brightness beckoned

Watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio

Watercolor Phoenix by (c) Gretchen Del Rio

“In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray…”
Inferno Canto 1, Durante (Dante) degli Alighieri

in a mood
he stood at the wood’s edge and thought



this pained walk
under dark skies
living on the verge
wondering if he was
the plaything of his Lord, if so
a cruel game

from somewhere brightness beckoned
on the wing beat of sudden insight ~

it’s not your memory melting in the heat of time
or your true music dissolving unsung
nor the whimsy of some capricious god
it is, perhaps, Dante’s transformative hell

no love without yearning
no compassion without pain
no charity without failure

a Phoenix, he rose from his ashes
a Moses, he fell before the flaming bush
in his found humanity, he embraced life whole

This is for Victoria Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday writing prompt today on The Bardo Group blog. Please join us and link in your own poem. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours. We’ll visit your blog to read and comment and hope that you will visit others to encourage and support them. If you are uncomfortable using Mister Linkey, just leave the link to your piece in the comments section.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Gretchen Del Rio (Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog), All rights reserved, posted here with Gretchen’s permission

sleeping without walls

photo-19the fields that year taught the art of sleeping outside,
sleeping without walls, watching the stars and moon,
harvesting dreams from sunsets and morning dew

we slept in bedrolls configured of old white sheets
and army surplus blankets made of khaki wool
Did my uncles have those during the war?
i wondered, i pondered on many things, and

those months held sundry delights, climbing trees
and eating cherries without washing them . . . oh!
and there were blueberry bushes and fig trees and
i lined the path to the food hut with Sunday stones,
my own bare prayer while the big girls were at Mass

i marveled at my middle-aged mother’s plump knees
and marked her spirit for wearing shorts, joining
in children’s games and singing ‘round the fire

now i wonder at summer camp morphing into metaphor ~
all her life Mom lived with her yield of dreams,
an outsider artist sleeping without walls . . .

© 2014, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Providence or Folly?

photo-13Lacking discretion . . .
she mistook agenda for wisdom
and suffering for sanctity.
She confused sex with intimacy
and saccharine with sincerity.
Because she endured,
she thought she was strong.
She fancied pain was her Cross
and treasured the confines
of her dark, singular world,
mistaking the fallout born of folly
for her God’s perfect plan.

© 2014 poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

To Alef, to the only home there is: one another’s hearts

Be the Peace (c) Jamie Dedes

Be the Peace

“To Alef, the letter
that begins the alphabets
of both Arabic and Hebrew ~
two Semitic languages
sisters for centuries.

May we find the language
that takes us
to the only home there is ~
one another’s hearts ….”

- Ibtisam Barakat

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

This poem is from TAKING THE SKY: A Palestinian Childhood by the Palestinian-American poet, writer, educator and humanitarian, Ibtisam Barakat (ابتسام بركات).

Ibtisam is from Ramallah, a Palestinian city north of Jerusalem. She came to the United States to work an internship with The Nation. She taught at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Ibtisam works tirelessly with children and adults to encourage creativity and life enrichment. She says, ” All voices are needed for the song of life to have all of its notes.”  Her poetry collection and children’s book, Al Ta’ Al-Marbouta Tateer (The Letter Ta Escapes), have won accolades and awards. She writes in Arabic and in English.

© poem, Ibtisam Barakat; Ibtisam’s photograph, D. Hemingway; “Be the Peace” photograph, Jamie Dedes

it was the golden light


i awoke
it was the golden light
the moon camping out
casting my room in the
glow of its fire

i thought
for a moment
unsure of my place
what city
what state
what day

seconds passed
slowly peeling away
the veil, the confusion
i melt into
the golden light
breathe myself
into sleep again

and done
as easily perhaps
as breathing into
eternal sleep
so frail and fragile
is this anchor
this silver thread
this castle of solitude
this just me
inside me
inside life

© 2013, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

that was everything


first loves
old dreams
childish conjecture

we thought our love could ignite whole cities
in those times when we worshipped the clan,
like elders of old, and ate our insides out over
the silences weighted like hard driven snow and
the doors closed with shattering clangs, hearts
gone cold, icebergs adrift on the sea of being

but shunning became welcome oblivion,
equal parts acceptance and gratitude

listen ~
they danced for a moment
across our blue horizon
that was enough
that was everything

© 2013, poem , Jamie Dedes, All rights reservedPhoto courtesy of morgueFile