I Name You Fear . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy



Of special note:

  • Please don’t miss Iron Wind, Zimbabwean poet in exile Mbizo Chirasha’s response to the current prompt. An explanation for its solitary publication is included in the post.
  • Wisconsin poet, DeWitt Clinton, wrote, “I’ve visited many hospital rooms over the years, and occasionally, I was a patient. I’m always drawn to Sylvia Plath’s poem about her stay in a hospital following a surgical procedure.”  I didn’t have enough time to get Harper Collins’ permission to publish Tulips today. You can read it in its entirety HERE.
  • Irene Emmanuel and Diana Lundell, if you have sites or Amazon pages to which you’d like me to link, email the links to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

Today I am pleased to present the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, At the Beginning of the Pandemic, March 11, in which Michael Dickel asked poets to ponder: “How to bring illness (personal or pandemic) of the ailing body, pain, and language to point to culture, philosophy, and consciousness in poetry that also points ‘…to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life’? Especially at this cultural-historical moment of an emerging pandemic?” The result is a journey through a spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

The poets who contributed to this collection are: Paul Brookes, Jamie Dedes, Irene Emanual, Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan), Corina Ravenscraft, RedCat, and Clarissa Simmens. Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, and RedCat are new to Wednesday Writing Prompt and warmly welcome.

Please do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.

Stay safe and healthy,

Warmly,
Jamie


As I write this, my daughter is watching a YouTube live stream lesson. The Ministry of Education streams a lesson to all first graders from 9–9:30 each school morning. My son is working on tasks and following links posted on this class web page. At 11 am the fourth graders, his class, will have their half-hour live-streamed lesson. I have a moment to write while they work, before I leave for an “essential” appointment, which will likely be my last meeting this week. Later, I will go to the grocery store to pick up three or four things we are running low on. I’ll probably notice a couple of other things to get, just in case. The people I see and I will try to maintain a distance of two meters. Yesterday I went for a walk, just to get out of the house. The sun was warm, so I sat on a bench with my iPad and answered some emails. Those of us out kept our distance, but more than usual we made eye-contact, greeted each other, wished each other good health.

Welcome to COVID-19 time. I think that it is important to make eye contact, to acknowledge each other, especially as we make wide arcs around each other. I think it is important too keep our connections, even across distance. And this is something poetry does. Here, we offer the week’s responses to my prompt on writing poems about illness (personal to global) and pandemic, creating a literature that points to culture and meaning in the time of COVID-19.

We have amazing and strong responses. They range from cancer to COVID-19 pandemic panic syndrome, from personal to observational. The language is strong. The poems succeed in doing what Ann Jurecic, (Illness as Narrative: Composition, Literacy, and Culture, p. 131)  “…all point to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life.…”

In this COVID-19 time, please do your best to stay healthy. Support your community as you can, especially in helping to prevent spread, but also by catching a distant eye, nodding, smiling, saying “Shalom, manishma?” (Peace, how are you?) And wish them, “Libryut” “to (your) health.” Social distance need not be without connections.

Shalom, how are you? To (y)our health!

—Michael (Meta/ Poor(e) /Play)


The Virus

On my till
An old lady flinches when I touch
Her handing her change.

Boss is stockpiling anti-bac wipes.
Wash your hands as often as you can
As money is the dirtiest of things.

Anti-bac wipe your touch screen,
And where folk lift up the fridge doors,
And the price strips.

Toilet rolls are disappearing.
It dissipates the virus,
While it rests on other surfaces.

Folk avoid public bannisters,
Walk down the middle.
That old woman’s flinch
Stays in my mind.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

My Caladrius

All white bird a ghost who stares intently
into my jaundiced eye,

then flies towards sunblaze
where it sweats all my illness
in droplets to the earth.

If the bird looks away
this disease succeeds.

Some healthy hide the bird
under their coat,
refuse to offer it
with the thought
nobody gets owt for free.

Some say the bird is a saviour.
Some put faith in fleeting things.

Originally published in the Blue Mountain Review

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Disease Is A Gift

It was really cool to see who could get
illest first, cos you’d like get all this fuss.
My bestest mate Rhianna, reporters interviewed her, and she’d be on the news.

And folk who felt sorry for her gave
her lots of money so she could go
to Disney in America and have
the most expensive doctors,

and like, get well, but she didn’t,
and they wouldn’t let me see her,
said she was too ill, and then
she died and I cried a lot,

she wasn’t on the news anymore
but to me she was even famouser.

Except from Paul’s collection A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes 

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.
HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Lockdown

Bronchi and alveoli seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of Corvid-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Jamie is the curator of The Poet by Day.


Never Named

Chatter-clips in muffled murmurs
overheard.
Overt opinions in strained silence
suspended.
Tactful teacups in stilled saucers
of tears.
Reverberating reels of sudden shock
echoing.
Mystified minor in innocent ignorance
unaware.
Death danced in devilish delight
unnamed.
Years later, I learned about
CANCER.

A TOUCH OF CANCER

Unasked, unwanted, it appeared;
a black dot on the middle of my right cheek.
A spider bite? A probable assumption.
It developed a white head,
I squished it, it spurted and grew a scab.
Then it became an unsightly scabby growth
of potent ugliness, taking over my cheek.
A skin specialist was consulted.
He was fascinated, he concluded that this “spider bite”
needed an investigation.
He cut and sent a sliver to be biopsied.
Final diagnosis:
“Squamous Cell Carcinoma” of the cancerous type.
Remedy:
Immediate removal, non-negotiable.
Twenty-one stitches later, the growth lay vanquished.
As “Frankenstein’s” distant cousin, I faced the World.
Vitamin E oil has finally smoothed the scar
into a faded memory of a major scare.
I am eternally grateful to faith and Dr. J.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel


The Virus 

A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.

We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?

Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.

Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.

