Welcome to a Skeltonic!

There once was a cat named Blue,
male cats paid her no ballyhoo.
So she sought a new and different view,
into a church she flew.
Bidding her old life adieu,
she met Tom in a red cushioned pew.
Playing the long-haired ingenue
she purred sweetly to his bashful deep mew.
Their relationship grew in this holy venue
as they loved and lived in this special pew.
And to this day, if you walk through
you’ll find in this particular place,
a glorious ethereal violet hue.

Written in response to the prompt for Day 16 in NaPoWrimo. We are to “relax with the rather silly form called Skeltonic.” The Skeltonic form has no specific number of syllables per line, but each line should be short, and should aim to have two or three stressed syllables. And the lines should rhyme. You just rhyme the same sound until you get tired of it! Quite an unusual form — but so appropriate on this day in April when Mother Nature fooled us Bostonians with snow almost all morning!

Blossom Me

Sunny daffodils, wave your ruffled heads.
Delicate cherry blossoms loosed by spring breeze,
softly, silently, rain pink petals upon all below.
Candy-cane red and white tulips stand tall
beside double-layered pinks and yellows.
Soon bleeding hearts will dangle gently
over sweetly petite lilies of the valley.
And lanes will burst forth with lilac blooms,
myriad shades of purple perfuming the air.
Bedazzle me, Mother Nature.
I am so ready for your greening,
most especially
after this long reclusive year!

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today we go LIVE at 3 PM Boston time and folks have the opportunity to visit, put faces and voices with author’s names and read aloud if they wish. Come join us! Link is on the dVerse site, at 3 PM Boston time.

Also posted at Day 15 NaPoWriMo.

Photos all taken around our building here in Boston, at the Public Gardens and at the Harvard Arboretum….in past years. Spring is still trying to green this year!

nee Gruenwald

Adopted tradition,
forest bathing.
Greening in serenity
she lives her name.

Dedicated to my dear friend Kenji Kojima and written for Day 14 at NaPoWriMo where we are prompted to write a poem that delves into the meaning of either our first or last name. In German, my maiden name Gruenwald means green forest.

Japanese culture includes the practice of forest bathing, shinrin-yoku (shrinrin means forest and yoku means bath). I have always felt at peace walking in the midst of trees.

Photo taken during our time in Ireland.

A neck can be a beautiful thing . . .

People have necks
as do much of the animal kingdom.
Tigers, sloths, grizzly bears,
giraffes and turtles too.

Akin to giraffes are we.
We stick our necks out
leeeean way over to gawk,
and try to stand out in a crowd.

To me, even zoo giraffes are majestic.
Necks out-stretched, they stand tall.
Calmly eat from high-top tables,
drink from troughs on very tall poles.

I think some of us are like that.
Neckwise,
not staturewise.
Some people live in zoos of their own making.

Cocktail party impressarios.
Standing tall at high-top tables
neck craned to see VIPs, they politely sip.
No one looking? They lap and slurp it down.

I dislike most the raucous barflys
guzzling pints, tequila and whiskey shots.
Standing on sawdust covered floors,
they sway beside sticky high-top tables,

craning blotchy necks.
They try to catch a waiter’s eye
or land an easy mark,
belching as the crowd mills by.

And that’s the rub isn’t it?
Standing out in a crowd,
necks craned, leaning in or out,
all can be done appropriately.

Who then is the beast in reality?
Faced with a challenge, a time to stand tall.
I see far too many humans
pull in their necks,

retreat in their shells and hide.
Unlike the turtle,
they never enter the race.
My real question then is this:

Who really comprises the animal kingdom?


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.

Tryst at Pine Woods

They met late in life. Widow and widower, their rooms were down the hall from each other at Pine Woods Rest Home. He insisted on being called James. Everyone knew her by Sunny. They both despised bland food and working jig saw puzzles. She liked flippy organza dresses and he always wore a tie. While many dozed in front of the blaring television, they shouted out answers to Jeopardy in a friendly competition. That Christmas season, they sat beside each other holding hands during sing-alongs. On New Year’s Eve, they joined in on the countdown at 9 PM. In her silk nightie that night, as the clock glowed 11:30, she heard the pre-arranged quiet knock at her door. “If you are a dreamer, come in” she trilled. This would indeed be a dream come true. Who said lovemaking is the domain of the young?

