As writers, and poets specifically, we are influenced by the words of others. Words from which to learn and be inspired and words to live by. This week, I want you to develop a personal motto; a quotation which Bartlett’s would be proud to offer. Instead of using someone else’s quote as your jump off point, open with your own quote. Accredit it to yourself, and then write your poem. It’s a lot more challenging than it sounds.

Quote from Marie Elena:

“Sometimes yes means maybe no, and no means sometime, maybe.” ~Marie Elena Good

ADVICE TO MOMS (and dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, teachers, neighbors, sitters … you get the idea.)

As moms, sometimes we might give in
And let the little darlin’ win.
Does yes mean yes and no mean no?
Or maybe we don’t really know,
Depending on the mood we’re in,
We might not think. Well, think again.
Examples set and morals sown
Will speak to them until they’re grown.
Our word should be rock solid, sound,
And we should always stand our ground.
So simply let your yea be yea,
And nay must never NOT be nay.
End of story. No dispute.
(Unless, of course, they’re stinkin’ cute!)

Walt’s quote and poem:

“On the Merry-go-round of life, love makes the world go around. The faster it goes the  more it makes your head spin!” ~Walt Wojtanik


Drunk with affection.
Whether small sips
or large gulps, the feeling
of inebriation weakens the knees.
Losing your bearings as your footing slips
is the only way to really fall in love!


So, as we have seen, color is found in every tint, hue, shade and saturation throughout our lives. Even the blacks, grays, and whites provide the counterpoint to more vivid and vibrant colors. The spectrum of work presented this week has painted many wonderful masterpieces to hang in our garden gallery. These presented are only two of these amazing pieces.

Marie Elena’s Selection

Even though the field was once again ripe with luscious blooms, I have chosen to return to the same poetic vine as last week:  Jane Shlensky.  “Gouache” seems to epitomize a color prompt, in my view.  We begin by “driving along the coastal highway, Nova Scotia.”  This immediately sets a colorful, scenic view in the mind’s eye.  Nature’s palette gives way to “village houses painted in screamingly vibrant hues.”  The descriptive language throughout is colorful in its own right, and pleasurable to read.  The gallery scene intrigues me, as Jane so artfully paints both synthetic and natural; setting and sentiment.  She ends with a brilliant reference to American soil, and a “steady diet of red, white, and blue.”  Thank you, Jane, for sharing your gift with us, week after week.

Gouache, by Jane Shlensky

Driving along the coastal highway,
Nova Scotia bore no resemblance
to American crowded beaches littered
with the refuse of entertainment.
This pristine stretch reminded me
of Greek islands of my youth, back
when we both believed in getting
away to lands far off, where we could
see our own country more clearly.
Getting away had always spiced our food
and added color and texture to our palette.

Village houses painted in screamingly
vibrant hues were set along that seascape,
all shades of shy and muscular blues,
flecked with whites of cloud, sea foam,
and sand, the road itself trailing lazily
through trees like a black ribbon dropped
by a careless goddess dressing for a party.

There in that small gallery—remember?—
we saw paintings that so reflected the colors outside
that we stood for hours shifting from one foot
to the other, looking first out the window and
then back at the framed work on easels and walls,
the best water-coloring ever was really gouache,
a media I almost wanted to eat just to get it
firmly within me where it could satisfy
a color deficiency, a craving I hadn’t known
I felt until I saw what would relieve it.

That drive should have told us that our lives
had fallen upon a gray patch, a July dry grass
and muddy pond patch, our bodies themselves
yearning for the vitality of a blooming spring—
Kelly green, coral, lilac, saffron, magenta,
indigo, sun flower, scarlet, and umber,
wanting to take that festival of brightness
home with us, so we would not waste away
on a steady diet of red, white, and blue.

Walt’s pick:

My BEAUTIFUL BLOOM this week is presented to a poem that expresses a scene we have all witnessed in our own living. The focus  is solely on the process of a melting candle. Simplistic in concept, the complexity takes a new life as the candle morphs into its different properties. The color purple plays as a back drop to Mike Grove’s chosen poem.

Purple Candle by Michael Grove

A purple candle was lit
and it brightened the room.
At first a dim flicker on the tip
of the wick appeared that intensely
grew into a glowing flame.
The wax began to melt
and drip down the sides
of the burning taper.

Browns turned to green and tiny
buds appeared as evidence
of the new beginning.
A brisk breeze passed quickly
through the room and extinguished
the flame for a moment.
A single burning ember on
the wick sparked the flame
to bring back the light
and it grew even brighter.
The wax continued to flow down
the sides of the ever
diminishing purple candle.

Large green leaves grew from the
buds and provided a cool shade.
Early in the second season a strong
wind gusted and tried to extinguish
the purple candle once again. It was
not to be and the flame flickered
even brighter than ever.

The purple taper was briefly moved
into a darker room and illuminated
the faces all who would bear witness.

The large leaves would turn to
brilliant hues of red, yellow,
orange and gold. A cooler shade
would prevail as the wax of the purple
candle would melt away while the wick
was quickly being consumed.

The shade would disappear
as quickly as the gold would drop. A
blanket of white began to cover the
wilderness. Intense moisture smothered
the yellow and blue flame and black
and gray smoke swirled above
the stub of the dark purple taper.


A Quatern is a sixteen-line French form composed of four quatrains. It is similar to the Kyrielle and the Retourne. It has a refrain that revolves to a different place in each quatrain. The first line of stanza one is the second line of stanza two, third line of stanza three, and fourth line of stanza four. A quatern usually has eight syllables per line. It does not have to be iambic, or follow a specific rhyme scheme.



Lord, help us in our unbelief
When doubts and worries overflow
And those we love are filled with grief
Lord, help us trust You even so.

Through puzzlement and turmoil’s clutch
Lord, help us in our unbelief
When we can’t feel Your healing touch
Let faith adorn our life’s motif.

When there’s no sign of pain’s relief
Though friends may turn their hearts away
Lord, help us in our unbelief
Grant strength in need, O Lord we pray.

For though You’re there to help us cope
Suspicion creeps in like a thief
To shake our faith, and steal our hope.
Lord, help us in our unbelief.



In a poet’s heart is beauty,
it is through a sense of duty
that a true poet will express
what all poetic hearts possess.

This fact one cannot refute, see;
in a poet’s heart is beauty.
Romantic words to rend his soul,
the feelings wrought will not control

the depth of expression within.
To deny this muse is a sin.
In a poet’s heart is beauty.
Lightness of words, sad or moody,

bring delight to such expression.
They lift souls from their depression
never sounding harsh or haughty,
in a poet’s heart is beauty.


BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR PROMPT FOR THIS WEEK – WRITE A “COLORFUL” POEM. The response after two days has been tremendous! Add your colors to our growing spectrum!


The name of our blog is POETIC BLOOMINGS, so the emphasis will always be on your poetic musings.                         

Worded teases and photo prompts.

But our mission here is to promote the creative endeavor. For those whose inclination to longer worded fits of prose or short (flash) fiction, may we recommend FLASHY FICTION. This blog features photo prompts and worded teases to inspire and provoke thought. Our “resident” form master and poetic compatriot, RJ Clarken, is one of seven ladies providing the kick start we all require from time to time. In an effort to keep their site viable and breathe new life into their process, please consider trying your hand at something a little different, FLASHY FICTION. You’d be amazed at where your muse will take you.


The musical group CHICAGO has a long running classic by the same name, and being about as big a CHICAGO fan as I am a BEATLES fan, I felt the title of this prompt was apropos. Here we sit, the Holidays are a not-so-distant memory, and Winter is just catching her wind. The skies around  our Lake Erie region are dank and dreary. Marie would agree, we could use to have our world “coloured.” So this is our nudge. Write a colorful poem. It could be a poem about a specific color. It could be a poem of many colors. You might make a passing reference to the palette at your disposal. Just make sure the color is vivid and graces the title of your poems in some way. Colour My World (and we don’t even care if you stay within the lines!)


Marie Elena’s Portrait:

FLESH (a short lesson in color harmony)

(yes, you  — whoever you are, wherever you are)
complete my masterpiece.


Walt’s Spectrum:


Beauty beheld in eyes so tired and weary,
a bleary glimpse at the trappings of allure
and comfort. Graceful and delicate,
tatting in ebony hues. Slinky, sexy,
a sight for sore eyes. No surprise.
There is surely a place for black lace.


Before we get started, Marie and I would like to remind you that all of our poet’s blogs are (or should be) featured on our DAISY CHAIN. We have recently added new links for the blogs of Hannah Gosselin, The Happy Amateur, Mary Mansfield and Oscar Sparrow (a talented fan of POETIC BLOOMINGS, and hopefully soon a contributor). Please check your own link to be assured it is updated and keeps your blog a viable destination. If you want yours included, please let us know where we can find it and we’ll be happy to oblige. And visit one another’s blogs to leave an encouraging word. A little support goes a long way.


This week we had asked you to choose a line from another poet’s piece and use that as your title/inspiration for a new poem. What I loved most about this exercise was the sense of community it helped build. In using these tidbits of inspired thought, we in a sense offered BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS of our own to the poets who were so selected. We said, “I found your words had reached me in a special way.”  And so, it is time for the BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS to be chosen. This week will provide a twist in our process. Marie and I will be offering TWO honors for each poem. One goes to the poet of the honored piece. The other is given to the poet whose work was taken to offer the creative nudge. And so, getting down to business…

Marie’s Selection:

This has been my favorite prompt to date.  Thank you for this, Walt.  I think we should revisit this idea from time-to-time.

My choice this week, Jane Shlensky’s captivating  Praying with One Eye Open, was stirred by Mary Mansfield’s Splash  from Prompt #37. Both Jane and Mary grace us regularly with the beauty of their words.  It gives me pleasure to be able to honor them together with a “Bloom.”

From Mary Mansfield’s “Splash”


Faith was not as blind as he let on
depending on belief with its eyes closed,
understanding without knowledge,
ears closed with palms
and voices raised
to stifle honest questions that
God can surely see.

Belief for her embodied studying,
asking and seeking,
sometimes finding,
always knocking and waiting,
reaching and waiting,
craving openings, vision and revision,
and praying from the deepest heart
for clear and useful answers,
still with one knee bent,
with one eye open
to see
the world.

Walt’s Inspired Tandem:

The work I have chosen was inspired by Elizabeth Johnson’s “BREATHE.” The angst of familial hardship plays out to a tender and loving solution in this poem by Kimiko Martinez. Faith in the ties that bind a family together was portrayed sweetly in what I have considered worthy of my BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS. Congratulations to Kimiko Martinez and Elizabeth Johnson for their efforts.

From Elizabeth Johnson’s “Breathe”

A LONG HOLD by Kimiko Martinez

His days were long.
Hers was too.

His was filled with
factory work, which
stuck to his face.

Hers was filled with
five children who
stuck to her legs.

Worried sighs drew
across his brow
as he sat at the dinner

table and whispered
to my mother about
bills and layoffs.

Worried eyes met
his as she held his
hands across the dinner

table and whispered
that everything would
be just fine.

Their talks were long.
But their kisses were too.



Connie Peters is yet another poet Walt and I met at Robert Lee Brewer’s 2009 April Poem-a-Day Challenge. Connie was then (and continues to be) one of the most uplifting souls we’ve been “introduced to” in the poetic community. Her presence here enriches our spirit.

MARIE ELENA: Thank you for letting us pry into your life, Connie.

CONNIE: Thanks for the interview, and thanks to you and Walt for hosting Poetic Bloomings. I’ve been writing a poem a day since October 2004, so Poetic Asides and Poetic Bloomings have been wonderful poetic company. They make writing poetry a lot more fun, interesting and educational.

MARIE ELENA: I always choose a favorite poem of our guests. With yours, Connie, I knew which one I wanted.  I’m thankful it was easy to retrieve:


Mood as light as angels kisses
Hope on butterfly wings
Sweet ideas as tinkling bells
Rhythm of dancing dreams
Wishing you a magical muse

Inspiration as morning song
and whispering wishes
Words skipping along like fairies
in gossamer dresses
Wishing you a magical muse

Encouragement as sparkling dew
Rhymes like lilting laughter
Poems shining as glittering stars
Happy ever-afters
Wishing you a magical muse

The title of your blog, “Enthusiastic Soul,” strikes me as apropos. Your writing is so very uplifting! Are enthusiasm and positive thinking qualities that come naturally for you?

CONNIE:  Not at all. I tend to be negative and prone to depression. I think it’s probably my struggle to stay sane that I’ve learned to focus on the positive, God’s love and that all things are possible with Him. And in prayer and poetry, my soul is much more enthusiastic than what might show on the outside.

MARIE ELENA: Prayer and poetry are a combination that simply cannot be beat, in my opinion.

You have several publications displayed on your site, containing not only your poetry, but devotions you have written. For those who may not know, please explain what devotions are, and how you came about writing them.

CONNIE: A devotion is a spiritual insight derived from the Bible, and a practical anecdote. They are usually about 150-500 words. I wrote a book called Sonshine with fifty of my poems, a devotion based on the story of each one, plus writing tips and exercises. I self published a few copies, but it has been in an eternal state of revision. I met editor Adam Colwell at a conference my group puts on each year. He read some of Sonshine and asked me to join the Presidential Prayer Team to write devotions. So I write five devotions a month for I have written poetry for them, too. I also write for Adam Colwell’s WriteWorks. Adam gets jobs from organizations that need writers, and gives his team assignments. The last article I wrote for him was about milk.

MARIE ELENA: You have also been on the board of Southwest Christian Writers for about fifteen years. Please tell us about this experience, and what duties this entails.

CONNIE: We are Christian writers from several towns in Southwest Colorado, northern New Mexico, and one from Arizona. The group has been in existence for about thirty years. I have been a member most of that time. We put a two-day conference on each year in September with national and regional speakers, and a day conference in May with regional speakers. We also have a few more meetings throughout the year. Most of us belong to local critique groups, and we meet all together for conferences and fun activities.

The leadership works closely together. So I’ve been president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, at different times, but we all basically lead together. I’m vice president for 2012, which involves getting speakers for the meetings and conferences. Penny Henderson from Poetic Asides was one of our speakers. It was great meeting her.

Connie with poet Penny Henderson at a Write for His Glory Conference in Colorado

MARIE ELENA: How nice that you were able to meet Penny!  She is another poet whose work is very inspirational and uplifting.

In addition to poetry and devotions, I see you have participated in NaNoWriMo. Do you have any novels under your belt, or in the works?

CONNIE: I have written or in the process of writing about fifteen novels. I’ve published several children’s short stories and received an honorable mention in one of Writer’s Digest’s contests for an adult short story, but haven’t had any novels published yet. I do have a junior novel series being considered with a major Christian publisher, at their request, but haven’t heard back from them yet. I write picture books, too.

MARIE ELENA: Excellent! You have certainly enjoyed a level of marketing success. Please share with us how you go about marketing your poetry and devotions.

CONNIE: I have gotten assignments with Barbour’s Heavenly Humor Series and David C. Cook’s Quiet Hour. I sent in samples of my work, using Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers Market Guide. But the best way to get published is to meet editors at writers’ conferences. I’ve been to many in several different states. I’ve had several pieces accepted with Focus on the Family through meeting one of their editors at a conference.

MARIE ELENA: Focus on the Family? Now I’m really jealous. 😉  Good for you, Connie!

Your blog subtitle is “Tidbits to inspire the creative, poetic, and spiritual soul.” You make no secret of your love for God. How does your faith influence your writing? I suppose it is obvious how it would inspire devotions, but what about poetry?

CONNIE: Many of my poems come directly from my insights during prayer and Bible study. I also use poetry in worship and prayer. When I pray for others, I usually use acrostics. That’s why acrostics come easy for me.

For instance:

M ay Marie draw near to You
A nd may she bask in Your love.
R emind her that You are
I n charge and care for her very much.
E nvelop her and her family in Your grace.

When Walt was having sleep problems I wrote this:

W onderful Lord, thank You for Walt and all Poetic Asides. We have become
A family in a way. Lord, I pray that you help Walt grow in You.
L et him experience Your loving presence. Help him get the rest and sleep he needs.
T oday as he writes poetry, write through him.

Sometimes I share the acrostics with the person I pray for, but most of the time, I don’t.

MARIE ELENA: Wow. I have never known of anyone using acrostics for prayer. What a marvelous idea. Thank you for your prayers, Connie. You have me tearing up.

We have interviewed several poets who were school teachers. You home schooled your two children. I have to tell you, that is something I don’t believe I could have accomplished with any satisfactory degree of success. Is it as difficult as it seems? Please tell us a bit about your home-schooling experience.

CONNIE: Teaching two students is a lot different than teaching thirty. So I would think most parents could do it. In general, home school students do better academically than public school students. I’ve made mistakes and would do some things differently, but overall it was a good experience. My daughter Lori graduated with honors with her BSN from the University of Louisiana. She was aghast at the writing skills of most of the students. And home schoolers tend to learn better thinking skills. Lori often writes on Poetic Asides. My son, however, is your classic geek in the garage. He’s very intelligent, but he’s 26 and we’re still trying to launch him. He does help around the house and keeps my computer going.

Connie's daughter, Lori (also a poet)

MARIE ELENA: I don’t believe I knew your daughter writes poetry, let alone at Poetic Asides. Very cool!

I believe you and your husband have traveled the United States, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. What is your favorite state or favorite area of the country? I assume your children accompanied you on most, if not all of your travels. How did this affect their education? What effect (if any) did it have on your writing?

CONNIE: I’m not sure how many states my husband has been to. I went to several before we were married, or with just the kids. My daughter and I travel together on the odd-numbered years. She and her brother will be going to London this summer, but I won’t be able to go with them. My kids had a better understanding of geography and cultures than I did as a child.

Maine and Washington are two of my favorites. I grew up in Pennsylvania so I’ll always love it, but I don’t want to move back there. The weather is always too rainy, sunny, cloudy, foggy, snowy, cold, hot, or humid. I’m quite happy in Colorado, other than getting frustrated with snowy springs. It’s a beautiful state, and I want to explore it more in detail. I’m not sure how traveling affects my writing, except that I have more to write about. In November my novel and poems were about a jilted bride that traveled to all fifty states on her non-honeymoon.

MARIE ELENA: You and your husband host two developmentally disabled people in your home. Such an unselfish act of love. Please tell us how this came about, and what a typical day looks like in the Peters home.

CONNIE: In my earlier years, I said I’d never work with people with developmental disabilities. But through the school of hard knocks and prayer, I’ve developed more compassion and understanding toward them. It works for us because my husband and I take care of them together. And at least once a year, he takes over for a week while I go gallivanting.

We have two types of days. Four days, Justin and Vanessa (our two great clients) go to day-programming and I have more time to write, and long weekends where everyone’s kind of hanging around the house. It takes about three times longer than normal for us to do anything, and much of our day revolves around meals, baths and bedtime.

Vanessa, we’ve had for nine years. She has a big smile and a big heart, and likes to tease. She communicates well, despite being nonverbal.  We’ve had Justin for three years. He is also nonverbal and operates on a lower level. He’s very affectionate. Many times when I’m writing poetry, Justin is leaning on my head. Vanessa’s wheelchair-bound and Justin is a constant walker. Justin has a thing about noise. He leaps up and down at the hairdryer and vacuum cleaner. It’s quite different at our house.

MARIE ELENA: It warms me to my core to learn of this loving, unselfish act. No, not a single “act” at all, but a lifestyle. God bless you and your husband.

This seems a good time to share the poem you chose as one that best represents you.


You may see an old woman with
sunken cheeks, all skin and bones
who scowls at you, hits and bites
and speaks in angry tones.

Please, don’t trust only
what your eyes can see;
I’m just months away
from what I used to be.

A mother who raised five girls
and loved their dad fifty years.
A woman who gave of herself
and calmed others’ fears.

