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.

loss–dVerse Haibun Monday, Hanami


When cherry blossoms
scatter –
no regrets


I slept last night beneath our cherry tree, its branches bare of blossoms after the early freeze—this loss, a surprise, much like the morning I awakened and you were gone. Life goes on, so the cliché would have me believe, but the void inside looms, ever-present, like the weight of snow this seemingly endless winter.

Am I to believe that love will return, much like the cherry blossoms I hope for in another springtime?

Will I be one with you again, once I follow you into the void? I reach for the soft assurance of the touch of satin, the flowering branch I culled before cruel winds doused my hope. I listen to silence.

hanami whispers
what appears lost shall return
do not be afraid

Today a dVerse Haibun Monday, Kansen Sakura invites us to consider the Japanese concept of hanami. What? You don’t know what that is? Come over to dVerse and learn about it.

My reflections on the Easter Season which many of us celebrated yesterday influenced my haibun–what do the seasons, typified here in the mystique of cherry blossoms, have to teach us about doubt and faith?

Photo: dautrich Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Photo: dautrich
Labeled for noncommercial reuse



believe in light–dVerse Poetics

Image: Lunar Corona Wikipedia Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Image: Lunar Corona
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

believe in light

when clouds roll in, obscure the face of light,
erase all trace of blue and blackest night,
cover the earth with crystal flakes of snow—
then i believe, though i can’t see or know.

when clouds roll in, obscure the sky above
and hide from sight the beauty of the stars,
i must hold true the faith that they still shine.

erase all trace of brightest blue and night.
trust that the things so hidden still exist
to guide our souls through darkness and through mist.

cover the earth with purest crystal snow.
when morning comes the sun breaks through the clouds
and faith’s rewarded with a daytime star.

then i believe in what i cannot know
so that the Star, behind the bank of clouds
shines still before the myst’ry of the night.

We’re seeing STARS over at dVerse Poetics Tuesday. Toni, Kansen Sakura, has us writing poetry on this subject–so symbolic at this time of the year when so many cultures celebrate light shining in the darkness. Because our skies here in the Sierra have been obscured by cloud cover that delivered a sweet layering of snow, my mind went to faith.

This is the last week before we take a winter break over at the Pub…one more prompt on Thursday, and then the doors will close for a couple of weeks so that we can spend the time with families and friends, each celebrating in our own way. We do hope to see you join us and, in the meantime, many good wishes, blessings for the holidays and for 2016.

The doors to the Pub swing open Tuesday 12:00 EST.

Just for the fun of it, I would like to share some photos of our Christmas lights–indoors and out:

Photo and Lights: David Slotto, 2015

Photo and Lights: David Slotto, 2015

Photo: David Slotto, 2016--detail of porch railing

Photo: David Slotto, 2016–detail of porch railing

Photo: David Slotto, 2014 Tree and Advent Wreath

Photo: David Slotto, 2014
Tree and Advent Wreath

That Was the Year of Black and White

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

That Was the Year of Black and White

That was the year of blackbirds feeding
on the lush lawn outside the window
of the room where my sister lay dying.

That was the year of black aphids
on the cherry trees—slowly gnawing,
slowly sucking dry hope of harvest.

That was the year of black clouds
pushing in from the West, banking
over the Sierra, withholding rain.

That was the year of a white hummingbird,
feathers like snow on that Easter morn.
That was the year of faith.


Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Linked for the “Black and White” prompt at dVerse Poetics–please join us. These little scenes are true, but actually occurerd in different years.

If I Knew–Monday Meanderings

Sunrise on Coachella Valley, California

Sunrise on Coachella Valley, California

If I Knew That Death Would Visit Me Today

I’d rise at six to watch the sun bleed color into darkness and stop to listen to the symphony of birds—
the caw of crows and coo of doves and brrrz and twitters of the tiny ones.

I’d walk more slowly, taking in the scents of orange blossoms and petunias. Today I’d let the dogs meander, sniff out every tree and hydrant and anything else they fancied, as long as it was safe.

And then I’d golf—Hole #15 only, hit it over the dreaded water on my first try and be ecstatic with a bogey.I wouldn’t do laundry or clean the house. I’d leave the bed unmade, the dishes in the sink and revel in the imperfection of it all.

I’d read the comics and, if none of them gave me a good belly laugh, I’d drag out my collection of Calvin and Hobbes or The Far Side.

I’d make sure that those I love know it and thank them for making my life happier, for their staying power. I’d ask forgiveness and forgive where needed and not forget to forgive myself.

I’d read and reflect on John 14-16, the promises Jesus made at the Last Supper and hold tight to the hope of things unseen.

I’d write one last poem, pour my joy and angst onto the page. I wouldn’t worry about syntax or grammar–nor even effusive sentimentality. There’d be no edit to obfuscate the things I need to say, no worry about who might read it and what they would think.

In the evening I would slow-sip a glass of Rombauer chardonnay on the patio as we watch the sun jump off the edge of earth,
then I’d slow-dance with my love to strains of a B-Flat clarinet wielded by Kenny-G.

flickrWe sit beneath desert skies and try, once more, to count the stars and if we fell asleep in one another’s arms, that would be okay. If not, I’d wait  in silence for whatever’s next.

The other day when I was walking the dogs, in a hurry as usual, the idea for this poem came to me. I guess the obvious conclusion is: Why wait?

Cosmic Consciousness–Sunday Whirl



Lost in a world of nebulous thoughts,
shooting stars and feathery sparks
bleeding scarlet fingers onto the wet canvas
of my mind, I close my eyes,
tumble into the black hole of doubt,
only to find myself alone
until you close my hand in yours.

I return from the inky swirl
of a watery grave when you
pull me close, into your embrace.
Together we sway to the rhythm,
of the universe’s dance—the now.
I unearth faith once more.

Written for Brenda’s prompt at the Sunday Whirl. The words we were to use are below. I just couldn’t work in oiled.

Photo: The Sunday Whirl

Photo: The Sunday Whirl

Faith–dVerse Poets: Meeting the Bar

Ice Iris

Image via Wikipedia


I am of earth,
slow moldering like leaves beneath the ash,
pungent scents evoking

You touch the sky,
extend your arms,
embracing visions of tomorrow
and of days thereafter.

And all the while,
I bear my age in bones
that ache when north winds
touch our land,
when hoar frost settles
crisp on wilted buds

The cricket closed up shop
last night,
withdrew her song,
succumbed to sleep.

Today, you skip with joy
in poppied fields.

I grieve a babe gone missing now too many days,
and little ones who’ll never know
delights of childlike innocence.

I read of Abelard
of death he witnessed—
a tiny rabbit trapped and freed
but then to perish in his arms.
And of the doubt that followed thence:
Is there a God and has
God tasted pain?

Holding the world’s sorrow,
I watch you dance, I wait for hope..

I attempted this poem in response to Emmett Wheatfall’s prompt today an dVerse Poets’ Pub for Meeting the Bar. Emmett introduces us to a new-to-me concept using the term CONFLATION. Visit the pub and learn all about it at  Thank you, Emmett.

The Cloud of Unknowing–dVerse Poetics

tule fog

Image by emdot via Flickr

The Cloud of Unknowing

Who covered our valley with layers of gauzy fog?
Before me, another car edges forward.
I follow dim tail lights, hoping that somewhere ahead
another leads the tentative parade.

Last week, a mountain spanned the landscape
on the lower third of earth’s canvas.
A two-lane highway wove its way through
rabbit brush, tumble weeds tumbled. Snakes slithered.

Today I see only dim tail lights, hoping that
tomorrow I will come home.

The Cloud of Unknowing is a spiritual treatise by an anonymous medieval mystic. It advises the follower that God cannot be understood through knowledge, but rather through contemplation. Oftentimes those who live in faith have to endure prolonged periods of doubt. Having spent time in California’s Central Valley and on the coast, I always found Tule Fog and coastal fog to be an apt metaphor for life’s journey at times like this.

Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub, Brian Miller asks us to see that which cannot be seen except through the third eye. Check it out at