The Darkness . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Jian Xhin, Unsplash

“All of us, whoever we may be, have our respirable beings. We lack air and we stifle. Then we die. To die for lack of love is horrible. Suffocation of the soul.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Hypoxic Moment,  June 17, which invited poets to share poems about situations that are suffocating, literally or metaphorically.  Thanks to Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Irene Emanuel, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone for this collection, which invites you to ponder and to sympathize.  Enjoy . . . 

. . . and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.


To my Stubborn Father from your Stubborn Daughter

Dearest Dad – You always stood your ground
With standards high above my reach
Standing on that moral hill
Cloistered rules, you did teach
I inhaled it all
Principled breath
Held belief
Until
Truth
Breathed
Knowledge
You don’t know
Of the “Other”
Exhaled, these old rules
No longer hold my views
I have climbed another hill
And stand on ground planted by you
With love and principles – Your Daughter

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . .  


Oxygen a Lifeline

Then in hypoxic moments everyone must be
sometime, in some moments of life, as human
beings, me, a restless soul nurturing anxiety
facing confusion, falling often suffering a neck
injury at the age of six, unconscious, for long, I
survived that hypoxic moment, to live with pain,

a tiny insect that killed a powerful king, entered
my body through the skin, injecting poison that
polluted my blood, caused shivering, sweating
intermittent fever and occasional hypoxic gaps
a severe sudden abdominal spasm would
put me off balance , gasping into oblivion.

unconscious falling into a terrifying hypoxic
moment,I survived,fortunately with help close by
“Malaria can do anything”. The doctor said, “Keep
quinine in your bag”, the sweaty feverish attacks
would drain my energy leave me bedbound for
days and weeks, the tabs prevented but did not cure.

There would be recurrent attacks, more,what caused
them, I never was sure,long time later, one night, a
severe painful spasm twisted the system inside me
nausea intense, vomiting gasps, seconds later collapse
in a hypoxic moment, no breath, no consciousness
lifeless, my head fell from side to side, darkness engulfed

the door of light closed.
“She is all blue, she will not survive”.
All was dark again, no breath, no sound, no movement
I sensed being lifted, hypoxic moment prolonged but
I had time to stay on Earth, a fast falling drip hung by
the window’s bolt, Father’s faint vision appeared before my
eyes, I slipped back into darkness unknown unfelt,

I could not breathe, someone rubbed the top of my head,
someone my feet, this hypoxic moment finally faded away
a new life blessed, my head felt empty I had no voice nor
strength in the eyes. I lay in bed for days, sipping orange
juice with glucose and D.vitamin,
I saw the line between life and death is fragile and thin.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


The Darkness
What blackness pulls me,
protesting that I prefer the light,
but still wrenches my soul
into its glacial madness.
What triumphant tentacle
tweaks my tiredness
into tedious paralysis.
What despicable emotion
delivers my self-respect
into oblivion.
What relentless ribbon
encircles my lungs and
rivets my breath
to my throat.
It is the dull depressive dankness
that deprives my brain
of its life-force
and I die by degrees.
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
Choking
Why is it called a “Heat Wave”
when it doesn’t wave;
it sticks around and burns
up all the moisture within its reach?
It feels like the heat is choking
the life out of everything;
it’s so still and oppressive:
Please let it rain soon
before the World shrivels
into the “Heat Age.”
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
You may read more of Irene’s poems by using the search engine on this site.

..ocean challenge..

1.
write the words, she says
that helps.

it is a drop in the ocean, and cannot
help those already lost.

it was said in depth we drown, and so
it is
so.

we cannot rescue the drowning, record the names.

here.

so we draw dresses.

black dresses do not sell so well.

2.
looks like you are drowning and
hope i am wrong. i can see the
struggle
the turn about in water.

i have done that too
pat says that i have paid the price
but i wonder

i hope

you survive and come clean bare
your feathers.

fly high

if not
i will lay a petal
and think of you

as i think of the others
that drowned before you

3.
to explain to you who cannot see,
the cloy, the quantity of water, tasks, and other
hurts, that fit into a day. the moment
your feet slide into mud, with one word.

heard , read, imagined, the sentence dives and plays
whole, yet as days move on, flotation occurs,
buoys, slowly we face back to sea , swim on.
either that or drown.

4.
will you watch the world treading.
water floats my heart high, reflected red
below, sky above.
will you hold me up when i am failing, no
longer floating . will you play soft music
say
that we are in this together. meanwhile shall
we keep swimming
together?

5. will you save me from drowning?
will you let me breathe?

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..verdict..

she

lay as dead did not speak nor ask for fear

lay quiet did not write nor tell there were

new shoes by the wardrobe at an angle

still

did not move nor participate in anyway

did not breathe nor cry there are new

shoes by the wardrobe new shoes

found

guilty always guilty

there was no charge

there was no trial

there were no photographs

no evidence no one talks of it no more

she no longer breathes

no more

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.. there is a dampness..

they called it heavy

the adults

before a storm

pits hang damp

lips prickling then he said it

he said it

so I hid in the plant house amongst the smell; the frogs

should I add fetid air or will that just be another cliché

look my device added the required accent there

so it was all dripping down reminding of grandma’s kitchen

brown gloss paint & mustard walls running in cabbage juice

she boiled it dreadful

well they did in those days

no al dente then

it was after the war

now where was i

yes hiding

my heart beating my head out

breath catching

oh no is this my asthma or the disease

going round, have you heard of it

if I tell him I have it will he go, leave me alone

should I cough a lot or is that against the guidelines

even in this situation

I hid a long time, maybe days and when I was sure he

had left

I finally breathed out

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Terror

Step by step,
unsteadily clawing
away from the
tentative comfort of my sanctuary –
with even the moving molecules of air
too public, too exposed, too raw,
the corridor too wide,
fingertips touching, clutching,
tapping, groping, palpating
wallpaper, columns, strangers’ doors
before I drag my boulder-like body,
mind lurching from lucidity,
into an inescapable elevator
I’ve waited a maddening current of minutes for,
wobbling in loafers as a dry mouth
panted, praying to God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary
it’d be empty and no one would witness the
trembling and fidgeting of feet and hands and
the heartbeat hammering like the hits I
used to dance to in nightclubs in
less dangerous times
(please don’t stop or retreat into an arrhythmia that’ll make me pass out or die and bang and crash against the tiles with the pattern of sixteen perpendicular lines I’m trying to focus on)
and the smears of sweat on my forehead,
only to scowl or snicker at a scapegoat
perceived as a pale druggie on
coke or meth or heroin or angel dust or bennies,
a stain on sane society,
instead of a frantic agoraphobe
(a shut-in before it became fashionable)
burdened by a daily panic attack
on the way to check the mail.

2020, Adrian Slonaker

You can read more of Adrian’s poetry using the search feature on this site andThe BeZine.


Obsessions

Raanana, November 6, 2015

The obsession of breathing
In out, in out
Quickly
Slowly
It doesn’t matter
As long as it continues
In out
Forever
You think about it
And you dream about it
In out, in out
But then the time comes
And you hold onto it
Until you can’t.

The obsession of thinking
The eternal internal babbling
The great chain of associative thought
One thought leads to another
And another
And
Another
Without end
Without silence.

The obsession of loving
Another
So much that you cease to exist
Against the other existence
And how can you love
If you don’t exist
But your love swallows you
And you try to escape love
But it runs along beside you
Holding your hand.

The obsession of writing
About my obsessions
Because writing fulfills one’s obsessions
In the imagination of following them
And to write about her breathing
And to write about thinking of her
And to write about loving her
Is all that a writer wants to do.

The obsession of reading
About other people’s obsessions
If they are like mine
And they write about her breathing
And they write about thinking of her
And they write about loving her
And you can do anything in the world
But look away.

The obsession of living
Of watching the sunset in the roiling sea
And of watching it rise from behind the eastern hills
Ex Oriente lux just one more time
Of hearing the well-practiced flute
From the open window of an apartment
While I’m walking Daisy
To feel the freshness of rainfall from the sky
Like manna from heaven
And her skin against mine
To taste the tang of tangerines and bitterness of coffee
To breathe the fresh washed smell
Of my granddaughter’s hair
Just one more time
One more moment
And not being able to let go of her hand
Or to look away.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

©  2015, Mike Stone  

In Cold Blood

Raanana, September 7, 2015

Cold, oh so cold,
The life and all colors bled from the air
Too cold to breathe
My lungs fill up with coldness
And my blood carries only coldness to my dying limbs
But my dying eyes still see you
Moving away from me
The summer warmth of your beauty
The colors of your eyes and your hair
The warmth of your breathing
And the sound of it
Retreating but returning
Your arms open towards me
To keep me from retreating
But I’ve already gone
Too far away
It is night now
And I am lost.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Last Will and Testament

Raanana, February 2, 2013

I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
To have a last will,
Not to will or want anything more
In this life, of this earth,
Not to change my fate or my mind,
Not to stop, turn around, and go back from the edge.
I John H. Doe do solemnly wonder
What it’ll be like to draw my last breath,
To look around for more to breathe
But to find none,
To understand that that is probably that.
I John H. Doe being of sound mind and body
Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
To lose my first marble
My favorite Cats Eye memory of my very first love
Or my last marble,
My best won Dragonfly memory
Of my last and lasting love,
The smell of sunlight on her skin,
The weight of summer against her thigh.
I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
Do solemnly bequeath my best memories
To the wind whispering through her hair.
I John H. Doe

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2013, Mike Stone  

The Mullet and the Osprey

Raanana, October 7, 2018

O what a perfect day
Fragments of dappled sunlight play on rocks
Swimming is effortless as
We fly over and between the smooth rocks
One with the browngreen flow of water,
My friends on either side of me.
Days like these make me happy
For no reason whatsoever.
My friend leaps with joy into the breathless air
And like a ripple, his friend leaps too.
Now it is my turn to leap above the water
O joy!
O stabbing pain!
I can’t breathe, release me, pray!
O horror, stab and crush of talons,
The thud of wings pounds the air
Death awaits me in the nearing nest,
Death, pray, release me from life’s pain.

