Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Darkness Is......

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.”— Yousuf Karsh


“The darkness is really out there. It’s not something that’s in my head, just. It’s in my work because it’s in the world.”— Margaret Atwood

Midweek Motif ~ Darkness Is….

Darkness was; is; will be. Is it intrinsically bad? Or is it something that lies in between good and evil? What color is it? Is it gray, black or white?

Is it a part of life? Is darkness a necessity?

What is darkness? When does it come? Where does it live?

There can be endless questions regarding darkness.

What do you think darkness is?

In your poem today be dark J

Gacela Of The Dark Death
by Federico Garcia Lorca

I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of cemetries.
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

I don't want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don't want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent's mouth
that labors before dawn.

I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that I have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that I am the small friend of the West wing;
that I am the intense shadows of my tears.

Cover me at dawn with a veil,
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me,
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.

For I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth;
for I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas. 

To A Dark Moses
by Lucille Clifton

you are the one
i am lit for.
Come with your rod
that twists
and is a serpent.
i am the bush.
i am burning
i am not consumed. 

We Grow Accustomed To The Dark 
by Emily Dickinson

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight. 

Dark Glasses
by Robert William Service

Sweet maiden, why disguise
The beauty of your eyes
With glasses black?
Although I'm well aware
That you are more than fair,
Allure you lack.
For as I stare at you
I ask if brown or blue
Your optics are?
But though I cannot see,
I'm sure that each must be
Bright as a star.

That may be green or grey,
'Tis very hard to say,
Or violet;
The lovelight in their glow
Alas, I'll never know,
To my regret.
In some rhyme-book I've read,
A lady bard has said,
And deemed it true,
Men will not bite the necks
Of sweeties who wear specs,--
Young man, would you?

But though they balk romance,
Columbus took a chance,
And so would I;
Even with orbs unseen
I'd fain make you my queen
And you en-sky.
Alas I see you go,
And I will never know
Your pupils tint;
So o'er a lonely drink
I force myself to think:
Damsel, you squint! 

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 ~ Zero Tolerance)

Monday, January 28, 2019


We are featuring an emerging poet this week, my friends, as we fly down to Houston to chat with Vicki Rogers, who writes at MY SENTENCE! “I’m guilty of writing and loving it.” As with every poet, Vicki leads a most interesting  life. Let's dive right in.

Sherry: Vicki, you are an emerging writer, at the beginning of an amazing poetic journey that will carry you far. Would you tell us the story of when and how you began writing? What started you on the path of expressing yourself through poetry?

Vicki: Hello, Sherry. My poetic journey began in August of this year after talking with a friend known here at Poet’s United. Carrie Van Horn introduced me to blogging and the poetry sites. I’d never really concentrated my thoughts toward poetry,  although I’ve always enjoyed writing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions down in notebooks off and on over the years.

Sherry: Carrie was one of Poets United's very first members. Thank you, Carrie, for steering Vicki our way! Vicki, your poem “My Poetic Season” explains a bit of the “why” you began writing. I would love to include it here:

Over the years I have learned to be strong.
My children— Like birds could nest on my branches.
I’d listen… lessen their burdens from life going wrong.

Several months ago, my branches felt bare.
More like a young sapling in need of support.
I found strength for others hard… while in despair.

A dear friend helped me escape to the poetry world.
The more I read and wrote the less I felt broken.
We became closer… because of our grief for a girl.

One poem at a time my strength is returning.
Praying— I’ll stay deep in the genre of poetry.
Forever keeping my heart and mind churning.

I pray… one day I’ll find someone in need,
Wanting to express their feelings some way.
And, like my friend… plant the poetic seed.

This year we’ll have the tree, gifts, and feasts.
However, this year is just my poetic season.
Thank you, my friend… It’s helped me have peace.

Sherry: This tells a story of moving forward through grief. Would you like to say anything more about this?

Vicki: Thank you, Sherry. I’m happy you’re including “My Poetic Season” here. This poem poured out onto the page straight from my heart the day I wrote it. I wrote song lyrics for about two years, back in 2000 – 2002. I was so involved in songwriting groups and collaborating with other songwriters, enjoying every minute of it.

