Saturday, December 26, 2020

THOUGHT SALAD

Sunday Muse #140, 2020 ending and Chrissa challenges us for our in-between poems.  My plethora of scattered thoughts seem to fit the year just past, scribbled in my bedside notebook of midnight epiphanies.  Happy New Year!   Submitted December 26, 2020.

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2020, year in review

what a dreadful, mixed-up stew

tumbling thoughts in a soup tureen

isms and schisms, and in between 

pollywogs, goldfish and carp

the dulcet tones of a distant harp

frosted windows and naked trees

butterflies and honey bees

sound of a jet flight overhead

scrambled words from a book I’ve read

I’d like to meet a chimney sweep

why oh why can’t I get to sleep. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Mrs. Claus Speaks

Poets and Storytellers #51 Year's End, and I'm sharing an oldie and wishing everyone happy holidays, all safe and well!   We seldom get to hear Mrs. Claus' side of the story. 

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 ‘Tis the night before Christmas, I’ve just cleaned the house

Now I find Santa’s been drinking, the louse

He’s been into that bottle of Christmas cheer

I’ve been using for cooking since some time last year.


So, now the sleigh’s loaded (and so is he)

There’s nobody left to drive but me

There’s no place to sit except on his lap

And he’s probably lost the blasted map.


Well, giddy-up Prancer, and Blitzen too

We’ve got an important job to do.

Just fly high and fast as in days of yore

We’ll go really fast, so they don’t hear him snore.


We’ll deliver these toys with all possible class

In spite of this tanked-up irresponsible ass.

Who’d have thought when I married my handsome prince

He’d turn into the bum I’ve been living with since.


Rudolph, I thought I could count on you

But I see by your nose you’ve been hitting the brew

Oh, how will I travel this highway of stars

When even NASA can’t find Planet Mars.


I’ m only one woman, but can’t you see

All the boys and girls are counting on me?

Well, here we go fellas, it’s a leap of faith

Pretend you’re up and it’s the last of the eighth.


...I knew we could do it, I just love you guys

In spite of our troubles, you were wonderfully wise

The toys are delivered, we’re almost back

With this besotted tippler, and an empty sack.


With MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

We rose to the occasion and we did it all right.

He’s beginning to wake up….Oh you lecherous rake!

Not tonight, Santa, I’ve got a headache.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

BEWARE

Sunday Muse #138  This should be an ode to all dance-away lovers!  Submitted December 19, 2020
Once you said you loved me,
claimed me for your very own 
now you’ve found another 
and left me here alone 

 I feel so discarded 
thrown out like the trash 
all that’s left of the flame of love 
is bitter, lonely ash 

Once you were my handsome prince
I loved with all my heart 
now I see your true self 
that was hidden from the start 

 I should warn your new love 
your conquests are merely numbered 
conquered and then discarded 
as you go on unencumbered 

You really need a bumper sticker 
to go with your perfect face and hair 
it needs to have but a single word 
and that word is BEWARE!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

MANTRA

Oh my!  Line endings.  Me, who only knows precise rhyming lines, is asked to step out of her box.  I have taken a phrase from Mary Oliver's "The Gardener" ... "Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude"  and wandered into where I am lost!  


The little slate reads

"Count Blessing

Choose Happy"

my mantra, my daily reminder

...to recognize if I have experienced

a simple moment of happiness

that might have passed unnoticed with-

out pausing to practice sufficient

time spent in humble gratitude.

,,,to recognize blessings 

are small and simple things

I am grateful 

                 for

                                   enough.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

DEJA VU

 Wednesday Scribblings, and we’re asked to consider and/or include the phrase “down in my bones”.  I share a visit to Louisiana many years ago, and an experience that taught me the meaning of déjà vu!   Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United. December 16, 2020

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Oak Alley.  The travel guide describes it as a grand example of an antebellum plantation.  I stand spellbound, gazing down the alley of majestic ancient oaks leading to the bayou, from which visitors and supplies arrived.  A soft breeze stirs wisps of Spanish moss on the trees, and I feel a chill.  Deep down in my bones I know I’ve stood on this spot before.  On this very spot.  For an instant I seem to see young ladies in elaborate ball gowns and young gentlemen dressed in Confederate uniform grey.  Only for an instant, then the image fades.  I turn and join the tour group as we ascend the steps.  The eerie feeling of familiarity stays with me as we tour the rooms of this relic of pre-Civil War days.  All my life I’d been a skeptic.  No more. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A GOTHIC TALE

Tuesday Poetics and we're asked to step into the gothic realm.  It's usually far from my wheelhouse, but I'll avvago.  Submitted to dVerse, December 15, 2020  

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The castle stands silent, foreboding.
Evil dwells here, it’s said
Those who plan to spend the night
Will be found mysteriously dead
Some say it’s the Lady of Darkness
Guarding the castle keep
Fie on those who enter
Now destined for eternal sleep.
None knows what terror comes to pass
Betwixt terrified screams and moans
But morning reveals their fate
In the form of skulls and bones. 


Monday, December 14, 2020

INGLENOOK

Quadrille #128  I love me a fireside inglenook.  It seems to cast a spell and I’m soon lost in fantasy.  I hope you’ll forgive me for some tongue-in-cheek fun.  

