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

c Jamie Dedes

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!

the longhot

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
ran again
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
in july
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
it defines

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)

A Heady Burnt

means autumn’s
soft footfalls can be heard.

Sun’s blaze warms my back
as I cut dry grass, autumn
breaks out a rumble overhead

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

Sweetness So

late in the season,

I ask the tree,
“Please can I take some

of your fruit?”,
the easy pleasure

my hand reaches out,
amongst the almost naked,

gnarled limbs,
my fingers round

the full luscious belly
of a hard green pear,

and gently twist to snap
the umbilical cord,

and place it in the basket.
And say “Thankyou.”

On the ground gnawed
and sucked broken skins

rest on mown grass,
sweetness oozes into cold air.

Soon the aroma of apple
and pear crumble inhabits

the fresh rooms of our house,
the heat in the pastry,

the knife’s blade cuts
a portion.

“Blow on the spoon, love.
I need to know

if the pears are soft enough.”
says my wife as she ushers

bubbling fruit and crumble
to my quivering tongue.

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

Summer Storm

Gusted leaf shadow
your black dog lope.

Lightning your deadly smile,
what the thunder said your voice.

your hailstone land is popping popcorn.
skin a short, sharp shower.

left me to dry out in heat
of no goodbyes or see you laters

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


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 shall grow hot again.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

The Autumns of Our Lives

The autumns of our lives
Unfold in harsh winters
Still nature turns the page
In the book of seasons
That trembles now and then
With echoes of climate change.

A new spring reminds us
There’s hope to carry on.
Past glories and stories
Can never be erased.
Once the seeds are planted
Smiles begin to flourish.

One autumn father died,
Another we voted.
What seemed impossible
Under such repression
Became a hero’s act
For our democracy.

Wishes held in fingers
Jolly voices strangled
By repressive police.
Our hearts froze with fear.
Yet we’re no criminals,
We just wanted to vote.

That autumn was half-won
With promise unfulfilled.
All masks were now fallen
And everything had changed.
In most uncertainty
Untrodden way to go.

Monster decay with clay
Planted so many fears.
Imprisonments began
Freedom of speech attacked
Democracy at stake
Our claim remains awake.

That was just one more fall
In the book of seasons
Where revolutions find
Their own written pages.
Ours will have its place
Within nonviolent fight.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

on spring

who knows which hour it starts,
which minute, rhyme or reason.
breaking of rules,        our hearts
open.                         split a season.

on spring,                 slight chance,
light            or prayers can change.
sons      move in a prouder stance,
yet others rage.

black bird sings   early
the same bird calls late.
sense that nearby
one year came straight.
spring slides. the
moon draws tides.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

.after the brigands inn.

will you report the fire?
no i stopped to admire.

i had seen the stack before, the logs
laid neatly, all was ready then,

now your flames attract me, to
talk of lambs and springtimes.

it is from the storm , tinder dry,
too hot to stand by,
i can feel it from here.

on my return all was ash and steaming,

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

Tiptoes of Spring ~

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-

To create fresh flowers of poetry.

© 2018, poem and photographs, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


Living with Dying … poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“There is only one law in the universe that never changes– that all things change, and that all things are impermanent.” Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

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.


I grew up thinking
My mother to be
The strongest
In the world; a
With very healthy
And happy bones,
Because, she was
Always working,
Moving lithely, like
           A white cloud:
Light on her feet,
Quietly labouring
All day long at various
Household chores.
…Did not know then
What was in store
                        For her.
Over the years,
Pain in the lumbar-
sacral area started
Coming in burning
And her spine,
Which carried her face
Began to bend.
Even before the end
Of late youth
She began to stoop.
Then I was a girl;
Not exactly starry-eyed,
 not exactly a coveted
And I knew my mother
To be everything
             That none other
Would ever be.
I worried.
Day and night
Her pain assaulted her;
                      My mother.
Pain became
A way of life for her.
Years later,
When I was able to
Confront that liquid fire
In her bones–spine,
Radius, sternum, femur,
Pain spread everywhere
In her body growing frail,
It was–you can guess–
Very late.
But, we decided to finally
Address it, let the cause
Be discovered.
Test results showed
Why she was getting bowed–spinal TB!
Now she is free of it;
A huge loan has run up.
But we have won over
That dreadful pain.
But what is the gain?
Fear that a slight injury
Can fell her again
           And hurt her brain.
Fear, that our synthetic life together, with our
Courage dragged through fire, may have
Become blighted.
Since then I have felt
Deep inside me
A hunger of bone.
Bones in my virtual wings
Are strained to the
Breaking point; my flight
                          Of fancy
Goes by fits and starts.
We and our old house
Creak every now and then
With the burden of the
Slow moving years,
Carrying our heavy hearts.
The liquid rush of time
Is somehow slowed down
As we take each day
As it comes, up or down,
We are.
We will never give up
Though it seems easier
            To let it all go.
             In our bones
There is another kind
Of fire now. Another hunger.
Hunger for hope
That we will cope.
Our innocent animal children
Give us the fuel
To keep our fire burning,
Despite losses churning
Churning churning
Up the murky memories
Of past years, the memories of betrayal, neglect…
A hunger is in our bones.
Hunger for hope.
Hunger for healing.
We are trees with
               Bare brown branches
Hoping for another spring.
© 2018, Sharmila Pupu Mitra
Sharmlla Pupu Mitra

