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I know I am protected
Each and every day,
I need not worry
Nor allow fear to get in the way.
My protector has all power
He rules the universe as Lord and king,
He shelters me from many mishaps
In my life, joy he brings.
like a good neighbor
whiskey on the rocks is there*
*but not in good hands
When It Was Over
I missed laying in his arms and cried until tears
flowed into my mouth and made me thirsty.
So I learned to dance. Worked out in the gym and lost
weight. Saved money to renovate my house.
Bought new furniture. Painted the walls–two rooms in blue,
one in yellow, the last in a pretty beige. Bought new furniture,
kitchen countertops, and bathroom floor.
When I close my door every day, there is peace. Love.
Better than what I felt in the shelter of his selfish arms.
So I learned to dance. Worked out in the gym and lost
weight. Saved money to renovate my house.
The rain fell,
first just drops as we stood
on the sidewalk and looked up
into the gray sky and then the rain
fell harder and soaked your blue shoes,
the ones you just got for your birthday
and then it came in torrents and water splashed
down the back of your neck and on your cheeks
so it looked like you’d been crying for hours though
you laughed and your blue eyes shined and you ran
and jumped into the new puddles and daddy ran
out of the house and scooped you up in his arms
and I picked up your bike and ran under the
awning. You ran around inside the house from
window to window warm and safe in
new dry blue socks watching the rain wall
fall and make small ponds under the eaves
as you ate apple slices so you could have
a maple leaf cookie with a glass
of almond milk the next time
you were in the kitchen.
LOVE IS MY SHELTER
Love is my shelter.
Love kicks me out of every hiding place.
Love is my shelter. Even though
She sets me spinning so I cannot find
the path I imagined the one to take me
where I imagined I ought to be
Love is mischief-maker, the one who raises roofs
who throws open the windows and who
when I fear being trapped—dissolves the walls
(never real in the first place).
Love is the shell I curl into, the house I carry on my back.
Love, the open field
where there is no shelter from the elements.
Love is the elements.
Love is home and the path home and the
promise of always and never becoming
lost. Love, the compass and
the storm, confusing the needle.
the mist and the clearing, the barren and the fertile,
shack and palace, shell and tender flesh,
body and heart
Love is my shelter, even when I cannot
just waiting to be Home.
By: Tuere Aisha
You always seem
to fill my night and daydreams
with flowers and silky roses,
your stature and lovely poses.
You are the moonlight
to my darkest night.
guide me to
and magnificent scenes.
You are a song
that is never sang wrong.
You are a story.
My shelter and glory.
This is my cave
My den in the mountain
My safe harbor
My umbrella in the storm
This is my refuge camp
My personal ghetto
My suburban slum
My torture chamber
This is my cave.
This is my home.
there were no tornado warnings
but we went down to the cellar
the dirt floor was cool on our bare feet
and the air was cooler too
stealing away humidity’s power
this was our music shelter
where we could play Beatles 45s
and sway and dance and sing
escape the adult frowns
and wait for the cool night and fireflies
My mother huddled
under her desk at school,
practicing air raid drills.
She lives that way still.
A hoard of cracker boxes,
costume jewelry and lost hopes
pens her into her home.
Whatever finds her there
still harms her
but she feels
secret is better than safe.
Her cave crawls with bats
and bears and bugs
but she put them there
And named them.
She insists they are not hers
to tame, but they keep
out the world so well
after the house became toothpicks and negative space,
the world went monochrome
and I went to the feldgrau watershed,
where Thoreau himself would have felt at home.
Amidst the wolf trees and dormant cicadas,
I picked bark off the trees like a scab off my arm
and thought I was holding a piece of my home.
I pictured a dank cypress roof,
a small kitchen, a cedar bench,
enough room to lie down and not think,
or where I could set something ablaze
and make my own theosophy.
Sloping diagonals met by rodent scratch,
a dank yawn in bare space,
I did not know my coordinates
and wished good luck to any fool with a compass.
the illusion was a rice paper veil.
Those girls snuck out the bedroom window
several times when they were teens
unsure of what to make of their small
wings. Liquid shenanigans by the red
solo cup and other mischief
persuaded them to prance from
the home that always snuck back
inside their skin, the home they never
considered, even as grownups, one
day would be consigned to Goliath’s purse.
A conch shelters the ocean’s voice
in the curves of its pink shell,
the ocean’s voice that sings
of wind and waves
under sun and moon,
sings a song
that crashes my heart
and splashes my thoughts
of windblown hair,
skin sunned golden,
footprints, castles, names written in the sand
only to be erased
as moonlight coaxes the tide
to the beach
where a conch captures the ocean’s voice,
and it sings from the shelter of the shell
every time I put it to my ear.
A Haunted House
Take my bloody pen and write a story
Of the love you’ve lost or never had –
Forgetting any ink spilled along the way
Go watch the city sounds from afar
As you dream of rebuilding utopia
For this battered little family
Paint the shudders and fix up the courtyard
What a lovely little lily pond
But inside this hollow shell
Sits a powerless core where meals are made
Too hungry to resist feeding on generations of hatred,
We starve each other to death
But as each day begins anew, our earnest faith grows
For it appears that something always survives…
Even on empty longings
After the Storm by Natalie Gasper
how quickly a beautiful day
can change from laughter and joy
to screams and panic.
The sky begins to darken,
leaves upside down on the old oak tree
in the middle of town
It is a twister
People running, animals jittery
all desperately seeking shelter.
As it touches down, it weaves closer to the town
Everything becomes louder
Trash cans banging
car horns blaring.
Buildings that shriek as they are torn apart,
their structural beams ripped violently to shreds
Slowly people emerge,
crawling from beneath the rubble
of what remains of their houses,
trying to take in the damage.
A little girl, holding her favorite doll,
hair gently tossed by a breeze,
walks toward the town center
passing what is left of her favorite swing
she is saddened by the destruction
and the grief.
Unsure if the town can continue on
As her father takes her by the hand,
he turns her slowly,
her eyes landing on the old oak tree
Untouched by the storm.
“A hundred years that tree has been there”,
he says, lifting her to his shoulders.
“That’s how we always survive,
why we find the strength to rebuild.
It is a reminder, that bricks and siding,
furniture and toys make a house.
But it is family, friends, and neighbors
coming together that make a home.”
to call in a
to redesign my plot.
It was full and overgrown
and no longer could I manage
to get out and chop back what I’d got.
But I miss my woodland glade in the shade
down the end of my garden since plans I made
to have all my tall trees and bushy shrubs chopped down
just because I could not find enough strength of my own
to trim my garden.
and neat little
low maintenance plants
and how I can now see
every plant in my yard
which is now filled with sunshine.
But there is only one tiny tree.
This year they say that we will all swelter
but there is nowhere now for me to shelter
except when I am under the lime green sunshade
standing by my side if and when I venture outside
to tend my garden.
wishing I still had
somewhere to sit outside,
looking longingly at where
my hammock used to be shaded
by trees so that I wouldn’t get fried.
But things will soon grow, I know and now I’m
so very much looking forward to the time
when my plants, trees and shrubs again grow much bigger
and I am just hoping that they will thrive with vigour
to fill my garden.
there’s not much of
my life left to wait
for pleasures to restore.
Every day I must trade
my time on this Earth before
I’ll have no precious time any more.
Ten years down the line and things will be fine:
there’ll be lush growth back in that garden of mine.
There’ll be the private little cool green woodland glade
and someone else might sit down the end under the shade
that was my garden.
When life brings unexpected pain
Promising sun but delivering rain
Each seek shelter one way or another,
I find a book and hide under its cover.
A Rose by Any Other Name
(NB – the last three lines should be in italics)
en nuestra casa
at our place
Fine and dandy!
Elmwood by Jacqualine Hart
Our white and black shuttered home
seems smaller than when I was seven,
though large enough to cherish our memories
including each room adorned in varying shades of
green matching our jade mist sedan with its road
bump induced ice cream smearing of
dark chocolate on its inner roof.
The days when sitting for hours beside our
air conditioning unit on the green blanketed grass
to hear my vibrating words that unknowingly
filled our home with song have passed
along with mudd pies made beside the garage
where cement blocks were a wonderful oven.
The trees father planted now seem out of
proportion as they veer over our home as if
protecting it for this very moment when
my mother, sister and I would
drive past our old house and the
feeling of the brick road beneath us
sang a melody of yester years as it led
us back to paved roads and separate homes.
perched on the roof of these stolen five stories,
burning away the other end of the afternoon
smoke swimming off the roof like mist off a lake.
we crouch around the sunset as we watch the people below
sing their routines to the tune of the subway lines.
if this twisted tangle of anxiety and steel
that drinks our sweat and chews our nerves
is where we chose to sink our roots
it might as well be on a gamble.
we might as well be shoplifting shelter,
moving with a warm bed and running water
poking out our bags.
when one door closes another opens.
if you find out that both are locked,
there’s always a friend with a clean record
who can buy you a pair of bolt-cutters.
there’s always a dandelion
thriving in a cracks of the asphalt.
stray bullets punching holes
in the collateral
ring out like truth from invisible bells
anything can kill you while you’re not paying attention
cry me a river the salmon would get lost in
trying to jump into your eyes
like helpless lemmings with under-developed lungs
cry me a river of calcium carbonate
and mix it with sand found on the ocean floor
infused with proteins the dead don’t need
build a structure to house your tenderness
a pink translucence with veins and bones
fluctuating like ant swarms
glistening in the spring light
this shell can protect you from all harm
but remember all smiles are made of teeth
My Secret Place
Walking out I’ll surely find
a secret place that’s solely mine,
a spot for me to call my own
a covert place so far from home,
where birds sing at break of day,
and squirrels hunt, dance and play,
and there behind a gnarled old tree,
guess what – a fairy waits for me.
A bunny tucks butt to trunk
under a cedar’s fur
a bristled cloak.
Green shoots grow
under a magnolia tree
a pink and white canopy.
In a small quaint house
under large oaks trees
your love shelters me.
~Sharon Fagan McDermott
There was the crab apple tree with its scarlet buds,
The cool dirt beneath the LaBelle’s rhododendrons,
always a cover beneath the picnic table
and sometimes behind the heft of a book
purposely held in front of your face. There
was sanctuary in a cave of blankets
and refuge on the closet floor with all the shoes.
And every empty box became interior.
And still there is shelter in shade and refuge in remembering,
The salt water’s spray and a faraway ship. Once you thought
you might take harbor in the love of another. Once you
thought you might take harbor in his words.
Where to anchor now? Or whether to?
What does a life become without a net?
And how to walk upright into
the raw insistence of the wind?
This is Day 9 (mistakenly posted as Day 10)
The tour of her fiancé’s house ends
in the room filled with what’s familiar and hers–
what I will name the piano room,
what used to be the living room
of the house where our friendship grew.
I find comfort that the grands are here
and the painted lamps still sit atop the dark
wood side tables. We have our chat
in the same checkered blue chairs,
my hands, as always, cupped
around a mug of after-dinner tea.
The space for us is smaller, bounded
by ceiling-to-floor windows and a loft
by the door. Instead of the fireplace,
we face the flat screen where I knew
I had a Superbowl seat if I had no place
else to go. I don’t remember
how many times I sat in this comfy
chair at the old house,
feet curled up and bawling,
tears vanishing into the fabric.
I didn’t cry last night,
but maybe, even here, I could.
SHE SHELTERS ME
My life begins with
no need for anything more
than her warming womb.
She shelters me.
I am a bundle
sustained and nourished by her
bare and blessed breast.
Tears last no longer
than a moment when she gives
me her heart-felt hugs.
She shelters me
And as I mature
she forgives, praises, loves me
with endearing eyes.
Forever my rock
she weathers life’s storms with words
of wisdom and wit.
And come the day she
leaves me, I will weep but feel
her guardian grace.
Four walls and a roof
keep me dry
than out on the streets
Safe from harm
at least physically
Sanctuary of body
but not for my soul.
Shelter is not
the same thing
where the heart belongs
and mine still roams.
It’s ironic that mental shelter
From days burdened with reality
dwells in the bound pages
Of a freeing book.
give me shelter, but
let me see the rain and
the darkening of the sky as the clouds gather
let me hear it and
the cars that drive across the wet roads,
the sound that only comes when the rain does
let me smell it, the
release of lifeblood washed and rising,
changing and scenting the air
let me touch the
cooled air, let me feel the way the gray sky
surrounds me and reminds me I am not alone
I considered writing a poem that was more a metaphor for something deeper, about the value of trials or that kind of thing, but in the end it’s really just an expression of my fondness for a rainy day. There’s something about a dark sky and rainy day, when I’m snug indoors but can see the shift of the day into something else, something muted and perhaps calmer (even in a thunderstorm), that makes me feel cozy and safe. It’s like it simplifies the world, somehow.
The Bus Stop
Ol’ William waits on St. Mary’s
just south of Peace. The CAT is late.
Too far to walk to the south side of town,
‘specially in this heat. Hottest July in history.
Miss Smith didn’t have time to drive him.
After touring the neighborhood, stopping
at the usual spots to see ’bout work,
he’d spent the afternoon at her place
pulling weeds and totin’ mulch.
She gave him some Nabs and a Coke though,
on the front porch, and two crisp twenties.
The CAT is late. The pavement wriggles
as though trying to rise up and escape.
When they gonna put a shelter here?
Nothing but a brown paper bag to cool him off,
and now the cops wanna take that, too.
On a warm summer day
in the late sixties
we decide to leave our pad
wnd go to Santa Barbara –
a euphemism for a mescaline trip.
Before long our eyes fix on the pool
as Its waves rise and fall.
The sand from the beach
beyond swirls into it
overflowing out on the deck,
grabbing our bodies
into the mounting blue mist.
we sway we dance we slowly climb
with Gimme Shelter
and other Stones tunes
that chose to come along.
My Shelter Is The Sky
every brick I loved
crumbled into dust when I
discovered the stars.
I really like this. Simple and yet moving.
An invisible hand hovers,
Over my troubled head,
My thoughts then recover,
As though back from dead.
My sheltered existence,
Seemed to be threatened,
Required of me was penance,
For the unrest to amend.
Shelter Poem PAD, Day #9
As so many of us did back then, I sought shelter in their arms,
In the music of broad smiles,
In strong hands that stroked my wrist,
lazy, with one thumb.
Nothing unusual about that,
Not when I was growing up,
Growing up till well past grown.
But then, that stopped.
Twenty-six years since I’ve sought shelter.
Shelter in muscle and bone.
Twenty-six years filled first, with him,
And after, with our kids, all love and needs and stickiness.
I guess that was enough.
I’ve sought connection meagerly,
But found little there.
The kids loom, now, too large to cuddle.
I have three cats and a dog
On my bed, most days and night.
When I exit the room,
The kids fussily brush at my legs, my shoulders.
At all that fur clung to my clothes,
Trying to fix me up.
(a Haiku string)
He created me
He made me in His image
From Him I have life
He is my Shelter
In times of trouble or good
In Him I’ll abide
He is my Counsel
He listens and advises
In Him I will trust
He is my Teacher
His wisdom is amazing
From Him I grow wise
His love never ends
His forgiveness is final
With Him I have hope
His Son gave His life
That I may live forever
On Him I believe
© 2014 Earl Parsons
My Grandparents have moved
more times than I can count.
I like to think that it’s only to prove the point that
home is not the four walls
that have seen dirtier fights than reality TV.
It’s not the closets
that hold more secrets than shoes.
None of that is home.
Home is not built out of
plaster, sheet rock, and bricks.
It’s not thanksgiving dinner
or Christmas morning in a big room.
It is not the New Year’s party gone wrong.
My grandparents have taught me that
home is not your house.
It’s his arm around your waist at night.
It’s her voice waking you up in the morning.
It’s his eyes or her smile.
Home is the person next to you
even when you don’t know where you are.
-Jaleese Nicole, Home
I have to fight, inevitably fight.
I lurch, and my opponent’s sword
swings in the air, slices through my skin,
I don’t give up; I bleed, I sweat, I win.
It’s dark, my body aches, my cloak is wet and heavy;
I spread my fingers, sparkles leave the tips,
the only light there is, I hear the dragons.
As I collapse, they come to rescue me.
I grow new wings, then fangs, then I’m a wolf;
my skin is scorched, then scratched, then torn to shreds;
I find shelter from the quiet of this world
in that imaginary place that books create.
by Lucretia Amstell
The calendar pages scroll forward,
Not like the past when I could x them off
Black marker on paper. Everything now is
I put the numbers in the program
Nothing judgmental. I’m just a monkey copying
From W-2 to 1099 and the
Program tells me what to put where.
I don’t need to understand anymore.
But when it gets to that crucial
Tax Due line
I want to pull my physical hair out
And go back to the days
When a little finesse
Could be a tax shelter.
for the death of his first wife, her mother,
In the car
We wait out the storm
As the thunder booms
He reaches out
I let him hold my hand
Though I’m not afraid
That night, I understood
He wanted to comfort me
This man who had a hard time
My affection for this poem is simple: I can relate. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you for allowing me
to vagabond in your salivary dwelling
being that my previous eviction
I am fortunate to have found
your saccharine milieu,
where certainly I will quickly adapt
to your high-star accommodations:
swimming in your soda swishes;
meandering through tongue scum; and
loafing throughout the sticky bread
trapped between your spaces.
Oh, by the way,
I’m allergic to all types of
brushes, flosses, rinses,
scrapers, or pastes.
I feel I will thrive here
thinning your enamel,
inflaming your gums, and
introducing you to, my friend, Tartar.
Bwahahahha! Can I print this out and bring it to my dentist?
THE PERFECT STORM
The hardest thing to learn
as a parent
is when to be the
and when to
walk behind and let them
fall into that puddle
I really like this.
Don’t you witness with envy —
or perhaps, admiration —
their remarkable knack
for self preservation?
Although they are slow
and will plod at a pace
that never would win them
first place in a race,
at the first sign of trouble –
(a hint or a dash)
their defenses kick in and
they’re gone in a flash.
where none can touch,
safe from hurt & pain and such.
If only a similar carapace
might the human heart embrace.
He treasured me tender than roughed me up
He made me soft than turned me tough
he did too much
my first screwdriver, I was five
no bob-the builder
in his honor he did his best the immigrant man
who traveled for more than settled for less
hard bottom shoes gabardine suits
a short man to the tall strange land
he made a way
graveyard shifts into a small apartment
Caribbean kingdom, Mexican dance hall a Haitian ruler
kaleidoscope this was our home
a virgin wife three kids then four
one died, left behind in the motherland…
now the NYC streets
he tried to shelter me
but roofs can’t contain concrete jungle heat
I watched kids get punked and jumped
in a NY minute for street treats
but I kept it classic in my Reeboks
holding glocks undercover
crack vials and nickel bags
watching tricks sell lips and ass
he did his best, he really did
but what Pops kept me from wasn’t what f**ked me up
he couldn’t handle three daughters
three lotus flower bombs
torment he devoured us with his mouth
gave us language to curse us for a lifetime
stained me with a strange dichotomy
an educated assertive woman you will be
you should not take abuse from the likes of me
but I will break you down to the flesh
raze your bones disintegrate your membrane
for you are worthless made for nothing
and at the end of each verbal diatribe
I love you sealed with a kiss
what he sheltered me from was a loving home
what he sheltered me from was choosing a man
what he sheltered me from was confidence to flourish in the land
he made me tender then made me rough
Pops did a fine job he did what he knew
he trained me up real good in the hood
miss sophisticate I am today
rolled all my good and all his bad
one lesson with which I walked away
I dare any man love and curse me with the same tongue
I’ll seal our love with a kiss goodbye
and he will rue that day—everyday
until his final sigh
my daddy taught me well, I don’t take no sh*t from the likes of him
New member. Forgive me if posting this here and now is improper.
His face begrimed – an old man climbed
from a tattered cardboard box
to a sight he knew – an alley’s view
beneath the loading docks.
The morning light would end the fight
he always had to face,
though just a dream, to him it seemed
so real it left a taste.
But soon that taste would be replaced
with a little shot of rye –
some needed aid he took in trade
at a little bar close by.
The reflection cast on his sacred flask
was another fallen soul
with mussed up hair and a sullen stare,
to survive – his only goal.
The bustling pace around the place
was the sign he had to leave,
or he might be thrown from his makeshift home
and place of his reprieve.
His meager needs and life’s proceeds
would fit in one small bag –
some cherished things like a wedding ring
and a tarnished metal tag.
A nomad’s plight – he traveled light
and was always on the move
as he searched the street for food to eat
in a way most disapprove.
A crippled leg, but he wouldn’t beg –
though his pride was hard to see
through the shirt he wore that shrapnel tore
from a mine in old Quang Tri.
He’d walk each day past a quaint cafe
as they served their daily fare
and the folks that dined would pay no mind –
they’d pretend he wasn’t there.
For survival’s sake – his lunch he’d take
from the dumpster in the rear
if his search revealed a discarded meal
or a warm, half-empty beer.
The café staff would only laugh
as he rummaged through the cans,
they couldn’t see what he used to be
with a weapon in his hands.
A warrior slain by a tortured brain
from the sacrifice he made,
his only truce – a life reduced
and a valor prone to fade.
After dark, at the city park,
when the cops had left their beat,
he’d sit alone on a bench of stone
and survey the empty street.
A silent town where the only sound
was a little band that played
at the dingy bar where his Silver Star
brought a little cash in trade.
The streetlights threw their mournful hue
on the flickering neon light
of the old motel where the patrons dwell
with the ladies of the night.
He clinched his fists as he reminisced
of a place so long ago,
of a family life, a loving wife
and a child he didn’t know.
He recalled the night he left to fight
in a war he couldn’t win,
to spend his days where the battles raged
would kill ten thousand men.
Though he made it back, for the most – intact,
some demons deep inside
would take their toll on a troubled soul
he would try so hard to hide.
He rarely slept, and he sometimes wept
from images he held
of battle scenes, civilians’ screams
and his only brother – felled.
He tried to cope, there was just no hope –
when all was said and done,
there came the day that he’d walk away
from his wife and only son.
It had been so long since things went wrong –
now it all seemed so surreal
that a man so brave could be a slave
to the scars that wouldn’t heal.
When he had his fill of the evening chill,
to the alley he’d return
to his tattered box beneath the docks –
another day adjourned.
By candlelight, he sat upright
and he opened up the bag,
then softly cried as he reached inside
for the little metal tag.
He touched the name that was much the same
as the one he always wore,
a fallen lad with a common dad –
born just a year before.
And as he wept, a promise kept
was playing in his mind,
when he shared a plane with a kid’s remains
in a box of a different kind.
His futile life was filled with strife
that he thought would never end
and another night beheld a fight
that he knew he couldn’t win.
A desperate man with a simple plan
he kept inside the bag,
not tag or ring – but another thing
all wrapped in an oily rag.
That night he wrote a special note
to the ones he’d leave behind
and his final say was stashed away
in an easy place to find.
At dawn’s first light – a dreadful sight
and an end to years of pain,
a cardboard box beneath the docks
found soaked in crimson stain.
Totally thought I posted this yesterday. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Ooops.
