PROMPT #149 – “NO POEMS ABOUT POETRY?”: GUEST CO-HOST – NANCY POSEY

Following her friend and sister North Carolinian, Jane Shlensky, our Co-host this week is highly accomplished and we are extremely honored to include her works amongst the glowing blooms here at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS. Nancy Posey is a strong voice in poetic circles, as she is a ardent promoter of the process. We welcome her here.

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POET AND AUTHOR NANCY POSEY

POET AND AUTHOR
NANCY POSEY

Nancy is an Alabama native, living in North Carolina (“The Writingest State”) since 1995.  She teaches English in the community college after 18 years of teaching in high school.  A lifelong reader, she has always been in love with the written and spoken word.  Nancy was drawn back to poetry with the Poetic Asides PAD challenge about 6 or 7 years ago.  Since that time, she has built friendships with the writers she met there, leading her to this site.  When she’s not reading or writing (or grading the endless stacks of essays) she stays busy.  She and her husband Dick have been married 37 years in June. They have three grown children and three grandchildren–all beautiful, charming, and fun. She also finds time to travel (most recently to Haiti) and to learn to play mandolin.

Find Nancy’s work and musings at: THE DISCRIMINATING READER and ALABAMA TAR HEEL

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PROMPT #149 – “NO POEMS ABOUT POETRY?”: Nancy offers this thought for poetry month. It becomes our prompt this week! She says: “No poems about poetry,” I’ve read in submission guidelines, joining cat poems in the lists of don’ts. If poets don’t sing the praises of poetry, then, who will? People of all ages often bristle and grow defensive when we suggest reading poetry along with, not even instead of, their usual reading matter. I must confess that some of the damage is done by my people—English teachers. We assign a poem, ask students what it means, and then tell them why they are wrong. Didn’t Billy Collins say that high school is where poetry goes to die?

 

Rather than wring our hands, why don’t we take this opportunity during National Poetry Month to become publicists for poetry. Write a poem that celebrates poetry in some way—and follow that basic rule of writing: Consider your audience, reluctant readers.

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WALT’S POETIC P.R.:

SINCE I’M GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING ANYWAY…

I might as well write rhyme.
I have this blank page, and the time
and the rage to go gently into that good write.

I might as well write rhyme.
A poem is as expressive as I can get,
and I’m of a mind to do it all on my dime, every time.

I might as well write rhyme.
Poets are a special breed. We don’t need much
except a muse and just enough heart to get started.

Since I’m going to write something anyway,
I might as well write rhyme.
It’s the best way to know I’m alive.

© Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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NANCY’S PROMOTION:

POEM

I’m leaving it here on your desk,
purely harmless, with no hidden
intent, this brief poem I heard
that made me think of you. No
Latinate construction, skewed
syntax, no symbols planted so deep
even the poet needs a pirate’s map.
In simple words—ones I might
have said myself, though not
as well, not as clearly, this poet
who never knew you penned lines
that surely sing your name.

© Copyright Nancy Posey – 2014

 

PROMPT #148 – BACK TO SQUARE ONE : GUEST HOST – JANE SHLENSKY

I would like you to welcome our co-host who has risen to the top of our craft. She is a very talented and highly prolific poet. Her work is always exceptional and her accomplishments in poetics are very telling. She is very good.

IN JANE’S WORDS:

POET JANE SHLENSKY

POET JANE SHLENSKY

It has always interested me that some of the most difficult circumstances of my life have ultimately fed my loves and my work in the world. I guess that’s grace. Edgewood Farm in rural North Carolina taught great work ethics, our days spent in tobacco fields, milking cows, growing food and learning to entertain ourselves productively. Naturally, music provided a rhythm for our labors, harmony kept us friendly to one another, and lyrics introduced rhyme, the basics of many formed poems. Some songs fed desires in us, like “Faraway Places” recorded by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Willie Nelson—everyone had a go with it. That song fed wanderlust in me, but I never dreamed I would travel to those places other than in imagination or in books. Music and reading kept me engaged, nurtured by a mother who looked on poetry as a way of seeing clearly and a musician father who dreamed bluegrass dreams. I loved that farm but couldn’t wait to get away from it, ironic in that my poetry goes back to it so often now. In hindsight, each life challenge has prepared me for the next challenge or opportunity.

I began writing stories and poems in elementary school and won National Student Press awards in high school, was editor of both yearbook and newspaper, learning to compose with a camera, all of which was handy as a teacher sponsoring those activities. My English BA is my “reading degree,” while the MFA in creative writing years later is my “fun degree” and an ‘attagirl’ to myself for enduring the marking of literally thousands of student papers while teaching in high schools, community colleges, and universities. But slowly, I began to travel to faraway places, usually as a student or a teacher with students. It was good for my soul and my words. I matched places to go with what I taught: Shakespeare= England; Mahfouz=Egypt—like that. As a theater director and teacher, I had to act in community theater and write plays; if they were musicals, I had to write music and compose lyrics. How else is a teacher to retain joy and the life of the mind?

