The chill has taken hold and with the storms of snow and sub-zero cold, we need to warm things up. The best way to start a fire is with a good spark. You choose the spark… your subject is something that flashes an idea from your domain. Could be the dust bunnies under the couch, it might be a smoke alarm with a low battery (change that battery!). The constant ringing of robo-calls or tele-maketers on your phone. What sets you off? What sparks your ire (fire)? Right it! Write it!
I can feel a chill.
Can you feel it?
Who ever invited the cold inside?
I tried to stem the tide
but I just can't hide the fact
that the track on the window sill
is letting in that frigid chill.
I must hop to!, I cannot wait.
It's surely time to insulate!
Can you feel it? I can!
(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022
We’re thinking animals this week. It’s a fact that animals are blessed with certain instincts and traits to aid in their survival. We know a cheetah is very fast. We’ve all heard of how “wise” an owl is. Squirrels are gatherers. Dogs are loyal; cats aloof… Take an animal trait or instinct and use that as your inspiration for your poetry. Mild or wild, get “animalistic” on us!
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM
Silently they graze,
and suddenly in a dusty haze
they kick up their hooves
and raise the roofs,
a guaranteed stampede indeed.
You can hear them rumble,
yet they remain humble,
they hear nature's call
as one by one their obstacles fall.
And from the deepest of chills
you can hear them shout,
It’s a new year. Hopefully we’ll experience changes in a positive way. (Not anything like the past couple of years). And as we think of changes, who knew change better than the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, who would have celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday. Bowie was instrumental in changing music. He changed his style (think Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars vs. Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby). He had changed his persona on a few occasions, always morphing into different versions of himself. Then there is one of his hit singles, “Changes.”
We’re writing a change poem. Change can do you good. And the aspect of change, from spare change, to loose change, to whatever change you can imagine. Perhaps change your poetic style for this one. You decide whether bad or good, but make your Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes flow!
I've found myself slowing down a bit,
pitching less of a fit and finding the groove
I'm in moves me in a whole new direction.
I'm in no hurry of late, not looking to become
the late, great Walt. It's my fault, bringing
so much passion to my words that you've heard
before. I'm more sedate, (that's debatable)
less stable with all my cards on the table.
The best cards held close to the vest
have long been played. Not looking
to cash my chips in just yet. I forget where
I had left them. I'll get them neatly stacked
and be back for the final deal. So my steps
have faltered a smidge and Walter by the fridge
is where you'll find me. Don't mind me.
As long as I've got a few arms up my sleeves,
I'll leave here writing verse. It could be worse.
I could be riding in the back of the hearse,
instead of giving the funeral director directions.
There is an old Irish tradition that says as the new year arrives, you open your back door to let out the old year and open the front door to let in the new. Doors symbolize entrances and exits. Write an ”open door” poem, or a ”closed door” poem. Either way, Happy New Year to all and here’s hoping 2022 is an improvement!
REMEMBERremember all doors are trap doors, and our fires
should be barely more than sticks. We must remember
remembering is always futuristic.
~from “Post-Apocalyptic” by Stacia M. Fleegal
All doors are trap doors.
Some lead to destinations,
others to other trap doors.
A mind’s cavernous hollow
lets you follow where knowledge
and memory lead. Knowing bears
a confidence to pursue. Memory
plays in a constant loop
revisiting that which we have left
behind or forgotten. Yet, ignoring
the past becomes a destiny to repeat it;
a step forward from where recollection
is buried. Step away from the past,
remembering is always futuristic.
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik
The day after Christmas has always been the day folks rush back to return gifts. Things get to return to “normal.” Some people return home from visiting relatives for the holidays. So it is fitting we write a ”return” poem.
BACK INTO THE BOX
Another year has come and gone
and I'm done with my mission.
My condition is not so serious.
And I'm not delirious, my time
in the suit has come to another sad end.
Just as it had begun, another year
has come and gone. I return the red suit
to the box, cap in place and the beard
that graced my face has been
stowed away. I have no clue
if I'll return to this station
or get to don the threads again.
It thrills me if truth be told,
I don't think I'll ever be too old
to serve my time as Santa Claus.
(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2021
As we close in on Christmas, we are surrounded by the trappings of the season. Pick an item associated with Christmas and write a Christmas poem from that item’s point of view. It could be an ornament, or a branch on Christmas tree. It might be an angel tree topper or a figurine from your nativity creche. What does the donkey see? The Star of Bethlehem? Christmas from a different perspective.
We are fortunate this week to get an early Christmas gift, in the guise of our Marie Elena Good rejoining us. It is a Good present indeed!
Cross of Christ
My place atop the Christmas tree may seem a lofty place for me, but humbly, I point down below through greenery and lights aglow to manger scene that holds the Christ who paid the price in sacrifice for every woman, man, and child – this perfect Lamb – this undefiled Rescuer, Redeemer, God I represent, and richly laud.
Each year, they bring me out to celebrate,
and I wait in silent vigil, keeping watch
over everything Christmas. My uniform
is well appointed and my double jointed
jaw may have me cracking jokes
or other nutty things. Mouse Kings
and sugarplum faeries complete my circle.
I do enjoy the joyous music this time of year.
My job is to protect and serve with nerves
of oak, just like any bloke who chooses
to enlist their service. Yet, I'm nervous.
I'm suspicious of that elf up on that shelf!
(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2021
Christmas music fills the airwaves these days. And it’s easy to find inspiration in a good song title. Using one such title as your poem’s title, write that poem!
I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
The week before Christmas you’ll hear them clearly
telling you that it’s nearly Christmas day.
You know their familiar sound,
a carol that will resound through the valley
and down every alleyway and thoroughfare.
It is there where you’ll hear them,
they’ll endear themselves to you.
And when their peal is through you’ll know,
that Christmas Day has come to pass at last.
We will join in their ringing while
townsfolk will be singing their tune.
Christmas bells certainly make me swoon.
I am Santa Claus and I must say,
I hear the bells each Christmas Day.
“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
And thus begins the second most famous story of Christmas. Dickens tale has stood the test of time and every re-telling brings a new perspective to the season. And of course, we know the story. Skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits of Christmas. The past, present and future of Scrooge’s life is revealed to provide a great lesson.
We are writing a “spirit” of Christmas. From your personal experience, write a past, present or future poem as you’ve lived it. The season fast approaches. As we prepare, lets reflect on how we can better ourselves from the lessons so learned, poetically.
WHERE THE AIR GETS COLD
You can feel the chill in the air,
for it is there that the feeling lingers.
I can sense it in my heavy-mittened fingers
and that is just right for my one night flight.
Way up North, where the air gets cold.
Maybe I’m just getting old and I can’t
warm up like I used to. And it is true
my home base is a place where this flurry
of activity can send me to scurry about,
way up North, where the air gets cold.
Many folks aren’t really quite sold
on the thought of my existence.
There is this resistance to recapture the spirit
long after it appears to have left them.
Way up North, where the air gets cold
I make my bold preparations. The Elves work hard
to be sure every bell sparkles, every whip snaps.
Every present in position. They harness the reindeer
every year as Christmas draws ever so near,
way up North, where the air get cold!
I try my best to make every Christmas a bold beauty.
I am Santa Claus, and that’s my sworn duty!
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik
2021 is sprinting to the end and thank God it is! It’s been a struggle, but we’re surviving as best we can. Now, we stand on the cusp of our Thanksgiving holiday in the States. The precursor to Christmas is almost nigh. So we are asked to write our obligatory “Thankful” poem … anything with the word THANK in the title or in the body of your poem would be greatly accepted! So, for Marie and myself, we tell you that we are very thankful for each and every one of you who share this ‘familial’ garden with us. We appreciate you to no end and consider you all family as well as friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all who will be celebrating. And Happy you’re with us moving forward! Be thankful!