High Cotton

With Real Toads Photo Prompt, photo by Ellen's Edge "Cotton"


I never knew when I was young what it meant

to be ‘walking in high cotton’ until I saw

the waves of cotton fields across the

panhandle of northern Texas.


We stopped by the road to pick a few to see

if they were really cottony soft and white.

Flat horizon and  cotton as far as you

could see, it went forever and then.


Older now I know, that high cotton means work,

hard and back breaking.  Even with machines

there is nothing easy about cotton but

how it feels combed and smooth.


“Walking in high cotton” means a bumper crop

with the hard work still to come and still

we grow it, we pick it and we bale it.

Sell it and someone wears it.


I feel like those cotton fields sometimes,

do different from a distance than close

up and in your hands. The hard and

the soft grow together here.


We don’t grow cotton on the northern plains,

we grow corn, soy beans, hay and canola.

We raise cows, hogs, chickens and

sometimes we raise hell.


We dance in the fields and in the dirt here.

We chase the cows and fix the fence.

We raise our kids and our dogs

and we love on the land.


Remembering the first time I saw cotton fields as we drove across Texas as a child.  I thought the white and black fields would never end under that flat horizoned sky.  Those endless plains on that endless drive keeps me seeking hills and trees but it reminds me too that we who farm and ranch do it because we love it.  Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski.  Prompt from With Real Toads today.


Shades of life

The smell of fresh laundry in winter

cannot compare to the summer line.

No amount of ‘fresh’ scent can be

a warm drying prairie breeze.


The bright lights of a game with Daddy

seem to sound like the robot beams.

Laughter soundtracks my typing

poetry of this life seems pale.


Black dog, red dog, white dog and

a multi hued ‘houla dog sleep.

Sprawled like a canine Jonestown

puppy koolaid from the toilet bowl.


Winter trees in black and white.

Shaggy cows in red and black

resting on green hay and white snow.

My eyes squint searching for color.


Details like a missed spot of floor

holding a stubborn dust bunny,

or the small hand print on a clean pane.

These are the shades of life here.


This is our home. This is our land.

A friend said today, not mocking,

“Clean enough to live in and dirty

enough to have fun at.” I agree.


Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski

For the prompt at dVerse…won’t you see what the rest came up with?


The song asks, “Where do we go from here?”

The earth moved, shifted

along a fault line

no one knew

was there



The world changed in an instant a few words long.

Nothing looks the same anymore,

some things are more right

and others seem

so very very

wrong to



They say you never see it coming, and then it is there.

The event that makes  you either rebuild

or leave it all behind and start new.

But what if you could

do both things

leave and



Still shaken, it could take days or weeks to get solid ground

once again under these trembling legs and feet.

Feeling sodden with a weight of tears

not knowing if it is cleaner

or just seems more

clear than

it was



No words can quite describe, although some come close,

the moment when you understand nothing

oh nothing can ever, ever be the

same again for you

for them,



Picking up the pieces, starting something new from the rubble.

It is hard to decide what is worth fixing,

and what is really so much trash.

Where is the foundation

when you can only

see the fallen

stones of an



Pick away. Pick away. One stone. One brick. One log at a time.

Baby steps, big steps, backwards steps – here we go!

Falling, rising, falling again, laying there

sopping wet with tears that burn

down my face wondering

if I have the courage

the strength or

the faith to

keep on



I’m stupid that way though, Patron Saint of Lost Causes.

So I keep on keeping on, praying, loving, walking.

Each one takes me where God only knows.

And where God knows what

both they and I need

most of all and

that is just



Ever been through this kind of physical or emotional or spiritual or all three?  This is my earthquake. Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski


Sandman, Sandman bring me a dream…

Ride your rainbow bicycle to the portal.

Wear that smile that knows what my psyche needs.

Sandman, Sandman bring me a dream…

Send it on brightly shining beams from a desert booth.

Wear that old hat that used to carry your sand.

Sandman, Sandman bring me a dream…

You are old and lazy now, dialing it in.

Wearing your age like a baggy jacket.

Sandman, Sandman bring me a dream…

On second thought, maybe just leave it be.

Send me sleep instead, I’m really too tired to play.

Written when I really couldn’t sleep…copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski. Thanks Magpie Tales!


Many have heroes, it is true.

Costumed and cloaked are some.

Many others wear a uniform.

Those brave men who serve

and sacrifice for their cause.


Me, I have a heroine, or two

maybe as many as a dozen.

Most are lost to memory, faded.

Some stood by her man, others

stood alone holding life together.


My great grandmother rode here

on these prairies grand, sidesaddle.

She rode toting pistol and carrying babe.

Her grace and courage paved the way

for the pretty girls who came safely later.


She wasn’t alone on these prairies you know.

She had sisters from edge to edge, age to age.

Some rode free, some dug deep, all fought hard.

All made their way in a land that killed their men,

stole their babies and their dreams. They stayed.


I have freedom to roam, and to be what I want.

Not because a man said I could, oh no.

But because they first walked the way I do.

Heroine to me for taking the untrod path

she walked, rode and she didn’t stop.


A poet can be in prison’d for seven years.

What prison would we be in if not for the

pioneer women who made the way possible?

Their sisters  in the tribes made their way too!

The story is not really that of a lady, be sure.


Their story is one of blood, tears, grief and joy.

They learned to fight battles with more than guns,

they fought just by staying there, staying alive.

They fought with books for churches and schools.

Making a new path and leaving a trail behind.


Heroine, heroine –  how I long for your courage.

Heroine, heroine – how I long for your grace.

Heroine, heroine – how I long for your strength.

I follow her path, and make new ones as I go.

I reap her legacy and honour her memory.


Dedicated to my great grandmothers who came to this country in covered wagons and afoot, my grandmothers who came here to start anew from an old country that no longer wanted them.  For the Cree and Kootaney elders who don’t remember they told me the stories, but I promise not to forget.  For the woman of color who wouldn’t stop moving to the place where it didn’t matter.  Thank you for what you’ve given us.  Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski


Linking up with dVerse today…won’t you join us?

Chasing Windmills

What if Quixote wasn’t mad after all?

What if the windmills really were

the dragons and monsters he saw?


What if I’m not mad after all?

What if the shadows really are

living and breathing and alive?


How I long for a horse to mount,

armor to wear and a lance to flag!

Thundering in to shatter the shadows!


What if Quixote wasn’t really mad?

What if there really were waving arms,

flashing red eyes and stout bodies there?


What if I’m not really paranoid or insane?

If the danger I see is real, then who are they,

those one who spend their days saying, “no”?


What if it is just me and the old Don who

can see them for what they are?

We can’t be alone, where are you all?


Have they locked us all away in our cells?

Made of sitcoms, press releases and tweets,

trapped by the easy to swallow lies called ‘news’.


Escape! Sharpen your swords! Rise up!

We can’t be wrong when we know we are right.

Rise up! Rise up! The shadows and windmills live!


Breathing time


Busy boys working hard at school.

Busy Mama’s working at theirs too.

Daddy’s gone and coming home soon.


Busy boys making noise playing hard.

Busy Mama’s making soup, bread and buns.

Daddy’s driving in the lane – home again.


Busy boys, big one and small one too.

Busy Mama, just one, listens to the chaos.

Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!


Time for a break Mama. 

Time for some breathing time.

They leave the house empty.

Their noise follows them out.


She sits. Knowing the list.

She sits. Breathing the silence.

She closes her eyes. It is quiet.

She lets her shoulders relax.


Busy boy and busy Daddy back in again.

Wondering what busy Mama did.

Mama breathed the quiet, that’s what she did.

She is going home



Luke 8:48 “Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”


Her favorite story of the Book.

Woman healed with a touch.

Faith filled hands desperate

to touch one thread of the hem.


Reaching out with nothing to lose.

Everything to gain with a touch.

Faith moved hands forward

past the doubts of her mind.


Daughter, your faith made you well.

They laughed and scorned her.

She wasn’t well. She was dying.

Each breath a laboured step home.


Her faith healed her soul.

Her faith saved her mind.

Her faith let her accept the

grace that is unearned.


Her children gathered.

Watching her fade away.

They didn’t know her smile

was not for them, but for Him.


The sculptor read the order.

Once , twice and he smiled.

Hands reaching for heaven,

holding a heart up high.


She wanted everyone to see.

She was going home at last.

Her heart lifted high to the

One who saved it from hell.


From the photo prompt at Magpie Tales today.

Confessions of a Red Head

I can’t help it! It smells so good.

Argh…who stinks?

I could roll in it all day long.

Bathwater runs green.

Messy and smudged in my hair.

Brush, comb, conditioner, water.

It is tasty too. 

Don’t lick me!

So rich and flavorful.


I cannot help myself!

Why does she do THAT?!?!

part ii


Comes running, yes Mama?

Dirty dog!

Dirty? How can she say dirty?

You rolled in poop again!

I love this smell, don’t you?

Ewww…don’t eat THAT!

But it tastes good, I love poopsciles!


Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski 

Prompt from Real Toads today!

Alien Eyes

What if you read the world through another sense?  What about smell? What would your world look like then?  From a challenge at dVerse

Alien Eyes

Sniff sniff I can smell their fear.

Sniff sniff I can smell their hope.

I can smell their desires seeping

through their unfurred thin skins.


Head cocked I can hear their hearts.

Head tilted I can hear their breath.

I can hear their nervous swallow

down from a dry weak mouth.


Whiskers twitch I sense their heat.

Whiskers twitch I sense their pain.

I can sense their body changing

from waiting to fighting to flight.


My eyes don’t see so well.

I don’t get these wild patterns

and colors they wear and wave.


My eyes don’t see so well.

I don’t understand their need

to be changing their shape.


My senses, alien and strong,

capture what they think

they are hiding from me

but they only

hide it  from


copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski