At the Storm’s Edge (PaleWellPress 2020) by Frank McMahon launches today; poetry sampler

At the storm’s edge
always, never knowing if it will discharge
and overwhelm, or if it will relent,
recede as the season drags itself upstairs and round the cot …
At the Storms Edge, Frank McMahon


You’ve packed your bags and checked them in,
been processed through security,
bought some scotch at the duty-free,
then sit, a latte in your hand,
waiting for the final call to board.

Your partner, family, friend exclaim:
The flight’s delayed. How long?
Who knows? Then all the screens go blank.
People mill and swirl, bark down mobile phones,
hover for announcements.
You let it all wash round and wait for news.
There will be news, so just sit still.

Sit still. Sounds evaporate, eyes
evade the strident lights. Deeper
you drift as if drowsing on a beach
or by a pool. Some time, who knows when,

you feel the gentle pressure of a hand.
There is no noise, all screens are blank.
All travellers have gone. Save one.
Vaguely, someone’s face.


At the storm’s edge
always, never knowing if it will discharge
and overwhelm, or if it will relent,
recede as the season drags itself upstairs and round the cot.
Or the days may reverse to that moment sundered
between joy and shock, the seconds scattered
across the antiseptic floor, silence drowning
the other’s cry.

………….Light aches on the newborn’s face
in the muffled house. A ghost demands
its feed, forever probing at the teat
with blue, waxed lips, growing thin on dreams.
At the storm’s edge there is always a prayer.

The ghost is clothed, in a shoe-box laid,
carried away, an exit to be registered.

© 2020, Frank McMahon

Frank’s poems are shared here with his permission.

FRANK McMAHON is a well-regarded poet in our community, a frequent contributor to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt among other activities. I am awaiting a copy of his collection for review, meanwhile his publisher has announced the launch of Frank’s At the Storm’s Edge, a debut collection.

Frank McMahon’s poems of love and fury revel in a keen sense of the natural world and a stark understanding of humanity’s fragile place in the broad sweep of history. Acutely observed and laced with arresting imagery, his writing is full of “music arcing back to a vanishing world”, in which the personal and the political are wound delicately together and sing out from the page in potent harmony. Never sentimental nor didactic, McMahon is a poet who thinks deeply and respects his readers; a poet who tells the truth but tells it slant.

At the Storm’s Edge is available through Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE.

FRANK McMAHON was born and raised in Birkenhead, Merseyside. After graduating he began his career in Social Work/Welfare as a practitioner and manager, working for three Local Authorities, British Red Cross and ActionforChildren. He also served for nine years as a school governor. His last full-time post was to set up and manage a SureStart Children’s Centre. “There is nothing like working with and for young children. They constantly teach you to look at the world with fresh eyes and be open to new experiences.” Frank is married with two children and six grandchildren. When not writing (plays, a novel, short stories and poems) he enjoys walking, (The Cotswolds are his new playground); his allotment (save for the weeds), golf, chess, travel, music, and counts himself fortunate to have some wonderful friendships. He is a member of Somewhere Else Writers Group in Cirencester, whom he thanks for their patience in reading and critiquing his work. As part of that group, he works with Corinium Radio on programmes and plays. 

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

Gray and rainy days but beautiful flowers blooming outside the Standford B & B.
April Rain Song
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—
And I love the rain.
– Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (Vintage Classics) [recommended]

Another collection, eclectic and often magical, in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Oxygen Hunger,March 27, a prompt on the necessities of life.  Well done by poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Gen E. Goldie, Frank McMahan, and Anjum Wasim Dar. Thank you! and special thanks to Irma and Anjum for their illustrations and to Anjum for the addition of a music video she found inspiring.  

Readers will notice links to sites are included that you might visit these stellar poets.

RE: Oxygen Hunger, the poem 

  • “scars” – we can’t breath through scarred lung tissue. It’s not permeable so there is no exchange of gases; i.e. oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • “oxygen hunger” – more commonly call “air hunger” is real.  It happens as organs are shutting down during the dying process, when it is treated with morphine and sometimes supplemental oxygen.  When people suffer from oxygen hunger due to lung and heart issues but are not yet tripping over the door to Eternity, oxygen hunger is then treated with supplemental oxygen and other medications to slow the processes of deterioration and provide comfort and functionality.

