For those of the Jewish faith, this prompt comes in the midst of the High Holidays celebrations for the year 5774, the Jewish New Year. New Year celebrations tend to be times for reflecting on the past and celebrating what is to come; this is true for those of any faith, or no faith. Write a poem about looking back. Or looking ahead. Or both. For you, the exercise may have a religious connotation, or it may not.


Home Again

Belmont Avenue

26 Belmont

“May I help you?”
I don’t recognize the stranger addressing me
From the porch
Where I used to color with my cousins
Swing in my pajamas
Play with paper dolls.

I respond with an apology
For walking into the backyard
Where I used to play tag with my cousins
Catch summernight fireflies
Lay in the grass, spotting castles
In the clouds.

I tell her this is my
Used to be
My home.

“Would you like to come in?”
My heart pounds.  I decline,
Then quickly change my mind.
Yes.  Yes, please.

As I walk in, I’m overcome with emotion.
Much is the same.
Some is different.
Everything seems smaller –
Everything but the love.
The love looms large,
Reaching through the decades
To embrace,

© copyright Marie Elena Good – 2013



In fall,
a kind of hush
flows over all the land
before the onset of winter’s

© copyright 2013, William Preston. Published in Beyond Our Eyes: a Second Look. Norway, Maine: PRGott Books Publishing; 2013, ISBN 978-1490304472.


  1. The Beginning Of The End (mirror oddquain)

    Spent ten years
    Here in this building;
    We were taught, I hope we learnt

    As our last year approaches,
    I think back to when
    We started…

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

    My last year of school is starting soon, and I’m looking forward to it with excitement, as well as apprehension. My class has always consisted of two people: myself, and one boy. As you can imagine, we’re good friends, and always will be. So this was about us. 🙂

  2. Marie, what a sweet story! That must’ve been an odd feeling, walking into your old house and knowing that somebody else lives there now…

    William, I love love love LOVE your Cinquain! It definitely deserved to be published. Congrats! 🙂

    • Erin, I was thinking the exact same thing. Must have been a little eerie to take a peek inside and old home. And to William, I love the images packed inside this little poem.

      • It’s hard to put into words what I felt. I guess mostly a bittersweet nostalgia mixed with how I describe it in the final lines of my poem:

        “The love looms large,
        Reaching through the decades
        To embrace,

        And profound sadness for how quickly life passes I’m thankful the life in this body isn’t the end of it all. At least, that is my unwavering belief.

  3. Two lovely poems – so different from each other, yet encapsulating the same idea. They brought a song into my head – from Salad Days – “If I start looking behind me, and begin retracing my tracks, remind me to remind you, we said we wouldn’t look back.” The trouble is, the older I get, the more I look back. When my daughter was here last week, we went through my over-stuffed music cabinet which she was to take back with her.

    Tattered, battered music sheets
    nostalgia-fest of long ago,
    painfully learned lessons,
    memories make the tears flow.
    melodies course through my head
    in jumbled cacophany
    as I let my childhood go.

  4. Philosophy

    “To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction is to live twice.” ~Kahlil Gabran

    I think that way of thinking’s nice
    and based on it, I have lived twice.
    Looking back’s mostly
    been grand. (Or closely


  5. Looking Ahead

    “Procrastination gives you something to look forward to.” ~Unknown

    I put stuff off so I can be
    the not-quite-grown up grown-up me.
    I procrastinate
    so I’m in a state
    where (instead)
    I look ahead.



    I can see them now.
    Our kitchen window looked over
    our neighbors’ dining room,
    and early every autumn that room
    would glow gold:
    there would be candles on the table
    and bare yellow bulbs in the chandelier
    and, on the big table,
    a glistening brown loaf of tumbled-rope bread.
    And there would be people:
    three families gathered around,
    all of them laughing
    so much that the room bounced
    and the golden glow vibrated its way
    across to our kitchen window.
    That is what I remember most:
    all of them laughing.
    I can see them now.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  7. Thanks for the kind comments, folks. Our family is going through some hard closures of late, and I find myself drenched in nostalgia. It is both fulfilling and painful. I completely relate to Viv’s untitled poem.

