Things that seemed poetic were always sad,
though I yearned for sparkle
and my dad's guffaw, which never came.
Familiar things were always drear --
repeated motions in the same old game.
There were only distant glimpses
of budding spring, fleeting views
of daffodils. The strongest
poems dealt me death and dying.
Yet I always hoped, never went under
to gray despair, always dreaming
of a garden of love that we could share.
But those forbidden delights faded
quickly away; the only reality
I understand is the ever-looming
and final one. Nothing's changed.
The strongest poems deal death and dying.
I count my walks through herbs and shells
never knowing how old bones can be fleshed
from a heart bound on scrolls of endings,
and here I am among rows of an orchard…
feet like dust sanded by twelve months
of famine and feast ; somehow the maple boughs
wither from the laundry of evenings’ regret.
Often times, like the gypsy rose,
I climb into the lattice of my family tree
smelling its tar and citrus that knit arms
glossed by twilight’s love,
then raked by froths of autumn’s debris.
Closing a fence as another year shuts off,
I am between silence and scream…
eyes groaning with the music
of an anonymous breeze sheltering
a collected beauty of tragedy and the comedy
of drama: trials pinned by veiled nights
when kinship endures the flood of weather's hands.
It is so, I mean, the certainty of taming
the last ride before new seeds from a new year
twirl upon unborn fruits…
I disrobe the old bones to greet the unknown.
"“In times of test, family is best.” – Burmese Proverb
Charlotte Puddifoot's Open Free Verse Contest
Come and gone like small twister
like the cloud of debris he’s left.
Echoes of Charlie Brown’s buddy Pigpen
blow through the cobwebs in memory.
Left over coffee cups replacing
Transformers still dumped in the attic.
Reams of knarley skateboards, wheel-less,
lay in piles like so much unburnable refuse.
The obligatory hugs and peck, over and done
the never paid chauffeur collapses…
Ah, to have him always near,
So, each kiss was not quite so dear.
The last fair maid on parade has wandered across
the home front, wondering about her predecessor,
still tacked with magnets to the fridge,
still part of my heart and his…
Sons…they say, do not cause such angst.
Couldn’t prove it by this mother.
This maternal blimp of unused helium
was not permitted a girl child.
One did come and fleetingly leave before formed.
We’ll never know the sweetness of her.
Let the image of his manly self disperse, this son..
into the mist as his Father’s has…
to be remembered again, only in times of need, his need,
for to do anything else, would be to rub salt
in an open wound.
Poet: D. Guzzi
*the day after Christmas
God is always love
Forever seek the kingdom;
Praise the creator
Keep giving what you can give
Please endure until the end
Protecting the meek ones earth
Watching over us
Helping us to cope with life
Comforted with hope and trust
When you find rhythm
You find your hearts inner core
Celebrate the times
Make them better than before
Reminisce and dance all night
We let down the top to soak in the sun
Now that the harshness of winter is done
As you let back the seat and put your feet on the dash
Saying, “keep your eyes on the road I don’t want to crash”
I truly must admit that I’m torn completely in two
The coast has its beauty, then again so do you
As the beauty of the Sun is absorbed by your skin
Like a kid at the candy store I simply want to dig in
If life is a candy store sweetheart you are the treat
All the other candy I tasted, never tasted so sweet
The reason I love summer is because of the heat
The skimpier the bikini, the greater the treat
I can’t begin to express how wonderful you are
Saying, “hey take a look at her I’ll steer the car”
At first I truly had no idea what I should say?
Though now it’s, “ok sweetheart, have it your way”
I think that is because you know these words are true
I may take look at her but I shall forever belong to you
Summer is a time that is as bright as the sun
Out goes the cold as it’s replaced by the fun
We have our barbecues and sit under the stars
Let down the tops and go for rides in our cars
Go tend to our gardens in farmer John clothes
Truly amazed at how fast everything grows
Go hang out at the river as well as the lake
Cover ourselves in oil than let our skin bake
Embrace the moments because these words are true
The days last much longer and the sky is so blue
The dog days of summer I reckon that’s so
We bark and howl at folk we don’t even know
If life is banquet then summer is the feast
I think we should gobble it up, to say the least
Written for john's Summer contest.