Enjoy this collection. It just might inspire some more of your own poetry.  The Poet by Day will be on hiatus for a Spring and Easter break and the next Wednesday Writing Prompt will post on April 24. All are invited to come out to play, beginning, emerging or pro poet.

in solitary refinement

guilty said
the paper the judge read
so the system did a trick
it learned from the cult novel
by cordwainer smith:

they put a thinking cap on her
and it imprisoned her
for eight hours
but due to wireless accelerants
and virtual reality mushware
the eight hours were as eighteen years
for her offense was extreme

and doing her time
was not a walk in the park
no “club fed”
ghosts-or-not mocked her
bribed ghost guards to get her alone
packratted her with hurting things

and she fought back
and ended up in solitary
bread and water only
(plus oxygen)
(plus dreams)

she found though
that virtuality had its virtues
the bread could be any bread
the water any water
and so she feasted
pumpernickel dense as brick
cinnamon toast richly steaming
lavosh pita arrowwheat
and she slaked
smartwater dumbwater sparkling cold

and her oxygen’s purity could be amped
and her dreams could be imagineered
she could dance with Fred
sojourn through oz
change endings
create worlds

so she asked that her term of solitary “confinement”
be extended indefinitely
and the mushware obliged

eighteen seeming years were up
she had learned who she was
what she wanted
and the rudiments of a new trade

she woke
and marvelled at disappearance
of liver spots and despair
she was indeed free
bore no burdens
no grudges
and no guilt

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

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

The Terminal

Stretched thin
he spits out
of his car door
as I get in,

and we drive out
the short stay
carpark below
the train station.

“What are you
going to do
day I die?”
he asks. I tell him
what I need to know.

“Oxygen tanks are no use
as they don’t
increase surface
of my lungs that

take in oxygen.
Doctors can do no more.”
Dad replies.
My dad collapses into himself

disappears into black hole
in space
of his lungs on
where there is
no oxygen

for his brain
or heart,
only coughs
to loosen phlegm
for the spit bag,

he carefully seals air tight.

(From a forthcoming collection of my late dad’s drawings and paintings and my writings about him, No title as yet)

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Clear Plastic Tube

in both her nostrils

a tiny woman
with wavering voice

says “If you can
put these in this bag

I’ll put some in my trolley.
It’s not a shopping trolley.

It’s for my oxygen tank.
Shouldn’t worry.”

From Paul’s latest collection called, Please Take Change (Cyberwit.Net, 2018)

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)


Below a sunset or rise of mountains

a load of bull

eyecatches a celebration
of blue and red fish
and smiling,

I or you ride the flight
of one fishback
hold the other fish
in hollow of an armpit
Between waterholes of words.

Taste the fresh water verbs
Salt water star shine.
We are skyfish rode
By reader or viewer

We are two fishes tethered by smiles
of smaller fish.

A brown fish mouth agape
rests a fin on a waterholes side
to watch our fishback ride.

From my forthcoming collaboration with Iranian artist Hiva Moazed, called Fish Strawberries

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

This Value Of Water

as I wet my Nanna’s mouth
with a tiny bud of wool

she lies half in this world
half in another unseen.

My hand fetches water from the well
of the cup, every time my eyes

notice cracks appear in softness,
dry earthquakes open soil

like her trowel levers earth open
for the receipt of a seed or flower.

From my collaborative collection with Dutch artist Marcel Herms, Port Of Souls, Alien Buddha Press, 2018

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Three Bread Crumbs


Christ passes a Bakers shop,
smells new bread,
Says to disciples
” Fetch us a loaf.”

The Baker says
“Thas nowt for free here.
Get him to miracle up his own”
Bakers wife
and six daughters
secretly stuff couple of loaves
in disciples bag.

For this Christ sets them
in spring sky
as Seven Stars

He makes the baker a cuckoo
the Dusty Miller,
who so long as he sings in Spring
St. Turbutius Day to St. Johns
can see his bright wife and daughters
warm the night.


Me Mam dies as she gives birth,
to sis and I.
Our new mam murders us.
Feeds our cooked sinew and muscle
to our dad. Separates heart and bones,
crams rest beneath
gables of our home.

Buries our heart and bones
in a hole in a tree,
that coddles us.
Our bones lock our refreshed hearts
in a new cage, so we fledge
in dusty grey feathers.

We fly to local miller’s
pick up a millstone
in our strong beaks

let it fall as we fly
our new mother
whose blood and bones
grind beneath its weight.


After my sis and I disappear,
Christ knocks on Dad’s door

Says, ” I’m parched mate,
can tha spare a drop
of thee water.”

Our Dad brings stranger
a cup of fresh water.

As he sups Christ says:
“Tha looks badly, cocker.
What’s up with thee?”
Our Dad says ” Me kids
are no where to be seen.
Pain right here says they’re
both dead.
I miss them summat chronic.”

“Aye, it’s a bad going on.
Perhaps, next Spring
from East gables of this place
tha’ll see summat
to buck thee up.”

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play

The Need for Stars and Moonbeams

Open your eyes to the need for dreams
Oxygen can only fill you ’till death
A shooting star can surpass moonbeams

Sustenance is more than what it seems
Bread will only increase your breadth
Open your eyes to the need for dreams

Like water rushing from the streams
Joining with the ocean’s wealth
A shooting star can surpass moonbeams

The body’s needs can be redeemed
Any oasis can restore health
Open your eyes to the need for dreams

Your heart’s words, a primal scream
The need for more, rising from the depth
A shooting star can/should surpass moonbeams

Can you live with broken schemes?
A life lived without true breath?
Open your eyes to the need for dreams
A shooting star will surpass moonbeams

This is my first attempt at a villanelle courtesy of SarahSouthWest at d’Verse Poets who provided a very thorough explanation of the form. The subject matter was inspired by Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to write a poem about one or more of the “four necessities of life,” namely, “bread, water, oxygen and dreams.”

In my villanelle, I have ranked “dreams” as the number one necessity needed to survive life. Food, water, oxygen are all needed to sustain life, but to survive the hardships of life, to thrive in this sometimes unforgiving environment, we need our dreams, our hopes. To me, it is the difference between living and Being Alive.

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

B-R-E-A-T-H, an acrostic

B eginnings beauty brim bounty

R eceiving resplendent radiant reception retention reparation

E ternal exhale ecstasy elixir

A bsorption acceptance awareness

T ime ticking threshold terminus tip

H ealing hands helping

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (A Little of This and A Little of That, Some Real, Some Imaginings, How About That ….)

Heavenly Dreams

Spring breezes wafting sweet fantasies

amidst daytime patio dreams, one by one, feeling

the warmth of memories, of days gone by,

tragedies, triumphs, her love of these.

Lingering behind her eyes, hopes,

deepening dreams, warm thoughts,

posing passing questions of how she knew such passion,

blithely conscious of her spirit within,

a bitter sweet reminder of her own mortality,

she is heartened and comforted.

by heavenly dreams…….

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (A Little of This and A Little of That, Some Real, Some Imaginings, How About That ….)


Does it have to be like this? My hands trapped
in this ectoplasmic blob. It seemed harm-
less last night when I laid it down to rise.
I really should have picked a simpler task:
making sense of quantum physics, riding
a penny-farthing in a force nine gale.

No use now as I wrestle with this dough,
nay, monster. First proving, I slathered you
in olive oil. Was I too rough as I
pounded and pummelled, stretched, stretched, stretched you out,
a line of white intestine? Entrapment
was your game, yet I have tamed you with my
farinaceous hands, caressed and then reformed
you, laid you in the tin, a baby in its cradle.

Say not that the struggle naught availeth
as the firm, warm bread nestles in my palms.

© 2019, Frank McMahon

blue skies.png

Ah, the stuff of survival: “bread, water, oxygen and dreams.”

When life begins in a state of loss-

where is the hope of finding
where is the joy of having
where is the music of dancing
where is the rhythm of peace

where is the love of liberty
where is the link of brotherhood
where is the blood of kinship
where is the vision of tolerance

and where is the cry of
O Life! Let me Live”
I have been sent here’

This world is temporal
But I have to survive, avail
the time, till then I must abide
in obedience reside, or fail

O Life ‘ Let me Live for I
have a dream a vision to
achieve, to unseen heights

I must fly, to the high skies
But I need the vital essence,
I feel like a falcon, flapping
to take off-O Life give me the
sacred vapor called oxygen’

ستاروں سے آگے جہاں اور بھی ھیں ‘
ابھی عشق کے امتہاں اور بھی ھیں

beyond the stars are even more worlds
there are even more tests of passion

تو شاہیں ھے پرواز ھے کام تیرا
تیرے سامنے آسماں اور بھی ھیں

you are a falcon your task is to fly
there are other skies before you,to reach’

(Verses Quoted from the National Poet of Pakistan Dr Allama Mohammed Iqbal’s Book ‘Bal e Jibril’ 1935)



night and day, follow each other,
in a state of ordained obedience
like the two seas meeting,
with a barrier in between,

what dream mixes, salty water
and tears, oft fallen in loss ‘n fear,
crossing over with love? no-
sacredly, eternally forbidden,

so let’s

go where gardens grow, flowers
bloom as life lives there, you will
find love peace and pure fresh air
no garden is ever lost, do not despair,

with truth and good deeds we
shall survive,our return will be
a rejuvenation a salvation
a quintessence, like ”the return to innocence”

Find Anjum here:    Unsaid Words of Untold Stories…Prose  writing
knitting projects/stories  ELT   Work experience/educational service for the country

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


“Global Harming” . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“This sweet virginal primitive land will metaphorically breathe a sigh of relief — like a whisper of wind–when we are all and finally gone and the place and its creations can return to their ancient procedures unobserved and undisturbed by the busy, anxious, brooding consciousness of man.”
Desert Solitaire, Edward Abby


Thanks for waiting patiently and courteously for this post to go up. I have returned to the world of the living after health complications and another protracted stay at Stanford Hospital (also know in my family as The Stanford B & B).  I am grateful for your understanding and for the concern, intelligence, and perseverance of my cadre of doctors and other professionals at Stanford. Though there has been a precipitous decline in my lung function and I am completely homebound now, there is some potential for improvement and certainly my quality of life is now much improved over what it has been since last April.  I pray everyone everywhere might have access to such extraordinary care. Universal access to state-of-the-art medicine is compassionate and humane, a must and a right. It’s something for which it is worth fighting.

