Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

The Dentist and Other Poems

Artwork by John Federis

(Warning! If you hate going to the dentist, don’t read this poem!)

The Dentist

by Dawn Pisturino

Now I’ve got you in my chair,

You’re not going anywhere.

So open wide, let me in,

And let the painful games begin!

See that molar on the right?

It’s in the socket way too tight.

Here’s my plier. Please don’t move.

I’ll pry that sucker from its groove!

Look, there’s a cavity over there.

My drill’s all ready. Please don’t stare!

My hands are shaking, can’t you see?

I need your confidence in me.

Oops! The blood is squirting out.

I didn’t mean to make you shout!

Your bloody tongue is in my hand.

Sit down! Don’t even try to stand!

Come back! I need to suture in—-

Oh well, another toothless grin.

February 6, 2012

Published in the April 2012 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2012-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Artwork by Ken Lamug
Poem by Dawn Pisturino

CHELSEA HAD A LITTLE LAMB

Chelsea had a little lamb,

Its fleece was black as soot. 

And everywhere that Chelsea went,

That lamb was underfoot.

It followed her to school until

The cooking class went wild

And served that lamb with mint and dill,

One chop for every child!

October 6, 2011

Published in the December 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Artwork by Jason Smith

Poem by Dawn Pisturino

DIRTY DONALD

Dirty Donald!

His hair, full of lice,

Grows down to his shoulders,

A haven for mice. 

His teeth are all rotten,

Mildewed and black,

His tongue is so long,

He could pass for a yak. 

His breath stinks of corpses

Dug fresh from their graves,

A delicate morsel

He constantly craves. 

He glares at the ravens,

Surrounding his head,

With murderous eyes,

Pronouncing them dead. 

Then yanks out their feathers

And nibbles their toes,

Lining them up

In neat little rows. 

His clothes are so tattered,

The buzzards all say,

“What a fine looking fellow!

Let’s eat him today!” 

July 3, 2011 

Published on Underneath the Juniper Tree, July 17, 2011.  

Published in the August 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.  

Copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Illustration by Job van Gelder

Poem by Dawn Pisturino

Down in the Graveyard

Down in the graveyard by the old oak tree

Roamed an old mother zombie and her little zombies three.

“Fresh meat!” cried the mother. “Tastes sweet!” cried the three.

And they ripped out the intestines from the caretaker, Lee.

Down in the graveyard by the mausoleum door

Lived an old mother werewolf and her little wolfies four.

“Fresh fat!” howled the mother. “Tastes great!” howled the four.

And they tore into the belly of the visitor, Lenore.

Down in the graveyard by the rusty old gate

Hung an old mother vampire and her little vampies eight.

“Fresh blood!” squeaked the mother. “Tastes good!” squeaked the eight.

And they sank their greedy fangs into the gravedigger, Nate.

Published in the September 2012 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2012-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Screaming Skull and Other Poems

THE SCREAMING SKULL

by Dawn Pisturino

The skull screams when the moon is bright,

Warning of evil a-foot in the night,

Calling to phantoms hidden from sight,

Keeping them all at bay.

Shrieking aloud when the zombies fight,

It glows in the darkness, waking with fright,

Shivering children, crying for light,

Fearful ’til break of day.

High on a shelf, when the bats take flight,

The dead skull cries with all its might,

Disrupting dreams, however slight,

Sending them all away.

September 20, 2011

THE GHOST

by Dawn Pisturino

Creeping footfalls on the stair warn me that a ghost is there.

Shivering in my bed with fright, the door creaks open . . .

I TOLD YOU HE WAS REAL!

(good night)

January 5, 2012

THE FAIRIES

by Dawn Pisturino

Deep within the forest,

Inside a magic ring,

Fairy lads pluck at their harps

While fairy maidens sing.

Queen Mab, arrayed in starlight,

Sits upon her chair,

Plotting all the dirty tricks

No other folk would dare.

Last spring they stole poor Margaret,

Sound asleep in bed.

They laid her in the Irish Sea

With stones beneath her head.

The fishes kept close vigil,

Traditional at wakes.

“Too bad,” remarked a hungry shark.

A lovely corpse she makes!”

January 19, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 All Poems Published on Danse Macabre du Jour, October 30, 2013.

All poems copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Four Twisted Limericks

By Dawn Pisturino. Published on Underneath the Juniper Tree July 16, 2011. Published in the August 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree. Graphics by Rebekah Joy Plett.
By Dawn Pisturino. Published in the September 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree. Graphics by Rebekah Joy Plett.

By Dawn Pisturino. Published on Underneath the Juniper Tree July 31, 2011. Graphics by Rebekah Joy Plett.

Graphic by Rebekah Joy Plett.

The Man in Galloway Bay

A man lost in Galloway Bay,

Cried out in a very loud bray,

“Please come rescue me, hungry sharks can’t agree,

Am I breakfast or dinner entree?”

By Dawn Pisturino. Published July 11, 2011 on Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2011-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

18 Comments »

Belief – Candice James

I’m stumbling down a trail of broken hearts

Where shadows haunt and taunt my sordid soul;

A grimaced tale of woe each face imparts.

Clouds overhead, I hear the thunder roll.

I turn my collar up to choke the wind

As rain now mixes with my tear-stained eyes.

Each lovely lie I told, I do rescind,

Although this does not soften love’s demise.

But if your heart should have a change of mind

To suffer forgiveness for my own sake,

And if the Creator has thus designed,

Then from this hellish nightmare I shall wake

To leave at last this shadowland of grief

And die with you in bliss beyond belief.

~ Candice James, 2011 ~

Candice James, born in 1948, lives in Canada.

Websites:

http://www.candicejames.com

http://urantiaartisans.com/urantia-artisans/visual-arts/candice-james/

1 Comment »

For James Dean

Rest in Peace
September 30, 2021 marks the 66th anniversary of his death


For James Dean 
Welcome me, if you will,
as the ambassador of a hatred
who knows its cause
and does not envy you your whim
of ending him.
 
For a young actor I am begging
peace, gods. Alone
in the empty streets of New York
I am its dirty feet and head
and he is dead.
 
He has banged into your wail
of air, your hubris, racing
towards your heights and you
have cut him from your table
which is built, how unfairly
for us l not on trees, but on clouds.
 
I speak as one whose filth
is like his own, of pride
and speed and your terrible
example nearer than the siren’s speech,
a spirit eager for the punishment
which is your only recognition.
 
Peace! to be true to a city
of rats and to loved the envy
of the dreary, smudged mouthers
of an arcane dejection
smoldering quietly in the perception
of hopelessness and scandal
at unnatural vigor. Their dreams
are their own, as are the toilets
of a great railway terminal
and the sequins of a very small,
very fat eyelid.
                       I take this
for myself, and you take up
the thread of my life between your teeth
tin thread and tarnished with abuse.
you still shall hear
as long as the beast in me maintains
its taciturn power to close my lids
in tears, and my loins move yet
in the ennobling pursuit of all the worlds
you have left me alone in, and would be
the dolorous distraction from,
while you summon your army of anguishes
which is a million hooting blood vessels
on the eyes and in the ears
at the instant before death.
                                         And
the menus who surrounded him critically,
languorously waiting for a
final impertinence to rebel
and enslave him, starlets and other
glittering things in the hog-wallow,
lunging mireward in their inane
moth-like adoration of niggardly
cares and stagnant respects
paid themselves, you spared,
as a hospital preserves its orderlies.
Are these your latter-day saints
these unctuous starers, muscular
somnambulists, these stages for which
no word’s been written hollow
enough, these exhibitionists in
well veiled booths, these navel-suckers?
 
Is it true that you high ones, celebrated
among amorous flies, hated the
prodigy and invention of his nerves?
To withhold your light
from painstaking paths!
your love
should be difficult; as his was hard.
 
Nostrils of pain dawn avenues
of luminous spit-globes breathe in
the fragrance of his innocent flesh
like smoke, the temporary lift,
the post-cancer excitement
of vile manners and veal-thin lips,
obscure in the carelessness of your scissors,
 
Men cry from the grave while they still live
and now I am this dead man’s voice,
stammering, a little in the earth.
I take up
the nourishment of his pale green eyes,
out of which I shall prevent
flowers from growing, your flowers.
~ Frank O’Hara ~


BIO: James Dean died in a car crash on September 30, 1955. A coroner’s jury determined that he had been speeding at the time of the crash. His death shocked the nation because he had become a familiar face on the Big Screen. His most famous movie, Rebel Without a Cause, made him a Hollywood legend. He is still remembered as the troubled Bad Boy who just couldn’t get a break. Dean started his career in television, then got his big break in the movies. He also enjoyed playing on stage in Broadway and Off Broadway productions. He openly admitted to being bisexual and often used his sexuality to get special favors. He was only 24 years old when he died. 

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Women in Celtic History and Lore

Boudicca

The Celtic world spread over a large territory, from central Europe to Spain to the British Isles. Celtic culture originated in the Iron Age and continues to this day in places such as Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Brittany.

The Romans, in particular, wrote about the Celts because their armed forces invaded Celtic territory and enslaved the Celtic people. Most Celts had been absorbed into the Roman Empire by the 1st century C.E. By 500 C.E., Celtic culture was confined to Brittany and the British Isles. Because of their commonly-held language and traditions, these Celts stood out from other cultures and became the historical model for Celtic culture.

Celtic women were protected throughout their lives: first, by their fathers; secondly, by their husbands; and lastly, by their sons. But Celtic women were not weak and dependent creatures. They were highly regarded as daughters, wives, mothers, and warriors, if the need arose. They were expected to give good counsel, keep their households in good order, and remain virtuous and loyal to husband, family, and tribe.

Queen Boudicca

The best historical example of a fierce Celtic woman is Queen Boudicca of the Iceni tribe, who reigned in the East Anglia region of Britain. In 60 C.E., she led a revolt against the Romans. Bravely driving a chariot against Roman forces, she fought for the liberation of her tribe and vengeance for the rape of her two daughters by Roman soldiers. Although defeated, she went down in history as a British folk hero.

The Old Hag of Beara

The Old Hag of Beara is a legendary Irish Cailleach (divine crone) whose story originated in the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, Ireland. She represented a woman’s life cycle. In her youth, she was the consort of kings, toasting the king and giving sage advice to her royal lover. As an ugly old crone, she sits on the Beara Peninsula as a pile of stones, wielding power over the wind and sea. She has been associated with the coming of winter.

The Old Woman of Beare Poem

It is of Corca Dubhne she was, and she had her youth seven times over, and every man that had lived with her died of old age, and her grandsons and great-grandsons were tribes and races.

And through a hundred years she wore upon her head the veil Cuimire had blessed. Then age and weakness came upon her and it is what she said:

Ebb-tide to me as to the sea; old age brings me reproach; I used to wear a shift that was always new; to-day, I have not even a cast one.

It is riches you are loving, it is not men; it was men we loved in the time we were living.

There were dear men on whose plains we used to be driving; it is good the time we passed with them; it is little we were broken afterwards.

When my arms are seen it is long and thin they are; once they used to be fondling, they used to be around great kings.

The young girls give a welcome to Beltaine when it comes to them; sorrow is more fitting for me; an old pitiful hag.

I have no pleasant talk; no sheep are killed for my wedding; it is little but my hair is grey; it is many colours I had over it when I used to be drinking good ale.

I have no envy against the old, but only against women; I myself am spent with old age, while women’s heads are still yellow.

The stone of the kings on Feman; the chair of Ronan in Bregia; it is long since storms have wrecked them, they are old mouldering gravestones.

The wave of the great sea is speaking; the winter is striking us with it; I do not look to welcome to-day Fermuid son of Mugh.  

I know what they are doing; they are rowing through the reeds of the ford of Alma; it is cold is the place where they sleep.

The summer of youth where we were has been spent along with its harvest; winter age that drowns everyone, its beginning has come upon me.

It is beautiful was my green cloak, my king liked to see it on me; it is noble was the man that stirred it, he put wool on it when it was bare.

Amen, great is the pity; every acorn has to drop. After feasting with shining candles, to be in the darkness of a prayer-house.

I was once living with kings, drinking mead and wine; to-day I am drinking whey-water among withered old women.

There are three floods that come up to the dun of Ard-Ruide: a flood of fighting-men, a flood of horses, a flood of the hounds of Lugaidh’s son.

The flood-wave and the two swift ebb-tides; what the flood-wave brings you in, the ebb-wave sweeps out of your hand.

The flood-wave and the second ebb-tide; they have all come as far as me, the way that I know them well.

The flood-tide will not reach to the silence of my kitchen; though many are my company in the darkness, a hand has been laid upon them all.

My flood-tide! It is well I have kept my knowledge. It is Jesus Son of Mary keeps me happy at the ebb-tide.

It is far is the island of the great sea where the flood reaches after the ebb: I do not look for floods to reach to me after the ebb-tide.

