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WD Poetic Form Challenge: Bref Double

Categories: Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, WD Poetic Form Challenge, What's New.

Time for another WD Poetic Form Challenge. This time around, we’ll be writing the bref double, a 14-line French poetic form that is not a sonnet. Like many French forms, there’s a rhyme, but it also offers more variability than your typical French form. Click here to read how to write a bref double.

Once you know the rules for the bref double, start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on May 26, 2014.
  • Poets can enter as many bref doubles as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new bref double.
  • I will only consider bref doubles shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!


Break into copywriting!

Click here to learn how.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he has the pleasure of doing a lot of fun writing-related projects. He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s married to a poet, Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

416 Responses to WD Poetic Form Challenge: Bref Double

  1. Jane Shlensky says:

    One more and I’ll stop. Promise.


    Some sightings save me from despair
    when life grows spiteful, dull and gray:
    the silhouetted flight of geese
    or pelicans in rosy dawn,

    a gushing spring as cold as steel,
    a meadow walk, a nibbling hare,
    the furry belly of a cat,
    the tender taper of a fawn,

    the powder of a Luna moth,
    the friendship of the chickadees,
    a tender iris, sultry rose,
    all fleeting wonders, here and gone.

    Such little miracles repair
    my heart, and cares can find release.

  2. Margie Fuston says:

    River of Wishes

    The river is full
    and rushing behind
    us with wishes
    over baked in sun,

    but your eyes
    hold my breasts,
    my legs, my chin,
    making me undone

    as the breeze kisses
    drops of water
    from my skin,
    stealing each one.

    Come taste this sin
    while the air reminisces.

  3. Jane Shlensky says:


    Some locals say she’s got the touch
    of second sight and prescience,
    that she knows where the future lives
    should they but follow fate’s design.

    The old folks urge the young to heed
    the way she takes their hands and gives
    them secret smiles they understand,
    encouragement. Though she is blind,

    they know she sees into their hearts,
    the paths their feet might take, how much
    light and shadow they will meet,
    the loves they’ll keep or leave behind.

    She treats them tenderly, but such
    kindness is sharper than a shiv.

  4. Jane Shlensky says:


    She started stitching as a child,
    a ploy to keep her quiet when
    the grown-ups shared important talk.
    Sometimes she seemed to disappear,

    for they would tell such awful tales
    of snakes that glide where spirits walk,
    of mortal sickness, cruelties
    no child as small as she should hear.

    Her frenzied needle tugged the thread
    of story, often strange and wild,
    forests of nerves spidered across
    embroidered quilt squares fine as fear

    where scars of thread her fingers styled
    mirrored how narrative can stalk.

  5. Jane Shlensky says:


    Strange weather patterns stir respect
    when now and then Earth gets fed up
    with humans’ gross mismanagement—
    deforestation, waste, and greed.

    Blizzards in summer, torrid springs,
    tornadoes, quakes, tsunamis, drought—
    we mourn our loss but still infect
    vast landscapes. Power we won’t concede.

    Edens become Gethsemanes,
    fodder for man’s development,
    until earth rages, rises up
    in dust bowls, nothing more to seed.

    Good stewardship we quite reject.
    We fear, but we do not repent.

  6. Jane Shlensky says:

    Small Things

    She gives them gifts of garden plants—
    sometimes as seedlings, sometimes blooms;
    folks need small things to care about
    despite the hurts their hearts sustain.

    She has an eye for loveliness
    earth offers; weeds with elegance
    might join a rose or peony,
    unlikely friends to ease deep pain.

    In diagnosing circumstance,
    she claims this remedy for doubt:
    green tendrils we can nurture help
    to lessen loss, give hope again.

    A blossom is another chance,
    one small thing we can’t live without.

  7. PressOn says:


    I never found a water ouzel
    although I wandered far and wide,
    and so I thought that I should try
    another theme

    and went in search of streamlet birds;
    but waterthrushes disappointed
    even after I had tried
    another stream

    and another, and another.
    Still, shy ones I could never find;
    somehow, my need was throttled by
    another dream.

    These days, I wander deep inside
    to seek the waters, and wonder why.

    William Preston

  8. Jane Shlensky says:

    On Watching Big Trees Bend in a Storm

    No self-respecting storm would dare
    to show its face without a wind;
    its grumbling noise and crashing light
    are like suspenders without pants.

    We may enjoy a soaking rain
    to shield us from the sun’s white glare,
    but we need wind to move the clouds,
    give other weather forms a chance.

    We don’t want funneled wind, typhoons,
    hurricanes parsing power and might.
    A breeze gone renegade is proof
    that nature harbors militants.

    We favor wind wisps we can bear,
    awed when gusts keep us up at night.

  9. Jane Shlensky says:

    Ruminations on Retirement

    You think you’ll cruise around the world,
    make up for all those working years,
    adventures that are sure to please,
    hip deep in wine and friends and fun.

    The invitations trickle in
    to clubs and outings, parties hurled,
    folks filling up your calendar
    with tasks that others wish to shun.

    You fill a feeder, watch the birds,
    shut off the phone, ignore the pleas,
    but now you’re challenged by squirrels
    that make you want to buy a gun.

    Perhaps it’s time you simply curled
    up with a book and practiced ease.

  10. Jane Shlensky says:

    The Zen of Fishing

    He likes to fish late afternoon
    when boaters pack and head for home;
    he’s claimed a finger of the lake
    where herons wade in shade of trees.

    He packs a sandwich, water, flares,
    humming a sentimental tune.
    Sometimes he doesn’t bait a hook—
    just sits, his elbows on his knees.

    Long shadows stretch along the shore;
    fish leap in arching brief ballet.
    In silence he can’t bear to break,
    he wades into deep empty ease,

    but sometimes he will hear a loon
    that moves him just like loving’s ache.

  11. Jane Shlensky says:

    Gardeners’ Progress

    They contemplate the plants they’d be
    were they not humans, tilling soil—
    what varied personalities
    veggies suggest a summer’s day.

    Pole-vaulting string beans run and climb.
    Tomatoes blush so easily
    around vain corn with flowing silks,
    and moiling tubers mine the clay.

    Queued up like crewmen in their shell,
    what teamwork show the garden peas!
    Big-hearted merry melons joke
    as squash and pumpkins plump away.

    Their bodies till; their minds run free.
    Imagination toils to please.

  12. Michelle Hed says:

    When in Rome

    I really wanted to go dancing
    but my friend preferred to sleep
    and since she was my host
    I thought it best to acquiesce.

    The next day dawned sunny and bright
    and I thought we might head for the coast
    but my friend had a migraine
    so I tiptoed around in my dress.

    Finally around three she emerged from her cave
    grabbed some food, her keys and without hardly glancing
    she shouted, “let’s go!” and my feet did a rat-a-tap-tap
    as we ran out the door, I forgot my quiet game of chess.

    When we finally headed for home, the night was advancing
    but the beach was amazing and my friend is the best, I can boast!

  13. DanielAri says:

    “Long weekend to myself”

    I’m framing my apology
    for not checking every checkbox
    on the list she left when she left
    the home she makes for her weekend.

    I’m freed in this fatality.
    With 48 hours to go
    I could surely finish it all.
    This way, I don’t have to pretend

    to want to move the garden rocks
    and transplant the wandering jew.
    I’ll invent my apology,
    buy some treats the bakery

    and keep honey in the honey-
    do while I match up her clean socks.


  14. Jane Shlensky says:


    I can see where the critters go
    across the garden to the woods.
    They carry what they’ve stolen, weight
    that presses them into damp soil.

    Raccoons and possums, chipmunks, deer,
    a thousand squirrels let me know
    I’ve worked to plant and tend for them—
    they are the reason for my toil.

    The tracks they plant might germinate
    the minute that I turn my back,
    and I will tend a crop of foes
    whose second nature is to spoil.

    Resigned, I bid them loud hello:
    they forage, but appreciate.

  15. Jane Shlensky says:


    I’ve walked this garden path so long
    you’d think my feet could find it blind,
    the to and fro-ness marking time
    with baskets empty, baskets filled

    with every season’s harvest gift.
    I’d start out fresh and morning strong
    thinking of peas, tomatoes, corn,
    plodding back home like something drilled

    to do a mindless task. Among
    deep bounty’s swelling green mirage,
    this brutal weariness feels wrong,
    like rainbows after rain has spilled.

    But evening’s back aches like a song
    that pounds a path to the sublime.

  16. Jane Shlensky says:

    Night Noises

    There’s something in the woods at night
    that yelps a soggy strangled cry.
    We listen squinting through the trees
    to see such sounds take shape and walk.

    We keep the house dark, concentrate,
    concerned that it might see our light
    and hurry blindly straight to us
    to terrorize us as we gawk.

    Our muscles tense, we strain to hear
    and try to still our shaking knees.
    A jagged edge of darkness cuts
    into our fear; we hardly talk.

    Imagination’s teeth can bite
    through screens of sound brought on a breeze.

  17. Nancy Posey says:

    Their Wedding

    They chose to tie the knot outside
    despite the conflict it would cause.
    Her mother said there wasn’t room
    for everyone on his mom’s list.

    They did not choose to stomp a glass;
    they did not want to jump the broom,
    no candles lit, no mixing sand—
    just rings and vows and final kiss.

    Her father walked her down the aisle.
    The guests were shocked by how he cried.
    Did he oppose all weddings or
    did he have doubts of future bliss?

    But no one noticed that the bride
    had eyes for no one but the groom.

    • PressOn says:

      For me, the subtle power of this poem occurs in the last lines, and the twin “no ones.” The whole point of a wedding is wrapped up there, I think, and the rest (in the other stanzas) is merely dressing.

  18. PressOn says:


    The headstones lie here, cold and mute,
    above the grave sites, young and old,
    and testify that there once lived
    some names now carved or etched in stone.

    These guardians of memory
    seem strangely wise, even astute,
    as though they are but watching us.
    Most of the year they wait, alone,

    for visitors to join the fold;
    some to mark time and some to stay.
    One day a year, the whole place blooms,
    but all is but a matter of tone:

    for flowers left will not take root
    though memories gleam as burnished gold.

    William Preston

  19. This poem is…

    This poem’s a coward
    Insecure and quite afraid
    Pretty sure it won’t pass muster
    To its horror and dismay

    This poem’s a chicken
    It just lacks the expertise
    for completion and (for now)
    it has nothing more to say

    This poem is flustered
    It is shy and ill at ease
    No one knows the day or hour
    It will see the light of day

    Till it’s tight, flawless and mastered
    Paper balls ( I guess) it is

    • This poem is…

      This poem’s a coward
      Insecure and quite afraid
      Pretty sure it won’t pass muster
      To its horror and dismay

      This poem’s a chicken
      It just lacks the expertise
      for completion and (for now)
      it has nothing more to say

      This poem is flustered
      It is shy and ill at ease
      No one knows the day or hour
      It will see the light of day

      Till it’s tight, flawless and mastered
      Paper balls (I guess) it is

  20. the object of my affections

    the object of my affections
    with a glance brightens my day
    doesn’t think so but is quite
    handsome; makes me sin with idolatry

    collects coins and plays with puzzles
    is my friend, my world, my lover
    if kidnapped, I’d pay his ransom
    in every storm, he stands by me

    makes me laugh till doubled over
    through the years, come what may
    he’s been home to me, I can’t think of
    any other place I would rather be

    two decades strong will mark October
    I wouldn’t have it any other way

  21. JRSimmang says:


    Tenderness be a half-moon
    casting a soft plat’num
    (an aura of disguise)
    in the silvered leaves.

    Here, we wander our gloom
    with leashed faux sadness
    ’round trees goliath
    through heart-laden sleeves.

    Bleed blessed a name
    and childlike hum,
    condone the master
    and the story he weaves.

    All the while the night-eyes dream of daylight pure, soon
    the beating, soon the throbbing of the dirgeing drum.


    • PressOn says:

      This piece entrances me, almost literally. The first three stanzas feel dreamlike, while t4he last feels like a raucous wake-up call. Almost like a hangover. Marvellous and mysterious, or so it seems to me.

  22. PressOn says:


    In memory I see him now
    atop the Farmall in the field,
    tending to his rolling land.
    His smile

    is small and tender as he works
    to feed a growing family:
    to pull the plow; to milk the cow;
    all the while

    massaging life from loam and sand.
    His work is hard; his hours are long;
    he could complain, but that is not
    his style.

    There is no need to wonder how
    I still can feel his steady hand.

    William Preston

  23. C. says:

    Daylight has finally risen
    after sunset has been laid.

    A morning beats afresh today
    to that golden face appeared
    but something has been bitten
    from our newfound energy, afraid.

    Is it just me? Am I imagining things?
    Or do you simply not think, simply just obey
    When you are told to do these things
    When you are asked if you’re doing okay?

    Something is strange today I think
    but then my soul remembers my weak.
    Flooding water cascades the fission
    of the mountain mourning the dead’s cave.

    • C. says:

      Daylight has finally risen
      after sunset has been laid.

      A morning beats afresh today
      to that golden face appeared,
      but something has been bitten
      from our newfound energy, afraid.

      Is it just me? Am I imagining things?
      Or do you simply not think, simply just obey
      when you are told to do these things;
      when you are asked if you’re doing okay?

      Something is strange today, I think,
      when suddenly my soul envisions the past weak.
      Flooding water cascades into a fission
      on the mountain mourning the dead’s cave.

  24. C. says:

    A silent ring
    sits in my ear
    humming forever
    what do you hear?

    A brisk walk in the park
    startles a singing lark
    and halts a lever
    stopped by sudden fear

    of breaking silence
    and shattering glass.
    But the lark, quiet, still sings
    a silent song to remain here

    until depths abandoning
    crack to a fallen, broken wing.

  25. Amaria says:

    “In the morning”

    I sit on the side of your king size bed
    where the bright rays of the sun flickers in
    you sleep so silently in the warm light
    as I ponder this unplanned rendezvous

    When I entered this once darken chamber
    the thoughts never once came into my mind
    on what will come when the sun rose again –
    all of my questions went away – adieu

    But now it rushes back into my head
    as to why I laid down with this stranger
    who now slumbers as if he is alone–
    I suppose this, to him, is nothing new.

    So I leave with departing words unsaid
    before my spotless rep is endangered.

  26. RebekahJ says:

    Visions of Naia

    The Bering-strait theory of human migration to the Americas has been strengthened by an analysis of remains found in a flooded cave in the Yucatán Peninsula. While divers could not raise the entire skeleton of the teenaged girl—nicknamed Naia by scientists for the water nymphs of legend—they extracted a single tooth, which yielded DNA proving links both to Asiatic peoples and to modern Native Americans. Researchers theorize that the girl died in a fall after entering the cave in search of a drink, one hot afternoon more than 12,000 years ago.

    New York Times, 5/15/2014

    Pain sears through dank air
    Rocks slick-sharp on knees
    Fear cold wet seeping
    Hair floats on black sea

    Outside men shouting
    Red torches, no rest
    A woman rocks, stares
    At the fire blindly

    The centrifuge tears
    Secrets from proteins
    Fingers tap keyboards
    While a vast family

    In cars schools parks stores
    Breathes, vibrant, blooming

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  27. shellaysm says:

    Unhidden Hiding

    Once in a lifetime, observant revelers
    taste stolen miracles, savoring gifts rare
    Punctuating a perfect summer road trip
    brief glimpse of meteor shower, just in view

    Sun’s rise or set, seaside, it’s beauty pure raw
    The acoustic splendor of an aria
    reverberated in sacred concert hall
    A wish shyly offered: magic’s spell come true

    Sugar-sweet scent of cookies oven-baking
    Solar or lunar eclipse witnessed in awe
    while the neighborhood still slumbered, unaware
    Twin rainbows, snow with thunder bellowing through

    Memory’s album to treasure, visit, share
    Chase small moments: joyous life’s unpublished law

    Michele K. Smith

    • shellaysm says:

      Preferred version, one line changed:

      Unhidden Hiding

      Once in a lifetime, observant revelers
      taste stolen miracles, savoring gifts rare
      Punctuating a perfect summer road trip
      brief glimpse of meteor shower, just in view

      Sun’s rise or set, seaside, it’s beauty pure raw
      The acoustic splendor of an aria
      reverberated in sacred concert hall
      A wish shyly offered: magic’s spell come true

      A love letter by finger paint from your child
      Solar or lunar eclipse witnessed in awe
      while the neighborhood still slumbered, unaware
      Twin rainbows, snow with thunder bellowing through

      Memory’s album to treasure, visit, share
      Chase small moments: joyous life’s unpublished law

  28. Hiking

    We wake up at the crack of dawn.
    We tug on jeans and pack a lunch.
    Fill water bottles to the brim.
    And comfortable shoes a must.

    We drive to vacant parking lot,
    and make a quick stop at the john.
    And now we’re ready to begin.
    It’s up to mountain top or bust.

    We hike for miles then sit upon
    a rock, a log or rustic bridge.
    Then back we go and spot a fawn
    which runs behind a shady limb.

