self delusion

he thought it would be  . . .
some version of heaven’s gate

his move to the big bright noisy city

dusting off the black and blue of his old life,
ready to flint-spark a new fire and a new hope

but a change of venue is not a change of character ~
flames wouldn’t burst from green twigs, nor  a
spirit roam given the bounds of a mental dovecote

no matter then, the variegated humanity or
the plummy metropolis and apartment view

he took himself with himself

his heartbeat sluggish and dull on the
daily feed of the same old self-delusions

© 2013, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


We’ve probably all been there and/or known someone who’s been there, thinking if they change where they live, who their married to, where they go to school, things will be better. Maybe they will, but probably not unless there are some internal changes. What’s your view or experience? Tell us in poem or prose. If you feel comfortable, share the link to your work in the comments section below or – if the piece is short enough – just post the piece.  Work shared in response to this writing prompt will be featured here next Tuesday.

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON TEN: BELIEVE IN TRUTH “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so.  If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.  The biggest wallet pas for the most blinding lights.”  Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century


  1. Parable of the Red Birds

    The cardinals outside my window
    Have two babies cuddled in the nest-
    I peered in to see gray downy bundles
    Rather ugly little fellows, mouths all agape.

    Today, the fledglings are out of the nest.
    The male cardinal has been vigilant,
    Constantly flying to the little dears,
    Dropping food in their open mouths.

    While they flap clumsy tiny wings
    The father flits about, devout in his care
    Leaving me to wonder, where is Momma?
    What is that Momma Cardinal up to?

    After a little reading, I have discovered
    No—she didn’t fly the coop with a lover-
    She’s off to make her second nest of eggs.
    The father is feeding her and the babies!

    So what does this have to do with the grass
    Looking greener over the fence? Nothing.
    Sometimes everything is as it should be-
    Your home is where your family assembles-

    Either the family you’re been born with
    Or the cackle of friends you’ve chosen
    And gathered, dear one by dear one,
    And it’s the place you build your wings.

    Sharon Frye

    Liked by 2 people

  2. quite often these days

    I focus on a moment from the past
    identify strongly with it
    and very soon find myself back there
    pursuing a path that leads
    from that moment into other moments
    that just might have been

    so that I am lost in passageways
    I never took—corridors of time
    I maybe only half-explored; it’s an effort
    to wrench myself away back here
    where all’s strange and unaccountable
    & forlorn with a sense of great loss

    so it was when I discovered (used as
    a bookmark) a letter I never answered
    asking me if I was happy now
    I had left her and gone my own way—
    if I could let her know (she said) she’d
    rest content so I disappear into her

    missing me and start wondering how
    to reply—the letter is fifty-five years old
    for god’s sake but as I said I’m prone
    to follow up these distant naked leads
    fully expecting the characters I bring to life
    to make a response to me as I do to them

    (From ‘The Recovery of Wonder’
    published in 2013 under my Hub Editions imprint)

    [Title in bold!]

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my submission on today’s prompt

    Picked Apple Falls Hard On Him

    i) Him On Her

    apples, little earths
    of laughtered kisses

    of words that tickle
    of giggle flesh,

    deep red and green
    or change in colour

    from one to the other
    or pick one.

    Your apricots, peaches
    and nectarines

    a predatory sweetness
    invites the unwary

    as you feel slightly soft
    and pull away easily

    blackcurrant berries
    swell to full size and turn

    a shiny blue-black
    incise deep past

    the mantel to core
    molten with sweet
    juice oozes

    over your tongue
    out of the flesh

    out of the month
    through holes in the bones
    life agape

    Picked Apple, woodbride,
    you tend gardens with skill,

    devoted to orchards’ care,
    love fields and branches

    laden with ripe apples,
    carry a curved pruning knife,

    cut back scraggy growth,
    lop limbs spread too far,

    split bark, insert a graft,
    provide sap from different stock
     for trees bairns.

    Will not  suffer them being parched, waters twining tendrils o’ their thirsty

    root. This is your love, your passion,
    no need of lust. Workaholic, close

    yourself off in an orchard, post a notice, ” No Men Allowed”.

    2) Her On Him

    glance and you’re a scraggy girl darkened in denim,

    a bespectacled man in a ballooned jumper, honeyed farmer, shy hunter,

     mollusced fisherman.
     I wake up to a tupped shepherd,

     come back to a wick carjacker.
     You’re everyone else, but yourself.

     can’t pin you down,
     my turning year,

     first grape that darkens
     on purpling bunch,

     spiky corn-ear that swells
     with milky grain; near my toes

    you’re sweet cherries, autumn plums and a mulberry redder

    in summer,
     a change in the weather,

    a new set of clothes,
    an alteration in the air,
    and I love you.

    3) My Seduction

    A challenge. Never impress
    you as myself.

     Too young, no prospects.
     Men have to invent

     themselves to get anywhere.
     I want to see you all the time.

    So I turns up at your door
    a rude farmer,

    brought you a basket
    filled with ears of barley.

