IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – TRIQUATRAIN

The Triquatrain form was created by Robert L. Huntsman.  It is a quatrain (stanza of 4 lines) poem in tri-rhyme (3 separate rhyming sounds per stanza).  See specific rhyming pattern below.  Note that lines 1 and 3 have internal rhyme, whereas lines 2 and 4 do not.

Rhyme Pattern:

(a,a)
b
(c,c)
b

(d,d)
e
(f,f)
e

(g,g)
h
(i,i)
h
. . . and so on.

The groupings in the parenthesis are on one line separated by a comma. This poem can be of any length or subject and does not require perfect meter.

See Shadow Poetry at:  http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/triquatrain.html

MARIE ELENA’S TRIQUATRAIN:

(Disclaimer: I’ve once again turned to an older piece of mine, which I hopefully improved a bit.  When I wrote this originally, I was not aware of the Triquatrain form.  I thought I was just writing in a style I made up. 😉 )

A STORY OF LATE
(A story in Triquatrain form)

“I’ve been here since eight! Why are you so late?”
asked Samantha of Anthony Lou.
“I’ll give you a warning – I’ve waited all morning,
and I am not happy with you.

And no lame excuse; I don’t need that abuse –
just so you know in advance.
So tell me dead straight, why are you so late?
Now I’ll sit back and give you a chance.”

Though Anthony’s mind is the devious kind,
he stalled for a moment or two.
“You don’t want to know.  I’m not telling.  Although …,”
and a story then started to brew.

“I was dreaming a dream with a marvelous theme,
when my clock screamed “Get out of that bed!
But, keenly aware that I had time to spare,
I just hit the snooze button instead.”

Samantha was staring – no, actually glaring
straight into her Anthony’s eyes.
“Let me underscore that there better be more,
or else … can you say, pul-ver-ize?”

“So may I go on?” Tony said with a yawn,
unfazed by her angry out pour.
“The next thing I knew, it was eight thirty two,
so I jumped up and ran for the door.

But I found it was stuck. What a stroke of bad luck!
It seemed it had willed to stay shut.
Well, I tried and I tried and I pried and I pried,
but nothing worked – no matter what.

I tried all sorts of tricks, but was still in a fix.
Was I worried? Not even a bit.
For, although in a bind, I knew that my mind
would think something up, lickety-split.”

Samantha just knew that her Anthony Lou
would concoct something wild in his brain.
She knew he’d take nothing and stretch it to something,
to keep it from being mundane.

“Get on with it, Tony, whatever bologna
you’re going to make up to tell.
‘Cause really, this story’s beginning to bore me –
get to it, or I’m gonna yell.”

“Just chill, antsy friend, and I’ll get to the end,
once I’ve fed you the spice-laden center.
A tale of this scale simply begs to regale …
try not to disturb the inventor.”

The look on Sam’s face was meant to abase,
but Anthony quickly defused it.
He had no desire to watch Sam conspire
to promptly compose his obit.

“Remembering Noodle Superior Poodle,
I beckoned her quickly to come.
She answered my call, alert in the hall,
and ready to rescue her chum.

‘Ah, Noodle,’ I said, from my comfortable bed,
‘I desperately need you to help.’
I explained what I needed, and then she proceeded
to yelp her superior yelp.

Due to my poodle’s superior noodle,
I knew she’d come up with a scheme.
So knowing my cause was in capable paws,
I went back to my marvelous dream.

Next, I woke up to the sound of my pup,
sounding nearer than surely she’d be.
And the next thing I knew, I was feeling the eew
of her slobbery tongue, yessiree.

‘Stop licking my chin; show me how you got in,’
I wiped myself off as I said.
She jumped to the floor, disregarding the door,
and went to the window instead.

What I saw with my eyes was a total surprise:
a ladder was neatly in place,
Erected by Noodle Superior Poodle –
I could tell by her proud little face.

Out the window we swung, and we climbed down each rung,
then I ran here with all of my might.”
“So,what do you think,” Tony asked with a wink,
“now that you know the tale of my plight?”

Sam choked back a grin, took a hold of his chin, and said,
“Here’s what I think about you:
The snooze button start is the only true part of your tale,
Mr. Anthony Lou.”

© 2009 Marie Elena Good – revised 2012

WALT’S TRIQUATRAIN:

TWICE IS NICE

It’s about time I start getting busy, if I wait too long I’ll get dizzy.
It’s taken nine months to find my groove
with all these girls and boys, wanting new toys
I feel that it’s time that I make my move.

Check the names twice, this list is nice,
the naughty – I’m sooner forgetting.
I can sense their terror; there’s no room for error
and they’ll be changing their ways soon, I’m betting.

Their logic and reason, when we get to this season
just flies in my face; my profession.
And despite their folly, I’ll still remain jolly
and hope that they all learn a lesson.

For goodness sake, and make no mistake,
I have no fear to show you who’s boss,
in my mind, it’s never too late, change your ways and celebrate.
I’ll be coming ‘round soon. I am Santa Claus!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

 

While we’re poeming, consider hopping on over to Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides, where we are encouraged to write an “appointment” poem:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-190#comment-958821

A.K.A. – PROMPT #70

Best foot forward, we march on through the POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT. We’ve looked inwardly and have taken inspiration from our habitat and friends. The light returns to you. We are forgoing our given names and looking at the tags or “aliases” we’ve assumed or have had foisted upon us over the years. Take the next step:

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 5: A.K.A. – Did you have a nickname or special pet name growing up? What did your parents call you? How did friends refer to you? Whether you liked it or not, write it as the title of your poem. Was it a derivative of your given name? Your surname? If you didn’t have one, what nickname could you have given yourself? Shakespeare queried, “What’s in a name?”. Present your “rose” any other name and give the Bard some idea!

MARIE ELENA’S NICKNAME:

“Don’t drink, don’t smoke – what do you do?”   ~ from Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Tj-Xo_eqI

SHOES

At a rather formal function,
A male voice hollered, “SHOES!”
Though dapper guests were mystified,
Myself was not confused.
I whirled around to catch his eye,
And saw him standing there
With playful eyes, a roguish grin,
And meager reddish hair.
We hadn’t seen each other
In probably five years
He really hadn’t changed his ways,
This teaser, it appears.
He called me “Shoes” or nothing,
‘Twas fitting, in his view.
But not as in a fetish –
Just short for “Goody Two.”

And he was not the only one
Who labeled me this way
Another boss and friend of mine,
While I was once away,
Took over my computer
My “theme song” to implant.
When I returned to work to boot her,
Out roared Adam Ant!

© Marie Elena Good – original 2009; rewritten 2012

P.S. This was even before I had married Keith Good! 😉
 WALTER EGO:

YA DOESN’T HAS TO CALL ME JOHNSON!

I was “Pinky”.
A bouncing bit of baby boy.
Feet first into the world
wide-eyed and alert with
rosy cheeks coming and going.

I was “Mały Władziu” (Little Wally),
a tribute to two generations
of Walters of Polish decent.
No ego problems arise in
the baby blues eyes of the diminutive one.

I was “Sonny”,
my father’s bright light.
When his own beacon started to fade
he drew comfort from my flicker
a lesser flame with the same name.

I was “Schroeder”.
Keyboard prodigy at eight,
a great start of a creative bent.
It all went from my head to my fingers,
the melody still lingers.

I was “Neutron”,
younger brother of “Proton”.
Where he was positively charged,
I was a negative ion, not venturing
beyond my set orbit; playing it safe.

I was “Banger”,
short for “Wallbanger”,
the junior carpenter
making a clamor with my hammer,
just like my father.

I am Walt,
verbose to a fault,
composer, lyricist, playwright,
and poet. You know it runs within me,
for better or verse, my words are winners.

It never mattered what they called me,
as long as it wasn’t “late for dinner!”

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #69

The Beatles hit the right notes in this song of the same name as our prompt: With a Little Help From My Friends. It is clearly our belief in life that we are never alone. In good times and bad, the influence of a good friend will surface to bouiy our lives, and for that we are thankful.

 

MARIE ELENA’S PICK

Whenever I have several poems that speak to me and are well written, I need different criteria to help one piece step to the front of the line.  Today, it was Mary Mansfield’s unique take on the prompt and way of looking at life that grabbed my attention, and earned her a Bloom.  Interesting, complete, and well written (of course – it’s from Mary 😉 ). “Unintended Influences” explores the fact that those who influence us greatly are not necessarily of our choosing.  Well done, Mary, and a good lesson for all of us.

Unintended Influences (by Mary Mansfield)

Those bullying girls skilled
In the art of middle school torture,
The dishonest men who received affection
But only returned derision and betrayal,
The non-believers seeking to inject
Their doubts into my resolve…
They’ve taken their shots,
Scarring my ego,
Almost destroyed me,
But they fueled my defiance,
Made me push past my limitations,
And they continue to drive me
To build a legacy worth leaving behind.

