Chapter 1

By mountainwriter49


Another year has come and gone,
as we now pause with this new year
so fresh and full of promise; we
reflect upon our many blessings.
A blessing that I count supreme
is my friend from the frozen lands
astride the shores of Michigan’s
Great Lake; I speak of Karyn Stockwell.
And so I celebrate my friend
on this, her 64th birthday. 
And though the years have added up,
she looks as though she’s thirty-seven.
I cannot think of one who loves
the lives of children more than she.
She’s nurtured babies; held them tight
and kept them safe with love’s sweet touch.
She loves the joys that life provides
and shares her touch with all she meets.
For her the cloudy day is short,
eclipsed by brilliant sun’s display.
Kar writes resplendent poetry
and sharpest prose with keenest wit.
Her haiku stands above the rest,
as does her Joey dialogues.
I love my friend and am so glad
that she is part of all I know
and cherish within my life’s sphere.
Such friendship is indeed most rare.
So Happy Birthday, Kar, my friend,
and may your day be filled with love!

3 January 2015

Author Notes Poetic Form:
Non-rhyming quatrains. Iambic tetrameter. Feminine verse used in the fourth lines of stanzas 1, 2 & 3.

IndianaIrish (Karyn) is celebrating her birthday on 4 January 2016! She will be 39.something. She is a wonderful FanStorian, terrific writer and poet and superb friend. Happy Birthday, Kar! -rr

Chapter 2

By mountainwriter49

Happy Birthday, Papa

Oh how the time flies quickly as I age
and mem’ries of you fade as vision dulls.
Some images, once clear upon the page,
have turned to faded sepia...I mull
the time when we would fish along lake’s shore
and drive the twisting mountain roads with glee
as we’d slide through the hairpin curves galore.
We’d stop along the way so we could see
the majesty of setting sun as peaks
turned from the softest blue to darkest black.
‘Tis memories as these I’ll always keep,
eclipsing times when I deserved your slack.
A father’s love transcends all earthly time,
to have him close again would be sublime.

7 January 2016.............................................................................


Author Notes Poetic Form:
Shakespearean Sonnet: written in iambic pentameter with abab cdcd efef gg rhyme pattern.

Celebrating the 92nd year of my father's birth. He would have been 92 on 9 January. He has been gone since the summer of 1999. Isn't it amazing how we remember the good things, the simple things about those whom we love?

He taught me to drive on twisty mountain roads when I was only 13. This was way before I had drivers education and a learner's permit. Every time I drive mountain roads I think of him. Thank you, Papa!

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 4
Upon The Rocky Ledge

By mountainwriter49

Please read Author Notes before reading the poem.

Upon The Rocky Ledge

Upon the rocky ledge above the sea,
I lay and pondered fate ‘neath starlit sky.
Night’s air was crisp and fresh upon my face
as Aeolus sent forth the gentle winds
that kissed my lips and teased my flowing locks.
‘Twas there, upon outcroppings formed by Zeus
so long ago that time itself cannot
be kept and stored within the mind of man,
I found your star, and thus your kiss, your love,
that wondrous night.
                         The southern winds were warm
and graceful as they kept night’s chill away.
I was transfixed by Perseids’ white rain
of fire across the northern sky’s expanse.
Oh how the gods do tease us as they toy
with stars and hurl red streaks of fire across
the sky, reminding us ‘tis they who rule
our world.
                I drink much wine, as Dionysus fills
my cup with endless zeal, while pondering
the ancient constellations; seeking life’s
grand truths.   Oh, how can such a moonless night
be full of light with depths of colour never seen
before?  The heaven’s vast void, filled with ink 
of blackest-blue adorned with stars aglow
as diamonds reflecting Helios’
steel-blue eyes.  I am awed by what I feel
and slowly rise so I might be e’er close
to stars aloft.  My robe slides down my back and
thus my naked form’s revealed while stretching my
arms towards an emptiness I pray is rich
with hope and love.
                                My cup o’er flows with wine.
The wind is warmer and I hear sweet sounds
wafting on winds’ wings; calling me to wait
for your arrival.  I begin to feel
as though I am adrift above the ground,
existing in a twilight state, aroused,
and longing for you.  In the distance I
can see your face and unrobed form
approaching me. Oh, such joy as I have
not felt before as when we touched and kissed!
You whispered that you are my chosen love—
my destiny.
How perfect was our night
as we lay close, entwined above the fray
of crashing waves beneath our rocky ledge.
You gave yourself to me upon my vow
of loving only you forevermore. 
The heavens were aglow.
                                                      When I awoke,
the firmament above Earth’s rim was full ablaze,
and you were gone and I was all alone.
I cried aloud and felt so cold ‘neath sun’s
bright rays and reached for my disheveled robe. 
‘Twas there, within its folds, I found your scroll
and lock of golden hair you’d neatly tied
with lapis threads.
                         Each year I climb the rocks
above the sea where we first met; awaiting…
and longing for you to return to me
for yet another night, my  love.  ‘Tis you,
and only you who fills my soul with love
and heart with joy…I gaze upon the stars,
and see Perseids streak across the sky,
while sipping wine and reaching for your hand.

9 January 2016



Author Notes POETIC FORM:

Blank Verse Narrative. This is a poetic form created in the mid-16th Century and perfected by Milton and Shakespeare. It is written in iambic meter and has no rhymes within each stanza (internal-line or end-line). In this presentation, varying line lengths and metrical substitutions, feminine verse and trochaic substitutions, etc., have been utilized as appropriate. Metrical substitution is often used in long, narrative blank verse poetry in order to achieve dramatic and/or emotive emphasis as well as to overcome the boredom of seemingly never ending iambic meter. For example, Stanza 3, line 12 and stanza 4, line 3 are examples of metrical substitution utilized in this verse. Additionally, feminine verse is used in several lines.


Aeolus (EE uh luhs) = The ruler of the winds; ancient Greek deity.
Diamonds (DI a monds) = Pronounced in three syllables.
Dionysus (DAHY uh NAHY subs) = The Greek God of the wine harvest.
Helios (HEE lee os) = The Greek god of the sun.
Mind of Man = the collective memory and history of mankind.
Perseids (PER see ids) = The sons of Perseus; a prolific meteor shower passing
through the Constellation Perseus each summer in late July through mid


Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 5
Sonnet 12--The Woman Scorned

By mountainwriter49

Like fools we bicker while your future palls,
as we yet heat your oceans and blue sky.
Retreating glaciers calve and icebergs fall
into your warming waters—all’s awry.
While waters slowly rise, we wring our hands 
as politicians speak false platitudes.
Though Fukushima’s poison has been panned,
we’re learning just how much the truth’s been skewed.
But Mother Nature’s like the woman scorned,
and as she grieves, she shares with us distress.
As Venice sinks and sea ice loss is mourned,
she wilts once verdant fields with harsh finesse. 

A wise man listens and recounts your gifts;
Let’s make a change right the rift.

21 January 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Wreath of Sonnets
This Wreath of Sonnets poetic form consists of 15 sonnets and is based upon a poem first written by France Preseren in 1833 and published in Germany in 1834. Each sonnet starts with the last line of the previous sonnet and the first lines create a 15th sonnet - called Master Sonnet. The Shakespearean sonnet form has been used for these sonnets.

This sonnet is part of a co-authored wreath of sonnets to bring attention to climate change and the human pollution contributing to it. The theme of this joint project was masterminded and managed by Jyoti (lightlink).

Please check out the rest of the sonnets marked by the same image.
Ideally, they are read in order. Each sonnet will have a subtitle chosen by the poet. The following sonnets belong to this Wreath of Sonnets:

Mater Sonnet by Kiwisteveh
Sonnet 1 by Ciliverde
Sonnet 2 by Tfawcus
Sonnet 3 by Mfowler
Sonnet 4 by Gloria
Sonnet 5 by Just2write
Sonnet 6 by The Death
Sonnet 7 by Treischel
Sonnet 8 by Domino2
Sonnet 9 by Kiwisteveh
Sonnet 10 by Lightink
Sonnet 11 Dorothy Fennell
Sonnet 12 by Mountainwriter49
Sonnet 13 by Pantygynt
Sonnet 14 by Debbie Noland


Many thanks to Jyoti for developing this wonderful project.

Thank you for reading my poetry.


Chapter 6
tanka (new waxing crescent)

By mountainwriter49

tanka  (new waxing crescent)
tanka suite

new waxing crescent
lingers just above barren trees
beauty such as yours
takes my breath away

razor-thin crescent
dips below mountain ridge
yields to brilliant stars
as we hold each other tight

bejewel the flawless night sky
as are your soft blue eyes
and tender kiss
11 January 2016


Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Tanka. Tanka is an ancient Japanese short poetic form. Its first two lines are haiku-like and generally focus on a feature of nature. The third line serves as the satori/commentary on the first two lines and importantly as a pivot to begin the last two lines. The last two lines, along with the pivot, serve to provide the emotive element of the poem. Thus, the poem blends both natural elements and human emotions. Nature may be personified in tanka. The poem is written in five lines in a short/long/short/long/long format and may not exceed 31 syllables. Sue Campion (sgalletti) teaches that tanka is the Japanese poetic equivalent of the Western sonnet. I highly recommend Sue's Japanese short form classes.

A tanka suite is a collection of tanka which, when combined, form a more complete story. With that said, each tanka must still be able to stand on their own.

I stepped outside tonight and saw the razor thin waxing crescent just above the tree line. The crescent was razor thin and resembled a flattened U rather than a C. It was stunning. And of course, I had to keep going outside to see the moon set and the stars alight as the sky darkened. It is a glorious, crystal clear night and the waxing crescent, was eye candy for sure.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 7

By mountainwriter49

A Parody
I learned a story from so long ago
about a man with no humility.
He shined e’er brightly in his self-made glow,
but could not see his life’s true actuality.
For him, the world was one large fruited tree
from which he’d pluck the sweetest fruits with glee.
The more he ate, the larger he would grow,
until his pants no longer held his belly’s overflow.
And thus, his friends began to fade, as his
puffed ego swelled and overpowered them.
He couldn't see the hurt each time he crowed
and bragged, he had lost all serenity.

The regal King can’t see his nudity;
his pride shall go before his fall into reality.

11 January 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
A Parody written in the vein of a Shakespearean-like sonnet. By this I mean in terms of introduction and development of theme, turn in the third stanza, a closing commentary couplet and written in iambic meter. What differentiates this from the true sonnet form is it has variable line lengths and the rhymes do not follow the abab cdcd efef gg pattern. The rhyme pattern for this poem is abab bbaa abab aa. I have also utilized some metrical substitution, such as the trochees used in stanza 3, line 2.

Sometimes the coldness of the weather can only be matched by the coldness of one√????√???√??√?¬¢??s ego. Thus, I thought of the verse from "Proverbs 16:18" and "The Emperor's New Clothes".

Thank you for reading my poetry. I hope you enjoy my Monday afternoon's musings.

Chapter 8

By mountainwriter49

tanka prose

The air is calm except for the occasional gust of wind, but it’s  bitter cold.  The kind of damp cold that cuts to the bone. The much-too-warm December is now an Arctic January. Minus 15 Celsius is tonight’s forecast. I wonder if the daffodil sprouts will freeze? Even so, I love that it finally feels like winter and that it is snowing!  

It’s late, and the fire is roaring.  I pour a glass of Bushmills and put on my down-filled parka and step outside onto my serpentine courtyard to breathe it all in.  Brrr!  I pull the fur-lined hood over my head.  Another gulp of Irish helps warm me up.  The symphony of a gentle wind accompanied by the stalwart woodwinds in my backyard stirs my soul.  Diva’s crisp, pure descant blends with nature’s sublime score. The snow continues to fall, filling me with awe.  The tall cedars bordering the courtyard bow ‘neath its weight.  I stick out my tongue to taste the snow and make a snowball and throw it towards the big tree.  Another sip of whiskey warms my icy hands.  This old man grins like a child on Christmas morning.
Everything is now calm.  No wind.  No street traffic.  There’s nothing quite like standing on these ancient stones, listening to the silence of the falling snow as it enshrouds everything in a thick, soft blanket of purest white.  ‘Tis only my beating heart that accompanies its graceful descent.
ancient oak’s
limbs adorned by fallen snow
mood o’er takes me as I
meld with nature’s elegance

12 January 2016


Author Notes POETIC FORM: Tanka Prose
Tanka prose is a close cousin to haibun, the Japanese short form poetic form blending short, terse prose with haiku. The Tanka prose provides for a more eloquent prose, or less terse, and utilization of tanka in lieu of the haiku. Both share the form of succinct prose and the poetic form of haiku or tanka as appropriate. Both are written in present tense.

