found poem

There was nothing
of high mark
in this.
They were not
a handsome family;
they were not
well dressed;
their shoes
were far
from being water-proof;
their clothes
were scanty;
and Peter might
have known,
and very likely did,
the inside
of a pawnbroker’s.
they were happy,
with one another,
and contented
with the time;
and when they faded,
and looked
happier yet
in the bright sprinklings
of the Spirit’s torch
at parting,
Scrooge had his eye
upon them,
and especially
on Tiny Tim,
until the last.


This poem is in response to the Holiday Found Poetry prompt at We Write Poems, and was literally found. It is a paragraph from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Red Wolf emerges from the woods

Very excited about this new anthology from the fine people (also poets) at We Write Poems.

We Write Poems

red wolf eyes
We’re excited to present you the Red Wolf collection, the first We Write Poems prompted-poem anthology.
This first anthology is the culmination of roughly three years of work – people writing poems in response to prompts presented at this site. So prompts and the Internet were the great enablers of the creative process by which these poems were written and shared.
The title of the anthology, “Red Wolf”, reflects the art banner of our site. We think it helps define who we are, who we want to be – poets who look to play a little dangerously, realizing the hungry teeth also of our natures, and with willingness in allowing risk. Real writing calls for nothing less. But then again, we’ve nothing against also having fun.
And because prompts played such an integral part in triggering the poems we write, we decided to feature the prompts…

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Men talk much of matter
and energy, of the struggle
for existence that molds the shape of life.
These things exist, it is true;
but more delicate,
quicker than the fins in water,
is that mysterious principle
known as “organization,”
which leaves
all other mysteries
concerned with life
and insignificant by comparison.
For that without organization
life does not persist
is obvious.
Yet this organization itself
is not strictly the product
of life, nor of selection.
Like some dark and passing
shadow within matter,
it cups out
the eyes’ small windows
or spaces the notes
of a meadow lark’s song
in the interior of a mottled egg.

That principle – I am beginning
to suspect –
was there
before the living
in the deeps of water.

/ / /

This not a cento poem for the prompt from We Write Poems comes from The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley.

My Practice

The pursuit of happiness
that’s practical

I practice it everyday
because it’s so elusive

And poetry helps me
pursue that happiness

Reading poetry helps
but writing is the best

And writing this poem
made me happy

I’ll bet reading it
made you happy

Admit it
you’re smiling

That’s a good way
to pursue happiness

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the let’s get real prompt to write a practical poem at We Write Poems.

Charged Memories

It was the third house we lived in,
though I have no memories of the first two.

Painted pink, it was at the eastern edge of town,
only three houses from cornfields.

I’m sure I was told to stay in the yard
by my mother. Definitely away from the road.

I was playing in the front yard, and for some reason,
I went onto the gravel driveway towards the back yard.

I never made it. There were two snakes
coiled up against the side of the house.

I ran screaming back to the front yard,
standing on the walk to our front door,

yelling for my mother to come to me,
afraid to be too close to the house.

I remember it as a long time, calling for her,
hoping my voice carried through the screen door.

She had to come to me. I couldn’t run to her.
She had to walk out to me and carry me inside.

That weekend, I sat on the top step
by the back door, watching my father.

He and a friend were cutting the long grass
of our backyard with scythes – or maybe sickles.

/  /  /

This poem was written to the old beginnings prompt at We Write Poems.

Process Notes: I know I have earlier memories, but none that I can recall so easily or strongly. There was no emotional charge to put those memories into the long-term parking. I have no memories of that first apartment in Indianapolis or the duplex in New Palestine, though I’ve seen a picture or two of the latter. My memories begin with that first house, of three in Morristown, that we lived in.

My Life as Pie

My earliest memory is of baked apple pie
from the golden arches. (Sorry.)

Then there was the childhood diversion
to chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

Then my taste buds developed
and I was strawberry rhubarb pie.

I was Boston Creme Pie for a bit,
because of my first girlfriend.

But she broke my heart,
and now it tastes bitter to me.

And then I figured out
I didn’t need to be different.

I could always be strawberry rhubarb,
because that’s who I really am.

And if you don’t like me, that’s okay;
there’s plenty of other flavors out there.

