Red Oyster

The future was her red oyster—
Red like her passion, uncloistered.
Red like her heart, ripe for a coup.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

A young conqueror stole her heart,
Took a vow they never would part.
In time, he cleaved her heart in two.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

Though battle-scarred she tried again
To find a love that was a friend,
But her mind, he did not value.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

Closed to the world, free to the page,
With pen of red, she spills out rage.
She never knew a love that’s true…
A time long gone, when youth was new.

The future was her red oyster—
A time long gone, when youth was new.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: [I deviated from the standard fourteen lines, adding in an extra quatrain. The poem seemed to call for it] A Kyrielle Sonnet consists of 14 lines (three rhyming quatrain stanzas and a non-rhyming couplet). Just like the traditional Kyrielle poem, the Kyrielle Sonnet also has a repeating line or phrase as a refrain (usually appearing as the last line of each stanza). Each line within the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of only eight syllables. French poetry forms have a tendency to link back to the beginning of the poem, so common practice is to use the first and last line of the first quatrain as the ending couplet. This would also re-enforce the refrain within the poem. Therefore, a good rhyming scheme for a Kyrielle Sonnet would be: A-a-b-B, c-c-b-B, d-d-b-B, A-B –or- A-b-a-B, c-b-c-B, d-b-d-B, A-B. Definition taken from Shadow Poetry.)


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Haiku 4

lightning forks black sky
punctures purple, pregnant clouds
quenches poor, parched earth

©2021 KT Workman

(NOTE: Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that consists of 17 syllables, and is typically about nature. The 1st line has 5 syllables, the 2nd has 7, and the 3rd has 5.)

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

To Soar

To soar
Above it all
Be as the lone eagle
Free of earthly ties that strangle
A life

A life
Unborn, wings clipped
By karma’s unkind teeth
Fell from the nest too soon onto
Fate’s ground

Fate’s ground
Strewn with fierce rocks
Seeded in thorns and glass
Where nothing can grow…or spread wings
And fly

And fly
Unchained, unleashed,
Unshackled, unfettered,
Unrestrained, unconfined, unbound
…uncaged

Uncaged—
I long to be
Foot loose and fancy-free
Sailing winds of my own making
To soar…

©2021 KT Workman



(Note: Crown Cinquain—a series of 5 (entire) Crapsey Cinquains, 25 lines total. Syllable count 2-4-6-8-2 in each stanza; written with breaks between stanzas. Rhyme is optional. The last line of the previous cinquain is repeated as the first line of the next cinquain. The final line of the last cinquain does not have to equal the first line of the first cinquain, but is optional.)

Credit for the definition goes to Abigail Gronway at Dark Side of the Moon.




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The Wishing Well

In the depths of the wishing well
Dwells the girl of my youthful dreams.
Barnacled lips hold in her screams.

The scummy water tastes like hell.
Stagnant with time, do not swallow
Or more regrets will surely follow.

Ebbing inside her are raw swells
That crash against her cold, closed heart,
Which years ago, misplaced its chart.

“Keep her safe,” says her hard shell.
“Leech her eyes so she cannot see
The life she had been meant to lead.”

As the darkness weaves its sad spell,
She and I bar the hurtful gates,
While wishing for a kinder fate.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: The Constanza, created by Connie Marcum Wong, consists of five or more 3-line stanzas. Each line has a set meter of eight syllables. The first lines of all the stanzas can be read successively as an independent poem, with the rest of the poem weaved in to express a deeper meaning. The first lines convey a theme written in monorhyme, while the second and third lines of each stanza rhyme together. Rhyme scheme: a-b-b, a-c-c, a-d-d, a-e-e, a-f-f. Definition taken from Poets Collective. Introduction – Poetry Forms (poetscollective.org)


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The Turn

For we mere mortals, the apathetic world keeps turning.
Fanatical time goose-steps forward, ever forward,
leaving behind wrinkles and gray hair, aches and pains.
And a cautious wistfulness takes root in our hearts, 
to turn back the clock, to be granted a do-over.
But Father Time—or perhaps, Mother Time—heeds no one.

If I could be granted a wish, a single solitary wish—just one,
this old Earth would spin backward, until it reached the turn
where I took the path through the easy valley instead over
yon rock-strewn hill. The green valley lay forward,
it’s way smooth and grassy, no challenge to home and heart.
The hill looked enormous, formidable, so I fled from the pain

that can transpire with a challenge met, for the nature of pain
makes one shun an operose endeavor. And not one
to take the more difficult way, I tucked away my heart.
I locked all the doors, ignored the wary words turning
somersaults in my imagination, pushing forward 
against my closed mind. In time, they played dead, rolled over.

Time swept away my eagle’s voice, raucous cries now over.
No sound escaped; even attempting to call out caused pain.
The eagle I was meant to be, folded her wings; forward
momentum ceased. Once multiple paths became only one.
The words became memories as the world turned and turned.
But inside the raging silence, a hatchling stole my heart.

The hatchling became a nestling, then fledgling, bold of heart,
Flew away from a nest that grew cold, its purpose now over.
Then, inside the raw silence, words woke, twisted, twined, and turned,
Called out to the comatose eagle, wakened the pain
of a repressed voice that had grown rusty with age. “You are one
once more,” spoke the words. “The time has come to fly forward.”

Now the eagle shouts her words. Body time-worn she pushes forward,
For though a day late and a dollar short, she still has heart.
Time may march on, train-wreck the body, but silences no one.
If the words are yet on life support, they can be warmed over,
the chill chased away, freeing vocals of moth-eaten pain
that withers the soul when what it is meant to be is overturned.

The eagle in me soars forward, my words far from over.
Letters flourish in my heart, dulls old age’s constant pain.
At long last I am the one I was before I missed the turn.

©2021 KT Workman


(Note: The sestina is a strict ordered form of poetry, dating back to twelfth century French troubadours. It consists of six 6-line (sestets) stanzas followed by a 3-line envoy. Rather than use a rhyme scheme, the six ending words of the first stanza are repeated as the ending words of the other five stanzas in a set pattern. The envoy uses two of the ending words per line, again in a set pattern.

First stanza,..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6

Second stanza, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3

Third stanza, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5

Fourth stanza, ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4

Fifth stanza, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2

Sixth stanza, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1

Concluding tercet:

middle of first line ..2, end of first line ..5

middle of second line ..4, end of second line..3

middle if third line ..6, end of third line ..1)

Definition of a sestina taken from http://www.shadowpoetry.com/


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Tanka 3

red-gold cannot stay
frost ices flaming tresses
as winter creeps in
through autumn’s unguarded door
forging fire into silver

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A tanka is a form of Japanese poetry made up of 5 lines containing 31 syllables. The 1st line has 5 syllables; 2nd, 7 syllables; 3rd, 5 syllables; 4th, 7 syllables; 5th, 7 syllables. It can have any theme.)


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Mother Moon

Mother Moon looks down on me tonight,
Full, pregnant, an alabaster ball on the horizon.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

I wonder—does She feel Her children’s plight,
Or our heartaches uncaringly shun?
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

Oh, lovely lady, with my tears I write
Odes to your glory—have you seen a one?
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

If I could unfurl wings, become a sprite,
I would fly to your domain, eschew the sun.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

You climb through the stars, my envy You incite.
I hunger to rise with You, dressed to bedizen.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

Grant me wings and I will be Your acolyte,
Tiptoe past twilight, with this old earth be done.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A villanelle  poem has a fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all based on two rhymes. The 1st and 3rd lines of the 1st stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and appear together as the last two lines in the final quatrain.

Rhyme scheme: a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a-a.)


Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Sweet Time

Listen now and heed me well
To this tragic, timeless tale—
We’ve all lost loved ones
To distance and death
And occasionally, to circumstance.
Or just by believing there was time,
Sweet, sweet time, always time,
To visit and while away that time.
Yes, all the time in the world,
Static, breathless, endless time
I believed—
When I was young.

Years pass by in the blink of an eye,
And you notice one day
How many have died.
Gone, all gone, with time’s treacherous tides,
Their scattered, ivory bones picked clean
And carried away into death’s dawn.
Time, sweet time, and them—
Now gone.

Time is not so sweet anymore,
You long for the grim reaper
To knock upon your door,
And drag you away,
You care not where,
Over here, over there, anywhere.
It makes no difference,
Any place will do
As long as it is far away
From this world now without you—
And you and you and you.
Far too many yous
Have stepped beyond the veil.
And you contemplate,
Anticipate—

Do they frolic upon some sandy shore,
No aches, no pains,
No worries anymore?
Is there a chair saved just for you
At the table where they meet?
All say a prayer upon that beach,
Good bread, good meat,
Good God, let’s eat.
Teeth young and sharp,
Do they tear into food?
And lusty, not rusty,
Into each other too?
And be not at the mercy
Of fickle, tricky time,
For in this hallowed place
There is no time.
Just laughter and love
And the joining of friends,
God knows I long for that—
As I long for the end.

©2021 KT Workman



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Fear the Wrath of the Lord

Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.
Lest you be damned and cast down into His eternal hell—
Yea, smitten with the fury of his mighty golden sword.

In flaming paper boats, the piceous Styx you will ford,
Sails strung with clacking bones and screaming, screeching bells.
Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.

His shiny, black shoes pound the boards,
His dark, shifty eyes flash a tell,
While his carefully crafted words cast a spell
Upon the brainwashed zombie hoard.
Fear the wrath of the Lord!
The soulless preacher yells.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Originating in French lyrical poetry of the 14th century, a rondel prime poem is a fixed form of verse based on two rhyme sounds and consisting usually of 14 lines divided into three stanzas. The first two lines of the 1st stanza are repeated as the refrain of the 2nd and 3rd stanzas. The meter is open, but usually has eight syllables per line. Rhyme scheme: A-B-b-a, a-b-A-B, a-b-b-a-A-(B)—capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim.)


Image courtesy of:

Zeferli Stock Image and Video Portfolio – iStock (istockphoto.com)

Summer Treasure

Summer lies hot and heavy on the open field.
The brown grass crackles under the little girl’s feet
As she races from the house to the rambling branch,
Almost—but not quite—bone dry from baked July days.

Long-legged Sister and Brother are already there,
Ankle deep downstream of the constant eternal spring,
Lifting mossy stones, searching for pinchered treasure.
The shy little girl joins them, splishing and splashing
Ignoring their wrinkled brows and hot, flashing stares
Knowing that treasures may go, but will also return.

Soles gripping slimy stones, she lifts a plate-thin rock
Lazing stuporously beneath the blue-green veil.
And there! Treasure! Red-tipped pinchers raised high, it stares
Beady-eyed at her, daring her to make a move,
Daring her to attack—and she does, strikes boldly.
Small hand darting snake-quick, she snares the piqued treasure,
Flings it to the thirsty ground where water-things don’t tread.

Her spring eyes dancing, she charges to the bald bank,
Scoops up the crawdad, drops it in the gallon can
Among the other treasures there, plotting escape.

On the way back to the old, weathered house called home,
Brother and Sister praise the girl’s special treasure,
Eyes rolling, saying hers is the biggest of all.
The little girl smiles, imagines the pride that will
Shine on her mama’s tired but still beautiful face 
When the tale is told; and for that moment in time
Of summer in the South, all is right with the world.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Written in free verse, which does not contain rhymes, strict meter, or the use of repetition. It has varied meter, but can use loose iambic pentameter and cadence.)


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