PROMPT #201 – ALL HALLOWS, SAINTS AND SOULS

First and of most importance, continue to offer thoughts and prayers for our brother Earl Parsons. Conflicting reports have him in precarious straits. He’s always been in God’s hands, but now more than ever! Pray he will be able to join us again and  soon.

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We’ve reached the end of October and find ourselves at the junction of Halloween, and All Saints Day and All Souls Day (in some religious circles). Your charge is simple. Write a Halloween (and anything that entails) poem, or a saint or soul poem. There are different thoughts for what a saint can be. And we all know certain souls who inspire our muse if they choose (again, thoughts for Earl) Use these terms to whatever they spark in you, and write your poem.

Also thoughts for Sara who is dealing with health issues this week as well.

Finally, please take care of yourselves and stay well!

SARA’S POEM:

Ghost Brings Rotten Teeth

Enters, head hangs under arm, green feet
scrape shrill as whistles. Woman wakes shrieks.
Bad dream? Ghost rattles head and points
to three black teeth placed on bed.
Sins, Sins, he moans. Repent.
First tooth–those you’ve hurt,
second–lies told.
Third tooth stands,
she cries
out
NO!
Tooth climbs
onto neck,
sinks into vein.
Ghost bleats like mad sheep,
you will simply not do.
Not do for what? says she, eyes
closed slits; she still hopes to waken.
Says ghost, alas, no remorse shown here.
Had blood spewed black, you’d be Vampire Queen!

(C) Sara McNulty – 2016

WALT’S POEM:

MY SOUL SHALL BE LIFTED

Lost in this maze of doubt and uncertainty,
you emerge from the shadow of long ago
to take a hold of my precious words and cling
to them as if they were the most important thing,
most cherished in your mind.
How did you find me here?
Why do you raise me up?
How did you bridge this chasm between
thought and word; between heart and mind.
I had become a poet lost in the mire of a dwindling pyre,
left to smolder in the ash heap of emotion.
And yet, you read my words; you devour them,
filling your soul with their beauty, and lifting mine
with your support and encouragement.
My poetic soul has found nourishment in your devotion.
My muse has taken flight as it soars;
to the clouds my soul shall be lifted.
 
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

INFORM POETS – ALPHABET (OR ABECEDARIAN)

Every so often, you need to go back to basics. So today we are dealing with the ABC of poems, the Alphabet or Abecedarian poem. There are many different ways to write an alphabet poem.

You can write a poem as a twenty-six word poem with each word starting with a different letter of the alphabet.  A technique for writing this type of poem is to lay out the alphabet ahead of time so you can quickly reference the letters used (or still in play!)

You can also do this consecutively through the alphabet:

A barbaric canopy divided elephant
flag givers high in jumping karate leg
mounts nevermind old pirate quarrels
registered self-employed tax-paying
units vacated wordlessly xylophonic
yesteryear zealots.

~ Example by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides

Another method for alphabet poems is to go through the alphabet using the first letter of the first word for each line:

WALT’S ATTEMPT:

ETERNALLY EQUINE

Alabaster and roan, she was put down; a
broken fetlock blamed for the turn lame.
Certainly, a sad end for a once proud and
determined foal. She was a true beauty;
effervescent and ethereal.
Furlong after furlong, a strong
gait with the gallop of each
hoof striking a counterpoint to the crowd.
Indeed, now the odds were against her.
Jockeys would run her hard and fast,
keeping her on the track far
longer than she should have been.
Many years back, she was a champion, but
now in her later days, she was not.
Other trainers would have put her to
pasture, but where her legs failed, her spirit remained strong.
Question her determination, and she’d prove you wrong.
Rest would have helped her for sure, but
she knew she had one good race left in her.
Three quarters of the way around the track,
unknown to her owner, she fractured a leg.
Very few horses would have continued, but
winning her final race would reveal a true champion’s heart.
X-rays would verify the sad fact. After
years of racing, her fate was sealed. Outstanding in her field,
Zenotrope’s Zip found her rest in eternal pastures.

© Walter J. Wojtanik

Response to:
“Heaven For Horses” by Lew Sarett

Lastly, you can always flip the alphabet, too. That is, instead of going A to Z, you could write these pieces from Z to A. Give any of these a try!

 

INFORM POETS – RISPETTO

Another attempt at the Rispetto!

A Rispetto, an Italian form of poetry, (Italian:: “respect,” – plural rispetti, a Tuscan folk verse form) is a complete poem of two rhyme quatrains. The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of abab ccdd. A Heroic Rispetto is written in Iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme.

A variation of the RISPETTO is a poem (or song) comprised of 8 hendecasyllabic (11-syllable) lines–usually one stanza.

WALT’S RISPETTO VARIATION: (from our original look at the form in 2014)

TREASURE TROVE

The love in his heart was a treasure most sought,
and he thought that maybe he could store it up
and save it for a rainy day. There’s no way
he would give away the “wealth” he had amassed.
But alas, love hidden away would decay.
And to this day he pays for not sharing it.
He will die a lonely man, his love will fade,
there in his lifeless “grave” where his heart once lived.