Just when the heart was going out of teaching for me, I was invited to China to teach English writing at Shandong Teachers University, where I stayed for two years, traveled a great deal in Asia, and met and subsequently married a colleague from the USSR. Those travels in Asia led to teaching Asian Studies and American literature at the NC School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, which naturally led to more travel on scholarship in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Korea and Thailand, later becoming academic director for teachers’ programs to China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. That girl in tobacco fields wouldn’t have imagined this life. I guess I needed to travel far away in order to come back home purposefully.

I wrote a few teachers’ guides to literature for Penguin and published poems and articles in professional journals during my 40 years being super-teacher, but my creative work was largely on hold until 2011 when Nancy Posey, my conference buddy and fellow writer, directed me to the April PAD at Poetic Asides. There I “met” such generous and skilled writers—Walt and Marie and Iain and De, and, well, most of you. And see, here you all are, my “faraway places” mapping words each week to keep me traveling. These days, I work as a church musician. I play organ, piano, and tinker with autoharp, dulcimer, and psaltery. I sing with a group called Stringfellows and send poetry or fiction out every now and then so I don’t forget resiliency through rejection. My recent poetry has been published by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bay Leaves, Emerge Literary Magazine, Prompted and Beyond the Dark Room, Poetic Bloomings: the first year, Final Draft, Pinesong, KAKALAK, and Writer’s Digest. I’m at home in Bahama, North Carolina with my husband Vladimir and two pushy cats, Warren and Flora. I welcome you travelers to visit me. Bring a song.

 

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Prompt #148 – “BACK TO SQUARE ONE” – Find a poem you have written early in your writing adventures (or one with which you’re unhappy). Take the three best lines from that poem and use them in a new poem. Please include a link to the original poem if it is available.

WALT’S EXAMPLE:

THE MUSIC OF LOVE

Songs start in his heart,
gentle melodies that trip
from his fingertips, composed
with every emotion and notion
that says what flows as sound
goes around. In his head it plays,
it says love will linger; find a way
to keep the music alive. He strives
to express in a tender ballad
what his heart needs to sing,
for in his song are words
and once heard the lyrics stay.
It plays in ways only love knows.
And so it goes. And so it goes.

© Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

Lines from my poem, “Composer’s Tableau”

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JANE’S SQUARE ONE:

From “Defying Gravity”

My thoughts about gravity have shifted
over the years, my stars shining
a little closer to home…

The whole poem is available at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature
http://www.deadmule.com/poetry/jane-shlensky-%e2%80%93-four-poems/

LANDSCAPING

Time has a way of easing bulk
into new formations,
massive peaks sloughed
to mumbling mountains
sanded to slope-shouldered
mounds, surrounding valleys
round as matrons’ hips,
meadows finely furnished
by eroded topsoil
headed downhill.

Some blame winds,
ice and rain, terrain,
weather engineering change,
lake-to-desert development,
forest-to-plain reconstruction;
mud and snow
avalanching downward,
taking trees along, create
a balding pate of earth
soon to be redecorated
with wild flowers.
Some call it fate.

We carry time’s pull on us,
the weight of years hanging
limp as saddlebags.
We think to thwart this fate
with diet, exercise,
with maintenance,
with cosmetics, surgical
lifts and temporary tucks,
gravity grinning
at our attempts to
manage re-landscaping,
our foiled imaginations
stuffed into life’s sheath.

We reassess our shifting
acreage as if we watch
a beloved pet grow old,
a beloved star grow cold—
with a heart and eye
for bovine usefulness,
feline resourcefulness,
songbird trust and praise.
We exercise forgiveness
and radical acceptance,
a different kind
of beauty.

© Copyright Jane Shlensky – 2014

 

In two days, we will embark on Poetry Month. Many site will be doing special prompts or challenges to occupy our collective muses in April. We will continue to run our normal schedule.

The Sunday Seed Prompt and the Wednesday INFORM POETS will follow their pre-arranged routine. A special page will be posted in the menu tabs where you can post poems written for other sites, but you may wish to share with a larger audience here. We welcome your work and will help promote it. Please include the site for which it was written and an idea of what the prompt was.

BRILLIANT BLOOMS – PROMPT # 147 AND THAN BAUK

The pleasure of working with such a varied group of talented individuals gets better by the week, with the current co-host being Iain Douglas Kemp. Your poetry and view on the world are in a class few attain and I thank you Iain for your contributions and support of poets and poetry. I look forward to future works and the continuance of your podcasts, a pure treat!

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The Sunday Seed had us looking at emotions in the colors of the spectrum. Some interesting color coding took place here and it is a joy to read and reflect such a wonderful array of poems. The task, as our co-hosts are finding, is indeed difficult to decide on only one poem.

WALT’S CHOICE:

This poem is a playful and colorful piece of wonder. The artistry in this conveys a bit of mystery and offers a glimpse at pure whimsy. The story has potential to be a terrific children’s story. Marilyn Braendeholm’s “The Man in the Mummy-Colored Coat” earns my BRILLIANT BLOOM.

THE MAN IN THE MUMMY-COLOUR COAT by Marilyn Braendeholm

It’s that raincoat.
Spies wear coats like that.
Must be undercover, I think.
Incognito.

Hovering about
Muddy trenches.
Pigeon stained.
Slightly crusted
Stiff to the wind.

“Are you okay, Mister?” I want to ask.
His skin is petrified dark.
There’s an Egyptian mummy
in the Louvre that same colour,
sort of like burnt oak bark.

Mummies’ve their plumbing drained,
my plumber explained to me last year.

He told me, put soda down the drains.
Do it once a week, he said, “but it’ll kill
your son’s pet snake.” Pete’s sake, said I.

That stupid stripy snake
slipped straight down
the bathroom sink hole.
Little stinker stuck himself fast.

Had to ring up a plumber.
One who loves snakes.

Pop my clogs and bless my socks, I thought.
I approached the man
in the mummy-colour raincoat.
He’s a statue.

I blame it on the alchemy
of winter’s waning light,
but I swear he’s eyeing me

with a questioning expression,
as if to ask, “Are you okay, Lady?”

Note: Purely fiction, although this poem is inspired by a statue near Town Hall. (c) Misky 2014

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IAIN’S SELECTION:

I don’t think I have ever had such a difficult job as this. Choosing one poem from so many wonderful poems and by so many fabulously talented poets is a mammoth task that I did not undertake lightly. If I had realized how hard this would be I might have declined the invitation to co-host! I certainly do not feel worthy to sit in judgment of writers who I admire and respect, so this made reaching a decision all the more difficult. As the week progressed I made notes of the poems that really stood out to me, that truly spoke to me. After all this is a very subjective judgment and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There were several front runners, some late comers threatening the peloton and others that just kept calling me back, but as in many endeavours in the end there could be only one. I steeled myself for the agony of choosing just one poem to rate as, at least in my view and on this occasion, “better” or as I finally thought it should be termed, my favourite. This done I am delighted to announce Jerry Walraven’s “Periwinkle in our shoes” as my Bloom for the week.

PERIWINKLE IN OUR SHOES by Jerry Walraven

We mistake this beauty
as a backdrop,
a static scene
against which we play
out our small tales,
believing our foibles
are somehow grander
than grandeur
until some place
shocks the system,
forcing the eyes to open
themselves to the majesty
of an oak
twice our wingspan
which captures our life
in one of its branches.
So we stand,
oak bark against our cheek
and periwinkle in our shoes.

© Copyright Jerry Walraven – 2014

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INFORM POETS BLOOMS:

WALT’S FORM:

A Burmese form of poetry, Than-Bauk compresses rhyme, and syllable count into a short three line statement to express a thought. The “step rhyme” posed a challenge in a four syllable span. But as always, you have risen to the occasion with exceptional work, poets. With the tease of Spring in the air, Claudette Young’s Than Bauk introduces an early look at the season.

Yellow daffies;
Bright daisies sway;
Bee sees targets.

© Copyright Claudette Young – 2014

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IAIN’S FORM BLOOM:

As I said before, being in a position where one is asked to judge one’s peers and in many cases I feel, my superiors is far harder than writing poetry. I am no expert on form – I usually shy away from writing it, but I know a good poem when I see one. I saw many, so many that it made judging them seem an impossible task. In the end I decided to make my mind up based on how much I felt the rhyme was well made, combined with the sentiment speaking to me beyond the mere words on the page. There were several candidates in my short list but in the end a choice had to be made and that choice is “Praying on Superiority” by Michelle Hed.

PRAYING ON SUPERIORITY by Michell Hed

Every and each
lording speech shows
the leach in wait.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARILYN, JERRY, CLAUDETTE AND MICHELLE ON YOUR SELECTIONS FOR THE BRILLIANT BLOOMS.

PROMPT #147 – THE SPECTRUM OF EMOTIONS: GUEST HOST – IAIN DOUGLAS KEMP

The tour of co-hosting poets reaches across the pond to Almeria, Spain by way of Scotland. This multifaceted individual is as well verse in whatever undertaking he attempts. A poet, photographer, musician, cook, adventurer, ailurophile (cat lover) and on and on… This is a man I consider the “brother I’ve never met” in that I live vicariously through his exploits. Of course our co-host this week is Iain Douglas Kemp.

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Poet, Drummer, Photographer, Musician, Cook, Educator -  Iain Douglas Kemp

Poet, Drummer, Photographer, Musician, Cook, Educator –
Iain Douglas Kemp

Iain Douglas Kemp lives and works in Almería, Andalucía, Southern Spain. He has been writing (on and off) for over 30 years. He considers himself a Writer first and a teacher second. He teaches English as a Foreign Language at a small private language school near in Almería from October to June and at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford in the summer months. He is currently studying for an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. His influences include Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Wes Magee and Stevie Smith and twenty thousand song titles.

