“Phantom Limbs” . . . and other poems in responses to your last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents [recommended – read it too late and wish I’d read it sooner. Would be a great holiday gift for young and/or about to be parents]



These are responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Zero At Bone and Marrow, November 28, in which I asked folks to write about their children. These poems bare in common the light of love and joy and underpinnings of wisdom, but some are marked by extraordinary pain and courage. It brings to mind one of my preferred reminder quotations from Lucille Clifton “Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”

Kudos and thanks to Billy Antonio, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Deb y Felio (Debbie Felio), Sheila Jacob, Mike Stone, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Anjum Wasim Dar.

In addition to their words, I’ve included links to blogs or websites where available. I hope you’ll visit these poets and get to know their work better. It is likely you can catch up with others via Facebook.

Enjoy! … and do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.


3 Haiku and a Tanka

ordinary day
the slow unfolding
of butterfly wings

the nest
louder than usual
youngest child

11th birthday
the tenderness
of a sapling

unwrapping
the day
with laughter
my child
turns two

Billy Antonio
Laoac, Philippines


Why So So Hard

Mam?

– I were brung up with pillows
– Pillows are soft Mam.
– Not held over your mouth, love.

– I were given cake.
– Cake’s sweet, Mam.
– Not made of seasalt and road grit, love.

– I were cuddled.
– That’s what I like, Mam
– Till I couldn’t breathe, love.

– I were bring up reight.
– You’re bleeding me, Mam.
– How it should be, love.

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

Bairns Are Old Codgers

Before I get taken to play at my soft playcentre,
my one year granddaughter toddles with her zimmer frame.
Later we will take her to the memory cafe
where she’ll remember her past lives.
“Hard”, of before dawn and midnight hours:
A welder in the Clyde shipyard, 1942.
“Stinks that,” she says of the steel shavings, and Swarfega.
“Heavy”, of the hammer…
A kitchen servant in a big house.
“Hurts”, of calloused pestle and mortared deferment…
I’m all giddy at tumble down
slides, scramble nets and ballpools.

From my “A World Where” (Nixes Mate, 2017

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

Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE

Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes


Twilight Sonata

In the brief twilight of your life

The melody of anger and disbelief

Left my fingers

Caressed your small form

Saturated the ground

Flowed like sorrow

Off the expectant page

This Quadrille is in response to Hélène gorgeous “What do you see?” picture prompt. There are so many lovely details here! Gina’s response to this same prompt, The Music Tree (an absolutely heart wrenching poem), drew my attention to the little figure by the tree. Coupled with Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, to “write about a child in my life”, and this poem and the next one were born!

I have mentioned in the past about losing my twins, Larissa and Lucas, who were born too early at twenty-three weeks. This Quadrille and the next poem are dedicated to them. They are still and will always be children in my life – their song lives in my heart forever.

Moonlight Sonata: Quasi Una Fantasia

Sitting at the instrument

Of lament and longing

Listening to the moonlight

Touch my eyelids

Willing for this to be fantasy

For you to hear the harmony

Of safety and love

Bookmarking this time and place

So our stardust can, one night, embrace again

This poem is a companion to the Quadrille written for Hélène Vaillant’s and Jamie Dedes’prompts for this past week. It’s a beautiful gift when inspiration strikes twice.

This secondary title of this poem, Quasi Una Fantasia, means “almost a fantasy” and comes from this essay on Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata. I do not listen to a lot of classical music, however this piece I am familiar with since I shed many tears listening to the First Movement after my twins died. That phrase, “almost a fantasy” describes the surreal feelings and thoughts I experienced after I got home from the hospital without my babies in my arms. It also describes the “what if’s”, “if only’s”, and “I should have’s” of the grief experience, as well as the hope that eventually leads to healing.

© 2018, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I do a few other things)


Time Frames

I carried him for nine months and strangers said
‘It will be over before you know it’-
the bulge that kept me slightly off
balance for the last trudging month

until labor started with the pangs and contractions –
but nothing short in that process even
as nurses assured
‘it will be over before you know it’.

Wrapped him in blankets of blue and pink stripes
and then the going home outfit of white and blue,
to begin real motherhood
of crying afternoons
and sleepless nights,
well meaning friends who assured
‘this will be over before you know it’.

Wet diapers, wet beds and my wet shirts,
and those who had been here ahead whispering
‘It will be over before you know it’.

Then rocking and hugging and sweet times
and grandmas saying ‘hold on to this,
it will be over before you know it’.

Crawling, climbing, chewing everything
walking, talking, playing,
toddler to young boy
preschool to kindergarten
‘Help me’ turns to ‘I can do it’
‘Pick me up’ to ‘Let me down’
‘Come with me’ to ‘You stay here’
‘Look at me’ to ‘Leave me alone’.
And he walks away with his backpack loaded
so self assured
and boards the bus
Turning to wave and happy to go
to first grade, then middle school, then
high school

Then driving himself off to college and a future.
I watch and wonder why someone
didn’t tell me

it would be over before I knew it?

© 2018, deb y felio (Writer’s Journey)


Clare And The Summer Of ’76

It was a speedy birth that early
August night after the Midwife
checked your heartbeat
and a Doctor rushed to my side.

He delivered you with forceps
and unlooped the cord
coiled tightly around your neck.
You cried in less than a minute,

stopped only when I cwtched you
in the crook of my arm,
kissed your blood-freckled face.
Then I cried too; in a family

of brunettes, you wore a cap
of woven gold as though
the sun-spun summer of ’76
had filtered through my skin

day by day and beamed
at you in your warm-water cradle,
reflected the light you still offer,
Clare, living the name you own.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob


..africa ..

a slight safari,
the front living room.

we sit there when my
daughter stays
over.

we watch the elephants
and bgt.

i have two living rooms.

the other is in india.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

:: gay pyjamas ::

my daughter says

that pyjamas are cool

on every one,

and she wishes

she could wear them

all the days.

as i plod around

this morning,

mine a gay tartan,

i tend to agree.

perhaps that why

they wore them in china

a long time.

awoke arms high,

a little happier,

since the doc

said i was not broken too bad,

and since the taps stopped running.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


A Moonlight Sonata

Raanana, April 24, 2016

The moon slid down through my open window
On a slippery ramp of pale light
Strangely silent for a child
Falling toward his father’s arms
But then the moon was not a child,
The child had grown older,
And I am just an old man
Rocking in the moonlight.
Words when they have no ears waiting for them
When they are not the words that wanted to be heard
Are swallowed by the vast silence
Like drowned sailors
But your words would have had my ears
And the world I’d have given to hear them.
My suitcase is in the trunk of the cab
You hug me hard
I kiss your forehead and tell you to write
But you’re too young to know the value of words,
You only know the value of grace and loveliness.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

A Riddle

Raanana, January 17, 2014

Don’t have much history,
I’m only four days old.
To most of you my name’s a mystery.

I’m the promise of the Promised Land,
I’m the crown on top the tree
Whose roots embrace the sea and sand.

I’m the fullness which you’ll never faze,
There’s nothing you can add or yearn,
These are all the things my name conveys
In a tongue I’ve yet to learn.

My face will launch a thousand rhymes
And maybe I’ll write some of them myself.
My future’s bright-eyed, ‘tween the lines.

If my riddle makes you kneel
Don’t lose heart,
My name is Klil.

© 2014, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Phantom Limbs

Raanana, March 28, 2014

He felt ambiguated
Yes, he thought, that might be the word.
His unbounded happiness had saddened him.
After all, it was bounded
By the foreshortening of his life
From his perspective.
His wide unwieldy wings ached
To enfold his young granddaughter
Whose hair smelt of fresh wheat on a summer hillock.
He wanted to take her in his arms,
His heavy wings thrumping the air
Until slowly rising above the treetops
One with the cobalt sky
They’d soar and swoop
Over quilted fields and shadowed valleys,
Then back for tea and hoops
And lessons.
Back at home
Sometime during the night,
Or was it when he woke?
His wings were gone
But the ache remained
Like phantom limbs.

© 2014, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Ori

Raanana, June 22, 2018

You sit on my shoulders
And I hold your chubby legs
In my calloused hands.
“Look, Saba, a flag!”
“Take care, Oriki, the branches are low,”
I say. He ducks his head
And I duck my knees.
“Look, Saba, the moon!”
And I think my light is weightless
On my shoulders
Like walking on the moon.

Notes:
1. “Saba” means “Grampa” in Hebrew.
2. “Ori” is a name meaning “my light” in Hebrew and “Oriki” is a diminutive of “Ori”.

© 2018, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Little Flame

Raanana, March 25, 2018

I cupped my hands around your little flame
Protecting it from susurrating air
So finite against the infinity of night
Until you rise above the eastern mountains
And light the skies with your burnished rays.

© 2018, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Ellah and the Terebinth

Isaiah 6:13
Raanana, March 18, 2018

Just five days old such big hopes
Rest on such tiny shoulders,
Little Ellah, are you a goddess
Or a terebinth tree?
Your name means both these things.
Maybe you’re the goddess of the terebinth,
The holy seed foretold in Isaiah’s prophecy:
No matter what befalls us,
Like a terebinth that has been felled
Above its grounded roots
We shall grow back,
Stronger
Taller
Sweeter.

© 2018, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Mike Stone’s Amazon Page is HERE.


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I never felt the distance before
Nor sensed the silence in the room,
I never missed the familiar footstep
Nor the clutching click of the door;
Now often I think I hear
The soft burr of your bike
Rolling, whirring in the lane
The lifting flick of the gate way latch
And the ‘tick tick’ on the window pane;
At times I see you on the prayer mat
Or in your writing chair;
Where you would sit for hours on end
To read and write and note and plan,
And from time to time
Would turn around, to exchange
A friendly chat;
And now I know why God made sons
Why faith and peace is strong,
When love is true and distances long,
No absence can ever break the bond;
And now I know
How one so close, can be so far away,
No one can show, no one can wait
To stop and pat and wipe your tears away;
My son my dear, in distant land
You are with me, each day
As when I first held your hand
You first opened your eyes,
And tried to say….”Aye”
Time moved on and time moves on
Time is just fair
My son My dear, in another land,
You are not here ….
You left the footsteps in the sand;
I know… I wake up with a start,
You are forever in my heart;
Your helmet heavy in your hand,
I see you, standing there.

© 2018, English and Urdu translation and photograph,  Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans, Poetry for Peace and Reform)

Translation in Urdu

203

اس سے قبل فاصلوں کا مجھے ،احساس نا ہوا تھا کبھی
نہ ھی ستاروں میں بستی خامشی روح میں سماعی تھی

جو تمھارے کمرے میں، چاندنی بن کر ٹہری ھوی تھی
وہ قدموں کی چاپ ، اور دستک دروازے پر ھلکی سی

مگر اب اکثر

موٹر بایک ، ھلکے سے گلی میں ٓاتی سنای دیتی ھے
گیٹ کھلنے کی اھٹ،کھڑکی کے شیشے پر ٹک ٹک
سنای دیتی ھے

مگر اب اکثر

کبھی  کبھی جاے نماز پے یا  پڑھنے والی کرسی پے
جہاں گھنتوں بیتھے سوچتے لکھتے پڑھتے رہتے تھے تم

اور گاھے بگاھے رک رک کے مڑ ٘٘مڑ کے کوی نہ کوی
اچھی باات کرنے کو تیار ، اور اب  یہ بات سمجھ   میں ٓای

اللاہ نے بیٹے  کیوں بنایے اور یہ بھی سمجھ میں ٓای کہ
امن اور ایمان  کی  طاقت کیا   ھے

جب  پیار ھو سچا، فاصلے زیادہ کوی عدم موجود گی
رشتے توڑ نھیں سکتی ،جو دیل کے قریب ھو ، دور نھیں

انتطار کون کرے ،  تسلی دے، انکھون سے موتی چنے
میرے بیٹے پردیس میں  مجھ  سے  دور نھیں ،قریب ھو تم

،جیسے زندگی کی پہلی سانس  ،پہلی بار  ھاتھ  پکڑا، وقت
رکتا نھین چلتا رہتا ھے چلتا رہا ، میرے بیٹے دور دیس میں

پاس نہیں ھو ، پر ریت پے قدموں کے نشاں چھوڑ گعے
مگر مجھے خبر ھے دل میں ھو میرے ھر دم ، ھر لمہا

اپنی  بھاری ھلمٹ  اٹھاے ھر دم دیکھوں تمہیں سامنے

دور نھیں ھو تم

© 2018,Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans, Poetry for Peace & Reform)

“Let us all strive for peace on Earth for all. Let us make a better world. Write to make peace prevail.”  Anjum Wasim Dar, Pakistani poet, writer, artist, educator, and parent.


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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”



 The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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5 Comments on ““Phantom Limbs” . . . and other poems in responses to your last Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Respected Jamie Dedes Thank you for all the honor and appreciation.Poetry expresses a world in itself.It instructs as well as delights.

    Liked by 1 person

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