Looking for Clues

One step forward, round and round,
the labyrinth circles. Go? Or stay
in the in-between? Are answers found
when past finds future? Which is the way?

The labyrinth circles—go or stay?
I’m a shadow figure lost in blues,
when past finds future. Which is the way?
Where should I go? Where are the clues?

I’m a shadow figure lost in blues,
within my mind-forest, I search in dreams–
where should I go? Where are the clues–
nothing here is as it seems—

in the in-between. Are answers found
within my mind-forest? I search in dreams–
but nothing here is as it seems–
just one step forward, round and round.

I’ve revised this pantoum originally written in April for Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge inspired by the above artwork by Kerfe Roig and Jane Cornwell. I’m linking this post to dVerse Open Link Night. Live today!

I’ve done a recording, too.


storm-chased seas, waves
in white-foamed roiling crash
against the small trireme, fortunes

a tale unfolds,
ocean-dark legends, gods
and mortals interlocked, love lost
and found.

Slay now,
the snake-haired beast,
though she blood-births magic–
this winged-horse, muse-beloved, soars

and hear beyond
ancient, echoed voices,
flashes of ghost-light memory

each pulse,
part of time’s dust
in gleaming streams–glimmers
of what was, what is, what might be–

a place
in time, circling
round, like a comet bound
for space, yet ensorcelling each

I haven’t done one of Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompts for a long time. This is for an ekphrastic prompt based on the photo above. It sent me off into mythology, as well as the stars. For most of Colleen’s prompts, you must write a poem using one of the listed syllabic forms. This is a Crapsey Cinquain series—though I don’t think I have the rhythm quite right. First draft.

Rusted Traces

Photo by Glenn A. Buttkus, South Sound Minimalist Photos

Smudge the lines, then leave no trace
of words–erase the page,

till only thoughts remain
etched within the heart and mind

the rusted memories of
long-ago places, long-ago times–

you travel toward them, dreaming
of endless roads

of what might have been—


I apologize for being so behind on reading and commenting. I wasn’t going to participate at all this week because I have an academic history book chapter due, as well as other projects– but the poetry muse kept whispering. . . so, this is for two dVerse prompts. It’s a quadrille for Mish’s prompt using the word “smudge,” and it’s influenced by the photo above from Glenn A. Buttkus’s site “South Sound Minimalist Photos,” for Sanaa’s poetics prompt.

Hylas and the Nymphs, Poem in Ekphrastic Review

John William Waterhouse, “Hylas and the Nymphs” (1896)

I’m thrilled and very excited that my poem “The Way It Happened” has been published in the Ekphrastic Review as a challenge response. It responds to the most recent challenge–a painting by John William Waterhouse, “Hylas and the Nymphs.”

My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting my poem. Jane Dougherty’s wonderful prose work is right after mine. You can read all the selected works here.

I’m sharing this with dVerse Open Link Night.

Kerfe Day: One More, Final, Final Day of the Ekphrastic Challenge

Kerfe Roig

A Rainbow Future After the Storm

Soft dove clouds transform to dolphin dark,
again change, and roaring black wolves

with a flash, then
the shrouded monochrome world becomes a tapestry,

a multitude of shape, color, hues. Here, a strand of azure,
here, emerald-green, glistening with diamond sparkle, woven
under and over

embroidered with the vibrant wishes of children—blue horses, red deer,
twinkling golden stars, a spotted purple dog, a striped-orange cat—

a collection, a connection of
smiling faces brighter than the sun,
dream of a rainbow future–
after the storm has passed.

There was a mixup with the images, so Kerfe has been given her own day! So, this is Day 31 of the challenge, Kerfe Day. You can read the rest of the poems here. Once again, thank you to all the artists and poets. It’s been a wonderful, creative challenge.

I don’t know why, but this song went through my head as I started to write.

Legacy of the Stars: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 30

stars burst from before time,
blooming fire-flowers from incandescent seeds
germinating, spawning life

in scallop-shelled births on foam-flecked waves,

there is beauty, truth, in the shimmering blue sea,
and in the reflected light, an endless story
of rebirth.

From shadowed depths, fronds and fish, the slithery, slow-crawl–
scale to feather to skin, uncovered to epochs of the sun’s ground-warming,

the little mouse hides,
emerging to gaze at the stars as she gathers red berries–

all around her, winged predators
and two-legged destroyers
who forget ancestry and legacy—

that they were born from fiery blooms,
the winging, swinging, swirls of singing light,

and the expansive, cerulean sea,
where submerged memories rise, sparkling diamonds
to fly on the spindrift of eons–

catch them–if you can.

There’s a bonus image/poem tomorrow, but this is the end of the official poetry month challenge. Thank you to Paul Brookes for hosting this ekphrastic challenge–and for all he does for the creative arts community. Thank you to all the artists for your brilliant and inspiring images, and thank you to my fellow poets for sharing their work. Congratulations–it’s been quite a month! You can read all of today’s poems here.

Listen for the Song: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 29

Concentrate on hearing voices
-Kerfe Roig

in the wine-dark night
for sailing ships, diamond bright,
they carry cargoes of mother-dreams,
the birth of when and then and why,
and all the new-born cries
of star-kissed light—

but all the comets, streaking bright,
no portents cry, no signs of will or won’t–
no constancy—just light.

Yet concentrate on the soulful sound,
of shimmering stars, and all around
hear the ringing ding dong ding
as bird-winged they twinkle-sing—

now watch as the comet phoenix-flies,
and listen as its call from ashes rises
not fate, fortunes, nothing symbolized–

simply light and song—
what you wanted all along.

For Day 29 of Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge and of poetry month.

All the Voices: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 28

Inspired by KR28 and JL28

Blue of sky
to river flowing
colored light
green growing
tall, bright, with birdsong trilling
day into night

sings. Hawk is screeching
gulls laugh back,
call goodbye
to fly in formation, light-
glimmered wings in flight

paths swirling,
all the sounds whirling—
sky voices,
birds and bees,
stars and moon, owl’s mournful whoooo?
So, you dream of scenes—

blue of sky
and river flowing,
all the birds’
bright knowing,
summer sounds in winter’s dream—
I turn towards you.

A shadorma sequence for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 28. You can see all the art and read the poems here.

Patterns: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 27

Inspired by KR27 and JC27

Recurring patterns, the leopard’s spots,
my cat’s dark stripes against the grey
the rings on snakes, the turtle’s shell–say

a spider’s web, or a snowflake falling,
the same skills in an artist’s drawings,

but each unique.

Individual thoughts, lives, memories,
we weave together—make a plait,
a history of this, or wait,

use a net to catch and hold,
the good, the bad, the horrid, the bold
lies and truth, untold and told—

and if we never catch that elusive fish,
the legendary—still we wish,

the net cast on the water
to find treasure for our sons and daughters,

and see the sun-caught sparkling blue
alive with light and promise, so, too

an outstretched hand
held out again and again, unplanned

a recurring pattern through generations
woven in and out of hopes and dreams.

Love. Caught? Sought or forgotten.

Not always what it seems–or

sometimes it’s more.

Day 27, just three more days for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge and poetry month. You can see all the art and read all the poems here. I’ve edited the end of this poem. I’ll be back later because I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today!

Beacons: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 26

We search for a glimmer to put us at ease,
we watch for a beacon, bright in the sky.
We seek a light, a sign in storm-roiled seas,
and for a little while, we don’t ask why

we watch for a beacon, bright in sky,
augur portending, a hero or hope,
for a little while, we don’t ask why
the weary one’s an age-old trope,

augur portending, hero or hope,
each warrior, once a baby born–
the weary one’s an age-old trope,
wanted, revered, then mocked and scorned.

Each warrior, once a baby born
to her or him, words said and not,
wanted, revered, then mocked and scorned–
lessons learned and lessons taught.

To her or him, words said and not–
live well, and love, and take good care—
lessons learned and lessons taught,
faint or bright, a beacon glows everywhere.

Live well, and love, and take good care,
we seek a light, a sign in storm-roiled seas–
faint or bright, a beacon glows. Everywhere,
we search for a glimmer to put us at ease.

A pantoum for Day 26 of Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. My poem didn’t make it into his post, but you can read the others here.