“Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.” Friedrich Nietzsche

She is older now – no! – not elderly yet,
but getting there, enough so the face
staring at her from the hall mirror
is her mother’s or her grandmother’s
The plump little sparrow of a body
she’s living in, slow, matronly, aching
Well, certainly it’s not hers . . .

The place where she lives is a bit alien,
balmy weather, more-or-less one season
The street is not unappealing having
trees, birch and magnolia positioned
among aging oak and reliable evergreen
At daybreak, birds nesting there make
harsh and urgent conversation, pitching
their morning news against the endless
rumble and whoosh of a nearby freeway

Dressed in her mother’s face looking down
at her mother’s hands, she sits and listens,
no longer a juicy green story unfolding, just
a crisp brown sidebar to other lives, she’s
set in a place with rare moments of quiet
They drop like the cool spun-silver of dusk
after the unrelenting heat of a summer day
The hush, sudden and infrequent, shocks
her mind into musing, memory, nostalgia

She wonders what it would be like to
lie awake listening to the quiet of a place
where snowflakes sometimes drift to
earth, powdering the landscape with
tranquility, or what it would feel like to
walk outside and press her naked face
to a winter sky, to feel icy crystals against
warm skin, to see their shapes reflected by
the stars, to know eveyone she loves is
dreaming under the same alabaster moon

She wonders what it would be like to walk
along 93rd Street in new Easter shoes,
to make her way to Mass past spring flowers
dancing above the last of the snow-pack,
to buy a colorfully-mixed bouquet after church,
to make the requisite call to her distant father,
to hear her name on his lips just once more,
to ask him the questions she never dared ask,
to roast lamb scented with garlic and rosemary,
serving an overflowing household at a table set
with roses and damask and best tableware

She wonders how it would feel to live
once more in a land with distinct seasons,
to dance with her high school sweetheart
and to retrieve all the loved and lost souls,
to welcome back the nights pillowed in silence,
to awaken on crisp cosseting Regina Pacis morns,
to say good-bye to the numbing consistency
of endless balmy days and highway drone and
strolling strange streets in soft stoic solitude
seeking new rituals, new traditions, new friends
to replace the irreplaceable, knowing those
spring days are gone and gone, never to live again

© 2019, Jamie Dedes


Part of the process of growing older is loss. That’s not to say there aren’t compensations and rewards, but that would be a theme for another day.  Aging is rich in learning the spiritual lesson of nonattachment, especially as physical abilities wane and funerals are more frequent than weddings and birth celebrations.  In my circle, we’re no longer living in the houses in which we raised our childen. We’ve all downsized to studio apartments or small cottages or homes. These lessons of loss, acceptance (not to imply resignation), and reinventing life, are part of the human condition. Please share your thoughts and experiences in your own poetry.


  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not 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, June 24 by 8 pm Pacific Daylight Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check ​The Time Zone Converter.

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.

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


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

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



    With my back leaning against the paneled door,
    I’m assuming solitude.
    But gradual glim reveals high corners webbed with
    cotton bedsprings, cargo-nets of gossamer
    with spiders’ empty landing gear still climbing.
    And there too the paper husks of wasps, skin-winged,
    reamed and curled into themselves, against
    the thick, occluded windows, phantom panes streaked
    and crazed like mother-of-pearl, light tiger-striped.
    All this trapped and coiled and gone to powder and strands,
    wrapped like forgotten gifts.

    I breathe it all in, breathe deep the vinegar dust.
    Now I’m master of the stairwell, kicking the years
    out of the naked risers as I rattle the floors
    like a hot ungodly wind.
    I straddle doorways, arms and legs frozen
    inside star-jump crucifixions.
    I ring each hollow room like a bell, wordless first,
    then with the silver hammer of my name,
    its plosives booming off the plaster and the lath.

    And then when my name falls into mockery,
    gibbered syllables turning into bubbles
    inside that deep-water silence, that impenetrable trench,
    it’s doors – one door and another until the final blind-side panels
    give to the push and wrench

    and brash summer sun
    tugs me into the long grass,
    to the cricket’s clatter,
    birds’ wings wheeling close
    and the slow, untroubled breathing of the world

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been to summer before
    I can think of winter special*
    but when someone says
    Come spring, a poem make to silence me.
    Flaming red, Emerald green
    Sort of things
    I have been to summer before
    I can think of winter special*
    but when someone says
    Come spring, a poem make to silence me ….yeah
    How do you know about me?
    How do you know about me?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing you poem, Pali. I’m sorry you missed the deadline. The poems in response to the last prompt were just published. Also, the theme was aging. However, as you will see from the next prompt which will be published tomorrow, Wednesday, this poem will fit perfectly. So if you, like send a photo and short bio to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com and I’ll include you next Tuesday.


  3. Hi Jamie! Here are my contributions for this week – two poems that I wrote a while ago but relevant for this week’s prompt.

    “Details” – A Poem for my Parents

    I zero in
    On the cracks in the walls
    The spaces between tile and grout
    The layer of dust on the grand piano
    The peeling Formica under 80’s sought after giveaway cups
    The places where your innovative nature took precedence over getting the job done right.

    I zero in
    On the grays in your hair
    And the spots on your hands
    The slowness in your cane aided walk
    Your mouth agape during your afternoon nap
    The hand me up shirt you’ve been wearing for decades because it still fits

    I zoom out
    And see the humor and kindness in your eyes
    The hands that lovingly prepare my favorite meal
    The 20 year old bed that fits generations
    The clock where time has stopped but happiness lives on
    The struggle of remembering and honoring and forgetting and accepting.

    I zoom out
    And notice what you do without
    What you’ve sacrificed
    What you’ve preserved
    What you’ve done with love
    What you’ve done for love.

    I zero in on that detail.

    “Fighting Age” – A Haiku

    Combing through darkness
    Five stand, admitting defeat
    Plucked out – victory!

    One is about accepting growing older and the other is about fighting it (I’ve been plucking out grey hairs for years and will continue to do so until they outnumber the black hairs!). I hope you are having a good week! 💐💐

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Never Too Late To Learn

    Teeth were small, milk-white bones
    that fell painlessly out of my mouth
    and meant sixpence under my pillow.

    Hair was a length of chestnut strands
    my mother brushed, combed, twisted
    into plaits and tied with bright ribbon.

    Who will leave fifty pence for teeth
    that decay despite silver amalgam,
    Oral-B paste and regular check-ups?

    Who will help me style white-grey hair
    that escapes across the bedroom
    like blown seeds of a dandelion clock?

    Who will tell me birthdays aren’t burdens
    but lemon drizzle cakes topped with icing,
    candles and rice-paper primroses?

    My response to the old age prompt. A bit wistful!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. maybe there’s a smile in the process

    Mind the Gap

    For seventy minutes a one man play
    by a man in his fifties who memorized
    multiple characters on their way
    to heaven or hell, each would decide.

    He changed characters’ minds and voices
    debating reasons, they pleaded and cried
    lured by tempting leave or stay choices
    to inflate their positions and their pride.

    How to break the chains and be set free
    to discover our own truth deep inside
    separating delusion from reality
    hope is alive, it never died.

    His memory used to recite the lines
    continues to find new roles to ride.
    Proving old folks still can shine,
    I wait in the wings to make my stride

    A thought within me – it might be my time
    to step into the light sublime
    but my body and memory long past due
    on stage all I recited was an aging haiku.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. #21 THE WORLD

    The World is so much more
    Than Earth and the visible
    Night sky
    Telescopes and space cameras
    Transport us to galaxies unknown
    Where tarot cards were first shown
    Although there were always a few souls
    Who knew what was out there in the vastness
    Of space

    THE WORLD is the archaeology of our past
    Moving us through the present
    And showing us the future
    Symbols on cards mimic
    Symbols of everyday life
    Like the day I found an engraved coin
    With my name and home address
    Of a place I lived before age seven
    Lying in the mud near a shed of broken crates
    My past zoomed in and saw myself
    Winning tickets for Skee Ball
    To use on the mechanical engraver
    In an Atlantic City arcade
    Before casinos wrecked the ambience
    Of ocean and sand and fries in a paper cone
    Of cinnamon donuts and black coffee at midnight
    From Mammy’s with my Gran

    I rediscovered the coin
    After finding a feather
    That pointed the way
    Very small feather
    From a Florida Black Vulture
    Stripping the flesh
    From a corpse so fresh
    And so here is my future
    I thought

    To live in the now
    Would be best
    So I hauled out my tenor guitar
    Music,the most beautiful part of
    Anyone’s present
    Although old songs transport us back
    To the past
    The words are seared in memory
    Never to go
    Always with us in the current phase

