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“The Grand Scheme of Things” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


In these responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, November 15, gods of our making, you’ll find some moving and discerning views into the way we create false gods, stuggle with and spin the fabric of belief, sometimes to justify the unjustifiable, and the ways in which belief systems learned in youth may come up wanting in the face of common sense and the hard realities of adult life.

Kudos to Mike Stone (new here and welcome), bogpan, Kakali Das Ghosh, Colin Blundell, Ginny Brannon, Renee Espriu, Anthony Carl and Paul Brookes for work that is engaging, honest, well considered and well written.

Anyone who would like to join in tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt is welcome to do so no matter the status of career: beginning, emerging or pro. All work shared on theme will be posted in the next collection on the following Tuesday. Meanwhile, enjoy these …


The Grand Scheme of Things

(Raanana, April 11, 2016)

The dark cloud squats heavily on the horizon
Undecided whether to drift slowly
Over our dusty fields with its fat bladder
Full of drought quenching rains
Or to drift up the coast a ways
To quench the thirst of our enemy’s fields.
O Lord, I know it makes no difference
In the grand scheme of things,
But I can’t help the fact
It would make all the difference in the world
To me.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Beliefs

(Raanana, December 4, 2016)

That I know what my wife is feeling,
That my love will be enough to protect her
From the lovelessness around her,
That my particular being might have some worth
In the eye of the Grand Schemer of Things,
That the sun will climb over the eastern mountains tomorrow,
That the ground on which I walk
Is as solid as any reality,
These are small beliefs I think
That won’t hurt anyone else,
At least I don’t believe so.
But there are grander beliefs
That grow stronger
With every man and woman who believes them,
That only the grandest edifices
Can house them,
These beliefs,
Like who’s a chosen people
And who’s a virgin, an only son, or a true prophet,
Beliefs that hurt those who don’t believe them.
These are the beliefs I don’t believe
Are any good for anything
That’s not a building.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

A True Believer

(Raanana, February 10, 2017)

Although there is truth
I will never know it
Or be absolutely sure.
Although the world
And universe above and below
Do in fact exist
I will never perceive or conceive it.
Although all this is true
There is not enough evidence
To make of me a true believer
A skeptic or a cynic
An optimist or pessimist.
According to forensic science
Every criminal leaves a trail
Except for God and His magicians.
All this and less
As we move forward in our time.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Forsaken Children

(Raanana, September 23, 2017)

The child is taught
When there is no help
God is our help,
When there is no hope
God is our hope,
When there is no redemption
God is our redemption.
These are honeyed words
To hear on sabbath after new years,
They succor us until we need them to be true
And then they desert us
Just like God did long ago
And we cry out from our crosses
With our last breaths like His Son
Why have You forsaken Me?
The truth is it’s our beliefs that crucify us,
Better to die like a lion roaring
Against the jackals of death
Or an eagle falling silently
From the sky
Than like forsaken children
Waiting for redemption.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Mike Stone

MIKE STONE Although this is Mike’s first time on Wednesday Writing Prompt, I think many of you know him from other venues. I do believe he has participated in every The BeZine 100TPC event as well. Mike was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947 and was graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army and the Israeli Defense Forces. He’s been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU and supports his writing habit by working as a computer networking security consultant. He moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and three grandchildren.


(Have the life)

The wings are bending of a dead
wind.
Under the fallen papers with words
blank
not burnt cockroaches are running
back
and forth
making noise…
And the ocean dries up.
The death is whispering in eyes
every single while,
when you’re bent above the oars.
The oars are making after the hits
circles
and they’re expanding.
A twitch and the end.
But the tries are repeated.
It doesn’t matter.
They leave sweat and tears,
pieces of keels,
trails of activity,
grief.
Where are you going in the early afternoon,
When the twilight
Is lying on your shoulders?
(but love is a place sedentary).
Repent –
know-it-all.

Have the life!

© 2017, bogpan (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия)


they asked Bertrand Russell

how he would react
if when dead he found that God really did exist —
that he had been wrong all along…

what would he do when he arrived
at the Pearly Gates
to be welcomed by St Peter?

what would he say to God?

without hesitating Russell said:
I’d go up to him and I’d say
you didn’t give us enough evidence

(From my The Recovery of Wonder (2013)

© 2013, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


Still Searching for Answers

I have lifted my eyes to the heavens to pray
trying to renew the faith I once felt;
coming to find at the end of the day
that life as I know it is centered on doubt.
How can God sanction such anger and hate,
the loss of a parent to such a young child;
the illness and pain that never abates…
too many questions left unreconciled.

We thank God for all of the good things that come,
but who takes the blame for the unanswered prayer?
Time intercedes until we’ve become numb—
stuck in this place between hope and despair.

I believe there are angels who wander among us:
in the friend who just senses when you need to talk;
in the kindness of strangers when we are in crisis,
who lift and support us when we cannot walk.

Life lessons learned have hardened this heart;
still God bless the ones who can truly believe.
Blind faith without proof is really an art;
it’s through love and kindness I’ll find my reprieve.

I still ponder the words that we heard in our youth:
to pray, to have faith that our voice will heard;
but have come to acknowledge this as my truth—
my Divinity’s found helping those here on earth.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)


Gods Like A Twining Snake

Gods cloaked as inner fears
grounded in DNA
like a twining snake
posed to lunge
to strike

waiting within a tired mind
weariness a braided chain
harnessing movement

reality sinking into quicksand
bogs of memory calling
burning names
taunting

Gods of money and loving guns
meaningless possessions
of nameless masses

when the use of words like arrows
taken from the quiver
can be weaponry
to fight

dueling with engines
created of cells
stinging like bees

identified as expectations
masked as perfection
a straight line
blue chalk
do not cross

we try to let go, let be
erase illogical revenue
nothing money
can buy

for these Gods leave
no purchase
are grounded
on a slippery
slope

quickly buried by mud slides
that alter belief in self
confidence askew
in the remnants
of time

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


#Falsehood of legendary Gods#

Swimming through their tears I live
Shedded leaves let out a deep sigh
The fiscous sky leaves a black smile
Howl of funous thunder
Heehaw of rampant lightning
tear apart hearts
A lorn’s cry for mom
A beggar’s bowl beside a temple
A street child’s furious search for a wrapper
A destitute aback a flash flood
Casts the falsehood of legendary Gods
Towards galaxies
Towards constellations
Towards this whole universe.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


alma mater

i.

the machine believes money
is love. honor and prestige
parade through the town

with cash clenched tightly
in their hands. they build
monuments to honor sport

while souls are crushed
under the clamor of their
self-congratulatory speech.

ii.

the hallowed halls
ring hollow with words,
reeking of self-preservation.

indeed if ghosts
still pass through these walls,
the living do all the haunting.

© 2017, Anthony Carl (Anthony Carl)


Godfather Life

I am born dead.
My father weeps
as he has nowt
and hopes for best.

He holds us out
in middle of our road
and offer as whoever
says they want me

can be my godfather.
God turns up first
and says as he can give me
eternal life in heaven.

Dad tells him to bugger off
as I’ll still be dead
and he’ll still be bereft.
Devil arrives next,

and says he can give me
all riches and principalities
in world at cost of my father’s
blood and soul.

Dad tells him to bugger off
as riches are in other things
and he don’t want me
without a father.

Then Life turns up
and says he will make me
a miracle worker and bring
other folk to life. Dad agrees.

When I’m of age
Life says to me
“I’ve given you breath
of life you can gi to others.

When you see me not there
it means as they shunt
have it. Don’t make me smile.
You won’t like it.

If I laugh it will be at you
not with you. You’ll have
disobeyed me, so I must
take away your gift.”

Then my wife drowns suddenly.
I think surely life
won’t mind, but
it isn’t there. I kiss

her lips till they redden.
And there was Life
at the foot of the bed,
and it’s smiling.

It tells “Well done.
Pleased to see such progress.
You have challenged me.
I like your spirit. Let

it go this once. Your wife
needs a hug.” Then my dad
dies of asphyxiation
in a car accident.

As I’m about to give
Dad my breath
Life pulls me away
with a “I know you

want the best for him.”
I reply “If you take
my gift give it to him.”
Life takes my breath away.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

A Sea God

“Don’t let it get away!”
my sister shouts as my Dad’s hot air
wrapped in rubber flaps up
over the ocean in a cross gust.

We both climb in to steady it.
“We’re going out too far!
“I can’t see mum and dad.”
She shouts clambering back out.

She grasps the rope to pull
it forward but gust is too strong.
She lets rope go. “I’m going
back.” she shouts and swims away.

I paddle but gust is against me.
I get out, grab the rope, try to haul,
the current against me. I climb
back in. Watch beach and mam

and dad disappear, till there is only
the gusted, grey green waves.
It is cold. In my trunks I curl
into a question mark
in the rubber dinghy.

Suddenly, a shout. A huge hand
gathers me and dinghy up.
I rise into air. Lifted
into a smelly fishing boat.

“Thought tha wa lost their lad.”
the sea god says.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Editorial Note: I just finished reading Paul’s newest collection, She Needs That Edge, which is scheduled for publication shortly. Look for the alert on Paul’s site or here in Sunday Announcements. It’s another fabulous read by this indefatigable Yorkshire poet. In this collection Paul combines his singular style with acute insight into the human condition. He takes us through five stories, pictures of the great and small ironies of life. We observe the daily routines, rituals and reactions in lives where birds have jam sessions on rooftops, mausoleums live on fridge doors, the memory of a touch stays with the skin; lives where hands are telling and people hunger, give what’s not wanted and take what’s not given. In short, Life with all its pathos and ethos. She Needs that Edge will be well worth your time and pennies.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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


Here is our collection from last week’s writing prompt, into the great yawning, November 8: what should we do, what should we ask for, when we know that vision has died and lunacy is on the rampage?  It garnered such an interesting, pointed and passionate response.

The great joy of themes and prompts is that there are always surprises.You just never know where people are going to take an idea. It’s always a jumping off point to something that’s been nagging – perhaps even raging – from each writer’s unique perspective.

I never hold people strictly to the theme or the prompt, which I recognize is an irritation to some … or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told recently. The thing is: art comes from sacred space. That has to be honored. So if the piece is linked by a thin silken thread or was written before the prompt went up and the poet/writer is inclined to share, so be it. Amen, I say.  This is, after all, an informal exercise meant to inspire, work the writing muscle, offer a venue for worthy ideas and writers, and to provide a chance to get to know others who share our passions. Enjoy!

… and thanks to Colin Blundell, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes and Juli. Bravo! Your ideals are real.

The next Wednesday Writing Prompt will post tomorrow. All are welcome to join in no matter the status of career: beginning, emerging or pro.


beware

the Abstraction Monster
roughing its way
through pompous discourse
whose wifflers maybe don’t realise
quite how they destroy
all purchase on the sticks & stones
of things – real apples ripening
towards August drainage systems
against water on the brain…
George Washington’s Birthday
done by Charles Ives
complete with jaw harp
dissolving into glorious dancing

freedom justice beauty
our country (usually wrong) money –
Abstraction Monster friends
death-dealing to the tip
of the iceberg thought

real thinking dwells in all the open doorways
and river basins of the wide wide world

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

This comes from my 2016 ‘101 apolitical poems’ (ironical!) in which the poem (posted here not necessarily as a contribution, just for amusement), headed by a quotation from my favourite long-dead politician, is: “No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.” Aneurin Bevan (1948)

lower than vermin

therefore not really vermin at all –
not worms (Latin vermis = worm) or snakes
or miscellaneous bugs
not reptiles not fleas or flying ants
not wild animals not insects of any kind
difficult to control in large numbers

but maybe ghouls that go bang
in some dark pit at dead of night
at the centre of an impenetrable forest
whose trees are constructed
out of piled up old rancid dustbins
that haven’t been emptied for months
where not even rats will go
for a Sunday afternoon promenade
for fear of the calculated potholes

I wonder if ghouls that go bang
in the night really are lower than vermin –
there may be something even lower

ridiculous demons if they weren’t
so terrifyingly malevolent

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


a vision requested.

early while driving.                     omen repeating

sometimes the sun comes lower after the crest

one moment

imagine them marching,           slow & white.

will you name them?

in the wake all things come clear.

slow & white.

later below the peaks i tell him. he said it is

the dark crystal.

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


Don’t Get (From A World Where 2)

involved. Distance yourself.
Else you’ll be wound in,

A fish on a line, handed
responsibilities you can’t handle.

Care for those you help will absorb
all the time you can spend with yourself.

Stay sane. Hold folk at arms length.
Others who can afford it will fill the absence

You make with your lack of response
When a person falls, injures themselves.

Be assured their are professionals our society
employs who can deal with it better than you.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Our Insanity (From A World Where 2)

is healthy. Hurt others,
hurt yourself. Hospitals

widen wounds. Firemen
are firestarters. Doctors

avidly spread disease.
Dementia is encouraged.

Helpfulness and reasoned action
is criminal. Thought for others

will get you referred to a psychiatrist.
Multiple personality is encouraged.

Not knowing who you are is wellbeing.
Celebrate murder, envy, greed, selfishness.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

The Offering

of your place for theirs.
A seat for those who cannot stand.

An arm for those who need support.
An empathetic word for those who grieve.

Warmth for those cold as marble.
A smile for those downcast.

Small acts of give amongst the take.
Your strength amongst the enfeebled.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


The Exponential Demise of our Well-Being

You know that sudden speeding montage of thoughts and images you get when a torrent of information flashes through your mind and your consciousness grasps their thematic connections and creates a glimpse of the bigger picture? It only lasts seconds but it’s revelatory and dramatic and, when it produces a physical resonance, can be said to reveal truth – be it the individual’s recognition of a personal truth or of an external reality. You shiver, feel sick, overwhelmed perhaps, or optimistic, even excited if the epiphanous moment is positive. It’s the kind of high frequency, moment of clarity that sparks creativity, spurs innovation and signposts direction – and of course, it can also incite utter panic. The fact that it’s not an everyday occurrence – besides probably making such events all the more meaningful – is likely a good thing: there is such a thing as ‘too much’ and systems, mechanical or biological, do not really appreciate being overloaded.

But what about the low frequency hum of the mundane? The unnecessary, interminable tension imposed by the government and its agents, who intervene for our own good like stereotypical missionaries: they’re enough to drive the sanest people to distraction. For a party which professes ‘small state’ governance, they’ve made spectacular inroads into nearly all levels our daily lives, with their micro-management and moral prescriptions. They’re like all-enveloping smog, systematically choking the goodwill, the patience and the hope out of an entire nation.

This bass resonance features large in our everyday domestic arrangements too. Life is a journey of relationships, private, public and overwhelmingly political in nature. Government is in your face; so is media hype. But maybe, so are your neighbours, members of your family, your friends, your boss, your ‘clients’… we are all someone intruding in another’s space. As the infrasound increases pitch and pierces the surface, the customary dynamics dance under intensifying friction with random acts of ‘true colours’ and out-of-character behaviour.

People are living precariously under perpetual and pernicious stress. (Sorry for the ‘Ps’) You don’t need me to tell you about the growing surveillant, authoritarian management-style; the stark poverty living side by side with gluttony; religious oppression and paranoia; conflict and invasion; economic malfeasance – the list is almost as endless as it is global – and the cost of such dis-ease, as we all know, is far more than monetary. We are being worn down by failure and blame and uncertainty. People can’t help but project their hopes and fears into the future, but how much can you channel or manage them when you are the puppet of puppets?

I see the low frequency as starting to have the same impact as the high. We are overwhelmed and panicked and most people are either fighting it off, drowning under it or veering between the two. This is a fight or flight lifestyle and it is unsustainable: you can’t operate indefinitely on adrenaline, can you? Not without serious repercussions to your physical, mental and emotional health. That would be like perpetual war…

Mental health is a spectrum. We’re all on it. We travel its width in both directions for the length of our lives and, if we avoid the pain at its extremes, it is surely by some merciful grace? But this does not mean that the rest of us are healthy individuals, communities or nations. Not when we live in a state of constant dis-ease.

For as long as they can, people cope as well as they can, with whatever resources they can muster and with varying degrees of success. It might be instinctive but it’s exhausting and dispiriting to exist rather than to live, so it doesn’t take any genius to understand why some will chose denial rather than face reality or the unknown; that many of those who cannot unsee and unknow, will seek intoxication as respite; and that recklessness will become attractive to some while others will withdraw and become frozen.

And people snap. Everyone has a breaking point – though I must confess: it’s somewhat reassuring in the UK, to know you are at least unlikely to be shot at. But, facetiousness aside – I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to discover where my snapping point is – I can’t help but imagine we will see and hear of many implosions, both in our personal spheres and in the News at large. There’s an ever increasing number of people who live every day at the threshold of a breakdown: people who are grateful if they merely find themselves no worse off at the end of their day than at its start. Every day. With no seeming end.

Lives of such fragility are surely unsustainable: they are certainly an obscene mark on a modern world. I fear that, in a climate of continual manipulation and confusion, gifted by the accelerating machinations of a powerful few, the exponential demise of our well-being is almost certain. But, just as pain and anger can be warning signals that something is wrong, so too is the hum and it is screaming at us to make the madness stop: to pay attention to real meaning and create meaningful solutions

© 2017, Juli [Juxtaposed] (Subject to Change)

A frozen spring

The behaviour of our world leaders is extraordinary. These creatures trot out one ridiculous line after another about whatever and whoever, seemingly oblivious to the irony of their expedient relativism, all the while projecting as if theirs was the light and the way. They make policies based on any outlying prediction of convenience that their hypothetical histrionics can fashion and these become as the self-fulfilling prophesies of their tragic little imaginations. I’d say you couldn’t make it up but I reckon they do.

The scope for all manner of catastrophe by their obnoxious, cynical hands is horrifying. And we keep being told that there’s no alternative; that it’s competence or chaos; mainstream or radical fringe; with us or against us; deserving or undeserving; ally or monster; either-or. Always either-or… To do this they oversimplify each issue and circumstance, scapegoating or sexing up, until it is reduced to a catchy, polarizing meme and then they feign consternation over all the threats and distress they’ve conjured. Or do they conjure up a load of threats and distress and then simplify them to polarize everyone…?

How are we continuing to tolerate such an industrialised scale of hypocrisy and hubris? How on earth are we still bearing their cold indifference to cause and consequence; the expedience of their cruel, misguided pragmatism? How do we stomach the interminable provocations and funnelled paranoia? I don’t believe our modern species is so readily predisposed to such superficial extremes. I think we’re far too full of contradictions and nuance once you get underneath the first couple of layers. Why are these creatures still being allowed to get away with their obscene behaviour? At what point will we admit we are complicit and have learned to love our chains? For, if we are not; have not: where are our blazing pitchforks?

And Mainstream News’ content and delivery? It mostly seems to collude to serve the Powerful. We get fed shallow headlines followed by even shallower analyses; celebrity big-up or tear-down; something about someone, who apparently should know better, not toeing the latest line; a report about a report on something so appalling that people cannot understand how it could ever have happened at all, must ‘never again’ but probably will; a few temporary and meaningless economic numbers, followed by even more meaningless analysis; another story of hair-raising incompetence or fraud, quickly justified or deflected; another populist policy to tempt, punish or placate, framed as anything but the tinkering that it is; merit given to sheer electioneering mischief… And on and on. Every day more surreal and yet so sterile.

There are moments, some days and some whole days when it’s as though my outrage and numbness have been whisked into a solid fusion. It’s like I’m flung, for a period, into suspended animation. The passion of impotent protest, crowding in and freezing my whole being. I know it’s a fleeting overwhelm of emotion and thought but, well, it’s visiting more often and staying longer. Sometimes I think I’m only saved from losing ‘it’ due to lashings of healthy irreverence, an eye for the wry and a great deal of there but for the grace of… And I wonder at the leadership which creates and depends on a world of fight or flight for its profit; at all those around the world for whom this designed overwhelm is an imposed, perpetual constant. How are there not more people running around, demented, with wild eyes, pulling their hair out? Or curling up in a corner and rocking? I think we are, though, in our souls. Is it just me being temporarily consumed by the fanned extremes of my own angst or am I tripping into the angst of collective consciousness?

For the global atmosphere is a heavy fog of fear and denial, so widespread, so deep, so prevalent that, whether consciously or subconsciously, it must overshadow and infiltrate every individual to some degree. Even if you’re paying only a little attention to national and international affairs and conditions, you surely cannot fail to be at least uneasy about the interminable, mind-blowing ineptitude that has put our world in such a state – however you measure yourself by pressing ideological instruments. And they are pressing, aren’t they? In this reckoning coming – for reckoning is our current trajectory – there will be teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing for everyone.

And yet…

I have hope. It’s in that inextinguishable light contained in Humanity’s heart and mind and an enduring faith in our capacity for enlightenment and generosity of spirit. And I tell my shadow self that this grotesque age, too, shall pass. That the People will rise. That these monsters of narrow, selfish ideology will surely be slain lest our doom be sealed because, simply, it’s the grotesque or the rest of us. And I tell myself that, whether I’ll still be sane (please smile at that) or even still around for our healing, it matters little. Others will be. However long it takes. And that those generations will conduct themselves a bit better, perhaps for longer, next time around.

© 2017, Juli [Juxtaposed] (Subject to Change)

‘especially in times of dark‘

Always
but especially in times of dark,
encroaching space,
my hope alights and leans
on an enduring faith
in the human spirit
and the myriad illumined pockets
of kindness and enlightened thought.
They are as the stars in a night sky:
escape the density of beamed artifice
and they are constant; visible.
For the heart sees what it looks for
as much as does the mind’s lensed eye.

© 2017, Juli [Juxtaposed] (Subject to Change)


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“Time Fetches” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

© Original watercolor, colored pencil and acrylic by the multitalented Renee Espiru. Her poem is featured below.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Wishing you all treats and no tricks … and here’s your first treat of the day, a poetic Halloween celebration courtesy of Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Colin Blundell, Renee Espiru, Kakali Das Gosh, and John Anstie with a link to Joseph Shaw’s audio of John’s poem to music.  Enjoy!  … and do join in tomorrow for a prompt from a special guest poet. All are welcome, no matter where you come from or whether you’re beginning, emerging or pro. The last Wednesday Writing Prompt was “Twas All Hallows Eve, October  25.


Time Fetches

Received English version

Watch yourself as it’ll soon be time
that the tall hawthorn hedge
that bars you from other worlds
becomes thin this season
in it’s cloud ghosted ditch
so folk from the other side
can bleed through to ours
and you’ll see these weird folk
walk outside your door.

Burn a candle in your home
and light lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
candles outdoors to show
the weird folk, spirits and all
the direct way back. We don’t
want them to detour where
they are not welcome. Respect them
and they’ll respect you.

This night light a fire
in your hearth
to protect yourself
or better yourself.

Write on a scrap a paper
a part of your life
that you wish to be rid off,
such as anger, a baneful habit,
misplaced feelings, disease.

Throw it in the flame
so you may lose
that part you’re ashamed of

Yorkshire Dialect version

Watch thee sen as time fetches on
as tall hawthorn hedge that bars
tha from t’other worlds
in its cloud ghosted ditch
gets thin this season so as folk
from other side can fetch them
sens over an bleed through to ours
and tha’ll see these weird folk
take a stride outside thee door.

Blaze a candle in tha home
and set a flicker lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
candles outdoors to show
the weird folk, spirits and all
direct way back to where
they bide from, so as they don’t
detour where they’re not welcome.
Respect them, they’ll respect thee.

This night light a fire
in tha hearth
for to protect thee sen
or better thee sen.

Scribe on a scrap a paper
a part of thee life
tha wish to be rid on
anger, a baneful habit,
misplaced feelings, disease.

Lob it int flame
so tha may lose
that part tha ashamed on.

This Samhain, All Hallows Eve

place on your table a skull,
small animal skeletons
of shrews, mice, rats disgorged by
forest owls. Lay your gravestone
rubbings as welcome placemats.

Down the centre carved pumpkins,
squash, carrots, swede amongst pine nuts,
walnuts and berries, and dark
breads, rye, pumpernickel, dried
yellow, red leaves, open fir cones.

Fill a cornucopia
with abundant fruit, apples, pears,
leeks. Fill each cup with apple cider,
sweet wine, or honey mead.

Light all with fragrant candles,
to flicker over the plenty.

The table is a thankyou,
a blessing on the goodness.

Go outside, collect dead plants,
to twist and turn and mold a man
or woman to bring inside,
and place on the table.

Give thanks to them and your dead
ancestors before you eat.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


.there is a day.

when i listen to cowboy films

on the radio, carve the pumpkin,

breath held in case they scalp him.

every year the same, festival stress

reduced by wanton knowledge

that none of it matters, that I can achieve,

that maybe even I could be worthy, the same

as you.

a surprise party after,

no one came,

no surprise, no one invited,

only you.

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

.. then there is halloween..

tomorrow.

not on saturday although that may be

more convenient. all hallows,

the reading of the dead.

names.

dust. just

names .

we made the pumpkin again, it comes easier with practice.

he came to tell me about the new baby and said boo . dinner

burned.

the names of the dead

are read.

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


there’s something about a bonfire

that compels you: perhaps it’s the flames
that leap and curl (free engulfing spirits)
or lick gently at the dead waste
calming to eat away at the centre of things
throughout the empty night

perhaps it’s the isolation –
you and Fire alone in the dark night
in which reflecting fires hang forever

perhaps it’s purification –
sterilisation of assembled dross… its reduction
to a usable commodity associated with
the neat feeling of arranging a garden
in the midst of the wilderness

perhaps it’s like death – convenient
tidy cleansing eradicating…
my father knew what he was doing ordering
‘No Mourners’: if they’d been there
it would have been attenuated
hypocritical unholy

fire is none of these things

(1971/72 revised 1982 revised 1992)

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


Autumnal (2)

” Rainbow hues turning
chill air low sun (but) warm hearts
beauteous day-long dawn

pink light (on) timeless trees
yield a golden fleece and warmth
(for) aching Mother Earth

sleeping beauties wake
from enduring frozen night
in Spring refreshing ”

© 2017, John Anstie (My Poetry Library)

Set to music by Joseph Shaw


#Addiction on Halloween #

It was the time of coming winter after fall
And she came from a ball
It was a Halloween evening
She loved and groped that Eve harmonizing
It was the time for feast
She loved the spirit though came from the east
It was the time for fun
She wore gleaming costumes with a bun
It was the time to unfold new spirit
The air blowing felt different autumn waved and heart enlightened bright
It was the eve when the pall between worlds was sleazy
And to rhyme melodies of worlds was so easy
It was the time to taste candy
She relished its flavour with a brandy
It was the time to sense eerieness lurking around the corner
And the eastern country girl addicted to all unknown being just a learner .

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


Goblins, Witches & Ghouls

Every year at Halloween
excitement filled the air
and children waited
on bated breath

to be goblins, witches,
hoboes and clowns
be become something
of a magical flare

where two streets over
lived a witch to bate them
her house decorated
with pumpkins and ghouls

but who could resist the
table laid before them
with all manner of sweet things
to cause you to drool

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


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“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