Circus Song–dVerse Pantoum

Photo: David Slotto

Circus Song

If life’s a circus, love, then we’re the clowns,
tossed in this hurly-burly neon light.
Rollercoaster madness keeps us bound,
never free of new-moon darkest night.

Rip me from hurly-burly neon light.
Dance me into the sweetest sounds,
free now of new-moon darkest night.
Steal me to meadows, daisy-crowned.

Dance me beauty of life’s sweetest sounds;
leave behind this darkness and its fright.
Green meadows, gift me, daisy-crowned;
dream me a future that is bright.

Let’s leave behind the darkness and its fright,
this rollercoaster madness holds us bound.
Let’s dream another future, shining bright.
This life’s a circus, dear, and we’re the clowns.

Written and posted for Gina’s prompt for dVerse Form Challenge: Pantoum.

November, Interrupted: dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

November, Interrupted

Outside, I see the barren pewter skies of late November, consider how I was taught as a child that this is the time of year in which we are to reflect upon death. Nature seems to cry “emptiness,” though I know that, in reality, life surges beneath the surface of what appears to be.

Wind howls, inviting our outdoor chimes to sound a song of hope when, in a flash, color fills our naked fruit trees as a slew of winter birds fill their branches. Bright yellow and red accents of the cedar wax wings, the stunning burnt sienna of robins and breath-taking tones of blue of Stellar Jays. Even tiny monochromatic chickadees bestow joy as they nestle together in the maple, where scattered orange leaves cling stubbornly.

ornamental pear
stretches out her fruitful arms
fertile emptiness

Written and linked for dVerse, where today Kanzen Sakura invites us to post a haibun on any subject as long as it is a non-fictional account of something that happened to us, concluding with a traditional haiku. This happened just this morning! Please join us.

An Armful of Color–dVerse MTB

An Armful of Color

Were I to cull hope, a bud at a time,
would it help you cope, fill your arms
with a ray of sun to brighten your day,
lift the burden from your weary soul?

Tonight I watch stars, believe that good
can become ours if only we believe
that in darkness, dense though it be,
pain so intense will soon dissipate.

Accept these flowers and all they represent—
lavender joy is ours, and yellow, pink—
so much fragrance to ease your spirit
with which I embrace the depth of your pain.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Linking to dVerse MTB where we are playing with different type of rhyme. I tried some things I’ve never done before. Thanks for a great prompt, Walt.

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.


Photo: pixabay foto gratis Labeled for non-commercail reuse

Photo: pixabay foto gratis
Labeled for noncommercial reuse

a quadrille (44 words, excluding title)

outside my second story window
breezes ruffle feathers
lining an empty
robin’s nest.

i saw her only once
and she saw me
perhaps she was afraid

but still, there sits the nest—
an empty reminder
of so many
empty dreams

sunlight backlights
hopeful branches

I’m hoping to join in as much as possible for daily prompts offered during July at Poetic Bloomings. The prompt for today is Summer Breezes. Of course, I’m late–but still looking forward to being a part of “An Entertaining Summer,” The theme of the monthly challenge. Because of the bi-weekly prompt at dVerse, I’m starting to think in quadrilles.

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



New Beginnings–a Haibun

Photo: flicker Labeled for Non-Commercial Use

Photo: flicker
Labeled for Non-Commercial Use

They closed the door on all that had been and headed down the rocky path to the dirt road. Miriam glanced over her shoulder as she hefted the tattered bag that held all her belongings and all her dreams. She saw a rat run across the wooden porch and disappear into an opening in the floorboards. Bile rose in the back of her throat and she swallowed it, forcing herself not to vomit.

Zach lead the way and she followed, as she had before. Could she trust him this time? Could she trust her future?

in morning darkness
mockingbird breaks into song
defies hopelessness

Linked to dVerse Poetics where Kelly is asking us for narrative poetry with a nod to the mockingbird as we reflect on the life and death of Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Please join us.


Beginnings and Endings


BbeginningsBeginnings and Endings

The day before Christmas, the lifeless body of a robin
lay, supine, among clods of frozen dirt
in the bare, raised bed of our vegetable garden.

His breast, striated with not-quite crimson plumage—
plump, yet breathless, lay still, where only weeks ago
plump crimson tomatoes prospered, awaited harvesting.

I cradled his body in my hand, resting in the folds
of a plastic bag that, just yesterday, held apples,
tied it tight before consigning it to a barrel caching autumn leaves.

That night we sipped champagne, feted birth,
celebrated promises fulfilled again each day,
awaited the coming of light that would dispel the darkness.

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?