Tearing Up Nature’s Garden

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Hi Jim,” said George, when he saw him coming up the old wooden porch steps.

Old Blue woofed his welcome and licked Jim’s hand as he scratched the old dog under his chin.

Did you hear about the new development they are building on the way to Windy Gap? It is going to have 200 houses and a swimming pool,” Jim said excitedly.

Old George had a sad look on his face as he nodded and rocked back and forth.

You know, Jim, they are clear-cutting a lot of trees and wildflowers to make to make that happen.”

Seems we humans are always busy tearing up Nature’s garden.”

I guess I will just have to plant more flowers. And ‘I’d like, too, to plant the sweet alyssum that smells like honey and peace.’ It will be a haven for beautiful butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.”

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Prosery today at d’Verse.  Sanaa asked us to write a story using this line, “I’d like, too, to plant the sweet alyssum that smells like honey and peace.” from the poem, “What I would like to grow in my Garden” – by Kathrine Reigel. Our story must be only 144 words.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

A Voice That Sings

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George had a long faraway look in his eyes as he sat on the porch rocker slowly moving back and forth. For a long time neither he nor Jim spoke. They just sat quietly looking out across the pasture field. It was a beautiful fall day and Old Blue was sprawled out like a beached sea lion next to Jim. Finally, George broke the silence.

“You were just a baby when my sweet Mary passed away. She had a stroke that paralyzed her left side and affected her speech. It was very hard for her because she loved to sing. She would sit quietly looking out toward the mountains taking in everything around her. Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings: Her vocal cords were silent, but I could still hear her voice singing strong, clear, and beautiful.”


Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Today, Lisa asked us to write a 144-word flash fiction that included a line from an Oliver Wendel Holmes poem. The line is:

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

–by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., from The Chambered Nautilus

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Scars of a Broken Heart

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It was a warm Sunday afternoon. Jim took a small hand-ax with him as he climbed the ridge behind her farm. They had been friends since primary school, but now, seven years later she had broken his heart. Tommy Butler beat him to the draw, asking Julie Anne to the middle school dance… and she said yes.

With all his strength he chopped at the initials carved into the side of the tall sugar maple. He carved them there when he was thirteen. Now it was a bleeding scar where a heart of love once lived.

When Jim, told George what he had done, a smile crossed his wise old, wrinkled face.

“When I was your age, I had a girl who broke my heart as well. She played with my heart, then ‘she’d had it sliced away leaving a scar’. It still hurts.”

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Sarah asked us to write a prosery story of 144 words, which must include the line: ‘she’d had it sliced away leaving a scar’. from a poem by Michael Donaghy. (https://rihlajourney.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/liverpool-michael-donaghy/)

I decided to continue my conversations of Jim and his friend Old George.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

The Call

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Carrie woke to her cell phone lit up and vibrating on the nightstand. It was a text that simply said,

” It’s ready!”

“Please call ASAP.”

She had been waiting anxiously for the past two months for this call. Three times a week, as Carrie sat hooked up to the dialysis machine, she dreamed of this day.

This was an experiment she volunteered for over a year ago. Researchers at Wake Forest University finally perfected a way to take tissue from her bad kidney, isolate the good cells, and grow a new healthy kidney. It would eliminate the rejection factor.

But would it work?

Many anxious thoughts raced through her mind as she stared at the phone. “For how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May?” she wondered.

There were no guarantees, she would be the first.


Today at d’Verse, Merril gave us this prosery prompt:

For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May”

–From “May Day” by Sara Teasdale

We are to take this line from the poem and include it in a flash fiction piece of 144 words. My story inspiration came form a PBS show where are Wake Forest Research doctor talked about this kind of thing being studied. In time they will be able to grow new organs from your own body tissue. How amazing is that!

Join us at: https://dversepoet.com

Green Cheese

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“Stop the car!” Jim shouted to Patrick. “I want to look at the old truck.”

Jim’s dad carefully backed his car to the entrance of the old antique store. As they drove into the parking lot, Patrick said, “That sure is a bucket of rust.”

“Oh no,” Jim said excitedly, “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.”  What a beauty. I can see her now, all customized and painted neon green!”

Patrick had fallen in love with 1950s trucks when he was fourteen. Old George had a 1953 Chevy truck with a three-speed shift on the column. He taught Patrick to drive in the back fields of his farm.

A deal was made, and Patrick had a $350 piece of rust.

During the next year he had it customized, and painted green, just like he promised.

He called it Green Cheese!

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Today at d’Verse, Bjorn has given us a prosery prompt. Prosery is taking a line of poetry and writing a flash fiction or true story around that line. Our line today was taken from a poem Valentine, by Carol Ann Duffy. The line is: “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.”

I shot this customized truck at a stoplight yesterday, with my iPhone. The old truck, I took several years ago. They seem to fit together nicely, if you have a good imagination. My characters are spin offs of my story The Climb I&II which is available in free pdf. form to anyone who emails me asking for a copy. My email is dwru27@aol.com

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Time Out from Reading (The Climb – part II)

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George hadn’t seen much of his young friend. Jim loved reading books up in his tree house where he would read for hours.

As he sat on his porch, Old Blue lying at his feet, George longed for the times when Jim would come sit on his swing and hear about the night George got trapped on the mountain in a blizzard.

A young boy should be out riding his bike and swimming in the pond thought George. Then an idea came to mind that would benefit them both. George walked down to the tree and hollered up at Jim.

“Jim, tomorrow I am taking you on a hike I think you will like.”

“And bring no book, for this one day we’ll give to idleness.”

You and I are going to hike up to that cave where I shot at the mountain lion!

Treehouse Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Ingrid is having us write prosery, which is a prose piece of 144 words and including a line from a poem that she has pick for us.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

She taken them from Wordsworth’s ‘Lines Written at a small distance from my House…‘ which is included in the collection Lyrical Ballads, a groundbreaking poetic collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in several editions between 1798 and 1802. The ‘Lines’ of this poem are addressed to his sister, Dorothy, and the particular lines I have picked out for you are these:

“And bring no book, for this one day
We’ll give to idleness.”

My story is a spin-off of a story I wrote called the Climb about an old man hunting in the mountains and getting caught in a blizzard. Following is the first segment of the Climb.

https://wordpress.com/post/rothpoetry.wordpress.com/27090   plus eight more segments

I am following this post with a new adventure for George and Jim!

  • If you would like a free pdf.file copy of the whole story parts I & II just email me at dwru27@aol.com

Dancing Queen

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Shimmy and shakin’
Having the time of your life
Dancing on my rail
claws digging deep
owning it
Knowing every bird watching
Will shake with fright
Hoping you will dance till night
And not take flight


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Lillian payed tribute the music group ABBA. They had only one number one hit in their career. It was the song, Dancing Queen. She asked us to take only one line from the song and us it in a poem of our choosing.  I chose the line, “Having the time of your life…”

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Stony Rubbish

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Stony Rubbish

Jim loved going up to Old George’s house to visit. George waved when he saw Jim coming up the lane on his mountain bike. Old Blue bounded off the porch, barking with joy, as Jim arrived.

Hi George” “Hi Old Blue!”

Hello Jim, come on up, sit on the swing awhile!”

Jim plopped down on the swing, while Old Blue lay down by George’s feet as he rocked in his old rocking chair.

I guess you heard about the Presidential Election coming up in November? Jim said.

Oh, don’t get me started,” George replied. “Back in my day you could take a man at his word. These days it is all meaningless political nonsense!”

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”

Seems all of them will say most anything to get elected. Truth and integrity are lost.


Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to use a line from T.S.Elliot’s poem, The Wasteland, and write a Prosery piece. It is flash fiction and must be 144 words that includes the line: “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”

I decided to continue my story with Old George and Jim, this time addressing politics.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

The Climb – segments 13-14-15-16-17

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The rest of the story… 

A thousand thoughts ran through George’s mind all in a split second. Here he was with the trophy buck he waited so long to get, in his site, just a breath away. If he shot the deer, what would he do with it in all this snow? There was no way George could drag him another half mile to his truck, and if he did make it, the deer would be too heavy to lift up into the bed of the truck.

George thought about his life as well, an old buck himself with not that much time left. The old deer had eluded him and other hunters for years. It would be a shame to end old buck’s life here with no one nearby to help him drag it out. Until he could go for help and come back, the mountain lion, coyotes, or vultures would be devouring the carcass. He could not end this beautiful animal’s life that way.

At that moment the old buck turned his head and looked straight at George like he knew what was about to happen. They both stared at each other for a moment as George lifted the scope an inch and fired. The bullet shot right above the bucks right shoulder and lodged in a distant tree. Startled, the old buck turned and bounded back into the pines, flicking his white tail at George as he ran.

George felt his arm go numb, as he watched the old buck disappear into the trees. This was more than the tingle he had been feeling earlier that morning. Tightness drew across his chest like a heavy weight and his breathing became labored. He knew he was having a heart attack and there was nothing he could do but collapse to the ground. He fumbled for his glycerin pills in his coat pocket. He put two of them under his tongue and passed out!


Patrick was up at 6:00 AM eating his breakfast when Jim came down the stairs. He wanted to come along and help search for George, but Patrick and Nora felt he was too young for something as dangerous as this. Reluctantly, he sat down and began to eat his breakfast. He was worried about old George out in the mountains all alone.

Old Blue was still in the house up the lane so, Patrick kissed Nora goodbye and made a quick run through the snow to check on him. Old blue was delighted to see him and gobbled his food down quickly. On the spur of the moment, Patrick decided to bring Old Blue along. Barking happily, he jumped up in the front seat of the truck, sitting with his paws propped on the edge of the frosted window. Driving down the lane in four-wheel-drive, Patrick turned his F-150 onto the snow covered main road and headed to the Sheriff’s office. He was glad Nora remembered to send some sandwiches and a large thermos of hot coffee along.


At the Sheriff’s Office, several deputies arrived to join the search. Since Patrick knew where George hunted, Sheriff Taylor asked Patrick to lead the way to Windy Gap. The sheriff called the DOT the night before requesting that county snow plows clear the highway all the way up Rt. 17 to Windy Gap before plowing the other roads. They worked all night and by morning the road was fairly clear, but still very slick.

Arriving at the entrance leading back to the National Forest of Windy Gap, they saw the road was completely covered with snow. All the vehicle switched to four-wheel-drive and started the four mile journey to the base of Moonshine Ridge. They found George’s old Dodge truck buried in the snow, next to the creek, but he was nowhere to be found. By now it was 9:00 AM.

The mood was very somber, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Splitting up into groups of two, the men started up both sides of the hollow. If any one found George, they were to call on the two-way radio and let the others know. If they were out of range they were to fire three shots in succession, wait ten second and fire three more.


Patrick and Sheriff Taylor started up the deep end of the hollow with Old Blue following close by. Old Blue was having a great time chasing squirrels and birds as they climbed. Twenty minutes into the climb, a single shot ring out echoing across the mountain. One shot and then nothing at all. No one would be hunting in this kind of weather, so they knew it had to be George. The men quickly headed up the hollow in the direction of the gun shot. As they drew closer Old Blue started barking and took off up the hollow leaving the men behind. He had picked up Georges scent and headed up to find him. They could hear him barking excitedly in the distance.

When the men arrived, Old Blue was there licking George’s face and barking happily. He was semi-conscious, but still alive. They knew they had to act quickly, so Sheriff Taylor and his deputy hiked back down to get a stretcher out of his vehicle. The Sheriff got on the radio calling for an Ambulance to meet them at the entrance Windy Gap. Grabbing the stretcher, they quickly made their way back up to George. They loaded him on the stretcher and four deputies carefully carried him down the mountain. Old Blue followed close behind barking all the way.

Patrick was relieved that they found him alive, but really worried about his physical condition. As they carried him back to the SUV, George was in and out of consciousness. He kept mumbling about shooting at a mountain lion, and then about shooting at the old buck. The men thought he was out of his head and just hallucinating.


The Ambulance met them at the gate on Rt. 17. The EMTs loaded George into the Ambulance and headed to the hospital. At the hospital, Dr. Adams was amazed that George survived his ordeal. Hooking him up to a heart monitor and IV medications they soon had him stabilized and resting comfortably.

When George regained consciousness, he told Dr. Adams about taking the glycerin tablets just before passing out. Dr. Adams said that was probably what saved his life. He told George he had some heart damage, but with rest and avoiding mountain climbing, he should make a full recovery.

Patrick, Nora, and Jim all came by the hospital to visit George. Old Blue wanted to come along, but as you know dogs aren’t allowed into ICU. They all wanted to hear about his adventures on the mountain. George told them about getting caught in the snowstorm and taking shelter in the cave. Jim’s eyes got big when he told him about his wild night and the mountain lion. He was very excited to hear that George had taken a shot at the old buck, though George did not mention that he had raise his gun a little just before he shot.

George’s friends thought they were just stories of an old man telling tales, but Jim knew every word George said was true.

The End

If you would like a pdf. file of the whole story just email me at dwru27@aol.com and I will send you one.

Thanks to d’Verse Poets Pub, for the prosery flash fiction prompt that was the beginning of this story.  And also to my blogger friends who encouraged me to continue on with what turned into 17 segments. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.


For a free pdf. file copy of the whole story, email me at: dwru27@aol.com

The Climb… segments 8 & 9


Back home in Windy Gap, the sun was setting and George had not returned home. Since his wife had died three years earlier, he had live alone with his old hound dog, Blue. Like George, Old Blue had also seen his better years. He thought it best to leave old Blue at home for this trip.

Down at the end of the gravel lane, his neighbors the Clancy’s lived with their ten year old son Jim. Patrick and Nora were wonderful friends who looked out for George since his wife died. Nora took George hot meals from time to time and often invited him down to visit.

Patrick heard the roar of the old Dodge truck as George headed down the lane in the hours before sunup. George mentioned earlier that he was headed out hunting on Moonshine Ridge, hoping to come across the old buck that had eluded him the last several seasons.

George told Jim hunting stories and how he dreamed of getting one last trophy buck. Those who had seen the deer said it looked like he might have a rack with as many as fourteen points and weigh at least 200 pounds.

When Jim came in for supper that evening, he announced that George’s truck was not at the house and Old Blue was barking up a storm inside the house. With snow beginning to fall Patrick decided to go up and check on Old Blue and see if there was any sign that George might have returned home and left again.


Patrick climbed up the steps to the porch and peered in the window. Nothing seemed disturbed as Old Blue jumped up at the window with a deep mournful wail. Jim found the key under the old crock on the porch and let himself in. Old Blue greeted him happily, jumping up on him trying to lick his face. Patrick left Old Blue run out in the yard to relive himself. He saw there was no water in Blue’s bucket and no food in his bowl. Very unusual for George not to tell anyone to feed Old Blue.

He went to the cupboard and took out the bag of dog food, pouring some into the food bowl. Blue eagerly gobbled it down crunching the hard bits between his teeth. Patrick added a little more and filled up his bucket from the old pitcher pump. Seeing the snow falling faster he had an uneasy feeling about what might have happened George in this extreme weather.

When George did not come home by 9:00 PM, Patrick knew something was wrong. He called the Sheriff’s office in River Bend, ten miles away. After telling the Sheriff what he knew about the situation, Sheriff Taylor said with the storm closing in, and with six inches already on the ground, there was no way they could send a search party into the mountain to look for George before morning. It would take four-wheeled-drive vehicles to make it back to Windy Gap. He told Patrick to meet him at the Sheriff’s office at 7:00 AM. They hoped George found shelter from the storm; otherwise, his chances of survival were very slim.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Earlier segments:  https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/08/18/the-climb-three-more-segments/

The Climb… segments 5-6-7