Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Curiosity, the spark that sets us apart
       on our quest for knowledge... 

Common sense is learned in degrees
starting at the knees of our elders.
In their words and stories, we learn about ourselves,
When we finally learn to read, we travel—
floating on a raft down the Mississippi;
chasing an elusive white whale on an endless sea;
joining a group of unlikely companions
on a quest for something ‘larger’ than ourselves.
The world expands, becoming greater than we ever imagined.

The more we absorb, the hungrier we become;
history teaches us, but it’s the stuff outside of the margins
        that holds the real story...
Who wrote this? What guided his thoughts as he lay
in the trenches of the French Revolution
the Civil War, World War I?

So we follow these word paths, penned from the souls
of a thousand, nay, a thousand times ten thousand.
We hold their stories and garner their memories
adhering them to our own.  We are with them
as they climb the path to Mt. Doom,
slip down the rabbit hole,
feel the pendulum brush their skin,
and click their shoes to go home again;
never wanting to leave this secret garden,
this Neverland of dreams and imagination.

Through the words we learn to sort fact from fiction,
weigh guilt from innocence, solve crimes;
discover ordinary heroes rising against extraordinary villains.
Words hold the power to change the world:
willfull ignorance and lies cannot hold up against
those who have learned to recognize truth

The early scribes and monks of old had a daunting task:
they laboured for hours on vellum pages with ink and quill,
 no computers then, nor ballpoint pen...
the process ever slow and tedious.
Is it any wonder when their pens would wander?
That even early on, if given a choice,
they would surrender to their inner voice
        setting free their imagination
to provide not just a story, but illumination.

© Ginny Brannan 2014

Illumination has several definitions, two of which pertain to this:
1) Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment
2) Painting or drawing included in a book, i.e.:medieval manuscripts

For NaPoWriMo #24: using the marginal drawings and artwork known as "illumination" as inspiration.

Yes, even humor could be found in medieval manuscripts!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Last(ing) Impressions

The last time I saw you we were just kids...
your mom was remarried; you had a new dad—
it was summer vacation and we had plans
             things to do;
I was to spend a week with you.

The radio was playing when I awoke
voices in the kitchen, clearly upset...
I heard the news come over the air:
“While visiting her grandparents
   young girl involved in accident…”
At first it didn’t register, but then I knew
  that the ‘young girl’ was you.

You were the daughter my uncle never had
your mom clearly someone that he adored;
I don’t know the reason why they split
maybe because he couldn’t commit.
...but that was for grown-ups, we were just kids.

The last time I saw you the world stood still;
how could the gods take someone so young?
A lasting impression of loss and of pain

 ...my heart still remembers you, now and again.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Following a friend's lead: Day 23 of NaPoWriMo, writing a story or poem with the word "last" in the title. Just an excerpt from this life on the loss of a friend from my childhood— a memory from 1968,  back in the days when helmets were not required when riding a bike. We'll never know if it would've saved her, but a really good reason and argument for the safety of all. In my memory, she remains just 11 years old...

Saturday, April 22, 2017


“We’ll make America great again”
you spoke and set the tone,
while only stirring hate again.

With every bill that you amend
we face a new unknown
to “make America great” again.

We watch you stand there quite content
to deport and rezone,
while generating hate again.

How many folks can you offend
or use as stepping stones
still chanting “we’ll be great again?”

Just what is it you intend
with these seeds you’ve sown
that promote such hate again…

Surrounded by your kith and kin
you constantly bemoan
that you'll “make America Great” again
while only stirring hate again.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Day 21 NaPoWriMo to write about something we overheard. Yeah, sorry,  a bit of a political rant, just where the words went for the prompt.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Playing for the Win

Image: Wikipedia, Snakes and Ladders

I’ve never been good at playing games—
I can’t bluff to save my life
all that I feel is written across my face,
so cards are out.
And chess would not be my forte;
I barely have the ability to see one move ahead
much less twelve to the win.
Monopoly, like poker, and chess,
requires certain skills,
none of which I possess.
No, my life is more like Snakes and Ladders
a mix of skill and chance, good and bad
of climbing and slipping back again
How many times have I ended up where I’ve begun
—falling back to square one?
I can only hope when the game is complete
that the virtues will outweigh the sins
and I will find the salvation that awaits
those who persist.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

To learn more about this fascinating game, a pretty good reflection on life itself, check it out at Wikipedia.

Keeping the Monster at Bay

Slowly it seems inside each passing day
with barely a nod as we function and breath,
comes a new symptom that’s barely perceived
as the outer shell ages and starts to betray.

First to be noticed: the silver and gray
scattered amidst the red, brown or black;
blondes, a bit lighter, may fend this attack
yet with nary a blink, we survey.

Then subtle “crows feet,” or smile lines they say,
appear ‘round the eyes nose and mouth
and all that was once trim and perky goes south
as bowing to time, they obey.

Shortly thereafter pain starts to convey
the bones turning brittle and thin,
then brown spots appear on pale parchment skin
as the mind starts to wander and stray

Exacting his toll is this Reaper’s forte
and we are but pawns in his game
Will you slip blindly or fight to remain,
invoking your right to belay
while keeping the monster at bay.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Optical Illusions, Dreams, and Delusions

We watch as moon ascends the eastern sky
a massive disc now peeking over fence—
an optical illusion on the rise
appearing ever larger to our eyes
than any image captured through a lens.

And what we see and what the mind imprints
border between concrete and surreal;
we tuck away to pull out and reprise,
but should we find delusion has dispensed
we search to understand what was revealed.

Same could be said for all the pain we feel,
whether caused by physical distress
or mental anguish covert and disguised—
setting off alarms and raising shields,
then leaving us despondent and depressed.

Hope rises like the moon in pale nightdress
her whisper carried soft among the stars—
and even earthen mother can surmise
that if trials and tribulations are the test;
then blessings and endowments are our prize.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Day 17 NaPoWriMo, to write a Nocturne, a night poem. Not the same as a Nocturna which is specific to nine lines,  a nocturne in music is a composition meant to be played at night, in poetry it seems to translate to a night poem with a soft cadence in reading. No specific length or meter. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Address Unknown, Please Forward

My dearest friend, 

I do not know wherein you sleep
there is no marker for the spot
 nor stone that bears an epitaph...

Still I have flowers to be shared
and time to spend in warm repast–
pink roses for appreciation
a thank you for your gentle heart,
for the grace you held in passing;
then red for courage and for passion,
the beauty shining from within—
I know you’d laugh at me for saying
 —so humble even to the end.
There’s yellow ones for friendship shared
and promises of new beginnings…
I bring eleven stems to you,
the meaning hidden in the number
for you were loved more than you knew.

I do not know wherein you rest
so we converse through time and thought
please know your legacy lives on
as more than ashes in some box.


© Ginny Brannan 2017

**Eleven roses assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved ...

Day 16, NaPoWriMo: Compose a letter to someone. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.  (Sorry, I cheated a bit and pulled this from my Works In Progress/ Unpublished file. I wrote a long time ago, but never knew just how to share it. As a letter actually works.)