… is your name Abraham? – free verse – September 21, 2014

Mindlovesmisery’s Tale Weaver’s Prompt this week isn’t an easy post to look at.  The photograph sent shivers up my spine and the piece by Metallica – One – which is perhaps my favorite piece by that group makes my blood run in a cold anger.  I read Girlgoyle’s “For Democracy” and wrote a free verse poem in the comments of her post .. which I’ve edited here for this post …. thanks for the inspiration.

This phrase is the back-bone of both Girgoyle’s and my response:

“For democracy, any man
would give his only begotten son.”
— Johnny Got His Gun, 1971

Hand on your heart
sing your song of freedom
send your son marching
into Gehenna today …
you let him pay …

The price required
for your so-called sacred ideal …
planted in your brain,
by the unholy oligarch
you let him pay

… is your name Abraham?
just let me say,
God never took that sacrifice,
demons take your son today
you let him pay …

“Each man faces death alone”
lost in your sacrifice
into the valley of death,
your son walked believing you …
you let him pay …

Dawn Thoughts – July 21, 2014



I woke up this morning at 3:00 am and decided it was far too early to get out of bed.  I might as well have gotten up because I never found sleep again … such is life.

I kept thinking about yesterday … personal things like my computer finally giving signs of giving up the ghost, she wouldn’t turn on again yesterday, although the power source had been changed – this is beginning to look very serious, it probably means the motherboard is going bad … then my router modem that did give up the ghost – I spent hours trying to get it to configure, but the computers – (I tried on two) kept saying it wasn’t connected.  I finally gave up, I’m now connecting to Internet with a normal old DSL modem.  I was kept isolated for hours …


Then my mind kept going back to tragedy … the tragedy of life, the senselessness of killing, war, indifference to human and other life, the horrors of cruelty perpetrated on innocents, fanaticism – religious, ideological or home spun personal beliefs and I could go on and on making this post a list poem of horrors that would never have an end.

One of my favorite poets wrote … after he’d written a poem entitled: Flight MH 17 this short poem:



Can you submit yourself to sing
when sorrows’ song is all there is,
and open wide the bellows heart,
receiving grief as you did bliss?

© Ye Old Foole


I’m a relativist … or perhaps a Buddhist.  In 62 years I think there has not been a second  when senseless tragedy has not been visited our poor planet. My earliest knowledge of tragedy was of the horrors of Biafra, which is now forgotten.  Throughout my youth, I lived through the deaths of the Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Vietnam, and the odd church tower shootings, abundant slayings and much more, not to speak of personal family tragedy.  And I wondered then, as I wonder now, how can I make a difference.

I understand the hermits who chose to live on the side of a mountain or the nuns who went into cloister to pray for the world.  But I also remember the Buddha.  Siddhartha left the luxuries of his life to find out how to defeat death … and through the agony of asceticism, he found the middle road and then enlightenment and walked in the world spreading joy and comfort.

A question oft-times heard,
How to sing in the face of tragedy
In truth, I’ve no reply …
Except to say,  we need one candle
For with just one candle,
We can light a mighty fire …
We all live in shrouded darkness
And sing often of death and pain …
When will we find something different
To change this tawdry game.

As you say the game goes both ways
There’s sorrow not only bliss …
When will the masters learn compassion …
For all the harm they’ve spawned.
And when will their passive slaves see
Behind the masks they hide?
Learning to see the senseless horror
Of mindlessly following blind.

A list of tragedy – crimson with innocent blood
Leaves me not indifferent,
But weak and without resistance
To the viral call of vengeance.

Who will be the candle
Who will sing songs of hope and joy…
If our only melody is a mourning dirge
And we’ve vengeance in our hearts.

 […] “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” […]
Gautama Siddhartha – The Buddha

Linear Time – Ghazal for dVerse – June 20, 2014

History’s seeming mutating change in linear time …
Keeps me wondering about the meaning of linear time.

When wayward drones warn me of terrible change in war…
I reflect on the fickleness of linear time.

I feel that the renewal of life is an endless changeless cycle …
As I see the stagnant historical repetition, what of linear time?

Wondering if perhaps disastrous change is again upon us …
Is new dark age to be inserted in the annals of “linear time”?

Bastet ponders upon the strange fate of our changing planet …
And mankind’s grasping unshaken belief, in linear time.

N.B.  We think that time goes ever forward, some believe that history is a document that demonstrates that humanity, if not in its particular civilizations but as a whole is forever moving forward in a linear evolutionary pattern becoming always more and more “civilized” … I wonder.

This ghazal was written for the dVerse Poetry prompt Repetition because I’d just been speaking about the ghazal with a friend and she brought the prompt to my attention.

By the way, this is a particularly interesting prompt as it presents many forms which use either repetitions of lines or phrases … which I love to write, so even if I don’t submit a few future poems to the dVerse Mr. Linky I do intend to write using some of these forms presented in the post over the next few days!

Carpe Diem – Tan Renga

We all should know how renga works, but just to remind you, in the past, haiku didn’t exist as a stand alone poem…though there were of course some that did stand alone but they were not called haiku but hokku.  The hokku was usually part of another poem.  A renga, began as a hokku written by a haiku master and other’s would try to add two lines (7-7 syllables in the English versions) to complete the poem.

Today’s host haiku master is JRB of JRB’s Haiku

the poem which Chèvrefuelle chose is from a Carpe Diem Distillation of “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae.

in a foreign field
the wind still invokes their names
the blood red poppies

 (c) JRB

waving in first days of spring
in fields where men’s battles raged

(c) G.s.k.

Written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Tan Renga # 36


Carpe Diem Distillation – May 17, 2014

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

© John McCrae

poppies among graves
our crosses marking rows
nature’s muted by guns

’twas recently that
alive and so joyfully
we walked the Earth

remember your goal
bring victory to our home land
now our job is done

logo cd'S distillation

Carpe Diem’s Distillation


Poppies – May 17, 2014 (Tanka)

poppies in the fields
as numerous as soldiers lie
upon battle-fields
throughout our sad history
war was fought for kingly greed

each flower has a name
though the names may now be lost
upon battle-fields
bonny youth has been wasted
in the name of cursèd power

one moment alive
the next they were all dead
upon battle-fields
where the crows feasted that day
for some rich man’s lowly gain

look at the poppies
in the fields where friends and foes
mixed their blood one day
under the splendid sunshine
one beautiful day in May

Inspired by Flanders Fields by John McCrae

N.B. The original poem expresses the hope of the dead that the home army will defeat their foe and keep fighting their battle.  I was just inspired by the pathos of young men dying in battle and so this is a loose inspiration as I feel war ultamately is a waste of the flower of our youth and today’s foe will probably be tomorrows friend.

Tan Renga – May 16, 2014

Tan Renga Challenge

Tan Renga Challenge

This week’s Tan Renga at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai begins with Managua Gunn‘s haiku response to the Raven prompt:

let the ravens come
let them smile as they pick the flesh
from the battlefield
© Managua Gunn 

illusive dreams of glory
paint the fields red with poppys
© G.s.k.

N.B. In Italy the poppy is used to commemorate the victims of war.


The Battle … And the Sun Goddess (a samurai story)

The red samurai army marched a thousand strong through the forests in the north.  The Sun Goddess looked upon the marchers…the wind whispered it’s message.  The villagers heard their drums on the wind long before they were in sight.

The women and children hid in caves in the hills to the east,  along with most of their food reserves.  When samurai came to a village, one never knew what to expect.  In these terrible times, between bandits and samurai, one was never safe…for the villagers both were enemies!

From the south the white samurai army marched over the fields.  Kitsune looked on as they marched and decided that, that day was not a good day to play her tricks and ran to hide.

The villagers heard their drums too and realized that they where in a terrible position.   They could only run towards the east and hide with their women.  Their homes, which they’d hoped to save, would soon be lost in any case.

The two armies began setting up camp on the outskirts of the village, preparing for war.  The abandoned village stood between them.  The new stalks of young rice waved in the wind like tiny lakes of green water.

The first of the fire arrows began to rain on the village at dawn.  The poor buildings that once belonged to the villagers, burned quickly being made of wood and bamboo.  The battle ground  now prepared awaited the first forray.

The foot soldiers were the first to be played one against the other as the great horse-men looked on.  Many died as their long lances entered soft bodies, blood tinted the once green fields in sticky red.

Then the horsemen came, trampling the wounded, they themselves were sometimes thrown to the ground by a lucky enemy foot soldier with a long lance.  The Goddess looked on…the wind wept.  Great individual battles were fought between samurai with their katana and wakizashi.  Dust, ashes, smoke and the cries of the wounded rose into the sky.  The dead and dying covered the ground among the stumps of the houses and in the fields. Crows and flies came from afar to feast that day.

The Sun Goddess hearing the prayers of the poor, homeless and despairing people in her anger made the earth begin to shake.  A great rift opened separating the two armies, burying their dead as it closed again.  A mighty wind began to howl, the Kamikaze, sent by the Sun Goddess to help her people, began to blow bringing with it rain and hail.  The armies broke rank and began to flee from the cursed fields as quickly as they could.

One young samurai stood his ground before the great sacred wind.  He’d been destined from birth to be a samurai, but he’d watched horrified when he saw the village destroyed to make room for battle.  For the sake of his and his families honor, he’d taken part in the battle, but he also vowed to himself, that it would be his last battle.

Now he shouted into the wind: “I renounce my name, and exchange my silk robes and armor for the kesa and my katana for the alms bowl, and now,  I cut my hair.  No longer will I be part of the destruction of the people whom we should serve!”  And saying this, he took his wakizashi and cut off his top-knot.

The wind howled around him but did not touch him for the Sun Goddess was pleased.  She then enveloped him in a shaft of golden light.


All in a Word – Bastet’s Sunday Prompts


War – Conversation Poem

The man sat at his vending-stall
one bright spring sunny day
selling his wares to one and all
and plying his interesting trade
people looked quite interested
in the bombs and the hand grenades
and he told all about their history
and of the 1914 war.

Some shook their heads
some made remarks
about that long gone war
too bad that all those young boys
died,  were maimed,
so many long years ago …
“aren’t we lucky” one man did say
“that war is now just history,
that no one needs to die today
for empires and positions”.

I heard a man sit there and say
“sometimes war can’t be avoided …
it’s all about peace, you know
and who first does the invading”.
I saw a woman shake her head
“I’m glad that war’s behind us!”
but then I think about the news
and say: “War is all around us.”


Written for All in a Word – Bastet’s Sunday Prompts

Quatern: Red Rose

The RoseQuatern

Red Rose

Red rose color these somber days.
For everything seems far too grey,
My heart is heavy, days grow cold,
That bridge I’ll  pass before too long.

The sparrow lays beside the walk.
Red rose color these somber days.
Chill sets into my weary bones,
That bridge is calling me: “come home”.

Tidings are of death and dying,
War and hatred among mankind.
Red rose color these somber days.
That bridge will call many today.

Would you pass your days in hatred?
Would you lose your soul to anger?
That bridge is calling to us all…
Red rose color these somber days.