* Written for my daughter, who really does have a precious pair of Little Yellow Socks.
Little Yellow Socks
by Amy Swanson 12/5/2008
Little yellow socks
running down the hall
"Slow down with those socks on,"
I'd yell... too late, the fall!
Little yellow socks
padding softly late at night
climbing up into my lap
one more hug, out goes the light.
Little yellow socks
follow me with squeals of laughter;
Oh how she loves to run in them,
Begging me to come chase after!
Little yellow socks...
now not being worn a lot.
My little girl is growing up,
No longer just a tot.
Little yellow socks
will be cast aside someday
I must guard these precious moments;
in my heart, they'll safely stay.
Slice me with your tongue,
Razor blade wounds,
To suck out all my poisens,
Sweet lonely lullaby,
Accusing eyes of sadism,
Picture perfect prodegy,
My Deadly Sin,
A bitter taste of arson,
Burning in my vital organ,
Your the pyre that burns away my mortality,
A sip of tea made from Lilly of the Valley,
A shadow of Death stalking,
With odd angel like wings,
A Numbing kiss like Drowning in Morphine,
Sweet arms to rest in till my vision no longer holds,
Eyes neither like Hell nor Heaven,
That Drip of Drugs into your system,
Intoxicated blood stream,
I'd rather not dream,
And instead get lost within - Your paralysing,
Your Paralysing, Brain lapse,
Your moving too fast,
Stay slow and dreamy,
Like a burning forest fire,
Pain throughout my veins,
Ravishing and Beautiful,
A voice torn from my throat,
With my last sight of you. . .
Here further down the hillside slope
Down close to the creek with hope
My husband bought a house, land
Fenced in and made many plans
Subdued the land to cow pasture
And planted a garden, fruit trees sure
Fathered another child to call him sir
The creek seemed to like the stir
Enjoyed the children for a little while___
Loved them so that it made her smile
Today she loves grandchildren the same
No girls there are in frills ___tame
The creek keeps on flowing to the sea
The land is mostly stripped of trees
(This is my adaptation of Robert Frost's poem "The Birthplace". I hope that it does not insult
Orphaned footsteps round the old place.
Pitch black soil, packed deep with bartered
coin and Indian heads – wood and otherwise,
coat her worn leather shoes, Hutterite chic.
The long land screams within its own silence.
Prairie sage burns somewhere, a ghostly smudge
for the undulating grass and, those it serves.
Its alive scent makes the dead turn towards
its head - and the barely living turn to listen.
The impossibly endless horizon holds its bright
blue at bay, begging acknowledgement for
its self-professed being and looming enormity.
She looks at the broken window glass and
through the tattered, delicate gray lace. “Those
were hers.” She whispers to the one who listens.
This great-great-granddaughter sees the curtains
as they once were – wistful in the hot Manitoba
wind; fresh and lowing with the honest elemental
scent of aspens, hope and bare-knuckle wash boards;
always fresh; shifting in the cry for solace in summer
shadows – never as still as this moments endlessness.
Blowing through the deep brown of splintered pine
front doors; cracking the announcement of cast iron,
rot and burnt wood comes the simple statement of –
I lived. This mother of five young does not cry,
just yearns to walk in the old ones footsteps;
to know them loved; hear the birdsong through
unbroken bedroom windows for a 5am waking;
feel the resistance of dough on fingers that beg
to be broken, and kiss the twisting undead, living.
The burning of the noonday sun taps her whole,
marking; branding her pale Swedish skin its own.
The red sting of burnt breaks her inward silence,
welcoming her familiar face home.
© Kristin Reynolds 3 29 2009
*Reposted for John's Summer Celebration Contest. This is a personal celebration;
celebrating and honoring my great grandparents who settled in Manitoba after leaving
Sweden and Denmark. This celebrates the summer of family, at least for me. We went there
every summer until it was gone...
I do not know?
I never did the
''He loves me not....
He loves me'' game
I already knew nobody loved me
so why should I listen
to a stupid flower?
I did make wishes
after the bloom died
and it was tiny spikes of fluff
waiting to blow away
till next year.
I hated wasting my time
but I couldn't resist.
''If there's even a small hope
that this will work....
I've got to try! ''
I would find a spot
where nobody could see me
and I'd whisper
my one wish
the same wish
Thousands of dandelions
by my pleading breath.
I never told a soul
I wished to be happy
with a husband
who loves me
and kids who love me.
I wished so hard...
I never thought
I am whatever you say I am...
but, let's get back to reality...
Three short years ago, this room shined welcome mats across a screen of doldrums.
A place of unfamiliarity that screamed,
"You don't belong!"
Yet, a voice of reason spoke and said,
"Expand yir' roots. Venture beyond the comfort zone. Academia resides inside that room, but know you won't be alone."
Repeatedly,brainwaves declined what my wife and editor had told me.
"no way, I'm givin' up my soul for free, they read, they pay, like it's always been, the way it's going to always be!"
Unbeknownst to me one day, and with a slight of hand, my "Open Sores" were put on display and surprisingly more than a handful of great ladies and nice guys began to give feedback on what I had devised.
This interaction was something very new, helpful, and impressive. For a change, it was something real.
For years, those around me were quick to give praise with hidden reasons. Constructive criticism is amazing, and I welcomed being corrected or set straight.
Now there are those who choose to shut me down without explanation, and call me names.
DO NOT mistake me for sophomoric! These words bleeding from my guts have no style and need no approval. There is no thinking involved here, no plan. If you don't like it, fine...don't censor or bracket me in. So what if I am illiterate? If you don't like "street poetry" or the pathetic stuff I write, don't read it. If I offend you, tell me.
We should welcome those who are different than us.
Words of truth inspire movement, like fire.
I came to this room to expand my horizons, step outside the box, learn, help, grow.
There will be no apologies dealt for being different, or for being labelled as something uncomfortable to you.
This has been an ok room so far, but there is some clique trickanery going on.
If the dictionary must come into play, let me recommend looking up the term "Poetic License."
True, I may not be the writer you prefer, or aspire to be....but tread carefully my friend, for you have no idea of my profession. I've made a fine living, for a good long time, spewing words onto paper. I came from nothing, and may still be nothing to you...still, I do what I love, have no boss.
I am not an aspiring writer who dreams of a life, I live my dream. In conclusion, I must wish you luck in finding what you peddle poetry for. Until then, keep
The rules said “one parent not two”
Good for me as I only had you
No selection; no one to choose
Who is this parent; just follow the clues
Next rule; write something “profound”
Something good or something that makes you frown
This one was easy
Considering all you ever said was greasy
“You stupid _____”
This one was rich
“Go get the belt”
Not satisfied till there was a welt
The pain is still felt
How about “you swine”
Became a preference in time
Not “go to bed”
Followed by a blow to the head
So hard could have become brain dead
Your scars are still here
Your pain I still wear
Your mistakes I still bare
Your voice I still hear
Your secrets I now declare
Your presence I no longer fear
Your wrong doings I am aware
Your hate is replaced with tender loving care
Did you follow the clues
Who's this in reference to
Someone you want to be related to
Perhaps it’s someone you already do
This is my parent… I wish it were untrue!
**For "My Parent" contest sponsored by Francine Roberts.
* Honorable Mention
The 18th of December was her last day;
she neither knew the date nor cared to.
Gathered at the hospital, keeping vigil,
we couldn't overcome her fright, or ours.
The pain, too great to be driven away,
was only "managed" with IV drips,
needles stuck in bruised appendages --
bony things -- arms and legs, hands and feet.
Above the medicines and washes, we sniffed
her scent, which, more than her yet familiar
face, to us identified our mother --
a smell we never would mistake
for any other. It went quickly
as her body cooled. The rouged and pickled
carcass they displayed was more a statue
than a person. We planned to bury her
with homely tokens, like an ancient mummy:
a family photo, a brooch she liked,
a pink hairbrush, and the brass bell she rang
to call her keeper during her last years.
