“desecratory deliverance”… and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

I think it is safe to say that this week’s responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Environmental Justice, February 7, a gift to us from Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace, striving to live gracefully) and Steve Wiencek (Scholar and Poet Books, EBay and Scholar and Poet Books, Abe Books ), are consistently marked with an awareness and appreciation that gives us hope for the future .

We extend a warm welcome to poet and musician Dick Jones, new to Wednesday Writing Prompt, and a warm thank you to our treasured regulars: Colin Blundell, Paul Brookes, Kakali Das Ghosh, and Sonja Benskin Mesher and to occasional participants Gary W. Bowers and Denise Aileen DeVires. Welcome back! 

The Northern Maronite Basilica in Brad (Barad), Aleppo courtesy of Hani Simo under CC BY 2.0

I’m pleased that Dick chose to write about Abu Ward, a citizen of Aleppo, the city from which my family sailed from the Middle East to come to the United States a little more than a century ago. CNN called Abu Ward the “last Syrian gardener.” He’s not, of course, though there are few like him. Nonetheless, how some support their spirit in the face of a tragedy so monumental is remarkable.

Like my Lebanese grandmother before me, I season my cooking with Aleppo Pepper. I know that it no longer comes from these beautiful people and their cultured city, which was one of the oldest in world. To say the heart aches is understatement. Rest in peace, Abu Ward, and all victims of this multifaceted violence. The peoples of Syria are not forgotten.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging or pro. See you then … Meanwhile, enjoy – and perhaps be inspired by – this rather special collection.


‘The presence of the world is flowers’.
Abu Ward

This was the man
who planted flowers

where the bombs
were falling.

This is his son
who kneels alone

by the garden gate.
The dust he pushes

around their stems
with his thumb is where

his father lives now.
And each flower

will lift some dust
as it rises in spring.

Abu Ward (from the Arabic for ‘Father of the Flowers’) maintained his carefully nurtured flower garden during the worst of Assad’s systematic bombing of Aleppo. He was killed by a bomb dropped near his home. His son Ibrahim left school at thirteen to help his father. After Abu Ward’s death, Ibrahim attempted to maintain the garden, which is now closed. Sadly, in this instance, environmental justice has been, as so often, a victim of warfare.

© 2018, Dick Jones (Sisyphus Ascending)

DICK JONES says he was initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats. He has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of fifteen. His work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 he received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars. His first collection, Ancient Lights was published by Phoenicia Publishing and is available from them or via Amazon. His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ epic poem La Prose du Trans-Siberien… was published in an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press in 2014. Dick writes lyrics and plays bass guitar in acoustic/electric songwriting trio Moorby Jones.

as you take the road to Paradise

about half-way there
you come to an inn
which even as inns go is admirable

you go into the garden of it
and see the great trees and the wall
of Box Hill shrouding you all round

it is beautiful enough (in all conscience)
to arrest you without the need of history
or any admixture of pride of place

but as you sit in a seat in the garden
you are sitting where Nelson sat
when he said goodbye to Emma;

if you move a yard or two you will be
where Keats sat biting his pen
thinking out some new line of poem

© 2018, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)

From Colin’s ‘The Recovery of Wonder’ 2013

desecratory deliverance

we have grown to love distillates

bagged sugar cherry extract oil
of cloves buckminsterfullerene

essences pantheonized for delectation
bottled genies at our command

we so love purities
fleece white as snow
anthracite darkly dense
radial 24-caratotomy
kruggerrandom acts
and we feel godlike

we soupify the sky
we landfillet the lakes
sadsaturate soil
slagsilt the seven seas

it is a remorseless juggernaut
this megamodular magicker
and some of us are waking up

some of us want a different magic
the magic of the camper
who goes sees enjoys records
leaves the site none the worse

some of us want a reckoning
a calling to account
shame and punishment
some of us want to be sheriffs

is just like any other war
on any other badguy

and artificial value
has yielded unartificial power
and corruptive pushback
and corrosive continuance

deliverance must come
as with any other childbirth
spasmodically and with some blood
crowning and pushing through membrane
a slap and a gasp and a wail

our magical recording
transmitting devices will help
ill-gotten gains though they be

our one-person choices will help
at least
the enormity of the challenge
the size and perversity of the beast
will be revealed
as you yes you
give up your midas’s vehicles
stop eating the factory-farmed
children of hell’s misery
and reduce
“places you must see before you die”

serve up justice to yourselves
and fire the single brick
of your life’s commitment
in the kiln
of paradise

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)

A Matter Of England

I stroll the matter of England
every workday. Recall rich
ancestral lords use miners sweat
lay clanking rails, raise putrid stench,

I walk the matter of England
see lives snatched by unmarked
uniforms, history laid waste
to make a point and remove sting
of sweated labour

I tread the matter of England everytime I chronicle the artificial lake, pit demolished, rails removed, soil has been moved on, seasonal.

Decipher its taste when we in/exhale its dust, decode invasions private/public, ingest new blood, remember old.

© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Land Is History

is a past pitman.
ancestor, a nailmaker
whose strong coffin nails
stout fasten the woods
grain swish as land without
skeleton to hold its’ skin.

Both open cast places.
where redundancy rips
old features from their faces,
old skulls from beneath their skins.

Redundancy within weeks drains the Dearne from their arteries, smooths disused canals from their cheeks, wetlands asset-stripped from their eyes.

And children sit on father’s knee as on a hill hear how men
made hills a sack of land
a weight of meaning

Land no longer propped
by miners hands

into history.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

(Land is History is from Paul’s first pamphlet: “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, 1993, revised 2017)

We Stop Decay

devote lives to prevent decay
of wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our minds,
faculties of our hearts

Each day we weed, we resow,
rework, rebuild
the wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our hearts,
faculties of our minds.

Laugh to heal the stench
of rot, worm eaten
brick, bone, breath, wood
landscape of flesh
fresh produce of light.

Born to decay in decay
heal the ever opening wound
brick, bone, breath, wood
flesh of landscape
light produce of flesh.


© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Purple Moors

were once forests
national parks heavy industrial
this oak headland a pitsite

lads snap off livelimbs
anarchic coppicing
black dogshitbags sway
on limbs left alone

don’t visit in a storm
oaks are lightningtrees
people can be oaks

oakgroves of druids
duir means a door
exit and entrance

raw open wounds of sacrifice
still bleed sap

this hand has molded
a garden out of wildlife
words out of nonsense

she used to say “when
one door closes
another opens”

© 2018, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Village Circle

Cactus seedlings nestle in the shade
of green-trunked nurse trees, creosote
and heart leaf limber bush.

Elf owl and gilded flicker nestlings
rest in cozy, cool saguaro boots
above beetles building galleries.

Long-nosed bats sup on pollen and nectar;
pack rats pillage ripe vermillion fruit.

All, like me, look forward to rain.

© 2018, Denise Aileen DeVries (Bilocalalia)

#For Your Future’s Sustenance #

O my son!

Raise your head
I’m your benevolent mother
My eyes -your azure sky
When you are blown by caustic fervor
My brimming watery eyes turn into serene raindrops to alleviate you
My hands -your verdurous trees
When you lie wearily on my verdant lap
My hands spread florid twigs to shade you
My moist lips -your rivers
When your thirst touches me
Words of my lips turn into rivulets to kiss you to mitigate your thirst
Now -my son
Why are you burning my eyes with your voluminous black smoke
Why are you cutting my hands with your severe axe so grimly
Why are you tearing my lips throwing poisonous blues
I’m your mother earth
I’m your reason of survival -with snowy peaks
-golden flowers
-dancing rivers
Wouldn’t you be just to me
Wouldn’t you be fair to me
Not only for me but also
For your nourishment
For your children’s nutriment
For your future’s sustenance ages after ages …

©2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

.. spaces..

connect with spaces,
you may move differently.
sound different.

a specific style of dancing?

which reveals the environment as a character,

animation through animated intent

or something.

Johann Botha said this.
he is in Pretoria, he is
part of our audience

another sat quietly.
it can be dark.

the date is set.

24 this month
of winter

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

.earth & #8211..

he asked me what i missed, i told him.

he suggests we look after the environment.

eat carefully, mind our ways.

i will.

these are the falling days.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)