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

Worlds Apart

Before this
brick, concrete, two hospitals,
Old West’s church steeple.
My Boston’s high-rise views.

Before this
seventh floor balcony,
city walks.
My outside.

Here, the ocean lives outside my door.
Sun rises in pastel silence.
Serenity lingers on the breeze.
I can just be.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for global poets. Today the word to use in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title, is linger. Photos taken from our deck this morning in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod.

It’s a Wrap

Petulant nature
angry at summer’s demise.
Rain pelts. Thunder roars.
Lightning cracks and flashes.
Temper-tantrum stomping.

She pouts today.
Glum gray overcast sky,
like widow’s shroud.
Hides distinct features,
individual clouds indiscernible.

Cormorant swarm takes its leave.
Thousands bob in ocean.
Race forward, then streak to sky.
Mass exit. Black shapes,
like inkblots everywhere.

Provincetown deserters,
just like tourists.
Summer in their rearview mirror.
Fading. Disappearing. Gone.
Page turned.

Autumns’ quiet delights
somewhere on the horizon,
not quite yet in view.

Written for OLN at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Photo and video taken yesterday morning in Provincetown. Sadly, I didn’t think to get my phone to photograph and video tape it until the swarm’s mass had already passed … this is the tail end and it’s still incredible to look at these images!

A Gull’s Story

This is my place,
Provincetown’s quiet eastside coast.
Let my distant auk relatives
claim the boring inlands.

Each dawn I take my perch,
lone tall rock on submerged jetty.
Preen patiently,
wait for morning sun.

Dawn tints the sky,
glistens ocean path.
My rock is center stage,
lone gull in nature’s spotlight.

I dipfish in shallows when schools swim by.
Clams succumb to my drop and crack maneuver.
I pick and peck lobsters asunder. Swallow as is.
Melted butter a human absurdity.

You are not alone, you know,
bragging on your mythology.
Gull lore says that generations ago,
pilgrims landed in Provincetown.

My ancestors met them,
an entire colony of gulls.
Squawked so loud those humans left,
sailed on to Plymouth Rock,
obnoxiously omitting us from history.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah has provided an interesting prompt entitled Creepies and Crawlies. She introduces us to the idea of writing in the first person, as a spider, a cockroach, a butterfly, a dragonfly, or, I may be taking poetic license here, an animal of our choice. Since we are in Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod, I’m writing from the perspective of the gull pictured in the photo I took this morning as I watched a new day dawn in this amazing place. And, it is true. The pilgrims first landed in Provincetown but for some reason, they sailed on to Plymouth and thus the famous Plymouth Rock and the overlooked history of America’s beginning.

To read a short poem about the same photo, from the human perspective, click here.

Ode to the Muse

Briny foam deposits anonymous relics,
tumbled sea glass, ceramic shards.
Deposits of what once was
spurred imagination to pen.
Vast expanse edged by the granular,
waters creased afar by horizon line.
I miss thy rolling waves,
my salt-kissed lips, now bare.

Lids closed shut, head bowed.
Mortar, brick and cement sight lines
erased by self-enforced darkness.
Pigeon lined window ledges unseen,
gulls imagined delete traffic squeals.
Oceanic Muse, realm of Neptune,
despondent without thy grace.
Oh that I might return to thee.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. It’s Tuesday Poetics and today Ingrid asks us to consider the Muse. She tells us that direct invocations of the Muse are rare in modern poetry. She gives us several choices on how to go about writing a poem today that considers the Muse.
For me, I’ve always loved the ocean. The photos are from one of five winters we spent in Bermuda where the waters are incredible shades of blue and green. We often hiked along the Old Railway Trail which provided many views of the ocean’s splendor. We continue to spend two weeks every fall in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. Our rental unit is right on the ocean’s shore. Today I sit in our Boston high rise condominium, realizing how much the ocean is my Muse.

Haiku and Tanka Garden Travels

i
Provincetown summers.
Tasty salty upper lip,
mango tinted dawns.
Blue hydrangeas, hollyhocks,
honeysuckle and moss rose.

ii.
Color profusion.
Blarney Castle garden walk,
nature’s floral art.
Ireland is so much more
than the luck of shamrock green.

iii.
Singapore orchids,
pride of National Garden.
Soft delicate blooms,
violet to deepest shades,
azure-veined whites and more.


iv.
I sense Japan’s calm,
forest bathing in deep greens.
Celebrate her spring
strolling by cherry blossoms.
Petals rain gently in breeze.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today is the second day of our dVerse 10 year anniversary! Our prompt is to think about the word “garden” and see where it takes us. I took that literally. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Photos from our travels.

Bermuda Beautiful

Seascape rhythmic swells,
sonata in blue.
Harmonic melody
carried by balmy breeze.
Percussion added
as sea foamed waves lap shore.
Time signature ever changing,
sand grains shift and ripple too.
I sit mesmerized,
all this balm to my soul.
Smile serenely, softly,
as unconscious movement of tongue
reveals salty upper lip.
Apt coda to this masterpiece ~
nature’s wondrous symphony.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to consider “blue” in our poetry. Photo is from our time in Bermuda a number of years ago.

Just Beyond Tobacco Bay

Wade with me
through windswept grasses.
Stand tall against the gale
gazing at nature’s palette,
ocean’s waters.
Myriad shades of blue
blending, rippling from
azure to ultramarine,
royal blue to sapphire,
turquoise to navy.
Calcarenites protrude,
their dark rough surface
rocky, uneven. Each a sentinel
of this island called Bermuda.

Posted for NaPoWriMo day 12. Photo taken a number of years ago in Bermuda. This scene is just a short walk from Tobacco Bay. Staying in St. George’s for five different years in the months of January and February, we often hiked out to this beautiful spot. And yes, the ocean truly looks like this! No photoshopping here.

Swapping Decks

Escaped from blaring horns
hectic pace and sweat filled nights
caused by deadlines and stress.
Driving on two lane byways now.

The wayside diner beckons me.
Apple trees shade the walk,
bees buzz round fallen overripe fruit.
I don’t even lock the car doors.

Inside, large cheerful sunflowers
sit in vases on oilcloth covered tables.
Sheila sashays over with a pleasant hello,
sets down a chipped porcelain cup.

She pours in dark rich coffee right to the brim.
“What’ll ya have? Got fresh melon off the vine
and cinnamon buns are good today.”
Her nametag is printed in thick magic marker.

I sigh and nod my head. No words needed.
She saunters back somewhere, to the kitchen?
No matter. I just sit,
run my finger slowly round the coffee mug’s lip.

I stare out the window. Contemplate nothing.
No deadlines hurtling at me.
I’m in an internet dead zone.
I may just sit here until dinner time.

Placemat menu lists pot roast.
Sounds good to me.

Written for day 3 of NaPoWriMo. Today we are to create a Personal Universal Deck, an idea originated by the poet and playwright Michael McClure. He gave the project of creating such a deck to his students in a 1976 lecture at Naropa University. The idea is to take 50 index cards or pieces of paper and write words on each side of the card *so 2 words to a card; one on the front and one on the back; 100 words in total. The following instructions are given for the words: Divide 80 of the 100 words evenly among SIGHT, SOUND, TASTE, TOUCH AND SMELL, sixteen each. Also include 10 words of movement, at least one body part, and one abstraction (such as peace, patriotism, etc). Then, shuffle the cards and pick out at random, a number of cards. Lay them down and you will see the words looking at you. Create your poem using those words. The cards can be reshuffled and used many times….each time drawing out a number of cards from which to create your poem. You choose how many. I thought the title “Swapping Decks” went with the sense of the poem and also refers to the Personal Universal Deck I created for this prompt.

I picked out these words: blaring horn, cinnamon, buzz, sweat, sigh, sun flowers, and melon! These words were among the 100 that I wrote down on the cards, using the front and backs of the cards as instructed. An interesting exercise! I’m tempted to pull out the “deck of word cards” I’ve created, and use them again, drawing out cards at random, placing them on the table so one word on each is displayed (no fair turning the card over and choosing to use the other word!) and writing more poems from them. In a way, it’s like “found poetry”.