Publishing credits include the short poem “visual echoes”, published by Barbara Subraman/Gypsy Art Show in the visual poetry/music collaborative work “GAZE” in January 2010. In May 2010 the poem “Peregrine” was recorded for podcast on the ‘Born Free Foundation’ Web site by Virginia McKenna, the first time this has been done other than for the poet in residence!

His work was included in the anthology “Prompted” and “Poetic Bloomings – The First Year”. In 2013 Virginia McKenna recorded his poem Thunder Birds which was first published on Poetic Bloomings. He is a member of the on-line poetry group “The Baker’s Dozen”.

He became known amongst on-line poets after contributing to the first Poetic Asides PAD challenge in 2008. He regularly records his poems for podcast and last year did a summer series of guest poet podcasts, recording poems from some of our favourite poets in the blogosphere; something he promises to do again this year. He is also a musician and singer/songwriter, playing drums, percussion and blues harp

His blog includes cookery, music and travel and of course his cats! It can be found at http://www.iainkemp.com
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PROMPT #147 – THE SPECTRUM OF EMOTIONS: We live in a colorful world. At times we are awed by the beauty resident around us as it is represented by the spectrum of light. Emotions are the same way. Think of the phrases “Green with envy” or “Red with embarrassment”, we often use color as a metaphor to describe our emotions. Find one, or better yet make up a color metaphor of your own and back it up with a poem.

WALT’S PALETTE:

A PURPLE MISTRESS IS MY PASSION

You wait below the surface,
the gentle idle of a loving heart.
You keep me alive as I strive
to put words to your prowess.
I am powerless to stop
the unbridled flame once ignited.
You have lighted my soul
showing every corner in brilliance,
this dalliance of expression
shows itself in shades and tints:
lavenders, and lilacs, violets
and amethyst. This tryst is grape.
It is orchid. It is the magenta that flows
in the throes your insistence.
A longing dance waged closely;
the deepest hue is reserved for you.
My passions burn brightly; rightly
in the brushed velvet of night.
A purple mistress is my passion!

©Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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IAIN’S SPECTRUM:

Colour Me Happy

Like a kaleidoscope prism
refracting bending
and twisting the light of truth
the light of reality
emotions have coursed like rainbow hued blood
through the body
through the mind
through the soul
into and out of depression
up to and down from soaring giddy heights
but the blues reached out to get me again and again
the red rage of anger flared though my red hair
and spat the vicious venom of the green eyed monster
at all that I envied
those that I aspired to be
those that seemed immune to the ills and burdens of this world
the blackest moods would weigh me down
and then suddenly hitting a purple patch
I was inspired
on fire
alive
creative
only to fall
again
sinking like a stone
and cowering in the corner
the yellow bellied coward
who dare not
could not face the world
the truth
the self
hating with the blackest heart all those who inflicted pain
who trod me beneath their boots
and then suddenly
there was a flash
a crash
a lighting strike
out of the blue
a rainbow of dreams and schemes
came pouring forth – nothing there to hold them back
the dam had burst many years too late
but better late than never
the black dog was dead
the blues were washed away
and all that remained was a bright pure blinding
white light of joy
as finally, after so very long in the dark
I was not a shadow seeking shy violet
but full of life
full of energy
full of confidence
colours flowed from my mind
from my fingers
magical swirling technicolor pictures
were drawn by the words from my lips
and I stood proud and declared:
if colour me you will then
colour
me
happy
for my spectrum knows no bounds

©Iain Douglas Kemp 3/14

PROMPT #146 – “LINE PLEASE” : GUEST HOST – SALVATORE BUTTACI

Poet and Flash Fiction Writer - Salvatore Buttaci

Poet and Flash Fiction Writer – Salvatore Buttaci

One of the first poets that I had come to rely upon to inspire my own muse, honors us with his presence this week as our co-host. A writer most of his life, you couldn’t go wrong learning a thing or two from this retired educator (I’ve taken much from his work – all lessons well learned!). Of course I write of Salvatore Buttaci.

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In Sal’s words:

Salvatore Buttaci is a retired English teacher and professor who has been writing since childhood. His first published work, an essay entitled “Presidential Timber,” appeared in the Sunday New York News when he was sixteen. Since then his poems, letters, short stories, and articles have been widely published in The New York Times, Newsday, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Cats Magazine, Creative Bloomings, A Word with You Press. and elsewhere in America and overseas. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.  

 He is the author of two flash-fiction collections published by All Things That Matter Press:

Flashing My Shorts available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FN1V8S?tag=authorgraph-20

200 Shorts available at  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YWKI8O?tag=authorgraph-20

 His book, A Family of Sicilians … is available at Lulu.com/ButtaciPublishing2008 .

 If Roosters Don’t Crow, It Is Still Morning: Haiku and Other Poems (Cyber-Wit Publications) is available at http://tinyurl.com/7ssnzg4

 In 2001, Pudding House Publications included his work in the Greatest Hits Series with his chapbook, Greatest Hits: 1970-2000.

 His latest poetry chapbook, What I Learned from the Spaniard… is available at http://tinyurl.com/ma89dlp

 

Visit Sal’s blog site at www.salbuttaci.blogspot.com

He lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.