Love is forgiveness
Forgiveness is grace
Grace is my shelter
Though temptation overcomes me,
And I welcome my demons,
Grace is my shelter.
When I fall,
Grace picks me up,
And pieces me back together.
Grace is my shelter.
Yes, I’m flawed,
But Grace makes me perfect.
Grace is my shelter.
Open Door Mission
They don’t enter this ark by no twos.
Each cat walks his own road.
Each mama wears her own story.
We get ‘em all in here.
The addicted, the neglected, the disconnected.
Some come when the storm clouds gather –
others wait ‘til it’s pouring.
Most don’t want to hear The Message –
they’ve heard it all before,
stopped looking for rainbows,
can’t even see dry ground.
So we just gives ‘em what we can –
a meal, a bed,
a hand up if they’ll take it.
One night’s shelter from the storm.
BIRGENAIR FLIGHT 301
(6 February 1996)
Take the Lesser Flamingo (genus: Phoeniconaias)
and its one-foot shin-high one-egg nest of mud
packed tight against the salty flats of the Sua Pan,
shadowed under a rouged Acropolis of red legs
and pink feathers. Or the earthen mound
of the African termite (Macrotermes), higher
than a tall man’s head (or nine!), elephant-
wide, a glibly gritty Chartres-erian homage
on the Zimbabwe plane. Do not tell me these are less
than the mixed bricks of the Tamil Nadu, living under
their racked roof, or the Anasazi adobe, or the pueblo
on the Rio Grande. Especially do not tell the dead
in Puerto Plata. Do not tell them of the black-and-yellow
dauber, chafing in the shade of its iridescent cousin,
building a muddy solace in the coolness of this pitot tube,
a soda straw tacked to the side of an idle 757, bound
for the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire. Do not
tell them this bit of wasp-licked wattle will break
their spittle into screams. They are mud. But
do not tell them.
This Apple Murex
once housed a carnivorous gastropod mollusk
who built it his sluggy-self,
stopping only for lunch,
which sometimes took all day,
boring painstakingly into the shell of the eldest oyster
(the one who didn’t leave with the Walrus and the Carpenter)
and eating him.
At long last, it was finished,
the sea snail’s Kajuraho,
in rippling browns and creams,
short spired, with fat, round whorls
interrupted by three thick pillared varices
to hold up the walls,
the glossy interior of its curved canal
opening to a tenderly ruffled outer lip.
Today, Mother found it on the beach.
Bent over, sunglasses slipping off nose,
she spotted it amidst the ruins,
the many colored hills,
the fragments of less-sturdy homes.
Then she straightened, studied,
came to me, her daughter,
baking on my blanket
dreaming of my future,
pressed it into my hand.
The plaster cracks,
as the wind pulls upward –
roaring like a great hungry beast.
He claws at the boards,
the screeching of nails
fills the air as though
he’s tearing a walnut shell.
He wants to reach inside,
grasp the meat,
dig it out and roll it ’round
in his teeth-filled mouth.
But he is famished;
his strength is waning.
Perhaps, if we hold a bit
of him inside our lungs,
he’ll tire and let go.
Maybe this shell will hold
and we will still find
our shelter inside.
Clings to the leaf
That bows to the tree
Which stretches ever upward
Thin bark flutters caught on a breeze
And dances out through the woods past the fields and the hills
Where it comes to rest at last near the sea.
written collage-style; i.e. each line is a fragment from another one of my poems.
This town on this day in this light is yours –
there’s something about just loving
Open: that’s a word that makes friends.
The burnt taste of sun, the soot of adventure –
believe in light and cross-country air
as bandages for free-falling burns.
Shootings have become so
in our world–in
malls, in movie theaters,
And while we have
tried so hard
to provide shelter
for our loved ones,
a place to
duck and cover–
along comes a new threat.
Knives in school.
Who could know?
I sit, feet up, on the porch
Unwinding, iced tea, avoiding the scorch.
Trying to avoid too much thinking,
I just relax and keep on drinking.
Cars go by to who knows where.
At this point, I really don’t care.
Instead I focus on the bird in flight
And wonder where he was all night.
The scent of flowers surround the yard.
The roses, the mums, it’s not that hard
To reflect on the beauty nature has given
And realize this is living.
Laughter of children down the street.
People passing and waving, so nice to meet.
The mailman, the paperboy, some at work.
But not me, as I release a smirk.
It’s my day off, as I take my sweet time
By kicking back and committing the crime.
The crime of leisure, with comfort and yawning.
And all thanks go to my big green awning.
The Scarred Remains
By Derryn Warwick Raymond
As the settling dust fell calm to the floor,
Thus had begun what had been before
To the next chapter the page had turned
But missing in context, was the lesson learned
Revelry in misery, he stood alone
The scarred tissue, his new home
I Am The Emergency Shelter
My family has more than one face
Different sizes, ages and colors
Some suffer from physical or mental health issues
Others, a missed pay check, a health crisis or unpaid bill
With the right circumstance or misfortune my family grows
You’re all welcome here
I am the emergency shelter
I wish I wasn’t needed
But thank God I am here
There’s a lack of affordable housing
Lagging incomes are everywhere
With slashed services and government assistance
My help is dearly needed
I’m here for you
I am the emergency shelter
First, basic needs must be met
I serve nutritional meals & offer hygiene items
Here you can do laundry and use the shower facilitates
I also offer transportation assistance
It’s basics you need and basics I offer
I am the emergency shelter
Basics now met, the work begins
It’s a matter of dignity and respect
You just want an opportunity
I offer the opportunity for you to receive
the support and skills you need to become
independent members of the community again
I get it, I understand
I am the emergency shelter
My services will help you overcome barriers
in order to maintain employment and housing
You’ll get connected in the community
There’s vocational skills assessment & training,
Legal services and economic support to be found
And right here in house – we teach financial literacy
You want to be self-sufficient and independent
I’ll help you
I am the emergency shelter
If you have the need and are drug and alcohol free
I want you to come see me
If you have the desire for more
You need only to walk in my door
I am the emergency shelter
I love this!
WHEN I WAS SIX.
When i was six
A. A. Milne
filled my brain
with a bear
and a wonderful
world of poems
To read Halfway
Down the Stairs.
ted my thoughts
with rhyme and
when i would go
in the Hundred
This brings such womderful memories
Such pleasant memories. Thank you.
Love it !
I’ve got to get back to the house at Pooh Corner by one…….
The nesting hut,
Thatched and woven,
Blends into branch,
Hidden, neat and small.
Tiny eggs of dreams,
Safe haven,sweet abode.
Cheep, chatter, peep,
The hunger for life grows,
Essential, instinctive, necessary,
Loudly without fear.
The song of youth,
Gaia cannot quiet,
In a listening world,
Innocence lacks caution.
Nest of quiet dawn,
No calls of hunger,
No frantic feeding,
Unheard violent night.
A pair of empty Springs,
A buttoned-up nest,
Silent as the grave,
Unsung hymns of joy.
The ancient vernal equinox,
Castles in the air,
Arias of Easter praise,
from the budding maple
~ sharon brogan
The first time I escaped
We drove right past you
By Wrigley Field in the beat up
VW van full of recyclables.
My heart trapped in my throat
I hid your stolen money deeper
We kept driving North on Clark Street
in the crowd of cars dragging
an orange uhaul of memories
Driving west three hours
To the house with open arms
Orion’s mom rushed me past
I went back
HOME IS WHERE
Under simple shingles
all the stuff of my life
patient and still and
just where I left them
hammer, saw, pile of wood,
sheet, pillows, mattress and springs,
my tunes and speakers galore,
towels and tissues and toothpaste,
water and heat on command,
switches to call forth the light,
candles when romance afoot,
incense, sofa, basket of fruit,
flowers to perk up the morn
along with coffee and tea,
dog and a cat, songbirds outside,
porch to watch day fade to night,
worlds of goodies on shelves and in fridge
ready to take to the stove
with eyes to reflect all of this back,
and two hearts to absorb it,
for without you and me
this would just be a house,
not alive as our wonder-full home.
A sheltering warmth, domestic embrace,
A loving home, a restful place,
A spot to pause, regenerate
A moment’s peace to integrate
Simple comforts grace the cave
Hearth and threshold, health to save
A lovely hole in which to abide
Welcome! Welcome! Come inside!
A calming refuge from the storm
Come, be with us, safe and warm.
they told him it was shelter
to slake his confidence
in this shoddy shack
about to crash
they told her it was shelter
to shake her sanity
in these thick echoing walls
with all the barricades
her resolve dissolved
he went to the king
to complain his shelter had collapsed
she saw him walk up the path
to construct new unrestricted doors
he had come so far only to hear the king laugh
downtrodden, he gradually walks out of the castle
those laughs all around him
ha ha ha ha ha
He reaches the door
at the same moment as the girl
as she takes this opportunity of escape
it begins to rain
she raises her skirt up over their heads
conceiving a refuge
A square tarp.
A rope, a tree, a stake.
Our triangle shelter.
Fir boughs beneath us.
Miles and ridges and
forests and deer
and heather and bears
Five bodies placed
carefully like a fan
with toes together
at the innermost point
with heads spread out
open to breathe the
untouched mountain air.
Mummy bags hug us tight
lying shoulder to shoulder
and no one else even knows
we’re there but the stars.
Freedom and enfoldment
only wilderness can bring.
Wildness and comfort.
Even the Universe smiles
lying there in the dark.
Battered cardboard box
two bright eyes.
I like this one.
This is the planet of need, full of
wanting, green with yearning. Here
we fill the hollow, the night
with no voice but
Over and over, we stand in breadlines.
One lover leaves and we’re already
glancing down the sidewalk at another
set of shoulders.
No stories have last acts; even death
goes back to sleep. And shelter
is out of the question. Each house
grows too small
in a season.
Water seeps under a door so we
run out to stand in the rain.
And if we wear a hat, it is only
for show: the tilt, swagger,
the star-catcher brim.
From ruptured membranes
we’re pushed out into this
alien world of steeled, green
dreams, drowning in illusory pitfalls
from taking the easy way.
Bowed over, in the end we seek a
safe haven in the warm, snuggling
embrace of a loved soul.
by Lidy Wilks
Home Before the Tornado Hits
Cresting the inner loop
after seven hours of slick asphalt,
the city stretches before us
shrouded in nicotine colored
haze. Trees droop still
as skyscrapers, the radio spits
static. In the rearview black clouds
churn, the children sleep, and I
press the gas until my foot goes numb.
I find my shelter within books,
between the covers, in every nook
and cranny, between the type; the words,
even the back cover amidst the blurb
I find myself, warm, sheltered, snug.
So if missing, you now know where to look.
Come and find me, come cast your hook.
Please do not think it is absurd,
I find my shelter within books.
Every one I find, I call it luck,
a different love affair with every book.
Makes me want to fly with the birds
daily singing songs never heard.
So if I’m missing, you know where to look,
I find my shelter within books.
When trees fall and walls crumble,
cheese is green and milk goes sour;
when joints rebel and flowers fade,
muffins burn and storm clouds glower;
when skin wrinkles and I lose my looks,
I still find shelter in my books
very nice! Especially love the title and how it sets the tone
within cathedral clefts
in Ciudad de Mexico
Heidi R. de Contreras
Just because more terrible things
have happened to you than you can bear
does not mean more terrible things
It just means
you have to evacuate your body
for a quieter, stiller place—somewhere
you can’t find—while the body
goes on. Look
to the body for inspiration. Look
to the hand turning
the key to the ignition, the feet like dry leaves
through a narrow hall scraping. Look
to the sun for light and the back of the lids
for dark. In a few years go back
and look for yourself lest it find you
in your sleep. Look
in your sleep for sleep.
Be my blanket-over-the-clothesline tent
And circle that’s around
the innards of a welk shell
the bowed-sides of a bell.
By my house of bricks and mortar
On a side street laced with trees
the sycamores that fence the sky
the sweet gums’ incense wafting by.
By my matched set cup and saucer
With a teapot right beside
all delicate and from the past
but fragile porcelain’s burned, to last
Like us – love coys its strength.
Second line should read
“Any cricle that’s around”
Title: Shelter From the Battle
I can’t go on,
Not like this.
I grasp shelter,
My only hope.
My only refuge.
My only comfort.
The only end.
“With the animals, an experience perishes as it happens,
and each new doing or suffering stands alone. But man…..”
being followed home from school by an older girl
every day during first grade. We were in a split class,
she was a second grader,
and I was in their reading group, the red birds.
She’d follow me closely but never say a word,
and as we reached where the sidewalk crossed an alley,
she’d start pulling my hair and hitting me.
All Fall we walked on, she’d whack me,
I’d continue home. I never reacted. I never hit her back.
I never told anyone.
Cool weather led to protective layers.
Stunned to find a filthy gloved finger in my mouth
one December afternoon, I bit it.
Incensed by filth,
I bit with the rage of not knowing how to respond,
the fire of indignation clenched tight between my molars.
She never followed me again.
An interior life takes root in the rich fertility of youth,
becomes what you protect most.
It’s why one always holds a bit of self
close to the vest.
first draft 04/10/2014
In the wake of grief
I seek shelter
in the common,
comforts of life:
a cup of tea
with toast, warm
woolen socks, your
old flannel shirt.
Monday we close our eyes
and the fireman hands us
red plastic fireman hats to keep
Tuesday we troop down gray stairs
to a room with boarded windows
and desks where big kids used to sit
but they got broken so no one used them
until the teachers made up this game.
The bell clangs really loud
and we hide under desks
only everyone hides and no one seeks
then the bell clangs again and we leave.
My friends and I have better games
than this one with a yellow and black sign:
Fallout Shelter. No one falls or goes out.
Robin Amelia Morris
Slice of history that tickles the reader and yet implicates adults in their atomic games.
Here’s my poem written/inspired tonight by the 4/9/2014 prompt “shelter”. It’s quite fitting as tonight has been a rough one with insomnia.
“THE PERFECT STORM”
My protection, my world –
to rely on others, to pay money
to others has become
the norm…and it’s getting old.
Peace of mind seems fleeting.
Ride the storm out –
especially when sunny days
mislead me with quirky mirages
only to segue into fitful sleep –
chronic, chaotic dreams
when night does fall.
The storm does end, and sometimes
ethereal debris left behind
has purposeful design –
fertilizes and offers renewal to
battered body and soul –
a powerful force to overcome, to survive.
Like especially: “when sunny days mislead me with quirky mirages.”
Under this roof
there is safety
from the elements
but elementally more
Walls fortified by laughter
holding in sweet
of 6 and 12
for 183 scraped knees
and broken hearts
with Scooby Doo bandaids
and a kiss
It won’t always be like this
Parents grow old
Houses get sold
Let it go
It was never wood and concrete
paint and tile and glass
Come to me
For as long as this heart has a beat
you will find your shelter
183 scraped knees: specificity! That’s fun. But the heart of the poem is “know it was never wood and concrete paint and tile and glass,” it seems to me.
Thanks so much for the comment, BDP!
My younger son quantifies EVERYTHING, so the 183 was a nod to him. You are 100% correct about the heart and meaning.
April 9, 2014
Build me a warm little teepee with your steady hands
to shelter us from romanticizing this tepid storm,
it’s ancient lace, ruined completely–
so familiar the spiral,
the almost automatic thunder
bent directly in to my bone-thin shoulders–
brutal just like the end.
If it weren’t for the breathtaking light of the moon
that sears us blind for eternity–
the illumination of these dull black cloaks
transforming the shapes
into children, dogs, tropical birds
who shoot like streamers, sound in utter silence,
reassuring us of delight, eventually, maybe…
By Brie Huling
The first two lines–love. Then further love the tepid storm as ancient lace, ruined. Wonderful from there on down.
You call your arms shelter,
but tonight they feel like sweat-soaked sheets,
choking me in my sleep.
barracks in Sachsenhausen
Appalachian coal mine
Tegel Prison cell
church stairwell where
the junky shoots up at night
in the desert
war on race
cells gone mad
profits made on the black
lungs of innocents
homeless man praying equally
for his next hit or meal
etching his side of the story
in my heart until
the stench of evil
catches in my throat
horror wrestling with love
until my edges soften wary
and I am huddled in the truth
of shared humanity
between us drawn
Copyright © TD Bell
All Rights Reserved
After he’s place inside, the crowd gathers,
forming a half-circle, eyes shifted
downwards, feeling him overhead.
Behind them, a lone koi lifts its mouth
above the water, sucking for air, sustenance.
A blond-haired child of five sobs quietly,
the acacia leaves rustling father’s last breath.
–Linda G Hatton
This poem, for me, is deeply sad yet beautiful.
Thank you, William.
(And fixing my typo. Grrr . . . )
After he’s placed inside, the crowd gathers,
forming a half-circle, eyes shifted
downwards, feeling him overhead.
Behind them, a lone koi lifts its mouth
above the water, sucking for air, sustenance.
A blond-haired child of five sobs quietly,
the acacia leaves rustling father’s last breath.
we had so many
or very real ones
tornado warning every few days
that the three girls
knew what to do–
grabbed their stuff, blankets and pillows, and
hid in the basement.
If one had come,
Lord knows if it would have been sufficient.
But they had the drill down.
The nearest shelter
Is your own dark heart.
There is no other.
Let it break in two
Bust wide and open
So that there may be
Room inside for you.
You’ll know you’re there
When there’s no place left
To hide and you don’t even
care. You’re done hiding.
THE MOON PROTECTS
You and your vacancies
always thinking about the moon.
How it flashs desire with dexterity.
I have this urge to kiss you,
so slap. Welcome reality.
I write you down
in my notebook
before I look up.
You changed your
position. First waxing
then waning. Then obtaining
a higher degree in beautiful.
It is all up in the sky.
So far away I need a telescope.
You tell me there is a man
in the moon being sheltered
from his humanity
but he is waiting for you
to come down
just like I am.
There is a roof in my chest.
It is the vertebrae that climb
to the top of a skull that is a
shield to what lays outside.
The walls are built by ribs
and by a sturdy spine, strong
to withstand the hurricanes.
There are branches and roots
in this home that whistle with
the wind and soak up the water
drenched earth below. But you,
You have always seen them as
prison bars. In the places I have
called home, finding shelters from
your storm of words, from your
tempest of anger, and your
winter chill of silence, you have
called unsafe. And there has
never been a safe bone in my
body, you could never hide under my
skin or somewhere in my organs. You
have always wanted to break what
is in me to find your way to freedom.
And I might find no safety from you
with your gritty hands rummaging
through what is left, but I have…
I have found a shelter that at least
I can call my own.
All Rights Reserved
I love this.
Will Nobody Shelter Me
By Shell Ochsner
Giving up to let you win
You don’t even dare
To allow yourself to care
I have no more pride
Hollowed out bare inside
Thought I was for you
Thought I’d know what to do
I’ve got nobody no one
Will nobody shelter me
Open my eyes to see
Let me be free
Taking back stolen time
Out of luck no one’s kind
They have abandoned life
Shame consumes a lonely wife
Fool I am to even try
Hurt I feel it’s all a lie
I am nothing
I fall I cry
I’m dead inside
Alone without shelter
Alone no protector
Will nobody shelter me
All I can do is plea
Beg to be set free
Eye of the Storm
Evidence suggests, though not
convincingly, it is possible
for a tornado to hit your home
without tearing the roof off
bits and pieces of a life
thrown haphazardly across
signs of a storm touching
down without warning
in a heart unprepared
for such an uncertain
force of nature
as the future.
For Amber – Amirae Garcia
I wake up in the quiet, my heart buzzing from a dream
except it was not a dream. I look over to the bed on the
other side of the room and you are there. You are here.
You peek at me with sleepy eyes and you almost sing a
hello. I want to hear that hum for the rest of my life.
You don’t know what you do to my heart and sometimes
I don’t tell you because I don’t even know where to start.
I could say things like “You are shelter from the storm of this life”
and “I want to stay in in your serenity, in your calm,”
but you’d laugh at me because I am being silly. I’m not.
The definition of home and safety is wrong in the dictionary.
I tore both pages out and tried to sketch your smile and
describe your laugh instead, but my hands ended up shaking
and I had to stop all the love from spilling out of my mouth.
We are something entirely different, but we go together.
You go with me and I go with you. I go with you.
Even states away, my heart is alongside you.
People stare at us inside from out the window and they could swear
I am in love with you; and maybe I am.
You are my person, my friend; the thought of being without you
is a hurricane inside my brain.
Unlike most cats
she like to crawl
underneath the covers,
curl against my
lovers side and
Dana A. Campbell
It may be
hearth or home,
sky or church,
mountain peak or book.
soul mate or family,
music or verse.
Wherever you go
to hang up
As for me,
I’ll defer to Norman Maclean;
“Eventually, all things merge into one,
and a river runs through it.”
by Sandy McCulloch
Spring storm – icy misery
Yet, beneath her wide warm wings
Newborns eaglets dream.
So, too, life’s cold storms
Yet, beneath the wings of God
We find our refuge.
Shelter from the world is our Love
The world is an unkind place full people and things that will destroy you and rip your heart to shreds.
There is one place where there is shelter my love, here in my arms where I will stand in defense of you.
I will take the blows on my back and I will shelter you from harm.
The world is an unkind place full people and things that will destroy me and rip my heart to shreds.
There is one place where there is shelter for me, there in your arms where you will stand in defense of me.
You will take the blows on your back and shelter me from harm.
9 hour drive today away from my Love! Back home next week to my shelter!
It’s tough getting my brain to work after that long of car ride.
Write a shelter poem.
Beach Digs and Chicken Coops
Waves assault sand.
Structure doesn’t stand.
Waves slash the stone.
Shelter stands alone,
but not alone–like the stars,
His eyes watch and see,
Like hen’s feathers, He surrounds
me, and I’m enfolded.
When we think of what could have and should have happened,
We are dissatisfied & bitter & wish we could amend…
But, situations and circumstances drive us round the bend!
In a negative-thoughts shelter, we can’t fend…
Such occasions demand positivity & courage to be godsend…
Dear God, hope your shelter & management-power you’ll lend!
This is my very 1st contribution here! God’s Shelter is what we crave… Hope you liked it!
A gabled roof
stacks of yellow cedar
in the woodshed bins:
Shaping out our future
a brisk northwesterly wind
Love the rhythm of these lines.
She finds—and kicks me out of—
all my hiding places.
Love is my shelter. Even though
She sets me spinning so I cannot find the path
I imagined the one to take me
where I imagined I ought to be
Love is mischief-maker, the one who raises roofs
who throws open the windows and who
Love is the shell I curl into, the house I carry on my back.
Love, the open field
where there is no shelter from the elements.
Love is the elements.
Love is home and the way home and the
promise of always and never becoming
lost. Love, the compass and the storm
confusing the needle.
Love is my shelter, even when I cannot see Her
(c) Ani Tuzman
The rain is sudden
haven of canopy trees
– – –
I like this, much.
Black circles in the night
The knock is quiet
almost a whisper of
wind against the door
She sits in her chair
in the warm kitchen
watching snow fall
and knows they have
come – one or two or
one time, husband, wife
a small curly-haired girl
and a baby wrapped and
still – they always have
smudges like ash under
their eyes – and she always
for just a moment considers
opening the door – then again
maybe it is just the swoosh of snow
whipping in the wind across her sturdy
closed door – and maybe when a siren bleats
and a black car crunches in the fallen snow it
will be just a passerby – waiting until the worst
of it has
This moved me; it has a quiet, yet haunting, quality.
Thanks William – Delighted you caught the ‘haunting’ quality – was trying to imagine the times that knocks came on the door from individuals or families seeking refuge during the Nazi era… (or extending out to any other time when one sits and ignores for all sorts of reason a ‘call to action’ from someone in need)
I agree with PressOn – it’s haunting and lovely
Growing up, when we doubted time, we dialed
P-O-P-C-O-R-N, heard the cool fact delivered in
a soothing accurate voice. Important
in a place like this: built on faults, rainy
season that is always feast or famine.
What pluvial dreams will bloom from a mind
that sleeps beneath the staccato tap of rain-
drops on a tin roof. Who feels the thirst of
the parched golden hills and the nervous willows
whisper even from under fog’s cover.
Once, this river swelled far beyond its banks
you can find those muddy rings marked surge.
Others, you could walk across the water.
You can find those muddy rings marked as now.
And still the river aches and winds toward
the salty mouth of sea with certainty.
No matter how much rain. The waves will crash
into what the river’s got to give up
and that’s time’s secret. Dial. Hang-up. Dial.
It will always pass.
It will always continue to count.
FLUSH, PLUMB, OR LEVEL
This old place, back in the pine,
Don’t look like much, but it’s all mine.
Weathered boards, put up long ago,
With a love that shows…
And a love that grows…
Kerosene lamps, and candle light;
Along with the moon, lit up the night;
Kindling used, to fire the old wood stove;
And the love still shows…
And the love still grows…
It’s either flush, plumb or level,
Rarely both, and never all three;
A little drafty in the winter,
But it’s home… to my family and me…
This old porch, under these old trees,
Has heard the dreams, and the memories,
Seen smiles of joy, and tears of woe;
And the love still shows…
Yes, the love still grows…
It’s either flush, plumb or level,
Rarely both, and never all three;
A little warm in the summer,
But it’s home… to my family and me…
So time’s rolled on…. we stand in the yard,
To see you off, it sure is hard.
But know no matter when, or where or how you go…
Here love will show…
Here love will grow…
It’s either flush, plumb or level,
And never all three…
sometimes in florida
god got mad and took
the form of the sky and
made everything wet and
broken and saw that
it was good.
i was the oldest child and
we would be home alone and
i knew all i could do was to
find shelter — as though
we could win at god’s game
of hide and seek.
the closet is where we huddled.
hurricanes taught me how to pray
from the heart and make peace
with the prospect of death.
at the end i was always surprised
to still be alive — always grateful
for the walls that held flip-flops and
tank tops and dirty bras in the corner,
and us in the center of such a tiny space.
sometimes i wanted to go outside and
look god in the face and learn what it was
to be in awe — but i was the shelter
for three little bodies i had to protect
until god went away. together we learned
not to fear the dark, how to light a candle,
it’s best not to use water during the storm.
after we’d go out to see skies the color of
rainbow ice-cream — bet you didn’t know
clouds can be green.
I think this is marvelous.
the mothers with suckling babes
in slings against naked breasts
nipples cracked like the desert
under bare feet – they walk bare
faced and free – able to vote- to
free their hair to blow in the red
dust – they walk bare-headed full
faced – babes against dry breasts
there is no victory in a vote until
shelter surfaces – until then – they
walk-stopping not even when one
babe or mother – stills and stiffens
they walk – they walk – they walk
shelter of dark
a new day comes calling.
Another piece of the puzzle
Im like this. I think Adelaide would, too.
I, not Im; sorry.
Thank you, PressOn, for your recognition of Adelaide Crapsey, who ‘invented’
the American Cinquain (2-4-6-8-2) in this, the 100th centennial year of her untimely death, in her 30s. Anyone unfamiliar, she is well worth a bit of research.
Wooden soldiers contour to fit the substantial structure
Windows play the pitter patter of liquid toes in the evening
The slanted roof embraces the shelter tightly, welcoming warmth
Whistles of brewing skim through the air, fading into the abyss
Sniffs of maple dance around pillars and picket fences
The oak entrance presents a single golden handle, inviting all
I thought you were my home
I got distracted by your windows
opening and closing. I mistook
your reassuring bones and limbs
as fence posts. The welcome mat
seems to have your voice.
— k weber
Wonderful imagery! You’ve taken a very comforting concept and turned into something full of distrust. Very interesting, indeed.
A beautiful and economical way to draw us in.
Thanks so much for the feedback! Amazing how the short poems aren’t always a breeze. I struggle getting all the things I wanted to say for this prompt in a small space!
In stinging rain,
In sudden storm;
I find your heart,
And I am warm.
In blazing sun,
In cutting sand,
Helps me to stand.
When lightning flashes,
And thunder crashes,
When the sky seems it will fall,
I’m safe from harm
Here in your arms,
Within your fortress walls.
In bitter cold,
In biting snow,
I know where I
Can safely go.
When lightning flashes,
And thunder crashes,
And the sky seems it will fall;
I’m safe from harm,
Here in your arms,
Within your fortress walls;
Within your fortress walls.
I found myself singing this. It has a compelling feel, probably because of the repeats.
tomato plants bend
rains slashes to the bare soil
another crop drowns
A gardeners challenge! Very powerful imagery.
Tonight I’m stepping away from the prompts. Every year that I’ve challenged myself to write a poem a day, I’ve written my April 9th poem for my niece because it’s her birthday, and so …
Fifteen years —
a brilliant torch
in the thick darkness.
I watch with awe. She
into her power.
Give Them Shelter
Some folks don’t have a roof
above their heads,
hard ground and pavement,
no pillow or a bed,
so weary for a place to rest,
a place to go instead
of down by the river,
or behind a garden shed.
What a world it would be
if no one lived in dread,
and each one had a place
to be warm and dry and fed.
~ Kit Cooley
I think this is wonderful, and spot on.
Sun Kissed Bliss
By: Meena Rose
Come sit by me a while
Slow down and kiss the sun
Stressing out is your natural style
Let go and have some fun
I have a confession to make
Just yesterday, I was in your place
Nervous meltdown about to take
Until a friend taught me grace
There is magic to this trick
It starts with an invitation
Unlock yourself, no need to be quick
Submit to the sensation
Shelter your mind, nourish your soul
Your Heaven on Earth
Gratitude the ultimate goal
Re-evaluate your worth
In the field
past the split
oak tree they
think they see
doing just what
they shouldn’t be
doing – standing
under a tree as
the sky and rain
runs like an upside
down river – they’ll
get whupped for
sure if they don’t
get ‘lectrocuted first
unless that really is
a lean-to on the other
side of the old oak
tree – lil fellah starts
that little hiccup
he always makes
before he starts in
crying and she grabs
his hand and make
a run for it
Great vignette, and I caught the urgency you drew through your words.
One cloudy day
my young husband and I
in a park rotunda
from a sudden summer
As we waited,
laughing and drenched,
he reached for me
and we began to kiss,
the kiss of newlyweds,
the kind of kiss
that curls your toes,
from the cover
of a Nicholas Sparks novel
or those chick flicks
that make you think
the kiss is the end,
the happily ever after.
On occasion, when alone
in the rain
I sometimes think
of that day
if he ever kisses
any other woman
that way now.
Ode to the Nests of Birds (With Caveats)
No trips to Builders Emporium for the American Robin
who builds from what’s on hand—twigs, grass, mud,
strands of dental floss, an energy bar wrapper—all woven
and sculpted into a bowl to hold its eggs of startling blue
(now an official color in the 64 Crayola box). And I have more
than once nominated the knit-one, purl-one nest of the bushtit
for excellence in architectural skills. How does a bird the length
of a stick of gum manage to knit its stretchy tube sock nest?
Imagine swinging in that sheltered pouch on a spring evening,
Mom, Dad and all the kids in the same feather bed. The Bald
Eagle nest is a monumental castle built in the fork of a sturdy
tree, think cottonwood, think tall pine. Think sticks, weeds,
stubble, grass, moss, feathers. Think five feet across and three
feet tall. Think hundreds of pounds. Then consider the nest
of the hummingbird no larger than a golf ball which, thanks
to its spider silk webbing, expands as the baby hummers
grow. So I praise, laud and honor these builders. But, how
I wish the Steller’s Jays would site their nests with more
discretion. Not in a spindly arborvitae tree only twelve
feet tall. Not where the crows will watch them. Not where
the baby jays can be carried away. And I rue the folly
of the northern harrier who builds its nest of sticks and
reeds, of straw and faith, only inches above the ground. Who
would want to be the God of who eats and who gets eaten?
when you have daggers for the world
i want to be your sheath.
i want to feel your arms
slide up through my sleeves.
when you turn to smoke
i’m the lungs with which you’re breathed
i’ll hold you in, my denizen
i’ll choke, but don’t you leave.
let’s just iron out our dreams, then sleep
and live within the crease.
Hot and sweet!
a place to put
for just a bit
out of the rain
that soaks me
CHILDHOOD – Separating,
Not always perfectly,
A time of continued hope
From a place of shrinking Faith.
A place and time to experiment
With miniature worlds and intriguing possibilities,
Before we destroy irreversibly.
HOME – Preferably,
A brief refuge
From unceasing external hostilities
Hammering away identity
Down to a small speck.
A place to re-expand
Stretch out and flex limbs, heart, soul
Reclaim our dimensionality
From our stickselves.
FRIENDSHIP – A harbor
To sail into
After days lost to
Across an ocean of anonymity
Where coordinates disappear.
For a moment we gaze serenely
Into the terrifying darkness
Watching as stars reappear.
Together we plot meaning
Looking for their stories
Enjoying the shared comprehension
That we secrete from place and time.
Run and hide
A refuge away from chaos
Tucked away in a small place
Safe from harm.
The angry storm rages just feet away
I am shielded by only a thin door
Crash! Bang! Boom!
An elephant in the next room
Angry shouts and terrified screams
Assault my ears
I tremble greatly
Protected by a single door
Separating peace from horror
all my life
the search for a perfect home–
I watch a pigeon sew her nest
within an old neon sign
Wonderful little vignette, and, for me, a powerful commentary.
to wait in
while the twister
tears the house
an unmade bed
to hide under
with held breath
until the intruder
past and future
in so many
but what I
was what I
you give me
(c) Courtney O’Banion Smith
Shelter from the Storm
A rain day, on which
I watch from indoors
though I must go out later.
Last night I called dragons
into the temple — four,
one to each quarter.
in circle, we women
built a pillar of light.
My friend goes home
to sell her house and move
because the floods are coming.
My little cats love storms
and gaze from the top step
under the porch roof.
(Each verse is an American sentence. I wanted something slightly discontinuous like a ghazal, but with fewer constraints.)
wonderful images – I feel as though I am in the circle
Welcome any time, Pearl!
Darn, wish I wouldn’t miss these tweaks until after posting — last line of first verse now changed to “though later I must go out”. (Stronger.)
I think this is a great job.
Tuesday’s Gone (With the Windows)
for Windows XP
meaning the company
no longer provides security updates
to the popular OS
except in the form
of upgrading your system
to Windows 8.
What if our government
that didn’t want
to keep something
that made their lives
or maybe even
and said they had
to upgrade themselves
in order to receive
(Luckily such an ideology
is purely hypothetical.)
Blue on sills
keep the haints away
Blue on soldiers
send the mastas away
What was his
is now my own
I am not his
This is my home
God has freed us
Given lives anew
There is salvation
the color blue
(Inspired by the history of the Gullah of Hilton Head Island, 1862)
My niece is the shelter in my life, this poem was written for her.
My Little Love
by Paul Andrew Ryan
My sweet little love, how I will miss you,
Shining brightly like the sun above, with every action that you do,
To bring tears to your face, I feel a great disgrace,
But new adventure I must have from this place,
Although leaving you behind is my greatest of distastes,
In a world where love has become a shadow of the sun,
You’re the only one, that I feel the warmth coming from,
Your intelligence will have no match,
But be sure to keep your creativity tightly latched,
When you can express yourself more clearly,
Your wisdom will shine more dearly,
Remember money does have some use, but happiness it can never buy,
A perspective people tend to lose, but I swear to you is no lie,
I write this to you, with my heart in these words,
To give you a glimpse of what I’ve been through,
To help you avoid some of life’s little swerves,
And although I might not always be there, to hold you and pat your hair,
For you I will always… always care,
And will do my best to help, whenever life is not fair,
For you I hold a love that cannot be paired,
For it is for you and only you that with it I share,
Time may come and go as it pleases, but the feeling never ceases,
In my eyes, you are the daughter I’ll never have,
The happiness that money cannot buy,
And a smile on my face whenever I am sad,
You’ve kept me going through hard times,
Many of which are expressed in my rhymes, but never once did I cross that line,
For your smile is always there to shine, something never jaded with time,
And an absolute delight of mine,
Rest assured I will be back some day, From you I do not wish to be away,
But I need a new place to stay, to evolve words that will someday sway,
But you will always start my day, like the sun rising over the morning bay,
You are my heart, you are my soul,
You are a masterpiece of art, and you are what makes me whole.
We orbit each other
Where waves don’t reach –
We long for another
Day or year –
A memory of when
Untouched by the cold
Of this hollow space.
Unstable elemental positions
Throw off the dance –
And fateful wreckage –
Yet such impact
Would bring touch
In brief shines
Stars scare your shadow
Upon my side
And taunts me
You’re close –
I’m close –
To intersect within time
For boundaries lost
In epic epochs –
But the ether remains
And we evade
Of our circles.
Paula in New York
5th Avenue sidewalk
January fine sleet
dark body diagonal
half-covered sheet not blanket
crowd lunges around
I go back
she is rocking, murmuring
bare close-shorn hair
so few coins
I put a bill inside
ask if she wants a hat I have an extra she says no
looks and sees that it’s a five
looks at me
Are you sure? she says you might need this money for something
I kneel and take her hand
It is leathery and small
God is with you I hear myself say and she laughs:
That’s all I’ve got left.
What’s your name she says and I tell her
ask for hers—she gives it
then she’s lost again
at the bus stop by the church steps
the macadam screams
snow comes down in searing sheets
and the streetlights show the vault of heaven, black
Kimberly Gladman Jackson
Where do you take shelter?
He asked asked casually with an inkling of a smile in
His eyes and a cutting sense of gravity hidden in the hidden frequencies of
Sometimes I duck for cover in
A small room where prayer seeps through the keyhole and I inhale
Your presence and hold it in
Until at last I release what was holding me captive
Sometimes I run and hide
As if to bury myself deep inside
Your loving arms as I weep and know only
Sometimes I open a book
And find the words, for they are all
Your words that express the unnamable knowing that
Sometimes I traverse
Shaded woods with their many shaped leaves
And find my shelter on an overlooking vista
Close to a tangled tree that’s where I feel
Your love shining on me
Sometimes my heart is suddenly
Sheltered in the sweetest if sounds of
Your melody harmony rhythm intertwined
Their vibrations anointing my ears and soul
Sometimes I run smiling to
Your shore and seek solace in
the smell sound feeling of wading in the very salt of
Your power and peaceful reassurance of
Your outstretched wonder as
Your warm arms reach down and wrap around my shoulders
He smiled and said
Just wait and see
It should read:
* Sheltered in the sweetest sound of
Hunker down with me
in the afternoon and pretend
the snow’s still caught in the gutters
and the cows won’t leave the barn
until the April frost has gone away.
Put your eyes on my sweater
and keep them open, stare at
the distorted cross-hatch
as if it might save you and
ignore the purpling stain
of my tear drops on polyester.
The best shelter, mother told me,
after the ice had melted into her
whiskey and the pill cap was off
and the two or three left rattled
like a toddler toy against her acrylics,
the best shelter is the kind you have
to beg for. So I’ll beg for you, baby,
to put your skin against mine
and let’s dream about winter until
the clouds run west river
and the cows are ready for slaughter.
Nice…I have to say, I’ve liked everything I’ve seen from you here. I’m definitely a fan, Cameron.
int the balm
of true silence
the keeping hands
of massive rock
I love this little cameo.
In the bowels of the building rows of crisscross steel wire
enclosures house the population that is always in flux.
The pacing, the circles, the incessant barking at times,
the settled, the napping, the wagging, the crying—
all the shades and sounds and colors of the many breeds
the mixed breeds, the injured, the neglected and
those left for a multitude of reasons that are more dignified
yet sad for in their own right and still to the same end—
alone among the masses. These one night, three night
one week, one month, even three month or more guests
see a parade of people looking them over. Orphans they are,
pick me! Pick Me! Even in a no-kill shelter
there is sometimes an expiration date. A population matrix
has no heartstrings. It is not an alternative language for hope.
A new forever home or even a short termed foster care
is the refuge sought. The shelter is not a home but a journey—
“Shelter of your Wings”
The money was never there
it would fall through your fingers
as if it were water through a sieve:
as soon as there seemed to be a little extra
something to save
an emergency happened:
huge car bill
other car was totaled in a hit and run accident
We could never seem to get ahead
never go on family vacations
I had to pretend to listen
while classmates spoke of their travels
skirting around their question of
where our family went this summer
never got a class ring
or a new prom dress
not even a name brand shirt
I never even asked.
I saw you both working so hard
to keep us a float
amidst drowning in debt
You taught us of the important,
yet simple things life had to offer-
songs of laughter in our hearts
home-cooked food in our bellies
and love in our family
Dad and Mom,
you provided the three of us girls
the best shelter from the storm.
There’s no sanctuary from aging,
no asylum from the ravages
of a well-used body.
There’s no anchorage for safety
from climate change on
a poorly-used planet.
There’s no hideaway, no bolt-hole,
big enough or strong enough
for shelter from our indifference.
A kind word
A warm embrace
Leaves of trees
Hair down my back
Ribs wrapping lungs
And the sound of rain at night.
Harborage and Home
Your open arms
Your pulsating heart
are an open door.
inviting and easy leaving.
though rusted metal pipes
underline your bruises
you have a roof words
hidden under your tongue.
You call it comfort and I
listen to the rain knocking
but it never leaks.
Your shutters tremble
Your walls echo the hurricane
but you are never shaken.
Your feet dug into the wet earth
your eyes pointed to Polaris
and your windows never fogging
while sometimes I am an anxiety
ridden, frail body in your arms.
You are brick marked with calluses by the
earth’s ever-changing moods but inside
you are like flesh to my lips.
When the night slips into her dark dress
and the jewelry of city lights glimmer
around her neck. I lay in your embrace
and listen to the song of your insides.
Whether drunken night slurs
spill onto your wood floors,
early morning coffee filling
groggy mugs and silence,
Or angry winds rampage
outside your window
You never let the war inside.
quiet and receiving, you
give me all your interior space.
If home is where the heart is
my very continuous beat
is in the record that
holds your quiet loneliness.
I am safe, I am home with you.
A young robin
built a loose
on the edge
of my gutter
of mere inches
that the first summer
to the ground.
coo and roost
emerge in spring.
took my hand
as we sat
two old birds
on a stone
under the stars
I want to be a shelter,
To people in my path.
Those I meet upon my journey,
Sharing the love I have.
I want to live with arms open,
Welcoming hurting souls.
To love unconditionally,
And help shoulder people’s loads.
I want to refrain from judgment.
I want to see people as they are.
Through lenses of compassion,
To comfort their unhealed scars.
I want to be a sanctuary,
Sharing the light I have to give.
Reflecting kindness and beauty,
This is what I wish.
Out of Harm’s Way
The clouds are the talk of the town.
Before they burst into tears,
and violently roar between the blue,
eyes told everyone to fetch security.
As the wind begins to whistle
and borrow free newspapers,
the rage of lighting stirs undesirable energy.
No time for shooting the breeze!
The unravel of apparel and hair,
Flickering of the city’s lights,
Inverse of umbrellas,
and the awakening of the sea
Warn thousands to check-in.
—-Danielle C. Robinson
Check in out of harm’s way. Some nice images.
by Roderick Bates
Shelter is everywhere.
Beneath the horse manure
visionary mushrooms grow.
By the light of the Hunter Moon
toads nestle under logs and stones.
In the barn rafters, small brown bats
hang beside neat rows of mud dauber nests.
In the kitchen I sit before the woodstove
and remember your soft singing
as you stirred soup, though the chemo
left you without appetite. Through those months
I raised my arms over you, did what I could
to stop the fall of misfortune.
It was not enough, not nearly enough.
You are in the parlor in the cask on the mantle.
I take what shelter I can from the warmth
of burning maple, and the weight
of our cat as it nestles into my lap.
A shelter of memory. The “weight of our cat” is a nice ending–I always equate cats with love, but there’s more love in this than just cats.
Let me nestle here,
as I slumber. Spread
yourself as a canopy
to keep off rain
And if the night turns
cold, let me burrow
under the blanket of memory—
you and me dancing
down the streets of Bangkok,
or gliding along the canals
of Venice, serenaded
by a lanky gondolier.
Because you are ever
in which I seek
— Sara Doyle
igniting with fingers the horizon, creases shatter within sub-levity
you can hear silence muffled in the over thought
candelabras rise in nonexistent ceilings, hear them clink
to fly away and be followed by the undressed
a space is not confined or determined by its walls
subjects become objects when wander is forgotten
All hail the kaleidoscopes those that emerge from walking!
In a rich soil, where the roots throb to extend, thumbs find nest.
Like most: 3rd stanza, 2nd line.
discovered that recently. Thank you very much.
Every day another practice session
That is what it means to be a parent
Sewing a button, how interest works
Clean dishes, oil changed in a car
These are not gendered skills
These are how to be a person
Today we take shelter in bachelorhood
And I teach him to eat over the sink
I tell him not to keep score knowing
He’ll tally this weekend in secret.
Love that eating over the sink detail…that’s such a good practice…I do that a lot…excellent layers of life and meaning in this piece.
Thanks Hannah! I really appreciate your taking the time to offer such positive feedback.
What Hannah said.
Three Squares and a Bed
When shadows are drawn long
babies are tucked in
and everyone’s been fed
do we think of the wind outside-
the pelting rain on the roof?
Are our hearts burdened
for our vagrant neighbors
who’re lacking shelter-
aching and empty of food?
Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014
Definitely some food for thought. Whenever a storm rages outside, I wrap myself in a blanket and give thanks for the roof over my head. Then, I hug my dogs and I’m grateful I could give them a home.
Wonderful lines and a powerful message.
This is a little stunner. Love it.
Shelter me. O Lord, from the things that kill the soul.
Deception, lies, misleading the innocent.
Lead me to the humble that walk in truth
ready to help their fellow humans.
Thank you, Lord, for watching over my every step,
every day of my life.
This is what my heart wanted to write and you’ve gathered it in so gracefully and beautifully. Thank you.
