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

PROMPT #360 – ABSENCE

Good afternoon, all. I’ve missed your word-filled, wonderful selves. I’m mostly better now, but still not up to reading or writing. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t even try. 😉 But upon sneaking into the garden to say hello, I see our fearless leader Walt is M.I.A. Trying to get in touch with him to make sure he is okay. In our absence, feel free to write an Absence poem. We’ll both join in when we are able.

In the meantime, know this: There is no shortage of Covid-free cyber hugs to you all!

Marie Elena

Alive and well… I wonder…

WALT’S RESURRECTION:

HEARTS GROW FONDER?

Sorry that I went away,
but you know what they say
about absence and all that jazz.
It has been a hectic weekend,
more than usual my friends.
A remodeling project run amok.
It left me quite stuck
without an internet connection,
and my dereliction was unintended.
I pretended I was still quite young
to be the work horse I once was,
but no longer am. A bad back 
and my decrepit rest was put to the test.
At best, I’ve survived. I am still an alive
and functioning jerk. I came to work 
to get some rest. Who’d have guessed?

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

Thanks to Marie for catching my fall (as any Good partner and “sister” would). And to all who reached out privately to check on me, it was greatly appreciated. I am not “the late” Walt, I was just late! 😉

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

PROMPT #352 – MANY FROM ONE

On Wednesday, during our exploration of Wallace Stevens’ work through his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, I instructed you to be mindful of this piece of poetics. Stevens observed his subject from many different angles, yet staying true to his subject, blackbirds.

I ask that you choose a subject, be it something in your travels or something in your realm of influence, and write your observations in as many parts as you see fit. The point of view is all yours. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so they say. There are many views of your chosen subject. Write them!

MARIE’S OBSERVATION:

GOLDEN DOOR

1.  Statue of Liberty

Mother of Exiles:
the unofficial greeter
who lights the entry.

2.  E pluribus unum (from many, one)

Though it may sing, the
human voice can’t, on its own,
create harmony.

3.  Breathe Free

Asphyxiated,
come! Inhale liberty, and
exhale oppression.

4.  Golden Door

Inexpensively
opening up a child’s world:
Little Golden Books.

5.  Rings True

You opened my heart
and sealed life-long allegiance
with just a gold band.

6.  Treasure Box

To the hungry child,
the dream door to open is
a fridge full of food.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021




WALT’S WIDE VIEW:

THE CHRISTMAS STAR

I

It shines in the night
To the children’s delight,
Clear and bright
It makes the world seem alright!

II 

They came from afar
At the behest of this star.
Leading them to the place
Where the Child born of grace lays.
Above Him it stays.

III

Twinkle, twinkle Christmas star
High in the sky is where you are.

IV

In the silence of night
The shepherds take comfort
By your fervent glow.
Angels call and the keepers know
That they need not be afraid.

V

Multitude of stars shine
But their combined light 
Is not as bright as the one star,
A constellation of itself.

VI

Christmas comes
Not in foil wrapped boxes,
Not with ribbons and bows.
God knows where the Son rises
And there are no surprises to find.
For where the star glows
Can salvation be far behind?

VII

Polish tradition states
That the meatless meal on your plate 
is not consumed before the star’s first light is seen.
A familial scene of togetherness.
The adults prepare their Christmas eve fare,
While the children keep watch in the skies.
Soon the starlight will come.
Star light, star bright, first star we see tonight!

VIII

My eyes don’t deceive,
For every time I leave for my flight
On that special night, the Star of Christmas 
shows its bright light. Christmas has come once again,
and I and my reindeer friends embark
into the dark night with only that star to lead.
Everywhere the starlight touches
Does as much to announce the day.
And I in my sleigh bow my head at that blessed sight,
I am Santa Claus, and all is right. 
It is Christmas!

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021