Game of Chess ca. 1990s

We’ve all played games at some times in our lives. I’m not talking “mind games”. I’m thinking you may have a favorite card game. Or you like to participate in board games. Being poets, we are adept at wordplay and word games. Puzzles (crosswords, anacrostics, sudoka, word search…) are an enjoyable pastime. There are games of chance…Competitive Team Games…Computer games?

Choose any game as the title of your poem and write a poem (that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the game of your choice). Just use your poetic voice and quit playing games.


SCRABBLE (Desperately Seeking Q)

Does Scrabble scramble your brain?
Are you trained to think slowly,
methodically? Maybe you quit
early because there are not quite
enough words you can think of
quickly. Well don’t quake
in your boots, thinking you are not
smart enough to be quizzed
on your vocabulary. Your qi may
not be up to par. Quash those notions
of not being smart enough.
Instead, remember this quote:

“Nobody can make you feel
inferior without your consent”
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

We all have many fine qualities.
If you ask questions,
you will find answers.



When we play our charades,
we think we’re fooling each other.
But, pretending only works if you believe.

Troubled hearts become good
at keeping words to a minimum.
When we play our charades

we get caught in these wordless duels.
Our objections often get overruled and
we think we’re fooling each other.

Our actions do not reveal all that we feel,
and we try to deal with very little relief.
But, pretending only works if you believe.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


**For some reason, Charades was the game that came to mind (though I’ve never played) and it felt right to write “Charades”as a Cascade poem.




We’re taking the minimalist view of poetry for today’s “form”. We won’t be counting syllables or getting over-bearing with rhyme. Today’s “form” is the Aubade which is more theme based. The Aubade is a poem written to celebrate the dawn. A good example of this type of poem is The Sun Rising by John Donne.



Call her Aurora,
first light of day. She dapples
maples, and petals of roses
with drops of dew. You do not
see her; she stays behind
the scenes. Her work sings
for itself in tunes of robins,
in glee of golden finches.
Subdued at morn, dawn is pale.
Peer out your window;
your face will break
into a smile. That is her style–
a new day dawns on you.

© Sara McNulty




Another sunrise crests the treetops,
another day to celebrate life
expressed in words and rhymes
and at times, a song or two.
Memories of friends met and connected to,
a slew of poems to remember them,
to hold them in heart when their presence
starts to fade. A parade of word warriors
seeking to hold the flank and to thank the gods
above for the love and guidance; a space dance
of a free and easy spirit. The music of life plays,
I hear it in every rustled leaf, in the coo
of a newborn infant who can’t help but make it.
I take it as another day of life afforded to me.
I see the new dawning with fresh eyes.
It is wise to greet each brand new day,
breaking your own record; your personal best.
All the rest is purely gravy!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


The re-launch of POETIC BLOOMINGS has rekindled our poetic pyres and has me highly enthused. It comes down to what Marie Elena and I had known all along. We had amassed an incredible array of poetic talent to inspire and by which we could be inspired. That’s a familiar feeling. As we had written last week, it is comfortable. Part of that sensation is having things that we are accustomed to having. A habit, a routine, a favorite…

One of the first prompts here at POETIC BLOOMINGS was something we called “PLAYING FAVORITES”. So, Sara and I want to resurrect this theme and ask you to join us for the fourth installment of this exercise.

Take a favorite line, from a favorite poem, by a favorite poet. Make that line the inspiration, a line or title of your poem. It could be a famous poet’s work… it could even be a poem from one of our own “famous” poets here at PB. We are not looking for a new interpretation of your chosen poem/poet. Make it a jumping off point,  shine a fresh new light on it and write your poem to one of our most popular (and favorite) prompts. And as always, credit the poet and poem that had inspired you.




Every time we drove to the city I’d
see it there, white as a white
shark in the shark-rich Bay, the bars like
milk-white ribs. No escapees. I’d imagine
what kind of depraved criminals were housed
behind all those steel doors and locks.
That is where bad little girls go, ones who
do not obey their parents, they would tell
me, laughing. I would shake, feel my pale
skin pop with goosebumps. It was hard
to determine which behaviors they considered
jail-worthy. It was hard to never feel safe,
sort of like little boxes lined up on a table,
and I would need to be able not to pick

the ‘bad’ box. Somehow I stayed out
of Alcatraz, but it still loomed like a shark
with razor teeth, ready to tear me
to pieces. I grew up. I married, yet
even now I cannot look at that forbidding
building, alone on an island.