Your limp frame
Sags against my chest
Soft lumps, one eye
a tattered, paling nose
old quilt of threads
You are my Pinocchio shelter
Staving off the motley skies
with lemonade stands
bubble gum wishes
jump rope beating the sand
Rainbows kiss my tainted land
This has a sweetness despite “tainted land.” Love: You are my Pinocchio shelter.
and I much prefer
to stand under
the cherry tree
then the broken
you try and hold
at a tilt
as my feet
you drop it,
try and tuck your
as I reach out
and brush your hair
to the side of
your wet forehead
where it sticks,
as the rain
off the ends,
then runs down
down into the
of your chin
I had already
just like this,
where I thought
until you opened
as it was,
and you offered
me exactly what
the safest place to be me
moments before the breaking
of a midsummer spell
is on the veranda
bare feet and legs
shorts and some old tee
a book and sweating glass
perched on the arms
of a sprawling Adirondack chair
alone for a while
as everyone else tries to get in the rest
of some movie or game
before the charge in the air
zaps it black
even then it’s okay
to move and listen
to sit on the boards
lumpy with years of paint
swollen and scratched
don’t pick at that—you just painted them last year
she says from the chair
the best moment you see
is the arrival
is to smell that change coming
to see the greens fade into grey
as the mist blows in cool
over the last field
the forty of beans
with a hush
and so insistent on my doorstep
the cracking sky opens
my legs glisten in cool happiness
and my toes reach into the wet
fresh cut grass
drops spattering our clothes
as the wind swings ‘round
greeting the house full on
I hope my window is open
but I don’t want you there
so I’m telling you here
and that will have to do
I want a forty of greens for my backyard. I want to be there with you, sitting in the rain. The ending is a twist.
This has a lulling feeling, till the end. Well penned.
“He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last
of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no?”
–“The Colonel,” Carolyn Forche
“AIDS Camp in Kampala” (Triolet)
Large corrugated boxes shield these refugees,
the women grave, their houses melting, pissy sky.
Their rain-soaked compound’s near two horn-infested streets.
Large corrugated boxes shield these refugees
so no one stops to peer—poke, even—paper heaps,
cardboard dissolving, grass as mattress, rice, clothes, die.
Large corrugated boxes shield these refugees,
the Women Grave, their houses melting, pissy sky.
Powerful imagery. Wow.
Shelter – haiku
Four walls and a lid.
Enough to keep out the rain,
but his bones stay cold.
Your haiku evokes the sensation.
In the furnace
I burn with purpose
Though the torch
That will take me
Into the world
Is not yet born
My Favorite Willow Tree
Now that I look back at it-
I think that willow tree was haunted.
But not in that scary dramatic stab me in
the face with a branch type of poltergeist and
that’s what I get for following the voices; no. But
more like fairies and a nature boy from one
hundred years ago. A nice gent (not country trash) and
his love of wild rabbits and mourning doves
cooing in branches. Rabbits almost close enough
to touch as they seemed dazed hopping amongst
the roots; spellbound by the willow’s phantasmagorical
pheromones. I too shipwrecked and marooned on this
island of a tree for hours in summers.
I have been in the shelter of my bed, sick, today. This will be a basic draft to work on later.
by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
Things are looking rough out there.
The wind is kicking up her heels
and you look a little the worse for wear.
Step in to the shelter of this poem for a moment.
Catch your breath, escape the wild things
that have been nipping at your heels.
Sit by the fire and take off your wet shoes.
Have a cup of peppermint tea and a biscuit.
Listen to the rain pounding on the roof
and the wind howling down the chimney.
And listen to while I tell you a story.
There was a brave and golden child.
Oh, you know this one?
How she was lost in the darkest part of the wood?
How she fought her way through briars and brambles?
How she suddenly had the wind kicked out of her,
how the wild things tore her hope to pieces,
how it all blew away in the gale?
But did you hear about the part
where she took shelter with the crone,
where she looked in a mirror
and saw the reflection of her grandmothers,
how all those faces recognized her strength,
her inner fire, her unbroken spirit?
Oh yes, I know you must go back out there,
back to the storm and the wild things.
You have a harrowing run ahead of you,
a perilous journey. Here are provisions:
cakes and tea, a small white stone,
the doll that your grandmothers made for you.
When you have gone, I will whisper your name to the wind,
I will write it on my mirrors. I will sing it in the dark.
Whenever you feel you cannot go on,
return to the room of this poem,
with its cheery hearth and dry blankets.
Hold my hand, shelter sweet silence.
We are humans secure in stillness,
humans wearing sneakers,
humans with travel plans.
Thank you, amaranthe.
Wow. Such power in so few words.
The rising sun stirs the gray in your hair.
Somewhere, animals wake and muster
in their shelters, preen feathers and stretch
night-dull muscles, but we are in the house
of our mutual resistance having
little talks in words like running a thumb
across parted lips, like the first taste of scotch
from the bottle. Every public moment
a big parade, everyone in step, painted,
big smiles and marching, marching. We are still.
Don’t wake me up. I am not sleeping.
Here you are with dawning sun in your hair.
We’ve been up all night in the house of our
mutual attraction having little talks
like water in a clear glass. I would run
fingers though my hair, stretch my body in
the rising light. Hit you right between the eyes.
Read the full post at http://www.ladyrandom.com. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for writing. This is a memorable piece, with strong images.
Years of wandering from place
to desolate place
always searching for peace
but never finding it
no haven for the wanderer
no shelter for the weary
no comfort for the brokenhearted
To feel safety and wholeness
is a paradise
reserved for those who can no longer wander
to desolate place
Very nice. I can relate on several levels.
Shelter is the windswept plateau on which we camp,
lying out in the sand to gaze at the steady stars, never
really changing, only in details here and there—
it is the sunrises and sunsets unimpeded by mortals and
their incessant problems, when we’re left to our own devices…
Shelter is the secret affection I only show with
smiles I never let you see, because shelter is
where my heart beats a wild fancy that involves you,
in a place far away from what we do in the everyday, and
it is the thought that, in real anguish, I can slip into with ease…
Shelter is the small cave we found in the forest,
where we can watch the rain swell the stream rushing by,
and when we awaken by our fire, we are greeted
with song and new sunshine on the damp ground:
shelter is a place we found and rested, together, inside…
Shelter is so many places and things, but most of all I love
the shelter that your arms give; though we wander together
through broken spires, ruins and ancient graves, enchanted forests
and from dungeons to castles, we roam endlessly, but
at the end of it all, though I may never tell you: shelter is you…
…and your shelter is the only one I truly need.
By: Lucy K. Melocco
I like this very much.
Thank you, I’m glad you like it!
You give so freely
Love so deeply
Feelings so visibly
Displayed on your
Sleeve you could not
Know why could not
Should be shattered
Like glass into
Shards that I
Delicately put back
Together with bloody
Fingers I shielded them
From future damage
In the most sacred
Dwelling place of my soul
In the Shelter of Your Arms
From high on the cross
You beckon and I come,
A sinner, to the shelter of Your arms.
Regaining my balance
I am safe in the shelter of Your arms.
Held close to your heart
I am comforted in the shelter of Your arms.
Providing grace to the lost
I am saved by the shelter of Your arms.
© 2014 by Ruth Nott
Someone to watch over me
that’s what he said I needed
I said a guy is a guy and anyway
the one I love belongs to somebody else
Oh, don’t be like that
everyone loves a moonlight serenade
magic moments and
kisses in the doorway
That was long ago and far away
my romances don’t have a moon in the sky
so I’m clicking my heels three times
and going home
You made me love you
please, oh please, won’t you
dream a little dream of me
all through the night
Elmer, you sing the same old tune
the way you look tonight
breathing my name with a sigh
let’s call the whole thing off
She always found shelter
in his arms.
Maybe it was cliché
how safe they made her feel.
Muscles sharply defined
from hours of lifting boxes.
His arms would enfold her
hiding her away
from the world.
He reel her in,
tug her gently to his chest
and whisper in her ear,
“You’re the only one for me.”
But there came a day
when the whole world
and nothing made since.
When lives were shaken
like pebbles in a rain-stick
until she could barely stand.
When everything was still again,
she called out for him;
seeking shelter from a world gone mad.
But he never came
and she was left
No arms to hold her tight.
No heartbeat for a lullaby.
No way to hide
from the life
that meant nothing
sitting by the gate
one of her many places to wait
remembering him at the glass enclosed
bus stop where she used to wait
the anonymity of dim lit bars
watching the door for her date
the porch swing those many nights
when he was late
the disposition to wait
that gave shelter, became fate
“Where Children Shelter”
So many days
of my childhood
did I sit inside my room
the space of mine
that bed, that time
a place where I could bloom
Have you seen
the children’s rooms,
photos from around the world?
little boys and little girls
Think of how
your own room felt
the walls that shaped your youth
then see the difference
an ocean makes;
there’s something we should do.
Inspired by this amazing collection excerpt from “Where Children Sleep”: http://pulptastic.com/james-mollison-where-children-sleep/
does not hold refuge
from the wind
or the rain
or anything in between.
It cannot save me.
It may hold
the answers I need,
are then left
unanswered at the bottom
of every bottle.
Too few beds
as I’m left
on the cold steps of kismet,
not where I belong.
So I roam
for hours on end,
then sleeping on park benches,
the burden too great.
does not hold the hope
with too many just like me
waiting for their break.
Such poignant vignettes, all working together. For me, the effect is very powerful.
Branches cast aside
become shelter for creatures
seen only at night
Surviving the Storm
Wolves are wailing and the windows
Shake in their casements
As thatched roofs rise
And thick beams of timber tumble
At the end of the road
In a cul-de-sac
A stone home stands
A smug pig
Nice! The old, old story.
She knew nothing about pitching a tent
in sand on a spit of land by the sea.
No one but she was surprised when
it collapsed at 5:00 a.m. and she
flailed about inside a papoose of nylon.
She knew so little about shelter, how
to protect herself from the wind.
(When his words hit her like fists
she stood open, let them rain on her, let
them blow down the paper thin walls.)
She knew this: in August when the hurricane
swept through, when oak limbs beat the roof,
the house was no safe haven. She drove out
to the beach, stepped out onto the sand, sheltered
her eyes, and let the winds batter her.
Carole, this is such a beautiful poem in so many ways! I love the imagery and the way there was more than one thing going on in this poem!
Ah, thanks, Karen, for taking the time to read and comment.
(saxophone wails freely)
Lilliputian town, beyond small
Vinyl siding church unexceptional
daily guilt attempted conversion
“Eternity is too long to be wrong”
“One second is too long to risk being right”
Monocultures conquering mental landscapes
making minefields out of serene streams
I’ll take my un-eternity with a shot of suspicion
side-step the tyranny of certainty
Bitter beverage with a slightly sweet aftertaste
the warm embrace of complexity and doubt
directed outward and in
INNER CITY SHELTER
A mural on the wall of the homeless shelter down-town
features people so cheerful and obviously well-fed
All of them smiling, with clean, shining hair, holding hands,
probably singing, maybe even skipping as they move along
When it ,was first unveiled, I found it really offensive
I mean, it’s not as if I’m homeless, but I got to thinking,
If I was, wouldn’t it be a slap in the face, lining up for a meal,
or a place to sleep, having to face that painting while I waited
Then one noon-time, when it was bitter-cold, I was helping
serve soup for lunch and I heard a couple of lifers (street people
who don’t ever expect to get off the street) discussing the mural
while they waited to get their bowls filled, and to grab a bun
It was the day of my epiphany, I guess you could say
They were discussing who was who, in the mural, and how fine a job
the artist had done, replicating all these people they knew,
It had never occurred to me that the mural was
of people that actually lived on the street
As I tried to listen in to more of the conversation,
I felt really ashamed of myself for being so foolish
The muralist had captured something these people
obviously needed, and loved
Instead of reminding them of how things were,
he’d reminded them of how things could be
What a delightful idea, and how inspiring…
I decided to put my preconceived notions away
and planned to try hard, not to take them out again
Wow. Such a thoughtful piece.
Her Tiny Space
My tiny dog found her safe zone
On a giant lamb she called her own
A bed for a cat on sale so cheap
My puppy loved that great big sheep.
I would chase her around our place
For a tiny dog she had the pace
Jumping and running to her kitty bed
This was to her, her shelter at home.
This is nice, and I know just the dog it fits.
Thank you PressOn you have made me smile.
My 4 legged baby is my companion and best friend.
I live in this one house.
I have five rooms I can move through,
Six if you count the bathroom
where I stand sometimes
looking at my face.
It is a nice house.
It has windows I can see out of
and doors I can open.
It has a nice bed I lie on and
three okay places to sit..
I can turn in it,
like one can in most places,
and face north, south, east and west.
I can see out of the windows
and open the doors.
I can walk from room to room.
There are six rooms, or five.
I can sit. There are three okay places to sit.
I can leave it and return to it.
Which I do. I leave it.
I return to it and sometimes stand
looking out the window.
I am grateful. It is all I need.
I will live my life in this pretty box.
The invasion was subtle at first,
charts and maps with lines drawn on it,
the navigation slow and our compass
pointing ‘right’ – it all made sense when
we contemplated, but as time moved
inexorably to the point,
I was brought up short and left alone,
a single soldier to hold the fort; but it was
a subtle maneuver, so friendly
and so fun at first glance, until I saw
the invasion coming:
and there was no stopping…
my heart is sick, I think to myself, so
I retreat further in – first the house,
then my room, then an even smaller space
until my mind outside refused to activate;
I spent days in a silent agony,
feeling baited and betrayed, always
slinking around my own sanctuary,
and trying to not admit to that pain—
but my heart is sick, I have a right, I think,
and though my mind agrees and
the compass is reset: I know
that I’ve trapped myself… where, then,
is only my own mind left to me?
I’ve left by choice and by force of fate,
and I have learned to let go
but when even the little things are touched,
through simple tactless ignorance,
I say: my heart is sick,
I can take no more of this, and I
try to escape… my shelter is shrinking,
my heart is twisting in its weakened state
and I run until I can run no more, and
I can only hope that my new sanctuary
is more bearable than the one I’ve abandoned…
I can only hope that my heart is safe,
in a place where healing can come
and where my shelter is more than a place,
rather, somewhere I can call home.
I can feel your heartache!
So can I; well penned.
Thank you both!
Jim was a paladin, Gary an elf,
and I played Fate, rolling multi-sided
die to determine damage and luck.
They girded themselves with
unreal armor, hefted weapons of
silver and slaughter drawn
in the margins of spiral notebooks,
wore amulets and jeweled helms
forged in the white noise of study halls,
and I led them into corridors
of doom and glory, where they smote
my invented abominations with
a cool they didn’t possess in the brutal halls
of school or on the hateful playing fields.
For huddled there at the dining room
table, they were heroes and I was
God, and we were safe in our dungeon,
deep and lost, far from the real monsters
once a year
these are the words
we call them.
are the words they
I am sure it was you —
yes, you, standing
as you fill bowls,
your annual shift
at the shelter —
who drove past these
as they stood
on the corner
holding their signs.
This is wonderful. And I love the take on shelter.
You contain me.
I am your destiny yet you don’t respect me.
I guide you yet you choose a path, ill suited and uncertain.
Our commingled existence is eternal, yet you lose thought of me instantly.
I long to separate from you, but you are my shelter,
and I am your soul.
Written By: Sean Drew
day 9 shelter
7 am Winter
The red hills.
The wide sweep of blue
sky and gray
clouds and light
draped over the rolling hills for
bird call and green moss
dark grassy field
that surrounds no road no other thing
but trees, mountains
silent against it
and you dearest the center of my
life, my home and shelter.
the pulse of life
no love can fill
except love of self
Drifting for a traveler, then
settling for one at home. Yes
It is difficult
not to speak of snowfall
in a cherry grove
Thank you, Sierra
There is a strange solace in seeing
the leaves from other trees – not
trees in my yard, swirling near my
trash cans as I walk weary towards
the front door. Still, it is not
enough to simply slump into the
chair in my office that turns and
turns, even when I’m not sitting in
it. It is your voice, repeating three
times at the end of your poem:
You made it.
You made it.
You MADE it. –
that brings the breakdown,
that reminds me that I somehow survived
the thoughts of driving into the creek,
of taking the sharpest knife in the kitchen,
piercing the skin on my wrist and pulling
up. Your words build the barrier. Your
voice, the embrace that keeps my blood pulsing.
and the snow will fall
from the glass sky.
In this dainty little town,
we’ve only got one season.
White cotton balls on grass
surround the exactly square houses
daily, as if routine.
We’ve got a certain order around the town.
We say our “yes ma’ams” and “yes sirs”
at the proper timing. Not a rebellious
soul in sight. In fact, we’re all the same here.
White pea-coats on white pants.
Snow flaked hair and white mittens.
and watch my world
shatter to pieces.
SHELTERED BETWEEN THE RAYS
Unwrap each mote of dust
suspended in the sunlight
borrowed from a Saturday
spent dissecting almonds,
snakes, and birds. Our books
tell us almost nothing
of this goddess suspended
in the ripples of the day
but open your palm to the
light. Feel her brush your skin.
Now sing us all the jagged songs
you suddenly can sing.
I love ‘the jagged songs’
South Shields Bungalow
was falling apart,
but it was all we had.
All of our wedding money
went to the move to England.
The bricks were slowly crumbling.
The backyard lawn consisted of long straw,
and we had no mower.
Everything was dark green –
the curtains –
even the wallpaper.
I felt like I was living
in a bowl of pea soup.
When I wasn’t at my temp job
doing shift work,
I was writing.
There was no desk,
so we stacked some empty
milk crates and placed a piece of plywood on top.
It withstood my laptop,
my many hours of solitary typing,
and my heavy thinking.
One night, I flushed the plastic toilet freshener
Until the plumber came,
three days later,
we had to go to the pub
to use the bathroom.
The trick was to buy a pint,
so you looked like a customer,
but not drink so much of it,
that you would need to return to the pub
two hours later.
London was calling,
but for one year,
gave two newlyweds shelter
from the storm.
Cristina M. R. Norcross
I will be my own safe haven.
My mother says
My body is a temple,
If I trust nature too much
And am burnt by the pretty dancing flames, scorched by intangible blue and yellow,
Am wrecked by the temperamental seas, caught out by a volatile storm,
I will return to myself.
My own shelter:
I will protect myself, don glittering chainmail, clutch a great shield.
I will grow my skin thick (and perhaps a little worn and stretched too).
If I forget
That I cannot make a home inside someone else,
(An easy mistake to make when the words they speak sound like
A sweet spoonful of syrup to assist the swallowing of poison)
And I have nowhere to dwell
I will return to myself.
My own sacred place:
I will decorate myself with crimson and gold and emerald.
I will soothe myself, respect myself, love myself.
I am my own perfect place:
Safe and sacred.
The cacophony of barking and howling
Meowing and barking some more
Sometimes quite reigns
But only for a moment or two
They are asking to be taken home
To be loved and warm and fed
And in turn will love unquestioningly
And without hesitation
They are glad for a shelter
From the storms of life
But when their welcome’s worn out
By the passage of time
That shelter turns into the horror
They thought they had escaped
This time the death chamber catches
Up with them, there is no place to run
This one resonates with me. Powerfully and starkly written.
It could have been a giant monument to barbershops.
The cylinder was white with a red diagonal stripe
rounding it from top to bottom.
It could have been a firefly that took a nose dive to earth
it’s glowing rear section held aloft at the opposite end.
It could have been a museum to sea navigation—
it fact it would have made an excellent one
but lack of interest or funding or both
at least for now eliminated this option.
Technology being what it is today this lighthouse
was no longer necessary to direct vessels into harbor.
This proud structure like a man of stature,
a Lincoln if you will, hardly seemed appropriate
to be left to succumb to a neglectful end of life.
The tubal exterior had withstood the pounding
waves, time was less kind to the inside. It seemed
ideal for a writers quarters. The inside could be
retrofitted as a shelter from the busy world,
a shelter from the mundane, a shelter over your head
to provide solitude for writing and a view of the world
going and coming, a beacon of the past into the future.
The boy came back home to seek shelter
He came because in some ways he had never left
He came because in some ways he was just like
That was carried by the woman on her back.
Held in the Arms of a Maple
Under a sheltering tree–
umbrellaed over my head
near where the river runs,
and local cruisers welcome
tourists aboard for brunch
or dinner–is my favorite shady
spot for sitting, watching
the water flow, people stroll,
or napping ‘neath sweeping
foliage, having fairy tale dreams.
This creates a little world of its own. Wonderful.
on the pine ridge reservation
in south dakota, the average age
of death for a male member of the tribe
the mind easily taking shelter from a rain
of statistics and realities
with contrived images
of lodgepole pine and tanned buffalo hide
tents pulled by travois of ponies through fragrant
tall grass prairies in search of oases
of sacred ancestral hunting grounds –
yesterday I flashed past honking white haired
retirees barely going the speed limit
as they cross the country in wheeled metal boxes
pulled by gas engines
their twilight years spent in search of warmer climes
and paddle boat casinos
I don’t think they’ll flock to camden, new jersey
to get their quick fix of the american dream,
snap pictures of the picturesque mountain top removal
of welch, west virginia for the grandkids
or pick fruit with the workers of immokalee, florida
in this mythical land of plenty –
no, I clearly see us in our golden retirement years
a generation of walmart greeters greeting each other
as we stop in to go shopping, food stamps
in hand under big yellow smiley face logos
just happy to be out of the rain for a moment
so we can chat about the weather
* Note: just got days of destruction, days of revolt- by the great author and activist chris hedges in the mail today – he covers in words and pictures four of america’s “sacrifice zones” pine ridge reservation in south dakota, camden new jersey, welch west virginia and immokalee florida – emphasizing in each different aspects of our history -
Years after Mom died
Nana mused of my youth home,
“You wish you could go back.”
By: Michelle Bramucci
Before you read this poem of mine,
It’s a good idea to keep some time
And try to match the words up with a tune.
The tune tends to go a little something like this,
Badda Bop, Biddy Bap, Slop Diddly-Mis-
Gonna tell ya bout a place inside that Shelters me.
Once there was a man who said,
was a man who…
Sometimes wears a beard and shaves his head.
In his very next breath he said,
(With high regard and compliment)
He’d sometimes shave his beard and wear his head!
That beard would read for kiddies,
And sometimes sing sweet ditties,
And sometimes write in magazines for men.
Well. This man that he once knew
Would comfort me, when I was sad n’ blue,
And talk to me about life and words and stuff.
He said “You don’t have to be too proper.”
And “Don’t let anyone stop ya!”
“Know when to fold and when to call a bluff.”
I hear him say, when things get rough
“Whatever you got will be enough
And it’s okay to write
from off the cuff.”
So, this beard and me
Would sit under his tree.
He read. I listened and shook with glee.
He understood my ways-and I knew him.
He told me all about the unscratchable itch,
The fate of eight balloons-
How not to dry a dish.
The beard and his tree were
My shelter and my friend.
I cried when I learned of the sidewalk’s end.
But I still sit there with him and pretend,
That the beard isn’t really just sitting there in my mind.
And when I read a book with every thing on it,
I turned to page 9 and felt better by the rhyme,
Cause my laughter must keep him smiling all the time.
Yucca Valley draws my soul whenever I need comfort.
Born and bred in southern Cal,
the heat warmed my innards every season.
