Blessings

When the cacophony of news blares deafening dreadful,
‘tis time to still one’s feet, one’s hands, one’s mind.

Seek the beautiful, but for a moment.
Listen to stillness and you will hear the quiet.

Contemplate the beside you ~
     the chair upon which you sit
     the cold-hot water you may choose to drink, to draw
     the texture of cloth which warms your skin
     the view through glass panes that alternates,
     day to night to day again
     the love you carry within your heart,
     from those who have held your hands.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Then slowly rise and move deliberately,
into the good.

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It’s Tuesday and that means Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Paul is hosting and tells us about a book, Anam Cara, by Irish poet/philosopher John O’Donahue, which includes a number of “Blessings” poems. Paul asks us to write a blessing, adding “and may our words create ripples in the pond of the world.”  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come soar with us! Photo taken a number of years ago on our Baltic cruise.

Transient Beauty

It was the first summer after we bought our Iowa farm house. City transplants, we planted a huge garden. Tomatos, sweet corn, carrots, beets, cucumbers, radishes, green and yellow beans, peas, zucchini, squash and pumpkin, all kinds of peppers, and oak leaf and ruby red lettuce.  I planned to can and freeze vegetables. Enjoy our harvest through the winter.

On this particular hot and humid day, I was seven months pregnant and exhausted, but very proud of my first attempt at canning stewed tomatoes. I’d picked and washed the tomatoes. Dipped them in boiling water to loosen the skins. Chopped them with celery and peppers. Cooked the mixture and poured them into sterilized glass jars. And finally processed them in the pressure canner. Deliciously, gloriously red, the mixture was now displayed in mason jars, standing tall on my cupboard.

And then I heard our German Shepherd barking — a lot. I took two steps into the back yard and stopped dead in my tracks. The smell was unbelievable. Skunk. And all those beautiful stewed tomatoes, gone in a flash. Rubbed into the coat of Toby. At least he had the grace to lick his chops.

nature thunders rain
magnolia blooms fall to ground
magnificence gone

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It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Grace asks us to write a haibun related to summer. This summer memory is from many many years ago. Haibun: prose (cannot be fiction) followed by a haiku (should be related to nature).  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over and join the fun! Photo in public domain – from Pixabay.

 

The Request

Sweet darling, accompany me I pray.
Our hearts and souls aligned, yet still we spar.
I promise to lead thee nowhere astray.

Your eyes whisper words, seem softly to say
whither we goest? And the door’s left ajar.
Sweet darling, accompany me I pray.

As the moonlight glistens, gifts our soiree,
I shall protect thee as a fragile star.
I promise to lead thee nowhere astray.

Your scent my dear, an enticing bouquet
beguiles my mind, my loins, I lust too far.
Sweet darling, accompany me I pray.

To kiss, to hold. How this resolve doth sway,
struggles to recall who and what we are.
I promise to lead thee, nowhere astray.

Do think of me as in Romeo’s day,
’tis painful unrequited love to bar.
Sweet darling, accompany me I pray.
I promise to lead thee nowhere astray.

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It’s Thursday at dVerse and Frank asks us to write a Villanell, a 19 line poem: 5 tercets followed by 1 quatrain. Within the first tercet, the key lines are 1 and 3. They’re repeated in a prescribed order.  Also, the rhyme scheme is quite strict: only an “a” (IE pray, astray, say, soiree etc) and “b” (IE spar, ajar, star, far, etc).  So it should look like this:
1a, 2b, 3a (numbers = lines; a and b = rhyme scheme)
4a, 5b, 1a (line 1 repeated)
6a, 7b, 3a (line 3 repeated)
8a, 9b, 1a (line 1 repeated)
10a, 11b, 3a (line 3 repeated)
and finally the quatrain:
12a, 13b, 1a again, 3a again
It’s a poetic sudoku!!   Frank does indicate that we do not have to follow iambic pentameter — thank goodness! 🙂  The challenge is to have some kind of meaningful flow and sense to the piece. Needless to say, I find this extremely difficult….but at dVerse, I’m always willing to give it a shot 🙂
Pub opens at 3 PM.  Stop by and see what others have done with this unique form!

A Telling Tale

He looked back one last time. No one noticed as he left. People milling about mistook the bright wormhole for a full moon. But he knew. They’d come back for him.

He was not of this time. But because of her, he desperately slithered toward the machine. He’d shapeshifted somewhere between town and this desolate field. She’d touched . . . what? His synapses? Some seed of humanity roiling within these tentacles? He’d followed orders. Assessed the creatures.

There are more good than bad! She and I can turn this earth! The energy field engulfed him. They would never know.

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Flash Fiction (exactly 100 words) written for Friday Fictioneers where the masterful Rochelle Wisoff-Field provides a photo and challenges us to create a story for it. This is actually from last week’s challenge. Have not done fiction here for quite a while. A good change of pace! Photo Credit: Dale Rogerson.

A Sign of the Times

Day after day, he stacked the mail
catalogues, ads, all on the steps
in rain and sleet, and snow and hail.

