“Moon Child” . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


I’ve so enjoyed the responses to the last prompt, the republic of innocence, January 31, which was to tell us how near to good and honest is that which is untamed in ourselves. Thanks! and Bravo! to John Anstie, Lisa Ashley, Colin Blundell, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogan), Ginny Brannon, Paul Brookes, Sheila Jacob and Sonja Benskin Mesher.

I’ve also included some information on Pretichor Rising, a collection of The Grass Roots Poetry Group (proceeds to UNICEF) and Anjum Wasim Dar’s gentle response to Evelyn Augusto’s passionate U R Not Your Gun.

Join in tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. You are welcome here.


Moon Child

Once in a while you exceed yourself.
Are you blue, because we thought no more of you
as the driving force for life on Earth
or potent impetus for the exciting waves of witches.
Thrilling moments … or contemplative
of a thriving, muddy, salty, riverine universe of life
waiting for you to draw the pelagic
covers repeatedly over the fruits of sustenance.

A force of nature, fully formed
yet so much smaller than the mother of your birth,
you hold sway, in countless ways
you touch our lives and drive us through our days.
Humble, unassuming, even unnoticed
by those who hurtle, mindlessly, and make no time
for the wisdom of our insignificance
or feel the difference between our age and yours.

As necessity tramples over truth
most days, we hide in fear of the darkening,
of the madness that ensues.
Does not the hunter choose your waning dark
to spike the nervous memory,
and remind us of the untamed Wolfpack?
We may not ever tame you
but your mother is dying a slow and painful death.

Oh super blood blue moon,
does not your God and our God sing the same tune?

© 2018, John Anstie (My Poetry Library and 42 … Of Life, the Universe and Everything)

JOHN ANSTIE is a poet, musician, renaissance man, The Bardo Group Beguines core team member, and editor of and contributor to Petrichor Rising (eBook and paperback), a delightful 2013 poetry collection of The Grass Roots Poetry Group. The proceeds from sales go to UNICEF.

I dislike using the word “accessible.”  It’s usually code for a lack of intricacy or profundity. The work here is comprehensible but still complex. The poems move from nostalgia to appreciation, from the beauty of nature to the frailties of humanity, from sorrow to hope. From Craig Morris’ Introduction, which sets the mood, to Joe Hesch’s theme poem Petrichor, which closes the book, it’s a joy. Well organized with the weather metaphor as the through line, the sections are The Drought, Gathering Storm, and The Rain.

For more about Pretrichor Rise, John Anstie and The Grass Roots Poetry Group, read Pretrichor Rising and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships and that in turn birthed a poetry collection.

Two dancing white butterflies have no idea
how dark the world is today—
fires and floods, ethnic cleansing,
wars in deserts and in words—
nor the brown spider who just lowered herself
from the red and purple fuchsia blossom
to the green basil glowing in the September sun.
Those lives go on, still, as does mine,
part of a greater web, gossamer threads, tensile strength.

The neighborhood is noisy with construction equipment
moving earth for seven new houses. Seven.
People need a place to live,
though the trees are gone, crashing to earth,
once homes to birds, insects, mosses, squirrels.
And though I’m tucked away in my own private paradise
I know school buses are lining up
to carry young ones home.

We’d go for rides when he was very small
searching for construction equipment so he could name them—
front-end loader, grader, the double-dump. He knew them all.
The big machines, the small boy, the love bursting from my heart,
pink flush on his cheeks when he spied a big scoop,
Mary Ann, Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, in the flesh.

He turned over rocks on the beach
to touch tiny crabs
before they skittered to safety,
oblivious, like the butterflies and the spider,
of their near-death experience at the hands of a toddler,
or the suffering of the huge world,
still with us these many years.

The apples are turning redder every day.
I made a pot of soup yesterday.
Apples and pears in golden crust,
juices oozing warm cinnamon and ginger breath
to my eager nose, salivating mouth,
hedging my heart against the misery of so many
struggling mightily to survive.
The butterflies dance down the yard,
untamed,
as they must,
lighting my wild love, again.

