Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: poetry

What I Miss

The Roiling, Boiling Upper Iowa River, Decorah, IA.  Copyright Diane Ludeking 2013

The Roiling, Boiling Upper Iowa River, Decorah, IA. Copyright Diane Ludeking 2013

I miss the coyotes.
Her voices,
by the walls
that hold the roof
above me,
become clear
like spring water at its source
when I step into the night.
I miss the coyotes.
Her joyful cries
turned desperate
by men
with rifles
and grins.
I miss the coyotes.
Her predatory tension,
now absent,
becomes a void
in the night sky,
an empty den,
at-ease horses,
pleasant pheasants
and reposeful rabbits.
I miss the snow when it melts.
I miss the floods when they recede.
I miss the trees consumed by progress.
I miss the coyotes.
I miss the way I never used to miss things.


What do you miss?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I miss you, Reader, Friend & Journeyer.  I miss writing.

It has been almost six months (wow, that’s a long time considering I used to blog every week) since I have met you here.  I think I’m ready to get back to it.  Maybe not every week yet, but I’m ready to be back.

I took the time off to be with my ailing cat and horse.  Both have since passed.

I look forward to a regular rendezvous with you here again.  Blessings, Diane


These Sugary Words

Copyright Diane Ludeking 2012

The words, the words, the words.

The words are full of sugar.

These sugary words

fix my cravings

for chocolate and ice cream.

These sugary words

bred from crispy kale

and green smoothies

and cheese.

Sweet and true and scrumptious,

these sugary words

defy gravity.

Leave me hanging


with views from outer space

a planet so strange and distant.

These sugary words

attract four eagles

and tears.

Two eagles remain

to circle and circle

to partake of

my sugary words

and give me more.

These sugary words exclaim

Welcome back!

as they slip away

behind the trees.

What Mysteries Await

Horse chestnuts
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2012

I discovered these exquisite gems a few weeks ago at a Women and Girl’s Night Out event.  Thirty women and girls gathered on a chilly, windy autumn evening to raise our voices together in song around fire.  Six of us stayed overnight, snuggling up in our sleeping bags out of the wind in a cabin with bunks.  After our morning closing celebration, three of us went for a walk to the swinging bridge nearby.  As we began our walk, I noticed hundreds of horse chestnuts strewn about the trail.  I met these nuts for the first time the night before, but to find them myself in the daylight tickled me like a girl in a horse barn.  How is it that I’ve never seen these before in my lifetime?  What other mysteries are out there awaiting my gaze?

Horse chestnuts
Photo credit Wikipedia

What Mysteries Await
by Diane Ludeking
Lime pufferfish
turns brown
Falls away
Fine mahogany,
delicate cherry wood,
supple leather
I wear.
White chocolate
nutty meat
My own sweet
What flavor is your mystery
Would you be angry-looking
if I were angrily looking?
Would you be sad-looking
if I were sadly looking?
You are innocent-looking
because I innocently look.

Horse chestnut
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2012


Swinging Bridge Destination
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2012


Abandoned Horsepower

’58 Edsel
Copyright Doug Schmeltzer Photography 2012

A ’58 Edsel waits in a collapsing garage.
Mottled horse collar grill and
Pieced-together wooden hood
Weathering as best they can.
A stick props open the garage door
Just enough to steal a glance
At this beast of transportation.
It looks back with driver’s side
Bug-eye headlights.
The passenger side pair gouged out or
of clinging
To rust.
A ’58 Edsel bought to replace the
One that crashed on Easter 1962
On the way to church.
Gravel road, dust, oncoming truck.
Toddling in the back seat.
Egg yolk and blood stained upholstery
Worn to the knackers.
Horseshoe shaped scar
From the rear view mirror
On the toddler’s face
Now five decades old.
A ’58 Edsel sighs in a collapsing garage.
Five decades worth of scars
From an accident it wasn’t involved in.

[All photos by Doug Schmeltzer Photography used with permission.]

’58 Edsel
Copyright Doug Schmeltzer Photography 2012

’58 Edsel
Copyright Doug Schmeltzer Photography 2012

The Caste of Cast


Molten Iron
Copyright Kelly Ludeking 2000


This is a poem I wrote for my husband, Kelly Ludeking.  He is a sculptor who works with bronze, aluminum and iron to create cast artwork.  This weekend is the Ninth Annual Down on the Farm Iron Pour on the Ludeking family farm in NE Iowa so I wanted to honor his work by sharing the poem.  If you ever have an opportunity to attend an iron pour, GO!  Describing it does no justice.  It must be seen.  Occasionally, I participate in these events, wearing the dirty brown leathers or the newer safety gear “silver suit.”  Standing in a shower of molten iron every now and again, seems to balance my water sign.

