Saturday, April 29, 2017


The Bermuda Triangle has always held a
fascination, and the fate of Flight 19 is
one of its mysteries.
Submitted to Poets United, Poetry Pantry
April 30, 2017

Five pilots of the Navy’s tried and true
Took off on a mission routine
The Florida sun was shining
There were high hopes for Flight 19

They’d completed part of their journey
When the lead pilot called to say
His compass had malfunctioned
And he feared they’d lost their way

And so no one really knows
What happened to the flight
In the last communication
They said “No land in sight”.

What  followed was a massive search
The outcome was as feared
All five planes and 14 souls
Seemed to have disappeared.

Two rescue planes had been dispatched
To try to find the flight
Before another day had dawned
One of them, too, had vanished from sight.

The searchers found no oil slicks
No sign of  debris was seen
To explain the mysterious fate
Of the search plane or Flight 19.

The Bermuda Triangle is legend
For ships lost and never seen again
She still holds fast the destination
Of the search plane, Flight 19, and their men.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Frank asks us to write a limerick,
a 5-line poem.   Who can stop at one?

Submitted to dVerse Form For All
April 26, 2017

There once was a girl named Sally
Who lived in the Silicon Valley
She took a big chance
And got some implants
And now she's called Silicone Sally.

There once was a fellow idiotic
Who kept company with animals exotic
When asked who he was with
His friends propagated the myth
"Who gnu?", they all said, "He's quixotic".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


This week's Midweek Motif challenges us
to consider a grain of sand.
Submitted to Poets United
April 26, 2017

Once I stood atop the mountain
The mistress of all I surveyed
Ah, how sweet to survey my kingdom
For which I’d so dearly paid

Then sands shifted on the promontory
Which it seemed I had only just gained
And I found myself in the valley
With the mountain before me again

I vowed I would conquer the mountain
It seemed I’d climbed time after time
And grasping familiar footholds
Once more I began to climb.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Paul has asked us to feature community in our
Tuesday Poetics this week. I'm overcome with
nostalgia, which occasions this bit of prose.
Submitted to dVerse Poetics Tuesday
April 15, 2017

The indigenous aboriginals of Australia call it their belonging place … that place where they had their beginning.  My belonging place is that part of middle Illinois where I spent my childhood, wrapped in the unconditional love of my parents, and the safety of the surrounding community.    I close my eyes to a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells etched forever in my soul.  I see still my mother’s garden, and the fields that stretched to the horizon in regimented rows of corn, golden waves of oats, fragrant fields of clover and alfalfa.  I hear the contented lowing of the cattle, the rooster’s morning crow, the nighttime hoot of the owl in the elm tree outside my window, and the snuffling grunts of the pigs at their feeders.  I smell the fragrance of the lilac by the yard gate, a wondrous blend of coffee brewing and bacon frying in early morning, the pungent smell of freshly turned earth, the unmatchable smell of new-mown hay, and the smell of sunshine on my sheets and pillow.

My belonging place was peopled by the good-hearted and hard-working farm families of our community, most of whom attended the same little roadside church and whose children attended my one-room school.  There were no locks on doors, no daily newspapers to bring us news of murder, mayhem and disasters.  Our news of the world beyond our little community came from the evening newscast on the old console radio beside my father’s rocking chair.  We went to bed at nightfall and got up at dawn.   The faces of those dear folks who peopled our community will remain with me always, and I am blessed.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Grace brings us Quadrille #31, a challenge
to write a poem of exactly 44 words using
the word “still” or a form thereof.
Submitted to dVerse
April 24, 2017

After all this time
you visit me still
in my dreams.
I hear you chuckle,
calling me Bay-Be
in the old teasing way.
Wrapped in your arms
once again,  I am loved
and secure.
I  don’t want to wake up
and be alone again.

The stillness of night
Opens memory’s doorway
And there we meet again


Sunday, April 23, 2017


Just a light-hearted little rhyme on
a beautiful Sunday morning.
Submitted to the Poetry Pantry at Poets United
April 23, 2017

Deep in the woods where the sunshine speckles
You might find the girl, nose dusted with freckles
She had no worries about fashion trends
All the creatures of the woodland were her friends..

Sometimes she climbed high in the mighty old oak
And listened to songbirds as they spoke
Or she lay on her belly in the tall, green grass
And whispered to caterpillars as they’d pass

She talked to the fish in the forest pool
She had plenty of time; there was no school
The fairies had granted all her wishes
No cleaning house, no doing dishes

She ruled her world with an iron hand
There were no bad guys in her land
She played lots of games, and was always the winner
… But playtime was over when Momma called her to dinner.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Poets United Midweek Motif asks us to
consider that which is holy.
Submitted April 19, 2017

Somewhere in the great what-comes-after, He-who-knows-all
must look upon our fractiousness, our failure to love one another,
our careless use of our wonderful world and the gifts herein, our
frantic search for the meaning of life, and shake His weary head
at our obtuseness, for that which is holy is all about us.   It is in
the innocent faces of  children, the sunrise and sunset we take for
granted,  the opening of a flower, the fragrance of Spring rain,
cool breezes on a summer day, the touch of a loved one, the tides
of the ocean, the flow of rivers,  the gift of music, the pristine
silence of new fallen snow, the glorious colors of autumn, and
the miracle that is life.   There are many avenues to the great
what-comes-after, if we but take the time to be still and allow
the peace that passes understanding to settle upon us.

wisdom in silence
blessed assurance for all
if we but listen

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Tuesday Poetics requires a postcard this week.  How timely!  
My family is on Topsail Island and I'm here at home!
Submitted to dVerse Tuesday Poetics
April 18, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017


It's Haibun/Haiku Monday at dVerse
and we're challenged to feature something
we fear.   My haibun's a bit wordy.  Forgive me!
Submitted April 17, 2017

My mother taught me so many valuable lessons.  I am forever grateful.  However, she taught me one lesson I could have lived without.  She had a dreadful fear of water. Edgar Cayce, known as the Sleeping Prophet, believed that many of our fears and ills are karma from previous lives. In that case, I often wondered about my mother’s previous lives.  Perhaps, I thought, she was a relative of Noah’s who fell from the ark and drowned in the great flood; or perhaps an Egyptian handmaiden who tumbled from Cleopatra’s barge and was swept away by the waters of the Nile.   Perhaps she was an Indian maiden in Chief Tecumseh’s village who fell into what is now Reelfoot Lake, created by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811; or maybe she was a passenger on the Titanic.. 

