Monday, October 31, 2016

From Your Editor/Scraps of Paper--Karen O'Leary--United States

Dear Whispers’ Friends,

I appreciate all the encouragement, prayers and support you have and are giving me.  Chronic illness is a roller-coaster ride that many of you travel, too.  

Our Whispers’ community is about a shared experience.  What a gift it is in my life as we stretch across borders, comforting others in times of need, learning from each other, and caring about each other.

Scraps of Paper

glued together
from life’s experience
fused with dreams of tomorrow’s dawn

one song
as poetry
flows from the writer’s soul
on white sheets that touch readers’ hearts
with hope

Today, we are of that one song because each person that has touched our journal in some way has made a difference—

                 …may you continue
                                               to walk in the light
                                                                              be in the light
                                                                                              and share that light
Thank you all!

Blessings and best wishes,


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Poetry-Speak Football--By Gerald A. McBreen and Brendan McBreen--United States


Poetry-Speak Football

By Gerald A. McBreen and Brendan McBreen

Are you ready for some football-speak poetry?

I’m meaning mixing definitions.  Hitting the goal post head on without a
helmet.  Producing a kind of poetic license interpretation.  The cracked egg after affect would look like this.

Quarterback sneak:  Someone who reads at an open mic first and then slips
away without hearing anyone else.

False start:  A detailed explanation of the poem about to be read.

Two-minute warning:  A contest judge sitting in the front row, peeking at his
watch in full view of the poet.

Touch back:  When someone uses a line from your poem and gives you

Blocking:  Talking in a loud voice while someone else is reading.

Bench warmer:  A poet who shows up but doesn’t read at an open mic.

Instant replay:  Your poem is so well received you are asked to read it again.

Fumble:  Reciting without notes and forgetting the lines.

Touchdown:  When you get a chapbook published.

Forward pass:  Using poetry readings as a dating service.

Pass interference:  When someone’s cell phone goes off during a reading.

Illegal motion:  See quarterback sneak.

Extra point:  What you receive when you are asked to be a featured reader.

(First published in Northern Stars in 2012)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Syllable Sid meets Hagatha Chomp--By George L. Ellison, England and Dena M. Ferrari, United States


Syllable Sid meets Hagatha Chomp

By George L. Ellison and Dena M. Ferrari

Part One--

Syllable Sid was out walking one day
With blue sky and sunshine to lighten the way
Counting his syllables as Diction Harry had taught him
Till the cloud covered the sun and
The light grew quite dim
Then he arrived at a dense dark wood
Which drew him in?
He heard the whispering leaves
But felt a crawling on his skin
As he was filled with dread and fear
For on the wind, he heard them say
Welcome friend to Muckmire my dear. 
The light disappeared and it grew quite dark
But onward he was impelled
Time became of no consequence
When he met up with one who dwelled 

Deep in the dark in a faraway swamp
Lived a cycloptic woman named Hagatha Chomp
Hairy with knuckles dragged on the mucky ground.
Her shaggy beast smells the air and leaps out the door with a bound;
Hagatha stood at the threshold of her Chew Chomp Inn
Plump Tick Stew bubbling merrily in the cast iron cauldron
Looking out to the darkness for her shaggy beast,
Now waiting for her beast's return before starting her feast
Hagatha's apron all slimy with icky gore
Ticks and fleas oh yes she had need of more!
Shuffled to the swamps edge she called starts to call out
Instead of the beastly growls, she heard a helpless voice shout.  

“Help me please I think I’m Lost,” said Sid as he viewed this distressing sight.
Hagatha stood all hair and gore she said, “What are you shouting for?
No-one can hear you in this place so far away from the human race.”
Sid could smell the beastly brew Hagatha called her plump tick stew.

Well, then stranger welcome to the Chew Chomp Inn
Hagatha stood all hair and gore she said "what are you shouting for?
No-one can hear you in this place So far away from the human race"
Sid could smell the beastly brew Hagatha called her plump tick stew.
“I am Hagatha Chomp from Muckmire Swamp. Do come on in.
You're just in time for dinner our guests arrive soon.
Don't mind that they act up when howling at the moon.
My shaggy beast will cause you no harm.”
To be Continued……..!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mimosa--By Barbara Robinette--United States


Oh mimosa sumosa cover her safe,

green ferny leaves, soft coral blossoms of a feathery
South.  Backwoods grandma city’s mama rock on
the back porch.  They watch the men in the dirt yard
look under the truck’s hood.  They sip iced tea from jars
that jiggle on a wobbly bent little table as all the kids
run down the porch, then jump off as pirates to the loose
dust under the mimosa.  The girl picks a mimosa blossom
holds it to her hair…princess of the pirates…mimosa,

mimosa…in your warm Southern shade,
she laughs and curtsies there.

