In the Voice of Amy Lowell

Wind whipped branches stir my soul
caught in illumined path shed by moon.
Sunken alone, I battle with desire.

A single note of the lime tree sings,
rippled with ripeness, love’s nectar flows.
I shake my head on the crowded quay.

Thou willst convnce this dear virgin
through thine copious tears,
to publicly proclaim our love and joy.

Written for Thursday’s MTB at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today Bjorn asks us to use AI in the creation of a poem. PLEASE do real below to see how my poem was written, using Artifical Intelligence!

It used to be, teachers worried about students plagiarizing by copying materials from a library; then from materials gathered by Google; and now, enter AI platforms that produce entire papers/essays/poems.

I used this AI site in writing my post today:

How this AI site works or how I think it works and how I used it!
1) You select 1 to 3 poets from a list they provide. They will be your muse. I chose only one: Amy Lowell.
2) You write your original first line to begin your poem, and enter it on the site. I wrote “Wind whipped branches stir my soul.”
3) You click on the blank line provided (called Verse 1) and the site generates about six lines in the style of the poet(s) you chose.
4) You can use one or some of these lines; or click refresh and you get another list of lines. You continue doing this until you’ve chosen enough lines for the length of poem you want and then click Poem Complete.
5) The site then gives you the poem “you’ve written” – your first original line followed by lines the site provided, in the style of the poet(s) you chose.
6) The site provides a lovely image of “your” formatted poem.
7) At the bottom it says “Composed by User. Inspired by Amy Lowell. Composed in Verse by Verse.”

Here is the “poem” with my first line, the AI site Verse by Verse “wrote” for me. (I refreshed a number of times to get these individual lines).

Wind whipped branches stir my soul
Caught from a slide while the moon shed,
Sunken alone her battle with its desire,
A single note of the lime tree sing,
Streak with ripeness, with the fruit
She shook her head, and on the crowded quay
Could force this Dear Virgin through thee tears.
Clotilde had been with love and joy.

Now you can look back at the poem I posted above and see the edits I made from the AI version.

NOTE: Amy Lowel (1874 – 1925) was an early champion of free verse. According to Wikipedia “Lowell was said to be lesbian, and in 1912 she and actress Ada Dwyer Russell were reputed to be lovers. Russell is reputed to be the subject of Lowell’s more erotic works, most notably the love poems contained in ‘Two Speak Together’, a subsection of Pictures of the Floating World.” Image is Amy Lowell.

With Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.”

Valentine’s Day,
definitely the time
to answer that query.

One, two, three, four . . .
forty-seven, forty-eight,
fifty-three wedded years.

Seven dogs we called our friends,
two children, nurtured and loved,
five wonderful grands.

Strolling Singapore’s orchid gardens,
admiring Japan’s cherry blossoms,
walking atop the Great Wall.

Meandering beside Lake Michigan’s shores,
through London’s fog, Alaska’s snow,
Bryce’s hoodoos, Yosemite’s trails.

From Iowa to Sweden to Australia too.
Easiest answer to that question?
So many ways over so many years.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, on Valentine’s Day, Sanaa is hosting and asks us to write “plainly” about love.

Photos top row, left to right: summer 1974, pregnant with Abbey, our first child; at the Great Wall outside of Beijing; in Japan enjoying the cherry blossoms. Bottom row: in an underground cave in Bermuda about 8 years ago; and finally, us here in San Diego just seven days ago, February 7th, celebrating our 53rd anniversary! Thankful for every day.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” — from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43.

To the Love of My Life

Life is candylicious with you.
My Hubba Bubba, my Mr. Goodbar.
My Swedish Fish, my Lifesaver.
My Starburst when darkness falls.

You bring a Bit O Honey
to every single moment we share.
Everyday with you is a Payday,
rich in laughter and love.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Mish is hosting Quadrille Monday and asks us to use the word “candy” or a form of the word in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Do you recognize the candy names in my poem? Hubba Bubba, Mr. Goodbar, Swedish Fish, Lifesavers, Starburst, Bit O Honey, and Payday. Had fun with this one! Photo is from this past June: me and my Hubba Bubba!

Chardonnay Me

sipping chardonnay
cold, crisp, oak tinged mysteries
celebrating love

once more round the sun
older, wizened, holding hands
thankful every day

gathering blessings
from days past and those to come
sun still shines at dawn

Image from

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Punam asks us to consider wine or whiskey or any beverage, and somehow incorporate that beverage into our poem. Go here for a better explanation of the prompt.

To my readers: Since October 13th, I’ve been going through the “process” of cataract surgery. In the scheme of things, it is a piece of cake. However, I’ve found it difficult to read and work on the computer – hence my participation in dVerse has been limited and I’ve not responded to other posts as I usually do, or to comments on the poems I’ve sporadically posted. I am happy to say, I am coming out on the other side of this process – and the results of the surgery are, to me, miraculous. I see colors in their brightest hues. I see print on my computer that is clear and straight. I look out the window and the world is no longer blurry. I am without glasses for the first time since I was twelve years old and am now half-way through my septuagenarian years. I only wear inexpensive “cheaters”, otherwise known as readers when I want to read or write. All of this to say, age brings cataracts to almost everyone. It is one malady that can truly be reversed. One type of anti-aging procedure that really works. I don’t mind silver hair (a nicer way of saying gray) or wrinkles or crepey skin or the inability to do some of the physical things I used to do in my forties or sixties. But I did mind seeing a blurry world. And that is over! All this to say, I’m back to my writing and back to dVerse!

