This week, we’ve asked our poets to write a short poem that could fit on a gift tag. As we head into the new year, Marie and I thank all our contributing poets for their hard work and dedication. And we present our Beautiful Blooms.

Marie’s Bloom:

On this, the eve of a new year, I delight in Mary Mansfield’s Gift of Perspective. A tender gift. Thank you, Mary, for teaching and receiving these “softer eyes.” Simply beautiful.

A Gift of Perspective
(By Mary Mansfield)

A lesson
taught mother to child:
A world view
through softer
eyes, to see the poetry
where others cannot.

Walt’s Bloom:

In an admittance that I find difficult to believe, this poem presents the prompt well with a definite rhythm and some semblance of form. Until now, an observer and ardent booster, Henrietta Kate Choplin steps up with her Christmas Gift. For this she earns my Bloom for Week # 35

Christmas Gift by Henrietta Katie Choplin

A silent night in
a mystical, magical air
of depth and darkness,
A star twinkled in
a mystical, magical air
of warmth and brightness,
I felt him there in
a mystical, magical air
of Love and lightness


Ten lines rhymed; usually (though not by definition) iambic pentameter. This is originally a French form and initially would have been made up of eight syllable lines, but later ten syllable lines were also used. The few examples of this form in England did prefer Iambic Pentameter, but that’s purely up to the poet.

The rhyme scheme is: a-b-a-b-b-c-c-d-c-d.

Marie’s Dizain:


Our days are swift, and age affects our lives –
the essence of our character and traits.
Though thankful as another year arrives,
We haltingly approach the entry gates
Concerned about what destiny awaits.

Cast off this uninvited guest of fear!
Grab hands, and leap into the coming year!
Draw near the gate with courage – boldly delve –
Embrace the future, lift your glass in cheer,
And turn to Him who holds your Twenty Twelve.

Walt’s Dizain:


My cheeks are cold; ruddy and rather red,
and the muddy residue on my shoe
has me wishing I were home in my bed.
But, now that my world-wide journey is through,
I have to thaw my face, frozen and blue.

A leap of faith and we were on our way,
Me and my reindeer and my toy filled sleigh.
We travel around at the speed of sound,
This Santa Claus’ heart is warm today.
A trip that started with a single bound.


Christmas morning. Visions of sugar plums take a seat from all that dancing. The mice are starting to stir, and St. Nicholas visited over night. All else is silent and still. Soon, the excitement will fill the air as wishes are expressed and gifts are opened. But who gets what? Check the tags… For this Christmas morning and the week that follows, write a short poem that could fit on a gift tag. Write it to someone, for something, or a wish you want to express. Merry Christmas…and what’d you get me?

Marie Elena’s Gift:

For Santa Wojtanik

Enjoy the milk and cookies –

I baked them all myself.

Be good to little Sophie,


Marie Elena Elf


Walt’s Tagline:

For Marie:

Poetry comes to you
in blips and blurbs,
the ‘burbs of Toledo
are brighter for the gift
of words you give to the world.


The last minute rush which blends into the hustle and bustle we seem to get involved in gets the spotlight this week in our march toward Dec. 25th. Tradition to preparation to the rush, we’re finally here. And so are our Blooms:

Marie Elena’s Bloom:

Janet Martin’s untitled piece receives my second Beautiful Bloom in as many weeks. Tender and touching; thoughtfully crafted … a “wish I’d written this” and offered as a gift to all of you.

It’s difficult sometimes to spell in words
The heart of all those thoughts we deeply feel
But I must try, for you have kindly stirred
My soul with honesty and thoughts surreal
Once I assumed a friend is one we meet
Then learn to cherish, love and trust with time
But I have known a friendship, rich and sweet
Nurtured by the magic of a rhyme

A poet’s heart is more than flesh and blood
It sees beyond perimeters of sight
It races at the mention of a word
Defining it within the dead of night
I’ve held you close to me within a pen
Yet felt you tear the longing from my chest
By words that you have woven in a poem
To strike the chord of grief and tenderness

You, my friend, have taught me how to fly
To scoff at fear wielding its scornful threat
You, my friend, have taught me how to cry
And how to dance and twirl and pirouette
Anticipation wakes with me at dawn
It trembles in each moment’s soft embrace
For who can know the poem your whispers spawn
Beneath the touch of lips in cyber-space

It’s difficult sometimes, to spell in words
Thoughts too profound for letters formed in ink
But in night’s deepest quiet I have heard
A tiny glimpse of what you feel and think
So in this Christmas season I extend
A prayer to you for happiness and cheer
Merry Christmas, my dear poet-friends
God bless you now and through the coming year