These are only some of the things I considered that might have caused Mother’s fear of water.  Whatever the cause, she managed to transfer that fear to me quite nicely.  For the most part, it wasn’t a problem, because the only water near our farm was a meandering, gurgling little creek that one could wade across, except on occasion in the Spring rains when it became a raging torrent.  There was a community pool in the town 13 miles from our farm, but of course that was never on  Mother’s travel schedule.   I remember a picnic with another family on the banks of a river somewhere in middle Illinois.  The father of the other family had brought along an inner tube to allow his children to float on the river.  My mother reluctantly allowed me to join in, but only after she warned me to hold tight, lest I be swept under the murky waters, carried away by the current and ultimately spit into the ocean at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi.  I clung to that inner tube with a ferociousness that has since never been outdone. 

Fate took me to Miami, Florida, in my 20’s, and of course that meant the beach and the ocean.   I purchased my first bathing suit and tiptoed into the Atlantic at South Miami Beach.  It was great fun … so long as my feet touched bottom.   Friends tried to teach me to swim, but I could never manage to swim and turn my head to breathe at the same time, so I could only paddle as far as I could hold my breath.   The long bridge over Tampa Bay is a lesson in courage for me, the mere thought of an ocean cruise gives me the vapors,  even flying over water causes anxiety.   I’ve tried very hard not to pass Mother’s fear to the next generation, and took my children for swimming lessons, managing to curb my fear when the instructor took them to the deep end of the pool.   I’m very proud to say both can swim, and my grandchildren seem to have no fear of water.  Hopefully, I have broken the tradition for the next generation….but deep water still scares me!

Spring is in the air
Flowering trees burst with bloom
Wonderful feast for the eyes

Friday, April 14, 2017


Kim at dVerse has give us a challenging challenge this week at Meet the Bar.  "The challenge", says Kim, " is to choose a modern popular song, preferably one that everyone knows, and re-write it as a Shakespearean sonnet, which can be serious, humorous or just plain silly! To make it more fun, don’t give your sonnet its original title so that we can take a guess as to what it might be!
Here's my feeble attempt, though it's obviously not a true sonnet.
April 14, 2017


Whither art thou, my love, whither art thou
How I strive, but I cannot see
Was’t a will-o-the-wisp, an empty fa├žade
Yet, still do blue eyes gaze on me
Still do blue eyes gaze on me

Tis confusion, methinks pure illusion
When I thought ‘twas passion for true
Whither art thou, my love, whither art thou
‘twas but a dream I thought was you
Yet still your blue eyes gaze on me

Alas, what I mistook for passion
Was but a figment of my desperate mind
Still, blue eyes gaze on me
But perchance they’ve left me behind

Thursday, April 13, 2017


A bit of tongue-in-cheek rhyming
(a limerick perhaps?) for this week's
Poetry Pantry
Submitted April 16, 2017

A man for all seasons
Keeps secret his reasons
Until his game has been played.

Ladies fall for his charms
When held in his arms
But they’re destined to be betrayed

For him love’s a contest
His joy is in the conquest
But then he’s off and away.

The sweet words he’s spoken
Leave the ladies heartbroken
But much smarter too, they say.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Midweek Motif topic this week is Books. 
My  prose is a bit lengthy, but the subject
begged a story to be told.
Submitted to Poets United Midweek Motif
April 12, 2017

My love of books began in a little one-room school in middle Illinois.  My teacher, Earl Zehr, was small in stature, a rather nondescript man, who always wore a crisp shirt and tie with a cardigan sweater.  I don’t remember that he ever raised his voice, yet he maintained respect and order in our schoolroom.   It all seemed very ordinary then, and it was only many years later I came to realize just what an impact he had on my life.  

The role of a country schoolteacher in those days was so much more than reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and history.   Mr. Zehr was janitor, and responsible for building a fire in the big pot-bellied stove on cold winter mornings; and, with some help from students, keeping our schoolroom tidy.  We learned responsibility by being assigned small tasks, and pride in doing them well.   He was music director, and played the piano for our rousing renditions of  “America, the Beautiful”, “God Bless America and other patriotic songs that instilled a pride and love for our country.  On the playground, he was umpire, coach and athletic director.  It was here we learned life lessons that would stand us in good stead for all our lives.   We learned to play fair, to negotiate, to respect others, to look after the little ones, and always to do our best.  On holidays, Mr. Zehr became the drama teacher, preparing and choreographing little programs which we performed for our parents. 

But the greatest gift for me was the time he set aside two or three days a week to read to us from a book of his choice.   In my mind I see him still, taking up the book from the corner of his desk, opening it almost reverently, and, in his measured voice, beginning to read to us of faraway cities and  events so very different from our rural part of the world.   He would read two or three chapters, then close the book until the next session, leaving us in breathless anticipation.   I became thirsty to read every book that came my way.  My studies ended after a year in business college, but my education has lasted my life long, thanks to the thirst for knowledge he instilled in me.  Books are my best friends. Many years later, in what proved to be the last year of his life, I had occasion to see Mr. Zehr again, and to thank him for the gift he had given me.  I am so grateful I had that opportunity.

