What Is Before Us ~ with audio


What Is Before Us
                for Stephen

Plain sight cannot deny
a truth without camouflage,
your subtle brushstrokes
never relying on memory hidden
within the ebb and flow of life,
always open to the new
as it unfolds, willing
an insight of what may be
repeated, though never taken
for granted. In chords
that stroke the soul,
I have seen your true self.

This poem is inspired by The Quiet Places, by Stephen Tanham.
Please read the original. It’s a short read, and the source of the photo.

A Simple Gesture ~ with audio


A Simple Gesture

Need I say already
when so much time has passed,
when each passing moment
seems to take moments with it?

Sight and sound blurred
and muffled, impressions
that bring new meaning each time
my mind tries to repeat them.

Amentalio. The word would be
foreign to you, but I can imagine
your reaction to it, that gesture
not lost to me, yet. A shrug,

the slightest tilt of your head,
followed by a question.
How can you forget something
that is such a part of your soul?

This poem is my response to Poetics: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use one of ten words taken from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, by John Koenig. I had written a poem using one of John Koenig’s words when they were still available to be seen on his website. Since that source is no longer available, I definitely will be getting a copy of the book, so thank you to Linda for the heads up.

From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

Amentalio: the sadness of realizing that you’re already forgetting sense memories of the departed- already struggling to hear their voice, picture the exact shade of their eyes, or call to mind the quirky little gestures you once knew by heart.

Bittersweet Sorrow ~ with audio


Bittersweet Sorrow

This grief that is mine,
that has been mine these many years,
that has plagued me with its persistence,
has lost its bitterness. Bittersweet perhaps,
though never bringing the pleasure
of a cherry that is savored in spite of
its tartness. It still delivers a chill, yet
keeps me warm with the memories
that it stirs. It is those that I savor.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Always in Season, the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which offers three options. Mine is in regards to writing “about an emotion or abstract concept,” is to “an emotion or abstract concept. What does it taste like?”

Apologies, for continuing in the vein of yesterday’s response to dVerse. While that one was difficult for me, I was able to write this in a more objective manner.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


Worth Any That Came Before ~ quadrille ~ with audio

Worth Any That Came Before

          65 years ago

One memory lingers,
unwanted, but I hold it close,
nonetheless. One more
moment with you, worth
any that came before
and more than any after.
Your hand in mine,
you lingered, eyes closed
but restless. Then no more,
as you went to meet him.

My mother outlived my father by fifteen years, and she missed him every day she lived without him. On her last day, I spent the afternoon with her. When I went to dinner, my sister stayed by her side, so she was not alone at the end.
They say that writing can be cathartic. That may be true, but sometimes it stirs memories I might wish I never had. But then, those may be the ones I couldn’t live without.

This poem is my response to Quadrille #136: Let’s Linger, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word linger in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.


Desolation ~ with audio



Rock and snow my prison cell
Stranded in the midst of beauty
Blue waves and sky no consolation
Thoughts of rescue from this desolation

Now as distant as a passing ship,
With its snapping sails
A faint syncopation
Against the murmur of swans

Taunting me from afar
The freedom of their aerial maneuvers
Bringing only profound sadness
Each passing day

The spark of hope dimmer
Until frozen
Splintering, shattering
Finally gone

“Desolation” has it’s roots in a poem I wrote for a prompt from Jane Dougherty and subsequently edited for The Ekphrastic Review, where it was published in October 2018.  It was inspired by In the Blue Expanse, by Arkady Rylov, and can be found here.

Shared with OpenLinkNight #299 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Empty Echoes ~ with audio


Empty Echoes

In the winter wind, a massive pine
brushes the clapboard of this house
that has not seen paint in fifty years.
Weathered and fading to gray,
it is neglected and long past
any rustic charm. Snow is cupped
in the upturned edges of the siding.
Shutters hang at an angle beside
windows that once glowed
with warmth, but now stand dull
and lifeless. There is no bustle,
no activity, just banging shutters.

You say you hear laughter
from this house? That’s nothing
more than echoes from the past.
Perhaps you also smell roast turkey
and spiced apple, or hear dishes
clattering. Broken pieces on the floor
are all that remain of those. This home
has not seen a festive dinner in years.
And that’s no wisp of smoke
from the chimney, just snow blowing
from the roof of an empty house.
But you knew that when you saw
those lifeless windows.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Outside Looking In, the prompt from Laura at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which asks us to imagine a house with no family connections, no memories of our own to call upon.

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 Poem Sound and Song ~ with audio

In Poem Sound and Song

MoondanceListening to our shadow on a night picnic,
being visited by words, I dress myself
with raining moonbeams that bring me magic
with dream sense. Giving them our real names,
I sing to the stars of my love for you
with controlled abandon. What’s my image?
Poems and the body, think of them as being here
as one, for poems are alive. These are
the nights you love me most,
full moon me, most mad and moonly.

This poem is my response to Day 18 at napowrimo.net, where the challenge is write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Woolridge’s Poem crazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, from the book’s Table of Contents, found here. I’ve included fifteen of those phrases in my poem so it is nearly a cento.
The chapter titles I have used are:

•   poem sound and song
•   listening to our shadow
•   on a night picnic
•   being visited by words
•   I dress myself with rain
•   bring me magic
•   dream sense
•   our real names
•   controlled abandon
•   what’s my image
•   poems and the body
•   being here
•   poems are alive
•   full moon me
•   most mad and moonly

Dancers silhouette found at clipartbest.com

Ken G.

~ Day 18 ~

Straight From the Source ~ with audio


Straight From the Source

Straight From the SourceI follow lines. Curves and angles
may draw my eye, but always
bring me back to lines. An arc,
a tangent, the shadow of a cornice
cannot conceal details, divert direction.
A hairpin may reverse direction
but always takes me forward.

Each one speaks to me, waits
to meet the page, carbon to fiber,
or the screen, pixels in a lattice,
forming lines that tell the story
of the lines that inspire me.

Off prompt for Day 15 at napowrimo.net, but still on track to write at least a poem a day in April for National/Global Poetry Writing Month 2021.

Ken G.

Shared with Open Link #290 – Live Edition at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

~ Day 15 ~

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – cornice of Imperial palace on The Palatine Hill in Rome

To the Question ~ with audio


To the Question

To the QuestionWhat is truth, and what is fiction?
Though facts may abound,
much is unknown. There is no lack
of sources or resources, yet not
all is black and white. Insights,
opinions from self-labeled experts
available at our fingertips, only
muddy the waters. Clarity
is open to interpretation. If only
I might ken their meaning.

This poem is my response to Day 14 at napowrimo.net, where the prompt is to write a poem that delves into the meaning of one’s first or last name.

Ken G.

~ Day 14 ~

Image source: pinclipart.com