A Poem for Everyone #FridayFunReads #Poetry #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Mingled Voices 6

Edited by Gillian and Verner Bickley

Copyright 2022.

 

What Amazon Says

 

MINGLED VOICES 6 contains the work of sixty-seven poets. The one hundred and thirty-three or so poems were selected from those entered for the International Proverse Poetry Prize in 2021, the sixth such annual international competition administered from Hong Kong.

The International Proverse Poetry Prize was jointly founded in 2016 by Dr Gillian Bickley and Dr Verner Bickley, MBE, in association with the annual international Proverse Prize for unpublished book-length fiction, non-fiction or poetry, submitted in English, which they also founded, in 2008.

Poems could be submitted on any subject or topic, chosen by each poet, or on the subject chosen for 2021 by the Administrators, “Shielding” (interpreted in any way each writer chose). There was a free choice of interpretation, form and style.

Included in the anthology are the poems that won the first, second, and third prizes. Selection to appear in the anthology was also awarded as a prize by the judges. This year, special mention is additionally made of five of these poets.

Poems were submitted from around the world by writers with a variety of previous writing experience.

Brief biographies of all of those whose work is represented in Mingled Voices 6 are included in the anthology as well as authors’ background notes on their work.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I found the commentary by editors and some of the poets at the beginning of the anthology unnecessary. In my opinion, poems should be allowed to speak for themselves. The back stories poets provided for each of their works at the end was sufficient and added a nice touch.

This collection provides poems on a wide range of topics such as nature, current events, and mental illness. I could relate to “A Trip to the Supermarket” by Shikha Bansal. “Le Chat” by Neil Douglas gave me a chuckle. Then, of course, there’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” by yours truly, which I posted here a few days ago.

I found some of the poems way too dark for my liking. But I was delighted to discover work by Carrie Hooper and Lynda McKinney Lambert, authors I’ve known for years, whom I met through Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ organization to which I belong. Whether you like poems that are light, dark, about animals, about humans, this anthology has something for you, and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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The Girl with the Flaxen Hair #TuesdayTidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

I’m posting the following poem in response to Stevie Turner’s Friday Write feature. You can click here to participate.

This poem was published in Mingled Voices 6, an annual poetry anthology produced by Proverse Poetry of Hong Kong. I’m planning to review this book here Friday. So, please stay tuned. You can click on the poem’s title to hear me read it. Below the poem, you’ll find a back story and YouTube video of the classical piece referenced. Enjoy!

 

THE GIRL WITH THE FLAXEN HAIR

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2021.

 

With fine, golden curls gleaming in summer sunlight,
gazing eyes, long lashes,
cherry lips so tempting to kiss,
she stands on grass, silent.

As my father struggles to play, on the piano,
the flowing melody and harmony
that Debussy so beautifully created to depict her,
the girl with flaxen hair
dies a slow, torturous death,
every wrong note, every pause
a stab to her heart,
until she crumples to the soft grass.

Oblivious, Dad continues
to plod through the piece,
note and chord by painstaking note and chord
until he brings it to a discordant conclusion.

 

BACK STORY

 

My father enjoyed playing the piano when I was growing up. He had no formal training but could read music, and I think he wanted to be like his brothers, who played the piano and guitar, and his father, who played the saxophone. My father played jazz standards pretty well after he practiced them. But he never fully mastered the one classical piece he took an interest in playing, Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.”

I was inspired to write my poem, “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” after reading a similar poem by a fellow critique group participant about how his father played Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” I found, on Wikipedia, the original poem on which “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” was based. I incorporated concepts from that poem to explain how my poor, dear father, may he rest in peace, inadvertently destroyed this beautiful creature with his attempt to play Debussy’s work.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Mingled Voices 3 #Thursday Book Feature

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Mingled Voices 3- Proverse International Poetry Prize Anthology 2018

by Gillian and Verner Bickley

Copyright 2019.

 

The contributors to this  anthology, me included, are from around the world. Poems cover a variety of topics. Some are abstract while others are more straightforward. Most are free verse, but some use traditional forms. My contribution, “Alley Cat Detective,” can be read on my blog here.

I enjoyed reading many of the diverse poems in this book. The poem I submitted was inspired by a prompt to write about something unusual. I encourage you to read it at the link above. If you like it, I hope you’ll buy the anthology and read many more poems like it.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Alley Cat Detective (Poetry)

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The following poem was published in Mingled Voices 3, an anthology produced by Proverse Poetry of Hong Kong. Several years ago, I took a correspondence poetry course from the Hadley Institute, and one of the exercises inspired me to write it. The prompt was to write about something unusual. You can click on the Play button below the poem to hear me read it.

 

 

ALLEY CAT DETECTIVE

 

After midnight, I seek the scoundrel
who broke into an elderly man’s home,
shot him point blank in his bed.

I sense the perp’s nearness,
sneak into an alley,
spot him against a dumpster,
approach from behind,
yowl, nip his ankles,
as a police car appears.

The startled suspect is apprehended.
After shoving the handcuffed crook into the back of the patrol car,
an officer turns, bends, strokes me.
I purr, rub against his ankle,
then slink away, my night’s work done.

 

 

By the way, if you like cats, stay tuned. On Thursday, I’ll review a book about cats who do ordinary, remarkable, and unbelievable things.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Stay Away from My Tree House

Last year, a day care center opened next door to me. One day, I overheard one or two children admiring, from afar, the tree house in my back yard. The following poem was inspired by one of those “what if” moments I get as a writer.

What if one of those kids sneaked into my yard, climbed my tree, then fell? What if I wasn’t home, and the child lay injured on the ground for hours before help arrived? What if his parents sued me? The tree house has since been taken down due to concerns about the tree’s stability.

This poem was published in Mingled Voices 2, an anthology produced by Proverse Poetry of Hong Kong. You can click the link below to hear me read it.

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stay away from my treehouse.mp3

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STAY AWAY FROM My TREE HOUSE

Little one, it looks inviting, doesn’t it,
a house nestled in an old oak tree?
It’s far from homey.

It came with this house I bought ten years ago.
I don’t know how long it’s been there,
wooden ladder rickety, perhaps unstable.

If you manage to get to the top,
who knows if the structure would bear weight?
Like the cradled baby in the treetop,
you and the house could tumble down, down, down,
land on the ground all broken.

The ambulance would take you away.
Wearing a body cast from head to toe,
you’d spend weeks, months in the hospital.
Unable to do anything
but lie there and watch television,
you’d long to be outside with your friends.
Dora the Explorer would get old after a while.

Your parents would sue me.
I’d have to sell my house
in order to pay your hospital bill,
move to a senior apartment complex,
where I could no longer enjoy my own back yard,

so you’d better not climb into my tree house
if you know what’s good for both of us.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***