© 2018, Lisa Ashley  (www.lisaashleyspiritualdirector.com)


a lion hunt

begins with the hypothesis of lion:
a roar in the night; a boy gone missing
or a bullock; an enormous spoor
in the path where the women walk;
a fur-net caught in the thorn bushes
speculatively examined by the old men

so it is with the pursuit of poetry:
one assumes that there is
something called poetry to be found –
but compared with hunting a lion…
well you can know in advance
what lion will look like
when you catch up with him
while the whole purpose
of the pursuit of poetry us to discover
by running it down just what a poem is

the pursuit must begin more or less
where it hopes to end – with a report
of the rather dubious quarry; if you start
with the wrong report you will end up with
the wrong phoenix or the wrong unicorn –
or whatever the fabulous creature
turns out to be

what one needs is a reliable scout
– somebody who was there at the end and
(against all odds) managed the journey back
– then you become the scout

*

From my ‘Years Later’ (2016)

*

© 2016, Colin Blundell  (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


Return to innocence

The hand that caresses the wave.
The mouth that hardly opens –
breathes in the fresh wind of the stone-pines.
To speak to the stars,
to write out signs –
that can be learnt.
It is known by the astrologers, magi,
illusionists, newspapermen.
All this can be learnt.
To be in conformity
with the expectance.
That is the art
of the skilful ones, the thought of the blind men.
People who sing in the boat
that has sailed off, do they know?
Does the sand remember other steps
but those of the children?

The hand that caresses the wave.
The mouth breathes in – the fresh wind
of the stone-pines.

© 2018, bogpan a.k.a. Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия)


Optical Illusions, Dreams, and Delusions

We watch as moon ascends in eastern sky,
a massive disc now peaking over fence—
an optical illusion on the rise,
appearing ever larger to our eyes
than any image captured through a lens.

And what we see and what the mind imprints
border between concrete and surreal;
we tuck away to pull out and reprise,
but should we find delusion has dispensed
we search to understand what was revealed.

Same could be said for all the pain we feel,
whether it is caused by physical distress
or mental anguish covert and disguised—
setting off alarms and raising shields,
then leaving us despondent and depressed.

‘Hope’ rises like the moon in pale nightdress
her whisper carried soft among the stars—
and even earthen mother can surmise
that if trials and tribulations are the test;
then blessings and endowments are our prize.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)


Believe

I don’t believe folk who are honest.
I were brought up with lies.
I’m happy with dishonesty.

It’s more real. Tell me porkies.
Elaborate. I take my wife, my kids,
government with a pinch of salt.

If anybody tells you you’re good
You can see their eyes twinkle.
Same if they tell you you’re rubbish.

Tongues forked or straight
wind you up. I smile sweetly

when you say I’m handsome,
talented. Always I say, “O, aye!”

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

The Need

for your inattention.
Don’t compare and copy me.

My life is not an example.
Don’t follow my words.

Don’t try to match your skills
and attitude to mine.

All these sites ask for followers
and likers. My popularity

is not measured in clicks.
A comment is not a vaiidation.

A share is not a support.
You are not mimetic.

Do not find yourself in others.
You’re not hollow.

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

History (A World Where 2)

is only ever now.
Events marked as then

can be dismissed as unreliable
personal testimony.

All records are falsifiable,
vague and without substance.

Numbers and dates are prone
to change with new evidence.

The past is uncertain.
Only the now is trustworthy.

Memories are full of doubt,
false and fake images.

Have faith in the eternal present.
It can’t be held onto.

Whatever can’t be grasped
has our hope, faith and trust.

I love you now. Whatever happened
is subject to conjecture.

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


In the garden with Caius

I follow him across puddles,
his yellow wellies twinkling.
He climbs onto a tree stump,
points to water-logged grass.

“Now look,Gran,look,
this is the floor,
down,
and this”
-gesturing upwards-
“is the sky.”

He stretches out his arms,
raises them, leaps,
lands and cheers.

“You do it, Gran”
and I do it,
his face
the unruffled lake
where I run
clear as moonlight,

balance perfectly
on damp, sawn wood.

