Discovery! by Patricia McGoldrick

by Patricia McGoldrick

Music of ancestors and Irish descendants—
That’s what I learned in grade 3
When Mrs. G. taught us to sing I’se the bye.

So many years later
on a summer family vacation
I met the people who sang these songs
From the west coast to the northern tip

I discovered
Wildflowers and whales
Melt-in-your-mouth pastry
Partridge berries
Bakeapple jars of jam
Seafood chowder
Catfish and codfish
Kitchen parties
Viking settlements
Magma on Gros Morne Mountain
Former fijords at Western Brook Pond.

It is all digitized now on the machine* but in that summer
We learned about the loss of the cod fishery from a son who showed us
The lobster traps and the nets and the old shacks
We saw and felt and touched the artifacts of days gone by
Near green mountains with spots of snow
Rippling waters
Misty hazy foggy weather over bogs
nestling practically perfect pitcher plants,
Growing there, in the rich peat soil of Newfoundland,
With not so purple flowers, in the real.

*machine—Newfoundland slang for a computer

Patricia McGoldrick is a Kitchener, ON, Canada poet writer who is inspired by the everyday. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets. Visit her blog at patriciamcgoldrickdotcom or on Twitter @pmcgoldrick27.

Choking Out the Present, by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Choking Out the Present
by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

In the City, where space
is a sought-after treasure
all living things seek out
corners or cracks to fill up
with prized possessions
or worthless clutter.

even the sidewalk cracks that were
once jumped over while singing rhymes,
have found their spaces filled with
migrant weeds escaping from
harsh confinement elsewhere.

their scraggly green heads pop up
to greet your beautiful feet as you
tiptoe around the dog mess, dodging
bold pigeons that scamper for bits
of stale New York pizza crust left by
Hansel and Gretel or a homeless dude.

now the rain teases our heads, foreplay
for the deluge that soon pours like
sorrows from my overflowing heart
as we kiss, then run for shelter, nodding
to the lions in front of the library who watch
me shake off the wet from my red shawl.

in my dreams, these memories pack tightly
into dusty old rooms I never knew existed,
soaking up tears, expanding like soggy bread,
they swell, they choke me into corners
where I crouch, crying the old grief away till
a new day wakes me again to reality.

your ghost still shows up after all these years,
spinning in white circles around my old body,
that you once loved, laughing, crunching leaves,
dancing me into a golden trance with your
hazel eyes and their subtle orange flecks,
that send me stumbling through the groundfog.

I wake and glue together the blurry pictures,
the far-away hum of ancient words that make
new mornings sticky with honeyed confusion,
wondering which memories are worthless clutter
in dusty frames, weeds choking out the present
without mercy.

Old Sorrows, New Poppies, by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Old Sorrows, New Poppies
by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Who doesn’t want springtime?
Whose bones are not in a state
of perpetual cold stiffness, yet moving
because we hold an imaginary whip
to make them creak or groan aloud?

Who doesn’t need brightness and warmth
to seduce us slowly, till we stretch
and sigh with almost-forgotten pleasure?
I know I want springtime, but maybe
you’re not ready to make the old sorrows
drip with the syrup of new life.

We watch through swirly window designs
painted by the black dog’s wet nose.
How soon will we spot the poppies
gone for decades after grief slammed us,
but that now revisit us in spring?

Grief covered our house, dark slimy algae.
We hostages looked out over barren yard,
scanned it with our eyes, mildly hopeful
in spite of it all, but no poppies chose
to fight a path out of earth to find the sun.

During sleep, some of you may dream
of red corn poppies, faces tipped up
to sultry afternoon sun, red balloons
of hope, symbols of new life emerging,
of abundance, and scary second chances.

Some people have dreams of black poppies,
opium poppies, symbols of death and doom.
I can tell you, though, that genus papaver,
much like us, returns only when ready
and not sooner, with an array of colors
and ways of showing up in the world.

If too many trees darken poppy potential,
they may hide their unrealized brightness
within the cold ground till nature signals
the all-clear, removing any obstacles.
and like us, they are resilient, even
when they don’t seem to know it.

If you’re not ready for spring,
won’t allow your bitter sorrows
to sweeten even one puny drop,
poppies may sprout unseen by you.
You must want to heal, want springtime,
want pain to leave without goodbyes.

You have to want all bare trees left behind,
with frozen door locks, slippery ice patches,
and with those cold, weary bones.
I know I want springtime, but maybe
you’re not ready to make the old sorrows
drip with the syrup of new life.

Iris J. Arenson-Fuller is a poet, mom, grandmother, credentialed life coach, and founder and former director of Thursday’s Child Adoption Agency for about 30 years. She has written poetry since the age of three, has been published in a variety of on line and print publications and a couple of anthologies. She gives poetry readings in her home State of CT. Her life and loss transformation coaching website’s here.

Foggy Dawn, by Christopher Hileman

Foggy Dawn
by Christopher Hileman

She said there’s room for
some kind of flash in the pan,
some flare up of hope,
some change in the shape
of slithery things to come
once the sun rises…

if the sun rises
on this latest weird damn day
of all the long days

that trail behind us
and are still rolling over
our crushed and shattered
arrangements and poise

(we had no right to them all)

as we lay them down
with the feathers shed
in our summer’s latest molt,

We call as swans do.
our bodies newly pink
and utterly bare.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 299.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

Picking Time, by Josh Medsker

Picking Time
by Josh Medsker

Hands purple with blackberries,
staining the rubber handles
on my primer blue Redline. We go

tearing down the hill, plumes fanning out
behind us in distant gravel.

Calves aching,
we find the new jumping place
behind Gladys Wood,
and spend the afternoon flying
and failing and flying higher
than we could have hoped,
groaning at dusk,
on the trudge back up home.

I feel the purple on my hands again
in my backyard garden
crushing the years between my worn knuckles
sending sweet fruit and memory to the wind.

Josh Medsker is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska. His work has appeared in many publications in the U.S. and abroad. For a full biography of Mr. Medsker, please visit his website

A Line In The Sand, by Debi Swim

A Line In The Sand
by Debi Swim

I look at earth, sea, air and all things therein. The detail, design, intricacy, variety, purpose, how things work together and it is a sign to me of something supernatural… other than. I see in all peoples a bent toward worship, service, and some acknowledgement of God that interprets itself into a religion. The very few who eschew the concept of a creator have rejected one God for another. They become their own god living for their own ends, gratified in their ability to shape their own lives, and answer to no one but their own conscience. It is all a choice. That I choose one over the other doesn’t make me more enlightened – or less so. I speak for myself, not for you. I’ve drawn a line between what I believe and what I can’t believe and those things I will take on shaky faith.

In this universe
immense and mysterious
there’s room for magic.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 289.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Alone Not Lonely, by Debi Swim

Alone Not Lonely
by Debi Swim

I didn’t choose solitude;
solitude chose me.
Hurry, bustle, noise
of the world bruised
my soul till I could not
hear the song of the lark,
the music of the wind,
the wisdom of the clouds,
the slow, steady pulse
of the earth’s heart
so I began to withdraw
to the subtle call of quiet.
She soothes my spirit
with whispers, calm,
colors of rich, luscious
hues of marigold sun
and turquoise skies
goose grey of storms
that toss the static and
spark of strife away.
Even this room from which
I write is so quiet I can hear
a faint hum, a strum of OM
nothing distracts. Solitude
chose me.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 294.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

a child walks in the dark, by Darren Demaree

a child walks in the dark
by Darren Demaree

[what pleasure]

i told my children what pleasure is to you will dictate how much flesh of the bloom you pull out of your teeth what if i can swallow it whole what if i can swallow it whole what if i can swallow it whole they asked and i told them both that was boring and fascist but good for them i suppose


[an orange fruit bowl]

i told my daughter an orange fruit bowl is useless if there is no fruit in the bowl and she told me that was exactly what was wrong with boys


[drinking where the animals drink]

i told my son drinking where the animals drink is a lovely picture but once you’re with the deer you’re with the deer forever i know this as i am with the deer

Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

I Am A Poem, by Debi Swim

I Am A Poem
by Debi Swim

I am a poem who doesn’t want
to be understood. I don’t want
a reason to be, I just want to be.
To be swished around the mouth
like the first sip of wine. Savored.
To be heard as a whole then
separated into instruments
lyrics, impressions and emotion.

I am a starting place, off ramp,
corollary route, tertiary road and
little gravel lane where memories,
experience, longing reside restlessly.
I am of the many and yet individual.
I sing. I dance. I cry, rage, laugh.
I speak plainly and in riddles.
I am a poem. A song. A voice.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 295.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Cycles Of Life, by Debi Swim

Cycles Of Life
by Debi Swim

Hi, Dad, It’s me again
Do you have time to talk?
(Oh, here’s a pretty vase of
flowers from my garden.
The roses are from the bushes
you use to prune for me.)
I wanted to catch you up
about what’s been going on.
Seems like things happen so fast,
then, sometimes they just drag.
Same old, same old… I guess,
School, work, soccer games.
Braces for Billy, Julie into dance,
Aunt Millie, she’s in the nursing home.
Ellen had a little girl, finally.
She and Bob are so excited
after waiting so long.
Oh, Stan died. Heart attack.
But maybe you knew that already?
Are you here, Dad?
Can you even hear me?
I wanted to ask. I need to know.
Is there more than this
endless cycle of
living and dying?

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 296.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.