Stories I Did Not Create ~ with audio

Reena’s Exploration Challenge #166 offers two short pieces as inspiration, to be coupled with an image, our own or found online. Of the offered short pieces I chose the following:

inkblots mutate
to form pictures,
I did not create

The image is one I’ve used here in the past. It shows me on my fifth birthday, in 1958. Our family tradition has been to place an extra candle on the cake, for good luck in the next year, as mentioned in this Wiki entry. (Something tells me that blowing out candles on a cake will become a thing of the past.)

Stories I Did Not Create

Decades to come, too many to count,
when I look to the past,
see stories I did not create,
stories that unfolded before, around me

Will I follow the inkblots that mutate
to form pictures and create alphabets
to understand the elements that came
to define my perspective?

What does a child know of these things?
There is only now. Before and after,
anticipation and regret, these we create.
Will I understand this, then?

For the Many ~ Golden Shovel ~ with audio

MTB: endings / beginnings, the prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, asks us to write a poem while considering endings, with a suggestion to write a Golden Shovel poem.  Per Introduction: The Golden Shovel, by Don Share at Poetry Foundation, “The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken often, but not invariably, from a Brooks poem.”  This was first done by Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, with his poem The Golden Shovel.  This, my first Golden Shovel, was inspired by Infirm, by Gwendolyn Brooks, found here.


For the Many

One class, one caste to include everybody.
None are immune here.
This disease that plagues us today is
intent on adding to the infirm.

One class, one caste to include everybody.
None are immune here.
Your failure to recognize this is
sure to take a toll on the infirm.

You say you have survived, but oh,
some are not so quick to mend.
You may scoff at what I say, ridicule me,
but some will never mend.
It could have been you. It may be me.
This does not make you better, a lord.

I read the signs, the news today,
and understand I am one of many, that I
am exposed when you say
you have no need to fear, to
take caution, that you are not one of them.

Despite what you say,
you, too, are of the many. Others act to
protect their fellows, protect them
with no thought to say
they cannot be troubled, to
act as though they care not for them.

For they do, with no thought to lord
it over the many.  Their desire to look
out for their fellow man, you and I,
is a sign that you are, that I am,
valued, and that is beautiful.

When the common and the beautiful
are seen as equal and viewed with
compassion, that is when my
true respect for others takes wing.

Our strength rises when that
understanding of equality is
wedded with a desire to spare the wounded.

There should be no “my,”
only “our.” When we see eye to eye,
when we come to realize that
the key to our survival is
best served when the many are bonded,
we will prevail. That, or

suffer the loss of my
sister or your mother, a deaf ear
turned to the grief that will not
serve sentiments funded
towards the consideration of others, or
even ourselves. Your regard for my
well-being should come unbidden. We walk
the same path. A beginning. An end. All
else may differ, but all else is a-wobble.

All is insanity, to think that I’m
insignificant to you, little enough
to trouble your mind, to
mask your pretension of superiority. Be
more than that. Be beautiful.

Let the world see that in you.
Join those who believe that others are
no less than beautiful.
Be one who thinks of others, too.

As a side note, this may be the longest poem I’ve written.

Darkness Dispersed

Poetics – Exploring Gothic as a Literary Genre (Step into the realm with me),
the prompt from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, asks us to write a Gothic poem. I’m not sure I have the capacity for detail that requires. Brief as it is, here’s mine.

Darkness Dispersed

Past, present and future
confined to darkness,
I built a wall,
block upon block
reaching for the heavens.

Yet it refused to rise,
you removing blocks
faster than placed,
so that stars shone
as we embraced.

Image source:

I remind myself it’s still autumn

I remind myself it’s still autumn

The leaves piled against the fence
          and in the driveway
should be reminder enough.
A conspiracy
between this damned hill-of-a-yard
and           my           total           lack           of           energy.
Meanwhile, I wait for answers
from my doctor. Maybe he’ll rake my leaves.

I could say the same thing
next month, for all the snow we get
here in January.           But it’s December.
The tree is decorated, and some of those leaves
just blew into the neighbor’s yard.
I guess I’ll have to listen to
his leaf blower.      Again.

The seasons just roll
one           into           another.
I need to remind myself
I’m still in my autumn.
I haven’t reached my winter.

Call this stream of consciousness.

Our Minds the Wick ~ found poem

Our Minds the Wick

Words the moth.
Fleeting, wings beating.
Feeding the light.

Infinity could not contain
the many paths
crossing where they will,
yet always moving on
from the intersections.

In us, around us,
rising and falling,
like accepting starlight
in search of consolation.

There is no simple formula
or parametric equation
for the birth of a poem.
Words to keyboard or pen,
prompted or not,
open my eyes to thoughts
waiting to be heard.

Poet to poet,
thoughts easily aligned.
A sharing or harvesting,
enfolding memories
that are not quite dreams.

Thankfulness in the waning moments
of inspiration for words gathered well.

This found poem is sourced from comments or replies I’ve made to various poets on WordPress. Those poets are David @ ben Alexander, Kerfe Roig, Merril Smith, Kim Russell, Barbara Leonhard, calmkate, Lisa @ Tao Talk, and Paul Vincent Cannon. Thank you to all of them for their inspiration.

I am sharing this with Open Link #280 – LIVE! at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Never Without a Trace

Never Without a Trace

Standing by the river that has carried me this far,
its course passing far beyond my own horizon,
I think of how little my life has played in its grand scale.

Coming, going, the waterbirds don’t leave a trace.
Or so I thought of life, my own being complete
and having little to show for my passing.

But then, looking down on its sandy shore,
I saw the tracks of a heron’s path and thought
of the child I once held, the fruit of my loins

traveling along that same river on a course
far ahead of my own, yet echoing my own,
one of many that fill the river to its banks.

The prompt for Poetics: Stepping Off the Sidewalk, from Laura at dVerse ~ Poets Pub is to use one of eight given fragments from the mystic poets in a poem. I have used “Coming, going, the waterbirds don’t leave a trace,” a line attributed to Dōgen, a 13th Century Japanese Buddhist monk.

Image source: Minneapolis Institute of Art
~ Heron on Branch, by Ohara Shōson ~
(click image/larger view/new tab)

Reason to Believe ~ prosery

Reason to Believe

Why would grandchildren make any difference in my life? What is there in witnessing the growth of child to adult, once-removed, that should should stir emotions already invested? Some questions can only be answered with time.

Grandchildren gained through adoption were the beginning of a gradual softening of that reticence. Witnessing their accomplishments from a perspective that has evolved with age, I understand their paths are laced with trials that compound with each generation. My concern for their future is no less, is perhaps greater, than the same I’ve had for my own children. My love for them certainly is no less.

Then came the birth of a granddaughter, and another, their eyes holding a depth of innocence that has melted this heart of mine. With that love and concern, my questions have been answered.

Reading what I have just written, I now believe.

This is my response to Some Prosery Cheer!, the prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. I suppose this could be seen as fiction. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem.  For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Afterword,” by Louise Glück. (the complete poem can be found here)

“Reading what I have just written, I now believe”

                                                            – Louise Glück

I’ve met the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.

Blue Is All I See


Blue Is All I See

How to spell a loss that returns year after year,
casting a pall on a season of joy?

Words do not suffice when every carol
is shadowed by the blues, without
the light in your eyes, gathered
from those who gathered around you.

I gather that blue and imagine you here,
your light shining upon us, the blues
the farthest thing from my mind.

This is my response to MTB: Synesthesia, the prompt from Grace at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to incorporate music in a poem from the perspective of a synesthete.

A story of when the ice detached and the people floated away ~ with audio

Poetics: travels in the wild, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, offers seven lines from “Surfacing,” a book of essays exploring the natural world and different histories by Kathleen Jamie, with one of those lines to be used as the title of a poem.

Those lines are:
• Travelling in the wilderness
• She said if a red fox had crossed somewhere, that area was safe
• They say only the south wind flattens grass
• We are teachers to our grandchildren
• Lead dogs are very smart
• Squirrel hunting in the mountains
A story of when the ice detached and the people floated away

Let’s call my response a stream of consciousness.


A story of when the ice detached
and the people floated away

Fear not, for this is merely a matter of conjecture and prognostication,
one that could come to pass given the habits and tendencies
of people when restrictions are placed upon them,
such as food rationing and curfews meant to restrict movement
that might make them the targets of an enemy during a time of war.

Not that that would ever happen or be willingly accepted
by a populace as a matter of pride in a joint effort to end the loss
of life to matters completely out of their control with an end result
of victory over a force that threatened the entire world.

Yes, this is about the restriction of movement, if one considers
maintaining safe distances as a means to limit the hardship
of others when close quarters may mean the difference
between suffering a great loss and the eventual freedom
to move about freely once the crisis has passed.

But this is not about food rationing, unless one considers the inability
to socially gather at either fine dining or fast food dining
establishments as the establishment of food rationing,
regardless of the availability of food at home,
despite, or as the direct result of, the hoarding of essential items.

What seems to plague the people of this tale is masked in the vanity
of people determined to do as they please and in an exaggeration of the loss
of freedom in the face of an economic hardship that would have been weathered
in the past by a determination to bring and end to that hardship.

And so the tale is simply this.
In a cold-hearted world, where the efforts of the people
might be seen as less demanding than during times of war,
where little thought was given to the health and safety of others,
and where simple sacrifices were disdained,
the ice detached and the people floated away.

~~ background music track for audio poem ~~
Ice Flow, by  Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Graphic image: Amazon image layered with Wikipedia image