Nature’s Seduction


Image by Ian BC North via Flickr

Nature’s Seduction

Hostas unfurl leafy tongues,
lick the dew,
quench their thirst.

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck where this week’s theme is Nature:


I will be offline this week but will do my best to visit when I return.

The Dead Woman and Her Sister


Image by diver227 via Flickr

I enjoy experimenting with odd poetry forms and this one is crafted after a style introduced by Marvin Bell in his volumes of Dead Man Poetry. The theme this week for Jingle’s Poetry Potluck is Siblings, Cousins and Friends. While many loving images come to mind on this subject I decided to take it in a dark direction. Be sure to visit some of the amazing poets who will participate in this challenge at:

The Dead Woman and Her Sister.

The dead woman stirs
from a dream of endless
nothingness and travels
to meet her sister who,
in life, she despised.
She opens her mouth to
speak but words remain
trapped inside a thought
bubble. The sister
turns over in her sleep
and groans as though
a breath whispered across
her restless body.

More About the Dead Woman and Her Sister

The dead woman returns
to a void of regret.
Water floods into
the tomb and cleanses her
regrets and clarifies
her understanding so
that she knows freedom.
Her body floats
upon a sea of tears
and in the passage to
the cosmic depths
she drinks the cup
of forgiveness.

A couple of notes about Dead Man Poetry: Bell structured his work in two parts: The Dead Man and More About the Dead Man. Another characteristic of the form is what I would call “disconcerting” enjambment (line breaks).

Gregorian Chant

Salve Regina in cantus planus & gregorian notation

Image via Wikipedia

Gregorian Chant

Sacred Vocabulary
eight modes of prayer
minor and major
moods to match mine
joy and pain.

Sacred Living
unfolding in hours
cast upon a staff
etched on vellum
etched in flesh.

Sacred Thought
echos through the years
rendered in music
rendered in breath.
Sacred poetry.

Gregorian chant or plainchant is a form of music used in Monastic Communities and Religious Orders for the singing of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is also an age-old tradition for many liturgical ceremonies in the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian communities. Its style is reminiscent of ancient Hebrew chanting.

It is composed in eight modes or scales in major or minor tones. The minor modes are usually associated with the more serious or penitential times of the liturgical year, while the major tones for celebration and joyful events. In general, true Gregorian chant is sung without accompaniment or harmonization. In more recent years, Gregorian chant has caught the attention of popular culture and has on occasion merged with contemporary songs. The music of Enigma is an example of this.

The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the celebration of the Eucharist, constitute part of the official public prayer of the Church (including Anglicanism and Greek Orthodoxy). Also known as the Divine Office or Breviary, this prayer is recited eight times throughout the twenty-four hour day. In strict monastic settings, the monks arise during the night to recite one of the “hours.” While the hours may be recited privately, the ideal is to do so in community, preferably chanted. The Psalms make up a major part of the liturgical hours.

If you would like to listen to Gregorian Chant, there are numerous examples when you do a search on the Internet.

The image is of a portion of sheet music for the Salve Regina. Notice that there are only four lines of music and square notes.

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck where the theme for this week is Saints, Hermits and Monks.

Painting Life–Poetry Potluck

Photo of an oil painting palette. Photo taken ...

Image via Wikipedia

Linked to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck where this week’s theme is sketches, images, impressions:

Painting Life

a Rhyming Tercet

Were you to draw this life in black and white,
the lines would then be hard and unforgiving—
no subtle shades to ease the journey’s plight.

With color’s tones and even shades of gray
the world assumes her nuances of beauty—
the lights and shadows of our every day.

So you surrender paint and page and hand
unto the artful muse who lurks inside you,
allowing her to guide you thought and pen.

You smear the color orange and then the yellow
to taste the sweet scent of the Scottish Broom
and forge in black the loamy earth below.

Now play with texture to confuse the senses
and add perspective, draw the viewer in.
Create illusion to obscure pretenses.

You will take risks when you engage in art,
allow your soul to bleed on canvas bare.
Be sure you understand this ere you start.

Photo: Max Wehlte

Revelation–Poetry Potluck’s Theme of Art, Music and Poetry

D. Slotto 4/2011

Oleander and the Sky
Image by ozgurmulazimoglu via Flickr

D. Slotto 4/2011

Submitted to Poetry Potluck: and

Monday Morning Writing Prompt:


Last night as I slept
the Artist came and dabbed Oleander’s
green with brilliant buds of pink
then feathered white across
a chosen hummingbird.

Last night as I slept
the Violinist played, sweeping
his bow across the fronds of palms.
Music hummed in branches of Crepe Myrtle,
sprinkling her blossoms all across the Earth.

Last night as I slept
the Poet tossed his words into the water,
ripples bore their beauty
all across the world so sere,
so desperate for salvation.

This morning I awoke
to colors of joy,
to sounds of grace,
to possibilities of peace.

This week the Oleanders blossomed overnight, the winds howled, and a striking albino hummingbird has graced us with his presence. Happy Easter to all.

Through This Dying–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

Trees covered with Snow

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  This week’s theme is: Aims, Goals and Ambitions. This poem is loosely related to the theme, especially for those of you in snow-bound regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Through This Dying

When earth returns to stillness
and robins pluck the fruit
from unclothed branches,

when boughs of junipers
lay, crushed beneath
the weight of snow,

and when the nighttime sky
gives way to swathes
of white and gray

then, without sight,
you hope,
await another day.

The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

the dark night of the soul

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  for which the theme this week is Peace, Relaxation, Spirituality. I chose to focus on one of the more difficult aspects of the spiritual life, termed by the Spanish Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, as the dark night of the soul. Though it seems counterintuitive, this phase of spirituality can bring about a deep sense of peace.

“Oh, night that guided me more surely than the light of noonday to the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–a place where none appeared. Oh, night that guided me, oh, night more lovely than the dawn, oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, lover transformed in the Beloved!”

St. John of the CrossDark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night

When night is bathed in ebony
and even stars are wont to pierce
through veils of clouds,
you stumble forward,
grasping crumbled walls
that close you in.

Bleak thoughts now pummel you
like angry fists that rage against
injustice. You breathe oppressive air,
musty, stagnant, born of rank suspicion
that your need shall never know
relief, that hunger rests un-sated.

Today there is no morrow—
only haunting memories of days
unfolding without joy, Your faith
betrayed, you open wide your hand
and watch hope slip out between your
fingers, free of empty promises.

Tonight you stand alone,
shrouded by the chill of winter,
without clear vision. Death stretches
out his hand; you reach to take it,
but not before the nightingale sings.

Boundaries–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

Jack Whinery, homesteader, repairing fence whi...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck for which the theme is Laws, Rules and Regulations:


Why do we build fences?
They can’t hold out the wind,
or leaves that flutter
from the neighbor’s yard
into ours.

A flock of quail descends
into our spent garden
and feasts,
pilfering seeds that
should be fertile in the Spring.

Remember the night
raccoon purloined the Koi?
Or how in Summer we lay
awake, listening to the
long, long, short, long whistle

of the trains, into,
out of Reno, dragging loads
of who-knows-what to
destinations East and West?
Sound’s intrusion.

Tonight, my fears are not
of robbers or of things that harm.
What scares me most is
what’s within—
the limits of a closed mind.

Celebrate Today

2010_May21-29 614 Golden Sunrise

Image by jjjj56cp via Flickr

Celebrate Today
A Shardoma

Written as a Shardoma, an unrhymed syllabic poem: 3/5/3/3/7/5
Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck: 


every day of life,

every breath.

Rising sun

kisses blushing earth with bronze—

daily gift of Light.

On Reading: A Poem for Poetry Potluck AND Monday Morning Writing Prompt

Woman reading

Image by National Media Museum via Flickr

 Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  This week’s theme is Hobbies and Pastimes, Passions and Entertainment. Stop by  the Potluck to read some poems offered by both seasoned and upcoming poets. Also posting to One Shot Wednesday:

On Reading

These days I spend my evenings in Ethiopia.
Torrential rains flood the shores of the Blue Nile.

I cut for stone in Operating Theater 3,
outside I hear the blaze of failed coup d’etat.

Dear Africa, I’ve trod the single file paths of
leafy jungles, ‘neath trees of Poisonwood,

through forests that devour, that feed on lives
of those misled in service of God’s holy name.

With Little Bee I, too, would flee to distant shores,
escape atrocities (only to be hurled once again upon your mercy.)

From Haiti also I’ve sought refuge. The slave of Valmorain set free but lost
to love forever and to my land, the island far beneath the sea.

As well would I take leave from Oklahoma’s dust
only to be lost to greater desperation in the land of wrathful vines.

In silent (though not passive) observation, I stand by, witness
the demise of hope, the emptiness of Gatsby and Buchanan

or see a tree spring forth from wretched poverty in Brooklyn’s
tenements where branches spread if roots grow strong and deep.

For those who read, there is no place forbidden,
no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture

left forgotten, no life condemned to end in an obscure whimper.
No era will I leave untouched if I but open up a book and read.

This poem is based on a few of my travels in the land of fiction. If I were to exhaust the list of my favorite books in this poem I’m afraid I’d crash the site and definitely weary the reader. For today’s MONDAY MORNING WRITING PROMPT  I invite you to write a short poem or essay based on one (or more) of your favorite novels and post a link in the comment section of this post. Thank you!