Today we stand at week 20 of our Memoir Project. It has been a long and creative haul —  full of emotion and humor, tenderness, heartbreak and everything in between. Marie and I are so blessed to have you all as a part of this wonderful poetic partnership, and feel closer because of it. We are not finished here at POETIC BLOOMINGS, not by a long shot. Only a parting shot!


Part 20: Famous Last Words – And now lastly, do you have a favorite phrase or saying that you use with great regularity? Use it as your title and explain/write about it. Maybe something your parents always said to stir your independence or to support your efforts? If you don’t have one, write an “In My Own Defense” poem about anything you wish to clarify about your life.



Be watchful of the takers in your life –
Not every soul a giving heart retains.
The takers sap our joy and trigger strife.
My adage, this: it’s she who gives, who gains.

© Copyright – Marie Elena Good – 2012

My Aunt Peg (my Godmother) taught me that there are two kinds of people in this world:  Givers and Takers. She taught me to recognize the Takers, and not get sucked in.   It has always stuck with me.



Too many years wasted
tasting the bitter brew of defeat.
Sadly, my only foe was inside my head.
I should have stood and fought instead,
because I’ve found I have a lot to say,
and in my poems have found a way
to express what my heart held fast.
And at last the world will know
as my confidence grows, I can finally
show what my muse is made of.
Take your shot, you only live once!

© Copyright – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

172 thoughts on “FAMOUS LAST WORDS – PROMPT #85

  1. I know, I know!

    Too often that escapes my lips,
    And from my tongue it quickly slips,
    Causing others to check their speech,
    Creating breech following breech.
    What useless words: “I know, I know”;
    I clearly don’t or it would show!
    Better for me to come in low,
    Accept the help; cause I don’t know
    One little thing, I’m just fifteen!
    I don’t need to know anything,
    I have a God who’s Lord and King,
    Master of knowledge, time, and space;
    He humbles me and gives me grace.

  2. Marie, and you are a sublime example of a giver. Walt, if I were to write to this prompt, your line is the one I would take.

    Having contributed to only a few of these memory prompts, I am also feeling regret. I do love to write memoir, but some of these prompts caused me to dig rather deeper than I’m comfortable with, so I shied away.

  3. I Screw Up
    S ay to me it isn’t so
    C aught disaster by it’s toe
    R eally sorry to let you know
    E very dream down the drain
    W rap myself in endless pain
    U p this morning drinking bordeaux
    P lease don’t say, “I told you so”

  4. This has been an interesting series, I think. Maybe. but

    i don’t know…

    but: it’s possible
    i may have
    this one
    It could be that
    i have a problem
    fact as unqualified fact. (And as
    to opinions:
    hope i’ve got them
    down so small
    i’m [probably] not offending

  5. I Did My Best

    My father used to tell me
    that if something was worth doing,
    it was worth doing right.
    I have always thought
    that some things
    are worth doing just for fun.
    I don’t have to be the best
    at everything, or really, anything.
    But there are some efforts
    for which less than my best
    cannot possibly do.
    There is no endeavor
    that I have attempted
    without errors and failings,
    but I truly hope
    that on my last day of life
    I can honestly say,
    “I did my best.”

  6. I found myself nodding to both Walt and Marie’s words! I lived with my Grandma a lot and her thought and speech where constantly sprinkled with quotes…I wish I could have kept up with these prompts but maybe next time. I hope to get a chance at this one.

    • Janet, the project was to finish with about 15 poems and we’ll highlight each “chapbook” memoir as we receive them. I encourage you and anyone who had time wrest this from their grip, to work to complete the “challenge” There was never a time table set on finishing, just that you finish it. The prompts will still be accessible. Please consider these points, we’ll love adding your collection to the list.

      • I would love to try and finish it. Thank-you for the encouragement. I really have more time now than I did in the fall and summer.

  7. Wow, Marie. My husband and I were just talking about givers an takers. It took me a long time to learn to recognize the takers. I had learned your grandmother’s lesson sooner. The good thing is that my life has been blessed with givers that have been a great example in my life. I love your poem.

  8. Sadly, my only foe was inside my head.
    I should have stood and fought instead,

    I love your poem, Walt, but these lines are exceptional. It seems like they should be somewhere in the training manual for being human!

  9. This is a Rondel which is posted on Poetic Asides.

    The Party’s Started

    “The party’s started,” this I say
    When the household begins to rise
    “Time to get up” the phrase implies
    “Like it or not, let’s start the day!”

    A bit sarcastic is my way
    Knowing our life tends to surprise
    When the household begins to rise
    “The party’s started,” this I say

    Let there be laughter, come what may
    Though sleep’s sand still rests in our eyes
    There will be music, if we’re wise
    Eating, dancing, singing and play
    “The party’s started,” this I say

  10. Pingback: Check-in with True Self…Often | Metaphors and Smiles

  11. Today I’m writing about something my mind always goes back to and by always I mean that as long as I can remember I’ve been aware of the space…an actual place within my being that when approached honestly will never fail me. A key, maybe even the key to actual happiness in this ever-changing life is in, I believe, a phrase that we’re all probably familiar with, “remain true to self.” I’ll give you my poetic version of why this is so important.

    Check-in with True Self…Often

    In a world of such great influence…hold on to your beliefs.
    Placed amid hopeless struggles…faithfully move forward.
    With sudden wealth or increased status…don’t let it define you.
    When grouped in with over-bearing personalities…be yourself still.
    We’re each born with a highly individualized seed of self-
    a kernel of genuine-being that blooms when watered.
    Never lose your authenticity to the seasons of change.
    Keep the wonder and awe of child-like eyes alive.
    Sow the honesty that is yours to offer-
    you’ll reap the harvest of an honored spirit;
    a field flowering richly of the truth within you.
    For there is only one you on this planet,
    your gift to us all and to yourself is just this…
    BE YOU TOO FULL….always.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2012

    I just recently came across this, “BE YOU TOO FULL,” I don’t know who the original creator/author of this very cool and meaningful phrasing is but I give them the credit for that one portion and also a nod of thanks, for it fits just perfectly…summing up my entire meaning…it is the bow on the thoughtfully wrapped package, so to speak!! 😉

  12. I’m Just Raking the Moon

    I’ve went astray
    I’ve lost my way
    still some say fight
    and some say pay
    things I crave to dispossess
    before the grave I’ll reassess
    squandered advantages briefness
    knocked perception senseless
    I slipped and fell, easily caught
    into swift waters of bewildered thought
    lost sight of the prize, bartered for sunrise
    will dreams misplaced, be found again?
    my clothes threadbare, a grand buffoon
    I’ll just be here, raking the moon

    © ~ Randy Bell ~ 2012

  13. Field Guide

    “Adapt, adapt”
    And learn not to act
    On one’s own conclusions;
    They are often confusing
    Reality with a some
    Thing else.

    Learn to hold back
    And learn to let go
    When one does not know.
    Learn to ask, to ask.
    Life is much better living unfettered
    From nonsensical things:
    Dustballs and bee-stings
    And stress.
    Life’s merry seasoning may reek of unreasoning:
    Adapt, adapt.

  14. More Will Be Revealed

    How many Mount Everests I have climbed-
    the dales and valleys in faith, a test,
    spring tides and neap, undercurrents;
    when priorities changed, I was saved.

    …and that’s the way it is December 9, 2012…
    a day in history that will never come again-
    just like my life story, to some a mystery
    with so much that still needs to be told.

    And will.

  15. Dollars and Sense

    It’s been my observation
    that some folks have more dollars
    than sense.

    Why would someone shell out
    $75,000 for a car
    when $12,000 supplies a car
    with four wheels
    and a steering wheel?

    Why would a person pay
    $1,000 to see a celebrity in person
    when you can hear the same song
    on YouTube?

    Why would someone buy
    a $5,000,000 house
    when $100,000 pays for
    a lovely home and keeps out
    the same rain?

    Maybe I’d understand
    if I had less sense
    and more dollars.