Submitted to dVerse, December 14, 2020 

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                                                                      I’m  settled

                                                                      In Inglenook

toasted feet

absorbing book

wine sweet

flames flickering

sleep o'ertakes

soon dreaming

fantasies ensue

sensuous scheming

strong arms

hot lips

feeling music

swivel hips

seeing myself

Scheherazade

mesmerizing

Greek god

he's enamored

I can tell

I've never

danced so well


(PHONE RINGS)

Can't say more

stopped cold at forty-four



Sunday, December 13, 2020

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

I'm feeling a bit sentimental, so I've chosen to share some Christmas Memories from long ago to Poets & Storytellers Writers' Pantry #80 today.  And, by the way, my notes are scribbled illegibly in a little notebook I keep on my bedside table for midnight epiphanies.   Submitted December 13, 2020 

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 My Christmas memories are centered around the little one-room school, and the roadside church of my childhood that were the hub of social activities.  Tradition on Christmas Eve was to attend Nigh Chapel for the children’s program, hymns and the reading of the story of Christ’s birth from the old Bible, the soft ticking of the wall clock for accompaniment.   Then the sound of sleigh bells heralded the arrival of Santa with a loud Ho Ho Ho, and a brown paper bag of treats for everyone.  These contained hard candies, chocolate drops, nuts, an orange and a shiny apple.  I never questioned these treats were from the North Pole until the Christmas my parents were on the “treat committee” and, with friends, prepared the bags of treats at our home!  This was most likely the same year I learned Santa was Johnny Cashmer, a rotund farmer with rosy cheeks who lived in the neighborhood.  Who knew?   

Any Christmas shopping had been done from the well-worn pages of the Sears & Roebuck catalog. We looked forward to receiving the package from my father’s mother, which always contained her potato candy (a confection made from a boiled potato, powdered sugar and peanut butter).  Christmas Day was a gathering of family. Gifts were simple, few and well chosen.  The afternoon was usually spent playing games or working on the huge jigsaw puzzle that was always set up on holidays.

Close your eyes.  Imagine no charge cards, no over-spending, no retail mania, no exchanges, no batteries,  children who talked instead of texting, adults who visited instead of watching television, and everyone remembering what Christmas is all about.   Oh (sigh) it was a wonderful time.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

This is Today

Sunday Muse #138,  and our photo of inspiration somehow reminded me of my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, as it seemed fog enshrouded her and she struggled to keep track of her days that seemed to pass anonymously in their sameness.  

Submitted December 12, 2020.  

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THIS IS TODAY

Once she was a multi-tasker

If you wanted something just ask her

But time had taken its toll


It seemed a fog confused her

Everyday things bemused her

Remembering was her goal


She hung a calendar on her wall

To try to keep some sense of it all

Names and faces faded away


Determined to keep it all in line

She wrote on a day with pencil fine

“This”, she wrote carefully “is today”. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

AFTERNOON NEWS

Rosemary's letter challenge may occasion my being committed!  I cannot seem to shut off my brain.  Here's one more.  I promise to quit now!

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 Arnie from Aukland,  astute and athletic, accentuated his awesomeness, aptly anchoring the afternoon news, his competitor auspicious by his absence.  Alas, Arnie was arrested for assassination.  

TIME FOR TEA

Weekly Scribblings, and Rosemary has challenged us to practice repetitive use of a letter.  I've chosen the letter T, and used it in an American sentence, and added a fun bit using the letter L.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, December 9, 2020.  

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Tasting my tea, transfixed by timeliness, tantamount to test of time. 

OR

Lily was a Lilliputian  lady, luscious and learned . Likely labeled luscious more often than learned by lawyers and legal eagles alike, Lily licentiously laundered money, living luxuriously.  The lecherous gentlemen were ultimately lampooned.

 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

MYSTICALS AND MAGICALS

 Poetics Tuesday.  I've chosen a line from Gibran (To melt and be like a running brook that carries its melody to the night) and included it in what may be an octave, but lost in the A B C D's. 

 Submitted to dVerse  December 8, 2020 

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Carried by the brooklet that rambles the meadow

Riding the ripples, lost in evening's glow


To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night 

Meandering rivulets carrying me where'er they might


I might be a princess under some foreign moon

Perhaps a lass frolicking the mists of Brigadoon


Miracles and magicals, wild and free

Where'er the brooklet has taken me. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

THE MAGIC BOX

 Lillian challenges us to write prosery today, which must include a line from Louise Gluck's "Faithful and Virtuous Night"  The line is "Having read what I have just written, I now believe ..."   My prosery is flash fiction, submitted to dVerse December 7, 2020.   

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A hand-carved box my grandfather gave me when I was a boy contained magic, he told me, but I must never open it.  When in trouble, all I needed was wait until I saw the first star of night, rub the magic box saying “I believe” three times. Through the years the magic seemed to hold true.  Sheepishly I admit to performing the ritual on the night before my bar exam.  Reading what I have just written, I now believe in its magic, just as I always have. My son is 5 years old, and I’m giving him the magic box.  But, before I pass it on, I’m compelled to see  inside.  Cautiously, I lift the latch and raise the lid.  … to find the box empty!   How wise my grandfather was.  He knew the secret of achieving is believing you can.  Smiling, I re-latched the box and headed for my son’s room.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

HUMILITY

 Writers' Pantry #49.  There are days we take assessment of who we have become, and it is often a humbling experience.   I'll share my journey to humility this bleak, Sunday afternoon, and admit my self-deprecating humor may be just a bit exaggerated.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United,  December 6, 2020

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In youth,  while we revere our elders, smugly most of us think to ourselves we’ll look and act much younger when we reach that age.   But, in subtle and insidious ways, time marches on.   I had always prided myself on having a small waist for my ample body, and I accented it with belts.  Middle age came along, my waist thickened, and belts were uncomfortable so they went by the wayside.  I soon tired of flirty skirts and business suits, and opted to wear pants.  No more worrying about sitting properly and crossing my legs carefully.  In no time I discovered elastic waists were wonderful things, and it seemed less important (if not impossible) to hold my stomach in.  

Being blessed with small eyes, for years I wore artificial eyelashes to make my eyes appear larger.  Soon my eyelids sagged to the point the artificial lashes appeared to be slings, so I abandoned that habit.  I had always worn bras that gave me a perky, pointy profile, but soon I could find no man-made spandex strong enough to fight the slow droop of age.   I opted for something comfortable that contained my breasts and gently lifted them to the point I didn’t step on them. 

Speaking of steps,  middle age blessed me with generalized arthritis.  It seemed my feet came to feel like bags of miscellaneous bones.  Today I'm lost without my Easy Spirit shoes.  Their arch support, sensible soles and laces gather up the miscellaneous bones, and guarantee I feel grounded. Gone are the sexy pumps and delicate sandals, gone are the belts,  gone are the flirty skirts and business suits, gone are the perky breasts, gone are the artificial lashes.  I peer into the mirror and see exactly the same elderly woman I vowed I wouldn’t become.  Life has a way of having the last laugh.  It's called humility.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

MOONSHOT

Weekly Scribblings wherein we're to consider the new words of 2020.   Heaven help us they are all words we wish never to hear again!   My poem is at once pithy and hopeful.....my theoretical moonshot for escape!    Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United   December 2, 2020

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 I used to live in Smilealot

It was a carefree town

Now I live in Anthropause

and blursdays tend to get me down


Doomscrolling makes me morbid

There seems no good news to find

The plethora of infodemics

Endangers my soundness of mind


I refuse  to let the messages

Of death, despair and rumor

Lead me to drinking Kool-aid

And losing my good humor


I’m checking out of cyberspace

No computer, no iPad, no phone

Just come knocking at my door

When the bird of madness has flown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

LEAD DOGS

Poetics Tuesday at dVerse and Sarah has challenged us to choose one of seven lines to use for our title or a line in our poem. I've chosen "Lead dogs are very smart", something we have all grown to question in the last four years.
 Submitted to dVerse December 1, 2020 
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LEAD DOGS ARE VERY SMART
At least that’s what’s been printed
But our sled is out of control
Our lead dog seems a bit demented

When fate put us all in time out
(Something we could never foresee)
All of our best laid plans
Were obviously not to be

No more lunches with friends
Our groups don’t meet any more
Now our only outing
Is going to the grocery store

Some of us are working at home
Some are not working at all
There seems little to occupy our time
Except wait for the other shoe to fall

We seem to feel all at loose ends
As if we’ve been left in the lurch
Good heavens what’s to become of us
We can’t even go to church

Our president has gone to play golf
The press are clamoring to meet
He refuses to vacate the White House
And simply won’t admit defeat

Heaven only  knows
Where all of it is going to end
We long for simple things
Like having lunch with a friend

We look to the Lady of Hope
You know the one I mean
Soon she’ll make an appearance
Her name, I’m told, is VACCINE

Monday, November 30, 2020

The King's English

Quadrille #117 and the word is “abide” using exactly 44 words.   Submitted November 30, 2020

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The King’s English, indeed

Is written in code


If today we go for a ride

Tomorrow you might say we rode


But what we say we can’t abide

Does not affect our abode     


And things we hide today

Alas! We can’t say we hoed. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

WANTS AND GETS

Writers' Pantry #46   A cold, sunny morning in my world.  I find myself feeling restricted, constricted, and conflicted.  My father's words come to haunt me.   Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 29, 2020.

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I want to escape this isolation

Take myself to some foreign nation

Where folks are frolicking bare-faced


I want to amble through a well stocked aisle

Of latest fashions where trinkets  beguile

And my cash in hand is well-placed.


I want to take myself out for the night

To some spot of gastronomical delight

And perhaps a cocktail or two


But My father’s wisdom is giving me fits

I hear his voice saying “Wants are not gets” 

And, dammit, I know it’s true.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

WAITING

The Sunday Muse #136 wherein we're inspired by the photo provided. 

Submitted November 28, 2020 

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suspended in limbo

WAITING

to come up for air

when normal returns

or some semblance thereof.

WAITING

to be released

from this

sequestorial time out

WAITING



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A MAN OF COURAGE

Weekly Scribblings #47 and we're asked to consider lessons learned from someone we loved.  I learned so many things from my father, who led his life by example.  In his later years, I captured  this golden afternoon in poem, when he taught me the lesson of gratitude. 

Submitted to Poets and Storytellers United, November 25, 2020

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A MAN OF COURAGE

As we rode through summer breezes

The man of courage and I

He taught me still another lesson

As he had since I was just so high.

For the years had left their burden

And now he walked with a cane

And the body once strong and strapping

Now faltered and gave much pain.

I heard him not once complaining

As we passed fields of grain on our drive

But commenting on God’s bounty and sunshine

Saying, “It’s a good day to be alive”.

When I find I’m feeling sorry

For the problems and troubles I’ve had

I look to my model of courage

With humble gratitude…I love you, Dad.

Monday, November 23, 2020

GOD'S TOUCH

Haibun Monday at dVerse.  Kim is hostess, and challenges us “to write about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.  

Submitted to dVerse, November 23, 2020

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Over 25 years ago, my daughter and her then husband had moved to the state of Oregon, and I had gone to visit.  I had commented many times that the sky seemed “big” in Oregon, for reasons I can’t explain.  I don’t recall the occasion, but we were on an obscure and very dark country road somewhere between Albany and Corvallis when my son-in-law pulled the car to the side of the road, turned off the engine and said “Let’s look at the sky”.  By that point in my life I’d for some time lived in a large city where all but the brightest stars were hidden in the smog that overhangs our large cities.  Standing beside the car at roadside, I looked up to see the most magnificent display of starlight that fairly took my breath away.  I don’t know how long we stood, identifying the Big and Little Dipper, the North Star, and other constellations.  It was a magic I’d not seen since my childhood on the Illinois prairie, a quiet time when  I felt a thrill, as if I’d touched the hand of God. There are signal moments in our lives that stay forever in the attic of our brains, archived for a lifetime.  I will always remember that moment, and be grateful to a young man whose love of nature never dimmed.  


Star light, star bright

Magic carpet of the night

I feel God’s touch 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

MY MIGHTY PECKINSTICK

Given today's political chaos and the behavior of our White House resident, make me want to employ a powerful tool of my childhood, which I dubbed My Mighty Peckinstick.  It needs an explanation, I'm sure, so here you are.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 22, 2020

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                                                   MY MIGHTY PECKINSTICK

Growing up on a farm you learn to help out at an early age.  Farm animals need to be tended morning and night, and this is called “doin’ the chores”.   When I was fairly young, my chore was gathering the eggs.  When you’re a child, you simply parrot phrases you hear your parents say, so, using my mother’s southern Illinois twang, I called my chore “pickenup aigs”.  Walking into a hen house of a couple hundred hens is a fairly intimidating thing.  Toting the wire egg basket, the long row of nests looked endless to my child’s eyes.  Most were empty, but there were always a couple with resident hens.  These were of two types---the cackling hen who’d fly off in a flurry of feathers when I approached, and the other a formidable foe.  She had no intention of giving up her nest and she’d greet my approach with an evil eye, some threatening clucks and a sharp peck on the wrist if I reached under her for the eggs.  I devised a counter-attack for the clucking hens.  I found a stick about a foot long and dubbed it my peckinstick.  I’d give the hen a gentle nudge to see if she were the pecking type.  If so, I’d hold her head down with my mighty peckinstick, rendering her unable to peck me while I reached under her for the eggs.  

Many years have passed.  I’ve learned proper grammar and proper use of the King’s English.  There have been times through the years, however, when I’ve encountered people who’ve been sharp and hurtful.  I smile to myself and think they wouldn’t have caught me so unaware if I’d been armed with my mighty “peckinstick”.  

Saturday, November 21, 2020

SHANKSGIVING

 The Sunday Muse  #135

Submitted November 22, 2020

Art by Justin Dingwall

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SHANKSGIVING

Who was sacrificed for today?

A proud gobbler who had other plans

A piglet perhaps who was out to play

A lamb known to his many fans


No doubt they had each dreamed success

Far afield from this actual truth

Never expecting to be considered largesse

What a dire ending, forsooth!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

CELEBRATING SENIORHOOD

Weekly Scribblings #46, and we're asked to engage in a

celebratory mood.  I choose to celebrate seniorhood and 

all we've had to learn through the years.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 19, 2020

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                                                   CELEBRATING SENIORHOOD

I’ve always wanted to be “hip”.  It’s been a challenge.  Just when I’d think I had the “hip” lingo mastered, a new generation would throw me into a terminological tailspin.  When my children were home they helped a lot, but once they were grown I was on my own, facing the computer era all alone.  Kicking and screaming, I was dragged into the technological era, and I learned about floppies, hard drives, modems, bauds, glitches, megabytes, gigabytes, RAM, ROM, CD-ROM, URL CPU, “tweaking and massaging”.  I could speak it!  I was “way cool”.  I even learned to program my VCR.

I moved into the era of bright, young business majors steeped in “educated verbiage”. Memos became communication vehicles, rate increases became revenue enhancement and a meeting with the boss became encounter-specific decision making.  New locations became geographic kickers, top salesmen became major rainmakers, summing things up became bringing the aggregate.  If it was simple, it was a no-brainer, if readily available we could cherry-pick it, and a push-over was a slam dunk.  Disagreements became cognitive dissonance and the art of persuasion and giving the results became quantifying the impact.  I think became my sense is, getting to the point was cutting to the chase, estimating was ball parking and something likely became a conditional probability.  At home over my bookshelves hung the Thoreau quote “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify”, and oh how I longed to implement it.

On the other hand, I’ve had to learn reverse lingo to understand my grandchildren.  For instance, bad is good, hot is cool, and far out is in.  You’ll notice my list here is smaller, as I’m not understanding much.  It’s no wonder we seniors are more forgetful than the youngsters.  All they have to remember is their own patter. Our brains, on the other hand, are cluttered with all the preceding outdated terms like by golly, gee whiz and darn, spooning, necking and making out, tanked, soused and plastered, fast, loose and easy, getting hitched and tying the knot, inka dinka do, 23 skidoo, hubba hubba and …. well you get the idea!  It's time to celebrate us!


 

Monday, November 16, 2020

SEQUESTERED

Quadrille #116 
 Submitted to dVerse 
November 16, 2020 
Thinking being sequestered might 
be put to good use. 
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SEQUESTERED

Remember when you wished
everyone would disappear
Guess what?
                          No one’s here                            

Remember when you
wanted time to think
Guess what?
                  It’s possiblink                 

Remember when you
felt you lost direction
Guess what?
                    Time for connection

Remember how 
all seemed impossible
Guess what?
It’s plausible

Sunday, November 15, 2020

LIFE

Writers' Pantry #46 and some thoUghts on 
life. 
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
November 15, 2020 
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LIFE

I fell one night into retrospect
a melancholy place to be 
reviewing all the mistakes I made
on the way to becoming me.
When I was young I knew it all
at least I thought that was so
It took some lessons hard to learn
to separate real from for show
The day came when I was wiser
and I felt I was downright smart
but just when I got my head together
my body fell apart.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

SUNDAY MUSE #134

 Our photo challenge this week presents a challenge indeed.  A limerick came to mind.  Submitted November 14, 2020

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There once was a young man named Arthur
Who considered himself quite athletic
But his demonstration went awry
And the fellows just considered him pathetic.



Thursday, November 12, 2020

ABANDONED CHAPEL

This poem was written some time ago, inspired by a deserted country chapel I passed off an interstate I frequently traveled.  I often wondered about the stories it might tell if I were to visit.  Submitted to dVerse  November 12, 2020  Open Link #278

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 It was just a little chapel that sat beside the way

But oh the stories it could tell, if it could speak today

The chapel is now empty where once it stood with pride

With voices raised in worship by those who were inside.

I stand beside what used to be, and can’t believe it’s gone

If I listen, I hear echoes of ice cream socials on the lawn.


I imagine all the faithful who have talked here with their God

While outside their forefathers rested deep beneath the sod.

I see all the bridal couples who have here exchanged their vows

And think of long-ago sermons soothing furrowed brows.


How many babes were christened, how many old folks laid to rest

How many Sunday mornings with folks dressed in church-day best.

I feel God all about me as I think of days of yore

And listen to the echoes of those who’ve passed before

One day I’ll be like them, when this life has passed me by

And my voice be but an echo to some dreamer such as I.


May I live my life with honor in my short time here on earth

And touch the lives of others with love, and joy and mirth.

May there always be a moment as day follows busy day

For echoes like the chapel’s and what it has to say.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

THE CLOCK

Weekly Scribblings.  "...it's only with the heart one can see rightly."  Those words, plus the carnival painting by Shelle Kennedy, inspired my prose this week.  Moments in time cling to certain treasured items, and it is so with the carnival clock.  Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United   November 11, 2020

*******************


    THE CLOCK

 Sitting on my shelf with grace and dignity is a carnival clock my father won in the shooting gallery of a little traveling carnival over 75 years ago.  In my treasured store of memory I see them still, my father determined to win the clock, and my mother not wanting him to spend another dollar for six more shots.  At last five mechanical ducks fell from the moving row, the clock was handed to my smiling father, and the clock was given a place of honor in the kitchen of our little farmhouse, where it kept the time for all the years of my growing up and moving on in my life.  Twice they moved, and twice the clock was given a place of honor in each new home. They’re gone now to what comes after, and the clock has come to me, equally proudly displayed in my home each time I’ve moved. I smile at the electric cord, spliced by my father with electrical tape, showing traces of paint from long ago redecorating projects.  It is a piece of family history, a memento of the times that used to be.   I like to think it will one day be a treasured part of family history displayed in the homes of those who come after me, as much a part of family as the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of their bodies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

DEMOCRACY IN MOTION

 Tuesday Poetics.  Poetry as Witness is our challenge,

 and we’re to write a poem with a local bent.  

Submitted to dVerse

November 10, 2020

****************************

DEMOCRACY IN MOTION

Two green lawns, side by side,

proudly displaying their choice

one Trump/Pence; one Biden/Harris

a microcosm of America

just down the street

democracy in motion

 *

           *  

               *

                                       hopefully 


Monday, November 9, 2020

A MAIDEN'S TALE

 Prosery is the challenge, and we're to use this line .."behind the wall is only space where the wind whistles".

Submitted to dVerse.  November 9, 2020

*************

A MAIDEN'S TALE

Once upon a time there was a fair young maiden with a very wise mother. She met a man she thought to be her dream man.  He was tall and broad-shouldered, handsome and glib.  She determined he could be the husband of her dreams.  Soon she came to realize he seemed concerned only with himself.  Mother had warned her of such men.  “They will charm you, my dear,” her mother warned, “but be cautious.  Their handsome face is but a wall, and there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles. You do not want this man to father your children, my dear.  This one is an empty man filled only with himself.  Look for a man of substance.”  And so she did 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Writer's Pantry #45 at Poets & Storytellers United  

Submitted November 8, 2020

*************

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Some say gray is dull and drab 

    yet

      it’s the color of the early morning

     fog that rests gently in the valleys 

     of  the Great Smoky Mountains.


it’s the color of the nimbus clouds

that skid across summer skies, their

bellies filled with welcome rains

for gardens and fields.


it’s the hair color of  our seniors,

signaling their cumulative years of

service and knowledge, giving of

life and self to those who come after.


Sometimes we need to see color

      in a different light. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

LIGHT OF HOPE

 The Sunday Muse #133

Submitted November 7, 2020

***************


The light of hope

cannot be extinguished.

Even in the most somber of times

when all about is gloom and doom

the tiny flicker that is hope

continues to illumine a small spot

in the heart of humankind.. 

It is said even at the bottom of

Pandora’s box, after she released

the evils, there remained 

the light of hope 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

AYE AYE, THE EYE

Weekly Scribblings and we're to consider the eye of the hurricane.  

Well heaven knows we've been in the storm  for most of 2020, 

and we're hungry for the eye.  Aye Aye

Posted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 4, 2020

*****************


 

Here I sit in the eye of the storm

Filled with happy contentment

Don’t spoil my nirvana

And tell me its return is imminent

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

About November Memories

For reasons obscure and deviant, I am unable to wrestle Blogger into form for this post.We are asked to consider what November means to us. I have very vivid memories of Novembers long ago, but I seem unable to get them into poem form. I hope my prose is forgiven. Submitted to dVerse Tuesday Poetics November 3, 2020

NOVEMBER MEMORIES

November in the farmland was a time for preparation for the harsh middle Illinois winters. The crops had been harvested, and fields prepared for Spring. Mother’s garden had been cleared. The shelves in her larder showed an array of canned meats, vegetables, fruit, jellies and jams and the bins were filled with root vegetables and apples. There was fresh straw in the barn for animals, baled hay in the loft for their food. My mother excitedly prepared for November 11, Armistice Day, which happened to be the first day of pheasant season in our part of Illinois. Mother’s brothers were great hunters, and she looked forward to their annual visit from southern Illinois to hunt pheasant and quail, plentiful in the fence rows of the little farms that provided them a haven. Happy meal times ensued and family stories were told round the table. After a couple of days, the hunters headed home and all was made ready for Thanksgiving, which was almost an anticlimax after the excitement of the hunters’ visit. Mother’s hunter brothers are long gone to their happy hunting grounds, the fence rows are long since gone as are many of the little farms. My Novembers have been spent in cities, but they are always a time I recall those happy family times, and life as it was then all those many years ago. *********

Monday, November 2, 2020

HAPPINESS

It’s the dreaded quadrille, wherein 
I try to compress my personal verbosity 
into exactly 44 words. Happiness or a 
form thereof is the key word this week.
 Submitted to dVerse 
November 2, 2020 
********** 

We
are always
looking for happy
as the small magic moments
of our lives pass by unnoticed   
in our headlong rush to euphoria.

Glorious autumn colors, a blue moon,
laughter of costumed children 
seeking treats, proud parents standing by
These are moments 
of
happiness   

Sunday, November 1, 2020

ESCAPE

Word Pantry #44. Words and phrases borrowed 
from song lyrics, poems, idioms and maybe an 
original thought tumbling into my head in a 
midnight epiphany. Must be because, like 
everyone, I'd like to escape from politics and 
Covid.  I hope to take my own advice!
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
 November 1, 2020
 *************


So, you’re
leaving on a jet plane
a fast train to nowhere
a slow boat to China
no matter the fare

buying a ticket to happy
in some Valhalla afar
you haven’t learned the lesson yet
wherever you go. there you are

the bird of time is on the wing
it’s time you read the script
the joy is in the journey
sit back and enjoy the trip


Saturday, October 31, 2020

STAIRCASE TO SOMEWHERE

It's Sunday Muse #132 and our photo
 of inspiration this week is a stairway 
that seems to lead to a mystery 
destination shrouded in the woods. 
Submitted October 31, 2020 
***********************

I came upon a battered stair
which seemed to lead I knew not where.

Who felled the trees to make each step
to build the stair to dreams they kept?

Who climbed the stairs to a destination
left now only to my imagination?

Only the steps remain, all else is gone
No clue to dreams or battles won.

I can only salute as I pass by
the anonymous builder, and wonder

Why?

***********
A revised version of an earlier poem.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

FOUND POEM

Wedneday Scribblings and we're challenged 
to consider found poems...erasure, blackout, etc.  
Here's my very late and definitely sub-par attempt. 
Words from "Rich Boy" by Sharon Pomeranz
 Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
 October 29, 2020 
 ******************



Monday, October 26, 2020

PRAIRIE HALLOWEEN

Haibun day and time to celebrate 
Halloween. 
Submitted to dVerse 
October 26, 2020 
******************** 


 When I was a child I went to a one-room schoolhouse which was situated just across the road from our house. School and church activities were the fabric of social life in our rural part of middle Illinois. At the school Halloween party, the parents came in costume as well as the children. My mother loved Halloween, and was quite creative in choice of costume. In the year I was 8 or 9, mother decided that she and I would dress as a couple taking their rooster to market. I don't recall exactly how my father escaped this plan. Mother loved to dress as a man. She was pretty believable with her fedora pulled low, her fake moustache and her britches and shirt. I was a chubby child, and so I suppose I was believable in my babushka, house dress, stuffed ample bosom, long stockings and brogans, carrying a basket containing one of mother's roosters, hogtied and terrified. The logistics of arriving at the party without disclosing our identity puzzled Mom for a bit. "They'll know us", she said, because they won't hear a car before we arrive". At last she arrived at a solution. "We'll go through the garden, climb the fence (with the barbed wire on top) and sneak to the side of the schoolhouse. When the next people arrive, we'll go in with them and they'll think we're all together."   So, through the garden we went, and mother spryly climbed the fence. I was not so lucky. I was not only a chubby child, I was a clumsy one, and in my clamber over the fence ripped my leg on the barbed wire. Undaunted, Mom tucked a hanky in my stocking to catch the blood and took off across the road, carrying my rooster-in-a-basket for me. 

As I recall, our ruse was successful. Mom had a great time twirling her moustache and tipping her hat to the ladies, the hapless rooster survived, and we won first prize. To this day, the scar on my leg brings back memories of that long-ago Halloween.

Prairie Halloween
celebration in the schoolhouse
well earned prizewinners

Sunday, October 25, 2020

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

October 2020 ends with a blue moon. I decided to
 challenge myself to write something dark and 
ominous in its honor. 
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers Anonymous 
October 25, 2020 
*******************




BLUE MOON

October’s blue moon cast an eerie glow
  over the bayou cypress.  
The spittle flinging demons lurked in the shadows
 and serpents coiled silently
on the limbs above.  

Swamp witches stirred  their cauldrons  
with bleached  bones of questionable origin, casting 
curses and muttering voodoo spells.  

Corvids peered from their perches  
through the swamp mist, beady eyes 
searching  for their  next victim.    

Woe to the 
unsuspecting  traveler 
who ventures 
into the bayou 
under  a 
blue moon.   

Saturday, October 24, 2020

THE SUNDAY MUSE #130

Sunday Muse #130 and time to indulge in some 
ekphrastic nonsense....my usual deep philosophic
take. Submitted October 24, 2020
 *************************************



NIGHT RIDERS

T'was a starry, starry night 
Vince craved a country drive. 
He picked up two cohorts who
look familiar, sakes alive!
Sal and Frida were up for a roam
Any diversion from being 
Sequestered at home
Stop at the corner, said Sal to Vin
I’m in the mood for some bottled sin
Frida nodded with a Marlboro puff
Whatever you choose, just get enough
Off they went in Vince’s Cadillac
Strangely, it's said, they 
        never came back.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

BONES OF CONTENTION

 Weekly Scribblings #42, and we’re challenged to use one or all of the given lines, or write a poem inspired by all.  "fingers framed by light

                            clutching an old rosary

                            carved from human bone"

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United

October 21, 2020

************************

           

BONES OF CONTENTION

Hail Mary, full of grace,

whose bones are these

on which we count our

prayers.  


Perhaps a saint

who wished to hear

the prayers over and over

again, the sacred ritual

comforting us in our sorrows

and the saint in infinity. 


Perhaps a warrior felled in

some religious battle, now

wandering in perdition searching

for his fingers.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Magnetism Schism

It's Quadrille Monday #144, and the key word is "magnetism"
in exactly 44 words, no more, no less. Limitation causes 
pertubation, I fear! 
Submitted to dVerse October 19, 2020 
 ***************************

I dread the rule of forty-four
Seems I always have some more
                                  To say for my quadrille                                      

When it comes to magnetism
There’s a definite schism
                    ‘Tween allowed and what I feel                   

Now I’ve only eleven left...
Alas not done, and quite bereft 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

MYSTERY STAIR


 I'm "fudging" a bit, using an entry for one of my art challenges, but the poem is ekphrastic, inspired by the photo of the deserted stair that seemed to lead nowhere.  

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United

October 18, 2020. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

PRICE TO PAY

       PRICE TO PAY

A father!  Tim thought of his own father and the things they’d shared in his 17 years,--the backyard games of catch, the fishing trips, and the advice his father had given him.  How he wished he’d paid better attention and been more careful. His father had always told him, "Son, there's a price to pay for your actions".  But, he and Alicia had fallen head over heels for each other, and allowed their teenage hormones to overcome their best intentions.  Now he’s to be a father himself.  At 17.  He wanted to do the right thing.  But, could he finish school,  go to college and establish himself if he had a wife and a baby to care for?  How could they tell their parents?  Alicia was as frightened as he.  Yesterday, he was young and carefree and the world was his oyster.  Today it felt as if the world sat squarely on his shoulders.  A father!   Tim felt a churning in his belly.  He felt old already.   This, he thought, is the price to pay.
**********************

Wednesday Scribblings and we're asked to consider
the term "price to pay".  I chose to use flash fiction,
but the scenario happens all too often in our modern
society.
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United
October 14, 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A MOTHER'S PRAYER

A MOTHER'S PRAYER

Be well, my child

I leave my heart

And a single button blue

Never will I be complete

Until I return for you

Life is cruel and I must go

There is no other way

God, hear my prayer, my abject plea

To return to my child one day

***

Tuesday Poetics and Sarah presents a challenge using the what3words site, and has given us a list of 3 words that will lead us to a place in London.  I chose mass.humid.aspect  which led me to the Foundling Museum, established as a charity for children in danger of abandonment.  Among its collections is a collection of objects left by mothers with their babies in hopes of identifying them when they were able to return at some future date.  I cannot fathom the grief represented by that collection of objects.

Submitted to dVerse  October 13, 2020





Sunday, October 11, 2020

IDIOMIZING

 

Writer' Pantry #41. I challenged myself to write
 a poem using idioms exclusively. What fun!
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
October 11, 2020 
******************

IDIOMIZING

Heavens to Betsy, I seem to be 
thinking in idioms….
Off the cuff, I was on the dole
up the creek and down the river
feeling low and beside myself
yet lost in the crowd.
I was in a fix and out of luck
sometimes higher than a kite
others lower than a snake’s belly
I lived it up, then hit the skids
and rode the rails
Life let me down
from the ground up 
and from the top down
I’d shot my wad
and hit rock bottom
I was tied in knots 
and coming undone
but I was tough as nails
and slick as a whistle
I let the good times roll
I was cut short shrift
but in for the long haul
and destined for success
so I’ll pat myself on the back
and take a bow

Bottoms up!

                                             

Saturday, October 10, 2020

SUNDAY MUSE #128

 The Sunday Muse #128.  

Submitted October 10, 2020

                                                        THE LIGHT CARRIER    

******************

Comes the Light-Carrier
Disposing  night terror
Her footsteps steady and sure
Lightning and thunder
Are all cast asunder
Night time is right time to her

Princes of Darkness tremble
Their minions disassemble
Evil is cast aside
So great is her power
Night creatures cower
She rules with God as her guide. 


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

WALKING AWAY

Weekly Scribblings #40, and we're asked 
to consider the term "walk away". 
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
October 7, 2020
********


Once upon a time in my life journey
I found myself betrayed
It was a time when I’d given much
And, oh the plans I’d made

He was the first to kiss me
In the back of his Dad’s Chevrolet
We were high school sweethearts
His smile simply made my day

I listened to his pretty words
And trusted what he had to say
I was totally ill prepared
When he simply walked away

I found myself feeling hopeless
As if something inside me died
Much time passed very slowly
Before I regained my pride

I always thought if I gave my best
It would be returned to me
I learned that someone else’s best
Was far short of what I see

Handsome is as handsome does
Is the mantra I repeat each day
I don’t trust a guy with just pretty words
I know he can carelessly walk away

These days I’m much more guarded
And caution comes into play
If I detect pretty words and duplicity
I’m the one who walks away.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

SADIE'S BALLAD

Tuesday Poetics, and Lucy challenges us 
to write a dark ballad. Dark is pretty much 
out of my wheelhouse, but I'll "avvago". 
Submitted October 6, 2020
**************************

Sadie was the fairest of them all
So beautiful and bonny
Her heart was filled with longing
For oh she loved her Johnny

The postman brought the message
And this is what it said
“We know you loved your Johnny
But sad to say, my dear, he’s dead”

Sadie’s heart was broken
She said “I can’t go on this way
I have to be with Johnny
And I must find a way”

Wearing his favorite dress of blue
She went to their favorite spot
High on the bluff above the river
She was there and he was not

Sadie vowed to join her Johnny
As she took the final leap
She plunged into the river
No more need to weep

Now on the darkest nights
At the river on the bluff above
They say you can hear their voices
If you truly believe in love.

Monday, October 5, 2020

MARRIAGE 101

 Writer's Pantry #40, Poets & Storytellers, Inc.

Submitted October 5, 2020

*************



Women are peculiar; they’re never satisfied.

They’re never really happy until they are a bride.

They find a man who pleases them with all that he has got

Soon they begin to make attempts to make him what he’s not.

From what he wears to how he speaks and habits inconsequential

She’s determined not to stop until he reaches his potential.

His first and most important criteria to meet

Is, of course, the obvious….what to do with the toilet seat

Saturday, October 3, 2020

SPACE ODDESSY

The Sunday Muse #128 

Submitted October 5, 2020



Everyone planned for the space race
the space suits, the lift-off and all
intricate mathematics were involved
and posted on the war room wall
the astronauts were chosen with care
and spent much time to rehearse
victory was in their grasp
but alas the Monarchs got there first

 

Friday, October 2, 2020

OCTOBER

 



Weekly Scribblings and Magaly asks us to consider October.  My favorite time of year!
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United
October 2, 2020



Frost on the pumpkin
Scarecrow guarding the field
October is here

********

My poem is brief, my thoughts are bittersweet.  Last night I watched via live stream the funeral service of a dear friend of over 20 years in Perth, Australia.   A gift of Covid has allowed us many and creative ways of communicating, for which I’m very grateful, and her daughter arranged that I could “be there” via Viacom.  My friend was a sassy and spunky little Irish girl with a puckish sense of humor and I thought you might like to know the music she selected for the service she carefully planned herself.  Her casket was carried into the room to the tune of “Thunderstruck” and the service ended with Queen’s rendition of “Another One Bites the Dust”.   May we all prepare our goodbyes with such panache!   Thank you for sharing her goodbye humor with me.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

THE COW

 

 Sunday Muse #127, where we’re inspired 

by a charming photo of girl and cow.

Submitted to The Sunday Muse

September 27, 2020

************



There’s an admirable complacency about a cow

She seems to avoid worry, I don’t know how

On a hot summer’s day, she finds cool creek mud

And just stands in it while chewing her cud


When it’s milking time, she heads for the shed

She’s no written schedule, it’s all in her head

The life of a cow, to the best of my knowing

Is just giving milk and occasionally lowing.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW

In trolling my poetry archives, I came across this poem titled Yesterday and Tomorrow, which I wrote in about 1985 when I was leading the busy life of a lady executive.  How strange to read it now, and see how prophetic it really was. It's like my 51 year old self talking to my now 86 year old self! I have now reached the time to savour!

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, Writers' Pantry 39,  September 26, 2020

*********************

As I speed along the freeway

In the usual morning race

My thoughts turn back to other times

When life had a slower pace

When there was time for dreaming

And wriggling our toes in the mud

And close examination 

Of each leaf and flower and bud.

For listening to autumn breezes

As they rustled through fields of grain

And for smelling the wondrous fresh bouquet 

Of a late spring evening rain

For idling under a shade tree

When no one knew where I was

And studying the intricate mechanics

Of what makes bumblebees buzz.

For listening to trills of songbirds 

As they flit from tree to tree

While I looked for four-leaf clovers 

In grass like a great green sea.


It seems now my days are so busy

These pleasures are things of the past

I try to find time for dreaming

But life races by too fast

I think of the time when I’m older,

With time on my hands again.

How I’ll treasure those special moments

Much moreso than I did then.

For God in his infinite wisdom 

Has bestowed a very great favor

What in youth we take for granted

In old age we have time to savour.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

OPTIMISTS ARISE!

Meeting the Bar, and Grace challenges us
 to write protest poetry. Pandemics, natural 
disasters, lying politicians and protests are 
difficult times for a hopeless optimist. I seek 
release in verbal nonsense! 
Submitted to dVerse 
September 24,2020 
****************


LOST

ON OBSIDIAN

PATHWAYS

SEEKING 

RESPITE FROM

SKULLS AND SANGUINICITY

IT’S ALL SO

OPEROSE

AND SISYPHEAN


BEGONE

THOU DEMONS OF DESPONDENCY!

BRING ON EUPHORIA, I SAY


UBIQUITUOUSLY 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

NOTE FROM THE ABBEY

 Wednesday Scribblings where we're asked to

consider things of temporary or hidden support.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United

September 23, 2020

*****************

We Crawfords have moved to the burbs!  Just as the folks at Downton Abbey had their house staff, we here at Crawford Abbey have our electronic house staff.  Our electronic assistants, Echo and Alexa, assist us with turning lights on and off, setting morning alarm when necessary, handling grocery lists, reminding us to check oven when baking and washer or dryer when doing laundry, and provide entertaining music of our choice, among other light duties. Our Ring surveillance camera lets us know when someone is at the door, and captures their image.  We have added a valuable member to the household staff.  Roomba.  Roomba resides at her docking station behind a chair in the gathering room.  On command she leaves her dock and vacuums the entire house!  Mission completed, she returns to her docking station, empties herself, and recharges her batteries in preparation for her next mission.  We run an efficient household here at Crawford Abbey…Echo, Alexa, Ring, Roomba, my  son, his wife, and I.  A power outage would be the stuff of nightmares.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

SERENDIPITY

 Tuesday Poetics, and we’re to be

inspired by the delightful surrealism

of Catrin Welz-Stein.  

  http://catrin-stein.imagekind.com/store/

Submitted to dVerse

September 22, 2020

*************


Midnight epiphanies 

when the brain runs free

imagination unfettered

presents wonderful visions

of serendipity….

unlikely things in likely places

glorious in new surroundings


Why not cradle 

a swan in a hat, I say

let them all float off 

on a cloudy day

Serendipity!