Excerpt from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

The First Rain . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Luca Bravo, Unsplash

“We need the tonic of wildness .  .  . At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt,The Last Blue-green Spring, May 27, which invited poets to share a singular seasonal (any season) moment that for some reason (any reason) continues to pulse with life in  memory. What made it so vivid an experience? What were the colors, scents, shape, encounters with nature that made such a deep impression?  Thanks to Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah, Anjum Wasim Dar, Frank McMahon, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Ben Naga, Nancy Ndeke, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone for this inspired collection. Enjoy! . . .

. . . and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.


Nature in its outmost form
The dryness of the sunny days
Eratic in moments of seasonal outbursts,
Zealous flares of flowery blossoms
Honey from the beecomb
Witheld sounds of colors in yellow whistles; faded fallen dried leaves
Picturestic of the weather
Nature has its own turns
With photosynthesis in play
The blue green Genesis of unknown hours.

© 2020, Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah

You can find more of Benedicta’s poetry using the search feature on this site.


Moon Over Makhadd in Northern Pakistan

In a flash like on angel’s wings,
smooth on the road the wheels
did spin,
moving on through avenues
bordered by elegant trees
we flew,
to the grandeur of Makhad,
mountains brown as pegs
head to head, conical sloping
supporting valleys
protecting with stony strength
bordering fields of mustard
yellow, making peace in spirit and
in heart,mellow-
there is The Quiet The Presence
in the mountains is the secret essence
till the Last Day,
there is no sudd of the Nile
mountains shield the land
the lifeblood of Makhad

and so we stood, protected
we felt in the valley of the North
as evening shadows lengthened
and the moon manifested itself
in glowing white, never so peaceful
a place I had seen nor been to,
when Nature raw and loving
spread its grace and held the place
a holy tapestry woven.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Family Gathering

This is where we’ve met,
where landscape offers space.

“ Quick, quick, you can’t catch me!”
Oh yes I can, with cunning.
I know where the flower beds narrow.
You’ll never escape me there.
Unless I pretend.
I’ll pretend.

“ Play hide and seek? Count to ten then,
no fifteen!” They’ll find me by water,
gazing on pondweed, deadly green like Sunday
afternoons when clocks dragged their feet,
ticking the echoes of the morning’s sermon.
Wildly we emitted raw blasts of turbulence, braced
to pay the consequential price
for breaking Sunday’s peace.

Aspens whisper, braid the breeze
between their leaves, rumour rain.
Elderberries beaded with drops
of late summer’s dew. A squall of rooks
crashes from the clustered woods.

“ Sorry, I was.” Somewhere between,
somewhere between.“ Here, let me show
you this sunflower, yellow-headed diva,
admitting with grace the butterflies
to hover and partake.”

Tree house is clattering with chatter,
explosive ululations. Who is really listening
and does it really matter as
long as they can have these moments
of unguarded light?

Wren’s ostinato fades to quiet
in the stillness of the birch.
Scrolls of pure white bark, nicks, music-
-box notes, ships plotted on radar,
heading where?

Futures,
mid-life, pondered in currents
of easy conversation. And ours?
as we drift our hands through
lavender and rosemary.
Passion and remembrance jostle,
loss and history, the past imperfect. Old
questions niggle still, leading where?
Simpler to pick apart a teasel
piece by piece.

Hungry calls distract. “Wait, look how
they sway and bow, these reeds, courtiers
before the kingcups. Yellow is
the colour of homage today, do you wear
yellow? No but you are pardoned. Eat!”

Follow the shafts of light: scarlet
rosehips, crimson plums , dusted blue
by night moths’ wings, first blush on apples
skimped by drought.

House wall, solid but evidence
of slip and restitution,
infill and making do.

Present and future,
intertwined, pulsing together.
Let them run on and on,
this day, these days.

Except from At the Storm’s Edge (Palewell Press, 2020)

© 2020, Frank McMahon

At the Storm’s Edge is available through Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE.


.liking all seasons.

yet i like the summer fabrics,
crisp cotton with flower
spots, reminiscent of other
days. when all clean, pressed,
we wore the best dress
to town, the museum, aviary,
then down to the beach

to bathe.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.one winter day.

no snow here as yet
though we did have that
flurry late autumn, the day
we went to the cinema

it was very localised

the mountain was rough
with it, a sliding accident
at the top of the pass
that day

yet elsewhere all came clear
and the film was raw

warm here again
logs stacked yesterday

pleased to say the manic
energy returned & much is
achieved

preparing for weather
which may not occur

i heard the crows
a distance away
as i worked

dark lonely sounds

i feel enough has died
yet it seems that power
deems that death can
answer some issues

these days
though it
is wrong

and not for survival

discuss

as i could now argue
another way and become
rattled

qed
that which is to be demonstrated

maybe another way
to resolve things

i suggested chocolate money

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


November Dawn in Northwood

Nature’s fan turns
Fingers sing
Where winter has dramatised the trees.
Beside the drive
Dropped leaves are cupped with frost.