Walt’s Choice:

They say Christmas is for children. But I just think it has a fun aspect to it that appeals to young and old alike. That mirth is infused into this piece by Mary Mansfield. The rhyme is playful and the pace is akin to the urgency that the Christmas rush espouses. And don’t tell me all houses aren’t as hectic on this last day before Christmas…

The Christmas Rush by Mary Mansfield

Wrap the presents. Trim the tree.
Run to the store for batteries.
Time to hang the stockings up.
Pour fresh eggnog in my cup.
Bake the cookies, it’s getting late.
Try to save one for Santa’s plate.
Out of coffee, need some more,
Go back to that blasted store
To pick up everything I missed.
Now where did I put that stupid list?
Check the broken Christmas lights.
Wish I could have a Silent Night.
Learned my lesson, next year I’ll begin it
Before the absolute very last minute.

Congratulations to Janet and Mary for their selections and to all our poets for the wonderful gift of your poetry. All given from the heart and accepted in loving embrace in return.



As Walt and I continue to promote our Poetic Bloomings family, this Web Wednesday interview is especially meaningful to me.  Today, I get to introduce you to the strong, remarkable woman I have the privilege of claiming as a cousin.  My cousin Chris Donadio (one of my favorite people on the planet) married Kelly Conti in 1991.  Best decision of his life.

When asked to choose a poem she feels represents her work and herself, Kelly chose one that will have Walt nodding in agreement.

Kelly says, “This poem pretty much says who I am; a generally straight forward, no nonsense person who doesn’t ‘play games.’  I prefer people be that way with me, too.   The poem is also indicative of my writing style.   Though I try to venture into various poetic styles, I typically like an easy meter and some rhyming in my poetry.”


By Kelly Donadio

 I don’t need a BFF

just a good friend will do.

We may have known each other for years

or our connection may be rather new.

I don’t need a BFF

just a good friend will do.

Where platitudes are not accepted

and only the truth will come through.

I don’t need a BFF

just a good friend will do.

Pretense and pride are dismissed

we are here for each other, it’s true.

I don’t need a BFF

just a good friend will do.

One who laughs with me and at me

as long as we can laugh at you too.

I don’t need a BFF

just a good friend will do.

I’m careful when choosing good friends

could my non-BFF be you?

  MARIE ELENA:   I’m so excited to get the opportunity to interview you, Kelly!  To be frank, it took me completely by surprise when I had the pleasure of reading the first poem you posted to Poetic Bloomings.  I had no idea you had an interest in poetry.  When did you first try your hand at it?  Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote, and would you be willing to share it with us?

KELLY:  I have always loved poetry and writing of any kind.  I had a teacher in 6th grade (a Science teacher!) who, every few weeks would draw a crazy scene on the chalkboard, and then we had to do creative writing about the scene.   It was great and really expanded my imagination and writing techniques.  When I was young, I would write poems and lyrics in my journals.  My first poem was no doubt a card to my parents.  Sorry though, I can’t remember it.

 MARIE ELENA:  What is your own definition of “poet?”  Do you consider yourself a poet?

KELLY:  I think a poet is someone who can express thoughts and emotions unabashedly in such a way that readers find a connection with the familiar or the unexpected.  True poets write without hesitation or boundaries and offer words from the depths of their souls.  No, I don’t consider myself a poet – a writer who dabbles in poetry, but not a poet.

MARIE ELENA:  “… express … in such a way that readers find a connection with the familiar or the unexpected.”  Wow.  That’s about as good a definition as I’ve seen.

What inspired you to visit Poetic Bloomings and respond to the prompts? Do you post poetry at other sites as well?

KELLY:  I followed you and Walt on your Across the Lake, Eerily blog.  From there, I followed Walt’s other writing endeavors and was then drawn into participating in PB.  I do visit other poetry sites, but only to read – not to participate.

MARIE ELENA:  Is there a poem you would like to write, but have not been able to manage to make it work?   If so, what do you think holds you back?

KELLY:  I would love to write poems of praise to God.  For some reason, they just don’t happen.  I feel like they become more of a monologue or short story as opposed to poetry.  Every once in a while I get inspired and write a spiritual poem, but I would love to just flow with written praise to my Heavenly Father.

MARIE ELENA:  I can relate to that, Kelly.  Love poems in general do not come easily to me, and this includes love poems to God.

“Back in the day,” you were a DJ for Youngstown’s WBBG FM93.  As is typical of radio personalities, there was a promotional stunt or two you were roped into.  One was “living” atop a billboard.  Not something the majority of us have experienced. 😉  What was that like?

KELLY:  It was truly unbelievable.  Sleeping, eating, and broadcasting for five days on top of a billboard was pure craziness.  The Mahoning Valley loved the billboard campaign.  It was a great radio promotion, and raised money for a great cause … Easter Seals.  Little did I know that some 15 years later, my family would use their services.

 MARIE ELENA:  Who knew, indeed!  We’ll get to that in a moment, actually.

Kelly, I know you still do some recording and freelance writing.  Let’s focus on the writing.  What type of writing do you do?  How do you go about drumming up business, per se?

KELLY:  I’ll write just about anything, really!  I have written everything from phone scripts (literally, “Hello. Thank you for calling the furniture store”) to marketing pieces, commercial copy, website landing pages, inspirational quotations, and blog posts.  Having worked in media for so many years, I still have contacts in the industry, so occasionally I get work that way.  More often, I market myself via the web and get jobs through professional sites.

MARIE ELENA:  Your blog (Living 4 Real) focuses mostly on your family (you, your husband Chris, and your four beautiful children, including one “special needs” sweetie). Your personal motto, as posted on your blog, is this:

“God doesn’t give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn’t TAKE a special family, it MAKES a special family.” (author unknown)

What a profound outlook. Please tell us about Marina, and how she has blessed your lives.


KELLY:  Truly, every day with Marina is remarkable!  She makes us smile, cracks us up and is so doggone smart.  I had the fall conference with her teacher and you know what she told me? Marina is a leader.  That just cracked me up.  God surely has a sense of humor – I am constantly telling my older three, ‘Be a leader, not a follower,’ and my child with Down syndrome is the leader!  She really does know what she wants, and in most cases she gets it!  The other day, she was negotiating with me to watch a video after I had said no TV.  She asked for one of her favorites and I said, “No, we aren’t watching any videos.” She asked for another one and got the same response.  Then she thought for a moment and said, “How about IT?”  IT is an educational video of sight words that she knows we like her to watch.  Now that is some high level thinking!  I looked at her and said, ‘You don’t really have Down syndrome, do you?’  She is pure joy!

 MARIE ELENA:  What a hoot!  Actually, my favorite poem of yours is about your little “high level thinker.”


By Kelly Donadio

 It starts at conception, they said

the chromosomal triplication

bringing a host of differences.

Nurture and feed, they said

basic needs for growth and survival

are the same as any other.

Saturate with love, they said

environment and support

can make all the difference.

Offer opportunity, they said

success and productivity may come

but don’t be too hopeful.

Watch in amazement, WE said

as personality, giftedness and

joy spring forth beyond all expectations!

This poem truly does reflect your reality.  I can only imagine that there had to be a level of fear when you received the diagnosis.  You’ve told us about how Marina has blessed your family …  now please tell us how her presence has changed your family.

KELLY:  Wow, this could take a while!

Expecting your fourth child at 41 is shocking; having her in an ambulance on the way to the hospital is really unexpected; finding out she has Down syndrome left two communications majors speechless.   But this little bundle of energy has brought more joy to our family than you could imagine.  She has opened our eyes to so many people and situations that we would have certainly missed otherwise.  I have no doubt our other three children are more compassionate, caring, and empathetic because of their little sister.  I have had numerous teachers tell me how kind and helpful my older three are to other students.  I know that is because they feel for the underdog, and want everyone to have a chance to succeed.

Marina is sensitive to loud noises, so although a family of six can do some “yelling,” she gets us to stop pretty quickly, and helps to bring a calm to the situation.   I’m pretty fast-paced and direct.  Marina takes her time and is careful.  She has helped me to slow down (somewhat).  She likes things ‘just so,’ but she is also teachable and accommodating.  When she is sad or hurt, tears will be rolling down her cheeks and she will look up and say, “Happy.”  She doesn’t want to be sad or make anyone else sad.

We have all been molded and changed for the better since Marina joined us six years ago.  We are better people, better parents, a better family.


MARIE ELENA:  So now I literally have to dry tears before continuing.  Kelly, she has not only made you better people, but her presence has had a direct positive impact on the lives of others with Down Syndrome and their families in the area in which you live.  To my wonder and amazement, you and Chris founded Down Syndrome Association of the Valley (DSAV).  Your DSAV vision is “… for people with Down syndrome to be active participants in a fully inclusive society.”  It seems society has come a long way since we were children, but the stigma remains. Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?   Please also tell us a bit about DSAV.

KELLY:  I do see a change in society and the acceptance of people with Down syndrome.   DSAV was started to provide support, advocacy, resources, education, and opportunity for those with Down syndrome and their families.  Part of what we have done is to invite the media to our events.  This helps to showcase our members and what they are doing.   The more that people in the community see individuals with Down Syndrome being successful, the less of a stigma there will be.  There is still such a long way to go, though.  People don’t realize the potential these individuals have.  I just want them to be given a chance.  I was speaking with a reporter a few months back and I told her, “Until Marina proves to me she can’t, I’m going to assume that she can.”  That is the total truth.  Don’t put limitations on anyone.

MARIE ELENA:  A huge AMEN to that, my cousin.

Now, I ask this of all our Web Wednesday guests, and many have said it is the most difficult question.  I have a strong feeling you won’t struggle with this one at all, Kelly:  If we could know only one thing about you, what would it be?

KELLY:  I love my children and their dad more than life itself, and want nothing more than for them to be happy!


MARIE ELENA:  Walt and I are thankful for every poet here, whether novice or veteran.  Kelly, you are an inspiration, both poetically and personally.  Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us.

P.S.  Love to you all.


Traditions and preparations aside now.  Did you remember everything? The gift for the kids? The favorite dish for Grandpa? Take a little time for yourself to just enjoy the tree? There’s always those Last Minute details to finalize before the Holiday is complete. Tells us what they usually are. Is there a gift you’d like? Something you would have done differently? You’re running out of time. Tell us.

Marie’s Finishing touch:

Saving the Best for Last

In the quiet of Christmas Eve,
An empty manger beneath the tree
Receives the Baby King
As clock hands point heavenward.

Walt’s Last Minute:

For the sake of humanity
All I want is my sanity.
Wrapped up in a big red bow.
Even if I have to get it myself!


Sorry for the late post. I was ensconced in my own preparation for the holidays, making cookie, pierogi and Placek (Polish Coffee Cake). The day just got away…

Last week we laid out our traditions. This week we highlighted the preparation for the season. The response has been great this December and thusly has made the selection  process a bit arduous. But we have come to a conclusion.

Marie’s Beautiful Bloom:

Janet Martin’s “reminder note to myself” creatively taps into the very ambiance of the season: sights, sounds, scents, joy, emotion, stress, and exhaustion. As I read through, I took particular pleasure in the joy and festivity. I was also impressed with (and can relate to) the descriptions of the unpleasant aspects of “volumes quite obscene,” “dollars become brave,” and “describing greed as need.” Janet’s note concludes with the solemn reminder that it is the state of my heart that needs tending. Janet, this is a superb Christmas poem that I hope finds a home in a card or publication.

reminder note to myself…

Poinsettia for the table
Bloom of festivity
Pretty little angel
To grace the Christmas tree
Lights and pretty candles
Lending their gentle glow
In tiny golden circles
Wee choirs in the snow

Cookies, cakes and puddings
In volumes quite obscene
Large and tiny presents
Wrapped in bright red and green
Songs extol the season
And malls the latest rave
Excuses become reason
As dollars become brave

Stress finds brand new victims
And cheer loses its mirth
All in the preparation
To celebrate His birth
Shopping lists extended
Beyond the budget’s creed
Holly, jolly merchants
Disguising greed as need

Christmas Eve descending
We brave the cold perhaps
To find within a chapel
A pew, where we collapse
My house sure looks amazing
The food, a work of art
Wouldn’t it be something
If this had been my heart

Walt’s Selection:

This piece by Marian Veverka has touched a familiar chord with me, playing on very similar traditions and their preparation from my own Polish heritage. She has captured the essence of some very time honored customs. My Bloom goes to Marian.

Worlds upon worlds by Marian Veverka

On Christmas Eve we eat pierogi
Some filled with potatoes
Some with cabbage Not eating
Meat is no longer required.
We do it because it is something
Left over from our childhood
We learned about the Christ Child
Before our friends told us of Santa
Who slides down the chimneys with
A sack full of toys..

We always knew it was mother
And father filling the stockings
and all the bright packages under
The tree. Which came from a field
Back of our house. Our father chopped it
We decorated together. We helped our
mother roll the dough for kolachke with
fillings of poppy seeds, or honey and nuts

On holidays when memories rise to the surface
like bread in the oven which later we will eat
What do we take with us? What is forgotten?
What do our children pass on to their own?
The ocean is wide, not as wide as the past.
What do we teach them of the faith of their
Fathers in a world of images, plastics and woe.

My daughters ask me how to make bread. How
Does this delicate .yeast make it rise? This I
Can show them, from flour and water, some sugar
And eggs some mysterious process I don’t quite
Understand. Like the faith that we carry in a world
of unkindness a spark of caring we can show for
each other, all brothers and sisters, most blessed of ties.

Congratulations to Janet and Marian for your selections today!  Poets – another great response.


Before we get into our form, a reminder. Please read “It’s Not Too Late…” below if you need some poetry to stuff your stocking or fill your heart. Our poets are offering their works for your purchase and enjoyment. Please support each other.


Today’s foray into poetic form delves into an old stand-by, The Triolet. The triolet is a very brief, tightly rhymed poem that, like the pantoum, takes part of its structure from the repetition of entire lines. A triolet is eight lines, as follows:

1st line A
2nd line B
3rd line a (rhymes with A)
4th line A (entire 1st line repeated)
5th line a (rhymes with A)
6th line b (rhymes with B)B)
7th line A (entire 1st line repeated)
8th line B (entire 2nd line repeated)

Marie’s Surprising Triolet:

Early Results

Her facebook profile boasts a tester
Clear response dispels all doubt
No need to let the question fester
Her facebook profile boasts a tester
“Pregnant,” in her first trimester
Cradling a little sprout
Her facebook profile boasts a tester
Clear response dispels all doubt!

(Yep! Sophie (Marie’s grandbaby) is going to be a big sister!) 🙂:)

Walt’s Terrible Triolet:


Waiting for the winds to whip and whirl,
a Buffalo winter teases and annoys.
A tease to all the snow-bunny girls
waiting for the winds to whip and whirl.
With small ski jumps and an airborne twirl
it’s a pleasing sight for all the boys
waiting for the winds to whip and whirl.
A Buffalo winter teases and annoys.


Marie and I have received this correspondence from friend and kindred poet, Nancy Coats Posey with a fantastic and timely idea:

“Could you put in a plug for my chapbook (Let the Lady Speak) and those of others in our group as Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers? Mine is $10 and I’ll cover shipping. I wonder if anyone else would be willing to travel at least a short distance for readings or to conduct poetry workshops. I’d love a chance to meet some of our online friends, and goodness knows, I’d welcome an opportunity to travel sometimes. I’d also love to host others here in this area.” ~Nancy Coats Posey

So, in keeping with the spirit of the season and the pursuit of poetry, I’m offering anyone with a chapbook  or other creative endeavor the opportunity to post information as a comment for the purchase of your work. If you wish to post a link to your site, that’s fine, but we would like you to give the details up front in the body of this posting so our group can find what they’re looking for in a quick glance. They would be indeed be the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for those with a poetic vent or anyone just loving the written word. It’s not too late…



“BE PREPARED” – Prompt # 33

Now that our Holiday traditions have been brought to the fore, the next thing we need to do for our celebration is to prepare. Decorations need to be displayed, gifts bought and wrapped, trees trimmed, cookies baked…etc. Prompt #33 asks you to write a “preparation” poem.  Get ready to write, and tell us what you do to be prepared.

Ready for Marie:

Dash Away

Untangling light strings, I pray
that they will light sometime today.
And as my dear mother would say,
“But I just put Christmas away.”

I pull silver from the buffet
to polish and put on display,
then dig out the Santa and sleigh.
But I just put Christmas away!

The light strings are twinkling! Hooray!
I sneak from a rich cookie tray;
then tidy the cookie array.
(I’m just putting Christmas away. )

Twelve shopping days left, by the way,
and I have done naught but delay.
If you ask me why, I’ll just say,
“Cause I just put Christmas away.”

Still I cling to the jolly and gay …
for much to my heart’s dismay,
‘In the blink of an eye,’ as they say,
will be time to put Christmas away.


Walt’s Preparations:



I don’t know why I’m the guy that
always works right to the point
of no return. It’s not that I yearn
for the excitement or challenge,
(although they do entice) it’s nice
to think that my efforts are rewarded,
by the smiles am I afforded.

But, I aim to please, for these are the times
that try my soul. I need to get it right,
right up to the night I take flight.
When I’m getting past the last details,
it never fails that I forget things in urgency,
(but, I always carry “spares”, in case of emergency).
And I hold this reverent spark tucked

into my parka that fuels me, drives me,
and keeps my ever loving heart pulsing.
Each child knows that ember burns within them
every December, for as long as I remember,
they’ve made my job worth doing on that night.
Like I’ve said, I need to get it right,
right up to the night I take flight.

I don’t know why I’m the guy that
always works right up to the point
of no return. It’s just the way I roll.
Ready? No! But, I’m in control.
I am Santa Claus.