One of the memorable scenes in the movie, Cabaret, occurs during the singing of a lovely song, Tomorrow Belongs to Me. The song begins when a young man sings it as an idyllic waltz, but as he sings, his tone hardens, the waltz changes to an aggressive, martial march, and, in a mirrored reflection, a beer-garden gathering changes to a sea of people dressed in Nazi uniforms. The effect is chilling. Write a poem about an unexpected event, or a situation that changes dramatically. This could be something as stark as a snowstorm in August, or as subtle as a clouding of the eyes or a twitch in the face of a friend. The topic need not be grim; comic pratfalls are acceptable too.


“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

in time and perception

and so it goes
and so it will

Until the god I am
makes way
for the God I Am.

© copyright 2013,  Marie Elena Good



When love dies,
the bluebirds vanish
from the fields
and bushes,
leaving behind the blackness
of swirling starlings.

© copyright 2013, William Preston



The blades turn at a frightening speed,
indeed they churn and leave a life shredded.
You’re headed for the end of the road
but you will explode if you hold it in.
But you begin to break free
and you can see relief in the distance.
The path of least resistance
stretches a mile between smiles.
Love heals if you can steal such moments.

© copyright 2013, Walter J. Wojtanik

213 thoughts on “PROMPT #132 – IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK

  1. Marie, this has got to be one of my favorite poems I’ve ever read of yours…possibly one of my favorite poems I’ve ever read, period! It makes me feel so soothed and at rest. Thank you for this! ❤

    William, this is stunning from beginning to end, from the bluebird to the starling…beautiful!

  2. Hope’s Colors

    Bleak, the earth was barren and bleak,
    White, all was white, blinding white streak…

    And my heart was covered in frost
    And ice and almost dead…almost…

    Something is growing in the snow:
    What is this thing? I have to know

    What thing can grow in the stark white,
    In the blinding, wintery light…

    And I saw it, purple and frail,
    So tiny, yet so strong and hale,

    And I knew it then to be hope,
    Embodied in a crocus, hope

    Calmly, persistently growing
    In the stark white: purple and green.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

  3. Dénouement

    “Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet she sings, knowing that she hath wings.” ~Victor Hugo

    Two words: “Be brave.” But I could not
    predict what I’d finally do.
    And in my mind, I wished; I thought…
    …Did I have strength to carry through?
    I took a deep breath, and then I
    stopped, not knowing where I might land.
    I knew it was chance, and not my
    dreams alone: Dreams? Where did I stand?
    And then, I made a decision.
    No matter what, I would go on.
    To stay, I could not envision,
    because this was my dénouement.
    I took another breath: I leapt,
    and in that act, no longer slept.


  4. Marie – your poem is so reflective of who you are. Simply stated by most eloquent.
    William – first of all, I love your poem. I’m also not surprised that birds were used as metaphor, you being you. 😀

    Now for the second part: I have to say, Cabaret is a brilliant Kander and Ebb musical (and Liza will always be Sally Bowles for me!) But that one scene in the Biergarten which you described above, was indeed totally chilling, largely because it was real. Those seismic shifts did really happen. For both of these reasons, I wrote ‘Dénouement’ – because of the bird metaphor, and because there comes a time when one cannot sit idly while the world (for good or bad) rushes by.

    This was definitely a philosophical prompt. At least, for me it was.

  5. “Until the god I am makes way for the God I Am.”
    Marie, I think that is the most beautiful Truth stated in the most beautiful way. Wonderful!

    William, I love birds and I always love your bird poems. The way your world lost its color when love died is one I think we can all relate to.

    RJ, Your poem speaks to my heart. It is full to the brim with wisdom.

  6. The Faceless Woman

    I spent too much time writing
    to finish the portrait of my daughter,
    so it came with a promise.

    “I like it faceless,” she said.
    The faceless woman?
    Then not my daughter.

    Shall I finish it, or not?

  7. Rite of Passage

    Soon I’ll be the top tier
    The one you’ll look to
    For guidance, advice
    I’ll enjoy the guise of wisdom
    For a short moment
    Then I’ll become the guided one
    When decisions are made for me
    When I become the child again
    Then, you will become aware
    of this thing called Rite of Passage.


