Inebriated on Words

Point the way through wild thyme,
curling seductive fiddleheads.
Engulf me in hyacinth scented air.
I crave to satisfy my senses.

Perhaps words can fulfill this lust?
Become the enticement I desire?
Smooth curved letters
connecting script to feelings . . .

. . . forgive me while I imbibe.

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets across the globe. Today Lisa is tending the pub and asks us to use the word “way” in our quadrille (a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title). Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come imbibe! Image from

Six Characters to a Page

Acrobat by trade,
she tumbled her way
through the three-ringed circus
everyone else called life.

She was not a cook,
the Cuisinart soufflé pan
Calphalon pots and
ten-speed blender,
simply signs of her optimistic soul.

Potter by trade
she worked the wheel.
Hands wet, shaping clay –
wishing her life was as easy to mold. 

He lives his life as a barnacle would,
clinging tenaciously to faith
in an eroding world.

Architect by trade
he drew blueprints for his life.
Meticulous plans.
Until she walked in one sultry night,
right angles upset by curves.

Waste not, want not.
She’d heard that all her life,
lived by it too.
Christmas wreath upon her head,
ready for the Easter parade.

Written for dVerse, Open Link Night.

The Power of Words

We are a patriarchal society,
our language too often is male dominant.
Male designations within professions:
fireman, policeman, chairman.
Finally adjusted over recent years,
fire fighter, police officer, chair person.

But the very basic words to describe me,
to describe those of you like me,
remain, however subtly, patriarchal.
They contain the male
as if we cannot stand alone,
be independent as ourselves.

We are a woMAN, a sHE.
We are woMEN, feMALES.
And even as we age,
we face MENopause.
Are we not important
unto ourselves?

As long as our bodies exist,
all huMANs bear testament
to the power of their mother,
the ultimate her.
Not MANifest in huMANity,
but etched upon us as we entered the world,
our most basic connection to her.

That impression upon our belly
evidence of her supreme power,
the miracle of birthing.
Place your hand upon your belly.
Do it now as you read. Do it.
Do you understand?

You are forever connected to her.
This connection, too miraculous
to be mundanely called a navel,
worse yet, a belly button.
Scientifically it is the umbilicus,
but that term bears no reference to her.

Long after she passes to another place
her presence remains with us.
Umbilicus or mumbilicus?
Place your hand upon your belly and you decide.
And when you miss her most,
know she is always there with you.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to write a poem about connections. Image: Pregnant Woman by Edgar Degas, cast in 1920, on display at the Met on Fifth Avenue, in gallery 814. Image is in public domain.

** I’ve been interested in the herstory of language and its power to affect change for many years.

Excerpt from a 17th Century Young Woman’s Diary

I cannot tolerate my life! My intellect, dismissed at every turn. My fingers bleed as I mind my needle. Young men cross the seas on great ships. They find adventure while I sit here. They hunt great whales; something I can only dream of. Oh yes, I carry a part of those great creatures within my bodice every day. Their great bones defiled to stays, crushing my ribcage, attempting to confine my will. Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy upon my soul.

Born female in this world, the great bane of my life. But my plans are made. My brother’s breeches hid beneath my bed, with scissors to cut my hair. Next week, I too shall set out to sea. Breasts bound by rags, but spirit freed. I shall become young Phinneas, and taste the adventures too long denied me.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the vitual pub for poets around the globe. Today Linda provides the line “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy” from May Oliver’s poem “Azures” published in the book Wild Geese.

In prosery, we must use a specified line from a poem, exactly as written, in a piece of prose that is no more than 144 words long, sans title. It is similar to flash fiction — but must include the specified poetic line. We may change the punctuation of the line, but the wording must be exactly as it appeared in the original poem.

