The Singular Experience


Trapped in a singular experience

One in which the intensity is almost unbearable

This is war, this is accidental life, unplanned,

Sudden, a hostage situation of the mind

Waiting for deliverance, for the rescue, for the revealing

Of the plan, the moment when the captor drops his guard

The moment also unexpected, but clear

Now? Now? Now. Waiting.

Goodbye April Poetry Month

Poetry is so mysterious.  I love the collection of quotes about poetry on Addie Zierman’s post today, especially one by Dave Harrrity: “They aren’t silver bullets, tweetable platitudes, divine deliveries, or didactic directives that help you “be a better person.”  If a poem made your world easier, simpler, or more livable, then it’s almost certain that you haven’t read a poem.”

 On the Frustration of Poetry

I danced the dance

fought the fight

did the hard thing and listened to my soul.

And when it was said, I

presented it to him,

that teacher,

that Know-it-all,

that God.

And all he said (though not unkindly) was

“that poem’s not finished

keep writing.”

Shirley Dietz  2013 



A to Z Challenge: U for Untitled

Untitled for Now

I have a dream where something is lost

I do not know where it is, because I’m not sure

I’m not sure what it is. But it’s gone.

I only have that empty feeling as a clue to where it was


It was a precious thing and I planned never

Never to lose it. I think I hid it somewhere for safety

Little did I know it would be so safe

So safe I would not find it in all my searching


I look for it regularly because there is hope

Hope of some sort. I think it will be recovered

When I accidentally remember what it is,

And where it is. I hope I didn’t imagine it, that precious thing.


A to Z Challenge: P for Poem (hello National Poetry Month)

I have a friend, J. Carroll Barnhill (J for Jesse and he’s always wondered how he ended up with two girl names…). A few years after I met him he had a bad fall from a very frisky race horse and shattered his hip.  He came to stay at my house for his rather lengthy recovery and it was suggested to him that since he couldn’t do much but lie in bed, he should read or maybe write poetry.  Many years later he is still writing poetry and reading his favorites at gatherings of all kinds.  He doesn’t type much, which is why I’ve gotten to type most of his creations and they are all stored on my computer. As “keeper of the anthologies” I wrote this poem for him and it was included in the preface of his first book.


Another Silly Poem


“Another silly poem,” he said, “for you to type today.”

“You probably don’t have time for this, but I thought I’d ask anyway.”

The words are scrawled on whatever’s at hand, envelope, napkin or pad.

Sometimes hard to read, grammatically strange, but inspired by a vision he’d had.


His words, his thoughts, his moments of life, captured with pen and ink

Are presented to me with a hopeful smile and then “What do you think?”

Obviously bursting with pride at this “newborn thing” he’s made,

Yet giving his feelings a place to hide in case I don’t give a good grade.


All his years of living, places and times, simply written down

Passed on to those who identify, who marvel, who laugh or frown

Or cry or argue or shake their heads – amazement on their face.

How can so many words jump out from such an unlikely place?


For he’s been a man of action, a workman with his hands.

Setting poles, stringing wires, driving machines, caring for horses and land,

Loving and losing, rejecting and choosing – no busier person around.

Who would think he’d have dared to try this new thing, this talent freshly found.


It’s his courage that takes the time to share and cares to pass things on

It’s his joy that sees the fun and rhyme, and hope life’s built upon.

Word upon word, one page at a time, a life I’ve never known…

So with respect I sit to type “another silly poem”.


Shirley Dietz © 2006