I Am of the Desert–dVerse Poetics

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

I Am of the Desert

I am of the desert.
The hunger of coyote howls in my bones.
My spirit knows the parched,
the arid earth.
But of the night I stretch my hands
to touch the moon, the stars.
I taste the flurry of colors
playing hide and seek amidst
the scrub of rabbit brush.
We are of the desert, you and I,
our names engraved on sandy slopes.
Together we await the wind,
the keening breath
that carries us to tomorrow.

Indeed, the desert is in my DNA. Written and linked to dVerse Poetics where the prompt invites us to write of the Southwest.

Desert Days Waning–dVerse OLN

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Desert Days Waning
a Haibun

Winds batter our desert, stirring up water on the pond. Clouds hang over the mountain, try to decide whether to move on in and bless the valley with rain or to continue their teasing ways. The heady scents of warm-weather blooms fill the air as the sun begins his descent behind the Santa Rosa’s.

Six surviving baby ducklings grow rapidly, Mama scolding them for taking off on their own, without her protective oversite. Soon our finches, sparrows and hummingbirds will stop by and find that the feeders have been put away for a while, reminding them that they, too, need to think about migrating north.

I should be packing, but the allure of words drags me into outstretched arms and I succumb.

i am your poem
holding this moment in time
jasmine’s sweet fragrance

I hope you will stop by dVerse Poets’ Pub where I’m hosting Open Link Night. Bring a poem of your own–any topic, any form–and settle in to enjoy the work of our poetry community. And don’t forget–the prompt for Haibun Monday is open all week.

La Jeunesse–dVerse Poetics

Photo: that's part of the mystery.

Photo: that’s part of the mystery.

La Jeunesse

Youth – love and laughter
Prime – adventure, love and laughter
Senescence – rest, reflection, love and laughter
My Mystery Poet
(all of the above)

She laughs in the face of aging,
learns, loves, listens,
dances with words,
caresses fabrics, colors, textures,
brings nature into our lives
as she walks the beauty of her chosen land.

Is there a form she hasn’t tried?
A phrase she hasn’t savored?
A friend she hasn’t reached out to?

If I could fly, I’d cross the pond
to share a cup of tea,
to drink deeply
de la joie de VIVre.

I wasn’t going to join in this prompt offered by Abhra at dVerse Poetics, but I succumbed. This is supposed to be about a poet we admire and keep a mystery. Did I cross the line? Hard not to.

Dreams–dVerse Haibun Monday


On the bookcase, behind her, a photo showcases a twenty-year-old brunette—slim, shapely, with a mane of brunette hair cascading over her shoulders. She leans against the right fender of a 1930’s rag-top. Behind her sits her 1st Lt. Army Air Corps finance, wearing the uniform that would take him to the European theater—her fly-boy, B-24 pilot. There, he would die.

Today, she stares over her glasses, the clouded irises of her eyes registering little but confusion, the once-smooth surface of her skin bearing ravages of the many losses that have dogged her throughout her lifetime. “Are you happy?” she asks for the 17th time in the last couple of hours. I answer, “Yes, Mom, I’m happy. You don’t need to worry about me.”

I return my gaze to that photo, so full of youthful hope and happiness. Yes, Mom, all is well. You can move on when you’re ready, I think. I’ve told her that before.

For her part, she has dosed off again, perhaps returning to those dreams of years long-gone.

clearing out dead leaves
unearth patterns of remains
lace-knit life forms


Photo: Susan Judd, Used with Permission

Thank you to Susan Judd for allowing us to use her wonderful photography to inspire us today in writing to dVerse Monday Haibun prompt: beauty in decay. And thank you to Bjorn, for inviting Susan.


The Land of My Birth

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for non-commercial use.

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for non-commercial use.

The Land of My Birth

The wind blows wild on western land,
upending stories told of yore,
lays bare the tales of daring men—
now lend your ear, I share this lore.

The West was lawless, savage, free
to those who braved a lonely life,
who claimed God-given destiny,
their right, their will—soon gained by strife.

Those cowboys, miners, pioneers—
some pillaged peoples, raped the earth—,
they forged their way to new frontiers
lay bare such pain, bled forth rebirth.

The cowboys, gathered round a fire,
exhausted, aching, often cold,
they drank their whisky, shared their cares,
slept ‘neath the stars when night grew old.

The miners dreamt of wealth and gold,
they panned and dug, hoping to find
a vein of ore, the mother lode,
they lost their hope, often their minds.

Brave families crossed the barren plains,
leaving their homes and all they knew.
So many perished on the way.
Danger was great, successes few.

The Native peoples fared not well,
forced from the places they called home.
within they wept for their death knell,
confined–no more just free to roam.

Now, wildlife suffers loss of space,
The desert shrinks, gives way to man
who fouls the waters, laying waste,
and here am I, let’s not pretend.

And so the land I love today
once known for pristine purity,
though beautiful has known decay
protect her for posterity.

Today, at dVerse Poetics, Stacey is guest hosting and invites us to write Folk Poetry. Although my home is in Nevada, I’ve never written a cowboy poem. Each year, Elko, NV hosts a huge Cowboy Poetry Fest. Originally, I’d intended to write such a poem, but as it played out, it became more of an expression of concern for the unstoppable growth in NV and here in the SoCal desert where I also spend time. As an example, I used to see many Roadrunners when we visited the desert. This year I have only seen one. I also address the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” the belief that God intended the West for newcomers with the result that the Native Americans were displaced, relegated to Reservations.

This poem is a rough draft written as a Quatrain with the rhyme scheme ABAB, CDCD etc. I’ve attempted to use Iambic Tetrameter. If you notice anything not quite right, please let me know–the same if anything doesn’t make sense. 

The Roadrunner Wikipedia Commons Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Roadrunner
Wikipedia Commons
Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Twist–a Quadrille

Image: hitfix.com

Image: hitfix.com

The Twist

You are responsible for your rose.
Antoine de St-Exupery
The Little Prince

True, no doubt.
Accepting love
we open arms to joy.

But here’s the twist:

There is no joy
without the care
that comes with pain.

a mother duck plays lame.
Perhaps she sees the hawk.
Love asks for all
we have to give.

Linked to dVerse Quadrille–a poem of exactly 44 words, using the word twist. I was tempted to write of the time David and I succumbed to the call of that dance from our youth, of his subsequent back surgery and…well, I won’t go into it. Had this been the Haibun, perhaps I would have.

Oh, and if you’ve never read “The Little Prince,” you must. Read it in French if you are able.


Sevenling (Paradox)–Prompt Nights and dVerse OLN

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Sevenling (Paradox)

Beneath branches of our rose-bush hides a tiny bud;
finch builds her nest in the dense foliage of the fragrant Jasmine;
mama duck hustles her little ones, taking cover under a low-lying shrub.

Hawk circles above in the cerulean sky, looking for prey;
dandelions pepper the lawn, scatter their seeds in swirling winds;
Bougainvillea bursts into an array of celebratory color.

In the East, snow mocks spring.

Linking this to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights, where we celebrate spring and to dVerse Open Link Night where we celebrate poetry and whatever else moves us. Please join us. You will enjoy both sites, I promise you.