 

WALT’S BLOOM SELECTION:

In any definition of friend you’ll find qualities such as loyal, supportive, understanding and caring. The poem selected depicts all those qualities is a very nurturing way. Not only do you spend time with that friend, you truly WANT to be around that person. And through thick and thin you are both there for each other. There were a lot of such poems (all of them) but this one touched a certain chord. To Linda Swenski… my BEAUTIFUL BLOOM!

PROPPED UP by Linda Sewnski

I met her shortly after I got married.
She knows all my secrets,
and still loves me.

She was there when I was pregnant,
and all my single friends fell away.
She understood my loneliness.

She threw a baby shower for my second child,
something I never had for my first,
and gave me such joy.

My children cherish her,
my husband likes her,
I can’t be happy without her.

She has been my analyst,
my companion, my sounding board,
my entertainment, and my friend.

Together we have solved the world’s problems,
and our own.
She gives me hope.

Our lives have all been richer
because she is with us.
I hope she always will be.

 

Congratulations to Mary and Linda, as our BLOOM recipients this week.

 

And to our poets, there is no other group assembled that can match your talent and resolve. Great work all!

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – MONORHYME

Monorhyme is a rhyme scheme in which each line has an identical rhyme. The poetic term “Mono-rhyme” pertains to the utilization of one (Mono) type of repetitious sound (rhyme). The end of the lines of a monorhyme poem all end with similar sounds. Throughout the poem, the last words of the line utilize the same sounds that correspond with one another. This is common in Arabic, Latin, and Welsh works, such as The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, e.g. Qasida and its derivative Kafi.

RHYME SCHEME: A,A,A,A,A,A…
SYLLABLE COUNT: NONE

See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monorhyme

MARIE ELENA’S MONORHYME:

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

Thou my God, my soul’s lifeline
Pray my heart thou wilt refine.
May thy light upon me shine –
Make of me a fruitful vine.

Lord of all, my heart doth pine
For thy love, and only thine.
May thy light upon me shine –
Make of me a fruitful vine.

Thou who made of water, wine
Fully man; wholly Divine
May thy light upon me shine –
Make of me a fruitful vine.

I am thine, and thou art mine
Let my will with yours align.
May thy light upon me shine –
Make of me a fruitful vine.

Make of me a fruitful vine.
The pleasure, mine – the glory, thine.

© Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S MONORHYME:

POETRY TIME
 
I’ve lived enough without words – a mime
in the ways of prose and rhyme.
For I found that in all the time
it took me to reach my prime,
it was a felonious inexcusable crime
that I had not come to rhyme
much sooner. Too much lost on my dime,
and moments squandered; moments in time.
Since early man stepped out of the slime,
he’s had this fascination with rhyme,
making him more,  a poet ahead of his time!
 
 
 
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012
 
 

FOLKS:  It’s possible that Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides weekly prompt will be MIA today.  He is sick, complete with fever.  Poor guy. If anyone would be so inspired to write a get well monorhyme for Robert and post it here, we’ll happily provide him with the link to your well wishes. Perhaps there will be an official post at Poetic Asides, and we can post them there as well.  UPDATE:   A new Poetic Asides prompt has indeed been posted:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-189#comments

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS – PROMPT # 69

So, we’ve dispelled the saying, “You can’t go home again!”  Our poets offered a wonderful mix of memory and angst about their origins.

Many things and people influence our lives, be they our parents, siblings, mentors, role models… they all have one thing in common: the ability to affect change in others just by their presence and wisdom.

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 4: With a Little Help From My Friends – Again, we are putting restrictions (darn restrictions!) on your muse. Family members, although influential, will play a special role down on the list of prompts. Today, write about someone who is or had been a great influence in your life. How did they affect you, what important lesson did they impart? It could be a neighbor, a teacher, a close friend, a group of them or a total stranger. If there was a lesson to be learned there, they’re fair game.  Thank them for giving you a hand up.

MARIE ELENA’S GODSEND

Might You Be A Poet?

She once was told to write about someone influential in her life –
someone with no family ties.
So she set aside for a moment the fact that they are surely
twin cousins, separated at birth,
growing up in an eerily similar life and time.

She focused instead on the shared yellow brick road
to poetic solidarity.
It took no effort on her part, as her pen gushed
camaraderie
harmony
laughter –

then abruptly stopped.

She coaxed it gently, conceding the feeling
something was missing.
It began again – this time slowly, softly,
in watercolor.
She watched as it whispered

t e a r s

p r a y e r s

g r a t i t u d e.

Ah, yes.

She capped her pen,
and smiled warmly eastward.

© Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S LIFE MASTER:

GO WEST, YOUNG MAN

Cast bread upon the water,
manna for the mind at a time when
his words mattered, but never found their voice.
He had a choice to make –
take his cache of word hash home,
or drop crumbs into the water;
laced with cadence and nuance
which would lead him back to where he belonged,
ripple after ripple, broadcasting in the beauty of words.
Westward he gazed, where her admiration bathed
his tired and tepid soul; a grasp for control
of what lived within him. Encouragement came
in comforting tones, impassioned pleas
to please the one who found purpose in his prose;
piety in his poetry. For no notoriety
would come without words that spoke to hearts,
or thoughts that touched souls,
or one who would allow him into both sanctuaries.
His lessons came in the belief in his convictions,
the gratitude for his gift, and a strong hint of humility;
in his attempt to share his world with all who wanted
to cast their bread upon the water alongside his own.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

I had written an alternate piece for this prompt:

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

Long after the rage and the death of two,
I was given the chance to enhance
an amazing tribute; a salute to four
so “Fab” that it became part of their name.
And I was adorned as the “stiff one”;
dark suit and striped tie, sweating bullets.
Happiness is not a warm gun when nerves
kick in. I begin each “really big shoe”
with my arms folded and mouth turned down –
half frown, half – I’m going to lose my lunch.
A great bunch of entertaining musicians;
they were equipped with replica guitars
acting like the stars they were. Getting by
with a little help from my friends.
Mr. Sullivan, on stage alone
until the words I intone, “Ladies
and Gentlemen, the Beatles!”

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

Process notes: I had been asked to do my impersonation of Ed Sullivan to open and introduce a Beatles tribute band on stage. I had NEVER had the grapes to do it in public, let alone spotlighted on stage before a packed house. My shyness and fear of public speaking died that night. Lesson learned the hard way. I am grateful for that opportunity!

“really big shoe!”

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #68

The poems this week in our on-going Memoir Series took us back to our childhood homes. And whether we wrote of a room, or house, or neighborhood, we exposed a bit more of ourselves in an effort to write our “histories”. My belief from the start of this project was that every story was worth being told and who better to tell it! I applaud all who have undertaken this excursion and I promise that when we are all done, we will  have personal poetry collections of which to be very proud. Stories waiting to be read!

So, now the the BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS:

MARIE ELENA’S CHOICE

Oh my, the emotions accompanying this prompt. I enjoyed each and every read. You all wrote wonderfully descriptive and emotion-provoking poems. I’ve had an incredibly hard time narrowing my choices to one once again. Some of you described your dwellings in descriptive detail, while managing to convey a sense of who you are, and where you fit in your memories. A few focused on only one or two details. Laurie Kolp focused on one power-laden, passion-provoking aspect of her home. Her brilliantly titled, “Walled” haunted me all week. Laurie, I offer you my “Bloom.”

Walled (by Laurie Kolp)

When a childhood home is an ant bed
red with fire, hot-headed desire turns
joy to angst. You hide in your
yellow room, write stories
about someone else
hoping to be-
come yellow
like the
walls.

WALT’S CHOICE OF BLOOM:

I was drawn to this poem from the first time I read it (having read it approx. ten more times since). The title immediately caught my eye. We lived in a yellow house as well. But, the details included played as brush strokes against life’s canvas. I got the sense of being in the house, so described. And the essence I hoped our poets would convey was well expressed here. The last lines were what fluttered in my heart when I proposed the prompt.

“Now it is blue and different and strange
And now I can only reminisce about when it was still mine.

Most of us are far removed from it, but no matter how the domicile had changed, our recollections put us back in our rooms . For that, I award my BEAUTIFUL BLOOM to Lauren for her piece:

REMEMBERING THE YELLOW HOUSE by Lauren

My house
Big and yellow
A yard in front with trees to climb
In back, a porch we built,
A swing set we built. In back,
A river that flooded and attracted geese.

My house
A living room with a high sloping ceiling
A big staircase with a white intricate railing.
Memories of body parts stuck between designs
And people sitting on the stairs at parties
A Christmas tree stood in the middle (or so it seemed).

My room
Had just one extra step up
Smothered in pink and white
Instead I spent hours in my brother’s room
With cars and legos and forts in early mornings
Plus his smaller smiling face.

My house was my house
Until I was almost ten
A tearful good-bye marked the end of a chapter
Yet half my life still lingers there.
Now it is blue and different and strange
And now I can only reminisce about when it was still mine.

Congratulations to Laurie Kolp and Lauren on your selection this week.

To our poets, thank you for you exceptional work. I am extremely encouraged by your enthusiasm for this Memoir Project. We will continue tomorrow with a new reminiscence to explore!

POET INTERVIEW – ELIZABETH JOHNSON

ELIZABETH JOHNSON

Poets tend to saturate their writing with what they feel in the depths of their soul.  Elizabeth Johnson is the epitome of this commonality.  One need only read a small sampling of her work and interactions before nodding the head in realization that Elizabeth is a very devout Christian, who delights in sharing faith and encouragement through her words.

Besides being a talented writer, she also has musical talent. She has been playing the piano since she was only six years old. She plays regularly at her church, and occasionally accompanies for weddings, funerals, and vocal programs.  In addition, she dabbles with the organ and harmonica (Iain, take note!).

Add to all of this a corny sense of humor I can relate to!  Here is one of my all-time favorites:

ALL EARS

I was all ears,
awaiting the kernel
of truth promised
in that husky voice,

nearly popping with
suspense as he stalked
around it, fielding my
questions of a-maize-ment:

but, shucks, too many
cornpuns spoil the
corn; that’s a grain
of truth in itself.

© Elizabeth Johnson

MARIE ELENA:  Elizabeth, that made me smile “ear to ear!”  😉  Now that I’ve shared one of my favorites, I’d like you to pick one of your own, and explain to us what made you choose that particular poem.

ELIZABETH:  First of all, a huge thanks to Marie & Walt – not only for creating and keeping up the great PB site, and fostering a place for a wonderful community, but also giving me this great opportunity.  I feel so honored, especially after being chosen for a “beautiful bloom” last weekend! I’m still smiling!

Infinity

He holds you
and me, and the earth-
small treasures
in His boundless hands.
He grasps infinity with
His fingers.

© Elizabeth Johnson

I am a word person. I love manipulating language to discover multiple layers and express multiple meanings (and I absolutely love wordplays). Syllables, line breaks, the sound and the feel of each word – these things fascinate me. And the conciseness and brevity of the shadorma strongly appeals to me. I love the challenge of trying to say so much in just 26 syllables. You can’t waste any of those syllables, or the meaning changes. You need just the right word to add depth and richness to its message. You need just the right sound to give it rhythm.

And the shadorma is perfect for painting word pictures. I love to write about single moments, little vignettes of personal experience. Things I’ve lived, or learned, or loved.  For instance, this poem speaks of something I’ve learned – the contrast between my own insignificance as a mere created thing, and the infinitude and care of the great Creator for His creation. And all in 26 syllables! (Thanks to Walt & Marie for providing the photo prompt for that one!)

MARIE ELENA:  Yes, you and I are alike in that way as well, Elizabeth – our love of poems that pack a wallop in few words.

I noticed that the name of your personal blog is quite unusual:  Dog Fur and Dandelions.  There MUST be a story there!  “Dandelions” is in your poetry blog title (Dandelion Digest) as well.  Are they meaningful in some way?

ELIZABETH:  I know my blog title seems random, and it really is. We have a husky-shepherd mix who sheds incessantly! I am forever finding clumps of dog fur everywhere… and when I was brainstorming for a name that people would remember, the dog fur was particularly ubiquitous. And so now my dog is forever immortalized on the internet.

THE CUTIE WHO PUT THE “FUR” IN “DOG FUR AND DANDELIONS”

As for the dandelions – they themselves don’t hold much personal meaning, although I do love their cheerful color! But I also like how they symbolize perspective. Adults see them as weeds; kids see them as magical wish-makers; and herbalists see them as medicine. It all depends on the perspective of the viewer. And I hope to offer a distinct perspective to the world, as I share my views of life – to be a dandelion, in a way.

MARIE ELENA:  Elizabeth, I’ll never think of dandelions in the same way again.  Wonderful observations!

You have a blog entry devoted to Twitter.  I am not on Twitter, and don’t really know anything about it.  You mention Becky Robinson’s “31 Days of Twitter Tips,” which seems to have made an impression on you.  Does Twitter help you as a writer?  Do you think anyone trying to build a “platform” necessarily needs Twitter in their bag of tricks?

ELIZABETH: Twitter helps build connections, which is crucial to any field. If people know you, they’ll want what you have to offer. But the key is to engage them – ask questions, respond to their questions, share what they have to offer, not just your own work. Twitter is an ideal place for that, and Becky Robinson’s book explains how you can do that in just 12 minutes a day – which makes it worth doing, for anyone who has something to offer.  (By the way, be sure to get the book while it’s still free!)

MARIE ELENA:  I know you are a published author.  Please tell us what you have available “out there.”

ELIZABETH:  I have had both poetry and devotionals published in several non-profit newsletters over the past 15 years (although most of them are out of print by now). I also had a poem published in the January 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, and three poems published in Prompted, which was released earlier this year by a group of friends from Poetic Asides.

I do hope to get a few books published someday, and actually have one being considered by a publisher right now! I also have an ebook in the works, which will hopefully be released in the next few months.

MARIE ELENA:  Very impressive, Elizabeth!  Please do keep us posted.

Two words:  Invisible illness.  I know they mean a great deal to you.

ELIZABETH: In April 2007, I was diagnosed with a rare form of vasculitis, Wegener’s Granulomatosis. Like cancer, it can go into remission with proper treatment, but can return at any time. I look fairly normal to the average observer, but my energy and immune system (both invisible things) are incredibly weakened by the disease. I can no longer work outside the home, exercise regularly, or volunteer for everything I’d like to do. But on the other hand, it’s allowed me to re-discover writing and other creative endeavors, that I’d never have time for otherwise. And I probably would never have met you all, or resumed writing poetry or started blogging, if I were still healthy!

MARIE ELENA:  Your attitude and drive are amazing, Elizabeth.  Walt honored you with a “Bloom” for a poem you had written in response to Prompt #67, in which he had asked us to write about a personal accomplishment.  You chose to write about Wegener’s in your inspiring piece entitled, “I Go On.”

I Go On.

Could be fatal, they said.
And there I lay, diseased and
missing half my blood – it had
disintegrated, gone away,
lifeblood no longer life.

Could be treated, they said.
And there I prayed; and took
one pill, one prayer, one day
by itself – baby steps when
I could barely walk at all.

Could improve, they said.
And there I leapt, yet leaning
on another and Another;
his arms, his legs – working for mine;
His strength working for mine.

Could recur, they said.
And there I wept, afraid to
live for fear that fears would live.

And there I paused.

But then, so tired of the waiting,
the not living–

Could go on! I said.
And there I grew, aware
that life was made to live,
and thrive – and I was made
to fight, and go on living.

© Elizabeth Johnson

 MARIE ELENA:  HOOAH!  What is it like to be the wife of an army man?  What are the advantages, and what are the downfalls?

ELIZABETH: One word: unpredictability! The unofficial motto is, “nothing’s ever definite until it happens.” So flexibility and adaptability are huge. It is certainly difficult dealing with chronic illness and military life, but it gives us a perspective on life that many couples don’t understand. (There’s that word again – perspective). Quite simply, we cherish our moments together more than most civilian couples ever could, because we know firsthand how fleeting and uncertain they are. And our relationship is deeper and sweeter for all the tears and difficulties we face with military life.

ELIZABETH AND JAMES

MARIE ELENA:  “Nothing’s ever definite until it happens.”  My son found that to be the case in the Navy as well.  Once again I see that admirable attitude of yours, Elizabeth.  You are such an inspiration.

ELIZABETH:  God created me, suffered for me, forgave and redeemed me, and daily sustains me. And thus my life belongs to Him alone. And as I trust His perfect love for me, I find sweet peace and joy no matter what my circumstances are. His grace is more than enough for anything I face in this world, and I find rest and assurance in that. He is my rock, my sure foundation, my eternal hope.

MARIE ELENA:  Along those lines, I love the devotional section of your blog.  Though you have published devotionals, you also choose to provide these free on your site.  Do you consider this a ministry?  What are your intentions/dreams in this realm?

ELIZABETH:  Thank you!  It most definitely IS a ministry opportunity, and one I am thrilled to have. My greatest passion is proclaiming God’s Word to others, and my blog – and upcoming books – allow me to do just that. It’s something I tremendously enjoy doing, but it’s also an avenue that I hope will lead to greater writing opportunities in the future. But I started where I could, with what I had, instead of just waiting for that “big opportunity” to present itself. And along the way, and however far this road takes me, I pray that my words will encourage and show Jesus Christ to those whom I would never otherwise meet. God has given me so much spiritually – how can I keep it all to myself?

MARIE ELENA:  What affect does your faith have on your “muse?”

ELIZABETH:  Since God has so richly blessed me, how can I keep from singing His praises? When I am particularly impressed by the beauty of His creation, or awed by how He has directed my life, or overwhelmed by His greatness and His love – that’s when my muse finds words. And I love how He – the original Author of life, who created the world with a word – allows me to create beauty with words.

MARIE ELENA:  Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

Now, as I end all my interviews, if there was only one thing we could know about you, what would you tell us?

ELIZABETH: For to me, to live is Christ.  Because I was made for His enjoyment, and my ultimate purpose is found in pleasuring Him.

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – L’ARORA

L’Arora was created by Laura Lamarca. It comes from “LA,” (Laura’s signature) and “Aurora,” which is Italian for “dawn.”  Guidelines:

Stanzas are 8 lines in length, with no particular syllable count per line
4-stanza minimum length
No maximum length
The rhyme scheme is a, b, c, d, e, f, g, f.

Source:  http://allpoetry.com/column/7546415-LArora_-by-Laura_Lamarca

MARIE ELENA’S ATTEMPT:

THIS POEM WOULD HAVE A TITLE IF ITS AUTHOR COULD THINK

I’ve been thinking,
But it isn’t easy.
Thoughts escape
Like steam from a kettle,
Unable to be contained
For later retrieval.
Cerebral files in disarray;
Mind in state of upheaval.

I imagine
There must be a reason.
Words seeping,
Wreaking havoc on my day
Leaving me to believe
My head is porous.
Can’t speak three words
Without a thesaurus.

I’ve researched,
Yet found no cause.
No laws of recall atrophy
Nor forced eviction
Of words from brain –
They seem to just slither,
Unnoticed,
Leaving me in a dither.

I’ve considered
Wrapping my head
In Saran,
Plugging my ears
With cotton,
Or filling up on dessert –
Which may not help,
But couldn’t hurt.

© 2012 – Marie Elena Good

WALT’S L’ARORA:

LIGHT FROM A DISTANT SHORE

She sets herself; a life raft for wayward
sailors navigating life on a tumultuous sea.
Her beacon shines brightly,
a nightly sweep with eyes searching
and a smile that provides great light.
Lost souls find comfort there.
Every heart beats more sure;
no hazard is too great to bear.

Far and away she stands,
a gentle lady of a kind and nurturing soul.
Her goal remains within reach,
nature’s friend and confidant.
A mother’s caress never so sweet,
nor guiding hand so tender,
making a mental effort to present
her precious gift; melancholy’s true mender.

For she becomes the friend in which you place your trust,
the “embrace” in which you find comfort.
She is a beautiful soul,
a manifestation of every good thing.
She brings her smile to soothe your heart
and you start to believe in all of her charm;
a shield protecting and projecting
is the sanctuary disguised as her arms.

Secure in the shadows
miles from your eyes, you are wise
to rely on her heart being your rudder.
For the heavens give her direction
and her faith gives her solace.
Her face, an angel’s desire
and the smile she burns throughout,
with love’s unquenchable fire.

© 2012 – Walter J. Wojtanik

WELCOME HOME – PROMPT #68

Okay, we’ll leave the self examination for the moment and look into our origins. Everybody comes from somewhere,  it’s true. But we’re focusing our microscope a bit more finitely. For this week’s prompt, we’re going home!

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part3: Welcome Home Marie and I ask you to write your poem using your childhood home as inspiration. Be descriptive and paint your imagery as colorfully as you can. What color was your house? How was the neighborhood? Did you have a favorite room; hiding places? Wall paper or paint? – What memory of your home is the strongest for you? We will deal with the people in your home in later prompts. Right now, just give us a glimpse of where you lived. Include all you need to make us feel  at home.

MARIE ELENA’S ROOTS:

BELMONT AVENUE

She was a two-story, humble abode;
Up in years, but still
She wore white well.

I don’t recall the kitchen much
Before Dad’s home-made solid oak cabinets, and Mom’s
Fruit-dappled wallpaper with appealing colors
That showcased the oak.
I also can’t quite recall the walled staircase
Before Dad opened it up, and added an elegant
Curve.
Then there’s my bedroom, of which I have
No recollection, pre-
Flamboyantly pink flowered wallpaper
Of my five-year-old big-girl choosing, that
My parents tolerated, and my Grandpa
Patiently hung.

I’m quite certain her front porch
Had limited personality until
Our porch swing was hung
And summer nights meant staying up late,
Pajama-clad, swinging and singing
And chatting and waving
To neighbors that happened by.

While some things were lovingly changed,
Others were equally as lovingly allowed to just be.
There was the dining room wallpaper mural –
An elegant home
With winding creek and weeping willows,
Where I used to sit for hours,
Placing myself in such a charming and picturesque scene.

What I truly treasured about our home, though,
Was her setting –
Comfortably settled among the homes of
Loving aunts, uncles, and eleven cousins.

© – Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S HOME BASE:

WHERE OUR HEARTS BELONGED

Home.
It is where the heart is.
We had left her years ago
but our hearts remained; an empty shell

where the essence of us resides.
They can cover her in vinyl,
but in the final determination
the combination of sunny yellow

and a mellow burnt umber trimming.
had her brimming with love.
A two-family dwelling with
full cellar. A fellow could find sanctuary

with nary a care; there was always family there.
A room paneled and trimmed
(all on the carpenter’s whim)
Bunks and captain’s beds,

where we were born and bred.
It remains in my heart and head,
where my memories come.
I’ll always her call home.

© – Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

It amuses me that we both chose to personify our homes – females, both. 😉 ~Marie Elena

Why not, home was a loving and nurturing place. 😉 Walt

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #67

As evidenced by the chatter accompanying this week’s poetry, tooting our own horn is uncomfortable for most of us.  Walt is grand at stretching our minds and pulling us out of our comfort zone, and the results are always amazing.

This is an appropriate week to celebrate accomplishments, as we are in the midst of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.  We are not all Olympic Gold Medal winners, but, as Walt says, “In this world, the little things are as celebrated (or should be) as the big ones.”  Hear, hear.

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM

As always, I had a difficult time choosing only one poem to highlight. I finally settled in on Pamela Smyk Cleary’s untitled piece.  This was before knowing that it would be a nice little birthday gift for her today.  Honest.  😉  Happy Birthday, PSC!

Of course it is well written, but I must admit that it is the heart sentiment of Pamela’s poem that I find so captivating.  The words of Claudette express my own feelings best:  “… it is within those moments of selfless kindness that much more is accomplished than is ever recorded in our lives or our minds, for those are times when our hands are guided by other forces for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.”  With that, I offer my Bloom to one who personifies these selfless kindnesses.

UNTITLED (by Pamela Smyk Cleary)

“Who me?” she said,
“I’ve done nothing
extraordinary
with my life;
no heroics,
accomplishments
or kudos I recall
with pride
(due or un-)

Pleased instead
by little gifts, un-
anticipated, not
expected or requested,
(nor bestowed near often enough)
only given in joy and love
(and ofttimes anonymity)

Elderly walks cleared of snow,
gardens weeded,
poems, novels to read,
puzzles built in tandem,
treasures of time
to fill lonely afternoons;
smiles left behind
when I am
gone

WALT’S PICK

Walt has family commitments this weekend, but made certain to let me know his Bloom choice:  Elizabeth Johnson’s “I Go On.”   Elizabeth’s poem addresses her continuing battle with an incurable illness, Wegener’s Granulomatosis.  As Elizabeth pointed out, “…perhaps my greatest accomplishment (albeit only by Another’s strength):  that I have continued to fight, to live, to find my normal.”  Elizabeth expresses her story beautifully and completely in few words … an accomplishment in itself.

I Go On. (by Elizabeth Johnson)

Could be fatal, they said.
And there I lay, diseased and
missing half my blood – it had
disintegrated, gone away,
lifeblood no longer life.

Could be treated, they said.
And there I prayed; and took
one pill, one prayer, one day
by itself – baby steps when
I could barely walk at all.

Could improve, they said.
And there I leapt, yet leaning
on another and Another;
his arms, his legs – working for mine;
His strength working for mine.

Could recur, they said.
And there I wept, afraid to
live for fear that fears would live.

And there I paused.

But then, so tired of the waiting,
the not living–

Could go on! I said.
And there I grew, aware
that life was made to live,
and thrive – and I was made
to fight, and go on living.

 Congratulations to our Bloom recipients … just two from our garden of accomplished poets.