October 29, 2010

Puppy's Kingdom

Prompt from Big Tent Poetry: sketch your home, freewrite for a page regarding the sketch, be inspired to poem from anything in your sketch or freewriting

Puppy’s Kingdom
is an indoor palace.
She has free reign over
floors and doorways
and human hands.

Her throne resides
in full view of the
living room, overlooking
sofa and television,
windows and table.

She sleeps in comfort
each night, curled up
in her plastic home,
secure and safe in
her cozy little bed.

Her meals are feasts
of lamb and rice, she
savors crumbly bacon
and salivates over
leftover pizza crusts.

Her days are spent
in luxury, long sessions
stretched out fully
on plush carpet,
dreaming deeply.

She gets long naps,
longer petting sessions,
and lots of playtime
with her ball and rope
and rubbery Kong.

Her Kingdom is an
indoor one, padded by
soft carpet, sheltered
by walls and ceiling,
shared with humans.

October 27, 2010

About Sleep

Prompt from Poetic Asides: use the phrase "what I love about . . . "

What I love about sleep is . . .

its late nights and early mornings
and interruptions in between,

its hallucination of rest and
taunting of my wake-filled dreams,

its enslaving elusiveness
and illusory demeanor.

October 26, 2010


Prompt from Writers Island: masquerade
Inspired by "Masquerade" from Phantom of the Opera

Splashes of words
In a crowd of poetry

Lyrical shadows of
Rhythm and rhyme
Colored with ambiguity

Arrayed in adjectives
Adorned with adverbs
Flirting and dancing with
Ideas and descriptions

Poignant flamboyancy
Costumed and veiled
Posed on papery stage

In a crowd of poetry
Splashes of words

October 23, 2010

Haiku for Autumn

   Summer’s fog dissolves
   Heat shimmers into color
   Autumn jewels emerge

   Prompt from Poetic Asides: change
   Prompt from Writer's Island: emerge
   Photo taken on my morning walk

October 22, 2010

Hidden History

Prompt from Promptly: while remodeling a room of your house, you discover a door to another room you didn’t know existed

My muscles burned, my sinuses complained from the sawdust and paint dust, and my forehead and forearms dripped with sweat. Jay and I had just moved to Poland to do missions work and teach English at a local college. We had found a beautiful old home that dated back at least a century, but we wanted to do a little work on it before moving in – modernizing some of the plumbing, expanding a few of the rooms, and improving the overall structural integrity of the house, while still maintaining its historical charm. We had started the morning in one of the tiny bedrooms, hoping to connect it with its adjoining room and combine them into a spacious master suite.

I was so intent on getting the wall torn down before lunchtime that it took my brain a few seconds to register what my eyes were seeing, and my hammer almost swung right into it. I managed to stop my arm in time, however, and called Jay over to my side of the room. He laid down his hammer and walked over. Warsaw’s best classical station blared out of the stereo into an otherwise quiet room as we both stood there, staring at an old door that had been hidden behind the wall.

Jay finally reached over and muted the speakers, then rubbed his sweaty dust-covered hands against his jeans and reached out toward the rusted door latch. I held my breath, curiosity holding my hesitation in check. But the latch stuck. As Jay fumbled with the rusted pieces, trying to pry them apart with his fingers, I looked around the room for something to help. Spying the toolbox in the corner, I grabbed a screwdriver from it and handed him the tool.

A few minutes later, I winced as he pulled rusted metal against rusted metal. The latch pulled free and the door loosened slightly from its frame. Once again, the screwdriver came in handy, as Jay used it to clear the thin film of paint that still lingered around the door itself. As he broke through the last few inches, I grabbed the edge of the door and started pulling it open. Mustiness hit us full-force, along with paint dust and a few splinters of wood. I sensed Jay leaving me there, and turned to see him grabbing a flashlight from the toolbox. It was small, but it would give us some idea of what was beyond the darkened doorway.

The light penetrated just a few feet, and we cautiously stepped forward, hands outstretched and toes testing the ground before our feet landed fully. I had only taken two little steps before Jay stopped in front of me. He had come up against a wall. He inched to the right and we realized the space extended sideways. We moved further into the darkness, the flashlight almost useless in the confined space. This time, we had gone about five feet before Jay paused again, having come up against another wall. I moved back to the doorway and let him continue on in the other direction, while I watched from the now-spacious feeling room. He didn’t get very far before scuffing his foot on something.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I went in to join him. He had picked up an old book from the floor, its pages curling and binding almost worn out, with a piece of fabric tucked inside like a bookmark. He handed it to me and continued further, searching the floor more intently now as he inched along. The flashlight’s beam caught a glimpse of something else, and Jay leaned over to pick it up. As he handed it to me and I felt its contours, I instinctively realized where we were standing, and the thought overwhelmed me.

I walked back to the room for better light. I held a doll in one hand, its features faded and its clothes as tattered as any well-loved doll would be today. In my other hand, I held a worn-out book. The words on its cover looked like Hebrew. I opened the book to examine the pale fabric that was sticking out.

It had a yellow Star of David on it with a black “J” in its center.

October 19, 2010


Prompt from Poetic Asides: write a cascade poem (each line in the first stanza is the final line in each stanza afterward)

Inspired by a satisfying cardio/toning workout session with EA Sports Active

heart rate soars
sweat-soaked skin
endorphin rush

lungs complain
breathing accelerates
heart rate soars

energy kindled
calories burning
sweat-soaked skin

activity climaxes
muscle fatigue
endorphin rush

October 17, 2010

Harvester of Souls

Prompt from Sunday Scribblings: harvest

I went in a different direction then the normal meaning of "harvest," due to our missions emphasis at church this weekend. Not sure how many of you it will resonate with, but this "other kind" of harvest is a great burden on my heart right now.

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).

When I see you, I look not
at the color of your skin or
how you dress, but at your
inner weariness with life.

When I hear you speak, I listen not
to the way your pronounce your words
or your knowledge of grammar, but
to your plea for satisfaction.

I sense your need for fulfillment,
your longing to be truly loved,
and I want to share with you
a message that will satisfy;

for I am called to be a harvester
of souls, one who labors to
plant the seed of the truth
that can fulfill and free you;

one who nurtures that seed with
genuine compassion for your soul,
seeking to share with you
perfect joy and contentment;

one who cares enough to tell you
the life-changing good news of
hope and eternal salvation,
redemption and satisfaction.

October 15, 2010

Absent-mindedne . . .

Ever have days like this one?

Left my freshly brewed tea
sitting on the counter
until it was colder
than room temperature.

Left a scented candle
burning in the bedroom
until all the wax had melted
and the flame had almost died.

Left a poem half-written
in an open Word document
until the original inspiration
was all but forgotten.

Left meals unmade and forgotten,
left laundry soaking in the washer,
left the puppy inside for too long…
left my head in bed this morning!

October 14, 2010


Anyone else ever feel like this?

Some days I sit at my computer,
trying to write, trying to poem,
motivated to get something on paper,
best of intentions in my head,
desire to type in my fingers,

But nothing comes to me.

I stare out the window,
watch the leaves blowing
in the crisp autumn breeze,
brightly colored foliage
against a clear blue sky,

But nothing comes to me.

I turn on my favorite music
and light a candle,
close my eyes and relax,
breathing in the scent and
letting my mind soar with the melodies.

But nothing comes to me.

I sit and stare at the
blank computer screen,
searching for inspiration,
trying too hard to
find something to say,

But nothing comes to me.

October 11, 2010


Prompt #24 from Writer's Island

Image from Writer's Island

Slowly the caterpillar
spins its cocoon,
hiding itself
from the world.

    Months pass,
    seasons change.

Slowly the butterfly
breaks open its cocoon,
displaying itself
to the world.

October 08, 2010


Prompt from Big Tent Poetry: borrow one line from a poet’s poem and use that line as a springboard

Inspired by The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost): "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

When I was young I dreamed
of being a concert pianist:
I would spend my days
rhapsodizing on a ten-foot
Steinway, playing my heart
on strings and hammers,
bringing music to the masses.

Juilliard called out to me,
invited me to come and dine on
Bach and Rachmaninoff,
Gershwin and Shostakovich;
my fingers ached to play
in that black-and-white world
of music notes and piano keys.

I thought I would do it;
but then I heard a whisper,
a plaintive hum in my heart,
of something greater than
playing on the world’s stage
and dwelling in a fermata of
allegretto and adagio.

I heard in that whisper’s song a
refrain of serving others,
of harmonizing with humanity;
its melody transposed my desires,
took me down the pathway
that lay silent and unexplored,
and that has made all the difference.

October 06, 2010

Fly on the Wall

Prompt from Poetic Asides: write an "other side of the fence" poem ... attempt to empathize with the other person, animal or situation

Here I sit,

pausing for a moment
on this cold hard wall;

pausing in my search
for food to fill my belly,
warmth to keep me alive;

pausing from my flight,
my never-ending struggle
to stay out of reach from
your rolled-up newspaper;

pausing to breathe,
resting for a moment,
not really listening to
what goes on in the room;
yes, here I sit. And

you want to be a
fly on the wall?


Prompt from Poetic Asides: write an "other side of the fence" poem ... attempt to empathize with the other person, animal or situation

Before you decide
to criticize,
please try on for size
my beat-up,
shoes that have
mounted mountains,
crossed rocky creeks,
greeted the streets,
paced the halls of malls;
then you might
understand me
a little better.

October 02, 2010

Soaring Heights

Prompt from Writer's Island: soar

She stood on the top
of the Blue Ridge mountains,
her gaze taking in distant
cities and roadways.
Below her, an eagle
stretched its wings and
soared forth on the breeze.

October 01, 2010

By the 5 Browns (Impressions at a Concert)

Prompt by Big Tent Poetry: do something different, and write about it

Background: the 5 Browns are five siblings who simultaneously attended (and subsequently graduated from) Julliard School. A few nights ago they gave an amazing performance at Bob Jones University, which I was able to attend. The music simply overwhelmed me, and as soon as we left I jotted down some impressions so I could write about it in depth later on.

Their fingers dance upon
gleaming white keys set in
polished black frames,
commanding movement
from string and hammer,
sculpting melodies in the air.

Music surrounds me,
fascinates my mind and
enraptures my senses,
captivating me with its
fiery urgency and
alluring plaintiveness.

My eyes close. I am
caught up to starry skies,
surrounded by stupendous
displays of divine creation.
Mystic Neptune lies before me,
shrouded by swirling clouds

of misty fog and fairy dust.
Rachmaninoff beckons me,
captures me within a
cloud pregnant with rain,
showers sparkling drops of
music against my skin.

And so I dream. Brahms
carries me in a current of warmth
across western countryside,
gliding above piney forests,
soaring across stunning rock-ribbed
mountains and canyon. And then,

a pause. And I am transported
by Cowell to the creation of
the tides. I stand in darkness
on the edge of the sea, the
roar of waves deluged by
echoing thunder and punctuated

by swift lightning. The scene dissolves
into cityscape, as Paganini’s magic
carpet of music carries me over
sleeping houses and quiet streets,
plaintively focusing on warmth of
home and hearth. But suddenly,

Liszt plucks me from urbanity,
plunges me into watery theatre,
where schools of gypsy fish
caper and rhapsodize in gaudy
displays of color. Sadly, the dream
diminishes and I am left

in the reality of the concert hall,
grasping at the last whispers
of planetary visions and
glimpses of creation as they
tiptoe away and applause
fills the air of the auditorium.