Out of Reach

Out of Reach

Words come,
go, whether I stop
to think about the pain
or drive it from my mind.
Never really gone,
it rises when I fall victim
to regret, consider wasted
moments when I long
for those out of reach,
no longer here. I reach
for words they will never hear,
never sure if the words
will reach me.

This poem is my response to Poetics: From a place of pain, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is “to revisit a time in your life when you have felt pain (emotional or physical, acute or chronic) and come out on the other side stronger.” I don’t think I’ve ever survived such a moment in a way that made me any stronger. Instead, I consider myself just as vulnerable.

Heartbeat of America ~ Cadralor ~ American Sentence

Heartbeat of America

A well-oiled machine does not have to mean a well-oiled environment.

As a citizen of this great land, it’s your right to dig your own grave.

Opposites may attract, but not so much when they’re at each other’s throats.

The intent to bring harm upon others is not an oath worth keeping.

The heartbeat of America is sadly in need of CPR.

The prompt at Meet the Bar with the Cadralor + Nobel Prize, hosted by Björn at dVerse ~ Poets Pub is to write a Cadralor, a poetry form co-created by Lori Howe, Christopher Cadra and Mary Carroll-Hackett. The rules of the form, as stated at Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor:

“The Cadralor is a poem of 5, unrelated, numbered stanzaic images, each of which can stand alone as a poem, is fewer than 10 lines, and ideally constrains all stanzas to the same number of lines. Imagery is crucial to cadralore: each stanza should be a whole, imagist poem, almost like a scene from a film, or a photograph. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, alchemically pulling the unrelated stanzas together into a love poem. By “love poem,” we mean that your fifth stanza illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: “For what do you yearn?”

My poem probably is shorter than expected, and I suppose I’ve stood the form on its head by using an American Sentence for each of the stanzas.

Image (layered): surefirecpr.com & vectorstock.com

Acer Saccharum

Acer Saccharum

With naught but oak and cedar here
I long for you, my maple dear
A welcome sight at edge of glade
with lofty height providing shade
As gentle hues absorbing light
meet autumn colors oh so bright
But greatest of your many treats
is amber sap that runs so sweet

This poem is my response to Poetics – Exploring the genre of Panegyric Poetry (Come dip your toes in), the prompt form Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a panegyric poem, or poem of effusive praise.

Image source: clipartmax.com

This Heart

 This Heart

Neither glass nor stone,
not impervious nor shattered,
the heart that beats deep within me
has known the ache of life’s trials
and the elation of reward revealed
when most needed. The greatest
of those rewards was found
when it started beating for you.


This poem is my response to Quadrille #137: Throwing Poet Stones, the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word stone in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.

The stone and the glass hearts in the photo were found on the shore of Lake Ontario
(Click image for larger view in new tab)

Fair Niagara (revised) ~ verse epistle

Fair Niagara

Think not that I have forsaken you, Niagara.
These thousand miles that separate us
cannot deny that you still flow
through my veins like a lifeblood.

There can be no denying our intimacy,
one that reaches back to childhood. Mine,
bundled in my parents’ arms when I first met you
at the edge of your mighty falls.

Your childhood, Niagara, lies hidden somewhere
in the mists of time. Onguiaahra, your first people
named you. As a passage between two great bodies of water,
they respected your nature, both simple and profound.

The sight of salmon jumping in your lower reaches
or the light returned by a school of shiners in your clear water
take my breath away, yet it returns easily when your warm water
meets the cool air of an early autumn morning.

You cradled me as I swam in your depths
beside muskellunge and sturgeon,
held me afloat as I paddled your waters
in the company of herons and eagles.

Niagara, you have been my quiet companion,
the many hours I sat by your shore
marveling at your wonder and beauty,
contemplating life and the nearness of you.

I have heard the majesty of your cataracts, you with a rainbow
as a crown while singing of the splendors of nature.
I have seen your power and fury on display below those falls,
rushing through a canyon that would contain you,

till you broke free to flow calmly, steadily,
to complete your course, connecting one inland sea
with another. I have watched the sun set over you,
enhancing your beauty and glory.

Yet while my heart still beats for you, it has answered
the call of one most dear who now shares my heart
with you. I seek what comfort I can from the rivers
and streams of my new home, but they do not run as clear.

They do not provide the solace I find in your blue waters,
nor do they lessen this great distance between us.
Before my time has run its course,
I shall return to yours, my fair Niagara.

This is a revision of Fair Niagara, a verse epistle written for Exploring the poetic genre: Verse Epistle, a March 2021 prompt at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, and is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: SAY THE NAMES, a prompt hosted by Sherry Marr at earthweal, where she says, “Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live.”

I’m also sharing this at dVerse – Open Link Night 293 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Read about the source of the word “Niagara” here.

~ The Niagara River, with the skyline of the city of Niagara Falls on the horizon
~ At Niagara Falls in 1953
~ Emerald Shiners (minnows) in the Niagara River
(click images for larger view in new tab

Waiting for the First Leaf ~ haibun

Waiting for the First Leaf

Frank J. Tassone, American Haijin, provides a prompt that addresses an issue I have faced many times over the years. Days, sometimes weeks, have passed without poetry making an appearance, either through pixels or pen. And I’m faced with it once again, today.

Write a haibun about writer’s block? When my mind is filled with thoughts about the directions a tree branch might take, or the last days of hummingbirds at my feeder, I don’t know that I have the words that could describe the frustration I face right now when trying to meet the prompt. A leaf floating on a stream as I paddle beneath low hanging branches, spinning with its reflection as it does in my wake, could sooner bring words to mind. Or a sunset casting the trees in a golden light, offering a preview of what is to come when their leaves take on an autumn hue, comes to mind sooner than words about words that refuse to appear.

Give me those moments, and I may have the words to capture the beauty of nature. At the moment, the words to address writer’s block escape me. And so I wait.

brings milder weather
first leaf falls

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 9-27-21: Writer’s Block,
the prompt at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

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.


Anthropocene Labyrinth

Anthropocene Labyrinth

Which way to turn, and what to do
What steps to take to puzzle through
The ills inflicted on this Earth
Each one diminishing its worth

Resources stripped until they’re gone
With waning hope each breaking dawn
Rain forests stripped of all that’s green
Incorporated greed, obscene

Pollutants pumped into the skies
We choke the seas, yet still they rise
Vile toxins dumped into our streams
Descending darkness in our dreams

When each new dawn reveals new blight
There seems no end to this long night
The darkness here within this maze
Increases with each passing day


This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: ANTHROPOCENE LABYRINTH, where Ingrid says, “For this week’s challenge, let’s examine the possibility of rhyming, or perhaps even dancing our way out of the Anthropocene labyrinth.” I actually wrote this in iambic tetrameter, and we all know I’m not all that fond of rhyme or meter.

Shared with Open Link Night #300 September Live

Image source: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Mighty Big Boy ~ video poem


Mighty Big Boy

Comin’ down the tracks,
ground beneath me shakes.
Rollin’ right along,
steam left in its wake.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Wheels keep on turnin’,
giant pistons pound.
Six thousand horses
pawin’ at the ground.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Massive behemoth,
here for all to see,
rollin’ cross-country.
Piece of history.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Put out to pasture,
glory days long gone.
Still a stirring sight
worthy of a song.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Oral Poetry, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which asks us to begin without putting pen to paper – “say the words in your head, or repeat them out loud, trying “to complete the poem as far as possible without writing it down. Think about the devices discussed above: regular rhythms, repeated phrases or ‘motifs’, alliteration and rhyme schemes – anything to aid the memory and help the words to flow.”

I went out on Tuesday to see a steam locomotive, “Big Boy 4014.” Union Pacific purchased 25 “Big Boy “ locomotives in the 1940s. Eight still exist, and this engine is the only one that is operational and not in a museum. 4014 was retired in 1959 and was converted from coal to oil when its restoration was completed in 2019. The engine produces 6200 horsepower at 41 mph. With its tender, it is 132 feet in length and is the largest operating locomotive in the world. It came through my town, yesterday and today, and it will complete its tour by returning to its home in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I started composing this as I edited the photos I took this morning, pausing to type each stanza as I progressed.

If you have the time, check out my poem A Giraffe Lullaby, posted 25 Sept 2019. I think it actually fits this prompt.