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Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 265

Sorry for the late prompt. It’s just “that time of the year,” I guess. Putting books together, reading through poems, getting ready for week-long camps with the kiddos–oh yeah, and buying a house! No braking for summer over here, but it’s been fun–and I hope you’re having a good summer too.

For this week’s prompt, write a tribute poem, whether it’s to someone living or deceased. Also, I suppose it’s fine to write a tribute poem to non-humans and inanimate objects (why not?), but it should be a tribute of some sort. Some poets call these odes, I guess, but you do what you want and call it what you like.


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Here’s my attempt at a Tribute Poem:


what goes up
must come down
unless it’s filled
with helium
or propelled
by a rocket
or held aloft
by a jet stream

what goes down
doesn’t have to
stay down
forever and you
clever understood
that so well
with your mines
and your wells

i’m not sad
to see you leave
because i truly
do believe
what i read
with my own eyes
you will rise
still you rise


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. This week’s prompt was inspired by the recent loss of poet Maya Angelou, and this tribute poem pays respect to her and her fabulous poem, “Still I Rise.”

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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274 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 265

  1. taylor graham


    The meadow’s a cakewalk
    of blooming colors,
    two creeks shouting bravos
    of snowmelt down rocks
    and through thickets of willow
    a-light with little birds,
    and one eagle
    soaring our expectations aloft.

  2. tz2328

    A Tribute To Brandy

    Night comes late.
    Time for bed.
    I dream of Brandy;
    Things left unsaid.

    My childhood mare
    Both night and day.
    When will Brandy
    Come out to play?

    Honey perfection
    In every sense.
    Passionate kisses
    Spark sweet cadence.

    Never aging.
    Always true.
    Stepford women
    Based on you.

    Time for change,
    Time to grow.
    Mourning comes
    On twilights glow.

    Fond remembrance.
    My faithful friend
    Slipped into the sea
    At youth’s end.

  3. BDP

    “My Potato Masher”

    You, Mom, bequeathed me these: New Testament,
    dog-eared and thumbed through. Plus another gift—
    a fat-hipped, antique, far-from-heaven-sent
    potato masher. Solid oak. I lift

    both. Why not the rainbow pearly shells
    your mother brought with her from Germany,
    why not the multi-generational
    white leather bible (gilt-edged heft) that she

    gave you? I get a Worship Channel tome
    instead. Thin paper … paired with nicked hard wood.
    For what? To bonk a thief who robs my home
    then pray for him? Yet even if I could

    choose other than your one-in-each-hand mysteries,
    what I’d want wouldn’t mean as much to me.

    –Barb Peters

    1. TomNeal

      Things take on meaning when mixed with life. I like the way this sonnet contrasts desirable objects with ordinary objects that have a meaning bestowed on them by life and love. I also like the way you have disguised the sonnet much as the meaning of the objects would be opaque to an outside observer.

      Well done.

  4. Michelle Hed


    You’ve seen them,
    without knowing it.

    You’ve sat next to them,
    without knowing it.

    You might even know one
    but not realize it.

    They are the strangers,
    the neighbors, the friends
    fighting a battle…

    where the swords, the guns,
    the bombs have been replaced
    by a weapon so strong and yet so small…

    all wrapped in a blanket of courage and perseverance.

    They fight cancer.

  5. DamonZ

    “Thru the Window”

    Thru the window I see.
    See what has come to be.
    A house filled
    Filled with all I could build.
    I can see all I hold.
    Hold dear behind the curtain’s fold.
    All I ever need,
    Need to live indeed.
    It is certain,
    Certain behind that curtain.
    In the light there,
    There sitting in the chair.
    My wife,
    Wifeー love of my life.
    Without her,
    Her long red hair.
    Brown eyes,
    Eyes of heaven in disguise,
    That window,
    Window wouldn’t have that glow.
    And I wouldn’t feel,
    Feel that I heal.
    After the real,
    Real day of having to deal.
    A moment fleeting,
    Fleeting though it is my greeting.
    Up the drive,
    Drive up at five.
    Home from work,
    Work to see her, my job’s best perk.

  6. TomNeal

    A Tribute to Inner Circles

    Welcome to the Circle:
    Please go round and round
    In well intentioned circles
    That keep discussion down
    And people in a mind
    To accept soft censorship.

    These correct circles
    Are polite circles
    That censor circles
    That are not nice circles.

    Welcome to the Circle:

    1. TomNeal

      A Tribute to Inner Circles

      Welcome to the Circle:
      Please go round and round
      In well intentioned circles
      That keep discussion down.

      These correct circles
      Are polite circles
      That censor circles
      That are not nice circles.

      Welcome to the Circle:

      1. BDP

        I definitely feel like I’m on a circle-go-round, TomNeal. And that nicely brings home your point. I note the change from the first poem to the second. I like the removal of those lines.

  7. imofftoheaven

    In the basement
    Of my brain
    Is where you’ll stay

    In the attic
    Of my heart
    Is where you are

    I don’t go there often
    Those places hurt the most
    I would love to come and visit
    But I don’t want to be your ghost

  8. lgallardo


    Savages, were they called
    They who loved and cared
    For the land we know
    Now as our home, America

    Brave, were they called
    Who slaughtered and marred
    Children, Women and Men
    Not savages were they

    Progress, this they called
    Clearing the way
    Making it safe
    For the fair people

    Justice, this they called
    Displacing the old and young
    From where the rivers flow
    And the buffalo roamed free

    Civilized, were they called
    Who cut the unborn out
    From their dying mothers
    To parade back home

    Heathens, were they called
    Who fought for life
    As it had been
    Generations upon generations

    Heroes, were they called
    Whose blood-stained hands
    Fought crying children
    And tired old women

    If only the savages
    Would not fight
    Religious oppression
    As we had

    Alas, if only they
    Were good Christians
    Taught not to kill
    Nor steal

    If like Christ
    They would give
    For our salvation

    And only then
    Would there be

    Copyrighted @ Laura Gallardo 1993

  9. lgallardo

    The Heavens

    Only in heaven
    Do souls shine
    Each in a haven
    Much like a shrine

    Each body of light
    Representing a departed
    Illuminating the night
    Rewarding the invited

    Left to dream
    Perhaps someday
    Float on a stream
    To a star faraway

    To someday reach
    Down to another
    And beseech
    “Come visit your brother.”

    Copyright @ Laura Gallardo 1991

  10. grcran

    How Can I Keep from Singing?

    Folksinger, how’d ya do? You say you had
    A time. I’d say a time and hammer time.
    Plus flowers gone away. Where have they gone?
    You friended Woody, Jackson, Bruce, and Bob
    And taught ‘em. You were best of eversong.
    Loved people. Causes, great ones. Overcame.
    Dear Pete, you get my vote for finest man.
    I saw and heard you, Austin, eighty-four
    it was, so glad, your spirit gave bright clear:
    the emanations of the truth and love.
    America’s most wondrous voice, and hands
    upon the banjo and guitar and pulse.

    Fought fascists with a forceful music, then
    Charmed children. Oh, I miss you, old sage beard!

    *Pete Seeger wrote many great songs, but not “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Still, like many other songs he picked up, he made it his own, then gave it to the world. I’m singing. Thank you, Pete.

    By gpr crane

      1. grcran

        thanks, Rosemary! I sure wanted to go see him once more but I failed to get it done… at least we have youtube, the Weavers reunion 1980 is fantastic, check out “my get up and go has got up and went”

        1. PressOn

          Amen to that. I never tire of watching that old documentary. Lee Hayes was a poet himself, I think, and Pete was a giant. thanks for your loving tribute.

  11. James Von Hendy

    A Slave Girl Passing the Emperor

    Today we walk across the lion’s mouth,
    The darkened grille that tomorrow rises
    On certain death, our brothers sacrificed
    For sport, their bodies ripped apart, their blood

    Not yet enough to sate your avarice.
    I see it in your eyes. These golden hoops
    And chains I wear, the jeweled pendant, rings
    And anklets, the amphorae of myrrh

    (Each a vessels of tears) we hold aloft,
    You claim as tribute, victory rewarded,
    And yet I know the fear behind your gaze.
    I dare you taste this salt, the grief we bring

    To you. They said be humble, look away,
    Defiance damns you, yet I hold your eye
    Until you flinch away. Remember me
    Tomorrow when we’re stripped and forced

    To walk naked across our brothers’ blood,
    Our sunlit bodies gems for the taking.
    You’ll want me, and though they send me to you
    With nothing, the sheath of my nakedness

    Will overpower you. Take me to bed
    And I will kill you with my tongue alone.

    1. TomNeal

      Not yet enough to sate your avarice.
      I see it in your eyes. These golden hoops
      And chains I wear, the jeweled pendant, rings
      And anklets, the amphorae of myrrh

      You have accomplished something special with your blank verse quatrains. Even without the rhyme the expectation of a link between the first and fourth lines remains. In this second stanza I find the link between “avarice” and “myrrh” extremely potent: avarice is deadly, and myrrh (amongst many other associations) is associated with funerals, purification, chrismation, and unction.

      This poem does not merely speak of the past: it speaks to our present. It is serious poetry, deserves more extended comment. Hopefully, it will receive such from other readers of this board/blog.

  12. seingraham

    FaceBook Poetry Group’s prompt – “from an inanimate object’s point of view” Thurs. Oct.14.2010


    You promised you would use me,
    when you spent all that money,
    then smuggled me across the border,
    packed deep within your luggage.

    You said, I was worth every penny,
    that you could not wait to fill me up,
    and let my beauty spill across
    your pages, and still, you have yet

    to lift me up, or take me out, at all.
    Do I scare you with my fineness?
    Am I more than you can handle?
    Were you broken by my name?

    Taken in by a brand, and now resent
    I sit upon your desk, mocking you
    with my disuse? Take me out, let me
    loose – I promise – I will be brilliant.

    1. TomNeal

      Is this a response to Mark Brandon’s poem “For All the Wars of Man and Men”? (I searched for the title quotation. His is not a work I am familiar with.)

      If so, I think it a very powerful response. Love in place of war, and man and woman in place of man and men.

      He writes:

      I dwell alone in nothing land

      and you reply:

      you might hear
      the sound of

      If it isn’t a response, it is still a lovely poem.

      1. Andrea Heiberg

        No, it isn’t a response to that poem in particular. Only it could have been … so often when I read poems about soldiers, heroes, the women are missing – especially in telling the entire story.
        This poem is supposed to be a tribute to women in these days of D-days memories and the title is inspired by John Steinbeck.
        Thank you for your comments.

  13. break_of_day

    the windows might crack this winter
    in the cold now that the house is empty
    your son-in-law will try to prepare them
    for the weather, as best he can

    I can’t remember the last time I visited,
    too young to form long memories,
    but my aunt remembers running in the grass
    as a child, and the buildings that no longer stand

    your photos are in a picture album
    with the other dead whose lives were vapor
    and the brevity of life overwhelms me,
    thinking that men like you have been dying for centuries

    on battlefields that children visit
    and foreign worlds and new homelands
    and alone in cars on icy roads
    where no bloodstains mark the passing of great men

    the traces, though, of your life’s blood
    manifest themselves in the way your children speak of
    “Daddy,” and the way they talk to your widow
    as if, still, they honor you by respecting her

    and the way their longing is neverending
    for you to not have died already,
    so long ago now, your pictures all so old,
    on paper thick and yellowing and I just think of you smiling

  14. Julieann

    The Greatest Generation

    They came from various backgrounds
    Some privileged, most not so well off
    But regardless of their background
    They were instilled with the drive and skills
    To work hard, to persevere, and to sacrifice
    To know what was right and what was wrong
    To take a stand on what was white and black
    With no shades of grey
    They were there to lend a helping hand
    Whether it was to shovel a neighbor’s walk
    Or go to war to fight for a county that
    Had given their parents and grandparents
    A chance, a new life, a future
    By sacrificing whatever it would cost
    Even to the ultimate sacrifice with their
    Own death
    These great men and women were made
    Of sturdy stock and thought much more
    Of others than themselves
    They did not believe the world revolved
    Around their wants, but that their desires
    Were to do the best they could, to give back
    To a neighbor, a community, their country
    As much or more than these entities had
    Given to them
    They served without ceasing, without considering
    The cost to themselves because it was about
    Freedom and right and setting wrongs aright
    So that everyone could experience the
    Greatness that made America – America –
    God bless the Greatest Generation – the ones
    Who gave their all

  15. lionetravail

    “To The Greatest Generation”

    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    or, through fortune’s blessing,
    to ennoble ourselves by offering thanks
    to those who have gone before us,
    who light our way.

    There is nobility in those who offered sacrifice
    upon the altar of freedom,
    and for all who now rise to the potential
    which that freedom allows.

    On the shoulders of mighty heroes,
    on the shoulders of those brave souls who dreamed of something better,
    on the shoulders of those who bled to prevent a tyranny of the soul,
    we now stand,
    believing in liberty and justice for all.

    We are well-met in the present.
    The past echoes in our hearts and minds,
    for we are determined to learn from it,
    and to echo in the hearts and minds of the future
    as we determine, today,
    the very shape of tomorrow.

    Much as those of the Greatest determined,
    in the past,
    the shape of today.

    I say to you again:
    we are, well-met,
    so long as we offer gratitude to the noble passed,
    of our past.

    1. lionetravail

      Thanks so much! They really are/were a majestic bunch of people, mostly because most of the ones I’ve met never thought of themselves as extraordinary.

  16. Cynthia Page

    Ode to Washington’s Rats

    Here’s to all the politicians
    and to all their pundits and friends.
    They strive to make life harder
    for faithful voters and citizens.
    They’ve succeeded beyond expectations,
    even beyond their dreams.
    Now the people are angry.
    Soon we’ll be fed up and turn mean.
    If all they wanted was more money
    they could have done it another way.
    They could have left us alone
    to toil for our means every day.
    But politicians aren’t happy
    unless someone suffers their wrath.
    I’m sure we can show them the way
    down another arduous path,
    one without all the perks
    that government service offers.
    Perhaps we can put them in chain gangs
    or raid their overseas coffers.
    Either way I hope they learn
    that we won’t take corruption lightly,
    that millions of us are educated
    and still have the power to discern
    a true-blue servant of the people
    from a corrupt greedy official.

    1. Julieann

      How very opposite of the “The Greatest Generation” when it was about the other guy and not about one’s self! I love your offering. It is very well said.

    1. TomNeal

      I find the question intriguing: an image is a thing, but not the thing it is an image of. An icon is an image, but one that is a portal to something beyond itself. In that sense I think it might be said to be “rooted”? So perhaps the answer is that his images are in reality icons of the spirit of American life at a certain time, and he was not an “illustrator”, but an iconographer.

      1. TomNeal

        One more thought: one may properly describe themselves as practising a craft (e.g. illustrator, versifier, etc), but the title of artist or poet is best not self-bestowed. Perhaps a Napoleon would take exception, but in the end I believe the public and history have the final say. Rockwell was an illustrator, but he was also, many believe, something more. His humility is praiseworthy.

  17. BezBawni


    (a tribute to happiness)

    to lose
    to look for
    to anticipate
    to be in a hurry to

    to drink
    to care for
    to admire in silence
    to hold

    trying to freeze this moment
    in time
    is like clinging to a setting

    I still have blisters on my hands

  18. James Von Hendy

    Originally written for the April 2014 PAD challenge, but seems fitting for this week’s prompt while I work on another.

    Tell it to One Who Listens

    My father listens more deeply than words
    Allow. He cocoons them, our precious chrysalis
    Of words, and waits. The silence of expectation
    Deepens like the shadows of late afternoon.

    He waits with a gentle intensity that unnerves
    Even the most certain among us. With what
    Question will he unravel us, we who
    Wriggle in the heat of his wonder? We yearn

    Toward his insight even when it stings
    With its rightness. His is a reverence
    For what is, the mystery of ourselves
    Unfolding in sunlight a wing at a time.

    1. TomNeal

      “the mystery of ourselves/ Unfolding . . .”

      Religious/spiritual poetry is difficult to do well. It runs the risk of either seeming preachy or overly sentimental. You have avoided both traps.

      I think it significant that your final line starts with “Unfolding” rather than “Evolving”. It is certainly the right choice given the “chrysalis”, but I think it is also the right choice on a different level as well- the nature of self-development is arguably one of unfoldment (unfolding good).

  19. gloryia


    Dad, did I ever tell you,
    sure I did. Remember
    how we laughed, when with
    my two arms tight
    around your neck,
    I touched your cheek
    with my lips –

    ‘A kiss to remember’
    you said, and now
    here I am wanting to say
    ‘Happy Birthday Dad,
    I love you.’
    Yes, love, and tears, always,
    I’ll remember it well -

  20. lina

    The Ballad of Fountain Hughes
    (from Voices of Slavery, The Library of Congress)

    We were all children of slaves.
    My mother was a slave.
    My father and my grandmother was slaves.
    We belonged to people.
    They’d sell us like horses
    or hogs or cows.
    Put us on the auction bench,
    up on the bench
    and bid on us the same
    as they was bidding on cattle.

    Didn’t allow us to look
    at no book,
    We couldn’t go from here
    to there.
    Couldn’t go through
    nobody’s house
    or across the street.
    Had to have a pass
    from my master.

    Time to cut tobacco
    all night long out in the field.
    They want you to hang tobacco
    all night long.
    It didn’t matter being tired.
    You’re afraid to say you’re tired.
    Because you’re nothing but a dog,
    not a thing but a dog.

    After the Yankees came
    and when we was free,
    they turned us out like cattle
    in a pasture.
    We didn’t have no beds.
    Slept on pallets here
    and there.
    My mother bound me out
    for a dollar a month
    and we would run away
    my brother and me.
    We would run away
    and stay anywhere we could.
    We’d lay out all night
    in a field of stars.

  21. De Jackson

    (for Maya)

    She’s an odd bird, this thrush
    and beating thing, shallow
    and swallowed in her own
    ribbed cage. Save her something
    shiny, maybe, raven her
    veins with ink and solitary
    song. Steep her in her own dark
    -winged sway,
    door unlocked.
    Maybe she’ll stay.


    1. drnurit

      So very sorry: This is a comment for shellcook’s poem “These Trees” (June 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm)
      which somehow got misplaced… I apologize…

  22. drnurit

    An Ode to Childhood

    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    You are the beginning
    that will stay with me
    till the end −
    coming along
    wherever I go,
    like a shadow.

    You are the arrival,
    the first round −
    where the voyage started
    long years ago,
    filled with potentials
    and hindrances.

    You are the origin,
    the history, the bridge −
    cradle of my longings
    and of my doubts,
    tagging along
    as I move on.

    You are the memories,
    but I am the rememberer –
    we shape each other
    as we proceed jointly
    toward departures,
    no longer pressing forward.

    Still affecting one another,
    far from our starting point,
    I am amazed by this bond –
    by how we managed
    to stay so connected,
    though we have grown apart.

    1. TomNeal

      This reminds me of Wordsworth’s “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold”.

      ‘So was it when my life began;
      So is it now I am a man;
      So be it when I shall grow old,
      Or let me die!
      The Child is father of the Man;

      I think your closing stanza adds an interesting and important twist:

      . . . so connected,
      Though we have grown apart.

  23. Jezzie


    You asked me no questions,
    you told no lies,
    you always looked at me with
    love in your eyes.
    You waited patiently for hours
    sat by the door
    wondering if I would ever come
    back any more.
    You were always pleased to see me.
    You’d never moan
    when I finally came home that I’d
    left you alone.
    You’d walk for miles as through
    the woods I’d stride
    and afterwards you’d sleep peacefully
    there at my side.
    And when you were old, arthritic
    and almost lame
    you’d struggle on valiantly and
    never complain.
    You were the very best friend
    I ever had
    and now you’ve gone to Heaven
    I feel so sad.

    1. TomNeal

      Our pets have much to teach us about unconditional love.

      The intensity of your grief will diminish, but the love will abide with you forever.

      May peace be with you Jezzie.

    2. Julieann

      Our pets are our children, as loving and giving as a trusting child. And, yes, their passing is a tearing a rending of the heart. I feel for you and feel your grief!

  24. Jolly2

    A tribute to a friend, long gone,
    Who brought pleasure to millions.
    A man who lived life on the cusp,
    Mingling with the theatre fraternity.
    His work shone with amazing brilliance,

    Comedy, Drama, History and Tragedy.
    A sweet pleasure to read and enjoy.
    A man who followed his instincts.
    Using every trick in the book to employ
    The wonder of the written word

    His pen became a deadly sword.
    To ensure his voice would be heard
    Echoing through the centuries.
    A man who was no stranger to intrigue
    In the political world of the time.

    A life tragically cut short with a knife
    A young life cruelly extinguished
    By shadowy mysterious forces unknown
    Robbing the world of a terrifying genius
    Who dabbled in fictive reality.

    While the glory went to the upstart crow
    Who became the sweet swan of Stratford.
    The world will never reject or forget
    The work of Christopher Marlowe.
    Rest in peace, poet and playwright.

  25. PKP

    Tribute to Lawrence Ketover – The “first” guy – ever….

    To the chest that was stronger than any other
    To the arms that held me closer than any other
    To your certainty of all things as potential reality
    To the veins on the back of hands smeared with colored oils
    To the eyes that lit with a light embossed in gossamer with my name
    To the tear that trailed down your cheek as you listened to a concerto’s crescendo
    To you, who some insist now gone for more than twenty – I say alive –
    r …

      1. drnurit

        I love the image of your father captured by your words (and you got me thinking, once again, what “forever” is all about, and you prompted me to go down memory lane and write a tribute too…)

    1. Walt Wojtanik

      My father is one of my favorite subjects as well. What you captured here is tender and loving. I appreciate your poem and its sentiment, Pearl. More that you can know. All fathers should know that.

  26. taylor graham


    These pine and cedar woods
    at the edge of canyon – how the pruning
    of ice and snow has shaped
    them. My friend Anna could read winters
    by the silhouettes of trees inked
    against horizon as the sun settled
    into its afternoon, as it dimmed
    into evening.
    She knew each tree by its uses.
    Willow and cedar for baskets – a craft
    passed down generations. Almost lost now,
    as she is –
    her mind escaped from body,
    or so her son-in-law says,
    as if wishing the rest would slip away
    from Anna in her sleep.
    But, bring her strips of cedar
    like new-carded wool, like broken
    fibers to be twined back together –
    her fingers have not forgotten.
    Look how she sits
    without thinking, weaving baskets
    of praise.

  27. aphotic soul

    The Drifter – In loving memory of Anne and Joe Ryan
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    It was cloud stained sky, that mid October day,
    The sun was hot and the air – dry, down amongst the Bodega Bay,
    And that’s where I met him, this drifter per say,
    He had a severed limb, and walked with a sway,
    There he stood, staring off into the sea,
    Carrying a burnt piece of drift wood, a mark of his tragedy,
    And as I gazed at him in his solitary still, he resembled a once great – chopped down tree,
    Broken of all hope and will, and further more I’m sure he’d agree,
    There he continued to stand, the ghost of a guardian specter,
    “Excuse me” I posed while my feet dipped in the scorching hot sand,
    “I don’t mean to bother nor hector…”
    Then he turned to me, his face filled with such a loss and woe,
    Of a torment I could not hope to see, of a loss I would not hope to know,
    My words froze dead in their tracks, and the world held its breath,
    ‘So this is someone for who’s soul he lacks, so this is the true meaning of death…’
    For the man who stood before me, was a man I had never met,
    A face that I can still see, but never know – to my regret,
    The portrait of a man with a unique mind, who took dull objects and made them shine,
    Giving a glimpse of beauty to the blind, while his face and heart did not align,
    “Grandpa Joe..” I sputtered, my voice a raspy chill,
    “Why hello Paul” he muttered, with a bemused smile frozen still,
    He then turned back, staring off into the sea,
    Getting back on track, waiting for his loved one to be free,
    I walked up beside him, amidst the forming chill,
    The sky darkened and the sun went dim, and there he stayed – standing still,
    “You’ve been waiting for her all this time?”, I asked with a queryless question,
    He softly spoke, “She is my sublime, without her there can be no secession,”
    “Are you able to see her out amongst the ocean, or is it the waves at which you glare?”
    “I see it all in slow motion, the past and present in which we always share,
    The smiles on her face, as well as the loneliness in her which I could not spare,
    But soon that will be gone without a trace, and we will again be a pair,
    For forever we will embrace, and past this ocean we will stare,
    Where infinity is stuck in place, and together we will be there,”
    And as if by queue, a young woman came wandering,
    The luminescence again grew, and we both stared at her pondering,
    That’s when it clicked, and Joe’s face broke into a heart warmed smile,
    He rushed to her quick, for it had been quite a while,
    And before my eyes I saw him reform, into that great man he had been,
    I watched the two of them transform, as they dove into the ocean therein,
    And there I stood staring, with my own little bemused grin,
    For I had never met a couple more caring, who could shine so deeply from within,
    I smiled at the ocean and bid my farewell, for with a new journey they begin,
    For death isn’t something wherein we should dwell, for life is not meant to win.

    1. TomNeal

      “For death isn’t something wherein we should dwell”

      I seem to recall reading this in April, but don’t remember if I made a comment. Your final line offers sage advice. I would expect there are readers who will find comfort in your words.

      1. aphotic soul

        Normally I write harsher words in this, and I probably did post this one in April as well, or something similar, because I emphasize the thought of living life rather than fearing death.

  28. Michele Brenton

    You Deserve Tribute.

    Every morning you get up
    stretch and yawn and rub your eyes
    wash, brush your teeth,
    get dressed, have breakfast,
    use the loo, wash again
    just your hands this time
    and then attack the day.

    And each day needs attacking;
    those teeth of yours get clenched
    and you leave your hands loose
    because you mustn’t be aggressive;
    aggression makes things worse you’ve learned,
    oh you’ve learned so much.
    You’ve learned to shield the softness,
    You’ve learned to armour in response,
    You’ve learned to guard against the barbs
    and still you get things done,
    Hampered as you are by the baggage of decades,
    Hindered by the burdens imposed upon you
    by others’ expectations and disdain.

    There are so many like you,
    getting up each day,
    doing what needs to be done,
    despite the hurt you feel
    because the love you have
    is greater and it makes you
    make the world a place
    I can call home
    and I’d like to say
    thank you.

    Michele Brenton 5th June 2014

  29. Walt Wojtanik


    Meeting your maker take a lot out of a bloke.
    You used to joke that heaven wasn’t real,
    and now you feel what it would be like if you were right.

    Bigger than Jesus you claimed and your fame
    was crucified in a less meaningful way, apologies come,
    it was a dumb thing to say in that way.

    The papers said, “GOD IS DEAD!” and in your head
    you saw your fabularity picking up the slack.
    And then you wished you could take it back.

    You didn’t need the weed to succeed, only John.
    Acid turned you into an ass head for a short while,
    but your Liverpudlian smile always toted charm.

    You chose her to be your Yoko Ono, and with her on your arm
    your were living your fantasy two fold. You thought things
    that would bring discussions to the table. Deportation was a fable

    l’ll conceived, and we believed all you would imagine,
    if given the chance peace would find a way and today
    you may still be dreaming. It seems surreal. I feel you here!

    Can you imagine?

  30. candy

    Mary B

    She gave up
    husband and family
    of her own
    to teach first grade
    A teacher couldn’t
    marry in those times
    She doled out kindness
    and respect and it came
    back to her ten-fold
    She defied her father
    and became a republican
    She dropped pebbles of
    knowledge that
    rippled through the
    lives of her pupils
    At 95 she still received calls
    letters, visits from her first graders who were old folks themselves
    As the last vibration of her
    life rang out a town mourned

    1. TomNeal

      Well done.

      By avoiding wooly abstractions, and offering concrete images instead, you have made Mary B real.

      As the last vibration of her
      life rang out a town mourned

      A fitting tribute.

    2. BDP

      A first grade teacher whose first graders still kept in touch with her in her old age (and theirs): quite the impact on their lives. Sweet story.

  31. JRSimmang


    It’s as if we’ve forgotten
    what it was like
    to built a fire together,

    to gather
    around the heat and
    let the stories spill from our hearts

    and impart
    the wisdom of our ghosts
    to the ones who needed it most.

    It was in that first flame
    we became the same,
    for the fire melted our admonition
    and left behind the admiration
    of the story in the flame.

    The heat was wondrous,
    and its divine surplus
    filled up through the woods
    just like the words
    of our fathers.

    We listened then,
    and when
    the fire demanded
    we were commanded.
    We hoisted the piles
    and smiled our smiles
    as we carried the wood
    to the flame.

    Yea, as time flew on,
    we saw the dawn.
    The sun brought a new age
    of impotent rage.
    This fire we shared
    couldn’t be compared
    to the brilliance of the sun.

    How then, when the moon
    brings all too soon
    the biting cold,
    and winter too bold,
    will we sing our tune?

    The sun will return,
    perhaps that will spurn
    on our blessings,
    clothe us in new dressings
    (when will we learn?).

    So the flame dies down now,
    and no one knows how
    to reignite it,
    and instead fight it,
    fan it,
    ban it,

    and when it’s left,
    all that’s left,
    is the story
    that’s been buried in the ash.

    -JR Simmang

    1. TomNeal

      It was in that first flame
      we became the same,
      for the fire melted our admonition
      and left behind the admiration
      of the story in the flame.

      The heat was wondrous,
      and its divine surplus
      filled up through the woods
      just like the words
      of our fathers.

      That is good writing.

    2. PressOn

      This is superb work, in my view. The rhymes act like punctuation, or maybe drumbeats, focussing each stanza and melding it into the next, in sort of a rise-and-fall way. Or so it seems to me. I love this.