© 2020, Joe Hesch

Joe’s site is A Thing for Words


Pandemic

I have a small cold
and a library book to return.
Should I wipe it clean with disinfectant
and return it through the book drop?
Or let it become overdue?

I have a hair appointment
for next week Thursday.
If I feel better by then,
should I keep it?

I have a massage appointment
for the following week
which I really need
because I’m stressed
but they tell me not to come
for two weeks from the onset
of an illness. Do I count from
Monday when I began feeling
run-down or Friday
when I finally I knew why?
One means keep it,
the other cancel.

I don’t know if I have a fever.
My thermometer’s broken
and there are none in the stores,
but I’m in the target age group who die.

I have health insurance. Should I get tested?
The news says not to just show up
at your doctor’s office,
if you think you have the virus.
But will they then show at mine
making a spectacle, lights a-flaring,
outing me to the neighbors?
Or will it be like China
removing me by force?

My job tells us to stay home if sick
but they don’t provision for those
who don’t have enough sick leave
so I don’t call the doctor and go to work,
pretending to be perfectly well.

© 2020, Diana Lundell


..spoons..

yes, we have been indoors a while now

it has happened before, do you remember

that year the snow came & i had to have a

taxi to get there

how all the guttering & aerials went with

the weight of it

suspension springs snapped

then after everything was repaired

some words we google then change

the letters about to confirm with

that which is deemed correct

granny had special knives too, fish

and butter and some others. on a

rainy day she would let us play with them

i still enjoy cutlery

i am not called that, mine is more

the usual without the d, however

now he texts me i am abbreviated

into gma

which is cool

i am enjoying being in so much

yesterday i was already and coated

then saw the snow warnings on the

pass

so made coffee and ate malt loaf

the only other issue being some virus

out there

another reason, should i say excuse

for staying home

with my google assistant

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


I NAME YOU FEAR

Like the wind, your exact birth is shadowy, even murky,
But the flow, and rush, like an old bull, is marked by scores of bruises,
Laughter is now whispered jest,
Camaraderie is thinning like a slippery path,
Ten fingers pointing at one location,
Might we be missing the point?
Like the wind on a sneeze,
Breath carries death so they say,
Goose pimples on a population that now hibernates indoors,
Scrubbing hands behind masks to keep the stray bullets off the air waves,
Palpable is FEAR rippling down the spines of the assumed healthy,
Boarders shrinking before the eyes of a cruise ship afloat a memorable trip,
Statistics roll out with diversity,
Some minimizing, some maximizing,
Along while back, we learnt a sweet investment called individualism,
Fenced diffences against the onslaught of our privacy,
Would the wind honor this paid service or even approve it?
Death is a chief garantor of flesh after a time,
It’s the fate of birth,
But fear is the monster that serves deathness to the living,
As we suffer shortage of basics in the war against a warring virus,
Some have hoarded food supplies for a decade,
Some are stocking distance for their own in remote homes,
Some are breathing through masks In bunkers below the ground,
History has a thing about life,
Mans best intentions are tested by calamity,
And the world has one right now,
The morbid fear of catching a dreaded virus,
That has already taken some down and has no respect for boundaries,
How we die depends on how we live,
If fear governs our senses enough to barricade ourselfs away from those in need,
We shall for sure die,
But before the physical,
Our Soul will have died Twice over from fear,
And thrice over from the meanness of withholding help to the needy, in an effort to preserve ourselves,
So ” I name you fear”, O you colonial hunter of human health,
And banish you to the deserts of dusty horizons,
Where your barren unconcern must remain buried,
To give man a chance at rebirth in the genuine concern of one facing this ultimate test of living,
I ” name you fear” O you coward who escaped your masters rogue shed to shade the color of life a night without the dance of the stars,
I ” name you fear” and tag you loser for records show others came before you and perhaps did worse,
So we know we shall survive you for life is a survivor from the realms of amniotic fluids to the trenches of war,
For life is held by a divine hand that constantly looks onto it wellness,
So though unwelcome you came and may stay a bad season,
Tomorrow is not yours except in records.
And those too, shall remain in archival shelves,
Once more to remind tomorrow that the human soul is a giant ,
And indomitable to any spirit that is not from it’s maker.
We shall suffer pain.
We shall lose some.
But we shall overcome the fear that you sow indifference that kills the living.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Viva Italia

because we all
get influenced by all
and all is you
and the air is heavy on the shoulders
let’s sit down all
(the night is a round table)
accept each other and
give ourselves to all
then the song remains
eternal
(because is chanted)

after your voice comes mine
around fire

© 2020, Bozhidar Pangelov (Bogpan)

Bozhidar’s site is (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия )


~ SK was Right ~

They call it COVID, magic number 19,
One letter off, from birds who pick the bones clean.
Who are the carrion crows of this battle?
Who rake in profits from each, extended death-rattle?

The child king fired all the medic Gunslingers.
Now that he needs help, he only points fingers.
Has “Captain Trips” finally come at long last?
Does the Man in Black wear a plague doctor’s beaked mask?

“KA is a wheel…its one purpose, is to turn.”
Maybe Gaia just got tired of watching the world burn?
Each life snuffed out: a brick in the Dark Tower,
Each one, marking Mankind’s plummet from power?

All the child king’s puppets, and all his “Yes-Men”
Can’t put the world back together again.
If only we had some sort of Pandemic Team!
Or money for tests, instead of golf on the green.
Hindsight in 2020? Remains to be seen.

They call it COVID, magic number 19,

Perhaps it’s KA…and “All things serve the Beam.”

(Stephen King fans are probably likely to enjoy this piece a bit more than other readers. The number 19 is important to him, and figures deeply in many of his works, but none more so than in his Magnum Opus, “The Dark Tower” series.)

© 2020, Corina Ravenscraft


Novel Virus

Can a novel virus teach
What climate emergency so far have not?
The interconnectedness of a global world
No country beyond its reach
Collective action the only sensible plot
Work together without accusing insults hurled

Can a novel virus show
What’s closest to our hearts
What we value most of all
Do we dare accept, have courage to know
Faithfully confess what we display in all our art
Happiness only ever lay in following loving soul calls

Can a novel virus reveal
How compassionate living will be
Only way out the materialistic maze
Can we make a New Green Deal
Accept responsibility humbly
Changing our planet wrecking, extreme storm inducing ways?

© 2020, RedCat

RedCat’s site is The World According to RedCat


C-VIRUS

Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Technology
Uselessly
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Chaos
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Cordoncillo
Jaborandi
Lapacho
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens


Jamie Dedes:

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FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

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

Courtesy of Sunyum, Unsplash

“Preventing war is much better than protesting against the war. Protesting the war is too late.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace



Nine poems this Tuesday in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, pulsing peace, March 4, which encouraged poets to write about abstaining from war and conflict while committing to compromise and to unity with and respect for nature into perpetuity. There is great depth of feeling here in the distain for the ruthless insanity war and the love of an abiding and sensible peace, a peace in which we all must collaboratively invest if it is to happen.

This week we warmly welcome Adrian Slonaker, new to these pages. This collection also includes the works of poets Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, and Jane SpokenWord.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.  Michael Dickel (Meta/ Poor(3) /Play) is guest host this week.  All are welcome to come out and play: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


Warlord

loves to be entertained.
After a battle where skulls are blown apart
he loves to sit and laugh at Anthem For Doomed Youth.

After a skirmish in which men are screaming
With half a leg or arm bone shattered
By shrapnel, he guffaws at Dulce Decorum Est.

The more graphic, the more comic to him.
He says if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.
Laughter is healthy. Laughter is human.

Laughter affirms life, essential before
a fight amidst bullets, stabs and snipers.

“Oh What A Lovely War”, is his favourite film.
“All Quiet On The Western Front” a comic classic.

He knows we laugh at what we fear most.
War is like great stand up when you can barely

Breathe for laughter, your sides hurt
as if they need stiches. War is medicinal.

From port of souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018)

© 2020, Paul Brookes

We Live
in a fake peace between world wars,
shop and shop to stay reasonable.

Families are killed elsewhere.
We see their relatives tears on plasma screens.

Sometimes tears drop closer to home,
and we are reminded of our fake comfort,

that is preferable, a faux fur covered blade
sometimes bleeds and we are keen.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Come let us be, then in ….those

Warm sunny carefree mornings,
lazing on the mat , building castles in the air, as
soft gurgles of transparent streams make music
in the spheres, ripples of surging receding waves
play as Beethoven’s overture’s pauses, interlude’s
quietude engulfs the skies, being one with the golden
horizon where love reigns supreme-

Come let us waltz to Johann Strauss melodies,

And hold tender souls, breathe in pure peace, let the ocean
breeze caress the spirit for moments uncounted, evenings
may chase the nights, twinkles may keep bright the nights
emerging into holy day breaks, then in gratitude we bow to
find the gift of life, no more fear, no more strife, just poems
of love and tranquility, sweet soothing notes of flutes and pipes
and murmuring bleats of lambs innocent.

Come let us walk in forests safe, no Robin Hoods to play,

And sit with the squirrels, sing with the twittering birds, eat the
raw berries and lie on pine needles dry, let the animals freely roam,
the monkeys swing from branch to branch, flowers wild bloom around,
rest in shades and against the trunks as they brace the furious storms,
firmly rooted , no fear, no cuts, no brutal sawing of the elegant pines
no habitats destroyed, no homeless to die, no clearing no fines. Growing
on for invisible insects, purity and equality.

Come let us give up, then ………..for perpetual peace

Give up anger give up greed, give up deception and be free
give up hatred give up fights, give up conflicts give up wars
abstain from frowns to start wearing smiles, stop all conflicts for
miles and miles, give up force and corrupt power, and take up
tenderness as soft as butterflies, give up the guns and weapons and
work and sing with the bees, let us make life as sweet as honey and give
up once and for all the lust for money.

Come this is the time , let us then pray

May peace be high in perpetuity, the world may become,
as gentle as a butterfly
Amen.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Envisioning Peace on Earth

Ages ago right guidance was ordained
can we revert to the simple times again?

The Earth is alive below, beneath
shaking disturbed cracking, still-
yet in revolution,moaning,
rumbling protesting, death sprawling

O’ pale moon, bear witness
O’ sometimes silent sometimes chirping birds
take notes to the skies, fly, as nature holds the
wings-from darkness to dawn.

Speak not of the blood
that flows like rivers from wounds
that oozes from cruel cuts by sticks and pellets
that drops from splinters showered by blasts
that is visible on clothes tattered and shrouds

O’ Moon
see the other side and send
a sign of peace
a bird of song
a light of love
a tree of enlightenment

Find, find a harbinger of truth
justice and salvation.
The Earth is alive below, yearning,
to heal -hoping, anticipating,

II

The decision is made, now
let us pause and reflect,withdraw
into a state of tranquility and calm
think about right and wrong

withdraw into simplicity like
the desert plain and warm
think of joy love and peace
comfort sympathy and not harm

of trees plants fresh and green
of buds flowers bright and colorful
of streams and rivers pure and clean
of seas oceans calm and serene.

so we all abstain from abuse
hatred jealousy and refuse
hasty greed and grabbing spree
and being content, with all agree

Hope be our constant company
one fine day, peace will dawn
all shall live in harmony
a dream it is, a vision new

together we all, can make it come true.

© 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 Path

The straight and narrow path calls to me
Stay strong, be brave, keep eyes ahead
Gluttonous green surrounds me
Lusciously tempting me
It can be all mine
Lumber, water
Resources
I will
Take

And
Share them
The path says
You have enough
Abstain from conflict
Caused by fear, greed, hurt, hate
Bridge ignorance with knowledge
Each slat a step to love and peace
Generosity widens the path

© 2020, Irma Do

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


.resistance to war.

