I cannot tell you all what a tremendous help you have been in tilling this fertile poetic garden. The Guest Hosts so far have been such nurturing souls and we have all benefited from that. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Jane Shlensky for her diligence and tenacity to stay with the project, comment on almost every poem posted.



The idea of culling three lines from a poem and giving them a fresh start, is a form of revision which is a major part of the writing process. The original poems were a step stone to something rejuvenated and better; a new perspective. The poem I chose became in our author’s words, ”something different”. But in her irrepressible story telling style, Barbara Young rewove her three lines into this tapestry:


[First time I tried to tell this memory,
I thought you were shadows
on the cave wall. Did not know
that you had losses, faces, grandbabies.
It was a story I told, in Mama’s sense
of telling stories: falsehood, if not an outright lie.]

In Tennessee, the winter ‘fifty, ‘fifty-one
was like this past one: frigid. Ice broke everything.
This memory belongs to that November.
The stars were clear as ice, the moon full
but small and cold. We’re in the country:
where my grandmother, grandfather, uncle lived.

[A farm with two mules, a half-dozen cows.
A woodstove in the front room; a single,
hanging light bulb. I catalog the mismatched chairs
in the original poem, and tell you the unpainted
sheetrock walls are gold-brown, mention
a souvenier pillow, the smell of hickory smoke. ]

I don’t remember who was in the room–
a ring around the hot stove, faces red, backsides
cold as outside–when my uncle Bill came back
from hunting. We’d have heard his dogs,
foxhounds, barking and then belling, out there
up and down the hills and hollows. Echos.

[I would have seen fox skins nailed to the barn.
They kill hens, foxes do, and I have seen
the tiny yellow chicks trying to stay warm
around a light bulb. The men and their dogs
are out hunting foxes. Or sitting around a fire
talking in low nasal country voices, and drinking.]

That is where memory plays false. I was three,
maybe four. My true recollection isn’t framed well,
but nailed to the wall, a page from a magazine.
My uncle lets the cold air in, has a gunny sack;
in that, what he dumps into the circle of family
is a fox cub, small as my hands, and terrified.

[I tried to make a poem from that, for the cave
and its shadows. Added a gun that was–if even there–
unimportant. Missed telling you the truth.
Not some thing about the south and rural barbarism,
but: That I was as frightened in that room of poets
as a fox cub dumped out of a gunny sack.]

© Copyright Barbara Young – 2014



Guest-hosting has been a great experience for me, reading so many fine poems from so many fine poets and people. Thank you, Walt. While bloom selecting has been a little daunting, it has given me an insight into how editors of books and magazines feel when they select poems for their publications. I realized that I’m more of a gatherer of posies than I am a single-stem girl, but I have to say to you all that there was a lot to love in your poems this week, and a lot to love in the kind and caring way in which you encourage one another. That’s the fertilizer that makes this garden grow, in my opinion. I winnowed for hours and still sat like a child holding a Whitman’s sampler but allowed only one piece of chocolate. My short list had Jerry Walraven, Patricia Hawkenson, Bill Preston, Nancy Posey, and Hannah Gosselin, but that isn’t short enough, alas. Finally, I took a nap and went with the first poem that claimed my thoughts when I woke . It ain’t scientific, but it worked.  This week’s Brilliant Bloom goes to Patricia Hawkenson for a poem that chilled us and offered the power of redemption through music.


Bent over
in a mocking bow,
he should not
be jealous
of what I know.

For my fingers
know the quick wind
of a knife blade
taunting closer,
in a father’s control
of his child’s fear.

My eyelids know
the pain of closing
while trying
to look straight

My back felt the spaces
welt between the bars,
the blackness of blood
on my white sheets.

I knew how
to hold it all inside
until my keyboard grabbed
my fingers tight
and forced them all
to fly away.

© Copyright Patricia A. Hawkenson – 2014



This short form seemed to garner some outstanding thoughts and their corresponding amazing poems. From happy to sad, determination and despair these Cinqku all met the challenge. This one was clearly thought provoking, slightly tongue in cheek and quite telling. Two oars working together move forward. One oar steers to the shore, of just goes in a circle. Paula Wanken expressed that vision smartly. There is wisdom in her words.


sail, with oar
in water, moves
me…alas, only in

© Copyright Paula M Wanken – 2014



One of the things I love about this blog is that people rise to a challenge, take on any form, and churn out these wonderful “attempts” that read more like the finished thing. I ate these little cinqku up, each one as imaginative and clever as each of you are, but finally I offer my bloom to Darlene Franklin for a cinqku whose central image has kept me spinning.


brush winter’s
cobwebs into
skeins of spun memories
new thread

© Copyright Darlene Franklin – 2014

CONGRATULATIONS to Barbara, Patricia, Paula and Darlene on you selections. And great work by all our contributors!