POETIC BLOOMINGS

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

PROMPT #205 – THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS: PART ONE

THE JOY OF GIVING

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.

 

SARA’S GIFT:

GIFTS THEN AND NOW

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

 

WALT’S GIFT:

EBENEZER

“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

INFORM POETS – PANTUN

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.”

WALT’S PANTUN:

BLOOMS OF LOVE

…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

PROMPT #204 – TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING

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!

WALT’S CHANGE:

SEASONS CHANGE

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

INFORM POETS – ETHEREE

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!

WALT’S ETHEREE:

STRETCHED THIN

Dad.
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.

PROMPT #203 – SOMETHING’S MISSING

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.

INFORM POETS – BURNS STANZA (or HABBIE STANZA)

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

WALT’S STANZA:

RAPID DESCENT OF A MADMAN

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

PROMPT #202 – PREPARATION TO CELEBRATION

The last two months of the year seem ripe for celebration. And of course, you cannot have a great celebration without good preparation. So, what are some of the thing we will be celebrating?

November Celebrations:

Nov. 1 – All Saint’s Day

Nov. 2 – All Soul’s Day

Nov. 11 – Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day

Nov. 17 – Homemade Bread Day

Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving Day

Nov. 30 – Stay at Home Because You Are Well Day

 

December Celebrations:

Dec. 6 – St. Nicholas Day

Dec. 12 – Day of the Virgin Guadalupe

Dec. 16 – Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Dec. 23 – Festivus

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day

Dec. 25 – Hanukkah

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve

Dec. 31 – Make Up Your Mind Day

Also celebrated is Kwanzaa

 

Obviously some are legitimate days of cultural and traditional celebration. And some are just plain silly!

What we need from you is to not write about the day so much, but about any preparation needed to pull them off! Have fun and enjoy your “day”!

 

WALT’S PREP:

FOR ONE MOMENT MORE

I miss you.
You always made special days,
days of love and nurturing.
And this future without you
keeps me wishing I had
just one moment more.
A moment to thank you for those times
and tell you did fine teaching
that nurturing and love
was harder than you made it look.
I miss you. I wish you were here.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

 

Written to honor my mom as we prepare to “celebrate” the thirtieth year since her passing on Christmas Eve 1986.

Dad will also be gone ten years on December 20th.

 

INFORM POETS – APPRECIATE (OR PARSON’S POEM)

During our Sunday Seed this past weekend, Bill Preston reminded us in his tribute to our friend Earl Parsons, by writing a poem in the poetic form that Earl had proposed a while back. Earl call it an “Appreciate” explaining it’s origin from the children chant “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate…” So as such, the stanza of the poem has two words in the first line, four in the second, six in the third line and finishes with eight words in the last line. I believe you can string stanzas together with that configuration.

So write your poem in Earl’s form, Appreciate. Let him know you have him in your thoughts, and I’m sure he would certainly do just that, appreciate your efforts.

SARA’S APPRECIATE:

FLOATING

a mermaid
swishing in the sea
emerald water, coral reefs. Seaweed tickles
my fins. I awaken to same old me

WALT’S APPRECIATE:

EARL’S MESSAGE

Earl messaged
with me on Facebook
telling of his upcoming medical procedure.
I assured him prayers would be raised up.
 

My thoughts
center on our friend.
His faith will lead him on,
our love will keep him in our hearts!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik -2016

PROMPT #201 – ALL HALLOWS, SAINTS AND SOULS

First and of most importance, continue to offer thoughts and prayers for our brother Earl Parsons. Conflicting reports have him in precarious straits. He’s always been in God’s hands, but now more than ever! Pray he will be able to join us again and  soon.

***

We’ve reached the end of October and find ourselves at the junction of Halloween, and All Saints Day and All Souls Day (in some religious circles). Your charge is simple. Write a Halloween (and anything that entails) poem, or a saint or soul poem. There are different thoughts for what a saint can be. And we all know certain souls who inspire our muse if they choose (again, thoughts for Earl) Use these terms to whatever they spark in you, and write your poem.

Also thoughts for Sara who is dealing with health issues this week as well.

Finally, please take care of yourselves and stay well!

SARA’S POEM:

Ghost Brings Rotten Teeth

Enters, head hangs under arm, green feet
scrape shrill as whistles. Woman wakes shrieks.
Bad dream? Ghost rattles head and points
to three black teeth placed on bed.
Sins, Sins, he moans. Repent.
First tooth–those you’ve hurt,
second–lies told.
Third tooth stands,
she cries
out
NO!
Tooth climbs
onto neck,
sinks into vein.
Ghost bleats like mad sheep,
you will simply not do.
Not do for what? says she, eyes
closed slits; she still hopes to waken.
Says ghost, alas, no remorse shown here.
Had blood spewed black, you’d be Vampire Queen!

(C) Sara McNulty – 2016

WALT’S POEM:

MY SOUL SHALL BE LIFTED

Lost in this maze of doubt and uncertainty,
you emerge from the shadow of long ago
to take a hold of my precious words and cling
to them as if they were the most important thing,
most cherished in your mind.
How did you find me here?
Why do you raise me up?
How did you bridge this chasm between
thought and word; between heart and mind.
I had become a poet lost in the mire of a dwindling pyre,
left to smolder in the ash heap of emotion.
And yet, you read my words; you devour them,
filling your soul with their beauty, and lifting mine
with your support and encouragement.
My poetic soul has found nourishment in your devotion.
My muse has taken flight as it soars;
to the clouds my soul shall be lifted.
 
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

INFORM POETS – ALPHABET (OR ABECEDARIAN)

Every so often, you need to go back to basics. So today we are dealing with the ABC of poems, the Alphabet or Abecedarian poem. There are many different ways to write an alphabet poem.

You can write a poem as a twenty-six word poem with each word starting with a different letter of the alphabet.  A technique for writing this type of poem is to lay out the alphabet ahead of time so you can quickly reference the letters used (or still in play!)

You can also do this consecutively through the alphabet:

A barbaric canopy divided elephant
flag givers high in jumping karate leg
mounts nevermind old pirate quarrels
registered self-employed tax-paying
units vacated wordlessly xylophonic
yesteryear zealots.

~ Example by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides

Another method for alphabet poems is to go through the alphabet using the first letter of the first word for each line:

WALT’S ATTEMPT:

ETERNALLY EQUINE

Alabaster and roan, she was put down; a
broken fetlock blamed for the turn lame.
Certainly, a sad end for a once proud and
determined foal. She was a true beauty;
effervescent and ethereal.
Furlong after furlong, a strong
gait with the gallop of each
hoof striking a counterpoint to the crowd.
Indeed, now the odds were against her.
Jockeys would run her hard and fast,
keeping her on the track far
longer than she should have been.
Many years back, she was a champion, but
now in her later days, she was not.
Other trainers would have put her to
pasture, but where her legs failed, her spirit remained strong.
Question her determination, and she’d prove you wrong.
Rest would have helped her for sure, but
she knew she had one good race left in her.
Three quarters of the way around the track,
unknown to her owner, she fractured a leg.
Very few horses would have continued, but
winning her final race would reveal a true champion’s heart.
X-rays would verify the sad fact. After
years of racing, her fate was sealed. Outstanding in her field,
Zenotrope’s Zip found her rest in eternal pastures.

© Walter J. Wojtanik

Response to:
“Heaven For Horses” by Lew Sarett

Lastly, you can always flip the alphabet, too. That is, instead of going A to Z, you could write these pieces from Z to A. Give any of these a try!

 

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