:: this is a new story ::

where.

where does collaboration work? here.

with you, you, you and you, i have named you

before.

with tags and capitals, links and other stable

placings.

i was only stitching. a steady hand. it was an offer,

happily accepted.

i was only drawing. so we drew together. here

& another place.

i was only writing a, yet there are many of

us who came together.

we are alone, until we start working

together.

it comes a wider space, with mistakes and misgivings.

nothing in this world is perfect. it is raining today. the

washing is out.

neighbours help.

writers help, drawers

line our walls with

notes & labels. a few

of us

work together.

and do not fight.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


REACH FOR THAT CHILD, S/HE IS THE EMBODIMENT OF LOVE AND PURITY.

In us all, big, small and distance,
Is a child,
Regailing in the wonders of Nature,
Driven by appreciation of a stranger,
He watches the canterpillar, and Marvel’s at a blade of grass,
His play is pure, devoid of gender, even of color,
Humanity is one,
Divisions are selfishness driven by greed,
Our needs tell our oneness,
Not the relics of your worship,
Our pains inform our feelings,
Not boundaries and nationalitys,
Aren’t we all of a mystical source,
A river of interconnected beads,
Aren’t we dust, coming and going back?
We build monuments,
That stand in the way of truth,
Empasis being a stumbling block,
Lenses to discount and disclaim another,
We build economies,
That draw blood to stay afloat,
Trust has been eroded with the force of ideology,
History has been faked,
To mis- teach and misdirect our thoughts,
Away from the sameness of life,
Into the fabled divides that keeps us condemning,
O sons of men !
Why won’t we remember our days of childhood,
The bliss of spontaneous songs with fellow creatures,
When worship was praise of good will like kindergarten kids,
See how we build walls ,
Not to keep disease and wild life away,
But anyone deemed other by our spitting egos,
See how armed we are,
Not against alien invasion,
Or castrophes of nature,
But against fellow men,
From references of false teachings,
That has us,
Screaming obsecinities at who we are directed to hate,
We watch beasts marching in herds in the forests,
Fish swimming in choreograpged schools in the oceans,
As for bees, they work in uniform and focused synchrony,
Yet, US,
With capacity to think and make decisions,
Ours is a house so divided we are lost at home,
Wonder of wonders our humble beginnings are no secret,
Neither our sad ends,
We are for sure the danger that harms the innocent,
Yet , we do so with minimal remorse,
And maximum force under guise of ‘self protection’
Who is self if not fellow flesh,
Who is the other if not a mirror of your own,
We are at that time of year,
When over a billion hearts deny themselves to reach out to the sky,
Traditions of Faith’s talks of self denial to reach out to the light,
But pray tell,
Is the light we seek not within us and other?
Within each creature is the universe complete,
And for it to enjoy this space that life came to experience for a while,
Peace is Paramount,
And love of other is the foundation of good will,
Without which, our deeds come short,
Awake O men of flesh and dust to your moral campus,
Seek within the true nature of why our earth is in such agony,
Stand tall with the message of wholeness,
For wholeness is the path that allows life to thrive,
Not surviving from one calamity to the next,
A fact of the world we are currently living on.
Stand and be counted as an ambassador of Peace.
Reclaim who you were before misdeeds came to rule your concious.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke.

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


March Respite

On the way from
winter’s weather delays and icy
lashings to the exuberance of
excursions into splashes of
spring sunshine,
let us pause and ponder
and sacrifice the coveted asset of
busyness embraced by those who
clutter and choke their calendars with commitments
because idleness is undesirable and
“rest” really is a four-letter word. Let us
resist the temptation to burden and bully our
beautiful existence with over-toil and instead be still and
gaze at grackles hopping over grass drenched
by dew and chipmunks flashing their chubby cheeks
while honoring the early-bird boldness of crocuses
chasing away snow and the curling blossoms of
blue hyacinths mimicking Marge Simpson’s beehive hairdo.
Let us smile as sincerely and as gently at others partaking in
this pursuit of
peace and paz and salaam and shalom and shaanti and mir as
at our rushed brothers and sisters who are
abstaining as we strive to listen to the longings and
needs of our planet and of each other.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


I am cosmic
magnetic energy
hallucinating alternate dimensions
mask unveiled
I am in sympathetic vibration with the multiversal force
bridging time and space
creatively contemplated
coding time and consciousness
attempting to measure moments
waiting for resurrection
fusing conformity and dissention
through elevation
I am breathing in the cosmos
creationing and becoming
transform into music
feeling blue
’round midnight
I dance

© 2020, Jane SpokenWord


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

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

 

Sea Fever Again … and other poems to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of Cindy Tang, Unsplash

“How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four



Today is Super Tuesday here in the United States. It’s the day that the largest number of states hold their primaries to determine who will be the nominee for the next presidential election. What a relief to come back to the sanity of poetry and to let go the news, which I listened to on-again off-again as care givers were in and out today.

What a bracing collection of poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, walk sedately through the forest, February 26, which encouraged poets to write about nature as witness. These poems are more about observing or being in nature than being observed by nature. Close enough for our purpose, which is to provide a place to share creative work, to inspire, to exercise the poetic muscle, to connect with other poets, and to encourage.

This week we warmly welcome Kate Copeland and Adrian Slonaker to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt and welcome back Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Erick Nicholson, Clarissa Simmens, Leela Soma, and Mike Stone.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.



Envelope

little flakes of cloudy breaths
from the top all the way down
Winter beauty and bear
a cold pale and pain for
grey eating and drinking
So strategically dressed
she sticks to sitting outside
where the patio heater
Cannot read, concentrate
filling days with endless
songs and numberless walks
Watercold still no matter
there’ll be birdsong without fall
Wrapped up in a thousand shawls
as jewelry has different looks
On the back of an envelope
she scrawls her fears for the
November monsters in dreams now
the ginger-haired guy from her
adolescence nightmares is back
Summer makes her someone else
entirely no dark on the doorstep
no bogeyguys on an envelope
later when it turns light
no shadow days blue nights
to stare at and do nothing

© 2020, Kate Copeland

All the water in the world
a grey afternoon and just now
it starts to rain, big drops
in small pools on her terrace
looking outside – another
glass in her hand
the house gets dark
last light through the living
a house already silent since
he is gone, big drops
on the roof beating a drum
beating her dead heart
she sits down, suddenly
dead-tired but too afraid to
lie on their bed, big drops
against those windowpanes
a year of loss
has started
a lifetime of love
has ended
the man has cut her landline
and she cannot believe
there will ever be a
rising of another sun a
blowing out the clouds
another good morning beautiful
another – looking outside
all the water in the world will
not free the lights in the lake
this is how she will remember
losing, forever

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Upstate

Through the kitchen window to where the
lake ends and the trees touch her
lustrous sides, a rippleless motion
in the reeds waving at all the colours –
at me –

and the pines’ crowns simply
add a powdery green to where
the water starts a black-blue dark
leaving such velvety shine –
to me

Then dive in
because the leaves
they rustle turn a light
wind, stroking the season
still warm enough
to dive in unripple
this brightness the calmth

a happiness
polished by so much beauty
trees surrounding the lake
circles lost in this
dialogue of sounds and colours
how many identifiers are

there to believe?
crickets are laughing, a prey bird
sleuths the satiness

a happiness
so unworldly
a gratefulness
so unearthly

that I just dive in
bring me down back
to lights ways to wish
of colours and crowns

© 2020, Kate Copeland

Star System

A sultry summer night in August.
Crickets trill and the blue pool
water calms down. The hills smell
of oleander and she lies there.
Her bikini inviting, a vermouth
with no ice. Tempting lifetime in
California. I need help, she says.

Try to get to where
I am, he relucts, not a lot
better but at least you try.
And drifts off. About time
to get your act together
not ask more questions or
invite, so she sleeps soundly.

And winds up her dreams,
forgets the rain, his love
once. What matters not a lot
more than no ice than
to look outside where
hills, wealth, water
A sultry blue night in August.

© 2020, Kate Copeland


The Forest Beings Reply

We grow as Nature ordains
never complain and bear the pains
from black to grey, green to brown
one by one we fall to the ground
Our duty done with full obedience
spreading freshness and fragrance
with peaceful quietude we surrender
making space for others in elegance.
This is The Truth This is The Call
This is The Providence of The Fall
Be it Oak, Pine Fir or Kowhai
Sown ‘n Grown, This is The Final Cry’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

A Walk in the Green Forest

Green leaves trembling
With the tremors
Shivering with laughter
What do they see?
That makes them murmur
Sweet rustlings
Tender whisperings
Like the twittering
And the fluttering,
Manifesting Nature
In the green sea;

Waving leaves
Like the waves
Moving the living
And the dead
Spread for miles yet
With limits bound
Trunk so firm
in the ground
But the green
So serene
Silently brave
Taking life’s chance
Continues with the dance
Happy to be, to us unseen
With what, they see around.

© 2020, Anum Wasim Dar

These two poems are from Anjum Ji’s unpublished novel The Pencileeze Hall Forest Mystery, Winner NANOWRIMO 2012

Connect with Anjum here:


Biking to the Beach” – A Cascade Poem

The shoreline changes
My breath holds steady
Memories of salt, my beacon

The sea air shifts the sand
While waves grab the wet grains
The shoreline changes

Yet directions are not needed
The old bicycle just needs legs to pedal
My breath holds steady

Despite the sting in my eyes
Quickly there and then gone
Memories of salt, my beacon

© 2020, Irma Do

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


.private land.

yet there are paths,

walked, not just

by one or two.

or rabbits.

have young feet run here,

or solitary folk, thinking,

watching light hit water,

where monks crossed.

the abbey is swathed in snowdrops,

this time of year.

look for twigs.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Connect with Sonja here:


Sea Fever Again
[Apologies to John Masefield]

I must go down to the sea again, to the dirty sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a Greenpeace ship and a cause to sail her by;
And the oil slick and the dead fish and the oiled gulls drowning;
And a green scum on the sea’s face and a poisonous dawn breaking.

I must go down to the sea again to rescue the beached whales;
Most are covered in oily sludge so our futile rescue fails;
And all I ask is a clean-up plan and a white surf flying,
And a pure spray and dolphins leaping and bright gannets diving.

I must go down to the sea again and offer up a prayer
For the dolphins caught in plastic nets and seals gasping for air.
And all I ask is a global vow to honour life on earth;
To work together for a green vision and a glorious new birth.

© 2020, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher and lives in the NE of England. Eric’s site is: https://erikleo.wordpress.com


Invasion

The feet flexed
in vegan Earth Shoes,
but the thudding of size-eleven soles
mutilated the
woods’ wind-laced silence
that had snaked through
bare birch branches and along
boulevards of elms and maples and oaks-
sharing names with samey sterile streets
in the suburb I’d escaped
to seek an illusion of
pristine paths upon which I
encroached as inappropriately as a
cockroach at the Ritz.
My thirsty eyes sipped a pair of
blinking gray owls above a toad
darting around a puddle
polluted by a packet
tossed by another trekker
who’d snacked on granola
marketed by a
multinational conglomerate
as 100% natural.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Sedately Sauntering

Brambling buckets of blackberries
Hands torn by thorns
Moving from bushy density
To towering treeful forest
Lightning-struck structures
Of burned bark becoming
Horizontal forest barriers
Keeping some out
Some in
But either way we can win
Crackling clumps of leafy deciduosity
Red-orange-green
Self-composted bridges breaking
Bubbled muddy carpetry
Winding through lean, mean lanes
And I hear my name
Sung through dappled sunshine
Leading me mysteriously
As I walk erect and brave
Passing hidden graves of
Unknown feathered poets
Who serenaded their ribbon
Of life’s silken road
Composing high-strung music
Of unrecognized joy and tears…’

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Clarisa’s site is: Poeturja


Vermillion

Leaves fall down, blown away in the autumnal blitz
Gold strewn paths crunch and crackle underfoot
A single vermillion leaf like a tear drop stands proud
Defiant, blood red, life courses through its veins.