When I was a kid, we ran there to get away from
the war, bad health, the cold of winter in L A –
yes, it was once cold there –
and the desert house was big, welcoming all
into its adobe rooms.
Sidewinders and horned toads provoked wondrous
walks on Diablo Road: would we spot one? or more?
Water stored in a tank and delivered weekly
slaked our thirst and filled the farm trough
where we played and bathed.
It was a safe home, a quiet home where my lungs could heal
and church was in the garage next door.
I have been returned a number of times:
You and I drove there to see the stars spilling
across the Milky Way in ’63
we held hands, kissing in the dark of night.
I spent my first honeymoon there, where I felt safe:
The Desert Christ Park was the big cultural event.
Later I took girl friends from the conference in
Pam Springs to see the burgeoning city:
box lunch in the city park was a hit.
Church ladies and I attended a new pastor’s
installation in the 80’s – the old house was gone.
And the garage, too. Diablo had a new name:
Church Street. I found the old, old wooden cabins
of my youth that had almost disappeared, dying
in the heat, bed springs sticking up from the nearly
You and I had some time a few years ago,so we stayed
in Yucca Valley for four days – days of rambling about
visiting the old places and nights of stargazing
up in Joshua Tree National Monument.
Let’s go again this spring. Let’s get some sun under our skin.
Let’s wander in the sand and pick up cholla wood –
time to bring it home to our rainy inland sea.
For me, this is a wonderful, loving poem. I know those places, and this brings them back. Thanks.
Shelter, Solace, Home
My front doors,
your exquisite gift,
home each time.
They remind me of how much
you’ll always love me.
© Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.9.14 * Shadorma
I don’t know how I feel about this one.
Shelter Your Heart
by Ashley Marie Egan
Is just a muscle,
That pumps life,
Through our veins.
Is not considered,
A romantic organ,
Yet it’s the reason,
We can love at all.
Is to blame,
For lovers lost,
When in pain,
It’s the heart that aches.
Is a fragile muscle,
Which needs shelter,
From the storms,
My brain creates,
When falling in love.
Day 9: Shelter Poem
“Your arms are my shelter”
Your arms was the cradle
that first held me when
I sprung from your womb.
They guided me when I crawled,
helped me learn to stand and
eventually walk on my own.
Your arms covered me when
I saw ghosts and goblins
lurking beneath my bed.
Those limbs held me close
when I cried for days about
how unfair the world was.
In those arms I knew nothing
of pain, anguish or sorrow –
for you made everything better.
Your arms are my shelter
that I will continue to seek,
for there is no place I’d rather be.
Your arms were the cradle
that first held me when
I sprung from your womb.
“Just this once, OK?”
I spent the five seconds in our hug like loose change
it was what I said I wanted, but I could remember
nothing about how your arms felt
and everything about your eyes
I wanted a house out of that memory,
taped together the shakes in your laugh for a roof,
tied bows on wooden pediments with loose strings from your sweater
We never said goodbye, only see you,
the words that built themselves into corners
and hidden rooms where I could unravel your words
and hang your smiles on the walls
you didn’t close the door when you left
I could remember nothing about your hand on the doorframe
and everything about your eyes
Nice weaving of the house metaphor in the last three stanzas.
“Sentry of the Crags”
It’s arms twine up and away,
Reaching toward heaven, its limbs.
In the breath of God they sway.
The twisted branches whistle hymns.
Its ponderous body, gnarled and grey.
So content to take root, it cares not to stray.
A skin of cracks and wrinkles it must bear.
It has no desire to go here nor there.
It has stood that way for nearly a century.
Standing over the crags, it serves as sentry.
For decades it had done its duty.
Nurtured nests of squirrels and birds.
Displayed fall colors of beauty.
Yet it mattered not as the chainsaw purred.
Today it was felled and is dying,
Never again will shelter it be providing.
By: Damon Zallar
Shelter in place
That last day we walked down Oxford Street
not holding hands, the rain and wind slashing
through us; you shielded your eyes, as if
from a great light; I, half-blinded by water,
tried to hang on, but the effort was feeble —
over us the black umbrella turned inside out,
and proved to be no shelter from the storm.
by Cathy Dee writing at CathyBlogs.com
your arms around me
no foundation walls and roof
offer more shelter
chimes glistened with their sound in the breeze
the sun poured over the mountains toward the earth
smiling she laid back feeling the warmth spread over her body
she knew that she would never be this happy again
today was a place that she would never leave
love flowed through her veins
her smile deepened the creases in her cheeks
sheltering blush she wrapped her arms over her body
yes this time was hers to keep
The ant, scrambling for safety from the monstrous raindrops
was saved by the glistening green leaf
drenched with rain only on one side,
a safety umbrella.
The leaf was saved,
its beauty and color
reminded the lumberjack
of childhood, so he moved on.
The tree-tall, wise and aged
was saved by the sunlight,
it helped the tree grow, taught its rings
to spread and tell the tree’s life story.
The sun, born in a burst of energy and life,
was saved by the universe
to help a new world thrive
and continue into orbit.
And all you can think and worry about
is whether your lawn looks better
than your neighbor’s
Let’s live in
build phrase huts,
and sentence cabins,
buy mansions as big as chapters,
stately paragraph colonials,
poetic stanza cottages,
How blissful might it be
to open snug little red,
hang your clothes in crimson,
perfect some dance steps
in roomy practice, throw
an exclusive party in particular,
watch autumn’s explosions of color
from cozy season, study for finals
in attention, meditate in the sparse
empty Zen of reason, build a haven
out of hollow, be the mother of
invention, make a sidekick out of follow.
Words made incarnate enough
to hide behind, sturdy enough to
move into, boxes of ideology.
Let’s speak them brick by brick.
Like Cabbalists, we’ll pull a magic
alphabet from G_d’s mouth,
to make a shelter,
that cannot be blown away.
Tin sheet and air-tight
this is our home
we rest dead
and our cells alive
and fish stench
they remember moving
our bodies swift in a school—
a sudden shift
the net ascending us heavenward
this is what the afterlife is
a tin can vessel
where ghosts are packed
together in their past meat
ruminating in the sanctuary
of new water
then a rumored of and mythical being
peals the roof off
darkness is eaten by the light
some wonder “is this god?”
and with out warning he devours us
in the cave of his head
(by: Marcus Christensen)
To me, it was just
a pretty shell, but to the
crab, it was shelter
Have I too become ghost,
fearing I cannot cross over
and so sit astride this rock scooped
by the passage of time into basin
where rainwater, now that the sun
has burned through the fog’s overhang,
offers my morning ablutions?
I cradle my face in its balm
as if I am back home again,
under my feet the cold boards,
at my back the cold bed
from which I arose, letting the quilt
fall wherever it wants, the Winding Way
I used to love because you wrapped me
inside its warmth, promising always.
Forever. Never again
shall I stand at a wash basin
fearing to turn round and find you gone,
the creek downhill bearing you
quickly away on its old song
of otherwhere sounding between us
as only a bolt of white water
can, you on the one side,
I left behind on the other.
Here’s my “Shelter” poem.
by Patrick J. Walsh
In the woods nearby
there are hollows in the earth
where rabbits raise their young
while buyers and sellers
skitter and hop and
swap their holes
A gray fox dreams at ease
in a gray snug empty stump
as the first bright hour dawns
while commuters clatter in
harsh measured hours of
powerless journey bound
And safe in branches overhead
tiny wet feathers gently dry
as the noontime sun grows warm
GETTING BACK IN THERE
for me, it was a wheelbarrow I turned over in the back
of what my parents called “the garden,” though it was
unsown and all the flowers were volunteer weeds. For
Alice, it was an unused rainbarrel. Inside, she’d weather
her father’s torrents in relative quiet. We’ve stopped
debating which of us had it worse, the one abused and
smothered in cycles, or the one ignored. But we’ve kept
arguing over which hideout we’d share now if we could
shrink back to kid size and squeeze in together. My old
wheelbarrow allowed air in, but Alice says the smells of
her lidded rainbarrel were so sweet she’s spent her whole
life trying to recreate them with teas and incense and
throwing open the windows every time it starts to rain.
In the shadow of the barrow, it was cool even on hot days,
But the barrel was damp and frigid even with her blankie.
I think she had more peace there, though, because finally
I never minded entertaining myself, whereas being nested
in the narrow, unvisited alley beside the house of storms—
that holding would mold your sense of silence and security.
A lifeguard tower
offers little shelter
from the glaring flashlight eyes
that sweep manically up and down.
You wrap my tousled head
in the crook of your arm
pressing me to your breast,
safety in your loving instinct.
To quote Robert, “shelter could be pants.” Okay, he didn’t say that, but he did say shelter could be just about everything else under the sun. Couple that with a funny comment incident that happened to me on another poeming site today, and thus, THIS:
I forgot to put pants on my poem
He’s that naked one there, do you know ’im?
Should have added more art
-icles of clothin’,
dangling by his part
in the breeze.
s n e e z e.
to put pants on my poem.
by Jean Dubois
say that I need shelter
life or death
what should I do
where should I go
I jump into my Subaru
bright red noticeable
don’t pack anything
just grab my coat and go
zoom down off the mesatop then
stop and think
where can I hide
north or south
near or far
who might shelter me
that has to be decided now
now as I watch a vulture
glide low overhead
running away will be for always
maybe I should stand and fight but
one woman no trigger under her trembling finger
nor can I seek out friends
so few still left alive
w’d all go down together
it used to be
you coud seek sanctuary in a church
but that won’t work now
church or school
guns knives bombs
but surely somewhere there are quiet spots
places to hide
I’ll go home
home to Colorado
never mind that
bright red Subaru sporting
a New Mexico plate
I’ll keep moving til dark
and then tonight
under cover of darkness
I’ll steal a Colorado plate
or maybe two
and head for home
Other people hurry indoors
or fumble with their portable shelter
that only protects from the straight-down attack
not the usual angled onslaught from the sides
People shout flee try to hide
I wonder what the panic is for
It’s only water
T. S. Gray
I’ve traced meridians and parallels.
See them extend on maps,
Feel them cut through the plains.
I’ve divided mountain ranges.
I’ve entrenched jurisdictions.
One day you’ll be that citizen,
I won’t give you a choice.
I’ve dug my heels in, and the water flows.
I’ve stretched the country over days of travel.
I’ve left noisy hauls to carry you
So that in spite of all my efforts
You can reach what I didn’t want you to inherit.
Oh, that weeping angel, she
is so beautiful she makes me want to cry, and I
don’t even know anyone who died today.
Just take me to Rome.
Let me stand in the midst of the ancient ruins
and they will be all the shelter I need.
Why seek shelter?
A gorgeous woman once told me she’d never seen anyone walk as slowly in the rain. I took this as a compliment. Why seek shelter from a steady spring shower? The drops on my skin enhance perception of the wind. The new leaves pop and the pavement sizzles. The only part I don’t like is when my glasses fog.
I’ve spend most of my life dry and warm why not enjoy the wet chill while I still can?
Really like this prose poem, Bartholomew! So simple and says all.
Bright pajamas and tossed blankets
every animal and favorite toy
on the ark of my imagination.
Waves of adventure, the floor
the open sky above me beyond
the white vast ceiling.
My furry friends
aboard two by two
in my only-child oneness.
Casting myself as Noah
yes, she was a woman
who saved all the species.
What boy would care about that?
Creating a shelter for a wandering
playful in-motion mind.
Bedtime journeys replaced
protestations of sleeplessness,
falling into my slumbering ship.
Morning would find us
safely delivered to new shores
Waking to another world.
THE BALLAD OF BRIMSTONE HALL
As waves crashed over the cliff tops,
An old lighthouse keeper sighed,
This was a night too wild and dark,
A night when the sailors died.
Down on the wind-lashed headland
A house stood proud and tall,
Candlelight danced on shining glass
In the windows of Brimstone Hall.
The host and his merry revellers
Cared not a jot for the storm,
The ladies danced and sweetly sang
While the fires burnt bright and warm.
And they did not hear the hoof beats,
As they drank and called for more,
And only knew the man had come
When he hammered on the door.
“Please open up and let me in!”
The tall dark stranger cried,
“I need your shelter and your help.
It’s too wet and wild to ride.”
They took him in and gave him gin,
They fed him a dish of stew,
The girls admired his raven locks
And his eyes of sea-water blue.
“We’ll play cards,” said the kindly host,
“You may join us if you wish.”
“I surely would,” the stranger said,
As he handed back his dish.
They sat down and began to play
Until the fire was just a glow,
The ladies loved the handsome man
But the men wished he would go.
They didn’t like this charming lad,
With clothes so fine and dandy,
With jealous stares and frosty looks,
They called for port and brandy.
The niece of the host had lost her heart,
She fancied herself in love,
“Do you have a family or a wife?”
She asked as she dropped her glove.
“Oh no,” he said, “I have no ties
Except the horse that’s in your stable.”
She smiled and smirked as she stooped down
For her glove under the table.
What she saw made her scream aloud,
Her face went white as a sheet,
“My God!” she cried, tears in her eyes,
“The stranger has cloven feet!”
A mighty roar burst from his lips,
He sent the others reeling,
He leapt from his chair into the air
And burst out through the ceiling.
They ran to the door but he was gone,
The stable lay empty too,
The ghastly fright they had that night
Was forgotten by very few.
Now no one lives in Brimstone Hall,
With its doors and windows barred,
And locals refer to the ceiling mark
As the devil’s calling card.
9th April 2014
I enjoyed this thoroughly.
Thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated. If I was musical I would attempt to sing this but I’m not!
It’s based on a local legend but I changed the name of the house.
Simplicity calls out from the clutter and entrapment of modernity
How much space and stuff and adornment is really needed?
Where is the line drawn for contentment with place?
Wood, drywall, cement, some siding and paint?
Or timbers and canvas, a cave or travel trailer?
A shelter from the elements, a warm fire, blankets
A place to rest your head, to sit and read a book
Do we really need more than one room of our own?
When it’s all boiled down what is shelter
But a place in the heart of the ones you love
Breathing life from under leaves
the caterpillar spins its shelter
silken threads that weave and plot
and keep it safe, through nights of winter
There it rests and grows its reds
in a sleeping bag thats warm as bread
and when its ready to face the world
it opens roof, and frees its spread
Free to flow and flash its wings
the ones that grew inside this thing
This empty book has done its job
and now, will melt into the fog
Some shelters know, just when to let go
and you carry their silk, as you spread and grow
this journey of life is full of layers
we are lucky, if we can taste these flavors
Such a lovely look at something so mundane.
Show me how your shelter looks
long time building.
Thick your walls and tough your roof
keep it at bay.
Build a fence of clay or stone
so it will leave You all alone
How sad it doesn’t work
How sad it can, not work.
Evil comes in many forms
not just the ones your fathers’ knew
Intermet, TV and songs
are telling Kidz how to get along
Materialism’s hand is strong
Compete, compete, is it’s favorite song
and friendship love and faith are wrong
Is this the world that they must know
is it any wonder gangs still grow.
Sent from Samsung tablet
from one side of the road to the other
in the rain on a spring night
the salamanders march like soldiers
in camouflage green carrying
only their lives on long slender backs
and slippery tails;
arms raised, we line up like saviors
shielding them from tires and hooves,
falling objects, beaks, and boots,
pretending we can save the world.
We found him during a storm
A tiny, shivering ball of fur
Whimpering in the pouring rain
A little puppy seeking shelter
‘Mangy he is’ said mother
But we did not pay her any heed
With an umbrella over our heads
We took him some bread to feed
At first he growled at us softly
It was funnier than it was scary
When he saw we meant no harm
Took a few steps, hesitant, wary
Three bites was all it took
For him to start slobbering on us
We begged our parents to keep him
Hearing our pleas they did not fuss
We named him Lil Typhoon
And he lived up to his name
Slipper, rugs, Mummy’s purse
Left within reach became fair game
He lived with us for twelve years
Loving us till his very last breath
We will meet again dear Typhoon
When we seek shelter in that Land of Faith
He was lucky to find a loving home. Lovely!
Picked and pocketed on the bosom of conceit–
comfort lies there, in keeping chips stored there
like a ship moored at the dock because it won’t
compromise, tonnage weight off quite a bit
the crew and surveyor caught in a snit
hours upon hours, unwilling to budge.
Waves, a gentle nudge at the hull, seem
to coax blue heron off wooden post.
Why harbor self pity, hold such a grudge?
Stuffing such anger just anchors defeat.
On the horizon, a distant ship sails free
from the confines of close-mindedness.
Beautiful. Says a lot.
Yes, and bites, too. Wonderful work.
Your wordplay is witty. You have a Cavalier spirit in a Modern body. Really like the first line, as would Marvell!
PAD APRIL 2014 #9 HOUSE POEM
The first time
I consciously built a house
it was made out of pillows
Mrs. Kelliher’s daybed
with its black floral design
held a double row of perfect
overstuffed, matching pillows
just waiting for us to turn into a cave
where Mom couldn’t see us
and we couldn’t “hear her”
If she called to us from across the hall
“Time for bed!”
Mrs. Kelliher, sweet old lady colluding
with mischievous brats who, often
left her apartment in an uproar
would warn us
just before Mom’s patience
wore thin and became
a life or death warning!
Mrs. Kelliher had TWO decks of cards
A luxury for us
Many the hours we spent on her living-room rug
with “The Secret Storm” in the background
on the old black-and-white
and the diagonal lines of interference
running through the screen
Junior architects with rows of houses to build
some with second stories, the result of patience
and some with side yards
housing imaginary families and livestock
till big brother blew them down
and we were comforted with the freedom
of spreading copious amounts of honey
onto Nabisco graham crackers
till our elbows stuck to the table and
our hair stuck to our cheeks
Love this. Did we all build pillow houses?
haha…apparently some of us did…weren’t we lucky. Everybody should have a Mrs. Kelliher in their life or a Grandma or an Auntie Catherine. They let us do what Mom would NEVER.
What a great memory!
works good on the three-to-five year old range…minute by minute – well not so good
Shopping at Eleven-shelter from loneliness
Carefully she paints her lips
crafting a shape that relentless
time has stolen, powders her cheeks,
deftly sponges out the over pink
of the rouge, picks up her bag
which should have been replaced
at least ten years before
but pensions aren’t what they used to be anymore.
She peeps out the lace curtains
it looks alright but picks a thick coat
when you’re skin and bones
you need to replace where the muscles were.
Out on the high street, she pauses,
where today, where to go
She needs to replace the cup she broke
Must buy a pint of milk and the half loaf
of bread, Nowadays she never buys
more than a day’s portion, For the shopping at eleven
is her only contact with other humans.
She heads to the charity store, excited at buying used ceramic.
I really enjoyed this. The images and movement spoke volumes.
framed in hope
no guarantee or thanks
For too many
the wood on the walls
less foster home than planks
Stepping stone sanctuary
(for the lucky ones)
Temporary safe house
(an oxymoron despite good intents)
They all deserve more
odds on their side
instead of against
Michele K. Smith
Very true and well written.
I Shelter Me to Shelter You
Forever seeking cover on the outside
hiding the elements that still rage inside
A blanket to muffle irrational fears
a roof to protect from spontaneous tears
I shelter me to shelter you
Depending on these four walls to safely ground
erratic circuits others have not yet found
This strangling cage is so, so much detested
a cocoon which has falsely self-arrested
I shelter me to shelter you
Long hidden in my hallway, there’s a stair
that I may pull to seek my attic song.
A wish to go beyond my daily care
so, climb the ladder’s rung before too long.
Pry open there a cedar chest of more
old verse; a space that’s sheltered from the fray.
It’s there I sit upon an oaken floor.
Reach back to thoughts of sunlit, better days.
This book is worn and bent but thoughts so free
I read, again, the courage of her_ bold.
The words, a treasure trove of Emily
where warmth gives joy to yet another soul.
I rise and take her volume in my arms;
descend my stair with laughing, schoolgirl charm.
(Day9, April Writer’s Digest PAD. Write a “shelter” poem)
Love the title. The description of the book is precious.
This is great work. I love the rhythm and flow from the rhyme scheme. You took us there with you!
Challenging herself against the wind,
She knew she’d face the next bend,
On a rough road or sea,
What would the next challenge be!
She’d take it,
Handle every bit!
Just for the chance to be free!
No cloud of doubt,
Would keep her without,
No raging river,
Would make her quiver,
Every mountain incline,
Would be climbed in time,
On all fronts, she’d deliver!
It could snow on her head,
She’d overcome every dread,
Life could pour all its rain,
Bring her every pain,
Toss her a twister,
She’d save herself and her sister!
She’d emerge a victor, not much of a strain!
But when life threw her one final curve,
It hit too sensitive a nerve,
It was too strong and a nasty pelt,
Striking hard with an unseen belt,
The warrior she was couldn’t stand,
She fell to her knees to understand,
It was then her heart knew how to melt!
Caught her shy!
She had to remove her tough veneer,
Something stronger was made clear!
The force of Love itself she couldn’t deny!
She stopped fighting and entered the shelter within,
Where her life could truly begin!
Laying down her sword,
No more could she afford,
To just run from the rage,
Time to turn the page,
Surrender an old tough chord!
Letting go she recovered her strength,
Going the total length,
For a Love not to hide,
Reminding her of her truth,
Remembered in her youth!
A bigger Love to which we confide!
Transformed by this inner place,
She wears a smile on her face,
It invited her in as she pleased,
Once she fell upon her knees,
Now she knows the Love is always there,
Right in her heart is where,
With each breath, she enters it . . .
THERE ONCE WAS A BEAR
There once was a big brown bear,
Who didn’t know how to share!
He walked down a path
With his grapes of wrath,
Sniffing the fresh forest air!
On his usual morning stroll,
He came upon a minstrel,
Spread thin and bleeding,
Clearly quite needing,
For the musician, life had taken a toll!
The bear stopped to take a peak,
What had made the man so weak!
He noticed his flute,
Had been given the boot,
And the minstrel couldn’t even speak!
The bear felt a stir of compassion,
His heart filled instantly with passion,
He lifted up the body and head,
Of this person, almost dead,
Hoping his life wasn’t really done!
Carefully he laid him inside the cave,
So happy he’d found someone to save!
He made warm porridge,
With all he had foraged,
Thinking this man must have been so brave!
Later on that same eve,
The bear couldn’t believe,
The minstrel sat up,
So he gave him a cup,
Realizing the minstrel still couldn’t leave!
He just wasn’t strong,
Too many things wrong!
He was unable to walk,
Still wouldn’t talk,
No sign there was ever a song!
The bear continued his care,
As much as the minstrel could bare,
Sharing a cave and fire,
Until they’d both tire,
Using all they had living there!
After a time the minstrel could walk,
The two began to slowly talk,
After his colorful flute,
Had completely gone mute,
He pulled it out from under a rock.
The minstrel began to play,
During the evening and all day,
A concert he gave,
Bringing music to the cave,
And the bear never had to pay!
Especially under the moon
He would play his continual tune,
Becoming so very happy,
The music new and snappy,
He’d be well on his own real soon!
Suddenly the bear realized,
After being so happily mesmerized,
This singing minstrel,
Was becoming quite real,
Right before his very eyes!
