Posted in General Interest, John Anstie, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Blind Alley

Copyright 2013 Marsha Berry
Copyright 2013 Marsha Berry

Its weight upon her back constrained her breath
and data from a million miles of type
had taken toll of her own inspiration,
drowned beneath the heft of corporate hype.

The pavement and its passengers, detached.
She felt like ailing bug on dying tree.
This morning, as she trudged this weary path,
those slabs were like lead shoes, deprived of glee.

The wall that once reflected all her joy
had cast, as tall as anyone could say,
its shadow, smothering independent thought.
A blinding light then blew it all away.

[This was another poem prompted by a photograph. Ekphrasis wins the day again! It was Marsha Berry, another member of the GRPG*, who posted this and it was followed by a variety of poetic responses. This was mine and it carries with it that common thread of philosophical thought, which occupies me often. This is that we must work hard to ensure we retain our insight, a closeness to our conscious and our convictions, lest we lose it all in favour of allowing others to implant another form of consciousness in our minds, by however insidious a process, that is either corporate (the companies for whom we work), commercial (the companies from whom we buy things to stock our material lives) or political (the PR that the political establishment puts out to woo us for our votes).  This poem, I think, rather relates to the first of those three. Or, perish the thought, does that rucksack carry something more destructive? Whichever way this poem is interpreted, I hope it causes the reader to stop and think ]

Poem: © 2013 John Anstie.     Image: © 2013 Marsha Berry (the Poet) and Marsha Berry (the academic)

* GRPG – The Grass Roots Poetry Group

 

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. John has been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

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51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in General Interest, Photography/Photographer, Victoria C Slotto, Writers' Fourth Wednesday

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: Ekphrasis

Have you ever visited a museum or found yourself and your camera lost in the beauty of nature and sought to describe your feelings and the experience in words?

Perhaps the art was one of the great classical works of a Rembrandt or the impressionism of Van Gogh. Maybe it was a piece of abstract impressionism or a Warhol print. Or a photo by a famous photographer such as Ansel Adams or Annie Liebowitz. Or the work of a fellow blogger, a friend, or even your own picture that you managed to capture there in the backyard, the forest, the desert, or city. Portrait, still life or landscape…all have the possibility of tickling the muse.

Ekphrasis is a term for writing that is inspired by a work of art, whatever media or subject that may be. A familiar example is Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
(Excerpt: Public Domain)

A much lengthier poem, Keats goes on to describe this unknown work to us, but even more so, to share its effect on him, the poet.

Since we are in the midst of celebrating International Photography Month, I thought for today it would be appropriate to use some of the photographs offered up by our fellow Bardo authors and readers as an inspiration for today’s prompt. Consider, as well, using one of your own to get that pen or pencil to paper engaged, or your fingers dancing on the keyboard.

Should you choose to share your work here, here’s how to do it:

• Write your poem, flash fiction or essay and post it to your blog or website.
• Copy the direct URL of your post and paste it into the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page. If you prefer, simply add the link to comments.
• Include the photo that gave you inspiration or the link in your post. Also credit the photographer.

Here are a few photos to choose from, if you like:

Photo: Naomi Batluck Used with Permission

Photo: Naomi Batluck
Used with Permission

 

Copyright: Naomi Batluck Used with permission
Copyright: Naomi Baltuck
Used with permission

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with permission

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

Photo: Naomi Batluck Used with Permission
Photo: Naomi Batluck
Used with Permission

 

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with permission.
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with permission.

 

 

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

terri2
Photo: Terri Stewart

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

 

Photo: David Slotto
Photo: David Slotto
129
Photo: David Slotto

 

 Many thanks, Terri and Naomi, for sharing your talent.

– Victoria C. Slotto

2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

To join in today just click on the MisterLinky button below to add a link to your work or you may just leave the link in the comment secion below. You have seventy-two hours to link something in. Victoria and Jamie will visit and comment and we hope that you will visit others and provide support and comment as well.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on June 25. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog.If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

Posted in John Anstie, Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry

Battle Horse

Lonely_by_Sylwiaa
[I’ve heard Ekphrasis* described as one of the ugliest words in the English language. In writing this poem, I would like to try and make it ironic]

In this, another war poem, at the same time I both celebrate and mourn the destiny of millions of horses in the front lines on World War 1. Here, I may talk about a strong stallion with great heritage from the same lines as pure bread battle horses that served knights of old before war became so mechanised.  The first world war was the turning point between the old and new ages of war, in which the military cavalry masters of the old order clashed with the new; and the result was an unmitigated armageddon, an unprecedented tragedy of slaughter in blood and mud … there is no undue irony in this great stallion’s story, insofar as it’s consequences, though its life is spared, its mental health is not, like so many human members of the armed forces who serve on or near to the front lines, who physically survive but who are consumed, through trauma, by some degree of mental illness.

Her gentle hand enwrapped his nose
and pulled it to her face.
Behind his nostril, where there is
the very softest place,
she kissed him tenderly and smelt
the scent of peerless blood
that coursed his veins and caused his mane
to tremble with a power
that came from generations of
highbred aristocracy.
This kind of power was visible,
it rippled like a lake
that caught a sudden gust of wind,
and shimmered, glistening.

He’d knightly strength for greater things
and so it proved to be.
A friend of friends, an officer,
had visited to see
and beamed at his magnificence
there was no doubt for him
that this beast was set to ride
for glorious history…

…until his inglorious return,
a sight that broke her heart.

His eyes had depth of understanding
she knew too well. Their look,
injected as they were with fear,
but not the normal kind
– the kind that came from healthy gallops
over his favourite fell.

No. This fear, its source was made …
(what she saw then choked her eyes)
… made from inner visions of
an unspeakable kind of hell;
mud-filled craters’ stench of death,
through endless shock of shell, but
unshakeable loyalty to his charge
despite his spirit’s knell.

In time the empty frame that stood
motionless in the field,
with timeless care she tended him,
though never fully healed
the scars that stiffened weary spirit
that caused him so much pain,
but filled with love and trust once more
the noble steed regained
a hint of what he used to feel:
excitement for the day,
security in his domain,
where once he held full sway;
desire that burned in his dark eyes
to lead her in his way
back to the stable where he’d sink
his nose in soft sweet hay.

– John Anstie

© 2012,2013 introduction and poem, John Anstie, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Lonely by SylwiaS Digital Art / Photomanipulation / Surreal©2009-2013 SylwiaS

Ekphrasis or ecphrasis, from the Greek description of a work of art, possibly imaginary, produced as a rhetorical exercise, and is a graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art.

John_in_Pose_Half_Face351bhS0cThKL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer.  John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK).

product_thumbnail-2.phpJohn has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in Victoria C Slotto, Writers' Fourth Wednesday, Writing

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: Literary Allusion

I suspect that each of us can identify poets and writers who have had significant influence on our writing. Perhaps some of these who mentor us, whether or not they are aware of their influence, enjoy renown—Poet Laureates, Pulitzer or Nobel Prize winners, for example. Others may be more obscure poets or even those we have met in our blogging communities.

Photo: The Creative Penn
Photo: The Creative Penn

Those of us who have not had the advantage of higher education in our art still have the opportunity to learn independently by reading books on craft of writing and, above all, by drinking in the work of those we admire. Read, read, read is perhaps the wisest advice offered to writers of all ilk. My addiction to the intoxicating world of literary art is supported by the ease of access offered by the Internet and through my Kindle which offers free downloads of so many of our predecessors.

I invite you to take a moment, a pencil, and a piece of paper. Now, sit back and list a dozen or so wordsmiths whose art has helped shape your own. Here’s a sampling of those whom I’ve come up with: Mary Oliver, Jane Kenyon, Stanley Kunitz, Basho, William Wordsworth, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jane Hirschfield, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Ted Kooser, Dorianne Laux,…oh, and I haven’t even started to think about you who I’ve encountered on the Internet.

A literary allusion in poetry is, simply put, a reference to another literary work. This can encompass sources such as mythology, the Bible, performance art, a novel, visual art or a poem. Think of it as a sort of hypertext, linking the reader to another piece of literature, art, or any form of creative expression. Examples of literary allusion also include ekphrasis and response poetry. Perhaps you are familiar with ekphrasis, when a work of visual art serves as the inspiration for a poem. A response poem is written, as it implies, in response to another poet, a sort of answering-back.

I will use a couple of my own poems as an example so that I don’t mess with copyright infringement.

A Response to Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice:

What Do You Say, Robert?

I think the world will slowly expire,
no need for ice, nor even fire.
I fear Mother Earth will die of neglect,
with a whimper, a sigh.
Oh, I suspect
she will quietly
die.

Pocahontas

Google Images
Google Images

Do you flee
the doe
or imminent change?

Or do you both know
that nothing will ever
be the same?

Will I do the same
as illusions
shatter in my world?

For those of you who would like to play with allusion, in poetry, short fiction or essay, I offer you this prompt:

• Choose a work of art or poem (whatever) that has influenced your own writing and bring your own unique experience to the topic.

• Allude to an existing literary work or piece of art in your own creation

• Write a response poem, if you like. Answer back, either in agreement or opposition to the original piece.

• Write a poem in the style of one of your favorite poets. Be sure to reference the influential source. Include it, if it doesn’t infringe on copyrights…or provide a link if you are able.

• Allow the prompt to take you wherever you want to go. Just write.

To participate (and we hope you will):

• Write and post your work on your blog, citing the sources if you are able to, or providing a link.

• Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL of the poem from your blog or website.

• Visit other participants, if you are able. Read and comment on their submissions, especially those who have made the effort to visit you.

• Enjoy the process. You never know…someday you may make someone else’s list of influencers!

(Adapted from my original post on dVersePoets.wordpress.com)

– Victoria C. Slotto

© 2013, essay and photographs below, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved

Mister Linky will be open for 72 hours.

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

jr-cover-2VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~  is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012is Victoria’s first novel.  A second novel is in process.  Jacaranda Rain — Collected poems, 2012 is available on Amazon, as is the hot-off-the-press nonfiction, Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s poetry collection and non-fiction book are free to Amazon Prime Members.  Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.