In February of 2002, my mom passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I lost all interest in it and never returned to writing. I find it interesting that the death of my mom left me not wanting to write any longer, and losing my granddaughter led me to let life pull me forward and write in a different form.

Sherry: Oh, Vicki, two terrible losses. I am so sorry. I am glad writing came to your aid, so you can write your way through. We hope your family is coping with such grievous losses as well as is possible. 

Would you tell us a bit about where you live, and who you share your life with?

Vicki: Sherry, I live in Splendora, a small town about thirty miles north of Houston,Texas, with my husband of forty-three years. We are a very close family; our three children and grandchildren share a total of six acres next to our three acres. We also have two grand cats and a grand dog, which lives with us right now. I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom for most of my children’s childhood. I had a handful of odd jobs over the years and I took a dental assistant class and was a dental assistant for a little over a year (which I hated), but home is where I felt most needed and comfortable.

Sherry: How wonderful that your family are all around you. You must be very needed at home, for sure, especially by the grandchildren.

Did you grow up in Houston? Were you, like most poets, a great reader as a child? Did you always like poetry, or did you come to appreciate it more recently?

Vicki: Sherry, I grew up in Houston and lived there, or not very far from there, all my life except for a brief time of seven months when I and my husband lived in Okpo, South Korea, for his job. 

I have always loved reading. I remember reading our encyclopedias that were sold door to door when I was a child. I love discovering and reading about something I never knew before. I love history and reading about it when I can. I really don’t remember ever being absorbed in poetry, although I never disliked it. I think maybe I’m at the time in my journey where I can love it and give it the appreciation it deserves.

Sherry: What do you love about poetry?

Vicki: Well, this is a tough question because I’m still learning why I’ve come to love poetry. I think I love how unpredictable it can be, and how imagination plays such a role, and how thought-provoking poems can be. I know I enjoy writing them, because unlike song lyrics needing to be written to appeal to the masses, I get to write just for me, and if others enjoy what I write it’s an added blessing.

Sherry: What does blogging contribute to your satisfaction in expressing yourself poetically? Does the sharing with other poets, the feedback etc. encourage you to keep writing? 

Vicki: Oh, yes! I have enjoyed blogging very much, and the sharing with others has encouraged me to keep writing. I enjoy the poem challenges, and it is fun to read the poems everyone writes.

Sherry: Do you have an all-time favourite poet? 

Vicki: I really don’t have a favorite poet, I’ve been trying to educate myself with the greats, there are so many! I wonder if they knew they were geniuses? I really Love Derek Walcott’s Love After Love,” it resonates deeply with me and leaves me with a lump in my throat.
Sherry: Oh, it is a beauty! The story of our lives. What other activities do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?

Vicki: We love to travel and, now retired, we take off with our small travel trailer for several weeks at a time. We still have several states to see, but we are narrowing them down. 

There is so much beauty in every state, and after traveling to other countries over the years, we thought it was time to see what we’ve missed so close to home. 

Sherry: What place in the world is at the top of your Bucket List, and why?

Vicki: The place at the top of my bucket list is Alaska, to see the Aurora Borealis. I’ve always wanted to view it.

Sherry: I hope you make it, and am sure you will. Is there anything you’d like us to know that I don’t know you well enough to ask?

Vicki: Oh, creating! I have a constant craving for creating, whether it’s writing, art, (which I’m not very good at), crafts, repurposing, you name it, I’ll give it a try. I love to write murder mystery parties for family and friends, complete with plot, clues, and character dossiers. We pick a theme and dress in costumes and have a blast. We’ve had a few over the years, and it’s time for another soon.

Sherry: That sounds like a lot of fun! A total hoot.

Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Vicki: I would like to thank you, Sherry and everyone at Poets United, for welcoming me into your community of poets. I’ve enjoyed my journey here and look forward to being here for many years to come. Although I don’t think of myself as a poet, everyone here has made me feel as if I am one. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the blogging community and sharing my writings with kind people.

Sherry: It is a kind community, isn't it? Thank you, Vicki, for allowing us to get to know you better. Keep writing your journey, and we hope you continue to share it with us.

