And murderous


InharmonyCasting pall
Your nightly call


Out with thee
And let me be

To hear your lore

Make your home
With somber tomes

Writ by Poe
As you well know

This poem was inspired by Euphony, by Beverly Crawford

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

One Tangled Mess ~ narrative poem ~ with audio

Momentary Silence

Pete is not the diver in question


One Tangled Mess

He was a cop, which, by itself, shouldn’t mean anything,
but he was also a perfectionist. Everything by the book,
which was a good thing when scuba diving. Fewer chances
for mishaps and mistakes meant a more enjoyable dive.

A group of friends would do river drifts in the Niagara River,
with buddy teams of two. A pickup vehicle was left
at the exit point, then we’d drive upriver to the entry point
with our gear, drift along the bottom with a float, and surface.

Keeping track of bottom time was essential. Surfacing too late
meant a hard kick in if the current had pushed us from shore.
Embarrassing as it was, there were times when a buddy team
had to call for a ride after surfacing too far downriver.

When possible, divers tended to use the same partner. Knowing
their skill level and tendencies meant being able to anticipate
their reactions above and below the water. It made it easier
to avoid underwater obstacles or tangles with the buddy line.

I had been on several dives with him. He was a good friend
and an excellent diver who was training to be an instructor.
Dives with him always went smoothly, but I wondered
about his patience. As a group, he buddied with his wife.

That’s not always a good thing, when someone insists
that everything be by the book. It comes down to knowing
your partner’s abilities. Compensating for shortcomings
should come naturally to an instructor, more so for a couple.

At the end of one dive, my buddy and I were checking out
a boat anchor I’d found when we saw their dive flag go by.
Late exit. Drifting next to the float, he was berating her
as he untangled the float line that was wrapped around her.

Things were pretty uncomfortable as we sat on the shore
afterward, having a snack and something to drink. Talk
centered around the finds we had brought to the surface.
I pictured him on the bottom, the anchor tied to his fins.

One Tangled Mess

Narrative poetry is not really my cup of tea, but I thought I’d give this a try.

Shared with Open Link Night LIVE #292 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

In the Stars

Star-gestured WishesIn the Stars

Waves of blue behind us,
searching the night sky
we found blue nebulae.
We found each other.

The stars were ours
from the moment we met.

This poem is my response to Blue Tuesday, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse Poets Pub, which asks us to consider “blue” in our poetry.

I’ve written hundreds of poems for my wife, so what’s one more? I bound the first hundred or so for her as “The Nebulous Collection.” Blue has always been a significant color for both of us. (Although, I have been known to favor orange!)

NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula
© Tony Hallas via Astronomy Picture of the Day

her gentle spirit ~ gogyohka

For Mother’s Day and Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday
#Poetry Challenge No. 224, #Poet’sChoice

her gentle spirit
a mother’s essence
etched into my heart
missing her
peaceful soul

Gogyohka (pronounced go-gee-yoh-kuh)
~ a form of Japanese poetry pioneered by Enta Kusakabe in the 1950s
~ 5-line poetry ~ like tanka, but with freedom from restraints
~ no fixed syllable requirement
~ no conventions regarding content
~ brief lines in keeping with the tradition of Japanese short verse

This gogyohka started as two senryū, but I wanted to express it in one verse.

her essence
etched into my heart
loving soul

a gentle spirit
memories that never leave
peaceful soul lingers

held firm ~ palinode

held firmheld firm

every moment, consumed
not by memories
by each moment with you
always on my mind
always embraced

 This poem, my first palinode, is in response to MTB: Palinode, the prompt from Grace at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. A palinode or palinody is an ode or song that recants or retracts a view or sentiment to which the poet wrote in a previous poem.

In this case, the original poem is the first poem I posted on WordPress, Grasping, as my first poem for National Poetry Writing Month, on 01 April 2014.

Heir to Disaster

Heir to Disaster

CedarvilleJust fifteen years out of the Navy.
I’ve done it plenty of times.
What could be so hard?

Stop into the dive shop and ask
about charters. On something deep,
of course. That should be no problem.

So I’ll flash my certification,
rent every piece of gear, down to the fins,
and show up at the dock next morning.

