PROMPT #370 – FIRE STARTER

The chill has taken hold and with the storms of snow and sub-zero cold, we need to warm things up. The best way to start a fire is with a good spark. You choose the spark… your subject is something that flashes an idea from your domain. Could be the dust bunnies under the couch, it might be a smoke alarm with a low battery (change that battery!). The constant ringing of robo-calls or tele-maketers on your phone. What sets you off? What sparks your ire (fire)? Right it! Write it!

MARIE’S EMBER:

LINGERING LABORIOUSLY 

No pilot to ignite.
No burst of firelight.
No flash-fed zeal. 
And that’s the deal
when I sit down to write.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

WALT’S TINDER:

FIRST DRAFT

I can feel a chill. 
Can you feel it?
Who ever invited the cold inside?
I tried to stem the tide
but I just can't hide the fact
that the track on the window sill
is letting in that frigid chill.
I must hop to!, I cannot wait.
It's surely time to insulate!
Can you feel it? I can!

(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

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 #367 – OLD OR NEW

There is an old Irish tradition that says as the new year arrives, you open your back door to let out the old year and open the front door to let in the new. Doors symbolize entrances and exits. Write an ”open door” poem, or a ”closed door” poem. Either way, Happy New Year to all and here’s hoping 2022 is an improvement!

MARIES ENTRANCE:

May God open doors
meant for me, close those not, and
lock my steps with His.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

#seventeenintwentytwo

WALTS EXIT:

REMEMBER

remember all doors are trap doors, and our fires
should be barely more than sticks. We must remember
remembering is always futuristic.

~from “Post-Apocalyptic” by Stacia M. Fleegal

All doors are trap doors.
Some lead to destinations,
others to other trap doors.
A mind’s cavernous hollow
lets you follow where knowledge
and memory lead. Knowing bears
a confidence to pursue. Memory
plays in a constant loop
revisiting that which we have left
behind or forgotten. Yet, ignoring
the past becomes a destiny to repeat it;
a step forward from where recollection
is buried. Step away from the past,
remembering is always futuristic.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

PROMPT #366 – MANY HAPPY RETURNS

The day after Christmas has always been the day folks rush back to return gifts. Things get to return to “normal.” Some people return home from visiting relatives for the holidays. So it is fitting we write a ”return” poem.

MARIE’S COMEBACK:

LEARNING TEACHES

We’re on an information highway,
traveling at the speed of light in a vacuum.
With instant information gratification,
who needs fact memorization?
Surely it’s time to table times
and periodic elements.

But, no.
For learning stirs a yearning.
The churning of knowledge
and haulage of speech and fact
actively draws us.
gnaws at disinterest, and
erects a monstrosity of curiosity.

Learning reaches us.
Teaches us.
And in return,
we learn.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018  

I'm sorry I'm late!  For now, I returned to a poem I wrote in 2018.  If you want to see my cutiepatootie granddaughter in my original post, take a look:  
https://picturedwords.me/2018/08/15/learning-teaches/ 

WALTS RETURN:

BACK INTO THE BOX

Another year has come and gone
and I'm done with my mission.
My condition is not so serious.
And I'm not delirious, my time
in the suit has come to another sad end.
Just as it had begun, another year
has come and gone. I return the red suit
to the box, cap in place and the beard
that graced my face has been
stowed away. I have no clue 
if I'll return to this station
or get to don the threads again.
It thrills me if truth be told,
I don't think I'll ever be too old
to serve my time as Santa Claus.

(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #365 – “DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?”

As we close in on Christmas, we are surrounded by the trappings of the season. Pick an item associated with Christmas and write a Christmas poem from that item’s point of view. It could be an ornament, or a branch on Christmas tree. It might be an angel tree topper or a figurine from your nativity creche. What does the donkey see? The Star of Bethlehem? Christmas from a different perspective.

We are fortunate this week to get an early Christmas gift, in the guise of our Marie Elena Good rejoining us. It is a Good present indeed!

