PROMPT #352 – MANY FROM ONE

On Wednesday, during our exploration of Wallace Stevens’ work through his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, I instructed you to be mindful of this piece of poetics. Stevens observed his subject from many different angles, yet staying true to his subject, blackbirds.

I ask that you choose a subject, be it something in your travels or something in your realm of influence, and write your observations in as many parts as you see fit. The point of view is all yours. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so they say. There are many views of your chosen subject. Write them!

MARIE’S OBSERVATION:

GOLDEN DOOR

1.  Statue of Liberty

Mother of Exiles:
the unofficial greeter
who lights the entry.

2.  E pluribus unum (from many, one)

Though it may sing, the
human voice can’t, on its own,
create harmony.

3.  Breathe Free

Asphyxiated,
come! Inhale liberty, and
exhale oppression.

4.  Golden Door

Inexpensively
opening up a child’s world:
Little Golden Books.

5.  Rings True

You opened my heart
and sealed life-long allegiance
with just a gold band.

6.  Treasure Box

To the hungry child,
the dream door to open is
a fridge full of food.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021




WALT’S WIDE VIEW:

THE CHRISTMAS STAR

I

It shines in the night
To the children’s delight,
Clear and bright
It makes the world seem alright!

II 

They came from afar
At the behest of this star.
Leading them to the place
Where the Child born of grace lays.
Above Him it stays.

III

Twinkle, twinkle Christmas star
High in the sky is where you are.

IV

In the silence of night
The shepherds take comfort
By your fervent glow.
Angels call and the keepers know
That they need not be afraid.

V

Multitude of stars shine
But their combined light 
Is not as bright as the one star,
A constellation of itself.

VI

Christmas comes
Not in foil wrapped boxes,
Not with ribbons and bows.
God knows where the Son rises
And there are no surprises to find.
For where the star glows
Can salvation be far behind?

VII

Polish tradition states
That the meatless meal on your plate 
is not consumed before the star’s first light is seen.
A familial scene of togetherness.
The adults prepare their Christmas eve fare,
While the children keep watch in the skies.
Soon the starlight will come.
Star light, star bright, first star we see tonight!

VIII

My eyes don’t deceive,
For every time I leave for my flight
On that special night, the Star of Christmas 
shows its bright light. Christmas has come once again,
and I and my reindeer friends embark
into the dark night with only that star to lead.
Everywhere the starlight touches
Does as much to announce the day.
And I in my sleigh bow my head at that blessed sight,
I am Santa Claus, and all is right. 
It is Christmas!

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021


245 thoughts on “PROMPT #352 – MANY FROM ONE

  1. POETRY

    I.

    It is a whirlwind
    of words.

    At blazing speeds,
    never still.

    It is a graceful bird,
    peeking—

    Seeking seeds, placed
    on the windowsill.

    II.

    A digestion, of thought
    and will, freed from the deep bowels
    of affection—vomitory.

    A classical vignette, served
    on a silver platter; of one’s state
    of mind.

    III.

    It is a smooth comforter,
    full of warmth, shielding
    from the heinous elements
    of the world.

    A weaved quilt of words,
    a covering meant for beauty
    and intrigue.

    Benjamin Thomas

  2. POETRY PART 2

    I.

    An inspiration, taken heed.
    A small September voice.
    The flavor of autumn’s deeds.

    Slender reeds blowing in the wind.
    A presence from the shadow.
    Gems surfacing from the bottom.

    II.

    A kinetic train of extracted ore,
    an emotive locomotive;
    a light, a mirror—a door,
    into the mine of the conductor.

    III.

    A splash of delicate salmon
    on the palate.

    A vicious taste of herb
    igniting the senses.

    A slip of ruby Pinot noir,
    to lower the defenses.

    Benjamin Thomas

  3. POETRY PART 3

    I.

    The damp recesses of the mind.
    Dark, hidden rooms confiscated in the cellar.
    The subconscious, the muse’s written letter.

    II.

    Words chosen, pre-selected art,
    to best represent the constitution
    of the sculptor.

    The ambassadorial agent of choice,
    The poetical voice of the artist.

    III.

    An eloquent script.
    A therapeutic touch.
    A topical analgesic.
    Medicine of the muses.

    Benjamin Thomas

  4. POETRY PART 4

    I.

    On the tip,
    of the tongue.
    Drips of mystery.
    Salivant gifts—
    Sifted, sprung,
    from mists
    of history.

    II.

    A baseball drifting in the wind.
    Spending speed.
    Toward its target.
    A thwack—
    Then it comes back…
    Roars from a crowd.
    Cheers from a friend.

    III.

    Timeless stones,
    that will stand
    the test of time.

    Floating through
    era and age,
    by form or rhyme.

    Benjamin Thomas

  5. Pingback: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens – Poetry by Debi Swim

  6. Trees

    I.
    At the end of winter
    I look out my winter
    I look out my window
    Trying to seize
    The pink of budding
    Mouse ear leaves.
    I have watched
    Those tiny leaves
    Grow as I watch,
    Turn a light spring green,
    And I hear the birds chattering…
    As they celebrate
    It is spring.

    II

    As spring rides away,
    The heat of summer
    Comes and the trees
    Throw their shadows
    Cooling the air, and
    When the breeze rides
    Through their leaves
    Music is made,
    And I hear the tat-tat-tat
    Of woodpeckers
    Beating them like a drum,
    And the shrill call
    Of the hawk on the edge
    Claiming its kingdom
    Until the night and the owl is out,
    But it is when the lightening bugs
    Dance in the shadow of the trees
    That I know summer is here.

    III
    As fog floats upon the earth,
    Summer takes it cue, and
    Evaporates with it.
    The trees begin to dress
    Themselves
    In brilliant colors
    Dark red comes
    First from the black gum tree…
    It always rushes to party,
    Slowly the forest is glowing
    As golds, pinks, reds, and oranges
    Ignite it with a cold fire.
    As the air becomes brisk,
    The skies are crisp blue
    With cotton white clouds,
    In celebration of the trees
    In their finest hour
    And I celebrate the fall
    For it tells me life
    Is not just for the youth,
    But those who have aged
    Sometimes blaze
    With the passion of fire.

    IV
    As the frost
    Covers the trees,
    Autumn drops her dress, and
    Goes to sleep…
    The trees stand naked
    Except the prudish evergreens,
    And the beech and the white oaks
    Who prefer to wear brown in winter.
    The shades of grey
    Go from mouse brown grey to black,
    And as the days of grey descend
    They seem to be an army
    Marching towards the lights of houses.
    They seem to know the beat
    Of three four time
    As to those who do not listen to them
    Think they slumber through the long winter…
    Waiting, waiting, waiting-
    But instead, their grey uniforms
    Belie their sleeping
    And at night their forked limbs
    Reach into the velvet sky,
    Dancing to the rhythm
    Of the earth and making lace
    Of black against the sky
    While the moon glows
    Gives them ghostly shadows,
    And the stars dance
    For only them to see…
    Until the crocus
    Raise their tiny heads,
    And bloom in purples, blues,
    Yellows and whites…
    Whispering spring wake up.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 19, 2021

  7. AVICTIONARY

    What’s in a name? This verse’s task
    is asking what you did not ask:
    are blue jays blue because their blue
    is bluer than the bluebird’s blue;
    do turnstones really nudge at stones;
    do killdeer peck at Bambi’s bones;
    do spoonbills spoon, or do they bill
    the lark for songs they can’t fulfill;
    do robins steal and take to flight;
    are nighthawks birds who sell at night;
    and are, perchance, the hummingbirds
    the songsters who forgot the words;
    do peregrines, as they fly south,
    grin from both sides of the mouth,
    and do you think of muscovies
    as ducks that jog olfactories?
    Do warblers warble or do they wheeze
    as they fly off on southward breeze?
    Do catbirds mewl? Do cowbirds milk?
    Are harlequin ducks the jester’s ilk?
    Do marsh wrens ever nest in sedges
    and sedge wrens visit marshes’ edges?
    You think, perhaps, this is absurd
    but when I bedded a bower bird
    I learned the truth whereof I speak
    straight from the busy bower’s beak.

  8. THE FLOWERY
    (apologies to Charles H. Hoyt and Percy Gaunt)

    One day I was walking along,
    mindlessly humming a song
    when I passed by a flower shop;
    the place made me gasp and then stop,
    for the odors that poured out the door
    made my nose get all reddened and sore
    till I turned on my heel and I swore
    at the roses and lilies galore.
    I’ll never go there anymore.

    The flow’ry! The flow’ry!
    I snort and sneeze and I hack and wheeze
    at the flow’ry! The flow’ry!
    I’ll never go there anymore.

    I decided to write a petition
    to consign the old place to perdition,
    but most folks seemed to like it;
    they just wouldn’t spike it
    and they laughed at my semaphore.
    So hence, as my nose turns to gore
    near the shop with the tulip-shaped door,
    I’ll never go there anymore.

    The flow’ry! The flow’ry
    I snort and sneeze and I hack and wheeze
    at the flow’ry! The flow’ry!
    I’ll never go there anymore.

    If interested:

  9. Questions

    I
    The three-year-old
    Asks questions
    Just to talk…
    And the most
    Pervasive question
    Is
    Why?
    To which
    Answering it
    Always
    Leads to
    Why?

    II
    The eight-year-old
    Asks questions
    And gives
    Themselves
    Wrong answers,
    But
    Sometimes
    Answers
    The tough
    Question
    In
    Innocence
    That makes
    The adult
    Stop to wonder
    What was I thinking?

    III
    The teen
    Screams,
    Stomps,
    Yells,
    And begs
    Why Me?
    They never
    Listen
    To the reason
    For
    Reasoning
    Is beyond
    Them…
    It is better
    To listen
    With your heart
    To their heart
    And hug
    Their question
    With no answer
    But love.

    IV

    The young adult
    Is asked
    Where are you going?
    What do you plan to do?
    Who do you love?
    When all they
    Have planned
    Is to enjoy their days,
    And going where
    They want
    Until love catches
    Them and makes
    Them think of more
    Than themselves.

    V
    The middle years
    Have few questions
    Except for those
    Like me
    Who questions everything.
    They answer questions
    Of three-year-olds,
    And are woke up
    By eight-year-olds,
    And teens frustrate
    Them because
    Deep in the
    Recesses of their mind
    They are asking
    The question
    Why me?
    But no one hears them,
    And no one answers them
    Or cares
    That they wonder
    About the life
    They are living.

    VI
    The aged are forgotten,
    Often put away
    And visited on Sunday
    Like they are a prize
    Piece of art
    That they should
    Play homage
    To at least once a week…
    For some those
    Grey headed people
    Wonder who are these people
    Who take me from my memories?
    Others just ask,
    Why are we forgotten and left to exist
    In a place that is not home?
    Still others live
    In their homes,
    And know who comes
    To see them,
    And plan to be cantankerous-
    Live a long life
    Hearing whispers
    Of when is she going to die?
    I smile for that is me,
    And I tell them
    I plan to live a long life,
    And what are you thinking
    Am I not still alive?

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 19, 2021

  10. Seasonal Notebook Thoughts, 17 x 17

    Summer’s final breath,
    ravens scouting this year’s nests,
    monks still pray for peace.

    Autumn’s first breezes,
    humans spy as we build homes,
    wrens find peace mid-air.

    Days of thanksgiving
    abound with friendship and joy.
    There is bliss in peace.

    Seeking awareness
    before winter’s arrival.
    Peace may still flow in.

    As winter draws near,
    perhaps we’ll tread consciously.
    Peace is every step.

    Clouds of December,
    painting paths and rooftops white.
    Peace in the village.

    Frosted serenades
    accent winter’s frozen sleeps.
    Dawn’s peace comes slowly.

    Living mindfully
    in the holiday bedlam.
    Peace is a challenge.

    Winter’s fire is banked,
    air dancing above hard coals
    At peace in my bed.

    Spring is not summer.
    Pickles aren’t yet cucumbers.
    Peace is who one is.

