There is no prompt posted today with our July P.A.D. beginning on Tuesday. But if you wish, join our discussion on “What do you deem necessary for a successful writing session? Do you have a routine? A superstition? Do you need something nearby? A nice cup of something to stir your muse? Give us a glimpse at your quirks and what makes them work for you.


An interesting week and the triumphant return by Marie Elena Good has been notable. And as we prepare for our Summer P.A.D. project, I thought it fitting that the Grand Gardener of Creative Bloomings oversee the last prompt/form and the corresponding blooms until August. We never needed reminding what we were missing here, but it fortifies why she has been the “best friend I’ve never met” from the first (third) day our paths had crossed. As our Emily Dickenson quote attests, “Beauty crowds me till I die.” I’m glad it’s been her stepping on my toes. Our Bloom selections:


The prompt takes the beauty of the Dickinson quote and asks us to rend the beauty of our interpretation as presented in verse. I’ve spent most of the afternoon reading (and re-reading) these extraordinary pieces and I was truly at a loss to choose one poem. The poetic perfection amassed here this week has been inspiring and truly beautiful. It has crowded my thoughts. I have not died. But I will highlight this poem as one that has moved me greatly. Benjamin Thomas, you’ve earned this Bloom.

LET HER FOLLOW ME by Benjamin Thomas

“Beauty crowds me til I die”
Emily Dickinson

There is a crowning beauty that crowds me; conceals in ambulant glory. It shields me on a day of rain,
and from the uprising countenance of Sun.

It presses vigorously upon old wounds; impressing it’s new name, causing me to wield new joys, and liberates ten loads of shame.

There is an excelling beauty that crowds me; that leaves me breathless, yet fills with a buoyant hope, until every cloud covets the ascent to freedom.

Let her beauty crowd me until I die;
Resisting the slow dissipation, reject her every wish to flee, and object every temptation.

Let her follow me when I rise again,
then crowd me in resurrection, with exemplary beauty in that day, basking in myriads of satisfaction.

© Copyright 2014
Benjamin Thomas



My choice here again touches a cord within and the snippet of story is a tender portrayal. Another fine piece in a collection of poetic finery. I’ll just let Jane Shlensky‘s words speak for themselves in Harmony.


HARMONY by Jane Shlensky

He’s getting more stooped
these days, his back bowed
like a comma from
years of tending plants.
He’s gentle with them,
talks to them in chants,
sing-song, daily news,
common happenstance.

Sometimes he whistles
handling foliage,
‘til warbling birds come
and share epistles
about seeds and flight,
tweeting on thistles,
these garden bacchantes,
of granting a chance.

(C) Jane Shlensky, 2014



Thank you for this week, Walt! It’s been absolutely lovely spending time with all of you again. The poetry, the encouragement, the camaraderie … feels like home.
Interesting how the prompt was “Beauty crowds me ‘til I die,” as that is how I feel in this garden. What could be more splendid than being elbow-to-elbow with tender souls sharing magnificent poetry? The talent displayed here continues to awe and humble me … as the daunting task of choosing one poem is once again staring me in the eye mockingly.

*sigh* I chose four, and then a later entry came in that I HAD to add. Then I read these five over and over, finally narrowing them to two. These two are quite opposite in style, form, and mood. Ultimately, Jane Shlensky’s Catch ‘em While They’re Young won out. How could it not? As I (and others) have expressed, we are running out of complimentary words with which to describe Jane’s work. The entire poem, as Linda states, totally rocks. (Yes, we have been reduced to using kidspeak.) And I am with Sara in that I kept reading and re-reading the fourth stanza. Jane, you leave me completely in awe. I humbly offer you my Bloom for this flawlessly brilliant piece.

Catch ‘em While They’re Young by Jane Shlensky

‘Beauty crowds me til I die’
says Emily, alone, depressed,
but ugliness can’t satisfy
our human need for gorgeousness.

Don’t paint the kindergarten red
or orange, brightest purple, green,
lest children, dazzled, are misled
to bounce off walls, collide, careen.

