S/Heroes . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of  Evgeni Tcherkasski, Unsplash

“They’re heroes, you know, real heroes
Not the ones in capes and caps, No!
The ones in scrubs, masks, nursing clogs”
Jamie Dedes, Latter-day Heroes

All over the world the heroes are stepping up. They are the first responders, the medical professionals and their support people, the police and firefighters, those who deliver essential services and supplies, the people in maintenance and transportation, the pharmacists and the pharmacy clerks, those who work in suicide prevention centers and services for victims of domestic violence, and the list goes on. The heroes of our day and every day. This week our poets present a small collection but one filled with gratitude in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Latter-day Heroes, March 25.  Thanks to Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, and Nancy Ndeke. Be touched. Be inspired. And do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.

These Heroes

Folk call me a hero
as am a keyworker in a food shop.

I am not.

NHS staff, folk in nursing homes,
those supplying food parcels

to those self isolated,
those entertaining online
children out of school.

These are my heroes.

© 2020, Paul Brookes


are unskilled

They wash away our dirt,

scrub our consciences,

cleanse the surfaces of what we do,

clean the remnants of our days,

polish the valuables of our streets.

Make the stains we make spotless,

unsoil the soiled

unstain the stained,

unsully the sullied,

unblemish the blemished,

make our world pristine, speckless,

dirt-free, hygienic, sanitary, disinfected,

sterilized, sterile,decontaminated, healthy

with the correct chemicals and appropriate tools,

deep clean the nooks and crannies of our lives.

Still we call these heroes unskilled.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.

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

My Doctor

When thoughts come, to a still.
When the heart is overfilled,
When the mind is not at ease,
When you do not feel well,
And you cannot tell,what is wrong with you?

When there is pain
And your head aches
When you lie down
With a very long face,
When you want someone to sit near you;

To hold your hand
And to smile at you;
To take away your pain,
To make you well again;
To bring happiness, then after, here comes, The Doctor!

Fear goes away, and there is hope
When you feel the stethoscope,
So there is nothing quite wrong
“But, here is a mixture.
To make you strong.”

Such politeness and care
Is a quality so rare,
But it is there. And I must say
Though not from a bank
But from the depths of my heart

I owe, my doctor many a million thanks.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

“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


Like swat teams, they sleep on the ready,
Never asking why or how,
Hearts worn on the giving hands,
The most unlikely of places you find them giving ,
The most precarious of spaces you find their hands extended,
Working beyond the call of duty and convenience,
Putting one tired foot ahead of another spasming in numbness,
Men and women life has got dependent on,
Even as few among us ‘ only look to the self’
Time of the double digit year that rose with a cold and runs with the heat,
Unsung saints have crashed from the weight of humanitys needs,
Undocumented stretches of giving and then some more,
Going the extra mile on fumes and the indomitable spirit of humanity,
Men and women beyond professional duties riding the waves of disastrous contacts to save a life,
Human angels filling the emptiness of commercial shelves with basics upon a cold night,
Medics walking on slippery quarrantine quarters to offer hope of a lone sufferer,
What of that ambulance man who last slept last week?
And the nurse whoses duty goes beyond administration’s of bandages into a listening and reassuring voice?
What of the old man who goes shopping on your behalf because you can’t?
The bedridden mum of three calling to cheer you up as your nose runs red,
What of that ‘highway man’ without a home and now down with flu,
His best shot would have been a blue look but for that lady berieved recently,
Times and seasons have a rhythm and a tune all it’s it’s own,
For the hurricane of worry that COVID 19 has thrust amidst humanity,
One thing has come up for sure,
Man is capable of being a human being for sure,
Discarding old habits and biases to stand and be counted,
To help within means and beyond those most in need,
And as the world sighs deeply with the burden of sick and dying,
Heros rise every day to perform tasks that make all proud,
It’s to such deeds and acts of kindly giving,
That tells earth is habitat of man,
A hard-work of a loving deity,
Once lost but now found,
At a time when such heroism is indeed needed.
Names may be forgotten but not the acts,
Time will pass and this monster conquered,
But let the lessons forever stay,
That with love, nothing is too hard to gain,
And that we are strongest,
When we are a brother’s keeper.
S/HEROS everywhere,
May you never lack a supporting hand while you live.
Yours too, shall be tended by the seeds you tend today.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!


