Saturday, May 28, 2016

Live with Hope and Love--By Patricia Ann Farnsworth-Simpson--Canary Islands

Live with Hope and Love

It is far better to live
Believing in hope and love
That there is a heaven for us above
That it is death
that takes us on our way
If full of love to join
Angels at play.
Living life believing
Full of hope
Gives you good reason
To love and cope
With all the ailments
Found from war and pain
To make you want
To live again
Like an Angel up in heaven above
In a climate created purely from love....

Patricia Ann Farnsworth-Simpson is a coal miners daughter, the only girl among 6 lads.  A young mother to a son, she became a widow before she turned 18.  Patricia, then, married her childhood sweetheart who fathered her lovely son and two wonderful daughters.  Her children encouraged her to pursue her own talents.  After 51 years of marriage, she became a widow again recently. She fills her time with poetry, helping others whenever she can.

The Ballad of Fifteen Bucks--By Ron Larson--United States

The Ballad of Fifteen Bucks

It ain’t Christian, but I did it anyway.
I went to see Madam Sophie the other day.
I did it under the light of a full moon
On the outside of town, it this little room.

Now Madam Sophie, she’s got this crystal ball,
And she said: “For fifteen bucks, I’ll tell it all.”
What she said there in the still of the night
Left me with a bit of fright.

She said, “Son, you better go to church on Sunday,
And stop foolin’ around with Susie Brown.
I see it all, right here in my crystal ball.
Now get your sinnin’ buns back to town.”

Well, when I got back, I was thinkin’ she was right,
And I must admit, I learned somethin’ that night.
She has my word, I will repent,
But that’s the fastest fifteen bucks I ever spent.

Ron Larson is a retired community college professor (Ph.D.) and has had both fiction and non-fiction published in various journals over the years. He has been writing poetry for the last two years. His poems have been accepted by such diverse magazines as The American Dissident, Big Pulp, and WestWard Quarterly.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tanka--By Anne Curran--New Zealand

cockle shells fallen
from the dusty wind chime …
letting go
my lover’s ashes
scattered to sea

I hear the sweetness
in my lover’s voice …
and I know
I am swimming
in the shallow end

not of the generation
to make soup for winter ...
neither do I know
how to message friends
on a smartphone

Anne Curran is a Japanese verse forms poet from Hamilton, New Zealand.  Anne has been writing poetry for about ten years with the encouragement of friends and family. She draws inspiration from the world around her. She has been fortunate to enjoy the wisdom of some fine editors and fellow poets.

Where The Pomegranates Grow--By Sara Kendrick--United States

Where The Pomegranates Grow

Outside the city where lush
Lovely pomegranates grow
The spring has sprung and flowers show
Birds rear their young in tones hushed

The lady weeps in a silent
Strain, love has left a broken heart
In pain, where the pomegranates start
To bloom once again, so vibrant

Hush my love your chance to shine bright
Slipped in on a cloud silver lined
A knight so good and deeply kind
Caught your tears throughout the long night 

He sprinkles them upon the air
Pomegranate bushes sprang up
Their juice forever fills your cup
Arise love, his maiden fair

Receive his love, freed from despair
Outside the city, in rural

Terrain. a perfect scene ~mural

Where pomegranates grow with flair

Sara Kendrick married young and had a family soon after. After her last child went to school, she decided to pursue her GED. A gentlemen who worked with the GED program encouraged her to enroll in college.  She worked part time and cared for her family in addition to her studies. She graduated from Mercer University. Several years ago, after a health crisis, she started writing poetry. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Passive--By Sheikha A.--Pakistan and U.A.E.


I rode the night on its tail. The hooks
on the shirt of my bravery coming loose.
I remembered the orbit of your arms 
that wanted to hoard my ornate 
inconspicuousness from ever meeting
a sky-farer with wings of paper
but of a brazen heart he carried
on his sleeve, his mouth like the wind
in summers that made no oaths
but knew many amusing tales of musical
birds. You kept my mind from peeling
away like skins of immature lychees, 
never coming off evenly. You built
homes where I wanted clouds.
Since you knew best about preservation,
I stayed in your jar and called it sky.

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and U.A.E. and often finds herself in a world of oscillation that most of the times motivates her writing too. She maintains a (or tries to) blog on  

Place Such as Far Away--By Niranjan Navalgund--India

Place Such as Far Away

from a won position
to a stalemate
the stories of almost;
wavering hands
not able to hold on
Or let go

restless mind
from past to future & beyond
this restless pendulum
the written that cannot be
multiplied by unwritten words longing to be written
a long pause in between
Can zero ever add value to itself?
all this and more in a place
such as far away.

Niranjan Navalgund is a chess lover from India. Reading and writing are his leisure time activities. He is fond of Zen Stories and the cute creature - Panda. He blogs at 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Bonfire--By Nivedita N (Divenita Er)--United States

The Bonfire 

Chintu's father died the night he turned thirteen.
He couldn't cry; he was too naive for that.

His mother kicked him out of her troubles
with her cracked heels, yet, they spent
a miserable life together.

She bought him fancy t-shirts from Shoppers Stop
but re-stitched her old salwars;
His teenage was spent on the steps
of our apartment's corridors, crying his heart out, 
listing troubles that were partly true.

He loved his mother in an unusual way.
He never massaged that back that carried
a bag pack of problems or rubbed her weary feet 
that were tired of walking alone, but he blew away
his first salary on an expensive spa. 
She was too happy to be annoyed.

The friction in their relation never died;
though it produced bags of heat.
At twenty four, when his mother died, Chintu tied them up
and sat beside this bonfire of memories.

Note--Salwar – Indian women’s wear

Nivedita N (Divenita Er), a Hyderabadi, is an unschooled student of poetry and prose. She writes to make sense of the chaotic world around through her stories and poetry. Among her other interests, she loves enjoying the world of printing, publishing and editing. She blogs at: Currently she resides in Wisconsin, soaking in the warmth of its people and the onset of Spring.

Haiku--By Archana Kapoor Nagpal--India


first light …
filling the emptiness
of my new home

old memories …
still rests on the stem
a dragonfly’s wing

to be taken over …
autumn mushrooms

in loneliness
reading the epitaph
in reverse

the only thing
between you and me …
a dandelion flower

Archana Kapoor Nagpal is an internationally published author of 6 books so far, and her winning stories are now part of international anthologies. She writes inspirational content for corporate newsletters, websites, blogs and print publications. Her inspirational poems touch every area of a person's life. She enjoys writing Haiku and Tanka as well. Visit her Amazon Author Profile to know more about her.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Special Feature Collaborative Poem--By jani johe webster (In Memory) with Karen O'Leary--United States

the day awakens
all lemon-colored
ready for adventure

tiny drops of dew
glimmer in the light
flowers yawn themselves open

it is a gift
this day

By jani johe webster


Born of Light…

we enjoy rainbows,
budding beginnings
of friendship…

little by little,
our journeys meld
and love blossoms

yet always—
*it is a gift
this day

By Karen O’Leary

*from jani johe’s poem above

(A tribute to jani johe and Nila Webster)
Through our words, we live on...

She Sang Let There Be Peace on Earth--By Marianne Szlyk--United States

She Sang Let There Be Peace on Earth

My mother used to sing hymns
in her kitchen with gingham curtains.

A New England soprano, she aimed
for and hit all the notes

at daily Mass when the priest
strode in already off key,

his green cassock flapping,
sleeves beating time

or on Sunday when
a whistle soprano led us

higher and higher, faster and faster,
until our voices cracked.   

At church these days, the hymns
are accompanied by organ or piano.

Some even sound like Sondheim.

But when I listen to the hymns
we used to sing,

I cry,
hearing my mother’s voice.

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... Recently, she published her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, with Flutter Press. Her first, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her poems have appeared in Long Exposure, Of/with, bird's thumb, Solar Nation, Quill and Parchment, Silver Birch Press' series, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocaine, Poppy Road Review, and other online and print venues including Kind of a Hurricane Press' anthologies.

