Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mid-Winter Light

A yellow bird                                                                                                      
inside a shrinking cage
and darkness
hugs us
this mid-winter night.

I don't mean to sound dark or despairing, and I wish you all a
Happy New Year

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Setting Off

I journey
with the sun
and rest
in the moon.

My voyage begins
without fanfare;
no one
to see me off or
wish me well,
no one to blow kisses
or wish me,
No one knows
of my plans.

I journey
with the sun
and rest
in the moon.

Friday, November 28, 2014

November Thanks

     Words and image by Mary Bach

There is a clear, cold light
this November morning,
and last night’s powdering of snow
transforms the ridge.

The trees weave an intricate
design of branches 
studded here and there
with chickadees, jays, cardinals.

Walking through the garden
I am warmed by
your hand
in mine.

Over at dVerse Poets' Pub Brian asked us to write about something we are thankful for.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sky Light

    image from

You and I, we build
a scaffolding of sighs
reaching to the closer clouds.
Our fears
are not of flying,
but falling
back to earth
with those
who go about their lives
as if the sky was only empty,
as if it did not contain wonders,
as if it was not the threshold
to heaven.

This is a late 55 for all the Toads and other garden dewllers over at the Imaginary Garden.  
Click on the link and check it out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Election Angle

What convenient conviction
will you wear today?

Which way will you tell
the facts?
Which way will you sell
your acts?

What convenient conviction
will you swear today?

Mary, over at dVerse Poets' Pub asked us to write about some aspect of news.  It seems that all I'm hearing is campaign rhetoric.  Click on the link and see what news everyone else is sharing.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


    Image by Tess Kincaid

She was womb
I was tomb
where her identity
lay down to die

Check out Magpie Tales where Tess Kincaid provies a weekly writing prompt. This one was in color, but I felt B&W was more appropriate for my bleak lines.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Where are you going and
what will you do on a
windy Wednesday evening,
without your slippers or
wand or beans?  Can you still
whisper the stars to sing?
Will you order the waves?

Over at dVerse Poets' Pub Vandana Sharma has introduced us to a for called Pleiades.  It is a seven line poem with each line beginning with the same letter as the title and having six syllables in each line. The title must be of one word only.  Follow the link for more.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


    Self portrait,Vivlan Maier

Generally when one tries to tinker
with eternity
it does not end well.
The stoutest knots
come undone,
and ends once again
flap loose.

But still there is this
for a sense of
grand purpose,

or at least
a reason to get up each morning,
to brush one’s teeth,
to wash,
to put on one’s  shoes,
one’s shirt,
one’s mask.

And in the meantime
one goes on,
for there are children to be fed
and dishes to be washed
and bills to be paid,
despite the
receding hallway filled
with an overflow of string and boxes
and failed attempts.

And sometimes,
amid the clutter and minutia,
without realizing it,
we get the lighting
and the composition right,
and just sometimes in our wake
we leave something

Photo prompt provided by Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales.  Join us!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


She whispers
in my ear
bright breath
as death
telling me
the end is near

Is it any wonder
I fall under
her spell?

Over in the Imaginary Garden  Mama Zen remind us that words count, as she had us write 53 or fewer words personifying October.

Monday, September 15, 2014


I stub my toe and curse
at the pebble in my path

She looks up but can’t see
the top of the mountain
before her

Same track,
different journeys

Written in response to a prompt/ challenge from a fellow poet.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No, Really

I don’t mind.
No, I’m fine
…and with so much to do.

So I got up and left, as if I believed you.

Izzy asked us to write something about a lie we could have told better.  So here are is a poem about a couple of liars for Real Toads

Thursday, August 28, 2014


    Photo by Mary Bach

When we meet I am always amazed -
Each time you and
I seem to mesh, to complete one another,
resplendent in the sun and the fun of our uniqueness, yet together a
dynamo of strangeness and largess, suddenly no longer repressed, able to express our


Mama Zen over at the Imaginary Garden asked us toads to write about being weird.  So, this is my weird offering, dediated to my weird friend Lori, who visited recently from her home in Macau.  

Monday, August 18, 2014


     Yell Sound, Shetland by R. A. D. Stainforth

Climb aboard!
We sail away today,
over oceans deep and wild and wide,
out, and out, league after league toward the horizon
under endless slate grey skies, rain-kissed,                                  
cloud-tumbled, sun-pierced or
And all we know recedes,
all the firm, green predictable things
recede as we traverse over oceans toward
the strange terrain of dream and fable.
Unknown wonders await;
climb aboard!

The picture is complements of Magpie Tales.  The form is from Imaginary Garden w/ Real ToadsIn its simplest form, the Triquain consists of seven lines, with syllables counted in multiples of 3.
3 - 6 - 9 - 12 - 9 - 6 - 3
The trick thereafter is in deciding how many of these stanzas you want to use.  There are several described, and I chose one called   Triquain Swirl.  This is created by joining the stanzas together on the seventh line, eliminating the second 3 syllable line and the space between stanzas. The finished stanza will stand at 13 lines and may be repeated thereafter.
3 - 6 - 9 - 12 - 9 - 6 - 3 - 6 - 9 - 12 - 9 - 6 - 3 
Also, one can include an element of repetition in the Swirl by taking a 3 syllable word or phrase from one of the longer lines and using it as the final 3 syllable line of the stanza or at the bridge of the swirl. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

When Cowgirls Git Over Their Blues

    Elizabeth Taylor, set of "Giant" by Frank Worth

Life’s a rodeo
life’s a desert
life’s a sand burr
under yer saddle
life’s a hot stinkin’ sun
burnin’ the back a yer stiff, red neck
life’s a hot, sweaty sonofabitch
full’a bullshit n’ Copenhagen.

Imma rope you up
real good 
And I ain’t talkin’ no
eight seconds.

55 for all the Toads in the Imaginary Garden and all the Magpies at The Mag.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Queen of the Stone Age

     Museum by Tess Kincaid

Let us not concoct
healing potions for the dead,
nor invent
new colours
for blind eyes.
     -Hilda Doolittle

I dream
that I am on display
I have no privacy
except inside my own mind.
So I go about building an
inner life of vast spaces
empty of people
with wind and sun and
singing me into bed.
I stare blindly past
the gawking people
past the marble floors
glass doors
past the
streetfuls of cars and crowds,
buildings, bridges
mountain ridges
past the curve of the earth
past Moon, Mars,  Pluto
Milky Way,
out and out,
past a thousand galaxies
through time itself.

Written for Magpie Tales where Tess Kincaid reigns as Queen of the Manor.  Click on the link and join us.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


     Image by Mama Zen

Small beauty
etched in bone,
folded in upon itself,
pressed into place
at the back of your mind.

For Mama Zen and all the toads in the Imaginary Garden.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pub Pals

        Photo by a random man

Two beautiful women from Wales,
both writers and tellers of tales,
welcomed me to their land
with a hug and a hand,
lots of laughter and love and cocktails!

This is about the "publife and community" for dVerse.  I am much too late to link up there, but you should still go there and check out some great writing.  I had the good fortune to meet up with two writing, cyber-freinds when I travelled to the UK last year.  The amazing Shan Ellis and Julie Watkins are pictured here with me and the non-writing, but still delightful Lori McLaughlin.  And yes, a good time was had by all!


