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“Birmingham, 1931” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“For the city, his city, stood unchanging on the edge of time: the same burning dry city of his nocturnal terrors and the solitary pleasures of puberty, where flowers rusted and salt corroded, where nothing had happened for four centuries except a slow aging among withered laurels and putrefying swamps. In winter sudden devastating downpours flooded the latrines and turned the streets into sickening bogs. In summer an invisible dust as harsh as red-hot chalk was blown into even the best-protected corners of the imagination by mad winds that took the roofs off the houses and carried away children through the air.” Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Cities certainly do stir the emotions as you’ll see from the passionate responses to the last prompt, Ciao Bella, Beloved, July 11, which was to write about the city in which you grew up or one that you grew to love.

Thanks and a warm welcome to newcomer Lexi Villa and thanks to stalwart regulars: Paul Brookes, Isabela DeLa Vega, Sheila Jacob, Frank McMahon, and Sonja Benskin Mesher.

Special acknowledgement to debasis mukhopadhyay, between ink & inkblot: Debasis’ latest collection is “kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context(2017, Finishing Line Press ). I am unable to include his poem today due to some technical issues, but I hope to bring you more from this acute and prescient poet soon. Meanwhile visit his site and …

… enjoy these offerings below.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome no matter the status of career: novice, emerging or pro. Responses to tomorrow’s prompt will be published here on Tuesday as is tradition and this week’s responses will also be considered for inclusion in the September issue of The BeZine, which is themed social justice.

Devastation to My Happy Place

I remember running across the street to the little old lady’s tiendita.
After a long day of exploring canals and giving in to vendors (who definitely overcharged me because of my pale skin), I was hungry.
Can you hear the rain tapping against my window?
Can you hear that old lady’s silence from across the street?
Can you hear my stomach growling?
It was cloudy & dark, but I wanted to continue my adventure.
I only had that interaction, or rather transaction, with the old lady.
But as I lay here in my home, I think about that sandwich I bought from her.
Ham, cheese, & jalapeños. No condiments.
I’m laying here now, where the worst I’ve experienced is 125 degree weather.
What happened to that city the day the earthquake hit?
What happened to the businesses run along the canals?
But above all, what happened to that little old lady?

© 2018, Lexi Villa

LEXI VILLA: “Hey! I’m Lexi, just turned eighteen and decided to participate. I only really dabble in poetry, I am not a professional. However, something I entered in a competition did get picked up for publishing. So I guess I must have a knack for it to catch the eyes of publishers right? I look forward to participating :)”

Even More Invisible Town

A paragraph/stanza difficult to read, then urge/ntly to know widens eyes, detail foregrounds, colour sharpens, shadows acute

No electric/gas light. Wood fires flicker at street ends, in single rooms shadow on walls, glorious stars and robbers abound

Every street must be a wasteland: broken bottles, discarded rubbish, rusty nails, decaying carpet. Belonging is discouraged.

Amount and weight not quality of jewellery you wear is sign of wealth/prestige. Piercings/tattoos admired/flaunted.

Violence is always acceptable. Non violence is cowardice, defeat admitted. Only big, strong survive. Bullying praised.

Freezing cold is welcomed. All animals slaughtered, every part used to build shelter, skins warmth, bone tools, percussion.

All surfaces are child friendly soft. All houses have slides, all workplaces ball pools. Play is work. Riotous creativity

dark corners are encouraged. It is an architectural trend to see how many can be made in one building. Cleaners despair.

where a buildings decay is encouraged as a haven for wildlife. People born/live/die in hides, record wildlife as heirlooms.

Nobody puts things back correctly. Compensation is unknown. Goods on wrong shelves. Kids to wrong houses. Fiction in non


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

A City In His Pocket

Searched his donkey jacket,
business suit and blazer.