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

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.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (moments)

Marta Pombo Sallés

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.

Marta was also featured on The Poet by Day yesterday in the post Poets Helping Poets.

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
or actions.

as another day meets its midnight turnstile
the probability that turnstile day
for me
is imminent
is incrementally higher than it was
24 hours prior,

but i am not a bit more ready.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)

the skull of her son

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.
they cremated
the sun-sterilized bones
and gave her the ash-filled urn.

she was astonished
at how heavy it was.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay)

Sister’s Life

An evangelical church at seventeen
who say they will decide
what boyfriends she can have,
and when she can see them.

A clairvoyant who tells her at twenty-two:
“Your husband will be military,
you will have two children,
your spirit guide is a Native American Indian.”

A son and daughter with her Army husband.
He tries to control her need at twenty-four
to sell the kid’s unwanted toys,
have a life outside her home.

Carboot sales where she enjoys the buzz
and money selling at twenty-six,
kids in tow, a profit and loss,
a hope after she divorces him.

A Native American Indian spirit guide
at the foot of her bed at thirty
tells her “You will die young,
and join your hankered mam in afterlife.”

A nail in her tyre, or over the limit
after celebrating at thirty-five
her employee’s twentieth birthday,
her car turns over on a hard shoulder.

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

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright
piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table
And varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later
chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses
and piano sold as her hands come to rest.


She covered the piano with Laura Ashley
wallpaper off cuts from doing the walls.

As I unclamp one of my late sisters trapped Chinchillas, free its feet from the piano mechanism it bites deep.

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

I Watch Athletics With My Mam

All house mirrors have been removed.
I sit on her soft bed, rest an arm
on a spare pillow. Mum’s pillows

stacked behind her as we watch a
tv placed where her dress mirror stood.
Once she cried as her hair fell out.
She cried as she gained each pound weight

because she takes the chemicals
to stop her dying, stop the spread.
Once she was ‘petite’, now Mum’s fat
jowls, bingo wings slop on the bed.

Together we watch lithe bodies,
sharp muscle tone dash for the end.
Her home is spotless, a show home.
Every day we polish, scrub,

vacuum, she wants it welcoming.
She nods off half way through the
100 metres, I soft clap
the winner as she would have done.

I remember good times, and smile
at her laughter, gleam in her eyes
when she sees another winner
dash over the race finish line.

Meanwhile, she looks forward to Oakwell,
a new fan of Barnsley FC.
I never go as I don’t like
football, regret my selfishness

and time not enjoying her life.
She will sit in her hired wheelchair
yell and clap at their confidence,
vitality, their will to win.

Note: Mum died of cancer in 1997

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Womwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

My Mam Is

nothing if, not thorough.
Victorian reminder on a wall
full of telling aphorisms:

What will the neighbours say?
Our home shows us how
we treat ourselves.
Buff away grey clouds,

bring out the blue, make every
wood bell, crocus, daffodil
open their flowers today,
place a spruced up nest

for every chaffinch, green
and goldfinch, blackbird, dove.
Open all windows to “freshen”.
Clean outside and in,

see yourself without smears.
Tidy the memory home.
If you can see a job needs doing,
then do it. Why leave till tomorrow,

something that needs doing today?
Empty every drawer,
cupboard, wardrobe, surface,
scrub them clean, let spiders scurry off.

Launder, dry on the line winter’s
sombre deep cottons and woollens,
neatly fold away, in freshly
lavendered drawers.

It shows you respect yourself.
Rinse every item
of crockery, cutlery,
some unused for years.

Return them to scoured drawers.
Burnish copper ornaments,
delicately brush capodimonte

figures, feather dust top of doors,
skirting boards, deweb high corners,
Shine gas fire with Brasso. Polish
tables and furniture with Rosewood

or Lavender Pledge, all furniture pushed
into centre of rooms, to vacuum.
A person is what they do,
not what they say they will do.

