Forward ~ sijo


Experience is woven
       into the fabric of our lives.

Understanding our mistakes
       gives us the strength to move forward.

The things we fear will follow us
       until we let them go.

This is my response to Ronovan Writes Sijo Challenge #47: Escape.

Sijo (a Korean verse form related to haiku and tanka)
~ three lines of 14-16 syllables each
~ a total of 44-46 syllables
~ a pause near the middle of each line
~ first half of the line contains six to nine syllables
~ the second half should contain no fewer than five
Originally intended as songs, sijo can treat romantic, metaphysical, or spiritual themes. Whatever the subject, the first line introduces an idea or story, the second supplies a “turn,” and the third provides closure.
Modern Sijo are sometimes printed in six lines.
Read more here: Wikipedia


New Day

New Day

First break of light, senses keen
for any trace of change,
I greet the day, eager
to meet any challenge, knowing
what I face will not daunt me.
Each day is a new beginning.
No hurdle is too great,
this morning or any morning.

This is my response to #Quadrille #158: Morning Has Broken, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word morning in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Out of Touch ~ ekphrastic

Out of Touch

“I thought of the future, and spoke of the past.”
                         Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Through a haze that erases
possession and masks potential,
where is the horizon?

I grasp but find nothing.
There is no satisfaction
in what is denied.

Past and future out of reach,
the present slips away
with each passing moment.

This is my response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Unbounded
and the photo that is provided.
It also responds to Poetics: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although it is outside of the window to link it at Mr. Linky. (other responses here). That prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub provides several quotes from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for inspiration.

More Than a Tree

More Than a Tree

A tree stands tall,
sheltering all below
with a canopy of green.

But time takes its toll,
leaving branches bare
of leaf, with all life gone.

Sapped of any strength
it held in its prime, the tree
falls to the forest floor.

The story does not end here.
Observe the dead wood.
Consider all that lies under.

Estimate its worth, knowing
that life goes on, nurtured
by the death of a tree.

This is my response to the prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, Compound Me!, which asks us to use one or more of the compound words that are provided. This is to be done by separating the root words by line break or punctuation – and with no words placed between the root words. (Here, using underestimate.)

Winging It in the Zombie Apocalypse ~ prosery

Winging It in the Zombie Apocalypse

Oh, the wonders of science, and all they make possible. For decades, genetic manipulation has allowed us to transport ourselves through levitation. Then there’s the resistance to disease. The common cold no longer troubles us, and COVID, despite the continued appearance of mutant variants, has been deterred with simple gene therapy.

However, the delay in eliminating avian flu has proven to be a deadly mistake, compounded by the crossbreeding of two viruses. This became apparent at a free-range poultry farm in Iowa, where the bodies of workers have been found lying among roaming chickens eagerly pecking away at their newfound meal. The workers had fallen from the sky, victims of SARS-CoV-ian. And so, like many, I live in fear, for how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May, with the coming of the Zombie CoV-ian Apocalypse.

 This is my response to Prosery: Sara Teasdale and May, the prompt from Merril 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 the opening line from May Day, by Sara Teasdale.

For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May

                              – Sara Teasdale

Image source: (chicken), (bird flu virus), Wikimedia Commons (SARS CoV-2)

Birdsong ~ haibun


“Wake! Wake!” Robin calls. “Today will be a hot day. Get an early start if you want to be on the water!” I rise as first light slips through the blinds. After morning coffee and a light breakfast, I go to the garage and put the kayak on the roof of my car.

An hour after my wake-up call, I paddle on the water of a smooth stream, the surface broken only by my bow and turtles startled by my passing. Repeated chirp of tufted titmouse scolds me for my presence. A hawk wheeling overhead responds with a scree.

eyes turn left
at sound of chirrup

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 4-26-22: bird songs,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: ~ Great Tit and Robin, by Kitagawa Utamaro

Shared with Day 26 at

There Is Nothing but a Memory ~ with audio


There Is Nothing but a Memory

There is nothing to the reports of my early –
or not-so-early – demise.

There is nothing I would like more
than for that to not be true.

There is nothing to be done,
when all is said and done.

There is nothing to see here.

There is nothing more to say,
except that there is nothing.

This is my response to Day 22 at,
which asks us to write a poem that uses repetition.

Too Smart for My Own Good ~ with audio


                    Wheat Field with Crows (1890), Vincent van Gogh


Too Smart for My Own Good

No way. Never would I name you.
Ghosts. Closets.
Sure we had some good times.
Too good, at times.
Too much drinking, not enough
time spent on studies. Playing cards
was not the math I needed. The physics
of dominoes and falling cards
did nothing for my grades.
After two years, I engineered my way
out of school and into the job
building stereo and TV cabinets.
Thanks for getting me in. Of course,
you were always in control, but the boss
telling me I was too smart for my own good
was the best thing that could happen to me.
I went on to drive trucks. And drink less.
You went back to school. It was too late
for me to plant those seeds. You were
the wheat field. I was the crows, leaving
the darkness behind. Where would I be
now, if I’d stayed?

This is my response to Day 21 at, in which were asked to “write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.” (The name can be found in the first line.)

Coincidentally, Departure, written in 2016, also uses Vincent van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Crows and touches on the same topic, although indirectly.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Momentary Permanence


Momentary Permanence

I paddle and I paddle,
each stroke offering reward.

A bass, thrashing
in a futile struggle to escape
the grasp of an eagle
that swiftly rises from a river
in a slow January crawl.

The graceful nature
of a sycamore’s white lines
against a blue March sky,
just as beautiful the full green
bloom of its leaves
in the coming months.

A dragonfly, the imperceptible
breeze of its lustrous wings
welcome in August heat
as it flits from a tree branch
to the bow of my kayak
to reeds that line the shore,
never still for long, until
it reaches the gray arm
of a tree rising from the river,
pausing to let me pass.

I drive and I drive,
each trip offering reward.

Children who greet me
with open arms, engage
in long talks of events
new and not-so-new,
as if they are one.

Conversations starting up
where they left off,
leaving off where they
are bound to start
once again.  And again.

A granddaughter
who will read to me
the memorized tale
in her favorite book.
One who will walk with me,
a fast crawl more her speed
when last we were together.
Both milestones
in the passing years.

Places that never grow old,
never have when I was close
and never will,
even in my absence.
The sight of maple trees
when oak and hickory
have become my norm.
The blue of rivers,
waterfalls and lakes,
now that I’m surrounded
by muddy waters.

All of this welcome to me.
Permanent bonds, even
with their temporary nature,
like golden sycamore leaves
as they drift beside me, caught
in the swirl of my paddle,
as if to remind me
they will always be with me,
even if waiting inside graceful lines
against a blue November sky.

This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: EVERYTHING IN THE FOREST IS THE FOREST.