PROMPT #353 – TAKE COMFORT WHERE YOU CAN GET IT

Autumn is upon us and as the season takes hold we take comfort wherever we find it. It could be from a bowl of hot soup, it might be a warm blanket or a seat next to a warm fire. What is your comfort? We’re writing a comfort poem!


MARIE’S COMFORT:

Fall


There’s a chill in the air. Just enough to grab a sweater
and cute boots.
Enough to birth sweet, crisp apples.
The kind of perfect chill that calls my dad to mind -
the pride I felt watching him direct the Star-Spangled Banner
for the football pregame on a perfect autumn afternoon 
that smelled of popcorn and stadium dogs. 
The kind of chill that warms my heart and feeds my joy.

Fall:  The season of my heart.
Fall:  Collapse.

As I drink in the season, life collapses at the feet of a friend.
She writes of the woeful loss of her husband
with words that both singe and chill.

I know her only from afar, 
but I know her. 
How often have her stirring words
and soothing photos of the beauty surrounding her
touched my heart, and lifted my spirits?
How often has she bravely shared the slow slide of Alzheimer’s
as it stole her sweetheart far too soon?
When the news came to me,
I spent much time vainly stringing words
and counting syllables -
only to realize there’s a chill in the air,
and no words warm enough.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

Dearest Janet:  May you feel the strength of our Father’s love, and the warmth of your Poetic Bloomings family.  Gentle hugs …

WALT’S EASE:

ALLA FREDDA TUA CAPANNA

To Your Cold Hut (Translated)

In my travels, I have seen great opulence,
I have seen great want, just a scant spec of existence.
But even such a life will spark a persistence to survive.
The key is to keep alive. As the seasons transform
from the warm climates to a chilled alternative,
it is imperative we care for those sisters or brothers.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing a meal to feed you,
a warmth to fill you and seed you
with the spark of life meant for all.
I will call on you to bring you sustenance.

I will come to your cold hut
bringing clothes more substantial
than the tatters you cling to in modesty.
I honestly care to share with you
to fill your chests with my excess.

I will come to your cold hut
bearing logs for your fire,
meant to stoke the desire within you.
It is within you to lift yourself up
in the glowing warmth of love’s flow.

I will come to your cold hut
to comfort you in your time of sadness,
hoping to fill you with the gladness
which your life truly deserves.
It preserves your sanity, your humanity.

I will come to your cold hut
to share the joy of Christmas,
bearing gifts of life
meant to lift your strife
and bring you its blessings through love.

I have a purpose to help where I can
and be the kind of man I was meant to be,
to see the suffering of others,
buffering my sisters and brothers
from its pain, again and again.
And I will come to your hut in love.

In that, I take pause.
I am (everybody’s) Santa Claus.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

200 thoughts on “PROMPT #353 – TAKE COMFORT WHERE YOU CAN GET IT

  1. I TAKE COMFORT IN THINGS THAT GO PLUNK

    I take comfort in the downpour sea of rain.
    The offbeat raindrops of pitter-patter.
    A comfort of ocean wrested from above.
    Distinguished teal liquid of particular matter.

    I take comfort in things that go “plunk.”
    Delivered from the gray borne hands of sky.
    Of things that don’t cause stinging, searing pain.
    Like water off a duck’s back, a release of sigh.

    I take comfort in a martyred ocean sunk.
    Descended by royal command from on high.
    Settling richly below, deep in a bed of earth.
    Doing its real work veiled from the prying eye.

    Benjamin Thomas

  2. DAD

    In memory I see him now
    atop the Farmall in the field,
    attending to his rolling land.
    His smile

    is small and tender as he works
    to feed a growing family:
    to pull the plow; to milk the cow;
    all the while

    massaging life from loam and sand.
    His work is hard; his hours are long;
    he could complain, but that is not
    his style.

    There’s scarcely need to wonder how
    I still can feel his steady hand.

  3. I am heading off to church this morning, yeah this not morning person groans at getting up early enough to make it there on time… in my fb memories this short poem popped up…. it is one of what I call lost poems… since my computer died and took lots of things…on what gives me comfort…

    How many agree?

    Chocolate
    Should be an element
    Unto its own.
    Joy upon Joy
    Dark Chocolate
    Is rich with iron.
    There is a gold foil
    Dark chocolate truffle
    In my future.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 5, 2017

  4. THE COMFORT OF THE DAY

    Just because we’ve the known the darkness,
    doesn’t mean there isn’t the balm of light.

    Just because others have sown the cold of hate,
    doesn’t mean we can’t procrastinate in the warmth
    of the garden’s glow.

    Just because we’ve fallen, doesn’t mean we can’t
    rise to witness and know, the fragrant flowers
    of the meadow.

    We may have sung the song of many sorrows;
    but there’s always another song, and many,
    many tomorrows.

    As the earth faithfully spins about on its axis,
    there is always one solid truth.

    Where there has been the covering of night,
    there will also be the reigning of the day.

    Benjamin Thomas

  5. Our Old Family Greek Joint

    It’s gone now,
    the Athens Market Cafe,
    given over to retirement,
    and we miss it.
    The first time we went,
    it was for the food.
    The second time it was
    for the food, and for Nick.
    The next three hundred times
    were for parea, for comfort.
    I could make an equal pastitsio
    in my kitchen,
    every Greek can,
    so long as they use
    their yia-yia’s recipe.
    Same thing goes for
    moussaka, horta, salata horiatiki
    and avgolemono.
    Well, maybe not the latter, but
    surely yes, the lentil soup.
    What I couldn’t get at home was
    Nick’s beaming smile,
    arms open wide,
    assurances that when
    the place was packed,
    there were always
    the “family chairs” in the kitchen.
    The tastes, the smells,
    the music, the ease,
    evoking ancient memories of
    Sunday afternoons,
    with thia’s and theos and cousins all around.
    So nice, going out and still being home.

  6. Song of, Almost October

    as dreams linger
    sheets tossed off
    the past whispers
    to the new day
    my bare feet sink into carpet
    yet something I want to say
    finds expression
    a new verse
    finds its way
    to paper
    and yet
    the song I sang
    last night
    still resonates
    warmth of joy
    even when I look
    out the window
    a falling leaf
    drifts to the ground
    my ears ring
    but I hear soft voices
    my thoughts filled
    with love
    that comes and goes
    and my bones ache
    in a moment of solitude
    weight of seasons
    borne in my heart
    as it lives
    its many lives

  7. Where I Find Comfort

    I pull on my boots and head west
    following the moon that is yet to set
    sink beneath undulating waves washing
    north and south pushing at my legs
    stealing my breath

    here I find comfort within
    this mass of yellow blooms tramping
    through waste high and higher grasses
    to discover a perfect hand of red
    raspberries with a ripe on at the tip

    here are hidden late September surprises
    in the guise of a single perfect caterpillar
    devouring a tickseed leaf or two butterflies
    Buckeye and Wood Nymph floating by
    to sample the surrounding buffet

    as I wade deeper into goldenrod taller
    than my head my head now and everywhere
    sunflowers named for the emperor, Maximilian
    banked behind sumac going deep maroon
    the flower I really came to hunt for fluorishing

    for only five weeks bridging late September
    and October then disappearing into brown sameness
    swaying as if forgotten with switchgrass and skeletons
    of asters now burgeoning with white clusters and
    the less hardy purples fisted in my hands

    even as bend to smell the rarer snow white
    snakeroot’s tiny chalices nodding under the cedars
    still too few to pick if they are to return next year
    plucking only two stems of deep blue of pitcher sage
    bloom heavy and bent by this wind along

    the deer trails I follow barely perceptible
    save for the musky scent still lingering in whorls
    where they bedded earthy odors mixing
    with these fierce floral essences demanding
    my attention and yes, gratitude

    so that I breathe it in take it all to heart
    and tuck it in the deepest corners those
    crevasses that open so unexpectedly on
    dark winter days when darkness drops
    its mantle and threatens to overwhelm

    here I take a hundred photographs
    without a camera for some things are
    too ephemeral to capture with a false lens
    listen to the calls of late bluebirds
    the susurration leaves bowing stem strings
    to take comfort where I find it.

    Had picture but don’t seem to be able to insert??

  8. Marie your poem is majestic in its kindness and the memories of fall… how lovely these two go with a word that mean more than one meaning…. amazing…

  9. The Dictionary, the Reference Books, the Maps

    Da dropped out of high school,
    And taught himself to be a civil engineer…
    Even invented new ways to build roads…
    He taught himself the ways of wildflowers
    Studying their habitat, and
    Could recite their names
    Common and botanical.
    But where I found comfort
    Was in his books…
    From which he taught himself.

    When I was small before
    I started to school…
    He brought me rocks,
    And said tell me what kind of rock.
    He grinned when I knew if it
    Was sedimentary, ignatius, or metamorphosis.
    He brought me leaves to learn the plants,
    And taught me how to tell what type of tree
    In winter when there were no leaves
    And only bark was the clue.

    When I would study and ask
    Him how to spell a word…
    He would point to the dictionary and
    Say look it up. I would groan…
    He would look down but was smiling.

    Maps was part of his work, and
    I could read a map when I was young.
    I could follow the lay of the land
    With the topical maps laid out
    On our dining room table.

    He encouraged me to study
    Places I would never visit,
    And from that I wrote
    A study for Christmas
    Of Turkey a Muslim country
    That it was there the legend of Santa
    Had begun centuries ago.
    I chose to dress when I was ten
    In a Sari my mother made
    To speak about India,
    And the customs of that land…

    Encyclopedias, globes, maps,
    Books on wild flowers,
    Books on rocks, and trees,
    And dictionaries
    Were my treats when I was young…

    I still possess some of those books,
    And all those memories,
    When I sat at the dining table studying
    My school work, while
    He studied writing a poem
    Or creating steppe slopes
    Or writing a letter…
    And sometimes he would say,
    “Sis, come let me show …”

    I am like him,
    And that is a comfort.
    I have my reference books
    Mostly religious, but
    There is the Tudors,
    Books on gardening…
    And I have dictionaries…
    Books on the travels of others,
    And a book on the life of trees,
    For I know as long as I live…
    Our likeness gives those
    Who didn’t know him-
    A glimpse of him
    Through me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 26, 2021

  10. COMFORT IN WHAT I AM

    I am a mist of ravens.
    A gale of pink petals.
    Weight of precious metal.

    I am a gallop of wind.
    A heart of granite.
    A dollop of passion.

    I am the naked truth.
    A season of change.
    A flock of dahlias.

    I am a camp of crows.
    A clique of swans.
    A gang of falcons.

    I am a barren land.
    A helping hand.
    A crown of stars.

    I am the woodwind.
    I am the violin.
    I am the taste of gin.

    I am a song of shadow.
    A chant of praise.
    I am the rays.

    I am me.

    I am—
    what I need
    to be.

    Benjamin Thomas

  11. The Night, Da Rocked Me to Sleep

    I was not quite eight.
    The Asian flu sent my fever
    Up to the dangerous levels…
    Da was leaving for Chili,
    On a jet airplane,
    The next morning…

    I slept on the couch
    For Grannie was staying with us.
    I woke up screaming
    My nose was bleeding,
    And Ma fussed and
    Told me to be quiet.
    Da said, “Clean her bed.
    I will clean her up.”
    We sat in the bathroom
    As he gently washed
    The blood from my face
    And from my hair.
    He changed my clothes,
    And brought me
    To the living room
    Where I was to sleep.

    “Louise, go to bed,
    I will rock her.”
    In the old wooden rocker,
    He sung to me a bit
    Then stopped,
    “Listen to me sis,
    I won’t be here to care
    For you, and
    You need to do it yourself.”
    He kissed my temple,
    And whispered,
    “You are strong,
    Be stronger.”
    I nodded my head…
    But in his arms
    As he rocked me
    I knew he would
    Be there to help me get up
    Whenever I fell, but
    Knew he knew I could do it.

    The next morning when I woke
    He had gone to catch that jet airplane…
    To a land I have not been.
    One week later,
    A doll from the airport he mailed to me,
    For it was my eighth birthday,
    “I miss you.
    Remember what I told you.”

    Neither one of us knowing
    How those words
    Would guide me through
    The first difficult year of my life.

    There have been times
    In the last twenty years
    I wanted to quit, but didn’t
    His voice spoke to me
    Across time…
    “You are strong.
    Be stronger.”

    I still have the old black rocker, and
    So many babies it rocked,
    But for me it is that night
    I was rocked to sleep
    In my father’s arms
    That gives me comfort still.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 26, 2021

  12. Fall Calls Out

    Fall calls out
    to all things
    comfy. Open windows
    whisk in fresh air.
    Lush leaves dress trees
    in finery. Orange
    pumpkins piled high
    make me salivate
    for pumpkin pie.
    Picking apples with
    colorful names like,
    Honeycrisp, Pink Lady,
    and my favorite–
    Granny Smith–nice
    and tart. Say a sweet
    goodbye to September.
    Wear a light sweater,
    for Fall calls out.

  13. in this – your time –

    the wind may brush across your cheeks
    soft as caress, stinging as a slap to sentience
    a murmuration of comfort for you to find –
    rising and falling, whirling about this time –
    find comfort in the legacy of your
    grandchildren’s small sparkling
    smiles, their hugs of velvet skin –
    find comfort in your children and
    all the children of mothers –
    the children of fathers of the hearts
    that grieve and tend and live on to
    remember -and yes, find comfort
    taking and turning from all the beautiful
    sayings and psalms and songs and wishes,
    beating drums, and dancing feet, fragrant
    blossoms, traditions, and customs, sweets,
    and such and yes, even poems-
    find comfort when needed in turning from all
    to bathe in naked, pure solitude –
    let tears fall or not – it is up to you-
    comfort in the flutter of a solitary
    feather, a flash of a cardinal’s wing
    in reiki, in each unexplained meaning-
    full appearance that offers itself to you –
    comfort in that cascaded waterfall
    of all that was and is – forever
    pulsing through you with each
    heart beating – still – Find comfort
    wherever it finds you – for it will –
    it cannot be pushed or pulled but
    as a whisper in the wind, a turned
    tarot card, a sparkling crystal a
    look, a hum in a frequency other
    than all others – in ways both
    unexpected and familiar –
    Comfort will find you –
    as tangible as a thick puffed coverlet
    pulled over you on a down bed as
    sure as each drop coalesced to power
    the shimmered sea – it shall find you –
    and leave on quietly slippered feet
    and return again and again – Comfort-
    Perhaps it shall rise up and grab you
    with powerful arms and crush you
    to its chest and shout his name
    unto the wherever of the universe
    and return you in full knowledge
    of all that you thought you knew –
    take comfort where it finds you –
    when you want it and when and if
    you wish to shout and scream
    and smash mountains to dust –
    if you should choose to desire
    to obliterate all so that you are
    once again – together – under
    that waterfall of all that can still
    be – do so – take comfort when
    it comes to you – or where it is
    offered and take comfort to reject
    comfort when pain or vacuum or
    blankness is the order of the moment –
    feel free in your heart to decline and
    accept and decline again –
    for now, once again you are granted
    choice of when and how. Let the
    softness of dove’s feathers and
    the grandeur of the storm driven
    sea and all in between, the things
    that live and grow and breathe and
    the monuments natural and created
    that stand in memoriam let all that
    moves without, about and stirs within
    – let it be – each and all in the shifting
    kaleidoscopic magnificence ….

    with love
    always

  14. The Night Stills My Soul

    I was born near two in the morning…
    A night child I am.
    In the night stories were born…
    While trying to go to sleep
    Or stay awake
    While driving down
    Some roads in towns I barely knew.
    In the night after shooting
    A few games of pool…
    I would walk out in front
    Of a building
    Where English and history were taught,
    And there I would belt out a song…
    Pour my soul into the words
    Letting my heart bleed
    Until the pain drifted into the darkness
    And was lost for a time.
    One night I spent spitting off a dam
    With a man I barely knew…
    We howled at the moon,
    And laughed as the sun began to rise.
    Spent a night with a nephew
    Watching the stars dance across the sky,
    And I was thankful I was living…
    Nearly twenty years later
    I am grateful for each of those days
    I almost didn’t have.
    But it is those nights
    When I took a ride in my car, and
    Stopped upon a country road,
    Listening the coyotes yapping,
    And owl calling into the dark…
    As I leaned against my car
    Alone with the night
    Comforted by the stars,
    And the moon…
    Symbols for the creation
    That was all around me…
    And I felt my soul
    Become still and
    I was
    One
    With
    The
    Creator,
    And
    I knew
    What comfort was…
    And understood
    Why stillness
    Comes in minuscule moments
    When the molecules
    Stand still within me…
    And I know
    Who that Creator is
    And how insignificant
    I am except
    I am loved…
    And that is not insignificant
    At all.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 26, 2021

      • Thank you…. 2o years ago today was the beginning of an experience I will never forget. I was dying and in denial….the first Saturday in October about midnight the dead came to visit me, and during that time, Christ came to me. and told me I had more to do. I struggled all night for my father was there, but it was my mother’s snore that made me stay for I could not leave her. U entered the hospital the next week and my hemoglobin was 2.8 normal is 13. The doctor told me they did not think I would survive, and I told him I had no doubt that I would and told him that story. HE told me had heard similar story and he believed me.

  15. THE WOLF AND THE MAIDEN

    Where is the comfort amidst the solemn halls,
    ardent screams of the unheard maiden?

    She wrangles in the throes of vicious crowds,
    where querulous voices contend for the crown.

    The maiden’s reverberant wails summon a savior,
    her incessant cries halt the howling heart of a wolf.

    He knows well the perilous howl of a beast,
    who hungers a care, who’s least, in the kingdom-

    Who is shackled by the frayed remnants of hope,
    constrained by the chains of fiery circumstance.

    The night wolf takes upon himself her mourning,
    he faithfully dons an eternal coat of sour shame.

    Yet in her silenced name he howls for another,
    facing a jewel stone moon, he howls yet again.

    He defiantly vows to sound a fair maiden’s siren,
    until the echo of her wailing has been paid heed.

    Benjamin Thomas

  16. A CLOUD OF COMFORT

    There is comfort like a newfangled cloud.
    Inadvertently allowed into our state of mind.
    Full of hazy grays, hesitant baby blues.

    There is comfort like clues of a newborn cloud.
    Soaked with crocodile tears, somewhat near,
    but mysteriously intangible.

    There is comfort like a cotton candy meal.
    Just fine and dandy, chamomile sweetness,
    That’s good for a time—then it disappears.

    Benjamin Thomas

  17. HEAVEN’S CHAMPAGNE

    Comfort is taken in the small things.
    Like the words that soak from poetry.
    Like seeds of calm that halt anxiety.
    Like the psalm of roots that read the rain.
    Buried stories that breach the depths.
    That tell how Mother Nature wept.
    How the kin of soil accepts, and kept—
    heaven’s champagne.

    Benjamin Thomas

  18. A ROMANTIC PLEA

    I seek the sweet receipt of your eyes.
    Ponder, seize the steady rain of your gaze.
    Covet the hallowed praise of your lips.
    May I sup, and sip of your peace?

    Alas…

    May I take fellow flight in thy comfort?
    May I partake of your searing sun?
    May I tease a share of your intent and will?
    May I chance a heightened thrill once begun?

    Benjamin Thomas

  19. AUTUMN’S HEALING

    Springtime proffers flowers
    with regenerating powers,
    but nothing comforts faster
    than goldenrod and aster.

  20. Comfort comes in strange ways…

    During the months my mother was dying,
    Comfort rarely came, and I was lost
    The exhaustion I felt each day,
    And the pain of watching her wane…
    I saw the sitter and Ma’s doctors,
    But only now and then saw others
    For dying is a lonely business,
    But often I wished
    Someone would have come
    Just to hold my hand,
    Or tell me that I was strong
    And could face it
    When I felt I couldn’t.

    Laughter I didn’t expect,
    To invade my moments of sorrow,
    But Ma told me
    I was her most difficult child,
    And I laughed for I knew I was.
    The next morning, she fired me.
    I laughed again,
    For I knew I was some strange woman,
    And not the little girl she remembered.
    My friends would call me, and
    That was a comfort, but
    One night my friend from Alabama called,
    And I was laughing
    For Ma had told me to get a man,
    And LEAVE.
    The next morning, I was fired again.
    It was a daily thing-
    For she would tell the sitter
    To fire me.

    After she left…
    And the rigmarole of the funeral was over…
    The house was so quiet…
    And so empty
    And it creaked more
    As I strained my ears
    Listening for her voice,
    While knowing I would never
    Hear it in this life,
    And would not be fired again
    By my mother.

    One night I watched a funny movie,
    And I began to laugh,
    As tears of funniness and sorrow
    Collided on my cheek
    I found comfort
    In my breathing,
    And knew I would
    Somehow muddle through the days
    To come while
    Knowing
    I would always feel
    An emptiness
    That no one could ever fill.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 27, 2021

  21. Editing is a pain…

    The last couple of weeks
    I have been editing
    My novel series…
    Two novels down…
    Working on the third…

    Editing is a pain-
    A royal pain…
    No comfort in doing it…
    But as I finished
    The first novel…
    I was comfortable
    In what I had written…
    The changes I made…
    Were important changes…
    It was a better story.

    Editing is a pain…
    And when I finished
    The second one…
    I knew I was not done.
    I give myself a few weeks,
    Because this takes mulling.
    I will be back
    Reviewing and pondering…
    And this time
    I will have it finished,
    Or nearly finished.

    The Third one is not finished.
    I had planned to finish
    It by the first of October,
    But grieving Gus
    Set me back…
    Took a year and a few months
    Before I felt everything was right again.
    My chatty companion kept me going.
    But the book I would have written last year
    Is different one than this year.
    This one deals with Sardis’s grief…
    And how it distanced her from those she loved.

    Within my soul there is a quiet comfort…
    That even if no one ever reads this story…
    It is a good one that I have written.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 27, 2021

  22. One of the rare occasions Hank makes an entry:
    http://imagery77.blogspot.com/2021/09/clear-blue-skies-above.html

    the 10 of 12 given words:
    clear blue grace open seek room
    spacious waves simple plains
    clear blue skies above

    with the grace of Providence
    in all of His benevolence
    and love all in the open
    being evidence
    of the care for all of us

    seek rooms spaciously
    in the comfort of freedom
    like waves across the sea

    simple pleasures to roam
    the plains across borders
    so as to overcome the distress
    of the lockdown

    all in the spirit
    of awareness and sharing
    long-absent
    viciously imposed
    for many months

    stay safe people
    for all the simple joys together
    even though under siege
    to huddle for now
    with hopes for the better

    Brenda’s Sunday Whirl Wordle#520
    Marie’s Poetic Blooming: Take comfort
    Prompt #353

  23. Panhandle Fall

    A Panhandle fall
    Is no fall at all
    At least not a fall as we know
    Our leaves turn dull brown
    Then fall to the ground
    Never to be covered with snow

    As temperatures fall
    A few degrees, but that’s all
    We ready long pants and a coat
    While the kids are in school
    We still enjoy the pool
    A bit chilly whenever we float

    When temperatures drop
    The AC we’ll stop
    We’ll open a window or three
    Our Panhandle fall
    Isn’t exciting at all
    But it’s just good enough for me

  24. Shelter….

    My hearts beats
    Not for the building
    Which in I reside…
    For the shelter I seek
    Is not made of walls of wood,
    And spackle, and sheet rock and paint
    But that of a beating heart.

    It is where I seek my shelter
    From the storms of life…
    And the damages those storms can cause.
    I have always sought
    A place where I could find a home…

    I have been homeless
    Most of my life…
    I have lived in houses
    With people I loved,
    But I was separate…
    In a way no one can know.
    I have a house…
    A place to lay down at night,
    Except for the love of myself…
    And my cats…it is an empty house.
    Memories never give shelter
    They just remind me of
    Those I have lost.

    I have wanted to give another shelter,
    A place for comfort in the storms,
    The place where in the darkness
    There is always light.
    In my heart is shelter
    Within the chambers of my heart.
    It is what most of us seek,
    And some find it,
    And others like me
    Have not.

    I heard a song from my youth
    About someone asking
    Another to give them shelter.
    The world was filled with
    Injustice, filled with war,
    And spilling out with hate…
    Nothing much has changed…
    We still burn down cities,
    Destroy what is not ours,
    And declare it good…

    There is within us
    The ability to give shelter
    Not just to those we love,
    But to those we do not know their names…

    I have a name.
    I need shelter…
    I know your name.
    I can shelter you…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 27, 2021

  25. The walk with a butterfly….

    My knee ached…
    I knew what I must do.
    Check my driveway for downed trees.
    The night before a hurricane named Irmo
    Raged into the night,
    But by morning there was sunlight
    And just washed skies.

    I heard no sounds…
    The forest was silent…
    Forests are noisy places…
    Birds chattering,
    Bees buzzing,
    Wind blowing through leaves…
    It was silent.

    There came the drumming
    Of the Pileated woodpecker
    Down in the hollow and
    I smiled for it was
    A sound that broke
    The eerie silence.

    At the curve I was greeted
    By a yellow swallowtail butterfly…
    Who decided to join the walk with me.
    I was limping
    For I had a bad knee,
    But the wings of that butterfly
    Were tattered and
    I knew it spent a rough night.

    It flitted from leaf to leaf
    For a bit of a rest…
    Its flutters
    Made me smile,
    And forget my troubles.
    If it could fly,
    I could walk.

    I came upon two downed pines.
    Close to the end of my road.
    They were too big for me
    To bring my handy-dandy hand saw
    And work at cutting them out.

    I thought my little friend
    Would leave me there,
    But she didn’t.
    She flitted to and fro,
    And I chatted with her
    About my days,
    and my fears.

    I conversed
    How alone I felt
    After storms
    Like last night.

    I praised her
    About how beautiful she was,
    And how thankful that she shared it.

    As I came to that curve
    Where she first joined me
    The yellow flutter-by
    Flitted in front of me,
    As if to tell me goodbye.
    She dipped low
    And then caught a breeze
    And flew into the forest.

    As she dipped from sight
    I felt my tears fall,
    For I was lonely
    After the storm,
    And it was pleasant
    To have a companion
    While I walked.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 28, 2021

    Hurricane Irmo had hit, and I had no power and so I went out to check if I had any trees down… this story covers about 1/3 mile… my driveway is a ½ mile…. This what wrote later that day…

    As I was leaving the curve area, I was joined with a butterfly… a yellow swallowtail… it had a little tattering from the wind… I heard no birds chirping or fussing… the blue jays and the Ravens usually fuss at me when I go out walking… I saw a pair of wood thrushes and heard the pileated woodpecker down in the hollow doing its work… but other than that I heard nothing… then the butterfly appeared…

    As I walked out the driveway it stayed close to me… flitting from leaf to leaf but always within six to 10 feet of me and always in front or beside me…I talked to the butterfly as I walked… my knee was hurting, and I really needed the distraction to stay my course…. When I arrived at the place where a big tree and another tree had fallen. I turned around and thought at that point my little friend would leave me… the butterfly followed me back. It again went before me or beside me all the way until I saw my house again… then it flitted close in front of me and then flew off back up the drive and out of sight. September 28, 2017

  26. Things I Find Comfort In

    A hug or two, a hand in mine
    A pine-scented forest path
    A friendly pat, a homemade gift
    A warm smile, a charming laugh

    Chicken and noodles
    Hot tea with sugar and cream
    A full belly and a full tank
    Ocean waves, a mountain scene

    Joyful songs in harmony
    A gospel hymn a faith-filled prayer
    A Bible promise, the Holy Ghost
    Sisters and brothers who show they care

    Strumming my uke, a cheerful song
    A puppy cuddled on my lap
    Faded jeans and tennis shoes
    A toddler taking an afternoon nap

    A gentle rain, a lilac scent
    A warm fire on a cold night
    A cool breeze on a hot day
    Writing in the evening light

  27. CONSUMING OF SHAME

    Should we then, turn on the faucet of blame?
    For innocence of buoyant moth—
    bustling toward a wanton flame?

    Seeking its comfort amidst its burning
    hues, purified whites, maddish reds,
    and the hottest of blues.

    Perhaps, there’s a sure pleasure
    in one’s desire to tame; artful bliss,
    healing, and the consuming of shame.

    Benjamin Thomas

  28. A Brush going through my hair…

    My nieces and nephews
    Would tell you
    I loved to have my hair brushed…
    It was the reason I kept it long,
    And when no one would brush it
    I had it cut off…

    There were two times
    I did not like my hair brushed.
    Both of them caused me pain.

    Ma was determined
    That my braids
    Would not fall out,
    And she would pull my hair
    Until my eyebrows
    Touched my hairline.
    One day I was being tortured,
    I said, “I want my hair cut.”
    I didn’t mean for it to be cut
    That short.
    I cried and ran
    To my favorite tree,
    And there in the limbs
    Clinging to the trunk I cried.
    Thus began the war of my hair
    With my mother.
    She liked the short bob;
    I did not.
    In defense
    I learned
    To do my own hair.

    The second was a hard
    Hurtful lesson to learn.
    Sometimes at the end of the day
    While I was visiting
    A child,
    They would request
    To brush my hair…
    Since the day had been long
    And I needed the solace
    I would agree…
    But when that child
    Just happened to be three
    I learned the lesson
    That a brush could hurt
    When slammed into your head
    When that three-year-old
    Did not like how
    Their beautician skills
    Weren’t working.

    I live alone these days,
    And miss the soothing
    Feel of someone
    Brushing my hair.
    It is an intoxicating sensation.
    I close my eyes and
    Remember those days,
    And hope they were not my last
    Time to be seduced
    By a hair brush
    Going through my locks.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 29, 2021

  29. To Binkey (Ink-Bink, Inky)

    What will give me comfort tonight?

