This was a prompt that I knew would illicit a great response and exceptional poetry. Our poets did not disappoint on both counts. We’ve learned a lot about your home and origins and in turn about you. This was indeed a grand exercise. The sheer numbers do contribute to the difficulty in choosing just two poems for honors.


First, an “attaboy” to my partner for his prompt.  Truly in my “top five” category!

It seems with each and every prompt, it becomes harder and harder to choose only one poem to honor.  Such is the case today as I agonize over half a dozen poems that BEG a “bloom.”  Some focus on family and, really, what is home if not family?  Some expertly describe landscape and location.  Some are brilliantly creative.  But I finally decided to honor Jlynn (Janice) Sheridan’s “When Suburbs Were Born.”  Though there are certainly other poems just as worthy, this poem oozes everyday life and breath in Chicago’s ‘burbs.  The author manages to incorporate scent, sound, sight, fret, familiarity, custom, routine, vision, scene, and sentiment in this uniquely “Jlynn” piece.  Bravo, and congratulations Janice!

When Suburbs Were Born by Jlynn Sheridan

Sweet home Chicago, I singeth not
of you but your sprawled tentacles
far-reaching along the Northwestern
rail line, the conductor bellowing for
tickets, his clickers chewing like mad
magpies, snatching prey before the
next stop.

We time our walk to school by these
oil-stench trains. If we pass Baby Park
by 7:54, cross the street to avoid the DOM
(dirty old man,) by 7:56, don’t stop to
gape into the knot holes in the abandoned
barn searching for dead cows by 8:01.

If we bypass the sweet temptations of
the Cake Box, the cigar store with the
swinging saloon doors where we buy
baseball cards with the pink Bazooka
Joe gum inside,

then hurry by Hillenbrans where I bought
my first bra, then eyes to the pavement,
our worn shoes scurrying passed
Bar one,
Bar two,
Bar three

where early commuters catch one more
before their chase for their train, slowing
us up as they decide which door to go in.

If we get passed all that by 8:07, we can
reach the station and avoid the three-minute
wait for stops at the crossing gate, and we
can safely trip over the four-rail gravelly
train highway just in time for the red light
at Northwest Highway.This rush of road
leads the clan of commuter trains into
the big city,

toward Sear’s Tower, and the lions in front of
the Field Museum, Wrigley Field, Comiskey
Mayor Daly,
de dems,
de do’s,
de El,
de Loop,

Navy Pier, Lake Michigan where the fancy
ladies shop along The Magnificent Mile
but we don’t because we live on the south
side of the tracks, the tracks we have to cross
to get to school every day, where we have to
meet up with the fancy north-siders who do.


My choice is for a poem which captured my original intention when I proposed this prompt to Marie. Where do we find home? Is it in early memories? Is it just a place? Do we carry it with us? My suspicion is it is a little bit of each. And so, I chose Connie L. Peters “WHERE I GREW UP”

WHERE I GREW UP by Connie L. Peters

Huddled in hills
in western Pennsylvania
sat a little pink house
(sometimes yellow, red or white)
by Charlie the Oak Tree
in a neighborhood where a creek
and a small road ran through,
by the name of Shannon, our name.
Mostly relatives
were scatted about
some longtime friends, too,

My four sisters and I
rarely stayed indoors
climbing trees, sled riding,
exploring the woods,
playing pretend games
after all the old shows,
eating fruits from trees, bushes
and even out of the gardens.
We were mad when
a new neighbor moved in
and wiped out the best blackberry patch.

Pappap sold the land bit by bit
and house grew up all over
hidden in the summer by the foliage
but in the winter we saw them encroaching.
The little road became busier
until kids no longer played on it like we did
when we needed a smooth, flat place.
We grew up and left and the pine trees
covered the yard, hiding the little house
until it was abused by renters and torn down.
But still, standing tall, is the Oak Tree, Charlie

15 thoughts on “BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS PROMPT #55

  1. Oh, what an honor! There are so many different ways to honor our hometowns, and I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you, Marie Elena! (and Walt for the prompt) I honestly do not know how you two choose from so many creative Blooms.

    • It sure isn’t easy, Janice! But it also means you can rest assured that if you are “chosen,” your poem must be incredible! 😉

      Marie Elena

    • I had this as my choice initially, but felt in my heart that Marie would choose this as her bloom. But my choice of Connie’s was equally a strong contribution. My ideas of home indeed! Congrats Janice and Connie!

      • That’s interesting, Walt. I’ve been on the flip side of that coin many times!


  2. While selling one home and preparing another for summer, and focusing on several lifelong friends who are now at the end of their lives, as we all await our 50-year high school reunion, I had little time to write this week and last, but I had enough room to read, and I can only agree with Marie that it is nearly impossible to separate the poetic angels from the writing archangels. The work that has been posted was uniformly authentic and descriptive, showing rather than telling, always revealing. It was frequently humorous, sometimes touched with pathos, drawn every time from real life. Thank all for such wonderful work, and congratulations to this week’s blue-ribbon bloomers.

  3. YES, beautiful selection. Congrat. to both you, jlynn and Connie. As I strolled through the garden this past week I stopped more than once to reread you blooms. 🙂

  4. Yup! I never want to be the one who must decide, and yet you do a great job with this task, Walt & Marie! Two excellent choices! Congrats to both jlynn and Connie! Excellent writing, ladies! And, jlynn – to that writing teacher who told you never to make a poem into a history lesson – I say, “Hah, take that!” :- ))

  5. Congrats to both Connie and Janice for two worthy poems indeed – and to Walt and Marie Elena for doing the heavy lifting and awarding the blooms … as always, a job well done.

  6. Just got back from one of our writer’s conferences, and what a nice suprise. Thanks Walt and Marie and all. 🙂

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