Beyond the tangled web
that threatens to choke the life
from this nation, that dearth
of dignity woven through society

From its highest leader, sworn
to preserve that dignity,
To those sworn to protect
the common people

There is a light within
the hearts of the people
Where true worth is recognized
A hope that lives

Behind the web that threatens
to cover it with darkness
One that grants to all
that which is their due


Shared with Open Link #277 – Live edition at dVerse ~ Poets Pub
(which goes live at 2pm CT)

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Dark Matter in a Simulated Universe

New Leaves Wait to Grow ~ haibun

New Leaves Wait to Grow

It was an easy decision for me, when I decided to move to Missouri. I was following my heart to be with the woman I love. If we were going to be together, it was much easier for me to make the move than it would have been for her. Still not yet sixty (I had retired at fifty-three), I had no job to hold me back.

I gave a lot of thought to being away from my children and reasoned that it would be no different than if they were to move away after completing college. My eldest son had attended university in Cleveland and had a job there as a computer engineer. My other son still lived in the Buffalo area, working in IT for a web hosting firm, and wasn’t afraid to travel himself. Meanwhile, my daughter was in college, and there were no guarantees that she would stay in the area once she completed school. Since then, she has become a high school counselor, and all three have stayed in their respective cities.

It’s 700 miles to Cleveland, and another 200 miles further on to Buffalo, and I’ve driven those roads to visit them at least twenty times in the past eight years. I don’t mind the drive. We have a great time when we’re together, and we’ve even had them as guests when they’ve visited us.

When my granddaughter arrived (two years ago, next month), I realized there was something I hadn’t anticipated. Grandchildren unexpected? No, but I hadn’t thought about how much I would be missing, over the miles. Now, I saw her (and held her!) a few times in the first year, and there have been many video calls, but it’s been nearly eleven months since I’ve actually seen her.

And now, my daughter is expecting her first child in three weeks. Meanwhile, due to the COVID-19 infection rate, Missouri has been on the out-of-state travel ban list for New York State for months-on-end and flirts off-and-on with the slightly less stringent restrictions for Ohio.

I am where my heart has taken me, but I wonder.  If I knew then what I know now, would I have considered the move a folly?

old leaves fall
new leaves wait to grow
left behind

This haibun is my response to dVerse – Poetics #427 – Mussenden’s Temple,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt
to write a poem using the word folly.

The Ultimate Fright Night ~ haibun

The Ultimate Fright Night

As he had for years, he placed a large bowl of candy on the table just inside the door of his home, put decorations on the outside of the door, placed an orange bulb in the lamppost, and waited for the children to ring his doorbell as they called out the cheerful chant, “Trick or Treat.” But times had changed, and fewer children roamed the streets on this festive night. Concerns for safety meant parents took their children to churches and malls for their treats, and each year fewer and fewer superheroes and princesses appeared at his door, leaving him with a bowlful of sugary sweets to ration for himself for the next few months.

But this year he waited in vain, for there were no smiling faces, and no one rang the doorbell looking for treats. In the true spirit of this frightful night, the children had one more reason to listen to the words they had heard for so long, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”

blue moon curse
on All Hallows’ Eve
COVID plague

This is my response to Haibun Monday 10-26-20: Happy Halloween!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Ascension Dissension ~ with audio

Ascension Dissension

He knows his body knows,
communicates when it states
its intentions, dissension
its main talking point.
Lest he forget, he will soon
regret letting desire trump
prior warning signs. Aches
will wake joints that protest
at his best efforts to continue
as if nothing has changed,
but range of motion is not
what it used to be. See,
Ken is no spring chicken.
You can bet that when
he tends to forget, something
like a six-mile hike will
remind him of what he should
already know. Take it slow.

The prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, MTB – Let your words ring out, asks us to write a poem that combines sense with sound. I’ve used alliteration, assonance and internal rhyme to achieve that.

I spent most of yesterday hiking 6 miles through a National Forest. The repeated inclines across ridges, as I followed bluffs above a river, took a toll on my body. After dinner, I made a list of maladies and aches, wondering if I could somehow use them in a poem. Reading the prompt this morning answered that. Maybe I’ll describe my day in a photo blog this afternoon.

