Circadian Poems

A place to celebrate poetry, poets, and the creative spirit.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Buffet of Halloween Treats!

The Scryer
By Danielle Frézier

Scry, my witch, scry!
Read the bottom of the lake!
Speak to the dead and tell us their tales.
Release them from their sorrow.
Fortell the forbidden;
Then run from the righteous.


Witches’ Brew
By J. Vaughn

Black, oil, dark as night, visions of goblins cloud my sight.

Hot, boiling, nasty stew, what the hell is in this brew.

Eye of newt, lizard tail, don’t forget some of them nasty snails.

Drizzle, drazzle and drizzle drom, in this brew I throw a gnome.

Moss, fungus, mushroom too, all this stuff goes in the brew.

Boil it down in a big black pot, do it right, you just get one shot.

Spells, potions and lucky charms, these might help me from getting harmed.

Cooled down, handed out, drink this potion, I loudly shout.

Spinning rooms, eyes so red, I hope from this I don’t wake up dead.

Standing there with my eyes all blurry, I better move, I need to hurry.

Vodka, gin, bad whiskey too, all these taste better than the witches brew


Harvest Moon
By Brenda Braene

Harvest moon hangs round and gold
heavy in the sky
pregnant with meaning.
Is it an omen to fear?
Is it a portent of joy?
Make your choice in the crisp night air
Filled with apple smells and decaying leaves.


Carving Pumpkins
By Alicia Adams

My daughter carving her pumpkin looks up and
Asks “Is this good?”

Crooked teeth and one eye smaller than the other stare
Back. I nod my head yes and delighted

She lights the candle inside and in that moment
I realize the pumpkin is everything, everything.

Dry leaves whisper on the concrete in agreement. It’s
Another attempt throughout the ages to vanquish the

Three sufferings of man: pride, fear, and


Deep Cauldron
By Wren Fallon

Black-hatted witch
Black-speckled cat
Black-bottomed cauldron.
Stir and pray.
Stir and cry.
What rises from its depths tonight?
What do you fear?
Will you dive into the cauldron instead
to find
your soul?


Samhain Party
By Cassandra Oleander

Sing a song, dance a dance
Flip a coin and dream of France.
Drinky, drinky inky brew,
hop around on one left shoe.

Ask the tarot – cards don’t lie.
Be ye truthful, not a spy.
Bob for apples, hup, hup, hup,
Win the prize and fill your cup.

Speak to the dead and hear them sigh.
You’ll be an Ancestor by and by.


Alicia Adams loves Halloween and will not share her candy with other kids, including her own son and daughter. You can find her book Consumed By Passion: The Little Book of Quotes For Chocolate Lovers on You can also contact her through her blog at:

Brenda Braene’s blog is Poet Meets Muse, and she shares a website, The Three Braenes, with Bridget and Beatrix Braene. Her first published poem, “Harvest I” appeared earlier this month.

Wren Fallon likes to arrange words to communicate images and see what happens. She has neither a blog nor a website, and that’s the way she likes it. She’s been published by a variety of independent poetry outlets, here and there.

Danielle Frézier is at her best in the moonlight. She does not have a website . . .yet.

Cassandra Oleander finds the world entertaining and amusing, even when it’s not. Visit her at her blog Askew.

J. Vaughn enjoys writing both poetry and short stories that incite people to think beyond what they see and feel. He opposes both the war and the many layers of bureaucracy which ensnare our government during catastrophic events, leaving more problems than solutions. To see more of his work, go to:

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Special Poem: "Ramadan Plans" by Pamela K. Taylor

Ramadan Plans
By Pamela K. Taylor

This Ramadan I will snuggle
On the couch with my daughter
Reading Qur’an
And also Green Eggs and Ham,
Mike Mulligan, Ferdinand, and Caps for Sale.
I will sit beside her at the kitchen table
Drawing glue stars
Sprinkling them with glitter
Spelling out the letters of Eid Mubarak
So she can print it on her own.
I will hold her hand as we take the short cut
To the post corner post office
Through the forest to Porter Street,
Down Porter to Washington
Pausing to turn over logs
And find pill bugs rolling into tight balls
Taking time to watch the chipmunks
Stuff their cheeks with autumn’s bounty
Listen to the wind
Make chimes of crisping leaves
Remember the glory of God’s Mercy

This Ramadan I will break fast
On cookies still hot from the oven
And the warmth of a child’s joy
Her delight in sitting on the counter
Cracking eggs
Stirring in brown sugar
Sneaking a chocolate chip
With tendrils of sweet, sticky dough still clinging
Wearing an apron that matches mamma’s
I’ll eat cold pizza for suhur
Or cold cereal
While my husband feasts
On leftover rice and keema
Grilled salmon and spicy corn
I’ll perfect my huraira
Discover the recipe for fatoush
Share biryani and chocolates with my book group gals
And, like a witch or vampire,
I’ll only raid the Halloween haul after dark.

This Ramadan I’ll practice my self-control
I won’t yell when my kids miss the bus
Or forget to take their muddy shoes off
Before climbing the carpeted stairs
I won’t scold when the littlest spills her milk
For third time
Because it really was an accident
Even after two reminders
I won’t lecture when the twins
Play computer games
Before finishing their homework
Especially if it’s just one page
That will only take fifteen minutes to finish
I won’t roll my eyes when my oldest
Uses the hood of her sweatshirt for a scarf
During Asr or Maghrib
Covered is covered, khalas
I’ll curve my lips
When I feel like scowling
At a left behind sock
Or unconsidered comment from my husband

This Ramadan
I will not deny any of my Lord’s blessings

Pamela K. Taylor is a free-lance writer, author and poet. She is Director of the Islamic Writers Alliance, and co-Chair of the Progressive Muslim Union. She lives in Indianapolis with one husband, four kids, two cats and a handful of fish. Her website is:

Monday, October 24, 2005

Friday's Poem: "Written By Moonlight"

Written by Moonlight
By Danielle Frézier

Rays of the moon drip milk
onto the smooth black surface of the lake.
No scrying mirror ever held
its depths and breadths.

Pen races over paper
in the frantic attempt
to capture moments of beauty;
snapshots of memory.

Quill and parchment would suit
as the scribe toils in the night
dark hair falling over her shoulder
capturing heartsong; capturing hope;
waiting for her consort.

Danielle Frézier is at her best in the moonlight. She does not have a website . . .yet.

Oct. 27 Poetry News

I had to publish the entire week’s worth of entries early in the week, so as to make sure they all got up; I’d rather have the work up a few days early than scramble to get it in late.

Hopefully, my schedule will settle down a bit starting next week.

Famous last words.

Make sure you visit the site this weekend for a special Ramadan poem by Pamela Taylor.

Thanks for the lovely American Thanksgiving Poems.

I am still accepting December Holiday Poems, ten lines or less, until Nov. 19.

You can submit here.

In November, I will be moving my web host. I may have to give you an alternate address during that time to submit and contact Circadian; if that is the case, I will do so.

If you haven’t checked out The Scruffy Dog Review and The Scruffy Dog Review Blog¸ do it now. It’s yet another great venue for your work.

Have a safe and happy Halloween/Samhein/Days of the Dead!

Wednesday's Poem: "Insect Royalty"

Insect Royalty
By Wanda D. Campbell

Queen Anne holds
a swallow-tail-to-be
in her slender arms
neath her lacey sleeves.

He will not be great
among caterpillars,
just another green eater,
but one morning,

he will rise
over all that he was,
rise to fly,
yellow flashes
in the sun.

“Insect Royalty” first appeared in Taproot Literary Review, summer 2005.

Wanda D. Campbell is a poet, novelist, artist and teacher from the rolling hill country of southern Kentucky. Her work has appeared in The Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, River Walk Journal, storySouth, Midsouth Review, Farmland Publications, The Rogue Scholar and many other traditional and online publications. Most of her work has appeared the pen name, Nochipa. She is a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society and attends workshops throughout Appalachia and the South.

Visit her at: At Home in the Cumberlands

Tuesday’s Essay: “Means Literature Deigned to Employ”

By Aamir Aziz

There is no dispute that literature is the reflection of life. The relation of literature with society is to be considered in the two fold aspect of source and aim. The question arises whether art should arise from and reflect social conditions or be the subjective creation of the artist’s fancy. Its natural corollary is whether art should have any social role to play, painting the society as at present and leading the mankind towards its betterment. From this controversy arises the question whether literature should create only beauty and create delight by playing upon the eternal instincts of love and hatred, or shall have any relation with the conditions of life as lived in society.

If it is to play any social role it must reflect social conditions as they exist. It must be born out of the interaction of social forces. Hence the relation of literature to society is firstly one of its source and secondly of its aim. It is man who creates literature. God creates life; man reproduces it in the form of literature with the help of his imagination. It is man for whom literature is created .God is creator of the universe. He has created man in his own image making him a demi-creator.

He has made man an imitating animal. In the process of creating he not only imitates but also improves upon it. To appreciate a piece of art is as delightful to man as to create it. When we find a literary piece life-like and realistic, we enjoy this feeling. A man of literature not only presents life as it is but also as it should be. As a comprehensive subject literature encompasses, the present, past and future of a community and of humanity at large, it is the mother of all sciences. A man of literature looks before and after and weighs and considers something.

He possesses subjective as well as objective vision. His treatises bear his mind and personality. Objective realities do exist in his creative work along with personal or subjective outlook. What his imagination seizes as beauty that is rightly compatible with truth. Absolute truths are found in literature in the form of quotations. Such sayings and common parlances are quoted everywhere by scholars to further elucidate their points. Literature has no comparison with history which is merely chronological record of past events based upon second hand knowledge.

Sir Philip Sidney was right to say that nothing is true in history except names and dates; nothing is untrue in literature except names and dates. Often laymen ask the question whether such and such a story is factual; I am obliged to be amazed at their innocence that they do not know what a piece of literature aims at. Literature is a subject of probability and symbolism. When we name somebody ‘tiger’ we expect the listener to think of its attributes. Just like symbols used in mathematics, physics, chemistry and other physical sciences, we are expected to read a literary piece between the lines and find in it something said after our hearts. Truths in the domain of literature are truer than truth itself. I have the audacity to say that poetic truths are an improvement upon scientific realities.

It is the penetrating vision of the literary artist which lends various colours and shades to an ordinary scientific reality. A man of literature passes for a common man undergoes trials and tribulations of life. He universalizes the personal findings .The reader finds in them his own feelings defined and represented. Literature alone entertains and tolerates the opposite opinions. It is very much republican in its approach: Emphasis, dogmatism, self-assertion, egotism, didacticism etc find no place in a piece of literature. A single man of literature looks at a thing and incorporates all his expressions in a pleasurable and melodious way of saying. His imagination is just like a prism which refracts various colours and shades giving a wide birth to Methodism, fanaticism and egotistic sublime. An artist passes through a garden, a thorn runs into his heel, he describes the whole history of garden, it is called macrocosmic approach.

To his seeing eye a grain of sand is nothing but a desert in miniature. A drop of water is an ocean in the literary sense of the term. To an artist the proper study of mankind is man [pope].Likewise he lives among men, studies them minutely and claims to be the doctor of human nature. It is the literary vision that determines the status of a literary artist. Literature is nothing but a philosophy which aims at the love of mankind. How can you report about men and matters unless you possess negative capability and emotional involvement in men and matters.

Literature raises its voice above season, climate, territory, race, colour, creed and culture. Safety and well-being of a community lies not in the hands of the scientists, politicians and technocrats, but in the hands of men of ideas through whom a social group sees. Wordsworth has rightly said: “One impulse from the vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good Than all the sages can.” In my view study and teaching of literature can be a panacea for all our social and political ills. It is literature that both teaches and delights you.

It kindles your curiosity, creates In you quest for the unknown and enables you to learn something new with a palpable design. In this context, Naziri Neshapuri, the Persian poet says: If the lecture of a litterateur were in the language of love, even the truant boy would attend the school on Friday, the weekend holiday. Nature’s world is brazen but that of literature is golden, the gardens of nature see autumn but those of literature are evergreen.

Lovers of the world of nature are fickle minded, false and untrue whereas those of literature are constant. Literature denies euphemism, hypocrisy, affectation, half baked realities, one sided facts, half truths and truth seeming lies. A spade is called by its own name without circumlocution. In short the study of literature has an ennobling effect on man’s personality, heart and mind.

Copyright (c) 2005 by AAMIR AZIZ

Aamir Aziz is 21 years old, serving as a lecturer in English, in Pakistan. “ In the world of materialism and anarchy, I always seek room for seeds of aesthetics and moral virtues which can sprout unmatched flowers in the times to come. I always wish to be in the forefront while doing this holy business in my poetry.” Mr. Aziz’s work has been featured in nearly two dozen international anthologies, and in his prose works, the same search for eternal sunshine continues. He will pursue his PhD in English Literature in Holland during 2006.

Monday's Poem: Moo

By J. Vaughn

Dancing in the soft moonlight glow, dancing in shadows of things you know.

Spin your body merrily in the night, twirl in meadows beyond your sight.

Raise your spirit beyond what it knows, seek out things that make love grow.

Mind not the moments that give you pain, cover those moments that don’t cause rain.

Live free, true to yourself, do this, mean it, don’t put your life on a shelf.

In every life some rain does fall, seek out shelter, don’t drop the ball.

I can’t tell you what you should do, all I can say is those that con, do and those that can’t moo.

J. Vaughn enjoys writing both poetry and short stories that incite people to think beyond what they see and feel. He opposes both the war and the many layers of bureaucracy which ensnare our government during catastrophic events, leaving more problems than solutions. To see more of his work, go to:

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday's Poem: Tobacco Patch Princess

Tobacco Patch Princess
By Wanda D. Campbell

Ninety degrees
in dry September fields
all day long I lift
eighty pounds of green.

I am tiger lily dust
moistened from dew within,
my cocoa hair,
streaked with caramel strands.

Scarred, calloused hands
twice their age,
touched by manly nails,
hoist these sacred stalks

until sinewy limbs
longing for apple tree shade
send me to drink divine
colorless warmth.

When the sky people
with their glory eyes
peep through holes
in their velvet blanket.

I fall clean
upon fresh sheets
and make love
to my peace.

“Tobacco Patch Princess” first appeared in Story South as “Tobacco Patch Mistress”.

Wanda D. Campbell is a poet, novelist, artist and teacher from the rolling hill country of southern Kentucky. Her work has appeared in The Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, River Walk Journal, storySouth, Midsouth Review, Farmland Publications, The Rogue Scholar and many other traditional and online publications. Most of her work has appeared the pen name, Nochipa. She is a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society and attends workshops throughout Appalachia and the South.

Visit her at: At Home in the Cumberlands .

My apologies to Ms. Campbell for publishing the poem late. I was caught on set yesterday, and today, Blogger is refusing to publish.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oct. 20 Poetry News

Although the deadline was yesterday for American Thanksgiving Poems, because I’ve been offline so much, I’m extending it until Saturday, the 22nd. So, if you want to send a 10-line-or-less poem regarding American Thanksgiving in, now’s the time to do so!

We will have a very special additional poem featured on the site on Sunday, October 30. It is a Ramadan poem by Pamela Taylor. Please visit the site that day to read this exceptionally beautiful piece of work.

If you haven’t visited The Scruffy Dog Review, hop on over. The e-zine is accepting submissions for its premiere issue in January, 2006.

Next week, I will be onset and offline again from Tuesday – Saturday, so I will upload the material for those days all on Tuesday morning. Tomorrow’s poem will post mid-day, because I’m on-set tonight and won’t be back online until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

always be there

always be there
by Sheryl Joy P. Olaño

"I'll always be there for you…"
laughter to the lonely,
that whisper to my ears.
The pledge was his, I knew
Mushiest line on a sunny day

Spoke them by heart,
simple words of a simple man
My knight. My friend. How could I tell?
This dreamer he tried to protect
Tangled in perils he would strongly
Object. Object, object…he tried.
But give up, I would have lied.
This dream stronger than I,
The dream was finally mine!
He disappeared,
the pain in his eyes crystal clear.
He could not see why.

I soared, conquered
Without him by my side.
Revelations, the limelight never lost
My words punished, cured.

But on a night seemingly
a lot like other nights
Screeching motion.
A car. Then my body took
The explosion.
The car!
Returned to nowhere whence it came.

I died, I should have
But the pain was beyond
My lips
And the eyes
That served me so well
Could have crippled me for eternity
If not for a miracle
Could have been for someone,
Not for me.

Trauma. I fought. Trauma. I fought.
I lived.
Then I saw. Him!
Like a ghost painted on the park
Lips tainted with
A never before seen
Ease of his smile
Him! Handsome as the devil himself.
Questions. Utter tug-of-war
Should I approach, should I go?

It hit me, cold as snow
I loved him still
It ached me so
He stood. Was it in answer to me?
Behind dark glasses who knew what
Emotions he bore?
He walked. It could have killed me
The cane in his hand led,
Paved the way as past scenes
In the operating room unveiled!

Sheryl Joy P. Olaño is a journalism graduate and now working as a junior editor in publishing company CannonCreek Asia Incorporated, where she deals with business news writing. I am also a contributor to the Philippine newspaper Sun Star Daily Cebu,,, ezine and goarticles. She writes essays, short stories, poetry and sometimes novels.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Interview with B.K. Birch

B.K. Birch is a poet, novelist, and short story writer who recently founded the hot new literary ezine, The Scruffy Dog Review. She took time out of her busy life to talk to Circadian Poems.

1. As a reader of poetry, what do you crave most?

Well, it depends upon what mood I'm in. Sometimes I seek nirvana in the words while at other times I'm searching for a revolution.

2. As a writer of poetry, what do you hope to communicate to your reader?

My goal is to create a feeling, idea or epiphany that the reader has either never felt or has suppressed.

3. How does your poetry-crafting differ from the way you create your fiction?

My poetry is much more personal than my fiction so when I write poetry, I have to search past the filters to find the raw emotion. Whereas with fiction, I can take a situation or point in time and ask "what if?" and the story and characters tend to roll out of me. Poetry is much more difficult to write because it contains much more than my writing voice - it contains me.

4. What do you believe is the responsibility of the poet to the reader?

I believe poetry readers are the most sensual of readers and by that I mean they not only read and appreciate the prose – they feel it. They read because they want to experience a feeling, be it excitement, love, lust, horror, fear, enlightenment or peace. It is my responsibility to provide the emotion the reader seeks.

5. Where do you feel "spoken word" falls in the realm of poetry?

I believe everyone has a bit of a poet in them and that poetry is the natural rhythm of humans. However, when we become programmed to fit into society, we lose much of that rhythm and that is sad.

Music and especially rap music is a perfect example of spoken poetry. You may not like what you hear, but it makes you think and is certainly more creative and exciting than 'Poetry Readings". This is strictly my opinion.

6. Which poets influence you the most and why?

Wow, there are so many and different poets influenced me at different times. William Blake, Walt Whitman and early (pre-religious) T.S. Elliot as these poets write of revolution – sometimes loud and sometimes soft, but it is there.

William Butler Yeats, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost for the images their words create. I also love the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton and Emily Dickinson.

7. How do you think kids can be encouraged to experience poetry?

That's a good question and quite honestly, I can't think of an answer. But what I do know is that the current method of making students memorize a boring poem for class really doesn't teach them to appreciate the art. It makes them loathe it. I also wish they'd stop studying Paradise Lost by Milton – talk about boring. It's a shame too because there are so many exciting poets published whom students would appreciate more and perhaps become enthused about poetry.

8. When you read an especially powerful poem, what is the impact, both long-term and short-term?

The poem "Satan" by Terry Anderson, about the months he endured capture by the Hezbollah in Lebanon. I read that poem several years ago but the vivid image of fear has stayed with me ever since. It changed me and made me broaden my knowledge of foreign affairs, politics and diplomacy.

I believe the impact is change, be it becoming more caring, less trusting, more fearful, less frugal or more loving. Poetry can certainly plant the seed for such change.

B.K. Birch’s publishing credits include Wildchild Publishing with two Editor's Choice Award wins, Copperfield Review, Penwomanship, Bygone Days, Mid-South Review and Emerging Women Writers. Her poetry has been published extensively in the U.S. and abroad. She also writes book reviews for Midwest Book Review and She is the founding editor and publisher of The Scruffy Dog Review. Visit her website here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday's Poem: Little Black Hat

Little Black Hat
By J. Vaughn

A scholarly man, practically fair, sough divinity in the matter of his hair.

The little black cap upon his head wasn’t enough is what his friends said

It’s a ritual, a symbol of sorts, I wear it to show my god I stand in his court

Is there a god they all seemed to ask, and if so what duties come with this task

Thoughtfully contemplating what he would say, finally he answered them in his way

Love your neighbor, love yourself, find the center of your spiritual self

God is not cruel, nor is he mean, his son was sacrificed for all these things

What he wants is not your praise, he wants for peace on earth everyday

But in the matter of my hair I guess he decided my head is better off bare.

J. Vaughn enjoys writing both poetry and short stories that incite people to think beyond what they see and feel. He opposes both the war and the many layers of bureaucracy which ensnare our government during catastrophic events, leaving more problems than solutions. To see more of his work, go to:

Friday's Poem -- Adultery

By Wren Fallon

I found out about her
from lipstick on the glass.
You had not rubbed it as
fully from the glass
as you no doubt rubbed
it from her lips.

I reached into the cabinet,
My hand passed over my usual glass
And I reached to the back
for a different goblet for wine,
a chalice to celebrate our love
As my body has been a chalice to celebrate you.

My fingers closed around the stem
I pulled it forward
Out of the cabinet.
The light passed the clearness of the crystal to catch the dullness on the rim.
I recognized the shade, faint as it was.
It isn't mine.

I know whose it is.

You might have at least used her glass.
You might have at least used her sheets.

The details fall into place --
The not talking in social situations
The familiarity with which you refilled her glass at a party
But jarring.

The backing from a pierced earring
I found in the garbage when the bag broke.

My ears aren't pierced.

The way the pitch of your voice changes
Sometimes when you pick up the phone.
The little things you are so careful not to do
Are more telling than those you do.

I know.

And now
You will face the consequences.

Wren Fallon likes to arrange words to communicate images and see what happens. She has neither a blog nor a website, and that’s the way she likes it. She’s been published in a variety of independent poetry outlets, here and there.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thursday, Oct. 13: Poetry News

RIP Dennis Kim, the 22 year-old NY poet lost in the Hudson River when he went in to retrieve a bag containing his writing.

Writers understand the impulse.

Deadline Reminder: October 21 for poems 10 lines or less celebrating American Thanksgiving.


Check out the new literary e-zine, The Scruffy Dog Review, accepting all manner of submissions, including poetry.

Wednesday's Poem: Sister Walk

Sister Walk
By Wanda D. Campbell

Sister, do you remember
when we walked these woods
in our youth, the smell of wet leaves
touching our noses, water from shaken trees
falling on our hair?

When we gathered cresses
from the branch and
hauled water from that spring
where we collected snails and
tempted crawdads with twigs?

Now weeks grow in our path
and briars block the entrance
to woodlands of yesterday.
Still, will you walk with me?

“Sister Walk” first appeared in Taproot Literary Review, Summer 2005.

Wanda D. Campbell is a poet, novelist, artist and teacher from the rolling hill country of southern Kentucky. Her work has appeared in The Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, River Walk Journal, storySouth, Midsouth Review, Farmland Publications, The Rogue Scholar and many other traditional and online publications. Most of her work has appeared the pen name, Nochipa. She is a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society and attends workshops throughout Appalachia and the South.

Visit her at: At Home in the Cumberlands (

Tuesday's Article: Little Orphant Annie

Little Orphant Annie
By Deborah Adams

Inscribed, with All Faith and Affection:

To all the little children: -- the happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuza little boy woudn't say his prayers, --
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout: --
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputter, an' the wind goes woo--oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away, --
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' cherish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
James Whitcomb Riley(1849 - 1916)

In the days before the explosion of technology light verse was ideal for Saturday-night recitations and standard fare for holiday festivities. Casey at the Bat, Plain Language from Truthful James and "Little Orphant Annie" were popular among those who prized pronouncing them in a variety of voices and different dialects. In fact, they're still fun on the right occasion to cast aside inhibitions and let the melodrama rip. Before long everybody's smirking and maybe just a few think that poetry isn't so boring after all.

Backwoods beginnings

Known as the "Hoosier poet" it may not be too surprising to learn that as a student James Whitcomb Riley had spent some time during his school years studying another well know poet who used Scottish dialect Robert Burns. Born in Greenfield, Indiana Riley spent his early years working with a group of wandering painters and a patented medicine show eventually becoming a regular contributor of verse to Indiana newspapers. Riley's popularity was derived largely from his quaint use of Hoosier dialect, a Hoosier being a native of Indiana. Originally writing under a pen name, "Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone" he appealed to the majority of people with his ordinary style and expressions. Many likened Riley to fellow contemporary author Mark Twain for his talented use of natural parlance. His dialect and use of the language, as well as his cheerful sense of humor fascinated people.

Deliciously dark

Although a bit gruesome "Little Orphant Annie" is a deliciously dark morality tale for kids. Overflowing with the nostalgia and warmth along with her own colorful commentary `Orphant Annie' tells a terrifying tale of the consequences to disobedient and disrespectful children reminding them to "say our prayers", "help the poor and needy ones", and "cherish them that loves us". James Whitcomb Riley attributed his ghastly storyline to the family's hired girl. One source from the University of Indiana explains:

The poem we familiarly call "Little Orphant Annie" was first printed in the Indianapolis Journal on November 15, 1885 as "The Elf Child." It appeared under that title in Character Sketches The Boss Girl, a Christmas Story and other Sketches published by the Bowen-Merrill Company in 1886. Orphaned during the American Civil War, Annie, whose name was actually Mary Alice Allie Smith, came to stay with the Riley family in Greenfield during the winter of 1862. She performed household chores in exchange for her room and board. Allie enchanted the Riley children with tales, warning of the goblins below the stairs. When next published Riley altered the title to "Little Ophant Allie," but a typesetting error turned Allie into Annie. Riley contacted his publisher about a correction, but upon being informed that the edition was selling extremely well, he decided to leave the error intact. Allie grew up, married a fellow named Grey, and moved to the Indiana town of Philadelphia. When she was 74 she visited the Greenfield home. It was not until she was in her 70's that she knew that she was the heroine of Riley's poem.

The picturesque tale of spooks and goblins in its Hoosier dialect made Riley one of the most well-liked and well off American poets of his day. As his popularity mounted Riley took to the road yet again, traveling around the country to perform his poems in many cities. By 1883, two collections of his poems were published, entitled The Old Swimmin' Hole and 'Leven More Poems. Little Orphant Annie was at last published in hard print 1890 in an anthology titled Rhymes of Childhood striking a chord in many as to what the American Midwest was like in the years following the Civil War.

From celebrity to superstar

The mythology of the orphan was born in children's literature and popular culture. Its whimsical narrative style captures the imagination with an orphan storyline that has gone on to become a recurring theme in media today. In 1918 a black and white film by the same title was made. Surrounded by a group of children, the poet himself narrates the story of Little Orphant Annie, who loses her mother at an early age and is sent to an orphanage. Rated PG-13 Annie, played by Colleen Moore charms the other children with her stories of goblins and elves.

From tall tales to poetry to dolls. Patented in 1915 by Johnny Gruelle literary legends discuss that while....."reaching for a volume of poetry behind his desk," Johnny Gruelle leafed through several by poet and family friend, James Whitcomb Riley. Condensing the names of two of his favorites -- "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie" -- he asked, his daughter, "What if we call your new doll Raggedy Ann?"

Of course the most famous orphan of the 20th century is Little Orphan Annie. Beginning as a weekly newspaper comic strip published by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate in 1924 and created by Harold Gray. Several sources relate that Gray attributed the inspiration for his self-reliant, plucky and cheerful rags to riches character to Riley's poem. Add to that the combination formula of her early origins in a Dickensian orphanage to Daddy Warbucks the results have been guaranteed Annie's comic strip success.

In Riley's later life, Little Orphant Annie, The Raggedy Man," "When the Frost Is On the Punkin," and several more volumes of poetry attracted both national and international readers. He was honored as America's "Children's Poet," and in his home state he became known as "The Hoosier Poet." In 1913 a 6-volume collection of the complete works of this kind, wise poet of everyday Americans was published. James Whitcomb Riley died of a stroke three years later on July 22nd, United States President, Woodrow Wilson sent a note to the poet's family, saying Riley was"...a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a thoughtful view of many things that other men would have missed."

Colleen MooreAccessed Oct 20 2003
IntroductionAccessed Oct 20 2003
James Whitcomb Riley: The Hoosier Poet Accessed Oct 20 2003
Lost Indiana's In Grave Condition: James Whitcomb RileyAccessed Oct 20 2003
Outpost 10F - Poetry Guild - James Whitcomb RileyAccessed Oct 20 2003
Public domain text taken from The Poet's CornerAccessed Oct 20 2003
The Raggedy Man and Little Orphant AnnieAccessed Oct 20 2003
RPO -- James Whitcomb Riley : Little Orphant AnnieAccessed Oct 20 2003

Deborah Adams is an Editor for Everything2 ( A
retired teacher from Saint Joseph's Catholic School in Tucson, AZ. She
researches poets and their poetry highlighting the history and era
with a desire to learn what may have inspired the verse. Deborah has a
Bachelor's from Southwestern College, Winfield, KS.

Monday's Poem: Beacuse I Love You

Because I Love You
by Sheryl Joy P. Olaño

You touch my face, but I feel no warmth
You stare at me, but I can't stare back
You wipe my tears, yet they won't stop falling
'Cause I know you'd be with me no more

The sun has set; it's time for you to leave
I close my eyes, wishing you well
You smile but deep inside you're crying
I know your words mean farewell

You touch my hand, but still I feel empty
You hold me close, but still I feel cold
You speak soothing words that I know you don't mean
The word goodbye remains untold

I draw away to finish it all
The right thing is to let you go
Don't worry, I'll be fine; I'm
setting you free
Because I love you so

Sheryl Joy P. Olaño is a journalism graduate and now working as a junior editor in publishing company CannonCreek Asia Incorporated, where she deals with business news writing. She is also a contributor to the Philippine newspaper Sun Star Daily Cebu,,, ezine and goarticles. She writes essays,
short stories, poetry and sometimes novels.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ode To An Immigrant Worker

Ode to An Immigrant Worker
By Brooke Hart


made envious
only for a diced meal
mi familia must get buy
spuds split
in Spanish

warm starch
seeping through
their systems
sinking like a rock

empty stomachs
longing for freedom – home
must find a way to fill this space

Sun rises
still, they wait
digging in dirt
soil never belonging to them


they move
town to won


Brooke Hart resides in Broomfield, Colorado. She holds a Bachelors in English with an emphasis in Liberal Arts and is currently working on a Masters in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Beyond her published and unpublished poetry, she also works within several mediums of writing and performance, including script writing, prose, visual art, and music.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Breaking News!

Today is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom!

The whole week has honored poets!

Happy National Poetry Day!

(thanks to Colin Galbraith for that info)

October 6 Poetry News

Thursdays are reserved for poetry news. Publications can send in contest information or submission guidelines; individuals can send info on readings, publications, and other news of interest. I will post info regarding various sites I come across that might be of interest, and information about the site. I’m eager to help spread the word about your achievements! And happy to point our readers to other publications which support poetry.

For instance:

I could still fit in one or two short Halloween verses for our Halloween poems day, although I have, I think, a half a dozen. If you want to submit 10 lines or less, you can still do so until the end of this week.

I’d also like to post some short verse, again 10 lines or less on the following days:

Mon. Nov. 21 for American Thanksgiving (deadline Oct. 21)


Mon. Dec. 19 for the December holidays (Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukah, and anything else that falls in that time frame). Deadline: Nov. 19.

There is still room for essays and articles on certain Tuesdays in November and December.

Sites worth checking out:

A Passion For Peace

Poets Against War

Also, make a note of these dates:

The site will rest for the holidays from Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Sunday November 27 in honor of American Thanksgiving;


From Tuesday, December 20 through Sunday, January 1, 2006 for the holidays.

Further announcement for October of this year:

I am working on a television pilot during scattered days this month, and there will be days when I am away from the computer. I will do my darndest to load the features for the days I expect to miss ahead of time, so that they will be up as scheduled.

For instance, I will be away from the computer most of the day on Oct. 11 and all day Oct. 12 & 13. Therefore, early on the morning of Oct. 11, I will load the features for the 11, 12, and 13th. I expect to be back by mid-day on the 14th, and will upload that day’s feature as soon as I get to my office.

If you have news you’d like included in the weekly Thursday posting, please email it to me here with the subject line “Poetry News”.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Featured Poem: Harvest I (In Two Voices)

Harvest I (in Two Voices)
By Brenda Braene

How many shades of abundance does nature create?
{How many predators scheme her destruction?}

How many variations of sun and sand and water –
{global warming, medical waste, toxic dumps . . .}

--of air and growth and sun –
{SUV pollution, Love Canal, acid rain}

Of tomato and barley and corn –
{genetic engineering, DUI, stolen Native Lands)

Of lettuce and cabbage and cucumber?
(dead rabbits, cloning for dollars, botox)

Berries, roots, beans, fruits, nuts and vines
(steal family farms, oust the general stores, deny health care)

Use the bounty without to fuel the bounty within.
(they will crush you if you let them. They hate beauty. They hate love. They --}

You are part of They.
(i am not)

You are. We are.
Turn to Nature; turn to harvest.
Hear the solution in grain and rain,
in elephants’ wails and lava flows.
Lava flows as blood flows
On the body of the earth and through the body within.

You can visit Brenda Braene at her blog, Poet Meets Muse, or at her shared website, The Three Braenes. This is her first published poem.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Robert Louis Stevenson -- Poet and Author

Robert Louis Stevenson - Poet and Author
1850 - 1894

By Colin Galbraith

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on the 13th November 1850, and his impact on the literary world was nothing short of astonishing. Raised in the New Town district from the age of six, he was part of a close family with strict Presbyterian and middle-class values, which became a source of great unrest within him as he grew.

From an early age he suffered from ill-health. Tuberculosis saw him bed-bound for long spells and as a result, spent little time at school. A nurse, Alison Cunningham (Cummy), was brought in to care for him and she held massive influence over his life. In the Dedication of his poetry collection, A Child's Garden of Verses, he referred to her as, "My second mother, my first wife".

Cummy took Stevenson on long walks through Edinburgh and its graveyards when he was young. She told him long and intricate tales, stimulating his mind with stories of Scottish history, the Bible, ghosts and ghouls. Whether these were directly responsible for the horrific nightmares he suffered is anyone’s guess.

When he was sixteen, his family published a pamphlet he wrote entitled, The Pentland Rising, an account of the murder of Nonconformist Scots Presbyterians. Nobody stopped to consider the strength of desire that existed within Stevenson after his first published work, least not his father.

Stevenson had been using fiction to rebel, and he attempted to appease his father’s anger at not wanting to follow into the family’s engineering business, by enrolling at Edinburgh University in 1867. He matriculated in a Law degree, but spent most of his time talking to the drunks, prostitutes and gamblers in Edinburgh’s Old Town to gather material for his writing, rather than attending lectures and seminars. When he left in 1872 he finally announced his desire to become a professional writer and an intense argument ensued.

With his health worsening, Stevenson travelled to Paris and met Fanny Vandergrift Osborne. They married in San Francisco in 1880 and travelled Europe together while he wrote a great many poems, articles, reviews and novels. In 1882 he published Nor I And Other Poems, which celebrated medium success and when he travelled to Braemar, Scotland in 1883, he wrote Treasure Island.

It has been suggested the famous poem from this novel ~

Fifteen men on the dead man's chest
Yo-ho-ho, and the bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

~ could have originally referred to the notorious pirate, Edward Teach, who left fifteen men on the island of Dead Man's Chest with a bottle of rum and a sword, thus providing a background for the inspiration of Stevenson’s novel.

Underwoods, a collection of poetry for the more mature reader, was published in London and New York simultaneously and sold out quickly. He felt that poetry was the source of his greatest happiness, for he could “do just what I like better than anything else.”

Many critics have since disagreed with this, citing the style of verse more revealing of a man’s fear of dying and severe illness, only scattered with moments of inspiration.

But it was Treasure Island that put Stevenson on the literary map and when The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde followed in 1886, Stevenson had made his name.

While holidaying in South Queensferry, north of Edinburgh, the idea for Kidnapped was spawned and written that same year, further supporting his reputation as a world-class writer.
Stevenson’s father died in 1887 at a time when his health was deteriorating at an alarming rate. He took his family out of Britain for good and onto the vast oceans of the South Pacific, eventually landing on the small island of Samoa where he set up home.

Despite being thousands of miles away in a climate he found suited him, Stevenson’s mind constantly drifted back to the cobbled streets of Edinburgh. As his health improved he threw himself into writing more novels, but also extensive letters. He wrote and published The Master of Ballantrae in 1889 and Catriona four years later – the sequel to Kidnapped.

In the last two years of his life Stevenson's letters to his friends in Great Britain increasingly revealed his longing for Scotland and the frustration he felt at the thought of never seeing his homeland again. To S. R. Crockett he wrote, "I shall never see Auld Reekie. I shall never set my foot again upon the heather. Here I am until I die, and here will I be buried. The word is out and the doom written."

It may have been his longing for Scotland that made Weir of Hermiston so powerful a tale. With its themes of rebellion, the Scottish landscape, language, and legends, it is widely regarded as the most Scottish of all his works.

While making mayonnaise with his wife on the 3rd December 1894, Stevenson collapsed from a stroke and never recovered. He was 44 years old, at the height of his creative powers and his health never better. Scotland and the world had lost a literary genius.

Stevenson’s impact on the reading public never weaned and many of his poetic work were published long after his death. Three Short Poems (1898), Poems And Ballads (1913), Poems Hitherto Unpublished (1916), New Poems And Variant Readings (1918) and Collected Poems (1950) were all published and sold very successfully, proving undeniably the strength of his genius.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

('Requiem' from Underwoods)

For an extensive list of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poetry and for further reading, the following links may prove useful:
Colin Galbraith has seen many poems of his poems published. His first chapbook, Brick by Brick, was published in April 2005 and a second chapbook about the recent Edinburgh Festival is scheduled for publication later this year. He can be contact through his website: or his daily blog:

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Launch of Circadian Poems!

Welcome to the launch of Circadian Poems! I hope this will grow into an exciting, nurturing place for poets and people who love poetry.

I’m delighted to present our first poem, by Wanda D. Campbell – one of my favorite writers! It’s a delight to open the site with her poem.

Drum roll. Pop the champagne.

Here it is . . .

Our Inaugural Poem!

After the Rain
By Wanda D. Campbell

A horseshoe crab
Washed onto the shore.
Rachel ran toward it,
her bare feet
marking the sand.

With a stick I tried
to shove it back out to sea;
it wouldn’t budge
and Rachel
giggled out loud

as foam gathered around
her tiny feet,
stealing their tracks,
but the crab
and her laughter

“After the Rain” first appeared in River Walk Journal in 2005.

Wanda D. Campbell is a poet, novelist, artist and teacher from the rolling hill country of southern Kentucky. Her work has appeared in The Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, River Walk Journal, storySouth, Midsouth Review, Farmland Publications, The Rogue Scholar and many other traditional and online publications. Most of her work has appeared the pen name, Nochipa. She is a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society and attends workshops throughout Appalachia and the South. Visit her website, At Home in the Cumberlands.

Want to submit? Read the Guidelines linked to the right, and then submit here.