desert dry days–Poetic Bloomings Day 7

Today’s theme for Poetic Bloomings Day 7 is Summer Rain

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

desert-dry days

in my dreams
i taste clouds
drink scents of raindrops
on dry hot earth

watch teaser-clouds
on the Sierras
beg summer wind
to coax them
into our valley

i taste dry brush
a wildfire-burn
to the west

i touch tears
pray for rain

The Cloud of Unknowing

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Cloud of Unknowing
a Haibun

Today, strong gusts of wind pummel the desert floor, while on the Santa Rosa mountains ominous clouds hang low, seemingly reluctant to bring much-needed rain to our thirsty valley. In spite of drought, stalwart wild flowers, yellow and lavender, push through the crusty desert floor, clothing our world in swaths of color.

The old man sits on his patio across the way from me, bundled in a bright red lap robe. The fragrance of his pipe wafts my way and I recall the hours we used to sit and muse on life’s mysteries while nursed his tobacco habit and stroked the burled wood cradled in the palm of his hand. “I’ve seen a lot,” he would say, “and I know very little. I’m willing to wait to understand it all.”

Confusion clouds his mind these days, but when he sees me those eyes still twinkle and he throws me a kiss. I catch it, and toss one of my own back to him. I suppose that he’s closer to piercing through the darkness and unwrapping the mysteries the rest of us still grapple with.

cloud-covered mountain
even at the summit
we can’t always see clearly

Today we are pleased to have Lynn hosting Poetics at dVerse. She asks us to climb to the summit of the mountain for inspiration. I’m fortunate to live my life surrounded by majestic mountains. Thank you, Lynn. Please join us. 


sere–dVerse Quadrille Monday

Photo: Wikipedia Commons--labeled for noncommercial reuse

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–labeled for noncommercial reuse


this wind has raped
the trees of leaves
and palms of fronds

dark clouds hang low
on mountain tops
but withhold rain

coyote prowls
the desert floor
seeking for prey
on arid land

sun soon will scorch
our arid earth
to our cha-

Written for dVerse Quadrille Monday where we write a poem of exactly 44 words, excluding the title. This week we are to include the word “grin.”

My poem reflects the current state of things in the California Desert. The rest of the state is getting much needed precipitation while we sit here looking at clouds that just don’t seem to want to give us a break. But then, this is the desert.

in the hour just before morning

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

in the hour just before morning

flowers close tight, their buds still chilled
by frost-threatened air, huddle together
in leaf-nests, await sun’s sweet warm breath.

robins stir, tune their voices—magnificent
orchestral artists preparing to greet morn
in symphonic wakening trills. harmony.

dew prepares to glisten in spider’s web,
on blades of grass—dons her rainbow hues,
ready to dazzle the wakening world.

within the womb of an old house an old lady
nestles ‘neath a down-filled comforter,
pulls it snug to cradle the aching toll of her years

down the hall the coffee maker gurgles to life,
infuses the home with scents of comfort.
the husband arouses, stretches
while the dog shakes sleep away.

a crescent moon slips silently in the west,
hiding behind snow-covered peaks
while sun reaches out, pulls herself up
on horizon’s ledge and peeks.

at a distance, the long, long, short, long blast
of the six o’clock train strikes a final
exclamation mark on the day’s opening act.

Linking to dVerse Poets’ Open Link Night where creativity and fellowship flow. Please join us with a poem of your own.

The title an excerpt from a poem  by Mary Oliver…which one? I don’t remember.

just enough rain to muddy my recently washed car




just enough rain to muddy my recently washed car
an american sentence

surprise desert shower, momentary hope,
lasting but five minutes

An American Sentence posted by Lynn at A Poem in My Pocket inspired me to turn to this form to overcome my creative drought.


Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Pregnant clouds
poise on the mountain tops,
wait for nature’s push—
but for now they hover.

Our desert valley thirsts,

Do you know spirit-drought?
Those long, dry days
of waiting for bad news?
Of watching a loved one’s
slow demise—death by the inch?
Of staring at a blank page,
waiting for a shower of words?

Our spirits thirst,

Tonight our world
lies awake, listens
for rain.

For the past few days we’ve watched rain clouds that just can seem to make it over the mountains. Drastic measures are being implemented in face of the drought. California has initiated a state-wide mandate to reduce water consumption by 25% or more. 

I hoped to have this up in time for Open Link Night but missed it by just minutes…actually seconds. But here it is, anyway.

Listen to Drought Who Comes to Teach




Listen as our planet’s worries seep
onto dry land, the cracks of aging Earth.
No longer able to support her growth,
she’s faced, instead, with slow, incipient death.
Drought silences pure hope of her rebirth.
How, wonders she, shall she support new life.

Look closely, see the subtle signs of life.
Allow your hope to flow, at least to seep
into our land, so longing for rebirth.
Creation casts its lot upon the Earth
to stop the onslaught of impending death.
We wait, in vain, for rain to nourish growth.

Observe the baby duckling’s daily growth,
the blooming of our Jasmine’s fragrant life—
aware, the while, of nature’s dance with death
as life-force takes its leave and slowly seeps
away to make a place upon the earth.
Wake up in awe as springtime brings rebirth.

Now, hold your breath before the lands’ rebirth
and watch for blooms unfolding as new growth,
but pray for rain to fall once more on Earth,
to give the West the promise of new life.
Don’t let despair allow our world to seep
in entropy to reign, succumb to death.

Remember there’s a meaning to each death.
The seed that’s fallen offers us rebirth.
The song of birds into this morning seeps
to speak of joy to come and foretell growth.
Let not that joy deceive our quest for life
as drought casts doubt upon our fragile Earth.

We share responsibility for Earth,
the consequence of choices that bring death.
The future looks to us to care for life.
(Our children’s children are our own rebirth).
On us depends our world’s on-going growth
that truth we share in each of us may seep.

Bring life to Earth and tend to her rebirth
and bow to death who brings to us new growth.
Care for each life lest sweet Earth’s wounds shall seep.

Here in the West we face a terrible drought that has brought increased awareness to our need to conserve water.

When I face “word-drought” I like to turn to form poetry to find the discipline needed to write again. This is a Sestina in Iambic Pentameter. It is a first draft. The word “seep” was supposed to be “seed.” I couldn’t read my own writing. Seep is not an easy word for ending a sentence.

Written for and Linked to dVerse Poets’ Open Link Night. I hope you will join us to read and to bring a poem of your own.


April without Showers

An American Sentence


Mockingbird sings spring into being,

trumpet vines accompany,

Earth thirsts.


A simple poem for the second day of National Poetry Month. My goal is to write a poem a day, even if its a short one, such as the American Sentence, a form developed by Ginsburg, derived from the haiku, consisting of 17 syllables in one sentence.

desert droughts and dirty laundry aka mixed metaphors




like a drought-stricken desert

crevassed, cracked, parched

lie in piles,

crumpled at my feet

between loads of dirty clothes

i toss them here and there

furtively seeking

for an opening line,

an idea

they cascade slowly,

streak like bubbles

down the washing machine’s glass door

and disappear,

like so much dirt,

down the drain.


Tediously written for Tony’s prompt over at dVerse Meeting the Bar, where we’re invited to revisit any prompt from the last 6 months. I’ve chosen Brian’s–write a 55 word poem a la G-Man.


Winter Coming Home–dVerse Open Link Night


Photo Credit: David Slotto

Our droughted land thirsts.

Dry timber, broken branches,

creviced earth wait in silence.


Migratory birds pass through,

shelter in the branches of an evergreen,

huddle together in thickets of bramble-


berries. Stretch their necks and sing

farewell, then leave us behind, wanting

more of their lilting joy.


Yesterday, a short-lived intrusion

of warblers surprised us with a brand-

new song, stayed for a while then took


flight. This morning I keep watch.

Hesitantly, gray skies yield sparse

flakes here and there until


at last, earth opens her yearning maw,

welcomes her winter lover,

soaks in bliss.


My contribution to dVerse Open Link Night as we enjoy our first snow this morning. If only I didn’t have to go out this afternoon!