Poetry Lives

Photo: David Slotto

Poetry Lives

She sips poetry,
gulps color, texture,
darkness, light.

She covers cold-
ness, emanates warmth
strokes coarse, jagged bark.

She shields innocence,
shelters the poor,
embraces the wonton.

She revels in birdsong,
delights in tender moments,
blesses beauty’s gifts.

She sips life.
She sips death.

Written for dVerse Quadrille, including the wonderful word “Sip.” This is the first poem I’ve written this year. It’s good to be here with you after a long drought.

dVerse Quadrille–Two for You

For dVerse Quadrille this week, I have the pleasure of hosting and am asking for a poem of exactly 44 words that includes the word poem or a word that is related. See the posting on dVerse for a list of possibilities and further instructions.

I am going to include two poems in one post: the first is for today’s prompt and the second contains all the words thus far in our second 44 word series.

Photo: David Slotto

Just a Click Away
A Quadrille

In this fast-paced world
can we hear hummingbird
sipping spring pollen?

Can we seize beauty,
shroud her in a perfect word,
simmer poetry?

How does silence grow
between autumn leaves
as they fall gently to earth?

Hurry, this offer
will go quickly.
Act now!

Mark Strand: Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

A Quadrille with all the words to date: rock, crunch, leap, bounce, poem.


This is not a poem
about poetry, but rather words.
Words that leap into your soul
You play with them,
fall in love until they
bounce upon the page.
Crunch-tumble them
into meaning-fullness.
See how they disconcert,
rock. Toss you from
your comfort zone.

Now–dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: David Slotto
Cedar Wax Wings

a Haibun

Yesterday, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit a homeless encampment/tent city to share some sandwiches we made from leftovers of our late celebration of Thanksgiving. On each face we had the privilege to see, I witnessed etchings of pain, left by the stylus of bad luck, or, perhaps, bad choices. It matters not.

There, I savored the beauty of true gratitude, not a blithe nod to an abundance of gifts—but in those eyes I saw a sadness that pointed to a life without much hope in the future.

My own plans are non-specific for the time being, due to a lack of personal time—for reasons outside my control. But what a blessing it is to live in the present moment, to find opportunity to love today, to sneak in a creative moment whenever life slows down to a crawl. What a blessing it is to accept the now with wide open arms.

they come by in waves
eat of our berries and fruit
migrating wax wings

On Monday, Kanzen Sakura invited us to post a haibun that dealt with our plans for dVerse Haibun Monday. While I have a plethora of ideas I would love to pursue, sometimes life puts a constraint on that. Toni (Kanzen Sakura) has told us of her new plans. I wish you well, my friend, and look forward to your continued sharing of poetry, if not prompts. Thank you for all you have taught us.

joy–dVerse Quadrille #39

Mina Loy, Image by Dave Bonta, via Flickr
Labeled for Reuse


word after word arises
from the morass of her
muddled mind—memories,
loves losses tumble
onto blank pages
like flakes of snow
in wide open fields

the poet inhales sweet spring,
moldering leaves
in piles of autumn
revels in creation-bliss
waits for the unknown

Welcome to another round of dVerse Quadrille, the 39th, hosted by Bjorn. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words, not counting the title. This week the word that must be included in the poem itself is BLISS, in any of its forms. We hope you will join us. The pub opens at 3:00 PM EDT. The prompt is open all week.

The Poet Looks Out the Window

The Poet Looks Out the Window
Minute Poetry

Oh, bless this tree outside my room—
a home, a womb
where words are born,
a page adorned—
poet’s enclave,
creative cave.

These branches beckon many birds
with songs sans words.
They bring us joy,
distress destroy,
plaintive cries, too,
to mourn with you.

And there above, I spy a nest.
Robin Redbreast?
Perhaps a Jay?
Oh look! Today,
sweet finch I see.
Inspire me!

Photo: Victoria Slotto
View from My Office “Treehouse”

Today at dVerse MTB Frank Hubeny invites us to try Minute Poetry. Don’t be afraid of this very fun form. It seemed daunting to me at first, but when I diagrammed it, I found it to be easy enough with the help of Rhymezone.com. My ornamental pear tree looks a bit shabby right now because the harsh winter and severe winds was causing it to damage our house and we had to have it pruned. But when it’s at it best, in autumn, it is truly a delight and the migrating birds love the tiny pears that are just for them, not humans.

Please join us–give it a whirl. BTW, this poem is also inspired by Lillian’s window prompt from Tuesday Poetics.


I Must Poem–dVerse MTB

Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

I Must Poem

of color
how the blur of blue and mauve
the melt of orange and red and gold
fold gently into summer skies

of sunshine
the way sun slips above the eastern horizon
pulls himself up on a span of lenticular clouds
to wink-wake me through half drawn shutters

of movement
of spindly-legged spiders crawling ‘neath a rock
and birds in flight that soar up to the moon
or human dance that stretches my imagination

of water
its touch, so sensual, immersed in crystal lakes
the battering of rain upon the window pane
or cooling draft upon desert-dry tongue

of texture
the roughest touch of eucalyptus bark
or satin-smoothness of a marble slab
and wonder-wrinkle of my weathered life-worn face

of music
the bounding bass of basso-nova beat
or lilting flute that fills the air with joy
and steady cadence of a Requium

of silence.
of silence, I must poem.

Today I have the pleasure of returning, after a rather long hiatus, to offer a prompt for dVerse Meeting the Bar/Form for All. I’m going back to a form I first gave in 2013–List Poetry. I hope you will join in today with a list of your own.

Color My Mood–Monday Meanderings

Image: silkhlens.com

Image: silkhlens.com

(Note: If you’re looking for The Sunday Whirl, find it here.)

As a would-be artist and a former museum docent, I enjoy playing with the elements of art in my writing–both in fiction and poetry. A favorite is to use color to create mood. In art, abstract expressionists often use color as the primary tool to convey their “story.” There are many interpretations of the meaning or symbolism accorded to each color. I’m offering a few of my own:

Yellow is a happy color and can be used to liven up a scene–to make it joyful, while Red signifies anger, passion, love. Think about it: when you’re feeling intense emotions, such as rage and close your eyes, sometimes your visual field appears red.

Blue and Green convey calm and  peace.

Black represents the unknown or fear while Brown is a grounded, earthy color.

Violet or Lavender speak of spirituality while White is used to represent truth and innocence.

I’m including a short description from my novel, “Winter is Past,” that strives to convey a mood using color.

In the dim light, the church, clothed in red, marked the joyous season of Pentecost. The altar was covered in an abundance of flowers—gold, yellow, orange and red gladioli—tongues of flame marking the climax of the Pascal season. Helene’s mood, however, was somber, spiraling into blackness. The red surrounding her spoke to her of blood and death—the death of her spirit. She suppressed a sob…

Do you have an example from your own writing you would like to share? How do you see color as it influences mood? Join in, using Mr Linky at the bottom of this post, or comments, if you prefer.

Happy Hour--Mixed Media--V. Slotto

Happy Hour–Mixed Media–V. Slotto

Ars Poetica–dVerse OLN

Art: Finding Winter Judith Clay

Art: Finding Winter
Judith Clay

Ars Poetica

When I tumble into the world of poetry,
I lose myself in a dance of words,
play syllabic arpeggios with the wind
and smother wild flowers in color.

That is when I live again, a child,
weaving wonder from daisies.
I touch angel wings, taste oceans,
and listen to the silence of the moon.

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night where I first learned of the wonderful artist, Judith Clay. Pay her a visit and then stop by the poetry pub to share the art of poetry and good friends.

Poems for Our Fathers–Monday Meanderings

Photo Credit: Daddy Blogger

Photo Credit: Daddy Blogger

I’ve written poems for my mother, my sister, my grandfather, friends, my husband—even my dogs. Today I’m aware that this would-be poet has thus far under-achieved when it comes to reflecting on the role of my fathers (yes, that’s plural) in my life. And yet, they’ve been a central, loving, constant presence. I’ve been blessed.

It’s not exactly true that I’ve ignored them. The man who gave me life, I never knew. He was killed in World War II when I was three months old, leaving my mother a 22-year old war widow. In the interest of brevity, here’s a link to the poem I wrote the year that the anniversary of his death coincided with Easter Sunday.

During the subsequent years, we lived with my maternal grandparents and it was easy to call my grandfather Daddy as soon as I decided it was okay to talk. The man was a wonder, a civil engineer for the Los Angeles Flood Control, quiet, brilliant and loving. He sang baritone, and I remember sitting on his shoulders at Christmas Midnight Mass while he sang “Oh, Holy Night” to the accompaniment of my concert-pianist/organist grandmother. Come to think of it, I wrote of him, years ago, as well, here.

Daddy numero trois came into our lives when I was seven and my mother remarried. He brought along a sister my age—both of whom have now left us. When he died, twelve years ago, I was in the midst of a significant health crisis. I put grief on hold, as I did the want to pay tribute to this loving, generous man who became as much a father to me as any DNA could assure. So now I’m on a mission.

