The Loveliness of Faith–dVerse Quadrille

Public Domain

Public Domain

The Loveliness of Faith

You sigh.
I hear the scent
of more to come,
touch the promise
in your ghostly whisper—
only a wisp of grace,
so like the fragrant rose
outside your window.
Take my hand.
Lead me where you will,
beloved one.
I have no fear.

Linked to dVerse Quadrille where we write a poem of exactly 44 words and, for this prompt, include the word ghost.

Death Imagined: dVerse MTB

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

I’m hosting this week’s dVerse Meeting the Bar, asking our community of poets to consider what they can do to liven up a poem in their archives, a poem they are not happy with, with a focus on imagery. I wrote this poem, “And Before I Die” in 2009 and posted it on my blog in September of that year. I guess I was okay with it back then, but today, it falls flat–though I like the concept.

 And Then, Before I Die

I see the vacuum,
upright in the
corner of the room and
understand my work
remains undone.

I catch my lover’s
glance, stretch
out my hand but
words I try to speak
remain unsaid.

Outside, our world is
chilled and tumbling snow
covers earth.
I close my eyes and hope that
whatever lies ahead, my hope
remains unshaken.

Here is the revised poem, titled anew and amended with a bit more sensory detail. I feel it needs some tightening but is a bit richer for sensory detail. I’ve tried to include all 5 senses. I appreciate feedback. Is it too wordy?

Death, Imagined
a Revision of a 2009 Poem: And Then, Before I Die

There’s my upright vacuum, waiting across the room.
Spindly webs hang from valences while dust motes dance
in silver light bursting through gauzy curtains,
settle on the window sill and dresser.
My world smells musty, tastes dry.  My work here remains undone.

In the corner, my husband sprawls in his worn chair,
folds in on himself, head buried in gnarly, arthritic hands.
Words, trapped in my mind and throat, cry for me to speak them.
I open my mouth, emit emptiness.

Outside, our winter-washed world shivers
under its velour blanket of tumbling snow.
Inside, doubt hammers at every truth I hold dear.
I close my eyes, wrap my hand around my beads,
touch the wear, born of daily use, reach out to hope.
In a distance, I hear (or imagine) birdsong.

The pub doors open tomorrow, Thursday, at 3:00 PM EDT.

rose alone–dVerse Quadrille Monday

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

rose alone

a faded rose—
a bloom remains still in
those shrunken cheeks,
those milky eyes

raindrops on a furrowed cheek

she holds my hand
in hers—a skeletal embrace

reluctantly i leave—
life calls

perhaps i fear to stay
to watch those petals fall

Monday at dVerse Poets’ Pub and Bjorn invites us to write a Quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words that must include the word ROSE. We are gearing up for our two-week summer break so this will be the last Quadrille prompt for a while. So get to work, write your poem and join us writing 44 words and any form of the word rose. The pub opens Monday at 3:00 PM EDT.

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
Paulo Coehlo

I slip silently into the darkened room. In the far corner, a soft light outlines her shilouette, her shrunken body. The rasp of labored breathing, the bubbling of the oxygen humidifier, the acrid scent of dying—all these combine to paint a canvas of loss.

When I touch the satiny finish of her duvet, light floods my memory and the room comes alive once more. In the far corner, stands her rocking chair—that sacred place where we used to spend hours—she: the storyteller, I: the eager child planted on her lap, soaking in adventure and myths of “happily ever after.”

Our happy room–no longer. I sink into the now-empty chair and wait.

outside the window
blackbirds caw—silence finches
real life dispels dreams

Posted for Mary’s prompt at dVerse Poetics to write about a ROOM, with a nod to Grace’s choice of quotes at Haibun Monday.



Stay for Awhile




A train, at a standstill across
the river, gasps for breath, hisses
its need to move along toward
destiny. Slow start, a wheeze.
It inches forward, heading East.

But I, I don’t want to go.


I live across the river from the train track that threads through the Sierra Nevada from California to points East. I love its plaintive sound (except when some middle-of-the-night engineer really lays on the whistle). It seems to call us to distant places.

This week, at dVerse Poetics, we’re writing about trains. Why don’t you hop on board?!



Across the pathway,

beyond her garden, behind drawn blinds,

my neighbor, my friend, awaits rebirth.


The flowers she tended

weep dew.

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

I wrote this short poem for Day 3 of National Poetry Month. A dear friend is dying, after about ten years battling ovarian cancer. It’s hard to believe that she was my partner a week ago Tuesday in a little golf event for my league in which we invited the “Lady Putters” to play with us. We hit the ball to the green and the putter putted out. We were pathetic. Gerry was literally dying and I was really overwhelmed, but grateful to be with her. This photo is one taken about five years ago for the same event. She was in the middle of one of her six rounds of chemo. (I won’t post the one taken this year. It’s not how I want to remember her). This lady has taught me so much about courage and a positive attitude. She never complained–just kept on living. I’m linking another poem I wrote earlier in the the about her HERE.

Godspeed dear friend.

Also linking to dVerse Meeting the Bar where Claudia asks us to express emotion without saying what it is. I will be late in responding since my little girl dog has to have surgery today on her spine. She has terrible pain that medications don’t touch. Please keep her in your thoughts/prayers. Thank you.

Beverly Hills Dying



On Tuesday, I revisited the day you died
alone in your penthouse suite,
surrounded by eggs of Fabergé
and crystal flooding the room with rainbows.

That afternoon, rain obscured the sun.
Darkness wove through your world,
sucked the last vestige of strength
from you and your diseased cells.

Outside the window by your bed sat
a scrawny crow, rooted on the ledge
sixteen stories above the city that had
abolished all memory of you.

Leave,you told me, in a whispery voice. Leave.
(One shouldn’t have to face the inevitable alone,)
But, slowly I backed away, recalled how your word
always struck fear. That day, I wasn’t scared—just sad.

Outside, I waited in the courtyard beneath
a swaying palm tree, swathed by tropical vegetation.
I stood in the downpour and watched,
until the crow flew away.

Linked to Sunday Whirl where Brenda offers us a dozen words to whip into a poem or  short story. This is a fictional account!

In case you’re here for the etheree prompt, it’s an old link:  

Should You Choose to Die Today–dVerse Open Link Night

Rossway Lane, south of Tinker's Lodge. Dappled...

Image via Wikipedia

Should You Choose to Die Today

will the Earth withhold her
splendor for a moment
until she gasps for air,
the air that would be yours?

Most trees have lost their leaves
and quail forage in
dead brush.
I haven’t heard the coyote howl.

On my walk by the River
I saw a pair of doves.
A swallow rests, alone
on a branch of our ornamental pear
and feasts.

Although I posted this poem recently, I want to share it again today with the wonderful visitors to dVerse Poets Pub. I just returned from the funeral of a young woman who took her own life and this experience brought new meaning to these words for me.

On a personal note, I am happy to be back in the world of blogging after a few week’s break. Part of this time was spent on vacation in Colorado Springs and then in Pinehurst, North Carolina where I had the opportunity to golf Pinehurst #2, a course that has hosted the US Open. My husband won this trip. Our second day, we were able to golf 11 holes at another Pinehurst course before the rain forced us off the course. We were soaked to the bone but grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. AND on course #2, hole #15, my drive landed 3 feet to the left of the pin but then I was so excited about my birdie opportunity, I choked and missed the putt. And so it goes!

Come visit the pub at:


Monday Morning Writing Prompt

Saffron Crocus;

Image via Wikipedia

This is the time of year when the seasons start to change. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, snow begins to melt and crocuses emerge from their winter’s rest. And, I suppose, below the equator, the opposite unfolds. Wherever we are, each day brings a dying and an awakening.

For today’s prompt, write about something in your life that is declining or coming to life. Or both.

Here’s mine:

Waking Up in Reno

Morning starts cranking
in slow motion.
Befuddled thoughts unfold
like arthritic joints.
Silence wraps the house,
except for the groaning heater
as it stretches and snarls.
A train rolls toward
city center
emitting a plaintive lament.
Everything’s on the verge
of arousing to another
twenty-four hours.

People stir into wakefulness
to repeat what they did the day before and
the day before that.
But here,
creativity simmers, sparks
then flares.
Steam from a
cup of coffee
fogs the computer screen.

If you respond to this prompt, please leave a link to your blog in the comments…or post your poem, if you prefer.