Wayne Michael DeHart   (2020,2021)

Unlike the picturesque SnowSleeves of Winter, the poetic pieces constituting WordSleeves did not arrive, nor will take their leave, with the whim of the weather. They are for all seasons; responses to a series of unrelated creative writing “prompts” in 2020 and 2021.

Like the SnowSleeves of Winter, the selections appeared and accumulated at their own pace – irregular in size, sequence, substance and significance.  Each passage, like each snowflake, is distinct and different than the next – in the form of sporadic, disparate observations, thoughts and musings. Random and casual in presentation, the Sleeves meander and wander aimlessly in search of a friendly fit.

(All prompt poems below were written by Wayne Michael DeHart, thus the writer’s name will not appear on the  individual “Sleeves” that make up this post. The fifteen sub-posts appear in chronological order. Selections were chosen  without rhyme or reason, time or season, blending form and format into the literary version of a potluck gumbo and jambalaya combo. Sample each, consume what looks good, pass on what doesn’t. Bon appetit!)


 February 2, 2020

In Response to a YouTube Viewing of Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love”:

The Dragon said “Toni, my dear.
What crawls yonder – a rodent I fear.”
But she didn’t respond – his wife didn’t hear.
So he inquired again, drawing her near,
and whispering his ask into her ear.
She simply smiled, and said with good cheer;
“Worry not, dear husband, it’s perfectly clear.
It’s a sign from above,
it’s what songs are born of,
it’s a diamond, a dove,
it’s a …
muskrat, love.” ¹*


February 2, 2020

In response to this long-ago page:


Favonius, humming a hymn,
took to the sea, for a midnight swim.
But in the dark, became entwined,
in eight-ish threads, and lost his mind.
Struggle he did, for the rest of his days,
erratic in thought, engulfed in a haze.
Blinded in blackness, turned Brutish in view,
took his last breath . . . in ’42.


April 30,  2020

In Response to a Poetry Challenge Re: the following photo:


Mike DUKAKIS, on a whim, went to France
one day in search of him.
DUKAS?” they said, “you’re late my friend,
he’s gone, finis, he’s dead.”
Traveling on, you see, to find what’s lost,
he ended up in Germany.
He wined, he dined, at a DUISBURG pub,
fell into the river, sadly, Rhine-d.
Then he had an idea, after being rescued
by a friendly chap – from Tanzania.
“Let me, dear fellow, come home with you
to chill out, calm down – to mellow.”
And so, they flew, to Dar es Salaam
for him to make a memory or two.
They drove south, tout suite, toward Malawi,
then stopped at a cafe for something to eat.
They ordered, then talked, till the food arrived,
and Mike chewed on the meat but suddenly balked.
“Ugh”, said the Yankee, “what is this stuff?
“It’s DUIKER stew, my man, it’s what we eat,
when famine pervades this beautiful land.”
“Duiker, what’s that, sounds nasty to me”
“Well” said his friend, “it’s better than rat.”
The man from Mass. just sighed, and ate on
but that night his gut really hurt inside.
“Enough for me!, I’m leaving, I’m gone”,
he told his companion, then started heaving.
No Dukas, alas, and Duisburg was damp,
and the Duiker filled him with gas.
Then he came home, to his tank, and knew there
was someone he really should thank.
So he called me, today, and said “My friend,
I read what you wrote, and it was as you say!”


June 10, 2020

In Response to a Modernist Poetry Challenge Re: the following photo:

Eliot and cummings woke me this morning
to tell me that nothing I will see today is real.
I listened well then told them both to go to hell
and step away from my view of the clouds and the sun that Camus
told me the day before weren’t really there anyway so
I now embrace the decorations of the sky
knowing that it’s not what The Greats of times past
promised me it would be in my youth, but only a
visual perception before my eyes only and not yours.
It is what I say it is, it is what I see it as, it is
my one and only reality as I drink my mourning tea.


June 15, 2020

In Response to a MENSA Poetry Group Challenge –  Re: the photo


A wordsman of wisdom, born into the book,
he grew to know just what it took
to examine and study, to describe and define,
uses and meanings by intent and design.

A sculptor of sentences, a litterateur,
he Rambled for readers in his forty-first year.
Growing older and wiser, his standing unmarred,
he took the bold step of critiquing The Bard.

Now certain of purpose, aware of the path,
he chose to expose the poets of Bath.
From Milton to Dryden, from Swift to Hope,
he gave us the scoop, he gave us the dope.

When Boswell penned his story, with maxims galore,
his friend, his companion, added much to Sam’s lore.
But alas, as is written, in this history,
It was Walter not Samuel, who always struck three.


August 29, 2020

In Response to a Mensa SIG Haiku Challenge  on “Colors”:

Tints and tones rained on
shades of hue and me in days
before darkness came.


