POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.


July 2ndYou have some free time before the next group activities. Your counselor is clueless, so you slip away to explore the campgrounds and the surrounding area. What did you discover? Using the Bop Poetic Form, write your poem.



The Bop is a poetic form that was developed by poet Afaa Michael Weaver at a Cave Canem summer retreat.

 Here are the basic rules:
1. 3 stanzas
2. Each stanza is followed by a refrain
3. First stanza is 6 lines long and presents a subject
4. Second stanza is 8 lines long and explores or expands the subject or problem
5. Third stanza is 6 lines long and either presents a solution or documents the failed attempt to resolve the problem

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    Scouring the dirt path,
    searching for flint stones
    sharpened to a chisel point.
    Weapons or worn fragments/
    shaped to cut the air
    there by the dirt path floor.

    We used to look for arrowheads.

    They were only stones really.
    Luckily we found them to attach
    legend and background,
    profound pieces of lore held
    in the palm of one’s hand.
    But as we stand near the trail
    we fail to see the difference.
    No weapons could prevail.

    We used to look for arrowheads.

    A small assemblage,
    a collection held in cardboard containment.
    Odd sizes, rounded and pointed,
    along the dirt path, flint
    and stone honed and hammered.
    Treasures found on the ground.

    We used to look for arrowheads.

    © Copyright Walter J Wojtanik

  2. Marjory MT on said:

    …how to hike.

    Hurry the chores along:
    gather wood to later use
    stow gear, make camp and food secure.
    Check socks and laces on shoes
    pack bug spray, grab brimmed hat.
    Buddy up in twos

    My daddy taught us how to hike

    We’d hit the trail
    to the stream that ran
    from snow capped peaks
    to refresh distant thirsty land
    as it dropped from lofty heights
    then flowed past sun baked sand.
    We clammered o’er rocks and logs,
    as far-off lands through trees we’d scan.

    My daddy taught us how to hike

    At trail’s end, we’d bath out feet
    in water tempered by snow
    quence our thirst, lap up the sun
    ‘cause further we’d not go.
    then with the lowering of the sun
    we’d started our own decent … but slow.

    My daddy taught us how to hike

    Marjory M Thompson 2014

  3. Pingback: The Mill and the pony camp | Vivinfrance's Blog

  4. The Mill and the Pony Camp

    Two little girls with bicycles
    set out towing a horse
    to a tiny island between millrace
    and Grand Union Canal.
    The horse set free to graze,
    they set up their little camp.


    The nights were hard
    the food was bad –
    each meal a variation on sausages or Spam
    with Shredded Wheat and marmalade for breakfast.
    But not deterred,
    intrepid girls explored
    one on horseback,
    one on bike, in turn.


    A week went by adventuring
    without a serious problem.
    The occasional fall
    didn’t scare them at all –
    the pony was their factotum,
    carrying shopping or girl
    back to camp full of environment,
    but home, at last, for nourishment.


    My Bop poem is at http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/the-mill-and-the-pony-camp/ – where you will find illustration and explanation

  5. Oh! How wonderful for you… to pony-sit 🙂 !!

  6. ejparsons on said:

    My mind is somewhere else this morning. Can’t seem to count. Walt, if you can edit these posts, this is the one with the correct number of lines (I think).


    During my second, and last, year of Bible Camp
    Miserable from mosquitoes and no-see-ums
    No swimming for me, the bottom dweller
    I’d sit on the dock and plunk my guitar
    And look around at all the pretty girls
    My hormones were raging out of control

    Puberty was opening my eyes

    Our cabins separated north and south
    But the days we spent in mixed company
    The girls were growing up so fast
    And in other directions, don’t you know
    But this one particular beauty caught my eye
    She had it all going on with her laces
    Criss-crossed rawhide strings to knee high
    Taking my mind to places it shouldn’t go

    Puberty was opening my eyes

    I never had the nerve to talk to her
    Just gazed in astonishment from afar
    Those moccasins laced to her knees
    On long, slender calves heading upward
    To the prettiest face I’d ever seen
    During my second, and last, year at Bible Camp

    Puberty was opening my eyes

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

  7. Wm Preston on said:


    One August day I went exploring.
    Leaving the camp behind,
    I had my glasses around my neck,
    hoping that I would find
    some interesting summer birds;
    perhaps an unusual kind.

    There was a patch of red, high in a bush.

    At first I thought it was a cardinal
    or scarlet tanager, surely;
    it was the perfect time to find one
    for I had set out early.
    I noticed then, it did not move
    but stayed there, limp and curly;
    I’d found a pair of ladies’ panties
    with tassels gleaming pearly.

    There, was a patch of red, high in a bush.

    I must admit, I forgot the birds
    and pondered what I’d found,
    and wondered at what sort of events
    had transpired on this ground.
    No bird that I have ever seen
    could similarly astound.

    There was a patch of red, high, in a bush.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  8. (Poem w/image: http://lettheballoonssailmeaway.wordpress.com)

    A Quiet Place to Write

    Sunshine hike
    Slip trail boots on
    Secure the laces
    Hum a song
    Grab journal, pen
    Move along

    Pine needles roasting in the sun

    The air is calm
    The dirt is puffy
    Moving along the trail is stuffy
    Sun baking ground
    The needles brown
    Search for flat rock

    Pine needles roasting in the sun

    Sit still, inhale
    Beauty in
    So much for words
    I’ll just listen
    And, breathe, deeply
    Calmly, in

    Pine needles roasting in the sun

  9. Campcide Tales, Day 2


    I’m off for a chat with the bears, she said.
    She’ll be readin’ them all of that news, we knew,
    Our leader climbed through green with The Times
    Tucked tidily in the crook of her arm. But we all knew,
    Somewhere looming in the back of our gloom,
    That she’d all be leakin’ and poohing in the woods.


    While she chatted up bears, and read them
    The Times, we claimed places to rest.
    On a log, on a rock, on a bench,
    In the grass, under a tree, in the shade,
    Or on our knees with our burning feet
    Tucked under our bums. We stretched
    Out long on shadows of afternoon sun,
    And there, one by one, we fell into a sleep.

    And why did she need a shovel?

    We slept. We dreamt. We half listened
    To birds singing their way into our heads.
    We heard newspapers rattle, thought we’d
    Overheard our scout leader sipping gin,
    And we slept while deer ate their dinner
    From the depths of anything green.
    But you can’t sleep through a shrill scream;
    we’d fallen asleep one by one on an ant hill.


    Yeah … This is campacide. I hate camping.


    Poem with image at http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/campcide-tales-day-2-insecticide/

  10. Playing with Time

    We slipped away
    while their backs were turned
    and headed for the woods –
    To a certain trail
    which led to a bay
    where all the boys were swimming.

    Boy crazy.

    We peaked between the bushes
    and giggled at their antics…
    when came a whoop and a holler
    and a naked boy streaked pass!
    Shorts went flying while we watched,
    blushes to our toes –
    until the whistles blew, scattering naked boys
    and a few pulling on their shorts right next to you know who.

    Boy crazy.

    We blushed some more with mouths agape
    for surely we’d been busted
    but those rascally boys gave us a grin,
    a quick kiss and took off running!
    We sat stunned for a moment
    before we too took off running!

    Boy crazy.

  11. connielpeters on said:

    At Girl Scout Camp

    At Girl Scout camp, I explored our new place,
    not leaky tents this time, but bunk-filled dorm rooms.
    I chose the top of the last bunk in the corner
    and unrolled my bed roll with essentials tucked inside.
    I neatly arranged the items at the foot of my bed,
    and hid my novel under my pillow

    In free time, I sought a solitary place.

    The clamor of girls giggling, chattering, singing
    and leaders shouting orders and blasting whistles
    seemed incongruous with whispering pines
    gurgling creeks and chirping of birds and crickets.
    A bridge over the creek harbored a nice cubby hole;
    between games, working on badges, gathering wood,
    singing silly songs, and munching on S’mores,
    I’d hide away there with my book.