We take turns, root
beneath the garden’s
green memory,
our hands brown leaves
cupping the breath
of early autumn.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob


::you say such nice things, sir::

one dot.

not two?

you say such nice things sir, while you are one in many,

many

disagree.

some struggle with the work each day, yet carry on, what

else can be done?

working in the field is good & honest.

quiet day with bread, purposeful baking, folding and pleating.

tomorrow is the run of the mill type daily.

as before, this is no metaphor.

where is the self worth sir, when we look full long in the mirror, see

darkly the things of youth, darkly those ideas & happenings not

written of here.

no guardian review.

it has not been the

experience we hoped for. we shall wear pyjamas. the book remains

tied.

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

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



Anjum wrote the following poem in resonse to Poet Takes a Stand Against Gun Violence in the United States

If Guns Were Flowers

if guns were flowers they would be colorful

beautiful, appealing and smell so nice

they would be light to carry, would carry love

and powder of affection rather than affliction

if guns were flowers there would be gardens

more and graves less, joy more, sadness less

would soothe comfort please and caress

friends favorites fans more,enemies less

if guns were flowers I would plant them

then gather the seeds to share for PEACE

then gather some more, go to the shore

sail the seas on ancient ship,to get more

Anjum Wasim Dar

Pakistan

CER Copyright 2018


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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


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

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

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


The Grand Scheme of Things

(Raanana, April 11, 2016)

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

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Beliefs

(Raanana, December 4, 2016)

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

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

A True Believer

(Raanana, February 10, 2017)

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

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Forsaken Children

(Raanana, September 23, 2017)

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

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Mike Stone

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


(Have the life)

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

Have the life!

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


they asked Bertrand Russell

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

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

what would he say to God?

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

(From my The Recovery of Wonder (2013)

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


Still Searching for Answers

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)


Gods Like A Twining Snake

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

waiting within a tired mind
weariness a braided chain
harnessing movement

reality sinking into quicksand
bogs of memory calling
burning names
taunting

Gods of money and loving guns
meaningless possessions
of nameless masses

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

dueling with engines
created of cells
stinging like bees

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

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

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

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

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


#Falsehood of legendary Gods#

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

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


alma mater

i.

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

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

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

ii.

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

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

© 2017, Anthony Carl (Anthony Carl)


Godfather Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sea God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“Snowball Wars” and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


Last Wednesday’s Writing Prompt, The Scent of Ma’amoul, October 18 was to write about favorite winter memories and these poems are mostly just that. All are well done. Welcome to Anthony Carl and Lisa Ashley, newcomers to Wednesday Writing Prompt. A warm welcome back to Renee Espiru, Kakali Das Gosh, Colin Blundell, Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Ginny Brannon. Enjoy this weeks collection and visit the poets at their blogs as well. Join us tomorrow for the next prompt. Everyone are welcome to share their work, no matter the stage of career: beginning, emerging or experience.


winter offering

the first frozen
day and my whole
world is swallowed
in snow. quiet air
chills my bones
as i draw each breath.

exhale.

every grey puff
is winter’s sacred
meditation chime,
an invocation
of gratitude as time
fades quickly away.

© 2017, Anthony Carl (Anthony Carl)

Anthony Carl

ANTHONY CARL majored in English Literature and has worked in the financial services industry for twenty years. Poetry is his outlet for creativity and staying sane. He is the author of one collection of poetry, Awaiting the Images, and his work appears in publications such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Panoply, and Empirical Magazine.


Snowball Wars

Red rubber boots, unlined and stiff, crackling with the cold,
stuffed with small round snowballs at days’ end,
attached to our snowpant cuffs
like the thistle burrs in summer to our socks,
we seven heedlessly dumped it all out on the kitchen linoleum,
pulling off those puffy clown pants,
draping wet woolen mittens, grandma knit,
over the wooden rack in the corner.
The mittens and hats never dried between forays
into that foot-deep,
knee-deep white stuff,
yet back on they went, wet and clammy next day
our enthusiasm warming the wet threads.

