Archives for posts with tag: inspiration

Once on a Smoky Afternoon in Winter
by Amit Shankar Saha

That day
a sudden appearance
at a cafe.
I wished for it,
but when do wishes come true,
unless it’s you.

You spoke of how
you adopted the hills
from the seven sisters,
and how you tickled her
fountains into laughter.
And all the time
I watched the Americano
dip in your cup
while my honey ginger tea
kept losing its steam.
You said you like your coffee hot
and winter is your favorite season.

I once wrote about the hills
and the sense of freedom.
Do you remember?
Did I shuffle some memories?
You said the cafe owner knows
you are always in a hurry.
This new year you will be
once again in the hills.
The hills have been calling.
Before leaving you say,
I know you will write a poem
about this, and I say, but…
and you say, you don’t have to
follow everything I say.

So this is that poem
about the hills,
about making the streams
run down the slopes with joy,
about making the trees
cry out in happiness,
about making a cloud
revolve around a smoke.

Photo by Luca. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written during the start of winter in 2021, when I wished to meet a friend and she miraculously appeared at the café giving me a surprise. We were coming out of a pandemic and the lockdown situation as survivors. I was going through a lean period of poetic inspiration, and when we met she spoke of things she had never spoken of, especially about her daughter. That gave birth to this poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amit Shankar Saha is the author of three collections of poems titled Balconies of Time, Fugitive Words, and Illicit Poems. His poems have appeared in The Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2020 and 2021, The Best Indian Poetry 2018 and Converse: Contemporary English Poetry by Indians. He has won numerous awards and is also a Pushcart Prize, Griffin Poetry Prize, and Best of Net nominee. He has a PhD in English from Calcutta University and teaches in the English Department at Seacom Skills University. He is the Editor-in-Chief of EKL Review. His website is 

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Café, Switzerland
by Pauline Flynn

Viewed from the outside,
nothing momentous happened that day.
It was my nineteenth birthday
and I’d pinned a sprig of edelweiss,
soft as a fresh fall of snow,
onto my frock and set off with Heidi
to buy coffee and chocolate
over the Swiss border with Germany.

At 11 a.m. we stopped at a café
and I saw her on the terrace
reading a paperback.
Drawn to the relaxed way she sat
in the chair, her face shadowed
by the slight droop of her head,
the book resting on the edge
of the table, her order already served,
she took no notice of us.

I folded the dollop of ice cream
into cold coffee, and sank
into a sanctuary of silence.
I often think of her, unaware,
how on that day she’d bequeathed to me
a silver salver piled high with gifts.

PHOTO: Edelweiss and mountains, Switzerland. Photo by Ayko Neil Kehl on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was quite a naïve young woman living away from my home in Ireland when I saw the woman in the poem. My background was conservative and life choices for women were limited.  It was mid-morning and this woman was out and about enjoying her solitude and taking time for herself. Something about her opened up something in me whereby I could visualize a different kind of future for my life than the one expected of me. I never forgot her.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pauline Flynn is an Irish Visual Artist/Poet. Shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2010, her work has appeared in literary journals, including Skylight 47, Boyne Berries, Sixteen Magazine, Into the Light, Light Journal, Orbis 81, and The Blue Nib. 

Someone called my name on the stairs
by Debra Kaufman

kindly, as if to tell me supper was ready.
It was so quiet that day—
my brother napping, my sister away—

I floated down the dark, narrow stairwell.
We lived with our grandmother
and the ghost upstairs who hovered whenever

our mother read us fairy tales.
Once upon a time meant the story truly happened
long ago somewhere far, far away.

The world was fluid then,
only a veil separating here from there,
fireflies and fairies equally alive.

When I got to the kitchen I asked
my mother why she’d called me.
She said she hadn’t.

It must have been Jesus, I said.
Before I could wonder
what He might have wanted,

she laughed. The air crackled,
a mirror cracked,
and the magic flew off in a puff of dust.