    The eye of a tiger
    The growl of a slobbering beast––
    Impending doom?

    A lost marble gone rogue
    The sound of a dreaming child ––
    A toothless croon


  9. The Onion

    Once there was an onion,
    in the corner
    of the bin
    pushed aside by itself,
    in the dark
    until it was picked up.

    First, Cook removed
    the few outer layers.
    They sure were dry
    and shriveled
    —looked more
    like the leaves

    swirling in eddies up
    the back porch—
    but at least
    they had protected
    the ones underneath.

    Next came a few good ones,
    moist, pungent, tender,
    the way an onion
    was supposed to be.
    Afterward one
    that was spoiled—

    soft, brown, rotten-smelling.
    “Not even good for
    soup, that one,” said Cook.
    Then back to a few more
    healthy ones, followed by
    another putrid one,

    a few more good ones
    —and so on.
    The spoiled ones always
    pushed out of the
    way on
    the cutting board.

    And this was Cook’s
    experience with onions:
    If you take an onion that
    had been around
    a while, and just
    cut it open—

    mixing up
    the bad with the good
    spoiled the good.
    All had to be thrown away.
    Ah, but take that same onion,
    and open it carefully—

    layer by layer.
    And behold, at the center,
    a green shoot starting
    to grow.
    And Cook says, “I think
    I’ll plant that one.”

    “Who was the onion?” you ask.
    “Me,” I answer.
    “And who
    picked it up?” you ask.
    again I answer.

    Funny thing about onions,
    how even the
    good ones
    when you
    open them
    make you cry.

    Ellen Evans 12.8.13
    a “not what it seems” for PB

  10. On Aging

    The difficulty lies not
    in reckoning
    with our parents’
    but with our own.

    Not with passing
    the baton,
    but rather with
    the receiving

    Ellen Evans 12.8.13
    a “not what it seems” for PB

  11. The Blessing of Hearts

    We Southerners love ironies,
    glances and gentle subtleties.
    When there are truths we must impart,
    we simply say, “Well, bless her heart.”

    God bless him (he’s as dumb as dirt).
    Lord save us (where’d he get that shirt?).
    Bless her (she’s such a hateful bitch).
    Bless her sweet heart (her butt must itch).

    Their children, bless them (little saints
    who curse like sailors, no restraints);
    that bossy girl, her twitchy date,
    Lord Bless them (please don’t let them mate).

    The deacon who MUST lead all prayer—
    God bless him (how much can we bear?)
    The flirty husband, suffering wife—
    bless both their hearts (but hide the knife).

    We try to keep our face composed,
    our voices blessing whom we chose
    but if a glance meets yours and holds,
    an eyebrow lifts, a wink unfolds,

    if lips twitch slightly, there’s an art
    to blessing everybody’s heart.
    It’s meant as kindly, sad but true.
    Just know, we bless our own hearts too.

  12. Winter’s Poetry

    By David De Jong

    Snow blankets the ground,
    In silence of sound,
    Erasing autumn’s
    Last chance for the sun.

    Through frosted windows,
    Our enchantment grows,
    From scribes of the air,
    Their visions declared

    Behold its beauty,
    With tranquility,
    But beware its breath,
    Of harsh frozen death.

    Crafted, driven force,
    Nature, taking course.
    Watching, passers by,
    We, are mystified.

    Under your blanket,
    In concert, we sit.
    You, crocheting lines,
    While I, scribble mine

    Afghan symmetry
    Winter’s poetry

    • This is beautiful. I can just imagine the fireplace, the family room – the crocheter at work and the poet penning away… a couple of books and afghans waiting on stand by.

    • “The breaking of the diet”

      I’m reading Ginsberg and thinking of windows
      and sunlight and stairways that lead into the heavens
      and how blind I’ve been to black clouds and stained ribbons
      So focused I am on the now The here Just surviving
      the sunset and jargon of shoulds— Now the laundry
      Now the dusting of skin and tears Now the sleet and
      the snowy failures crowding the calendar
      Smacking of downward spirals and Somehow
      there is a bowl in my hands A silver spoon
      A mound of mint chocolate—Cool creamy indulgent
      to pay for my sins of neglecting the discipline
      to succeed. At anything. At everything.
      I am freezing Frozen-lipped of all the glamorous
      lists I’ve made. Priorities. Blessings. Name them
      one by one. And that long-lost New Year’s Resolution
      to love better To learn to say it more ways than one
      before the crocus pokes his head above the
      Autumn leaf mulch and bluebird eggs rain down from
      apple trees.
      Ah, Sweet Sweet minty friend you’ve enamored
      me again. I mute the shoulds, then don winter slippers
      and count you as a blessing.

  13. Pingback: A Strand Of Sevenlings | Two Voices, One Song

  14. A Strand of Sevenlings

    She loved three things:
    Life, wide open spaces,
    And fresh air.

    She hated three things:
    Conflict, loud noises,
    And crowds.

    … She joined the revolution.

    He craved three things:
    World wide acclaim, money,
    And a mansion.

    He looked down upon
    Progressives, liberals
    And anarchists.

    … He followed her into the revolution.

    She stared at her reflection;
    Sooty face, lackluster hair,
    And eyes engulfed in flames.

    The city still burned – one moon
    Since the rally, one week since
    The retaliation, one day since

    … Her former self died.

    At night, he was tormented by
    The monikers of his former life;
    The Play Boy, The Rain Maker, The Man.

    By day, the revolutionaries rallied about
    Him and hailed him as
    The Strategist, The Commander, Miracle Man.

    … His eyes were only for her.

    She grew weary of the fight:
    She averted eyes, she dragged feet,
    And her salutes, no longer complete.

    The internal dam burst:
    Her tears flowed, her body shook,
    And she screamed her angst.

    … His lips upon hers, he absorbed it all.

    PS This was also in response to an image prompt which can be found here:

  15. Walt and Marie,
    Once again it is good to see your poems up top. Both strike me as similar in that they build up tension to a release, though the nature of the latter is different. I enjoy reading both. Thanks.

  16. At Eighty

    She was mom’s best childhood friend
    She painted, sang on radio.
    A black-haired beauty, you could depend
    on, to mesmerize local romeos.

    She never could see the gifts she had,
    her confidence was sorely lacking.
    She married a cheapskate who made her sad,
    but she never sent him packing.

    Children and grandchildren came along.
    Somewhere, she lost her penchant for art,
    and no longer painted, nor sang any song.
    Years flew by as she played out her part.

    She nursed her husband until his passing.
    Her health failed, assisted living became
    her new home; she felt her life lapsing.
    Then she met her soulmate, a moth to her flame.

  17. Denial

    They’d seen how she could change her eyes
    from sucker punch to alibis,
    from summer blue to cold as ice,
    her promises to words that slice.

    They’d spent their time under her thumb,
    abuse making their hearts go numb.
    They dared not trust where rumors go;
    news of her leaving traveled slow.

    And so she wiped her righteous tears,
    believing they held her endeared.
    Just as she swore they suffered grief,
    she saw them weeping with relief.

  18. Unexpected Sickness

    It was the twitch in her smile
    That put a hitch in my giddy-up
    And a cramp in my style.

    Wasn’t looking for love in all the wrong places. Thought I had cleansed my hands of romance. Nevertheless still got lovesick… And couldn’t find the doctor (sigh).

    I didn’t really expect to get assassinated
    With cupid’s arrows (he’s got scary good aim). That pesky little love sniper.

    Never thought I’d tie the knot
    With a glass half-empty (I say its half-full). But in all honesty, without her, life is actually half-empty. So together we make a pretty good coup.

    I was quite shocked, cravingly lovesick for her choice raven lovelocks. Taunted daily, by vivid dreams of being doused in her slick mocha skin. She would add foreign spices I never knew existed. I began to pant for a wisp of her small subtle voice. A herald of burgundy romances. Sweet intonations that would echo an amorous sonance. Our voices would enter, into eternal dances. We never left each others arms. Forever wrapped in love’s grip. We tipped and toed, dosey-doed, waltzed but no break dancing.