  16. A student mimicking me leaned heavily on my favorite question. I think I’ll mimick myself in this poem. Marie, Walt, and poeming friends, this has been a fun bunch of introspective prompts. You folks always deliver wondrous lessons in fine words. Cheers, all!

    Does this make sense?

    I talk to me in cars, at home;
    I sound out meaning, keen on truth,
    and find good words when I’m alone
    are still untried on any group.

    So when I stand and face a class
    and speak the words that seem so clear,
    I see their brows knit, their eyes glass.
    Does this make sense? I offer here.

    Does it make sense that this young man
    would build a shack at Walden Pond,
    to simplify, to understand
    that less points him to more beyond?

    Does it make sense that we are here
    to claim our minds, to own our dreams,
    to read Li Po, Mark Twain, Shakespeare,
    vast worlds unleashed by books, it seems?

    Does it make sense that moving words
    from every country, culture, clime,
    can lift the heart like flights of birds
    in any reader every time?

    Does it make sense that characters
    in memoir, fiction, poetry,
    are subtle sweet philosophers
    who make us see what we might be?

    Each day, we search for relevance
    in groups, with friends, en masse, alone.
    Does it make sense that every chance
    is ours to hold before it’s gone?

    It is worthwhile to question things,
    to search for words to fill our hearts.
    Questions, like seeds, grow roots and wings
    to help us love life, finish starts.

    If we don’t care to understand
    each other as we’re understood,
    what sense to dare, what hope for man
    to wonder and seek all that’s good?

    In heaven seeking recompense,
    where God may grant an interview,
    I’ll ask, Did my life there make sense?
    And he’ll say, Was it sense to you?

  17. My Grandma had a vault of sayings and proverbs! Here is one I repeat often to my own Family…

    Waste Not, Want Not

    Waste not, want not
    She said
    as she shook the crumbs
    from the bottom of a bread bag
    for the birds
    or her next casserole
    placing the bag in a drawer for re-use
    as she brought someone a freshly baked treat

    Waste not, want not
    She said
    as she saved the yarn ends
    to hang in trees
    so the birds can have some color
    in their nests too

    Waste not, want not…
    and rags were cut into strips
    sewn together
    and braided for mats (see picture above)
    fabric scraps became comforters and quilts
    for the needy
    …or here and there perhaps a stuffed toy
    Pie dough left-overs were scraped
    from the counter-top and
    put in a dish in the fridge
    for next time
    and seeds were collected from her garden
    for next year
    and empty spools were saved
    for crafts and creations (see pictures above)
    and she would tell me of their wedding
    during the depression years
    and how they had to choose
    between either turnips or potatoes
    for their meal
    and how her aunt took a cherished vase
    out of her china cupboard
    and gave it to her
    as a wedding gift
    because there was no money
    and then she would often repeat
    ‘He who does not value a penny
    does not deserve a dollar’
    She never heard
    Reduce, reuse, and recycle
    But she reminded me constantly
    That no generation is immune
    To hard times or want
    As the root cellar was filled with
    Preserves from her garden

    I am glad to have known
    This part of her
    As I attempt to pass some of Grandma on
    To the next generation
    In waste not, want not

  18. All who know me at all know that I use this phrase each day, many times a day. This is the “why” of things.

    My Friend

    Time’s mist fuddles origins.
    My catch phrase came from
    Another poet… that I know.

    One poet on a new site
    Titled me as such long ago.
    I liked the sound and purpose
    Of those two simple words—

    My friend–as in, you can be.
    If I’m not wrong, that was Marie,
    Who threw out that first lifeline
    And drew me in to say hello
    Onto the crowded forum stage.

    It took time to form the habit
    Of seeing others only as friends,
    As yet unknown, to welcome
    And bring home for a chat.

    Hard habits to break, my friend
    Gets referenced within comments
    Ether-wide, not by name, but function.

    Hope you enjoy it, Marie and Walt.

      • Bless you, my friend. You’ve been around for quite a long while, too, haven’t you? It’s the little poems like this that show some of the reasons.

        I miss seeing more of you, but then I have to scrimp on pollinating time, too. Hope all is well with you and you have a great holiday.

      • Oh, thank you so much, Linda. I’m so glad you liked it. I’ve known Marie for nearly five years now and have never had anything but the greatest admiration and caring for her. And Walt is such a teddy bear that everyone wants him living next door, just for the humor factor if nothing else.

  19. Thank You for your blessing !! I feel blessed to have been made to feel accepted, or at least tolerated, among this fabulous family of writers !! Poetic Bloomings Rocks !! Happy Holiday to All !!

  20. As I think about the concept of explaining a bit more about myself, I remember a poem I have already written. I deleted the first, unecessary line, and I figure it is a good way to “defend,” or, more likely explain myself a bit more. For me it is a perfect “last word.”

    The Woman and the Child

    Some days the woman
    and the child walk hand in hand.

    Other days they wrestle for supremacy,
    each victorious only when pinning
    her opponent to the floor.

    The child loves silly verse and
    taking abstract shots of the Cloud Gate.
    Don’t give her any chores.

    The adult prepares dinner and pays bills.
    She loves her Lord Jesus.
    So does the child.

    Sheryl Kay Oder


    After the last words flew
    from the twisted lips
    of her parting lover,
    all sound and movement
    in the world froze in a bas-relief
    of blue timelessness.
    And she, alone, shadowless,
    bereft of love,
    cursed with heartbeat,
    would live on.


  22. “For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”

    I have given birth and I have made the acquaintance of death.
    I was born into a smaller, tighter, world, a world where I and my
    Friends and family knew where we fitted and we were content.
    The decade I was born into was a time of violence and despair,
    It was also a time of helping friends, being united with family,
    Helping where needed and sharing whatever we could spare,

    It was a time when people believed in their God. When
    People attended and belonged to churches. Churches were in
    Every neighborhood, in walking distance, or a streetcar or
    Bus ride away . There were also large central churches -the
    Synagogue at University Circle, the cathedral of St. John
    In downtown Cleveland where Masses were said all day
    And all night And all the mighty Protestant churches, the main
    Denominations with their Greek revival splendor and the small –
    Almost hidden in a lovely suburb – the famous little
    Church in the Wildwood

    Singing in choirs was popular and popular songs were often
    Sung as people did their chores or walked down the street.
    The national anthem was sung before any sporting event
    And often a prayer was also said. Newscasts were important,
    My father followed Lowell Thomas, the Sohio Reporter and
    Gabriel Heatter. We also listened to broadcasts of all the
    Cleveland Indians games.

    My girl friends and I all learned to sew and we made most
    Of our school dresses. We traded patterns and spent hours
    Sitting at the counters of fabric shops, leafing through their
    Giant catalogues of fashion. We dreamed of wardrobes, a
    Different dress for every day of the week. We were also the
    Ones who first wore blue jeans, buying them in the men’s
    Department., then carrying them over to the Women’s
    Department to try them on in their fitting rooms.

    Several years later, the womens’departments of the national
    Chains began to carry blue jeans for women. During the war
    They had crried slacks for women who worked in defense plants.
    The general assumption was tht at the end of the war, women
    Would happily abandon pants & all things masculine. No more
    Factory work! No more women mechanics, plumbers, gas pump
    Jockeys! What the leaders of public opinion thought was wrong.
    Women would not give up their newly gained freedom of occupational
    Choice. The door had been opened. The goal now was not only
    To never close it again, but to open it ever wider.

    In church basements in the north-east and mid-west, another fire
    Had been ignited. I sat with my friends in the basement of St. Aloysius
    Church while a young priest who had been a chaplain with the troops in
    Europe gave a speech. He was so good looking! And had a sharp sense
    Of humor. But what he told us was hardly humorous. At a train stop in the
    South, they had entered a diner to get some lunch. There were some
    Colored soldiers with the white guys, but the waitress refused to serve
    Them. The white soldiers demanded to see the owner of the diner. He also
    Refused to serve the colored soldiers. In a booth towards the end of the diner,
    Some former Geerman POW’s were seated and eating lunch. The soldiers
    furious. Former enemies could eat here, but not uniformed American soldiers?
    They left the diner in disgust (and still hungry) Another struggle was
    Beginning. Were we with it? Everyone in St. Al’s basement gave
    A resounding YES!!

