Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

Before we get into today’s prompt, I just want to address a few common questions I’ve been asked recently: Who can join the challenge? Anyone (any age, any level of experience, any location, and so on). When can they jump in? Anytime (like if you haven’t participated in the first 8 days, you can get poeming today). Is it all right to bend (or even break) the prompt? Heck yeah. The prompt is just a springboard; you decide where, when, and how to jump. So let’s get jumping!

For today’s prompt, write a shelter poem. Shelter might be a structure like a house, apartment, or hotel. Shelter could be a tent or cardboard box. Shelter could be an umbrella, overpass, cave, or car. Shelter could be a state of mind, part of a money laundering scheme, or any number of interpretations.


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Here’s my attempt at a Shelter Poem:

“among the ruins”

the houses are crumbling
and the barns slant their way
to earth in the city

factories are silent
no metal on metal
or middle managers

barking at their workers
for the faults of machines
ohio is a knife

abandoned to weather
fighting against the rust
that turns us all to dust


Today’s guest judge is…

Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli is a poet, writer, and editor from the Northwest. She’s the author of the newly released, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014) and The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, which she coauthored with Martha Silano. Her other books include Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, Small Knots, Geography, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry, which she edited with Annette Spaulding-Convy. Kelli is the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press and was the editor of Crab Creek Review for the last six years. She lives in a small seaside town where she is an avid mountain biker, paddleboarder, and hiker.  She loves dessert, museums, and typewriters.

Learn more about her at her website: www.agodon.com. She also blogs at Book of Kells: www.ofkells.blogspot.com. She can be found on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/agodon.

Her press, Two Sylvias Press, recently launched a Kickstarter Campaign for The Poet Tarot: A Deck & Guidebook into Creative Exploration, which you can learn about and support here: http://bit.ly/PoetTarotKickstarter.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He spent one summer working in the same car factory as his single mother, who put food on the table for three boys and still made it to nearly all their extracurricular activities. Learn more about him here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Feel free to use Poetic Asides as your poetry shelter:


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761 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

  1. stepstep


    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.


  2. bxpoetlover

    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.

  3. bxpoetlover

    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.

  4. azkbc

    Spring Rain

    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.

  5. danceoftheletters


    Love is my shelter.

    Even though
    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
    find Her
    just waiting to be Home.

    Ani Tuzman

  6. TuLife

    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.
    Only you
    guide me to
    exciting things
    and magnificent scenes.
    You are a song
    that is never sang wrong.
    You are a story.
    My shelter and glory.

  7. Anders Bylund

    My Cave
    This is my cave
    My den in the mountain
    My sanctuary
    My safe harbor
    My umbrella in the storm

    This is my refuge camp
    My personal ghetto
    My suburban slum
    My torture chamber
    My purgatory

    This is my cave.
    This is my home.

  8. Mr. Walker


    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

  9. kimberleetm

    Learned Behavior

    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
    she needn’t.

  10. ianchandler


    after the house became toothpicks and negative space,
    after vermilion,
    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.

  11. Yolee


    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.

  12. LCaramanna

    Ocean’s Voice

    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
    with memories
    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.

  13. ambermarie

    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

  14. horselovernat

    After the Storm by Natalie Gasper

    It’s amazing
    how quickly a beautiful day
    can change from laughter and joy
    to screams and panic.

    The sky begins to darken,
    wind howling,
    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

    Then silence.

    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

    Looking around
    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.”

  15. Jezzie

    Full Circle

    made a
    to call in a
    garden landscaper
    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.

    quite like
    the gravel
    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.

    sit at
    the window
    every day
    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.

    must be
    patient but
    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.

  16. Megaparsec


    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.

  17. MMC

    A Rose by Any Other Name

    (NB – the last three lines should be in italics)

    La maison
    la casa
    the house

    ma maison
    ma casa
    my house

    ta maison
    tu casa
    your house

    chez nous
    en nuestra casa
    at our place

    Fine and dandy!

  18. jacq

    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.

  19. brandonspeck


    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.

  20. Jay Sizemore

    Shell tear

    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

  21. Glory

    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.

  22. Delaina Miller

    Safe Havens

    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.

  23. sharon4

    ~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?

  24. pamelaraw

    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.

  25. gmagrady


    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.

    She shelters me.

    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.

    She shelters me.

    Forever my rock
    she weathers life’s storms with words
    of wisdom and wit.

    She shelters me.

    And come the day she
    leaves me, I will weep but feel
    her guardian grace.

    She shelters me.

  26. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    Four walls and a roof
    keep me dry
    and warmer
    than out on the streets
    at least.

    Safe from harm
    at least physically
    Sanctuary of body
    but not for my soul.

    Shelter is not
    the same thing
    as home.

    Home is
    where the heart belongs
    and mine still roams.