In the meantime, I turn to poets of all times who have written works that sing of fatherhood—its tenderness and tulmult, its caring and curse. Though I chose to tell my story in glowing terms, we know that life is not always painted in gentle tones of watercolor. Sometimes the rage of red and black might slash across the paper. Often colder tones prevail. Yet, for most of us, something emerges that stays true and evolves throughout a lifetime, washed with a bit of hope and forgiveness.

Today, let me share three poems (or snippets of the one not yet in the public domain) that cover the role of fathers in our lives.

On My First Son
by Ben Jonson

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.
Seven years thou’wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon ‘scap’d world’s and flesh’s rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, ask’d, say here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

Public Domain

English: English playwright, poet, and actor B...

English: English playwright, poet, and actor Ben Jonson (1572-1637) by George Vertue (1684-1786) after Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this first poem, 17th century poet, Ben Johnson, writes of the death of his first-born son, Benjamin, who died on his 7th birthday. Note that the Hebrew name, Benjamin, translates as “child of the right hand.” The almost stoic tone of this work is deceptive. Johnson mollifies his grief, keeping emotion in check, deriving lessons on detachment. Yes that second-to-the-last couplet belies the true strength of his loss. Often, less is more effective.


Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him…

…What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Copyrighted, Excerpts

Photo Credit: Nachi.org

Photo Credit: Nachi.org


Contemporary poet, Robert Hayden, wrote this poem from the point of view of a son who understand, too late, the real meaning of the love his father showed. Because of copyright considerations, I have only quoted small portions of the poem, which I beg you to read in its entirety.

The boy recalls that the father called him when the room was warm, gave him the shoes he had polished. And he remembers as well, “fearing the angers of that cold house.” Every detail in the poem speaks of cold and darkness. He uses monosyllabic words and internal rhyme to create the sounds of almost-alienation, but in the end we have a portrait of love that is silent and devoted to the duties of fatherhood.

To Her Father with Some Verses
by Anne Bradstreet

Most truly honoured, and as truly dear,
If worth in me or ought I do appear,
Who can of right better demand the same
Than may your worthy self from whom it came?
The principal might yield a greater sum,
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb;
My stock’s so small I know not how to pay,
My bond remains in force unto this day;
Yet for part payment take this simple mite,
Where nothing’s to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive,
But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live;
Such is my bond, none can discharge but I,
Yet paying is not paid until I die.

Public Domain

Second edition title page of Anne Bradstreet's...

Second edition title page of Anne Bradstreet’s poems (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I suppose I should end this on a more positive note with 17th century poetess’ Anne Bradstreet’s tribute to her father. Yes, we do own them a debt of gratitude. After all, where where would we be without them. Um, I guess we wouldn’t.

If you want more, I suggest stopping over at The Poetry Foundation’s Website and browsing a bit. I strongly recommend taking a moment to read Dylan Thomas’ well-known Villanelle: Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, and My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke, also a Villanelle.

If you are reading this on my blog and care to link your own Father’s Day poem, access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL of your poem. I will look forward to reading it there, and you may want to browse other’s submissions.

I do hope to write one for Daddy #3—it’s long overdue.

A Season for Growing–Monday Meanderings

Even though the calendar tells me it’s still spring, our weather doesn’t seem to have received the message. The temperatures are in the high 80’s and 90’s and the garden is coming alive with new growth. True, the irises are fading, the roses are behind time because I pruned them too late, most weeds have been tamed but the leaves on our trees are fully unfurled, there are green cherries taking in the sun, and the tomatoes my husband started from seed while we were in the desert are already giving us little green globes of promise. Oh, and then there’s the birds! The orioles and hummingbirds have now arrived home in full force.

Photo Credit: V. Slotto

Photo Credit: V. Slotto

Just so, I’m hoping to cultivate some new growth on my blog. When I first began blogging, it was my intention to include some inspirational essays–a desire, no doubt, related to my own introspective aging process. In addition, for a year or two, maybe longer, I enjoyed offering writing prompts–for both fiction and poetry. As I became (happily) more involved in poetry communities, especially as a monthly contributor to dVerse Poets’ Pub, I slipped into the languid waters of poetry and allowed other interests to wash away for a while.

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

Now I feel it’s time to reclaim those two original ideals. It is my hope to be able to add a Monday feature that will offer a reflection, a writing prompt, perhaps an occasional interview or even book review…whatever happens. When there is a prompt or an invitation to discuss, I will include a Mr. Linky and respond to comments and/or return visits.

I chose Monday with the thought that those who drop in to read my dVerse poems for Open Link Night might scroll on down for another shot of inspiration. I would love to see you there and welcome your thoughts today, in comments.

Photo Credit: thewritingpenn.com

Photo Credit: thewritingpenn.com