Posted in Joseph Hesch, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Cold Comfort

In one hand, the ruddy-faced,
ragged wanderer wraps a coffee cup
and his smoke. The other he keeps
in the pocket of his third-hand Mets jacket.
Whether he’s grasping something within
or just trying to keep it warm
is a mystery. Chances are 4-to-1
no cash shares those five fingers’ berth.

Joyous, the drifter throws smiles
like sunbeams right into the faces
of the straight-life, shivering souls with whom
he coasts these stark morning streets.
Their eyes are up too, but they focus
past the runny-nosed no one shuffling nearby,
seeing instead only the faces in the
steamed-up coffee-shop window.

The same familiar, frowning reflections
as yesterday’s.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2014, poem and photograph, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved

Hesch Profileproduct_thumbnail-3.phpJOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words) is a writer and poet from Albany, New York , an old friend of Bardo and a new core team member. Joe’s work is published in journals and anthologies coast-to-coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words.  An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, Joe was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.” He is also a member of the Grass Roots Poetry Group and featured in their 2013 poetry anthology Petrichor Rising.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry, Writing

Beathless Between Language and Myth


Here I am, caught between language and myth …
the principles of grammar written on my tongue by the wind,

the alphabet strung like seed-pearls around my willing neck.
Each day I take to the quarries, hard mining for the sweetly lyrical,

blistered from digging in hot sands and lifting stone for parables.
The very walls that bound my heart are fairly breached by the

gentle solace of poems spun on a spiritual quest, on toiling
though the hill country of my youthful and once indomitable

dreams. Like dandelion fluff, I blow them into history and write
as though poetry is the only nourishment.  Perhaps it is.

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved, 
Photo credit ~ courtesy of morgueFile

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ My worldly tags are poet and writer. For the past five years I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day,the journey in poem, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight.  Through the gift of poetry (mine and that of others), I enter sacred space.

Posted in Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer

No Such Thing As An Odd Couple

Couples come in all shapes and sizes.  They always have, since the beginning of time.


Life is short, and often cruel.  Finding true love, or even a true friend is not just a comfort.

It’s a miracle.

But I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. True love happens.

It is easy to recognize when you see it.

Love… all its many forms…

…is a gift to us all.   It fills the world with light.

Let it shine!

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck 2012

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi

Posted in Art, Buddhism, Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry, Spiritual Practice

Wabi Sabi

Japanese tea house: reflects the wabi sabi aesthetic, Kenroku-n Garden
Japanese tea house: reflects the wabi sabi aesthetic, Kenroku-en Garden

if only i knew
what the artist knows

about the great
perfection in imperfection

i would sip grace slowly
at the ragged edges of the creek

kiss the pitted
face of the moon

befriend the sea
though it can be a danger

embrace the thunder of a waterfall
as if its strains were a symphony

prostrate myself atop the rank dregs on the forest floor,
worshiping them as a breeding ground for fertile seeds
and the home of a million small lives

if i knew what the artist knows,
then i wouldn’t be afraid to die,
to leave everyone

i would be sure that some part of me
would remain present
and that one day you would join me
as the dusky branch of a river or the
bright moment of the flowering desert

if i knew what the artist knows,
i would surely respond body and soul
to the echo of eternity in rough earthy things

i would not fear decay or work undone
i would travel like the river through its rugged, irregular channels
comfortable in this life; imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved,
Photo credit ~ from Pictures section of OpenHistory via Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.o Unported license

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ My worldly tags are poet and writer. For the past five years I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day,the journey in poem, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight.  Through the gift of poetry (mine and that of others), I enter sacred space.

Posted in Contributing Writer, General Interest, Karen Fayeth

From Father to Son to Daughter

After my dad passed away several years ago, my mom gave me possession of the family collection of photo albums and scrap books, and I made the solemn promise I’d keep them safe.

It was an easy promise because I adore all the family artifacts. As a kid, I used to dive into the scrapbook pages and smile at photos of my hot young mom (she was stunning!) and my smart young dad (he was geeky!).

My mom was a great scrapbooker and I have mountains of artifacts to explore including photos, family letters and souvenirs.

The hand written letters are what I cherish the most. Reading words inked out in the strong hand of my great grandfather on his official stationary gives me a sense of connection to a man I never knew, yet his very DNA is alive within me. I can learn who he was by the choice of language and the surety of his pen stroke.

My grandfather on my father’s side was also a good letter writer. He had a keen sense for telling the mundane facts while inserting a good dose of wry humor. He was close to all eight of his children and since my father had moved a good distance from home, the two stayed close by writing letters.

Among the piles of correspondence I found a gem in an envelope from my grandfather to my father. It was typewritten using carbon paper, so perhaps my grandfather was making copies for all of his kids.

Because the photo (below) of an old letter may be difficult to read, here is what it says:

12 Things To Remember

* *

1. The value of time

2. The success of perseverance.

3. The pleasure of working.

4. The dignity of simplicity.

5. The worth of character.

6. The power of kindness.

7. The influence of example.

8. The obligation of duty.

9. The wisdom of economy.

10. The virtue of patience.

11. The improvement of talent.

12. The joy of originating.

The handwritten bit up in the corner says, “Read weekly, a good guide – Dad”

Such simple words that encapsulate such very strong values. This is endearing fatherly advice to a son and it is timeless. This was written in 1949, but is just as applicable 64 years later.

This advice was passed from father to son, and holding it in my hands it passes again, now from from father to daughter.

This guide has meaning to me and gives me much to ponder as I wade through another busy work week and think about who I am and who I came from.

And who I want to be.

To all fathers and grandfathers, I wish you a very joyful Father’s Day. May your own good words find their way through the generations.


© Karen Fayeth, copyright 2013, all rights reserved. The family photo of the author and her father and the image of the letter are covered under copyright. Please be respectful.

webheadshotKAREN FAYETH ~ is one of our regular contributing writers. She is our new tech manager, site co-administrator along with Jamie and Terri, and fiction and creative nonfiction editor. She blogs at Oh Fair New Mexico. Born with the writer’s eye and the heart of a story-teller, Karen Fayeth’s work is colored by the Mexican, Native American, and Western influences of her roots in rural New Mexico complemented by a growing urban aesthetic. Karen now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. When she’s not spinning a tale, she works as a senior executive for science and technology research organization.

Karen has won awards for her writing, photography, and art. Recent publication credits include a series of three features in New Mexico magazine and an essay with the online magazine Wild Violet. Her latest short story will be published in the May edition of Foliate Oak. Karen’s photography is garnering considerable attention, her photo titled “Bromance” (featuring Aubry Huff and Pat Burrell) was featured on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar.

Posted in Essay, Karen Fayeth

On Tenacity




Karen Fayeth (Oh Fair New Mexico)

Earlier this week I received the results of a competition I had entered, and for which I held out great hope. It was related to my writing and even an honorable mention would have been a huge step forward for me.

While entering I knew it was a long shot, but I really believed I had a chance.

Predictably, when the results were announced I was nowhere in the list, and yes, this got me a little down.

That’s the trouble, sometimes, with having hope. A burgeoning flower bud of belief can so easily get ravaged by insatiable locusts (over dramatic metaphor alert!!!).

When one is a rather sensitive artist type, it’s hard not to feel steamrolled at such times. Then again, what separates the doers from the dilettantes is tenacity.

So after feeling mopey for several days I am starting to rally. In defeat my resolve becomes just that much stronger.
For almost two years I have been using a really wonderful service that forces me to submit writing to literary journals every quarter. They are strict taskmasters and they keep me focused.

Once every three months I send out about thirty submissions, of which most of them are rejected. This means piles and piles of both email and snail mail arrive at my door just to say “you are not a good fit.”

Amazing how something like two hundred rejections can really make a girl immune to the woes. It’s like a pair of ill-fitting shoes. At first it hurts, then it makes a really painful blister, then finally a callus forms. The thin skin has toughened to endure the scraping.

Like that.

This morning I was thinking back to about seven years ago, back before The Good Man and I had married, and he was living in San Francisco’s North Beach. A really cool new art store had opened on Columbus Ave. near his place and I was just beginning my foray into the visual arts. Visual arts were a big departure from writing, which had dominated my creative juices for so long.
I loved everything about the art store and bought quite a few supplies there. One day they had posters up announcing an auction. Customers were invited to submit art works and the store would display them and then at the end of the month, the store auctioned them off for charity.

Great! I was on board. I created an item to give to the auction and when The Good Man turned in my piece for me, he was asked to put a starting bid. Because he loves me and encourages my work, he put the amount of $50 as a starting price instead of starting at zero as most other artists were doing.

Later, when we walked into the store to see my stuff on display, my piece was at the very, very back of the store among the tools and shelves where they stretch canvas. My work was clearly more amateur than the rest of the offerings and it stood out as the only one using the photographic medium, but ok. It was on display which was a huge rush.

When the auction was finished, they called to ask me to come pick up my work. The rather arrogant and sniffly clerk informed me bluntly that my piece was the ONLY one that hadn’t sold (meanwhile, he gave us a flyer so we could attend his exhibit of butt ugly paintings at a local small gallery).

I was, of course, embarrassed beyond belief, humiliated and totally crushed. Being judged by a more experienced (and in my mind, more talented) artist just about did me in.

Just thinking about it still gives me shudders of embarrassment. This morning in the wake of my recent defeat I thought again about this experience. I recalled today that among all the donated pieces, my work was the only one that listed a starting bid.

All others put in a starting bid of $0, and they all sold. Snotty clerk said they didn’t have a lot of bids and bidders. All of this means that at the end of the auction, someone could have thrown $5 at a piece of artwork and would have won.

Today I understand that instead of being sheepish about that whole thing, I should be proud. I may not have sold my work but I valued my art enough to put a price on it.

Which is stronger? Valuing my own work and not selling it at that auction, or giving it away for free, thus saying the value of my work is nothing?

I know which one I choose. Today I have straightened my spine and I feel a little better.

In defeat, my mettle is being tempered, and that only makes me stronger.

© 2013, essay, Karen Fayeth, All rights reserved. Photo by Claudia Akers.
Photo credit ~ Forge, ScienceGuide

webheadshotKAREN FAYETH ~ is one of our regular contributing writers. She is our new tech manager, site co-administrator along with Jamie and Terri, and fiction and creative nonfiction editor. She blogs at Oh Fair New Mexico. Born with the writer’s eye and the heart of a story-teller, Karen Fayeth’s work is colored by the Mexican, Native American, and Western influences of her roots in rural New Mexico complemented by a growing urban aesthetic. Karen now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. When she’s not spinning a tale, she works as a senior executive for science and technology research organization.

Karen has won awards for her writing, photography, and art. Recent publication credits include a series of three features in New Mexico magazine and an essay with the online magazine Wild Violet.  Her latest short story will be published in the May edition of Foliate Oak. Karen’s photography is garnering considerable attention, but her proudest moment was having her “Bromance” (Aubry Huff and Pat Burrell) photo featured on Intentional Talk hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on MLB TV. She’s a Giant’s fan.

Posted in Marlene McNew, Poems/Poetry


Our treasured Marlene is not to be undone by Parkinson’s Disease. A former professional accountant, she is a master-level skier, participates in marathons, is an award-winning dancer, paints, writes poetry, and  . . . that’s just the short-story.  J.D.



Marlene G. McNew (Strange Gift)


Decay’s process cannot be stopped.
In dark shadows of age, watch illness burn
all signs of pink that we treasure.
We become a residue of memory.


Ravaged, by the weight of the thought
we seek a path of the heart
lit by fire that burns within,
the will to endure anything,
a power to persist.


A marathon holds a promise of pain,
a challenge built upon reason, a test
for mind and body; a sacrifice
a vow of suffering in the name of hope.


A marriage of preparation and outcome,
of cooperation of heart with mind,
it is emergence from a cave,
the acceptance of help.
Is is a war against defeat


the making of a miracle.


© 2012, poem and video, Marlene’s and Carmen’s photographs, Marlene G. McNew, All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ Athletic Shoes, Vincent van der Heijden via Wikipedia and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0



MARLENE G. McNEW ~ began exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (P.D.) eight years ago. Her blog (Strange Gift) is a vehicle for sharing her experiences with P.D. and her many, many interests. She maintains a lovely home in Northern California where she lives with her husband and a much-loved rescued golden retriever, Carmen.

Marlene is a master skier, but for the past several years she’s been able to incorporate into her life increasing involvement in the arts. She expresses her beautiful spirit through poems and paintings.  She also has a strong interest in dance, having been a competition level ballroom dancer.  Other interests include cooking.  

She is currently preparing for a marathon and is registered for the Mighty Mermaid sprint triathlon (1/4 mile open water swim, 12 mile bike, 2 mile run/walk) through Team in Training with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Marlene originally started her blog when she was getting ready for the Nike Women’s Marathon (half marathon walk) and raising funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Her YouTube channel is SkiDisiple. J.D.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry






Jamie Dedes


wind came through like an old bruja* one night

taking her broom to my cloud, scattering the seeds

of my hording to all the four corners and the center

below where I do my shopping for earthly things

down I went to try to gather them up only to


meet a philosopher peach who set me on my ear

with his questions on mind, matter, and meaning

wanting to know why he couldn’t taste himself

and how was it that I had a mouth that wouldn’t


in any trance, no matter the depth of it, be a

peach, pointing out to me how we needed one

another to get the job done and – Why?, he asked

and what could I say, having lived my life in the


clouds, drinking the vapors of trust and basic

instinct, and knowing tomorrow is today and

this day is perfect, and no matter the whys and

the wherefores, there’s a rightness to it all, so


on frail rimy breath, like the child I once was,

I… answered him simply: because


* bruja, Sp. – witch

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ mohan p, Public Domain

Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer

PERSPECTIVES ON CANCER #26: Her Days Are Numbered



Dakshima Haputhanthri


Her days are numbered

She was the only one who knew

The world filled with warmth

Is gonna end like dew

She thought of those she loved

Her fears aren’t new

But now it’s time, and she should say adieu

This thing that eats her inside

She had no control, it stab her life like a knife

Nothing can be done, no cure

It seems to be stealing her life

It’s so deadly, but she has determined to live for the moment

She smiled through her tears, she had no choice…


© poem by and photograph, Dakshima Haputhanthri, 2011 all rights reserved

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Dakshima Haputhanthri ~ is from Sri Lanka. She is a writer and poet and a lawyer by profession. She says, “I am a simple mortal with an undying passion for writing … Writing gives me wings and I fly, thinking and wondering about life and how people refuse to reveal their true selves.” Dakshima blogs at Love Among Other Things. 

Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer, Uncategorized




Umamaheswari Anandane

A reptile delaminates
as I watch my rusted skin
sketched with patterns of time
under the leaves
that subsides in the woods
Rise and fall of all seasons
Into the Bardo I swim
I fathom that every soul has a day
to dismantle from
its temporary shield
which acknowledged them of its short stay
I learned that the time come
to bestow my last kiss
in this embodiment where I learned
the true meaning of Love
Having called upon
is a gift bestowed on
I accepted it with love
Now I surrender myself
to those open arms
I got more learning to do
away from this body
to experience the memoir of the unknown
© 2011 Umamahswari Anandane, all rights reserved
Photo credit ~ courtesy of cohdra, morgueFile

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Umamahswari Anandane lives in India and is a poet, writer, blogger, and a self-described “simple woman.”  She is an accomplished engineer with multi-lingual skills who discovered in herself a passion for writing poems and fiction.  Ennai kandu peedi paarkalaam, her first novel, is in Tamil (a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the Tamil peoples of the Indian subcontinent and the official language of Sri Lanka and Sinagpore) is due out in a few months. Find more of her poetry at Inside My Poem Book, a blog. Uma also blogs at Perpetual Mind where, among other things, she explors Tamil arts and Vedic math. Hers is a mind that never stops.
Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer




Naomi Estment

We each deal with death in a unique way. I can’t speak for my father; whose hand I held when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 1998, aged 62. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if his disease was exacerbated by anguish about my brother’s inexplicable suicide almost fourteen years earlier. Although that type of trauma is tough to come to terms with, I’m certain that acceptance is the key to healing – which is why these quotes resonate deeply:

“Throughout history, there have been women and men who, in the face of great loss, illness, imprisonment, or impending death, accepted the seemingly unacceptable and thus found “the peace that passeth all understanding”.” – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.” – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

In line with the wisdom shared by Jamie in this blog’s About section, I aim to “live fully yet learn non-attachment” while exploring “the meaning of life in the light of death”. My experience is that the peril and passing of those close to us offer a gift of potentially releasing us from the fear of loss, through facing and transcending this (without implying that we bypass grief).

Being married for over sixteen years to an ex-professional superbike racer, who I love with all my heart, has challenged and blessed me in a similar way. For Dave, taking physical risks is as natural as breathing, and has almost cost his life more than once. Through it all, he remains a radiant example of how to live fully. I, on the other hand, have been learning how to “let go to grow”*.

This subject forms the underlying theme of my second novel (in progress), which is encapsulated in the following poem by the same name:


Embraced by love
beyond her dreams,
a formless fear
arises inside

What if it all
vanished tomorrow,
never to return her
into the light?

Yet love’s power
beckons her deeper
towards the heart
of the sun

Where she feels the fear
but has to follow,
in order to learn
that there is no loss

Only change –
and pain is caused by
the simple illusion
of holding on

is the answer
to receiving the gift
of grace.

©Naomi Estment

My prayer is that we all find our way back into the sunlight of our soul connections, without melting our wings trying.

*Quote from phenomenal women’s wealth coach, Kendall Summerhawk who shares how the traumatic loss of someone extremely close triggered her own powerful transformation.

Naomi Estment ~  Naomi is a freelance writer and photographer and, with her husband Dave, is the co-owner of  Outdoor Video & Photographic and the Johannesburg-based OV&P Studio. Qualified in portraiture, fashion & glamour photography and master lighting, she’s passionate about the latter, particularly as it pertains to nurturing talent. She is a magazine journalist and has one completed novel (see My Books). Naomi also blogs at Naomi’s Notes where she charms readers with her stories and photographs of South Africa and safari. Occasionally she treats us to one of her very polished poems.  Naomi and Dave share their home with a Norwegian Forest Cat (Jina) and a beautiful German Shepherd (Quest).

Photo credit ~ Brown Sanke Eagle in Flight, Okavango Delta, Botswana by Dave Estment.

Posted in Essay, Jamie Dedes


CECIL DAY-LEWIS (1904-1972)





Jamie Dedes

I discovered the Anglo-Irish poet Cecil Day-Lewis (C Day-Lewis) quite by accident the other day when I was preparing my Sunday news feature for the main site of an online poetry community with which I am involved. On the basis that we all benefit from knowing our roots and connections – no matter our occupation – I always start off with a snippet about a poet who either was born or died on the day of the posting. Cecil  Day-Lewis died on May 22 in 1972. He was the British Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death. There’s lots about him and his work that nags for my attention, but one poem really struck home.

At Lemmons (1972), according to the C Day Lewis website (HERE), was written by Day-Lewis on his deathbed at the home of Sir Kingsley William Amis (1922-1995), the English poet, novelist, critic, and educator. Amis is quoted as saying that, “At no time did Cecil mention death. My own strong feeling is that he came to draw his own conclusions from his physical decline and increasingly severe – though happily intermittent – bouts of pain, but, out of kindness and abnegation of self, chose not to discuss the matter.” This last poem, which demonstrates a wonderful grace and acceptance, was published posthumously.



C Day Lewis

Above my table three magnolia flowers

Utter their silent requiems.

Through the window I see your elms

In labour with the racking storm

Giving it shape in April’s shifty airs.


Up there sky boils from a brew of cloud

To blue gleam, sunblast, then darkens again.

No respite is allowed

The watching eye, the natural agony.


Below is the calm a loved house breeds

Where four have come together to dwell

–            Two write, one paints, the fourth invents –

Each pursuing a natural bent

But less through nature’s formative travail

Than each in his own humour finding the self he needs.


Round me all is amenity, a bloom of

Magnolia uttering its requiems,

A climate of acceptance.  Very well

I accept my weakness with my friends’

Good natures sweetening each day my sick room.


Photo credit ~ Copyrighted cover art (fair use) for Peter Stanford’s biography of Day-Lewis,C Day-Lewis, a Life. Definitely on my reading list.