Miriam & Robbie Visit the Bar – SoCS

Today is a poetry day
I should open with a poem
But I got zip

Still, bonus points are on the line
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Nothin' zero

Robbie and Miriam have poems
Not here - in the anthology
Me? Nada - zilch!

Because today’s post required more planning than Linda allows, I was going to skip the SoCS part. But then she offered bonus points.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘zip, zero, zilch.’ Use one, use ’em all, bonus points if you use all three. Have fun!”

If you follow my blog, you know I like poetry and I appreciate the work of poets. I have always had an interest in poetry, but only through the friends I’ve made blogging have I gotten to know poets. I have said it numerous times, but poets are the true artists in the writing world. The make such great use of every word. They add shape and rhythm to their expression, and they share their observations and thoughts for us to enjoy. As David is about to say, enough of my blather.

“Dan, I think it’s time you introduce our guests, and get them something to drink because I have a lot of questions.”

“David’s right Dan. I want to hear what the ladies have to say.”

“OK, Cheryl. I asked Robbie and Miriam for their drink orders when I invited them. Miriam would like a dark, bitter beer, light on the alcohol if you can. Robbie will have a wine spritzer. David will have his usual John Howell’s Special and…”

“…You’ll have a Corona. Done!”

“I think David wants to start.”

“I do, Dan. I have a question for both Robbie and Miriam. Several of their poems are built off of what some might consider simple observations. Moments that touch us emotionally (make us smile, for instance) but usually fade quickly. You both have a gift for preserving these moments. Do you consciously take note of these? Miriam, why don’t you start.”

“Thanks David. I like that question. I’m drawn to nature whether it’s high on a mountain, far in a wilderness, or wide in a vast ocean. I’m in awe of the majestic power especially the life in them. It seems like nothing beats nature no matter how devastating the destruction is, nature survives. When I’m out and about near and far, the images of sceneries and the emotions stay fresh in my memory for a long time. They brew in my mind. I write better when I’m alone. When I have a quiet moment, I draw out the memories and write my poems.”

“Robbie, I’m going to follow-up with Miriam, and then you can answer both parts of this question. About those observations, do you see something and then see a poem? Do you do anything to preserve the memory for yourself, so you can come back to it later?”

“I love gardening. My garden is my sanctuary. With the same admiration for nature, I appreciate the trees and plants and flowers going through the seasons of death and rebirth. I do the gardening alone, and the poems come to my mind there and then. Usually, the entire poem comes to me, and I can go back to the house to write it down. Sometimes I reflect on a certain thing and the poem comes to me during my driving. There were many times I pulled my car into a parking lot to write it down. There were times I went on a walk in a quiet neighborhood when the poem came, I stopped and wrote it down on my phone.”

“Robbie, I see that I don’t have to repeat the questions, you look ready to answer.”

“I am, David. I am an observer of events, circumstances, and human and creature experiences. When these observations impact me emotionally, they frequently result in a poem. Unlike my prose writing, which tends to be a much greater exercise in thought, research, and editing, my poetry usually comes into my head fully formed. I just capture the thoughts and write them down.”

“Do you write them down in the form of ideas or poetry?”

“I often think of Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter when I think of my poetry writing process. The part where he pulls memories out of his mind like silvery thought waves and puts them in a bowl so that others can share them. I pull poems out of my head and write them down with little effort. When I go back to them a few days later, I will do some editing, but not usually very much. I like to retain the rawness of emotion and experience.”

“Dan, if you’ll forgive me, I have a question for Robbie about her poems in this anthology. Do you mind if I sneak in?”

“Be my guest, Cheryl.”

“Robbie, you shine a powerful light on a couple of women. I was immediately reminded of work/social situations. Was that your inspiration for these, or are you just applying character traits to a fictional setting?”

“If you mean, ‘She lives and yet she is dead’, that poem is not based on a single woman, but rather on several women I have either known or been told about by others, who have suffered a form of aggressive dementia. This condition is terrible for the family who watches their loved one become nasty and unkind together with a slow descent into a failure of recognition and memory. The poem was intended to illustrate this mental decline, but to end on a positive note that highlights those uplifting moments when the person momentarily reverts to their pre-dementia behavior. I think this is one of my best poems.”

“That’s such a poignant and timely topic. What about ‘The Modern Siren.’ Is that about someone you know?”

“Well, yes, but… The various interpretations I’ve been offered for The Modern Siren have surprised me. Some readers have experienced the ‘siren’ in a negative way and see her as a shallow and uncaring person. That was not what I had in mind when I wrote this poem. It was meant to be about introverts and their struggle to socialize with others and the big emotional, and even physical drain, socializing puts on them. The girl in the poem was intended to represent me and I’m sure readers will be shocked to know that.”

“I think I understand. What about you, Dan. Are you shocked?”

“Well, that is surprising, but I think I understand now. Before I retired, business social functions were very draining events for me.”

“You have said you’re an introvert, too, Dan. Perhaps that’s our fate.”

“It’s true. Those social events were harder for me than work.”

“I understand, Dan. I see myself as someone who will try incredibly hard in social situations. I will talk to people and listen to all their worries, anxieties, and ambitions. I will hold a drink in my hand, but I will never drink it because alcohol makes me very hyperactive, and I am already like the energizer bunny. I will be the life and soul of the party, but I can only do it for a short while. After a few hours, my batteries are flat, and I must go home and recuperate.”

“Since I have the floor, I have a question for both of you. I get caught up in some poems. I feel a rhythm and I feel like my brain is dancing its way through the words. Do you give much thought to the specific form to use when thinking of a poem, or could you adapt any poem to any form? Miriam, let’s start with you.”

“I love music and I’m a singer. I sing classical and traditional music. Most of the lyrics in that music are poetic. In the traditional hymns, the lyrics have a certain number of words per line and many stanzas. They’re almost like poems. In my younger years, I performed solo frequently and had the songs memorized. It was like memorizing and reciting poems. I think my music performance experience contributes to the natural flow of poetry writing. You’re right, Dan. Reading rhythmic poems feels like dancing with the music.”

“It’s funny that you mention hymns, Miriam. I grew up in a church that emphasized hymns. When they bought new hymnals, I kept one of the old ones. What about you, Robbie, do you focus on form?”

“My instantaneous poems come either as rhyming verses or as freestyle verses. I am very pleased you experience a rhythm when you read them, Dan, as that is the entire basis of poetry. Poems must flow and follow a rhythmic pattern. I am of the view that songs are poems set to music. I always read my poems aloud to ensure the rhythm is correct and I do make changes.”

“Miriam, do you have a favorite form?”

“Most of my poems are free verse, Dan. I take part in poetry challenges from time to time to write syllabic poetry such as Haiku, Tanka, and Cinquain. One good thing about poetry is that it doesn’t have to follow the prose writing that requires certain grammatical structures such as using the preposition all the time. I also love to take on the challenge of following some poetry forms.  So far, I have written Shakespeare’s sonnets, Villanelle, Pantoum, Acrostic, and Alouette.”

“Robbie, how about you?”

“I write poetry in several different forms, but I am a creature of minor obsessions. When a certain form strikes my fancy, like my current interest in the 99-syllable double ennead poems, then I will only write in that form until I lose interest, or another form grabs me. I started off writing only rhyming verses because that is the poetry I learned at school, and I didn’t know much about other forms of poetry. After I started blogging and I met lots of other poets and poetry lovers, I started learning new forms. Until recently, tankas were my favorite syllabic form, and I wrote a few haikus, prose tankas, and haibuns.”

“Dan, I can see you’re forming another question. Before you ask it, I took the liberty of getting everyone another round.”

“Aww, thanks Cheryl. I think you will like this question, it’s about location, and your poetry from Panama strikes me the same way as one of Miriam’s poems. Miriam, your poem ‘Rainclouds’ has a west coast feel to it. I know that you also lived for a while in Seattle, as I did, and the clouds are different there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen clouds as low as they are sometimes in the Pacific Northwest. You bring in elements that may not be common to every reader, yet you describe them in a way that everyone can understand. Do you think about this, or is this just a byproduct of the way you write?”

“It rains a lot in Seattle and Portland. I think the sky in Portland is higher than in California and sometimes the clouds are patchy clouds. I remember when I was in Portland one October, my daughter’s family wanted to go to a pumpkin farm. There was pouring rain at the time we left the house. We arrived at the farm 30 minutes of drive later, it was sunny. No wonder no people bother to have an umbrella.”

“That’s true, I never owned an umbrella when I lived in Seattle. Although, I think every jacket had a hood. You’re living in California now, that must be different.”

“The clouds in southern coastal California are a unique phenomenon. The clouds are called stratus clouds, referred to as marine layers, which hover around one thousand to three thousand feet above the ground. Because of the dryness, they got burned off before they formed the rain. The clouds used to be burned off by on p.m. in the nineteen-seventies, but because of climate change, they’re now burned off by ten a.m. When my husband and I saw the clouds, we wished they brought rain, but they disappeared again and again. My poem reflects on this frequent happening in our local area.”

“OK, Dan, I’m going to jump back in here. I have another question, actually an observation, for both women. Family seems an important source of inspiration. Miriam, why don’t you go first.”

