Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Starlight Regression

For gosh sakes, somebody post a poem to wake this crazy woman up!!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Folks, it's Memorial Day. I'm taking a day off from posting a haiku, haiga or a poem. I've had a number of relatives fight in wars and have been incredibly lucky not to have lost any of them that way. Here's special recognition, however, to:

W.B. Dickson, member of the Carolina Sharpshooters in the Civil War, my great grandfather, whom I never met.

Marion Uldrick, Korean War, cousin by marriage (knew him from when I was 2). Recently died of cancer in a VA nursing home.

Dolph Bagley(see photo below), World War Two, cousin 20 years older than I. He survived a shrapnel wound in the war, only to be killed in a car accident a few years after his return. I had such a crush on him when he returned. Vowed to marry him when I grew up.

Howard Walker, Vietnam, my first husband. I lived and worked in Hawaii while he was stationed out of Pearl as a junior officer in the navy (four years--two in Vietnam). He and his brother, Paul, also in that war, both survived with no injuries. Paul was a grunt in the jungles, but was lucky enough to know how to type, so was made company clerk and had no night patrol. I think that's what saved him. He lost many of his buddies who did have that duty. Below is a picture of my wedding to Howard at Pearl Harbor when the ship came back for a five month break between tours of duty in Vietnam.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Still Clean

My head is extra swimmy today and my arms are limps, hands like bricks on the keys. If I discipline myself to rest, I should feel better by afternoon or evening...so, I'll repost a haiku I wrote earlier this year that has special meaning to me on days like these.

autumn to autumn
the soles of my shoes
still clean

Pris Campbell

Have a good day, folks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Woman Next Door

She was odd, they said. Eccentric. A strange one.
Blind in one eye, a Cyclops, she hid in the attic,
wrote dirty poems and, just to keep them all guessing,
she sometimes howled at the moon.

I saw her downtown, trolling fast-food dumpsters
for bits of tossed burgers or left-over potatoes.
Dressed in black from felt hat to laced slippers.
Patch over that obscene bottomless space
on her forehead, I expected her to soar suddenly
upward, broom under one arm, chanting incantations.

At the time, I was prone to odd fantasies of my own.

Once, the unexpected feather-like touch of her hand
startled me--not harsh, like the rough beating wing
of a killing hawk, but more that of a baby bird.
Lost. Hungry. Frightened. In search of its home

Pris Campbell

This poem took second place in the 2004 July PBL
intraboard poetry competition

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sea Salted Kisses (a 2002 poem)

Rescue me from men
who kiss with lips tight
as mother's old girdle,
see females as holes
to spade in the dark and
when asked about foreplay
drag out their golf clubs
in utter confusion.

Give me a man who
wraps his tongue
tight around mine
knows what spaces
to stroke
and explore,
a man who will
take the damp side
of the bed, and dampen
it again, who will sigh

deeply as the moon falls
over the sea,
knowing salt-borne
dreams will arouse us
over and yet
over again when
morning tides rise
and the seagulls sing.

Pris Campbell

I enjoy having fun with poetry. This is one example. It was published in Limestone Press, a print journal that closed its doors after a planned four year run.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Poet's Song

(an older poem from my website. Richard Zola's response poem was posted on the site with his permission)

You of the matted beard,
watermelon snack-juice leaking
from half open lips as you sleep.
Do you dream of golden bird claws
drifting through silent rooms,
lovers' heavy bosoms hanging
over stained bathroom sinks?
Do your bracelets clink as you turn,
restless from London's noisy heat?

A bubble from your head
spills heiroglyphs into my hand,
the afterbirth of an emerging poem.

Pris Campbell
Copyright 7/1/2001

Dedicated to Richard Zola, a London poet.

