The Comforting Scent of Roses–Sanaa’s Prompt Nights

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Comforting Scent of Roses

Before the record heat slips in, I go into the garden to tend to a few chores—dead-heading the spent irises, thanking them for the beauty the shared with us this spring after five years of drought. The climbing rose was next, but on the way, I stopped to check in on our resident sparrow family, newly hatched in the bird house we hung in the ash tree. There on the ground, he lay, a tiny bird—featherless, struggling to upright himself. Mama hovered overhead. With my gloved hand, I lifted him and placed him back inside his nesting place, hoping that he would be accepted.

A few hours later, I saw his little head peeking out the hole between tree branches that had not survived the lack of rain. Sunshine backlit the beauty of the scene. I turned my back to fetch those pruning shears for the roses still awaiting my attention. When I turned around, a flash of blue appeared and quickly snatched the baby from its abode. I watched as he devoured the helpless creature.

nature seems cruel
downcast, I turn to my chores
embraced by fragrance

Sorry to say, this is a true story, just happened and thoroughly bummed me out. I understand an appreciate the concept of the circle of life, and yet to see it happen so clearly is disarming.

I wrote this for Sanaa’s Prompt Nights where the theme this week is take time to smell the roses. I recently heard that this saying was originally spoken by PGA golfer Walter Hagen in the 1950’s. As someone who pretends to golf, I think he must of been speaking to the little importance of a game of golf compared to the many more important things in life. 

like a flower of the field we bloom

like a flower of the field we bloom
(adapted from Ps. 103, 15)

i found its feathers ‘neath the birch
beside a rose blood-red.
i’d watched her nest above our porch,
we waited for her brood.

such emptiness that fell that morn,
a weight that crushed my heart—
this life is such a fleeting thing—
a breath, a flame, then dark.

but such is nature’s flawless plan—
we live—too soon we die.
a hawk or owl feeds her young
down by the river’s edge.

Today, I’m hosting Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets’ Pub. This poem is written using common meter, a form that is easy to write poorly, but which Emily Dickinson used with great success. In the prompt, I’ve listed some of the techniques she used to make it work. I hope you’ll stop by to learn her secrets, then give them a try with a poem of your own. The doors open at 12:00 EDT.

the grand small vastness of it all

Photo: Totomai Used with Permission

Photo: Totomai Martinez
Used with Permission

there is such loveliness out in the wild.
(and i have fear of heights
and of small, closed in spaces.)

were i to fly,
i’d mount on wings of egret
or of eagle.

to span the breadth of freedom,
circle in a rhythmic dance above
wide open skies and crystal waters.

(for cities—i eschew the crowds),
i’d flee to mountain slopes
of flowering lavender and paper-whites,

and walk in fields of wild grass
and poppies, brilliantly adorned
in colors—Wordsworth’s meadow—

then open wide that span of wings
to swirling winds that rise
and thus within those arms

i’d surf in pure abandonment
the currents
of the breath of life until

beside a calm, still lake
i’d wait, alone, for death to come
then gently,

in the early morning light
go back to earth
once more to nourish all that is to be.

For the prompt at dVerse Poetics please join us to view and be inspired by the amazing photography of Totomai Martinez. It would be hard to miss the poetry in his work. Thank you, Mary, for sharing prompt this with us. And special thanks to this talented photographer.

The doors open Tuesday at 12:00 EST.

Beginnings and Endings


BbeginningsBeginnings and Endings

The day before Christmas, the lifeless body of a robin
lay, supine, among clods of frozen dirt
in the bare, raised bed of our vegetable garden.

His breast, striated with not-quite crimson plumage—
plump, yet breathless, lay still, where only weeks ago
plump crimson tomatoes prospered, awaited harvesting.

I cradled his body in my hand, resting in the folds
of a plastic bag that, just yesterday, held apples,
tied it tight before consigning it to a barrel caching autumn leaves.

That night we sipped champagne, feted birth,
celebrated promises fulfilled again each day,
awaited the coming of light that would dispel the darkness.

Nurture–dVerse Poetics

The ants rush toward sweetness. I take away the melon, but first I spill a little melon juice on the counter.
Mary Oliver
Sand Dabs, Eight


A drop of Buddhist grace seeps in my core.
I hesitate then spray to check those ants
but guilt ensues, weighs heavily in my soul,
Yet, should spider dare invade, I squash.

Last week I wept—a neighbor’s trees chopped down.
I wept for feathers scattered in our yard,
for eggs unhatched, abandoned in their nest,
for grazing cows and sheep, doomed to be slain.

And do we know for sure grain feels no pain?
That brainless lobsters know no suffering
when dropped in boiling pots for our delight?
Does life exist to feed on other lives?

But soon enough I, too, shall go away—
my life snuffed out much like a candle’s flame.
And so the cycle’s endless rhythm flows,
as well it must make room for seedling’s growth.

Photo: Teri Herzog

Photo: Teri Herzog

A second offering for Mary’s prompt at dVerse Poetics–to write poetry inspired by a quotation.


Should You Choose to Die Today–dVerse Open Link Night

Rossway Lane, south of Tinker's Lodge. Dappled...

Image via Wikipedia

Should You Choose to Die Today

will the Earth withhold her
splendor for a moment
until she gasps for air,
the air that would be yours?

Most trees have lost their leaves
and quail forage in
dead brush.
I haven’t heard the coyote howl.

On my walk by the River
I saw a pair of doves.
A swallow rests, alone
on a branch of our ornamental pear
and feasts.

Although I posted this poem recently, I want to share it again today with the wonderful visitors to dVerse Poets Pub. I just returned from the funeral of a young woman who took her own life and this experience brought new meaning to these words for me.

On a personal note, I am happy to be back in the world of blogging after a few week’s break. Part of this time was spent on vacation in Colorado Springs and then in Pinehurst, North Carolina where I had the opportunity to golf Pinehurst #2, a course that has hosted the US Open. My husband won this trip. Our second day, we were able to golf 11 holes at another Pinehurst course before the rain forced us off the course. We were soaked to the bone but grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. AND on course #2, hole #15, my drive landed 3 feet to the left of the pin but then I was so excited about my birdie opportunity, I choked and missed the putt. And so it goes!

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