And then the more I thought about it,
I realized life is sweet – and tart.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the my life as a pie prompt at We Write Poems.

Multiple Meanings

This post is my suggestion for Prompt #100 at We Write Poems.

I recently suggested a dozen words to Brenda Warren for her blog, The Sunday Whirl. I chose twelve words that have multiple meanings. Many of them can be used as a verb and a noun, for example. Brenda graciously used the words I suggested, and many people wrote poems using those words. I was so pleased with the diversity of poems that came out of those twelve words, that I thought I’d suggest the idea again.

So, here is the idea. Go to Multiple Meaning Words, choose ten to twelve of those words, then write your poem incorporating the words that you chose. You may use the words once, or you may use them twice, utilizing both meanings/parts of speech.

I offer two examples. The first poem I wrote with those twelve words was “The Vacation.” Then I challenged myself and wrote a new poem, “Communication”, using each of the words twice, each time as a different part of speech.

The words were: pet, string, wish, point, trick, shine, paw, smell, pack, shape, taste, and whisper.

The Vacation

The irony is that it doesn’t empty my mind,
But fills it with stuff that I don’t want to think about.
And then I look at the string around my finger,
and I find I’m filled with worries about what I forgot.

Brewster paws at my pant leg; he’s hungry,
and so am I, but all I do for now is pet his head.
He knows something is up, as I’m packing,
but there’s no point in trying to trick him either.

I will have to find a shirt that has my smell on it,
or there’ll be no way he’ll go to the kennel.
He’s had a taste of that loneliness before,
and I’m loath to put him through it again.

I wish that going away was just easier.
It’s not like I can just shine him on.
He’s part of my pack, just as I’m his,
and no whispering lie will change that.

This is the shape of things for him and me:
Master and pet, smelly bachelors both of us.
Is it really so wrong to want to be alone
and enjoy it, when it leaves him lonely?

/ / /


I could whisper from far, far away
but you might think I’m trying to trick you

What trick is this, you’d ask,
but couched as a whisper I can’t hear

I could shine a light on my point
or I could just point at the string

of conversations we’ve had and trust you
to find the light’s shine all on your own

Or I could string you along
so that you’d wish for a truth

that you could smell or taste,
or pet or paw as if it were a shape

to be held, when you know the smell
of subterfuge and the taste of bitterness,

angry that I’ve treated you as a pet,
smacked your paw with a rolled newspaper

And then I light a cigarette from my pack,
blowing smoke signals at you,

trying to pack as much information
in every motion that I make,

the shape of every syllable and sound,
the wish I breathe as I shape this poem

Bigger Shoes

This is not a polite poem.
You can stop reading now
if you want.
I’ll never know.

And isn’t that the problem?
The things we don’t do.

I wish I had bigger shoes,
shoes to kick the shit
(I warned you)
out of racism, homophobia, you name it,
man’s inhumanity to man
and woman
and child.

They wouldn’t be comfortable shoes,
but then that’s the point.
The right things aren’t often the easy things,
but, really, how hard is it to be kind?

My bigger shoes would have a tread of compassion
that left a mark of kindness,
kindness that would lead to action,
rather than the non-action of fear.

I’m not trying to be holier than thou.
Trust me – I know I’m not.
I’m just trying to wear bigger shoes.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the Big Shoes prompt at We Write Poems.

Shame Flows

he was a good boy (in his parents’ eyes)
he was loved (for what he did)

so he did what he needed to
to keep their love

he was the dutiful son
he didn’t speak unless spoken to
he didn’t cry when he was hurt
his room was neat and tidy
his toys on the shelf pristine

he kept mum happy
he kept papa proud

but he didn’t know how to keep himself
so he carried the loss

his heart beat
but it only beat him down
its message was
you are unworthy of love
for who you are

shame flowed with each beat
he didn’t know what else there was
to fill his heart

it was where his heart was
he carried the loss

/  / /

This poem was written in response to the Better Inside Out prompt at We Write Poems.

It was written very much in reaction to this sentence from the original prompt idea: “But shame in itself is also a useless state of being, restoring nothing that might have been damaged, and is at root a self-centered point of view.”