In Sober Response to a Prompt

Blessings at birth
two parents, one brother
warm home, and sustenance.
Curses at birth?
I can think of none
for me.

I shuddered last week as I read
of a child born underground
as missiles struck
and millions fled
and “never again”
kept coming again.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 29.

Today’s prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.

How Long is a Blue Moon?

Do not concern yourself.
Only twice in a Blue Moon:
that’s what the sages say,
the peacekeepers, historians,
the literati and oracles too.

Only the Harbinger keeps watch,
collects viable bodies of evidence.
Tracks events pointing backwards
to repetition of historical eras,
measuring time needed for a Blue Moon.

Adolph Hitler’s evil ran rampant,
stacked skeletal remains in godless towers
as ashen clouds floated to the skies.
It was during the time of the Blood Moon,
a horrific sliver of time gone by.

Only the Harbinger understands
the Blood Moon is but the crescent stage
in the life time of a Blue Moon.
It is the beginning soon buried within the tides,
too often forgotten in the ebb and flow of time.

Completion of a Blue Moon is near.
The Harbinger has placed its warning voice
in the human of its choosing.
As sunflowers wilt and blood is spilled
that chosen voice bids you listen now.

The innocents lie dead in our streets
and still this evil invades our land.
A different man, but mark my word,
he is the evil we face today,
many of our people, fighting to their death.


Can you not hear me?
How can you not understand?
Twice in a Blue Moon is now.

Writing for two prompts today:

It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Merril is hosting. She’s created a list of names of actual English country garden roses and asks us to use one or more of them either in the body of our poem or in its title. “Twice in a Blue Moon” is actually the name of an English country garden rose!

NAPOWRIMO, Day 19, asks us to write a poem that begins with a command.
Photo is from Pixabay.com

A Voice from Ukraine

I promise you, there is beauty somewhere.
Stand quietly outside to hear birdsong.
See stars shine in the ebony of night.
Hear the innocence of a small child’s prayer.
Marvel at harmony in evensong.
Your freedom as a right, shines ever bright.

In our war, even as lives are taken
there is pride, resolve, purpose in the fight.
One newborn who survives shines hope ‘ere long.
The world’s sense of justice shall awaken.

Help us.

First and foremost, the illustration is titled Freedom and is painted by Ukranian artist, Vika Muse. This past Tuesday, she gave permission for dVerse Poets to feature her artwork and write poems inspired by them.

Vika Muse wrote about another of her paintings, The Air of Freedom, “I wish I could have manta rays in the sky…instead of Russian bombs and military airplanes. I’ve noticed that my disturbing paintings didn’t make me happier. They cause even deeper depression. So I’ve tried to draw my future. It is bright and sunny. There are no bombs and war…Only beautiful landscapes and dreamlike sky. I hope I’ll meet such a future some day.”

Vika Muse says this about Freedom, the painting that inspired my poem today: “This artwork was made due to the hope, that we have the light at the end and the name of this light – is the Victory. That we will survive and rebuild our country.”

You can find artwork by Vika Muse at @get.muse and http://www.inprnt.com

And a thank-you to Mish at dVerse for discovering this artist so we can all see and marvel at her wonderful work.

Today’s post was specifically written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 16. We are asked to write a Curtal Sonnet, a poetry form invented by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

A Curtal Sonnet is 11 lines (actually 10.5) which is precisely 3/4 of the structure of a Petrachan sonnet which is 14 lines in length. That is, it is shrunk proportionally. The rhyme scheme is abcabc dcbdc The final line is a tail or half line. Another, what I call, sudoku prompt!
I’ve taken poetic license because of the intensity of the poem, to ignore the final line’s “c” rhyme requirement, but it is the requisite 2 syllables. The other lines are all the requisite 10 syllables.

The Dandelions of Ukraine

She paints a different scene
different from the devastation of war.
One of deep meaning to her people.

Far from crimson-orange flames,
bomb bursting flares in night skies,
blood-stained rubble covered streets.

She paints a girl with auburn hair
back to us, looking out at sunburst sky
in the midst of dandelion fields.

Beautiful broadleaf perennial weed,
dandelions bloom brightly yellow,
steep in teas and make fine wine.

Notoriously challenging to remove,
ten-inch-long taproots deep in soil
tenaciously hold their place in earth.

Sunflowers may be the national flower,
but this upstart weed personifies her people.
Strength, perseverance, and beauty,
just as she painted, the dandelion field.

Written for Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Mish is hosting and gives us an inspiring, beautiful and timely prompt, acquainting us with Ukrainian artist, Vika Muse. We are to select one of her remarkable paintings and be inspired by it. As Mish writes: “During this unfathomable yet very real situation in her homeland, let us bask in the light of her artistry and be a reflection of light with our words.”

The work of Vika Muse can be found on Instagram at @get.muse and is featured on the website http://www.inprnt.com (just do a search on this site for Vika Muse and all her artwork will come up). I selected her piece, The Dandelion Field.

dVerse pub opens at 3 PM Boston time, featuring this prompt.

This I Promise

nocturnal goddess I am
not of human form
shaped like sliver moon
my candle burns at both ends

headdress gleaned from stars
burning blazing they produce light
beauty etched in darkened scrim
it will not last the night

wars desecrate my vision
some of you defile my spirit
create hell in falling sky
but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends

acts of kindness, innocence of babes
good will shall overcome cruelty
and like the warmth of rising sun
it gives a lovely light

Image from Pixabay.com

Written for NAPOWRIMO Day 3 where the prompt is to write a Spanish form of poertry called a glosa – a form new to me. “Take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza.”

My glosa references Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, which is one quatrain in length, First Fig:
My candle burns at both ends;
it will not last the night;
but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
it gives a lovely light!