The Middle of the Night

When I wake the dog
in the middle of the night
he does not complain

that I hold him to my heart
and my tears dampen his head

copyright © 2016-10-16, by Lizl Bennefeld.
All rights reserved.


Looking Into Light

monarch (or viceroy butterfly, black & white, reverse

I awoke at 7 o’clock or so to quiet. So much more restful than waking to the sounds of the Scampers, wanting to get out “Now, please! A welcome change of context for the morning’s light.

At the end of yesterday’s last visit into the back yard to play with the Scampers, as opposed to just letting them outside on their own to inspect the perimeter for foreign aromas, I happened to see a Monarch butterfly (or, perhaps, a Viceroy) settle briefly on a cotoneaster branch to my left. I had time to take three photographs before it continued on. Shooting into the sun, the pictures were close to silhouettes.

Making a negative image of the best of the photographs, increasing the contrast, and then changing it to black and white, I finally was able to see the patterns on the butterfly’s wings. Changing the picture, changing the context.

The way that I view relationships is changing. I find myself thinking of people in the context of who and where we were, rather than in the present, where, because of changes in circumstances, activities, lifestyles, it appears that the relationship exists only in the past. In the today, conversation is cursory. An embarrassment that, after a warm greeting of recognition, turns to incidentals and then flight. Sometimes with promises of “visiting” longer when there is time. Sometimes, more honestly, not.

My “now” has turned inward and my awareness has expanded beyond myself and my circle of now-distant friends. I do not know if it would be because their interests are not mine, nor mine, theirs. We do not take time to find out. When I think of them, people I once knew and loved in a different context, I remember them (and myself) as in that different world, in which we once lived.* That framework doesn’t exist anymore. With some folks, there is an automatic rebuilding as we take time to converse and discover the new and still existing ties that connect us with the past and to each other. Less often as the distance lengthens.

I am going to pour another cup of coffee for myself and set about making breakfast. We ate out, yesterday, and I’ve half a grilled salmon dinner waiting for me in the refrigerator. I think it would be good with scrambled eggs.

Hope that your day is proceeding as you would like!




“your smile, remembered”

what were those hours and minutes
when measured against decades
of a long life well and fully lived?

a smile, briefly known and always loved,
the joy of songs and sighs and laughter
faded now in the vacuum left behind,
short-lived breeze that warmed,
then cooled again

the absence of your touch…
your lips remembered always
as soft whispers on my neck

Copyright © 2016-08-21, by Lizl Bennefeld. Originally published at my QuiltedPoetry blog.

Just for the fun of it

If we were having coffee, this morning, we would be sharing a nice, hot, chocolate Toddy coffee made with whole milk instead of water. I have moved another (virtual) recliner into my bed-sitting room, so we’ll be comfortable. The dog is still asleep, which seems odd, since she usually doesn’t sleep in, once I am awake.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that this has been a fun week for me, as far as writing poetry. I’m enjoying it a lot. What does worry me, though, is the pain in my chest that I think might be the beginning of bronchitis, which is how I spent most of December, last year. I have made the shift to getting to bed and (theoretically) to sleep before midnight. I sleep longer, that way. The temperature has warmed up, snow is melting, and so there may be molds in the air.

If we were having coffee together, I would share my concern about the house next door’s having been sold. My health has been much better (yes, really!) since the previous owners bought a new house and moved, last May, leaving the house unoccupied. I worry that they will use a toxic dryer sheet when they dry their clothing or set up a turkey smoker in their driveway or on their back porch. I worry that they will have recreational fires and not warn me beforehand, so that all the windows can be closed and rags stuffed under the doors to block the smoke. I worry because city ordinances are not enforced. The house next door changes owners often enough that I am getting tired of worrying. Writing poems helps that.

A joy in my life is that I think I have enough energy to wash the dishes, this weekend, while Al enjoys the gun show at our shooting range, this weekend. I also want to empty the refrigerator, a shelf at a time, and thoroughly clean it.

While I may come off as an extrovert and he, an introvert, it’s actually the opposite. He needs to be around groups of people a lot and establishes familiar places where he can be sure to run into the same people every day. Sometimes, twice a day, either to the same coffee shop or to another. I enjoy going shooting or to a restaurant or grocery shopping with my husband, but I’m not up to large gatherings. This was true even before marriage, serious allergies, &c.

And my husband’s alarm clock just went off. It’s almost seven o’clock. I suppose he wants an early start to the day. While I go out to get his coffee started, I leave you with the limerick I wrote just before we sat down for coffee.

I hope you have a marvelous week, full of happy surprises and satisfying activities…and people around you, or not, as suits you best.

Best regards,

“Impromptu Vacation”

There once was a motive for staying,
but now there’s a reason for leaving.
The cat and the mouse
chased the dog from the house,
so the dog and I’ve now set out roaming.

“Impromptu Vacation”. Copyright © 2015-12-05, by Elizabeth (Lizl) Bennefeld.


Refuge | a birthday snippet

If we were sharing coffee together, today, I would tell you about a birthday custom, the “birthday snippet”. Julie, a friend of mine who is a writer, encourages friends to post “snippets” of their books or works in progress (WIPs) on their birthdays. It’s a nice way to keep in touch and fun to read what folks are writing. I am not sure there are any other poets in the group, other than those whose books are enriched by songs as part of their books or short stories.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I also would tell you about having dinner out with my husband, yesterday afternoon. We save up for special occasions and enjoy going out to eat and visit about what’s occurred since the last time we did so. Since Al had volunteer work scheduled for today, we celebrated my birthday privately on Saturday afternoon. We talked about growing old. About what a wonder it is that we have made it into our 70th year happy and in relatively good health. We had not expected to live so long, we realized, when we looked back on our twenties. We had not thought, then, that we would reach age forty.

I wrote “Refuge” at the middle of September, this year. I suppose it’s no coincidence that it was in the weeks leading up to the first anniversary of my sister’s death. Although I didn’t make the connection until I began editing and revising it, this week. It’s a not-a-sonnet poem. In my head there is a story that it fits into, that provides the context. I have yet to write the story.

Anyway, here is the birthday snippet, the poem in its most recent form, as I posted it this morning on Julie’s page.


I welcome the sweet sounds of autumn’s end
and onset of the winter’s quietude.
Denizens of nature in the woods find
deeper dens and curl up to sleep,
treasuring their energies until the time
to chase or nose out their next feast.

Long nights of silences and contemplation
of a white landscape that encourages repose
provide the time and emptiness that nourish
dreams: imaginings of people, places, vows
kept or broken, far from this exile place.
Stories never to be told, endings never known.

The driving rains, the ice, the winter snow
shield all that’s wild until spring’s waking glow.


Copyright © 2015-09-15, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
All rights reserved.