    Mysteriously, I began to understand the fury of the flame they call love. You know, the “L” word. Not by faint imagination nor by seeking, but by being set on fire. And boy, were we ever engulfed in it’s merciless fervor. The stars were even screaming as we were beaming upward. And they’d agreed it was love. Celestial skies tried to resist the flames far, far above. They eventually denied their unbelief, subscribed to our story.

    The tantalizing music in her voice desired my love. Plucking its heart strings (they were kind of…ahem, out of tune. One them might of snapped actually). Her hit single became my number one hit. The radio waves filled mightily with our song. The only song. A unique channel with one frequency. And it still went platinum. A joyous sound we could never thrust away.

    Her timidity became the lion of my heart. And I never thought I’d marry a mouse ( a very cute one without a tail) In a trillion and two years.

    I began to understand by tasting, what love really was. It was her. And me. Together. A twitch in her smile, two in mine.

    A hitch in each other’s giddy up.
    Lovesick as a dog.
    And still can’t find the doctor….
    He might of retired by now.

  19. Changes of Life

    My dad walked out when I was three
    He left my mother, my brothers and me
    That changed my life

    Four years later my grandparents proved
    They’d care for me, so there I moved
    That changed my life

    The church in Grandpa’s town was nice
    In that country church I met Jesus Christ
    That changed my life

    School was easy and fun, no doubt
    ‘Till I flunked French, and college was out
    That changed my life

    No college, no job, what could I do?
    I really looked good in Air Force blue
    That changed my life

    But something was missing in my lonely life
    Then she showed up and became my wife
    That changed my life

    A wife, then children, and a family was made
    House, cars, food and clothing, and bills to be paid
    That changed my life

    My Air Force time was over after twenty
    Retirement meant work, paying off bills-a-plenty
    That changed my life

    The children grew up and moved out one by one
    Still got too many bills, but still having fun
    That changed my life

    Still working, still paying, still loving my bride
    Still thanking my Lord that I still haven’t died
    That would change my life

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  20. No One Knew

    For seven centuries
    Seven hundred years
    Seventy decades
    More than a quarter million days
    The world had waited
    With expectation
    And hope
    For His arrival

    No one knew just how much
    His arrival would mean
    To the world

    No one knew
    But His Father

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  21. Change of Plans
    Just as readily as the gift of shade had been born,
    provided in the form of wild vegetation
    as comfort against gale
    and relief from sol’s sweltering gaze
    the marrow had been bled dry
    in the dark of night
    so that supple vine and branch would crumple-
    wilt-wither in the first rays of sun;
    this greenery spun for a purpose
    unraveled rapidly-
    life swiftly fled
    under the cover of evenings inky veil.
    Fierce mandibles gnawed
    and greedily supped on this given plant,
    a worm was prepared
    especially for this certain deconstruction
    so that the solar slant on day’s rising
    and relentless bursts of conjured east-coming wind
    would become unbearable
    revealing true character;
    rays should scorch,
    skin shall blister with heat
    and eyes will sting with pelting sand-
    he will question his worth.
    Although he didn’t birth this shrub,
    he didn’t tend to limb or feed this tree
    yet here he’s stumped
    and doubting his existence;
    so quickly he’s swayed
    when the unfair fray of the world strikes
    and bad luck takes its turn-
    a worm depriving roots of their source
    and here he’s so undone
    so ready to just give up.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    I was inspired to write about Jon 4…I also have some added thoughts on my site but I won’t clutter up the garden with those. 😉

    I’ll be back to read…it’s 11:00 P.M. already!


    Oh my goodness what a week
    The great Mandela has laid
    down his shield and his weary
    heart no longer beats
    On the race up to Christmas
    there is a stillness
    cloaking the world
    as if all beings hold
    their common breath
    in a universal prayer for peace
    Now, just today, that lovely
    unpredictable pope who
    really has done so many
    controversial things
    has come out on the side
    of going hatless…
    That’s right…he who wears
    the high hat on the holy head
    is considering not wearing it

  23. Pingback: Progression | Vivinfrance's Blog


    Young love. white wedding wonder,
    blissful consummation,
    happy days of homemaking
    child-raising and lively conversation.

    Humdrum years can dull the passion
    one or other seeks adventure.
    Greener grass elsewhere it seems –
    happy home in danger.

    Betrayal leads to angry shouting:
    you did, I didn’t, disputation
    lawyers cause more aggravation,
    separation, family broken, divorce.

  25. Pingback: On We Walk Earthly Bound | The Chalk Hills Journal

  26. On We Walk Earthly Bound

    We walk winter frost under steel sky, rain held
    in clouds with our sheer desire. We seek to know
    that we are alive, to breathe northern cold that scalds
    our toes, that bites at our hatted heads and fingers
    wrapped in woollen gloves, but on we march, earthly bound
    through fallen November leaves, and bracken mournful

    of December. And we step chilled to bone toward
    bleakest winter. We follow shadowed sky, deeply steeled
    to grey, and we know that above those clouds all reigns
    blue and clear. The winds swift to carry sun and birds
    along on spread wings and piccolo song. We live,
    my friend, in two different worlds, but we march on.

  27. Found this gem this morning. It did not give an author. Does anyone know who wrote this?
    It just seemed to fit the prompt, and the season, so well (to me).

    Title: Unknown
    Author: Unknown
    From: Streams in the Desert; December 10, p. 459

    Once I heard a song of sweetness,
    As it filled the morning air,
    Sounding in its blest completeness,
    Like a tender pleading prayer;
    And I sought to find the singer,
    Where the wondrous song was borne;
    And I found a bird, quite wounded,
    Pinned down by a cruel thorn.

    I have seen a soul in sadness,
    While its wings with pain were furled,
    Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
    That should bless a weeping world
    And I knew that life of sweetness,
    Was of pain and sorrow borne,
    And a stricken soul was singing,
    With its heart against a thorn.

    You are told of One who loved you,
    Of a savior crucified,
    You are told of nails that held Him,
    And a spear that pierced His side;
    You are told of cruel scourging,
    Of a savior bearing scorn,
    And He died for your salvation,
    With His brow against a thorn.

    You “are not above the Master.”
    Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
    And His grace will be sufficient,
    When your heart is pierced with pain
    Will you live to bless His loved ones,
    Though your life be bruised and torn,
    Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
    With its heart against a thorn?

    • WOW. I don’t know this one, David, but I agree completely with you. This is truly amazing. I tried to google a portion, but came up empty handed. I’d love to know.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

        • Yeah the book is a compilation of daily devotionals put together from others’ sermons, devotionals, journal writings, etc., and most days have some form/piece of poetry in them as well. It was put together by Mrs. Charles Cowman, wife of the missionary, after her ailing husband passed away. Some of the poets/authors are credited in the back of the book, unfortunately this one is not listed, so may of been unknown at the time of original publishing which was 1925. Love the book.

  28. Pingback: Change of Plans | Metaphors and Smiles

  29. The Other side of things

    I didn’t expect
    To have tears
    Wide as the ocean

    Suffering a course
    Set forth
    To the other side

    Didn’t expect
    To see the unseen
    With defying keen
    Eyes of the
    Hidden heart

    Didn’t expect
    To mount up
    With eagle’s

    On another’s
    Above the earthly

    To be a lily
    In the valley
    Of the shadow of

    Exposed to
    The elements
    Of life’s savage breath

    Didn’t expect
    To have roots
    Sunk reaching
    Deep drilling
    Unto the depths
    Of Earth’s core

    My stand
    Within the evil

    Sword drawn
    On the other side
    Hoping for something

    Than what this life
    Has to offer

    (a shadorma)

    The perfect
    hiding place, it was!
    Easter egg
    tucked deeply
    between Grandma’s fake flowers…
    found on Christmas morn.

    P. Wanken

  31. Pingback: Thanks, Easter Bunny | echoes from the silence

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