“Thanks David. I don’t have too many immediate family members from my side of the family living close by. Other than one sister and her family, the rest of my family members are in Hong Kong. My daughter is my only child. She is from my previous unhappy marriage. Her paternal grandparents passed away when she was a teenager. My parents were not around to have a close relationship with her. In a sense, my daughter and I only have each other. I’m grateful that she is married with two daughters. Autumn is four and a half and Nora just turned two. I’m the only grandma to these two girls. My husband is the only grandpa these two girls know. It gives me great joy to be close to my daughter, her husband, and the two grandkids. My dad had a great influence on my love for reading, gardening, and exercising. I want to make a difference in my grandkids’ lives. Autumn is bright, intelligent, and loves reading. Nora is blossoming. These two girls put sparks in my eye and a smile on my face. It’s not hard to write poems about the joy I have around them.”

“That sounds very special, Miriam. Robbie, I think you’ve mentioned that your extended family lives with you.”

“Yes, I am lucky as my parents live with me and I love having them. My children have benefited from having grandparents to step in while my husband and I were working, and they have learned all sorts of things from the older generation that they probably would not have learned otherwise. My husband also has a surviving grandmother, my children’s great-grandmother, who turned 100 last year as well as his mother and sister who live close by.”

“Your sons are younger than Miriam’s daughter. They seem an active part of your life.”

“I am close to my sons, and they are both growing into lovely young men. Greg started university this year and is studying a Bachelor of Science – Computer Science and Michael started senior high school. Greg often consults with me and asks for my opinion on decisions he needs to make. Michael and I still have lots of fun together and we cook and bake together. The boys still come on our mini-breaks and holidays although I know that won’t last forever. I wrote a poem called ‘He Walks Away’ which is in my collection called Behind Closed Doors which described the separation process all mothers must follow.”

“Well Dan, I learned a lot about poetry and two delightful poets today. I am so glad I bought this book. Miriam, did we miss anything?”

“You covered a lot of ground, David. It was fun to have this conversation with you all and Robbie. Thank you so much for your invitation. I really appreciated it.”

“Yes, Thank you all, for offering to host Miriam and me for this post. Your interest and support is greatly appreciated.”

For those who want to read Robbie’s and Miriam’s poetry, and poems by other great poets, the new anthology is “Poetry Treasures 2 – Relationships” and it’s available on Amazon.


  1. It’s always interesting to hear what writers have to say about their own writing processes. It completely boggles what’s left of my mind that writers could have a poem — or anything else — just appear in their heads and all they have to do is write it down with maybe a minor tweak. The photos are great, especially that photo of the reflection. Escher’s soccer field? Good one! I am beginning to covet the quince — what a color!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, your quince is in full bloom already? Ours is hardly even budding yet. Spring seems to be taking it’s old sweet time in Maine this year. Grass is greening but it’s been too cold to see much growing action. Seems like bunny is moving closer to your door. Might be time fit a few carrot snacks…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That was lovely getting to know a little more about Miriam, and Robbie, Dan. I love poetry about nature so, I’ll have to check them out. I can put into words how I feel which is why I love poetry and writers.

    I loved that morning puddle reflection. Your Quince is so lush!! I really like its color- it’s a lovely peachy pink.

    I hope you have a nice week-end!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I enjoyed this discussion. Poets fascinate me, and it is always rewarding to hear them (in this case, read) talk about their motivation. I learned a lot of new things about Robbie and Mirium. I’m so glad you had both at the bar, Dan. Enjoyed the photos too.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. GORGEOUS pictures today! I love seeing the new blooms. I miss the spring flowers/buds when they’re gone. Thanks for introducing me to two new-to-me poets. I’m a poetry fan, too, although what I write is pretty poor verse. I still know good stuff when I hear/read it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad you enjoyed meeting them, Marian. If you know good stuff when you see it, you will like this anthology. It’s full of good poetry. I only had room to invite two of them, but there are many others.

      Spring is stretching out here, but I will miss it when it all turns green.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Marian, it’s nice to meet you! Good to know you’re a writer and have many publications. I’m sure you know writers have different favorite genres. Poets have their favorite forms also. No verse is poor when you write in your own style. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. That was such a lovely conversation, and I learned something about both of these wonderful poets, even though I thought I knew them quite well. You made up for having zero, zilch, nada, Dan. Congrats to Robbie and Miriam on the wonderful feature. :-)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great post, Dan! I enjoyed getting to know Miriam and Robbie better and the discussion on the poetic writing process was very inspiring. The discussion about introverts was interesting. In my career as a counselor, I came to dread purely social events where there was no task or cause. As a counselor, I had specific tasks like listening, empathizing, analyzing, and problems solving about important things – life changing things. Purely social small talk is hard, and to be honest, becomes boring after a few minutes. Writing makes it easier to organize my thoughts. It seems that a lot of writers/bloggers are introverts.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. That was fascinating Dan! I’m glad you introduced these two poets. I was intrigued by them both speaking about the rhythm of poetry. That is something I feel deeply. I love to know about others processes. I think perhaps I will go look into them more…

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’m the least likely person to write poetry, but I’m here to support my blogging friends Miriam and Robbie on Poetry Day. I don’t have much aptitude for it, though I appreciate the skill itself. It’s similar to my admiration of artists who paint. I recognize the beauty in each pursuit, but it is just not my thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Dan–this was so wonderful to have Miriam and Robbie at the bar to discuss their styles of poetry. My hat is off to you both because having to write a poem in school was never easy for me. And then all the different types of poetry there are…I couldn’t do it. I stand in awe of both of you. This was a really great visit and I enjoyed it tremendously.
    Dan–feed that poor Ginger cat. God knows he looks like he’s not eaten in days! And, of course, he needs a good brushing when you’re done with MiMi. 😹

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Lois/ Miriam and Robbie make it look so easy, but we know the truth.

      Preston ate well for the three days I was watching him. He’s such a fluff, I wouldn’t know where to start brushing. He’s my buddy and we’re the only two guys in this expended family, so we stick together.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I hope Robbie and I didn’t make poetry sounds difficult to write, Lois. In fact, it’s not. My daughter wrote her first poem on Halloween when she was six. We sent it to an anthology and her poem was accepted and included in the collection. We bought the book and showed her poem to her. She was so excited that she made a little book of poems for herself filled with poetry about all the holidays. Her first-grade teacher made the students feel they could do everything.

      Thank you so much for your reading and comment, Lois! Have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. I absolutely loved reading this, Dan. Going in-depth into Miriam’s and Robbie’s poetry, and their interests and lives, was very interesting. Well done! Thank you to all.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Bonus points for your poem Dan!! I enjoyed reading the interviews as well. I admire people who can write poems so easily. Thank you for sharing with us. PS – as always, I enjoy your photos too – the reflection one is very cool this week.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    Dan Antion from the superb blog, No Facilities, hosted Miriam Hurdle and I at his local virtual bar to discuss poetry and the new WordCrafter Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships anthology. If you haven’t visited Dan’s blog before, you are missing out. He has a terrific blog and shares all sorts of interesting conversations and photographs as well as hosting the Thursday Doors weekly challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thanks for this wonderful post, Dan. I have read both Miriam’s and Robbie’s poetry and enjoyed it. I liked reading about their inspiration and how their poetry is formed in their minds.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. This was such an amazing interview, Dan, I felt like I was sitting with you’ll listening to the conversation. Loved the transparency in both Robbie’s and Miriam’s answers. Both Robbie and your feelings on socializing hit home :)

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I love this! It’s so great to see both Robbie and Miriam here and learn more about their writing processes and inspirations. I just finished reading a poetry book that both Robbie and Miriam had contributed poems. Thanks so much for sharing and congrats to these two ladies!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Wonderful conversation! I know very little about poetry, let alone how to write it, but I enjoyed the “behind the scenes” talk. Beautiful pics! Thanks for hosting Robbie and Miriam, Dan!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Dan, Robbie, and Miriam, I loved this post and learned so much more about all of you. Robbie, I didn’t know your sons were so old, not that a senior in high school is old, but I picture an eight-year-old. LOL. I loved the way this post flowed from one person’s question to another’s and how you all had a say. Miriam, I used to sing in the choir when I was young, then solos as I got older. Singing old hymns still brings me a lot of joy. I used to write my own hymns to familiar tunes, but I haven’t done that in years either. Another interest was renewed. :)

    I wish you all the best in your poetry. You inspire me to include more poetry in my posts and to read more of your poetry. :) Have a wonderful week. Lots of love to all.

    Liked by 2 people

          • Super! This has so many good qualities that I love. Yvette is another person who writes and excellent interview post but I’ve never seen anyone carry on an entire chat. I wasn’t familiar with either of their poems that you discussed. I know it is a long article, but it might be appropriate to have each of the poems displayed as a photo so it sets it off. Sue, of “What’s on Your Bookshelf?” is quite a master podcaster, and that would be a fun touch. It would be awesome to hear their actual voices. Robbie’s accent is so much fun. I’ve heard her reading one of her poems. Anyway, I can’t say enough good about this post, Dan.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by, Marsha! Robbie started working with Michael to write the Sir Chocolate books when Michael was younger. Time flies. Both boys are big boys right now. I’m glad they’ll still be home for many more years. What a wonderful talent you have to write your own hymns to familiar tunes. You have to bring some to show them to me when we meet. I’ll bring you a copy of my poetry when I see you. :-)

      Liked by 2 people

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