Hibiscus–dVerse Quadrille

Today, I’m hosting at dVerse Poets’ Pub for Monday Quadrille #16. A Quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words, no more, no less, exclusive of the title. I’m asking you to use any form of the word OPEN within the poem itself. Here’s mine:

Photo: V, Slotto

Photo: V, Slotto


in awe-tinged silence
i watch petals unfurl
opening upon beauty
cached within—
softness charged with
life-giving energy.

sun glows
through flower-skin,
brings to mind
moments we shared
in the desert,
garden-joy i cherish.

would that i could
unlock memories
hidden within
your beautiful soul.

Please join us at 3:00 PM, EDT.

Remembering Summer Nights

Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.

Carl Sandburg, Back Yard

Remembering Summer Nights

I remember summer moons and steamy nights,
the sky, watercolor-washed in silver wings.

I remember light, flooding through gauzy curtains,
breezes, not enough to cool our youthful bodies.

I remember fireflies and cricket songs and frogs
calling for their mates from nearby ponds.

I remember honeysuckle sweet, the bitter
taste of cherries, culled too soon.

I remember early love, the sweaty palms
and kisses stolen on a neap tide shore

I remember yesterday, your craggy cheeks
and rheumy eyes that stare into the void.

It’s for you I write these things, digging deep
into the treasures of our past for you.

Can you remember now?

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse

For Tuesday Poetics, Walt invited us to use a summer quote from a well-know poet or writer as a starting point for a poem of our own. I’ve picked up the theme again for Open Link Night, hosted by Grace at dVerse Poets Pub. We would love to have you visit, contribute and read other poets with a poem of your own–any form, any topic.

The ending of  poem is fictional, inspired by my involvement in the care of elderly couples over the years–so often one is the caregiver for the other with dementia. The verses leading up to that are mine.


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.


A Wife’s Lament

V0007474 A very old man, suffering from senility. Colour stipple engr Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A very old man, suffering from senility. Colour stipple engraving by W. Bromley, 1799, after T. Stothard. 1799 By: Thomas Stothardafter: William BromleyPublished: 24 January 1799 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

1799 By: Thomas Stothardafter: William BromleyPublished: 24 January 1799
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons

A Wife’s Lament

I bid the light to linger still, to stay—
for when it’s dark within, no image sits
of you and I, still young, engaged in play—
our minds still sharp, our ever-sparing wits
engaging one another so, as it be-fits
a love that’s born to relish comedy.

But now your mind has failed, your mem’ry flits
from here to there to deepest tragedy,
enshrouding mind and dimming lively eye.
I mourn that mind, once keen, so bright and smart.
I see you thus imprisoned and I cry.
But then you place your head upon my heart,

in nighttime silence, broken by a moan
I cannot hold within—this heart’s not stone.

I’m joining this to dVerse Meeting the Bar where Gayle has us playing with Bout-Rime. The challenge is to write a poem using the given end-rhymes. These are the oncs Gayle has chosen for us: stay, sits, play, wits, flits, comedy, flits, tragedy, eye, smart, cry, heart, moan, stone. You are to use the words in the given order.

While my thoughts went immediately to my dogs, I decided to go with a more serious subject, one I’ve witnessed time and again–that of an elderly couple in which one person (the wife in this case) is caring for a spouse who has dementia.

Never Forget You are My Little Girl–dVerse Poetics

My Mother: Family Archives Christmas 2014

My Mother: Family Archives
Christmas 2014

I Will Never Forget
A Modified Trimeric

The way the sunlight played across your face,
the words you always had to comfort me,
the silent presence, strength—sometimes severe,
the smile, the gratitude and grace.

Those words you always had to comfort me,
when darkness threatened to seep in, destroy—
I think of these and find the courage to go on.

Your silent presence, strength—sometimes severe,
your touch, just so, to heal or to correct.
This quiet, heavy–touch, beyond my reach.

Your smile, your gratitude and grace—
Do these endure in shadows of your mind?
Although you’re here, you are no longer you.

Yet, sunlight plays forever on your face.
Each day you tell me never to forget
that I will always be your little girl.

Today for dVerse Poetics, we are asked to remember someone we have lost. This is addressed to my dear 95-year-old mother who suffers from ever-increasing dementia. She has always been my best friend. Even though we have spent most of our lives at a geographical disadvantage, she was there for me. I still call her, every day or two or three. The conversation is the same. If I try to tell her something off-script, she cannot follow it, But one thing she says to me each and every time is this: “Never forget you are my little girl.”

Those of you who have dealt with dementia, as I have my entire life as a nurse, understand the we lose our loved one an inch at a time. And yet, the wonder is this–somewhere inside is that person who always was, imprisoned, so to speak and totally living in the present moment. It is our job to provide them with one pleasant moment at a time.

Please join us today at dVerse.

Do You Remember?

Photo: glsp.org

Photo: glsp.org

Do you remember,

soon after Grandma turned ninety,
you and Uncle Roger put her in a nursing home?

The year before her vision began to blur.
You took away her driver’s license and National Geographics—
plunked her in front of TV. She thought the gal in the soap opera,
the one with silver hair, was having an affair with Granddaddy
who’d been dead sixteen years already.

Every Saturday, about 5 PM, while I fed your dog,
I heard you phone Aunt Tillie in the Bronx
and tell her Grandma wouldn’t eat, but at least she didn’t have a bedsore.
It was when she forgot your name that you stopped your weekly visits.
That was the week before you took some of her money
and left the country on a cruise to the Galapagos.
You said to pray she wouldn’t die till you got back.

When you did drop by, you’d syringe some food into her droopy mouth,
watch her spit it out then choke back your own breakfast.

After you left the facility, you’d hurry home,
change your clothes and go golfing.
Afterward, would you stop off to have a drink
and spend some time nursing guilt?
How often did you awaken during the night and wonder when?

Do you remember?

Based on my memories of nursing in Long Term Care—sadly.

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar where I’m pleased to be hosting dialogue poetry. This has been a crazy week for me, so I’d also like to give a nod to the prompt on Tuesday–about forgetting. Please stop by with a poem that includes dialogue between people. The listener may be implied, as I’ve chosen to do. More info over at the pub!

On the 12th, 13th and 14th, my novel, “The Sin of His Father,” will be offered as a Kindle Give Away. I would be grateful if you will support me in getting out the message of forgiveness–the underlying theme of this story.


Moments–Monday Meanderings

I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been offline for a few days. I’m in Huntington Beach, celebrating my Mom’s 93rd birthday. Her dementia has worsened since I last saw her, but she remains aware of us as a family. She is perhaps the most grateful, serene woman I know–due in part, perhaps, to the fact that she has been sober for 44 years. The lessons of her Twelve Step program stay with her, especially “An attitude of gratitude,” and “A day at a time.” I am not violating her anonymity by sharing this. She is the first to let the world know about how much she owes to AA.

I would like to have the sort of attitude that she has when I (if I) live to be 90…although I would prefer to bypass the dementia part. Having worked with the elderly most of my nursing career, I’m aware that this horrible disease brings some gifts to the person afflicted and to the caregivers as well. It’s all about living in the present moment. I remember instructing nursing assistants, reminding them that their patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and similar disorders may not be able to connect the past and the present, but as caregivers, we are able to provide them with one happy moment at a time.

This is a good recipe for all of us, don’t you agree? It seems to be something I try to hold on to as I go through my own aging process.

I’m “borrowing” a computer to write this as there is no available unsecured WiFi in the area, so this will be a short one.

I wish all of you a most happy and productive week. I should be back in the flow by midweek.

Be Free–dVerse Meeting the Bar: Craft and Critique

I miss the you
you used to be
before your mind
took flight from me,

before dementia
had its way,
painting your world
in bleakest gray.

Where is the fragrance
that you wore,
or stories of
the world war

that took your loved one
from your side
leaving you widowed
alone, with child?

You still speak of
the love you found
a few years later
the second time round.

“The heart has room.”
you used to say,
“for second loves
and better days.”

Where is the joy
you brought to each—
your family and friends,
all those within reach

who found in you
both wisdom and grace?
You opened your heart,
with a smile on your face.

Do you remember
the parties you threw,
the mess the day after,
the hangovers, too?

The strength you found
when you joined AA?
Gratitude flooded
your life from that day.

I miss the you
you used to be.
I want you back,
I want you free.

I spent much of my nursing career working with patients who had dementia. This poem, written in the 2nd person,  is a response to the prompt over at dVerse.

Caring for a parentThis is very much a first draft and I welcome your critique.

I hope you’ll join us at the Poetry Pub where, today, I’m honored to be tending the bar.

Photo Source: geripal.com  Photographer not specified.


Posted for Five Sentence Fiction—where this week’s one-word prompt is “Pirates.”

Photo Credit: Google Free Images

The storms outside have rendered my fragile craft impotent—but those within are worse. Everything seems so dark, foreboding. Roiling waves toss me about, confuse me. Who is that on the horizon—a rescuer perhaps? But no, he travels on by—oblivious to my desperation—leaving me at the mercy of the pirates of my mind.

un-named heroes

NLEx May 30 Autistic Teens

NLEx May 30 Autistic Teens (Photo credit: DivaLea)

un-named heroes

a mother waits to hear him say her name,
his father, to play ball.
the child breaks silence only with his piercing cry,
tosses his food, his fists.
the daily fare of parents of autistic children.

Flower Pots

Flower Pots (Photo credit: IrishFireside)

down the street, around the corner,
potted flowers adorn window boxes.
behind closed shutters,
a neighbor/friend (not old)
decides it’s time to let death visit.
a phone call later—cancelled chemo—
he makes his peace and dies.

outside, sun plays with clouds in azure skies.
inside the empty chapel, darkness fills the stagnant space.
an ancient monk buries his head in his hands,
waits for the shroud of doubt to dissipate.

Westminster Abbey Benedictine Monastery Chapel

Westminster Abbey Benedictine Monastery Chapel (Photo credit: Jordon)

dementia creeps through tangled plaques in her brain.
with trembling fingers she punches in numbers,
asks her daughter to come in a hurry
before it’s too late to make her wishes known.

fingering bruises on her face,
the woman ventures out beyond the confines
of the world she knows.
$35.00 and change,
a scrappy paper bag of clothes,
a 3-year-old child in her arms,
she sets out hoping that there’s room for her,
the address of the shelter jotted
on a crumpled envelope
in her pockt—
the pocket of her husband’s red flannel shirt.

she hates her tattoo.
she hates her body.
sometimes she hates her life.
she longs to be accepted,
she walks away from those kids
when they offer her the drugs.

Offered for the Hero Prompt at dVerse Meeting the Bar. Join us soon…there’s still a bit of time left.

Photo: Creative Commons License