“The right to health is the economic, social, and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health to which all individuals are entitled. The concept of a right to health has been enumerated in international agreements which include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is debate on the interpretation and application of the right to health due to considerations such as how health is defined, what minimum entitlements are encompassed in a right to health, and which institutions are responsible for ensuring a right to health.” MORE [Wikipedia]

You’ll be delighted with this passionate outpouring in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Monster’s Rose, January 16, 2019. This collection is courtesy of: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do,  Irene Emanuel, Debbie Felio (Deb y Felio), Jen Goldie, Frank McMahan, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Gayle Walters Rose, and Anjum Wasim Dar. Be inspired, motivated, angry, filled with awe ….

suss stain

suss: perceive
stain: a blemish
rape: maliciously thieve
muck: a substance phlegmish

a nest befouled
unauked unowled
undodoed just a smidgen
unpassengered of pigeon

we suss the stain but soon make more
and drop the stools of detriment
and sculpt and knob the hellgate door
with manufactured excrement

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

A Mobile

is in the shape
of small graves
for children
who mine the precious
metal inside
that make it work
and I look
Into the screen
to stay connected
but do not see
their gritted lives
as they haul
the valuable
out of the hole
and the world
has never been
so connected
by the small grave
I carry in my pocket.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

This Brash and Burn

1. To Burn Brash

Sat back barked.
Small insects crawl
down tree stretched above
inhabit hair
worn gloves
bruised brashed branches

Breathe wet peat,
damp soil, leaf decay,
autumn dead leaf dance,
spring bluebell wend
summer sacred stainglass
canopy sunshaft play
winter heavesnow clear paths

Sat back barked
canopy leaf horizon
floats shimmers


2. Our Wombwell Boxed

Lift small boxes wooden lid smell
broadleaved woodland
before rail/road
Press plastic button hear
Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Woodpeckers,
before rail/road.

Press plastic button watch
Videowalk ancient Beech, Oak, Birch
before rail/road.

Electronic ringtone.

We would like to advise all visitors
The museum is closing soon.
Please exit through main door.
We hope you have enjoyed your visit.
Please come again.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)


“Do you want a carrier bag, sir?”
“I friggin don’t. Clog up the seas

with plastic all over. Even in fishes,
birds and what not. It’s all our fault.

Even down to microscopic. Seeps
Into food we eat I bet. Plastic folk

poisoning friggin world we live in.
No, I’ve got my own bags thankyou.

I won’t be one that kills the friggin world.
Here can you put them in here, lad?”

From Paul’s new collection”Please Take Change”,, 2018

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

Prelude to Destruction

Bach’s Prelude in C Major is a well-known piano piece that is about two minutes long. Close your eyes while you listen to it and imagine a stream gently flowing over rocks as it meanders through green forest. Now imagine 130,000 barrels of oil being dumped in that stream. What will happen to the forest and the critters living there?

Now picture the wind whispering over a meadow blanketed with flowers still bright with color despite the new moon. And now a bulldozer comes to move 5000 tons of garbage onto the meadow including plastic that will take a millennia to decompose. How do the colors and aroma of landfill compete with that of wildflowers?

Or listen to the music and let your mind wander over the ocean, the warm sun highlighting the majesty of humpback whales breaching the surface. Now heat trapped by greenhouses causes 600,000 tons of ice to melt in Antarctica raising temperatures that could kill 400 plant and animal species in a year. Would seeing the dead carcasses of whales and other see creatures be as majestic?

Two minutes, the length of a prelude whose repetitious melody can remind us of the repeated wastefulness and mindless consumption we daily engage in that will lead to the destruction of this planet we call home.

Two minutes to kill

The only world that we know

Time to change the song

This (very loosely defined) Haibun was written for Jamie’s first Wednesday Writing Prompt of 2019 focused on the theme of the environment. I also included the last Tuesday Writing Prompt from Devereaux and Beth Amanda at the Go Dog Go Cafe. Their request was to include the words new moon, minutes and prelude in a poem. It definitely took me more than 10-15 minutes to write this Haibun!

The facts embedded in this poem come from this article about things that happen around the world in a minute. I doubled the numbers to match the two minutes of the prelude (I hope I did the math correct!). Conservation and protection of our environment is a cause my family and I are passionate about. We recycle and are trying to compost. We limit our plastic use – the kids have even given up straws! Just two minutes of a small change to your daily habits can make a difference! You can save the world with reusable bags as your cape!

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

Tell the World

Let it be known

that the Rhinoceros is a magnificent beast;

a relic from an age of legends.

Let it be known

that this does not make them magical

but rather makes them precious.

Let it be known

that their horns are not medicinal

but a property that belongs only to the Rhino.

Let it be known

that horn powder is just powder

and does not provide a solution to the ills of man.

Let it be known

that horn contents do not hold the answers

to Mans’ immortality.

Let it be known

that some people are too stupid and vain

to know that their ignorance is wiping out a species.

Let it be known

that the horn is merely an adornment

of one of the most iconic animals in Africa,


© 2018, Irene Emanuel

Earth Walk

Earth walk to

hear Earth talk.

Listen to the birds

listen to the trees

listen to the fish

listen to the seas.

Listen to the hills

listen to the stones

listen to the grass

listen to the groans

of dying species

crying lands

hungry people

with bony hands

powered money

buying shame

removing nature

just for gain.

listen to the whispers

listen to the pain

listen to the wise ones

and don’t destroy again.

This Earth is all,

there is no more,

don’t kill its gifts

with blood and gore,

When Earth is dead,

so are we.

© 2019, Irene Emanuel

Global Harming

we’re crossing the desert in sandals
across new Antarctica
camels follow with our packs
it feels like southern Florida

before the ocean rose and drowned
the people near the shore
and then receded sixty miles
creating quite a lore

to be recited by old timers
beginning with remember when
there was water in these here parts
now there’s sand up to our shins

we’d swim and fish—those were the days
they’d tell the children listening
to magical times when people were wet
coming from deep water glistening

It’s just a fairy tale, we know
the children refuse to believe it
like so many of us long ago
hearing the global warning bit

slow but sure the changes came
spring slush replaced the snow
low temps in seventies everywhere
and gale winds would always blow

but we were brave and kept our cars
kept digging for petroleum
concern belonged to the next generation
never mind the panic symposium

so here we are just like they said
dry and hot as old Florida
in our sandals with our camels
crossing the new Antarctica.

© 2019, Deb y Felio (The Journey Begins)

A Lullaby of Fear

Oh, Mother Earth,
The children cried,
Please stay to hear
our lullaby.

Oh, Mother Earth
Think not
that they
decry your hopes,
Your loves
and dreams,
For they are
But a pawn
And die from
Greater things,

“like why the sea
Is boiling hot
And whether pigs
have wings”

The sky
is fraught with
other things,
guns are bought
And red would bring,
The joyless sound
Of endless things
To end our days
Of everything.

Oh My dear
It is quite clear,
Why you should hear
The child’s cry,

“a lullaby of fear”.

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie (Jen Goldie – Poetry and Short Stories)

False Light

The moon scatters the light it has stolen
out of vanity, cycling round us in
its futile effulgence. Earthworms harvest
the autumn’s leaves, enriching the crust, thin
below the dwindling branches where we sit
and watch the axes hew the trunk and slash.

© 2019, Frank McMahan

.this arid land.

water flows down this valley. wind blows

round our houses.i have said it before.yet

seems that those who should know better,

talk of gods, may judge the people .

live in remote places.

between mountain, sea. the land becomes


this arid land.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher 

.seeds for the future.

have you collected seeds of many years packed labelled dated

do you have them now in boxes

a gift from those who love

they will bring work joy an independent air

profound gifts

for those who care

have you
leaned by the window cold

thought that if snow falls it may land

if trees grow it may be up

if we all plant seeds they may be food


deserves praise yet should come as natural

there may be too many additives these day

not enough honesty grown

she said i should have something new in the greenhouse.

i have

i said, and thought of you


planted the seeds

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.Earth 8211.

he asked me what i missed, i told him.

he suggests we look after the environment.

eat carefully, mind our ways.

i will.

these are the falling days.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


I hear your voices
calling from your home
in the aquatic depths,
where seas undulate
in constant motion
steered by the moon.

My soul dives and
spins within your
hearts. I merge
in your silence
and rejoice in
the gift
that is the ocean.

O Wise Whale
your tears mix
with countless
others as you
survey the
destruction of
your briny birthplace.

O Great Reef
dwelling place
and protector
for so many,
your quiet
decline has not
gone unnoticed.

Stars gaze with
compassion and
patience hoping
that something
will shift and turn
the tides.

Gales whip along
the waves, pick up
the disquiet and
carry it to shore.

The Trees shudder
and the news
ricochets off the
mountains and
circles the globe.

© 2019, Gayle Walters Rose (Bodhirose)

Come Create Anew

13920214_10154429662230747_6017019006167533630_o  Banni Gala   Islamabad.                         Photo Courtesy CER (Regd 2004)  © 2019

Thin grown ever green
lusciously fully nutritious
dancing away to soundless
sacred sweet symphonies،
swaying sideways in
obedience to invisible
conducting synchronized
offering soft cool
overtures to burning soles
of injured souls,enriching
meadows to the core,
resistingly  accepting, nibbling
advances of loving mammal

deserted desert dunes,
dream to possess, as
slithering snakes
undulatingly weave
their colors in the sand,
dreading the deadly, Peregrine.

Wave  of green expanses,
sight asking for journeys,as
pearly high peaks call – and
silvery streams flow to touch
the seas, on way caress
to nourish plants and trees.

Oh Gaea’ Listen Look’
Chaos has returned with
dark confusing void
gripping tearing ruining,
rivers  mountains and seas,
forests metamorphosed to
plains, painful is the spirit’

Changes in the Planet are
changing mosquito genes
malaria fills fear, Oh Gaea’
Hear Gaea can you again,

Come to Create anew  ?

یہ  کس   نے   

جھومتا   گیت   گاتا  لہلہاتا   ناچتا  ھوا  سبزا
پکرا   پکار  کر  سسک     کر فریاد  کرتا ھے

یہ سر سبز  لہلہاتے کھیت  روند  ڈالے   کس نے
یہ   چاندی  جیسے جھرنے  میلے کیے کس نے

   ان سنی دھنوں، ان  دیکھے موسیقاروں کے
اشاروں   پہ بجتے سروں کو خاموش کیا کس 

کون   بتاےؑ   گا اب  یہ  تباہی  مچایؑ   کس  نے
 آج      تک     سچی    گواہی   دی کس  نے

تپتی  ریت  مین   سانپ  رنگ   بدلتے چھپتے
چوٹیوں  پہ  شاہیں   کا بسیرا دیکھا  کس نے

یہ زمین  ہی پہاڑ ہی جھومتے کھیت ہی سمندر
ٓاؑواز  دیتے ھیں  چلو  سفر  پے دیکھو  پیاری قدرت

مگر   بدلتے    نظارے    یہ  کٹتے پہاڑ  خشک دریا
جلتے جنگل ، روح  کو  تکلیف    دی  ھے  کس نے  

ملیرےؑ کے مچھر   لوگون کہ ڈراتے پھر رھے ھیں
ملیریا اور مچھر   ملک  سے اب تک بھگاےؑ  کس نے

        اے قدرت نیؑ  زمین بنے  سنورے   گی  کیا پھر سے
تباہ ھو چکی ھے ،پھر سے بنانے کا وعدہ  کیا ، کس نے؟

© 2019, poem in English and Urdu, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

“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





Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

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

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

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

“Living on the Glebe”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The Japanese Tea Garden, San Mateo, CA © Jamie Dedes

“What is this life so full of care,
We don’t have time to stand and stare.”
William Henry Davies, The Collected Poems of William H. Davies; With a Portrait

The last Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, to write about farms and farming (Conjuring Farmhouses), December 12, is covered quite broadly here with responses from Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Shiela Jacob, Frank McMahan, Mike Stone, and Anjum Wasim Dar. These will provoke some thought and much pleasure, spiked as they are with memoir, questions, humor, and insight.  Enjoy!

Wednesday Writing Prompt will return on January 16, 2019.  

three cow salute

walking to my high school meant walking past three cows
just as 61st avenue came to its
senses and straightened up
south of bethany home road
and what was then
a bobwire fence held back these bored cows
who stood and chewed or didn’t
and slowly turned

they were the stolid
they were the stupefied
the stunned
the milkbaggy trio
the watchers of boys and girls

they needed a date with a frisky bull
or maybe they needed nothing
but daily relief from udder strain
and me tweaking their monotony
into near monotony

couldn’t tell you
don’t know why those bored
and boring cows still lease space
in a pasture in my head
just know
the smell of horseshit does nothing for me
the smell of cowshit
has more than once filled
my stupid stolid eyes
with nostalgic tears

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


Purifying shepherds

Smoke from burning

droplets of blood from the tail
of last October’s sacrificed horse,
ashes of the stillborn calves,
the shells of beans.

We are sprinkled with water,
wash our hands
in spring-water,
drink milk mixed with must.

Towards evening after shepherds
fed their flocks,
are used as brooms
to clean their stables,
water sprinkled through them,
then stables adorned
with laurel-boughs.

Shepherds burn sulphur,
rosemary, fir-wood, and incense,
usher the smoke through the stables
and the flocks to purify them.

cakes, millet, milk,
and other food
is offered.

Hay and straw bonfires lit
cymbals and flutes play
as sheep and shepherds
are run three times
through the fire.

At an open air feast
we sit or lay
on turf benches
and sup a lot.

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

A Burning Fox

A twelve year old lad in a valley
at the end of a willow copse
catches a vixen fox, snacker
on many a farmyard fowl.

He wraps it in straw and hay,
sets her alight, she escapes him
and in her fleeing sets fire to crops
in the fields, a breeze goads the flames.

Vital winter’s snap to feed
family destroyed.

So every festival of Grow,
a fox is burned.

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

White Lady

Crowned white lady with flowing hair,
and fiery shoes, carries a spindle
and a three-cornered mirror
that foretells the future.

For nine nights before May Day,
chased by Wild Hunt Winter,
hounded from place to place,
she seeks refuge among villagers.

Folk leave their windows open
so she can find safety
behind cross-shaped panes.

Implores a farmer she meets to hide her
in a shock of grain. He does.
next morning his rye crop
is sprinkled with grains of gold

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

Blessed Are These Sacred Folk

who plough
who prepare the earth
who plough with a wide furrow to bring water from the river
who plant seeds
who trace the first ploughing, reploughing as first did not work
who harrow
who dg
who weed
who reap
who carry the grain
who store the grain
who share the grain
who share their good fortune with us, the dead

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE

Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

Bed and Breakfast – A Haibun

The blue sky smelled of manure. Even the allure of coffee and raw milk, homemade bread with rhubarb jam and omelets plucked from their mother just that morning couldn’t overcome the scent that distinctly said, “You’re on a working farm.”

The distinct sound of a tractor pulled up to the farmhouse door. The farmer offered us a hay ride around the farm and explained the difference between hay and straw, silo versus barn. The farmer named each machine and it’s purpose, but not the animals.

That night, I briefly wondered if the chicken that gave her life for our pot pie dinner also sacrificed her progeny for our breakfast. And if the rooster that would wake us in the morning, knew what happened to his family.

Plastic and foam trays

Deception and protection

Farmers eat the truth

Yes, that’s me on a tractor – picture courtesy of one of my sorority sisters who posted some “throwback pictures” of a reunion we had a bed and breakfast in the Pennsylvania countryside a few years after we graduated college. I don’t think the tractor was actually moving for the picture, but it was a first for this city girl!

Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing prompt requested: This week share poem/s out of your own nostalgia, experience, impressions, gratitude, concerns, or convictions about farms, farming, or farm policy. Despite now living in “farm country”, I still don’t know about farming although I do appreciate the numerous farmers markets in our area.

One thing I do know: I am very appreciative of the men and women who work on farms because I know I don’t have the constitution or inclination to grow things or kill things to eat. Maybe because living in cities, I was never exposed to that reality and thus my aversion to being close to the true source of what I/we eat. Food came in a package and didn’t have faces. Maybe if more people were aware of the reality of farming, there would be less food waste and a better understanding of the need to conserve and protect the environment/nature and animals as finite resources. But what do I know…I’m just a city girl…

© 2018, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ….)

A Secret Place

When Dad barked
You hopped to it,
Let’s go! In the car!
He loved the country.
One day, he said,
I’m moving to some
Small town,
Got my love of trees,
Wide expanses
And the smell of grass
From him
I guess.
Let’s go pick strawberries.
Get some fresh picked apples,
Some corn, if it’s ready,
Right from the field.
He always took the
Side roads
On our way to
Where he wanted
To be.
I marvel,
Where he was
Coming from,
Some secret desire,
Some past life,
Taking him home….

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie

Living On The Glebe

A tithed farm had flourished
since Queen Victoria’s reign.
Then the council needed acres
of land, built a housing estate
in the 1930’s for families like
us who couldn’t afford to buy.

Small, airy houses with an inside
toilet and coal shed, no running
hot water but spacious gardens
front and back.We made our home
here in the ’50’s and I walked past
apple trees to my first school.

Elderly neighbours recalled
the redbrick farmhouse, told
how they were sent there
as children and exchanged
a few pence for pats of golden
butter and hay-warmed eggs.

They felt the land’s closeness
despite shops and post office
and bus routes to the city centre.
Road names were echoes.
Farmcote Swancote
Old Farm Glebe Farm

And during the War,they dug
over their long back gardens.
Potatoes and turnips grew again.
Carrots were shaken free of soil,
peeled, grated and added to cake
mix instead of rationed sugar.

© 2018, Shiela Jacob


Hefting water out of the river to
feed the newly-planted.Long years since I
had to do the same on Uncle’s farm:enamel
white bucket hung from a windlass,sweet
water drawn from deep. I could lift but half
a pailful then. Brothers, neighbour’s girls,
rudimentary washes after endless
play; earth closet in the yard, potatoes,
their skins slowly curling in the cauldron
on the hearth.Somewhere a clock. Bored one day,
I stood beside the well and bawled for help.
Dad came running and rough chastisement
was love’s affirmation.

Brief check before I
swooshed down the hay bales in the barn, guiltless
until the straws in my hair betrayed me.
The years have added muscle, as I bend
and dip and lift from the grateful water,
remembering my boyhood’s guilty smile.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


the sight is disgusting

to the last degree

blind horse

liver sauce on fish

they turn the hay



© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. monday evening.

rain came, seeds will grow.

watered places i cannot reach,

butt half full.

noisy day, farmer making hay,

lambs moved from mothers.

they say the sun will come

later to dry .

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.growing potatoes.

the robin came down as he cleared the ground,
all red chest, pretty eyes.

we discussed the earth, rich now, without
the stones. we could grow potatoes as they
did here in the war. i have the photograph.

these are fortunate times, while have disliked
the tuber since the flu struck.

there has been a lot of it this year here.

we plan a pretty little greenhouse, all white
with embellishments, red geraniums.

the robin watched, i am told he will like mealworms.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.limousines and chevrolets.

it was quite a while

then while travelling she noticed

an interest in cattle.knowing little

noted their shapes and patterns.

mentioned the farmers yesterday

most in rugged vehicles

dogs barking

one in a saloon car, the passenger


full of food stuff

for cattle.

she wondered at the white ones

on her way home.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

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.

(c) 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

The Dead Don’t Envy the Living

Inspired by Wendell Berry’s “Testament

Raanana, August 17, 2018

The dead don’t envy the living
Any more than the living envy the dead.
Who’s to say what’s the best state
For matter to be in
In the long run?
I would think the best,
For one above ground,
Is to make the most of what you are
And, for those below,
To make the least.

(c) 2018, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works, Call of the Whipporwill)

Mike Stone’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Wheat Fields in Punjab, Pakastan courtesy of Ammarkh under CC BY-SA 3.0,

Farm and village
soul and spirit
a nation’s harvest  giver,
agri-armor of defense ,

lived in one,never,
but  loved  one where
Grand Dad lived
near the Jhelum River

A place, Sarai Alamgir
with tilled fields
lush green yields,
lands fulfilling needs

wells run by cattle
in circles, bound
pulling out water
round and round

and we so freely….
running in the fields
touching the trees
shouting and singing
with the breeze


When land is threatened
by famine ,when food is scarce
by waywardness and sins,
when fuel is short
and dry are the streams
the farmer with his horse
and plough
is back in the fields-

the backbone of the people
he is following his dreams
or so it seems-
going back in time

working coping hoping
amidst blasts and screams’
Farmer Farmer get some coal
if you want your crop
and reach your goal

Farmer farmer get your horse
for salvation of the loss
Farmer Farmer get your plough
Let us work and fulfill our vow’

© 2018, poems (English and Urdu/below), Anjum Wasim Dar

کسان اور گاوؑں

 کسان اور  گاوؑں
روح   رواں  زندگی
زرہ بکتر  زراع و دفاع

رہنا فارم پہ کبھی نا ھوا
دادا کے گھر سے پیار ھوا
سراےؑ  عالم گیر جھلم دریا

گاوؑں تھا  پیارا سا
لھلھاتے کھیت و باغ
ھر سو سبزا سبزا ھوا

کوؑیں سے جوتے بیل
کھیت میں پانی ڈالے
ڈبے پے ڈبا  ٓاتا  جاؑے

اور ھم  کھلے میدان میں
بھاگتے دوڑتے ھنستے
درختوں کہ چھوتے رہتے

مگر جب

 زمین خطرے میں پڑھنے لگے
قحت و قلت ھو جاےؑ زیادہ
ایندھن کم اور ندیاں خشک

پھر کساں اپنا سامان لیکر
کھیت میں  واپس  جاتا ھے
گھوڑا جوت کہ ہل چلاتا ھے

اپنی قوم کی فکر ھے لاحک
اپنے خواب  ادھورے پا کر
محنت کرنے لگتا ھے

بم دھماکے اور چیخوں میں
بھایو ٓاو آوؑ  کوؑلہ  نیکالو
اپنا اپنا کھیت  اپنا  ہل بچاوؑ

صلیب کو دیکھو مسجد  جاوؑ
اپنا وعدہ پورا،  خوب نبھاوؑ

شاید  نجات مل  جاےؑ شاید بخشے جاوؑ

“Let us all strive for peace on Earth for all. Let us make a better world. Write to make peace prevail.”  Anjum Wasim Dar, Pakistani poet, writer, artist, educator, and parent.