Well, my friends, wasn't this a lovely visit? Each poet's life is so amazing, it keeps me coming back, week after week, and we hope it does you, too. Smiles. Come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Poetry Pantry #437

Good morning, poets! Here is Snowball to put a smile on your face this morning. We hope you are having a lovely weekend. If any of you have any scenic photos of your part of the world, and would like to share them with us, email  five or six to me at, and we armchair travellers will enjoy the scenery. I always love seeing what  Planet Earth looks like in different places.

It was a good week at Poets United. I can't get over how quickly they go by! Did you see Rosemary's feature on Friday? It is one to scroll back for, if you haven't, as it features two of Mary Oliver's most beautiful poems: ".... about the world that is ours, or could be." They took my breath away.

This Monday, we are visiting with Vicki Rogers. Do stop by; we know you'll enjoy hearing about her life, and enjoying some of her  poetry and photos. On Wednesday, Sumana's prompt will be: Darkness Is...... That should bring some wonderful responses. So many directions to choose from.

Let's read some poetry with our morning coffee. Link your poem, and enjoy the sharing of the written word. It never gets old; it is always so meaningful. Thank you for being here every week. We appreciate you!

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Living Dead

 ~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

Five A.M. in the Pinewoods

I'd seen 
their hoofprints in the deep
needles and knew
they ended the long night

under the pines, walking
like two mute
and beautiful women toward
the deeper woods, so I

got up in the dark and
went there. They came
slowly down the hill
and looked at me sitting under

the blue trees, shyly
they stepped
closer and stared
from under their thick lashes and even

nibbled some damp
tassels of weeds. This
is not a poem about a dream,
though it could be.

This is a poem about the world
that is ours, or could be.
one of them—I swear it!—

would have come to my arms.
But the other
stamped sharp hoof in the
pine needles like

the tap of sanity,
and they went off together through
the trees. When I woke
I was alone,

I was thinking:
so this is how you swim inward,
so this is how you flow outward,
so this is how you pray.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019)
from House of Light (Boston, Beacon Press, 1990)

This is my personal favourite Mary Oliver poem – though they are all wonderful and I love every poem of hers I've ever seen or heard. I first discovered her work when I found House of Light in my (then) local library many years ago, probably around 1993. I contemplated stealing the book! As a former librarian, and someone brought up to consider books sacred, you may understand what a huge departure it was for me even to think of such a thing, and how powerful the cause.

I didn't give in to such a nefarious impulse, but always meant to buy the book. I couldn't find it in Australia at that time; shops probably didn't keep it very long after the publication date. Only after she died I finally bethought myself to look on Amazon, and now have it at last, in Kindle. I love it as much as ever. Meantime, of course, I have been delighted by much more of her work. Thank God she was prolific, and has left us a wonderful legacy!

So many of us have had a love affair with Oliver's translucent work – work profound yet completely accessible. The day the world received the news of her death (one week ago, the day after it happened) my son and his family were visiting from interstate. We had a happy day together – yet all the time, in backdrop, was my consciousness of loss. All over facebook, other poets expressed shock and mourning too. So did many non-poets who also loved her poetry. She was undoubtedly the most popular contemporary poet in the English-speaking world, deservedly so. After her death, I read that her work was sometimes belittled by critics because of that popularity, as if it equated with a lack of literary merit – to which I can only say, 'Nonsense!' The apparent simplicity does not mean it wasn't meticulously crafted. She herself is famous for having opined that poetry shouldn't be 'fancy', and so obviously she set out to make sure hers wasn't. The right decision, clearly.  Yet she had a distinctively beautiful poetic voice, her simplicity and clarity far from banal. Like other greats, most notably Shakespeare, some of her more striking lines and phrases are widely remembered and quoted out of context. They are striking both for their powerful sentiments and the beauty of their wording.

She was primarily a nature poet, has been described as an ambassador for the environment, and stated in one poem (Messenger) that loving the world was her work. The link on her name, above, leads to her Wikipedia entry – if anyone needs to read it. I think it is well-known that she was American, a Pulitzer prize-winner, and a recipient of the National Book Award; that she lived a long time in Provincetown, Massachusetts with her partner, the photographer Mary Malone Cook, who pre-deceased her in 2005; and that her influences were Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson, Rumi, Hafiz, Shelley and Keats.

There have been a number of obituaries, of course, which also give details of her life and work. You can find them here. If you simply Google her name, or 'Mary Oliver poems' you'll find a lot of material too. And of course her books are available through Amazon.

You can also find many examples of her reading her work and occasionally even being interviewed about it (though she seldom gave interviews) on YouTube. This is one I enjoyed:

Though she is greatly mourned, I'm sure everyone is thankful that her poetry remains with us. This one (the final poem in House of Light) seems appropriate to share with you just now, too:

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field
Coming down 
out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, 
or a buddha with wings,
it was beautiful 
and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings—
five feet apart—and the grabbing 
thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys 
of the snow—

and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, 
like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows—
so I thought:
maybe death 
isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light 
wrapping itself around us—
as soft as feathers—
that we are instantly weary 
of looking, and looking, and shut our eyes, 
not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river 
that is without the least dapple or shadow—
that is nothing but light—scalding, aortal light—
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

Material shared in 'The Living Dead' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, where applicable (older poems may be out of copyright).

Both poems reproduced here are set out as they are in the book.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Climate Change

Art and caption by Jill Pelto

(Used here with permission.)
"This painting uses data showing the decline in rain forest area from 1970 to 2010.These lush ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes, and with them, millions of beautiful species. For this series, I chose to separate the animals from their habitat, because that is ultimately what we are doing.
The tiger is trapped outside the forest, cornered. "

(Read the full article and view more paintings HERE.)

“Action is the antidote to despair.” ~ Edward Abbey

“Climate change ignores borders, but so do friendship and solidarity. It is time for national interests to give way to the global good.” ~ Dr Saleemul Huq

(Warning: Tough Love)

Midweek Motif ~ Climate Change

So many global statements have been made about climate change ~ both learned and popular ~ that I implore myself and you to do something different in our poetry: Make it personal and specific.  Amplify an aspect of the world so that others can see it too.  Whatever your politics and moral positions are when it comes to climate change ~ let us see details, the evidence of your senses, your time and your spirit.  Make us hear, see, touch your world.  

This, then, is the challenge 
for your new poem. 

WILD GEESE by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

March 3, 2017

Sonnet XVII

I don’t love you as if you were rare earth metals, diamonds,
or reserves of crude oil that propagate war:
I love you as one loves most vulnerable things,
urgently, between the habitat and its loss.

I love you as the seed that doesn’t sprout but carries
the heritage of our roots, secured, within a vault,
and thanks to your love the organic taste that ripens
from the fruit lives sweetly on my tongue.

I love you without knowing how, or when, the world will end—
I love you naturally without pesticides or pills—
I love you like this because we won’t survive any other way,
except in this form in which humans and nature are kin,
so close that your emissions of carbon are mine,
so close that your sea rises with my heat.

Listen to
by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (Marshall Islands)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.   
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Darkness is . . . )

Monday, January 21, 2019


We have a very interesting feature for you today, my friends, as we are zipping to Arizona, to chat with one of our newer members, Linda Lee Lyberg, who blogs at Charmed Chaos. Linda is also sharing some wonderful photos of her gorgeous garden with us. Pour yourself a cup of tea, and pull your chairs in close. Prepare to be amazed.

Sherry: Linda, I am so happy to be chatting with you. Give us a snapshot of the poet at home, won’t you? Tell us where you live, with whom you share your life, and don’t forget any fur critters!

Linda: The pleasure is all mine Sherry. I am so honored to be a part of this thriving community of writers. For the last 21 years, my husband, Pete (AKA my Big Viking) and I have made Mesa, Arizona our home. The summers are brutal, but when everyone else is shoveling snow, we are enjoying the sunshine and cooler weather. 

I love nature, and all throughout the year I see a variety outside the window of my writing room. In the summertime, it is not unusual for us to have an entire flock of peach-faced lovebirds around our feeders. They are not native to Arizona. Local legend has it they escaped from an aviary and thrived here because the climate is like Africa’s, where they are from.

Lovebirds at the feeder

Sherry: I would love to have visits from such exotic birds! How wonderful.

Pete and Bubba

Linda: We live with a 13 year old chihuahua terrier mix named Ricky Bobby McGee, affectionately known as “Bubba”, a rescue my daughter found in Houston, Texas. I had her put him on a plane and send him to me. This little guy has quite a story on his own, and one I wrote about early on in my short story, “The Heart Thief.” He is my constant companion since I no longer work. 

Sherry: The heart thief indeed. What a wonderful story. As it turned out, he was there to help you through the loss of your elderly dogs, and beyond. What a sweetheart he is.

Where did you grow up, Linda? Would you tell us a bit about your childhood?  When you look back, are there contributing factors that you feel led you to becoming a writer? (You have an amazing family history, I checked out your About page. You must have had an amazing childhood!)

Linda: Wow. Well, there is always a lot more to stories than we tell. I was born in Houston, Texas on Oct.1st in Hermann Hospital. When I was little, my dad would tease me and say that I was not born in Hermann hospital, but rather at the Hermann Park Zoo, which was across the street from the hospital. My dad was famous for cracking jokes.

What I know about his side of the family comes from different sources. You see, my mom and dad divorced when I was two and from that point on, his presence in my life was sporadic. There was a time I resented him for not being more of a father, but I came to forgive him and love him for who he was. He was an artist and dreamer, and an intelligent guy. But he had the soul of a gypsy, always wandering. 

My grandmother was a blues singer, and what I know of her story is sketchy. There was a time she left my grandfather for a mobster in Florida, but returned home when my grandfather became ill. 

The Contortionist

Sherry: You have the makings of an amazing memoir here!

Linda: My grandfather was the contortionist; he could put his head between his legs and get his wallet out of his back pocket with his teeth. I have an old photo which I am sharing here. In the photo, he wears clown makeup. Grandpa is posing on a chair, bent almost in half. 

Sherry: Oh my goodness, this is our first contortionist at Poets United. Every single poet I interview always has the most AMAZING story. I am totally hooked; this is why I love my job so much.

Linda: Old acquaintances told me he performed before the King of England at one time. He would put a chair on top of 4 heavy glass vases (one for each leg) and do his act. I am the owner of the only surviving vase. My one and only memory of him is not pleasant. I was visiting them, and my grandmother went outside to hang clothes. I was a tiny stick of a girl, and my grandfather came into the kitchen, took out a knife, and cornered me. I remember the feel of the sharp cold kitchen cabine handles against my back. Because I was skinny and agile, I slipped between his legs and ran out the back door. In hindsight, he must have had dementia.

Sherry: Heavens! How terrifying!

Linda: In essence, I grew up surrounded by my mother and her family. My mother did remarry, but that in and of itself is yet another story. We grew up poor, but I never went hungry in my mother’s house. It was only when I visited my father that food was scarce.

I do believe my childhood and my early adulthood prepared me for writing. I have faced some heart wrenching challenges throughout my life. It’s built character, strength, and resilience.
Sherry: Yes, it does build character - it is an amazing journey. When did you begin writing, Linda? Was it poetry or prose at first? And when did you write your first poem?

Linda: I began writing in my early twenties, keeping journals. There were a lot of hit and miss entries when I look back on them. I would go months not writing anything and then get a renewed passion and begin again. Those were turbulent years of my life. I always felt I was different from others. I wrote my first poem on November 5, 1985. It is on my blog and the title is "Images". I have included it here.

You and I entwined
in another world
Where only moments exist in our minds,
And we must reach out and grasp
or never find
What we are searching for.

You and I alone
in a room
With no walls
Where only we exist.
Would you respond to my plaintive calls
Or would you
and walk away
into nothingness?

You and I engulfed
in a deep blue sea
Where only emotions
Provoke the waters
Would you send waves
Crashing about our bodies
Willing us to survive
and stay alive
or would we drown in the

Sherry: A wonderfully depth-full first poem. What do you love about poetry?

Linda: What I love the most about poetry is that when I write, I lose myself. Nothing else matters, but the words I am putting on paper at that moment. I am completely present and immersed in my writing.  I write with a 9MM lead pencil and blank white paper- no lines, no tablets, no notebooks but for taking brief notes. 

When I was a career woman, I wrote on lined legal pads and to this day, I can’t abide them. I associate them with a time when I was not being true to myself, but rather doing what I had to do to make a living. Don’t get me wrong, I had a very lucrative career, and I was an excellent leader, but I am one of those artistic people, born to create. When I told my dad what I was doing, he said “Of course you’re an artist. I’m an artist, your grandmother was an artist and so was your grandfather.”

Sherry: And he was right. What are your thoughts on form versus free verse? Which do you prefer and why?

Linda: I like both. There are times when a poem I am working on screams for stream of consciousness writing, which to me, is free verse. It is at those moments when I let the words spill as they come, then worry about breaks, etc afterwards. When I started my blog, I had no idea there were so many forms of poetry! An entire world opened up for me to explore, and I continue to do so. 

I love the challenge of attempting a new form, and while I may never master it, I will put effort into the finished piece.  When I do write form poetry, one of my favorite forms is the Pantoum, which is tricky. I am left handed, and as such I sometimes struggle with sequences and patterns. One of the tools that helps me with writing a Pantoum is a blank template I found online that I print out and use to this day. Here is the link if anyone is interested.

Sherry: The pantoum is one of my favourite forms. I find them oddly easy, compared to some other forms. I love your poem “Writing In Prisms” and would like to include it here, if I may:

Sun dogs and moon bows
Crystal Prisms and rainbows
Relieved of any constrictions
Lay their colors upon my soul
While I, within creative throes
Of writing with utter conviction

They fill my mind with colors
That bounce around my head
As I write to feed a hopeful heart
With love and endless wonder
Washed in fractal prisms, I see
God is love is God is prose is art

They paint a landscape I behold
My pen on paper, composing
Seizing these miraculous moments
Grasping elusive prisms of light
Before, as storm clouds lurk
To deliver the night’s lament 

I put down my pen once again
Satisfied with what I write
Capturing poetic prism words
While thoughts in tinted light
Shimmering within my head
Soar as free as vibrant birds

Sherry: I love those words, "soaring as free as vibrant birds". And I resonate so much with “I write to feed a hopeful heart.” Me, too.

Do you have two  other poems you would like to share with us? And tell us a bit about each?

Bedeviled by your wicked eyes
That haunt me in the lonely night
Although I know they’re filled with lies
Your shining charisma I cannot fight.

Like a moth drawn to a burning candle
Fiery hot, I move even nearer
A wanting within I cannot handle
Your intent, made perfectly clear.

So I jump into the flickering fire
My poor heart is no longer mine
And as I give in to luscious desire
I know I’ve crossed over the line.

No turning back from this place
Filled with hot limbs and wet kisses
My thudding heart continues to race
Once imagined, are now my blisses.

In this poem, I am starting to explore passion, desire, and sexuality. I enjoy writing about these emotions; I have been told I do it well.
Sherry: You do, indeed. I have learned you are an artist as well as a poet, Linda. Tell us about your art – when you began painting, the medium you prefer. Is there difference or similarity in the way you feel when you complete a painting or finish writing a poem?

Self-Portrait 1995

Linda: I started drawing when I was a young girl, pencil drawings. My dad taught me how to draw a tree, a log cabin, a scene in the woods. He passed on his love of nature to me.

In 1975, my mother gave me a set of oils, brushes, and canvasses for Christmas. I took a couple of painting classes and enjoyed it. I’ll never forget one landscape I painted of a bear in a stream catching salmon. It was so rough and in the end the bear looked like it was laughing!

Over the years, I have taken various art classes- pottery, acrylics, pastels. And all the while I was holding down various jobs. But it is hard for me to do both- my brain functions in a different manner. I am not one of those people who switches gears and is able to jump from crunching numbers or leading people to writing poetry. Now, in my later years, I do what I can to honor that creative space and help it thrive.

In the early 2000’s, I began designing birdhouses and my husband, a skilled carpenter, built them. I used them as a canvas for my art. At one point, we put them for sale in a gallery in Sedona, AZ and a gallery in Tubac, AZ. In November 2002, they were in Phoenix Home & Garden magazine in an article about local artists. Working and everyday life soon took precedence and my art took a backseat.

