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.

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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.

Broody Hen, by Debi Swim

Broody Hen
by Debi Swim

I sit before my computer keying thoughts.
They came smooth and swift, a bird soaring,
once. Now they perch on a limb, refusing
even to sing. I pretend this bird is nesting,
warming eggs and I wait for them to hatch.

How long does it take? Days? Weeks? Months?
I wait and wait like a broody hen. Impatient.
Anxious. Despairing at the lifelessness.
But, still I sit and wait hoping for the day
when something new comes into the world.
I wait for the sounds of breaking free.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 309.

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

Shadows of Memory, by Debi Swim

Shadows of Memory
by Debi Swim

We dwell in
a river of time
of eddies and currents
sharp rock and soft silt
beneath our feet
and the water flows,
trickles, rushes, floods
passing behind
as we stand in this moment
watching the water
flowing toward us
an eternity,
we hope, of spill.
Then that moment is gone
yet it is still now.
Soon you’ll be gone.
Soon, I’ll be gone.
Then we’ll just be
shadows of memory
wavering in the stream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 300.

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

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.

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.