    We’re tired but make ourselves go on
    until we’re home when light is dim.

  29. PressOn says:


    It ended here.
    The long campaign
    was done at last:
    the fight was over

    and so the foes
    marched apart, yet near;
    one last review
    in springtime clover.

    And was there gain?
    Or were the troops
    but mere detritus:
    the war’s stark stover?

    The grounds proclaim
    a price so dear.

    William Preston

  30. The Colour Green

    For Alesha

    I cringed from harsh lime,
    while bitter acid
    set my teeth on edge.
    Pale apple, OK …

    But then came the time
    new step-grand-daughter
    gave me lime-green bling.
    Loved it from that day.

    Wore it in delight
    with everything,
    as my inner child
    came out to play.

    (That girl, full of zing,
    likes poems that rhyme.)

  31. RJ Clarken says:

    The Flip of a Coin

    A quarter of a dollar, stamped
    with Washington’s head on one side
    and a picture of New York State
    on its other silvery face

    is worth only twenty-five cents,
    but if it were to be revamped?
    Should it be worth more money – and –
    should another image replace

    Washington? Is New York State cramped,
    stuck on Side B with a mint year?
    Do other states feel they are tramped
    on, too? Or do they just embrace

    their art (and value?) I’m verklempt
    from coining poems in this space.


  32. Overheard

    “What will I say to you for free?” The way
    The maître d’ polishes off his words
    Like tarnished silver ices air’s enough
    To chill the cocktail shrimp. All context lost,

    We whisk by and wonder at such sang-froid.
    “And when he told me, I was like ‘no dice.’”
    These girls titter past. Their prom dresses sway
    With heat beneath a glittered permafrost

    Of sequins. Secrets trail across the room
    In bites that hint at some salacious spice,
    And in the lull a woman’s whispered voice:
    “He said he’s the one who’s been double-crossed.”

    “Pardon.” A waiter passes with a tray,
    The next words lost save “everything has its price.”

    • PressOn says:

      This poem invites me to think. A lot. The first and last lines are arresting and, in my view, could be a poem unto themselves. After several re-readings, I decided that the subtle air of chilling mystery was the whole point. The writing is so effective: it painted, for me, a scene in Las Vegas.

      • I get hung a little in my own syntax in the first stanza. A small reworking:


        “What will I say to you for free?” The way
        The maître d’ polishes off his words
        Like tarnished silver. Icy air’s enough
        To chill the cocktail shrimp. All context lost,

        We whisk by and wonder at such sang-froid.
        “And when he told me, I was like ‘no dice.’”
        These girls titter past. Their prom dresses sway
        With heat beneath a glittered permafrost

        Of sequins. Secrets trail across the room
        In bites that hint at some salacious spice,
        And in the lull a woman’s whispered voice:
        “He said he’s the one who’s been double-crossed.”

        “Pardon.” A waiter passes with a tray,
        The next words lost save “everything has its price.”

      • Thank you. Yes, I’m interested in the mystery. . . .

  33. Tracy Davidson says:


    He watches the sun rise,
    knowing it’s his last dawn.
    Soon the bullets will tear
    through his chest, break his heart.

    He feels too sick to eat
    his meagre breakfast, care
    that his weak tea is cold.
    Now it’s time to depart.

    They come in silence, not
    able to meet his eyes.
    Tied to a pole, he waits
    for the countdown to start.

    No coward, yet he dies
    as one. It isn’t fair.

  34. PressOn says:


    A poet worth her salt
    should rummage through the rubble
    of old refrains and rhymes
    to try some French-fried forms.

    They might be triolets
    or maybe a bref double;
    perhaps a villanelle
    with lines that churn like storms,

    or even some rondels.
    Whatever forms she chooses,
    she’ll see that tension climbs
    and visions come in swarms

    that yield a heap of trouble
    but satisfying times.

    William Preston

  35. lionetravail says:

    “Why I’m A Doctor”

    He’s eighty when he walks in,
    holding himself stiffly, with care,
    so he doesn’t trigger the pain
    that brought him to see me.

    Hunched shoulders carry anger
    and diagnoses of their own,
    frustration expressed like a prayer,
    hands clasped, resting on knee.

    I greet him with respect, with
    interest in him, not just his issue.
    I notice when he gives himself free rein
    to speak, unfettered, ‘A’ to ‘Z’.

    Watching, I see it when his strain
    relaxes, and hope rises from despair.

    (moved from the initial form category to here)

  36. River

    The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are. — (Lynn Noel)

    Poetry, rivers, reading,
    these are all great loves of mine.
    I float into joy, searching
    for famous quotations on

    rivers, for a verse or line
    to begin a new poem
    about my love of rivers —
    and see, I found the right one!

    It says it all, so for me
    I can add nothing, needing
    only to bathe in those words,
    let the rivet of them run

    through my memories, speeding
    or meandering, and shine!

    (Simultaneously responding to a dVerse prompt, to use a quotation to spark a poem.)

  37. BDP says:

    “The Boy Who Loved Ponds”

    Found floating, breathing stopped, no faint heart beat.
    Still, cold water—how long there? Afternoon
    with a warmth not felt since red leaves last fall.
    Mom facebooked: older kids lost track, he tried

    to bike across the nonexistent ice.
    Three years old. Dad plucked him, sped down the street
    to ER, count them, 30 minutes flat
    pulse, he came alive, tubes everywhere, side,

    nose, wrists wrapped by sister’s thumb as it meets
    her baby finger, such a small guy, pray,
    believe that bridges link us up to all,
    and lift again, show his brain has not died.

    Tonight, just saying the word makes us greet
    with smiles, two weeks on: click play, see him giggle.

    –Barb Peters

    To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. – Robert Frost

    I caught poetry the month after
    I caught the flu, and I had a feeling
    that you would catch it too.
    I warned you it was contagious.

    Today you called me on the phone
    blaming me for your condition, whining
    about your affliction. Pardon the laughter
    but I find it quite outrageous

    that you purposely plan on su
    -ing me for “making” you romantic.
    Don’t be pedantic. Be a man.
    Go on. Poem on courageous

    -ly! Just picture all the gals you’ll woo.
    You’ll thank me in the Hereafter.

  39. shellaysm says:


    demure, sitting atop padded leather perch
    she faces–with hope–quiet black and white keys
    stares in wait at the reflected amber light
    with its peripheral shine down dominoes

    tuned and polished, both the instrument and girl
    dressed in navy lace, deserves success tonight
    talent and confidence seek each other’s nod
    ready more than anyone–even she–knows

    quivering fingers nest on still ivory
    on cue they release, begin their debut dance
    eyes can’t focus on the scar or ring of pearl
    when the soul-humming melody freely flows

    flawless, possibility bows to unfurl
    pride which dares, snakes and lingers on what else might

    Michele K. Smith

    • PressOn says:

      I loved this. The image is so fitting, and “debut dance” is inspired.

    • Some lovely imagery here, painting the moment before beginning a recital. I admit, though, that I tripped over some of the syntax, so it took a few readings to piece it together. Worth the effort.

      • shellaysm says:


        demure, sitting atop padded leather perch
        she faces–with hope–quiet black and white keys
        stares in wait at the reflected amber light
        with its peripheral shine down dominoes

        tuned and polished, both the instrument and girl
        dressed in navy lace, deserves success tonight
        talent and confidence seek each other’s nod
        ready more than anyone–even she–knows

        quivering fingers nest on still ivory
        on cue they release, begin their debut dance
        eyes can’t focus on the scar or ring of pearl
        when the soul-humming melody freely flows

        flawless, possibility curtsies, unfurls
        pride which dares, snakes, and lingers on what else might

  40. this love

    No need to ask Saint Joseph why he flows
    so soft tonight. There are no words remaining,
    just a breath and a sigh, and endless stories yet to tell.
    The river knows you took your borrowed days as gifts

    three dozen years to lavish on the ones you loved the most.
    Our lives became your fields, and you a farmer who sows
    compassion and belief, each one of us a seed held laughing
    to the light then released with confidence that never shifts.

    If there is grace this day, if there is hope beyond this frail shell
    then surely it is this: a precious life like yours is never done
    but carries on, carving the banks of every soul that it has touched.
    Dear friend, tomorrow as the mist of mourning slowly lifts

    we’ll see the river still runs strong, the endless corn still grows.
    We call this love your legacy, and we will tend it well.

