“Who knows how easily ambition disguises itself under the name of a calling, possibly in good faith and deceiving itself, in sanctimonious confusion?” Les Miserables, Victor Hugo



I saw you first
on the main banking floor
Unpacking customers
like a traveler his suitcase
Just passing through
on your way to the top

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved;  photo courtesy of  Jiri Hodan, Public Domain Pictures.net

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

The poem above is about ambition that is totally self-centered, which it can certainly be. Ambition can also be a good thing, helping us get things done that make life better for our families and community. Like many human characteristics, it can be a mixed bag, a sticky combo of service to others and self-aggrandizement. What are your thoughts and observations? Tell us in your own poem/s.

Share them on theme in the comments section below or leave a link to it/them. All poems on theme will be published on the first Tuesday following this post.

 No poems submitted through email or Facebook will be published. 

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, February 11 by 8 pm standard.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


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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

17 Comments

  1. Fatwood

    Buried by salt of dead sea;
    one red maple perched atop patchy earth
    grows narrowly
    straight upside-down:

    Roots in place of canopy,
    poking upwards into sky’s electricity
    like bed-head hair of old men,
    fingers tangled in strands,
    yanking, frantically, for just a few more
    hours, floating somewhere with genies in bottles
    of clouds risen from moisture
    leaked out of their piss,
    brown paper wrapper bags.

    Branches budding into tunnels of earth,
    burrowing like kangaroo rats into ground.
    One whippoorwill singing,
    “You’re doing it wrong.”
    While chubby wind pummels, sound funnel of storm
    rocking mud-tinged roots, taking two sapling capillaries,
    every note of her song.

    Even with renewed forms of ambition,
    doubt, judgement,
    trespass
    never take long.

    (Leaves, neither, never enough to cover
    eggshells of empaths, mottled misunderstandings,
    pioneering mistakes, despairing last breaths.)

    And hence one red maple, topped by electrified scalp,
    salty with sea brine, dives
    where darkness becomes expectation,
    not breach,
    bringing what grains might help it adapt; and
    sometimes, exhaling out impatience,
    whispering wisdom to wriggly worms,
    bites blindly, deeper into ground, misconceived as
    growing its own matches, just another grave
    mistake.

    (by Maribeth Parot Juraska)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fatwood

    Buried by salt of dead sea;
    one red maple perched atop patchy earth
    grows narrowly
    straight upside-down:

    Roots in place of canopy,
    poking upwards into sky’s electricity
    like bed-head hair of old men,
    fingers tangled in strands,
    yanking, frantically, for just a few more
    hours, floating somewhere with genies in bottles
    of clouds risen from moisture
    leaked out of their piss,
    brown paper wrapper bags.

    Branches budding into tunnels of earth,
    burrowing like kangaroo rats into ground.
    One whippoorwill singing,
    “You’re doing it wrong.”
    While chubby wind pummels, sound funnel of storm
    rocking mud-tinged roots, taking two sapling capillaries,
    every note of her song.

    Even with renewed forms of ambition,
    doubt, judgement,
    trespass
    never take long.

    (Leaves, neither, never enough to cover
    eggshells of empaths, mottled misunderstandings,
    pioneering mistakes, despairing last breaths.)

    And hence one red maple, topped by electrified scalp,
    salty with sea brine, dives
    where darkness becomes expectation,
    not breech,
    bringing what grains might help it adapt; and
    sometimes, exhaling out impatience,
    whispering wisdom to wriggly worms,
    bites blindly, deeper into ground, misconceived as
    growing its own matches, just another grave
    mistake.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. hope this fits:

    Be the 1

    And everyone threw away whatever was an inconvenience
    that challenged themselves to something more than themselves
    God was first – not because of who he was but because
    others’ misrepresentations, misbeliefs and misunderstandings
    better he was wrong than they were
    what they chose to keep and what they emulated —
    writings by others who would abuse and misuse
    weak science based in opinion
    backed by big money
    colleagues strung out on substitute
    mini gods – manageable at least
    an all for one and one for all mentality
    each believing they were the one and the all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cramberry sauce

    crammed into the arena
    are mostly men stunned
    by the woeful reversals
    bequeathed them
    by the recession

    they attend this
    FREE!!!! motivational seminar
    to get some steam back
    and will hear a former first lady
    and a former astronaut
    several former ceos
    and a silvertongued real-estator

    and will be bucked up
    and will fall for new schemes
    and will spend
    an average of $107.28
    and will still not learn
    the meaning
    of FREE!!!dom

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cranberry sauce

    crammed into the arena
    are mostly men stunned
    by the woeful reversals
    bequeathed them
    by the recession

    they attend this
    FREE!!!! motivational seminar
    to get some steam back
    and will hear a former first lady
    and a former astronaut
    several former ceos
    and a silvertongued real-estator

    and will be bucked up
    and will fall for new schemes
    and will spend
    an average of $107.28
    and will still not learn
    the meaning
    of FREE!!!dom

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie:

    My fourth submission:

    Achievement

    “It’s a hobby.” he says
    as he buys the latest adventure.

    Level One: a half eaten pizza
    goes cold as he outwits the foe.
    Only 35 levels to go.

    Levels Two-Ten: unopened bills
    amass behind the front door.
    He strives for a better score.

    Levels Eleven-Twenty: The bath has
    a black ring. Mice skitter dustclouds.
    Over halfway and he is proud.

    Levels Twenty-One-Thirty: He orders food
    in on his mobile. His girlfriend left at level
    Eighteen. If only he can reach the next level.

    Level Thirty-One: He doesn’t hear or see the bailiffs
    as they take his other tellies, cooker,
    microwave and sundry furniture.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jamie,

    My third submission:

    Be Vague.

    Recognition follows your
    strive to be vague.
    Lose sharp edges. Fade
    A little at the corners.

    This will define you.
    Nothing must be prominent.
    If it stands out make it sit down.
    Don’t make an exhibition of yourself,

    blend into background.
    Urban camouflage expert.
    Stealth worker. No loud clothes.

    Self efface, deface your selfies,
    if you must. Annunciate in whispers.
    Mumble. Stay off the interweb.

    It is only self publicity and aggrandisement.
    Aver bright colours keep
    to the colour of shadows.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jamie,

    My second submission:

    Be Complacent.

    Take all for granted.
    Be blasé. Let it all happen.

    Smile sweetly as that car kills
    that bystander. There’s nothing

    you or I can do. We are not
    in the car to stop the driver.

    We are not by the pedestrian’s side.
    We can only witness it all.

    Don’t get involved. It will take up
    all your life. Valuable time you cannot give.

    You have work and family commitments.
    Must strive to better yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first submission:

    Born Top

    of the heap, King of the hill.
    Ambition when retire is pushing broom,

    at the valley bottom where the river flows.
    Work your way steadily down slippery slope,

    responsibilities and job titles roll away scree
    downhill, watch ground underfoot, see silver

    of the river, get bigger, find the bristles
    and whittle the handle, nail together.

    (From “A World Where”, Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

    Liked by 1 person

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