The Japanese Tea Garden, San Mateo, California

Grow high. The devil can’t find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can’t find you.
Build a house and live there.
Gourd creepers will climb over it,
their flowers dazzling at midnight.
Ko Un, What?: 108 Zen Poems, forward by Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve been trying to lighten things up a bit with the last few prompts and this collection is in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, The Contours of Joy, March 20. I would say today, that these poems make me smile, even when they report sadness or anger or questioning. It’s a wonderful thing – a healing and hope-filled thing – to read these poems. They’re not consistently full of joys, but always full of life, of cognizance. The latter is the hallmark of good poets and old souls.. Living in a world gone mad is serious business. With all the spheres of joy here today, there’s also an awareness of suffering, past, present and to come. Well done by poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Sheila Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Taman Tracy Moncur and Anjum Wasim Dar. Thank you! and special thanks to Irma and Anjum for their illustrations.

Readers will note links to sites are included that you might visit these stellar poets.

Enjoy this collection. It just might inspire some more of your own poetry; and, do join us tomorrow for the another Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are invited to come out to play, beginning, emerging or pro poet.

moon and eye

“Well, I must go–pardon–I cannot stay:
My moonbeam comes to carry me away…”
The dying Cyrano in Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC, translated by Brian Hooker)

and eye
in an act

and sigh,

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay, Image and Text)

Let Go Of

weight that writhes
in your hands returns life

to your bones.
Water supped when parched thrills.

Air tastes lighter with more colour,

Can’t get my breath breathes.
When you think you are alone
surprise of a familiar warm hand in yours
in cold caves colour leaps out

a fish released.

From Paul’s forthcoming collaboration with Iranian artist, Hiva Moazed, called Fish Strawberries to be published by Alien Buddha Press

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

The Tricycle

It isn’t the wonder of the wheels turn
As my feet press the plastic pedals,
But the big curved metal boot at the back
Where there is room to store my wonders:

Elastic bands, cotton reels, a shiny sixpence,
Grandad’s hat badge from when he went to war,
A bus ticket saved from my first trip last week
On two busses to Nanna’s new home. Must have been

Thousands of miles away but Mam says
It’s only three miles. I bet I could bike
to Nannas but Dad says its too far
And I’d get tired with all the hills to go up,

But I can wheely down them dad, I told him.
He nods and goes back to his pencil scribbles
On bits of paper in Mam and Dads bedroom.
I take my brilliant bike down our drive.

It sparkles like our gold fish did we won at fair
On The Stray when mam brought it back
And put it in a glass bowl where it swims round
In circles and I told mam it would get dizzy

So I try to ride round in circles but Dad
Says I must go on the road or onto the other
Road out of our sack I think dad said but
We don’t live in a sack, we live in a house

I tell my daft Dad, I can only ride half way round,
Turn and ride half way round again,
Then I hears it. Ice cream van dinging and singing

It must be close so I run to Mam and shout,
Can I have a Ninety-Nine, Mam. Can I? Can I?
And Mam rummages in her bag and pulls out

Her purse and am telling mesen come on,
Mam cos I can hear the dinging singing
Outside and know he only stays a bit
Less he’s got a queue. Come on Mam.

She puts coins in me hand and I almost
Don’t close it when I run like the clappers
And see there’s a queue and look up
At all the bright colours of what you can get

On side of his van and lads and lasses walk
Past with ice-cream dribble down their fingers
As they try to catch the sweet melt.
Then I see my bike in the road

With a lass I don’t know on it. Stolen
It. And I’m in the queue and just at end
I run to get my bike back cos its mine
Not hers, and she cries when I push her off

Onto the road. “My dad says not to ride in
The road I tell her., and she sobs and I see
The ice-cream van go out the sack,
And I almost cry but I’ve got my bike back,

And I check my boot to see its all there
My elastic bands, bus ticket, shiny sixpence,
And hear mam calling me in to tea
When she’ll ask Where’s me ice-cream.

From Paul’s forthcoming collaboration with Iranian artist, Hiva Moazed, called Fish Strawberries, to be published by Alien Buddha Press

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

We Shouldn’t Wonder

What so special about stars?
Attention seeking baubles
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about spring?
Gaudy flowers showing off
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about children?
Eyes hugging the breath from you
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about you?
Flaunting yourself in next to nowt
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about wonder?
Makes you better off than you should be
we shouldn’t wonder.

First published on Medium

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Yon Dream Ont Cross

Al tell thee best dream av ad
in any midneet while folk were fast on
a sees a reet cross tree,
a ghoast in plated gold
ringed by shiny moon fascinator,
jewels like worth summat glow worms
rahnd base, five more ont cross beam.
Throngs o’ God’s angels tacked on it. This were no scam artists cross but every heaven spirit and earth folk had peepers on it: a see universe agog

And me, aware of wrong doing,
that native wood-beetle, eyed it too
felt a shiver of glory
from that cross barkskin beaten gold
wi jewels suited a cross a Jesus
and tha knows through all that gold barkskin
rattled folks bloodless yammering
how bleeding as stained crosses rightside.
Harrard an horrored
a that sullied wi leaked blood.

a lay there yonks
in agog sorrow fort Saviourcross
till me lug oyles heard glimmering cross pipe up:
“Ages since, I fetch back I were hacked
dahn at holt-edge, lugged off, hauled
shoulder heaved, squared top on a hill
adsed to a cross to carry wrong doers.
Then I see Christ, his balls ready fort hoisting. For us there’s no flitting, no shirking on God’s mind to: I might a fell on these folks. Then
God himsen, med himsen naked, to naked balls,
laid on us afore throngs of eyes
when saving on folks flitted in his bonce.
A shuddered at his touch, afeard splintering,
A had hold, I were raised as a cross,
hold heaven king high, afeard cracking. They tapped dark iron in us: scars tha still can see,
A cannot bear ’em stroked. They jeered at both on us. A felt his blood seep from his side
as he sighed himsen upards.

Av seen pain on this hill
saw Christ as on vicious rack
then roilin’ storm clouds, death to sunblaze,
covered o’er that blaze on God: a glowering gloom creation’s sorta: Christ on cross tree.
A see folk come forard, a felt splintered
as if added, but gev ne sen.
I were in their dannies, gore-wet, nail gashed.
They laid him art, a dead-weight atter ordeal,
final knackeredness. Then afore
murderers peepers, those folk med
a stone oyle and set Christ inside it.
Then late int day flitted knackered : left
Christ by himsen.

Long atter soldier’s lottery natter and cold rigor on Christ’s limbs,
us kept our places, drahned wi blood.
Then they sets to
felling us,
bury us in delved grahned, but disciples, friends fahned us…
put on us barkskin o’ gold an silver.

so nar tha knows, how sorra warped
me flesh, how malice worked with spintering iron. Now it’s time for earth foak and whole marvel on creation to cow eye this sign.
God-son were racked on us, so now ma glimmerin’ haunts heavens, can heal
all who afeard for us. Am honoured
by Christ above all forest trees as God favoured Mary above all women folk.’

Then by mesen, thrilled, me spirit high, let mesen rave that I can seek what a av seen,
saviour-cross: a peace with mesen that yearns a help on earth. Few mates still livin’ nar : most are int manor on heaven, av fetched upards. Now, daily, I listen art
fort cross-tree in my earthly nappin’,
to lead us from this flitting life
into great manor of heaven
where God has set a right feast.

May God-Son and Ghost be mates,
who were nailed to death for folk ages since :
a saviour as gin us life,
that we may put wood int oyle in heaven.

A Yorkshire dialect version of the Anglo Saxon poem The Dream Of The Rood, which appears in Paul’s collection The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017

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

The Hyperbolic Poet Awakes

My eyelids open
are two worlds unfettered by cloud.

I splash the seven oceans
On the continents of my skin.

Rake the tombstones inside my mouth.
Tumble downstairs is scree down a mountain.

Open the wooden doors of delight,
Recover the pottery of ages,

Pour an avalanche of muesli
Farmed on sunny hillsides,

Crushed by the quern.
Grab the milk hosed out

By gargantuan herbivores,
Refined in their udders of heaven.

Wash and restacked pottery,
I stride over the open threshold
A veritable colossus

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Fish Strawberries

A fish eye is my belly button.
Inside my stomach flaps, flops,

flips when I see her. My tongue
tastes her rich perfume.

Spice entices a sky full of Cod,
Haddock, Halibut, Salmon and Pike.

Sky is her aquarium. Fish
and chips and two forks

are the heat of heaven.
Warm ourselves huddled on a kerbside.

I can taste the salt she threw on her portion,
the wash of vinegar and strawberry lipstick nibbles

on her lips, inside her mouth where our tongues
talk in tastes as we stand at her front door.

Wings out I am a fish in flight.
Splash between bright pools home.

Title poem from a forthcoming ekphrastic collaboration between Iranian artist Hiva Moazed and Paul to be published by Alien Buddha Press, 2019

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

The Divorce of Heaven And Hell

The excess of roads leads to the wisdom of palaces.
The wrath of tigers are wiser than the instruction of horses.

Multi gendered I hang wet washing
on the horse nebula. Iron 3d to 2d.

I have domestics with myself.
Air turns blue and galaxy neighbours
hear my gusty rant and rain rave

Bang on thin wall between
dimensions. Our star children

weep beneath my screams. Remind
myself never to drink and argue again.

Tell my other half it needs to pull
its weight. I can’t be aware of all

that happens or needs doing.
Neighbours are different sides to me.

Our star children turn from
wild blue things to yellow average kids
to red in the face before their fire dies.

I must stop falling out with myself,
as it is always me deals with the fallout.

I multi task a weather of constellations. I cope.
I’m multi versed. Too many different sides.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

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

  • 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

Lamenting Joy 

Don’t you dare turn those unicorn eyes toward me
And keep your sparkly sparkles to yourself
That field was truly not meant for running or singing or dancing or jumping for joy.

Just stop with the rainbows and the technicolor sunsets
No need for close ups of baby chubby thighs
Or even your thighs sunning on white sand beaches.

Enough of the Sunday mornings watching your lover breathe
And definitely no more spontaneous water fights with the kids
Even those first moments that bring tears of joy are not the moments for me

No, not for me, wondering, how you can enjoy when
…..Children are kept in cages, sold to the highest bidder
…..Women are forced into dangerous back alleys, not owning their bodies
…..Veterans sleep on cardboard boxes, crazy instead of courageous
…..People still being judged by the back of their hand or the hand they’re holding

Unicorns and rainbows, white sand beaches and Sunday mornings
…..If you’re privileged to know Joy, don’t give her my number.

(Photo credit: Mine taken from the St James Social Justice Network póster created by Jeannette L.)

Jamie Dedes at The Poet by Day probably thought issuing a challenge to write about Joy would be an easy one to fulfill. She asks: Are we frail humans able to embrace the light, forgo the mundane for the miraculous? Maybe? Maybe not? Maybe sometimes?  Maybe we try and fail. Tell us about it in your own poem/s.

I started several poems about experiences, people, even things that bring me joy but I couldn’t finish them. The poems weren’t bringing me joy! And then I realized that I was actually not in a joyful mood thinking of the state of our current world. I failed to write about joy. I could not embrace the light. I could not forgo the mundane. The frailty of my human condition is on full display this week. Enjoy!

© 2019, Irma Do (I do Run, And I do a few other things too …)

Past and Futures

Let’s not dwell in pasts and futures,

but rise to the occasion,

as the Morning Glory does.

Blossoming to

the splendor of the day,

which used to be future,

adding joy

to the lives of others,

and ending the day,

with a subtle retreat,

harkening the  present repose,

of a past.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)

March Miracles🌹

March miracles are afoot, new
beginnings are catching our breath
from every corner, as nature spreads
her wings sprouting new life, there
is a renewed lightness of spirit.
Yet in this month of miracles we
hear of tragedy and the dichotomy
of this duality, reminds us of, our
responsibility. Our mother, earth,
is taking a beating from her children.
Her children are killing each other.
In this month of miracles may we find
a renewed lightness of spirit and hope
that love will universally prevail,
taking joy in the love we create in
this season of rebirth
and new awakenings.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)

Spring Awakening

Springtime thoughts, drifting

their subtle way into memory,

reviving us with their beauty,

deep purples, yellows, pinks, blues

and greens all gathered so it seems

to delight and awaken our eyes,

to remind us of the simple Joys

we take for granted in our daily

life, enriched by the people who

nurture, our spirits selflessly.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)

Small Miracles Of The Moment

I’m sitting in a blue armchair
in a Ward called Acute Assessment.
A folded blanket covers my legs
and potassium chloride
is dripping into my veins.