Three two-man buddy teams.
What’s one more man? Make one three.
What could possibly go wrong?

Nice backward roll into the water,
gather my senses and start the descent.
Man, those other guys move fast!

That is one big freighter!
And there they are waiting at the ship’s rail.
Wait a minute. Why is it so hard to breathe?

What does a guy do to get attention?
Maybe someone will notice my panicked look.
Someone checks my gauges. There’s an idea!

Almost out of air. At least they have some left.
Nothing left to do, but buddy breathe and surface.
Maybe I’ll have better luck on the other dives.


This is my response (more narrative than poetic) to Poetics: Exploring the Narrative Voice, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character.

Let’s call this fictional, since I don’t identify the diver, but this actually happened on a dive in the Straits of Mackinac. I chartered a dive boat so that five of my friends could join me, wreck diving in Michigan’s narrow strait between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. At the dock, the boat captain asked if a guy could join us. He had done plenty of dives while in the Navy. We were doing three dives, so we agreed he could be a third man with each of our teams, on separate dives – one team in the water at a time. As the deepest of the wrecks (110 feet to the bottom), the Cedarville was to be our first dive, and he joined my dive buddy and me. When we reached the rail of the ship at 70 feet, I could see he was having difficulties. I checked his air gauge and saw he didn’t have enough left to make the ascent with a decompression stop, let alone to explore the wreck. We had to abort the dive, and he ended up breathing from my tank, until we reached the surface. Air in a scuba tank will expand with ascent, and when he saw his air gauge rise he bolted to the surface as we stayed at the decompression stop.

Images source: Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve Asociation

Generations ~ quadrille


GenerationsLove, hope,
faith of character.
Seeds planted long ago.
Thoughts, expressions,
kindness a lifeblood
offered freely.

Satisfaction in the reward
returned without hesitation,
passed on with the same
love, hope, and kindness,
from a place in each heart.

No parent could ask for more.



This poem is my response to Quadrille #127: Planting Seeds, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word seeds in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.

Images source: dreamstime

Earth Shaman’s Plea

Earth Shaman’s Plea

I cast my thoughts to the heavens,
seek succor from the stars,
that they might hear my plight,
send solutions to a soul
wounded to its core, yet unwilling
to cast from its presence the scourge
that has brought this plague upon it.

Earth Shaman's PleaAre not all elements essential to being,
each one a part of my whole? While some
have fallen to circumstance, making way
for others with a nature more fitting
to my own, these place upon me
scars that cannot be erased,
that jeopardize their own existence.

Should they exhaust all that I have
to offer, leaving nothing but desolation
in their wake, what is their next course?
To die with me? To leave me behind,
leaping from world to world, then on
to the very stars to whom I beseech?
Are they destined to know the same fate?

This poem is my response to Wounded Healer: Songs of the Earth Shaman, where Brendan says, “I can’t help wondering if the wounded healer for such global malaise is the Earth herself, a damaged wholeness, borne of human madness and the terrible spells of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice — air conditioning and solo vehicles, plastic wrappers and nuclear bombs. Maybe the song we need to hear and emulate is the wounded Earth’s?” “What and where are the wombs formed in the wounds of sea level rise and wildfire, mass extinction and ocean acidification? What then are the Songs of the Earth Shaman?”

Image source:

moon-filled dreams ~ haiku, senryū

moon rises
in a cloudy sky

branches dance
to tree frog chorus
pale moonlight

morning plans
hopeful for success
moon-filled dreams

rise early
to see setting moon
clouds return

This haiku/senryū sequence is my response to Twiglet #224 – moon rises. It sums up my attempts to take photos of this month’s “pink” moon/super moon. Monday’s photos yielded trees silhouetted by an obscure moon. The second photo is a 30 second exposure that shows how windy it was. Tuesday morning presented a beautiful amber moon that was already dropping behind clouds well above the horizon. It was totally obscured within three minutes. After taking the night photos, I mentioned to my wife that the tree frogs were the loudest I’d heard in my nine years in Missouri. She reminded me that it was my first time hearing them since getting hearing aids. It’s a loud new world.

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