Decant bookshelves,
every book cover cleaned.
Roll up, sling over washing line,
slap and beat dust out of all

rugs and doormats. Strip beds,
turn mattresses, air sheets.
It’s a warm spring day.
A clean home is a clean soul.

Bleach bath, sinks.
Glister chrome taps. Blue toilet.
Fragrance bathroom with Lemon.
Defrost fridge, full milk

bottles in a sink of cold water.
Unload and brush out garage,
vacuum Datsun Estate outside and in.
Weed patio and border, cut

straggly grass for first time this year.
Black bag food beyond sell by dates,
or out of fashion.
Likewise, shine your shoes,

pick bits off clothes,
straighten your skirt, tie,
tighten your belt.
A smart person is a smart mind.

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

#His dying footsteps #

Snowfall churned the wind
Gone through his ashes
I called him
None answered
The ridges through back the echoes
Of his dying footsteps
A balefire lighted in
That heath
Recalled his funeral
His white visage
Shivered fingers
Languid cheeks
Still stare at me
Awaiting for the
Undesirable last breath
On his steadfast .

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

In your sleep

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;
lay, pyjama-clad,
beneath a brown blanket,
the green quilt
you still called an eiderdown
and pink polyester sheets
blush-bright on your body’s chill.

© 2018, Shiela Jacob

.he wanted a garden.

have you collected seeds of many years, packed, labelled, dated.

have you died, and left the table unprepared. i have them now in boxes, a gift.

from those who love. they will bring me work, joy, an independent air.

seeds need water.

sun stays later.

i have imposter syndrome, never diagnosed yet googled when heard on radio live .

there may be too many additives these days not enough honesty grown.

she said i should have something new in the greenhouse.

i have, i said, and thought of you who

planted the seeds.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)

.. old blanket ..

I watch the blanket breathe,
hope it will never stop.

white, cellular, keeping warm,
the one I love, so vehemently.

scares me, this intensity of feeling,
that never stops,

and continues when the blanket lays quiet……

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;; Sonjia’s daily blog (WordPress) is HERE.)



::wonderland:: . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, March 28, invited poets to write about place. Here are the interesting, intriguing, and sometimes poignant responses from poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Kakali Das Ghosh, and Sonja Benskin Mesher. I’m touched though not surprised that home inspired a few of the poems featured today.

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
and renewal.

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

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,
give a million phoeni

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

Our Wombwell

sunbreaking brought bling jewels from overnight
rain, droplet tiaras/earrings trees, lampposts ankle bracelets.

On bus glimpse un netted/unblinded windows massive TVs window on window on corporate images: ogle goggle boxed.

Fresh grass laundered, barbeque wafts, rounding white clouds sky ablaze: Natural delights

cat trots downhill to bike shop. Black stringtied purse roadside. Folded bus pass at bus stop: ways home

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

My Black Spot

A treasure island mark on a palm
for which mam says she has blankets
in the airing cupboard.

For any metal crashes
we might hear from
the busy A one.

A grey metal bridge
over the spot
I trundle my Raleigh bike

to meet with crystal set Duncan,
bright as the guards
on his new bike.

An overgrown cottage
with walls like broken teeth
and shattered windscreen glass

meets me at the footbridge bottom.
There is no blood,
only what’s left after the event.

On return footbridge
is now flyover, black spot removed.
Folk fly by too fast.

My old home is a turn off.
into village quiet.
A place folk glance at
on the way to elsewhere.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

Flinch At Cold, Cold,

sticky touch
of scaffold pole steel,
in the sunblaze,

negotiate unlashed wooden
planks of a half built brick house
opposite my Mam and Dad’s,

miss my foothold, bang my knees,
graze my elbows, dazed, brickdust gob,

see behind closed eyes, few years earlier,
another bright, warm summer,
my fall

fifteen feet from a branch
in a tall forest, to sharp earth,
concussed, bruised, rip

my jeans, leaf litter gob,
so mate John,
who I’ve played with

for months takes
me, where I’ve never been,
over the massive quiet

of the cricket pitch of a cut lawn
his dad’s garden,
crunch pristine, white gravel

to his big sandstone Hall,
John says “Take them off.”,
as he takes his shoes off,

I take off my forested sneakers,
through white barndoor
of a front door, smell fried onions,

pad over red tiled hallway,
into a bright, high frontroom,
bigger than our village school

assembly hall,
to a vast leather settee
and first colour tv I’ve ever seen,

looks small in the centre
of this space,
asks me to sit while his mam

fetches a warm
cup of tea in a china cup,
and asks if I want her

to fetch my mam or dad.
I say “It’s kind of you to say,
but, no. I’m ok.”

