For The POET By DAY ~ In Response To Children’s author, Joyce Sidman’s Poem : What Do The Trees Know ‘

A thoughtful homage to American poet and writer, Joyce Sidman, by Pakistani poet/writer/artist, Anjum Wasim Dar. Sweet! Anjum Ji has also included an excerpt from one of her novels. Happy weekend. Enjoy!


 Joyce Sidman




 From the  Second Adventure Novel   ‘Pencileeze Forest  Mystery           

What Do The Trees Say

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’.

Excerpt from the Novel….

Prologue to The Second Adventure of The Multi Colored Lead People
Mystery of the Pencileeze Forest
Never before had anyone ventured so far on the Land of Twisted Trees and found a treasure to keep’ unknown to them at the time, how valuable it would be in…

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The Reign of Claws, A Tale of Two Cats

“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
Cats, he said eventually. Cats are nice.”

Terry Pratchett, Sourcery: A Novel of DiscWorld

Cats and dogs and other wee creatures are good friends to writers and poets. They keep us company through long solitary days of work.  They force us to get up, move around, walk, use our distance vision … take a break.

After years of nurturing all sorts of animals – we had a variety when my son was little – my docs told me no more birds, cats, rats, goldfish, beta, hamsters, or gerbils.  Dogs, for some reason, seemed okay and I’ve had two in recent years. I adopted Bob Seeger Dedes at the end of September and by October I had to surrender him, my allergies kicked in to the point that my eyes were swollen shut and it was hard to get out of bed. I’m devastated, but Bob was taken into a good home within days of surrender, such is his charm.

In loving memory of all the fish babies and love birds, of Gerry 1 and Gerry 2, Sherlock Holmes the Rat, Priscilla, Tigger, Bubba Cat, Telemachus, Dexter, Feyd, Buddy, Brutus, Skippy the Bush Dog, and The Bax.

My son looked at Pyewacket. “She’s either the smallest Holstein or the biggest cat.” She was big … and reserved. She was a lady of the old school and a contrast to Gypsy, a feline with some distant kinship to Peter Pan. Gypsy didn’t want to grow up. We thought she might be a munchkin, a hyperkinetic one. Where Pyewacket watched the world from behind wide Yoda eyes, Gypsy, like a stranger from another planet, was inclined to place her head in the mouths of huge dogs, bend metal blinds with bare claws, set rivers loose with bounding leaps into water bowls and – disguised as an innocent kitty – create havoc to the disgust of Pyewacket who had Yoda’s eyes but not his stoicism.

Here we are – at the vet – the munchkin and the Holstein – a pair reminiscent of Mr. & Mrs. Sprat of fairytale fame. The recommendations: prescription diets for both, exercise for Pyewacket. “Get something for her to chase.”

That’s when I got Tweety Pie. She lived in the corner of the living room and hung out on a string that was attached to a length of bamboo. She licked her beak at the thought of two cats to outsmart. Back and forth, too and fro, she flew across the room. Pyewacket turned a blind-eye on the indignity of the chase, but Gypsy couldn’t get enough.

Time passed as it is wont to do. Pye stayed her plump and meditative self. Gypsy remained scrawny, endlessly chasing Tweetie Pie and leaping from tabletops and counters. One day I woke up too weak to walk. The docs did their best to repair the damage my deranged immune system had wrecked. Their best was very good indeed. Still, it was difficult to keep up with Gypsy. My world-class son and beautiful daughter-in-law adopted Gypsy.

Pyewacket stayed with me and we took care of one another, though eventually kidney failure – common in cats – had the last word. Pyewacket started her walk to the Rainbow Bridge. Every few steps she turned and looked back, the sadness in her Yoda eyes more profound than ever. Years later Gypsy left. I wasn’t with her but envision Gypsy leaping across the Bridge. True to herself, no backward glances, just on to the next adventure.

The Reign of Paws was filled with smiles and love, but cats don’t live as long as humans. Loss is expected, inevitable, heartbreaking. Still, I regret nothing. Some of our best family memories include our kitties and they’ve inspired more than one story or poem by more than one of us.






Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently 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.”

 The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

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

“The Match from Hell” by Naomi Baltuck, excerpt from the upcoming September issue of “The BeZine”

Here’s a sample from our next issue of “The BeZine,” which will post on the 15th. It’s the kind of quality and pleasure you can count on from our writers, poets, photographers and others. / J.D.

