Walt’s photo prompt opened a vast and evocative arena for the muse to romp.  Thank you all for once again sharing your gift of words with us!  It is a humbling experience each and every week that we get to revel in your poetry and conversation.

One of these gifts came from Pamela Smyk Cleary in her poem aptly entitled The Gift.  I like her different look at the subject, as well as the many different meanings that can be gleaned from these few, carefully chosen words.  I am always in awe of words that can be taken literally or  figuratively. Thank you, Pamela, for this inspired piece.

The Gift (by Pamela Smyk Cleary)

“For you,” she said
offering up her most prized
possession (herself) willingly
genuinely generous

In wonder and awe
her glorious gift was accepted
but time debrides, wonder wears,
awe erodes, glory gives over
to want and need and

Like kudzu vine, they overcame her
overreaching, encroaching, choking
Virginia creepers, mile-a-minute
invasive, overrunning, overriding
grasping, greeding, never once conceding
(much less ruing) symbiosis might be their undoing



Not writing a lot yet. Reading in short spurts too. I like the flow and innocence of this. Probably all I can handle at the moment.

Could You Believe (by Ellenelizabeth Cernek Kashk)

Just as a child
Asks “How come?” and “Why?”

Could you believe?
We are just someone else’s sneeze?

Could you believe?
We are just a dust bunny,
Within a giant unkempt universe?

Could you believe?
We are just a speck of germs
On top of a pin’s head?

Could you believe?
We are just as atoms are to us,
We are to some other?

Could you believe?
We can be swept clean,
With a wave of God’s hand!


The villanelle is 19-line poem consisting of 5 tercets and a final quatrain. It requires no set meter, nor number of syllables per line. It carries a pattern of only two rhyme sounds (ABA in 5 tercets, and then ABAA in final quatrain). The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas, and rejoin as the final couplet of the quatrain.

Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is one of the most famous villanelles.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night,

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night,

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


… but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Cor. 13:13)

Charity and love, do not forsake.
Treat your fellow man with thought and care –
You may never know what is at stake.

Watch with diligence for souls that ache,
Smile with your eyes once you’re aware –
Charity and love, do not forsake.

Spite consumes – let’s not make that mistake
Lift your foe to God in earnest prayer –
You may never know what is at stake.

Fill his chasm – his great cravings, slake.
Ease or shoulder burdens he may bear.
Charity and love, do not forsake.

Give unceasingly for givings’  sake.
Whether from abundance or need, share.
You may never know what is at stake.

Let your grudges go, and strongholds break.
Selfish gain can teem with death – beware.
Charity and love, do not forsake –
You may never know what is at stake.



Time and tide waits not for any man,
both will come of their own will, not yours.
So, pick your spots and stick to the plan.

Take on challenges the best you can,
and waste not your minutes and hours.
Time and tide waits not for any man.

As seeds that are planted in the sand,
we will wither and die like flowers.
So, pick your spots and stick to the plan.

The time that we borrow comes from His hand
doled out through Celestial powers,
Time and tide waits not for any man,

live your lives and make no demands,
this gift washes down in Loving showers,
So, pick your spots and stick to the plan.

Our fates are held within His hands,
go boldly forward; do not cower,
time and tide waits not for any man,
so, pick your spots and stick to the plan.

Pen, proszę (Sleep, Friend), Round II

ANOTHER UPDATE ON WALT’S CONDITION:  He’s home!   🙂 “Rest and TLC rules the day. He’ll be back to okay sooner than soon. (Knowing him, it will be even sooner than that!) Thanks. Melissa”

To This Wonderful Poetic Community:

I’ve received more news on our Fearless Leader, and have been given his blessing to share with all of you here. Below is what Walt’s lovely daughter, Melissa, had to say.

“I’m not sure what my father had revealed as to his sleep disorders. He has struggled through sleep apnea as well as narcolepsy and recently restless leg syndrome and insomnia at times. I can tell you his recent situation is a bit more serious. He has had violent episodes in his sleep – punching, kicking, screaming and even flinging himself out of bed.

Last week he had one such turn and had smashed his head against the nightstand. He has a slight fracture of his skull and suffered a major concussion; he has been disoriented and very confused. The vision in his eye has been affected. The doctor suggests he may have even had a mini-stroke.

But as things progress, hopefully he will be home sometime this week. He has been comforted by your concerns and prayers. He appreciates that very much. My family thanks you all again for your friendship and support. It eases things a great deal. I will keep Marie abreast of his condition.”

And then, just later today, Melissa updated me with some good news. She believes he will be released from the hospital tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. They will have an aide available, and an Occupational Therapist. She said she saw him at lunch today, and that the swelling and bruising have gone down. He is having problems with the vision in his right eye. Melissa says, “It is blurred and is slow in clearing due to the swelling.” He is sporting an eye patch. Always knew he leaned toward being a pirate, eh?

You know our Walt …  he is frustrated because he wants to write, but the “words won’t come.”  We all know just how hard that would be on him. I’m guessing that is nearly as painful as the head injuries he suffered.

Melissa wants you all to know that Walt very much appreciates all the wishes and concern from all of you. She says they “continue to roll in,” and he is touched by the “love.”


Published on June 24:


Walt’s condition is worse than I let on yesterday.  Most of you will remember that in October of 2011, he was hospitalized for treatment for a severe sleep disorder.  He is back in the hospital again, with complications from this condition.

Walt’s daughter Melissa has kindly kept me informed, and is more than willing to pass along any prayers, poems, and well wishes to her dad.  They may be sent to .  As I told Melissa, I think that’s a great idea, and will remind him that there are those of us out here who think highly of him and miss his presence.

PLEASE KEEP ALL INFORMATION OFF FACEBOOK, as not all family members have been informed of our dear friend’s hospitalization.

Last October, Dyson McIllwain wrote the most compassionate and insightful poem for Walt.  Dyson, I hope you don’t mind my sharing it again.

Thanks to all of you for your care and compassion.

Marie Elena

(By Dyson McIllwain)

Treading to keep your head above water,
catching a lungful from time to time.
Going down too many times to count,
but you struggle to survive. You remain
alive with the words that drip with the emotion
that has always been your forte. Drowning in a sea
of night sweats and blankets tangled, and things
that go bump have you stumped as your sleeplessness
offers only anxiety and paranoia. Hold your breath
and allow rest to resuscitate your muse.
You’ve abused yourself far too long. Be strong
and let nature heal what it has destroyed.
The king is not dead, he merely sleeps.
We think it is about time.


Courtesy of iStock




Our galaxy is inconceivably vast;
Home to our planet
Within a space of roughly
Ten billion light years.



light years.

Yet, here we gather –
Knowing and being known,
Hearing and understanding,
Meeting together,
Sharing words, hearts, selves,
In an instant in time,
At will.

On closer inspection,
The world at large
Really isn’t.



The world is full of wonder,
I’m under its spell.
It could very well be a jewel
to behold, or a nightmare
to unfold. Its fate
is in our hands.



Isn’t it what sets our heart ablaze that distinguishes life from mere existence? Walt’s prompt produced a firestorm of passion – from an extraordinary sonnet that set my spirit aglow, to palpable rage, to fervid lust, to flashes of nature’s beauty. As usual, choosing just one to highlight was nearly impossible for me. I finally dwindled six down to one … Mary Mansfield’s Passing the Torch. I can feel the emotions of this mother – the passion, pride, and panic. Mary, your expressive little spitfire inspired me. Bless her heart. And bless yours for realizing, “This fire is not for me to control.”

PASSING THE TORCH (by Mary Mansfield)

The familiar smell of smoke
Wafts from my daughter’s bedroom.
I find her cross-legged on the bed,
Teddy bear at her side,
Red hair almost hiding
The concentration on her bowed head,
Eleven year old fingers
Furiously scorching words across paper,
Firmly in the grasp of inspiration’s fire.

I’m torn, part of me wishing
To tenderly stoke those new embers,
Another part wanting
To extinguish that flame,
Knowing the difficult
And sometimes frustrating path
That lies ahead of her.

Instead I silently close her door.
This fire is not for me to control.


Walt is, unfortunately, under the weather (prayers welcome). He is also having problems connecting to the internet. He was sure to  relay his Beautiful Bloom choice, which also (not surprisingly) is one of my own favorites this week: Marian J. Veverka’s Lighting the Flame. Marian’s candle lights our way through a physical storm but, as with most poetry, this “small flame” ignites metaphorical possibilities as well. Marian, Walt offers you this well-deserved “Bloom.”

LIGHTING THE FLAME (by Marian J. Veverka)

Small flame that I have brought to life
In the midst of this howling storm
How eagerly your small tongue leaps
Upward as I carry you from room to room.
We travel together accompanied by another
Circle of light reflecting on the walls, once
Familiar, now shadowed and menacing.
You continue to share your brightness,
Your small light in the great darkness
of this frightening time of lost power and
violent storm. When night arrived, we groped
uselessly through the growing shadows–
Until you offered your tender flick of light.


Just a quick reminder. 

The message below was posted June 14th.  Now that we are on the 21st, we want to remind the 66% we have not heard from yet that the deadline is 10 days from today (July 1st)

Please remember that we need your bio in order to include your poem(s) in our collection. 

Please send your bio and revised poems to  Thanks, all! 



For those of you who may have missed the initial announcement, Poetic Bloomings is readying for publication, “Poetic Bloomings – First Blooms.”   This is, in part, a collection of the BEAUTIFUL BLOOM poems from the first year of the Sunday prompts, along with your host’s efforts. We ask all who had been selected for a BLOOM during the “growing season”  (May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012) to revisit the awarded poem(s), and revise as you see fit. We are relying on you to self-edit your work. Please email the corrected pieces with your bio (see below) back to us ( by  July 1st. If we do not receive an updated version of your poetry, we will assume it is to your liking as posted on our site. 


As stated above, we intend to include all poems that received a “Beautiful Bloom.”