August 29, 2020

In Response to a Mensa SIG Haiku challenge on “Silence”:

First thing I could hear
were birthing screams whispering
aloud the sounds of …


August 29, 2020

In Response to Mensa Poetry Group Challenge from Bruce Miller- re: the photo


Small of feature
is this creature
who poses for the camera lens
and artists bearing pens
to show the world – mankind,
that if ye seek, ye shall find
a woman that sits and rests
with pointed eyes and perky breasts
that beckon and stare, here and there
at we who look and take the dare
of one Bruce Miller’s daily fare.


September 25, 2020, response to Poetry Group Haiku prompt “Red”:

Cincinnati Pete
Burns the game he play’d and luved
like a Red, Red Rose.

Screenshot_2020-09-26 1974-topps-300-pete-rose-nm-mt-8-79017 jpg (JPEG Image, 357 × 600 pixels)

– Pete Rose, 1974
Screenshot_2020-09-26 Robert Burns Country A Red, Red Rose [Hear Red, Red Rose]
– Robert Burns, 1794
– for “burning” the game


January 24, 2021, response to Mensa Poetry SIG photo prompt:


Lady dear, I neighed so long,
but no one came, to hear my song.
So I peeked inside, to see who’s here,
but saw no one, not a soul was near.
I’m hungry you see, with no hay to be found
so I poked my head through, and looked around.
But just as I readied to resume my plea,
A squirrel or chipmunk goosed me, you see.
So forward I pushed, to escape the attack,
but I couldn’t go forward and I couldn’t go back.
Stuck and confused, I twisted and turned,
my head spun around, and I was really concerned.
The attack had subsided, so my direction was clear,
and with one final burst, I fell back, on my rear.
Undamaged I am, but not so your door,
it’s not as stable as it was heretofore.
I’ll make it good, yes I’ll find a way,
then resume my song, my endearing neigh,
if you’ll do one thing, without further delay,
get off your ass, and bring me some HAY !


January 29, 2021, response to Mensa Poetry SIG photo prompt:


Picket fence of white, lawn of green,
flowers of gold, and a girl in between.
She sits so still, this maiden fair,
secured in place by the knot in her hair.
But what is the reason, what is the cause,
the story behind whatever this was?
A cynic might venture a guess it’s a pose,
a plot for a shot, that she herself chose.
But what if by chance it just fell into place,
as she took her seat in that serene little space?
If she lowered herself with style and grace,
and the post extended a simple embrace?
That would be charming to the nth degree
but what would happen if a bee stung her knee?
I fear she would rise, with uncommon haste,
her hair and the fence still interlaced.
Something would give, something would take,
and then we would know if it’s real or it’s fake.
But while we wait, we can imagine the scene,
fenceposts and ground, and a girl in between.
(If those last words sound familiar to you,
just look up above, to the end of line two.)

February 16, 2021, response to Mensa poetry SIG prompt (based on original “Deer, Boy”):


A Polish child, often reviled,
uniquely bred, with antlered head,
he counts the deer, as they appear,
across his dreams, and fields and streams.
His mother cries, his father tries,
in foot pursuit, to make him shoot,
to no avail, he won’t prevail,
the boy stays one, rejects the gun.
He runs in stride, eyes open wide,
sounds the alarm, miles from their farm,
for them to run, this hunter’s son,
true to his breed, so they won’t bleed,
from bullets fired, his call inspired,
they hear his plea, the deer run free,
buck with a rack, doe in the back,
one thing is clear, he holds them dear.
His father’s glare, and endless stare,
offset by wise, motherly eyes,
leave him alone, though barely grown,
to breathe relief, feel disbelief,
the day has passed, dusk comes at last,
he touches his head, prone on the bed,
one of a kind, mood undefined,
his tale is rare, his tail unfair.

March 20, 2021
, response to Mensa Poetry SIG Haiku Challenge for “BEES”:

“Excuse me, Honey,
but Hive wanted to Mate you,”
he Droned to the Queen.


March 26, 2021, response to Mensa Poetry SIG Haiku Challenge for “BLUEBELL”:

The beast from Bordeaux,
on the flowered forest floor,
asked, “Feeling blue, Belle?”


September 24, 2021, response to Mensa Poetry SIG Haiku Challenge for “SHADOWS”:

Non judgmental, fair.
Unlike mirrors and photos,
they conceal our scars.

2 thoughts on “WordSleeves”

  1. This is fun. Just imagining having these assignments myself. You were so clever in the use of other information on the pages. You were busy and productive during lockdown, Wayne.


  2. Every time I go to your site I find something new…well, new 2020 & 2021. I enjoyed these. Anticipated which would be the biggest pain with the give and take: pony tail or fence.