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WD Poetic Form Challenge: Madrigal

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

Earlier this week, I hinted it was coming, and here it is: the next WD Poetic Form Challenge. Of course, we’ll be writing the madrigal, specifically the English madrigal, for this challenge. Click here to read the guidelines for the madrigal.

Once you know the rules for the madrigal, 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.)

The golden shovel challenge drew 750+ comments–so consider the bar raised.

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 August 31, 2014.
  • Poets can enter as many madrigals as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished.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 madrigal.
  • I will only consider madrigals 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 user/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!
2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

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Plus, this edition includes information on poetic forms, poet interviews, articles on the craft and business of poetry, and so much more!

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roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He loves reading poetry, writing poetry, and studying poetry–but he especially loves sharing poetry and is happy that Poetic Asides is a place that accommodates just that.

Walks in the park, kissing after dark, watching Jimmy Stewart films–these are some of the other things that Robert enjoys. He writes nearly daily and is happy to sacrifice cable TV to continue this practice.

Robert is married to the 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.

452 Responses to WD Poetic Form Challenge: Madrigal

  1. grcran says:

    Meet Her

    When you agree to meet, we will convene
    The one you knew will never be the same
    Go now, and yes, allow her in between

    your old age and your death: she’s your new queen
    This ladykin can dance, she’s quite a dame
    Once you agree to meet, we’ll reconvene
    And who you knew will never be the same

    Ecstatic joy contentment insight keen
    She brings love’s latent self, the fervent flame
    Delivers at long last to site serene
    You meet, and winding down, you reconvene
    The one you knew will always be the same
    Go now, and then, and ever in between

    by gpr crane

    • grcran says:

      (gosh, I messed up the form… here’s the corrected:

      Meet Her

      The one you knew will never be the same
      When you agree to meet, we will convene
      Go now, and yes, allow her in between

      This ladykin can dance, she’s quite a dame
      You’re older, nearing death, she’s your new queen
      When who you knew will never be the same
      Then you’ll agree to meet, we’ll reconvene

      She brings love’s latent self, the fervent flame
      Ecstatic joy contentment insight keen
      Delivery at last to site serene
      The one you knew will always be the same
      You meet, and winding down, you reconvene
      Go now, and then, and ever in between

      by gpr crane

  2. grcran says:

    Comeuppance

    Beer sludge does ooze, it dreams in its own way
    It permeates the air the land the sea
    I drink some part of it and then I pay

    We cannot plot the path from night to day
    With piece of brain no larger than a pea
    Beer sludging oozes dreaming milky way
    With permutation air and land and sea

    My liver, other parts persuaded, they
    disease relentless, ganging up on me
    And take me to the ocean to the quay
    where sludge it oozes dreaming in its way
    It permeates the air the land the sea
    And drinking part of it, I kneel and pay

    by gpr crane

    • grcran says:

      (sorry, here’s the corrected:

      Comeuppance

      Beer permeates the air the land the sea
      Its sludge does ooze, it dreams in its own way
      I drink some part of it and then I pay

      With piece of brain no larger than a pea
      I cannot plot the path from night to day
      While permutating air and land and sea
      Beer sludges ooze a dreaming milky way

      Disease relentless, ganging up on me
      My liver, other parts persuaded, they
      then take me to the ocean to the quay
      beer permeating air and land and sea
      where sludges ooze it, dreaming on its way
      And drinking part of it, I kneel and pay

      by gpr crane

  3. Nancy Posey says:

    A Conversation with Nana

    I can’t remember if I told you this:
    I used to be as young and cute as you.
    Where did the time go? How I wish I knew.

    Sixteen before I even had a kiss,
    I knew I should withhold a thing or two.
    I can’t remember if I told you this.
    I used to be as young and cute as you.

    It’s not my youth, it’s my mind that I miss.
    As well as I remember ‘forty-two,
    Today, I’m not quite sure if I know you.
    I can’t remember if I told you this,
    I used to be as young and cute as you.
    Where did the time go? How I wish I knew.

  4. BDP says:

    “Back at You, Bruni”

    And I still see you, friend. You’re sweeping in,
    a coltish college freshman, Spanish class.
    You turn, grin, call out “Peters!” Love your sass—

    one word, and I’m a star. Damn marathon:
    your hepatitis then unknown. So fast!
    And I still see you, friend. You’re sweeping in,
    a coltish college freshman, Spanish class.

    I want to stop that race. No yellowed skin
    to tip us off, no sickness—you collapse
    upon the finish line. The decades pass
    and I still see you, friend. You’re sweeping in,
    a coltish college freshman, Spanish class.
    You turn, grin, call out, “Peters, love your sass!”

    –Barb Peters

  5. Margie Fuston says:

    Repeat

    The same old song is playing in my head.
    The one about a boy and girl alone
    under some tree with lips and buttons undone.

    And here we are again. My left arm dead.
    Your fingers squeezing the tune of muffled moans.
    The same old song is playing in my head.
    The one about a boy and girl alone.

    And here we are again. Your lips like lead.
    They say a grizzly will leave you alone
    if you can stop your heart. As I stay prone,
    the same old song is playing in my head.
    The one about a boy and girl alone
    under some tree with lips and buttons undone.

  6. PressOn says:

    EXCAVATION

    Just one time more across the meadowland
    we’ll walk, before the trucks and loaders come
    to change it all for profit meant for some

    who never walked this field of loam and sand.
    We must feel Earth’s reply to footfall’s thrum
    just one more time; across the meadowland
    we’ll walk, before the trucks and loaders come,

    and make believe that flowers will be grand
    when springtime comes; that birdsong will benumb
    all fear; that life will follow still its rhumb
    just one time more across the meadowland.
    We’ll walk before the trucks and loaders come
    to change it all for profit meant for some.

    William Preston

  7. WHAT SHE NEEDS

    The wind-chimes, she says, don’t work anymore,
    they just hang from the rafter all day long.
    Then try, he says, to rouse them with a song,

    a wind-song bright and quick as evermore.
    But who’d believe singing could right a wrong?
    The wind-chimes, she says, don’t work anymore,
    they just hang from the rafter all day long.

    It all depends, he says, on metaphor,
    the wind of fancy dancing all along
    to set our wind-chimes clanging like a gong.
    The wind-chimes, she says, don’t work anymore,
    they just hang from the rafter all day long.
    Then try, he says, to rouse them with a song.

  8. Nancy Posey says:

    Avian Secrets

    The birds have secrets no one knows:
    Why the heron always flies alone.
    Where indeed has the summer gone?

    On my lawn I surprise a murder of crows
    without a clue to where it goes.
    The birds have secrets no one knows.
    Why does the heron fly alone?

    Its hermit nature, I suppose.
    The geese fly off to a warmer zone,
    a winter harvest nature has sown.
    The birds have secrets no one knows,
    while the heron always flies alone.
    Where, love, has the summer gone?

  9. Majobo says:

    Tart

    Hail the glorious lady in mauve and fuchsia,
    Jumping up from her leather armchair with a formidable fart,
    Dancing her way to the prize for the most admirable tart!

    Today, with her doggie in her handbag, she went to the butcher’s;
    Alone in the queue she sat, patience is an art…
    Hail the glorious lady in mauve and fuchsia
    Jumping up from the plastic chair with a formidable fart!

    She arranged around her frame scarlet ribbons and cushions
    And addressed with candidness the chauffeur of her farcical cart;
    This dignified man most happily played the part…
    Hail the glorious lady in mauve and fuchsia,
    Jumping up from her leather seat with a formidable fart,
    Dancing her way to the prize for the most admirable tart!

  10. DOES ANYONE LIVE THERE?

    It sits provocative by the road’s curve,
    dusty pink stucco; no neighbors, no phone.
    It slows me down in a fifty-mile zone.

    Its frontline wrapped in a shade-subtled verve –
    a tree that buds like popped-corn. Quite alone
    it sits provocative by the road’s curve.
    Dusty pink stucco. No neighbors, no phone;

    unmodern style. What beckons me to swerve?
    What strategy in its low wall of stone?
    As if all that’s left is an empty throne
    sitting provocative by the road’s curve.
    Dusty pink stucco – no neighbors, no phone.
    It slows me down in the fifty-mile zone.

  11. Majobo says:

    Soulitary

    He won’t owe anything, not even an explanation,
    Not to anyone; no, not even his lover;
    Just above our existence will his kindness hover…

    Bearing his bronzed radiance as his sole justification,
    Keeping his finer feelings under elegant cover,
    He won’t owe anything, not even an explanation,
    Not to anyone; no, not even his lover!

    “Are you hoping to take your independence all the way to cremation?”
    Railed and wailed his father, his brother, his mother…
    In vain many a girl tried to break open his coffer…
    But he won’t owe anything, not even an explanation,
    Not to anyone; no, not even his lover;
    Just above our existence does his kindness hover…

  12. FLUTTER

    In the garden enclave, a pink aster,
    its petals stenciled against green shade: time-
    lapse ticked and nicked by the sun’s daily climb.

    Past the fence a dog yelps; ever faster
    traffic speeds by; everything’s past its prime.
    In the garden enclave, a pink aster –
    its petals stenciled against green shade-time –

    still waits in flower for some insight vaster:
    butterflies in migration to this clime;
    union of wings with blossom, flight sublime.
    In the garden enclave, a pink aster,
    its petals stenciled against green shade: time-
    lapse ticked and nicked by the sun’s daily climb.

  13. Joe’s Madrigal

    There goes the man who whistles while he walks
    Asking the sky to take away his tears
    He’s still a whistlin’ after all these years

    Rabble-Rouser cock bloc no buddy talks
    Another protest – Sukiyaki jeers
    There goes the man who whistles while he walks
    Asking the sky to take away his tears

    Kaleidoscope hope round friendless road blocks
    Crocks hot pot fuel apocalyptic fears
    Wise man trusts what he knows not what he hears
    There goes the man who whistles while he walks
    Asking the sky to take away his tears
    He’s still a whistlin’ after all these years

    By Marie-Therese Knepper

  14. LOFT LIVING

    The dusk comes early on September’s eve,
    a sylph of expectation with a blade
    of wonder piercing what today we made.

    A slipstream eases everything we leave
    undone and waiting as the colors fade.
    The dusk comes early on September’s eve.
    A sylph of expectation with a blade

    of glimmer – what we choose now to believe
    of passed days, primordial cavalcade
    of seasons, those songs the wind’s organ played.
    The dusk comes early on September’s eve,
    a sylph of expectation with a blade
    of wonder piercing what today we made.