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PROMPT #146 – “LINE PLEASE!” – Use any or all of these lines in your poem. Or use one as your title.

“Evening is a shroud”
“Shared, but not divided”
“Over time and distance”
“Love lies buried”
“Where we always laugh and dream”

WALT’S TITULAR EFFORT:

EVENING IS A SHROUD

Darkness covers all,
cloaking everything enveloped in her sad embrace.
Her face is hidden, masked and concealed,
not to be revealed in the muted moonlight.
Even stars bright lose their luster, remaining
only a cluster of distant orbs. Evening absorbs
and devours, leaving a pall over the crowd.
Evening is a shroud.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

SALVATORE’S LINES:

SHADOWS IN MY MEMORY

Over time and distance
I contemplate the love we knew,
Replay those happy days
Now shadows in my memory.

It’s so hard believing
Love lies buried beneath the years
We walked the world as one,
Certain love would last forever.

You are somewhere out there.
I am adrift on lonely seas.
Evening is a shroud
Do you likewise mourn for our love?

The promises we made,
Meant to be shared, not divided,
Have all been tossed away,
Ashes in the barrel of time.

These nights I go to sleep
Where we always laugh and dream
And once more renew vows
We one day swore before God.

© 2014 Salvatore Buttaci

PROMPT #145 – “NOTHING FOR GRANTED” : GUEST HOST – HANNAH GOSSELIN

Poet/Image Artist Hannah Gosselin (and Fin)

Poet/Image Artist
Hannah Gosselin
(and Fin)

This week our co-host is someone who I have looked forward to working with since the concept of co-hosts came to fruition. This poet brings a smile to many faces just by intoning that simple word. SMILES. In developing her blog, we talked about that aspect of her work and in that chat the title “Metaphors and Smiles” (as opposed to similies) came to light and she certainly brought that site into prominence. A true poetic soul grounded in her faith and family and a poetic friend to any and all poets who come to know the name, Hannah Gosselin!

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Hannah Gosselin’s song is one inspired of natural beauty. She seeks words early and feels complete in the daily practice of heart-spilling ink to page. She finds that there’re poems begging to be written, hidden and waiting – like the still, seeded center of dandelion…there’s so much poetic potential in each day. 

Hannah’s words find footing @ her writing, (and sometimes photography), blog Metaphors and Smiles.

PROMPT #145 “NOTHING FOR GRANTED” Our lives are guided by our hearts and logic, and sometimes with both at odds. The influences in our personal domains are as varied as there are stars in the skies. But for every big moment in our daily living, it is the small sparks of life that we seek. Every little thing influences our lives. You are asked to pick something others would consider insignificant and give it its due.

WALT’S SMALL THINGS:

SIMPLE PLEASURES

Poems that prod,
nods to God,
tilling the sod,
musical notes,
famous quotes,
boats that float,
crystal skies,
bright blue eyes,
cherry pies,
rhyming things,
things with wings,
kids that sing,
chocolate cake,
the eerie lake,
goodness sake,
welcome guests,
doing my best,
my beating chest,
folks worthwhile,
carried in style,
a heart felt smile.
valued treasures,
easy measures,
Simple pleasures.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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HANNAH’S  LITTLE INFLUENCES

A Drive-by (Mental) Snapshot

As pulse beats blue
three large dark birds
burn permanently
an image on my mind:
Crows hold the center line,
afield, where snow has let go-
where the yellowed grass shows;
beneath the pines
feathers shine iridescent
with sudden spring sun.
And this,
this is indelible-
a moment
fast-fixed to my soul.

Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

PROMPT #144 – “WHAT THIS PLACE NEEDS…” : GUEST HOST – MICHELLE HED

The response to the Guest Host  idea has been a grand success so far. And it’s not just being highlighted with the designation. Our poet/hosts have gotten a view of what goes into the inner workings at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS. It really isn’t as easy as it looks. (OK, it’s not rocket surgery either). But if anything, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the poets who populate this place. In continuing our journey around the globe, we’ve stopped to pick up poet Michelle Hed for her tour through the garden.

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POET MICHELLE HED

POET AND VISUAL ARTIST  MICHELLE HED

Michelle Hed’s love of poetry started as a teenager. There were a few gaps throughout the years but when her youngest daughter was eight and she realized her kids didn’t need her around the clock anymore she started thinking about what she should do when she grew up!

Michelle is an extremely private person and introverted. So when she came across Robert Brewer’s first Poetic Asides Poem-A-Day April Challenge in 2008, she agonized over the decision of putting herself out there. On the internet. Where anyone could find her. She decided YES and jumped in with both feet and has no regrets. Michelle has made wonderful friends she’s never physically met and the sense of community and support has kept her going. She wishes she could reciprocate on a daily basis but as we all know there are so many other things in our lives that sometimes take precedence.

Michelle is a poet, photographer and artist living in Minnesota. She is happiest when she is outside with a camera in her hand and a notebook in her pocket. Her poems have appeared in the following books, magazines and online journals Poetic Bloomings, Sprout, The Fib Review, Pay Attention: A River of Stones, Prompted: An International Collection of Poems, A Handful of Stones, Writer’s Digest, Haiga Online, and was a finalist in the Poetic Asides Poem- A- Day Challenge 2009.

Her photography has been awarded in local contests and has been published in Mouse Tales Press: Prepare for Flight, Minnesota Birding andHoliday Word Gifts. She also has a book, Natural Musings, which contains both her photography and poetry. She maintains a blog,www.thepenlensandbrush.blogspot.com, for all her artistic endeavors. She is married to her best friend, has two beautiful daughters and two mischievous hounds.

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PROMPT #144 – “What This Place Needs…”

Think of any really good movie and you can come up with a great tag line that defines it. Think of “Casablanca” and you imagine Bogart voicing “Here’s looking at you, kid!” or “”Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Think Star Wars you hear  Sir Alec Guinness intone, “May the Force be with you.” Jerry Maguire (I know, I know, I said good movie…) you can come up with “You had me at Hello!” and “Show me the money” and “You complete me!” This is a long winded rant to get to the prompt…

Complete this thought and make that thought the title of your poem.

“Every life needs its own______________”

WALT’S FULL THOUGHT:

EVERY LIFE NEEDS ITS OWN HONOR

Precious and priceless, held in reverence,
never prideless. Each life has worth.
Our existences deserve to be praised
and raised upon pedestals, all statuesque
tributes to our very breath and purpose.
Celebrated with an elation that lifts
our station, a sacrifice burned on the altar
of the hearts that beat within us; it is in us
to do ourselves proud. It will speak out loud
being heard far and wide; every life in honor and pride.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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MICHELLE’S MINDFUL MUSE:

EVERY LIFE NEEDS ITS OWN OUTLET (A Sestina)

Sometimes you need to unplug
from the world around you,
isolate yourself in your own cocoon
of tranquility, peace
and just exist –
no thoughts.

Placing your thoughts
upon the clouds, unplugging
them from your mind, so they only exist
to drift by… knowing you
can reach up and grab them at any time, a piece
of life’s puzzle to be examined within your cocoon.

The warmth and security of your cocoon
allows you to organize your thoughts
and gain a new perspective and peace
within your body, mind and spirit that had been drained away when plugged
into the running chaos of everyday life. You
are ready to step back and fully exist.

You were existing
but not functioning, needing the sanctuary of your cocoon
to recharge your batteries and energize yourself.
Your thoughts
kept drifting away, seeking to unplug,
seeking peace.

Peace…
the essence of existing
in our charged up world, unplugging
the ear buds and breaking free of the cocoon
that is muffling your thoughts,
overpowering you.

You are recharged, you
are ready to enter the fray and fight for peace
and order within our borders and within our thoughts.
Ready to exist
side by side with chaos, knowing your haven, your cocoon,
is waiting for you should you need to unplug!

With a steady hand you are ready to exist.
You are at peace again, sanctuary is your cocoon
tucked away within your thoughts, you are not unplugged.

(C) Copyright Michelle Hed – 2014
 

PROMPT #143 – PERSONIFICATION : GUEST HOST – SARA McNULTY

On my tour of places where wonderful poetry is proffered by extremely talented poets, I find myself in the Northwest United States where this incredible transplanted New York poet prefers to pose her purple penned poetry in Portland, Oregon. Her screen name (if you haven’t guessed) is “purplepeninportland”, but we know her as the incredibly gifted and prolific poet, Sara McNulty.

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POET SARA McNULTY

POET SARA McNULTY

IN SARA’S WORDS:

After taking two short story writing classes at NYU, I concentrated on that genre of writing for several years. One day, in 2009, I came across Robert Brewer’s, Poetic Asides in Writer’s Digest. A purple pen ignited in my head, and I knew all I wanted to write was poetry. Five years later, I still love reading and writingpoetry. When Creative (Poetic) Bloomings came along, started by two poets I greatly admired, Walter Wojtanik and Marie Elena Good, I found a new garden in which to grow. I am a Poetic Sites Addict, but am trying to cut down. I have gained confidence, support, and great virtual friends.

Voices in Verse is a poetry group that meets at a local library once a month. Memberships is growing, and we all take turns reading. They are a diverse, wonderful group of people.

My work has been published in: The Avocet; Poetic Bloomings; Brevitypoetry; Underground Voices; Flashquake; Still Crazy; Writers Digest 79th Annual Poetry Competition; Fifth Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards; Poetsespresso; Melisma; and The Oregonian.

On a personal note, My husband and I, both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, have now been living in the Pacific Northwest for five years. We love the life here, and wish all our east coast friends would join us. We share our home with two rescue dogs, one from New York of unknown breed, and one from
Portland, a dachshund with issues. In June, my husband and I will be married for 35 years, after knowing each other two months. You never know!

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PROPMT #143 – PERSONIFICATION

The color and timber of our expressions are what makes our poetry sing. We give life to our words, sometimes in a very human way. We give feelings and emotions to inanimate objects, painting wonderful new portraits, the vignettes of our muse.

