Tear Down this “Sanctuary”

Yesterday I was out for a walk in the brisk December air, when I spotted this photo-op. It’s my neighbors horse, and it was staring at me in a way that conjured an idea for this poem.

Please don’t get me wrong, the horse is well-loved and cared for, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the animal was making some type of plea to be released into the wild, and then reacting with hostility when I wouldn’t acquiesce.

The following poem is based on the Elegy style, which often broaches the subjects of loss or reflection. I thought it might work in this case. Please let me know what you think.


Tear off this constraint, Man, cast it to the flames, cut down these iron trees, my spirit they doth taint.
Smug biped, my legs are more than tenfold your strength, four thunderbolts from Zeus, speed to dry out muskegs.
Rip down this “sanctuary,” Man, I’m noble, field and forest beckon my heart,  I’m born for the prairie.
Evil beast, your eyes tell all, no morals to lose a wink, pity filled, hands idle, weak with fear and lies.

I just wanted to add one more thing, not poem related. Blogger Mohamad Al Karbi has created a blog directory, free to all bloggers. I have already signed up. Please click here to learn more and how you can join: New Blog Directory

A Christmas Poem

Well, another year, and what a year it’s been, is about to be swept away by the winds of time, wherever bygone years are blown to. This is my last post before Christmas, I will continue to read the fine works of others, though.

I came up with this little poem this morning, and I hope it makes you smile. I would like to thank all of you for supporting my blog throughout the years and wish all of you Happy Holidays!I hope you find peace and joy; celebrating, or not, in whatever form you choose, and the best you can in this age of restrictions.

‘Twas 4 am, John slid quietly out of bed.    

Glory be! Christmas Day, at last! He’d prepped all year!

 Timed Christmas lights cued on, as down the stairs he treads.

Tree trimmed to precise cone; sore hands; well worth the cheer.              

All seemed right, but then he saw it, and slapped his head.

The wrapped sweater hung like a slug, sloshed on cheap beer.

If she’d used a box; but Claire’s doll now wore a cap to dread.

John frowned; he’d fix Kate’s mistake; but an earful  she’d hear.

Two steps, a squeak from the floor; tools were in the shed.

 The room spun around; all imperfections were  clear.

The mantle garland was unequal at the ends.

 He went outside, closed his eyes, and willed the mess to disappear.

A horrible squeak! A rusty bike, rode by that boy named Ted.

Ted waved; John smiled, “Wait right there. I’ve got some oil for that gear.”

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Final Prompt for 2020. Week #29 Entry by Mark Bierman #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

Hello everyone, today I’m featuring my contribution to Author Suzanne Burkes’ “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week she features an image and invites writers to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of their choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Please head over to Suzanne’s wonderful blog site and have a look around! Click on this link: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

Here is the photo prompt for today’s blog:

Mandy swished her bug net in the air as she raced down the board walk. The sound added to her excitement. First day of summer break from boring school and mean Mrs. Harris, the worst teacher, ever, and now this! A rainbow waited at the end of the boardwalk.

Her backpack was a snuggly fit and loaded with three mason jars, stolen from Mommy’s supply, air holes poked into the lids, of course. Her magnifying glass clinked against it. Strawberry yogurt tubes, pixie sticks from last Halloween, and granola bars were stuffed beside them. She should have brought grape juice, but that would have added weight. Boy, as she thirsty.

Her toe caught something, and she tumbled onto the planks, scraping her knees bloody. Mandy was no crybaby, but she winced as she wiped away sand and blood. She was wasting time, and the fairies would heal her. At least they’d better, or she’d never let them go.

Mandy suddenly felt bad. Last night, her family had watched a show about poachers who killed elephants for their tusks, and that had made her cry. Was trapping rainbow fairies the same? No! She wasn’t mean like them, or even like Mrs. Harris. The woman was probably in Africa right now, poaching elephants to make ivory pens to use when marking all the answers wrong on Mandy’s tests.

Angry, she launched herself up and ran cheetah speed towards the rainbow.

Mommy had started this. She’d looked out the dining room window and told Mandy and her rotten brother, Max, about the rainbow.

Max kept chomping his cereal like a cow, it was amazing that food stayed in his mouth. It wasn’t a video game, so he didn’t care.

Mandy loved movies about fairies and went to look.

“How do fairies create those beautiful colors?”