For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

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

Latter-Day Heroes, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

standard intensive care unit (ICU) within a hospital courtesy of Norbert Kaiser under CC BY-SA 2.5 license

“The coronavirus pandemic is a world-changing event, like 9/11. There was a world before Covid-19. And there will be a world after Covid-19. But it won’t be the same.” Oliver Markus Malloy, What Fox News Doesn’t Want You To Know

They’re heroes, you know, real heroes
Not the ones in capes and caps, No!
The ones in scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, exhausted
As fate would have it, often succumbing
And when not, still the concerns for
Possible transmission to family, to friends
To strangers along their commute, and
“I worry for my parents,” says one
On his steadfast mission, another
Fears for her unborn child, six months
pregnant, with rounded tummy she works
For her patients, for colleagues, for the
Greater good, while a president sets
A precedent for lies, misinformation,
Stupidity, cruelty, self-absorption in the
Face of a nation in need of solidarity,
A peoples at risk, a worldwide community
In want of coordination and collaboration
They put him to shame, the heroes of
The pandemic, honoring their trust,
Donning their scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, committed
Compassionate, self-sacrificing, latter-day
Heroes of the human condition, heroes of
A world that will never be the same

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Dedicated to all medical workers but especially to my own critical care and palliative care teams. 


This week, let us honor the heroes of the pandemic catastrophe. I have chosen to write a poem in gratitude for healthcare workers, but there are other heroes: the garbage collectors, the postal workers, the store clerks, the police and firefighters and first responders, the Meals-on-Wheels teams, and all the people who are sheltering in place. Which latter-day heroes do you want to honor? All are worthy. Let us know in your poem/s and . . .

  • 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 on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, March 30 by 8 pm Pacific 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.

Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!


For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

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

“9/11” and “Risen Heroes”, poems by Oklahoma Poet Sharon Frye

The north face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175 courtesy of Robert under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” President Barack Obama

I’ve never been able to write a poem about 9/11. I have a number started and starting is as far as I get. I was in California at the time, but New York is my home state, one of the great loves of my life, as is my country.

I was getting ready for work when I heard the news on TV.  I stopped to watch. I remember the world stood still. I remember the slow surreal vison of a plane crashing into the North Tower. I’d watched the Towers being built when I worked on Water Street, just down the block. I’d also worked at One Wall Street, not too far away, and used to eat my lunches in the graveyard at Trinity Church, also close by. If my second husband were alive, he’d say that area around the Twin Towers was my old hunting ground. And it was and I loved the history there. I couldn’t imagine it shattered. “Put on the news. We’re being attacked … ” I said to my son when I got him on the phone.

Sharon wrote her poem as an immediate response to the tragedy and it honors emergency responders. It reflects honest emotion. I’m pleased she allowed me to share it here with you.



They started the day with
a stretch and a yawn, Coffee was downed, long
before dawn. Bacon and eggs, with a side
of light banter
Served straight up with
firehouse candor.

Out to check trucks, inspect
every pumper, A
nd test all the gear from
bumper to bumper.
Amidst conversations and
playful jibes
Came the call, then fast-
paced strides.

Quickly manned trucks hit the
Not knowing, but trusting,
what fate they’d meet.
They rolled from the station, a
little before nine,
Soon to grasp horror that
would change all time.

On the horizon, stood
our towers of trade
An inferno of hell and
people afraid, Running for life and
crying to God
Billowing Black Death,
where life had trod.

And in go these warriors
of such a brave clan
To rescue and aid every
woman and man-
But sadly for many it will be
their last call,
They’ll die with all honor of
giving their all.

It wasn’t for money or glory or
It wasn’t for vanity, so you’d
remember their name.
“It’s just what we do,” they’d
modestly say,
So remember tonight when
you kneel down to pray…
God bless these brave souls,
so gentle, so tough
Lord take them to heaven,
they’ve given enough!

© 2001, Sharon Frye

When I asked Sharon if I could share this with you, she said, “oh Jamie of course you have my permission. I wrote the poem right after the event happened. My husband was a firefighter and his Department embraced it and the fire chief of Oklahoma City, Jon Hanson, took it on the truck to New York and gave out copies along the way. My dear friend Jon has passed away and so I am very emotional not only about the event, but the journey of the poem also. I was asked to read it at the dedication of the firetruck and was not prepared for all the local news stations plus CNN to be there filming. That’s probably more than you wanted to know but I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the history… “


Sharon tells us, “I had also Risen Heroes, which I was commissioned to write for a memorial to First Responders. It was supposed to go on a bronze statue by sculptor Dean Thompson. But bureaucracy got involved and the funding fell through.”

Risen Heroes

Everything fell that sunny day
when morning pulsed bright blue,
Towers toppled, planes plunged
and so did countless tears.

