Day 20: December in Bleakness and Joy

Every morning in December, I look for the poem in Sarah Connor’s advent series. Today, it’s mine. Thank you Sarah for putting together this series–and for asking me to participate in this beautiful tradition again. Happy Holidays to all!

Sarah writes poems

And now, the trees bare-branched sway
beneath the long night’s moon, roots cocooned
below the fallen snow—so we belay

our fears of endless night with candle flicker, delight
in twinkling glow and flow of wassail cheer.

Against the black-winged sky, the skeleton trees dream,
the flowers sleep beneath frost-gleam,

and we yearn for green–and sights unseen–

for magic or miracles, banish the tragic
with mirth and song,

learn the true wonder is love, and the joy, to belong

while our Earth spins and turns–
the pale blue dot, our golden star–
bonded with a balanced pull, as lovers are

as we know, too,

when we look up to glimmers, ancient bright,
then open our hearts to recreate that light.

Thank you to Merril D Smith for this poem of light and love and joy.

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Deck the Storms – The Christmas Live Event – Eat the Storms – The Podcast Podcast

Deck the Storms, the Christmas Live Event–today!

eat the Storms

Podcast available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Player FM, Radio Public, OverCast, PocketCast, CastBox, ITunes, Podbean, Podcast Addicts and many more platforms.

This Live Show aires on Zoom, with tickets via Eventbrite on Saturday 14th December 2021 at 7.30pm GMT. Produced and hosted by Damien B. Donnelly and below are details and links to all the guest stars…

Ness Owen

Ness Owen is a poet and FE lecturer from Ynys Mon. She has been widely published in anthologies and journals including in Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, Mslexia, Red Poets, Poetry Wales, The Atlanta Review, Culture Matters, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Black Bough Journal and Mother’s Milks Books. Her first collection ‘Mamiaith’ (Mother Tongue) was published by Arachne Press in 2019 and her second collection will be published by Parthian in October 2022. She is currently co-editing an anthology themed on the A470 road through…

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‘Tis the Season

boughs sparkle bright,
boot-crackled frost-laced leaves
send squirrels scattering and keen crows

gleam, stream light-blasts,
ancient songs echo, brush
feathers of owls’ wings with magic
they sing,

come dreams,
twirling visions,
sugarplums and Mouse King,
mythic battles, long night’s shadows

Yet see–
against grey sky
red, green, silver, and blue
baubles beckon in joyous glow–

festive and bright–
candles burn as Earth turns
now winter comes, silent nights, hushed
with snow.

A Crapsey cinquain sequence for Colleen’s Festive prompt. It’s a sort of fragment poem, too.
I’m sharing this poem with dVerse Open Link Night.

Eat the Storms – The Podcast Podcast – The Halloween Special

I’m so honored to be amongst these wonderful poets for the Halloween Special Episode of Damien B. Donnelly’s Eat the Storms podcast!

eat the Storms

Podcast available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Player FM, Radio Public, OverCast, PocketCast, CastBox, ITunes, Podbean and many more platforms.

This Halloween special episode aired first on Saturday 30th October 2021. The guests were Arden Hunter, Polly Oliver, Catherine Ann Cullen, Gaynor Kane, Matthew Haigh, Merril D Smith, Sarah Connor, Jane Dougherty, Jessica Drake-Thomas, Moyra Donaldson, Melody Wang, Robert Frede Kenter and Sarah Wragg. Produced and hosted by Damien B. Donnelly. Below are details and links to all the guest stars…

Arden Hunter

Arden Hunter is originally from the UK but currently lives in Indonesia. They are an aroace agender writer, artist and performer. With an eclectic range of interests from the horrific to the whimsical, the theme tying all of their work together is an inexplicable and unconditional love of the ridiculous beast that is called ‘human’. They write poetry, flash fiction, short stories and are…

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A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Merril D. Smith

I am interviewed here on David L O’nan’s Fevers of the Mind Blog. Thank you very much, David!

Fevers of the Mind

with Merril D. Smith

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Merril: I began writing stories when I was a child. I remember giving my dad a handmade book (a school art project) with a story I had written about little creatures called Troubles. After that I did a little bit of very bad writing in high school, and then I started writing non-fiction as an adult, beginning with my doctoral dissertation in American history, which became my first book, Breaking the Bonds. I didn’t really turn to poetry until my children were grown and out of the house. I began a WordPress blog, which gradually became a mostly poetry blog. I think I was seeking a creative outlet without realizing it right away, and then, suddenly, I felt almost overtaken by the poetry muse.

My parents were both great readers, and our house was always filled…

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May Queen, NaPoWriMo, Day 10

She sleeps in a thousand blues
of forest-shadowed whispers, waiting
for the world to wake, now in-between–

and in her dreams, she listens
for sky voices, the laugh of stars and birds remembering
the rhythm of days, tiny rose-tips, yet unseen

but when, not if, they come again
dressed in honeyed gowns of golden light, lingering–
she’ll wake to take her place, sweet May Queen–

with each embrace, she color-spaces
a trace of perfume recalls her paces,
and soft poetry where she has been, always and forever green.

I haven’t done too many NaPoWriMo prompts this month because I’m writing for an Ekphrastic Challenge, and there are only so many poems I can write each day! But, I always visit the the Magnetic Poetry Oracle on Saturdays, and today she gave me this sort of folk tale poem.

3 poems from Merril D. Smith in Fevers of the Mind Poetry Press Presents the Poets of 2020

My poems published in Fevers of the Mind, Poets of 2020. Thank you so much to EIC, David L O’Nan!

Fevers of the Mind

Thanksgiving, the Year of Covid-19

We passed the dish of memory,
transferring without hand-touching the squirrel-shaped mold–
its ceramic a bit care-worn, appearing empty,
though we knew it was full of recollections and dreams,
tart and sweet, like the cranberry sauce that once filled it,
and would do so again. Now these thoughts of past Thanksgivings,
filled it, dripping over to fall in tears.
It won’t be the same, we say, and do you remember?
Her laugh, our laughs together–
not together this year

Here and Hereafter

From misted dreams, the clouds blow back black
as sky-ships spray incandescent shimmer,
and with whispered wonder
sing, bring, ring-in the pink-rosed day.
This after disaster, hereafter and if–
the moon comes blue, and hums a riff
for the sad sea, and those you see, in-between drifts
of shadow and shine, the haunted souls
of those who played with diamond cool, embracing now

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Light a Candle

Today, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I’m reposting this poem from a few years ago.

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

“It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”

–Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

Light a candle

six million, if you can,

resplendent glow,

for those who say they didn’t know,

for those who didn’t, do not see

what once was, what could be,

who overlooked the ash-filled air,

who still ignore the pleading cries

and do not hear the ghostly sighs

that float over the walls of hate,

now, don’t hesitate–

light a candle

for those who suffered

and had no buffer

from the fear,

no one to wipe away a tear,

who died because you didn’t see.


By Takkk (Own work), via Wikipedia, Holocaust Memorial Center, Memorial Wall of Victims – Budapest, Hungary

For International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2017. The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet…

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12 – 20 – Featured Haiku Writer

I don’t think I ever shared this haiku. Thanks again, Freya.


shore slides beneath sea

lovers in flirtatious dance–

timeless, rhythmic waves

© Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril D. Smith is currently working on two reference books about rape–and a book of poetry.

Here is the fifth haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer. The first line of this haiku struck me from the first reading. I love the way Merril develops the image throughout the poem

This haiku is part of our ARTURINA theme!

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12 – 18 – Featured Haiku Writer

My fourth featured haiku on Pure Haiku. Thank you very much, Freya!


moon hums to oak tree

ancient song, a lullaby–

love grows from your roots

© Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril D. Smith listens to the moon hum and the stars sing, and sometimes she writes about it.

Here is the fourth haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer. This haiku made me think of the Chorus Trees that sing in harmony on Arturina. They are also a safe haven for the small animals that are hunted by the predators …

This haiku is part of our ARTURINA theme!

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