The Story of Witches Tree

Only Stella knew why the branches of Witches Tree wound painfully in and out. Only she had seen the feuding families agree on their quick, dark deed: to stop the naïve union of the young lovers, one from each tribe.

Silent unless called upon by Gaia, Stella had watched the lovers be slaughtered and their hearts buried. Apart. Trees sprung from the hearts in gnarled twists, reaching -forever reaching- to meet.

Decades later, Stella still heard speculations; the witches cursed the forest, witches were the forest, or some children ate a magic mushroom and turned to wood -which was also because of witches.

Her leaves sighed in the wind as she saw the unmet loneliness, even now, of lovers long ago. Sometimes people, she knew, were worse than witches.

© Chel Owens

In response to CalmKate’s prompt, “Bent.”

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Sorry to keep you all waiting. The winner of this week’s terribleness is Molly Stevens.

Ice Cream

by Molly Stevens

Tedious April
A blustery ice cream hops
at the perfect snow

With honorable mention to the prolific poeming of Doug. My favorite of his was:

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by Doug

Spring festival cry
Many at reflecting pond
See each other see

Congratulations, Molly! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Poets this week, including those who referenced seasonal germs and sneezings, wrote some amusing poems. Haiku proved the best of most, however, in that almost all of the poems were too poetic. You’re too good, darn it!

-Not that Molly isn’t a wonderful poet. But she, along with two or three others, crafted a haiku of terrible proportions. I loved the nonsensical nature of hers. It pokes fun at typical spring haiku without smacking me over the head. It’s fun.

Besides being a tad too pretty, the rest of the poets weren’t half bad. Here they are:

In Your Face

by Dorinda Duclos

In your face I sneeze

Springtime, meant to spread disease

Human pestilence

—–

Vernal Haikuz

by Violet Lentz

Grace, Charm and Beauty
The three graces escape me
In mud covered boots

—–

To me, spring cleaning
Means finding out what’s taken
Root under the fridge.

—–

Giai’s hot flashes
Window panes on roller skates
Her prerogative.

—–

Shall I continue?
There are more where those came from.
I’m game if you are

—–

Ode(r) to Spring

by Trent P. McDonald

Gentle April rain
Dog fertilizing the lawn
From poo comes flowers

—–

Untitled piece

by Robbie Cheadle

Dark grey April sky
Shocking us with late snowfall
Yet they call it spring

—–

Odeums to Springums

by Peregrine Arc

The blossoms trail far
Do not tarry, dripping nose
For allergies wait.

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #1

by Härzenswort

Morning meets meadow
Gentle, glistening dewdrops
Fill wee buttercups

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #2

Morning meets meadow
Yellow, glistening dewdrops
Fill wee buttercups

—–

Springtime Haiku, version #3

Morning meets meadow
Creamy, glistening dewdrops
Fill wet buttercups

—–

Untitled piece

by Doug

Trial for heart attack
Collapsed Spring-man on marble
Rose crying on steps

—–

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by Doug

Our exploding Spring
Couples in weeping willows
Release spirit ashes

—–

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by Doug

By meowing lions
Lambs in meadow lake ripples
Spring sneezes deadly mocking

—–

Untitled piece

by Doug

Lunch time in the park
A man gushing blood on tree
Cops jumping Spring to catch him

—-

Untitled piece

by Doug

Probetag für die
kollabierender Mann trist
Frühling weint vorbei

Test day for the
collapsing man dreary
Spring is crying over

——

Untitled piece

by Doug

のテスト日
折りたたみ男
春が泣いています

No tesuto-bi
Oritatami otoko
Haru ga naite imasu

Test day of
Folding man
Spring is crying

—–

The Rose

by Bruce Goodman

Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes a pumpkin.

—–

Untitled piece

by Bladud Fleas

Daylight saving time:
Getting out of bed later
Or too early, d’uh

—–

Sleeping Spring

by Anneberly Andrews

Oh the gentle breeze

And lovely blossoms of spring

Masked in cold degrees

—–

Untitled piece

by Michael B. Fishman

Springtime is here and flow,
ers will soon be blooming – brrr –
winter’s on the way.

—–

Holy Toledo

by Ruth Scribbles

Holy toledo
Spring haiku sprang to my mind
“Whatever,” she said

—–

As always, thank you to everyone for the dubious poetry. Give yourselves a private congratulation for your terrible talent.

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Molly: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, Episode 20.

If you’re new or need directions; read my how-to on terrible poetry. Although I sometimes choose a winner who wrote about terrible things; what I seek above all is terrible meter, satirical tropes, and other poetic clichés.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. This week’s Topic is Springtime Haiku. I gave a brief tutorial in haiku back at Contest #3.
  2. Since it’s haiku, you all know the Length is roughly a syllabic 5-7-5.
  3. Haiku doesn’t Rhyme. Do it, and you just might have nothing happen since this contest is about breaking rules.
  4. Our #1 Rule that is always listed at #4 is to make it terrible. Since I witness haiku getting butchered all the time, you’re not likely to have trouble making yours cringe-worthy.
    Just in case you need the motivation, however, I’d like your ode to nature to
    Force quiv’ring blossoms
    To shiver downy snowflake stuff
    In terror of you
  5. Japanese poet-masters are rarely pushing boundaries. Keep things G-rated or gentler.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (April 5) to submit a poem.

If you are shy, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, just to be certain. That way, I will be able to tell you whether I received it.

For a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

 

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Photo credit:
michael podger

Seasonal Perspectives

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I stand
a moment
in frigid air
and hear a cheery bird chirp near
and think
Why does he play his song?
Does he not see the frosty fronds, the wintry trees, the sleeping ground?

I perch
a moment
midst warming breeze
and see a saddened person sigh
and think
Why would she moan and cry?
Does she not feel the stretching stalks, the budding leaves, the waking sounds?

And both
the bird and human
shrug
and go back home
to wonder why
the other must be bound.

 

Photo by Peter Lewis on Unsplash

The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

WELCOME young, old, and in-between to The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest!

If you’re new, doubly welcome! I recommend reading about how to write terrible poetry. If you’re not new, read it again, then read these rules, then enter:

  1. The topic is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This is my LEAST FAVORITE poem in the entire world -whenever it’s parodied. Therefore; I normally feel that every idiot who goes about with “‘Twas the night before Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart; but this week you’re getting a pass.
    Strangely enough, I love the original. I have at least three favorite stanzas in there.
  2. What’s the limit? For the love of my own sanity and yours, please keep it to eight or nine stanzas, maximum. That’s about the point of the original where we read I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
  3. It’s gotta rhyme. At the end of the line. Make it fine.
  4. Remember, remember: the poem needs to be terrible. Clement C. Moore (or, Henry Livingston, Jr.) will want to visit you each hour the night of Christmas Eve to warn you of an angry mob of poets waiting for your death, should you ever write that way again.
  5. Keep it PG-Rated. Kids might climb up on your knee and ask you to read it to them.

Think you can do it? You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (December 14, 2018) to submit.

Post your poem or the specific link to it in the comments.

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The Festival of Trees, with Children

I had a brief announcement up yesterday explaining the delay in announcing the poetry contest winner. Despite some residual tiredness and inability to lift heavy objects, I honored our family’s annual tradition of attending the local children’s hospital’s fundraising event, Festival of Trees.

Donor companies, families, or entities decorate a Christmas tree, small Christmas tree, door, gingerbread house, quilt, or other item and completely donate it. Wednesday evening before the event begins, companies and extremely wealthy entities bid for purchase of the items they wish to own and display in their lobbies or front rooms.

Some trees still had their price tags. An elaborate one we saw was labeled as $3,500. All of the money goes to the hospital, to use for patients who cannot pay for hospital services.

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This first tree pictured is one donated by 1-800 Contacts and decorated by them. It was purchased anonymously; always noted as Friends of Festival. The next image is a mantel 1-800 Contacts decorated as part of the display as well.

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Sometimes, tree-creators are creative. One year we saw two made from ascending wood planks. Other designs have included marble works, an upside-down tree, and a few formed from recycled glass bottles.

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I was impressed with the idea of a tree dress, and with the execution of the idea. It made for an elegant result.

On the less-elegant side, many donations are character-themed. I liked the fun, colorful elements of this Muppets arrangement.

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And, I’m always up for literary references. Besides two ‘trees’ of stacked books, we found this Where the Wild Things Are model. It has a furry tail coming down off the side of the tree, plus a tent and sailboat.

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I’m not a personal fan of My Little Pony, but was impressed with how very, very pony this piece of …work was.

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Many, if not most, Christmas trees are donated in memory of someone. Often that someone is a family member who passed away from disease (prematurely) or old age, though some groups donate in the name of one who miraculously healed.

When I was a young Girl Scout, I volunteered for Festival of Trees. I learned that, occasionally, the story of the tree is printed and put on the back of the identifying card nearby. Gabi was a sweet, happy child who never seemed to mind the nurses coming in every day. She always loved horses and we just had to build her a galloping tree... or Dale led a life full of friends, family, and a love of skiing… or Despite a hopeful outlook, Mia lost her battle with leukemia. We will miss our little angel…

I tear up as I walk around with my children, remembering those stories and seeing the pictures and references for this year.

The following pictures are from the gingerbread houses area of the festival. I love the talent, creativity, and feeling of the whole event.

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This amazing ‘gingerbread’ tower is a bit tangled up.

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Last but not least, my children appreciated this decorated door after watching The Muppet Christmas Carol Thursday evening.

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“We’re Marley and Marley!”

I neglected to note that ticket sales also go to the hospital. In addition, there are the following for purchase: a gift shop of homemade items, fudge shoppe, chocolates counter, desserts cottage, a Santa with purchaseable picture ops, children’s area of crafts, concessions, and cinnamon rolls or scones.

 

I also realize this is a rather mind-numbing description of the whole event. Perhaps I’ll have the likes of Geoff narrate the next one.

Not All May Climb, But They May Fly

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Backlit sun motes drift against downy lashes, their summer snowstorm dusting leaf silhouette dreams.

Her hand reaches to touch the untouchable treetops from whence they come.

Reach. Stroke.

If only she stretches her frail arm farther, she is sure to pull them down. Down like a jungle ladder, like a fantastical floral staircase, like a Jack’s beanstalk.

Hello, she whispers, I seek a sunset castle; giant or no.

But she can’t. Even without looking she sees lines of stitches’ kisses from hip to toe: a story she never wants to read but has to lay through every minute of every day even though she’s shouting, “No, Mom! No! Not that one again!”

And when Mom finally stops reading, mid-cry, the sad-smiling nurses pick up right where Mom left off.

And they have no pictures. No rhymes. No castles. All they have are charts -charts and charts of very serious stories.

Nature’s warm breath roves across her, shaking her picture book view, rustling grass blades and tousling blonde wisps around her eyes. Shifting leaf shapes reflect in half-circle, irised blue as her moted lashes slowly blink.

Here, in the cool grass beneath nature’s canopy is her story’s illustration. -Not down to the heavy parts that anchor her; not to the raised-skin paths where the doctor in the mask wrote the story she never wants to hear.

Her real story is above; with Jack, and Peter Pan, and Thumbelina. It’s trailing amongst the castles, the Neverlands, the fairy houses.

Her reaching fingers know the way.

Her squinting blue eyes follow cloudlit paths.

Her legs cannot feel the tickling green surrounding them, as shadows shake and dance over everything, the good stories and the bad.

But her weightless spirit rises from sleeping smiles to magic skies above.

And she flies.

Into the Woods

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Silent sunlight dances down,
Caressing leaves and pine bough dreams;
Shaking, shading, singing, sighing –
Can you hear the moss-bent trees?

Fae or fauna tickle trailing, talking tendrils;
Tree-trunk tales.
Minstrels swear to sensing magic
As they tiptoe mossy trails.

Blundering, we mention silence;
Eagerly, we rush the woods.
Picking flora, chasing fauna,
Errantly, like child-hoods.

Hush! The tree Ent spirits moan,
Their dormant tree-guard watch awaked.
See and feel and breathe the spirit
Of the stretching woods remaked.

Will you walk with careful footfalls
Down along the forest floor?
Will you whisper wistful wond’rings,
Questioning their strange folklore?

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction
unsplash-logoGeran de Klerk