***(This first line is taken from San Francisco, by Sharon Olds.
If you have never perused her work, you might want
to do so. She is an incredible poet, expressing honesty
that is sometimes painful to read.)




A man loves from the depths of his soul
for he knows that is the right thing to bring.
He guides and protects those in his charge,
he always looms large in their eyes.
A man will comfort cries and illicit sighs
through his tender and heartfelt compassion
and fashion a life meant to be copied; emulated.
A man will do his very best
and fill his chest with the treasures
his family and friends will offer;
making for very full coffers.
A man that is loved is a man that rarely fails.
A man such as he forever prevails.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


*** The tradition here has been that my example takes a line from a poem written by my co-host,
so from Sara McNulty’s poem, “MOST MEMORABLE”, the line is “A man such as he forever prevails.”


You’re probably thinking to yourself: “NOT ANOTHER JAPANESE SHORT FORM???”

Sure, why not. Today we’re presenting the RYŪKA.
The RYŪKA is an untitled poem usually consisting of four units
(often treated as separate stand alone lines when romanized or translated)
standardly with the following pattern of onji (sounds, syllables):
where as, the Japanese Tanka is 5-7-5-7-7. 
There are other variations of Ryūka such as
7-5-8-6 or
5-5-8-6 or
longer Ryūka with 8-8-8-8-8-8-8…-6.

SARA’S SELECTION:  (three different examples):

Petals of apricot roses
texture of velvet puppy ears
fragrance floats, scents air around you
spring turning to summer


Stormy blue ocean, whitecaps
air is thick with salt
seagulls squawk, flapping wings fill sky
thunder blasts warning


Neon whizzes past
green, blue, and ruby
hummingbirds discover feeder
needled beaks poke nectar



WALTER’S WORDS (three separate Ryūka):

Witness the beauty of nature
in boundless glory we behold
created to be cherished; loved
worshiped above all else

in the clearing herons land
long flight has ended
rest has come to wings of passion
soon to resume journey
(7, 5,8,6)
serenity lives
beneath the bright sun
lovers find strength in her warmth; light
caresses touch their hearts


We’ve all heard of someone having a comfort zone. To our own extent we all have one. It’s a place where the planets align, we feel connected and the world and words flow through us. All is write with the world. That’s not a typo. We as writers have our own “zone”. It’s the place where we write our best poems. It is a certain subject about which we write. It can be a particular form that gets our expression through every time. Maybe we write with a purple pen (wink, wink), or we wait until the house is quiet where our muse is waiting. We all have a comfort zone.

Today’s prompt is to use a similar example or find something that gives you comfort or makes you comfortable when you’re writing poetry. Write your poem about your space and what brings the best out of you. Get in the zone and write what it feels like. We’d like to know.



Glides to and fro,
my backyard swing,
as if it knows
the rhythm it brings

matches my heartbeats,
catches a breeze–
even in afternoon heat.
My pad on lap, upraised knees.

If I need inspiration,
garden statues are on hand–
White Rabbit’s postulations,
Mad Hatter’s brand of grand.

I envision a wacky tea party,
guests dressed in yellow bows
laughing, drinking–some tardy–
as I glide to and fro.



next to me on couch.
Pillow on my lap, pad resting
on top, thick-lined, fresh page,

waiting for my pen to write
purple words and thoughts conjured

from imagination, daydreams,
and real life’s present sights.

(C) Sara McNulty – 2016




I sit in the Lazy Boy,
making it earn its name,
playing this game of find
the poem in the minutia.
One foot on the floor gentling
rocking, undulating while waiting
for my words to hum. Earl Grey
steaming in the cup beside me.
It provides me with the peace I seek.
With each sip I take, I break
the silence of my mind. Every time.
My rhyme finds its place,
and it fills my space perfectly.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


We had gotten a great response to our call for Mother’s Day tributes. And it was an unofficial start to our “planting” season. Today we begin in earnest with our first form exploration of the re-boot. Today we fete: the Boketto!

A while back, our friend Meena Rose wrote about the idea of boketto. Boketto is a Japanese word that really doesn’t translate into English very well. The concept of Boketto is akin to staring at the sky or into the distance without a thought… Getting lost in one’s own self; removing the self from a place mentally. There is no regard to the past and no connection to the future. There is only THIS moment.