Today I’m hosting Prosery Monday at dVerse. In Prosery, writers are asked to write a piece of flash fiction that can be no more than 144 words, sans title, and include a specific line from a poem that the host provides. The line must be exactly as written in the original poem, except the punctuation can be changed. The line I’m having people include in their flash fiction today is If you are a dreamer, come in. It’s from Shel Silverstein’s poem Invitation from his book of poetry for children entitled Where the Sidewalk Ends. Prosery Mondays are the ONLY days at dVerse where we do not write poetry – we write flash fiction that includes a specified line from a poem.

Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash in the public domain.

Then and now . . .

My school days,
saddle shoes, skirt and top.
Their school daze,
slippers, top and “cozy” pants.
My school days,
chalkboard in big classroom.
Their school daze,
computer screen and clicking keys.
My school days,
penmanship lessons
with nun in long habit.
Their school daze,
zoom math with talking head,
mute button and breakout rooms.
My school days,
long walk there in rain or snow.
Their school daze,
bed to desk with bathroom stop.
My school days, so long ago.
Their school daze, one big blur
in one lost year.

Written for NaPoWRiMo, Day 10‘s prompt which asked us to recall lyrics to a song we know, then look in a junk drawer in our house and see what’s in it…and then come up with a poem that somehow weds the two. For whatever reason, I thought of the old song School Days which my mother used to sing to me when I was young; and which I sang to my grandchildren when they were young. The drawer yielded a ruler and I won’t tell you what else! I started thinking about this past Covid year and what it’s done to children in terms of their school days….and voila, here’s the result.

Kid by Design

Box of colored chalk in hand,
hmmm…. how do I do this again?
First, pick the perfect sidewalk spot.
White chalk, start close,
draw one square.
Yellow chalked rectangle on top,
divide it into two and three.
White chalk again,
I like consistency.
Draw square four, same as one.
Green rectangle right above that,
evenly make into five and six.
White me a seven.
Orange rectangle next,
divide precisely into eight and nine.
Sky blue ten crowns them all,
all squares point to heaven.
Brush straggly gray hair off face.
Ooh yes, scratch nose where it itches.
Small rock in hand, stand steady, stand tall.
Neighbor man walks by and smiles,
stares at my colorful cheeks and nose.
“Hi” I say. “Care to play?”
“Nah” he says, “but you go ahead.”
So . . . stoop and throw . . .
hopscotch through my private rainbow
right on up to that promising blue.

A “List Poem” for the NaPoWriMo Day 9 prompt. Image from Pixabay.com

Between Here and There

What, cruel fate?
When body ages naturally,
stooped and frail but moving still,
enjoying time with family and friends,
you dare to strike unexpectedly?

You send blood careening to skull
where corpuscles wreak havoc,
inflict destruction without mercy.
Life gasps bereft of speech, bereft of steps.
Minimal movement left, only on left side.

Now dear Starr, comes time to leave,
the good life lived.
Sustained by faith,
your one love gone far too soon,
waits impatiently beyond.

Ascend into the universe,
soar upon angel’s wings.
Painful our goodbyes
though we understand your need,
your exhaustion, your readiness.

Your body upon its own journey,
earthly path to far past stars.
We hold your hand, not to tether you.
Rather to show our love, provide comfort,
an assuring touch in this transition time.

And when you are gone from here, 
body spent, spirit uplifted, 
you will be here with us
and simultaneously there.
Forever imprinted upon our heart.

This is dedicated to my sister-in-law Starr and her family. Starr, eighty-three, entered hospice this past weekend. She has five children, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She lost her husband, my wonderful brother, to a massive heart attack when he was only fifty-one. We shall all miss her terribly.

Written for dVerse where today Grace hosts with a prompt entitled “The Body and Poetry.”

Also included in NaPoWriMo Day 8 – National Poetry Writing Month – where the challenge is to write a poem every day in April.