November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 5

As requested, I’m getting today’s prompt out a little earlier in the morning than usual. Hopefully, everyone didn’t stay up too late watching the election coverage last night (if you were watching the election coverage, that is). I know I’m still a little sleepy-eyed (though that may have more to do with these spreadsheets I’ve been working on for

Today, I’d like you to write a poem that sets a scene. In other words, one that pays attention to the details of the scenery and uses those details to heighten the effect and meaning of the poem. For instance, if you were to write a poem about the election results last night, don’t drown it in abstractions and ideas. Instead, focus on the setting of a rally and let the details describe whether the particular candidate won or lost.

Personally, though, my attempt for the day is going to continue on with my monsters theme: 

“Autumn Poem”

He loves the way leaves fall from trees
and collect on the ground. He loves
raking them into little mounds
next to the street. And as more leaves
fall, his mounds grow ever larger
until they’re the right size for him
to climb inside and wait for kids
biking along the gutter to
venture close enough to jump up
and scare. The reason why no kids
trick-or-treat his end of the street.


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95 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 5

  1. Lynne

    Broad expanse of lawn neatly manicured
    emerald green with random dots of vibrant
    yellow and and a few spots of white fluff
    peaceful cohabitation

    children full of giggles make wishes
    blow on dandelion wisps of white
    a toddler picks a bright yellow bouquet
    for his mother who stands on the sidewalk
    with the gardener going over instructions
    for spraying as the background roar of a
    lawn mower drowns out birdsong

  2. Shannon R

    Under parched vacant sky
    immigrants from Ukraine settled
    in the prairies. My great grandmother
    remembers the slap of dry air
    assaulting her skin when she first stepped onto the land
    she had travelled over an ocean for
    three children in her arms. Two survived.

    I wonder what sound vibrated from her core
    when her eyes first saw the rock lined forest of pine and fir trees
    towering on the land she was promised her family could farm on.
    How long would her suffering rattle in my bones, in my blood lines
    each time I considered settling for a promise handed down to me from a stranger?
    Tonight I enter the dance floor
    the bodies piled around me like pillars are her fir trees
    their dance her forest.

    We both enter
    eyes squeezed shut
    ready to begin plowing though
    to make a path for our own.

  3. Kathy Kehrli

    V. Too Close (to Death) for Comfort

    Sleep lassoing me in like
    A truant calf forty-eight hours
    Since its last noted spotting,
    I lay my cheek against
    The gray Berber carpeting
    That underfooted the waiting room
    I’d come to call “my new home.”
    Every inch of windowless wall space lined
    With armchairs whose comfort level
    Anyone would liken to the electric chair
    After two full days upon them.
    These torture devices closing in on me;
    The whir of linoleum polishers
    Committing holy matrimony
    With the nightmarish brain activity
    I blissfully could not relate—
    When all was said and done,
    None of these discomforts
    Could hold a cardiac shock
    To the five full days
    You spent flat backed,
    Tethered to life support.

  4. Amanda

    The cherry red door opens
    Revealing the interior of this dwelling
    This house she called home as a child

    I find it hard to stand on the dilapidated front porch
    Is it so hard to use a level?
    Stepping over broken nails, I’m glad to have worn my boots

    The light bulb flickers next to the doorway
    I try to remember the morse code combination for "S.O.S."
    But fail miserably

    The stout older woman glares at me
    Curiously or Dangerously? I can’t tell
    She’s as unkept as her home

    "Who are you? What do you want?" she screeches
    I look at her with sympathetic eyes
    Before I turn and walk away

  5. Taylor Graham


    in this new house you worry
    that you can’t afford, you turn off
    every switch behind you. Your husband
    keeps forgetting. There’s a constant night-
    light at the bottom
    of the hall. Right now the space ahead
    of you is dark. How early the day fails
    us in November. Daylight savings
    done, just listen to the news of market
    crash and subprime mortgages,
    the jobless rate, the price of gas.
    In the dim
    you step carefully, not to trip
    over three dogs sprawled at ease,
    not curled nose under tail
    against winter. They twitch
    in dreams that have nothing to do
    with famine.

  6. Rodney C. Walmer

    Second detail poem, though, this may be more of a if this detail had not been overlooked type poem. But it was written for this prompt.

    Youth and Details

    They were young and on vacation
    out in a country they’d never been
    enjoying self-discovery,
    they did not bother with information
    Unfortunately, they never would again

    It had reached about noon
    they saw a sign just off the main
    it said fresh apples, and other fruit
    She said lets go
    He said, not so fast, it’ll be dark soon
    that’s a dirt road, what if we get lost
    She said, be adventurous, lets go all the same
    little did they know what this trip would cost

    About an hour into the ride
    the sun went down
    there were no lights, just the moon
    But, he had flashlight inside
    Looking around,
    they noticed they were alone
    they first heard the howl
    He was the first to feel that sense of doom

    She said, this place is nowhere to be found
    it’s pitch dark, and from the sound
    out here the wolves’ abound
    I think it’s time to turn around

    They were young,
    so they had not yet learned
    knowledge to some
    that has to be earned
    That is the little details
    the ones that really count
    those that when overlooked
    one usually fails
    the obstacles to surmount

    What they failed to realize
    was that they were on a desolate road
    more so, this road was too small to turn around
    as you may have surmised
    this was not all the bad luck they were owed
    with a thumbda thumpda, thumpda
    they soon found,
    they had a flat

    Where was the nearest gas station at
    there was none
    they did not even know where they were
    but, they were not done
    they would lock the doors
    sleep the night
    and just wait for someone
    they would be alright

    well, that’s what they thought
    They soon became hungry
    patience they’d never been taught
    so he decided to fix the flat himself
    no sooner did he open the trunk
    when he realized
    this car had belonged to someone else
    it had been back a mile or so,
    she complained that something stunk
    but, two dead bodies
    she never expected to find in the trunk

    They had to go
    no one could ever know
    they might be blamed
    She proclaimed
    So, they left the car
    as they ran
    but, they didn’t get far
    That’s when the end began. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 11/15/08 detail poem. Funny this was written before I found out about the
    fright poem, I might have been able to use it, but that would not be fair, so I will post it in the
    prompt it was meant for.

  7. Tyger

    Back at Work

    They spend hours today
    talking in hushed voices
    dark faces filled with wonder
    they bend over newspapers
    and scour the internet
    no loud celebrating here
    but I feel the glow
    they quiet when the white girl walks by
    until they learn how I voted
    and then they speak to me too

  8. Monica Martin

    Riding in the car,
    the interstate stretching
    ahead and behind us,
    the autumn leaves float
    to the ground. The radio
    plays softly in the
    background as we discuss
    moving in.

  9. Carol


    … a heavy shower –
    and a goldcrest appears,
    flicking through sharp branches,
    a bright raindrop.
    After nine long months
    of mini-migration
    –it’s back!
    Spirea and oak glow rain rich yellow,
    and from Berberis Darwinii bursts
    a single ochre petal.