IMAGE: Listening by CDD20.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother read fairy tales and Bible stories to my siblings and me, a gift I treasure. The stories were as real to me as the rest of my life; only time and miles separated Jesus and Rapunzel from me in our home in rural Illinois. I was about six when I heard my name called, and the memory—the awakening—is a deep, mysterious well I still draw on in my writing, dreaming, and psyche.

debKaufman2022ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debra Kaufman is the author of the poetry collections God Shattered, Delicate Thefts, The Next Moment, and A Certain Light, as well as three chapbooks, many monologues and short plays, and five full-length plays. Recent poems appeared in Poetry East, North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, and Triggerfish Literary Review. She recently produced Illuminated Dresses, a series of monologues by women, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and adapted Paul Green’s 1936 antiwar play Johnny Johnson. Visit her at

100 Years of Wonder and Words:
Thinking of Ferlinghetti on His 100th Year

by Laurie Kuntz

March 24 2019

Just to live to be 100,
one would think is enough,
or too much.

To be a poet
at 100, to see the world in daily
verse, in metered awe, every
day an enjambment, spilling

years of words into understanding
what saves us,
from lies, and bad
governments, and all the hype.

I am still waiting for an end-stop, making us pause
and ponder the words of an old man,
who, still, can take a daily walk,
hear the squawk of crows,

and notice the yellow primrose peeking
through cement, an old man, who still believes
poetry can heal, and lives year after year,
convincing us with words.

PHOTO: Lawrence Ferlinghetti with his painting van Gogh #2 (Arles n’existe pas), 1994, represented by Krevsky Fine Art. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am still waiting for my inner muse to appear. This poem, an homage to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, gave me inspiration for finding my inner and outer muses.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurie Kuntz is an award-winning poet and film producer. She taught creative writing and poetry in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Many of her poetic themes are a result of her working with Southeast Asian refugees for over a decade after the Vietnam War years. She has published one poetry collection (Somewhere in the Telling, Mellen Press) and two chapbooks (Simple Gestures, Texas Review Press and Women at the Onsen, Blue Light Press), as well as an ESL reader (The New Arrival, Books 1 & 2, Prentice Hall Publishers). Her new full-length poetry collection, The Moon Over My Mother’s House, was published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press. Moment Poetry Press has published a broadside of her poem “The Moon Over My Mother’s House.” Her poems, “Darnella’s Duty” and “Not Drowning But Waving” have been produced in a podcast from LKMNDS, and her poem “Darnella’s Duty” is published in a new Black Lives Matter Anthology. Her two ESL books have been featured on the podcast ESL for Equality, Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her chapbook, Simple Gestures, won the Texas Review Poetry Chapbook  Contest. She was editor in chief of Blue Muse Magazine and a guest editor of Hunger Mountain Magazine.  She has produced documentaries on the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law, and currently is a researcher/producer  for a documentary on the  Colombian peace process and reintegration of guerrilla soldiers in Colombia. She is the executive  producer of an Emmy winning short narrative film, Posthumous. Recently retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. Visit her at lauriekuntz.

the-human-condition 1933
by Rafaella Del Bourgo

I imagine that
my mother, father and stepfather
find a fourth for bridge,
the newly deceased widow of a navy admiral.
They set up a card table and chairs
between the gravestones.
Visitors with their flowers walk right by,
looking down at the earth,
pausing to read the markers.

I can see the cards and
a bowl of Licorice Allsorts.
My father liked to eat that candy
filled with layers of black, white
and peppermint green.
And bone china cups of tea
which the women sip
after taking their tricks.

Creeping into the scene,
a fluffy-tailed red fox,
one shy coyote,
and even a small herd of deer
stepping out from under the trees,
and coming to lie in the sun
at my mother’s feet.

Sitting on a hill
half-hidden by wood ferns,
I am still waiting
for my turn.

PAINTING: The Human Condition by René Magritte (1933).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was surprised to have found that the pandemic and its resultant sheltering in place has not been good for my creative process. I do write, but not in any disciplined way, and have found that I mostly want to amuse myself with jigsaw and crossword puzzles, reading very long articles in The New Yorker, and going for walks down at the Berkeley Marina, where I encounter flocks of wild turkeys and dogs in jeans jackets appliquied with pink and blue flowers. Sometimes I hear something or see something that inspires me to write, but that happens less frequently than it used to. I’m hoping that as the news becomes less oppressive, that I will find renewed ambition to write.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rafaella Del Bourgo’s writing has appeared in journals such as Nimrod, The Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, The Adroit Journal, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, Caveat Lector, Puerto Del Sol, Rattle, Oberon, Spillway, and The Bitter Oleander. She has won many awards, including the Lullwater Prize for Poetry in 2003, and in 2006 the Helen Pappas Prize in Poetry and the New River Poets Award. In 2007, 2008, and 2013, she won first place in the Maggi Meyer Poetry Competition. The League of Minnesota Poets awarded her first place in 2009.  In 2010, she won the Alan Ginsberg Poetry Award and the Grandmother Earth Poetry Prize. She was awarded the Paumanok Prize for Poetry in 2012, and then won first place in the 2013 Northern Colorado Writers’ Poetry Contest. Finally, she won the Mudfish Poetry Prize for 2017. Her collection I Am Not Kissing You  was published by Small Poetry Press in 2003, and her chapbook, Inexplicable Business: Poems Domestic and Wild, was published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. In 2012, she was one of 10 poets included in the anthology Chapter & Verse: Poems of Jewish Identity. She has traveled the world and lived in Tasmania and Hawaii.  She recently retired from teaching college-level English classes, and resides in Berkeley, California, with her husband and one spoiled cat.

by Paul Corbeil
After Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I write in the Poet’s wooden rocking chair
upstairs in San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore where
beat poetry lives still, in an old rocker, arms worn bare
the smooth varnish of its youth gone, much like my own

Here sat Kerouac
here sat Ginsberg
here sat Ferlinghetti
here I sit, now. And I wait.

For these sages to tell me why
for the memories of the chair’s inhabitants
that must still infuse this sacred wood
to share their secrets, to be inspired

I am still waiting
when I start to write
and write and write and lose track
of black and white, of hard lines, of rules

Day dims. Dusk sets in
stairs creak under unsteady footfalls
other patrons are pilgrimaging here
So I say goodbye to Ferlinghetti

Goodbye to his dry wit sharpened Sorbonne time
goodbye to the courage that published Ginsberg’s “Howl”
goodbye to the palpable desire to be heard and

Goodbye to my waiting

PHOTO: Poet’s Chair at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, California, by Julie Jordan Scott, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On January 22, 2017, I wrote the first stanzas of this poem seated in the very chair that I described within the poem, longhand in a blank “City Lights” journal. I could not think of how to end the poem, but felt the literal magic of the bookstore that day, as well as the presence of the poets that came before me. When I saw Silver Birch Press’ tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I knew then that I had a finish. For in that chair, I waited for inspiration. And now, I have found it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Corbeil is an emerging poet. Paul’s poetry is found on Twitter @LoverDesArt and Medium where Paul is a contributing writer for Assemblage publications at

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
by Kerry E.B. Black

On the North Side of Pittsburgh, an oddly textured bronze statue’s humble smile invites calm. Recorded piano compositions play. This seven-thousand-pound, eleven-foot-tall sculpture gazes across the Allegheny River toward the city.

I’ve watched grown adults climb onto the statue’s pedestal to smile for a photo. Mr. Rogers taught generations of children to love and respect each other and themselves. He did so gently, without shouting or saber-rattling.

When faced with the unfaceable, I remember a quote by the gentle hero represented in this “Tribute to Children” sculpture, Mr. Fred Rogers. He explained that when he was a boy confronting scary things in the news, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” He would recall his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers’ words especially in times of disaster and was “always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

 PHOTO: “Tribute to the Children,” Mr. Rogers Memorial Statue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. by Bill H, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Tribute to the Children,” informally known as the Mr. Rogers Memorial Statue, was created by artist Robert Berks. Cordelia May — philanthropist and heiress to the Mellon fortune — commissioned a statue of her longtime friend to be built through her Colcom Foundation. Completed in 2009, the bronze statue, which cost $3 million to build, is 10’10” high and weighs 7,000 pounds— sturdy enough to support anyone who wants to sit in Mr. Rogers’ lap. The site plays 29 of Fred Rogers’ musical compositions. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rogers is best known as the creator of the program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968-2001 on public television stations in the United States. The program was critically acclaimed for focusing on children’s emotional and physical concerns, such as death, sibling rivalry, school enrollment, and divorce. Fred Rogers passed away in 2003 at age 74. (Sources: Wikipedia and

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When we visited “Tribute to the Children,” instead of his piano compositions, the recordings were of Mr. Rogers’ sweet voice. It was lovely to hear! The second photo shows a statue in Fred Rogers’ hometown, Latrobe, Pennsylvania (about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh). He is life-sized and sitting on a bench. When I arrived to take the picture, a group of four teen/early twenty-year-olds were taking turns sitting beside Mr. Rogers. It made me smile.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerry E.B. Black, eclectic writer and lover of humanity, has toured Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood where George A. Romero once worked, visited Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Rogers lived, and rode replicas of his trolleys at St Vincent College and Idlewilde Park. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and

PHOTO: Mr. Rogers’ statue, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, by Kerry E.B. Black.

by Jacque Stukowski

In the middle of me
you’ll find my “middle” blue earth

Silent and cool like the calm crystal clear indigo blue waters of the seas in my mind

White wispy clouds float against a sapphire sky

Calm and quiet i sit here alone in my mind—in the eye of my storm

The rest of me swirling and spinning
in a whirlwind of daily routines and hurricane of chaos that is my life

When I need a reprieve from the days
thunderclaps and driving rains

I often retreat to the indigo space of my “middle” blue earth

A place where It’s ok to feel the blueness in me

Where cool jazz of Chet Baker, Stan Getz, or Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Moon” often play

Swaying in a dream-like trance
to the rhythms of jazz and the sweet, intoxicating smells from my fields of grape hyacinths wafting through the air

Flying carefree through the swirling midnight blue skies of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

Past the twinkling yellow stars and reflections as they dance playfully on waters below.

Other days, I may just sit, somber and silent like the sad, gunmetal blue man from Picasso’s “Blue guitar.”

Or curled up on my chaise longue
grinning like a Cheshire cat, as I read Emily Dickinson’s “The Moon” for the millionth time.

It’s in this “middle” you’ll find me,
The me that lives inside. The me I don’t let others see but once in a blue moon.

Robed in all the shades of blue, from royal, to peacock, and to indigo.

Here in the coolness of my hues
is where you’ll find the real me

Wrapped up safe and sound and
surrounded in the blues of the flowers, writing, music, and artwork that I love so much

Here is where you’ll find me, in the world of my “middle” blue earth.

IMAGE: “Meditation” by Odilon Redon (1840-1916).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacque Stukowski‘s blog God[isms] is her personal space to vent and share stories of growth through life’s ups and downs living with BP and ADHD. It’s a place where her writing and photos collide with spirituality, a dash of 12 steps, and a sprinkle of the daily trials of being a Christian wife, mother of two boys, and a full-time graphic designer. She frequently uses metaphors and symbolism to connect the reader to real life things in nature to convey the message she’s writing about. Her poem “Grey (doesn’t always) Matter” appeared in the Silver Birch Press May Poetry Anthology (2014).

by Shreyas Gokhale

The sky was dark with clouds of mourning shades
The rolling thunder, as lightning invades.

The thunderstorm was storming upside down,
On earth, the fiery gale did seem to frown.

The trees were trembling, swinging flowers and grass
The birds and beasts were bolting through vistas.

A shower of rains had chilled the warmth of noon
The bamboos played enchanting mystery tune.

In such a vehement weather, no one near
I closed my eyes and Oh! I found you dear!

ART: “Sudden Storm” by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem describes the scene of a violent rainstorm and the images of the things around. The poet experiences a fiery weather outside and a tumultuous behaviour of all the creatures because of it. In such a scenario when he closes his eyes and looks into his own self, he finds the ultimate solace and the existence of someone divine and dearly in it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shreyas Gokhale is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Jabalpur Engineering College in India. He is also serving as a writer at Keynotes Poets and Writers, Sacramento, California. He also has written several works in Indian languages, including Hindi, Sanskrit, and Marathi. A collection of his Sanskrit verses was published recently in an Indian spiritual magazine, Atmotthaan.

by A.E. Housman

Yonder see the morning blink:
The sun is up, and up must I,
To wash and dress and eat and drink
And look at things and talk and think
And work, and God knows why.

Oh often have I washed and dressed
And what’s to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest:
Ten thousand times I’ve done my best
And all’s to do again.

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

Today I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

IMAGE: “May Morning” by Jan Bickerton. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alfred Edward Housman (1859–1936), an English classical scholar and poet, has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars who ever lived, and was appointed Professor of Latin at University College London and then at Cambridge. Housman published two volumes of poetry during his life: A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922). After A Shropshire Lad was turned down by several publishers, Housman published it at his own expense. Several composers created musical settings for Housman’s work, deepening his popularity. When Last Poems was published in 1922, it was an immediate success. A third volume, More Poems, was released posthumously in 1936, as was an edition of Housman’s Complete Poems (1939). Despite acclaim as a scholar and a poet in his lifetime, Housman lived as a recluse, rejecting honors and avoiding the public eye.