Friday, May 29, 2020

Wild Fridays #21: Thought Provokers

Elevensies by Kerri Shying 

I'm labelling these as thought-provoking for the form rather than the content. (Which doesn’t mean that they don’t invite thinking about what they say!) It's a new form, which I thought might interest you as much as it does me.

there’s you    reminder of a past   run back
on ghost feet    too wild
in longing   for far
spaces    hung and drawn now
dried as salt eel

stiff as the wind off the sea

you still able    to prick
the water out of eyes
as dry of love    as the linen
worn thin    hung warm
out on the line

from Elevensies (Newcastle, Puncher & Wattman, Slow Loris series, 2018.)
This can be bought directly from the author (email: kezshying at gmail dot com).

Sunday    I learned about potatoes
hidden   dirty   grown in tyres
winter  fruit  of blazing sunshine under
withered tops   gathering the handfuls  I’m
childish with delight   would the

                                         garden of Eden have been a different story

If Eve had offered Adam the potato
sat roasting  round the fire
skin cloaks pulled tight for warmth
heavy bellied  after carbs   curling up
for sleep   spuds born innocent and free

from Knitting Mangrove Roots (Macau, China and Markwell, Australia: Flying Island Books, ASM, and Cerberus Press, 2019. Pocket Poets series). 

Kerri Shying, an Australian poet of Chinese and Wiradjuri family, is the creator of this form. The blurb of Knitting Mangrove Roots says "The elevensies form was invented spontaneously in conversation between Kerri and Kit Kelen" (Australian poet and visual artist, formerly Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau) "who noticed that this was how things were tending for her, and that an eleven liner could become a respectable form in its own right: a form any poet might attempt. Five lines either side and the middle line’s the title, that’s all there is to it."

In each of these books, the titles in the contents page act like another poem. (And yes, the pivot lines / titles are displayed differently in each book, as shown above. It's merely a typographical difference, but I thought it would be interesting to show you both  possibilities. Visual presentation matters too.)

I recently heard Kerri read some of her elevensies at a session of the local Poets Out Loud poetry readings – currently presented on Zoom, which means we can get to hear poets like Kerri, who lives a long way from here (in Newcastle, near Sydney). I fell in love with the form and hastened to buy these books, which had me love it all the more.

As she is eager for other poets to give it a try, I did. (See here and here.) And I encourage you to do so too. (They could be your offerings for the next Writers' Pantry.)

Here are two more from Knitting Mangrove Roots – contrasting pieces, equally satisfying.

sex is for the poor   amid the rubble
of their earthquakes   fleeing from
the death squads   one last shot at
heaven   off-chance   tomorrow  comes
substitute consumption   with

                                                             life's untaxed little luxury

so far away   my memory   of morning
you woke me  flew us both  to Paris
walked me   on a whim   hand in soft-skin
hand   the blue-stone cobbles   made love
in gold sunlight   saw  colour    anew

sex is for the rich   the taking
to places of woo  the beds
strewn  like sets  with rumple
impoverista  cry for sleep
a pillow   partner silent

                                                  lacking snores the recipe for love 

you made me a cuppa  before
you went to work  it was
with one sugar  I didn't mind
maybe I needed    one
big day   on the plate   so sweet


 Post Script 

Magaly recently mentioned the new book, Riders of the Tempest, by our frequent contributor H. Hennenburg, so I grabbed a free copy from Kobo. (It's still available free there, and from Kindle and iBooks.) What a thrill to see that she has included us in her Acknowledgments. 

Thanks, Heather; lovely to be appreciated. You're awesome!

Everybody, this acknowledgment is for all of us. Please take a bow and/or give yourself a pat on the back, knowing that by participating here, and turning up to read others' writings and leave comments, it is you who build this community. We all have a part in developing not only our own writing but each other's too. You're all awesome!

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Weekly Scribblings #21: Anagrams

Greetings, poets and storytellers. I hope this week is being good to you. I’ve been a tad sickly, but things will get better (they always do, don’t they?). Speaking of better things… the other day, a friend sent me a copy of Craig Santos Perez’s “Ars Pasifika”:
when the tide
of silence
say “ocean”
then with the paddle
of your tongue
the letters to form
I enjoyed the clever use of anagrams. So, for today’s prompt, I invite you to write new poetry or prose using anagramsa word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters. Looking for inspiring pairs, trios? Visit the following links:

By the way, am I the only one who read Lolita about a gazillion times without ever noticing that Vivian Darkbloom is an anagram for Vladimir Nabokov? 🙄

Add the direct link to your poetry or prose to Mr. Linky. One entry per participant. If you choose prose, please keep the count to 369 words or fewer. This prompt shall remain open for a week, so we have all sorts of time to delight on each other’s words.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Writers' Pantry #21 - Change of Plans

Hello word artists and admirers! If things had gone the way I had planned they would, I'd be on vacation with my husband, probably enjoying a foodie adventure or two in honor of our 25th anniversary. But of course Covid-19 happened so we had to switch our expectations around a little. 

Fortunately my husband's DYI foodie adventure game is on point (he's kind of a magician when it comes to playing around with food) and even though we can't enjoy travelling together, we're enjoying staying at home, taking walks and playing video games with each other. Although my plans have changed, I'm glad I still get to spend my time with him. How have you adapted to changes in plans?

An AMV made from one of our favorite TV shows and one of our favorite bands

Announcements and Reminders
  • Rosemary treats us to words we might have missed from our fellow writers in her latest Wild Fridays post.
  • For our next Weekly Scribblings, Magaly invites everyone to write new poetry or prose using anagrams—a word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters. For example, “skin” is an anagram of “inks”. You can find more examples HERE and HERE
My plan for Sunday remains the same--invite you to share your words, poetry or prose, new or old, fiction or non-fiction in this week's pantry. Remember, one post per person and if you choose to play with prose, please keep it to 369 words or fewer. The pantry is open for seven days. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Wild Fridays #20: Words from Our Community

Bringing Up the Rear
(the ones we’ve missed)

When the team realised that those who subscribe by email to Poets and Storytellers United might not be receiving the emails until several days after the posts going live, it hit us that this didn’t leave a lot of time for those people to respond to prompts – not when the links were closing before the next post opened. Therefore we extended the linking time for every prompt to one week.

We do, however, add the warning that people who post late might not get a lot of readers. And in practice this is often true. Who’s got time to keep checking back in case any late-comers have responded to a prompt (let alone doing so for every prompt)? Well, me, that’s who – because, as Coordinator here, I feel a responsibility to look after all participants. Luckily I enjoy reading the wonderful variety of material shared – and I’m my own boss, so I can juggle my time, which not everyone can do. But I’m only one person.

I’m the one person who sees when late-comers are read by only three or four people at most; sometimes by none (until I get there). I’m the one who often thinks, ‘Oh, what a pity! This deserves more attention.’ I find myself feeling sorry, not only for those whose words have been seen by so few, but also for everyone who has missed out on a reading treat.

So here are a few tail-enders which you might not have seen: hopefully, something for every taste – the beautiful, the amusing, the deep; the detailed, the succinct; those which inspire further thought, those which invite contemplation, those which directly engage the feelings…

(Some did have a number of readers, just not many from this community.)


if rumours were to be believed 
I would have packed my case
and caught that last train to nowhere

you could have never found me
and even if you did
what was the guarantee
of my heart still not in shreds

my beliefs are at a loss
I know not why I chose
to discard something as obvious

alas, my trust in you surpasses all rumours
including the ones which are true


(You might know this poet better as  Amrit Sinha, self-described as 'Reader. Writer. Book Reviewer. Guitarist. IT' who blogs at Green Speck.)

reductio dichotomy

we say this is a three dimensional place

but up and down dont go very far

and north south east west just

come around again after some distance

so tomorrow we will go back to the office.

even this is too much

so we picture this as a plane

our day to day is basically a flat earth

and move between home work and the mall

the market or the river or the well

there still too much there

so much to experience, to feel

that we block out even more

shrink those planes to a line

or two (of coke? poetry?)

right wrong

black white

left right
red pill blue pill

choose the parameters just right

and decision becomes easy, obvious

we make machines that help unravel the weaving

navi to reduce all roads to the one we need

music to cover the wall of sounds assaulting

beating on the ear drums

tv to numb and provide perfected thoughts

social media to reinforce what i think i know

(rather, what i got from the show)

and yet there are woods and streams beyond the city

)there is always a forbidden forest near the castle(

roads beyond my current route

and up there, space.

rockets demonstrate the longing

kitchen cabinets and walk-in closets too.

in open floorplans, in every successful sales pitch,

there are signs. (like this one)

– erbiage

(aka Eric Erb. See the blog post here, where he also tells us the poem was 'partially inspired by' this very interesting article). 


A smile
On your face
You woke up
You ate
And now
Are writing
Use it well
Or not
At all

- Regine

(blogging at R's rue).

Under the Couch

Under the couch
is a veritable treasure
trove of lost–or purposely
hidden–objects. I reach
underneath to retrieve
a paper clip. My hand
comes out clutching a pen,
plastic cap, earring
hook, and a vitamin pill.
I can make no sense
of some of these items,
but a certain dog sheepishly
looks the other way.

- Sarah McNulty

(writing @ purpleinportland for Rommy's prompt, 'All the Small Things').

Child of the Pairie

Freshly turned earth has a pungent
fragrance that takes me back
to my mother’s garden, which she tended
at the blush of day when the roosters
were announcing sun-up, and the dew clung
to the flowers before the sun burned
it away.

The smell of the rich, black earth
takes me also to the fields surrounding
home.  I close my eyes and see
my father, tall and strong in his overalls,
looking at me with love and a
chuckle as he takes me onto his lap
and lets me steer the tractor
toward home and suppertime.

child of the prairie
unaware of world troubles
blessed with innocence

- indybev 

(A beautiful example of enjambment, for a recent prompt from Sanaa, by Beverley Crawford, blogging at Worditude).

A couple of these posters aren’t regulars here, and have not reappeared. Did they try us out hopefully, only to become discouraged by the lack of response? Perhaps they’re simply not prolific, and will be back eventually. (I’m sure Bev and Sarah, who are very much regulars, would have taken it in their stride  – but I still thought their poems so delightful in their different ways that I didn't want anyone to miss seeing them.)

Meanwhile, here’s another chance, not only to read but to go and leave a comment – if you’ve got a minute and you like what you’ve read. The links I’ve given will take you to the specific posts.

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Weekly Scribblings #20: Undoubtedly Rossetti

Creative Space, Klara Kulikova, Unsplash

“Your red dress,’ she said, and laughed. But I looked at the dress on the floor and it was as if the fire had spread across the room. It was beautiful and it reminded me of something I must do. I will remember I thought. I will remember quite soon now.” ― Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea 

Hello everyone and welcome to another round of Weekly Scribblings! Poems by Christina Georgina Rossetti have always appealed to me. Born in London on 5th December, 1830, sister of well-known Pre-Raphaelite poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Rossetti is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics.

The Wind Has Such a Rainy Sound
by Christina Rossetti

The wind has such a rainy sound
Moaning through the town,
The sea has such a windy sound, -
Will the ships go down?
The apples in the orchard
Tumble from their tree. -
Oh will the ships go down, go down,
In the windy sea?

I Loved You First: But Afterwards Your Love
by Christina Rossetti

I loved you first: but afterwards your love,
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? My love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be—
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine' or ‘thine';
With separate ‘I' and ‘thou' free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine';
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

by Christina Rossetti 

Rushes in a watery place,
And reeds in a hollow;
A soaring skylark in the sky,
A darting swallow;
And where pale blossom used to hang
Ripe fruit to follow.

A Rose has thorns as well as Honey 
by Christina Rossetti 

A rose has thorns as well as honey,
I'll not have her for love or money;
An iris grows so straight and fine,
That she shall be no friend of mine;
Snowdrops like the snow would chill me;
Nightshade would caress and kill me;
Crocus like a spear would fright me;
Dragon's-mouth might bark or bite me;
Convolvulus but blooms to die;
A wind-flower suggests a sigh;
Love-lies-bleeding makes me sad;
And poppy-juice would drive me mad: -
But give me holly, bold and jolly,
Honest, prickly, shining holly;
Pluck me holly leaf and berry
For the day when I make merry.

Your Challenge today is to write while inspired by the works of Rossetti. But wait, there is a twist! You have an option to choose between mesmerizing poems by Christina Georgina Rossetti OR the beautiful paintings by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Click here to view the list.

Let your muse decide which direction it wants to go into. After all, we at Poets and Storytellers United now offer the chance to share both poetry and prose! You may offer more than one entry. Also, if you opt to write prose then please keep it to 369 words or fewer. The Prompt will remain open until next Wednesday!

Good luck composing your masterpieces. I look forward to what you come up with! Please do visit others and remember to comment on their work. Also, enjoy this music video by Ariana Grande. Have fun! 💘