Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Activity Editor's Thoughts--By Michael Escoubas--United States

Dear Whispers’ Friends,

I like to write poetry because poetry gives me a way of expressing myself within the chaos of modern life. We poets have something to offer which can be read in seconds, yet, affect people for a lifetime.

Whispers allows so many people, worldwide, to form a community of blessings and hope through the medium of poetry. What an honor to be among an ever-growing family that has found refuge, acceptance, and opportunity through the common denominator of this journal.

What Will Bring Us Together?

It can begin with clouds*
     we share them
          we are all under them.

We sense their frailty
    we are made wet
          by their storms,

and strengthened when the sun
    sends its bright beams
         arcing in rainbows.

Michael Escoubas, Whispers’ Activity Editor

*“It can begin with clouds,” from Notes on the Assemblage, by Juan Felipe Herrera,
United States Poet Laureate.

A Done Deal--By Ndaba Sibanda--Saudi Arabia

A Done Deal

the view could be blurred by
roaring and furious mists over
high mountains and sharp rocks
the road could be filled with thorns
and bottomless potholes and explosives
like an eagle—Thembani---soars beyond
the hurdles and prevailing situation around him
like an eagle he knows that as he soars the snakes
he is clutching in his fist are a done and defeated deal
like one Isaac he is prospering in the face of adversities!

Ndaba Sibanda is a Zimbabwean-born writer. His poems, essays and short stories have been published in Africa and the USA. Ndaba currently lives and teaches in Saudi Arabia. Of his career, he says, "writing is my life, and my second wife".

Monday, August 29, 2016

After the Games--By Joyce I. Johnson--United States

After the Games

The Olympic games are ending.
Oh, what a show it's been,
With athletes losing gracefully
And gracious when they win.

Bringing honor to their countries,
Their families and their sports.
Behind the scenes they mingled
And listened to reports.

USA contestants are a wonder,
They have gobbled up the gold.
The tales of fearless athletes
Will be told and retold.

if only nations followed
The examples of their youth,
We'd solve our problems without war
And be winners in all truth.

Before the games in 2020
May the world find a lasting peace
And leaders who've learned lessons
And formed friendships such as these.

Joyce I. Johnson lives in the beautiful Skagit Valley of Washington State. She owns a small farm and rents her land to a bulb grower. She is surrounded by beauty in the spring from the tulips and daffodils that inspire much of her poetry. Joyce celebrated her 98th birthday in July of 2016.

The First Stone--By Dan Tharp----United States

The First Stone

My self-righteous indignation
is short lived

when I ponder the peril
of my own transgressions
precariously perched upon
the pedestal of pride.

Perhaps I shall find repentance
in the hour of recognition
of the reckoning awaiting us all.

May a kind hearted and gracious God
find room in His heart to grant us the gift
of repentance; the gift of forgiveness

to a sinful society, socially
adept to aberrant behavior. 

And, as was written by some ancient sage,
on a piece of parchment
later to become a small portion
of the biblical standard,

"let he who is without sin
cast the first stone.”

Dan Tharp is the author of four books of poetry, 3 of which are in chapbook form... Side by Side, Yielding Desire to Fate, A Season Made for Wondering and A Rose in the Briar Patch. Dan resides in Southern California.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tanka--By Marilyn Fleming--United States

deep in the woods
my face in my hands
I speak to
the hollowed out tree—
my red heartwood bared

Bamboo Hut, May 2016

one red apple
clings to a naked branch
winter coming on
long after it’s over
still hanging by a thread

Cattails, May 2016

downward facing dog
in the shade of the plum—
picking season
I pull up the ladder
limbs resting for a bit

Gogoyshi, Monthly 2015

Marilyn Fleming was born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin. She has a special
interest in oriental forms of poetry. <>  

Saturday, August 27, 2016

This is my last letter--By Jan Oskar Hansen--Portugal

This is my last letter

I have loved you   from the first time I saw you
Something about your eyes
And the kindness of your heart
You know if you can explain love there is none
You are going on a long journey
With your man and that is OK
And when you return I will not be here
I just want to tell you how much I love you
How much I enjoyed your breath
The aroma of your body when you’re teasing
Me with your youth and my old age
I did not even hope but took the nearness of you
As a dulcet dream unobtainable.
Love is a rainbow it does not tell you where it falls
Good bye my darling thinking of you
Has eased the burden of my later years

Jan Oskar Hansen is a published poet from Portugal.

Learning the Organ--By Alice Couch--United States

Learning the Organ

Oh, if only! I thought one day,
a church organ I could play.

This idea throbbed in my head,
had me toss and turnabout in bed.

So, music lessons for two years,
soon help me overcome my fears.

Volunteered at church at last to play,
background, then singing one day.

For five years, I enjoyed myself,
until retirement put me on the shelf.

Now, I sit and reminisce about the way,
I said, “Oh, if only!”  and learned to play.

Alice Couch is a retired nurse’s aide who spends her days playing with her dogs, Nibby and Squeakie, while writing poetry for her three children, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and four great great-grandchildren.  One of her stories published in Living with Children. She studied yoga and Buddhism and has a gift for blending the rational approach of the Western mind with the deep spiritual wisdom of the east in her poetry. She was named Noblesville’s Senior Poet Laureate in 2012.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Welcome Michael Escoubas! Our New Activity Editor

Dear Whispers’ Friends,

Michael Escoubas has graciously accepted my offer to be our ongoing Whispers’ Activity Editor.  Activities are an important part of our journal and a staff member will ensure a variety of different challenges and that we have an activity each month.  I am so excited about having Michael in this new role.  We are now a staff of two!

Michael will be responsible for our activities.  Please email everything else to me.  I hope you will be as encouraging to Michael as you have been to me.  I will leave you with Michael’s first poem published at Whispers and his bio.

Blessings and best wishes,

Karen O’Leary
Whispers’ Editor


Moment of Winter Twilight

Spread your arms mighty oak,
like my father and his before him.

In you, I’m in their arms wrapped
warm in a shawl of blue-cream

fringed in white powder. Amber-glow
softens the rough-edged tree-line.

In the seam of time between night
and day, this twilight moment unveils

a vacancy long denied: the embrace
I never knew, like a puzzle-piece

put in place by nature’s sleight-of-hand,
a timely fit; this grown man now complete.
Ekphrastic poem read at Lemont Art Center, March 2015

After retiring from a 48-year career in the printing industry in 2013, Michael Escoubas began writing poetry for publication. His study of and interest in poetry goes back some 30 years. During this time he studied classical and modern poets learning from their works and from critics who comment about them. Michael writes poetry in part because his mother once said, “You have a gift for words; you should do something with that gift.”

Summer Dance--By Mary A. Couch--United States

Summer Dance

a pale
rose beneath
an old willow tree
awaiting a dance with her love.
He is a dragonfly swirling in the summer breeze
who dips to kiss her soft petals,
inhaling her scent
for their one

Mary A. Couch resides in Noblesville, Indiana, and works as an Admin Assistant for Taylored Systems, Inc. a local telecommunication company. She is the Premier Poet for the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs, and she learned poetry from her mother and two grandmothers who were writers, artists and storytellers. She has been published in a variety of venues.

Fibonacci Poems--By Ralph Stott--England

Flowers of Cellophane

our kettle
for two, replenished
our anniversary bouquet.

The Vineyard

and the
pebbles were
still warm to the touch,
when I recalled the buddist's words.

Open House

doors, I glimpsed
the twinkle of the
altar flame, deep in the darkness.

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.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Catch a Skunk--By Robert Hewett Sr.--United States

How to Catch a Skunk

We read it in print, my brother and me,
skunks make wonderful pets for all to see.
The one in the magazine was descented.
I seriously doubt the skunk had consented.
My brother was twelve and I was just eight,
We planned to go there right after we ate.
A burlap sack and dog Tip, was our plan
to catch this skunk quickly by our own hand.
The plan was so simple, it could not fail
my job was to just grab hold of its tail,
hold it down so that he wouldn’t spray  
as my brother quickly stuffed him away.
His tail came out, then his hopping hind feet.
I pulled his furry tail down, it felt neat.
Everything was going just as we planned
until he turned, trying to bite my hand.
I let go and ran fast to Dad in the field.
Skunk sprayed my brother’s face full while he kneeled.
My brother still stuffed the skunk in the sack,
shook his head and brought the skunk and sack back.

(A true story)

Robert Hewett Sr. was born in 1933 on a Texas cotton farm. He moved to Oklahoma City at Age 14 and entered the U. S. Army from there in 1953. Robert has been writing poetry and short stories for his family and himself since his teen years, but is just now publishing his collection of works. His hobbies include writing poetry and stories; clock and watch collections; gardening and growing flowers and shrubs from cuttings. Most of his poetry tells a story, a gift from his father who was a master story teller. He has received numerous awards for his work in his professional life and for his writing. You can find some of his writings at ""

Water Lilies--By Marlene Million--United States

Water Lilies

In your ever-changing waters,
I see blue skies.  On other days, storm
clouds gather, as in the depths of my soul.
Such stillness is ripe with life.

Toss a pebble, ripples flow outward.
They expand, and journey towards 
far reaches of pond.  These circles bobble,
bounce amid whites, dark blues, greens.

Dew-laden leaves are lavish.  A cool mist
rises from the pond, as light breezes 
murmur.  Scents from flowers 
permeate atmosphere, exudes lushness.

Nature encircles in comfort, and I breathe
deeply while butterflies flit, bees pollinate.
Willow branches sway on the bank
of destiny amid sweet joys of tomorrow!

Marlene Million is a retired insurance secretary from her husband's business and grandmother of four. She has published two chapbooks and belongs to several writers’ groups. She had a poem on display at Indianapolis Arts Garden the month of February, 2013 and has been published in a variety of venues.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

cobwebbed windows--By jani johe webster--(In Memory-May 2013)--United States

jani johe shared her unique style and insight which left readers in awe.  But more importantly, she was a bright light in the writing community, always ready to support others in their journeys.  I am glad to have been able to call her my friend.  Thank you, Nila, for continuing to share your Mother’s poetry. Through her words she lives on.        
                                                     --Karen O’Leary--Editor

cobwebbed windows

there were always
golden leaves
and blue seas

drinking muddy coffee
in dirty diners
and looking out
    cobwebbed windows

i knew i had
in my mind's landscape
    golden leaves
         and blue seas

Thoughts from Nila J. Webster--This poem embodies a longing my mother always carried, and an inner knowing that no matter how bleak our outer circumstances, we have it within ourselves to tap into the beauty of our mind’s landscape.

Psalm 37:1-7--By Helen Dowd--Canada

Psalm 37:1-7

If the devil comes to taunt you
And is knocking you about—
..........Don't fret!
If you think that God's not with you
and your mind is filled with doubt—
..........Just trust!
Don't let Satan see you falter,
or he'll surely win the bout—
..........Stand firm.
Put your faith in Christ your Trainer;
then just knock the devil out—
..........You've won!

Helen Dowd enjoys spending time at her computer, along side her husband of 56 years, writing poetry, story poems, stories about pets and life in general, as well as inspirational and Bible stories. She has one book published. Her stories and poems have been published in several Anthologies. Helen hosts an inspirational online publication,  She is presently a caregiver for her husband and sister, two dogs, four cats and 3 gold fish.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tumbled Stones--By Colleen Keller Breuning--United States

Tumbled Stones

From oceans deep to mountains high,
We search for truth and reasons why.
Like tumbled stones, our dreams askew,
Life is a journey tried and true.

Dark winds of change ruffle our hair
As strains of bagpipes fill the air.
Hope soars in skies of cobalt blue;
Life is a journey tried and true.

Amidst the anguish and heartaches,
We made too many wrong mistakes.
Pick up the pieces, start anew.
Life is a journey tried and true.

From oceans deep to mountains high,
Life is a journey tried and true.

Colleen Keller Breuning is a poet and photographer who was born and raised in Maryland. She currently resides in Purcellville, Virginia. Her poetry, short stories and photography have been published in a variety of print and online magazines during the past decade. Her first poetry book, Shadows of My Father, was a tribute to her father and published in 2011. She is currently working on her second book of poetry, along with assorted photography projects. She participates in several online writing groups. In addition to poetry and photography, she loves nature, music, cats and wine (not necessarily in that order).

