d’Verse MTB; Hopscotch with anapestic tetrameter

Björn is manning the pub for poets this evening and has challenged us to try our hands and feet at anapestic tetrameter. (Think Dr. Seuss or T’was the Night Before Christmas.) The pub is open. Go by d’Verse to visit and write with a fine bunch of poets.

We have marked hopscotch squares with our feet. Here’s a stone

to be tossed, should you dare, in soft measured manner.

You’ll be lost should your muse skip and leave you alone

on the track. Don’t look back! Tripping feet slip, stammer.

CRLC Challenge; Escape

Rumi said,  “You have been released from ten successive prisons/ Each larger and containing the last.”  (Coleman Barks translation)

I thought of that quote when I saw the prompt for the Carrot Ranch challenge this week. I used it in one of my poems in Chicken Shift, where escape is a recurring theme.

It’s a great quote; at it’s worst, escaping the pan for the fire; at it’s best, a comforting delusion of linear progression.

But here we are.

            “Here’s the pisser, here’s the catch

            Any one could peck the latch.”

And then where are we?

Here. Alone together.


Charli’s post and prompt led me back to Robert, my fictional Civil War vet.

Did he imagine as a seventeen year old farm boy that going off to fight the Rebels would be an escape from the Vermont farm, or simply an escape from the perceived limits of childhood? I had some vague idea of showing Robert back on the farm trying to escape his memories of the war through hard work but the flash went differently and upon completion had no mention of “escape” other than stalled development. So I cheat, and use the prompt in the title.


No Escape

She wiped her eyes with her apron when he came through the gate. Standing awkwardly with her, his eyes rolled quickly over the headstones, finally settling on his own feet. “You’re mourning the young’uns?”

“No. That’s past.”

A thrush called. He looked at her tear stained face, waited.

“I’m mourning Robert.”

“Robert? He’s home Anna. We haven’t lost our oldest boy.”

“He’s not the boy he was.”

“He’s a man now.”

“He’s a broken hurt child. You must see that it’s Thomas, all of seven, looks out for him. I’m mourning the man that our Robert will never become.”


With no argument left, he embraced his wife and mourned with her, allowing his own tears to fall for Robert’s pain, witnessed only by her and the granite markers of their other lost children.

Walking together back to the farmhouse they met Robert carrying a bundled rag.

“What is it Robert?”

“Mice. From the kitchen.”

“Oh, just kill them!” Anna instantly regretted her command, but Robert smiled forgiveness.

“A mother and pink babies. Surely you could allow them to live in the stonewall.”

“Anna, maybe our boy isn’t the man we’d expected. He’s different. But he’s a good man.”


#SixSentenceStory; Service

This introduction will serve as my Six Sentences this week, as I am storied out. Trust me, it would be a disservice for me to force myself to write and then force that gibberish on you, dear reader. So after these six sentences you can read on or not— the quota having been met, you are under no obligation to read more, but there are extra servings. Actually I am serving leftovers, a remake of a November 2019 post where I followed our own Sixer  Lisa Tomey to LivingPoetry because I was intrigued by the prompt to show gratitude to another poet. I immediately thought of Robert Service, whose poetry I’ve known and related to since a youngster fortunate to have crossed his path if not in time, then in place, and so first I present one of his poems (not The Cremation of Sam McGee) and then one of mine in humble imitation. As always, thank you to hostess extraordinaire Denise for the weekly serving of prompt.

The Amateur Poet, by Robert Service

You see that sheaf of slender books

Upon the topmost shelf,

At which no browser ever looks,

Because they’re by . . . myself;

They’re neatly bound in navy blue,

But no one ever heeds;

Their print is clear and candid too,

Yet no one ever reads.

Poor wistful books! How much they cost

To me in time and gold!

I count them now as labour lost,

For none I ever sold;

No copy could I give away,

For all my friends would shrink,

And look at me as if to say:

“What waste of printer’s ink!”

And as I gaze at them on high,

Although my eyes are sad,

I cannot help but breathe a sigh

To think what joy I had –

What ecstasy as I would seek

To make my rhyme come right,

And find at last the phrase unique

Flash fulgent in my sight.

Maybe that rapture was my gain

Far more than cheap success;

So I’ll forget my striving vain,

And blot out bitterness.

Oh records of my radiant youth,

No broken heart I’ll rue,

For all my best of love and truth

Is there, alive in you.

Thank You Robert Service by D. Avery

Robert Service, Yukon poet,

You’re read, please rest assured!

Even doubt, you dare here show it,

Yet raised me on your words;

I’ve walked the land that you once tread

You inspired me, you know;

Your poems, first I ever read,

Your shared words like sourdough.

You grounded me with your meter,

Gave wings to me with rhyme;

Gave me poetry! What sweeter?

Gave courage to write mine;

Your ballads inspired children’s play,

When young I lived up north;

Further reading, you’d more to say!

I learned a poet’s force.

