Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge 021418


young blood spilled
near new moon waxing crescent
love blooms in ashes

Written with heavy heart and linked to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge #20. God be with all those who are suffering in Florida.

Photo; ABC News


Moon Castle on the Hill

Moon Castle on the Hill

My grandfather’s last name was Lunenschloss, meaning Castle of the Moon. When my father was lost in WWII, Mama and I lived with my grandparents in this white castle on the hill. We were alone on the summit until a couple of families joined us. Grandpa had built the home when they lost their original one during the depression. He named the dirt road that led up to it Castle Crest Drive.

The view from atop the hill was breathtaking, especially at night. Overlooking Los Angeles to the East and Glendale to the West the cities lay like twinkling stars at our feet. Daytime brought no end of joy for a child: searching for quartz with veins of gold, sliding down hills in cardboard boxes, and climbing “my” pepper tree. Mud pies, hide and seek, kick the can—life was an outdoor adventure, morning till night.

Mythic memories
Winter moon—childhood magic
Lifescapes ebb and flow.

Posted for dVerse Monday Haibun where the prompt this week is Hometown Haibun.

Photo: Labeled for non-commercial reuse. The home was the only one at the top of this hill. The area has completely changed.

dVerse Quadrille–Two for You

For dVerse Quadrille this week, I have the pleasure of hosting and am asking for a poem of exactly 44 words that includes the word poem or a word that is related. See the posting on dVerse for a list of possibilities and further instructions.

I am going to include two poems in one post: the first is for today’s prompt and the second contains all the words thus far in our second 44 word series.

Photo: David Slotto

Just a Click Away
A Quadrille

In this fast-paced world
can we hear hummingbird
sipping spring pollen?

Can we seize beauty,
shroud her in a perfect word,
simmer poetry?

How does silence grow
between autumn leaves
as they fall gently to earth?

Hurry, this offer
will go quickly.
Act now!

Mark Strand: Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

A Quadrille with all the words to date: rock, crunch, leap, bounce, poem.


This is not a poem
about poetry, but rather words.
Words that leap into your soul
You play with them,
fall in love until they
bounce upon the page.
Crunch-tumble them
into meaning-fullness.
See how they disconcert,
rock. Toss you from
your comfort zone.

Death Scene–Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge

Death Scene

Written and linked to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge.  This week’s challenge is CROW. The story is true. My Irish mother always claimed that the black bird was a sign of death. I used that as a theme in my novel: “The Sin of His Father.”


Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for Non-commercial reuse.

She only lasted four weeks from the day of her diagnosis. I spent much of that time with her–witnessed the rapid progression of her cancer, helped to manage her pain,tried to comfort my mother, her husband and children. I wallowed in a feeling of helplessness.

We watched tennis players enjoying nearby courts and a multitude of large blackbirds feeding on newly sown grass.

Life begins, life endures, life ends.

outside crows forage
black contrasts on summer green
inside, my sister’s waning

The Curl II–dVerse OLN

Photo: V. Slotto

Last week, Amaya, in her first prompt as a member of the dVerse team, challenged us to write a response poem. I have chosen Toni’s (Kanzen Sakura) poem, The Curl, which she wrote during the difficult time of her mother’s illness. Since then, her mother has passed. During the same time, I went through the same thing with my sweet mother. So this response is for both of us. 


The Curl
Toni Spencer

the days have knit themselves
into a pattern of sameness—
an afghan in shades of grey.
like the winter sky and trees.
the elderly woman settles down to sleep.
the younger woman brushes the curls off
her forehead and whispers,
Sleep mama, sleep.

Used with permission of the author
Previously published in Chiaroscuro, a dVerse Anthology

The Curl, II
Response Poem, Victoria Slotto

slowly, it seems, those days unravel
from gray to gold to azure blue—
a curl of color, dazzling.
days of life, of spring and hope.
wrapped now in joy we cannot know
her daughter fashions words of love
into a quilt of memories.
Dance, mama, dance.

Please join us for dVerse Open Link Night where you get to choose one poem, any form, any topic.

Desert Daze and Darkness

Dry Desert Daze and Darkness

She walked along a pathway
in her arid corner of desert,
desolate, alone. She knew
that Oleander had been
planted here, sheltering
the rich and famous who lived
in rich and famous homes—
homes (now abandoned after
years of rainless days.)

These dense shrubs tried to defy
the drought. Tiny flowers
of pink, white, struggled, straggled
to survive between limp leaves
whose color faded more each
year. A rattler seeking sanctuary
from sweltering sun slithered
away to the east. Disappoint
ment surged in her soul.

And so she grabbed a handful
of leaves and buds, headed home
with bravado and brewed
a pot of tea large enough for the
digitalis compound to do its part
to slow her heart. Slowly, slowly
slowly allowing it to steal life from her,
the life she gladly offered.

When she sat to drink the deadly
draught, her Maltese pup
snuggled at her side, his chocolate
eyes begging for a sip.

She couldn’t.
Could she?

Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

A dark narrative poem for Bjorn’s Poetics Prompt at dVerse Poets. The Pub Master asks us to write a poem that has reference to a poisonous plant. It used to be that Oleander was used as a center divider on California highways and in the Country Clubs and such communities in the Palm Springs area as a privacy screen. It grows to be high and very dense. Every part of the plant is poisonous.

The Good of the Poor

The Good of the Poor

About 1981 or 82, I sat in a cold church in Detroit, Michigan. I pulled my coat around me, barely noticing the cold, entranced, instead, by the strong voice of a diminutive woman clothed in just a white sari with blue edging. Fearlessly she proclaimed the need for more care for the poorest in our community, and she had the right to do so, as she was opening a shelter for the poorest in Detroit. Outside, winter winds howled. Within, I questioned how I could do more in my own mission of nursing the impoverished elderly.

After her talk, those of us who were engaged in such service were led to the basement for a reception. There, we had the opportunity to meet and greet Mother Teresa, one-by-one. The warmth of her words and her hug have remained with me, sometimes encouraging, sometimes chiding. I recall them now with deep gratitude.

Four tiny swallows
hound a lurking hawk—
winter desert sighs.

This week for dVerse Monday Haibun, Kim would like to have a take a look at handwriting of famous people. I have chosen that of Mother Teresa and am including a snippet of an analysis of her handwriting which fits my experience.

“Mother Teresa may have been diminutive in size, and shy of personality, but this sample shows that when she wanted something done, she found a way for it to be done. ”  To read the full article, follow the link HERE.

The pub opens Monday at 3:00 PM EST. Please join us!