Gold–dVerse Haibun Monday


I remember the scent of summers from my childhood—the sweet waft of delicate blossoms abuzz with bees, followed later by that of the small golden globes that grew from them. Oh, the soft touch of ripening skin, carefully tended by my watchful grandpa, who allowed no one close to them until they had come unto their fullness.

He’d let me watch the harvest, but not squeeze the fruit, almost as protective of it as he was with me. Then he’d pile me between Mama and him into his 1940-something red Ford pickup and we’d tootle down the hill to Mr. Dinwiddie’s whose enormous yard held a number of sprawling trees like our own.

At last, the day had come: let the games begin! He and Mama set out on their annual quest for gold—the gold of apricot jam. The competition was fierce. Grandma and I watched from afar as she read to me—“Once upon a time…” When the battle concluded, we tasted, but never declared the winner. We all savored gold.

spring blossoms give way
to succulent summer fruit
birds feast on the scraps

Photo: maxipixel: labeled for non-commercial reuse.

This week Grace is hosting Haibun Monday  at dVerse and asks us to share a nonfiction account from our warehouse of memories, followed by a haiku. This one goes way back to my very young childhood when my widowed mother and I still lived with my grandparents. And Dinwiddie was the man’s real name–not hard to forget!

Mood-Making Meter–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Photo: Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse


The sun is up,
come, let us play
in garden’s blooms—
what do you say?

See lady bugs
and buzzing bees;
the sun peeks through
the aspen trees.

Make daisy chains
or pies from mud;
drink in the scents
of pink rose buds.

We’ll play till night
then count the stars
till mama calls,
bids us indoors.

And then we’ll dream
of the next day,
for school is out.
Come on, let’s play!

I’m hosting today at dVerse Meeting the Bar where we are discussing how meter influences mood. I wrote this poem in strict dimeter–two beats per line. I will let you tell me the mood. The basis for my prompt came from Mary Oliver’s “The Poetry Handbook,” her how-to book. Even though she writes, for the most part, in free verse, if you pay close attention, she uses meter, albeit freely. This poem is sing-song because of its strict attention to both meter and rhyme. She suggests mixing it up a bit to avoid that effect but, since this is clearly a poem for little ones, I’ve made it that way. That enables them to memorize and appeals to their sense of rhythm. I hope to have time to post a second with different meter and mood.

Please join us today and if you do, don’t talk about the mood you are trying to create. Let the reader guess and hopefully share their thoughts in comments.

the cricket’s song is surely a prayer



the cricket’s song is surely a prayer

the drought-deprived truckee
slows to a trickle,
slogs along toward city center.
gladiolas begin to droop,
daisy’s wilt.
on the vine, clusters of grapes

we sit in the dark in silence.
count stars and sip chilled pinot gris.
the quiet fills with cricket cries,
an urgency to mate
before the chill of a first freeze—
a prayer for continuance.

Toni, for dVerse Poetics, is asking us to share those lazy, hazy days of summer known as the Dog Days. She gives us a good overview of what exactly this means in astronomical terms. Stop by to read her informative post and drop off a poem of your own. The pub doors open at 3:00 EDT on Tuesday.

The title of this poem is borrowed from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Cricket and the Rose.” She seems to be my major go-to for inspiration these days. If you get stuck, I suggest scanning the work of a favorite author/poet, looking for a line to jump-start your own poem.

Summer Heat



early morning sunshine dances
a minuet, chasing shadow
among branches of the ash.
we sip coffee and bliss,
listen to earth awakening
finch sings at the feeder while
from her perch above us mama
dove coos patiently, teaches us
to wait for something


Photo: Wikipedia Commons


summertime living on a lazy river
or lolling by the lake
water laps the shore, breezes inspire
poets who listen to moss-covered boulders
telling stories of ages gone by
the gentle rocking of a rowboat
white paint curling on its hull
lulls agitated spirits
while sun warms the weary

Photo Credit: Bare

Photo Credit: Bare


we walk along the river
above the overpass a ghost lingers
its gray shadow caressing the smooth
cheek of gold-splashed hills
a pedestrian crosses over
while cars rush overhead
waves breaking
on asphalt sand
a bashful red rose
refuses to open
because the tree is watching.

Photo Credit: C\

Photo Credit: C\


we celebrate with vibrant colors
stormy gray clouds then
fireworks falling
from the darkening sky
like rain

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


a lone butterfly
flutters in the fading light
disappears into the dusk
a male oriole
lies lifeless
flaming sunset pauses.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night where poets join to share their work. Join us! Happy 4th of July! It’s hot here, 104 degrees F. at 10:50 AM!

Summer’s Flame–a Huitain

Photo Credit:

Summer’s sun, inflammatory
passions flare. Searing, scorching rays
spawn such words defamatory.
Tempers simmer, kindle a blaze,
destroy our now and yesterdays.
All through the night a cricket’s call
sparks passion in another way
so that our morning love heals all.

On Thursday, for dVerse Form for All, Gemma Wiseman guest-hosted with Gay Cannon and challenged us to write a huitain, a form comprised of eight lines, eight syllables per line with the rhyme scheme: a,b,a,b,b,c,b,c. I didn’t have time to write something new, so I’m posting a huitain in response to today’s Poetics challenge to write to the theme of SUMMER, offered by Karin Gustafson. I hope you’ll stop by and read some poetry and maybe dip back into the archives to learn about this interesting form.

