“Rainy Day Comfort”. . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Promp

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” Madeleine L’Engle … perhaps one can even say this applies to poetry.



Tuesdays are among the most popular days for people to visit the The Poet by Day and that’s because of the quality of work our poetry community produces and the fascination I believe we all have with the variety of reactions to a prompt. Such delight.  So here today are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, April 18, The Taste of Baklava. 

Thanks to these talented, often visionary, and intrepid poets for coming out to play: Irene Aaron (a.k.a. Irene Emanuel), Paul Brooks, Sheila Jacob, Frank McMahan, Sonja Benskin Mesher and Pleasant Street. The artful Sonja has shared her illustrations as well.  

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome – encouraged – to participate no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  Meanwhile, read on, enjoy, and be inspired.


RAINY DAY COMFORT  

Afternoon rain,
steam on tar;
liquid leaves litter rain-sparkled grass.
School-shoe leather
splashing sweet-water puddles,
spraying the grey air with promise.
Homeward bound
after school, comfort food
beckons with tempting smells.

Batter on griddle,
sizzling pancakes
drowned in farm butter and maple syrup.
Olfactory senses
unlock fragrances of
security and warmth,
a taste of childhood days.

© 2018, Irene Emanuel

*A special welcome today to Irene Aaron, new to Wednesday Writing Prompt. Irene’s pen name is the lovely Irene Emanuel. Irene didn’t have a chance to email her bio and photo. When she does, I’ll add it to this post as is tradition with writers new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt.


My Mam’s Spice

Our home were spiced up,
when she were well.
Mam put wooden pots
of her favourite fragrances
on the tiled hearth,
strung garlands
on the hallway walls.

Allspice, cedar wood shavings
cinnamon bark and cassia bark
cloves, cypress wood shavings
fennel seed, incense-cedar
wood shavings, jasmine flowers
and oil, jujube blooms,
juniper wood shavings.

I thought it magic,
‘ cause it didn’t rot,
lavender leaves,
lemon balm leaves,
lemon peel, marjoram leaves,
mignonette leaves, mint leaves,
mugwort, orange peel,

sweet citrus infused all rooms,

pelargonium leaves, pinyon pine
shavings and cones, rose flowers,
hips, rosemary leaves,

even on the gusty winter day mam died,
and the sharp tangs were stench
and the pots were emptied,
garlands binned, odours dissipated
from rooms but not memory.

© 2018, Paul Brookes

Dad Never Only Considers Most

relevant part of a map.
When he gets lost, he stops,
at the entrance to the busiest junction,
sometimes, before a roundabout,
and unfolds a view of the world
to its fullest extent to find his way.

Perhaps, at work when he changes
one tiny part of the system he traces
its effect on a detailed draughted whole diagram
of council offices, hospitals
or nuclear subs where he has installed
new heating waste management services.

And I at work or home cursed with the same
need for thorough deliberation,
find bosses, wives and workmates sigh
at my slow, detailed examination
of an issue, that had I rushed,
as when angry, only find confusion.

My dad and I bring the whole going on
to a brief stop as others
who wish to get on, hoot, cringe,
whistle and toot their dismay.
We ignore them all to, quietly,
stubbornly, slowly map our way.

Original publication in “Verse Virtual.”

© 2018, Paul Brookes


Blowing bubbles

We lean into a breeze skittering
off the hills, send bubbles
soaring through plastic rings.
Our grandsons cheer-
their turn next and we caution
mind you don’t trip
don’t run into the road
but they’re sure-footed, stay
close, race one way then another
across an ellipse of lawn.

* * * * *
I recall dandelion-clocks
in a long ago garden.

puff-breath count the seeds
watch them fly tell the time
one o’clock two o’clock
tick-tock mind the nettles
rub a dock leaf on stings
hold a buttercup under your chin
loop a daisy-chain over your wrist

* * * * *
I feel a child’s arms around
my waist, kiss his blond head.
His brother runs to me:taller,
raven-haired, I hug them both,
wipe soap-sticky hands
and the four of us chase
fresh bubbles, catch some
on our palms, pop the highest
with our fingertips, let others melt
into trodden tufts of grass.

© 2018, Shiela Jacob


PEBBLE

I choose a pebble from the beach

and  lick a fleck of salt

from  the red/brown round. Pebble

to cherish through this journey. Grit

 

and strength and wit must all combine

to carry out this pledge.  Northwards.

