POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.

Perpetual Prompt to Prosper Peace through Poems

To the dear and tender poets who grace this site:

It saddens me that neither Walt nor I are able to consistently tend this exquisite poetic garden. But rather than lock the gate, I made the decision (and I hope this pleases our Master Gardener) to offer this one last “prompt.”  This will be a perpetual, final prompt.

And “finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8) 

And may I suggest: Write about such things. Right here, write here.  Come and go as you please.  Know you are precious to us, and your presence is always welcome.

Marie Elena




Among the great memories associated with Christmas, we cannot neglect the wonderful tastes of Christmas. Be it a favorite Christmas cookie, or a superbly cooked roast or casserole, it can trigger a specific thought of Christmas. Maybe it was the gathering of family around grandmother’s table, or a “feast” served  to less fortunate folk in a church hall or cafeteria, it could evoke a sense of Christmas spirit. What is that taste? What was that meal? What was that feeling that came along with your goodwill toward your fellow man? They all reside in that taste of Christmas. Write it!



I have a confession
about my obsession,
I’m a connoisseur you see.
For throughout my travels
I just have to marvel
at the cookies left out for me.

Anzac Biscuits, Speculaas,
Spitzbuben, Palmeras;
with a glass of skim milk are heavenly!
Danske Smakager, Pfeffernüsse,
keep me round and quite obüsse,
filling my parka, perfectly.

Torta Fregolotti and Biscotti,
Kolaczki and Krusczyki;
I eat them all because they’re free.
Nanaimo Bars, Kipferl,
Piparkakut all taste swell
and smell delicious, Golly Gee!But,

I love two cookies both the same,
for me, these two just sing my name.
say them aloud and you’d agree,
Kringlas and Fatt(ig)mann are named after me.
I can’t wait to take my Cookie Pause,
(I can because I am Santa Claus).

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


An Italian Christmas Eve

In years past, we celebrated
Christmas Eve with our friends
and their family. Big night.
Traditional fish dishes–clams,
shrimp, calamari–and Kathy’s
pasta with braciole, and lemon
chicken. Her sister Roz brought
scrumptious stuffed artichokes.
Grandma Rae cured her own
olives, and I baked pies. One
year, my husband made
minestrone soup. Rave reviews
even from Grandma Rae. Salad
was served last, followed by fruit,
followed by espresso, pie,
and an assortment of pastries
and cookies. If you haven’t tasted
piñoli cookies, you haven’t lived.
Nick played guitar, and the house
was filled with aunts, uncles,
and cousins. What I remember
best is the warmth and laughter.



For most people, the Joy of Christmas begins in the first strains of the music of the season. It puts us in a mood that we carry through the month of December, even though they begin the first of November. We all have our favorites, be they secular or more of a religious vent, something stirs us to get our holiday on with a bit more passion.

Pick a song of the season. (And you are not restricted to Christmas, since Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are also celebrated in our circles). Choose your inspiration as your title or a line in your poem and write  the joy of holiday songs!



A child, a small record player,
and a 45 rpm treasure. “Play
it again. Play Santa Claus
is Coming To Town.” Jewish
or not, every child I knew
envisioned Santa. When
my grandmother–speaking
a bare minimum of English–
visited, I would thrust
the little record at her for
the fourth time, and puzzled,
she would say, “Again mit dis
rekkit?” I think she got used
to it after awhile. Who could
resist the wiles of a child?




You call it magic.
I call it faith; a belief that says
no matter what, you’re on board.
You can afford to extend your hand,
for in the grand scheme of things
the feeling this season brings
soothes your soul. The main goal
of every man, woman and child
is to hold the love in their hearts.
It always starts with love. A love of life,
a love of fellow man, a love unconditional
that positions you to do great things.
Peace on earth in goodwill and love;
the Magic of Christmas, a treasure trove.
You call it magic.I call it faith.
I am Santa Claus, if you truly believe.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


We’ve touched on the giving aspect of Christmas and the special kind of joy that is associated with that process. This week we’ll reverse the act. They say it is better to give than to receive. But we still find favor in accepting a gift that was given from the heart and in turn gave us joy. So I ask, what was the best Christmas gift you remember receiving? It could have been last year; it could have been from your childhood. Give your poem for us to receive the joy of which you’ve written.


We have run through many different poetic forms over the years which we’ve offered on Wednesdays. We have returned to some forms several times. But for the sake of redundancy, I will be suspending the Inform Poets feature. Thanks to all who have made it an enjoyable labor.


Silver Slivers

Small, local silver shop opened
near my husband’s place of employment.
Hanukkah (me) and Christmas (he)
were just up ahead. Knowing
my fondness for silver earrings,
my husband had the jeweler design
a pair of dangling silver earrings
that tapered to a leaf-like point.
Centered in each was an opal.
I love them as much now as I did
thirty plus years ago. I believe
I have tarnished faster than they have.




It is just about finished,
the day for which I work all year,
and the end is near.
Tired and sore,
and what’s more, I have one
last package to deliver.
I shiver at the thought,
and I probably ought to have
given it sooner. My eyes burn
and I yearn to give them rest.
But, the best sight for these sore eyes,
is the surprise on her face
when I place this final package
in her hands. It only stands to reason,
every year during this season,
she waits; the patience of a saint
is hers. This gift is always the last one given.
As long as I’m living, she’ll be giving it.
She wraps her arms around me
and she see the smile it brings.
And my heart sings when Mrs. “C”
gives her gift to me. I am Santa Claus.
My journey is complete. “Honey, Rub my feet?”




From the time we are children we’ve associated the Christmas season with  a joyful time. And that certainly does outweigh the alternative. Yet we know, (some of us by personal experience) sadness can touch lives at Christmas time. Avoiding all sadness and trying to shape our magic moment, is a futile endeavor. What is meant to happen, will happen. It is a broken world in which we live, and broken hearts need to heal along with it at this time. The true Christmas spirit goes far to promote this healing, through the  gift of Life that we celebrate on that day. It is through the giving that we truly are living.

As children, we researched and compiled extensive Christmas wish lists with the help of the Sears® or Montgomery Ward® catalogs, et al. But as we grew in wisdom and age, we realized that Christmas was more about other things: our family, our faith and our giving to others.

What kind of gifts brought you joy then? What gives you joy now? Today we celebrate the idea of giving and the joy that it brings to others (and ourselves in the process!) Give it your best effort, and give us a gift to ponder for this season.




My first bike was royal blue
With training wheels gone, I flew.
My roller skates with metal clamps
had key for tightening, riding down ramps.

Aunt Ida and Uncle Bill
took me with them to Forest Hills
where I learned how to ice skate;
never did a figure eight.

As an adult, other gifts matter
more, like a table laden with platters
of food, and laughter to be shared
with family and friends for whom I care.

Cards I have created from scratch,
adding personal tidbits to match
person on the receiving end
fill me with joy, and impatience to send.

© Sara McNulty – 2016




“Ebenezer,” she asks,
“If I give you my hand,
will you give me your heart?”
It would have been a smart deal
to feel something warm
where stone cold resides.
For his insides were as rotten
as an undigested bit of beef.
Had he given his heart
it would have been good as gold.
But it made him bitter and old,
a lonely lump in Cratchit’s sorry scuttle.
Emotions shuttle between sharing his love
and caring for just himself.
His past and present will dictate
the uncertain future ahead.
It is said the only true giving is in
living for the sake of humanity.
Greed and vanity will surely kill a man.
“Ebenezer,” she asks, “If I give you my hand,
will you give me your heart
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


The basic pantun consists of a quatrain (4-line verse). Commonly, each line contains between 8 and 12 syllables, and employs an abab rhyme scheme. A pantun traditionally follows a fixed rhythm. Per Wikipedia, “The first and second lines sometimes appear completely disconnected in meaning from the third and fourth, but there is almost invariably a link of some sort. Whether it be a mere association of ideas, or of feeling, expressed through assonance or through the faintest nuance of a thought, it is nearly always traceable.”



…and all at once, the rain had ceased.
When did my children grow so quick?
The length of sunshine has increased.
Why does it leave me feeling sick

when the warmth of Spring emerges?
Little girls become young women
Comfort in this season’s surges.
and all the changes from within –

blossoms having rooted now bloom,
Decorating each life they touch,
fragrant flowers fill up the room.
truly knowing they mean so much.

Life’s bouquet gathered together,
Grown in love to know what life means;
flourishing in all kinds of weather,
ever-growing, evergreen!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


If you pay any attention to the world, it is apparent that times are changing. A lot is changing. This week we enter into a thankful time on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, with a quick transition (thanks or not to Black Friday) into the Christmas Season. The stores are already in full regalia and the radio stations have begun to intone Holiday music in earnest. The weather here has changed in a day from 71 degree sunshine yesterday, to 39 degree snow storm with extreme winds today. Changes, changes, changes!

So I suppose it would fall into place if we write about changes, something or someone  transitioning to something else. Write of change before I change my mind.


I’ve seen that our friend Earl Parsons is progressing and is thankful for the blessings and good wishes of all those who hold him in their thoughts and prayers. It seems he will be released from the hospital today. His recovery is still a long way to go and we hope you feel better soon, Earl! We miss you!



The air is chilled.
Clouds in a hue of blue
that feels frigid, making
exposed digits ache and stiffen.
Autumn entered through
Summer’s closing door
and it’s true that fall could be hours old,
but the cold will have you believing
that looks are deceiving. Summer has departed;
can a disheartening Winter be far behind?
I find that this respite is a diversion,
an excursion through the year of seasons.
No reason can suffice to quell
crimson leaves and ice .

© Walter J. Wojtanik -2016


There is no excuse for the late posting of our form. I should have my poetic license revoked! But they say better late than never, so…

Today, we will revisit the Etheree. Created about twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong, this titled form, consists of ten lines of unmetered and unrhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five.

The way things have been piling on of late, this seemed like the perfect form for this time!



A man
standing guard.
Despite efforts
to be fair and firm,
sometimes he folds under
the pressure. Bright hazel eyes
flash their semaphore to signal
the next barrage to a Father’s heart.
Daughters in tug of war for Dad’s favor.


Sometimes things end up looking like a gap-toothed smile because something is missing. It could be a vital something or just a thing that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Write that something. You could be missing home, or a person. Maybe something you lost? Conversely, you could write about finding something. Just put it into words and we’ll fill in the gaps.


Burns Stanza is a stanzaic sestet with lines of two lengths and two rhymes.

Lines 1, 2, 3, and 5 are four feet long with the “a” rhyme.

Lines 4 and 6 are two feet long with the “b” rhyme.

Schematic: Rhyme: aaabab
Meter (Iambic):

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b



A madman in a quick decline
was clearly daft; out of his mind
but other that that he was just fine,
a bit unscrewed.
But underneath I’m sure you’d find
a righteous dude!

He’d lost his bearings long ago,
and found them once a year or so.
But when you’ve got to go, you go.
It will be sad,
but when your crazy starts to show,
you’ve gone quite mad.

You find there really is no cure,
(you thought there was, but you’re not sure.)
You laugh hysterically in stir,
a crazy loon.
And when you’re saner than you were
you’ll get out soon!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

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