December in Boston

White frosting on the ground,
icing on the trees as well.
Cold air nips at noses,
wool capped walkers lean into wind.

Skaters glide clockwise
round Boston’s frozen Frog Pond.
Brightly colored mittened hands
wave happily to friends.

Old North’s bells chime
as they did in Paul Revere’s day.
Her white steeple towers proudly
over festively garlanded gates.

Mrs. Martignetti and son
sit in Modern Pastry Shop.
Chat and warm their hands
over cappuccino filled coffee cups.

Oh yes, it’s true.
Everyone admits it.
Old Man Winter is definitely here.

Written for Open Link Night Live at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, we’re invited to post any poem of our choice and join others at a LIVE dVerse session which is from 3 to 4 PM, Boston time. To join us, either to read your own poem or just to listen, click here at 3 PM and follow easy directions to access. It’s a global bunch and a lot of fun. All poetry written and read in English. Photo from pixabay.com

NOTE: The line about Mrs. Martignetti and son is dedicated to Anthony Martignetti. Anthony came to the U.S. as a 9-year old. He became famous when, as a 12-year old Italian immigrant, he ran through Boston’s North End in a television commercial for Prince spaghetti, as his mother yelled “Anthony!” The commercial first aired in 1969 and ran for 14 years making him a local and national celebrity. See short video below of the commercial and its history.

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.

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

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.