Monday, July 15, 2019


We have three special poems for you today, poet friends, by three wonderful poets, about the combined joy and pain of life and love in this beautiful world.  We hope you enjoy these offerings, written by Rosemary Nissen-Wade of Enheduanna's DaughterCarrie Van Horn of Net Full of Butterflies, and Marian Kent of Runaway Sentence,  all beloved long-time members of Poets United. Let's not delay another minute! Let's dive right in.

I introduce into the conversation
the subject of my death.

He decides to stop studying
and train as a nurse.

He asks where he can acquire
my poetry book.

His torch goes out; he gets lost
in the middle of a forest.

Walking through the bush
he blisters his toe.

Here at home I stub my toe and
burn my arm, which blisters.

Love oh love oh careless love ...
all love is in this one.

My soul is crying and crying
the pain of my joy.

Oh darling, my darling
time doesn't stand still.

I sing on the wind and arrange
to meet you later.

I want that you should live
a fine life and strong.


Sherry: Oh, Rosemary! I actually felt, in my heart, "the pain of my joy", as I read this. That says it exactly - the love, the memories, the joy, the pain of the whole damn thing. Sigh. What a brilliant poem. It's a beautiful form, the ghazal.

Rosemary: I first became aware of the 'ghazal' form about 12-15 years ago. I found it intriguing and beautiful. I didn't register until much later that one of my favourite poems since childhood, James Elroy Flecker's 'Yasmin', is subtitled 'A Ghazel' (sic). Flecker's (which has been featured at Poets United) has a strict form, not identical to what we are now told is correct for the ghazal, but very close to it – and is a beautiful demonstration of how to handle and transcend a strict form.

Other poems I saw labelled 'ghazals', though, did not bother with the traditional complex rhyme scheme, and at the time I encountered them (having missed that point about 'Yasmin') I didn't know any better. I found them fascinating and of course wanted to try for myself. They kept the other main feature of the ghazal, being written in a series of associated couplets: not in a linear sequence, but connected by theme. So that's what I thought a ghazal was, and that is what I attempted in this poem. It's my very first attempt. (I also missed the point that the lines are supposed to be the same length, and tend to be long.)  

I have since discovered and attempted the stricter form, and am now more inclined to call my others 'quasi-ghazals'. However, there are those who say the strict rules are a comparatively recent development. At dVerse, where this month's form prompt is the ghazal, we are invited to write either 'classical' (strict) or 'contemporary' (freer) ghazals, so I posted and linked this old one to see if people thought it made the grade. The fact that you wanted to feature it, Sherry, suggests that something's working! I do think contemporary or quasi-ghazals can make for interesting poems, even if they are not 'correct'. 

In either case, classical or freer, I like the way the lack of linear progression may create a degree of mystery. We are eager to be accessible nowadays – and for the most part I too strive for that, and think it desirable – but perhaps we forget that mystery (as distinct from mere obscurity) can also be a lovely quality in a poem.

Sherry: I think it is especially lovely in a poem. One wants that element of wonder, when fortunate enough to achieve it. Carrie's poem carries the same awareness of life and death as yours, Rosemary. Let's read:

Like ghosts we walk through miracles never knowing 
how close 
we come
For we cannot see what we do not believe
But in another life we were horses
Where no fences gated our hearts
Free to be what we truly were
We galloped far beyond what could be seen
Grazing truth all the while
And always hungry for more
Like a mighty wind our spirits pushed through
Making themselves known to all
For freedom does not linger on regret
Nor feed on darkness
It moves on gallantly in the light of day
and those willing to let go
Will dare to jump any fence that comes their way
But that was another life and time
The rising dust of a distant star
Here we walk through miracles never knowing how close 

we come
Ghosts cannot touch, but merely pass by in silence
And we cannot see what we do not believe.


Sherry: How I love "in another life we were horses....." This is such a gorgeous poem, Carrie!

Carrie: I wrote Souls and Horses for the Muse photo prompt. The photo was an older horse being stroked by a human hand and it made me think of how sometimes humans can be so limited by what they believe and what they see before them. Horses always represent such strength and freedom and the poem just grew from there. 

Photo by Tatiana from Pexels

Thank you so much for all you do Sherry! I am blessed to know so many talented and inspiring people on blogger at Poets United and other writing communities. You Mary, Sumana, Susan, Rosemary,  Magaly and Sanaa are amazing!

Sherry: Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your poetry with us, and for your long loyalty to Poets United. You were here in 2010, when I arrived. Smiles. 

Marian Kent was also one of our first members. Her poem expresses the way I have been feeling this past two years, watching our society unravel. Let's take a look.

Marian: I'm so flattered that you asked, and would be honored. I'm copying the poem below. I wrote it two years ago but unearthed it (because of that Facebook memories feature) and of course it is so much more relevant today than when I wrote it. Our society is broken, everything keeps breaking, I am broken, and yet am surrounded by love. As I'm sure many of us have been feeling. And it's been another cold and rainy spring here :)

I threw open a window
to melancholia
of cold and rainy spring

Lonely breezes blow in
like electricity
raising gooseflesh
straggled strands of hair

All I can think is
there’s so much love
yet everything is broken

Sherry: That is what creates so much grief and puzzlement in me, Marian. There is so much love, yet everything is broken. I am seeing and hearing things I never thought I would see in North America, so many hard-won human rights being rolled back. How we will put it all back together again is the question.

You said exactly what I feel but haven't known how to put into words. Thank you for closing this feature off so brilliantly, and for your long membership at Poets United.

Well, my friends? Food for thought in these poems, and emotions that resonate. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. A wonderful choice of poems, Sherry, and super interviews with three talented poets. Thank you all.

  2. I am honored to be featured here with two amazing poets, Rosemary and Marian. Both "Ghazel of the Air Element" and "Observing Love, Broken Things" are beautiful and speak to my heart. Thank you again Sherry for all you do.

    1. Thank you for taking part, Carrie. I thought these three poems worked together very well......that mix of joy and pain that is living and loving.

  3. Thank you, Sherry. I'm thrilled my poem is featured along with these pieces by Carrie and Marian – which have their own loveliness, mystery, and mix of joy and sadness. Poems to both enjoy and ponder!

  4. The stuff of life, my friend. Thank you for writing and sharing your beautiful ghazal!

  5. I read each poem twice because each touched my heart and spirit. Sherry, you did it again - you've selected gems.
    Thank you.

    1. To touch a reader's heart and spirit – what more could any poet ask?

  6. Three powerful, brilliantly rendered pieces written by very gifted poets. What a pleasure to read this post, which really got me thinking about looking at love in different ways. One thing that I came away with, after reading the article was the sense that there is a lot about 'love' that we don't value ... or perhaps don't comprehend is there to be realized, and – perhaps even - move us in good directions.

    Marian's piece spoke to this, especially. She writes: 'there’s so much love yet everything is broken', I agree there is so much love. But it would appear that we humans, are disinclined to look for it – and let it guide us - in all aspects of life. For example, the political processes that we pin our hopes for a better world on, are seldom, if ever, tempered with the quality of brotherly love. The barbaric circumstances in which very young children are being held at the U.S./Mexico border – sadly – speak to this reality. Clearly love did not factor into this horrendous political choice, in the slightest.

    All three poems took me in so many thoughtful directions. Another wonderful share, Sherry. Thanks, once again, for making this happen. Great job on this, Poets.

    1. Very thoughtful, insightful, and kind words. I stand with you, thank you.

  7. Wow, wow! I am tickled that my small poem stands here like a foundation to the flying and entrancing poems by Rosemary and Carrie. Whoosh! Thank you so much, Sherry and Poets United. I feel such a fondness for this special place. Thank you for these kind words, friends. Much love to all and xoxo

    1. Your sad yet lovely poem may be small in length, but not in vision and message. In fact one thing that impressed me about it is the way it says everything it needs to and then stops – conveying so much in a few lines of great delicacy yet profundity. Everything about its crafting feels absolutely right.

    2. I so agree, Marian. It expresses itself perfectly, with great impact to the reader, who says "this is what I have been feeling, without knowing how to say it." Thank you, kiddo.

  8. Such beautiful poetry from three amazing poets. I feel so honored to be able to read and interact with such talent. Sherry, thank you for bringing Rosemary, Carrie, and Marian together for this.

    1. A great compliment, coming from one so talented as yourself, Susie!

  9. I am pleased these gems are resonating, as I knew they would. How could they not? One thing that makes my job easy, is we have so many talented poets writing wonderful poems day after day. I am never short of talent to tap on the shoulder!

  10. All of these poems are amazing, thank you Sherry for seeing their beauty and spotlighting the poems and poets.

    Rosemary - I must try that form.

    1. Careful – it's one (like haiku) that might grab on and never let you go! :)

  11. Such a wonderful selection of poems, Sherry! Thank you Rosemary, Carrie and Marian.

  12. Thank you so much, Sherry 😊 for featuring these three lovely ladies 💖

    Rosemary; Your poem touched me to the core, as it describes beautifully the joy and pain of living .. I love the conversational tone of the ghazal, the gentle yet powerful imagery that allows the reader to feel the emotions in the poem and relate to them. I can't believe I am reading this poetic masterpiece for the first time!💖

    Carrie; Yours is a beautifully illustrated poem that speaks of the soul's journey 😊 how delightful to be a horse and to "dare to jump any fence that comes their way," I also love the closing line.. we truly need to believe in order to see 💖

    Marian; I remember this poem!!!💖💖 It served as a springboard when we were in Tandem at the Imaginary Garden two years ago. I loved collaborating with you and feel that our poetic voices compliment each other. This is a gem of a poem and every time I read it I take away a deeper meaning.💖💖

    My day is off to a great start after reading this post. Thank you for all that you do and more, Sherry 😊☕💖

    1. Thank you Sanaa. for the generous praise. Nearly my bedtime now. I'll be able to go off to sleep with a big smile, hugging to myself that word, 'masterpiece'!

    2. I am so pleased, too.these are three absolutely gorgeous poems. Yay!

  13. Three wonderfully talented writers, and a joy to read their poems together on this forum.

  14. These are wonderful words from three amazing women! Thank you for sharing Sherry.

  15. Beautiful poetry all. All very different and entirely intriguing.

  16. What wonderful poems - all of them! I find the first stanza of Rosemary's so very strong...introducing into the conversation the subject of one's death, and then it goes on, and the ending seems like one is saying good-bye and wishing the other well. Very contemplative really...and it makes me think how difficult a subject death really is to talk about.

    And Carrie, I think it is true that we never know how close we come to those miracles. Perhaps we experience them and don't even realize. And, yes, we cannot see what we do not believe. And perhaps that includes miracles and ghosts! Nice seeing your words here!

    Marian, your poem made me reflect on how love and brokenness can exist side by side. Nice seeing you here!

    Sherry, again you found three excellent poets and drew their poetry together very well. Thank you for another great feature.

    1. Sherry has such a gift for this, doesn't she? – the drawing together of separate poems by different poets into such harmonious gatherings.

  17. You are most welcome, my friends. Thank you for your appreciation. There is so much talent in our community. Wow!

  18. wow such stunning poems I really enjoyed reading them Sherry you did a great job showcasing these


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