  15. gmagrady says:

    YES

    Oh, come and sit a spell! Just me. Just you.
    What times we’d have if only you’d say “yes”!
    We needn’t talk of love and loss, unless…

    We can’t go on holding our breaths til blue.
    Let’s banter, laugh, and smile—forget the mess.
    Oh, come and sit a spell! Just me. Just you.
    What times we’d have, if only you’d say “yes”!

    When our life paths did cross, my friend, we knew
    not what the Lord had planned, but we were blessed.
    And now we drift away and back, distressed.
    Oh, come and sit a spell! Just me. Just you.
    What times we’d have if only you’d say “yes”!
    We needn’t talk of love and loss, unless…

    - Geralyn Magrady

  16. kjwils03 says:

    Sibling Rivalry

    A brother and sister born five years apart
    Inside she feels nothing, yet no one can tell
    While he feels too much, locked away in a cell

    He had such potential, so gifted and smart
    She worked twice as hard and performed half as well
    A brother and sister born five years apart
    Inside she feels nothing, yet no one can tell

    They shared the same childhood, but not the same heart
    She’s successful because she can fake it well
    He’s a convicted felon in county jail
    A brother and sister born five years apart
    Inside she feels nothing, yet no one can tell
    While he feels too much, locked away in a cell

  17. kjwils03 says:

    Murphy’s Law Monday

    It’s Murphy’s Law Monday today,
    And everything is going wrong.
    Eight hours never felt so long.

    My underwear is on display;
    These pants were suited for a thong.
    It’s Murphy’s Law Monday today,
    And everything is going wrong.

    Surprise! Aunt Flow arrived- hooray!
    Of course the meetings running long,
    No tampon on Earth is that strong.
    It’s Murphy’s Law Monday today,
    And everything is going wrong.
    Eight hours never felt so long.

  18. PressOn says:

    THE OLD-TIMERS TAKE THE FIELD

    Around the horn they throw the ball once more
    as they remember how they played the game
    when they were young and were so sure of fame.

    The crowd once more erupts in throated roar
    in thanks for memories that they became;
    around the horn they throw the ball once more
    as they remember how they played the game,

    and how the fields were green, and evermore
    their hearts would soar, unerring as their aim.
    Although their throws no longer hiss and flame
    around the horn, they throw the ball once more
    as they remember how they played the game
    when they were young. And were so sure of fame.

    William Preston

    • gmagrady says:

      Ah, William, you’re bringing me back to the field of dreams! I especially love the imagery that comes to mind with the phrase “around the horn.” Another beautiful madrigal.

    • BDP says:

      It’s true as time passes: “their throws no longer hiss and flame….” But I love that the players go around the horn again, remembering youth. The madrigal form is perfect for the repetition of around the horn, throwing around the bases. Nice, William!

  19. rlhZbdPOET says:

    Our World

    “Much Madness is divinest Sense—”
    Emily Dickinson

    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see
    through the pleasing façade of sanity.

    Masses ignore all the death and despair
    because they have no bodies to bury.
    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see.

    We glorify shame, and sterilize prayer.
    Old wisdom is heaved among the debris
    as hip shepherds steer us where we should be.
    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see
    through the pleasing façade of sanity.

    RL Hodges

  20. Bruce Niedt says:

    Senior Discount

    Apparently I’ve reached a certain age
    where I’m forgiven at least ten percent.
    I wonder how and when my youth was spent.

    The movies, the museum and the stage
    all offer handsome discounts for this gent.
    Apparently I’ve reached a certain age
    where I’m forgiven at least ten percent.

    Nobody checks ID, they simply gauge
    me by my face and how my spine is bent.
    Free coffee doesn’t ease my discontent.
    Apparently I’ve reached a certain age
    where I’m forgiven at least ten percent.
    I wonder how and when my youth was spent.

  21. DanielAri says:

    “A shore thing”

    As the waves rise like curtains
    on silver screens—then we see
    their bodies flicker briefly.

    The verge and suck are certain,
    but the shapes vary like Cs
    as the waves rise like curtains
    on silver screens. Then we see

    how high they reach, uncertain
    of the tide, the flat body
    shifting imperceptibly
    as the waves rise like curtains
    on silver screens. Then we see
    their bodies flicker briefly.

    —Daniel Ari

  22. lionetravail says:

    The pages of the calendar are stones,
    grave-markers for the days which, timely, died,
    unlike my friend for whom Death stopped its stride.

    The date is not so infamous it hones
    a sense of dread and awe to fill inside;
    and yet, his memory is weighty like the stones
    which filled my heart when he’d, untimely, died.

    I’m working, checking dates upon my phone
    when calendar’s insistence does provide
    the blurred reminder why I have just cried:
    the day’s today, two years ago, when stones
    were just the rolling kind. But then he died,
    and thoughts of him on rocky days break stride.

  23. SONG OF THE ROAD

    I’ve just been diagnosed with wanderlust.
    I’ve had it now for years – horizon’s goad
    to see beyond the bend; the itch of road;

    to leave old homey comforts to the rust
    of custom. Belt the song out, lighten load.
    I’ve just been diagnosed with wanderlust.
    I’ve had it now for years – horizon’s goad,

    how sunlight trembles flame-white in the dust;
    the quiver of a sax’s plangent ode –
    how sweet it flows, clear-channel radioed.
    I’ve just been diagnosed with wanderlust –
    I’ve had it now for years – horizon’s goad
    to see beyond the bend. The itch of road.

  24. rlhZbdPOET says:

    Most Prized

    Most news is bad; on occasion it’s good.
    Toward virtue we have the feathers to rise,
    yet darkness it seems is what we most prize.

    The kindness people sometimes display should
    confirm the truth of our heavenly ties.
    Most news is bad; on occasion it’s good.
    Toward virtue we have the feathers to rise.

    But noble acts are countered by falsehood.
    We gorge on ruin like underworld flies,
    tying blindfolds over tightly-cinched eyes.
    Most news is bad; on occasion it’s good.
    Toward virtue we have the feathers to rise,
    yet darkness it seems is what we most prize.

    RL Hodges

    • PressOn says:

      For me, this is a powerful piece of commentary on all of us, but I like the hope that still is there in “Toward virtue we have the feathers to rise.” I feel a thermal in that.

  25. PressOn says:

    BEN LOMOND

    Above the loch he gleams in green and blue;
    he smiles his summer smile on all below,
    for he is happiest bereft of snow

    and winds of wintertime. All seems so new
    when harebells caress rills and days are slow
    above the loch; he gleams in green and blue;
    he smiles his summer smile on all below;

    he bids me come again. That, I would do
    if I could take the high road, but I know
    the low road waits; my time has come to flow
    above the loch. He gleams in green and blue;
    he smiles his summer smile on all below,
    for he is happiest bereft of snow.

    William Preston

  26. gmagrady says:

    TIME

    The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
    I sigh. Reality is hard to face
    when knowing you’re gone and can’t be replaced.

    Sons grow—already five-seven, five-nine—
    these teens, who kiss me still before they race.
    The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
    I sigh. Reality is hard to face.

    What happened to the future that was mine?
    You chisel away at such a quick pace,
    and as you pass, I pray I age with grace.
    The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
    I sigh. Reality is hard to face
    when knowing you’re gone and can’t be replaced.

    -Geralyn Magrady

  27. carolyngrace says:

    Slow Day

    And the hours flicker away
    Chained to the chair that turns life into green
    Vacant eyes watching a blue-glowing screen

    But we haven’t wasted today
    Everyone knows our hard work has been seen
    And the hours flicker away
    Chained to the chair that turns life into green

    There is every reason to stay
    Glimpses of work with expanses between
    Thought sleeps in silence while packets careen
    And the hours flicker away
    Chained to the chair that turns life into green
    Vacant eyes watching a blue-glowing screen

    Carolyn Grace

  28. Bruce Niedt says:

    Elegy for Robin

    You earned your reputation as a clown,
    ad-libbed your way through crazy, manic roles,
    while bouncing back and forth between two poles.

    You made sure no one ever saw you frown;
    you did your best to climb out of the holes.
    You earned your reputation as a clown,
    ad-libbed your way through crazy, manic roles.

    We cried the day we heard they cut you down.
    Although you had achieved such lofty goals,
    your demons have collected all their tolls.
    Your earned your reputation as a clown,
    ad-libbed your way through crazy, manic roles,
    while bouncing back and forth between two poles.

  29. PressOn says:

    A TREE IN AN ENGLISH GARDEN

    There it stands, an oak so gnarled and old,
    its very trunk seems veined in marbled wood;
    its limbs are living links to ancient good,

    to stories told with hints of burnished gold
    that hearken back to days of Robin Hood.
    There it stands, an oak so gnarled and old,
    its very trunk seems veined in marbled wood;

    and when I touch it in a time of cold
    I feel a breath of warmth. I think I could
    converse with it, and would be understood.
    There it stands, an oak so gnarled and old,
    its very trunk seems veined in marbled wood.
    Its limbs are living links to ancient good.

    William Preston

  30. Shifting Flames

    So soft the sway of courtyard tree:
    the rustling leaves reflecting sun
    like shifting flames of green, each one.

    The gentle wind caressing me,
    my ears attune to music spun
    by softly swaying courtyard tree,
    the rustling leaves reflecting sun.

    My eyes imbibe the luster, free
    for all witness, gift that none
    can purchase, gift to wholly stun:
    so soft the sway of courtyard tree,
    the rustling leaves reflecting sun
    like shifting flames of green, each one.

  31. Jane Shlensky says:

    Gentleman Farmer

    He needs a pasture for his pastoral,
    a herd of belted cows, a flock of sheep,
    and someone else to tend them, let him sleep.

    He fancies nature bolstering morale,
    that scrub and weeds don’t grow, that labor’s cheap.
    He needs a pasture for his pastoral,
    a herd of belted cows, a flock of sheep.

    Perhaps he’ll paint, compose a grand chorale.
    He doesn’t care for outside work, upkeep.
    He wants serenity, his land’s green sweep.
    He needs a pasture for his pastoral,
    a herd of belted cows, a flock of sheep,
    and someone else to tend them, let him sleep.

  32. Jane Shlensky says:

    Disappointment

    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love though memories were few—
    imagination, longing, spit, and glue.

    Brief conjured moments made him hers alone;
    embracing phantom joys, her passion grew.
    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love though memories were few.

    Reality is seldom halcyon,
    though he was much improved while out of view.
    Who can compete with dreams he never knew?
    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love though memories were few—
    imagination, longing, spit, and glue.

    • PressOn says:

      I love the wry tone of this poem, notably “he was much improved while out of view.” Makes me feel a bit sad, too.

    • Majobo says:

      A profound piece – it can be felt either as sad (which was my first reaction, like PressOn) or actually empowering: we sift through life to only collect its gems, them being but a few minutes here and there, brief pieces of unexpected beauty… We make our life (and our relationships) what we want them to be. But then reality as a whole can suddenly disrupt this dream with a shocking revelation.

  33. Jane Shlensky says:

    In the Mirror, Darkly

    He is his brother’s keeper, not his cure,
    the sole care-giver for his dying twin.
    Each ebbing day is mirrored outside in.

    Identical as peas, who knew for sure
    which one was which, both wearing the same grin?
    He is his brother’s keeper, not his cure,
    the sole care-giver for his dying twin.

    He wonders as he feels his heart unmoor,
    if half of him is gone, what is he then?
    He dims beneath his dying brother’s skin.
    He is his brother’s keeper, not his cure,
    the sole care-giver for his dying twin.
    Each ebbing day is mirrored outside in.

    • Jane Shlensky says:

      Brother Bryan’s Third World

      He’s building tiny coffins for their dead,
      so many infants stricken in this place
      where little testifies to heaven’s grace.

      He’s been here thirty years, but was he led?
      His silent acts bring comfort, his fixed face.
      He’s building tiny coffins for their dead,
      so many infants stricken in this place.

      Where doctors cannot cure but die instead,
      where epidemics triumph like disgrace,
      he holds humanity in his embrace.
      He’s building tiny coffins for their dead,
      so many infants stricken in this place
      where little testifies to heaven’s grace.

    • This is lovely. How well you capture this!
      I had identical twin grandsons. One died in a house fire at age 15. His brother felt/still feels like this.

    • PressOn says:

      Both of these poems raise gasps and place the heart in the throat. Superb.

  34. Jane Shlensky says:

    Anima
    (after Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632)

    They search the mortal body for its soul,
    ransacking fleshy closets for a gem
    of immortality eluding them.

    Each organ they explore for spirit’s boll,
    unraveling cadavers head to hem.
    They search the mortal body for its soul,
    ransacking fleshy closets for a gem.

    Anatomists know parts make up the whole.
    What great discoveries might from them stem?
    Though vital sparks hover like seraphim,
    they search the mortal body for its soul,
    ransacking fleshy closets for a gem
    of immortality eluding them.

  35. Jane Shlensky says:

    Windthrift

    The wind moves through crepe myrtles like a thief
    fleecing their flowered pockets in a dance
    of touch and go, of curtsy, bow, and glance.

    It turns the heads of blossoms, bright and brief,
    who rain down petals gentle as romance.
    The wind moves through crepe myrtles like a thief,
    fleecing their flowered pockets in a dance.

    How quickly winsome thoughts give way to grief,
    like sweet dreams waking to grim circumstance;
    so pilfered beauty fades with elegance.
    The wind moves through crepe myrtles like a thief
    fleecing their flowered pockets in a dance
    of touch and go, of curtsy, bow, and glance.

  36. PressOn says:

    DISPENSING LOVE TO HIS BELOVED

    One fine day,
    old Marvin Meltzer
    spews spritzes of seltzer;

    then, feeling gay,
    with flowers pelts her
    one fine day.
    Old Marvin Meltzer

    can even say,
    “My passion belts her
    while I loose gelt.” Sure,
    one fine day
    old Marvin Meltzer
    spews spritzes of seltzer.

    William Preston

  37. I’ve been trying my had at iambic tetrameter (four iambs in the line instead of the five in pentameter), thinking the shorter line may lend itself to a more song-like madrigal:

    Sweet Affair

    Influenced by stanza XII of The Rubaiyat
    by Omar Khayyam, written in 1120 CE/AD:
    “A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

    A glass of wine, a loaf of bread …
    I lack but you with whom to share
    this feast, conduct our sweet affair.

    A book of verses – pages spread
    on table – words of tender care,
    a glass of wine, a loaf of bread …
    I lack but you with whom to share.

    A vase of roses, fiery red
    their fragrant breath, a prayer …
    angelic bliss if you were there.
    A glass of wine, a loaf of bread …
    I lack but you with whom to share
    this feast, conduct our sweet affair.

  38. Ain’t Nobody Can Keep An Up Man Down

    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.
    He’s up on your down stroke; you’re prose, he’s rhyme.

    Taking his life like a verb not a noun,
    He’s seems not to age; he’s always in his prime.
    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.

    Some days you might catch him sporting a frown.
    Got caught in your jet wash – covered in rime.
    He’s soon back on top: Master of his clime.
    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.
    He’s up on your down stroke; you’re prose, he’s rhyme.

    by Marie-Therese Knepper

  39. Bipolar

    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,
    That life’s a prison, hard, and he’s its song.

    It’s true he croons on sunny days. His cup
    Of glee is overwrought and spills headlong.
    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,

    The clouds he wears reflect the day’s dark wrap,
    The truth of life behind the bars. He’s strong,
    He says before his tears begin to throng.
    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,
    That life’s a prison, hard, and he’s its song.

  40. laurie kolp says:

    The Assumption

    Last night a lady kneeling in church pew,
    her veinous skin an onion layer’s finest peel,
    coughed your dry persistent cough, primly concealed

    and dressed in Sunday’s best, swept hair like you
    praying, clearing throat. I watched a movie reel
    last night: a lady kneeling in church pew,
    her veinous skin an onion layer’s finest peel.

    Tears I thought long shed began to spew
    as I tried, a vain attempt, to hide their spiel
    of memories welled deep inside, revealed
    last night– a lady kneeling in church pew,
    her veinous skin an onion layer’s finest peel,
    coughed your dry persistent cough, primly concealed.

  41. grcran says:

    Life out of Prism

    It’s raining in the hills we go inside
    One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach
    The flowers of the mountain do abide

    Much closer than the space we occupied
    A blooming haunting beauty does beseech
    The rain the hills the wet we go inside
    One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach

    A remedy for heartbreak true and tried
    Plants grow, absorb the water, sit and teach
    of colours glowing lilac, blue, and peach
    It’s raining in the hills we go inside
    One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach
    as flowers of the mountainside abide

    by gpr crane

    • PressOn says:

      I love this. The title is inspired, in my opinion.

    • grcran says:

      (I messed up the form… here’s the corrected:

      Life out of Prism

      One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach
      It’s raining in the hills we go inside
      The flowers of the mountain do abide

      A blooming haunting beauty does beseech
      Much closer than the space we occupied
      One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach
      The rain the hills the wet we go inside

      Plants grow, absorb the water, sit and teach
      of colours glowing lilac, blue, and pied
      A remedy for heartbreak true and tried
      One double rainbow arcs beyond our reach
      It’s raining in the hills we go inside
      as flowers of the mountainside abide

      by gpr crane

  42. DanielAri says:

    “No judgement”

    Having preference is fine, but
    I don’t believe in right ways,
    only in how each one plays

    since each one has to find what
    serves in each moment’s arrays.
    Having preference is fine, but
    I don’t believe in right ways.

    Yours is yours; mine is mine, cut
    from how these may be appraised.
    Seek private peace or seek praise:
    having preference is fine, but
    I don’t believe in right ways,
    only in how each one plays.

    —Daniel Ari

  43. Drop Out

    Are you there, God? Or did
    you leave when I started grad school
    nothing worse than a smart fool

    who thinks she isn’t. I didn’t
    but I’d trade a bible for a poetic rule
    didn’t say prayers, god, didn’t
    even care if you left before grade school.

    Can’t say what changed, got rid
    of a bad heart, a good drink, a little cool,
    really just another girl with a ruler
    to my head and a question for God: Did
    you leave long before the school
    day started or worse: Before the fool got smarter?

  44. laurie kolp says:

    Languishing Visibility

    Across the placid sea a tainted glass
    impairs his apperception of deep flaws
    approaching like icebergs in early dawn.

    Aboard the ship he watches seagulls pass
    then disappear into moist air, a gauze
    across the placid sea, a tainted glass
    impairing comprehension of deep flaws.

    How can he steer this vessel with no mast,
    no mask to hide behind, no vital cause
    or reason for a less than simple pause
    across the placid sea? A tainted glass
    impairs his apperception of deep flaws
    approaching like icebergs in early dawn.

    • PressOn says:

      For me, this puts fog on another level, and the notion of not being able to steer for lack of a mast (as opposed to rudder) is fascinating, yet so apt, for there is notion to catch the wind, and no wind (apparently) to disperse the fog. Marvellous.

  45. Upside-Down World

    We sadly live in an upside down world.
    Instead of children playing in the park,
    atrocities, and their eyes have gone dark.

    Wars rage, the innocent die, insults hurled.
    The evil laugh, and kill and leave their mark.
    We sadly live in an upside down world,
    instead of children playing in the park.

    Compared to ISIS, whose black hearts are gnarled,
    A. Hitler was a gentleman, a lark.
    What has to happen for our ire to spark?
    We sadly live in an upside down world.
    Instead of children playing in the park
    atrocities, and their eyes have gone dark.

  46. barbara_y says:

    two-bit role in a dinosaur show

    the day I run away from home, the sun
    appears as itself, unbilled, unpaid, a star
    existing up above the world so far

    phones rang. birds sang. planes overflew our town
    like twigs of speed above a woman-car.
    when I pack myself to flee home, the sun,
    a walk-by cameo, is still a star

    just as in cartoons when the child who runs
    eats her packed sandwich at the first open bar;
    I leave a deflated hobo balloon there
    the day I run. Over my house, the sun
    appears unconcerned, correctly. A star
    at burning up, above the world so far

  47. Here’s another madrigal. Sometimes poems slip from my fingers on the keyboard like bubbles blown through wands by children. Not this one. It was a struggle to birth.

    Music of Delight

    The sultry air is thick with pungent scent
    from eucalyptus leaves. Afloat in night,
    the moon traverses path through shoals of light.

    Exhausted earth, asleep, its daylight spent,
    a zillion brilliant stars are blazing bright.
    The sultry air is thick with pungent scent
    from eucalyptus leaves afloat in night

    The lapping waves caress the coast, augment
    that ancient song, that music of delight
    creation sings to celebrate God’s might.
    The sultry air is thick with pungent scent
    from eucalyptus leaves. Afloat in night,
    the moon traverses path through shoals of light.

  48. PressOn says:

    SURVIVOR

    Her smile is gentle, and her soft, sad eyes
    proclaim she wishes no one come to harm;
    so inconsistent with the number on her arm

    that she received at Auschwitz. Old and wise,
    she taught for years. She still lives on her farm;
    her smile is gentle, and her soft, sad eyes
    proclaim she wishes no one come to harm

    as came to her when soldiers, in the guise
    of smiles, raised nary worry nor alarm
    when they removed her necklace and its charm.
    Her smile is gentle, and her soft, sad eyes
    proclaim she wishes no one come to harm.
    So inconsistent with the number on her arm.

    William Preston

  49. RJ Clarken says:

    Madrigal for a Laughing Star

    “You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” ~Antoine de St. Exupéry

    O to gaze up in the twinkling night sky
    and to be surrounded by all that light:
    laughter can hide pain, makes it seem all right.

    That’s why, with stars, there’s no final goodbye,
    but a tale of redemption. Hope in flight.
    O to gaze up in the twinkling night sky
    and to be surrounded by all that light.

    Tragedy waits in the wings: a standby
    or understudy. But you – you, despite
    everything, find the punch line. No stage fright.
    O to gaze up in the twinkling night sky
    and to be surrounded by all that light:
    laughter can hide pain, makes it seem all right.

    ###

    • PressOn says:

      I’m in love with this for many reasons: the elegance and tenderness and cadence of the poem itself; the source that inspired it; the acknowledgement of pain; the hope that surpasses it. Antoine de St. Exupéry was a pilot, and I think he’s applauding this too, along with the little prince and his fox. Utter magnificence.

      • RJ Clarken says:

        Thank you so much, William. I really appreciate your kind words. I am a fan of both St. Exupéry and Williams. (I even read Le Petit Prince in French class a gazillion years ago.)

        I saw the quote this morning posted on Twitter, by Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda (along with her added message that she will keep on trying to look up.) And suddenly I just wrote this poem.

        The really odd thing was that yesterday, I was listening to a couple of the songs from the Aladdin soundtrack (my daughter’s school performed Aladdin this past spring, and she was their chief makeup artist) just a few hours before I heard the sad news. Those two songs – coincidently both sung by Robin Williams – were ‘Friend Like Me’ – and ‘Prince Ali’ (another little prince.)

        • PressOn says:

          I’m a generation older than you, I think, so I didn’t know Williams’s work so well as I did older comedians and comic actors, but when I saw Williams I felt the same as when I saw Jonathan Winters perform. Huge inventiveness. If Williams’s daughter used that quote, I suspect she got it from him; comedians like Williams and Winters and Benny and Berle gave the same gifts as the laughing stars, in my mind. Your poem does, too.

    • gmagrady says:

      RJ Clarken, before reading your comment to William, while reading this masterful piece, I was thinking of Robin Williams! You hit it, dear poet! What a beautiful madrigal and honor for a true star-soul!

    • Writing madrigals seems to be your forte’, imo.

  50. DanielAri says:

    “Midsummer night”

    A woman at the bonfire
    tonight on the beach. Flirting
    that started my heart hurting.

    Hula hoops rounding higher,
    pushing, touching and skirting.
    A woman at the bonfire.
    Tonight on the beach, flirting.

    I won’t call myself liar.
    That old longing, Asserting
    a path I’ve been averting—
    a woman at the bonfire,
    tonight on the beach. Flirting
    that started my heart. Hurting.

    —Daniel Ari

  51. PressOn says:

    AUGUST IN DUNDEE

    Meteors are homing once again;
    the shooting stars come plunging down to Earth
    and bring with them bright death admixed with mirth.

    to spice these dog-day nights within the glen,
    their dying sight so like a second birth.
    Meteors are homing: once again
    the shooting stars come plunging down to Earth

    and once again my mind goes back to when
    we laughed together by the sparkling firth
    and vowed our days would never fade to dearth.
    Meteors are homing. Once again
    the shooting stars come, plunging down to Earth,
    and bring with them bright death, admixed with mirth.

    William Preston

  52. gmagrady says:

    YOU

    They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
    with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.
    But then, again, the sun and snow do, too.

    The nightingale is friend and sets me free
    to weather days of clouds and changing hues.
    They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
    with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.

    When morning comes, your image fades. I wean
    my thoughts and wash away your voice, renewed.
    And then I am reminded by the dew.
    They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
    with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.
    But then, again, the sun and snow do, too.

    Geralyn Magrady

  53. Barbecue

    I hung the moon up in our dogwood tree
    and spread fresh silk upon the bed for you.
    It’s hot, and I’m shining like barbecue,

    still innocent of touch, singing to be
    caressed by flame, and drunk on wine for two.
    I hung the moon up in our dogwood tree
    and spread fresh silk upon the bed for you

    as if to say, come, take your fill of me.
    The air is sweet tonight – I never knew
    that skin could be this rare, or taste so true.
    I hung the moon up in our dogwood tree
    and spread fresh silk upon the bed for you.
    It’s hot, and I’m shining like barbecue.

  54. Majobo says:

    Midlife reckoning

    Rust is invading some of my machinery,
    From always being alone I became lonely,
    I long to find someone to share this moment!

    My hair is thinning, I no longer do the splits,
    I changed house to often I don’t have a home,
    Rust is invading some of my machinery,
    From always being alone I became lonely…

    I used to think I could get top billing,
    I was able to feel inspiration even in my bones;
    When they didn’t get it, it was the fatal blow…
    Rust is invading some of my machinery,
    From always being alone I became lonely,
    I long to find someone to share this moment.

  55. Mustang Sal says:

    Playing Hookey

    Let’s waste away this last of summer day,
    and laze beneath God’s sacred canopy,
    remembering the who we used to be.

    Cloud creatures drift apart, but still, we’ll stay
    together, yet untethered, bonhomie.
    Let’s waste away this last of summer day,
    and laze beneath God’s sacred canopy.

    Let’s dip our toes in pools of faraway,
    then dare to read each other’s poetry,
    ‘til time resigns e’en this to memory.
    Let’s waste away this last of summer day,
    and laze beneath God’s sacred canopy,
    remembering the who we used to be.

  56. MsGenuineLady says:

    Way too many thoughts, way too little space
    They are stuck; a way out is hard to find
    Traffic jams of thoughts stand still in my mind

    They want to move but they are stuck in place
    My thoughts are out of control, driving blind
    Way too many thoughts, way too little space
    They are stuck; a way out is hard to find

    Consumed with thoughts, unable to erase
    Forward only, no reverse, no rewind
    Once inside, they are forever confined
    Way too many thoughts, way too little space
    They are stuck; a way out is hard to find
    Traffic jams of thoughts stand still in my mind

  57. MsGenuineLady says:

    Millions of bright stars fill the dark night skies
    The full moon kisses the lake with its light
    The fire; hypnotizing and burning bright

    Picture perfect moment before your eyes
    Your heart will forever capture the sight
    Millions of bright stars fill the dark night skies
    The full moon kisses the lake with its light

    The coyotes howl and the distant loon cries
    Marshmallows roasting, friends smile with delight
    Life is perfect by the camp fire tonight
    Millions of bright stars fill the dark night skies
    The full moon kisses the lake with its light
    The fire; hypnotizing and burning bright.

  58. Kavetchnik says:

    La Chancla Madrigal

    We learn to behave by fear of the flip-flop,
    not by the ghosts of our ancestors
    or the sting of absent fathers’ leathers.

    This house is a maternal cop shop:
    We crouch between las chancletas, sore,
    and learn to behave by fear of the flip-flop,
    not by the ghosts of our ancestors

    who themselves had been known to leap
    out of the way of sandals reaching to the rear
    of a child whose mouth is open to a roar.
    We learn to behave by fear of the flip-flop,
    not by the ghosts of our ancestors
    or the sting of absent fathers’ leathers.

    Jen Karetnick

  59. Amaria says:

    You have become my lifelong bane
    No matter what I do or say
    you’re the stain that won’t go away

    Every Spring I stand in the rain
    to clean the dirt off but it stays
    You have become my lifelong bane
    no matter what I do or say

    I tried to pray away the pain
    but it seems to only find its way
    back into my heart every day
    You have become my lifelong bane
    No matter what I do or say
    you’re the stain that won’t go away

    • Majobo says:

      Fictional reply

      I do NOT want to haunt you, as it holds me back;
      I’ve always loved you, in spite of my mistakes;
      Let us live our lives before it’s too late!

      Please, you really need to cut me some slack,
      I humbly beg you to let go of memories that grate,
      I do NOT want to haunt you, as it holds me back,
      I’ve always loved you, in spite of my mistakes…

      I dare to tell you: your song is not just the one track,
      You existed before we both thought I was great…
      So come on, get a grip, forgive me, and give us a break!
      I do NOT want to haunt you, as it holds me back;
      I’ve always loved you, in spite of my mistakes;
      Let us live our lives before it’s too late!

    • PressOn says:

      For me, this is somberly heart-rending. I think the use of “bane” here is superb.

  60. PressOn says:

    BELOVED

    Our time began one day in early spring:
    I saw your face above the gleam of dew
    and vowed, that day, my world revolves on you,

    and since that time it’s seemed that everything
    forever will be new. And thus I knew:
    our time began. One day in early spring,
    I saw your face above the gleam of dew;

    my soul was captivated, through and through,
    and it is soaring still, as though on wing.
    That day I learned a song I had to sing;
    our time began. One day, in early spring,
    I saw your face above the gleam of dew
    and vowed, that day, my world revolves on you.

    William Preston

  61. Majobo says:

    Madrid girl

    Out of this damn boisterous night,
    Dark with laughter and so full of booze,
    Emerged that rose in her glorious bloom.

    The unexpected vision suddenly cleared my sight,
    And I knew I had something to lose
    Out of this damn boisterous night,
    Dark with laughter and so full of booze.

    So holding on to my soul with all my might,
    And attempting to keep and act cool,
    I had the same dream ten times till noon:
    Out of this damn boisterous night,
    Dark with laughter and so full of booze,
    Emerged that rose in her glorious bloom.

  62. RJ Clarken says:

    Shell Game: A Tongue-Twister Madrigal

    Peter Piper, of pickled pepper fame
    goes to the seashore to see the seashells,
    since, by the seashore, that’s just what she sells.

    By she, I mean Shirley; that is her name.
    Peter’s sweet on Shirley. They chat on cells.
    Peter Piper, of pickled pepper fame
    goes to the seashore to see the seashells…

    O pickled peppers! How a wee shell game
    of ocean swells, enchanted spells (and shells)
    could lead two to bliss, and to wedding bells!

    Peter Piper, of pickled pepper fame
    went to the seashore to see the seashells,
    since, by the seashore, that’s just what she sells.

    …and, as you might guess, to finish this play,
    a rubber baby buggy bumper was soon on the way.

    ###

    ###

  63. rlhZbdPOET says:

    The Little Foxes

    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear—
    But things of small size should rouse greater fear.

    Though gaping fissures are plain to the eyes,
    These perils begin as cracks less severe.
    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear.

    Solomon, a man discerning and wise,
    Knew most dangers come by methods unclear,
    A foxy image, a breath in the ear.
    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear.
    But things of small size should rouse greater fear.

    RL Hodges

  64. rlhZbdPOET says:

    Purposeful Movements

    A purpose directs our movements through life
    so we fly like spears, not mist passing by.
    I’ll likely find mine the moment I die.

    A purpose softens the mind’s inner strife,
    and steels us when prayer obtains no reply.
    A purpose directs our movements through life
    so we fly like spears, not mist passing by.

    Does a spirit weep in the after-life
    if its foot left the imprint of a sigh?
    Most wish to mark the earth before the sky.
    A purpose directs our movements through life
    so we fly like spears, not mist passing by.
    How ironic to find that purpose and die!

    RL Hodges

  65. Passion Play

    She took my hand and led me up the stairs
    Through rustling moonlight to her darkened bed.
    I trembled at the brink and should have fled

    But then she was mistress of my desires,
    And nothing shook the passion from my head.
    She took my hand and led me up the stairs
    Through rustling moonlight to her darkened bed,

    And there the curtain closed, such were the snares
    Of love. We stole away where I was bled
    Of dreams and found the pain of lust instead.
    She took my hand and led me up the stairs
    Through rustling moonlight to her darkened bed.
    I trembled at the brink and should have fled.

  66. PressOn says:

    A DERELICT MISSION GARDEN

    At eventide I go to rest
    beneath the softening, covering care
    of trancelike moonlight hovering there

    and think on times when I was blessed
    with innocence, so unaware
    at eventide. I go, to rest
    beneath the softening, covering care

    of jasmine scents that nurture best
    as nighttime falls in purple prayer.
    I know that I can numb despair
    at eventide; I go to rest
    beneath the softening, covering care
    of trancelike moonlight hovering there.

    William Preston

  67. Summer Twilight

    So long the summer shadows now, the sky
    That slips to deeper blue, the hues of night
    That dampen air and draw the stars to light.

    Already, love, we hear the crickets cry
    And on the pond the migrant geese take flight,
    So long the summer shadows now, the sky
    That slips to deeper blue, the hues of night.

    The fawn has lost its spots, the meadow’s dry,
    But come, let’s walk along the river’s bight
    As if the day’s still long, our spirits bright.
    So long the summer shadows now, the sky
    That slips to deeper blue, the hues of night
    That dampen air and draw the stars to light.

  68. michigoose says:

    Laps in the Pool

    I see the earring back to some lost pearl
    Sunlight neurons on the concrete floor
    Spidering away from me to shore

    What was it he was saying to that girl?
    Like a dream it’s coming back for more
    I see the earring back to some lost pearl
    Sunlight neurons on the concrete floor

    Breath—a cumulus on blue unfurls—
    “The sky belongs to no one, so therefore”
    A tear drops, hidden like a metaphor
    I see the earring back to some lost pearl
    Sunlight neurons on the concrete floor
    Spidering away from me to shore

    -Katie Whitney

    • PressOn says:

      I marvel at the images this poem yields: “sunlight neurons”; “spidering away”; “cumulus on blue.” Wonderful.

      • michigoose says:

        Thanks! I think repetition is tricky, so I was wary of trying this form. But then I was swimming and it occurred to me that laps (and the play on memory lapse) are perfect fodder for poetic repetition.

    • grcran says:

      I like this, I’ve seen all of this myself as I was swimming laps, your description is marvelous and you are correct in saying that the form of the madrigal enhances your creation… and yes, I saw the love story peeping through the wave-motioned ripples, great stuff!

  69. I guess I did have another madrigal inside me about country side I’m familiar with, the wide Nebraska Plains, not civilized as original pastorals are. Instead a peek at the swiftness of life and death on the prairie.

    The Earth Imbibing Blood: a Prairie Pastoral

    The wide Nebraska sky – an azure dome
    above the undulating stretch of plain
    inclining toward the Rocky Mountain chain.

    A red-tailed hawk ascends this airy home.
    Its eyes perceive a vole astir in grain
    beneath Nebraska sky, the azure dome
    above an undulating stretch of plain.

    The hawk begins its plunge toward prairie brome
    with talons spread: incautious vole is slain,
    the earth imbibing blood’s minuscule stain
    beneath Nebraska sky, the azure dome
    above the undulating stretch of plain
    inclining toward the Rocky Mountain chain.

  70. Amy says:

    Overcast

    I awoke this morn to skies so forlorn-
    a heavy, leaden gray that kissed the ground
    and pulled color from Earth’s palette surround.

    I wished to rip its edges; leave them torn
    and surface with a brushstroke color found.
    I awoke this morn to skies so forlorn-
    a heavy, leaden gray that kissed the ground.

    A clouded sunrise, dull and grimly born,
    bids me to stay between crisp sheets and gowned
    in all the worries of the world profound.
    I awoke this morn to skies so forlorn-
    a heavy, leaden gray that kissed the ground
    and pulled the color from Earth’s palette surround.

    Amy Glamos

  71. RJ Clarken says:

    Broken Record

    “My songs always sound a lot better in person than they do on the record.” ~Bob Dylan

    I put the record on the turntable,
    and it plays a once-loved song ‘til the place
    where it gets stuck and repeats. One last trace

    of memory. And I am unable
    to just let go. This, time cannot erase.
    I put the record on the turntable,
    and it plays a once-loved song ‘til the place

    where it seems less real, more like a fable.
    Over and over again, now displac-
    ing the music that once lived in its space.
    I put the record on the turntable,
    and it plays a once-loved song ‘til the place
    where it gets stuck and repeats. One last trace.

    ###

    • PressOn says:

      For me, this madrigal is magical. It combines nostalgia, heartbreak, and heartfulness, or so it seems to me. “Stuck record” is a phrase I don’t encounter much anymore.

  72. Amaria says:

    I never thought I would fall in love again
    Then you came and pulled me out of the cold night
    and now I only walk with you in the light

    Too long I sat in that dark room in such pain
    and letting the blackness take over my sight
    I never thought I would fall in love again
    Then you came and pulled me out of the cold night

    You magically erased all of my red stains
    My aura turned into the pureness of white
    Now my dreams are no longer somber but bright
    I never thought I would fall in love again
    Then you came and pulled me out of the cold night
    and now I only walk with you in the light

  73. PressOn says:

    THE BLUES SINGER

    She paints with words and melodies,
    most often in a minor key;
    recalling hurt and misery,

    she sings of happiness that flees
    with dawn of day. With empathy
    she paints with words and melodies,
    most often in a minor key,

    and as she sings she never sees
    the love she looses lusciously,
    for in her world it cannot be.
    She paints with words and melodies,
    most often in a minor key,
    recalling hurt and misery.

    William Preston

  74. Here is my fourth madrigal: addressing the theme of “love.” Will there be more madrigals tumbling from my computer keys? Don’t know yet.

    Unfaithful Lovers

    My love had eyes of turquoise blue, his hair
    was spun of sunshine, shoulders – strong and wide.
    He vowed his lasting love ‘til death divide.

    By death, I guess he really meant affair.
    With angling eye, he hooked a second bride.
    My love had eyes of turquoise blue, his hair
    was spun of sunshine, shoulders – strong and wide …

    The troth he’d plighted unto me, just air,
    repeated to another. Woe betide
    unfaithful lovers: she soon cast him aside.
    My love had eyes of turquoise blue, his hair
    was spun of sunshine, shoulders strong and wide.
    He vowed his lasting love ‘til death divide …

  75. jhowe says:

    B. Bunny

    Wascally wabbit dominates the screen.
    Elmer and Daffy, buffoons at a glance,
    perhaps they are victims of circumstance.

    What’s up Doc is most certainly foreseen
    as Bugsy performs his comedic dance.
    Wascally wabbit dominates the screen.
    Elmer and Daffy, buffoons at a glance.

    Elmer and Daffy may never convene.
    Animators and writers all enhance
    as Bugsy prevails in the end, each chance.
    Wascally wabbit dominates the screen.
    Elmer and Daffy, buffoons at a glance,
    perhaps they are victims of circumstance.

    John Howe

  76. PressOn says:

    MADRIGAL

    They sing in unison; their voices rise
    to greet the glory of the morning sun:
    a paean to another day begun

    with hope and cheer. The cloudless skies
    send echoing replies as, if as one,
    they sing. In unison their voices rise
    to greet the glory of the morning sun

    as songbirds tweet in wondering surprise,
    and spruces shun the shade, and streamlets run
    and hide. All creatures join, as if in fun:
    they sing in unison. Their voices rise
    to greet the glory of the morning sun:
    a paean to another day begun.

    William Preston

  77. Tracy Davidson says:

    The Price of Fame

    I never asked for fortune or for fame.
    I don’t want to hear the clamour and cries
    of fans in a frenzy; it’s all just lies.

    It’s not so hot to be a household name,
    the world watching you hit more lows than highs.
    I never asked for fortune or for fame,
    I don’t want to hear the clamour and cries.

    Of course, I only have myself to blame
    for my fall from grace. As my music dies,
    there’s time enough for ‘sorries’ and ‘goodbyes’.
    I never asked for fortune or for fame.
    I don’t want to hear the clamour and cries
    of fans in a frenzy; it’s all just lies.

  78. DanielAri says:

    “The Tragic Muse”
    Ekphrastic madrigal after “Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse” by Joshua Reynolds
    http://www.artble.com/imgs/c/1/1/532714/mrs_siddons_as_the_tragic_muse.jpg

    Mrs. Siddons played The Muse
    as Fear brought the poisoned draught
    and Pity aimed its sharp shaft.

    The painter paused to effuse:
    “Glorious!” The actress laughed.
    Mrs. Siddons played the muse
    as “Fear” brought the “poisoned draught.”

    “Tragedy,” she toned. “I’d choose
    it every time over daft
    follies to deepen my craft.”
    Mrs. Siddons played The Muse
    as Fear brought the poisoned draught
    and Pity aimed its sharp shaft.

    DA

  79. MADRIGAL FOR RAIN

    The heavens’ blues must be a song for rain
    and something in the air that wouldn’t lie.
    With every living sense I search the sky.

    The standing grass has given up its grain
    long since; our garden doesn’t even try.
    The heavens’ blues must be a song for rain,
    for something in the air that wouldn’t lie.

    The ruts have gone to dust along the lane.
    How many clouds it takes to damp the dry,
    a lightning flash to make the ions fly.
    The heavens’ blues must be a song for rain
    and something in the air that wouldn’t lie
    with every living sense. I search the sky.

  80. Here is my third madrigal. It hies back to the pastoral theme in original madrigals but with a twist:

    Idyllic Image

    A city child, I’d seen the country side
    in picture books where lambs were snowy white
    and pigs were pansy-pink, their tails curled tight.

    The barns were painted red, and roosters cried
    their cock-a-doodle-doos at dawning light.
    A city child, I’d seen the country side
    in picture books where lambs were snowy white …

    Idyllic image, truth would soon collide,
    revealing dingy sheep in no way bright,
    the muddy pigs, the faded barns, a blight …
    A city child, I’d seen the country side
    in picture books where lambs were snowy white
    and pigs were pansy-pink, their tails curled tight ….

  81. What Could Have Been

    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in
    A few more months and then we would begin

    We raised our kids, with love, as life unfurled
    We, hand in hand, survived through thick and thin
    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in

    But with your sudden death our dreams were hurled
    I’m feeling like a stranger in my skin
    And now I think about what could have been
    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in
    A few more months and then we would begin

  82. “Once a king . . .”

    The peasants await the foreigner from the hills—
    a wandering scar bronzed by suffering.
    Once a lavish lover, now vagabond king.

    Slaked of fiery steel, weak of mortal skills,
    a thief now beggar of alms and offerings.
    The peasants await the foreigner from the hills—
    a wandering scar bronzed by suffering

    the foul of pride, the leavening of ills
    on widow-poor who gather ’round cool springs
    to serve him tea and steal his rings.
    The paupers await the foreigner from the hills—
    a wandering scar bronzed by suffering.
    Once a lavish lover, now vagabond king.

  83. PressOn says:

    ADVICE

    One should never mock a mockingbird
    if one should want to go to sleep at night,
    for mockers mock from fall of night till light,

    making of each curse word a word absurd
    as water thrown upon a dolphin fight.
    One should never mock a mockingbird
    if one should want to go to sleep at night.

    Just think of it: a creature with a third
    of thimble brain can frustrate you despite
    your muscles and your massive mental might!
    One should never mock a mockingbird
    if one should want to go to sleep at night,
    for mockers mock from fall of night till light.

    William Preston

  84. Amy says:

    Past Shadow

    I left the night like lightning
    Cast the layers to the roadside
    And crawled between ripe sheets to hide

    I woke to gray light brightening
    Took shelter, cold and heavy eyed
    I left the night like lightning
    Cast the layers to the roadside

    The days when dawn is frightening
    Its gaze locked on my naked pride
    The skin grows back, unhinged inside
    I left the night like lightning
    Cast the layers to the roadside
    And crawled between ripe sheets to hide

    Amy Glamos

  85. Shikha says:

    A Bug of Life in the Darkness of night
    Slowly collapsing of life like a black flower in a night
    Roads never lead to a endless shore of life
    Height of thought like a height of tide
    Stroke of light may be someday in life
    Tears of mine maybe anyday tears of yours
    Oh God ! Oh God!
    Any big reason for life
    Short and less of time
    A bug of life in the darkness of night

  86. rlhZbdPOET says:

    The Little Foxes

    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear—
    But things of small size should rouse greater fear.

    Though gaping fissures are plain to the eyes,
    These perils begin as cracks less severe.
    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear.

    Solomon, a man discerning and wise,
    Knew most dangers come by methods unclear,
    A foxy image, a breath in the ear.
    Dread often grows in proportion to size—
    The bigger the beast, the wetter the tear.
    But things of small size should rouse greater fear.

  87. candy says:

    YOI!!

    Will I ever learn to proofread
    Before hitting send or post
    And so appear illiterate to most

    A secretary’s what I need
    Maybe a writer who’s a ghost
    Will I ever learn to proofread
    Before hitting send or post

    Responsibility for the deed
    Is mine alone – no boast
    No pride – in fact I’m toast
    Will I ever learn to proofread
    Before hitting send or post
    And so appear illiterate to most

  88. gmagrady says:

    FRIENDLY CONFUSION

    Confused. You never answered, no return
    to text or email, left to wonder why.
    I’ll figure it out some day with head held high.

    You’ll always be my friend, so still I yearn
    for chats and laughs before your hushed good-bye.
    Confused. You never answered, no return
    to text or email, left to wonder why.

    What did I do so wrong for you to burn
    me with a mute reply? I will not cry.
    There must be something more, so I won’t pry.
    Confused. You never answered, no return
    to text or email, left to wonder why.
    I’ll figure it out some day with head held high.

  89. DanielR says:

    The Chill
    I watch the blowing wind, it twists and bends
    until I shiver from its bitter chill
    despising this emptiness I now feel

    The shattered heart is one that never mends
    and some goodbyes can break the strongest will
    I watch the blowing wind, it twists and bends
    until I shiver from its bitter chill

    The pain and brokenness it never ends
    you walked away like it was no big deal
    my angry screams into the night are shrill
    I watch the blowing wind, it twists and bends
    until I shiver from its bitter chill
    despising this emptiness I now feel

    Daniel Roessler

  90. gmagrady says:

    SEEN

    The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
    to this, his resting place where grass is green,
    and though the flag will fly, his life’s unseen.

    The husband, dad, and son who had been called,
    who answered with a conscience proud and clean.
    The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
    to this, his resting place where grass is green.

    When crossing enemy lines, his trigger stalled.
    He heard his baby crying across the sea,
    the fatherless child who honors a land that’s free.
    The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
    to this, his resting place where grass is green,
    and though the flag will fly, his life’s unseen

    to all but those who honor a land that’s free.

  91. Madrigal for the Sleep-Deprived

    “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to share -
    Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.
    Come on – get up! I need my crust of bread.”

    Listen, fowl warbler, we need sleep to live.
    Please hold your day song while we’re still in bed.
    “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to share -
    Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.”

    I suppose we must the fair Ave forgive
    who made it his goal to rouse us from bed,
    although at the time we wished he’d drop dead.
    “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to give -
    Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.
    Come on – get up! I need my crust of bread.”

    Marie-Therese Knepper

    • credit the refrains to our morning songbird :)

    • Boo! I see the need to edit (blame it on sleep-deprivation)

      Madrigal for the Sleep-Deprived

      “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to give -
      Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.
      Come on – get up! I need my crust of bread.”

      Listen, fowl warbler, we need sleep to live.
      Please hold your day song or you’ll not be fed.
      “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to give -
      Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.”

      I suppose we must the fair Ave forgive
      who made it his goal to rouse us from bed,
      although at the time we wished he’d drop dead.
      “Wake up! Wake up! For I have news to give -
      Wake up! Wake up! Exciting times ahead.
      Come on – get up! I need my crust of bread.”

      Marie-Therese Knepper

  92. jhowe says:

    The Jester

    Time honored practice, the role of the fool,
    costumed brightly in comedic delight,
    bag of wind to some, to others contrite.

    Council to kings and the clown of subdual,
    entertains the court with tricks of the night.
    The jester, excused for sarcastic blight,
    offers amusement for those who do rule.

    A master of wit and cheap ridicule,
    he prances and dances throughout the night.
    What pretext has he some say with respite?
    He gives amusement to those who do rule.
    A true Renaissance man, droll and outright,
    bag of wind to some, to others contrite.

  93. CROAKING

    Onward I float to an unknown location,
    my lily pad vessel caught up in a breeze
    with nothing behind me but receding trees.

    Acting at first like I’m on a vacation,
    my nerves disappear and I feel ill at ease.
    Onward I float to an unknown location,
    my lily pad vessel caught up in a breeze.

    Swimming toward me, an angry crustacean
    exhibits a hatred I cannot appease
    I must hop along or my frog legs he’ll seize.
    Onward I float to an unknown location,
    My lily pad vessel caught up in a breeze
    with nothing behind me but receding trees.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  94. A bolt of lightning brings a cooling rain,
    In place of passion settles harmony,
    Discord is now a treasured memory

    That haunts your perfect world again, again…
    A filled with longing subtle melody,
    A bolt of lightning brings a cooling rain,
    In place of passion settles harmony,

    But it does not conceal the same refrain:
    Do let me burn, don’t spare the agony…
    Accord and fire – a mismatched company,
    A bolt of lightning brings a cooling rain,
    In place of passion settles harmony,
    Discord is now a treasured memory.

  95. MeenaRose says:

    Love Must Survive
    By: Meena Rose

    A mother was alienated from her blood
    Time tugs at this most natural bond
    Authorities refuse to respond

    A child wonders if he is a dud
    Of his mother’s love, he is still fond
    A mother was alienated from her blood
    Time tugs at this most natural bond

    A mother’s love released a flood
    If only she had a magic wand
    Alas, the council looked on and yawned
    A mother was alienated from her blood
    Time tugs at this most natural bond
    Authorities refuse to respond

    Poet’s Note: This is dedicated to all my brave friends who have to live with Parental Alienation every day.

  96. Aisha says:

    THE CAPTAIN’S LOG

    His ship is slowly slipping out of sight
    Obscuring the words in the Captain’s log
    His ship is sailing into heavy fog

    His vision once keen is no longer bright
    His essence draining in the final slog
    His ship is slowly slipping out of sight
    Obscuring the words in the Captain’s log

    His sunlight slowly descends into night
    His head is now nodding in sleepy grog
    His feet are now trapped in a sinking bog
    His ship is slowly slipping out of sight
    Obscuring the words in the Captain’s log
    His ship is sailing into heavy fog

  97. MsGenuineLady says:

    Frozen, unable to move, she sits still
    Watching helplessly behind tear-filled eyes
    Every passing day a part of her dies

    She is lost, unable to find her will
    Every lonely night she silently cries
    Frozen, unable to move, she sits still
    Watching helplessly behind tear-filled eyes

    She holds on tighter to the tiny pill
    She wants to be free of her happy disguise
    She wants to be where real happiness lies
    Frozen, unable to move, she sits still
    Watching helplessly behind tear-filled eyes
    Every passing day a part of her dies

  98. THE UNNEEDED WEED

    I am the dandelion crowding your lawn,
    the one born to vanquish the growing of seed,
    too full of conceit to respect any need.

    I meet your rebukes with a flowering yawn
    then paralyze yards with my lightning fast speed.
    I am the dandelion crowding your lawn,
    too full of conceit to respect any need.

    I multiply swiftly, conclusion foregone.
    My lust for destruction can never recede
    I live for the damage your pleas won’t impede.
    I am the dandelion crowding your lawn,
    the one born to vanquish the growing of seed,
    too full of conceit to respect any need.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  99. candy says:

    Summer Camp

    Dearest Mum and Dad
    I’m having fun at camp
    This is my only stamp

    The food is not too bad
    The cabins are quite damp
    Dearest Mum and Dad
    This is my only stamp

    Our Counselor has gone mad
    And sits out on the ramp
    Complaining of brain cramp
    Dearest Mum and Dad
    I’m having fun at camp
    This is my only stamp

  100. RJ Clarken says:

    A Field of Sunflowers

    “The sunflower is mine, in a way.” ~Vincent van Gogh

    On my way home, half a mile from Duke Farms,
    I saw a field of sunflowers. I thought,
    what glorious magic has nature wrought.

    I got out of my car and spread my arms;
    for a moment, heaven was in this spot.
    On my way home, half a mile from Duke Farms,
    I saw a field of sunflowers. I thought,

    van Gogh himself could not capture the charms
    of this gilded field. I know I could not:
    not even with pigment of massicot.
    On my way home, half a mile from Duke Farms,
    I saw a field of sunflowers. I thought,
    what glorious magic has nature wrought.

    ###

    Notes: Duke Farms is the New Jersey estate of the late Doris Duke. The site is now a landmark park for environmental stewardship. Massicot is a yellow form of lead monoxide, often used as pigment. van Gogh’s Sunflowers? ‘Nuff said. :D

  101. Here is another madrigal. I made sure the rhyme scheme is correct this time (goofed with first version of “A Country Lane in Co. Mayo, though easily fixed.) Here is my latest madrigal:

    Down the Dazzling Sky

    Beyond my window pane, a dusky pair
    of wings. They plummet down the dazzling sky.
    Their passage swiftly, briefly snares my eye.

    The wings that lofted Icarus into air,
    the wax dissolved because he flew too high?
    Beyond my window pane, a dusky pair
    of wings. They plummet down the dazzling sky.

    No feathers fall so hard. His raven hair –
    the ringlets miming raptor’s wings to ply
    the firmament, to slow him, lest he die.
    Beyond my window pane, a dusky pair
    of wings. They plummet down the dazzling sky
    Their passage swiftly, briefly snares my eye.

  102. Playing scrabble with my father-in-law

    I know the warning signs, the way he sits
    too still, the whistle through his teeth, that frown
    before he lays all seven letters down.

    He’s done it twice tonight. I can’t match wits
    with a thesaurus in a dressing gown!
    I know the warning signs, the way he sits
    too still, the whistle through his teeth, that frown…

    Almost apologetically, he fits
    the tiles for MUZJIKS on the board – a noun,
    he says – it’s rare. I score ten points for BROWN.
    I know the warning signs, the way he sits
    too still, the whistle through his teeth, that frown
    before he lays all seven letters down.

  103. P.H. Wilson says:

    Madrigal de la guerra

    With what weeping whim do soldier’s go
    As widows wrestle night’s apparitions
    Minds unaware of such ghastly missions

    The battlefields red with blood and woe
    Fear born upon the sounds of munitions
    A with what weeping whim do soldier’s go
    As widows wrestle night’s apparitions

    Phantasms cast upon a morbid tableau
    Gory remains meet dismayed physicians
    Whose hand are but tied by such conditions
    With what weeping whim do soldier’s go
    As widows wrestle night’s apparitions
    Minds unaware of such ghastly missions

  104. PressOn says:

    MADRIGAL OF THE MEADOWLARK

    From aged fenceposts and from rusty wire,
    its yellow breast proclaims, the whole day long,
    that springtime cannot green without a song

    to course the meadowlands. The songbird’s lyre
    is necessary: loud and strong,
    from aged fenceposts and from rusty wire,
    its yellow breast proclaims the whole day long

    that joy must supervene, its gentle fire
    a balm to loosen winter’s final prong;
    a prayer to set aright what started wrong.
    From aged fenceposts and from rusty wire,
    its yellow breast proclaims the whole day long
    that springtime cannot green without a song.

    William Preston

  105. MADRIGAL IN DROUGHT

    The summer lengthens August hot on dry.
    It overhauls our expectations. Storm
    over the mountain where thunderheads form –

    but it won’t rain here. Dead spring grasses lie
    trampled under hoof; dust’s become the norm.
    The summer lengthens August. Hot on dry,
    it overhauls our expectations. Storm

    against blue sky? Oh, cumulus, let fly
    from the east water-drenched a darking swarm
    of clouds that might this droughty world transform.
    The summer lengthens August, hot on dry.
    Let’s overhaul our expectations: storm
    over the mountain, let thunderheads form!

  106. Aisha says:

    AN ECHO OF LOVE

    The woeful cooing of a mourning dove
    Returns an echo of love reminisced
    And a rooster crows in the silver mist

    Cool air drapes the dawn as a satin glove
    Caressing spiderwebs with dew pearls kissed
    The woeful cooing of a mourning dove
    Returns an echo of love reminisced

    The scent of burnt embers rises above
    The scent of mint lingering from the tryst
    And wondrously still after years persist
    The woeful cooing of a mourning dove
    Returns an echo of love reminisced
    And a rooster crows in the silver mist

  107. Amaria says:

    we both knew, that one fine day, this time would come
    on the horizon, we watched the bright sun set
    as I pondered all the things I now regret

    we danced with such passion to the conga drums
    so carefree and without worries, and yet
    we both knew, that one fine day, this time would come
    on the horizon, we watched the bright sun set

    then one morning as I bit into a plum
    the dusk ran towards us and I began to fret
    to lose this moment now, and in time, forget
    we both knew, that one fine day, this time would come
    on the horizon, we watched the bright sun set
    as I pondered all thing I now regret

  108. Amaria says:

    I should have looked after my own concerns
    and not try so hard to make you a friend –
    curiosity led me to my end

    Should have given you wolf’s bane to return
    to the dense woods where your hide would blend
    I should have looked after my own concerns
    and not try so hard to make you a friend

    Never did I believe my fate would turn
    to find myself here, trying to pretend
    that your eyes did not show what you intend
    I should have looked after my own concerns
    and not try so hard to make you a friend –
    curiosity led me to my end

  109. Amaria says:

    I returned to the home we once shared
    looking to find you waiting for me
    I should have known it was all a dream

    I believed one time I could ensnare
    your mind and heart for eternity
    I returned to the home we once shared
    looking to find you waiting for me

    I laid my heart on the floor to bare
    the feelings I had for you to see
    but in the end, all you did was flee
    I return to the home we once shared
    looking to find you waiting for me
    I should have known it was all a dream

  110. RJ Clarken says:

    Oh gosh – I love poetic form! Thanks, Robert, for these challenges.

    My Garden of Earthly Blights

    Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

    Flowers intoxicate, but give me weeds.
    Nothin’ like a thistle, crabgrass, pearlmort!
    Purslane? It’s something that I cannot thwart.

    Nor would I want to. Nature scatters seeds
    which then grow, entangle, mangle, cavort.
    Flowers intoxicate, but give me weeds.
    Nothin’ like a thistle, crabgrass, pearlmort

    or dandelion! Castleburr exceeds
    all prospects: makes my home one grand resort:
    Strolling through my garden’s a contact sport.
    Flowers intoxicate, but give me weeds.
    Nothin’ like a thistle, crabgrass, pearlmort!
    Purslane? It’s something that I cannot thwart.

    ###

  111. RJ Clarken says:

    At Roosevelt Cemetery

    The clouds cast uncertain shadows; they moved
    as clouds often do. The play of light danced
    on smooth granite stones, their etched names enhanced.

    I wondered if the changing light had proved
    that age-old customs and prayers advanced
    the clouds’ cast. Uncertain shadows: they moved
    as clouds often do. The play of light danced

    as a soft breeze ruffled the grass. Removed
    and yet, caught in the moment. As I glanced
    at the other mourners, some seemed entranced.
    The clouds cast uncertain shadows; they moved
    as clouds often do. The play of light danced
    on smooth granite stones, their etched names enhanced.

    ###

    • grcran says:

      you have fit this one together much as a jigsaw puzzle… or perhaps as a cloud formation might fit with a neighboring cloud… I was moved by the mood you created… nice!

  112. grcran says:

    Streaming Fish Dream

    Fish swim in circles round me, make a stream
    and make us dream of swift serene snowmelt
    o’er tumbled rock of glacial Scot and Celt

    a Scotsman speared a salmon, face agleam
    the understanding left here where he knelt
    fish swim in circles round me, go upstream
    true made-up dreams of swift serene snowmelt

    in icy watered writing fish do teem
    red Celtish runes depicting fishes svelte
    connecting modern man to what they felt
    Fish swim in circles round me, make a stream
    and make us dream of swift serene snowmelt
    o’er tumbled rock of glacial Scot and Celt

    by gpr crane

  113. Aisha says:

    Oop! First time here, messed up my first try… Oh well, here’s my next attempt!

    TODAY

    Hearts and lips and fingers interlocking
    The birthday present I’ve been praying for
    Today my Daddy came home from the war

    When quietly at the door came knocking
    My terrified mother opened the door
    Hearts and lips and fingers interlocking
    The birthday present I’ve been praying for

    Erasing fear’s ever present stalking
    Replacing dread with a sight I adore
    Glorious relief, joyful hugs and more
    Hearts and lips and fingers interlocking
    The birthday present I’ve been praying for
    Today my Daddy came home from the war

  114. icandootoo says:

    Gaza: A Madrigal
    naomi poe

    A car blew up today in Palestine
    Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed
    hospital beds and another grave filled
    Land’s bleeding out, but the arms-man feels fine
    (A large sale tendered, and cash in the till)
    A car blew up today in Palestine
    Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed

    Media’s rushing to send off a line:
    Pulitzer’s coming – “the chief will be thrilled!”
    Bombing In Gaza: The Buses Are Stilled.
    A car blew up today in Palestine
    Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed
    A hospital bed and another grave filled

    • icandootoo says:

      realized the format got broken in the transfer: here is the corrected format:

      Gaza: A Madrigal
      naomi poe

      A car blew up today in Palestine
      Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed
      hospital beds and another grave filled

      Land’s bleeding out, but the arms-man feels fine
      (A large sale tendered, and cash in the till)
      A car blew up today in Palestine
      Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed

      Media’s rushing to send off a line:
      Pulitzer’s coming – “the chief will be thrilled!”
      Bombing In Gaza: The Buses Are Stilled.
      A car blew up today in Palestine
      Three kids were injured: four more kids were killed
      A hospital bed and another grave filled

  115. icandootoo says:

    Vanilla Ice Cream
    naomi poe

    Went to the window to buy me a snack
    (large tub of ice cream would banish the heat)
    Man in the window, he told me to beat.

    “Ain’t sellin’ cream to no nappy-ass black –
    This still the South, Son: you better retreat.”
    “Went to the window to buy me a snack –
    large tub of ice cream would banish the heat.”

    “You want that Klan-man come burn down my shack?”
    May be up North you can buy you a treat,
    but this still the South, and whites be elite.
    Went to the window to buy me a snack
    (large tub of ice cream would banish the heat)
    Man in the window, he told me to beat.

  116. Like My Cat

    My muse is like my crazy Snicker’s cat
    At times she’s full of energy and zest
    At times she curls up on my lap to rest

    Persistent and demanding little brat
    A nuisance and a quirky, silly pest
    My muse is like my crazy Snicker’s cat
    At times she’s full of energy and zest

    She comes on her own terms, and that is that
    When she is full and fat she’s at her best
    She’s beautiful, but often acts possessed
    My muse is like my crazy Snickers cat
    At times she’s full of energy and zest
    At times she curls up on my lap to rest

    • grcran says:

      yours is a clever and well-executed extended metaphor! and it works well as a madrigal (possibly makes the poem better when the reader is a cat-lover)…

  117. DanielAri says:

    “Heart & Soul”

    As you play riff upon riff,
    you’re dissolved in the raga,
    the steady boom de ya da.

    A talent met with a sniff,
    encouragement near nada
    as you play riff upon riff.
    You’re dissolved in the raga,

    so it doesn’t matter if
    no one stays for the saga
    of improv going gaga
    as you play riff upon riff.
    You’re dissolved in the raga,
    the steady boom de ya da.

    —Daniel Ari

  118. My Madrigal For Life

    I sing the melody of temperance.
    My life’s a symphony for betterment.
    In measured rests I sigh in sweet content.

    The key to having a good countenance?
    Do nothing to your own selfs detriment.
    I sing the melody of temperance.
    My life’s a symphony for betterment.

    I found through orchestrated diligence
    that laughing and loving is time well spent
    and will all sorts of maladies prevent.
    I sing the melody of temperance.
    My life’s a symphony for betterment.
    In measured rests I sigh in sweet content.

    Marie-Therese Knepper

  119. MADRIGAL OF MEMORY

    How can you hold on to splashing water,
    the greening hills, a brightly feathered bird
    when all that’s left is memory and word?

    You’ve named clouds and wind-songs like a daughter.
    Of sylvan symphonies you’ve overheard,
    how can you hold on to splashing water,
    the greening hills, a brightly feathered bird?

    The years grow short and every season hotter;
    the lakes gone dry as drought. A thirsty herd
    passes; a cloud of dust the hoofbeats stirred.
    How can you hold on to splashing water,
    the greening hills, a brightly feathered bird
    when all that’s left is memory and word?

  120. Ignobllity

    While Jesters rule the elitists languish
    sitting courtside sipping aperitifs
    as trodden peasants humbly slog their fiefs

    Good teachers teach their disciples to fish,
    but not all share the good teacher’s reliefs
    while Jesters rule the elitists languish
    sitting courtside sipping aperitifis

    Tyrants seize power hoping to vanquish
    all good teacher’s teachings from past motifs
    so evil can trump good teachers beliefs
    while Jesters rule the elitists languish
    sitting courtside sipping aperitifs
    as trodden peasants humbly slog their fiefs

    Marie-Therese Knepper

  121. RJ Clarken says:

    Fireflies

    “His sanguine spirit turns every firefly into a star.” ~Arthur Conan Doyle

    A million stars (give or take a few) light
    my garden of nightfall with quiet peace.
    Contemplative, I gaze; I find release.

    Who would have thought that each small, glowing sprite
    could be my here and now. Filled with caprice,
    a million stars (give or take a few) light
    my garden of nightfall with quiet peace.

    There, my poet’s mind seeks magic to write
    a paean to these stars, but no masterpiece
    emerges; I’ve no firefly expertise.
    A million stars (give or take a few) light
    my garden of nightfall with quiet peace.
    Contemplative, I gaze; I find release.

    ###

  122. “I love a song held captive”

    I love a song held captive by the rain,
    softly bubbling on tempestuous breeze,
    blushing shy in mists of thirsting peace.

    I love a whispering lyric of ordain,
    a lilt of voices tumbling to the seas.
    I love a song held captive by the rain,
    softly bubbling on tempestuous breeze.

    I love beau’d rhymes of poesy-chime refrain
    christened Solace in sheltered memories.
    I love a song held captive by the rain,
    softly bubbling on tempestuous breeze,
    blushing shy in mists of thirsting peace.

  123. THE FORCE FROM WITHIN

    They sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
    a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.
    Eyes staring into eyes enchant and enthrall.

    Comforted by silence as passions ignite,
    their corner of the room is seductively small.
    They sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
    a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.

    Surrounded by many, none come into sight.
    Alone in each other, their hearts reveal all.
    Love so explosive is an unstable squall.
    They sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
    a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.
    Eyes staring into eyes enchant and enthrall.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    • I could read this a thousand times and still miss something. An unnecessary word and punctuation fixes. Sorry about that. Here’s the correct version:

      THE FORCE FROM WITHIN

      They sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
      a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.
      Eyes staring into eyes enchant and enthrall.

      Comforted by silence as passions ignite,
      their corner of the room seductively small,
      they sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
      a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.

      Surrounded by many, none come into sight.
      Alone in each other, their hearts reveal all.
      Love so explosive is an unstable squall.
      They sit in the glow of fading candlelight,
      a wine bottle casting shadows on the wall.
      Eyes staring into eyes enchant and enthrall.

      © Susan Schoeffield

  124. Devil’s Bridge

    They call it Devil’s Bridge, near Sedona
    A long hike up dirt roads, red rocks and pines
    The beauty, a sad story undermines

    A tragedy in wild Arizona
    Three adventurous tourists followed signs
    They call it Devil’s Bridge, near Sedona
    A long hike up dirt roads, red rocks and pines

    They rested there beneath sun’s corona
    Admiring nature’s majestic designs
    One falls, and grandeur and sorrow entwines
    They call it Devil’s Bridge, near Sedona
    A long hike up dirt roads, red rocks and pines
    The beauty, a sad story undermines

  125. candy says:

    Weeping For John Muir

    Move in sympathy with the wind
    Slowly drowning in the light
    and now I only weep at night

    A promise to the earth rescind
    Her nature overcome by blight
    Move in sympathy with the wind
    Slowly drowning in the light

    Only money things and ind-
    dustry prioritized convinced it’s right
    In spite of mankind’s sorry plight
    Move in sympathy with the wind
    Slowly drowning in the light
    and now I only weep at night

  126. RJ Clarken says:

    Christina’s World

    At an impossible angle, she sits
    in sere fields. Horizon is her purview
    and the road before her beats a tattoo.

    Wyeth observes this scene. Then he commits
    to canvas, a woman alone, askew.
    At an impossible angle, she sits
    in sere fields. Horizon is her purview.

    He finds hints of color; she never quits.
    This is what he tries to project with hue
    and brush strokes, so that more than hope comes through.
    At an impossible angle, she sits
    in sere fields. Horizon is her purview
    and the road before her beats a tattoo.

    ###

  127. RJ Clarken says:

    Small Rhythmic Landscape

    “Color possesses me, it will possess me always.” ~Paul Klee

    It may be about light, color and space,
    but through the rhythms and repetition,
    I see lollypops in Klee’s rendition.

    Tunisian vista, he sought to embrace
    with the skills of a Bauhaus technician.
    It may be about light, color and space,
    but through the rhythms and repetition,

    there’s music, vibrancy (and just a trace
    of lollypops) but by definition,
    his work’s title defends the omission.
    It may be about light, color and space,
    but through the rhythms and repetition,
    I see lollypops in Klee’s rendition.

    ###

  128. Marie Therese Knepper says:

    Thanks, Robert, for a new and interesting challenge.

    Lol – you definitely won’t be seeing a Madrigal a day from me! Golden Shovel writing provided incentive to get acquainted/reacquainted with famous Poets and their poetry. I really learned a lot, and had fun in the process.

    :)

  129. barbara_y says:

    madrigal of souvenirs

    there’s no lost joy hidden in the tea cups;
    what gushed, bubbled and overflowed, is gone,
    left shelves where possibility had been.

    mites and missed chances thrive in acorn caps;
    dust and absence are what seashells contain.
    there’s no lost joy hidden in the tea cups;
    what tempted, troubled, delighted, is gone.

    regret sticks around; pleasure won’t be kept.
    salt will find where the skin’s peeled off too soon;
    I’ve never, once, demanded: bring me wine.
    there’s no lost joy hidden in the tea cups;
    what gushed, bubbled and overflowed, is gone;
    left me where possibility had been.

    • TomNeal says:

      Excellent use of pararhyme (e.g. cups/caps). It reinforces the sense of possibility lost.

    • PressOn says:

      The title fist the tone of this poem so well. It left me pensive and a bit sad. So well done.

    • grcran says:

      what an interesting contrast between your poem, and the one just below (My Friendship with Memories)! I enjoyed both of them immensely! Your usage of the empty acorn caps and empty seashells is a lovely and thought-provoking way to add to your message and to the effectiveness of your poem, Well-done!

  130. DanielR says:

    My Friendship with Memories
    I hear echoes of distant memories
    in empty hours they shout my name aloud
    I smile and wave to them before they’re gone

    My friends they come and go just like the breeze
    across the street I spot them in a crowd
    I hear echoes of distant memories
    in empty hours they shout my name aloud

    And all I’ve lost can bring me to my knees
    to humbly seek the answers with head bowed
    but seeing them again sure makes me proud
    I hear echoes of distant memories
    in empty hours they shout my name aloud
    I smile and wave to them before they’re gone

    Daniel Roessler

  131. TomNeal says:

    Boredom and Blood in the Good Old Days

    In olden days when a dear lady’s gaze
    Might send the bravest of knights on a quest
    For the Holy Grail or a dragon’s nest

    Or whatever deed might receive her praise
    And good knights did not hesitate to best
    Their brothers in arms to win a fair gaze
    From damsels sweet, or accept a re quest

    To conquer a gentle lady’s malaise
    By spilling friendly blood in friendly jest
    Upon a jousting field sacred and blest
    By applause- back then a dear lady’s gaze
    Might send the bravest of knights on a quest
    For the Holy Grail or a dragon’s nest.

  132. TomNeal says:

    To Florence

    When a golden dust falls upon your eyes
    Bearing dreams of distant enchanted lands
    Where fairies dance in circles holding hands

    And pink elves hide in trees hoping to spy
    On brave knights wooing ladies with garlands
    To place upon their heads and shade their eyes
    From all indelicate sights in these lands

    Of pixies, castles, and fierce dragon flies
    (Against which only you can bravely stand)
    Remember us though we be far less grand,
    And it’s been years since we had magic eyes
    Bearing dreams of distant enchanted lands
    Where fairies dance in circles holding hands.

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