     Photo Grocery from Tess Kincaid

At the corner store                          
are piled apples, oranges, potatoes 
and onions enough
to make you cry 
with the cutting of them,
 but that just takes one.
And shoppers touch the fruits
and the vegetables -
I won’t even mention
 the ogling of melons,
or the squeezing of tomatoes;
that is too much
firm fruit for this page.
But there is this concentration
of life, of juices, of vegetable matter,
some of it is still ripening;
and though we cling to life like a peach,
out back, the dumpster
is full of molding pears and cabbages.
My dead grandmother used to say
when you are old
your skin gets rotten like a banana.
We are all
ripening and rotting,
every fruit and vegetable and shopper
reaching for a peach,
every person walking past,
too busy to stop
but not able
to rush, or race-walk, or outrun
their own mortality.
And in the end, we all end.
And it is sad, if the life, or the fruit, or the vegetable
was good at all.
But, despite the dumpster full 
of endings,
the store front 
still draws us in.
We want the fresh fruit,
the sweet bite,
the juices running down our chins.
So savor it,
beginning, middle, end.

This is for Magpie Tales writing group hosted by the talented Tess Kincaid.  Come join us!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Everyday Love

   Steps by Tess Kincaid

I reach for you like a dish.
You read to me over breakfast
while I pour coffee.
There is a coming
and going sort of rhythm
to us.
We are everyday
spoons and forks
not good silver people.
The stairs leading to our room
are well worn.

This is for the writing group Magpie Tales.  Come join us!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In Reverse

    Image from

The fern frond opens, 
to sunlight;
new growth new
life. At the end
of the day it
closes in upon

Thursday, July 3, 2014


on the threshold,
promises unbroken,
you and the fresh morning beckon.
I wonder if I can jump the chasm
dark and gaping? A huge first step -
I doubt my legs, my will,
so here I stand,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


“Johnny was smart, you know,”
Grandma said
a thousand times
as she looked into me
with her worn, knowing blue eyes.
“I know Grandma,” I always answered,
but I couldn’t really remember him anymore.
I was only three-and-a-half
when he died.
He wasn’t yet two.
Enough for a memory,
but not enough.

I remember bright, orange hair,
blue eyes, big smile with drool,
and, “Oof black!”
his declaration
as he pounded his thumbs
on the high chair tray.

I remember
watching him while Mommy
hangs wash on the line,
and running to her calling,
“Mommy, Mommy,
Johnny’s turning blue again!”
Then Mommy drops the clean, wet clothes
on the grass and runs to call the hospital.
We rush to the car, and drive fast.
They have the oxygen tent ready
when we get there.
We run past the ladies with the forms.
It is a small hospital.
They know us.

I don’t think this memory is mine,
but the memory I created
to go with the story
told to me so often.

I remember
sitting and drawing
while Mommy goes with Johnny
as they try to fill his blood
with oxygen.
After the first time
I don’t cry anymore
when she leaves me alone.
This must be my memory, because
no one else is there to tell it to me.

And I remember
going to school,
when kids ask if I have
any brothers or sisters,
or if I am an only child.
And I remember
never knowing how to answer.

Over at dVerse Grace asked us to share a part of our family history.  I ended up writing about my brother, Johnny, who was born with Down Syndrome, and died 22 months later from several congenital heart defects that often accompany it.  I thought my mom said he had three separate ones, but I can only remember Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) and Tetralogy of Fallot.  Both my parents have died, so I really have no one left to ask.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Real to Reel

     Image from Magpie Tales

The first time
I heard a recording
of my voice,
without the deeper,
lower frequency vibrations
enhanced by traveling
through bone,
I was so upset I didn’t talk
for two days.

Imagine the shock
when I first heard myself sing.
So much for the,
“become a rock star”
career path.

Click on the link for more Magpie Tales.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

On Being "It"

    Public Domain Image, Old Teddy Bear by George Hodan

While I loved to play
Hide and Seek
when we were kids
I always hated being “it.”
I worried I would wander forever
and never find a single soul.
But then again, I worried when
I hid, no one would find me.
and there I would sit,
in the dirty clothes hamper
’till wash day.

This 55 is for all the Toads in the Imaginary Garden at IGRT, and especially for Hedgewitch who is taking over, this week, for the G-man.  Click on the link and check it out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Questions of Identity

1. Who are you and whom do you love?  That's what MarinaSofia asked us at dVerse.  

I love my family and friends, of course,
and I love things unseen, spirits and souls, Creator
I love trees and flowers, oceans,
skies, rocks and autumn,
new snow – but not in March,
fresh spring mornings
sunsets and sunrises all year long.
I love horses, dogs, cats,
and my particular dogs and cats,
Otis, Rusty, Emma, Maggie, Chevy, Lars, Dante, Frank
and all the others.
(Yes, I know I didn't list the people.  Don't read too much into that)
I love elephants,
just about all mammals,
lovely snakes and reptiles,
and flying and travel,
drawing and painting,
music – but not all music,
the smell of fresh bread, cinnamon, lilacs,
solid things,
and also liquid
and ethereal things.
I love the smell of new, clean babies.
I love stars
and I love the blue-black night
that surrounds them,
and I love the moon especially.
And I love tiny frogs and fireflies,
and laying on a big, flat rock after dark
on a cool summer night
and feeling the warmth radiating from it,
warming me though.
I love the smell of wood smoke,
the feel of flannel against my skin,
 and cashmere and silk for that matter.
I love the way little children draw,
before they have been taught
that drawing is hard.
And I love riding very fast
on a strong, dark horse,
the feel of the reins in my hands,
saddle leather against my legs,
 and the motion beneath me.
And I love baths,
very warm steamy baths.
I love Sunday mornings
in bed with strong coffee
and the crossword,
newspaper pages scattered
across the bed,
sun streaming in.
I love the blues and greens of the ocean,
and color…vivid, soft, psychedelic, muted,
and black and white,
and form and line and shadows…
I love shadows.
And I love very cold beer,
and dry red wine
and silver earrings
and “I am not really a waitress” nail polish,
and men,
I do love men.
And women,
and men in kilts,
and men in bowties,
because bowties are cool.
I love umbrellas – red umbrellas,
and rain and thunder and lightning…
I love starting.
I love books and reading and writing
and words.  I am in love with words.
And trains… I love trains,
and toast, and dragons and…

Well, I've sort of gone off the rails here, haven't I? I can’t seem to get past who and what I love in the questions of identity.  There is just so very much cool and lovable stuff in this amazing universe!  And I love that you've read this, even though it's not exactly a poem but more of a list.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Writing Process: Blog Hop

Thank you to Beth Winter who invited me to participate in this blog hop about the writing process. Her blog hop post is available on  Eclipsing Winter.  She published this on April 28th and I was supposed to follow suit the Monday after. However, the dog ate my homework, etc. and here I am, fashionably late, as I tend to be.

Beth Winter writes poetry, prose and anything else her itchy pen decides to scratch.  A self-taught poet, she has written nearly 800 poems, nearly as many hournals and has possibilities piled around her.  She lives and works in the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills.  She maintains a website called Eclipsing Winter where you can read more of her work.

My Writing Process

Question 1) What am I working on?
I just finished doing the April poem a day challenge.  This is the second year I have attempted it and the first year I succeeded in 30 poems in 30 days (though exactly not one each day).  That means now I’m editing poetry!  I am also putting together a book of poetry, the contents of which change each time I take a fresh look at it.  I am also (at least in theory) working on a novel I started two NaPoWriMo’s ago, which somehow morphed into 2/3’s of two completely unrelated books.  I am also editing a sci-fi / fantasy book for a friend.  And I collect quotes.  It’s an ongoing thing that I do for myself.

Question 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm…I really don’t know how to answer this.  I write in both free and formal verse.  In general, my poetry tends to be short, like my attention span. (laugh now) I think it’s generally quite accessible.  I like to have a punch or a twist, something poignant, unexpected or funny…sometimes darkly funny. I frequently like to use science metaphors and similes, but actually I never met-a-phor I didn’t like.  And did I mention I love bad puns and wordplay in general?

Question 3) Why do I write what I do?
I have several reasons for writing. Sometimes I write to help order my thoughts, sometimes to express my thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes, though not often I write in response to current events.  Other times a word or phrase strikes me, and it becomes the kernel of a poem.  In fact I have a word document called “snippets” where I keep those words and phrases, and I revisit this when from time to time for writing ideas.  And, I take poetic license with everything I write, which is why I don’t do non-fiction.

4) How does my writing process work?
I am not normally able to produce a poem a day – April was pretty stressful for me.  Some days writing goes quickly and easily, but most days it doesn’t.  And I have some problems both getting into a writing mindset, and also functioning in everyday life.  This means some days I put my muse on hold - but not as often as she ditches me! But the more I write, the more often I get those moments when I need to drop everything and write down a line, idea or poem.  Generally I try to spend time early in the morning with my coffee and my little dog, Otis, and my laptop.  I have a spot in the enclosed porch full of windows looking out at some beautiful countryside.  My other best time of day is in the evenings…real life tends to go in between.  As for each piece, I can spend anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours on it a first draft.  After that I fiddle with it for a bit, publish it on my blog too soon.  And after awhile I reread, perhaps a month's worth, and revisit the ones I still like.  I think writing both drives me crazy and keeps me sane.  There are so many great quotes about writing, so in closing I'll share one of my favorites with you"

"Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence."  -Alice Walker


Please take time to visit Ginny Karpinski Brannan at her blog Inside Out Poetry, a talented poet and good friend.

A New England country girl at heart, Ginny Brannan resides in Massachusetts with her husband, son and two cats. Encouraged by her best friend, she started writing poetry in 2009. She enjoys writing both form and free verse. She has been published in The River Muse —Art and Literary Journal Edition 1 Vol. 31; The dVerst Poet's Anthologyand is currently awaiting publication of one of her poems in Journey of the Heart: An Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry due for release Summer 2014.

Fear of Flying

When I was a child
I never slept at naptime.
I would slowly rise up
to the ceiling and
look down
at my  silent self,
then fly around the room
and out the window.
I’d check on the nest
in the tree outside my window
then go up, through the branches
up through clouds
into the sunshine,
far enough to see the curve of the Earth
pale, in the distance.

As I grew older
my flight time diminished;
still, I excelled in science class
when we learned about meteorology
and cloud formations.
I remembered my time
among them, and counted them
as friends

As an adult,
I have a fear of heights.
I left behind the foolishness,
and the magic,
of flying away from my body
until this morning…
Something is different
and familiar -
a feeling in the back of my throat,
perhaps a change in
barometric pressure
(or grown-up life pressures).
I feel a lightness I haven’t felt in ages…
and the rushing up.
I look down at myself,
zoom once around the room ,
then sail out the window
and across the open field
down the road and out over the ocean.
And now I know,
I was never afraid of heights,
I was afraid
that once I left
I would
never come back.

Check out Magpie Tales by Tess Kincaid for more responses to the image, or add your own.  Image by Martin Stranka.  This is also linked to IGRT open link night.  Go there to read a variety of wonderful poems by some fabulous toads.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Another Mother's Day

Ghost of my mother
whispers to me still
when I close my eyes
and dream.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Oldest Human Need

How far removed are you from loneliness?       
Would it be two relationships or three,
or is it one that holds your homeliness;
just one, thin soul to form the boundary?

Like spinning yarn our family and friends
become entwined, their lives enriching ours,
but when a strand unravels from, or rends
the whole we find ourselves with empty hours.

What insulates you from the vast alone
that tears through thoughts like clawing arctic wind,
its piercing cold, its heartless, raking  moan
that shakes and isolates the thickest skinned?

We don’t all need a child or a mate,
just someone who will wonder if we’re late.

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.  -Margaret Mead  

Here is a sonnet, of sorts, for the final day of 30 days of poetry for the month of April. Woo Hoo!