“Awakening! Sweet or Rude” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“I’d love to wake up to complete silence, white sheets, and the smell of crisp air and roses.” Maria Elena, Eternal Youth



And it being Tuesday, here are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Awakening, August 7. Today our poets explore the ins, outs, pleasures and occasional weirdness of one of the most pivotal points of the day.

Brown-eared Bulbul shared under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

This collection is courtesy of bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), mm brazfield, Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sheila Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Tamam Tracy Moncur, Pali Raj, and Clarissa Simmens.

Today we also warmly welcome Urmila Mahajan in her first appearance on this site. Urmila mentions a bulbul bird in her poem.  I’d never heard of it. I had to look it up. The bulbul – pretty bird – doesn’t live in the Americas or in Europe.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


Beginnings

I occupy a crevice
that night has burned and
day has not yet filled
where Earth is stilled until
the first bulbul chimes its
two-toned announcement
of another dawn

the ageing cat takes precedence
over frozen morning feet as I
hobble to touch a trembling purr
on bony flanks of fading flesh
to replenish a feeding bowl and
scrub flecks of meaty morsels
off the floor

to carefully strain a litter
by a single yellow lamp
and start the day with twosome
caring and a daydream
flickering in both minds of
many more such mornings
to come

we move on padded paws to keep
the brittle hush from snapping
and squinting without spectacles
I see the glowing crucialness
of beginnings

© 2019, Urmila Mahajan

Urmila Mahajan

URMILA MAHAJAN worked for over two decades as an English teacher in various schools. Passionate about drama she now works as a drama consultant for schools.

Her poetry has won several online prizes. She published her poetry book, Drops of Dew, with a foreword by Ruskin Bond, in 2005. Her more recent poems can currently be found at on her blog HERE.

Her full-length children’s novel, My Brother TooToo, was published in 2010. Around the same time, her articles on using English correctly were a regular feature in a youth magazine.

She lives in Hyderabad, India. Her hobbies include birdwatching, growing organic vegetables and of course, looking after her cat.


joy

to fall asleep
a book
with your reading glasses
(on a lamp)
the dawn is
blue

© 2019, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov)

bogpan’s site is:  (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия)


Zorya

there she is
bright bold with golden arms
the lady who comes to purify my blood
just 2 hours and 34 minutes in the past
did the moon with his mariachi suit
cry with me because he is a gentleman
we had clinked tequila glasses
while he kissed my hands
but with each step Zorya takes toward my window
i’ve come to prefer the strong espresso roast
dark heavy smoldering like your heart
you prefer to sleep
after quaking and quivering through my mounds
and when your eyes come open wide your armor
will cover you again
as i remain the faithful wench
in the china cup where to gold has chipped off
filled with mud and some manipulative tears
my cigarette will drown in sorrow
so i walk into the bathroom
to wash your sheep’s odor
off my she wolf fur

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


alarm

as i hack
through the unliving
with my broadsword
there suddenly comes
into my dream
tinkling cloying music
worse than zombies
for it snatches
me from glory
and its purpose
into the mundane
drab and dismal
day to day

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay)

Gary’s site is: One With Clay, Image and Text

As some of you know, Gary is multi-talented, combing visual art with poetry or prose narrative.  He is also a potter. A sample of his work is pictured here. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business card. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.


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

Rain Is Awake

when it falls
hits the snuggled earth
with wet caresses

Conscious movement
rippled determination
to move forward
once a route is found,

knows it must find rest
a place to sleep
but other droplets insist
on movement forward

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright
piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table
and varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later
chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses
and piano sold as her hands come to rest.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

A Tom Tit

Suddenly awake I hear
milk float electric whirr, his
bottles rattle in their baskets
the clink as milkman delivers.

“Fetch milk in”, mam sharts.
I open our snowed door to find
Blue Tom Tit has been at it
again, claws stood on the lip,
beak strips the silver foil top
for a sup and winter sip.
I am not a milksop
“Tit’s been at it again, mam!

© 2019, Paul Brookes

our god sleeps

with his gob open.
When he opens his gob
It could be dawn, noon or midday.
whenever we must awake
to work in the mountains.
The mountains of god’s tongue.

They shake and gust blows.
We must find
our balance.
Hunt for food
on the undulations.

Never know
when god will close his mouth
for night to fall, again.

Sometimes night is short.

Folk say there is life
over the mountains
in god’s teeth.

None have returned.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

The Owl Guide

As you lie on that hospital bed unconscious
in a maybe
What more can you do,
What more should you have done

As a young girl, excited and unaccustomed to city-ways, gallop your dads milk horse
away from your white home,
through downtown Sunderland streets
where this morning it trotted
Dads milkcart rattle on a milkround.

Folk scatter, run scared.
A bobby captures your reins.
Arrested and thrown in prison
with the rapists, killers and paedophiles.

sob yourself to sleep.
Shortly after midnight awake
to flap, flap flap near the door,

stood wide open. You softly
step out, closed the door behind you.

See an owl,
perched on a wooden fence,

who awaits your escape.
The owl flies in front of you,
guides you past bobbies,

through dark streets, till you came
to a saddled horse and a bundle of fresh clothes.

You mount, the owl pulls the horses head
Towards the white dairy farm

then leaves, as it must as the owl
In a maybe
Is your future daughter who dies before you do.
What more can you do?
What more should you have done?

From Paul’s collection Port of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes

Servant

For a time I do bother
to polish the surfaces,
hoover, wash and iron.

If only for myself,
but then myself is not enough.
Dust piles, crumpled clothes dirty.

I fall asleep among dirty sheets,
empty crisp packets,
half eaten cold pizzas,
stink of mice piss.

Awake to freshly laundered sheets,
clean carpets, clothes washed, ironed.
Surfaces polished smell of Lavender.
How could this happen?

Again I fall asleep while tv on,
amongst discarded chocolate papers,
left over cake on plates,
half drunk cans of lager.

Awake to tv off, rubbish binned,
plates washed, dried put away,
Citrus not stale beer and rotting smell.
I’m intrigued. Curious.

It takes no effort to be a slob, again.
Spill crisps down sides of chairs,
dribble tea into carpet, crumbs.
Energy drinks ready I stay awake.

Energy sup is the biz. Make
Me hyper so I see these two tiny
Folk, man and woman, like regular
Nanites sorting my crap.

Like my old man never were
this one hoovers up crumbs,
packs his black bin bag with cans,
busies, polishes, scrubs to his bones.

His old woman like mam, I guess,
dusts, scours a whirlwind devil.
Part of me says they do as they must,
the other sees what they lack.

Next night I leave them a gift
of nothing to tidy, to put away.
They seem contented as I watch
surrogate mam and dad leave for good.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

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


Awakening! Sweet or Rude

In Lethe we stay
dipped drugged forgetful of life
seasons pass in time

childhood is a dream
fettered forced youth,innocent crime,
silver streaks,await

the promise in vain,
bent weak constantly in pain,
hope to rise again?

right guidance will come
love light peace freedom will shine,
to awaken me.

® 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“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


On Being Awakened

The joy of morning
Crowded out by small elbows
In my lower back

© 2019, Irma Do

Irma’s site is (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . .


Like The First Morning

Break, morning, and fly to me,
be my golden songbird.
Lift me from huddled sleep,
tuck me between your wing
and sun-dappled breast
and carry me over the rooftops.

Break, in all your new colours.
Wrap me in scarlet flame,
ease my bones and warm my heart
against your own as you soar
above mountains and pine trees
spooled with silver mist.

Break, morning, as though
you were the first to unveil
creation’s radiant face;
teach me your glory-unto-him
psalm of sunlit waking:
and breaking, from night’s heft.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

Replacing The Empties

Woken by summer’s early light
I heard the chug of a milk- float
down the road. It rattled to a stop
outside our house, the milkman
unlatched our wooden gate
and bounded up the path.

A chime of glass and he’d replaced
the empties, left two full bottles
on the front step. Pasteurised
for my porridge or custard,
sterilised(long-lasting and thin)
for Mum and Dad’s tea.

The door opened and closed.
Mum had brought the milk inside-
time for me to yawn, stretch,
go back to sleep for another hour.
Downstairs, Mum brewed a pot
of tea for Dad’s work- flask.

She made sandwiches, wrapped
two slices of cakes in greaseproof
and packed them in his rucksack.
After he’d left, she topped up the pot
with fresh water, opened the stera.
and sipped the best cup of the day

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase this little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


.upper rooms.

some mornings while drifting

i see the writing in my head

come patterned, neat lines balancing

dancing with the rain

at the window

on waking

yesterday we remembered blancmange

and jelly, ideal milk and water

pineapple that split cream

food that touched

yesterday we remembered our granmas

our mothers

bundles of cotton with colours

required for mending always

yesterday she explained to sew

the four holes in synchronicity

tight

on linen

yesterday the words came easily with labels

and names

today on brightening

forget

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.touch the surface.

i slept a darker paint,

a place of nowhere,

no marks, no texture,

clarity.

waking, touch the surface.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. the theory .

that feeling, that . arrives unexpected from darkness, some winters’ mornings, opening the door to the sound of one black bran bird calling. track four repeated. that comes on waking finding peace and comfort bound.

it is a fine line we walk, gently avoiding peptides, only just a theory, yet used independently, alongside honest work

reading how the body works, you will have a better understanding, yet they do not teach of this

at school. they teach of clever yoghurt in adverts, i did not know microbes fancy food, move our choices.

the play continues, some of the old cast, new actors oblige, ideas on lack of addictive ways. simple days without receptors. singing under breath, numbers.

have you been to the counting?

lines ruled to stop

vertigo setting in.

two

three

four

five

two

three

it is a fine line we walk, gently avoiding peptides, only just a theory, yet used independently, alongside honest work.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Angels Singing Hallelujah

Angels singing hallelujah pull the sun up from behind the horizon splashing the colors of dawn across the sky calling for the spirit of life to arise in God’s radiance.

Sleeping flowers perk up preparing to unfold in their resilience and in their brilliance.

The rolling green hills in the distance framed by cumulus clouds stand firm in their resolve to praise God.

The birds twitter and tweet good morning to the universe then take wing and sing to the inhabitants of earth.

Gentle sounds emitting from a cell phone alarm roam through the air at that moment penetrating the dark silence of a deep sleep in another world…in another place…in another space.

Scripture settles a sleepy soul sweeping away cobwebs of confusion and illusions lighting the way to the manifestation of a new day.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ….

Conscious mind awakes collecting bits and pieces of memory fragmented by the divide between reverie and reality then places them back into the puzzle of existence…the new day begins.

© 2019, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncurexposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.


Can a love, you don’t name
Can be love
On awakening, a poem ask
Answer me, if you have to die
How can I quit eating
‘over salted pie’

I feel happy, and dead
(On awakening) I visit your profile when

Go, look at your profile views ….yeah
I find myself on a porn 😭 when
I tap on link to know more 🤔
Answer me
Can a love, you don’t name
Can be love

I feel happy, and dead
(On awakening) I visit your profile when

I am an effeminate ….yeah
At night late *so what*
I visit your profile
You are a vamp …..yeah
I find myself on a porn 😭 when
I tap on link to know more 🤔

I feel happy, and dead
(On awakening) I visit your profile when

Can a love, you don’t name
Can be love
Look at my photo then
Answer me, if you have to die
How can I quit eating
‘over salted pie’

© 2019, Pali Raj

On Awakening

Betrayal!
Don’t like to sleep
But actually slept
For a few hours
No hypnagogic images
No dreams
Just … nothing
Two dogs snuggled in
Trying to take over
My pillow
My place on the mattress
I leap from the bed
(Well, an aging woman’s leap)
Dash into the kitchen
Grind the coffee
Swallow the BP meds
And this Morning Aries
Tugs open the sliding glass door,
Joining the joyful dogs
Noses to the ground
Following the scent of
The wascally wabbit
Impossible possum
Wrecking my palm tree
While the early birds
Peck at the feeder
Too lazy to find the worm
While the feral cat
Safe from the dogs
On the other side of the fence
Yowls to be fed
And I say
Thank you to the Cosmos
For giving me another day…

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens 

Find Clarissa on her Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE; Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Five by Jamie Dedes, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 11, 2019) / This short story is dedicated to the world’s refugees, one in every 113 people.

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group / Beguines, pushers of The BeZine of which I am managing editor. Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

“Father Timebomb” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“I read differently now, more painstakingly, knowing I am probably revisiting the books I love for the last time.” Nicole Krauss, Great House


These are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Come Spring, June 19. Aging – pending, observed, or deep into – is not the easiest thing to face, but I think all our poets have done it with a mix of affection, yearning, courage and a soupçon of humor.

Thanks to mm brazfield, Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Deb Felio (Deb y Felio), Jen Goldie, Shiela Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Clarissa Simmens for the pleasure of their poetry shared here today.

Enjoy! this collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged to participate, beginning, emerging or pro poet.


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?

WASH YOUR HANDS IF YOU CAN. IF YOU CAN’T, THERE ARE WIPES OUT HERE.

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

YOU ALL RIGHT IN THERE?

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

THAT’S YOU, MOM. THAT’S YOUR REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR.

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.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers

Gary’s site is: One With Clay, Image and Text

As some of you know, Gary is multi-talented, combing visual art with poetry or prose narrative.  He is also a potter. A sample of his work is pictured here. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business card. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.


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
Opa

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


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.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

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.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Paul’s site is: The Wombwell Rainbow

Paul Brookes, prolific Yorkshire poet

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


She aged more …

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=

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“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


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.

© 2019, Irma Do

Fighting Age

A Haiku

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

© 2019, Irma Do 

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ….


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.

© 2019, Deb y Felio

Deb’s site is: Writer’s Journey


The years drift away
Capturing glimpses of time
Lost in memories

© 2019, Jen Goldie

Jen’s sites are:


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!

© 2019, Sheila Jacob


.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.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.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
language.

difference should make no
difference.

i am older now.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


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
Death

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
Patterns that ease the chaos
Of my world

And like the moon
We go through the stages
Circularly
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…

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens

Find Clarissa on her Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE; Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.


ABOUT

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
From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, 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, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.


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



Celebrating American She-Poets (34): Clarissa Simmens, A Passion for Shakespeare

Clarissa Simmens

“I adore social media.  FaceBook and WordPress have been incredible avenues of not only reading the words of poets world-wide, but also gaining friends, virtual but real  . . .The poets are people like me and you who want the same thing: respect, a safe and healthy environment for family and friends, and the freedom to have fun without being hurt or harming others.  I think the great [William Shakespeare] would have loved the world-wide web…” Clarissa Simmens



A couple of weeks ago The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt was Spinning With Shakespeare. Readers were challenged to write a poem using phrases from Shakespeare that have come into general usage. It was fun. The poems were great. You can read them HERE.  Meanwhile, it happens that Clarissa Simmens has a passion for Shakespeare, so much so that she does a yearly poetic homage to WS, as she refers to him. She shared her 2018 homage with us in comments. Here (below) are those poems for you to read today along with an interview of Clarissa and her bio.   

Shakespearian Trivia: As I read through Clarissa’s responses to my interview questions, I had to chuckle.  Her intro to Shakespeare was in high school and included a local movie-theater-showing of Hamlet with Richard Burton in the lead.  I suspect Clarissa and I are of an age and may have seen the same show.  My intro to Shakespeare included the 1964 “electrovision” (early video/closed circuit TV) version of Hamlet at our own local movie theater. Apparently this presentation was being delivered to high school students all over the U.S. as an English literature course requirement. The production was directed by Sir John Gielgud. It was done sans period costumes and with minimal sets. It is said that Burton disliked the production and wanted the videos destroyed.  Apparently at least one copy survived. I found it HERE on YouTube.  Time has tampered with the visual but there’s nothing wrong with the sound. Close your eyes and listen. Enjoyable!

– Jamie Dedes


THE UNCERTAIN GLORY OF AN APRIL DAY…

Shakespeare’s Birthday Approximately April 23, 1564

In cold country I sadly plucked the lute
Shining in England, you the rising son {sun}
Seeking me in verse, yet remaining mute
Why don’t you know we are meant to be one

Oh, dear Will, you were fated to be mine
Although centuries separate us now
Twin souls formed by a heavenly design
Calling your name, but me you disavow

Yet I’ve glimpsed your soul somewhere in my space
Perhaps in a yellow striped bumble bee
And though you changed I recognize your face
But stung by your insensitivity

Wading through tears, my grief so prodigious
We’ve lost so much, love now sacrilegious

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

AND HERE IS MY ANNUAL BIRTHDAY SONNET CREATED FROM THE FIRST LINES OF SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS:

#60 Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
#88 When thou shalt be disposed to set me light
#66 Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
#80 O, how I faint when I of you do write.

#139 O, call not me to justify the wrong
#150 O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
#100 Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so long
#28 How can I then return in happy plight

#43 When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see
#66 Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
#52 So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
#115 Those lines that I before have writ do lie

#56 Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
#71 No longer mourn for me when I am dead

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) and William Shakespeare

Characters from Shakespeare’s plays. Unknown artist.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: When and how did your passion for Shakespeare start?

CLARISSA: I saw my first Shakespeare play in high school. It was a class trip to a local movie house showing Hamlet starring Richard Burton. This was a filming of a rehearsal with no scenery or costumes. There Burton was in a black sweater (my favorite clothing color) and without the distraction of a mise en scène, Hamlet suddenly became real to me:  just words and emotion. I then began reading his plays very carefully. Around that time, I bought a copy of MacBird!, the Macbeth satire centering around the theory that President Johnson was behind the JFK assassination. Once again, I saw the incredible relevance of WS. I began reading him for enjoyment, rather than to pass school tests and although not covered in class, I discovered his sonnets.  How I love the structure of a Shakespearean Sonnet! Everything WS wrote can be seen in a modern context and that was what I needed to learn in order to enjoy him.

JAMIE: What drew you to writing your own poetry?

CLARISSA: At about age 3 or 4 I had a Little Golden Book called A Bird Can Fly and So Can I.  There was about a line or two for a series of animals and my parents read it to me so many times that I memorized it and composed my own poem about a pig.  I don’t know if I had an innate sense of rhythm or if it is the autism, but although I was never a finger waver (we are all different on the Autism Spectrum) I was certainly a “counter” and loved flicking my fingers over numbers and syllables especially.  Rhyming poetry just suited me. Didn’t know the name, but when I finally learned about Iambic Pentameter (and all those other meters) I began writing my own sonnets. I mostly write open and free verse now, but I think the physical part of words has been replaced by my playing ukulele and guitar.  Something about pressing the chords and plucking them on string instruments reminds me of rhythmic, but structured, writing.

JAMIE: Who are the poets other than Shakespeare that you admire?

CLARISSA: The great Confessional Poet Sylvia Plath will always be my heroine because of the honest sharing of her mental health struggle. It is the reason why I mention my autism in many of my poems. Another is Emily Dickinson with her slashing dashes.  I tend to end my poems with ellipses because it is as if my voice is trailing off… But one day I wondered if I was unconsciously doing a passive-aggressive imitation of her. Marina Tsvetaeva who said “I know the truth” (and she did) has touched me no matter how many times I read her poems.  Allen Ginsberg’s Howl changed my whole opinion of poetry, indoctrinating me into a lifetime of so-called hippie-ism that can be interpreted as love of peace and tree-hugging. TS Eliot’s Waste Land, despite his bigotry in other works, has always remained one of my favorite poems (as you can see in my first poetry book Madame Sosostris Explains). Finally, I would add Bob Dylan. Once announcing to a Survey of American Lit class that he was the greatest contemporary poet, the class and the instructor howled with laughter, so all these years later I finally felt vindicated when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

JAMIE: What is the importance of poetry on the global scene?

I adore social media.  FaceBook and WordPress have been incredible avenues of not only reading the words of poets world-wide, but also gaining friends, virtual but real, nevertheless.  I don’t sell many poetry books on Amazon but am pleased to see that many of my books are borrowed in India and Japan.  Most of all, it is the only way to truly learn about different cultures. This is why I enjoy your associated Ezines including The BeZine and The Poet By Day, 100,000 Poets for Change, and other sites you have generously shared. Reading globally, and being able to comment on other works, are what I consider grassroots-level knowledge. These poems are not media soundbites or part of a political or monetary agenda. The poets are people like me and you who want the same thing: respect, a safe and healthy environment for family and friends, and the freedom to have fun without being hurt or harming others. I think the great WS would have loved the world-wide web…

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you!

© 2019, words and photo, Clarissa Simmens; Shakespearian characters illustration is in the public domain.

CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja) is an independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Favorite music genres include Classic Rock, Folk, Romani (Gypsy), and Cajun with an emphasis on guitar and violin music mainly in a Minor key. Find her on Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE.

Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.


ABOUT