Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

“Melissa and the Angels” on Spillwords

I’m pleased and proud to announce that my poem, “Melissa and the Angels,” has been published today on Spillwords. I want to thank Dagmara K. and her wonderful staff for publishing it. I chose to use an unusual rhyming pattern and some words that are difficult to rhyme. It was these difficult words that shaped the story.

Melissa and the Angels

by Dawn Pisturino

Melissa, in a tattered dress,
Came slowly down the lane,
A wicker basket on her arm,
Fresh eggs and butter from the farm,
Her tresses in a tangled mess,
Barefoot, and limping with the pain. . .

Please visit Spillwords here http://www.spillwords.com/melissa-and-the-angels/ to read the rest of the poem. If you like it, please like it on both Spillwords (the little heart at the top of the post) and my blog. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your visits and your support.

A big THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart.

Dawn Pisturino

August 22, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

41 Comments »

Jennifer’s Jar – A Short Story

(Photo from The Cary Company, http://www.thecarycompany.com)

Jennifer’s Jar

by Dawn Pisturino

On the morning of her tenth birthday, Jennifer received the strangest gift she had ever seen – a large glass jar.

It looks like a mayonnaise jar, Jennifer thought. But why did someone – or something – send it to her?

When she unscrewed the lid and peered inside, she saw nothing at all. Sniffing it produced no odor. The inside of the jar was perfectly dry. She shook it, rolled it, and turned it upside-down. Nothing happened.

All in all, it was an ordinary glass jar with no label on the front or printing on the lid. So, she decided to use it.

“I’ll fill it with water and add blue food coloring,” Jennifer said. “Some plastic fish would look nice. I’ll make an aquarium!”

But when she tried to pour water into the jar, the water wouldn’t go in! It spilled all over the countertop. She used a whole roll of paper towels cleaning it up. And the jar was still empty.

“I’ll fill it with marbles,” Jennifer decided.

She found her brother’s big bag of marbles and tried to pour them into the jar. But the marbles wouldn’t go in! They scattered all over the kitchen floor. It took twenty minutes to find all those marbles and refill the marble bag. And the jar was still empty.

“Oh, well,” Jennifer sighed. “Bobby would probably be mad anyway.”

Sand! How about sand?

For Christmas, Jennifer had received a craft kit filled with different types of colored sand. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it.

Using one of her mother’s kitchen funnels, she tried to pour pink sand into the jar. But the sand wouldn’t go in! It spilled, like pink sugar, all over the countertop. She cleaned it up with a wet dishcloth. And the jar was still empty.

Frustrated, Jennifer threw the dishcloth into the sink. “What am I going to do with an empty glass jar that won’t fill? I may as well throw it away.”

She tossed it into the trashcan, but lo and behold, here it came, bouncing out of the trashcan and into her hands again!

Terrified, Jennifer threw the jar onto the floor, smashing it into a million pieces.

A loud belching noise filled the air, and a small cloud of stinky black smoke rose up from the pieces of glass. “Ugh! Smells like a big fart!” Jennifer cried, pinching her nose. “Smells like Sissy’s poopy diapers! No wonder the jar wouldn’t fill!” As the cloud rose, it grew larger and larger until it was nearly as big as Jennifer herself.

“I’m out of here!” Jennifer yelled as she ran for the front door. But the big, stinky, black cloud followed her. She raced into the front yard, where a gust of wind caught the big, black cloud and spirited it away.

Relieved, Jennifer returned to the kitchen just in time to hear her mother say, “Jennifer, you’re in big trouble this time!”

Dawn Pisturino

2012; May 4, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

33 Comments »

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Bullying Based on a Cuban Folktale

by Dawn Pisturino

A long time ago, Sun and Moon lived in a deep, dark cave on an island in the Caribbean Sea. 

Sun could not bear to live in such claustrophobic quarters. Day and night he paced the floor, grumbling and complaining, until one morning he said to Moon: “Sister, this cave is too small, and our light is too bright. It’s blinding both of us! You’re smaller and weaker than I am. You must leave and find a new home.”

“Me!” Moon retorted, stamping her tiny silver feet. “This cave belongs to both of us. Since you’re so unhappy, you move out!”

Sun said no more. He paced back and forth, wringing his hands until they were raw. Glimpsing his reflection in the mirror he shrieked, “Look what you’ve done to me! My face is breaking out with sunspots!”

“What do I care,” Moon responded. “I’m not leaving, and that’s final.”

Enraged, Sun loomed over Moon, his face growing redder and hotter until bright orange flames shot from his fingers and toes and the ends of his hair.

“Stop it, Sun!” Moon cried, shielding her face with her arms. “You’re scorching me with your hot flares!”

Moon waxed and waned with terror, moaning in pain, until Sun grabbed her silver locks and threw her out of the cave. “And never come back again!” he roared.

Leaning against a banana tree, Moon wept until her full, shiny face shrank to a thin silver crescent.

Air, grieved by Moon’s distress, wrapped the pale, weak maiden in her arms and carried her into the sky above. “You’ll be safe here,” she reassured Moon. “The stars won’t mind sharing a little space with you.”

But Moon, ashamed of her scorched face, hid behind a passing cloud.

The stars welcomed Moon and tried to make friends with her. Gradually, Moon’s scorched face healed, and she peered out from behind the cloud. She revealed more and more of her radiant face until it lit up the sky with soft, silvery light.

Sun burned with jealousy when he heard about his sister’s spacious new home. “I’ll show her!” he fumed; and leaped into the air. 

Blanching with fear, Moon shielded her face from Sun’s blazing wrath and raced across the sky until she disappeared from view.

Sun proudly took her place, filling the sky with so much brilliant fire the stars covered their eyes and ran away.

One evening, feeling bereft, Sun left the sky to search the cave where he and Moon had once lived together. As he approached the entrance, Moon suddenly appeared. Overcome by remorse, Sun pleaded with her to return with him to the sky. “There’s plenty of room for both of us,” he said.

But Moon could not forget her brother’s bad behavior. “I hate you!” she shouted. “You’re nothing but a big bully! I could never live with you again!” And so saying, she leaped into the air, leaving Sun standing all alone at the mouth of the cave.

Dawn Pisturino

2012; March 22, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.      





18 Comments »

The Magical World of Lord Dunsany

The King of Elfland’s Daughter is one of Lord Dunsany’s most popular books. Written in 1924, the book is a clear forerunner of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. I recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy fiction.

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett (try saying that real fast three times) was an Irish aristocrat who inherited the title of 18th Baron Dunsany in 1899. He lived in Dunsany Castle in County Meath, Northern Ireland and married the daughter of the 7th Earl of Jersey, Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers. The couple had one son who went on to inherit the title and the castle.

A close friend of William Butler Yeats and Rudyard Kipling, Dunsany became a prolific writer, producing a large opus of poetry, plays, short stories, and novels based on Irish folklore and mythology. He was part of the late 19th century “Celtic Revival” started by Yeats. Other influential contemporaries included Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows).

In America, he was dubbed “America’s Favorite Peer” because his plays were in great demand in New York City. At one point, he allegedly had five plays running simultaneously on Broadway.

Dunsany was a soldier who fought in the Boer War, World War I, and the 1916 Irish uprising. During World War II, he served in the Home Guard.

Although J.R.R. Tolkien is regarded as the father of fantasy fiction, Dunsany’s style and imagination had a profound effect on all the prominent fantasy writers of his day, including Tolkien, Lewis, and H.P. Lovecraft. His influence has extended to modern fantasy writers such as British author Neil Gaiman.

Dunsany’s stories have been described by other writers as magical, ethereal, dream-like, and surreal. Writing in long-hand with a feathered quill pen, his intuitive imagination wandered beyond the boundaries of intellect to produce stories in magical and poetic prose which capture the heart and imagination of discerning readers.

As the world evolved technologically around him, one of Lord Dunsany’s favorite themes was the threat of science to the Other World. He ventured into sci fi with The Last Revolution, which explored what would happen if machines turned against their human inventors (foreshadowing The Terminator).

Lord Dunsany died of appendicitis on October 25, 1957.

A Poem to Lord Dunsany

By Irish Poet Francis Ledwidge

TO LORD DUNSANY

(ON HIS RETURN FROM EAST AFRICA)


For you I knit these lines, and on their ends
Hang little tossing bells to ring you home.
The music is all cracked, and Poesy tends
To richer blooms than mine; but you who roam
Thro’ coloured gardens of the highest muse,
And leave the door ajar sometimes that we
May steal small breathing things of reds and blues
And things of white sucked empty by the bee,
Will listen to this bunch of bells from me.

My cowslips ring you welcome to the land
Your muse brings honour to in many a tongue,
Not only that I long to clasp your hand,
But that you’re missed by poets who have sung
And viewed with doubt the music of their verse
All the long winter, for you love to bring
The true note in and say the wise thing terse,
And show what birds go lame upon a wing,
And where the weeds among the flowers do spring.

(Dunsany Castle, County Meath, Northern Ireland. Photo by Tim Wilson. http://www.dunsany.com)

Dawn Pisturino

March 16, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

10 Comments »

Killer Limericks

(Warwick Davis in Leprechaun, 1993)

KILLERS

A killer rampaging a town,

Ran into a carnival clown.

The clown drew a knife

And took that man’s life,

Then started a spree of his own!

July 16, 2011

~

THE WITCH AND THE BURGLAR

A witch riding home on her broom

Spied a burglar trashing her room.

“I’ll get you for this!” she said with a hiss.

His head was soon found in Khartoum.

July 17, 2011

~

AN UPPITY CAT

A cat who liked veggies and cheese,

Refused to eat mouse canapes.

“I just can’t abide that tough, hairy hide.

I’d rather eat onions and peas!”

July 16, 2011

~

LIZZIE BORDEN

When Lizzie got awfully mad,

She hacked up her stepmom and dad.

The ax at her feet, she giggled and bleat,

“Why am I so terribly bad!”

September 26, 2011

~

The Sorcerer from Beijing

A sorcerer born in Beijing,

Found a magical jade dragon ring.

It breathed out green smoke,

Transforming that bloke

To a blood-thirsty cannibal king!

July 14, 2011

~

LIZZIE BORDEN II

When Lizzie got awfully mad,

She hacked up her stepmom and Dad.

Amazed by the mess, she had to confess:

“What a rip-roaring party we had!”

September 27, 2011

~

The Sorcerer from Beijing II

A sorcerer born in Beijing,

Found a magical jade dragon ring.

It breathed out green fire, burning all his attire

Except for one shoe and stocking!

July 7, 2011

~

The Man in Galloway Bay II

A man lost in Galloway Bay,

Cried out in a very loud bray,

“I’m lost in the sea, someone please rescue me!

I’ve been swimming for more than a day!”

July 7, 2011

~

The Old Man from Brazil II

There was an old man from Brazil,

Who ate ‘til he made himself ill.

He gave up the ghost, said good-bye to his host,

And flew home to his house on the hill.

July 7, 2011

~

A Nasty Old Gnome

A nasty old gnome name o’ Bill

Liked to puncture old teeth with a drill.

He gathered some bones from the graveyard he owns,

But that skeleton wouldn’t sit still!

February 5, 2012

~

The Man in Galloway Bay III

A man lost in Galloway Bay,

Cried out in a very loud bray,

“I’m lost in the sea,

Someone please rescue me!

The fishermen think I’m filet!”

July 7, 2011

~

St. Patrick’s Day is coming!

All limericks by:

Dawn Pisturino

March 10, 2022

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

30 Comments »

Ophelia is Dead – a Poem

(“Ophelia” by John Everett Millais)

Ophelia is Dead

by Dawn Pisturino

Dead! Ophelia is dead!

Her hair bound with daisies,

Gold locks floating free,

She drowned in the river,

Cursing me.

She told me I was ugly,

She pulled my frizzy hair,

She teased me by the water,

And I pushed her there.

Dead! Ophelia is dead!

And I really don’t care.

Dawn Pisturino

February 1, 2012; March 3, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

22 Comments »

Creepy Spider Limericks

(Photo from National Geographic)

SPIDERS

A girl who ate spiders for lunch,

Found shiny black widows to munch.

The poison contained in their bodies remained,

Giving that girl quite a punch!

July 12, 2011

~

SPIDER CIDER

A girl who liked spiders inside her,

Washed them down with a very fine cider.

“Two parts cyanide makes them slither and slide,”

She wrote to her secret confider.

July 13, 2011

~

SPIDERS II

A girl who liked spiders to eat,

Found poisonous spiders a treat.

Their sweet-tasting nectar

Began to infect her,

Turning her into dead meat!

July 13, 2011

All limericks by:

Dawn Pisturino

March 2, 2022

Copyright 2011-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

30 Comments »

The Sleeping Beauty – a Poem

(Artwork by John Collier, 1921)

The Sleeping Beauty

Dedicated to my daughter, Ariel Pisturino

Lying there in sweet repose,

Lips as red as any rose,

The Sleeping Beauty rests her head

Upon a gold and velvet bed;

Golden tresses fair displayed

Around the shoulders softly laid,

Be-decked in sequined, jeweled dress,

Her slender hands across her breast.

Fair Maid! — What evil cast you here

To sleep a full one hundred year

Until a Prince with noble pride

Into the castle court should ride

And climb the steeply winding stair

To find a maid with golden hair

Lying on a couch asleep,

Lost in dreaming long and deep,

And drop upon the tender lips

A kiss so pure the magic slips.

And, lo! — the eyelids flutter wide

And see a vision at her side:

A handsome Prince so near and nigh,

The maiden cannot help but sigh

And stretch out pleading hands to him

Who kissed her softly on a whim,

And thanking him with grateful smile,

Requests of him to stay a while.

The Prince proves better than a guest

And presses her against his breast;

Then carries her, swift as the wind,

Upon his horse across the land

To marble castle rising high

Against the purple morning sky.

And when she curtsies to the King,

The Queen presents her with a ring

And crown of jewels sparkling white —

Gifts of softly glowing light —

That bind her to her Prince’s life:

No more a maid! — but now, his wife!

Dawn Pisturino

April 25, 1987/February 10, 2022

Copyright 1987-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

32 Comments »

Beware of Romance Scammers

I was going to post something else today, but then it happened again – some guy contacted me on Facebook wanting to be best buds. I immediately responded that my husband and daughter are my best friends. If I never hear from him again, that’s okay. More than likely, he’s a romance scammer.

Most of my social media activity is on WordPress. I enjoy posting things I’ve written and visiting other people’s blogs. I stay on Facebook mostly to stay in touch with family. I like looking at people’s photography on Instagram. I never liked Twitter and don’t use it. Not only do I not like Twitter management or Twitter as a company, but the nastiest people seem to hang out there. I’ve met some real kooks who just can’t get it through their heads that we live in a free country where all points of view are valuable. I’m not obligated to agree with them, no matter how nasty they get. LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional site, but it’s now used for dating purposes. I try to be polite and friendly to everyone, but it’s impossible when someone has hurt feelings because you rejected their romantic advances. So much for professionalism.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are notorious sites for predators trying to pick up vulnerable women and children. And it has gotten worse with the isolating effects of COVID-19 and all the restrictions placed on us. People are hungry for affection and communication, and this sets them up as victims of romance scammers, if they aren’t careful.

Scammers will contact you with credentials like “widower living in San Diego but currently working for the UN in Yemen.” They often pose as a doctor or other humanitarian worker. They may have at least one child in boarding school. They send you enticing photos of themselves which have probably been stolen or faked. They come off as real friendly and understanding, sincerely looking for a good friend and/or partner. They try to win your trust through flattery and play on your burning need for affection. As you become more involved, they try to control the conversation, control you, and put guilt trips on you if you try to back off. They can be downright abusive in maintaining that control. Eventually, they will hit you up for money or sex or whatever they are looking to get from you.

They don’t care if you are married, how many children you have, or how old you are. They will tell you that such things don’t matter with true love. Many of these scams come out of Nigeria, so talking on video chat is questionable. After all, it’s hard to explain how the white man in the photos working as a doctor in Yemen suddenly turned into a black man living in Nigeria.

Valentine’s Day is a day when we honor our spouses, our partners, our love interests, our children, and our friends. Everybody wants a little romance in their life. But online scammers know this and will make you pay a heavy price for that digital experience.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

February 9, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

25 Comments »

Flash Fiction: The Girl who Hated the Sun

Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

The Girl who Hated the Sun

by Dawn Pisturino

she hated the sun

how it filled up heaven

with energy and light

too hot and bright . . .

The poem popped into Katie’s head as she stood on the front porch, eyes closed, arms wide open, daring the Sun to kill her. Kill me, she urged, like you spoiled our farm, drove away my father, and wasted my mother. Go ahead. Do it!

The Sun swallowed her whole, dissolving her in his fiery belly.

Now that she was part of the Sun, Katie could ride through the heavens and visualize everything that happened down below.

She saw the grim black hearse pull up to the farm, and wept, as two men in plain black suits carried her mother away on a gurney. She sailed freely over the dusty brown fields that no longer yielded crops. She mourned the beds of sunflowers whose heads sagged, like dying children, out by the barn. And she said good-bye to the rusty old truck that sat, without tires, in a patch of yellow weeds.

Soon, the Pacific Ocean sparkled down below. Dolphins leaped among the waves. Throngs of people crowded the streets of Beijing, scurrying around like busy mice. Katie soared above the icy peaks of the Himalayas and swooped down to burn the white sands of Arabia. She waved at the Statue of Liberty, rejoicing that she finally got to see it.

And then she was home again, viewing the crumbling barn in pinkish light that gradually turned to yellow. She counted the shingles missing from the roof of the old house and peeked through the windows of her shabby bedroom.

And the journey repeated itself as the earth slowly turned, like a giant spit — repeated itself, day after day, until Katie cried with weariness and pain.

Now, she hovered over the old farm, shining brightly against a piece of broken glass lying in the withered grass, until one small yellow flame burst forth, catching the grass on fire. A passing breeze nudged the fire toward the house. The splintered wood burned brightly, throwing sparks into the sky. The old barn caught the sparks and exploded, fueled by old cans of paint. Showers of burning wood and straw ignited the patch of weeds. The ripped out upholstery in the old truck burst into flame. The oil pan smoldered, sending black smoke into the sky. And finally, with one burst of energy, the fuel tank exploded.

With grim satisfaction Katie cried, “I’ve killed it! I’ve killed my past life!” She snuggled up to the Sun, melting deeper into his fiery depths . . . while down below, a tiny piece of the world disappeared forever.

Dawn Pisturino

November 14, 2012

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

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