In six o’clock light
Dawn comes.
Thin songs are jerky, interrupted
By chattering
Of birds’ beaks amid ruffled sleepy feathers.

The milkman’s step.
Gravel crunches up the drive.
The house
Suspended above is quiet.
The holly is still as the wind drops.

The bang of glass bottles
Against the step.
The faint sigh as the float slips into life.
Rattles
And disappears …

© 2020, Ben Naga

Ben’s site is Ben Naga, Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. “Laissez-for loud recanter ma brake histories.”


Half Way the Mountain.

Africa is summer land, rare for degrees to dip below zero,
Unless atop the mighty Kirinyaga.
A child of the Arabica coffee terrain,
A kilometer from the forest line,
Many a man and woman from distant land and lingo,
Would hop atop the villages loaned landrovers,
Transport to the base of the mountain,
Tales of Jumbo’s and moor’s large,
Lakes with dazzling whiteness to blind,
Tricky terrain and freezing cold,
Silence to spare energy to climb,
Tales I carried in my growth,
As I, enjoyed the spectacle that the mountain was,
From the ridge where my father’s coffee crop swayed,
Teenage led a leg to schools far,
College danced the cities new flavor,
Marriage and children tending,
Career swing and switch,
Till, a visit did a rhyme,
On a soul at peace with itself,
And suddenly, my feet ached to do the climb,
And what a trek!
First was the forest unpretentious,
Mahogany and teak,
Then bamboo in all its clustered glory,
Amid careful skirting to keep wild owners at peace,
First night at camp,
Rolled onto a sleeping bag,
A fire merrily singing it’s warmth,
Cold was real, but pleasure too was,
And before sunrise, with eggs and bacons tucked,
Second leg began in earnest,
Sunrise that blinded one to the way,
Was the mood treck to great,
Expanse of whites amidst blues and purples,
God’s own mountain Eden,
The freshness of nature so real, music formed itself,
A hunter of something or other we did meet,
Keep your eyes down, the leader said,
By mid-day, a quiet did settle,
As guts got fuelled,
Then rain like ice fell in sheets,
Pushing us into a cave,
Where stones arranged like an old empires dinning room,
Afternoon merged with night as tales of the mountain rose and fell,
Sleep and aches came fast,
And soon morning popped, another wonder of nature’s splendor,
East on a fire brilliant beyond believe,
Roast rabit and smoked Salmon waiting,
Why pretend to be Ninja when muscles spoke in firely tongues,
A porter led a much needed hand,
Handing me two spikes to score the climb,
Air was getting thinner, walk was slower,
And tales subsided to grunts and the occasional curse from tripping,
A light lunch and a quick match,
Lake Nicholson we must make for the night,
Pitching tents and lighting evening fires,
Time for catch up with days events,
But up to this point, I had to reign my wits,
Yes, I loved the excussion and would love to trudge on,
But the vagaries of age were telling a different tale,
From a life of easy and untested car rides,
To go any further was a noise most unwelcome,
Watching the dark sky with it’s millions of stars,
The coward of the village took a bow ,
And the next morning,
While every one else hefted their bags up for day three up,
I, and my paid hand, took to the lower grounds with our rations,
Heaven is real, heaven is sweet to smell and spectacular to watch,
And it’s in the very nature that so far we haven’t “Tamed”
A testimony of a mountain climber who climbed a quarter way.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy Ndeke’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Snapshot of an Autumn Afternoon

As the tenth month instead of the eighth-
despite its moniker-
October is pregnant with pranks,
so vivacious shades of leaves
merely mask their imminent demise,
some already crackling to arid dust under the
sneakers of backpack-burdened kids
finishing their first quarter before sniffles and flus
and Remembrance Day poppies
start to pop up.
The supermarket down the street
hawks the honeyed nuances of candy corn,
as polarizing as the pleas of political candidates-
the consummate jokers-
just weeks before
the polls open.
Mass-produced slick plastic costumes
rival the versions crafted by parents cursing over
the hum of sewing machines and the snip of
scissors while glitter scatters in a diaspora, only
to be spotted in dust-bunnies around Easter.
Jack-o’-lanterns get stabbed next door
not by Jason or Michael, but
by hands moist with mushy gourd guts
and seeds reserved for roasting and snacking
during thriller marathons thrusting screams
and sinister soundtracks out of rooms as dark
as the cats and bats plastered on pendulous paper decorations,
and, through my window, the weather wavers
between the hangover of
sweaty torpor and the promise of polar chills
that will predominate when
apples for bobbing
become apples for pies.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

You can read more of Adrian’s poetry by using the search feature for this site and for The BeZine.