But, when the time came, I could not bear
to see her leave so finally;
I took the bell from her metal box.
And, now, I ring it -- not to bring a keeper,
but to recall my mother on her birthday,
and on many dark days when I need her.
Strange shadows on these coral walls
stay hidden from the setting sun,
yet creeping through the shafts of amber light
drag behind them to the high parapet
a cloak of utter darkness.
Fierce defended, now are none:
no frightened men to urge the heavy cannon round
no shrill alarm or battle cries;
the end of this, as every other day has sealed
a silence now complete.
Once we held here, on this foreign shore,
the fortress of our childhood dreams
and all the world’s assaults
seemed nothing then;
an ocean breeze would cool the hurt of falling
and bring sweet scents to pick us up again.
Across the bay the dhows set sail upon a rising tide
their canvass spread against the purple sky.
We watched their leaving long ago
but you are gone away now, gone to sleep
and no injured soul so left alone
can wait to watch them home again.
Yet I will stand, a little or a while,
and will not fear cold shadows rising
nor while breathing yield the fort to them;
in every breach I meet your laughing eyes
and feel the warming of remembered suns.
With the palms of well-worn leathery hands that in younger days guided a Tall Ship round
the globe many times with the help of stars that still twinkled in his eyes, the old man made
a porthole in the frosty forest of swirling ferns that had been painted on the kitchen window
pane by Jack-Frost during the night.
As I sat on his lap, he told me the creaking sound made by the rockers from the rocking
chair we sat in on the hardwood floor - if he closed his eyes, could make him believe he was
back with the wind in his sails, rising and dipping and swaying with the whims of the
waves ‘ore the sea.
Back- and- forth, back-and-forth, we rocked as the porthole on the window pane grew larger,
exposing the winter wonder land outside where trees and roads and roof-tops lie frozen
beneath a layer of fluffy snow that looked like icing on a birthday cake, as the house
softened and swelled in the warmth of the burning kindling wood that snapped and crackled
in the stove.
Rocking back-and-forth, back-and-forth, I asked him, looking into those eyes of green, with
that far away look. “Grandpa, won’t you tell me please, what lies beyond the sea?” He
paused for a moment, blowing silver halos that rose from his pipe in an aroma of sweet
smelling ‘Old Sail’ tobacco, and with the magic of his words, he took me on a journey,
rocking across the sea where he showed me all the places and wondrous things he’d ever
That was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, where an old man, taught a
little girl, that life is but a dream.
In memory of: Captain James George the Third - My Grandfather
2nd place in 'Anything Goes #2 Contest - sponsered by Constance La France
This is one entry of many that will appear in my next book ' A Journey of Roses and Thorns'.
They are true events that have happened in my life - some where roses, some were
thorns. I have learned valuable lessons from both.
There was a time in America, when the Bible
was taught in the schools.
The ten commandments were displayed, as “God’s set of rules.”
There was a time in America, where the
cross could be displayed.
Even in public places, people came together and prayed.
There was a time in America,
there was no “church and state” separation.
As people all across this country asked God to help this nation.
There was a time in America, where
people knew right from wrong.
You could see it in the way they lived, and could here it in their song.
There was a time in America where one
was proud to be a Christian.
One could take stand for holiness,
without coming under “suspicion.”
There was a time in America, when
mom and dad were together…
Now, any kind of a commitment to marriage seems lost forever
There was a time in America, where many were proud of “tradition.”
There seems to be a lack of any kind of “spiritual nutrition.”
There was a time in America, where so many could proudly say;
“I’m going to read the bible and go to church on Sunday.”
This is the time for America, to wake
up and try to understand.
We need to seek God right now! All over this land!
This is the time for America, to listen and begin to hear…
The coming of our Lord is drawing ever so near!
NOW is the time to seek the Lord, while he may be found!
The word of God needs to be read in every city and town!
Won’t you too seek God and listen to his voice today?
Simply give him your heart and life… This could be YOUR day!
By Jim Pemberton
Am I man or ghost?
Am I mortal or apparition?
Questions or choices
or entwined reality?
For a state of confusion
sleeps within my fiber, and
slowly rips asunder, the final
sliver of my contemporary humanity,
Sunrises and sunsets go unseen,
as I fully embrace my departure
from time, human contact, and connection,
with a creative conviction and devotion
to my only passion as an excuse, a deceitful
reason to shelter myself from the tender
moments that keep emotions empowered
and empathy evolved,
Yet truth is untied by introspection,
and as I analyze, I accept reality,
Seclusion has become to me, the
fruit that protects the emotional
body but imprisons the loving mind,
and by this bittersweet conundrum,
I am bound and devoted to this ambivalence,
by the mere comfort and promise of
And by such a promise, I have
personified my fear of emotional
agony, yet tamed its risk with the
fierce whip of isolation, thus the shame
and allure become as one, And as I
lose who I was, and tolerate who I am,
my disconnection from humanity
hurts those who care, yet keeps me
safe, with ink as my final outlet,
Still, as I sacrifice need for need,
I am not the one who still suffers,
Those with hearts that beat for me,
have become victims of my seclusion,
and I ache for them, but less and less
with each breath, For my isolation
continues to force its fee, and I notice
only after it is taken, and as I see their pain,
Only my thoughts are heard, my wishes
important, and my contentment decreed,
And despite visions of tears and sorrow
that were once my salvation, Now, I
only look away, and remain a willing
prisoner in the sweet self shelter, of
the nothingness I show, and will one day
feel, without rue...
The last great snowflake standing
Little snowflakes fell swiftly
All around the house they fell
Eight male flakes_three little girls
House was lively in winter
As they all warmed by the fire
Boys' boistour tales, girls brush long hair
Then silence all rested heads
At four A.M. each morn_chores
Breakfast, lunch packed off to school
Walking that long mile was rule
School was important dad said
Soon the oldest snowflake wed
As life goes all followed him
Leaving the warm hearth behind
Some of them to produce twins
As life goes_death visited
All their humble doors sadness
Some had children die at birth
And some at very young age
What they saw in their lifetime
Changes that took place_cars_planes
Atom bomb that ended war
None their warm family disgraced
Death started visiting doors
One above middle went home first
Then slowly they all went home
But dad was the last snowflake
I climbed over trepidation
poverty's barbed wire night
torn by your prosperity
my one change of clothes
thirsting for a drop of civility
on a deserted desert road
Scorched by hell’s kitchen
fed to death’s desiccate dawn
I swallowed shards of sunshine
pride's perilous knives
for one chance to be an American
to provide for my family’s illegal lives
My eyes staggered with exhaustion
my ruptured lips too foreign to cry
I kissed a picture of my children
the withering smile of my loving wife
wondering if anyone would tell them
I died drinking liberty's light
Have you ever really looked at a tree?
Have you ever thought of the ancient roots,
Those that support it ... to behold its majesty?
The boughs and limbs carry leaves oh, so green,
We are again reminded of God's handiwork,
When we see the budding exuberance ... come the early spring.
They make us mindful of beauty by their quiet repose,
They are willowy, and shade us from the harsh summer sun,
Beneath their gentle sways ... we rest comfortably below.
Fall ages them and their greens turn to brown.
As winter's cold blasts blow upon them,
Do we ever feel their plight ... as their leaves tumble down?
Families are a personal and spiritual tree.
Their ancient roots so long ago planted,
Grow in size and shape and form ... in gifted majesty!
Generations of limbs and boughs support the child leaves,
In every new face God's handiwork,
Radiant in the splendor of life ... each one of us receives.
Time slowly ages each one to their own event,
While we who remain here grow and love,
Still remembering those whose winter ... we could not prevent.
It is the strength of their memories we add to our own,
They give us the values, insights, and perspective,
Which we in turn pass on ... to the seeds we have sown.
by Amy Swanson
Running to me
with big hugs
and even bigger brown eyes
smile full of mischief
arms thrown around my neck
--- almost choking me!---
"I love you Mommy!"
my little "Long-Legs"
how fast you have grown.
Almost as tall
as your short mama
*but then that wouldn't take much*
remembering a time
when my little Long-Legs
... my long-legged girl...
had little bitty
just learning how to toddle around the house
crawling faster than I could walk
running to keep up with her...!...
purple baby food plums smeared across a happy smiling mouth
full of giggles
with no idea how cruel this world can be;
Oh how time flies.
She's nine next week
toddler toys long gone;
she wants a bike
so she can ride like the wind --
already the taste of freedom in her mouth
already the feel of freedom in her spirit
away from me.
But she knows
I will always
*and, somehow, forever*
watch over my little girl
even when she is no longer little.
She smiles at me
teeth slightly crooked
hair brushed all by herself
and asks "Do you like my style?"
already planning her fashion agenda
like every "big girl" does.
My almost-nine year old girl
born on lucky clover day
March 17th, 2000
the day she changed my life
so grown up, so soon...
and I know more is on the way.
What I don't know
is how this mother's heart will fare
when one day she leaves.
You make my life complete
full of tickles and giggles
I love you so,
my little Long-Legs.
In my quiet times I often try,
To remember places I've been.
To recall folk I have passed by,
And sights that I have seen.
There is nothing wrong with my mind,
Sometimes my memory is quite refined.
I think it's filled over many a year,
With so much junk, nothing seems clear.
So, I made up my mind to write it all down,
To recall it all caused me to frown
It started like I was in the dark,
A memory flared, I was in the park.
That day in the park was just the lever,
I found my mind was as good as ever.
Tho' times and places got out of line,
I wrote it all down, now wasn't I clever!
I'm nearly at the end of my story,
A journey I'm glad that I took.
For my grandsons to read in years to come,
I'll call it Granddads Book.
© Dave Timperley 2012.
The dandelion sat along on the hill
watching the rose's play.
He asked to join the fun and games;
is it all right if I stay?
The rose's said, you can not play,
for you are not one of us.
Go back to your hill to your grassy clump,
and don't you make a fuss.
For we are tall with our beautiful stems
and nicely shaped leaves.
Our petals are grand,
the best in the land,
so stay away you weed.
A beautiful flower, tall and grand,
you are, the dandelion sighed.
Your petals are grand, the best in the land,
but i'd rather be pretty inside.
For the rose's and their beauty so grand,
will fade and wither with time,
but the dandelion's beauty within,
is one thing that will never die.
In the northern heavens her essence so vivid
My constant seraphic star
Basking within her gloriousness warming
Cleaves to me from distances far
Guiding my pathway on night lit Earth
Keeping my course right and true
Holding back storms until I reach my safe haven
To witness the next dawn rise anew
Those nights when cover clouds her features
Her radiance rushes in on the winds
Blessing my journey seeing me home safely
Forgiving my ways absolving my sins
Morning starts breaking and my cherub starts fading
Past the horizon waters falling so deep
Awaiting the rising of her mettle so tender
Of that maternal star light unique.
The Bible Is The Inspired Word of God!
I heard someone say “the Bible was written by man.”
But there’s a truth I don’t think he understands.
God used man to simply be an “inspired instrument.”
This was more than some type of “experiment.”
God used many different people from various places.
He used them from both the Jewish and Gentile races!
Though the words spanned a long period of time…
They were written with all of us in mind!
It was as if God himself had taken the pen.
He spoke directly through different men.
All of the books are together with a common goal.
To bring the words of God to the common soul.
I would encourage to read the Bible for your direction.
Allow God’s words to daily be your inspiration!
Won’t you read from Genesis through Revelation?
You can learn about God’s gift of salvation!
The Bible speaks of God’s love and holiness too!
And speaks to the heart of how much HE LOVES YOU!
You can also learn about eternity in a heavenly mansion!
Your life can receive a blessed “abundant life expansion!”
Through the words of Christ, you’ll be blessed!
As you find in him a comfort and a haven of rest!
I invite you to read and apply God’s truth today!
And be transformed by what he really has to say!
By applying Biblical principles in how you’re living!
You’ll be blessed by the awesome words God is giving!
By Jim Pemberton