The bear began blocking the cave door,
He wouldn’t let him out anymore,
He kept him hidden,
Just for him is what the minstrel was for!
The minstrel walked in circles to get out,
Until he finally began to doubt,
He would ever get free,
And dance on happily,
He grew so frustrated, he wanted to shout!
Desperate he found a magical opening in back,
Where he could disappear, covered in black,
He’d reappear and sing,
To the bear, he’d bring,
More song with less fear of attack!
Once out among the stars and light,
He found even more music despite,
He thought he’d gone to heaven,
Finding more notes than seven,
Returning to the cave before daylight!
Finally he discovered a song,
He wished he’d known all along,
He brought it back to the bear,
Because he wanted to share,
The tune invited all to belong!
The minstrel told his furry friend,
Sunlight was needed to blend,
They had to take it outside,
Could no longer hide,
Their captivity just had to end!
He got the bear to dance,
The minstrel had to take the chance,
Bringing them both out at day,
Where they could both laugh and play,
Wearing flowers in their hair and pants!
The tune carried them out by noon,
Keeping them out until they saw the moon,
Each day they were free,
To see all they could see,
The minstrel knew he’d be gone by June!
He told the bear he’d been loved true!
A love the bear and minstrel never knew!
The love should go free,
Not tied down like a tree,
Flow free like the wind always blew!
The bear finally understood,
Letting the minstrel go would be good!
Help him pack up,
Even take his cup,
Find his way now in the wood!
With a final bear hug and a wave,
The healed minstrel said goodbye to the cave,
The two had found a friend,
A new beginning at the end,
Gifted by each other was the joy they gave!
This swept me along. Wonderful story-telling.
Thank you, William, it ended up so long but I just had to see where it wanted to go! I appreciate your kind comments!
Your arms, a refuge from
the indecision that ruled
my brain, the foolish choices
that led me to the bottom
of a bottle, the toilet’s edge.
You painted me into a perfect
background, said more with your
touch and lifted me, my tiny
frame weightless with each wave.
I want you to know that you
were always good enough, always
what I wanted to see after
a hazy wake from an afternoon nap,
but the building has been razed.
I am a search party of one,
looking for the only thing that
can keep my sail from dying
in this stagnant air.
– Srividya K
I see his face
He smiles at me
He lights up my world
I belong with him
I look up at him
As bright as the sun and the stars
A glowing white beacon
To guide me in my darkest hours
Like a father, he watches over me
Like a mother, he loves me
Like a teacher, he leads me
I surrender to his bliss
When I drown, he is the boat
When I cry, he is the hand
When I talk, he is the ear
Live or die, he is my refuge.
by David M. Hoenig
One of two things will become apparent,
when I die:
either, I won’t be me any longer,
or I will be, and will only learn what comes after,
While in no rush to find out,
I take shelter from any storms of doubt
in the lee of limited philosophical possibilities.
Since I can do little about either,
I guess I’ll take a ‘wait and see’ attitude.
That is safer
than sitting in the open
demonstrating bleeding cheeks
under tearful eyes
When I need
A place to turn
There you are
folding me into
the strength of
Copyright © 2014 Annie – Original Poetry
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie
Are we owned by this same sky? How
can I believe it’s so, when I am song
and silence, and you are thunder? I
wonder at the way your hunger strikes
the dark, sparks some new crimson
streak and splits it cold. And yet I am
so thirsty for these drops, these plunder
-ed plops of promise, puddled deep.
Will you shelter me?
I am structurally unsound,
in my waiting.
why? well, that is magic.
Your poem is magic, De!
Wonderful, sound, sense, and serendipity alike.
Sailing into his safe arms
Guided her worn
Into a sense of safety
When her boat
Could no longer float
Her sails marred through time
Rhyme had left
Soundless against a raging sea!
Of a rough set of seas
As they consoled
And comforted each other
In the now safe place
Holding each other
A loving embrace
While the pounding surf outside,
Let them hide
Inside their own zone
Of the known
The rusted parts of her vessel
Pulled out like old nails
Not in support
Of the new port
Taken to town
Now dared to be new again!
Daily she became stronger
Living in dread
Attached to the past
Letting go at last
Aiming again for the sea
This new sailor
To be sure
She could cast her sail
Leave the shore
Become the adventurer
She has always been
And then . . .
She saw she could not move
The ropes would not
There were knots,
Little did she know!
Her safe harbor
Had not understood
He never could
That her stop over
To the attachment
He had to her
He held her too safe,
He was to her!
He had anchored
No freedom for her
Day or night
Moored to her side,
His own freedom
For years he had tried
To be free
With the sea
Feel the wind in his hair
To dare sailing forward
Into the unknown
If someone had shown him how
To guide his bow
Holding her back to him
Kept him safe
Even as it sank her
Not thanked her
Recognizing she was stuck
An idea struck
They both needed their own free motion
Across the ocean
Their own clear path
Without further wrath
Setting each other free
To be in their own breeze
So they wouldn’t freeze
In one place
An unmovable face
To just have to please,
Someone else with ease
His freedom to be
Matched her own!
They had grown
Their love, being shown
Had to be released
Or it would drown
Turn them upside down
Learn to trust their individual ship
Not to flip
Costing them to trip!
And fall again into a dull
Hull of futility and failing
Of someone new!
Had to chart
Find a wave
Instead be brave
Not to think
Their heart’s need to be free
To each be
Sailors . . .
On an uncharted sea!
Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 9 Shelter Poem
as it exposes
until I can crack
the dirt encrusted
that formed to blackness
from white snow
whether I was ready
You kept me under your skirt
guarded against the wolves
Nights tucked tightly into bed
latches double locked
but I could still hear their howling
the smashing of glass in the alley
and their clawing at the door
You kept me safe
’til cancer claimed you
I was tossed out of my safe home
and into a home with wolf pups
they tested me daily
sniffing at the door to my room
and yelping at night
I lived in fear until I was eighteen
and then I was tossed out again
fear became terror
I was exposed to the wolves
no where to hide
They followed me day and night
lewdly pawing at my skirts
I didn’t know who to trust
’til he roamed in
He didn’t seem like a wolf
not like daddy or the pups
I let down my guard
pulled up my skirt
and let him have his way with me
Soon I had my own pups
with shewolves to protect
and male pups to train
I didn’t want them to become wolves
but then their father threw me away
took the pups under his arms
and left me and the shewolves in the rain
a dream of shelter and
time enough to sleep and
cradled on soft furnishings,
cheek tweed-grazed, the
curtains drawn close to
block out the late-morning
light, tulips bursting forth
in serried ranks, precise
swathes of color, borne out
of his handiwork, vibrant bands
shimmering, dancing, in the breeze
Just joining in, here’s what i came up with…
Her arms were walls
a sanctuary, a refuge
Her eyes like two windows
letting in the warmth of morning sunrise
Her lips gave solace
kept all his secrets
they were his
she was his shelter
he didn’t realize
she was gone.
This is a Haiku for Day 8
*Free shelter for all:
The sign was vivid in red ink
April 9, 2014
Knotted At the Dock of the Midnight Marina
Knotted at the dock, the yacht soiree kindles
conversation on the marsh side of the bay –
the speechless beast
fertile with water lilies,
orchid-laced logs and frog spice –
is crippled into clichés by wooden outlooks.
Decks indulge daylight guests,
garnished at noon with sunhats and cameras,
who traffic snapshots and stories at sunset.
But no tourist is out now
the raccoon ransacking a clam,
spilling slime pearls to paw for supper,
or a surface boiling with skipjacks –
their scales scattering swans and arrows to a thousand smaller skies.
The bay blurs in a broth of spotlights
beaming off champagne bottles,
sequined gowns and polished boots.
I hear a drunken song of celebration –
The Auld Lang Syne –
and lift my champagne flute to the fireworks:
To sleeping cedar planks that sequester tourists
above skunkweed, slugs, and muck.
To the skipjack stars.
To the night spices of the silent,
and the cantaloupe moon.
When the world raged against me
When a storm of self-loathing thundered in my mind
Like the freight-train sound of a tornado
Thoughts spiraling, destroying
Wondering how quickly it would end
If the car met with a bridge abutment
Wondering how long one had to sit in the car, engine running
Garage door closing slowly
When I wondered who I had become
How to be someone else, or preferably no one else
When “truth” and “horrible” were used in the same sentence
Not to be disputed
And I had willingly, happily, tried and convicted and condemned myself
Eyelids swollen with tears
“Come with me”
Offering soup and tea and
Mercy and grace
Not getting what I deserve
Getting what I do not deserve
Shelter coming to me
When I refused to save myself
Salvation coming to me
Shelter from the storm
I seek refuge in your Grace
I’m covered in Love
Thunder roars, lightening cracks
You are my Rock, my Fortress
If this is shelter, leave me cold
I’ve not the means to pay what’s due
I could never sell myself
To be a part of you
Your arms are chains with broken links
Your love provides no roof
From the storms born in your eyes
If this is love, you leave no proof
I am alone in what I want
Burdened by your dreams
Wishes blown in winds of change
You know not, what true love means.
A MIGHTY PROMISE
Though the sea
rages and the storm
you can find
refuge in Me. I’ll shelter
you all of your days.
After Leaving the Tower
It occurred to me,
that you were something worth turning around for.
But now I see
that I, like she,
A pretty face and a name written on a boat?
I had hoped to amount to more.
Oh shelter you’re always with me
You start out as merely a womb
Then become a home I can see
And end up as a mighty tomb
Once you were a small apartment
Where furniture was hard to place
Like living in a compartment
Or a small overstuffed suitcase
You cried during a thunder storm
I mopped up all your teary leaks
And in return you kept me warm
And ignored all my harsh critiques
No matter where my feet may roam
More than bricks make shelter a home
NO SHELTER IN GLASS HOUSES
On display, a case of seeing too much,
of revealing too much. Naked to the world
and every whirlwind of activity shows your
proclivity for dramatics. Loons and fanatics
at the ready to shutter up and enclose you.
They know you too well. Inclined to throw stones,
shards are harder to avoid. An encased void,
an open book at every look. There is no hiding
inside; check your pride at the door. It’s for sure,
there is no shelter in glass houses.
love it, Walt
Where can I shelter from the desert?
Only in its deepest core.
For the edges of the desert
brim with sand
and little spiky plants
and scuttering geckos
and wind and cold
and heat and hate
and lust and greed
But past them all, its inmost point
is the sheltering nothingness
which is everything.
The thing about sheltered housing
is it’s full of elderly folk
shuffling round looking miserable
like they’ve never heard a joke.
I’ve tried cheering them up by playing
some awesome heavy metal
and I made them some cannabis tea
to put them in fine fettle.
But they didn’t like my tunes
and pulled faces at my tea
so I’ll have to find friends elsewhere
who are young at heart like me.
I won’t invite those fuddy-duddies
to my parties any more
would you like to come to my next one?
I’m going to be ninety-four!
Michele Brenton 9th April 2014.
I put together a little tea party and combined the photoshoot with the poem and you can see that here
Short on time again, so I’ll have to try to craft something better later…
PROTESTER LOVE LETTER
Your rampage ignites this ragged wick
plumed from the top of my Molotov heart.
You’re most beautiful when throwing bricks
through plate glass windows, kinetic art
pulling every lithe muscle into place.
The pigs are trying to wedge us apart,
batons even thirstier than I for your taste.
And I wrestle you down to the asphalt,
use your keffiyeh to mop blood from your face,
shout, follow me. The riot shields make walls
we race between, and the pepper spray
leads us down the aisle. Sergeants call
for our arrest, but we’re too fast, they
cannot catch us. This could be our marriage:
chants and banners and not-so-clean getaways.
But I only get to lend a minute of courage,
the length of our sprint to safety. I’m quick,
but you’re quicker. I go to ground by the bridge:
warmed by thinking of how I kept you from damage.
the opening line is brilliant. Make no apologies for this poem, it’s evocative and intriguing as is.
Something better later? This is pretty darn good!
I’ve spoken so often
about my bed
with its ragged white blanket
and thick feather duvet
coolly warm and comfortable
with no adaptations required
it accommodates me quite well
alone or as part of a pair
a sanctuary for dark hours
and Sunday mornings
landing softly from any fall there
unlike the stairs or
the unforgiving pavement
that shreds my knees with hurts
this haven shelters me
all cozy in winter and
cool in summer sheets flutter
from open window breezes
and I’d defend this bed
against all intruders
be they pirates or zombies
and banish the books
that conjure them to the floor
which of course
to touch is to die. Not I
under my ragged blanket
in my little bed world.
all snug safe and secure.
A HOME IS NOT A HOUSE
“A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.”
― H.L. Mencken
One by one, we left her.
But all for one, she has never left us.
It is engrained in us as sure as our
nicks on the door frames with names
scribbled denoting ownership of each
chip and ding in her dimpled facade.
It is odd that having grown older,
less bold and more comfortable in her
memory, that she lingers? Fingers curled
to press words in homage for our fortress.
Thought held in esteem for the comfort
of her womb. Not a tomb, not a mausoleum,
no sad museum to who we once were.
She is held dear; it is because of her
we have survived. We are alive thanks to
her shelter and protection. I carry home with me.
I carry it in my heart.
Again with tile in right place
Old Home Place
(a found poem from random song titles)
The Longer I Run
I Wanna Get Better
I Will Cross This River
Far From Any Road
Build Me Up From Bones
Ocean Stone and Fireside
As The Stars Fall
Take Me to Church
Bury Me Deep in Love
May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight
The Blank Wall.
I turn my face to the blank wall
Molten amber fills the morning
Red and yellow paint on wooden chairs
Blisters in the heat into soft bubbles
Round my feet pretending to twirl.
In the small thick hours
The gift of wrapped flowers
Drip with salty tears
And push violet petals away.
A crimson half moon
Burns with red camellia blossoms
Between pink azaleas
A lonely owl screeches
As moonlight kisses my arms.
My bad memory
Resurrected in empty regret
Is once again forgotten in time.
I really enjoyed this poem.
BENEATH THE SHELTER OF SHADOWS AND STARS
Night becomes your dwelling.
It is telling that you find comfort here.
Fear does not invade. It has been forbidden.
Your masquerade keeps you hidden.
The sounds of evening’s symphony,
the cacophony of crickets and hooting things
rings loud and strong. Is it wrong to think
that dank and dark places could offer
sanctuary from all scary apparitions?
These conditions are right for a night
protected by the shadows and stars.
Far from city lights and car contaminants,
and remnants of shouting and fighting.
This night is a safe and welcome haven.
Seek your shelter, sure and secure.
—Ekphrasis on the work of Josho Somine
Evidence lives at street level,
here, now, asking you for change, please.
Invest in a gun and staples.
Everything else but food is free.
Weatherproof ceilings, floors and walls,
square footage in the size we need,
free as the flat spaces of earth
awaits stacked behind grocery stores.
Cracks in urban order make berths,
cave crevices where we can crawl
out of the rain with what worthwhile
discards we’ve found. Worthwhile discards.
The game of Mission and 8th Street:
build an invisible nest hard
by the concrete mainline and seek
sustenance dodging dumpster guards,
sharp-shooting staples in cardboard.
“everything else but food is free”…ugh , it’s killer.
Way to whack the cardboard, bucko. I went looking for Josho Somine and it appears that you might be privy to his work? Do you have a link to the image you used for the poem? Love all the “hard” images, concrete urban shelters…
There’s this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziwjOniQ6N0
which is not his work with cardboard, but with willows and natural resources. I wish his cardboard stuff was still around, but it was years ago and didn’t make it (yet) to the Internets.
For eight long years after my mother died we lived in the same house where she’d died in the garage and where the dog dug holes in the corner of the backyard so she could crawl under the chain link and run wild on the suburban streets for days until she returned weakened and starved only to get penned up in the backyard again and bark at the neighbor boys who threw rocks at her from up top of the hill and where she’d start digging again in the packed hole in the far corner of the yard again but without success this time because Dad had thrown bricks down there so her digging cut to the quick of her nails and later sure enough there were tiny blood marks on the brand new peach living room pile that my new mom had put in and then somehow the dog managed to get out again through some kind of different hole who knows I don’t remember and Dad cursed and we all worried because this time she was gone for days and days maybe a whole week this time maybe more and Dad theorized she probably got locked up in someone’s garage maybe she went into someone’s garage to go through the people’s garbage or something and probably the people drove off and went away for a few days so don’t worry once they get back from their trip the dog will come back to us she’s pretty smart and she knows who feeds her and she finally did come back and we rejoiced like you can’t know like you can’t even imagine how our insides bloomed but whether Dad was right about her whereabouts we’ll never know it doesn’t matter the important thing was that she did come back and the poor thing was wobbly and glass-eyed so much so she had to sleep in a withered ball at the foot of my bed while my new step-sister and I fed her Kraft American Singles like she was a baby bird each slice of fake cheese lovingly unwrapped for the dog that never did try to escape again.
scratching at the
seeking shelter from the
survivers bear witness
Sonnet, Shakespeare’s Shelter
Sonnet, Shakespeare’s shelter
He adheres to his own code
Steady on iambic feet
He measures words in rows
He grants unease in quatrain
Then offers it in threes
A blinking rhythm finds resolve
As his couple’s marriage ends unease
Very clever, I like it!
Ages go by
Between exploits and memories.
The mountain worn lower,
The shelters seem closer together.
My brother is buried up here,
Up on this hill,
In congress with ghosts
Over courses of un-plotted dreams.
He lives within these trees,
His branches kiss the wintry moonlight,
And return the emerald fire of Spring.
Should there be a chance to live again,
To ignite old pasts from smoke,
And live forever,
May I return as a single drop of rain.
And I will fall upon this hill
Across whose ancient paths
Flow waters like tears
Through gutters and filth,
I am red with blood from a thousand battles
And black with ashes from a million fires.
Follow me down to the river.
Sometimes the voices are peaceful,
Follow me down to the river.
Sometimes they scream.
Follow me down to the river,
They say, inch by inch.
Make new, the shallow streets,
Give us your strikes of silence.
Become the silver, lining the cloud’s grey
And the last drop in the deepest darkest ocean.
This is amazingly good. Lushly beautiful and evocative.
You are my shelter
though storms flow
through my life
you have been my
canopy under which
I stand safe and secure
There are tears in the canopy
and we are trying to mend
them so it will be strong again
applying tape to cover the holes
realizing my shelter has been attacked
and it might never be the same again
“realizing my shelter…”change to:
and I realize
When the sea is raging, don’t leave me solo
Where wicked cypress weep like willow trees
A lonely ship of sediment to whine and crow
When seas rage white, don’t leave me solo
Onboard dreaming the same blue undertow
Past a slip of old sunrise on wild indigo seas
When the waters rage, don’t leave me solo
Where wicked cypress weep like willow trees.
Day 9: Shelter poem
It was not raining hard when my mother and I set out
to watch the free afternoon movie at the nursing home,
so we did not take an umbrella.
But the farther we got from home, the harder it rained.
Soon, it was pouring and we were soaked
by the rain, and the spray of cars passing through roadside puddles.
The theater was freezing. We shivered and got goosebumps.
We took off our wet shoes and draped our wet sweaters over our wet arms.
We were the only movie-goers, so there was lots of free popcorn.
Afterwards, we took the bus home, waiting in the bus shelter until it arrived.
Here’s a bonus shelter poem.
Sometimes in Nonce
I take shelter in form
I see signposts in rhyme
but sometimes in nonce
I really like to shine.
Dennis Wright, April 9. 2014.
He shelters anywhere he finds a place—
in barns and sheds, sometimes invited in
by people who are tied to plots of land
and seek adventure hearing where he’s been.
When weather’s good, he seeks a canopy
of trees like vast umbrellas overhead
or lies thick-pillowed in a meadow’s grass
and hears a fox stalking a rabbit’s bed.
There’s wind and rain, there’s cold and burning sun—
the elements a walking man abides;
the little cost of freedom he must pay
is worth each wonder witnessed, he decides.
Sometimes he’s roused and chased off from a place
he’s stopped for sanctuary from a storm.
Some people say he stinks or calls him bum,
while others run a bath and keep him warm.
He’s seen it all going from place to place.
He judges no one, takes it as it comes
and sometimes he will stop and work a while,
remember people’s troubles share their homes.
His needs are few for he lives like the birds
on what he sees around him, mostly free,
but sometimes he recalls someone that’s gone,
a love he could not offer safety.
He knows all humans carry heavy loads,
even the ones he’d swear don’t have a care.
He tries to disremember, living new,
but sometimes when he sleeps, he feels her there.
He puts himself at risk now every day
from nature’s whimsy and from people too.
He’s testing sanctuary in himself,
something no one and nothing can undo.
I love this quiet yet profound story, with its soft rhymes accentuating each piece of passage. “He’s testing sanctuary in himself” sums the story up succinctly. Wonderful.
I’ve enjoyed this very much, Jane. Wonderful storytelling. “He tries to disremember” – beautiful.
Thanks to both of you for reading me and for making such insightful comments. I appreciate it.
Thanks to both of you for your kind comments. I appreciate your reading me.
Within Arm’s Length
From arm’s length I cannot be your refuge,
your safe harbor in the lee of those storms
buffeting your days of slate skies,
your nights lashed by fearsome lightning.
From arm’s length, you cannot be
that stronghold in the wilderness,
the grotto in which I would seek protection
from my untamed notions and dreams.
But within the embrace this pair of arms,
you can stand with me beyond
the fearsome shadowy tiger times
from which nightmares are made.
Wrapped within four, we knit together,
hearts banked one to the other,
warm, safe, our eyes bright
like beacons in the darkness.
Nicely done, Joe
A rhythm found in the absence of time;
conductorless, the symphony of discordant sounds
join together in harmony to raise a frame from the dust.
Like sculptures’ hands, excellent to the task,
they mold the uncarved block into a vision.
From barren dirt, to a place teeming with life,
A hole dug, emptiness, replaced, reshaped, resized.
dead trees transformed into something more
From strait to angled, a frame, a skeleton with wood for bone.
On the skeleton, like a gods, they puts a skin,
veins to pump the vital fluids through; power
to the heart of the home. It comes from nothing
from a lack of space, an idea, a skeleton, a form.
After the power leaves, the bodies occupant
abandoning the form for something better;
always moving upward, forward, never going back,
the skin will fall away, the skeleton revealed again.
The work of the sculptors remains, seen
as though something that should be hidden;
it comes again, revealed by time, through time,
a veil lifted to reveal the true art of the form.
Then to the hole it will return, rotting,
collapsing skeleton fills the hole from whence it came.
From the dust of the earth it was raised,
and so, as everything must do, will it return in time.
Mary remembers vividly the last time
she saw this woman; back in high school,
when the then-girl had shoved her,
shouting “fat-fatty-batty, get away from us,
you whale.” The coffee splattered the girl’s dress
and she screamed as Mary’s mug shattered and
Mary had fallen on the shards, cutting herself badly,
but the girl acted as if nothing mattered but the
stain on the hem of her once-pristine white blouse
shouting obscenities as if Mary had caused it all
by merely existing.
Now, that girl is here, at her halfway-house.