  27. break_of_day

    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.

  28. kswiberg

    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.

    –Karin Wiberg

  29. madeline40

    Gimme Shelter

    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.
    Arms entwined
    we sway we dance we slowly climb
    with Gimme Shelter
    and other Stones tunes
    that chose to come along.

  30. Anya Padyam

    Angels hark

    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.

  31. kimdorfman

    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.

  32. Earl Parsons

    (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

  33. Jaleese Nicole

    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

  34. BezBawni

    Thousand Selves

    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

  35. georgiana

    April 15

    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.

  36. Angie5804

    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
    With affection
    My dad

  37. ToniBee3


    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for allowing me
    to vagabond in your salivary dwelling
    being that my previous eviction
    came unexpectedly.

    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.



  38. PSC in CT


    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.

    Sheltered within
    where none can touch,
    safe from hurt & pain and such.
    If only a similar carapace
    might the human heart embrace.


  39. KiManou

    Daddy Dearest

    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
    steppin over
    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
    misogynist—he did
    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


  40. tradford

    New member. Forgive me if posting this here and now is improper.

    The Box

    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.

  41. Autumn

    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.

    Love is forgiveness
    Forgiveness is grace
    Grace is my shelter

  42. Mustang Sal

    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.
    You know.
    The addicted, the neglected, the disconnected.
    Some come when the storm clouds gather –
    others wait ‘til it’s pouring.
    You know.
    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.
    You know.
    One night’s shelter from the storm.

  43. Kevin D Young

    (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.

  44. theDolphin


    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.
    Très chic.

    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.

  45. PenConnor


    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.

  46. Alaska Christina


    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.

  47. Zeenie

    lovers’ land
    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
    thwarted cartography.

    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.

  48. elishevasmom


    Shootings have become so
    in our world–in

    malls, in movie theaters,
    college campuses–even

    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?

    Ellen Evans

  49. Debbie


    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.

  50. derrdevil

    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

  51. Snowqueen

    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

  52. julie e.


    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.
    He popula-
    ted my thoughts
    with rhyme and
    a neighborhood
    when i would go
    for shelter
    in the Hundred
    Acre Wood.

  53. PatsC


    The nesting hut,
    Thatched and woven,
    Blends into branch,
    Hidden, neat and small.

    Two Springs,
    Finchful optimism,
    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,
    Life everlasting.

  54. lily black

    Seeking Shelter
    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
    Plexiglass doors
    I went back

  55. Blaise


    Under simple shingles
    all the stuff of my life
    takes shelter
    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.

  56. jean

    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.

  57. Aberdeen Lane

    they told him it was shelter
    to slake his confidence
    in this shoddy shack
    steep embankment
    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 ha ha

    He reaches the door
    at the same moment as the girl
    as she takes this opportunity of escape

    the road

    it begins to rain
    she raises her skirt up over their heads
    conceiving a refuge
    in subterfuge

  58. Rolf Erickson

    Jefferson Park

    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
    from anywhere.

    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.

  59. Mokosh28

    Necessity’s Daughters

    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.

  60. lidywilks

    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

  61. drwasy

    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.

  62. d dyson

    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.

  63. Penny Henderson


    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

  64. mimzy13


    Just because more terrible things
    have happened to you than you can bear
    does not mean more terrible things

    won’t happen.
    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.

  65. jsmadge


    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.

    Jo Steigerwald

  66. anneemcwilliams

    “With the animals, an experience perishes as it happens,
    and each new doing or suffering stands alone. But man…..”
    John Dewey


    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

  67. maxie409


    In the wake of grief
    I seek shelter
    in the common,
    ordinary, everyday
    comforts of life:
    a cup of tea
    with toast, warm
    woolen socks, your
    old flannel shirt.

  68. robinamelia

    9 Shelter

    Grownup Games

    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

  69. pettigrew1966

    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.


    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.

  70. LeighSpencer


    Under this roof
    there is safety


    from the elements
    but elementally more




    Walls fortified by laughter
    holding in sweet
    lingering aromas
    of 6 and 12
    birthday cakes

    Salty tears
    for 183 scraped knees
    and broken hearts
    patched together
    with Scooby Doo bandaids
    and a kiss

    It won’t always be like this

    Children grow

    Parents grow old

    Houses get sold

    Let it go


    It was never wood and concrete
    paint and tile and glass

    Come to me

    In sun
    In storm
    In laughter
    In love

    For as long as this heart has a beat
    you will find your shelter

    1. BDP

      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.

      1. LeighSpencer

        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.

