A cello’s song elaborates

relentless flow on each pull of bow,

a jagged breath surrenders—slow

anguish suspends, shudders fade

an oboe soars to higher peaks,

tired souls hear heaven speak

a pulse conjured by orchestral throng,

harmonious voices draw comfort near,

erase despair, slow many a tear—

wordless wisdom steady and true

commands tormented thoughts to cease

as silken vibrations mend and release.


Many thanks to Imelda of MY WALL who posted Yo-Yo Ma’s cello performance with her beautiful poem: ‘Cello Caress’ and to Jane Dougherty who prompted us, a few weeks ago, to write about pain using this rhyming form (challenge #49).


In symbols, clustered stars, far meaning hides

In poems, wordless messages reside

literal sense afloat or cast aside—

And sometimes words and form together glide

In serendipity gates open wide.


This is my response to Jane Dougherty’s 50th Poetry Challenge: ‘Fifty’.  She will be taking a break from hosting challenges for a while.  I would like to express my profound gratitude for the challenges she has offered. For me it was a weekly writing workshop, an opportunity to learn and experiment with aspects of form I would not have tackled on my own.

The form proposed for this week is called a ‘Fifty’:  five lines of 10 syllables each. Each line must rhyme.  Combining a long syllable count with rhyme requirements was by no means effortless for me.  My topic was partly inspired by the image provided with the challenge, but as the poem is not about the image I have not shown it here.

Hearts’ spring

Early spring in Central Park by Paul Cornoyer
Lost and lonely, wound up like a spring,

sad torrents flow a river storm,

we huddle close in pouring rain.


As confusing mist and pressures rain,

tender hearts break in early spring

not tempered yet by fierce storm.


Relentless time brings chill and storm,

We run from love, and cower in rain,

Still many a heart awakes in spring.

Let’s wake and spring toward the storm, we can dance together in the rain.



This is a  Tritina attempt for Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #47. An important feature of this form are the three line endings in the first stanza–in this poem ‘spring’, ‘storm’ and ‘rain’. These words are  used in a specific order in each stanza and the closing line.  Jane’s challenge post describes the form in greater detail and offers the above image, a painting by Paul Cornoyer (American Painter: 1864-1923) as a source of inspiration.


Star gazing

Tents with the Milky Way|Credit NPS/Emily Ogden|License: CC 2.0 Generic.

The sky unfurls its gems at night,

oceans of swirls and specks of light,

Our centers shift, recalibrate

as clouds of stardust undulate,

Our humbled heads fall back in awe,

the sky unfurls its gems at night,

They softly hint a spiral path,

a billion stars eons away,

Oceans of swirls and specks of light,

with bodies moored by gravity,

our minds soar high to starry seas,

our centers shift, recalibrate.


This week,  Jane Dougherty’s Challenge is an invitation to focus on meter–something I’ve been wanting to know more about.  Here are her words:

This week’s challenge is more about the sound of the poem than the content. Sometimes it seems to me that we work hard to get our thoughts either into rhymes or simply into the right line lengths, and don’t listen to the sound it makes. This week, I thought we could concentrate on listening to the beats in the line rather than simply count syllables or find an appropriate rhyme.

Tetrameter (four beats to the line) and pentameter (five beats) give a rhythm that helps to make a line memorable. Try to think more of the way the stress falls than the number of syllables. It will inevitably mean shuffling word order or occasionally choosing a synonym, but you will end up with a poem that flows like a song.

To see her poem with the strong beats highlighted in bold type, please visit the challenge link above.

My poem is an attempt to maintain Tetrameter using a form called ‘Cascade’.

Summer storm: when it rains it pours

Photo credit: Pixabay

Summer downpour

Thunder growls, flashes descend,

Summer downpour

Seeds burst open, buried dreams soar,

Stale hearts waken, new hopes ascend,

Wily winds blow as time warps bend,

Summer downpour.

For more summer storms, please visit  Jane Dougherty’s challenge post #45.  This week she invited us to try a Rondelet using ‘summer storm’ as inspiration. For those wanting to know more about Rondelets, here is an informative Shadow Poetry link.

Poem ©2016 all rights reserved by

Troubled mind


Sometimes life wheels grind and strain my tenacity,

Lost in clouds my troubled mind grasps for sanity.


Are my heartfelt words enough or excess chatter?

Even minor rebuff shakes my strained sanity.


I trundle on, an inner GPS is my guide

sending me back along a path to sanity.


Enjoy moments, release selfish concerns, allow

it all to float away–then I’ll find sanity.


No formula cures a restless spirit more than

love, giving love, our foundation, our sanity.


∼  ∼  ∼  ∼ ∼

The ghazal is an ancient form of Arabic poetry originating in the 7th or 8th century.  Centuries later, English writers experimented with the form using free verse and recently, favoring uniform measures and use of rhyme.  When Jane Dougherty invited us to write a ghazal this week I hesitated, but after stumbling on a fascinating article about the form I realized that I wanted to make an attempt.

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Half, full, or quarter view, one moon shines

Tomorrow, now, then, all endless time

You, me, them, flesh and blood, all life heirs.


We have let fear, greed and false beliefs

limit our freedom to stretch our hearts

‘Round the globe to people here and there.


Sages say love neighbors as ourselves

while earth’s so constant moon radiates

golden beams showing us how to care.

A response to Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #43: Trilune—The ‘trilune’, a new form invented by Jane Dougherty, consists of nine lines, nine syllables each—that’s my quick summary.  For her vision of the form, please visit her site at the above link.

The image is a public domain photo made available by PIXABAY.

©2016, all rights reserved by

Blue horses at sunset

Little Blue Horses, by Franz Marc, 1911

A sequence of Tilus poems:

Life goes on, love prevails

as sunsets


Twilight mare gathering,



Majestic steeds steady,



Community wisdom

in danger:


Jane Dougherty offers Franz Marc’s Little Blue Horses painting and proposes the Tilus for this week’s challenge.  The Tilus is an interesting form with only 10 syllables (less than a 3-5-3 haiku) and content guidelines described in the link above.

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Cacophony at my tail

‘In the Rain’ by Franz Marc, 1912: German artist, 1880-1916

A jungle of cacophony is at my tail,

Slanting rain and hot shards pursue me,

Droplets splinter and slide down my coat.


I shiver memories of jaded desires,

Anger, regret and faded battles,

Deep sorrow and loneliness grip my throat.


Though discord rises I move forward,

Inhaling the mist, my tail held high,

Treading onward, motion holds me afloat.


And sonorous bird song charms my ears,

Warm cedar scents tickle my nostrils,

Night breezes paint clouds with rosy notes.


On four gentle paws I tread the earth softly,

A jungle of cacophony at my tail.

In response to Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #41: In the Rain.

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Stallion rider

File:Riddaren rider by John Bauer 1914.jpg
By John Bauer, Swedish artist, 1914: ‘Once upon a time there was a prince riding in the moonlight’.


in cobalt skies,

fearless stallion rider

raising shining spear to transform

all hate.


wandering prince

warrior from afar

pierces dark night with pure wisdom’s


These words came to mind when Jane Dougherty offered the above John Bauer illustration as a poetry prompt.  For this poetry challenge (open to anyone with the urge to try) Jane also gives an optional ‘handful’ of words: star, gift, wander, soaring, and cobalt.

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