When death blows reigned from sky,
ash fell like feathers, settled
into heaps of banks and drifts.
You, who were summoned, rose.

You rose, clad in hero colors.
You wore the police officer’s silver badge,
firefighter’s sun-striped bunkout gear,
and the EMT’s Blue Star of Life.

You walked with strong arms around
the splintered, washed debris from
mouths and eyes, when all the while
your burned-out eyes could not fathom.

Your hands grasped the frail and frightened.
With unruffled grace you led, then
back to black billowed hallways,
where Death seized your last breath.

Everything fell that sunny day,
Buildings tumbled, heartbeats silenced-
stilled by the plots of burial demons.
But you… you rose,
unconquered by evil bones…

Through God-sifted stars, you rose.

© 2001, Sharon Frye

SharonSharon Gariepy Frye – a.k.a. Sharon Frye -is a photographer as well as a poet with two chapbooks published,Last Chance for Rain (White Knights Press, 2014) and a newer collection, Red Dashboard (Elizabeth Dillon, 51T8-CyhKSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_2016)




Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I 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.

Goddess Mothers and True Heroes

Originally published on The Bardo Group blog

“All you need is a sense that there is no such thing as ‘no’ and everything is possible.” Moira Kelly

This shining face, this sweet spirit with reason to be bitter and yet he is not. He is a hero and pure inspiration. When Naomi Baltuck (Writing Between the Lines/Life from a Writer’s POV) posted this video on Facebook, I was as touched as anyone would be. I had to wonder though about his mom. What kind of hero is she, I thought, remembering the heroes of my childhood: Josephine Baker and my spiritual mother, Pearl Buck. Each of these women grew their families in unique – and extraordinarily unselfish – ways.

“All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.”  Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

Josephine_Baker_1950Josephine Baker was born in America but became a French citizen. She was a dancer, singer, actress and civil-rights activist.  As a child living in St. Louis, Missouri, she suffered from discrimination, abandonment, and poverty.  As an adult she had one miscarriage. She adopted twelve children, two girls and ten boys. They were from diverse races and cultures because, in addition to caring for them, she wanted to show that people can get along despite their different backgrounds. In the early ’80s two of her sons went into business together. They started Chez Josephine, which is on Theatre Row (42nd Street) in Manhattan. They dedicated the restaurant to their adoptive mom’s memory and decorated it with her memorabilia.

“. . .  the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.” Pearl Buck (1892-1973)

220px-Pearl_Buck_(Nobel)Pearl Buck was an American novelist, writer, humanitarian and the first woman to be awarded the Noble Prize in Literature (1938).  She grew up in China and spent most of her life there until 1934. She had a deep affection for and knowledge of the countries of the East, not just China. She suffered through the Nanking Incident when the National Revolutionary Army captured Nanking (now Nanjing) in 1927.  Many Westerners were killed, their homes destroyed, and their property stolen.  Her only biological child, Carol, had phenylketonuria (PKU), which causes mental retardation and seizures.  Pearl Buck adopted seven children. At a time when mixed-race children were considered unadoptable, Pearl Buck founded Welcome House, Inc., the first international, interracial adoption agency. At the time of this writing, Welcome House has placed some five thousand children since it was established 1949.

“The greatest act of kindness changes generations. Wherever there is the greatest evil, the greatest good can be achieved.” Moira Kelly (b. 1964)

emmanuel-kellyThis brings us to a contemporary hero: the mother of Emanuel Kelly, the young man in the video. Moira Kelly is an Australian humanitarian whose work has garnered her many awards and acknowledgements.  When she was eight years old, after seeing a movie about then Blessed (now saint) Teresa of Calcutta (now Kolkata), Moira committed herself to working with disadvantaged children.  She is the legal guardian of twins from Bangladesh, Trisha and Krishna. They are surgically separated but originally cranially conjoined twins.  Moira Kelly also adopted the Iraqi-born Emmanuel and his brother Ahmet, both born with underdeveloped limbs. Among her efforts is Children First Foundation, formed to provide transportation and healthcare for children with urgent needs in developing countries.

These women are mothers in the best senses of that word. Their ideals are real and they stand by them. They have saved children from abandonment and loneliness, from poverty and hopelessness and from early death. They are goddess mothers and true heroes.

© 2013, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved;  Photographs of Josephine Baker and Pearl Buck are in the U.S. Public Domain; I don’t know the origin or copyright of the photograph of Moira Kelly and her sons. If it is yours, let me know and I’ll credit you or take it down as you wish.


and to all mothers and the fathers, grandparents, siblings and others who

assume a mothering role for motherless children.

(c) – Mom & me

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