We’re giving the heart a break (not as in broken heart, but as a rest) when we say the title of this prompt. Your poem is inspired by someplace close to your – heart (break’s over). Take the place you were born, where you grew up, or somewhere you lived, and use it is the base of your poem. If this place is famous for something, write that poem. I was born in Lackawanna, New York and for the longest time it was a steel town. So, Lackawanna Steel became my title/topic. You can take this poem anywhere you want and you’ll never leave home. Write that home pome!
The Heart of it All (Fibonacci)
Of my heart:
“Ohio, The Heart of It All,”
Is more than its slogan, to me. It’s a certainty
Born of dappled sunlight, porch swing swishes, marching bands, sure love, and lingering laughter.
© Marie Elena Good, 2021
(Bummer. My final line, written in 21 syllables, breaks up on site.)
Lackawanna was home long before I knew I’d roam,
and find another place that fills this space in my heart,
From my start I was forged in Lackawanna Steel; a real
sense of structure and foundation built upon the
rigid girders of steel. Bethlehem Steel gave us all we had,
or all that Dad earned to set us up to succeed.
He worked hard and lived harder with liquor the answer,
and a demise from cancer. The plant had long since closed,
and I suppose it was just as well. The swell of steel workers
had found a similar fate, much too late to save them.
But this steel town outside of Buffalo, found itself
deeply seeded in each native son’s hearts. From the start
they were all “Men of Steel” good to feel at home
just south of where the Buffalo roam!
© Walter J Wojtanik – 2021
238 thoughts on “PROMPT # 341 – HOME IS WHERE THE POEM IS”
Marie and Walt…I might not always post, but I always enjoy reading your poems. These are two of your best. Hugs to you, both. 4th of July blessings!!
Sitting on the stoop was a fine art here.
Nanas, Mommas and Aunties would gather
Kids raced up and down the sidewalk
wheels strapped to their feet,
key swinging from their necks –
faster than lightening!
Each corner held emporiums of necessities –
grocery, baker, pharmacy, laundry, tailor shop,
and the taverns – haunts of fathers and uncles –
the rich, pungent scent of beer and whiskey,
smoke and sweat wafting out open doors on summer days.
Churches rose like scattered wildflowers,
dividing the streets into parishes – mostly Irish Catholic.
However, one street boasted a Russian Orthodox church,
another a Baptist and tucked back in the brick and macadam
of the projects, a Lithuanian church and school where the sounds of a language
unfamiliar rose above the hubbub of the city.
Streets were numbered and lettered or named after war heroes.
The further into the alphabet and the higher the number,
the closer to the ocean, where we spent summers swimming.
At night, families walked the beach from Carson to the Castle.
Stops along the way for treats of French fries (hand-cut, not frozen)
or ice cream or, on very special occasions, fried clams.
The truth of “you can’t go home” is apparent now.
Families have scattered throughout New England and beyond.
Three-decker homes that housed entire families –
grandparents, their children and their children –
are now multi-million dollar condos, housing the urban elite
with pampered pedigree pouches, designer clothes and no clue
of the rich heritage they have co-opted.
© 2020 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
Thank you for your kind words, Linda! So good to see you again, here!
Your poem took me right there with you. The details of a long-gone rich life of possibly meager means. Wonderful! At this stage in my life, it would do us all well to have one of those 3-decker homes for multiple generations of us. That, along with all the walking-distance amenities of life .., for so many reasons. Love this poem!
Hi Linda!! Good way to start us off.
I am impressed, deeply, buy this poem, part;y for the excellent writing, and partly because I know a little about Boston; I have family who live there, and they’ve showed me some of the gentrified areas, around Mission Hill anyway.
(Sigh), let’s try again:
I am impressed, deeply, by this poem, partly for the excellent writing, and partly because I know a little about Boston; I have family who live there, and they’ve showed me some of the gentrified areas, around Mission Hill anyway.
This reminded me of the first town we lived in, and I know that sadness you mention… for mountain land has been gobbled up without knowing the history that is lost. I loved this poem from the first line to the last… and that sadness in those last words are so true.
Thank you all for your kind words. I love Poetic Bloomings, but don’t get here as often as I would like…calls to duty that eat up my time.
Marie, I agree. There was something about living in a three-decker with multi-generations that made life rich, even when those families were not related by blood.
Happy 4th to all!
You put me right in the heart of this town. Such a shame to have those changes occur.
Your words always capture the heart, Linda. Thanks for your comments.
Walt I’m glad you were forged in Lackawanna steel, and Marie, I’m glad you made home in heart shaped Ohio. 👌You two rock.
Thank you, sir! Me too, on both counts! 🙂 Looking forward to your words!
Thanks! Fun prompt. 🙏🏽
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART HAS ALWAYS BEEN
I was born in the minefields of a dysfunctional family,
making my home from one explosion to the next.
Until you learned to avoid the hazardous places—
One wrong misstep and you were blown into the next,
I was raised in the rank and file of anger, mistrust,
and the deadly streets of northeastern Ohio.
I cut my teeth under the hands and beef of a bully—
an older brother, and a militant mother, learning to wade
in the deep trenches of psychological warfare.
Home is always where the heart is. Even when it’s in midst
of the battlefield.
You can bring a soldier home, but he’s already
made his bed in the midst of war.
Captured my attention with the first stanza; almost too hard to bear reading.
Powerful…. this poem is powerful…
Thanks Mary. 🙏🏽
you are most welcome
O Wow, Benjamin…this is so powerful and true! Bless you for surviving the war and bring us such incredible visions in your poems.
Finally getting out here for a few minutes to read more, and reply to this one (which I read Sunday morning to both my husband and my daughter … all 3 of us in awe). Benjamin, this is one of your finest (IMHO), which is saying a whole lot. The quality of your work is consistently high, but this one is superior. The next to the last sentence is a rather jolting truth. The last sentence is killer.
Just … wow …
Thanks so much Marie. I find it extremely fascinating how one person can write something and it resonates with another in unexpected ways. 🙏🏽😊
This must have been difficult to write, but I find the language and poem one of your finest.
Thanks Sara. Poetry seems to be quite cathartic in ways I don’t even realize.
All you know is how to impress, Benjamin! Here and throughout this prompt.
Thanks! Fun prompt. 👏
THE END OF THE MEAL TICKET
When I was young, my mother used to say,
“The day will come when you must make your way;
you’ll need a steady job with steady pay,
so go to work for Kodak.”
Almost as though in step with drum and fife,
in Rochester it was a way of life
for many a man and, often, for his wife
to go to work for Kodak
and know security was guaranteed.
Even Xerox people would concede,
the Eastman firm took care of every need
of those who worked for Kodak.
But that was then. These days, at Kodak Park,
the former sea of buildings now is stark
and vacant space, an exclamation mark
for all who trusted Kodak.
The city I called home, “Smugtown” to some,
now bears a countenance careworn and glum;
there’s little reason now to beat its drum
and little left of Kodak.
Someday, if I ever travel again, I am goin* to make my way to the Finger Lakes, where dear friends abide, and I would enjoy getting to swing up to your area and have you point out the memories which vacant lots can’t reveal. This piece perfectly commands that.
again there is a sadness… and this made me smile for a co worker of mine told her son…
“When you turn 18 you are on your own.” He went into the navy and made a career…
William, this poem speaks a universal truth that so many cities have witnessed…the fall of the economic giant that ran everything. What saddens me most is that, many of the giants still fared well, but for those who worked for the giant, life as they new it disappeared, never to return again.
So much truth here, Linda.
Bill, as usual, you hit it out of the park. For many members of my family, it was Youngstown Sheet and Tube.
Wonderful description here, William. So many towns had one big business center, and most likely they have all changed.
Very familiar with the Kodak and Kodak Park History. Aside from what you’ve explained, they were a huge customer of our for years, and then one day, they just vanished.Nicely done, Bill.
Walt, your poem strikes me as a love note. A friend worked for Bethlehem Steel, so I have some sense of what it was like. Wonderful writing.
I appreciate that Bill!
Marie, your poem strikes me as a perfect use of teh form, the site’s limitations notwithstanding. That last line is a poem all its own, in my view.
Thank you. That made me smile.
So I pull up a picture
just by putting in the address
find it listed on Zillow again
all buttoned up in dark
brown shakes: the toolshed
the quasi patio jutting east
from the toolshed wall
the front boasting a new door
cut into what used to be
the north kitchen wall’s little window
where I sat at what we called
the Little Table and drew the
Golden Gate Bridge with dinner plates
The original front door reduced
to yet another window all white trim
I sort out the bricked sidewalk with its
infamous curve where I wiped out on skates
and pogo stick but it’s the trees I count
the walnut still standing and the forsythia
refusing to die in yellow bloom along the fence
and the fence still standing its hurricane weave
resisting all elements over the five decades
something rushes over me like unexpected white
water on a rapids run as I examine rooflines
that used to be a mix of blue and green shingles
whatever Daddy could lay his hand to at the time
and I try to feel whatever they call nostalgia
but it’s not here in this tombstone
and I don’t save the picture.
Wow; talk about a poem that paints!
Exactly what I thought, William! Well done and beautiful written, Pat.
A good window here of the past. 👏
wow just wow
Another total WOW.
“and drew the
Golden Gate Bridge with dinner plates”
“and I try to feel whatever they call nostalgia
but it’s not here in this tombstone
and I don’t save the picture.”
Well said, Pat!
Pat, you do wonderful work, always! This is no exception.
I was born In Milwaukee, Wis,
but, brother let me tell you this,
every piece of growth I’d make
was fostered near Okauchee Lake.
There were elm trees then,
before the disease,
and for the first ten years,
it was a life of peace and ease.
They still do fish fry
on Friday nights,
make Old Fashioned’s,
dim the lights,
but now it’s not perch,
mostly frozen cod,
too many potato choices,
and yes, by God,
they also serve- and this
should be against the law,
healthy salads instead of
that creamy cole slaw.
Sundays were church and a picnic,
folks needing a breather,
but no picnics during the winter,
and sometimes, not the church part either.
The elm trees are gone now,
but even so,
there are others we planted before
we knew the elms would go.
No one talked about social issues,
I guess for that time it was all right,
racism was not yet a topic,
the neighbors were, of course, all white.
We were worried about the Russkies,
some built shelters underground,
but as far as I know,
no Red Scare was ever found.
We had other things to fear,
like polio and iron lungs and braces,
or the drunken dentist or smoking doctor,
mumbling, blowing smoke into our faces.
The lake had its mysteries,
ate a person or two every year,
but we all learned to swim early on,
so we had nothing to fear.
That lake was everything to us,
source of fun and food,
a place of joyful recreation,
nothing about it that wasn’t greater than good.
For my first ten years there,
it was all smiles, never a frown.
To this day, decades on, I remain grateful
for Okauchee, my hometown.
I love this piece, especially for the gentle, unobtrusive rhyming and the reminder of elms, which often turned streets into tunnels.
Yes indeed and I lived on elm avenue, so walking home as a lad was a magical event, experiencing a protective canopy, with just a hint of moon peeking through to light my way
Daniel, even this response to Bill is a poem.
The deep-laden nostalgia of your beautiful poem made me both smile and contemplate. “Racism was not yet a topic. The neighbors were, of course, all white.” Eye opener, this. So thankful for the changing times in many ways, but my goodness is it ever one step forward and two steps back. 😦 Wonderful poem.
such a sense of place… and a sense of peace then…
Bravo!! Loved reading this!
Really enjoyed this both content & craft. Super.
Thanks Pat! 😊
Ten years of happy memories makes a place memorable.
Superbly, penned, Daniel!
THE RUBBER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
It was the promise of work that plucked two sets
of grandparents from the wiles of Oklahoma
and the southern state of Mississippi.
They made the long trek heading northeast
and converged at the rubber capital of the world.
Business was booming and Goodyear tires kept
this city on the map for many years to come.
Great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles,
mom and dad, all sprung from this city.
It became the capital of our family’s history
and the central springboard to spread like wildfire
across the nation.
The Midwest is just how we roll.
I can almost see the folks en route. We have an Akron in New York too, which caused all kinds of confusion when I was young.
Love this… I like stories about people’s reasons for moving and the migration of humans
Love the last line of this…captures it all.
Spot-on response to the prompt.
Thanks. It’s so simple I was afraid no one would like it.
So enjoyed your poems today, Walt and Marie. Your images were beautiful and clear and the topic today is so dear to reflect on, thank you!
THE BEACH WITHIN REACH
A small California beach town
Still lives in my heart
For us all
Five generations back
The family arrived,
And we called it home
The year I was born
My grandfather started a business,
We still run today
Where we learned to play
On the sand
On the Boardwalk
In the surf
Like our own private turf
A monument to the family
And yet an offering
To other families, too
As it grew
The following generations
On their way too
They know just what to do,
The beach is the playground,
Still safe and sound,
Still their beach within reach
Where they can teach
Their own children
To play in the surf
Watching over their turf
By a sea
Always in motion
Yet never changing
Through all the sands
(c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2021
this is a peaceful poem…
The “where” doesn’t matter much; this could be a well-loved beach town anywhere. beautifully done.
Loved this! So visual and restful somehow.
This visual built on cadence, rhyme, and heart makes me smile, Janet!
Thank you for your kind words, too.
This sounds ideal!
Love this, Janet!
Marie and Walt I love your poems… they are so true to your individual selves .
Awww! Thank you, Mary!
😀 Thanks Mary
Born of the Mountain II
I was born of the mountains.
Ma often said they kept me too long there.
I can speak an Appalachian dialect,
With words most would not understand.
A latch pin is a safety pin,
And proud means glad…
Just in case you are wondering…
I grew up with ordinary people
Who told the best stories.
I heard people pull out their fiddle,
And heard Da play his harmonica.
We swapped tales, and
Understood that life could be hard,
That was what the Good Lord was for
To get us through those hard times.
Outsiders saw us ignorant,
But we just shook our heads,
Cause it is their recollection of us,
Not how we knew we were.
I heard a man, on that PBS
On the east side of the mountain,
Brag that there are no mountain people
Left in their county.
I got my revenge,
I created an imaginary town
And put a whole town full of mountain people
In that very county.
I am said to be a loyal person.
It is the code I learned in childhood,
And somehow or other I became,
A foreigner in my own family
As I became more ingrained
It what it means to be Appalachian.
I like the tales of haints and ghosts and
Those tall tales that make your eyes get big,
And you can feel your heart pumping loud
In your chests, and you know that
Daddy may have killed the buggerman last night,
But that did not mean his kin wasn’t out there waiting.
I am a mountain woman,
Who lives in a proper civilized southern town.
Sometimes I have shocked a person
Without meaning to do so.
Those times Ma would shake her head,
And say agin, “We kept you too long in the mountains.”
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 4, 2021
“Ain’t no buggerman out tonight, Daddy kilt him last night” is a game I grew up playing. It is basically a game of tag… Agin is the sound of speaking again… there is a difference in Haints and ghosts… basically haints can be the mean kind and ghost are just there. Recollection and perception can at times be interchangeable… I didn’t put it here but years can mean ears… Ifin you said, “My years are hurting.” You would know that it was your ears. Most of this is dying out which makes me sad…
This is the second poem with this title… thus the ii… The first is one of those poems I don’t know if I will ever finish…
Born of the Mountains
I was born of the mountains
As the Moon is born of the sun-
Captured in the sun’s light
Freed from Darkness-
I was captured in the dark earth-
The smell of the deep woods,
The cool sweetness of a mountain spring-
I heard the wind in the balsams,
And saw that moon rise above them all,
I was born there in those mountains.
But I have wandered far
From those mountains that birthed me.
I return over an over—
Only to leave again…
But within me when I walk upon that earth
I feel that strength that was birthed with me
And I know it always will..
I was born of the mountains,
And yes I will return
To the mountains that birthed me
And will eventually decay me.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
Written in 1983, April 1996, February 5, 1997 and July 8, 2013
I love when you talk of family and mountain people. Wonderful stuff, Mary!
Very fascinating Mary!
thank you and I think I have added another type of poem to do yearly…
I can hear the storyteller in this. Wonderful.
thanks and if I can tell a story. I learned from the masters
I am intrigued by so much in these 2 poems. I’ll have to get back to you on these, Mary. I’ll message you. But in the meantime, just know that the story telling, visual, mood … this is where you are at your best, IMHO.
thanks but I learned from the master
More brilliance from you, dear lady! Well done, Mary!
When there is no home…
( for the foster children)
Children, children removed from their homes.
Living with strangers, knowing but not understanding…
Lost to their families, but not belonging…
Being shuffled around, and their treasures
Packed in black trash bags…
Moving into a new home…
Not understanding why they had to move…
Feeling they were one step farther
Away from their home…
A place that was not safe, but
A place where they knew
Their few friends they had
Long lost in the constant shuffling.
Moved like chess pieces on an invisible board.
Where is their heart… which time was it taken…
Was it in their parents’ home… the place that wasn’t safe,
But at least they were not lost…
Lost in a system among many systems…
All claiming to know what is best what is right…
None of them hearing the lost child
Where there is no place or no home…
The only one that hears
Is the one who sits beside them
On their moves from place to place,
Knowing what damage this new move will do…
Knowing there was no perfect system
Only imperfect ones pretending they are perfect.
The listener is at the bottom of a chain
That goes into a maze of systems
And people who know nothing
Yet they pretend that they do.
Still the child sits riding in the car
Wondering if the next house and family
Will keep them and maybe instead of one step away
Be one step closer to being home.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 4, 2021
Deep love is so manifest here
Love this one. So true. I really feel for these children who are truly homeless.
Thank you… they truly are… there are about 400,000 in foster care in the USA. Most will go home eventually. Many will go to relatives. many will be adopted by their foster parents and a little less will be adopted by those wanting to adopt and waiting- foster parents now have fist dibs…when I started foster parents could have a child three to four years and if they were young children the adopting families got first choice. A huge majority of older children who can’t go home opt out of being adopted because a child twelve years old or older has to agree to be adopted. The majority of the children in foster care are African American children..
most states give very little help to those children aging out, and they sometimes age out to be homeless with little education or job skills and their families have moved away. They are slowly doing better… I have two boys I worked with now men whom I had to leave when I retired… one was in college and his worker that got the case after I retired did not do his job to make sure he stayed in college and it was paid for… that worker told me that he didn’t come to ask for help… I told him we were that child’s parents… we should have done that… I wanted to take these boys in but my mother was 90 and had dementia and I had to choose… I pray almost every day for my two boys.
The depth of sadness is so deep for even me, simply a read of words. I can’t imagine the strength you had to muster. Only God, I believe.
“reader” of words
yes only God pulled me thru those years…
This situation is so sad. Children deserve better.
they do….I remember the first time I answered a question on the witness stand which others thought I should have said differently and I said it is the truth.. a lawyer asked me didn’t a move in foster care cause damage to a child, and I said yes because each move causes damage even a good move because you lose contact with friends, etc…
The natives call it Vacationland
It’s written on their license plates
And it certainly is Vacationland
If you’re smart and pick the right dates
Summer is sometimes hot as can be
With mosquitoes as big as your head
But the beauty is undeniable
And the sun will turn your skin red
Fall is the prettiest time of the year
With every color adorning their trees
But the nights can get a little bit nippy
Jack Frost often hides in the breeze
Winter is best for the kid in us all
Giant sheets of white cover the land
So pack up your parkas and bunny boots
And some gloves so you don’t freeze your hands
Spring is the time when life returns boldly
New flowers, new grass, and green leaves
The weather warms up and the snow melts
Out come the shorts and short sleeves
Vacationland has four definite seasons
So choose wisely when you make your plans
Pack the right duds and have a lot of fun
And enjoy your time in Vacationland
What a wonderful paean to Maine.
Our dear friend Hannah would appreciate this
Indeed she would! ❤
Earl, even with the mosquitos the size of your head (stuff of nightmares!) and other cautions, you make me want to not only visit, but live there and experience every season. Well done!
I love this. I grew up in a southern tourist mecca… Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee…Spring in the mountains is the best also… I have never visited Maine but feel I have just been there…
Live that life, you fabulous poetic dude! One word, Earl: YES!
Trees, hills, creeks
Goose ponds and peep frogs
Outdoors in all weather
Stilts, roller skates, pogo sticks
Sleds, bikes, balls, and cardboard boxes
Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents
The whole neighborhood was one big playground.
That last line brings the whole thing home. 👌
I second that emotion!
How wonderful and it made me think of children now who don’t have that experience..
Sounds delightful. Love your last line.
Home, Indeed Connie!
THE TIP OF THE SPEAR
at the tip of the spear,
is a place called home;
on the edge of the pen
still wet with ink.
The world is ready
to drink poetic wines.
Our weighed thoughts,
being fashioned into flowering
That climb the height of mountains,
into lands and hills, growing into satisfying
food for the people.
and your poetry is like eating a fresh fruit pie that has peaches, nectarines, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries… which I will make later today…
Thank you! 🍇🍑🍊🍒🍓🫐
Love the point of view here. No pun intended.
Can totally envision this!
HOME IS SERVICE TO THE PEN
There is a duty
to put pen to the page.
To craft the unimaginable.
Unleash emotions out of the cage.
To give sight to the things unseen.
To give voice to the things unheard.
To give the oppressed back their wings.
To pen the fabulous beauty of the word.
To grant perception to the once intangible.
To give warmth of love to a cold, cold world.
To paint the art of life which is most admirable.
To show the darkness residing in human nature.
To pen the light of day, hope, faith, and joy.
Oh yes! Wonderful!
Yes, yes, yes … all of this, yes!
A beautiful description of what poetry is meant to do.
Thanks. I love writing about the awesomeness of poetry!
Home of Suzi the Duck,
she calls me back,
this small town
away from Madison.
She lies miles
and tangles of traffic.
She lies true to herself,
with the deli girl
at the grocery store,
truths and dreams
revealed again and again,
a drink at a bar that looks
like a log cabin, a walk
away from my motel room.
There I interrupt
country music on the juke box
to play Paul McCartney
and make the place my own.
The motel owner and his wife
treat me like a son
every time I come.
Wisconsin 113 winds
its way past wooded hills
to a ferry and a lake.
Its history shimmers
like a dream.
Love this poem… I have been to Wisconsin, MIch. MInn… MY father built the gunflint trail… I was two… I don’t remember it but there is a picture of me at sign in Wisconsin. I want to come visit there…The pictures my father made back then are lovely.
Having just seen some extraordinary photos from friends in Baraboo, and now reading your memories, I want to revisit there. If only I could get there in a flash without flying
Deep sigh here.
So wonderful… immediately put me in mind of another smaller town I knew–could see the girl, the counter, hear the conversation!!
Drinking in the nostalgia of a place I’ve never experienced speaks volumes of your way of expression. Wonderful, Mike!
(Hey, I need to get in touch with you. Will you please e-mail me at email@example.com so I can grab your email address? Thanks so much! Will catch up with you then.)
I love that log cabin bar!
Good one, Mike! Great description!
Home is where your family is.
Except my family is gone,
And I belong to no place,
To no one.
I read the words
That Jesus said,
“Foxes have holes,
And birds have nests,”
But he had no place to lay his head.
I have a place to lay my head,
The furniture is mine,
The house is not…
I live here for I have no place to go.
Only when I am in the forest,
Am I free.
There I belong.
There, I know is my home.
My Grannie told me,
They had to keep me…
But I would never belong.
I made my place…
Despite her words,
But now they are gone.
You can’t talk of memories
To graves and tombstones.
They do not respond, and
I walk away lonely.
I used to dream of a place
That was all my own.
It would have trees,
And a room for my art.
There would be a place I could dance,
There would be a big kitchen,
And around my table
Would be people I love.
But dreams are often just
Imagining of things that cannot be.
But all this lonely wanderings
Has left me strong,
And made me kind…
Not patient yet for
Waiting is not an easy thing
Me to do.
I have struggled since
The last of them died.
Where is my home,
Where do I belong.
One morning as I cried,
Into the morning fog.
It lifted and I knew…
For me my home is
Within my heart…
And it will go wherever I go.
I hear the wind of change blowing,
I know not where it will tell me
Where I am to go, but
I am listening,
And know when I am told,
I will go.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 5, 2021
Just feeling really sad this morning…
I’m so sorry you were feeling sad. I hope that has lifted for you, and the sun is shining brighter.
This poem feels like the end of a novel that has a sequel in the works. Love this, even through the sadness.
Thank you….I just was missing everyone…
I am sorry to hear you were sad. You have a comrade-in-arms here. I spent a good deal of time crying this morning.
I am sorry for your sorrow, but you know some days it just happens.
The short lines enhance the sadness if this piece, in my opinion.
Thank you and sometimes they just flow that way…
I don’t tell you often enough how true you are to your being. It is a gift, and also a gift to be able to communicate it so well to your far flung comrades. Thank you for being willing to share
Thank you Daniel… all those things happened to me for a reason I believe…and I don’t believe it for me to hold into myself, but share…outwardly to others…and maybe just maybe i will touch someone and they see that someone understands.
then after I wrote that poem… this happened and I have a smile in my heart…
I Met a Young Chimney Swift
This morning as I was getting my peaches
Out to peel for my pie…
I heard the flapping of wings,
And there behind my mixer
Was a tiny bird, who had made a wrong turn
And flew down my chimney instead of up…
He eyed me and must have thought
How ugly this giant white monster was
Who had no wings and was not soot black like he.
“Oh, little bird, don’t be scared…
Let me catch you
So you can fly in the wind.”
He didn’t trust me
For I was this big white monster,
And not pretty like his mama.
It took a few minutes
For me to catch the small chimney swift,
And as I placed him gently on the deck…
He took one look
And decided I wasn’t a monster, and
With one bat of his wings he lifted up,
And away to the trees he did fly.
I went back into my house,
Smiling the small gift
I was given this morning
To release a bird
Back into the outside
With a lesson learned,
That just because we are different,
We can share the same space.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 5, 2021
Precious moment, related beautifully.
it was and nothing to me was as touching for I love birds and to hold even for a moment a tiny wild baby bird and see it fly free was wonderous.
Oh my, this is so pleasant to read, and re-read. What a divine moment, perfectly transcribed
thank you… it was perfect…
Oh my goodness! And here was the answer to my question of the lifting of your spirits, just waiting for me to continue reading. This is simply precious, Mary!
the bird was just beginning to fly… and thank you…it was just lovely….
in the crook of a tree
in wildflower fields and clear cold creek,
dancing in the stream,
catching sunfish with bare hands,
chasing beams of light across the hillside,
splashing in mud puddles while it rained.
in the stories others told,
in the written word
weaving fairytales of safety and belonging,
inviting a little girl in to hope,
tempting her to believe that
a place of peace and safety existed beyond the pages of her book.
lovely in the sadness.
So deeply moving; causes a catch in the breath.
Oh my sweet friend … my heart …
That poetic heart of yours absolutely SINGS in the midst of heartache and longing. I love you, Shelly, and it’s good to see you and your words here again.
Looking forward to some breakfast time in the near future. ❤
Thanks, Marie. I’ve been writing, just not poetry, and probably nothing of consequence. I’ll have to wait to see.
Been missing our breakfasts!
This has the sadness of fairytales that do not always come true. Lovely poem.
The Poem Is
This poem is . . .
living on the streets
of Brooklyn. Spin a
top, string a yoyo.
Roller skates of heavy
steel. Clamps to adjust
with a key. Skate away!
This poem is . . .
a grownup on the blocks
of Brooklyn, where I
lived in several
buildings with high
ceilings, and large
When people ask me
where I’m from, Brooklyn
is my answer. It has held
my heart in its grip
all these years.
wow… never been there but I can feel I am when I read this poem
I have never been there, the closest being when I saw the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side,but I remember a time when the mere mention of “Brooklyn, New York” would bring spontaneous applause, especially when the Dodgers were there. I get the feeling that, in many ways, it’s still a separate city, not a borough. I can feel you love for the place in your stanzas.
Love the “strength” of this poem– like those steel wheels and keys– could make it over anything– very evocative!
Thanks, Pat. There is a steeliness to Brooklyn.
Thanks, William. Yeah, those Dodgers have been gone a long time, and people still hold grudges.
You and my daughter, Deanna, who may be returning soon. That her heart’s desire, God willing. You’ve expressed where you heart is so effectively in so few words. Love this.
I love the first and last stanzas. Especially the last line. 👌
Lady, I love your words and works. No matter which direction you come from, you have it down!
The Empty Side of the Bed,,,
I have a friend,
Whose husband has died,
And she finds herself missing him,
For he was her home.
They had a good life together,
But memories, I know, don’t fill the space
Of the empty side of the bed.
The days can be filled with chores,
And children and grandchildren,
But at night there is that empty
Side of the bed, that leaves
Her heart aching for the one
Beyond her reach.
Lovers in this life
Are not like those in picture shows, but
They are lived one day at time-
With laughter and tears,
And angers, and fears,
And nights filled with sleeping close,
Feeling the beat of another heart and
The gentle breathing of sleep.
It is not the passion,
I have seen women miss, but
Those moments of being close,
And alone together
In the comfort of their bed.
I have never been fortunate-
To have had a man
Feel that my heart was his home,
And his heart was mine.
There has always been an empty side of the bed,
When I lay down at night.
I just know how empty that can feel,
When you live alone,
As I do.
Tonight, even as weary as I am,
I have had trouble sleeping,
And I thought of my friend,
Hoping she finds comfort-
As she sleeps away the night…
For her heart is still her husband’s home,
And his heart is still hers.
Death may have separated them,
But love still remains.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 6, 2021
Thanks and my mind goes to strange places at night
Indeed, memories don’t fill the empty side of the bed … yet the hope in this poem is palpable truth. Excellent.
Thank you… I had two friends who lost their spouse in the last year…. both have had a hard time of it…Grief can be so difficult
So beautifully captured.
To the man I loved once on his birthday…
It has been over thirty years,
Since we last spoke.
I was grieving the loss of my father,
And my mother needed me to stay.
What was between us was dying,
We just weren’t ready to say it,
Until I did… I never forgot you.
I was so lost that day,
We met at a friend’s wedding.
You were a world traveler, and
I had never been anywhere.
You laughed at my crazy story…
I told of working for the mafia…
(Well, I didn’t really, just was a shady business.)
I said to you, I had my chance,
To travel with business men,
And wear jewels I couldn’t afford,
But I turned it down.
It was good money,
I would have had an apartment and all,
And traveled wherever they sent me, but
They fired me.
The only time I was fired-
Until my mother fired me.
I remember you on your birthday,
And say a prayer for your life,
To be good,
For because you crossed my life,
And helped me find who I was.
That was the gift I needed.
You told me once I was too gentle,
For this world, and you were right-
I was when we met,
But I got stronger over the years,
And my gentle heart still exists-
As one of
Those flowers that withstands the storms.
It is late in the night, and I need to go to sleep…
But I just wanted to say, “Thank you,”
To the Cosmos for sending me what I needed that day,
And giving me strength to end it.
Maybe one day, you will see my book,
On display in a bookstore, and
Smile at the memories,
And send prayers back to me,
Knowing I have found my life to be good,
And that choice to end it was right for both of us.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 6, 2021
Another superb, drawing-in piece.
Thanks… I have several poems I have written to him most back then, but occasionally now and then… he really did give me back my life… and it ended on a sad but understandable note.
Reading this is like watching a film strip. Often the case with your poems. This one feels like we are privileged to even know.
thank you… He was a gift to my life… and one of the hardest choices I ever had to make concerned him. I decide to stay to care for my parents.. I did it for love. .no one knew how much I sacrificed…I do hope he had a good life…but for a season of my life was he there…
I love these. So poignant.
Shoutout to Walt and Marie for leading off with wonderful examples!
Thank You Sara.
That Christ may make his home in your hearts through faith…(Eph.3:17)
THE CASTLE OF THE KING
The heart is the highborn castle of the king.
Its storied chambers encapsulates fine wisdom.
Its halls run rampant with the gleam of wrought gold.
An upright throne sits bedecked with intellect.