  71. briehuling

    April 9, 2014

    Day 9


    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 crackling
    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
    it’s spiral
    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

  72. tbell

    Distressing Disguise

    Nevada brothel
    barracks in Sachsenhausen
    concentration camp
    chemo ward
    Appalachian coal mine
    Tegel Prison cell
    church stairwell where
    the junky shoots up at night

    death disguised
    as shelter

    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
    the line

    between us drawn

    with a

    Copyright © TD Bell
    All Rights Reserved

  73. Linda Hatton

    The Niche

    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

      1. Linda Hatton

        Thank you, William.

        (And fixing my typo. Grrr . . . )

        The Niche

        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.

  74. shethra77

    Taking Shelter

    That summer
    we had so many
    false alarms
    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.

  75. starrynight3


    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.

    That’s shelter.

  76. Scott Jacobson


    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.

  77. silencebreaksyourheart

    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.

    -S. Monahan
    All Rights Reserved

  78. Shell

    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

  79. tbell

    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
    frazzled landscape

    signs of a storm touching

    down without warning
    in a heart unprepared
    for such an uncertain

    force of nature
    as the future.

    Copyright © TD Bell
    All Rights Reserved

  80. Amirae Garcia

    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.

  81. EbenAt

    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
    your cares.

    As for me,
    I’ll defer to Norman Maclean;
    “Eventually, all things merge into one,
    and a river runs through it.”

  82. msmacs3m

    Shelter Poem
    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.

    Psalm 91:4

  83. Clark Buffington

    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.

    Shelter from the world is our Love

    1. Clark Buffington

      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.

  84. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 9

    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.

  85. anitaexplorer

    Day 9:

    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!

  86. danceoftheletters


    Love is my shelter.

    Even though
    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

    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 way 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 see Her

    (c) Ani Tuzman

  87. PKP

    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

      1. PKP

        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)

  88. iris dunkle

    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.

  89. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    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,
    Rarely both…
    And never all three…

  90. Yerma Skyflower

    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.

  91. PKP

    They walk

    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

      1. Bucky Ignatius

        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.

  92. Serena B

    “Welcome Home”

    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

    Welcome home

  93. k_weber

    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

    1. k_weber

      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!

  94. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    In stinging rain,
    In sudden storm;
    I find your heart,
    And I am warm.

    In blazing sun,
    In cutting sand,
    Your oasis
    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.

  95. GirlGriot

    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 …

    on fire.
    Fifteen years —
    a brilliant torch
    in the thick darkness.
    sharp mind
    grasps, rises,
    I watch with awe. She
    grows —
    more alive.
    Comes gracefully
    into her power.

  96. Kit Cooley

    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

  97. MeenaRose

    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

  98. PKP

    In the field

    past the split
    oak tree they
    think they see
    huddled together
    doing just what
    they shouldn’t be
    doing – standing
    under a tree as
    lightning cracks
    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

  99. Deri

    Paradise Lost

    One cloudy day
    my young husband and I
    took shelter
    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,
    like something
    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
    and wonder
    if he ever kisses
    any other woman
    that way now.

  100. susanjer

    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?

  101. keepkeepingmesane

    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.

  102. LizMac


    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
    Impersonal fury
    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.

  103. KJo


    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

    Kelly Metz

  104. Autumn


    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.

    Love is forgiveness
    Forgiveness is grace
    Grace is my shelter

  105. cobanionsmith


    a cellar
    to wait in
    while the twister
    tears the house
    an unmade bed
    to hide under
    with held breath
    until the intruder
    steals away
    past and future
    solace sought
    in so many
    insipid hands
    and faces
    useless lies
    and vices
    but what I
    didn’t get
    was what I
    really needed
    the home
    you give me

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  106. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    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.

    Breathing together
    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.)

  107. Emily Cooper

    Tuesday’s Gone (With the Windows)

    Yesterday Microsoft
    ended support
    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
    had people
    that didn’t want

    other people
    to keep something

    that made their lives
    more functional

    (however slightly
    or maybe even
    just bearable)

    and said they had
    to upgrade themselves
    in order to receive
    those benefits?

    (Luckily such an ideology
    is purely hypothetical.)

  108. Elizabeth Koch

    Blue Salvation

    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)

  109. aphotic soul

    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.

  110. MichaelMcMonigle


    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 –
    Risking collision
    And fateful wreckage –
    Yet such impact
    Would bring touch

    In brief shines
    Stars scare your shadow
    Upon my side
    And taunts me
    With history
    Aged insane.

    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.

  111. RebekahJ

    Paula in New York

    5th Avenue sidewalk
    January fine sleet
    dark body diagonal
    half-covered sheet not blanket
    crowd lunges around
    lunges away
    surges on

    I go back

    she is rocking, murmuring
    bare close-shorn hair
    thin shirt
    paper cup
    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

  112. acele


    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
    His voice

    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
    Your strength

    Sometimes I open a book
    And find the words, for they are all
    Your words that express the unnamable knowing that
    You are

    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

  113. Cameron Steele


    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.

  114. Michael Wells

    Provisional Sanctuary

    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—

  115. bookworm0341

    “Shelter of your Wings”

    The money was never there
    it would fall through your fingers
    as if it were water through a sieve:
    phone bill
    as soon as there seemed to be a little extra
    something to save
    an emergency happened:
    broken furnace
    huge car bill
    washer broke
    other car was totaled in a hit and run accident
    dad laid-off

    We could never seem to get ahead
    never go on family vacations
    I had to pretend to listen
    and care
    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.

  116. Daniel Paicopulos


    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.

  117. miaokuancha

    April 9, 2014

    Prompt: Shelter

    A kind word
    A warm embrace
    Air above
    Leaves of trees
    Hair down my back
    Ribs wrapping lungs
    And the sound of rain at night.

    ~ miaokuancha

  118. intheshadowofthesoul

    Harborage and Home
    Lydia Flores

    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.

  119. pcm


    A young robin
    built a loose
    jumbled nest
    on the edge
    of my gutter
    a ledge
    of mere inches
    that the first summer
    sending her
    unhatched chicks
    to the ground.
    I mourned
    how birdbrains
    their nests
    and foxes

    A great
    din arose
    above the
    where the
    Barred Owls
    coo and roost
    in February
    and Mayapple
    emerge in spring.
    A young
    Redtail hawk
    by cackling
    flew on
    eagle wings
    of being

    took my hand
    as we sat
    two old birds
    on a stone
    under the stars
    in particular
    I felt
    a nest
    eagle wings
    much of

  120. utsabfly

    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.

    ©E.D. Allee
    April, 2014


  121. DCR1986

    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

  122. Roderick Bates


    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.

  123. SestinaNia

    Under Wing

    Let me nestle here,
    as I slumber. Spread
    yourself as a canopy
    to keep off rain
    and starshine.
    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
    the cathedral
    in which I seek

    — Sara Doyle

  124. encrerouge

    Continuity Canvas

    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.

  125. Funkomatic


    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.

  126. Hannah

    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

    1. cbwentworth

      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.

  127. Sharon Ann


    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.

  128. christinamcphee

    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
    Banishing monsters
    with lemonade stands
    bubble gum wishes
    jump rope beating the sand
    Rainbows kiss my tainted land

  129. jclenhardt


    and I much prefer
    to stand under
    the cherry tree
    then the broken
    you try and hold
    at a tilt
    as my feet
    get wet,
    and so,
    you drop it,
    try and tuck your
    shirt in,
    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
    your jawbone,
    down into the
    of your chin
    where it
    rests, and,
    I had already
    imagined it
    like this,
    just like this,
    where I thought
    I’d never
    love again,
    until you opened
    that umbrella,
    broken and
    as it was,
    and you offered
    me exactly what
    I wanted;

  130. purplechair


    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

  131. BDP

    “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.

    –Barb Peters

  132. amaranthe

    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.

  133. bethwk

    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.

  134. dandelionwine


    Hold my hand, shelter sweet silence.
    We are humans secure in stillness,
    humans wearing sneakers,
    humans with travel plans.

    Sara Ramsdell

  135. Gabrielle Freeman

    Resistance. Attraction.

    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!

  136. toujourskari

    Gimme Shelter

    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
    from place
    to desolate place

  137. Gwyvian


    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.

    April 9, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  138. Alpha1


    You give so freely
    Love so deeply
    Feelings so visibly
    Displayed on your
    Sleeve you could not
    Know why could not
    See how
    Your heart
    So vulnerable
    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

  139. RuthNott

    In the Shelter of Your Arms

    My Lord,
    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

  140. leagal99

    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

  141. clcediting


    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
    stepped aside
    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
    without him.

  142. Genevieve Fitzgerald

    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

  143. Grey_Ay

    “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?
    Nepal, Brazil
    Japan, Tehran
    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.

    -A. Ault-

    Inspired by this amazing collection excerpt from “Where Children Sleep”: http://pulptastic.com/james-mollison-where-children-sleep/

  144. Karen

    (A shadorma)

    The shelter
    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,
    but questions
    are then left
    unanswered at the bottom
    of every bottle.

    Too few beds
    are available,
    as I’m left
    on the cold steps of kismet,
    not where I belong.

    So I roam
    for hours on end,
    just hiding
    from police;
    then sleeping on park benches,
    the burden too great.

    The shelter
    does not hold the hope
    I wanted
    and needed,
    with too many just like me
    waiting for their break.


  145. cam45237

    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

    Ensconced inside
    A smug pig

  146. carolecole66

    Thin Shelters

    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.


  147. Alfonso Kuchinski


    (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

  148. seingraham


    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,
    including themselves.