    In free time, I sought a solitary place.

    I enjoyed laughing and talking with my friends,
    searching for tinder, kindling and fuelwood,
    roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire,
    making sit-upons and singing songs like
    Make New Friends, Camp Granada, Kumbaya,
    and I Don’t Want No More of this Camping Life, but

    in free time, I sought a solitary place.

    • I would have been sitting beside you in that solitary place, Connie. I don’t like sharing the deep woods with lots of noise, either. Lovely story and wonderful images to show the reader that world and time. 🙂

    • Wm Preston on said:

      I recognize this. So well done.

  12. Priti on said:

    For the First Time

    With a little break of dare
    and a desperate need to get away
    from this friendly ‘get away’
    with the persistent ‘he said she said’
    banging and clamoring
    I ponder, at the intersection

    Looking for invisible signs

    I close my eyes and tic tac toe
    to follow the dance of light
    I think of mom and her warm touch
    and feel her telling, in the breeze
    thro zigzag trees and berry breath
    and crimson, purple shade
    I skip, connecting dots in stone
    wondering about constellations

    Looking for invisible signs

    Suddenly, I see the sky, as if
    for the first time, emerald blue waters,
    with a few breathless clouds
    and right next to this snow pink lotus
    I see,– a BEAUTIFUL me
    for the first time!

    Looking for invisible signs!

  13. Growing up is such a painful process, and you put that across very clearly.


    We park the car off Skyline Drive
    and begin the hike to Herbert Hoover’s retreat,
    but it’s more about the journey than the destination.
    We trudge two miles down the mountain
    through lush, green tunnels,
    catching glimpses of the stunning vistas.

    Determined hikers soldier on toward their history.

    The forest has a special scent
    of pines trees, foliage and earth.
    It helps propel us forward through
    unforgiving gnats drawn to our sweat
    from the sun burning through towering timbers.
    Three stream crossings test the integrity of our ankles.
    Our hiking boots prove to be no match
    for the slimy, unstable rocks and we stumble.

    Determined hikers soldier on toward their history.

    The restored President’s camp does not disappoint.
    Now it’s time to retrace our steps – all of them.
    Two miles straight down means two miles straight up.
    We are deaf to the beauty of an avian symphony,
    hearing only heartbeats and buzzing insects.
    We return to the trailhead tired, dirty and proud.

    Determined hikers soldier on toward their history.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    • Terrific, Susan. I seek knowledge here. Where is this place? I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been with you on this hike in the past ten years. before that I’d have taken it on. I enjoyed your account so much. Thank you for sharing.

      • It’s in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. I actually did that hike three times in the 90s, but I could’t do it now. When I was there, three of the original cabins were restored, including President and Mrs. Hoover’s cabin. They had a major restoration in 2004, changing the camp’s name from Camp Hoover back to its original, Rapidan Camp. The have daily tours by bus and that would be the only way I could see what they’ve done since my visits. Thanks for commenting!

    • Wm Preston on said:

      For me, this poem — especially the middle stanza — says “hiking” better than anything I can recall.

    • The sense of determination is so palpable…I can nearly feel the throbbing pulse of such a hard hike in my temple with this piece, Susan. So vividly written!

  15. Pingback: Close Enough to Touch | Metaphors and Smiles

  16. Close Enough to Touch

    The night air caresses skin richly, damp and heavy with summer
    crickets are busy with their serenade and the frogs add to that magic.
    The many voices of nature pulse and push, recede and refrain
    just as our breaths carry into the air and sip the freshness in again –
    as we lie on our backs in this thick grass our bellies rise and fall,
    filling and emptying of all the wildness that surrounds us here.

    Consuming spiral of galaxy and wide-spread white-spatter-stars appear so near on this mountain.

    Energy is palpable – thick woodland, great climb of ridges and rock,
    us, it seems our thoughts merge as we lie so close under such clarity of sky.
    It’s impossible to conceal the flutter-by-excitement in being;
    just our outer arms touch – as legs of crickets – our tiny hairs unite
    risen on the goose-flesh of this one very alive moment together.
    Under this canopy of silent sky invisible messages fly
    written in swirling cursive, passionate and enchanted
    we’re planted, immovable pines under the ripeness of swelling spell.

    Consuming spiral of galaxy and wide-spread white-spatter-stars appear so near on this mountain.

    Voices of nearby peers and chaperones float to us in this hollow forest atmosphere,
    a crackling fire nearby sends sparks to commingle – but it’s no competition
    many animated comets streak and speak to the animal urge within.
    The wind picks up sending tendrils of fine hair to subtle motion again.
    I don’t dare to bring my gaze to lay upon your face, so close – yet so far away,
    I imagine the mirror of constellations in your eyes and all the stories they’d spill.

    Consuming spiral of galaxy and wide-spread white-spatter-stars appear so near on this mountain.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    This was a group camping trip to the amazing Mount Katahdin…my first time there, I believe I was seventeen. I’ve never seen the stars so clearly…felt so alive. Sigh… ♥

  17. Sorry, gang. I forgot the refrain. I’ll post the correction in a minute.

  18. Dreams vs. Reality

    We funneled dreams into
    Months of planning work
    And savings for places desired;
    All alluring with potential,
    Waiting for our arrival
    In a good mileage, little red car.

    We planned for everything, except the weather.

    We stuffed in a two-bedroom
    Rolling tent camp and work station
    For the country tour of a lifetime,
    Only to have rain and cold follow
    Us throughout the Deep South,
    To make us miserable at each turn;
    Months spent, homeless and broke
    Due to sudden shifts in circumstance.

    We planned for everything, except the weather.

    There came the only decision–to return,
    Tour incomplete and unsatisfying;
    To retrace our steps, visiting friends
    And family along our route, to survive
    Blizzards and storms and growing defeat,
    To count as-yet-unseen blessings granted us.


    We like to believe we are the masters
    of all domains. Since we have intellect
    in our favor, each one of us can think
    we are superior in every way
    to all life on our planet and beyond.
    There is nowhere on Earth we need to fear.

    Forest beasts rule the woods outside Camp Wattcha Dewin.

    Schools should teach humility to children
    so when they’re grown, their heads will fit their hats.
    They won’t mind taking themselves down some pegs
    if they’re taught to use their powers for good,
    refrain from looking down and smirking at
    the instinctual beasts that have no clue
    as to what deed is good and what’s evil.
    Humans have free will but make bad choices.

    Forest beasts rule the woods outside Camp Wattcha Dewin.

    Camp counselors warn the children, “Behave
    in the woods. Don’t touch what plants you don’t know.
    Don’t chase rabbits, birds, or God forbid, foxes
    because where they’ll lead you might be down a hole
    Alice fell in and that’s no Wonderland!
    Respect their home. The woods belong to them.”

    Forest beasts rule the woods outside Camp Wattcha Dewin.


    • Wm Preston on said:

      I’ve been twice bitten by a bug in the garden that seems to default comments to the bottom text box, so I’d like to preface this by saying it applies to Sal’s poem.

      This strikes me as a quintessential teacher’s poem. I like the way it builds an argument, almost like a lesson in logic, even though it argues for the primacy of the “instinctual” beasts, at least in their domain.

  20. Pingback: Milam Gap Memories | Words With Sooze

  21. This is such an intriguing piece, Claudsy…I was captured from the start, the very idea of funneling dreams I find so interesting…abstract and yet very visual. I just completed reading John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley and I found the tone in this very complimentary. Excellent writing!

  22. Darlene Franklin on said:

    At least this is better than yesterday’s offering. I hope.