We never tired of building the snow forts
creating our cover, our barricade for attacking the neighbor kids,
defending our clan against them all,
my job to form the balls,
keep the pyramid pile stacked
so my brothers could jump up and fire them
over the top of the u-shaped fort.
I cowered from the enemy’s rock-hard snow bullets,
happy to make the ammunition behind the front line.
Were we catching a sense of what a war would be like,
years before my brother was sent to Vietnam?
I tried hard to follow directions,
pack the snow hard,
slapping the balls together in my smaller hands.

They were older, my brothers, like savages sometimes,
so maybe that’s why they invented the ice ball—
snow dipped in a bucket of water,
then surrounded with more snow—
so dangerous when they connected.
Perhaps our padded clothing kept us safe,
the ice ball dipping the source of their soaked mittens.
Gram had hot chocolate on the stove sometimes
when we came inside in the twilight
on the best winter days.
And no, my balls never measured up to theirs.

© 2017, Lisa Ashley

A Long Winter’s Sleep

The dash says 53 today,
not bad for January.
I glance across the street
into the opening of his tent
pitched there
on the sidewalk
under the overpass.
What tethers his tent there?
His body? His belongings?
He’s a white man, balding.
I can’t stop looking at him.
I check the light.
I invade his tent again.
He’s putting on his shoes, I think,
his tent flap rolled up
to catch the morning light.
Cars move through the intersection
rolling by one after the other.
It’s my turn to go.

Winter’s cut crystal breath
blasts concrete city
and clement countryside alike
as darkness drops down.
We live mostly inside these days.
Some live outside,
connected without choice
to nature’s moods and rhythms.
Gelid wind rushes ‘round corners
down brick and steel canyons,
sneaks beneath crackling tarps
pitched in peril
on grass-barren ground.
Mean homes huddled together,
snugged up behind a stone pole,
the metal dumpster,
a frigid freeway barricade
in hopes of blocking sleety rain.

Who blows on numb hands
inside these rimed plastic walls?
He lies on back-breaking sidewalks
night after night,
hears stiff tarps snapping
with the same indifference
as the taps of sharp-soled boots
skirting his home.

It’s colder than a witch’s tit out there,
we tell each other
over a drink at the bar
while hundreds
hunker down
that frozen-in-time night,
shivering,
waiting for morning
when the tent flap can roll up.

© 2017, Lisa Ashley

LISA ASHLEY, MDiv, Spiritual Director, Chaplain with incarcerated teens at the King County Detention Center, story-catcher and emerging poet, lives on Bainbridge Island, WA, where she meets with clients, writes and blogs at www.lisaashleyspiritualdirector.com  She has also written for The BeZine.


#None keeps promise #

That scarlet evening beside Shilabati is still sleepless
That earthen road through which we did wayfaring
is still waiting for you
That deck bridge across the river
is abiding still now just for you
Some wintry leaves are flying on its chest agonized
On that severe brumal evening
lights of sideway poles were reflecting from the crystalline rivulet
After a long walk we settled on a giant pebble
Grasses -sedges and bamboos were grown most for their foliage
Remains of some aquatic plants were kissing our mortal feet
Divers waterbirds were peeping through hydrilla
You uttered softly witnessing the pole star
,”Jhimli -we will come here again during the next fall of dew .”
and touch the last pole
Now it is a wintry evening anew
I’m tramping again restless and lonely here
Tears rolling down my cheeks are amalgamating with crystalline water of the rivulet
You haven’t kept your words
The mild bridge is calling me
saying -“Don’t wait anymore -none would come –
none would wipe your tears -none keeps promise .”…..

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


..that feeling that..

arrives unexpected from darkness, some winters’ mornings,

opening the door to the sound of one black bran bird calling.

track four repeated. that

comes on waking finding peace and comfort bound in clean

linen.

arises with perfume, an uncertain memory.

it may be chemicals, peptides in the brain as love, what

ever the germ or warfare

I find no word to describe, no random feather nor dust on

my plate. pass a finger.

that feeling of trimmed nails upon the keys pounding

words and silences.

while music plays. that feeling. that.

syrup stings my tongue.

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

..twigs again..

it has always been the same,

water going down hill,

thick frost of winter’s morning.

now the birds song at 4 am,

bad news soften by dreams,

new days. it has usually

been the same.

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


something there is

that now perceives a full moon in darkness
slightly hazy behind the thinnest of cloud coverings
behind the stark grasp of wintered branches –

a something – but in reality an absolute nothing
dreaming inconsequentially that it’s a something
by reason of the idea that it guides the scudding pen

across the page in the way it learned long ago to do
to produce a modicum of words – just sufficient
to say that there’s a something that perceives…

and so on and on; there will come other occasions
when it will choose to allow itself to be beguiled
into imagining that grand & conspicuous heaps

and heaps of words make some kind of sense –
all the stout metaphors and the dancing images
circumlocutions qualifications periphrastics…

but in these bold moments before this winter dawn
it has a sudden understanding that between words
– whatever words you so carefully choose –

and the infinite scintillations of externality there are
gross mucky swamps and dire deserts monstrous
mountains & galaxies that can never ever be traversed

© From a 2011 collection ‘pseudo-clarities” – Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)


Magic and a Mystery

The rusted tool chest on wheels now
a silent reminder of childhood wonder
when in mystery it did appear as

the night spread before us and sleep
a distant presence wrapped
in the excitement of holiday magic

we were sent to bed you and I
to await the morning’s sunrise
but I was vigilant and
so were you

as I listened to laughter seeping
beneath the door I smelled the
familiar scent of cigarette smoke
unfurling

from the neighbor who often was seen
visiting but it was late at night….and

I knew something or someone was about
as I saw you quietly push the door
to opening

I wanted to know if the gossip was true
that there was no Santa or St Nicholas
who would magically appear for
wishes come true

as we peeked carefully into the living room
it was mother who busied herself there
with the wonder of
holiday gifts
and fare

a shiny red tool box on wheels she moved
beside the tree as she smiled
with care

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


Mile Markers

Gray chalk hills fade one behind another
until they dissolve into oyster sky.
Ice crystals dance on gelid air,
glisten highway’s edge, and settle
in the crooks of sleeping maples.
Evergreens bend with the weight
of their thick winter shawls.
In spite of its bleakness, we are taken by
the stark frost-coated beauty of it all.

Northbound…

my core senses those timeworn mountains
long before my eyes discern them.
Yet, it is not these ancient mounds
that draw me back, but the folks therein
I long to see—those I love who wait for me.

With each mile passed, the years begin to dissipate;
like those hills now veiled by mist and gloam;
my pulse beats faster as this heart anticpates
that final stretch of road that leads me home.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)

Comfort Zone

A sudden snow shower,
flakes fly past the panes,
we watch in silence
mugs in hand; steam rising.
You turn on an old movie—
one seen a dozen times,
maybe more…
we laugh in unison,
quoting favorite lines,
echoing off each other,
anticipating what comes next…
as the steam rises

© 2017, Ginny Brannan (Inside Out Poetry)


This Winter Tercet

Cold snuffles wound round lean naked limbs.
Wet wends beneath sinew, soaks into blind bone.
Ice builds crystal by crystal simple net of things.

A cracked miniscus mirrors low sun’s sharp moan.
A fallen ocean blinks between blood red bricks.
As gust raises bare barkskin, snaps rendered stone.

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

Nudd Offered

At bottom of this Winter ale
had a word about end of the world
with Nudd, Lord of the Underworld

Nudd says “Your wife and kids are dead
and gone with the other Lord
pustuled and poxed, ill fed

come with me below
to the lake beneath the mountain
never age never hunger never ail
meet your wife and kids again

I agree, get up to go
lift the latch
trip and fall in snow.

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


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“Shriveled Rose Petal” and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


So many takes on growing old: gifts, beauty and downsides. These are responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, October 11, Once Upon a Time When They Were OldWelcome to Billy Antonio, here for the first time and thanks to Billy, Ginny Brannan, Renee Espiru, Iulia Gherghei , Colin Blundell, Gary W. Bowers, Kakahli Gosh, Lady Nimue, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes for so beautifully rising to the occasion and so generously sharing their work. Find some smiles here, a giggle or two, a sigh, a tear … and a load of talent and wisdom.


shriveled rose petal
the intricate veins
on mother’s hands

© 2017, Billy Antonio

Billy Antonio

BILLY ANTONIO is a poet, writer, and public school teacher. He is the author of the mini-chapbook In a Country with Two Seasons (a haiku collection) published by Poems-For-All. His short story, The Kite, has been broadcast on 4EB-FM, 98.1 in Brisbane, Australia. Some of his fiction and poetry have been published in Tincture Journal, Red River Review, Poetry Quarterly, Akitsu Quarterly, Anak Sastra, The Cicada’s Cry, Frameless Sky, The Mainichi, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, The Asahi Shimbun, Sonic Boom, among others. His poetry has won international recognition. He lives in the Philippines with his wife, Rowena, and his two daughters, Felicity and Asiel Sophie.


Old age

prisoner of my bad temper
in search of my light past
when I used to laugh my tears out
everything was a reason for laughter
jokes on everyone
I was the soul of the party
the champagne was sparkling into my eyes
now the joke is on me
I’ve suddenly realized that
laughter had abandon the ship
I enjoy only the sound of a quiet evening
alone…
Now it’s a time in my life when my engines
run slowly
In fact I have energy just to watch others pass by
to watch leaves turning green
to really breathe the air and sense the fragrance of a fresh born flower
Now I run the movie of my life backwards
I’m stunt how always in a hurry I used to be
obsessed to be free, nobody to interfere in my way
Now when I am tired, and maybe smarter
for sure older
I stopped by the river side, stare at my reflection in the fluid mirror
And silently shared a tear

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei  (Sky Under Construction)


wither so ever

the sun is an e-z bake oven
the years are the crepers of flesh
these witches cast spells from their coven
and incubate me in a creche

their eye of newt makes me a baby
dependent and feeble and blind
to crawl via walker and maybe
refetusize curly-q-spined

old age ain’t for sissies said bette
i grow old said prufrock by eliot
the challenge for us who are ready
to set jaw and fire-in-the-belly it

when entropy renders defective
when age compromises reliance
and culture says Old’s Ineffective
that when we all most need DEFIANCE

so HERE WE ARE, Jamie, STILL PUNCHING
still proving we have what it takes
and on through the gravel-strides crunching
concocting NEW Models and Makes.

© 2017, Gary W. Bowers  (One With Clay)


A Magical Dance

See the youth that resides within me
mirrored dark curls framing a woman’s
face who now breathes easier

not often the case when questions curled
like a hazy halo of smokey confusion
within my days and nights

watch me convey knowledge soul filled
now a sign of experiential vibrant color
a glowing gold not in the guise
of youth’s vanity

see my spirit soar within mirrored eyes
clear as mountain spring waters
seeing deep as ocean valleys
thunderous as waterfalls

filling crystal clear rivers running swift
choreographed with a magical dance
of a sprite or fairy or two

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


#Desire for Endless Love#

Why so alluring this argil is !
Why so mysterious this forest is !
Clasping dusk in a swan’s wings
Groping the falling darkish with shedded coniferous leaves
In the twilight of life when each spirit waits for someone
Eyes brim with tears
Birds retire to their nests flying over the blue ocean
Defraying moistures in their slender feathers
Flute of a shepherd boy sway my old heart
The night comes through stairs of mist
Through my watery old eyes
Agony switches apiece
But today in this watery moonlit night someone is at my door
Someone has reposed his eyes in my old eyes
In this assembly of life
O my unknown love
Please never renounce my crooked hands
Life crinkles body shrinks

But Love is endless – eternal
Please love me dear till
My last breath
Saying I’m pretty in your eyes
with my grey hair
Dry lips and vague vision
Kissing me upon my doom and cheeks
With Crisscross streaks …

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


..my world of leaves..

is this the final drop, slowly. not the white

wind blown kind that raises spirits. this

is due to a colder day, early morning five

below.

maybe this or a lack of adrenaline caused

it, the coming together of years which

slowly pass.

shadows of birds. dust motes in air.

marmalade toast.

is this the final drop?