    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

  149. MyPoeticHeart

    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.

  150. hohlwein


    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.

  151. Gwyvian

    Sick heart

    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 sanctuary?
    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.

    April 9, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  152. Brian Slusher


    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

  153. Mark Windham

    once a year

    these are the words
    we call them.

    are the words they
    call themselves.

    I am sure it was you —
    yes, you, standing
    there smiling
    and gracious

    as you fill bowls,
    your annual shift
    at the shelter —

    who drove past these
    same souls
    as they stood
    on the corner

    holding their signs.

  154. Pengame30


    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

  155. alana sherman

    day 9 shelter

    Safe Haven
    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.

  156. Kendall A. Bell

    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.

  157. beale.alexis

    “Snow Globe”

    Shake it
    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.
    It’s perfect.

    Drop it
    and watch my world
    shatter to pieces.

  158. James Brush


    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.

  159. CristinaMRNorcross

    South Shields Bungalow

    Our bungalow-by-the-sea
    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 carpets,
    the couch,
    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
    by mistake.
    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,
    this bungalow-by-the-sea
    gave two newlyweds shelter
    from the storm.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  160. Emma


    I will be my own safe haven.
    A sanctuary.
    My mother says
    My body is a temple,
    After all.
    If I trust nature too much
    And am burnt by the pretty dancing flames, scorched by intangible blue and yellow,
    Or else
    Am wrecked by the temperamental seas, caught out by a volatile storm,
    I will return to myself.
    A sanctuary.
    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.
    A sanctuary.
    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.

  161. Julieann

    The Shelter

    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

  162. Michael Wells

    Coastal Salvage

    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.

  163. peacegirlout


    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
    The house.
    That was carried by the woman on her back.

  164. Sara McNulty

    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.

  165. uneven steven

    sacrifice zones

    on the pine ridge reservation
    in south dakota, the average age
    of death for a male member of the tribe
    is 47
    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 -

  166. mbramucci

    Silverstein Lining
    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,
    There once
    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.

  167. Anvanya


    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
    disintegrated floors.

    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.

  168. Ashley Marie Egan

    I don’t know how I feel about this one.

    Shelter Your Heart
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    The heart,
    Is just a muscle,
    That pumps life,
    Through our veins.

    The brain,
    Is not considered,
    A romantic organ,
    Yet it’s the reason,
    We can love at all.

    The brain,
    Is to blame,
    For lovers lost,
    But somehow,
    When in pain,
    It’s the heart that aches.

    My heart,
    Is a fragile muscle,
    Which needs shelter,
    From the storms,
    My brain creates,
    When falling in love.

  169. Amaria

    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.

    1. Amaria

      Day 9: Shelter Poem

      “Your arms are my shelter”

      Your arms were 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.

  170. inkysolace

    “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

  171. DamonZ

    “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

  172. rachelgrace

    a refuge

    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
    but today
    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

  173. India


    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
    or not.

  174. eileenDmoeller


    Let’s live in
    word rooms,
    build phrase huts,
    and sentence cabins,
    buy mansions as big as chapters,
    stately paragraph colonials,
    poetic stanza cottages,
    design newspaper
    column contemporaries.

    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.

  175. mpchris1


    Tin sheet and air-tight
    this is our home

    we rest dead
    and our cells alive

    with protein
    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)

  176. Karintha Valentine


    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.  

  177. Pat Walsh

    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

  178. DanielAri


    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.


  179. jadetney

    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.

  180. De Jackson

    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’,
    ’cuz he’s
    dangling by his part
    -iciple, blowin’
    in the breeze.

                don’t anybody
                                s  n  e  e  z  e.

    I forgot
    to put pants on my poem.


  181. jean2dubois

    by Jean Dubois

    say that I need shelter
    this minute
    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
    no way

    nor can I seek out friends
    so few still left alive
    w’d all go down together
    I’m alone

    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
    but where

    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

  182. Clae


    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

  183. lethejerome


    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.

    Jérôme Melançon

  184. JayGee2711

    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.

  185. Bartholomew Barker

    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?

  186. lshannon

    Adventure Ark

    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.

  187. Scribbling Sue


    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.

    Suzanne Lalor
    9th April 2014

      1. Scribbling Sue

        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.

  188. RamblinRose

    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

  189. priyajane

    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

  190. jakkels

      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

  191. lina

    to safety

    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.

  192. Pamela

    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

  193. laurie kolp

    Sheltered Belief

    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.

  194. SuziBwritin



    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

      1. SuziBwritin

        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.

  195. rlmatt7

    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.

  196. shellaysm

    The Shelter

    A chance
    no more
    framed in hope
    no guarantee or thanks

    For too many
    time proves
    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
    second–or third–chances
    odds on their side
    instead of against

    Michele K. Smith

  197. shellaysm

    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

    Michele K. Smith

  198. Jacqueline Casey


    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)

  199. Janet Rice Carnahan


    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!

    She mumbled,

    Her reply,
    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,

    Searching inside,
    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 . . .

    With ease!

  200. Janet Rice Carnahan


    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,
    Freedom forbidden,
    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!

  201. Taylor Emily Copeland


    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.

  202. Srividya K

    – 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.

  203. lionetravail

    “Binary Ideology”
    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.

  204. stargypsy

    Your Arms…

    When I need
    A place to turn
    There you are
    folding me into
    the strength of
    your arms
    surrounding me…
    sheltering me…

    Copyright © 2014 Annie – Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie

  205. De Jackson

    Storm Song

    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.


  206. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Sailing into his safe arms
    Guided her worn
    Lost adorned
    Into a sense of safety
    When her boat
    Could no longer float
    Her sails marred through time
    Rhyme had left
    Her rhythm
    Soundless against a raging sea!

    Careful attention
    Daily mention
    Of a rough set of seas
    Appeased both
    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
    And trusted!

    The rusted parts of her vessel
    Each quirk
    Pulled out like old nails
    Not in support
    Of the new port
    Old sails
    Torn down
    Taken to town
    Newly shared
    Now dared to be new again!

    Daily she became stronger
    No longer
    Living in dread
    Fear unsaid
    Attached to the past
    Letting go at last
    Aiming again for the sea
    This new sailor
    Gaining strength
    To be sure
    She could cast her sail
    Once more
    Leave the shore
    Become the adventurer
    She has always been
    And then . . .

    She saw she could not move
    The ropes would not
    Let go
    There were knots,
    Little did she know!
    Her safe harbor
    Had not understood
    He never could
    That her stop over
    Was temporary
    Quite contrary
    To the attachment
    He had to her
    He held her too safe,
    Too secure
    He was to her!
    He had anchored
    Too tight
    No freedom for her
    Day or night

    Moored to her side,
    His own freedom
    Had died
    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
    Only now
    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
    They must
    Learn to trust their individual ship
    Not to flip
    Costing them to trip!
    And fall again into a dull
    Hull of futility and failing
    Awaiting rescue
    Of someone new!

    Their hearts
    Had to chart
    New waters
    New depths
    Fresh currents
    Find a wave
    To save
    Within themselves
    Instead be brave
    Not to think
    Or sink
    Each other
    To release
    Sail on
    Look upon
    No more
    Be moored
    Or ignore
    Their heart’s need to be free
    To each be
    Sailors . . .

    On an uncharted sea!

  207. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 9 Shelter Poem

    Curbing Anger

    Warmth comes
    winter slow
    as it exposes
    its sheltered
    hoarded debris
    until I can crack
    so satisfactorily
    the dirt encrusted
    gutter shelves
    that formed to blackness
    from white snow
    whether I was ready
    to thaw
    or not.

  208. Ravyne

    Keeping Shelter

    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

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  209. MaryAnn1067


    a dream of shelter and
    time enough to sleep and
    wake restored

    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

  210. rej8205

    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
    and his

    she was his shelter
    he didn’t realize

    she was gone.

  211. geetakshi

    This is a Haiku for Day 8

    Refugee Camp

    *Free shelter for all:
    The sign was vivid in red ink
    *conditions apply

    ©Geetakshi Arora
    April 9, 2014

  212. Liliuokalani

    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
    to capture
    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,
    the disappearing,
    and the cantaloupe moon.

  213. jane


    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

    Doorbell ringing
    Dark evening
    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

  214. Tashtoo

    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.

    Natasha Head

  215. KellyDelValle

    After Leaving the Tower

    It occurred to me,
    that you were something worth turning around for.
    But now I see
    that I, like she,
    jumped blind.

    A pretty face and a name written on a boat?
    I had hoped to amount to more.

  216. Aimless


    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

  217. Walt Wojtanik


    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.

  218. Eibhlin


    Where can I shelter from the desert?
    Only in its deepest core.

    For the edges of the desert
    brim with sand
    and dirt
    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.

  219. Michele Brenton

    Sheltered lives.

    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.

  220. Joseph Harker

    Short on time again, so I’ll have to try to craft something better later…


    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.

  221. Zart_is

    Shelter Bed

    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.

  222. Walt Wojtanik


    “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.

  223. Margot Suydam

    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

  224. alan1704

    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.

  225. Margot Suydam

    The Longer I Run
    I Wanna Get Better

    I Will Cross This River
    Far From Any Road

    Old Home Place
    (a found poem from random song titles)

    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

  226. Walt Wojtanik


    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.

  227. DanielAri

    “Staple gun”

    —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.

    1. Linda Goin

      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…

  228. smdnyc


    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.


  229. cholder


    scratching at the
    desiccated soil

    parched elements
    seeking shelter from the

    answers elude
    survivers bear witness
    for Him

    Chi Holder

  230. Andrea

    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

  231. am_daniels

    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.

  232. lionmother

    My Shelter

    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

  233. novacatmando

    Swim Treason

    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.

  234. modscribery

    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.

  235. Dennis W

    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.

  236. Jane Shlensky


    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.

    1. PressOn

      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.

  237. Joseph Hesch

    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.

  238. CrashHiker

    The Sculptor

    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.

  239. Domino


    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

  240. Aja DePizzol

    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.

          1. Aja DePizzol

            Wow.. Thank you! That does work.. Auto correct proved to be useful for once! Hahaha :)

  241. DanielR

    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

    Daniel Roessler

  242. CLShaffer

    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.

  243. Azma


    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.

    -Azma Sheikh

  244. elledoubleyoo

    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.

  245. Evelyn Philipp


    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.

    Lightning strikes.
    One, Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
    And you are hiding,
    Angry and Afraid.

    I am afraid, too.

    Breathe. Focus.
    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,

    And hide.

    Angry and afraid.

  246. barbara_y


    You seem surprised.
    Night falls.
    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.

  247. feywriter


    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

  248. J.lynn Sheridan

    The Shelterer

    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.

  249. DanielR

    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

    Daniel Roessler

  250. Dennis W

    Nothing Yet
    (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.

  251. StephanieRosieG

    Shelter Poem

    “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

  252. bartonsmock


    where do we go when we live

    do aliens
    have shadows-

    I field
    from the child.

    it rained in Eden.
    this leaf is most like
    a burned

    put my good hand over the sun

    be bright with absence

    track the path
    of a bullet
    by swallowing
    the small bug
    meant to flee

    with eaten

  253. nmbell

    Shelter Poem

    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

  254. Rodrigo Aleixo

    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

  255. grcran

    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

  256. Linda Goin

    Nesting Dreams

    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.

  257. Quaker

    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

  258. Jane Shlensky

    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.

  259. poetrycurator

    Here is my Shelter Haiku for day 9

    Safe Haven

    Birds and beasts alike
    Find refuge from the storm in
    The sanctuary

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  260. Lady S Poetic Thickness

    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
    She smiles
    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

  261. shellcook

    What is the Matter

    Take shelter
    Tornado shelter
    Bomb shelter
    These are things that stop the blast,
    whatever the cause,
    from reaching us.

    Rain shelter,
    Lean-to shelter,
    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.

  262. James Von Hendy

    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.

  263. Elizabeth C.


    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

  264. kelly letky

    the sheltering sky

    no ceiling high enough
    no walls confine enough

    contain me
    restrain me

    if you can

    explain me

    i will not falter
    in my worship
    of your eternity

    i will not paint you
    taint you
    saint you

    or ever
    embrace you

    word keeper
    star weaver
    wind teaser

    mind flight

    cerulean eye


    Kelly Letky

  265. Katie Dixon

    Escaping Shelter

    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.

  266. Lori DeSanti

    The Rift

    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.

  267. elledoubleyoo

    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.

  268. foodpoet


    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

    Megan McDonald

  269. Domino

    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

    Diana Terrill Clark

  270. Michelle Murrish

    Suburban Plight
    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

  271. Amy


    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
    deliver us

    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

  272. LaurelRose

    How Are You?

    These are not hollow.
    These hellos.
    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

    good, good.

    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,
    the fear.

    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 –

  273. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write a shelter poem.

    This house here
    And all the others—
    High rise, ranch, Victorian farmhouse—
    Need to be painted,
    Re-roofed, maintained.
    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.

    Gammelor Goodenow

  274. kldsanders


    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
    pain disappears.
    is the best place in the world.

    – Karen Sanders

  275. Lana Walker


    They’re all the rage
    teenie-weenie houses

    designed by the
    arty-farty types

    most a mish-mash of
    metal and glass

    to keep out the
    riff-raff I s’pose

    livin’ small in
    Hobson-Jobson Ranch

  276. pomodoro

    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.

  277. Christine Sutherland

    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.

  278. taylor graham


    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.

  279. Connie Peters


    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,
    cradle her

    if she’d be honest
    with herself
    and admit she needed help.

    She ran.

    1. SuziBwritin

      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

  280. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Safe Shelters, in Time

    A Mother bird’s wing,
    Grandmother’s apron strings,
    Under a tree branch,
    You Best Friend,

    Kangaroo pouch,
    Neighborhood chums,
    Penguin Dad’s egg,
    Summer cottage.

  281. Nancy Posey

    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.

  282. diedre Knight

    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

    diedre Knight

    1. PressOn

      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.

  283. Michelle Hed

    In Your Embrace (A Diatelle)

    tucked in
    under chin
    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,
    I’ve been

    (Combing the Inform Poet Prompt Diatelle Form from Creative Bloomings with the PAD prompt shelter)

  284. mdstratts


    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.

  285. TomNeal

    Hotel Chernobyl

    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.

  286. Lindy™

    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.
    Accidents happen,
    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;
    my forgiveness,
    (though a moot point)
    was instantaneous.
    We’re each fighting battles
    only in our minds
    and only with ourselves.
    You must forgive yourself
    and move on.
    Never forget,
    but forever keep in your heart
    the art of your lessons.

    She would have wanted it that way.

  287. Laurie G

    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.

    “Who’s there?”
    “Anita who?”
    “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.”

  288. SeekingSoltitude

    Shelter poem-
    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

  289. carolemt87

    Two poems–similar theme

    Endangered Species

    Tall red door creaks
    dust chaff paints long planks
    of warm summer sun,
    spilling between rough
    weathered boards,
    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
    simpler times,
    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
    festering wounds,
    choked by herds of cold steel
    roaming across green hills,
    changing prairie portraits.

    One dusty breath
    billows the last gasp,
    as this endangered species
    becomes extinct,
    then only a footprint
    cast in the mud
    pays tribute to
    the grand old barn.

    Old Barn

    Gnarled dinosaur
    stumbles in the mud
    a dusty footprint
    fossil of weather
    and laughter,
    work and sweat
    once threatened
    nearly extinct

    Carol J Carpenter

  290. Connie Peters

    Fun Day

    Breathe in
    Let’s begin
    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
    We win

  291. Linda Lee Sand

    Cradled in my arms

    Cradled in my arms
    to shield you from
    all storms,
    all harm,
    to warm you
    in a blanket
    that will
    ward away
    the chill,
    no ill,
    no hurt
    oh, how I yearn
    to hold you,
    help you
    save you,
    yet I know
    the bird
    won’t learn to soar
    if Mama doesn’t
    move her wing, if
    Mama doesn’t
    teach that bird to
    fly and then

  292. Erynn

    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

  293. Mr. Take The Lead

    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

  294. derrdevil

    The Observer
    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

  295. Lori D. Laird

    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.

  296. P.A. Beyer

    The Union Gospel Mission

    the battle begins at dawn
    any later is too late
    preparation is essential
    no excess baggage
    no weapons
    a lineup of characters where
    every man, woman and child
    is willing to fight
    for every square inch
    of space
    to the victors, go the spoils
    a mattress,
    a shower,
    a cup of coffee
    to the losers, a return
    to the shadows
    of invisibility

  297. Amanda Oaks

    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
    your teeth.

    There are too many
    bare branches
    that lift my dress
    then clothesline me
    to the ground.

    The bears devoured
    the door to your throat.

    Made room
    for the storm clouds
    to gather,

    made room
    for the river
    of leaving,

    made room
    for the waterfall
    of stone

    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
    are mistaken
    for the flaps
    of a bird’s wings

    while we wait
    for the rain

    so you can lick
    my wounds.

    is the beast
    in you.

    *Title taken from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s
    “I Only Know That Every Hour With You”

  298. Nancy Posey

    Shared Umbrellas

    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—
    speechless, breathless
    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.”

  299. Walt Wojtanik


    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.

  300. Monique

    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

  301. David Walker


    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.

  302. Jenn Todd Lavanish


    Protected against the elements
    We sleep under wood and shingles.
    Dine together at a table
    And work to maintain our domain.

    Practical building
    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
    Gratitude rules
    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.

  303. writinglife16


    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.

  304. GarrinJost

    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.

    Calm now,
    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,
    and sing
    for me alone-

  305. Walt Wojtanik


    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.

  306. Beth Rodgers

    “A Shelter from Reality”

    When the letter came
    She grieved.
    Expected or not
    The finality shattered all she knew.
    She smoothed her hair behind her ears
    Willing the feeling to
    Just go away.

  307. Walt Wojtanik


    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.

  308. Shennon

    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.


  309. Walt Wojtanik


    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?

  310. DanielR

    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

    Daniel Roessler

  311. DanielR

    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

    Daniel Roessler

  312. dwmetz

    going home

    the last time in,
    i was already out,
    returned for
    odds and ends;
    room to room
    a ghost i walked,
    ill not knowing,
    where fate was going,
    shedding tears
    for each bit taken.
    left behind
    the golden ring,
    on hand an
    empty space;
    absconding with
    a book of poems,
    and memory
    of friendship’s face.
    the absinthe dream,
    of love it seemed,
    would sleep
    another night.

  313. gus

    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.

    -Gus Gonzalez

  314. Phil Boiarski

    Another moon

    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.