Years have passed, but Mary never forgot
a single one of her tormentors and had once
dreamed of revenge, but she’d gotten past that,
she needs no avenging angel, she is beyond
the pain of her youth. The girl looks at her,
all unrecognizing, with questioning eyes.
“Am I safe here?” they ask. And Mary smiles
and lets her in, leading her to her room.
Mary knows that she can show this woman
what unconditional love feels like.
Maybe it will be the first time she’s ever had it.
Diana Terrill Clark
Of course, where it reads “blouse” please insert “dress.” ^_^
I think this is much more profound than it looks. Wonderful.
I’ve a home upon this bed
A nest, my cradle
These sheets, my thread.
Woven solace, cover these eyes
Blank states cost sleep, dreams and comfort
Watching and waiting for the numbers I dread.
In my opinion “blank states” works as well, if not better than ” blank states”
Ha, autocorrect got me, too. But you know what I meant.
Wow.. Thank you! That does work.. Auto correct proved to be useful for once! Hahaha
THE OPEN ROAD
Who knew that dishes could be weapons
sailing through the air in angry fits of rage
crashing to the floor and shattering
the innocence of a seven-year-old boy
who scrambles outside seeking refuge
sheltering himself from all the shouting
he climbs up on his midnight blue Schwinn
and furiously pedals down the street
hoping that the wind will catch him
blowing him toward the open road
where freedom’s welcoming arms reach out
hugging him like loving parents do
when they’re not fighting with each other
Powerful, painful – well done!
So sad and yet hopeful, nicely done.
Sonnet for the Family Living in Their Car by C. Lynn Shaffer
after seeing photographs by Mary Ellen Mark (for C.D.)
They’ve moved ten times in fourteen days. They make
a living in offices, signing papers to be seen
as human, try not to be noticed at night. Irene
drives while the uncovered children sleep, stakes
a spot behind buildings, near woods, empty lots.
She carries a ring of keys she’s collected,
a prop, so no one will notice and object
to them passing time for free. When allotted
a motel room, her toddler fears the distance
between beds, her daughter breathes in chamomile
shampoo, curls up on the shower floor. Feeling
no motion they breathe deeply as infants.
She logs the miles, seeks job for a home,
needs home for a job. They dwell. The car drones.
TO RAIN OR NOT TO RAIN
The boy ran into the house
to shelter himself from the rain.
He looked out the window
and frowned at the wretched omen
that stopped his ball game.
Somewhere in the distance,
the farmer ran out of the house
to feel raindrops on his skin
thankful for the mercy
relieving his thirsty crops.
Moj Sklonište, 1982
The day Grandpa hit that stray puppy with a pipe
for eating his tomatoes off his trellis
and pissing on “his” levee, I ran,
Stride Rites sandals slapping the deck,
that on better days served as our gangplank,
to Grandma in the kitchen, smelling sweetly
of cinnamon and dough, and into her arms.
She pulled me onto her lap, though she was frail
after her last bypass, and I, at nine, almost as tall.
My tears salted her shoulder as she whispered
Croatian curses at Grandpa I couldn’t understand
and promised me peciva warm from the oven.
oops, correction: Stride Rite sandals
Wow! I think this is wonderful. It is so personal, revealing, and emotional!
Thank you so much!
Gripping writing, marvelous.
There is no joy
like resting your head
on your own pillow
in the shelter of your own bed.
I plant my feet
Four points, toes gripping
Grounded to the earth.
Imagine the roots running deep down.
Arms stretch out. Further, further.
Reaching out to shelter
Even as you run away.
One, Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
And you are hiding,
Angry and Afraid.
I am afraid, too.
If I could tell you.
If you would know.
One thing. Two.
Pain contains truth, woven tightly into
the dark cloak.
With the truth, comes light. Find it.
I am with you, arms stretched out,
Even as you run away,
Angry and afraid.
You seem surprised.
Death is like night.
The roof of an old garage will come down some day.
Dry rot, insect damage, one too many nails fallen out
or rusted through, or
drunk, you or someone,
can’t tell your reverse from drive.
Night falls, some nights, like the roof,
some times like the rain
now and then like interest rates.
Death is like that, too.
One night, your interest falls.
I look out at the rain,
a raging thunderstorm
transforming the terrain.
Run to catch my train…
huddle on the platform;
I look out at the rain–
the lightning is insane,
a light dance in freeform
transforming the terrain.
The train pulls up to its domain–
I clamber on, glad to get warm;
I look out at the rain,
forehead pressed on windowpane
I watch the waters swarm,
transforming the terrain.
At least it’s not a hurricane.
Soon we’ll reach my dorm.
I look out at the rain
transforming the terrain.
by Mary W. Jensen
When what I believe about life ends
in questions Wise and Dined over,
Slept over with eyes open
like a violent flash upon my pupils,
When I run to the sting of death,
fearful of life, not to join but to observe
loss of daybreak and all its enchantments,
When I lavish pity on my restrictions
and loss of mine and ours and envious
lusts, I have not the courage to confess
that my longing exceeds my memory
of faithfulness or innocence.
* * *
There is a man who reclines his eyes
With passion aging upon his lips
He grieves with hope. What sin was
missing to gift him this that veils
such a worm as I? What shelter is
his home? When what I believe about
life ends in questions, I will set my
table with him and shelter my fears
behind his eyes.
In solitude grows his craving
he doubts his soul worthy of saving
convinced that it helps him think
he swallows down another drink
an empty glass changes his view
colors his world a darker hue
he chalks it up to stress and strife
drinking to escape his life
seeking refuge from his pain
now he’s tethered to this chain
what once brought welcome relief
has now become an endless thief
but what he seeks remains afar
so he tries another bar
(a shelter Tanka)
Three guys held up shields
protecting themselves in May,
shelter from dying.
The world went on in its pain
nothing yet had changed.
Dennis Wright, April 9, 2014.
“Taifuu,” said the man at the desk,
I am wet and tired and yet I know
this word through experience.
Upstairs, I sit in a hotel room
so small that I cannot do more
than lie on my bed and listen
The winds howl and the rain sounds
like an army of ancient snakes waiting
impatiently outside my window
I raid the mini fridge
marking the Sapporo cans I take
on a kanji-sprinkled form
I should sleep in my little shelter
but cannot, wondering how long
the storm will hold me prisoner
In the morning, I peek out the window
The snakes have retreated,
and I owe thirty bucks for three beers
where do we go when we live
from the child.
it rained in Eden.
this leaf is most like
put my good hand over the sun
be bright with absence
track the path
of a bullet
the small bug
meant to flee
Super postmodern… I love it.
Seeking surcease from the storm of words
She stepped out into her own mind
To the nemeton where birds fly
Not accusations and fists
Brick bats of words hammer at the edges
But cannot penetrate the shelter of oak boughs
Woven about her inner self
Oak for protection, Holly for strength to fight back
Hazel for wisdom, Yew for the ability to renew the spirit
And Ash to shield the spear of the Alder
Whose fire will turn aside the heat of raging words
Raging words that batter on protections of her shelter
The storm of judgement she refuses to acknowledge
She stands safe in the shelter of her own words
Nancy Bell 2014
Under My Bed, There’s Me
(by Rodrigo Aleixo)
It’s not all black and white
The ones who we think we are
Nor is it all grey scale
We’re more of a polychrome jar
With secrets so deeply kept
We’ve just to leave ‘em inside
Or under rug swept
For our pride we’ve got to hide
Part (of me) I didn’t know existed
Is menacing my old self to die
With shatters of my own personality
It’s my emotions I ought to pry
Unsettled and mixed feelings
I pray no one ever has
I ought to look for shelter
For me and all that jazz
Building by the Beach
By gpr crane
Went to the beach…
Not the one in Galveston
-where you go with the whole famdamily
strolling by sassy shops along the Seawall
eating previously-frozen greasy fried fish and fries
basking on the trucked-in white sand which they spread atop the gray-black silt from the mighty mississip
Not that beach, that’s not where I went
I paddled my kayak to the gulf-front of Matagorda Island
No roads go there
This beach is what I imagine seeing, post-nuclear war
Yes there are shells and sanddollars, the occasional dead fish, scavenged bird carcass
But plastic: buckets, bottles, tubes, flipflops, syringes, sacks, straws…
And wood: tree limbs and trunks, billboards and signs, pallets and piers…
I picked up a few shells.
But (am I practicing for the apocalypse?)
all I could think about was
Tieing a rope onto some of the best boards
Bringing some buckets too
Dragging them back behind my kayak and
I love it. I have been to Matagorda Beach many times and you describe it well!
Volcanoes chirp like birds
as lava slowly flows
through a mountain’s pipes.
Unlike you, steaming at the burner
like a tea kettle, a siren song
warning: hungry vultures below.
A cottage crumbles in a storm
and slides away into the bay,
where dolphins chatter like crows.
A fort is nothing but a cave
that decays after smarting invaders,
leaving crumbs for magpies.
I hesitate to ask you why
you tremble as you crack an egg,
afraid you’ll peck the beggar.
Nests were never built to last,
and a floor’s footing always shifts
when bedrock learns to fly.
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
They follow the herd
to graze on the insects
stirred awake by the cattle
because they are so mobile
the cowbirds cannot rest
long enough to make nests
because they do not make nests
they take over other nests
laying eggs near the host eggs
they wait until the nest is unattended
and wait for the other female
to come and hatch both eggs
if the other female removes their egg
they will come when no one is looking
and destroy the host’s egg
To a Ladybug in a Country Sanctuary
She sacrifices garden space,
this Beetle of our Lady bug
wearing the Virgin’s scarlet cloak
spotted with sorrow, joy, and pain.
Perhaps nested in altar flowers
she made her way to safety
then lured to stained glass suns
she glimpsed faith’s many tints.
I smile at how my thoughts align,
how readily she’s personified
as if she’s Sabbath’s sermon sought.
I give my many cares to her
my Lenten friend each Sunday morn
and watch her progress and my own.
Her sacred space is pilgrimage
of endless oaken pews and seats
but she meets me at piano
and climbs Golgotha’s top board wing
trudging to steady beats of keys.
As I play, she flits down to strings,
dancing vibrations’ heart of sound
into the skull pan of discovery,
bewitched like me by bass clef’s tones.
My sister bug is moved by song.
She walks my music, transfigured
as whole note in new harmonies.
I fight the urge to thump her gone,
recalling she is good omen to some.
The legend says she takes our pain
away and teaches us to love the days
we have, for life is short—hers little more
than forty days—a carpe diem bug.
She treads old ground before she takes
to flight and swirls toward suspended
light, her wings buoyed by instinct–
an unseen certainty guides her aloft.
She rises as I snatch at metaphors
that make a simple thing complex,
make meanings where they don’t exist.
Small nudge, I wish her well.
This has the feel of a fable. I love the phrase “she walks my music.”
Thank you for reading me.
This poem spins magic; it’s so absorbing. Thanks for writing this.
Here is my Shelter Haiku for day 9
Birds and beasts alike
Find refuge from the storm in
By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014
Need You Now
Life has handed her significant blows
Yet looking at her…the signs are never seen
A mother…sister…aunt…best friend
Much more than many comprehend
Struggling to stay positive
In such a negative world
Nowhere near where she used to be
But, still so much further to go
Her children have their own families now
As she sits alone this Spring day
Fear grips her heart
She isn’t needed anymore
She cries out to Him
The only One that truly understands her
Seeking His loving arms
To hold her because she needs Him now
Battles and storms raged
In and out of her life
While she wore a smile
He sheltered her through it all
Although love eluded her
She knows she has a purpose
That every bad thing
Will be used for good
Tears pour as she calls on Him
The pain is heavy upon her
As she releases it over to Him
And He brings her the comfort she needs
Her spirit begins to find strength
As He speaks to her softly
The race is far from over
She must suit up for the remainder of the war
He wipes her wet eyes
Reassuring her that she has more power than imagined
Her children are only a part
Of her greatest accomplishments
She stands before Him
Thanking Him for always coming when she calls
In spite of all her wrongs
His love has never changed
Empowered with His wisdom
Embracing the task before her
Acknowledging her obedience to Him
Facing the sky
Her armor intact
She is ready for the next valley
Knowing He will get her to her mountaintop!
(C) Sheila Moseley
Lady S- Poetic Thickness
What is the Matter
These are things that stop the blast,
whatever the cause,
from reaching us.
Shelter in a storm,
once again, holding strong to stave off the
inevitable genocide of those things,
that, we think, makes us matter.
When, in truth, the matter is not what
we are made of,
the matter is what we create,
though matter cannot save us.
Though that matter cannot save us.
Everything Solid Melts Into Air
When my brother walks, the world slows to a crawl,
Every step a peril of lost balance.
His eyes flutter on a trampoline
Of damaged nerves, staggering to imagine
The concrete world memory says is there.
So, too, with his words, expelled as if
Each monosyllable were a monolith
Blocking breath. Even then they’re something closed
And slurred, as if the tongue itself, roused
From slumber in its dark cave, forgets.
He remembers less and less, save twisted
Glimpses of a past, glittering shards gleaned
From the woolen glass of drugs that hide him
Even from himself, the many-tongued voices
In his head where once only his dreams sang.
Actually, if I’m more accurate:
In his head where once just the first dark angel sang.
There is such emotion in this! Great work!
Helter – skelter.
A roof does not make a home.
The people within,
who make you grin,
are worth the distance you roam.
lose their meaning as they hurl
past, like debris on roadside, leaves
under trees, snow piled in winter,
and early morning fog.
Some rattle with rough sharp
edges of wish to forget, while
listener flips through snapshot
memories in cardboard boxes.
Pluck emotions from thinned air
taut with clenched lips hiding
wishes for might have been
music once tender with unique
meaning. So many days,
so much time to remember.
Elizabeth Crawford 4/9/14
the sheltering sky
no ceiling high enough
no walls confine enough
if you can
i will not falter
in my worship
of your eternity
i will not paint you
This is mesmerizing. Marvelous.
Definately a “wish I’d written that one” poem. Beautiful
Thanks so much to you all!
Palm Sunday, 1965
They heard a freight train
through the basement door, then watched
their house split the sky.
Bam! Powerful and to the point.
Sometimes the roof caves in.
The ceiling falls, and all
the plates I’ve been spinning
hit the fan.
I want to escape shelter for wide-open spaces.
No need for walls and cover when
there’s peace out side them.
Lush grass is not littered with tasks, and
placid lakes do not reminisce over past mistakes.
When was the last time a wildflower
pounded irately on your door?
I lean back to gaze at nothing
but sky above, preferably ending and blue.
soft earth, or gentle tide, encircling from below,
grounding me and lending me its own strength
for eventually when I must
return to the havocs often
found under roofs.
I think this is a great poem!
My mother told me not to hold metal
to the sky when it was dark, or when
clouds were looming; but caution could
not save me— you were lightning, both
beautiful and terrifying. I was armored
with trust, and steel umbrella spokes,
running through Iowa summer in an
empty field, feet dragging tumbleweed
and combing the sky for recognition. It
was you, and me, and the storm, waiting
for your synapses to spark the twilight
like a gas cloth; but I was a signal, a star,
an un-torched ball of hyrdrogen standing
on dry earth, waiting for you to split sky,
light up like a match until all things left to
your mercy bled ash at the base of your feet.
I agree with Katie. You paint a vivid picture for us with this poem.
Thanks Katie…. and thank you DanielR!
Like the others, love the imagery, especially at the beginning where you surprise us with a reinterpretation of your mother’s warning. Clever.
Thank you very much, James!
To Sawyer, Rescued in May 2013 from the Pinal County Animal Shelter
Because you’re a dog, you don’t understand
the irony of the name “shelter”
for this place you’ve been left, abandoned
in the “night drop,” as if you were just a
library book — on loan, checked out, and
no longer needed. Because you’re a dog,
there’s no irony, just these iron bars
that give you a slatted view of the world
that’s had enough of you. Because you’re a dog,
you don’t know it’s ironic they don’t treat you
for your cough until someone wants you, but
they keep you in the sick room, so no
one can want you. Because you’re a dog,
you don’t know they say, “You don’t want that dog, Miss,”
and shake their heads when paperwork is signed.
Because you’re a dog, irony means
nothing. What’s important is you know
that you’re home now — safe, sheltered, and loved.
You made me cry.
I’m sorry! but thank you for the compliment!
Wonderful, profound, endearing.
love the heart in this
Love. And love to Sawyer.
Your word choices were perfect. Great Poem!
Thank you all! <3 He's currently snoozing after a hard half an hour of chewing on his dinosaur nylabone
Halls of cages, barks
Echo down the
Long line of hopeful eyes
Today I walk looking for
Eyes to meet and know the
Right one to keep
landlord won’t let us have another animal or I would have houseful. thanks for your heart.
My favorite part is “Long line of hopeful eyes”
It rains again on his weary, shaggy head
He looks up for a moment at the bleak sky
He needs dry clothes, and his dog needs to be fed
The rain pelts down on his weary, shaggy head
Without shelter, he knows they could end up dead
He has no plan tonight, nowhere to apply
It rains again on his weary, shaggy head
He looks up for a moment at the bleak sky
This is poignant.
By Michelle Murrish
A child of Middle America
Raised in a track home
Trying hard to remember which one was mine
Among the rows and rows of cookie-cutter lives
Enough money to go on vacation,
But not enough to go by plane
Forced to survive the middle seat
Between older siblings in the minivan
On our way to visit the happiest place on earth
The streets taught me to be tough
When I fell off my 10 speed
Try, try again, they said, try, try again
Growing up wasn’t easy
Under the watchful eye of my stay-at-home mom
She was on to us before we ever even started
Looking back, I’m surprised I made it out
Without a toaster cover
Or coordinating kitchen towel set
No, all I have to show
Is a good education and bright future
I love the “streets taught me to be tough” line – clever. I’m a middle-back-seat child myself.
it was a rough life, but i’m glad we both survived
Such an honest, personal experience related in this poem. I really enjoyed it!
down in the lowlands we felt the undertow
there was nothing to hold so we let it go
in the hollow of an underpass, green glass
reflected in our eyes
and you may see your soul
like a dull picture show
but everything looks perfect
from far away
the autumn leaves ran past us
caught in a bardo breeze, they sang
of their autumn queen, smoking ciggies in the streets
we heard their fractured pleas and clutched our knees
and down, down she goes
how sweet and cold she blows
slip into her arms and she’ll
the lights shone through up in the north
white as snow to our dust-caked eyes
and we went forth, salvage seekers
claiming shelter under stormy skies
There is some tremendous imagery in this poem. Nice work!
How Are You?
These are not hollow.
These shucks of obligation.
No, these handshakes
(soft & unspoken)
often take on the sound
that the voice in your head makes
when you hesitate saying
I feel your wounded center throb
against the part of my eye that reflects
pictures for my brain.
Here, I wear my intentions like a shell.
I imagine it golden, smooth
like a turtle when retracted,
When we part ways,
our tongues take the form
of question marks,
retreating in a bed of teeth,
I hear echoes in my throat
hello, hello, hello –
This is stunning.
For today’s prompt, write a shelter poem.
This house here
And all the others—
High rise, ranch, Victorian farmhouse—
Need to be painted,
Front doorstep crumbles,
Cobwebs drape ceilings,
Walls grow faded and worn.
Inside we huddle
Swathed in bathrobes
Gathered around our flickering screens.
I could live in a melon crate
slats wide open to let in rain.
Wood, nails and concrete
Love of family creates a
I have to pass through panic
to get there. It’s not a
if I hated my life there.
Once I get past the
I can finally take a breath.
The town isn’t my destination
anyway. No, I’m heading
I swear there must be a magic
spell around the property
Once I cross the line, I am
finally safe from the
Safe to be a child again.
The welcoming arms of
And the tired old jokes of
The world drops away and
is the best place in the world.
– Karen Sanders
They’re all the rage
designed by the
most a mish-mash of
metal and glass
to keep out the
riff-raff I s’pose
livin’ small in
Whenever the Rain Comes Down
it holds our world behind its deliberate wall.
We search for familiar forms-
the path’s retreat into the woods,
a stand of tansy and yarrow,
the sweep of queen’s lace.
The rain scumbles wands of forsythia,
blowsy bee balm and wild raspberries.
Beyond where all things bend to the sound of rain,
a tangle of grapevine shrouds mossy stumps and stones,
solemn trees prop up the darkness;
we find nothing to fix our gaze on.
Drowsy with the rain,
we sit in this room that grows octaves grayer,
replete with the din of falling water.
In the gathering darkness,
we look to each other
and find a matrix of light
no ruinous rain can erase.
The Willow Tree
by Christine D Sutherland
Beneath the weeping willow tree,
That’s the place for you and me,
Under the branches we’d laugh and play,
Melting away the cares of the day,
Lying on a blanket made for two,
Snuggled up with my arms around you,
A picnic you and I could share,
Tell me your fantasies if you dare,
Gently on the lips I’d give you a kiss,
Nothing could take the place of this.
I think this is charming.
Above the north rim it’s storming.
The helicopter drops us off – my dog and me,
my search gear and map – on the mid-
plateau of this canyon made of too much
water, too much dry for a human lifetime; mass
wasting spread over eons. It’s November.
He’s been gone five days and nights.
Better weather when he set out, planning to be
back by Sunday. The sky’s dark gray
churning above us on the rim. This side-
canyon’s our first day-shift. Highwater line
from past gully-washers is six feet above
my head. No shelter here
if the north rim sluices this new storm
upon us. And the man we’re looking for?
Not a clue. The helicopter’s gone.
Great. The images are vivid and the story, urgent.
A spectator, on first glance,
would not detect the gloom
threatening to devour her.
She wanted to seek asylum
or better yet, become invisible.
She’d run for refuge,
anywhere but here.
Red hot anger raged within.
She trembled at the thought
of skipping out on it all.
Her mind churned.
She ran from the protector
and director of her soul.
He’d no longer be her sanctuary.
A shelter waited on the hill.
He would cover her,
if she’d be honest
and admit she needed help.
been there, done this…you’ve managed to put the fire back in my belly that was there when I ran. It all worked out…you’ve framed the feelings and desperation perfectly. I’m still here to talk about it, so sometimes reinvention is what it takes to find the truth in your own life. Good one, Connie oxox
Safe Shelters, in Time
A Mother bird’s wing,
Grandmother’s apron strings,
Under a tree branch,
You Best Friend,
Penguin Dad’s egg,
Shade and Sun
Jonah cursed the gourd
that grew to shade him
from the scorching sun,
then shriveled up and died.
Three days inside the belly
of the fish.you’d think
he’d want to feel the heat
of the Nineveh sun,
thankful for mercy
meted out to him
but not to him alone.
Told to go east,
he runs west; spit out
upon the shore, he finally
accepts his call. He must
have measured his importance
as we do.Our excuse:
God doesn’t talk to me direct;
Jonah’s :Galileo had not yet
revealed his news:
the solar system spins
not around me but the sun.
I like it!
A mossed meadow glade lit with slanting sunlight,
A freshly made bed with smooth lavender-scented sheets,
A soft cashmere snug wrapped on shoulders while rain drums the roof.
A lover’s arms.
Mary of Santa Rita
No past to speak of, at one with herself
A piteous sight to observe
At large in our world with no one to help
Yet she remains unconcerned.
