Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

September Song/September Morn

(Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash)

My autumn decorations are up, and I’m already planning menus for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. My husband was recently diagnosed with borderline diabetes, so cooking will be a little more challenging this year. But we can enjoy the changing season and all that nature brings us. One of my favorite jazz standards that I always think of at this time of year is “September Song.” Originally introduced on Broadway in the 1938 musical, Knickerbocker Holiday, it has been performed by Frank Sinatra and other acclaimed crooners. Chances are good that you’ve heard it.

(Frank Sinatra – September Song)

September Song

When I was a young man courting the girls
I played me a waiting game
If a maid refused me with tossing curls
I’d let the old Earth take a couple of whirls
While I plied her with tears in lieu of pearls
And as time came around she came my way
As time came around, she came

When you meet with the young girls early in the spring
You court them in song and rhyme
They answer with words and a clover ring
But if you could examine the goods they bring
They have little to offer but the songs they sing
And a plentiful waste of time of day
A plentiful waste of time

Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September
When the Autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

Songwriters: Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson. For non-commercial use only.

And then, there’s the beautiful “September Morn” performed by the fabulous Neil Diamond:

(For the lyrics, click here: https://genius.com/Neil-diamond-september-morn-lyrics)

This year, the autumn equinox will occur on Thursday, September 22, 2022. I’ve already treated myself to a generous cup of hot chocolate, which sounds crazy in the heat, but the temperature was actually pretty cool this morning.

And right now, we’re enjoying the last of the harvest moon in-between cloud covers.

(Photographer unknown)

Happy September! Autumn will be here soon!

Dawn Pisturino

September 14, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

31 Comments »

Old Dreams – A Poem

(Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Old Dreams

So many years! —

And still your memory

Lives in my heart

As a vibrant heartbeat,

Beating new life into

Old dreams . . .

~Dawn Pisturino~

August 19, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

34 Comments »

Sweet Revenge

(Photo by Jennifer Marquez on Unsplash)

Sweet Revenge

If love is pain,

I nailed you to the cross

With revenge so sweet,

It blossomed into a crown of thorns.

~ Dawn Pisturino ~

August 15, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

31 Comments »

The Skeptic’s Kaddish – Poetry Partner #98

I am pleased and proud to announce that my poem, The Age of Elegance, has been published on The Skeptic’s Kaddish, and David ben Alexander has penned his marvelous response to it. Please visit his site here to read our poems and show your support.

Thank you so much!

Dawn Pisturino

July 17, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

19 Comments »

Cheap Wine, Dried Salame, and YOU

 My husband was one of those “bad boys” that girls fall in love with and parents deplore. With his black jacket and black leather cap, he looked like a Sicilian gangster out on a hit.

His pent-up anger spilled out of him in dangerous ways. For example, he mapped out a plan whereby every bank in the city of San Francisco could be robbed on the same day.

His dark nature captivated me, and soon, I was hooked for life.

We fought like cats and dogs, but oh, the fun we had! We went treasure hunting in crazy, out-of-the-way places, finding cold hard cash lying in the sand in a cave. We drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in his green Fiat X-19, enjoying the sun on our faces, the wind in our hair. We hiked through the redwoods on Mt. Tamalpais and watched the ocean tides under a full moon at Ocean Beach.

One day, singing at the top of his lungs, my husband suddenly stripped down and drove naked with the top of his car open along the 92 over to Half Moon Bay. Thrilled and excited, I watched for the cops, laughing all the way.

On cool, foggy nights, we slipped away into the darkness and made love on sandy beaches. On warm afternoons, we packed a picnic snack: a bottle of Riunite Lambrusco and a link of dried salame. Sun, warmth, ocean air, sand, green grass, and a hazy glow of love and darkness and friendship between us.

After our daughter was born, we included her in our crazy life. Archery at the range on King’s Mountain, afternoon tea at Agatha’s, strolling the malls, tramping through the sand at Half Moon Bay, riding the carousel at the San Francisco Zoo, flying kites down on the Marina.

Those days are over now. Our daughter is grown, and we’re not as skinny as we used to be. We live in the desert in Arizona, work, walk the dog, watch TV, and complain about the heat, wind, and dust. But whenever I go back to California, I relive those glory days of sunshine and salt air. Whenever I spot a bottle of Riunite or a link of dried salame at the grocery store, I remember foggy nights and making love in the sand.

So let me fill my plastic cup with cheap red wine, arrange slices of salame and cheese on a paper plate, and offer this toast to the man I love:

I LOVE YOU, DEAR HEART, MY LOVER, MY BEST FRIEND, MY MENTOR, MY DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, MY DARK KNIGHT — AND I ALWAYS WILL.

Happy Father’s Day!

(Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19, 2022 in the USA)

Dawn Pisturino

June 16, 2022

Copyright 2012-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

33 Comments »

Rite of Passage

(Photo by Gil Ribeiro, Unsplash)

I wrote this for the Binnacle 2008 Ultra-Short Writing Challenge, which asked for a 150-word story:

As the train pulled away from the station, Carrie looked through the window at her father standing lost and forlorn on the wooden platform. “I’ll be back,” she had said, hugging him tightly and kissing him warmly on the cheek. But as the train chugged slowly down the track, she knew in her heart that she would never come back. With tears in her eyes, she waved at him one last time, painfully aware of the worried expression in his tired blue eyes, the stooped shoulders, the crumpled old sweater. Who will take care of him now, she wondered. But as the train moved faster down the track, so did her thoughts, leaping ahead to the eager young man waiting anxiously for her at the end of the line and the new life they would begin together. She closed her eyes, remembering his gentle words of love, and cried. (149 words)

Dawn Pisturino

January 2008; March 29, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

23 Comments »

Rainbows: A Sweet Vignette

Dedicated to my Husband and Daughter

It was early in the morning, and a young woman and her husband were driving to the train station. Temporarily, at least, the rain had stopped. The air was pleasantly fresh and clear, though oh! so cold, and here and there a patch of blue showed through the thick November clouds. Pale sunlight shone thinly against the grey morning dampness, brightening just a little the depressing aspect of the city.

“Oh look, a rainbow!” the young woman cried, pointing out the window.

Her husband, who was driving, looked up into the distant sky. Sure enough, half of a large rainbow emerged from a thick grey cloud.

The woman’s face beamed with happiness. “Isn’t that lovely?” she said. “It makes the whole morning beautiful.”

As they drove down the muddy narrow road which ran alongside the railroad tracks, the rainbow seemed to grow more distinct. Soon they could see each end of the rainbow, though the middle was still hidden by clouds.

“Now you can see both ends,” the woman cried eagerly.

“See where it goes,” her husband said. “Maybe I can find my pot of gold.”

The woman searched the sky, trying to determine beginning and end.

“It seems to stretch between the hills over there” — (she pointed left) — “and downtown over there” — (she pointed right.)

“Where does that story come from, anyways?” her husband asked.

“The Irish, I think. You know, leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

“Yeah,” said her husband, a greedy grin on his youthful face. “I’d like to find a pot of gold at the end of it.”

The young woman frowned. “Oh, Jim, that’s all you care about is money. Can’t you think of anything else?”

“Not when we don’t have any,” he answered.

The woman said nothing more, and they drove along in silence until they arrived at the station. But when Jim was helping her out of the car, she suddenly noticed the other rainbow.

“Now look,” she said triumphantly, pointing at the sky. “There are two rainbows!”

Above the first rainbow, which was growing brighter by the minute, half of a second rainbow could be seen. 

“That’s unusual to see two rainbows,” she said thoughtfully. While the young couple watched together, the first rainbow grew stronger and more distinct as the sunlight shifted.

“Now you can see the whole arch!” the woman exclaimed. Truly, it was lovely. The rainbow colors stood clear and vivid against the somber grey sky. “That’s rare to see such a rainbow,” she said, grabbing her husband’s hand and squeezing it tightly. Indeed, the colors seemed almost unnatural.

“And remember, Sharon, there are two,” Jim reminded her gently. “Perhaps they’re man and wife — like us.”

Sharon giggled. “Which one is the man?” she asked playfully.

“The one on the bottom is the strongest.” Jim put his arm around his wife’s ample waist and hugged her close.

“On the bottom, right where he belongs,” Sharon teased.

Her husband laughed. “Actually, I rather like it when you’re on top.”

Sharon pounded him lightly in the stomach. “You’re incorrigible, you beast!”

The young man patted his wife’s swollen belly, feeling the unborn child move inside. “When rainbows make love, do they make little rainbows?” he whispered in her ear.

“How else could there be rainbows,” she whispered back.

“Actually, there are rainbows all the time. We just don’t see them.”

“My husband, the brilliant scientist!”

Suddenly the skies opened up, and a great rain began to fall. The wind whipped up, chilling them to the bone. Laughing wildly, the young couple ran onto the covered platform.

“I love rain like this!'” shouted the young woman over the roar of the downpour.

“I don’t like getting wet all the time,” shouted her husband, who was more practical. “Here comes the train!”

Down the track, the two bright headlights pierced the misty, watery veil of rain, and in a few moments, the train pulled into the station. The woman hugged her husband tightly and kissed him passionately on his warm lips. “You smell so good,” she murmured, snuggling close to his big, warm body.

“I have to go,” he said, disentangling himself from her clinging embrace. “Have a good day. Rest!”

“I will,” she promised, smiling. “Have a good day!”

She waited until he was safely on the train, waved good-bye, then ran into the rain. Behind her, the train began to move slowly down the track. She couldn’t help herself. She stopped and watched as the train gathered speed and chugged out of sight. She pulled her drenched jacket closer around her bulging body. Rain poured down her face and hair. In a moment, she heard the train whistle blasting farther down the track. “I love you,” she whispered, and a lump formed in her throat. Tears watered her eyes, spilled over, and ran down her cheeks, mingling with the rain. She turned and ran as fast as she could to the car.

She climbed into the car and turned the key. The engine sputtered, died, then caught again. She pulled out of the parking space and followed once more the primitive road which ran beside the railroad tracks. She was wet and cold and eager to get home to a hot shower. Her husband was gone to work, the babe was safe and warm inside her. The day would be long and lonely. The rain would carry on, darkening their small apartment. Still, she was happy and content. She had followed her rainbow long ago. She had found her pot of gold.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Dawn Pisturino

November 1983

Copyright 1983-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

28 Comments »

Unappreciated????

(A portrait of English poet, John Keats, by William Hilton, 1822)

Before his early death at 25 from tuberculosis on February 23, 1821, English poet John Keats despaired that “I have left no immortal work behind me . . . If I had time, I would have made myself remembered.” Suffering from ill health and mocked by critics, he could not imagine the fame and adulation that has preserved his memory for two hundred years. Buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, his immortal words still echo in the hearts of young poets, and visitors still flock to see his simple grave.

(Photo by Vova Pomortzeff)

I can’t help thinking what a tragedy it was that such a brilliant young poet was not recognized in his own lifetime, however short. Keats died believing he was a failure. But this has happened to so many writers and artists! Why does it take the dark hand of Death to bring a great person’s talents to life? Are we all too blind and selfish to recognize them while they’re still alive? Or, must all great writers and artists pass the test of Time?

When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be

by John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,

Before high-piled books, in charactery,

Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love; — then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Dawn Pisturino

February 17, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

29 Comments »

A Legendary Victorian Love Story

(Victorian English Poets, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning)

When Robert Browning wrote in 1844, “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,” he sparked a romance that earned its place in literary history.

Elizabeth Barrett had already achieved some notoriety as a poet. Robert Browning was still struggling with his writing. The two exchanged letters, which eventually led to open courtship. Elizabeth was six years older than Robert and an invalid. She also lived under the tyranny of her possessive father. But her deep love for Browning spurred her to elope with him in 1846 without her father’s approval. The couple moved to Florence, Italy, and the relationship between Elizabeth and her father was permanently broken.

As a teenager, Elizabeth developed lung disease and then suffered a spinal injury while saddling a horse. After her brother, Edward, died in a boating accident, she became a complete recluse. With Robert’s love and support, she broke free of her introverted lifestyle and experienced a happy and productive life which included the birth of their son, Robert Wideman Browning, and the publication in 1850 of her most celebrated collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese.

“Portuguese” refers to Robert’s pet name for his wife. Elizabeth’s classical education strongly influenced her poetry, and her sonnets have been compared to those of Shakespeare and Petrarch. Her most memorable sonnet is Sonnet XLIII – How do I Love Thee? – which is often quoted on Valentine’s Day.

Sonnet XLIII

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning died in Florence, Italy on June 29, 1861.

Dawn Pisturino

February 12, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

17 Comments »

Mariah Carey – Vision of Love

Mariah Carey burst onto the music scene with her hit single, “Vision of Love,” in 1990. Carey is known for her wide vocal range and ability to glide effortlessly around the musical scale. She has won numerous awards and influenced other pop singers with her dramatic style.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dawn Pisturino

February 11, 2022

9 Comments »

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