The Third of November

The Third of November

In a vigil to rival All Hallows’ Eve,
skulls of saints will scream in agony
at the slime pigments cast upon
election results by the fool
known as The Clown in Chief
as he casts his scepter as a crown.

The pellucid quest that follows
will underscore the truth
buried by the dim accuracy
of his claims of victory,
granting the solitudes wish
of the multitudes upon his soul.

This poem is my response to Poetics: The charms of Samuel Greenberg, the prompt from Laura at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem using five of these phrases
from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu”:

Dim Accuracy ~ Candle salve ~ Consumed moon
Eyes jealousy ~ Fouls deviation ~ Grey life
Hearts brow ~ Lucid farrows ~ Nulling marrows
Painted mirth ~ Pale heat ~ Palmed rose
Pearls from tissue ~ Pellucid quest ~ Royal flesh
Skulls of saints ~ Slime pigments ~ Spiritual songs
Solitudes wish ~ Times chant ~ Yellow dreams

I have used dim accuracy, pellucid quest, skulls of saints,
slime pigments, and solitudes wish.

Image source: David Horsey / Seattle Times (edited here)

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

A Spoonful of Donald ~ with audio

A Spoonful of Donald
(Trumps the Virus Goin’ Round)

Far from desirous
Worldwide, people fall like flies
Ignore fake news – Ignore those lies

It’s not too late
Be like me – I’m so great
Don’t let COVID dominate

Big Pharma aiming for the moon
COVID cure can’t come too soon

Emphatic denials
Who needs drug trials
Presidential immunity
Be like me – I’ll set you free

Two words, “eradication” and “medication,” in a comment by Kim
on Ron Lavalette’s prosery (The Determining Factor) inspired this poem.

Shared with OpenLinkNight #276

Top: Washington Post (© Steve Breen/San Diego Union Tribune)
Bottom: (© Dave Granlund)

Quench This Thirst

Quench This Thirst

Give me a forest trail
beneath radiant amber leaves
that dance playfully in sunlight,
past stony outcrops that speak
of history embraced in layers of time
that seeps to form rivulets of life
that feed streams great and small.

Take me to the banks of those rivers
where the forest’s roots reach to the water.
Just as their thirst is quenched,
let mine be so, that I may know
the beauty of leaves, of water, and of sky.

This poem is my response to Three little words, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use one of the provided sets of three words in a poem. The sets of words are from “What 3 Words,” a project that divides the entire world into 3-meter squares, giving each square a 3-word designation. From the provided list, I have chosen quench.forest.rivers to use in my poem.

Larger-Than-Life, Smaller in Truth ~ prosery

Larger-Than-Life, Smaller in Truth

Pen poised above his notepad, the correspondent had stopped taking notes shortly after the president started speaking. He sat at the White House press briefing, confident that little more than inflated accomplishments and no real news would be heard as he thought back on the president’s briefings for the past four years. As he had always done, the president spoke as if campaigning for re-election, loudly proclaiming that nothing that comes from the media is anything more than “fake news,” while little truth could be found in anything that left his own lips.

As the president left the podium and his fellow reporters rose from their chairs, he thought, “From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time. With that telescope reversed, the future will recognize him for the small man that he truly is.”

This bit of flash fiction is my response to Prosery: Telescope of Time, presented by Kim 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 “Humming Bird,” by D.H. Lawrence. (the complete poem can be found here)

“From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time”      – D.H. Lawrence

Image source: Politico / Getty
(edited here)

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

There are no guarantees.
The definition escapes you.
No room for me,
no meaning.

Webster’s might say
the clue known
only to you.

Beyond this point,
there be dragons,
a matter of politics.

Your meaning
all that matters,
my heart secondary
to the source, you.

This is my response to MTB: Lists that Google gives us, the prompt from Björn at dVerse Poets Pub, which is to start a word search at Google, following the thread from word to word to create a poem. I started with “guarantee,” which led me to “definition,” and onward. The title, “The Distance Between Us” was actually my starting point, but when that thread ran dry, I decided it still works as a title.

Image source: