Shhhhh, she’s hiding . . .

buttercup crown
under stocking cap of ivy vine.
Rose petal leggings, freesia shawl,
lily-of-the-valley boots. Winter clad,
she joins thousands of fairies
gathered on mountainsides,
hidden by evergreen fronds.
Spirits bright, they wait for spring,
their fairy lights aglow.
Winter’s secret no one knows.

De is hosting Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us to include the word “crown” or a form of the word (not a synonym of the word) in a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Image from Pixabay.com

Lives in the Balance

We’d been aboard the cruise ship for fifteen days. This, the sixteenth, our last day prior to disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Relaxation our goal, we never got off the ship. We simply explored this glorious vessel. Marveled at her sculptures, paintings, photographic art; and her six fine dining rooms, each different in décor. We enjoyed delicious entrées and delectable desserts. Our stateroom had a king-size bed and large bathroom with rain shower and soaking tub.

And then, on this sixteenth day, the Captain’s announcement: There is a raft on our starboard side with sixteen refugees. We will remain near them for approximately three hours until the U.S. Coastguard comes to their aid. We are committed to the safety of everyone at sea. Through binoculars I watched a green rubber raft bobbing in white capped waves. Four oars floundered, trying to propel and steer the raft. Desperate people struggled to survive against the elements.

I’ve read articles, seen news clips, about refugees plodding across and through unforgiving terrain. But nothing compared to seeing this from my cruise ship balcony. The juxta-positioning of my life at that moment, the privileged lives of everyone on the cruise ship, to what was happening before my eyes. Heart-wrenching. It started to drizzle and a rainbow appeared, arcing over the raft. I immediately thought of it as a metaphor for hope. These people, hunched against the wind, shoving four wooden paddles through the teeming ocean, desperate to overcome the insurmountable, seeking a better life, with God knows what going through their minds. And me standing there, so privileged, that I could formulate poetic thoughts and think metaphorically.

fire hydrants gush
kids splash, jump in ghetto streets –
country club pool soothes

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday. Frank asks us to write something in relation to Thanksgiving or being thankful. We just returned from a Caribbean cruise on Celebrity’s newest ship, the Apex. The ship is stunningly beautiful. On the last day at sea, what I’ve written about in this haibun happened. Watching the refugees, I suddenly understood how privileged I am. I prayed for these poor souls, hoping they survive their treacherous journey. We could only surmise they left Cuba to get to Florida’s shores. Watching them, from a cruise ship balcony, I realized how fortunate and how blessed I am. Thankful for every day. Thankful for freedom. Thankful for a warm bed and food. Privileged to afford a cruise. Humbled to watch this scene unfold.
Photos all taken on our cruise.

Some days I want to . . .

. . . put on roller skates and
careen down the esplanade
along the Charles River.
Grinning, looking straight ahead.
Faster, faster, and faster still.
Wind blowing back my hair,
tearing my eyes
until the real world blurs
and I am flying
with wheels as my wings.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the vitual pub for poets around the globe. I’m hosting today, asking folks to use the word “careen” within their poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

The esplanade is a wonderful green space in Boston that in part, runs along the Charles River. It has a very long walking/bicycling/rollerskating path along the river itself and is only about 2 city blocks from where we live. It goes for miles and we often take walks there. For those of you who watch the Boston Pops 4th of July concert on television, the hatch where they perform is on the esplanade itself, just off the river. Photo from Pixabay.com

The Darkest Day

Mother Nature chagrined,
shrouded in grey low-slung sky.
Rains gush, pummel sideways
as she weeps beyond control.
Strong oaks uprooted,
her scalp bared in raw splotches.

Gales punish the unrepentant.
We the offenders struggle
bending at right angles from the waist,
plodding toward imagined escape.
Our feeble umbrellas abandoned,
their broken ribs litter the sodden path.

Has her sun forsaken us, our sins too great?
Depression’s black hole inverted,
is this vortex our fate?
It drowns even the most optimistic,
hope abandoned in storming grief.
We fear the apocalypse has begun.

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Idea for poem came from yesterday — waking up at 6 AM and finding trees outside our windows blowing like crazy in the midst of a Nor’easter that lasted for almost 12 hours. It downed many trees across the area. Many across
Boston and surrounding area lost power from pummeling rain and wind gusts up to 80 mph. We remained safely indoors. Photo is in public domain in Pixabay.com and is not from Boston.

**I am a positive person – really I am! Sometimes I have no idea why the pen turns to the dark side.


Come, Tituba

Tituba, ‘tis time to rise.
Come thee from thy grave.
Tis one year since last we caroused
‘mongst these Salem fools.
Help me tip the stone o’er my pet, Peeves.
Though his skeleton be small,
his rattling shall join ours this night.
His, the only kindness in that cellar,
waiting for the gallows to call.
No human came to visit that dank hole.
No other animal dared approach.
Feared the noose be looped
round their scrawny neck as well.
Only Peeves, my dearest black cat,
came and stayed,
curled atop my feet to the last.
Come Tituba, our metatarsals
brittle though they be,
shall haunt this town tonight.
Plod these desecrated streets
once again reminding all,
we were unequivocally wronged.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Lisa asks us to consider our pet peeves, some human characteristic that irritates us and then somehow connect that in a poem with a Halloween or Samhain theme. I admit. I struggled with this prompt and so took a bit of poetic license here. This poem is in reference to Salem, Massachusetts’ infamous witch trials and the scores of people who descend on Salem over Halloween night.

Tituba was the first girl to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 witch trials.

For those of you who’ve never been to Salem, it is replete with witch museums, wicca stores, and even a sculpture of Elizabeth Montgomery as her character in the television sitcom Bewitched. Lest one think that is the totality of Salem, it is also home to the amazing Peabody Essex Museum, PEM for short. For over 200 years it has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and showcasing compelling artwork throughout history and from around the world.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Sunburst

She becomes the sun in his world.
Dazed, stunned, smitten. Emotions whirled.
Fierce sunbeam.

Parhelion in mocking sky,
her beauty shines to mystify.
Burned. Sunstruck.

Moist tempting lips smile to ensnare.
Hips beckon, sway in daylight’s glare.
Felled. Sunstroke.

Obsessed he beds her day and night
primal, neurotic appetite.
Sunscalded.

His money spent, he’d been cajoled.
Drugged. Job over, she leaves him cold.
Done. Sunset.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Grace hosts today and introduces us to the Compound Word Verse:

This complex form was created by Margaret R. Smith:
Five 3-line stanzas. Fifteen lines total.
Last line of each stanza must be a compound word.
The compound words must share a common stem: IE sun, sunbeam, sunstruck, sunstroke, sunbathing, sunset.
Rhyme scheme must be aab.
Syllable count must be 8, 8, 3.

Parhelion: a sun dog or mock sun called a parhelion in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the sun.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Witch Trial Residuals

Hanged in 1692,
they haunt the streets of Salem still.
Blood-drained ashen apparitions
unabashedly bitter,
they wander far beyond their graveyard.
October tourists beware.
They seek revenge from you who gawk,
bring money to town’s coffers.
Fury unleashed, ashcans ready
to harvest your souls.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to use the word “ash” or a form of the word, in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. I’ve used the word “ashen” and the word “ash” is hidden within three other words – can you find them?

Salem, Massachusetts is the home of the infamous Salem witch trials. Begun in the spring of 1692, Bridget Bishop was the first to be hung in June at Salem’s Gallows Hills. Nineteen more were hung that month. Some 150 were ultimately accused. There were other means of execution. Today, almost a half-million tourists flock to Salem in the month of October, frequenting the various witch museums, related shops, and of course, the graveyards.

Country Roads

Escape from blaring horns,
nights filled with tossing,
project expectations and stress.
Been on two lane roads for quite a while.

Wayside diner beckons me.
Apple tree shaded walk,
bees buzz round fallen overripe fruit.
I don’t even lock the car doors.

Inside, vases with brightly colored zinnias,
oilcloth covered tables and comfy booths.
Sheila sashays over with a pleasant smile.
Nametag printed in thick magic marker.

She sets down a chipped porcelain mug,
pours in dark rich coffee right to the brim.
“What’ll ya have? Got fresh melon off the vine.
Pies are apple and blueberry today.”

“Just the coffee for now.”
She saunters back to the kitchen.
I just sit. Between sips I run my finger
slowly round the coffee mug’s lip.

I stare out the window.
No deadlines hurtling at me.
No internet connection.
I may just sit here forever.

Coffee drips create brown splotches
on my paper placemat menu.
Chalkboard over the counter
lists supper specials.

Pot roast with Betty’s gravy.
Sounds good to me.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Tonight is Open Link Night and we are LIVE for the first hour, from 3 to 4 PM Boston time. That means you can link in, see friendly faces, listen to folks read their poems and, if the spirit so moves you, join in with a poem of your own. No prompt; no required form. Come join us! Image from Pixabay.com

Marking October Fourteen

There is a pain too raw.
Too personal to write down.
Wrapped in the shrouds of death
it came too near,
but for angels along the way.

Pain of illness, threat of death,
most astute tutors of life.
Love every mundane moment,
cherish them as a gift.
Celebrate every dawn.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Ingrid asks us to consider pain and how we can come out on the other side of it stronger. Photo of dawn from one of our many trips.

The Return

Namrah soared high. Twenty years after the Peabody children wished him live, he decided to return. Would they want to travel on his golden wings again? He’d taken so many children across the globe on secret midnight rides. Sometimes circling the full moon, chasing shooting stars across the skies. He’d not been above American shores in all these years. Would Allen and Susan consider themselves too old to climb aboard his teal feathered back?

Closer to their city now, but why so dark? Hovering over their yard, he stared in disbelief. Piles of bricks, uprooted trees, scattered roof tiles, shattered glass. Fear seized his heart. What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this rubbish? A solitary tear escaped one azure sequined eye. Has time destroyed the home, the town of his origins? Are Allen and Susan alive?

Written for prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Mish is pub tender and asks us to include the line “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this rubbish?” from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in our flash fiction of 144 words or less, sans title. I’ve written of imaginary friend Namrah in years past. Here we visit him twenty years after he was wished alive.

Prosery is a genre created by dVerse. Pub tenders choose one line of poetry and writers must use that exact line (only the punctuation may be changed; word order must be the same) in a piece of prose, 144 words or less in length, sans title.