POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.

LOOK WHAT I DID! – PROMPT #67

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

PART 2 – LOOK WHAT I DID! – Prompt #67

We would like you to write about an accomplishment in your life that fills you with pride. An award, a discovery, a bit of heroics, a completion of a progam – anything we’d love to find out about and share in your pride.

Please note: We are all proud of our children/grandchildren as they fill us with pride and joy. So, they are off of the table. We’re looking for an award, an accomplishment, a commendation, a goal, quota…, being voted poet most likely to write a Sestina… something you can hang your hat on. Brag about it. If you feel it is worthy of your pride, we will hold your banner high. Swallow your modesty and express it! Every accomplishment is awarded here!

MARIE ELENA’S PRIDE

PRIDE (confession in sonnet)

The very word sends shivers to my spine
For pride, it’s said, arrives before the fall.
To write about my pride, I would decline:
A cowardly response, and not my call.

Since false humility is pride implied,
A path to cover tracks that lead to fact,
I recognize the need to swallow pride,
And keep some semblance of the truth intact.

With that, I look upon this very site –
Admit I’m proud of what we two have done.
So here’s my ego, splayed in black and white –
Along with hopes we’ve only just begun.

This said, my heart and pen make this demand:
“Don’t leave this page ungrateful for God’s hand.”

© Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S ACCOLADE:

I struggled with which one to pursue, so I wrote two. The first, a great accomplishment, only made possible by the second:

LAUREATE AT THE STAKE*

Sacrificed on the altar of reason,
pages ignite; an incendiary conflagration
of words and rhyme – metered and meted.

Ashes strewn, wind blown; sown upon
the fertility of a mind left wanting to be heard.
Every word burning like midnight oil to ravage

all this savage heart has toiled to achieve.
Like decayed leaves these poems smolder.
Line by line, they feed the fire; burning.

Learning that poetic purity is akin to obscurity,
remnants of thought filling the air
like sparks off to incite the masses and high grasses

in smoky simile; nothing is left unsaid.
Laureate at the stake burning, take the time to learn.
There is rhyme enough to burn.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

* Note:  On being selected the 2010 Poet Laureate for the April PAD at Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer. I seemed in a hurry to get there, and humbly find I still have much to learn and accomplish.

BEING HERE*

Breath and heartbeat.
Every new day is an event.
Hell bent on staying the course
with this life-force surging,
and purging every last bit of
fear and confusion; these intrusions
on a battered mind.
The lessons finally learned:
What matters, matters –
all else pales in comparison
in this garrison of vitality.
The reality of seemingly endless days
finds ways to enliven; given
to make these gifts a cause
to rejoice; a loud voice
in the wilderness, thankful
for all that has transpired.
As tired as it feels,
a good deal of these days now
are spent in praise of Being.
Seeing the forest AND the trees,
with knees to ground to pray.
This magnificence in relation.
Every new day – an elation;
a life spent in celebration.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

*Note: After fifty-six years in fermentation, the wine is finally reaching its peak!

Walt has fashioned this “badge/banner” for our poets

and it is available on the P.B. Badge tab above (Html included).

Single Post Navigation

409 thoughts on “LOOK WHAT I DID! – PROMPT #67

  1. I’ll be back later with a brag, but I am too moved by all three poems above to leave here dutifully and write without thanking you two first: Thank you for bragging, for affirming your strengths–your elation at being here on this page and here in this life and in Prayer and in Gratitude. I hold you in the Light and thank you for all you give.

  2. Had to dig. I’ve been happy with the outcome of things now and then, but most of those just happen TO me (or in spite of me) and are for celebration, but not pride.

    Once

    I followed the railroad and crossed a bridge
    with long steps from tie to tie. I made pots,
    beginning with soupy mud, finished with glaze
    I’d compounded myself from raw minerals.
    And once, dressed as I thought a poet
    should dress–in black and black and black
    –I read to a crowded room and spotlights
    a poem I’d won a prize for in high school
    (a prize I had been too shy to collect) to
    sweet applause.

  3. Marie, Walt, your offerings today leave me breathless in admiration. Marie, you are right to be proud of the achievements you have wrought in this garden of many blooms. Walt, these two wonderful poems are testament to your poetic skills, your grit and determination, and the sheer joy of poetry. I salute you.

    But how can we ordinary mortals follow that? I am away to ponder.

    • Re-read the final lines of the first of mine, Viv. There is still so much I have to learn about being a poet and life. No gods here, we too are merely mortal as well. Write your accomplishments. They’ll stack up against ours in equal celebration! But, above all else,

      Thank You for YOUR encouragement everyone. You also make Marie and me better poets! Walt.

  4. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Lovely truths… both.

  5. Susan and Viv, your generous and sweet comments have me smiling and blushing. Bless your hearts!

    Marie Elena

  6. Walt, there’s something about those laurels. Not only are they (I hear) uncomfortably heavy, they make you a target for snipers.

    Love the idea of a “garrison of vitality”. Squads of energy in their bunks, life in the mess hall; all armed to the teeth and ready for bear.

    • Barbara, you hear correctly on all counts. That’s why I pull back and regroup from time to time. But, I’m learning how to take the “bullets” and carry on. In this floral haven of ours, no targets are apparent. I like it here at home! Walt.

  7. Dear Mr. Walt and Marie Elena:
    In future years you will look back upon
    your garden grown and when you’d just begun…
    and you will know that in its infancy
    is where the joy of first bloom’s meant to be
    It is not in the accolades with pride
    but in the journeys self with love applied.
    So pin a ribbon to your broader chest
    Recall the how of getting here the best.

