On Reading Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: Fragments

Sta viator. Stop traveler.
Amabilen conjugem calcas.
Tread upon a loving wife.

“I’ve never read it myself.”
“Tell me.”

On an island
a mahogany bed
shaped like a boat

The extraordinary in
the ordinary: love
in language

Flaubert writing Emma,
who’s trapped
in a familiar broken cauldron

The ordinary in
the extraordinary: language
in love

Only lies of happiness
and unhappiness
(I read it after all)
meet expectations

I am the girl –
the book is the wolf –
believe me

image prompt: sunday muse
Shay/Fireblossom's The Sunday Muse, weekly picture poetry prompt
Laura at dVerse: "write a Modernist/Post-Modernist Fragment poem"
Sammi's Weekend Writing Prompt, 79 words, "familiar"
Punam's RDP Saturday: "the extraordinary in the ordinary"

Tales from the Beyond: Woodbury Piles No. 13

Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt (©DaleRogerson)
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

Genre: Horror
Word Count: 100

Tales from the Beyond: Woodbury Piles No. 13

M.R. of Woodbury is “E-tonic” to Oxbridge friends. He retires nightly with a tonic, his Eton tie, and an e-book of M.R. James, his namesake, until McQuin, his uncommonly phlegmatic valet, comes to softly extinguish the lights. McQuin says he has “the mind of a nice child.”

Tonight he reads, “saw someone crawling towards him on all fours with his eye hanging out on his cheek,” when he does. See someone. Like that.

“McQuin, when you’ve husbanded the modicum of blood left in you . . . ” he says.

Just before McQuin slips its thin arms round his neck.


Today’s tale brought to you by the inspiration of that master of horror, M.R. James, whose story, “The Mezzotint,” is happily alluded to.

Judgment Day

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Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
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photo prompt © Ted Strutz

Genre: Realism
Word Count: 100

Narrator: dorahak Background: Arctic White Noise and Wind (link)

Judgment Day

Cur Deus homo.* Why? Blindly, we sail past the pinnacle of what we could be.

The cruise ship Earth is all fun and games. Whether the fun intended causes others misery or not isn’t part of the equation. The equation only includes playing gods, every individual for himself, the rich richer, the poor poorer because they were losers. Losers become slaves because that’s how the game is played.

Like the pharaohs of old, we will take the living into hell with us.

Out across the ice, I see Frankenstein chasing his monster. And the worm turns.

Judgment Day.


*Cur Deus Homo (Latin for “Why a God Human?”), usually translated Why God Became a Man, is a book written by Anselm of Canterbury in the period of 1094–1098. In this work he proposes the satisfaction view of the atonement.

In its preface, Anselm gives his reason for writing the book:

I have been often and most earnestly requested by many, both personally and by letter, that I would hand down in writing the proofs of a certain doctrine of our faith, which I am accustomed to give to inquirers; for they say that these proofs gratify them, and are considered sufficient. This they ask, not for the sake of attaining to faith by means of reason, but that they may be gladdened by understanding and meditating on those things which they believe; and that, as far as possible, they may be always ready to convince any one who demands of them a reason of that hope which is in us.

Preface to Cur Deus Homo, transl. Sidney Dean in St. Anselm
The beginning of the Cur Homo‘s prologue, from a 12th-century manuscript held at Lambeth Palace

Journey (4)

A lone tree
alone tree

parched finger roots on limestone
see:

above the clay
careening

this Rock has a hold on me

as winds, storms buffet free pride
of trunk unbent:

steady in heat of day, laboring:
oh Lord my God, I thank Thee.


Image credit: Splitshire.com
Lillian at dVerse Quadrille (44 words) prompts us with the word "careen"
Click on Mr. Linky to join in!