From this thought I’ve experimented with incorporating boketto into a poetic form and thus the Boketto was born. The Boketto can be a very personal poem, or can be one of a random observation.

The Boketto consists of two stanzas, One of five lines (30 syllables – 7,7,7,4,5) and a three line (17 syllables – two seven syllable lines and a three syllable line which becomes a refrain if a string of Boketto are written). It expresses a single moment in time!

A variation of the Boketto makes use of two (three) ancient Japanese forms, the Tanka and the Haiku (Senryu). The moment of which you write will determine the choice. (Haiku – nature; Senryu – everything else).


Sara’s Boketto:


My mind is a roulette wheel,
black daydream fears spin through red
Grandfather clock ticks off time
The world is still
Am I fulfilling

my life? Will seizures that plague
my dog ease? I have always
found life hard.

© Sara McNulty

**I was sitting in my “writing corner” of the living room, dogs asleep in a stream of sunlight. Prevalent sound was the ticking of the clock, and the sense of my thoughts whirling.


Walter’s Boketto:


The air is filled with static,
a bombardment of senses
meant to irritate; annoy.
There is no joy,
this moment must cease.

I must escape in my mind,
hoping to find inner peace.
No relief.

© Walter J Wojtanik

**WHITE NOISE was a restless night with the television on. I’m not sure if the TV kept me awake or if I hoped it would soothe. It did not.

…and the variation…


I am imprisoned,
lost in this moment in time.
I am writing rhyme
hoping to vacate this shell
and become one with my words.
not a sound is heard
silence becomes an ally
setting the soul free

© Walter J Wojtanik

**SOLACE IN SELF was a bout of writer’s block that plagued. The silence of this night filled my head with words.




Today is celebrated as Mother’s Day.

Though not officially a prompt, POETIC BLOOMINGS offers you the opportunity to pay homage to your moms, either with a personal comment or a bit of poetics telling the world what makes your Mom the best for which you could have wished.

Whether you are still blessed by your mother’s presence or basking in your heartfelt memories of her, give mom her due. Just our way of saying:



So we are this close (fingers held an inch apart) to reigniting the poetic flamethrower known as POETIC BLOOMINGS. What began five years ago as a filler between PAD Challenges at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer, POETIC BLOOMINGS met and exceeded Marie Elena Good’s and my expectations. After a tentative start, it had became a place where our poet/friends frequented to pose their poetry without pretense and stress. A gentle place akin to a fruitful garden where the beauty of words came to blossom and fully flourish. We’ve tried various forms and learned from each other in a very encouraging atmosphere. I must give a thank you to Patricia A. Hawkenson for being the spark for this re-boot. Early in this past April PAD challenge, she had lamented the absence of POETIC BLOOMINGS. I knew what she meant. Patricia did not intend to mean Creative Blooming or the rise from the ashes, Phoenix Rising. I know she meant this particular place. I agreed, I missed it too!

We are going back to the egg. Going old school. Back to basics. What does that mean? We will be returning to our “Sunday Seed” prompt as we had done before. We invite you to make prompt suggestions and we’ll try and oblige (and you’ll get the credit for it!) Wednesday will again be our exploration of form though the “INFORM POETS” series. We’ll be learning new configurations and  brush up on previously highlighted forms. Again, if you have a suggestion (or have created or have an idea for a new form) feel free to bounce it off of our poets. We’re here to help each other grow poetically and flourish as a poem writing community.

We will NOT be bringing back the Beautiful Bloom selections for a couple of reasons. Firstly (and most importantly) you are all incredibly talented poets. It had gotten to be quite a burden picking one or two poems that stood out when everyone could have been selected. It wasn’t fair to the judges to make that determination. Secondly, in a discussion with one of our poets (thanks Marilyn) it was a let down when you didn’t get the nod. It was just another rejection with which we as poets (writers) have to deal. There’s enough of that out there to bring it into this presumed peaceful place. No rejections here. Every seedling is a mighty oak in waiting. We all bloom beautifully. Let’s leave it at that!

The archive of all of your previous prompt responses can be found in the POETIC BLOOMINGS tab above the main title. There you will find the links for the INFORM POETS and INTERVIEWS for review. New INTERVIEWS or UPDATES will be included down the line. We will be aided in this venture by the very capable hands of Pearl Ketover Prilik. Pearl will host these casual chats and develop other projects for our poets to partake. Serving as a “Special Features Contributor”, this is Pearl’s first foray into the “Garden”. We welcome her and look forward to her contributions in this role she has accepted. The DAISY CHAIN and BOOK SHELF will both need to be updated. If your URL or blog title has changed, please let us know. Our e-mail address remains:

You will notice two new tabs included. “OUR SUCCESS STORIES” is just what it sounds like… any successes you have poetically (publications, awards, journals or anthologies) can be trumpeted here. As always, we are all about celebrating poetry and our poetic family! Post as comments under this heading and we will make sure to help get the word out.

The other delineation is called “OTHER POETRY PLACES” and as well is self-explanatory. This is a list of links to other frequently visited poetry blogs. If you notice one is absent, please comment as such and we’ll add the link. At this time, I must thank Paula Wanken (another Special Contributor) for assembling this list and agreeing to maintain and update these sites. We’ll try to include the current prompts being offered  there as time allows.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank (with as much love implied) my co-conspirator here and in poetic circles everywhere, Marie Elena Good! Our dear Marie, an incredible daughter, wife, mother, nonna and all-around grand lady, gave me all her support and encouragement from the third day of our very first PAD back in 2009. Our rapport and bond has extended beyond these pages and our “Across the Lake Eerily” blog. We are connected eternally, as “family” should be. She has been and will remain the “Best friend I’ve never met” in perpetuity! And we’re not banishing her from this happy place. It is hoped that Marie will pop in to read and maybe  contribute as time and life allows you. Now she won’t have to be bothered by deadlines or timetables. Marie’s examples are ALWAYS welcome here. After all this is both of our creation. She belongs here! Thank you, Marie!

We have introduced of my new co-host at POETIC BLOOMINGS. Sara McNulty admits she can’t easily fill Marie’s shoes, but she isn’t expected to. My wish is to have this lady grow with the position (also as an administrator). We share a love for the poetic process and are always anxious to learn new things. I’ve met my match here in the imagination department where as I can be found traipsing through Oz and Bedford Falls, or as a Lost Boy in a hollowed out tree stump, this lady languishes “Through the Looking Glass” in an expressive (and impressive) “Wonderland” of her own making. She of the purple pen is our very own Alice.

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, we wish all mothers the happiest of days. You don’t need to worry about making time for poetry on this page, since your best living poems should be well within your reach. We will begin on Wednesday with our first INFORM POETS exploration in this wonderful word garden of ours. Happy poeming!



POETIC BLOOMINGS: The best garden for verse!

*P.S. – The Facebook link is correct and active. I’m not sure why it is showing as an error.





I thought I was a die-hard New Yorker, yet here I am residing in the Pacific Northwest for over seven years with my husband, John, and our two dogs, Marion Miller and Murphy. A tug of war does exist within me, because I miss family and friends.

However, joining a poetry group out here was a wonderful move for me. Voices in Verse meets once a month to share poems or simply listen to readings.

With encouragement from Robert Lee Brewer of Poetics Aside, and his followers, I finally set up a blog called Purple Pen In Portland. Yes, as some of you already know, purple is my favorite color, and I write in purple ink before typing. Sometimes I reside in Alice’s Wonderland, which takes me out of myself with the help of charismatic characters. A vivid imagination makes that a seamless move. My office is filled with Wonderland prints, and a hanging teacup.

Being an addictive poetry site person, you may find my scribblings at Poetics Aside, Poets United, Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, The Sunday Whirl, Magpie Tales, Margo Roby’s Wordgathering, dVerse Poets Pub, and my favorite haiku site – Chevrefeuille’s Carpe Diem. (links to all can be found in the “Other Poetry Places” tab) I relish poetic prompts and form challenges, though I generally write in free verse. Fibonacci, shadorma, triolet, and haiku are some of my favorites.

My work has been seen in these publications: The Avocet, Still Crazy, Writer’s Digest Competition Collection, Poetsespresso and let’s not forget the anthology, POETIC BLOOMINGS: The First Year.

It is a great honor to be working with Walt Wojtanik, whose poetry I have admired for many years. POETIC BLOOMINGS was always my favorite family, and I am thrilled that it is reuniting and I can play a part in that rebirth.