And sunblinded, sore,
bloody again, on the scaffold,

as mam said, “And don’t let me
catch you clambering over
that building site!”

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

#It Was The First Time #

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 .”

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

:: wonder land ::

it was a long winter

spring came, and i went to


finished work, drove the hill,

there before me, misted,

pink polaroid,

pointy trees,

i could not breathe

for wondering.

plas newydd, the house

of lady friends

who flew from family

to nest in looking


a world away.

breathe came,

all there was in the

whole world was this place


pin pointed, pinhole,

and mindfulness.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;


to live in this place,

walk down to see fish,

waterboat men, dimpling


rest amongst bird

song, tapping the wood.

know you have

a piece of mind,

however fleeting.

to be in this place.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;

.this place.

enjoyed waiting with you, leaning on the fence.

quietly remember you who made this place. special.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;



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

I think it is safe to say that this week’s responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Environmental Justice, February 7, a gift to us from Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace, striving to live gracefully) and Steve Wiencek (Scholar and Poet Books, EBay and Scholar and Poet Books, Abe Books ), are consistently marked with an awareness and appreciation that gives us hope for the future .

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! 

The Northern Maronite Basilica in Brad (Barad), Aleppo courtesy of Hani Simo under CC BY 2.0

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
were falling.

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.

© 2018, Dick Jones (Sisyphus Ascending)

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

© 2018, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)

From Colin’s ‘The Recovery of Wonder’ 2013

desecratory deliverance

we have grown to love distillates

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
radial 24-caratotomy
kruggerrandom acts
and we feel godlike

we soupify the sky
we landfillet the lakes
sadsaturate soil
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

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
at least
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
and reduce
“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
of paradise

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

A Matter Of England

I stroll the matter of England
every workday. Recall rich
ancestral lords use miners sweat
lay clanking rails, raise putrid stench,

I walk the matter of England
see lives snatched by unmarked
uniforms, history laid waste
to make a point and remove sting
of sweated labour

I tread the matter of England everytime I chronicle the artificial lake, pit demolished, rails removed, soil has been moved on, seasonal.

Decipher its taste when we in/exhale its dust, decode invasions private/public, ingest new blood, remember old.

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

Land Is History

is a past pitman.
ancestor, a nailmaker
whose strong coffin nails
stout fasten the woods
grain swish as land without
skeleton to hold its’ skin.

Both open cast places.
where redundancy rips
old features from their faces,
old skulls from beneath their skins.

Redundancy within weeks drains the Dearne from their arteries, smooths disused canals from their cheeks, wetlands asset-stripped from their eyes.

And children sit on father’s knee as on a hill hear how men
made hills a sack of land
a weight of meaning

Land no longer propped
by miners hands

into history.

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

(Land is History is from Paul’s first pamphlet: “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, 1993, revised 2017)

We Stop Decay

devote lives to prevent decay
of wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our minds,
faculties of our hearts

Each day we weed, we resow,
rework, rebuild
the wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our hearts,
faculties of our minds.

Laugh to heal the stench
of rot, worm eaten
brick, bone, breath, wood
landscape of flesh
fresh produce of light.

Born to decay in decay
heal the ever opening wound
brick, bone, breath, wood
flesh of landscape
light produce of flesh.


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

Purple Moors

were once forests
national parks heavy industrial
this oak headland a pitsite

lads snap off livelimbs
anarchic coppicing
black dogshitbags sway
on limbs left alone

don’t visit in a storm
oaks are lightningtrees
people can be oaks

oakgroves of druids
duir means a door
exit and entrance

raw open wounds of sacrifice
still bleed sap

this hand has molded
a garden out of wildlife
words out of nonsense

she used to say “when
one door closes
another opens”

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

Village Circle

Cactus seedlings nestle in the shade
of green-trunked nurse trees, creosote
and heart leaf limber bush.

Elf owl and gilded flicker nestlings
rest in cozy, cool saguaro boots
above beetles building galleries.

Long-nosed bats sup on pollen and nectar;
pack rats pillage ripe vermillion fruit.

All, like me, look forward to rain.

© 2018, Denise Aileen DeVries (Bilocalalia)

#For Your Future’s Sustenance #

O my son!

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
-golden flowers
-dancing rivers
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 …

©2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

.. spaces..

connect with spaces,
you may move differently.
sound different.

a specific style of dancing?

which reveals the environment as a character,

animation through animated intent

or something.

Johann Botha said this.
he is in Pretoria, he is
part of our audience

another sat quietly.
it can be dark.

the date is set.

24 this month
of winter

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

.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.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)