POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS, a site established in May 2011 and which reunites Marie Elena Good and Walter J Wojtanik to help nurture and inspire the poetic spirit.

PROMPT #278 – PREQUEL / SEQUEL

Any truly great story, tale or poem has a beginning and an end. What fills the body of such is what ties it all together. But, what happened that you should “not go gentle into that good night”? What happened during the miles you had to traverse before you were able to sleep? Choose a classic poem of your liking and write either the prequel or the sequel in your piece. If you’re writing a prequel, the last line of your poem should be the first line of your chosen poem, giving a natural progression into said masterpiece. Your sequel begins with the last line of the classic poem.

MARIE’S POEM:

FOREVER SIX

“I think I’ll be six now forever and ever,”
she said, and I told her she’d need to be clever
to pull off this whimsical, wondrous endeavor.
Now, did I believe her?  I didn’t.  However,
she smirked as she pulled out a six-ever lever.
‘K. Whatever.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

(This is a sequel to Now We are Six, by the extraordinary A. A. Milne.  My poem begins with his final line.)

WALT’S POEM:

SEQUEL (WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS)

The place where the sidewalk ends.
Now that we’ve grown, I know it.
It brings me to your stoop.
I drop by to see if you’re alright,
if you survived the night
and me.
I see you’ve left my heart there
near your welcome mat.
That is the unkindest cut.
but, we walked a walk that was measured and slow
and I had come to know that love
would not go where we planned.
It would just not go. And I stand
here at your door,
where love is no more,
where I’ve been shaken to the core,
as it begins to pour,
I’ll walk no more here,
the place where the sidewalk ends.

SEQUEL, by Walter J Wojtanik
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, by Shel Silverstein

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – FROM THE OFFICES OF KEATS, SHELLEY & RABINOWITZ

SHELLEY - KEATS

SHELLEY – KEATS

CHANNEL YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC ROMANTICIST POET AND MAKE YOUR CASE (WRITE YOUR PIECE) INCLUDING THIS LINE:
“…THE ROUGED EMBERS LANGUISH LONG AFTER MIDNIGHT’S KNELL…”

INFORM POET – PATHYA VAT

The Pathya Vat is a Cambodian verse form.

It consists of a quatrain (four lines) of four syllables each line.

Lines two and three rhyme.

When a poem consists of more than one stanza, the last line of the previous stanza rhymes with the second and third lines of the following one.

 

WALT’S ATTEMPT:

THOUGHTS AWRY

I get confused
a lot of late,
and to my fate,
I am resigned.

I think my thoughts
within my mind,
once well defined
now get jumbled.

I’ll still write verse
‘til I’m humbled.
Words get mumbled.
I get confused.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2020

 

PROMPT #277 – IDIOMS

For this week’s prompt, We’d like a penny for your thoughts.  Choose an idiom as inspiration.  Don’t cut corners, but you might want to make a long story short.  Or, go ahead and burn the midnight oil and give us the whole nine yards.  Just don’t sit on the fence.  The ball is in your court! Choose your words wisely and write your poem!

MARIE’S SNIPPET:

ARMED TO THE TEETH

My stomach is tied up in knots.
I wonder who’s calling the shots.
And will they admit
when the bullet gets bit
even they had their own second thoughts?

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

 

WALT’S VILLAGE IDIOM:

CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

Trouble brews.
It percolates.
Who knows what awaits,
it spells our fate.
But it doesn’t look good.
You’d think it would
but you’ve got a guess coming.
It’s bumming you out
without a doubt,
and you can’t avoid it.
You can’t exploit it,
It doesn’t look good.
Sans silver linings,
it’s undermining your good mood
so, you sit and brood,
caught in a snood,
one sorry dude.
There are clouds on the horizon,
cumulo-ominous,
devising a plan
to take you down.
It doesn’t look good!

 

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2020

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – SOMETHING SINISTER

SINISTER

WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING SINISTER.

INFORM POET – TRIMERIC

Trimeric is a four stanza poem The first stanza has four lines,  and the remaining three stanzas have three lines each.   The  first line of stanzas two through four repeat the respective line of the first stanza.

The sequence of lines, then, is abcd, b – -, c – -, d – -.

WALT’S EXAMPLE:

THE WIND SPEAKS

I sit and listen to the wind,
all the tales it has to tell.
Whispers of the places it’s been,
the wind speaks to me and I hear

all the tales it has to tell.
Secrets unearthed in the silence
become the truths of life exposed.

Whispers of the places it’s been,
the things it has seen and the people
whose hearts and souls it has graced.

The wind speaks to me and I hear.
I feel its warm breath upon my weary face,
and I am soothed by its gentle voice.

 

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2020

 

PROMPT #276 – OPENING LINES

For the opening prompt of 2020, we’d like you to draw your inspiration from the opening line of a book.  You may use a well-known opening line (for instance, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”  from  Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities), or you may pull an obscure book from your shelf and use the opening line from it.  Ideally, opening lines should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read the book.  In our case, they will ideally spark a poem.  You may choose to use the book line in your poem, as your title, or simply for inspiration.  In any case, please quote the line, and cite the book title and author.

Happy New Year, all! Let’s bloom in 2020!

MARIE’S OPENER

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”  From The Go-Between, by L.P. Hartley

THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY

Hindsight is a curious thing.
It can swing from delight
to fright, and anything between.
I mean, we’ve seen the ways
the history books make crooks
look chaste.  But oh,
the aftertaste.
And who would know
we owe apologies for
theologies twisted,
persisted, and falsely
scripted.
As we become aware
and lay bare the lies,
our own past appears
foreign in our eyes.
Don’t bury the dead.
Look behind; look ahead.
Yearn for better days.
Find better ways.
Learn who we are.
Raise the bar.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

WALT’S LINE

SIGHT UNSEEN, by Walter J Wojtanik

“I am an invisible man.” — from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952)

I’ve been invisible for as long as I’ve known me,
and certainly I’m not all that the eye can see.
I’ve played in these shadows, endowed with
words of great abundance, but little chance
to be widely accepted, protected by an arrogance
born of doubt and uncertainty. It is me,
alone in the night as I write to exhaust my heart.
It starts with a line from someone else’s mind,
finding a spark to catch and take hold.
Inside this heart, a cold chill grabs me,
it stabs me deeply, meant to make me clutch
my chest as the rest of the thought festers
like a poetic pest driving the vehicle I’ve chosen.
Frozen in these shadows I disappear,
here but to my mind only. Lonely.
Look, but you won’t find me. I am well hidden.
Sequestered, isolated. Fated to be left unseen.
I am an invisible man.

LIFE’S INGREDIENTS – A MEMOIR CHAPBOOK BY CONNIE L. PETERS

Any great success in the kitchen can be attributed to finding a good recipe. The same can be said for success in life. With the right ingredients in the perfect blend, the table is set for a feast, as Connie L. Peters can attest. In her Memoir Chapbook, LIFE’S INGREDIENTS, she divulges these “secrets” for us to devour!

 

Life’s Ingredients
By
Connie L. Peters

An Introduction to My Grandparents
Little Rebel
Perspective
Wolf Creek Pass
The Hardest Thing
Betty Slade
A Dream
Shannon Sisters
Lickety-split
The Last Snow of Winter
Hobbies
What Makes Me Laugh

*****

An Introduction to My Grandparents

I grew up in hilly Pennsylvania countryside
close to both sets of grandparents.

Grandpa Shannon
Born nearby in the mountains
in what is now the State Game Lands.
Twelve years older than Grandma.
Spit tobacco. Tightly squeezed our hands
to see if we’d holler.
Grew the best strawberries, lots of them.
Used a rake handle for a cane.
Once worked on the railroad. Liked to tease.

Dad used to tell the story of Grandpa
asking Dad what he wanted on his sandwich.
When Dad said, “Anything,”
Grandpa put Noxzema on it.

Grandma Shannon
Born in the hills of Kentucky.
Somewhere back in Grandma’s and
Billy Ray Cyrus’s ancestry, there were sisters.
A large, kind woman who wore housedresses,
Her glasses magnified her eyes to look like an owl.
Liked to go to church and play the organ.
Had a big collie named Laddie.

Grandma used to tell us about when she was little,
her family called her Tilly. Not sure why;
her name was Hazel. She called a chicken a choo choo
and a dress she called a pretty. So when she came running
in the house crying, “Choo choo poo pooed on Tilly’s pretty,”
her parents had to interpret. Grandma laughed at that.

Pappap Hurst
Lively with a twinkle in his eye, whistled bob white.
Came up to visit in the mornings with candy in his pockets.
Took us on hayrides with his tractor pulling a cart.
Laughed like Santa, “Ho, ho, ho!”
A carpenter, he smelled of sawdust and hand lotion.

One time, I tagged along with him
when he went to a farm to buy a chicken.
They chopped its head off and it ran.
From then on, when someone used the phrase
“like a chicken with its head chopped off”
I knew exactly what they meant.

Pappap grew up on a cotton plantation in Alabama.
He and his brothers picked cotton.
One day, to make their quota,
they stuffed Pappap in one of the cotton bags.
They all got in trouble for that one.

Grandma Hurst
Grandma was born in England and now I
have the picture of her at three years old
when she came over to the United States.
Always sick, she sat in a big highbacked chair
like a throne. I played at her feet while Mom
helped Pappap take care of her.

One day ambulance people hauled
Grandma off on a stretcher.
I squeezed against the stair railing
for them to get by. Later, Dad held me up
to see her sleeping in her casket.

Pappap had a ladyfriend named Mrs. G.
They never married, but he drove the fourteen miles
to her house every evening (almost till the day he died)
and didn’t come home till the middle of the night.
My aunt said no one should ever buy his car because
it would drive back and forth to Johnstown by itself.

I really had it good to get to know my grandparents.

***

Little Rebel

I credit my aunt for squelching
my rebelliousness early on.

As children, my cousins and I played
all over our country neighborhood.
A favorite place was in the creek
across from my cousins’ house.
We liked to play Gilligan’s Island,
tornado warning—when we kicked hard
splashing water everywhere,
and we built dams to make deep pools.

Usually we played all as a mob,
but this particular day I was alone.
I decided to work on the current dam.
I was only about six or seven.
My aunt spied me and told me
to not be in the creek alone and
to get out until one of the older kids came.

I was furious that she didn’t think I was
big enough to play without supervision.
I turned to her and hollered, “Rat! Rat! Rat!”
I expected her to be hurt and offended
and tell my mom on me, but she just laughed.
It was my first taste of rebelliousness
looking and feeling ridiculous.

I stomped off which, of course,
is what she wanted.

***

Perspective

A bunch of us were sitting
in my college dorm room
telling each other spooky stories.
The room was dark except
for the eerie glow of my lava light,
making its globby forms
one friend thought disgusting.

I was sprawled and comfy
on my roommate’s beanbag chair
holding my little rag doll
made of bits of cloth and yarn,
which everyone thought was ugly.
I insisted it was cute,
but it really was ugly, though.

It was about twelve inches tall,
had a white taped face like a mummy,
scraggly black yarn hair, brown thread eyes,
arms stuck out like a scare crow,
a green and black outfit that let its
scrawny white taped legs show.
I think I called it Morton.

I told them about my grandma
during WWII who had two sons overseas,
my dad and his brother Bill.
One day, she was in the upstairs
of her house looking at Uncle Bill’s picture
when large black wings embraced her,
only for a moment.

I didn’t think the story particularly scary,
figuring it was just God’s heads-up
to Grandma, since Uncle Bill was killed
a few days later. But apparently
one of the guys thought it unnerving,
because when I threw my rag doll at him
he went straight up like a rocket.

***

Wolf Creek Pass

One holiday season, I was driving over Wolf Creek Pass,
headed to my mother-in-law’s in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
in my 1983 Chevy Caprice with my two small kids in back.
An article in the local paper declared Wolf Creek Pass
the most dangerous pass in Colorado,
but that’s arguable compared to Red Mountain Pass.

Wolf Creek was the subject of C. W. McCall’s 1975 song
that described it as “37 miles o’ hell.”
That wouldn’t be my description exactly,
because I’ve driven over it many times.
Regardless, Wolf Creek Pass has many hairpin turns,
runaway truck ramps and cliffs with heart-stopping drop-offs.

More often than not, it’s snowing as it was that day.
My motto for driving that old car up the pass was,
“Going forward is all that matters!”
We crept up the side of the mountain in dreary skies,
falling snow, and slush building on the tires.
We were about half way up when the radiator hose blew.

I remembered a business at the bottom of the mountain
and hoped to use their phone to call for help.
I carefully backed up and coasted down with no problem.
I called the mechanic and on the way out a lady stopped me.
She asked me how the roads were. I told her it was snowing,
but I thought we’d be okay. She drove off in her yellow car.

After the mechanic fixed my car, we started up again.
The conditions had worsened and on the way up
I passed a tow truck towing a yellow car.
I felt terrible that I had given the lady bad advice.
We almost made it to the summit when a flashing
sign said, “Must have chains beyond this point.”

No chains. I gingerly backed up toward a wide spot
of the roadside next to an unrailed drop off.
Looking back behind me I saw sky.
As I backed up, the car started sliding toward the cliff.
I thought, with terror, that the kids would go over first.
My heart hammered. I don’t think the kids realized
what was happening. The car stopped.

I breathed again. It was only two or three seconds,
but it was the scariest two or three seconds of my life.
I drove home and the next day,
we went the long way around through Utah.

***

The Hardest Thing

What’s the hardest thing I’ve been through?
I could write about my dad having Alzheimer’s
or my mom’s amputation of her left leg.
I could write about my husband’s mental illness
and the time he lost our car with all our money
somewhere in Oklahoma, when the kids were little.
I could write about my mother-in-law being attacked
by two chows, nearly killing her.
I could write about my son almost dying when he was eight.
I could write about my coat zipper breaking
in the middle of winter and I had no money
for a coat or even a zipper.
I could write about my brother-in-law
being crushed in a demolition accident
and seeing my nephew draped across the casket,
because no one was allowed to see the body.
I could write about the day my daughter suddenly left.
I could write about my husband having a stroke,
learning to walk again and having a second stroke
which turned him into an old man.
I could write about losing two special people in my life,
one who was with us fifteen years and the other ten.
I could write about the summer I was in pain 24/7.
I could write about coming home from vacation
and finding my house flooded from a broken hose.
But instead, I’ll write about my rock Jesus.
I can’t see Him or touch Him,
but to me He’s more solid than Memorial Rock—a rock
as big as a house, that tumbled down the mountain
about an hour’s drive from my home,
digging a wide trench through the highway.
He’s the one that got me through all of the above.

***

Betty Slade

My first twenty years writing,
I avoided poetry like poison ivy.
Most poems I read, I had no idea
what the poet was writing about.
I wanted my writing to be understood,
not some mysterious code. But sometimes
unsolicited poems popped out.
I shoved them in an envelope marked,
Poems: finished and unfinished.
One day at an artists and writers retreat,
the director, Betty Slade, asked me to read.
Working on a novel at the time,
I read a couple of my poems,
since they were short. The attendees’
enthusiastic response surprised me.
Betty told me I should put my poems in a book.
So I took out the big old envelope
and finished and revised them.
From that experience, I learned
how to write poetry without waiting
for them to materialize from strong emotion.
Betty lit the match causing a poetic explosion.

***

A Dream

My maiden name was Shannon and
I lived by Shannon Creek.
And ever since a little girl,
I wanted just one peek

at River Shannon, Ireland way.
I’d love to see it flow
and stand upon its shady banks.
Oh, how I’d love to go!

And so it took some fifty years.
At last my dream came true!
My niece and I hiked by its banks,
took lots of pictures, too.

Some sheep by Shannon River—click!
A lazy, chewing cow.
A fierce swan mom and fluffy young
in Shannon River, wow!

Row boat on Shannon River—click!
Me sitting on a rock.
And lots of Megan smiling there.
And then came quite a shock.

A llama by the Shannon—click!
A curious big beast.
He followed mom and her two kids
who liked it not the least.

We made it round entire trail.
It was our only scheme.
Exhausted, thirsty, but content
that we had lived my dream.

And then I heard of Shannon Falls.
And so I made a vow.
Went to Vancouver, Canada.
So beautiful and wow!

***

Shannon Sisters

Despite both having serious health issues,
Mom and Dad reached their golden anniversary.
Mom, looking lovely, graciously greeted her guests.
Dad didn’t know what the occasion was,
but he was happy to have cake and ice cream.
Mom died six months later and Dad died
a little over two months after that.

We five girls, scattered from California
to Ohio, made the trek twice to Pennsylvania
for the funerals. Through that experience,
we realized we might never get together again,
unless it was intentional. So we established
our every-other-year Shannon family reunion,
which we’d take turns making arrangements.

We’ve toured Mesa Verde in Colorado,
hiked and climbed in Sedona, Arizona,
had an extended family reunion in Pennsylvania,
swam and picnicked at the beach in Lake Erie,
rode pedal cars in Santa Barbara, California,
visited Mount Rushmore in South Dakota,
and watched whales in Friday Harbor, Washington.

As we do the usual touristy stuff and barbeques,
the traditional bean auction, sister’s night out,
hand-crafted gift exchange and games of Canasta,
Scrabble, and Splendor, we keep the bond
tight which Mom and Dad encouraged.
When the twenty-some of us gather,
I think they’re smiling down on us.

***

Lickety-split

I love vacation and traveling.
But just like a delicious dessert,
they’re soon gone and I’m left
looking and hungering for more.

***

The Last Snow of Winter

T’was the last snow of winter
But happened in May
So I dared to defy it
And walked anyway
As it pelted my jacket
I bowed my head low
And it seemed to be laughing
As onward I’d go

So I chuckled ‘long with it
Enjoying the fun
Though in May I’d like better
To walk in the sun
Do not worry, spring weather
You’ll warm soon enough
Your sweet flowers will flourish
Though now it is tough

The May snow was so thrilling
But I caught a chill
And it didn’t take long then
My health went downhill
And I took to much sneezin’
Grew cold and then hot
The last snow of the season
Been better if not

***

Hobbies

Being well rounded applies to more than my physique.
I have a plethora of hobbies I tend to each week.
Jigsaw puzzles to remind me to take one task at a time.
Writing stories, for adults and kids, and poems that may rhyme.
Drawing and painting in mostly acrylic.
To paint Plein Air, to me, is idyllic.
I’m always itching to travel to somewhere new.
The places I don’t want to go, truly are few.
I love to read novels, poems, and memoirs galore,
And to browse used book shops to see what’s in store.
I enjoy hiking mountain trails till I can barely move.
At times I dance when getting in the groove.
I’m learning to play the ukulele and can play the Hokey Pokey.
I like to sing around the campfire even if it’s smoky.
Kayaking in the lake or bay always is a thrill.
And riding bikes, I enjoy, especially downhill.
I like to crochet, mostly blankets for newborns.
And to brush out alpacas before they are shorn.
I took a photography class and love snapping photos.
I like to go snow-shoeing whenever it snows.
As you can tell, I can go on and on.
But I best get to bed because I’m heading west at dawn.

***

What Makes Me Laugh
(a cyhyded)

What makes me laugh? I have to think.
Sometimes, it’s something out of sync.
Or like an imp, sneaks up on you,
surprise will make me laugh on cue.
A funny thought, a twist of words,
I like to laugh at the absurd.
Or slapstick act in unplanned way,
a fall, a trip—awkward ballet.
Sometimes I giggle all alone
and friends will wonder what I’ve done.
At times when life will go awry,
I find the funny, so I won’t cry.

PROMPT #275 – WHAT’S NEW?

We stand on the crest of a new year, in a new decade. Both causes to celebrate. Everything becomes a fresh new start to everything you aspire to! So we are asking you, “What’s new?” We’re writing “new” poems today. Not a poem that hasn’t been written before, but a poem about something new. So, let’s write a poem. So, what’s new?

MARIE’S NEW POEM:

Deanna (Bright as Day)

Her light was dimmed years ago. Everything she enjoyed was taken from her.  Books.  Music.  Art.  NY Times crosswords. Energy. Drive. Laughter. All of it, gone.  All of it.  But in God’s timing and in His way, the expression of herself through her art has been returned.  Not in the same way, but brand new, as God renewed her spirit and drew her to Himself.  Rekindling her light with His own, she is never truly alone.   New Spirit. New Light never fails her, despite that which ails her.

At her drawing board,
what was lost is now restored.
New way. Bright as Day.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

WALT’S NEW THING:

BEGINNING ANEW

Starting from here;
going on from now.
A fresh start is at the heart
of all that is to come.
A brand new year
came to call, and all
that transpires grows
from the seeds planted
in those twelve months prior.
That fire in your belly
spurs you on, a prodding
giving the nod to better things.
A fresh start is at the heart
of perfecting your art.
It all up to you
to begin anew.

 

(c) Walter J Wojtanik

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

MERRY

CHRISTMAS

FROM US AT POETIC BLOOMINGS!

 

Our Christmas wish to you all is to find happiness and love and the muse to write about it through the year!

***

CHRISTMAS IS TRADITION –

OUR HOLIDAY INTERVIEW

***

Over the past hundred days, I endeavored to write a poem a day in my “I Am Santa Claus” blog. Starting on Sept 17 and straight through to Christmas Day (the 100 days), each poem is Christmas themed in some form and mostly in the vein of “I Am Santa Claus”. My belief has been that we are ALL Santa Claus. Thank you to those who loosely followed my journey. A link to the Sept. 17 poem is offered below. You can follow from one to the next with the next entry links to the following day’s poem. Again, Merry Christmas from Me and Marie.

With love to you all, Walt. I Am Santa Claus.

https://iamsantaclaus.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/countdown-to-christmas/

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