The Caste of Cast

Cast ironmongers
dance about me
They are rabid for fire
to melt the metal
that makes manifest
their sickness
This curious group of people
with dirty brown leathers
heavy steel-toed boots
and graphite war-painted faces
travel far and wide
to spy the orange glow
of liquid iron
They wait for the call to iron
They recognize it as goose bumps
crawling over their skull
To deny the query
Is to forsake their true inheritance
Cast ironmongers
dance about me
Alone in their iron tribe
Together in their aloneness
The temple of their
creative soulness
– by Diane Ludeking

Pouring Iron
Copyright Kelly Ludeking


Beloved Steeds
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2009

A fleshy bone
for later
Lost for years
beneath weeds
by more weeds
Wading across the cold
spring-fed stream
A beloved horse attached
to a lead rope in each hand
They remind her
it is here
Beneath weeds
on the far shore
She mounts one steed
ponies the other
Walks into
her universe
and yawns

Where I’m From

Harvesting apple trees for fire wood from the defunct Art’s Orchard
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2010

Where I’m From

by Diane Ludeking

I am from apples,
from Barbies and Breyers.
I am from the perfect, orderly home.
I am from lily of the valley,
the strawberry vine.
I am from the confessional
and the marriage of death,
from Dan Dan the Boogie Man
and Dearest Sean.
I am from the salt of the earth
and the spark in the night sky.
From money doesn’t grow on trees
and work hard.
I am from purgatory.
I’m from a tribe,
kitty cocktails and Schlitz.
From the vacation destination of Yogi Bear,
the bruised cousin dying from a mysterious disease
and his anorexic sister.
I am from Art’s Orchard
my father’s lost legacy.

I have a few different versions of this poem as I tend to create one every year.  They are quite different from each other and lots of fun to write.  My Soulful Journaling participants created their own “Where I’m From” poems last week and enjoyed the process as much as I enjoyed hearing their finished products.  Many thanks to my teachers Julie Tallard Johnson and Prudence Tippins for introducing me to the process of poem writing.  The original “Where I’m From” poem was written by George Ella Lyon and is used by many poets and aspiring poets as a template for creativity and to lyrically document their lives.  Where are you from?

The Garrulous One or Gimme the Meat

Phelps Park, Decorah, IA
Copyright Diane Ludeking 2012


This little poem is the result of a writing exercise I gave myself: pick a word from the dictionary at random and write about it.  My screen saver is words and definitions so I picked the first one that caught my eye.  Can you guess the new word?

The Garrulous One (or Gimme the Meat)

In a mound of tomato sauce slathered
starchy spaghetti noodles
lies the meatball
Simple carbs
empty calories
trivial drivel
Surround the meat
And in conversation
like this meal
I desire the meat
Tell me your truth
Share your struggles
Experience the witness
Leave the conversation coma for another
I desire the meat

Woolen Argyle Woes

Under the bedroom chair
a single woolen argyle sock
looks back at me
wondering where
its black, white and grey
partner has gone.
Sometimes partners leave
for a while, get lost,
go on vacation or
work where work can be found,
so you can find
new perspective,
the latent dream
written within you.
Sometimes it takes
their void
to learn that
we can keep
feet fashionably warm
and dance
without them too.
Sometimes the
loose threads,
pilling and thinning
in the toe and heel
of your aloneness
make way for a new
possibility, fitted over
the nine iron.
You are not alone
when the wedge shows
up in the bag beside you
wearing your long lost partner.

The Weight of Winter

Taken Christmas Eve two years ago.

The weight of winter is a comforter of snow in the pasture and an extra blanket on my bed.

The weight of winter is pine scents in my house and Carmex fumigated scarves.

The weight of winter reveals eagle nests in the tippy tops of trees and conceals extra pounds on my backside with layers of clothes.

The weight of winter talks emphatically about holiday spirit and whispers about seasonal depression.

The weight of winter is a crisp snowball upside my face and candy cane fingers.

The weight of winter is heavy canvas winter wear and lightly whipped eggnog.

The weight of winter makes getting to work a challenge and friendly gatherings worthwhile.

The weight of winter is bright from snow reflected moonlight at midnight and burning light bulbs at suppertime.

The weight of winter reveals the barren wooded trail concealed in summer’s lusciousness.

The weight of winter is dormant seeds and awakened sloth.

The weight of winter is the Big Dipper in the North and snowbirds in the South.

The weight of winter is warm breath on an icy window.

The weight of winter is a good book in front of the fireplace and a mischievous cat lap warmer.

The weight of winter is big holiday debt and little promises of spring.

The weight of winter is childish sledding splendor and grown up stress.

The weight of winter cannot be stopped but will end your plans without notice.


I would love to hear how you finish the sentence “The weight of winter…” in the comments.