The widow looks askance; the blood red leaf sends a shiver
The memory of her wedding day, a bride adorned with jewels
The red sindoor* in the parting of her hair, beginning a new life
Of wedded love, happiness, babies, the start of a journey.

The sudden death of her spouse, the ritual of her widowhood
An awakening of the day as the sindoor on her forehead is wiped away
The bindi, the dot, the point at which creation begins, negated forever
The jangle of broken glass as bangles are crushed and ornaments discarded.

The white sari envelopes her shroud-like, a colourless palette
A life of the walking dead bereft of feelings, love or emotion.
Vermillion turned to ash, grey, unassuming as the leaden skies.
The blood red leaf is trodden under the walker’s brisk steps.

A lifeless mess of veins traces its lineage etched on the path
Lies submerged in the brown heap of dead leaves.

* Sindoor: Is a red dot applied to the bride on her wedding day and removed on widowhood.

© 2020, Leela Soma


Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
With God at my side
The two of us just talking
I took Him at His word
Because
of
the
sparkling
thing
Going on around Him
Me pushing the branches
Away from my face
And swatting at the gnats
And Him just walking
With nothing in His creation
Daring to touch Him.
Do
you
have
a
moment
to
see
something
beautiful?
He asked me of a sudden
And I said sure why not
So He walked up this tree
As though He were walking on a fallen log
Easy
as
could
be
While I had to shinny up
The tree bark
To get to that little branch so high up
But when I reached it
He showed me a little bird
Just loving to be so little
And love being little birds’ love
It seemed so natural.
I climbed back down carefully
While God just walked back down
As
easy
as
you
please.
We walked on in silence
Me and my gnats
And God and his Teflon demeanor
Til He stops and asks me a question.
Why
do
you
worship
Me?
What’s not to worship? I say.
Do
you
understand
Me?
He asks.
You move in mysterious ways, I say.
Do
you
think
I’m
moral?
I don’t know, I say
Not like we should be.
So
why
do
you
worship
something
immoral
you
don’t
understand?
That was the last I saw of Him
We cleared the forest a few years back
The missus and I
Have a clear view
From our back porch
Of
the
end
of
our
world.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Waiting for a Poem

You sit down on a bench
Facing the tree
In a small garden
Made quiet by the wrought iron
Fence and gate around it
Across the street from the bookstore.
You wonder will it ever find you again
So long ago and far away
From where you held on to each other
For dear life
Yes life was dear then
And then you wonder how you’ll recognize it
When it finally does arrive
It might be that ant making its way
Laboriously over a blade of grass
Toward that small range of pyramids
It calls home
Or a huge heffalump
Trumpeting in the Hundred Acre woods.
You notice a folded newspaper
On the edge of the bench
And reach over to pick it up.
Unfolding it you see her handwriting
Along a margin on the front page
“Aught have many
Many ought have one than naught”
And you think to yourself
That nothing in this godforsaken world
Is faster than the speed of night.

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Hunting for a Poem 

You wake up before the sky over the hills lightens
When the dew is still wet and corpulent
Or you don’t go to sleep at all
Instead, you hunt in the blind night
Careful, slow and silent, intent
Like a child on what you want
While the hunted sleep trustfully but fitfully
In the forest awake with dangers
Or perhaps the city
House to house, door to door
Window by window, it may be watching you
Behind the curtains
It might be very small or very large
You won’t know until it’s too late
It may be in front of you
Or behind you
Ready to lunge at you
Or to fly off in a loud flapping of wings
How will you know
When you don’t even know the shape of it
Or the smell of it
Or the taste
Until you are locked in its deadly embrace?

from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Walking the Fog 

First of all, fog is more practical than clouds;
I don’t have to tell you how down to earth it is.
Then there’s the fact that some fogs are friendly
While others are decidedly not.
I was walking home through the forest one evening
On the path I always follow
And saw it creeping silently toward me
Between the trees and over fallen logs and grasses
Licking my cheeks with its cold tongue.
Except for the nebulous grey-white
I couldn’t see beyond my poor shoes.
I turned around abruptly and picked up a naked branch
To use as a blind man’s tapping cane
And turned back toward the fog
That had swallowed me so thoroughly
Within its leviathan belly, that I had no clue
What was forward and what was back.
I remembered that the path was slightly less overgrown
With grasses than the sides, one of which climbed upward
While the other overlooked a rocky promontory.
The fog thickened and thinned in small swirls
As though taunting me to go this way or that
But behind the thinness was always
An impenetrable thickness.
That was when I saw the ghostly outline
Fading in and out of the fog,
Her sleeve and hood visible then invisible,
Visible and invisible,
Like a memory you try to reach
But can’t.

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2020, Mike Stone

On Liking Maps Too Much

Personally, I like maps.
The precision of the black line boundaries,
The colors of the bounded entities,
And the proof that only four are needed
To separate each entity, whether town or country.
Like I said, I like maps, but not too much.
Whether two-dimensional or globular,
I’ve never come across a bound’ry line so well-defined
Or patch of ground colored just like on the map
On any of my nature walks.
Besides, I don’t much care for towns or countries,
But forests, lakes, the seas, and mountains,
Clouds and animals, and kind-hearted people,
Those are the beacons for my soul.
I’d like a map to show me where
The people are friendly and where they’re not,
Where the place is good for raising kids,
Where animals are treated well,
And where the earth is well-respected.
I don’t care if the boundary lines meander
Like creeks and clouds are wont to do.
This would be a map worth having –
I’d tuck it in my travel pouch.

