I Name You Fear . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy



Of special note:

  • Please don’t miss Iron Wind, Zimbabwean poet in exile Mbizo Chirasha’s response to the current prompt. An explanation for its solitary publication is included in the post.
  • Wisconsin poet, DeWitt Clinton, wrote, “I’ve visited many hospital rooms over the years, and occasionally, I was a patient. I’m always drawn to Sylvia Plath’s poem about her stay in a hospital following a surgical procedure.”  I didn’t have enough time to get Harper Collins’ permission to publish Tulips today. You can read it in its entirety HERE.
  • Irene Emmanuel and Diana Lundell, if you have sites or Amazon pages to which you’d like me to link, email the links to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

Today I am pleased to present the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, At the Beginning of the Pandemic, March 11, in which Michael Dickel asked poets to ponder: “How to bring illness (personal or pandemic) of the ailing body, pain, and language to point to culture, philosophy, and consciousness in poetry that also points ‘…to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life’? Especially at this cultural-historical moment of an emerging pandemic?” The result is a journey through a spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

The poets who contributed to this collection are: Paul Brookes, Jamie Dedes, Irene Emanual, Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan), Corina Ravenscraft, RedCat, and Clarissa Simmens. Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, and RedCat are new to Wednesday Writing Prompt and warmly welcome.

Please do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.

Stay safe and healthy,

Warmly,
Jamie


As I write this, my daughter is watching a YouTube live stream lesson. The Ministry of Education streams a lesson to all first graders from 9–9:30 each school morning. My son is working on tasks and following links posted on this class web page. At 11 am the fourth graders, his class, will have their half-hour live-streamed lesson. I have a moment to write while they work, before I leave for an “essential” appointment, which will likely be my last meeting this week. Later, I will go to the grocery store to pick up three or four things we are running low on. I’ll probably notice a couple of other things to get, just in case. The people I see and I will try to maintain a distance of two meters. Yesterday I went for a walk, just to get out of the house. The sun was warm, so I sat on a bench with my iPad and answered some emails. Those of us out kept our distance, but more than usual we made eye-contact, greeted each other, wished each other good health.

Welcome to COVID-19 time. I think that it is important to make eye contact, to acknowledge each other, especially as we make wide arcs around each other. I think it is important too keep our connections, even across distance. And this is something poetry does. Here, we offer the week’s responses to my prompt on writing poems about illness (personal to global) and pandemic, creating a literature that points to culture and meaning in the time of COVID-19.

We have amazing and strong responses. They range from cancer to COVID-19 pandemic panic syndrome, from personal to observational. The language is strong. The poems succeed in doing what Ann Jurecic, (Illness as Narrative: Composition, Literacy, and Culture, p. 131)  “…all point to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life.…”

In this COVID-19 time, please do your best to stay healthy. Support your community as you can, especially in helping to prevent spread, but also by catching a distant eye, nodding, smiling, saying “Shalom, manishma?” (Peace, how are you?) And wish them, “Libryut” “to (your) health.” Social distance need not be without connections.

Shalom, how are you? To (y)our health!

—Michael (Meta/ Poor(e) /Play)


The Virus

On my till
An old lady flinches when I touch
Her handing her change.

Boss is stockpiling anti-bac wipes.
Wash your hands as often as you can
As money is the dirtiest of things.

Anti-bac wipe your touch screen,
And where folk lift up the fridge doors,
And the price strips.

Toilet rolls are disappearing.
It dissipates the virus,
While it rests on other surfaces.

Folk avoid public bannisters,
Walk down the middle.
That old woman’s flinch
Stays in my mind.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

My Caladrius

All white bird a ghost who stares intently
into my jaundiced eye,

then flies towards sunblaze
where it sweats all my illness
in droplets to the earth.

If the bird looks away
this disease succeeds.

Some healthy hide the bird
under their coat,
refuse to offer it
with the thought
nobody gets owt for free.

Some say the bird is a saviour.
Some put faith in fleeting things.

Originally published in the Blue Mountain Review

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Disease Is A Gift

It was really cool to see who could get
illest first, cos you’d like get all this fuss.
My bestest mate Rhianna, reporters interviewed her, and she’d be on the news.

And folk who felt sorry for her gave
her lots of money so she could go
to Disney in America and have
the most expensive doctors,

and like, get well, but she didn’t,
and they wouldn’t let me see her,
said she was too ill, and then
she died and I cried a lot,

she wasn’t on the news anymore
but to me she was even famouser.

Except from Paul’s collection A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes 

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
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


Lockdown

Bronchi and alveoli seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of Corvid-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Jamie is the curator of The Poet by Day.


Never Named

Chatter-clips in muffled murmurs
overheard.
Overt opinions in strained silence
suspended.
Tactful teacups in stilled saucers
of tears.
Reverberating reels of sudden shock
echoing.
Mystified minor in innocent ignorance
unaware.
Death danced in devilish delight
unnamed.
Years later, I learned about
CANCER.

A TOUCH OF CANCER

Unasked, unwanted, it appeared;
a black dot on the middle of my right cheek.
A spider bite? A probable assumption.
It developed a white head,
I squished it, it spurted and grew a scab.
Then it became an unsightly scabby growth
of potent ugliness, taking over my cheek.
A skin specialist was consulted.
He was fascinated, he concluded that this “spider bite”
needed an investigation.
He cut and sent a sliver to be biopsied.
Final diagnosis:
“Squamous Cell Carcinoma” of the cancerous type.
Remedy:
Immediate removal, non-negotiable.
Twenty-one stitches later, the growth lay vanquished.
As “Frankenstein’s” distant cousin, I faced the World.
Vitamin E oil has finally smoothed the scar
into a faded memory of a major scare.
I am eternally grateful to faith and Dr. J.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel


The Virus 

A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.

We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?

Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.

Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.

© 2020, Joe Hesch

Joe’s site is A Thing for Words


Pandemic

I have a small cold
and a library book to return.
Should I wipe it clean with disinfectant
and return it through the book drop?
Or let it become overdue?

I have a hair appointment
for next week Thursday.
If I feel better by then,
should I keep it?

I have a massage appointment
for the following week
which I really need
because I’m stressed
but they tell me not to come
for two weeks from the onset
of an illness. Do I count from
Monday when I began feeling
run-down or Friday
when I finally I knew why?
One means keep it,
the other cancel.

I don’t know if I have a fever.
My thermometer’s broken
and there are none in the stores,
but I’m in the target age group who die.

I have health insurance. Should I get tested?
The news says not to just show up
at your doctor’s office,
if you think you have the virus.
But will they then show at mine
making a spectacle, lights a-flaring,
outing me to the neighbors?
Or will it be like China
removing me by force?

My job tells us to stay home if sick
but they don’t provision for those
who don’t have enough sick leave
so I don’t call the doctor and go to work,
pretending to be perfectly well.

© 2020, Diana Lundell


..spoons..

