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WHO WILL FORGIVE GOD, a poem . . . and therein lies your Wednesday Writing Prompt

"The Apotheosis of War" 1871, Vasily Vereshchagin
“The Apotheosis of War”

God is on our side …
without a shadow of a doubt
they said and
no nay-saying her parents
her husband, her people
the politicos and demigods
their war-mongering

her eyes surveilled the warriors as
they cut across fields of innocence,
they stomped and postured

no Light shining from dark disorder
no Joy in parting a sea of blood

in her heart: doubts
large, lively, captive
packed tight into small muscle,
specters beating at the walls




they know not what they do

God forgives them all, she was taught
But who will forgive God

– Jamie Dedes

Vasili Vereshchagin
Vasili Vereshchagin

The Apotheosis of War painting (1871) is by Vasily Vereshchagin (1842-1904), a Russian artist, who dedicated this painting and one other – Left Behind  (a wounded Russian soldier abandoned by his comrades) – “to all conquerors, past, present and to come…”


There were several observations that contributed to this poem but, most of all, it was reading some comments on Facebook, especially this one: “If this is God’s will then God has a lot of explaining to do.”  War, destruction, murder: God’s will, free will, or the apotheosis of nihilism (insanity)? Write something that – by virtue of its brevity – is pungent: a poem or perhaps a parable.

Please feel free to put a link to your poem or parable below in comments so that I and others may come read your work.

© 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; the portrait of Vasili Vereshchagin and the photograph of “The Apotheosis of War” are both in public domain.

Le Fée Verte, Absinthé … and Your Wednesday Writing Prompt


A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world, what difference is there between a glass of absinthé and a sunset.” Oscar Wilde 

Albert Maignan's Green Muse (1895): a poet succumbs to the Green Fairy.
Albert Maignan’s Green Muse (1895): a poet succumbs to the Green Fairy (public domain)

in the wilderness of those green hours
gliding with the faerie muse along café
walls virescent, sighing jonquil wings of
poetry, inventing tales in the sooty red
mystery of elusive beauty, beguiled by an
opalescent brew, tangible for the poet and
the pedestrian, the same shared illusions
breaching the rosy ramparts of heaven

– Jamie Dedes


This poem was originally written in 2011 in response to Victoria Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt, which we would host at The BeZine in the years before that site became a zine.  Victoria had written:

As a would-be artist and a former museum docent, I enjoy playing with the elements of art in my writing–both in fiction and poetry. A favorite is to use of color to create mood. In art, abstract expressionists often use color as the primary tool to convey their “story.” There are many interpretations of the meaning or symbolism accorded to each color. I’m offering a few of my own: Yellow is a happy color and can be used to liven up a scene–to make it joyful, while Red signifies anger, passion, love. Think about it: when you’re feeling intense emotions, such as rage and close your eyes, sometimes your visual field appears red. Blue and Green convey calm and  peace Black represents the unknown or fear while Brown is a grounded, earthy color. Violet or Lavender speak of spirituality while White is used to represent truth and innocence.

– Victoria C. Slotto

How does color influence your mood? How do you use color when you dress, decorate your home or choose a car? Do certain colors represent an event, holiday or childhood memory? What colors have symbolic meaning for you, perhaps related to your religion, country or ethnicity? Think for awhile about your own use of and reactions to color. Experiment: write a poem, flash fiction or creative nonfiction piece intentionally using color to set the mood or to foreshadow outcome. Take your time and enjoy yourself.


© 2011, poem, and 2016, prompt text, Jamie Dedes, and Victoria’s text, Victoria C Slotto, All rights reserved; photograph, glass of absinthé by Eric Litton under CC BY-SA license.

FROM THE BUTCHER’S BLADE … and a Wednesday Writing Prompt for You

Arriving at our stop, it would spit us out … so much cattle, the regimented and the ragtagged, tired and numb.  Once dumped, the rail-car doors would close behind us and we were whirled in the wake of the train rushing to the next station. Then, a sudden silence, and we were free to plod our way home, a final few blocks in Gravesend, a new ‘s-Gravenzande*, if you will, but an old irony. I’d stop at the bakery first and go on to Paul the butcher and his merchant’s rictus. His beef, he told me, “is like butter,” perfect for my carnivore husband. Paul’s face seemed bloodless to me, as if in some moment of devotion he chose to infuse the dead. Still more child than woman, I would study the varied cuts waiting to be bought, waiting to be devoured. I’d fancy their missing eyes, bones, and very lives crying out. These offerings of body and blood from Paul’s steel blade to my tattered tin chalice fed me for two years on the futility of hope.

– Jamie Dedes

* ‘s-Gravenzande – the place in Holland that some believe gave its name to Gravesend, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York that was “settled” by the Dutch.


Write a poem or flash fiction piece that describes someone’s trip home from work – triumphant, grateful, used-up or bitter.

© 2013, flash fiction, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; cattle photograph courtesy of morgueFile

“The Mighty” (That would be you and me!) … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

I am disabled. Hear me roar!

I am disabled but not unable.  Thanks to medical technology, fabulous and caring physicians, family support, social support (both online and off) and computer technology, I continue with my chosen career, my chosen causes and a life that is as full and engaging as anyone could hope.

Now, I’ve discovered The Mighty (details in the video below) thanks to my Bardo Group Beguines colleague, Lana Phillips. What a great find!

A wonderful idea, essentially an online support group for people who are dealing with chronic and catastrophic illness and sharing information and resources. The people who visit The Mighty site and/or write for it, share their stories (including stories of parenting). They are women and men who are ill or disabled themselves or who are caring for others who are ill or disabled … or, perhaps both.

We are so fortune in these days that there are support groups available. My own mother lived with cancer over and over again. First breast cancer, which kept reoccurring. Then thyroid, kidney and other cancers. Ultimately she died at 76 of breast and colon cancer.  In her day, there were no support groups,  no one in her life who could understand the complications: psychological, financial or physical. There was no adult who could observe, understand and intervene. She also suffered from mental illness and was in an almost constant state of stress and trauma.

Unlike my mom, I have the benefit of a support group at the Medical Center for people with interstitial lung diseases who are in pre-transplant (me), transplant and post transplant programs. I also belong to an off-line support group of people with “life-threatening” (read ultimately fatal) illnesses, which is run by the local Buddhist meditation center. Some are – like me – lucky enough to go on for years. I was diagnosed in 1999 with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is fatal within five years of diagnosis and for which there is no cure.  I’m still here because the diagnosis was wrong. There was no way to know that until time passed and reactions to medical treatments could be observed and evaluated. These proved that the condition is actually Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. So, as you see, I’m still hanging out. Some of the members of our Buddhist group are not. Over the last seven years we’ve lost nineteen friends. That’s the tough part.

The upside is that our offline support groups provide us safe haven to share information, to be open about our fears and frustrations, and to share our joys. So too The Mighty, where there are a rather remarkable number of conditions addressed from a personal perspective and in a manner that is informed, compassionate and uplifting. Bravo!


Write a poem, short story or feature article about dealing with chronic catastrophic illness or disability. Directly or indirectly, illness and disability touch all our lives. It’s just part of this package called Life!  If you write an article, you might consider submitting it to The Mighty. Submission guidelines are HERE.

© 2016, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved.