Month: April 2016



Blood spattered on grass

Over-enthusiasm set off

Unknown chain of events

Minimize the destruction

Garner the spots

Contain them

Decide to be

A sheep or

A ram


Ram Red for reminder

Sheep Green for goal

Bloodstone captures the soul

Blends them

Either/or becomes both

Balance in an Aries birthstone


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




Back yard

Dogs gleefully hunting

Digging for tree frogs

From the swamp


High pitched screaming

Unidentifiable animal

Expecting the dogs to bark

I see that they silently

Look through

Wire fence spaces

Something is being killed

I want to stop it

I want to save it

But the dogs

Respectfully honor

Both predator and prey

Understanding the circle of life

The food chain

I go into the house without them

Soothing myself with the ukulele

Air conditioner thankfully covering up

The discordant music of death…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)



Sharing this lovely poem by my friend Carole Hughes:


For my Mother (1913 – 2001):

…………In the Garden……..
I dreamed of a garden
in it my mother
was tending the flowers
as was her wont
on earth
you kept all your pain inside
an avalanche of pain
to make you insane
and throw you into a well
with that sad sound in your head
yet to you it was like snow
or feathers
a part of your plumage
or the scents of your flowers
their heavenly colours more radiant
than on any terrestrial ground
discrete profiles of bluebells
and lilies
larkspur and roses
so familiar and yet so haunting
with a power to unsettle
and to console
I picked one rose
from its thorny stem
feeling the thorns between us
this is from me, I said
and when I awoke
sweet-scented petals
lay about the room
and I saw my mother’s smile
the thorns had become roses.

…… carol j. hughes



Another year passed

Still not invited to the

New Orleans Jazz Fest

So I did my own

With sparkling performances

Of new material

Never before sung


My incredible

“Five Planets and a Full-Hunger Moon”

Strumming plaintive chords

On the concert ukulele

Singing between mezzo soprano

And a forced contralto

Doesn’t get any better than this

In between my own work

I sang all our old favorites:

“Jet Plane,”  “Blowing in the Wind”

“John Riley,”  “The Boxer”

Well, ok, folky but kinda

Jazzy Folk

And then a Talking Blues

My own “Engine Block Hotdogs”

“Joe Hill,”  “Rebel Girl”

“City of New Orleans” brought down the house

Thanks, Arlo, for a great song

They begged me for an encore

So I did “Channeling”

The very first song I wrote

Yeah, had my own Jazz Fest

In an air conditioned Florida trailer

Then ate and slept with the audience

My ever-polite dogs

Who says I don’t know how to have fun?


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My Peace Ukulele




Past memories

Break the barrier

Of approaching dawn

Can almost feel

And smell

The sweat of fear

Sometimes part of those days

Begone! I whisper

Searching for a talisman

In a brass bowl

On my bedside table

But my dogs

Those stubborn




So wise


And they surround me

Like the sick mother

From their litter

Keeping me warm

And when the sweat dissipates

They heave sighs of relief

Chasing tails

Digging too close to the garden

And generally rejoicing

As they hear the rattling of dog bones

Making the trip

From the box

To the salivating mouth

I am in their debt

And gladly pay…


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)





#60 Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
#88 When thou shalt be disposed to set me light
#66 Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
#80 O, how I faint when I of you do write.

#139 O, call not me to justify the wrong
#150 O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
#100 Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so long
#28 How can I then return in happy plight

#43 When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see
#66 Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
#52 So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
#115 Those lines that I before have writ do lie

#56 Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
#71 No longer mourn for me when I am dead


© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) and William Shakespeare


(originally posted 3-21-16)

Despite date rapists

Feeding her chemicals

For quiet pliancy

Despite thieves

Stealing her jewels

Of gold, silver, uranium

Hidden in her

Deep, dark pockets

Despite ripping at her

Strongly skillful hands

Lovingly tending the roots

Of trees

That shelter, oxygenate, and feed

Of weeds

Intrinsic providers for healing

Of fruits and vegetables

To nourish her hungry children

Through it all

Her molten core

Fecund to the end

Like a Baby Boomer

Listening to the music

In her soul

Dancing, singing

Shouting out

“I am the mother

Of you all

And will never die”

Because the future holds

Glorious consensual couplings

With water, air, fire

And while they helplessly fail

To protect her now

She maintains her sanity

Knowing what is right

And she will never give up…

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: earth-greens


(originally posted 2-25-16)

Two-day old crescent above the

Withlacoochee River hammocks

Not much illumination

Especially for seekers of

Cryptic or everyday


People mysteries

Involving love and life and death

But the hammocks have their own problems

As the sea level rises in this

World of climate change

Trees drown

Fish and wildlife dwindle

So maybe they all seek

Answers in their

Bowers of earth

Castles of overheated water

Crisping nests of dead leaves

No time for love when struggling

To find food and stay alive

We are kin to other species

Suffering alike

On this changing planet

Awaiting illumination

That is in a cycle of deep sleep

How to wake it up…?


© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Withlacoochee River Hammock