One of a Kind, a poem by John Anstie

(for Myrra)

Is she the last of a generation,
who lived through two centuries
of cataclysmic events and change;
a century that felt the consequence
of moving territories and boundaries.
From crowns to oligarchical republics,
from rags to riches beyond counting,
technological revolution, the benefits
of science, engineering and medicine,
a system of healthcare and welfare that,
despite the imposed failings of ideology,
looked after her so well … until she left.

Is she the last of a generation,
of whom we’ll be able to say:
“She’s the last of her generation”,
who fought childhood infection
by their own in-built immunity
– no pharmaceutical intervention
to compromise nature’s ways –
who fought for their country
with hope, fear and courage
as their constant companions
without leave for counsel or therapy
to help them through their days.

Malevolent, engineered conflict,
driven by and driving the revolution,
through deeply rooted anxiety
that keeps us at war with others,
with each other, with ourselves …
a continuum of change, so rapid
that we had no time to reflect on
its merits (or not) leading headlong,
steadily, insidiously, irreversibly..?
to a virtual, digital, designer world,
addicted to things that loosen our grip
on a life that once was, not so long ago.

A life more in touch with nature
in which they could roam free;
step out and walk wild for the day
in casual clothes and wellies, with a tin,
a packed lunch, made by their mums;
play games, whose names we forgot.
Walk shoulder to shoulder with a friend,
make daisy chains, mud pies and fish
with a stick in streams and wild rivers,
but virtual games carry young lives away,
so our smart phones all too often convey
in a digest of news, twenty four hours a day.

Is she the last of her generation,
gifted with ‘freedom’ from the toxic
stale air of hyperventilating media
or will we one day be able to say
in the eternity of time and space:
we are all unique, each one of us
was born of a time, from a special
exotic recipe of genes and place,
bringing our gift to the world by
the pull of the moon and the stars,
the physics and chemistry of life
that mould us into what we are …

… one of a kind.

© March 2018,John Anstie, Shared here with permission. All rights reserved.  You can visit John at My Poetry Library. John is also a member of The BeZine core team and you will find a piece by him in the June 15 issue when it is published.

[In her own words: “Born in Yorkshire in March 1919, Myrra Robb Anstie was educated at Southport Girls’ High School. She then won a scholarship for three years at Southport School of Art. She worked as a draughts-woman until the outbreak of WW2, when she enlisted to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (A.T.S.). She lived, from the early 1960’s, in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where she worked as a teacher of Art, exhibited and sold her work. She returned to the U.K. in 1986, spending a few years teaching portraiture and oil painting for Adult Education in Leicestershire, before settling in Devon in 1991. She was then a member of the Exmouth Art Group. Her hobbies are golf, bridge, computers and sewing. Her favourite subject in art is portraiture.”

My words: Myrra was my step-mother, ‘mum’, and part of my life for nearly fifty years. She married my Father in 1963. I first met her in 1971. Born only a year after the end of WW1, she died in February just three weeks short of her 99th Birthday. She was a woman with a strength of character and opinion that made her a force of nature. She cites her hobbies as including golf. To say it was a hobby is a slight understatement. She was a very competitive golfer, in fact she was competitive at almost everything she did. She shared her passion for the game with my father for the 42 years they were married. Both of them had played from a very young age. She was also competitive as a Bridge player. Her mainstay, her profession, throughout her life was that she established herself as a talented artist, specialising in portraiture. She was a teacher as well as a practitioner of her art. My children and grandchildren benefitted from her teaching. She became a particularly major part of our lives after my Father died in 2005. She will be missed.

A few years ago, I wrote a poem for her that she was very rude about and told me never to write another one about her! I was offended, but, with hindsight, I confess and concede that particular poem was not my best work. To be kind, I guess she was applying her own high standards to my art, as she applied to her own. To honour her wishes, this poem is not about her; it’s about the age through which she lived. It is, nevertheless, dedicated to her.]

John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.