Summer Bliss–Season’s Favorite Challenge

Red-hot poker plants (Kniphofia uvaria) on the...

Image via Wikipedia

In summer, the song sings itself. William Carlos Williams

Summer Night
by Kobayashi Issa

Summer night–
even the stars
are whispering to each other.

Summer Bliss
by Victoria Ceretto-Slotto
a collection of Haiku

Sitting on the deck
garden sunshine and shadow
early morning bliss

A male oriole
lay lifeless ‘neath the Ash tree.
Flaming sunset paused.

Red hot pokers flaunt
their brilliant orange erections—
boasting, unashamed.

Those brilliant red globes
peek from behind floppy leaves.
Tomatoes galore!

Reno is Art Town
tourists stroll the Riverwalk
watch painters at work.

Summertime living
lazy river rolling on
bees search for pollen.

Growing corn surrounds
(hides mysteries and wonders)
in my Field of Dreams.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Quote: William Carlos Williams—among my top twenty favorite poets

Poem: Summer Night by Kobayashi Issa—discovering and savoring Japanese poetry

Word: Sunshine

Animal: Orioles—visit our feeder several times a day–here’s a photo my husband took a few days ago:

Photo: David Slotto

Flower: Red Hot Pokers—help attract those orioles–the photo at the top of this post is of a red hot poker.

Food: Heirloom Tomatoes—ugly-looking delicious fruit that my husband grows from seed.

Town: Reno—in July, Reno celebrates ArTown, bringing all the arts to many venues every day. Most people equate the “Biggest Little City in the World” with divorce and gambling. Those of us who live here know better. To learn more about Artown visit:

2011 ArTown Poster Image by Kelly Peyton

Song: “Summertime”—steamy, sultry song from the musical “Porgy and Bess”

Book: “The Secret Life of Bees” –an exquisite novel, literary fiction, by Sue Monk Kidd. Every word is poetry.

Movie: “Field of Dreams”—a baseball classic starring Kevin Costner.

Images: Who can choose? I love the intense colors of nature.

Photo: V. Slotto

Written in response to Broken Sparkles  Season’s Favorite Challenge. Check it out at

The Summer of 1948

Pepper Grows on Trees!

Image by Randy Son Of Robert via Flickr

The Summer of 1948

I perch in my pepper tree.
Pungent scents, fingered
leaves embrace me.
A lady bug, dressed in red
with black polka dots
climbs my arm, tickles.

Ocean sand, white as the rind
of a watermelon, clings to my
bare toes.
Only hours ago I ran through it,
reaching out, stretching to catch

The smell of hot concrete
dampened by rain showers
lingers along with DDT
sprayed from a can with a
plunger like a bicycle pump.

I slip down the gnarly trunk,
enter the house by the
screen door near the
Bendix with the ringer where
Mama found a black widow

She’s melting a blue cube
of laundry starch
in hot water.

“Did you know I’m four
and a half today?”
I ask. She nods, smiles.
The black fan whirrs
in the background.

“Go on over to Stewie’s,” she says.
“It’s almost time for
Kukla, Fran and Ollie.”

Cross-legged on the floor
I watch the 12” screen,
and understand.

Linked to Gooseberry Garden’s prompt (November 13, 2011) that invites us back into childhood reverie …a poem written many years ago! If you feel like it’s deja-vu all over again, don’t be concerned. This was initially posted last summer. (Guess I’m giving away my age here!)


Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Gardening


Image by uBookworm via Flickr

For many of us, as summer arrives, it’s time to garden. Weeding, pruning roses, planting a vegetable garden, planting annuals–then sitting back and enjoying the work of our hands–these activities occupy our leisure time. Those of you in other parts of the world are experiencing the end of the growing season. For some, planters or houseplants may be the extent of your involvement with growing things. Whatever your gardening experience–planting or putting to bed for winter–let’s write a gardening poem, essay or short story.

In my experience, working the land offers plenty of fodder to my creative muse. Rich in metaphor and opportunities for description, gardening does inspire.

I hope this prompt will be fun for you and that you will share your work by submitting your link in the comments of this post. Invite someone else to join us, if you will.

Here’s mine:

Skeletal Remains 

Clearing out dead leaves,

I unearth a pattern of life—

lace-knit frames for grace.

Summer Haiku–One Shot Wednesday

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Image by Larry Meade via Flickr

Purple bruises bleed
into summer’s sky
sun sighs and succumbs

Summer dilemma
green can’t decide what to wear
too many choices.

Blue heron descends
splashes in cobalt water
revels in June warmth

Linked to One Shot Wednesday:

Cricket’s Song

Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Image via Wikipedia



Cricket’s Song

When I awaken to sounds
of mockingbirds and scents
of jasmine blooming

and ducks begin
their mating nods and bobs
and doves build nests

when breezes billow
fluttering the leaves
scattering pear blossoms

and winter slips away
behind the blush of bronze
on snow-topped peaks

I know that soon the earth
will warm to sunlight’s touch
and revel in the song of summer.

Linked to One Stop Poetry: