2014 Poetry Form Challenge

#14 Free Theme

Thank you all who took up the last challenge. I hope this next one provides you some food for the muse.

This time there is no set theme, instead there is a series of prompts to inspire and challenge your pen.


Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly
- Euripides

The future comes slowly, the present flies and the past stands still forever
- Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

Do not ask for what you will wish you had not got
- Seneca

If you would convince others, seem open to conviction yourself
- Lord Chesterfield,

Politics is about putting yourself in a state of grace
- Paddy Ashdown

Lines of Poetry

No one's there to see this. No one - Room in Antwerp
- Laure-Anne Bosselar

The bottom teeth of summer - Summer in Winter in Summer
- Noah Eli Gordon

And water kneeling in the moonlight - Driving Toward the Lac Qui Parle River
- Robert Bly

Many laughters run - The High-School Lawn
- Thomas Hardy

A stranger creates an occasion - Unfollowed Figment
- Lyn Hejinian

Free Theme

Terry Clitheroe

Days With Sunshine
I Sit and Wait
I Wunner
Man in the Grey Suit
This Bitter Earth
Vernal Pledge

Divena Collins

Flanagan and Me
Of Pompeii
Pledged Within Oath
Scent of Love
Scraggy Old Crow
Star of Dawn
Stuff and Nonsense
Stature Rights

Jez Farmer

Another Name
Beyond Eyes
Two Paths

Peter Willowdown

Birds abide in tapestried Woods
Clear Mornings
Misty Buddhas

Terry Clitheroe

Days With Sunshine

Love is the gift you give yourself
You must take it all at face value
Embrace all that is good for itself.
Most of all you must give fully
Your heart, your soul, totally.
No holding back, give everything
And when you do your life will sing.

I gave myself to you, completely
With all my flaws and scars
Smiling you took me absolutely
And I was not frightened at all
You were such a gentle person
I knew that nothing would befall
With acceptance true love's begun.

You told me that without me
Each day was simply sun free
I listened, saw that's how it'd be.
You gave me all including your heart
Your love filled every blank space
Each day with you, time would race
I know now we can never be apart.


I Sit and Wait

I sit
And wait for you
Wond'ring what love's become
The candle casts a soft warm light
Flickering in the cold winds of the night
The music plays the crowd has gone
Dreading the possible outcome
Unconsciously fingers drum
I wait

With fear
My insides tighten
I sit and wait and drum
Wondering if you'll ever come
Save for the staff, I am now all alone
I feel their looks, my mind has gone.
I was your shining Knight
What have I done?
I sit.


I Wunner

I wunner dust tha really like mi lass?
Thas a reyt bokki tha nos, an a fancy thi
Wot are tha doin Sunda after mass?
We can go walkin downt canal tae't park
Then a cup o tea an bun int cafe theer
I promise I have thee home afore dark
An as from now canna call tha dear.

Thankee lad, thas med me riyht chuffed
Add love tu go for a walk alongt canal
Theres no way thad ever be rebuffed.
I'll see tha for church next Sunda morn
We can also sit together int same pew
Ma an Da’ll nae be sittin ther thiv sworn
Thur happy ta see mu walking out wi yu.


The Man in the Grey Suit

The man in the grey suit is sitting on the train

In the same seat as usual reading the Herald
Bored with the news, always the same again

His life no different, lonely, boring, sterile.

The young woman sits in the corner opposite

This morning her magazine is Cosmo
Each day another glossy journal offering respite

Through biased research and media bullsho.

Each day he sees the woman, too shy to smile

Each time he looks at her she averts her eyes
Perhaps this time he's allowed to look awhile

If only they dare say "good day" instead of sigh.

Each night after dinner and a glass of wine

They assume their alter egos and surf the net
It's there they meet and share a facade so fine

That culminates as cyber lovers you can bet.

Who knows that given time they'll open up

And smile and nod as they leave the train
Realising each night they drink the same cup

Holding hands never knowing loneliness again.



No longer do I need to wander

At last there is no need to roam
O'er desert waste or icy tundra

For finally I have found a home.

I have found a pleasant pasture

I have found at last an inner peace
I can throw all my doubts asunder

And my inner turbulence can cease.

The sun will rise showing a scene

Each day familiar and filled with joy
Each day a gift of life that is serene

With nothing left that will annoy.

As I feel my spiritual-self increase

Freedom at last is mine to squander
Meditation finding my inner peace

And no longer do I need to wander.



Spring I'm told is the birth of life

A screaming, messy, painful time
Extracted by a drunken midwife

And very slowly starts its climb.

Summer has sweet playful fingers

Learning in the back seats of cars
Memories of that first times lingers

Then older, sadder in singles bars.

Autumn is when peace begins

Passion has burned to embers
And love becomes free of sins

At the fireside, love remembers.

In winter the rain is all that's left

The fireplace becomes a red mouth.
And fed by the Antarctic's icy breath

Blustering winds blow from the South.


This Bitter Earth
(Variation on a song by Dina Washington)

This bitter Earth always weeps with blood

Caused by power crazy fools and lies they say
Of the worlds young men and idealistic good

They know in the end only the innocent pay.

From the skies, it always looks so green

But down below on the polluted ground
There is a far different worsening scene

Corporations and lunatics can be found.

Deceive and deny, but some are aware

And against odds are prepared to fight
The might of the media who do not care

But hoped in time they’ll do what’s right.


Unequal Torment

It's the darkest of nights I've ever seen

The trees bends their backs in the wind
Attempting to escape from nature's spleen

With thousands destroyed, as yet un-sinned.

Yet much further south or is it further north

The city light's shine as folks watch the events
Seeing the last terror that nature's brought forth

And seeing the latest victims living in Tents.

We tut and feel sorry then whinge about gas

Then see a silver huge four wheel Honda go past
Realising that the diminutive driver's an ass

And that this kind of attitude cannot last.


Vernal Pledge

I hear birds making nests through inner walls,

And some have made them within my eaves.
Because the weather's cold with frequent squalls,

They've taken refuge till the storm reprieves.

They sing to me, whilst working or at play

A song that birds sing, safe within their lair
It cannot help but brighten up my day

The music in my ears is extraordinaire.

When all of earth awakens from its sleep,

And spring awaits the hatching of each brood,
A kind of promise for their home to keep,

My solemn vow in this vernal splenditude.

Each morning the mornings now grow lighter

With winter's ending, and spring almost here,
A little warmth and light their mood's brighter

For the birds are still around; I lend an ear.

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Divena Collins

Flanagan and Me

When last I saw Flanagan on the hill I stood within a green meadow below Tho' years he had aged against our will Yet within my eyes I saw him as before Never old but ever in my mind as young As I was also within past years of yore Now we are just words on the tongue. Memories of the past shall never die Passed on down to each generation 'Tis those future spirits that might fly Shall this ever be of life after death Yet I know what I saw upon that hill Tho' both of us ne-er drew a breath. And it's probable we both never will.


Of Pompeii

Ancient City of Roman Emporium

Which stood within fear this day
Revealed all within a scriptorium

Catasrophe hit in no normal way

Disaster struck of an unusual kind

That was to cause a city to decay
Of volcanic ash preserved in time

Centuries on had decided to play

Leaving a trail of immortal souls

Preserving the dead for eternity
Of pumice and ash as fiery coals

Within death they remain to stay

Just as they were once as before

Only souls have been taken away
In death they shall thrive no more

Yet within form remain to this day.


Pledged Within Oath

She who was bound and tethered

Upon custody of wilful minds
To be as tarred and feathered

Punished only for what they find

To remain unduly weathered

God forbid for they be so blind
Cant they see time is severed

She only had spoke truth of a kind

'Twas the only time she referred

She must of been out of her mind
When she asked to be transferred

It is strange how words may bind

Questions within truth answered

When only falsehoods unwind.
Truths were never to be inferred

Within her innocence undefined.

Tarring and Feathering of Mrs Lowry


The Scent of Love

Oh that he were here with me

And not just within my dreams
What joy shall this love set free

Love shall be all that it seems

Thus which is forever complete

Shall warm the rivers streams
Exciting intensity non discreet

That may cool down to extreme

Once more may return to reality

Shall not refuse by any means
The enticement of sensuality

Best plans unto future schemes

May not ever be true that way

For freshness of shaving creams
May be hers by the end of day.

And not within scent to deem.


Scraggy Old Crow

Scraggy old crow feathers askew

Perched upon my garden fence
He saw many dangers than few

For an old crow has no defense

Too old was he and that was that

No need a show of false pretence
Not when he`s dealing with a cat

They say an old crow has no sense

Never knowing when to retaliate

The power of fear is so immense
He has to act quick or be too late

Then his wings may remain tense

'Tis when his opponent shall strike

Survival maybe but now repents
Tho' never has forgotten the like

Barely perched on a garden fence.


Star Of Dawn

Lost within a void of the unknown

Entering into magnetisms of space
Within an atmospheric time zone

No other signs of the human race

Within a path to our future destiny

Out of the void there is not a trace
Of our blue planet earth or gravity

Shall anything ever take the place

Of the four seasons we had before

That had glorified the planets face
Thus shall soon be a planet of lore

To be recalled only within grace

Forever undying spirits shall arise

To a haven that shall ne-er misplace
An eternity of love within their eyes

Seeking comfort in dawns embrace.


Stature Rights

To be cast away from mans dominion

When all I ever wanted was affection
I never asked for unwanted opinions

Nor did I expect this foolish rejection

For I was only trying to be discreet

To the ancient statues past erection
Mounted on a plynth upon my street

Not that I was ashamed to mention

For after all he was not of the flesh

And far from a sculptors intention
When he fashioned him with mesh

Thus never was his new invention

But one of a by gone ancient lore

Sculptured to cause much attention
As it had done so many times before

A relic from the past need I say more.


Stuff and Nonsense

Twas in the merry month of July
I saw an old tortoise walking by
And never so amazed had been I
I saw a gentleman upon his back
Sat upon a saddle bridle and all
Hung on tight in case he did fall
Just 'til he had gotten the knack

He appeared to be following me
I wonder if a tortoise could see
Fodder before him wild and free
Cress floats on a running stream
If the tortoise takes a dim view
What had a gentleman left to do
He dare not try to swim it seems.

Carefree moments had run adrift
A tortoise poised he cannot shift
He was much too stubborn to lift
Caught up within the prickly gorse
Tethered and painfully hurt within
His luck was wearing rather thin
Why ever did he not ride a horse.

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Jez Farmer

Another Name

Beyond human imagination

The stars still dance across the dark sky
A different beat and dimension

We do not know how, where or why.

Beneath the stars a faraway place

Do the dreams of love remain the same?
Is love the power through time and space

And is it known by another name?


Beyond Eyes

The secret never shared
a thought denied reason
echoes of time
swiftly forgotten
yet always remembered
in the silence
where nobody sees.

Flashing images
maybe reflections of a different dimension
unexplainable phenomena
incoherent ramblings of
an unsettled mind.

Despondent tears cannot cry
smoulder like grey embers
waiting to burn the soul
as realisations come
in the intensities of pain.


Two Paths

Two paths heading in one direction

Separate but always connected
Until that final intersection

The point one path must be rejected

A private moment of no escape

Releasing the past, it falls away
And life takes on a different shape

As the sun rises on a new day.

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Peter Willowdown

Birds abide in tapestried woods

Birds abide in tapestried woods
where every leaf is perfectly stitched.
Melodies woven in harmonious rhyme;
fat golden bees still remember the time
when honey was first created,
deer running and Stag, the Lord of the Hills,
though craggy goat looks at him askance
with sour yellow eye;
bounty laden cumulus of summer
drifting lazily in blue cerulean skies
or angry grey stormheads of autumn
gathering over the mountain,
intent on warfare and plunder
before the Ice King of Winter
puts an end to their meandering
and establishes his own cold reign
of white snow and ice,
crowned in his own sheer palace
inaccessible by men or Formorian
though he permits the wide winged eagle to soar
in his halls, sharp eyed and regal,
a glint of gold amidst his whiteness,
heraldic sigil of his fastness.
From the banks of a swift flowing river
where sea gulls squabble and proud swans
glide disdainfully through the bickering brew,
I gaze across the crags and smaller hills
where druids and wise women once lit fires
to where the King of the Mountains
hides his countenance above the world’s
small maze and mire. Such aloofness
is proper for Kings, but in the hearts of men
there are yet greater things;
the love of home and the nurturing of children,
the singing of songs and the love of gentle words.
Birds abide in the tapestried woods
where every leaf is perfectly stitched;
the needles of the redolent fir
are as finely tempered as any warrior’s blade.
Talicsan wanders on Tower Hill
and down through haunted mystic glades,
through the quiet, stone-built streets of dawn
to greet his old companion, the Sea,
casting her petals of salt kissed foam
before the feet of the land,
hungry crabs chasing the waves like knights
issuing from their caves in the sand,
dawn light painting tiny shells with coral,
pink, violet and lemon,
each delicate shell remembering
immaculate sunsets
and dreaming of great things.


Clear Mornings

Clear mornings
- how long can they last?
Already the world has changed so much,
Paradise is a thing of the past
or, perhaps, the far distant future.
War and ignorance stalk the lands,
the powerful and greedy grasp and hoard
the fruits of the earth with both hands,
unmindful of the hunger or suffering of others:
father is set against son,
brother against brother.

In quiet places the gentle gods of the dawn
still sing their happy melodies
and the birds leave off their toil to listen.
The leaves of ancient trees still tremble
at the sound of Krishna's flute
and stars come down from the heavens at night
to play and love amongst the flowers
and softly wash the world with dew.
Bumblebees still seek the holy grail
and dragonflies, dressed in opalescent gossamer
and subtle gauzy mail
still guard the Palace of Noon
where the King and Queen of Elfland sleep
and dream in timeless, mystic swoon.

On an old wooden bench beside the river
I sit and watch where ferries cross
and cats doze in the mellow light.
On the hillside opposite two old
Buddhist stupas rise out of the jungle
- in such places peace still lingers,
water gently laps the shore.
Yes, men and beasts are always hungry
but the land and the sea
are an ever open store replete
with fruit and grain and fish;
the clear blue sky is a brilliant azure jewel
capable of fulfilling every wish
if the heart is receptive enough.
Buddha and Allah come here for their holidays
and contemplate the things they have made.
Old men fish on the pier,
young children play on swings and slides,
poet's dream beneath an old tree's shade.

Clear mornings
- how long can they last?
Change is inevitable but nowadays it comes too fast.


Misty buddhas at the edge of the world

Misty buddhas at the edge of the world;
happy buddhas laughing inside the hearts of boys and girls
(although some are sad and sleeping,
dreaming long dukkha-filled dreams,
their buddha-nature temporarilly forgotten beneath the weight
of illness or hunger or oppressive political regimes);
solemn buddhas standing on mountains,
palms upraised in mudras of blessing;
playfull buddhas tinkling in temple fountains,
blowing bubbles at golden carp.
In the sea the Buddha bell booms,
in the heavens soft chimes sound;
on the shore I walk on buddhas,
one for every grain of sand.
Jubilant buddhas sing in the sky,
contemplative buddhas whisper in the forest,
wrathful buddhas gather on the horizon,
ready to lash the land with rain,
demon-buddhas dance on the shells
of desire, fear and ignorance,
powdering then down, powdering them down...
The biggest nuts to crack are those in highest power:
vampires and soul-leeches disguised in human form
- world leaders, arms-dealers, drugs barons,
the invisible heads of multi-national corporations,
major and minor bureaucrats whose power base
is built on the suffering of others,
who drink and drain their life energy
and the dwindling resources of the world
like physical vampires drink and drain corporeal blood.
May the buddhas of illumination shine
in their benighted minds and souls,
kindling their buried humanity;
may the wrathful devas and dakinis of universal compassion
dance upon their hardened hearts,
breaking them down, breaking them down;
may Manjusri smite them with the flaming Sword of Discrimination
and Kuan-Yin send white beams of self-knowledge and benevolent buddha-light
into their darkness to rekindle their compacted consciences
and free the flower of universal consciousness
in their stratified and solidified spirit.

Misty buddhas at the edge of the world;
happy buddhas laughing inside the hearts of boys and girls:
inspire poets and musicians with resplendent tanmatras,
liberate the three gunas from Selfhood;
inspire mothers and fathers to be buddhafull parents,
inspire farmers to till the beautiful fields,
inspire corn and vegetables to grow,
inspire the streams and rivers to flow,
inspire the sunlight, the rain and the snow,
inspire the mountains, inspire the forest,
inspire all insensible shoots of stiff bamboo
to become melodious flutes,
inspire frogs and toads to croak and bathe
ecstaticaly in the rain,
inspire the caterpilar to endure the pain
of his transition into a butterfly,
inspire the eternal turning of the Wheel of Dharma
in the Six Directions
and the revelation of Samsara as Nirvana.
Buddha of eternal song,
sing me, sing me, sing me
- let the withering tree of Humanity bear fruit!

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