Looking Forward: Stoma and Poetry


A 'blog' is new to me... and so is my stoma. Consequently, trying to be honest writing about - and coping - with both makes me realize how much I need to look forward, not backward. As I'm a poet, this piece might say it for me...


Mozart mixes well
with melancholy,
to such extent
that the notes have meandered
the estuary marsh
of my brackish mind,
sweetening the water.

Window pearls are growing
to decorate my view
of this first January day.
They swell, then bounce,
blooming into silver rivers
and streak like wraiths
to the rim.
A trailed rill
seeds more surrogates
- soft studs that star the dark,
even on a dank day.

I remember rain on another pane,
and my resolve returns
for this fresh-laundered year.

A fellow poet - cool

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Hello Peejay, I like what you have penned and only wish that I could gather those sorts of words and concepts together in a similar way - but that style has always eluded me! however, I do welcome someone who truly knows how to write in a way that they can claim the title of 'poet'.
I have always avoided that more illustrious label for the more descriptive one of 'rhymist'.Keep them coming and
Best wishes Bill

Summer dies softly

Summer dies softly
On the afternoon breeze
Dusty gusty whirlwinds
Of first fallen leaves

Shadows grow longer
A change in the angle of light
Late summer shower spawns
Double rainbow delight

Light slant through dust motes
Refracted colored leaves
Like a quiet gasp
One last exhale, breathed

Wheel of the season turns
Lessons of fall return
Abundance then decay
This is Nature's way

JudiA. Nature's way indeed and very nicely put as a response to 'LOOKING FORWARD'! As you say the seasons turn and from December 21st I look forward to the new year. Here's an excerpt from a seasonal rhyme expressing that thought.
In midwinter's doom and gloom
I need a brand new start.
The winter equinox will soon
bring pleasure to my heart.

Amidst mid-winter's dark and cold
there comes that special day
when days will lengthen and unfold
and springtime's on its way.

The earth will tilt towards the sun
and give us cause to cheer.
Deep dark wither's days are done
until another year.

B. Withers 2003

How to Manage Emotions with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Excuse the spelling mistake - I should read through these things more carefully before I post them -- 'deep dark withers' is obviously a Freudian slip although sometimes it might describe the mood quite well! However, it should read 'deep dark winters'.

So good to know you're on the site, Bill and Judi... and to read your poetry. We're all different, which is why there is so much diversity in poetry... from Dylan Thomas to Bob Dylan, John Clare to John Lennon. I'm looking forward to reading some more of your work... and anyone else who wants to join in!


I mostly do a Japanese short form called haiga. Apparently I can't upload a JPEG in comments. I do have an old blog at judibrannnarmbruster.blogspot.com if you care to browse it.


I tried your blog but couldn't find it, Judi....but I enjoyed your haiga among your photos. It reflects the self-cleansing of Earth beautifully. My only attempts have been a trio of senryu - and then only tongue-in-cheek (below)...

Senryu of failure

Poignancy- pungent,

I crack the puzzletree nut,

spilling the pathos.

Senryu of Another Failure

I'm an idiot

trying to extract more juice

from profundity

Senyu of yet another failure

The venting of spleen

ain't even excuses

for a poem...OK?


Try http://www.judibrannanarmbruster.blogspot.com -

Native and Natural - The Art and Poetry of Judi Brannan ...
Native and Natural - The Art and Poetry of Judi Brannan Armbruster

Hello Peejay. Loved the verse but surely there's always an excuse for writing poetry and venting the spleen must be up there amongst the best of excuses! - Or at least that's what I have found. Best wishes
Hello Judi. I was captivated by your blogspot. I have never been much of a 'tourist' when I go visiting because I usually prefer to meet the people rather than see the sights. But reading and seeing your history and perspective in the way that you portray it is the way I prefer to 'travel'. Thank you for drawing it to our attention. Best wishes Bill.

Ha....so sorry, Bill! I don't want to give you a wrong impression. I wrote these senryus in response to a rant by a particularly bigoted poet (she happens to be well published) where she seemed to forget her usual maxims of "the music of words" in favor of dogma. It seemed like a good idea at the time, lol! It makes me realize how diverse readers' perceptions of the same poem can be.

Hello Peejay. Thanks for enlightening me. Words often have more than one meaning before they're even written so a string of them are bound to carry a multitude. As for dogma, unfortunately it is all too common in the human species. Here is my take on the subject:-


As I observe it flying round
knocking people to the ground
I wish to stop you and to plead

Hard and relentless in attack
I think its gone but it comes back.
Reflect and ponder as your read

The narrow mindedness it shows
so often brings you near to blows
no-one else will this thing heed
so 'you' should keep it on a lead.

Perhaps if we could pass a law
to make you see, as we all saw
This might just help you to concede
and keep your dogma on a lead.

In pondering the human race
which lives confined in time and space
I feel that it will best succeed
with all our dogmas on a lead.

B. Withers 1993

Good one - and good advice

Desert Gone

I thought I missed the desert,
the solitude and stark beauty.
But what I remember is being bulldozed
as yet another subdivision
stretches like an amoeba,
devouring the land I loved.
The urban sprawl,
the traffic and noise,
the desert dug up and for sale,
as giant saguaro ship to foreign places.

Yet, there must be some place
where I can walk alone,
breathe in subtle scents
of desert clean air, creosote,
ironwood and mesquite.

There has to be a few places left
to listen to the whisper of lizards
as they bask in the heat,
and the doves' special sound
as they wing away in surprise.

I almost felt it,
almost caught the wave of joy
I used to know,
of extreme quietude
and subtle flowers
hidden until rain summons them.

I almost found it,
the peaceful moment
when I could lose myself
in the serenity
of the past,
of a simpler time,
that unspoiled arroyo
where only long quiet moments
arouse the secrets of life lived
at a much slower pace.
But not quite

And I am sad to say
I didn't find time,
to find my way
back, into the desert dry past
that reflected the innocence
of my childhood memories.

As the airplane flew over some
seemingly undisturbed distant desert
I admired the hills far below.
They looked like crushed brown velvet
or the wrinkled face of an ancestor.

Even there I see a dirt track
going somewhere,
leading me to believe
man will never be satisfied
until all the earth
is trampled and claimed.

Then, even the direst dry desert
Will be gone forever.
Hello JudiA. I'm with you all the way on this subject and you put it so linguistically well. I've written so many verses expressing similar sentiments but I'll just leave you with this one.

Soon there'll be no greenery
no green-belt or wood.
An urban sprawl as scenery
where once trees and meadows stood.

In these my last reflective years
I see both greed and cost.
My mind is filled with doubts and fears
about the things we've lost.

I must go and leave you now
to ponder on my lot
in order when I leave this earth
to give back what I got.

Let's put the buildings underground
or into outer space.
There is just one world so far found
why spoil this wondrous place.

Let's help the birds and frogs and toads
the grass and trees so tall
by knocking down the bricks and roads
and having space for all.

B. Withers (2000)
(2nd part to Martin's move to Merlin Close)

Hi Bill and Judi.
I've been offline for a few days so I have just caught up with your posts (I found your blog, Judi - and loved it).
From the latest pieces from you both, it seems we all have the same opinion of man as a species... pretty low.
Here's my take on the subject, written about thirty years ago....

Tearing the Fabric

This place has stayed a lake
five thousand years, more,
while brown corduroy, green belts,
yellow ribbons wrap the shore.

Alternately, by time and loam,
slow emerging, time unrushed,
umbrella'd trees spread domes,
sink tendrils, staying, swayed

influentially by disparate wind.
Never still, always in transit,
the waterslide from land is sly, blind
to all persuasion but slope, falling

unhurried, weeping - then flushed
from embarrassed rock, sobs, tumbles
trilling down to quiet sloth, hushed
in calm, tranquilized deep.

The waterweft meanders, often stopping,
- life creeps to darn the empty space
as sunglow needles weave the warp
into the rayglade's dappled lace.

Then, despoiling man, swift sewing,
zigs and zags his curse the more,
rends the gaping black hole bigger.
tears the fragile fabric in his going.

Hello Peejay. I enjoyed your poem very much even though it seems a such a shame that poets feel the need to write about humans in this way. however, if that's what they perceive, then that's what they write!
Best wishes

I have to say it as I see it, Bill.... I love my species, but too often, with the best of intentions, it goes off the rails like an itinerant child. It's as if humanity cannot embrace the concept of being just a part of Earth's biosystem for very long - and wants to dominate it or at least be independent of it.
Incidentally, surely in your excellent piece, you are beating the same drum, aren't you?

I'm sure we are beating the same drum but I feel as if I've been beating it long and hard all my life with a variety of different tunes!

Aha, the beat of a different drum.
Sad about one of our champions, Linda Ronstadt (sp)?
The music of the spheres
Sounds discordant
In current times.
We are failing the only home we know,
Fouling our air and water
For the almighty dollar.

Bill and PJ, I weep for future generations. We have left them a mess. If we could have turned things around in the 60's, maybe things would have been better. We tried. We were squashed by the powers that were. Peace and freedom??? It became a small group politicized into obscurity.


Yes, Judi,
Man cannot - never will be able to - surpass his acquisitive, jealous nature (even aspiring to an exclusive afterlife!) This mountaineering syndrome...."...because it's there, BECAUSE WE CAN!"....eventually overrides all the better qualities. Unless our species mutates, our superiority complex might lead to extinction.
Here's a piece from my younger days....

The Dolphin's Dilemma

Every year, somewhere, the same persistent question
Rears to try its stealth again
And some of us
Even make a preliminary approach.
It never comes to much.

Of course, the search will go on
- we're forever optimistic.
We have mobility and energy enough
To go on looking,
Though the clues become fewer
And the time becomes shorter.
They seem so set on self-destruction.

Harmony is easy.
Would that we could tell them.
Would that they would listen.

They cannot taint us
With their lack of comprehension,
Yet, still, some among their number
May be worthy of our search.

Is it surprising
That we have permanent smiles,
When they think themselves
The dominant species?


Manifest Destiny - Those folks believed they had the God-given right to take away this land from the inhabitants who lived gently on this earth - taking only what they needed and took pride in giving away. If you weren't a Christian, you were a savage, infidel, and therefore had no "right" to the land and its resources.

Are you listening?

Echoing around the world.
Do you hear it?
Are you listening?

A message or a warning?
Mother Nature's wrath
Comes silently, washing


Away and gone
Lives, families, villages
She shakes her head
shrugs her shoulders.

A hundred thousand and more are dead.

Nature does what nature does.
Her intent to re-create herself
knows no humanity.

We pitiful humans
can only cling
to her heaving sides

And pray.

Pray that our foolish civilization
our belief that we have conquered her
will not cause more deaths.

Be it another wave, another quake
Another mudslide
Another fire.

We are expendable.
Our time on this blue marble is short
Short in the book of Mother Earth days.

We fight her in every way
trying to bend her
to our will.

And she shrugs us off
teaching us we are nothing
one more time.



I love AWAY, Judi, though as a member of this transient human race I so much wish we'd come to our senses. If we did, maybe we'd stay around a little longer on this "blue marble"!! If you haven't read it, you should read Ursula Le Guin's ALWAYS COMING HOME. It's set in an indeterminate future (maybe 500 to 1000 years?) in what was Northern California after the San Andreas Fault has become the Pacific Coast. Le Guin creates a complete culture which I suspect, from your writings, might coincide with your own philosophy in many ways.


Wow, thanks for the praise - and for the reading tip, PJ.
Seems we like the same things and feel about our planet the same way.
This is the river I live on - my ancestral tribal home and the "wars" that are going on over water.
Unfortunately, those saying they represent the Tribe (Karuk) did not ever present it to the membership. A small group of leaders have gotten in bed with the environmental terrorists and say they speak for us all. I got beads for Manhattan, hey?

Hello Peejay and JudiA. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in this way. I wanted to post some more but some of my rhymes surrounding these types of issues are far too lengthy to be reproduced here. However, I'll pick out a couple of verses so that you can get the gist.

HUMAN NATURE. (excerpts from--)

No other creatures have been found
to compare to their redound.
Human nature when set free
will go about a killing spree.
Human nature's selfish, cruel
things are viewed as their own fuel.
they break and take not for a need
more for selfish human greed.
Human nature unlike it's mother
shows no respect for any other.
It intimidates and dominates
appropriates and subjugates.
Human nature needs restraint
firm control and true constraint.
Left to itself it will devour
everything within its power.
B. Withers. 2009


I do like this a lot! Yet I feel people aren't mean-hearted, just some. Mostly, I see greed and mostly from privileged white males. Sorry guys, but this handful of bigots and warmongers are exactly that.


A Different Memorial Memory

When I think of wars and all that's done
In the name of Christ or gods unknown

I shudder.

Remembering the dead, from wars or life
I see never-ending strife and

I shudder.

I remember women, beaten to death
By men who were their husbands

I remember youth in the prime of life
Whose own hand put them under.

I remember needless deaths that come
When there is no money for doctors.

Drunk drivers slaughter on our roads
Working mothers carrying too heavy a load

Students who wish to walk
Down a peaceful road.

Babies in dumpsters, beliefs out of proportion
Too much religion for abortion and

I shudder.

We seem to celebrate our heinous wrongs
Sing of great war heroes in our songs.

But today I remember the everyday deaths
The senseless ones from neglect

The brutal ones from crimes committed
The needless ones from sins omitted

For all these unsung poor and weak
I lift my voice and speak

But all that will come out today

2005 Memorial Day


Peejay, Bill, and Judi, please accept my gratitude for sharing your poetic creations and my apology for needing to use a dictionary to attempt to understand some of it. You guys are so very talented, in somewhat different ways, and we're blessed to access your works. Wow! Resolution touches on the greatest musician of all time (IMHO) with a geological description of human emotional accompaniment, and that's just the first paragraph.
In a very non-poetic way, I agree with so much of what you guys addressed about the planet, personal greed, recklessness, and all the crap that brings sorrow and fear for the future. I must, however, defend humanity to the extent that I think most of us are good folks who really want to do the right things most of the time. Some of us might even be great, but most will try to be as good as we can be until it gets uncomfortable. A lot of the destruction we witness is a function of ignorance and laziness. We don't always know how our actions affect the planet, our neighbors, friends, and family, and sometimes we just don't care. How sad.
We're so blessed here to have each other, common goals, a platform to question and offer answers, and maybe even show off a little.
Thank you Poets,

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