Archives for posts with tag: inspiration

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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

Mr rogers Latrobe
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.

by Mathias Jansson

Write a book
First live, then write
Fulfill your mission
Immortalize your name
I will!
Now for the way
First a hopeful race
Wear spectacles
Lineal aerial architecture
An hour’s conversation
Set the enthusiasm
Fill the pod of futurity

SOURCE: “Advice to a young writer” by Mathias Jansson is based on page 1 of Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. Find the book online at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has been published in both Swedish and English speaking literature and visual poetry magazines as Lex-ICON, Eremonaut, RetortMagazine, Anatematiskpress, Presens, and Quarter After #4. Visit him at his homepage or Amazon author page.

that into the sky we may sink, and ocean soar
by Philip Gordon

all quiet here alone.

the flowers
in May. under the
sun I am burning
among the
waters pain.

will leave me
as I am or not at all.

in long
golden lagoons of sand,
I shall pass on, chafing against the
low rocks. listen: a
fourworded wavespeech: vehement breath of
flows, flower unfurling.

under the upswelling tide the
whispering water
swaying and upturning silver day: night.
lord, they are weary; whisper
the sigh of leaves and waves
awaiting the fullness of
the moon.

SOURCE: “that into the sky we may sink, and ocean roar” by Philip Gordon is based on a page from Ulysses by James Joyce.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Philip Gordon is a creative writing student from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, recipient of the 2014 Kevin Roberts poetry award, and an editor of the literary magazines Ash Tree Journal and Text (launching in September, 2014). His work has been published in Wax Poetry and Art Magazine, Potluckmag, Chrysanthemum, Portal, Passion Poetry, The YOLO Pages, and a few other places. Philip is a romantic dork, lover of shades, and proponent of the Oxford Comma. He can be stalked at and

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR: I wasn’t sure initially whether black highlight or white-out effect on omitted text would be better — you’ll see that I’ve opted for the latter, but would be open to toggling to the other. I tried to pluck out the oceanic imagery and metaphysical addresses in Stephen’s stream-of-consciousness, tying the notion of oneness with nature and another person into the concept of the sea, sky, and flowers.

NOTE: Yesterday, we blogged about the Magnetic Poetry Kit and included a link where you could create a magnetic poem online. We also asked people to send us their magnetic poems so we could feature them on our blog. Alicia Austen rose to the occasion and is the first to forward her Magnetic Poetry Kit poem. Thank you Alicia!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alicia Austen is a writer, editor, and rebel-creative. She currently resides in the Queen City (aka Cincinnati), where she can usually be found drinking tea, listening to punk rock, and reading out-of-print books. Visit her blog at

one 1
by Thomas R. Thomas

I met
my life
my life
on the road
to Los Angeles

I was

for the first time
there was

had arrived

SOURCE: “one 1*” is based on the first page of Chapter 1o in the novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas R. Thomas was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley west of LA. Currently, he lives in Long Beach, California. For his day job, he is a software QA Analyst. He volunteers for Tebot Bach, a community poetry organization, in Huntington Beach. Thomas has been published in Don’t Blame the Ugly Mug: 10 Years of 2 Idiots Peddling Poetry, Creepy Gnome, Carnival, Pipe Dream, Bank Heavy Press, Conceit Magazine, Electric Windmill & Marco Polo, and the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology. In November 2012, Carnival released his eChapbook, Scorpio, and Washing Machine Press released a chapbooklette called Tanka. In October 2013, World Parade Books published a book of his poetry, Five Lines. Visit the author’s website at

The makers of the original Magnetic Poetry Kit present Beat Poet, a magnetic poetry kit with over 200 hep cat word magnets. This box of words really zings, daddy-o, and celebrates one of America’s best known literary movements. The kit includes words like jazz, generation, road, bohemian, freedom . . . and many more! Find a complete list of words here. Kit contains over 200 themed magnetic word tiles — all for just $11.95. To order, visit To create a poem online from the original kit, visit this link. If you do, please send a copy to

by Mike Keith

Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread,
quixotic, partial joke. We’re vapour-born,
by logic and emotion seen as dead.

Plain cording weds great luxury ornate,
while moon-beams rise to die in Jove’s quick day;
I navigate the puzzle-board of fate.

Wait! Squeeze one hundred labels into jibes,
grip clay and ink to form your topic — rage;
await the vexing mandate of our lives.

I rush on, firm, to raid my aged tools,
but yet I touch an eerie, vain, blank piece,
as oxide grown among life’s quartz-paved jewels.

Once zealous Bartlebooth, a timid knave,
portrayed grief’s calm upon a jigsaw round;
yet now he lies, fixed quiet in his grave.

Just so we daily beam our pain-vexed soul
with fiery craze to aim large, broken core
and quest in vain to find the gaping hole.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Keith is a freelance software engineer and writer of constrained prose and poetry, in which a literary composition is required to satisfy one or more lexical rules. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including several works of constrained writing, Not a Wake and The Anagrammed Bible. For more news and writings, visit


Each tercet (three lines of iambic pentameter with ABA rhyme scheme) in the poem above is formed from the set of 100 Scrabble® tiles, which consist of 98 letters (including all letters A-Z) plus two blank “wildcards” that can be assigned any letter. The poem is visually depicted using six sets of Scrabble® tiles, where the two blanks in each set are indicated by red tiles. In this challenge, we deem it quite permissable to use different letters for the blanks in each separate set of tiles (each stanza).

In this depiction, each line of iambic pentameter is split in two in order to keep the page from being too wide. In other words, the first line of the poem is really “Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread.”

Who is “Bartlebooth”, you might ask? Ah, this strikes at the very core of the poem. Bartlebooth is the jigsaw-puzzling main character of Georges Perec‘s massive constrained novel La Vie Mode d’Emploi (Life: A User’s Manual). Perec’s novel consists of 100 chapters with one blank (missing), modeled after a Paris apartment building with 100 rooms. The theme of missing things constantly reappears (e.g., Bartlebooth dies as the puzzle he is working on has a single piece-shaped hole).

Scrabble® has 100 tiles with two blanks, an almost exact replica of the structure of Perec’s novel. Hence, the desire to allude to La Vie in stanzas 4 (“blank piece”), 5 (Bartlebooth and his puzzles), and 6 (“gaping hole”). “Puzzle-board” of stanza two is also a reference — to the 10×10 knight’s tour involved in Perec’s work.