    An old gray cat…
    Who was abandoned at my door,
    And fed with a bottle…
    Who will purr at my feet,
    As I read
    Or watch whatever is
    On the box with the magic pictures.
    I will invite him closer
    To scratch his ears,
    And sing a lullaby
    I tell him that it is his song
    About a cradle that tumbles down.
    I tell him
    I will always catch him,
    And not to worry so much,
    But he will
    For he is a worrier,
    And I am his comfort
    That bumps in the night
    Will not hurt him.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 29, 2021

  30. Comfort…

    Comfort like peace
    Comes stealing slow…
    Like riding home
    On a dark night…
    Where the road
    Seems to never end,
    And life’s struggles
    Seem ride the waves
    Into your life…

    Many a night,
    I drove miles and miles
    Hoping that tomorrow
    There will be rest.
    Nights dark
    With weariness
    Miles from home.
    The stars for comfort,
    And the moon for guidance…
    I wandered roads
    That I might never ride again…
    Hoping that the morning
    Would bring rest…

    But the next day
    I rose, and the obligations
    And promises
    Always won,
    I would walk out my door,
    Trying not to cry
    For the days
    I was losing for myself.

    I wanted a place of comfort.
    A place to lay my head,
    And for fleeting moments
    Those roads would disappear,
    And I would gather strength
    To travel onward…
    It is hard to live a life
    When you are always
    The stranger…

    My wayfaring ways
    Are behind me,
    And I found comfort
    In whom I was,
    And peace came
    Drifting
    In on twilight skies
    Talking to the one
    Created it all,
    And I know
    Without those
    Years of traveling
    Backroads,
    Looking for comfort
    I was learning how to seek
    It where I wasn’t
    A Stranger.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 29, 2021

  31. THE WEIGHTLESS KISS OF TRUTH

    There’s a misbegotten truth,
    weighing heavily on the tip of my wings.

    Impeding the ascent to the height—
    the cumulus flight to bigger, or better things.

    Whispers of resistance, continue, in the
    soft echoing of resilient wind it seems.

    Companies of snow-capped mountain
    ranges now break upon my sight.

    Arises now a forgotten strength, and
    defiance—to engage in a bitter fight.

    Suddenly a pang of thought, rushes to
    mind, and its presence was just right.

    I bear no burden, I need no wings, the truth is
    weightless—instantly I am light.

    Lighter than the resistance of ageless wind.
    Lighter than the veiled air known to men.

    Lighter than tenfold painful lies.
    Lighter than the unheard strangled cries—

    For the swift healing of crippled wings.
    Or laments that the mourning dove brings.

    Lighter than the feigned beast we call doubt.
    Lighter than the wicked weight of the world.

    Lighter than the hurled exercise of hate.
    And soon—

    I just evaporate.

    *Poof*

    For I am lighter than the lightest of them all.
    For I’ve become the unsung molecule, of small—

    Belief. Relief.

    Even until this very day.
    No knows the sage old mystery.

    Who wrongly assumed I’ve disappeared,
    in the gist of fledgling history.

    But you’ll never know where I’ll be.
    Perhaps, when you round the corner—

    There I’ll be.
    But don’t be surprised when you see…

    The weightless kiss of truth—
    from me.

    Benjamin Thomas

  32. THE COMFORT OF AUTUMN’S SPICES

    The fallen make the fateful decision
    of parting ways with their lush green mother.

    Drifting, drifting, drifting
    down….

    A humbling process, of becoming,
    a hairless crown.

    They saunter along, falling,
    drifting, leaving for another.

    Sailing, surfing, hailing slow borne breezes.
    Down, down, swirling, swaying.

    Time and tide has come,
    no more delaying.

    Reminiscing a season of summer.
    Of blistering heat, rains, of smother.

    Drifting, drifting, lifting…
    among the shrill teases of wind.

    Down, down, down, again.
    Soundless it prays upon the ground.

    “Father, only if it pleases thee,
    allow me to bend, break, and scatter free.
    Amen.”

    The fallen then had shivered and shook.
    The trees knew the end, but they couldn’t look.

    It quivered, crumbled, became very brittle.
    It broke, shattered, tattered from the middle.

    Hands of wind came scooping, scattering
    fallen ashes.

    Adorning the land for the demand of color
    and sashes.

    Drifting, drifting, sprawling—
    in the inevitable season of leave’s falling.

    It’s the unspoken change of season’s prices.
    It’s the awesome price of becoming…

    autumn’s spices.

    Benjamin Thomas

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