  8. Wow, I’m greatly humbled. I can hardly think of anything worth even the mention. Why do I see two of the three poems by Marie Elena and Walt are sonnets? Is that supposed to be the form for this week’s challenge?
    I really think I can’t write anything to this prompt. I am really at a very low point in my self-esteem and don’t seem to remember a single thing to be proud of… Most nice things in my life happened in spite of me, not because of me. And whatever nice I did, turned to be insignificant in the long run, so… maybe I’ll pass.

    • Laurie Kolp on said:

      This makes me sad. I hope you’ll reconsider, Mariya.

    • Mariya, I can relate. When I began listing my accomplishments I started feeling depressed because they seemed relatively few and insignificant compared to all the effort I put in. I have started so many things I’ve never finished. I think it helps to list the little things. I’m sure youll be able to come up with something.

    • I suspect you’ll find there are enough of us in that same boat that you’ll figure out something, just to get away from the crowd. I went to 1969 for mine: yours is in there.

    • Mariya, you woke up this morning. You stood up against something. You accepted criticism graciously. You make a great cup of coffee. In this world, the little thing are as celebrated (or should be) as the big ones. You write wonderful poetry and post it here and other sites. That would be an accomplishment just in the doing. I know it was for me. Walt.

    • claudsy on said:

      Mariya, 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.

      If you can find no other accomplishment in your life to be proud of, write to the fact that you are a sweet and loving person, one who finds little remarkable about herself, but one who sees only the surface of that remarkable kindness within.

    • P.S. Mariya, no need for a sonnet. 😉

      meg

    • Mariya, I’ve felt the same way so often in my life, I still do occasionally, but wrestle myself to snap out of it (something I was not very good at when I was younger.) It will get better – by itself, or with help, seek it if you feel you need it – you will feel good about yourself, you will feel worthy and special. Because you are.

      As for the prompt, I find it extremely difficult.

  9. Laurie Kolp on said:

    Winning a Spot in Writer’s Digest

    A challenging quest, the titrina poem
    called forth from one Robert, this tricky
    form follows a pattern, recurring end words

    trickling down like a mini-sestina, select words
    as fine as wine. I tackled this form poem
    with fervor for days, subjects I found tricky

    until one Friday night my daughter’s tricky
    behavior set the stage and the right words
    flew off the page, by themselves wrote the poem.

    Tricky in words, my last poem inked won first place.

  10. I’m kind of in crisis mode today and my only accomplishment at this point seems to be survival, so I see this as a big accomplishment. I am sure that in other weeks I would be able to come up with something more appropriate. It was theraputic anyway.

    I DIDN’T CRY

    I was at a party
    when I got the news that day
    that my son was in the ICU
    miles and miles away.

    The party was important.
    My family all was there
    I didn’t want to spoil things,
    but to leave I had to share.

    I was factual for certain
    when I gave the news to all.
    I informed them, but I didn’t cry
    I told them that I’d call.

    I had to drive 5 hours.
    Stay calm. I had to try.
    It isn’t safe to panic.
    And so I didn’t cry.

    When I ultimately got there
    and found he didn’t die
    The relief was so tremendous
    I finally had to cry.

  11. connielpeters on said:

    Creative Writing Teacher

    When I see her bright red hair
    in a crowd or in a store
    I go over and greet her
    and I’m always surprised at her age,
    because I often think of her as that
    shy ten-year-old her mother drug
    into my creative writing class;
    and over the next five years
    I watched her get excited
    about writing poems and stories,
    until I said, “Wow, Sarah,
    you’re writing better poetry than I write.”
    And I know even if my own writing
    never amounts to anything great,
    someday I’ll see her name in print
    and I might strain my muscles
    from patting myself on the back.

  12. My “brag” for today is simple. (I give myself first prize for a working Shakespearean Sonnet. Well, no one else was competing with me, lol, so I won!) I was always the type who could happily play in the middle of a mud puddle all by myself. I am most proud of a recently learned “daDUM, daDUM, daDUM, daDUM, daDUM.

    “Morning, in my Garden”

    The Morn, aglow with rosy blush of day
    appears the dainty bride; a powdered fey.
    She’s blown a fairy dewdrop storm ablaze
    that warms a happy, wedded, blissful play.

    And soft, she gathers light; an anxious wait
    as soon the groom where ‘neath the shadows slouch
    will bloom a brilliant hue of purple slate.
    His heart awaits the warmth of bridal-couch.

    The Moon has gone to bed and sleeps alone
    as Morning flits between her leafy guest.
    They raise their heads to hear the music blown
    that warm the periwinkle’s silken vest.

    Triumphant march of day has taken sway;
    A diadem of magic breaks my way. {/c}{/center}{/b}

  13. My Parents’ Expectations

    “Marian will go to college” was what
    my mother believed.
    . “Our only child must be
    a college graduate.”
    A t my high school graduation, I felt
    Her spirit near. I made a speech, the
    Typical ambition that honored the
    Quest for a world at peace – a common
    Desire expressed in those early post-war
    Years.

    Then off to college, a disastrous two years
    To be a poet was my goal ., but my belief
    That the best poetry was found in bars
    Closed my notebook, and tossed my pen aaway.

    All was not lost, I married had a family
    Lived close to nature which I began to
    Write about.

    A local group of poets (Meeting in a class
    Room of a college) inspired me to write
    Some more and then , to my surprise
    I wan4ted to finish college, fulfill my
    Family’s dream and graduate.

    Which I did in my mid-fifties – husband, children
    grandchildren cheering me on. (. Some of my children also had
    Degrees). We share our love of books and history the world
    Of nature and the quest for peace in this world which will,
    Sometimes, let even a long-delayed dream come true.

  14. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Meanwhile, over at The Sunday Whirl Blog

    I
    wrote my
    very first
    wordle today—
    YES!!! 🙂 !

  15. Thanks Henrietta, but I think I posted the wrong revision!!?! I am trying
    the Sunday Wordle, thanks for your inspiration!

  16. In 2007, I was diagnosed with a rare form of vasculitis, Wegener’s Granulomatosis. It is treatable, but not curable, and may go into remission – but can return at any time. And this is my story, and perhaps my greatest accomplishment (albeit only by Another’s strength): that I have continued to fight, to live, to find my normal.

    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.

  17. Too fast, too soon

    After twenty years
    where people hung on my words,
    I thought I was wise.
    It took the courage to quit
    for me to become a fool.

  18. Gratitude, not Pride

    Psalm one hundred reminds us
    of God, “It is He that hath made
    us and not we ourselves.”

    When Moses made excuses for his
    lack of good speech, God asked him,
    “Who has made man’s mouth?”

    The Israelites were reminded
    “…remember the Lord your God
    …Who gives you power to get wealth.”

    The first and most important
    thing I did was to come to Jesus,
    even that faith is “the gift of God.”

    One of my favorites of His gifts
    is words with which we can
    express what is in our minds.

    What did I just do?
    I wrote a poem, expecting
    some to read and say, “aha!”

  19. An Overview of What I Do

    I seldom say that I am proud,
    but I am awfully glad
    that hopes I never said aloud
    became something I had.

    I learned to work especially hard
    to try for trips and studies,
    to take the pieces that are marred
    and love them like we’re buddies.

    And so I taught in PRC
    (my Chinese was weak)
    Honorable Model Teacher, I
    learned both to knock and seek.

    I let Fulbright send me abroad
    to Japan and Singapore,
    to India and Malaysia,
    and was hungry still for more.

    I studied in Korea
    and taught Asian Studies too;
    my husband just said “see ya”
    as I packed my bags anew.

    An English teacher to the heart,
    I served my state as president,
    I met the best in skill and art
    who taught me to be what I’m meant

    to be, no need to apologize
    for living full tilt and loving it;
    teaching with joy can open eyes
    of students to see where they fit.

    My friends and colleagues over time
    have peopled my life in loving ways,
    encouraging neither crime nor mime,
    but valuing a well-turned phrase.

    I’ve gleaned a number of awards
    and honors over my career,
    but none so lovely as the words
    from students whom I hold so dear.

    They’re all grown up and making strides
    in fields I can’t begin to know,
    giving themselves to what abides,
    opening their minds to reach and grow.

    I feel this fullness in my heart
    when I see them—can that be pride?—
    and I know my work was my art,
    and, oh, it was a wondrous ride.

    So this will be my thirty-ninth year;
    perhaps it’s time I stop and rest.
    Maybe I’ll face my joy and fear—
    writing—and hope to be blessed and bless.

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      OM Goodness, Wonderfully written, and you have been soo Blessed, and have, in turn, blessed those whose lives you have touched!!!

    • claudsy on said:

      Marvelous poem, Jane. Oh, would that I could have trailed behind, to learn of those places and people. Our lives take the turns that serve us the best. I’m happy to have been blessed by your words, my friend.

    • Jane,
      you have been marvelously multiplied in your ‘art.’ What satisfaction and joy you must feel, as you still bless us with your work.

    • Sowing seeds of liturature all over the world, that’s a blessing.

    • Jane, you are a wonder. This is a different sort of style for you, and you’ve done it justice. I agree again with “Sky,” (go figure!) and his assessment. Bravo!

      meg

    • And I could probably add quite a few accomplishments you failed to include! You are the real deal, Jane!

    • Ah, you are doing well, Honorable Model Poet.

      • Aww, you guys. Thanks. And Nancita, you are too, girl, and you know that I know it.

        • I thought of Nancy several times as I was reading your poem Jane so am happy that you through a bouquet to her as well … this is a masterpiece of story-telling and covers a wonderful lifetime of achievements and excitement in a well-told way culminating in the literature and language you’ve been able to pass on … brava … well-done … a great piece.

    • This is fabulous Jane. I am proud to know you. I love this form too!

      • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

        Jane, what a wonderful, full and exciting life. What a blessing to have the opportunities to share and grow and congradulations for leading others along the way.

    • A ” wondrous ride” — indeed! 🙂

    • “I’ve gleaned a number of awards
      and honors over my career,
      but none so lovely as the words
      from students whom I hold so . . . .”

      I love your poem. As an English teacher too, I find that you speak my mind. I see you have taken up the challenge you express in your last stanza. Bravo for all you are and all you give!

      • Thanks so much, friends. Susan, I love teachers, especially English teachers, since I know there is little life after school that doesn’t involve marking essays, a painful fact missing from this poem. I hope what you do fills you up, lady, and that all you give your students gets reflected back to you in the most delicious ways. Have a good school year!

  20. Walt, Marie…you may humbly sense what you’ve accomplished yourselves, but through your loving duty to this site and these poets, you cannot measure what you’ve accomplished through ripple and swash and current and wave into all of our writing voyages. Thank you both as deeply.as the oceans we sail.

  21. claudsy on said:

    Life’s Little Lessons

    New challenge met new life within old,
    walking with another through days
    overflowing with pitfalls,
    trusting other’s good eyes
    to pilot my life
    through blurred mazes
    night and day,
    without
    fear,
    for
    in that
    deft guiding
    presence I found
    future’s filled cup held
    strong in my shaking hands,
    waiting for my consumption,
    prepared to teach me of things new
    for living beyond life’s hard challenge.
    Vision’s image, it sharpness fractured,
    leaving me adrift among waves
    of shifting hues and movement
    amid echoed sound shards
    for higher learning’s
    sake, a future’s
    goal of self’s
    pending]
    life.