BUT WAIT!  (Always wanted to say that. 😉 ) Here at POETIC BLOOMINGS, we have always taken pride in opening the gates of this “Garden” to poets of all ages and skill levels, to make ourselves all-inclusive. So in that light, we invite poets who replied to at least 10% of the prompts to contribute to this publication with poems written for the POETIC BLOOMINGS prompts. These eligible poets should already have been notified. If you believe you fall into this category, but have not received a message from us, please send us an e-mail right away to We ask that you update your contact information for correspondence, and request that poets who post under a blog screen name supply your full name with your info.


Receipt of your bio will be accepted as permission to include your “Beautiful Bloom(s)” or “ten-percenter” poem(s) that you submit to us for inclusion.

BIO (required)

A brief biography (no more than 6 lines, including your url) will be required for all featured poets in this book.  Again, this should be sent to


Nonexclusive rights: Your poem(s) will be used only for “Poetic Bloomings – First Blooms” (not for promotion or other publications), for as long as the collection is in print. As the author, you will have immediate rights to use your included poems in any way you wish.


If you have additional questions, please e-mail us at, or PM us on Facebook.



Today it is our pleasure to spotlight P.S.C. in CT from R.L.B.’s P.A.D.


Or Pamela Smyk Cleary, if you prefer.

Per Pamela: “When I was a kid, “Pamela Marie” is the name my mother used when I was in trouble. (Yup – Marie really is my middle name!). When she wanted to call me inside after a day of playing in the neighborhood, it was just “Pamela,” although … when she was yelling it out the back door, it always sounded more like “PAAAAAA-MA-LAAAAAAA!” I used to hate that name. But as I’ve gotten older, it’s kind of grown on me (…yeah… like a mold). PSC is easier to type with minimal errors.”

“PSC” is fun and endearing to me, but I must admit that it isn’t a name. So then – “Pamela” it is. Pamela is such a pretty name, after all.

The fun side of her poetic heart made its way into this description of herself (from her “About” on Facebook).

 Pamela Smyk Cleary

Dreamer, daughter, woman, wife, (paused, at present, in midlife)
middle child, sister, friend (hopefully, nowhere near the end!)

Walker, ambler, stroller, hiker (keeps pace with a snail),
listener, reader, writer, biker (mostly on the rail trail);
greeting card and letter writer (yep, you guessed it: snail mail).

Dabbler in photography, nature, plants and flowers;
(has been known to sit, sometimes, and watch the birds for hours).
Low energy, low volume, low maintenance, easy care;
(sweatshirt, jeans & sneakers, hair that’s strictly wash & wear).

intermittent poet, sporadic – if you choose –
(frequently requiring a swift kick in the muse).

The first poem Pamela chose to share with us is Pink Lady Slipper Orchid. I’m glad she chose it, as it is representative of the style I’ve come to know as hers.

Pink Lady Slipper Orchid

She doesn’t like to be disturbed
So much relies on patience, persistence,
the perfect conditions

Seemingly rare, she’s
more common than you think
native and wild, hiding
in plain sight in the weak light
on the forest floor

Particular, but enduring
she knows what she lacks,
pursuing it with patience and diligence

Soaking up the timid rays
penetrating the canopy to where
she resides, she may wait years
for what she needs to flower

Offering no reward to pollinating bees,
she takes what they proffer, then
packs her bags lightly, setting her progeny
free in the breeze, hoping some
friendly fungus will fulfill their needs

Beautiful and lush, but also touchy and rash,
you should handle her with gloves
if you handle her at all.

* * *

PAMELA: I chose this poem, because I feel it does a good job of combining a couple of my favorite themes: nature and personal relationships. This “lady” is a combination of several people I know – both real and imaginary – yet she is also an actual flower, whose characteristics are accurately described in the poem.

MARIE ELENA: I enjoy your explanation nearly as much as the poem itself. Would you say this combination of nature and personal relationships is a source of inspiration for much of your poetry?

PAMELA: I am inspired by nature, news events, dreams, music, movies, people (friends, family, fictional), literature, conversations, song lyrics, pictures, other poems…. (I could go on and on, but you get the drift!) The results tend to be an odd mix of “fact” and “fiction, bringing to mind one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. Many of my poems, I think, could be summed up by these lyrics “clipped” from “Semi-True Story” by Jimmy Buffett:

“It’s a semi-true story, believe it or not.
I made up a few things, and there’s some I forgot.
But the life and the tellin’ are both real to me,
and they all run together and turn out to be
a semi-true story.”

MARIE ELENA: I’m sure folks are curious as to the photo above. This amusing gal also graces your Facebook page as your profile picture. She makes me smile every time I see her.

PAMELA: Tee hee! She’s a beauty, isn’t she? (Did I say I hate having my picture taken?) Anyway, the puppet was my attempt to have an online presence, without being … present. Or without being photographed, at any rate. And, in fact, I guess you could say SHE is actually a HE… in drag.


