A Scattering of Poems ~ prosery

A Scattering of Poems

In the street of the sky, night walks, scattering poems. In the streets below, poets follow, gathering inspiration in hopes of doing justice to that which cannot be equaled. They speak of a distant darkness filled with a light that seems just out of reach, one that appears as a mist yet offers sparkling clarity. Each might write about the vast expanse that seems to wrap around her, or about the countless points of surrounding light, of which he is one.

Those who read, who listen, will understand and recognize the beauty that can bring such inspiration. They will join the poets, become poets, themselves. The streets will be filled with those who walk the night. Their numbers will be such that they stretch halfway around the globe, and night will see the reward that the people have reaped from its scattering of poems.

 This is my response to Prosery: Tulips & Chimneys, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, where the challenge is to write a prosery, flash fiction or creative nonfiction, with a 144-word limit (here, exactly 144 words). Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line is from Tulips & Chimneys, by E. E. Cummings – the last line of IX Impressions: “in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems

The image is a crop of a larger image from Astronomy Picture of the Day
“Two Comets in Southern Skies” – Copyright: Jose J. Chambo (Cometografia)

From Blue to You

From Blue to You

I’ve always been your favorite color,
but I’m hers, as well, so your eyes
were a clincher for her. Remember
your first time together, a Chicago blues club?
Yeah, I see a lot of that. Hear it too.
But I saw none of that between the two of you.
No blues there. I didn’t even mind when you went
back to the Windy City for a jazz festival.
She was overcome when you introduced her
to my beauty in that magnificent lake,
when she saw my true depth. And the way
you two looked at those blue skies? Especially
the night sky and your talk of a blue nebula,
your love for each other that seems ever-expanding.
Thank you for that.

This poem is my response to Poetics: True Colors? – the prompt
from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem the perspective of a color.

NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula
© Tony Hallas via Astronomy Picture of the Day
Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois (Jay Pritzker Pavilion)
photo taken 02 September 2012

True North ~ quadrille

True North

I was fading to nothing,
all reason and purpose gone,
when my eyes found hers
and I was instantly drawn.

As the needle in my heart turned,
I knew I had found my true north,
her heart the magnet
that would lead me there.

This is my response to Quadrille #114 – Poetic Magnetism,
the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse Poets Pub,
which is to use a form of the word magnet in a 44-word poem,
with no required meter or rhyme.

(background) Astronomy Picture of the Day
Cygnus: Bubble and Crescent © Wissam Ayoub
(foreground) Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Qibla compass, from Iran

On the Horizon


On the Horizon

Imagine a time when light
comes out of darkness.

What to do with an event
of unimagined scope? How

to determine depth, when it cannot
be touched, only imagined?

Imagination is not a substitute
for facts. Each new event

offers further questions. Picture
a time when the truth is revealed.

There are answers on the horizon.

On 10 April 2019, the first ever image of a black hole was released by the Event Horizon Telescope project, a network of eight linked telescopes.

An excellent short video from the BBC is available here.

Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day & Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration


Silent Canyons

Silent Canyons

Silent Canyons_aCranial walls,
processing moment
to moment, momentary

lapses more frequent
with time, hold secrets

forgotten. Frescoes
peer through graffiti,
impressions growing

fainter with each
calculation, dusk
slowly encroaching.

Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day, and credited to NASA, JPL-CalTech, SwRI, MSSS.  NASA offers raw images of the Jupiter flybys by the spacecraft Juno at JUNOCAM for the public to edit and upload to the site.  This image (cropped here) was processed by Rick Lundh, using an impressionist oil-painting filter in Photoshop.

National/Global Poetry Writing Month

NaPoWriMo 2018

The Longest Sigh

The Longest Sigh

The Longest Sigh

The currents that deliver us
do not concern themselves
with time or distance,

even as we anticipate the quaver
that signifies the end.

Then, now.

Near, far


All are the same in the eons of the
slow, sustained breath of the cosmos.

APOD inspires, with the aid of a not-so-simple comment from Robert Okaji…
“a slow, sustained breath, quavering at the end”

Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day
(NGC 3344, from ESA/Hubble and NASA)
This link will take you to the full resolution photo.

National/Global Poetry Writing Month ~ Day 15

NaPoWriMo 2018

Shadows Dark

Shadows Dark.jpg

Shadows Dark

So dark in the darkness
that when you woke you spoke
of something wrong
longing to haunt you
with a secret spelled out
in an unnamed pain, strangling
sweetness and innocence
as if they meant nothing.

They wait, still, even
in the light of day, your will
the only thing slowing
their advance.

This probably is not to prompt for Day 8 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month (write a poem in which mysterious and magical things appear), but there it is.

It was after midnight, and I sat in the kitchen reading the paper after a late afternoon shift at work, when my daughter entered the room as frantic and scared as any eight-year-old girl could be. Something was wrong, but she couldn’t name it, couldn’t even describe it. I soothed her and stroked her temple until her eyes closed and she fell asleep. She had no memory of that night terror the next morning, and it was the only one we were aware that she experienced. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a short time later, with blood glucose levels through the roof. Like any child experiencing extreme challenges, she had her ups and downs, but eighteen years later she keeps its effects at bay.