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 contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D


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

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

“To Survive in a Haphazard World” and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of John Towner, Unsplash

Humanity is not a single thing with thumbs and brain
But a great chain of being extending
Far back to some imagined Eden
And forward to worlds beyond imagination.
To Be Human, Mike Stone



And today, being Tuesday, we share responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, through the ache of time, February 12, which asked poets to tell us what Life is trying to express through us. In response we have a collection of some depth gifted to us by Olive Branch, m m brazfield, Anjum Wasim Dar, Frank McMahon, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Ben Naga, Nancy Ndeke, and Mike Stone.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow. All are welcome to come out and play: beginning poets, emerging and pro.


Life –
pure,
primordial,
prana.
The subtle breath –
every second, minute, hour,
day, week, month, and year.
The challenges –
ongoing.
Learning to appreciate existence again –
this took some self-talking to.
Life, it can change–
pure,
primordial,
prana.

© 2020, Olive Branch (Corneliatrent)


My Gown

look beyond my dark thick gown
be strong and courageous
God is all around me
but you must look past my heavy gown
my light my freedom never closes
for i am not a door without a knob
look beyond my cowebbed gown
but make sure that you clasp your thoughts hand
you will need them for this journey
take time and show me that you are opening a window breathe liberation in
when the threads and seams of my tightly stitched sleeves imprison you
open your heart and push on through
the light is closer than it seems
there will be times when you’ll get lost amongst the blackest gauze of my deceptive petticoats
you will ache cry curse moan writhe in madness
dont be afraid to use the sharpness of righteous diligence to cut on through
don’t be afraid of my gown
within it lay your wings

© mm brazfield (Words Less Spoken)


Life Expresses Through Us, The Truth

It is transparent, fragile, tender, light, soft
In flight, painless when free, a form,.an outline

Life is short see the industrious ant the tiny bee
in split seconds crushed killed under the feet

life is joy loss and sorrow,there is but tomorrow
all have a journey a purpose, strong or weak

all things but appear a meaningless scatter
when lost is the touch, body gone for ever

objects clothes even words don’t score
when cherished valued person is no more

one may keep snaps , books, cards and files
it becomes a storehouse of still silent piles

The heavy prompt rests on a serious note
reminds me of poet Ghalib and I quote

‘when I ceased to be,they found no ends
only’some love letters, some snaps of friends’

(chnd tasweer e butan, chnd haseenon ke khatoot
baad marne ke mere ghar se ye samaan nikla)

so what to leave behind and what all to take
leave the old memories, carry all good, no fake

for a writer, its the pen filled with non drying ink
the notebook , the laptop, to maintain the link

with it I may sling on my camera a gifted Sony
would love to ride and fly on a white winged pony

strong or weak, bright or dark, all end down on knee
but stars shine, will shine till eternity, for you and me,

Life tells us, it’s love, devotion, believing emotions’
strength surrender, impermanence here, eternity there

This is the enlightenment that distances matter not
If hearts have love, one is present, present or not

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Life Moves Like the Earth

Life moves like the Earth, revolving yet still,
it is unseen,felt only in places cut like crevices
and gorges, swimming in blood under cover
like rivers and streams, trampled over like
avalanches, corrosion and erosions, some
natural some by humanity,some by necessity
some to heal, some to accept, some to forget
some to live with,
Life is replete with diversity, color shape and
size,life is joyful serene and beautiful.
Life is time unseen, felt only, unpossessed
uncontrolled, it moves life
only time moves and reveals itself in ‘change’
in emotions reactions in patience in acceptance.
Life is a journey here, life has another life’.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:


The Bower Bird

Quintessentially.
Are we any different to the bower bird
following the in-built urge to procreate
offering or seeking a home for two
and then a few? More?

Genetic obligation to keep
the species going, dinosaur
or bug, potto, platypus or worm
living within their means.

Then we arrived, infusing life
with something different: nature,
nurture, conscience, community,
( though the trees showed us the way ),
artistry and greed. So here we are,
Tintoretto with a neutron bomb.

© 2020, Frank McMahon

At the Storm’s Edge, Frank’s debut collection, is available through Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE.


. the same tune.

if they played the same tune
over, will despondancy ensue?

life is full of multiplicities, other
hard spellings, lessons to drench a life.

whilst in the midst, the struggle, we fall
and grow.

these things do happen,
to most people.

except some seem immune to
harm.

who are the chosen ones?

the radio plays the same tune,
faintly upstairs.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Gaia’s Offspring

Are we any more then than shadow?
Cast by some greater light, then adrift
Wriggling fingers of a greater hand
Scratching for some miserly purchase
From endless oceans of fine ground sand
Or pen and ink with which to stake claim
In truth no Shelley nor even Smith
The core of us barely substantial
Yet strut our stuff and nonsense at will
As self-appointed lord and master

Wild histories strained through calendars
Fuzzy snapshots back before colour
Ghost spirits captured in black and white
Beckon ever further inward yet
Moments, centuries, millennia …
Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius
Join hands with Leo – a circle dance
To comfort those who seek for shelter
From the icy blasts of Fenrir’s howls

Parasites biting the hand that heals
Imagine that, a serpent with hands
Mythic conjurations down the years
Coded missives handed soul to soul
Like wormholes threading through the fabric
White with black within and black with white
Future yesterdays in present time
Before the confluence was broken

Who dreamt who dreamt before this head show?
Way back before the Word was spoken
Paradise captured in rhythmic rhyme
Across the darkness, “Let there be light”
Though not enough to read the rubric
Revealing the journey as the goal
Triumphs and failures, laughter and tears

Roaming eyes and hands mocked wedding bands
One for his nob and two for his heels
Reprobates disguised in monkish cowls
History’s course runs helter-skelter
Manifestation a game of chance
Your turn to despair, Ozymandias

Borne on see-through wings, ephemera
Born to dance one graceful minuet
Knowing too well death comes before night
In denial beneath the pallor
Masking the stench with sweet lavenders

The blood rushes faster and faster
The time approaches to pay the bill
The evidence is circumstantial
Time to see what hides behind the myth

Mayhap just a game – no blame, no shame
A pageant being played out as planned
In some realm beyond thought of purpose

Fresh blooms revealed all across the land
A new day emerges as mists shift

Wildflowers nodding slowly in a meadow

© 2020, Ben Naga (Ben Naga, Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me)


OF BALANCE AND TIPPING,
There is no formulae, of how and when,
To be concieved, to be birthed, or to exit the physical,
There is no blue print, of where and to who,
Souls pick flesh and names,
Yet, billions call earth home,
Earth is generous, almost insatiable in it’s taking, but also,
In it’s giving,
Seeking blindly in a path trodden for eons with bias,
Man is a stranger to his ways,
A racing heart out to conquer,
Often blinded by inner drives that feels little,
Or nothing for fellow kin,
Onwards match footing, marked by retrogression,
Ascending stairs to self appointed deityhood,
Man is a strange one even to fellow creatures,
Enough refuses to quench his man made thirst and,
Excess defines his bloated bludgeoning of everything,
He blames those he victimizes,
He laughs at the weak,
He taunts the struggler,
And despices the fallen,
His mortal body is a prison sentence for the pain of those easily manipulated,
What does Earth’s terrain teach the wickedness within man’s heart and deeds?
History never forgets neither does Karma smile,
The universe is the perpetual witness who never misses a detail,
We curse ourselves by our acts to others,
When we change the scales to gain us,
When we look the other way for inequity to grow roots,
When we wage dogged dogmas to kill thinking,
Or mislead to milk following for gain,
What then, after all the glory,
Begotten of spilt hopes,
Do we applaud the story of our life’s?
Nothing is not as empty as it sounds,
But a life devoid of balance whichever way it tilts,
Is a life distraught with gaps that harms,
Life is a gift ,
Sometimes without glamour or fair bells,
Still, it’s life ,
Sometimes without humor and with steep bills,
Still, it’s life,
And it’s differently the same for the grass and the grasshopper,
Man and beast,
Genders etal,
So we take within our means with a fair hand,
So we give within our means with a dear hand,
And act with the humility of the frail flesh, that all life is,
For to act otherwise,
Is to leap ahead into the abyss that historys of war chronicle,
And calamitous scrolls of nature angered enough to slap back the face of man.
As co-creators with the CREATOR,
May it be in arts or acts ,
Ours should be to seek to do good to all,
For we are children of the same sky’s,
And dust of the Earth.
To think otherwise is vanity, a fact that is in Vogue in our sad vague life’s.
Still, hope reigns in the hearts of few.
Hope is a mastard seed. Something will give.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


To Survive in a Haphazard World

To survive in a haphazard world
In which good and evil are meaningless words
To understand what is happening all around
What has happened and what might happen or not
To feel what is good or evil to oneself and others
To think of what one’s done and not done
What one might do and what one must
To believe what one can’t think through
And to doubt those beliefs when doubts arise
To act when there’s no more time to think
But to stop that action when there’s time to think
Or it’s no longer needed,
These are what a mind is for.

© 2010, Mike Stone

A Response to RS Thomas’ Poem (Balance)

Yes, God is the pirate who sails the wide seas
Between existence and non-existence,
Between time and space,
We walk His plank, not knowing where or how to fall
And yet we fall, abandoning our theories and our faith.
Our minds, then, what, pray God, is the purpose of our minds?
Our minds that weigh less than nothing,
Yet think of weighty matters,
These doubts, why were we given them?
To balance what we think can be known
Against what we think cannot,
So our soul may keep its balance
Walking God’s narrow plank.

© 2019, Mike Stone

A Meditation

Walking Daisy in the morning
Is a kind of meditation.
The trees burst with raucous chirping
A cat sits in a windowsill
Watching a lone bird walking
In the alley underneath.
What else can life come up with?
Oh look, there’s a butterfly!
It is the nature of beauty to beckon us
And our nature to follow.
A plump mango falls to the ground
As easy as that.
Would that all things good were easier
Than doing evil.

© 2019, Mike Stone

The Hermit and the Cabin

My poor soul, bless its,
Well, you know what I mean,
Would soar like an eagle over dappled valleys
Dragging my body along with it if it could
But it has grown accustomed to the weight
And cumbersomeness of my body
Like a hermit grows accustomed to his cabin
Of rough-hewn logs and thatched twig roof
Lost in a wilderness of loveliness and terror.
The cabin protects it in a small way
From the vicissitudes of a heart’s seasons
And the uncertainties of our knowing,
But eventually, the weeds send their tendrils
Through the chinks between the logs
At first admitting welcome daylight
But then unwelcome cold and finally
Strangling the logs with their slow sure strength
Until the hermit is forced to leave the cabin
Looking for another not too overgrown or exposed.
The old cabin will miss its hermit
Until the last log falls to ground
And the roof lies unthatched among the weeds, but
What cares the hermit for the cabin
Or the soul for its earthly body?

© 2019, Mike Stone

To Be Human

Poets, philosophers, and even scientists
Have wondered what a human is,
I mean precisely what,
And so, I offer ever so humbly,
Though it may be riddled with loopholes,
Nonsequiturs and insufficiencies,
My poor view of what a human may well be
Whether or not one is made of blood and flesh,
Walks upright or can construct a proper sentence:
First of all, a human should be in possession of humanity,
That is, being sentient of what goes on around oneself
And caring for the sentience of other beings
Whether they bear one’s likeness or not.
Humanity is not a single thing with thumbs and brain
But a great chain of being extending
Far back to some imagined Eden
And forward to worlds beyond imagination.
Lastly, humanity is not measured by what one knows
But how honestly one deals with one’s ignorance.
A human might be able to whittle it down a bit
But it will always be infinite.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D


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