Prompted poetry: an old photograph

I drafted a couple of poems in response to an actual old photograph on the shelf, but then this popped to mind while I was killing time in a coffee shop. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too literal.

Lost and found

He doesn’t recall her
face, even in dreams. Their son brings him
old photographs, but he recognizes
no one, himself least of all.

What he remembers is burying
his face in her hair, the scent
and fall of it, the way his fingers
tangled in the curls.

Prompted poetry: Dear Diary

I tinkered off and on with this prompt through the better part of a day until I thought to follow my own advice. I drew a couple of cards from two of my favorite decks, and the images immediately gave me an idea.

Dear Diary,

Last night I dreamed again I stood among tall firs, perfectly shaped, their branches weighted with snow. The trees covered a steep mountain slope, and through them I glimpsed other slopes and valleys, all blanketed with evergreen and white. My breath hung crisp in the air.

Beneath the heavy thatch of snow, needles living and dead absorbed all sound. I was enchanted; it was so beautiful and still. But a chill began to seep through my clothes, my skin: the silence was too complete. I was utterly alone in an indifferent wilderness.

My pulse throbbed in my ears, and then I noticed another noise, dim and muffled. It was the softest sobbing I have ever known, a weeping beyond all hope of being heard. I woke to find it was me.

Wizards 9 swords

(from Wizard’s Tarot, by Corrine Kenner, illustrated by John J. Blumen; Llewellyn 2011)

Trees 10 pentacles

(from The Tarot of Trees, by Dana Driscoll, 2009)

Prompted poetry: diatribe


Observations from the field

buttons and banners, bumpers and yards that sprout
the uncanny side shoots of this strange season

rallies, stumps, town meetings, carefully orchestrated
surprise appearances – the hooting and chest thumping

part of the mating ritual for that bizarre subspecies,
Homo sapiens diatribis, the American politician

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

I’m posting twice today to share some lovely photos of a ridiculously lovely day:


Today is Groundhog’s Day, a peculiar holiday we in the States celebrate by dragging large, hibernating rodents from their burrows, snapping lots of photos, and then making unfounded weather predictions, supposedly based on whether or not the poor creatures see their shadows. Today the Bluegrass State seemed to take the official rodent at his word: the sun was shining, the air was 60 degrees F, and both crocus and honey bees (see topmost flower) were out.


This is one of my hellebores – see the dusty mauve blossom in the center of the photo? One or another hellebore has been in bloom since Thanksgiving (late November, for my non-U.S. readers); they’ve been taking turns. The pink one just finished, but it’s already got tiny buds in the crown. I guess I’ve got them planted in the right place.

Two weeks ago, we got almost 2 feet of snow. Today we had a light shower out of a sunny sky, and my neighborhood was framed in a rainbow. It was a beautiful day here. I hope it was beautiful wherever you are, too.

Prompted poetry: who are you?

When I saw this prompt, I was reminded of a blog post I saw last week at Tarot by Tina. Each week, Tina, herself a writer, draws a card to interpret from a writer’s perspective.


The Queen of Swords

proclaims your creature
self to be mind as well as brain: remember
that squiggly organ is more than
the body’s maestro, and thought
greater than the sum of firing neurons

she decrees that your intellect serves
your whole person, a loyal retainer
vital as her own chief counselor
and as powerful, because you are
who you think you are

so who do you think you are?

Prompted poetry: the comment

I recently found a wonderful resource for writers in South African-based Writers Write. The site has all kinds of goodies and support for both business and creative writing, including prompts, quotes, book reviews, and courses. I signed up to receive prompts for each month via e-mail, and February’s list arrived yesterday.



the offhand comment is not painful
because formulated
without thought or consideration

the offhand comment is painful
because of astonishing
insight and precision


Feeling a little Connecticut today

A day like this:

sno day

calls for this:


— home-made Manhattan clam chowdah! (also known as chowder, for those not from New England)

Now it’s time to go shovel…