Sherry: I love your birdhouses! They are so cool!

Linda: What I discovered during my forays into various forms of art is I am able to do them and succeed. And while I enjoy them from time to time, my greatest passion and joy comes from writing.  

Sherry: And we benefit from reading your poems, so we are happy that you write! When did you come to the blogging world, and how has it impacted your work?
Linda: On February 3, 2017, I ended a satisfying career in retail. I had reached my goal of becoming a Vice President, and I had led people for many years. I believed in the philosophy of servant leadership. My foundation for all those years are these words by Max Depree:

“The first responsibility of a Leader is to define reality. The last is to say Thank You. In between, the leader is a Servant.”

“The art of leadership, as Max says, is “liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible.” Thus, the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes the obstacles that prevent them from doing their jobs.”- The Art of Leadership.

So in essence, I was using my creative abilities, but in a much different manner. After over 35+ years, I was mentally drained and exhausted; I needed a change.

Those first few weeks, I rested, but I knew I wanted to do something. I prayed and meditated a lot, seeking guidance. A friend shared with me stories from a writer who used Wordpress for their platform. I didn’t tell anyone (not even my husband), but I made a decision I was going to write, put my words out into the world, and see what happened. 

On February 27, I wrote my first post on WP titled ‘Altered State,’ a piece on how I was feeling at the time. I had 1 Like for that post. My husband came home from work that day, and I told him-“I started a blog today- it’s called Charmed Chaos. I’m going to write.” On February 28, I wrote 2 posts and each had 3 likes. Nothing discouraged me, because I knew in my heart, ‘This is what I am supposed to do.’

A few months later, I entered a writing challenge on a blog, and much to my amazement, I won first place for my short story. The day I found out I cried- it was June 2, 2017 and I had been writing almost everyday for 4 months. My first published story came as a result of a writer’s group I belong to on Facebook. I entered a contest, but this time I did not win. My story caught the attention of one of the judges, and she asked if she could use it in an anthology. Of course I said yes, and of course I cried. 

In June of this year, a publishing company came across my blog and asked if I wanted to submit some of my work. I submitted, and as a result, one of my stories is in Arizona’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology. When I recently received the book in the mail, held it in my hands, and saw my name on the Table of Contents page, I was so moved. 

Unless you are a writer, I don’t think people understand what that does to you. I am watching a series on PBS and just last night a line was said that stuck in my head: “Fireworks only go off in the author’s head.” What an apt description!

Sherry : Yes, there is nothing as satisfying as holding a book in one's hands, knowing our words are preserved for posterity. Well done, Linda!

What other activities do you enjoy, when you aren’t writing or painting?

Linda: As I said earlier, I have a love of nature. I enjoy gardening, even here in the desert. I grow herbs, vegetables, roses, desert milkweed for the butterflies, and other flowers. It’s an amazing garden and I have shared photos from time to time on my blog.

Sherry: What a BEAUTIFUL garden! Wow! 

The Monarch Way Station plaque
with lovebirds feeding

Linda: Two years ago, my garden was deemed a Monarch way station from so I grow plants that will help sustain them.
I also love to cook and try new recipes. A few years ago, I took cooking classes that were being offered at Le Cordon Bleu, a cooking school in Scottsdale. I learned so much about technique and enjoyed the classes.
I love animals and I spend all day with my little dog.  He sleeps on the chair behind my writing desk. My husband says if I had my way and the HOA didn’t have any rules, I would have every stray animal living with us, and he’s right.  
And of course, as a writer, I read, read, read. I may soon have to get another bookshelf just for books I haven’t yet read, but want to! 

Sherry: Your life sounds wonderfully rich and full. Your garden is sensational. I love that it is a Monarch way station! Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Linda: Although I have been blogging and writing for such a short time, I have learned so much from this community. I enjoy the interaction with other writers, and Poets United has been a wealth of information for me, and a platform to get feedback on my poetry.

Thank you all!

Sherry: You are most welcome, and thank you, Linda, for this lovely visit. It is so nice to get to know you better. We look forward to reading your work in the months ahead.

Isn't it wonderful, learning more about our fellow poets, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

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