Author: ralphcuellar

Ralph Cuellar lives in Oregon, and loves nature and politics, and is usually in conflict over both. He is a writer and has played around with software and hardware a little too much in his life, so he left that world behind after a little dance.


The prompt for today is:

Write about a childhood memory set in summer and an event or experience that taught you something you didn’t necessarily want to learn.



Today’s prompt is from the book “The Book of Awakening”, by Mark Nepo.

Moments, Not Words

Like the moon,
come out from behind
the clouds! And Shine!
      – BUDDHA

When I think of those who’ve taught me how to love, moments come to mind, not words. As far back as grade school, when Lorrie wouldn’t stop spinning when recess ended. Spinning to a deeper, higher call she laughed, her little head back, her arms wide, trying to hug the world.

Then, the day Kennedy was shot, there was my choir teacher, Mr. P., crying for a man he didn’t know, letting us go home, but I came back to hear him play a sad piano to what he thought was an empty room. And Grandma holding my little hands open on her basement steps, saying, “These are the oldest things you own.”

Or the changing faces I would wake to at the foot of my bed while recovering from surgery. Or my father-in-law watering black walnuts six inches high that wouldn’t be fully grown for a hundred and fifty years. Or my oldest friend who always listens like a lake.

Though words can carry love, they often point to it. It is the picking up of something that has dropped, and the giving of space for someone to discover for themselves what it means to be human, and the forgiving of mistakes when we realize that we’ve done.



The following was inspired by the prompt, Both Sides, and is by Writers in the Grove member, ralph cuellar.

Regardless of how intently i stare ahead
it’s always hindsight that has the better view
“Why is that”, i ask
and then upon reflection realize
… “why yes, of course”

Nature does not wait to be regarded
The future never arrives before its time
My thoughts fill my pockets and
occasionally spill out and get left behind
It’s not uncommon to come upon them again
only to discover they have another side


Today the group explored the poetic form known as Pantoum.

Although it originated in Malaysia in the fifteenth-century as a short folk poem, the modern pantoum is a poem of any length, composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of a pantoum is often the same as the first.

The exercise is to create a pantoum of 3 stanzas:

  • Write six fairly short lines on the same subject (numbered 1-6).
  • To make the first stanza, copy the first 4 lines from your list of 6.
    • line 1
    • line 2
    • line 3
    • line 4
  • The second stanza has the following formula:
    • line 2
    • line 5
    • line 4
    • line 6
  • The third stanza has the following formula:
    • line 5
    • line 3
    • line 6
    • line 1


The suggested subject for the exercise was Father’s Day, but you can choose any subject you like.

Have fun and see what you get!

The Music Of This Land (I Love This Parade!)

The following is by Writers in the Grove member Bev Walker.

From the hands and hearts of wanderers
Comes the music of a land without equal
It’s a new song, heard everywhere
A song heard especially this day
  Led by a spinning, silver and gold array

Strangers to each other they come
To dance, to sing, and light up the stars
In one great symphony of sound
With the world in its singing hand.
  Best of all is a marching band.

Bagpipes with Scots, European violins
Meet crying Oriental strings,
And the tattoo of Spanish castanets,
Join a flute hand carved of bamboo.
  Crowds cheer, flags twirl, ribbons too.

There’s deep drums of an African soul
The stomp of an Irish jig
Hear the Plainsong of quiet ones
And even a Didgeridoo is there
  In this singingest celebration of the year.

Whistles, spoons and guitar
Horns of seashell and brass
The rhythmic beat of a Tom Tom
And a child with a blade of grass.
  Sing across this land in a marching mass.

Astride horse, a cowboy way out west
Echo’s yodeling song of the Alps
In the city a Russian ballerina smiles
At a boy spinning the sidewalk to rap.
  Flowers float and wave to jingle and tap

There’s bongo, gong and cymbal
And the quiet of a Gregorian chant
Even the roaring Rock and Roller,
Who once rocked to a lullabies cant.
  Joins this from everywhere parade.

You’d think in this mish mash of sound
Harmony’s an impossible thing
But it’s there in this rousing, bouncing, band
In their songs raised to the sky
  In this symphony of the fourth of July.


The first two quotes are from the novel “The Tears of Autumn” by Charles McCarry. Notice the unusual descriptions utilized in each one.

  • They were alone on the sidewalk, and when they reached Connecticut Avenue the broad street was empty of cars, though the automatic traffic signals went on working; the lights changed to red along its whole steep length, like cards falling out of a shuffler’s hand.


  • Charcoal fires burned down the length of a long street, like a herd of red eyes in the black night. Nsango dropped on all fours in front of a tin hovel and crawled inside. It was constructed of flattened gasoline cans and other bits of scavenged metal, and it stood in a row of houses that looked like mouths with the teeth knocked out.


  • The third quote was shared by one of our group members.

I have to keep on writing to remember who I am.


There were two prompts suggested today:

  • Write on the attitude expressed in the statements “I can handle this” and “I don’t need to ask directions”. Is there an experience where you or someone else took this position but it turned out otherwise?


  • The following is a quote from the novel titled “Dead Man’s Fancy” by Keith McCafferty:

Another half-mile and the lake was before him, a pool of milk under the circle of the moon.