The Land of My Birth

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for non-commercial use.

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for non-commercial use.

The Land of My Birth

The wind blows wild on western land,
upending stories told of yore,
lays bare the tales of daring men—
now lend your ear, I share this lore.

The West was lawless, savage, free
to those who braved a lonely life,
who claimed God-given destiny,
their right, their will—soon gained by strife.

Those cowboys, miners, pioneers—
some pillaged peoples, raped the earth—,
they forged their way to new frontiers
lay bare such pain, bled forth rebirth.

The cowboys, gathered round a fire,
exhausted, aching, often cold,
they drank their whisky, shared their cares,
slept ‘neath the stars when night grew old.

The miners dreamt of wealth and gold,
they panned and dug, hoping to find
a vein of ore, the mother lode,
they lost their hope, often their minds.

Brave families crossed the barren plains,
leaving their homes and all they knew.
So many perished on the way.
Danger was great, successes few.

The Native peoples fared not well,
forced from the places they called home.
within they wept for their death knell,
confined–no more just free to roam.

Now, wildlife suffers loss of space,
The desert shrinks, gives way to man
who fouls the waters, laying waste,
and here am I, let’s not pretend.

And so the land I love today
once known for pristine purity,
though beautiful has known decay
protect her for posterity.

Today, at dVerse Poetics, Stacey is guest hosting and invites us to write Folk Poetry. Although my home is in Nevada, I’ve never written a cowboy poem. Each year, Elko, NV hosts a huge Cowboy Poetry Fest. Originally, I’d intended to write such a poem, but as it played out, it became more of an expression of concern for the unstoppable growth in NV and here in the SoCal desert where I also spend time. As an example, I used to see many Roadrunners when we visited the desert. This year I have only seen one. I also address the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” the belief that God intended the West for newcomers with the result that the Native Americans were displaced, relegated to Reservations.

This poem is a rough draft written as a Quatrain with the rhyme scheme ABAB, CDCD etc. I’ve attempted to use Iambic Tetrameter. If you notice anything not quite right, please let me know–the same if anything doesn’t make sense. 

The Roadrunner Wikipedia Commons Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Roadrunner
Wikipedia Commons
Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

Savor–dVerse Quadrille

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto, Personal Chef to the Poet!

a Quadrille

Alluring aroma
draws me in where
husband-chef stirs,
sauce simmer-shimmers,
and I succumb,
an evening of delight
beyond a meal
shared in candlelight.

The challenges of life
boil down
to this: sauce—
spices and flavors
of give and take,
of you and I.

Here’s a second quadrille for my prompt at dVerse. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words. The word that I’ve asked for is shimmer. Last week when David was cooking and asked me to stir the sauce I had him take a photo. It was so pretty. I can’t help but wonder if, subconsciously, this led me to choose the word shimmer. Please check out some of the other shimmering poems this prompt has inspired. The prompt is open all week if you would like to join us.

Good Friday Dirge

Artist: Lesley Oldaker Labeled for Noncommerical Reuse

Artist: Lesley Oldaker
Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Good Friday Dirge
an Octain Refrain

Upon the pond a cry of loons
begins its mournful, plaintive song.
I think of how it all went wrong.

Darkness still reigns ‘neath this full moon,
this early morn a mood forlorn
recalling loss, a cross rough-hewn.

And now in Belgium, hatred strong
prolongs the tragic cries of loons.

Written and Posted for my prompt at dVerse Poets Meeting the Bar. The form, developed by Luke Prater, is a High Octain, which I explain at dVerse. Tomorrow, Christians observe Good Friday as we deal with yet another tragic, cowardly act of terrorism. Because I was unable to join in for De’s prompt on Tuesday, I’ve given a nod to it here. Thank you for a great inspiration, De. I had no idea where that first line would take me.

love lost–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

love lost
a rondel

i touch the old tree’s scaly bark,
caress the roughness of its skin,
releasing mem’ries held within
when you would meet me in the dark.

i wait for songs of doves and larks—
those melodies of longing when
i touch the old tree’s scaly bark
caress the roughness of its skin.

that night i waited in this park
hugging its trunk, a love-struck teen,
i sensed i’d lost all that had been
in new-moon blackness, not a spark
touch the old tree’s scaly bark.

Today at dVerse Poetics Gayle is challenging us to write a Rondel. The bar will open at 3:00 EST and that’s where you will find the recipe for this fun-to-write form. Don’t be afraid to give it a try–I find that working with the discipline of a form stretches the poetic muse.

The Seed–dVerse Poetics

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.
John 12, 24



The Seed

Such joy we find, in spring, to plant a seed,

to tuck it deep within expectant earth
to wait, in hope, for summers verdant growth,
the offspring of apparent winter death,
a promise that we, too, shall know rebirth
when we, at last, have spent this fragile life.

You ask me why we long for lasting life?
Perhaps you’ve never sown a lowly seed
then seen that nature nurtures its rebirth
unnoticed, ‘neath the skin of Mother Earth.
So small this grain—defying endless death
while flaunting its capacity for growth.

Each seed, endowed with all required for growth
still needs attention to sustain its life,
thus lending meaning to apparent death.
They languish for both sun and rain, these seeds,
and nutrients—the gift of fertile earth,
then time is all that’s wanting for rebirth.

Does not your soul expect its own rebirth?
Does grace not foster spirit’s gentle growth?
And it is not our goal while here one earth
to search for meaning in these days of life?
Tend carefully the soil that bears the seed
and have no fear of your impending death.

The seed, itself, surrenders to its death
so that a flower or tree may know rebirth.
Such beauty shall be born of humble seed
embarking on a journey of new growth.
Thus is the cycle known to every life
that’s clothed in form while dwelling here on earth.

Too short the days we wander here on earth,
too soon we face inevitable death,
so each and every moment of this life
give cause to ponder our sublime rebirth,
to free ourselves for such abundant growth
that we fulfill the mission of the seed.

While here on earth prepare for this rebirth,
for it’s through death we shall achieve new growth.
In losing life you flourish, tiny seed.

Thanks to Shanyn who offer the prompt today for dVerse Poetics: the seed, potential, what can be! Stop by, read, and offer a poem of your own. The pub opens at 12:00 Noon EDT!

The Sestina:

A sestina is, for me, a fun, but challenging form to play with. It is a double tritina, using six, rather than three line-ending words. The secret is to choose words along a thematic line, then see where they take you. Should you want to give the form a whirl, this is the pattern: ABCDEF; FAEBDC; CFDABE; ECBFAD; DEACFB; BDFECA. A tercet concludes the rhyme scheme: ECA for ends of lines, BDF in the middle—thus, BE, DC, FA. Just for fun, try writing it using a meter, such as iambic pentameter.

Ordinary Things

A Couplet, List Poem


Photo Credit: David Slotto

Awakening early in the dawn to the sound of birds;
Easing into daylight then sitting without words;

Coffee slipping down my throat–stirring up my senses;
Fragrant sweet peas opening up in rows along our fences;

Dogs that snuggle up to me, waiting for a treat;
Music soaring through my veins, ramping up the beat;

Colors dancing in a field, or posed upon my palette;
Freedom to express my self, to choose, to cast a ballot;

Words that tumble through my mind, ending up on pages;
Touches soft and satiny, that calm when discord rages;

Life is measured out to me in gifts that this day brings;
The blessing of each moment lies in ordinary things.

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

I wrote this poem years ago when I was part of a poetry critique group that formed after a writer’s conference. The assignment was to write a couplet, and this may explain why I’ve never written another one. But for today, I’m using it to respond to my prompt on dVerse Meeting the Bar where the prompt is to write a list poem. Time and muse migration requires me to post this old one. If I come up with something else, you’ll be the first to know.  I hope you’ll stop by dVerse and bring a poem of your own and enjoy the work of your fellow pubsters. The doors open 3:00 PM EDT.

Don’t! dVerse Poets’ Pub–Palindrome

Photo: Source Unknown

Photo: Source Unknown

glaring, blaring, sirens, horns

death–sudden, metal crashing

crashing metal—sudden death

horns, sirens, blaring, glaring

texting, drinking—tragic choices

choices, tragic–drinking, texting

end lives—lives end

stop to think

think to STOP!

This challenging form, the PALINDROME is thoroughly explained by poetess Gayle Walters Rose who is our hostess tonight over at dVerse Poets’ Pub. Stop by, if you will and sip some poetry–and hopefully bring one of your own.