Primary Colors

Raanana, June 5, 2009

Between the palm and weeping willow
It’s the sudden confrontation with beauty
That kills you every time.
The palettes from which the skies are painted
And the grasses and the seas
Must once have belonged to children.
In my country
Even the primary colors
Are mixtures of
Birds flowers and sadness.
The edges of shadows under the trees
Are sharp like a knife against your throat.
The sky is so bright it’s like
Looking into the face of God.
And the silence,
It’s the silence
That finally betrays you.

Except from The Uncollected Works of Mike Stone

© 2009, Mike Stone 

Winter Rains

Raanana, December 6, 2018

Winter rains rat-a-tat-tat
On the cold tin roofs of cars.
Cats crowd under any car
With engine warm, watching
Daisy and me with suspicious eyes.
Daisy, oblivious to my umbrella
Or the rain, looks back at them
With calculations of inbred hatred
And limits of leash length.
Back in our apartment,
Cats forgotten, if not forgiven,
Dripping Daisy unfurls her wetness
With a shivering wave.
I dry the remaining dampness from her fur
And we appreciate the lightning and thunder
Approaching our window,
As rain becomes thought
Which becomes rain again.

Excerpt from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

The First Drops of Winter

Raanana, September 8, 2018

This morning
The first drops of winter
After a long drought,
A farmer raises eyes heavenward
Even the sandy soil,
The nibbled petals,
And the green-brown leaves
Raise themselves in silent toast –
To life, God,
To life.

Except from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone

Wintry Sabbath

Early morning
The nonbelievers dreaming still
Under thick comforters,
Old men walking to the synagogue
Against the blustery rain
Without umbrellas
And a dog-walker with umbrella
Taking small slow steps
In sync with an old dog
When love is not enough
To keep her dry and warm.
I look over at the old men
Walking their God on an invisible leash
Or is He walking them?

Except from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

The First Rain

The first rain of the new year
The drops are more like soft pinpricks
Pointillistic with a taste of dust
When you open your mouth to say something
To Daisy, but she tastes the dust too
And sniffs the warm air with wet nose.
It’s the encroaching desert
Playing with our emotions,
Not enough yet to warrant an umbrella
Or to cool the body with its wetness.

Except from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

 

One Night on Cradle Mountain . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Lukasz Szmigiel, Unsplash

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring
……pines and the hemlocks,
“Bearded with moss, and in garments green,
…….indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and
…….prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on
…….their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced
…….neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the
…….wail of the forest . . . “
Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, remembrance, May 27, which invited poets to share works about places that inspire a sense of connection with primeval roots. The result is an engaging collection that takes us around the world:  Australia, England, the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Kashmir, Pakistan, Africa, and Israel. Thanks to Pat Bailey, Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irene Emanuel, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone.

Enjoy! …

… and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.


From the end of a dock…

One early morning of a trillion others.
A child’s body lying tummy down on a wooden dock
gazing into the shallow, clear water of a small lake,
sun warming arms and legs from cooling breezes.

The sun centered in a universe beyond the grasp of a young mind;
this universe a part of a system beyond the grasp of brilliant scientists.

She gazes into the shallows,
with her fingers exploring the wonders of water,
making ripples that expand to places beyond.

water flowing through rock, aquafers, streams, rivers, oceans;
water in billowing clouds floating overhead.

As she lies quiet,
she giggles at minnows exploring her fingers,
a new object in a minnow’s unfathomable universe.

© 2020, Pat Bailey

Pat’s site is: A New Day: Living Life Almost Gracefully, Photography and Thoughts About Life and Aging


The Fall of Remembrance

flashbacks
retrospective of classical moments
history beckons in pulses;
the canyons of memories
heralded in footsteps
Tiptoes in the days of youthful exuberance
Patterns of hope & transformation
An outer cry of the good old days
Iron sharpens Iron
Flirtatious flames in footfalls
Falls from a mountainous view
Picking up the pieces of remembrance.

© 2020, Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah

You can find more of Benedicta’s poetry using the search feature on this site.


Reminiscing the Home Town

Drenched in anamnesis, grieving a lost home
my sister and I, childhood migrants, looked at
each other, as the plane rose, gained height
revealing below a green sea of pine trees, and a
mighty rugged range of snow capped Himalayas
as far a the eye could see. In the depths of this
divine valley along the powerful Gilgit River
lay the hometown, the spirit longed for.

Eager anticipation of a reunion with native soil
left us speechless, mirth mixed with Covid funerals,
dirges in lock down,some holding a weak supposal
of duty,with state of work out of frame,that we in our
wisest sorrow set on this journey,with memory
of our lost Kashmir ,still green in the folds of the heart.
Small patches of terraced fields,cordoned by stone walls
golden apricot trees saluting guards of honor.

Roads jeepable,often trafficked by trotting donkeys,
bordered by fresh water streams called “cools”.A
sharp turn,a steep climb ended in front of a wooden
cottage,air dense with peach fragrance cool breeze
cut the warm August temperature,the mountain
range smiled to welcome as peace entered the soul.

Trayful of double cherries, abundant sweet,natures opulence
within reach,in the distance the pipe played with the rhythmic
drumbeat, the bugle soon blew the retreat,such moments stay
In mind as if it all was just yesterday

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


One Night on Cradle Mountain

Tasmania

Never before, nor ever again
will there be such a special night;
the night a possum stopped at my feet
and allowed my touch without fright.
Glancing round the purple-black,
I saw a wondrous sight;
sparkle-threads of countless stars
roped round the Milky Way;
back-dropped moon-beams
filigreed in shining silver ray.
Thrilled beyond coherent thought,
I blended with this dream
and optically imprinted
that empyreal starry scene.
Cradle Mountain calls to me,
with haunting “Siren” powers;
“come back and stay,
you’ll be entranced,
your life forever ours.”

© 2020, Irene Emanuel

You will find more of Irene’s poetry by typing her name into the search feature on this site.


.away.

the museum man

says it is the medieval place,

that causes the feeling

of calm and acceptance,

and smiled at our excitement

on the glass , the remembrance

and hallmarks.

he works there.

he said he never

noticed the thistles,

just handed me the bag.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Along the Banks of Mara River

Sitting by the banks of this mighty river, mothering my mother’s baby,
As she rent the river a rhyme all her own,
Slap,slap of dads hard jeans on a rock,
The roar of the river as it mourned with logs from up the mountain,
I watch beetle’s ferry their load of dung,
As baby relieves her load of banana mash on the old shawl,
Across the other bank, two more mother’s answer the slap, slap rhyme,
Up the high eucalyptus tree, fish eagle’s babies drop their drops on the fast river,
A mutuja fruit tree still carrying it’s unripe babies rushes down the river un-afraid,
It’s time for baby break to clean it’s bum and feed,
I watch, I envy the slappy gush of bustling milk from the exposed breast,
No shame here at the bank of the Mara river,
Not even when a strange man passed by and held a conversation,
I strayed up stream to fetch menyua and matomoko,
I shared my harvest with the home nurturer,
Soon, it’s my turn to undress for a midday scrub,
No eyes roved over my brown body with nothing to show but scrawny legs,
From down the lower side of the river came a whistling of kijia,
Only to be answered by another from way up stream,
But as we did the long haul upstream,baby strapped on my clean back,
The kijias did meet only they were not birds,
They were future Mr and Mrs Bundi as Christmas was to witness,
Down the banks of Mara river was a street and a lawn ,
Where known and unknown were exchanged,
Most talks flew past my understanding,
When code was encoded to cheat young ears,
And innocence did rule the days,
As trust exchanged handshake,
A little fun, a little break,
Adventure for the village and it’s folks,
The Mara river has long dwindled to a sickly old stubborn stream,
It’s banks the same but different, it’s roar now a whispered whimper,
But deep in memories held for five decades and counting,
It’s a paradise lost and a loss to the age of innocence,
To the brutality of development and perpetual entanglement with cash crops,
Which drinks more of the river, leaving it malnourished.
At the banks of the Mara river, I first saw Eden raw.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke


The Stones Remember

Far within these cold, stone walls,
lies the spirit of the Keep.
Mortar mixed with blood and sweat,
the foundations buried deep.

The stones remember battles fought
and won, and kings on noble steeds.
They also recall Dark Ages past,
filled with both great and awful deeds.

Wild grass grows now between the ruins–
the crumbled, tumbled rocks.
Guarded by ghosts and memories,
there is no need for locks.

The once mighty walls have fallen low,
relenting to the hand of Time.
The wind mourns through the jagged
cracks, that only the insects find.

A sense of ancient ways surrounds
the ramparts, tall and steep.
The codes and credos still reside
with the spirit of the Keep.

It still has strength of purpose,
though now, it is only a shell.
The craftsmen who built this ode
to defense, made sure they built it well!

Though crumbling from years of disuse and age,
though empty, forgotten, it stands,
the stones remember all
who have passed this way,
felt the strength wrought from human hands.

When worn to dust this place will be,
when the sun is only an ember,
when shadows abound on empty ground,
the stones will still remember…

Inspired by Ruin Dornach, Scotland 

© 2003, Corina Ravenscraft

Corina’s site is: Dragon’s Dreams


Observations in a Roomette

On its first June run,
the VIA Rail train from Vancouver
veered into the formidable biome
of Boreal Forest in northern Ontario,
the antipode in demeanor
of our destination in a
downtown station in sweaty,
attention-hogging Toronto. .
With a teletype rhythm
we rocked and chugged,
hugging the jaggedness of the
Canadian Shield-
shielding against what?-
in the lake-lapped, cryptic
darkness past midnight
more manitou than human,
more dreamlike than
mundane but somehow also more
authentic than the thicket
of tech and turmoil
that had tricked me.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

You will find more of Adrian’s poetry using the search feature on this site and on The BeZine.


Jerusalem

Raanana, August 2010

Jerusalem. It sits in your mind,
It rolls gently off your tongue,
It lingers languidly on your palate.
Jerusalem – four syllogistic solipsistic syllables.
Yerushalayim – five phonemes,
Last a little longer in my mouth.
Ir HaShalom, city of peace.
Al Quds, the holy.
Just saying its name is almost a poem.
Younger than the spring,
Older than the mountains girding her dry loins,
Like an old woman who has buried far, far too many children.
Her stones, cubit by cubit by cubit, glitter in the sunlight
And weigh heavily on the rubble of our bones,
Too heavy to carry, too dear to shrug off.
The clang and gong of her iron bells,
The nasal atonalities of her myriad muezzins,
The chaotic murmurs of gossip and prayer
Rumble and soar skyward from her breast.
The night flows in through open windows
And shushes her children to sleep,
But there’s no room for even one more dream,
One more hope,
One more ghost.
Then almost an after-thought,
A bomb bursts into jagged thudding light as
Thousands of ululating shrapnel sing through buttery flesh
And pock the burning stone.
Jerusalem will always have a place in her heart for
One more ghost.

From The Uncollected Works of Mike Stone

© 2010, Mike Stone

Canaan

Raanana, August 1, 2009

Turquoise the water laps the pristine shore
Sand grains glitter needles of warm light
Around the edges of palm and eucalyptus shade.
Low lying hills in the distance
Hide their dry envy of the cool sea
Behind a haze of dust and trembling heatwaves.
For as far as the eye can see in any direction
No men or women
No sound other than the slow lapping
No sign or artifact
No footprint
Nothing but the tenuous insistence of quiet.
From the distant northeast come the dusty ghosts
Of Abraham, his long-dead wives and sons,
His slaves and goats,
And his belief in God;
Enough to populate the night skies
With stars beyond number.
And from the far north through cedar forests
Come the Hittites on their chariots pulled
By powerfully galloping horses
Their arrows quivering to be let fly
Into any heart that will accept them,
Scarcely aware of Canaan on their way to Egypt.
And west from the sea come the longboats of wood and iron
Of Greek Philistine giants
With their goddess of Ashtar
Their columns and temples
And the clang and thud of their swords
To silence Hebrew prayers.

from The Uncollected Works of Mike Stone

© 2009, Mike Stone 

A Tale of Two Cities

Raanana, October 9, 2015

It was the blessed of cities
It was the cursed of cities,
A city located halfway between heaven and earth
And a city halfway between earth and hell,
A city where stones are cool and soft
From evening breezes and countless feet
A city where stones are hot with blood
And sharp with crashing down on heads,
A city purchased with the blood of David
From Jebusites for more than it was worth,
A city worth more today than the blood of all our children,
One city’s Mount Moriah where Isaac was bound for sacrifice
Another’s Al-Masjid al-Aqsa where Mohammed ascended,
A city protected by youthful soldiers
And a city defiled by youthful soldiers,
Jerusalem the capital of Israel
And al-Quds the capital of Palestine
But in truth the capital of no earthly nation,
A city twice destroyed
A city indestructible,
A city about which everything said is true
And one about which nothing said is true.

from Yet another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

By the River Jordan

Raanana, August 5, 2015

Once upon a time forgotten,
Or so they say,
God walked alongside Abraham
On goat paths crisscrossing mountains
When they were still new and green,
When Moriah was not yet named.
But sometime later God took his angels
And his box of miracles to his bosom
Leaving us to our own devices,
Existentialism and science.
Perhaps because our faith was not enough,
Because we understood the letter
And not the spirit,
Because His creation could not create
But only destroy itself,
He left us to ourselves.
We fought our enemies oh so bravely
But, when the enemy was ourselves, capitulated.
Now we live in a moral flatland,
Two-dimensional creatures on a yellowing page
Without height or depth.
We kill because we can,
We hate and hatred makes a home of death.
By the River Jordan,
By the caves of Qumran,
By the hills of Jerusalem,
We lay down and wept for thee, Zion.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

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“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

 

Can We …? . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Kalafat/Çanakkale Merkez/Çanakkale, Turkey courtesy of Zekeriya Sen, Unsplash

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.” Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas



Here we are at Tuesday and the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt,Out of the Womb of Time, May 13, which asked poets to consider:  Where are we in the great continuum? What do we gain from those who came before? What do we give to those who will come after? As always, it’s interesting to read the different perspectives from which each poet plays with the same theme. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the pleasures in this exercise. So, enjoy these poems, gifted to us by Anjum Wasim Dar, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Adrian Solanker, and Mike Stone. And do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All who’d like to participate are invited: beginning, emerging and pro.


Can We….?

Out of the womb of time,unseen
from the fluids of the water lodged
in the ground, immeasurable-
from sounding clay, from mud moulded
into shape and form, gifted uniquely,
capable, blessed with knowledge, free will

Out of the noble pair came generations
“a hundred great men” listed Prophets as best
in roles as guides and Messengers, as shepherds
healers, peace makers, law givers, grand fathers
‘grand mothers,’ on whose shoulders we stand’

their teachings and books are with us- but
are we all with them , do we read enough?
we drink and dance, we eat and sleep
we say what they said, but our hearts and spirits
have drifted away, or so it seems

is their deeper wisdom lost to the winds?
or has it taken refuge in water tight iron boxes
has our learning scattered like particles all over?
the bells do chime and toll, the “Calls do echo’
for there is Hope”

and now humanity, in chaos, seeks coherence, a
collective holism, a new more compassionate normal
free of hunger, poverty and disease, can we educate?
pass on true knowledge,stop and rebuild the collapse
ecological? can millions of bombs and guns remove hate ?

stuck in meaningless systems can we heal breeding
grounds of crime? or control domestic violence? or restore
ruined soil? or raise dense green forests in days, calculated?
wars , killings murders horrifying brutalities more we have given
than peace gardens, joy food learning and justice equal?

confined for years to the paths of our predecessors , we have
been led to senseless global conflicts, mass shootings unbalanced
social systems intense pollution and surging health crises, what good
is in hold scaffold ed for future generations ? isolated digital deceptions?
corruption? injustice ? suffering?

nature has sent an unseen tsunami a warning for humanity
to pause, think, reflect upon the grave threats, seek ways to
peace not war, to health not sickness, to joy not grief,
out of the womb of time slide out new meanings, the new 3 Rs
reunion of holism , repair of community, rejoining the web of life-

Out of the womb of time, comes a time for a reset of our precious world.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


..kiss the ancestors..

i am travelling to the end of the world

with you.

all.

unless we stop to

start again.

unless we travel more careful

we shall see

blackened lakes.

kissing the ancestors, hugging the memories presently.

now

the will of the people over rides that of the mystery.

throwing all into
misalignment.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Language Marches On

With gigantic glasses and
feathered hair, yet not even
an embryonic inkling of
“vegan,” “churro,” or “blogs,”
my geeky teenage self,
still convinced that
“sick” signified “disgusting” instead
of “desirable,” couldn’t have
conceived that now
I’d chow down on
a vegan churro bar
while browsing blogs.
Less baffling would’ve been the binaries
between “swine,” “sheep,” and “cow”
and “pork,” “mutton,” and “beef”
because the Anglos once kept the livestock
while the Francos devoured the viands.
Do my nieces,
wrinkled newborns a decade past Y2K,
deride my Valley Girl-like sprinkling of “like”
as, like, naff fossil-speak, and
will they someday declare
on my tombstone:
“(downward arrow) (sleeping emoji) Pibling Adrian,
rip (crying emoji)”?

© 2020, Andrian Slonaker

To read more of Adrian’s work, just do a search on this site and/or on The BeZine.


Having Once Existed

Raanana, March 7, 2019

Having once existed,
I will not cease to exist
Once my life ends.

And having once existed,
My existence will continue
As long as there are consequences
No matter how insignificant
From my existence
Until the end of time.

And having once existed,
Before I existed
I existed as a possibility
A possibility that was inevitable
Since time’s beginning.

Like the universe
That existed as a possibility
Before time’s beginning,
Unfolding its wondrous petals
Of space and time,
And will exist as a consequence
After time’s end,
We will exist
Forever and ever
And ever.

from The Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2019, Mike Stone

Yggdrasil’s Children

We thank our foremothers for our roots
Reaching back to the mists of first times
And we bless our branches
Those that are strong and healthy
And those that are yet to sprout
Toward unknown skies.
These humans think they’re so different from us
But Yggdrasil remembers when
Our cells split off from our eukaryotic mother.
They walk past us like tumbleweeds
Unattached to the soil
As though they are going somewhere
But it’s always the same earth,
The same sky.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

 Outside of Eden’s Garden

As it is written,
God told Abraham to take his son, Isaac,
Whom he loved, to Mount Moriah
To make of him a burnt offering to Him
But sent only a messenger
To stay Abraham’s raised knife.

As it is written,
Moses led the Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery
Through the sea and deserts to the Land of Canaan
Where from the top of Mount Nebo
Moses saw his people enter
The Promised Land without him
Because God forbade him entry,
A man with a single doubt
Without whom his people would have perished.

And as it is written,
God put Job in the hands of Satan
On condition that he spare Job’s life
Because Job was righteous,
No matter what evil might befall him
Just to win a bet with Satan
Who destroyed everyone and everything
That poor Job had or loved.

Sometimes it is difficult
To tell the difference between God and Satan
Or justify His mysterious moves
But the truth is
We’ve outgrown Him
As we must if we’re to survive
Outside of Eden’s garden.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

A Thousand Years 

In a thousand years we won’t see
People being led into temptation
Folly, pride, hatred, and other evils
By false prophets in white houses or mud huts.

In a thousand years we won’t see
Smokestacks or exhaust pipes
Belching breathless smoke
Into the darkened skies.

In a thousand years we won’t see
The rich gentry carving fat birds
For falsetto voices and powdered faces
While children’s stomachs bloat from hunger.

In a thousand years we’ll see
Tall trees with rustling leaves
Beside brooks with grassy banks

Because only good will be left standing
Because only good can stand alone.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2020, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton