*scroll down for a YouTube video

Recurrent poetry theme
But each time I’m blown away
By my brain’s ability to convey
Its connection with the senses
This time I heard Dylan’s acoustic guitar
Playing Shelter from the Storm
Found myself
Back in the body of a sixteen-year-old
Feeling the hope of youth
The certainty that life will be perfect
Sixteen but free from the serfdom
Of Childhood
Sixteen battering down the cocoon walls
Of Childhood
But now that I’m an adult
I’ve time traveled
Leaping through the senses
This time of hearing
Or maybe it’s feeling
Strings, yet
The antithesis of puppetry
Shelter from the Storm
My time machine
Disguised, this time
As my ears
Previously, it was the smell of dill
And I’ve been transported
Quite often
Via the vision
Of a place or person
Taking me back
But as the music fades
So do I
And once again it is me
Older me
Trying to catch the beat of the song
Seeking my own Shelter from the Storm
The Storm that has changed
Over the years
Because although I was aware
Once upon a time
Of how precious beauty is
Beauty seen and heard
Smelled and touched
A long time ago
I thought I would know
When old and weak
That I could still sing and speak
But never suspected
Just how ephemeral
Life is…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Deserted Tardis in the UK, Lee Sullivan, FB


shelter from the storm dylan



Don’t hear you say much
Don’t hear much said anymore
What is said not heard
What’s heard may never be said
Lies in the lives of lovers

Regretting what said
Words avalanching your own
But your words sliced my sad soul
Lies in the lives of lovers

Where to go from here
Can’t listen to words of war
No need for wrong words
Why would you shipwreck our lives
Lies in the lives of lovers

Sin of silence worse
Can’t settle diversity
Eye contact and words
Helps heal health of broken hearts
Lies in the lives of lovers

Choose words carefully
Keeping quiet isolates
Words reverberate
Sweeping out emotion’s dust
Truth in the lives of lovers…

©2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)




(TANKA LINE SCHEME: 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables/7 syllables/7 syllables)


*scroll down for a YouTube video

Wine red guitar
High gloss with G Clef
Etched into its buffed body
How my hands dream to hold you
So I wouldn’t feel lonely…

But you’re ivy league to my state college
White starched collar to my soft blue
Yet somehow I knew
We could make magical music together
If only…

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Wine-red Takamine guitar jimmie rodgers, kisses sweeter than wine


Another birthday on its way. Here’s the newest picture to go along with a poem about what most of us love: music!

We have a duty
To preserve the beauty
Of Music
To play it loud and often
Whether we do it on
Lasered disks
Or vinyl
Or our own beloved but battered
Music, our soul’s sanctuary

(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: CS under the sign of Aries 2020



*scroll down for a YouTube video

Tonsils yanked out at age 4
Dad gave me a record player
And his only 33-1/3 album
Maurice Ravel’s Bolero
Dreamed over it for years
A progression from heaven
Hollywood mocked it
Used in a silly seduction
But to me
Little girl, then teen, then adult
It was an introduction to passion

Fast forward to old age
Taught myself baritone ukulele
Don’t understand musical notation
Don’t understand tablature
So I’m a Chordie
Stumbled upon a lovely used book
Looked handwritten
And no notes, tabs, chords
But the scales
Remember The Sound of Music?
Doe a deer, a female deer:
Do, re mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do
Written in scales!
But there are chord diagrams
All I need to do is transfer
Six strings to four
And I’m off
To another universe
A place to immerse
My inquiring mind
A fascinating musical code
I can understand!

Seems it’s the Phrygian Mode
Three-quarter time
Used in Flamenco
And other Classical Spanish guitar music
That I admire so much
Old lady plays a Bolero
Not as fun as the scratchy vinyl
Playing the gift
Ravel gave us
But fantasy creates the start of a song:

Heard your song last night
World acoustics
Like old-time radio waves
Carried your mood
Across the woods
Heard you play
A bolero progressing
Through air
Heart pounding in three-quarter time
Through mist
As wild winds
Brushed palm fronds
Brushing together like that special sound
On jazz drums
And me humming
Humming becoming keening
Because I knew
There would never become
A me and you…


I know
Not a happily-ever-after
Maybe not a bolero
After all
Maybe just a love song
Gone wrong?

But oh, I unlocked a mystical code
And I’m off to learn something new
In the sometimes cobalt blue
Of life… YouTube Bolero, Maurice Ravel



(c) 2020 Clarissa Simmens, ViataMaja
IMAGE: BOLEROS BOOK (inside and out)


(song-in-progress DGBE tuning for Baritone Ukulele or Tenor Guitar)

D/You’re afraid of getting
G/What you want
Dm/So you push me Am/away

D/You grind your jaw
G/Like broken glass
Am/Leading my heart G/astray

F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day

D/I don’t know how
G/To show you
Dm/We belong as Am/one

D/Why’re you so scared
G/Of love
Am/Arctic as the midnight G/sun

F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day

D/Your words freeze
G/My heart
Dm/It drops down to my Am/knees

D/Losing my eloquence
G/Merely stiltiloquence
Am/Off the roller coaster G/please

F/You’ve put me on a E7/tightrope
Am/Be careful what you G/say
F/Without a balancing E7/rod
C/I’ll hit the ground Am/one day
C/Hit the ground Am/one day
C/Slam right into it Am/one day…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Flamingo Love in the Dirt


Beloved but battered
Blah, blah, blah
Can’t say enough
Love it badly
Patiently waiting
In heat and humidity
For me to sling it over
My narrow shoulders
And make it sing
New teenager me
Raging Chakiris* crush
As he sang
Roses and Lollipops
Lollipops and Roses
Oh, the garbage we moon over
When young
Believing in romance
And love
Old now, don’t like the lollipops
But still adore roses
Who knew I’d be banging away
On my hallway baritone
Singing songs about
Life’s disappointments
So much fun to strum
And on really bad days
Can raid my stash
In a clothes closet pocket
Peanut butter and chocolate
Almost as good as music
And truly superior
To two-timers I have known
In the realm of romance…

*Actor-singer-dancer George Chakiris (unable to find the video)

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
IMAGE: Red roses & baritone ukulele


Hi WordPress Friends,

My new book of poetry CHORDING THE CARDS AND OTHER POEMS is available in a Kindle edition now.  The paperback will be ready sometime in March.  You’ve probably read all my poems here, right?  😀  but if not, the ebook is 99 cents USD and mainly contains poems about each Major Arcana card of the Tarot being “heard” by me via Baritone Ukulele or Guitar chords.  ❤



#0 THE FOOL (Song in Progress)

Saw a man walking, white dog by his heels
Guitar slung over his strong, straight back
He plucked flowers from a bush, color and shape surreal
Eyes focused on me, while shifting his rucksack

Play guitar because it’s all resonance
Sometimes you can hear the dissonance
But most times the beauty shows its arrogance
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

Walked toward an overhanging cliff
He jumped off and I had to scream
But heard a sacred sound of a familiar riff
Saw him hanging by his fingers on a sunbeam

Play guitar because it’s all vibration
Eases all life’s vexation
Sometimes a body needs sedation
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

Swung himself back on the overhang
Still holding the uncrushed flower
Sat down, played guitar and sang
Darkening sky lit by a meteor shower

Chladni patterns disburse on fingerboards
Frequencies echo as I strum the chords
While nodal lines of the vibration awards
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

I am Zero, therefore first or last
Some call me The Fool but I know the truth
I have no future and not much of a past
Because I don’t worry, blessed with perpetual youth

Share a secret language with your guitar
Playing whatever you like under the evening star
Life is music and your mind will wander far
Hey, hey, hey, play and sing night and day…

(c) 2019 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Images: Chladni Patterns /#0 The Fool, After Tarot deck

fool after tarot deck 1 sm px