There in Tethered Fields

There in tethered fields with damask foliage
cemented cannons rested over fields of graves
each shaded grove a mausoleum,
ghosts yearning for the rise of fallen flags.

Well I’m stuck on this one. Usually I can get myself unstuck but I’d like to take this as an opportunity to try to engage here, which is sometimes very difficult. If anyone finds this useful as a writing prompt, I’d love to see where you take this simple quatrain. Send me a link or a comment if you find my missing inspiration and have a nice Thursday.


Bank Pyrite

There in the gravel, tiny flicker
glistening from the gray,
the foolish hope of miner’s salvation
skidding a little to stoop
calloused fingers clenching grit
polishing the dust away
tossed back with a curse.
You cannot bank pyrite.


With so many flightless birds, thumping,
striking sides on Kittyhawk, pitting castles against
the clamoring of clicks, a clapboard panoply,
thatch roofed and crusted with barnacles.

It was a weak wheel sputtering, a sail catching
doldrums on an eastern wind bringing rain,
a false-start lover fondly remembered in dotage
the sweet smell of incense wafting over altars.

Some Sad Sunrise

Some sad sunrise, when Yeats
in fiction, arrayed against his papal foes
sat on the Taran fringe and listened
to the whispers of fairies and
the impressing catholic faithful.
He spoke to the controversy, to fates,
to the howling rhyme of protestant ethics
crashing into a sea of Roman fervor.

“Moses gave you separation,
division from your youthly wives,
to follow fae into dappled forests –
at midsummer’s with the night fire’s blazing,
some new command dressed in the drag
of an old woman’s lost laundry.”

Two Octets

The lover penitent
blood scrawled on fields
like a diary of pain
where the lie was born
in the shadow’s rapture –
some resurrection plots
like Guy Fawkes,
the parliament must change.

The electorate trepidates
sedate, stampedes pontiffs
like Galba, Otho, Vitellius
a parade of victorious apprentices
til the clap irons welded
alloyed, cemented, brooked
no tentacles of forgiveness
flung from the bosom of Hades.


In a willow tree,
branches dripping,
naked before spring –
a flimsily wrapped sophist pondered,
stared down at his collection of
cricket disciples,
shivering in the morning dew.

“How like an apple,” he began
condescending to reveal some cognition
a platitude to drain the day.
“Or a prune, wrinkled in the sun,”
he tried to continue,
losing his aphoristic hue,
the spectrum of his thought splattering
like the crimson stain of a head
shorn from a traitor’s neck.

“I cannot continue,” he accused.
“There are disbelievers present,”
he explained and promptly fell
from his pulpit branch
and cracked his skull.

Noah Floats

The serif wonder, seraphim
Galadriel plays a trumpet
while Azmodeus passes out pamphlets
properly set in a sprightly helvetica;
rile the masses with block print,
let the Cromwell cumulus burst
we’ll see if Noah floats.


Dulce and dulcimer
and conjugated verbs
tides that rise to kiss the sky
in daily doublets
that would make a Tudor proud.

Feet-thick muck
a devil’s perfumery
of sulfur springs
entrapping tidal travelers
in some Clausewitz maneuver.

Daily fought the Jacobites
with marmalade spoons and macaroni
chairs set to table with soups and bread
and laughs, and second shepherd’s plays
and pardoners.


Feathers everywhere on a stump dented with blood,
the hanging carcass of a taken doe
Sheltering in wavy fields of grass from thunderstorms
and creeks whose principle occupants were snapping turtles.

Campy parades with glitter and glossed pageant winners
a trumpet of patriotic fervor dazzling independence celebrants
the drill of a cicada into husks of wilting trees
the dredge of horse sleds over red clay fields.

There was pong and tennis and spaced invaders
interspersed with dust bowls and tin can homes
set on long windy roads over bridges sometimes washed out
so regularly that nearby towns soon decided paving was in order.

Weekends were so much longer in my memories.

Late for School

I saw her in the eve of memory
the twilight theft of passing years,
she had never been unkind, only reserved
like a Puritan in Salem gone
once too many times into the woods
covering some regret no one would ever guess.

There were hospital gowns and purified airs,
passing nurses and concerned looks tossed between
patients and gathered families.

Her face brightened with concern – “Junior!”
she chastised some ghost,
“Junior, we’ll be late for school.”
Then slipped possibly into a recollection
Of some juvenile castigation of her little brother
long since grown and withered himself.

In those withering hours, those long days
incoherent moments like dried out sailors just in sight of land
Only spotting some enemy’s flag fluttering violently
Over the hulking form of a fortress,
Heavy guns pointed at the only safe harbor.

That is where I saw her last,
A castaway drifting toward her eternity.


In a petal
the bicycle spins
as a kite kissing winds
and their shared mirth is filtered
by coal.

When the rain
simpers slowly, springs
into action like frogs
squelching suffering tulips
in bloom.

a chill wind torments,
its forced forms sheering left
leeward traced sun dollops
drip down.


Laid out,
borne on a bier
a floating vessel
a Tipperary fairy whist
playing cardlings all trefony.
On gauzy wings
with Mr. Webster in tow
alighting candles like a Michael
navigator hoarsely gimbles,
and tosses spectres
into horseshoe pits.