Saturday, December 31, 2011

Little Girl Lost

Ah, Norma Jean, a lovely girl,
Image: Bert Stern
takes on her glamorous disguise--
the platinum hair, the painted face
hides well the child behind those eyes.

Glitter and glitz, and bright smile flashed;
sad day for all when this star crashed…
to lose her light was such a sin,
forever remembered, Marilyn.

©  Ginny Brannan December 2011

Written for Magpie Tales #97

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On This Christmas Day...

As I watched the dawn break this morning, an orange 
sliver on a gray horizon, my thoughts wandered to that 
first Christmas, and how it might play out today…

Manhattan (or any major city): man and woman arrive, 
little money, can’t even afford a cheap hotel room. 
She’s quite obviously pregnant, and the paternity is sketchy. 
No matter, boyfriend doesn’t care, loves her, and vows to
raise the child as his own. As they walk through this city, 
the woman collapses in labor, and their infant son 
is born in the park. The story warrants a few lines under 
Human Interest in the daily paper. A handful of strangers 
who read it actually step up and help the couple find work 
and a place to stay so they can get on their feet. They beat 
the statistics, and stay together to raise their son, who 
becomes a well-known lobbyist and human rights activist,
speaking up for the people down on their luck,
and bringing needed attention to the ills and
mismanagement of government and society.

I have heard the Christmas story described as a fairy tale.
Whether you believe or not, there is no denying the
lessons we learn from it, the moral to the story of Christ's life:
that we need to care about each other;
that we shouldn’t be afraid to spend time among the ill,
the destitute, the so-called sinners and low-lives who need
a kind word, their spirits lifted,  a hand up;
and mostly...

that we need to treat others like we wish to be treated.

As each one celebrates this holiday in their own way, may your hearts be filled with wonder, and with the true meaning of the of the season.

©   Ginny Brannan December 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bogged Down

Image by Mostafa Habibi

The tempest stirs quicksilver sea,
and hope floats just beyond my reach
as sharp-tongued waves roll over me.
The tempest stirs quicksilver sea;
sucked into mire, can’t seem to flee
this life defiled by blackened breach--
while  tempest stirs quicksilver sea
and hope floats just beyond my reach.

© Ginny Brannan December 2011
*This is a Triolet, a poetic form consisting of only 8 lines. Within a Triolet, the 1st, 4th, and 7th lines repeat, and the 2nd and 8th lines do as well. The rhyme scheme is simple: ABaAabAB, captital letters representing repeated lines.

Sharing at Magpie Tales #95--they provide the image, we provide the story!
Sharing a d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night Week #22 12/13/11


Magpie #1!

Image by Mostafa Habibi
Quite a predicament;
unforeseen circumstances
impossible to predict.
Can’t keep my head above water.
Keep moving” they said,
Set your sights on the goal”
Aim for the prize”
Now I’m caught in the quick
defenseless; while target remains illusive.

© Ginny Brannan December 2011
*This is an Acrostic--the first letter of each line forms a word vertically

**Magpie Tales #95--Poem #1!!**
Sharing at Magpie Tales--they provide the image, we provide the story!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Speaking in Poetry…

Would that my thoughts were adjectives,
my language, fluent “poetry"--
with perfect format every time
so all would be impressed by me.

I struggle though, to find the words
to speak concepts with clarity …
but know deep in my soul of souls
that you alone inspire me.

©  Ginny Brannan December 2011

Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night #21 12/06/11  
*Sharing at BlueBell Books Thursday Short Story Slam 12/08/11  

Monday, November 28, 2011


I am a blog follower of Victorio Ceretto Slotto, an amazing poet and writer. Recently, she informed me that I had placed the 8,000th comment on her blog. As is her tradition for each “1,000th commenter,” she requested an interview. I am excited and very honored by her request, and am sharing the link to that interview below:

Here is a little bit more about this wonderful lady, and a link to Liv2Write2day, her blog's main page:

About Victoria C. Slotto
RN, former hospice nurse, kidney transplant survivor, spiritual seeker—Victoria C. Slotto lives and writes in Reno, Nevada with her husband, David, and two dogs. Victoria writes fiction, poetry and an occasional article.

Damaged Goods

Photo: Christine Donnier-Valentin courtesy Magpie Tales
He found another
to fill his needs

bright, rich, sleek

to fit his

and left me
used and tainted…

forgotten by the wayside

©  Ginny Brannan  November 2011 
Photo prompt provided by Magpie Tales, they provide the image, we provide the story! Sharing at Magpie Tales #93 11/28/11  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Image provided by Magpie Tales

gone on before me
leaving memories behind--
hope they save a seat!

© Ginny Brannan November 2011

Written for Magpie Tales #91, they provide the photo, we provide the story.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daenerys' Song

Written for d’Verse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft Prose to Poetry challenge, 11/10/11: Pick a passage from a novel, essay or short story that qualifies as prose, but for you is particularly poetic. Step 1: reformat without changing so it appears to be poetry. Step 2 convert from poetic prose to pure poem. 

The Quote:
"Somewhere beyond the sunset, across the narrow sea, lay a land of green hills and flowered plains and great rushing rivers, where towers of dark stone rose amidst magnificent blue-grey mountains, and armored knights rode to battle beneath the banners of their lords."

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Daenerys page 29

Prose to Poetry:

beyond the sunset,
across the narrow sea,

lay a land of green hills
and flowered plains
and great rushing rivers,

where towers of dark stone
rose amidst magnificent
blue-grey mountains,

and armored knights rode to battle
beneath the banners
of their lords.

Daenerys' Song

I gaze across the narrow sea
recalling in my memory
a lush green land where rivers flow
fled in exile long ago.

Can see the towers of dark stone,
the castle that was once our own;
and far across the flowering plain
the blue-grey hills call out again.

Armored knights with blades of steel
rode out in service to our seal.
Usurper now sits on the throne
and dares pretend that it's his own.

I know someday I will return
to rule again, and watch him burn.
Winter comes, and time grows nigh
soon they’ll hear our battle cry…
as sun sets on this savage land
the dragons wait for my command

©  Ginny Brannan November 2010

It should be noted that full credit for this excerpt, the inspiration for this piece, is given to George R.R. Martin. It is he who created the amazing characters of this tale. My wonderful 26 year old son has introduced me to the books, and A Game of Thrones is also currently a series filmed for HBO. An incredible and fantastic story well worth reading and watching!

Top Photo: G.Brannan personal collection, door at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Here is a link for d’Verse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft Prose to Poetry challenge, 11/10/11

Below please find a YouTube link--my words put to music and sung by a lovely young lady from Germany, who prefers to be known on You Tube by the pseudonym: Mother of Dragons. Many thanks to A.B. for contacting me and sharing her wonderful voice!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Quiet Season

Between autumn and first snowfall
the quiet season,
as last lingering  yellow leaves
cling to skeletal branches;
fallen tree-mates litter
yards, skip noisily
across pavement.

Unmown lawns shimmer
with morning frost, crunching
underfoot. Shorts and
tees trade places with jeans
sweaters; once sandaled feet
seek warmth in thick socks
and leather boots.

Stacked cordwood awaits fireplaces
and cast-iron stoves. Pungent smoke
from burning leaves permeates the
air. Hot mulled cider and
donuts greet visitors to local farm
stands; smells of cinnamon
and cloves mingle with apples,
butternut squash and pumpkins.

Hunters once again take up arms;
bearded, booted…hiking familiar
trails, continuing ancient ritual --
thinning herds to preserve remainder
from imminent starvation.

Friday nights and Saturday afternoons
find fans at local football fields.
Spectators huddle on bleachers
bundled under blankets,
cheering favorite teams.

In waning light, we chat
across hedge separating
yards, breath rises with
each word. We linger,
knowing soon cold and
snow will hinder our 
daily exchanges.

I love this special season when
all things slow, preparing for
renewal in winter’s embrace.

©  Ginny Brannan November 2011
Shared at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link #17 hosted by Natasha Head 
Photo, G.Brannan, 2009

Photos: leaves &
pumpkins: authors personal collection

Monday, November 7, 2011

Edward Remembered

Calverton National Cemetary, Long Island, NY

He sleeps among the rows of stone
where grass grows thick, and flags are flown;
can hear the rustle of the leaves
as sweet salt air blows through the trees.

Remembered for each kindness shown,
he sleeps among the rows of stone.
Quietness and slight of stature,
camouflaged unselfish nature.

A navy man who did his tour,
he screamed the nightmares of that war.
He sleeps among the rows of stone
the horrors lived remain unknown.

Childhood sweetheart, wartime bride
now lies resting by his side.
Mated in life, in death atone;
he sleeps among the rows of stone.

©  Ginny Brannan November 2011
*In loving memory of my dear father-in-law, Edward Brannan, and his loving wife Elizabeth of almost 50 years.

Image provided:Magpie Tales

Written for and shared at Magpie Tales #90: they provide the photo (bottom) we provide the story.
Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night #19 11/10/11  
*using word 'atone' as 'to be reconciled.' According to dictionary, it is considered archaic or obsolete in this usage, but I thought it worked with the feel of the poem, so I used it anyway.

Edward Remembered... by gbrannan

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Stray (Conflation)

There was snow on the
ground when they appeared
for the first time: four feral
cats playing in the empty
lot behind the fence.
Could not let them starve,
so started putting a bit food
out each day. By summer,
three had moved on, and
only one remained: a
scrawny  tri-color female
nick-named Ragamuffin
who finagled her way
into our house and life.

Each day when I arrive
at work I find him in
his usual spot-- on the
sofa near the lobby
where he can observe
all who come and go.
At 94, mobility is limited
to use of a walker, but
his mind is still sharp.
He is a “fixture” in this
nursing home, an enigma
of sorts; attracting friends
just by nodding hello to
all who pass--residents,
employees and visitors alike.

Amazing how the little
strays captured our heart
to become family.

©  Ginny Brannan November 2011

*Recently at d’Verse Poets Pub, emmet wheatfall hosted a Meeting the Bar entitled Conflation. It means “To bring together: meld or fuse; to combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole. I found this intriguing and thought I would give it a shot, though I did not get done in time to post on that day. The Challenge: Write a poem that is constructed using conflation. This means the poem must possess at least two different, wholly unrelated themes package together.
Not sure if this works, but this was my composition for the topic.   
Dedicated to my favorite resident Kenny, who passed away on 10/28/11. Fondly remembered.
Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night #18, 11/15/11 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the Love of Books

Written for Bluebell Books Short Story Slam Week 13, inspired by their picture prompt provided below:

Blue Bell Books Short Story Slam Week 13

When you were small we had our nightly ritual:
After supper and before lights out
I would sit on the edge of your bed and
read you a story --‘Good-Night Moon,’
‘The Velveteen Rabbit,’ ‘The Adventures of Pooh’

Still hear your little voice echo “One more time, mommy…”

Soon enough you started school, learning to read
and reading to me.  But after homework lessons,
you would still ask me to read to you for a while.
We graduated to chapter books:
the ‘Happy Hollister’ mysteries from my childhood,
the wonderful poetry of Shel Silverstein.
We travelled to Middle Earth alongside Bilbo Baggins,
Frodo and Samwise.  No matter I couldn’t speak elvish--
I would change my voice for each character and make up
tunes for each song, and we would be on our way over the
Misty Mountains on our quest to destroy the ring.

In Middle School you met a young man named Harry Potter,
who paralleled you in age.  Yet another quest: protect friends
and loved ones and defeat the evil Voldermort.
We shared these stories too, though now you would
read first--devouring from cover to cover non-stop,
then passing along to me. I loved our discussions--
what we liked or didn’t, and where we thought
the next book in the series might take us.

In High School you discovered my old Stephen King
books  on the bookshelf, and read them all, then
added even more to the collection. And every so
often,  you would revisit Middle Earth again,
J.R.R. Tolkien a perennial favorite.

I count among my greatest achievements  
instilling the love of the written word in you.
No money is ever wasted that is spent on a book.

Our next great adventure lies in Winterfell,
as we share the series  “A Game of Thrones”

“One more time, mommy…”


©  Ginny Brannan October 2011

G.Brannan, personal collection, 1990

Photo of my son with winning artwork and gift certificate from Waldenbooks, with which he chose Charlie the Caterpillar!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Changeling (Haiku) Odd Lots/Brief Thoughts #3

shunning sheltered past
to howl freely at the moon
confidence instilled

©  Ginny Brannan October 2011

Sometimes one has to step out of one's shell, throw back their head and literally "howl" at the moon, to change from who they are to who they want to be. Confidence gained through encouragement, and even a brotherly "dare!" Thanks my 'brother!!'

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Someone Else’s Dime

I was always a hard-working man--
I had a family, I had a plan;
then economy crashed,
and I felt the backlash
life as I knew it got tossed in the can.

Now I feel like I’m living on borrowed time,
moment-to-moment, on someone else’s dime.
My family wants nothin’ to do with me,
praying the Lord will see this through for me.
All I want for them to see
is the man I know that I can be...
I may be down on my luck
but I’m not looking for a handout,
I’m just lookin’ for
a hand up.

Old “friends” relieved they'd been by-passed,
point and whisper that I was just an ass;
Out job huntin’ every day
till the good jobs seemed to go away--
finally hit rock bottom in the bottom of a glass.

With no one to believe in me, I let my life go down...
then stumbled on this building while wandering through town.
Now I work with other broken men
each one starting all over again.
They feed my body and soul,
give me hope; pull me out of that hole.
No longer feeling down on my luck...
They didn’t just give just a hand out,
they gave me
a hand up.

© Ginny Brannan October 2011

(A work-in-progress that I've been working on since last spring. I thought it fit the theme for "the other" so am posting to share at d'Verse. Not exactly in a true poetry format, but this is how the words came to me, so this is how I wrote it. This was inspired from volunteering at our local Rescue Mission, and working alongside some really wonderful guys who were trying to get their lives together.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moon Shadows

Just for fun, in honor of Halloween 2011

Late night, moonlight casts shadows on the wall;
floor creaks, curiosity piques, I tiptoe down the hall.
Cat jumps, heart pumps faster with this scare--
another sound, I glance around, and whisper soft “Who’s there?”

The clock ticks out the minutes; no one says a word;
no other sound is heard.

Standing still, sheer force of will, seeking inner calm.
I confess, am quite distressed—feel the sweat-drenched palm.
Turn around, bedroom-bound, when movement catches eye--
deep breath, scared to death, something’s still awry…

Outside echoes, “whoo, WHOO?” of owl up in the tree.
Cannot help but wonder, “Who it is indeed?”

Wide-awake, cannot shake this feeling of forebode,
not insane, but can’t explain what has gotten hold.
Turn on lights, doors locked tight-- all is safe <or is it?>
Am I host to some old ghost on his midnight visit?

No one will believe it; they’ll say this allegation
is just another figment of my imagination.

©   Ginny Brannan October 2011

Images: Edward M. Gorey, artist

Sharing at d'Verse Poet's Pub Open Link Night Week 15 10/25/11

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bright Lights, Big City

Written and recalled for Magpie Tales:

Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, Chinatown...

Twenty-two years old, exploring alien world of concrete and skyscrapers, eyes drawn upward, jaw agape and dragging on the sidewalk.  I smell the exhaust of a thousand taxis, the acrid odor of burnt pretzels from the corner vendor, the sour steam rising through sidewalk grates from unseen subterranean passages. Getting the grand tour today from city-savvy friends--Penn Station, Broadway, top of the World, dinner in Chinatown. We take the subway to Canal Street, north lies Little Italy: south, we step into another country—bright little shops with neon signs boasting their wares in strokes and symbols. As we pass by one I pause and stare, amazed to see whole birds, plucked, smoked and ready for purchase, not neatly cut and packaged like in the supermarkets I am used to.
February 1978, New York City --"Toto, we're not in Vermont anymore!"

©  Ginny Brannan October 2011
 Photo courtesy Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales            
Shared at Magpie Tales:

This photo reminded me of my first trip into NYC with some of my friends. I was assaulted with sights, sounds and smells the likes of which I had never witnessed before. To this day I remember the total amazement of it all!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Burning Memories

Its blackened shell still looms austere--
no comfort found in imprints past
just tacit bitterness amassed.

As conjured flashes scorch and seer,
burning abode engrapples hold
and crackles through this thin veneer.

Though dour life is now recast,
its blackened shell still looms, austere.

© Ginny Brannan October 2010

Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night Week 12 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On the Wind

Photo provided by Bluebell Books

I watch my young child flourish
in all that she sees--
each orb forms a whispered wish
sent out on the breeze:

"May friends always be near you,
may you grow up to be strong;
may joys be many, sorrows few;
and may your days be ever long."

© Ginny  Brannan  October 2011

Written as a 7/5 Trochee, Two quatrains, alternating syllable count seven/five, abab rhyme scheme

They provide the prompt, we provide the story!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Photo courtesy Tess Kincaid, Magpie Tales

Storm rages within…
voracious ebon entity
slowly possessing me

Fighting the
bruised, cut…
away by

How do I exorcise
this witch,
this black bitch
that devours until
nothing is left?

©  Ginny Brannan September 2011
(For Susan, keep fighting.)

Sharing at Magpie Tales
Sharing at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night Week 11   

Saturday, September 10, 2011



attacks unprovoked
innocence, raped by hatred
resolve forged by fire

© Ginny Brannan September 2011

Image: Google Images 9/11

“Gone, but NEVER Forgotten”  Dedicated to the memory of all lives lost from the vicious attacks on 9/11/01
Our scarred hearts still bleed…

Shared at d'Verse, In Memoriam 9/10/11

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Distant Seas

Each dawn I’m drawn down to this shore--
to soft white sand and gentle breeze;           
dream of my love on distant seas

sailed off to fight another's war.
“Pink sky in morn, sailors be warned!”
I pray he will return once more,

but life holds no such guarantees.
Each dawn, I’m drawn down to this shore...

©  Ginny Brannan September 2010

Image Credit: Art at

Reward for Participating in Short Story Slam

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Soft-woven scarf upon her head
a  rock-strewn ground on which to tread.
Observances at last complete,
escape to 'Playland' for retreat--

Employee states that guest must ‘shed’
the woven scarf upon her head;
“We have firm rules for safety’s sake;
that park cannot defer or break.”

Who knew this statement would incite
as scuffle breaks into a fight
from woven scarf upon her head
and regulation left unsaid.

Did Muslim clothing segregate
incite inert religious hate,
unravel First Amendment’s thread,
by woven scarf upon her head?

©  Ginny Brannan  September 2011

Photo from article, NY Daily News online


Universal Language

It is in silence
where our actions speak loudest
understood by all

© Ginny Brannan September 2011
Participating in d'Verse Poet's Pub Friday Poetics with Sheila Moore. For today’s Poetics, the silent film era is the prompt.  The object, to write about one of the actors, compare and contrast silent films with present-day movies, or maybe write a parody of one of the above scenes. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Broken Umbrella

Under broken umbrella I huddle,
poor shelter from this bitter storm…

Acid words rain 
scouring raw emotions,
eroding, undermining
until all that remains
are underpinnings
and floating debris
of the once
solid pier
that was

Sadness and anger
hammer barrier walls
Berms of resolve dissolve,

Pain floods in;
salt stings my face
as nothing remains
intact in the wake
of our 

©  Ginny Brannan August 2011

Image: Flickr, Umbrella left behind by Tyler J. Clemens VIII
Shared at Magpie Tales #80. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paralyzed (Acrostic)

Sadness by wallflowerinblue/Photobucket

Panic attacks the nerves, tightens the chest,
acid bile rises into back of throat,
respiration comes in shortened bursts;
atrophied muscles are frozen taut--
like rubber bands stretched to limit,
yielding not even to tender touch;
zombie eyes stare into space …
even as I pretend everything is fine, I am
dying slowly in the confines of my own ‘prison.’

©  Ginny Brannan 2011

Shared at d'Verse Poets Pub Open Link Night #8, September 6