Response poem:

an approximate return

there is more than one ring
on each of your fingers
14 bracelets on your arms
there are circles in the lake
around wild floating birds
this is the 1st city you saw
here you left fingerprints
and exhalations
flattened grass
and hair
now you read street signs aloud
and guide me
through translated conversations
to this place
where your teeth are often visible
and you laugh
at the promiscuity of daisies

by Richard Zola
copyright 2001

Sunday, May 22, 2005


jasmine in bloom
the bees will be busy
this night

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Getting There

I keep this to remind myself that, even though I may be a turtle, I still eventually get there. And so will you!

Oh, someone just posted a link to a blog written on CFIDS awareness day this month. Click HEREto read it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Another day

Folks, tis not a good day with the pain. I'll have another 'retread' for you tomorrow.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Of You The Orcas Sing

You told me your body was pale, far
paler than mine, like coconut pudding,
warm off the stove as mom used to make,
and so I tested it.

For me, it became a soft pillow,
smoothed itself into my curves,
offered respite for lonely arms and hands,
pleasured parts I do not wish
to speak of now.

I am dwarfed by the dark room,
reach out to touch the cooling contour
of your indent, damp evidence of our
past days together.

You had to get back, you said.
She would be waiting.

Downstairs, my neighbor sings off key.
she has never been with a man, I hear.

She sings as if the stars have not fallen
or the sun tumbled off the horizon
into vast gray oceans where Orcas sing
of white bellies and lovers touching
pale hands in the soundlessness of space.

Pris Campbell

Published in MipoBonsai Print 2004

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Today is my father's birthday. He died in 1986, but I still virtually blow out candles for him this day. He was born into poverty to a farm family, but his mother always said 'you can do better than this'.

He did. He finished high school, then took odd jobs to put himself through college and as far as his Masters towards his ultimate goal of a Ph.D in Chemistry. The Great Depression shot his dream. No jobs were available for part-time university students when men with families needed work.

He took a job as teacher , then Principal in Richburg, a tiny town in his home state of South Carolina. Two years into the job, he hired, then married my mother. I was born when he was almost forty, a surprise since the doctors had told mother she was unable to have a child. When I was three years old, he was offered a job as School Superintendant in the slightly larger town of Pageland, South Carolina, population 2500, the town that was to become his home until his death.

My father taught me chemistry symbols when we traveled to my grandparents' apartment as a child and had more fun with my chemistry set than I did, but he never looked back. He was never bitter. His father had become a carpenter and was unable to find work, either, so my father paid for his parents' rent from the day of his own first job until the day my grandmother died and my grandfather went to live with my father's sister.

My father was an honest man, a man who said what he thought, and a man who kept his own council. If you told him something in confidence, he never repeated it, not even to us. We found this out from the people who told him--not him.

After his retirement, he stayed active in our small town, earning the title of Citizen of the Year one of those years and teaching the elderly ladies bible class for 35 years until his increasing deafness made that too difficult to continue.

He died the day after Christmas. By this time he'd been retired for over 15 years. His funeral was on a weekday. I thought only a few people would be able to attend.

To my surprise, when the funeral home limo rounded the crest of the hill to his church, the lot was full. Cars were parked in the grass and in the empty lot across from the church. Inside, everyone in the church choir had taken off work to be there. There weren't enough seats. People stood in the rear.

I found out later that people had closed their businesses or left their jobs to attend that service in respect for my father. Respect for what he did for the town. Respect for who he was.

Happy Birthday daddy. I'm blowing your candles out right now.

Simply Haiku

The new issue is up. Click HERE to read it. If you click on contents, then 'Modern Haiga' and my name, 'Pris Campbell', you'll find haiga I made using some old vintage photographs from my family. Scroll under the thumbnails and you'll see the motivation behind doing these.

The photographs are:
two of my mother at around 21 (she was voted 'most attractive' in her senior college class...and yes, it was unusual for a woman to go on to college at the time she did. She made a great role model in so many ways)

one of my mother and aunt when young (mother is the towhead)

one of my aunt at age sixteen, with an admirer on each side (yes, she was gorgeous, too)

one of the entire family, save my youngest uncle who hadn't been born yet. My great-grandparents are seated, along with a neighbor, who happened to be visiting. W. B. Dickson, my great-grandfather fought in the Civil War and met Anne, his wife, when he delivered a note written to her by his dying buddy, her brother, as promised, when the war was over. Much later, she told him that her brother had said in the letter that 'men would be scarce after the war and he would recommend W.B. Dickson as a fine man'. From what I've heard of him from my mother's stories, he was right. They were the parents of my grandmother, the attractive woman standing in the photo, who died of the Great Flu in 1919 when mother was 13. Her parents lived with them for years before that and remained with my grandfather, in his care, until he was killed five years later. I wish I'd met them.

All of the people in these photos are now dead, but not forgotten.

If you're a fan of short forms or haiga, you'll find some top dollar reading here. The other haiga is breathtaking and the poets well-chosen. If you're familiar with Catherine Mair's poetry, read that interview. She describes the haiku walk in Katikati, New Zealand, coincidentally the home of a long time NZ online friend of mine from Katikati. Even more coincidentally, my friend had sent photos of that walk just a few weeks earlier with shots of some of the haiku in stone there.

Below is a reduced image of one of the stones from that walk, taken by Sue Baker Wilson. You can get a glimpse of some NZ beauty in this shot.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Clattering Rain

A collaboration with Geoff Sanderson.

This had to be resized to fit this column, but to view full size, click HERE

Hopefully, Geoff will post a comment, telling us where in England this photograph was taken. Thank you, Geoff, for sharing your wonderful photography skills with me.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Truth or Fiction? Short Short Story or Fact?

He said 'I don't think you love me anymore.'

If I told him 'yes, I did', then I would never leave him, despite trying unsucessfully for the five years of our marriage to get him to let me in...to make me part of his life. So I lied. 'No,' I said, then packed my suitcases and left.

He told me I had until his law school graduation, two months away, to come back, no questions asked. He asked me how he would live the two months financially. He never said 'I love you. Let's try and work things out.'

I told him I would continue to deposit money into our account from my paycheck. My expenses in the commune would be low.

I attended his graduation. Had the wild, heady feeling that at the party after the ceremony he might still sweep me into his arms and tell me he could never live without me. Had he done that, I might have come back.

He didn't.

I loved him for many years after I left. No, not in the romantic way young love expresses itself, or even in that comfortable way married couples grow into...just a feeling I had that we could've had something if we'd both tried harder.

I fool myself a lot

truth or self-deception? Who knows how memories deceive us?

We didn't bother to divorce until I was ready to leave the area three years later. There was no need. No desire. I was with someone new but had no desire to marry him. And...there was a certain comfort in that lingering connection.

I wasn't to see him again until six years later. We'd made two passes at looking at getting together again, but, both times, at the last minute, I chose somebody else.

Not an uncomplex relationship.

He finally remarried twenty years after we broke up. A younger woman and they've adopted a child. He makes over a million a year. Lives on a huge wooded plot on a lake.

Ever so often, he sends a note.

Ever so often, I wonder how things might have gone, had I stayed.

But retreads of old paths never work.

I know that. So do you.

A Collaboration

Click HERE
to see the image full sized.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Twenty Questions

This old Twenty Questions game was in my Kim Komando 'best sites' newsletter this morning. It's a fun site. I was amazed that it guessed two out of three of my objects in twenty questions. I got it on 'mummy', but the computer learns the more people play, so you may not be able to fool it on that one again:-) (By the way, since the newsletter came out, the site's been busy...keep trying later on. It's fun and worth it)

Raining here today. What's the weather like outside of South Florida?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A haiku

autumn to autumn
the soles of my shoes
still clean

Pris Campbell

Later Edit:

Goeff Sanderson kindly contributed this photo, at my request, to use with the above haiku in a collaboration for the haiga below.

The larger version can be seen HERE.

Random Observations

my dog-
coloring the carpet gold
with his hair

withered shrubs
the bugs have to eat, too,
says my husband.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Sail Away

Click on the following image:

Nantucket map

You'll see part of my boat log notes and a shot of Main Street in Nantucket in 1977. (Remember, Windows automatically resizes it smaller, so click on the enlarge icon to see it full size).

It was quite the adventure. Fog most of the day traveling from the last stop in the Vineyard on out to Nantucket. Nobody had hand-held sets then to measure where you were by satellite. It was 'dead reckoning', ie draw your course, make adjustments as you saw fit for wind or current bearing you off course, pray you hit the next buoy, then REALLY pray you made landfall at the Nantucket jetty. Miss it and you were either on the shoals just past or on your way to England.

We made it only to be trapped there for days with 50 knot winds howling across the waters. Who would want to leave such a lovely place, but we had to stay ahead of the autumn weather. By the time we hit the Carolinas, as it was, we were into October and November, sailing with thermal underwear on under winter clothes in our uncovered 22 footer. The days freezing rain hit us...no fun. But yes, an adventure to not forget ever.

Worm Heaven

A whimsical haiga...

For a larger version, easier to see, click HERE. It was too big for the left-hand column.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Introducing Basho

Basho is one of the olden and best Haiku masters, though Issa remains my favorite. It's common to use his haiku (and that of the other old masters) with current images, but this is the first time I've tried this. I usually write my own haiku in my haigas. This one I couldn't resist, though. Thanks to Sue Baker Wilson for the use of a corner (digitally modified) of a photo she took of a graveyard near her home in Katikati , New Zealand.


The antibiotic has me so sick now that I'm hanging by my nails on the edge of a cliff. My bed is actually a stand-in for the cliff since we have none in Florida.

I need to do at least one productive thing a day for the remaining three weeks of the med, so will post old poems or pictures or whatever might tantelize the imagination..perhaps a doodle of my nose or crooked finger one of the days. Anyway, this is an early quite short poem based on on T.S. Elliot's most infamous poetic characters.

Prufrock Panned

Gads, Profrock
Stop your moaning
about rolled trousers and peaches.
Who cares whether mermaids
croon songs to you
through throats parched
by seasalt?
(they probably sing offkey anyway)
Take a chance! Eat that peach.
Let Peter Pan be your North Star.
Tug on those green tights and fly!

Pris Campbell

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Don't remember Argus? Click HERE for a description of this mythological creature.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Degas' Ghost

En pointe. Center stage front.
Her tutu is a plumed crysanthymum,
delicately balanced on dual stems.
She traces the air with pale fingertips,
as if to memorize it as woman--
not the swan she soon will become.

We flocked to see Nureyev that night,
expected to grow damp with rapture
from his fierce Neapolonic leaps,
head tilted cockily in the fury
of his futile heroic dance.

We only saw her...
This flower. This reluctant swan.
Degas white, pinned
under a dimming spotlight.
Fluttering and rising.
Dipping and lifting.
Then, abruptly, the vacant stage.

Pris Campbell

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Nice Thing..

This morning's mail brought a the following letter from Anthony Pahl, Australian webmaster of the IWVPA. This award, described in his letter means a lot to me and so I thank you, Tony, and I give appreciation for Vets everywhere, from wars past and present, all over the globe, who've put their lives on the line for the rest of us, whether our politicians have been right or wrong.


Your excellent poem, Chats With Eleanor, so impressed me with your beautifully succinct verbiage and portrayal of Mrs Roosevelt's well known compassion, and the sad reflection of the consequences of war that you have so very cleverly, and almost unexpected incorporated near the end of your poem, that I have decided that you are deserving of the simple honour of being named the IWVPA Top Poet for May 2005. Accordingly, I attach the graphic for the IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence and formally announce that you are a most worthy recipient of that title and the award for May 2005.

(I've posted this poem before, but here it is, in Tony's letter again)
Fairy Godmothers with ample laps
and June Cleaver faces slid down the rabbit hole
of old dial-up phones, ten cent colas, Betsy Wetsys,
and scratchy LPs an innocent lifetime ago.

Try strutting about nowdays in tiara and starched skirt,
waving a wand---the madhouse will open its jaws
and swallow you whole, but

my fairy godmother is clever.
She dresses like Eleanor Roosevelt,
talks like Eleanor., looks like Eleanor,
says she is Eleanor, back from the dead.

Each night she brings me hot chocolate, sits,
tell stories about quiet fireside chats,
her husband's withered legs and how much
she thought he loved her before Lucy.

She reminds me to floss every night
and to be sure to carry an umbrella
should sudden thunderstorms threaten.
She emphasizes that one must learn to
be brave in cold emptied beds
ever so much as on battlefields,
littered with the corpses of those
who once called our name.

©Copyright April 2005 by Pris Campbell


The IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence cannot be obtained by application. One award is made each month to a poet who has writing(s) published on the IWVPA website. Members of the IWVPA Club may make recommendations for poems that, in their opinion, may earn the Author the title of "Top Poet" for any given month, but the final decision is in my hands as Webmaster of the IWVPA website. Nevertheless, the Award is made on behalf of all member of the IWVPA Club.

I've taken the liberty of attaching a half-size version of the award graphic to the page that displays your poem on the IWVPA website HERE; the graphic is linked to the IWVPA Double Tap Honour Roll located HERE and a new page that displays your poem has been added to that index. Attached hereto is the full-size graphic so that you may, if you so desire, add to any page that displays the poem. Doing so is NOT a prerequisite of receiving the award.

Further details about the Award are located HERE

Congratulations Pris; this is the second occasion on which your name has been added to the IWVPA Bronze Helmet Award Honour Roll and it is again displayed with equal honour with many exceptional writers and writings.

Sincere regards,

Anthony W. Pahl

Mother's Day

In honour of Mother's Day, I'm reposting an earlier poem.
I was very fortunate to have such a good mother and miss her still. It was my mother who taught me my first love for both reading and creative writing. I was a July baby and my mother taught first grade. As Spring arrived, I began to struggle and kick throughout the day. Mother told me, however, that every time she set her class down for story hour, as soon as she said 'Once upon a time..' I became quiet.

That along, would be a neat memory, but it goes further. I had colic as an infant and mother was often up in the night, patting my back, rocking me, trying to comfort me. One night, she said 'Once upon a time...' on an impulse, and told me a story. I stopped crying. After that, each night until the colic was gone, that's how she settled my tears.

Now that, I think is a really neat memory....Pris

Lilies And Headstones

Mother climbs from her grave nightly,
the moon sliding, bone white, along that
fragile passage from day's end to beginning.
She re-arranges plastic flowers, talks
to other coffin-freed friends, polishes
the naked cross guarding the faithful dead.

Lilies once bordered the shrubs
surrounding our house like a moat.
White ones. Yellow ones. Striated ones.
Soft scented sentinels poking their heads
up through the warm soil each Spring.
My mother's pride.

Fake carnations grace her headstone now.
Stiff, like the bodies lined in neat rows
beneath her; cold like her own body
which will never again climb into a warm bed
or scatter the crows that yet steal
from our abandoned cherry tree.

They suck the fruit cheerfully, despite
old clattering pans, and one rotten scarecrow
with eyes picked as empty as the spaces
where lilies once danced with the wind.

Pris Campbell

This poem took second in the December 2004 IBPC

Comments from the judge:

How could one not read the first line of this poem and not wantto read the next? Lilies and Headstones had me from the beginning, and took me places I never expected. The poem could’ve easily slipped into sentimentality, the poet telling us how they feel instead of showing us that marvelous scarecrow at the end, eyes picked empty. --David Hernandez

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Well, the culture came back to my doc and the bacteria still lives! I have to go onto 28 days of what is usually a five day dose of Cipro to hopefully kill the little buggers this time. Only problem is that I don't do well with antibiotics, so this 28 days isn't gonna be fun. I'm already dizzer and nauseated from the first dose last night. Who knows what may turn up in my blog over these next days...This was meant to be a poetry/graphics/haiga blog but it's turning into a personal journal in the last post and today. Oh what the hey. Variety is the spice of life, right? On the whole, I think I'd prefer Rio, though, as they say.

Here's how the Page Transformer site sees me this morning. (Link to right of my blog)

or maybe...

and....here's a poem I just finished (I think) a few days ago.

Song of the Primroses

...and so it is
Damien Rice

I still keep that old photo you snapped.
Eyes just past childlike; china masked by steel.
The edge of one breast peeks from my half-
zippered jumpsuit. Primroses cluster
beneath the far rail.

Men hustled me then, 
hard as street side gamblers 
when the dice were red hot, but
I chose you--you with the Bob Dylan eyes,
wraith-thin legs, white cotton socks 
peeking furtively from beneath
your creased jeans. Gold ring,
third finger down.

You loved us both.
You never said it, but I knew.

That day. So heady with sunshine,
bright colored birds swooping down 
to the grass for plump lazy worms.
That day. You fell from your straight arrow
ways and finally bedded me.

I settled for a man from Peoria
with legs thick as an oxen's.
We lasted eight years.

The birds are slower these days;.
too many worms get away.
The sun swells like a heartbeat. 
Sweat runs down my back.
I plant extra primroses along my porch rail,
sometimes imagine a westerly wind rising
to carry their scent out to you.

Last month your name lept from a magazine-
some obscure article about spiders, so
I ventured a note.
Your hair has gone gray, you write back.
Work still goes well. Your jeans don't fit, anymore.
You enclose a photo of your grown daughter
and your eyes stare at me from her face.

'I never forgot you', you add, 'but isn't that
how life goes??'

Pris Campbell

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Prisons Within Prisons

More than ever, beginning last fall, my house feels like a prison, my body an additional prison layered within that outer one. It's been 15 years now, with small breaks when I was clearer and could do more things. I've again not been able to drive and the knee injury from that last fall refuses yet to heal. Inflammation in my body limits my activities and wakes me at night and the dizziness is quite bad again.

My closest friends, one by one, have moved from Florida to other areas. Most of my family is dead, now. Those few close cousins who are still alive live a distance away and their own life circumstances have made it impossible for them to visit, except for one, in nine years now. My husband has long wearied of the CFIDS and my life restrictions, just as I have, even though overall I'm better than I was for nine years when I couldn't have even typed this post onto a computer.

Where does courage come from, I ask myself? Sometimes it's there, but I lose it again so often, esp days like today when everything is blurred, everything hurts and my head roars.

I shouldn't complain, I tell myself. I don't have AIDS. I don't have cancer. I don't have a degenerative disease, yet I have an illness that's still not easily understood or accepted by many doctors or the general public. I have an illness that's still questioned as being re its validity by some doctors since it can't be measured neatly and without doubt by a single test, or cluster of tests.(I won't even bring up how doctors viewed tumors and ulcers before ways were found to directly observe causes). So, for right now, I deal with the doubt and, sometimes, redicule, by others along with the profound changes in my life. I try everything from mental to physical, from medical to experimental, from attitude changes and meditation to acceptance.

And as I've said, I know other people face much worse than I do every day. I tell myself that, but it's not helping right now. When I'm clearer, perhaps I can write a poem again soon. Perhaps one will come to help carry my spirit to new places and help me grow my wings back again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Egyptian Mysteries

Look in my links section to the right and find Michael Parker's blog. Besides being a fascinating blog in general, in his current entry he describes the amazing discovery recently made in Egypt. He also features my poem about the discovery--a very nice thing for him to do.