MARIE’S VIEW:

Cross of Christ

My place atop the Christmas tree
may seem a lofty place for me,
but humbly, I point down below
through greenery and lights aglow
to manger scene that holds the Christ
who paid the price in sacrifice
for every woman, man, and child –
this perfect Lamb – this undefiled
Rescuer, Redeemer, God
I represent, and richly laud.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S OBSERVATION:

EVER VIGILANT

Each year, they bring me out to celebrate, 
and I wait in silent vigil, keeping watch
over everything Christmas. My uniform
is well appointed and my double jointed
jaw may have me cracking jokes
or other nutty things. Mouse Kings
and sugarplum faeries complete my circle.
I do enjoy the joyous music this time of year.
My job is to protect and serve with nerves 
of oak, just like any bloke who chooses
to enlist their service. Yet, I'm nervous.
I'm suspicious of that elf up on that shelf!

(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #364 – THE MUSE IN MUSIC

Christmas music fills the airwaves these days. And it’s easy to find inspiration in a good song title. Using one such title as your poem’s title, write that poem!

WALT’S TRIGGER:

I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
The week before Christmas you’ll hear them clearly
telling you that it’s nearly Christmas day.
You know their familiar sound,
a carol that will resound through the valley
and down every alleyway and thoroughfare.
It is there where you’ll hear them,
they’ll endear themselves to you.
And when their peal is through you’ll know,
that Christmas Day has come to pass at last.
We will join in their ringing while
townsfolk will be singing their tune.
Christmas bells certainly make me swoon.
I am Santa Claus and I must say,
I hear the bells each Christmas Day.

(c) Walter J Wojtanik

PROMPT # 363 – MARLEY WAS DEAD

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

And thus begins the second most famous story of Christmas. Dickens tale has stood the test of time and every re-telling brings a new perspective to the season. And of course, we know the story. Skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits of Christmas. The past, present and future of Scrooge’s life is revealed to provide a great lesson.

We are writing a “spirit” of Christmas. From your personal experience, write a past, present or future poem as you’ve lived it. The season fast approaches. As we prepare, lets reflect on how we can better ourselves from the lessons so learned, poetically.

WALT’S REFLECTION:

SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Ebenezer needed convincing,
to get through the night without wincing,
the spirits of Christmas sent to reveal
how his Christmas spirit was a big deal.
What Ebenezer had done in the past,
brought him to now. How could he not learn?
He had burned many a chance at life
and romance and his macabre dance
was a dark transgression. In his profession,
he should have been told that time
was as valued as gold. But, behold his fate.
It’s not too late for redemption.
Without exemption he should know
that what he is now is because of who he was.
Who he’ll be tomorrow will be filled with sorrow
if he didn’t borrow the lessons that today
could bring him. The present is all
he has to rely upon. And on review, it is true.
Make the most of your Christmas present.
What you value today will go a long way
toward the happiness you can bring.
Know that Father Christmas will stay because.
I’ll be your forever Santa Claus.
 

© Walter J Wojtanik 

PROMPT #362 – BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

It has gotten cold outside. And I’m fighting an old fashioned cold. So today were writing about (a) cold. Even warmth (the anti-cold) brushes the outskirts of our prompt. Warm up to a good cold poem.

MARIE’S GOOD AND COLD POEM:

A LUKEWARM LIMERICK

There once was a gal named Marie
Who pondered a poem, but gee,
Her wits felt flash-frozen,
Her words weren’t well-chosen …
She figured she’d just take a knee.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT CAN’T SHAKE THIS COLD:

WHERE THE AIR GETS COLD

You can feel the chill in the air,
for it is there that the feeling lingers.
I can sense it in my heavy-mittened fingers
and that is just right for my one night flight.
Way up North, where the air gets cold.

Maybe I’m just getting old and I can’t
warm up like I used to. And it is true
my home base is a place where this flurry
of activity can send me to scurry about,
way up North, where the air gets cold.

Many folks aren’t really quite sold
on the thought of my existence.
There is this resistance to recapture the spirit
long after it appears to have left them.
Way up North, where the air gets cold

I make my bold preparations. The Elves work hard
to be sure every bell sparkles, every whip snaps.
Every present in position. They harness the reindeer
every year as Christmas draws ever so near,
way up North, where the air get cold!

I try my best to make every Christmas a bold beauty.
I am Santa Claus, and that’s my sworn duty!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

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