Unknown ~ quadrille


While ours to consider,
haunting or blessing, the past
will not foretell the future.

Riddled with unknowns, both
darkness and light, the path
before us is ours to discern.

Neither granting advantage
nor taking it for granted,
our challenge is to find the way.

This is my response to dVerse – Quadrille 120 (aka 119 part 2) – No way! Way!,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use
a form of the word way in a 44-word poem, with no required meter or rhyme.


Heavy Heart ~ prosery

Heavy Heart

It was not by choice, but he left much earlier than anyone expected, his body finally succumbing to the ravages of illness that had plagued his life. His last six months were the hardest for him. The hardest for us.

But we go on. And so she did, for another fifteen years. Missing his love. Missing the many things he’d done for all of their life together. She was overwhelmed at first, but we assured her that we would do anything for her.

And we did, but the time came when her own health issues became too much for her. As I sit beside her bed, holding her hand while she sleeps, I know that soon she will take her last breath. Both of my parents will be gone.

Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy, no night heavier than this.

This is my response to Prosery: Bone Weary, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg 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 “Spring Azures,by Mary Oliver.

“Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy,”
                                                                                     – Mary Oliver

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

Not Just Any Watch ~ with audio


Not Just Any Watch

This is not a timepiece held by just any man.
His later life an escape to simple times and the bottle,
it graced the pocket of your father’s jeans
and marked the hours as he worked by your side,
toiling in farm fields after your mother’s death.
And later, it measured the hours of tavern time
till we would pick him up and drive to Aunt Ginny’s,
his home in his last years far from those fields,
never recovering from his loss. Measuring
his life, short as it was, it passed to you,
its black shoestring of a watch chain lasting
even through the years it served you. It passed
from your hands to mine, a reminder
of the hard years of your youth, a witness
to the life you achieved through hours of hard work,
a testament to the power of time to heal.

This poem is my response to Poetics:Object Poems, the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem beginning with “This is not a ______” and centered around an every day object, sparing the details of the object and instead showing the connection that it has made or what it represents.

Image: the pocket watch that once belonged to my grandfather, and then my father.

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?

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.

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.

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.