Find the first hill. Grief lies

beyond evasion and found  me in moments

 

of repose between fell and crag,

peat bog and flooding stream. Two

hundred miles, one sea left behind,

the other found. Sunlight then spindrift,

 

one last steep hill falling between the red-tiled

homes to the flat,grey sea.  A membrane bursts,

spilling everything distilled:

sorrow  and ache and pride. Jolted,

 

I gasp and clutch a rail, salt burns

my cheek. Walk, walk. I place the pebble

on my boot. A wave inspects

and takes its tribute. I turn and climb, talking

again in silence to one unseen.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

 

. a vision request .

early while driving.                     omen repeating

 

sometimes the sun comes lower after the crest

 

one moment

 

imagine them marching,           slow & white.

 

will you name them?

 

in the wake all things come clear.

 

slow & white.

 

later below the peaks i tell him. he said it is

the dark crystal.

 

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

 

shot_1336199156760.jpg

. a moment .

when the world runs cold,

water freezing, eyes held

from the words.

 

moments with the old story,

knowing it will be understood.

 

each day a moment to be

shared out here.

 

the poetry circle is closed.

 

now.

 

do not believe all you read.

 

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

 

spoon

 


Falling Star, 1989

I didn’t belong there and I knew it
how you were not mine yet
and she did not know you were there
with me
letting something grow
that was for keeps
in time
keeping time, and
holding on tightly
so that no one could sever our bond
looking upwards
that fierce green streak
putting a stamp on it
on us
and for once
I believed in signs

© 2018, Pleasant Street


ABOUT

“Our Takeaway”…. and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

 



My apologies to all those who shared poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt. I didn’t realize today was Tuesday and time to post your wonderful work for all to see. The reason – not excuse, as they say – is I am totally in airhead mode with this relocation. So, here we go … still Tuesday by me but I know for some of you it’s already a new day …

The last prompt, Wednesday, March 21, after the injera, the way, the niter kibby: tell us about a take away from your travels or vacation garnered us these lovelies. Thank you to Kakali Das Gosh, Pleasant Street, Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Reena Presad. Enjoy! 


Our Takeaway

always on a Friday. A menu
taken out of the kitchen drawer,

unfolded. Dad scribbles what everyone
wants. I choose egg fried rice.

Using phone on the phone table
in hallway Dad rings order through.

Sister and I chorus:
“Can I come when you go, Dad?”

After days of school meals,
meat and two veg. at home,

takeaway is exotic. In the car
usual casual joke “egg flied lice.”

Inhale fragrance of garlic,
soy and foreign voices far above

as we join the queue, Dad collects
a thin white plastic bag that bulges

with sharp edged foil cartons
on kitchen side carefully

extracts each box, bends back lips
releases plumes of spicy heat

to put on already warmed plates,
carried through to front room.

Empty cartons are placed back in white bag
rushed out to a bin so smell does not linger.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

I A Glede

dark wraith,
elegant, rangy,
float russet and goldflash,
above winter’s woodland,

street cleaner,
snatch roadkill from gutters,
pavements, lobbed pizzas, chips,
knickers, jackets, teddy bears,
odd shoes, toy giraffes
rest with my feathered young,
decorate my nest.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Servant

For a time I do bother
to polish the surfaces,
hoover, wash and iron.

If only for myself,
but then myself is not enough.
Dust piles, crumpled clothes dirty.

I fall asleep among dirty sheets,
empty crisp packets,
half eaten cold pizzas,
stink of mice piss.

Awake to freshly laundered sheets,
clean carpets, clothes washed, ironed.
Surfaces polished smell of Lavender.
How could this happen?

Again I fall asleep while tv on,
amongst discarded chocolate papers,
left over cake on plates,
half drunk cans of lager.

Awake to tv off, rubbish binned,
plates washed, dried put away,
Citrus not stale beer and rotting smell.
I’m intrigued. Curious.

It takes no effort to be a slob, again.
Spill crisps down sides of chairs,
dribble tea into carpet, crumbs.
Energy drinks ready I stay awake.

Energy sup is the biz. Make
Me hyper so I see these two tiny
Folk, man and woman, like regular
Nanites sorting my crap.

Like my old man never were
this one hoovers up crumbs,
packs his black bin bag with cans,
busies, polishes, scrubs to his bones.

His old woman like mam, I guess,
dusts, scours a whirlwind devil.
Part of me says they do as they must,
the other sees what they lack.

Next night I leave them a gift
of nothing to tidy, to put away.
They seem contented as I watch
surrogate mam and dad leave for good.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

I’m Man Enough

18 in 1980 week afore starting uni,
lads night out and your dressed
in Burton’s bright yellow like a canary,
socks, shoes, shirt, jacket, because it’s cool.