Darts Games and Aeroplanes--By Ralph Stott--England

Darts Games and Aeroplanes

I wondered once;
The weight of this paper.
(Maybe half and *ounce)
And if folded to a taper,

It would become a dart;
To be held in the hand,
And on a convenient draught,
Would glide and then land…..

Or, perhaps it would wedge
In some unwelcome place?
(Behind a mirror; unable to budge)
Then a tumble to the ground, with such loss of grace!

At which point
Would this dart become a plane?
(By competing boys, taking a punt,
In some parlour game?)

On such a maiden flight,
Through a window it might fly;
A loop-the-loop, on its course it would flaunt.
                with just a tail, for you to spy!   

                        *13 grams

Ralph Stott was born in Kent, England in 1957. He is married and has two daughters.  He studied design at the Medway College of Design in the mid-70's. Expressing ideas through the written/visual media, has always interested him. Ralph began to dedicate more time to poetry with The Writers and Poetry Alliance, in particular the 'Stylists' forum, over the last 3 years. He has self published one book called Legends For Lunchtime; a collection of short stories and has a second book pending called The Sounding.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The stars...--By John Polselli--United States

The stars are frozen
teardrops shed by angels
who look down from Heaven;
beacons hung to help me find
my way through the endless night.

John Polselli’s poetry has been published in many literary journals and is the recipient of several Editor’s Choice Awards.  As a poet, John enjoys composing in all traditional forms including free verse as well as inventing his own.

By the Lake--By Ndongolera C. Mwangupili--Malawi

By the Lake

By the lake, as the sun is rising,
waves crash and bash the shore.
it’s a deep moan of the lake.
dark clouds race from the lake
towards the land. A kingfisher soars up.

I ponder the empty dreams
of my brother, his shames and faults.

A fisherman whistles a lamentable note.
the whistle echoes and re-echoes.
I sigh and sigh and sigh.

Ndongolera C. Mwangupili works as a Senior Inspector of Schools in Malawi. He has vast experience as a teacher of English and Bible Knowledge. Many of his short stories, poems and essays have been published in the Malawi News and Weekend Nation. His stories are anthologized in Modern Stories from Malawi and The Bachelor of Chikanda and Other Stories. His poem “The Genesis” was anthologized in The Time Traveller of Maravi: New Poetry from Malawi. His other poem “Letters to a Comrade” is published online in India on He believes that there is a thin line between fiction and reality. All that people write is a re-creation of what is already known to the writer and exists not only in the mind of the writer but also outside the writer, therefore, fiction is actually facts written as if they are not facts. He is married to Angella, and they have two daughters Mary Magdalena and Princess Cleopatra.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Leaving--By Greg Gregory--United States


The space of an empty room is like the space of a cloud, 
an impression of mass, an impression of weight
that isn’t there.  It draws you into its full emptiness.
Rooms and clouds are both simple and complex, like death.

We pick paint swatches for our mood - breath of white, swan dusk,
fleece, sun wash, sail cloth, seashore, forest, darkening sky.

We leave the patina of our fingers, our touch
on walls, on surfaces, sometimes in them.
We darken newly painted wood with every touch
and leave ourselves in it, or try to. 

The dead leave our rooms to discover what they might find,
might touch, on the reverse side of all our painted colors.

They love the slow, soft pearling of window light
that shifts over surfaces, changing each color.

We move through our spaces, our rooms,
believe that we control spaces, define colors. 
We move through breath of white, swan dusk, fleece,
sun wash, sail cloth, seashore, forest, and darkening sky,

insubstantial as a room of clouds
flying to a funeral in a plane at 30,000 feet.

Greg Gregory is retired, but worked in educational media for over 30 years.  His first love has always been language and the printed word.  He has been published in the US, Canada, and England in publications including California Quarterly, Windsor ReviewPoetry Nottingham, and The Aurorean

O tree...--By Neena Singh--India

O tree, beautiful tree in the garden!
Teach me the art of living
You have mastered so well ~
Feet planted strongly in the earth
Raising arms to the sky
Giving shade to the weary traveller
Welcome shelter to the birds that fly
Weathering life’s storms, you stand
Yielding blossoms, fruit life-long
Never tire, never retire…

Seasons come and you withstand
Summer heat and winter snow..
Green leaves so tender
Change colour and fall,
Letting go, you stand bare
Age weathers your trunk
Yet patiently you stand
No regret haunts when the nest is empty
Living you give, dying you give…
O beautiful tree, teach me the art of living.

Previously published in Whispers of the Soul - The Journey Within—Neena’s first book of poetry showcasing her passion for nature and life.

Neena Singh is the creator of ‘soul2soul’, a well-loved group on Facebook, committed to spreading peace, goodwill and light through theme-based discussions among members. She has received awards and accolades for her contribution in banking, management and social work. Neena lives with her husband, Prithpal and her golden lab, Rumi, in Chandigarh.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Haiku--By Barbara Tate--United States

family reunion
three grandchildren help
feed the cows

the internal clock
winds down

southern breeze
staking out bare trees
the robins

I talk to myself
hearing what is said
       sunday silence

Thoughts from Barbara--Haiku, Senryu, & Haibun are such a pleasure to write. I'd like to thank Francine Banwarth (ed: Frogpond), Paul Miller (ed: Modern Haiku), Bob Lucky (ed: Contemporary  Haibun Online, an'ya, Sonam Chhoki and Marianna Monaco of Cattails, Fay Aoyagi of The Heron’s Nest, and Mike Rehling for all the help and 'mini lessons'. I also want to thank Ayaz Daryl Nielsen of Bear Creek Haiku, and a special thanks to Karen O'Leary for my Whispers’ family and writing some good strong Tan Renga with me. I am truly blessed. 

Firewall--By Ananya Dhawan--India


Familial affection
an abrupt resurrection
spoke volumes
of an overlooked 'firewall'.

When it (the fire) subtlety spread
jumping stages
and events abstruse
took hold of moments,
to me
the world was ornamental
to them
it seemed deliberately obtuse,
and forced withal.

Intricacies flooded
no one quit,
am still
the intended firewall.

Hailing from India, Ananya Dhawan is an avid reader and writes poetry and stories in her spare time, which reflects her deep fascination for Literature. She has a cheerful disposition, believes in living each moment to the fullest and shows keen interest in the sensitive side of life.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Michael Escoubas, an accomplished writer, generously agreed to be the activity editor for May.  He selected personification, an element in which poets assign human characteristics to nonhuman subjects.  It adds a creative perspective to convey thoughts.

The Exercise--Write up to two poems from one to three lines that contain at least one example of personification.  Titles are welcome. Let the syllable count range from 7 to 10. Underscore your personification.

What a wonderful response! I would like to thank Michael for his efforts to bring so many writers together.  I am grateful to all the poets that contributed to this column.  If you missed the deadline, you can add poems in the comments section.

                                       --Karen O’Leary, Whispers’ Editor

The Toast

Patiently awaiting warmth
Drinking in the sweet butter
While lying in the bright sun

By Sara Kendrick—United States

The Spring Leaves

Shuddering while being stroked
By the northwesterly winds
Dressed in spring's thin pale green

By Sara Kendrick—United States

Mt. Fuji

Clouds drift by
Fuji-san peeks
through her veil.

By Thomas Canull—United States

Sidewalk Rails

Guardians of momentum
holding back those who dare to rush
and protecting them from wayward steps.

By Langley Shazor—United States

Portrait Gallery 1

Yes, admiration we do adore
silent hedonism can be a bore.

By Brian Strand—England

Portrait Gallery 2

Up close into my face they peer
often my expression can bring a tear.

By Brian Strand—England


Katydids sing from their own hymnal
in three part harmony.

By Barbara Tate—United States

Tattle Tale

Listening to what’s said,
Grandma’s myna bird
tells family secrets.

By Barbara Tate—United States

When Lovers Meet

Two tiny birds flirt on the edge of a stone 
bird-bath - they dip and drink in unison
A flower floats - his love offering.

By Suzanne Delaney—United States

Mother Bird

Her nest is traditional with modern twists,
Passion fruit tendrils- fluff from our car covers.
With Saint- like patience- her wings give shelter.

By Suzanne Delaney—United States


The wind startled her
by kissing a rosy cheek
with the finesse of a lover.

By Sunil Sharma--India


roses dance softly, 
faces flushed, bent at waists
like the tiny ballerinas during the break.

By Sunil Sharma--India

A Story

Under the old bridge
the boulders narrate
the abandoned journey.

By Pravat Kumar Padhy--India

Talking Time

Morning breeze
all the flowers start 
talking to each other.

By Pravat Kumar Padhy--India


two butterflies are flying
dancing in a ballet
a perfect duet

By David Fox—United States

On A Breezy Day

Flirty washing lines sashay up and down
and freely give away their clean clothes.

By Annie Jenkin--England

Noisy Neighbours

The gutters do nothing but mutter 
with the constant chatter by the French Windows
So the walls interrupt the discussion

By Annie Jenkin--England


Angry clock, busy red second hand,
Don't show your mocking face here!
Placid blank walls -- gifts of infinite time.

By David Leslie—United States

Long Check Out Line At Whole Foods

Organic Potato chips
smirk with clerk and pale kale chip patrons
but they crack wise when safely home.

By David Leslie—United States


Mountain hearts beat
For rising new lives.

By Michele Leslie—United States


Trees peel off hats of leaves, toss
Them to the sky’s feet. Under
Ground’s leaves, tiny seeds cuddle, protected.

By Michele Leslie—United States


Stained glass window --
shadows on the temple floor
paint a fresco

By Raamesh Gowri Raghavan--India


As little drops tame
the blazing sun, the thirsting
earth spins wild with joy.

By Raamesh Gowri Raghavan--India


Your teakettle taunts, whistling
“Pour me out! Then you can relax.”

By Kelley Jean White—United States

Long workday;
the bed beckons invitingly.

By Kelley Jean White—United States

Maiden Flight…

a yellow rose opens
and launches a butterfly

By Karen O'Leary—United States


As I opened the blinds
I sent a smile to the wind
then I see the sun smiling back at me.

By Maricris Cabrera—Philippines

Crabs in the Basket

Crabs racing up the basket
each pulling down to the base
biting both hands and feet.

By Maricris Cabrera—Philippines



In sheer meanness the bramble reached
Out snagging my soft sheer silky shirt,
Precious present my pretty one made.

By David Palmer—United States


Proud rhododendron stood tall
Lording it over the rose
Pity they both fade so soon.

By David Palmer—United States

Pretty Cloud

She fluffs out her dappled skirt.
The crowd below admires her beauty,
snapping scrolls of pictures on their cell phones.

Elizabeth Howard—United States


The cock is tired of turning with the wind.
He vows he'll neither whirl nor saunter
until the wind gives him a vacation

Elizabeth Howard—United States

In Fashion

Wearing yellow sun hats
daffodils ransack
the back yard.

Mary Jo Balestreri—United States

After Hours Duet

A lone sax plays
while dust dances
on the wooden floor.

Mary Jo Balestreri—United States

The Wood

Diminishing sun.
The dandelion heads,
Pointed our way home.

Ralph Stott—England


We felt the
Eyeless scrutiny
Of a pumpkin head.

Ralph Stott—England

First Light

Holding the first light
a monarch butterfly
smiles at me.

By Archana Kapoor Nagpal—India


Next to your grave
this first snow 
wipe off my tears.

By Archana Kapoor Nagpal—India  

Cactus Flower

Rising up out of the grave
of dull colored rocks
comes a smiling cactus flower.

By Michael Escoubas

The Sacrifice of Innocence--By Marcus Omer--United States

The Sacrifice of Innocence

The lambs through hedge rows are leaping,
the pasture for grazing is gone,
while shepherds ‘neath shrouds lie sleeping.            
The barren places are creeping,
our young and innocent are pawns,
The lambs through hedge rows are leaping.
Into minds poisons are seeping,
and truth has no place to spawn.
The shepherds ‘neath shrouds lie sleeping.            
‘Neath playgrounds our seed is weeping,
for judgment comes forth with a yawn,
The lambs through hedge rows are leaping.

A yield of decay we’re reaping,
as evil veils eyes from the dawn.
Our shepherds ‘neath shrouds lie sleeping.

The First Cause no one is keeping,
the promises given withdrawn.
The lambs through hedge rows are leaping,
while shepherds ‘neath shrouds lie sleeping.

Marcus Omer became serious about writing after he retired in 1997. He draws his inspiration from the many emotions we experience in life. He has published Of Sunshine and Clouds with iUniverse and The Winding Road with Shadow Poetry. He’s also published in Snippets, The Magic of Words and several issues of Golden Words.

Poetry Moments--By Jan Allison--United Kingdom

shrouding the grave
my falling tears

rainbow at twilight
shimmering northern lights glow
Monet paints our skies

one single snowdrop
peeping through the thawing soil
sun shines through the clouds

Jan Allison is a relative newcomer to poetry. She didn’t start writing poetry until her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery at the end of 2013. She wrote her first poem ‘Splendid Isolation’ whilst he was in hospital. Since then has discovered a love of poetry and has written over 500 poems. Jan also wrote collaboratively with her writing partner Darren Watson under the name Jadazzle United.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Beyond Words--By Poppy White-Herrin--United States

Beyond Words

A musician can sing with no words,
just give him a guitar,
watch him smite silence into song.

An artist can tell a story with no words,
just pass her a paintbrush,
listen as she breathes life into a landscape.

A sculptor can make a statement with no words,
just hand him a mound of clay,
feel his fingers shape mud into majesty.

But a poet is not a poet with no words.

Words are my strings, my palette of colors,
my mound of clay, my hands, my voice.

Without them, I am a tree in the forest
with no one around to hear me fall.

Poppy White-Herrin is married to the love of her life Jason, and together they have four daughters and two grandchildren. She is originally from Laurel, Mississippi, but now lives in Gonzales, Louisiana. Her poems have appeared in many publications and have received various contest awards over the years.

the butterfly angel--By Shelly Blankman--United States

the butterfly angel

in this misty haven from an arctic wind
is the butterfly garden, with wings as
light as flakes, brushing shades of
roses, goldenrods, lilacs, and daffodils
against a frosted canvas window,

you wear your grandpa’s cap,
faded gray and frayed by winters past,
the stale cold running through you even
now, four winters since his death.

a swallowtail’s glass-stained wings
fold like origami, perches on
your cap and stays as if glued by
nectar as you move; your  
laughter bursts like the beach sun.

when it’s time to leave behind your
butterfly in our spring mirage, and return
to snow-capped sidewalks and streets,

you ask me if butterflies are angels,
like the legend says. i see your grandpa
in your dimpled smile and nod.

Shelly Blankman and her husband, Jon, are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland with their 4 cat rescues. They have two sons Richard, 31, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Shelly's first love has always been poetry. Her poetry has been published by Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing as well as Visual Verse, Silver Birch Press, and Verse-Virtual.

Sri Aurobindo--By Aju Mukhopadhyay--United States

Sri Aurobindo

‘God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep
For man shall not know the coming till its hour
And belief shall be not till the work is done’-
said Sri Aurobindo in his epic poem Savitri.
The voice of truth in the seer poet Sri Aurobindo was heard
As he was a lotus born in mud, away from the mundane scene,
The cascading Supramental light like the golden swan
Touching the sky kept its foot on earth fixed.
Like a tree he was peaceful, unhurried and calm with perseverance
Among the thousand resounding words his existence was silence
In his body sat the God, his face revealed the eternity
Out of intense love for men he sat away from humanity.
Small fries in shallow water and surface-gazers
were lost in the depth of his fathomless water.

Aju Mukhopadhyay, a bilingual award winning poet, author and critic, writes fictions and essays too. He has authored 32 books and received several poetry awards from India and USA besides other honours. Recently he has received Albert Camus Centenary Writing Award, 2013 from Canada / Cyprus. He is a regular contributor to various magazines and e-zines in India and abroad. He is in the editorial and advisory board of some important literary journals. His poems and short stories have been widely anthologised and translated.