Solitude’s Song


From better writers… a series Maybe Alone On My Bike by William Stafford I listen, and the mountain lakes hear snowflakes come on those winter wings only the owls are awake to see, their radar gaze and furred ears alert. In that stillness a meaning shakes; And I have thought (maybe alone on my bike, quaintly on a cold evening pedaling home), Think!- the splendor of our life, its current unknown as those mountains, the scene no one sees. O citizens of our great amnesty: we might have died. We live. Marvels coast by, great veers and swoops of air so bright the…

Pray for Salvage Value


There’s a good reason pro authors finish a book’s first draft as quickly as possible: If you wait too long, you lose touch with the energy and lives in that created world. They both die of asphyxiation. This means one of two things. Each and severally—as the lawyers say—is and are quite bad. (There’s a third, quitting, but …. just no.) Either you have to pray that there’s something salvageable after you shit-can the 95-plus percent of it that makes no sense anymore, and probably never did… OR you knife the useless bastard in its hard drive sector like Macbeth stabbed Duncan. Get drunk, feel sorry for yourself and have the funeral;…

Nein Kampf


Originally posted on Retkon Poet:
Nothing worth having is without its longest nights. No wars worth their salt come without a human fault. When tea lights are all your tired optimism can muster, and you lust for the dying flicker of melted wax and wilting wickers to blow you down, finish the job; you’ve got to stand tall, you’ve got to rally; for when back alleys become templates for city squares, and hate is the only quality a people have left to share; when civilizations lie in rubble, your words are the shovel clearing away intolerance, lending solace to bereaved who wonder…

Unspoken


Originally posted on Gulab Jamman Writes ♥:
as tears dry, so dries this ink.  let this line be the last. give me a new poem, page, and pen –   and the sky            will swallow                              my grief;   churn my sorrows                             into                                    the stars;          but let this line be the last.…

Follower


   by Seamus Heaney My father worked with a horse-plough, His shoulders globed like a full sail strung Between the shafts and the furrow. The horses strained at his clicking tongue. An expert. He would set the wing And fit the bright steel-pointed sock. The sod rolled over without breaking. At the headrig, with a single pluck Of reins, the sweating team turned round And back into the land. His eye Narrowed and angled at the ground, Mapping the furrow exactly. I stumbled in his hobnailed wake, Fell sometimes on the polished sod; Sometimes he rode me on his back Dipping and…

As Sun Sets


Note: Originally posted last year. It’s time to refill the tanks, and I find myself drawn to this again. -H  ————————————————————————————————— “Fair goes the dancing when the Sitar is tuned. Tune us the Sitar neither high nor low, And we will dance away the hearts of men. But the string too tight breaks, and the music dies. The string too slack has no sound, and the music dies. There is a middle way. Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high. And we will dance away the hearts of men.” —Sir Edwin Arnold, “The Light of Asia” (often misattributed to a saying of…

Tunes of Life


A rerun for someone…  All those years ago And I remember the first time, In the moonlight, When you stood before me Shy, uncertain, serene, While I tried to start breathing, Soaking in the sight of you With your gown fallen, body free. All these years, as you leaned in Asking me to find the music, To clumsily compose songs of our life, Teaching me how it should go, With you as the instrument upon which Our song would be played.

Short and Sweet Advice For Writers – Have a Point (plus WIIFM)


Originally posted on Live to Write – Write to Live:
If you want your writing to be effective, you need to have a point: a purpose, something specific you’re trying to say, a “Why” behind the writing. This rule applies no matter what you’re crafting – novel, short story, poem, personal essay, op-ed, sales page, website, flash fiction, screenplay. Having a point is what stokes your creative fire, and it’s what gives you the ability to write something that will make people care. I have written in the past about the magic of clarity: Clarity brings focus and purpose to your writing. It…

Dancer #3: Helen


I don’t know if this old story is true or not, but pass it along just as I heard it… a long time ago. All I know is that, even as the old man I now am, my soul can still feel the pull of the moon and a girl such as this.  The night of the full moon calls her, This daughter of Leda. She feels it in her neck and belly, As prickles in the middle of her back. Her mother sheltered a swan fleeing an eagle, Not knowing it was the lecherous old liar, Zeus, Transformed for seduction— For rape. He…

Another Meditation on the Temporary


This Moment By Leo Babauta zenhabits.net/moment/ We all suffer, every day: worry, procrastination, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, irritated, angry, frustrated, wishing things were different, comparing ourselves to others, worried we’re missing out, wishing other people would be different, feeling offended, loneliness, fear of failure, not wanting to do something, wishing we had less fat or bigger boobs or bigger muscles, angry at being controlled, wanting to find the perfect someone, wishing our partner was more perfect, stressed about finances, not wanting to think about problems, not knowing how to fix things, uncertain about choices, rushing from one task to the next, not liking our…

Sounds Lonely: The Path of Aloneness


How difficult this would be, especially in our consumerist culture that fetishisizes instant gratification:  1. Accept everything just the way it is 2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake. 3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling. 4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. 5. Be detached from desire your whole life long. 6. Do not regret what you have done. 7. Never be jealous. 8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation. 9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others. 10. Do not let yourself be guided by the…

Association Bingo


I built a 70-foot long stone wall in my back yard while listening to a podcast of the history of Rome a few years ago. It took two years— building the wall, that is, not Rome– which, as we all know, wasn’t built in a day. My little Roman wall: Four feet high. Two and a half-feet thick. A ton a linear foot. One rock at a time. Then I did half of it over. A section of the wall wasn’t built very well — OK, I didn’t build it very well— and it fell over after 10 years’ rains. (I think…

A Moment of Silence


Originally posted on The Starting End:
I breathe in this second To exhale to the past This moment I live, Not my first, not my last I open my eyes To see how far I’ve gone Close them to dream Of what’s left to come I look at my fingers, My blessings I count They surpass tribulations By an amazing amount I go in to my heart To find that it’s whole, Despite times of suffering Emotional overload I take awe in the day, How simplistic it is It’s perfect, its mine Yes, mine it ‘tis I speak with my soul, And…

All is Temporary


I’m nearly old, she said to no one, Sitting by a mirror, Tracing a line down her cheek With a fingertip, Lost in memory. She sighs. A chill; her soul shivers . This is the face that boys Longed to kiss, she remembers, Remembering the power of it. The face that felt the chubby caress of Her children’s hands, The face she could depend upon. A breeze ruffles the curtains, Touches the flower beside the mirror. Her eye caresses the exquisite Design of it, Built for A moment Of perfect purpose. “You are nearly old, too,” she says, tracing the line of the Petal with…

I Think I Might Have Missed A Turn Back There


You know that moment when some idea just-weird-enough-to-be-worth-blogging-about happens? The it’s-not-true-but-ought-to-be moment? The kind of thing we normally keep to ourselves but have gone slightly cracker dog? So we don’t..? I just had one of those. You know about Moore’s Law for computers? Where they double in power or speed every few months now? So more and more transistors can crunch numbers faster and faster, and the computers are so small that every human has at least one in a pocket—except when it’s glued to said humans’ hands, which is pretty much 24/7. I mean.. c’mon, people! But I digress…. I wondered… when a certain point…

Scouting Party of One


From a year ago.  Remember this: I still love you. I still love you, but there are times, like now, I bleed inside, realize I’ve forgotten myself, Or left chunks behind, or sold pieces of my soul Too cheaply and must go and find and buy back, No matter how sad and worn they are now. I feel like the Tin Man with joints rusted in the rain; The Cowardly Lion tired of being afraid; The Scarecrow wanting to burn the bureaucratic straw That’s stuffed in my head instead of brains. Weary of those around of shocking dreariness, Shallow people obsessed with silly things, fearful drones. I still…

Abandoned Farmhouse


Sharing words by others…. by Ted Kooser He was a big man, says the size of his shoes on a pile of broken dishes by the house; a tall man too, says the length of the bed in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man, says the Bible with a broken back on the floor below the window, dusty with sun; but not a man for farming, say the fields cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn. A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,…

On This Date


by Annie Lighthart  On this date many things happened. Governments were heaved into being, creeds were repeated, maps and speeches given and believed. There was quiet on this date. A little boy lived. There was sleep, and one birdcall stitched all the way through. On this date there was longing. Someone walked through a room. One hand brushed loose crumbs into the other. The earth received them out the side door on this date, on this day. “On This Date” by Annie Lighthart from Iron String. © Airlie Press, 2013.  (buy now)

Oh, For a Muse of Fire


Time to get to work. Doing the inspiration-kick-myself-in-the-ass thing this morning again.  O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that have dared On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth So great an object: can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or…

Time


Originally posted on unheardunspokencogitationum:
Time heals the biggest wounds It spreads over the hurt parts Slowly wrapping them up with Patience, teaching them to let go Gradually making the pain subside Like a dull bearable ache in you That you learn to live with, smiling It teaches you gratitude for little Things you never thought mattered But as a wise teacher it waits for You to catch up with and learn to Smile again realizing you survived It will plant hope in your heart again Letting you know feel the world has A-lot to offer to you and one failure Is not…

Only bravery


Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:
“For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point — and does not break.” – C.K. Chesterton Courage is not only a virtue, or one of the most important virtues, or even the most important virtue that a man can posses. Courage is every single virtue at its breaking point. One cannot be good without being brave; this virtue of his will be tested by men, will be discouraged. One cannot be ambitious unless he is brave enough to keep on going when it seems that the entire universe…

Four Dead in Ohio: 1970


If you weren’t alive or aware of the world on May 5, 1970, this probably won’t mean much. And, it was a different time. That’s a trite way to put it, but it’s all I can think to say. But the screaming headlines around the world the next day about the killings at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard shocked me to my innocent, Midwestern, trusting core. I suppose a similar impact would be for those who remember 9/11 as the traumatic event of their lifetime. The anti-Vietnam protests had been raging on campuses and city streets for a couple of years by then,…

A Bucket of Crabs


I’ve been working since I was 15. This sums up waaaaaaaaay too much of what it’s been like. Might be time to focus on who’s providing the bucket. the great escape by Charles Bukowski listen, he said, you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a bucket? no, I told him. well, what happens is that now and then one crab will climb up on top of the others and begin to climb toward the top of the bucket, then, just as he’s about to escape another crab grabs him and pulls him back down. really? I asked. really, he said, and this…

Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree


This was going to be just an anniversary rerun, happily marking one year today since my stroke. And I apologize for the need to make this a little darker than I’d intended. But I think you’ll see why. I’m doing well, happier than ever, tapping deeper into the craft I love, and enjoying new friends —you— as never before. I’m living much more healthily, have lost 23-pounds on the way to 35 or more, and the satisfactions of this blog alone has reduced stress. I want to be around for a while, tasting the sweetness and bitterness of life in equal measure. I’ve never felt…

Thunder


One day you’re thinking about ordinary things, Groceries, taxes, walking the dog, the upcoming weekend, Problems a friend is having, plans to celebrate a graduation, Finances, cleaning out the garage, And all the plans… trips we wanted to take, Places to finally see, places we put off seeing Until the kids were launched, happy, safe. Then we hear thunder over the horizon, Like the pounding of many hooves, And the sky darkens, the air grows cold, the sun loses all warmth. The pounding, the thunder, the messengers’ announcement Comes up through your feet, sinks into your bones, and you know what it is.…

the ride


Originally posted on anntogether:
it is difficult stepping away from those tracks against a crystal skyline, pillars of graceful loops and effortless curves are intriguingly sexual and artistic we approach without planned caution and when in tactile position become overwhelmed with complex magnificence nearly all our senses fire off excited for limitless possibilities the engine pulls up with its H.G. Wellsian glow Dalí inspired cars follow, enticing soft-shapes open up we board, as sure-footed as the person ahead of us the ride begins at a drugged snail’s pace then we plummet down, down, down, around, around, sideways, upside over… we stopped appreciating…

A Resting Place For Innocence


You won’t live remembering starvation and Fear of the End. Of. Everything. You won’t know how blood spread across the world. Twice, and spawned the thought that maybe Too many of us just didn’t want to live any more; I fear you may remember other things. And you won’t remember when the world Stared for decades at the glowing nuclear flames of Hell Transfixed. Seduced. Blinded. But not humbled, even after all that. But hoping, know it’s a feeble lie, that You won’t know that. You won’t know the unending cruelty Of one to one, many to many, none to one. That last…

2660 Miles in Four Minutes


A photographer named Andy Davidhazy hiked the 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was both a physical endeavor and a photographic one: every mile he traveled, Davidhazy stopped and took a single selfie. The video above is the time-lapse that he created after his epic journey. My feet hurt just looking at this. But what a great record of a huge accomplishment.

Knowing What To Do


“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying…or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you. Before long, all existing things will be transformed, to rise like smoke (assuming all things become one), or be dispersed in fragments…to move from one unselfish act to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness…when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and…

The Curvature Of Dirt


Originally posted on Elan Mudrow:
? The trees are strangers here. Sun fed children, standing Revealed. A stumbling dance We take photos of the young To remember nameless faces To recognize familiarity And apply colors to leaves Branch, stem, and trunk Sprayed out, brown and green, with an occasional blemish, added As the roots run shallow Too close to the surface, which Is our own likeness, re-presented   And the dirt is not real It hides from us, refusing To partake in our activities Of blankets and gardens. We cover it up in growth That is in our likeness, and Name it…

Self-Reflection, Cheerleaders and Naughty Baked Goods.


Originally posted on You've Been Hooked!:
As my fingers bounce around the keyboard it is eight am in the morning in Niagara Falls. It is also Saturday morning and that means the lobby’s voids are quickly filling with travelers. There are families, wannabe jocks in over-sized jerseys, young tramps, cheerleaders, actual jocks, and miscellaneous miscreants of all shapes, sizes and ideologies. The Hook is home. So why do I feel totally disconnected from the world? I worked eleven hours yesterday and I spent every one of them waiting. Waiting to feel at ease in my uniform, behind my desk, or wheeling…

Ordinary Things


Ordinary things be time machines, Containing important futures. Surprising links to before-times. A cardboard box that held a cheap microwave, This morning. Taking scissors to slice along the seam of the bottom, Pulling to break the hold the staples had, Breaking it down… I was 16 again, back in the storeroom Of the S&H Green Stamps store in my hometown, Along Main Street. There were trees along all the streets. My first real job. I unloaded semi-loads of stuff, boxes of stuff, Stuff frugal people would order from catalogues, Or walk into the store to buy with their Carefully saved booklets of stamps.…

Hunger


How cruel these nights, his belly knows, Through rocky valleys gorged with snows; His watchful eyes like shards of ice, The lonely hunter’s hunger grows. On solitary trails of white, In empty days and bleakest night, Ten million nights have come to this, Death strikes true, or life takes flight. A feathered hunter watches near Taunts “Who is that who founders here? “Who is it damned to roam the rocks, “While I soar free and without fear? Red in tooth, sharp in claw, Ruthless Nature tests us all. Eat or die, win or lose, Five billion years, that’s been the law.  Yet we believe, against mere fact, Our charms will make the fates retract What may just be…

I Am the Wind. I Bring News


(Revised, in impatience and hope; One year later and we still wait for Spring) I Am The Wind. I Bring News T’was always thus: The sun rises in the sky, the days lengthen,  Energy stirs the world. I am born of heat and light and urgency. And once born, I move. I must move. I just move.  My siblings and I, spawned from sun-boiled shallow waters and bare slopes, Sweep through budding branches, Laughing, whispering high and low through village And city and farm and thicket, We stroke and excite power lines ’til they thrum like cello strings, Or an impatient lover, eager for more attention.   We pick up debris left…

The Day You Looked Upon Me As A Stranger


From: The Writer’s Almanac by Jeffrey Harrison I had left you at the gate to buy a newspaper, and on my way back stopped at a bank of monitors to check the status of our flight to London. That was when you noticed a middle-aged man in a brown jacket and the green short-brimmed cap I’d bought for the trip. It wasn’t until I turned and walked toward you that you saw him as me. What a nice-looking man, you told me you’d thought- maybe European, with that unusual cap … somebody, you said, you might want to meet. We both laughed.…

Contest


From Retkonpoet.com There are 4 or 5 spots left. Readers are free to nominate a poet of their choice, as long as it is not themselves. Please make sure to ask permission of the author you are nominating before submitting their name and blog link to the comments below. All nominations subject to final approval. The ownership and credit of work posted here remains the intellectual property of its original author or publisher, and I make no claim to it. A link leading back to the website or blog of the original author will be provided. All nominations must be submitted by April…