Lads boast they down 11/12 pints
of John Smiths bitter a night,
shag a lass then do same next night.
You’ve never done neither.

Follow lads round like fresh meat,
loud and brash, they talk of shagging
bints, fast cars, live bands you’ve
never seen coddled by your mam and dad.

Four pints in and your eyelids droop,
bitter makes you fall asleep, lasses
in short skirts with intentions nuzzle
up but loud music means you can’t listen

to what they’re saying and wouldn’t know
what to say. Lads jostle you. “We’re off
to neet club. A tha cumming?”. I shout
an apology. “Got to be in by 11.”

They get off. I leave the pub, buy
a pizza and pissed walk home uphill
chomping on greasy slices, cardboard
box too big, one side of road to another.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)


# I’d depart this land #

His visage is still vivid in this misty evening
Those eyes
Those pink hands
Those lips
Those jowls
Those days in Kashmir
still call me in this lonely evening
That crystal lake
That stream
Those golden apples
Those flower boats
Those diamond peaks
Are playing in my weepy eyes
His words
His kisses
His smile
His last touch
Perhaps still have retained a token of our fancy
In the last cherry tree of that garden
I’d depart -I’d depart this land
To searh for those flying hairs
Those heavenly fingers
Embracing me
in that florid houseboat…

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh


. it is a holiday .

they say, and close the stores.

it is complicated, to do with floor space and employees rights.

we had chocolate eggs, worked hard, let our arms loose.

warmer now, the sun shone, people came, visited,

smiled, fondled the wool, spoke of age and weaving.

he said there were many looms in his day.

he is eighty eight, he told me many times.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)

. permanent traveller .

having had a few days off, no not from honest work,

yet writing, rests the mind, i find that everyday

things, mote well on my behalf.

i heard the cock crow early,

looked for swallow flight, seeing none,

cleaned, tidied, then came to write.

it has been a pleasant morning.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)


You Do The Math

(what I wrote while traveling
back to the town we met in and fell
in love, and back again)

dancing tall in my living room
to George and Elton
(does it really happen
if no-one sees it
like that tree in the forest)
he says sometimes I never go out
(could tell him stories about 1985
when I lived ten years in 12 months)
and I dance and dance

my head full of 1990
(wonderwall,hammer,hit me baby)
one more time–let’s dance as one
I’ll lead this time–you follow
if you still have that notion
that 1+1=1
and 2+1=no end of joy

perhaps we will find
a new kind of happy-
ness, wrapped in understanding
and lessons learned
(old flames, new rites of passage)
let’s not forget, and dance to now
(rhianna, poison, blended with
the Beatles, Eagles, and 21
pilots, shaken and stirred)

once I thought it was most crucial
to fly without a net
but I believe
the trick
is
to not let go

© 2018, Pleasant Street (are you thrilled)


AESTIVATION

The road is an arid breath
wheezing through barren boughs

I unpacked you on the green bed
My hair flying wild
Bees humming about silken valleys

We left together to explore the trail
of a dust-swept summer
Drunk bees still buzzed in hordes
till a flycatcher caught up with us

Your summer, a mirage
A shimmering wall of sorrow
Dry-eyed, I listened to its howl
They lamented in Nizwa and Sohar
yet you held your sorrow in
waiting for Khareef

The Hajar mountains twisted to get
a glimpse of tourists
fooled by bursts of paper blooms

Parched, we returned
A white eye of a flycatcher followed us
The wall wept then at my infecundity

But in my rucksac, carefully preserved roots lived
To soak in tap water at leisure
and bring forth a trail of sprouting greens

I smelt then
the base notes of a buried south-westerly monsoon
feeling buds of earthy love
from this land of hidden green
burst open beneath dry skin

© Reena Prasad (Butterflies of Time – A Canvas of Poetry)
originally published in GloMag May 2016


ABOUT

Sonnet of State Secrets … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


These are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, January 17, Dancing Toward Infinity. It garnered a neat collection of responses, including work by three poets new to these pages: Carolstar286, Pamela Ireland Duffy, and Pleasant Street. Welcome to all!  Back for this round and in stellar form are: Paul Brooks, Renee Espriu, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Mike Stone and Anjum Wasim Dar.  Enjoy! And do join us tomorrow for the next prompt.


Sonnet of State Secrets

As I told the State the other day, I rarely
dance but when I do I dance some Latin
sort of thing, like a salsa, in which one seems
never to stop moving, which makes it more difficult to pin
me down. My hips sometimes get tired so I have
to stop; two days later I ache but I am that much
closer to the goal, the infinite, the end-that-is-not-
the-end. The State is very goal-oriented,
hence the two questions that must be asked
of everyone with only four possible answers.
I almost always want to invent my own
responses but there you have it: no other
possibilities. Frustration ensues. Occasionally
I have thoughts of threats, murder, assassination.
The solution is to look up, to contemplate clouds, or stars
that look like lively souls in their dance to infinity.

© 2018, Carolstar 236


“Old lady dancing”

Not much music
at the end of the line
in this half-world
of might-have-beens
and time run out
but still she dances
on iridescent water
oil spillage not dreams
but still she dreams
of other universes
other lives
of endless possibilities
where words change worlds
and her grandchildrens’ laughter
is real
and she is dancing in her sleep
daring to dream
of somewhere
where the music
never stops.

© 2018, Pamela Ireland Duffy

Pamela Ireland Duffy

PAMELA IRELAND DUFFY is interested in Qi Gong, reading/lecture, writing/écriture, poetry/poésie. Pamela is also published on on “I am not a silent poet” and in “L’Inventoire”, She studied at the University of Leeds and at Larkhill House School, Preston, Lancashire. She currently lives in Périgny, Poitou-Charentes, France and is originally from Macclesfield. 


‘Do you fear the fire’
(for my mother, 1940-1997)

Walking through the woods
my mother spoke of fire–
of course I had noticed it
a lack of green, and the scent
of the foray of pitiless flames
in a matter of months
and the ashes beneath our feet

Was it a dream? Perhaps–
upon opening my eyes
seeing her feet, immaculate
walking amongst the flames
in a frantic dance for life–
and afterward, the renovation–
her attempt to cover it up
with a smile and a flower

Overjoyed to see something
colorful and blooming
my jaw went slack, while the flower fell
from where she had taped it
to the scorched vine, fooling me
with the comfort of red petals
amongst the endless black.
‘But black is your color.’

Black had been the color
of cool and calm, during a time
when I could not settle myself–
tailor-made for me, the crisp lines
of white cotton over black silk
were enough to blur the vision
of soot smudges
on her cheek and forehead

I had not been there for her.
I wanted to stay.

And, bending to grab at the rose
I moved too quickly
a thorn piercing my finger–
‘You have blood on your
shirt”, she said
‘you have work still to be done–
wake up.’

© 2018, Pleasant Street (Are You Thrilled)

PLEASANT STREET is a mother, baker, and poet. She has been writing poetry since fourth grade. Now she is writing a neo-noir thriller and a collection of poems about the seasons of life and God’s abundant and ever-changing earth. She thinks too hard and feels too deeply, and appears to be stuck in 1948. She is still dreaming up a way to use baked goods as legal tender.

Pleasant lives on a tree-lined street where nothing seems to happen on the outside, but she is certain many thrillers are contained behind closed doors. She is often carried away by flights of fancy, but that suits her very well.


once such night black

was a chance to gather strength
for the coming day; to invade
the stars in order to appropriate
their pinprick energy;
now its curious restless oblivion
is merely a rehearsal for the long sleep
that’s to come – the living out
of trillions of years
with nothing to think about

it tosses & turns and sometimes
dreams of swimming again amongst
those stars so often gleaming
through the apple trees of youth

come spring and I suppose
I will contrive to fling the curtains
wide once more to greet the sun
for the beginning of time once more
but now I hardly dare to wake
into this familiar night black

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

 


On A Road  

a wick young lad meets Devil.
Wise with old tales

he goads Devil.
“Before I do owt for you

I want tha soul.” Devil gobsmacked
replies “I have no soul

of my own. Only souls of others.”
“Then gi me those.” answers

lad and I’ll do whatever tha hankers for .”
Devil hands him a mobile.

“This phone contains all my souls.”
“There is a woman who
would have your tongue. I ask
you visit her and take hers.”

“God didn’t sleep with me.
He chose that cow Mary.”
Devil put you on to me,
Young un’ tell you I need
Your tongue and you need
To take mine.

“I offer you hunger,
wrinkles, short life
and disease, and me
as an ugly bitch.
Except
on Saturdays when
I look like a model
and you have eternal life,
youth and health.
Manage your expectations.”

Young chuff replied
“To me you’re beautiful
for six days. Only a monster
on Saturdays when you’re a serpent
from waist down. Accept this mobile.
It contains all Devil’s souls.”

And young man returned
To Devil with her stories
“Accept the Sibyl’s tongue.”
He said and Devil scowled
at this young buck’s cleverness.

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


Angels Infinite

A symbiotic relationship in
a universe stretching infinite
where stars are like angels
their wings as chariots
taking flight becoming
a safe harbor for the soul
now desolate with grief
now hungry for peace
now joyous in its’ vision
however brief that it too
will be immersed
in that infinity

© 2018, Renee Espriu


::air::

layered in air

we dance with glass

small souls with small lives

rise

to the challenges

she says you know we do not gets what we want

we gets what we get

really

ours has been much easier than so many others

*listen to the radio

they threw them all on the fire

there

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


“A Poem about Nothing”
(Raanana, October 24, 2015)

This is a poem about nothing
How it happened that
Today nothing happened.
I didn’t turn on the radio
Well maybe I did for a moment or two
But then I turned it off again
Before something happened.
I slipped on some jeans and
Took Daisy for a walk
She still had a slight limp
From the night before
And I said a silent prayer
To the One who Barks at Infinity
That she’s not getting old on me
Remembering her shivering
First time I held her to my heart.
Then I thought about Dad
For no good reason on this earth
When I’d laid him gently down into the ground
How all the prayers we say
Were meant to send him on his way
But all I wanted was to call him back
Some prayers will never pass my lips.

© 2017, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

“Saint Yellow’s Gate Revisited”
(Raanana, March 24, 2017)

Through light Saint Yellow’s gate I’ve fled
Leaves long fallen, trees long dead
To come full circle as she said
No meaning, only clues instead.

Clues pointing to eternity
Open graves to see through pity
Stilted men walk through the city
The death of rationality.

What say you now of dreams my friend?
Succubi make love pretend
Climax waking in the end
Nothing left to comprehend.

© 2017,Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

“Walking to the Moon”
(Raanana, September 1, 2012)

Sometimes you have to walk a poem
To see the shadows of it go in front of you
And then behind you,
A funny kind of locomotion
Walking crablike, orthogonally.
It’s been so long since I’ve written,
You must have thought I’d forgotten,
If you thought about me at all.
No, I hadn’t. Couldn’t. Ever.
These were the dimensions of your loveliness,
The smell of sunlight on a field of wheat in your hair,
The cool touch of my rough hand on your soft thigh,
The vibrations of your voice as your meaning danced across it,
But the publicity of your smile
For all around you to see,
Not just for me,
Meant the sunlight soft vibrations of you
Might as well be like walking to the moon.

© 2012, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

“When a Poet”
(Raanana, June 30, 2017)

When a poet wakes up in the morn
He puts his pants on
One leg then another,
And when he buys his milk and wants to pay
He stands in line between
The woman with her screaming kids
And the foreign workers,
But when the poet looks up at clouds
Or the night-time constellations,
Orion’s scabbard or Cassiopeia’s tilted throne,
He sees encyclopedias never writ nor read
By the likes of you or me,
And when he loves,
It’s Trojan Paris
Who’s faced ten thousand ships
And went to war for naught but one.

© 2017, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

“Life’s Cold Eye”
(Raanana, January 7, 2016)

Hello Orion my old friend
I’ve come to battle you again
Though your sword is in its scabbard
You hold above my head the tides of time
And bury me under the horizons of eternity
But I’ll defeat you with love’s clarion call
And life’s cold eye on death.

© 2016, Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)


waltzing on

spiral galaxy in Constellation, Coma Berenices, 60 million light years from Earth

waltzing on the melodious
music, feather like, rising
gliding,  embraced by light-
the Earth is All Bed
Sky all dome, a roof
shining in the day
glittering at night-
to show us the way

Boundless infinity oceanic
no end in sight,timeless,
and we mortals in oblivion
think about being en-gloved,
encircled we dance immersed
in  perpetual  meditation

we shall, in cool shadows be
with obedience and charity
for good we did, in year past
what good we do now, to last,
our hearts, swirling constellation
a nucleus smooth, unfurled silk

in time dissolved, myriads to
dust, rising spiraling merging
with countless orchestras in
harmonic symphonies of the
milky way, unknown infinity
like the never ending sea in oceans

cycling fresh blessings in motion
warming steam to vapors, floating
to infinity in dancing drops in
rotation, creating revolution
from sky to sand, and we say
rain falling, cooling drowning

IMG_20180117_135517_311

and I say Blessed, drenched in
peace like the circling dervish
one with nature,in stillness bent
‘in my beginning is my end’
Light makes me light,boundless
flight, I say I am embraced…
Embraced in Eternal Heavenly Light

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