  22. Eternal Rewards

    I changed my thinking in two thousand five
    It all happened because of a little ones life.
    I started to see people differently then,
    giving them plenty of room to be just them.
    I began to speak for those underserved.
    Seeing that they got the help they deserved.
    I notice more clearly those who are left out,
    It makes me so made, I just want to shout
    at the hard-hearted bigots who think they know best
    that those who are different are worse than the rest.
    And it’s not just the slower that get ridiculed
    It happens to many and not just in school.
    The accent, the limp, the pimples, the weight;
    thinking less of these people is no different than hate.
    The poor, the depressed, the unsaved or the gay
    don’t you realize that Jesus wouldn’t turn them away?
    It’s about inclusion in the Kingdom that counts
    And I’m doing my best to increase that amount.

    © Kelly E. Donadio 2012

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      The sad reality of Life… good for you, Kelly… every step counts… !

    • I got as far as “because of a little one’s life,” and had to compose myself before I could read any further. Bless you, Kelly. I could not be more pleased to call you cousin, and fellow sister in Christ.

      meg

    • None of us will truly deserve our eternal rewards from Jesus. It is all simply a gift we need to reach out to Him to receive.

    • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

      What I see is a wonderful, continually growth and awareness of what and who is around us – and the caring heart to work to help towards making a difference. PTL

    • Kelly – this change in your life is certainly something to be proud of and those who would have you champion them have lucked out … you have written of this beautifully – well-done.

    • Somethng to be proud of, indeed,when your open heart prompts you to open teh way for others! “It all happened because of a little ones life.” How is that? A baby? I have often heard how making life makes room for life. Whatever caused your change, I am glad to meet you!

  23. We are off to a great start. We are celebrating poetry and the poets who write it. No need to play “Can you top this!” All endeavors are Top Notch.

    • Walt, I loved the last line of your first poem and the last line of Marie’s. I tried to comment on everyone’s poems, but please forgive me if after today I cannot do that. These could have been unabashed bragging, but it looks like most of these reflect joyful amazement.

      • I agree, Sheryl. The tone of these poems is of collective genuine amazement and thankfulness. I’m LOVING every single response.

        And speaking of “every single response,” there is no need to apologize for not being able to respond to every poem. This is an incredibly supportive group, but there are no requirements or expectations. You have lent abundant support, and we are thankful for your presence here.

        meg

        • Marie (ah, the sneaky one), I know there is no expectation of comments for everyone. I simply wanted people to know why I stopped commenting.It is not that I do not like the rest of the poems.It is because life calls: the main reason I have not done many poems in the past.

  24. “I ate pie”

    Sometimes the gravel gets between my toes now
    because I wobble,
    and a dance is a game with fire,

    But I’m not counting the wrinkles in the sheets
    anymore or wiggling my finger in the mattress knots.

    I just wanted pie.
    At a restaurant.
    With my kids.

    But daylight and midnight merged
    for two years and stretching
    my legs was like snapping an old rubber band.

    My soft finger tips forgot about the guitar
    in the closet and I forgot what the inside
    of a store looked like, it was about the time
    debit cards were born and silly-willy weak
    knee’d me, didn’t know how to use it
    when I tried years later and they laughed
    and I laughed with stones in my gut.

    But, we went out for pie and these days
    I make the bed without my feet still in
    it and a new normal is developing
    into something like bridal lace,
    from some old-fashioned borrowed
    blue prayers.

  25. Medal

    Winning a medal
    in my first race
    should satisfy.
    I might wear it
    buying groceries
    or when posing
    for Christmas card.

    After all, no one
    needs to know
    that while I was first
    in my age group,
    I was also last.

    I may have been
    the only woman
    my age in the race
    but on that day,
    I started, I ran,
    and I finished.

  26. Hooray for your running that race!

  27. Memoir, Part Two – Pride

    Aware that there were people
    writing all over the world
    with belief and easy confidence,
    I yearned to learn that magic
    formula. Penning poems gave
    me a exhilarating feeling, but when
    notification came, it sent me reeling.
    First publication gave me
    validation as a poet, though
    it should not have been a measure
    of myself. I would be lying if I said
    pride did not rise to the surface
    like plump cooked ravioli,
    and the sauce to top it off
    was joining poetic groups,
    and sharing my heart with others.

  28. Turning the Page

    The pages of my life are filled
    With revisions and false starts,
    Abandoned plots that led to nowhere,
    A supporting cast that has failed
    To live up to its billing,
    The occasional villain who sought
    To defile, revile, desecrate, and violate me…

    But as long as I have the strength
    To pick up my pen each day,
    I know that the next chapter still lies ahead,
    Waiting for me to put my destiny into words.

  29. Up to Fifty-Two

    Started building things at 2.
    Lost a baby brother at 3.
    Caught a squirrel with his hands at 4.
    Walked along the top of swing sets at 5.
    Climbed to the top of tall trees by 6.
    Captain of the safety patrol at 9
    Snowmobile accident at 10.
    Had 4 paper routes by 11.
    Bowled a 279 game at 12.
    A shortstop and lead-off hitter by 13.
    Math whiz in school until he hit calculus.
    Recognized DeMolay leader by 17.
    Studied human biology and psychology at 18.
    State Master Councilor at 19.
    Motorcycle accident at 20.
    Studied Architecture and solar engineering at 20.
    Started teaching part-time at L.C.C. at 21 until 37.
    Worked as a solar tax credit analyst at 22.
    Managed a solar systems division at 23.
    Married at 24 until 38.
    Started a homebuilding business at 25.
    Designed and built over 150 energy efficient homes.
    Proud father of a daughter at 25.
    A carpenter and a craftsman at 26.
    Bowled a 747 series at 27.
    Proud father of a son at 28.
    Got his Real Estate Brokers license at 29.
    Was there for a boating rescue at 30.
    Built the first Smarthouse in Michigan at 31.
    Featured in several architectural publications at 32.
    Was a member of 6 boards of directors at 33.
    Carded 2 Holes-in-One and shot 70 three times at 35.
    President of local Homebuilders Association at 36.
    Partnered in a retail sports memorabilia shop at 37.
    Purchased an additional retail location at 38.
    Became a mortgage loan officer at 39.
    Put some poetry to music at 40.
    Started managing a mortgage company at 41.
    Managed 17 loan officers at 43.
    Published his first poetry book at 44.
    Found his soul mate at 45.
    Avid fisherman, boater and pool sharpshooter by 50.
    Featured in a poetry anthology collection at 51.
    Has written thousands of poems by 52.
    A family man who wishes he could do more.

    By Michael Grove

  30. This prompt is waaaaaay interesting! It’s not something I would have ever thought to write about myself. I guess that’s the point of prompts though, eh? I feel like I’ve taken a different (and more blatantly prideful) spin on the prompt than most of the wonderfully humble poets here, but this is what I’ve got.

    Principles

    So what if the principal of the thing
    Didn’t want to hand that medal over?
    “Principal and student are all smiles,”
    The newspaper caption read
    Beneath a grainy photograph
    Of me grinning and him looking grim,
    Trying to swallow the fact
    That his precious public-schooled,
    Personally groomed students
    Had been beaten out
    By a girl who spent
    The early years of her education
    In an old farmhouse with her family,
    Lots of books, and not
    An accredited teacher in sight.
    I worked hard at that man’s school,
    Through calculus and physics classes
    I never planned to use,
    And what was my reward?
    Certainly not the principal’s smiles,
    But who cares
    About the principal of the thing?
    I have principles, and smiles, of my own,
    And he had to hand over that medal anyway.

  31. Needed More

    ~ A Twisted Sonnet ~

    I’ve had nothing and I wanted less,
    then with everything still needed more.
    I’ve opened wide so many windows.
    I may have never closed an old door.

    I’ve seen the mountain from the valley,
    been up there and came back down again.
    I’ve journeyed twice in both directions,
    remembering who, and why, and when.

    I’ll share me while we let the coffee brew.
    You’ve only seen a little sneak preview.
    I’m on the very verge of a breakthrough.
    There is now something old, and something new.
    My motives and my actions are all true.
    I’d give up every single thing for you.

    By Michael Grove

  32. Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

    WHAT HAVE I DONE with what I was given?

    How can I seek praise for what is given?
    One or two of several gifts He gave
    to use in reflecting His grace?
    Told to “write.” So wrote and then
    illustrated same novel.
    Had others help edit.
    Self-published, but kept
    most humble with
    my unique
    spelling
    trait.

    [First published this past March, then reedited – again- and reprinted in June.]

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      May I please order your book, MMT? Thank you, and Congratulations!!

      • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

        Thank You – I would be pleased to have you read it. Have a bit about the book posted on my Facebook Photo Album. Not sure I should post my e-mail add here – perhaps Marie could send it to you (?) , and we could go from there. Thanks again MMT

        • Henrietta Choplin on said:

          Okay MMT, I just sent you an email, since I don’t use Facebook. If you will send me the info, I would Love to purchase your book!! 🙂 !!!

    • Splendid, MMT! I had no idea you had a published book out there! Congratulations, big time!

      meg

    • Humility and patience and real work! Congratulations on finishing and liking your work and taking it the natural course of birth and life!

    • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:

      My journey forward
      weaves reflections from my past
      into tapestries –
      thousands of bits and pieces
      gleaned from home, school, God, friends.
      The Master’s blueprint,
      designed by the Master’s hand,
      wife, mom, sister, friend
      and a dozen other hats,
      leader, teacher, singer, sales.
      Artist, designer –
      tools provided, eyes to see,
      hands to mold, draw, paint,
      mind to analyze, gather
      the dreams seen and those unseen.
      Surprised by writing,
      a new part of the blueprint
      not of my planning
      a humbling directive
      from the architect of life.
      One novel complete,
      second novel rough draft done,
      third waiting in wings.
      English, Lit and Grammar Prof’s
      would rightfully be surprised.
      Illustrating books,
      delightful way to express
      events of novel
      giving readers visual joy
      while following players.
      Along the journey
      challenges, joys, sorrows, ups,
      maybe down to pits,
      forward sometimes baby steps,
      knowing more plans will unfold.

  33. ***
    Every single thing
    that used to make me proud
    Now has a hollow ring.

    It seems academy and business
    hardly meet.
    What was “cum laude”
    is judged “unfit”.
    ***
    smiles, MK

  34. Walt and Marie: Enjoyed all three! 🙂 Back later to read more.
    For now, here’s my offering:

    “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

  35. Surviving Dyscalculia (A Nonet)

    Say it three times and it must be true.
    A few more times should make it nine.
    So take care how many times
    you call me dimtwitted
    ‘cause after three times
    I’ll prove that threes
    can’t add up
    either.
    Hmm!

    Surviving Ridicule

    I’m the shiniest tool in the box,
    a few bricks short of a load,
    one sock spare to a pair,
    at least that’s what you told
    everyone
    everywhere
    who joined in this chipping away.
    I’m one sandwich short of a lunch,
    one ray short of a sting,
    a few teeth short of a smile,
    at least that’s what you’d say
    to everyone
    everywhere
    Although I never believed a word of it
    from anyone
    anywhere.

    Dyscalculia is a form of dyslexia that focuses on numbers and numerical memory problems. 
  36. Pingback: Memoir Project: Part 2, Surviving « Misky

  37. Great poems, Walt and Marie. And thanks for this prompt. Pride is something I would never write about without a prompt making me do it.

    • I know mike. That goes for a lot of poets I know (me included). This project is all about the poet behind all the poems, and all the poems are about the poets. I don’t know what possessed me to think of this project, but more and more, I am so glad I did. It will be worth the effort, I’m sure. Walt.

  38. This Birdcage of Frost and Iron

    It turns out this Martha was not the dental hygienist from Georgia
    with 14 great-nieces and nephews and 13 great-great-nieces and nephews,
    not the Martha who moved to Ocala and became a real estate broker.
    I didn’t know her and couldn’t find her anywhere,
    but they still gave me her poetry scholarship.
    So, thanks for that, Martha,
    but real pride is in still being here at all,
    waking up for a phone call and seeing the park is still there,
    coming out one of the other sides mostly intact,
    save a few cracks in my turtle shell, some not knowing of those you used to know.
    Behind my skull is still a cluttered birdcage with a tiny blue chieftain
    but for now it is an anarchic chaos that leans on itself,
    balances all the Aristotelian Virtues and Vices in a big brown fruit bowl off in one corner
    – the dullness, well-roundedness, and wildness already forming into a yogurt –
    and so try not to touch anything.
    Jeff says if it’s true we learn from tragedies
    then you’re just about ready to be President, bucko.
    For now we are on the dock as
    this life is a frigate sailing just before the horizon,
    but as we search for the best place to stand
    we realize it is sailing away and not to us,
    slowly but always.

  39. “Triumph”

    My huge victory as of today –
    No self-torment: I’m able to say,
    “Writer, mother, and wife,
    Perfect not is your life,
    You’re not perfect, but – hey! – you’re OK!”

  40. I actually wrote this little poem before the one I submitted above, but “Eternal Rewards” just burned to be posted first. Obviously, my rhyming bent was in full gear yesterday.

    Not My Style

    Accomplishments, there have been a few,
    but writing them down is quite hard to do.
    They all seem so very long ago,
    and to mention them now seems rather ego-
    tistical in every way.
    But you asked for something,
    So what should I say?
    Children are out as per the rule.
    So I’ll skip those four, to avoid ridicule.
    Have a media award from the IRS.
    My writing back then, was better, I guess.
    Won awards for being able to sing and speak,
    I still do the speaking, but to sing I now squeak.
    I have really tried to come up with some more
    but bragging about me, seems to be such a bore.

    © Kelly E. Donadio 2012

  41. WOW! Comment 304! Good show!

    My response to Prompt 2 in the memoir project is a string of haiku about earning ribbons at the 4-H youth fair. It may be easier to visit it on my web site where I post it for you–so inspired by Marie Elena and Walt–and also for today’s open link at dVerse Poets Pub:
    http://susanspoetry.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-fair.html

  42. WOW! Comment 304! Good show! Marie Elana and Walt! This project and your work inspire us all. I’ve read so many poems above that I have tears in my eyes. How amazing you all are! I didn’t even try for a life view. For one little brag, I reached back into my teenage years to 4-H Club–actually, I was a “lone member”–where I learned leadership and household skills through hands-on learning. So here is a string of haiku about earning ribbons at the 4-H youth fair:

    The Fair

    Lemon slices clear
    palates well for judging pea-
    nut butter cookies

    Blue red green yellow
    and white ribbons flutter from
    hems of home-made clothes

    My puff-sleeve empire-
    waist dress in pink flower print
    fit well and won blue

    I wore it proudly
    in the 4-H Altamont
    Youth Fair yesterday

    Today my friends brush
    their horses for the paddock
    show and I will watch

    While my green peppers
    and red tomatoes line-up
    for their own trials

    Tonight we collect
    our monetary rewards
    earned ribbon after

    ribbon, eat pizza,
    celebrate this year’s success
    and count with pride

    the hours we said “no”
    “I cannot go out” to play
    “I have work to do.”

  43. Toot

    I am musical;
    I played the piano
    long before my toes could reach
    the pedals, my feet
    swinging
    and dangling
    free-falling
    foot-loose
    running octaves
    but musical or not, I simply
    cannot bring myself to toot
    my own horn.

    (falling off chair, laughing and giggling….)

  44. What Have I Done for Me Lately?

    “False modesty is no modesty” someone close to me says
    And yet I know this same someone finds it as hard to accept
    Genuine praise or compliments as do I – why is that I wonder
    In this odd age of seeming entitlement, at least according
    To some of the Gen X-ers who must have awards for everything
    What, I ponder, merits actual bragging …

    I know I do like that I’ve more or less chosen to stay:
    Sane, married, and alive … but in a proud,
    I can brag about these fetes way?
    I’m not so sure …

    So – what last made my blood quicken and my heart leap into my throat
    And with pride, not fear? Like many others, I could not remember …
    I started zipping back through my files, hitting on things like “Heart Gladdeners”
    And “Keep” and finally hit a little used one called, “Poetry Achievements”
    That I don’t remember starting and I certainly haven’t had cause to use much

    But as soon as I opened it, I had the same gut-honest reaction I had when it first
    Occurred – the publication of my first poem! It thrilled me all over again and I was right
    Back there getting the news, then seeing the poem; I’d won the right to have my poem
    Published and reviewed on-line by a poet/editor I respect(ed), plus archived in perpetuity
    On that site

    Just to reinforce the feeling and the information,
    I revisited the site and re-read my poem
    The review, plus the recommendations
    of where I should send the poem for consideration
    for further publication …none of which I followed up
    I also noted that when I was first published,
    they had a respectable readership of 10,000 which now,
    almost four years later is touted as an audience
    of 40,000 combined readers
    (not sure exactly what that means but it impressed the hell out of me)
    And reportedly the website receives over one million views now
    (again not sure what that means …)
    The site has consistently placed in Writer’s Digest’s
    101 best web-sites for writers (2005-2012)
    And is also a recipient of the 2006 Truly Useful Site Award
    from Preditors and Editors

    Why am bragging about the site
    as much or more than about myself?
    Because on some level, we are part and parcel,
    or should be, joined at the hip
    This is the publisher that gave me my big break
    and not only that, almost right out of the gate
    In fact, I think this was the first poem I ever sent anywhere
    – to try and get it accepted for publication
    Even if it was to be reviewed –
    It was still published as part of the deal
    And in a respectable on-line publication
    that has now been in business over ten years
    Not only that – as mentioned, S.E.Ingraham is listed
    in there with “The Trees Stand Watch”
    For September 15, 2008 and the review et al will likely
    be there as long as the site remains viable

    Going back there reminded me that yes,
    I do write fine poetry, publishable words
    And that not just I think it; look, I have proof …
    When I had a few other things published,
    At their request I reported my good fortune
    back to this original publication; they spread the news
    For me – in effect, helping me brag –

    I’d forgotten much of this and doing this exercise
    Has helped me find my poetic legs again
    So as well as saying hurray for me, I just wanted
    To also say thanks for the kick in the rear – I needed it.

    S.E.Ingraham©
    (the publication? winningwriters.com – has a free on-line publication plus a more comprehensive but in my view, very reasonably priced “pay” publication)

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Congratulations, and THANK YOU, Sharon, for sharing these inspiring words!!! Sometimes, I look back at some of my words and say: “… What-the-Heck WAS I THINKING, when I wrote that”… then someone will tell me that it was Beautiful… So… I suppose one never knows….

    • “Going back there reminded me that yes,
      I do write fine poetry, publishable words
      And that not just I think it; look, I have proof …”

      Hear, hear!!! I do believe every artist on the planet could relate to your piece, Sharon. Thank you for putting your heart on display. (And a lovely heart it is!)

      Marie Elena

  45. Speech

    I walk the line of an introvert –
    feeling safe in the shadows
    but occasionally peeking my head
    through the curtains
    when curiosities pull is too strong.

    Seeking the lime light,
    being the center of attention
    is NOT something I seek.
    Being a famous poet/photographer
    and yet obscure is possible, yes?

    Sigh. To achieve my goals
    I will need to shed my introvert skin
    and walk out of the shadows,
    giving a life lesson
    as I live one.

    Standing in front of the masses,
    speaking on what makes my heart sing
    and the journey I have thus far taken –
    sharing a dream and encouraging others
    to step outside of their comfort zone…

    being the center of attention
    and finding I can still breath,
    stand upright, and talk coherently
    and when it was over,
    the shadows welcomed me home.

    *Proud to say I stepped out of my comfort zone to give two different talks (three times) on being a writer and photographer and my journey to get to where I am today just this past spring. Part of the speech was letting everyone know how far out of my comfort zone I was and how important it sometimes is to step outside that zone when the benefit is higher (to you or someone else) than your discomfort.

    • Kudos and brava to you Michelle – I’m not sure why but it took me all the way until I was verrrry mature (read old) before the fear of public speaking just vanished and I mean completely … I’ve said it before and I keep saying it, now I’m addicted to open mics and really love to read my work aloud. I had a long dry spell last year but am itching to get back to Canada and back at it so … you go girl, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get and you also realize that even if you screw up – nothing too terrible will happen; no-one will die (not even you) and it’s actually a cool thing to be able to do … so yeah … again, congratulations!

      • Henrietta Choplin on said:

        Oh, I so Loved both of your stories!!! I could never read my work…. I am soo very comfortable in those shadows you speak of, Michelle!

        • Yes, I can relate as well. One of my daughter’s best friends (children’s author Amy Ignatow) “suddenly” was shoved into the limelight via publication of her book (now 4 books, I believe). Amy is and Extrovert with a capital E, and so she fit right in with the radio interviews, book tours, school visits, etc. Yes, I would LOVE to have a children’s book published and yes, I would LOVE to have said book loved by children and stand the test of generations, but the thought of a radio interview or book tour scares the living daylights out of me. Of course, I cannot envision that type of writing success, and don’t think I need to worry about it. 😉

          Anyway, I can completely relate to your well-penned poem, Michelle.

          Marie Elena

          • Henrietta Choplin on said:

            Wow, Meggy, I never would have guessed that you feel this way too…. Makes me feel even more OK with myself, so thank you…

  46. Damn! This is Pretty!

    Pink and blue
    Chrome trimmed tables
    Pink and blue
    Deep padded booths
    High swinging chrome stools
    Pictures of all the blues and rock’n’roll greats
    Pennants from all the NFL and MLB clubs
    Drums and guitars hanging from the ceiling
    Blues and rock’n’roll fill the air
    Thirteen hours a day
    Over sixty dishes to choose from
    And milkshakes galore
    Not forgetting a cold one on draft
    In a frosted glass
    The Little Red Rooster Blues Diner & Grill
    I did this!

    Three fourteen year old girls
    Swinging on stools
    Swinging their hair
    Sipping a shake
    Look out the kitchen
    See the sight and listen
    Why! It’s Jerry Lee Lewis singing
    “Milkshakin’ Mademoiselle”
    I couldn’t have written it but
    I did this!

    Ten little five year old come for tea
    Hot dogs, fries and shakes
    Dancing on the seats
    The very first time they heard Chuck Berry
    They’ll never forget the moment
    I’ll never forget the thrill and the lump in my throat
    I did this!

    Late night, drinking,
    Thinking, staring,
    At the diner
    At my dream
    Closed now: quiet
    And smiling
    And sighing
    And whispering low
    I did this!
    And Oh My!
    Damn! It’s pretty

    Iain

  47. Pingback: “Principles” « A Particle of Difference

  48. Pingback: The Labyrinth « Metaphors and Smiles

    • Great prompt…thank you, Walt!!

      Sorry for the late arrival and lack of time to comment… :/

      This poem requires the favor of a visit as there’re images that truly enhance the poems true meaning…

      I read and reflected on both of you this Sunday morning and then needing to prepare for what this poem presents… I had to run.

      You both astound!!

      I’ll have to revisit this week…I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing series!!

      Beautiful badge, Walt!!!

      Thank you ALL!!

  49. Pingback: Friday Freeforall. What, Again?! « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  50. Getting caught up, yay !

    Awards, Rewards and Accolades
    By: Meena Rose

    There you go forcing me
    To search cobwebbed recesses
    Of memory shriveled up and
    In decay.

    I force myself to the garage;
    I find it – the box.
    A box of accomplishment
    Covered in bubble wrap.

    Coughing past the dust,
    The must and mold;
    Recovering from shock
    At the sight of a mouse’s

    Nest that my box of pride
    Has become. Definitely a
    More practical use of
    Milestones which mark

    Progress along life’s path.
    Reflecting purposeful charges
    And selfish meanders of
    Desire and ego.

    I laugh at myself when
    The AHA comes; life’s
    Little souvenirs touting
    Acts of wonder are

    Meaningless and worthless;
    A sincere brava, a clap on a shoulder,
    A conspiratorial grin from
    Friends is how I cherish

    Accomplishments by. Thanks
    To them I must acknowledge
    That my need to ink soul
    Upon parchment is real,

    Genuine and sincere. At
    Least good enough for
    Others to witness
    Tears shed and soulful wounds.

    Vulnerable… nervous…scared…
    I take the plunge, the magical leap;
    A leap of faith with arms wide open,
    I am a writer; I claim this in the open.

    http://2voices1song.com/2012/08/11/part-2-look-what-i-did/

  51. This was realllly hard for me, and that’s funny in light of what I finally came up with…

    I’ll Do

    Apparently, born without
    Brakes
    If there’s a task
    I do
    Don’t bother me
    With details
    Walls
    I’ve known a few
    Have bruises to show too
    Hard-headed/soft-hearted
    Sometimes wish
    I had a different view
    But, doing
    Is what I do

  52. After reading such fantastic poetry I’ll be the first to confess…mine is a cop-out, sort-of…

    ‘Better to be silent than appear proud
    and speak of accomplishments out loud’

    How old are we when self-consciousness zips
    joyous celebration behind our lips?

    …and now at forty-six I must share, and tell
    of something that I think I have done quite well

    Old habits die hard; I’ve acquired a demeanor
    that readily demotes my best attempts as mediocre

    Long ago my mother taught me each small deed done well
    builds a firm foundation on which we can excel…

    so this is my humble and daily quest;
    to embrace every moment and give it my best

    Through this endeavor there are a few things I’ve done
    that are entirely out of my comfort zone

    Girded by encouragement, and kind assistance too
    I started a blog, and thus I met you

    So if there is one thing I am ‘proud’ of today
    It’s you; the wonderful friends on blog high-way

    © Janet Martin

  53. Pingback: Citizenship | echoes from the silence

  54. ejparsons on said:

    Catching up….. day 2

    Happy New Year

    The Gasthaus was full on a cold winter night
    GIs and locals in a fellowship of merriment
    The beer and schnapps flowed freely
    It was New Year’s Eve, 1977
    And all was well
    At first

    My buddy and I arrived late from a duty commitment
    Just before the ball dropped on the New Year
    Only one shot of schnapps and a beer consumed each
    And a few energetic games of foosball
    Our sobriety levels were well within parameters

    About an hour after the festive occasion
    The crowd began to disperse for their homes
    When suddenly on the wet entry tiles
    A lady slipped and hit her head
    She lay unconscious and twitching
    Her husband locked in a state of shock

    My buddy and I ran to assist them
    Shaking the husband back into reality
    I picked up his wife and carried her outside
    To my buddies car, put her in the front seat
    I and her husband jumped in the back
    My buddy took off through the German countryside
    Heading to the ER at the Landstuhl Hospital

    Her husband was holding her hand from the back
    I monitored her pulse with fingers on her throat
    Then all signs of life stopped, pulse and breath
    Panic set in, then reflex took over
    I popped back her seat, clamped her nose in haste
    Lifted her head to clear her breathing passage
    Used my elbow to make chest compressions
    And proceeded to put my training to the test

    Still several miles from the Emergency Room
    With a panicking husband and a mad man at the wheel
    Fighting the lefts and rights, brakes and acceleration
    Fighting to get this woman to once again breathe
    Fighting to remember all the proper procedures
    Fighting for her life

    My buddy kept me posted on how much longer
    To get to the ER and the professional healers
    Five miles, then four, three and then two
    Still no pulse and not breathing on her own
    But no time to give up, no time to quit
    One mile to go, got to keep up the pace
    A half mile, a quarter, and just one more block
    The ER in sight: breathe and compress
    The car stops with a jerk and my buddy runs in
    Out comes the paramedic, just as she moves
    A breath, and a gasp, then coughs of vomit mist
    All over my face
    She was back
    I was smiling
    Happy New Year

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