PAMELA: My husband, Timothy, retired in 2009 after 35 years as a high school math teacher. Two of his best friends retired at the same time. All three of them had worked together at the same high school – in the same department – for many years, so a single retirement party was planned for the three of them. As part of the party “entertainment,” a skit was created & performed for them, using puppets that had been designed and dressed to look like each of them. Timothy’s puppet was dressed in suspenders – which he wore all the time — and sporting a beard & mustache.


The first Christmas after Tim retired, I used his puppet to create our Christmas card — posing & photographing him with Tim’s favorite things (pretzels & Pepsi, a golf club, a novel, the TV remote) to show our family & friends how he was spending his retirement. It was quite a giggle, and we got lots of comments on our Christmas card that year!

So, later, when I needed to come up with an image that I could use to represent “PSC, the poet” online, I zeroed in on the “Timothy puppet” as a starting point, and began playing “dress up” to make him more feminine. I covered the suspenders with a scarf and lace collar, overlaid the gray hair with a flowery hat and camouflaged the beard & mustache behind a pair of lips I created out of red felt. (The first version of my profile pic had very large lips. Later, as I acquired some [minor] photo editing skills, I was able to perform a bit of “digital surgery” to correct that).  And lastly, I added a feather – a poetic writing quill, if you will – to complete the transformation … and “she” has been my profile pic, ever since.

MARIE ELENA: I knew there had to be a fun story behind her, but who would have thought your little “PSC” stand in was a drag queen! Too funny!

Your home is in Connecticut. It is so beautiful there! Is that where you grew up?

PAMELA: After that last answer, I feel like I should be more succinct, so: Yup! Next question?

Just kidding! Yes, I was born & raised in CT – and yes, it IS beautiful, in my opinion. I met & married Timothy here, and have lived here all my life (so far). I am truly a homebody at heart. But, I also have a strong connection with Cape Cod, MA – thinking of it as my “second home.” We’ve spent a lot of time there over the years, vacationing with close friends & family, and it always welcomes me back with open arms — no matter how much time has passed since my last visit.

Also, while CT is home right now (and has been for a long time) I do think there are a lot of other places that I could call home and live just as happily. I would need to be able to connect with nature on a frequent basis, though, wherever I live. It keeps me grounded (no pun intended) … or as grounded as it’s possible for me to be, anyway. And, I also have a preference for a four season climate (though, that might be negotiable – especially if Timothy has anything to say about it). My dream is to live beside a quiet lake – where I can just drop my kayak in the water — and where there are also hiking & biking trails nearby.

Pamela Clear(l)y Kayaking

As a child, the neighborhood I grew up in was a small dead end street with a lot of kids. It was a bit like a large, extended family. You knew everybody, and they knew you. We spent a lot of time romping outdoors, and there was always someone around to play with. Everyone’s yard was your playground, and the street was also an available site for kickball, hit the bat, hopscotch, snake, jacks, tag – you name it. (There’s not a lot of traffic on a dead end street). Every summer evening we played Hide & Seek in “the circle” until the street light came on – or until my mother yelled “PAAAAAA-MA-LAAAAAAA” – whichever came first.

MARIE ELENA: Your childhood neighborhood sounds very much like my own, Pamela. Thanks for the warm memories!

Let’s talk about your passion for writing. When did you begin writing, and what prompted you to do so?

PAMELA: Hmmm … not sure exactly when I started or why, but it was a long (long) time ago. I do remember as far back as grade school I was writing poems & stories and making my own “greeting cards.” (I still enjoy doing that, too). I had some poetry “published” in high school newspapers & such. Wrote a lot of poetry, and took a creative writing class or two, in college. (Had a professor who intimidated the rhyme out of me. Over twenty years later, and I still feel awkward writing serious rhyming poetry – I’m only comfortable writing humorous rhymes). After graduating, I got a “real” job and fell into years of mostly “poetic disuse,” revisiting my muse only intermittently – on an “as needed” basis. I’ve just gotten back into writing the last four years or so, and my muse tends to be somewhat stubborn and recalcitrant (payback for my former neglect, I suspect), so writing remains a bit of a sporadic effort on my part.

MARIE ELENA: Was Robert’s site the first on which you had ever posted publicly?

PAMELA: Not the first, but … maybe the second? I know I was posting in the Writers’ Digest poetry forum before Poetic Asides. That’s where I first saw references made to Robert’s prompts on PA, but it took me a while to figure out what they were talking about, and longer still to find my way over there to participate. November 2008 was my first PAD, and while I’ve started every one since then, I fell out of two of them due to computer problems. I do most of my writing & editing on my pc, and it was just too hard to do that at the library when my computer died. Technology is a beautiful thing, when it works… and a real pain in the butt, when it doesn’t! And then, too, there was a stretch of time after one of the PADs, when I was so exhausted and drained, I don’t think I returned to PA until the next PAD – six months later! (Did I say my muse can be moody?)

MARIE ELENA: You just began blogging relatively recently ( “Wander Ponder Poems & Pix”).   I love the title, and how you creatively incorporate your passions.  What made you decide to begin a blog?

PAMELA: Wow! Thank you, Marie! So glad you like it! Took me a long time to get my act together and start blogging, but I’m always thrilled when someone actually enjoys something I put out there! I only just got it “kicked off” on March 6th of this year. (Was aiming to march forth on March fourth, but, was late… as usual).

I started blogging for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I was hoping that by having a place to share my stuff (other than my facebook wall), and a “definitive deadline” (more like a line in the sand, really), I might be able to prompt my lazy muse to be a bit more productive. (Yeah, sure… a girl can dream, right?)

Another reason I started the blog is a bit of a story in itself: Last year, I was talked into performing a couple of my poems before a live audience. Some friends of ours (David & Douglas Bibbey) were starting up a TV production company. As a part of that effort, they organized “First Thursdays” – a variety show of live performances (all original material – music, stories and poetry). It was a new & exciting concept! The music talent was easy to come by: musicians are mostly performers, after all. But finding story tellers and poets who were crazy enough – I mean willing – to recite their work in public was a slightly tougher task. (My husband, of course, was crazy enough, so he jumped at the chance, and I… got dragged along, kicking and screaming.) When I expressed my discomfort over reading my poems aloud — saying I’d rather just WRITE poetry — David’s response was that poems shouldn’t just “sleep in a book.” They were meant to be read aloud (he said), shared and performed (he insisted), so … I got suckered in – I mean, convinced – to read a couple of my poems.

Well, needless to say, I survived the trauma (although, I’m still not fond of getting up in front of an audience!) And David did convince me that poetry really is meant to be shared (mostly), and shortly after my “performance experience,” I penned a poem for him, called “Poems Should Not Sleep,” which I posted on my blog. (Rolande Duprey — another multi-talented friend of mine — liked it so much that she turned it into a video. I’m including the poem here in the hope that you will enjoy it too — and also because it told me it wants to be shared!)


Poems should not sleep in a book, nor slumber under a rock. They are meant to be
set free, read aloud, sung, shouted, performed on a stage, danced about – as a waltz
or tango or even the Can Can – except, of course, for those that you can’t… can’t….

Not every poem is an exhibitionist; not all are meant to be circus performers,
dogs and ponies, amusements for the masses. Some are more private and personal;
intended to be taken in small drams – like medicine, poison, or some fine wine:
inhaled, sipped, held on the tongue, swished about, perhaps, then … spit out.

Some poems should be kept in a jar on your nightstand, taken out each evening
to be touched and fondled, smoothed like velvet under your rough hands, then,
stripped naked and taken to bed, alone … or not alone.

Some are intended to be closely examined, under a microscope, maybe – or tacked
and pinned to a butterfly board, dissected, eviscerated, boiled down and distilled, or
taken apart, then re-assembled, like a jigsaw puzzle, while others are only ever meant
to be observed from a distance – via satellite or telescopic lens.

There are those you will want to avoid entirely. Go ahead. It’s okay to pass these on to a friend –
or perhaps an enemy. Not every poem is meant for you. But, some … there are bound to be some,
you must pluck, press and preserve forever between the pages of your scrapbook memory.


MARIE ELENA: … and THAT, PSC, is a “preserve forever” poem, and seems it was great fun to write. Thank you for sharing it! And speaking of sharing it, for those who agree with David Bibbey, here is Rolande Duprey’s youtube clip:

Do you simply enjoy writing and freely sharing, or is it your goal to be a published writer?

PAMELA: Mostly, (right now at least), I think I’m just trying to enjoy the experiences of writing and sharing with friends, family & fellow writers. I have submitted a few pieces over the past four years — had several published, and another handful slated to be published over the next few months, too. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled over that, but I’m just not sure it’s really a “goal” of mine at this point. Honestly, a more logical goal for me would be to focus on just writing more poetry. After all, that’s really why I created my blog in the first place – to provide motivation – to prompt myself to write. Quite frankly, just keeping up with posting something on my blog several times a week – and increasing the quantity and quality of my work — is enough of a challenge for me, for right now. But, it’s possible that being published will become a goal of mine… sometime down the road … maybe …

MARIE ELENA: “Increasing the quantity and quality of my work” is a worthy goal for every poet, and an inspiration to me. Thank you! And congratulations on your acceptances!  So, do you consider yourself a “poet?”


MARIE ELENA: Wow. I must say that I love that quick and definite response!

PAMELA: Although, how good of a poet is an issue my muse & I have debated on numerous occasions!  Back when I was posting in the Writers’ Digest forum, there was some “discussion” over a piece that someone else had written – a disagreement as to whether or not it qualified as “a poem.” My stance was (and still is) this: If the writer claims it’s a poem, then it’s a poem. If the writer says he/she is a poet, then he/she is a poet. (Again, how good a poet or poem may be – that’s a debatable issue!)

Poetry, like all creative endeavors, I suppose, (music, art, dance…), is very subjective. Whether a particular poem and/or poet “speaks” to you is largely a matter of opinion, and opinions can change from day to day, or hour to hour. What affects one person deeply may not touch another individual at all, or vice versa. You may “feel” a certain poem immediately, another poem might require multiple reads before you connect with it, still others may never touch you at all. But I like to think that for every written piece, there exists someone somewhere who was meant to read it – wants to, needs to, read it – as much as the writer needed to write it.

Yes, I consider myself a poet. And, here’s a poem (because I say it is!):

JOHNNY APPLESEED (Originally published on Everyday Poets – June 11, 2009)

Slice open a vein.
Let the words flow out
unchecked, uncensored.
Bleed until you run dry, then

gather the gems
like precious seeds, and
toss them into the wind

never knowing
where they may
take root
and grow.


MARIE ELENA: Wow. If I had to take a guess, I would say De Jackson had written that poem, Pamela. As you know, I consider that the utmost compliment.

As mentioned previously, your blog incorporates your beautiful photographs. You consider yourself a poet — do you consider yourself a photographer?

PAMELA: Oh my, no! Nope. Don’t consider myself a photographer.

MARIE ELENA: Another quick, definitive response. You tickle me, Pamela! Why do you not consider yourself a photographer?

PAMELA: I just dabble (and every once in a while a photo will come out just as I intended – or even better!), but it’s usually more a matter of luck than anything else. I am not in the same league as the likes of Jane Penland Hoover, or your husband Keith! They are artists, and they have the equipment and skills – and the photographs — to prove it, while I am more like a … kindergartener finger-painting!

Sometimes my camera and I play nicely together; at other times we argue. (Well, I argue.) “Why can’t you see what I see?” I often say. (It hasn’t answered back yet, but you never know.) Really, I’ve only been taking photos with my cheap digital camera (don’t tell him I called him that!) for about two years, so maybe in time, I’ll come to think of myself as a photographer. Perhaps when I’ve been fighting with my camera for as long as I’ve been battling my muse.

MARIE ELENA: Keith was pleasantly surprised, yet embarrassed by your compliment, Pamela. He does not see himself as a  “photographer” any more than you do, but thanks you for the encouragement. In all the online interactions I see, encouraging others seems to come naturally to you.

PAMELA: Encouraging others? Me? Wow! That’s really quite a compliment coming from you, Marie! I think you are THE most encouraging, supportive person I know! Honestly! You have a gift for seeing the best in everyone! I hope I encourage others! But, truthfully, I don’t think I do it nearly often enough. I feel as if I am always running behind and arriving “late to the party.” It just seems like there are never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, and everything takes longer than I think it will. I’m often claiming I’ll return to read and comment – and rarely getting back to do so. (Everyone who is still reading at this point: Please accept my apologies for every time I’ve done that – and every time I’m bound to do it again in the future!)

Pamela Clear(l)y reads.

As for whether or not offering encouragement comes naturally to me, I couldn’t say. While I’d like to think it does, I’m not sure that’s true – or not always true, at any rate. There are times when I have to work at it. But I DO believe in the power of encouragement and positive reinforcement, so it is definitely a skill worth honing, in my opinion.

I read a book, some years ago: “If You Want To Write” by Brenda Ueland, in which she claims that “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” I believe that’s true, but I also think that, sometimes, it takes a lot of encouragement and patience (and what she calls “noodling”) to bring that talent out into the light. Over the last few years I’ve seen some amazing talent develop at Poetic Asides and Poetic Bloomings, and I think that it’s largely due to the encouraging people and supportive environments at both sites. Kudos to you and Walt – and to Robert – for promoting and maintaining that kind of atmosphere on an ongoing basis!

MARIE ELENA: Thank you, Pamela. And see? Encouragement.

It seems most of your poetry is up-beat. Does this indicate that you are basically an optimist at heart?

PAMELA:  Really? Most of my poetry is upbeat? I don’t know if that’s true or not. I DO know that I prefer writing – and reading – from a “happy place” – so I’ll consider that a compliment. I also know that both the poet and the reader bring something of themselves into the reading of a poem. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” I think the same may be said for other qualities as well, such as happiness, and… upbeat. And Marie, you are such an upbeat person! Maybe that’s why you see much of my poetry that way too!

As for my being an optimist at heart… I think I can hear my sisters laughing hysterically over that one! I’d LIKE to be an optimist. I TRY to be an optimist. But, I am also very much of a “worry wart.” All three of us sisters are. We come by it naturally, having acquired the gene from our mother. I worry fluently, and am frequently expecting the worst to occur, and yet … I DO have a tendency to look at the bright side of things, and try to find the positive in everything too, so maybe I’m an optimistic pessimist… or a pessimistic optimist… or perhaps, a pessimoptimist… or an optipest!

MARIE ELENA: “I worry fluently.” You and I are cut from the same cloth, my friend. But I’ve never thought to word it that way. That, and “optipest” are two I’ll be borrowing!  And, by the way, see?  Encourgement again. 😉

I know you’ve been married a good long time to Timothy. What would you say is the secret to your longevity?

PAMELA: Wow! There’s a question for the sages! I’ve pondered this one a dozen times and I still don’t have a good answer. I mean, I could go on about how we are each other’s best friend (we are), and how important certain qualities are (like love, honesty, mutual respect…), but many marriages that end in failure could probably boast all of those things, as well. And, besides, in spite of all that, we still disagree about a lot of things. We probably disagree more often than we agree. About the best answer I can come up with is that… maybe… our “secret” is that we are pretty much “in sync” on what the really important things are, and we mostly agree on those things, and the rest… well, we don’t place too much importance on the rest. So, I guess then, that maybe you could say that the “secret” to our longevity might just be… hmmm… luck?

Timothy Cleary, book, beard, and stash

Oh! And a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt either! A natural born comic – that’s my husband!

LIttle Timothy Clear(l)y The Comic!

MARIE ELENA: What is the best period of time in your life, and what made (makes) it best?

PAMELA: Well, I have some pretty fond memories of my early childhood – up to about nine years old, but I think I’d have to say that the BEST time in my life (so far) is right now.

A while back I was working in a stressful job as an IT manager. I carried a beeper, ate lunch at my desk, had no time to exercise. In the winter months, I only saw the sun on the weekends, and I remember actually thinking (more than once), “this job is killing me – literally.” Then, our division was sold off. The buyers purchased the business, but decided they didn’t need the people, and our entire department was told that once the transition phase was completed, we would all be out of jobs. At the time, I was stunned, but, as it turns out, it was the best thing that could have happened to me!

Now, I have less money, but more free time. I’m eating better and exercising more. I’ve taken up yoga, I bike, hike and take photographs while I’m wandering the local trails. I’m writing more poetry than I have in years! Timothy & I have time to read or sit on the back deck and watch the birds & wildlife, and I’m enjoying myself in ways I never would have dreamed of ten years ago! I kayak – I even bought a pair of snow shoes this past December! (Folks in New England can thank me, because my new snow shoes are probably the reason we didn’t get much snow at all last winter)!
When things aren’t going quite the way I want them to, I only have to remind myself, it wasn’t so long ago that I was spending my days attending meetings or stuck in a tiny little cubicle, tied to a desk. Now, I am enjoying all those daylight hours that I used to miss!

MARIE ELENA: How wonderful to be able to think of this present moment as being the most wonderful time in your life!  Now, what is the hardest issue you have ever dealt with, and what measures did you take to get through it?

PAMELA: Wow! From the highs to the lows in one fell swoop! I’d have to say that there are actually two situations that qualify as the “hardest issues” in my life: the illnesses & deaths of my parents. Both suffered a long, painful period of decline that was hard on them and on the rest of the family, as well. My father died of cancer when I was in college. He was always the strong, silent type, and never a very big guy, but by the time he passed away, he weighed about 85 pounds. I don’t know how she did it, but Mom managed to work full time and hold it all together for my father and the rest of the family.

Over twenty years later, Mom suffered a series of strokes that left her wheelchair bound and unable to communicate in any way. This was particularly difficult, as she was always the strong, independent, “woman in charge” in our household (Dad used to call her “the War Department”), and to see her so completely helpless, and be able to do nothing to help was frustrating and painful for all of us.

In both instances, I wrote a lot of poetry, listened to a lot of music, and relied heavily on family and friends for emotional support.

MARIE ELENA: Your parents sound wonderful. “The War Department” is just so cute. Poetry, music, family, and friends … such healthy crutches on which to lean in times of need. Thank you for being such an inspiration, Pamela.

And now, if there was only one thing we could know about you, what would you choose to tell us?

PAMELA: Ouch! Another tough question. How about … I hate housework and cooking!? (Sorry! that just slipped out.) Honestly, I’m trying to focus less on the negatives (operative word: “trying”!) and more on the positives in my life – to criticize less, and encourage more (myself AND others) — because I believe that positive produces positive, love begets love — and the whole world benefits.

One of my favorite quotes is:  “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” –Mother Teresa

Although I generally consider myself an agnostic, still I believe that there is more to life (the world, the universe…) than meets the eye; more than we are able to perceive through our own limited senses and/or technologies. Serendipity, synchronicity, quantum entanglements are all just a tip of the iceberg – indicating that we (people, plants, animals…) are all connected in amazing and wonderful ways – all part & parcel of a bigger whole. A (not so) old (very) dear friend of mine likes to tell me, “That’s God,” but I believe E.E. Cummings had it right when he said:  “love is the every only god.”

MARIE ELENA: Thank you so much for letting me pry, “PSC.” Getting to know and showcase our Poetic Bloomings poets is a definite perk to this position, and one that puts a smile on my face every single  time.  This has been great fun!


Air and water have been our motivation to bring our passions to full flame. Today, express yourself in the brilliance of your muse ignited and write a FIRE poem. Be it a spark, flicker, or full blown blaze, turn up the heat and “Burn Baby, Burn!”



Darkness descended within and without.
No glint of joy; no moon to spill soft light.
Darkness blurred the margins between night
and heart –
no need to give voice to the shadows within.

Seeing her need, he rose from his rocker,
to silently build a fire in the hearth.

Her eyes fixed on the flames, as if her only solace.
He tended the fire long into the night,
until the last log was nearly consumed.

Seeing her need, he rose from his rocker,
split it, and kept the flames alive.

~Based on my daughter’s true experience, during one of her darkest nights … with the love of a true friend.



Kisses long and sensuous have gotten us
hot under the collar and other places,
flushed faces and breathing rapid and shallow,
a slow burn and a yearning to explode.
We smolder into the night and are warmed
by the passion of love’s virulent light!


Water possesses great power to soothe or destroy. That was very evident in the sight I had the great fortune to witness last night as I caught the mist in the air and the inspiration of a man following his dream. A great amount of water played into it and the power of  Niagara Fall provided the backdrop to history. Nik Wallenda, an incredible spirit and man of  great faith doing what he was meant to do. As are we poets. And so our rewards are great. Thus, we choose our BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS for the week that was water!


“Water” opens a floodgate of possibilities, doesn’t it? 😉 Many of your responses spoke to my heart, or filled my head with fabulous imagery. Yet, one little 8-word,  easy-to miss piece overflowed with truth and sentiment. My Beautiful Bloom goes to Michelle Hed’s little gem.

one tear drop
can cause ripples
miles away


Apparently Marie and I have made our choices which could be considered the “long and short” of it.  Taking on that seemingly insurmountable challenge (mentioned above) brought me to choose Mary Mansfield‘s ambitious Sestina, “Shadows on the Water” – very apropos for the event that has shaken me in a profound way. Mary, here’s your bloom!

SHADOWS ON THE WATER by Mary Mansfield

I ventured through the mud and stones
Until I reached that special place
Where the lingering shadows
Of willows trembled in the dying light,
Cooler of cold Corona in hand
And memories of you in my heart.

Seeking salvation for an aching heart
Is much easier here than in a field of stones
Shaped and engraved by a mournful hand,
Finding comfort in a familiar place
Where we watched divine light
In its endless dance with the shadows.

I truly understand those shadows;
They now occupy my heart,
Their darkness choking away your light,
Brushing across the stones
And desecrating this place,
Dusky phantoms melting in my hand.

I cup water in my hand
To wash away the shadows
Yet they remain in place,
The stubborn stains of a wounded heart,
One martyred by Death’s stones
But still seeking the redemption of the light.

As night approaches, the light
Crawls across the bluffs, God’s hand
Stroking color across the stones
But not banishing the shadows
That now haunt my heart
Every moment in every place.

I’m merely a vessel floating in place,
Unable to move into forward toward the light,
The loss of you a nail through my heart.
I take another bottle in hand
And make a toast to you, to shadows,
To lost heroes in a sea of stones.

Here in this place I feel you close at hand,
Your spirit now a part of that dance of light and shadows,
Bringing just a bit of peace to a heart battered by stones.

Congratulations to the “M&M” girls, Michelle and Mary for their work this week. Thanks to all our poets, who inspire in their own exemplary way!


The Decuain (pronounced deck•won), created by Shelley A. Cephas, is a short poem made up of 10 lines.  There are 10 syllables per line, and the poem is written in iambic pentameter.  It may be written on any subject.

You may choose among 3 rhyme schemes:


ababbcbcbb, or


For a longer Decuain poem, add more stanzas (to double, triple, quadruple, etc.).


(Yep.  More silliness.)

Lake Erie sits between us like a … lake.
Toledo’s shallow end is home to Jeep.

(One “shallow” quip from you, I’ll pound your … cake!
Remember, what you sow is what you’ll reap –
but I’ll admit your Erie end is deep).

You Buffalonians now brew LaBatt
But don’t expect to get it on the cheap.
(Unless you pop the bung and drain the vat).

I’d offer you a Mud Hens baseball hat,
But, as a Bison, you would NOT wear that.

You chastise me, my use of hat for cap?
And reprimand my use of vats for beer?
Okay, so please forgive my slight mishap,
But know that barrel don’t cost less, m’dear.

Excuse my blather – thoughts just won’t cohere.
Forgive my rhymes so obviously forced.
I didn’t mean to hurt your expert ear.
Perhaps my Decuain would be best outsourced.

Now, lose that smirk and wipe away that sneer,
Or buster, you can stick it in your ear!




So long, Sandman! It’s time you take a hike.
The morning sun comes up above the trees,
and it’s already hotter than I like.
Yet, if it were still up to me, I’d squeeze
a bit more sleep into this morning, please?
But no, I must get ready for this day,
I’ll set my sail and head into the breeze.
There’s mouths to feed and bills I have to pay.
I’m thankful for these days I have to seize,
I’ll put up with a few more days like these!

The joys we share will fill our hearts with love.
there’s nothing like the feelings they will bring.
And in our long embrace our hearts will move,
to join together tightly as we cling.
We seize this day; to bow, give thanks and sing.
The evening fast approaches come what may,
and love becomes the most important thing.
So offer in the words you have to say,
compassion that will heal life’s undoing.
Take hold of life and feel your love growing.