sometimes i am so happy it hurts–dVerse Monday Quadrille

sometimes i am so happy it hurts
a quadrille

yesterday i am
play of shadow and of light
sunset’s watercolor sky

fragile day-lily
letting go her brief yet lovely life

today the texture of a sturdy bark
free flow of cool water
tiny finch whose song is all she has

This week, for the Monday Quadrille prompt at dVerse, Lillian challenges us to paint a self-portrait in exactly 44 words. Whew.

The title of this poem came to me last evening while I was doing dishes, looking out the kitchen window where my husband kept watch over our two small white dogs, romping in the grass. This morning, when I woke up, the poem appeared.

Please join us for this most challenging prompt. This week there is no word that we have to use. Have fun.

Loss–a Pleiades for dVerse Meeting the Bar




Leaves cover earth’s body,
languish on her chilled skin.
Lashed by October winds
Lonely branches reach up
longing to touch a star.
Lavish foliage falls,
listlessly surrenders.

dVerse Meeting the Bar‘s prompt, offered by Vandana Sharma, asks us to write a Pleiades–a form that calls for seven lines of six syllables, each line beginning with the same first letter as the one-word title. Reference to the cosmos is encouraged.

I would like to invite you to visit my new blog, And Know That I Am, which deals with spirituality with a Christian focus.

Depouillement–Monday Meanderings

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

In French, the verb depouiller means to strip or to skin. It’s a harsh word. For me it conjures up images of bleeding or, at the very least, nakedness. It’s the word used to describe what happened to Jesus when they tore his clothes from his body before crucifying him.

That word came to me this morning when, during my quiet time. I sat facing the window, watching as a gentle breeze tore, one-by-one, the leaves from “my” tree. At this moment, the wind has become bitter and that same tree (now the upper branches outside my office window) is letting go of its leaves rapidly. It is being stripped.

I cannot but think of the Buddhist teaching of detachment, a teaching which seems to traverse all philosophies and religions–a concept that faces each of us as we age, begin to lose loved ones, strength, beauty, health, material and physical independence, perhaps even mental acuity. Life is, indeed a series of letting go’s.

I’m not Buddhist, but have always been drawn to many aspects of Buddhist practice. Today I came to understand with a bit more clarity, the importance of non-attachment. I’ve been struggling with an issue that I’ve perceived as a threat to my security and to something I hold dear. It dawned upon me that my attachment to that “something” was impairing my ability to enjoy the happiness of the moment and was messing, not only with my serenity, but also with my sleep. I made the intention to return to the present moment and its many joys. When the moment comes to let go, I hope to be like that tree, allowing the leaves to return to earth and nourish it.

I’m no longer young…or even, by most people’s estimation, middle-aged (though I don’t feel old). It’s time to accept those things in life that must leave us. I know myself well enough to realize that this won’t be the end of my wanting to hold on. But, perhaps, if I let go of the things I cling to, it won’t be quite so painful. Maybe I won’t even bleed.

Have a lovely week. Now I’m on my way outside to rake up some of those leaves.


Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto


The Scene
Wet grass beneath my body,
piles of leaves gathered nearby,
scents of mold and dried lavender,
apples hanging heavy the tree,
spirits peering through rusty leaves
divining secrets from my past
and present, cradled deep within.

The Character
My stories are mine—
clues hidden beneath the layers
of a serene façade,
exiled from those
who would know my truth.

The Plot
I claw at the bark of the ash tree,
pain racking my used-up body,
then swallow the last three pills.
No rash decision, this.

The End
I chose early autumn last November—
autumn as the season
of dying, of beauty, of letting go,
like seeds entombed in dank soil
waiting to be born again.

This is fictional. I personally do not believe in euthanasia, though I cannot judge other. One point I want to make is that hospice care, focused on symptom management, is an option for pain management. If anyone has questions about hospice, I will be happy to answer them if I can. Just leave them in comments or send me an e-mail.

I wrote this using the words offered by Brenda a The Sunday Whirl and am linking it to dVerse Open Link Night which opens Tuesday, 3:00 PM, EDT. Please join us at either or both of these poetry venues.

By the way, I accidentally posted my draft for this week’s Meeting the Bar. It will be re-posted on Thursday. Sorry about that, but if you received it in e-mail, consider it a heads-up.

Go in Peace



Autumn dropped by early last week,
flirted with the wind,
played hide-and-seek with the quail
sheltered in the spruce tree’s branches,
then finger painted the tips of maple’s leaves.
She jammed with the few remaining crickets
at their farewell concert then took
her leave again. But not before reminding
summer to make peace with dying.

Written for dVerse Poetics where Mary asks us to consider the subject of peace since today is International Peace Day. And linked as well to G-Man’s’s exactly 55 words.

Of Dying

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

the wind you touch that rages through the pass,
molesting water’s edge and raping valleys.

the minor notes that dance upon the stage.
You see the grief they howl in tones of bitter gray.

the whisper of a cloud that weaves its song of hope.
She speaks to you of shadows and of light.

the taste of petals swirling in the morn
that settle in their final rest beneath the cherry tree.

the scent of endings—sweet fragrance letting go of earth
and all it knows—wafting toward new beginnings.

This is my submission to dVerse Meeting the Bar in response to the prompt I offered: to write a poem using synesthesia–that is, mixing up or mingling sensory experience. I hope you will stop by with a poem of your own. The pub will open for Meeting the Bar Thursday, 3 PM EDT. There you will find a more complete explanation of this poetic technique. It’s fun to play with!


Photo Credit: Gary Bogue

Photo Credit: Gary Bogue


And how does the turtle feel as she covers her eggs
with the sweep of her feet,
then leaves them for the world to take care of?

Mary Oliver
Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
New and Selected Poems, Volume Two

Last spring, after her fledglings left the nest,
mama dove hung around for days, waiting.
She watched me through the kitchen window,
woeful eyes fixed on my hands, awash
in soapy bubbles bearing rainbows.

I didn’t see her babies again, nor did she, I suppose—
only the hawk circling in the distance.
Fretting, I struggled to trust nature’s caring
just like I do each time I send my words soaring,
out into the wide, wild world.

I’ve been mulling over Claudia‘s Letting Go prompt for Poetics last week…and her own experience. This is what came of it. Linking to OLN.