    Single in summer with no cash for camp,
    Denverites delight in mountains and streams
    Ride through the Rockies takes all day and more
    Pikes Peak and Red Rocks, we mastered with Mom
    Leaving the city away from the mounts,
    Cottonwood Canyon State Park our next choice

    And the Colorado Rockies play on

    Two small towns anchor the road passing through
    Towns named Elizabeth, Franklin as well
    (Jolene’s initials are J, E, and F)
    Cottonwood Canyon, so where are the trees?
    Hiking the canyon rim trail our best choice
    Bottles of water, check, sunblock applied
    Trail mix and batteries, radio a must
    Worse than my children, I must hear the game

    For the Colorado Rockies play on

    Quest for the trail begins far below ridge
    Finding a cave, bats explode overhead
    Screeching, we run outside, no vampires, we
    Up, up the path climbs, till I gasp for breath
    Water gone, radio dead, trailhead not found
    Give up as hopeless and run back to car

    For the Colorado Rockies lose

    • Darlene Franklin on said:

      I can’t tell if my poem shows up as a reply to an earlier poem . . . or on its own. Can anyone tell me?

  23. I have Loved everyone’s contribution… Thank you 🙂 !!

  24. Insectaphobia

    Camp Ney-a-Ti opened with a bang:
    No hint of rain, full summer sun.
    We dragged our trunks of new-bought clothes
    and met our campmates one by one.
    Until the sun set all was grand,
    but once the evening had begun

    The bugs outnumber campers a million to one.

    The sweat bees dive-bombed one and all,
    The hornets brought out bigger guns
    Bloodthirsty ‘skeeters sucked our blood
    and horseflies came when they were done.
    Spiders spun their sticky webs;
    bees flew fast as we could run
    Chiggers, yellow jackets too–
    I know we should be having fun,

    but the bugs outnumber campers a million to one.

    Mosquito netting, hornet spray,
    Off! and Raid! on everyone.
    No more for us the great outdoors.
    We’ll stay indoors to have our fun.
    This camp was built for tougher hide
    than ours! Surrender! They have won!

    Ney-a-Ti bugs outnumber campers a million to one.

  25. Straying

    He is bored.
    Surely there must be something
    more exciting to do.
    Who would know
    if he slips away,
    say, just for an hour
    from the campsite

    Counselors are busy
    gossiping over lunch.
    What a bunch of silly
    Not much older than he is.
    Spots a lake, over there,
    on the other side of the woods.
    Good, he will go exploring
    away from the campsite

    Walks into the forest,
    fingers tingling with adventure.
    Soon, the forest seems denser.
    He cannot tell where he is.
    Lost, he wanders in circles.
    Finally he sees sunlight. He’s back
    at the campsite

  26. janeshlensky on said:

    Yay! I caught up before it got laborious. Some wonderful poems being written by my friends here. Poem on!

    Water Wonder Bop

    Water pulls me through the trees.
    I hear its gurgle, splatter, rush,
    its hissing waterfall, its gush
    that echoes on a summer breeze.
    I almost smell its fecund scent
    and feel the mist of water fall.

    Water ropes me like a steer
    and pulls me to its falling here.

    So cold rocks quake ‘neath water wall.
    My friends will wonder where I went.
    Perhaps I should have left a hint
    of where my feet might likely fall.
    Perhaps they’ll trek these woods and shout,
    then lose themselves in trees and moss
    and soon forget I was their loss,
    and follow sounds to Nature’s spout.

    Water ropes me like a steer
    and pulls me to its falling here.

    By then, I will have sneaked away
    following ferns along a creek:
    my toes will icy water seek.
    In solitude, I’ll spend the day
    ignoring calls their voices send;
    I’ll concentrate on wings and wind.

    Water ropes me like a steer
    and pulls me to its falling here.

  27. Pingback: Bop (attempt) | the Wil-de-venus of North 16th


    I am too young
    to know that this
    land is ancient
    maybe even sacred
    and that my footsteps
    stir my ancestor’s souls

    beneath me

    I am too blind
    to see that this
    river has wound its
    way through the lives
    of my mother’s mother’s mothers,
    women and children
    who lived off this land
    and built this world

    beneath me

    I am too wise
    not to understand that these
    footsteps I’m making
    are miles from
    my ancestors’ paths
    and this land will crumble

    beneath me

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