Nowhere. In his dreams hand
in pocket it felt smooth like wet cobbles

his hobnail boots slipped on and faltered,
clattered and echoed in a cave of streets,

crammed with bread on the bake,
spicy curry and sweet dark chocolate,

or the top of a Christmas dome
you upturned to see snow fall

on gothic spires and picket fences,
or hand in pocket spiky and harsh

like police speed traps or his wife’s voice.
Pick pocketed now empty pocket.

Gust blew across the abandoned threads.
Aha! He’d put it in his hi viz jacket.

Previously appeared in The Coffeelicious

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

More Impressions of Wombwell

Backyard, eye swag silver, two joy, pica pica purplish-blue iridescent sheen wing feather green gloss tail

on train squeal chatter, vivid, green, blue, beavers, cubs, scouts, ventures: anarchy in uniform

unshaven bald man, open green raincoat, brown leather shoes, hauls local paper packed lime green trolley

old folk bench gab, mothers stroll babies down funeral paths eye gambolling squirrels, cemetery a parkland

bright cemetery leaves behind dark, Bakers window 6 loaves, 1 burnt, nurse boards bus, ‘I was miles away’

sunstruck leaf bunch drips bright molten green glass, other leaves luminescent silver stars in green matter, shade cut

patient silver hubcap rests under stone cemetery wall behind blue bus stop halo, full moon fall: day waits

Shadows pass over bus as if it is stop motion animated. I get on the animation. Hand held camera glare work journey

Town a small canvas tent unzipped tied back crowcall, fragrant grass, earth close, sun blue. Is on holiday

light quality early noon than morning, 3 patient full brown potato bags by grocers, cloud dispersal pends

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

Invisible Town on the Cards

At bus stop 6 playing cards played 3 of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds face up. Empty coke can: a bus on the cards

Bus stop other side from morning Ace of Hearts 7 of Diamonds 5 of Spades 6 9 of Diamonds face up. Afternoons hand

Hill top Mrs Wood, grocers, coming down street cemeteries avenue hill bottom where pit used to be a lush forest.

In siling down bus is a big kid in wellies a splash laugh in every pothole puddle, hurriedly shops import goods

Slanted rain rolls down slanted roof slanted street each angle geometric downpour wet arithmetic blatant flashes

Estate Agents white box A4 copier paper door stop charity shop rush takes green leather sofa armchair out of rain

‘value’ ‘bonus’ ‘Low, Low Prices’ big on bright blue next to ‘On Offer’ ‘To Let” boarded, flagged market forces

Pale blue sweatered woman bent at right angles pushes her brown tartan square four wheel shopping trolley up hill

Greenery now over spoilheap less work less danger canal no longer used all leisure, industry moved into headsets

Young man in flak jacket grey snapback struggles to attach long fishing rod rest and shopping to bikes handlebars

Bright cool blue sky cafe puts out green plastic chairs stacked like plastic cups bakers window 4 loaves 2 burnt

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

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A tree grows in concrete

As such, a sight to see

I hadn’t given much thought

To how lonely it might be

One tree, weatherworn, twiggy bark

Hardly standing, day in and day out

Alone, trying to be burly strong

In need of care, no one did

City life, concrete at its’ feet

Rain, sleet and snow

No breaks, nothing but woe

Yet, there it stands for all to see

© 2018, Isadora DeLaVega (Inside the Mind of Isadora)

Birmingham 1931

I’ve come at this a bit slantwise. I see the city through my father’s eyes.

From the terraced
where he was born.
The poor end of town,
near Saltley gasworks
and sluggish canal
under the railway bridge.

Pigeon-roost on slate
roofs, sheen of starlings
in rain-puddles, hoot
and hiss of steam trains
spiralling smoke and grit,
roar of Saturday’s home
crowd at Villa Park.

Trams and buses trace
the city’s inner circle,
drop workers off
at Ansell’s Brewery,
Lucas’s,HP Sauce, streets
humming as he meanders
to school with his mates.

They’ll be fourteen, soon,
time for first suits
and steady jobs, they dream
football but know their
future’s in a car factory
needing ambitious lads
eager to learn a trade.

© 2018, Sheila Jacobs


Paris, Venice, Udaipur: noise, rainbow
glitter, sensory orgasmatrons yet
nothing called serenity or the bliss
of a child carefree on a swing.

Here is my city, patient work of seeds
and seasons, pink campion, knapweed
and hawkbit’s yellow, filling the meadows’
edge around the solitary ash. High

ridge on a clear day, chalk or clay
underfoot, silent, watch the hawk’s lift
and stoop to the clustered oaks, sheen
on clear spring water bubbling. Cross

an open field where the breeze lifts away
the dreck and bric-a-brac of cares and toils,
open and be filled with birdsong,
float in moments endless ethereal.

Here is my city.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

harrogate in the rain.

cheap umbrella broke,

a delightful shade of pink,


abandoned the street

for the parlour, the crown.

mourned my shoes, wet

and ripping.


white nubuck.

watched the trees,

falling leaves.

good coffee


the pumproom.


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


. oswald’s tree .

never fails to excite .with all the talk of leaves

here, falling, i am interested to see another breed

of folk that love and gather.

remind me of roseberry road, the younger days.


sat in the upper room, read a letter to his mum,

about the trenches, the first world war,  wished

to drown his sorrow in  that bloodied mud. the floor

tilted, a scrap lay crumpled.


each room has a different door.

we left, fell the last few steps.

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


# Oxford

lost in the ashmolean, lost
in antiquity.

i may have paid the price.

the museum is free.


as i spoke,
i could not help
but cry.

we do not often talk of it.


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



Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

“After Reading How Poets Often Die …” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


c Jamie Dedes

 “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”  Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook

Here are the diverse, thought-provoking and engaging responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, the transformation of things, June 27, 2018. As Debbie Felio said in comment to the post, “… sometimes transformation is not a beautiful process, but hard won” … and sometimes transformation doesn’t quite happen.

Thank you to Paul Brookes, Renee Espiru, Debbie Felio, Sheila Jacob, Carol Mikoda, Anne G. Myles, Marta Pombo Sallés, Sonja Benskin Mesher and to newcomers DeWitt Clinton (whose new collection will be out soon), Vageesh Dwivedi (a novice showing much promise), and Taman Tracy Moncur (an activist poet and Brooklyn girl like me, I suspect). The work of these poets certainly enriches the day for all of us.

Contributor websites/blogs are added so that you may visit and get to know one another. I hope you do. Some don’t have sites but you can probably catch up with them on Facebook.

Enjoy! … and do join us tomorrow for the next The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging and pro. 

After Reading How Poets Often Die, I Do Hesitate to Read
Ou Yang Hsiu’s “Reading the Poems of an Absent Friend”

Some old poet friends are not dead
Yet. One even lives exiled in far
Away Japan. Perhaps I’ll disappear
As I’m too old to be discovered
By any up and coming new
Lit clique. What part of friends
Stays in the sublime end of my
Old mind? Sometimes when I read
They’ve died I’d just as soon
Close the blinds and stay reclined.
Most all stayed up all night
Just to finish their new lines.
Now they’ve got their good books.
I do hate reading what they’ve
Spent their whole lives on
And I hate it that they’re gone.
Sometimes I have not written all
Year and when I do I know it’s
Nothing more than old oatmeal.
It’s incredible how long I’ve
Been drawn to this poetry life
And how often I can’t even
Find a word or two to make
Anew, and wonder, who turned
My brain into yummy worms?
Once I found an old Pole’s
Book of lines, left the day
For nothing else except to turn
More pages all the way to night.
I never am too keen to
Reread some old medieval
Gore but I could pick out
Any poem and think it’s
Something quite new. I wish
I knew what poets do.
Most men wouldn’t be caught
Dead writing with short lines
Would rather count the scores
Of grown men running plays.
I told my wife the other day
How long I’ve been devoted
To this quiet task of digging
Through what I already knew.
So if I could I’d just sit
Right here in our red room
And gaze outside to find
What brings such joy inside.
In fact I’d take my old dead
poet friends, and a few lines
made last night, catch the next
starry ride right out of here.

