Giving Chase

Stretching toward tedium, I look out the window.
Squirrels run across the stones outlining my flowerbed—
pieces of petrified wood that hold ancient secrets,
old stories that rattle with feather and song.
Thomas Little Shell looked out the hole of a sweat lodge where his friend
walked toward an aspen grove before the edge of sight.
Thomas blinked and a deer was there, blinking back at him.
It lifted its chin toward Thomas, then vanished beyond the grove.
Pieces of petrified wood carry lost stories and whisper
against the rain of forgotten years.
I am the stones that line my garden. I am Thomas. I am the deer.
It is April and it rains all day.
Mary Oliver wrote of rain. and stone. and deer.
I remember holding her tree filled with stars.
I am the stars. I am that tree. I am Mary Oliver. I am rain.
I am dreaming. Away from this garden, I fly. Above
this poem rising from petrified forests morphing into deer
where squirrels give chase to stories past my window.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The block announces itself whenever I sit down to write. Today I tackled it with an old prompt that I first used in 2011. It’s strangely convoluted, and grappling with it this morning was both arduous and fun. Of course, I took plenty of liberties with it.

If you feel so inclined, take the prompt and give chase. Let me know if you do. I’d love to see what it helps you produce.

1. A feeling
2. Observe the scenery of your immediate surroundings
3. Personification of an inanimate object
4. Use a metaphor
5. Spend four lines recalling a prominent memory
6. Use symbolism in a statement
7. Associate some form of weather to the feeling in #1
8. Tell a lie, about anything
9. Make a reference to a holiday or season
10. State a fact about a favorite artist or poet
11. Compare yourself to a specific piece from the artist/poet you used in #10
12. Negate the lie you told in #8, or further support or restate it
13. Describe a daydream or parts of a dream you’ve had
14. For the last two lines, refer to a vacationing location


Visit The Sunday Whirl

I’m also writing at Elizabeth’s place this month, where she has been providing helpful daily fodder.

Pandora Spring

The inevitability of rain hangs over Pandora
with sighs that release a deluge of weeping clouds.
Outside the window, blossoms push their whiteness
through the pear tree’s burgeoning leaves.
Water bedazzles its branches in shimmering droplets
refracting light into prisms of spring.
In the distance, mist hangs its vaporous cape
to obfuscate the edges of deciduous woods
where critters nuzzle off the edges of morning’s call,
and plants wiggle their way toward the seasons’ coming spoils.
From the barn, the feral cat howls her heat.
Aborting my poem, I phone the vet.

Brenda Warren 2016



Three Crows

There’s a bird that nests inside you
Sleeping underneath your skin.
~ Adam Duritz

A scarce rain slapped the side of the hospital in sheets.
He sat, rooted in a chair near a window.

His spirit eroded as he imagined
cells from his loins scraped from his
girlfriend’s womb like vegetation detached at its roots.
His first child killed, like one sorry weed.

Afterward, she had no strength for talking.
Three crows perched on her Jeep’s
roll bar and she shooed them
away, as the last of his
mercy wove a path into oncoming darkness
then shattered glass against her heart.

Those three crows came up each time
his fist revisited her face.

“You shooed off


our family


sure as you shooed off


them crows.”

She took it until her own soul shattered,

then left him, trying to piece together
the jagged shards of everything she once was.

Brenda Warren 2013

raining angels

Your secret touch eases
the clatter in my mind,
feeding crocuses
down to the flowering sound
of stillness—
where your hands open windows
that color the marrow of our grief
as rain swings in with its massive hips,
misting our faces
in tracks of tears
like drops down glass.

Perhaps your touch awakens angels
who swim through open windows,
riding in on the rain.

Brenda Warren 2012

Visit The Sunday Whirl.