Together

Foster children get passed around

From house to house across the town

Five children living far apart

With dreams of a family in their heart

Robert Carter a single dad

Remembers the foster life he had

Adopted three siblings to give them a home

Discovered two more were all alone

He searched the system and found they were there

The other two siblings were in foster care

He decided he needed to make things right

And bring them together to their delight

He adopted them all and took them home

From now on these children will never be alone

Their sad separations no longer make them blue

Dreams of family really do come true

Today at d’Verse, Peter asked us to write a documentary poem. He challenged us to write about an event that is local or does not get much attention. I saw this on the local news this morning and thought it would be perfect. Adoption is so important to children whose lives have been disrupted by separation. This story touched my heart and I think it will touch yours as well.

https://www.wral.com/single-man-adopts-five-siblings/19372126/

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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The Magic Oak

W.A. Pattillo Elementary School - Tarboro, NC 1978 (2)

Story #1
A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. Sadly. Taking Down the Tree occurred in the summer when almost everyone was gone. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations.Dwight's Class in front of our Giant Oak 001 (2)

Today at d’Verse Victoria asked us to write Flash Fiction prose of not more than 144 words. She gave us a line from one of Jane Kenyon poems. Jane Kenyon was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was once the Poet Lauriat of New Hampshire. The line we had to include in our story was: Taking Down the Tree.
I took a photo of our giant oak tree from my former teaching days and created my story.

I realized after the fact that I got the wrong line in my story. It was supposed to be:  If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.

I edited the ending to my story and inserted the correct line. Below is the revised version.

Story #2   The Magic Oak 

A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations. As they disappeared, they said, “If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.”

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

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Dust Bowl Moon

Dust_Bowl_in_Texas_County_Oklahoma  - Sat Ev Post (2).jpg

The full moon crept over the treeless plain. John Clark sat on his broken porch step and watched it rise. Clouds left eerie shadows across the yard. It was All Hallow’s Eve. There was no thought of candy or spooks and goblins.

The dry Oklahoma winds had blown away much of the topsoil. The wheat, this year, dried up in the fields. Last year, it was the swarm of grasshoppers that ate every green thing in sight.These fields were once covered with tall grasses and ranging bison. Now they were lifeless and dusty as a desert. “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.”

John had no choice, but to load his wife and four children in his old Model T Ford, and travel West. They took what they could, hoping to make it to California before the Snow arrived in the mountains.

Dust Bowl Photo: Saturday Evening Post

Bjorn at d’Verse asked us to write a prose piece of not more than 144 words. He took a line from a  Louise Gluck poem, which we had to include in our writing. It was also to include the holiday theme of All Hallow’s Eve and Halloween. It was, “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.” I attempted to apply this line to the sad times of the Dust Bowl.

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Two Falling Stars

IMG_E8285Two falling stars in a universe of billions
Sometimes clashing like two knives cutting
Bleeding rightness // then finding we are wrong
Seeking forgiveness //pledging to get along
Entangled in the night like the roots of a tree
Holding on to the foundation that keeps us free
We are two bodies // waves of ebb and flow
In an ocean of night, as days come and go
Age brings with it // fossils // embedded in stone
Looking back with nostalgia as the sun sets all alone
We are pieces of the universe on collision course
When two falling stars embedded with great force
Forever lie together in the dust of the earth

Today at d’Verse we are looking at international poetry. It is easy for poetry intent to get lost in translation.  Lara gave us poems from three different international poets and asked us to pick one that inspired us and write it in our own perspective. I chose, Two Bodies, by the Mexican poet Octavio Paz.  You can read the original version below:

Octavio Paz (1914-1998) – Another Spanish speaker and more recent Nobel prize winner. Born in Mexico, he was a political activist, ambassador and essayist so that much of his poetry reads like prose poems, “written within the perpetual motion and transparencies of the eternal present tense.” 
Two Bodies
Two bodies face to face
are at times two waves
and night is an ocean.

Two bodies face to face
are at times two stones
and night a desert.
Two bodies face to face
are at times two roots
laced into night.
Two bodies face to face
are at times two knives
and night strikes sparks.
Two bodies face to face
are two stars falling
in an empty sky.

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Painting: Dwight L. Roth

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Lost (Flash Fiction)

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Lost
Dwight L. Roth

I was lost…totally lost in the pitch-black darkness. I climbed this ridge several times in the daylight, following the winding trail all the way to the top where we had set up camp. Now I was stumbling; tripping over rocks and branches as I wander off the trail. Why did I forget to bring my flashlight?
Talk of a mountain lion in the daylight brought no fear, but now, in the pitch dark, the reality presented itself with every distant rustle of the leaves and breaking of a branch. I pressed on climbing upward, feeling my way through the saplings, mountain laurel, and dead tree limbs. “The top can’t be too much farther.”
Suddenly. there is that unmistakable wine of a big cat; off in the distance, yet too close for comfort. Chills run up my spine, when far away an interrupted cry… silence!

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Bjorn at d’Verse introduced us to our new form to work with…Flash Fiction. He asked that it not be more than 144 words. It could be exactly 144 words as well. Mine is 144 words. We must use the given line from a poem somewhere in the story. Today it was “when far away an interrupted cry…”

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Falling off the Edge

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Since we are looking at far out theories on d’Verse this poem came to mind. I decided to repost it to show how silly some theories can be, and yet people still believe them!

Flat Earth
What if the Earth was flat
Imagine that
There are some who still believe
Wondering if at some point
They might wander too far in the breeze
And sailing on suddenly drop off the edge
Into the abyss of lost souls’ deep wedge
The Earth is flat… If I can imagine that
All could believe and God might be a cat
Prowling the land whiskers in hand
Flicking his tail making demands
And for amusement entertainment for most
Perched on the edge and as people get close
Taking his paw flicking them over, they’re toast
Thinking how silly for people to believe

 

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

First Kiss

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He was tall with brylcreemed hair
Sixteen // a new driver’s license
She was petite // a spring flower
Fourteen // hormones tingling
Her cute irresistible smile drew him.
In the shadows of the church hallway
A first kiss // never to be forgotten
…Though so long ago

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so today De asked us to write a Quadrille of 44 words that included a reference to a kiss. I wrote this one in memory of my first kiss!

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Peaceful Resignation

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The week after Thanksgiving in 2012 we received news that my wife’s mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She was 86 years old and after consulting with the family, made the decision not to pursue extended treatments. The doctors said she would probably not live more than a month or two. She lived until August of 2013.
Waiting in real time for what we all know is going to happen is not always easy. She made the most of her time left, celebrating Christmas with us at the care facility she moved into. Her attitude was one of peaceful resignation all the way through. Her nurses loved her and took very good care of her. She said that she had lived a full life and was ready to go.

Her time had now come
Peaceful resignation her choice
Snow falls// silent night

 

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Imelda, our guest host at d’Verse, asked us to write a Haibun that talks about waiting.  I am sharing a very personal time of waiting that happened to us a few years ago.

Come join us at:  https://dversepoets.com

 

Oh, My!!

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When we drove in the road to see the old house where I was born, my first reaction was “Oh, my!!” The place was unrecognizable. It was so overgrown with weeds that you could barely see the front porch. The yard was not mowed and it appeared to be in a state of disrepair. My mind quickly raced to the days when everything was trimmed and neat. The house was painted and the garden planted. It is heartbreaking to see how things have changed in fifty years.

Drove past our old house today hoping to gather some memories

Quickly realized that memories were all that remained

Nothing appeared as I remembered // everything had changed

Weeds wrapped the house like a blanket

The yard had disappeared swallowed up by the woods

Henry Padlo & Dwight Roth April 1955 001

My friend Henry and me ready for school!

De Jackson at d’Verse asked us to write a poem of 44 words that included the word quick (or a form of it) for Quadrille Monday. Nothing ever stays the same as you can see by my house then and now!

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Crickets’ Last Song

Bridgewater Elementary - terrariam

One fall, in my early years of teaching Elementary School, I built a terrarium creating a closed ecosystem for my classroom. We included dirt,  gravel, chunks of grass, rocks and sticks. We found a large preying mantis on the schoolyard and put it in the tank, along with a toad, earthworms, moths, pill bugs, and crickets. The students really enjoyed watching all the activity in the tank.

The crickets in the tank made their chirping sounds as we went about our school day. Little did they know the mantis sitting silently  up on the dead branch was waiting patiently  for her chance to grab one of them for lunch. When the mantis caught one, the children watched in awe as she systematically devoured the cricket. She was preparing to create her egg sac!

Cricket’s soulful sound

Chirping last mating song __

Fall mantis waiting

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Victoria at d’Verse gave us crickets as our prompt for Haibun Monday.  Crickets are an indication that fall is on the way once more. I decided to share how crickets contribute to my classroom during my teaching day back in the 1970’s

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