  8. Pingback: Woodland’s Wardrobe | Metaphors and Smiles

  9. Woodland’s Wardrobe
    golden spray,
    sunshine amidst gray;
    these somber slain skies transform.
    Winter replies-cold caress,
    kissed of morning mist;
    frosty -veiled
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    More fun w/RJ’s form…the Mirror Oddquain. 🙂


    In autumn,
    the leaves leave the trees;
    limbs are bared
    to winter’s air.
    Life seems to be in despair
    but buds carry on.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  11. Old Wounds with Fading Scars

    He turned around
    and watched himself out wandering.
    He stood his ground
    and spent so much time wondering
    who he really is
    who he’s meant to be.
    He turned his head again.
    Now, He can finally see.

    There was a vision
    of the future in the past.
    Then a decision
    which was surely meant to last.
    It was time to change
    He’d be left behind.
    So he got packing
    to search and seek and find.

    There will be no tears
    over spilt milt or burnt toast.
    No dwelling on the fears
    that can bind him up the most.
    Live for this new dream
    reach for distant stars.
    Don’t be focused on
    old wounds with fading scars.

    By Michael Grove – Copyright 9/8/2013


    No one gets to the end of their life
    to mutter on their dealthbeds
    I wish I had cleaned more,
    if only I had worked more,
    I should have spent more time alone,
    money would have fixed everything.

    I want no regrets when I look back.
    I will spend more time with friends,
    enjoy each moment with family,
    make time for things I enjoy,
    stop worrying about money,
    and live my one and only life!

  13. Pingback: LETTING GO | Vivinfrance's Blog

  14. Middling

    “The sandwich years,” she’d often heard them called,
    herself pulled there and back by parents, kids,
    her in the middle, frantic, called and stalled,
    caring for both, caught short somewhere amidst.

    Her parents, aging into long ago,
    take her on travels long before her birth;
    her children pitch her vision forward, so
    she can imagine futures, join their search.

    And she too has a life, a past, a now,
    a time she hopes to gracefully embrace,
    when this dynamic tension shows her how
    to rest, consider, leave this draining race.

    But now, she must look forward looking back,
    pulled by their need, belabored by her lack.

  15. Momentum

    I am the cause and the effect.
    I cause my effect.
    There could never be
    another me
    just like this,
    or this,
    or this.
    And although I might
    continue to have
    the same thought,
    it will always be
    a different me
    having it.
    Been ’round the world
    and done it all,
    but being me
    is the most fun of all.
    Trust me to be me.
    It’s what I do best—
    whenever I do it.

    Ellen Knight 9.8.13
    write a ‘look forward or look backward poem’
    for Poetic Bloomings

  16. Forward and Back

    The windows have grown dusty with August,
    even fall flowers looking dowdy, tired,
    but he is waiting for his visitors—
    his Sunday lot, with nothing else in store.

    Eyes on the door, he feels anxiety,
    so looking forward, eager, has he been,
    and thinks of his old bird-dog’s whine and glee
    at seeing him when he’d come home at last.

    He can’t remember if they came last week—
    he knows his short term memory is shot.
    Sometimes they have some other things to do,
    forget to call and tell him, so he waits.

    He’s not a stranger to this loneliness
    and he remembers plain when he was young,
    so many people claiming him at once
    that he gave parents shortest shrift of all.

    He thinks of this as disappointment mounts,
    believing he deserves to be alone.
    He watches dust motes catch a sunbeam’s glare,
    imagining they’re in the car somewhere,

    that traffic’s backed up on the way to him,
    that his grandchildren want to play and swim,
    that he’s an obligation, not a joy.
    He’s thinking as he once did as a boy.

  17. Pingback: Falling Into Order #FWF | Two Voices, One Song


    Sweater Weather
    By: Meena Rose

    Falling into order,
    An eerie fog
    Settles over the street;
    A pregnant hush fills

    Voids no one had expected;
    Crisp Autumn’s morning air,
    The greatest tease of all,
    Playful and biting all at once;

    Catalyst of contemplation –
    Transient ethereal anonymity
    For a solitude seeking soul;
    I, too, must ready for the season ahead.

    Times are troubling –
    Some would say dire;
    Despite man’s uncertainty
    There is nature’s certainty.

    Hot cocoa in hand,
    Warming my fingers as
    I lose myself to my
    Mind’s travels.

    I can’t stop the grin
    From spreading as I
    Take flight beneath the
    Blanket of fog touching

    Amber tree tops, playing
    Tag with the crow as I
    Swoop and swirl about
    His nest, dancing upon

    Nature’s center stage;
    It’s grand celebration
    Of a life well lived, of
    A purpose fulfilled.

    I return from my reverie
    Only to recognize a trail
    Of cold now replacing the
    Warm trail of tears.

    I shake and I shudder – careful
    Not to upset that cup of cocoa;
    Questions swirl adding doubt
    To an already uncertain psyche;

    Is my life well lived? Purpose,
    Yes, purpose, do I even know
    What it is? Have I done the
    Right thing by my fellow man?

    I sniffle, that too is inevitable;
    Forcefully lifting myself from the
    Realm of uncertainty and depositing
    Myself with a resounding thud in the

    Land of the certain – immediately,
    I remember my one certainty: it is
    The way of Love, the way of Compassion,
    The way of Peace, the way of Duty.

  19. Pingback: Rearview Mirrors | Whimsygizmo's Blog

  20. Rearview Mirrors

    Look too long,
    and your song
    will be stilted,
    wilted by wish
    and wonder
    and why. Just fly
    forward, cherish
    those rough road
    -rash places where
    wrong turns event
    -ually meant
    something raw
    and rare
    and real.

    the scars
    that got you

    Make room for
    that old hitchhiker,
    and other objects
    closer than they


  21. Marie and Bill, both responses to the prompt are perfect. Bill, that quiet staring stillness before the stark cold winter is a deep look forward full of respect for the ceremony of a season of life; Marie, your look backwards was like the spring warming of earth around a deep-buried seed that grows upward to bloom toward a sky full of memories.

  22. One More Try

    For years she has been the only driver for the family.
    Because of her increasing age and lack of strength
    it has been her last remaining way to help.

    Each year she has been nervous about taking the test
    but she has passed it without a problem—
    not so this year. She has failed it twice in a row.

    Her family thinks twice is enough, but if she never
    tries again she may never know. They will let her try
    again. Their only prayer is safety ahead if she passes.

    What does transportation look like in their future?
    How will she react if she fails one more time?
    Can she trust the Lord to continue to care for her?

    No matter what happens, God is the driver of her life.

  23. For those going back to school or sending little ones (or not so little ones) back and their teachers. Students once commented I had those eyes in the back of my head. They didn’t realize how thoroughly predictable they were. 😉

    Useful Information about Teacher

    Eyes front and back
    and ears so perked and keen,
    she knows who’s slack,
    for everyone gets seen.
    Her glasses may
    be something Bond would wear.
    Watch what you say—
    her smiling teeth can tear.
    She’s not human:
    homework makes that point clear,
    but understand,
    if you need her, she’s here.

  24. Birthmarks

    Silver canister, ringed in rust He plucks it open,
    8 mm filmstrip, dewy with a hint of mold. He steps
    on a chair with weeblie balance and hangs an old
    bed-sheet from the ceiling with a couple of thumb-

    tacks, The clue he leaves for the wife The kids that
    he wants to be left alone tonight. His glasses glare
    in sputtering light as Nighttime reels of him and the
    old family of babbling voices flicker across the sheet.

    His, the one scrambling between the legs of too many
    brothers challenging his little rumply self to wrestling
    matches in horse manure and Too many sisters chasing
    him with hairbrushes and fat green ties to dance
    lessons in school gyms.

