October 17, 2020

Reedsy Contest

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:02 pm

My story Smidgen Pigeon: The Great Migration was accepted into the Reedsy contest.


Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:54 pm

As I promised. This is the issue that has my poem.

The Weekly Avocet


October 18th, 2020
Hello to our Poets and Nature-lovers of The Avocet community:
Waves ebb and flow
whitecaps dance and race to
bite the shore.

Carol Farnsworth – Ada, MI –

Clean water is life… Clean air is life…
Enjoy our poetry from Nature…
We feel blessed to publish the best Nature poets in America
Please share The Weekly Avocet with all those you know who love
Nature poetry. Please share Nature’s poetry! Thank you!
If you don’t send them,
we can’t share them!
Share one of your Fall-themed poems,
Photos (4), haiku (up to 10),
Saving Mother Earth Challenge poems+++
Please read the guidelines before submitting

Only one poem, per poet, per season.
Please send your submission to
Please put (early or late) Fall/your last name in the subject line.
Please be kind and address your submission to me, Charles. Thank you.
(Just so you know: I do not read work from a poet who doesn’t take the time
to address their submission to the editor, who they want to read their work.)

Please do not just send a poem, please write a few lines of hello.
Please do not have all caps in the title of your poem.
Please no more than 45+ lines per poem.
Please no religious references.
Please use single spaced lines.
Please remember, we welcome previously published poems.
Please put your name, City/State, and email address under your poem. No
Zip codes.
Please send your poem in both the body of an email and an attachment.
We look forward to reading your Fall submission…

Monarchs’ Passing

It has been a very long time since I have seen
a beautiful Monarch butterfly in my yard.
Once there were hundreds living in my neighborhood,
Millions more migrated between Mexico and California.
When I was a child, my friends and I would scamper
through nearby fields of milkweed plants.
We searched for a plump yellow, white and black caterpillar,
When found, we’d place it in a jar with a few milkweed stalks.

At home we’d watch as the caterpillar spun itself
into a crystalline green and gold chrysalis.
For two weeks, the chrysalis would change colors.
Finally, the butterfly crawled from its former home.
The new Monarch emerged, rumpled, wet and weak–
as the young so often arrive on our planet.
The butterfly balanced on the now dried milkweed stalks,
Its wings drying and strengthening in the warm summer air.

The butterfly knew when it was ready.
We watched it fly away on its splendid new wings,
Never guessing we were observing
the start of a species’ demise.
Over the ensuing years, fewer and fewer
Monarchs have come to sip nectar in our garden.
My children rarely saw these beautiful insects.
It’s unlikely my grandchildren will ever see them.
Our planet is not the same place it was in my childhood.
Habitat loss and toxic chemicals have taken their toll.
Yet every species must have safe places to abide—
The Monarchs’ sad decline is a prophetic tale.
Without mindful caring for all plants and creatures,
Earth will soon become inhospitable to all.
Our human fate will become as precarious
as the fate of the precious Monarch butterflies.

Sandy King – Lafayette, CA –

If you like a poem, please let the poet know it…


Hot briny summer tang
turns to cool earthy richness
salty sweat evaporates
energy overcomes inertia
Mercury lowers
daylight shortens
painted toes cover up
sleeves grow longer
sleep comes easier
Grasses sway delightedly as
dew sheaths morning blades
before sliding deliciously to
roots below
Harvest moon illuminates sky
before disappearing
for another year
Warm air turns to chill
geese form V in cloudless sky
respite awaits in fallow fields
Monarch alights upon sedum
wings open and fold on
shades of pink

Susan M. Surette – Cotuit, MA –


Red, orange and gold;
a sight to behold.
Shades of yellow,
deep and mellow.
Colorful leaves
waving in the breeze.
Feel the cool air
blowing through your hair.
Hear stepped on
leaves crunch.
Last picnic lunch.

Christine Cassello – Chicago, IL –

Blue Moon

O those moons!
Two of ‘em,
big and round
like those Os in October.
October begins with a moon,
the harvest moon, big and round,
like that first O in October,
burnt orange in a pale blue sky.
Its light weaves shadows of long low limbs
on deer sheltering there in October.
October ends with a moon,
The Hunter’s Moon, the Blue Moon
like that second O in October
on all Hallows’ Eve, a pumpkin lit within.
Shadows are darker now.
Other things shelter there in October.
The Harvest Moon,
The Hunter’s Moon,
The Blue Moon–
O those moons!

Richard Green – Pleasanton, TX –

First Frost

With a few more days of diminishing light
A few more leaves will turn
A few more leaves will fall
Then the frost will come
Suspending animation
If only for a night.
What will be left
When the day warms?

Harold Sneide – Indian Hills, CO –

Post Cards From Prague, VII

It rains now
as we get our first glimpse of Prague.
The thick gray sky
softens the deep golden fields to mauve.
Distant trees turn from yellow-green
to blue-wine in the mist.

Lynda McKinney Lambert – Ellwood City, PA –

Fluttering South

Before winter
we flutter down to
Phoenix, Tucson
Tampa Bay
Seeking relief
from cold reality
Grey moths
drawn to
warm porch lights

James L. Freeman – Salome, AZ –

“It’s devastating – a baby loggerhead sea turtle died with over 104 pieces of plastic junk
like balloons and plastic wrappers in its belly. Loggerhead sea turtles are endangered in
U.S. waters and losing even one hatchling from plastic pollution is one too many.
Our oceans and vulnerable marine life like sea turtles, whales and seabirds face a massive
and growing threat from something you encounter every day: plastics. An estimated 17.6
billion pounds of plastic enter our oceans every year — and the crisis is only getting worse.
Right now, sea turtle nesting season is in full swing along the Florida coast and sea turtle
hatchlings already face countless threats from the moment they are born, including being
crushed by people and eaten by predators like birds and other animals. Plastic littered
beaches and oceans only make matters worse for these precious animals.
And it’s not just sea turtles suffering from plastic pollution. Tens of thousands of marine
animals have also suffered from entanglement or ingestion of plastics permeating the
ocean — from zooplankton and fish, to marine mammals and seabirds. Our plastics
campaign is fighting to win policies on the national, state and local levels as well as
internationally to decrease the production of single-use plastic at the source. We’re also
calling on companies like Amazon to give people like you and me a sustainable, plastic-free

packaging choice.
And we’re seeing results:
Congress introduced first-ever legislation that would reduce the amount of singleuse plastics flowing into our oceans;
New York passed a ban on polystyrene food containers and packing peanuts;
Peru passed a law that keeps plastic trash out of national parks and beaches” –


Fall Deer will appear
Gentle wide-eyed families
Drive extra careful

Kristin Ruth Lawrence – Sebastopol, CA –

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Dr. Seuss

Here is another Saving Mother Earth Challenge poem…

Playing with Fire
I remember as a quick-eyed kid
sneaking off unseen, not a sound,
back behind our barn-like garage,
striking match after match,
amazed, mesmerized,
watching them flare up, fire
from out of nowhere, like magic
watching that magic make paper
disappear into thin air.
I played with those matches until
all had been burned away.
Many a morning, I was striking
one after another as if in a frenzy,
until one day dad found me playing,
never dared do that again.
I remember our first fire we made
on that ridge in the forest,
under a sky full of stars, and
a kind moon smiling down on us

We hunted for wood to feed
our fire, keeping it burning
to keep away the darkness,
as humans did when first burned
before learning to respect
the magic that is fire.
Respect what you cannot touch

but know you must feed those flames
for they are insatiable burning all
that crosses their path for the flame
lives by burning all it touches.
I remember the fear I felt
the last time, last year, the rim
of our nearby mountain
was aflame, flames dancing, flaring
up into the night sky, plumes
of smoke bellowing up
as tree after tree could be seen
burning up in an instant,
like the match sticks I played
with as a kid behind our garage,
scary, maybe a man-made fire,
and now, those flames again
strike fear in us watching
them consume all they desire,
inching their way down to all we own

Charles Portolano – Fountain Hills, AZ –

phoenix rises up
from the depths of cold ashes–
can we take flight too?

Charles Portolano – Fountain Hills, AZ –

A Poetry Challenge for all Nature-loving poets in 2020. I love writing Saving Mother Earth Challenge poems. I am always on the lookout for an article about our wondrous Mother Earth.

Please find a climate change issue about our precious planet and take the Saving Mother Earth Challenge, and, then send it to us to share with the community…

Please write a poem for Mother Earth, let her know of your love…
We all call Earth our home – Have your voice be heard through your words!!!

Please do not send those poems that have already been in The Weekly Avocet.

Saving Mother Earth for the Next Generation

Please put Saving Mother Earth Challenge/your last name in the subject line
of your email and send to

Enjoy your stroll through our pages to find yourself in nature.
The American Avocet

I watch unseen this large,
long-legged shorebird,
with its pied plumage
and a dash of red
around its head and neck,
scampering along
the coastline
searching to snatch-up
some aquatic insect
or a small invertebrate
hidden beneath
the brackish waters
of this saltmarsh.
I watch unseen
it swing its odd, long, up-curved bill
through the shallow,
still waters, catching
a tiny creature,
trapping it in its bill,
racing off to its nest to
feed her four hatchings
with this feast she found.
I watch in awe
as the male
grows protective,
fearlessly fending off
an encroaching
common black raven,
attacking this intruder,
striking at it with its bill.
I watch in wonder
as they swim as a family
just days after
the young ones are born,
then back to the nest to
rest where its kind flocks
together in a community.