Are you familiar with The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson?  It’s a tragic tale about a child trapped in a world of poverty and abuse, hunger and homelessness…

On New Year’s Eve, someone steals her ill-fitting shoes, so the little girl wanders barefoot through the snow, trying to sell matches to uncaring people hurrying home to warm houses and holiday feasts.  No one has a farthing or even a second glance for the unfortunate waif.  If she goes home having sold no matches, her father will beat her.  To keep the cold at bay, she huddles against a wall and strikes her matches, one at a time. In each tiny flame she sees visions: a warm stove, an elegant feast, a Christmas tree lit by candles…  

Then her dead grandmother, the only person who ever treated her with kindness, appears to the shivering child, and carries her soul off to Heaven. The next morning, the strangers who walked past her the night before discover the little match girl’s icy corpse, clutching the burnt-out matches in her frozen fingers.  Too late they feel a twinge of pity.  The end.

As a child, I hated that story.  I was appalled that grownups could look away from a child’s suffering, without lifting a finger to help.  Why would anyone invent such a depressing story, and who would want to hear it?

As an adult, I still hate that story, and even more now, because I realize that when Anderson wrote The Little Match Girl in 1845, except for the bit about the grandmother, he was fictionalizing a deplorable reality he himself was witnessing. He wrote during the Industrial Revolution, when the poor were miserable and overcrowded.  Pollution from the unregulated burning of coal poisoned the air, and factories were dumping metals, chemicals, raw sewage, and other toxins into the lakes and rivers that people depended upon for drinking water.

Wages were so low that the working class toiled 12 to 16 hours a day, yet still couldn’t earn a living wage.  On the brink of starvation, they sent their children to work in factories and mines.  Many were separated from their families, left to the ‘mercy’ of strangers, working ungodly hours for only a place to sleep and the food they ate.

In 1832 it was reported, “…workers are abandoned from the moment an accident occurs; their wages are stopped, no medical attendance is provided, and whatever the extent of the injury, no compensation is afforded.”  

The wealthy were given free reign to exploit the poor. When the Industrial Revolution sparked disputes over inhumane working conditions, the government introduced measures to prevent labor from organizing. The rich got richer, the poor remained poor, and children, who were forced to work all day or starve, couldn’t get an education to help them rise from poverty.

In the USA, industrialization occurred mostly in the North, with an influx of immigrants serving as factory fodder to keep up with attrition and demand. The South had its own foul history of systemic oppression, with its agrarian economy dependent upon human slavery.

Over time, Americans have fought and died for the cause of social justice.  They organized labor unions, which brought an end to child labor, shortened the work week, and ushered in workman’s compensation for on-the-job-injuries. They are still trying to negotiate a living wage.  Public education, Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Healthcare have all helped to even the playing field and a provide a social safety net.  Civil rights, women’s suffrage, Affirmative Action, environmental protection have, too.

We still had a long way to go to overcome class, gender, religious, and racial discrimination, such as the legacy of Jim Crow that still exists.  Yet we saw the middle class grow, the standard of living rise, and each generation doing better than the preceding one, until the 1970s.  What in Hell happened?  Ronald Reagan, and his trickle down economics, for starters.  It has been a downhill slide since then, snowballing since the Trump administration took power.

Today there is a little match girl on every street corner.  Our democratic republic has degenerated into an oligarchy, bought and run by big business, with puppet strings being yanked all the way from Russia.  International treaties have been broken, environmental protections scrapped to increase company profit, families torn apart by inhumane ICE policies, cruelly punishing the innocent children of undocumented immigrants. Affordable Healthcare, Social Security and Medicare are in the administration’s crosshairs.  The three richest men in America own more than half of this country’s wealth.  Our society has regressed two hundred years to become a near perfect match for the one that inspired Hans Christian Anderson to write The Little Match Girl.  A match made in Hell.

I will always hate that story.  But we need to keep telling it, until we can pound out a new ending.  We need to keep telling it, until we never need to tell it again.

©2018 Naomi Baltuck

(c) Naomi Baltuck

NAOMI BALTUCK (Writing Between the Lines)~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller at The BeZine.  She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE.

Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV (her personal blog) as well as on The B Zine.

Naomi conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi

Naomi says, “When not actually writing, I am researching the world with my long-suffering husband and our two kids, or outside editing my garden. My novel, The Keeper of the Crystal Spring (Viking Penguin), can be read in English, German, Spanish, and Italian. My storytelling anthology, Apples From Heaven, garnered four national awards, including the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice. I am currently working on a contemporary women’s novel.”


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.

“We ring her door bell” …. and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Mangos and gardens, smiles and doorbells, all factor into the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, August 23, Neighbors by poets and writers sharing their talent, perspective and stories. Enjoy! … and join us tomorrow for the next prompt. All are invited to take part and share their responses, which are always published here on the following Tuesday. Poem on …

His Catapult

Neighbour’s lad gets a grin out of pot shots at birdlife in my garden. Thinks

I can’t see him between slats of broken fence. Dead birds litter my lawn. I’ve told

his mam, Alice who says he thinks he’s in Jurassic World to kill dinosaurs. I wish

he weren’t so wick and could see these dinosaurs don’t bite. I’ll fetch him round

to bury his dead, and have a quiet word.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Why Move?

To be closer to us, Mam
so we can be there for you.

chorus son and daughter in law.
Bert next door on his way out

always asks whether I need anything.
Sally over the way enquires after me,

Even with all she’s got on, her mam’s
Cancer and little ones severe ADHD.

Need a gardener only to do odds
and sods as I get tired quick. Bert volunteered

but he’s all on with his granddaughter’s
while daughter has hospital appointments.

These folk are here for me. I don’t need
To move away to strangers and elsewhere.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Congratulations to Paul for the recent publication of The Sperm Bot Blues with design, layout and afterword by Mike Castro.

We ring her door bell

Holiday slowly conquers my joints
My knee, my thumb
Little knife stubs
Brown spots, coffin spots
As my eighty years old neighbour
Says laughing
Her laugh healed her from cancer
She lost a breast but this year
She visited the Spanish Riviera

When I am down
When my spine is numb
When all my ships are sinking
We ring her door bell…

So the Black Sea is in her best mood
The holiday makes time insignificant
We move around the pole
Hunting the shadow
A solar clock
The kid spends hours in the greenish liquid
Our skins darker and darker by the minute
Soon to be the only sign that we ever been
Away from home
Where first thing first
We’ll ring her door bell

When I am numb
When my spine is down
When all the ships have sunk
We’ll ring her door bell to borrow a smile

© 2017, Iulia Gherghei (Sky Under Construction)

Persuaded by a Smile

I never knew her name and remembrance
of her face has faded from memory
but her kindness still remains steadfast
within the warmth of my beating heart

where upon I still see the upright grand
dusty and in need of repair standing
proudly in the living room of a house
I only encroached drawn by its’ beauty

for she saw I was smitten by its’ presence
and invited me to play for even though
not a lesson had I the music seemed to
pass without pause to my finger tips

as I came to knock each day upon the door
to see the beauty of her smile and knew
that she no longer played but entreated
me to sit once more at the upright grand

© 2017 Renee Espriu (Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, ART & Haiku)


we live rural.i have an immersion for hot water,

and for work. along side research and hot baths

keeps the days flowing.

there is a gas pipeline crossing near us, yet not with door neighbour is the gas man yet not required

locally.he has bottled stuff while i have not.

mary was stuck behind a lorry delivering the latter

so was later arriving here. today.

i switch it on each morning then evening though they

do say it can be economical to leave it on all day. i have

not tried that.


© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

#walking 4

it really is very early, still the radio plays

softly not to wake the neighbour. he is

a quiet man. a farmer.

reckon it was four miles up over the hill

in a summer dress. settled that evening

to watch the war

of the worlds.

slept early,

woke early.

it is raining today.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

.. bara brith..

quiet day, plenty to do,

workwise. no home brew

involved, yet he came to

my door smiling.


a bara brith.

to share, he said,

cut it in half,

I shan’t come in,

my boots are quite muddy.

there is a fete in the

village, sue won’t eat it,

so I thought I will spoil


they soak the fruit in tea,

and alcoholic drinks

if they have any.

isn’t it heavy?

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

Mangfera Indica Inflorescence

#Mrs . Brown :My Next Door Neighbour#

My little garden was the envy of my neighbours. My father liked to enjoy his favourite pastime of gardening. Variant greenery of our little garden soothed eyes of every pedestrian passing by our beautiful grove. Ours was a street of Alloy Steel quarters assembled gracefully. As we lived at one end of the street my father could rehash gardening acquiring a lot of space with a temporary boundary of wires. Our small garden was a lavish decoration with flowers of varied colours like rose, hibiscus, lily, petunia etc. Adjacent to the flower garden we had a little orchard too with fruits like mango ,pear, jackfruit etc. All day long chirruping of colorful birds echoed through our garden as well as little orchard inflicting vigorous pleasure flooding our heart and mind .

The event took place long long ago. In one summer evening Mrs. Katrina Brown stepped in our street as our fresh neighbour. It was the first time I encountered such a gorgeous Christian lady. To our great amazement she became our next door neighbour.
My parents were also happy getting their new charming neighbour. Everything was going alright for the first few days. It was the time of great amusement while I used to play Ha-do-do with Diana, the sweet daughter of Mrs . Brown with the proximity of my age.

Mrs Brown was an instrumentalist and till today I recall an intricate melody on her piano. She had a habit to attend a nearby church every Sunday along with Diana and her husband, Mr Brown, as each inhabitant of our street used to call him. One or two times I accompanied them and noticed how heartily – how profoundly that beautiful lady engaged herself to the prayer of the Almighty and at that very moment I kept a fixed look on her face entangled with a heavenly light of piousness, but I had yet to experience the other face of the coin.

In one early summer evening a heavy downpour commenced a new era of relationship between the two families – the Das and the Brown family. The rainfall was really ponderous along with strong blowing wind coming from the Arabian sea. Almost all the buds and verdant mangoes of a special mango tree were spread out everywhere of the courtyard of Mrs .Brown as that mango tree of our orchard tilted towards the portico of the Brown family with its clinging fruits yet to be ripened. Next morning I awakened with an agitated blast of words from Mrs. Brown’s mouth .She was telling to my mother -“Mrs Das -you have to cut down this mango tree. It has been tilted more towards my courtyard due to the storm that swept through the place yesterday and if it is kept being unshorn then the roof of my home as well as my courtyard would have to face scattered buds, shedded leaves and unripe mangoes each day onwards making my whole area dirty.

”That was our favourite tree as it bore the sweetest fruits among all the mango trees in the orchard. Moreover my father treated each tree of the orchard as his own child. Therefore my mother answered,”I understand your problem, Mrs. Brown, but the tree is like our child. Every year it bears the sweetest fruits. Please don’t make us compelled to cut it. The harvesting time is coming nearer and during the ripening time you may take all of its fruits but let the tree be survived.”

“Most of its flowers and fruits have been exuded -Mrs. Das .”-Mrs Brown said.

My mother said, ”Some fruits are still clinging to the tree and I request you to taste the ripened fruits this season. Moreover -all the fruits are yours -this year.”

Though Mrs Brown had some grudge against the tree but perhaps she agreed to my mother’s condition and departed without saying more.

In that ripening season she tasted all the sweet mangoes except ten as she fixed to be allocated to us.”The tree not only bears delicious fruits but also makes shady my terrace in these days receiving scorching heat of the sun. You were right Mrs. Das, the tree should not be cut down.I have now begun to love this tree. I would not ever mind to sweep its shedded leaves and next time we would share half of its fruits.” We were really happy as afterall she could realize the value of the tree. Thereafter she never told us to cut the tree though at every turn we used to hear that she was scolding the tree for shedding so many leaves on her terrace .

That year passed. Then it was the turn for the next mango season. The two families were awaiting for the sweetest mangoes of that very tree. Again a violent storm swept through our place.The storm was so fierce that it uprooted most of our trees, damaged electric poles and changed the course of the river at our place. Alloy Steel authority took decision to cut down the big trees touching the electric wires and they settled upon that the very mango tree of our orchard with the sweetest fruits to be trimmed as it touched the wires coming from the main electric pole of the area holding danger of an electric shock at any moment. Both my father and Mr. Brown requested the Maintenance Department under Alloy Steel Plant not to cut the tree but they paid no heed to them.

On a day fixed previously two choppers came to our house. As soon as they had stepped into our orchard with their motive to cut down the tree Mrs .Brown rushed there like an arrow from a bow and embracing the tree like her own baby requested them again and again to be refrain from cutting the tree, but it was an order from the higher authority. They were helpless. The giant tree was cut down before our bleary watery eyes. Mrs. Brown began to cry as like as a baby. A gloomy surrounding engulfed in all parts of our orchard when the last part of the tree trunk was chopped. Thereafter the health of Mrs .Brown suffered a steep decline. Many a days we didn’t follow her fingers on her favourite piano.

Then it was the turn for the rainy season. In one rainy morning we came out of our home hearkening an extremely melodious tune flowing out of her piano. It was really astonishing when our mindedness went to a sapling of mango that had sprouted out in that very place from where the giant tree was rooted out. Perhaps one of that lost mango tree‘s degenerated seed took that place and the first shower of the rainy season provided it the chance to germinate with its two tiny leaves.

Mrs. Brown first noticed it and with a reflection of getting back her lost mango tree, which she treated like her own baby. She placed her fingers again on her piano originating a new celestial melody enchanting the neighboring. Everyday she spent a lot of time to serve the sapling awaiting for the day when it would flourish with its unfurled branches with juicy, delicious fruits as well as soothing, tranquil shade. In the meantime my father got a transfer order and we had to leave the place. I don’t know how is Mrs. Brown for the time being or if she is on this earth till now but my innermost spirit throws its earnest glance today from a far away place at Mrs Brown‘s lovely tree, which may have remained standing in my nostalgic orchard still now bearing the dream and fancy of that fairy lady.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh

Photo credit: Mango Flowers by Gihan Jayaweera under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.