Monday, September 4, 2017



When I found you
washed up by the sea,
a bottled message inked
in tears and scars

I imagined that your love
would be alive,
white and pure, discrete as
pale stars of grassflowers

which no eye but mine
would prize.

But soon I saw
that you were wanton,
no hatch
of sea or meadow,

only alive as fire is
when it uses all it can
for its fluid beauty,
dropping gems of ember'd flame

blistering the hand that tries to
pull them from its dirty smoke.

So my ash sifts like snow
on the grassflowers stiffening
now into fall and their giving,
while you burn the hills

out of control in your own
whipping black wind,
a gaudy and a wailing priest
to death.

~September 2017

Note to my remaining few faithful readers: I am discontinuing linking to prompt sites, but I will be using this blog still to archive my poetry as I write it, assuming such felicity should occur. Meaningful comments are always welcome and will be returned. I have some plans to use both this blog and facebook to try to revive the Friday 55, at least for myself; and of course, if anyone should care to join me, I would be delighted to read your work. More coming on that on Friday.

 Images via internet.  Fair use.


  1. Wow! I hardly know where to start, Joy. I guess first I'll say how much I love the gentleness of the grassflowers and the shy opening of a heart with which this begins, thinking it has found a worthy trust-mate. How that contrasts with the literally blistering latter part of the poem, and only makes it all the more powerful. I love your choice of grassflowers. As you so often do, you have plucked something out of the world which is both commonplace and seldom used in poetry--I love how you do that. I also love the metaphor of the fire; it's ideal for what you are expressing here.

    It's bitter that the one seen as pure and worthy, wounded and discreet, should reveal themselves to be "gaudy" and "wailing" and a dealer in death. Your word choices are merciless and pack a real punch. First rate, fabulous writing, my BFF.

  2. It is always such a pleasure to read you, Joy. I am so glad you will continue to post as I would be bereft not reading your work. I think of that small grassflower, in the path of the beautifully rendered in your poem.

  3. this piece is wondrous.

    3 am again. ha. it visits all of us, it seems.

    did you hear about Kerry stepping away and closing down her blog for the time being?

    I'll be looking for the 55 revival... ~

    1. Thanks, M. Yes, I saw her 'foreclosure notice.' It comes to all of us that play the poetry blogging game, I think--or perhaps there is something so barren about this horrible time that it sucks the creativity and life from everything. I hope she will find solace in her past fine writing, and all she's done at Toads to encourage and support others.

      I'm glad to hear you speak fondly of the 55--yours were always among the best. I miss it a lot, and I miss that spirit it had of friendship and humor, (not that I do humor very well. ;) ) I will post a bit about what I'm thinking this Friday.

    2. Agree with your take on this horrible time.

      I changed my mind, and turned my blog private. Not that I got any visitors anyways.

      I'll still keep an eye out for the 55. Depending on your format, who knows? Maybe even join in. ~

    3. Michael--I do understand, and I have done that before myself actually--if you keep it private but end up with writing you want to share, I wish you would invite me--my email is on the profile link on the sidebar.

      AFA 55-all I'm going to do is try to post a 55 every week on Friday, and invite anyone else who wants to do one to put a link in the comments, or facebook it and let me know so I can read. I doubt anyone will really care, but if they do, I'll be around to play.

  4. I will, if I actually write something. For the 55, maybe I'll just post in the comments... It's short enough to not be onerous, and I have some affinity for it. Good ol' Galen, moldering away somewhere, but I can still here his admonishment to have a kick-ass weekend.

    Besides, I think people will care, if you put it on... ~

  5. The fire could be the medium (why so many of us are silencing), though its really the time or what its done to us, become its own other and protagonist. I had a recurring childhood nightmare of a civl war at my elementary school, and people on fire, and not being able to avoid their touch, and watching my bones burn in a pile. How did we get the oracle so wrong? Poor fool burning heart, looking to quench in an other? Who knows. No burning without great dryness, and no fire that isn't beautiful in it self-consuming. Maybe forums are dead, but we can read on here. Maybe even to 55!

    1. Yes, maybe even to that. ;) That's a true nightmare of the powerlessness of childhood, B. Ugh. I know the 55 is not your favorite form, but you are always welcome here, regardless. Thanks, as ever, for your insight.

  6. Your metaphors are soooo right. Spot on, as usual. I feel a bit like an eavesdropper reading through the comments, but the 55 is near and dear to my heart (as are you and Galen). I haven't been writing much for a long time, but on January 1 I decided I would write 55 words every morning. Not exactly 55, but a minimum. It was like priming the pump, and now I'm getting a little trickle. I even posted one to the Toad Garden recently. I'm not sure what's happening with you personally now, and I hope it's...not too awful? Sorry, this is where I don't express myself well. But anyway, I really appreciate your words and also the 55. xx

    1. Sorry to be so slow to see this, Mary. I have not even looked at this blog in what seems forever. I hope you will always find inspiration in the 55, and thanks for reading, and for all your kind words.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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