The Patio--By Ronald Grognet--United States

The Patio

jasmine arbor
held captive by

sound of a breeze
silenced by jets

the bucolic feel
after rain

rain seeps
into moss covered bricks
slippery patina

fly circles
the dog's head

Ronald Grognet is a retired Clinical Psychologist who practiced private individual and family therapy for thirty-five years. He lived and worked in Washington D.C., and Sarasota, FL before retiring in New Orleans to be close to his grandsons. Besides his volunteer time spent on disaster assignments for the Red Cross, he fills his time devoted to haiku poetry. His interest in poetry came as a gift in retirement. Reading an article about haiku filled with many examples, he recognized its similarity to the reflective stance of the meditation he practiced for many years. He has vigorously pursued its study for the last two years, personally experiencing its healing and enlightening qualities.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Serene--By Constance Escobar--United States

Summer Serene

The cool marine layers
The base of jazz players

Fresh berry salads green
Seaside sand in everything

Dancing in the midnight air
So many couples so many pairs

The band plays into the night
No time for rest until mornings light

Fresh fruit and flowers on the table
Tend your garden and be stable

Answers to winter's prayers
A Mountain top with fresh air

Summer breezes serene 
Enjoy summer and everything

Constance Escobar is a writer of everything and anything that strikes her fancy. From wedding books to historical fiction and from Poetry to Romance. She writes as she is inspired and has work published in the Ink Slingers' Anthology 2014 & 2015.

"Galactic Glimpses"--By Terry O’Leary--France

"Galactic Glimpses"

Galactic curls in spiral swirls, entwining twisted mystery,
where time unrolls in blackened holes, no longer bright and blistery,
like sandy dunes, some writ in runes, enclosing cosmic history

Galactic dust, from novas' gust, congesting empty spaces,
once fatefully flung beyond the tongue of burnt out astral traces,
may recompress and coalesce in distant times and places

Galactic dwarves, like ancient wharves with silent planets mooring  
yet still in spin though long done in, hide flares no longer soaring -
magnetic webs of eons ebb, infernal fusion roaring

Galactic tides warp space divides, call forth devine creation
while bending clocks in rippled shocks, unfolding time dilation
that seems to crown the flowing gown of pulsars' pulsed gyration

Galactic glue holds something new: dark energy and matter
that interacts and counteracts the ancient Big Bang splatter:
a cosmic soup of strings and loops, a universal batter

Galactic life's replete and rife 'neath lactic milky wafer,
though solar gales leave unseen trails of cosmic rays, the strafer;
but nonetheless, one must confess, it seems there's nowhere safer

Terry O’Leary defines himself as "A physicist lacking gravity..." 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Heaven Blue--By Diane Webster--United States

Heaven Blue

Heavenly blue morning glories
yawn under rising sunshine
as dozing sunflower heads
lift and witness the sun path
across the sky east to west…

no one knows how they retrace
their stares during nightfall
to reawaken at dawn.

Afternoon busts forth over
four-o’clock blossom fireworks,
and cosmos wave hummingbird wings
as dusk descends like a dragonfly
settling on a zinnia landing pad.

Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado.  She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs.  Writing poetry provides a creative outlet exciting in images and phrases Diane thrives in.  Her work has appeared in The Hurricane Review, Eunoia Review, Illya's Honey, and other literary magazines.

Nuages--By J. T. Milford--United States


An adagio of misty whites
Drifting silently below the summer blue
Across a wide expansive sky
From horizon to zenith
Then slowly floating away

Carrying my swirling dreams
Of argent swans bears
Ships sailing
Far over lakes marshes
Checkered countryside

Their earth shadows following
In harmony with clear light

Later in the light slanted afternoon
The marching clouds silently recede
Only to leave a burning sun fall
A cumulus of dreams

J. T. Milford is a retired CPA who has just completed his first book of poetry.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Dear Whispers’ Friends,

We are pleased to present to you an array of Fibonacci poems for your reading pleasure.  It is interesting how these poets used the form to convey a wide spectrum of ideas with different voices.  Thank you to all contributing artists.  What a joy to read your words!


Michael Escoubas
Whispers’ Activity Editor

Karen O’Leary
Whispers’ Editor



too much will not help---
advice from a caring mother.

Sunil Sharma, India


Quarter Moon

like a cat
swirling a gray tail
at the loneliest ankle boot.

Tricia Knoll, United States



for me
open wide
to give it a try
all the best I have to offer.

Tricia Knoll, United States


Time Well Spent

Pray to
the Lord, you
Will be able to
Spend time with him eternally.

David Fox, United States


On the Anniversary of the 1972 Olympics in Munich

pierce peace with pain and
mute cheers of joy on fields of blood.

Shelly Blankman, United States



Upon my
Awakening heart
Building symphonic rhapsody.

David Palmer, United States


Top Gear

O Lord
each new morn
in your attire-
to rescue others from the mire.

Brian Strand, England



an old wolf
waits in dark shadows
where silent ghosts and spirits live.

Barbara Tate, United States


Bighorn Sheep

barren slope
home for Bighorn Sheep
with crescent horns that crash in rut.

Michael Escoubas, United States



in front of
my house gives immense
pleasure to my lamenting heart.

Dr. Satish C. Srivastava, India



if you
are kissing
the earth with your feet 
to reach your goal comfortably. 

Dr. Satish C. Srivastava, India


These paths
in uncertainty,
my ever precarious life.

Pat Geyer, United States


Vet Visit

warning growls
resists carrier.
Tail lash tells us everything.

Suzanne Delaney, United States


Open Garden

the roadway
A spot of beauty -
flowering for all who pass by.

Suzanne Delaney, United States



we could
exist alongside
ourselves absent of transgressions

Langley Shazor, United States


The Last Gardenia

soft pure white
early in August
alone after all kin has died

Sara Kendrick, United States


The Summer Storm

brings wind
some dark clouds
pouring cool raindrops
relief from summer's scorching heat

Sara Kendrick, United States


Opossum in Daytime

my back porch
teeth sharp as razors
waiting to rumble in moonlight.

Michael Escoubas, United States


Kitten Feet

vanished but...
left small feline prints,
a trace of your passing presence.

Annie Jenkin, England



touch and
warm fingers,
leave silken kisses
along the fringes of my dream.

Annie Jenkin, England


finding rainbows

like sand—
my brittle
fingers can’t hold back
ticking time…yet, my words flow on

Karen O'Leary, United States


Hugs, Come, I

tears. . .
from deep space missions
embraced by great-great grandchildren

ayaz daryl nielsen, United States


hugs, come, II*

to earth
our reasons
for exploring space 
twisted by greed and politics’. . .
an invitation to alien conquistadors

ayaz daryl nielsen, United States
*This poem illustrates an extended Fibonacci; line 4 contains 5 syllables, line 6 contains 8, thus leading to a 13 syllable count for line 7.—Editor Michael Escoubas


Nature Shows the Way

with the
storm's fury.
Watching them let go,
suggests our ultimate freedom.

Mary Jo Balistreri, United States


Storing Wisdom

in boxes
soon to be unwrapped--
the joy of holding each old friend.

Mary Jo Balistreri, United States


Breakfast on the Fly

on high wires
watching for insects—
a swift dive, a crunchy breakfast

Elizabeth Howard, United States



I believe
You dwell in my heart
Though oceans do separate us

Maricris Cabrera, Philippines


Halcyon Days

our time
we dream, reach our goals
live glorious days forever.

Maricris Cabrera, Philippines



to day
these grey whiffs
of sadness fail to
upend the joy of just being.

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan, India


Arthur Murray Feathered Dancers

frolic with
surf along shoreline,
soon become a feathered ballet

Mary Couch, United States


Child’s Forgotten Footprints

sneakered tracks
amid muddied grass,
now devoured by hungry meadow.

Mary Couch, United States


Wayside Story

I saw a
Lost shoe by the road,
With its eyelets, moist with the dew.

Ralph Stott



Clear glass,
The viewing
Patform, was filled with
A warm draught of eucalyptus.

Ralph Stott