The Great Divide – quadrille

The Great Divide

There is an ethical chasm
carved across this great land.
Should any man
abide by these standards,
the principles so clearly expressed
by the one some would call president,
pray that he sees the error of his ways
and follows a more righteous path.

This is my response to dVerse – Quadrille 117 – The Dude Abides,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word
abide in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.

Image source: Britannica
(edited here)

The Gift of Miles


The Gift of Miles

Each a reward
Closer to those I love
Nearer to all that I miss
A toddler’s laugh
A newborn’s downy caress
An infectious smile
Bonds that remain unbroken

A gorgeous whitewater free fall
Of cascading emotions
Joy in waves that embrace
The blue overhead
Sky, water, and souls
In a shared presence
Always welcome
A warm embrace on my return

I left home on November 1st (after casting an absentee ballot) (and after testing negative for COVID-19) for the 900 mile drive from Missouri to New York, so that I could see my new granddaughter, who was born on November 18th. A stop in Cleveland allowed me to see my granddaughter there, and a second COVID-19 test in New York allowed me to visit free from quarantine. In addition to seeing family, I made sure to visit some of my favorite sights around western New York, including the Niagara River and Lakes Erie & Ontario. Of course, the drive home allowed me to see my granddaughter in Cleveland once again, and I arrived home 23 days after my original departure, having driven 2400 total miles.

Shared with Open Link #279 – LIVE Edition at dVerse ~ Poets Pub

Light Seen in Colors ~ haibun

Light Seen in Colors

For most of my life, I lived within ten miles of one of the most magnificent bodies of water known to man. Its combination of splendor and power never ceases to amaze me, though I’ve visited it hundreds of times. I see it far less often since moving away eight years ago, but seeing it this month for the first time in nearly a year was no different. From the rush and fury of the rapids above the falls to the roar of the water as it tumbles beyond the crest to the gorge below, the Niagara River at Niagara Falls once again took my breath away.

chilly mist
light seen in colors
sailing gulls

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday: Being But Human,
from Kim at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt to write a haibun
inspired by a moment “in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.”

Image: Niagara Falls – 10 November 2020
(click image for larger view in new tab)

time spent with granddaughters ~ Gogyohka

eagerly waiting for her cousin

time spent with granddaughters
one newly welcomed to this world
one scampers with joy
comfort for these weary bones
closer to the end than a beginning

with dad

I have chosen to write a Gogyohka (5 brief lines in keeping with the tradition of Japanese short verse) to response to MTB: Jisei (Japanese Death Poems), the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, or Gogyohka that reflects on
imminent death – and the significance of life in light of it.

We welcome a new granddaughter who entered the world last night. Mother and child are doing well and will be home tomorrow. Once I actually get to meet her this weekend, I will spend two days driving home early next week, including a visit with my two-year old granddaughter in Cleveland.

Mom with her dad (back when)

The Light in Your Eye – ekphrastic poem

The Light in Your Eye


An absence of color
that brings my world to life?

Or the light that seems
to emanate from your eye?

All of these in a fluke of lighting,
a software glitch transmitted
from your cell to mine.

Always with me.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Look into my Eyes, the prompt from Mish
at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to “Incorporate the theme of eyes into a poem.
Write about the eyes of someone close to you, your own eyes
or those of a fictional character.”

The image, a photo sent to me by my wife in our early days,
is one of the wallpapers on my phone. (without the text, written today)

Infinite Possibilities ~ quadrille

Infinite Possibilities

Love at first sight is unforgettable
Brings joy unquantifiable
Pleasure immeasurable
Like a calling supersensible

An attraction irresistible
Is absolutely unmistakable
Its effect indisputable
The memory indelible

No alternative seems possible
Separation is unbearable
A life without is incomprehensible
For our love most immutable

This is my response to Quadrille #116: Poem Those Possibles,
the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse Poets Pub,
which is to use a form of the word possible in a 44-word poem,
with no required meter or rhyme.


Frosted Memories

Frosted Memories

Time cannot diminish the luster of frosted glass

Or silence the voice that is the beauty within

Water and stones sift through my fingers

And that beauty shines through

Elusive memories touch the light of day

Have their say, then retreat

Time moves on

Images: beach glass & the shore of Lake Ontario
                    09 November 2020

Shared with Open Link Night #278 – Rejoice! at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Playing the Odds

Playing the Odds

What are numbers, but a manipulation of the facts?
You can make them say what you want,
and what you want is to place restrictions on our liberties.

So they thought, as they ignored the numbers.

And so they fell ill, adding to the very numbers
they had chosen to ignore. Some felt vindicated.
Their survival was all the evidence they needed.

And those who fell by the side, never to rise again?
They were nothing more than numbers to be used
by those who were trying to rob them of their freedom.

This is my response to dVerse – Poetics 428 – Poetry as witness, the prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse Poets Pub, which is to write a poem that bears witness to local happenings.

Missouri continues to be considered a Red Zone state, with COVID-19 positivity rates far above acceptable levels. Those who express concern for transmission seem to be in the minority, and the numbers continue to rise, as many people in my area ignore mask recommendations, wearing them only when required by a shop or store. In a county of 60,000 people, there have been more than 4,000 cases of COVID-19. Of those people tested, the state has a positivity rate of over 20%.

I tested (negative) prior to traveling to New York, then quarantined and tested again (once more negative). As I stay “out of circulation” during my stay here, I feel safe in visiting with my daughter before she has her child next week, and following that when I see my new granddaughter.

After that? Well, after that I drive back home to a hot spot where people seem content to ignore the numbers that continue to rise.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (edited here)

Nothing Behind the Wall ~ prosery

Nothing Behind the Wall

As the wall grows higher, some think they understand, for they feel threatened. Something must be done to hold back the masses who threaten their insular worlds, to exclude those with foreign designs and deviant thoughts.

If they truly understood, they would recognize that he is only playing to their fears, as with anything he says or does. Anything to benefit his cronies, and especially himself, while elevating his stature in their eyes.

Walls are his favorite. Whether visible, such as the border wall, or the exaggerated principles meant to exclude outsiders, the imagined threat of those he so easily dupes, or the wall he builds around himself.

Not all are blind to this. There are those who understand completely, those who could tell his followers, “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles, but you cannot see that.”

This bit of flash fiction is my response to Of Houses, Walls, and Whistling WindsDreams, presented by Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. My flash fiction also meets the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.
For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Drawings By Children,” by Lisel Mueller. (the complete poem can be found here)

“there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles.”

                              – Lisel Mueller

I have included the following line, as well. (“but you cannot see that”)
Image source: Detroit Free Press

Donald Downer

Donald Downer

What deeper descent than this lift?


Our attendant
Lips pursed
Beneath brim of red hat

Offers no excuses
Only promises
Of a living hell

The doors open to reveal
A hell no different than
The last four years trapped with him

A swift kick out the door
A simple X on a ballot
And we leave him behind

What sweeter ascent than this lift?

Reena’s Exploration Challenge #160 offers this scenario:

You go down in a lift that doesn’t stop for hours.
When it finally opens, what do you see?