Summer’s Flame–a Huitain

Photo Credit:

Summer’s sun, inflammatory
passions flare. Searing, scorching rays
spawn such words defamatory.
Tempers simmer, kindle a blaze,
destroy our now and yesterdays.
All through the night a cricket’s call
sparks passion in another way
so that our morning love heals all.

On Thursday, for dVerse Form for All, Gemma Wiseman guest-hosted with Gay Cannon and challenged us to write a huitain, a form comprised of eight lines, eight syllables per line with the rhyme scheme: a,b,a,b,b,c,b,c. I didn’t have time to write something new, so I’m posting a huitain in response to today’s Poetics challenge to write to the theme of SUMMER, offered by Karin Gustafson. I hope you’ll stop by and read some poetry and maybe dip back into the archives to learn about this interesting form.

Write2Day: Music and the Written Word

Data of manuscript unknown. Held in Florence, ...

Image via Wikipedia

Over the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate the interconnectedness of all the various expressions of art. Consider how many photographic bloggers participate in poetry communities. How often do you see prose or poetry bloggers insert links to music in their work? Or how about visual or performance arts as an inspiration for the written word? Today, I’d like to present a few brief thoughts about how music and writing are wed.

Music and meter.

We discover an obvious connection between music and poetry when we write or read form poetry, which often is defined by meter. But even in prose, the writer often (consciously or not) seeks to create a rhythmic sequence of words that is pleasing to the ear. I’ve found myself searching for a word of a certain number of syllables or with emphasis on a particular syllable because my ear tells me it will work better than the word I may have chosen in the first place.

Music as a metaphor.

Use of musical metaphors can be so effective in evoking certain moods. Think about how you “feel” listening to a symphony as opposed to hip-hop. There are scenes where I’ve mentioned background music just for the purpose of creating an emotion. Use of musical instructive words, words that tell the musician to slow down (adagio), speed it up (allegro), play louder (forte) or softer (pianissimo) are just a few examples of techniques to add an emotional context to both prose and poetry. There is a very useful glossary of musical terminology at

Music as Inspiration.

Many writers and artists use music to help inspire their work. I once read in a novel-writing how-to book (sorry, I can’t remember which one) the suggestion to create a sound track that represents the nature of your manuscript.

For today’s prompt, let’s turn to music. Here’s a few suggestions of how you might do that:

  • Write a form poem that calls for a specific meter such as iambic pentameter.
  • Use music as the subject of your short fiction or poem.
  • Employ a musical metaphor in your work.
  • Write a short essay on how you use music in your writing, or how music has influenced you in the past.

To participate, post your work on your blog. Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and include your name and the direct URL of your post. Visit and comment on other participants in this prompt. Have fun with it!

Here’s a poem I posted a while back, a sestina, that combines music as a metaphor and meter.

Photo: David Slotto

Song of Songs

a Sestina

All the world’s a stage set to music.

You stroke my life like strings of Your guitar.

We’re born to fly so Your touch of gentleness

sounds a chord in my core that thrills.

Round and round You lead me in a dance—

the whirling rhythm swirls in my heart.

Rejoice, oh world; you hold grief in your heart.

Defy those who claim silence lacks all music.

Refute the clowns who refuse to dance—

Who, though called to joy, strum a dirge on their guitars.

Avoid the fool who rejects life’s thrill,

who sinks into the void with gentleness.

At dawn, mockingbird chants a song of gentleness

awakens the earth, enlivens her heart.

You stir in my Spirit-womb, Your Presence thrills.

Your promised love resounds of music,

Your hands play me as You would play Your guitar.

Our beings entwine and we enter the dance.

The earth and stars conspire to join the dance.

Ocean waves lick the sands with gentleness,

winds pluck the strings of willow tree guitars

while rain plants seeds in Earth—the Mother’s heart.

By day, the sun sings bliss—at night moon-music

plays arpeggios You designed to thrill.

I hear the door You open with a thrill,

arise to greet Your entry with a dance,

breath in the air You fill with sounds of music,

surrender to the call of gentleness,

responding to the rhythm of Your heart—

the wild beat of a classical guitar.

Submit my soul to music, the stroke of Your guitar,

Your voice, Your gentleness, never fail to thrill.

I yield to the tempo of your dance, lay down my heart.