WD Poetic Form Challenge: Ottava Rima

Time for another WD Poetic Form Challenge–this time for the ottava rima!

Find the rules for writing ottava rima here. Popular with English poets, this Italian 10-liner looks a lot like a French form.

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

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on December 31, 2017.
  • Poets can enter as many ottava rima 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  • All poems should be previously unpublished.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 ottava rima. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider poems 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!

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In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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152 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Ottava Rima

  1. Asha1000

    WINTER SOLSTICE 2017

    Under a mackerel sky, all day we laze,
    as if waiting for fish to bite on lines
    baited with squid. We take no note of haze
    tingeing the horizon grey, like a sign.
    On these clear days we forget winds that daze
    lives into coils, eely and serpentine.
    And as the sun sets in reds and yellows,
    we welcome the night wrapped in starry bows.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  2. PressOn

    A SCOTTISH HOUSE

    A Scottish house sits by the waterside.
    Though cold and dark the boreal winter be,
    this sanctuary flouts the wind and tide
    as storms are raging on the nearby sea.
    The smiles here might be sun, for here abide
    the warming words that loose the grace of glee
    forever. Here is peace the world forgot,
    here at the hearth and in the heart of a Scot.

    — William Preston

  3. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    My Poem

    The dog ate my poem! I kid you not.
    It’s not an excuse. I’m not being silly.

    I’m pretty sure I fed his little butt.
    It was a masterpiece. A shame, really!

    Don’t go on hating on that little mutt.
    He’ll poop it out soon enough. Or will he?

    And then you’ll get to read it and hate it…
    …unless the lil’ pooch is constipated.

  4. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Time Off

    She’s gardening, before the weather heats
    as morning widens into brightest day;
    before the dense humidity repeats
    its everyday assault. Meanwhile I play
    indoors with poetry, creating feats
    of formal exercise – the kind I may
    do seated: scanning metre, choosing rhymes,
    while she indulges in more physical pastimes.

    We’re both on holiday, and catching up
    with things which called us in the busy year
    but were perforce passed over. Now, to stop
    does not mean inactivity. The dear
    preferred preoccupations fill each cup
    with our own versions of post-Christmas cheer.
    She brings me a tomato, tangy-sweet.
    I try for poems good enough to eat.

  5. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    And What If Light?

    ‘And what if light surrounds us like a song –
    or what if we are made of singing light?
    You cannot prove these propositions wrong,
    no more than I can prove that they are right.
    Yet what if we had known it all along –
    that light and music meld beyond sound/sight?
    What difference might it make to you and I?
    Perhaps we’d live more lightly, perhaps fly.’

    He whispered these reflections to the air,
    sending them out upon a rising breath –
    then bent again to tend the garden, where
    beneath the plaques folk rested in their death.
    A woman came towards him, crying, ‘There
    is where I want my dears, in solid earth
    where I can come and talk to them and pray.’
    Her tread was heavy as she moved away.

    Around the grave-beds, grasses, flowers and trees
    firm-anchored in the soil, while stretching high
    into the air, moved slightly in a breeze
    as if they danced – as if they’d almost fly.
    Wind in the leaves made soft noise; humming bees
    thronged the flowers. The sun rose in the sky.
    The insects and the birds moved through the day,
    oblivious what he and she might say.

  6. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Un-Scrooging

    It’s Christmas time, and I do not believe
    in all that crass, commercial carry-on.
    I like to give. Most focus on ‘receive’
    this time of year. The feasting, though, is fun.
    I did that twice, the first on Christmas Eve;
    then Christmas Day we fronted up again.
    I must confess, the presents that I got
    are great. ‘Bah, humbug!’ doesn’t hit the spot.

    I had good conversations. One young man
    regaled me with his fishing expertise;
    I matched him catch for catch and line for line,
    our heads together half the evening. He’s
    a schoolboy, still a youth of just sixteen,
    while I am far into my seventies,
    and yet we found such happy common ground
    each counts the other now as a new friend.

    On Christmas Day we dined with son’s old mates
    (several I have known since they were small).
    The hours of well-spaced courses, fun debates
    with smart, like-minded people did not pall –
    music, movies, books, fish, cheese, desserts …
    we rose reluctantly as evening fell,
    and drove home peaceful, happy and replete.
    So now, goodwill to all! My life is sweet.

  7. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Secretly Super

    These copper cuffs that ornament each wrist
    are solid copper, not mere coated tin.
    I trust that my arthritis may desist
    as this good metal swiftly does it in.
    And look – they also help me to resist
    all evil, crime, wrongdoing, error, sin.
    Raising my crossed arms like Wonder Woman
    deflecting bullets, I’m an Amazon!

  8. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Prodigal Friend

    And so he has returned. He comes so late
    I had not looked for him these many years.
    It seemed I must resign myself to fate.
    Despite a sense of loss, there were no tears,
    and certainly no reason to await
    a reappearance. No-one reappears –
    do they? – after such a lengthy absence,
    such an unrelieved and total silence.

    Yet here he is, with thanks upon his tongue
    for all the truth we shared a decade past –
    and suddenly I’m roused, as after long
    and peaceful slumber, opening eyes at last …
    awakening to dawn and daylight, song
    of early birds crescendoing, and vast
    blue skies unfolding to the spreading sun.
    He has returned, I thought forever gone.

  9. Tati-Williams

    Farewell Angel

    An angel so bright has passed away
    Yet not enough have realized
    The pain it tried to smile against, I say
    Is the same seen in many eyes
    “Don’t cry” it says into the fray
    Of weeping hearts, of shattered lies
    And so that angel rests far on the moon
    And those hearts gather and say, “We’ll see you soon”

  10. PressOn

    SMILE

    A turning of the corners of the lips,
    a crinkling at the corners of the eyes,
    a handshake starting at the fingertips
    can take a stranger wholly by surprise
    and send his frown into total eclipse.
    Maybe it is contrived, a bit unwise,
    but then, it might engender change, and then,
    a chance for peace on Earth, good will to men.

    — William Preston

  11. Tracy Davidson

    The Wedding Guest

    I always have a weep at a wedding…
    with complete joy that I’ve never been trapped
    by any of the boys I’ve been bedding,
    for marriage is not at all what I’ve mapped.
    My independence I’ll not be shedding,
    so all those frilly white frocks can stay wrapped.
    No bridal bouquet clutched close to my chest,
    I’m more than glad to be always the guest.

  12. Sara McNulty

    Musings

    He wonders if past lovers still think of him
    with fondness, remembrance, or even regrets.
    There are times in his life when days are dim;
    he daydreams of old loves, becomes beset
    by faces, tresses, and eye-crinkling grins.
    Imagination paints a vivid vignette.
    Though he knows he must move forward in life,
    his mind scans those who might have been his wife.

    1. PressOn

      This reminds me of:

      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”
      ― John Greenleaf Whittier, Maud Muller

      Wonderful.

  13. grcran

    Sad

    We look to saddest thing to mourn, to toast
    And finding tragedy, we boast, exhort
    our friends: oh woe is us, we are the most
    annihilated. Cancer we can’t thwart.
    Hot wars distort. We hang on whipping post.
    Twas made for us. Grim chorus sings for sport.
    And all the while the hardest tragic pain
    conceives a child who goes to die again

    gpr crane

  14. kallierose

    My racing pulse as we watched the sunset
    Guided me to become fully aware
    Though the sky is as vibrant as can get
    The bright hues will surely begin to tear
    My love for you will never face that threat
    When I’m with you I feel that I belong
    Time may pass, but feelings will remain strong

  15. Maria Grace

    Snow this morning! and my winter-heart
    breaks for joy at the gentle fall,
    the feather-softness, the elvish art
    that clings, like ivy, to tree and wall;
    that pricks the eye, as though the stars
    had fallen, and in that fall,
    had blessed the world, and made it white
    as dawn that shows on edge of night.

  16. PressOn

    ODE TO A LIFE ARTIST

    A men I know is excellent at mime;
    his movements rhyme, from face to hands to toes;
    he imitates most folks, `most all the time,
    and never seems to need or want repose.
    To tell the truth, I think he’s quite sublime
    when posing as a clown or tree or rose;
    he’s cool, an antidote to all despair:
    a poem come to life with joy to share.

    — William Preston

  17. lsteadly

    Love Over Time

    Little did we imagine how time would
    twist and tumble, a tempest unforeseen
    when we were young, crazy with love that could
    continue to conspire, a force keen
    on lasting longer than any gift should
    when faced with casualties fallen between
    such wonder and wild hope, forever tossed
    amidst the future of days not yet lost

  18. JRSimmang

    THE OPENING OF GIFTS

    Under the plastic tree, but once a year,
    stacks and stacks of hidden, secret things
    wrapped in dec’rative paper appear.
    And with them hope and stillness brings
    the wonder we all hope to hold dear.
    A father ruminates and clings
    on to the photographs made in his mind
    that he never wants to leave behind.

    She’s so young now, but soon he’ll find
    that time only speeds along to the end.
    Until then, he’ll try hard to remind
    himself that as we age we fold and bend,
    and all the good parts get recombined
    (everything else just seems to blend).
    She sits on his lap, happy to be there,
    and he’s thankful she has so much light to share.

    -JR Simmang

  19. JRSimmang

    DO WE STILL PRETEND THE STARS ARE HOLES?

    Sing with me, children bright, the song of songs,
    the rhyme of ancient people past.
    Sing with me past the pulsing throngs
    the songs that last and last.
    Do you recognize to whom the song belongs?
    Or, are you singing the words too fast?
    This is the rhythm of your muffled heartbeat,
    and let it, not the world, make you complete.

    -JR Simmang

  20. PressOn

    A WEEKEND TRIP

    One winter day I travelled through my past,
    a journey braced with bows to time and place;
    the childhood scenes came back so thick and fast,
    no album could contain sufficient space
    to hold them all; I had to rest at last.
    It all called for a setting laced with grace;
    I found it in a Pennsylvania dell
    whose center held a little old hotel.

    The picture it commands seems tinged with gold:
    it sits within the valley, by a stream;
    each room is small and quaint and warm and old,
    the kind that holds its own inner sunbeam.
    It seems at home in cloaks of snow and cold,
    the perfect setting for a time to dream
    and recollect old memories begun
    when lodging at the inn at Cedar Run.

    — William Preston

  21. candy

    Waiting For Santa

    Fir tree decorated with a star
    three cookies on a special plate
    I leave the bedroom door ajar
    then in my jammies wait and wait
    that jolly man must ravel far
    eyes start to droop – it’s getting late
    I did not see him but I find
    big footprints that he left behind

    ~ Candace Kubinec

  22. Maria Grace

    The Hawk

    The sudden, sharp alarms– then silence
    As little creatures go to ground,
    Tensely hidden. And in the stillness
    The shadow of death goes wheeling round.
    Hangs… and plunges from the immense
    Sweep of sky, comes scything down–
    Death, shot golden by the sunlight,
    Fierce as fire, and as bright.

  23. Alice Stainer

    Advent Octave

    In shadowed windows the candles flare,
    Relaying once more the familiar news,
    That will hold in abeyance the dark out there
    For as long as we, its delegates, choose.
    What reckonings do these lucent bridges dare,
    In glimpsing for us all we have to lose;
    These pallid, trembling triangles of flame
    That point us toward the amplitudes whence He came?

    Alice Stainer

  24. PressOn

    PERFECT DESSERT

    O’Rourke was fond of Mimi’s apple pie
    washed down with coffee, milk, or even tea;
    when faced with it, he’d praise it to the sky
    along with some begorrahs or glories be,
    unless his Mimi failed to please his eye
    with yellow wedges keeping company.
    Y’see, the pie without the cheddar cheese
    is like the hug without the final squeeze.

    — William Preston

  25. PressOn

    AT THE LIGHTHOUSE

    I make my way along the cobbled wall
    beneath a lens now shuttered, sightless, still;
    the shaft itself is still erect and tall,
    as though it still could banish fog and chill
    despite a beacon sheathed beneath a pall.
    The stillness breaks, destroyed by gulls’ ill will.
    Below, the restless sea still grinds away:
    this all will be a rock riprap one day.

    — William Preston

  26. taylor graham

    KEEPING THE SEASONS

    A girl who knows this great big country knows
    the roads and trails that close up first with freeze;
    the way an east wind down the canyon blows
    and how an early snow bends down the trees;
    the place where glitter-fields with cold sun glows
    and frost begins to fret the valley lees.
    That girl will bundle warm to trudge outside
    and walk the land that waits its thawing tide.

  27. Connie Peters

    When Winter Rules

    The bitter cold has gripped the land in ice.
    All’s frozen in its place and nothing moves.
    The winter’s tightened grip exacts a price.
    The road is marked with stubborn frozen grooves.
    The food stored in the cupboard must suffice,
    As we inside will wait till temp improves.
    So we’ve become subject to winter’s law
    And dream of warmer days when comes spring’s thaw.

  28. Maria Grace

    At Year’s End

    This bright new year went down in flame:
    A battle of broken, beating hearts,
    Striving the rampant world to tame,
    To hold, when the center falls apart,
    To Charity– and all in vain.
    Or so it seems: for to have fought
    For holy and heroic things–
    Despite defeat– is victory.

  29. Tracy Davidson

    Shell

    He sits and moans that I don’t understand
    his needs, I make no effort to appease.
    Says it’s my fault he has to raise his hand,
    strike blows that stun and knock me to my knees.
    A ‘proper’ wife wouldn’t need her hide tanned
    as often, she wouldn’t cry, wouldn’t tease.
    “What of ‘proper’ husbands?” I long to yell…
    but silently withdraw back in my shell.

  30. candy

    Cloud Watching

    I turn my face up to the sky
    and look for comfort in the clouds
    oh, how I wish that I could fly
    above the anger and the crowds
    where I might find a place close-by
    a place where dreaming is allowed
    there I would rest my weary soul
    upon a placid, cloudy shoal

    Candace Kubinec

  31. Alice Stainer

    The Heat of Battle

    At the foot of the garden, beneath iron skies,
    On a snow-velvet plinth Sir Snowedalot stood:
    A knight of this snow-realm, he surveyed it with eyes
    Made of beady black buttons; a flat piece of wood,
    And a hubcap for shield helped him fight for a prize
    Much greater than gold, all on Earth that is good;
    Burnished helm, a brass pan with handles for ears;
    Grey glove for a gauntlet, unravelled with years.

    No knight was more proud or more fabled in story
    Than Sir Snowedalot, guardian of garden and gate.
    Every day Sam looked out at his pale frosted glory,
    Then crammed on his coat, as he scarcely could wait
    To engage with his champion, in battle so gory
    That blood stained the snow, and he heard the knight state
    “O I am Sir Snowedalot, fight if you must
    But know that my prowess will turn you to dust!”

    On Sunday the sunbeams warmed tingling air,
    The icicles dripped and the branches shook free.
    Sam hurried outside with the sun in his hair
    And his sword in his hand, as bright as could be.
    “O I am Sir Snowedalot, fight if you dare,
    But know that I’ll conquer – none mightier than me!”
    And that was the last that Sir Snowedalot would say:
    By the end of the day he’d clean melted away.

    Alice Stainer

  32. PressOn

    RETURNING

    A piece of me is always turning there,
    to my old home, the place I was born;
    I’m drawn to something glowing in the air,
    the same way sunshine beckons growing corn.
    I feel it in each city, town, or square
    where strangers make me feel a bit forlorn:
    some similarity of street or face
    that takes me back to where I knew my place.

    I haven’t seen the house for many years
    and all the neighbors now have passed away;
    it seems to be a recipe for tears:
    the sentiments that limn a bygone day.
    But when you smile, you banish all arrears
    and fears, and hold the strangeness far at bay,
    and bid me learn, no matter where I roam,
    that folks are folks, and they will point me home.

    — William Preston

  33. PressOn

    AS DECEMBER DEEPENS

    Ker-plick, sker-unch, ker-plick, sker-unch, ker-plick,
    my boots tattoo those sounds along the ground;
    the snow is blowing on the double quick
    and sneezes meld with wheezes as I pound
    the pavement, slowly getting good and sick
    of constant cold comporting all around.
    To add to all those other winter blows,
    an icicle is forming on my nose.

    And yet, I would not trade this time of year
    for all the sand that fronts Miami Beach;
    it all tells me that Christmastime is here
    and carols and bright lights are within reach
    along with smiles that limn the atmosphere.
    No other time has so much joy to teach.
    And so I hear my boots proceed to crunch:
    sker-unch, ker-plick, sker-unch, ker-plick, sker-unch.

    — William Preston

  34. taylor graham

    THAT LONELY WHISTLE

    The long whistle moves soft through cottonwoods
    waving their yellow hands goodbye. She stands
    hanging wash and ticking off all the should’s
    of Monday. Unmatched stockings in her hands
    as memories of those small, forgotten could’s
    that somehow never will: those far-off lands
    where parallels unite. Tomorrow, rain.
    For now, the fading whistle of a train.

  35. taylor graham

    WINTER OCTAVE

    We’ve made it through the spirit-haunted time
    when shades can pass between the worlds, they say.
    And now the frost has killed the garden, rime
    has slicked the steps, the sky is bedrock gray;
    and life begins its yearly earthward climb
    beneath the cellar where the root-stocks stay.
    Let’s walk the woods. They’re jubilating damp
    and bid us venture past the last lit lamp.

  36. taylor graham

    CHRISTMAS CLIMB
    Mt. Murphy, 1847

    The sawmill workers watched the warming sun
    that climbed a hill across the river – high
    and heady. Holiday! Their climb begun;
    and from the top, the whole world seemed to lie
    beneath them, such a spectacle to stun
    the strongest man under a free blue sky,
    its song of praise not wholly understood
    but he’d remember, sun-crowned once for good.

  37. RJ Clarken

    Nighthawks

    “In general it can be said that a nation’s art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people.” ~Edward Hopper

    Do they stay up to all hours, eating,
    drinking, talking? And do they feel alone
    as the scene unfolds, and keeps repeating?
    In wee hours, shadow hours, do they atone
    for sins they can’t recall? Is peace fleeting
    ‘til the time when they can cast that first stone?
    Are they us? Are we art? Do we reflect
    the canvas, real life and its intersect?

    ###

  38. Connie Peters

    Spurned

    Her lack of faith is now a tragedy.
    A branch has fallen from the living vine.
    God’s whispers to her heart so urgently.
    But she invents excuses to decline.
    She rock-and-rolls, does drugs so recklessly
    And sweeps her problems ‘neath the rug to hide—
    In the guise of escaping misery,
    reflecting coldness of her day and time.
    While God desires to add joy to her life,
    She dances with the devil and his strife.

  39. PressOn

    AUTUMN IN MAINE

    September brings initial gasps of red;
    October splashes yellows everywhere;
    November heralds underlying dread
    as all but oaks and pines begin to bare
    their limbs, and greys and browns persist instead.
    And yet, my thoughts are green as morning prayer
    for, as September segues to December,
    it’s colors and their scents that I’ll remember.

    — William Preston

  40. RJ Clarken

    Daybreak

    “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~E. B. White

    What do I hope to accomplish today?
    Will it benefit me, or do I share?
    Why can’t it be both? As I watch each ray
    peek from behind the night burning off, where
    is my meaning? A sunburst display
    of philosophy from an old desk chair.
    So, shall I improve, or enjoy this pause?
    For now, I’ll watch the sunrise, just because…

    ###

  41. RJ Clarken

    Hangry

    “Don’t try to tell me that hungry is not an emotion, because I feel that clearly in my soul.” ~Bill Murray

    I gotta eat something: else I’ll go nuts!
    Nuts! Wait! Don’t we have some pistachios
    …or some bread? Sandwich? Maybe some cold cuts
    or cookies or candy. Hate to impose.
    I gotta eat something: no ifs, ands, buts!
    I’m getting cranky, ‘cause that’s how it goes.
    I gotta eat something: lift up my mood.
    Oliver was right. Food glorious food.

    ###

  42. RJ Clarken

    Iris

    “Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam. Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes. ” ~Charles Baudelaire

    She was a mystic iris, dusts of gold
    and twilight-hued drapes of purple and blue.
    She was a vague starpoint, not growing old,
    because that was something she’d never do.
    Now, her spirit is like sand, uncontrolled,
    matching the tattoo an artist once drew.
    I wear it on my sleeve; a badge of grace;
    remembrance of someone I still embrace

    ###

  43. PressOn

    A FIR IN THE MEADOW

    One evergreen immersed in driving snows
    and whipping winds that mark December days
    can scarce be said to block the cyclic blows
    of cold and unremitting browns and greys
    that mark the winter season’s ebbs and flows.
    And yet, this single tree demands my gaze:
    it stands, a sentinel that ever bends
    but never breaks, constant till winter ends.

    In storms its foliage is almost black
    but sunshine makes the needles fairly gleam
    as frost that set beneath the night’s attack
    proceeds to melt and form a twinkling stream;
    No wonder that I smile: it takes me back
    to warmer winds, when greenery would teem;
    this grace in green recalls the summer sun
    and seems to bless us all, every one.

  44. Nurit Israeli

    SELF-TALK

    Don’t dwell upon the swiftly fleeting years.
    Don’t flee nor fear the dark, foreboding rooms.
    See, smiles may lie in wait behind the tears;
    hold tight to hope, see past the gloom and doom.
    Delight sometimes resides beside the fears,
    embrace the waves of cold before spring blooms.
    Though heartaches take their toll, I do confess,
    in spite of everything that’s wrong − say YES!

    ~ Nurit Israeli

  45. Connie Peters

    Sometimes Truth Hurts

    The truth may hurt like blunt-force injuries.
    Reality’s gloom may ache like a wound.
    A coin, when flipped, will show two sides with ease.
    God’s matchless grace with pain can be attuned.
    Escape you may want, but not what you need.
    Brief valley journeys won’t leave you marooned.
    A glass is half full when it’s being filled.
    Take care you don’t let truth’s value be spilled.

  46. Eileen S

    Discovery
    by Eileen Sateriale

    A clever girl had engineering skills
    and imagination as a school child
    One day it snowed and she had a big thrill.
    Sledding down her back-yard slope made her smile.
    She constructed a snow ramp on the hill
    ‘til warm sun melted the hardened snow piles.
    That day she gained mechanical knowledge
    and became an engineer in college.

  47. Anthony94

    Questions for a Winter Goldfinch

    Where does the yellow go from your bright wings
    that now are brown as grasses far below?
    Your tumbling flight down windy skeins of spring
    now spurts of feathered speed so that the snow
    sifting upon your back will cease to cling
    as back and forth to feeders now you go
    engaged in winter’s dancing pirouette.
    Are your dreams too of spring, that sweet coquette?

  48. PressOn

    THE POET

    You write of caves and darkened inner spaces;
    your words create an unexplored new world
    of mind-spun flowers and the wind-blown places
    of deep-felt dreams deployed but not unfurled.
    The scenes you draw admit of unknown graces
    that I must free from grain in which they’re burled.
    I thank you now, thank you for all of that
    and for the fears and joys your words begat.

    — William Preston

  49. PressOn

    DECEMBER ON THE PLAINS

    Across the land the squalls proceed to blow,
    bringing to chaparral and matted sedge
    a swath of rinsing wind and cleansing snow.
    Winter no longer seems to pause and hedge
    its bets; this is the time for cold to flow
    from montane reservoirs to autumn’s edge.
    I watch as brown succumbs to white and blue
    and see no fault to flail, nor need to rue.

    And yet, pure quiet reigns, though winds are strong;
    the skies are casting gold across the ground
    as sundown comes and pulls the night along.
    No creatures venture out: I look around
    but all I sense is snowfall’s sweeping song;
    not even ravens deign to raise a sound.
    This scene seems fitting, now that I am old;
    I am a man acquainted with the cold.

    — William Preston

    1. Nurit Israeli

      Love the gentle, lyrical quality of this; particularly the beautiful way in which the last 2 lines reveal the speaker, recap, and give depth to the poem. Nods of recognition…

  50. Connie Peters

    Not Just Boulders

    I’ve always had a liking for huge rocks,
    With water curling ‘round each base like flames.
    As kids, we’d slosh about our daring walks,
    With scents of minnows as we played our games.
    The stage was set for deeds unorthodox,
    From mystic to new planets with odd names.
    More images march like a long parade,
    Remembering creative ways we played.

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