Charles Portolano – Fountain Hills, AZ –

We hope we provoked you; that you leave having experienced a complete emotional response to the poetry. I want to thank our Poets for sharing their work with us this week. And, “Thank you for reading, dear reader!”Be well, see you next weekend, Charles Portolano, Editor/Publisher and Vivian and Valerie Portolano, Co-Editors of The Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry and The Weekly Avocet, every weekend.

If you would like to become a subscribing member of The Avocet community and help us in our mission of promoting Nature poetry – for just $24 you receive 4 printed issues of The Avocet (64 pages of pure Nature poetry) and 52 weeks of The Weekly Avocet, every weekend, directly sent into your email box. A steal of a deal, and, we believe, the best in all the small presses.

Please make out your check to The Avocet and send to:
The Avocet – P.O. Box 19186 – Fountain Hills, AZ 85269


October 12, 2020

Upcoming publication

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 1:38 pm

I sent my poem to Avocet too late to get into their print edition but Charles Portolano said Autumn will be in their online weekend edition and he told me I can copy it, so look for it soon. I would appreciate getting some feedback.

October 10, 2020

New Writing Projects

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 12:08 am

I just entered a story of mine; Smidgeon Pigeon: The Great Migration to a Reedsy contest. Originally I planned to have this published as a picture book, or chapter book, as my instructor from the Institute of Children’s Literature had said it sounded like to her. None of the publishers I submitted it to wanted it though and I quit sending it out, (at least temporarily). This contest had a prompt (one of several) about a bird migrating, so I thought my story would be a nice twist about a bird trying to migrate.

I also signed up for a free Reedsy course on publishing picture books and will take more of their courses. I love taking advantage of free advice and information since I can’t afford to pay for courses taught by schools, or writing coaches who have their own businesses.

Next week, the new GeNarrations class begins. It will be a virtual class again. I am looking forward to finding out what the theme will be and hope that it will be one I will not have a problem identifying with, as I have with some of the themes they used. I will be keeping you informed about my progress.

I also submitted a poem about Autumn to a publication called Avocet, which accepts previously published poems. That poem was the one Halcyon Days used. I haven’t heard if Avocet will or not. Again, when I do hear from them, I will let you know what they decide.

October 1, 2020

God’s Armor

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 10:14 pm
This poem was started years ago and just this morning I made revisions. I would appreciate any comments and/or criticism.

God's Armor

Put on the whole armor of God.
Don't depend on self defense.
You can't see what you're up against.

The helmet of salvation will guard your thoughts.
When you are saved, they can't be bought.
Knowledge needs to be protected
and our  motives be inspected.
In a world teaching us to self-serve,
will you obey God without reserve?

Your heart is covered by the breastplate.
Righteous eliminates all hate.
Love all others, as you've been told.
Do not let your heart grow cold.
Selfishness is not an option
if you would hear God say, "Well done."

Your loins must be girt about with truth.
Telling lies is quite uncouth.
Deceipt and cunning is a demonic snare
of which you need to be aware.
Say what you mean, mean what you say.
You will keep the enemy at bay.

The shield of faith will stop the spear
Satan uses to cause you fear.
Hold it up, don't let it fall.
Keep it close and then stand tall.
It will give you strength and power
in your deep and darkest hour.

Your feet wear peace, for they must travel
over smooth roads and rocky gravel.
Wherever you go, take peace with you,
regardless of the circumstance you go through.
People you meet along the way
may want to walk with you someday.

Last, the two edged sword, God's Word,
which everybody should have heard.
The Bible will be your guiding light,
exposing all that isn't right.
It's blade is sharp and quick to sever
any and all ungodly endeavour.

Put on the whole armor of God.
Don't depend on self-defense.
You can't see what you're up against.

Photo by PhotoMIX Company on

Forbidden Words: Try

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:18 pm

I’ll try is the most dangerous word I was using too often in my vocabulary. I would tell God I was going to try to do something, I really did not want to do and make a poor attempt at it. Then I would apologize and tell God I tried. God showed me that it was an excuse I was makng for failing and told me that word is forbidden. Because we:

T hink wordly thoughts

Rationalize them

Yield to them

That fulfills our fleshly desires. God wants us to say, I will, not I’ll try. Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you to both will and to do of His good pleasure.”

So, God wants us to say: I understand, not I feel; I trust, not I guess; I believe, not I hope; I know, not I think; yes or no, not maybe; and above all I will, not I’ll try.

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