Here we are! Tuesday again and this is a fave day for many readers who so enjoy the variety of responses to each week’s prompt. Today we welcome the poetry of Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Marta Pombo Sallés, Frank McMahan, and Sonja Benskin Mesher in response to the last writing writing prompt, May 9, Autumn Promises, which was to write about a favorite season. Why is it a fave? How does it move your heart or inspire your thoughts? So, enjoy these and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt – tomorrow.
You’ll notice that I always include a link to each poet’s blog or website to facilitate getting to know new to you poets. That’s what this exercise is primarily about. So do connect. If there’s no site, you can probably link-up on Facebook.
All are welcome to join us for Wednesday Writing Prompts, no matter the status of career: novice, emerging or pro. Come, be a part of our poetry community.
Please note: Folks have sent me emails for Wednesday Writing Prompt with their photo and bio, which I don’t post unless there is a reason to do so… That is, you won’t see your photo and bio go up unless you share a poem on Wednesday in response to the prompt … and it’s your first time participating. It’s by way of intro to everyone. Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your future a participation.
Thanks to those who contributed today’s delights and to all who take the time to read their work and travel on to visit their blogs or websites. Bravo!
in 1990 the Valley
of the Sun served up
a 122 degree day
on the 26th of june
i was a long distance runner
of the mind
that i could not miss a day
i had to run
at least a mile
day and so
i ran in the predawn
and it was already pushing a hundred
and fifteen minutes was all i had
but it scratched the itch
but not enough
so after sundown a friend of mine and i
he was soon wiped
but i was full
of essence of beenthere
and extract of donethat
and was oddly energized
when he asked if we could stop
and when we drew in heated air
i felt like a furnace being stoked
years later i was on a golf course
had the course practically to myself
but for one or two twosomes
riding in carts
while i walked and carried my bag
at the twelfth hole
on the fairway
a worried ranger told me
i didn’t “look so good, partner
why don’t you sit down for a while?”
“nah, i’m ok,” i replied
plastering on a grin
i didn’t feel
because my focus was derailed
“you shouldn’t do this by yourself”
“i’m drinkin a lotta water
i’m ok thanks”
and i touched that with asperity
and he left
more worried than ever
but he need not have been
this was my sweat lodge
this was my forge
this was the longhot and my home
it makes cold water taste sublime
it cleanses it cures
When I am hot and fevered, bring
me from a cold, clear spring, water
in earthenware pitchers. Lave
my limbs indulgently. Let
the drops on my brow fall softly.
Carry me then on a litter,
in cotton covered, smooth and cool,
to the shingle shore where the
breeze, the merest breeze can glide,slow
across the contours of my skin,
sloughing away this burning. Let
the tide’s murmuring bring a slow
descent through slumber into sleep,
weightless, dream-less, floating.
I have found flowers
I have found flowers,
And the cool winds feel softer
Dry leaves are lifted
Waves are visible in the grass
And I know
That Nature with her sensitive ear
Hears the tender touches of, the velvet
tiptoes of Spring-
Evergreens sway to welcome, in
Murmuring whispers of youthful sprouts
Rippling away invisible woes , and I find
More flowers as loneliness fades away-
Comfort engulfs the soul and spirit as
The mind drifts away to memories
When families were together to stay-
All seasons were loved December or May
And now I find flowers but not the family
All seasons seem the same ,as joyful memory
In summer heat cool raindrops or autumnal
Falls, touches my soul, inspires the spirit-
The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, A Hunger For Bone, May 2, was on living with dying. We’re often in denial about this constant in our lives. The reality may hit us with the death of a friend, a sibling, a parent, a school mate. Today seven poets share their experiences and observations in writing that is honest, intimate and moving. You may find you need a tissue or two.
You will not fail to be touched by the sincerity of newcomers Sharmila Pupu Mitra and Marta Pombo Sallés (a warm welcome to both) and with the work of our “old timers” Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Kakali Das Gosh, Shiela Jacob and Sonja Benskin Mesher. Thanks to each for their willingness to touch our hearts and share their work.
Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about the love of reading and writing poetry, sharing your work, exercising the writing muscle and getting to know poets who may be new to you.
SHARMILA MITRA aka SHARMILA PUPU MITRA was born in the beautiful small town, Jalpaiguri, in North of West Bengal, India. She teaches English and is a poet. She tells us she is in love with words, and spends her time thinking how to use words to express her most intimately felt experiences. Her journey has been rough. Sharmila lives in her ancestral home in Kolkata, with her elderly mother and her rescued fur children. Life is a kaleidoscope to her.
