worthy of nobility,

A match for gold, this treasure.

From the East, this wonder be.

No  gem can meet its measure.

Perfect circle–splendid curiosity,

Dainty, shining–mine forever.

I set her down in silken luxury.

Wherever I roamed she gave me pleasure.

But in one spec of eternity,

Four brigands stole her from my sack.

Now, I will not fear what dangers be

Until I bring my pure, pearl back!








I Remember Grandma

Published April 29, 2016 by kdorholt

I remember Grandma Karason,
a most loving soul,
the first person I ever knew who went to Heaven,
I remember that I’ve never grown comfortable with her leaving so suddenly
without a final good bye
I remember walking up the gray front-porch steps on Long Street
how she stood at her screen door
how the tears sparkled in her eyes like bits of magic
when she greeted us hello or wished us good bye
I remember her short, stout arms, made strong and sure by years of taxing labor,
reaching out to us in joy and comfort
and her songlike voice caressing us with her immigrant Hungarian tongue:
“Lány” for me     “Fiú” for my brothers–
special words bestowed like papal blessings
I remember the look she gave my father,
(head always cocked delicately to one side)
like he was an answer to a special prayer
I remember her hugs that always carried a bit of her kitchen when she drew us close

I remember that kitchen–like no other anywhere on my earth–
her kingdom–where she cooked and baked us Hungarian dishes
I was sure were really meant as gifts for the angels
I remember her working the retes dough until it looked as thin and lithe as linen                 and her carefully forming it into a dough tablecloth
before she’d cut it up for strudel
I remember poppy seeds and front-yard cherries
chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage
I remember a Singer treadle sewing machine,
its place by the wall at the entrance to her kitchen,
and watching her work fabric under the pressure foot as she pedaled
I remember how she’d purse her mouth so her lips disappeared
to make the material move just the way it needed to go
I remember her house was “the old country” dark and heavy
the sun only shining when she was in a room

I remember her waist-length, wavy salt and pepper hair
braided and coiled around the top of     her head
like a crown every day
and hair pins–loads and loads of hair pins
and the blue tin (with the silver butterfly on the lid) that she kept them in
I remember her sturdy, black, perforated Red Cross shoes
and stories about her father, the shoemaker
I remember the whispered secret that he died in Auschwitz for being Catholic, too
I remember the fragrance from the lily of the valley that ringed her house in the springtime and         permeated her home with its bloom
I remember a tipped navy blue hat on her head
with a bouquet of white fabric flowers pinned to the front
delicately dancing up and down in rhythm to her minuscule movements
I remember the dull, definite thud of her body whenever Grandpa pushed her
against the wall in anger and frustration
I remember her asleep in her (one comfortable) living-room chair,
her hands folded, remarkably at rest
the slip of a serene smile
and Hop-Along-Cassidy in the background

I remember the feeling of melancholy
and the importance of prayer,
family, good food, faith,
love, forgiveness, grace
and simple joy . . .

She would not want me to forget.

Lucky to Be Alive (A story told backwards)

Published April 28, 2016 by kdorholt

What just happened?
With a scream like a rabid raccoon
the quarry stops and slumps by a barrel

In hyper induced reflex, he squeezes the trigger
Tearing through the alleyway chance chose
Unfortunate, fleeing, failed robber

Gun ready, in perilous pursuit of a dark figure
Not some pansy postal worker
He’s the neighborhood Dirty Harry

Relentlessly recharged he reaches for his .45
He feel its rejuvenating power
Adrenaline, nature’s speed, courses in his veins

He hears the alarm tripped in the lonely garage
Somehow, through his snoozing and snoring
The eyes, the mind relaxed in midnight’s spell,

Left this tale’s hero a snoozing, listless vessel
After thousands of letters sorted and sent
“What happened” happens here in Indiana.

Source: Nestel, M.L. Burglar Sues Man Who Shot Him: ‘I’m Lucky to Be Alive’. The Daily Beast. 28 April 2015.

The Prince

Published April 27, 2016 by kdorholt

*I lived in Minnesota most of my life. Time for a “longer-lined” poem about Prince.

The Prince

Bob Dylan left but the Prince stayed at home.
(Some people wander; some never quite roam.)

Prince could have put Paisley Park anywhere,
Even on Mars–the songsters wouldn’t care.

They would have rocketed way past the moon
To record with him or sing a sweet tune.

But, he loved to bicycle near Paisley Park
Or stop by some local nightclubs after dark.

We’d see his car at local Dairy Queens
or First Avenue–“Mini-apple” scenes.

He gave late-night jams for many to see . . .
We mourn our Prince now; he was family.



Published April 25, 2016 by kdorholt

*Our poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrarra, asked Americans to contribute to and epic poem he called “La Casa Des Familias.” It’s a wonderful read. You can find it on the Librabry of Congress Site.). Today we were to write a poem from a line of poetry. I chose the last line in the second poem of the second section and wrote a found poem.


An epic poem
of all
our voices


my family
migrant trails

to heart

to a

travels in
the language
of poetry

to which
we gaze
and wonder

Sonnet for My Grandson

Published April 23, 2016 by kdorholt

*Write a sonnet. My grandson celebrates his seventh birthday tomorrow! Sonnet subject?   No-brainer!

Oh did you know that bright and right spring day
That you would be my sun and renew all?
And did the yellow buds that herald May
Spring forth at your first dawning, infant call?

For you’ve changed every day since then.
Rebirthed in me a love of life so true.
I am convinced that wonders waken when
They hear the faintest, stirring sigh from you.

But Nature discounts ardent inquiries
And looks the other way in playful scorn.
It whispers through its winds and rustling trees
That I should praise the fact that you were born.

Oh, Nature’s wrapped in mystery and show,
You, Grandson, best its miracles . . . I know!

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