Unbereaved (a haibun)

Frank at dVerse asks us to write a haibun (prose plus haiku) dealing with fear. Unlike the trumped up fear of Halloween games, there are real fears that children deal with at the hands of a parent, their childhood stolen. Perhaps years from now in their adulthood, one will thank you because you noticed and cared. 
Kathleen Munn, Composition (Horses), c. 1927

Nightmares when they roughshod ride primeval, cross cave walls and closet doors, charm no one, least of all you, appearing on site like a combative cow to remind me that when you gave birth it was in pain, a pain that didn’t end with birth. For you it won’t be enough that the shamanic horse runs wild torment across my plain features, flushed hot, now cold with fear, gaping at the undisclosed terrain of days yet unrun, populated by masked faces finding a home where I cannot. Flesh-like you appear to say, “I screamed bloody murder, you devouring me inside out, the doctor said, literally, you were eating me alive, like some malnutritioned demon-child, and I’m just a shadow of myself. To haunt you. In whatever caves you may roam. Gypsy-cursed.”

Have you seen a cow eat its calf? A hen pluck out its chick’s eyes? A mother hate her child? From where does this malformation derive than in red misery, bitter burning coals, stone-shaped eyes that glitter from the grave to shriek and shriek and shriek?

I fear you. But it’s not what you think. Though you’re dead your pain inflicts me. Your strained neck as you push onward defying all but gravity, defying the gods of nature to take from you the child you will punish because you can’t punish them.

steel-born heart in sheath
trampled plain of childhood’s corpse
nightmare by firelight

Memory’s Brew

Something haunting for the autumnal season; also a humorous one involving cuddly kittens, here.

photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Poetry
Word Count: 100

Memory’s Brew

Two shakers and ketchup
A pinch of salt, a dash of pepper
Dollop of sauce, a half mug of beer
Ice water for awakening
The dead will appear

The wine left in a glass
Holds a hint and a promise
Your laughter, “hold the pickle!”
Still haunts something wicked
Like you’ll never disappear

I will not cry when you come
Shed no tear as you sit down
But I will wonder anew
As my undead love for you
Refashions and reappears

Have I concocted a spell
Unearthed memories
Conjured a ghost?
Appearances deceive
In this deli, you live


Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

The Day of Visitation

This week for Friday Fictioneers I took Rochelle’s Thoreau quotation to heart, to wit: “It’s not what you look at that counts, but what you see.” Apologies in advance, since I am in no doubt I am treading heavily on your patience as I take liberties with the purported speech of birds that speak in excessively lengthy portmanteau-like, compound words. For those interested, I was thinking of Mark 11:12-25 and Luke 19:44 when writing this.
Image credit: ©Roger Bultot
Join in the storytelling by clicking on the frog:

Genre: Prose/Poetry
Word Count: 100

The Day of Visitation

I did not know at all how to be, which way to live.

I came to wash on the shore, from city street wandered in, when spectacles lit, unfolded, slipped onto my nose, to where care had not brought down the voice so sweet of blackbirds and cuckoo:

(Stray)nger. SoreThumber.
Ins(hide)r. Persiflager.

Temple(ate) in winter, summer cocooned
Sing cuccu
1

Wrapt in(word) Word-horde strong
seed(l)ing is icumen
2

In(to)ward barren no(thingness)
Sing cuccu

Trinity, Three-in-One, God is.
love: creation, revelation, (re)creation

Light(sends word)Light(tabernacles)Light(sheds abroad)
Sing cuccu

Kingdom b(earth)ing on a cross
Imparts life over death

Stay stranger, stay in(side) Christ
Sing cuccu


1,2“The Cuckoo Song” – “Sumer is icumen in” – Middle English, mid-13th century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer_is_icumen_in

For Julie

Don’t fall away
Turn from lies
With Jesus stay

Embattled, your nerves fray
Deceiving half-truth with faith vies:
Caboodles of falsehoods the serpent will say

Peace bereft, you say you can’t pray
All night in darkness your hope dies
Thinking you’re lost forever to Day

Call to Christ though skies seem gray
Your guilt he knows, hears your cries
Hung on a cross, your sins to pay

Your enemy slay!
Resist, despise!
Don’t fall away
With Jesus stay


Rhyme scheme: aba,aba, aba, aba, abaa in semi-villanelle fashion 
Sammi's WWP #229: "caboodle" in exactly 78 words
Eugi's Weekly Prompt: "Peace"

Image credit: cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Trade-off

PHOTO PROMPT© Liz Young
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

Trade-off

— It looks fabulous!
— What does?
— Isn’t that heaven?
— Those are elevators.
— Can I go on one?
— No. You have to take the stairs. You don’t have a golden pass.
— Why not?
— You can’t afford it.
— But I have money!
— It’s not just money. It’s talking a certain way, shopping at the approved stores, socializing with the proper sort, voting for the prescribed party.
— Well, I’ll do all those things then.
— Okay. But first I have to tape your mouth shut, blindfold you, tie up your legs and lobotomize you.
— And then I’ll get to take the golden elevators?
— Yes.
— Okay.

Enter Stage Right: Cicindela

Cicindela sexguttata, also known as the green tiger beetle, Catoctin Mountain Park

It was my walk you were on
hunting caterpillars, spiders and ants:
cicindela sexguttata, tiger beetle
after its prey in a flashy fluorescent kind of way

I stopped, you froze, neither of us camouflaged,
me turmeric topped in white jeans,
you in green metallic sheen
me on all fours to examine you better
you on all sixes to beat it if you had to

I exited stage left, you stayed put, focused,
a cirque du soleil wanderer, stray spotlight hoarder
ready to celebrate with a juicy meal
of tang-colored butterfly puddling nearby

When comic relief: a crow flaps its wings
while you race for your prey but your timing is late,
the butterfly flutters off and I shout off the bird
and you meander onward, a green blaze of disgust.


Join the dVerse poets as we write on "Creepies and Crawlies," for Poetics Tuesday.

Waiting for Michaux-Perreaux

photo prompt: Brenda Cox

Read more about the Michaux-Perreaux here, a French bicycle company that later invented the steam velocipede, one of three precursors to the modern motorcycle. I chose Michaux-Perraux for its rhyming allusion to Godot in this semi-allegory.

Genre: allegory; Word count: 100
Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

Waiting For Michaux-Perreaux

Every day, after work, the old cleaning woman sat on the bench staring at the Michaux-Perraux half in, half out of the building’s side. She was as much an oddity as the bicycle. Sometimes she was seen wiping tears away. Usually she sat poised expectantly. Nothing ever happened. Then, bowing her head, she would walk slowly away.

One day, an earthquake shook the town. The building was evacuated. As everyone watched, debris began falling, the wall with the bicycle cracked, and people screamed and ran.

All except the old woman.

The bicycle fell loose. Smiling, she rode it home.

Arsenic and Old Lace

For Laura’s dVerse Meeting the Bar prompt “of poetry craft and critique, ‘to turn again, about turn again‘ we are employing the device of ‘epiphora/epistrophe’ which makes use of consecutive end line repeats of words or phrases. The optional extra is ‘Symploce’ – a consecutive repeat of first and final words.”

Laura points out that ‘epiphora’ is also “a medical term for excess tear production,” which can result from both comedy and tragedy. And so I have incorporated quotes from the classic Frank Capra film, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” to write a farce and an omen, reflecting perhaps something of the state of the world today.

In Melbourne one night I dreamed of you
Cold-eyed in June with summer roses hanging tough
Knew I’d meet you when the four horsemen rode
With plague and famine and war on their hooves
With plague-driven carts bouncing off their hooves.

Continue reading “Arsenic and Old Lace”

Stay Bright, Yellow

“Stay Bright, Yellow”

Stay bright, yellow
Roughshod blue the bliss of it
Corner it free to humility
Bother the pride loose
Trill the tree-lit melodies
Emblazon green
In ragged hearts
Gush on the joy
Glory forth the holy
Genuflect the new life
Grace unspeakable
Stay bright, yellow


WhimsyGizmo at dVerse asks us to use any variation on the word "bother" to write a quadrille (a 44-word poem). Click on Mr. Linky to join in!

The Mole People

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields very kindly invites us to join the Friday Fictioneers in their weekly creative quests of a hundred words or less prompted by a photo. Click here and join in! Photo prompt © Anne Higa  

The Mole People

In the underground caves we lived the squalor that passed for life
Each of us coveting the other’s baubles, driven by transient desires
One took another’s wife, someone her neighbor’s pearl of contentment
Deceived and deceiving we lived as opulent moles in a darkness unrelenting.

We were aware of an abundant life above ground, one richer in life and meaning
We yearned to quench ourselves in the unfathomable joy of its Light pouring
Through the dim recesses of our shadowed being, but mechanically going to and fro
We multiplied our labors seeking promised pleasure in glinting mirrors of craving eyes.


Dear reader: A little background to the above poem. In reading the 20th-century philosopher René Girard, one can’t help but be struck by how the last of the Ten Commandments focuses exclusively on covetous desire, something that the second tablet of the law enumerates to a certain extent. Thou shalt not covet. Girard finds the breaking of this law to be the root of violence in every culture. Here’s how he explains his theory of mimetic desire:

In reading the tenth commandment one has the impression of being present at the intellectual process of its elaboration. To prevent people from fighting, the lawgiver seeks at first to forbid all the objects about which they ceaselessly fight, and he decides to make a list of these. However, he quickly perceives that the objects are too numerous: he cannot enumerate all of them. So he interrupts himself in the process, gives up focusing on the objects that keep changing anyway, and he turns to what never changes. Or rather, he turns to that one who is always present, the neighbor. One always desires whatever belongs to that one, the neighbor. Since the objects we should not desire and nevertheless do desire always belong to the neighbor, it is clearly the neighbor who renders them desirable. In the formulation of the prohibition, the neighbor must take the place of the objects, and indeed he does take their place in the last phrase of the sentence that prohibits no longer objects enumerated one by one but “anything that belongs to him [the neighbor].” What the tenth commandment sketches, without defining it explicitly, is a fundamental revolution in the understanding of desire. We assume that desire is objective or subjective, but in reality it rests on a third party who gives value to the objects. This third party is usually the one who is closest, the neighbor. To maintain peace between human beings, it is essential to define prohibitions in light of this extremely significant fact: our neighbor is the model for our desires. This is what I call mimetic desire.

René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, pp. 9-10. (Click on the title for more of this excerpt.)

Journey (2)

Image credit; Evan Clark@ Unsplash

Journey

water still
log submerged
balanced feet
journey of the mind

what do you see,
what do you understand?
“to reach the shore
keep your eyes on land”

feet submerged
the sky above
you whisper, what now
as your heart gives out

from misty shore
a Voice calls out
“to walk on water
you can’t look down”

can faith hold firm
Who do you trust?
what your eyes can’t see
is what bears you up


Interior Dream

Image by Catrin Welz-Stein

It’s a paper moon in a darling’s tomb
On the wallpaper in the green-lit gloom
There a swallow-tail with a robin’s breast
Speaks an omen of a tailor dressed
In a silk-hat heavy on his balding pate
A dark coat collared, the pants of slate
Graveyard shoes that steal starlight
An iron key balanced and held upright.
Off he flew from the paper moon
Left a keyhole remark like an empty tune
Sung by a voice in the gloaming mist
Heard by a tailor holding in one fist
Secrets stitched by a loveless hand
On a flightless bird o’er a clouded land.


Written for Lillian's dVerse "Let Your Words Be Your Paintbrush!"; write an ekphrastic poem using one of four Catrin Welz-Stein images. Click Mr. Linky to read more and join in!

Reflections on an Un-Natural Decay

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: This week’s CFFC topic is Special Request: Wilting, dead or aging flowers and leaves.

The topic is fitting somehow. This week I finished the last pages of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light (2020). I had dreaded what was coming, so thoroughly had Thomas Cromwell and the world of 16th-century England peopled my imagination, a testimony to Mantel’s literary genius (see Well Met, Jude: Mann & Mantel).

Continue reading “Reflections on an Un-Natural Decay”

A Moon Drop Tear

proxy-image-4

A moon drop tear
turned into marble,
my heart to stone.

Slaves lost their dreams
To build mine a tomb
Doubly doomed by the chilly moon.

Buy your tickets
Bring your cameras too
It’s a wonder of the world
What fools will do.

poem and audio reading of “A Moon Drop Tear” ℗©2020 Dora A.K
music: “Shankabaranam” by L. Subramaniam (violin), K. Gopinath (mridangam)

poem written in response to Jude’s Saturday Symphony #5 “seven wonders” prompt