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.