    Soft blue, like the sky
    in the first kiss of summer.
    Peace, carried by doves.

    One sings of summer,
    winter’s grip soon forgotten.
    Peace always trumps fear.

    Life is as it is.
    No need to create anew.
    Peace is snow and sun.

    Elders learn by fall
    that summer’s crises soon end.
    Peace will come with calm.

    All of man’s seasons
    bring natural inventions,
    peace the best of them.

    One is not separate
    from the earth at any time.
    With peace, all are one.

    There’s but one question,
    summer, winter, spring and fall.
    Will one work for peace?

  11. Hummingbirds Dance and Play

    the sound of a buzz
    flurry of wings
    nature’s awakening

    hummingbird hovers
    inches away from me
    nature’s enticement

    forest by my side
    shadows of secrets kept
    depths of amazement

    minute presence
    green and ruby breast
    rapid beat of heart and wings

    hummingbird sweeps air
    cathedral of trees
    angel wings glisten

    hummingbird in hand broken wing
    an unspoken request for help
    touches a mortal heart

    leaves rustle
    a gust of wind
    a story told to those who listen

    a look out the restaurant window
    a feeder with nectar of the gods
    hummingbirds dance and play

    from a lush cover of forest
    feathered bodies rise
    into gold-colored skies

  12. Sunflowers

    ubiquitous
    unctuous
    undulating

    *
    September’s surprise
    sprawling sprangly
    sly silphids

    *

    ray flowers in the teens
    central burnished brown disks
    sturdy if slender sandpaper stems

    *

    traveling nomads
    roadside congregants
    praising in their own church

    *

    Asteraceae Compositae
    Helianthus annuus Linnaeus

    70 species endless morphings

    *
    all eartly language elusive
    as their turning toward sun
    to capture their yellow shifting light

    *

    in the low water plain
    aging rancher dozes brush
    plants 27 rows of sunflowers

    *
    Kansas homage in backwoods
    beauty its only reason
    Kingfisher’s barking witness

    *
    Arles, France 1888
    16 sunflowers gathered
    in fat cream and yellow vase

    *
    captured first by eye’s lens
    fisted and carried to studios
    sketched painted immortalized

    *
    Linnaeus
    Van Gogh
    Ginsberg

    *
    Botanist/botany
    Painter/art
    poet/sutra

    *
    undulating
    ubiquitous
    unctuous

    • Sunflowers

      ubiquitous
      unctuous
      undulating

      *
      September’s surprise
      sprawling sprangly
      sly silphids

      *

      ray flowers in the teens
      central burnished brown disks
      sturdy if slender sandpaper stems

      *

      traveling nomads
      roadside congregants
      praising in their own church

      *

      Asteraceae Compositae
      Helianthus annuus Linnaeus

      70 species endless morphings

      *
      all eartly language elusive
      as their turning toward sun
      to capture their yellow shifting light

      *

      in the low water plain
      aging rancher dozes brush
      plants 27 rows of sunflowers

      *
      Kansas homage in backwoods
      beauty its only reason
      Kingfisher’s barking witness

      *
      Arles, France 1888
      16 sunflowers gathered
      in fat cream and yellow vase

      *
      captured first by eye’s lens
      fisted and carried to studios
      sketched painted immortalized

      *
      Linnaeus
      Van Gogh
      Ginsberg

      *
      Botanist/botany
      Painter/art
      poet/sutra

      *
      undulating
      ubiquitous
      unctuous

  13. Humor

    1.
    I laughed at myself
    For no apparent reason
    Sometimes that happens

    2.
    The joke was funny
    Even though it was on me
    I’m not offended

    3.
    Blazing Saddles rocks
    In its original form
    Everyone gets punked

    4.
    Time to take a breath
    Laughter is great medicine
    We all need a dose

    5.
    Dry Bar Comedy
    The laughs without bad language
    Like it used to be

    6.
    Life without humor
    That would be a disaster
    Not the life for me

    7.
    If you don’t believe
    God has a sense of humor
    Look in the mirror

  14. The Perspectives of God

    I
    Greedy
    Oppressing
    Demanding

    II
    Glorious
    Omniscient
    Dependable

    III
    Grumpy
    Old
    Depressing

    IV
    Gracious
    Overwhelming
    Divine

    V
    Generic
    Ordinary
    Drab

    VI
    Giving
    Obliging
    Delighting

    VII
    Godhead
    Omnipresent
    Deity

  15. Thoughts On Sunflowers

    i
    petals open
    turning toward the light
    sun salutation


    ii
    leaning on each other
    swaying in the wind
    drunken sailors


    iii
    heavy with seeds
    flower heads droop to earth
    easy feast for squirrels


    iv
    round flat center
    filled with the promise of nectar
    landing pad for bees


    v
    standing tall
    against a blue sky
    many suns

  16. Sunflowers

    ubiquitous
    unctuous
    undulating

    *
    September’s surprise
    sprawling sprangly
    sly silphids

    *

    ray flowers in the teens
    central burnished brown disks
    sturdy if slender sandpaper stems

    *

    traveling nomads
    roadside congregants
    praising in their own church

    *

    Asteraceae Compositae
    Helianthus annuus Linnaeus

    70 species endless morphings

    *
    all eartly language elusive
    as their turning toward sun
    to capture their yellow shifting light

    *

    in the low water plain
    aging rancher dozes brush
    plants 27 rows of sunflowers

    *
    Kansas homage in backwoods
    beauty its only reason
    Kingfisher’s barking witness

    *
    Arles, France 1888
    16 sunflowers gathered
    in fat cream and yellow vase

    *
    captured first by eye’s lens
    fisted and carried to studios
    sketched painted immortalized

    *
    Linnaeus
    Van Gogh
    Ginsberg

    *
    Botanist/botany
    Painter/art
    poet/sutra

    *
    undulating
    ubiquitous
    unctuous

    Pat Anthony
    (can’t post regular way)

  17. OH, TO SEE THE SEA

    i.
    Your surface is deceptive
    So much hidden beneath it
    Cascading down into depths
    What lurks down there
    What will show itself

