If One Could But Change History . . .

What a sham! Poo on you!
You shall not still my tongue,
nor shall you have me.
Cash? Mere bribery.
You’ve noticed but my shapely form
and never asked my name.
My name is Ava. Tar it not.
You shall not name me a witch, sir.
I am a woman of substance.

And you sir, are but a juggernaut,
steamrolling your way
into petticoats of young girls.
Threatening them like Tituba,
dare they not succomb.
Poor Tituba, incarcerated,
questioned these many days.
I have talked with them all, sir.
No longer will they remain silent.

No longer are they your mollified band.
Ana and Sarah, Elizabeth,
Susannah, and Rebecca as well.
In church on the morrow, sir
they will bare their legs, thigh high.
Exhibit their bruises and mottled skin,
then point their fingers at you.
You are the witch sir.
May you burn in hell.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today, Punam is hosting from India, where she’s been celebrating Diwali. She introduces us to a number of words from Indian languages that have become a part of the English language. For example, bandana comes from ‘bandhana’ which means to tie as well as ‘bandhej’ which is the art of tie-dye technique used on fabrics in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Punam provides us with 15 such words and asks us to include 4 in our poem. I’ve used 5: shampoo, cashmere, avatar, juggernaut, and bandana. See if you can find them all!

The poem obviously refers to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, and Rebecca Nurse were all convicted and hung.

You’ll find the photo here in an article written about Salem’s history. It’s the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (1640 – 1718) and is the only structure you can visit in Salem today with direct ties to the Witch Trials. By the way, Salem is literally overrun with tourists this time of year! Living in Boston, we are but a 30 minute commuter rail trip away. We visit Salem in the summer for fun….don’t go near it in October!

Autumn in Vermont

October’s full moon
shines kindly in darkest skies,
unobliterated by city’s glare.
Gleams its bright spotlight
upon Vermont mountains,
hills and forest trails.
Trees stand tall in fall crisp air,
raucous cacophony of colors
punctuate serene picturesque scenes.
Leaves’ iridescent glorious hues,
crimsons, burnt orange
golden yellows, wine-reds too.
They flaunt their beauty
beneath your steady gaze,
defying winter’s wish
to cause their demise.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to consider various names for an October full moon that she provides in a list. She explains that different areas of the US and indeed, different cultures, have different names for the full moon. I’ve chosen the name, Kindly Moon from the list.

Image of Vermont fall from Pixabay.com Apologies: could not find photo of a full moon shining on a glorious fall Vermont scene. But you can definitely get the idea from this photo.

An Aphoristic Thanks to Bjorn!

I’ve know Bjorn on dVerse for six+ years and finally got to meet him in Stockholm last week during our Best of Scandinavia cruise. He and Lotta were indeed the best of Scandinavia! They showed us the city from an insider’s perspective. We especially enjoyed walking through quiet streets and neighborhoods and going to a small restaurant filled with locals, for a truly Swedish lunch!

My husband’s grandfather immigrated from Sweden so Swedish traditions literally run through his veins. I’ve embraced many of those traditions, especially those related to Christmas. I’ve also eaten many a Swedish meatball. One tradition I have not taken to? Herring! George and our children always ate soft boiled eggs and pickled herring on Christmas morning while I stayed in bed. When they finished eating, they woke me up by breathing heavily in my face. Yech! So you can imagine George’s great delight to see an appetizer with three kinds of herring, Vasterbotten cheese, sour cream, red onion, and dill potatoes on the menu! He also had Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) for an entrée with potato puree, cream sauce, lingonberries and pickled cucumber. I had Souvas (smoked reindeer) as an appetizer with kohlrabi in horseradish crème, lingonberries and hazelnuts; and Kröppkakor (Swedish potato dumplings filled with pork) for my entrée. Everything was delicious! But even better, was the time to sit and relax and just get to know Bjorn and Lotta. They took us on a commuter ferry back to our ship which meant more time to talk and seeing more of the real Sweden. The last photo is Bjorn and Lotta waving goodbye from the ferry. What an amazing day! THANK YOU BJORN and LOTTA!

And an aphorism for the prompt?
One man’s herring may be reason enough for a woman to refuse his kiss!


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Bjorn is hosting Thursday’s Meet the Bar and asks us to create an aphorism, and if we’d like, add some prose of explanation.

All photos are from our visit with Bjorn and Lotta last week in Stockholm! If you click on each photo, you can see them a bit larger.

Aphorism: a statement that presents a moral or philosophical idea and many times does so with a pithy statement. For example: “the grass is always greener on the other side”and “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

I do admit, I’ve taken a bit of liberty with my aphorism….but I really wanted to share these photos with all of you dVersers! And…..after all…..everyone should know when to use breath mints!

Zaanse Schans

Step back in time with me,
into 17th century Holland.
Into rural fields of working windmills.
One man pulls ropes taunt,
sets sails to catch wind and spin.
Inside wooden cogs and wheels whirl,
grind stone to fine ochre powder.
Village survives by ingenuity.


Quadrille written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe where today, Lisa asks us to use the word “work” or a form of the word in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

Images and videos from four days ago when we visited the village of Zaanse Schans, which is about a twenty-five minute drive from Amsterdam. During the 17th century there were more than 600 windmills in this area. Today there are 8. They were used to grind spices, produce paint, saw wood, and make oil, among other things. The one we climbed around in is used to grind rock into ochre powder.

A man must climb up onto the roof and adjust the angle of the sails to catch the wind. The turning sails power the inner workings, cogs, wheels etc (top video) which work to make the grinding wheels turn on the ground level (2nd video). We climbed up a steep wooden ladder to see the machinations and walked around downstairs to watch the huge grinding wheels.

The Ride

How many times around
life’s stationary wheel?
Eight times ten,
nine times ten?
Apex reached at twenty-five or fifty?
Maybe thirty and three-quarters?
Down cycle begins later, much later,
or maybe it did? Back then.
There should be a view from the top,
everything spread out in miniature
but recognizable.
Broken fulcrum invevitable,
timed entrance tickets do end.
Others clamor to get on, their turn.
What’s that saying?
We’re just along for the ride.

Photo taken in Warnemunde, Germany two days ago.

Ode to Norway’s Lysefjord

Craggy jagged giants, chiseled and slashed.
What unseen sculptor divined your magnificence?
Vertical behemoths,
you tower above humankind,
almost barren of vegetation, so steep are you.

Silent sentinels of time.
Generations and generations more
have you keenly watched,
streaming tearful waterfalls of lament.
Disbelief in man’s inhumanity to man.

Might you remind us, teach us?
Despite glacier carved differences
you stand together in strength,
forming one grand monolith
overcoming the tests of time.

Photos taken on Thursday, August 18th on our Celebrity Norwegian Fjords cruise. Lysefjord is just outside of Stavanger, Norway. Absolutely stunning in its raw beauty.

Provincetown’s Ebb and Flow

Beloved Provincetown, how shall I pen you?
Sometimes mellow, sweet as honey,
dew dripped fogged another day?

Your fickle Spring brings brisk winds,
lean-into gusts that slow my steps
on low tide walks along the shore.
Horseshoe crabs spawn, two moving as one,
leaving intricate trails on sand,
caring not that I observe their intimacy.

Summer explodes in gulls and fireworks.
Two and four-legged beach walkers
skirt ’round children digging moats.
Engorged tour buses relieve themselves.
Nametagged visitors join throngs in streets
as bicycles weave their way through maze.

Autumn brings sweatered afternoons,
shorter ice cream lines, gardens’ last hurrahs,
and fewer buskers on the streets.
I stand alone in wool cap on deserted shore,
marveling at the glory of an amber moon,
light temptation for tomorrow’s palette of words.

When your Winters flaunt Nor’easters,
remaining locals, few in number, tread quickly
through snow-muffled quietude.
Behind once busy Commercial Street
in this, the most off of off-seasons,
ocean’s rhythmic tides still reign.

The ocean, in fog or sun or snow,
Provincetown’s constant gift,
no matter the time of year.



Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today I’m hosting and asking folks to “compound me!”

I’ve provided a list of compound words in the prompt . (A compound word is formed by putting two root words together to form an entirely new word.)

Writers must choose at least one compound word from the list and use it in their poem EXCEPT, they must take apart the word! They can not add any words between the two root words nor can they add any additional letters to the root words. For example: moonlight: writers can put moon at the end of one line and begin the next line with the word light. Or they may, within one line, include the two words moon and light, with no other letters added to the words and no additional words between the two root words. They may however, add a punctuation mark between the two root words.

Confused? Here’s the two lines from my poem above, where I’ve used the words honeydew and moonlight, which are in the list:

Sometimes mellow, sweet as honey,
dew dripped fogged another day?

and
marveling at the glory of an amber moon,
light temptation for tomorrow’s palette of words.


I do hope you’ll join us! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time and you’ll find the complete list of compound words there. Choose one or more and compound me! Or just stop by to see what others write. The more the merrier!

Photos from our annual two weeks in Provincetown over these past 22 years. We’re here until Saturday, and as you can tell from this poem and the last few I’ve posted, it is my muse. We are smitten with our beloved Provincetown.

Video was taken yesterday!! Did you know …. May is spawning season for horseshoe crabs. They’re not actually crabs. They’re chelicerates, most closely related to arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions. They’re consiered “living fossils” meaning they’ve existed nearly unchanged for at least 445 million years, well before even the dinosaurs! Amazing to watch their spawning. Our first time in all these years, coming in May….and then we find out it’s horseshoe crab spawning time!

Provincetown Off-Season

There’s a quiet to this place
in that transition between winter
and when-will-it-get-here spring.

Ocean ombrés from greys to taupes
bereft of sails and buoys,
lonely tides missing congregant gulls.

Lulling seeping fog muffles sound.
Low-lying dulled clouds meld into one sky
misting all that lies beneath.

And if perchance the sun should shine
clearing skies to blue,
cold damp air chills the bones still.

Lean-into gusts of wind
accompany the lone walker,
a speck of time on these vast sands
in the quiet of this place.


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

Today Sanaa is hosting and from 3 to 4 PM, Boston time, we will be LIVE. Poets from around the globe will meet via Google Meet and read aloud one poem of their choosing. It’s amazing to see the faces of folks and hear their voices….come join us either to read a poem of your choosing, or just to sit in and listen. HOW TO JOIN US?

Go to https://dversepoets.com at 3 PM or just a few minutes after, and the links to join us will be there…just click and come!

Photo taken this morning from our deck in Provincetown.

We’ve spent two weeks in Provincetown, at the Watermark Inn for the past twenty-two years. We’ve been here in January, July, May, and September. For some beautiful photos over the years, click here!

Glendalough

Walk with me in the fields of Glendalough,
walk quietly amongst its tipping stones.

Ancient headstones stand quietly askew,
testament to centuries of monastic life.

Sixth-century monks lived secluded here
prayed within primitive stone structures.

Evidence of their medieval dwellings
still lies scattered in verdant landscape.

Lush hills gently swell, envelop sacred history.
Hushed visitors walk through hallowed grounds.

St. Kevin of Glendalough first blessed this land,
centuries later, still a place of pilgrimage.

Many come to pray, to see, to touch this land,
seeking calm, finding a place of primal peace.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 27.

Today, we have a tough prompt; what I call a sudoku prompt !  

We are to write a duplex. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first. The only part of the requirements I did not follow was the bit about the last line. I like the way mine ended as is.

Photos taken some years ago when we visited Glendalough in Ireland. An absolutely beautiful and serene place. Saint Kevin is an Irish saint, known as the founder and first abbot of Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland. His feast day is June 3rd. He was born in 498 AD. After his ordination, he moved to Glendalough to live as a hermit in a partially man-made cave. His companions were the animals and birds around him. He lived as a hermit for seven years, wearing only animal skins, sleeping on stones and eating very sparingly. Soon others sought him out as a teacher and holy man. Glendalough grew into a renowned seminary of saints and scholars. Until his death around 618, Kevin presided over his monastary in Glendalough.

Spire from History

I am blessed to tower above many,
as thousands sit below me every year.

I’ve been a long proponent of freedom,
pealing out my beliefs since 1750.

My fame is from my history,   
my role in a famous midnight ride.

Visit me on Patriots Day’s Eve
and you’ll see me glowing with pride.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Bjorn asks us to write a poem that is a riddle, using personification for abstract or innate objects.

The answer to my riddle?

The steeple of Old North Church in Boston. Established in 1723, the enduring fame of Old North began on the evening of April 18, 1775, when the church sexton, Robert Newman, and Vestryman Capt. John Pulling, Jr. climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns aloft as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land. This fateful event ignited the American Revolution and was later etched into poetic history by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. We are members of Old North, humbled to sit in her box pews for services. We’ve climbed the very steep stairs to reach the heavy long ropes attached to her eight bells, which first rang in 1750. You’d have to climb up further, on ladders, to reach the bells! In his youth, Paul Revere was a bell ringer at Old North.

Also shared with NAPOWRIMO Day 21.

Photo is from the Eve of Patriots Day this past week. It is the one night every year, that lanterns light up the steeple again.