There is hardly a little place I can know again when I see it; what used to be on the flood-tide is all on the ebb to-day!

From The Kiltartan Poetry Book by Lady Augusta Persse Gregory, 1919.

Dawn Pisturino

August 24, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Finding Comfort in the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful and lyrical verses in the Bible. Scholars believe it was composed by King David more than 2,500 years ago. David was a shepherd who loved God and often sang songs to the Lord while tending his sheep. Psalm 23 is a love song to the Lord filled with gratitude, hope, and faith in the constancy of God’s love. It is a poetic meditation reflecting on the power of God’s protection in the face of adversity. Most of all, it is a vivid portrait of the natural world, our humble place in nature, and God’s role as Supreme Master of the Universe. Reading this psalm and contemplating its message brings an inner feeling of comfort, peace, and joy. 

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Yahweh is my shepherd,

     I lack nothing.

In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.

To the waters of repose he leads me;

     there he revives my soul.

He guides me by paths of virtue

     for the sake of his name.

Though I pass through a gloomy valley,

     I fear no harm;

beside me your rod and your staff

     are there, to hearten me.

You prepare a table before me

     under the eyes of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil,

     my cup brims over.

Ah, how goodness and kindness pursue me,

     every day of my life;

my home, the house of Yahweh,

     as long as I live!

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Vampyre by John Stagg

Nosferatu

The Vampyre

by John Stagg, 1810

~

“Why looks my lord so deadly pale?

Why fades the crimson from his cheek?

What can my dearest husband ail?

Thy heartfelt cares, O Herman, speak!

~

“Why, at the silent hour of rest,

Dost thou in sleep so sadly mourn?

As tho’ with heaviest grief oppres’d,

Griefs too distressful to be borne.

~

“Why heaves thy breast? — why throb thy heart?

O Speak! and if there be relief

Thy Gertrude solace shall impart,

If not, at least shall share thy grief.

~

“Wan is that cheek, which once the bloom

Of manly beauty sparkling shew’d;

Dim are those eyes, in pensive gloom,

That late with keenest lustre glow’d.

~

“Say why, too, at the midnight hour,

You sadly pant and tug for breath,

As if some supernat’ral pow’r

Were pulling you away to death?

~

“Restless, tho’ sleeping, still you groan,

And with convulsive horror start;

O Herman! to thy wife make known

That grief which preys upon thy heart.”

~

“O Gertrude! how shall I relate

Th’ uncommon anguish that I feel;

Strange as severe is this my fate, —

A fate I cannot long conceal.

~

“In spite of all my wonted strength,

Stern destiny has seal’d my doom;

The dreadful malady at length

Will drag me to the silent tomb!”

~

“But say, my Herman, what’s the cause

Of this distress, and all thy care.

That, vulture-like, thy vitals gnaws,

And galls thy bosom with despair?

~

“Sure this can be no common grief,

Sure this can be no common pain?

Speak, if this world contain relief,

That soon thy Gertrude shall obtain.”

~

“O Gertrude, ’tis a horrid cause,

O Gertrude, ’tis unusual care,

That, vulture-like, my vitals gnaws,

And galls my bosom with despair.

~

“Young Sigismund, my once dear friend,

But lately he resign’d his breath;

With others I did him attend

Unto the silent house of death.

~

“For him I wept, for him I mourn’d,

Paid all to friendship that was due;

But sadly friendship is return’d,

Thy Herman he must follow too!

~

“Must follow to the gloomy grave,

In spite of human art or skill;

No pow’r on earth my life can save,

“Tis fate’s unalterable will!

~

“Young Sigismund, my once dear friend,

But now my persecutor foul,

Doth his malevolence extend

E’en to the torture of my soul.

~

“By night, when, wrapt in soundest sleep,

All mortals share a soft repose,

My soul doth dreadful vigils keep,

More keen than which hell scarcely knows.

~

“From the drear mansion of the tomb,

From the low regions of the dead,

The ghost of Sigismund doth roam,

And dreadful haunts me in my bed!

~

“There, vested in infernal guise,

(By means to me not understood),

Close to my side the goblin lies,

And drinks away my vital blood!

~

“Sucks from my veins the streaming life,

And drains the fountain of my heart!

O Gertrude, Gertrude! dearest wife!

Unutterable is my smart.

~

“When surfeited, the goblin dire,

With banqueting by suckled gore,

Will to his sepulchre retire,

Till night invites him forth once more.

~

“Then will he dreadfully return,

And from my veins life’s juices drain;

Whilst, slumb’ring, I with anguish mourn,

And toss with agonizing pain!

~

“Already I’m exhausted, spent;

His carnival is nearly o’er,

My soul with agony is rent,

Tomorrow I shall be no more!

~

“But, O my Gertrude! dearest wife!

The keenest pangs hath last remain’d —

When dead, I too shall seek thy life,

Thy blood by Herman shall be drain’d!

~

“But to avoid this horrid fate,

Soon as I’m dead and laid in earth,

Drive thro’ my corpse a jav’lin straight; —

This shall prevent my coming forth.

~

“O watch with me, this last sad night,

Watch in your chamber here alone,

But carefully conceal the light

Until you hear my parting groan.

~

“Then at what time the vesper-bell

Of yonder convent shall be toll’d,

That peal shall ring my passing knell,

And Herman’s body shall be cold!

~

“Then, and just then, thy lamp make bare,

The starting ray, the bursting light,

Shall from my side the goblin scare,

And shew him visible to sight!”

~

The live-long night poor Gertrude sate,

Watch’d by her sleeping, dying lord;

The live-long night she mourn’d his fate,

The object whom her soul ador’d.

~

Then at what time the vesper-bell

Of yonder convent sadly toll’d,

Then, then was peal’d his passing knell,

The hapless Herman he was cold!

~

Just at that moment Gertrude drew

From ‘neath her cloak the hidden light;

When, dreadful! She beheld in view

The shade of Sigismund! — sad sight!

~

Indignant roll’d his ireful eyes,

That gleam’d with wild horrific stare;

And fix’d a moment with surprise,

Beheld aghast th’ enlight’nin glare.

~

His jaws cadaverous were besmear’d

With clott’d carnage o’er and o’er,

And all his horrid whole appear’d

Distent, and fill’d with human gore!

~

With hideous scowl the spectre fled;

She shriek’d aloud; — then swoon’d away!

The hapless Herman in his bed,

All pale, a lifeless body lay!

~

Next day in council ’twas decree,

(Urg’d at the instance of the state),

That shudd’ring nature should be freed

From pests like these ere ’twas too late.

~

The choir then burst the fun’ral dome

Where Sigismund was lately laid,

And found him, tho’ within the tomb,

Still warm as life, and undecay’d.

~

With blood his visage was distain’d,

Ensanguin’d were his frightful eyes,

Each sign of former life remain’d,

Save that all motionless he lies.

~

The corpse of Herman they contrive

To the same sepulchre to take,

And thro’ both carcasses they drive,

Deep in the earth, a sharpen’d stake!

~

By this was finish’d their career,

Thro’ this no longer they can roam;

From them their friends have nought to fear,

Both quiet keep the slumb’ring tomb.

~

John Stagg (1770-1823) was an English poet known as the “blind bard.” He is now remembered for his Gothic poem, “The Vampyre.” While young, he became blind from an accident. He, nonetheless, married and had seven children. He found a patron for his works in Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk and other members of the gentry. He died in Manchester.

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The World is Too Much with Us

silence_title_image

 

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850) ~

My Thoughts:

If this was true over 150 years ago, it’s even more true today.

The world is overwhelming us, beating us down, blasting wave after wave of propaganda and lies into our heads. Who knows the truth anymore? Who knows what’s right from wrong? Who even knows what’s real? The constant prattle of commentators/agitators, politicians, and celebrities is driving all of us mad. Where is the escape? When will it end?

Escape into the wilderness, they say, but a tumultuous crowd awaits us there. The noise! — oh, the noise! I long to escape it.

Quiet, peace, serenity, silence — a long-forgotten reality.

I will find it inside myself.

Dawn Pisturino

September 28, 2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Be an Independent Thinker!

the-thinker

The Thinker by Rodin

In a world bombarded by information, where are the independent thinkers?

Where do the fresh, untarnished minds hang out?

Where does ORIGINALITY rear its beautiful head?

In a world deafened by conformity instead of individuality, the imaginative Creators of art, music, literature, and science are silenced under the dull roar of sameness, mediocrity, and

group think.

I will not be hampered by intimidation!

I will not be silenced by coercion!

I will not bow down to threats!

I will rise above the mundane crowd and be, above all,

AN INDEPENDENT THINKER!

Dawn Pisturino

February 7, 2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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