Armchair vacation
Destination anywhere
No passport required

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


It's Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, and Lillian has challenged us to choose a top song from our birth year and weave it into our poem.   WOW!  I hit a bonanza.  There were so many good ones, I just chose to use them all (they're highlighted).   Now, everyone hurry to find the year!
Submitted April 11, 2017

I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter to remind me
it was just one of those things.  Just because I get a kick out of you,
I convinced myself you’re the top, and you are my lucky star;
but dancing cheek to cheek under the blue moon to the lullaby of Broadway
warped my senses, so don’t be comin’ around any more.  I won’t dance. 


Monday, April 10, 2017


It's Quadrille Monday at dVerse and Mish
has given us "drizzle" for our word to
be used in our quadrille of exactly 44 words.
Submitted  April 10, 2017

When I was young and sparkly
I had a lot of sizzle
Now that I’ve grown older
My sizzle is a fizzle

I start my day all perky
My expectations are great
But drizzles seem to beset me
And my perk seems to abate.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


A haibun and haiku, submitted to
Poetry Pantry at Poets United
April 9, 2017

Dark clouds gathered on the horizon.  The birds fell quiet,
and small creatures scurried for cover.  A rogue wind crested
the hill, saddled the lightning and rode it arcing through the
dark clouds down to the valley floor.  Deafening bursts
of thunder rumbled up the valley and the trees bowed and
thrashed in a frenzied Macarena.  Raindrops built to a steady
downpour, and parched earth slaked its thirst, sending forth
a fecund fragrance.  After a time, distant thunder signaled
that the storm had moved on, and a soggy silence fell
over the valley. 

Dark clouds foretell storm
Nature exerts dominance
Silence left behind


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

13 Ways of Looking at a Tree

Poets United Midweek Motif challenges us to present an outdoor scene honoring April. 
Looking out my window at the budding trees, I'm reminded of Wallace Stevens' poem
"13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", and I've adapted the idea for an oak.
Submitted to Midweek Motif
April, 2017

It falls from high,                  
small, brown, inconspicuous,                
containing promise of mighty oak          

A seedling, roots seeking sustenance               
growing strong and tall              
fulfilling destiny                          
Shield from summer sun                
dappled shade                      
on cool green grass.
Natives gather beneath              
dense leaves provide shelter              
from summer storm                  
Feathered inhabitants
find welcome homes
and raise voices in song

Now standing sentinel
beside pioneer cabin
amid fresh young dreams.

The child swings
from sturdy limb
happy and secure

In soft rustles of night
a quiet “who who”
of resident owl

Taller still, rooted deep
scarred by time
cloaked in history.

Dressed in colors
glorious red
russet and gold

Now naked in winter winds
limbs akimbo
colors pooled below

Stark shadow cast on snow
like tentacles
seeking warmth

Now tinged with green
bursting with life anew
the cycle continues.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


It's Poetic Tuesday at dVerse, and Lillian has asked us to
investigate anthropomorphism, which brought to mind
HyberNate, the bear.
Submitted April, 2017

HyberNate, the bear,
woke up hungry.

Out his den door, he saw
a buttermilk sky,
cotton candy clouds spooning,
then skidding apart,
split by forked lightning
kniving its way earthward
toward lettuce green hills
and broccoli trees looking over
lemon meringued valleys
with popcorn highways
edged with lollipops and bonbons.

“Oh (sigh)”, he thought, “It’s a
     word salad  kind of day.”


Monday, April 3, 2017


Submitted to dVerse for Haibun Monday
April 3, 2017

She awakened to the plaintive wail of the 7 a.m. train, and peered out the window to see it was yet another of those gray, bleak winter days.  Shadows of bare tree limbs played across the dingy remnants of the last snowfall. With a sigh, she arose and shuffled to the kitchen, where she set about the daily routine of making her morning coffee.  How she longed for the sense of well-being that comes with the first hint of Spring!  It had been a long winter and each day seemed the same as the one before, a progression of sameness which left her struggling with boredom and depression.  She opened the door, which gave the expected complaining squeak, and picked up the morning paper from its usual spot on the front step, noting that her own shadow mingled with that of the bare tree limbs, creating a lonely scene.  Appropos, she thought, as she closed the door and shuffled back to the kitchen.  Her first cup of coffee was always accompanied by the daily crossword, and she opened the paper, picked up her pencil and began the daily ritual.   One across.  Five letters.  “A pervasive sense of boredom”.  She penciled in the letters E-N-N-U-I, ennui … and the irony of the word did not escape her.

yesterday again
each day the same as the last
boredom reigns supreme


Saturday, April 1, 2017


A bit of tongue-in-cheek humor
Submitted to Poets United Poetry Pantry
and dVerse Open Link
(Image credit to Dreamstime)
April, 2017

Gather ‘round, you quirksters
I’ve a tale for you to hear
About the king of the castle
And his daughter, Gimme-a-beer

One day into the castle
Clanked handsome Sir Laugh-a-lot
He’d heard of the fair maiden
Whose father, the king, was gone a lot.

He courted the fair maiden
And stole her heart away
“When father comes back, we’ll tell him”,
She said, “’Twill be a wondrous day”.

But the day was not so wondrous
When the king returned to the castle
He’d heard of faithless courting knights
And there really was quite a hassle.

Sir Laugh-a-lot had to do battle
In the castle jousting ring
He learned it wasn’t easy
To please Gimme-a-beer’s father, the king.

But Sir Laugh-a-lot was canny
He was bound to persevere
And win the hand in marriage
Of the beautiful Gimme-a-beer

The day came the king consented
To give his daughter in marriage
And Gimme-a-beer and Laugh-a-lot
Rode off in their wedding carriage.

The moral of my story
Of those days of long ago
Of castle kings and jousting rings
Is one you’ll want to know.

It’s that there’s danger in the jousting ring
And being king of the castle is tough …
But once a king always a king
And once a knight’s enough.


