Thirteen years ago, after a really bad experience at an online poetry site, I started a board of ‘my own’. I could fill volumes with the joys and the sorrows I’ve experienced during those thirteen years; someday I might but for now I go through the many rooms of that site, reminiscing as I salvage a pitiful few special posts out of the hundreds of thousands of special posts that live there. To be more precise here are today’s stats:
Community Time: 07/07/17 06:16 PM (Use Community Time)
Founded: Sep 03 2004
2489 Avg visits per day
3047 Avg views per day
1,564,193 Total visits
13,011,566 Total views
607,701 Total posts
So what does that have to do with dragons? That, too, is a long story, but I’ll try to cut it as short as possible.
The Peaceful Pub was never advertised. It was like Topsy, it just ‘growed’. There was a magic to the place, or maybe just a benevolent hand from heaven on our shoulders. There were many who came and didn’t care for the family atmosphere and we bid them adieu and good wishes without regret.
The ones who stayed, oh my, they are a part of my heart. A quick nod to those who have gone ahead to set up Poets Corner in Heaven. Maire (it’s Maire, not Marie,) was the first of our family to depart for that far off shore. How we loved that talented poet lady. Her memorial pages are here: Simply Maire
Then there was Jim Hartsell (Wintersong), a dear and talented poet, writer and abused children’s advocate via his work in Washington State Social Services.
And there was Willowdown. His pages are here:
So what does that have to do with dragons? Everything. Willowdown adopted each and every one of his fellow pubsters, and we adopted him. He was an Englishman who lived in Thailand. He spent his time writing, and painting murals for the mutilated children of war who lived at The Redemptorist Vocational School in Pattaya.
One year he sent Trinimade (of course from Trinidad…we were an international site)
and me, twin dragons. He named them before he sent them. Trini’s was named Eragon
and mine was Little Nag.
Today while I was tearfully saying goodbye to the posts in the Prose forum I came across the story of Little Nag’s arrival. There are more than a hundred Little Nag stories at The Pub,
but I will share this one:
Little Nag Moves In by smzang (posted 08/09/10 09:41 PM)
Little Nag has moved in lock, stock and barrel. The first day was easy. He was hungry and sleepy. I fed him and after what seems like hundreds of pierogies and a couple of cups of rice custard were devoured, he climbed up on my shoulder and nestled against my neck, blanketed by my hair which smelled of coconut from the previous night’s shampooing. Apparently he was allergic to the coconut. He sneezed twice and then went to sleep, his right front foot still keeping time to the music I was listening to. At first the tickling was a terrible distraction, but soon that and the music lulled me off to sleep and the two of us spent the rest of the day in the recliner.
Today was a whole ‘nother story. Little Nag must be related to stone dragons. Before I had even awakened, he’d eaten half the rocks out of my aquarium. He is such a tiny creature, I don’t know where he put them, nor the three large bowls of oatmeal that he ate with apples and cinnamon and fresh cream. When it was gone, he burped and went back to sleep.
While he slept, snoring gently as the babe he is, I went online again to find out what baby dragons do all day. It said they like to play in water, so I made him a cottony bed in a jewelry box and put him in my purse (he didn’t even turn over, just kept on snoring) and off I went to the store to buy a gallon of purified natural spring water. I fashioned him a pool and even put a plastic lotus blossom in it. Then I made him a pair of miniature swim trunks. Partly to show off and partly to please him, I put the embroidery attachment on my Singer sewing machine and appliqued a likeness of Little Nag himself on them.
When he awoke, he ate the lotus blossom, took one look at the swim trunks and said, “Are you nuts? First rule of this house is: You don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you look crunchy and would taste good with ketchup.”
I dashed back to the Internet to see if sassy dragons was a topic that’s been covered by Wikipedia. It was not, but I did read that dragons are very intelligent. “Aha,” I thought, “I will reason with him.”
“Nag, ” I said in my firmest voice, “You are the baby, I am the mommy. If you sass me again, I will buy a dragon pen, and keep you in a cage until you learn to behave.”
A huge tear dropped from his eye. He began to melt away right in front of me. I caught him by his hind foot just before he would have turned totally to mist. I held him cupped in my hand, petting him and talking soothingly to him. Slowly he became visible again. He leapt from my hand onto my shoulder and found his special spot under my hair.
In a tiny dragon voice he said, “I’m sowwy.”
and I said, “I’m sorry too. I would never put you in a cage but you must promise never to put ketchup on me and crunch me for a snack.”
“Okay,” he said with a dragon giggle, “but what’s for lunch?”
The Nag and Eragon stories continued for several years and as I return to the ‘demolation derby’ that is happening at The Pub, I will salvage as many of them as I can.
I thought that Willowdown’s response to this little snippet was particularly noteworthy:
“he likes fish – you must have noticed the fish bones!
ps. forget the swimtrunks
did you never hear of The Boxer Rebellion?”
And Trini’s too:
“I absolutely love this Sarah… even as I write Eragon is next to me blowing tiny wisps of smoke from his nostrils. He’s made friends with my little ceramic frog called Sapito, but I have not introduced him as yet to Marble and Tawny… that I shall have to write about.
I thank you for taking part in my farewell to The Peaceful Pub.
The Peaceful Pub came into existence in 2004. It began with five members and by the end of the year we counted our blessings for the twenty additional poets and writers who had joined together at the Pub’s fireside. We celebrated every new member and every new post. It was a great source of joy, camaraderie and some pretty awesome poetry and prose. In May of 2005, there was a ‘great disaster’ and suddenly all of our efforts were wiped out by a ‘massive server hack’.
Pubsters are a hardy bunch and the group became a family. They/we did not quit. In fact,
The Pub flourished in spite of the ever-changing platform. As years accumulated so did our membership. It sky rocketed; 2007-2011was our heyday. Even when Facebook began the death knell for forums, we maintained almost a thousand members, until this, our thirteenth year, when the decision was made that enough is enough.
Don’t forget, Pubsters are a family and they are not quitters. The result is a new blog. It is a multi-faceted blog authored by a group of loyal and talented Pubsters. I hope you will stop by to imbibe of the literary libations and to offer your support.
Break it down
Words that are rawboned
and bare to the core.
that stare you down.
who insist on one syllable
that’s two isn’t It?
And their name
I think it can’t be done.
But then I think
trust, sun, warm,
truth, song, notes,
motes (it’s time to dust)
no more than
rein and myth.
Oulipo is based on constraint. It can be taken to the ridiculous. One syllable words are just one form of Oulipo. For instance, take a poem, preferably your own, that you love (or hate, as the case may be) and look up each noun, then count 7 down (7 nouns that is) and replace each noun with the 7th after it in Websters (or whatever dictionary you choose). Then rework the poem to make sense of it with the new nouns.
They say we will find freedom in constraint, and maybe so. I don’t know. I haven’t yet, but I’ve been having fun. Obviously my muse has flown and I’m gasping for air here.
Below are a few facts I found about Oulipo.
OuLiPo, the “Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle” or “Workshop for Potential Literature,” was co-founded in Paris the early 1960’s by mathematician and writer Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais. Oulipian writers impose constraints that must be satisfied to complete a text, constraints ranging across all levels of composition, from elements of plot or structure down to rules regarding letters. The informing idea behind this work is that constraints engender creativity: textual constraints challenge and thereby free the imagination of the writer, and force a linguistic system and/or literary genre out of its habitual mode of functioning. . Famous Oulipian texts include Queneau’s Cent Mille Millard de Poemes.
Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes is derived from a set of ten basic sonnets. In his book, published in 1961, they are printed on card with each line on a separated strip, like a heads-bodies-and-legs book. All ten sonnets have the same rhyme scheme and employ the same rhyme sounds. As a result, any line from a sonnet can be combined with any from the other nine, giving 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. Working twenty-four hours a day, it would you take some 140,000,000 years to read them all. (but who would want to? s.m.z.)
I was amazed at the kindness shown by so many when I posted the request for help in finding the family of Willowdown. It is a joy to share with you that his family has been found. His friends in England, Wales, and in the online writing communities all worked hand in hand to accomplish that.
We have put together a memorial that I wanted to share with you. You will find it at
My thanks again to all.
Featured Wordflair Poet and Artist, Peter Crossland, aka Willowdown, has passed away in Thailand. He was born in Liverpool, England. He was a talented writer, poet and artist, and well loved by the Internet writing community but he was a very private person. He was 62 years old at the time of his death. Because no one has been able to locate his family we posted a plea for help in locating them. That, along with the concentrated effort of friends in England has now led to communication with his family. My thanks to all who contributed to those efforts.
Willowdown will be sorely missed by the Wordflair Community of Poets and Writers and by the family of poets and writers at The Peaceful Pub as well as the poets and writers on the many communities where he shared his work.
There’s no accounting for happiness
or the way it turns up like a prodigal…
Dedicated to the proposition
of despair, she was unprepared
for those unsettling moments
when Happiness appeared.
Curled fetal in the mist of nap,
gray afternoon wrapped around her
and in the next moment
with not even a knock on the door
It was there, grinning
in that irresistible way
that only Happiness has, and she
still fog-minded with sleep
Embraced it as if this time
it would stay, forgetting
in the moment it had a proclivity
for leaving unannounced.
sown in summer, fall is their spring
the kiss of frost has sweetened them
too mature they toughen
but it takes some aging
to build character
embellish just a little
but keep it simple
a touch of buttering
a little seasoning
don’t overwhelm them
learn to love the tang
take them or leave them
but don’t try to change them.