Broken shadows across the cracked ground
smoke ghosts reside in charred places
once nestled home spaces, closed
doorways of tomorrow
silent squatters drift
among dreams to
rain, please

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse Poets Pub Challenge 
NONET – a nine line poem that begins 
with 9 syllables, descending 
line by line to 1 syllable.

* First line of this poem taken from 
W.S. Merwin,“To the Light of September

Assurance – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Stretched openness of summer sky. 
Time’s width I can't hold 
in one viewing.

I bend to gather 
this spray of light 
and still can't see all
points arriving through darkness.

Each beam 
it’s own part in the collective
we have named starlight.

I stand openly
as sky falls toward me
into my arms
assurance that is bigger
than this moment.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020
With all of the smoke in the sky, 
the stars are no longer visible.
I remember they are there 
and see them in my dreams. 
Please send prayers and thoughts
of goodness for the many fighting 
the wildfires in Oregon.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

And so …

golden smoke blocks the sun as I stand witness
while winds shift to blow barging into planned days
and so...
I am listening.

What better offering could I make
while extending my reach to you?
My throat burns with an ache to howl.
As the people flee, where is safety now?

So many blue sky days 
led us to false views.
We are all running from something.
walking away from something else.

I'm sending my love on the wind,
the force that both heats and cools.
Both helpful and harmful, depending,
contradictions of the mingled smokey fear.

Tangles of the unknowable 
ringed history, as mystery 
held by the forest guardians
now ash returning to soil.

As flames fly from tree to tree,
igniting compassionate hope or hatred
I see through the window
goodbye waves from living limbs of the still green.

and I feel your heat from miles away.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Oregon's Current Total Fires 37
Total Acreage Burned 805,332.364

Strong winds spread numerous wildfires in Oregon and Washington By Bill Gabbert

Hold on – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

I want to hold hands
sausage fingers in mine
small digits without worry
just skin to skin plain 
without any condiments

I want your fingers intertwined 
juicing out quick squeezes 
of assurance like a secret code 
shared with my first love

I long to hold on firmly 
tender like a ripe peach, 
so as not to imprint
my needs on you

I want to come together
with grape clustered acceptance
gripping without gripe
savoring a shared stem

I want to feel held 
our palms sandwiching
this day's delight 

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

It's open link night at dVerse Poet's Pub. Come share a poem and connect with others. 

Alongside the Tent – poem by Ali Grimshaw

My bare feet travel riverside down the dust talcum path. They feel the way forward while softly grounded in the fine dirt. As the bank of trees lean to shade, the river glides past, over and around rocks. Here it seems effortless for lives of birds, fish and plants to thrive together. None needing to shame or blame. Is it just my interpretation or have the living of the river ecosystem always known that there is enough for all, that everyone’s time will someday pass, that we will someday be nourishment for the next in line and there is peace in the acceptance of being a part of the changing cycle? There seems to be balance here. The kind of balance I am always seeking. As I hike up the pants, I have yet to grow into, I wonder if humans really are the more evolved species. It seems that I have so much to learn from the Osprey’s willingness to try again and the way rivers shift course without blaming the logs that have fallen to block their route. As I pack up my tent site I am already planning my return.

The river knows flow
transforming place without shame 
forgiving teacher

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Haibun Monday, 8/31/20:Take a Hike! Join in the sharing at dVerse Poet's Pub.

Receiving – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

The messages kept landing
paper birds like folded airplanes from the sky.

Confetti of voices wanting to be heard
swirling of anger, colors of hurt, colliding confusion
spiraling to crash on the ground.

We hold our hands out to catch them
scattering in the street to pick up the fallen.

Each message, a precious life with wings
a paper bird in need of repair.

We sit in a circle and begin to unfold 
cupping our hands, just one at a time 
listening to its life of song.

It is like we have always known what was needed.
We knew we would stay as long as it took to give the listening
for each bird to be heard. It was clear. It was not a burden.

As we gently passed them from one hand to another, 
one by one around the circle, 
the sky opened to us all.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse  ~ Poets Pub, Open Link Night with Linda
Share your voice and read the poems of others.

This poem is a reflection on the writing circles I have hosted. I will continue to offer a safe space of refuge for others to be seen and heard just as they are. Love is always the way forward.

Leaving without him

“i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
– E.E. Cummings

Twisted deeply within the realization 
of this being the day of goodbye
A warm sorrow reverberates through my limbs 
down to my heavy steps homeward. 
This is the part of loving wholeheartedly 
that I wish I could skip over. 
When the sunset arrives and takes you with it 
far from where I am.

From the first time I laid eyes on you
your inner charm worked magic on me
a spirit who dared to explore, 
balancing fences, tree limbs, to rooftop scrambles
while others shouted, "There is a kid up there."
You never were the "play it safe" kind.
I knew the someday would come
of releasing you to fly in the wind.

This motherhood thing sucks
just when you've spent 18 years
falling in love with your boy
(even on days when you didn't feel like it)
he turns into a man you adore with your
whole heart proud, filled with keeping.
Just then, it is time to share him
with the world.

It would be greedy of me not to share
but in this moment I don't want to
play by the rules, where sons grow up.
Instead let me rewind; all aches, pains and joys
to live again the rollercoaster of mothering you.
Your journey of magnificent learnings,
dares and caring that accumulate into
you as the tower beside me.

No matter where you walk upon the earth. 
I hope you hear my whispers in your ear,
I carry your heart
I carry it in my heart.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shadows and reflections

Reflecting on life in photos and words.


once you were sure of steadiness
that capsizing only happened to others

then the tilting began, a slow 
deep lean to the left side of righteous

how easily the water seeped in, coldly 
chilling you from the inside out 

like the world had forgotten that you
had always been the floating kind

once you were rescued for no reason
and you never forgot that any boat can sink

when balance is lost at sea.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse Poetry Challenge - Come Sail

Leap – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

She had forgotten
the gleeful falling feeling 
of freedom

what it was like to jump
on purpose,
instead of being pushed

the bold thrill of 
shoulders back, above it all
strong standing tall 

the moment when 
fear collides with aliveness
a smirk of, "just watch me,"
on her face.

She had forgotten
why jumping had
mattered to her.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Photo taken years back in Maui. After I wrote this I had to go searching to find this photo again. A happy memory is always worth searching for.

topsy-turvy – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Which way out?
Down is upside down
up is not what it used to be

Which way to the familiar 
where the predictable
seemed to be real?

Which way to rise
above the untaught history
which left us blind?

Which way forward
to undo, redo, or never do
again what once we did?

What we weren't ready for
or maybe never are, 
let's help each other rise
let us begin again.

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Writing together provides a mirror for us to process life in a safe place where we have all agreed to listen with compassion. Thank you to all of you who have written with me in the last few months. I am so very grateful to share this journey with you. I have added this new date and time to open up the invitation to others in different time zones. Let’s connect across the boarders. Stay safe my friends.