The Molt-ese Raven


Humprey Bogart

It was a night like the proverbial,
cliché ones, dark and not stormy,
but dreary, you know, like a Bogart
movie.  He’s the detective waiting
for the entrance of the “classy
dame.”  It’s supposed to be a tale
about a missing sister and a statue.

A black bird, except he calls it the
“dingus.”  Hell of a guy!  Hell of a
story.  So, he’s up in his office,
reading a ‘30s detective magazine.

You know the kind – a woman on
the cover in a tight-fitting blouse
open to here being threatened
by a thug, and there is no story
inside that corresponds with the
image, but who cares?  It’s not
like some forgotten piece of
creepy literature or something.

He sees a shadow through the
frosted glass of the office door,
too small and quick moving to
be a client or a “classy dame,”
so he quietly pulls his piece
from his shoulder holster as
he hears a strange tap on the
wood down by the floor.  He
rubs his chin, thinking it over
before he decides he’s more
than able to handle whatever
life throws at him.  He gets up,
gun in hand and heads for the
door.  Another rap on the door.

“Hold your horses!” he calls.

He grabs the doorknob, aims
towards the floor, and yanks
open the door.  He blasts a
hole in the floorboards the
size of a ’45 slug.  “Son of
a –”  And in flies a bird as
black as the heart of the
woman who broke his heart;
Gracie… or Lenore… something
like that.  As the bird flies out
the open office window he
hears it cackle, “Never noir!”


So, Jilly found this prompt about writing something based on The Raven.  Who wouldn’t like to do something with that great classic.  Perhaps not what I did with it; you know, murdering it.  But, anyway, this is what came out.



I think this has real potential! Real poet-ential.


Digging back a few weeks back into the Poetry Prompt on Poet’s & Writers, I’m going to spend this evening on this prompt:

“Write a poem that takes its cue from an element of Poe’s verse that you are especially drawn toward. Consider its themes of loss and devotion; the extensive use of alliteration and rhyme; the “nevermore” refrain; classical, mythological, and biblical references; the question-and-answer sequencing; the symbolism of the raven; or the forebodingly dark atmosphere.”

Find The Raven here.

Care to join me, my poetic friends?  I’ll be back to post my poem here after I have successfully written it.  Here is a Linky if you feel like joining in!

Cheers!  ~Jilly

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Autumnal Repositioning


The sun traversed
the equator (no, it didn’t).

This is how we refer
to (a smaller reality in our terra-centric conceit) it.

The sun remains
in place (unmoved, really).
It is our… (chutzpah?)

We do the shifting.

Centuries we believed
we were
the center of living,
the vortex of reality.

We are (delusional)
by scientific evidence
left dumbfounded.

We form culturally-
acceptable redirections,
divert our (addled)
advanced minds from
the shock that comes
from (having to face)
learning we really don’t
matter all that much.

(next we tackle God)


A poem in honor of the start of fall.  You know, when the sun crosses the Equator.

Why Do You Ask?


photo by Charley

Is it just me?

Is it only me who hears

song cues with this prompt?

“Well I wonder, wonder who…?”

Do you ever wonder?

“Each night I ask

the stars up above, ‘Why…?’”

Do you stay

awake at night, asking,

“Where oh where can my baby be…?”

Are you a fool like me?

“Why do they fall in love?”

Do you stare at the clock?

“How long has this been going on?”

“Does anybody really know…?”

Should you get up and get dressed?

“Where do we go from here?”

Do you check the weather before heading out?

“Have you ever seen the rain?”

“Who’ll stop the rain?”

Do you know which questions to ask?

Which one is the essential one?


My vote:  “Is this the real life?  Or is this fantasy?”


It’s poetics night at dVerse Poets Pub, and we’ve been asked to write a poem that asks.  One that doesn’t answer.  This is my stab at it.  Come join the fun!


Hurricane Season


photo by Charley

It’s hurricane season in Florida.  I know it’s not a universally-accepted season; certainly not celebrated in most Eurasian locales.  It is a deadly reality here.  As I look out at the Oak trees that thinned their canopies in gusts up to 80 miles per hour, I can see more clearly the tiny, indistinct birds, the dragonflies, and the mud-daubers that populate what’s left above the trunks.

Why do I write the way I do?  Damned if I know.  I simply respond to who, what, or where and stuff comes out.  Sometimes it’s crazy, or funny… but I can be deadly serious, as anyone who’s read my works know well.  I’ve been at the beginning of life (my son) and at the end of living (more times than I could ever count).  Everything I’ve done in life (also more than I care to count) gets poured into the mix.  And I respond to great writing.  I pull up a Basho haiku:

But for a woodpecker
tapping at a post, no sound
at all in the house

That’s kind of how it felt at our house after the twelve-hour wind barrage quietened down.  Something like shell-shock followed.

Wind stopped finally
Egrets return to the pond
peacefully to fish


It’s Haibun Night at dVerse Poet’s Pub.  Follow the link to see what’s required, and feel free to join in.

The Hold

“What are the roofs that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish?”T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

as is often how dying
occurs, their joy,
their hearts, eroded.

The hand held,
the smile shared,
south when daylight ebbed
from their conversation.

A grain at a time,
winds of neglect worked
over the once-fertile soil.

Inconstant, hidden tears exposed
them both to the searing
glare of alone.

Years of holding
on produced a change
of landscape –


likelihood they stayed
and flourished.

Birds roost
in the boughs reaching
and sing among new growth.

The Eternity of Words — Imelda/Charley


This is my attempt at completing Imelda’s challenge poem, “Words,” which she submitted to Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge.  As Imelda explains, the poetic form is “…a Retourne… a poem that has 4 quatrains with 8 syllables on each line.  The lines do not need to rhyme.  In a Retourne, next three lines of the first stanza become the first line of the succeeding quatrains.  As you can see, I used the second line of the first stanza to begin the first line of the second stanza.  So, the third stanza should have the third line of the first stanza as the first line, and so on.”  Hopefully, I’ve come near the intent and tone of the first half.


Words, once set free, blend in the wind
breathing a timeless existence;
Some grow wings to fly to heaven
They ask gifts for the gentle tongue

Breathing a timeless existence,
words illuminate our soul
Memories do falter in time
consequences of words live on.

Some grow wings to fly to heaven,
Some bear weights that drag them to hell.
Others bear truths that teach our young.
Word light; sunny day, starry night.

They ask gifts for the gentle tongue.
They scold, cajole, or encourage.
On monuments writ they do fade;
Put to use they build cleansing fires.


Dandelions’ Rhymes — Colin/Charley


photo by Charley

Awake my soul into a dream
A dream of robins’ poetry
Whereon tickly fluff of dandelions rhymes
And in silken crepuscular rays the verses stream
I hear a heartbeat
Dripping warm dewdrops of mead
Into the wind
Into her melodies of angelic sweet

Awake my psyche to reality
Where robins’ song is days-end chant
Upon dandelions’ parachutes ride poets’ hearts
And in woolen shadowy rays our fancies see
A tell-tale heart throbs
Ripping acid moans from deep
Caught in a dream’s wind
Waking to bird song, imagined melody robs


This is my attempt at completing Colin’s amazing poem, “Vernal Flutter.”  He submitted this as a challenge half-poem in Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge, and as a poem in dVerse Poets Pub, Meeting the Bar.  Tonight Björn is hosting, and he asks us to be metaphorical.  For those who can’t keep them straight, a simile is “like” or “as” a metaphor, but a metaphor is, like, not a simile.  (or something as that…)

Shine In – Frank/Charley


photo by Charley


Autumn changes focus on school schedules and condo movements, but now for our children, not for us. It’s the same with Spring. In between these events, like sunlight going through the leaves of trees, there is viewing the lake and parkways where trees can reach for the sun because the buildings are small enough for them to have a chance.


Winter’s focus for many means wind chill factor, snow removal, and washing salt from cars when the mercury rises.  The children – and adults – wrap in layers over layers; Autumn’s wool exchanged for Down and Thinsulate.  For children it means that most transient and renewable of playthings: Snow.  Our winters down here share the clearness of light and not much else.  Ours is the beautiful days filled with biking, walking by lake-sides, and picnics.  We spend many nights on our back balcony sky-watching.  Summer light is hot, yellow-white and withering no matter where you live.



For Jilly’s September Challenge of Casting Bricks, this is my completion of Frank Hubeny’s excellent Haibun called “Let the Light Shine In.”  I have written a second Haibun, trying not to stray too far from the original intent, voice and tone.

Frank’s words are first and in bold.

Renga – “Road of Ashes” Charley/qbit

qbit has taken up this crazy challenge!  I will update our ongoing collaboration through 10 couplets.  Stop by and see what insanity he & I cook up!  If you are interested in joining in, stop by the original post for On the Road of Ashes and let me know!  This is a part of the September Challenge of Casting Bricks; join us!  (plagiarized from Jilly’s blog almost verbatim)

I was on the way, on the way
and suddenly, precipitously, I wasn’t

Tourmaline voices cracked like stones in a fire
Broke my path wide into rust or grey choices

To labor as herdsman over sheep seeking knowledge
or waste my life recumbent on a hammock

Such are the sheep of Yeats
The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Cry out agonies in languages better gauged
to bear pain than in lingua hominibus

Vulgate promises
That will not redeem

Poets and educators study
apocryphal prophecies, end-times data chats

Revelations recursed through paths
Of unstable destination

Fire cracked through the Tourmaline
path broke wide with several choices

Flame buoyant, boreal –
The shattered colors of the compass


Woohoo!  We did it!