Its crown of conscience is bejeweled
in precious stone.
The heart of man—
is his home.
be still my heart… this is beautiful…
…there are so many silences to be broken.
THE HOUSE OF THE BROKEN
There are many silences to be broken.
Its spell has been cast down upon the trodden,
and served cold to the faint of heart.
Their tongue has been brutally severed,
stolen, rendered useless;
their vocal cords have been ripped apart.
There are many silences to be broken,
but their voice has been silenced—by being broken.
Their vessels lie in countless shards, hopelessly
splintered into myriads of pieces.
Just wow…. and it is true… those voices of the shattered…are often silent
THE HOME THAT IS NEVER BUILT
(For homeless children)
Their house is impermanence.
Their residence is in the wind.
There is no ceiling to their suffering,
nor wall to hide them from wandering.
Their home is the one that is never built.
Members of their household—rejection, shame and the razor of sharpened guilt.
Bingo, from the first line on.
This is such a truth… thank you for this poem…
You’re most welcome. I was thinking of all the homeless or displaced children you’ve referred to previously.
This one is for those who suffer from PTSD.
CELL BLOCK 99
The confinement is real. Definite. Dark.
The definition of friend or foe has been obscured.
The dimensions of your cell block are 6 by 8 feet,
your cell mates—fight, flight, or freeze.
You walk about with a gun to the back of the head,
a knife to the left, and a shotgun to the right.
You never lose sight of them,
and no one can see, or feel them—but you.
It’s always work, pretending to be normal,
but being under the imminent threat of death—
is the new normal.
Donning fading smiles like filthy raiment, that
change from one moment to the next.
The emanating stench of sweat, grime, and fear
is nauseating; being drenched under the constant
barrage of stress.
Vicious memories from the past yield deadly weapons
in the present, holding you hostage.
This is your cell block.
Indeed. The descriptions in this poem isn’t an exaggeration. It’s what it feels like living with PTSD unfortunately.
Benjamin….I know this well…It is tiring to be like everyone else when you know you won’t… I stopped trying…I embraced the quirky me…the one that some times tears up because a memory flashes… or just needs to be alone when they come or sleep with noise to keep the dreams from grabbing me. I have a near photographic memory… I had to find ways to pick the lock on that cell to get out… I do odd things to protect myself… and I know mine is mild… I still don’t like my picture made because I see in my eyes the sadness…
The struggle is real. That poem is my life. Thanks for sharing.
Yeah it is….I have a cousin whose boyfriend attacked her for 10 hours, and her sister tells her to get over it… but it isn’t that you don’t want to get over it… but that you can’t…
My heart always longs for the land
Once we called Beulah land, and
My heart looks in hope
Towards the Beulah Land
I have yet to live…
But know one day I will…
The Beulah land of my youth,
Is planted deep in my heart…
Where everywhere I turned
Stood ancient mountains
That had stood for centuries
And worn down by those many seasons.
I miss those people that I loved so deeply.
My home is somewhere else these days…
I have lived as a stranger for many a year.
But here my faith grew strong, and
Found that it is here I belong, but
When I sometimes catch a glimpse
Of my beloved mountains,
I feel a catch in my heart,
And want to rush home.
I will always long for that Beulah land…
As I age, I find my eyes looking to beyond…
To a place where beauty is everywhere, and
Peace is forever in my heart…
There I will gather with those I love…
And have all those answers to my God questions-
I have kept in an invisible box in my heart…
There I will walk in meadows,
In eternal light, and joy will flow down upon me.
I will touch again touch the scars of my Savior,
That I touched first the night
When He told me I had more to do.
I will wash His feet with my tears of joy.
I will no longer be a wanderer,
For I will be home….
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 7, 2021
Beulah Land was once the state song of Tennessee, and that is my tribute to where my heart is always. Beulah Land is also for heaven…and in the night Oct 6, 2001, I was dying that night and the dead gathered to take me home, but then Christ walked over to me, and told me I could go but I had more to do. I struggled that night for people I loved were there and I had missed them one of which was my father. Around 4:30 AM, I heard my mother snore, and I knew I needed to stay for her. As they left, I felt my tears fall…years later I told Ma what had happened that night. She said, “Why didn’t you go with Joe, because you always loved him?” I said simply, “Ma, I loved you too.” Though the years have been difficult since then, I have never regretted staying and I know at 69 that I still have more to do in this life…I am not done with this life yet… I touched the scars that night.
This is very moving, and for me, “Beulah Land” has another connotation, of a place in the Pennsylvania mountains, the so-called “grand canyon” of Pennsylvania.
Thank you and I know what you mean… about we all have a Beulah Land in our heart…
How dark was your home?
If I had been brave…
I would have asked Da…
“Tell the truth,
I need to know, how bad was
It living in your home.?”
I didn’t because I knew what he would do.
He would go outside to water in his flowers,
Pretend he didn’t hear,
I didn’t ask because I knew the answer.
His sisters married young.
They didn’t want to keep their mother long,
The reason she lived with us most of the year.
I never saw my father laugh
With his mother about some childhood event.
I didn’t see him talk with her,
Or want to tell her his day.
Instead. if he wanted to talk
He said to my mother,
“Let’s take a ride.”
Sometimes they were gone-
A short time, and
Sometimes for hours.
Da dreamed of retiring and coming back,
To the place he called down home,
But he had the house bulldozed,
Where once he had lived.
He left only the chimney,
And a few doorknobs.
The rest of it was razed.
But the memories clung to him…
They were not the kind that made you laugh.