One who worked hard, painted pictures,
and wrote to all she’d meet.
One who was known to be
patient, kind and sweet.

Jim suffered from Alzheimer’s
and as he began to roam,
I lost my health, house and husband
to a nursing home.

As the sore grew,
I chose not to grieve.
Instead, something inside of me
decided to leave.

I lay alone and afraid
in this bed of pain.
Others say there’s sunshine,
but all I see is rain.

But when you reassure me,
with a kind word and a smile,
the other me that’s locked inside
visits for a while.

When my wounds heal
and my mind is set free,
it will be from the Lord’s love
and how you cared for me.


CONNIE: In 1998 my mom, a diabetic, had to have her leg amputated. The infection caused her to be mean and, in turn, the nurses were mean to her. And even on the day of the amputation, I heard two nurses mocking her. I was devastated, but didn’t say anything. I went home and wrote this poem and gave it to them, and they treated her better after that.

I chose Dear Caregiver because it’s about my family as many of my poems are. Some are serious like this one and some are humorous. I write in many different styles and forms. I have fun with poetry. I’m not afraid to write a bad poem. So I experiment a lot. Photographers take loads of pictures and only expect two or three to be published. I’m that way with my poems.

MARIE ELENA: What a moving story. My heart breaks for your mother, and those in positions like hers. Your poem moved me to tears. What better use of poetry than to stir others to kindness. Wonderful, Connie.

You know, I have never thought of poetry in the same light as photography, as you explain above. I like your style!

Finally, we will end with the same question I ask of all our guests:  If we could know only one thing about you, what would it be?

CONNIE: Out of high school, I was not creative at all. Early in our marriage, my husband kept telling me to be creative. Now he’s probably sorry! I learned to think creatively, draw and paint and write. People often say, “I wish I had your gift.” They shouldn’t write themselves off like they tend to do, especially when it comes to poetry. They can always learn.


A full list of books containing Connie’s works is located at Enthusiastic Soul. Most may be purchased on Amazon. If you want to order an autographed copy, e-mail Connie at


Take an eye-catching line from one of the poems posted ahead of you at Poetic Bloomings, and use it as the title of a totally new poem. Be sure to credit the poet and poem it is from.  Have fun!

Marie Elena’s Attempt:


Pointless notions
seep, leak, drip, drain
flee the brain, launch campaign
to wreck the reputation.

scored, pared, sliced, peeled
spread open, core revealed
displayed for summation.

In the line of fire,
Gutsy versifier.

(From S.E. Ingraham’s Rime Couée, “Undergoing a Sea-Change”)


Walt’s Example:


I have no need to berate or vent. The deadline came,
the deadline went and all my offerings are meant as stated.
And if I am elated alone, it will be mine to own.

(From Marie Elena’s “Crash and Burn” – her prompt # 36 example)


Prompt #37 was a photo of three disturbances in an otherwise tranquil amber lake. Like the ripples that resulted from those splashes, our poets took their poems in many different directions, touching all that came into their paths. It is intriguing to see what various poets see in the same captured moment. Each and every poem posted was truly golden and worthy of recognition. HOWEVER … Marie and I choose only one each per week. So in keeping with our routine:

Walt’s Bloom:

One would have to be bananas to look at a photo of three splashes on Golden Pond and equate it with eternally resting in Valhalla. But, once the case was made… well, it made for a very visual and expressive poem. And Michele Breton was the only one Banana enough to pull that off. The imagery in her piece shows pure vision and imagination and has earned Michele my “Bloom” for week # 37. Well done, Michele!

Marie’s Bloom:

It was bound to happen sooner or later. For the first time in our 37 weeks, Walt and I chose the same poem. “Viking Funeral” is so different a take, so unique and well constructed, how could it not be chosen? Bravo, Banana the Poet!

Viking Funeral. by Michele Brenton

Lay him down
dress him fine,
weave flowers in his beard;
for he is loved,
he is mine,
paid for with my tears.

Battles over,
Warrior King
respected by his peers;
hold his image
sing his songs
to echo through the years.

Upon the waters
send him well,
let the flames begin;
Valhalla waits
while my heart breaks
and yearns to burn with him.