Bushmills = A fine Irish whiskey.
Minus 15 Celsius = 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stalwart woodwinds = the trees within and bordering my back yard and courtyard.

Earlier this week the temperatures dropped and we had some snow. It was the first snow of this otherwise Spring-like Winter. As one might imagine, my muse became quite excited and forced me to scribe these thoughts upon scrap parchment.

Thanks to Sue Campion (sgalletti) for teaching me this poetic form. I highly recommend her FS classes on the Japanese poetry.

Thanks also for ready my poetry.


Chapter 9
tanka (grand elm)

By mountainwriter49

tanka (grand elm)
tanka suite
Written to celebrate the occasion of Adonna’s birthday
grand elm
weathers winter’s storms
she reaches towards heaven
for strength and solace
purple tulips
adorn lake’s edge
is her graceful beauty
as she turns and smiles at me
red roses
flourish in summer swelter
e’er lasting love
is what she shares
with everyone she meets
mountains are ablaze
with hues of red and gold
poetry flows from her pen
onto life’s lasting parchment
orb’s brilliance
crests icy mountain ridge
emanates from her heart and soul
on this her birthday

17 January 2016


Author Notes POETIC FORM: Tanka
Tanka is an ancient Japanese poetic form that combines an element of nature with human emotion. Essentially, the first three lines are haiku-like and usually utilize a natural element to set the tone for the poem. Nature can be personified in tanka. The first two lines are grammatically connected and followed by an ah-ha line, or satori. This third line also saves the important role of pivot, thus beginning the last part of the tanka which deals with human emotion.

A tanka suite is a grouping of several tanka in order to convey a more complete story. With that said, each tanka must be able to stand on its own as well as work in unison with the other tanka.

Today is Adonna's (MissMerri) birthday and I just wanted to send poem rather than a birthday card.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 10
Time Passes

By mountainwriter49

Time Passes
A Lament in blank Verse

Time passes by too quickly, my dear friend.
Let us not let ‘ole Father Time succeed
in letting too much time expend ‘tween  the
quaint Blue Stone Inn and now as Winter sings
her horrid songs of harshest bitterness
this week and those foreseen as Arctic blasts
remind us ’tis not us in total charge.

And thus the poet sang in blankest verse
on coldest eve of this new frigid year.
He sings of love and friendship e’er sublime
and wonders when the cork shall pop again
and friendship be affirmed without the sad
encumbrances of the terse month now passed.

And so he says  that all is well
within his heart and soul; that he's now freed
to write and sate himself with grand endeavors
forging this new year of life and love and poetry.

And thus the poet spake this frigid night.

18 January 2016

Author Notes Night's musing with the Arctic blast leveling evening temperatures at 4 Fahrenheit this evening, as well as sending as not too subliminal message to a friend.

Written in blank verse and iambic pentameter. Thus, no rhyme.

Thank you for reading my poetry.
I apologize for the low member dollars--just none in Tom's Bank to expend.

Chapter 11
haiku suite (dark grey clouds)

By mountainwriter49

haiku suite (dark grey clouds)

dark grey clouds
hang low in winter sky

white-grey haze
enshrouds mountain ridges

Canadian geese
 aloft as first snow falls
escape artists

the air
is filled with pouring snow
snow dome

cedar crowns
encased by heavy snow

howl  as snow falls sideways
nocturnal white-out

23 January 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Haiku Suite
A haiku suite is a collection of haiku which are tied together by a common theme. Thus, the suite allows the writer to share a larger story about nature than could otherwise be accomplished via a single haiku. Each haiku must be able to stand on its own as well as blend and work with the other haiku to tell the larger story.

Haiku is a Japanese short form poetic form which admires word economy and effectiveness. The poetic form has many 'rules.' Some of the key rules are summarized as follows: 1) must capture an observable moment in time; 2) must not include what the poet imagines what is going on, or desk haikuism; 3) written in present tense; 4) minimal capitalization and punctuation; 5) generally three lines in short/long/short form; 6) must not exceed 17 syllables, with fewer syllables preferred; 7) does not overdo other poetic techniques such as alliteration and excessive adjectives; 8) use of articles and conjunctions are kept to absolute minimum; 9) two lines must be grammatically connected forming a concrete image in the mind of the reader. This is achieved by juxtapositioning two concrete images that have been observed by the poet; 10) the third line serves as the ah-ha, or satori; 11) must include a seasonal reference; and 12) nature may not be personified.

Haiku are best presented without appended artwork since it is the words of the haiku that paint the image in the mind of the reader.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 12
haiku suite (brisk winds)

By mountainwriter49

haiku suite (brisk winds)

brisk winds
morph dark, foreboding clouds
figurative art

heavens spit snow
as winds howl ‘round the eaves
ticker-tape parade

strips of blue sky
entwine with black clouds

clouds churn
as winds aloft roar
funneled wrath

rain pelts
windows horizontally

warm drizzle
melds with cold earth and snow

gravid moon
crests foggy ridge

27 February 2016.................................

Author Notes Poetic Form: haiku suite

Haiku is a Japanese short form poem consisting of 17 syllables or less, and preferably less. There are many 'rules' that haiku must follow, including: must have two grammatically connected lines forming a concrete image in the mind of the reader; must not personify nature; juxtapositions two concrete images; have a satori, or ah-ha line serving as a moment of insight about the other two lines; is all about capturing an observable moment in time and not something imagined by the poet; is not written in abstract terms; capitalization and punctuation are kept to an absolute minimum, etc.

A haiku suite is the grouping of several haiku sharing a common theme. Thus, the poet is able to write a more complete poem. With that said, each haiku must be able to stand alone as well as working well, or unifying with all of the other haiku within the suite.

Last Wednesday we experience the strangest weather I've seen in one day in a long, long time. The haiku suite is an attempt to capture the various weather elements which occurred during the day.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 13
Ninety-One Years Old

By mountainwriter49

            Ninety-One Years Old
I gaze upon your high chair made of oak,
with filigreed designs and steps well worn,
that Maggie’s children used.  Such thoughts evoke
dear memories of you on this grand morn.
      Oh, Mama, your chair—my chair yet remains
      a touchstone of your love. Like fine Champagne,
      it  quickens as I age.  Time passes by,
      reminding me when things were not awry.
And thus your presence yet remains within
my heart as I now celebrate your birth.
You would be ninety-one.  I know you’d spend
your day in happiness with heart-felt mirth. 
     You’d cook a feast for family and friends
      and fill our glasses up with gin again.
     You’d laugh and joke and keep us all amused.
     There’s no doubt laughter was your greatest muse!
And thus today I place fresh roses by
your side and think of dearest times with you.
I won’t forget your voice; our last goodbye.
So precious were your words, they still ring true.
     And thus, I’ll spend the day with joyful glee
     with friends and family.  Such grand esprit
     we’ll share in love on this your special day;
     and such is life’s most wonderful bouquet.

6 March 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Triple Heroic Rispetto. A Rispetto, an Italian form of poetry, is a complete poem of two rhyme quatrains with strict meter. The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of abab ccdd. A Heroic Rispetto is written in Iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme. I have written this poem in iambic pentameter with each rispetto having a rhyme pattern of abab ccdd.

Maggie's children: Maggie was my Great-grandmother and her children would have included my Grandmother and my maternal Great uncles and aunts. Thus, this child's high-chair has been in my family for at least four generations, dating back to at least 1892. My mom's birthday is on 6 March.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 14
tanka suite (eaglets)

By mountainwriter49

tanka suite (eaglets)
For Bob, and his brother Larry

flourish in parents’ nest
throughout our lives--
brothers through thick and thin

young eagles leave
nest to find their way
fledgling wings
matured and took us
along different paths

daffodils and hyacinths
sprout each spring in mama’s garden
of brothers
at the old homestead

lavender crocus
blooms emerge on March morning
love and life through God’s grace
is his forevermore

warm waters flow
over hand-hewn dam
of our time together
wash o’er me as I weep

I sit by lake’s edge
and gaze upon brilliant sunrise
of your soul and
renaissance of my life to come


8 March 2016...

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Tanka Suite
Tanka is an ancient Japanese short poetic form. It lends itself well to poems with emotive impact. In fact, it has been referred to as the Japanese equivalent of the sonnet. Tanka is 31 syllables or less in a five line poem conforming to the short/long/short/long/long structure. Often times on FanStory, one reads that tanka is a 5-7-5-7-7 poem. This is simply not true.

Tanka has three component parts as follows: 1) haiku-like first three lines utilizing a natural theme to set the tone for the rest of the tanka; 2) line 3 serves as the satori/ah-ha moment of the first two lines and most importantly, also as a pivot line to begin lines 4 & 5. It is lines 3,4 & 5 that form the emotive impact of tanka. In tanka, nature may be personified; however, as in haiku, word efficiency and effectiveness and using punctuation and capitalization sparingly is admired.

A tanka suite is a grouping of several tanka developed to tell a more complete story. With that said, each tanka must be able to stand on its own.

An old college friend's brother passed away last week after a difficult fight with cancer. He was only 68. His younger brother, Bob, my friend, survives. This poem is for Bob and his brother Larry. The tanka is written as though Bob is the narrator.

Thank you for reading my poetry.


Chapter 15
My Rant-Stump

By mountainwriter49

I'll now step up on my rant-stump
and rail against the fascist Trump.
He's thrown us in the fetid sump;
let's vote to throw him in the dump.

And then there's Nixon's Hillary
equivocating constantly.
A server that no one can see,
and Wall Street cash beyond reality.

Oh yes, and then there's Mister Cruz,
upon our stripes he leaves a bruise.
The secular state he'd abuse,
his cup of tea, I shall refuse.

And then there's Bernie, a nice man,
who of the four is hard to pan.
He seems to be an honest man;
I can't abide his socialist plan.

And thus our wondrous nation wanes
by politicians so inane.
Their thirst for power is arcane,
and lack of ethics--I disdain. 

What would The Founders have to say
about our 'leading candidates' today?
I'm sure they'd damn how we have gone astray
and pull us out of this hellacious fray.

America's much better than these peeps.
They ought to give us all the creeps.

'Tis time that we recall our greatest Presidents,
and strive to find the next best White House resident.

15 March 2016--The Ides of March...........................................

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Mono-rhyming iambic meter quatrains and two closing couplets. Line lengths vary with tetrameter, pentameter and hexameter.

Cup of Tea = reference to the Tea Party element of the Republican Party

Nixon's Hillary = Hillary Clinton. Richard Nixon was a liar and known as "Tricky Dick" because of his questionable ethics and manipulative endeavors.

Our Stripes = the US flag and values

Pan = severely criticize

Socialist = pronounced in two syllables (soc-shillst)

Sump = deep hole

The Founders = The men and women who established the US in the mid-late 18th Century. Key players include: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, etc.

You can blame this poem on Rose (Just2Write)! LOL. I was doing just fine until I read her well-penned rispetto entitled "Peace--So Close" earlier today. It just set me off and this poem is the result. Thank you, Rose, for helping me get all of "this" out of my system.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 16
haiku (rain droplets)

By mountainwriter49

haiku (rain droplets)

rain droplets
cling to bare limbs
translucent pearls


15 March 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Haiku
Haiku is a Japanese short poetic form. There is much controversy about what haiku is and is not. The guidelines as I understand them include: 1) may not exceed 17 syllables, but may be less than 17 syllables; 2) presented in a short / long / short format; 3) must be about an observed moment in time, not thoughts and assumptions projected into the moment by the poet, i.e., things not observed; 4) nature may not be personified; 5) two grammatically connected lines forming a concrete thought in the mind of the reader; 6) a satori/ah-ha line, usually the 3rd line; 7) minimal capitalization and punctuation; 8) must include a seasonal reference; and 9) haiku admire word efficiency and word effectiveness.

This morning, as I was going out to pull the trash can to the street, I stopped to look at the Japanese maple in my courtyard. The tree was full with heavy rain drops still clinging to the limbs.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 17
I'm But An Old Man

By mountainwriter49

Please read author notes first.

I’m But An Old Man

I’m but an old man, worn and tired tonight
from what I’ve heard, all seems in disarray.
I sip my bourbon and sigh in dismay
at gross display of grievous Fascist blight
that now descends upon our lives with fright.
The rhetoric is strong and casts harsh ways
that’s filled with fear and hate; life’s gone astray.
‘Tis though humanity has lost its sight.
Tonight, my love, I’ll drown myself in tears
and Bourbon’s kiss to wash away the sounds
of demagogues that preach false prophet’s lies.
But I remember, darling, those lost years
when we would dance, and you would wear frayed gowns.           
Despite my tears, I focused on your eyes.
Despite my tears, I focused on your eyes
as our world fell apart.  We fled the scourge
and wandered to where hope and fate converged;
to where we might find peace. I agonized
at how our kind and kin were so despised.
Their evil and horrendous plans to purge
us from this Earth and life,  and thus submerged
to dust and nothingness.  All was awry. 
My dear, please pour me yet another glass
so I might numb my nerves, yet stimulate
my mind to write my thoughts of current days.
You soothe my heart as my mind now contrasts
the horrors of  our youth—now at our gate
again.  My love, we shan’t become its prey.
Again, my love, we shan’t become its prey
because we know how its dank darkness dawns.
Another glass, before my thoughts are gone,
mon cher, because I’ve much to write—to say.
I thought that I would never see the day
when demagogues would rise again and spawn
such hatred and intolerance.  We’re pawns
in horrid, sordid games of fear they play.
“Oh yes,” you sigh, before you kiss my cheek,
reminding me that history repeats
itself again—and thus again…again…
It always starts with lies and words oblique
designed to bolster evil plans’ deceit.
Those who resisted were defiled, detained.
Those who resisted were defiled, detained,
because new laws had stripped away our rights.
We lost our shops, our jobs, our homes—our plight
was visible to all, but yet most feigned
false empathy, or even worse…disdain.
And as the months became long years, our fright
increased as we decreased—our deaths a blight
upon the men at whose hands Jews were slain.
“Oh, Benja, please breathe,” you plead, “—calm your mind;
another glass of Jane will soothe your nerves.
Two candidates would now patrol our streets
and have us watched again.  We’ll not resign
ourselves to live in fear and lose our verve.
We will defeat their evil plans’ design.”
“We will defeat their evil plans’ design
because we understand democracy.
They stoke fears’ fires to scorch sweet liberty’s
esprit while all the while they seek supine
repose from those whose votes they can entwine
with rhetoric and meaningless decrees.
We’ll push their backs to evil’s apogee,
thus making their egregious threats benign.”
Oh, Elsa, love of my long, well blessed life,
your words so soothe my heart with joy and fill
my pen with flowing ink—my angst surrenders,
to courage and shall rise above this strife.
Be damned! I say, to Trump-a-tears and chilled
tea from their sordid party’s chief contenders.
Tea from their sordid party’s chief contenders,
gives me distress, but never hopelessness.
Another glass, my dear, as I caress
the ancient words that Jefferson conferred
upon the nation when the rift occurred
with England in those years of harsh duress.
‘Twas then when freedom flowed and flowered best
within the veins of man—their eyes not blurred
to sacrifices they must make to win
sweet liberty’s ascent o’er tyranny.
Oh yes, my dear, we are the immigrants,
new patriots, and we will fight again,
repulsing dark repression’s yoke.  They’ll see
we’ll make the Fascist bastards impotent!
We’ll make the Fascist bastards impotent
because, my dearest love, we have no choice.
They wage the politics of fear with voices
piercing safety’s calm respite and content.
They feed upon chaotic fear’s ascent
that’s caused by evil rhetoric ‘s loud noise.
They play us ‘gainst each other and rejoice
as their strength speeds sweet liberty’s descent.
Bring me a double wisp of bourbon, Dear,
as I complete my thoughts for my reply
designed to bring all others to the light.
We are Americans and must cast fears
away and stand e’er brave. My love…I sigh—
I’m but an old man, worn and tired tonight…

2 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Petrarchan Crown of Sonnets

The Petrarchan Crown of Sonnets is based on a poetic form dating to the 1400s in Italy and in England during the 1500s. The Crown consists of seven sonnets linked by a common idea. Each sonnet explores a different concept of the idea. The last line of sonnet 1 forms the beginning line of sonnet 2, and so forth until the last line of sonnet 7 forms the beginning line of sonnet 1. Thus, the circle is completed and the Crown fully scribed.

The Petrarchan sonnet form is named for its creator, Francesco Petrarch, a Florentine poet and philosopher (1304-1374). The Petrarchan sonnet form consist of two parts. The first part is the octave which states the argument, statement or problem. The second part is the sestet which responds to the octave. There is no closing couplet. Thus, the Petrarchan sonnet form is well suited for meditative and contemplative statements on a wide variety of subjects.

The Petrarchan sonnet is known for its complex rhyme format, containing five rhymes throughout the 14 line structure. Italian is a rhyme-rich language that easily supports such rhyme patterns. Compare this to the English (Shakesperean) sonnet which has seven rhymes within its 14 line structure. Thus, when written in English, one must expect to see both true and proximate (slant) rhymes in order to make the rhyme patterns work. The octave's rhyme pattern is abbaabba while the sestet has the flexibility of cdecde,; or cdcdcd, etc. However, with that said, the last two lines should never be a mono-rhyme, i.e., cc, as is the case with the Shakespearean sonnet's closing couplet.


While this Crown is written in iambic pentameter, I have taken the liberty to utilize metrical substitution in several lines in order to achieve dramatic effect. Metrical substitution, including feminine verse, is considered appropriate in long iambic poetic pieces. I have also used proximate (slant) rhymes.


Jane = Widow Jane, a Hudson Valley craft bourbon


I've become increasingly distressed at the state of American politics, particularly as it relates to Presidential politics. I see a most unsettling undercurrent in the far right that sends chills down my spine. As a student of history and politics, I am well aware how easily the "realm of stability and democracy" can be forfeited by those who wage the weapons of fear and rhetoric to gain control. I've drawn upon historical precedent to help drive my point home in this Crown.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 18

By mountainwriter49


On the occasion of his 89th birthday.

‘Tis late, but yet the muse inspires my pen,
and thus I think  of you, my friend, and how
your lovely bride and you’ve become our kin
o’er many years where friendship’s field’s been plowed
with trust and faith and love.  I thus avow
you are a gentleman whose grace transcends
all that I’ve known these years. You are life’s tao,
who thus allows us all to comprehend
the most important things that doth ascend
to man’s reality and all he loves.
I am e’er proud to call you dearest friend;
a wondrous gift from Providence above.            
      You celebrate, my friend, another year,
      I pray you always thrive and persevere.

9 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Spenserian Sonnet
The Spenserian Sonnet, created by Edmund Spenser, combines features of the Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets' forms. The sonnet's structure consists of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter. It consist of three joined quatrains forming one stanza and one closing couplet. The rhyme pattern is: abab bcbc cdcd ee. Unlike the Petrarchan and Shakespearean forms, the Spenserian form does not have a turn. Rather, each stanza develops an idea of a common theme. The Spenserian form is well suited for poetry of a very personal and/or intimate nature.

A very dear friend turned 89 years old yesterday. This poem was written for him.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 19

By mountainwriter49

Morning’s piercing, golden light 
found its way through the drapes' narrow divide 
to my bed and bruised my sleeping eyes, 
and thus awoke me with a not-so-gentle nudge

I pulled myself out of my warm, ruffled bed covers 
and walked, nude,  towards the balcony to see
God’s dawning eye reflect upon turbulent seas 

It was then I became transfixed upon the imagery
of the bright, orange orb rising o’er
Earth’s grey, calm rim 

Slowly and surely

as did the bay’s surface-level fog create a surreal sense
of  reality as tankers and freighter ships 
appeared to be floating mid-air

hovering between the here and there

It was as though le Mont Saint Michelle
was just south of the Chesapeake Bay,
enshrouded by fog,  yet piercing its morphing, opaque scarf

and thus I was captivated 
as I gazed upon Earth’s rim and the ships 
floating in a sea of emergent, transforming fog
washed in translucent yellow-orange light 

I reflected upon the sea, and it upon me, and thus

I walked to my mirror
and looked upon myself, bearded, naked and perplexed,
It was as though 
I’d  been floating in life’s opacity 
for these many months
wondering about reality  and  what is
and is not

The ships phased in and out of the fog
and I remained invisible upon my balcony’s edge

I’m but an old and weary man who’s looking upon sea swells
while pondering life’s divine design
as shifting fog and moored ships entwine

2 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Free verse. Minimal punctuation and capitalization.
Just a free flowing thought of mind an soul tonight.

This morning was strange. Storm clouds, gale winds and sea-level fog. Ships were enshrouded. I watched from my hotel's balcony. Amazed. And thus this poem was born.

Also, Sweet Linda and I AM Cat have been urging me to surrender to free verse for a change. I finally succumbed with this poem. I hope you enjoy :)

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 20

By mountainwriter49

Blank Verse Shakespearean Crown

Man’s life is but a symphony sublime,
as cool fall winds sweep ‘cross my courtyard’s vault
‘neath Luna’s mellow glow tonight.  I sip
red wine and ponder distant stars as I
       begin to scribe what’s in my heart and soul.
       Emerging times are difficult to bear…
       O, how I struggle to discern life’s path
       and meaning when all seems so onerous.
And yet when darkest night appears to reign,
the sun breaks through grey clouds and you reach forth
to grasp my hand and reassure that I’m
not lost in fog's ferocious fray this morning.
     Just when I feel so lonely and e’er cold,
     my loved one reaches forth to grasp my hand.

My loved one reaches forth to grasp my hand
before life’s tether breaks and I am cast
adrift and left awash in storm’s debris.
I grasp her hand and pull forth with my strength,
       determined I will live to see sun’s rise
       o’er Afton’s ridges after this long night.
       O, priceless is the hand of love when one
       is caught beneath deep fathoms of dark seas.
But yet within my mind the oil lamp burns
and casts life’s shadows on my yearning walls
that will converge one day to form a path
across the misty moor to good resolve.
     Love reaches forth and quells the stormy day,
     thus reassuring all is never lost.


Thus reassuring all is never lost,
you hold me close as night envelops day
and darkness slowly brightens distant stars.
‘Tis these times when I place my hand upon
       your heart and softly kiss your shoulder while
       we spoon in lovers’ clasp throughout the night.
       I love how effortlessly you will turn
       at dawn and hold my head upon your breast
so I can hear your beating heart and know
you will be here always.  But rooster’s screech
disrupts our solitude and breaks the spell
of night’s sweet respite with you in my arms.
      My grandest dreams and deepest fears resolved;
      a night within my lover’s arms so true.
A night within my lover’s arms so true
still lingers deep within my heart despite
the time that’s passed us by.  I still recall
late winter rains and wind’s grand orchestra
       that played e’er softly on our window panes
        whilst we made love as Billie sweetly sang.
        O, such were precious times when love was ripe           
        and time stood still as I would hold you close.
But how could we know that our symphony
would wane as life’s reality crept in?
The cancer’s scourge changed all that we had known
and passion’s blaze now chilled by surgeon’s steel.
       Life’s nectar lasts ‘til winter’s horrid wrath;
       yet sweet ambrosia is life’s thinnest slice.

Yet sweet ambrosia is life’s thinnest slice
I tasted with delight so long ago
when I was in full hue with flowing hair,
and you as fair as Botticelli’s muse.
       O, such was our time when the Earth stood still
       whilst we would dance ‘round robust evening fire
       beneath moon's iv'ry glow.  I’d pull you close
       and we would meld as mist above dawn’s sea.
And thus I drifted o’er the troubled waters.
I was awakened by your voice and kiss
so dear,  reminding me ‘twas time to leave
the hospital and head for home’s warm hearth.
       ‘Tis mem’ries of our time e’er tightly wove;
       life’s truest love shall keep one’s ballast sure.
Life’s truest love shall keep one’s ballast sure
as promised once forevermore so long
ago.  Love’s brighter than sun's brilliant crest
o’er Earth’s rim on the clearest of fall morns.
         The nip in late October’s air doth soothe
          my heart and soul as I sit ‘neath old oak's
          wide boughs and watch its colorful leaves dance
          in lovers’ tango as they gracefully
drift towards a leaf-strewn patchwork quilt atop
the rolling meadow’s broad expanse.  But leaves
soon wilt and rot into the soil and I’m
left wondering if my time soon shall end.
         ‘Tis Fall when nature and man shall converge
         as life’s quilt melds into His loving grace.

As life’s quilt melds into His loving grace
in ways that soothe my heart with happiness,
I rise from my old chair and reach for leaves
and dearest memories that are aswirl.
         I see my child with eyes aglow as she
         was playing in leaf piles we raked so long
         ago in that enchanted time of youth
         and innocence.  ‘Twas then my dearest wife
reached forth and held me close and sweetly said,
“Just as the trees shall weather winter’s wrath,
so too shall you endure for many springs
to come.  My love, your time’s not yet at hand.”
         Life’s melody flows endlessly with love-
         man’s life is but a symphony sublime.
11 April 2016


Author Notes POETIC FORM: Shakespearean Crown of Sonnets in Blank Verse
These poems form a crown, or 7 sonnets interconnected by the last line of the first sonnet forming the first line of the second, and so forth until the last line of the seventh sonnet forms the first line of the first sonnet, thus completing the crown. These sonnets follow the Shakespearean sonnet form except that they are written in blank verse, thus, there are no end-rhymes. The poem is written in iambic pentameter with some feminine verse incorporated as appropriate.

This has been a difficult crown to write, as I began it in October 2013 while visiting Asheville, NC. I've played with it off and on for these many months 'tween then and now, and lo, this past weekend the verse issues resolved as did, ultimately, the crown. Such is the nature of highly introspective and personal poetry.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 21
Kindred Spirits

By mountainwriter49

Kindred Spirits
Blank Verse Shakesperean Sonnet Sequence

There is a kindred spirit ‘mongst we poets;
an easy thing to feel, but hard to voice
to those who cannot craft a verse by night’s
warm fire as Bacchus fills their cups with wine.
       Oh, how my poet does inspire with words
       resplendent  as she writes of verdant fields
       and lovers whose young hearts that have been pierced
       by Cupid’s arrow’s bliss.  Such love of life
imbues the flowing ink as she inscribes
the parchment laid beneath her thoughtful quill. 
But yet my poet hesitates; she feels
a friend’s pain cleaving night’s serenity.
       And thus my poet’s thoughts yield to her heart
       while pond’ring words to comfort friend’s distress.
While pond’ring words to comfort friend’s distress,
I pause and sip red wine and think of her
and all she faces in the midst of life’s
e’er fluid pages where the ink’s not dry.
       She is a poet of the grandest sort!
       Her soft aesthetics weave a tapestry
       of beauty as her verse flows forth in time
       with lyrics’ score as she thus contemplates.
But there between the lines of her fine verse,
I sense the deeper meanings she imparts
of disappointments and uncertainty...
and angst of that which hovers, yet unseen.
       Night’s darkness is transcended by sun’s rise
       as she finds goodness in all things each day.
As she finds goodness in all things each day,
my poet weaves love’s truest golden strands
with lapis chords of life’s sweet joy and threads
of crimson representing hurt and pain.
       Oh how she struggles with love’s tearful loss
       from family and friends who do not grasp
       how hateful words and actions cut so deep.
       They cannot see the heartache that they cause.
Despite her pain, my poet draws upon
her faith and finds great comfort scribed within
His scriptures penned so many years ago
when life began in Eden’s luscious realm.
       Her faith ensures that she shall rise beyond
       to savor life’s most true and wondrous love.

To savor life’s most true and wondrous love,
my friend thus contemplates such things and then
goes forth and touches family and friends
with love’s unquestioned, everlasting grace.
       I am amazed at how she can abide
       the time and stress she gives to those in need.
       But yet she thrives, endures with grace and smiles,
       while reaching out to those for whom she cares.
Yet those who feel her touch, know not of stress
befalling her soft countenance these weeks.
Continuing to minister to those
she loves, my friend demands her privacy.
       We’re taught to imitate Christ’s love in life,
       but it’s one’s choice to either love or hate.

But it’s one’s choice to either love or hate
while searching life’s rough pathways for one’s dreams.
My friend has walked these paths and found her hopes
aligned with His most wondrous, gracious truths.
       And thus she thrives and perseveres throughout
       each day while giving to the ones she loves.
       Her outreach seems to stir her slumb’ring muse
       to write emotive verse that touches me.
While she may suffer deep within her heart,
my Poet’s starched her back and forges on.
Her sleepless nights are known to but a few,
‘tis then when she will pen resplendent verse.
       Such is the grace of God’s sweet chosen lot,
       My friend inspires me each and every day.

My friend inspires me each and every day
while reading poetry she’s penned at night.
Her words remind me of life’s temp’rament
and how to find the beauty in night’s fog.
       Her soft words speak so sweetly of her love
       for family and all that God’s provided.
       She writes of nature’s beauty and sun’s glow
       as it ascends Earth’s rim to start anew.
Despite the broken weave in tapestry’s
most perfect patterns representing her
life’s grace and love, its hurt and joy—she thrives.
And all the while I pray as I yet fear
       for her throughout the days and nights to come.
       There is a kindred spirit ‘mongst we poets.
17 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Blank Verse Shakespearean Sonnet Sequence

This poetic form utilizes the form of the Shakespearean sonnet, but instead of utilizing an end-rhyme pattern, it utilizes blank verse. It is written in iambic pentameter, including some feminine verse endings. The sequence is achieved by the last line of the first sonnet also serving as the first line of the second sonnet, and so forth, until the last line of the last sonnet becomes the first line of the first sonnet, thus completing the sequence.


Thinking of a dear friend who is also a wonderful poet.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 22

By mountainwriter49

‘Tis late, but yet I ponder star field’s glow
as I recline upon my blanket’s warmth
by softly rippling waters of the lake, but
     ‘Twas a long day filled with usual crap
     making  Monday hell and causing me to
     scream aloud as I tried sorting things.
O, Bacchus, please refill my cup as I
find ballast ‘mongst these placid waves tonight.
Their cadence soothes my lonesome soul…Thus…
     Night’s domain encompasses me, and now
     I must think; I scribe upon the pages
     words; emotions flowing from my heart.
The poet and his muse are intertwined
with words sublime inspir’d by brilliant stars.

28 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Non-rhyming tercets. The first and third stanzas and couplet are in iambic meter while the second and fourth are in trochaic meter. The last line of each quatrain is variable in length in order to make the meter flow into the succeeding quatrain.

Good music, good red wine, and the need to let the muse download her thoughts...

Thanks so much for reading my poetry.


Chapter 23
Late Afternoon

By mountainwriter49

Late Afternoon
free verse musings

It was a long, arduous day with bristles
filled with paint to cover faded, nasty walls
painted a decade ago
with soft, fresh, light blue that compares
with most wondrous azure skies on a
late Southern Spring afternoon…
And thus, with coffee mug sitting on the mantel,
I began the task
of transforming this dismal room into something
clean, refreshed and wonderful.
 Once finished, in late afternoon, I was tired
and blotted with blue from head to toe—
belly to butt—
yes, my dear,
I paint, in the nude….
My heads were aglow in azure’s delight…
But after a good hot, soapy shower
I emerged
refreshed, invigorated and recharged
enough for a drink or two or three on my patio
situated ‘neath the ancient oak tree.
Hudson Baby Bourbon,
my drink of choice
on the rocks, filled my glass
and thus stoked my energy, and
rocked my poetic soul…
I sat upon ancient wickered chair
amidst cool Northwest winds that teased my hair.
Descending sun slumbered
 above horizon’s crest.

Oh, How relaxed I was,
and such was the wonder of nature’s bliss
as I gazed upon
squirrels' acrobatics aloft in tree’s limbs.
I marveled
 at emergent leaves from oak’s branches--
life’s fledging greens against bluest skies.
And thus I sat, sated,
o're come with nature’s resplendent bliss,
by fire’s pit
and renewed by its warmth and bourbon’s fire.
And thus the evening fell upon my soul
as moon ascended Western ridges.
I was left with loneliness
and despair--it took my breath away.
I gasped,
yet found my breath
as I focused 'pon geraniums red glow.
The stalwarts upon the columns
providing boundary and definition ‘tween
life’s now and where I wish to be.

And where I wish to be…
Amongst the flowering leaves
and upon Cinquiterrian shores
where we’d swim during Sol’s brilliant rise.
My love
‘Tis upon those ancient shores
where we’ll meld again and reaffirm our love.

te amo

24 April 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Free Verse

I don't know. Perhaps the day as it evolved? An old man's lament?

amore: my love
te amo: I love you (Italian)

Thanks for reading my poetry.

Chapter 24
For Brooke (adewpearl)

By mountainwriter49

For Brooke (adewpearl)
On the Occasion of Her 65th Birthday
Significantly Modified Triolet


Oh, how I miss your witty verse
about the fairies sprinkling dust
upon our eyes, enhancing verve.
Oh how I miss your lovely verse
that sang and filled my heart with mirth.
In this you can forever trust,
the magic fairies sprinkling dust.
Oh how I miss your wondrous verse.


10 May 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
This poem follows the outline of the Triolet; however, in the spirit of Brooke, I have modified it as follows:

The normal rhyme pattern is ABaAabAB, with the capital letters being repeating lines. I have modified the rhyme pattern to be ABaAabBA, or reversing the last two lines. Also, in the spirit of offering more descriptions about Brooke's (adewpearl) poetry, I've modified the A repeating line's A word 'witty' to be 'lovely' and 'wondrous' in the two repeating A lines; respectively. I modified the B repeating line by changing 'about the fairies' to read as 'the magic fairies'. I pray the Triolet gods will forgive me for these modifications--I already know Brooke has. :-)

I have also used approximate rhymes for pairings with 'verse.'

Today, 10 May, is Brooke Baldwin's 65th birthday. This is a little poem of remembrance and celebration for her. Please join me in wishing Brooke a happy birthday.

Chapter 25
Thus Bending Light

By mountainwriter49

Thus Bending Light
Octogram--Potlatch Challenge


The morning sun and haze entwined,
thus bending light
to my delight as thoughts aligned
for Muse to write.
She was inspired as misty hues
adorned the land in softest blues
and golden sparkles shining bright.
Thus, bending light,
resplendent to my heart and mind,
frees me from night’s
most frightful void of thoughts sublime.
And now I write
from deepest depths within my soul.
My love, and writing, keep me whole.
I seek the melding mist and light—
thus bending light…
24 May 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Octogram, a poetic form invented by fellow FanStorian Sally Yocom. The poem consists of two octaves with a rhyme pattern of aBabccbB ababddbB, with B representing the repeating line. The syllable count for each octave is 8-4-8-4-8-8-8-4. The poem is to be written in iambic meter.

Mikey's invasion to join the Potlatch challenge vis-a-vis this morning's melding mist and early light. This is my first attempt at writing an Octogram.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 26
haiku (morning rain)

By mountainwriter49

haiku (morning rain)
haiku suite

morning rain
pings against window panes

sun’s violet rays
streak towards mountain ridge
finger of God

distant thunder
clamors as brisk winds  bow trees
leaves aswirl

black and grey clouds
enshroud mountain ridge

ominous skies 
torrential rains and winds

steam rises
up from asphalt street

blue sky appears
as squirrels scurry on the ground

20 May 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM: Haiku Suite

Haiku is a Japanese short poetic form focusing on a direct observation. While the form has many rules, several of the key ones are as follows: must not personify nature; captures an observable moment in time and not something the poet imagines is happening; written in present tense and utilizes minimal capitalization and punctuation; follows a short-long-short line format utilizing 17 or fewer syllables; two lines are grammatically connected and the third line serves as an ah-ha moment, or satori. A haiku suite is a collection of several haiku which come together to create a more complete story. With that said, each haiku within the suite must be able to stand on its own.


Finger of God = A Renaissance art term used to describe a streak of light stretching from the heavens to the earth.

Pax = (Latin), a period of peace.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 27
Heaven's Gate

By mountainwriter49

Heaven's Gate

Oh, how I ponder God’s most grand design
for man and how he chooses to approach
life’s many choices of what’s right or wrong;
of lust or love; of verve or darkest nights...
While thinking of my own mortality,
my winsome Bacchus fills my glass again.
I’m lost within life’s grand symphonic score
while drinking wine—my muse is now revived.
But now she teases me, and pulls me towards
the evening moon when I but wish to soar
among the stars amidst the Milky Way
where hidden therein is sweet Heaven’s Gate.
It is with open arms and longing heart
the pond’ring man shall seek the Lord’s intent.

28 May 2016

Author Notes Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 28
Here At The Shore

By mountainwriter49

Here At The Shore
An Octogram
Potlatch: 28 May 2016


My life slows down and things align
here at the shore.
The stress that I abhor resigns
at least for this all too short week.
I’ll find the solace that I seek
while kissing you as ocean roars
here at the shore.
We snuggle close, our arms entwined,
while at the shore,
atop the dunes and sipping wine
‘neath stars galore
as crescent moon begins to rise.
Oh how you tease and tantalize!
I wish we could stay evermore
here at the shore…

28 May 2016...............................................

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Octogram, a poetic form invented by fellow FanStorian Sally Yocum. The form's requires are: 1) written in iambic meter; 2) There are two 8-line stanzas with each consisting of the following syllable counts: 8-4-8-4-8-8-8-4; 3) the rhyme pattern is aBabccbB ababddbB, with B being the repeating line.

The Potlatch Challenge for Saturday, 28 May 2016.

Thank you for reading my poetry.


Chapter 29
The Grecian Seas

By mountainwriter49

The Grecian Seas

A Modified Octogram

I think of when we set sail for
the Grecian seas
in search of Helicon’s steep shore.
Twas there we’d see
where Pegasus once struck the rocks
and water sprang forth so that flocks
of muses could find sweet esprit.
The Grecian seas
once lapped upon my thoughts and oars
while seeking quay
to berth my sailboat and go forth
where muse might be.
I found her by the Hippocrene
and joined her for a sip, serene.
And now I write with greatest ease
by Grecian seas.

5 June 2016..........................................................

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Octogram consisting of two 8-line stanzas with a syllable count of 8-4-8-4-8-8-8-4. The rhyme pattern is aBabccbB abaabddbB, with B being the repeating line. The poem is written in iambic meter. This poetic form was created by fellow FanStorian Sally Yocum. I must confess, and in the spirit of our Site's foremost poet, Brooke (adewpearl), I have modified the last line ever so slightly. May the Octogram gods and Sally forgive me for my indiscretions... :-)

This week's, 4 June 2016, Potlatch challenge. Write an octogram with a theme relating to memories.

Guay: pronounced quee, an outcropping of land, or dock, upon which to berth a boat.
Helicon: A reference to Mt. Helicon in Greece were the Hippocrene fountain is located.
Hippocrene (HIPP o CRENE), the mythical fountain on Mt. Helicon, sacred to the muses, believed to be a source of poetic inspiration.

THANK YOU for reading my poetry.

Chapter 31

By mountainwriter49


The morning sky is a deep vibrant blue; clear of clouds and haze.  Vibrant.  Gorgeous.   Cool Northwest breezes kiss my face.  Sensuous.  Invigorating.  Energetic!  I head out for my morning walk.  The late spring flowers are so beautiful, reaching towards me as I walk by the many yards in my neighborhood. Geraniums.  Yellow and white daisies and petunias galore.  Day lilies. And so many more.  I look Southeast and see Wintergreen Mountain in the distant blue aura.  I’m experiencing a walker’s high.   Before I know it, I’ve walked 10 kilometers. Emancipated! Feeling strong.  Now, at home, I dine on my recipe of whole grains, nuts and organic apricots for lunch.  Revived. Blood sugars balaced again.  I retreat to the hot water and Zest of the shower.  I seemingly melt as the water cascades over my tired body as nastiness flows down the drain.  After drying off,  I walk to my bed and lie nude, spread-eagle,  beneath the ceiling fan to cool-down.  Renewed.  Invogorated! It's 16:32, but it must surely be 17:00, and I pour myself a hearty glass of Grey Goose and tonic.  Garnished with a twist of fresh lime.   Oh yeah!  My blood starts pumping again. On the patio. I love this place. I read SPQR as I listen to music. I sense something special about this moment-in-time as God’s breath sifts through the trees’ leaves and limbs. I peer into the forest adjoining my yard while listening to nature’s sounds.  I’m transfixed by the score.  Another glass of vodka.  Epiphany.  I think of George Stevens and lift my glass to his talent and keen esprit as I cross my stretched-out legs, resting them atop the patio’s low wall…
late afternoon sun
illuminates resting squirrel

10 June 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Haibun. A Japanese poetic form blending short, terse prose with an ending haiku. It is written in present tense and seeks to capture in-the-moment activities and emotions. Haibun closes with a haiku related to the prose. The title is central to the whole piece, though not repeated within the text of the haibun.

A great day, walking 7 miles in this most wonderful late spring weather on the 9th of June and subsequently doing house chores before relaxing on my patio beneath my ancient oak tree. Older Baby Boomers will be able to recognize the references to the Kingfish and unlaxing.

*SPQR: A scholastic book about ancient Rome by Mary Beard. SPQR = The Senate and Citizens of Rome
*Unlaxed: Vernacular for relaxed.
*Wintergreen Mountain: a 3,500 foot msl (mean sea level) mountain in the Blue Ridge mountains near Nellysford, Virginia,. It is visible from my front yard; about a 25 mile drive from my home.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 32
Sifting Winds

By mountainwriter49

Sifting Winds
Whitman Free Verse Style Poetry
AKA prose poetry

The morning songs of the birds awakened me just as dawn was breaking and morning light just piercing night’s onyx zenith.  I yawned and stretched and peeked between the window blinds.  I lifted my window higher so I might better hear the birds a’ chirping  as I cleared my mind for the morning to come. 
The smell of morning coffee, brewing, and frying bacon was just what I needed to hear as I walked down the stairs, half-awake, and headed towards  the kitchen.  The cook yelled out “OUCH!” several times as bacon grease popped on her hands from the red-hot cast iron frying pan.  Two of God’s gifts to man are freshly brewed ground Columbian coffee and  Oscar Meyer thick bacon slices.  Oh yeah.  The combined tastes are almost sexual… Almost.
I sat on my patio to drink my hot, steaming aromatic coffee and eat my crispy bacon slices while listening to the morning songs of the birds and squirrels.  Oh how their dissonant sounds created a symphony accompanied by the sifting winds of the morning’s Northwest breezes.   I pondered the sounds of the birds and the wind sifting through the trees. I fell into a trance as I listened to their score while sipping laced Columbian caffeine.
I awoke from my trance as the sounds of my neighbor’s Harley revving-up as he prepared for a day’s ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I was jealous since I could not accompany him on his journey.  I have no motorcycle and my journey would be only to walk and view the Blue Ridge from afar.
So, I sat back to enjoy another glass of java laced with Bushmill’s.  Well hell, it was 09:00 by this time and I needed a kick to inspire the muse.  She listened to the Harley’s distant sound waiting at the bottom of the hill as the songs of the birds as the sifting winds resonated between the limbs and leaves of the ancient oak…


Author Notes POETIC STYLE: Free verse in the style of Walt Whitman. Whitman did not use many poetic devices including rhyme, metaphor and simile. He repeats words and phrases and creates 'new words.' His 'poetry' reads more as prose poetry rather than just prose. He does not use a specific meter, but rather writes as one might speak. Thus, the meter is 'mixed' to say the least.

I personally do not particularly care for Whitman's style of poetry, but he is an American Classic and considered to be one of the author's of American Free Verse poetry. I much prefer the structured nature of metered verse. But then again, I'm but an old man.

This is part of the Potlatch challenge group, thus I have entered. I readily admit I do not know how to write in a Whitman style. Like IamCat, I much prefer my own voice. But in the spirit of working with the group, I've attempted a piece complaint with the Whitman form. Have I succeeded? I don't know. I look forward to your constructive reviews.

Thank you for reviewing my poetry.

Chapter 33
haiku (doe and fawn forage)

By mountainwriter49

haiku (doe and fawn forage)

doe and fawn forage
for wild berries at wood's edge
dolce vita

13 June 2016.............................................

Author Notes Words:
dolce vita - Italian for "living the good life"
doubutsu = a nature haiku about fauna

One of the wonderful things about living in the mountains is being able to see the deer and other animals and birds in ways that cannot be seen and/or enjoyed when living in the city.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 34
In June's Late Afternoons

By mountainwriter49

In June’s Late Afternoons
Minute Poem
Potlatch 18 June 2016

He’d fling us ‘round the mountain curves
and fray Mom’s nerves.
Oh how we’d laugh
as she would chaff
when he’d slow down to just a crawl.
We were enthralled
with Dad’s esprit
and shared our glee
with laughter and strong love sublime.
I think of times
like these in June’s
late afternoons.

19 June 2016.....................................

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Minute Poem. Written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme pattern of aabb ccdd eeff. Thus, there are six different rhymes in this short poetic form. Each stanza has four lines comprised of an 8-4-4-4 syllable count. This poetic form is called a minute poem because it has exactly 60 syllables.

This is my entry for the 18 June 2016 challenge. The theme had to deal with fathers.

Remembering my father on this Father's Day. He taught me to drive the twisties, aka curving mountain roads. My mom was always anxious with our driving those mountain roads with such verve!

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 35

By mountainwriter49


Tanka prose
Oh, thank the good Lord, my muse is with me again after weeks of absence.  I know not where she has been or with whom she has played.  I feel her presence as I sip Grey Goose beneath my wonderful old oak late this afternoon. Though humidity is high, the shade and coolness provided by the tree is refreshing. Invigorating. Inspiring.  Arousing.  Juices flowing.  My fountain pen's now with ink.  I pour myself another tonic and listen to the sounds of nature as my muse gently kisses my lips.  Crows caw.  Squirrels chatter and dance aloft on the myriad limbed oak.  Jumping here—scurrying there! The white-noise of chirping birds, buzzing bees and other earthly things creates a jazz-like dissonance as the trees and shrubs gently sift soft northern breezes across my courtyard.  I am immersed in the now, but yearn for that which eludes me.  My pen flows incessantly…

setting sun
gently casts soft, long shadows
through which I must pass
to find my destiny

1 July 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Tanka Prose. Tanka prose is the first cousin of the Haibun; however, unlike the Haibun short, terse phrasing, Tanka Prose utilizes longer and more elegant phrasing. With that said, Tanka Prose may also also utilize short, terse phrasing. Additionally, the Haibun ends with a haiku and the Tanka Prose ends with a tanka. The poem is written in the present tense. The closing tanka provides an ending to and summation of the overall poem. Despite the blending of prose and poetry, both the Haibun and Tanka Prose are considered to be poetry.

We've had a delightfully cool summer thus far. The other day, while relaxing on my courtyard beneath my spreading oak tree, I found my muse. She had been absent for weeks.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 36
On Desert Sands

By mountainwriter49

On Desert Sands
Sonnetina Suite

The Battle of the Somme was years ago
when thousands died for liberty’s bright glow
on foreign soil where precious blood was strown.
        But valor’s sacrifice did win the day
        assuring that democracy would stay.
Another time, another place our men
defended our most precious rights again
upon the Norman shores for freedom’s ken.
        Oh, horrid, was the beast that was thus slain,
        but yet our heroes did not die in vain.
We now fight foreign wars without a plan
to win the peace and bring home every man.
How much blood has been spilled on desert sands?
        I am distraught and think of Owen's best
        poetics--"Dulce e Decorum Est."

2 July 2016

Author Notes Author Notes

Poetic Form: Sonnetino. This poetic form was created by FanStorian Jyoti (Lighting). It is a five line poem comprised of a tercet and couplet with a rhyme pattern of aaa bb. It is written in iambic pentameter. The tercet presents a scene or conflict. The closing couplet offers resolution (with an optional turn).


Battle of the Somme: A major battle In France during WWI where more than one million soldiers perished in trench warfare. 19,240 British troops died in the first day of battle. The battle lasted from1 July -- 18 November 1916.

Desert Sands: Refers to Iraq, Afghanistan and ISIS.

Norman Shores: Refers to the World War II D-Day invasion of Normandy, France by the Allies on 6 June 1944.

Owen = Winfred Owen, the poet of the classic poem about WWI and published in 1920, "Dulce e Decorum Est." Readers are encouraged to read this somber poem in order to gain a full understanding of and appreciation for the term dulce e decorum est pro patria mori

Strown: archaic form of strewn.

Thank you for reading my poetry.


Chapter 37
I Think Of Faith

By mountainwriter49

This night, I think of faith
as Bacchus fills my cup with dry red wine.
It courses through my veins and soothes frayed nerves.
Beethoven’s Ode to Joy doth fill my heart
with glor’yous sounds that Ludwig could not hear.
I weep for him,
and all the others who
can’t hear God’s voice when gentle teasing winds
sift through the trees on brisk October days
when leaves of autumn, fast ablaze with gold
and crimson, glow beneath sky’s azure vault.
How sad, I am,
for those so blind to have
ne’er seen resplendent beauty wrought by God
and granted to us whilst we walk upon
His wondrous earthly sphere set ‘tween the sun
and moon and ‘neath the Milky Way’s expanse.
I ponder life,
and how I have been blessed
despite my sins and times when I have slipped,
and during times when loved ones have passed on
and left me wrought with dark despair and gloom
that o’er came me as long, unending night.
Despite the pain,
I found within my heart
and soul God’s love expressed to me through friends
and family.  His worldly angels salved
my wounds and wrapped my heart with purest love
each day until my ballast was restored.
And thus I greet
my Lord each day as Sol
alights Earth’s rim, and when my love and I
walk highland trails and gaze upon the clouds
e’er shifting, morphing  glints that so enchant.
I see Him in night’s distant sparkling stars.
I feel His kiss
each time I breathe fresh air.
I know that I shall never be alone;
my Lord’s with me.


12 February 2016..........................................................


Blank verse dates prior to Shakespeare; however, it was he and Milton who popularized and perfected the form. Blank verse continues to be a major poetic form used in the English language.

Blank verse is generally written in iambic pentameter, though varying iambic line lengths are also permitted. Blank verse avoids rhymes--end-line or internal-line.

I've played with this poem's form by writing six sestets and one closing tercet. Each stanza begins with six iambic syllables and ends with four iambic syllables. Thus, the first and last lines of each stanza round out the pentameter for each stanza. The last line of each stanza is crafted to make a statement and begin the first line of the succeeding stanza. Here again, when combined, an iambic pentameter line, though broken between two stanzas. Thus, the last line of each stanza also serves as a pivot from one stanza to the next. Because of this, a sequence is formed from stanza-to-stanza.


Beethoven, Ludwig van = 1770-1827, German composer considered to be one of most important and famous of all composers in world history. Beethoven was totally deaf when he first conducted his masterful Ninth Symphony in Vienna. He could feel the vibrations of the music, but he could not hear its sounds. Frau Caroline Unger, a singer participating in the symphony, had to turn him so he could acknowledge the applause from the audience at the symphony's conclusion.

Doth = does (archaic)

Ode To Joy = A poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and subsequently incorporated into Beethoven's Ninth Symphony's final movement.

Glints = a brief or slight manifestation or occurrence; inkling; trace.

Ninth Symphony = Beethoven's most famous symphony, completed in 1824. Its premier occurred in Vienna, Austria in March of that year. This symphony is recognized as the first by a major composer to incorporate singing, thus it is a choral symphony. It is considered to be one of the greatest musical masterpieces in Western musical canon.

Whilst = while

Thank you for reading my poetry.


Chapter 38

By mountainwriter49

tanka prose

How is it that one’s fond memories can surface from heart’s vault years after they were last savored?  This question keeps popping into my mind as I kiss the Goose while sitting by the fire this cold, winter’s night.  Maybe it’s the music?  The scent of burning hickory logs or the vodka settling in?  Perhaps it’s just time to recall his words of wisdom...
My drink ripples as I place my great-grandpa's fragile crystal bourbon glass upon the marble top table.  My eye catches the waves of time and I’m suddenly in the canoe with him. He smiles as he paddles us through the cypress swamp, admonishing me to keep my hands out of the water.   I protest until he reminds me that the warm summer waters are filled with snakes.  I quickly withdraw them from the water and dry them off on my pants’ legs.  Despite the wigglers, I love our canoe trips.  The swamp is so beautiful with the Spanish Moss-laden trees and cypress knees rising out of the black waters of the lake like outcroppings along the Oregon coast.  It is so wild and free…serene.
I ask,  "Papa, what does arrogant ignorance mean?"  He chuckles as he stops rowing and looks at me with a serious face.  He tells me that’s one of the worst kinds of things that can happen to a person.  I listen as he explains.  “Son,” he says in a slow, deep voice, “it means that someone lacks knowledge and is too self-righteous, or insecure, to admit it.  Therefore, such people lash out at others whose talents exceed their own.  And because they are insecure, they get all haughty and bitchy when they converse with people.  They are indeed, my son, a very sad lot in life.”
My complete attention belongs to Papa.  I trust him implicitly and know, somehow, his words of wisdom will guide me throughout my life.  He tells me such people are street-smart and can snooker a trusting soul.  I learn that this is like being out-foxed by a sly, silver-tongued lecherous beauty.  He teaches me that a strong, wise  man will never be perrylized from such inauspicious behavior.   Somehow, I understand his sage words.
He paddles us through the swamp. The ancient trees stand as sentinels of time, protecting us. I love the sounds of nature as we glide effortlessly along placid waters.  I am sated.
danger lurks
‘neath placid waters
trails must be traversed
by the virtuous poet

25 January 2016

Tanka Prose is a close cousin to the Haibun. While Haibun is a terse poetic prose form ending with a haiku, tanka prose provides for more fully developed, or less terse, prose ending with a tanka.

The stirring and tongue-in-cheek poetry and/or prose recently posted by:
gloria...The Reviewer
Pantygynt...The Reviewer Reviewed
Michaelcahill...Wasn't He Tarred and Feathered?
I Am Cat... Believe This...

I encourage the reader to also read and review these posts.

Kissing the Goose = drinking Grey Goose Vodka tonics
Perrylized = a word play on the word Paralyzed

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 39
Freedom of Speech

By mountainwriter49

     There are perhaps no greater freedoms than that of free thought and free speech.  Indeed, freedom of thought and speech are considered to be inalienable rights.  Perhaps the greatest hallmark of American democracy is the Constitutional right of its citizens being guaranteed that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (1) This Constitutional and fundamental right of the American people serves as the foundation upon which this essay’s arguments are presented. 
     The right of freedom of speech did not just happen.  Indeed, it evolved over centuries, fueled by the English Crown’s abuse of Englishmen and later its American colonists. The fundamental principles of right to assembly, right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and freedom of speech have their roots in the Magna Carta, signed under duress by King John in 1215.  His signature to and agreement with affirming important principles of liberty was due to the well organized and armed forces of disaffected Barons.  Even though King John had Pope Innocent III annul many of Magna Carta’s premises, the fires of liberty prevailed and were never extinguished.  
     The evolution of liberty in England is also the basis for American liberty since both nations shared the same heritage.  However, the American pursuit of liberty took a somewhat different course than it did in England.  The hallmark of American liberty was the Founding of the American Republic in 1789 and the ratification of the First Amendment to its Constitution on 15 December 1791.
     Thus, the concepts of freedom of thought and speech evolved over centuries as English democracy, and ultimately American democracy advanced.  American democracy was heavily influenced by John Locke’s concept of Natural Law and John Jacques Rosseau’s concept of the Social Contract.  Thomas Jefferson and James Madison borrowed heavily from both theories when they penned the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1789; respectively. (2)
     Without a doubt, First Amendment freedoms as previously articulated were radical, indeed unique, in 1791, for such written guaranteed rights were unheard in the monarchies, oligarchies and theocracies of the late Eighteenth Century.  First Amendment freedoms are part of what created the concept of American exceptionalism at that time, and it still remains so.
     History is replete with examples of people being persecuted, tortured and killed for expressing their thoughts through words and actions. Unfortunately, abundant examples of such tyranny not only exist within the pages of history but also in current day newspaper headlines. A
few examples of those subjected to punishment only because they expressed their beliefs and opinions is thus appropriate and provided below.
     Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, used the power of his office to control individual thought and expression.  This continued beyond VE Day in the form of the former communist German Democratic Republic, East Germany, and its heinous secret police force known as the Stasi.  Many of us can still recall pro-democracy Chinese youth protesting in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.  Who could ever forget the brave young man who stood, stoically in front of the armored tank?  Need I mention modern day Iran and its intolerance for dissent of any kind? And finally, there is the totalitarian regime ruling the rogue state of North Korea where self-expression can result in individuals and their entire families disappearing to God knows where.
     While we understand those living in the aforementioned countries were denied freedom of expression and speech, I am not quite sure most of us fully understand the magnitude of their bravery and the sacrifices they’ve made to express themselves in the name of freedom.  
     It is indeed fortunate for those of us who are lucky enough to live in a nation that allows unabridged freedom of speech and expression.  In the United States, it is a written Constitutional right that has been affirmed, protected and expanded by the Supreme Court during the course of the American Republic.  It is important to note; however, that First Amendment rights are not recognized for anyone whose speech incites an immediate violent response.  For example, inciting a riot. (3)  Outside of this understandable exemption, free speech is indeed free.
     However, of particular concern to this writer is this current period of time in which regulations have been established and designed by various agencies, institutions and groups to abridge freedom of speech.  This has taken the form of “Speech Codes” in various organizations, particularly so in American colleges and universities.  The thrust of these speech codes is to prevent people from expressing themselves either vocally or in print, including digital media, in ways that might offend someone else.  Thus, many in the intelligentsia have become paranoid with the fear of offending anyone, or any group, except of course, the majority. 
     Safe zones have been created on campuses to protect students from having to hear things about which they disagree or which might make them feel uncomfortable.  Trigger warnings for things that might be upsetting are provided in many places in order to allow a student to opt-out.  The cumulative result of such practices is the rise of gross intolerance and indifference to differing opinions and thought.  The free expression of ideas and ideals which may not be acceptable to some are chilled, or even worse, removed from the broader base of discussion and debate.
Thus many of the traditional bastions of liberalism, colleges and universities,  have become illiberal, or non-tolerant of multiple ideas and opinions.  Its consequence is the antithesis of liberalism and the rise of the squinting brow and close-mindedness of intolerance.  The sad humor in all of this is the very people seeking to restrict freedom of speech consider themselves to be both liberals and Liberals. (4)
     The Supreme Court, lower federal courts and state courts have opined in numerous cases that hate speech, no matter how heinous, is free speech and thus protected by the First Amendment.  And while most of us surely chagrin at the thought of hate speech being directed towards anyone or group, it is indeed a fundamental right to do so.
     James Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 10 that the great protection for the new American Republic would be its pluralist society.  By this, Madison meant that one egregious group, or faction, would be cancelled by the multitude of other groups.  In other words, society would control itself for the most part.  Madison feared both the tyranny of the majority as well as the tyranny of the minority. 
     Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher and historian who visited America and wrote about it in the early 19th Century, commented on how the sense of American mores, or self-imposed cultural guidelines and values, served to create a sense of tolerance and forbearance, and indeed, a community based system of determining acceptability and unacceptability.  It was an example and affirmation of Madison’s pluralist society in action.
     This writer can recall during his childhood and early adulthood how things now considered ‘offensive’ today would be discounted as inappropriate, inaccurate, stupid, tasteless, etc. But never was I offended by them.  The rise of Liberal ideology, and the demise of liberal society, given how we have allowed ourselves to become victims of this or that, has only served the electoral needs of equivocating politicians.  (See Endnote 4)  We, as idividuals, have forgotten how to swim in the grey area of give and take and compromise.  Consequently, the growth of intolerance has surged, and tolerance and forbearance has significantly faltered. 
     No longer do we resolve disputes with dialogue.  No longer do we listen to others with whom we may disagree.  No longer do we stretch our own sense of tolerance and forbearance.  All now seems to resort to shouting others down, protesting those with whom we might disagree and all the while completely missing the point of informed debate.  The ability to disagree in an agreeable manner is now a lost art.  We only hear ourselves affirming ourselves and increasingly refuse to hear others.  The art of statecraft, diplomacy and civility between people has devolved into the chaos of endless ideological divide.
     This past week there was considerable dialogue in a FanStory Forum about a poem written by a fellow poet.  Many found the poem to contain hate speech and therefore offensive. A diatribe about it ensued.  It grew exponentially from a justifiable denunciation into a nuclear explosion of sorts with people declaring their faith, arguing scripture, their thoughts, their beliefs.  At times, the arguments were on the narrowest of points.  There were comments calling for the Site to remove the offensive poem from public view.  In other words, the poem should be banned.
     I finally read the poem in question last night, and I must admit I neither liked it nor ascribed to its ideological premise. I personally despise hate speech but believe it is best controlled by people who do not think in such terms counter such speech with their own advocating tolerance and forbearance--not by banning hateful speech. I have not yet reviewed it, but believe those who consider it to be hate speech should review the poem and advise the poet of such.  However, as much as I disagree with the poem’s premise, I must also strongly affirm the poet’s right to write and post it.  As much as I disliked it, I would dislike its censorship even more.
     Censorship denies people the right to read what others have written.  Why would we as  writers and poets promote censorship? Why should one person be denied the right to read something simply because someone else finds it offensive?  Many classics of literature have been banned at one time or another.  Would you really want to be denied the opportunity to read the following books just because someone or some groups found them offensive?  These books were banned at one time in some places because some people found them offensive, obscene, inappropriate, etc.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternack 
     Oliver Wendell Holmes, a former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court once wrote that freedom of speech allows for the marketplace of ideas. (5) This concept provided for the justification of unfettered free speech as fundamental to a free society and the fact it played an important part in the maintenance of freedom of thought and the very basic integrity of democracy’s core.  Holmes’ decision remains a cannon of political philosophy and Supreme Court jurisprudence even to this day.
     When one thinks about limiting freedom of speech so as to not allow anything offensive to be said, written or presented in film, multi-media, etc., does one also think about WHO would make the rules, the laws, about what is or is not considered to be offensive?  Please review the list of banned books previously mentioned.  History has shown us what happens when the government determines what is or is not acceptable to say or think.  I, for one, do not want the government or any agency or organization to tell me what I can or cannot say, read or view.  I feel the same about not wanting Tom (FanStory) to tell me what I can or cannot write in my poetry or prose or what I can or cannot read.  I seriously doubt anyone does.  Once society allows itself to start down the slippery slope of censorship, then who is to say when and where it will end?
     I taught two college level U.S. government classes last semester.  60% of my students, when polled in a class-wide questionnaire, affirmed their strong support for an amendment to the First Amendment that would limit anyone saying anything that might offend anyone. 
     If such amendments to the First Amendment were to become law, then George Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, would truly be realized because the State would totally control the thoughts and speech of all of its subjects.  Please note this writer uses the term ‘subjects’ in lieu of ‘citizens’.  I pray the reader grasps the difference in meaning of the two terms.
     I’m left with thoughts of the haunting poem written by the late Martin Neimoeller about the Nazi period.  His iconic poem has been referenced by many seeking to make statements about tyranny and citizen indifference.  His poem has also been augmented by many to make their specific points more meaningful.  And thus, this writer has also done so in the following amended version of the poem. My lines are presented in italics. (6)
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
And then they came for those who spoke freely from their hearts, and I did not speak out---
Because I was not outspoken.
And then they came for those of us whose speech offended them, and I did not speak out—
Because I was afraid to stand tall for that which I truly believed.
Then they came for me—
And there was no one left to speak for me.
‘Twas then that democracy died…
1:  First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
2:  Thomas Jefferson is the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and James Madison is considered to be the Father of the Constitution.  Both served as Presidents of the United States. 
3: Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)
4:  Liberal and liberal have two entirely different meanings.  Liberal, with the capital ‘L’ refers to a political ideology.  Liberal, with the lower-case ‘l’ refers to one who embraces a broad spectrum of ideas, thoughts and opinions.  Thus the former is associated with political parties, such as Liberal Democrats while the latter is associated with a broad base of study and reflection such as is found in the traditional liberal arts degree.  One can be a liberal as well as a Liberal, but one can also be a liberal as well as a Conservative.
5: Abrams vs. Unites States (1919)
6: Martin Neimoeller, “And Then They Came.” 1946.  I have added to his poem in order to augment my argument in this treatise.  My lines are presented in italics.

Author Notes Thank you for reading my essay.

This essay received second place honors in the March 2016 SOM Contest.

Chapter 40
The Goodly Man

By mountainwriter49

The Goodly Man
It seems that we expect apologies
for present and our past inequities,
so much so they’re just meaningless decrees.
So many hypocrites will speak the words,
but ‘tis the goodly man who’s rarely heard.

10 July 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Sonnetino. This poetic form was created by fellow FanStorian Jyoti (lightlink). The poem consist of a tercet and couplet, both written in iambic pentameter. The tercet follows an A rhyme pattern while the couple follows a B rhyme pattern. Importantly, the tercet presents a scene or conflict and the couplet offers resolution and/or an optional turn.

The 9 July 2016 Poetry Potlatch challenge to write a Sonnetino about an apology, either given or received, accepted or rejected.

Goodly = yes, I meant goodly and not Godly. Goodly as used in this poem's context is an archaic meaning for the word and means 'of good quality.'

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 41
The Granite Stone

By mountainwriter49

              The Granite Stone
              Blank Verse Narrative
                                               It was the end
 of the most fretful week I’ve had in years,
and I was so forlorn, despaired, and found
myself  within the vortex of the ‘twixt
and ‘tween as I stood by the water’s edge.
Cool ripples fell upon the rocky beach
so softly, yet the sounds clashed harshly and
so loudly in my mind.
                                      These crashing waves
upon the rocky shore remind me of
when we once stood by Juan de Fuca strait,
and were so mesmerized by rhythmic, pulsing,
thrusting waves upon the rounded grey
stones strewn as far as we could see along
seductive moonlit shores.
                                       I looked beyond
your eyes and saw an oval granite rock
the size of which would fit within my palm.
Oh how you laughed as I reached down to grasp
the rock well-smoothed by centuries of sea’s
ne’er ceasing, sculpting waves.
                                            You pulled me up
into your warm embrace and smiled
before you kissed me with a passion that
I’d come to love since we’d passed through the door
cut low in the elusive hand-hewn wall
that few could ever find.
                                                          I gave to you
the smooth, well-rounded granite stone that night
and swore to you my love would last beyond
the stone and stars above.  ‘Twas then you pulled
me closer, promising your love would last
beyond eternity.
                                               And thus we lived
and thrived upon life’s vibrant verve and supped
 from its most plentiful bouquet of art
and love and food and wine and history.
But ‘twas in Italy where we found life’s
most grand display of verdant Eden’s
wondrous garden for us to enjoy.
‘Twas there amongst the Tuscans that we thrived
with friends we'll always love.
                                     The thund’rous claps
awoke me from my dreams and memories
of when you were here by my side and in
your living years.  How could the time have passed
us by so quickly?  I don’t understand
how time and place could stand so still yet move
so damn fast when we were as one…but now
it creeps by slowly even more so since
some twenty years have hurried by since you
have passed away and left
                                      me all alone.
I long for those dear ardent, halcyon
years of our youth, when love was sweet and ripe
as wine that drips from gravid vines, yet resonates
within my soul, my heart and deeper yet
within my loins…as I now hold the stone
that you bequeathed to me that I once gave
to you upon this strand
                                                 so many years
ago when we were young and danced beneath
soft Luna’s glow and knew we would last evermore.
I’ve written of our love as I have sipped the vine,
and leafed through memories most dear to us.
I weep as music we both loved now plays 
aloud, thus filling my heart with such joy
of memories sublime.
                                                   I cast the stone
along the shore where we first pledged our love.
‘Tis here where I once spread your ashes long
ago, and where mine too will soon be spread
upon this rocky shore.  

15 July 2016

Author Notes Poetic Form:
Blank verse written in iambic meter with some metrical substitution and variable line lengths, thus there are no end-rhymes and the poem is not always in iambic pentameter. Metrical substitution is used for dramatic and/or emphasis purposes.

A good film, a splendid Cabernet Franc and deeply moving music melding with thoughts...

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 42

By mountainwriter49

It’s 07:00 and uncomfortably warm for this time of day.  No breezes. Though the sun is low, it’s torridity sears my face as I start my morning walk.  I know I’m crazy to walk 10 kilometers in this heat.  But I am stubborn as hell. I need the exercise.   The neighborhood is quiet.  Even the birds are less chirpy this morning.  Everyone’s grass is brown.  The steep incline is harder to ascend.  It’s hard to breathe. The pavement feels like burning coals through my shoes.  I could fry eggs in a quick minute if I’d only brought a couple with me.  I am hot and hemorrhaging water.  My shirt is drenched.  I take it off in hopes of cooling down.   The distant rumbling of thunder teases me with the thoughts of long promised rain. 
sultry air
is heavy with humidity

24 July 2016

Author Notes Potlatch 23 July 2016 Challenge

Write about rain. In this haibun, I've written about the effects of no rain.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 43
A Tribute to FS Poets and Writers

By mountainwriter49

* *
* dew *
* pearl *
* spagletti *
* Tati * xylox *
* hotstuff * amel *
* kathryn varuzza *

* s yocum * mamonia *
* judian james * juliajames *
* jeanie mercer * the blue pixel *
* original octomom * sally carter *
* Jason453 * halfhoff * geoniasha *
* MargaretSnowden * patticarr * soulster *
* ann smith  * the brits wife  patmedium *
* Belinda * words * nanette mary * pen & ink *
writer c * leesm * Amanda * c lucas * garthl *
* Indianiairish * MissMerri * lamCat * vickib * joan e *
* just2write * Taffspride * Barbarawilkey * ulla  * mastery *
* Dean Kuch * djohnsrld * poetbear * lena borgia * whizpurr^^ *
* Bill Schott * spitfire * writingfundeminson * melyuki * warren rodgers *
* jlsavell * shelley kaye * Nor84 * starkat * rosehill * starkat * sweet linda *
* rama devi *  trimple * Bill Schott * Gypsy Blue Rose * Jay Squires  * Rod G
* Robyn Corum * Anned100 * unspoken94 * barb hersongispsaca jmf4119 * dovey *
* bill o’brier  * cillverde * irish goat * stacia ann *  Michael cahill * lightink * Pateclaw *
* roselius * his grayness * joy graham * jannypan * RGStar * rosah * lovinia * rosehill *
* ideasaregems-dawn * gregory cody * tfawcus * RidleyWilliams * DorothyFinnel * Irish Rain*
* Gloria… * BeasPeas * autumn splendor * Late Bloomer * Nancyjam * jean lutz * Ronni *
* TAB that’s me * Preston McWorter * NadineM Giddy Nelson-Sweep * Gert Sherwood *
* madhatter 1977 * selina stambi * flylikeaneagle * patsolstad * reconciled
* pantygynt * veeb * springain * LIJRed * Debbie Noland * l.raven *
* Donya Quijote * mountainwriter49 * bard owl * words * Sis Cat *
* the writeteach * ricmyworld * Bill O'brier *feedleflump *
* giraffmang * davisr * roy owen * mumsyone *

* Maureen Napier * Dragonpoet * tom ens *
* Lovina * Krys123 * Bob Cullen *
Lord Byron
Mary Shelley
Edgar A. Poe
Edna SV Millay

Alvin T Ethington * jshep * cheyennewy
showboat * Gungalo * Kentucky Sweet Pea 

'Tis the mind that sets man’s body
free to roam the earth in search of
love and soar above the clouds b’yond
terran tethers into vast unknowns. 
I sigh and place my book upon my chest
and ponder Waugh’s emotive, stirring words.
Tears streaming down my face as I now wrest

their layered meanings—my emotions stirred.

Ignorance and bias are the
bane of man, thus leaving him lost,
e’er forlorn; wasted and despised.
Such is life’s lot of those who’re unread.

My heart and soul are lifted as I read
Adonna’s poetry of faith as dawn
begins to break.  My spirit is thus freed
o lose myself in Kar’s haiku—a swan…

'Tis the light of knowledge that sets
man’s mind free to ponder, tease and
to create most wondrous things that
shall amuse and teach us all.

Die Katze’s introspective verse yet stirs
 my soul so late into the starless night.
And Rose’s sonnets leave my heart bestirred.
Oh, how I long for Tati’s calming light.

Holmes once said that freedom of one’s
speech creates the marketplace of
grand ideas and much creativity.
FanStory has provided such for me.

Oh, how I miss Brooke's fairies in the wood
and Chey’s sad tears as she would write at night.
And Joyce’s verse resounds –she understood
my cancer’s pain and why I had much fright.

'Tis the body that sets man’s mind
free to grow and delve into the
wonders of the universe.  One’s
body and its mind in perfect sync…

This Christmastide, I shall rejoice at how
I’ve grown as poet o’er these years now past,
and to my friends within this site I now avow
my thanks for helping me when e’er I asked.

A Merry Christmas to my friends and fans;
and thanks so much for your kind, helping hands.

20 December 2016


Author Notes Poetic Form:
This is one of those "by the roaring fire and Bacchus infused" poems tonight. It is a poem written in quatrains with a closing couplet. The quatrains are variant. The odd numbered ones are written in trochaic meter while the even numbered ones are written in iambic. Line lengths vary. Odd quatrains are in blank verse while even ones are rhymed in an abab pattern. In some places, metrical substitution has been employed for dramatic effect, such as stanza 3, line 3.

Generally speaking, the odd numbered stanzas are philosophical while the even ones are reflective, introspective.

"'Tis the mind that sets the body free" is a direct quote from one of my English professors, the late Dr. Millard Heartsock from her commencement address to my college graduating class of 1974 at Atlantic Christian College.

Some of the names within the poem are real rather than screen names. One reviewer suggested a glossary of such names:

Adonna = Miss Merri
Brooke = adewpearl
Chey = Cheyennewy
die Katze = I am Cat
Joyce - jshep
Kar = IndianiaIrish
Rose = Just2Write

It is Christmas and I wanted to recognize the poets and writers who have been important to me on this site. While the listing order in the tree is random, there is one intentional placement. For example, adewpearl (Brooke Baldwin) will always be atop my FanStory tree! She has been and yet represents the best of this Site. The top part of the tree represents poets I have admired and learned from in the past but are no longer active on-site. The middle to the bottom of the tree represents current writers and poets I admire and respect.

The stem of the tree represents several poets who, in my opinion are Masters of the craft and are among my all time favorites.

The base of the tree represents the several FanStory poets I have known who have died while active on the site, but nonetheless they live within my heart. Their poetry, mentorship and friendship yet reign and they form, for me, a foundation of my FanStory experience.

I must apologize for those whose names may not be in the tree. I could not possibly remember and list everyone, and I recognize the danger of the name game. Please be assured any ommissions are not intentional and be not offended if such has occurred.

Spirit of the Season:
What better time to recognize those who have helped me grow as a poet than now at Christmastide?

Merry Christmas to all my friends and fan on this wonderful site.

20 Dec 2016

Chapter 44
tanka (wind-blown leaves)

By mountainwriter49

tanka (wind-blown leaves)

wind-blown leaves
swirl in upward spiral
remind me of your steadfast
love as we dance tonight


20 November 2016

Author Notes Poetic Form:
Tanka is a complex Japanese short poetic form. It is comprised of three important parts. The first part is the haiku-like first three lines which capture a moment in time, most often using a natural reference to set the tone for the emotive tone which follows at the end of the poem. The second part of the tanka is the critically important third line which serves a dual role. The first role is to serve as a satori, or moment of insight; ah-ha moment for the haiku-like first two lines. It must also serve as a pivot to begin the last two lines of the tanka. The third section of the tanka is the last two lines, which actually begin with the pivot in line 3. This part serves to convey the human emotion, or emotive factor.

Tanka is a most beautiful poetic form and lends itself to emotive expression. It has been referred to as the Japanese sonnet form because of its beauty and depth.

Unlike Western poetry, Japanese short poetic forms, tanka, haiku and senryu are not filled with flowing adjectives, simile, metaphor, etc. Indeed, the poems are meant to capture a moment in time and written so the reader can fill in the blanks and ponder the deeper meaning of the poem.

Tanka does permit personification of nature. It must be 31 syllables or less, most usually in a short / long / short / long / long format. Capitalization and punctuation are kept to the absolute minimum. It has no rhyme. It is best presented with no digital artwork, thus allowing the reader to form his/her own images as he/she reads and contemplates the tanka.

Winter storm Argos has brought us two full days of winds that have dislodges trillions of leaves upon the ground. It's swirling winds, or mini-tornados as I like to think of them, has created the most wonderful eye-candy for nature watchers.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 45
Fall's Fruit

By mountainwriter49

Fall’s Fruit
Tanka Prose
Today is a most wonderful October day as northwest winds gently kiss the towering deciduous trees, freeing them of spent maple, ash, oak, hickory and linden leaves.   They spiral downward in graceful ballet sequences.  The breezes have a cool edginess that invigorates my heart and soul as I work in my yard.  I drop my rake and raise my arms and breathe in deeply as I relish the day.  The sky is a vivid Carolina blue, otherwise known as azure perfecto.   Elongated feathered clouds grace the heavens as black crows caw aloft in my ancient Live Oak tree.  Autumn colors are beginning to transition summer’s verdant greens to golds, browns and reds, but it will be another week before Afton’s slopes will be aflame with Fall’s full splendor.  Oh, how I love this time of year when air is fresh, the sky is clear and landscapes are as though they’ve been painted by Monet.  Soft, yet vibrant.  Colorful, though not too much so.  Vivid and captivating. I am awash in sensory overload as I complete my day’s tasks.  I am enervated, yet invigorated as I walk towards the house.
Revived by a hot, soapy shower, I now recline in an old wicker chair with my feet propped upon the patio’s fieldstone ledge. I marvel at nature’s grand design; God’s luscious palette emerging before my eyes.  Oh, how soothing is the Goose’s charm as black crows caw and squirrels screech while scurrying from limb-to-limb and tree-to-tree.   The rustle of the limbs, caused by their acrobatics, results in acorns galore falling to the ground.  The popping sounds they create provides an hypnotic rhythm as I try to estimate how many I have raked-up.  Was it two or three thousand?  Perhaps four thousand!  They were ubiquitous, and despite my hard work, hundreds remain upon the ground, awaiting that special moment when they might send forth their first fragile roots of life.  Nature renewed.
The setting sun begins to boast an orange glow through the arbor of the trees.  The evening breezes are cooler as I sip, again, from the frosted glass.  I breathe deeply and enjoy nature’s fresh scent.  I surrender to night’s effervescence…
fall and scatter ‘pon the ground
squirrels scurry
as I ponder life’s wonders
while sitting ‘neath oak's spreading boughs

16 October 2016

Author Notes Poetic Form: Tanka Prose is a close cousin of the Haibun. While they are similar, they are quite different in the follow aspects. Tanka prose uses more eloquent, descriptive prose rather than haibun-traditional short, terse prose. Also, tanka prose uses the tanka rather than haiku as a means to sum-up and resolve the prose.

this week has been the most wondrous of the fall season thus far. Cool temperatures, teasing color variations beginning in the trees' leaves and just the wonder of being alive and enjoy life beneath God's azure skies.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 46

By mountainwriter49

Tanka Prose
We speed by Fancy Gap in hopes of avoiding the highway patrol's radar.  As I cross beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway, I think of a nearby place that is so dear to me.  Only 25 miles up the Parkway is an oasis perched atop the mountain’s crest; still verdant and vibrant in my mind.  I’m not driving, so I close my eyes and remember those wonderful times when I was young. Of time spent at Meadows of Dan, Virginia.  I smile. My eyes well.  A tear of joy meanders slowly down my cheek.
I recall the drive along the tortuous US Route 58 from Danville to the mill. Its course laid upon ancient Indian paths. The serpentine route twists and turns; rises and falls with such delight.  I still hear my mother’s scream as my dad would squeal-a-tire as he approached the jumping-off point...And  later, my daughter’s delightful squeals as I’d throw-the-curves before we'd stop.   Oh, what a view! A panorama of God’s pristine Earth lay before our eyes as we stand arm-in-arm along escarpment’s edge o'erlooking the valley below. 
save for lone hawk’s caw
and gentle winds
permeates as I hold you close
atop Lover’s Leap
Sated in thought, I transition to farmer’s market where we'll buy red-waxed hoop cheese, dried apple rings and cow-moo patties.  The chocolate ones.  I think of Papa each time I eat dried apple rings.  But few things compare to our trips to Mabry Mill during the fall when leaves are afire with brilliant reds and golds.  Stunning.  Ethereal...spiritual.  I think of one frigid winter's day when we went to sled and to play along the Parkway's expanse. The mill's wheel's are locked in winter’s stern jaws of thickest, hardest ice.  We laugh and play while trudging through the deep soft, wet snow.  My daughter loves the eight-foot long icicles hanging from the mill’s wooden aqueduct.  All's  quiet; sublime...serene.  ‘Tis this memory, one of so many made at this place, that's my favorite.The air's so pure and filled with sanctity and love as we mar the pristine snow with our footsteps into our then unknown memories...
winter’s breezes wynd
through white pines and barren oaks
snow-capped limbs
and our memories forevermore

13 August 2016

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Tanka Prose. This poetic form is a close cousin to haibun, but is differentiated by it's more prose-like and less-terse, or more graceful tenor and use of tanka rather than haibun. As with haibun, the poetic form is to-the-point and mostly present tense. The title stands alone, yet compliments and sets the tone for the poetic prose and tanka. The prose set the tone for the tanka and the tanka compliment and round-out the prose.

Last week I gave Taffspride (Ann) directions to Mabry Mill as part of her northern trek routing to an event in New England. As I passed by its I-77 exit on Thursday of this past week, I thought of her travels there and then, that, brought out such wonderful memories I have of that part of this world--the Meadows of Dan, Virginia. I've been there many times off-and-on since 1964. This tanka prose is autobiographical.


Jumping-off Point = Lovers' Leap

Lovers' Leap = A wayside along US Rt. 58 as it ascends the Blue Ridge escarpment.

Mabry Mill = A major tourist attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway just north of the Meadows of Dan intersection. A restored Mill and community and part of the National Park Service.

Meadows of Dan = a small, unincorporated community at the crest of the Blue Ridge at the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway and US Rt. 58.

Squeal-a-tire = burning rubber; taking curves too fast (a Southern phrase)

Throw-the-curves = see definition for Squeal a tire.

Thank you for reading my poetry, and particularly so since it is just a bit long.


Chapter 47

By mountainwriter49

Potlatch 13 August 2016

Oh, Sandman, where are you tonight
at this late hour when I need you
to dust my eyes with sand?  They're bright
as day's grand verve still rings so true.
I pour another glass of wine
whilst music plays sounds so divine.
As I relax upon my couch
I find my mind begins to slouch...

13 August 2016

Author Notes Poetic Form:
Rispetto--a short Italian poetic form written in iambic meter with a rhyme pattern of ABAB CCDD. One often finds the Rispetto written in iambic pentameter; however, the Potlatch challenge suggested iambic tetrameter.

13 Aug 2016 Potlatch Poetry Challenge.

Thanks so much for reading my poetry.


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