So I sat by the window, waiting one day
caught him as he was walking away,
and queried him nicely. Why?

Why don’t you use the LETTERS slot
that’s right on the door, quite plain to see.
He stared and looked blankly at me.

“Well ma’am, I see the sign on your door
capital block letters, all in blue,
and that little slot thing too.

But I have no idea what LETTERS means
and the slot’s too narrow to ever fit
all this important stuff you get.”

Ping.

“Excuse me ma’am,”
the young man said with a grin,
“That’s an important text coming in.”

 

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Mish is hosting Poetics at dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write a poem about signs. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop by and join in the fun! Photo in public domain.

Film Noir, Act I

Graveyard journey.
Ghosts whisper, dance,
twist, shimmer.
Breeze skips through leaves.
Clouds balloon, curl, drizzle,
storm bubbles open.
Lightning sparks, sounds echo.

Dawn spills, melts rose-red.
Peppered blood-shadows
scar green spring grass.
Nervous giggle jars grin.
Cue shallow breath.
Still lull.
Death laughs here.

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[INCLUDES ALL THE WORDS THUS FAR]
Quadrille
 – poem with exactly 44 words, sans title.  dVerse Quadrille Mondays: every other week. Each time a word prompt is given: week #1 = Quadrille #1 and 1 word; Week #2 = Quadrille #2 and a new word; etc.  We build to Quadrille # 44 in week 44 with still another word. We’re on Week #35 with Kim hosting and providing the prompt word “pepper.”  Past words this series have included dance, bubble, grin, lull, melt, shimmer, twist, skip, green, breeze, spill, rose, journey, jar, leaves, open, shadow, cloud, spark, cue, breath, scar, curl, whisper, dawn, ghost, giggle, drizzle, still, echo, sound, storm, spring, and balloon. I tried to use all the words for #32 but mistakenly left out 2. All here this time and I’ve shifted the focus a bit. Photo: from our recent trip – Glendalough, Ireland.  Bar opens at 3 PM Boston time.  Come join us!

Mugshot Poetry

The infamous Flowers Act,
high-steppers of vaudeville fame.
Two performances a day
forty-two weeks a year,
those days before the movies talked.

Flunkie acts started shows,
as rows began to fill.
Maybelle and her off-key dogs?
Surefire way to empty the house.
The best was always in-between.

Operatic divas with mighty breasts
Mr. Visser and his singing duck
acrobats performing impossible knots
and in the midst of all this prime time,
René strutted onto the stage.

Deflowered early in her career
she’d made the best of it.
Twirled baby Rosebud overhead
tapping away to the newest tune,
audience clapping with glee.

Child-stars grow as years move on,
mamas trying to keep them young.
Highlight move of the Flowers act
dancing with Rosey held overhead,
harder and harder to do with a smile.

Teenage angst festered full-bloom.
Rosie kicked higher and higher still,
belligerantly balked at precarious lifts.
Brass played louder, drummer too
covering angry words that flew.

And then . . .

The nefarious night of 1929.
Outdoor billboards proclaimed,
See Our Flowers Tap To Delight.
Spotlights cued, the band played
and curtains rose to a barren stage.

As talkies came
and vaudeville disappeared,
their billboard photo gathered dust.
Missing persons,
never found.

Advance the reel please,
to 1932, in the Big Apple.
Crowds waited raucously.
til Radio City Music Hall
flung open her art deco doors.

The organ played and the audience cheered.
High steppers fanned across the stage,
kicking their way into Billboard fame.
Including one with a rosey attitude,
because her time had finally come.

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It’s Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today I’m hosting, asking folks to write a poem motivated by mugshots from the 1920s (all in public domain). Folks can use their imagination and take their post anywhere the photo inspires, as long as they include one of the photos, all of which can be found here. I did some research on vaudeville and Radio City Music Hall. Vaudeville acts were arranged as mentioned in stanza two. There actually was a very popular vaudeville act, Gus Visser and his singing duck! Radio City Music Hall did open in 1932. All else….your guess is as good as mine! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.  Come on over and enjoy a mug!

My Dad

My dad was a quiet man. He wasn’t an exuberant fan of any pro or local sports teams. But I do remember him sitting on our fake leather hide-a-bed couch, watching Cubs games on our blonde console TV. Televisions in those days were cumbersome pieces of furniture. My mother stacked Readers Digests on top of ours.

I never saw my dad swing a baseball bat, but he wielded a mean croquet mallet. It sent many a competitor’s wooden ball sailing into our neighbor’s yard. And rather than joining the popular winter bowling leagues, he stayed late after work, one night a week, competing in a checkers club. He also loved pinochle and rummy. He taught me all these games, using very few words. And he never let me win — until I really did. I never participated in sports. But I did become a high school and college debater. I wonder how much the man of few words had to do with that?

tall oak canopy
acorn roots itself below
reaches for new heights

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Haibun written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Bjorn asks us to write about sport. A haibun is a piece of prose (cannot be fiction) followed by a haiku. Generally, the haiku must be about nature.