Enclosure–dVerse Poetics


a Sonnet for Linda

I stand in darkness looking out the door.
Dim lights reflect in puddles on the street.
The night is young, but fear comes to the fore-
front of my soul as I admit defeat.

Imprisoned in my heart, I flee what waits
beyond the boundaries of this world I know—
imagining those things my mind creates—
(the pain) rejected oft’ so long ago.

To taste despair, so hopeless to move on,
I turn away, drink silently of fate
and pray for morn to bring a gentle dawn—
my garden, flowers, trees inside my gate.

Perhaps someone will come when I am dead,
scatter my ashes in that world I fled.

With Lillian as hostess for dVerse Poetics, we are writing about doors. I searched my photo archives and this photo of our front door made me think of someone I loved much who suffered from agoraphobia for years. When she died, the family released white doves. I trust she is free at last.

The doors to the pub open at 3:00 PM EST. I hope this prompt will open those creative doors for you.

the atmosphere on the street tonight

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

the atmosphere on the street tonight

the heart makes the simplest things
so damn complicated.
you teased me from my lethargy,
drew me into shade-like shadows
of a recessed doorway on a street—
dark, deserted in new moon night

drumming rain on pavement
patters frantic rhythms, hypnotic.
i yield then beneath a lone streetlight
(to love) that floods me in the darkness.

but that was then.
and now you fill the room with emptiness.
i taste the void and wonder why
my heart still hopes
because i know that things so simple
can become so complicated.

I gleaned the title from the Moody Blues:
“The Other Side of Life”

Written and Linked to dVerse Poetics where Anthony tosses us some lines to play with and make our own. Stop on over, pick up the prompt and see where it takes you. This is based on something from my long ago past (thank God).

And let’s wish much luck to Anthony, who is stepping away from the Pub to pursue his career with his new publisher. Bravo.

Desert Sunrise–17 X 7

Today at dVerse Poetics, Brian Miller invites us to embrace anarchy and break the rules of form poetry. I chosen to play with a hybrid of Haiku and the American Sentence by writing 7 17-syllable 2-line stanzas that flow from one another, on a connected topic. I love the brevity of the original form, so why not knit them together?!


Desert Sunrise

Circling slowly, egret rises—
greeting morning sun’s awakening.

Helios smiles on him, backlights his dance
with the silver glow of grace.

Bird lands beside a quiet pond,
drinking in the stillness of placid waters,

wraps his wings around his body like a shroud—
a hooded monk in prayer.

Sun splashes desert rose
upon the canvas of the Santa Rosa’s

casting deep shadows on her creviced face,
pouring into our valley

I know that at day’s end, when darkness falls,
some wait for morning in vain.

Photo: schmoker.com

Photo: schmoker.com

The Challenge of Light

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

Photo: sultanknish.com

Photo: sultanknish.com


The Challenge of Light


advent is not about the coming

of a sweet baby.

it is not about sentimental,

trumped-up emotion.

advent challenges us

to an adult acceptance

of the kingdom of god,

to social imperatives,

to self-forgetfulness,

to letting go,

to a deliberate emptiness.


we like to make the Christ

into a perpetual baby.

we can cuddle a baby,

a baby asks nothing of us.

the Christ is so much more demanding.


advent doesn’t just happen

the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

our lives our one huge advent.

our lives are about bringing light

into this dark world.


in advent and winter we wait for light.

do we forget it’s up to us

to be light in the darkness

of a world that is






it’s easy to get hung up

in religion,

in practice,

in institutional think.

it’s easy to feel complacent

because we go to church,

because we give money.

the litmus test

is giving of ourselves,

is embracing mystery.

advent is not just a passive waiting.

it allows that we are responsible

to be light-bearers.

Most of these thoughts come from a small meditation book: Preparing for Christmas by Richard Rohr. I find them unsettling, preachy, even disturbing–I suppose because Rohr has hit that sore spot that challenges those of us who are Christian to really look at what Jesus asks of us in the Gospels. I hope there will be a message for all to hear…no matter what your own personal beliefs.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and many good things in 2014.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto


Dark December Days–Monday Meanderings

Today is dreary. My meditation time was drearier. I look out the window and the branches are bare. The few leaves that remain hang listlessly. There is no breeze to stir up some action. Not a bird shows up to feed on the fruit that remains on the ornamental pear tree. Everything is still, empty.

Photo Credit: David Slotto

Photo Credit: David Slotto

I’m in concert with nature until I remember that it’s the first Sunday of Advent. Celebrated in Christian communities, Advent marks the four Sundays leading up to Christmas—the arbitrary date chosen to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word for “coming.” It denotes an attitude of anticipation, expectation, hope, waiting—much like that of the early Jewish people who lived in expectation of a political Messiah who would deliver them from the tyranny of the Roman occupation of Israel.

Understood from the Christian perspective, which views Jesus as the Messiah, this deliverance is spiritual rather than political. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” In this sense, I find that the spirit of Advent offers a message for people of all spiritual traditions.

We are attuned to the seasons of the year. We mirror them in our own lives. When nature sleeps, we may experience our own emptiness and know innately that there must be more than decorations and shopping and whatever else we turn to in order to dispel the darkness within.

Advent is the season for the child inside of each of us. It a time to be excited about what is yet to come, to believe in a spiritual Santa Claus who will appear in his own time to fill those empty spaces in our heart and spirit. When we are surrounded by barren landscape, those gifts will fall gently into our lives like pure snow. We await beauty. We hope for peace.

Photo Credit: scrapsoflight.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: scrapsoflight.blogspot.com

This image is that of an Advent Wreath. In Christian churches and homes, a candle is lit on Saturday Eve each week to open the vigil of Sunday’s observance. Usually the candles are purple to make that sense of emptiness however, on the Third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, a pink candle promises joy. Gaudete means joy in Latin–the first word of the reading from Isaiah–Rejoice, Israel. Your salvation is drawing near (my paraphrase).

Written on Sunday for Monday Meanderings. The sun decided to show up and the birds are having a great time in our pear trees.

For more indepth reflections on Advent, shared by writers and poets of many spiritual traditions, I invite you to check out Into the Bardo, an interdenominational site that will post an Advent-related essay or poem every day until Christmas. One of the things I appreciate most about this site is that it highlighst similarities, rather than differences between many diverse spiritual points of view, showcasing, somehow, they most often converge into a whole. Differences are respected and teach us new ways of understanding mystery. It is sites such as Into the Bardo that will, we hope, bring us closer to one another. Into the Bardo is hosted by poet/author Jamie Dedes with the help of contributing authors. I am honored to be one of them.

Write2Day–Writing from the Dark Place

Shadows in the late afternoon.

Image via Wikipedia

As the winter solstice approaches–here in the Northern Hemisphere, our thoughts turn to long, dark nights and, often, gloomy days. Winter is a time for introspection in many spiritual traditions, and the body itself calls us to go within.

Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, calls attention to the various aspects of the human personality, contrasting that part of us we show to the world (even the world of bloggers, perhaps) with that aspect that we’ve so conveniently shoved into the unconscious: our shadow side. As we mature, an important developmental task is to integrate these two parts of us, to face those things that we would just as soon forget about, to work toward balance and to learn to tap into the darker energy, harness it and allow it to touch our creative selves. It is in the unconscious that our creativity thrives and it behooves us to unleash that energy by naming it.

Beauty and light are, no doubt, important attributes of poetry and poetic prose. But think about photography. If a scene is over-exposed, flooded with light, lacking shadow, it is uni-dimensional, flat, boring. It is the contrast that calls attention to the light.

Some of our best known, loved poets grappled with depression, addiction and similar disorders. Think of Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton and Jane Kenyon to name of few of them. This doesn’t mean that, to write good poetry, we need to wallow in angst. Rather, it means that we need to be willing to open our eyes and SEE what is before us in all its complexity. The majesty of a soaring hawk contrasts with its predation of a tiny wren. Both are part of a hawk’s reality.

For today’s prompt, I invite you to go dark. Deal with a topic you would rather ignore, whether in society, in a particular cultural setting, or within yourself. Do not ask yourself, as you write, “What will ‘they’ think of me?” Don’t try to write to please or be accepted. Go ahead. Dive into to the dark, murky waters of the unconscious and allow that shadow side to emerge.

To join: write your poem, copy and paste to Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, read other participants and have fun…sorry this is late. My automatic scheduling skills are deficient.


Photo: V. Ceretto-Slotto


If only Autumn
would not go away
so soon.
If Winter
would hold back
and not rush in to
fold us in
her gray embrace.

If we could just
go back in time
to summer days
and love beneath
a canopy of stars.

But youth evades us now
and so we settle in
and wait.

Hey, I’m going to dVerse Poets’ Pub for Open Link Night in an attempt to shake off this gloom. Hope to see YOU and your poetry there. Can’t wait!

October Waning

Autumn Night Light

October Waning

Early morning sun kisses the foothills
with hues of bronze and purple.
You descend the staircase.
I wait for your touch to heal my wounds.

As always, you gloss over my sadness,
take me in your arms as though I were a doll
abandoned by a child in a corner of the room.
Your love restores my hope for the moment.

At noon we wander in a field of pumpkin gourds.
Among a bed of drooping roses one stands tall.
You slice its stem with your pocket knife,
inhale its fragrance then hand it to me.

When evening comes we sit together on the porch,
extract the last ray of light from day’s end.
You hook your arm in mine
and lead me gently back into the night.

I am posting this in response to yesterday’s Monday Morning Writing Prompt (on this blog) and also linking it to dVerse Open Link Night at http://dversepoets.com  If you haven’t stopped by this wonderful poetry community to imbibe of great poetry and good friendship, I suggest you hustle on over and serve up something of your own. OLN opens for your enjoyment Tuesday 3 PM EDT.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Darkness

Darkness Over Eden 2709

Image via Wikipedia

Here in the northern hemisphere, autumn is finally creeping in. The days are growing longer. It’s become harder to drag the old body out of bed early in the morning. Darkness is upon us.

For this week’s writing prompt, I invite you to consider the darkening aspects of the season. You can take it wherever you like: nighttime, moods, shortening of daylight, personalities. The door is wide open, so let’s go out into that dark night.

To participate:

  • Write your poem and post it on your blog
  • Using Mr. Linky, share your name and a link to your poem
  • Pay a visit to other participants…as many as you can

The purpose of MMWP is to help you jumpstart your writing week. I don’t want it to be stressful, so the link stays open indefinitely. However your chances of having your poem read by others increases if it’s up sooner rather than later. If you would, invite your fellow bloggers to join in!

Thanks for your participation. And don’t forget, both poetry and prose are welcome!

I’m still have problems with commenting on blogspot and blogger, so if I don’t return your visit, know that I’ve read your work and appreciate you all.