Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Cloud

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”— Maya Angelou


Ultimately, the cloud is the latest example of Schumpeterian creative destruction: creating wealth for those who exploit it; and leading to the demise of those that don’t.” — Joe Weinman

Midweek Motif ~ Cloud

As a cloud you can be an actual cloud, that is a visible mass of condensed watery vapour floating in the atmosphere, above the general level of the ground; wandering in groups or absolutely lonely (may be being watched by some poets, intending to catch you in their lines); you can be a state or cause of gloom, threat; you can grow dim, less transparent as Wikipedia defines you.

Cloud can be ‘just a metaphor for the internet’ too. You know what I mean, all about this ‘storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your own computer’s hard drive’. Not a lonely cloud here but a network cloud.

Choose your own ‘cloud’ and go on poeming:

 Clouds Come and Go
by Matsuo Basho

“The clouds come and go, 
providing a rest for all 
the moon viewers” — Matsuo Basho

THESE are the clouds
by W. B. Yeats

THESE are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye:
The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison,
And all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
And these things came, So much the more thereby
Have you made greatness your companion,
Although it be for children that you sigh:
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye. 

by Rupert brook

Down the blue night the unending columns press
In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
Up to the white moon's hidden loveliness.
Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
As who would pray good for the world, but know
Their benediction empty as they bless.

They say that the Dead die not, but remain
Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
In wise majestic melancholy train,
And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
And men, coming and going on the earth. 

Clouds Gathering
Charles Simic

(The poem is here)

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 ~ Kindness )

Monday, February 25, 2019


Today we are listening to the men in our community, as they share their poems and thoughts on the state of the world, how it weighs on our hearts, and what keeps us going in spite of it all. Definitely topics we can relate to; as poets, we seem keenly aware of, not just the beauty of the world, but its darkness. Perhaps our poems can shed a little light into the dark corners and lighten the way just a little. We can hope. Let's listen to Bjorn RudbergOllie the Tired Monk, Michael (grapeling), and Marcoantonio, whose words run in counterpoint to the daily news.

The taste of fear is open, pure and red —
a lump of meat, its poppies lost and flown
from cries in mud, in trenches darkly bled.
We harvested our fear from fields we’d sown
with honey dripping from our leaders’ tongue.
The scent of fear is blood and broken bones.
We fought with tears and cried with broken lungs,
we bulwarked, starved, believed it’s more than right,
to maim our foes, the newborns and their young.
The sound of fear is sweat of starlit nights,
we waited as the forest grew inside,
it spread with rotting hands and ropes wound tight
   around our necks the night we lost our pride
   when life was soiled and all we knew had died.

This sonnet is one that I have been working with through several different versions. The original version was written for Real Toads as a sonnet challenge, and when we started our form project at dVerse. In this particular one, I worked with Terza Rima rhyme scheme inside a Shakespearean sonnet. The idea on the poem is a subject on the evil in every one of us; lately I have watched many documentaries about the big wars in Europe and I fear that war will come back one day. I think the war itself is less interesting but more how human being changes, how ordinary men can do the most horrific things, and how war, fear and hatred will make humans do things we would not be capable of during peace.

Sherry: I suppose if soldiers thought of the other side as being human, they could not fight at all. I am most struck by the lines "when life was soiled and all we knew had died." It is no wonder soldiers come home with inner wounds. They have experienced hell. Thank you for this thoughtful poem, Bjorn.

Michael recently wrote a poem that offers us a positive reflection, amidst all the gloom of wars, climate change, crazed leaders, and despairing refugees. We need his words of hope!

The World Is Not Going

the world is not going
to hell anymore
than the sun is burning
out: tomorrow
will burn just the same as today.
I’ve neglected the garden;
it hasn’t missed me. Dirt accepts
wet or dry equally, it’s only living
things that notice the difference
but still, I noticed today’s rain
continually high-fiving the Meyer lemon
which bowed in return, as though smiling,
yellow rind glistening like an old man’s stained teeth
or mine in the window.
What is a half century
if fifty revolutions is a myth:
the entire solar system swirling
in spirals around a star racing through space
so maybe the world is going
after all

Sherry: We live in hope! Mother Earth tries her best, in spite of our mistreatment, to carry out her cycles. What gives me comfort is that she can heal, if we give her half a chance. Where did this poem come from, Michael?

Michael: My impending half century at the time was the foundation. 

This poem was posted in reply to Grace's prompt at toads about David Huerta, and having now revisited it, I see that in the poems she highlighted he wrote of fruit. I suspect his lemon, coupled with the scrawny Meyer bush outside my then-bedroom window, inspired the one here. Perhaps I had witnessed a then-rare rain buffet the winter rind.

Rereading Grace's notes, she observed that Huerta's poetry invites the reader to participate in constructing the meaning of the poem, a precept I admire - after all, it could be that. 

I've always been curious about the concept of time, relativity, space, and how we feeble humans so often insist there are great cycles, but how cosmology shows us we spin through space and time without ever really tracing the same path again.

Or maybe it was none of that, just idle musings. Spinning into another year older makes the mind wander, doesn't it?

Sherry: It certainly does. Thank you so much, Michael.

I always love it when Ollie, the Tired Monk (and one of our first members at Poets United) pops up on the blogroll. No matter what is happening on earth, the Tired Monk can be seen in his tattered robes, sweeping, shoveling, chopping wood, with his temple dog beside him. That gives me great comfort.

scattered bits n'fragments


deep temple dog tired
tired of wars
n' wars on words

tired of fighting
pushing on the last few
fading monks
to move
just move


coffee pot
bottom burned black
       needs scrubbing
morning of wet monk


energy drink cans
scattered up the ditches
or squashed flat
and paved over
in the pre-frost rush


this violin
is a fiddle in these hands
sawing  - mingling
with Americana chords
lifting n'healing
yer broken heart

         *****     *****
Sherry: I, too, feel that bone-deep weariness. Regular people are so tired of all the sparring, the rhetoric, the damage that is being done. I love the tune you play to help heal all the broken hearts, my friend. Heaven knows we can use a good tune!

     *****    *****

A Question  

you really the tired monk?

bone weary tired

beat burdened
but still ready
to serve

propped up
by temple dog walks
a few warm holy songs
maybe a slug of highland healing
bit of Drambuie warding
off this winter cough

held up by these monk robes


Sherry: This strikes a chord, as I see hard-won gains being stripped away, injustice everywhere, climate change melting the planet....I try to hang on to optimism and hope. But some days ... just.

Ollie: Being a monk these days is such a blessing.  There is much work to be done, and many to serve.  Some days my more human parts break down.  This piece is a meditation on what keeps me moving forward in this world: a little music, my temple dogs, and maybe a nip of single malt.  Today I felt like the only thing holding me up were my old battered monk robes.  

Sherry: I have those days, too, without the support of monk robes. But my cane helps! Thank you for this poem, Ollie. Your poems always make me smile. I can see the Tired Monk, bravely battling the snowdrifts in eastern Canada.

Marcoantonio, another early member at Poets United, wrote a very perceptive poem on these topics, which I am happy he agreed to share with us. Let's take a look:

devastation of storms and floods appear 
then come the hell of fires and words are
said from a tongue of sharpen blades not for 
the sake of pain for loss or sorrow but for the sake
of their own tomorrow 

the flower does not blame the wind
for its loss of petals, the rain for
their wilting, the sun for being parched
with too much heat or for the night
stealing the day

in selfishness and greed there is
no good that comes but a sadness
and lament avails for the souls departed
and all who is left are the lonely and  
the cold hearted

Marco: My piece reflects the present conditions of how our country, the U.S.A., is being devastated by Hurricanes and Forest fires, and how our present resident of the White House has little empathy for the specific states affected - either because one is basically 'brown' people, and the other, because it was and is a state that is not supportive of his continued 'megalomania', narcissistic, racist, xenophobic, self-serving ego.

Sherry: Plain words, Marco, and I share your frustration at the widespread social injustices that are occurring. In your poem, I am most struck by the line "the flower does not blame the wind for its loss of petals." That is very beautiful.

Thank you so much, gentlemen, for your poems, which illuminate so well the state of our hearts at the present state of the world. Shall we overcome? I hope so, for the sake of the young.

Do come back, my friends, and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Poetry Pantry 441


We have some very exciting news for you this week, my friends. Now we are six! Smiles. Wonderful Magaly Guerrero has joined the Poets United team! She will host a prose prompt: Telling Tales with Magaly - a Pantry of Prose on the first Sunday of every month. We think this will offer an enlivening new direction for our site.

We are all pretty happy and excited about this new development, and hope you will enjoy this new feature. Magaly plans to invite "fiction, memoir, tales with life in them", and promises it will be "mind-nourishing". 

Her first prompt will be next Sunday, March 3rd. The link will stay up until late Tuesday, so you will have time to work on your pieces. Magaly has announced this development on her new blog, Magaly's Blog.  

On Monday, we will hear Men's Voices, with poems shared by  Ollie, the Tired Monk, Michael (Grapeling), Bjorn Rudberg and Marcoantonio. We hope you enjoy their wonderful words. On Wednesday, Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif will be : Cloud. That sends lovely images through my mind.

Let's jump into the Pantry and see what goodies await. Link your one poem, and do visit your fellow poets, in the spirit of reciprocity. And let's start sharpening our prose pencils for next week!

Friday, February 22, 2019


Anna Marie Sewell


they say, star woman fell
down here because
she was curious

they say, the star sisters
still watch us

they say, when star woman fell
it was a humble one
who gave all he had to reach
enough earth for her landing

they say, the humble ones
still watch us

they say, the turtle carries
on her shell the sacred
geometries, the formula
for moon and time

they say, this is still
turtle island

they say, if you listen
the song goes on

sing, they say.

-      Anna Marie Sewell

“The song goes on. Sing, they say.” I love this poem so much!

The Canadian poet Anna Marie Sewell has been described as “a peace-seeking Indigenous warrior” and a multi-disciplinary artist. Her work is designed to be collaborative. She employs poetry, song, theatre and community art in her work. She is a founding member of Edmonton’s Stroll of Poets Society, promoting poetry through performances and festivals. And she was Edmonton’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

The metre of her poems lends itself to Spoken Word and chant. The poet invites us: “Come, lovers of language, seekers of change, moon-mad prophets, come. Read and share these poems and songs, and answer them back with your own.”

The poet is of Mi’kmaq, Anishinaabe and Polish descent, but grew up in Alberta, in the land of the Cree and Beaver people.

Anna Marie Sewell has two books of poetry: Fifth World Drum, (2009), and For the Changing Moon: Poems and Songs (2018).

Another beautiful poem, too long to include here is “Washing the World”. It is about the grandmothers, washing the world with their tears, waiting for their lost ones to come home. It is very moving.

I love this poet’s voice. Goodreads tells us “She writes from the intersection of two cultures, and the silence between two rivers.” From that silence, her voice arises, clear and true, with love for her people and Mother Earth.

Poetry Foundation                       

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Fun

EmilysQuotes.Com - creativity, intelligence, wisdom,  Albert Einstein, fun
Emily's Quotes

“And the sun and the moon sometimes argue over who will tuck me in at night. If you think I am having more fun than anyone on this planet, you are absolutely correct.” 
― Hafiz

“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” ― Jane Goodall

“Fun is closely related to Joy -- a sort of emotional froth arising from the play of instinct.” ― C.S. Lewis

 Midweek Motif ~ Fun

Can you list 10 ways you have fun?

Fun for me is ACTIVE, like: licking the cooking spoon, playing a challenging game of Scrabble, drinking tea while visiting, reading a good book, re-reading the good book, praying while coloring, stroking the cats until they purr, writing a poem in an un-rushed time, reading poetry aloud, and taking long walks on cool days.  That's 10 things.  What's the first 10 that occur to you?  the next 10?  

The challenge:  In a new poem, find a meaningful way to have fun fore-grounding fun.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - Children̢۪s Games - Google Art Project.jpg
Children’s Games by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1560)

This is a schoolyard
with children

of all ages near a village
on a small stream
meandering by

where some boys
are swimming

or climbing a tree in leaf
is motion

elder women are looking
after the small

a play wedding a
nearby one leans

an empty hogshead

Little girls
whirling their skirts about
until they stand out flat

tops pinwheels
to run in the wind with
or a toy in 3 tiers to spin

with a piece
of twine to make it go
blindman’s-buff follow the

leader stilts
high and low tipcat jacks
bowls hanging by the knees

standing on your head
run the gauntlet
a dozen on their backs

feet together kicking
through which a boy must pass
roll the hoop or a

made of bricks
some mason has abandoned

The desperate toys
of children

imagination equilibrium
and rocks
which are to be

and games to drag

the other down
to make use of

a swinging
with which

at random
to bash in the
heads about

Brueghel saw it all
and with his grim

humor faithfully

The wind may blow the snow about, 
For all I care, says Jack, 
And I don’t mind how cold it grows, 
For then the ice won’t crack. 
Old folks may shiver all day long, 
But I shall never freeze; 
What cares a jolly boy like me 
For winter days like these? 

Far down the long snow-covered hills 
It is such fun to coast, 
So clear the road! the fastest sled 
There is in school I boast. 
The paint is pretty well worn off, 
But then I take the lead; 
A dandy sled’s a loiterer, 
And I go in for speed. 

When I go home at supper-time, 
Ki! but my cheeks are red! 
They burn and sting like anything; 
I’m cross until I’m fed. 
You ought to see the biscuit go, 
I am so hungry then; 
And old Aunt Polly says that boys 
Eat twice as much as men. 

There’s always something I can do 
To pass the time away; 
The dark comes quick in winter-time— 
A short and stormy day 
And when I give my mind to it, 
It’s just as father says, 
I almost do a man’s work now, 
And help him many ways. 

I shall be glad when I grow up 
And get all through with school, 
I’ll show them by-and-by that I 
Was not meant for a fool. 
I’ll take the crops off this old farm, 
I’ll do the best I can. 
A jolly boy like me won’t be 
A dolt when he’s a man. 

I like to hear the old horse neigh 
Just as I come in sight, 
The oxen poke me with their horns 
To get their hay at night. 
Somehow the creatures seem like friends, 
And like to see me come. 
Some fellows talk about New York, 
But I shall stay at home.

Ormakalil 3.jpg
Nostalgia 3 by Sunil Pookode  (2016)
(Used without Permission.  Forgive me.)

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows. 
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now   
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.   
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.   
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae   
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).

But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace   
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.
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 ~ Cloud)

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