PROMPT #404 – THE FALL OF AUTUMN

Summer is ready to slip away quietly. Not with any parade or marching band. It just beats a hasty retreat. And with its departure, we herald in the autumnal equinox. So we will write autumn poems. But…Your poem will present the essence of autumn, full of descriptive language and imagery. Replete with the colorful sights and aromas. However, your poem will NOT contain the words Fall or Autumn anywhere in your verse. Not in the body and not in the title. We will know it is an autumnal poem by your words alone (as long as none of the words are Fall or Autumn – or any derivation of either!) Take us into the season which is upon us… whatever it’s called.

MARIE’S DEPICTION:

Ponderings

Smacks of death, say some.
But I smell Mom’s pies. Hear Dad’s
marching band pre-games.

Feel crisp air against
my sometimes still-a-bit-tanned-
from-summertime skin.

Marvel at the sky’s
puffy white and charcoal clouds
in deep blue setting.

Relish the jewel-tones
gradually gracing trees,
begging wonderment.

Enjoy leaves crunching
beneath the tires of my bike,
or cute-boot-dressed feet.

Experience leaves
raked in a pile over my
head, then jumping in.

Savor the taste of
a hardy stew with biscuits,
or bowl of chili.

Memories bring smiles,
like the Robbins Avenue
Pizza (a rare treat),

enjoyed on our porch
after walking home from a
nighttime football game.

Smacks of death, say some.
But my senses are filled with
what I’ve fallen for.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

(An extraordinary piece, Pard! IMHO!)

WALT’S PRESENTATION:

AS THE DAYS DISSIPATE

The sun's glow doesn't last long past seven,
and all the splendor of Heaven descends
in a rapid cascade of color and shadow.
Archangel's wings stir the winds of change
and coolness becomes the shroud that engulfs you
in hues of crimson, and rust, and brown decay.
The scents fill your nostrils; burning leaves, stew
brewing, and you wish you could capture it all 
in your imperfect words. Birds prepare to head south, 
without much to carry but their songs. 
Before long, winter will approach, encroaching on all 
who mourn her sorry demise; her eyes, vacant and sad.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

PROMPT #403 – LIVING ON THE EDGE

Every day we inch toward the edge of a precipice. Summer is on the downward spiral. Daylight is a waning commodity. It seems we’re living on the edge of something. We’re looking over the edge to write our poems this week. Edge of sanity, edge of reason or the edge of a ledge, what fuels your poetry? Give us a view from your lofty position. It’s true. We’re living on the edge.

MARIE’S LEDGE:

On Edge

A young mom stands.
The four-year-old boy at her feet
sits in his unseen labels:
Autistic.
Nonverbal.
Sensory-impaired.
She holds one end of a leash.
The other is attached to a cute backpack
he wears, as he fidgets in a small spot of dirt
in an otherwise flawless lawn of the public library that is, 
today, being used as a venue for celebrating diversity.  

The morning is perfection.  
People of different cultures and languages together,
sharing their talents and being offered a public voice.
This mom does not move from her spot
for hours.
The darling boy pays no attention to the speakers
the music
the dancers
other children.
His focus is only on his patch of dirt.
He sits in it.  Lays in it.  Plays in it 
with his hands and feet.
Feels it with his cheeks.
He pulls a bit of the grass around it,
increasing his speck of space.
A woman with a long dress gets close.
He reaches out to touch the fabric.  It is the only thing
I see him pay attention to, besides the small patch
that grounds him.  
His momma tells him
don’t touch the dress.  

When I am leaving, I approach her. 
She stiffens. 
I smile.
“A sort of sandbox, I see,” I say.  
She tells me nothing soothes him quite like
a patch of cool dirt. 
She tells me his labels.  
I place my hand on her shoulder briefly,
and assure her she is a strong, good momma.
She says the only other woman
to approach her this day sternly told her, 
“I pay taxes for this grass.”

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

WALT’S GONE OVER BOARD:

THE STORM APPROACHES

In the distance, a rumble,
a tumble of thunder as the truth approaches.
Standing on the edge, the storm is here,
a torrent of rain coming to wash away the mud
and slime slung as the truth keeps brimming
to counter the lies pushing to level the people. 
Its ferocity will shake the world,
a swirl of wind in forceful retribution.
The solution is clear. Hear what you choose; 
what your heart wishes to believe.
Seek shelter from the storm.

© Walter J Wojtanik, 2022

PROMPT #401 – THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Simon & Garfunkel

Think the Simon and Garfunkel mega hit of the sixties. Silence has a sound. It is up to us to describe that sound. What do you hear as the sound of silence? Is it eerily strange or quietly cacophonous? What sounds do you consider silent? Take the challenge and make us hear the noise!

MARIE’S QUIET:

Ears to Hear

She sits in silence,
listening for God to speak.
But she hears no one.

She sits in darkness,
watching for God’s appearance.
But she sees nothing.

She grasps at the air,
trying to feel God’s presence.
But she feels nothing.

She raises her voice.
“Abba! Father! Where are You?”
He, soundlessly, speaks.

She closes her eyes,
absorbing His attention,
knowing who He is. 

Her heart hears His voice
in both silence and sound. He
gives her ears to hear.

She opens her eyes
sees Him everywhere, in
all He created.

The air wraps her up,
blankets her in His shelter,
fills her lungs with Him.

She knows she is His.
She sees and hears and feels Him.
She knows what she knows.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

WALT’S VACUUM:

CRYSTAL STILLNESS

Here amongst the evergreens,
a scene I relive every year
with the fear this immortality
will wear off and folks would scoff
at the fat old man in red.
It is said that those who believe
will receive more than material
gains. It is then that the real
gift of the season comes through.
But I listen, here amongst the pines,
and I’m surrounded by a cold silence;
a whispered wisp of unthawed thought
that soothes this wondering heart.
As I start to think of December
I remember echoes of the past that
blast my memory, and there is no
remedy for this reverie. Names
and faces are revisited on this
mental list that have kissed my
spirit and I hear it once more:
the arctic air, frigid and frosted,
in stillness amongst the evergreens
and marks of reindeer paws,
in crystal silence, I am Santa Claus.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2022

PROMPT #398 – SAILS FOR SALE

Sitting on our shore and watching a solitary sailboat navigating the Lake Erie waters. Made me wish I were manning the rudder and unfurling the sails for a trek. In lieu of a boat, we’re writing a sail poem (or a sale poem). That’s a bargain for sure!

WALT SAILS:

SAYLES HALF OFF SALE

They’re there at Sayles
selling their sails,
sail sales always prevail!
From here to there
they sell their ware,
so the boats can go 
from here to there.
You can see them 
lined up in a row, 
but without a sail
that’s the only way they’ll go
merrily, gently down the stream.

(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

***

Apparently you notice Marie’s absence. She’s taking a poetic pause to spend some Nona time with her beautiful granddaughters. She’s earned a Sunday off, so I’m going it alone.

PROMPT #386 – NEW HORIZONS

We’re looking off into the near distance, searching our horizon for the next big thing. Every adventure is out there for our taking as long as we’re making a concerted effort to reach for it. Of course, writing a horizon poem will work for you here as well. Or take a new look at an old thing and make it new (relatively) again! We stand on the cusp of that brave new world. Where will it take you?

MARIE’S OUTLOOK:

Fog may blur your view
of hope on the horizon,
but it’s no less there.

#seventeenintwentytwo

WALT’S SCAN:

BLUE HORIZON SKIES

 I return with regularity. To empty my mind; to achieve clarity. And it is a rarity that I can attain both. But along this shoreline, life reveals itself. It pulls memories from my mental shelves and splays them before me in these azure skies. Sights for my weary eyes, it is no surprise that I return. These thoughts inspire by my mind’s mire! 

 I find a place, a space where I can plant myself. And vacate the moment, searching the horizon for some semblance of beauty that reminds me of you. The sky is blue. But, it is not maudlin, nor melancholy. Brilliant and bright and jolly, cloud pocked and wholly enveloping. And portraits of you start developing in my heart.

 seagulls take their terns
 we are birds of a feather 
we soar to the clouds    

 © Walter J. Wojtanik - 2022

PROMPT #385 – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Walt here. So, I stand on the cusp of a new adventure in my life. I will be retiring in June (June 3rd to be exact). And being within the month, I’ve been keeping silent count of the remaining days. I figured that’s a good point to use as reference, so here’s what I propose..

A COUNTDOWN TO ______________

Write of the anticipated something in your life in a countdown to that momentous occasion. That’s the theme, but you can word it however you wish to convey your thoughts. I’m counting on you all to do me proud (you’ve never let me down!) I don’t anticipate you’ll start now.

MARIE’S COUNTDOWN:

In Line for the Roller Coaster

Unease climbs in sync
with hills I see, and dwindling
line ahead of me.

© Marie Elena Good 2022

(Memories that make me shudder, lol!)

WALLY’S TALLY:

COMING OF AGE

I turn each page gleaning all I can
from the information at hand.
But, it has become a time clockj
of late. Ticking down every minute
and second chance, a fated dance
with my mortality. The reality
becomes clearer the nearer the end
rears its head. Another birthday passes,
another Christmas looms.
Another year at a job
that has served the family well
(but not well off by any stretch).
Here’s the catch. I look forward
to the golden years (if they are granted me).
I’ll make no demands or make
outrageous plans. Retirement comes
and gladly before I’ve expired.
I’m starting to get tired. There’s a new
calendar in my future. I pray
there is a future in my new calendar!
I turn each page while I can.

© 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 #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 #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