You wrote of war, you wrote of love,

Wrote life, great and tragic;

You brought to Earth the stars above,

Wakened me to magic;

Sometimes still, when I take up pen

It’s you who shows the trail,

Leads on, into the wild again

Courting heaven and hell.

From you I learned of garrets bare

of mining phrase and rhyme

panning for all that sparkles there

rich treasures writ sublime;

Upon my shelves your books still stand

Precious alchemic gold

When reading you I’m young again

Imagination bold.

Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 2

Over at Carrot Ranch Colleen Chesebro is running a poetry challenge out of the Saddle Up Saloon every third Monday. Specifically, it’s the Double Ennead, a form Colleen developed for the Ranch. In her own words:

“The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

“The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”

Go on over to the Saloon to check out Colleen’s challenge. Give it a try. The theme is spring, and maybe it will actually arrive between now and Colleen’s next challenge. Here is my response:


Turkeys scratch, hunger led

still sharp, winter’s edge,

where frost yet clings, in the face of coming spring

Sun days, trees pulse with sap

icy winds end that;

swirling squalls, freezing cold

reigning season, bold

winter rages, violent bursts, defiant

Tireless sun adamant,

winter, worn, relents;

gritty wet, grainy snow

muddy patches show

at last warmth sustained; emerging shoots, ground gained

Turkeys scratch, hunger led

spring’s sprung; they’ll be fed

CRLC Challenge; Deep Wishes

Charli’s in with the March 11, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about deep wishes. Where is the deep — in the sky, the ground, or outer space? What kind of wishes reside there for whom and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I was led to poetry, specifically the décima form, something I learned about at Ronovanwrites. This adheres to the rules through the tenth line, but as that was only 60 words, I continued until I reached the Carrot Ranch requisite 99 words. The other reason I can’t mash up with Ronovan’s prompt this week is I did not use ‘fortune’ in the B line, or anywhere for that matter. But as a nod of thanks for the form and inspiration I put fortune in the title.

You have until March 16 to respond to the Carrot Ranch prompt and as you can see, it doesn’t have to be flash fiction, just 99 words, no more, no less.

Colors of Fortune

lazurite pulse from deep within

night sky, star spilt light seeping through

deep wishes are this shade of blue

in sleek watery hues they swim;

yellow sunlight stirs blue, spins

absorbed by earth, emerges green

deep wishes are what color spring;

shoots poke through snow-melt packed-leaf ground

deep wishes star this soft hewed brown

deep wishes are seeds sown unseen;

who’s the sower? we cannot know

but through the wisdom of a child

who knows deep wishes just grow wild

roots in earth, airy seeds that blow;

free to harvest with good reason

deep wishes bloom in all seasons.

d’Verse MTB; Middles & Turns

Yikes! It’s been almost a month since I’ve been to the Poets’ Pub. On January 28, Peter from Australia had us considering beginnings, opening lines, as we versed. To meet the bar today Peter would have us “look to our middles and see if we can build in dramatic turns, open a new window”. Somehow I ended up wrestling with a started poem from January 2019 when Merril asked us “to consider time and space and what if?” for a Tuesday Poetics. I used the Biolet (a shorter version of the Triolet), a poem of 6 lines, typically of eight syllables each, rhyming ABbaBA and so structured that the first line recurs as the sixth and the second as the fifth. However I switched the rhyme pattern of the middle two lines so this Biolet is ABabBA. Why? In hopes to meet the bar a little better by changing the timing of the turn.

You search, track, it always eludes

slight impressions reveal its path

where it crept, grass swept dry of dew

lightly steps time, beyond your grasp

slight impressions reveal its path;

you search, track. It always eludes.

d’Verse MTB; Opening lines…beginnings

At the dVerse pub for poets Peter from Australia is pulling pints and calling the shots. This week he offers beginnings for our consideration. I don’t know if my first line grabs anyone or not but it came to me and I grabbed on to it. This is my first d’Verse response in a couple months, so I am not letting go. This is my poem for Meeting the Bar, and with “way” in the title and 44 words exactly I am giving a nod to Lisa’s Quadrille #120 prompt from Monday.

Way of the Muse

This one is carved lean by hunger

bone sharp wary, lurks at shadowed edge

uncertain crouch unfolding to a pounce

for it’d rather hunt than beg

this night it laps at moon-milk

senses hunger-hardened, whet

ink-blood tracks on snow-white page

Emptied, it’s sated, fed.

Returning; #writephoto & Shimmer;decima 41

Photo by Sue Vincent


And now she stands alone again

stands in rarified company

stands unafraid upon the scree

stands far above the shadowed glen.

On the edge of beginning’s end

expectant eyes brightly shimmer

witness waning daylight’s glimmer.

All she’s taking is all she’s learned

she’s journeyed well and now returns

soars above the golden river.

Sue Vincent has returned with her Thursday photo prompt! While I have been an infrequent participant, I have missed this weekly prompt and the wonderful writing it generated among so many bloggers. I also used Ronavan’s decima challenge to meet the prompt. In his decima challenge #41 we are to use “shimmer” in the c line. Go to his site for more on the form and to see other responses.