Thursday, March 30, 2017


Submitted to dVerse Meeting the Bar,
where the subject is irony.
(Image is from a Salt Lake City Tribune editorial cartoon)
March 30, 2017

Isn’t it ironic
That those who think they’re iconic
Are occasionally just demonic
In their approach to fame

In tones somewhat symphonic
Sometimes even harmonic
Occasionally histrionic
Their attempt is simply lame.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Gender is to be the subject for this week's Midweek Motif
at Poets United.    I hope no one will be shocked at my rather
irreverent point of view.
 Image result for transgender public restrooms

 A poem about gender
Could be a mind-bender
Considering political brouhaha
Over naming our rest rooms
Or changing them to guest rooms
Some will fight to the last hurrah

I’ve considered my personal point of view
About this dreadful, contentious stew
And this is how it seems to me
There’s more cause for great dismay
About big problems in the world today
Than where we go to pee.

A tempest in a peepot?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


dVerse Poetics Challenge is to write a poem from the perspective of nature.
When I drive through the country and see a deserted house with flowers still
growing at the roadside, or beside the house, I wonder who planted them.
My photo is of a deserted cottage in Brown County, Indiana, which inspired
my poem.
Submitted to dVerse Poetics
March 28, 2017

Mary planted roses by the door
In that time so long ago
Through lace curtains at the window
She watched them bloom and grow.

Those days are long since gone
Faded into pages of the past
But still the roses vine and bloom
Each year as beautiful as the last.

The lace now hangs in tatters
The cottage vacant and still
The oaks still overlook it all
From their spot upon the hill.

Mary is but a memory
To those who loved her best
But still her roses vine and bloom
Since she’s been laid to rest.

So we, too, leave a legacy
In small things we have done
And we leave a gossamer footprint
That lingers after we have gone.

Monday, March 27, 2017


dVerse Quadrille We're challenged
to write a poem of exactly 44 words
including the word balloon
Submitted 3-27-17

Inflated and untethered
my steed rises in sunrise glow
‘til we’re gamboling along the current
with a sky view of all below   

Skipping and swaying joyfully
my hot air balloon and me
my troubles seem to fall away
I’m sailing wild and free.



Friday, March 24, 2017


A bit of prose, tribute to Nigh Chapel
Submitted to Poets United Poetry Pantry
Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's gone.  The little roadside chapel of my youth.  For more than 120 years
it stood by the rambling creek, the Sunday morning gathering place of the
farm families that lived in the vicinity.  In its early days it was the center of
social activity in the surrounding rural area.  There were chicken suppers
and ice cream socials, Easter and Christmas "programs" when the
youngsters did recitations and raised their pure, sweet voices in loud (and
sometimes discordant) celebration.  For all those years, and four generations
of our family, the old Seth Thomas clock ticked away the moments, as itinerant
preachers offered up sermons based on the tenets of the Methodist Church.  It
seemed it would be there always, this cornerstone of my childhood, where the
moral values instilled by my parents were reinforced, and my faith in a higher
power came to be.  It is gone.  First closed, then destroyed in a windstorm, a
victim of the relentless march of time.   I stood in the spot where it had been,
and through a veil of tears I pictured, still, my parents and their friends passing
the time of day on the front steps.  Surely this spot is hallowed for all time,
caught forever in the memories of those of us who were fortunate enough to
be a part of Nigh Chapel.

happy memories
survive the passage of time
in this hallowed spot


Monday, March 20, 2017


This challenge brought about a happy memory
I hadn't visited for some time.  My thanks to
our hostess this week.
Submitted to dVerse
March 20, 2017

When visiting my daughter, who lives in Salem, Oregon, we chose to take a ride up the Rogue River on one of the jet boats that deliver the U.S. mail from Gold Beach to isolated spots on the river.  There were about 15 people in our group.  It was a glorious day and a glorious opportunity to see the unspoiled and unpopulated course of the Rogue, where we saw heron, cormorant, osprey, a bald eagle, and assorted wildlife   It seemed to be as it had been since the beginning of time, a veritable untouched Eden. 

At mid-day we stopped at Lucas Lodge, which is at the confluence of the Rogue and the Illinois River.  There we were seated at one large table with red-checkered tablecloth, and served a farmhouse style dinner of crispy fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, garden vegetables, hot biscuits with blackberry jam, and apple pie.  It was a quiet group at first, but I suggested we go around the table and introduce ourselves.  What followed was a meal I will always remember.  Conversation flowed freely amongst the varied folks at the table … a pair on their honeymoon (blushing appropriately), an employee of the timber industry, a save-the-white-owl environmentalist, a pharmacist (my daughter), our tour guide and others.   By the time we got to the apple pie, we were a congenial group, and we found our way back down the hill and boarded the boat for the trip back to Gold Beach. That meal somewhere on the Rogue is one of my pleasantest memories.

Summer on the Rogue
far from civilization
worries fall away


Having used my river story for yesterday's
Haibun, I offer instead this prayer with
its allusion to the river of time.
Submitted to dVerse Poetics
March 21, 2017

Oh God of poets,
He/She who shepherds the
      river of time and oversees currents
        and white waters of life
visit me tonight with mind-blowing
      phrases of wonderfulness.    
        guide my pen to philosophical
            profundities and psychological
 plant scintillating and sparkling repartee’
       in the pens of those of us
          with word addiction.
Let me eloquently speak of pulchritude
         and thoughtfully of solitude.
beknight me with the
      wisdom of the ages and,
        if possible, put it in rhyme.
bestow vocabulary acuity
       and grammatical alacrity;
         and, if it’s not too much,
          keep me humble. 


Friday, March 17, 2017


Someone once asked "What would you do with
your last $20?", which gave me pause for thought.
My thoughts turned to the rich, flat prairie of Illinois
and the little farm where I grew up, and occasioned
this little ditty.
Submitted to Poets United Poetry Pantry
March, 2017


Ten things I’d do with my last $20
Me, the girl who’s always had plenty?
I learned well at my mother’s knee
To beware of the careless spending spree.
I’m not the trendiest girl on the block
But I’ve some put back in a well worn sock.

I’d need pen and paper so I could write
And something to read when it got to be night
I’d want a mu-mu, loose and flowing
(I won’t be wearing a bra where I’m going.)

I’ll gather my kids and we’ll head for the farm    
The one safe place, free from harm.
I’ll take along some packets of seeds
We’ll grow enough to meet our needs.

We may be down to our very last dime
But we’ll be living in a simpler time.
No electronic tethers, which some will think odd
But we’ll have time again to talk to God.

We’ll breathe fresh air, and dance in the sun
And count our blessings when day is done.
“They sure don’t have much”, some will say
But, then, what good is money anyway?

Thursday, March 16, 2017


At dVerse Meet the Bar, we're challenged by Bjorn
to consider Impressionism in words, a
formidable task!
Painting:  Claude Monet's Cliff at Pourville
Submitted to
 March 16, 2017

Dust devil in the desert
whirl-a-gigging into the air
sailing azure currents
to know not where

Spinagain, spinagain
twirl to the dawn
roundabout gadabout
still moving on

Circuitous, fortuitous
and now at sea
whirlpooling onward
wet, wild and free



Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely intentional……
Submitted to  Poets United Midweek Motif
and to Open Link
March, 2017

Once upon a time there was an empty man,
filled only with himself.  The Earl of Deceit
dwelled in a golden tower, yet convinced
many he was everyman.  He rose to the
highest office in the land, then spent his
time wreaking revenge on those who dared
disagree with him.   With a careless stroke
of the pen, he extinguished the light of
Lady Liberty, divided families and caused
hardship and grief  to those who had already
suffered much, then retired to his opulent
castle in a southern city for a spirited game
of trick and tweet. 

With swaggering bravado,  no mirror large
enough for his ego, he spouted lies meant to
obfuscate his true agenda.   He denigrated
women, though he married three. 
He smiled little, and blustered much.   He
embarrassed his nation and spat upon tradition. 

Soon (and this is the fairy tale part) he
disappointed those who believed in him, and
became like the emperor with no clothes. 
Everyman came to see his feet of clay, and he
was dethroned.  The country fell to its knees
in gratitude to have escaped self-inflicted
Armageddon.  The torch of Lady Liberty was
re-ignited, and all the peoples of the land
lived companionably ever after. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Submitted to Midweek Motif
March 15, 2017

There are grandiose gestures
about which much is written 
of strangers inordinately kind.
But the kindnesses small
for no reason at all
are meaningful too, I find.

If we became the strangers,
we could all be life-changers,
and perhaps change our own as well
If we look for the chance to
make someone’s eyes dance
we’d both feel a lift, truth to tell.

A compliment paid, a smile and a nod
Small things are time well spent
Some small chore
 like opening a door
and gloom just got up and went!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


It's Tuesday Poetics, and Lillian asks us to revisit an amusement park.
March, 2017

kaleidoscope of sights and sounds
smell of gasoline engines
fueling adrenalin rush
for frantic thrill-seekers.

ferris wheel view of chaos
smell of sweat and cotton candy
weary parents and excited children
“Once more, Daddy, please”.

tilt-a-whirled and dizzied
sensory overload
merry-go-rounded on wooden steed
nobody wins the race

taken high, turned upside down
scream into the night
right side up and grateful
overcome with revelry

homeward bound,
it slips away
cacophony is stilled

Monday, March 13, 2017


We’re challenged to create a quadrille
using the word “spring” in exactly 44
words.  I challenged myself to use
the various meanings as well.
Submitted to dVerse at
March, 2017

The buggy springs creaked
on the bumpy ride to Bozart's Spring
atop Larkspur Mountain.
Buckets were filled with clear,
cool water, and the homeward
trip begun amidst bluebells
and forget-me-nots, while
songbirds basked in sunshine
and serenaded the first days of Spring.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

I've always felt we live our life in chapters.  For this week's Open Link
I've chosen a poem I wrote many years ago when I became a widow, and
a chapter in my life ended.
February, 2017

We kissed as you took your departure
And both said “I’ll see you then”
For how could we know on that morning
We’d not see each other again.

We live day by day always thinking
There’ll be time to say things on the morrow
But death takes away all those chances
And we’re left full of words in our sorrow.

I looked at your lips still and silent
And I wanted to shout “It’s not fair!
We had things to be said to each other
How could we know there was no time to spare?”

Did you know when I sat by the graveside
And words flowed that had been left unsaid?
It seemed the world faded about me
And it seemed I heard your voice instead.

It seemed I heard “Life’s for the living.
There’s no turning back, it’s all done.
Hold close what we had while our lives touched,
But it’s time to pick up and move on.”

It’s true time heals, as it’s spoken
And I find life still good day by day
But when someone does something to please me
I try to take time now to say.

For I know our time here is fleeting
And life rushes by very fast
We must say what we feel when we feel it
Lest the moment to say it has passed.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017


We’re honoring International Woman’s Day.  Born in the era when a woman’s place was in the home, I married and raised my babies as expected.  I was widowed at a young age, however, and so began my business career.  I have always felt I had the best of both worlds.   My poem is not deep or introspective, but rather a humorous look at my self-confident self in a humbling moment. 
Submitted to Poets United Midweek Motif, February, 2017,
with a salute to all the young working mothers today who are juggling motherhood and career.

T’was at my friend’s daughter’s wedding
I’ve remembered it all this while
I’d taken the arm of my usher
And we’d headed up the aisle.

Under my brand new navy dress
I wore my ancient navy half slip
It’s elastic was weak and weary
But it hung on my ample hip.

I was looking downright regal
For our brief trip, heaven knows
But, soon that dratted half slip
Fell down about my toes.

I hardly missed a forward step
As I bent to pick it up
Gathered it in my fist
And continued on…Hup Hup

My escort looked over at me
With a twinkle in his eye
“It was just my slip”, I whispered
And slid into my seat with a sigh.

When I told it at the reception
We all had a laugh quite hearty
As I sat slipless among good friends
At that well-remembered wedding party.

I’m attending a wedding in a week or two
But I won’t take a chance
I’ll still be downright regal,
But I’ll be wearing pants!

Monday, March 6, 2017


We're requested to feature the forest in our
haibun/haiku this week at
Age prohibits walks in the woods for me, but I
am nonetheless able to enjoy the concert of the
forest outside my window.


One of the blessings in my life is the grove of trees outside my bedroom window.   I savor the nights I can sleep with my window open, listening to the night sounds in the woods.  The occasional flutter of wings, the quiet “who who” of the owl who lives there, courting sounds of the tree frogs,  the bugling trill of the cardinals, the plaintive murmur of the mourning doves,  and the rustling of small creatures,,,all are sounds that settle on me like a mantle of calm and comfort.   A summer rain is a concert from the patter of the first drops to the drumming of a steady downpour, the accompanying breeze wafting the wonderful scent of pure, sweet rain through my window.  

The seasons bring gifts of their own.   The usual night sounds in autumn are accompanied by the occasional plop as the acorns fall from the oaks, followed by the appearance of glorious shades of rust, red and gold.   Soon the dry leaves are a muted concert of their own, until the trees stand bare like old ladies, arms akimbo,  whose petticoats have fallen to their feet.  The first snow of winter frosts it all in a magical panorama of white.  An occasional ice storm brings a tympany of  colliding branches.   At last, the first tinges of Spring green appear, the daffodils push up through their bed of fallen leaves.  The cycle prepares to repeat itself….. and I have had a ticket to the concert. 

Contemplate the tree
recording passage of time
standing sentinel


Thursday, March 2, 2017


Frank Hubeny at dVerse has challenged us to write
prose poetry.  I realize I've been writing it for years!
Submitted February, 2017

Every woman thinks she can change the man she marries.   As girls, we dream of finding our knight in shining armor, who will cause our hearts to skip a beat, and carry us off to his castle where we’ll live happily ever after.  We begin our search for this paragon, who causes our heart to skip a beat.   When at last we meet the guy who has that inexplicable something that rattles our estrogen,  and by some curious stroke of fate we have that same inexplicable something that rattles his testosterone,  love settles upon us.  In some cases, love settles gently as a soft falling Spring rain, and in others it strikes with the ferocity of a Summer thunderstorm.   Whichever is the case,  it is not long until we hear strains of “Here Comes the Bride”,  a ring is on our finger, the vows are exchanged, and we have a bright, shiny new husband,   Our dreams are all coming true.

From almost the exact moment we slide the bolt on the door of our new honeymoon nest, our powers of observation kick into high gear.   Our groom is still quite charming, however we find when he sleeps his jaw drops open and he snores, which interrupts our beauty sleep.  Other small things begin to crop up.  He squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle, leaves his shorts and socks inside out when he puts them in the hamper (IF he puts them in the hamper),  doesn’t rinse out the sink after he shaves,  puts toilet tissue on the holder feeding from the bottom and not the top,  turns hangers the wrong way in the closet, and any number of little foibles that were not visible when he was wearing his suit of shining armor.   We women are not known to shilly-shally when we set about the task of retraining our grooms.  We will use every capricious feminine wile we possess, and, if all else fails, nag and harangue.   It is no wonder the occasional husband mounts his white horse wearing the tattered remains of his shining armor and gallops off for greener pastures.  There, unfortunately, he is apt to fall  prey to another female who, after a time, will set about correcting his faults.   It is a fact, it takes a man to be a man!



We are asked to write of a memento with special meaning.
I guess this could be called prose poetry.  At any rate,
it is a memento story that begs to be told.
Submitted to dVerse Poets Pub  and
to Poets United Poetry Pantry
February 2017

It was autumn in middle Illinois, and the ears of corn hung heavy on the stalks.  The oaks were beginning to show tinges of reds and golds, and at the edge of the little town near our farm, a traveling carnival set up shop in the empty field.  There were ticky-tacky rides, and booths of chance, and the inevitable fortune teller.  Like other farm families, my parents ambled from booth to booth with me in tow, looking for diversion and an evening of fun.

We stopped at one booth that appealed to my mother.  If a tossed coin lit in a dish, you won the dish.  A couple of tosses and she won a carnival glass candy dish which pleased her no end.   We moved on to a booth with a mechanical row of little ducks moving across a track, and a row of cork-shooting guns.  A dollar bought 5 shots, and if those shots knocked down five ducks a prize was yours.  My father was taken with a gaudy carnival clock, and was determined to win it for my mother.  Five shots.  Four ducks.  Another dollar changed hands.  Five shots.  Three ducks.  Another dollar changed hands.  Determined, my father soldiered on.  My mother, a frugal soul, begged him to give up, but Dad was a man with a mission.  I was a child, so I don’t remember how many dollars changed hands, but at last, to mother’s immense relief, five ducks fell, and the clock belonged to Dad.   Once home, the clock had a special place on the shelf in the kitchen.  Never mind it was a mantel clock, gold-edged and gaudy.  Dad was a happy man.

Over the next 45 years, the clock marked the hours and minutes in their lives.  I left home, married and had children.  Mom and Dad moved 3 more times, and each time the clock went with.  It marked the hours when they sold the farm and moved to town, when Dad passed, and when Mom lost her battle with Alzheimer’s and moved to a safe place.   When Mom slept away and treasures were divided, the clock came to me.  It sits on a shelf in my den.  The cord is the same cord my father spliced and wrapped with electrical tape.  It still shows the white paint from some redecorating project.  Now it marks the hours and minutes of my life.   God willing, it will mark the hours and minutes of the lives of one of my children when I am gone.   I’m sure somewhere Dad is smiling, chucking Mom under her chin with a wink in the way he had, and reminding her he got his money’s worth after all. 


Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Poets United Midweek Motif challenge is
to write of FEAR.   Our world today certainly
offers lots of opportunities for fear...and yet
opportunities for enjoying the gift of life
are all about us.   


Tentacles of dread
doom and despair
sometimes seem
to be everywhere

What will we do
when the globe grows warm
How can we keep
those we love from harm

How will we conquer
this terror called Isis
What can we say
with our country in crisis

How will we save
the things we hold dear
and not be disabled
by the paralysis of fear

Perhaps clinging to faith
will help us to cope
Even Pandora’s box
at the bottom had HOPE

Live in faith or in fear
each day there’s a choice
Count blessings or sorrows
quake in fear or rejoice.


Monday, February 27, 2017


dVerse Monday challenge, a quadrille of
exactly 44 words using the word GIGGLE
Submitted February, 2017

Moustachioed and muscled
Quite manly, I find.
Confident, efficient
Humble and kind

Gray at the temples
How can that be
Where has time gone
Too fast for me

Echoes of giggles
Sweet baby smile
Could I get that time back
Just for a while?

Sunday, February 26, 2017


This qualifies as one of my  midnight epiphanies,
inspired by a visit to a local shopping mall.
Submitted to Poets United Poetry Pantry
February, 2017

She came out of Macy's,
light shining on her faux blonde hair,
tottering on her Manolo’s,  Gucci
bag over her shoulder, clutching
her shopping bags. 

It was the up-scale part of the city,
and she was only one of the privileged
and pampered wives who spent their
time in the glitzy shops looking to
buy purpose with their Visa, and
thinking happiness came in a
shopping bag.  

Heading to the parking lot and
engaging in motorized frenzy,
they would head home to their
gated communities, to their
opulent and empty homes. 

Sipping cappuccino, my thoughts
began to wander.  Once upon a time,
this very site was said to have been
the site of a Native American village,
their moccasins treading what is
now a parking lot.

I imagined the men out hunting, while
the women were busily occupied with
tanning skins, making clothing, grinding
corn and preparing meals, while happy
children ran among the trees and
swam in the stream. 

Their purpose was survival and
happiness was in providing for their
family. How simple their life must
have been.  Smiling to myself,  I
thought I might like to stand in some
pristine forest glade with a handsome
young brave and whisper “Your tipi or mine?”  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


February, 2017
Poets United Wednesday Motif challenge is nostalgia,
so of course my thoughts go back to the one room
school I attended Grades 1 through 8.  Though I don't
have a photo of my school, the one pictured here is
nearly an exact replica.

It was a little one-room schoolhouse
Where I learned to read and write
There were no indoor facilities
But we did have electric light
The teacher sat at his desk in front
Near the bench for recitation
The pot-bellied stove stood at the rear
In our house of education.

When teacher rang the morning bell
We came in from playing tag
To start each school day morning
Pledging allegiance to our flag.
In desks of various sizes
For we were grades one through eight
We worked hard at getting lessons
To progress at rapid rate.

We were taught to be competitive
And to always do our best
To bring the best we had to give
To any given test.
At recess we played softball,
Cops and robbers, fox and goose.
And even on the playground
We learned the simple truths.

We learned honesty, compassion,
Integrity and pride
The tools of successful living
That must not be put aside.

In today’s education system
Modern conveniences are rife
But I’ll take my one-room schoolhouse
Where the teacher taught us life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Submitted to dVerse for Tuesday poetics, where we're challenged
to write suburban poetry.   My thoughts went to the suburbs
of my early marriage, and to a kinder, gentler day.  I fell
back into my familiar and loved rhyme and metre for this one.

It was the prefab suburbs, our house came on a truck
They put it together in a single day, with any kind of luck
Our view was of the farmer’s barn, we were in an open field
He’d determined selling out would be the greater yield.

And so the streets appeared and marched in identical rows
With identical little houses,  except for color, I suppose
Our street was full of dreams, obtained with GI loan
But we all knew in 30 years, they’d be our very own.

Soon the babies came along, we raised them all together
They roamed the yards in safety; no need for electronic tether.
They knew well that any mischief, be it this, that or the other
Would travel up and down the street, passing from mother to mother.

We taught them all respect, and to obey the golden rule
When autumn came, we dressed them up and sent them off to school
The big ones watched the little ones as they walked along the way
Yes, the world was safe and life was good, in that suburban day.


February, 2017.

Monday, February 20, 2017


February 20, 2017

Submitted to DVerse  Haibun/haiku

We're to feature a special free gift in our haibun and haiku this week. My haibun is in the form of an ode, written in honor of our family tradition of “Cookie Day”, which takes place just before Christmas….truly one of my life’s great gifts.

Oh much-anticipated day of tradition
when all roads lead to joyous chaos
The chorus of voices mingling
with sound of culinary creation
Eight matriarchs under one roof
with single purpose, amazing in itself.
Happy children with sticky fingers
and smiling faces storing memories.
Wondrous scent of cinnamon and
palate-soothing chocolate.
Glorious display of fruits of labor
enhanced by camaraderie
House of love, hands of love, fruits of love
Richness beyond knowing
Grateful hearts with common thought
Peace on Earth, good will to all!

Gift beyond compare
Family togetherness
The stories retold

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Stacy Lynn Mar of offers a list of 10 words and challenges us to
write something using those words. 



She’d walked long in the late summer sun
until she felt wilted and spent, and rivulets
of sweat dampened her fair hair, and nearly
occluded her vision.  She walked southward
to the grove of old oaks and maples and
into the welcoming darkness, where sunlight,
as if spilled from a tipped waterglass, pierced
the dense roof of leaves overhead leaving
scattered pools of sunshine on the forest floor.

The old trees stood strong and tall,  holding
their secrets in hemp-colored branches, their
leaves jostled by the gentle breezes of late
summer, creating cool respite from the heat.
Sighing, she sank to a moss-covered spot in
the shade.  She sat quite still and let the
silence enfold her.

As if by magic, she felt her worries fall away,
much as a summer shower sluices away an
accumulation of dust.   This was her special
place, an island of calm in life’s rapid current.
She knew she would walk away refreshed
and renewed, as always, after she had taken
the time to be still and listen to her inner
voice of reason…or was it the voice of God?

Submitted to
February 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Edged by ancient trees, the old pioneer
cemetery was an island of green
dotted with weathered gray markers,
silent sentinels to those who’d gone before,
sturdy pioneers who bravely followed
their dreams on hash-marked trails
through verdant forests and across rivers,
from Virginia to Kentucky to this spot
in southern Indiana near the Ohio River.

Five generations later, I stand under
a cloudless azure sky, lost in wonder
at the endless chain of life that brought
me here, surrounded by ancestors who
trod this soil all those years ago, whose
blood runs red in my veins and whose
genetic imprint fashions who I am.  

I sit, leaning against a tree, listening to
birdsong as dusk turns the sky crimson
and gold, overcome with a feeling of
reverence.  I will be different somehow
after this visit.  I know now this is my
moment in time, my responsibility to
be an honorable link from yesterday
to tomorrow.

Submitted to dVerse Open Link, February, 2017
(A visit to Hopewell Pioneer Cemetery outside
Lanesville, Indiana, where my fifth great grandfather,
a Revolutionary War soldier, rests with others of
our family).

LOVE | LOVE | This week's challenge includes use of various fonts and elements in the style of Alisa Holland.  What fun! Credits to Oscraps and Scrapartist for various elements.:

Born of speculation
turned to flirtation
fanned by infatuation
leading to cohabitation
challenged by tribulation
threatened with stagnation
surviving temptation
strengthened by duration
LOVE, seasoned by time.

Submitted for Poets United Midweek Motif - Love.
A bit of tongue-in-cheek rhyming.

Monday, February 13, 2017


The Trump-et sounded.
Some thought it was reveille;
others feared it was taps.

Alternative facts,
braggadocious acts,
retribution via twitter

The world trembled.
The minions assembled
ghosts of unrest once stilled.

The nation reeled as
wounds opened thought healed,
and the pen became weapon.
We're requested to write a Quadrille of
exactly 44 words, using the word "ghost".
Submitted to dVerse February, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Haibun and haiku

Bjorn challenges us to write a haibun "on any subject that you like. but you should illustrate it with one picture, and let picture prose and haiku complement each other".  He asks that the haibun be first person, present.   This is my first effort at this style!
I sit by the fire, wine in hand, losing myself in the ever-changing display of flame,  thinking of legends and lies, and a life well-lived, remarking on remorse and savoring victories.   For the moment, I bask in a magic state of contentment, forgiving myself for mistakes made, accepting that I did the best I knew how at the time.  I am, I thought, like the sharp-edged piece of mountain face that falls into a stream and tumbles ever downward, edges smoothed by obstacles encountered in its descent, arriving in the valley well-shaped and polished with the patina of time.

Pristine world of white
beyond frosted window pane
I'm inside, content.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I once knew a man with laughing eyes
Who caused my heart to dance
Who made me believe in love again
And, trusting, I took a chance.

I loved the man with laughing eyes
And, ah, love was so sweet
I believed no challenge could be so great
That together we could not meet.

Sometimes we loved by firelight
And sometimes we loved by day
Then one day the man with laughing eyes
Seemed to have gone away.

I said to the man with laughing eyes
“It seems you’ve built a wall
I’ve tried to scale it, but I cannot
It’s really much too tall.”

And so went the man with laughing eyes
Away from my life for good
I guess I knew it could never last
But oh, how I wished it would.

For a moment we had it, my laughing eyes
But alas it was just for a day
And quickly as snowflakes can disappear
Our bright tomorrows slipped away.
Submitted to dVerse Poetics where we're challenged
to use the word "heart" in our poetry.  February, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Heaven Listens

Shaken by the political climate,
sour troubled thoughts stirred by
alternative facts lacking proof
served with a chaser of bravado,
we seek the elixir of truth
and a twist of kindness.
Heaven listens.

Submitted to dVerse Muse Mixology where we're requested
to use pub terms and do so in 33 words!  February, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017


Beyond the dark of night and above the clouds
where brave men rode their man-made steeds
across the Milky Way to leave their footprints
on our shining harvest moon, lies a vast
nothingness that has captured man's curiosity
for eons.

Ancient hieroglyphs in distant caves speak of
space beings and flying objects, and a strange
menagerie called Nazca lines is scripted in
the sands of some distant land, discernible
only from high above, their secret purpose
ever eluding us.

A nation watched in horror as the space
ship Challenger soared into the great beyond
and shattered into flaming bits, carrying seven
brave astronauts destined never to walk the
earth again, reminding us that space is master
and we the slaves.

Scientists and astronomers study galaxies
beyond our own, and much is made of a planned
trip to planet Mars.  Space holds secrets yet to
be discovered, but there are those who wisely
suggest we learn to care for this planet we call
home before we consider conquering space
and populating others.
Submitted to Poets United Midweek Motif, February, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Woman's Place

The RetroWrite challenge over at  is to write a poem or story about this photo.  Here's my "take":  

         A WOMAN'S PLACE

Summer lay on the land in a suffocating blanket of humidity.  Leaves clung listlessly to their branches, scarcely moving in the dense air, and the sun shone relentlessly on lawns so thirsty they crunched underfoot.  Even the birds seemed unable to summon the energy to sing; and all was quiet on Maple Street, except for the hum of the laboring air conditioners.  In the tidy Cape Cod at 1423 Maple, Carolyn Adams tied on a fresh apron and looked out her kitchen window.  Joe would be home from work any time now.  She poured sweet tea over the tall glass of ice he expected when he arrived home from work.  For a moment she thought about the time before marriage when she was working, and the excitement of feeling useful and alive.  As she reminisced, she saw Joe’s car pulling into the driveway.  Sighing, she went to the door to greet him with a smile.  It was, after all, 1952, and a woman’s place was in the home.