A September Sonnet

(Written in response to an ongoing September writing challenge…this is today’s prompt.)

I’m not much good at forms of poetry
That ask for or expect a certain style.
My forte is the careless artistry
Of free verse that breaks every rule on file.
Still, I must needs address the prompt herein
By writing verse of fourteen-line appeal;
The very least that I can do is pin
My poem to this star with sprightly zeal.
Which star, you ask? Why, one that lets me show
How very clever I can be when pressed.
The one that all us amateurs well know
Makes our work look less polished than the best.
September has begun, and so has school,
Where some will learn, and some will play the fool.


Copyright 2015


The Brand

(The following poem was written in response to the prompt below, a quotation by Pablo Neruda.)

As if you were on fire from within,
The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”

~ Pablo Neruda

This ache you hold inside,
Subsumed beneath the weight
Of good, of right, of just…
Suppressed under
The nobility of fidelity,
Of honor, of trust…
This ache is white hot,
Is unrelenting fire,
Is agony of heart,
Bright, searing,
Impossible to ignore.
This ache, passion’s brand,
Is tattooed in your flesh
And in your soul…
Moonlight in the sun,
Inevitable, invisible,


Copyright 2015


Thoughts skitter away from her,
Refusing to be gathered.
Inspiration has deserted her,
An empty well, and dark,
Dense with the heaviness
Of nothingness.
She drowns in abject terror
That the words have gone,
Deserted her,
Adopted a new host,
And moved beyond her reach.
She struggles to believe
That all that is lost
Is faith.
A cruel fate for one
Before so powerful,
To need that faith restored
In herself.
This exercise must show her
How it is to trust
In what one cannot hear,
Or see, or touch…
In what is absent.
And yet,
To have that boon restored —
The gift of words —
She must believe in things
That she cannot.


Copyright 2014

Writing as Acting

According to my VoiceOver tutor, acting is “living life truthfully under the given imaginary circumstances”. – Wayne Pyle

That resonates with me as a writer, because, if you think about it, that’s what we as writers do, those of us who want to do more than merely represent reality. It’s certainly what I aim for every time I touch a screen or pick up a pen or touch a keyboard. I want my writing to live life truthfully under the given imaginary circumstances.

Thank you, Wayne Pyle!

Copyright 2015


Is it better
To remain aloof,
To guard my heart,
Or to be abandoned,
And watch it break
Again and again?
Trust opens spaces
Where others can leave
Gouging wounds,
And maim me.
Will I some day lose
The pieces that remain?
If I do not trust,
Will I lose myself?


Copyright 2015

No beauty here but
Of the crepuscular sort,
A shadow of hope.

The way forward lies
Inside, where the light beckons
Winged wraiths to cavort.

Each pirouette and
Each unwieldy twirl a world
Of expectation.


Copyright 2015


He came today
In memories
Awakened by the music.
He came…
And with him
Sadness came,
For what I thought we had,
For what I thought I’d lost…
For what I know is true…
He came today
And left again,
A shadow in my heart,
But not a pain.


Copyright 2015

(On Tuesday, June 30th, I will be retiring as a public school educator.   If I am ever asked to make a goodbye speech, this is what I’ll read.  Reading allows me to remain cool, and avoid tears.  I’m sneaky like that!  LOL!)

Let me begin with admissions.  I wasn’t the most organized supervisor in the world.  My forte was never administrivia.  I have two strengths, which served me well – I know how to teach, both students and teachers, and I know how to encourage them for success.  In exchange for administrivia done well and on time, I gave my students and teachers help to find their feet when they fell, and courage to fly when they stood tall.

I have never been a “Yes” woman.  My spirit is too free, my imagination to broad, my professionalism to strict, and my standards to high to permit me to blindly follow along with things that I did not see as in the best interests of students.   And frankly, I’m too old to be intimidated into “falling in line” like sheep being herded by the sheepdog.

I became a teacher because I wanted to share my love of learning, and specifically of learning English language and literature, with my students.  I understood, even if only intuitively way back when I was not quite twenty-one, that studying literature would open students’ minds to the world of imagination AND to the real world they inhabit.   It has always been my job as a proud English teacher to help them see how tales of dragons, demons, and magic were important for their growing, and how those tales, along with “true” and “true-to-life” stories, if read acutely, could help them learn who they are, what they care about and believe in, and how they are going to be in the world.

For me, education is about teaching students to be truly independent thinkers, to be critical, to question, to ask “Why?” Instead of “How high?” when they are told to jump.  Education is about raising individuals who will become accountable human beings, not about raising sheep.  I brought my own experiences as a student in Barbados and in Jamaica to bear on my practice and on my relationships both with students and teachers.  And I have not regretted any of it.  I was right…I AM right about who and what school is for.

Over these last thirty-four years, I have been blessed to work with a number of remarkable human beings, both younger and older.  And in the last fifteen years, I have been blessed to supervise and support some dedicated, learned, hardworking teachers whose care for students and love of their subject – whether English, a world language, music, art, or library media – I both respect and admire.  A few of them have become close and beloved friends.  So, I leave this first half of my life on a positive note, despite the cruel trials and professional sordidness of the last years.  Frank Sinatra said it best, so I’ll just quote his song, as the lyrics speak for me:

“Regrets?  I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.  I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption.  I faced it all, and I stood tall… For what is a man?  What has he got?  If not himself, then he has naught!  To say the things he truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels.  The record shows I took the blows, and did it my way!”

Copyright 2015


It hurt.
Every unanswered message,
Every forgotten anniversary,
The unending silence
Of obvious rejection…
It hurt.

It hurt.
After time spent together,
After searing conversations,
The unbending silence
Of ultimate rejection…
It hurt.

It hurt.
Every shared intimacy nulled,
Every promise made voided
By the heart-stopping silence
Of infinite rejection…
It hurt.


Copyright 2015


White under the gray,
The moonish sun
Slips shyly behind black clouds
Gravid with rain,
The gift of life offered
With roars and grumbles,
And incisor-sharp flashes
Of jagged light.
The wipers can’t keep up,
And the goosebumps on my arm
Are Braille notes of delight.


Copyright 2014

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