yes, we have been indoors a while now

it has happened before, do you remember

that year the snow came & i had to have a

taxi to get there

how all the guttering & aerials went with

the weight of it

suspension springs snapped

then after everything was repaired

some words we google then change

the letters about to confirm with

that which is deemed correct

granny had special knives too, fish

and butter and some others. on a

rainy day she would let us play with them

i still enjoy cutlery

i am not called that, mine is more

the usual without the d, however

now he texts me i am abbreviated

into gma

which is cool

i am enjoying being in so much

yesterday i was already and coated

then saw the snow warnings on the

pass

so made coffee and ate malt loaf

the only other issue being some virus

out there

another reason, should i say excuse

for staying home

with my google assistant

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


I NAME YOU FEAR

Like the wind, your exact birth is shadowy, even murky,
But the flow, and rush, like an old bull, is marked by scores of bruises,
Laughter is now whispered jest,
Camaraderie is thinning like a slippery path,
Ten fingers pointing at one location,
Might we be missing the point?
Like the wind on a sneeze,
Breath carries death so they say,
Goose pimples on a population that now hibernates indoors,
Scrubbing hands behind masks to keep the stray bullets off the air waves,
Palpable is FEAR rippling down the spines of the assumed healthy,
Boarders shrinking before the eyes of a cruise ship afloat a memorable trip,
Statistics roll out with diversity,
Some minimizing, some maximizing,
Along while back, we learnt a sweet investment called individualism,
Fenced diffences against the onslaught of our privacy,
Would the wind honor this paid service or even approve it?
Death is a chief garantor of flesh after a time,
It’s the fate of birth,
But fear is the monster that serves deathness to the living,
As we suffer shortage of basics in the war against a warring virus,
Some have hoarded food supplies for a decade,
Some are stocking distance for their own in remote homes,
Some are breathing through masks In bunkers below the ground,
History has a thing about life,
Mans best intentions are tested by calamity,
And the world has one right now,
The morbid fear of catching a dreaded virus,
That has already taken some down and has no respect for boundaries,
How we die depends on how we live,
If fear governs our senses enough to barricade ourselfs away from those in need,
We shall for sure die,
But before the physical,
Our Soul will have died Twice over from fear,
And thrice over from the meanness of withholding help to the needy, in an effort to preserve ourselves,
So ” I name you fear”, O you colonial hunter of human health,
And banish you to the deserts of dusty horizons,
Where your barren unconcern must remain buried,
To give man a chance at rebirth in the genuine concern of one facing this ultimate test of living,
I ” name you fear” O you coward who escaped your masters rogue shed to shade the color of life a night without the dance of the stars,
I ” name you fear” and tag you loser for records show others came before you and perhaps did worse,
So we know we shall survive you for life is a survivor from the realms of amniotic fluids to the trenches of war,
For life is held by a divine hand that constantly looks onto it wellness,
So though unwelcome you came and may stay a bad season,
Tomorrow is not yours except in records.
And those too, shall remain in archival shelves,
Once more to remind tomorrow that the human soul is a giant ,
And indomitable to any spirit that is not from it’s maker.
We shall suffer pain.
We shall lose some.
But we shall overcome the fear that you sow indifference that kills the living.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Viva Italia

because we all
get influenced by all
and all is you
and the air is heavy on the shoulders
let’s sit down all
(the night is a round table)
accept each other and
give ourselves to all
then the song remains
eternal
(because is chanted)

after your voice comes mine
around fire

© 2020, Bozhidar Pangelov (Bogpan)

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


~ SK was Right ~

They call it COVID, magic number 19,
One letter off, from birds who pick the bones clean.
Who are the carrion crows of this battle?
Who rake in profits from each, extended death-rattle?

The child king fired all the medic Gunslingers.
Now that he needs help, he only points fingers.
Has “Captain Trips” finally come at long last?
Does the Man in Black wear a plague doctor’s beaked mask?

“KA is a wheel…its one purpose, is to turn.”
Maybe Gaia just got tired of watching the world burn?
Each life snuffed out: a brick in the Dark Tower,
Each one, marking Mankind’s plummet from power?

All the child king’s puppets, and all his “Yes-Men”
Can’t put the world back together again.
If only we had some sort of Pandemic Team!
Or money for tests, instead of golf on the green.
Hindsight in 2020? Remains to be seen.

They call it COVID, magic number 19,

Perhaps it’s KA…and “All things serve the Beam.”

(Stephen King fans are probably likely to enjoy this piece a bit more than other readers. The number 19 is important to him, and figures deeply in many of his works, but none more so than in his Magnum Opus, “The Dark Tower” series.)

© 2020, Corina Ravenscraft


Novel Virus

Can a novel virus teach
What climate emergency so far have not?
The interconnectedness of a global world
No country beyond its reach
Collective action the only sensible plot
Work together without accusing insults hurled

Can a novel virus show
What’s closest to our hearts
What we value most of all
Do we dare accept, have courage to know
Faithfully confess what we display in all our art
Happiness only ever lay in following loving soul calls

Can a novel virus reveal
How compassionate living will be
Only way out the materialistic maze
Can we make a New Green Deal
Accept responsibility humbly
Changing our planet wrecking, extreme storm inducing ways?

© 2020, RedCat

RedCat’s site is The World According to RedCat


C-VIRUS

Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Technology
Uselessly
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Chaos
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Cordoncillo
Jaborandi
Lapacho
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens


Jamie Dedes:

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FEEL THE BERN

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

Sea Fever Again … and other poems to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of Cindy Tang, Unsplash

“How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four



Today is Super Tuesday here in the United States. It’s the day that the largest number of states hold their primaries to determine who will be the nominee for the next presidential election. What a relief to come back to the sanity of poetry and to let go the news, which I listened to on-again off-again as care givers were in and out today.

What a bracing collection of poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, walk sedately through the forest, February 26, which encouraged poets to write about nature as witness. These poems are more about observing or being in nature than being observed by nature. Close enough for our purpose, which is to provide a place to share creative work, to inspire, to exercise the poetic muscle, to connect with other poets, and to encourage.

This week we warmly welcome Kate Copeland and Adrian Slonaker to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt and welcome back Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Erick Nicholson, Clarissa Simmens, Leela Soma, and Mike Stone.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.



Envelope

little flakes of cloudy breaths
from the top all the way down
Winter beauty and bear
a cold pale and pain for
grey eating and drinking
So strategically dressed
she sticks to sitting outside
where the patio heater
Cannot read, concentrate
filling days with endless
songs and numberless walks
Watercold still no matter
there’ll be birdsong without fall
Wrapped up in a thousand shawls
as jewelry has different looks
On the back of an envelope
she scrawls her fears for the
November monsters in dreams now
the ginger-haired guy from her
adolescence nightmares is back
Summer makes her someone else
entirely no dark on the doorstep
no bogeyguys on an envelope
later when it turns light
no shadow days blue nights
to stare at and do nothing

© 2020, Kate Copeland

All the water in the world
a grey afternoon and just now
it starts to rain, big drops
in small pools on her terrace
looking outside – another
glass in her hand
the house gets dark
last light through the living
a house already silent since
he is gone, big drops
on the roof beating a drum
beating her dead heart
she sits down, suddenly
dead-tired but too afraid to
lie on their bed, big drops
against those windowpanes
a year of loss
has started
a lifetime of love
has ended
the man has cut her landline
and she cannot believe
there will ever be a
rising of another sun a
blowing out the clouds
another good morning beautiful
another – looking outside
all the water in the world will
not free the lights in the lake
this is how she will remember
losing, forever

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Upstate

Through the kitchen window to where the
lake ends and the trees touch her
lustrous sides, a rippleless motion
in the reeds waving at all the colours –
at me –

and the pines’ crowns simply
add a powdery green to where
the water starts a black-blue dark
leaving such velvety shine –
to me

Then dive in
because the leaves
they rustle turn a light
wind, stroking the season
still warm enough
to dive in unripple
this brightness the calmth

a happiness
polished by so much beauty
trees surrounding the lake
circles lost in this
dialogue of sounds and colours
how many identifiers are

there to believe?
crickets are laughing, a prey bird
sleuths the satiness

a happiness
so unworldly
a gratefulness
so unearthly

that I just dive in
bring me down back
to lights ways to wish
of colours and crowns

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Star System

A sultry summer night in August.
Crickets trill and the blue pool
water calms down. The hills smell
of oleander and she lies there.
Her bikini inviting, a vermouth
with no ice. Tempting lifetime in
California. I need help, she says.

Try to get to where
I am, he relucts, not a lot
better but at least you try.
And drifts off. About time
to get your act together
not ask more questions or
invite, so she sleeps soundly.

And winds up her dreams,
forgets the rain, his love
once. What matters not a lot
more than no ice than
to look outside where
hills, wealth, water
A sultry blue night in August.

© 2020, Kate Copeland


The Forest Beings Reply

We grow as Nature ordains
never complain and bear the pains
from black to grey, green to brown
one by one we fall to the ground
Our duty done with full obedience
spreading freshness and fragrance
with peaceful quietude we surrender
making space for others in elegance.
This is The Truth This is The Call
This is The Providence of The Fall
Be it Oak, Pine Fir or Kowhai
Sown ‘n Grown, This is The Final Cry’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

A Walk in the Green Forest

Green leaves trembling
With the tremors
Shivering with laughter
What do they see?
That makes them murmur
Sweet rustlings
Tender whisperings
Like the twittering
And the fluttering,
Manifesting Nature
In the green sea;

Waving leaves
Like the waves
Moving the living
And the dead
Spread for miles yet
With limits bound
Trunk so firm
in the ground
But the green
So serene
Silently brave
Taking life’s chance
Continues with the dance
Happy to be, to us unseen
With what, they see around.

© 2020, Anum Wasim Dar

These two poems are from Anjum Ji’s unpublished novel The Pencileeze Hall Forest Mystery, Winner NANOWRIMO 2012

Connect with Anjum here:


Biking to the Beach” – A Cascade Poem

The shoreline changes
My breath holds steady
Memories of salt, my beacon

The sea air shifts the sand
While waves grab the wet grains
The shoreline changes

Yet directions are not needed
The old bicycle just needs legs to pedal
My breath holds steady

Despite the sting in my eyes
Quickly there and then gone
Memories of salt, my beacon

© 2020, Irma Do

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


.private land.

yet there are paths,

walked, not just

by one or two.

or rabbits.

have young feet run here,

or solitary folk, thinking,

watching light hit water,

where monks crossed.

the abbey is swathed in snowdrops,

this time of year.

look for twigs.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Connect with Sonja here:


Sea Fever Again
[Apologies to John Masefield]

I must go down to the sea again, to the dirty sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a Greenpeace ship and a cause to sail her by;
And the oil slick and the dead fish and the oiled gulls drowning;
And a green scum on the sea’s face and a poisonous dawn breaking.

I must go down to the sea again to rescue the beached whales;
Most are covered in oily sludge so our futile rescue fails;
And all I ask is a clean-up plan and a white surf flying,
And a pure spray and dolphins leaping and bright gannets diving.

I must go down to the sea again and offer up a prayer
For the dolphins caught in plastic nets and seals gasping for air.
And all I ask is a global vow to honour life on earth;
To work together for a green vision and a glorious new birth.

© 2020, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher and lives in the NE of England. Eric’s site is: https://erikleo.wordpress.com


Invasion

The feet flexed
in vegan Earth Shoes,
but the thudding of size-eleven soles
mutilated the
woods’ wind-laced silence
that had snaked through
bare birch branches and along
boulevards of elms and maples and oaks-
sharing names with samey sterile streets
in the suburb I’d escaped
to seek an illusion of
pristine paths upon which I
encroached as inappropriately as a
cockroach at the Ritz.
My thirsty eyes sipped a pair of
blinking gray owls above a toad
darting around a puddle
polluted by a packet
tossed by another trekker
who’d snacked on granola
marketed by a
multinational conglomerate
as 100% natural.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Sedately Sauntering

Brambling buckets of blackberries
Hands torn by thorns
Moving from bushy density
To towering treeful forest
Lightning-struck structures
Of burned bark becoming
Horizontal forest barriers
Keeping some out
Some in
But either way we can win
Crackling clumps of leafy deciduosity
Red-orange-green
Self-composted bridges breaking
Bubbled muddy carpetry
Winding through lean, mean lanes
And I hear my name
Sung through dappled sunshine
Leading me mysteriously
As I walk erect and brave
Passing hidden graves of
Unknown feathered poets
Who serenaded their ribbon
Of life’s silken road
Composing high-strung music
Of unrecognized joy and tears…’

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Clarisa’s site is: Poeturja


Vermillion

Leaves fall down, blown away in the autumnal blitz
Gold strewn paths crunch and crackle underfoot
A single vermillion leaf like a tear drop stands proud
Defiant, blood red, life courses through its veins.

The widow looks askance; the blood red leaf sends a shiver
The memory of her wedding day, a bride adorned with jewels
The red sindoor* in the parting of her hair, beginning a new life
Of wedded love, happiness, babies, the start of a journey.

The sudden death of her spouse, the ritual of her widowhood
An awakening of the day as the sindoor on her forehead is wiped away
The bindi, the dot, the point at which creation begins, negated forever
The jangle of broken glass as bangles are crushed and ornaments discarded.

The white sari envelopes her shroud-like, a colourless palette
A life of the walking dead bereft of feelings, love or emotion.
Vermillion turned to ash, grey, unassuming as the leaden skies.
The blood red leaf is trodden under the walker’s brisk steps.

A lifeless mess of veins traces its lineage etched on the path
Lies submerged in the brown heap of dead leaves.

* Sindoor: Is a red dot applied to the bride on her wedding day and removed on widowhood.

© 2020, Leela Soma


Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
With God at my side
The two of us just talking
I took Him at His word
Because
of
the
sparkling
thing
Going on around Him
Me pushing the branches
Away from my face
And swatting at the gnats
And Him just walking
With nothing in His creation
Daring to touch Him.
Do
you
have
a
moment
to
see
something
beautiful?
He asked me of a sudden
And I said sure why not
So He walked up this tree
As though He were walking on a fallen log
Easy
as
could
be
While I had to shinny up
The tree bark
To get to that little branch so high up
But when I reached it
He showed me a little bird
Just loving to be so little
And love being little birds’ love
It seemed so natural.
I climbed back down carefully
While God just walked back down
As
easy
as
you
please.
We walked on in silence
Me and my gnats
And God and his Teflon demeanor
Til He stops and asks me a question.
Why
do
you
worship
Me?
What’s not to worship? I say.
Do
you
understand
Me?
He asks.
You move in mysterious ways, I say.
Do
you
think
I’m
moral?
I don’t know, I say
Not like we should be.
So
why
do
you
worship
something
immoral
you
don’t
understand?
That was the last I saw of Him
We cleared the forest a few years back
The missus and I
Have a clear view
From our back porch
Of
the
end
of
our
world.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Waiting for a Poem

You sit down on a bench
Facing the tree
In a small garden
Made quiet by the wrought iron
Fence and gate around it
Across the street from the bookstore.
You wonder will it ever find you again
So long ago and far away
From where you held on to each other
For dear life
Yes life was dear then
And then you wonder how you’ll recognize it
When it finally does arrive
It might be that ant making its way
Laboriously over a blade of grass
Toward that small range of pyramids
It calls home
Or a huge heffalump
Trumpeting in the Hundred Acre woods.
You notice a folded newspaper
On the edge of the bench
And reach over to pick it up.
Unfolding it you see her handwriting
Along a margin on the front page
“Aught have many
Many ought have one than naught”
And you think to yourself
That nothing in this godforsaken world
Is faster than the speed of night.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Hunting for a Poem 

You wake up before the sky over the hills lightens
When the dew is still wet and corpulent
Or you don’t go to sleep at all
Instead, you hunt in the blind night
Careful, slow and silent, intent
Like a child on what you want
While the hunted sleep trustfully but fitfully
In the forest awake with dangers
Or perhaps the city
House to house, door to door
Window by window, it may be watching you
Behind the curtains
It might be very small or very large
You won’t know until it’s too late
It may be in front of you
Or behind you
Ready to lunge at you
Or to fly off in a loud flapping of wings
How will you know
When you don’t even know the shape of it
Or the smell of it
Or the taste
Until you are locked in its deadly embrace?

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Walking the Fog 

First of all, fog is more practical than clouds;
I don’t have to tell you how down to earth it is.
Then there’s the fact that some fogs are friendly
While others are decidedly not.
I was walking home through the forest one evening
On the path I always follow
And saw it creeping silently toward me
Between the trees and over fallen logs and grasses
Licking my cheeks with its cold tongue.
Except for the nebulous grey-white
I couldn’t see beyond my poor shoes.
I turned around abruptly and picked up a naked branch
To use as a blind man’s tapping cane
And turned back toward the fog
That had swallowed me so thoroughly
Within its leviathan belly, that I had no clue
What was forward and what was back.
I remembered that the path was slightly less overgrown
With grasses than the sides, one of which climbed upward
While the other overlooked a rocky promontory.
The fog thickened and thinned in small swirls
As though taunting me to go this way or that
But behind the thinness was always
An impenetrable thickness.
That was when I saw the ghostly outline
Fading in and out of the fog,
Her sleeve and hood visible then invisible,
Visible and invisible,
Like a memory you try to reach
But can’t.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2020, Mike Stone

On Liking Maps Too Much

Personally, I like maps.
The precision of the black line boundaries,
The colors of the bounded entities,
And the proof that only four are needed
To separate each entity, whether town or country.
Like I said, I like maps, but not too much.
Whether two-dimensional or globular,
I’ve never come across a bound’ry line so well-defined
Or patch of ground colored just like on the map
On any of my nature walks.
Besides, I don’t much care for towns or countries,
But forests, lakes, the seas, and mountains,
Clouds and animals, and kind-hearted people,
Those are the beacons for my soul.
I’d like a map to show me where
The people are friendly and where they’re not,
Where the place is good for raising kids,
Where animals are treated well,
And where the earth is well-respected.
I don’t care if the boundary lines meander
Like creeks and clouds are wont to do.
This would be a map worth having –
I’d tuck it in my travel pouch.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D


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!



FEEL THE BERN

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

“A Plague on Both Your Houses” . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.”
Philip K. Dick

[Loneliness is your only friend]

In the face of algorithms, surveillance capitalism,
Political hacking, be in the world, not of it, the plague
Of lies and distortions, amoral predict-and-control,
Trust you to be the Truth and the Mercy, you are
The lived ethic  . . .
Jamie Dedes



Here we are at our first Tuesday in 2020 with responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, The Plague, January 7, which asked poets to write about living in a hacked world that is driving our consumption one our politics and policies

Today’s thoughtful collection is collection is courtesy of  Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Kakali Das Ghosh, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Mike Stone, and Clarissa Simmens.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning. All are welcome to come out and play, beginning poets, emerging and pro.


E- Plague Massacre

No hack ride nor tool
a horse would pass through rush hour
masked rider, no fool.

No Pied Piper to kill
wired theft e-connect exposed
bankrupt, ethics raped.

hotmail then Yahoo
info data all gone, lost
paper pen, safer?

No! Black or White Hat
safe, not kidnapped to Kenya
e-mail hit by hack,

This plague will not die
communications may fly
mouse lives in wi-fi

© 2020, 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


Liar, Liar

Cough, cough, ahem,
Excuse me,
You’re on fire
Yes, you, holding the cell phone
And scrolling
Scrolling
Is it Facebook? Instagram?
Twitter? Tiktok?
Or maybe just the news?
Oh, you don’t notice the smell?
The smoke coming from your pants?
Those pants twisted from all the gymnastics you do –
Well, not actual gymnastics
But the mental gymnastics you do
So you can sleep at night
Oh wait, that’s right
You don’t sleep
You’re scrolling
At 2 AM
Your body, your mind
Your life
Hacked
Into believing
You’re the only one entitled to the American Dream

© 2020, Irma Do

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


Light in the darkness

A hot smoke is emitting from our land
Smoke of the volcano is terrible – its natural
But fumes of pseudo politics-jelousy and diplomacy is more deadly
The sun in the sky is the source of energy
But today we need a sun on the ground
A real politician
A true leader
Who can shine light in the darkness of despair
He may the one who can bring a strong cool shower on the hot smoke
From the wound of earthly heart .

© 2020, Kakali Das Ghosh


:: hack ::

although

twitter account,

hotmail hacked,

hacked me off,

will continue to write

low-quality, quickly

put-together articles,

hack llanelltyd

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


The Good Old Days

A dry wind rushes the fallen leaves along
Like a desiccated school marm hurrying
Her children in from recess or maybe
A frightened father calling his kids to the shelter
During the insane oscillations of the incoming sirens:
Choose your metaphor based on where you live,
And I think about our politicians calling us
To return to the good old days
When people were nicer
When they listened to each other before talking
When they all knew what was right
And it was pretty much the same for all folks
But nobody tells them how to return,
That to return to those good old days
You have to be those good old people
Instead of what you’ve somehow become
Today.

© 2020, Mike Stone, Raanana Israel

Find more of Mike’s poetry at his website HERE. His Amazon page is  HERE.


A Plague on Both Your Houses!

*Mercutio, “Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare

Email bloated with accusing words
My own house, party,
Insisting on money
Issues like wet tissues
Disintegrating like my love of democracy
The issue is money to win
Worse, the other house
Opposing party
Tweets full of hatred
From a man I do not follow
Yet due to dictatorial rules
He raids my daily reading
With pictures and vitriol
Bacterial words of disease
Slamming the republic
Mocking my once-great land

I will vote
I will vote my house
Though plagued
Yet there is still a chance
For healing
Despite the unfeeling
Of those we put in power…

“We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?”**

**Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Find Clarissa on her Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE;


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

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.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact



FEEL THE BERN

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

 

Hanged Man, a poem by Clarissa Simmens

Ryder Waite Tarot XII, U.S. Public Domain

“’Christ! You know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me'” *



Crow cawing in early morning clouds
Tallest tree invisible in fog
Tarot’s Hanged Man
Initiation into a mysterious world
Odin hung for 9 days
Euhemerizationally** sacrificing his eye
Think of other mythical and biblical
Heroes hung over the centuries
All in the name of knowledge
Ah, but John Lennon
Knew he was a sacrifice
No worse than others
Yet, in his quest for wisdom
He cried out to us:
“Christ! You know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me” *
He knew, he knew
But tell me who
Would assassinate a rocker?
So many of us
Hanging in silence
Smoke and steam
Muffling our dreams
Then thinking we’ve learned
Slip off the slip knot
Abrading the ankle’s skin
Moving into the Earth’s valley
Carrying new knowledge
But never satisfied
And in time
Wake up to find
We’re back on the tree
Dangling in space
Another lesson to memorize
A path to retrace…

.
(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

.
This is poem is an excerpt from Clarissa’s collection Cording the Cards and shared here with Clarissa’s permissions.

,
* The Ballad of John and Yoko

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 onAmazon’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.


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

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.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact



FEEL THE BERN

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