Watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio
Watercolor Phoenix by (c) Gretchen Del Rio

“In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray…”
Inferno Canto 1, Durante (Dante) degli Alighieri

in a mood
he stood at the wood’s edge and thought



this pained walk
under dark skies
living on the verge
wondering if he was
the plaything of his Lord, if so
a cruel game

from somewhere brightness beckoned
on the wing beat of sudden insight ~

it’s not your memory melting in the heat of time
or your true music dissolving unsung
nor the whimsy of some capricious god
it is, perhaps, Dante’s transformative hell

no love without yearning
no compassion without pain
no charity without failure

a Moses, he fell before the flaming bush
A Phoenix, he rose from the ashes
in his found humanity, he embraced life whole

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Gretchen Del Rio (Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog), All rights reserved, posted here with Gretchen’s permission


There are moments, sometimes light and sometimes dark, that are transformative. Tell us about that in a poem and if you feel comfortable share or a link to it in the comments below.  All shared work on theme will be published here next Tuesday, January 9. All are invited to participate no matter the status of your career: beginning, emerging or pro.  Deadline is Monday, January 15 at 8:30 pm PST.




  1. it was after a journey

    of fourteen hours
    by plane and train when
    arriving at a lonely station
    in the far North I approached a man
    who’d obviously been
    standing in the road outside
    for a hundred years
    and was therefore likely to know
    his way around like the back of his hand

    – I want to go to Etlic I said
    – Etlic: you’ll need to go to Mrs Warrender
    who runs the boat service; you see that trail…

    he pointed down a long sea-embattled peninsular
    down which the yellow trail snaked
    into the distance; it seemed that Mrs Warrender
    had a boatyard in some village
    at the end of it

    active mind in ailing body
    set off along the track
    which went though tunnels with deep puddles
    over many stiles and up through manholes
    which was entirely appropriate
    for a man in a hole struggling
    with many other pilgrims
    intent on making the next boat to Etlic
    which he failed to do

    throughout the following day
    I maintained an active image of Mrs Warrender
    whom I must have met in some other life


    Don’t ask me where ‘Etlic’ is. I dreamed about the place so it must be somewhere!
    It had a kind of Bright Hope attached to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indefatigable

    a sower here

    — showed
    a belief
    as rising up

    as change, as malleable

    thought to call it god —

    I spoke not knowing what I would say

    just as easily —

    the growing mountains of
    mean something
    as insurmountable as speech
    to really

    and that leaves the
    obvious quiet

    thematically dragged out on cue

    — dream in cycles

    each of these things committed
    in silence — think
    of the plethora —

    guard as treasure

    dub She


    (c) ‘18 miguel J escobar

    photo m.j.e. 1/1/18

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My first response Jamie :

    #The Song Of A Dewdrop #

    My chest twisted as a dying leaf
    That had it’s last swing on  that grey hill
    When suddenly I saw a dewdrop ,
    A pearly corn on that dying leaf
    In the rosy -pink light of dawn
    fondling  a scarlet flower
    Dazzling and giggling
    in the wintry breeze .
    Sparkling like diamond nose pin
    That glitters and glistens on a queen’s nose
    Or as a glossy prism  on the grassy leaf
    It sang mirthfully
    One beam of hope still  surpasses
    That grey agonised mountain chest

    ©Kakali  Das Ghosh

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some lovely poems here.This is my effort.

    Post-Op. 2009

    I’m roused from sleep again,
    the nurse’s fob watch
    twinkling silver
    as she take my pulse.

    She whispers an apology:
    must do my obs.
    check nothing’s come loose
    and we grin.

    I’m multi-tubed,lie flat
    like a beached octopus.

    I tell her I don’t mind.
    I’m glad she disturbs
    these drifting hours
    between midnight and morning.

    I’m glad of soft lights
    above my bed,
    glad of electric suns
    along wide-awake corridors.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello Jamie,
    Here is one “work in progress” in response to the prompt about transformative moments.


    In utter despair
    heart-broken open
    stroke after stroke,
    water engulfs me,
    cradling, warm,
    absorbing goggle-trapped tears.

    Released, they said,
    from one hell to another—
    not free, not free to go home,
    released from youth jail
    to adult jail to wait for trial,
    released, they said, cruel sentence.

    Swimming my prayer,
    I can’t do this any more,
    his pain,
    merging with mine,
    drop into drop.

    Ears to hear, broken open,
    voice in my head:
    You must continue
    they need you
    he needs you
    you can do this

    Who speaks?
    imagination or God?
    mysterious mentor,
    self pity called out—
    Lady Justice, Compassion, Love—
    who speaks?

    Stroking the white-blue water
    image etched on liquid canvas,
    heart sliced open,
    blood drops falling,
    gold needle pulling golden thread,
    closes red pulsing flesh.

    Water holds me,
    windmill arms can’t stop,
    thunder breaths hauled in
    puffing past ears that hear,
    scolded, emboldened, submerged—

    He, sitting behind bars,
    sixteen, innocent,
    Me, swimming,
    I can do this. I must.

    Lisa Ashley
    January 8, 2018

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Jamie,

    My third response:

    The Neighbour’s Traveller

    crawls along a mountain’s shoulder,
    down a verterbrae of spines,

    into the leaf mould of birth
    where it cradles a knapsack of beliefs

    in a bonegirdle. Pioneer savage
    come to swap gifts with half
    dressed gentlemen.

    His garden drystone wall
    of philosopher’s stone

    waits for an answer to a question
    it has forgotten. Meanwhile spiders hunt

    spaces between carefully placed slabs.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi Jamie,

    This is my second response:

    Every Key She

    puts in the door is her 21st when she hauls her late five year old screaming

    daughter to the dentists to get her braces tightened, folk looking askance

    as the child shouts for help as if she’s being abused and milking the attention

    and five years later after her final visit
    to the hospital she puts the key into her

    echoing house when she would have been glad to hear her daughter’s voice.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:


    And a clean cloth is what she needs
    to scrub the smeared pains of her heart

    just as Jill needed vinegar and brown paper to repair Jack’s broken bonce

    after he fell carrying a pale of water,
    but her spirit is not in a bucket,

    but in a pane of glass that needs cleaning so she can see clearly the obstacles

    in her way and be a pilgrim
    and wipe tears from her granddaughter’s eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Almost a Song

    „Per me si va nella città dolente…”
    Dante Alighieri

    You haven’t forgotten
    you won’t forget…
    In ices is swelling
    the river again and trawling
    roots and weeds,
    and foam.
    It leaves the shores bent,
    swamps and frost.
    But on the day
    it kindles a glow.
    With movements
    spiral of
    the hands,
    I’m folding the air
    after the beasts –
    to that one threshold
    (what does it say
    no, I don’t know).

    And the death ones leave.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Thank you Jamie- my response today

    .on spring #2.

    black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.
    new light drowns darkness, spring spins around.
    black bird calls early, the same bird calls late.
    sonnet sings ten beats to another’s spare sound.

    who asks for word, who knows which hour it starts,
    which minute, which rule of rhyme or reason.
    making of lines , counting the breaks, our hearts
    open. this is february, split season.
    moon draws the tide, upper river pools
    on spring, a note , a sonnet , a dance
    where light or other prayers redeem fools,
    those who rage the world sons may change perchance.

    on spring we write in fourteen lines, to date,

    black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.


    Liked by 4 people

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