Mad Girl’s Love Song


 Mad Girl’s Love Song
by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

My cover of “Almost Lover”


NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvain Reynard on Poetry.


NY Times Best Selling Author and my favorite enigma Sylvain Reynard was gracious enough to write a guest blog on poetry. If you aren’t familiar with Reynard’s books,you are missing out on riveting tales full of suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. You can find out more about SR and his work by going to You can also find him in all his tweeting glory @sylvainreynard

This poet is a huge fan. You will be too.

Now I give you SR in his own words


Many people avoid poetry.

Poetry usually brings to mind limericks, or schoolyard sing-songs, or angst-driven blank verse. But The Iliad and The Odyssey are poems. Dante’s The Divine Comedy is a poem.

Poetry is extremely flexible as a genre and like other arts it contributes something important to the human experience. Poetry can be a thing of beauty and a medium for reflecting on profound and sometimes unsettling truths.

When I wrote The Gabriel Series, I was inspired by the poetry of Dante, hoping to introduce the beauty of his art to a wider audience. Dante is not very well known anymore and few people read him outside of school or university.

In my new Florentine Series, I was inspired by the poet Apuleius’s account of the love affair between Cupid and Psyche. Again, this is a poem that is not very well known and infrequently read.

You can read the tale by starting here:

Psyche was the youngest of three sisters and very beautiful. Her beauty was so great, it intimidated prospective suitors. Her older sisters quickly found husbands, while Psyche remained alone.

Her father feared that Psyche had been cursed by the gods and so he sought out an Oracle, who instructed him to deliver his daughter up to marry a great winged evil. In sorrow and despair, the father obeyed. Psyche went along with the Oracle’s instructions, proclaiming that her condemnation was the result of unbridled envy.

And then something surprising happened…

“…prompted by the sight of the evening star, Psyche retired to bed. Now, when night was well advanced, gentle whispers sounded in her ears, and all alone she feared for her virgin self, trembling and quivering, frightened most of what she knew nothing of. Her unknown husband had arrived and mounted the bed, and made Psyche his wife, departing swiftly before light fell. The servant-voices waiting in her chamber cared for the new bride no longer virgin. Things transpired thus for many a night, and through constant habit, as nature dictates, her new state accustomed her to its pleasures, and that sound of mysterious whispering consoled her solitude.”

Psyche was delivered up to someone, but far from treating her evilly, he treats her well. He gives her pleasure. He loves her body. But he only comes to her at night, so she has no idea who he is.

The oracle prophesied of a great winged evil, but her husband reveals himself as a tender, attentive lover, who truly cares for her. One evening, he speaks to her,

“Sweetest Psyche,” he said, “my dear wife, cruel Fortune threatens you with deadly danger, which I want you to guard against with utmost care. Your sisters think you dead and, troubled by this, they’ll soon come to the cliff-top. When they do, if you should chance to hear their lament, don’t answer or even look in their direction, or you’ll cause me the bitterest pain and bring utter ruin on yourself.”

Psyche subsequently is faced with a dilemma – should she trust her husband’s actions and how he treats her, or should she trust the judgments of her family and the Oracle.

Psyche knows what it is like to be judged on appearance alone, without regard to her character. Suitors shunned her, because she was thought to be too beautiful and too perfect – like a statue. In the poem, it looks as if she places all her trust in appearances as she strives to discover her husband’s identity, not trusting that his actions have revealed his true character.

But what would looking on his face reveal? Would it make his actions a lie? Psyche doesn’t stop to reflect on her husband’s nature. If he were truly monstrous, he’d treat her badly and not kindly. He loves her and brings her pleasure and she seems to enjoy his company, although she is plagued with doubt. Her doubt, however, reveals a fatal flaw in her character – she cannot trust her judgment of her husband based on his actions; she must judge him based on his appearances. This fatal flaw will be her undoing …

You can read the rest of the story through the link I posted above.

I deal with similar themes in “The Prince” and “The Raven,” and also the next book in the series “The Shadow.” The male and female leads find themselves in a situation where they end up having to trust one another’s characters rather than outward appearances. Indeed, the importance of having a good character is one of the themes of the novels, along with love, sex, hope, and redemption.

I welcome your comments on the myth of Cupid and Psyche and I hope that you will take time for beauty and poetry in your daily life. – SR

Brief thoughts on poetry.


Poetry is the coupling of beauty and imagination. It can evoke the strongest of emotions and touch the soul. Of all kinds of literature, it is the most pleasing, stirring, and stimulating. Everyone should read poetry. Acquire the works of the greats: Shakespeare, Goethe, Tennyson, Heine. Read them thoughtfully; mark passages and revisit them many times. A poem is like an instrument—it must be played and practiced on many times before it reveals its tenderest nuances.

Quotes on Poetry

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
-Robert Frost

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
-John F. Kennedy

Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.
-Allen Ginsberg

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.
-Audre Lorde

Song of the day (watch me undermine my credibility)



The catch in your throat
The shutter of your breath
Eyes flutter closed.
Fingertips trailing
Supple skin exposed.
Stirring in me something,
base and primal.
The passion
Fuse lite.
I want.
I need.
Never enough.

I long to consume you in excess
until our limbs are exhausted,
and you have penetrated my body and soul
with a revered language only you and I know.

Watch “Invictus ~ poem by William Ernest Henley with text” on YouTube

Invictus ~ poem by William Ernest Henley with text:

We grow and learn from every trial and test. Listen to the words of Henley. He wrote ” Invictus” in the midst of tragedy. As a child, he had tuberculosis. In his twenties, he came down with an infection that stemmed from his childhood illness. As a result, he had to have his leg amputated . However, even at such a young age, he knew he was captain of his destiny. His soul and spirit were invincible. He refused to be broken. In later years, Henley would recite his poem as a mantra whenever he felt his courage waning. We can let adversity define us, or we can as Henley did, turn our weakest moments into our greatest triumphs

20 Questions: Poet Daniel von der Embse

..and once again wonky formatting. Sorry. I’m currently under the weather. I don’t have the patience to try and figure it out. Someone pass the whiskey. That might change my tune. At this point, just roll the bus over me, and let’s be done with it. I’m such a breath of contagious air. This isn’t about me though. This is about Daniel. He is a delight. Read on to find out more.

Daniel von der Embse wasborn and raised in Mansfield,Ohio, educated in Catholicschools, and graduated from
Ashland University with a in Theatre. He beganwriting poetry after a four-decade career as a copywriter for
advertising agencies in NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles,Seattle, San Francisco, and SaltLake City. His poems appear The
Missing Slate, Across The Margin,Harpoon Review, Decanto, PoetryPacific, and Poetry Quarterly.

He blogs at

20 Questions: Daniel von der Embse

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other

side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell the tale? I have ahard time staying in one place, so I’d probably be a short stint in Wonderland.

2. Happiness is _____ writing poetry. I am truly happy when I am writing poetry.

3. Can we have happiness without sadness? For me it is strictly a co-dependent relationship.

4. An author with whom you would like to have lunch? Kurt Vonnegut if he were alive. So I’d go with David Sedaris now. I like a funny lunch.

5. If you were a drink. What would you be? Why? Old Fashioned. I’m that

6. Once, the movie. Are you familiar with it? Yes, love it. The song “Falling Slowly” was the only Oscar winner I picked correctly that year.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you? Sitting or lying in darkness isvery soothing. But having to make my way in the dark is frightening because

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Frank Zappa if he were alive. John Cale – as long as he is

9. What makes you nostalgic? Listening to vinyl records.

10. Narnia or Never Land? Well, I’ve actually been to Narnia – it’s in Umbria in Italy. It’s not that great so I’d probably go with Never Land.

11. Do you remember your dreams? Only the bad dreams. They make the best

12. What’s your favorite time of day? Lunchtime.

13. What’s your favorite season? Spring. When everything begins.

14. Does pressure motivate you? I use self-induced pressure to push myself to do better. But I’m used to the external pressure of deadlines. It has made me work faster and not overthink things.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live? I’d rather just write to write.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written? Anything by Raymond Carver.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected? Not paranoid, but easily excitable. Under pressure, very collected.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams? People watching at the Pitti Palace in Florence.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon? Definitely the moon. I move in cycles. Currently, I’m going though male menopause.

20. Do you hear voices? I have constant ringing in my ears. It’s called tinnitus. I hear lines of poetry in my ear over the ringing.

21. Please tell our readers about your upcoming projects. Thanks for asking that! I’m working on a collection of poems. It might be the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted. And thanks for asking me 20 questions! Make that 21

Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, and Who????

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:00EST, I’ll be a guest on my own podcast. That’s not weird at all, right? My co-host and friend Niles, aka James, has decided to interview me about my new little book of poetry, Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss and Renewal. I’m honored.  If you don’t have anything more pressing to do (like cleaning your dryer filer or rearranging your pantry), we’d be happy if you tuned in. I have it on good authority Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon will be calling in. That’s if you consider my cat “good authority.”

You can click the link below to listen.

Dancing with Words.


Three of my favorite poems. Yes, I am a romantic.

“since feeling is first,” e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

“If You Forget Me,” Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

When You Are Old

By William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.