    Next, my forehead bound with freshly cut hay, as I might have been tossing new-mown grass.

     “Sorry. No men. Busy.”

     Another day I lumped horses
     bridle in my stiff hand,

    so you’d swear I’d unyoked
    a weary team.

     “No stables. Goodbye!”

     With knife I were a female dresser
     and pruner of vines:
    “No vines here. I’m busy.”

     Sometimes I’d carry ladder
     and bucket a Window cleaner.

     “No windows here. Goodbye.”

     A scraggy girl darkened in denim,
     beg a bunch of wildflowers
     for her mam and you say
     “Nothing wild in this garden, girl.
     Sorry, mowed them all down”

     A bespectacled man in a ballooned jumper, honeyed farmer, shy hunter,
     mollusced fisherman.

     “Sorry. Read the notice. No men allowed.”

    4) The Old Lass

    I wrap my head with a coloured scarf,
     lean on a staff, sprout grey hair, wrinkled

     as a decaying fruit, caved in hollows,
     thin skin, fungus faced, moles, brown

    blotches, sour breath, stink of stale piss lingers, and a small spiky moustache.

    She lets me in her well-tended garden,
    to admire fruit and fruit of her
    She a Pear’s sweetness
    salves a searching tongue,

    a Peach’s blush like sunrise
    a Plum’s scent entices, smooth and laughing,

    a Cherry’s scarlet lips rain sodden
    a blossoming branch
    makes bees dance

     a secret orchard
    ‘You are so much more lovely’,

    I snog her.
    Then apologise.

    Sit on flattened grass,
    look at branches bend weighed
    down with fruit.

    Vine and Tree
    There is an elm opposite,

    gleaming bunches of grapes.
    I tell her
    “Remarkable tree, and its entwining vine.
    But, if that tree stood there, unmated,

    without its vine, it wouldn’t be sought after for more than its leaves, and vine

    also, joined to and rests on the elm,
    will lie on the ground,

    if it were not married to it, and leaning on it.’

    You reply “It is a tree. Marriage means nothing to me.”

    “A thousand men want you,
     you shun them, turn away.”

    But, if you are wise,
    if you want to marry well,

     listen to me, an old lass,
    as loves you more than you think,

    more than them all, reject others
    and choose Change to share your bed!

    You have my pledge as well:
    he’s not better known to himself

    than he is to me: he does not wander
    hither and thither, lives by himself

    and he doesn’t love latest girl he’s seen.
    You’ll be his first love, and his last.

    He’ll devote his life only to you.
    He’s young, blessed with natural charm,

    can take on a fitting appearance, if needs be. Whatever you want,

    though you ask for all of it,
    he will do.

    He doesn’t want fruit of your trees,
    or sweet juice of your herbs:

    he needs nothing but you.
    Take pity on his ardour,

    and believe that he,
    who seeks you,

    is begging you,
    in person, through my gob.

    I’ll tell you the tale
    of Stone Lass

    “Spunk sees Cruel lass from afar
     gobsmacked by her looks
     he gets smitten hard
     and determines she’ll be hooked

     Asks her mates for her mobile number,
     and all her social media pages,
     scours internet for details,
     winds himself up in rages.

     Gets his message through once
     or twice but she mocks him
     ” Fancy me. You do right. I’m gorgeous”
     and promptly blocks him.

     Finds her home and knocks
     and her Dad answers and says
     “She don’t want to know, son.
     Thinks your a stalker. Away!”

     Writes his first letter and posts
     it personally through her door,
     it tells her she’s won and he’ll be gone
     she can celebrate and more

     she can see him lose his life
     which is all he has left for her.
     Cruel scoffs at this but goes along
     for the crack and laughter.

     She sees him throw a rope
     already knotted around a beam
     put his neck in the noose
     and let out a scarifying scream.

     Then she feels herself harden
     stone thoughts
     stone mouth
     stone neck
     stone chest
     stone limbs
     stone heart
     calcified flesh and bone
     she is a statue.”

    Picked Apple has no reaction.
    Change thinks stuff it

    and becomes himself
    young, virile and fresh.
    Picked Apple falls hard for him.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. and…..

    :: when ::

    when small boys wake early,

    when the journey is long,

    the other disturbing the night

    until all around is tired,

    no real work done.

    breaking backs.

    have you really lost your arm,

    have you really changed your life,

    have you lost your sun glasses

    in paradise?

    do you know the people here,

    who think i have sold my house,

    who look after the dead,


    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks Jamie. Here is my response to this week’s prompt.

    . poeticize .

    this piece more.

    it can be an indication

    of disorder, a slight

    abstraction. tasks

    repeating, sleep hard.

    wake to find a black shape


    should i make some rhyme

    or less subtraction there.

    change the tune,

    bless birds that some

    have shorter names.

    know this is a critic’s site,

    take the words on board,

    try to change.

    i am just not critical, nor italian.


    Liked by 2 people

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