Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Bittersweet

True Bittersweet: Solanum dulcamara, photo by Sten Porse

“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. 
Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” 

“Our sweetest songs are those of saddest thought.” 

“Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: its after-flavour, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned.” 

Image: fall berries of bittersweet vine.
From The SpruceAmerican Bittersweet Plants vs. Invasive Oriental Vines 

By Updated 10/17/17  

(Very Interesting Reading about 3 types of bittersweet!)

Midweek Motif ~ Bittersweet

I met the beautiful bittersweet in shades of orange on an oak tree while on a walk with my grandmother.  I gasped!   She said (perhaps erroneously), that it was a parasite, living on the life-blood of another.  I found the word parasite to be negative, and wondered at how something so pretty could have an ugly side.  Well, there you have it (! ) both noun and adjective: Bittersweet.  

Your Challenge: Write a brand new poem with a bittersweet mood and theme.  

Celastrus orbiculatus
Oriental Bittersweet

How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander

the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head

like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from

the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove, 

to the grooves in that man’s voice 
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves 

of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads 
of one’s bones. And now it plucks a single 

tulip from the pixelated blizzard: yet 

itself is a swarm, a pulse with no
indigenous form, the brain’s lunar halo. 

Our compacted galaxy, its constellations 
trembling like flies caught in a spider web, 
until we die, and then the flies

buzz away—while another accidental 

coherence counts to three to pass the time 
or notes the berries on the bittersweet vine

strewn in the spruces, red pebbles dropped
in the brain’s gray pool. How it folds itself 
like a map to fit in a pocket, how it unfolds 

a fraying map from the pocket of the day.

Source: Poetry (February 2012) and the Poetry Foundation
  (Posted with the poet's permission.)

Buried Love

I have come to bury Love
 Beneath a tree,
In the forest tall and black
 Where none can see.

I shall put no flowers at his head,
 Nor stone at his feet,
For the mouth I loved so much
 Was bittersweet.

I shall go no more to his grave,
 For the woods are cold.
I shall gather as much of joy
 As my hands can hold.

I shall stay all day in the sun
 Where the wide winds blow, --
But oh, I shall cry at night
 When none will know.

Bittersweet - Jalaluddin Rumi Poem read by Madonna - Lyrics

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and
visit others in the spirit of the community— 
(Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be Vanity / Narcissus. )


  1. This took me back to a particular day of my most recent time in Nepal. Thank you Susan.

    I miss my friends there.

  2. Happy Wednesday everyone. A wonderful prompt, Susan. Love Sara Teasdale's poem.

  3. Bittersweet, like love... Thanks for the prompt - pardon the hasty writing, it was done quickly very late at night.

  4. Good morning, everyone! Ah, this week I have written a poem in a timely manner. These are indeed bittersweet times.

  5. Ah! Finally woke up and caught up, and now am full of joy from your art, despite (because of?) the bittersweet concentrations of our poems. Just this moment, I am in love with feelings of every variety, even numbness.

  6. Happy Wednesday everyone. Thankful for open doors at PU. What a treasure of bittersweet poems, i especially luv 'Bittersweet - Jalaluddin Rumi Poem read by Madonna - Lyrics'

    I couldn't get my link in. i don't understand the problem so i'm adding it here at comments

    much love...

  7. Loved the prompt, Susan💞 sharing my poem 'Of life and bittersweet goodbyes'... Happy Midweek, everyone!💞

  8. Good morning, poets. Am trailing behind the pack this morning, as always. Will be back with something bittersweet. Heaven knows there is an ample supply, lol.

  9. Happy Wednesday everyone! Very interesting prompt, Susan. It will be nice to read the entries in the wonderful morning tomorrow, right after yoga, with the birds singing in my garden. Thank you... :))

  10. Susan,

    A very busy prompt..never short of subjects!
    Happy Wednesday and nearly December..Eileen

  11. Susan,
    Unfortunately I posted the wrong poem into the link box here. I have now added my intended poem Bittersweet..for the MidWeek Motif prompt:)


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