Monday, December 25, 2017

Peace be with You

My happiest childhood holiday memories were of Christmas Eve at my grandparents house on Snake Pond.  Do not let the location  scare you - this place was filled to the rooftop with laughter and love all year round.  Yet on Christmas Eve, magic happened.  Family I had not seen for months all gathered in the parlor to drink cocktails (or hot chocolate in my case), exchange gifts and share stories which would leave the adults bent over in laughter and the kids scurrying about the plush carpet with new toys.  Eventually we would head downstairs for dinner - fish chowder, herring and homemade macaroni and cheese with crispy butter soaked croutons baked on top.  I would fight my uncle for the celery stuffed with cream cheese and my sister would slide under the table with our cousins to avoid having to try the fish.

But before heading downstairs to the feasting, my grandmother would bring out an envelope with white, sometimes pink wafers.  We would take one and make our way to everyone in the room, break off a piece from theirs, say "Peace be with you" and kiss on the cheek.  The wafers, Oplatki as they are called in Polish, tasted of sweet paper, melting in your mouth before you could chew it.  I was told it was the same as communion wafers (which the adults would have as part of the midnight mass capping off the evening).  Though to me, I thought of these as magic slices that kept our family together.

*From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

As time passed, the relatives moved further away and the traditions I grew up with dissolved like a wafter in the snow.  Now as an adult I craved something I could could call my own,  a tradition I hoped to share with my own chosen family.  This includes a bike ride up to the summit of Mount Tamalpais near where I live, peppermint hot chocolate on the way back and a delectable evening feast someplace with a view.

This warmed my heart (and truth be told, froze my toes) but I felt something was missing.  I wanted open my heart to those I cared for, to wish them peace and love.  So  I wrote the church my grandmother Sophie attended so many years ago to request an envelop of wafers which I hope to share.  And in my own way I have found a place of light, love and good tidings.


Take five minutes to remember your happiest holiday memory - where were you? What were you wearing? Who were you with?  What scent filled the air - Christmas tree?, warm mulled cider? your grandfather's cologne?  Write an ode to that memory.  Did your holidays not follow a traditional path? Write about what that meant to you, describe all the nuances that made it special or different.  If none of that tickles your fancy - describe the perfect holiday celebration as you would have it - no-holds-barred, this world, other world, what ever!  Go wild!  

Word Prompts:


May this time bring you laughter and joy however you celebrate it - Peace be with you.

Share your links to your poetry in the comments below.

Jenny Astramowicz resides in San Francisco where she works for the local university, trains for endurance events and writes.  Her long term dream is to live in France with her two cats.
Not all who wander are lost...
#OctPoWriMo  #NaPoWriMo #NaNoWriMo #Poetsonthepage

Find her on  Google +  Twitter Instagram
You can read her poetry at


Monday, December 18, 2017

Poetry Prompts - Fantasy Land

I really feel the need to create an alternate world, a vision of what might be magical and beautiful and fantastic about being human. ~Shary Boyle

Poetry Prompts - Fantasy Land
Art by Morgan Dragonwillow

My five year old granddaughter and I started talking about what an 'Emily World' would look like. She said that everything would be made out of candy except the trees would be made out of Brocoli and the grass would be made out of Twizzlers.

If you lived in a fantasy world, what would it look like?

Word Prompts:

polka dots

Poetry Ebook Spotlight

Aggravated Felon - Poetry to Liberate the Soul by Wendy Grela-M'Poko

Description from Amazon:

In this collection of poems, Wendy turns an experience that should have broken her spirit, into one that ended up setting her free spiritually. In the mist of deportation the only thing that really understood Wendy was The Pen and Paper.

When Wendy started utilizing the tools at hand something magical happened. What started off as an escape turned into a passion. Using words to bring to life colorful experiences from delicacy and wonder, to pure heartache. Wendy's poems are fearless and leave nothing unexplored, no words wasted.
This diverse collection stands on no equal ground with anyone else’s works, and establishes her as an important poet needed for this generation.
Sunny is here to bring back poetry!

Play with your words until you breathe life into them!

Share your links to your poetry in the comments below.

Morgan Dragonwillow, author of Wild Woman Waking & Dancing within Shadow, is a Bodywork transformer, dancing poet, motivator of words, magical instigator and creatrix of #OctPoWriMo & #PoetsonthePage. Collaborate with your soul and get your words on the page. Wild Woman Writing Retreat.
Yes, she is on Google+ too!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Poetry Prompt: Chaos

This is a crazy time of year. With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves busy with family obligations, gift shopping and wrapping, packing and traveling, and confronting often difficult emotions when loved ones are no longer around. Often, the self-care that comes with a daily writing practice or daily creative practice can get lost in the overwhelming lists of things to be done as we close out the year.

I want to encourage you to embrace the chaos by channeling it into your writing. Morgan Dragonwillow reminded me of this just as NaNoWriMo began in November. She mentioned the website 750words, a digital tool for writing daily Morning Pages. (If you're unfamiliar with Morning Pages, check out Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way or visit her website HERE.) I returned to this daily writing practice online on November 5 and have been consistently writing there every day since.

One thing I have noticed in my own daily writing practice is how often the word "chaos" kept coming up for me. I took this as a sign that I need to lean into the chaos, to embrace it as part of my world right now, and to offer it to you for this week's prompt.

I wish you words,
Amy McGrath

The Prompt:

Consider different ways that you experience or observe chaos. Did you know there's a hair care line called "Controlled Chaos"? I remember a house band from my undergraduate days called "Organized Confusion". 

How do you react/feel when there is chaos around you (excessive noise, clutter, crowds, etc.)? Do you ever experience internal chaos, those times when your mind is racing in many different directions and you can't seem to focus on any one task long enough to complete it? Lean into chaos in your writing. Describe it, tell us how you deal with it, illustrate it with your words. 

Synonyms (Word Prompts): 

disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, uproar, maelstrom, muddle, mess, shambles, free-for-all, anarchy, lawlessness, entropy, hullabaloo, hoopla, train wreck, all hell broke loose

Image Prompts:

Chaos in Green and Gold
Acrylic Monoprint
Amy McGrath

Neutral Chaos
Acrylic Monoprint
Amy McGrath

Spiraling Chaos
Acrylic Monoprint
Amy McGrath

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rekindling the Flame

Photo from the Public Domain

Every now and then, anyone can have a tough year—personally, professionally, or health-wise.  But, when friends and family rally around us with their support and love, the unbearable becomes tolerable. Our chances for recovery magnify.

And many of us have “been there” for others, whether it’s by phone, Skype, mail, or being physically present. We offer a kind or encouraging word, share useful information, help with necessary tasks, or just stay near. These actions give comfort and bolster feelings of well-being. They restore confidence and lift depression.

Humans are wired to help those in need. We look at our skills and abilities. Then we do what we can. We’ve all been there --encouraging, supporting, instilling hope, sometimes taking the situation in hand.

Everyone’s been on the receiving end at one time or another. Friends and family, colleagues, and sometimes strangers, extended a hand and rekindled our flames. The humanity comes out in every one of us, and we realize we’re all in this life together. For this we are grateful.

Photo by geralt (2016) via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

This Week’s Prompt
Free write about a time when another person stepped up to rekindle your flame. OR, when you were the person who helped revitalize a friend’s, family member’s, or an acquaintance’s spark. OR, maybe you reignited your own fire.

What was the situation? What were you feeling? Who else was involved? How did the renewal happen? What difference was made? How did you feel once the episode was over?
1)      Let your writing sit for a few hours or overnight.
2)      Read it over and highlight or circle words or phrases that strike you.
3)      Use some of those words to guide your poem. Your poem could turn out to be an ode. (See Shadow Poetry.)

Word Bank Prompt
down and out

Quote Prompt

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  -- Albert Schweitzer

Share your website or your poem in the Comments section below and/or in the Facebook group Poets on the Page. On social media, use #PoetsOnThePage.

Poetry Book Highlight
            Counting Descent by Clint Smith


Winner, 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award
Finalist, 2017 NAACP Image Awards
'One Book One New Orleans' 2017 Book Selection
Clint Smith's debut poetry collection, Counting Descent, is a coming of age story that seeks to complicate our conception of lineage and tradition. Smith explores the cognitive dissonance that results from belonging to a community that unapologetically celebrates black humanity while living in a world that often renders blackness a caricature of fear. His poems move fluidly across personal and political histories, all the while reflecting on the social construction of our lived experiences. Smith brings the reader on a powerful journey forcing us to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we seek to unlearn moving forward.

Annis Cassells is a writer, poet, life coach, and teacher.  She divides her time between Bakersfield, California and Coos Bay, Oregon. She is a member of Writers of Kern, a branch of the California Writers Club. See Annis’s blogs at and and her website at