    One can only wonder where
    How to discover secrets
    Ebb and flow

    ii.
    Please wash over me, dear wave
    Let your salty air flow past
    Let me trust your wild current
    Sweep me away
    With gentle movement

    Until I can breathe your breeze
    Without falling to my knees
    Now works, please

    iii.
    I only wish to hear you
    As you, sooth my soul to sleep
    As if I’m now floating free
    Adrift on you
    A sweet unbound sea

    Carry me towards your shore, please
    In liquid rock a bye form
    I am home

    iv.
    I’m a pebble at your feet
    As your water trickles down
    The eternal song plays on
    Timelessness comes
    The sands of time sing

    We are now the chimes all hear
    Our synergy moves the world
    Harmony

    v.
    Flying as high as seabirds
    I gaze down to your strong waves
    Impressed by your subtle force
    The breeze can tease
    And yet ease tension

    Your beautiful motions cry
    As they race to the finish
    Muffled sand

    vi.
    On a beach within my reach
    Watching you approach slowly
    My toes begin to wiggle
    I bet you’re cold
    And wet, so soothing

    I am so willing to play
    Going back and forth with froth
    Splash you back

    vii.
    Will you hide my love and I
    Keep our love secrets hidden
    Covering our tracks by night
    Not revealing
    Only concealing

    Loving each other and you
    Deep in your sands of embrace
    Fresh moonlight

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2021

  18. This prompt has so many places to go. Such a wonderful idea! Your two poems today, Walt and Marie, were inspirational and wonderfully fitting tp both the prompt and each of you.

    On a personal note, thank you, dear poets, for all for your supportive and comforting comments while I process the recent death of my husband, Bruce. I know this experience will inspire many poems to come. I want to read more of your excellent work but my time has been limited with so much to do during this time. I know you all understand. I am grateful for your kindness. Thank you all so much!

  19. Experiences of Love or Otherwise

    i.
    A mewling
    clinging dependency
    from conception
    painful attachment
    skin to skin bonding
    a fierce pulsating love
    that should be pure
    but is often
    otherwise
    conditions of acceptance
    corrupting
    she lost me in the moment she compared
    me leaving her abuse to her child dying

    ii.
    fatherly love
    is remarkable here
    only by its absence

    iii.
    great love defined by loss
    this one is carried with me always
    reminiscent of yellow sunflowers
    called into mind by certain scents
    certain flowers, songs, sights in nature
    the fullness of this absence
    is the most bittersweet love
    at times a soft caress of summer
    other times a stormy stone cold winter
    my heart lives with me and in the ground
    tender and strengthened

    iv.
    lust disguised as care
    an unwillingness to listen to the word
    no
    not fully spoken but expressed
    in discomfort, head turned away, tears
    no
    a very young thing overwhelmed
    the way he preferred it

    v.
    gentleness
    soft caressing whispers
    domesticated bliss
    this love is pure
    wholesome
    growing constant
    healing green
    vines and leaves
    planted and cared for
    in the cerebral decay
    of trauma and loss
    each helping each
    in the quietness of home
    this love is a soft meadow
    and a raging river
    and a starry night sky
    and the purple blush
    of twilight magic

    vi.
    this love is not yet come into being
    created of my love and my love’s love
    the love for my still unknowing child is fierce
    and pure as my own mother’s should have been

    Erin Kay, 2021

  20. Power of Humor

    I.

    Saying something funny,
    making people laugh
    in direst of times.

    II.

    Her sense of humor
    was based on
    other’s misfortunes.

    III.

    Humors of the boss
    affected employees.
    They waited on tiptoes.

    IV.

    It was easier to agree
    with her, than argue
    about everything.

    V.

    An author whose
    books might be
    opened to any page,
    and produce laughter.

    VI.

    We lined up, coins
    pressed in sweaty
    fists, in front of
    the Good Humor truck.

    https://poeticbloomings2.wordpress.com/

  21. The Eleven stages of this quilt…
    *The eleventh stage is unfinished.

    I

    I chose wool to make a quilt…
    And decided to embroider on each square…
    A crazy quilt it is called…

    II

    The wool came from clothes
    I wore…
    The red from a jacket,
    The blue from an Easter suit
    When I was twelve, and
    Also, one made of teal
    When I was fourteen.
    One from a maxi coat
    That I wore in college
    The color of evergreens it was.
    I loved that coat,
    And wish I still had it,
    But only memories and
    Scrapes are all I have of it.

    III

    There were pieces
    From a coat Ma wore,
    And shirts that belonged
    To Da…
    He loved plaid shirts,
    And the one
    In the quilt is one
    I gave him.

    IV

    One square has a red chair
    Another has a cabin
    With tall evergreens
    And still another
    Was a ship
    Sailing across the ocean.
    There is one that is a wrench,
    And another with the mountains
    And a lake,
    But the last one completed
    Has a M for my name.

    V

    I embroidered a red rose,
    And a harp and a thistle.
    I did French knots for tiny flowers
    Like those that grow in the mountains.
    I embroidered the date I finished
    Each square, and the date I finished the last one.
    I let my imagination
    Work through the use of my needle.
    I embroidered around
    Each scrap of cloth
    In a chain stitch
    In colors bright and fanciful.

    VI

    For years I moved the squares around…
    Ma liked to show people
    The quilt I was making
    And never got finished…
    The truth is
    I liked to move the squares around.

    VII

    I bought some paisley velvet
    To lay between the squares.
    I need to take it apart,
    And fix a mess
    I made before
    I got ill.
    It is a minor mistake…
    But this quilt
    Carries my memories,
    In each stitch…
    I want to do it right.

    VII

    I will hand tie
    Tufting at each corner
    Of each square…
    I bought a quilting frame…
    Got it at a bargain…
    But it isn’t a bargain
    If I never get around to using it.
    I drove to the mountains
    To get that frame
    In a car with bad brakes,
    And decided to drive
    The dragon’s tale,
    What a ride that was.

    VIII

    I thought I would line
    It with satin,
    But choosing the color
    Is the problem.
    I first thought of red,
    And then purple, but
    Now I think
    I may use a bright blue.