Last moments together
peace of mind and spirit
magic energy flowing
my hand holding yours.
The pain has vanished
now sleep peacefully
take in all this love
I am giving you.
No grass in the park
no plants in the lake
though colorful flowers
give hope for your leaving.
The sculpture remains,
see the confident gaze
how she stands resolute
how she tells life to go on.
MARTA POMBO SALLÉS is a German and English teacher working in a high school near Barcelona. Marta has taught both languages since 1990. She says that at work and in her free time she feels the need to create things.
CATALÀ: Hola a tothom, em dic Marta Pombo Sallés i sóc professora d’alemany i d’anglès en un institut a prop de Barcelona. Ensenyo aquestes dues llengües des de l’any 1990. Tant a la meva feina com en el meu temps lliure sento la necessitat de fer coses creatives.
as my friend tom
grappled with another uncle’s succumb
to heart diease
he emailed an assertion
i will not forget:
“we’re all chunking up
to the turnstile.”
as my friend jeff
composed his last message,
and anti-seizure medication
did its eldrich thing,
on many screens in many homes
a horribly cheery woman’s voice
told listeners that use of this medication
may lead to suicidal thoughts
as another day meets its midnight turnstile
the probability that turnstile day
is incrementally higher than it was
24 hours prior,
it took a year for dna confirmation.
there were a scattering of bones
and a skull
missing the lower mandible.
the county called her
and she came down
from the high country
and at her request
they showed her
her son’s remains.
soundlessly weeping, smiling,
she carefully lifted
the bleached brainpan
and looked into the sockets
of the skull of her son.
she ran her finger over
the smooth cool top
and murmured his name.
she kissed her finger
and pressed it gently
against the skull-top.
she wanted the bones as is
but the law of the land said no.
the sun-sterilized bones
and gave her the ash-filled urn.
Snowfall churned the wind
Gone through his ashes
I called him
The ridges through back the echoes
Of his dying footsteps
A balefire lighted in
Recalled his funeral
His white visage
Still stare at me
Awaiting for the
Undesirable last breath
On his steadfast .
After paramedics found you
I counted lost hours
you’d spent alone
becoming-so it seemed-
more and more dead
as the sun rose,
curtains stayed closed
and your telephone rang and rang.
A nurse would have seen
blue lips, felt no pulse,
pulled the emergency cord
but you refused another
hospital stay, worn out,
at ninety, by the chafe
of cannulas, sticking plasters,
starched white linen.
You slept, one final night,
in your own double bed;
beneath a brown blanket,
the green quilt
you still called an eiderdown
and pink polyester sheets
blush-bright on your body’s chill.
For some writers poetry may be a primary form of artistic expression but it is not the only one. You’ll note, I always include links to contributors blogs when they have them. I hope you’ll visit and get to know them or connect with them on Facebook. Gary, Sonja (an award-winning artist, so many I can’t keep up) and Kakali are stellar artists, very different in style but rewarding. Paul (who often writes in regional dialet), Gary and Sonja are also photographers. Given Paul’s knowledge and love of art, he has distinguished himself with some very fine ekphrastic poetry.
Gary is sharp, original and unique. He honored me with one of his sketches. Thanks again, Gary!
I’m pleased beyond all the words with which we play to present these remarkably talented folks to you here, one of the gratifications of a “connected world.” I hope you’ll share your own work with us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.
the phoenix and phoenix
phoenix arizona lies
asprawl across the valley of the sun,
and that sun in summer stuns one
who is wise to heads indoors,
but the winters, mild and tasty,
bid a million phoenicians rise
and form a wing-flexing phoenix
of basking and bonhomie
It was the first time
I was there
It was the first time
I felt his touch on my shoulders
Bay of Bengal :gazed at me with its profound look
With its stories untold for years immemorial
With its beach bathing under April sun
With its wavy dance dashing over boulders carving relics
It was the first time a heavenly child on a horse threw a celestial smile at me while passing through rocks
It was the first time he rehashed me
a statue spellbound
And it was the first time that tamarisk wood in the skyline
swayed each corner of my heart
My courage unfolded to say you -“I’m yours -just yours .”
We extend a warm welcome to poet and musician Dick Jones, new to Wednesday Writing Prompt, and a warm thank you to our treasured regulars: Colin Blundell, Paul Brookes, Kakali Das Ghosh, and Sonja Benskin Mesher and to occasional participants Gary W. Bowers and Denise Aileen DeVires. Welcome back!
I’m pleased that Dick chose to write about Abu Ward, a citizen of Aleppo, the city from which my family sailed from the Middle East to come to the United States a little more than a century ago. CNN called Abu Ward the “last Syrian gardener.” He’s not, of course, though there are few like him. Nonetheless, how some support their spirit in the face of a tragedy so monumental is remarkable.
Like my Lebanese grandmother before me, I season my cooking with Aleppo Pepper. I know that it no longer comes from these beautiful people and their cultured city, which was one of the oldest in world. To say the heart aches is understatement. Rest in peace, Abu Ward, and all victims of this multifaceted violence. The peoples of Syria are not forgotten.
Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging or pro. See you then … Meanwhile, enjoy – and perhaps be inspired by – this rather special collection.
‘The presence of the world is flowers’. Abu Ward
This was the man
who planted flowers
where the bombs
This is his son
who kneels alone
by the garden gate.
The dust he pushes
around their stems
with his thumb is where
his father lives now.
And each flower
will lift some dust
as it rises in spring.
Abu Ward (from the Arabic for ‘Father of the Flowers’) maintained his carefully nurtured flower garden during the worst of Assad’s systematic bombing of Aleppo. He was killed by a bomb dropped near his home. His son Ibrahim left school at thirteen to help his father. After Abu Ward’s death, Ibrahim attempted to maintain the garden, which is now closed. Sadly, in this instance, environmental justice has been, as so often, a victim of warfare.
DICK JONES says he was initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats. He has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of fifteen. His work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 he received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars. His first collection, Ancient Lights was published by Phoenicia Publishing and is available from them or via Amazon. His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ epic poem La Prose du Trans-Siberien… was published in an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press in 2014. Dick writes lyrics and plays bass guitar in acoustic/electric songwriting trio Moorby Jones.
as you take the road to Paradise
about half-way there
you come to an inn
which even as inns go is admirable
you go into the garden of it
and see the great trees and the wall
of Box Hill shrouding you all round
it is beautiful enough (in all conscience)
to arrest you without the need of history
or any admixture of pride of place
but as you sit in a seat in the garden
you are sitting where Nelson sat
when he said goodbye to Emma;
if you move a yard or two you will be
where Keats sat biting his pen
thinking out some new line of poem
bagged sugar cherry extract oil
of cloves buckminsterfullerene
essences pantheonized for delectation
bottled genies at our command
we so love purities
fleece white as snow
anthracite darkly dense
and we feel godlike
we soupify the sky
we landfillet the lakes
slagsilt the seven seas
it is a remorseless juggernaut
this megamodular magicker
and some of us are waking up
some of us want a different magic
the magic of the camper
who goes sees enjoys records
leaves the site none the worse
some of us want a reckoning
a calling to account
shame and punishment
some of us want to be sheriffs
but YOU STOP THAT NOW
is just like any other war
on any other badguy
and artificial value
has yielded unartificial power
and corruptive pushback
and corrosive continuance
deliverance must come
as with any other childbirth
spasmodically and with some blood
crowning and pushing through membrane
a slap and a gasp and a wail
our magical recording
transmitting devices will help
ill-gotten gains though they be
our one-person choices will help
the enormity of the challenge
the size and perversity of the beast
will be revealed
as you yes you
give up your midas’s vehicles
stop eating the factory-farmed
children of hell’s misery
“places you must see before you die”
serve up justice to yourselves
and fire the single brick
of your life’s commitment
in the kiln
Raise your head
I’m your benevolent mother
My eyes -your azure sky
When you are blown by caustic fervor
My brimming watery eyes turn into serene raindrops to alleviate you
My hands -your verdurous trees
When you lie wearily on my verdant lap
My hands spread florid twigs to shade you
My moist lips -your rivers
When your thirst touches me
Words of my lips turn into rivulets to kiss you to mitigate your thirst
Now -my son
Why are you burning my eyes with your voluminous black smoke
Why are you cutting my hands with your severe axe so grimly
Why are you tearing my lips throwing poisonous blues
I’m your mother earth
I’m your reason of survival -with snowy peaks
Wouldn’t you be just to me
Wouldn’t you be fair to me
Not only for me but also
For your nourishment
For your children’s nutriment
For your future’s sustenance ages after ages …