I’m waiting in my own rootless place
between fear and the absence
of fear; between pain and the absence
of pain. I close my eyes
and see a narrow gravel path
crawling to the edge of the world.

This will pass, he whispers,
locking his fingers into mine.
This won’t last forever.

He’s going home to fetch my nighties,
toothpaste, toothbrush, towels, soap.
He’ll break the journey
into signposted miles, turn car wheels
towards the warm dark of dusk
and a capella of birdsong.

I think of morning’s hospital window-
an oblong of light
that showed a young tree
catching pin-drops of rain
on early pink blossom.
The rain grew heavier, hurried
through the tree’s torn umbrella
of branches and leaves
and grass shone like polished glass.

I cling to the memory of spring rain
anointing the dry earth.
I breathe the good air around my chair
and drip-stand and purse of healing salt.
I taste the moment and let it melt
on my tongue: this moment
now. The present. The gift.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

.Jiang Yizi.

so naturally we think of heaven.

realise it is the pattern that makes us,

the familiar and ordinary. other prophets

come false.

in agreement we lose to the music, hell as

entity retreats.

there is a book at the university. i have

read it twice.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

the lime kilns are empty now,

yet the mass remains, the wonder

at the shape. spring came.

each road a picture, slowly staring,

came painting, visual

overload resulting.

then to explain birds, that need none,

drawing lines, weaving dreams

for peace of mind.

we walked together,

she told me stories.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

these are the shorter days, darker days, wood smoke, apple wood, colours of joy. believe in the world, that you can spell first time. be proud as you point out where you live…..

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Joy is…
Joy is the hue of a sunrise triumphantly spreading shades of blue pink purple orange across the galaxy declaring goodbye to yesterday’s sorrow, heartache, and misery.

Joy is swimming through the river of time butter-flying through waves of oppression dolphin kicking out of gloom and darkness into exhilaration…into a new day of expectation.

Joy is a baby’s wide eyed smile radiating innocence gurgling short outburst of “wat dat” in anticipation of exploring the newness of existence.

Joy is a four-year old’s discovery of a candy galore store with dinosaurs and many more gizmos and gadgets along with rows of amazing displays of sugary sweets…any child’s fantasy.

Joy is jazz piano tones cascading from fingers moving at an allegro pace filling the emptiness of space with messages of hope.

Joy is riding the harmonic emotional high church choir singing connecting with celestial sounds evoking the Holy Spirit to fill all hearts and minds with a love and peace that will never cease.

© 2019, Taman Tracy Moncur (The Road of Impossibilities)

Taman’s article In Search of Peace is featured on The BeZine blog this week. 

Taman’s Amazon page is HERE.

Anjum Wasim Dar

At a time when the world is in shock and grief, mourning in black and burying in white, this week’s prompt turns the heart and mind towards the profound joy prevalent in nature.Sympathy comfort and support leads to a state of serenity, and acceptance of the harsh realities. Just as the endless sky meets the ocean line, grief slowly drowns deep, and wave after wave touches the shore to confirm eternal love and hope of more coming joy.
As the striking poem moves on the reader finds it replete with vivid imagery from the contours of the berries to the universal curves of celestial creation and can surely visualize the countless constellations beyond the moon and the solar system. The imaginative mind will leave the mundane, perhaps may not rest, but taking joy along will fly high to seek the ultimate bliss. Sharing some lines

O Joy’ I find thee rising from the merging colors of the horizon
In holy silence, encircled by the Kunlun Mountains of mystical Shangri-la
where beauty holds the breath, and poetry fills the spirit with ecstasy.

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

A Thing of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

after John Keats                                                                                                   


Beauty is joyful
Is Joy only in nature ?
flowers reflect love,

Love makes us joyous
True love is rare, never found
Beauty? Ever present

If you look around
Truth makes the world happier
Then hate is drowned.


Why time stops still
the killer finds the kill
so suddenly coming?

why sharp is the strike
cutting like a knife
leaving us  bleeding?

why common places
are becoming Senlac?
why life is  a racetrack?

who is fighting for what
and for what winning?
this was not said by

Our Lord so Loving

why we dig but graves to fill?
On top of the High Hill, do you
see Proud Lucifer smiling ?

My heart with fear trembling
cannot for a moment be calm and still
hearing shattered glass and bullets shrill

Another blast another attack-
screams cries blood spilling
why death is brutal and erlking

© 2019, poem and illustration, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


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