Use the device of Personification (examples: Love Waits or Time Flies…) Make this the title of your poem and write what it means to you.

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WALT’S PERSONIFICATION:

MY HEART SINGS

A sad lament sent forth
from deep in the bowels,
are the shrieky howls of my heart.
It started when the recently departed
moon crept between the reaching branches;
twiggy fingers pointed skyward and the melody
heard in whispers and whistles betwixt the thistles.
Love decided to hide inside the boisterous beating ballad
of that cardiac crooner and the sooner it was through
it would have a clue; my heart can’t carry a tune.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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SARA’S POEM COMES TO LIFE:

SHY VIOLETS

Peonies puffed out their chests,
roses nodded royal heads,
and pansies pranced,
smiling at attendees
as the dance began.
Violets in their velvet coats
remained bunched together,
too shy to glide
onto the dance floor.
When bluebells
rang in a waltz, three kind
camellias came to the rescue,
slowly fanning out around
the stiff violets, coaxing them
onto the floor. Sunflowers
scattered seeds of confetti.
The dance was a success.
Violets now eagerly await
the next Flower Ball.

(C) Copyright Sara McNulty – 2014

We welcome Sara McNulty as our co-host this week and invite you all to plant your poems here!
 

PROMPT # 142 – “TAKE ONE PLEASE” : GUEST HOST – SHARON (S.E.) INGRAHAM

This week, I have the honor of presenting one of the more truly gifted poets around. Her work has been an inspiration to me since 2009, so that says something. And I find it fitting that in my “tribute” to Gordon Lightfoot last week, I wrote “If I could, I would have been Alberta Bound”. In a way, I have done just that, tapping Edmonton, Alberta for the work of one of the Great White North’s wonderful wordsmiths. I give you Sharon (S.E.) Ingraham.

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SHARON (S.E.) INGRAHAM

SHARON (S.E.) INGRAHAM

S.E.Ingraham, a long-time frequenter of many of the web’s poetic watering holes – Poetic Asides, the Sunday Whirl, dVerse Bar, Poets United, and of course Creative Bloomings (formerly Poetic Bloomings) to name a few…She admits to being a less faithful member of each than she would like, but comes as often as time and health permits. Even being a retired mental health consumer doesn’t mean she’s entirely out of the woods when it comes to either depression or, in the odd instance, mania, and she’s aware of this, and tries to be careful when it comes to getting enough sleep or down time (emphasis on the “tries to be”).

Since Ingraham began taking her writing seriously in 2008, all she’s really wanted is to have her work read and heard. Due to the encouragement of places like Poetic Bloomings where Walt and Marie Elena have been tireless cheerleaders, plus a generous dollop or two of luck, she now has poems in a number of publications, both print and on-line, amongst them: Pyrokinection, Red Fez, Shot Glass, Otis Nebula, Poised in Flight, Of Sun and Sand, In Gilded Frame…She also just learned that her work has been selected by kindofahurricanpress.com (another very supportive venue incidentally) for the second year in a row to be in their “best of the year anthology” Storm Cycle…

Of other poetry related things over the past year, Ingraham had the privilege of taking part in the Pulitzer Remix Project, writing a poem a day based on “Arrowsmith”, Sinclair Lewis’s award winning novel from 1929. This led to a semi-regular gig reading for the Found Poetry Review, plus ongoing relationships with many of the 80+ international poets involved in the project and its conceptualizer, Jenni B Baker. In additional, a fall online course on Modern and Post-Modern American Poetry taken through Coursera (one of the up and coming MOOC’s) was so good (and gratis) she’s already signed on for next year.

In her life outside of poetry, S.E. (Sharon) is married to the love of her life, Terry – 44 years this month – and they have two grown daughters, Julie and Katy. All of them live on the 53rd parallel in Edmonton, Alberta where it’s, as you might well guess, extremely cold! As of March 4th, there will also be three grandsons in the family as the third is scheduled to be born that day…As well as an extremely loyal but too-quickly-aging border-collie/wolf cross, family mean everything to her.

Ingraham’s work may be found on any one of her blogs:

The Poet Tree House        –         S.E. Ingraham Says        –         The Way Eye See It        –         In My Next Life

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PROMPT #142 – “TAKE ONE PLEASE” – Choose from one of the titles below and write your poem based on that thought. Your title must come from this list. It will be interesting to compare your thoughts on the exact same themes.

