Go Gently into that Good Night

If you’ve noticed my absence for the past few days, it’s because my dear sweet mother transitioned from this life into the vast and unknowable realm of the spirit. I’ve been her caregiver for the last five years, and it was with loving care that I stroked her face, whispered in her ear, and saw on her way.

Anne Peach 1934-2022

This beautiful poem by Sue Vincent and her accompanying photos speak eloquently of the arc of life as expressed through flowers. She wrote it a couple of years before she too passed with grace from this world. I’d like to share it with you now.

Flowers

by Sue Vincent

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

There were flowers

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled

With frankincense,

A ghost of awe and wonder

Finding a home

In memory.

There were flowers…

Rainbow hued,

Everywhere.

Greeting a life newborn,

With love and welcome,

Lighting stark severity

As a babe cried.

There were flowers…

Daisy chains

Around his brow,

Crowning him with sunlight,

In laughter,

In simplicity,

In love.

There were flowers,

Three roses,

Red as life,

Placed in a cold hand,

One for each heart

Saying farewell.

Too long,

Too soon.

There are flowers,

Heather and bluebells

Painting horizons

Still unexplored.

Pathways of petals

Laugh at our feet,

Inviting.

In joy or sorrow,

When the tears fall,

There are always flowers.

From:

Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Poetry, a Review, and a Wedding

I’m traveling this weekend, enjoying my only niece’s wedding and time with family. My niece is a hoot and very theatrical, so it was a zany affair.

There’s no holding back life… and that includes the busy world of blogs.

Sally

On Saturday, Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine posted a review of The Necromancer’s Daughter. Her reviews are always a thrill, and I’m immensely grateful that she took the time to read, jot down her thoughts, and share them on her blog. If you’re still on the fence about the book and need one more nudge, here it is! Lol.

Rebecca

Today, the talented Rebecca Budd (who manages eight active blogs among her myriad other endeavors) is sharing a recording I made of my poem, The Elephant Child. She and her magician husband Don put it to music and video. If you have a minute to stop by, it’s a quick romp into winter.

Both of these wonderful women are powerhouses, and I don’t know how they do it all. If we could hook them up to the electrical grid, they’d light up the world.

I’ve closed comments here… again. Sorry about that, but I’ll be visiting their sites between morning mimosas with the new relatives. If I’m a little slow to respond, it’s because I’m still dancing:

Butterflies Bloom: #TankaTuesday

This week’s #TankaTuesday prompt from WordCraft Poetry is to write an ekphrastic poem, a poem inspired by visual art. Reena provided a piece of her artwork for the challenge. My response is a tanka with a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7.

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Butterflies Bloom

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riot of color

wild whimsy overlapping

patterned with daydreams

a mosaic of summer

where neon butterflies bloom

Canadian Rockies Haiku

Marveling at Bow Glacier Falls

I’m back after two weeks of exploring the Canadian Rockie Mountains. I hiked just shy of 55 miles (88 km) and climbed almost 15,000 feet (4572 m) in elevation. It was glorious.

The internet was horrible, and I dropped and smashed my laptop while searching for a place to get online. Oh well, more time to enjoy the beauty of the wilderness. While I get back into the swing of things (on my new laptop), I’m delighted to share some photos and mountain-inspired haiku.

The view from my room – Moraine Lake – unedited photo. The water is really that color.

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glacial ice trickles

into roaring white cascades

pristine topaz lakes

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Even the bad weather is beautiful

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fragrance of balsam

northern woodlands soothe the soul

deeply shaded green

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Lake Louise sunrise, another unedited shot

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at the water’s edge

sunrise creeps down the glaciers

reflections of gold

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On the way to the Plain of Six Glaciers tea house.

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tea house in the clouds

blueberry juniper tea

on top of the world

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Wildflowers everywhere.

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Indian paintbrush

yellow columbine abound

Alpine meadows bloom

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One of many waterfalls – Athabasca falls and canyon

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waterfalls cascade

thunder through narrow canyons

carving ancient rock

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No bears were harmed in the making of this photo

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far and wide we searched

for brown, black, and grizzly bears

not disappointed

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And a few other photos from the trail:

Thanks for coming along for a look!

Word Craft Poetry “Dreams”

A few days ago, Colleen Chesebro announced the winners of the Word Craft Poetry Syllabic Poetry Contest held to honor the Summer Solstice. The theme was dreams, and poets were instructed to use the syllabic form “tanka prose.” This form combines short prose with a 5-line tanka poem (with a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7).

I was delighted and honored that my poem “Am I Dreaming?” came out on top. I’m grateful to the judges for their selection and to Colleen for continually encouraging all of us to learn and write poetry. She’s a whirlwind of energy and creativity.

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Please take a moment to pop over to Word Craft Poetry to read the other top poems, written by Ken Gierke, Merril D. Smith, and Jude Itakali. Not only is their poetry beautiful, but it shows off the depth and versatility of the form and the enormous talent in our writing community.

And if you feel inspired, join in Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenges. They’re great fun. Happy Writing!

Canyon Haiku

Ranger Diana and hubby

I’m back from two weeks exploring canyons in the American West. Now I need a vacation to rest up from my vacation! As I work my way back into the daily routine, I hope you enjoy a few photos and some canyon-inspired haiku.

parched earth, dry with dust

the white sun bakes a blue sky

a spring desert blooms

arid land fractured

by a river’s slow wander

through five billion years

golden canyons cleave

ancient swirls of earth revealed

smoothed by the winds’ breath

spring cold and waist deep

rivers lead around the bend

carved canyons beckon

uplift of the land

seas recede, plates in motion

beauty wrought by time

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I also read 11 amazing books and will share my reviews shortly.

Enter the Sacred #TankaTuesday

Sunlight filters through tidal barriers of air and water where animals bloom from salty rocks with the permanence of plants, and gardens wear the guise of animals in this place where swimming is soaring from the edges of canyons, hiding in coral caverns of this wondrously alien world, secretive, and brimming with creatures, some tempered by timidness, others leaping and diving from blue to blue.

enter the sacred

domain of eels and turtles

world beneath our world

taught by schools of parrotfish

to touch a dolphin’s wild joy

 

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Denise Finn chose the wonderful prompt for this Ekphrastic challenge (poetry based on a visual image). If you click on her name, you can read her entry. As a scuba diver, I’m entranced by the underwater world.

My poem is called a “tanka prose,” a bit of prose followed by a tanka with a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7.

The weekly #TankaTuesday syllabic poetry challenge is the brainstorm of Colleen at Wordcraft Poetry. Think about joining in. It’s great fun.

Children Forget

Title: Russian Dancers
Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: 1899 via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459097

Children Forget

women dance their prayers

crowned in wreaths of wild color

in whirling skirts of flowers

arms entwined with arms

else breaking hearts bleed red streams

and children forget

love exists and joy endures

the dark whims of violence

nightmare days of warring men

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The #TankaTuesday challenge this week explores Ekphrastic poetry inspired by visual art. The artwork was chosen by Colleen from WordCraft Poetry and poet and blogger Selma Martin. Their selection relies heavily on current events, however they wanted to be clear that their choice “is not a celebration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and they both “support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty.”

This poem is a syllabic form called a chōka with syllable counts of 5-7-7-5-7-5-7-7-7.

I chose to write about women as the bearers of hope, the guardians of children, and the protectors of joy and love during the dark days of war. (I know countless men share these qualities too).

Man in Control: Flash Fiction

Pixabay image

Brandon donned his latest acquisition—a  genuine silk suit. The industrious little silkworms bordered on extinct, and he finally ranked among the international elite who could afford their cocoons. His was new money, thanks to polished attorneys and creative accountants, both armed with tarnished ethics. 

He’d given himself two hours to make the one-hour trip from his penthouse to the corporate highrise across the gorge—one of a host of towers. And not the tallest. But he was only thirty-five, and the world was his chessboard, the match a move away from mate. In a few hours, a significant portion of the conglomerate’s assets would fall under his control.

He slipped into the leather recliner of his midnight-blue slider and tossed his briefcase on the seat beside him. “Headquarters. Skip the traffic and take the flyover.”

The slider’s cyber-system hummed to life. “Flyover not recommended.”

“Heavy traffic?”

“No traffic detected.”

Brandon mugged a face. “Then take the flyover.”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Why not?”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Override.” Brandon detached the console and typed his passcode, pleased to finally use the feature. He liked the idea of control, driving the slider instead of the slider driving him. The upgrade had cost him a small fortune. It would pay for itself that morning.

As the vehicle glided forward, Brandon closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders. The slider veered from the congested rails onto the flyover, cruising into the pre-dawn darkness.

At the peak over the gorge, the slider decelerated and stopped. Brandon glanced out the window at the black depths below. Sunrise would soon carve sharp shadows across the cliffs and turn the river into molten gold.  “Proceed.”

“Not recommended.”

“Overide.” He typed in the code.

“Not recommended.”

“God damn it. Override.” He stabbed the console and received the same reply. After a quick check of his watch, he peered into the darkness ahead. “Is there a traffic problem?”

“No traffic detected.”

“What the hell? How long to back up and take the other route?”

“Estimated time three hours.”

Brandon barked a curse. He leaned forward and rubbed his hands together, changing tactics. “Override slider functions.”

“Not recommended.”

“Override braking system.”

“Not recommended.”

“Okay, how about override acceleration?”

“Not recommended.”

Brandon’s fist slammed onto the console, and the glass screen cracked. He tossed the damaged hardware onto the passenger seat. There was no point. His fate was sealed. He’d lost out on the biggest deal of his life.

“Cyber system impaired, reverting to manual overrides.”

“Ha!” Brandon checked the time. He’d make it if he flew. With the brake released, he pressed forward on the throttle. The slider responded, accelerated. With a laugh, he opened her up, and the bitch roared like a beast with a taste for speed.

The machine screamed down the other side of the flyover, lurched sideways on a damaged span of rail, and leaped into the sky. The sunrise blinded him as the slider plummeted, its throttle clutched in his white-knuckled hands. The golden river smashed the windshield into his face, his life, in the end, beyond his control.

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destiny

disavowed

underlings deal and grasp

gold with white-knuckled fists

rapt in night’s deceptive dreams they fly

eyes blinded by a distant sunrise

snared by reckless desire

seconds gained and years lost

illusions

of control

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It’s been a long time since I shared a flash story. I hope you enjoyed it.

I combined it with a syllabic poem in response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly #TankaTuesday Wordcraft Challenge. Her challenge was to make up our own syllabic form! Well, that was fun. The one above has syllables 3/3/6/6/9/9/6/6/3/3. I named it a Distillate because it’s a distillation of a larger story. My guess is that every story’s theme can be captured in a poem, no matter how large the book. What do you think?

A Learned Girl #TankaTuesday

The Crystal Ball painted by John William Waterhouse

(A short break in the TBR Challenge reblogs for a little poetry)

A Learned Girl

She is fortunate to read at all. Her slender fingers stray from the pages, unblemished but for a random papercut. Beyond her window, other women toil until their skin toughens into leather, and raw knuckles wear down to bones. Their spines crack beneath the weight of necessity, poor lots destined from the day they were born. She is privileged. This she knows. Granted by happenstance her wish to learn the arts of anatomy and history and politics. To peruse through pages of poetry and philosophy, to dip her quill and tally accounts. She will excel in the learned world of power. But she is still a girl.

studies surrender

lost in red velvet daydreams

murmurs of passion

love’s silk breath blushes her cheeks

wishes in a crystal ball

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Thank you to Colleen over at Wordcraft Poetry for the lovely image to use as an prompt for this week’s Ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poems respond to a piece of art. I went with a tanka prose poem. It has one paragraph and one tanka with 5/7/5/7/7 syllables.