“Vincent Van Gone” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

 “I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.”  Nikolai Gogol

The heartening responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, the hanged man, May 30, which asked what people – well-known or not – inspire us. Thanks to poets Lisa Ashley, Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Sheila Jacobs, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Marta Pombo Sallés responded with work that is both beautiful and heartfelt.  Thanks to Sonja and Marta for also sharing their illustrations.

Welcome to the multi-talented Clarissa Simmens, making her debut here with Austisophobia.

I must also draw your attention to John Anstie’s homage to his stepmom, One of a Kind.  Read it HERE.

Enjoy! … and don’t forget to visit these poets and get to know them and to join with us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged to share their work on theme.


Most people fear me
Now that I’ve confessed
My autism
Despite the internet
And other fonts of info
They think we all melt down
And want to commit violence
On anyone blocking our path
Even if we only know them virtually
When the main thing
We on the spectrum share
Is our despair
That we are unlovable
To others
Merely because
We don’t know
The right words to say
Or the correct facial expression
When we are thinking of what was said
And what we’d like to convey
I dislike pity
So when things get sad
I go into Warrior Mode
A secret code
That bids me to lift my head
Love myself
And most days (and nights) I do
But there are times
When I watch as others
Shower kudos on their
Sisters and Brothers
The Neurotypical
Who fit in
While the Neurodiverse
Like me
Suffer the penalty
Of being different…

(c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) (Poeturja)

CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja)  Clarissa Simmens is an Independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Her poetry is written simply, striving to compose musically, including talking blues, folktales, and memoirs of life. Facebook and Amazon. (photo © Clarrissa Simmens)

I have health and body challenges. This simply written narrative “homage” is trying to capture how it might be for my “Swim Buddy” and the thoughts that cross my mind about him as I swim and work out in the water. I hold nothing but admiration for him.

Swim Buddy

One random day he fell off a ladder.
Paralyzed on impact
never to walk again, they said.

What year ago did he appear
young man in a wheelchair
rolling into the water?

How many hours has he fought
his struggles unknown
to the likes of you and me?

What year did he appear one day,
legs booted and braced,
swaying from side to side?

He swims laps beside me most days now,
offers to loan his special chair—
my surgery is coming soon.

Some months with walker & cane for me,
sticks & braces for him forever,
we park side by side in the disabled spots.

We cross paths in the grocery aisle
sneaking looks at what we’ve chosen,
both leaning on our carts, canes tucked in.

He is greeted by many, a strange notoriety,
his story known on the island.
How many times a day does he say, I’m okay?

We speak hello by the locker room
noting the weather, he’s finished early today.
I don’t ask. We go our separate ways,
he to his truck, me to the water.

© 2018, Lisa Ashley

vincent van gone

john wayne took
kirk douglas to task
for playing vincent van gogh
“play real men, not queers”
is only lightly edited for conciseness

but vincent was a real man
not a very pleasant man
but none can deny that fierce passion
that took him to the coal mines as a lay preacher
and gave him to live as the miners did
In the wretchedest of poverty
(he was soon fired, of course,
for misrepresentation of a proper preacher)

humiliation and scorn were his daily lot
the townsfolk called him “crazy red”
and he lived squalidly

but he was a dreamer alchemist
and he distilled an elixir
of hurtsoul and seethy seeing
from his churning core
and spread the elixir on canvases

he is gone but not
rectangles of his psyche remain

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


I see the unexpected generosity of so called “ordinary people” as remarkable:

Caravan (Please Take Change)

Three women in the queue
The first empties her packed trolley.

Do you need any carrier bags?
I ask.

Three to start with. I have to sort out
What we’re taking in the caravan.
Why did I buy so much?

Help packing?

Yes please while I empty this.

We’ll do it for you offers one of the other women.
We’d love a caravan holiday. Don’t take up much space.

Five carrier bags full later she says. I’ll have to fetch my car round. I’ll never carry all this.

We’ll carry it for you. We’ve only got these odd goods propose the other two women.

I can’t have you doing that.
Yes you can.

A caravan of women carry bags
out the door.

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

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

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

Pied Wagtail

As I pack another’s bag
He says ” I were a packer

down pit. Tha’d have made
a good packer.”

I set each odd shaped stone
in place to hold back debris
hold up the pit roof so others
may have space to work.

As I pack her bag
She says “Aren’t they beautiful.
The pied wagtails”

She watches their skitter
and bob outside the shop
window. “My dad was

a blacksmith in the pits.
Well, he was a farrier,

But when they got rid
of the ponies he became
a blacksmith. He allus

told me Pied Wagtails
nested in pit prop piles
stacked outside the pit.”

My pit prop holds up
the roof that others
may safely work.

The pits are all closed
their memories are all open,
a black and white skitter and bob.


Pack – Roof support made of stone. Large stones at the front, built up like a dry stone wall.
Packer (1) – One deployed to build the pack walls and fill behind with debris.
Packer (2) – A big piece of stone to use in the pack wall.
Packing – Act of building a pack wall and filling a void.
Packhole – Void at coal face to stow dirt either or both sides of the gate from the ripping lip.

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

Showing them

i.m.Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 1929-1993

They discussed her wardrobe for Texas.
Simple, elegant outfits, Jack suggested
especially on the Dallas trip – to show
those fur-hugging diamond -dripping
dowagers what good taste really was.

She showed them: chose a pink Chanel
suit, navy blouse and matching pill box
hat laid out the night before, accessories
hidden while she smiled to crowds along
Elm Street, waved a white-gloved hand.

When he frowned,suddenly,slumped
forward in the heat’s glare she hunkered
down, cradled his broken head in her lap,
scrambled across the limousine’s trunk
with white kid gloves polka-dotted red.

She lay on the back seat, her body draped
over his, wouldn’t let go until she reached
the Trauma Room of Parkland Hospital;
sat outside,refused to remove her gloves,
relinquish any more of him to strangers.

She showed them, showed the world as
L.B.J.swore the Oath of Allegiance on Air
Force One and she stood at his side, wore
blood-stained stockings and snags of dried
grey matter on her shocking-pink suit.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob

.the bull box.


i read Glyn Hughes, sometimes.

sometimes, i look at the photograph,

and wonder how it was that last year;

think of

how you wrote to me, sent

me your book

with a private inscription.

© 2018, poem and illustrations (below), Sonja Benskin Mesher



jon lord

the words came clearly, shining,

by the kettle early. knowing

i must write,.disappearance on

the stairs, may they drift in later

like a moth, soft and quietning.

now i write nothing, just

the shapes and patterns,

the notes on keys, tapping.

usually the same each morning,

until the differences,

show, and we are challenged.

john lord is gone, his words and sounds


© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

I do not have any poem specially dedicated to a famous person for their courage, wisdom or whatever other qualities to admire, but I have a homage to some anonymous people that unfortunately are no longer among us:

Time and Human Cruelty

cannot be changed
or escaped.
Time is a thief,
a friend to no one
and every day is
a gift.

You cannot change time
or travel back
to reverse those things which
should never have taken place.
People killed for no reason
is there ever a reason
to kill other human beings?

Those people did not get lost.
When you’re lost you’ll sooner or later
find the way back.
Or perhaps not.
But you’re not erased from Earth.

Those people were killed,
just a few compared to other countries
in our world.
None of them will ever return
to the world as we know it.
They’ve just been removed too soon,
swept away by the cruelty of others:
white supremacists, Muslim terrorists …

But which governments are orchestrating
such massacres in our world?
Who’s feeding the monsters
is equally a monster.

Let’s tackle the root of the problem.
Only this way we’ll be able to say:
I am not afraid!

Time and human cruelty
are friends to no one:
Charlottesville, Barcelona, Cambrils
and many more.
The outcome is always the same.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

2nd poem: A tribute to a Catalan allegorical figure, the Pescallunes, a moon fisherboy, and to those anonymous people following his example:

Moon fisherboy

Someone unplugged and unscrewed
the moon and the stars.
They were stolen away from us
and we were left with a dark blanket,
covering the surface of the Earth,
under which we must live our lives.

Amid the darkness, in the sky
of a salted night, some of us
sit by the same old sea,
or mountain, or field, or by that river,
where once a sickle moon reflected itself.

Soft wind combs the lonely fields
of broken dreams.

Some of us search for the lost moon and stars,
electricians looking for some spare parts
to screw and plug in again in our hearts,
in the sky of illusions.

Some of us have brushes in our hands
starting the repair job,
painting a new landscape.

Someone plugs in the sun
and when the night comes again
stars and moon begin to shine anew.

The mirror of the sickle moon
reappears on the river waters.

As the ancient legend tells
a fisherboy wants to fish the moon
and put it in his bucket.

Someone laughs at him
and at the impossibility.
But deep inside the boy knows
he is a pescallunes,
a moon fisherboy,
like any other inhabitant
of that small Catalan village.

The fisherboy knows deep inside
our world needs more moon catchers
like you and me,
people with plenty of illusions,
dreams and projects.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

And the 3r poem is again an allegory or personification:


A long time ago
I got used to living with
My open wounds,
The last withered while
I was staring at the sunset
In the middle of the fog.

Yes, you told me so many times
About your suffering,
How your heart shrunk
Fisted in bleeding red
While your eyes tasted
The salt of the ocean waves
And cristal pearls were running
Down your cheeks.

On that plane you felt
The freezing coldness
Where just one thing
Would not freeze:
The fountain of your tears.

Yes, indeed I remember
All the pain on that plane.
You sent me back to the
Land of rejection.

Yet I am a resilient rock
With my withered wounds
That I carry since ancient times
On this eroded earth.

But to exist is to resist
And so I dwell in human hearts
Who care for each other.
And may I receive your boasting waves
Crashing on my shores
Those hearts will restore me again
For I am silent love and not vain.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


“The Dream of a Poet” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It’s the crack cocaine of the literary world.” Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels

Where does your poetry come from? How do you receive it?  That was the essential prompt for last Wednesday, The Witching Hour, May 23, 2018. What a fun and fine response. Clearly almost all of us think there is something rather magical or mystical happening.  So here today, I’m delighted to share the work of old and new friends with their old and new poems, sometimes connected to the theme by a slight silken thread and that’s okay. All good. I know you’ll enjoy yourselves as much as I have.

Thanks to poets John Anstie, Paul Brookes, Marta Pombo Sallés,  Frank McMahan and Anjum Wasim Dar and a warm welcome to Neeldip. Be sure to visit these poets and get to know them. Links to their sites are included. If they have no blog or website, you might catch up with them on Facebook. Congrats to our prolific Paul who keeps those chapbooks and collections coming at a breathless rate. Bravo!

Please do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

A Fairy in Disguise

Meadows turned to mist even the azure’s smiled,
lights were blinded till a distant mile,
when she walked down the morning aisle.

Fireflies were her companion when she sang along nightangles,
Moonlight was her curtain,
As she strolled through the shrouded forest,
Midst the starry fountain.

© 2018, Neeldip (Neeldip1998)


Neeldip has sent a bio yet, but when he does, I will post it.  Meanwhile he was invited in by Mart Pombo Salés. She said to him, “Beautifully written. Love how you recreate this mysterious atmosphere in the world of fairies and goblins. This is also the world of the Muse that whispers something in the poet’s ear. Is this why you say “A Fairy In Disguise”? Your poem carries something similar to a mystical experience. The ending is very powerful with the “starry fountain”. Isn’t that the fountain of life and inspiration? I think it would be perfect for the next Wednesday Prompt … ”

The Dream of a Poet

I woke up with a start some time ago;
A very familiar path;
from sleep infused, in semiconscious state,
with dreams of the unpleasant,
into a slow and rude awakening.

Was it a mystery magician or
con artist, the evil one,
who managed to deprive me of my freedom;
usurp my own free will;
transport me where I never want to go.

And then, somehow it dawned on me that I,
apropos my own illusion,
had written words that weren’t exactly true?
I’m not sure how this is…
But missive written. For poets. How to write!


The anti-hero in my fated dream
insisted I capitulate
and turn my trade to more constructive end
by which it sought the truth
of why I wish to make my dreams come true.

It asked me who I thought I was and then,
without so much as by
your leave, it pulled me back into oblivion.
It also didn’t hear me
when my stentorian protest made no sound.

It was a vision; a reverie that spoke
of fantasies; woolgathering.
It is, in truth, as truth is meant to be
none other than my conscience,
speaking of the will to write and dream.

If answer there is one, I do not know;
so often out of our control.
The only thing I have to say is this:
it’s always up to you.
Only you can judge what’s best… for you.

By your own best devices, you don’t need
to take advice from where
there is no guidance better than your own
…save rules, and even they
can be ignored once you have mastered them.

© 2012, John Anstie (My Poetry Library)

Ash And Paper

summer mornings my fire snuffed.

No flaming voice.

Only a word in your head.

Dream of spelt and salt cake I fire for you, and before you can seek future from way I burn clean my fireplace, clear your head.

Old ash and cinders block gust makes for poor-burning, makes for poor-thinking prepare my gob for my tongues my gob packed with ash piled ash in my grate piled ash in my head crumbles like walls from incendiaried homes

stop wandering off when I’m talking to you!

ash up against my fire-bars makes them overheat makes you overthink
so they sag and “burn through” make me virginal something to focus on something for focus recall collecting ears of spelt in reaper’s baskets

I said stop wandering!

rake remains of my last fire the last fire between my temples so ash falls through my grate train steam in your nostrils pick-off the cinders for re-use.

My lightweight dark lumps, not my powdery un-burnable pieces of roasted shale my exhausted voice.

Clear my fire-bars of small cinders, clear all my ash, clear all the dead, dry bones out of my head recall the crush, grind
then roast the ears of spelt, yeasty like a pint of beer

Concentrate! You are lighting me fill my gob

with dry, unfinished paper cheap-newsprint not glossy magazine-print.
screw sheets into rough balls packed into this brain space not too tight, but not too loose.

Keep the paper open & crinkly don’t pack paper into hard nuggets, make them roughly spherical.

Should cover my grate with plenty of space to allow gust to blow away, focus these eyes, only one layer, as my tongues lick paper down everything on top will drop, roof falling in around my ears leave it at a couple of inches. Recall salt prepared pound crystals from brine
from a salt pan in a mortar, pack and inhale seafret. Cut lump with an iron saw.

I’ll not tell you again!

paper is to ignite the wood (next)

the next thought only enough, too much will clog fire-bars cause stack-collapse as your paper doesn’t burn well, stuff a loose sheet under my grate under my thoughts light it let my little tongues loose stuff sheets underneath burn them recall forbidden reading, books in flame, memories of things not spoken discarded ideas

I can be dangerous!

break up my ash with a poker. Recall stir of salt and spelt into carried spring water pure never touched the ground into meal that must be rested my pulped treeflesh.

I will lick away a support for my woodflesh. I lick away a flicker of an idea, a first layer
of contemplation.

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, (Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

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


my thought needs substance crouched supplicant
to our hearthmind layer my gob can’t light my coal with paper my wood layer is for coal as my paper is for wood layer on my paper small pieces of wood (kindling) watch for splinters embed in your fingers for all day pain or a heated steel pin to remove. Carefully make a wooden pallet a raft of images on balled up paperwaves support my coal so imagination flares as I burn to speak.

Pray raft holds. Criss-cross wood, a cohesive structure.
You’re making my fireplace,
My head layered.

My gob layered.

Geology reversed.
Paper from trees. Dead trees made coal graduations of image, thought and idea.

When paper gone hold stays, mixture of thick and thin considerations.

Thin ideas burn easily, produce heat, thick sustains in depth delights my imaginations coal

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

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


like wood is my imagination solidified sunblaze trapped voices, stories trapped build a pile of imagination on top of my wood-raft stuffed into my gob have a nice pile in middle.


Choose pieces too small air-flow round my head restrict visuals. I cannot breathe. Choose pieces too big don’t get enough licking heat from the wood. Ignite my images , ensure fire-front removed for maximum air-flow, ignite the paper from underneath, ignite heads images underneath.


in multiple places – get as much litlick quickly as possible, heat feeds between ignition points

if you will not put your mind on me I’ll burn your house down my water in the wood coal makes sulphuric acid lick surface off your brick funnel .
Images sear . Imagination needs time, fire blaze, cornfield stubble, while wood and paper left, this cellulosefuel heats imagination -fire to self-sustain your hard images buried deep, pressured become harder, blacker used in locomotives, steam ships, pitsweat, minehacked proppedimages your soft images nearer surface browner nostalgic soft focus biscuit tin tender.
Imagination produces smoke and tar when heated only,
when “dried out” get red-hot carbon fire makes imagination so hot. Recall tar melting on roads in sunblaze, sticks to soles coal tar soap photosynthesizes calls back its days as a plant.

I can be dangerous!

once my fire lit poke gently, release ash, break-up images stuck together by tar sticky mind coagulate.

Arrange cinders around the edge, add more images around fires periphery around

minds periphery. Don’t throw a bucket of imagination on my flametongue.

Always put a bit at edges or in middle. Images poked.
Poke my licking.
so ash falls through firebars so ash fall through the head.

Lift my burning images, ensure ash removed from under fire bars.

Imagination needs time to warm up.
Don’t smother with cold-images.
Kill lovely heat.
Longer to burn up. Pile it up around the edges, when it starts burning: poke and rake it into centre gradually.

When lit you give me a voice, a gob and tongues. Listen to my stories, record my voices, divine futures from decay of food thrown on me.

How virgin cakes of salt and spelt bake towards decay in heat tongueflicked wild jig of ideas before I ashreturn lose my tongues.

(From “The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017)

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


Who knows where they have come from? No
summer rains to fill the limestone
caverns, no spring time residue
and yet the tongues of water spread
in new directions,loosestrife by
the water’s edge; and willow herb.

Across a once-ploughed field,
mineral insinuation
feeding the tangled hedgerows and
forcing the flush of hawthorn’s white.

Folded in dew, summer might bring berries;
fieldfare and redwing on winter’s winds.

(Seven Springs is a real place just north of us which feeds the River Churn that runs past my allotment and through the middle of town. So…)

© 2018, Frank McMahan

Tree 1

I Just Met a Turtle

I just met a turtle in the park.

It was on the way

Not where its mates

Usually are,

Near the lake


It was solitary.

I figured out it spoke

To me.

Told me to slow down.

And so I sat

As words began to dance

In flight

Carrying a smell of pine trees,

Rosemary and lavender.

Like butterfly wings

Fluttering in the wind

They intertwined

And slowly began

To land on my paper

One by one.

I pulled my thread,

Took the needle

And began to sow

One after the other.

A word weaver

Just like my friend


And all the others.

I just met a turtle.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

Fog in San Francisco2

Plurilingual (English and Catalan versions)


You throw the words up into the sky,

words are Wörter in German

and the sky is called der Himmel,

while du wirfst means you throw.

So this line in German says:

Du wirfst die Wörter in den Himmel.

Your words float up in the sky

like dancing pearls in the horizon,

which in the Catalan language reads:

Perles dansants en l’horitzó.

Or if you prefer it in Spanish:

Perlas danzantes en el horizonte.

And as the pearls are dancing

there is a new dawn of creation:

Kreation, creació and creación,

in German, Catalan and Spanish.

A new dawn of creation

offers you its magic infinity:

Magische Unendlichkeit.

Màgica infinitud.

Mágica infinitud.

Amid the sea and the wind

you feel the cadence of their swing:

Die Kadenz, la cadència and la cadencia.

Words light the flaming eyes

of your most wanted dreams:

The flaming eyes.

Die flammenden Augen.

Els ulls flamejants.

Los ojos flameantes.

Words fall upon you slowly

like little frozen rain drops

that swirl up in the air:

Die Luft, l’aire and el aire.

With the palms of your hands

you pick as many as needed.

Each word is a most precious pearl:

Perle, perla and perla,

that you gather in silence:

Stille, silenci and silencio.

Like quiet roses they blossom

once all the pearls conform

the puzzle of your necklace:

Halskette, collaret and collar.

From the darkness and shadows

your new poem comes into existence:

Existenz, existència and existencia.



Llences les paraules vers el cel,

les paraules són Wörter en alemany

i el cel es diu Der Himmel.

mentre Du wirfst vol dir tu llences.

Així aquesta línia en alemany diu:

Du wirfst die Wörter in den Himmel.

Les teves paraules floten en el cel

com perles dansants en l’horitzó

o si ho prefereixes en castellà:

perlas danzantes en el horizonte.

I a mesura que les perles van dansant

apareix una nova albada de creació:

creation, Kreation i creación,

en anglès, alemany i castellà.

Una nova albada de creació

t’ofereix la seva màgica infinitud:

Magic infinity.

Magische Unendlichkeit.

Mágica infinitud.

Enmig del mar i del vent

sents la cadència del seu moviment:

The cadence, die Kadenz, i la cadencia.

Les paraules il.luminen els ulls flamejants

dels teus somnis més desitjats:

Els ulls flamejants.

The flaming eyes.

Die flammenden Augen.

Los ojos flameantes.

Les paraules cauen damunt teu lentament

com petites gotes de pluja congelades

que s’arremolinen en l’aire:

The air, die Luft i el aire.

Amb els palmells de les teves mans

n’agafes tantes com en necessites.

Cada paraula és una perla preciosa:

Pearl, Perle i perla,

que reculls en el silenci:

Silence, Stille i silencio.

Com quietes roses floreixen

una vegada que totes composen

el trencaclosques del teu collaret:

Necklace, Halskette i collar.

Des de la foscor i les ombres

el teu nou poema comença una existència:

Existence, Existenz i existencia.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


It Comes from the Unseen Force

Words and thoughts  felt in transparency, unknown, unseen,
senses benumbed, as vision scans nature’s  changing vapors
against a canvas, bordered by shivering trembling green leaves
of stretching, bound, firmly rooted growth, shaping into one
strong trunk…strange is the form yet studded with beauty …

as feather like as water drops, soft, in feeling, a medium,
which passes through, touching the body soul and spirit
breaking the trance to discover, an idea ‘arranging deepening’
in the mind, revealing a song’ or a story’ or poetic drama’
so ‘poetry should be naturally expressed’ though along the way-

‘there are places that beckon us to stop or warn that these lines
are true,these thoughts good, let the words flow’, in early drafts
don’t try to control the poem’, feel free to alter the facts’,yes,it is
easy then, but it is work, hard work, the idea comes from the unseen
it is then from ‘me ‘ to something real outside ‘ in order, to craft’

sometimes it is Light’ spreading gold in the sky on hills and land
cutting darkness to glory divine’ when green goes dark looks grand
mind stirs wonders eyes gather images and thoughts seek words
to amalgamate colors, beauty serene, majestic mystical  hills of sand
who made them? how much more beauty must be in His Domain !

2014-03-06 17.23.11
a poem can be, just be, it comes in moments, in time, at night
sometimes nothing descends for days, nothing inspires, a lone
still, lifeless object, may strike the soul, yet it all is formed only
when the mind in its richness of  language receives the ‘order’
‘a divine gift ‘it is as poets have revealed in the past across ‘border’

Mirza Ghalib wrote’

Aate HaiN Ghaib Se Yeh MazameeN Khayal MeiN
Ghalib Sarir-e Khamah Nava-e Sarosh Hai

 When mysteriously topics or subjects come in ones thoughts,
Then the sound made by the pen, resonates like the voice or sound of angles.

and so it is for me…

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


“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,
as they must,
lighting my wild love, again.

© 2018, Lisa Ashley  (

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)


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,
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,



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


© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; 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, 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


CER Copyright 2018