Sunday, January 22, 2017


Early morning at the beach

Happy dogs

Lennard's Light



Here are a few more photos of the beach in Tofino, B.C. Hopefully you aren't tired of them. Smiles. If any of you have photos you would like to share in the Pantry, please send them to me by email ( We hope you all had a productive week of poetry, and are ready to dip into the Pantry for some good reading. 

Did you catch Rosemary's feature last Friday? Rosemary always has an interesting poem and poet for us at the end of the week. This past Friday's was very entertaining. This Monday, we are featuring poems by Audrey Howitt and Annell Livingston, and on Wednesday, Sumana's Midweek Motif prompt will be: Change. An appropriate topic for these political times. Looks like a great week for poetry, my friends.

Link your poem with Mr. Linky, say hi in the comments, and do visit some of your fellow poets in the spirit of reciprocity. We are so happy you are spending your Sunday morning with us.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Thought Provokers


They finally found him –
that anonymous guy
who faced down a line of tanks
in Tiananmen square
that day in 1989
in that shot that
stopped the world
in its tracks
and seared the retina
of the globe
like a soldering iron
to the eye
and made you chew
your lip like jerky
at what actual courage
looked like –
a skinny crazy guy
so way out and alone
and far beyond mercy
poking a beautiful
brave blood flower
down the barrel
of Mao’s old
faceless metal beast

Yeah, Tankman!
They found him!

And now he’s found an agent
and done Oprah
and ghostwrote a bestseller
and they’re making the film
with Jackie Chan
and he’s putting his name
to a Revolutionary clothing brand
with a cute little tank logo, and …

It’s nice he didn’t die.
But I dunno, maybe
some things are best left
to the imagination
where they’re free to live
bigger, richer lives.

Like, I never want to know
who Jack the Ripper ‘really’ was,
would be happier if the Titanic
had been left to lie, undiscovered,
encrusting mystery in the depths
of the mind …

I mean good luck to Tankman
plucked from obscurity like he was
from flipping eggs in that Shandong Diner

He’s big now, a ‘brand ambassador’.
Only careful what you wish for.
We wanted him and now he’s here –

moved on from that old massacre
to a much bigger campaign
doing ads for Tourism China

– Tug Dumbly

This is a fantasy, of course – not the original incident, which was very real and widely witnessed, but Tank Man's current history as imagined by the poet. Wikipedia outlines the original event (too momentous, after all, to be called a mere 'incident') and makes it clear that the man's subsequent fate is unknown.

(I can't show you the famous photo as it is clearly subject to stricter copyright than covered by our usual disclaimer. However, the same Wikipedia article includes it if you would like to refresh your memory. Instead, this intriguing photo of Tug Dumbly perhaps makes a fitting statement.)

I came across this poem just before the US election, and then thought I couldn't include it here immediately, because everything political (and pretty much everything else too) would inevitably be seen through that filter at that time. In the aftermath, with the inauguration looming as I write, perhaps that still pertains; but I could wait forever – interest in the new US President is not going to go away – so I'm posting regardless. 

I don't actually see this poem as political criticism, so much as social satire.

How stirring the first stanza is! And indeed, it was a heroic gesture. And what do we do with our heroes in today's world? We like to turn them into celebrities – not quite the same thing. And of course, many of our celebrities are not heroic at all but have other claims to fame, from genuine musical or sporting talent to big boobs or pots of money.

Some heroes are not admired at the time, perhaps quite the reverse. Whistle blowers risk imprisonment. One Australian of the Year earned widespread public opprobrium for daring to be proud of his Aboriginality. Even in this poem, the fictional celebrity of Tankman happens many years after his real act of heroism.

Then again, perhaps it is political commentary after all. Wheels coming full circle and all that. Revolutionaries, if they succeed, may become the next generation of tyrants ... or acquiescent advertisements for the status quo. 

Well, those are some of the things it puts me in mind of. What does it say to you, I wonder? (I'd love to hear your responses in the comments.)

I've shared Tug Dumbly's work with you twice before in 'I Wish I'd Written This'. If it wasn't for my commitment to bring you a variety of poetic voices in my Friday columns, it could be a lot more. He keeps writing poems that absolutely blow me away. 

To refresh your memory about his life and work, check details and links at this post.

Material shared in 'Thought Provokers' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Unity

UNITY, a new interactive public art project created in response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics.

 “We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business;
we are each other's magnitude and bond.”
“Pit race against race, religion against religion,
prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer!
We must not let that happen here.”
“I felt knowledge and the unity of the world
circulate in me like my own blood.”

Sculpture "Unity" at Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma LCCN2010720603.tif
 "Unity" Sculpture at Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Midweek Motif ~ Unity

Is there anything that doesn't work better with Unity?
As a principle of design, unity: "occurs when all of
the elements of a piece combine to make a balanced,
harmonious, complete whole. Unity is another of those
hard-to-describe art terms but, when it's present,
your eye and brain are pleased to see it."

Dis                 u

i                                                     ty

Your Challenge: In a new poem, bring diverse or disparate entities into unity.  

Excerpt from The Anti-Suffragists

Fashionable women in luxurious homes,
With men to feed them, clothe them, pay their bills,
Bow, doff the hat, and fetch the handkerchief;
Hostess or guest, and always so supplied
With graceful deference and courtesy;
Surrounded by their servants, horses, dogs, —
These tell us they have all the rights they want.

Successful women who have won their way
Alone, with strength of their unaided arm,
Or helped by friends, or softly climbing up
By the sweet aid of ‘woman’s influence’;
Successful any way, and caring naught
For any other woman’s unsuccess, —
These tell us they have all the rights they want.
. . . .  (Read the rest of this amazing poem HERE.)


So much from God
That I can no longer
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
A Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even pure
Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed
Of every concept and image
My mind has ever known.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and then visit others in the spirit of the community.

( Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Change)