Suspended in time – a moment to think and express. A wide range of thoughts to paint this vignette with a poet’s flair. And the quality is always and forever, off the charts. Making a difficult task a labor of love! The BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS:


Walt, you are not kidding — quality off the charts for certain. It seems to grow with every passing week, if that is even possible.

My choice for this week is entitled Beyond the Love of Fishing, penned by a voice I’ve missed for too long now: Linda Evans Hofke. Several of you are not only poets, but story dreamers. It seems what we struggle to do ourselves amazes us in others, and I truly envy this ability. Linda, your story is engaging, poignant, and complete.  Your poem is exquisite in language.  But combined?  Superb.  Congratulations, Linda. To be chosen from this week’s assemblage is quite a tribute.

Beyond the Love of Fishing by Linda Evans Hofke

Grandpa’s hands were old and gnarled
like the bark of the trees surrounding him,
yet in the thick of winter he clutched
his fishing rod, gloveless hands exposed
to the elements, patiently waiting
for a fish to nibble at the bait,
determined to provide for dinner.

Though the bounty of the river
was plentiful, he’d often spend hours
down by the water for one reason
or another—the need to reel in a second
catch because the first was too meager
for a proper meal, or fragile Mr. Wilkens
would stroll by and knowing the unfortunate
state of both his health and his finances,
Grandpa would offer the fish to him.

More than once his generosity resulted
in he and Grandma having a simple meal
of potatoes that evening, but Grandma
never complained. Not only did she love
his selfless acts but she loved every
little thing about him—that slightly
crooked smile of his just before he
recited the punchline of a joke,
the way he whistled church hymns
while he planted the garden in Spring,

the stray curl of a hair that always
flew out of place right next to his left
ear when wet. She noticed every tiny
detail, good or bad, and loved him
with all her heart. It was that love,
so deep and true, that allowed her
to get through any Sunday meal.

On the day of his funeral as we shared tales
of his life, we spoke of those year-round
Sunday fishing trips. A lump formed
in my throat as I thought of this tradition
ending and solemnly swore to do my best
to catch a fish the coming Sunday.
A sweet smile replaced her teary eyes
as she replied, “Don’t bother, dear.
I always hated fish, but he so loved
to fish and I couldn’t break his heart.”


The stark contrast of this black and white photograph by Keith R. Good (shouldn’t that be, Keith IS Good?) is expressed greatly in form and words, a new painting is crafted. The artist: RJ Clarken.  RJ, here’s your BLOOM.


The landscape was bleak, barren, sere.
My breath floated like a small cloud
across the chilly air. I vowed,
with all my heart, for all this year

to find the good. I was sincere.
In a sure voice, both clear and loud,
my breath floated like a small cloud.
The landscape was bleak, barren, sere,

but by this rill I shed no tear.
Instead, resolved, I had allowed
myself to cast off winter’s shroud.
At the shoreline, this did appear:
no landscape was bleak, barren, sere.

Congratulations Linda and Randi!