Refugee blues …. W.H. Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
“If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead”:
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
“If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”:
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, “They must die”:
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

© WH Auden estate

your wise owl eyes, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt


i belong to the wind, to grandmother moon
to the vision of the hawk, the depth of the sea
i am the heart of a lion drinking the sun
i am the true journey, the undiscovered path
i am the life in the fox, centered and silent,
apparent in the stillness between breaths
i am the flame of meaning that lights the night
see me with your old soul, your wise owl eyes

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; illustration: spirit animal with permission by Gretchen Del Rio.  If you have not visited Gretchen’s site, you must.  Fabulous!


What is your vision of that essential energy that is the base of all things seen and unseen? Does your vision lean toward the scientific or the metaphysical? Tell us in prose or poem. If you feel comfortable, share your work – or a link to it – in response to this theme. All writing shared will be published next Tuesday.  You have until Monday evening – 8 p.m. PST – to respond.


“We ring her door bell” …. and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Mangos and gardens, smiles and doorbells, all factor into the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, August 23, Neighbors by poets and writers sharing their talent, perspective and stories. Enjoy! … and join us tomorrow for the next prompt. All are invited to take part and share their responses, which are always published here on the following Tuesday. Poem on …

His Catapult

Neighbour’s lad gets a grin out of pot shots at birdlife in my garden. Thinks

I can’t see him between slats of broken fence. Dead birds litter my lawn. I’ve told

his mam, Alice who says he thinks he’s in Jurassic World to kill dinosaurs. I wish

he weren’t so wick and could see these dinosaurs don’t bite. I’ll fetch him round

to bury his dead, and have a quiet word.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Why Move?

To be closer to us, Mam
so we can be there for you.

chorus son and daughter in law.
Bert next door on his way out

always asks whether I need anything.
Sally over the way enquires after me,

Even with all she’s got on, her mam’s
Cancer and little ones severe ADHD.

Need a gardener only to do odds
and sods as I get tired quick. Bert volunteered

but he’s all on with his granddaughter’s
while daughter has hospital appointments.

These folk are here for me. I don’t need
To move away to strangers and elsewhere.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow)

We ring her door bell

Holiday slowly conquers my joints
My knee, my thumb
Little knife stubs
Brown spots, coffin spots
As my eighty years old neighbour
Says laughing
Her laugh healed her from cancer
She lost a breast but this year
She visited the Spanish Riviera

When I am down
When my spine is numb
When all my ships are sinking
We ring her door bell…

So the Black Sea is in her best mood
The holiday makes time insignificant
We move around the pole
Hunting the shadow
A solar clock
The kid spends hours in the greenish liquid
Our skins darker and darker by the minute
Soon to be the only sign that we ever been
Away from home
Where first thing first
We’ll ring her door bell

When I am numb
When my spine is down
When all the ships have sunk
We’ll ring her door bell to borrow a smile

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei (Sky Under Construction)

Persuaded by a Smile

I never knew her name and remembrance
of her face has faded from memory
but her kindness still remains steadfast
within the warmth of my beating heart

where upon I still see the upright grand
dusty and in need of repair standing
proudly in the living room of a house
I only encroached drawn by its’ beauty

for she saw I was smitten by its’ presence
and invited me to play for even though
not a lesson had I the music seemed to
pass without pause to my finger tips

as I came to knock each day upon the door
to see the beauty of her smile and knew
that she no longer played but entreated
me to sit once more at the upright grand

© 2017 Renee Espriu (Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, ART & Haiku)


we live rural.i have an immersion for hot water,

and for work. along side research and hot baths

keeps the days flowing.

there is a gas pipeline crossing near us, yet not with door neighbour is the gas man yet not required

locally.he has bottled stuff while i have not.

mary was stuck behind a lorry delivering the latter

so was later arriving here. today.

i switch it on each morning then evening though they

do say it can be economical to leave it on all day. i have

not tried that.


© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

#walking 4

it really is very early, still the radio plays

softly not to wake the neighbour. he is

a quiet man. a farmer.

reckon it was four miles up over the hill

in a summer dress. settled that evening

to watch the war

of the worlds.

slept early,

woke early.

it is raining today.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

.. bara brith..

quiet day, plenty to do,

workwise. no home brew

involved, yet he came to

my door smiling.


a bara brith.

to share, he said,

cut it in half,

I shan’t come in,

my boots are quite muddy.

there is a fete in the

village, sue won’t eat it,

so I thought I will spoil


they soak the fruit in tea,

and alcoholic drinks

if they have any.

isn’t it heavy?

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

Mangfera Indica Inflorescence

#Mrs . Brown :My Next Door Neighbour#

My little garden was the envy of my neighbours. My father liked to enjoy his favourite pastime of gardening. Variant greenery of our little garden soothed eyes of every pedestrian passing by our beautiful grove. Ours was a street of Alloy Steel quarters assembled gracefully. As we lived at one end of the street my father could rehash gardening acquiring a lot of space with a temporary boundary of wires. Our small garden was a lavish decoration with flowers of varied colours like rose, hibiscus, lily, petunia etc. Adjacent to the flower garden we had a little orchard too with fruits like mango ,pear, jackfruit etc. All day long chirruping of colorful birds echoed through our garden as well as little orchard inflicting vigorous pleasure flooding our heart and mind .

The event took place long long ago. In one summer evening Mrs. Katrina Brown stepped in our street as our fresh neighbour. It was the first time I encountered such a gorgeous Christian lady. To our great amazement she became our next door neighbour.
My parents were also happy getting their new charming neighbour. Everything was going alright for the first few days. It was the time of great amusement while I used to play Ha-do-do with Diana, the sweet daughter of Mrs . Brown with the proximity of my age.

Mrs Brown was an instrumentalist and till today I recall an intricate melody on her piano. She had a habit to attend a nearby church every Sunday along with Diana and her husband, Mr Brown, as each inhabitant of our street used to call him. One or two times I accompanied them and noticed how heartily – how profoundly that beautiful lady engaged herself to the prayer of the Almighty and at that very moment I kept a fixed look on her face entangled with a heavenly light of piousness, but I had yet to experience the other face of the coin.

In one early summer evening a heavy downpour commenced a new era of relationship between the two families – the Das and the Brown family. The rainfall was really ponderous along with strong blowing wind coming from the Arabian sea. Almost all the buds and verdant mangoes of a special mango tree were spread out everywhere of the courtyard of Mrs .Brown as that mango tree of our orchard tilted towards the portico of the Brown family with its clinging fruits yet to be ripened. Next morning I awakened with an agitated blast of words from Mrs. Brown’s mouth .She was telling to my mother -“Mrs Das -you have to cut down this mango tree. It has been tilted more towards my courtyard due to the storm that swept through the place yesterday and if it is kept being unshorn then the roof of my home as well as my courtyard would have to face scattered buds, shedded leaves and unripe mangoes each day onwards making my whole area dirty.

”That was our favourite tree as it bore the sweetest fruits among all the mango trees in the orchard. Moreover my father treated each tree of the orchard as his own child. Therefore my mother answered,”I understand your problem, Mrs. Brown, but the tree is like our child. Every year it bears the sweetest fruits. Please don’t make us compelled to cut it. The harvesting time is coming nearer and during the ripening time you may take all of its fruits but let the tree be survived.”

“Most of its flowers and fruits have been exuded -Mrs. Das .”-Mrs Brown said.

My mother said, ”Some fruits are still clinging to the tree and I request you to taste the ripened fruits this season. Moreover -all the fruits are yours -this year.”

Though Mrs Brown had some grudge against the tree but perhaps she agreed to my mother’s condition and departed without saying more.

In that ripening season she tasted all the sweet mangoes except ten as she fixed to be allocated to us.”The tree not only bears delicious fruits but also makes shady my terrace in these days receiving scorching heat of the sun. You were right Mrs. Das, the tree should not be cut down.I have now begun to love this tree. I would not ever mind to sweep its shedded leaves and next time we would share half of its fruits.” We were really happy as afterall she could realize the value of the tree. Thereafter she never told us to cut the tree though at every turn we used to hear that she was scolding the tree for shedding so many leaves on her terrace .

That year passed. Then it was the turn for the next mango season. The two families were awaiting for the sweetest mangoes of that very tree. Again a violent storm swept through our place.The storm was so fierce that it uprooted most of our trees, damaged electric poles and changed the course of the river at our place. Alloy Steel authority took decision to cut down the big trees touching the electric wires and they settled upon that the very mango tree of our orchard with the sweetest fruits to be trimmed as it touched the wires coming from the main electric pole of the area holding danger of an electric shock at any moment. Both my father and Mr. Brown requested the Maintenance Department under Alloy Steel Plant not to cut the tree but they paid no heed to them.

On a day fixed previously two choppers came to our house. As soon as they had stepped into our orchard with their motive to cut down the tree Mrs .Brown rushed there like an arrow from a bow and embracing the tree like her own baby requested them again and again to be refrain from cutting the tree, but it was an order from the higher authority. They were helpless. The giant tree was cut down before our bleary watery eyes. Mrs. Brown began to cry as like as a baby. A gloomy surrounding engulfed in all parts of our orchard when the last part of the tree trunk was chopped. Thereafter the health of Mrs .Brown suffered a steep decline. Many a days we didn’t follow her fingers on her favourite piano.

Then it was the turn for the rainy season. In one rainy morning we came out of our home hearkening an extremely melodious tune flowing out of her piano. It was really astonishing when our mindedness went to a sapling of mango that had sprouted out in that very place from where the giant tree was rooted out. Perhaps one of that lost mango tree‘s degenerated seed took that place and the first shower of the rainy season provided it the chance to germinate with its two tiny leaves.

Mrs. Brown first noticed it and with a reflection of getting back her lost mango tree, which she treated like her own baby. She placed her fingers again on her piano originating a new celestial melody enchanting the neighboring. Everyday she spent a lot of time to serve the sapling awaiting for the day when it would flourish with its unfurled branches with juicy, delicious fruits as well as soothing, tranquil shade. In the meantime my father got a transfer order and we had to leave the place. I don’t know how is Mrs. Brown for the time being or if she is on this earth till now but my innermost spirit throws its earnest glance today from a far away place at Mrs Brown‘s lovely tree, which may have remained standing in my nostalgic orchard still now bearing the dream and fancy of that fairy lady.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh

Photo credit: Mango Flowers by Gihan Jayaweera under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.


Belated SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events and Other News and Information


Opportunity Knocks

LUMINA LITERARY JOURNAL (Sarah Lawrence College) states that its mission “has always been to create a journal where the experimental and traditional are celebrated together, transforming into something innovative and exciting.” Submissions are open through November 5 for the next issue. The theme is “Resistance,” which the editors define as “resisting political powers, social norms, destructive impulses, negative influences, the desire to give up, or something else.” Prose, poetry and multimedia are of interest. Details HERE.

ELLIPSIS … LITERATURE AND ART is an annual publication sponsored by Westminster College and run by students. Poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, drama and art may be submitted for consideration. Publication is in April. Submission deadline is November 1 for everything but art.  Art submissions are open through February 1st. $10 per accepted poem. $50 for pose and cover art. Payment includes two copies.  Details HERE

EYE FLASH JOURNAL is another fledgling poetry publication. It is founded in England (south) and states a desire to showcase “the most striking contemporary poetry that will burn fresh images into the reader’s consciousness.” The first edition is schedule to come out in October and the plan is to publish two issues a year. They’re not on submittable yet so submission are by email. There’s not too much detail on their site but what there is can be found HERE.

ATEMISpoetry, the journal of Second Light Network of Women Poets deadline (reminder) for the November issue is coming up: August 31. They do not accept electronic submissions. If you have something ready and you live in London your submission might make the deadline. There’s also always the next issue that comes out in May 2018. Details HERE.

WALLOON WRITERS REVIEW “shares original creative writing and photography inspired by Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula …” The editors announce a call for their 2017 Volume 3 issue. 3,000 word limit and $5 submission fee “a portion of which is donated to area non profits that preserve the natural beauty of the region.”  Deadline: September 31, 2017. Details HERE.

RIGGWELTER is a fledgling journal found this year by Manchester poet and playwright, Amy Kinsman. The first issue schedule to publish in September.  Submissions of poetry, short fiction, visual art and experimental media are welcome for consideration for future issues. Details HEREriggwelter (verb) – a dialect word from the North of England. a sheep, having fallen onto its back, being unable to right itself is said to be riggweltered (e.g. bloody thing’s riggweltered again).

THE HAMILTON STONE REVIEW is a literary magazine published twice a year. Poetry submissions are currently open through September 17.  Details HERE.

FINGERS ON THE BUTTON “Is an ear movie, a podcast, a literary journal on tape? Let’s just call Fingers on the Button an audio Experience …” First season: early 2018. Opportunity for both voice actors and writers. Details for writers HERE.  Submission guidelines HERE.

POETS READING THE NEWS,  The World’s Only Newspaper Written by Poets is a digital publication “bridging poetry and journalism.”  Poems should be about a “time-sensitive news event.” Videos and audio submissions are encouraged. Submit via email. Details HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

ELLIPSIS … LITERATURE AND ART is an annual publication sponsored by Westminster College and run by students. Poems submitted are judged by Srikanth Reddy in 2018 for an annual contest. Details HERE.

OMNIDAWN sponsors several poetry contests each year including single poem, chapbook and first/second poetry book. All are now open for submissions. Entry fees. Cash awards. Details HERE.

2018 SONIA SANCHEZ-LANGSTON HUGHES POETRY CONTEST sponsored by Split This Rock. Deadline: November 1, 2017. Reading fee. Cash awards. Details HERE.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 organization based in Santa Barbara, California, hosts two peace contests each year:

  1. THE 2018 Barbara Mandingo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards ” is an annual series of awards to encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under. The deadline for entries was July 1, 2018. Entry fees. Cash awards. Details HERE. The annual contest is open to people worldwide. Poems must be original, unpublished, and in English.
  2. The Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest calls for contestants to submit short videos on an aspect of nuclear disarmament (the specific topic is announced on February 1 each year). The deadline for submissions is April 1. Details HERE

2017 first prize video award winner:


  • The 15th Annual Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival is scheduled for April 20 – 23, 2018. Details to come HERE.
  • 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) events happening globally on September 30, 2017. Check HERE  to search for an event near you.  Watch The Poet by Day for news on The BeZine virtual 100TPC, which is open to anyone anywhere. Questions??? email me (Jamie Dedes) at As notices from around the world come in they’re also published on The Poet by Day Facebook page.
  • For UK events be sure to watch Anne Stewart’s poetry pf  Watch Second Light Network of Women Poets for information on its events and distance-learning classes.Watch Myra Schneider’s site for her readings, classes and other info of interest to poets and writers.
  • The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt (weekly) offers a suggestive – often inspirational – prompt and opportunity to be published. All work related to the prompt and submitted no later than the following Monday will be published on the following Tuesday.
  • A new and exciting issue of The BeZine is published every month on the 15th. Beginning January 2018, we’ll move to a quarterly publication schedule. Details to follow on this site as they are worked out.

Courtesy of poet and artist, Sonja Benskin Mesher, R.C.A.

  • The 135h Annual Summer Exhibition features the work of Royal Cambrian Academy of Arts is ongoing through 10 September 2017. Details HERE.
  • Private View of the United Society of Artists, 94th Open Exhibition on Tuesday 5 September 2017 from 6-8:30 pm at The Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU




Poetry and Music


YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • though your book or other product doesn’t have to be available through Amazon for review here, it should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.


Often information is just that information – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications featured in Sunday Announcements or elsewhere on this site. Awards and contests are often a means to generate income and publicity for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I am homebound due to disability and no longer attend events. Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.

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Some product links within posts are Amazon affiliate links. The Poet by Day is supported in part by these links. Your use of them costs you nothing and helps to keep this site running. When you click on a affiliate link (not all links are affiliate) and/or make a purchase I sometimes receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thank you for your support.