The snow blower

Photo credit: Stock photo from


“The snow blower” is a short story that I wrote and submitted to the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest 2012. Yesterday the winners and runner ups were announced to the submitting authors. My story did not receive a place in this contest. It was, however, an extraordinary experience for me to participate in this contest and I look very much forward to reading the winning entries in the Winter issue of the Ploughshares Literary Magazine. Meanwhile I hope to receive some feedback from other writers and/or readers on my story. I have posted my short story, which is just short of 4 000 words on Fictionaut and it can be read here. If you are not a member of Fictionaut, please be so kind as to leave your comment here (below this blog post). I would appreciate any feedback from the bottom of my heart.

I have read my story again and see things wrong with it, but I am blinded by my own subjectivity, and at the same time I am afraid to ruin it. Criticism is therefore most welcome!


To Zephyrus

Photo: With kind permission from Rod Baxter © 2010. COLOURBLINDKID on Flickr.


In a field of barley, I see you,
most temperate of winds,
bringer of summer and all of its rain,
combing the fine and fluent hair,
into surging waves of shimmering silk,
ebbing and flowing, …
ebbing and flowing.

With your venerated breath,
the birds’ tiding songs sung are spread,
from bark walls through foliage verdure,
softly eddying on a ledge,
until broken by a hedge,
where vine looking leaves,
have been nibbled to lace.

Lone poppies, blood orange like fire rose,
know each other’s embrace,
only by the delicate touch
of dainty pollen-coated butterfly legs,
and then they fade, each
petal, into a pale shade of peach.

Whereas barley stands side by side,
rubbing shoulders,
only bearing ears,
when whispers …
are exchanged by a wind,
wafting the sweet balm smell of chamomile,
only as gentle as you,
my sapphire rose,
my belovèd

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012.

City Sketches (Set II)

Recently, I stumbled upon a poem while I was hanging out at the dVersepoets pub, and when I read it, I needed to read it aloud, to hear its cadence and to see its intriguing images through hearing the prose.

This poem “City Sketches (Set II)” is written by Robert Mullen and appears on his blog “Golden giraffes riding scarlet flamingos through the desert of forever”. To read this poem alongside the interesting images that Robert has selected, please do visit his blog. You will also find between his poetry, evidence of his obsession with origami.

With his kind permission, I present you with my reading of this interesting and intriguing poem:

Carpe noctem

“Purple flowers, Settle.” Copyright © Peter Wilkin 2012.


Darkness falls like a purple flower unfolding,
while the shell of day breaks like glass,
to the sound of birds’ trill and timbre tones.
The shell-shard shrapnel glitter
like diamonds on African skin.

Know the stars, when and where they shine,
watch them move across boundless black,
catch a planet turn like a top on the ecliptic,
and see the silent slow motion symphony.
Listen earnestly, … to hear each thought note.

Drink the night in cups, by day,
not sweetened nor made murky with milk,
but black and acrid, bitter and fathomless,
where danger lurks in Cimmerian shade.

Behold the night in a … different … light,
until you see shimmer, the moist flanks
of a black stallion, galloping with intent;
merlot, coursing through its lavender veins.

Seize the hot iron reins with both hands,
forge by light of candles lit on all ends,
under a banquet of stars and silver moon.
Feast on the quiet hours that know no bound,
and burn Earth’s oil beyond the midnight hours.
Harvest the mind fields of passion’s flowers.

Don’t stop. While others sleep, toil on.
Sleep can wait, for in death, it is boundless.
Shape with hammer, upon anvil, with will.
There are no interruptions of mundane day.
Polish with patience “The Great Work”.

But the night is wild; like fire, like ocean.
Honour this mighty beast, give him deservèd respect,
and humbly learn the gentle art of whispering.
Once on its bare back and holding his mane, …
seize the night, carpe noctem, carpe noctem,
before the darkness of day seizes you.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012.
All rights reserved.

This poem is linked to dVersepoets for Open Link Night Week 46.

Special thanks go to Peter Wilkin for giving me kind permission to publish on this blog, my poem with his image “Purple flowers, Settle”, which I find intoxicatingly beautiful. Peter’s photography art exhibits the ethereal, the magical, the psychedelic, the metaphysical, and human perception. It is well worthwhile to pay his gallery a visit here.

Ode to the West Wind

“Ode to the West Wind” is a classical poem and considered to be one of the most critically acclaimed poems in the English language [Wikipedia]. It was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and can be read here.

Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley, painted by Amelia Curran, and photographed by Alfred Clint. I mage is in the public domain.

Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley, painted by Amelia Curran, and photographed by Alfred Clint. Image is in the public domain.

Gerard McHugh—a dear friend of mine, a poet, a connoisseur of literary prose, and also particularly talented at setting poetry to music—made a comment to my poem “Evanescent dreams”, which lead me to read “Ode to the West Wind”. Reading this poem literally swept me off my feet, my voice got carried away, audibly so, and ended up getting recorded, here.

WARNING: I was trying to sustain the drama, so my reading may be too staccato, but since I am a novice at this I simply have to dare do it, before it could possibly get better. Any constructive feedback would be appreciated. Please be kind. 🙂

Evanescent dreams

If I could grow wings
I’d start my flight in a field
full of Van Gogh’s yellow.

I’d fly high in the sky
above the tree tops,
the pylons, and smoke stacks, …
until people look like ants.

I’d feel the wind in my face,
rivalling with it, now,
and, flowing with it, then.

The yellow that first flooded my eyes
would now just be part
of a checkered patchwork,
with earthy tones,
and muted greens;
woolen here, silken there.
I’d see solar cells glitter,
fleetingly, as I pass.

I’d fly with the clouds,
and then above them—
cotton wool carpet
of purest possible white,
upon it, my shadow cast.
I’d see a halo,
around my own shadow,
with ALL the colours of the rainbow.

I’d feel the sun burning on my back,
fuel my eyes with sky’s blue,
and I’d wonder if my feathers, my wings,
were held together
by something as deliquescent
as Icarus’s wax.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012.
All rights reserved.

I’m linking this poem to dVersepoets “Meeting the bar: Critique and craft” for the Stream-of-Consciousness prompt by Victoria C. Slotto.

A poetry reading of “How”

Abigail Baker’s poetry—vivid in imagery and enchanting—explores the personal relationship realm, showcasing its magic, but also the inevitable pain that goes with being human. Her poetry can be found here.

With Abigail’s permission I hereby present my poetry reading of her very moving poem “How.”


Von wegen Regen
kommt der Geruch der Erde uns entgegen.
Das geschieht in der Regel
und manchmal
verschwinden wir sogar
danach in den Nebel,
ohne Segel,
aber nicht
Das ist phänomenal
und einfach wunderbar,
ein göttliches Wesen
ist es deswegen gewesen.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

“Petrichor is the name of Earth’s perfume when the tears of the gods drum a rhapsody on its dust.” —Quirina Roode-Gutzmer