  10. SaraV


    Like well steeped English Breakfast Tea
    It catches the sun funnels it deep
    Flashes of orange, blue scales flicker
    And then dark, a cloud sliding by
    Blocking entry to the deep
    Circles molded by the motions
    of fins and tails unseen
    Arise and then collapse again
    Wakes building molten edges
    From the callused orange legs
    Stroking lazily beneath the snow white rump
    Gliding to the far side where the
    Weeping willow drapes spring green knifelets
    Over the pond’s edge, swaying like with each breath of breeze
    And the sun shifts gilding the surface with gold, silver
    Finally rose encompasses it
    and then all is dark from shining Tea to midnight Tea
    And all is still,
    Until the morning glow
    Opens a window
    To the well-steeped deep again

  11. Ronda Eller

    v. playgrounds

    i move through mauve
    inside the temple.

    there are classrooms here.

    i watch students learning
    to float in awkward

    and then
    a whistle sounds—
    eyes turn on me,
    centurion guards bombard us
    and I am their target.

    i speed into emerald,
    high-tailed against
    a stationary, green-backed sky.

    i have no time
    for wooing caresses;
    it must surrender.

    my highway leads me
    to yellow playgrounds
    where my pursuers
    become soaring eagles—

    the trees
    understand guardianship.

    mustard children giggle
    as I render a swing-set
    into a kitten.
    they gently pat it
    into daylight.

    ~ Ronda Eller 5nov2008

  12. Terri French

    The carpet is vacuumed diagonally
    The blinds dusted slat by slat

    Fresh flowers in your mother’s vase
    The table lemon-pledged to an oily sheen

    The kids are clean and playing in their rooms
    A roast in the oven with potatoes and carrots

    Your car pulls into the driveway
    I glance into the mirror
    and reapply lipstick
    My bruise is almost gone

  13. S Scott Whitaker

    Outside the T

    The strident chords progress through the neural network
    to the skin
    from the heart to the strings on the electric guitar.

    The people spilling out of T stop and toss a coin
    or two,
    the man doesn’t notice,
    he’s channeling Billy Bragg, and keeping one eye
    on his hat.

    Autumn hats patrol the street.

    Those who stay to watch the showman
    witness his hands transform into fighting birds
    moving up and down the branch of his guitar.

  14. Karen H. Phillips

    Heather, today’s was my favorite of yours so far.
    Iain, I like the irony of your Moosehead/Ringo letter-poems.

    Eugene Boudin, French (1824-98)
    The Beach at Trouville (1887-96)

    He captures the gradations of blue,
    from powder of the low cloud-bordered sky,
    to deep aquamarine of the sea,
    to the blue-green of a distant grassy knoll.

    Why does a man drive a horse-drawn wagon
    across the beach,
    with another man riding in the back?

    Left to wonder, the observer might shade
    her eyes from the glare
    seen only on an overcast day
    where the clouds are as bright
    to the eyes as sunlight.

  15. PSC in CT

    I am REALLY looking forward to being caught up, so I can read more of the entries that are here. For now, though, it’s head down and keep writing!

    Here is my PAD – DAY 5: “Set a Scene” Poem

    Late Autumn Arrivals

    Never mind the
    Hot stone massage
    Moist mud wrap
    Sea salt shimmer

    Don’t even mention the
    Waxed and exfoliated
    Moisturized, buff & polish
    hot-oiled mani-pedi combo
    With French tips

    Just forget all about the
    Roots recently colored
    Tresses tastefully tamed
    Highlights and lowlights
    Artistically executed

    In spite of every effulgent effort
    The juncos arrived today

    Can winter be far behind?

  16. Judy Roney

    Her arms engulf me in greeting as
    she holds me against her ample bosom.
    I can smell the Tabu and the hard day’s work
    on her flesh. She has on her navy-checked
    cotton dress that has been line-dried and
    starched in the sink before she put the iron to it.

    She gets her vast body into her worn green
    vinyl lounge chair and sighs to let me know
    all is not well with her or many others.
    She picks at her cuticles as she worries
    about me, family and friends, and the world.
    She punctuates my update with “Well…”
    as she shakes her freshly permed head and fills
    our space with the odor of amonia, the mole on
    her chin moves as she tells me how much she
    missed me, how much she loves me, how she
    hopes I have a good relationship with God.

    Beside her on the cheap, clanky folding table sits her
    favorite Bible, highlighted and bookmarked,
    the worn edges beginning to curl up. There’s
    a notebook with a yellow No. 2 pencil she uses
    to jot down visitors names. She checks her notes
    riffles through the pages. “Not as many came today
    as they did last Wednesday. I had 52 visitors last
    week but I won‘t have that many this week.“ Then

    I smell the biscuits baking and I walk into the kitchen.
    I notice the incline towards the back porch is steeper
    the floors creak with each step. There’s always something
    cooking on the stove as if she had a sixth sense about
    people coming.

    I half the fluffy biscuits and add some of her fresh
    churned butter and the blackberry jam she put up
    last summer and we feast. She died 20 years ago
    but I can still see grandma there standing by the
    screen door with her arms outstretched.

  17. Jane penland hoover

    k weber – I wondered when I first read – but then I think we can put what we need to – This is an alluring poem – love the expanse and sense of time and space evoked in this piece – the longing

  18. k weber


    your cough
    on the radio
    reminds me
    that i don’t
    know your hand-
    writing, have
    only seen you
    in second
    or third

    another coast
    to float on: you
    three hours
    behind me
    but both
    of us dreaming
    in sound-

    too many land-
    scapes separate
    us: the desert
    of time, the mountains
    of too many
    minutes apart
    like contractions
    of "cannot"
    and "will not"

  19. Terri Vega

    Bursting from split cedar
    mounds of mulch. Color contrast
    to red, all flowering in
    sprawling echoes of desire
    to stretch their limbs

    Waving rock flows
    up and down
    circling the bed with
    abrupt closure as the wave breaks
    against sun faded beams
    of standing fence

    Rain gutters and rock
    determined to navigate
    rushing waterways away from
    the gentle motion of the mound.

    The tiny Lilac patiently waits
    in the back corner
    Alone, sure that one day its
    full grown bloom will steal
    the show.

  20. Don Swearingen

    The wind howled all through the night,
    Still wails and bends the trees,
    Bowing and rising, though the sun is bright;
    Giving the dark grass no ease,
    As, swept by golden leaves, it yellows
    On its way to winter sleep.
    The stones stand in frozen rows,
    Holding stalwart against the seep
    Of time, demanding eternal remembrance
    For ancestors the busy world has forgot,
    Though for now, reverence
    And law protects each granite dot.
    I stand before the small gray stone
    That tells me you are gone, and I’m alone.

  21. lynn rose

    " Love Lost"

    Love was lost to her. She had been in love many years ago and it graduallly left her.
    She had loved with every ounce of her being , every
    inch of her heart had been filled.
    The years went on and the love she felt lessened with each.
    She became lost with no feelings, no emotions could be
    She began to see a man that wouldn’t allow any kind of attachment.
    This was the kind of love she needed, one that wouldn’t cost her anything.
    But love is very sneaky, it can even find the hardest hearts. She found herself wanting to love, but she wouldn’t allow this feeling to take over.
    She continued to makelove with him with no attachments, that’s what she thought she wanted.
    She really wanted to love him and wanted him to love
    her back, but she knew this would never be.
    She needed him physically and he needed her too. The love they made was so passionate and so incredible,
    for that moment she could feel his total love inside and out, without being in love.
    This was the love she settled for. This was the only love she would have.

  22. Euphrates


    Shadows flicker along the walls
    As she descends the candlelit stairway
    Once a simple basement room
    Now a cavern of fear and delight
    Black and purple velvet drapes
    Disguise cold cement and stone
    Lush carpet caresses barefoot steps
    As the centerpiece draws her forward
    A mammoth bed of beam and steel
    Satin-clad altar of sacred and profane
    A glimpse of rope, the clank of chain,
    Devices of pain and erotic torment
    Dangle within easy reach
    A whisper of warm breath
    Then sudden darkness
    A blindfold in place, pushed to her knees
    Held, bound, helpless..
    A deep voice in her ear,
    “Are you ready?”
    And trembling,
    She can only whimper “Please…”

  23. kate

    Frustrating I don’t have time to read everything properly, just skim read, but so much fantastic work. Especially enjoyed Heather, Patti Williams, Vanessa, Kate Berne Miller, K Webber, Earl the brain poems, Iain the mooseheads are poetry and I love ‘em!, Juanita, SE Ingraham.

    My theme is my kids – no great ambitions with the book, maybe something I could share with my family, and a gift to myself and the kids in the future, to catch a little of how they are now.

    Go poets!!

  24. kate

    Thursday – takeaway

    When I get home from work
    he’ll be lying on the couch
    ‘come on’ he’ll say ‘let’s get going’
    he’s been waiting for this all day.

    I’ll get changed into something cooler, nag the kids to hurry
    one will leave his lego on the floor for later
    one will grumble shutting down the computer
    one will turn off the tv halfway through her show.

    When we get there they’ll stand before
    the row of glass fridge doors
    and gaze, undecided.
    ‘Hurry up and choose’ he’ll say.

    We’ll sit at the table up the back
    with the worn plastic cloth
    the doors will be open to the street heat
    the loose tiles will have been patched with glue,
    and none of this will matter.

  25. Jolanta Laurinaitis


    Moon casting silver strands
    Catching the last leaves
    As they scamper about the ground
    Silhouetting the broken limbs
    And clean skin trunks
    Waiting to be taken

    Ravaged earth carelessly soiled
    As moon beams caress over
    The scattered filth
    Suffocating Gaia’s breath

    The breeze shimmers
    And disturbs the flickering dust
    Dancing alone
    Along the annihilated land

    Skimming the silent lake
    Ripples forming
    And gliding to the bank
    Silence eerie on a lazy
    Summer’s eve

    Surrounding the placidity
    The remains of destruction
    Float carelessly –
    A mutilation of her body

    The dancing jewel
    Wings shadowing
    The stillness,
    Passes over again
    With a tearful sigh

    Like the ripples
    That never return
    From the shore
    Neither shall her spirit.

  26. Shann Palmer


    A pebble in a shoe, pea
    under the mattress, whisper
    in an empty room, fall rain
    tapping Vivaldi on a tin roof,
    and in the space between,
    you rise up bittersweet
    as sorghum on my tongue.

    I can’t let loose the grip
    sorrow demands but will
    lift you to the fine white light
    that keeps me on this journey
    of troubles bearing a hunger
    I can’t satisfy, a fear I embrace
    like a brick begs mortar, hold.

  27. Bruce Niedt

    The New Conductor
    (November 5, 2008)

    As we take our seats in the theater,
    programs in hand, the orchestra sounds
    like chaos. Each musician stretches a string
    or clears a valve, runs a scale or polishes up
    a bit of melody, scrapes a chair across the floor,
    shuffles music sheets, adjusts the metal stand.

    Into the noise strides the conductor,
    bowing to polite applause.
    He mounts the podium and raps his baton,
    and the concertmaster rises, drawing a long note
    on his violin. The whole assemblage falls
    into place, morphing to one unanimous “A”
    before the conductor raises his stick again
    and everything goes silent.

    It’s his first time, he and his family have waited
    so long for this – it seems like centuries –
    but he exudes confidence. Every instrument,
    every player is poised on the edge of the music,
    watching the very tip of his baton,
    and as he brings it down in a graceful swoop,
    our symphony begins.

  28. Sheryl Kay Oder

    Nancy, your poem says it all. There is no need to concern ourselves with having to create a chapbook, unless we want to. It would be fun to try, though.

  29. S.E.Ingraham

    Brockville Psyche

    The sound of the double-thick doors clunking behind us
    Followed by the complicated machinations of lock and key
    Every time we went from hallway to stairwell
    To hallway and so on – is just one of the things I recall from Brockville,
    And peering into the tiny solitary rooms, especially this
    cell-like one, bare of all but a tiny shrivelled woman
    Curled fetus-like in a corner, so still, I thought perhaps dead
    When queried, the doctor said they feared greatly for her;
    She had swallowed her thirteenth toothbrush that week
    And if they had to open her up again, it would likely kill her
    Why toothbrushes, I wondered? “To scrub her sinful insides,”
    He told me, “At least that’s what she keeps saying.”
    There was no convincing her otherwise and no keeping
    The toothbrushes away from her either apparently.
    We carried on. A nine hundred bed hospital for the insane
    From the outside, architecturally beautiful – red-brick, gothic,
    Park like setting, wrought iron fences surrounding, huge swing gates
    That were never locked; dangerous patients were kept locked up inside
    Oh, but inside, the hallways – narrow, dimly lit – and they smelled of urine
    And ammonia, and something indefinable – I couldn’t place it then
    When I was still on the right side of the keyed doors but now
    Years of experiencing time on the other side of those doors
    Has acquainted me with that smell – the scent of lunacy and fear
    Still, back then, in my naïveté and youth, I imagined I would become
    A psychiatric nurse, so worked as an assistant with one of the doctors
    A volunteer, but still, got close enough to both patients
    and disorders to discover, I disliked working with the sick and,
    There was no way I could work in that field; the cure rate being
    far too depressing- two percent at that time, thirty years ago, not much
    better these days, they just don’t ever give a ‘cure’ rate…
    Back then, I didn’t realize just how dangerous
    some of the people the doctor had me interviewing actually were
    He would lock me and a criminally insane patient in a teeny tiny
    Interview room with a clipboard and fifty quiz questions to ask
    Said patient, and a few instructions re spotting signs that signalled
    A subject needed changing – ‘just in case’
    I don’t know who was more foolish, the doctor, or me
    He did leave a few cursory instructions about how to contact
    emergency help, should I feel matters were ‘getting out of hand’
    I marvel I came out of there unscathed, but they say
    god protects drunks and fools and I don’t drink…
    Of course, I didn’t know that eventually, I would
    make major use of the mental health system myself, ironic really
    Even more ironic too when I remember how nervous I was
    attending a social function for the patients and having to dance
    with several of the cuckoos, as I thought of them then
    Poetic justice, really, and it serves me right that now I am
    one of the cuckoos; back then I was embarrassed and frightened
    of ‘those’ people, people who were probably a combination of
    the mentally ill, the retarded and other segments of
    marginalized society that was lumped together…
    Having become familiar first hand with the stigma that still runs
    deep and how misunderstandings still abound about this
    disenfranchised part of society is what makes me determined
    to be an advocate for the mentally ill today

  30. Juanita Snyder

    birthday girl
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    so sorry
    i missed
    your special day —
    11th year of your existence.
    climbing behind
    the wheel of imagination
    i can still picture your
    long thick hair,
    the color of mint copper
    pulled away from a
    as it dips chin-down
    to blow out
    waxy-striped candles
    with juvenile lungs —
    the force of hurricane-winds
    circling a sea of
    care-bear blue icing,
    smoldering in the dim-light
    amid a confetti of
    song and

  31. jared david

    Michelle- i don’t think i’d see it this way if not for Obama’s victory, but is WASP a metaphor for the changing of the guard in washington? …great poem regardless

  32. Heather

    Sara, thank you soooo much . . . WOW!!!!
    What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours . . . I look forward to the posts tomorrow. Iain, I expect to see Cats and Moosehead :)
    Cheers and love to all-

  33. Paul W.Hankins

    Thanks all for your feedback, even if I am living vicariously off of the general comments of the last few days. This is an amazing group of which to be a part and I thank you for welcoming the newcomers to the PAD. . .

    Onto day six!


  34. RJay Slais

    hey lain, hang in there
    I have had 155 rejections this year so far…
    the acceptances keep me coming back,
    wanting more out of myself and the craft.

    tomorrow’s a new day filled with opportunity
    to grow, learn, and most of all, have fun with it!

  35. Cheryl Chambers

    Just one more quick note, then I’m done.

    I confused my Rachels in my earlier post. I commented on Widow’s Daughter, so that earlier comment of mine is for you, Rachel. :) Fab images, again.

    And now for Rachel…gorgeous writing, particularly:

    of summer hidden beneath a short fingered canopy
    of silvery green oblong leaves

    Fab stuff to both of you, and to everyone. (Sometimes I get confused endlessly scrolling up and down, and I don’t know everyone just yet…)


  36. Michelle H.

    Rachel – beautiful.
    Iain – What I didn’t tell you the other day, is that I like Cats & etc so much (based on what you’ve written so far) that I would buy your chapbook!! ;-) So, keep it up!!

    However, I understand feeling blue, I’m beginning to think I like nature too much to write about it well – or maybe I’m just tired… ;-)

    Good night all! Great reads again today!

  37. Yvonne Garcia


    There will be no grand monument,
    no marble stone nor carved angels,
    no gated entrance nor posted hours.
    I will walk by the aspens
    under the old cedars
    past the trillium, purpling
    at the edge of the clearing
    walk by the small flowers
    decorating the miners lettuce
    and past the cottony remnants
    a fireweed. I will walk
    until I find this keystone,
    this brick encrusted to the earth
    welcoming me back to the place
    that is home.

  38. Sara McNulty

    Hey all,
    Just letting you know that you are all fabulous. If I only name a few it would be Iain for Cats, Death and Poetry, Garden of Sorrow-Rachel …Heather, Kateri-I think you are all wonderful writers.

  39. Michelle H.

    And another…

    A deserted street
    A cloudy sky
    Snow covering your sneakered feet;

    The wind is hollowing
    You walk all muffled and blind
    Your arm stretched out seeking;

    Your coat is grey
    Your scarf is red
    Hoping to live you pray;

    It starts to snow
    You’re completely lost
    You find the going slow;

    Should have stayed with the car
    You think, now you’ve lost your way
    You thought home was not far;

    A mound of white
    A peak of red
    She’s been gone a fortnight.

  40. Cheryl Chambers

    Hm. I lost a new post, and cant find it. If this posts twice, um, oops.

    Robert, I don’t think I’ve thanked you for this. It’s inspiring me!

    lain, I know what you mean. Good luck with the waiting. You’ll come out of this "dip" soon, I’m sure. It’s all good.

    Rachel, I love your images! I think you could even expand this poem for today and play with some slant rhymes too for fun. The images make the poem rock, imo.

    Here’s a second post from me (sorry about inundating with Neal) I think this might match the sense of setting better than the last, which was just the next poem I would like to have as of now.

    Neal leaves one night, the wife and daughter
    nestled with one eye open like owls. They know.
    He sneaks out and sees himself just once
    in the hallway mirror, paunch tucked in
    like a lie. He heads to a bar for smoke and drink
    and the taste of heavenly hell in the mouth.
    Voices clatter against the wall amidst
    the plates crashing behind the swinging door
    and a waitress with a little tray sashays.
    Neal can’t even believe the audacity
    of truth in cliches. Hey, he calls but all
    he spots is red: lips, legs, dresses amidst the blues
    of jazz and drunks. There’s a woman
    in all of this, somewhere. But Neal can’t speak
    for the loss of tongue. He’s had too many drinks
    and his labored breathing like the birth
    of Satan out of Heaven keeps him up. He’d
    fall asleep at this bar if he could because
    it feels like home, like hard arms
    proclaiming love. He thinks about a friend
    he used to hover around and decides to shout
    his way one of these days and not a second
    thought goes to two hovered in the corner
    of a bed back home waiting for him, for the high
    to exit so they can tell him goodbye.

  41. Sara McNulty

    Robert, a belated Love All Your Poems!


    She was envious of my
    lush carpet of lawn that
    seemed to sprout from a
    mysterious source. She
    should have paid closer
    attention to the ecology
    of our earth, `stead of
    focusing on those funds that
    flower from hedges or
    wherever it is they grow. How
    upset would she be to
    learn of my secret
    garden raising all manner
    of veggies from peas to beans?

  42. Iain D. Kemp

    Heather I love you but it is the way I feel… Satia, thank you but its more than that… I am waiting for a rejection from a publisher and to be honest I don’t know why I submitted. This site is a good place to be but the world does not want poetry as mainstream any more… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you are published or famous for somnething else then you can easily reach the public, the rest of us are screwed by blinkered editors & the intellecti that judge before reading… Maybe I’m arrogant but a chapbook won’t cut it for me… publish me or tell me to give up but lets get rid of the snobbery in editorial standards….