    IX

    As soon as frost has come,
    I will pull out that quilt,
    And fix the mistake
    That I made years before
    I got ill,
    And once that is done…

    X

    And I don’t know when…
    I need to make myself
    Promise
    I will get it finished
    Before another year passes…
    Because if I make a promise…
    I never break it…
    It is something that those who know me
    Understand my promises are few.
    This poem will remain
    Unfinished
    Until I put the last stitch
    In that quilt, and then I will
    Write one last verse.

    XI
    To be continued…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 19, 2021

  22. THE CATERPILLAR AND THE TREE

    Pitty-pat.
    As the caterpillar goes.

    Pitty-pat.
    He rises high upon his toes.

    Ruminates, contemplates—
    Nope. I am not taller than this tree.

    Nope. It’s as high as the sky can see.
    Nope. I’m still just little ol’ me.

    He sighed, then tipped his hat.
    Smiled, went about his way.

    Pitty-pat….

    Benjamin Thomas

  23. THE BUTTERFLY AND THE TREE

    You can only fly,
    once you have wings.

    Beautiful, basted
    buttercup wings.

    Tinged with a touch
    of black.

    By the hand
    of Mother Nature.

    You can defy—
    gravity, once you have wings.

    Only limited,
    by the power of the wind.

    Alight a branch, breath
    and take off again.

    Take fearless flight above
    the height of trees.

    Like a hawk, feasting
    upon a deep green sea.

    Reminiscing,
    when I was little ol’ me.

    Benjamin Thomas

  24. LIFE’S A STITCH

    Sometimes,
    life’s a stitch.

    You feel,
    the cold, hard steel.

    The subtle puncture
    of the needle.

    The sharp pains
    of circumstance.

    To become garment,
    a work of art.

    Sometimes,
    life’s a stitch.

    But we miss
    the bigger picture.

    Benjamin Thomas

  25. Thirteen Cats I have Loved….

    I

    He didn’t really belong to us…
    The black and white Persian
    With the normal kitty face
    Before the breeders
    Ruined their faces…
    He was a tuxedo cat,
    But he chose us
    And didn’t like those
    Who bought him.
    I have to apologize for his name
    For I named for the cat
    In Cinderella…
    I named him Lucifer…
    Da laughed because
    He had a cat named Dam it,
    We moved and we had no trees,
    And Lucifer returned
    To the trees,
    And my beautiful boy was gone.

    II

    Da named him Blackberry,
    But I called him CAT.
    Sleek black and beautiful.
    Sweet cat listened to my dreams,
    And my broken heart…
    Some men broke his leg,
    And it healed.
    They poisoned him,
    And Ma fed him
    Raw egg and tequila,
    And he survived.
    They shot him,
    And he died.

    III

    Kris came
    As a rambling boy,
    And decided he wanted to stay.
    Big Yellow and white boy.
    He and our dog played a game…
    Greta dropped him off the deck;
    He came back, and
    She would do it again.
    I cried when he died.

    IV

    Tiny yellow and white kitten
    Made up of Persian,
    Siamese and alley cat,
    And had the worst qualities
    Of each of them…
    Hissed as she clung to the rail
    With three tiny paws,
    And reached to slap me.
    Fearless she was…
    I named her for a character
    In a book…
    Dezia and added a name
    For each year…
    She had twenty-one names,
    And my heart broke
    As I held her as she died.

    V

    Ruby was a possessed tuxedo cat,
    Of this I had no doubt…
    One minute sweet,
    The next minute a tyrant
    Except to Ma…
    She loved Ma.
    Cancer took her early…
    And I missed the she-devil.

    VI
    June came next
    With her brother Gus…
    She was so beautiful
    With her ostrich tail
    She loved to swish
    Things from the coffee table
    To get my attention,
    She carried her baby
    With her every where
    A bit of sheep skin.
    She was bit by a tick,
    That I carried
    Into our home,
    And it ate her blood,
    And I was left
    With a hole
    In my heart
    For she was my favorite cat,
    And guilt that took years to forgive.

    VII

    Cassie came to me
    For Gus was grieving…
    A beauty of a cat
    Who rarely meowed,
    And was smart and talented
    In her tricks,
    And her love of playing fetch the ball.
    The tuxedo queen…
    But cancer came calling,
    And took her fast…
    I was too ill to notice,
    Until it was too late.
    In the grey shadows of my life
    And the long hours sleeping,
    I dreamed of her riding
    On a black carriage
    Pulled by black horses
    With pink ribbon streamers.

    VIII

    Pearl came next
    And she was briefly with us…
    A flame point girl
    But with Persian in her…
    But those breeders
    That bred that face
    Of the Persians today…
    Also brought along
    Polycystic Kidney Disease,
    And that disease
    That killed my father
    And brothers
    Took her life, too.
    IX

    King Louis
    Of the Inheritance
    Was born to live outside…
    He ruled his kingdom and wisdom,
    With his wise gold eyes,
    And his gold tabby robe…
    He was a sight to behold.

    X

    BlackFace was queen,
    And though I have apologized
    For her name…
    It was given because her face
    Was polished shiny like a black onyx stone,
    And she loved me.
    She was scary and tough,
    But she loved me,
    And that is all that mattered.

    XI

    Stripe my gangsta kitty.
    A real tough scrapper,
    But like BlackFace she loved me;
    I loved her back.
    I asked her more than once
    To move into the house with me,
    But she liked her wandering ways.
    One day she went a wandering
    And never came home.

    XII

    Gus, I loved
    With all my heart,
    And the day he died
    I was lost.
    He was a healer, and comforter,
    And a talker.
    The day his voice was silenced
    The house was deathly quiet…
    He is a character in a book,
    A friend placed him there for me…
    It has been hard for me to write
    For he slept under my desk,
    And chatted with me all day.
    Oh, Gus, a thousand
    Reasons I can give
    Of why loved and miss you.