(First published in 2008 by Iconoclast  #100)

Barbara Robinette is the author of two books of poems, Plain and Sea Leafs By Moon.  A third book is forthcoming. Several of her poems have appeared in print and on-line.  She has written poems, off and on, since President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 when someone read “Oh Captain, My Captain” during the funeral procession.  She thinks poetry is for everyday, working people and keeps that audience in mind when writing her poems.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Wind Moans--By Sunil Sharma, India with Karen O'Leary, United States


The Wind Moans

By Sunil Sharma--India
and Karen O'Leary--United States

An earthen lamp
under a banyan tree
beside a shrine--
faith-n-light for the village

Seated on the meditation
bench, my friend's son
is asking Yama why 
he took his father so young.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Philosophy of Love…--By Daniel Turner--United States

My Philosophy of Love…

Love is the question philosophers ponder
And a priceless fortune which humans squander
It is selfless and selfish, caring and sharing
Shy and reserved, bold and daring
It's the tears of happiness and the heartache of sorrow
Yesterday's dreams and the hope for tomorrow
It's the quickening pulse at the mere thought of another
The compassion one feels for the pain of a brother

Daniel Turner is 60 years old and lives in Arkansas. He has been writing poetry for approximately 40 years. He loves animals and all things having to do with nature. Now retired, he has traveled over 3 million miles as a long-haul truck driver, worked in the oil fields of Texas and on the Mississippi River on a tow boat. He loves to read and watch old black and white movies.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Dear Whispers’ Friends,

The October activity has been: write a titled, five-line poem with an autumn theme. Thank you for your responses to the activity. I hope you will take time to dwell in the autumn season through these brief yet meaningful creations.


Michael Escoubas, Whispers’ Activity Editor


A black cat, tail twitching, waits patiently,
keeping vigil over the fresh mound of dirt
peeking through the layer of golden leaves.
The drizzle of rain does not discourage her
sure efforts to capture her desired delicacy

Charlene McCutcheon, United States

Autumn Rain

Vertical, or horizontal autumn rain falling from heavy misty clouds,
but when caught by a sunbeam it makes glistening slides
shimmering across the rock and falls
in bright white tails or snakes
like silver where the mountains leak it.

Lynn White, North Wales

Evening Stroll

Tickled by a cool breeze
Encapsulated in earth tones
Wrapped in a cocoon of fallings leaves
Early nightfall
Illuminated by pumpkin lanterns

Langley Shazor, United States

Autumn Dawn

Parades of trees stand in black silhouettes
against a glowing sky of tangerine.
My garden spiders suspend satin sheets
of twinkling tiny crystals that tumble down,
pausing this new day of autumn sun rays.

Annie Jenkin, England

Autumn Trees and Little Boys

Just up and out of bed,
I am greeted by a tree.
In its arms, I bend my knees
as I listen to the fall
of brown and yellow leaves.

Michael Escoubas, United States

Sunday Psalm

is a rain-soaked deck in early fall, a collage
of light-changed leaves, and a crispy fall breeze;
one hundred geese that gaggle goodbye,
and one great blue heron standing silent in cattails.
What is there in nature that is not a prayer?

Mary Jo Balistreri, United States

Autumn Masterpiece

A stroke of genius
from the Master's palette,
a bouquet of butterflies
scatters and soars
with the autumn wind.

Barbara Tate, United States

Green Grow the Rivals O

The weed, resembling my climbing beans
in all but fruit, reduced my crop it seems.

loose change
on my table
sunflower petals

Ralph Stott, England

Autumn’s Eternal Fall to Spring

Autumn, that time of year when all is dying off                                                  
while rushing towards an end; beware such purblind thoughts,                  
for they are false! Within Fall’s gloomy themes are coiled,                                           
waiting to burst forth, snowdrops, anemones and croci.                                
In turn, Spring dooms itself, and all glory to it too, while going off!           

Alan McAlpine Douglas, England

Forever Autumn

he sings 
in coffee-coloured tones
labeling the pickle jars
reminds me of autumns past
his music still haunts me 

Martha Magenta, England

Autumn in the Smokies

A kaleidoscope of colors
splash across my Smokies.
I await the falling leaves
soon covered by
blinding white.

Tom Davis, United States

Autumnal Thoughts

Through the window
of my toasty room,
I crave the autumn sight of birds
in a place where time is kept
by the rising sun.

Marc Livanos, United States

The Turning

Color us autumn. 
Color us burnt almond,
red, flame. Name us
the season of falling,
drifting into winter’s wind.

Jean Colonomos, United States

Life of Leaves


David Williams, England

Autumn, how I love you!

The Autumn breeze wafts over fields; to its mild touch the corn stalk yields.
The flowers in the gardens smile to feel the Autumn breeze awhile.
On grassy meadows, cattle graze; in stifling heat, they idly laze.
Flowers, splendid in all their glory. How they love to tell their story.
I love this Autumn time of year. It brings with it its glorious gear.

Helen Dowd, Canada

Autumn Wood

The trees are being diluted,
bird songs brushed away by wind.
Shadows are sticking to the floor
creating darkness, ignoring the sun.
Summer flames simmer until burnt out. 

Gareth Culshaw, Wales

curtain call~~

ash and maple
      confetti dance

~the last leaf falls~

she closes her eyes
      for the final bow

Karen O’Leary, United States

November Smoke

A new pile of leaves. Daddy leans on his rake.
My sister and I whoop and holler like Indians
then jump into leaves. A grey afternoon. Rain
comes soon, hot cocoa too and we could not
forever laugh as we once did into November smoke.

Barbara Robinette, United States


Honking across the October sky,
a flock of geese heading south,
the blue lake a mirror of heartbreak.
Onshore, an injured goose grieves all alone,
no one to give her solace during winter's ice.

Elizabeth Howard, United States

Night in the Forest

Moonlight paints the woods awake.
Cricket song is a soundtrack for night life.
Silver-grey shadows dip and dither.
Leaves giggle in their autumn gowns
when windy guests ask them to dance. 

Candace Armstrong, United States

Autumn Chill

whispering through the autumn chill
in the eddy of yellowing leaves,
those old, old words haunt again --
I sigh at the unworn mangalsutra
and slide the drawer back in place.
Mangalsutra: a black bead necklace worn by Hindu women.

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan, India

Autumn Melody

We live in the safest, gated community.
We found great senior housing at Fort Knox.
Friendly people, young, old, military too.
Birds, Bambi and more on our morning walk,
sounds of nature and children all around.

Robert Hewett, Sr., United States

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ronald Grognet—In Memory 2016—United States

It is with sadness that I share that Ronald has left this world. His wife, Allene, granted me the honor of sharing a tribute to our friend. He was an encouraging voice and a delight to work with these past couple of years. We were both members of the New Orleans Haiku Society. That’s where we met. I’m so glad he accepted my invitation to share his gift of words at Whispers. I chose pieces from our archives to share with you. Allene, please accept my sympathy for your loss. I pray that God will grant you comfort as you deal with this challenging time.

                                                      --In Memory—Karen O’Leary--

cherry blossoms
in the tidal basin--
a paddle boat

a surgical tray
they forgot to cover--

still standing
after a flood of memories--
my first home

squirrels twitching tails--
            text messages

a ferris wheel high --
amidst the stars
one for her finger

lost in my writing--
cold coffee

Today, my coffee grew cold, expressing the loss of our writing friend. Ron, we celebrate you and feel the emptiness, too. These last thoughts are from Ronald’s poem “Memoriam”—

 the eerie quiet---
   of a cold misty morning

Monday, October 17, 2016

Haiku--By Marilyn Ward--United Kingdom

late afternoon heats
the chirp of cicadas
fills the silence 

cutting the granite
metre by metre
the glacier 

the changing rotation
of planet earth 

tears of joy
you knew not my name
yet loved me 

five rooks
against the wind
a parliament battle 

Marilyn Ward is a 62-year-old grandmother, who from childhood loved words, the language did not matter, any words would do. For the last two years, these words have been turned into poems. Her favourite form being haiku--brief, beautiful, perfectly selected, words. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From the Archives--London Airport

Dear Whispers’ Readers,

For this month’s archive column, I decided to explore Ralph Stott’s March 2016 Activity.  Ralph challenged writers to share a creative view from “London Airport.”  If you would like to read the rest of this wonderful column, here is the link—

The archives column was born of a desire to showcase some of the poetry from previous issues and to give our readers a glimpse of the talent that is the fabric of Whispers.  It is also a forum for me to promote the writers that share their gift of words. With that being said, thank you all for your encouragement and support.


Karen O’Leary
Whispers’ Editor

First and Last Flight

as Icarus was falling fast,
he landed on a jet:
but then he tried a para jump-
they haven’t found him yet.

By Jack Horne


The wings of Icarus are real
Stiff on the white body of steel
Shuffle, hustle, voices rustle
Bags, cases and bodies bustle
The eagle lands on summer land
Paper fans held in dainty hands

By Sheikha A.

The Note

Bin held the note
Written in poetic form
Love poured out upon the blank page

By Sara Kendrick

Into Kowloon
Past skyscrapers
Tall narrow streets
Man in top hat

By Ralph Stott


Morning mist
hazy, lazy sun
taxi on down
tarmac dance
takeoff done.

By Ken Allan Dronsfield

I hope you enjoy this creative journey as much as I did. There will be more activities headed by Michael Escoubas in the coming months.  I hope you takes these opportunities to grow and connect with our writing community.     ~~Karen

Friday, October 14, 2016

Winter Haiku--By Gert Knop, Germany and Jack Horne, England


Winter Haiku in English/German/Spanish

By Gert Knop, Germany and Jack Horne, England

delicate and fragile
the rose blossoms in the park
after first snowfall

zart und zerbrechlich
die Rosenblüten im Park
nach erstem Schneefall

delicada y frágil
flores de rosas en el parque
después de primera nevada


a robin perches
on a snow-covered headstone --
choirboys sing carols

ein Rotkehlchensitzt
auf einem schneebedeckten Grabstein --
Chorknaben singen Weihnachtslieder

un petirrojo está posado
en una lápida cubierta de nieve --
niños del coro cantan villancicos

There is Victory after Defeat--By Glenda Frazier--United States

There is Victory after Defeat

I have won some victories after defeats
I have crossed the fiery heat and burned, sweated and wept
I have seen sadness and pain...looked it straight in the eyes!
I have suffered while I've lived and seen people die
Yet through it all I have achieved several goals
As victory was just beyond the dreary road
Through victory I have seen another day
As defeats may come and go, it's for victories I shall wait 

(Previously published in Poems that Bleed)

Glenda Frazier and her husband Andre reside in Pace, Florida.  She has been writing poetry for over 20 years and has finally compiled some of them in her most recent book, Poems that Bleed.  She enjoys writing and spending time with her family and friends.  God has instructed her to share her book of poems as an inspirational tool to witness to the lives of her readers.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A World Away--By Marc Livano--United States

A World Away

It’s so beautiful here,
welcoming, secluded, discreet,
sitting together on a boat,
anchored by the beach.

Around us, sea spray,
crystal skies, pretty shells,
brackish water, hypnotic waves,
and gulls splash about.

No other thoughts,
than I am here
with my wife of 40 years
together in paradise.

Marc Livanos’ poems have appeared in Straylight Magazine, Poet’s Espresso Review, Stray Branch Magazine, Old Red Kimono, Ship of Fools, Song of the San Joaquin Quarterly and others. His chapbooks “Panhandle Poet - Solitude” and “Panhandle Poet - Second Helpings” are available online at    

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Dear Whispers’ Friends,

Thank you for your support and encouragement at this difficult time for me.  Gratefully, I have Michael Escoubas, our new Activity Editor, to help me with the growth of Whispers.

Given our limited publishing time in October, I have adjusted the schedule below due to my hiatus.


October 5th—Activity Email will go out to all email contributors—please feel free to share the information with writing friends. People that are not contributors can participate.

October 15—Archives Special Feature

October 7—31Collaborative Poem Features will be published—so get your friends together to share your gift of words.  I have at least one in my inbox to review now, but would appreciate hold further collaborative submissions until October 7.

Publication of Activity—October 20-22

Editor’s Column—October 31

STARTING NOVEMBER--THE REGULAR PUBLISHING SCHEDULE WILL BE RESUME WITH ONE CHANGE, I WILL NO LONGER PUBLISH POEMS ON WEEKENDS. Thank you to the contributor that made this suggestion.  Please do not submit poems on weekends unless that is the only time you have time to submit.  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT MAKES WHISPERS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE.

**November Individual poem eligibility—Poems already accepted for October will be moved to this month—Last published in August 2016

Thank you to those of you who have already submitted—Chen-ou Liu, Colleen Keller Breuning, Connie Marcum Wong, Eleanor Michael, George Ellison, Gerald Heyder, Jan Oskar Hansen, Joyce I. Johnson, Mary Jo Balistreri, Michael Escoubas, Rick Parise and Terry O’Leary

**December Individual poem eligibility—Poems already accepted for November will be moved to this month—Last published in September 2016

Thank you to those of you who have already submitted—David Palmer, Lin Lane, Maricris Cabrera, Richard Sponaugle and Sandra Stefanowich.

**For those that are not on one of these two lists—I still have emails to review but if you submitted and do not hear from me by October 7, please contact me.  If you haven’t submitted yet for one of these months, please wait with submissions until October 7. Thank you. 

**Please submit poems in a new email with WHISPERS’ SUBMISSION—I will not be sending out any submission eligibility notices until January’s eligibility notice. If you do not know when you are eligible that is no problem as long you identify your submission is for Whispers.

** I will be publishing new writers on a limited basis, as it has been my policy to get them connected to our community as quickly as possible.  Preference will go to collaborate poems submitted by current contributors.

**If you have any questions please post them in comment section.  I still have limited time at the computer.  I am really grateful to all of you that make our online journal possible.



Whispers’ Editor

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Update--Thank you

Dear Whispers’ family,

I would like you to know that I’m much better than I was a week ago.  Thank you for kindness, cards and caring messages.  It is appreciated more than I can express.

Once Michael and I have firmed up the October limited time schedule, it will be posted. Keep your light shining through your words.


Karen, your humble editor