    This trio reminds me
    Of a wedding superstition:
    Something old (coin)
    Something new (guitar)
    Something borrowed (feather)
    Uh, oh, I’m blue
    Because I
    Always have
    Always do
    Always will
    Need to find images of life
    And force them into
    Patterns that ease the chaos
    Of my world

    And like the moon
    We go through the stages
    As past, present, and future
    Twirls like the Earth
    Orbits the sun of our existence
    And tilts with the seasons
    The World
    The tiny world that is ours
    Our personal world of elation and sadness
    Of terrible regrets but moments of gladness
    We dream of space and vastness
    But we are the microcosm
    Like symbols imitating life
    We mimic the macrocosm
    Because the World is us…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Time Triolet

    Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores
    Wrinkles contour into round earth.
    Time’s tooth too long in the wild wars.
    Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores.
    Earth’s skin gets thinner with the sores.
    Ordnance survey lines huddle steep.
    Wrinkles contour into round earth.
    Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My Decrepit Is Good

    Bring on grey hairs turn to silver.
    Bring on sharp pain in the knees
    as I hobble downstairs.

    Bring on memory loss
    as I know no different.
    Bring me my stick,
    my arrow of desire.

    Bring it all on, fuzzy brain,
    misty sight, zimmer frame,
    adult nappy’s, oxygen through
    plastic tubes, a knowing.

    Bring on wrinkles, laugh lines,
    tang of autumn, radical spice
    of spring, footskate winter,
    wild summer, all natural process.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. She aged more,
    noticed the wrinkles by the eyes,
    that dropped the last tears,blurring the sight
    soon smoky clouds blocked the cool moonlight,
    in the window where she sat alone, unconscious of
    unknown seventy years, a time called ‘age’
    she ignored the sagging skin, the broader forehead
    but looked for the divine mark, in vain
    in a few hours, she had aged more, waiting-
    waiting for just one special valued birthday wish=

    Liked by 3 people

  10. .the rain came suddenly.
    sun, was done and dusted.

    by the slate they talked, shining.
    faces older now, friendship retained.

    learned a little more on life, the small
    things, wisdom rings
    the generations.

    i did not need all the mange tout.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. .the critic.

    i have the urban dictionary,
    on line, and the standard
    in the book case, thesaurus
    in the cellar, where spiders
    and cowebs abound.

    typing goes wild if
    i get hiccups, whilst
    the flow depends on
    radio plays.

    i was born in england, south coast,
    now live in wales. we speak a different

    difference should make no

    i am older now.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. father timebomb

    she shouts from the bathroom
    that she doesn’t know what to do.

    her son shouts back, CLEAN YOURSELF UP. BE GENTLE.

    OK. a flush. NOW WHAT?


    there is the merciful sound of water in the sink. five minutes from by.


    NO. but she sounds curious, not distressed. then, as yesterday, THERE’S SOMEONE ELSE IN HERE.


    OH. And in a minute she eases herself past the hallway doorjamb, that hesitant smile on her face.

    her son hears the ticking
    of his own Father Timebomb,
    and wonders who he will be
    in twenty years.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. love and gratitude from LA

    title: where did Opa go

    accordions were not of import to me
    until you were no longer there
    the caramel and gray plaid La-Z-Boy chair
    sat gaping at the ceiling wondering as i was
    where did Opa go
    we didn’t really talk no one taught me how
    instinctively you knew though
    that i loved your oversized navy blue trousers
    and your red suspenders
    except for the lederhosen not my style
    regret burns hotter at night
    while i sit silently on the kitchen counter
    alone in the dark sometimes with pained wrists
    and old cracked ribs dislocated in my youth
    sit along beside me good times
    where did Opa go
    time rippled down your face
    porcelined and freckled
    both by illness and by cure
    you would stare at mom’s cat
    as the din of Lawrence Welk
    seemed to echo from the corners of the room
    where did Opa go
    remember when i was 13
    my socks were old and dingy
    five sizes too big
    and as you shook your head
    you took out $50 from your wallet
    and motioned me to get new socks
    i just shrugged and smiled
    turning my back on you
    Mutta’s fancy mirror
    stabbed me with
    your puzzled dewey face
    at my ignorant rejection
    why did i let go

    Liked by 4 people

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