    XIII

    The last cat is actually two…
    The ones that live with me…
    They squabble and fight,
    And I play referee
    When they get too rough…
    “Binkey and Tillie,”
    I yell, “stop it!”
    It does no good
    For they ignore me,
    But when I am sad,
    They cuddle with me
    Till I fall asleep…
    So, they are keepers.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 20, 2021

  26. My Faith was Built

    1
    From fire and brimstone
    I was pulled
    One weekend
    When I saw how dead my soul was.
    I crumbled
    When He called to me…
    I said I could not go alone…
    He sent someone
    To walk with me.

    2

    I lost my way,
    When love had failed.
    I asked why was
    I following this Man called Jesus.
    He waited for me to find my way…
    A man was sent
    Who let me search…
    And when I had found my way
    Our road together had ended.
    God gave me back my life
    In those he sent to me.

    3

    I was bruised and angry
    Why did I have break again…
    I saw the valley of the dry bones
    And saw my bones laying there…
    A hand unseen touched my bones,
    And they rattled and shook
    As the joints clicked together…
    I said they are just bones…
    Dead white bones…
    There was a whisper,
    And muscles, organs, skin covered the bones…
    But I am not breathing, said I.
    I felt a gentle breeze and the lungs
    Began to breath and the heart I could hear beat…
    I whispered; I am not yet alive…
    There in the dry bones,
    I felt the breath of God
    Breathe into my soul,
    I was born anew.
    Troubles may come;
    Troubles will go,
    But
    The I will remain living.

    4

    Losses carved into my soul
    A canyon of many colors…
    There is where I was harmed
    It is the color of purple,
    There is the blue of the eyes
    Of my family that I can no longer see.
    There is red the color of my blood,
    Washed clean by the Blood of Another.
    Green is the color of the lives
    That have touched me and left.
    But as the Light shines down
    Upon all those losses
    I see them sparkle and gleam, and
    Know I am blessed.

    5

    I never had to worry about a meal,
    Or how I would pay my bills
    Until I fell into a place
    Where there was more than
    I could pay, and I felt
    Lost and asked for aid,
    And two women gave to me
    Money that kept me going.
    I remember the day
    With tears running down
    As I stood in the rain trying
    To save the gravel
    I had bought to mend my road.
    It washed away beyond my reach,
    And my heart was breaking.
    I cried to the darkest of nights
    Lord help me survive.
    I learned in those days
    That I am given what I need,
    And sometimes what I want,
    Trusting was a lesson I learned.

    6

    My purpose was lost, and
    A warrior I am
    Needs a purpose to keep going…
    My health seemed broken,
    And I wanted to give up,
    Through things
    That turned upside down,
    And when I seemed my most lost
    The purpose I was given
    Was the one that I wanted,
    And so, I write each day to keep going.

    7

    Today I know that my faith
    Began with that first answered prayer,
    And the people He has sent me since
    That moment.
    I know my foundation is strong
    Built upon the rocks
    But to get there…
    Those rocks had to be toted,
    Hauled, dug up, dragged, wielded
    And lugged…but I am here
    Having been changed
    With my chains broken
    For this faith I have been given
    Came with hard work and
    His loving aid.
    I know whatever may come
    We will face it together.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 20, 2021

  27. I can tell I am too much in Sardis and Renald’s story- forgive me this one…

    Memories

    Memories are created without us knowing.
    Life goes on day by day.
    Each day we wake and keep on going.
    Memories are created without us knowing.
    Planting seeds that one day will be growing
    In our hearts and there they stay.
    Memories are created without us knowing.
    Life goes on day by day.

    Memories are a lost key to be found
    Waiting for us to unlock a forgotten door…
    The sound of tap, tap tapping does resound.
    Memories are a lost key to be found
    And wakes the heart to a familiar sound
    A voice of someone once did adore
    Memories are a lost key to be found
    Waiting for us to unlock a forgotten door…

    Memories are yet to be made
    With the past a mist, and the future to own.
    Speak the words so my heart will be swayed.
    Memories are yet to be made
    In this place yet unsurveyed-
    Make me smile, groan, laugh, and make me moan.
    Memories are yet to be made
    With the past a mist, and the future to own.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 20, 2021

  28. OUR LOVE IS MUSIC

    Our lips were music.
    Classical.
    Rhythm and blues.
    Harmonious.
    A melodious tap dance.
    A clickety-clack.
    From Oxford shoes.

    Our love.
    Is the style
    and sound of music.
    Sumptuous opera.
    Well timed tones.
    Canon in D.
    Wedding bells
    and xylophones.

    Our kiss.
    Is solid brass.
    Like the arrival
    of eager French horns.
    Unpetulant.
    But an unfurled
    rose—
    Accompanied
    by thorns.

    Benjamin Thomas

  29. THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE

    Love is infinite.
    An immeasurable quantity.
    A count of eternity.
    1 + 1 = 1
    For the two,
    shall become—
    one flesh.
    Incalculable.
    Palpable.
    Illogical
    mathematics.

    Benjamin Thomas

  30. LOVES’S JOURNEY

    If love is in the air, grant my wish,
    grant me wings.

    Let us ride nature’s interminable wave;
    whispers in open ears, the immaterial things.

    If love is in the ocean, drop me in the open sea;
    until dissolved completely, then let me be.

    If love is on the mountaintop, grant me strength, and let me scale the upmost height.

    Embark on one’s perilous journey, and see
    the sights—of love.

    Benjamin Thomas

  31. THE QUESTION OF LOVE

    Can a man rightly define love,
    if it came out from heaven, descended down
    from above?

    Can a man truly comprehend—
    that which has no beginning, or that which
    has no end?

    Benjamin Thomas

  32. TIMELESS PAGES

    Timeless stories
    never stand still.

    They move seamlessly
    throughout the ages.

    Yet ageless,
    they land in the hearts
    of many.

    There they stand
    alive, alert, anew;

    Where timeless pages—
    become a part of you.

    Benjamin Thomas

  33. Novel Writing vs. Poetry Writing
    (Odd verses novel; even verses Poetry)

    Each day I am at war with myself…
    I am editing; it takes time;
    It takes guts cutting lines,
    Changing words, correcting mistakes.
    Will it ever be finished?

    Every day I am war with myself…
    There is an idea that has popped up,
    And it must be explored…
    Once written it must be edited-
    Does this work here or better there?

    Novels take time to explore the soul
    Of a character that does not exist.
    Depth doesn’t come in the first paragraph
    That is the hook, not the story.
    A hook is a hint of what is to come… but not yet.

    Writing poetry is concise.
    The depth of a poem
    Is held within a few words.
    It is an eye-opening exposure
    Processed in few words.

    Novels have plots, a path,
    The characters must take…
    To reveal who they are, and
    What is their mettle.

    Poetry has ideas, and visions
    Made of colors, and words, and
    They don’t take a path.
    They are the path
    That leads the reader to an idea.

    Novels tell stories
    Involving characters,
    And takes you on their journey,
    And keeps you guessing
    At how this story will end.

    Poetry tells stories
    Walking in the forest with the poet,
    Sitting with the author as she grieves,
    Standing on the edge of the sea as he dreams,
    For stories do not die till the teller does.

    Characters are complex
    And you want them to win,
    Or you want them to end…
    Depends on if they are good
    Or if they are evil.

    The poet is the character
    Exposing their inner soul…
    Telling you the journey
    They are on,
    And it will end when they have died.

    The ending should have the answers.
    No doubt of what has happened,
    It should satisfy the reader.
    They should want to smile
    That everything feels that it is as it should be.

    The ending should leave questions…
    Is this who I am…
    Is this how I live…
    Everything seems right
    Do I want to be this way?

    Novels writing takes time.

    Some poems take time and remain unfinished.

    Editing is a pain.

    On this I will agree.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 21, 2021

  34. Mr. Bear

    When it sat on a shelf
    in a department store,
    it was a cute, fluffy
    Teddy bear. I bought it.

    I gave it to my great niece.
    She gave it a hug
    and called him Mr. Bear.
    It was a friend.

    She threw it up in the air.
    Over and over.
    High and low. Catch!
    Mr. Bear was a ball.

    She swung it back and forth,
    hitting couches and chairs
    and Dad and Mom.
    Mr. Bear was a bat.

    She whirled it around
    by its fuzzy arms
    until she was out of breath.
    Mr. Bear was a dancing partner.

    She raced back and forth
    holding him high
    through the air.
    Mr. Bear was an airplane.

    She grew tired
    lay her head on its tummy
    and fell asleep.
    Mr. Bear was a pillow.

    The cute fuzzy bear
    had transformed
    to a multi-purpose toy
    in the hands of a child.

    • lovely and how our brains edits memories… is a mystery to me… Back in 1970 I met a young man and we were friends… we did not date… we often shot pool together, fast forward 50 years and on facebook we started chatting, and it seems we both kept memories of each other when knew each other in college… I was surprised he is an AME minister…He was a bad boy back then… I talked about him over those 50 years and wondered what had happened to him…But in my brain are these crisp and clear memories of him… snippets really… but why were they kept… is one of those God questions that I keep in an invisible box.

  35. The Invisible Boxes

    I have multiple invisible boxes
    That have kept me safe,
    Kept my dreams,
    Harbored my imagination,
    And stored my questions …

    The first one is built of iron,
    And black and rusty.
    There I kept those things
    That hurt me hid
    For me to live my life.
    There were chains around
    The outer box
    With a rusty lock…
    It took me years
    To open that box
    With my battle axe,
    And I found steel box within
    With chains and locks
    But here in a dusty corner
    Was the key to unlock the locks,
    And each box opened unto another box
    Until all was revealed…
    For me to forgive
    Those that forged
    Those boxes.

    The second box
    Held the dreams
    I wanted for my life…
    Often, I open it, and
    Often do I close it…
    Daring not to let those dreams live.
    It is made of the gossamer wings
    Of Luna Moths… delicate and beautiful…
    Do I dare release those dreams?

    The third box is made of leaves from trees,
    And the wind that blows…
    Ideas come in strange places, and
    I house them here…
    It has no locks and easily opened…
    My favorite box to open
    When I want to play…
    It is like that junk drawer
    Filled with things we might need…
    The pieces of twine, and the yo-yo
    I never could get to work,
    But one day I know I will need it
    Into this invisible box
    Only I can see
    Those magical things
    I will one day release.

    The fourth box
    Is my favorite box…
    It is where I keep my God Questions…
    The ones I have no answers,
    And one day will place
    This box of colors
    And simmering glass
    Crystal with golden hinges,
    Before God,
    And know I will get the answers…
    Some are small like
    How did you decide
    To place the planets
    On their particular road
    Around the sun…
    Some are tough questions
    About why I was placed
    Here in this specific time.
    I place the questions
    There knowing
    There is no answer
    That seems to work
    And when I see His face,
    Those questions will dissolve.

    These four boxes
    I created when I was small.
    The first was created by
    Fear, anger, and hate.
    The second was created
    When I had my first dream
    To be an opera singer, then a dancer
    And finally decided upon writer.
    The last was to be loved…
    But disappoints keep me
    Locking that box
    Placing it back on te shelf.
    The third one began
    That day I met my imaginary friends
    Who took me on wonderful adventures.
    The last box is the most valuable,
    And most of those questions
    I keep between me and God…
    For there is no satisfactory answer
    As to why some chose to hurt,
    And others don’t.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 22, 2021

  36. THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS

    I.

    Glass dreams
    are
    Broken dreams.

    Golden dreams
    are
    Priceless.

    II.

    Hope like shattered
    glass.

    Shards sick, splayed,
    scattered.

    Dreams can break,
    completely collapse.

    If they truly never
    mattered.

    III.

    Things of gold have
    true value.

    Preciousness is worth
    its weight.

    Lustrous yellow aspirations
    shine.

    Superior quality,
    has no expiration date.

    Benjamin Thomas

  37. INCORRUPTIBLE KISSES

    I.

    True love is never
    misplaced.

    Its golden kisses
    are incorruptible.

    They never tarnish,
    they never corrode.

    Once you get a
    lover’s taste.

    II.

    Kisses can be like
    sandpaper.

    Stripping the opponent
    of affection.

    When the languorous
    heart is led astray.

    The lips can be
    misdirection.

    Kisses formulaic,
    stoic in nature.

    Are ice cold and
    devoid of life.

    Night of the living
    dead—“Til death do us part”

    Corpses, are
    man and wife.

    Benjamin Thomas

  38. Livin’ on Antihistamine…

    I wake up with a headache
    From the antihistamines I take…
    But when they wear off…
    My coughing begins, and
    I curse being born
    Allergic to the world…

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…
    Seafood I remember I loved…
    Popcorn shrimp, deviled crab
    Were my delights…
    For years I played a game of roulette…
    Took Benadryl and ate me some
    To keep the hives at bay,
    Until I couldn’t any more…

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
    Were a favorite of mine…
    Then one day I started itching,
    And the hives appeared.
    Now I dream of my last meal
    Being made up of peanut and banana sandwiches,
    And maybe popcorn shrimp.
    They will take me out,
    But I will die happy.

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    Bee stings are dangerous for me…
    It is why I keep an epi-pen handy.
    I swell up and itch and burn.
    My feet so swollen, it hurts to take a step.
    Deer flies gives me hives,
    And mosquitoes itch for hours…
    Even Benadryl cannot relieve.

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    Sodium laurate sulfate
    Is in many things…
    Shampoos make my scalp bleed,
    Toothpaste makes my gums bleed,
    Soaps that make my skin itch…
    The list goes on…
    And those without cost a bunch…

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    Sometimes I get hives
    When I drink hot tea, coffee
    Or hot chocolate…
    Whelps the size of my hand
    Dance across my body…
    I had a dream.
    Vitamin E for some reason
    Makes these reactions stop.

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    I loved turnip greens in winter
    With cornbread and chow-chow…
    Those I can no longer eat…
    The same is for collards.
    My skin turns red and burns like fire…
    Strawberries sometimes does the same,
    But not all the time.
    It is will it do it this time or will it not.
    I can eat black walnuts in moderation
    But cannot each English walnuts…
    Wonder what the difference is…
    And I could go on,
    But this list is getting tiresome
    So, I won’t.

    Got my Benadryl, my Zyrtec
    And my epi-pen,
    I am ready to face the world…

    Yes, I can go anywhere
    As long as I have my pills
    And my epi-pen.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 23, 2021

    • a friend on Facebook said I should write a country song and the title for this was her suggestion… not exactly a song… may come back to the idea later and work out a song…

    • I miss one big section of my allergies…

      But how could I forget…
      I am allergic to Penicillin,
      For I break out when I handle a pill.
      Sulfur drugs ruined a Thanksgiving.
      Antibiotics… if there are five side effects
      I will have four,
      Anti-viral drugs give me hallucinations…
      I saw heads on spikes melting
      (I was watching the Tudors) and
      Bats by the hundreds flying forth
      From my fireplace.
      Not taking that again…
      After the migraine medication
      Gave three days of hives…
      My doctor said…
      No new medications.

  39. this is just for fun…

    If I was a rich woman…

    1
    I would have ten pair of glasses
    To wear when a particular mood
    Struck my fancy…
    The first pair would be
    The glasses I wore in my garden…
    Sturdy strong and do the trick
    Kind of ordinary wire-rimmed glasses…

    2
    I would have a pair of sunglasses
    With a touch of art deco,
    And rhinestones on the side…
    They would give me a mysterious allure.
    I would give a slow smile,
    Keep them wondering.

    3
    I would have a pair of electric blue frames
    To enhance my blue eyes.
    Maybe these would not be wire-rims,
    And maybe they would.

    4
    Of course, I would have red…
    They would match my red shoes
    That I wear with my black dress,
    And ruby earrings
    Which I don’t have,
    But if I can have ten pairs of glasses,
    I think I can have those.

    5
    I would have black wire-rims
    When I am being studious.
    People will think I am all business,
    But you and I know that I’m not.

    6
    I think I want my old wire-rims
    That are gold and have etchings
    On the side, I will wear again…
    If I have to find someone
    Who can do that for me.
    They take me back to my youth
    When I wore gold wire-rims
    Before most people wore them.

    7
    I would like a fun pair
    With an artistic bent…
    These I would choose
    With bright colors,
    Maybe hot pink or
    Bright orange…
    Those would be
    For those days
    I just wanted to have fun.

    8
    I would like some that are lavender
    And maybe they would have flowers
    On the side with rhinestones…
    Have I told you I love rhinestone pins?

    9

    I have this rhinestone pin
    Garish black and white
    With a stylized flower
    A touch of gold
    With crystal rhinestones…
    It is gaudy and ugly
    Some might think,
    But it is individual like me…
    I want one pair of glasses
    That I could wear
    With that pin.
    I could be the classy-brassy broad
    That I know that I am

    10
    The last pair
    I have not decided…
    But I know
    That those glasses will be special,
    And I think maybe clear frames
    With white and pink flowers
    On the side…
    I will wear them
    When I am especially happy,
    But I won’t need the glasses
    To tell that I am,
    For everyone could see it in my face.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 24, 2021

  40. Hey there, poets! I’m so sorry I haven’t been out here to read and comment. Besides it being a very busy week, my computer has been giving me fits. I’m still going to try to spend some time here before the new Sunday prompt. Missing your words!

  41. Grateful

    1

    The morning, I rise
    To greet the day, I’m living.
    Humbled by the gift.

    2

    The trees that grow wild
    Remind me to grow where I am;
    Thankful for seasons.

    3

    The cry of the hawk
    Reminds me to be watchful,
    For life can be hard.

    4

    Those that share their life
    With my life is a kind gift;
    My heart joys in song.

    5

    The song of the wind
    Sings to my wandering soul.
    I love its sweet song.

    6

    Hardships come, tis true,
    But there is joy in each one.
    Let my soul rejoice.

    7

    God prepares the path
    Before I walk on the stones
    That I am to walk.

    8

    Come rejoice with me
    All is good in its own time
    Come rejoice with me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 24, 2021

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