They were the stuff that made nightmares.
They were what the children ran from the rest of their lives.
One night I was talking to Ma
About how hard my job was
Working with children who were removed
Because they were harmed.
Da turned his face to stare at me,
And a tear slipped from his eye.
He got up and went outside-
To water the azaleas
Even though we had a good rain that day.
Later he came back inside and said,
“Louise, let’s go for a ride.”
A man whose heart was so gentle
That he was kind to all he met…
May have cussed in his normal talking ways,
But never cussed a person out.
I never had to ask
“How dark was it living in your home?”
He spoke it never to me,
But I know from the way my mother
Felt sad, when they came back from a ride
It was dark as a room with not a light,
And no way to find the way out,
But he did.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 7, 2021
Benjamin, as I was writing this poem I realized something I knew but never put to words and that was that my father never just sat down to talk to his mother… she was there in our house and he loved her on some level but he never confided in her… When my mother was pregnant with me… Grannie tried to get him to leave my mother and their children. I know that is why I was treated the way I was by her.
THE POETRY SHACK
Deep in seclusion,
lost within the bowels of the forest;
well off the beaten track,
there lies a dilapidated shack.
Its wisened wood well acquainted
with years, aged in adversity, rustic
It is said that an old man resides
in that old shack—but that he never
leaves, yet he never lacks, anything.
He only cleaves to paper and pen,
writing over and over again.
His wild tears wet, run like a raging river,
still unable to quench their flow.
Funny they never saw him come or go,
like he was a fixture in that old shack.
Some say he’s only a myth, a legend,
some even say he’s crazy.
Though his muted words are never lazy,
uttered through oracle of mind
Whatever he thinks becomes the ink,
at any given moment.
Small, subtle, still moments captured
in the wilderness of ecstasy.
There’s nothing like the silence—
whispering soundless volumes,
deciphering untold secrets.
Fleeting secrets kept in the wind,
humming within the folds of autumn
There’s no place like the deep forested
bowels of imagination.
Because there’s no place
I really love this….I know this place….
Benjamin have you ever read the Poet of Tolestoy Park…He moved from Idaho to Fairhope Alabama…he led an interesting life… The book came to mind as I read this….
No I’ve never heard of this one.
Thanks sir William. It’s actually the name of one of my blogs.
They said my baby wasn’t my heart…
(for the parents of foster children)
They took my child from me.
He was just a baby boy.
Sure, I took drugs.
It wasn’t cause I wanted to,
But they put their hooks in me
When I had that wreck,
And now I can’t escape.
I know my baby’s crying for me.
I did the best I could, and
Where he slept is empty, and
Tomorrow I’m getting evicted,
And my food stamps are off, and
So is my welfare… How am I to survive.
When I knew I was having a baby,
I tried to quit, but once he was born,
That dealer came by and said,
“I know you want some sugar.”
And I did, Lord help me, I did.
The dealer smiled his snake eyed smile,
“I will give you some, if you do a few tricks for me.”
I wanted to walk away, but I nodded my head,
And said, let me go home, and I will.
I tucked my baby in his crib, and
Told him that mama will be right back,
It was a lie that I believed.
While I was walking the street,
My baby began to cry for he was hungry.
Someone called the law, and said I was out trickin’
Which I was, but it was no business of theirs.
Now all I want is my baby back,
He was the best thing I ever did, and
This woman is telling me I have to get off drugs,
Do parenting classes, have a home, and a job.
How am I gonna do that,
When all I want is the next fix, and
My baby back… I will do better,
If you let him come home, but
She tells me that isn’t gonna happen,
Until I do all those things.
She sees me crying,
And I know she doesn’t have a heart.
Doesn’t she know my baby is my heart.
I stood up and looked at her, and said,
“Go to he ll” More for me than for her…
For I am already living there.
Mary Elizabeth Todd
July 8, 2021
The hardest thing for me was working with the parents where most of them loved their children and wanted them back. My job was to help them get to a place they could get them back… I got cussed out a lot… some weeks it was several times a day. Got threatened a couple of times. But sitting across from a parent crying their heart out begging me to give their child or children back was the hardest… I understood their anger…
One of my dearest friends who worked with me asked me to write one about the parents… I read the other poem to her this morning…
Gut=wrenching stuff, this.
for near 28 years… I bought out the last two months… gutted my heart…thanks for noticing the pain…
This prompt has been tugging at me all week…through the holiday, the time off, the catching up on work once back in the office. I finally twirled around the opposite direction to see if I could stop time long enough to make the fleeting thoughts slow down…long enough to capture those words into verse. It’s a good thing I like the short forms, because I’ll be off and running again as soon as I click “post”. I did also read through many of the poems already posted…and for lack of time I’ll do a blanket “WOWZERS” to all. You (and your collective heart!) inspire me. XoX
Foundation of My Heart
where the tall corn grows.
dance at night,
and the work ethic is strong ~
it’s where I’m from–home.
A lot of heart in this ode to home. Good choice and form to release this, Paula!
I thought this was an especially skillful one; the first line is three syllables, as intended, yet feels like one.
Funny how a four-letter word can be three syllables! 🙂 Thank you, Bill! 🙂
Thank you, Walt! 🙂
The conciseness brings out great visuals!
I often feel I’m more of a wordsmith than poet, in trying to say what I want in few lines. So – conciseness is my game. I’m glad my words were still able to bring out the visuals for you. Thanks, Benjamin! 🙂
Clear and to the point …. I like it
Thank you, Mary! 🙂
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