Friday, October 13, 2017

In a Nutshell

We cannot let our fears take hold
that threaten now to paralyze
to eat away at who we are—
from those who’ve traded out their soul
for living out a life bazaar.
The moment that we realize
each stop and start, each interruption
devised to keep the truth at bay;
meant to divide and polarize,
the repetition to hold sway.
Smoke and mirrors for corruption
from leaders who would dummy down;
there’s so much more than meets the eye:
with plans to take healthcare reductions,
bold-faced lies on tax deduction,
and votes on women’s reproduction—
each new derision ‘systemized.’

It seems this ship has run aground
in shallow seas and rocky shoals,
overcome by waves of hate.
But even kings can come uncrowned
when their thoughts become unsound.
And so we must assess our goals—
call bullies out for what they are
and listen to that inner voice
that holds our path and keeps us whole.
For each of us, we have a choice—
and even if we do not know
the course that history will take,
we must hold to that spark of truth,
and never cede to undertow,
standing ground for what’s at stake.

The simplest of rules apply:
Let your conscience be your guide
find the truth inside each ‘lie’
Trust inner voice to recognize,
to see through cleverest disguise…
and though you may be criticized,
never take the compromise.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bringing Down Goliath

The news crests in waves
its burden grows,
its burgeoning weight unfolds
as the story is told
 again and again.
New, yet old, we’ve been here before…
the victims, the heroes, the rescues…
and the underlying, the incident defining,
the never-ending question—
What is the common thread
that weaves through these events?
Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook
Virginia Tech, Miami, Las Vegas
“Guns don’t kill people, people do.”
“If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns”
Did our forefathers foresee automatic weaponry
when they constitutional-ized the right
to “Keep and bear arms?”
How many innocents must be lost?
How many children must die?
How many husbands, wives, fathers, mothers,
brothers, sisters, friends, loved ones?

If now is NOT the time to address this, then when?

Tired of the “bought and paid for’s“
sweeping it under the rug.
This isn’t about the rights of the hunters
to keep their rifles—though the NRA
will make surely make it seem that way.
It is about the ease at which anyone
with money and an i.d. can by a gun.
It is about how one person can amass
an arsenal, an armory, and go on a shooting spree—
while there is no accountability,
no central data base, no red flag  
to track the would-be crazies.
“The people have rights.”
What about the rights of all citizens
to go to school, to go to church,
to go out for an evening,
without fear of never returning home again?

Accountability starts with us—
 you and me— speaking out.
If enough Davids take on Goliath
he will fall,
and maybe, just maybe, mass shootings
will cease to be so commonplace,
maybe, just maybe, we can feel safe again,
and maybe, just maybe,  we won’t have to hear the words
“the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history”

© Ginny Brannan 2017 

Image: Bierberg,
Full credit to Bierberg who conceptualized the perfect image of a modern day Goliath. Link with image, above.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Late September

Image: Charlie Parant Appetite for Photos

Time hides between the second hands
while evening takes the hinterlands;
the treetops bask in orange glow
as twilight falls upon the land.

Their shadows dance, simpatico;
as daylight fades we watch them grow;
while Autumn sings her ripened tune
and summer bedlam starts to slow.

And through the trees, a harvest moon
now peaks through shroud of cloud cocoon
ever soft, her afterglow
whispers “Winter’s coming soon.”

As late day sky turns indigo
the cawing of a lonely crow
reminding us it’s time to go;
...reminds again, it's time to go.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

*Image taken by Charlie Parant and used here with expressed written permission from photographer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Time Thief

Another year has come and gone
how quick the days fly past
ever forward time moves on
nothing ever lasts

The secret of “forever young”
is not just youthful looks;
it’s in the friendships that we forge,
the ‘chapters’ of our book.

So dwell not on what isn’t done
and give yourself reprieve—
look instead from whence you’ve come
and all that you’ve achieved!

© GB 2017

A wee thought in honor of a dear friend's birthday.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Still Searching for Answers

I have lifted my eyes to the heavens to pray
trying to renew the faith I once felt;
coming to find at the end of the day
that life as I know it is centered on doubt.
How can a God sanction such anger and hate,
the loss of a parent to such a young child;
the illness and pain that never abates…
too many questions left unreconciled.

We thank God for all of the good things that come,
but who takes the blame for the unanswered prayer?
Time intercedes until we become numb—
stuck in this place between hope and despair.

I believe there are angels who wander among us:
in the friend who just senses when you need to talk;
in the kindness of strangers when we are in crisis,
who lift and support us when we cannot walk.

Life lessons learned have hardened this heart;
still God bless the ones who can truly believe.
Blind faith without proof is really an art;
it’s in love and kindness I’ll find my reprieve.
Still I ponder the words that we heard in our youth:
to pray, to have faith that our voice will heard;
but have come to acknowledge this as my truth—
my divinity’s found helping those here on earth.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

“God helps those who help themselves.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
 origin: 409 BC  Sophocles (before Christianity) from Wikipedia:
— “No good ever comes of leisure purposeless, and heaven ne’er helps men who will not act.”

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Hope floats in little boats
through flooded streets and avenues
while silent cries rise in our throats

A factory goes up in smoke;
this life they knew now turned askew
their hope afloat in little boats.

The news folk capture every quote;
each sound bite shared for all to view—
while silent cries rise in our throats.

The charities all self-promote,
with daring clips of those rescued
floating past in little boats.

For leadership, the day was rote:
they paused a moment, then withdrew;
the silent cries rose in our throats.

Across the globe the world will note
the ones who stood and made it through;
their hope afloat in little boats
while silent cries rose in their throats.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Sunday, August 27, 2017

In the Shadow of the Night King

From heated debates venting so much hate,
temperatures rise; before our eyes
a storm rolls in; we’re at the beginning
of bigger things. Who could have imagined
this turn of the tides: whitewater churning—
every day now spent “unlearning”
the truth as we knew it? History shows that
we’ve been here before…hard to ignore
how it repeats, how it depletes our energy.
Once more drained, the power remains—
with whom you say? On any given day
we’re being slammed, completely hammered
with lies and innuendo. Who has the truth?
It’s been lost at a cost we cannot grasp.
When shit starts at the top and rolls downhill
the mirrors go up to reflect the swill
that we’ve become. It isn’t pretty
When we ourselves get caught in the heat
then Evil Incarnate’s plan is complete
Ever further from middle ground
we wait for the “other side” to fall down.
When common sense itself rescinds
we divide to be conquered from within.
Brother to brother, friend to friend
that’s how a civil war begins.
Have we been played from beginning to end?
The climate is changing as leadership wanes
no respect in the masses, no political gains
stagnant, repugnant, recalcitrant too
how sad, indeed… What can we do?
No strong enough leader to rally behind
would it be surprising to see an uprising?
With daily inciting the Devil’s enticing us;
will we be caught up in his little game?
When every day promises more of the same.
We’ve stepped back into the Twilight Zone
where blatant hatred thought unknown
marches in the streets again—
everyone loses, no on wins.
So “savvy up” people, look around
only we can make the change that’s needed.
We see the writing on the wall,
how long before the warning’s heeded?

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Carrying the Torch

We are the tired, the poor
at one time elevated
now we’re denigrated;
we watch the “disillusionist”
slam our front door.
Where are the promises
that called to our elders
who risked life and limb
to come to this shore?
Who raised up their families
despite any hardship,
now find they are ‘pink-slipped’
and welcome no more.

We need to get back to the basics once promised
we need to return to the truth at our core
where hard work’s rewarded
where cheating is thwarted
where bullshit and liars are shunned and ignored

She stands in the harbor, where some call her ‘Lady’
yet others are known to have called her a “whore”
this symbol of “Liberty“ who welcomes the masses,
this emblem of all who have come here before.
Hold high your lamp, oh, Symbol of Freedom!
Call out the losers, and those who’d abhor…
Remind them our strength is not just in numbers
but in our allegiance for all we stand for!
Remind us stand tall, and help the afflicted
ravaged by hunger, by thirst, or by war.
Help us remember that we are their beacons;
and that trust only comes when you build a rapport.
Just like all families, sometimes we bicker,
yet when push comes to shove we are hard to ignore;
for we’re so much better when we stand together
diverse but united, our country endures.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In the Still of the Night

Image by author: Back yard, hard edited.

Over the fence what was once a garden
ten, twelve, fifteen years ago
has rendered itself unrecognizable;
 a winding of undergrowth, an overgrown tangle
of weeds and vines, sumac and bittersweet.
The old owner of the land passed on long ago,
his tiny hoarder’s cottage left to a friend.
Uninhabited,  left as tinder to burn to the ground—
faulty wiring or arson for insurance­...we’ll never really know.
The sun has dipped now below the horizon,
dusk turns to darkness,  the former garden
takes on an other-worldly view—
shadow images of arms and hands
stretch out, reaching for the waning moon.
The soft rustle of leaves can be heard, interjected by
the crackle of a branch snapping now and again—
perhaps a skunk or some other wild denizen of the night,
but more than likely one of three feral cats whom
have adopted this yard and made it their home.
The sound of a passing shower, raindrops on tree tops
adds its whisper to the chorus
odors of wet leaves and dampened earth
come slipping through the screen.

There is a certain comfort
in the night sounds, a normalcy…
a sense of security;
counterbalancing the chaos
to erase the lunacy of the day,
I close my eyes now, and surrender
and to my dreams, now slip away.

"Goodnight room"
"Goodnight moon"

© Ginny Brannan 2017

* Quote from children's book, "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown

Judging You, Judging Me

“We all judge. that’s our hobby.
Some people do arts and crafts. We judge.”
—Stanford, Sex and the City

I heard you say you have no vices,
and see that you’ve taken to judging others
on a sliding scale of perfection;
with no one quite as perfect as you.
You know all that there is to know
on a myriad of subjects
and a multitude of points.
Alcohol, tobacco, drugs…
the bane of the 'weak-minded,'
and anyone with such affliction
should rid themselves of their addiction.
How fast you counter with your opinion,
to expose such ‘weaknesses’ to your minions.

—God forbid you ever knew the anguish of abuse
    the pain of infection that eats the bone
    the torment that rips out  the heart
    the invisible suffering that tears one apart.

I dare you to walk a mile
in the other person’s shoes—
yeah, that person whom you're sure
lit up that cigarette just to “spite” you;
the one you’ve deemed as thinking
“only of themselves”
polluting the air that’s there
for only you to breath
Perhaps they, like you, needed
a night out, a reprieve—
from the worries that they carry,
from a life you could never understand.
How hard it must be to keep up that image of the perfect man
Don’t you see that they, too,  pull their pants on one leg at a time?
In another lifetime, you also might have been judged...
but we no longer talk of lifestyle choices
in once-hushed tones and whispered voices.

So best not judge lest you be judged...

We ALL have vices, some obvious
and some so subtle that even those affected
cannot see them for what they are.
Yet, if we take a good look in the mirror
we might realize —with some measure of shame—
inside all preconceived notions lies this truth:
   we really are the same...
not one of us is perfectno matter what we claim.
So, be careful where your laurels rest
  and whom you would defame

© Ginny Brannan 2017

*TY to C.B. for the perfect quote above, which I saw and remembered on your page from such a long, long time ago.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Historically Speaking

Image: G.Brannan, Little Roundtop, Gettysburg, PA-rendered as painting

We have history, you and I—
it goes back quite a ways, back to the days
when we were younger—so much younger
It was something even back then,
all fresh and new, pure and pristine…
with youthful exuberance we forged ahead—
where there were no roads we blazed our own,
finding strength in our common bonds,
discovering  that even in disagreement
a deeper understanding can be born.
Yeah, we made mistakes along the way…
words, like blades, cut deep and heal slow.
Scars remain, reminders that this too, will pass.
Life has brought us here,
forward is the only direction we can go—
so we build our course, layer upon layer…
there’s no bullshit, no lyin’ and no denyin’,
we are acutely aware,
that we are grounded
in this place, this space,
this history that we share.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Somewhere Between the Rapture and the Rain…

We are, each of us, scarred—
sullied and carved
by jagged remnants
of nameless afflictions.
I will never judge
your scratches and flaws,
nor diminish what you’ve borne
with platitudes and empty words.

For what one sees is minimal,
barely a mar on the surface—
like an iceberg, the trauma
we've incurred sits deeper:
invisible to the naked eye
yet felt on the days
when the sun lies veiled
and old memories rise
to fester once more...
And yet, we survive 
despite our flaws,
or maybe, because of them.

I have felt your distance
as your thoughts turned inward
before focusing once again.
There’s beauty in your nakedness
where only truth remains
no need to cover up the welts,
nor pull away in shame.
Each one of us has a past,
so who can ferry blame?

You may not think I know you well,
but I understand the pain…
no one feels the sun’s sweet warmth
unless they’ve known the rain.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Image Credit: Melanie Mercoglana Photography, Google Images

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Love Song

Hey now my darlin’, it’s time to come home
I’ve been waiting on you for a while—
our seeds are all sown
and our grandkids are grown,
it’s time that I shared your smile.

Hey now my darlin’, the voice that you hear
as you try to hold on a bit longer…
you remember it well,
by your eyes I can tell
that each day my whisper grows stronger.

Yet, dearest darlin', I’ve always been here
through the laughter, the joy, and the pain…
through sunshine and sadness,
the moments of gladness—
a part of me always remained.

Hey now my darlin', I’m waiting for you
to hold you again, to embrace;
there’ll be hugging and kissing,
and much reminiscing
as I trace the soft lines on your face.

Hey there my darlin', now just close your eyes—
tell me, whose is the face that you see?
The one who adores you,
who lived his life for you…
it’s time to come home now
          to me

© Ginny Brannan 2017

For J & J—and for all whose love endures...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Ever so subtle, the banjo begins
as the beat of the bass makes its mark,
the melody's captured now by mandolin
till the strings of the fiddle embark.
Clear and concise there’s a single voice heard
then others to bridge harmony...
clapping and tapping ensues, undeterred;
and the lyrics they share— poetry.
They build to crescendo, then slow to a whisper
and hit all the notes in between…
we conjure the places the music now takes us
the land and the people they’ve seen.
Their tone and inflection belying the depth
of the pain and the hardships they’ve known—
they’ve travelled this country, the length and the breadth
now we garner their seeds as they’re sown.
For they bring an escape for a moment or two,
    the music: a balm to our soul—
in the lyrics we’re gifted; transported and lifted
left healed to this feeling of  'whole.'
And always the music that carries us back...
  a reminder of who we should be:
kinder, more mindful, without animus
  no anger or need to appease.

We entered this place to escape from the rain
and in doing so, found a release:
the melodies shared have unlocked the constraints
and leave us encompassed in peace.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

On June 6th we went to hear one of my favorite genres of music, a mix of folk/bluegrass/country, played by The Steel Wheels, a wonderful and talented group of young musicians out of Virginia. There is thought and depth in the lyrics they share, perfectly arranged and impeccably played. There is something in the sounds of a banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass. In words that speak of home and things that touch our hearts and our lives. One of their songs was inspired by a man who learned that Federal land was to be auctioned off cheaply and under the radar. He went to the auction, did not know how to keep the land in trust, to keep it pristine for his daughter and new generations to enjoy. Ended up bidding, however foolish in knowing he could never pay. He got thrown in jail, but the incident brought light to something that would have been left unknown and ignored. These are stories of  hope and of love, of country, of family, of the beauty of this land. How can one not leave feeling uplifted and inspired!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's All Part of the Promise...

The words fell away when we were young
they rolled off the tongue with the sweet invincibility
of youth, whose only truth was the dream of  
     “Happily ever after…”

The answers we need remain hidden and masked
in youth’s ignorance are left silent, unasked—
and when the storms come, as they always will,
when easy route stops and the path starts uphill
~ will either or both remain up for the task?
The words to "the promise” stay burning within
like a mantra, they echo again and again…
when worse comes a-calling, when poorer prevails,
when time takes our youth, and when illness assails—
we find that those smooth seas were just a illusion
for life‘s often messy and  seeks retribution.
When the unknowns give way to the hard lessons learned,
the depth of devotion will then be discerned.
So we listen as “promise” is given once more
and hope the new couple will  find what we’ve found:
that love isn’t measured in points that are scored,
nor in how hard you fall, but how well you rebound.

The road that lies waiting remains undefined
   we will never foresee all the changes in course;
 it's determined in part by a love that endures
  and confirmed in the warmth of the hand holding yours. 

© Ginny Brannan 2017

For Mike and Ashley, a gentle reminder to be kind to each other, to forgive each other, and to love each other with all that you are. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Not The Rain, But The Rainbow...

Image: J. Hesch  Used with Permission

Another rainy day dawns,
the gray clouds heavy laden on the horizon,
they blend with the mountains:
heaven and earth indistinguishable;
our spirits are weighted down
soggy as the leaves on the apple tree,
muddied as the splash-back
on the newly planted flowers.
Once, we shrugged these days off
as we waited the sun to come,
as we surely knew it would.

The darker days seem longer now,
as I scour the sky, searching for that thin spot
where the sunbeams hide,
waiting for the final break
that lifts the clouds to dissipate.
I scan the heavens for the sign—
that rainbow—the ‘promise’
that brighter days are coming,
that there will be a reprieve…
if I can just muster the patience, 
the fortitude to hang on
and, channeling the child I was so long ago,
look beyond the clouds and believe.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

In a Heartbeat...

Ba bump ba bump ba bump ba bump…
my heart races at eighty-five beats per minute;
faster as I push myself to finish what I’m doing
so I can move on to something else.
I set the bar high, my own expectations higher—
the fear of restructure, replacement remains
a ghostly shadow hiding in a corner of my mind;
for I know all too well that I am dispensable,
that it’s never about the work, but the bottom line.

I‘ve wondered, how does one pace oneself?
Is there even such a thing?
Acutely aware that at this age, this stage
life should be about slowing down,
enjoying each moment…
unsure if this is wearing me down
or keeping my mind alert; keeping me young.
I am reminded on a daily basis
of how life can change in a heartbeat;.
So, like the ‘Little Engine That Could’
  I keep chugging away while I still can bump ba bump ba bump ba bump ba bump.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Feast for the Eyes

Image: G. Brannan

A soft rain falls upon the garden
coaxing life from winter’s sleep.
The birds return, reverse migration
in their song lies winter’s pardon;
as season shares an invitation
that we, in turn, attempt to reap.

Lilac, dogwood, rhododendron—
the apple blossoms drift like snow…
they share again their ageless story,
as in succession, so they grow.
The Spring explodes in all her glory
and we embrace her bright tableaux.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Just Three Simple Words

How sweet the innocence that’s found
in children and the elderly;
the joy unbounded they exude
with love both simple and profound
that for the rest of us, eludes.

The young with their straightforwardness—
a child giggles, happily
untainted by the world beyond
with no reserve or attitude
their love shared, unabashedly
both color-blind and rainbow-hued.
In turn, receiver then responds
in kind, to share this special gift
that’s given, unsolicited;
and so we’re captured in this bond
that we embrace with gratitude.

The elderly live time reversed—
they’re locked inside their solitude
so often jaded and despondent.
Yet laughter often lifts this curse:
we watch their spark return once more
to leave us humbled and subdued.
I heard your words, my heart expands
within this bond that we have shared,
this momentary interlude
between two friends of circumstance.

Within a world of happenstance,
so often words get misconstrued
or took for granted once they’re said.
Without reward or recompense
they’re left ignored as they accrue.

And what is learned through this review?
    —We must embrace each "I love you."

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

One for the Writers

It starts with a thought, a word, an idea
scratched upon the page…
pulled from the pit, the well, the abyss, the cache
within my head—
prompted by image, an event, an emotion
from something felt or read.
Layer upon layer we build the tale
into something we can share
Then post the words, forevermore—
that all might find them there.


Here’s to the ones who feel compelled
to express what’s in their souls;
whose compulsion borders on obsession,
whose writing makes them whole.
You compose the notes to a symphony
and we, the eager reader, hear the song.
We are swept away by your music,
and in the words find common bond.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Road Taken

Image by author.

Sometimes we choose the road we will take,
planning our journey, mapping the route,
choosing the highways and byways
often with a specific destination in mind.
But even the best-laid plans may run amok.
Often the road diverges; we are faced with
potholes and pit falls, unplanned detours
past torn up pavement and unforeseen construction.
We still hope to arrive at our destination
yet knowing it will be much later than we had hoped.
Sometimes we are even forced
onto a whole different pathway,
and must regroup to outline
and plan a new course.
No matter…for it was never the destination
nor the route we chose at all…
Rather it is the folks that join us
for some or all of our journey;
whose pathways parallel our own—
who offer us camaraderie and friendship;
we find comfort in their companionship,
in knowing we do not face our journey alone.

…and for me, that has made all the difference.

© Ginny Brannan 2017

Day 29 NaPoWriMo  (optional) prompt. Take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

If you hadn’t guessed, my word is  “road.” Apologies to Frost, my favorite poet, for plagiarizing some of his words and switching this up from “The Road Not Taken.”

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!