© Copyright 2014 – Walter J Wojtanik

Will post a new poem in the comments section!

 

PROMPT #199 – TAKE ME BACK

My wife and I have found ourselves reminiscing a lot lately. Different situations between us and our daughters; of younger versions of us and our siblings/parents. Memories of home come pouring our. Today, we ask you to go back into your old room from your youth. How special was it? What memories do you have (if you have any at all)? Take us back with you and bring it all back to life in your poem.

As a wild card, if the first suggestion is a bit…painful, write about something you liked to do or a club/organization that was influential in your development! Either way, we’re taking you back

SARA’S RETURN:

YOURS AND MINE

My room was ours.
My sister and I shared,
sleeping on iron
framed beds. One slid
under the other, until they were
detached to form an “L” shape.
We fought over boundaries
with imaginary lines. Times she wanted
her friends in, I wanted mine.

Mostly we were glad to have
company–giggling at night,
pleading with Mom not to turn
off the light. Neither of us outgrew
that little phobia.

When we were ill,
we would stay in our beds,
dreading sound of doctor’s
footsteps. We did not suffer
needles well, but loved
having tray tables set up,
knowing we would have
tomato soup and Ritz for lunch
I know now how lucky we were.

WALTER’S WAY BACK MACHINE:

LIFE WITH GRANDFATHER

My grandfather, a naturalized citizen through proper channels, occupied the two back rooms of our house. Technically we occupied the front part of his house! But at this stage two rooms was all her needed. With four of us boys (and two sister siblings) we were strapped for space. To alleviate the congestion, a suggestion was made for one of us to “live” with “Dziadziu” (pronounced Ja-Ju – Polish for grandfather). I had gladly pulled that straw. A man of the world and many situations, both good and bad, had come to be a mentor and my moral compass. I had spent much of my free time in his company watching Hitchcock and Sullivan, talking about life and family, me in my naivety and he in his broken english. We shared two rooms and that had given me a life!

Wisdom sequestered
within eight walls of two rooms
lessons taught and learned

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

INFORM POETS – MONOTETRA

The monotetra is a newer poetic form developed by Michael Walker. It is comprised of stanzas that contain four lines in monorhyme. Each line is in tetrameter (four metrical feet) for a total of eight syllables. The last line contains two metrical feet, repeated. It can have as few as one or two stanzas, or as many as desired.

Stanza Structure:

Line 1: 8 syllables; A1
Line 2: 8 syllables; A2
Line 3: 8 syllables; A3
Line 4: 4 syllables, repeated; A4, A4

SARA’S MONOTETRA:

FED UP

The tube has reached an all-time low
A slew of stupid sit-com shows,
and inept dramas without flow.
We need mojo, we need mojo.

Where did all the good writers go?
Did they get offers of more dough?
Someone give me a blow-by-blow,
or I’ll forego, or I’ll forego

WALTER’S MONOTETRA:

 COMPRESSED EXPRESSION

I’ve always had a way with words
from thoughts profound, to quite absurd,
my parody is for the birds,
a poet nerd, a poet nerd.

I’ve written love songs for my spouse,
I’ll sing them all throughout the house,
the neighbors think that I’m a louse
when I get soused, when I get soused!

Expression is the thing I do,
these poems, prose, I do that too!
The things I write are mostly true,
the lies are few, the lies are few.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

PROMPT #198 – FORCE OF NATURE

We’ve all been watching the stories of the devastation of Hurricane Matthew this past week. There is a definite force in nature which can precipitate changes or sculpt the elements around them. We’ve seen forest fires, torrential rains, snow storms and tornados, earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Today, write about the forces of  nature. And remember, not all forces need to be bad things.

SARA’S STORM:

ELEMENTS

Earth nourishes us. We plant
and farm. Trees rise, flowers
bloom, providing shade,
and beauty to gaze upon.
Earth can also quake,
and open craters in our midst,
causing destruction and death.

Water is life’s elixir. We use
it to drink, bathe, and nurture
plants.  Oceans, lakes, and creeks
are water’s home. If no rain
falls, drought will devour earth.
When a lifeline turns, spurns
us with hurricanes, tornadoes,
and floods, disaster ensues.

We breathe in air to survive.
Yet, we take air for granted,
polluting it with chemicals
and fuels. If air becomes unhealthy,
what can we use as a substitute?

We depend on fire for warmth,
cooking our food, and lighting
our hearths to glow and dance.
Chances are taken by careless
people. They drop lit cigarettes.
One person can start a wildfire
that decimate homes,
taking lives along the way.

Be kind. Mind Mother Nature’s
elements. Without warning,
she can exact revenge.
We do not have control
of every aspect comprising
the elements, but we can
all do our part for life.

(C) Sara McNulty – 2016

**

WALT’S WEATHER:

SHINOTSKUAME

I listen to the rumble. Such intensity in the city. Rains in buckets and sheets spill, the streets in rivulets streaming.Watching from my window shadows form, silhouettes bathed in every bolt of electric mayhem striking in the distance and nearer. The fear is that the power would surge and crackle and leave all in darkness. It hearkens back to the womb. Damp and dark, murmurs and gurgles amplify. The cascade filling gulleys and valleys, awash with nature’s fury. If you hurry, you can step out of the confluence before it ruins your shoes.

Hard and intense,
the rain falls in the distance.
In its wake, the calm.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

 

* Shinotskuame is the Japanese word for intense rain.

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INFORM POETS – BALLADE

The ballade is a verse form typically consisting of three eight-line stanzas, each with a consistent metre and a particular rhyme scheme. The last line in the stanza is a refrain, and a four-line concluding stanza (an envoi) usually addressed to a prince (in lieu of a prince, for whom ever the inspiration for the poem may come)  follows the stanzas. (The ballade should not be confused with the ballad.) The rhyme scheme is therefore usually ‘ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC’, where the capital ‘C’ is a refrain.

There are many variations to the ballade, and it is in many ways similar to the ode and chant royal. There are instances of a double ballade and double-refrain ballade. Some ballades have five stanzas; a ballade supreme has ten-line stanzas rhyming ababbccdcD, with the envoi ccdcD or ccdccD. A seven-line ballade, or ballade royal, consists of four stanzas of rhyme royal, all using the same three rhymes, all ending in a refrain, without an envoi.

SARA’S BALLADE:

WHEN CHOICES WEIGH HEAVY

He fell deeply in love at first glance,
a woman with eyes like jade moons
that smoldered, saying let’s take a chance.
She floated in amber and jasmine perfume.
Bewitched, he yearned to consume
her, although he knew he was not free.
Obsessed, he quickly pursued her.
Lust burns at high degrees

He lived for those stolen moments,
without her, a painting unfinished.
In his head, a voice cried, atonement,
but his passion did not diminish.
A year passed. He was feeling skittish
as they spoke only of ‘we.’
Thoughts of divorce made him wince.
Lust burns at high degrees

She pressed him to devise a plan
that allowed them to live together.
As doubts mounted, he began
to feel like a lesser man.
Nerves pushed him to end of his tether.
Under pressure, he could not leave.
Ten years later, he wonders whether . . .
Lust burns at high degrees

© Sara McNulty – 2016

WALTER’S BALLADE:

STAND AND FIGHT

In contemplation, sat she did,
to think of futures yet unknown,
despite the sad farewells she’ll bid,
and “braverisms” that she’s shown.
Her daughters, yes, are fully grown
to carry on her beauty bright,
And so to right the love I’ve shown,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

Lament the battered heart and head,
such maladies should not be hers.
I’d take them on myself instead
to suffer all that it incurs.
So as for now if it gets worse
I’ll keep my precious well in sight,
and pray that nothing more occurs,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

My sad intent comes at a price
through indiscretions wrought, it seems.
Forgiveness given must suffice,
as life dismantles all our dreams.
Yet through it all, her smile still beams,
a beacon through this dreary night,
emotions flow from both extremes,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

My princess, queen – my love so true,
I’ll hold you close with all my might,
and give you all that you are due,
I’ll stand beside you in your fight.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

PROMPT #197 – A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN

Apologies for the late start. And apologies to Sara for leaving her hanging. We tap Ecclesiastes for today’s prompt. I have been obsessed with time of late and the fleeting nature of life and such.

My delay is due to some serious health concerns on the home front. Poetry didn’t seem important at the moment. And so I have been focused on time. There is indeed a time for everything. A time to laugh and cry, a time to live and die… a time for every purpose under heaven. So this week, we’re writing about “time”. There’s pumpkin time, harvest time, Halloween time… as the days grow shorter we notice time’s part in our living. It’s about time we write something about time!

WALT’S POEM(S):

SHE LIKES MANY CLOCKS
(THE MANY FACES OF CLOCKS)

1.

She makes time
for the time she has,
should she run out
she’ll wind herself up,
minute by minute!

2.

How many faces can she see?
How much time will she need?
It isn’t continuum greed!
The lady loves clocks.
They knock her socks off!

3.

Digital is all I command.
I can’t stand analog any longer.
The time is stronger in the dark.

4.

Three in the bedroom,
five in the kitchen,
three in the living room,
and my daughter’s room,
and the computer room.
The bathroom has one
in the shape of a toilet seat.
A shower gift from an aunt.
She doesn’t have the heart
to part with it!

5.

Her internal clock
keeps me awake at night.
Right when I think
I’m on the brink of slumber,
she wakes up alarmed.
I sleep with one eye open.
I know it’s coming!

6.

Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?
~ Chicago

She cares about time.
Rarely ever late.
Great at punctuality.
Even with the fragility of life,
my wife is rarely late.
But, one day we will all be!

7.

Every hour on the hour,
our hours are ours.
Every waking minute
I’m taking stock in our
continuous clock.
Tick-Tock,
tick-tock,
tick

8.

Time is fleeting,
it is eating away our days.
If it stays in sync
I think we’ll be okay!

9.

Passing the time
in her company,
I’m finding my peace
in every numbered face I see.
Is it me or is number seventeen
running a bit slow?

10.

I make time
for the time she has,
should she run out
I’ll fall apart,
minute by minute!
There’s no disgrace
in losing face!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016