© 2018, DeWitt Clinton

DeWitt tells us, “This poem is one of 114 I’ve adapted from Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese and the entire collection is forthcoming from Michael Dickel’s is a rose press.

DeWitt Clinton

DeWITT CLINTON is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, USA.   Recent poems of his have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous Press, Meta/Phor(e)Play, and The Arabesques Review.  He has a new collection forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.​


With bewitching beauty you walked again,
And the years of temperance, was all in vain.

The whisper’s melody was still the same,
And the longing ears ,were in heaven to acclaim.

Neither tequila nor the weed,
Your addictive eyes quenched the need.

Pattern of your long braided hair was well acquainted,
As if the steps were learned yesterday,that my fingers repeated.

It felt like the time stood still,
Unpacking each and every dimensions of my will.

And then came into play, My futile fate,
Rushing wildly through my window, as if it was in haste.

The breeze was soothing ,but brought the pain,
And my only lifeline was disconnected again,
Still didn’t open my eyes, struggling to connect again…

© 2018, Vageesh Dwivedi (dwivedivageesh)

Vageesh Dwivedi

Vageesh writes, “Currently I’m doing from mechanical engineering. I like to write and express. I’m from Uttarpradesh, India.”

The Ultimate Transformation

Seniors captured by time
now prisoners in a body
no longer in sync with the mind…
A body transformed
through ages and stages
forming the persona that resides within…
That persona forever in search of new dominions
living out dreams and schemes
reaching heights of happiness
encompassed by depths of despair…

The body grows weary
eyesight becomes dim and bleary
days flee as hearing fades…
The bones no longer dancing
to the rhythm of the heart…
The bones captivated by a falling star
shoot through the galaxy
with a proclamation
announcing a new soul ready
for the ultimate transformation…

© 2018, Tamam Tracy Moncur (Mercer Street Blues)

Tamam Tracy Moncur

TAMAM TRACY MONCUR says, “I enjoy writing. I write for the sheer pleasure of writing. Writing helps me organize my world and express what matters to me at any given moment in time. I’ve been a Civil Rights activist, taught elementary school for twenty-five years, worked with my husband, Grachan Moncur III arranging musical compositions and performing. In 2008 I self-published a book entitled Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a project that was very close to my heart. I am now a retired teacher, a community activist, and a seasoned senior who still loves to write.”

The Gift

A small dark shape on kitchen tile
Stared at by our cat,

Move closer, it is a sparrow bairn,
Chest balloons out as my sigh releases.

Scooped up, as I take it out to the garden
It stands on the scoop.

Over the fence our neighbour stands hunched
in dark tears “My mam won’t be coming out of hospital”

My breath caught.
The sparrow flies away.

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

a became a river

One day atta work,
a goes for a skinny dip
in a quiet stream
a knows

Unbeknownst to me stream
were a lad called Whitey or Gain
and he falls for us.

A flits naked from his wattas
an he changes into a fella
an chases atta us.

I ran until am cryin’
an shartin fo help

r boss covers me in a cloud,

but Whitey, waits watches
where ma wet footprints

Am so afraid break art
in a cold sweat pouring
off of me a becomes a river.

Whitey changes to watta
an mingles wi us.

From Paul’s collection The Headpoke And Firewedding,  Alien Buddha Press, 2017

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

Lass Is Stone

Spunk sees Cruel lass from afar
gobsmacked by her looks
he gets smitten hard
and determines she’ll be hooked

Asks her mates for her mobile number,
and all her social media pages,
scours internet for details,
winds himself up in rages.

Gets his message through once
or twice but she mocks him
” Fancy me. You do right. I’m gorgeous”
and promptly blocks him.

Finds her home and knocks
and her Dad answers and says
“She don’t want to know, son.
Thinks your a stalker. Away!”

Writes his first letter and posts
it personally through her door,
it tells her she’s won and he’ll be gone
she can celebrate and more

she can see him lose his life
which is all he has left for her.
Cruel scoffs at this but goes along
for the crack and laughter.

She sees him throw a rope
already knotted around a beam
put his neck in the noose
and let out a scarifying scream.

Then she feels herself harden
stone thoughts
stone mouth
stone neck
stone chest
stone limbs
stone heart

calcified flesh and bone
a statue.

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

Biddy To A Young God

You have planted fresh
delight in these eyes
that sprout visions again
as when I was a young girl.

You have breathed
through my cold embers
and stroked warmth
into this thin skin.

My face has plumpness
and reddens
as your hands find flesh
for my angled skull.

My limbs no longer bare
begin to dress themselves
with buds and colour
for your lustful eyes.

Perhaps these changes
are only in your eyes,
and this puddle reflection
may be false, a false Spring.

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

The Usher

The wind bears no animosity
nor is it fickle

as appearances
are always in flux

though transformative it will be
ushering in both life
and death

for the Anemoi brings forth
all seasons
in turn

where one day the breadth of it
blows clear the darkest clouds

emanating life giving sun
sweet scented

the next morn could bring
a stillness of breath
pollution a miasma
of death

yet still always ushering in
tempests and squalls
a familiar to rain

leaving a swath of destruction
to change yet again
with the softest
of breezes

that seem to settle within
touching, reflecting
life’s gentle

Anemoi the gods of wind
are the ushers of change
a transformative

© 2018, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)

Once Upon a Time

Working with children is what I said I would do
Eight years of higher education said I was ready
Children from poverty, neglect, abuse
I’d create safety to help calm the unsteady

of their worlds where parents weren’t there –
out searching for something to calm their addictions
leaving the young ones abandoned and scared
easy to make that outcome prediction

I’ll work with the children and not the abusers –
the parents, their friends, whoever committed
these horrible acts – I am the accuser
and judge and jury – against them I’m pitted

’til I heard their stories of their own horror
and I realized abused children grow up
without anyone being their restorer
to sanity and filling their self worth cup

imitating was all they could know
trying to be different had no guide
resulting in return to the old ways, though
reassured them of something to hold on inside

so I’ll work with the children and just their families
but I can’t get involved in all the systems
that confuse and contribute their own brutalities
often retraumatizing rather than helping the victims

But who am I kidding when I say I will not
it’s all so related – system, child, family
there’s no way to separate it all out
that is what I’ve come to see

So whoever you are, whatever’s been done
I know there’s much to your history
No one has to go it alone
who can judge your journey – certainly not me.

© 2018, deb y felio


How would it feel
to be you, green
and generous fern,
spores wind-lifted
last winter, rehomed
in my garden’s earth?

In July’s humid heat
I hanker to slip
from my carapace,
shrink beside ribbons
of grass, mingle with
star-trails of ivy.

Would I sense
my uncoiling,
my spearing upward,
fanning outwards,
filling spaces
of air and light?

Would I hold
in my spores, dream
ancient forests where
ferns swayed billions
of years ago,

grew tall, wide,
helped shape
the landscape?
Patterns repeating.
Images imprinting.
Fossils in rock.

Fern, you’ll outlive
my flesh and bone.
I high-five
your nearest frond.
Sun warms
your silent nod.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob

The Shell

Yours was the first corpse I’d seen
though I wince at the word: harsh,

impersonal, which in a way it was
when I stood in the Viewing Room

that midwinter morning, half-afraid
to kiss you, say a final goodbye.

I recognized you at once, pleased
they hadn’t lacquered drifts of white

hair, replaced pink pyjamas and cardi.
But your arctic face chilled my lip

and I knew if I knelt close, pressed
the curl of my ear against your breast

I’d hear no crash of waves trawling
the coral and driftwood of ninety years,

no echoes of a gushing, hushing ocean
scooping your sacred breath in its tide,

turning at the moon’s far rim where
your soul left its shell and took flight.

Published two years ago in Ben Barnyard’s webzine Clear Poetry

© 2016, Sheila Jacob

( transformation )

changes one.

transform metransform me too.jpg

transform me three

transform me four

transform me five



© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. preparing the way .


check the task, ready the mind.

let thoughts mellow and compute

nicely.  we will be all ready on the day.

we have a plan, whilst gratitude guides

us. nothing is necessary, except

collars and socks.

some will understand,

while others will not.

it was a hay loft, converted

now, the upper room.


© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Constant Change

Everything you are made of begins
in a gigantic transition
as universe explodes into being
stardust becomes everything
transformation begets you,
your sister, your cat, the bees,
the tree, stones, water,
so: stop. Cease all striving.
Stop all struggle. Breathe: in, out,
like a butterfly coming and going,
to this flower, that flower.
Rest. Stay in this tender space. Before
you know it, without aid of will or anxiety,
you arrive in a new place
the right place, just the right
place. No harm will come to you
as your divine self
slides gently into that personalized
pocket on the overalls
of The Universe of Now.

Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do?
Because what?

© 2018, Carol Mikoda (At the Yellow Table)

The Other World

At eighteen, I stepped into the other world,
the one that sounds fantastical but is not.
Drainage pond at the bottom of a hill on campus,
behind it a small straggle of winter woods,
beyond that, a path towards the sports fields.
Grass still green in the mild mid-Atlantic,
twiggy dried milkweed standing and fallen.
Plain as plain, just hidden, just waste.
An ordinary afternoon, and I felt surfeited with reading;
walking down the hill, I cast away my mind.
At the water’s edge I looked at the surface;
the water looked back at me. The world had eyes:
perceived me as I perceived it, all the same.
The bare treetops in the distance moved in my arms.
I felt the cawing of the crows that rose inside my chest.
But no crows there, no chest here, only that cawing,
that burning and empty annunciation
of how we too are the shine in the tufts of the cracked pods,
falling and lifted in the wind through everything.
All of this I could see, while I rubbed my eyes,
as if to dislodge a film that was not there.
This happened. I was a freshman, with no one to tell.
Why do we seek imagined worlds? We know nothing
of what is real, how wondrous and complete.

© 2018, Anne G. Myles (How public — like a Blog —)

I Danced the Night Ferociously

I danced the night ferociously
before I couldn’t learn to walk.
I heard all winds wanting to talk
but ignored them atrociously.

I cut them all with fearful sword
and showed my ridiculous mask
which was for me an easy task
blind as I was dancing aboard

a ship of horror to instill
my ugly laugh on anyone
who thought my doings were ill-done.
I laughed with my most perverse will

unaware of the coming change
that would lead to a transformation
to be expressed with great devotion
displaying a wonderful range

of what I could never suspect
but just love showing its beauty
colors dancing with their duty
to the rhythm of new effect

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

And so was the dance:

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view the video.


Upon the highest cliff something awakes

Below is the turquoise-blue ocean glare

While the sun reflects on its silent waves

A butterfly rises up in thin air

My wings felt the warmth of a cloudless sky

I breathed the air and found pleasure, yet

My heart was afraid of flying too high

A sudden descent and I became wet

I saw myself sinking relentlessly

Into the depths of the darkest ocean

Radiant sun and blue faded callously

As I sank with vertiginous motion

A butterfly turned into a falling rock

Could I possibly change my destiny

Could I ever recover from this shock

Or stay in the dark, its immensity

Direful sinking, the dark blue around

Yet looking up, the sight of turquoise-blue

And sunrays despite a fall, that profound

Spoke of the anchors I could hold on to

My arms and legs started to swim upward

A rapid ascent as its previous fall

Reached the surface of the sea so awkward

And saw myself at peace as I recall

Across the ocean so confidently

I swam and could have even sailed a boat

Looked at the world with some complacency

The butterfly can fly, I am afloat

© 2016, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


Unlife, a voiced video from Paul Brookes’collection A World Where (2017, Nixes Mate Press).  Painting by Jenn Zed.

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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

“Corpse Watcher” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

As always I am fascinated by how varied are the responses and interpretations of a given prompt, in this case Ms. Weary’s Blues, January 24No newcomers took up the challenge this time round but we have engaging – even intriguing – responses from Colin Blundell, bogpan, Paul Brooks, Kakali Das Ghosh, Renee Espriu, Sheila Jacob, Sonia Benskin Mesher and Anjum Wasim Dar.  Thanks to these intrepid and talented poets for coming out to play.

Please join us tomorrow for the next prompt. All are welcome no matter the status of career: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about showcasing your work, getting to know other poets and exercising the writing muscle. Meanwhile, enjoy these poems   …

there’s one way

and another way
and a third way
of doing things; but it’s useful
to think of doing things

‘otherwise’ as the Master said in line with
what (gazing at the bridge of his nose)
his grandmother told him:
viz ‘in life never do as others do;

either do nothing—
just go to school—or do something
nobody else does’
when she promptly died…

this my children
and my children’s children
is what I would have you
take inside your uttermost being:

never go along with the herd;
never copy others; let your uprush
of learning be your very own
never dependent on others

Note: The Master = GIGurdjieff

(from my ‘The Recovery of Wonder’ 2013)

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


and not to eternity the predefined will happen accidently
but to a cry
unheard and clear and the sermon that will BE
to shelter the torn off grains in the summer
the sunspots priest in the reflections
of the water
in blue

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

Corpse Watcher

He tells me he watches corpses
and looks forward to mine.

Its the stillness, and sometimes
If you’re lucky the movement.

Only chemical but shocks.
I like the shocks.

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


Sunblaze drinks thee pint as it were after doing thee a favour, stop thee brain box from wondering

an thy art beholden to it for doing so. Then mizzle sets on tummeling down, drizzles like it were making gourmet dish of the day with attractive swirls.

And ice cold thinks you owes it a living, serrates your bones like a decent knife sharp butcher

Who knows which cut hurts most and where to prolong the wound so it slowly bleeds out a sunset.

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

Suddenly The

Sky opened and closed
Earth darkened and glowered.
Ocean frittered and wittered.
Air garnered and hoary.

Child across the earth.
Teenagers stretch clouds.
Adults narrow seascape.
Aged pinpoint gust.

Travellers are still.
Homely explore vastness.
Refugees carry home.
Ghosts are solid once more.

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

The Book

When born he opened
The Book Of Everything
that had all the questions.

It was too much so he skimmed
chapters that didn’t seem relevant
until much much later in the book.

Later in life he closed
The book of nothing
That had all the answers

because it was too much effort,
to find his glasses put somewhere safe.

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

#Lost My Blues #

Blues ,my measly blues pursued me
Emerging from the bottom of that grave gorge
Surging from the waves of that deep ocean
Sprouting from the storm of that black forest
Blues ,those insistent blues
never waved to me a song ,a farewell song
And followed me unto rocky mountains and flowing rivulets
Chased me to red plateaus
and dusty desserts
Halted I -where golden beams reflected from a broken mirror
Where a phoenix arose from its ashes
Where pearly rains oozed from a misty cloud
And where a scarlet dandelion peeped from a rocky chest
And by my astonishment
I lost my blues ……….
Footsteps of my measly blues —-

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

Silver Threads of Nature

I will leave you the peace in my soul
that will find you in the love of my heart

for I will leave you the memories shared
whether joyous dancing on the stage of life
or sadness fading in the shadows of day

for life has woven me a colorful garment
with silver threads of nature’s wisdom

that has hollowed out a place for you
where warm you will be in the sun’s embrace
followed by the path of a starlit moon

within which voices will sing in stardust
to lull you to sleep at the end of each day

where always you will wake to bird song
within which you will hear my voice true
giving you the peace within my soul
surrounded by the love within my heart

© 2018, Renee Espriu  (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)

Rites of passage

To you,earth,I leave my ashes.

To you,sky,my unfinished dreams.

To you, ocean, blown kisses.

And to you, wide world,
the very best of me
warm and alive.

Two daughters, one son,
already entrusted
when I birthed them years

ago into your light,
heard their first startled cries
on a March morning,

an August night, in May’s
early hours; watched
the midwife lift each

perfect body still plaited
to mine, gift-wrapped
and glistening with my blood.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob

. we too shall die .

we have a memory or two. the world goes dark, we teach and learn, wait for light to appear

it is the way of things, while there are birds. while you read, you will not understand all words, that is the way of things.

it is natural, it is what they do, they live in the wild. . we have no power, they, no disgust that reels and kicks. yet while small birds live, they too will die. like us.

drift. in air, in words. symbols of poetry, cut and pasted. literally. naturally .

everyday tiny things sing.

when some small birds have failed and gone others sound just the same.

touched by the small things, softly, we drew


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

: side parting :

looking for a legacy

i find nothing / no words

no comfortable leavings

parting on the wrong side

can be painful

some hide secrets

i do not

we hope you will feel good

about pins

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

             Light is neither matter nor myth
         it is The Only Truth 
in moments when engulfed is the spirit
with warmth unseen, who makes existence
tremble and shiver?  as beads moist appear
 from nowhere, soon to transform
 one to coolness…doors of sight
half shut, flipping up and down, 
‘reach out, a voice calls
you hear, ‘help me,  oh please, help,
I can’t see, it is so dark and 

I am so weak, ‘heat ‘dark heat, go …
put on some Light’ O Light’
Light Upon Light’ 
blues surround as blackness shifts, is it
going to lift or grow less? am I awake ?
or sinking, or rising, ascending into
more darkness…darkness before being
and darkness after? I am not aware…
my being is being created, in fluids unseen
I have no voice, nor breath, it is not Death?
I float and swim, it is so dark…
put on some Light’ O Light’
Light Up The Light’ 
who do I call? who will hear?
Who will come near? who will bear
the pain and make me well again?
It is The Light The Truth The Unseen One
that is the Character, No Myth or Matter
Look up , it is day…it is full of Light
Look up, it is night, it is bejeweled with Light
Light Upon Light ‘ and The Book is Bright
and when I once was, in the blues
I did not know what would be
listless weak  helpless was the spirit
in me, would I be? or would I be no more?
doors of sight dimly saw the “saline drip”  bag
drop by drop, drip drip,dropped the drops
would it be dark soon? or I lay…slowly
darkness flew away, brightness made its way

before I knew , brighter it grew till I
 could bear no more
Light it was Light all over me, Light
Upon Light Upon Light, it did stay
till my heaviness was light and
 my blues faded away, away far away
Light the Healer, Light is Blue, see the sky?
up high or see the sea  below
layer upon layer, vast boundless in view
why blue is the color of peace?
Celeste Marion is painted in this hue’
tis holy and sacred and true’
To have hope is good to pray is best
chose the good blue, but be not in the blues’
Light Upon Light is the Ultimate Truth
Turn towards it to be out of darkness
Be Guided, out of fear, out of all ‘fright’ 
what I leave behind and what I may take
the good deeds I do the joy I make
the help I give the needs I fulfill and all
what for the Lord I share…for Life is a test
and to be grateful is the rest
I will go for ‘life is a journey not
a destination’ …from darkness to 


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.
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


layered in air

we dance with glass

small souls with small lives


to the challenges

she says you know we do not gets what we want

we gets what we get


ours has been much easier than so many others

*listen to the radio

they threw them all on the fire


© 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


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)