My Weekly Writing Challenge

After Geoff Le Pard‘s wonderful prose from my picture promt (https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/monday-motivationsprepare-to-be-inspired/), I thought I’d set you a visual challenge this week. If the following image inspires a poem, story or a non-fiction piece, I’d love to see it:

abandoned_house_by_chao_ken-d397qwq

Here are last week’s brilliant rhyming poems:

Keith Channing says he doesn’t usually write poetry, but on the evidence of this, he should certainly write some more. I’m sure you’ll agree:

Three Times

Three times I ascended that bluff.
Three times. But it wasn’t enough.
Three times in an hour
From basement to tower.
I tried not to cower
When I came to the bower
And sensed the great power
Of the rare orchid’s flower.
Three times.

Three times the old man I espied.
Three times. But he still nearly died.
Three times in a week.
As he started to speak
My interest he’d pique
Then descend to a squeak
As his magic he’d wreak
And I knew I was weak.
Three times.

Three times I passed under the waves
Three times to those long-buried caves.
Three times in a year
I faced up to my fear,
Stared into the sphere,
Till the picture came clear,
And the face did appear
Of my late father dear.
Three times.

Morgan Reed has sent in a fantatsic quartet of poems:

Silent Pain

Reading was an escape Into a world of dreams.

A way to run from life

To hide from all the screams.

Too many nights spent hiding

From the fighting and the tears.

Blood and shadows, shouting

Dancing dreams and all fears.

Darkness closes in, stifling

No solace to be found.

A happy home, a farce

Pain is a silent sound.

Frozen Fear

Those icy fingers of fear consume

And fill my soul with doom

Anytime a person comes close

I remember how I froze.

The things that he did to me

And how he ignored my plea

As his hands closed around my throat

Hope was all that kept me afloat.

Each and every slap broke me down

And left me in a sea of tears to drown

Rivulets of blood ran down my leg

The sting of shame from having to beg.

Ignoring my cries, he still had his way

Fear for my life, cause enough to pray

That moment will always stay with me

And a future alone is all I can see.

Silent Whispers

Whispers of the past echo through her,

Fading memories of things that were.

She bites her tongue, wanting to scream,

Hiding in an endless daydream.

Reality is too hard to swallow,

Her soul broken, ever more hollow.

Feeling empty, losing her mind,

Nowhere to run, no help to find.

She longs for her sadness to fade,

And no longer to be afraid.

Clinging to hope like early frost,

To be found and no longer lost.

Fragile Heart

She rides the stars and dances upon moonlight,

Searching in vain for love and hope in dreams.

Darkness creeps in, stealing the warm sunlight,

Shadows embrace and love is lost forever.

Nightmares overwhelm and fear, her heart hardens,

Romance and love have long been forgotten.

She breathes lies till there are no more pardons,

Till no solace or light is to be found.

Fleeting glimpses of what she could have been,

Leave her feeling empty, alone, broken.

A life once lived, lost, and again unseen,

Fragile pieces of the shell she’s become.

King of rhyming poetry, Jason Moody didn’t let me down:

When I’m writing for fun, or writing at all
There’s one thing that I must remember
Grammar is tight, and spelling is write
Or the whole thing starts to dismember

Now I’m no Shakespeare, I’m a novice you see
So forgive me, if my sentences drone
It’s a long long road of learning you see
And this craft I am trying to hone

But in the end it’s all rather fun
To simply let my mind wander
To conceive new worlds and gentle folk
To discover what marvels lie yonder

Jasdeep Kaur sent in a beautiful poem for Valentine’s:

Valentine’s Gift

Bouquets of red roses
the heart melting proposes
overwhelming love cards
poetic expressions of bards
burning desire of proximity
the air’s sizzling in the city.

Valentine is the time
to say, ‘You’re mine’.
and look into the eyes,
where all hatred dies,
which always want to see
your face glowing with glee.

Hold the hand and share
the love, admiration and care
that brought you so near
and wiped off all fear,
and submerge in the embrace
that effaces time and space.

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36 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

    • Sacha Black says:

      Either way I’m doing something tonight this is a fab image 🙂

    • Yes – a true-life story, or if it sparks an idea for an article. Absolutely anything really!

      • Sacha Black says:

        ok well apparently i couldn’t wait till this evening, i saw the photo and the words tumbled out:

        The stench of old liquor and stale middle age sweat lingered in the air.

        Joey cheated and Juan noticed.

        “Juan, he’s and idiot, a child, he don’ know any bedder, ya know?”

        I put the poker chip I’d been twiddling back on the table so my fingers could instinctively reach for the steely cold trigger pressing against my hip.

        A flash of gold. Juan smilining. Fingers twitching. A barrel of laughter rang out of Juan’s emotionless face.

        “Joey, Joey, Joey,” Juan rumbled, “Everybody knows what happens to people who cheat me.”

        Juan’s eyes narrow to slivers and his thin lips curled. Joey was shaking, drips of sweat clumsily falling off his brow.

        The click of metal. The thunder of a single round penetrating flesh, and the clunk of his head hitting the table.

      • Wow! Very gripping. Love it 🙂

      • Sacha Black says:

        ffs thats meant to say smiling!

      • Ha! I keep trying ‘briillant’ instead of ‘brilliant’. It’s so damn easy to do!

      • TanGental says:

        great story, very gory

      • Sacha – New York is clearly good for you!

      • Sacha Black says:

        thanks everyone 🙂 yeah, ive had a week off writing, and I am literally CHOMPiNg at the bit to get my laptop back! amazing what a few days off can do!

        Esther, noticed another error. *frowns*

        The stench of old liquor and stale middle age sweat lingered in the air.

        Joey cheated and Juan noticed.

        “Juan, he’s an idiot, a child, he don’ know any bedder, ya know?”

        I put the poker chip I’d been twiddling back on the table so my fingers could instinctively reach for the steely cold trigger pressing against my hip.

        A flash of gold. Juan smiling. Fingers twitching. A barrel of laughter rang out of Juan’s emotionless face.

        “Joey, Joey, Joey,” Juan rumbled, “Everybody knows what happens to people who cheat me.”

        Juan’s eyes narrow to slivers and his thin lips curled. Joey was shaking, drips of sweat clumsily falling off his brow.

        The click of metal. The thunder of a single round penetrating flesh, and the clunk of his head hitting the table.

  1. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    All very nice poems.. Great post

  2. teachezwell says:

    Morgan Reed’s poems reminded me of my life before healing. Wow. Very intense.

    • morganreedwriter says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it very much. I’m going through a major healing process and poetry is helping me sort through my emotions.

  3. Questioning the portrayal and use of dialectic forms, here is my effort. In my defence, I have been unwell…

    “Sit down, lad,” old Simon said to his young grandson, Sam. “Look at that picture and tell me what it says to thee.”

    “It don’t say owt, Grampy,” Sam replied. “It’s just a picture of a messy room.”

    “But how do you suppose it got so messy, lad?”

    “Don’t know, Grampy. It’s only a painting, not a photo. It en’t real, is it?”

    “En’t it?”

    “Course not. If it were real it would be a photo.”

    “If it were today, aye. But what if it were before photographs existed?”

    “When were that, Grampy; before the war?”

    Old Simon chuckled at the innocent naivety of the youth. Chuckled with love, not disrespectfully. Young Sam knew nothing of the history of photography and why, at seven years of age, should he?

    “Nay, lad,” Simon replied, toying with his grandson’s mousy-coloured, shoulder-length hair. “Photographs have been around since the 1830s, you know. Colour photos came only about thirty years later, though they weren’t very good. Well, I never thought so, anyway.”

    “Were you around in the 1830s, Grampy?”

    “Cheeky little beggar,” the old man said, putting on a mock expression of scorn at the boy’s impertinence, but laughing inside. “When do you suppose this picture were from? Ring any bells from your history lessons?”

    Sam scratched his head. “Don’t know, Grampy. It looks very old.”

    “Tell thee what, lad. When I were your age, we’d walk into a bombed-out house and make up stories about the people who might have lived in it, what their lives were like, and such. Let’s say that it’s a real room we’ve just found, and see what we can work out about the room from the picture. Will you go first, or shall I?”

    “That sounds like an adventure game, Grampy, I’d best take the first go, bein’ as you don’t know owt about gaming and I’m a level six wizard.”

    “Level six, eh? That sounds impressive.”

    “Not really,” Sam said, somewhat crestfallen. “My friend Billy says that his friend Alan has a cousin whose best friend is a level fifty!”

    “Best get practising, then, lad.”

    “Right. Well.” Sam’s face betrayed the whirring and meshing of cogs in his brain. Grampy had challenged him – he simply had to come up with something, and something good. His face took on the glow of a freshly lit lightbulb, albeit a slow-burn energy-saving lightbulb.

    “I’ve got it, Grampy,” he said. “Look at how’t windows are all boarded up, an’t light coming in by’t hole where’t floorboards have gone.”

    “What’s that tell thee?”

    “En’t it obvious? She were a vampire. When’t light came through’t window… you can see’t mess on’t sofa where she were sat, then she had to smash up’t floorboard to escape into’t dark underneath. Weren’t first time, neither. Bits of floorboards everywhere. Why she didn’t just hide in’t chimbley’s a mystery, though, or even up’t stairs by’t door. No light coming in there. Or make a better job of boarding up the windows, or shut bloody curtains.”

    “So when this were painted, she were…”

    “Either down’t hole under floorboards or mayhap dead, if she were too slow.”

    Simon studied the picture closely. “What d’you make of that picture between’t windows?”

    “Can’t see what ’tis meant to be, Grampy, but it looks like it might be some sort of dragon or some other satanic creature or ritualistic device.”

    “Satanic creature? Ritualistic device? Where’ve you been learning words like that at your age, and what’s it supposed to mean?”

    “Don’t know, Grampy, but you get ‘em in adventure games and that could be one.”

    “Okay. What does clock tell you?”

    “Clock tells you ’t time, Grampy. Ouch! What were that for?”

    Sam was unprepared for the playful slap across the back of the head that followed his response, but Simon’s look and waved finger answered his question without words.

    “I think we’ll stop for today, lad,” he said, “take’t picture home wi’thee and come back and tell me more on the morrow. Let’s have a nice cuppa now, shall we?”

    “Aye, Grampy. I’ll put’t kettle on.” Sam stepped down from the old man’s bed. “D’you want me to check blood sugar and see if you can have a piece of cake or a biscuit wi’it?”

    “Aye, lad; but be careful. Can’t afford any mistakes after that last episode.”

  4. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    My attempt in the form of a limerick…hope its okay.

    The appalling panorama portraying the plight
    of the lost memories of the wrathful fight
    didn’t satiate the soul
    of the man with the mole,
    our quibbler director, who says, ‘It’s still not right.’

  5. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    I’m so glad you liked it!

  6. TanGental says:

    Starting afresh
    By Geoff Le Pard
    Jimmy Stimpson wondered if his parents really cared when they cancelled his birthday trip to Disney. Sure his sister was in hospital after the car accident but his grandparents offered to cover. They never asked how he felt. Then she died and they decided to move. No discussion. New house, new neighbours, new school and, worst of all, he’d have to make new friends. And making friends was not Jimmy’s speciality.
    He was pleasantly surprised when two boys, Albert and Robert took him under their wings. Soon Jimmy was part of their group, four boys and three girls who hung out together. The other children avoided them, barely registering their presence but Jimmy felt wanted. Even the teachers let him settle without the usual false friendliness.
    His parents were so overcome by grief that they didn’t stop him going out with his new friends. And that was cool, even if Albert and Robert argued a lot.
    It was maybe a week after he had arrived – he found it difficult to keep track of time with all the new experiences – that Robert told him about the old house on the hill. He said there were lots of stories about it – how it was cursed, how it was haunted, how it was really full of treasure. But Robert said these were silly stories; he was going to go inside to prove everyone wrong.
    Jimmy liked Robert. He was strong and didn’t seem to care what others thought. Albert was more cautious, often complaining about the light on his eyes and how he needed another pullover because he was cold. When Robert challenged Albert to spend the night in the old house, Albert refused so Robert asked if Jimmy was brave enough. He said yes.
    When Robert led Jimmy through the front gate to the old house – it was more a mansion – Jimmy felt sick and excited. It was decrepit with crumbling plaster and missing slates missing. All the windows were boarded.
    ‘How do we get it?’ Jimmy shook slightly.
    Robert pointed at a window on the first floor where there was a gap between the boards and window.
    ‘Have you done it before?’
    But Robert was already climbing and didn’t answer.
    When Jimmy reached the window sill Robert had gone inside. Jimmy followed. The evening sun, previously hidden behind the clouds filled the room with light. Temporarily blinded Jimmy stumbled into a small table, knocking papers – brown with age – to the floor. The top had a list of names – as his eyes adjusted he read the bottom name – Jimmy Stimpson.
    ‘Welcome, Jimmy.’
    Robert stood by a cabinet. Lined behind him were the others. They appeared to be dressed in old fashioned clothes.
    ‘This is your new home, Jimmy.’
    ‘But I have a home.’
    All seven children shook their heads. Robert turned and pointed at the wall; a portrait of a young boy stared back at Jimmy. His portrait.
    ‘We’ve been waiting for you. You’ll be happy here.’
    ‘But Mummy. Daddy. They’ll miss me.’
    Robert stepped forward. ‘They already do Jimmy. You’re dead. You died in the car crash that killed your sister. She will join us later, when her spirit has settled.’
    He reached out and caught Jimmy as he fainted. Robert eased the inert ghost into a chair, before collecting the list of names that had once again spilled onto the floor and putting it back on the table. He took a pen out of his pocket and wrote a new name beneath Jimmy’s while one of the other boys began to hang a new portrait on the wall.

  7. Pingback: Picture Challenge | Alphabetic Commotions

  8. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    Ha, I see the connection there. So we can say it’s a well-woven cinematic piece by an inspired writer.

  9. JasonMoody77 says:

    More of an exercise this. Enjoyed it though.

    Decimation

    They’re using the picture that’s been in all the papers this week. It’s yet another anniversary. This man is droning on forever. Wrap it up.

    “This picture was taken from a cell phone three hours before the outbreak,” he said.

    I could tell he didn’t want to field any questions. To be honest, I don’t think anybody wanted to ask any. They just wanted to wrap things up and get out of here.

    It’s all wrong to me. Why open up an investigation two years after the outbreak was declared contained, and safe? It didn’t make sense.

    What was even more ridiculous was that they had now opened ground zero as a visitor attraction. What the hell?

    I look at the picture one more time. It’s not like I haven’t seen it before. Everybody has.
    I remember it well.

    Three children were playing in the abandoned house on the outskirts of town. The official story states that the kids were messing around and disturbed something. Something? What’s that supposed to mean? We’ve never been told what this something was.

    Now, just two months after the grand opening, the site has had an incident. It was ordered to shut down immediately. That’s where we come in. I’m not looking forward to this. My friend was at the first scene. She made it to six months.

    None of us are particularly happy about this assignment. Would you be? After the horror stories that leaked, it’s a wonder they’re sending anyone back. Who’s idea was this?

    The man finishes his speech which nobody has listened to. A military man orders us to follow him. He looks about as much fun as a funeral.

    After a short walk, nobody saying a word, we’re led into a hanger. A huge military jet of some description sits ahead of us. The military man just nods towards it. Great. I hate flying.

    The flight is awkward. Nobody talks. The military guy passes through a couple of times and just stares. I swear, if he does this one more time, I’m going to kick him in the balls.

    There’s no thing for it. It’s time to sleep. The flight is four hours.

    After the worst landing on record, we come to a halt. I can already feel the heat coming in. This is going to suck. I’m hardly dressed for the sun. My jeans are already starting to feel like they were painted on.

    Sunlight pours in as the rear cargo door to the plane creaks open. Like everyone else on board, I just stare.

    What the hell is this place?

  10. JasonMoody77 says:

    Short. I like.

  11. JasonMoody77 says:

    Not my own! I meant Sacha’s piece! 😄

  12. Thanks for visiting my blog and liking one of my posts. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

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