When the World is a Blur

When the world is a blur
we reach out.
Grab a hand we trust
to steady ourselves.
In today’s world
the question becomes,
whose hand can we trust?

Must we ride a mad bull,
bucking twenty-four/seven
careening through disasters,
red flags hurled at us?
Deafening roars
blocking out the rational
in a cacophony of noise?

Some days I seek the easy chair,
slump contentedly, eyes closed,
listen to nothing, just breathe.
I know you are in the next room
ready to provide the steady hand.
You are the reminder,
there is good in this world.

Nine Years Ago . . .

It’s this day again.
It’s come every year
since this day nine years ago.
An emotionally tough day
in this autumnal time of year.

I awaken before dawn.
Sleep elusive,
memories churning.
You cheated death on this day,
nine years ago today.

I lie listening to your breath,
thankful you are here.
Thankful for angels along the way
who helped tether you,
tether you to earth and me.

This afternoon we will walk
meander along the glistening Charles.
We’ll scuff leaves with our feet,
admire fall’s cacophony of colors
and revel in a new day of love.

Photo taken last year along the Charles River in Boston.

Thankful for every day.

Ode to Love

Rise up this morn, ingenue divine.
Sing joy unto the skies for youth,
for energy and love.
Live now to dance in flower laden fields.
Soon enough
petals shall shrivel upon their stalks,
energy depleted.
But love, if tended well,
will never desert you.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Monday, August 22nd is Quadrille Monday. Linda asks us to write a quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title) including the word “morning” or a form of the word. If you look carefully in the first line of Ode to Love, morning is there, albeit broken in to two words.

Apologies to dVersers! I am on a cruise until September 2nd and have very little access to the internet…and when I do, it is intermittant. Therefore I am unable to read your posts to dVerse prompts. Do not feel the necessity to read or post comments on my poems during this time since I can rarely reciprocate.

PS: Poem before this one on my blog, includes photos from our first cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. We are on back-to-back cruises and have just begun the second leg, our Best of Scandinavia cruise.

The Mysteries of Time

Time slips away, disappears.
Those years of youth,
ours and theirs.

I had a firm grasp on reality.
Even so, the mundane simmered,
repetition melded, numbed time.

Infinitesimal changes crept in,
unnoticed until too late.
What was, was gone.

Those everyday moments . . .
in hindsight I know
were anything but mundane.

Sweet viscous memories
fragments, rarely continuous,
slip and slide in my mind.

I sit, smiling gently,
my head in the past
then force myself into the now.

Pen in hand,
I write as time moves on
faster than my script.

My gait slower, skin thinner
eye sight cloudier,
but joy nurtures me.

Each day is still a gift
for one constant reason.
You are still beside me.

Ode to Life

What spirits roam this earth?
Moon gods no longer constant
fatigued by cloud-strung battles,
wax and wane their beams.
Seasons test the sun,
warmth succumbs to winter gales.

Spirits gone these many years
hover o’er our heads.
Their whispers ride the winds.
Arise my children, each day sublime,
whether warm or cold or dark or light,
reach out, touch hands, and dance.

Smile hope upon your neighbors
be they far or near.
Smile hope upon your loved ones
be they on earth,
or in the heavenly sphere.
All gaze upon the same bright stars.

Love this day together, my children,
for I am with you as they are too.
Greet each day sublime,
hearts flush with gratitude, no fear.
Listen for their whispers
they are always there to hear.

Image by

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Every time I see them
it creates an image in the present
which in seconds or hours
or a day or years,
depending on recall,
is always in my past.

We gathered to honor the matriarch.
From Texas, Illinois, California, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, North and South Carolina,
Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Virginia too.

She was the rock, the foundation.
Granddaughter of Swedish immigrants,
upholding the traditions.
Her life, lived for so many.

A career in nursing, a ministry of sorts.
She offered healing to the afflicted.
From surgical assistance to the elderly’s pains,
to the scrapes of school-age youth.

She taught her children compassion.
Lessons passed on to grandchildren
and their children. To nieces,
extended family, friends and neighbors too.

She faced the depths of loss and pain,
courageous and resilient.
Sustained by faith in God and love of life,
she taught us even through her death.

Family gathered to pray, to sing,
to share a meal. Tears and smiles comingled.
Yesterday’s emotional today,
so filled with love and caring support.
That is the essence of this family,
what we share and treasure most.

Those moments of yesterday’s today,
far too quickly in our past.
But still they give us hope and strength,
to face all of our coming tomorrows.

Written in memory of Janice Stewart. The family gathered on Saturday, December 11th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois to celebrate her life. She will be missed by so many.

Hjalmer Hallberg immigrated from Sweden. He and his wife, Anna, settled in Chicago, Illinois. The photo on the left shows their five grandchildren. From left to right: George Hallberg, Nancy Jahnke, Lynne Gehrke, Janice Stewart, Donald Hallberg. Neil Netherton, Nancy’s brother, passed away many years ago. He was Hjalmer and Anna’s sixth grandchild. The second photo was taken immediately following the celebration of Janice’s life at St. Paul’s Church on Saturday, December 11th.