“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.


ABOUT

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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

“Veil Required” … and other poems in response to last week’s Wednesday Writing Prompt


“Falling in love is very real, but I used to shake my head when people talked about soul mates, poor deluded individuals grasping at some supernatural ideal not intended for mortals but sounded pretty in a poetry book. Then, we met, and everything changed, the cynic has become the converted, the sceptic, an ardent zealot.” E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly


These responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, the bride wore yellow, October 31, 2018 give us a peek into perspectives, ideals, joys, challenges, complexities, and disappointments in weddings, marriage and relationships. Well done and much thanks to Billy Antonio, Gary W. Bowers, Irma Do, Deb y Felio (Debbie Felio), Jen E. Goldie, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Anjum Wasim Dar.  Special thanks to Irma and Anjum for including artwork.  Bravo!

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.


aged wine…
the couple renew
their vows

© 2018, Billy Antonio
Laoac, Pangasinan, Philippines


veil required

the groom-to-be
would just not be
dissuaded:
he had to have
a bride who had
a veil.

and thus and sewn
a veil was grown;
it shaded
his beauty’s face
her Wordless Grace
so pale.

all words were said.
she raised her head
he lifted
the nylon net
revealing
radiant
joy.
their loops arrived,
and, uncontrived
and gifted,
that mellow Kiss–
that This–
was Girl
and
Boy.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)


Marriage Bound – A Cascade Poem

We signed this paper

We are legally bound

The hard work begins

We climbed the steps and waited in line

On our lunch hour

We signed this paper

That night we fought

You slept on the couch

We are legally bound

Morning came

You made me coffee

The hard work begins

Another cascade poem about a relationship, this one responding to Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday prompt to write about weddings or marriage. She states, “As with all human institutions and traditions, weddings and marriages can be very mixed things.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Weddings are often fraught with family drama – it’s like all major holiday dinners with two entire families who are staying in one small house all rolled into one day.

After the wedding, marriage itself is a mixed bag of highs and lows. Some couples do call it quits when the lows seem too much but for other couples, those marriage vows, that piece of paper, is permanently binding. Barring any type of abuse, these couples put in the hard work to maintain their commitment.

Relationships are mentally, emotionally and physically demanding. Sometimes love is enough to get us through. Sometimes we need a little more – from our partner, family, friends, from ourselves. But in the end, we all still hope to say, “It was worth it.”

©️ 2018, poem, commentary and photograph,  Irma Do (I Do Run)


At Sea

He’d be my anchor
to hold me steady
He’d be my rudder
when I was ready
to be steered
and grasped
for journey’s maps

it sounded safer
to have such care
for when in life
I had been scared
of life, of me
looking past
the shorelines vast

but years stretched
the anchor weighed
life down and rudder
circled / stayed
in place, close in
to that land
of crystal sand

the winds were strong
to fuel the past
I cut the rope
on sail at last
no longer held
by ancient dreams
new horizons gleam

I can never know
what would have been
or even now will be
but let it in
my own accord
a path ahead
explore unled

Night is coming
undenied
and I am crossed
to the other side
through opened door
my skiff and me
unmoored and free.

© 2018, Deb y Felio


TANDEM: A word that only lovers
understand.
MARRIAGE: A state where tandem
should be true.
DESIRE: A thing that marriage
should but will.
Would that tandem were the way,
And put marriages at bay,
Let Lovers have their say……….

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie


..cypher spoken clear..

passed over by accident, the
thing occurred naturally,
without clerics. without beatitude.

given by friendship, yet
piety slowly eroded.

they come now with learning,
holding large words, a different language.

the charm now gone,
perhaps they did not need it any more.

once again, it is said, that,
they speak latin. made
the word bleed.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.once in france.

he sat on the step in the heat, I, sickly dozed under the damson tree. lizards flicked. while in the village below this hill music played. a wedding.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..spoon..

it is an ancient place,
oswald’s tree, the floor
bends, polished wood.

there was a wedding yesterday,
all kilted, the groom ate pie,
wore proper shoes with segs.

she showed me a cabinet, a spoon,
hand forged, old, beaten for sale.

i was travelling, a pretty
place, not good enough for some.

the bottle is crooked,

we left it
so.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


I Locked My Heart and Let the Key Drift in the River

Urdu and English

وقت  جو گزر گیا  اک  خواب  سا  لگتا ہے
اب یہ  سوچتی ہوں  کہ  حقیقت  کیا  ہے
جب ہر  کام   میں  الله  پر  بھروسہ  کر  لیں
تو پھر  فکر و  پریشانی  کی ضرورت  کیا  ہے
کتنا  جھوٹ  بھرا ہے  آج کے انسانوں میں
سچ  کہاں ہے  اور  صداقت  کیا  ہے
ہر ایک  کو فکر  ہے بس اپنی ذات کی
ہمدردی  کہاں  ہے  انسانیت   کیا  ہے
دکھ درد  سے  بھری  ہے  یہ  دنیا سری
بیکاری  بیماری  کی  یہ  حالت کیا  ہے
اپنے  بھی  پراے  بن  جاتے  ہیں  جب
چاہیں  تو  اپنا لیں  پھر  چاہت  کیا ہے
بکتی  ہیں  بازاروں  می  علم  کی سندیں
محنت  و  لگن  و  ذہانت   پھر  کیا  ہے
دھڑکتے  دل  پے تالا  ہے چابی  دریا میں
گر  چاہت  گناه  ہے  تو پیار و محبت کیا ہے

Time that is past,seems like a dream
now I think about what certitude is

when for everything we trust the Almighty
then for worry and stress, no need is

how full of deception is humanity today
where faith righteousness and truth is

individuality narcissism reigns supreme
then where empathy compassion pity is

the world is replete with pain and grief
what nauseating malady, disease this is

knowledge is sold, in markets hot,openly
what then dedicated effort and vision is

I locked my heart and threw the key adrift
if desire is a sin then what love n affection is

© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)
Green and Yellow Weddings, Color or Collar

متعلقہ تصویر                                                 10931594_10153064832645747_809812903100677600_o (1)A Wedding in gold in green and yellow, green soft and yellow bold 
A Time to become the wanted and the unwanted, to feel hot and cold,
Be the, Special One, of the rare species, definitely, surely be in a color
and maybe sooner before you can  say cock robin, be in a collar’.

I  must apologize  for my distraction by nature ,
but being born under the Gemini  Skies I cannot
help being either Castor or Pollux-whichever is me,
I am a Human for I can see hear eat lie and cheat

mock taunt smile sleep grab and command and
write believe me I belong to a humble and honest
uh the Race that has inhabited this greener Planet
for centuries and made a humble  smelly mess of it.

and thus in this  ailing failing binding mending
cunning stunning weeping keeping entertaining
side of life one is selected decorated and collected
along with gold cash furniture house and boarding

yellow yellow all over, in flower bower and cover
in drums and dance in drinks and feast till over
in the loudness of music, drowns the fear n tear
the savage side of possession command n cheer

there reigns more hurt and pain and  complaints
a bondage a commitment a promise of  affection
forgiveness patience courage and  conviction of
of sacrifice support of honor  and appreciation

but an image horrific looms large  and long
unwashed dishes,ants crawling in line
anger  aggression   insults subtle and fine
depression loneliness  forgetfulness of the divine

how soon the green mixing with yellow withers
away, the fragrance  fades and  flowers decay
the joy of togetherness drags and drifts away
and all love ‘soon dies in its own too much’ a day

a wedding is a promise if one makes it then one should keep it

© 2018, photos and poem, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the 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 Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman

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

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

“Shriveled Rose Petal” and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


So many takes on growing old: gifts, beauty and downsides. These are responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, October 11, Once Upon a Time When They Were OldWelcome to Billy Antonio, here for the first time and thanks to Billy, Ginny Brannan, Renee Espiru, Iulia Gherghei , Colin Blundell, Gary W. Bowers, Kakahli Gosh, Lady Nimue, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes for so beautifully rising to the occasion and so generously sharing their work. Find some smiles here, a giggle or two, a sigh, a tear … and a load of talent and wisdom.


shriveled rose petal
the intricate veins
on mother’s hands

© 2017, Billy Antonio

Billy Antonio

BILLY ANTONIO is a poet, writer, and public school teacher. He is the author of the mini-chapbook In a Country with Two Seasons (a haiku collection) published by Poems-For-All. His short story, The Kite, has been broadcast on 4EB-FM, 98.1 in Brisbane, Australia. Some of his fiction and poetry have been published in Tincture Journal, Red River Review, Poetry Quarterly, Akitsu Quarterly, Anak Sastra, The Cicada’s Cry, Frameless Sky, The Mainichi, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, The Asahi Shimbun, Sonic Boom, among others. His poetry has won international recognition. He lives in the Philippines with his wife, Rowena, and his two daughters, Felicity and Asiel Sophie.


Old age

prisoner of my bad temper
in search of my light past
when I used to laugh my tears out
everything was a reason for laughter
jokes on everyone
I was the soul of the party
the champagne was sparkling into my eyes
now the joke is on me
I’ve suddenly realized that
laughter had abandon the ship
I enjoy only the sound of a quiet evening
alone…
Now it’s a time in my life when my engines
run slowly
In fact I have energy just to watch others pass by
to watch leaves turning green
to really breathe the air and sense the fragrance of a fresh born flower
Now I run the movie of my life backwards
I’m stunt how always in a hurry I used to be
obsessed to be free, nobody to interfere in my way
Now when I am tired, and maybe smarter
for sure older
I stopped by the river side, stare at my reflection in the fluid mirror
And silently shared a tear

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei  (Sky Under Construction)


wither so ever

the sun is an e-z bake oven
the years are the crepers of flesh
these witches cast spells from their coven
and incubate me in a creche

their eye of newt makes me a baby
dependent and feeble and blind
to crawl via walker and maybe
refetusize curly-q-spined

old age ain’t for sissies said bette
i grow old said prufrock by eliot
the challenge for us who are ready
to set jaw and fire-in-the-belly it

when entropy renders defective
when age compromises reliance
and culture says Old’s Ineffective
that when we all most need DEFIANCE

so HERE WE ARE, Jamie, STILL PUNCHING
still proving we have what it takes
and on through the gravel-strides crunching
concocting NEW Models and Makes.

© 2017, Gary W. Bowers  (One With Clay)


A Magical Dance

See the youth that resides within me
mirrored dark curls framing a woman’s
face who now breathes easier

not often the case when questions curled
like a hazy halo of smokey confusion
within my days and nights

watch me convey knowledge soul filled
now a sign of experiential vibrant color
a glowing gold not in the guise
of youth’s vanity

see my spirit soar within mirrored eyes
clear as mountain spring waters
seeing deep as ocean valleys
thunderous as waterfalls

filling crystal clear rivers running swift
choreographed with a magical dance
of a sprite or fairy or two

© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)


#Desire for Endless Love#

Why so alluring this argil is !
Why so mysterious this forest is !
Clasping dusk in a swan’s wings
Groping the falling darkish with shedded coniferous leaves
In the twilight of life when each spirit waits for someone
Eyes brim with tears
Birds retire to their nests flying over the blue ocean
Defraying moistures in their slender feathers
Flute of a shepherd boy sway my old heart
The night comes through stairs of mist
Through my watery old eyes
Agony switches apiece
But today in this watery moonlit night someone is at my door
Someone has reposed his eyes in my old eyes
In this assembly of life
O my unknown love
Please never renounce my crooked hands
Life crinkles body shrinks

But Love is endless – eternal
Please love me dear till
My last breath
Saying I’m pretty in your eyes
with my grey hair
Dry lips and vague vision
Kissing me upon my doom and cheeks
With Crisscross streaks …

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


..my world of leaves..

is this the final drop, slowly. not the white

wind blown kind that raises spirits. this

is due to a colder day, early morning five

below.

maybe this or a lack of adrenaline caused

it, the coming together of years which

slowly pass.

shadows of birds. dust motes in air.

marmalade toast.

is this the final drop?

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


it’s been such an easy life

on the outside (he says) counting the hours
that have fled all too quickly
a ripple in time
way beyond into the future

I’ve been awaiting something (he says)
for which I had to sit
in a comfortable anteroom
listening to the sounds of music
and laughter from inside the great hall

on the inside (he says) I’m still wondering
what I’m going to be when I grow up –
how I will frequent the literary pubs
& sit writing poetry at beer-stained tables
being a constant mystery
to the anxious youth at an adjacent table –
myself when young

I stride through all the Magic Cities;
I conduct my own symphonies of sound
and enter the soul of these two new cats

© 2017, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


The Older Me

The older me knows my worth,
The value of my ideas and words,
She tells the stories with pride
That the younger me wants to hide;

The older me knows what’s lost
Was perhaps meant only as thoughts
But the more it lingered in the heart,
The younger me cried when time came to part.

The older me can not read this post
But she listens well and sings a lot
She dances on the whims of her own
Something that young me could not.

The older me is no more beautiful
Or any less than who I am right now
But she has a heart younger,mind pure
Than I can ever aspire to hold.

© Lady Nimue (Prats Corner: Pages of my mind: collecting words, experiences and memories …)


Unknowns

Who will I be when I grow old…
will I sit and babble nonsense rhyme
old poems and remnants left behind—
when those final years take hold.

Will past and present merge as one,
as mind relinquishes control;
or stay alert, my thoughts left whole
while body starts to come undone.

No gypsy fortune-tellers, we—
what lies before us, undefined
should favor nod as we decline
perhaps we’ll keep our sanity

Yes, all things acquiesce to time…
we only hope the years are kind.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan

Love Undying

He comes to visit each day,
reminding us as he enters that he’ll
be taking her home as soon as she’s
better, as soon as she’s stronger;
his dear sweet wife.

He lives for this woman, now mute
regressed in her memory–
holding tightly to a baby doll
perhaps for comfort, or perhaps
lost in vision of childhood
long past.

He gently wheels her through the halls
as though on some grand tour–
then he sits on the sofa in the hall
and lovingly clasps her pale parchment hand.
Talking softly, he asks

“Do you know what day today is?
It’s New Years eve day”

……”Can you hear me?”

……“Do you know who I am?”

and I wonder…

When I am old and lost in my thoughts
will someone come to see me each day,
gently take me by the hand–
and quietly remind me who I am?

© 2017, Ginny Brannan


Born Old

coddled in wool blanket drifts
Sun sears baby eyes through bright windows,
hospital paths cleared tall walls
of snow either side. I howled

a gust down shop aisles, on street
to the dentists. Crowds frowned.
Summer bike rides in country lanes
Spring divorced winter.

Summer was another dialect. Coarser,
to play was to laik, sweets were spice.
Wide games in a silver wood, ventured
into cold huts. Fun with sausages and custard.

Hull hunkered in Christian winter, relieved by Summer gamelan and hope for a vocation
to last manual work and taking the pillock.
It didn’t. Winter of closing pits.

Bristol summered in performance
Classes on interview technique, teach
Teenagers how to think into a job.
beyond unemployment benefit office screens

Spout words over dripped lager louts,
Back in summered day buzz of words clapped,
then winter cancered into debt
and prodigal return. No fatted calf

only steroid fatted bald mam and chores
in garden until I met my future wife
for a bet in breaks between admin.
Summered teach adults write and history.

A winter that lasted twelve years headset
yoked ears bent to abuse from wronged
Customers and peddled official lines.
Summer came with an unwanted death,

A years enjoyment of travel and delight.
Summer comes in to autumn with cash gone.
Life a priority. Bills must be paid. Work
only part time, buzz when I help customers.

© 2017, Paul Brookes

Know Old

You know you’re human when

you put your leg in the wrong
way in your boxer shorts.

you pick up your wife’s toothbrush,
not yours and use her toothpaste,
not yours, oblivious to both.

when it’s hot you put on too much
clothing, when it’s cold, too little.

wear underpants with holes
in the crutch through wear not design.

laugh at books and signs full
of epigrammatic phrases about
growing old, living with someone,
the habits of cats and dogs.

© 2017, Paul Brookes


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY