Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

A Poem for Halloween

English: Pumpkin carving - photo taken in dark...

English: Pumpkin carving – photo taken in darkness to show the effect of illumination from within (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Character Parade
By Lin Neiswender


Porch lights off,
Too old for this
Bed calls to me
Time to remember
Nearing years’ end

Every minute precious as it’s recalled
Baby dressed like pea in a pod, held by Mom
Toddler plays the Great Pumpkin role,
Bucket clanking knee
Another knock at the door,
“Trick or Treat!” on sweet young lips
Pirates swagger up the walk, brandishing homemade swords
Beating flowers, bushes, leaves into submission
Hobo tips the hat for candy rewards
As gypsies twirl in flowing skirts
Occasional ghosts or Presidents in mask
Super heroes, fairy princesses whisper soft “Thank you’s”
Most polite, a few greedy

Blow out my pumpkins,
Bring them in,
Another Halloween at its end
Time flies faster than I can ken

©2012 Lin Neiswender

Enhanced by Zemanta

Make Visible: Revising

This article was part of the PDF for our Poetry Workshop at the Muse Online Writers Conference earlier this October.

English: Pink Pearl eraser from Paper Mate.

English: Pink Pearl eraser from Paper Mate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first started writing and for a good twenty years after that I never revised my poetry.  It never occurred to me to do so.  At an earlier Muse Conference I was introduced to revision in one of the poetry workshops.  Not just punctuation or line spacing, but real revision.  This can include taking a small part of a poem, a scene or image, and expanding on that to create a whole new poem.  Sometimes you need fresh eyes to help you with your revising.  That’s where belonging to a poetry critique group can help.  Remember it’s up to you to re-see your poem.  Don’t depend on others to tell you what’s wrong or right with your poem.  Those may sound like two different pieces of advice.  Others can point you in the right direction, but you yourself are responsible for how your poem turns out.  Only you can decide when it’s finished and ready to go out into the world.


“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Enhanced by Zemanta

Newbie Lane

“Sure, I can do that. What do you want me to do?”

“Just something about the conference?”

“I’m on? OH! I’m on!”

Hello, out there! Honorary Museling here, guest blogging for the first time. Wow. What an experience at the Muse Online Writing Conference. First time there too! Being a Museling is hard work!

The Muselings are such a great team and well-organized with a clear plan for their online workshop. Lin, my good friend, told me about what they were doing and I said, sure I can do a workbook. Send me the stuff. Then there were meetings, and meetings and meetings! Planning times that everyone could meet because of time zones — big challenge.

If you didn’t attend this online writing conference you missed a variety of different chats, forums, and information for all types of writers. The website was easy to navigate and user friendly. Me, I mostly hung out in the poetry workshop; one to support the Muselings and two, there is only so much time in the week. I work full time and had to grade 15 rough drafts for my online students by Saturday night. Arghh! Time was not my friend. Great thing about this conference is you can go back and visit the workshops to get what you missed. I plan on going back to visit the workshop “Mythology and Fairy Tales as a Basis for New Stories.”

Now I’m not that much of a poet, at least until after the conference. Anyone who can create an Aragman poem and have it make sense, you have officially become a poet. With an aragman, you take a phrase to an anagram maker and see what comes out. I took my Muse name SurfWriter, ran it through the anagram maker and came up with 20, count them, 20. Played with them for a while, but those anagrams weren’t talking. Really? Err Surf Wit? What am I supposed to do with that? So I ran my name through and got over 1000 anagrams. At least something to work with. Don’t let anyone fool you – aragmans are hard to create! Here’s mine.

Alarm! Tracing
the cat who hides
Alarm! Crating
The cat who snarls and yowls.
Alarm! Carting
The cat to the vet.

Alarm! Cat grin!

If you didn’t get a chance to participate, download their participant’s workbook (my contribution to the workshop) and take on the challenge of writing three little known forms of poetry. Be sure to check out Saturday’s chat notes on how to incorporate the poetic form into other forms of writing which was very informative. Michele’s a great moderator and herds cats well LOL! We also presented ideas on revising poetry and how to start a poetry group.

(What? Wrap it up?)
The Muse Online Writing Conference is astounding. Over fifty topics to choose from, hundreds of amazing writing professionals who put together this conference –free. All because they want to support writers who want to become better writers or who want to explore other challenges. I can’t wait until next year!

Testing 123

There is no need for alarm. This is only a test.

My head is spinning, and more poetry

I’m trying to promote my novel, “Relocated,” so check out this review on

And check out “Sand in the Desert” as well


In addition to promoting the novel,  I’m editing two others. I got tagged in a blog hop and answered a few questions about one of them,  an adult science fiction novel tentatively entitled “Broken Bonds”:

I’ve been playing with digital images again.

Here are a couple of poems I’ve written, two versions of the same gray, dreary day:


Almost Day

The rain hangs short of falling
and chill air blows
through my open window.

My novel’s turned dull,
the heroine another blonde,
lucky at everything but love.

I’m down to dregs of coffee,
the flavor burnt and bitter,
sandy grounds populate my cup.

I’ve insufficient motivation
to rise from the table
or boot me out of my fog.

My dog humps open the door
rests her grinning muzzle
on my knee.

Anything short of a downpour
is good weather for canines..
Time to go for a walk

Gray Day

My novel’s heroine  has no class.

Psychedelic Mountain

l have to give the book a pass.

Rain hangs just short of the grass
I hope the gloomy weather will pass

Chill air blows in the window , alas.
I bang it shut, hope shivering will pass

My smoky fire smells of burnt grass.
Time to walk. Don’t let more time pass.

Rain streams down the  window glass
I have to give walking the dog a pass






Remembering 9-11

WTC pre WFC 1984 from boat Hudson NYC

WTC pre WFC 1984 from boat Hudson NYC (Photo credit: Ibfraz)

I spent the last several days watching TV specials on the tragedy of 9/11. Some were new, some old, but all touched my heart strings. It gave me hope for humanity to see the EMT’s, doctors and nurses, Police Officers, Firemen and ordinary people rising to greater heights caring for the injured and getting them out of harm’s way. It reminds me that good can come from horrible events, but some memories will be with us forever. The survivors and the slain will always be in my heart.

I thought it might be healing to write poems about that day. You can write on any aspect of the events or people and post it as a comment.  Here is mine:


All Fall Down


Shining towers in early morning sun,

So strong, so beautiful, something meant

to last a hundred years

All fall down, vanishing in hours.


Clouds of destruction

roar down the street

An American Pyroclastic flow

Choking throats and sealing eyelids.


Screams, prayers, curses

Sounds and images of people

Running or walking or crawling, others in ambulances

Race toward what they hoped will be safety.


So much heroism, bravery, compassion

So much loss, so much pain.

Raw grief of survivors mingles with our own

What happened? Who did this?

Looking for someone to blame.

Fighting the inclination to condemn

A whole religion for the acts of a few.


Every year we honor those we lost

Pray that the families could put

Their lives back together with time

And that there is enough

Healing to go around.


©2012 Lin Neiswender







Enhanced by Zemanta

Make Visible: Focus on Form: Really Bad Limericks

I wrote these today.  I’m not one to write limericks.  I’m not real comfortable with the form.  The last one is for a special friend of mine.

Here goes nothing!

Presenting Really Bad Limericks:




There was a girl from Savannah

Who had the most terrible manners

She never said please

And often would tease

Even those who tripped on peeled bananas.




There was a man from Seattle

Who got in the rottenest battles

If he sat next to you at a bar

Best to take yourself very far

From his brass knuckles, used often on cattle.


Ocean Shores


There was a woman from Ocean Shores

Who only saw open doors

She was so positive

That God was the causative

With only good things in store.




There was a lady from Orlando

Who was all about the Can-Do

Collages, poems and short stories

Productive, even with her health worries

Wish I had her ducks in a row.


“Savannah,” “Seattle,” “Ocean Shores,” and “Orlando” © Anne Westlund


“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Enhanced by Zemanta

Savoring Form and Visibility

We welcome back Lisa Gentile — she’s more like family than a guest poster! Thank you, Lisa, for joining us again today. (Please read our earlier interview with Lisa, too:

Savoring Form and Visibility

One of the many uplifting themes that I notice every time I read through this Poetic Muselings blog is that of appreciating the world around us, with all of its tragic, glorious, epic, and everyday beauty.

It hits me every time even though I shouldn’t be surprised by it. After all, that’s what writers and other artists do, right? They grasp an inspiration and artfully shape it into a piece of creative work so that they may reflect upon it, move on from it, and/or share it with the rest of us. But what really goes on? I suspect there are some answers lurking in around this blog.

Through focus on form we assemble a collection of sensorial, intellectual, and emotional experiences and string them together in a pleasing poetic form. Very often the new configuration gives us insight into the events or imaginings that we selected.

The resultant poem tells us something about ourselves, the characters portrayed, or the moment captured. The selection might seem random at first, the configuration unremarkable. A subtle change could shift the whole message. This is our creative hand at work, we trust that we have made the right selections for this particular piece and we follow them to their conclusion.

When we make visible what we have seen we create something tangible out of our interpretation. It matters that we create a unit of meaning, and beauty, that we can share with others. This is a powerful way to connect with each other. It creates the potential for a dialog.

We may be sharing a joy, a sorrow, or a casual rumination. The important point is that we are sharing, we are saying “I was there and I saw/ heard/ did/ felt/ thought this.” We are inviting others to enjoy our art, experience the meaning give it, and then to create their own meaning.

When we create, whether by focusing on form or making an idea visible, we are making an impression that holds personal value less abstract and more real in the world—we are shaping its meaning so that we may share it and appreciate it in our lives, so that we may savor it.

Research shows that this making and expression of meaning from our experiences contributes to our satisfaction in life. How do you give form and visibility to your experiences? How do you savor life?

Lisa Gentile, M.S. is a professional life coach. You can read more about her practice at

Make Visible: Inspired by Nature

My poem, “The Banquet,” was inspired by deer in our side yard.  As a writer, don’t be afraid of using nature as inspiration, especially as a jumping off point to a longer piece.  Your poem doesn’t have to be explicitly about flora or fauna, but could evolve into a metaphor about something else entirely.

Poetry prompt:  Go for a walk outside.  If something from the natural world catches your eye, start a poem with that image as the kernel.

The Banquet

The deer eat the weeds,

the apples, the lower branches of trees.

Such enthusiasm!

What feast have you set out

before them?

Like watching a puppy or a child eat.

Of the seven deadlies, gluttony…

Now it’s the ice cream aisle,

the frozen dinners and pizza,

the deli, the chip and pop aisle,

the white bread, the lowly potato.

You are laughing at us,

I know.

How disappointed you must be in us?

With our rice cakes, salads without dressing,

low-carb diets.

Come eat!

Life is a banquet, the table is set.

Are there no takers?

“Manna makes me fat.”

“Fishes go right to my thighs.”

So we starve in the desert,

refusing what you have offered,

this miracle.

© Anne Westlund

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

Photo by Chris Westlund

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lin's Senryu

#1880 winner of manner poetry contest

I’m a beginner at Senryu and in addition to Margaret’s great links, found this link helpful: Haiku or Senryu? How to Tell the Difference.
I followed the syllable count but switched the lines. Here’s my first stab at it:


Hot packed waiting room

Doctor gives bad news

How lovely is the sunshine

Post Navigation