    Nancy – I love your last, felt it was for me & I really should get over myself…but probably won’t…


  43. Rodney C. Walmer

    Angry Pain

    Tears welled up in her eyes
    Shadows on the wall
    she hoped would disguise
    simply did nothing at all

    Outside all was silent
    but the sound of crickets
    very little to disturb thoughts so violent
    hatred and anger so thick it’s
    as dark as this night

    A look at the clock
    revealing it’s three A.M.
    That deafening loneliness, tick tock
    She misses him again

    Forgetting the bruises
    through the broken lip
    she thinks about calling
    if she does she loses
    she feels her blood drip
    dizzy, she’s falling

    As she goes down
    she remembers how he slammed her head
    Oh, god, she does not want to be found
    just lying there, near dead
    not like this, in a pool of her own blood,
    Oh why didn’t she listen
    the memories flood
    the wet begins to glisten
    in the moonlight,
    she remembers hearing the thud
    the anger, the fight
    over what, nothing that mattered
    it never is
    yet, she always lies there tattered
    all from his fist

    Again, she says she wont’ take him back
    makes the same promise’s
    how many times, she’s lost track
    where will it end
    he’ll never let her go
    on that she can depend
    she hurts so much
    she feels the pain grow
    he was her crutch
    but she has to let him go
    losing the will to live
    she knows there’s nothing left to forgive
    before he destroys it all
    she starts to dial the phone
    she decides to make the call
    before he comes home. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer A scene poem prompt November 5, 2008 for all of the abused and battered
    women out there, make the call, get some help before it’s too late for you, these situations don’t
    always have happy endings, unless you make the first move.

  44. Nancy Posey

    Maybe this could be another declaration:

    To all poetic asiders:
    You are hereby relieved
    of the responsibility
    of writing a chapbook–
    unless you want to–or
    building on a theme–
    unless you want to.
    You don’t have to read
    anyone else’s poem–
    unless you want to
    or leave comments
    to your poetry brother
    and sisters–
    unless you want to.
    But I sure am glad
    that somebody wants to!

  45. satia

    Iain, For someone who is finding this torturous, you are certainly an exemplar of productivity. You were prolific last time around and when I saw that this time there would be a theme I wondered if you would be as productive as before.

    Need I say more? :)

  46. Iain D. Kemp

    Robert please, please stop this. I want to write a poem a day but the idea of a chapbook is killing me. Yes I will write 30 poems themed in Cats Poetry & Death but I do not want to be published on their worth..I have so much more to say… & the Mooseheeads are not poetry just an homage to Bob Dylan… serioosly I do not know if I shold give up the challenge or just give up writing. No one publishes new poets and no one cares, no one except poets read poetry so whats the point…… kinda why I write the Mooseheads… its not poetry & nobody cares….


  47. Sheryl Kay Oder

    I made an attempt to compare my joy on this gorgeous autumn day with my not so joyful experience of having my teeth drilled. Well, the experience wasn’t all that bad, but all I came up with was cliched-driven drivel.

    Robert, you took the right approach with a simple description of mounds of leaves. I find the more earthly beauty I see in front of me, the less I am able to begin to describe it.

    Maybe I can think of a better poem later, but this one simply shows my inability to adequately describe this amply wonderful an autumn day.

    Worthy of More Than Mere Words

    I can photograph the arching
    trees on this warm autumn day,
    notice the tree trunk encircled
    by still-green leaves, and see the
    leaf-strewn path before me,
    the sunshine outlining it all.

    What I cannot seem to do is to
    write lines worthy of it all.
    How can God work such
    magic that my poor words
    fail to capture His palette
    of color and subtlety of sound?

    Even the camera only
    approximates the gorgeous
    grace of it all, poured out
    to us mortals who can but
    spout clichés, but possess
    no truly heavenly language
    to express the wonder of it all.

  48. k weber

    to the dregs

    you were the beard
    with balloons: idling
    in the background
    of other people’s
    wedding photos

    the sweetest
    river city
    monger, the mayor
    of another night
    on the town

    senses on fire
    and a heart
    that burns
    with grit
    and velvet

    on midday trips
    to the grocery
    you are fluorescent
    and steal words
    for poems

    always a story
    and a cure
    for the self-
    same blues
    and bullshit

    the quiet
    observer, loud
    with living

  49. Nancy Posey


    Home for Thanksgiving, I carve out
    a little time to slip over to visit Elaine.
    Each of us converging from two states
    away, our visits rarely coincide.
    After so many years away, there feels
    more like home than here, after all.
    So we arrive in town, feigning displeasure
    at this command performance, checking
    on parents who seem not to age, despite
    the time between our visits. Maybe
    they’ve found some Peter Pan magic they
    withhold from those of us who leave.

    But this year we make the effort,
    knowing full well we’ll need a holiday
    to recover from this holiday. After
    holding court, hanging around long
    enough to see the kin we once saw
    every Thanksgiving, Fourth of July,
    and Christmas too, then I back the car
    out, feeling unreasonably guilty
    at turning around in the yard. When I
    arrive, her mom’s house hasn’t changed
    a lick. I could find the flatware drawer
    in one try; I know where they hide
    the extra key. I skim the familiar
    bookshelves looking for titles that
    may be mine, atonement for those I
    have of hers.

    Here we met as Girl Scouts, old
    enough we did our best only to
    keep our troup a secret back at
    school. Where the television sits,
    I once watched John Jr’s salute,
    Bobby’s wake, Hootenany, and
    Where the Action Is. We stayed up
    late to watch Sex and the Single Girl,
    disappointed that only the title
    titillated. We fought over Paul,
    the cute one, and settled for boys
    her brother’s age, just right to
    practice kissing and dancing
    to “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

    When I drive back to Mom and
    Dad’s, I feel an ache for something
    I may have missed, the home place.
    Whether necessity or restlessness
    prompted our moves, we kept packing
    everything we owned in boxes,
    moving to the next house, the one
    we swore we’d never leave but
    always did, each time leaving
    behind a box or two—and a little
    piece of ourselves.

    Nancy Posey

  50. Iris Deurmyer

    Your fragrance is enticing
    As you whisper to me your gentle touch
    Tickles my sensitive zones
    I close my eyes to be enveloped by you
    While a meadowlark calls from the trees
    I drag myself from your embrace
    With a towel I remove the vestiges
    Of your dampness from my skin
    Skinnydipping at twilight has refreshed me

  51. satia

    Another challenging one for me. I am wondering if it is the theme that is making this so difficult. Or maybe it’s this plus nano. Either way . . . rough rough rough.

    Tabled Expectations

    Sitting on the table,
    She wonders why these things are so high
    Dreams of stretching herself out on the safety of the floor
    Knowing the ebb and flow of the carpet ride
    That tides every surface into water ripple motion.

    Sitting on the table,
    Her feet dangle like a child’s and she
    Remembers swinging legs free, shoes slipping loose to toe
    And barely listens to the nothing news
    The latest tests have revealed, read monotone.

    Sitting on the table,
    She bites the inside of her mouth bloody
    Fights a losing battle against tears that blind the moment
    And blinking looks up at the doctor to ask
    Another question for which he has no answer.

    Sitting on the edge,
    She reaches for a hand to hold
    Comes up empty, nearly falls, and is caught by
    Her own momentum. She stands to push
    Away the hopelessness of medical expertise.

  52. Paul W.Hankins

    A glance out the window –
    I set my eyes upon a cluster
    of November leaves,
    no longer green,
    given to oranges and reds
    and the whims of the wind
    set them against the tree
    that bore them

    reminding me of the days
    we used to collect leaves in the yard;
    we would strip apart the papery parts,
    attempting to leave the skeleton intact
    rent and ruined, a fine confetti
    littered the dying grass.

    Some could tear away more than others:
    a neighbor I remember could leave
    five fingers extending from a spine
    connected to a corked stem,
    but the finer parts of the leaf
    would always end up torn.

    And those leaves
    stripped of their natural disguises
    would fall flat upon the ground
    and wait for turning,
    or being whisked away,
    but never without an arch
    in that spine that longed to bend
    for coming rain.

  53. Cheryl Chambers

    Neal’s Family Emerges

    Wooed young, after a factory job left
    him alone and broke, he could still
    romance one soft spoken wild woman
    who roared with a mind full of dust.
    She never cleaned the apartment
    and he could not get enough of inhaling
    her until they bore a child, a little girl
    who lied every Saturday when she wanted
    for something just a little more
    than they could provide. That was the death
    starting to haunt him, starting a forceful
    cutting of the stems, leaving the floor
    littered with the remnants of what was once
    rooted. Then the woman left. She became
    someone else and relived her moments,
    forgot her past. He chose to keep her
    locked in the closet, a shoe box of mismatched
    items: a dried up rose, a beer cap, a slip
    a tied knot. Every Saturday, when the lies
    lipped themselves around his mind and pushed
    his eyes he’d encounter the box and breathe.

  54. Peggy Goetz

    Thank you so much for the earlier posting!

    Afternoon in Den Dom

    The smell of ancient dampness hits
    me as I enter this autumn afternoon.
    I put the soles of my wet shoes down
    step by step on the gray stone floor as quietly
    as possible, but it seems the very movement
    of air echoes in the shadows of the Cathedral
    as if God will not allow me unnoticed . I hear my clothes
    settle as I sit in the wooden pew
    wood’s grain worn by centuries of
    of temporary sitters under the arching
    stone that seems unnaturally distant
    like the dim walls and darkened images
    that hang here a place out of time.
    The pipes of the organ, stretch
    up into grayness toward a heaven
    that seems from here damp and unwelcoming.
    There’s a whisper, its source lost
    in the vastness, then the sound
    of a switch, echoing, someone coughs,
    lights around the organ, and swishing
    footsteps. Every sound here exaggerated
    but shrunken in this cavern, the movement
    of the organ bench, setting the stops,
    pages of music opened , the cough again,
    a breath sucked in before inconceivably
    notes and chords fill the air to the
    roof top, the organ pipes vibrate.
    I let the wool scarf fall from my face
    and ears, but I don’t feel the draft
    as I am consumed like a living sacrifice
    by the music and the incense.

    Nov. 5, 2008

  55. Earl Parsons

    Rachel – Garden of Sorrow is great. I’ve been following yours since day 1 when you hooked me. Keep up the great work.

    Connie – I love your work.

    LK – Another home run.

    Too many great works to mention. This is a great challenge and will be a great month. I’ll be sad when it’s over.

  56. Earl Parsons

    Here’s day 5 of Synaptic Sensations:

    The Gray Matters

    Come on in
    Take a look around
    Be careful where you step
    You might damage your past
    Or you might endanger your future

    Come on in
    Look over there
    Do you see the impulses
    They’re being made by you
    24/7 they arc from place to place

    Come on in
    Don’t get stuck
    Beware the cobwebs
    They’ll grab you by the arm
    Don’t worry, though, they’re friendly

    Come on in
    It’s your brain
    You’re welcome here
    Stay as long as you want
    Grab a thought and visit your past

    Come on in
    Grab a synapse
    Connect with a cobweb
    Go ahead, touch a wrinkle
    You’re right, the gray matters

  57. Earl Parsons

    Here’s day 5 of Life, Liberty & the Lord:

    The End of Eden

    He stands squarely in the center
    Gazing longingly at the forbidden tree
    The origin of the downfall
    And wonders why
    Why did he restrict his creation
    Would it have worked out differently
    Had he given them everything
    Or would they have proven their humanity
    And disobeyed him none the less

    Forward he moves to the present
    How far he has brought them
    How much they have learned
    How advanced they have become
    Yet, they walk backwards through time
    Away from the truth
    Away from the straight and narrow
    Blindly walking away from him
    Without realizing their path
    Is taking them straight to hell

    He sees the real landscape
    Green with greed
    Red with hatred
    Blue with envy
    And black with sin
    Still his creations smile
    Thinking they are blessed
    Believing they are protected
    As they walk toward the cliff

  58. Kateri Woody

    Thank you Patti and Jared. I personally think that everyone is doing really well and I cannot seem to pick out a favorite, but some favorite lines.

    "a mattress-less oak bed frame
    with a bookshelf head-board,
    laying against the wall as if asleep" – RJay

    "And despite the death and in spite of the hunting Cats
    I find here ever a peace and serenity to sit" – Iain

    "She changed
    From confident
    To demure
    In the length of time it takes
    A comment to leave
    A bitter mouth" – Heather


  59. LKHarris-Kolp

    The Day

    Beautiful flowers lined the alter,
    colors of pink, white and green.
    The smell was intoxicating,
    a mix of incense, sweet and clean.

    The pews were lined with bows of lace,
    white candles lit the air.
    The whole church looked beautiful that day
    as she was married with love and care.

    Laurie K.

  60. RJay Slais

    The Closing

    Yesterday, the resale store
    announced it is closing.
    A “going-out-of-business-sale,

    up to seventy-five percent off”
    on all of these things
    someone has given up on.

    There is Auntie’s wooden rocker,
    arm-rests both worn through
    to bare wood on the highest spots,

    the student’s roll-up desk and chair,
    all shelves emptied out except for some dust,
    every drawer filled with promise,

    a mattress-less oak bed frame
    with a bookshelf head-board,
    laying against the wall as if asleep,

    rolled up throw rugs
    stand in the corner, taller then any
    bargain hunter walking by.

    The wood plank floor,
    high traffic areas worn smooth,
    squeaks in places like a groan

    from a worn out body
    like a silver haired man
    just prior to the day

    he will give up, lids closed
    shading his view of the world
    for the very last time.

  61. Mary K

    Buried Treasure

    Treasures from yesterday
    stored in boxes bring the past
    to life as I retreat into the attic
    late at night when I cannot sleep.
    It is bitter cold in winter, sweltering
    in summer, sometimes musty,
    often dusty. I close the door,
    choose a box, open it with care,
    explore its contents, whether
    it be books, dolls, old photos,
    certificates, framed pictures,
    nicknacks, old wallets, jewelry.
    With so many treasures to investigate
    during late night exploration, I lose
    myself in my finds, embrace memories
    brought by each, then bury them again
    in the boxes of my late night hideaway
    where they will be until I discover them
    the next time I am unable to sleep.

  62. A.C. Leming

    I’m caught up! yeah!


    The stars reflect off the darkened faceplate
    of her helmet. She hangs motionless, upside

    down in relation to the Hubble telescope.
    Tethered to it’s bulk, her safety line prevents

    sudden movements from propelling her out
    into space, a life threatening possibility in this

    empty, unforgiving environment. Tools float
    around her, waiting for her attention to revert

    to them and the task at hand. But she’s lost,
    the space around her sucking her soul out

    her eyes, hidden behind the thin plastic of
    her bulky spacesuit’s faceplate.

  63. Margaret

    Mayflower Storm, Man Overboard

    A waterfall of wind and rain
    torments the sodden ship.
    Too stormy for sail she sits at sea,
    awaits the will of the weather.

    Young John sidles across roughened planks,
    clings to the splintered rail.
    A swell of sea, a swirl of the ship,
    he’s over the rail and looks to drown.

    Icy water covers his head,
    he swallows the sea, seizes a halyard,
    there no doubt by the will of God,
    as the seamen haul him up to the brim.

    They catch the youth with an iron hook,
    by this and the rope he’s pulled aboard.
    Poor John shivers and spits some sea,
    hurries below deck to get dry.

    A waterfall of wind and rain
    torments the sodden ship.
    Too stormy for sail she sits at sea,
    awaits the will of the weather.

  64. jared david

    Kateri- my favorite today

    A Single Light

    A single light
    Illuminates the courtyard,
    Through which a woman walks
    Every night at nine.
    She emerges from the darkness,
    Her calm fading in the pale light,
    Marching to the drum of her heart,
    Which beats softly in her sweaty palms,
    And thunders through her ears.
    She alternates
    Breathing with listening,
    Walking with stumbling,
    Looking over each shoulder,
    Into the darkness.

    The single light,
    Approaching at a distance,
    Brightens the courtyard.
    But from within its dingy glow,
    Nothing is known of what is beyond
    The sinister radiance that surrounds her.
    She fears not
    What she cannot see,
    What she cannot hear,
    But what can sense her,
    And doesn’t return the gesture.

    The single light,
    Plays tricks on her mind,
    As she strains her eyes to see
    What may be lurking,
    Just outside its corrupt luster.
    Shadows hide ill intentions,
    And halfway in, her pace quickens,
    Finding strength in rhythm,
    And, crossing the threshold
    Of dark and light,
    She sighs; another night survived.

    The single light,
    Above her door,
    A sister to the one behind,
    Is no more than ten steps away,
    As she, obscured in the swirling night,
    Is safe to go home, alone,
    But she waits,
    Just outside the courtyard haze,
    Watching her porch light fade.
    This twist she did not expect—
    Surviving the light,
    Only to be consumed by
    The darkness.

  65. S.E.Ingraham

    Rachel – I was just browsing, stumbled on your Garden of Sorrow, and it brought tears to my eyes, me an avowed agnostic. I still find the story incredibly moving and your telling of it poignant and real. Sharon I.

  66. Lori

    Beauty- For Lack of a Better Title

    Warm, clear, bright sunshine
    Deep, unadulterated blue over head.
    Wakes me up on my way to school after a long night shift.

    Think, soft, penetrating fog
    Lacing every breath with a moist blanket
    Calms my nerves before a big test.

    Mysterious, exciting, unpredictable expectations
    Green tree, rolling hills, I know will be there
    Assures me I’ll make it.

  67. Dave Gorgone

    "How To Be Idle"

    When you find the time
    grow some vegetables and keep a loaf
    of bread in the cupboard.

    Do not nap, but sleep,
    find the comfort in dreams,
    or bathe to make yourself clean.

    See your children, visit the orphan,
    comfort the widow. Where they are
    one can meet a brief paradise.

    Let visitors over stay
    their welcome, off them a glass of water.
    If they refuse then use the water for your garden.

    Enjoy the vegetables you grew,
    laugh with the orphan,
    and keep seeking paradise.

    All the city turns on their eaves,
    sliding down the consumptive highway,
    spitting up the radio’s sputum,
    a rush of coughing.

    The commuters
    do this every morning. Before sunrise
    they drive by the stars, if you notice,
    the glittering spatter past our windshield.

    I am at work already.

  68. Rachel Green

    Widower’s Daughter

    She counts the stones that make the wall –
    one, two, three no need to count at all
    for in the end she knows what she will find
    dark corners where even rats are blind
    where cobwebs hang like rigging on a ship
    just waiting for a little girl to slip —
    no fear of such happenings today
    she’s brought her box of bones and come to play.

  69. Kate Berne Miller

    Election Eve
    It is already almost dark in the parking lot
    as I slide into my car. I glance up Sehome Hill,
    the late afternoon sun has cracked the purple
    clouds and streams through the forest, painting
    every tree trunk gold, from Aspen saplings
    to Cedars and the rough bark of Douglas firs.
    Among the trees the smaller shrubs and bushes
    blaze like flame. This is history happening, I said
    tonight, before I let my students out early.
    Burning with excitement, cell phones bleeping
    out reports on the latest numbers, they spill
    out into Red Square, joining a larger crowd already
    cheering, ignited by the power of their first votes.
    Now I sit a moment in silence before turning the
    engine over, basking in the spreading warmth of hope.

    Kate Berne Miller

  70. Rachel

    Garden of Sorrow

    In the beginning
    of summer hidden beneath a short fingered canopy
    of silvery green oblong leaves
    He knelt among the poppies
    and prayed.
    His soul began to twist like
    the gnarled olive trunks standing guard –
    the ancient trees set to be destroyed
    by the Romans’ coming siege.
    Olive blooms hung stiff in silent expectation,
    regarding the bud of the ancient plan
    set by the will of the Most High
    in the beginning.
    And there He wept
    amid the wild mustard growing in yellow
    hues at His feet,upon the crown daisies
    stained red,
    while His friends slept.
    There, in that valley
    overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death
    the angel anointed the Depressed
    with oil
    from the healing olives faithfully keeping watch,
    o’er the plan proclaimed from the mount
    in the beginning.

  71. Iain D. Kemp

    …and here’s the second… (hard one to get my head round but anyway…)…

    Dear Moosehead,

    Picture if you will, buddy mine,
    a warm summers evening, the flood
    lights beaming, the stands are full.
    The crowd is chanting and the smell
    of popcorn and chilli-dogs fills the air.
    Daa-daa-daa-daa! The music rings out.
    The pitcher takes the mound, the batter’s
    at the plate…A hush descends upon the
    great theatre and a lone voice cries out:
    “Play Ball!” And so it begins, the gladiators of
    our age contest and do battle in the greatest
    arena on God’s sweet earth and maybe, just
    maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a fly ball.
    In lieu of decent sporting action I suggest we get
    roaring drunk. Pick ya up at seven.

    Nostalgically yours

    Ringo the Howler

  72. Vanessa O'Dwyer


    It was just a bear…
    a toy
    A simple exercise…
    at school
    Let’s agree on a name for…
    our bear
    And the children thought…
    and chose.

    One of the children told…
    her mama
    Of the bear naming…
    at school
    But the mom made up…
    a pretense
    For she had her own agenda…
    (know that.)

    It could have been…
    so simple
    To impart our culture…
    onto her
    But it was a perfect…
    set up
    To show the scandal of…
    her deed.

    The teacher was thrown into…
    Knowing not too well …
    the harm
    Of getting kids to work…
    On the naming of…
    a bear.
    Oh the world was so…
    So-called insults flew…
    Thoughtless folks took to…
    the streets
    Wanting blood for just…
    This deed.

    The children watched in awe…
    so quiet
    The sin of teacher on…
    their hands
    For naming bear the same…
    as prophet
    There was hatred through…
    the land.

    The scene was shushed up oh so…
    The teacher banned from there…
    and how!
    Never seeing her…
    On an airplane out…
    of sight.

    The real lesson taught our…
    You ever think you’ll feel…
    My might!
    Working together life…
    Won’t win
    And cooperation’s out of…
    of sight!

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  73. Iain D. Kemp

    I don’t know if I’ve done justice to the prompt but anyway here’s the first…

    Cats, Poetry & Death #8

    The Cemetery

    New cemeteries are pristine and white
    with marble and grief too recent to allow
    it to touch one’s soul. They are clean and
    function perfectly, in harmony with modern
    suffering and loss.

    My cemetery is old.
    My cemetery holds the grave sites of those who died
    not merely decades but centuries ago. Its gravestones
    gnarled with time and moss. Its Oak and Elm trees
    ravished and strewn with equally ancient Holly. Here
    lie secrets from long ago. Here may we find tales of grief and suffering
    handed down only by folk-lore and distant memory.

    The graveyard Cats prowl and hunt, keeping down the rats
    and mice and taking what feathered prey they can.
    The solemn silence that these places always hold holds no fear for them.
    They are at home as rightfully as the long forgotten souls of
    those who have rested here many a long year. Through hot summers
    and bright harvests. Autumn frosts and Winter snows that they have
    been witness too yet never known.

    The grass is always too long in my cemetery.
    The trees and shrubs are over-grown.
    The Sexton and his son have long since taken residence
    in that which they once cared so diligently for and now “a man”
    comes three times a year. Forgetfulness of the dead reaching even into the local burocracy and leaving the lost brave souls in a small
    wilderness of their own. They lay here row on uneven row, victims of war,
    victims of plague and sickness. Children taken before their time and
    Mothers who died that a child might live.

    Many stones are illegible now as time and weather
    has worn away the names as time wears away the memory.
    Though some may be seen and read. Inscriptions in honour
    of the dead, some long some short, some in prose or poetic verse.
    “In Flanders fields…” starts one but the rest is moss and erosion.
    And despite the death and in spite of the hunting Cats
    I find here ever a peace and serenity to sit, to think,
    perhaps to write, that cannot be found at the new cemetery;
    just a mile away with its pristine marble and neat mown lawns
    that seem to praise only God and forget those who hoping for his redemption
    were laid in state and given final rest.

  74. patti williams

    Heather, Jane, Connie, Kateri (beautiful name by the way) – your posts are all excellent – great poetry writing going on this morning.

    Robert – thank you for posting the prompt in the a.m. When it’s afternoon and everyone is needing help with something, I’m not able to write anything worth a darn.

    To early to say it, but I will anyway, Cheers everyone!

  75. patti williams

    Day #5: Scene

    His office:
    A white sterile
    Stale environment.
    His wife and children
    Sit posed, smiling
    In the picture
    He has framed
    For the patient to
    Disappear inside
    As his voice drones on
    Quoting results,
    Numbers, my very own
    I can tell it’s
    Getting cloudy outside, the
    Light dims casting shadows
    On the framed, frozen faces.
    “Treatments are out there
    This isn’t the end.”
    Oblivious to the weather
    He continues talking
    About options, changes,
    As the sun eases out from
    Behind the dark clouds
    Making the room so bright
    I think I can almost
    See tomorrow and
    Another day of my
    Cancer free life.

  76. Connie


    The music stops.
    The clapping and cheering die down.
    The room’s suddenly abuzz with conversation.
    Flags, emblems, spelled-out messages,
    a portrait of a local hero, now revealed,
    lie on the floor. Children romp about
    happy to move and stretch after being
    threatened within an inch of their lives
    if they dared knock down that man’s
    hard work before it was time. Some kids
    grab plastic tubs and, resembling an
    Easter egg hunt, help the builders
    sort over sixteen thousand pieces in
    twenty-four different colors in various sizes,
    with soft clinks and plops into the containers.
    Now all that remains of nearly two days of
    work is whatever was captured on camera.
    The last domino has toppled.

  77. Kateri Woody

    That blade protruding from his back
    is not metaphysical, but real.
    Lodged imprecisely between ribs
    it quivers and shakes with every half-assed
    breath that he takes, unable to fill
    his lungs with oxygen – though he is
    more than capable of filling the organs
    with misdirected blood, that same blood
    that oozes and drips from his mouth
    and back in tandem, staining his precious
    hand-tailored clothing; the deep purple
    becoming a deeper red, and all he can do
    is sputter and gasp at the irony of bleeding
    out – he never was a bleeding heart, but
    here he was, falling to his knees at the behest
    of a former Boy Wonder scorned
    one too many times, spitting blood and hunks
    of indecipherable mass as the light
    fades from his eyes, and the laughter
    spews jaggedly from his lips.

  78. Jane penland hoover


    Holding hands we lingered
    watched the big rig make its move
    through shadows, round the curve
    toward our new home
    distant from this time and sisters
    the sheltered cove and pasture
    where cows grazed as usual
    unaware of our goodbyes
    to all of them
    the lone great blue
    beavers in their den
    fat turtles lounging on the log
    the geese paddling
    the water rubbing at the shore
    once ours.
    We squeeze hands
    release our hold
    to go.

  79. Heather

    Lesson #5: Change

    She changed
    Faster than a bullet leaves a gun,
    Twice for sure
    There had been others
    But they were removed
    And didn’t hurt as much

    She changed from sweet
    To distant
    In the time it takes for a hand
    To touch flesh,
    As fast as a memory
    Can be suppressed

    She changed
    From confident
    To demure
    In the length of time it takes
    A comment to leave
    A bitter mouth
    Turning her against herself
    Leaving her with nothing but

    She changed from resigned
    To receptive
    The moment she met him
    He said he loved her
    She believed

    Lesson #5: Change Can Be Good

  80. Bruce Niedt

    I’ll post something later, Robert, but I thought you’d like to know that I got a handful of folks from my community website,, to be interested in your blog and to take up the challenge with me. I think some of them may even be posting their poems here. It’s been fun so far!