Image source: Tarantula Nebula, Astronomy Picture of the Day

NaPoWriMo 2018

Night Light

Night Light.jpg

Night Light

I’ve seen your window,
wondered at its depth while questioning intent.
Timing is difficult enough when two bodies are side by side.
Factoring in the deception of distance, minus the variable of patience,
leaves a formula for disaster.

Of course it’s inviting.
I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of the unattainable,
knowing the lights will be out when I arrive,
but it’s safer here in the dark,
disillusion a matter of practicality.

The prompt for Day 6 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month is to use lines that are long and/or short in “a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks.” The examples included (Lorine Niedecker, Stanley Kunitz, and Amiri Baraka) are excellent.

A craft resource is offered – Alberto Ríos’s thoughts on the poetic line, which suggest using long lines (sometimes to an extreme) rather than breaking them. I’ve done that here, and I am not happy with it. I disagree with the argument presented by Rios, that breaking a line means it may as well be prose, requiring the reader to proceed down the page to follow a plot. Writing in a manner that gives those long lines makes me feel like I’m writing prose, and that is not my aim. I use line breaks and enjambment for a purpose – to open the possibility that the reader will focus for a moment on a particular word, or see an association that might not otherwise be made.

Below is the poem as originally written
(inspired by today’s photo at Astronomy Picture of the Day):

Night Light

I’ve seen your window,
at its depth,
while questioning intent.

Timing is difficult enough
when two bodies are side by side.
Factoring in the deception of distance,
minus the variable of patience,
leaves a formula for disaster.

Of course,
it’s inviting. I’ve always been
drawn to the beauty of the unattainable,
knowing the lights will be out
when I arrive,

but it’s safer here
in the dark,
a matter of practicality.

NaPoWriMo 2018


A BIG BANG – a mistranslation

My response to the prompt for Day 5 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month is essentially a misinformed translation of a Dutch poem, inspired by a random photo. The prompt is to find a photo and translate a poem, in a language not known to me, so that it refers to the photo. Of course, this means the resulting poem will have no resemblance to the true translation of the original poem – it’s a writing exercise! My initial reaction was to ignore the prompt, but I’ve decided to give it a try. Please don’t hold this against me!
(A memory of a childhood understanding of a few very basic German words, including numbers, was the only “help” I had in pretending to decipher the original poem.)

A Big Bang

Astronomy Picture of the Day
(Russ Carroll, Robert Gendler & Bob Franke)


There is nothing standing
between us and the shoals
we see arranged
in tide-like structures,
light taken or given,
enriching us.

There is nothing standing
between us: leaving fossils
instead. Defining, discerning
ones and zeros – data
telling us nothing
of the ending, only
the beginning.

Coming or going, whether
sevenfold or untold,
which doors open
to guide us
will define our world,

a binary dance that offers
nothing but the truth
standing between us:
one faulty reading
of an interstellar message

parsed light years too late,
and synapses glaze over,
neurons responding to nothing
more than a boring signal.

A BIG BANG (the original)

er is niet meer nodig dan afstand om ons te zien zoals we zijn
het aangroeien en afsterven van tijdelijke structuren, licht
in het donker in het licht wij groeien in alle richtingen, een

er is niet meer nodig dan afstand om ons te zien: levende
in steeds dezelfde banen die rekenen op enen en nullen omdat
niet tellen, niet snel genoeg om start van finish te

laat staan om thuis te komen. Roodkapje met de
haast zich door onderzeese glasvezeldraad een oor in aan de
andere kant
van de wereld. Een wolf, een grootmoe, een meisje en een jager

dansen samen een binaire chachacha. Ga van het pad schat
het vraagt niet meer dan afstand om ons te zien: een defecte cel
in een sterrenstelselhersenpan, een interstellaire boodschap

parasitair lichtgevend mos, synapsen van glasvezel maar dan
neuron aan / neuron uit, mens aan / mens uit
mensen als banaal signaal.

© 2014, Runa Svetlikova

A BIG BANG (translation, as provided at Poetry International Web)

nothing further is needed than distance to see us the way we are
the increase and decease of temporary structures, light
in darkness in the light we grow in all directions, rampant

further is needed than distance to see us: living fossils
perpetually in identical orbit describing ones and zeros, as we
don’t count, not quick enough to distinguish between the start and finish

let alone to come home. Little Red Riding Hood in seven-league boots
dashes through the undersea optic fibre into an ear the other
side of the world. A wolf, a grandma, little girl and huntsman

dancing a binary cha-cha-cha together. Get off the path my love
all that is needed is distance to see us: a defective cell
in a cranial firmament, an interstellar message of

parasitic, luminous moss, glass fibre synapses but quicker still
neuron on / neuron off, human on / human off
people as a banal signal.

NaPoWriMo 2018
(This is also linked to OpenLinkNight #217 at dVerse)


Sentinel Star


Sentinel Star

Distant star within my sight
Shining down on me tonight
Won’t you send your charm my way
Make my worries go away

Shine good fortune on this soul
Longing to be once more whole
Banish sorrow and dismay
As I greet the newborn day

The prompt at dVerse, posed by Frank Hubeny is to write a tanaga – four line stanzas with seven-syllable lines, often rhyming and with either the same or variable rhyme patterns. I’ve chosen a simple rhyme pattern, and I’ll admit I was influenced by Frank’s example of “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”

Image: NASA/ESA/HUBBLE via Astronomy Picture of the Day