Micropoetry Monday: The Faultlessness of their Stars

When the learned astronomer went blind,
he hired a foundling—
a lost soul hovering between heaven & hell.
A wealthy intellectual
(which was an oxymoron, for some),
he asked the boy to be his eyes,
to describe everything he saw.
And it was through the eyes of the blind,
that the learned astronomer’s apprentice,
through service to another,
reached his potential.
When the learned astronomer closed his eyes
for the final time in earth-space,
the boy’s eyes had been opened,
for there’d been nothing he’d ever had
that had been of value to anyone,
except to the learned astronomer
whose last sight was feel of the boys’ wet face
in his hands.

She bicycled, upcycled, & recycled,
burning calories,
not waste.
Her collar had faded from blue to white,
only to deepen into green.
She planted herself where she would grow the most–
an environment where she could be her most creative.
And with every ripening
& every reaping,
there would not be an uprooting,
but a replanting,
for she would leave a seed in her place–
ready to help the next person grow
in that place.

As Angel & Demon walked side by side in a parallel universe,
they came upon an impressionable human being
hitchhiking their way through the galaxy–
now standing before that split in the wishbone.
These 2 otherworldly beings were on a mission:
the former,
to gain a soul,
the latter,
a lost one.
The Demon told this being
that all their senses would be heightened
to anything they had ever experienced on Earth;
the Angel said that what they would experience
beyond the mythical pearly gates
would transcend all senses.
When the human being chose the planet
of the sun rays & the moon beams
over the one of candlelight & firelight,
they realized that they’d been to this place before,
& that the life they’d known had been a scavenger hunt–
where only a minority had figured out
that it was not themselves they were looking for,
but the Ticketmaster with the unlimited tickets
that had already been paid for.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #352, Theme: Are We There Yet?


“I need to be there,” you always said,
and there was never here—in the now,
in whatever space you found yourself standing in.

Your future always stole from your present,
and so we were left with your past.
You were without peripherals,
suffering from hyperopia.

We were never tall enough,
or loud enough,
or just enough.
We reached for you,
our arms like trees fighting for sunlight,
but you were a vapor with a cell
that imprisoned you,
a mist with a career that made you feel
like you had it all,
even as it took everything you had.

You showed up everywhere else,
save your own life,
with the lives you created.

You were a stranger—
the house fairy,
the food fairy,
the birthday present fairy.
You made things happen
behind the scenes;
you were the part of the movie
we never saw.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 352


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #344, Theme: Under the Weather


Under the Floridian Sun

She built a little house,
and a great big life.
She married well,
she married for life.
She’d found love,
but not a soul-mate,
for she, not the stars,
chose him.

They were child- and carefree
for he loved whom he had found,
not who he could have created.

Then the day came that she needed
a part of him he could live without.
She lived, but he did not.
The irony was metallic,

Under the Floridian sun,
he was buried–
the hurricanes with her wild horses came,
the rains turned the ground muddy,
and there was that thready blanket of snow
that came one winter.

Then long after she came to join him,
everyone who had memory of him,
was gone,
like ashes in the wind.

His mark,
like a childhood scar,
became lighter,
until it could no longer be seen.


Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #26. Theme: Luxury

On all of life’s little luxuries.

All the Little Things

For all the things I am thankful for—
the silver linings that are often sewn
in tarnished gold;
for the golden globe that covers the earth in light,
the pearl that glows at night,
the diamonds upon which wishes have been made;
for the wrinkle in the sky
which separates the land from the sapphire sea
that turns emerald in the day;
for the ruby-red hearts called strawberries.

For cool tile under bare feet on a hot day,
the softness of fuzzy socks in the winter that
let me slide on hardwood floors;
for the feeling of the water mister on my face
in a park on a summer’s day,
or lying under a fan with the windows open
with the sounds of the rain and thunder—
a soothing static.

For the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking,
filling the house with eyes-closed memories;
for pasta dinners al fresco,
by moonlight and candlelight.

For the smell of ripening peaches at a roadside stall,
and snow that’s the stuff of childhood fun;
for seventy-two degree weather in winter,
and air-conditioning in summer.

For the seashells that wash upon the beach after a storm
like unburied treasures;
for the gentle gulf breezes that tangle my wispy hair,
and the stillness that warms my skin.

For goodness for goodness’ sake,
for the playful antics of dogs and children,
and for joy that goes beyond mere happiness.

For microscopes that help us see old things in new ways;
for the technology that has enhanced communication
between friends;
for music, that touches us on a deeper level,
and for art, that moves us;
for books, that take us away from it all,
and for life, that draws us back in.

For the holidays that mark our calendars,
for the regular days that fill in, in-between—
for all are dots on the maps of our lives,
so that we can say we have been places—
that we have truly lived.




Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #13. Theme: Memory


The Fluidity of Memory

Memories are the remnants
of unreliable narrators and
unscrupulous memoirists;
of fanciful adults about their childhood,
and bitter adults about theirs.
Memory is both selective and imagined,
sometimes as fuzzy as 20/100 vision,
others, as sharp as Andy Rooney’s wit,
but real all the same.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #12. Theme: After (Blank)

In my fifth-grade yearbook, under what it said I wanted to be when I grew up, was eye doctor.  I was fascinated with eyes at that time, and it got me to thinking how many plans we make for ourselves in our youth that never come to pass, simply because life gets in the way.  It is funny now, when I think about what I wrote all those years ago, because the thought of touching my own eyeball (much less anyone else’s) freaks me out (which is why I could never do contacts.  My dad (who graduated in ’69) shared with me a country song (can’t remember the artist or title now) about a graduating class, and all that happened to them.  As one of his many little “projects”, he wrote a poem in the same format about his own graduating class.  All of this inspired today’s poem.

After Graduation

It was May of 1969,
that eight girls of the class of Middleton High
all made plans to follow their dreams far from home.
Elsewhere was that wonderful, but elusive place,
though so many had tried before them,
only to return like battered wives and wayward husbands.
The girls believed they had outgrown Here,
that they could make it Anywhere,
as long as it wasn’t Near.

Faith Goodwin was like her name—
faith-filled, full of good, always won at Everything,
Most Likely to Succeed at Something,
though her only success was ending up in the maternity ward
seven times by the same man.

Melanie Silts,
the girl with a book,
but never a boy under her arm.
She was the librarian’s muse
for years until he died,
him having written but one poem
of ten lines.

Marnie Owens, the cheerleader,
who married the football player—
the team that dictated the rules for faculty,
for they brought in all the money.
They were like little gods, in this way,
but not quite celestial dictators,
numbered as the stars.
Marnie cheers from a wheelchair now,
but no one cares,
for women still cheer for the men
who would leave them.

Judy Carnes, the chunky class clown,
who gave everyone a reason to laugh with her.
She fell in love with the boy who fell in love with Faith.
She watched their children,
this lady at The Chocolaterie,
who gave away big marshmallows in little cups.

Carol Hunt, the import from England,
who liked to say she ate spotted dick—
all with a runcible spoon.
Always with a British flag on her lapel,
she felt above all the hicks of Cheesegate,
(for Middleton was positively scandalous in is provinciality)
because she pronounced words a different way.
She fell in love with Jill Ellen,
who, from the day she came,
everything seemed to go awry.

Susan and Debbie Carter,
twins, it seemed, of a different mother,
who shared boys and nothing more.

Then there was Jill Ellen Roth,
who came to the town of Middleton
from the skyscraping landscape of Manhattan,
escaping the worms of the Big Apple,
seedy and rotten to its core,
only to die at the hands of four of these girls,
for reasons known only to them.

Life in 10 Lines


After childhood comes adolescence,
along with feelings of uncertainty about who we are.
Adulthood follows, when we discover who we really are.
Then middle age creeps upon us,
when we begin to look back at who we were,
and despise ourselves for it.
Old age sets in not too long after,
and we revert back to childhood.
And for those who had no childhood,
there is no going back.

Playground Imitates Life


The swing:  Life is full of ups & downs,
& sometimes jumping off before we’re ready.
The slide:  We can climb to the top,
only to have to start all over
to get there a second time.
The merry-go-round:  Sometimes we spin in circles,
but going nowhere can be fun.
The jungle gym:  Life is full of obstacles,
but there is more than one way out of them.
The monkey bars:  If we reach high,
we can keep our chin up.

The Memory Trees

I wrote this for a “tree-themed” poetry contest awhile back, but it was too long.  Adult poetry doesn’t sell, and I wrote this before I started writing poetry for children (which does sell).  However, I think it is one of my best poems, and I choose to share it today, as I believe that, due to its length, it would be a hard sell to publishers.



The Memory Trees

Whose house this is now,
I do not know,
but through the trees, I see,
a little girl in pants–
just as I used to be.

Circling the ring of dirt round the crab apple tree,
she treads the path I once did.
Bow and arrow poised,
she shoots at the fruit,
bagging her inedible loot.

The sweet gum tree my twin brother once climbed,
has now been carved into a London Night Watchman–
a sentinel amongst the imported palm trees–
a memorial of happier times,
happier memories.

The dying tree, given another chance at life,
has reached its prime, for it will grow no more;
like the cedar chest where I keep my daughter’s baby clothes,
the mahogany coffee table where I drew as a little girl,
looking much distressed,
the cherry hutch where my grandmother’s Wedgwood china is kept,
the corners as chipped as the teacups it holds.

These trees, unrecognizable from their natural state,
will live on as objects of beauty,
for as long as those who love them live.

Like me, these trees were,
growing until they branched out on their own,
flourishing until they were cut down.
Never, was I grounded like the trunk,
its roots running deep;
I am the scatters, the chippings,
pressed and formed into my present state.

The noises of the children break me from my reverie,
and I am in the present once more,
the twilight deepening.

Three little boys are gathered under the oak tree,
acorns peppering the ground like tiny pumpkins,
where the leaves of fall form a carpet like a peppercorn mélange.
They are playing in the dirt patch in the shade,
wearing holes in the knees of their jeans,
while a lady in Capris brings them lemonade.

A boy and girl play on the tire swing,
looking so much like my brother and me,
my heart catches, and memories come back in snatches;
I remember this–this was the swing my father built for me,
with an expired tire from Lila, Daddy’s old Caddy.
Twirling in midair like marionettes,
their skinny legs dangle like loose shoestrings;
their arms are stretched taut,
their fingers clutching the rusty, twisting chains,
chains that will surely leave behind a metallic residue.
They’re looking up at the sky–
an inky canvas with pinholes punched through–
screaming in dizzy, giddy delight.

The tree house where my brothers stashed their baseball cards,
stands at the edge of the woodland–
a reminder of what once was,
of the kind of magic only children understand.

Twas these living trees that nourished me,
in ways chopped down it could not–
the apples, too sour to eat,
were balls to throw for Halliday,
our German shepherd of fifteen years and so many days;
the apples had often been tossed into Mrs. Smith’s backyard orchard,
where a good many of her cats were interred.

The gum tree had been our Tree of Knowledge,
to keep away the evil fay that lurked in the forest,
waiting to steal our clothes that we left to sun on the rock
while we swam in the lake to a crickety, ribbety chorus.

The maple tree had been my canopy in spring,
like a green parasol to keep the sun off my shoulders.
Tea parties had been held under there,
with I, as mast’ress of ceremonies,
serving apple juice with newtons made of fruit.

The tire swing had been my way to weightlessness,
the treehouse–a special place for the boys to go,
whilst my friend Kippie and I skipped rope–
ponytails bouncing to and fro.

The years have all run together,
for so swiftly did we move from the city to the country,
away from it all, my parents had said,
though all had been everything to me.

I can still hear our laughter ringing in the hollow,
the lure of yesteryear pulling at my heartstrings–
memories of sweeter summers, of warmer springs.

The family tree hasn’t thinned,
for its leaves are waxing full–
the older leaves becoming thinner as they age,
like the skin that covers our bones.
Its branches have reached far from this place,
but I go back to my roots,
in remembrance of my childhood trees.