Don’t overstimulate their eyes
and hope their minds will stay serene.
Rainbows fade into distant skies,
a measured dose of lovely scene.

Steep kids in squalor’s muddy grays
and color them inside the lines
until they think in murky ways
and never question wonder’s signs.

Imagination takes to light—
a flower’s scent, a helping hand,
an apple pie, bright birds in flight
are beauties children understand.

We seem to fear from babyhood
that too much beauty overawes;
we crowd out joy and smother good
and grow up keen on finding flaws.

And Emily in love with all
her garden and her heart can bear
knows love expands us though we fall,
and beauty saves us from despair.

(C) Jane Shlensky, 2014

I know you want to know which poem was my “runner up” – the one I said is so different in style, form, and mood. I’m betting you’ve already guessed that it is Damon Dean’s witty write Skin Deep. Right up my alley, Damon!  ***Walt’s Note: Damon, Marie mentioned your name, you share the Bloom! My rule, and I am in agreement. You made my short list as well!


If beauty crowds me till I die,
I hope the worms enjoy it,
a feast of rotting handsomeness
with fresh green mold upon it.

I’m sure they’ll mind their p’s and q’s
from toes to hips to head
at such a fine good looking meal,
a beauty-laden spread.

I know what you are thinking.
This likely will not be.
The chance that I die beautiful?

The beauty all around me?
Yes, there is much of that,
but it can’t penetrate the skin
where ugly hangs it’s hat.

© 2014, Damon Dean


I found the Octameter to be a challenging form. Many of you agreed, yet posted wonderful examples. For me, the best models of form are those which show off the poem – not the form. A remarkable example is J.lynn (Janice) Sheridan’s Night sways. She begins with, “The sounds of midnight gather beneath my scars and written prayers.” I find this sentiment and wording so intriguing and exquisite, I’d be satisfied to read no further. Well, no. I take that back. It’s so intriguing and exquisite that I must read further. There, I “bow to the moon’s charmed sway.” Janice, I’m so thankful you grace us with your words here. I offer you a well-deserved Bloom.

“Night sways” by J.lynn Sheridan

The sounds of midnight
gather beneath my
scars and written prayers.
I could not breathe a
moment if not for
you. Nor will a day
endure a dawn if
our frail love betrays

the gift of veiled vows.
All morning I read
the poets’ despair
of lone hearts aroused
in storms. Time beats on,
dear, and as you bow
to the moon’s charmed sway
our love fades away.

(C) J.lynn Sheridan, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS to Benjamin, Jane (2x), Damon and Janice.


There will be no prompt posted tomorrow with our July P.A.D. beginning on Tuesday. But if you wish, join our discussion on “What do you deem necessary for a successful writing session. Do you have a routine? A superstition?  Do you need something nearby? A nice cup of something to stir your muse? Give us a glimpse at your quirks and what makes them work for you.




I’m on a much needed (aren’t they always) vacation next week 😀 and I’m not sure there will be time for getting some camping in. You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I had an A/C unit fail catastrophically and spew water across the majority of my living room rug. So obviously, I’ll have my time away turn into another “work vacation” tearing it up and replacing it. But, we’ll still go the nature route, if only through poetry.

So here’s how it will work. Those who had participated last July you have an idea what we’re doing. We will all be going on sort of a vacation during July in the guise of the second CREATIVE BLOOMINGS SUMMER POETRY GAUNTLET. Remind us Walt, what’s this mean?

First of all, for the month of July, the weekly Sunday prompt will be suspended. WHAT, NO POETRY PROMPTS FOR A WHOLE MONTH? Shhh! Be still! It’s only wolves!
This year a summer camp-related inspiration will be posted daily. “Daily?” you ask, “How is that a vacation?” It served as a break from routine, so be prepared to stretch your muse. Use these ideas to write your poetry. Long, short, rhymed, it doesn’t matter. Just write. Every day. That’s the gauntlet. Everyone does “challenges” nowadays, so we’re not challenging anything. We’re asking you to join us to write poems while the sun shines.

Wednesday will continue as INFORM POETS WEDNESDAY with a twist. It will be joined with the prompt to pen your camping finery to that specific form. We may repeat forms we have previously highlighted.

Marie’s monthly interview will also appear in its prescribed place, so watch for it toward the end of the month.

The BRILLIANT BLOOM feature on Saturday will also be on vacation for the month (hey, Marie, the Guest Hosts and I have earned the rest. However, anyone wishing to “award” a particular poem they’ve read with a merit badge, please feel free to do so. You’re thinking, “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” Ummm… yes you do! Take them in the spirit that they are intended.

BUT… we’re not done. Last year’s gauntlet was supposed to end with chapbook collections. As with our 20 week Memoir Project of a few years back, you will be asked to compile another e-chapbook of the “Granada Summer Camp for Wayward Poets” poetry to be highlighted through the rest of the year. My misfortune of major health issues prevented that from happening with the Beach set. (Anyone wishing to still complete and submit their Beach chapbook if you had prepared one, you are welcomed to do so!)

So, pack accordingly, fill your canteen, lace up your hiking boots (don’t forget the bug spray), write more poetry and enjoy another different July here at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS.

P.S. – Anyone wishing to submit camp, outdoorsy or nature photos to our PHOTO PHOCUS page, you are most welcome to do so! Walt.


Octameter, originated by Shelley A. Cephas, is a poem made up of 16 lines divided into two stanzas of 8 lines each. Each line has a syllable count of 5. The set rhyme scheme is: a/b/c/d/e/d/f/d g/h/c/g/i/g/d/d. This seems a convoluted rhyme scheme, so poetic license will not be revoked if you use your judgement on using a different pattern, or forgoing the scheme all together, I’ll have no problem with it. We’re about writing poems here, so get to it!

(See http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/octameter.html)




Gnarled and twisted hands
calloused and sore, more
used to hard work than
to life’s sheer kindness;
blood, sweat and tears, mere
offerings. Blindness
to those who shirk work,
their thinking, mindless.

A gentle man, he
gives of his worn heart,
more used to love than
life’s absurdity.
His mangled hands touch
her soft purity.
Her love is timeless;
fills him with fineness.

© Walter J Wojtanik, 2014



Let us resurrect
when to use affect,
or to use effect.
Which should we select?
Which should we reject?
How do we detect
which one is correct?
Let me interject:

Let the verb “affect;”
impact noun “effect.”
Now let us inspect:
What do we detect?
Action of affect
generates effect,
just as we’d expect!

© Marie Elena Good, 2014


I decided long ago to never second guess the person who is my “Guest” this week. It is a strange circumstance in that I cannot consider her a GUEST when she is a part of the very fabric of this amazing place. The decision to open this site stemmed from me and Marie wanting the P.A.D. sessions we had experienced to go on. Taking a cue from our joint blog, ACROSS THE LAKE, EERILY, Marie and I messaged back-and-forth wanting to have our poet friends have a hand in promoting their own work here at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS (formerly POETIC BLOOMINGS). By the time our conversation had ended the foundation of what you see here was up and running. It is and remains our joint effort even in either of our absenses. Marie Elena Good, don’t EVER think you’re free of this place by any stretch of your imaginings. For as you can see, every time you think you’re out, I pull you back in!




ONCE UPON A TIME: She daily poemed (and watched as they grew), while posting and hosting a blog (or two). But life called, her muse stalled; regretfully she bid adieu. With publications next to nil, she’s working on her kid lit, still. But market research does her in – she hardly knows where to begin. She’s pleased as punch to look around and see what’s Blooming on home ground – to host again (though as a guest), with chance to pen with poeming’s best!

Take your cue from Emily Dickinson and begin your poem with the line – “Beauty crowds me till I die”

It doesn’t have to be a physical death. It could be the “death” of something… your time, negativity… you decide the terms.



“Beauty crowds me till I die” ~ Emily Dickinson

I feel it closing in, 
and I am surrounded 
by the crushing beauty of life.
Majesty and magnificence shadow
my insignificance, squeezing me
until I am empty and tossed
onto the pile of misused muse.  
Another wizard of words
awaits my space and time will march
on in beauty, until HE dies!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2014



‘til death

Should beauty crowd me ‘til I die
And I should die before I wake,
Come waltz with me ‘neath moonlit sky;
Come lie to me for old times’ sake.