Image: Woman’s stays c. 1730–1740. Silkplain weave with supplementary weft-float patterning, stiffened with whaleboneLos Angeles County Museum of Art, M.63.24.5.[1]

Frozen Tears

They spoke to me that day,
ice shelves weeping
falling into sea.
Like hands clapping for attention
their loud crack of fissure
turned our heads
We watched,
photographing the majestic.
Leaving Antarctica’s Paradise Bay
we saw remnants of her tears,
ice bergs – some small,
some humongous,
clogging our way.
And yet all we did
was maneuver through,
oblivious to her pain.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe, where the prompt Thursday was to use imagery and/or personification in our poem. Photo taken on our 2018 Antarctica cruise. Witness to climate change’s deleterious effects on melting ice shelves causing sea rise. Paradise Bay, silent save the birds and the cracking of shelves as they fell.

Snow Globe and More

This is not a snow globe
this is me seeking refuge
slipping mentally inside,
beautiful crystal orb.

This is not a snow globe
but a world disrupted.
Lies pummeling us everywhere
beliefs shaken, in disarray.

Wellbeing, within our grasp.
Shake loose the tyranny.
Set it down firmly
and stop the madness.

This is a snow globe.
Sentries within trust us.
When their world is shaken
they know we will reset the calm.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today we are asked to write an object poem and begin with the words “This is not a ….” We are asked not to simply describe the object, but to relate to it. How does its existence affect me….what does it mean to me….how do I relate to it at this moment. Photo is the snow globe on our coffee table … a Christmas decoration I’ve had for many years. I love to tip it and see the beautiful shimmering “snow” swirl inside.

A Dora Ditty

Known for dabbling in couture,
Dora decorated herself
like you would your house,
mimicking holiday seasons.
They thought her daft
and could only laugh
as she walked down the street
in a Christmas wreath,
at their annual Easter parade.
Her reward?
Most Unusual Bonnet.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Quadrille Monday and De asks us to use the word “dabble” in our quadrille: a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. I went for humor today — figure we can all use a little chuckle in these upsetting, challenging and unusual times.

Where is thy Epiphany, oh Lord?

Would-be leader:
brazenly denigrated the disabled
name-called, disparaged so many.
Usurped Lenin’s words, Enemy of the People.
And we gasped in shock,
watched as he became

our leader. And all could see.
He swooned at tyrannical dictators,
locked innocent children in chain link cages
denied science, endangered earth.
Denies a virus its due respect,
callous as thousands upon thousands die.

People carried lit torches into the night
spit epitaphs at Jews and blacks and browns.
This chosen leader praised these folks.
They’re “good people” he said
and he did nothing to change the tide.
And we watched, some ashamed.

Our chosen leader lied and lied and lied again.
Some lies repeated so often
morphed into truth for far too many,
angry people starved for validation.
Supremacists lurking in the shadows
came out in droves, baited by his words.

Some people dared to say, this cannot be.
But others among us,
some in leadership roles
consumed his lies
until they began to take root,
fill their mouths like canker sores.

He created his own reality.
We watched as too many followed
until the fire he lit became a blaze.
Destruction reigned over their shocked heads.
Death was in their house
and they cowered in fear.

We watched with sickening bile
on this day of Epiphany.
Surely they would now understand.
And yet they took their place again,
his mouth still incised upon their faces.
They spewed his lies for all to witness.

We watch days later, true evil unveiled.
Not just him, but scores of others.
His sycophants, a scourge upon our land.
We wring our hands and pray,
where is the justice, oh Lord?
Only in us, our voices must be raised.

I’m “filing” this under Cherished on my blog because I cherish this democracy and pray for its preservation.
Written on January 9, 2021.

A Christmas Carol

Like sparkling lights
I love you

like tart cranberry sauce
and chocolate mousse

smooth and sweet
and roast turkey

the day of and days after
and after that’s leftovers

like youthful kisses
I love those leftovers too

the you and me
season after season,
still savory good.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Sarah asks us to write a response to a poem we’ve read in the past year. Below is the poem I modeled mine after. It appears in jelly roll, a collection of poems by African American poet Kevin Young, winner of the Patterson Poetry Prize and Finalist for the National Book Award. I tried to simulate his form and like him, used a type of music as the title. And yes, that’s my husband and I fifty years ago and obviously, much more recently!

by Kevin Young

Like hot food
I love you

like warm
bread & cold

cuts, butter

or, days later, after

when I want
whatever’s left