“The Price of Peanut Butter” and other works in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link.
This is but half the truth.
You are also as strong as your strongest link.
To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean
by the frailty of its foam.
To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconstancy.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet



Rich, Me, Dan

Thank you to all who sent messages and notes wishing us a happy family reunion. It was wonderful. We chatted and laughed as though we’d only seen one another yesterday, as though forty years hadn’t passed.  Thanks also to those who knew I went into the hospital right after our reunion and who wished me well and kept me in your prayers. I admit to slowing down, but I’m still here kicking thanks to loving family and friends, good doctors, and the grace of God.



I know it’s already Wednesday where some of you live, but it’s still Tuesday here in Northern California. My apologies though for the lateness of the post. So much catching up – good catching up – to do after the activities of the past few weeks.

It certainly looks like we hit a responsive nerve with the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, It’s Not the ’60s Anymore, asking for work that gives us a strong sense of time and place and how the writer and/or the times have changed. This collection is delightful featuring such a diversity of time, place, and ages and marked by depth, caring, and consciousness. I’m proud to be able to present this collection to you here today.

Thanks to our newcomer mm brazfield for her participation and a warm welcome.  Thanks to all for coming out to play: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Irma Do, Deb y Felio (Debbie Felio), Sonia Benskin Mesher, Taman Tracy Moncur, Bozhidar Pangelove (Bogpan), Marta Pombo Sallés, Julie Standig, and Anjum Wasim Dar.

Links are connected to poet/writer websites where available – NOT to specific poems – to encourage readers to visit them and get to know their work.  If no website is available, it’s likely you can find the poet/writer on Facebook, where some folks also publish their work.

Read! Enjoy! And join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.  All are encourage to share their work on theme, beginning, emerging or pro.


The Price of Peanut Butter

of course i remember the old Safeway, Hank. in closing my eyes i can see the Mahatma Rice Genie on the little rice bags and Jiffy cost less than a dollar. i was not taller than a yard stick, yet i knew my lime green pastel knit dresses were an infamy. Hank, i recall the prime parties on Berendo street, the last of the beehive hairdo elegant women in turquoise bell-bottoms, i a barefooted brat. and on alternate Saturdays the biker parties in the Silver Lake Hills. the Harleys looked like stallions. in the middle of the week, i can’t remember where i’d sleep, but AC/DC dueled with Tom Jones in my dreams. now, Hank, we have non-GMO juice stands and designer coffee drinks. i’m about a yard stick and a quarter tall now and i dress in black. i still enjoy Tom and Brian, but Nirvana and Cornell own my heart. i finally read the Torah too. but the fears, doubts, agonies and uncertainties are still within my universe. Safeway is now Vons. House of Pies is still there too, i feed on their Western Spaghetti. i’m going at it in a round-about way. Volkswagons’ and Mustangs aren’t what they used to be, but they’ve cut down on bad emissions. Hank, you wouldn’t believe, there’s almond, cashew, sunflower, pistachio and Brazil Nut butter. i don’t talk much, i type on the phone, even on dates, sitting right across the table from them all. i suppose i’ll never see a good bra burning anymore, i giggled at it as a child. but, they have apps for that now. i never really fit in any particular time in LA. from 8 tracks to Alexa and frozen peas to organic produce delivery. i don’t know, Hank. peanut butter today is quite expensive.

© 2019,  mm brazfield (Words Less Spoken)

mm brazfield

MM BRAZFIELD was born and raised in urban Los Angeles and is a Gen X’er who chronicles and scrawls about the art form of living in the Angelino metropolitan environment. These offerings were inspired by the mental health crisis in the city. mb personally battles depression and anxiety, but utilizes writing and art to self-regulate. mb works in social services in the hopes of supporting others who endure the same.


fashion show 69

california: kitchen. future
Uncle Sonny (né Enoch) grins
in fire-engine red turtleneck
and atop it & his chest
a medallion like a
half-scale hubcap
dreaming of being
a mandala. the legs
of his hiphugging bellbottoms
looked like bras for metal detectors.

my aunt Diane
surfer girl of tawny hip
had painted-on capris
of brushed denim
and a variant of a peasant blouse
in loose chiffon
and midriff exposure.

i at 14
still in noisy corduroy
longed for a Nehru jacket
but revealed in my Mr. Muscle
Form-Fitting
T-shirt
in a burgundy
that lasted about
five washings
and imparted a blush tint
to my once-dazzling undies.

on the tv a girl sang,
“You’re my kind of guy,
I love you so,
Baby, everything about you
Is go, go, go!
And with Aqua Velva Lotion
Our romance began,
Because there’s Something About
An Aqua Velva Man!
Ah, ah, ah, ah…
Aha AAH, ah,ah,ah,ah…”

do you think
i would be gullible enough
to then desire to be
An Aqua Velva Man?

you bet i was.
so I weep,
do not answer,
for those pathetic nowadays boys
who think there is such a thing
as “the Axe effect.”

and i long
for fifty years ago.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)

As some of you know, Gary is multi-talented, combing visual art with poetry or prose narrative.  He is also a potter. A sample of his work is pictured below. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business care. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.ter. A sample of his work is pictured below. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business card. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.


A Full Moon Christmas Day,1977

I, ignorant, molly coddled,
aged fourteen , outsider to pierced,
bright red mohicanned,
black bin bag dressed peers
on the bus, Christmas Eve.

Sexy ultraviolet lasses
in black tights and dockers,
kohl eyed intelligence
scares my Burton’s suit.

Fascinated by safety pinned
noses, brazen forward face
of defiance, I wince
into a corner, my mam’s

“Acceptable behaviour”,
“When you have your own
house you can dress how you like.”
And my step dad’s knuckle
marks pulse on my jaw.