  32. elishevasmom

    A Nod to My Muse

    I embark upon this
    a tribut-
    ary really,
    at times con-
    trary to what
    thought to write.

    Yet she
    in the
    of the storm
    tames torrents
    in my mind.

    can offer no
    no reason
    to be

    Let her
    as she leads
    me with
    a come hither
    under my chin.

    Ellen Evans

    1. PressOn

      I’m smiling at this, especially “let her / amuse / herself”. The whole has the feeling of a muse parcelling out inspiration drop by drop.

  33. Azma


    When the darkness of night slides in
    when the summons of the day
    has no more chores to decree,
    I make haste to my bed
    where you were waiting, arms stretched.
    Your feathery fabric coiled around my body
    shielding me from head to toe
    from the coldness of the world
    with your melting warmth
    like a loving hug.
    Each time lightening me
    enough to float among stars
    so selflessly taking away
    my worries of the day

    -Azma Sheikh

  34. JRSimmang


    I ask, what is this bittersweet flavor?
    It’s familiar, though nothing I’d savor.
    Blood of my brothers; the slogan of others:
    “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

    -JR Simmang, rather tounge-in-cheek
    A big thanks to Suzanne Collins, who is credited for the quote.

    1. BDP

      I looked this person up because of this poem. And now have her book, A Study in English Metrics, on my computer. Apart from that, I love the use of a short form to write about timelessness plus her short form and short life.

  35. Liliuokalani

    To Souls Squeezed in the Middle

    Held in a silence like seas
    of space between stars
    shrunk by fingertips pinching –
    moments on earth –
    unable to grasp you,
    folds of black iris satin
    that swaddles wood and all its splinters,
    stabbing anyone who listens.

  36. TomNeal

    To John Milton
    (a fragment)

    Soon the sun will fray the horizon’s edge,
    And a chorus in the branches will sound
    Another day distant from your conflicted
    World of Roundheads and Cavaliers and Poets
    Who draped your century with blood and fire
    And words that moved monarch and men to heady
    Incidents- the Areopagitica,
    Freedom and Paradise Lost.

    We have expelled serious poetry
    From the public sphere, preferring lines
    That lie, and poets who do not legislate.
    We write but rarely read, and read only
    To reinforce accepted views,
    But your laurel wreath replaced a crown,
    And decapitated Political
    Correctness at its source.

    1. drnurit

      I really like this poem: I like the sentiments expressed, and I like Milton as portrayed by your words (But your laurel wreath replaced a crown… )

    2. BDP

      I don’t have sufficient knowledge of Milton’s history to understand the entirety of this poem, but you got me to thinking about Milton, and I certainly like that. Thanks!

    3. Andrea Heiberg

      Oh, John Milton. I wanted to comment on our poem last week but I didn’t succeed. Here I hope to get through. Though I admired your poem last week so much, I also like this – the air of freedom and the invitation to all readers whatever language they speak – makes John Milton one of my favorites.
      Thank you!

  37. lidywilks

    Remembering Maya

    I admit it’s been awhile
    since I’ve kept in touch
    but still your depth, and
    graceful simplicity echoes
    wherever I go. As if I can
    ever forget how your words
    tempered with your
    inner strength and humanity,
    sparking within me
    a glimmer of hope
    to reach you as you’ve
    reached out to me,
    you, a poet, phenomenally

    Still I will always remember you.
    Still your poetry rises to sway
    my heart and elevate my mind.
    Still your voice will intone and
    pierce my soul. And still your pen
    will always rise and testify,
    that you, a poet, were also
    a thinker, phenomenally.

    © 2014

  38. Connie Peters

    Like Winnie the Pooh

    Here’s to my bear with little brain;
    you’re gifted in other ways.

    Your smiles
    Your curiosity
    Your innocence
    Your funny ways
    Your delight in simple things
    Your sensitivity to those around you

    Like Pooh Bear,
    what’s not to love?

  39. jasonlmartin


    On the road, I share with you
    my concerns over possibilities
    of the cows grazing on hillsides
    of the cows dozing on dewy grass
    tumbling down like landslides,
    forming pools of groaning skins
    stumbling to get back on their hooves
    while four-wheel animals moaning by
    turn blind eyes to these horrific occasions.

    You scoff at my ignorance. You mock
    the weakness you see in me, my voice.
    I embrace my ignorance, its promise
    of shapelessness I can mold into what
    may be, could be, might be, not what is.
    It’s this difference that separates us

    on the road I share with you,
    but I’d rather be with the cows.

  40. Walt Wojtanik


    Raise a glass and toast our host!
    He who evokes this superb blend,
    full of hops, but no malt, allowing
    poems with schmaltz dripping,
    sipping the nectar of verbal verse.
    He who had cursed us soundly
    with the desire to reach higher
    as we roundly take our turn to learn
    and pass these poemic lessons forward.
    Every word well placed and laced
    with passion and emotion.
    We praise you for your devotion
    to us and these prompted words.
    Leaving no phrase unheard; unturned,
    you’ve earned our respect and
    these accolades in spades.
    All hail the Master Brewer!
    Raise your glass and salute!
    Robert Lee, you’re a hoot!

  41. Shell

    By Shell Ochsner

    Seeing is believing

    He’s super and wonderous

    Always room in his heart for more

    Yearns for peace of mind, desiring perfection

    Never to give up; persevering through adversity

    Ending days with a smile as slipping into a dream

  42. grcran

    Tribute to Friendship

    That day he gave her flowers was an in-
    teresting turning of events. She smiled
    Of course. The two of them weren’t lovers but
    She’d stood by him through hospice as his wife
    Died. Always claimed her husband was her soul-
    Mate. “Sole-,” he thought. “You’re lying to yourself.
    Pontificating egotist he is.
    Somehow you’ve overlooked his faults and love
    Him. Why?” They had some wine as was their wont.
    She’d not received a rose from hubby in
    A dozen years. “Why this?” she thought, then asked
    Aloud. “Because you love me, Sue.” Consid-
    eration. No. No kiss. She’d solely pledged.
    They drank to friendship then, knew it was best.

    by gpr crane

  43. Sara McNulty

    You Mattered

    So many names etched
    in glossy black walls
    at which we stand and stare
    appalled at the enormous
    number of fallen soldiers,
    hoping we will not see
    a name we know, a face, a life
    that we can match to flesh
    and blood–a person. Tell them.
    Tell them they are not simply
    a name on a wall. Tell them.
    Tell them they are not forgotten;
    they matter.

  44. PowerUnit


    They are in
    My income taxes
    Big deal you say, we all pay taxes
    We all file our returns
    We all pay our fair share
    We all do our part

    But how many of you perform double duty?
    How many of you file two returns, both for you?
    How many of you are not allowed to deduct your foreign pension from your non-foreign income
    When all of your income is really earned abroad?
    How many of you are confined to restricted investment options?
    How many of you cannot plan for your retirement like your family and friends at home
    Just because you choose your constitutional right to live abroad?

    Please tell me where to invest.
    Capital gains and dividends are subject to higher Canadian tax rates
    So my American benefits are cancelled
    Yet Uncle same destroys my tax free savings accounts
    I have no interest in my retirement plan
    If I want to take advantage of my residence country’s instruments
    I have to either marry a foreigner or break the law
    An option more difficult to sustain in a free information world.

    I am at my wit’s end
    As are seven million other patriotic souls
    Paying our tributes for empty services
    And a country that betrays its own
    All for a civil war law
    Money speaks louder than common sense
    And they wonder why renunciations rise

  45. candy


    a spark started
    with a mouse has
    flamed imaginations
    of generations

    two year olds
    ninety year olds
    bound by laughter
    and talking animals

    a land on one coast
    a world on the other
    castles and princesses
    and hooked pirates

    a spark started
    with a mouse
    flames the child
    within us all

  46. taylor graham


    has led banners of armies
    out of the groves of trees, into fields
    of young wheat mowed
    by bayonets. Of five battles
    he bears five wounds, his proud-
    flesh badge of courage,
    his history written on the backside
    of the page
    recounting his famous general’s
    deeds. Does a horse have
    any choice? See the brave arch
    of his neck, teeth bared to the curb-
    bit. His dreams
    invent pasture beyond the last
    grove of trees.
    He’ll outlive this war.

    (on the statue of a Civil War horse)

    1. elishevasmom

      Interesting, indeed. On a soldier’s statue, (if he is mounted), all four feet on the ground indicate the soldier left the service without injury. If the right foot is raised, the soldier was wounded in battle. If both front feet are off the ground, the horse is reared up, the soldier died in battle. And in all of that, no mention of the horse.
      Nicely done.

      1. taylor graham

        I didn’t know about that statue-language. I haven’t seen the statue myself, just a photo, but I believe all four feet are on the ground. The horse was seriously wounded in several battles, but did survive the war.

  47. Hannah

    Tiny Tribute to a Gray Day

    They waited sadly for the sun
    some glum and grim are left undone.
    Rain fall will not hold poems at bay,
    words spill transform a day that’s gray –
    thunder becomes wonder begun.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  48. writinglife16

    I can relate to this. There is an old oak tree where we used to live that we visit every year just to see if it is still there. And it is, thank goodness.

  49. writinglife16

    Shades of gray

    There was right and wrong.
    If there is one gift my parents
    gave me,
    it was a true compass
    that knew the difference
    between the two.

    Of course,
    there is a little right
    and a lot wrong.
    Shades of gray.
    They helped me to know
    how to read the colors.

    The lessons they taught
    were my map to the world.
    I have a true compass.
    One that knows the difference
    between dove gray
    and shale gray.

  50. Walt Wojtanik


    Come forward all you who have come before me.
    I find you fascinating and am celebrating your being.
    I’m seeing so many of you for the first time
    years after your passing, I am amassing information
    about location and occupation, offspring and things
    that have made you exclusively you; exclusive to me.
    A Great-Grandfather emerges and his DNA surges through me.
    His brother is uncovered near where I grew,
    I knew nothing of his existence; there was a certain
    resistance to speak of the past, lest we cast aspersions
    in a hearsay sort of way. A decorated veteran buried
    without fanfare there under thick mossy overgrowth.
    All without leaving my living room. I’m giving room for them
    to congregate. I can’t wait to see who I might meet next!

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        New York State had done a state census midway between federal censuses. I’m finding so much in the 1925 census (two years before my Dad was born) about my family that I have not seen before. It has kick started my search as well. Good luck with your discoveries.

  51. Jane Shlensky

    Ode to the Carolina Parakeet

    It should not be surprising that a bird
    as brightly colored as a flowered hat
    should take to berries sweetly ripening
    and drop in flocks to taste the gifts of earth.

    But people who raise berries have a word
    for anything free-loading, getting fat
    on cherry crops: target. Buckshot can sing
    louder than feathered thieves, create a dearth

    of Carolina parakeets until
    they’re gone one day, no single bird remains
    to plant new crops of berries on the hills,
    a miracle extinct because of greed.

    The beauty of a species is its will
    to live as what it is, link in the chains
    of food, grace, and design. The man who kills
    a link will kill himself and never heed

    the lessons to be learned from lesser things.
    These parakeets circled back for their friends,
    refused to leave a fallen bird behind,
    and so were felled themselves, like flowers topped

    by errant boys who lack respect for wings
    but color kites blues, yellows, reds, and greens
    without loving bright feathers. We are blind
    to sacrifice beyond our own. We’ve stopped

    learning sound lessons from migrating birds,
    our “no man left behind” is only words
    applied to soldiers struggling in war,
    the love of beauty what we’re fighting for.

    Have a look at http://www.picsearch.com/Carolina-Parakeet-pictures.html
    There has been some reports of possible sightings of the Carolina Parakeet in 2012. Keep fingers crossed.

    1. writinglife16

      Wow. Will keep fingers crossed. Wolverines no longer live in Michigan, they have been chased farther north to Canada. Mountain lion sightings are rare now too.

    2. Julieann

      Absolutely beautiful and poignant. With God’s blessings the sightings will be true. But it seems we never learn from our errant ways – and then we cry “Why?”

  52. DanielR

    When you rose in Salinas I didn’t know you
    I wasn’t born yet and wouldn’t be for many years
    so how did we become friends?
    It was because you were fearless in letting me in,
    giving me a piece of you on every single page.
    Character! With you it was all about character
    and how each of us is a part of someone else
    and they in turn are a part of us
    long before we are astute enough to know it.
    Family, my father was born in 1939,
    the year of The Grapes of Wrath
    and when I was an awkward teenage boy
    eager to experience the world,
    the Joads visited and changed me,
    giving birth to a dream that my words
    would one day contain the power of yours.
    And maybe it will never be so, or maybe
    tomorrow I will dive deep and find Kino’s pearl,
    either way you have given me that hope
    and I am all the better for it.

    Daniel Roessler

  53. priyajane

    A Tribute To Helping Hands. ( while growing up, in a faraway land)

    There are so many people that mould our lives
    like worker bees humming, in buzzing bee hives
    They add so much depth, with a passing brush
    This, is reverence, to that precious, meaningful touch

    That uncomplaining maid, that came to my aid
    every day, as I huffed, in selfish pointless rage
    That daily, early morning, wake-up, call
    from those jingling milk bottles, right down the hall
    Melodious rhythm, of lapping frothy waves
    welcoming my dreams in, as yonder I gazed

    Three chirpy cleaners, scrubbing toilets, dirty walls
    be he prince or pauper, humbly, beckoned them all
    That postman’s delivery, rain or shine
    up and down countless stairways, he didn’t seem to mind
    A lonely lean boy, whose voice quivered and shivered
    described beauty of life, though his vision was blurred

    The volatile conductor, on that bursting, bus
    who let me in, while others waited and fussed
    Some silent soft hands that worked night and day
    as I whined about having, not enough time to play
    The entire vegetable market, he headed, door to door
    while I rush back and forth, to the grocery store

    Some teachers who taught me prismatic endurance
    lessons, I thought futile, now impress their importance
    Yoga guru’s soft voice kept playing in my head
    easing labor pain fury, feeling no major dread

    A few so called friends, who broke my heart
    who taught me rejection, was a brand new start
    Some quiet little people, I wouldn’t call friends
    but they smiled so warmly, as I turned round the bend

    It’s not even WHAT, it’s HOW,– they did it
    so seemingly unassuming, feeding my instructional kit
    Who knew some mandatory exercises were just disguises
    to gear me up, for, life’s full of surprises!!

    There’s a reason for seasons, of that, we’re all sure
    Some insignificant dealings, they mean so much more
    Our lives are touched by both roses and thorns
    It’s all about Reaction, to those nights and these dawns—

  54. Nancy Posey

    Visit to Normandy

    Maybe no one knows his name back home,
    the old man with the forgettable face,
    hair mostly gray, back slightly stooped,
    rheumy eyes, a hint of a melody he hums.

    Here where he returns he sees the picture
    in the glass case and from an envelope
    he takes one like it: three smiling soldiers
    one wearing his face—if only computers
    could reverse the aging process used
    to find children missing for years.

    He meant to come back sooner, to revisit
    this town into which he fell from the sky,
    landing with a thud among other soldiers,
    prepared for death, dreaming of victory
    He never had the chance ‘til now, his son
    and grandson with him, matching his pace.

    He knows he have to go out to the graves,
    those symmetrical lines of white crosses
    and stars of David, etched with names
    and dates and states. Friends, comrades,
    boys from home who never made it back.

    He scoffs at talk of survivors’ guilt. Relief,
    more like it, gratitude. He marvels at how
    easily he slipped back into that old life,
    saying little unless asked, keeping that door
    locked inside his mind. The little French
    he learned has left him, but in the film
    looping in the small museum, he recognizes
    gratitude and liberation. He shrugs off hero.

    1. Nancy Posey

      Nine years ago (tomorrow) I was in Normandy on D-Day with my son and a number of his friends from school. We went to St. Mere Eglise–you’ve seen the church there in The Longest Day–and in the wonderful little airborne museum there we met soldiers returning. Even though we also visited Paris and London on the trip, Ben and his friends were most moved by the experience in Normandy.

  55. shellcook

    These Trees

    These old trees calm me when nothing else can.
    These seven stout oaks rooted proudly in place,
    I bought their earth, years ago, to save this space.
    Since that day I have worked; been worried as hell,
    anxious to keep them safe and well.

    I love these friends
    with their huge twisted trunks,
    and their outreaching limbs.
    that forever climb skyward, sun full or winter dim,
    divinely alive each year after year.

    Two hundred summers and more
    they’ve outlived everyone I have ever known.
    They live at the very center of my soul.
    With heart’s blood drained, as well as account,
    I have kept them free of human assault.

    This deep love abounds
    when you plant your feet beneath their boughs.
    If you open your heart and let them in
    peer up through their leaves, spread your arms wide
    and catch all the life they are willing to give.

    And yes they speak if you open your mind,
    if you listen and hear with your heart opened wide.

    As they breathe through each difficult year,
    I continue to quake
    at the voices Of chainsaws
    as they echo all around.
    So close in my ears, to bring forth my fears.

    So little by little in the heart of this town
    The edges encroach as limbs tumble down.
    I am still holding on for your roots, limbs, and leaves
    I am holding your space, please, help me, please.

    This town took saws when i was away
    Why this tree is dead they sorely did say
    as they cut my old friend down to the ground.

    The axeman came, he hemmed and he sawed.
    He cut down this being, this life and its song.
    In the prime of my life,
    to the marrow and the core,
    until he could cut not one branch more.

    I am the tree guardian.
    I failed at my task.
    My battle is over.
    It is time for a rest.

    This cut em down mentality will fall on its face.
    When they fall from this beautiful god given place,
    But we will go too, displaced and afraid,
    when we cannot evade this placing of blame
    as it destroys our home
    one tree at a time.

    Copyright @ Anne Michelle Cook 2014