    I spy a dead uncle I never knew The aunt with the
    Arizona nose The twin to grandpa A spinster
    A bachelor cousin with a fishing pole in a canoe
    And then there He is . . . sporting a beard. Five days

    in the boundary waters The bush A canoe hefted
    on his shoulders. No one warned him then that
    now he’d be the only one left watching family films
    in his basement At this hour During this year—

    The only one marking deaths in Bibles wondering
    who will dab their eyes when his turn comes.
    Just a dribble of off-spring and a brain-lazy wife,
    not her fault, the fault of the fall and all that.

    I see the patience in his eyes. Great patience.
    Waiting for it to happen. The hour when we mark
    the year in the Bible, next to his date of birth, when
    he finally passes the torch and rests inside his faith.

  25. The Well Used Heart
    Poetic Bloomings September 8, 20123 Prompt 119- “Looking Back- Looking Forward”
    Sunday Whirl #125- September 8, 2013

    The Well Used Heart by Teri H Hoover ©

    One small brush with a stranger, at the magic edge of idleness.
    One little push at the top of the curve; there’s no turning back.

    Traveling the avenue of thought only to lose my answer.
    Stains of intrigue stamped upon my passport.
    Approaching the borders without dimension.
    Where is my country?
    Only a heart full of emptiness can return home.

    • This is a thoughtful poem, and it invited me to be thoughtful in reply. For me, it confirms, but yet refutes, the adage, “you can’t go home again.” It puts me in mind of John Howard Payne and Home, Sweet Home, a song about home written by a man who didn’t think he had one.

      • William- Thank you.

        Your words prompted me to do a quick search on John Howard Payne. His poem/song. is indeed filled a long backward glance at home. And although I was familiar with the song I had never known its story. It is really quite sad the way Mr Payne seemed quite adrift from home himself. A quote for his diary sums it up for me.”The world has literally sung my song until every heart is familiar with its melody, yet I have been a wanderer from my boyhood.”- From the Diary of John Howard Payne-

        Feeling like a bit of a wanderer myself- I indulge my longings when I write, but always try to keep away from being completely melancholy. I added the last line as way to allow myself to return home. For me returning with and empty heart leaves room for what home is now.

        I only join the prompts here on occasion so it is very nice to have your thoughtful response. Teri Hoover

        An interesting link-

      • Erin- thanks so much for your comments. I have a special love for the longing in any poem. Though a hope filled person, I sometimes cannot help the words that come up when I write. Well I suppose I could but I like them for allowing feelings a place to breathe. Teri

    • Thought-provoking, indeed. “Magic edge of idleness,’ Traveling the avenue of thought, only to lose my answer,” “border without dimension,” “full of emptiness” … all give me pause and make me take time to reflect on the very phrases themselves.


  26. Looking Back; Looking Forward theme:

    “This Day”

    I sit in spaces that I call my Now
    yet know there was a past. I lived there, too.
    I’ve photos of the longings and the vows;
    I’ve closed that book and start each day, anew.

    “You must go on when all your love is lost”
    so say life’s tomes; some shrewd philosophers.
    But I reply: “I’ll not be journey tossed;
    I’ll stay right here and be adventurer.”

    I’ve been there and done all that once before
    And, grateful for the presence I now live,
    Though past is gone and future not implored.
    I am that lark that simply, rising, gives.

    I’ll sing, remaining in this moment’s play
    accept whatever life will give today.

  27. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

    The past is behind they say
    but they are wrong;
    it is with me every day.

    What began a larval stage
    time and circumstance
    shaped a thousand careless ways.

    I make no apology
    that imperfect past
    is just my ontology.

  28. Lesson Learned

    said to me,
    You should never back
    someone into a corner,
    like a wounded animal,
    you never know what
    strength he then

  29. I REMEMBER …

    … dodgeball, and those
    first few days of school –

    a metal lunchbox,
    red plaid,
    matching thermos,
    not a scratch.

    And I remember dodgeball,

    and new shoes,
    black, they always hurt,
    new socks,
    soaked pink when blisters broke,
    a new dress,
    not as good as Sunday best
    but good enough for school.

    And I remember dodgeball,

    and that long walk, every day,
    step on a crack and break
    your mother’s back,
    leaves dried brown,
    crisped like bacon,
    horse chestnuts,
    and scents of autumn,
    clouds of mouldy dew.

    And I remember dodgeball,

    and old school friends,
    off we’d run,
    and new kids,
    we’d stand and stare,
    and milk money spent
    on cinnamon sweets.

    And I remember dodgeball.

    Balls bouncing, singing echoes,
    hallow and heartless,
    springing and stinging
    the back of my legs
    like sunburn.
    And I still remember …
    even now …
    never ever
    take your eyes off the ball.

  30. Pingback: I Remember | The Chalk Hills Journal

  31. What We Know Now

    Skeletons of ash trees, stark and bare
    Interrupt the canopy of green
    After the frost, men will travel there
    With axes, power saws and a machine

    To harvest all the trees that man has aided
    their death from ash borers and disease,
    We are beginning to understand the mess we made
    how precious nature’s bounty , herbs and trees

    A land abundant, prairies, rivers, soil
    Never touched by plow or even hoe
    Ready for cultivation with a little toil amber waves of grain would sprout and grow

    We thought that nature ‘s favor would be ours
    that everything we touched would grow and bloom
    Carelessly we spread our mighty powers
    Until we realized we also carry doom.

  32. “I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” – Charlotte Bronte


    I seldom look forward
    nor do I look back
    but constantly up
    and to the side
    to see what made that song
    winding through my ears
    and around my heart.

    What caused the rustle
    which caused my heart
    to pick up the pace
    and my feet to jig
    across the ground.

    A stumble
    will cause me to look forward and down
    for just a moment,
    to catch my balance
    and then I resume
    my love affair
    with the world around me.

    With my eyes open,
    I’m constantly going forward.

    • Oh, this is precious! It makes me think of being out in the wild, but the sentiment could apply to a neighborhood or even downtown, with tall buildings and people all over the place. The love affair with the world isn’t qualified in your words but rather is open and accepting. Or so it seems to me. I love this.

      • Thank you William. I often write my poems so they mean something to me but also so they could mean something else to everyone else and you just confirmed that I am being successful. I am constantly outside, usually with a camera in my hand, enjoying being in the ‘wild’ – which is of course the inspiration behind my poem. The song is a bird, the rustle is an animal but the song to someone else could be the hum of city life and the rustle could be an out of place sound within the city or the honking of the horn. Thanks again and I’m so glad you love it. 🙂

        • I relate to the wild and rural, too, but grew up in a city; I can relate to sentiments such as those Hammerstein wrote about in The Last Time I Saw Paris.

  33. Well, as the fellow said, let there be light! I presume that Marie and/or Walt are behind what appears to be a new format. I like it; it’s brighter and more open (on my computer at least), and it looks like it will accommodate longer lines than the old one did.

    • Well, the one thing I don’t like is that the menu is blurry and small. That is the default for this particular “theme,” and I can’t figure out how to change it … or even if it is even possible to change. Hmmm…

      • Yes, I noticed that. It doesn’t bother me much because clicking on a menu item brings one to a new page with larger typeface. If this is the default for the theme, you probably can’t change it because the size probably is conditioned by the number of items that need to be displayed on one line. If the template for the menu allows more than one menu line, you might try that. (I am fishing here; I’ve never used any such templates personally.)


    This old mirror has seen better days.
    The frame is aged and rough.
    Thin cracks run through its glass in spots.
    The same cracks run through me.

    I don’t recognize the woman I see.
    The auburn hair went gray, then white.
    Green eyes that used to glimmer
    are dimmed behind spectacles.

    The dimple that only appeared when I smiled
    fell into the crevice of a wrinkle.

    But wisdom has no room for vanity.
    Superficial changes do not obscure dreams,
    smother passions, poison hope,
    or define the person looking back at me.

    I may not recognize the woman in the mirror,
    but the cloak of age fits her well.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  35. I love the face lift applied to the blog, ME. No bruising or scarring. Could you do me sometime really soon? 😉

    • Apparently, the face-lift is continuing. I am now seeing a more-legible menu and a serif font instead of what looked like a Helvetica face. Those are fine with me (the menu is a big improvement), but I notice a lingering link to the blooms for prompt 118 and the oddquain, above and below the heading for this page.

  36. Life of Grace

    By David De Jong

    Carefree, sultry summer nights
    Fireflies, mosquito bites
    Hide-n-seek in fields of corn
    Sunday’s trousers barbwire torn
    Front porch swings and lofts of hay
    Sunday evenin’ country play

    Cold lemonade, rhubarb pie
    Watchin’ stars fall from the sky
    Moon beams held between the clouds
    Peakin’ through cottonwood shrouds
    Ridin’ bare back, saddle free
    Holdin’ tight while you hold me

    Broken songs from wounded chimes
    Dusty trails and storm swept climbs
    Nights of anguish, days of death
    Fightin’ for a reason for breath
    Tired of life, hope out of reach
    Sifted sand washed off the beach

    Whispers of God heal the heart
    One brave message, brave new start
    Five simple words changin’ fate
    Love rekindled state to state
    Mercy bought hope saving face
    Life renewed in saving grace

    Love on sultry summer nights
    Fireflies, mosquito bites
    Evening walks in pastures green
    Celebrations unforeseen
    Front porch swings and lofts of gray
    Daily bowed in thanks we’ll pray

  37. Took a moment in between trips to enter this little ditty:

    Time Travel

    When I was a child
    The excitement
    The anticipation
    The thrill of it all
    Just to travel 28 miles
    To grandma and grandpa’s house
    For the afternoon
    Or the summer vacation
    What grand memories
    I miss them

    As a teen I stepped out
    Traveled my home state
    The beautiful state of Maine
    And the Maritime Provinces
    Once made it to Boston
    Spent a night in New Hampshire
    Felt like a man of the world
    Made more memories
    I would do it all over again

    After high school
    Without a plan for life
    The travel plans changed
    Controlled by Big Blue
    For over twenty years
    I saw the world
    Germany, Japan, Okinawa
    Hawaii, Alaska and 44 other states
    From a military perspective
    Memories that will never die
    I should write a book
    I long to retrace many of my steps

    Now retired once
    But still working to survive
    Travel is a luxury
    Cherished whenever it occurs
    Disney World now my favorite
    A place to revert to my childhood
    With family and friends in tow
    All enjoying the ride
    All reverting to childhood
    All wishing we could stay
    To make more memories
    Another book of memories
    To be written
    After the next visit

    One more trip left to make
    The last and final destination
    A land of forever
    A land of joy and peace
    A land with my Savior
    Where all the good memories
    Will come rushing back
    Like the books not written

  38. When
    I was born,
    God put me where
    He wanted me to grow, to

    I was small,
    I learnt to love Him
    With a child’s frank, trusting

    I was young,
    Death made its coldness
    Felt, took away the simple-

    Almost a
    Woman, I see God’s
    Hand in every turn that earth

    Won’t always
    Understand, but I’ll
    Always trust completely in

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

  39. Looking Back on Looking Forward

    Looking back
    on looking forward
    I didn’t know what to expect.
    I was a little nervous,
    a lot excited.
    Planned for adventure
    and got plenty.
    If I knew how it would unfold
    would I choose it?
    I don’t know,
    but I’m glad I didn’t know.

  40. Pingback: Take A Look Around | echoes from the silence

    • Here is another short, simple, and profound piece. For all the remembrance of 11 September, I think the essence is, what can we do now? Hence the power of the final lines. Wonderful.

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