Hard to rebel when cossetted,
pot pourried, warm duveted,
hugged and soggily kissed
by grandparents, all Sunday Bested
under this long cold full mooned
Christmas Day.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Candlelit Seventies Without

a thought switch flicked,
and if glass globe works light
and I recall candlelit Seventies
evening in Winter’s discontent.

How important during that Winter
electric light, few hours TV,
the extra jumpers and ignorant
thrill of days extraordinary nights.

Those nights I recalled stood
underground in Eighties, caplight off
a darkness lively with ghosts
as imagination lit by stories.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

On Trend

In Bus Station, now renamed, Transport Interchange
crazies herd, or stud on Friday night,

past disguised as fresh and new.
Filly’s Seventies platform throwback

high heels whipcrack and totter
past and shoutback,

“Can’t get enough!”, to the stallions.
Hormones on an after school

high josh one another into minor
crimes their pot bellies

will chuckle at when they’re pastured.
Big yellow hi viz “club bouncer”

jackets tap their ear phones
and watch the younger

good spirits rise, ready to corral a stampede.
A thin bright yellow hi viz jacket

pushes a blue plastic hygiene cart
whose white wheels clop on tiles

recall wooden clogs on sodden cobbles.
A crazy talks to himself

as he trots by, his eyes elsewhere
and then I see the leads

from the buds in his ears.
Young stud tucks his blue boxers

into his jeans waist below
his haunches, a US prison trend,

and old fashion now.
Yoga panted fillies giggle

at his shorts, as they, too
will blush at fashions sworn by

in their galloped youth.
And older some afford pasture,

others to the knacker’s yard,
and clothes no longer second hand,

or charity but sold as “vintage”.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Kept Himself

to himself. Quiet man always in sharp
waistcoat and tie.

Shoes keen like mirrors.
Afraid he will be found out.

His daughter and her family
forever tainted by his past,

his feeble mindedness, his shame.

His urgent nine year old grandson
full of The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare

Asks “What did you do in the war, Grandad?
Did you fight the Nazzies?”

He does not want disappointment
on this young face so invents:

“A German Tiger was coming towards me.
So I digs a hole so it goes over the top.”

“And what happened next, Grandad?
“Ask your Nanna. I need to do the Pools.”

*******

Nanna says he came to see her
when she worked in the Birmingham factories.

In midst of air raids, falling houses and fire.
“Your Grandad worked on the railways.”

So his grandson works it out.
Grandad never fought abroad.

“You know don’t you?” says his enfeebled Nanna
to her grandson, “Grandad’s dad?”

“One of his widowed mother’s lodgers?”
“Yes,” she says “Grandad was born out of wedlock.”

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • 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

In the market, I’m

Hearing songs sublime

First dance

Takes me back in time

First date jitters – mine

No chance

First kiss fail – not prime

Now improved with time

Perchance

The Lai is a poetry form introduced by Grace for d’Verse’s Poetry Form Challenge. The brevity and constraints of this form makes it quite challenging however, I am enamored by it’s ability to capture so much in so few syllables. This is my first attempt to any feedback is welcome!

The topic of this Lai comes courtesy of Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write a poem with a strong sense of time and place and how you and/or the times have changed. I wasn’t sure what to write for this prompt until I went grocery shopping this weekend. The song “Always” by Atlantic Starr started to play and I was instantly taken back to my first date with Elvio who took me to first dance and gave me my first kiss. I truly believed we would end up like that song until he told me that he was going to take Sally to the next dance because she was a better kisser. (Sigh.)

Have things improved dating wise for me? Well, yes!! Considering I don’t have to date anymore – saved from those trials and tribulations by my Honey. But the hope and innocence I felt in the 1980’s is also gone…(sigh)….

©️2019, words and illustration, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . )


New and Not So Improved

Now listen people
wherever you are
trav’lin’ in trucks and
SUV cars
Your footprint is huge
and so is your track
the fossils you’re burnin’
we’ll never get back
so ease off the pedal
and give us some slack
‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

All nature around us
calls out our name
Pollution abounds
and we are to blame
Ozone layers
welcome us in
what we’re leavin’ our children
is really a sin
so if you give a damn
then you better begin
‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

Big pharmaceuticals
expand the pollute
not just in the body
but waters to boot
what did you think
you flushed down the loo
those poisoning meds
along with your poo
so quit looking around
before the whole thing is moot
‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

Organic farms where good
used to grow
are being replaced
with big g-m-o
now salmonella and
e-co-li, too
wrapped in the plastic
then sold to you
don’t think you’re immune
your money’s for show
‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

Mother nature is having
her turn
Disasters are teaching
what we need to learn
drought and flooding
and fires set to burn
we waited too late
it’s all now in ruin
no longer we mask it
we’re in hell’s handbasket

‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

© 2019, Deb y Felio (The Journey Begins)


..28 every woman..

it is always there

in the bathroom,

ignored, as was the photo.

yesterday it came to light again,

every woman’s toilet,

book.

edited by mrs robert noble,

not dated, yet dated.

are artificial aids justifiable,

how to have a dimpled wrist

with excercise,

means, and massage,

a moderate diet essential.

we do not wish a muddy complexion?

no. nor to wear the years

away in sad ness and regret.

we just need an excellent lotion,

for tired eyes,

and carry on, rejoicing.

all that there is.

plus the photograph.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..188 jane austen again…

to live the life
of pomade and petticoats.

no ajustable waist.

one imagines there will
be no worry, yet the
adjectives will prove difficult
for me,renowned for
few words.

daily checking hips
in slanting mirrors,

reading of heaven over,
which is life on earth
randomly .

gods throwing dice,
rules changing constantly.

i find sadly,
i am not jane austen.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..straw hats & sunshades..

those of you that read austen,
and maybe little women,
know that on summer days,
with heat, the ladies
wear their straws, protecting
gentle necks and complexion.

sipping drinks . i think that sucking
may be frowned upon. therefore
it is not seemly to show
that drinking aid here.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Let Your Light Shine

Young love blossomed on the horizon immersed in “the days of wine and roses”. Afros and dashikis danced in the streets to jazz improvisations weaving in and out of the intricate beats of the drum declaring support in the fight for civil rights. The blues sang of heartache and tragedy while spirituals announced resilience of faith and survival in a changing world global in concern.

I remember the sixties well, coming of age in a nation where the stage was set with demonstrations, picket lines, marches against racism, prejudice, and hatred…empathy standing tall with dignity not afraid to die for belief in true democracy “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all” regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation,

Jim Crow was on the defensive murdering, lynching, bombing, burning…turning the south into fields of blood sprouting weeds of hostility and fear. Beautiful caring people united against the atrocities, linking arms, singing to the heavens “We Shall Overcome Someday” believing in their hearts that this was a new start in the United States of America.

Tragedy and triumph were marked by a cyclical progression over the next generations. War and peace remained combatants in the world arena…ideologies exploded into shards of hatred, greed, and lust killing innocence attempting to eradicate the concept of brotherly love while in the USA came the day a black president served for eight years. Sweet victory became a reality!

Then the divisiveness of hate, rooted in this country from its inception, once again sent it spiraling into the depths of degradation. The offspring of racism were unleashed when egomania moved into the oval office bringing his family with him..xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and bigotry all claiming to want to make America great again.

Yet once more this country standing on the shore of time shall rise as the people lift up their eyes peering into the sky knowing the Creator is near and that hope is beyond the horizon ready to take wing and fly throughout the land raining perseverance and strength on those who want to make a positive difference as their collective voices are heard on high in a symphony of unity.

© 2019, Taman Tracy Moncur (The Road of Impossibilities)

Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncur exposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.


For us, the people who lived behind the Iron Curtain, the 60s, began after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Protest (retrospective)
“Miss Corde was reading Plutarch by night the books then used to be taken seriously”
Zbigniew Herbert

(Adam Lux – Meditations)

Miss (or already, why not, Missis)
is reading.
So did she before getting married. The revolution of 1960s All is Love is over.
She used to sleep in tents. Why not?
The freedom has to be defended.
Drums, fires, the screams:
“Down with! Who doesn’t jump is.”
Rumble behind the walls. Marat is. Alive? Death? Used to live?
The time is traveling. The crown’s refined hat.
The hair short. With all the colors.
“In a dress like a blue rock.”
Obelisk? Yes! of passing from
necessity to
necessity (for survival).
Mrs. Corde, is reading. The Game of …
She’s dreaming. “All is love”.
The day is the most usual.

Charlotte?
She administrated justice.
The falling stars are glowing.

© 2019, Bozhidar Pangelove (Bogpan)

————————————

The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David (1793) / Public Domain photograph

“Jean-Paul Marat (French: [ʒɑ̃pɔl maʁa]; 24 May 1743 – 13 July 1793) was a French political theorist, physician, and scientist. He was a journalist and politician during the French Revolution.

He was a vigorous defender of the sans-culottes and seen as a radical voice. He published his views in pamphlets, placards and newspapers. His periodical L’Ami du peuple (Friend of the People) made him an unofficial link with the radical republican Jacobin group that came to power after June 1793.

Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, a Girondin sympathizer, while taking a medicinal bath for his debilitating skin condition. Corday was executed four days later for his assassination, on 17 July 1793.” [Wikipedia]


Girl, my little pearl

Girl, my little pearl
you swirl in golden waters
when you wear the highest heels
when you show your slim body
when you put on that lovely dress
when you wear that perfect make-up
when you exhibit those expensive earrings
when your fingers and toe nails are so carefully painted
when you completely remove all your hairs
(except those on your head)
when your hair is dyed accordingly
(never forget to dye it when you grow older,
you should always look younger)

Girl, my little pearl
you still want to swirl in goldern waters
when you exhibit those piercings and tattoos
though they are not still enough,
so you will want to have some more, perhaps
some botox and breast size operations too.

And girl little pearl says:

I do not want to wear high heels,
they’ll ruin my feet and back forever.
I was not born with a slim body so
why should I want to have it?

I do not want to wear that lovely dress,
it’s terribly uncomfortable, unpractical,
has no pockets and it’s too cold now,
so why should I wear it?

I do not want that make-up made of chemicals affecting my health.

They always want to sell
and so they never tell.

The same with nail polish. I do not want it
unless I buy these things at the organic shop
just in case I changed my mind.
I do not have earholes for earrings.

Why does almost every girl have them
to mark their gender as soon as they’re born?

My mum has those earholes and wore once
some unexpensive pair of earrings, bad metal,
and ended up with red skin, red spots and allergy.

No, I do not want earholes to mark my gender differentiation.
I want to choose if I want them or not when I grow up.
As for my hair and its natural color,
I am perfectly satisfied, well, perhaps
some streaks to highlight a bit of color
together with shades of greys and whites.
I want to look my age, why younger?
I am getting older and have grey hairs.
So what? Will I be less of a woman
if I don’t dye my hair anymore?

I refuse irreversible things
like piercings and tattoos.
Some other women and men
may like them very much.
Perhaps they’ve been the luckiest ones
who had no health problems so far
after piercings and tattoos
marked their bodies
forever.

I do not want this on my body
I do not want to be obsessed by esthetics
I do not want to do something just because
it’s fashion, everyone does it.
I do not want to be who I am not
I want to be myself
I want to be appreciated for who I am.
And if somebody wants to love me
I’ll say, please, look first at my inside
and then you’ll be able to decide.

I am no girl, little pearl
to swirl in golden waters
I am simply who I want to be
now you just take me or leave.

© 2019, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

When Tomorrow Comes

Optimists say we are not afraid
but I am.
And people usually say I am an optimist.
What’s wrong with me now?
Why do I feel so much
Fear, Sadness and Uncertainty?
Why can’t I get a sufficient dose of
Calmness, Serenity and Confidence?
Yet this fear of mine
does not keep me paralyzed
for I know we must move on.
This is a human rights issue,
a fight for social justice,
just one more in our world.
And while some say Dialogue, Dialogue
some others say what dialogue
if one of the parts always refuses it?
We need international mediation.
Urgently.
But that part does not want it.
So what is left to do
for the Spanish-Catalan eternal conflict?
Where’s the lesser evil
after the October First events?
What do you tell the 1066 injured people?
What do you tell the man who lost his eyesight
because of a rubber bullet from the police?
How do you comfort all those
who made the vote possible?
who made everything peacefully and democratically?
Tomorrow Catalonia’s president will most probably
declare independence from Spain.

It will be like you’re in a room
with some people trying to chase you,
loaded with guns.
But you’re peaceful
and do not have guns
and see an open window.
So you need to jump down
before they arrest you,
before they kill the rights
you’ve been long fighting for.
The lesser evil is throwing yourself
out of that window.
Is it a desperate suicide?
Or is there someone below
who will come to rescue,
who will get you in their arms
before you crash into the ground
when tomorrow comes?

© 2017, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

Link to the blog with the poem and a BBC video showing the brutality of the Spanish police forces against the peaceful voters in Catalonia.


I never heard my grandfather’s voice

Nathan lost everything in the Great
Depression. Funny, they called it that.

Did they mean the economy or was it
their state of mind? Well, Nathan lost

it all: his wife left him. Took their two
daughters and went to wealthy parents

in California. I’m not sure Nat ever left
Brooklyn. Moved in with his brother,

kept a photo on his nightstand:
two young girls dressed in hand-

me-down plaids, four scraggly arms
surrounding a Sycamore tree. He missed

the bobby socked, saddle shoed feet
dangling off the fire escape, as they knit

scarves for soldiers. He even missed
their complaints about Gregg shorthand

and boorish boys that taunted them
at Tilden High. He missed taking them

for a Nedicks orange drink, or Shatzkin
knishes, Lundy’s for steamers and chowder.

Laughter in bumper cars, bellyaches from
too many hotdogs and fast rides

on the Wonderwheel. His girls were gone.
The tumor took his mind. The depression

devoured the rest. And then his wife
took the kids.

Cruelty lasts a lifetime. No one recovered.

© 2019, Julie Standig


Time – I Am No Exception

time

Under the roof of peace in quiet meditation
Time seemed still, time was pure
time for prayer and forgiveness
asking for salvation

say nothing to time ‘
it is something else, colors show change
brown to red, living to dead, all are in range’
no accusation

Time tells me many stories
born in war I hear more wars
bloodshed bloodshed bloodshed
out of sight and dim are the stars

By the blue green sea ,
curling in rolling in and rolling back

Like tiny serpents creeping up
with stings poised,making one

more story –

Pulled back to unseen depths
Golden myriads glistened

as in sunlight life lay
Bathing basking relaxing-

There is enough time !
Delicately exposed yearning for the tan

Tender petal like still,  unaware lying
Ready bait for the brutal mind

It is My Time !

And from the  shade , came not the coolness
But hot fire,blistering bodies in the sand

Not shielding from the sun- Life so stilled  as
Hot bullets rained, sprayed from the gun

Then, there was no time’
Then, there was no time’.

Time now is Time uncertain
energy decreased  vision weak,
rampant obreption, subreption
time is now endless deception

Do I have time? Do I have time?

I must do good, I am no exception
I must forgive I am no exception’
I must make peace I am no exception’
© 2019, illustration and poem in English and Urdu, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

امن کے ساے تلے

امن کے ساے تلے  کیا کویؑ  مقدس  مقام نہیں
خاموش عبادت میں
ٹھرے ھوےؑ وقت مہں

مغفرت کی طلب میں
نجات و بخشش کی دعاوؑں  میں
زمانے کی   بات نھیں 

یہ کچھ  اور  بات،ھے
رنگ بدلتی  دنیا میں ،سب زد میں
ھر زات اور ھے

 امن کے ساےؑ تلے اب کویؑ الزام نہیں

یہ میرا وقت ھے
وقت کی داستاں گویؑ
جنگ کی پیشیں گویؑ
خونریزی  کرے کوی
ستارے نظر آتے نہیں
کیا میرے پاس وقت  ھے ؟ 
کیا میرے پاس  وقت ھے؟
مجھے اچھے کام   کرنے چاھےؑ
میں  سب   سے علیحدہ  نہیں 
مجھے سب کو معاف کردینا چاھے
میں سب سے  علیحدہ  نہیں
مجھے  دنیا  میں امن  پھیلانا چاھےؑ
میں سب سے علیحدہ  نہیں
Find Anjum here:
https://anjumwasimdar.wordpress.com/    Unsaid Words of Untold Stories…Prose  writing
knitting projects/stories
https://helpingenglishteachinginpakistan.wordpress.com/  ELT   Work experience/educational service for the country

 

“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


ABOUT

Yon Dream Ont Cross. . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The Japanese Tea Garden, San Mateo, California

Grow high. The devil can’t find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can’t find you.
Build a house and live there.
Gourd creepers will climb over it,
their flowers dazzling at midnight.
Ko Un, What?: 108 Zen Poems, forward by Thich Nhat Hanh



I’ve been trying to lighten things up a bit with the last few prompts and this collection is in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, The Contours of Joy, March 20. I would say today, that these poems make me smile, even when they report sadness or anger or questioning. It’s a wonderful thing – a healing and hope-filled thing – to read these poems. They’re not consistently full of joys, but always full of life, of cognizance. The latter is the hallmark of good poets and old souls.. Living in a world gone mad is serious business. With all the spheres of joy here today, there’s also an awareness of suffering, past, present and to come. Well done by poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Sheila Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Taman Tracy Moncur and Anjum Wasim Dar. Thank you! and special thanks to Irma and Anjum for their illustrations.

Readers will note links to sites are included that you might visit these stellar poets.

Enjoy this collection. It just might inspire some more of your own poetry; and, do join us tomorrow for the another Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are invited to come out to play, beginning, emerging or pro poet.


moon and eye

“Well, I must go–pardon–I cannot stay:
My moonbeam comes to carry me away…”
The dying Cyrano in Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC, translated by Brian Hooker)

moon
and eye
interact
in an act
didactic:
sight.

swoon
and sigh,
artifact.
re-enact
galactic
light.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay, Image and Text)


Let Go Of

weight that writhes
in your hands returns life

to your bones.
Water supped when parched thrills.

Air tastes lighter with more colour,
Sweeter.

Can’t get my breath breathes.
When you think you are alone
surprise of a familiar warm hand in yours
in cold caves colour leaps out

a fish released.

From Paul’s forthcoming collaboration with Iranian artist, Hiva Moazed, called Fish Strawberries to be published by Alien Buddha Press

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

The Tricycle

It isn’t the wonder of the wheels turn
As my feet press the plastic pedals,
But the big curved metal boot at the back
Where there is room to store my wonders:

Elastic bands, cotton reels, a shiny sixpence,
Grandad’s hat badge from when he went to war,
A bus ticket saved from my first trip last week
On two busses to Nanna’s new home. Must have been

Thousands of miles away but Mam says
It’s only three miles. I bet I could bike
to Nannas but Dad says its too far
And I’d get tired with all the hills to go up,

But I can wheely down them dad, I told him.
He nods and goes back to his pencil scribbles
On bits of paper in Mam and Dads bedroom.
I take my brilliant bike down our drive.

It sparkles like our gold fish did we won at fair
On The Stray when mam brought it back
And put it in a glass bowl where it swims round
In circles and I told mam it would get dizzy

So I try to ride round in circles but Dad
Says I must go on the road or onto the other
Road out of our sack I think dad said but
We don’t live in a sack, we live in a house

I tell my daft Dad, I can only ride half way round,
Turn and ride half way round again,
Then I hears it. Ice cream van dinging and singing

It must be close so I run to Mam and shout,
Can I have a Ninety-Nine, Mam. Can I? Can I?
And Mam rummages in her bag and pulls out

Her purse and am telling mesen come on,
Mam cos I can hear the dinging singing
Outside and know he only stays a bit
Less he’s got a queue. Come on Mam.

She puts coins in me hand and I almost
Don’t close it when I run like the clappers
And see there’s a queue and look up
At all the bright colours of what you can get

On side of his van and lads and lasses walk
Past with ice-cream dribble down their fingers
As they try to catch the sweet melt.
Then I see my bike in the road

With a lass I don’t know on it. Stolen
It. And I’m in the queue and just at end
I run to get my bike back cos its mine
Not hers, and she cries when I push her off

Onto the road. “My dad says not to ride in
The road I tell her., and she sobs and I see
The ice-cream van go out the sack,
And I almost cry but I’ve got my bike back,

And I check my boot to see its all there
My elastic bands, bus ticket, shiny sixpence,
And hear mam calling me in to tea
When she’ll ask Where’s me ice-cream.

From Paul’s forthcoming collaboration with Iranian artist, Hiva Moazed, called Fish Strawberries, to be published by Alien Buddha Press

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

We Shouldn’t Wonder

What so special about stars?
Attention seeking baubles
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about spring?
Gaudy flowers showing off
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about children?
Eyes hugging the breath from you
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about you?
Flaunting yourself in next to nowt
we shouldn’t wonder.

What’s so special about wonder?
Makes you better off than you should be
we shouldn’t wonder.

First published on Medium

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Yon Dream Ont Cross

Al tell thee best dream av ad
in any midneet while folk were fast on
a sees a reet cross tree,
a ghoast in plated gold
ringed by shiny moon fascinator,
jewels like worth summat glow worms
rahnd base, five more ont cross beam.
Throngs o’ God’s angels tacked on it. This were no scam artists cross but every heaven spirit and earth folk had peepers on it: a see universe agog

And me, aware of wrong doing,
that native wood-beetle, eyed it too
felt a shiver of glory
from that cross barkskin beaten gold
wi jewels suited a cross a Jesus
and tha knows through all that gold barkskin
rattled folks bloodless yammering
how bleeding as stained crosses rightside.
Harrard an horrored
a that sullied wi leaked blood.

a lay there yonks
in agog sorrow fort Saviourcross
till me lug oyles heard glimmering cross pipe up:
“Ages since, I fetch back I were hacked
dahn at holt-edge, lugged off, hauled
shoulder heaved, squared top on a hill
adsed to a cross to carry wrong doers.
Then I see Christ, his balls ready fort hoisting. For us there’s no flitting, no shirking on God’s mind to: I might a fell on these folks. Then
God himsen, med himsen naked, to naked balls,
laid on us afore throngs of eyes
when saving on folks flitted in his bonce.
A shuddered at his touch, afeard splintering,
A had hold, I were raised as a cross,
hold heaven king high, afeard cracking. They tapped dark iron in us: scars tha still can see,
A cannot bear ’em stroked. They jeered at both on us. A felt his blood seep from his side
as he sighed himsen upards.

Av seen pain on this hill
saw Christ as on vicious rack
then roilin’ storm clouds, death to sunblaze,
covered o’er that blaze on God: a glowering gloom creation’s sorta: Christ on cross tree.
A see folk come forard, a felt splintered
as if added, but gev ne sen.
I were in their dannies, gore-wet, nail gashed.
They laid him art, a dead-weight atter ordeal,
final knackeredness. Then afore
murderers peepers, those folk med
a stone oyle and set Christ inside it.
Then late int day flitted knackered : left
Christ by himsen.

Long atter soldier’s lottery natter and cold rigor on Christ’s limbs,
us kept our places, drahned wi blood.
Then they sets to
felling us,
bury us in delved grahned, but disciples, friends fahned us…
put on us barkskin o’ gold an silver.

so nar tha knows, how sorra warped
me flesh, how malice worked with spintering iron. Now it’s time for earth foak and whole marvel on creation to cow eye this sign.
God-son were racked on us, so now ma glimmerin’ haunts heavens, can heal
all who afeard for us. Am honoured
by Christ above all forest trees as God favoured Mary above all women folk.’

Then by mesen, thrilled, me spirit high, let mesen rave that I can seek what a av seen,
saviour-cross: a peace with mesen that yearns a help on earth. Few mates still livin’ nar : most are int manor on heaven, av fetched upards. Now, daily, I listen art
fort cross-tree in my earthly nappin’,
to lead us from this flitting life
into great manor of heaven
where God has set a right feast.

May God-Son and Ghost be mates,
who were nailed to death for folk ages since :
a saviour as gin us life,
that we may put wood int oyle in heaven.

A Yorkshire dialect version of the Anglo Saxon poem The Dream Of The Rood, which appears in Paul’s collection The Headpoke And Firewedding, Alien Buddha Press, 2017

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

The Hyperbolic Poet Awakes

My eyelids open
are two worlds unfettered by cloud.

I splash the seven oceans
On the continents of my skin.

Rake the tombstones inside my mouth.
Tumble downstairs is scree down a mountain.

Open the wooden doors of delight,
Recover the pottery of ages,

Pour an avalanche of muesli
Farmed on sunny hillsides,

Crushed by the quern.
Grab the milk hosed out

By gargantuan herbivores,
Refined in their udders of heaven.

Wash and restacked pottery,
I stride over the open threshold
A veritable colossus

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Fish Strawberries

A fish eye is my belly button.
Inside my stomach flaps, flops,

flips when I see her. My tongue
tastes her rich perfume.

Spice entices a sky full of Cod,
Haddock, Halibut, Salmon and Pike.

Sky is her aquarium. Fish
and chips and two forks

are the heat of heaven.
Warm ourselves huddled on a kerbside.

I can taste the salt she threw on her portion,
the wash of vinegar and strawberry lipstick nibbles

on her lips, inside her mouth where our tongues
talk in tastes as we stand at her front door.

Wings out I am a fish in flight.
Splash between bright pools home.

Title poem from a forthcoming ekphrastic collaboration between Iranian artist Hiva Moazed and Paul to be published by Alien Buddha Press, 2019

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

The Divorce of Heaven And Hell

The excess of roads leads to the wisdom of palaces.
The wrath of tigers are wiser than the instruction of horses.

Multi gendered I hang wet washing
on the horse nebula. Iron 3d to 2d.

I have domestics with myself.
Air turns blue and galaxy neighbours
hear my gusty rant and rain rave

Bang on thin wall between
dimensions. Our star children

weep beneath my screams. Remind
myself never to drink and argue again.

Tell my other half it needs to pull
its weight. I can’t be aware of all

that happens or needs doing.
Neighbours are different sides to me.

Our star children turn from
wild blue things to yellow average kids
to red in the face before their fire dies.

I must stop falling out with myself,
as it is always me deals with the fallout.

I multi task a weather of constellations. I cope.
I’m multi versed. Too many different sides.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • 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


Lamenting Joy 

Don’t you dare turn those unicorn eyes toward me
And keep your sparkly sparkles to yourself
That field was truly not meant for running or singing or dancing or jumping for joy.

Just stop with the rainbows and the technicolor sunsets
No need for close ups of baby chubby thighs
Or even your thighs sunning on white sand beaches.

Enough of the Sunday mornings watching your lover breathe
And definitely no more spontaneous water fights with the kids
Even those first moments that bring tears of joy are not the moments for me

No, not for me, wondering, how you can enjoy when
…..Children are kept in cages, sold to the highest bidder
…..Women are forced into dangerous back alleys, not owning their bodies
…..Veterans sleep on cardboard boxes, crazy instead of courageous
…..People still being judged by the back of their hand or the hand they’re holding

Unicorns and rainbows, white sand beaches and Sunday mornings
…..If you’re privileged to know Joy, don’t give her my number.

(Photo credit: Mine taken from the St James Social Justice Network póster created by Jeannette L.)

Jamie Dedes at The Poet by Day probably thought issuing a challenge to write about Joy would be an easy one to fulfill. She asks: Are we frail humans able to embrace the light, forgo the mundane for the miraculous? Maybe? Maybe not? Maybe sometimes?  Maybe we try and fail. Tell us about it in your own poem/s.

I started several poems about experiences, people, even things that bring me joy but I couldn’t finish them. The poems weren’t bringing me joy! And then I realized that I was actually not in a joyful mood thinking of the state of our current world. I failed to write about joy. I could not embrace the light. I could not forgo the mundane. The frailty of my human condition is on full display this week. Enjoy!

© 2019, Irma Do (I do Run, And I do a few other things too …)


Past and Futures

Let’s not dwell in pasts and futures,

but rise to the occasion,

as the Morning Glory does.

Blossoming to

the splendor of the day,

which used to be future,

adding joy

to the lives of others,

and ending the day,

with a subtle retreat,

harkening the  present repose,

of a past.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)

March Miracles🌹

March miracles are afoot, new
beginnings are catching our breath
from every corner, as nature spreads
her wings sprouting new life, there
is a renewed lightness of spirit.
Yet in this month of miracles we
hear of tragedy and the dichotomy
of this duality, reminds us of, our
responsibility. Our mother, earth,
is taking a beating from her children.
Her children are killing each other.
In this month of miracles may we find
a renewed lightness of spirit and hope
that love will universally prevail,
taking joy in the love we create in
this season of rebirth
and new awakenings.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)

Spring Awakening

Springtime thoughts, drifting

their subtle way into memory,

reviving us with their beauty,

deep purples, yellows, pinks, blues

and greens all gathered so it seems

to delight and awaken our eyes,

to remind us of the simple Joys

we take for granted in our daily

life, enriched by the people who

nurture, our spirits selflessly.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Starlight and Moonbeams and the occasional cat)


Small Miracles Of The Moment

I’m sitting in a blue armchair
in a Ward called Acute Assessment.
A folded blanket covers my legs
and potassium chloride
is dripping into my veins.

I’m waiting in my own rootless place
between fear and the absence
of fear; between pain and the absence
of pain. I close my eyes
and see a narrow gravel path
crawling to the edge of the world.

This will pass, he whispers,
locking his fingers into mine.
This won’t last forever.

He’s going home to fetch my nighties,
toothpaste, toothbrush, towels, soap.
He’ll break the journey
into signposted miles, turn car wheels
towards the warm dark of dusk
and a capella of birdsong.

I think of morning’s hospital window-
an oblong of light
that showed a young tree
catching pin-drops of rain
on early pink blossom.
The rain grew heavier, hurried
through the tree’s torn umbrella
of branches and leaves
and grass shone like polished glass.

I cling to the memory of spring rain
anointing the dry earth.
I breathe the good air around my chair
and drip-stand and purse of healing salt.
I taste the moment and let it melt
on my tongue: this moment
now. The present. The gift.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob


.Jiang Yizi.

so naturally we think of heaven.

realise it is the pattern that makes us,

the familiar and ordinary. other prophets

come false.

in agreement we lose to the music, hell as

entity retreats.

there is a book at the university. i have

read it twice.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

the lime kilns are empty now,

yet the mass remains, the wonder

at the shape. spring came.

each road a picture, slowly staring,

came painting, visual

overload resulting.

then to explain birds, that need none,

drawing lines, weaving dreams

for peace of mind.

we walked together,

she told me stories.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

these are the shorter days, darker days, wood smoke, apple wood, colours of joy. believe in the world, that you can spell first time. be proud as you point out where you live…..

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Joy is…
Joy is the hue of a sunrise triumphantly spreading shades of blue pink purple orange across the galaxy declaring goodbye to yesterday’s sorrow, heartache, and misery.

Joy is swimming through the river of time butter-flying through waves of oppression dolphin kicking out of gloom and darkness into exhilaration…into a new day of expectation.

Joy is a baby’s wide eyed smile radiating innocence gurgling short outburst of “wat dat” in anticipation of exploring the newness of existence.

Joy is a four-year old’s discovery of a candy galore store with dinosaurs and many more gizmos and gadgets along with rows of amazing displays of sugary sweets…any child’s fantasy.

Joy is jazz piano tones cascading from fingers moving at an allegro pace filling the emptiness of space with messages of hope.

Joy is riding the harmonic emotional high church choir singing connecting with celestial sounds evoking the Holy Spirit to fill all hearts and minds with a love and peace that will never cease.

© 2019, Taman Tracy Moncur (The Road of Impossibilities)

Taman’s article In Search of Peace is featured on The BeZine blog this week. 

Taman’s Amazon page is HERE.


Anjum Wasim Dar

At a time when the world is in shock and grief, mourning in black and burying in white, this week’s prompt turns the heart and mind towards the profound joy prevalent in nature.Sympathy comfort and support leads to a state of serenity, and acceptance of the harsh realities. Just as the endless sky meets the ocean line, grief slowly drowns deep, and wave after wave touches the shore to confirm eternal love and hope of more coming joy.
As the striking poem moves on the reader finds it replete with vivid imagery from the contours of the berries to the universal curves of celestial creation and can surely visualize the countless constellations beyond the moon and the solar system. The imaginative mind will leave the mundane, perhaps may not rest, but taking joy along will fly high to seek the ultimate bliss. Sharing some lines

O Joy’ I find thee rising from the merging colors of the horizon
In holy silence, encircled by the Kunlun Mountains of mystical Shangri-la
where beauty holds the breath, and poetry fills the spirit with ecstasy.

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

A Thing of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

after John Keats                                                                                                   

I

Beauty is joyful
Is Joy only in nature ?
flowers reflect love,

Love makes us joyous
True love is rare, never found
Beauty? Ever present

If you look around
Truth makes the world happier
Then hate is drowned.

II

Why time stops still
the killer finds the kill
so suddenly coming?

why sharp is the strike
cutting like a knife
leaving us  bleeding?

why common places
are becoming Senlac?
why life is  a racetrack?

who is fighting for what
and for what winning?
this was not said by

Our Lord so Loving

why we dig but graves to fill?
On top of the High Hill, do you
see Proud Lucifer smiling ?

My heart with fear trembling
cannot for a moment be calm and still
hearing shattered glass and bullets shrill

Another blast another attack-
screams cries blood spilling
why death is brutal and erlking

© 2019, poem and illustration, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)

“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


“Let There Be Peace”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” Fred Rogers 

MIster Rogers (photograph in the public domain)

Fred McFeely Rogers (1928 – 2003) was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, music composer, and host of the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001). The show featured Rogers’ kind, neighborly, avuncular persona, which nurtured his connection to the audience. [Wikipedia]



The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, from the wind wipped edges of the earth, July 18, was probably the most serious and perhaps the most difficult, angering and painful in the history of this effort. Brave, angry, despairing, hopeful responses from newcomer Debasis Mukhopadhyay and from old friends,  Paul Brookes, Debbie Felio (Deb y Felio), Taman Tracy Moncur, and Marta Pombo Sallés. Feed your soul on these this afternoon and be with us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

I hope you’ll visit and get to know these poets. It’s important for us to support and encourage one another in our art and in our solidarity for peace, sustainability and social justice.  I’ve linked in blogs for your convenience. If the poet doesn’t have a site, chances are you can catch up with them on Facebook.


butcher them carefully

i hate how these metal benches are now sighing for the the stall of dawn / how impossible to have again between his eyes & mine evening stars becalmed by a darkness in which we can cry only in dream

the toll-free number destined for detained parents weave rehearsal for life like the dance of corn fields too far to see by / that is that / what better road to the door of dawn could kid draw on the ribs of my cage with his broken piece of chalk

fuck dawn

the warm vapor of morning ablaze in ICE detention center becomes elegies for his dragged off cries / being told that the best chance i have of seeing my son is to plead guilty i am now peace with memory games

© 2018, Debasis Mukhopadhyay

DEBASIS MUKHOPADHYAY is the author of the chapbook kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context (Finishing Line Press, 2017). His poems have appeared in The Curly Mind, Posit, Words Dance, Yellow Chair Review, I am not a silent poet, New Verse News, Anapest Journal, Thirteen Myna Birds, Of/With, Scarlet Leaf Review, With Painted Words, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. His work has been nominated for the Best of the Net. Debasis lives & writes in Montreal, Canada.  Follow him at debasis mukhopadhyay, between ink & inkblot or @dbasis_m on Twitter.


Hopelessness Is Life

Only the hopeless live.
Only hopelessness makes you smile.

When all hopelessness is gone
then you will grieve at the loss.

There are three streets we can go down,
Faithlessness, Hopelessness and Selfishness

Without one of these the others cannot exist.
There must always be hopelessness

in the best of times. It reminds us of an edge
to life. Surrender to hopelessness

and all will be well. It is the force that drives
all that is worthwhile and good.

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

Hope In Small Spaces

since September the public have been invited to name storms that blow hard enough. Today’s storm is called Barney. Last week it was Abigail.

while black patches of damp splatter on the white bathroom, plaster crackles off, dark marks around the double glazing and aroma of decay, the morning shower is good

you travel to hospital to have the active cancer removed from your womb, while the grandkids, your mam and I distract ourselves with a meal in The Horseshoe

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

our unbattle (Apologies to re cummings)

in unwars, highly untrained unsoldiers
unskilled in unkilling, unhelp

unrefugees unhomeless untrek
thousands of unkilometres

to an unwelcome in unpeaceful uncountries,
with untightened unborder uncontrols.

unghosts unhaunt their and our undreams
with unscreams where every unnoise

is the undead unwounded, unfathered,
unmothered children unstare with uneyes.

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

To Avoid Absolutes.

Advice given to me
as a novice know it all writer

when I used words “hope,
love, hate, beauty, ugly.”

Keep it concrete description.
Answer five questions: Why,
how, when, where, what.

What did they know? I
would write what I wanted.

Why? Because I could.
How? Simple, read this.

When? Just this minute.
Where? In my hand.

What? Look there. On
the page. What’s the frown for?

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

Let There be Peace

we look for peace as an outcome
of war with other nations
we look for peace as product
of selfish accumulation

we look for peace in pridefulness
mistaking bullying for might
we look for peace in hiddenness
keeping deception out of sight

we look for peace in armies
enlisting those who may be lost
we look for peace in destruction
never counting all the costs

we look for peace within the walls
that keep the others out
we look for peace in laborious laws
without knowing what they’re about

we look for peace in blame and shame
to quiet all the voices
we look for peace in entitlement
thinking we just need more choices

we look for peace in fulfillment
pretending it’s only about just me
we look for peace in breaking rules
re-labeling it as free

we look for peace in marches
in protests, walk outs and such
we look for peace in demands of others
without shifting ourselves too much

we look for peace in a million ways
repeated as if each one is new
but until we know it within ourselves
there’s little we can do.

Let it begin with me.

© 2018, Deb y Felio

Planting Peace

the peace rose doesn’t grow
in desert and hostile ground

the peace rose doesn’t grow
when pulled up from its planting

the peace rose doesn’t grow
when left unattended

the peace rose doesn’t grow
when damaged and rejected

the peace rose doesn’t grow
in famine and in drought

the peace rose doesn’t grow
when sheared from all sides

the peace rose doesn’t grow
in poverty and war

the peace rose doesn’t grow
when left unplanted as a seed

the peace rose can only grow
when nurtured from beginning.

© 2018, deb y felio


Peace is
The heart of mankind beating the drum of unity
Seeking the pulse of a people
Whose voices are lifted in harmony
Singing the song of difference…

© 2018, Tamam Tracy Moncur


Lights park at night.png

MAD,GLAD, SAD

We are…
mad, glad, sad.
Sometimes they call us mad
for revolutionary ideas.
Others we are glad
when things go fine.

But now we are…
so sad, sad, sad…
for the lack of justice
for the increasing oppression
for starting a new period of life
where things will be much harder.
For so many years
a privileged life.
Or was it just a mirage
on a surface apparently peaceful
though underneath dwelt
the threat of violence
in case you wanted too much freedom?

Yet mad, glad, sad
must always mean hope
a way to carry on
through the dark tunnel.

Mad, glad, sad
please tell me there is light
in our peaceful legitimate fight.

© 2017, photograph and poem, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


ABOUT

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.​


Again

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 B.tech 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
disappear.

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
inherently

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
flowers
erupting

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
rhythm

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

© 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


Fern

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
race-memory
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

 

transformed

© 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.

listen.

© 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?
Because?
Be.

© 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.

Afloat

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)



VALUE ADDED

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

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.


ABOUT

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.”