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WD Poetic Form Challenge: Pantoum

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

It’s time for another Writer’s Digest poetic form challenge! This time around, we’re writing the pantoum, a poetic form filled with repeating lines and rhymes. The form originates in Malay.

Here are the basic rules for the form:

  • Poem consists of quatrains (4-line stanzas). No limit, but there should be at least 2 stanzas.
  • Each quatrain has an abab rhyme scheme. However, the poem can follow an abab/bcbc/cdcd/etc. rhyme scheme throughout.
  • Lines 2 and 4 of each stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza. Ideally, lines 2 and 4 of the final stanza will become lines 1 and 3 of the opening stanza.

Okay, so that’s writing a pantoum.

Here are the rules for entering the WD Poetic Form Challenge:

  • Write an original pantoum (or three)
  • Post your pantoum in the comments below along with your name as you would like it to appear in the magazine (if selected as the winner)
  • Deadline: March 8 @ 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia, time)

It’s really a pretty simple challenge, and the winning poem receives publication in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as the example of a pantoum. So you’ll be famous and known around the world as a master of this particular poetic form.

That’s worth a few minutes of poeming, isn’t it?

The winner is usually announced within a week or so of the deadline–along with a list of other great examples (typically takes the form of a Top 10 list). So start writing your pantoums already!

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

93 Responses to WD Poetic Form Challenge: Pantoum

  1. I_AM_ART says:

    “Kunst”

    What defines art
    Is it the music we listen to
    The drawings we see
    Or is it something more.

    Is it the music we listen to
    The tunes we daydream too
    Or perhaps the ideas we create
    Or is it something more.

    It can be very simplistic or complex
    Art is what you make of it
    Or is it something more
    Can it define every individual.

    Art is what you make of it
    It is a way of life
    Can it define every individual
    That’s a question only you can answer.

  2. queenofpigeons says:

    When I insist I’m okay
    and everything is going wrong
    yes, I am pushing you away
    but it won’t be for too long.

    and everything is going wrong
    the way I can cope
    but it won’t be for too long
    I’ll keep to myself and mope

    The way I can cope
    I’ll listen to a depressing tune
    I’ll keep to myself and mope
    perhaps even start to croon

    I’ll listen to a depressing tune
    bury myself in blankets, in bed
    perhaps even start to croon
    to get negative thoughts out of my head

    bury myself in blankets, in bed
    enjoy an author’s witty writing
    to get negative thoughts out of my head
    life is a little more delighting

    enjoy an author’s witty writing
    forget where I am for a while
    life is a little more delighting
    when it seems I’m about to smile

    forget where I am for a while
    just had to choose this book
    when it seems I’m about to smile
    the charming character turns out to be a crook

    just had to choose this book
    art mirrors reality
    the charming character turns out to be a crook
    beginning to believe this is a normality

    art mirrors reality
    so both of them suck
    beginning to believe this is a normality
    my emotions are running amok

    so both of them suck
    but continue to leave me alone
    my emotions are running amok
    give me time on my own

    but continue to leave me alone
    I’ll get through this phase
    give me time on my own
    you know, for a few more days.

  3. dmburke says:

    Where have we gone?

    By Deborah Burke

    Where have we all gone,
    Dear President and Congress?
    All of us human, but what have we done?
    Greedy for more, unhappy with less

    Dear President and Congress,
    you are human, like me,
    greedy for more, more, never less
    fighting and gunning and blaspheming, see?

    You are human like me, thinking
    What you do doesn’t matter that much
    Fighting, gunning, blaming, blaspheming
    Each other and we blaming you for such

    A state we are in. What we do does matter
    Matters so much, each thought, each word, each act
    We blame you for the consequences that tatter
    Our every hope, our every wish. This fact

    Has us afraid you—we—are losing our humanity
    Where have we all gone?
    Power and greed consuming us, destroying kindness and sanity
    All of us human, but what have we done?

  4. Jane Shlensky says:

    Namesake

    They called their place Nesting Goose Farm.
    They built a pond and bought a goose.
    Two geese might well have been the charm,
    but one lone bird? What was the use?

    They built a pond and bought a goose,
    insisting that it nest and stay,
    but one lone bird—what was the use?
    It sadly honked and flew away.

    Insisting that it nest and stay
    ignored essential mating facts.
    It sadly honked and flew away;
    nesting is not a solo act.

    Ignore essential mating facts:
    soon you will be a laughing stock.
    Nesting is not a solo act.
    Why make your neighbors point and mock?

    Soon you will be a laughing stock:
    You’ve named your land for what it’s not.
    Why make your neighbors point and mock
    your ostentation’s empty lot?

    You’ve named your land for what it’s not:
    Where is the eye for sense of place?
    Your ostentation’s empty lot,
    drawn features on a wondrous face.

    Where is the eye for sense of place?
    Two geese might well have been the charm—
    drawn features on a wondrous face.
    They called their place Nesting Goose Farm.

  5. Jane Shlensky says:

    Grass

    What can grass do but sough in wind?
    Low gusts comb it both left and right.
    Does it fold into sky and blend
    with stars of falling dew each night?

    Low gusts comb it both left and right
    as it whispers beneath the sun.
    With stars of falling dew each night,
    does it give thanks when day is done?

    As it whispers beneath the sun,
    its roots network and slowly spread.
    Does it give thanks when day is done,
    home for the living and the dead?

    Its roots network and slowly spread
    to cover mankind’s wrong and loss.
    Home for the living and the dead,
    nourished by our human dross.

    To cover mankind’s wrong and loss,
    does it fold into sky and blend,
    nourished by our human dross?
    What can grass do but sough in wind?

  6. Jane Shlensky says:

    Food Chain

    An ibis settles on the shoal—
    white plumes in shallows, standing still
    until the fish forget his goal
    to make of them his morning meal.

    White plumes in shallows, standing still,
    he’s in the moment, focused, clear,
    to make of them his morning meal;
    he hardly sees me watching near.

    He’s in the moment, focused, clear;
    he looks beneath the liquid sky.
    He hardly sees me watching near
    reflected in the water’s eye.

    He looks beneath the liquid sky
    where languid fish seek smaller prey.
    Reflected in the water’s eye,
    he strikes and pulls a fish away.

    Where languid fish seek smaller prey,
    he joins a chain that holds us all;
    he strikes and pulls a fish away,
    his answer to a primal call.

    He joins a chain that holds us all—
    an ibis settled on the shoal—
    his answer to a primal call
    until the fish forget his goal.

  7. queenofpigeons says:

    Whenever I lose my balance and fall
    is it because of them or me
    that I feel so small
    and I feel so unhappy

    Is it because of them or me
    that people laugh and sneer
    and I feel so unhappy
    the center of my life is fear

    that people laugh and sneer
    these people, whom I love
    the center of my life is fear
    but I look to the skies above

    these people, whom I love
    are not what they seem
    but I look to the skies above
    hoping it’s all just part of a heavenly scheme.

  8. sojh ellidwek says:

    A Lament for Breakfasts Past

    Oh toast I miss
    Your crunchy crust
    And buttery bliss
    A breakfast must

    Your crunchy crust
    I have to say
    A breakfast must
    To start the day

    I have to say
    Its not really lust
    To start the day
    You understand I trust

    Its not really lust
    Black coffee in my cup
    You understand I trust
    If I get up

    Black coffee in my cup
    My one true love
    If I get up
    You are the shove

    My one true love
    Oh toast I miss
    You are the shove
    And buttery bliss

    Oh toast I miss
    Your crunchy crust
    And buttery bliss
    A breakfast must

  9. marianneiswriting says:

    Eventually one day

    My baby boy will say
    ‘Mummy I love you’
    Eventually one day
    He will move on too.

    ‘Mummy I love you’
    The words melt my heart
    He will move on too
    And my tears will start.

    The words melt my heart
    For now he is so small
    And my tears will start
    As he learns to crawl.

    For now he is so small
    Cradled  in my arm
    As he learns to crawl
    I keep him safe from harm.

    Cradled in my arm 
    He’s growing up so fast
    I keep him safe from harm
    His neediness won’t last.

    He’s growing up so fast
    Not a baby anymore
    His neediness won’t last
    He loves to explore.

    Not a baby anymore
    An independent lad
    He loves to explore
    I worry like mad.

    An independent lad
    He starts to think
    I worry like mad
    My heart will sink.

    He starts to think
    ‘I’m moving out’
    My heart will sink
    I will smile, no doubt.

    ‘I’m moving out’
    My baby boy will say
    I will smile, no doubt
    Eventually one day.

    Marianne Marshall

  10. Josh Baker says:

    My Grandfather’s Ashes

    The loons swam upriver
    in perfect formation.
    A shiver ran through
    me. Their lonely song of divination echoing.

    In perfect formation
    his scattered ashes sank into the weeds, singing
    me their lonely song of divination. Echoing
    the memories that recede, like the banks of the river.

    His scattered ashes sank into the weeds, singing
    quietly, not to distract from
    the memories that recede. Like the banks of the river
    he returned. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud.

    Quietly, not to distract from
    the loons swimming upriver
    he returned. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud,
    a shiver.

  11. De Jackson says:

    Moment of Silence for a Song without Ears

    I wrote a poem, but you were gone.
    I swept my tears alone.
    I begged my heart to carry on
    but sorrow turned to stone.

    I swept my tears alone
    bidding my bones to build a bridge,
    but sorrow turned to stone
    as shadow cast its inky ridge.

    Bidding my bones to build a bridge,
    I wrote a poem, but you were gone.
    As shadow cast its inky ridge,
    I begged my heart to carry on.

    De Jackson

  12. stepstep says:

    SECRETS

    Open doors that dare not close
    Hold your secrets deep within,
    They hold them tight, careful not to expose
    Secrets of each and every friend.

    Hold your secrets deep within
    Sacred is each individual part,
    Secrets of each and every friend
    Treasure them with all your heart.

    Sacred is each individual part
    None can you ever betray,
    Treasure them with all your heart
    Like a diamond without decay.

    None can you ever betray
    Open doors that dare not close,
    Like a diamond without decay
    They hold them tight, careful not to expose.

    LaSteph

  13. PressOn says:

    MUSING ALONG THE OLD ERIE CANAL

    I wondered, as I walked along the berm,
    if travellers had pondered, as have I;
    although displaced by centuries in term,
    were all of us in search of reasons why?

    If travellers had pondered, as have I,
    although displaced by centuries in term,
    were all of us in search of reasons why?
    I wondered as I walked along the berm.

    William Preston

  14. Claudia says:

    In the dark

    In the dark of my heart
    I found you,
    like a piece of art,
    fresh and new.

    I found you,
    as a little light,
    fresh and new
    you made my night.

    As a little light,
    you enlightened my life,
    you made my night
    and I saw my knife.

    You enlightened my life,
    in the dark of my heart
    and I saw my knife
    like a piece of art.

    Claudia Pirina

  15. Claudia says:

    In the dark.

    In the dark of my heart
    I found you,
    like a piece of art,
    fresh and new.

    I found you,
    as a little light,
    fresh and new
    you made my night.

    As a little light
    you enlightened my life,
    you made my night
    and I saw my knife.

    You enlightened my life
    in the dark of my heart,
    and I saw my knife,
    like a piece of art.

    Claudia Pirina

  16. rine says:

    RAIN
    By Corina Goicuria

    Rain, rain, so many poems about rain.

    So much so drives me insane.

    Water so clear and so moist,

    Mouth so dry, not by choice.

    What is more free?

    But water you see.

    Rain drops carelessly,

    but always happens to hit me.

    Reminders of a youthfull time

    When the clock stood still, not needing to be rewind.

    Water gushing freely, unabide,

    Oh what a time it was inside.

    Doors were locked,

    Keys were tossed.

    A continuous pounding of rain dropped.

    Reminding me of innocents lost.

    Oh rain, sweet rain,

    can not wait for our time again.

    I may not want a poem about thee.

    But the memories you illicit, fills me with glee.

  17. rine says:

    Rain
    by Corina Goicuria

    Rain, rain, so many poems about rain.

    So much so, it drives me insane.

    Water so clear and so moist,

    Mouth so dry, not by choice.

    What is more free?

    But water you see.

    Rain drops carelessly,

    But always happens to hit me.

    Reminders of a youthful time,

    when the clock stood still; not needing to be rewind.

    Water gushing freely, unabide.

    Oh what a time, it was inside.

    Doors were locked.

    Keys were tossed.

    A continuous pounding of rain drop,

    reminding me of innocents lost.

    Oh rain, sweet rain

    Cannot wait for our time again.

    I may not want it in a poem about thee

    but the memories it illicites are a welcomed glee.

  18. mstempleman says:

    Whenever something bad happens have you ever surprised yourself?
    Have you ever been “happy” when you should be crying?
    Have you ever changed the subject in your mind, with a big fake smile to yourself and a joke?
    Well, I have

    Have you ever been “happy” when you should be crying?
    It is called denial, even though it doesn’t feel like you’re denying it at all
    Well, I have
    When you find out that what you really want is taken by someone else?

    It is called denial, even though it doesn’t feel like you’re denying anything at all
    Or, is it that I am blessed by bouncing back briskly?
    When you find out that something you really want is taken by someone else?
    You start to feel crazy, and gain a sour sense and that is when you realize that you have a problem that you’ve been hiding under a smile and a careless mask

    By: Avery Jones

  19. mstempleman says:

    Washington’s Ragtag Crew
    By: Avery Jones

    Are we anything, but workers?
    Working on new lands, for a king an ocean away?
    We are not British anymore…We are American!
    I am no Virginian anymore…I am an American!

