Month: July 2020


Barbara Leonhard, author of the WordPress Blog

featuring her own powerful poems and those of others

has generously included two of my poems on her podcast

Along with some amazing poets that will be familiar to you

We have all written about Grief and Healing, a subject especially applicable to

the health crisis we are facing today

Please tune in to the podcast; Barbara has a calming and lyrical voice that

enhanced the words of my poetry!

Wishing us all good health and safety ❤


Splintering wood
Dulled paint
The matryoshka opens
From a determined twist
Revealing four other nesting dolls
Identical except for size
How they blink their eyes
In wonder
Smallest remembers
The first affordable TV
Black and White images
Of cowboys and Disney
Penultimate hears the start of FM
Round-the-world broadcasts
Carnaby Street meets Greenwich Village
As the Stones seek shelter
And Dylan damns masters of war
Middle matryoshka plans
Her American Dream
House and cars and 2.5 children
While next to largest
Stomps alone in a strange U.S. State
Of heat and gators
Learning survival tactics
Because life’s a traitor
And now the largest
The one that contains
Time’s gifts through the years
Sheds some tears
Soaking the splintering wood
The paint an unfamiliar color
Looking ill and so much duller
As Time presents its final surprise
Despite watching Mad Max
And films of the Zombie Apocalypse
She unwraps the microscopic germ
Knowing her final life’s term
Is here…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Matryoshka gift from Karen Bruton


You’ve probably read all my poems but here is my newest addition to the ongoing poetic diary of my commonplace life 😀 There are so many photos (mostly of my beloved baritone ukulele) so KDP set the lowest price at $1.99 USD. Must say, this is not my favorite book of poetry. For that, I would recommend my big 3: Chording the Cards or Chakra Madness or Miniature Worlds Sublime.

Wishing us all health and safety in these trying times (that are unfortunately reflected in my poetry) ❤


Twenty button gift
Push and pull most confusing
Chords and melody
A musical harmony
Wrapped in concertina love

(My concertina finally arrived! Thought I’d play Drunken Sailor right away but no, it’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star until I learn the chords. Arrrrgggghhhh, me hearties, what fun!)


Vastness of the sky overwhelmed
So I chose a space between Live Oak leanings
Where branches did not arbor
Although reaching for each other
And like a laptop screen
I kept Orion and Corvus
Andromeda and the Pleiades
Within my scope

Above is named
The Starlite Ballroom
A magical space
Emanating the finest perfume
As we dance in flowing costumes
To musical bliss
Because as below
Is as above
But during the day
Water reveals the truth
Gaze along the rivers
See its reflection
As Above Ergo Below
Denial is where we
Slosh among our kind
An amorphous reflection of
What is above

A force of reality
Is not mirroring
And today and forever more
It sometimes seems
Disease and
Nature’s catastrophes
May merely be
Part of the reflection
If only we could truly see
All daily negativity
Perhaps, then, our gift
Would be
The reality
Of the Starlite Ballroom
Life’s Truth and Beauty…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Pithlachascotee River at James Grey Preserve


My annual Independence Day poem for new friends & followers:

Growing up in Philadelphia
Home of the Declaration of Independence
And that wildly independent founding father Franklin
I pondered the meaning of Independence
At a very young age
Countries become independent from their oppressors
But people can become independent too
And that was what I tried to do
I became self-sufficient
Didn’t hurt to read Thoreau at age sixteen
Yet, of all the words he produced for us eager hippies
I fastened on what may be his saddest quote:
“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude”
Countries really cannot live in solitude
As we see by the history of United States wars
So much for the Monroe Doctrine


Well, here I am, meandering between
The idea of an independent country
And an independent person
Does anyone dread
What’s waiting ahead?
Our presidential election
Lying and promises
Slur-slinging and anger
Tossed between the candidates
And we, the voters, surrounded by
The circle of hate
Like children in a game of dodge ball
Will we unfriend our friends on social media sites?
Click out of their opposing posts of rhetoric?


I was taught to not talk about
Politics, religion or money
With any but family and close friends
Being an independent woman, however,
I couldn’t stay away from activism:
Feminism, racism
All in the name of peace and love
“In order to form a more perfect Union”
As the Preamble to the Constitution states and,
“Dedicated to the Proposition that
All men (and women!) are created equal”
Thanks to Lincoln
While I asked what I could do for my country
In answer to JFK’s challenge


So important
Yet, so easy to independent ourselves
Out of friendship and love…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: View of the head of the Statue of Liberty, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, on display on the Champ de Mars, Paris, France, 1878. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Seems the concertina I ordered in May is trekking around Asia or Europe
Wrote this “song” and will try to chord it when the instrument is here 😀


I’m pretending you love me
As magic thoughts strike
Like old days of herb-picking
When like would cure like

Some days I dream of shaking you
Like a prophetic eight ball
Ask you a question
Penetrate your brick wall

Like a recalcitrant concertina
I push and pull
But deep down I think
I’m just an old fool

So if I pretend you love me
Ten times a day
Like healing roots and leaves
Love me back, you may

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: 2nd Generation Flamingos

(the overuse of “like” is deliberate)


This is a poem by my good friend and fellow-confessional poet Denise Fletcher:

The Storms of Life are raging
all around Us.
Chaos, Killings, Protests,
Political rallies, Injustice
People fighting back with a Vengeance
Trying to focus on inequities.
Must obtain Freedom at all costs—
Defunding the police is NOT the answer!

Reading, studying English Literature
Seeking insight into the human psyche
and learning how to reconcile
History with Reality,
Yet maintain inner peace.

Stick to the Plan—
Doing daily chores and
Setting personal goals.

The Storms of Life are Raging
All around us.

By Denise Fletcher
© 2020