Folktober Challenge, Day 4

All three images

The Witch

if beautiful, they drive men to danger
and sin,
if cantankerous or quarrelsome
they’ve let the devil in,

healers sought to make a charm for love,
to ease life’s pain, and guide a baby to its birth,
but vilified when the baby cries or livestock dies—
or ships crash on the rocks–

you’re afraid of her monthly flow
her connection to the moon,
her life-giving womb

somehow, she’s both powerful and weak,
controlling weather, fields, and men,
whether temptress or hag,

there’s no logic,
only your greed, lust, and fear
she’s siren or witch
and she makes you twitch
when you examine her body for devil’s marks.

But she has the last laugh,
because death doesn’t end your fear,
you drive a stake through her heart,
and still, she haunts you in the dark.

Paul Brookes is hosting a month-long ekphrastic challenge using folklore images to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection, “As Folktaleteller.” You can see the images here, and also read the other responses. Today’s images inspired some beautiful, lyrical poems by the other poets.

Here is some information on Eunice Cole.

Folktober Challenge, Day 3

Day 3, F1.3 Pwca, and F2.3, Will o the Wisp


Black bog, clouded night
comes the flash of fairy-fire—
a ghost-glow, trickster’s beacon—
the pwca lures—and you follow

through shadow-swallowed shadows
where tree arms shake and root-feet trip,
you go, seeking the glimmer

not as ship rescued by a flare
but moth to flame, unaware,
attracted, caught

left in the dark
when the pwca leaves,
abandoned, alone—no reprieve

without ghost-light,
only spirits and sprites,
when the ghost-laugh comes,
you quiver and run

but there’s no escape—
not till after their fun.

Paul Brookes is hosting a month-long ekphrastic challenge using folklore images to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection, “As Folktaleteller.” You can see the images here, and also read the other responses.


Monday Morning Musings:


“Forever – is composed of Nows –“
Emily Dickinson

“If forever doesn’t exist,” she said, “we’ll invent it ourselves.”
― Nikki Erlick, The Measure

Early morning, the Delaware River at West Deptford

At the tipping point, gold tips green
and russet leaves waltz to wind’s acoustic strings,
they touch the ground, then let it go
and drift into tomorrow.

We follow—or we don’t—
almost living like those leaves,
though deaf to the language of trees,
the whispers far underground–

as geese honk and hawks circle,
we dare to look up
find infinity in a sky of dazzling blue,
and in each memory, confound time.

My mom’s dear cousin, Sali, died yesterday. They were like sisters, so this hits hard, not only because I loved Sali, but also because of her connection to my mom.

And because, it’s what I do, I always seem to find connections and synchronicity in my life. Autumn seems a particularly apt time for reflection, and it has truly come.

After a few beautiful days, when I had some amazing bird watching moments–a pair of hawks and a pair of eagles together one day, and group of vultures the next– October arrived with wind and rain. It’s been raining off and on since Friday night, with heavy rain yesterday. It looks like it may continue until Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m thankful, however, that we only have these remnants of the hurricane that devastated Cuba and parts of Florida.


On Saturday night, we did a virtual wine tasting hosted by Tria in Philadelphia. We picked up our boxes of wine and cheese in the afternoon. The event was a fundraiser for reproductive rights.

Merril’s Movie, Book, TV Club:

A Trip to Infinity: Am I recommending a math documentary? Yes, I am. It’s because, to me, it’s a film of philosophy, possibility, and ideas. It is so well-done, and the experts—mathematicians, philosophers, and physicists–are so engaging as they discuss infinity. I would watch this one again. On Netflix.

I read The Measure, a novel by Nikki Erlich. One day every adult in the world, no matter where they are, receives a box. Inside each box is a string. Some have short strings, and some have long strings—this is the measure of how long they will live. Despite its premise and the prospect of how it could bring out the worst in humans, the novel is ultimately a novel about love and connection.

We are watching the Korean series, Extraordinary Attorney Woo. It had been on my Netflix list for a while. (You will not be surprised that I have a huge list.) Blogger friend Dale convinced me to start watching it, and I’m glad I took her advice. You can’t really tell how delightful this show is from the trailer, but it makes me happy to watch it and to root for Woo.

**I don’t mean to bombard anyone with posts, but I am writing poems for an October Folklore challenge, and today I’ll be back because I’m hosting Quadrille Monday on dVerse. (I guess I better get that poem written!)**

Folktober Challenge, Day 2: Beware

For Paul Brooks Folktober Ekphrastic Challenge. I responded to all three images: F2.1. F2. 2., F2.3


On Halloween, the fairy folk ride
glide on steeds, that shine and glitter
and they as well, but beware their shimmer
and their beguiling queen with gold-spun hair

whose honeyed-scent drifts in the air,
stare not, and never take her hand
as she will take you to her land
where minutes drift ever-sweet and light

as decades here pass out of sight.
But on Halloween, take extra care
of all spirits, vengeful and fair—
who wander as the sun grows dimmer

gnomes mostly benign, though some are grimmer–
there’s La Llorona who wails and weeps
and seeks to keep
your children for hers, dead and gone.

Await the dawn
especially on Halloween,
do not go into graveyards, and don’t be keen
to display courage in haunted places, or the woods.

Don’t stray into the garden—understood?
when midnight strikes
run from shimmer, shadows, and all the ghost-like—

sometimes, things are not what they seem—
sometimes they are—no matter how bizarre,
truth may come in dreams. The unseen, seen.

Paul Brookes is hosting a month-long ekphrastic challenge using folklore images to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection, “As Folktaleteller.” You can see the images here, and also read the other responses.

The River Speaks

Renoir, The Seine at Chatou

The River Speaks

The river speaks in semaphore,
a language of shadowed depths
and sparkling light,
it speaks in waves that run from the wind
rushing headfirst into the sand
as gulls laugh and crows scold–

and if you sleep
or forget to look or listen
it doesn’t matter,
the river flows on,
responding to the sun’s golden banderoles,
the moon’s silver streamers,
and time’s whispered words in each speck of dust.

My poem from the Oracle. I think there may be more to this one.

Folktober Challenge, Day 1

Images: F3.1, Bloody Mary, Pantoum Form

Be Afraid

You scoff. Say it’s merely folklore,
no fears from a mythical tale,
but away from the mirror, gaze at the floor,
beware the world’s thinned veil!

No fears from a mythical tale.
you say. But don’t light the candle,
don’t say her name, don’t watch for her image pale–
don’t yearn for what you cannot handle.

You say, “but don’t.” Light the candle
I will. There’s a dare in the air, and to it, I thrill—
don’t yearn for what you cannot handle.
I can. Yet suddenly I feel a chill.

Still, I will. There’s a dare in the air, and to it, I thrill–
until I don’t. Bloody Mary in the glass, I can’t—
I can. Yet suddenly I feel a chill.
I see her pass, I hear her laugh, rant, chant–

until . . . I don’t. Bloody Mary in the glass! I can’t.
But away from the mirror, gaze at the floor—
though I see her pass, I hear her laugh, rant, chant.
You scoff. Say it’s merely folklore.

Paul Brookes is hosting a month-long ekphrastic challenge using folklore images to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection, “As Folktaleteller.” I just had a bit of fun with this one, but there are some other excellent responses. You can see the images here, and also read the other responses.

My favorite podcast, Ghosts in the Burbs, had a Bloody Mary episode.


Vulture near the Delaware River


Now, the season of in-between
the summer heat dims, the vultures soar
wind-embraced through clouds to blue–
no evil or good in their birds’ eye view
above the trees, across the shore,
circling death, cleaning the scene.

For dVerse Open Link Night.
I was inspired by Sarah’s elegant response to Punam’s prompt. I decided to write a sestain, as well.
6 lines, ABCCBA

And I saw vultures today. 🙂

The Constancy of Autumn

Monday Morning Musings:

The Constancy of Autumn

“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;”
–from John Keats, “To Autumn”

Sunrise, Delaware River, September

Now the dragons come, sending their fiery breath
Into the cerulean sky, last gasps,
a vibrant show before their long, winter sleep.

Now squirrels skip and scurry
to find and bury their treasure,
eagles soar from shore to shore,

white-feathered heads glowing above the river blue,
where herons and egrets in shallow water wade
still in shadow, then with broad wings wide, glide

to other shoals. While blue jays gather
in raucous meetings throughout the day—
yelling at hawks, asking summer to stay—but

Blue Jay with shade of green

Apples and Honey, both local and delicious

now the apples come—red or golden-green,
the colors of both fall and spring, tart and sweet
as life, well-balanced, though seldom neat.

Now t-shirts are covered by sweaters,
above, azure turns grey, but bright a spray of yellow
in bee-swallowed goldenrod, and violet aster.

Golden rod and aster at dawn.

Now we are in transition, in-between,
summer has ended, winter not yet come
but we remember what has been

the roses of summer and the fruit,
their essence captured in honey and wine–
with time,

the memories and promises,
like late spring’s bird-dawn chatter—
everything connected, everything matters,

the constant of love’s endurance
glowing brilliant as the light
of ancient long-dead stars, so bright,
still guiding us from afar.

Where the light comes through—early morning, Delaware River.

We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah last night. It makes so much more sense to celebrate the new year in early autumn as summer fades into fall than tacked on to the end of winter holidays on the first of January. Of course, no one has asked me. It was wonderful to celebrate with family, and while we missed not having everyone there, the smaller group meant we could all sit at one table and converse together. We toasted the memory of my aunt Sima, whose recipe for challah cannot be surpassed. It’s the one I always use.

Some photos from last night