Convince me of my silken lips
Pretend I am your only love
I’ll sigh as song and moon eclipse –
Though it’s not me you’re singing of.

Should jealousy devour me,
Suspicion instigate my death,
I’ll likely simply let it be …
Let bitterness inhale my breath.

© Marie Elena Good, 2014





It has been another extreme pleasure to have William Preston return to the masthead at least for this week to help steer this vessel onward. His support and insight are unparalleled, and his work is exceptional.

We all seem to find reasons why we think no one would be interested in our life stories. That became our charge this week. Take one of those reasons and make it the title of your poem. Our “non-stories” can be more telling than any factual expose.  And so we choose the creme de la creme of this week’s work.


Two reasons that tend to prevail against the exposing of one’s story are the basis’ for my selections for the “Auto-Biography” prompt. First, why would I write a story when I have no idea how it will end? Nancy Posey brought this to light in her wonderful admission, NOT FINISHED YET. In the second choice, Erin Kay Hope presented her angst at exposing things she felt were best kept secret. There’s a story there, but that uncertainty wages a valiant battle. Read SECRET’S NOT SECRET for Erin’s Bloom winning struggle.


Any story of my life I might
write now would fall short
of the full story, leaving out
everything that comes next.

I need time to view the past
from a comfortable distance,
aligning all the versions of me
into one single protagonist.

No careful study I might make
of the dramatic arc allows me
a dispassionate vantage point
to just my place—rising action,

climax, or rolling faster toward
my resolution, denouement.
Leave my tales and their telling
to someone else, who’ll cry,
not die at The End.

(C) Copyright Nancy Posey – 2014


Secret’s Not Secret by Erin Kay Hope

There’s too much I don’t want the world to know,
The inner thoughts and longings of my heart,
What makes it beat, what makes the workings go;

I don’t know how I’d write without my heart,
Without telling everything about me,
And I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to start,

Cause then the world would really, truly see
The side of me I’d like kept to myself,
The deepest things reserved for God and me:

Secrets wouldn’t be secret anymore,
The latch would be broken on this dark door…

© Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2014



The beauty of this form lives in the repetition and the stand-alone couplets that lead you to its heart. There were a few ghazal that surely could have earned this Bloom. But as usually happens with me is an poem rings familiar, as if written about my own like experiences. One sure poem stands to bring me face-to-face with my ghost. Sara McNulty, you take this one for IN THE GLOW.


IN THE GLOW by Sara McNulty

His stomach sank, he felt so low
on this beach where their love once glowed.

She was wrenched from him, he was shown
death’s quick grip, where their love once glowed.

On the sand, he drew with his toe
a broken heart, where love once glowed.

Waves rolled in as he felt his woe
tug at him, here, where love once glowed.

He recalled her strength, knew he’d go
on with life, lucky, love once glowed.

(C) Copyright Sara McNulty – 2014



Selection for prompt #159

It’s been months since I had to select one poem from the many fine ones posted by the talented folks who frequent this blog. I expected trouble in doing so, and I got it. I tried to “weed some out” as I went along, but that didn’t work; so many poems kept coming back like songs, their words and images fairly swimming before me. But the rules are the rules, so I finally selected one piece.

That piece is by Nurit Israeli. Several poems arising from this prompt dealt with the central idea that it’s too early to write auto-biographies of any kind, either to recall that which one would want others to know, or that which is best left unsaid. Dr. Israeli’s is in that vein, but it adds some delicious twists. It starts out with a Goldwynism, one of several that the legendary producer, Sam Goldwyn, may or may not have said (Goldwyn, like Yogi Berra, often was credited with things he never uttered). It then follows by liking life to a play, consistent again with Goldwyn but also recalling Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage.” In the midst of the poem the reader finds

I don’t know how many acts
are in the play that is my life.
Whether it is long or short.
Whether it ends slowly
or abruptly in the middle,

which has the faint whiff of a Goldwynism, whether intended or not.

In the main, however, I thought that this progressive poem emphasizes the idea that life is essentially an improvisation, a process, and that any idea of “final” is superfluous. The process involves much backing and filling, as the final line suggests, or so it seems to me. All in all, Dr. Israeli’s poem is a thought-provoking piece, and I am glad to award it my bloom for this prompt.

Dr. Israeli’s complete poem follows:

“I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after they’re dead.”
Samuel Goldwyn

INCOMPLETE… by Nurit Israeli

In the play that is my life
there is no script and
there are no rehearsals.
I am making things up
as I go along.

In the play that is my life
there is no director
to lead and oversee and
no prompter to cue me
when I forget my lines.

There is still no title
to the play that is my life.
I know most of the story,
but I cannot choose a name
until I make sense of the ending.

I don’t know how many acts
are in the play that is my life.
Whether it is long or short.
Whether it ends slowly
or abruptly in the middle.

And when the curtain
comes down, I don’t know
how long or how short it will take
for the play that is my life
to be forgotten.

So I improvise and I play
in the play that is my life:
There’s allure to the scenes
that cannot be foreseen,
my real and imagined −
a yang and a yin.

(C) Copyright Nurit Israeli – 2014



I found this a difficult but challenging form, well worth the effort to realize. Several other poets apparently felt the same way, and the results were a series of pieces that made selecting just one a soul-wrenching process—again. I was sorely tempted to toss the rules and select more than one but, recalling my father’s old comment that “God hates a coward,” I finally chose one poem.

J.lynn Sheridan’s “Her son. Her son.” is the poem I chose. The language she uses is elevated, almost Victorian in tone, or so it seems to me: phrases such as “sable curls,” “treble song,” and “sweet dreamer” recall Stephen Foster for me, accentuated by the recurring “song of moonlight.” The effect of the whole is to create not just a vision but a mood that is somber but not depressing; indeed, the final line connotes something akin to reassurance, or at least acceptance. When I first read this poem I noted that “comments are almost superfluous in the face of majestic and moving phrases such as these,” and I still feel that way. It is fine work, and I’m happy to offer my bloom.
“HER SON. HER SON.” by J.lynn Sheridan

She waits like a quiet snow captured in the moonlight.
Her sable curls haloed in the treble song of moonlight.

Life loves somber prose—a thorn prick to probe our hearts,
burrowing scarlet roses inside the song of moonlight.

Rest, sweet dreamer. A wanderer grieves for love’s breath,
Savoring each note of the redeemer’s song of moonlight.

Bless the poet. Bless the winter of a hero’s flight in the night.
Verse after verse caress his flight in the song of moonlight.

Sing, sweet dreamer, the soft prayer of a warrior’s mother.
From the womb comes a cry sweeter than the song of moonlight.

Long in the land of his enemy is a fountain of cold memories.
I will fold your hands in mine and sing his song of moonlight.

(C) Copyright J. Lynn Sheridan – 2014






Funny how things work out sometimes. Last month’s guest was born in the USA, and is now in Germany. This month’s guest was born in Germany, and is now in the USA. Kleine Welt! (No, Walt.  Not “climb Walt”.  Kleine welt [“small world,” unless Google Translate is playing tricks on me]).

What a pleasure to get a chance to interview the brat donning earphones – Rob Halpin (a.k.a. Lorwynd). Continue reading


As mentioned earlier, we are resuming our July P.A.D.

Last year we reminded you to bring the SPF as we headed for the shore for our “Life Is A Beach” Challenge. This July, don’t forget the bug spray because we’re setting up camp and getting outdoorsy this time around. We’re going to the “Granada Camp for Wayward Poets”. I’m giving you a heads up so you can “pack” accordingly. Think of anything campy and we’ll probably cover it! Don’t miss the bus, because it will be a long hike!




The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning.



Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians. The form has roots in seventh-century Arabia, and gained prominence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thanks to such Persian poets as Rumi and Hafiz. In the eighteenth-century, the ghazal was used by poets writing in Urdu, a mix of the medieval languages of Northern India, including Persian. Among these poets, Ghalib is the recognized master.



Childhood dreams live in my memories of youth.
And love abides in the memories of youth.

Imaginations unbridled; the desires of hearts and minds
find a dwelling in the memories of youth.

Amidst the number of a family, large and vibrant,
a loving mother and father tyrant in the memories of youth.

All in perspective of a young child, point of view lower
and slower to process the responsibilities in the memories of youth.

But love did abide in the memories of days long gone,
parents long gone, but alive in the memories of youth.

Lessons were a way of life; the learning curve was in force
in the course of the memories of youth.

Success came in the learnings of life, rife with knowledge
and the fuel to power the memories of youth.

I learned at my father’s knee; me and a pouch full of nails,
the trials of an apprentice in the memories of youth.

Surrounded by brothers and sisters; a rambunctious bunch
of misses and misters in the memories of youth.

Surrounded still in the decline of numbers,
victims all in the memories of youth.

Hearts full and overflowing with the thoughts so inspired
never to be retired in the memories of youth.

The tragic part of Walt going back to the place where I was raised,
is finding myself as one of my own memories of youth.

But, they keep me grounded; they strengthen my resolve
with more of life’s mysteries to solve through the memories of youth.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik




A world of wonder defines your eyes;
ennui is sundered by your eyes.

Should mountains fall with tomorrow’s sun,
they all will rise to please your eyes;

should oceans fail their daily tides,
each one would resume and hail your eyes;

if Earth should lose the grace of green,
replacement resides in the gaze of your eyes;

if a star should refuse to share its light,
it will bow before the glare of your eyes,

and when love has forgotten its reason to be,
it need only believe the tears in your eyes.

And I? I hope someday to reprise
the gay, zestful way you smile with your eyes.

(C) William Preston – 2014


Today I welcome back a returning poetic “hero”. He came forward and stood tall when I had run up hard against life last year. And he had served admirably. Aside from that he is an accomplished poet in his own right, a fellow Poet Laureate at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer. Welcome “home” William Preston.




William Preston has been writing poems for nearly thirty years. His main inspiration was song lyrics; owing to a severe hearing loss, which prevented him from understanding songs as sung, he would look up the words. He thus grew to know lyricists such as Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Lorenz Hart, Johnny Mercer, Gus Kahn, and others of the golden era of Tin Pan Alley. He wanted to write like they did, and also like poets such as Robert Frost, Adelaide Crapsey, and Ogden Nash. (He likes to be eclectic and prefers to write in forms.) He has published little, however, and views blogs such as Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides and this one as his primary means of sharing the joy of writing verses.

PROMPT #159 – “AUTO-BIOGRAPHY” – There are times we would like people to know us in a little better way. Sometimes we offer up TMI. Today we tell a little about ourselves by our reasoning NOT to do exactly that! Think of some reasons why your WOULDN’T write your auto-biography. Use one reason as your title and write that poem.



An ordinary guy in ordinary times,
living an ordinary life
in a very ordinary way. A simple man,
in a simple place among remarkable people.
My family would read me or they won’t.
My friends could read me, but they don’t see
any different me than they already know.
I have known my arrogance to get the best of me,
the rest of me hides in the shadows revisited
by the trepidation in which I grew. I knew
I should “release the beast within”. And in that,
I grin. Much to say, yet no way to know it.
So, I just became a poet.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014





The trees are swimming upwind, and the sky
glows green in silent harmony with blue;
a vireo is calling out a new
sweet dirge as sunlight whispers. By and by,
the colors merge to grey, a subtle lie
that mocks the moonlight as it shimmers through
a cataract that stands where flowers grew,
and all of this enthralls my mind and eye.
I think I am awake. The paneled room
appears the same as when I went to sleep,
but even so, I cannot rise from bed.
This strange kaleidoscope, so bright with gloom,
has come once more, as though from some great deep,
and now, again, I taste the hue of dread.

(C) Copyright – William Preston, 2014