TITLES:

Culture Shock
True Blue
Where Hope Finds Me
A Waltz of Words
Love Never Ceases

WALT TAKES ONE:

WHERE HOPE FINDS ME

Lost boys never quit dreaming,
scheming of ways to stand their ground
with a new found respect for their abilities.
the agility of a Pan, and the nervous sense
of self not withstanding. Demanding much
from what hope they can muster, they may
get flustered from time to time, but are never
out of the game; never the same, they become
stronger the longer in the tooth they find themselves.
Old gents hold those glowing embers well into their
Decembers. They remain members of life’s fraternity.
Battles waged and lost, and hard-fought victories
over hook handed bandits lands us firmly on our feet,
ready if we chose to roam. But the hope of lost boys will
eventually bring them home when villains are vanquished.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

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SHARON’S PICK:

 
CULTURE SHOCK

I knew him and he goes on haunting me.
                                                                     ~Pablo Neruda

In war, odd alliances are forged
We fell together with a common need
trying to hide from death,
from those who would take us both

Language was a barrier yes, but eyes,
eyes speak many translations and together
we formed a bond and trust without
ever exchanging a word…

The morning I awoke and he was gone,
did it seem extra-quiet?…Did I suspect
at once what he had done for me…
I can’t think I did…

The day seemed like any other in our
situation, that is…difficult to explain
or describe
The days were unlike anything we
might have imagined before the tanks
lumbered up our streets
And friends stopped speaking to friends

Hours, or maybe as long as a day later
when I knew he was not returning
I ran through the woods during
the day…I couldn’t think what else to do
Finally I emerged in the dark to find
him hung in the square

I knew then.

(c) Copyright S. E. Ingraham – 2014

I couldn’t resist posting this second wonderful poem of Sharon’s that has touched me dearly with its tenderness and loyalty.
Consider it a Bonus. I love this piece! Walt. 

LOVE NEVER CEASES
for Farley, my wolf

You amble now so slow
and I can see you grow old ‘fore
my eyes, wolf I adore
Moving carefully, you’re on ice
snow’s bad but still quite nice,
soft should a sacrifice be that
last step which lays you flat
Frail, a misstep, a fall splat down
break a bone, oh dear hound
I fear to see your mound, your grave
I fear I know I won’t be brave…

(C) Copyright S. E. Ingraham – 2014
 

BRILLIANT BLOOMS PROMPT #141 AND RISPETTO

Another outstanding bit of work by our Co-Host here at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS. Debi Swim continued to hold the bar set by Paula Wanken last week, with her poetic prowess and encouraging nature. Thank you Debi for a job well done!

We honor the people who have given us worded wisdom in the form of poems, books and music. Through them, we are inspired and motivated to recreate is some small way their efforts. The choices of writing heroes was as varied as the talented poets we have in our garden. Now today we honor some of them with our selections of our BRILLIANT BLOOMS!

WALT’S CHOICE:

One purpose of this exercise was to allow you to shine the light on someone who inspires you. An off shoot of that, is to introduce us all to that new source of enlightenment and inspiration as well as new expressions. In this case the language and word combinations do indeed sing as Claudette Young had stated in the comment on this poem. And this poet is also new to us and her initial offering has made an impression. Hopefully, she will continue to grow in our garden with her contributions of poetry. Cara Lopez Lee, we welcome  you and honor you with a BRILLIANT BLOOM.

A TRIBUTE TO LUIS ALBERTO URRREA

He spent 20 years unearthing her past,
A true family myth whom he had not met.
A wellspring of faith, of magic, of war.
A column of fire before Mexico’s poor.
The saint girl healed with curandera secrets.
History revived and laughing with life.
Tortillas and desert, coffee and cactus.
Thick salty pages where heroes still live.
Imagined rancheros and memories of mountains.
The author spreads his feast for the dead.
Not for fame or glory or name softly spoken.
Words of Mexican, Woman, and reason for pride,
In tales that light sparks once quiescent within.

(C) Copyright Cara Lopez Lee – 2014

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DEBI’S BLOOM SELECTION:

The tributes were wonderful and it was difficult to pick just one, but Ellen Evan’s jumped out at me from the first. I think what she said about Mary Oliver in particular can be said in general for each of our own personal favorite writer/s – The feeling of awe at a phrase, the way another sees the same world we do, the nudge they give us to write and be better… Ellen my thanks to you for your tribute.

A TRIBUTE TO MARY OLIVER

We live in the same world,
you and I.
Not the same universe
perhaps,
but the same world.

For even if I walked by
your side on
your morning
rounds to greet
the waking world,

the eyes through which
you see the wonders
that are there,
and the skills
by which you share them,

are talents I do not possess.
Such gifts exist
in this world
unreplicated,
to each of us our own.

But when I stretch
my creative self,
your path is there
to beckon me in its
quiet certainty.

(c) Copyright 2014 – Ellen Evans

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INFORM POETS BLOOM

In our description of the RISPETTO form, we point out the “respect” aspect of such a verse. The respect many sources say, is usually directed toward a woman. But the “respect” in this poem is very powerful and pays homage to the enduring nature of love. There is beauty in the heart-pain that ripples throughout this piece. This BLOOM is presented to Marjory M Thompson for her untitled poem:

The light still shines within your eyes
reflecting what is in your heart
restating love of days gone by,
a time I thought we could not part.

We danced and sang with friends we shared.
On moon-lite nights we loved and cared.
Eternal troth we thought was ours,
but it was not set in the stars.

(C) Copyright Marjory M. Thompson – 2014

 

We honor you CARA, ELLEN and MARJORY. CONGRATULATIONS!