    Andrew Kreider

  41. Reynard says:

    the call to the unholy fight
    a call i can but answer
    crawling forth from my own dream
    where in my beliefs i am alone.

    i have lived in my hidden cell
    waiting for the guiding light
    to come forth and command me,
    a vagabond against the known.

    call to arms, stand against the right!
    spin spirits into our mortal cloud,
    run and bring your sword this night
    for we must move against the stream.

    i beg to be dismissed with all my might
    yet there is no saving me, it does seem.


    In trying to write a poem,
    I sometimes make mistakes
    in grammar, form or metaphor.
    What words to keep and/or replace.

    And all the while, my words run
    terrified across the page, anguished
    and mortified about their fate,
    screaming in upper and lower case,

    trusting, while sandwiched
    between my decision of going with my
    instincts or consulting a dictionary before
    I release them into cyberspace.

    This is what happens (and much more)
    when English is your second language.

  43. Azma says:


    Paved concrete or padded with sand
    Puddled or piled with neglected thrash
    Path for planes to majestically drone
    or for little kids and a gleeful race

    Seen and lived a thousand stories
    Its not just another piece of land
    It has lived through crowds and isolation
    and continues to welcome all with grace

    At times a chuckle, at times a groan
    At times an impatiently hasty word
    The road is always all ears
    In its heart is a lot of space

    Tour it with a mate- hand in hand
    or show how you can rule it alone.

    -Azma Sheikh

  44. PressOn says:


    I was a rookie player,
    had earned not a shred of fame
    when, that day, something happened
    that made the Sporting News.

    The ump had called me out
    on strikes, which drew my frown
    and made my temper flame;
    I then expressed my views

    and tossed the bat away,
    quite far above my crown.
    The arbiter, displeased,
    these choice words then did choose:

    “If that bat comes down,
    you’re out of the game.”

    William Preston

  45. tunesmiff says:

    This was started for the 5/14/14 peompt to write an UNEXPECTED poem…
    George Smith
    He walks in the door like he does every night,
    She’s on the phone or the laptop like she is every night.
    She has to hear his unspoken pleading,
    Though how who can say?

    He feels his heart is bleeding
    As he goes through the nightly rituals:
    Washing dishes, checking laundry, walking the dog for a minute or two;
    It’s the same thing day after day.

    He wonders if this means they’re through,
    Or just in such a rut that ground level
    Is eye level and so what’s to notice.
    How did things work out to be this way?

    Then she looks from what she’s reading
    And simply says, “I love you.”

  46. DanielAri says:

    “Change of Plans”

    Cancel today;
    scratch the weekend.
    My daughter’s sick
    and I’ve caught it.

    So kind, our friends
    still embrace us.
    We drink weak soup,
    glad they brought it.

    I wore one gray
    pair of sweat pants
    as earth spun twice,
    as we fought it.

    Now dawn’s opened
    a sweet Monday.


  47. Monday Morning Lament

    There are too many things
    In this beautiful world
    To see and do, it’s time
    We cut out work and spend

    More time at love and play.
    Too bad it’s money’s grime
    That chains us to our tasks,
    Life’s way until the end.

    Unless we’re quick, it’s gone
    Before we think to look,
    And even then who asks
    To break the rules and bend

    This life to pleasure’s rhyme
    With time enough, and basks?

  48. RuthieShev says:

    Morning Glories

    Sitting on my porch swing
    Slowly rocking back and forth
    Drinking a hot cup of green tea
    As the morning sun comes up each day

    Seeing the flowers reach for the sky
    And hearing a bluebird sing
    Watching the rippling of the creek
    As it swiftly moves on its way

    Frisky squirrels and chipmunks
    Running up and down the tree
    Bunnies dancing around the yard
    Make my very own cabaret

    These are some of the many things
    That start my day with glee
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

  49. PressOn says:


    Lip service says
    old men are wise
    but, even so,
    they’re hardly seen:

    a world of youth
    avoids their eyes
    almost as though
    it meant to demean

    and wisdom too.
    They vanish soon,
    like sunshine’s sheen,

    but old men know
    when an old man dies.

    William Preston

  50. Empty Nest

    Now that I have the solitude I craved,
    and can please myself what I do when,
    I find myself missing the hullabaloo
    of unpredictable family life

    the romping and squabbling and chatter
    of two little boys, the necessity
    of sports fixtures, lessons, meals, holidays;
    all the warmth, the stress, the pleasure, the strife,

    the many distractions, the constant clatter …
    now that I’m free to read, write poems, be who
    I always thought I wanted to be —
    that she quite other than mother/housewife —

    I drift amongst all the things I might do
    and wonder how much, after all, they matter.

  51. Linda Goin says:

    I Found my Bliss in Waiting on Tables

    I read Lucretius, I read Sun Tsu.
    I learned Santayana and Khalil Gibran.
    Not one philosophical poet in print
    could alter the angst I felt inside.

    I studied Kandinsky’s cerulean blue,
    and meditated on Mondrian and Malevich.
    Not one artist, including Cezanne,
    could refashion the angst I felt inside.

    I lost a gall bladder, my appendix,
    my uterus, a kidney stone, all long gone.
    The surgeons removing those loose screws,
    could not dislodge the angst I felt inside.

    Not odd my arts and my body fell through
    in negating this angst I felt inside.

    Linda Goin

  52. PressOn says:


    A love cannot be love
    without forgivingness;
    we all have such a need
    for pardoning and care.

    When I am in distress
    at pain that I have caused,
    I need your smiling eye
    and, often, need your prayer

    that may release a seed
    to sprout and grow in me
    that I might, in my turn,
    forgive, and learn, and share

    the charity to bless
    and not release a screed.

    William Preston

  53. Nikki Markle says:


    By: Nikki Markle

    This dry spell had stayed around too long,
    Despite the faded billboard signs of
    Sinners Repent and Pray for Rain.
    Still not a drop dropped into sight.

    A sinner herself, or so they said,
    Even with all her efforts to belong.
    She lit her candles, murmured her own prayers,
    And waited for the promise of night.

    Deep in the woods, in her domain,
    Black cloak revealed pale, skyclad skin.
    Likeminded trees looked on with arms outstretched,
    Watching her dance in the soft moonlight.

    The sky grew cloudy; the wind grew strong.
    Wildly spun every weather vane.

  54. The Visitors

    Slowly, they come slowly into the light
    one by one, hesitant to show themselves,
    keeping their faces hidden till the last,
    but then, when finally … they shine, they blaze!

    Who could have guessed such beauty, this bright grace
    that now displays itself to all who cast
    their eyes upwards to where the figures stand,
    half avoiding, half inviting our gaze?

    They are silent however, day and night,
    during the season of their presence here,
    suggesting their message is their appearance,
    that in itself sufficient to amaze.

    And then, suddenly, all of them take flight
    and our miraculous present is past.

  55. Linda Goin says:

    String Theory Dining
    at Polignano a mare Bari Puglia

    This three-dimensional space
    is ripe with bosons & fermions
    fingering twenty closed string
    theories, a drum and a cello.

    Sypersymmetry between zings
    and proteins makes us face
    happy places, where our hands wave
    the air, or the air blows a bellow.

    Our room remains in unfilled
    spacetimes, with little empty living,.
    Strings swerve to the left
    and hors d’oeuvre aim to mellow.

    I like dining with you, refilled
    in Grotta Palazzese’s oceanic spring.

  56. Lawrence says:


    Know it in your soul
    The place you’re meant to be
    Direction of your life
    Born deep within your heart

    Create yourself a mantra
    Chant it to keep you whole
    Carry it with you everywhere
    Each day a positive start

    You must soon assume the role
    As others turn to you
    Their peace will become your goal
    Harmony for one’s inner strife

    Destiny as if written on a scroll
    Heralded exuberantly by drum and fife

    Lawrence L. Luehrs III

  57. No One Way

    With perfect synchronicity
    the local Regent cinema
    puts on a Buddhist movie night.
    I’ve been debating Buddhist lore

    with my old friend, and he with me.
    He chides me for my Pagan path
    as sad irrationality,
    and wonders what I need it for.

    He tells me that there is no God.
    I tell him God is everywhere;
    the movies I’ve just seen agree.
    It’s tempting for me to point-score.

    But all religions, I can see,
    encompass much variety!

  58. Hopeful

    Without knowing what
    the outcome will be,
    I place my hands on
    my cat, for her healing.

    When I look at her,
    I think that I see
    her face thin, sharpen.
    I can feel the swelling

    under her nipple.
    How is it a cat
    can get breast cancer?
    But she’s clearly feeling

    lively as ever, free
    of any pain yet.

  59. ginkgogirl says:

    Aging Days

    We totter through our days
    Beneath a random sky
    Scattered with clouds or dark
    Benignly softened by an oh-so-rare

    Righteous swell of sun
    Pouring forth fulsome rays
    Upon a fragile aging life
    Generously seeded with care

    Of pain, of sorrow, but kindness too,
    And wisdom flowering from a stark
    Strange time of unknown garden season
    Venerable and vulnerable, but beyond despair.

    So much has withered and dropped, but spirit stays
    In craggy strength, weathered grace, song of meadowlark.

    –V. Doerper, 05.17.14

  60. What Price, the FIFA World Cup, 2022?

    In Qatar a thousand men already dead,
    The wages of kefala wrought from hope
    And desperation, promises unkept,
    Their dreams a trap that made them slaves

    In Qatar, far from home, beneath a sun
    That unforgiving, blazes overhead.
    They built their owners’ whims and died unwept
    Except at home, far from their desert graves

    In Qatar where slavery lives disguised
    As labor paid with loss, a shrug, a sigh,
    Another inconvenience tossed aside,
    For still the foreign workers come in waves

    To Qatar where they’re preyed upon, misled,
    And worked, death the last wages they accept.

  61. RuthieShev says:

    Living On The Edge

    I realize that many people think
    Living on the edge is very exciting
    Like climbing a dangerous mountain ledge
    Miles above the steady flat ground

    Riding a motorcycle way too fast
    Sky diving from a moving plane
    Wandering through a cypress sedge
    Or following an eerie sound

    Some people party and have a great time
    By having a lot to drink
    Riding speedboats, big game hunting, tornado chasing
    Or on their spouses they fool around

    At sixty seven painting a strip of hair pink
    Is how I live on the edge.

    by Ruth Crowell Shevock

  62. RuthieShev says:

    The Accident

    The twins have a concert and I’m running late
    My husband got stuck on the job
    So I’m rushing around trying to get dressed
    Ignoring the incessant ringing of the phone

    Annoyed I finally snatched it off the hook
    Wondering what’s so important it can’t wait
    On hearing my husband was in an accident
    I felt guilty like I should have known.

    The boys could tell I was seriously stressed
    When I called school to give them the news
    I told them to stay but remember to pray
    For the concert was something they couldn’t postpone

    My husband recovered; I heard their music was great
    Reminding each day how much I am blessed.

    by Ruth Crowell Shevock

  63. PressOn says:


    The highlights of her life occurred
    in drips and dabs: graduations;
    grandchildren; grace at meals;
    the little things that make a life a life.

    Most of the time her days comprised
    a mixture of mundane and absurd:
    bosses; orders; scrubbing the floors;
    the endless stress of intermittent strife

    that make her more remarkable,
    for she is the one who cares and heals;
    who carries out the myriad tasks
    that all began when she became a wife.

    I see it clearly now, as time congeals:
    through it all, courage was her watchword.

    William Preston

  64. barriebright says:

    mom’s day

    The kids, the dogs
    The tea, the ice
    moments are beaten
    forever seemed to come too fast

    The mess compiled
    The pot brewed over
    forever was yesterday
    tomorrow is the past

    The feet were tired
    The heart was deep
    tomorrow was coming
    wishing yesterday would last

    Tomorrow would wait
    the moment was all she needed.

  65. grcran says:


    the work not done was heavy on his mind.
    he went into the bar they used to hang
    in. There, he ordered bottled red, plus one
    remembrance glass of white for lady gone

    Her ashes to be spread, her money sent
    To father mother in some other burg,
    but pieces of the puzzle in his pain
    sat worried while awaiting denouement

    It never quite gets finished up, opined
    the barkeep. Yep, the hurting won’t relent.
    She doesn’t drink much for a ghost, he sighed,
    And gulped the blood-red wine for grinding on.

    Though grievers think themselves as weakly spined,
    Their task is huge: decide what life has meant.

    by gpr crane

  66. PressOn says:


    I dream of fields so green
    it soothes the eye to see them;
    a land beyond the sea
    where premises were born:

    that laughter must be keen;
    that faith must underlie
    each act I undertake
    and never fall to scorn.

    Ancestors lived there once;
    they came here long ago,
    but there I wish to be
    most every misty morn

    when green fields gleam a sheen
    that echoes deep in me.

    William Preston

  67. ninasaint says:

    driving by a pretty girl

    jealousy ignited when I saw her
    you looked and drank her beauty too
    perfection in her rounded softness
    brought attention to my failing grace

    venom dripped from my thinning lips
    while you hitched and looked to the mirror
    leaning forward to look back, to be sure
    her ass was as glorious as her face

    I cringed at her relentless existence
    and saw my twisted features in the glass
    diminishing the beauty that remained
    with pointless envy and disgrace

    for truly, what could be better
    her youth so apparent on the surface

  68. RuthieShev says:

    Unexplained Depression
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    I looked out the window at the bright blue sky
    But I didn’t see it at all
    Staring aimlessly at the moving ground
    I myself didn’t know what was wrong

    Our car drove by my favorite spot
    The yellow roses I planted flew by
    Unfelt the warm sun shined on my face
    Unheard the blue bird sang a sweet song

    I tried to force myself to look around
    How can I explain this to my husband
    Since I myself don’t even know
    What I have been feeling this whole day long

    He kept asking me again and again why
    But I still didn’t make a sound

  69. PressOn says:


    I chanced upon a vale
    where fog-wisps swirled about;
    a place so deep with green,
    it almost breathed in black.

    Amidst this sheltered swale
    a single flower bloomed:
    its radiants of white
    took me fully aback

    at the enamoring sight;
    I felt serene, uplifted
    and fuelled with whispered hope
    as I re-traced my track.

    Sometimes I tell this tale
    as light descends to night.

    William Preston

  70. OK, here is revised version which does conform to the rules:

    On Deciding to Be a Reiki Master

    I got up early,
    just before dawn;
    turned the volume loud,
    put the music on.

    “Amazing Grace!”
    All on my own,
    I danced and sang
    to the rising sun.

    Although from birth
    we wake to fear,
    finding my path
    brought a joyous morn —

    A flood to drown
    fear of pain, fear of death.

  71. On Deciding to Be a Reiki Master

    I got up early,
    just before dawn;
    turned the volume loud,
    put the music on.

    “Amazing Grace!”
    All on my own,
    I danced and sang
    to the rising sun.

    Life is trauma
    right from birth.
    We wake with fear
    always, everyone.

    But when I found
    my life’s true path,
    I woke up into
    a joyous morn —

    A flood to drown
    fear of pain and death.

  72. Changing Room

    The crush of velvet, taffeta, and slick
    Of silk that slithers, snakelike, softly down
    The dancers’ legs and pools around their feet,
    A jeweled diadem that’s tossed aside in haste,

    And glitter spilled across the floorboards,
    A littered galaxy of dreams replete
    With stays and braces, corsets, crinoline,
    And lace, the understory that so graced

    The gilded dancers now a trampled hymn
    To artifice before the makeup glass,
    Each pivot to another act a din
    Of chaos, what was beauty laid to waste.

    Nightly stage illusions must be complete,
    But here lies truth, much closer to chagrin.

  73. “Abiding time”

    We bask in her lavender and oil
    accent. It is as weightless as the
    stories of her halos, thin and breezy,
    a mélange of curtsy and flirty teal.

    She is our solitary history from womb
    to forevermore; time cannot cease for
    girls who can transform steely words
    into strands of ivory pearls, genteel

    and worthy enough to be worn as royal
    heirlooms. She wheels room to room
    in her silver chair weathering prayers
    and a dozen rounds of chemo to heal

    the menace poised in a cancerous coil
    inside her breast where Love is entombed.

  74. Robert, I am so sorry but I have anther edition. I posted a poem here yesterday but now I changed it. I really hope it is okay. Here it is:

    i am on

    the voluntarily idea
    of letting things pass
    taking part
    saying yes

    wanting to act
    to be near
    having a go
    to confess

    to you my dear
    in intimate words
    just for you to hear
    i let out my heart

    of course i fear
    i’d make you want to part.

  75. DanielAri says:


    The writing prompt from Robert Lee:
    The Unexpected. At the stop
    where casual carpoolers pick
    up riders, a white limousine,

    three car-lengths long, take me. Inside
    it’s all black, curvaceous plastic.
    The bar’s closed. Six passengers sit
    in silence looking at their screens.

    It is way too cold. I unroll
    the window. The idle AV
    emits a low, constant buzzing.
    I see the off switch but refrain.

    The AC stops; the air grows thick.
    No one paid for the luxury.

  76. barbara_y says:


    Revision is the flu on your birthday.
    It’s the mirror that makes you look like hell.
    It’s the eye of the skinniest needle:
    trim, lick, spit, hone–no work is fine enough.

    Revision’s a volcano to be scaled
    before you can trip, fall, fail into ash.
    It’s the labor that trampled Hercules.
    The Four Horsemen say Revision plays rough.

    You meet Revision on the road: oh, swell:
    kill it–it comes back, rips you limb from limb,
    laughs. Revision is the stake that impaled
    Dracula. Oh, it’s gonna love your stuff.

    Revision’s a snarl, a snare; and a spell
    you keep casting until you’ve got it nailed.

    Barbara E Young

  77. tjholt says:

    Interloping Reality

    Approaching my season of winter’s spectroscope
    fall leaves scatter as loose pieces of colored glass,
    images of life’s broken pattern, colored shapes
    ever changing, reflected in the winter’s ice.

    They fashion reminiscence. A kaleidoscope,
    tessellated reality, like sassafras
    heady root beer tea, flakey buttermilk biscuits,
    brown gravy recall Grandma’s cook stove, paradise,

    where memories are frequently inaccurate.
    Who says she was aggrieved of her son’s wives
    or that in her youth she was, an unwed mother?
    I rejoice. My memories aren’t always precise.

    When I recall through that imprecise microscope
    revising verities, forgive my trespasses.

  78. Sonia says:


    Sunshine kisses the skin of her cheeks
    As joy dances on the waves of a crisp ocean breeze
    Hope now sits comfortably on the horizon
    Bright almond eyes embracing new life

    The salty air strokes her lungs
    As memories of lemonade & yellow-orange leaves
    Retell a story of fire & passion
    She was his beloved wife

    Now biting of tongues
    Maintain a sense of peace
    She is no longer shackled to her past
    Deep dimples make their way home

    Thunderstorms, for the moment cease
    Her heart comes first, no longer last

    – S. Sonia Starke

  79. barbara_y says:

    Brazilian Jazz

    A noisy rain on the glass and gutters;
    cars unzip May-wet streets. Infinity
    has room for mornings when the birds just peep,
    and a footstool on its front porch for death.

    How many old universes clutter
    all forever’s attics? Have they turned stiff,
    come to like big red geraniums, dawn,
    and jokes their young star selves had thought uncouth?

    I have a crush on fate–sophomore puzzle
    of long talks, and sunrises pink as neon.
    My counting heart denies eternity,
    but if I’m right, I’ll never know the truth

    and after death, fix a peanut butter,
    walk some gray dawn beach with divinity.

    Barbara E Young

  80. Tracy Davidson says:

    Waiting Room

    I try and think of other things
    to pass the time, read magazines
    I’ve read a million times before,
    muse over cryptic crossword clues.

    All those who wait look up with hope
    each time someone opens the door.
    We look down again, not speaking,
    some read, some just stare at their shoes.

    Hours later, the doctor comes,
    grim of face, his prognosis stings.
    We’ll keep on fighting, but this is
    a battle we can only lose.

    Before Saint Peter gives her wings,
    I pray for a little time more.

  81. Linda.H says:

    I don’t normally write love poems but this form screams LOVE to me.

    I used the pattern: axbc/ xaxc/ bxxc/ ab, with each line being 8 syllables.

    Wabi-Sabi Love

    When you came to me, a mirage
    of perfection, plate piled high
    with pluses, sweetness in each kiss,
    I thought you too good to be true,

    like plastic dressed as porcelain
    and all prettied with decoupage.
    So I allowed time to decide;
    time sent me down the aisle with you.

    Thirty years later I can’t miss
    how you wear your flaws and age like
    an old china plate with chips and
    cracks, antique beauty shining through.

    Time spent with you is a collage
    of life and love and wedded bliss.

  82. RJ Clarken says:

    Class Reunion

    A few more fine lines ‘round the eyes,
    perfectly dyed hair that nature
    never had any part in, and
    the same weight, but shifted lower…

    funny stories of days long gone
    and everyone says, “How time flies.”
    those stories are embellished since
    years turn faster; we are slower…

    popularity’s not a prize –
    not anymore, anyway. So
    if we can’t recall? Improvise,
    since age is still a foreign land…

    forty years comes in a disguise.
    I’ve lived the life: I know firsthand.


  83. PressOn says:


    All is silent in the room;
    the breaths come quietly and slow;
    a single rose glows in the sun
    as death prepares to come.

    The circumstance that brings me here
    is sad: to show my love for one
    who celebrated life itself
    and now is stricken numb.

    But, strangely, here I do not know
    the gloom I feared that I would feel.
    My friend liked roses, which he called
    an antidote to glum

    and this one rose, with its soft glow,
    suggests that peace has just begun.

    William Preston

  84. The crystals of consciousness

    Meditative blue emerald finding a moment’s relief
    In the shadows of the moonlight
    Ancient destinies shaped it to perfection
    Eroded by the wrath of mother nature, as she laid her love on her rocks

    She had to let some of them go, the guardian of babies
    The pain of knowing her red rubies being picked like flowers
    By the dirty hands of a robber, a robber of more than her virgin stones
    Hands painted in blood, sinful , as the mother cries her brave tears

    Crystals that blossom in the night shedding lights on our awareness
    On a scale filled with darkness and sunlight
    Each rock, rocks the cradle of content
    Waking us, to see the truth in their teary eyes

    When we are just blinded by the light
    We tend to forget the shadows in the back

  85. Incomprehensible

    “You must come and see!” I called in my dream.
    The lizard inside my front door was huge.
    Its body was white, like leather, not scales,
    and banded twice in black and red.

    I didn’t know where it would run; I was scared.
    Then I saw by the lintel what it obscured —
    shoved under the carpet, severed of course
    and starting to rot — a horse’s head.

    You’d think that would cue me to panic and scream
    and wake. But not so. I called once again
    for the men whom I knew were in the back room.
    They spotted some other small beast, also dead.

    I suppose that these symbols are not what they seem.
    Is there some hidden thing in my life to be feared?

  86. The Wreckers

    See those winding roads
    through the slow hills?
    When it’s dark and wet
    don’t go that way.

    There are those who wait
    in the slippery dark
    on the sharp bends
    where the shadows stay.

    They wait for spills
    on the lonely tracks.
    Perhaps they cause them;
    that we can’t say.

    Just never forget —
    recklessness kills.

  87. I jumped the gun and wrote one for last week’s Wednesday prompt, so am submitting it again here. I hope that’s not against the rules – but if it is, having declared myself I trust you to sort it out, dear Robert!

    The Boy Who Climbs My Branches

    He is seven. Or is he ten?
    Every weekend he arrives
    when the morning is still early
    and comes up to nest like a bird.

    Like others before him, he strives
    to go higher each time, so high
    that one day he couldn’t get down.
    But he cried out, and he was heard.

    His father came with a ladder.
    And I remembered when the man
    was a boy climbing to the sky
    through my branches. But not a word!

    I keep the secrets of their lives —
    all those young boys who long to fly.

  88. DanielR says:

    In front of main street shops
    lawn chairs dot the sidewalks
    flags wave red, white, and blue
    and the smiling sun shines

    Floral flatbeds roll by
    platforms for beauty queens
    the music starts and stops
    played by bands in straight lines

    The clowns arrive on cue
    and laughter fills the air
    children express themselves
    with patriotic signs

    hot dogs and soda pops
    freedom, never more true

    Daniel Roessler

  89. DanielR says:

    Stand upon the mountaintop
    absorbing the morning sun
    shout into the reckless wind
    it echoes, then slips away

    before making a last stop
    in the valley far below
    where a young boy sits alone
    resting atop bales of hay

    the sound of a distant voice
    grabs him and he looks around
    thinking it might be his friend
    who at last has come to play

    but as always in the end
    the fields only hold a crop

    Daniel Roessler

  90. candy says:


    The challenge, should you
    choose to accept, read the
    post on Robert’s blog
    for Tuesday the ninth of May,

    write a bref double. It’s due
    later this month but without
    Inspiration or motivation
    I’m feeling a bit of dismay

    Sitting alone with pen in hand
    and white paper blank, just
    like a bump on a log
    It’s going to be a long day

    My brain seems to have a slight clog
    O, if only I was a bit fey

  91. of longing and loss

    you give your heart and pray
    it learns to fly on love’s wings.
    reaching deep into your core you soar
    in pangs of desire; love’s fervent fire.

    but as long as it remains one of those things
    you give unrequited, there is no delight
    in loving in oneness, a solitary soul, alone.
    the loss you feel seems dire

    status quo is a slow death, never gaining
    what you’ve been straining to own.
    the lament between longing and loss
    plunges to depths, never reaching higher.

    to lose at love is the gamble. it can surely bring
    the greatest joy or the biggest disappointment you’ve known.

    (C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

  92. i am on

    the voluntarily idea
    of letting things pass
    taking part
    saying yes

    wanting to act
    to be near
    having a go
    to confess

    to you my dear
    in intimate words
    just for you to hear
    I let out my heart.

    Of course I fear
    you just want to part.

  93. JRSimmang says:


    We’ve lied through our hands sifting,
    and we’re left with gold of fools.
    Go west, they said, and find yourself.
    Destiny’s built on stone.

    But as we unraveled our red-rusted thread,
    we did not notice our emptying spools
    while we became bound to the drifting,
    blindly, fumbling home.

    If ever our homes be built on sands shifting,
    our homes will settle eventually cocked,
    our fingers ever clenching impotent tools,
    these tools the only ones we own.

    In our castles, we end up lifting
    to our heads crowns of false jewels.

    -JR Simmang

    for Elihu Burritt, 1864

    You detoured just to see this one-street town
    famous for making lace – the handiwork
    of women hungerful and gaunt. This day,
    you find them on clay floors, their fingers worn

    not quite to bone with lace-work filigree
    and flounces. In damp cottages they bend
    to their needles, their art. A wedding gown
    for a princess. And its maker? Old, shorn

    of girlhood, womanhood. She just makes lace,
    wrought with lions and unicorns. A queen
    might wear her veil with pride. It’s cheap, to pay
    a penny for priceless weave. Shall we mourn

    such poverty? A thought to bear away,
    how common peasant craft can wreathe a crown.

  95. DanielAri says:

    “The one in the middle”

    Two friends of mine
    don’t get along.
    When magnets forced
    back to front fight

    to get apart,
    it feels like strong
    disdain—but flip
    one, and they’re tight,

    as synchronized
    as a fork’s tines,
    twinned as the half-
    globes of a brain.

    Now it’s just wrong
    how they align.


  96. a mother missed and cherished

    near your stone in the mourning mist,
    whispers of a voice ne’er forgotten
    still echo in wisdom, a generation
    since we stood at Christmas on your frozen ground.

    photos of you splayed in memory, kept
    close to heart and the soul of you penetrates
    all of us left to recall and to be kissed
    by your love long after your passing. the sound

    of your lost lullaby fills our sad eyes;
    tears in torrents to drown our aching, wept
    jointly as these visions we shared through you
    dissipate over the course of years. Still the joy of you abounds.

    a mother long held cherished,
    in heart and mind and soul you have crept.

    (C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2014


    Don’t be in such a hurry, child,
    to find your life. It’s waiting, just
    above your reach. Step back a pace
    and take your bearings; set your glide

    and grab a slipstream. From up there,
    you’ll know it by its colors – wild
    rainforest greens, and blues to blind
    the eye. Unbridled horse to ride

    without the fear of hobbles. Share
    free heaven; taste it in your lungs.
    Hang onto wind that whips your face.
    You’ll lose yourself at full-tilt stride.

    Somewhere on earth, you’ll see a place
    beside the hawk; return his stare.

  98. one son’s shine

    a father’s pride and joy,
    learned in woods, compliant in his words.
    the skill witnessed in one; the other
    missed, though blessed by the verses he wove.

    the final exhale came at his death
    and his name, the last bequeath to the boy
    left to find his own way in that same name,
    a glowing example of all that love

    can do to nurture long connected souls.
    his goal now to shine until his last breath
    in homage to the Dad long passed,
    seated in silent vigil from his lofty place above.

    a sailor Father’s last ahoy,
    sailing in one son’s shine, in love and faith.

    (C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

  99. Linda Goin says:


    An oyster, when coating a grain
    of sand, illustrates lustrous
    life behind ordinary toughness.
    You kiss my neck, hold my hand,

    and point me like a weather vane
    with easier and neater airs, luscious
    routine, necessary reasons to render
    precious stones from irritated land.

    I am peace, bliss, that one second
    before fruit falls ripe delicious.
    The world now says ready, again,
    to face rousing disarray, grand

    plans that escape our offhand
    serenity, our ordinary wondrous.

    Linda Goin

  100. barbara_y says:

    I can’t remember if you consider blog-posted as “published”. This has been revised and the original is password-protected.

    Love is a Dream

    She dreams and, clumsy as an axe,
    drops her name on a looking glass,
    shattering the sky with lightning,
    striking herself numb as black rock.

    In her dream, love is a gray cat,
    and rubs against the hills. Each pass
    brings its purring thunder louder.
    It crackles, spike-full of shocks.

    Any land the cat sky brushes
    turns dull. A world erased to holes,
    mistakes are coiled springs, threatening
    to hold her through life’s long slow clock.

    The sky will settle and rain. Grass
    will green, but love is frightening.

    Barbara E Young

    • PressOn says:

      For me, you have turned cumulonimbi into big grey cats. Marvellous.

    • louiseh says:

      My poem: Spring Rejuvenation

      Flight of fancy
      inspired by creative activity
      flowers in full bloom
      soul in tune with the rhythms of moon

      Joy of simple pleasures
      tourist views, beautiful wild country
      birds sing an extraordinary song
      the song of success, soon

      Gardening, sideline passion
      music, soulmate, presence of loyalty
      drawing of love-in-a-mist
      overwelmed by visions, feeling like a baloon

      Spring Rejuvenation
      The nature changes so nicely

  101. PressOn says:

    Lie–an abomination before the Lord and an ever-present help in time of trouble. — Mark Twain


    If you must lie, then do it well;
    be not content with little fibs;
    a whopper is preferred to tales
    that limp as they prevaricate.

    Your standard lie will never do
    when stories must entreat and swell;
    much better to expand the zone
    of disbelief as on you prate

    and build a mountain straight to Hades,
    for, if well told, your blather will
    become the truths that fill up swales
    and thus will tip all juries and fate.

    A lie that rings with truth’s clear bell
    is handy to have at garage sales.

  102. Cin5456 says:


    It begins in a time of rain
    your eyes ever clouded
    with fear we cannot free
    before the torrent descends

    A month ago you seemed
    a waif who sits under falling pain
    with puddles in her pockets
    saved for other friends

    Often tears gather behind
    a hand held under the sea
    cannot hold the water back
    when rain and fear blends

    to judge by the weather vein
    tears rein for a day a week and me.

  103. jasonlmartin says:

    Goblin Fish

    The mouth blooms out of his head
    once a day when he is ready to feed
    on whatever he decides is easy prey,
    which may be his own fins on a bad day.

    This is the random trivia you don’t try
    to hear, told by a guy at a sleepy party
    who no one admits the sin of inviting.
    Or, it’s what you find in a desk calendar,

    on March 27th, the same date in history
    the corkscrew was patented by M.L. Byrn.
    And you regret how gullible you were the day
    you succumbed to the 50% off clearance price.

    This is the fate of the goblin fish. Don’t tell him.
    He may sink into more of his masochistic ways.

  104. candy says:

    A revision of Winged Dreams

    Winged Dreams 2

    How do they do it, flit?
    The birds in my yard play
    and build their nests.
    They bathe, they chirp, they eat.

    I wish my clothes like feathers fit
    and smoothly over bulges lay
    to never worry about colors
    or whether all the buttons meet.

    No thought of home decor
    of cable, water, gas, phone;
    when to plant the peas or beans,
    or drag the garbage to the street.

    I see a hawk swoop for a hit.
    And then the magic starts to fade.

  105. Elizabeth Koch says:

    Missing Her

    That girl I was way back when
    crawled out her window to get away
    but she never had to leave the roof
    that was as far as she would go

    Outside, up high, she could see
    beyond the fields that did sway
    and she brought those visions back
    through hand and pen to grow

    She brought them back, wrote them down
    and the words became her proof
    that when she put the sights to page
    she could start to know

    I’m double her age now, that girl with a pen aloof
    Yet I still look back and up to her each time I lose my way

    –Elizabeth Koch–

  106. tunesmiff says:

    Another one intended for the weekly Wednesday prompt/challenge…

    George Smith
    She lies on the lawn and looks at the moon,
    Feeling the grass grow damp with dew.
    She counts the stars one by one,
    As the daylight fades to indigo.

    She waits on the planets patiently,
    Most nights there’s one or two,
    And joys in their seeming random motion,
    And steady, untwinkling glow.

    Shooting stars and comets and satellites,
    Asteroids and rings and the great spot;
    All around our own small sun;
    And still a universe of things to know.

    So many things come into view
    Before the next day has begun.


    hunts sapphire dragonflies along the creek
    and searches for the turtle blue as sea.
    He knows a string of stories, azure beads
    be-speckled with the dust of every land;

    so many fables, all of them quite true
    in a young boy’s mind, vibrant as a week
    of Saturdays. Holes in pockets, he reads
    and memorizes, tries to understand

    the lessons taught at school. But every text
    denies that there’s a lamb with cobalt eyes
    who dares to walk among the wildest beasts.
    Yet this boy holds blue heaven in his hand,

    adventuring the way that larkspur leads
    and loving sky-blue wind upon his cheek.

  108. DanielAri says:

    “The boy and girl who put soul into scrap”

    —for Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent

    The human mind is willing to forget
    that a rusty gas gauge isn’t an eye
    and an old heater never held a heart
    when she paints the shapes he welds together.

    Trashcans are the bodies of three brothers—
    stacked acrobats with goggling faces high
    above the hedgerows. You could feel spied on
    by fused rubbish pulsing with character.

    Now the clan is ranging to distant parts.
    Their merry-gone-round materials thrive
    anywhere people see reconfigured
    junk—and grin at the flailing kayaker

    in the cross-currents of rejection, art,
    resurrection, hoping he arrives dry.

  109. gmagrady says:


    I think it’s called flashing
    where the roof meets the wall,
    where the slope comes to an end.
    Apparently, it’s now the place

    where the critter just wiggles
    through, thinking she’s a friend
    who can camp out every
    night and day in the crawlspace,

    destroying decorations from last
    Christmas, crashing and thrashing
    about at boxed up books and clothes,
    old pictures and papers now defaced.

    I’m weary of her boasting and bashing.
    When she’s trapped, it’ll be a godsend.

  110. tunesmiff says:

    Originally planned for the Wednesday prompt, but thought I’d post it here instead…

    George Smith

    Standing at his window watching the birds
    Soar above the tallest trees,
    He can look back down on his yard
    If he holds his arms out just so.

    Lying on his back studying the clouds
    Make their way before the breeze,
    He scales their mountainous shapes
    Through the sunset’s glow.

    Sitting on his porch some eighty years on,
    He follows shooting stars,
    And knows now it’s just too hard;
    He’s about ready to go.

    And the thought of wings frees
    Him to finally let down his guard.

  111. candy says:

    Winged Dreams

    How do they do it, flit?
    The birds in my yard played
    and built their nests.
    They bathe, they chirp, they eat.

    I wish my clothes like feathers fit
    and smoothly over bulges laid;
    to never worry about colors
    or whether all the buttons meet.

    No thought of decor, not one whit,
    if cable, water, gas bills paid,
    when to plant the peas or beans,
    or drag the garbage to the street.

    I see a hawk swoop for a hit.
    By then the magic starts to fade.

    by Candace Kubinec

  112. SEWING CIRCLES 1846, 1866…
    for Elihu Burritt (1810-1879)

    The women sit at their needlework
    stitching Brotherhood and Love’s increase.
    Shall their boys become soldiers? Never,
    no matter what governments might plan.

    Still it happens, as it did before.
    Men’s ideas turn to argument;
    men do their thinking with swords and guns.
    Isn’t this how the last war began?

    It takes one hundred million needles
    every week to mend what battles tore.
    Families in tatters. How might it cease?
    Each stitch for the love of someone’s man,

    that he might return home, safe, from war;
    that man-kind might change its heart to Peace.

  113. DanielR says:

    Melting before our eyes
    we grieve the dying sun
    surrendering to night
    the lamp that lights the day

    Fear is born in silence
    warning man of himself
    the serpent’s tongue spews lies
    until truth slips away

    and what we see becomes
    distorted by our sight
    hazy and indistinct
    colored with shades of gray

    But when no man defies
    then all have lost the fight

    Daniel Roessler

  114. AlexandraC says:


    Silver drip-down seize
    My mercury-glass heart and
    I shudder-shatter, lie.
    I drink you all.

    Feign, Lain, deign to die.
    Raze to ribs and chine.
    All mine, I eat your ash and dust.
    Lust, I drain the endless gaul.

    Doss down in dross crown,
    Heavy-Hollow-Hallowed disease.
    Consume, consumed, self-spiral end.
    The Bacchanal flailing at the wailing wall.

    Ego squeeze, beg pease.
    Comply, drink-dry the never-ending I

    Alexandra Carmany

  115. Bref Double the Poem, Double the Game
    by Mary Harwell Sayler

    To write a bref double in form be as brief a
    as a sonnet with no turning point or quarrel x
    or particular meter needed except to line b
    up verses neatly to look about the same, c

    which can be a bit tricky since the width x
    of fonts refuse to conform, causing a chief a
    concern among poets and typesetters too. x
    French poets penned bref double by name c

    with “A” and “B” rhymes making a design b
    since each occurs twice in the three quatrains x
    before coming together in a couplet at the end x
    as the poet concludes this word-rhyme game. c

    But a bref double poem can give a poet grief a
    if the ABC rhymes won’t entwine like a vine. b

  116. Bruce Niedt says:

    Ravens and Foxglove

    Harbinger birds,
    black as an omen,
    carrying powers
    on tips of their wings,

    roost near a garden
    of fingertip flowers,
    small purple bells
    that do many things –

    poison our foes
    or keep our hearts beating.
    Life hangs, we suppose,
    on what each symbol brings.

    We’re all in the throes
    of indefinite hours.

  117. Clae says:

    Death Hunters

    Lungs barraged by a stench of decay
    we paused once across the border stream
    and fought minds with eyes against our fear
    Our wary band approached the lair

    What waited within we could not see
    but heard distant breath refused to scream
    around us fetid fog seemed to weep
    We were all bravely unprepared

    Cold clouds thick with danger cloaked the way
    as we pressed forward into the deep
    until a crystal cavern was reached
    At last we found it and we stared

    For we saw death beautiful asleep
    was someone we all knew in dreams

    T. S. Gray

  118. DanielR says:

    From dormant winter ground
    in endless vivid waves
    spring forth floral rainbows
    blossoming like a child

    Some planted with purpose
    aligned in perfect rows
    others randomly strewn
    scattered and growing wild

    Vibrant splendor abound
    rich hues of reds and blues
    that disappear too soon
    like moments when she smiled

    Seasons when nothing grows
    Remnants withered and browned

    Daniel Roessler

  119. RJ Clarken says:

    Not Really Dangerous

    “Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion of the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.” ~Jack Handy

    Mulberry Street, that famous site
    for Seussian creativeness,
    ain’t got nothin’ on l’il ol’ me.
    Know why? Today I saw a shark

    (‘though not Great White – was more like Nurse)
    riding a pachyderm upright,
    which, as you might imagine, was
    unusual. A question mark

    resounded in my head, all right,
    since how can sharks ride saddleless?
    But he did: as he turned to bite
    low hanging cupcakes in a tree.

    I still felt safe, there was no fright:
    Imagination here was key.


  120. RJ Clarken says:

    The Nosey-Parker

    “A busybody’s work is never done.” ~A.N. Wilson

    She lived for this: quidnunckery,
    a bit of gossip, mixed with news
    that may have not been…well…quite true.
    It was the thing on which she thrived.

    The tabloids were her choice, her source,
    for shameless ‘dirt’ spelunkery,
    but her antenna would go up
    no matter even if contrived

    or filled with lots of bunkery.
    To wit: her friends would make up stuff
    (a little bit of punkery)
    to glut her scuttlebutt world view.

    At last, she suffered funkery:
    when told, “Just heard some tale ‘bout you.


  121. RJ Clarken says:


    “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

    Tell me secrets. I want to know
    all about that special magic
    which can make imagination
    sing like a coloratura.

    Even in crowds, I am alone,
    and I cannot seem to outgrow
    a certain wistfulness, since I
    long for wonder and bravura

    instead of life lived in tableau:
    is there magic in a still life?
    Perhaps, if painted by Van Gogh.
    I admit to some frustration

    which may have started long ago…
    a private interpretation.


  122. PressOn says:


    The golfers golfing on the course
    display a range of odd behaviors
    from cute to strange to flatly daft;
    it hardly seems to be a game.

    Amazingly, they keep on playing
    despite their trips to heather and gorse;
    who would think that a ball and a cup
    could make so many passions flame?

    Some curse at balls, some curse at holes;
    some curse at those who’ve smirked and laughed;
    most all show signs of some despair
    and few admit that they’re the blame.

    For some, their failures go beyond remorse:
    it takes a lot to break a graphite shaft.

    William Preston

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