Burden Of Life, by Debi Swim

Burden Of Life
by Debi Swim

How much does it weigh
that uncertainty
as it settles around your shoulders
like a puma?
You carry it gingerly
trying to sooth the underlying growl
into a purr of contentment.
There is no way to know
when the claws will come out
(if there are any claws at all)
when the teeth honed on bone
(if they’re not worn to a nub)
will sink into the jugular.

Uncertainty has heft.
Everything is uncertain.
We live with it like gravity
balance it like scales
and keep on hoping
to tame the beast.

Note: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Keats
Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 353.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

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Oh World, by Debi Swim

Oh World
by Debi Swim

Have I seen enough sunsets,
enough pale dawns, ample
waves rushing to shore?
Have I listened to sufficient
hoots, trills, sweet melodies
and followed the flight of
hawks and geese and stars?
Oh, world, tell me true will
I rue these days of visits with you
or will I more regret those times
I bent dutifully to my tasks not noting
the honeysuckled scent of summer breezes,
the way it teases butterflies and bees.

Then, at the day of reckoning
will I, sated, sigh that I
have lived to full balance
of work and rest, blessed
with memories for eternity
of all creation’s glories?
Will I, world? Will I?

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 343.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Mementos Of Love, by Debi Swim

Mementos Of Love
by Debi Swim

Two short bits of rough wood
nailed together and presented
to me with love and pride, works
of art on my fridge in crayon or
finger paints, thank you cards
printed in huge letters that
course in downward slants,
nose and fingerprints on windows,
hazard lights flashing, wipers flapping,
radio blaring, heater cranked to the
highest speed when I start the car
after you have pretended to drive.
These things speak to me of the past
and of the future. They bring a smile
even when I pack them away or wash
them off or reset things to normal.
Oh, my disheveled grandmotherly life
I love each slobbery, messy, riotous
moment between the passages of
sedate and pristine clean.
Relief when you leave and
exhilaration at your coming.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 342.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and presistent WV poet.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, by Debi Swim

Blessed Are the Peacemakers
by Debi Swim

Praise to the mild mannered ones
who don’t succumb to fits of ire
who plod through the fray of
rainy days, delays, missteps, upsets
and suffer the fools of the world
with lips upcurled. Praise to the ones
who are slow to wrath, pick a path
of peace, throw a fleece of agreeability
over the shoulders of the rabble-rouser
and be a douser of incivility. Praise,
oh, praise the mild mannered ones.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 341.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Flat Line, by Debi Swim

Flat Line
by Debi Swim

       The cursor blinks
              patiently
     steadily
          impartially
between words, between thoughts
waiting. for words. to appear.
waiting.
Sometimes, I get up. Walk around.
hoping for inspiration, direction,
not even considering that it blinks.
like a heart, like a pulse, keeping
me alive. I take it for granted, like
my heart. How many beats left
before the end? How many blinks
till it is over? No more poems?
     No more inspiration?
That will be a kind of death.
     Breathless. Wordless.
        Straight line.
               Scream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 338.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Count Down, by Debi Swim

Count Down
by Debi Swim

Grandpa got it at the green stamp store.
He built a small shelf on the wall
in the living room and placed upon it
the black and faux gold clock. I would
watch the pendulum swing back and forth
unaware of time ticking away, unaware
that this moment wouldn’t last,
nor Grandpa, nor my youth.

A clock sits on the bookshelf
in my reading room.
I listen to its steady beat,
faint, droning under the din of life.
Its rhythm keeps me grounded
with its steady tic-tic- tic
setting the pace, reminding me
with every second-hand lurch
I live one second at a time,
until the last …
tic-tic toc.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 320.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

The Ash Borer, by Debi Swim

The Ash Borer
by Debi Swim

Insidiously, silently, they worked in darkness
Burrowing, eating, until there was no hope
Still it took a long time until the damage
revealed itself in bare limbs and stripped bark
twigs and branches scattered on the ground
at the whim of every passing breath of wind.

The tree was felled, cut into logs, loaded into
the back of a pick-up for fire wood this winter
and so in the dying it fed and in death warmed.
So life goes on. And should I curse the ash-borer
for doing what comes naturally? I pretend that
before the first bite a prayer was offered asking
the gods’ forgiveness for taking the tree’s life.
And I thank the tree for its sacrifice of warmth
a provision of God’s forethought.

Is this maybe just to curb the queasiness
at our survival at another’s expense? And yet
it seems right in the end to be aware that
life is life and never take it for granted.

There is a hole, a void where the ash tree stood
and generations of birds, squirrels, will never
know the safety of its arms. I’ll never feel again
the comfort of its shade or the pleasure of
watching its swaying leaves in the breeze.
And its roots remain embedded in the soil
and the stump rises like a headstone. Here
stood a living thing. Be thankful.

Process notes: Our Ash tree was cut down this past weekend. It stood close to the road and could have been a danger to passing cars. It was here before we build our house 36 years ago and so its death is like that of an old friend. How can an inanimate thing seem alive, have a personality and induce feelings of wonder and emotion in me? I don’t know, but it did.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 312.

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

Like Bourbon It’s Best Aged, by Debi Swim

Like Bourbon It’s Best Aged
by Debi Swim

Can it be possible
you look at me and see
something I don’t see?
You fell in love,
I can understand that,
cause love is blind they say.
What puzzles me is that you stay –
not stay with me, you’re a faithful man,
but stay in love with this old crone
of loose flesh and thinning bone.

Can it be possible
after all this time
of plodding forward arm in arm
you forgive the passing years
and gravity for the damage
to sweet young flesh?
Can overlook reality
and view instead
with eyes that gently see
beyond this shell
to the very soul of me.

Can it be possible?
Oh, yes.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 319.

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

The Smell Of Death, by Debi Swim

The Smell Of Death
by Debi Swim

They urged me forward, “Go say hello”
they said, but he was asleep… I hoped,
sleeping behind the wrinkles of pain.
I tried to remember him tall and gentle,
a shy smile lighting his eyes, toting the black
bag he carried to doctor sick animals.
He took us kids on calls sometimes
in his 1940s Chrysler Sedan.
By that time he was retired,
just doctoring as a favor and passing time.
But now walking into this quiet room, shades pulled,
the sounds of shallow puffs through thin lips,
an occasional quiet moan, sheet drawn over
yellowed parchment skin and sharp bones
frightened me. My first face to face
with the ancient foe, and I’ll always recall
the smell of death not quite disguised
beneath the medicinal scent of Lysol.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 315.

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

The Pleasure Of Your Words, by Debi Swim

The Pleasure Of Your Words
by Debi Swim

You will forgive me, I hope, for crashing your party.
I’ll just sit here on the fringe and only breathe.
You probably won’t even notice my presence for
I’m so totally in awe that I could not utter a word,
in fact it would be a kind of heresy even to speak.
I’ll be inebriated with the elixir of conversation,
the excerpts of your writing, the praises, the critique,
the literary acumen, the laughter, the jokes,
the comradery of good friends. I will silently raise
a toast to my good fortune to be in the presence
of giants though I’ll have little inkling of what I hear.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 310.

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