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.

Excuse Me, Sir–Do You Have the Time? dVerse Poetics

Photo: Kyle Therrian

Photo: Kyle Therrian

Excuse me, Sir–do you have the time?

It’s time to watch the bees that ravish stems of lavender,
to listen to the cluck of quail, the song of wrens.

It’s time to hold our world, her pain, in caring arms,
to see great beauty in an aged face.

But can you tell me, sir, what time it is?

It’s time to feel your heart that beats within your chest,
to watch the setting sun slip out of view,

to touch the velvet smoothness of a rose,
or roughest skin upon acacia’s trunk.

Forgive now, for it’s time to heal the past,
to mend the wounds of rancor and of hate.

My watch has stopped, dear friend—
just let me know the time.

The time is now. It’s always, only now.




Written for dVerse Poetics where Mary has us reflecting on and writing about TIME. I suspect that, when I edit this, it will take on a few additional stanzas! Please take the time to stop by and enjoy. The doors open Tuesday, 3:00 PM EDT 

outside the window, life goes on

Photo: Victoria Slotto March, 2011

Photo: Victoria Slotto
March, 2011

outside my window, our neighbor putters in her garden.
her roses languish while weeds have their way.

chemo, a fourth round, has taken its toll.
a few wispy hairs blow in the soft breeze.

i close my door gently behind me and we exchange a quick hug.
fear of crushing fragile bones holds me back a little

though her spirit soars, strong, unwavering
like the circling hawk above us, sun on golden wings.

at a distance a blackbird caws,
while hummingbird savors nectar,

drinks in the sweetness of the moment,
unafraid of that which is to come.

Join us at dVerse Poetics where Shanyn invites us to take a look out the window and write about it.

Photo: David Slotto April, 2012

Photo: David Slotto
April, 2012

Where is Happiness? Monday Meanderings

 This morning as I sat down to reflect and meditate, this thought came to me out of nowhere: What has made you happy? What have been the happiest moments of your life?

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

My first thoughts turned to special occasions—those monumental moments in life. (I’ll allow you to list your own), but I couldn’t stay there. Think about it. I bet for many of us a wedding day or the birth of a child came to mind right away. I can’t argue with those. But aren’t those kind of events just a bit tainted with anxiety, even fear. Consider the pain and risks of childbirth. Perhaps more significant would be those private moments leading up to the big ones—when you realized you were in love with someone you were willing to spend a lifetime caring for, the day you knew you were pregnant, or the first time your baby smiled at you.

Photo: Jennifer Wilcox

Photo: Jennifer Wilcox

I believe happiness is found in those little things—the ones known only to you or shared with a loved one. The happiest moments in my life have been ones that awakened a spiritual awareness, those in which I’ve realized I love and am loved. Perhaps to a lesser degree, times when I’ve been immersed in nature and those in which I’m rapt/wrapped in the creative process—writing or painting.

Happiness, I suspect, is about the present moment, is embedded in the Now. This is the only place it can happen. To be sure, I revel in happy memories and anticipate things I’m looking forward to. But memories can be embellished by imagination and the future is elusive.



I don’t think any of us will say that life has been easy. Mine hasn’t. But my life, such as it has been, is what brings me to today where I can choose to live well, to find happiness.

Please share a happy thought. That will help us remember more of our own

Moments–Monday Meanderings

I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been offline for a few days. I’m in Huntington Beach, celebrating my Mom’s 93rd birthday. Her dementia has worsened since I last saw her, but she remains aware of us as a family. She is perhaps the most grateful, serene woman I know–due in part, perhaps, to the fact that she has been sober for 44 years. The lessons of her Twelve Step program stay with her, especially “An attitude of gratitude,” and “A day at a time.” I am not violating her anonymity by sharing this. She is the first to let the world know about how much she owes to AA.

I would like to have the sort of attitude that she has when I (if I) live to be 90…although I would prefer to bypass the dementia part. Having worked with the elderly most of my nursing career, I’m aware that this horrible disease brings some gifts to the person afflicted and to the caregivers as well. It’s all about living in the present moment. I remember instructing nursing assistants, reminding them that their patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and similar disorders may not be able to connect the past and the present, but as caregivers, we are able to provide them with one happy moment at a time.

This is a good recipe for all of us, don’t you agree? It seems to be something I try to hold on to as I go through my own aging process.

I’m “borrowing” a computer to write this as there is no available unsecured WiFi in the area, so this will be a short one.

I wish all of you a most happy and productive week. I should be back in the flow by midweek.

Monday Meanderings–On Being Grateful



Now and again, life gifts us with challenges we’d rather shun. When this happens, it’s so tempting to ignore them, to set them aside, or put them off. In the midst of small or significant crises, it’s so easy to drift into the morass of negativity, and then it seems that even unrelated issues take on ginormous proportions.

My almost-ninety-three year old mother is a survivor. She was widowed at age twenty-three and left to raise her infant on a military widow’s pension of $139 a month. She plowed her way through numerous challenges throughout those years and others after remarrying. She has been in recovery from alcoholism since 1967. A mantra she picked up from AA meetings has become her philosophy of life: an attitude of gratitude. She has embraced that so completely that it has been beyond challenging to care for her in her later years. She doesn’t seem capable of complaining. No matter what’s going on around her, if you ask her how her day was, her response is, “It was beautiful. I’m so grateful.”

I worked with the elderly most of my life. Early on, it became apparent that, as they age, a person is who they’ve always been. If they were grouchy young people, they will be even grouchier older people. And if they lived in serenity and gratitude, they will age with grace.

Photo: David Slotto Mom's 90th, 2010

Photo: David Slotto
Mom’s 90th, 2010

For those of us who drift now and again (or often) into a negative viewpoint, one simple “treatment” is that attitude of gratitude. I’ve recently discovered that when I find my thoughts taking on a darker tone, it helps to stop, observe and ask myself “What am I grateful for right now?” It may be the way the sun is shining through the trees, casting shadows on the redwood fence, or the warmth of a pet’s furry body cuddled up to you. Maybe it’s that first swallow of coffee early in the morning, or your spouse snoring contentedly in the next room. Not only does this allow you to shift gears—it’s a great practice for staying in the present moment. And for those of us who write, it heightens our power of observation. I wish I could say it’s easy to remember—it’s not. But it is one of those things that can get better with practice.



Remembering Now

Cassin's Finch (Male), Carpodacus cassinii, Ca...

Cassin's Finch (Male), Carpodacus cassinii, Cabin Lake Viewing Blinds, Deschutes National Forest, Near Fort Rock, Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remembering Now

The way that birdsong bids its welcome to the rising sun,
breaks bonds of night
and shatters silence—

The way the early morning breeze fragments the satin surface of the water,
ruffles the palm fronds,
infuses breaths of dawn with pungent fragrance—

The way the flow of water feels upon my skin,
cleanses the chimera of dreams,
the tastes of kisses—

These are the ways
I shall remember now.

Submitted to dVerse Poets’ Pub, Meeting the Bar   I have the honor of hosting today. The theme is living in the moment. I hope you’ll stop by and share a poem.  I am dealing with a family issue for the next few days, but will do my best to comment when I can. Because of this, I am not able to post Write2Day this week, so I hope the prompt at dVerse will serve that purpose. Thank you, my poet friends.

Photo: Wikipedia. “Copyrighted, but free for any use.”

Presence–Poetry Potluck

Photo: David Slotto


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

Coffee slipping down my throat, stirring up my senses;
Fragrant sweet peas opening in rows along the 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 and cast a ballot;

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

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

Submitted to Jingle Poetry Potluck: This week’s theme is a few of my favorite things.

Passage–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

tule fog

Image by emdot via Flickr

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck for which the theme is “The Road Ahead”:


Through murky fog you stumble, step-by-step,
aware only of the terrain awaiting your next footfall.

Before you, somewhere, sun breaks out of gloom,
a purple crocus pierces the dank earth and snow.

Mockingbird sings of promise, Mother Dove gathers
twigs for her nest. Earth stretches, shakes off sleep.

In faith you move forward, trusting that each moment
will sustain you, nudge you onward in your journey,

that choices you have made today will bring to you
a morrow of meadows kissed with fragrant hues.

Live Today–A Sestina

Fireworks Finale

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to Riika Infinity’s 2011 Wish List Challenge: in which we were challenged to think about what we want to have, do and wish for this upcoming new year.

I chose to do a sestina, choosing as the end words those that represent my deepest wishes:

Truth–to live without illusion, to understand and speak my truth;
Words–to express these truth’s in my writing and speech;
Presence–to be aware of the Divine in creation;
Bliss–to live in joy;
Now–to live in the present moment;
Earth–to enjoy the gifts of creation

Live Today
A Sestina

I ask for strength that I may live in truth,
that clarity may seal my every word.
My life unfolds within the silent Presence
of the Divine—it’s here that I find bliss.
Awake, I feast in the eternal Now
yet revel in the offerings of earth.

I taste and touch and breathe the joys of earth,
partake of what I see of beauty’s truth:
the flight of birds, the frosty tendrils now
that etch the glass and hold my every word
displaying beauty on the face of bliss.
I bow before the Godhead’s sacred Presence,

surrender to the very hope of present
pledges offered to the waiting earth,
dance with abandon to the sounds of bliss—
chords that echo in harmonic truth.
Succumbing to the utterance of Your Word
that in my own, another may find Now.

And can it be that only in the Now
I may be welcomed in the blessed Presence,
attend in faith the murmur of the Word?
My sure companion of this walk on earth
will cloth me in a garment spun of truth
that I may wear the wedding garb of bliss.

Because it is God’s will we drink of bliss,
I choose to stride along the path of Now,
relish the textures, colors true—
the vivid palettes painted by the presence
of rainbow’s arc bending towards the earth,
soaking rain that nourishes the word.

You strip away illusions with your words,
comfort my exposure to the truth.
Into deep sleep I fall, await Your presence,
awaken to the touch of brilliant bliss.
At last, You come, I rise unto the Now
and bending, touch my lips upon the earth.

You speak Your truth within a whispered word.
Today Your presence seizes me in bliss
enjoying in the Now my moment on this earth.