Mommy had smiled. She was about to answer, but Max spit out his breakfast and started to laugh like a hyena.

“You’re sooo dumb! Rainbows are caused by sunlight and water droplets.”

Mommy got mad and made him stop. She said that Mandy has a wonderful imagination. Max had to say sorry and clean up the mess.

He grumbled, and Mandy stuck out her tongue.

“She’s sticking out her tongue! Look!”

Her tongue was back in before Mommy could see.

Mommy rubbed her forehead and told Max to finish up. Neither of them should look at each other. She had to work, which meant going upstairs to her computer.

Mandy told her that she was going outside to play.

Mommy left and Max finished cleaning. As he left, he said that she was stupid.  

Mandy had quickly gone to work getting the things she needed and now here she was. The rainbow was close.   

A beautiful butterfly crossed her path. Its large wings were blue as Mommy’s eyes. Mandy had heard that fairies liked to ride butterflies when their own wings grew tired. If she caught them, a butterfly would cheer them up.

The butterfly had flown across the railing, to catch it, she would have to climb over. You weren’t supposed to do that, because it would interfere with the animals and plants that lived there. Mandy looked around and didn’t see anyone. She grabbed the railing and climbed over.

Her feet hit the ground and she ran after the butterfly. It turned out to be a very quick and smart insect. It would land on a piece of grass and wait for the net to come but at the last second, fly off. Mandy could almost hear its tiny laugh.  

The chase lasted a long time, but she finally caught it, put it in the jar, and closed the lid.

She looked towards the rainbow, but it was gone! Oh no! They must have seen her catch the butterfly and got scared.

Inside the jar, the blue wings flapped like crazy as the butterfly tried to escape. Mandy suddenly felt ashamed. She was like those poachers, and meaner than Mrs. Harris, ivory pen or not. The fairies probably hated her, and she would never get another chance to catch them, not that she wanted to, anymore.

There was only one thing to do, and she hoped that if they saw it, they would at least not hate her so much. She opened the jar and let the butterfly out.

Mandy turned away, sad and guilty. The next time she saw a rainbow, she’d just appreciate the fairies for the beautiful creatures they were

Review of ‘Between Slavery and Freedom, The Stella Trilogy Book One’ by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Happy Friday! The kids are home from school today, as it is a PA day here, and so I’m typing this up before heading off to meetings with their teachers.

I just finished reading this first of a series by a formerly unknown (to me) author Yecheilyah Ysrayl. I’m happy to say that I’m hooked and look forward to reading the next two.

What Amazon Says:

In book one, Cynthia McNair and her boyfriend, Alex, express some racists’ feelings toward blacks. They visit Cynthia’s Grandmother Sidney McNair, who recounts the story of her ancestor, a slave named Stella Mae. Cynthia has no idea of her African ancestry or how deep this rabbit hole goes.

My Turn:

Nineteen-year-old Cynthia McNair, from Chicago, doesn’t consider herself a racist, however she is quick to share her approval of racial segregation. The year is 1996, but she’s heard stories about the “glory days” of apartheid.  

She lives alone with her mother, her parents separated when she was younger, and she’s never met her father’s mother. Against her father’s will, she tracks Mama Sidney McNair down and together with boyfriend Alex, pays her a visit.

The shocking discovery at her grandmother’s house changes her self-image, and her opinion of her parents. To make things worse, Alex wants nothing more to do with Cynthia.

Enraged at living a lie, she confronts her mother and father. Her father tells her that his mother is trouble and that there are far more secrets to be revealed. He announces that he is flying in the next day. They are going to meet the extended family at his mother’s house where all will be revealed.

Cynthia is unwilling to go at first, but finally yields. She is ecstatic to meet formerly unknown cousins and aunts and uncles she’s not seen in years. Finally, there will be closure.

As with most of life, things do not go as planned and a tragedy unfolds that prevents Mama Sidney from disclosing the rest of the story. The book ends at this point.

I found myself engaged in the story, wanting to know more with every turn of the page. The character of Cynthia is well-formed and the historical and current issues of racism were accurate, in my opinion.

A solid background is created right from the start, and the reader will get a glimpse into the twisted ideology of a systemic racist culture, both past and present.

Yecheilyah has done an outstanding job of capturing my interest and I look forward to reading book number two of this trilogy.

Five stars!

Connect with Yecheilyah Ysrayl and purchase your copy:

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