    Working on new lands, for a king an ocean away?
    we rebel
    I am no Virginian anymore… I am an American!
    We rebel together

    We rebel
    when they force tax on us colonies, without our consent
    We rebel together
    But the king will not accept that

    We’ve rounded up militia-ready on a minute’s notice
    grab their weapons and take arm
    sharpshooters creep through those woods, bountiful with trees!
    slowly…this is strange ground for the King’s defenders

    We’ve rounded up militia- ready on a minutes notice
    Farmers, and blacksmiths versus the most intimidating army in the world
    sharpshooters creep through those woods, bountiful with trees!
    Shoot those who want to suck the liberty out of America

    Farmers, and blacksmiths versus the most intimidating army in the world
    And America prevails! Freedom is ours
    Shoot those who want to suck the liberty out of America
    It started with Washington’s ragtag militia- giving it’s life for an independent America

  20. Nancy Posey says:

    Books

    I found my friends on tall bookshelves
    Not flesh and blood but paper, ink,
    They came to life, my other selves
    They gave me courage, made me think

    Not flesh and blood but paper, ink,
    I checked them out and took them home.
    They gave me courage, made me think,
    Inside four walls, they let me roam.

    I checked them out and took them home,
    And read them hiding in my bed
    Inside four walls, they let me roam
    Where my imagination led.

    I read them hiding in my bed,
    By moon and stars or candlelight.
    Where my imagination led,
    I journeyed every night.

    By moon and stars or candlelight,
    They came to life, my other selves
    I journeyed farther every night.
    I found my friends on tall bookshelves.

  21. dmburke says:

    Pantoum: Where have we gone?

    By Deborah Burke

    Where have we all gone,
    Dear President and Congress?
    All of us human, but what have we done?
    Greedy for more, unhappy with less

    Dear President and Congress,
    you are human, like me,
    greedy for more, more, never less
    fighting and gunning and blaspheming, see?

    You are human like me, thinking
    What you do doesn’t matter that much
    Fighting, gunning, blaming, blaspheming
    Each other and we blaming you for such

    A state we are in. What we do does matter
    Matters so much, each thought, each word, each act
    We blame you for the consequences that tatter
    Our every hope, our every wish. This fact

    Has us afraid you—we—are losing our humanity
    Where have we all gone?
    Power and greed consuming us, destroying kindness and sanity
    All of us human, but what have we done?

  22. jonathan6shipley says:

    She was gone now, but she didn’t ever leave
    She stayed there, in that place, their house
    The yards empty now, quieted by leaves
    Bedrooms reliquaries for things – shoes, blouse

    She stayed there, in that place, their house
    Haunting him over breakfast, coffee and toast
    He’d sometimes escape, go to their old boathouse
    But she’d follow him, his beloved ghost

    Haunting him over breakfast, coffee and toast
    He’d talk to her, converse in hushed tones
    Remind her of their times on their boat on the coast
    Show her, on the sill, their collection of beach stones

    He’d talk to her, converse in hushed tones
    About how he loved her still, how she quelled his fears
    How he still felt her, on his skin, his lips, in his bones
    Even though she’d been dead for some eighteen years

  23. PressOn says:

    REUNION

    Longing could not make it so:
    a dream of passion long deferred,
    the vision owned my mind, although
    I always knew it was absurd.

    A dream of passion long deferred
    fixed fast within my soul and heart.
    I always knew it was absurd;
    too long had we been far apart.

    Fixed fast within my soul and heart,
    the vision owned my mind, although
    too long had we been far apart.
    Longing could not make it so.

    William Preston

  24. Kiss my poetry

    Kiss my poetry, why don’t you?
    Do not care for your critique.
    My triolets and my haikus
    are well liked in Mozambique.

    Do not care for your critique.
    Put away that bad review.
    I’m well liked in Mozambique
    and quite famous in Perú.

    Put away that bad review.
    My triolets and my haikus
    are quite famous in Perú.
    Kiss my poetry, why don’t you?

    (c) Jacqueline Hallenbeck

  25. JLMILL says:

    JLMILL
    ODE TO A LIFE
    His love for life was just,
    With his family by his side,
    He lived his life far and wide.

    He was able to fulfill his list,
    Through love and strife,
    For the wishes of his family,
    And that of his loving wife.

    As he left for work each day,
    The Lord carried him through,
    Guiding each step and way,
    Over the ocean he flew.

    Every dream was fulfilled,
    As he finalized his life,
    It was all coming true,
    What he worked longed and
    Dreamed for he finally knew.

    His love for life was just that, and more,
    He leaves his memories now, and all his love,
    He is up in the heavens now soaring, as a dove.

    His love for life was just this, there is a difference now.
    He is better than he was, now is made new.
    Living in the heavens as he wanted to.

  26. dandelionwine says:

    Vernal Reel

    Of lupine’s hues, violets, whites, and pinks reach
    cradling the sky’s curve stretching sweet time,
    steadfast as morning, the spring unfolding each
    tender greenly growing line in perennial rhyme,

    cradling the sky’s curve stretching sweet time
    with tall true stems, nature’s backbone, one
    tender greenly growing line in perennial rhyme,
    tugging the fields and my heart undone

    with tall true stems, nature’s backbone, one
    of lupine’s hues, violets, whites, and pinks reach
    tugging the fields and my heart undone
    steadfast as morning, the spring unfolding each.

    Sara Ramsdell

  27. DanielAri says:

    “Celebrities as deities”

    When George Burns played God—do you remember?
    The world turned to hijinks, wonder and sparks.
    But maybe God is really John Denver
    though my reverence bows to Harpo Marx.

    The world turned to hijinks, wonder and sparks—
    hail the intent, string-plucking demiurge!
    Though my reverence bows to Harpo Marx,
    As likely, God grins as Whoopi Goldberg.

    Hail the intent, string-plucking demiurge:
    scrawls in subways proselytize for Clapton.
    As likely, God grins as Whoopi Goldberg,
    merry all over captain of captains.

    Scrawls in subways proselytize for Clapton,
    for Bird, Monk, Fox, Holiday and U2.
    Mary Oliver, captain of captains,
    creation praising creation, I pray

    for bird, monk, fox, holiday and you, too.
    When George Burns played God—do you remember?
    Creation praising creation! I pray—
    but maybe God is really John Denver.

  28. laurie kolp says:

    A Change of Hometown Attitude

    I couldn’t wait to get away
    from my hometown, a bore,
    nothing to do all day
    but cruise at the shore.

    From my hometown, a bore,
    we headed for the beach
    to cruise at the shore
    car-to-car a beer-pass reach.

    We headed for the beach
    at sun’s first spring show,
    car-to-car a beer-pass reach
    sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

    Now sun’s first spring show – -
    a State Fair, the school year’s end.
    Sometimes fast, sometimes slow,
    I embrace my hometown friends.

    Sometimes fast, sometimes slow
    but something to do each day,
    now I embrace my hometown friends;
    I once couldn’t wait to get away.

  29. Nancy Posey says:

    Vigil

    If only I could go to sleep,
    now that my limbs begin to shake.
    So weary now that I could weep,
    I force myself to stay awake.

    Now that my limbs begin to shake,
    my heart, a caged beast in my chest,
    I force myself to stay awake
    and still press on, postponing rest.

    My heart, a caged beast in my chest,
    against my hollow ribs it pounds.
    I still press on, postponing rest;
    My eardrums throb with silence sounds.

    My eyelids weigh a thousand pounds,
    So tired now that I could weep.
    My eardrums throb with silence sounds.
    If only I could go to sleep.

  30. RJ Clarken says:

    Knock on Wood

    “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” ~Tennessee Williams

    We rub lamps to conjure genies.
    Some magic’s what we wish we had
    while we sip our dry martinis,
    while cursing out our luck turned bad.

    Some magic’s what we wish we had.
    We knock on cherry, maple, oak,
    while cursing out our luck turned bad.
    The gods of fortune, we invoke.

    We knock on cherry, maple, oak.
    We wish on four-leaf clovers, and
    the gods of fortune, we invoke.
    We pay our seers. Cash in hand.

    We wish on four-leaf clovers, and
    we rub lamps to conjure genies.
    We pay our seers. Cash in hand,
    while still sipping dry martinis.

    ###

  31. The last to know

    Don’t think that you can hide from me
    inside that fancy metaphor.
    Your heart is always plain to see,
    your poet soul an open door.

    Inside that fancy metaphor
    you spell out more than you could know,
    your poet soul an open door –
    sometimes a writer is so slow!

    You spell out more than you could know
    no matter what you’re thinking of.
    Sometimes a writer is so slow,
    I’m waiting patiently, my love.

    No matter what you’re thinking of
    your heart is always plain to see.
    I’m waiting patiently, my love;
    don’t think that you can hide from me!

    Andrew Kreider

  32. A DREAM OF ROUNDUP

    In the old bunkhouse, imagine this dance.
    Cowdogs and ranch-hands, and here’s the old ram.
    So choose your strange partner, let’s take a chance.
    A heifer’s two-stepping just like a lamb,

    cowdogs and ranch-hands, and here’s the old ram,
    boots stamp and hooves click and paws all around,
    a heifer’s two-stepping just like a lamb –
    floorboards are like to end up on the ground.

    Boots stamp and hooves click and paws all around,
    cow-bell and spur-jingle, bark for the band,
    floorboards are like to end up on the ground,
    allemand left, what a right-and-left grand!

    Cow-bell and spur-jingle, bark for the band –
    in the old bunkhouse imagine this dance!
    Allemand left, what a right-and-left grand!
    So choose your strange partner, let’s take a chance.

  33. Mama Zen says:

    Crossed Off

    A list of the lost,
    kindness, and a clipboard.
    Names to cross off.
    Dollars to account for.

    Kindness and a clipboard.
    Meth rot and a gun.
    Dollars to account for.
    Nowhere to place the son.

    Meth rot and a gun.
    A list of all the lost.
    Nowhere to place the son.
    Another name crossed off.

    Kelli Simpson

  34. Tracy Davidson says:

    Supersize Me

    There’s nothing wrong with a bit of blubber –
    skin and bones won’t keep you warm at night.
    I’m quite happy to be termed a chubber,
    skinny people look a dreadful fright.

    Skin and bones won’t keep you warm at night,
    my man likes having extra bits to squeeze.
    Skinny people look a dreadful fright.
    My spare tyres he likes to tickle and tease.

    My man likes having extra bits to squeeze,
    especially around my bum and thighs.
    My spare tyres he likes to tickle and tease,
    says he loves my sexy curvy size.

    Especially around my bum and thighs
    he likes to see flesh wobble like jelly,
    says he loves my sexy curvy size
    as he kisses my rather rounded belly.

    He likes to see flesh wobble like jelly,
    I’m quite happy to be termed a chubber.
    As he kisses my rather rounded belly,
    there’s nothing wrong with a bit of blubber.

  35. Jane Shlensky says:

    Preparation

    Poised at the mirror, much engrossed,
    he practices his shiny smile.
    His feigned humility is boast,
    as he perfects a polished guile.

    He practices his shiny smile
    again with every face he meets.
    As he perfects a polished guile,
    he hides his heart, one of his feats.

    Again with every face he meets,
    a chance is wasted to be true.
    He hides his heart, one of his feats—
    Who knows what he may think or do?

    A chance is wasted to be true:
    he feels it in his sinking gut.
    Who knows what he may think or do?
    His life is in a savage rut.

    He feels it in his sinking gut,
    poised at the mirror, much engrossed.
    His life is in a savage rut;
    his feigned humility is boast.

  36. laurie kolp says:

    Finding Peace at a Dance Convention

    Hidden in the trees – -
    a throne for birds, a nest
    splashing color in the leaves,
    scratchy branches tickle chests.

    A throne for birds, a nest
    treasures hidden – - HoNeYbEEs!
    Scratchy branches tickle chests
    refreshment in the breeze.

    Treasures hidden – - HoNeYbEEs!
    Knotty boles to climb and rest
    refreshment in the breeze
    enduring storms, steadfast.

    Knotty boles to climb and rest
    glowing crowns of evergreen
    enduring storms, steadfast
    love’s arboretum – - RefUgEEs(Zz)!

    glowing crowns of evergreen
    splashing color in the leaves
    love’s arboretum – - RefUgEEs(Zz)!
    hidden in the trees.

  37. Yolee says:

    When The Time comes

    Within my soulful well
    several sides of me convene,
    to push out on dawning’s swell
    the porter of a scene.

    Several sides of me convene,
    until a fleeting wind rocks
    the porter of a scene
    to answer time’s knock.

    Until a fleeting wind rocks
    the maid of a firm trait
    to answer time’s knock,
    carries on with easy gait.

    The maid of a firm trait
    most moved by the call,
    carries on with easy gait
    and with extraordinary gall.

    Most moved by the call:
    the driver of a cart,
    and with extraordinary gall
    delivers me, in part.

    The driver of a cart,
    within my soulful well
    delivers me, in part
    to push out on dawning’s swell

  38. Domino says:

    Knock Wood

    Fire, plague or for common good
    or to prevent some calamity,
    and amend our misfourtune, knocking wood
    will help to preserve our sanity.

    In the event of calamity
    there’s only one thing we can do
    that helps to preserve our sanity,
    touch or knock wood (or bamboo).

    It is true, the one thing we can do
    if we do not want a catastrophe
    touch or knock wood (or bamboo)
    to stall pain or sorrow or bankruptcy.

    We don’t want some kind of catastrophe
    fire, plague or something not good.
    So stop pain or sorrow or bankruptcy;
    to amend all misfortune: knock wood.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  39. Michelle Hed says:

    When You Need a Bit of Luck

    Knock on wood
    when you wish for luck,
    be good,
    don’t be a schmuck.

    When you wish for luck
    find a four leaf clover,
    don’t be a schmuck,
    don’t roll over.

    Find a four leaf clover,
    a lucky penny will do,
    don’t roll over
    wear something blue!

    A lucky penny will do
    when you are in a pinch
    wear something blue
    never give an inch.

    When you are in a pinch
    be good,
    never give an inch
    knock on wood.

    Michelle Hed

  40. Winter Ends

    Whites, ghost grays and stark blacks
    Pennsylvanian winter
    Iced-over river cracks
    Icicles drop, splinter

    Pennsylvanian winter
    Trees bold black silhouettes
    Icicles drop, splinter
    Ill-tempered gray-cloud threats

    Trees bold black silhouettes
    Snow crunches underfoot
    Ill-tempered gray cloud threats
    Coal fires scatter soot

    Snow crunches underfoot
    Wet cold chills to the bones
    Coal fires scatter soot
    Crows caw in raucous tones

    Wet cold chills to the bones
    Icy stream struggles free
    Crows caw in raucous tones
    Earth and sun disagree

    Icy stream struggles free
    Days begin to grow long
    Earth and sun disagree
    Spring sings its hopeful song

    Days begin to grow long
    Buds slyly form anew
    Spring sings its hopeful song
    Grass and tulips pokes through

    Buds slyly form anew
    Sky blues and greens replace
    Grass and tulips pokes through
    Waters quicken their pace

    Sky blues and greens replace
    Whites, ghost grays and stark blacks
    Waters quicken their pace
    Iced-over river cracks

  41. “Return to me”

    Return to me beside the rise
    of our stormed woes,
    We, now snowy owl wise,
    etched within the delicate prose

    of our stormed woes.
    Come tame these tarnished tears
    etched within the delicate prose.
    Return to me, now our silver years.

    Come tame these tarnished tears.
    It’s love we chose.
    Return to me, now our silver years
    etched in delicate prose.

  42. GATHERING

    What secret did he bring back home?
    As doctors close their files, Thanksgiving Eve,
    oak leaves turn to golden; misty foam
    over Rapids River, waters rush to leave

    as doctors close their files. Thanksgiving Eve,
    she stuffed the turkey, made a centerpiece.
    Over rapids, river waters rush to leave,
    leaping the falls that tumble without cease.

    She stuffed the turkey, made a centerpiece.
    He parked his car, walked past the door,
    leaping the falls that tumble without cease,
    out of his life, perhaps, its worn-out core.

    He parked his car, walked past the door
    that opens on tomorrow. Unknown day
    out of his life. Perhaps its worn-out core
    is water down the current, ocean’s way

    that opens on tomorrow. Unknown day –
    what secret did he bring back home
    is water down the current, ocean’s way.
    Oak leaves turn to golden, misty foam.

  43. JWLaviguer says:

    Yearning Time

    We used to be as one
    My youth and I existed
    My time here isn’t done
    Though spine is stiff and twisted

    My youth and I existed
    Years later do I yearn
    Though spine is stiff and twisted
    My heart it beats and burns

    Years later do I yearn
    Her touch it brought me joy
    My heart it beats and burns
    Her smile playful and coy

    Her touch it brought me joy
    We used to be as one
    Her smile playful and coy
    My time here isn’t done.

  44. mapoet says:

    Stuck
    By Michelle Pond

    The storm hits
    with two fists
    Traffic sits
    Windows mist

    With two fists,
    hold the wheel
    Windows mist
    View concealed

    Hold the wheel
    the storm hits
    View concealed
    Traffic sits

  45. seingraham says:

    WHERE YOU LIE

    As twilight skitters from the sky
    Constellations contrive their design
    And I am drawn to where it is you lie
    To breathe deep, rest, and realign

    Constellations contrive their design
    While I draw strength from you
    To breathe deep, rest, and realign
    Beside your grave I lie now too

    While I draw strength from you
    All worry falls away and peace arrives
    Beside your grave I lie now too
    With each breath, it’s as if you survive

    All worry falls away and peace arrives
    As twilight skitters from the sky
    With each breath, it’s as if you survive
    And I am drawn to where you lie

  46. Sinkhole

    Everything is sinking, about to collapse.
    My eighteen-year-old dining room table
    which my sister fixed with plastic tie wraps;
    wish she could fix me, for I am now disabled.

    My eighteen-year-old dining room table.
    Boy! What a difference. You should see it now.
    Wish she could fix me, for I am now disabled.
    There must be a way we could fix me somehow…

    Boy! What a difference. You should see it now.
    The side of the mattress my husband sleeps on.
    There must be a way we could fix me somehow…
    Send in the fix-all, repair-all caravan.

    The side of the mattress my husband sleeps on.
    A man was swallowed into the earth while he slept.
    Send in the fix-all, repair-all caravan.
    There are things we can deal with and those we can’t accept.

    A man was swallowed into the earth while he slept.
    I miss walking the streets without a care.
    There are things we can deal with and those we can’t accept.
    We must get off our knees after each prayer.

    I miss walking the streets without a care.
    I cling to hope, that things will change… perhaps,
    but I get off my knees after each prayer,
    for everything is sinking, about to collapse.

    (c) Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    • * Second entry of the same piece (change on the last stanza)

      Sinkhole

      Everything is sinking, about to collapse.
      My eighteen-year-old dining room table
      which my sister fixed with plastic tie wraps;
      wish she could fix me, for I am now disabled.

      My eighteen-year-old dining room table.
      Boy! What a difference. You should see it now.
      Wish she could fix me, for I am now disabled.
      There must be a way we could fix me somehow…

      Boy! What a difference. You should see it now.
      The side of the mattress my husband sleeps on.
      There must be a way we could fix me somehow…
      Send in the fix-all, repair-all caravan.

      The side of the mattress my husband sleeps on.
      A man was swallowed into the earth while he slept.
      Send in the fix-all, repair-all caravan.
      There are things we can deal with and those we can’t accept.

      A man was swallowed into the earth while he slept.
      I miss walking the streets without a care.
      There are things we can deal with and those we can’t accept.
      We must get off our knees after each prayer.

      I miss walking the streets without a care.
      Wish my sis could fix me with plastic tie wraps.
      We must get off our knees after each prayer
      for everything is sinking, about to collapse.

      (c) Jacqueline Hallenbeck

  47. Amy says:

    Wishing star

    Through the branches, outstretched,
    like glittering gold in a sifting pan;
    their effervescence forever etched
    upon the sky where light began.

    Like glittering gold in a sifting pan,
    our dreams we cast to unknown heights;
    upon the sky where light began,
    we watch for signs into the night.

    Our dreams we cast to unknown heights,
    their effervescence forever etched,
    as we watch for signs into the night,
    through the branches, outstretched.

    Amy Glamos

  48. RJ Clarken says:

    Irises by Van Gogh

    Even in madness, beauty can be found.
    Van Gogh found it in asylum gardens.
    From this, his masterpiece emerged, unbound:
    an anodyne of blue-purple pardons.

    Van Gogh found it in asylum gardens,
    influenced by Japanese woodblock art:
    an anodyne of blue-purple pardons
    and vibrancy-filled brushes touched his heart.

    Influenced by Japanese woodblock art,
    black outlines made expressive this flower
    and vibrancy-filled brushes touched his heart,
    transporting him from his lonely tower.

    Black outlines made expressive this flower.
    Van Gogh’s madness created such splendor,
    transporting him from his lonely tower.
    A thread of hope, no matter how slender.

    Van Gogh’s madness created such splendor.
    Even in madness, beauty can be found.
    A thread of hope, no matter how slender.
    From this, his masterpiece emerged, unbound.

    ###

  49. RJ Clarken says:

    Wordy

    So, I consider myself scribacious.
    That’s a fancy word meaning, ‘likes to write.’
    And when I write, I’m often loquacious,
    which means wordy, effusive and …well…trite.

    So… a fancy word meaning, ‘likes to write.’
    How ‘bout raconteur? (A storyteller,
    but one who’s wordy, effusive and trite.)
    Well, I’m ALL those things. And a good speller.

    Yep, a raconteur, a storyteller
    and maybe throw in a poetaster.
    Well, I’m ALL those things. And a good speller.
    Heck, I am such a scribacious master.

    But certainly, I’m a poetaster,
    a rhymester and a versifier. True.
    Heck, I am such a scribacious master.
    Although, perhaps…it’s just my point of view.

    A rhymester and a versifier? True.
    So, I consider myself scribacious
    although, perhaps…it’s just my point of view.
    See? When I write, I’m often loquacious.

    ###

  50. ‘You’re an Idiot’ is NOT an Idiom

    Somehow, they have to make the grade,
    but their bored adolescent faces
    and wandering minds have strayed,
    SO not caring if their modifier displaces.

    And so another pencil ends erases.
    Torturing all elements of creative writing,
    they’re not seeing where a comma misplaces
    while leaving giggling oxymorons fighting.

    First one rhyme, then another,
    using metaphors to persuade,
    I now sound like MY mother.
    Well played cliché. Well played.

    • YIKES! Too fast on the draw, I copied the wrong one. (Ironic.)
      Here is the version I intended to submit:

      ‘You’re an Idiot’ is NOT an Idiom

      Somehow, they have to make the grade,
      but their bored adolescent faces
      and wandering minds have strayed,
      SO not caring if their modifier displaces.

      And so another pencil ends erases.
      Torturing all elements of creative writing,
      they’re not seeing where a comma misplaces
      while leaving giggling oxymorons fighting.

      First one rhyme, then reciting,
      using metaphors to persuade,
      Like MY mother, I’m inciting.
      Well played cliché, well played.

  51. laurie kolp says:

    SHE DREAMS

    Beyond the window frame she dreams;
    rolling hills and colors rainbow-like,
    a rabbit hole to slide down magically
    escaping middle age within her life.

    Rolling hills and colors rainbow-like
    a filly galloping in verdant fields
    escaping middle age within her life:
    relive those younger days more recklessly.

    A filly galloping in verdant fields
    forever like a child energized, able to
    relive those younger days more recklessly;
    enlightened cosmos, everlasting warmth.

    Forever like a child energized, able to
    laugh and play and love the whole day through.
    Enlightened cosmos, everlasting warmth,
    oblivious to golden years so insecure.

    Laugh and play and love the whole day through,
    a rabbit hole to slide down magically.
    Oblivious to golden years so insecure,
    beyond the window frame she dreams.

  52. PowerUnit says:

    The First Minutes

    She starts a pot of fresh coffee
    The first arrivals of the day
    She’s not ready for their money
    The quiet morning slips away

    The first arrivals of the day
    He sits silently in his chair
    The quiet morning slips away
    Reciting his lonely prayer

    He sits silently in his chair
    She starts a pot of fresh coffee
    Reciting his lonely prayer
    She’s not ready for their money

  53. LouiseBilborough says:

    She Said

    She said, “Pick up your goddamned pen and write.
    Let those little black words march along.
    Be they little ants creeping, or birdies in flight.
    Give them legs, give them wings—oh, come on!

    “Let those little black words march along.
    Let ink bleed black, let it cover the page.
    Give them legs, give them wings—oh, come on!
    Fear not, little one. Leave your cage.

    “Let ink bleed black, let it cover the page,
    Leech that poison from your hollowed bones.
    Fear not, little one. Leave your cage,
    And fly far from the shackles of prose.

    “Leech that poison from your hollowed bones,
    Let the freedom of structure be wind under wing,
    And fly far from the shackles of prose.
    Let those little words overtake every thing.

    “Let the freedom of structure be wind under wing.”
    She said, “Pick up your goddamned pen and write.
    Let those little words overtake every thing,
    Be they little ants creeping, or birdies in flight.”

  54. seingraham says:

    STEPPING IN

    Today’s the day he will step in
    No matter what the cost might be
    When they gang up and she can’t win
    He’ll stand with her and then they’ll see

    No matter what the cost might be
    When kicks and punches start to fly
    He’ll stand with her and then they’ll see
    Forget the bruises or black eyes

    When kicks and punches start to fly
    They’ll stand as one and not back down
    Forget the bruises or black eyes
    Together they’ll fight off every clown

    No matter what the cost might be
    When they gang up and she can’t win
    He’ll stand with her and then they’ll see
    Today’s the day he will step in

  55. Amy says:

    Lament to the Shadows

    She waits under cover of darkness,
    undeserving of the sun’s luster.
    Her form that of a withering carcass;
    no will remains to muster.

    Undeserving of the sun’s luster,
    she contemplates her moral blunder.
    No will remains to muster
    these idyllic boundaries, torn asunder.

    She contemplates her moral blunder,
    regret tainting all that has transpired.
    These idyllic boundaries, torn asunder
    for the sake of one admired.

    Regret tainting all that has transpired,
    a letter of scarlet she now will bear;
    for the sake of one admired,
    all hope of love she will forswear.

    A letter of scarlet she now will bear
    as she waits under cover of darkness.
    All hope of love she will forswear,
    her form that of a withering carcass.

  56. PressOn says:

    HIGH LARK

    A lark in the sky
    with a song in the air
    finds his peace by and by;
    he is home up there

    with a song in the air.
    He flies far and free:
    he is home up there.
    Just happy to be,

    he flies far and free
    in his quest for his mate;
    just happy to be
    neither early nor late.

    In his quest for his mate
    he explores with a song
    neither early nor late;
    so sweet yet so strong.

    He explores with a song;
    finds his peace, by and by.
    So sweet, yet so strong:
    a lark in the sky.

    William Preston

  57. My Poetic Secrets (Now Everyone Knows)

    I just can’t write a villanelle,
    Sestinas make me queasy.
    Sonnets send me to metered hell.
    Who said that writing was easy?

    Sestinas make me queasy
    With their strictly fashioned style.
    Who said that writing was easy?
    My mood is growing more hostile.

    With their strictly fashioned style
    Poetic forms just make me curse.
    My mood is growing more hostile.
    I miss the freedom of free verse.

    Poetic forms just make me curse.
    Sonnets send me to metered hell.
    I miss the freedom of free verse.
    I just can’t write a villanelle.

  58. Marie Elena says:

    This is a variation that employs no rhyme scheme, as featured at Poetic Bloomings. I’ll have to write a new rhyming one for the contest. Thanks for the opportunity, Robert!

    Knitting Pantoums

    It sounds like something I should knit.
    I don’t know how
    to knit a pair of pantoums.
    It has me in stitches.

    I don’t know how
    my pantoums slipped off.
    It has me in stitches.
    Should I pick up and purl?

    My pantoums slipped off
    Don’t needle me.
    Should I pick up and purl?
    Just cast off?

    Don’t needle me,
    or I’ll unravel.
    Just cast off.
    Yarn over.

  59. seingraham says:

    DEATH WAITS

    As the darkling death crouches patiently on your bed
    In the twilit dimness, he seems well prepared to wait
    One wonders what thoughts flit through your head
    Night wears on, your life wears out – does it feel too late

    In the twilit dimness, death seems well-prepared to wait
    A perfect example of the reputed ‘time for all things’
    Night wears on, your life wears out – does it feel too late
    Or as if at any moment you might sprout wings

    A perfect example of the reputed ‘time for all things’
    Your breath grows shallower as dawn nears
    Do you feel as if at any moment you might sprout wings
    Death moves in closer, surprisingly bringing few fears

    Your breath grows shallower as dawn nears
    Do you feel as if at any moment you might sprout wings
    Death moves in closer, surprisingly bringing few fears
    A perfect example of the reputed ‘time for all things’.

  60. saradailey1 says:

    Winter Nights

    Winter nights are the quietest.
    Empty of the sound of cicada hum
    and birds not out til morning.
    I have missed the circle of you.

    Empty of the sound of cicada hum,
    the white snow still falling,
    I have missed the circle of you
    filling these empty arms.

    The white snow still falling
    over the tall birch limbs, snow
    filling these empty arms,
    like ice blossoms, pale as stars.

    Over the tall birch limbs, snow.
    I am empty, a half-gleam that exists
    like ice blossoms, pale as stars,
    in the garden in which you vanish.

    I am empty. A half-gleam exists
    and birds not out til morning.
    In the garden in which you vanish,
    winter nights are the quietest.

    Sara Dailey

  61. PressOn says:

    SILENT SPRING, SIXTY YEARS LATER

    Will warblers come again to play in trees
    as years go rolling on, from spring to spring?
    These days, the winter’s slowly seizing freeze
    segues to summer’s scorching rendering

    as years go rolling on. From spring to spring,
    it seems the mild of Maytime fails to linger;
    segues to summer’s scorching rendering;
    and autumn barely deigns to lift a finger,

    it seems. The mild of Maytime fails to linger
    as summer hurries past the equinox;
    and autumn barely deigns to lift a finger,
    rebuts the need for cold, as if a pox.

    As summer hurries past the equinox
    these days, the winter’s slowly seizing freeze
    rebuts the need for cold, as if a pox.
    Will warblers come again, to play in trees?

    William Preston

  62. RJ Clarken says:

    ‽Obscure Punctuation‽

    Obscure punctuation is really cool.
    It’s too bad it’s fallen into disuse.
    Can’t remember it being taught in school,
    but maybe the concept’s just too abstruse.

    It’s too bad it’s fallen into disuse.
    Speech shouldn’t be all asepticism
    but maybe the concept’s just too abstruse,
    like the Doubt Point (healthy skepticism.)

    Speech shouldn’t be all asepticism,
    like I said. So here’s a small list of marks
    like the Doubt Point (healthy skepticism)
    which could seriously aid story arcs.

    So, like I said, here’s a small list of marks:
    the ElRey Point, Exclamation Comma,
    (which could seriously aid story arcs)
    and Interrobang, for lots of drama.

    The ElRey Point, Exclamation Comma,
    the SarcMark, starred Asterism, Love Joint
    and Interrobang (for lots of drama)
    make written words come alive. That’s my point.

    So, SarcMark, starred Asterism, Love Joint?
    Obscure punctuation is really cool,
    make written words come alive. That’s my point.
    Can’t remember it being taught in school.

    ###

  63. roo1187 says:

    Twelve to fifteen hours a day
    searching for signs of life.
    She’s fiercely loyal and she won’t stray
    amongst rubble, chaos and strife.

    Searching for signs of life,
    as part of a rescue team;
    amongst rubble, chaos and strife,
    she stays patient, happy and keen.

    As part of a rescue team,
    many have called her a hero.
    She stays patient, happy and keen
    as she works here at Ground Zero.

    Many have called her a hero;
    she’s fiercely loyal and she won’t stray
    as she works here at Ground Zero,
    twelve to fifteen hours a day.

    Ruth Gibson

  64. PressOn says:

    AT THE SPRING HAWK WATCH

    As homing hawks parade across the sky,
    ascending high on rivers in the air,
    they kiss with life the land they overfly
    and follow north the streams to everywhere.

    Ascending high on rivers in the air,
    they gaze ahead, beyond the curving earth
    and follow north the streams to everywhere;
    to breeding grounds, and feasts of cycling birth.

    They gaze ahead, beyond the curving earth;
    with trusting wings they ride a thermal road
    to breeding grounds, and feasts of cycling birth.
    My heavy heart feels lightened of its load.

    With trusting wings they ride a thermal road;
    they kiss with life the land they overfly;
    my heavy heart feels lightened of its load
    as homing hawks parade across the sky.

    William Preston

  65. PressOn says:

    SPRINGTIME ON THE HILLSIDES

    As green erupts across the hills,
    the airs assume a different blue
    and dance, now freed from winter’s chills;
    they too desire a verdant hue.

    The airs assume a different blue
    as warblers come and migrate by;
    they, too, desire a verdant hue,
    the better to greet a waking sky.

    As warblers come, and migrate by,
    they bring with them the southern breeze,
    the better to greet a waking sky,
    and feed among the reborn trees.

    They bring with them the southern breeze
    and dance, now freed from winter’s chills,
    and feed among the reborn trees
    as green erupts across the hills.

    William Preston

  66. PressOn says:

    THE WALK

    As bursting buds hasten to free the trees,
    I walk a path that I have walked before.
    I cherish springtime’s possibilities,
    breathing perfumes that she had kept in store.

    I walk a path that I have walked before;
    I think of when I walked with one I knew,
    breathing perfumes that she had kept in store
    for times alone, when love is ripe and true.

    I think of when I walked with one I knew;
    I dream of times of promise yet to come;
    for times alone, when love is ripe and true,
    are times of joy permitted but to some.

    I dream of times of promise yet to come;
    I cherish springtime’s possibilities.
    Are times of joy permitted but to some
    as bursting buds hasten to free the trees?

    William Preston

  67. Michelle Hed says:

    Helping Hands

    She was excited to be here
    practically dancing where she stood
    afraid if she blinked, it would disappear
    this chance to do some good.

    Practically dancing where she stood
    she peaked into the room
    this chance to do some good
    to save them from the gloom.

    She peaked into the room
    where she would pack the food
    to save them from the gloom,
    to feed a hungry brood.

    Where she would pack the food
    she was ready to lend a hand
    to feed a hungry brood,
    to wipe hunger from their land.

    We went when she was six
    afraid if she blinked, it would disappear
    helping others who were in a fix
    she was excited to be here.

  68. Michelle Hed says:

    Eclectic Serenity (A Pantoum)

    Quite depends upon the occasion
    what thing will do the fix,
    a mathematical equation
    to work out all the ticks.

    What thing will do the fix
    when you need a bit of peace
    to work out all the ticks
    you might take a repairing lease.

    When you need a bit of peace
    I quite enjoy a cup of tea,
    you might take a repairing lease
    by lounging by the sea.

    I quite enjoy a cup of tea,
    the quite whispers of the breeze
    by lounging by the sea,
    though sometimes I tickle the ivories.

    The quite whispers of the breeze
    sooths my frantic soul,
    though sometime I tickle the ivories
    or take a little stroll.

    Sooths my frantic soul
    just to hold your hand in mine
    or take a little stroll
    also works just fine.

    Just to hold your hand in mine,
    close my eyes to thoughts –
    also works just fine
    to loosen all the knots.

    Close my eyes to thoughts
    a mathematical equation
    to loosen all the knots
    quite depends upon the occasion.

    Michelle Hed

  69. clovin says:

    I learned the pantoum form without end-rhymes, which is how most modern pantoums are written. Thus, my pantoums may not qualify, but I’m pretty happy with them anyway:

    The Forest of Her

    “I see people, but they look like trees walking”
    ~the healed blind man to Jesus, book of Mark

    “I crave an intimacy too private to speak of,
    truly one must close one’s eyes to see.”
    ~Marvin Bell

    Perhaps, after all, we should embrace our darkness
    for that Bible story may have had things wrong.
    Like knowledge, a little sight can be dangerous,
    for he once was blind, but even now he can’t see.

    That Bible story may have had things wrong:
    the poor man cannot now recognize his own wife.
    He once was blind, but even now he can’t see
    the length of her hair and her particular gait.

    That poor man cannot now recognize his own wife
    by sight. He knows her only by her scent,
    the length of her hair, and her particular gait:
    the faithful whisper of air moving

    slightly, lifting from her to him her scent
    as if a secret spoken in darkness.
    The faithful whisper of air moving
    reveals her in the half-light of half-sight.

    As if a secret spoken in darkness,
    her body grows mysterious roots.
    Revealed, in the half-light of half-sight,
    the leaves of hair, her branching arms—

    her body grown mysterious. Roots
    and limbs tangle, quaking the shadowy
    leaves of hair. Her branching arms
    catch him like a weary bird at day’s end.

    His limbs tangle, quaking in the shadowy
    places of her body. The familiar forest of her
    catches him like a weary bird. At day’s end
    he closes his eyes and finds his way

    around her body—the familiar forest of her
    like knowledge. A little sight can be dangerous,
    so he closes his eyes and finds his way
    for perhaps, after all, we should embrace our darkness.

    ________________

    On the Road from Jerusalem

    I would recognize any one of them anywhere now,
    that band of thieves who surrounded and attacked me.
    I memorized every one of their faces
    and knew it was more than my money they wanted.

    That band of thieves who surrounded and attacked me
    on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho
    knew it was more than my money they wanted:
    they are his clothes that give a man away.

    On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho
    I lay wounded and naked in a roadside ditch.
    They are his clothes that give a man away:
    it’s easy to recognize a priest by his robes—

    I lay wounded and naked in a roadside ditch
    and that man passed to the other side of the road.
    It’s easy to recognize a priest by his robes:
    for yet another man was traveling that day, as well,

    and that man passed to the other side of the road,
    but not before I could fully see his face.
    Yet another man was traveling that day, as well:
    he looked down at me and gave me his hand

    before I could fully see his face.
    Me, naked and shivering in a ditch and
    he looked down at me and gave me his hand,
    lifted me up and covered me with his own blanket.

    Me, naked and shivering in a ditch, and
    there were three men who passed that way: the third
    lifted me up and covered me with his own blanket,
    the second was a Levite, the first, a priest— religious men.

    There were three men who passed that way. The third
    was a Samaritan—my supposed enemy. And the other two?
    The second was a Levite; the first, a priest—religious men.
    Then there was the band of thieves.

    A Samaritan—my supposed enemy, and the other two
    (I memorized each of their faces),
    and then there was the band of thieves.
    I would recognize any one of them anywhere now.

  70. colindardis says:

    Almost As Nearly

    If I am dead, then you must be
    almost as nearly dead as I;
    and I in turn, with dread, can’t flee
    from the certain grasp of the sky.

    Almost as nearly dead as I,
    we both doomed to mortality
    from the certain grasp of the sky
    for death shows no form of pity.

    We both doomed to mortality,
    the horseman casting his cold eye,
    for death shows no form of pity
    in strange aeons, where one must die.

    The horseman casting his cold eye,
    and I in turn, with dread, can’t flee;
    in strange aeons, where one must die,
    if I am dead, then you must be.

  71. colindardis says:

    Death is Close by Colin Dardis

    Our deaths are close, the end is near
    so the world turns, unstoppable.
    The horses loose, buck up and rear
    and won’t return to their stable;

    so the world turns, unstoppable,
    where day and night forever jeer
    and won’t return to their stable
    with skyline fogged, the stars unclear.

    Where day and night forever jeer
    as mists of time become fable,
    with skyline fogged, the stars unclear,
    each soul fading, quite unable.

    As mists of times become fable,
    the horses loose, buck up and rear;
    each soul fading, quite unable,
    our deaths are close, the end is near.

  72. saradailey1 says:

    Winter Nights
    by Sara Dailey

    Winter nights are the quietest.
    Empty of the sound of cicada hum
    and birds not out til morning.
    I have missed the circle of you.

    Empty of the sound of cicada hum,
    the white snow still falling,
    I have missed the circle of you
    filling these empty arms.

    The white snow still falling
    over the tall birch limbs, snow
    filling these empty arms,
    like ice blossoms, pale as stars.

    Over the tall birch limbs, snow.
    I am empty, a half-gleam that exists
    like ice blossoms, pale as stars,
    in the garden in which you vanish.

    I am empty. A half-gleam exists
    and birds not out til morning.
    In the garden in which you vanish,
    winter nights are the quietest.

  73. ClareR says:

    Together we soar amongst the stars
    His arms are wrapped tightly around me
    He covers me slowly with kisses
    Caressing my soul with his own.

    His arms are wrapped tightly around me
    He whispers my name in my ear
    Caressing my soul with his own
    His touch sets the spark within me aflame.

    He whispers my name in my ear
    Drawing me closer to him
    His touch sets the spark within me aflame
    Bringing our love to new heights.

    Drawing me closer to him
    He covers me slowly with kisses
    Bringing our love to new heights
    Together we soar amongst the stars.

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