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


it’s been such an easy life

on the outside (he says) counting the hours
that have fled all too quickly
a ripple in time
way beyond into the future

I’ve been awaiting something (he says)
for which I had to sit
in a comfortable anteroom
listening to the sounds of music
and laughter from inside the great hall

on the inside (he says) I’m still wondering
what I’m going to be when I grow up –
how I will frequent the literary pubs
& sit writing poetry at beer-stained tables
being a constant mystery
to the anxious youth at an adjacent table –
myself when young

I stride through all the Magic Cities;
I conduct my own symphonies of sound
and enter the soul of these two new cats

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


The Older Me

The older me knows my worth,
The value of my ideas and words,
She tells the stories with pride
That the younger me wants to hide;

The older me knows what’s lost
Was perhaps meant only as thoughts
But the more it lingered in the heart,
The younger me cried when time came to part.

The older me can not read this post
But she listens well and sings a lot
She dances on the whims of her own
Something that young me could not.

The older me is no more beautiful
Or any less than who I am right now
But she has a heart younger,mind pure
Than I can ever aspire to hold.

© Lady Nimue (Prats Corner: Pages of my mind: collecting words, experiences and memories …)


Unknowns

Who will I be when I grow old…
will I sit and babble nonsense rhyme
old poems and remnants left behind—
when those final years take hold.

Will past and present merge as one,
as mind relinquishes control;
or stay alert, my thoughts left whole
while body starts to come undone.

No gypsy fortune-tellers, we—
what lies before us, undefined
should favor nod as we decline
perhaps we’ll keep our sanity

Yes, all things acquiesce to time…
we only hope the years are kind.

© 2017, Ginny Brannan

Love Undying

He comes to visit each day,
reminding us as he enters that he’ll
be taking her home as soon as she’s
better, as soon as she’s stronger;
his dear sweet wife.

He lives for this woman, now mute
regressed in her memory–
holding tightly to a baby doll
perhaps for comfort, or perhaps
lost in vision of childhood
long past.

He gently wheels her through the halls
as though on some grand tour–
then he sits on the sofa in the hall
and lovingly clasps her pale parchment hand.
Talking softly, he asks

“Do you know what day today is?
It’s New Years eve day”

……”Can you hear me?”

……“Do you know who I am?”

and I wonder…

When I am old and lost in my thoughts
will someone come to see me each day,
gently take me by the hand–
and quietly remind me who I am?

© 2017, Ginny Brannan


Born Old

coddled in wool blanket drifts
Sun sears baby eyes through bright windows,
hospital paths cleared tall walls
of snow either side. I howled

a gust down shop aisles, on street
to the dentists. Crowds frowned.
Summer bike rides in country lanes
Spring divorced winter.

Summer was another dialect. Coarser,
to play was to laik, sweets were spice.
Wide games in a silver wood, ventured
into cold huts. Fun with sausages and custard.

Hull hunkered in Christian winter, relieved by Summer gamelan and hope for a vocation
to last manual work and taking the pillock.
It didn’t. Winter of closing pits.

Bristol summered in performance
Classes on interview technique, teach
Teenagers how to think into a job.
beyond unemployment benefit office screens

Spout words over dripped lager louts,
Back in summered day buzz of words clapped,
then winter cancered into debt
and prodigal return. No fatted calf

only steroid fatted bald mam and chores
in garden until I met my future wife
for a bet in breaks between admin.
Summered teach adults write and history.

A winter that lasted twelve years headset
yoked ears bent to abuse from wronged
Customers and peddled official lines.
Summer came with an unwanted death,

A years enjoyment of travel and delight.
Summer comes in to autumn with cash gone.
Life a priority. Bills must be paid. Work
only part time, buzz when I help customers.

© 2017, Paul Brookes

Know Old

You know you’re human when

you put your leg in the wrong
way in your boxer shorts.

you pick up your wife’s toothbrush,
not yours and use her toothpaste,
not yours, oblivious to both.

when it’s hot you put on too much
clothing, when it’s cold, too little.

wear underpants with holes
in the crutch through wear not design.

laugh at books and signs full
of epigrammatic phrases about
growing old, living with someone,
the habits of cats and dogs.

© 2017, Paul Brookes


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY