“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.


AUTISOPHOBIA

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.

Packer:

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

176210_10150167580116177_5315279_o.jpg

 

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

remain.

© 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

Time
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
or
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:

silent-love-vs-boasting-vanity

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)


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“On a Passage from the Mishna” . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“There are people in the world, I imagine, who are born and die in the same town, maybe even in the same house, or bed. Creatures without migration: have they not lived a life because they have not moved? What of the migratory los González, moving from one place to another and marking every stopping place with angst? What kind of alternative is that? For once my father and I are thinking thinking the same way, sharing a similar yearning for our starting points to have been different, for our final destination to be anything other than the tearful, resentful arrival it is likely to be.” Rigoberto González, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa


When I wrote the prompt last week, February 14, Brooklyn, In Memory Most Green, I wrote from my passion for the place to which my family immigrated and in which I grew up. I wrote from my respect for the grit I’ve almost always encountered in immigrants and refugees. I wrote from an appreciation for my country’s highest and best ideals, however much we so often fail to fulfill them. I wrote from a place of gratitude: by what unearned grace am I safe and not running for my life across some bomb-riddled landscape?

Several of the poems shared here today by poets Lisa Ashley, Paul Brookes, Mike Stone, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Anjum Wasim Dar remind me of my father’s sighs. I barely knew the man, but I do remember his lament: “a-MHE-rrreee-ka. a-MHE-rrreee-ka.” Life was hard for him in the beloved city. Contrary to the mythology of the day, the streets weren’t paved with gold. He was something of a linguist but few people knew his language, his culture, his history.

Enjoy this collection and …

Note: I am going to be moving to a new place and will put The Poet by Day on hiatus after a few more posts that are in the hopper. Hence, Wednesday Writing Prompt will not return until March 21. The March issue of The BeZine will be published on the 15th as scheduled. It’s currently in the works. Updated submission guidelines will be available on March 25 along with the next theme.


Reluctant Immigrant

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Emma Lazarus

Plaintive song sung in childhood, beloved melody that touched my heart,
Often tired, sometimes wretched, always poor, though not homeless

Before I understood the words, I knew the yearning
to belong, to fit in, to be accepted—we were outsiders

Immigrated to the west, escaped, searching for a better life
I left family behind, severed ties for years, survived

He was forced to flee the genocide, board the boat,
Fighting his friends to go to his wife and child, already dead, they said

Landed in New York, no English, cooked for men like him in the hostel
Once a proud Armenian, now a conquered, bereft, shamed man

Reluctant immigrant to a strange land, mourning his home, far away
Arranged second marriage, nine children born on a farm, a life lived, survived

Trauma lived and re-lived, DNA passed down the generations, his story lost
No golden doors for him, just a desire to blend in…and forget

Grandfather to father, father to daughter, I stop the cycle of abuse
Exiles that no God, no Lady Liberty could return home, sheltered here

Safe now, loved, loving others, a good life carved out of pain and shame
He survived that 1915 holocaust, I am, we are, his legacy, immigrants yet.

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


Refugee

is good. To belong
is wrong. Be homeless.

Mortgages and rents are chains.
Tread the world without burden.

Find a banquet in a crumb.
A glassful in a droplet.

Warmth in a newspaper blanket.
Comfort is a concrete underpass.

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

Refugees Rule Each

Nation. The seat of power
is one that must travel.

If it was to ever stop
the populace would revolt.

Folk who stay in one place
are a public nuisance

who don’t get rid of their own
trash, who have a reputation

as thieves from the greater majority
who are travellers. Stayers

Put pressure on others as they insist
on a place to put down roots,

occupy a piece of land when all
land is in common to be used by all.

Stayers cordon off land with fences
which restrict travel and onward journey.

From A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

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

Our Edge

Each time it is a border,
an end of the road,
a new building,
where I am asked same questions
“What’s your name?
Where are you going?
Why?”

I am discovering my story,
remembering where I have
been, but I recall it as
a
border,
an end of the road,
a new building,
where I am asked same questions
“What’s your name?
Where are you going?
Why?”

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

My Daddy

A soldier moves Dad
with the butt of his rifle.

“Why, Dad?”

“They don’t know where
we belong.” He says.

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


.. wouldst thou be pm, an abbreviation..

archaic or dialect question, in appropriate. a lowly start

with slight misgivings, i come arrived from the country, an immigrant

here.

if the task came to me unlikely, i should sew profusely. a safe bet in that

something grows decently.

do you know how to stitch a lie, when all about grow honesty? mine was

white last year,

now nothing germinates.

the question is irreverent, no disrespect meant. forgive me, this is the second

time. this time,

i shall stay.

despite my nationality.

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

#russian

‘i came from another country, you know,

some time ago. i lived in the jungle’

yes.

‘i have been here so long, i feel i belong’

yes.

‘ they call me an immigrant’

said the bear, sadly.

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

.shopping in town.

wednesday, the shops shut early.

here.

there are still tourists around.

or new people. i bought some sweets,
a thimble,a packet of screws, one
light bulb.

chatted about face book in the mongers.

i moved here in 1993. I am an immigrant.

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

. the questionaire .

is this a mill, or is it a shop,
is it both, when did the looms stop?

twenty years now sir, yet you can see some
working elsewhere.

shall i write it down, all the pattern,
and most of the history? it has different fibres,
yet mainly wool in it.

these are made in yorkshire, the bags are italian,
yet i am from wales, an immigrant they say, yet we
are all from another place originally.

we came from the sea.

so let us move things about.

cloth by cloth.

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

 

. another country .

grandma came from malta, or was it

gibraltar, anyhow dad was very dark.

his hair remained so, with help and support.

i came from england to live here with you

#thebear.

also from another country.

i hear there is trouble in the village.

yes. i am scared they will shout

and say go home.

another country.

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


On a Passage from the Mishna
….(Raanana, November 17, 2017)

It is written that whoever saves a life
It’s as though he saved a world
And whoever snuffs out a life
It’s as though he snuffed out a world,
And why is that?
It’s because that when we walk
We walk with an entire world in front of us
And we walk with a whole world behind us
On either side of us
Above and below us
So we are six worlds saved or destroyed
And who can know from whence will come the savior
How he’ll look or what he’ll do,
So whoever saves a life
It’s as though he saved himself
And whoever kills a life
It’s as though he killed himself.

Note:
The fourth chapter of the Mishnaic tractate of Sanhedrin “whoever destroys a single life … is considered … to have destroyed the whole world and whoever saves a single life … is considered … to have saved the whole world” sometime prior to 250 A.D.

© 2017, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

A Visitor
…..(Raanana, January 10, 2018)

A multiplication table,
Two times two is four,
She could read a multiplication table
And you’d swear it was poetry
But when she’d read you her own poem
It’d sound like her skin was torn from her soul,
Like she’d invented meaning in your mind.
She was a visitor,
She didn’t come from here.

© 2018, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

Call of the Whippoorwill
…..(Raanana, January 30, 2018)

O Whippoorwill, O Whippoorwill,
I alone do hear your plaint.
It comes from deep inside my breast,
Would that I could let it out
To fly free singing,
But no such birds exist here
In the promised land.

Note: This poem expresses how I often feel as an American-expat-Israeli-immigrant in Israel.

© 2018, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

The Old Colossus
…..((an alternate plaque for our Statue of Liberty))
…..(Raanana, February 16, 2018)

What have I done
What
have
I
done
to warrant these insults and injuries
to our once rich lands,
our once free skies,
and our once clear waters?
You’ve stripped me of my soil,
you’ve fouled my air,
and you’ve diverted and poisoned my waters.
Have you found another land,
another sky,
or another water to love?
Or have you no soul anymore
to love any land,
any sky,
or any lake or river?
Take what you will from me
then leave me alone
and I will recover without you
but what will you do without me?
What
will you
do without
me?

[Note: This poem is addressed, not to fresh-off-the-boat-or-plane immigrants, but to those who have forgotten that they are immigrants and take their country for granted.]

© 2018, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)


Born in Srinagar Kashmir, migrated to adopted country Pakistan in 1950 with my mother and sister..travelling in a refugee convoy, escorted by soldiers crossed the border at Sialkot.

Title: Partition
(Inspired by T S Eliot )

August is the cruelest month, bare branches
Sprouting tiny greens,
life bursting from the lifeless,
A rising,
mixing sorrow of defeat with defiance,
Spring rain drizzles consistently,
snow suddenly surprised us
We stopped in the plains,
leaving the mountains’
Went in half daylight so we should have
Known the path,
and the unknown traversed rarely,
So we should have known the faith,
and the faithful and the Emperors of Ice creams-
Not long ago, when I was a child,
was carried across borders
frightened, slept in a camp for two nights,
-wonder how Mother felt? She never spoke
About those days, then on we
came to Murree Hills, and felt free
And I knew not, was I taking refuge or was it a
New land?
What was left in enemy hands, where
Are the roots that make a family?
Out of the masses who survived who committed
Suicide-you cannot say or guess even for you
Have seen only images and heard only broken voices
Who lost half the thought in trying to forget
Spoke not all-scenes of horror
Heaps of bodies cut and slayed
Blood splattered on trains roads and fields
Death, for a cause? Yet not so or was it?
Many went South, separated, lost, confused-
All said ‘we shall go back, one day’
The Day never came-
And then the beginning of the end-
One by one
Who has seen Spring again, after the Fall
Providence persists prevails
Acceptance and non-acceptance is, what ails
Unreal cities, unreal people, so unlike what
Was expected-
War War War and again War-
When will it end, fear strikes within
Shelter is scarce, fashion abounds and all
Is a show off! Young dead glorified
on the mini screen, what are they dying for
now? Half the barren land, minerals in ranges
The enemy changed and we thought ’this is Right-
People crowd the roads , daily beggars are children
And who said ‘we shall have enough, and peace”
Mountains and Rocks
Mountains are dangerous, no rocks will give
Shelter, there is no water, nor wells
A waste it becomes, filth in the drains overflowing
And the big man’ said’ we have worked hard’
But the mountains will not protect,
Truth is linked , Faith is strong
It will not be long when the Shadow
Will turn to Light and the darkness will go-
Go in the shadow of the mountain
Sit by the stream and clean all
The mind and soul, wash away to the sea
Impurity, or else be prepared to face,
a tsunami, or the jolts and shakes
there is still a chance-look! Be the Dance
not the dancer, in the circle of life
Come to a still point with Nature
Where nothing matters anymore-
Think and feel, help and heal, the needy
Feed the hungry, for I can see-there comes
Someone-keeps close and watches , ever present
Who leads us on unseen and the Third we say
Who helped us –its not our doing but The Mercy
Of The Merciful-
Bow bow bow –pray pray pray…
Welcome love from above , eternal peace will stay

© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

“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

“it was after a journey” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

If you look closely, you’ll see the little Rufus Hummingbird. Hummingbirds remind us that the sweetest nectar is within.

And here are the responses to last Wednesday’s writing prompt, posted late in the day – Tuesday – with my apologies. I know that for Kakali and Anjum it is already Wednesday dawn. Colin, Paul and Sonja are still fast asleep. In just a few hours bogpan will be getting up and getting ready for work. Only for Lisa, Miguel and me is it still Tuesday, around dinner time. Phew! It’s been that kind of day for this poet.

Last week’s prompt, Brightness Beckons, January 10, was about transformative moments and I believe these poets have risen to the occasion, some by a thread and some all-in, but each one delivered a well-considered work. Enjoy!

Do join us tomorrow for the next prompt. All are welcome, no matter the stage of your career.  It’s all about exercising the writing muscle and meeting other poets.


Released

In utter despair
heart-broken open
stroke after stroke,
water engulfs me,
cradling, warm,
absorbing goggle-trapped tears.

Released, they said,
from one hell to another—
not free, not free to go home,
released from youth jail
to adult jail to wait for trial,
released, they said, cruel sentence.

Swimming my prayer,
please,
I can’t do this any more,
his pain,
merging with mine,
drop into drop.

Ears to hear, broken open,
voice in my head:
You must continue
they need you
he needs you
you can do this

Who speaks?
imagination or God?
mysterious mentor,
self pity called out—
Lady Justice, Compassion, Love—
who speaks?

Stroking the white-blue water
image etched on liquid canvas,
heart sliced open,
blood drops falling,
gold needle pulling golden thread,
closes red pulsing flesh.

Water holds me,
windmill arms can’t stop,
thunder breaths hauled in
puffing past ears that hear,
scolded, emboldened, submerged—
resurrected.

He, sitting behind bars,
sixteen, innocent,
Me, swimming,
free,
I can do this. I must.
Water.

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


it was after a journey

of fourteen hours
by plane and train when
arriving at a lonely station
in the far North I approached a man
who’d obviously been
standing in the road outside
for a hundred years
and was therefore likely to know
his way around like the back of his hand

– I want to go to Etlic I said
– Etlic: you’ll need to go to Mrs Warrender
who runs the boat service; you see that trail…

he pointed down a long sea-embattled peninsular
down which the yellow trail snaked
into the distance; it seemed that Mrs Warrender
had a boatyard in some village
at the end of it

active mind in ailing body
set off along the track
which went though tunnels with deep puddles
over many stiles and up through manholes
which was entirely appropriate
for a man in a hole struggling
with many other pilgrims
intent on making the next boat to Etlic
which he failed to do

throughout the following day
I maintained an active image of Mrs Warrender
whom I must have met in some other life

***

Don’t ask me where ‘Etlic’ is. I dreamed about the place so it must be somewhere! It had a kind of Bright Hope attached to it!

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


Gustave Doré’s illustration of Canto III: Arrival of Charon; public domain illustration

Almost a Song

“Per me si va nella città dolente…”
Dante Alighieri

You haven’t forgotten
you won’t forget…
In ices is swelling
the river again and trawling
roots and weeds,
and foam.
It leaves the shores bent,
mirrors,
swamps and frost.
But on the day
it kindles a glow.
With movements
spiral of
the hands,
I’m folding the air
after the beasts –
to that one threshold
(what does it say
no, I don’t know).

And the death ones leave.

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

“Per me si va nella città dolente” … The Inferno, Canto III, “Through me the way to the city of woe”  


Vinegar

And a clean cloth is what she needs
to scrub the smeared pains of her heart

just as Jill needed vinegar and brown paper to repair Jack’s broken bonce

after he fell carrying a pale of water,
but her spirit is not in a bucket,

but in a pane of glass that needs cleaning so she can see clearly the obstacles

in her way and be a pilgrim
and wipe tears from her granddaughter’s eyes.

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

Every Key She

puts in the door is her 21st when she hauls her late five year old screaming

daughter to the dentists to get her braces tightened, folk looking askance

as the child shouts for help as if she’s being abused and milking the attention

and five years later after her final visit
to the hospital she puts the key into her

echoing house when she would have been glad to hear her daughter’s voice.

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

The Neighbour’s Traveller

crawls along a mountain’s shoulder,
down a verterbrae of spines,

into the leaf mould of birth
where it cradles a knapsack of beliefs

in a bonegirdle. Pioneer savage
come to swap gifts with half
dressed gentlemen.

His garden drystone wall
of philosopher’s stone

waits for an answer to a question
it has forgotten. Meanwhile spiders hunt

spaces between carefully placed slabs.

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


Indefatigable

a sower here

— showed
a belief
as rising up

as change, as malleable

thought to call it god —

I spoke not knowing what I would say

just as easily —

the growing mountains of
refuse
mean something
equally
as insurmountable as speech
to really
satisfy

and that leaves the
obvious quiet

thematically dragged out on cue

— dream in cycles

each of these things committed
in silence — think
of the plethora —

guard as treasure

dub She

(c) 2018, Miguel J. Escobar 


#The Song Of A Dewdrop#

My chest twisted as a dying leaf
That had it’s last swing on  that grey hill
When suddenly I saw a dewdrop ,
A pearly corn on that dying leaf
In the rosy -pink light of dawn
fondling  a scarlet flower
Dazzling and giggling
in the wintry breeze .
Sparkling like diamond nose pin
That glitters and glistens on a queen’s nose
Or as a glossy prism  on the grassy leaf
It sang mirthfully
One beam of hope still  surpasses
That grey agonised mountain chest

©2018, Kakali  Das Ghosh


Post-Op. 2009

I’m roused from sleep again,
the nurse’s fob watch
twinkling silver
as she take my pulse.

She whispers an apology:
must do my obs.
check nothing’s come loose
and we grin.

I’m multi-tubed,lie flat
like a beached octopus.

I tell her I don’t mind.
I’m glad she disturbs
these drifting hours
between midnight and morning.

I’m glad of soft lights
above my bed,
glad of electric suns
along wide-awake corridors.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob 


.on spring #2.

black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.
new light drowns darkness, spring spins around.
black bird calls early, the same bird calls late.
sonnet sings ten beats to another’s spare sound.

who asks for word, who knows which hour it starts,
which minute, which rule of rhyme or reason.
making of lines , counting the breaks, our hearts
open. this is february, split season.
moon draws the tide, upper river pools
on spring, a note , a sonnet , a dance
where light or other prayers redeem fools,
those who rage the world sons may change perchance.

on spring we write in fourteen lines, to date,

black bird sings early, the same bird calls late.

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


Pilgrimage Toward the Light

     after Dr. Allama Iqbal’s poem, “Pilgrimage to Eternity”

O Restless spirit what seekest thou , since
awareness dawned, in innocence encased
bits of paper became letters symbolic ,
what messages were lost and  received
unknown unseen till strange sounds
sailed through the cool silent breezes
and the heart beat faster,fingers grew cold

eyes roamed the boundless skies, finding no cuts or breaks
birds flew trembling fluttering closer to each other
as the golden ball seemed to sink out of sight, finding darkness
behind the eyes turned to the skies again, behold, bejeweled
was the roof with diamonds arranged, twinkling for long hours
becoming small, disappearing from vision yet still present
‘Know that they are still there’ only hidden by Light’

Hidden by Light? and a voice called ‘Allah ho Akbar’
The Greatest is He, Prayer is better than sleep
prayer is better than sleep’ and the sight descends
to touch the earth,flat dry strong stony rough solid
The heart beat faster again…

‘feel the inner strength,the magnetic touch the Light’
slight pain in the back I felt, head down, bent in
body slipping instantly, invisibly flying to nowhere
in semi darkness, I reached a room square in shape
a small window opening near the ceiling, a single bed
lay in the center, on the floor…I smoothed the folds of
the white sheet, satisfied that all was set, I returned…
or was brought back…I awoke …the light streamed on

‘He made the day  for work and night for rest, and the
day allowing sight ‘there was no chaos, all was pure
clean ethereal and with great speed…

I heard another voice, ‘not now later’ a voice so clear
the night slipped away making way for the lightc
it grew brighter moment by moment, the eyes
roamed from one end of the to the other,seeking
what dost thou seek?
I still don’t know…

the light grew yet brighter till
the glow was whiter than any light , blinding…
the appeared small shapes like people sitting on
the floor bowing towards one point…brightest in the center
IMG_20170426_152958_467

and ‘the gleam increased’ unbearable light’
the Lamp as it shone revealed more Light
and I felt weak in the limbs…
where are the stars of the night?

the rainbow in the clouds
the colors on the ground
the amazing shapes in clouds
carrying holding water drops

I sailed through and through
flew like a bird, who holds their
wings,held me too, no desire for
food nor thirst for a drink just nothing
yet so much…yet felt only …
unseen purity “Light Of Divine Love’

© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar  (EternalLights, Life Style and Strange Stories and Poetic Oceans)


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY