A Vagabond Voice Writing and Living Prompt

Photo by Hannah Wright on Unsplash

What is your polyglot dream?
To be held in arms that reach
across the globe, whispered
on lips and tongues at once
own and
other? To know one more
language. Or all,
why not, what is a dream if not

What is your polyglot dream?
Does it drift on mother’s melody, lilt,
lullaby and lost accents
from a place now left
to memory. Words snatched
and uttered at family gatherings,
or suspended
midair on summer nights
the words flutter and zip, perhaps
bite, sting, ever more painful,
the languages
of childhood.


A Vagabond Voices writing and living prompt.

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Do not
forget that you are
body, stable state and liquid
sifting, solid fleeting
light and shadow, footprint
on mud and mud
on sole, you set out: a step, then
the other and nothing is
as you left it. I wonder,
when you stepped out,
if you forgot
to exist, forgot
everything except the in-out
breath on trembling blades
of spring and the rhythm of strides
over land. Did you remember?
You are also

I believe in creative seasons and, to me, this is the season of the body.

Every year, I like to come around a kind of circle that starts with a deep winter of…

Poetry, flavors, and the past

Photo by Wendy Aros-Routman on Unsplash

This drink is simple:
ingredients and acts. Climb
the trees in dust that cycles
from soil, to air, to skin.
Salt and earth — not a pinch,
but a coating, finely sifted.
Dangle, reach for
the pale fruits, that hang
on branches bending under
your bare feet. Mind
the thorns. Grab the globes,
larger than your child’s
grasp, hand them down.
Don’t taste
now. The fruit is bitter.
The old woman, strict, smiles
rarely but surely when your
dusty black feet
return to graze the earth,
and you smudge
the threshold and swing
on the linoleum of life
in the kitchen. This…

A Vagabond Voices living and writing prompt.

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

What is your flavor past
and present? The crush
of summer berry juices ecaping
reality? Or sweet granular dissolving ever
into something sour? Perhaps crusted,
and seared. Or sifted
as the flour over an old woman’s skin.
Or the simple, perfume of your parents’
coffee they way they drank it
back in the old world, when you
were a small and hungry and the world
smelled of something new bursting
from the oven.

My invitation to you: find a recipe from your past, a memory, a feeling…

Mix, shake, stir,
and bring us your dish
or drink, or poem…collage,
musings, ramblings.

Your life and memory has flavors
only you know.

The Book Behind the Prompt.

Yes, there is…

Microfiction and daydreams from the country.

Photo by Kent Pilcher on Unsplash

I’m searching for wild Chervil. Not its look-alike. Mortelle, they tell me, this sister. The grass tickles your feet. It looks soft and slightly translucent but it has a scratchy quality. Pulling you to it. Pulling you to earth.

I’m keeping myself in the real world, mud, and molehills shifting underfoot. I remember the village doctor’s words. He’s always searching for translations.

“You know, the one,” he searches somewhere beyond his clouded glasses, can’t find it, can never find the right version, “Socrates, the one they gave Socrates.”

Yes, I know the one. Or I’m learning to discern her in…

Poetry in French and English

Photo by Rui Marinho on Unsplash

Village de pêcheurs, désert
épineux, le bois précieux
chauffe tout juste
la marmite perchée
sur trois pierres,
le riz parfumé.
La femme
qui veut bien faire
doit noircir le repas
sur les bords de fer
afin d’infuser cette boisson
amère du soir,
afin de dormir, le ventre plein.

Le bruit du vent,
le toit en tôle ondule comme l’océan
qui menace de tout avaler:
toi, ta pirogue,
la fumée du matin, les couleurs à l’aube.

Quand tes pieds s’envolent
et perdent la caresse du sable,
quand tu pars en quête de requins,
je bois l’air marin, je sirote mon souffle…

A Vagabond Voices living and writing prompt.

Photo by karimjy LOULOUA on Unsplash

Vies parallèles
Ces êtres qui auraient
vu le jour si
tu étais
restée au lieu
de vadrouiller, pieds
dans la poussière, traces
effacées par la bise.

Parallel Lives
Those beings who would have
seen the day if
you had
stayed instead
of wandering feet
in the dust, footprints
erased by the kiss
of the North wind.

Fellow Vagabond, do you have any alternate selves?

Who would you have been if you had…

Stayed in that city, village, or country where you stopped only for a moment?

Never left home to begin with?

If you had followed love’s first hint, canceled your flight, put down roots in a new…

A Vagabond Voices Writing (and Living) Prompt

Collage created by the author with photo by author, a photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash, and a photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

I am collecting
the petals of other possible
haunts, dandelions pressed
to paper, the pipe’s amber
evening shadow weighed with
pear blossoms and traces
of happiness floating, children
bleating while lambs
play hide and seek until the lights
wink in the distance
your cities do not

This is a collage poem clipped, pasted and inspired by:

A conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

Snippets from the actual passage in the book: (pipe’s amber/ evening shadow/the lights in the distance/your cities do not exist)

A feeling that comes with reading this collection of prose poems — that travel leaves us weighing alternate realities…

Vagabond Voices writing and living prompt.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

Who painted this scene?

Did the wind whip up
the cold and self
doubt on cresting waves?
Did the sun break out
and light the depths stirring
them turquoise,
golden when you had the idea?
Or did the light, the breath, the entire
scene surface from deep, deeper than body,
Emotion, the organizing
principle, the chaos,
the resolution.

Does your mood affect the flavor and color of the world around you?

As humans, when we walk out of the house with love bursting in our chests, does it clear the sky and send the clouds away in lifting oranges and purples?

Or does the first chirping bird of spring, the melting snow have the power to thaw…

Poetry in French and English.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

La neige, aux sourires
du soleil chante,
rigole et pleur en retrouvant
son amour la terre
qui s’effondre à son tour,
et libère
ce tapis de vie sous
la caresse
de nos pieds.

The snow, with the smiles
of the sun sings,
laughs and cries finding
her love the earth
who collapses in turn
and frees
this carpet of life under
the fragile
of our feet.

Author’s note: I am lucky to be working with Jessica Tefenkgi Ruelle on her upcoming book on mindfulness and language learning.

She had a writing prompt for French learners that I found…

Trisha Traughber

Immigrant, bilingual, mother, teacher, book-worm, writer. Life is better when we create - together.

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