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“One of My Tomorrows” and other poems in response Wednesday Writing Prompts

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT, April 12, 2017 (1) Vacations: Well, this one is akin to the first composition assignment on returning to school after summer vacation: Tell us about your most fondly remembered vacations. Perhaps you enjoyed it because it involved family and childhood. Perhaps it was a dream vacation come true. Or, maybe it was an unexpected adventure. Or, perhaps your best vacation is the one you are planning now.

To Italy

you never expected this
we touch Florentine great black hog’s ringed cold snout
a ritual au revoir

taste best bitter coffee on the TGV
see snowed peaks of lower Apennine mountains
out of warm train windows

enter massive
Milan train Station
nine days coach trip
poke me in the side
when coach pace nods me off

stroll spiral down to medieval streets and a tilted horse race square

walk Rome’s cobbles amphitheatre
marvel at Vatican mosaics
we thought paintings
want to stroke cordoned vast
marble muscles

lilt up Venetian canals
wonder why when renovating buildings at home
builders don’t have picture tarpaulins
of the building beneath

you never expected this
for my fortieth
expected Wales or Scotland
then I request you order
a passport,
and live nine days
out of a suitcase

and thank your late father
our invisible companion
who made this possible

© 2017, Paul Brookes


White Flags Flying

Excitement palpable within me
butterflies dancing
fluttering wings beating
against my stomach

every year the very same
each time I am dreaming of
tall pines, pine cones
needles making

a blanket beneath the tent
heavy and green smelling
of musty canvas
and flags

waving on a line strung across
our site by dad
clean diapers drying
marking the spot

where the tent is pitched
a Coleman stove sets
ready to cook a meal
a lantern lit

lighting branches a reflection
a glow of campfire
the sky filled with stars
happiness overflowing

© April 2017 Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight)


there was a time

when one bottle of wine
seemed as if it was going to last forever;
the one I’m thinking of (purchased
one dinnertime in summer at 7/6d)
occupied a space in my life
a mile high and spanned the gap
all the way to Tibet; as you drank a glass
that dinnertime it seemed to refill itself
from the dregs of love

when one kiss would last
as long as the Rachmaninov cello sonata
whenever you put the record
on the turntable and let the needle fall –
obliterated in the so well-known cadences
which I could have been whistling
had my lips not been squashed against hers

when a bicycle ride would construct a day
down to the sea and back
across the long valley and over the downs –
magic ride often repeated –
I fill it from these dregs of memory

© 2017, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell)

Colin recently did quite a wonderful guest blog: Antidotes to Tyranny and Concentration Camps of the Mind


. again, the small things.

it is the little things that excite, even
in the height of summer, low look
for seeds, small flowers studded
in hedgerows, dry stone walls here.

our lane remains dusty, unmade, plans
delayed a while to update. developers have
bought the big house, a nice place for holidays
and rabbits.

the stone lion is gone, due to health
and saftey, wobbly.

there is a small pool, to look
in for blessings , a reflection
on the day .

seeds
for the future.

© Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA)


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT, April 12, 2017 (2) Memories of those lost. Have there been people in your life that you don’t loose no matter what? Perhaps people like parents who are so much a part of you, you seem to sense their presence even after they have died.  How good is that? Or, maybe you don’t think it is. Tell us about it in poem or prose.


One of My Tomorrows

for Celia

Our last goodbye was casual
as if I would see you again
on one of my tomorrows

I touched your arm
you flinched. In pain.
I felt persistent guilt

Born of carelessness
only nervous uncertainty
could freely demonstrate

Born of habitual presumption
that you were in charge
you weren’t. Not really.

You never were, save
your own sense of duty
to boss, nay care for everyone

Too much on small shoulders
that weren’t as strong as the
force of that inner being

the force that stopped being
that was someone once
whom I loved and miss

Some time after we’d helped you
to meet your God, one starlit night
I heard your voice as clear as the sky

O lamb of God, who takes away
the sins of the world, have mercy
and grant us peace. I swear

this was not my voice!

© 2017, John Anstie (My Poetry Library), All rights reserved

English musician and poet, John Anstie

John is not new to this site, but he is new in the context of Wednesday Writing Prompt. He is a part of the core team – a sort of editorial board – for The BeZine. John’s interest in the arts is quite catholic but he is most enamoured of music. Along with the members of the Grass Roots Poetry Group, he published a collection,  Petrichor Rising (eBook and paperback), the profits from which go to charity.  You can read more about John and his projects at: Petrichor Rising and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships that in turn birthed a poetry collection.

 

 


Friendship

beacon
anchor
mirror
prop
my “you can do it”
and my trusted counsel: “stop!”

mi casa es su casa
as like family, you know you are

we share
we dare
we fight
we cry
we laugh
we scamp
we stride into the world
as lamps

and, whether it’s together
or by miles apart
always
the love of friendship is
a gift of courage
to the mind and in the heart

– Juli (Juxtaposed, (Subject to Change)


Lantern

Lantern swinging down path —
I wonder if it is really there,
if that is you, or just some accident
of moonlight and wind.

How is it possible for the night
to be so black that no adjective
makes sense? Just black-black,
with shadows hovering and the wild phlox
lopped over reflecting greywhite back up.

No lantern, but there might as well be,
my heart lighting every moment,
bringing you back through memory
to stroll ahead telling me that story
I promised to never forget.

© 2017, Jennifer Cartland (Poems from Between)

This is the first time Jennifer Cartland is featured on The Poet by Day. . She says of herself simply, “In between meetings, in between errands, seat cushions, and ‘oms’, I try to nab those little guys flying though my noggin’ and shake them up a bit, turn them into something humans can understand.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  Sometimes they are happy I did, sometimes they aren’t.” 


Lavender & Whippoorwills

nasturtiums growing
in hollyhock fields
smelling of lavender
& blue whippoorwills

whose song bids me
follow the spirit
of you
entwined as we are
in consummate truth

i see you dancing
beneath the elm tree
with boughs your
dance partner
forever & free

as you slip transparent
from my view
the music plays softly
as it is never adieu

from the lemon bush
filtering meringue
soft dreams
to the orange orchard
citrus scenes

i knew you loved me
before i became a whisper
& held me near
before the dance…
taste of cinnamon cinders

nasturtiums growing
in hollyhock fields
smelling of lavender
& blue whippoorwills

© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight)


. haunted .

a meditation on thread,

mediation of red, i dream

of you.

clearly your clothes remain

the same, worn, washed,

pressed.

your ideas come different, you

talk of immersion,

and security, nothing was

further from my mind.

the moon came early

a different window.

this does not mean i

have time,

i will be sewing.

i have made notes and numbers,

pinned it to the wall.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)


My Late Mam Still Spring Clean

“I couldn’t live at your mam’s
It’s like a show house. Spotless.”
One of my girlfriends says.

And the gusts over mam’s grave,
brush the winter debris away,

quick sprays of spring rain
coat her surface as dead leaf

and blown bud dusters polish
the Yorkshire stone black letters

to a shine, feed the vase of flowers
whose heads move towards the sun.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)


Well, such wonderful responses to Wednesday Writing Prompts. I think it makes rather a lovely collection, which I hope you enjoy.  I hope you’ll also visit these poets at their blogs and get to know them better.  Look for another Wednesday Writing Prompt tomorrow.


THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers


We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON NINE: Be kind to our languge. “Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does.  Think up your own ways of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying.  Make an effort to separate yourself from the Internet. Read books.”  Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Antidotes to Tyranny and Concentration Camps of the Mind from Spaulding (UK) polymath, Colin Blundell

Colin Blundell

I love the way the obscene word ‘TRUMP’ doesn’t appear once in Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny: Lessons from the 20th Century (Bodley Head 2017 ISBN 9781847924889 – UK) [Tim Duggins Books ISBN-13: 978-0804190114 – US],  which is clearly directed that way. The ‘fascism’ that’s sweeping the whole world is entirely represented by the five letters of the American president’s name and by anybody who associates with them – Mayhem in the UK, for instance.

“Fascism?” says the simplistic Tory MP, “Where are the Concentration Camps?” My answer is, “You don’t need them – you do things far more subtly these days. You have learned a lesson from the past – not to be quite so callous…” In the thirties, the Camps were a physical symbol of depriving individuals of their humanity, starving them, murdering them… Now there’s a Concentration Camp of the Mind. You do it by depriving the ‘plebs’ of aid & sustenance & meaningful jobs, and you force them to work till they’re too old to stand upright so they don’t have time or energy for protest. You peddle lies like the need for ‘Austerity’. Or you plug them into e-devices and they just die that way quietly at home or on the streets, sometimes by their own hand.

Here are the TWENTY LESSONS outlined by Timothy Snyder. The headings are his, the descriptors are mine. He brilliantly details the way in which the history of the 20th Century offers ‘lessons’ – the antidote to TYRANNY.

1. DO NOT OBEY IN ADVANCE When you signify approval by voting for them or falling in with their machinations against any better judgement you might have had you make them think they’re winning
2. DEFEND INSTITUTIONS The United Nations, The European Project, all regulatory organisations – institutions of this kind protect us from their greed & exploitation
3. BEWARE THE ONE PARTY STATE Resist all indications that they’re the only way, that there’s no alternative – listen out for the words…
4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACE OF THE WORLD Remove all their hate signs
5. REMEMBER PROFESSIONAL ETHICS Expose corruption in high places, share signs of their chicanery at all levels, support honesty
6. BE WARY OF PARAMILITARIES Resist their uniforms & insignia of power
7. IF YOU MUST BE ARMED, BE REFLECTIVE Verify everything for yourself. Be prepared to say NO to them! Thus far no further…
8. STAND OUT Say something different, speak the alternative words, don’t repeat their mantras like a parrot – many do!
9. BE KIND TO OUR LANGUAGE Study what they say carefully; read books; say your own thing; notice all abstractions – they beguile us into agreement
10. BELIEVE IN TRUTH Don’t accept all this post-truth/fake news stuff
11. INVESTIGATE Verify, verify… Don’t go for sound-bites & headlines; be prepared to read lengthily
12. MAKE EYE CONTACT & SMALL TALK Stay in touch with real people
13. PRACTISE CORPOREAL POLITICS March! – don’t let them tell you it’s pointless. They’d have you glued to the telly. Feel the truth of things deep in your somatic sensibility. Don’t go along with their emotional bluster
14. ESTABLISH A PRIVATE LIFE Resist all attempts to have them spy on you
15. CONTRIBUTE TO GOOD CAUSES Support AVAAZ, 38 Degrees, War on Want, Greenpeace – whatever grabs you. Start small
16. LEARN FROM PEERS IN OTHER COUNTRIES Relate to as many other like-minded people as you can across the world so you know you’re not alone
17. LISTEN FOR DANGEROUS WORDS Be angry about the way words snake into your being – ‘extremism’, ‘terrorism’ for example
18. BE CALM WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE ARRIVES Notice how an event (23rd March 2017) like the carnage caused by the nutter who drove into people on Westminster Bridge (Earth has not anything to show more fair/Dull would he be of soul who could pass by/A sight so touching in its majesty…) is exploited by them to keep us in a state of terror. ‘Act of terrorism’, ‘an attack on Democracy…’ [abstraction] – ‘must be willing to give up certain liberties’ [abstraction] in order to maintain security [abstraction]. Focus on the enemy without so we forget the enemy within. Hitlerian trick
19. BE A PATRIOT rather than a nationalist. It’s so nice to wake up on a spring morning in the place where you live
20. BE AS COURAGEOUS AS YOU CAN Resist all tyranny, whatever form it takes. Be content in your self

© Colin Blundell


Blogging “I hate the word! Like I hate most things in the e-world. I will not join the Twits twittering… Things that are worth saying are worth saying at length…” Colin Blundell

I Colin Blundell’s work. It never fails that I learn something or think about something differently when I visit Colin’s “Globbing” as he calls it. While I was busy encouraging folks to read Prof. Snyder’s book, Colin was already using it as a jumping-off point for the delivery of his own observations.  / J.D.

Colin says of himself:

“I work with people to help them gain a deeper insight for themselves into who they are and what they might do.

“Having escaped wage slavery in 1991, I began to suit myself when I worked, never really thinking of it as ‘working’ but more like the opportunity to sample various hotels and training venues round the country and as a way of paying for the renovation of an ancient decaying heap that I could call ‘home’.

“Since 1991, I’ve taught NLP, Accelerated Learning, Covey’s Seven Habits, Change Management, Problem-solving and Time Management. Currently, when I feel like it or when networkers ask to pick my brain, I teach the art & practice of the Enneagram and a robust coaching model deriving therefrom.

“The ‘Enneagram Apprentice’ series is for friends who have attended my Enneagram course. It follows up and develops the ideas created by them there.

“I write poems, novels, philosophical tomes, music and make watercolours and Magic Cities.

“I hand-make paperback books.

“I do long distance motorbike treks.

“‘The best is still to come…’ Stephen Covey (when he was 70)

“If you’re expecting short blogs from me you’ll be severely disappointed! Sound Bite Exhortations are enticing or immediately attractive but say very little in the end… The knack is how to get on the inside of a seemingly snappy apophthegm. I teach how to make ideas come to life.”

– Colin Blundell


I encourage you to read On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, to  listen to the videos of Snyder’s lectures and – Yes! — to visit my friend Colin Blundell for wise, interesting and honest reading. A good complementary read for On Tyranny is Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, / J.D.



Prof. Timothy Snyder (This photograph and biography are from Dr. Snyder’s Amazon page.

Timothy Snyder is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2001, he held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.

Professor Snyder spent some ten years in Europe, and speaks five and reads ten European languages. Among his publications are several award-winning books, all of which have been translated: Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998, revised edition 2016); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (2003); Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005); The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008); and Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010). Bloodlands won twelve awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. It has been translated into more than thirty languages, was named to twelve book-of-the-year lists, and was a bestseller in six countries. His book, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, was published by Crown Books in September 2015 and in twenty-one foreign editions thereafter.

Snyder is also the co-editor of Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2001) and Stalin and Europe: Terror, War, Domination (2013). He helped Tony Judt compose a thematic history of political ideas and intellectuals in politics, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012).

Some of Snyder’s essays on the Ukrainian revolution were published in in Russian and Ukrainian as Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014). Other essays will be published in Czech as The Politics of Life and Death (2015). Snyder sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies. His scholarly articles have appeared in Past and Present, the Journal of Cold War Studies, and other journals; he has also written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The New Republic as well as for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers. Snyder was the recipient of an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2015.

Timothy Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and sits on the advisory councils of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research and other organizations.