PROMPT #335 – SOFT AND HARD

We’re working both sides of the street today and delving into the concepts of SOFT and HARD. We’ll write either into a poem. But to compound things further, you are to come up with a compound word highlighting either extreme. We’ll be doing a few of these exercises with different opposing ideas so this is just the beginning.

You ask, “What does Walt mean compound words!” Think of these few examples: Soft Cell, Feather Soft, Hard Sell, Hard Times, soft opening, hard headed… You get the picture. Write softly and carry a hard problem to an easy solution!

MARIE’S SOFT WORDS:

softly screaming

She never fingered
soft, supple, pretty petals
for fear of thorn’s prick.

Gently moonlit clouds
went unnoticed, for stark-glared
terror of tripping.

Her lips never sought
a tender kiss. Her heart slammed
shut, expecting ache.

She clashed with herself.
Subtly soft-spoken. Screaming
unyielding unease.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S HARD SOLUTION:

THE SOFT PARADE

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2021

313 thoughts on “PROMPT #335 – SOFT AND HARD

  1. THE HARD TRUTH

    There’s no denying it.
    There’s no disavowal from
    the rising eye of the sun.

    There’s no turning back.
    There’s no refusal—
    witness the coming of the dawn.

    There’s no opposition—
    competition, when her eye awakens,
    from the depths of slumber.

    There’s no rejecting—
    or neglecting, the irrefutable brilliance,
    of the blazing iris of the sun.

    There’s no renouncing.
    The ceasing of night—
    the sparkling smile of day has begun.

    Benjamin Thomas

  2. Walt, Soft Parade has me mesmerized this morning. Such a different (and drawing) title concept that begins in a manner that surprises me (given that title). What a creative mind you have! BEAUTIFULLY penned.

  3. SOFT SPOKEN

    Sometimes the soft spoken
    are a byproduct of circumstance.

    When their will is stripped away.
    When neglect is the norm, and no one
    bears them a second glance.

    When they go unheard—
    because, no one is listening.

    When their voice is squandered,
    squashed, chained, and brow-beaten.

    They don’t even know, understand,
    nor can find—their own voice.

    Because they were never given
    the choice—to speak for themselves.

    It is why, and then—
    they become soft spoken.

    Benjamin Thomas

  4. KILLING ME SOFTLY

    She’s killing me,
    softly.

    Her wicked eyes
    despise—
    my resistance.

    Her penetrating gaze,
    is killing me—
    softly.

    The mantra of her lips,
    slowly strips—away
    battle tested armor.

    She’s killing me,
    softly…

    Benjamin Thomas

  5. EMULATING THE POLITICIAN

    Hucksters
    hie to harness
    the heartfelt wholesomeness
    and hubris of hard-headed Hal’s
    soft soap.

  6. Soft Morning

    A walk across my old neighborhood
    stirs images in a haze.
    The soft morning brings back
    stories once told, good enough
    to be told again. A dog barks,
    but it’s not mine. A glance
    at back yards shows a valley
    secrets kept out of view of passing
    cars. Walking here, I live two lives,
    memories fresh and a new day
    seeking its light. A street ends
    at a place that used to be a field
    where I walked, corn stubble
    waiting for a new growth to rise.
    A leafless tree stands alone
    at the edge of a yard bearing
    its years, yet refusing to die.
    Two mourning doves dressed
    in gray perch on wire watch
    and rise into mist, as if a dream.
    An old song plays in my mind
    a heartfelt refrain- my mind
    hard wired for memories.

  7. A Prayer for a Softened Heart
    (An Alliterisen)

    Lord, make my heart moldable.
    Please, slowly soften it in Your hands.
    Yes, make my will Your own.
    Help me be not so hard-headed.
    But lovingly led by You.
    Lord, let it be silky soft.

  8. A HARD LOOK AT REALITY

    Is it difficult?
    Or were we taught,
    it would be?
    Perhaps it was only the fear,
    Reality would be so,
    A concept we bought into
    Setting our mind on the hard task
    Maybe we looked past,
    The ease we could go,
    With the flow of reality,
    Take it in our stride,
    Pride in our natural abilities,
    Blending it with the softness of life, too,
    Seeking the balance of both,
    Where nothing is that hard,
    Where we are not too soft,
    Where we stand open to both,
    Stepping forward in each,
    As needed,
    When needed,
    For as long as it is needed,
    Facing the true reality,
    That all parts
    Make us all whole,
    Make us complete,
    Make us able to take on,
    Whatever challenging tasks may come,
    Like hard, unyielding clay,
    Worked over with soft hands,
    Creating a work of art,
    A pot for tea,
    Suitable for making sweet hot liquid,
    Serving any who care to stop and have some,
    Softening their day,
    With refreshment,
    Including a touch of honey
    Until the hard times,
    Sip and slip away,
    Into a rest assured,
    Softer night.

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2021

    • there is a building in the poem like taking that hard clay making it into something useful… so true of life.

    • Unfortunately, reality shouldn’t always be hard. It should be real. And you’ve had your share of the hard. The tunnel is long, but the bright light at the end of it draws us to its brilliance showing the way. May you days be bright and your nights too. With all those stars you’ll never be alone!

    • Such a soft and giving heart you have, able to see beauty in the midst of dark clouds. This is beautiful, Janet.

      “Is it difficult? Or were we taught it would be?”

      A friend of mine and I have had this conversation more than once. ❤

      • Those first two lines are so powerful…..and then I marry them up with your /touch of honey/ and there is so much truth there… this world, at least in my belief, is not all…

  9. THROUGH SOFTER EYES

    I see you so clearly now,
    Gazing at you through my heart
    You speak of a gentleness,
    True compassion
    An understanding

    You convey a connection,
    Bringing love to its fullest
    And beyond

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2021

  10. This morning in church the preacher spoke on Ezekiel’s Bones, and it brought to memory I wrote nearly 40 years ago… I will post the first one in a comment…

    Ezekiel’s Bones Revisited

    Forty years have passed,
    Since that day
    I was heart-betrayed,
    Left in a heap of dry bones,
    Like road kill on the side of the road-
    Picked away by vultures of what was once me,
    Leaving yellow bones
    Scattered and stripped and shattered.

    Forty years of rebuilding me,
    Of letting go, and finding hope,
    Clinging to faith, and accepting love.

    This was a hard road,
    Up a rocky and cliff ridden climb,
    Traveled by few, but a journey I had to make.

    The stones, and rocks, and crevices
    Stumbled me, stone-bruised my feet,
    And gave me strength.

    There were soft places of rest,
    An amble through a meadow
    Buzzing of bees, and butterflies flitting,
    And the smell of flowers blooming.
    There was a saunter along a beach at sunrise,
    With a stride into the night to hear the waves
    Soothing and restful before a night of rest.

    Gazing across these forty years,
    I was laid in the valley of the dry bones,
    And thought life had ended, and
    There was nothing left for me-
    I am thankful for that shattering of me,
    And all those hard stones
    I have traveled over…
    Stones that built the foundation
    Of whom I am now…
    I am proud of those stones I have crossed…

    I would not go back to that day,
    Before the betrayal of my heart.
    I do not want to be that woman.
    I want to be the woman,
    Who understands the power of grace, and
    Knows that faith that is tested-
    Is more powerful than one that is not.
    That woman, whom I once was, was a girl,
    Believing in fairytales, and dreams,
    Is gone.
    Before you is the woman, who knows
    Love is a gift that makes you whole,
    Dressed not in divine dresses, but
    Made of cotton in a simple everyday style.

    I once lay in the valley of dry bones.
    I once lost who I was, but
    Because of that one dark hard day,
    I was brought to a new life in the light,
    Filled with hope.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 23, 2021

    • The Day I wrote this poem — I was recovering from a huge blow to my life in which I was also publicly humiliated, and I had a huge all day hearing ahead of me… and so I fasted for three days, and went for one week every night to my church where I prayed by myself… I wrung out my grief, my anger, until I collapsed and then I began to rebuild…bone by bone… muscle by muscle until I breathed new air…. then came the day for court… I had let go of my desires for the outcome of this hearing, and knew I was only an instrument of God, when I walked into that courtroom… I was a warrior… I wrote this poem in the process of those seven days…

      Ezekiel’s bones
      In the valley of dry bones, I lay,
      Each bone separate, and long dead.
      All broken and shattered.
      I lay in death waiting for death.

      I was nothing.
      Each bone cried for unity, and
      Together they were commanded-
      To rejoin each until the bones a skeleton made.
      Flesh covered the bones,
      But still I lay in death waiting for death.

      Life breathed on me;
      Blood flowed thru me.
      My lungs hurt from the air,
      But still…
      I lay in death waiting for death.

      Then my Spirit breathed
      Air much purer than earth’s,
      And thru me flowed light
      And…
      I walked in life waiting for life.

      Mary Elizabeth Todd

      August 25, 1981 and revised September 12, 2012.

        • Mary,
          Today in our church we celebrate the Holy Spirit–and I can truly say, that like you, after each placement and parent meeting with all the liaison SPED teams, I knew it wasn’t me speaking, but Him. Each was a win, not for me,, but for that child and hopefully, their parents! I have so much empathy for what you write with it being so close to my own work.

          • Amen and there were times I knew that he was protecting me…and blessings on you for your work also…

  11. Wowzers! Marie & Walt you both outdid yourselves. I’ve read & re-read…each time, both just pull me in. So perfectly titled, both. I feel the angst of soft screaming…and the dreaminess of the parade. Just wow!

    • Thanks Paula, that title came to me the night before I wrote the prompt. Unlike a plain ol’ parade, the Soft Parade had a sensuality to it. The March is sublime and the cadence has a rhythm all its own. Every one should get to March, but not all get the chance! Appreciate you giving it the twice over.

  12. The Hard and the Soft…

    There are few things in this life-
    That are absolute.
    Most of life is like water,
    Fluid, foggy, and frozen…
    Depending on the temperature.

    People are like that also…
    Changeable beings
    With some predictability
    Thrown in with the ability
    To be variable like the weather.

    One thing I have found to be absolute,
    And that is when hoeing,
    It is much easier to hoe soft soil,
    Than hard dirt,
    Especially if it is red clay.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 23, 2021

  13. In Sand Dunes, Softly

    For three days I’ve watched
    the Atlantic lapping Kiawah Island
    off the coast of South Carolina
    blue ocean laving dunes and men
    golfing their proscribed eighteen holes
    in rainy mists; balls arcing into fourteen knot
    wind or sailing heedlessly with it past
    flapping yellow flags, tiny holes

    I imagine dunes’ softness where I’d crouch
    in white sand, my toes powdered
    by quartz glittering with diamonds sifted
    through fingers seining for a bit of sea glass
    as I wander island flora finding friends
    among the lemony Evening Primrose and white
    Morning Glory, bunches of pale Russian Thistle
    feel the coolness of trailing Virginia Creeper
    snaking between spiny pads of Prickly Pear and Devil-joint

    as if wrapped in the softest cashmere shawl
    I am surely at home in my own garden for here
    is the soft lavender of Pasque Flower and Bee-balm
    clusters of muscadine and spiking Yucca
    tiny blue Day Flowers and Pennywort, the
    shy Marsh Pink. Hidden by sliding sand
    heaped anew by ocean wind I’m safe

    almost able to forget that but a few
    feet away are acres of manicured greens
    with their velveteen grass and crowds
    cheering a ball hit sent from a sand trap
    into the hole for a hard won birdie
    the whole of it fading into white noise

    beneath the cries of real birds: egret and heron
    cormorant and kite dipping and rising
    above ocean swells while I sit screened
    by Sea Oats, sketching Sea Rocket, Seashore Elder,
    a Silverleaf Croton, wiggling my toes to
    slowly disappear beneath a billion grains.

  14. Marie & Walt,
    Such great paens to this prompt. Marie– I hate to be cliche but so could’ve sat beside you while you wrote that! So Powerful! and Walt, there is such gentle progression throughout your poem the rhyming the all of it both subtle and yet strongly possessive in the best way.

  15. Okay, vacation time is over. Back to the prompts for me. I’ve missed y’all.

    Life Sucks

    From the very first minute
    When I got my butt smacked
    Just so the doctor could hear me cry
    Life has sucked

    All the childhood nonsense
    Measles, mumps, and whooping cough
    Then those pesky German measles and
    The burst appendix that almost did me in
    Life has sucked

    But I made it through all of that
    Just to end up a young adult
    Having to fend for myself every day
    Working, sweating, and working some more
    And life still sucked

    No jobs in my neck of the Northern woods
    So off to the Air Force I flew with dreams
    Of becoming a pilot or an astronaut
    Instead I ended up becoming a plumber
    Talk about life sucking

    But at least I got to see the world and
    I soon realized that the whole world sucked
    No matter the language or situation
    So I learned to live with it just as it was
    The sucking life thing, that is

    And then a strange thing happened
    Into my life walked God’s greatest gift
    And my entire outlook on life changed
    Strange how true love corrects your vision

    Of course, that was a long time ago
    And we’re still adding the years together
    I have since retired, twice, and she once
    And my vision is clearer now than ever before
    You see, as I look back, all the way back
    I realize that life didn’t really suck at all

    Well, at least not all of it

  16. Sleep Number

    She sleeps in a valley
    Disappears every night
    I sleep on dreamy firmness
    My number’s just right
    If I roll onto her side
    I sink to the deep
    Then I roll out her side
    ‘Cause the climb is too steep

    She likes her side soft
    While hard I prefer
    I think that a 30
    Is perfect for her
    My setting is 60
    I sleep like the dead
    And if I start snoring
    She raises my head

    Oh, I forgot to mention
    The very best part
    It’s fully adjustable
    It even monitors your heart
    We love our Sleep Number
    It suits us the best
    No matter our feelings
    We can always adjust

    • Cute, with a clever ending!

      Keith and I just ordered a new bed/mattress. Ours was just too old, and we’re tired of back problems. We didn’t order a sleep number, but it seems like it will suit us both. Also, the head and legs can be raised. The only thing is, it is all one unit. So whatever one of us needs, the other will have to deal with that night. 😉

      • This is our third Sleep Number, but our first King adjustable. It was necessary because of the changes made to my body and sleep needs after the surgery-gone-wrong of 2016. Split King, fully adjustable individually. A God send in sleep. Hope your new bed works out as well as ours have for us. And glad to be back.

    • LOL – i love this! And …”The climb is too steep”! We’ve been dealing with a memory foam that creates peaks and valleys as well. I can relate! 🙂

  17. Steel and Silk

    He was a hard-boiled
    detective. She was
    soft silk stockings
    that swished as
    she walked. Talked
    about the hard times
    besetting her. He knew
    he would do anything
    to avoid upsetting her.
    His steel blue eyes met
    her liquid brown pools
    like melted chocolate.
    She was being harassed
    by a hard-core stalker.
    He walked her home to check
    things out, see her safe.
    After a couple of bourbons
    on the rocks, he told her
    he would take her case. What
    else could a hard-boiled
    detective do?

  18. My hand trying at writing a blues song… One day I will get it right…

    The Hard Life Blues…

    Six in the morning,
    And I would like to rest.
    Six in the morning,
    They tell me that I am blessed…
    But it is six in the morning,
    And I have got to get dressed.

    Oh, Lord, it is a hard life,
    I have my worries;
    I have my strife,
    Oh, Lord, can’t you hear me.

    Ten in the morning
    And I get no break.
    Ten in the morning,
    My bones aching, my muscles ache.
    But it is ten in the morning,
    And money I have to make.

    Oh, Lord, it is a hard life,
    I have my worries;
    I have my strife,
    Oh, Lord, can’t you hear me.

    It is six in the evening
    And I am going out on the town.
    It is six in the evening,
    Gonna find me a honey uptown.
    But yes, it is six in the evening,
    And I am gonna dance until they close down.

    Oh, Lord, it is a good life,
    I have my revelries,
    But I ain’t no one’s wife,
    Oh, Lord, do you hear me.

    As I fall into bed,
    Oh, Lord, six o’clock is coming.
    As I fall into bed,
    I think it is terrible to have no loving.
    And as I fall into bed,
    I did look stunning…

    It is a good life, Lord,
    It is a good life.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 24, 2021

  19. SOFT STARS

    Soft stars,
    cosmic compilations
    of gas and dust;

    Must burn,
    to illuminate the dark
    recesses of empty space.

    Soft stars,
    must burn—
    to illuminate the dark
    recesses of heart and mind.

    They beautify
    what they find;
    like celestial ornaments

    Set in the midst
    of open space,
    to grace the cosmos

    With flowing streams—
    of light, seeking
    the eye of the beholder.

    Benjamin Thomas

  20. To see your eyes

    I want to see your eyes soften
    When you look at me.
    I want to see them dance
    When you tease me.
    I remember those eyes from long ago,
    I love the conversations we have,
    But I want to see your eyes…
    But I am thankful for this time
    For I know you better now
    Than I did then….

    I should have flirted more,
    When we were both young,
    But I can be shy back then.
    I can still be shy,
    But I do know how to flirt.

    I want to see your eyes,
    And I hope you see this soul of mine
    And that it will bring you joy.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 24, 2021

  21. Kindling

    Sparks of fire
    grow from embers’ glow ~
    their midnight
    encounter
    moves from soft nudge to being
    hard pressed and breathless.

  22. Pingback: Kindling | echoes from the silence

  23. Song to the Night

    Some speak of the night
    As if she is a harsh mistress…
    Others speak of how cold and hard
    The night is when you are alone,
    But I see the night as soft…

    In the shadows I do not see foreboding,
    But patterns of dark on a moonlit night.
    The trees are black lace against the dark velvet sky,
    Reminding me of the black laced slip
    I once wore, and sometimes
    Gave a glimpse of that lace,
    But never too much.

    The milky way throws its rhinestone stars
    Across the galaxy in a display
    Beyond our grasp.

    And on the nights the stars dance,
    I am there gazing waiting to say
    OOOH how lovely…
    As it blazes in its last dance.
    I think that is how I want to be
    Going out dancing at least
    In my heart, with a bit of fireworks,
    For I want my life to be celebrated.

    In my youth, I wandered up to my hill,
    Just as the stars came out,
    And laid upon a beach towel,
    To watch the stars.
    I often fell asleep with dreams
    As soft as a kiss of hello
    Or one of goodbye
    With the promise of something more.

    When my days filled me with fear,
    It was the night that wrapped me
    In a soft blanket of comfort,
    And shielded me from dark dreams.

    To the night I sing my song
    Of how delicate and fragile
    Those hours are, for the least bit of light
    Makes it retreat. It is not the night,
    That we fear, it is those that use the night,
    Who fear the light,
    And cause us pain.
    I sing to the night in the deep low softness
    My voice can sing, raspy and warm
    For I don’t know how else to convey
    How those hours are a bequest to me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 24, 2021

  24. HARD FREEZE

    Why is it
    whenever I want
    a soft serve
    cone, the darn
    machine seems to be broken?
    An ice cream headache!

  25. Pingback: Hard Freeze | echoes from the silence

  26. FALLING HARD

    He’d fallen hard
    —for her.

    She was a feast for the eyes,
    as a mahogany nut
    Calla lily.

    She was dressed
    in sheer elegance,
    and she wore it well.

    Her elaborate design,
    could only sell—
    soft supple petals.

    The deep green vibrance
    of leaves like sleeves.

    The fragrance of purity,
    an intoxicating aroma of beauty.

    She stood, as an extraordinary
    specimen in a crowded garden.

    Her presence was warm,
    but didn’t suffer any fool—
    or a cold heart.

    She played hard to get,
    at the start—
    but his heart was soft soil.

    She was drawn to his depth.
    His love for her was organic.

    Providing everything
    she needed.

    Eventually she conceded,
    what was true all along.

    Seasons of song,
    spring, summer, fall—
    slumbering winter.

    Nothing could stop them,
    once they would enter—

    That theme song
    of love and grace.

    He could be the face—
    of the dawn.

    He could be the light
    in her sun-dipped petals.

    Or a flowing gentle breeze,
    affable, teasing blooms.

    Or a particular kind of earth,
    an affectionate soil,
    with plenty of room.

    She found herself
    releasing root downward,
    into his heart.

    He felt the movement
    of every part, inch,
    of her rich growth.

    He took great pleasure,
    in their mystical-green union.

    It was a match
    made in heaven—
    and earth.

    That bore elegant fruit,
    gave perennial birth—
    to exotic gardens.

    Benjamin Thomas

  27. THE SOFT WHISPERS OF THE MOON

    The soft whispers of the moon
    speak of a day captured by night.

    Of present memories taken too soon,
    becoming the light of one’s past.

    Testifying of all things pleasant or traumatic,
    of things that don’t last.

    Tis the soft whispers of the moon,
    whose light renders some things cast.

    The grey shadows of realities—
    obscured by hymns of somber melody.

    The soft whispers of memories,
    become the aging light of remedy.

    Like an evening of antiquated wines,
    whose success favors with more time.

    The soft whispers of a gentle moon,
    whisper dreams in slumbering ears.

    It re-tells the stories of the day,
    soothes mind throughout the years.

    It knits together—grey memories,
    a comforting quilt, keeps us warm amidst the howling night.

    Benjamin Thomas

  28. I think I will write more poems of that night, this is just the first one….

    The Tall Giants Fell Hard….

    The evening was quiet, and lovely.
    I had taken a stroll in my forest,
    The Rhododendron was blooming.
    A thought crossed my mind,
    That I needed to take a picture
    Of it before it was gone,
    But it was fleeting,
    And I did not heed the warning.
    I stood as I got close to my house,
    To admire twin poplar trees
    Towering warriors
    That guarded their part of the forest.

    The sound of the train
    Racing towards my home
    Froze me as I heard the crashing,
    Of the giants falling like
    A colossal game of pick-up-sticks
    The others were safe in hiding,
    I had stopped to grab my cat.
    The power went out, and
    We trembled hoping it was over.

    In the night, I stepped outside,
    The house was standing,
    We were alive, but as I saw
    The giant ancient trees felled
    On my yard, and saw the fallen
    Poplar warriors, the tears began to fall.
    I climbed over a tree that shaded our house.
    But after it was another tree, and
    I feared the worse, and
    In the flashlight beam
    That rhododendron laid shattered
    By a giant oak had fell upon
    Those gentle flowers
    Hard crushing its life into the earth.

    We slept a troubled sleep, and
    The next morning, I climbed
    Over and under forty-one trees
    To freedom from the rage of that storm.

    The loss that happened in an instant
    Thread bared my soul,
    With the twirling mass of wind
    That shattered more than trees.
    A home should feel safe.
    A forest should be a refuge,
    For me that returned,
    For my mother
    It became a fear-
    That did not relent.

    Her words still haunt me
    Of her saying in anger,
    “You want the trees to fall on me,
    And kill me.” Always took me-
    Back to that night
    When the giants fell hard in the storm.

    I would not let the giants fall hard,
    To release her from her fears.
    I did not want her dead,
    But I did not want them to die either.
    I could not go back
    To that night and blow
    A gentle breeze to stop
    A powerful train
    Raging at us.

    But I had protected her
    From her other fears,
    Of dead pine trees falling,
    Of the dark, of thunder storms,
    Of being in front of big trucks,
    And of people breaking in on her.
    I drove miles around so
    She would not pass a dead pine.
    I placed a light for her at night,
    And when the thunder storms
    Were booming, I would tell
    Her it would be all right.
    I drove behind many a big truck,
    Rather than hear her cringe,
    And grew up with her hiding axes
    To keep us safe from intruders.
    But-
    I could not divert her from the fear,
    Of the giant trees falling.
    I listened instead of her accusations
    That stung my soul
    For I never wanted her killed
    By one of those giants.

    That morning after the storm,
    I walked into the forest
    And counted the damaged trees,
    And the downed ones…
    One hundred sixty-nine of those
    I counted and not one was a hickory.

    It has been over twenty years,
    And I can tell the trees
    Damaged by the storm,
    They are beautiful and strong,
    But the scars are there,
    Like those placed on my mother
    Until the day she died.
    It took nearly twenty years for those tall giants to rot,
    That told me more than the words be kind,
    That our hard words
    Made to others take a long time to rot-
    A soul we scarred.

    I wept that night for the trees we lost,
    And thankful for those that suffered
    The storms that night, and survived,
    And like me became a victor.
    I know I am like those trees
    For I have survived many storms
    In my life, and once I survived,
    I took a step instead to be more,
    And be a victor over them all…

    I see old trees much like me,
    Old warriors who stand guard.
    We protect each other you see,
    And even if I can’t stop the storms that come,
    I can rejoice that I have conquered them.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 25, 2021

    May 1, 1995, a tornado hit my forest. The damage was extensive, and three years ago, I had to cut down one of the trees damaged that night due to becoming a hazard. I know this poem was long, but I have never written anything really of the feelings of that night. One of our dogs until she died ate the house. I spent many a night holding Tessa still during a storm. Her sister Sooth we could not find that night, but saw her the next morning, had no fears of storms. Ma was strong that night, telling me and my nephew to stop crying that the Good Lord kept us safe, but as she aged, the fear of those trees became unreasonable. She also told her sisters and a cousin or two, that I was trying to kill her with those trees. It was difficult… For such a tower of strength it was her fears that took her reason. Thank you for reading.

  29. SOFT GRASS GREEN AND SKY BLUE

    You and I barefoot, on a soft meadow tract
    emerald grass green as seen by eyes
    azure blue as the skies. You, a breath of wind
    to soothe me. My heart be still to find the thrill
    unlike any seen, so true.
    Soft grass green and sky blue; me and you.

  30. another one on that night… it appears that I had to mull over that experience before I could write about it…

    When Roots Fail….

    I stood at the base of the upended tree…
    The ball of roots stood taller than me…

    Roots I had never seen,
    Clay dripping off the veins, and arteries-
    Of that tree hung like hair
    Messed up when woken from their sleep.

    Roots larger than a man’s thigh
    Shredded and chopped by a dull
    Powerful knife hammered and jerked
    Them up from the tap root
    That held them secure
    Like a screw that entered the earth.

    Hard clay when that seed sent its tap root…
    Into the dark and deep earth, I have trodden…
    That seed that dropped decades before I was born
    Grew this once stately tree…
    Now gone blown down by the wind…

    That hard hitting wind
    Unscrewed that tap root
    Allowing that noble tree
    To be lifted and tossed
    Taking down the trees
    Which crumbled at the weight
    Of those roots that failed…

    I thought of roots of a people…
    Torn from them the land-
    That once was theirs,
    And how lost they were-
    Disconnected from those roots…
    It was the wind in the sails of ships,
    That broke that tap root, and
    Severed them forever-
    From their past.
    The weight of that loss of roots
    Has caused many to fall,
    Who came after…
    Except within each of those that did
    Is the seed of pristine roots,
    That have cultivated people,
    Who are strong.

    Roots failed that tall tree,
    But there were the seeds
    It had planted, and shaded,
    And now will mature
    Into a tree just as strong.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 25, 2021

    • Yes. Strong poem. I’ve seen firsthand how strong these roots can be, although nothing like what you say…We were digging up the root of a weed-tree, which we never got to the bottom of. It must’ve been at least 4 feet down before we decided just to chop of the top of it because it was so entrenched in the dirt. I can’t imagine how strong the roots are of an aged tree. I’m even more impressed by the powerful force of the wind that can knock these kind of trees down like they’re toys. Amazing! Beautiful poem.

      • thank you and that wind did all this damage in less than five minutes…Our house was not hurt… the huge oak at the end of our deck fell behind our two cars missing both and leaving not a scratch on them.. i wrote a funny poem about roots of a tree not budging years ago… Called “Don’t bury me but once” Ma wanted a tree moved and my father worked all day and that tree never budged and still is standing… and my father told Ma “Promise me you will bury me but once.”

  31. SOFT RAINBOWS

    Soft rainbows pay homage to angry clouds
    —amassed amidst storms of a rainy day.

    Splendid, resplendent, manifold color—
    bounding, and rebounding, came out to play.

    The tail end of a sailing river rainbow,
    fearlessly dips into silver seas.

    It sees its own rippled reflection,
    as sweetness of candy apple red, buttercup blossom.

    Royal green bells of Ireland, precious stalks of blue lupine, an orange Julia butterfly.

    A tropical coat of a purple honeycreeper,
    regarding its beauty as it flies.

    Soft rainbows pay homage to angry clouds
    —it fearlessly dips into silver seas….

    Benjamin Thomas

  32. Owl’s Dream

    Midnight sky
    with full moon so bright.
    Crickets chirp,
    bullfrogs croak,
    a soft wind rustles the leaves.
    Who’s watching you? Me.

  33. A Hard Day of Work Needs a Soft Ending…

    I heard people say, everyone has hard days of work…
    They just didn’t get it… my good days
    Were filled with long drives, interviewing people
    Who denied the abuse, lied to me, and
    Angry that I was between them and their children.
    Rushing through paperwork, and getting bad news.
    I can’t remember a day that didn’t have a bit of bad news.

    My hard days were with a child telling me a dark secret,
    Sometimes whispered into my ear, and
    I had to steel myself not to let them know
    How hard my heart wept for them.

    My hard days were filled with bad news from doctors,
    That the shaking that baby left him or her blind,
    And their body rigid, and stiff, and
    They would never walk or talk, or laugh.

    My hard days was hearing news
    That in a county not mine three workers like me
    Where gunned down in their office…
    And knowing it could have been us.

    My hard days was hearing a foster home
    Was being closed, and all the children had to be moved…
    Abuse by someone we trusted,
    Made us trust a little less.

    But at the end of those days,
    When I began to let go
    On my ride home,
    And I walked in my door,
    To Ma smiling, and asking
    How was my day, and
    Sometimes I would cry on her shoulder
    Wanting the images of photos and x-rays
    Of abuse to leave my brain.
    But most of the time,
    I would say I was glad it was done.

    It would be a soft ending,
    As Ma told me her day,
    Of her sisters and her cousins,
    And what politics she had read that day.
    We would eat supper, and laugh,
    And for a few moments
    My life was normal and
    My hard day was like
    Everyone else’s
    Which was like my good day…

    After Ma died,
    I found that supper
    Was the most difficult time
    For me… I missed those conversations
    That kept me going,
    When I wanted to run away.
    Those moments that once gave me solace
    Now give me sorrow
    And makes each day end hard
    With no soft place to go.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 26, 2021

  34. Pingback: Owl’s Dream | echoes from the silence

  35. THE SOFT OPTION

    Live. Love. Laugh.

    Live life vicariously,
    as if through the eyes
    of an acrobatic black-bellied hummingbird.

    Sporting a velvet-black face mask,
    powered by versatile, dynamic wings,
    adjusting to what life brings—
    forward or backward.

    Love generously, without reservation.
    Be an enchanting Foxglove inspiration
    (Digitalis purpurea)
    with ornamental purple tints.
    Loaded with sugar-rich ready nectar.
    Crowds coming to you for sweetness.

    Laugh hilariously,
    like a pack of f laughing hyenas;
    on the prowl before they utterly consume their prey,
    whose jaws are more powerful than any lion.

    Benjamin Thomas

  36. THE HARD WOMEN IN MY LIFE

    My mother was hard as nails.
    She’d take a direct hit, and wouldn’t quit.
    Trials, tribulations, would attempt
    to drive her into the ground—
    without success, to no avail.

    My mother was hard as nails.
    She might’ve been bent,
    but never spent, never out of the fight.
    She was forged on the battlefield
    from the toughest steel.

    My grandmother,
    was tougher than an old leather boot.
    You couldn’t boot her out of anything—
    and you can ‘bet your boots’ she’d have your back.
    Every time.

    My grandmother,
    was tougher than an old leather boot.
    She simply didn’t understand “quit”
    and most certainly, would die with her boots on.

    My great grandmother, was a hard nut to crack.
    If it rained cats and dogs, she’d bring a shovel.
    If you were sitting on the fence, she’d tear the fence down.
    If she was between the devil and the deep sea,
    well, she’d take the devil by the horns and call up Moses.

    My great grandmother, was a hard nut to crack.
    If you were at daggers drawn, she’d disarm you.
    If you were barking up the wrong tree, she’d cut the tree down.
    If she cried for the moon, you’d better fetch it.
    She’d stick to her guns, but also knew how to eat humble pie.

    If someone put a spoke in your wheel, she’d put you at ease.
    If you were at sea, she’d bring you back to bay.
    If you were crying over spilled milk, she’d poor you a new glass.
    But all through thick and thin, if you were struggling,
    she was a bosom friend.

    Benjamin Thomas

    • Oh my word, this is GREAT! I especially love the part about your Great Grandma, and maybe (possibly) especially this:

      “If you were sitting on the fence, she’d tear the fence down.
      If she was between the devil and the deep sea,
      well, she’d take the devil by the horns and call up Moses.”

      Oh my goodness how you made me smile!

  37. A SOFT-HARD MAN

    My grandfather,
    was soft and light as a feather,
    but certainly didn’t ruffle any.

    Quiet as a mouse in contemplation,
    you hardly knew or could detect,
    that he was there.

    But if he wanted
    to make his presence known—
    he was a Mack truck headed downhill,
    without brakes. Make no mistake about it.

    He could be soft, yielding,
    and unprovoking like a kitten’s purr.
    Soothing, exuding calm,
    never quick to cause a stir.

    But if he were hard,
    he was nothing short
    of an impervious brick wall.

    Benjamin Thomas

  38. Woke up this morning….

    I went to bed looking to the morning,
    And woke up and my head
    Screamed as I cranked my eyes open.
    My head said close them go back to bed.

    This morning has turned into this afternoon,
    And the rocks on my house
    Seem like a way to end my pain, but
    I know that will be a slaughterhouse.

    This afternoon my brain is pounding,
    And closed eyes only makes me blind.
    I just hope this will be a one-day affair,
    And my head relents and is kind.

    My mother called these sick headaches.
    I don’t care what they are called,
    I just want this one gone,
    And for now, on my bed, I am sprawled.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 27, 2021

    I Might should call this I hate migraines…

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