      • I lived a lot of this with you, in the Cleveland area myself. It brought tears to my eyes. You used such accuracy of words and did not miss the overall feelings of the time. I am glad that you were able to describe this wonderful transitional time Marian.

  23. In a Perfect World

    The world outside
    where children giggled
    and mothers shushed
    was never kind
    so her music
    rarely left her porch.

    Yet I longed to enter
    her lavender house
    through ribbons
    that fluttered
    instead of curtains
    where I could see
    her dance in purple
    eating lilac cookies
    with calming tea.

    And we could be the change


    A rule by which I live

    is forthright and clear–

    everything in moderation!

    No Benedictine rule,

    it works well for most matters

    of life and living.

    But sometimes I wonder when I take pen in hand

    or click away at the computer,

    should I apply this rule as I write some more lines?

    Should poetry be an exception to the rule?

  25. She’s Not Always Wrong

    Mom offers a compliment
    then erases it with a complaint
    about what I am doing,
    what I am wearing,
    and why I don’t cut my hair.
    Oh, we are quite the pair–
    feuds, grudges, harsh words.
    Looking back, she was right
    about my first husband
    being untrustworthy,
    though I could have done
    without the proof. She was right
    about every cooking tip
    she ever gave me. See Ma?
    I still use them.


    “It’s never too late to become what you might have been.”
    George Eliot

    It was a rough week in many ways – a big defeat snatched
    From the jaws of victory was how it felt for a bit but she knew
    Finally, she was a survivor, she would get over it – nobody was hurt
    Nobody died and the embarrassment was not the humiliating
    Experience she had anticipated so she shelved it and went on

    It occurred to her she really had no last words as yet and no
    Real “in my defence” words either, she realized that what she had
    Was a list of sorts – had had this list for as long as she could remember
    She supposed it was a bucket list maybe but she had been keeping
    Her list long before bucket lists were fashionable and she added to it
    And crossed things off as time went on but it was a pretty interesting
    List – at least, to her it was – and since it was her list, that was all that mattered

    Without saying which things have been pencilled out and which remain,
    These are a few of the many desires on the list, in no particular order:
    Become a queen, touch a killer whale, meet James Bond, drive a race-car,
    Live with a wolf, become a horse-woman, stay in a castle, get hit-on by a famous singer… and refuse
    Meet a Middle East peace maker, dance in a glass cage, live in a studio apt in Paris,
    Organize a peace march, be interrogated by foreign authorities but not arrested, own a day home
    Drive a big rig, become a sharp-shooter, sing in a massed choir,
    become a model,
    Fly in a hot-air balloon, learn to fly-fish, visit the place where poets go to die but live,
    Win a major poetry prize, model for an art class, fly in a Sikorski,
    spend a night in Penn Station …
    And on and on … the list goes … she hopes her list will continue and that she’ll become whatever
    The fates, time and her own persistence permits … she knows, however it goes, life is good.


  27. It’ll Be All Right

    Forecast says sunshine with chance of rain,
    Sunshine or rain, sorrow or pain,
    It’ll be all right, it’ll be all right,
    God knows our needs, day and night.

    Lost a job, bills to pay, Dr. to see,
    Que sera, sera; what will be, will be,
    It’ll be all right, it’ll be all right,
    The Lord still reigns eternally.

    Newspapers forecast doom,
    Unemployed faces filled with gloom,
    It’ll be all right, it’ll be all right.
    Creator of the cosmos has us in sight.

    My oldest brother’s favorite refrain,
    He passed away, but his words remain.
    It’ll be all right, it’ll be all right.
    Family knows he awoke in heaven that night.

  28. A Few Last Words

    A word or two, if I can,
    about two parents, who did
    what they thought was best,
    did what they saw as right,
    and followed the rest who
    did the same. A confusing time
    at best; cold war parenting was
    from a book. I fault them none
    for choices they made, confused
    by Spock’s new fangled tools —
    they did the best with what they had
    and that’s enough for me.

  29. I haven’t read the responses to this prompt in days. I came back while my little granddaughter naps, and I’m sitting here with misty eyes. First, thank you Clauds and all of you for the kind and very humbling compliments. You truly leave me speechless. Then, for the amazing ability you all have to put into words what you are feeling. This group of poets is not only talented, but deep. Your thoughts, memories, and ways of looking at life – wow. How am I going to pick a Beautiful Bloom for tomorrow? Let me say right now and right here that every one of you bring tears of pride and joy. THANK YOU. ALL of you.

    Marie Elena

  30. They’re Just Insecure

    I truly believe the ugliest of behaviors
    stem from insecurity.
    Be they bossy, greedy, obnoxious or rude;
    the root cause runs deeper.
    Whether they struggled with algebra,
    were too short to make the team, never
    met Dad’s expectations, had troublesome acne
    or were the middle child. Something, somewhere
    placed within them, self-doubt.
    Causing overcompensation which manifests as
    pushy, self-absorbed, loud, entitled,
    critical, impatient or just plain mean.
    I remind my children (and myself), to
    consider “They’re Just Insecure” and
    instead of being angry and walking away
    pray that in Christ they can be assured!

    © KED – December 2012

  31. Getting in a finale.

    What I Say

    Woo Hoo! look at me,
    gone beyond thirties
    of uncertainty to follow
    a path I choose, give
    voice to thoughts,
    feel free to burrow
    down in blues.

    At times I was paralyzed,
    feeling the freak, living
    a different life from those
    squeaky clean rolling
    down righteous paths.
    Soaked in baths
    of what others deemed
    sin, unable to be molded
    within. But I, who squandered
    conventional ways, live
    with knowledge of what works
    for me. Woo Hoo! to all
    my discoveries.

  32. I’m sure no one will see this except me and that’s okay! I’m just so glad to have finally finished the memoir project! Woo Hoo! 🙂

    My Mantra

    With life’s little ups and downs
    some big ones and eek! Scary clowns,
    I have a little prayer that follows me around
    which I can chant within my head, no sound.

    I’m sure you’ve heard it once before,
    it can be found in many a door
    and sometimes all I need
    is one significant word, my creed.

    What is this prayer that holds my hand?
    The Serenity Prayer, I think it’s grand.
    In a flash just one word will do
    ‘Serenity’ from me to you.

    • Michele – I see you! Or…I see your final entry in the memoir project! 😉 I’m significantly further behind your Jan. 2nd entry as I post my famous last words in a few minutes. Yay! We did it!! 🙂 (oh, and yes, that serenity prayer is a great one to keep playing–with no sound)

  33. Pingback: Famous Last Words | echoes from the silence

  34. Pingback: PART 20 – Famous Last Words | Two Voices, One Song

  35. Nobody Wants To Read That

    I put together a few words
    Coherent thoughts jotted into
    Vivid pictures for the mind
    Let the imagination freely
    Paint with images I describe
    Then I re-read and edit them when
    I should just leave them alone
    And when I’m done
    I archive them with the rest
    With the firm belief that
    Nobody wants to read that

    My enthusiasm peaks as a new
    Idea for a project flashes anew
    And my mind is full of memories
    Experiences to tell all the world
    I set up chapters; organize thoughts
    Write the preface and first chapter
    Sometimes the second and third
    Then my thought process derails
    And I move on to another
    More unfinished works to add
    To the ever growing archive
    Hidden away because I think
    Nobody wants to read that

    I’ve been told that I can write
    By close friends or family members
    But, what do they know
    And would they dare tell me
    The whole truth in the first place
    I can handle the truth
    Recreationally I’m pretty good
    But who’s gonna’ pay good money
    When recreational writers are a
    Dime a dozen or less, besides
    Nobody wants to read that

    But, I write just the same
    Something new every day
    My archives are growing
    And growing and growing
    One of these days maybe
    I’ll finish a project or two
    And submit my writings
    That is if I can ever get over
    The idea that haunts me
    The ever present notion that
    Nobody wants to read that

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

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