Unwavering faith, an unspoken truth
In “ask and you shall receive”
Arriving each day to loiter for proof
Before being asked to leave
Age-knotted fingers, no longer her savior
A weaver of grass and twigs.
Under the shelter of yesterday’s paper
Worn on her head like a wig.
The Southwestern sun is brutal
On skin that is already dark
Both fashion and fanfare are futile
When one makes her home in a park
This calls to mind people I have seen in Santa Fe, so much so that for a moment I mis-titled your poem. The descriptions and emotions are powerful and, from what I’ve seen, accurate. I think this is a superb piece.
A sensitive portrait, and the rhyme scheme enhances it.
In Your Embrace (A Diatelle)
I’m safe with you
as your warmth seeps within
my cold bones and I bid adieu
to my fears, my pain and all I go through
as I take shelter here, my worries disappear
from view; as if birds, they just up and flew.
You know my demons you just slew
as I shelter within
your arms, thank you!
Sigh, small grin,
(Combing the Inform Poet Prompt Diatelle Form from Creative Bloomings with the PAD prompt shelter)
An excellent twofer!
And there are days I wonder;
The silence, it tickles.
Let me hear you make
A decision we can live in.
Sustained by what
We share, what shares
Us, to remain strong,
Quieting the silence.
The sign flashes “vacancy” in cold pink light
That echoes the last vestige of daylight
Disappearing under the clouded sky,
A cold wind whispers shelter here tonight,
The weathered door, brown paint peeling, beckons
Nothing, promises nothing, beyond itself.
The chipped veneer reveals coarse wood
Beneath the superficial reception,
Mechanical smiles and dead benedictions
Of love, empty dead words uttered to please
No one but the absent ritual master
Of recycled robotic cheerfulness.
A single bulb under a dusty pink shade
Emits yellow light on dingy beige
Papered walls and broken blinds stained by smoke
And care- the carpet underfoot threadbare
From its prior service to pacing feet
Smells of stale beer, sick, mildew and black mold.
The damp sheets against your body cling
Like a shroud reminding mortals of fate;
A fate that all carnality awaits,
And you revolt against this senseless end
Devoid of hope, and then something responds,
And smashes this sarcophagus of faith.
To the Letter
Her last breath
whispered “I’m cold.”
You coverd her
with a blanket in the snow,
you held her until help came
and took her away.
I saw you cry
as you told me why.
How much it meant
for me to hear that,
you will never know.
You may not believe
in forces working through you
that freaky afternoon,
but love sheltered you both
and delivered you home.
Circumstances, as they were,
still grapple with my mind:
cause and effect,
love and protect,
fight for the life we love.
one thing stands out
above all else:
You knew nothing about her,
not even that she was your neighbor.
but you cared,
you stood up,
you acted in conscience-
as we all should.
The law is fixed,
enforced and followed,
but you can walk away tall.
It seems almost blasphemous
to write this poem,
but my heart speaks
for you to know;
(though a moot point)
We’re each fighting battles
only in our minds
and only with ourselves.
You must forgive yourself
and move on.
but forever keep in your heart
the art of your lessons.
She would have wanted it that way.
by Mary Bauer
Can I really expect you
To care about algebra
When you are worried about
Where you will live?
Nice. I relate to this as a teacher.
likewise. well done.
I can relate as a former teacher
Oh, when we first got married
Our new home was an RV
Windy Wheatland, Wyoming
Rock’n and roll’n
I Am Not the One You Want
I am not the one you want.
I can’t drive a nail straight into the heart of anything,
can’t intentionally make fire, spear fish,
go more than two days without shaving my legs.
I would be the first person voted off the island on that TV show you love so much.
I am never going to build you a shelter of palm leaves and vine,
and you can just forget about it: I am not running a marathon in Skele-Toes.
I can’t even sew your buttons. They dangle from your dress shirts like loose teeth.
But I can brew cowboy coffee. I learned this from a Steinbeck story.
I’m honing my knock-knock jokes. This is an achievement:
Until last Saturday, I, an almost-43-year-old woman,
had never set up a single joke, knock-knock or otherwise.
I can’t give you anything practical, my lovely love—just cowboy coffee and
a growing stash of knock-knock jokes for days when you wish
you’d turned off the phone and huddled in bed with the cat.
Now my voice nudges you in the last moments before sleep. I part the dark.
I am into my second full day of knock-knock jokes.
“Anita your love!”
Your laughter tells me you’re beside me.
You tell me your own knock-knock joke. Al is knock-knocking at the door.
You hold me, make me a promise and a punch line: “Al give you my love.”
Thank you, Katie!
Very generous of you! Thanks.
What a beautiful picture
really like it
This is my Home
I can live one day
i can die on another
my little hands may tremble
but i cannot surrender
they hit me
they starve me
they lock me up
my screams, are left unheard
they say i will spread happiness
in this world,
they’ll burn my crackers
the ones I’ve done
Gunpowder and calcium
copper and iron-
those things you learnt at 15
are the ones i am now dealing
I am young
yet my hands seem far more old
rough as the soles of shoes
that I have never touched
this factory is my haven
it is my home
yet here, is where I’m exposed
Two poems–similar theme
Tall red door creaks
dust chaff paints long planks
of warm summer sun,
spilling between rough
harness clatter, hooves clop
spectres of lambs bleet
at ghosts of giggling children,
through the swayback loft.
A soft breeze rustles heat
and the closeness of livestock
scratchy straw, manure, mice
sawdust, mink oil, saddle soap,
emaciated ribs peek from
the old wrinkled relic,
aging reminder of
when neighbors and families
met for coffee or cold beer
by the split rail fence,
or gathered for Sunday suppers
of fried chicken and mashed potatoes
piled high on Blue Willow plates.
Thin bones weakened,
splintered to dry rot
tunneled by termites
sun bleached and beaten
abandoned sides heaving,
ruffled tin patched over
choked by herds of cold steel
roaming across green hills,
changing prairie portraits.
One dusty breath
billows the last gasp,
as this endangered species
then only a footprint
cast in the mud
pays tribute to
the grand old barn.
stumbles in the mud
a dusty footprint
fossil of weather
work and sweat
Carol J Carpenter
Get the kinks out
Head for where the air’s thin
Leave a note and plot out the route
Camera, tissues, water, snacks, no doubt
Let’s run or meander, whatever pace we’d like
Let’s discover, explore and look about
Who knows what we’ll find when we scout
There’s shelter, rest within
Chat, laugh and shout
Rest and grin
Looks like a double-duty poem. It works well for both prompts, in my opinion.
Cradled in my arms
Cradled in my arms
to shield you from
to warm you
in a blanket
oh, how I yearn
to hold you,
yet I know
won’t learn to soar
if Mama doesn’t
move her wing, if
teach that bird to
fly and then
Rain falls on my face
Taking me to a familiar place
I see our walk in the stormy past
A time I thought would always last
Holding hand and huddling close
As the wind around us rose
The rain drenched us to the bone
While we hurried to go home
That was a time of honest love
We fit each other like a glove
But the sky soon turned black
There was no turning back
Now I stand in the rain
Remembering that distant pain
I open my umbrella fast
And it shelters me from the past
Holding my umbrella high
In the downpour from the sky
I smile at the storm around
For my future can still be found
I meant to put hands instead of hand. Oops!
Vermin / Some live at my roots / Some live on and in my limbs / Some live everywhere.
Refuge in the Pain
Daniel R. Simmons
God is the artist the painter, potter molder of your life and your destiny His masterpiece.
You see He draws up His plans for you and His heart and pours out His passion and desires for you as He paints the Sistine Chapel ceiling of your destiny and greatness.
He takes the paintbrush of your life and splashes on the colors of necessary pain- painting a rainbow of: love, hate, victory, struggle, defeat, hardship, joy, laughter happiness, tears, sorrow, heartbreak, marriage, divorce abundance, lack, acceptance, rejection, praise, criticism, friends, enemies, health, sickness, confidence, fear, shelter, homelessness, success and failure.
Through persecutions, trials, break ups and heartaches,
He takes the clay of your life and removes chunks that don’t belong. So as you try to hold to people it hurts, because God is literally ripping apart of you that simply will not make the final cut in His script and finale of your life.
He keeps you on the potter’s wheel, as He molds and shapes you into the perfect fit for your destiny.
It’s painful as He takes away this and takes away that from you.
He crushes you, as you start over again when you mess up and fall short. U
Until the day comes when He sits back and smiles at His masterpiece as you walk into your destiny greatness
Yes God is the writer, director and builder of the script of your life. He lays out His plans and desires for you and will surely carry them out. His plans for you are great, filled with beauty and joy. So know that if God removes people from your life, that’s His way of saying, nope they’re not apart of the blue print of your life
So let go of the wrong people and pain of the past
They were just the paint,
But you are the masterpiece!
As your success and destiny becomes
Your healing shelter built on the foundation of pain
With the bricks of purpose
By Derryn Warwick Raymond
She was the one that stilled his heart to chill
A beat between the past and now, yet still
She knew not of her power over him
He smiled and quieted breath, he drew her in
He watched her walk in hand with him afar
His heart, it skipped, but still he’d wait for her
Haunted by Love’s Hurricane.
For months now I’ve been in
a raging and relentless storm.
No way out of this bottomless pit.
My mind and body lack form.
My head is underwater.
It feels like I’m about to drown.
I twist and turn from the churning waves.
Ten feet under and upside down.
I lost the most important part of me.
My life no longer has purpose.
The Sun doesn’t shine in darkness.
Nothing breaks the surface.
But everything is really alright.
I’ve discovered I’m my own shelter.
Hide the emotions.
Don’t give in to the helter skelter.
Ignore the soul’s desire.
Don’t cast blame.
Leave love out of the equation.
Secretly remember the ember’s flame.
Just let go and let it be.
Fake smiles fool everyone.
No one sees passed the mask.
Life has finally won.
The Union Gospel Mission
the battle begins at dawn
any later is too late
preparation is essential
no excess baggage
a lineup of characters where
every man, woman and child
is willing to fight
for every square inch
to the victors, go the spoils
a cup of coffee
to the losers, a return
to the shadows
I know these places, and you captured them. Wonderful work.
There is No Shelter in You Anywhere*
My wolfpack eyes
watch from the tree line
of your mouth.
Watch waist-high grass
grow out from between
There are too many
that lift my dress
then clothesline me
to the ground.
The bears devoured
the door to your throat.
for the storm clouds
for the river
for the waterfall
but your tongue
is a treadmill of grief
that never stops moving,
a dry, shadowless stretch
where the sun & the wind
eat me alive,
where the cadence
of my feet collapsing
on the ground
for the flaps
of a bird’s wings
while we wait
for the rain
so you can lick
is the beast
*Title taken from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s
“I Only Know That Every Hour With You”
This is a compelling read for me, and inspires me to look up its inspiration.
After six wet April days in London,
the sun at last emerged
as we exited the tour bus
at Leed’s Castle.
I left my umbrella on my seat
without a backward glance
relieved by the break in the gloom
that guidebooks tout
and started down the winding path,
met by white peacocks,
turning slowly, runway models
showing off their Easter frocks.
Not a hundred feet along,
the sun still shining heedless
of the clouds, I felt a fat drop
of rain as big as a tuppence
and sidled up beside my wiser,
far more cautious friend.
We travel well together:
I am literary fiction, he’s dry history text;
I’m post-modern; he calls the Anglo-Saxons
Johnny-come-lately’s. I’m the night owl,
he rises by five for his morning constitutional.
Left-brained, reasonable, he carries
his small umbrella, just in case.
I use my right-brained charm
to talk myself in under his shelter
even though he had hardly
enough room for himself.
Gentleman to a fault, he held it
low over us, while we huddled tight
as newborn mice against their mother.
The rain pick up—in torrents now—
then turned to snow. We laughed
out loud, then turned the corner.
There in sight the castle stood,
surrounded by an ample lake,
reflecting ancient boxwoods,
dogwood blooms, dusty
by snowflakes. Stop short—
at the jarring unexpected beauty,
he said, “Oh, bud,
wouldn’t this place
be lovely in springtime?”
“You old fool,” I teased,
“it is Spring.”
Great storytelling…. again.
“I use my right-brained charm” A truly lovely walk you took us on
DRIFTING BACK HOME
The lone fisherman floats,
his vessel bobs in the ripple
of a homeward tide.
He can not hide his pride
for it has given him courage
to take on all obstacles
and all the confidence to succeed.
A glance back to see that the beacon
still broadcasts its brilliance
never leaving him in peril; not
leaving him in the dark. The waves
are cyclical and persistent; he can’t
resist their allure. For he is sure home
is anywhere his heart is welcomed.
Leaving home to head for home.
This is lovey
Highs and Lows
It started out as a high
Walking up a hill with a playful little bird
That sang sweet songs to me
But as I got higher, the hill turned into a mountain
The thinning air, the blinding fog, the lies that turned into truths
At the edge of a cliff I almost jumped
Wanting to follow where that bird was leading
But a gust of wind blew me back down the hill
To the lowest point I ever felt
The sky opened, water pouring
So I sought shelter from the rain
After stumbling around, I found a tree
I clung to it, crying
All of a sudden,
That bird I followed came
And turned into a bat
No, a monster
Not fearing the tree, it pulled me away
I was dragged through the ground
My legs couldn’t kick
All I could do was scream
“LET ME GO!
LET ME GO!”
Then I saw in my hand
A branch from the tree
With all my strength, I went back on my feet
I staked the monster through its empty heart
And ran back to the tree, finding shelter within
After what seemed like forever, the rain finally stopped
I looked out of the tree and saw a bright white cloud on top
Sunlight shone down from the cloud
And the tree itself began to change
From just a shelter from the storm
To a warm, welcome place
The beginning of home
Whenever we see a young
child, we throw our palms over
our eyes and disappear. We
say silly words and – just like
magic – we’re back. Did I feel
lost when an adult did that to
me? For that brief moment,
was I alone in the world, searching
for the eyes of anyone safe?
Looking back, I’m grateful. For
as relieved as I was when my
mother always returned, this
game we played showed me
how instantaneous it can be
when her hands never reveal
her eyes again.
Protected against the elements
We sleep under wood and shingles.
Dine together at a table
And work to maintain our domain.
Opening its doors
For life to happen
In her heart’s chambers.
Community of our relationships
Made known by lived togetherness
Shared moments and memories
Joy, pain, love, laughter, and tears.
The blessings we share
Reap the Fruits of the Spirit
And dreams are born.
The world may rage around us
Nature may grow to the door
The threshold enters and exits others
But by night our unity renews.
Walls do not define our home
No matter our shelter’s facade
The importance of our joint journey
Makes home in our hearts.
4/9 Prompt – shelter, home
at home among the brambles
under a fallen star
The haiga, with image included, can be seen here:
She had learned what
shelter meant in school.
It was about protection.
She wondered about that
as she tried to sleep
in the homeless shelter
She wondered as some
was man trying to grope her.
The Inner Sanctum of Sleep Itself
I am clambering.
The word unites itself with
the world I am in, and
in some soft way
I am caught and snared
by the consonants,
and by the idea’s fence-
and though I am not free;
I am safe.
no longer struggled.
Nodding off, my
affections lead me to wonder
how it was that just one moment ago
I was feet-above-head-
digging my nails
into slope, graveled dirt-
but the curtain is being lowered
and the shawl is being placed
and my eyes are covered.
I am dead-
and everyone is here
and I am no longer afraid
to do anything
for anyone but myself.
As I recede-
the choirs of sleep
have begun to sing,
for me alone-
WHERE OUR HEARTS BELONGED
It is where the heart is.
We had left her years ago
but our hearts remained; an empty shell
where the essence of us resides.
They can cover her in vinyl,
but in the final determination
the combination of sunny yellow
and a mellow burnt umber trimming.
had her brimming with love.
A two-family dwelling with
full cellar. A fellow could find sanctuary
with nary a care; there was always family there.
A room paneled and trimmed
(all on the carpenter’s whim)
Bunks and captain’s beds,
where we were born and bred.
It remains in my heart and head,
where my memories come.
I’ll always her call home.
“A Shelter from Reality”
When the letter came
Expected or not
The finality shattered all she knew.
She smoothed her hair behind her ears
Willing the feeling to
Just go away.
Their love was rancorous; an anomalous propagation.
Her eyes were rife with storm activity,
bolts of lightning and rambles of thunder shook their hearts,
and emotions climbed. Traces of their barometer
remain to bring their tempest to a high pressure front.
He felt trapped, his hue the color of ash,
the corners of his mouth turned with concern,
her eyes as damp as the coming precipitation,
but she drew inward; her husk protecting her fragile psyche.
But relenting, he had gathered her in; a bundle of ravaged souls
seeking shelter from the tirade of their hearts.
To have loved you for a moment,
just a brief second of my life,
was all I needed to carry on.
Hateful sneers and crude jeers
pervade my isolated world.
But thoughts of you, a brief glimpse of
your face peering through the shadows
of my mind, reassure me, making my
solitude an intimate place of refuge.
Seeking shelter from the storm of hatred,
the shock of indifference reverberates;
a time bomb spent to quell revolution,
yet offering no solution. Hardened hearts
rage against the dying of the fight;
with the resilience that defines the struggle.
We promise to thrive; staying alive to land
on our feet. A firm resolve shipped and settled.
Who are the real infidels?
Ha! Who, indeed? This is great!
THE FARMER’S HAT
A weathered face with worry lines
creases, creeping in with time
spreading like cracks in parched black soil
Milky eyes that know weeping too well,
gaze across empty, barren fields
searching, seeking answers to his world
Yellowed teeth peek out from pursed lips
chew and spit brown, frothy liquid
remnants trickle down his narrow chin
Throbbing, swollen, arthritic fingers
make rigid movements through the air
before landing steady at his side
His straw hat, curved and crumpled
hangs low against his furrowed brow
shading him from the afternoon sun
Invisible walls don’t crumble with time
instead they grow thicker and higher
built with bricks of mistrust and fear
held together with mortar of regret
and this occupant within remains
a lonely prisoner who judged himself
worthy of the sentence of life
Wow. This is somber indeed, but excellently written, in my opinion.
the last time in,
i was already out,
odds and ends;
room to room
a ghost i walked,
ill not knowing,
where fate was going,
for each bit taken.
the golden ring,
on hand an
a book of poems,
of friendship’s face.
the absinthe dream,
of love it seemed,
This poem moves me, almost to tears.
This is very emotional and compelling!
Day 9: My Home
Within the confines of my home
No one can bother me.
I am free to do as I please.
When I’m in my house,
I feel safe; carefree.
I am alone, and I feel great!
My home is my shelter,
My solitude. I love
Being alone in my home.
The old moon holds the new one
in her arms, a dark child, caressed
by the opalescent glow of clouds.
The sitter watches over the recliners
as the dreamers talk in their sleep.
Soft, they speak of absent caretakers,
of days in journals on the journey of days
of taking and carefully giving care
down the light and the dark of the moon.
The new moon holds the old moon
in her arms, a black pearl encircled
by a silver sickle in the onyx sky.
I love these pictures, and the words too: “…. caressed / by the opalescent glow of clouds.”
You make me dream of late mornings.
Of long showers and breakfast where the eggs turn black
and the coffee never makes it into the mug.
You make me dream of tiled bathroom floors,
and bedrooms with canopy skies where I surrender my body,
ripening under the sun of your hands.
There is browning fruit sitting on the kitchen isle but I don’t notice.
You are playing Norah Jones and our bodies are parallel islands
rocking in the Pacific Ocean.
Somewhere in that big foyer our yesterday selves are tearing at each
other’s limbs, leaving bite marks that will tender into the skin.
You cut onions and I try not to make a canvas out of your bare back.
You pull me into your chest
and seek sanctuary in my mouth
and suddenly I become the woman who doesn’t care about being late for
work because she’s got all the time in the world to turn her body into
The Fall of Rome.
This is what home looks like.
This is where the kitchen window sleeps open
and the shower is familiar with your name yawning in my mouth
This is the quiet.
This is smell of olive oil
and the peeling of oranges
and the unclenching of the wanting bodies.
Here are my hands slipping under your curtain skin.
Here is my voice whispering,
‘Be with me,
forever, forever, forever
-Karese Burrows “Home”
I think this is spectacular. Your detail in this poem brings it to life for me.
Where do you find shelter
when the world presses you too close?
What cellar can hold you
when intermittent cyclones
cut through your life
leaving ruined paths
through what you were?
Where can you go for respite
after rains splash without guile
full-tilt across your spirit?
How do you cope
with water lashing, stinging,
what you know to be true?
Can you hibernate?
Close your eyes for a while,
let go of fear?
Can you find a fragment of peace
here in my arms?
A cabin of relief
on my shoulder?
Could my eyes and my voice
be a pier where you could dock,
an improbable log cabin
with cedar closets and potted plants,
comfy pillows and blazing fires
where you could nap
until the flood begins to mud,
to ebb and dissipate
and the wind picks up enough
for you to sail once more?
just as I am most my self when I am writing a poem
I am most alone just having written one
in this blanket fort of solitude
with cushions for doors –
a blue fuzzy filtered world
only slightly bigger than a prone body –
where you find
you are most your self
the same womb-like place
you are always looking for
when you are searching for
just the right word to inhabit
your latest creation
the meant for meaning more than in the becoming
right before it all crashes
into chaos the moment you jump up
forgetting where you are
finally ready to share it with
A STEP INTO SEASON’S GREEN
I am awash with poppies,
swallows’ tails and tipped of wings,
slight sunlight follows spring,
and warms sheltered hollows
of winter’s tendril strings.
(with photo as http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/day-9-a-step-into-seasons-green/ )
Nice one, Misky. Also, beautiful photograph to go with it.
I fled like smoke from a fire –
rising black and curling white
into the first available stretch of sky.
I put my faith in fixed foundations.
But the earth quakes against closed eyes.
Steam spindrels of dream/spite
escape and frame most of my nights
into the shape of that old farmhouse –
porch light on,
time to come home.
Beautiful, vivid images in this poem. I think your word choices make this very special.
they offered me-
like no harm would
come to this place
then I closed my
and opened them
ready for the
but when I looked
I saw it
Love the twists in this poem.
If you came closer
I would kiss you
My body trembles
I am scared
I cower, I cry
They will kill me
My heart is broken
You walk close
your hand trailing my bars
I can almost feel your warmth
I slide closer
but you don’t turn
I lay down in filth
you did not see my
My eyes close, drifting away to
The Rainbow Bridge
Where Did the Mountain Go?
This is the first foggy morning
we’ve had, the first time the hills
have disappeared in the mist.
He walks slowly, lumbering along
hoping to sneak up on unsuspecting
squirrels or cats. He looks to the side
then to me, as if to ask,
where did the mountain go.
I tell him it’s okay, it’s still there;
you will see it later, it’s okay
you’ve got us now.
That day I saw him
at the shelter there was something
about him I could not forget
something deep and longing in my heart
told me he was the one.
we take the walk
of freedom together.
Aleathia Drehmer 2014
April 9 Shelter
I think this is excellent. It works on at least three levels for me.
I love this Aleathia!