The Face of Brave


Today was a hard writing day for me, so I decided to pick a poetry form and see if that would help guide my writing. I chose the Ae Freislighe or Irish quatrain.

The ae freislighe is a complex and intense form. Here are the guidelines: quatrain stanzas (4-line stanzas), 7 syllables per line, lines 1 and 3 rhyme together, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa), lines 2 and 4 rhyme together as two syllables (xb), and the final line of the entire poem should be the same as the entire poem begins (the poetic term for this is dunadh).

Whew! I picked a good, hard form all right. Leave to the brilliant and resilient Irish to create this form.

As for news on the home front, everything is set with RIM having a bed for Trace. Now we wait and hope and pray that on Monday the insurance authorization will arrive.

She is improving everyday, but the function of her left leg (her previously good and strong leg) is still not very high. Her muscles are activating, but the weakness in her hip flexors prevent her from walking without difficulty.

But she is determined.

And strong.

Even in her weakness.

She inspires me to push through difficulties and to carry on courageously.

She is the face of brave to me.


Bravery lives to clarify
that less strong is not weaker—
that strength seeks to satisfy
and to protect the seeker

of truth, the one courageous
person whose strength is beyond
in every way. I respond—

the shy strength of fortitude
does bolster and dignify.
So I say with gratitude:
Bravery lives to clarify.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Fair Chaps Beware


Photo Credit: Carla Jeanne

Today’s challenge was to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. I had to begin with a photograph, and then find a poem in a language I didn’t know. My mission was to start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem was actually “about” my photograph.

I chose a poem in Irish (Gaelic) and used a photo I took at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. First is the poem in its original language, and following is my “translation”.

Faoi Chabáistí is Ríonacha 
By Celia de Fréine

In ionad bláthanna a bhronnadh ar a bhean
agus é i mbun tochmhairc,
d’fhrasaigh Risteard
bronntanais ar a máthair. I dtosach
tháinig na málaí plaisteacha, ansin na saic,
iad lán le glasraí a d'fhás sé féin
a is a athair.
Leasaithe go nádúrtha. Uiscithe faoi scáth
hoíche i rith an triomaigh.
Turnapaí ar aon mhéid le do chloigeann.
Prátaí Rí Éadbhard as ar deineadh
na sceallóga ba shúmhaire. Cabáistí
sách leathan le ceathrairíní a cheilt.
Ní raibh bean Risteaird ag súil le ceathrairíní –
iníon a leanbh sise, í tugtha go mór
do fhrithbhualadh na glúine, ar nós a máthar.


Fair Chaps Beware

Over eons the base
of the bastions
blossomed, ageless
and immune to time

like a resilient band
of brothers. I searched
those majestic rolling plains
atop the pounding sea,

and under my gaze
their angel hair
frolicked in the wind.
Let no man go adventuring,

unless he find the path;
for high and wide
the tumultuous treachery
hidden below the churning sea.

Yes, pounding against
and pounding beneath,
the salacious sea sings
her song. Come, she sings,

lay your head on my chest.
No radiant beams shine
more resiliently than I,
she croons; from here,

I lovingly rise to greet
the moon. So lest you frivolous
and foolish be, go no more
near the edge of the sea.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What your favorite place to visit?