PROMPT #369 – ANIMAL INSTINCT

We’re thinking animals this week. It’s a fact that animals are blessed with certain instincts and traits to aid in their survival. We know a cheetah is very fast. We’ve all heard of how “wise” an owl is. Squirrels are gatherers. Dogs are loyal; cats aloof… Take an animal trait or instinct and use that as your inspiration for your poetry. Mild or wild, get “animalistic” on us!

MARIE’S INSTINCT:

Animals can’t be
who they are not. Do you see
God’s fingerprints there?

© Marie Elena Good 2022

WALT’S TRAIT:

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

Silently they graze,
and suddenly in a dusty haze
they kick up their hooves 
and raise the roofs,
a guaranteed stampede indeed.
You can hear them rumble,
yet they remain humble,
they hear nature's call
as one by one their obstacles fall.
And from the deepest of chills
you can hear them shout,
Go Bills!

PROMPT #368 – TIME FOR A CHANGE

Bowie smiling
David Bowie in 2002

It’s a new year. Hopefully we’ll experience changes in a positive way. (Not anything like the past couple of years). And as we think of changes, who knew change better than the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, who would have celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday. Bowie was instrumental in changing music. He changed his style (think Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars vs. Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby). He had changed his persona on a few occasions, always morphing into different versions of himself. Then there is one of his hit singles, “Changes.”

We’re writing a change poem. Change can do you good. And the aspect of change, from spare change, to loose change, to whatever change you can imagine. Perhaps change your poetic style for this one. You decide whether bad or good, but make your Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes flow!

A NEW MARIE:

FIRST, DO NO HARM

I’m itchin’ to upgrade, and pitchin’ a fit.
For now, I’m afraid, I have zilch to submit.
While someone is flippin’ through pages of verse,
I want my name there before I’m in a hearse.
It’s paltry and petty, this dream I’ve unfurled. 
But?
Improvin’ at versin’ can’t worsen the world.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

THE SAME OLD WALT:

CHANGE OF PACE

I've found myself slowing down a bit,
pitching less of a fit and finding the groove
I'm in moves me in a whole new direction.
I'm in no hurry of late, not looking to become
the late, great Walt. It's my fault, bringing
so much passion to my words that you've heard
before. I'm more sedate, (that's debatable)
less stable with all my cards on the table.
The best cards held close to the vest
have long been played. Not looking 
to cash my chips in just yet. I forget where
I had left them. I'll get them neatly stacked
and be back for the final deal. So my steps
have faltered a smidge and Walter by the fridge
is where you'll find me. Don't mind me.
As long as I've got a few arms up my sleeves,
I'll leave here writing verse. It could be worse.
I could be riding in the back of the hearse,
instead of giving the funeral director directions.

PROMPT #361 – WE’RE THANKFUL

2021 is sprinting to the end and thank God it is! It’s been a struggle, but we’re surviving as best we can. Now, we stand on the cusp of our Thanksgiving holiday in the States. The precursor to Christmas is almost nigh. So we are asked to write our obligatory “Thankful” poem … anything with the word THANK in the title or in the body of your poem would be greatly accepted! So, for Marie and myself, we tell you that we are very thankful for each and every one of you who share this ‘familial’ garden with us. We appreciate you to no end and consider you all family as well as friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all who will be celebrating. And Happy you’re with us moving forward! Be thankful!

MARIE’S THANKFUL:

Late, but here!  🙂 

Rummaging Through Covid-19, and Finding Buts

It began with head pain that made previous headaches pale,
but it wasn’t the “alarming” head pain described by some.
I slept 21-22 hours per day for the first three days,
but I was able to sleep.
It brought an engulfing fatigue,
but energy is returning.
A low-grade fever made me feel sickly,
but it remained low-grade.  
I lost my ability to taste and smell,
but found the crunch of a toasted bagel spread with pretty white creamy cheese 
strangely satisfying.
Lockdown could have felt oppressively lonely,
but the love of my life was with me.
I was much sicker than he,
but I could enjoy watching him plant spring flower bulbs.
In isolation, depression could have decided to visit,
but unseasonable warmth and sun visited instead,
leaving depression no seat at the table.
My brain and eyes could not read,
but they are beginning to browse again.
Writing poems became impossible.
But here is one 
and, though it is not poetic,
I am thankful it came to call. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S THANKFUL POEM:

WORDS OF THANKS

Friends gathered in celebration
a family in tradition, a condition
in which grateful hearts honor blessings
given. Thankful for a holiday
that can play up this function
of our human nature. Grand in stature,
a feast shared, prepared in love
to fete the historic past as the leaves
drift downward, parades move forward
and we eat ourselves into a long nap.

 © Walter J Wojtanik

PROMPT #356 – LEFT OF CENTER, RIGHT?

Write one. A left poem, a center or middle poem or a right poem. Left Out to Dry. Stuck in the middle. Right Kind of Wrong. You know where to take it and make it sing.

MARIE’S POEM:

ALL I HAVE LEFT

To say I’m right-dominant’s right.
My left side is nowhere in sight.
It’s like it went missing.
I’m left reminiscing. 
I have nothing left.  It’s my plight.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S POEM:

PICKLED IN THE MIDDLE

Drinking to excess
is not considered a success
if you can still stand,
or still stand still.
The difference between
falling and staying erect,
is just failing at being erect.
In the middle you're suspended
until you're upended.
Then the drink's on you!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik 
Marie will be in the middle of nowhere this week as she and hubby Keith embark on their annual trek to their personal Mecca, the cabin in Hocking Hills. She may join us, internet connection permitting. Her escape is well deserved.

PROMPT #355 – HAVE CARD, WILL TRAVEL

Well, I will have hit the road to head up to the North country to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law and his family. Haven’t been up in over a year and a half. So the car will be loaded up and I’ll be traveling.

Think of a mode of transportation and write it into a poem. Planes, trains and automobiles. Snow shoes, roller blades. Covered wagon (if you’ve got one). Head to your destination and tell us about it poetically. Even a garden cart to the back yard is going somewhere. Give us a view!

MARIE’S MODE:

Remotely Interested in Travel

With suitcase in hand as she leaves,
the thought of it drives her to heaves.
Oh what joy it might bring
but it isn’t her thing,
so she now leaves it up to Rick Steves.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S MOVE:

NORTH TO OTTAWA
Four-wheeling across the state,
the slate is clear. I am here
steering this starship, hip 
to the restrictions in place
to keep the world safe
from miniscule bacterium,
people staving I'm
with a smile hidden behind a mask.
The task not taken in 18 months.
Up to the Great White North
to spend Thanksgiving with
my daughter and her family.
Giving thanks for this gift!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

PROMPT #354 – EDWARD HOPPER

It seems the paintings and works of artist Edward Hopper are great fodder to inspire other artists in their endeavors. We as poets have come across this from time to time. Many an Ekphrastic poem has sprung from these offerings. Some show the desolation of the human condition, or the interaction of the same.

Today I offer three such works for your poetic interpretation:

“Room in New York”
by Edward Hopper
“Hotel By a Railroad”
by Edward Hopper
“Sunday”
by Edward Hopper

Each painting expresses something and it’s your job to relate what it says to you. Choose one and tell us what you see!

MARIE’S VISION:

Room in New York (An American Sentence)

Here she has a house, but longs to be there, even if in one small room. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

#seventeensyllables

WALT’S VIEW:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
The man had many hang ups,
and this one will have him hung over
all day. Another Sunday with nary 
a prayer on his lips, but plenty of
Jack Daniel’s on his breath.
He curses God for his lack of strength
in battling his demons, for they’ve
cost him his job and his family.
Responsibility was never his, 
and he wasn’t laying claim to this.
On any given Sunday you’ll find him
pissing his life away; he thinks
he’s keeping his demons at bay.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

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

POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM # 70 – “THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD”

This week, the tables have been turned. Instead of me introducing you to new works by a previously lesser known poet, I have been taken to school on Wallace Stevens. I thank Daniel Paicopulos for steering us in Mr. Stevens direction.

More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk at the office, and led a quiet, uneventful life.

Though now considered one of the major American poets of the century, he did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of his Collected Poems, just a year before his death.

Stevens died in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 2, 1955.

Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens – 1879-1955
THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD



I

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

I chose this piece by Stevens for its study of a single simple subject. Keep this thought in mind as we near the next Sunday Seed! 😉 Walt.

POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM #69 – “IN SCHOOL-DAYS”

Around these parts, today marks the first day of the new school year. And no more appropriate time to introduce a “School” poem and another obscure poet.

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the fireside poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is remembered particularly for his anti-slavery writings, as well as his 1866 book Snow-Bound.

John Greenleaf Whittier – 1807-1892
IN SCHOOL-DAYS
By John Greenleaf Whittier

Still sits the school-house by the road, 
A ragged beggar sleeping; 
Around it still the sumachs grow, 
And blackberry-vines are creeping. 

Within, the master's desk is seen, 
Deep-scarred by raps official; 
The warping floor, the battered seats, 
The jack-knife's carved initial; 

The charcoal frescoes on its wall; 
Its door's worn sill, betraying 
The feet that, creeping slow to school, 
Went storming out to playing! 

Long years ago, a winter sun 
Shone over it at setting; 
Lit up its western window-panes, 
And low eaves' icy fretting. 

It touched the tangled golden curls, 
And brown eyes full of grieving, 
Of one who still her steps delayed 
When all the school were leaving. 

For near it stood the little boy 
Her childish favor singled; 
His cap pulled low upon a face 
Where pride and shame were mingled. 

Pushing with restless feet the snow 
To right and left, he lingered; --- 
As restlessly her tiny hands 
The blue-checked apron fingered. 

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt 
The soft hand's light caressing, 
And heard the tremble of her voice, 
As if a fault confessing. 

"I'm sorry that I spelt the word: 
I hate to go above you, 
Because,"---the brown eyes lower fell, --- 
"Because, you see, I love you!" 

Still memory to a gray-haired man 
That sweet child-face is showing. 
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave 
Have forty years been growing! 

He lives to learn, in life's hard school, 
How few who pass above him 
Lament their triumph and his loss, 
Like her, because they love him.



POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM #68 – “DAYDREAMS FOR GINSBERG”

Jack Kerouac, (1922-1969), was an American novelist, poet, and leader of the Beat movement. Born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac.  His most famous book, On the Road (1957), broadly influenced cultural perceptions before it was recognized for its literary merits. On the Road celebrated the spirit of its era.

While enrolled at Columbia University, Kerouac met two writers who would become lifelong friends: Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Together with Kerouac, they linked to the literary movement known as Beat, inspired by Herbert Huncke, a Times Square drifter. (Read: junkie, petty thief, hustler, and writer). It expressed a feeling of being “down-and-out”. Also, there is a sense of being beat down and therefore signified the bottom of the barrel (from a financial and an emotional point of view), but as well the utmost spiritual high.

Jack Kerouac was severely beaten in a drunken brawl and later died from the internal injuries suffered in the altercation.

JACK KEROUAC 1922-1969
DAYDREAMS FOR GINSBERG

I lie on my back at midnight
hearing the marvelous strange chime
of the clocks, and know it's mid-
night and in that instant the whole
world swims into sight for me
in the form of beautiful swarm-
ing m u t t a worlds-
everything is happening, shining
Buhudda-lands, bhuti
blazing in faith, I know I'm
forever right & all's I got to
do (as I hear the ordinary
extant voices of ladies talking
in some kitchen at midnight
oilcloth cups of cocoa
cardore to mump the
rinnegain in his
darlin drain-) i will write
it, all the talk of the world
everywhere in this morning, leav-
ing open parentheses sections
for my own accompanying inner
thoughts-with roars of me
all brain-all world
roaring-vibrating-I put
it down, swiftly, 1,000 words
(of pages) compressed into one second
of time-I'll be long
robed & long gold haired in
the famous Greek afternoon
of some Greek City
Fame Immortal & they'll
have to find me where they find
the t h n u p f t of my
shroud bags flying
flag yagging Lucien
Midnight back in their
mouths-Gore Vidal'll
be amazed, annoyed—
my words'll be writ in gold
& preserved in libraries like
Finnegans Wake & Visions of Neal

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