Midnight Tolls

Midnight tolls and those awake are grieving
Loss, lament, the dark, make all seem sharper
Shadow-outlined sorrow feels believing
Thought-inflicted loops become a carper
Diminished hope has shriveled with the gloom
Alone, denied another’s caring soul
Deep gray blots out the shining of the moon
Out to the depths, wading beyond the shoals
Wee hours slowly pace an endless sentence
Of cheer removed from hearts congealed with pain
And allocate themselves to life’s repentance
Belittled by illusion’s veiling bane

At last deep sleep gives nodding rest a chance
And dreams prevail that lift that veil to dance


I entered this poem in The River Muse’s Winter Writing Challenge 2013 that was inspired by a sonnet written by Luke Prater.  Kelly Letky was chosen the winner.  Your entry did not have to be in a sonnet form but I did use it as a base for mine.

I’m publishing it for the first time for dVerse Poets Open Link Night # 81:  http://dversepoets.com/2013/01/29/openlinknight-week-81/  Claudia hosts tonight.

Leave a comment


  1. whew thanksful for the release at the end…the bleakness was rather oppressing…i really like how you turned the phrase, Wee hours slowly pace an endless sentence…great capture that….strong piece ma’am


  2. “Wee hours slowly pace an endless sentence” Oh have I known this pace!
    Love this entire write Bodhirose. Grateful for the sleep at the end.


  3. So great to read…I did a repost of my entry as well.
    This is wonderful, I especially like your final couplet.


  4. oh heck yes…everything gets worse and more frightening in those dark hours when we can’t sleep…glad for the rest found in the closure…


    • Yes, it sure does…any physical or emotional disturbance is greatly magnified. And most of the time, sleep does finally come… Thank you, Claudia.


  5. sleep and death, so similar. takes over our souls.

    not alone


  6. You capture the mystery and magic of the midnight hour perfectly.


  7. A powerful write, Gayle.


  8. beautiful… the last two lines really spoke to me.


  9. Beautifully written Gayle. I now see that Nain Rouge is out but Mark has not contacted me so I emailed him. He might have contacted you as you were the one interviewed for the last issue. I can see no way to look at the issue and it is for sale but I would think we would not have to purchase or did you , indeed, have to purchase a copy? I hope all is well for you and your grandbaby.


    • I’ve been thinking of you, Renee, and meaning to catch up…did not make it all the way through the Small Stones as visitors came this past weekend…ah well.

      I’m totally at a loss as to why Mark has not contacted you. It makes no sense to me. He and I have not been in touch since my piece was chosen by him for the first issue. And no, I did not have to purchase a copy of the magazine and I don’t think anyone from dVerse did either as we were invited to submit material. I hope you hear from him soon.

      All is well with grandbaby and me…thanks, Renee.


      • Thanks for replying, Gayle. Perhaps, I am too anxious or he didn’t actually decide to print my writing in any case. I will have to let go of the results and if I have to look somewhere else to have something published I will have to. Life is too short. Hmmmm. Grandbabies smell so good. I was thinking of mine that are no longer babies. 🙂 Take care!


  10. Yes, life is too short to keep wondering about what, who or when. 😉 I still have full faith in you! Grandbabies do smell so good…her little head is heavenly!


    • Well, something strange. Two days ago the new publication was out and yesterday they pulled it. I emailed Mark and no response so not sure if I should email again or not. For him to tell me they wanted to use my writing and for him to not even contact me….not sure I like it. Glad you’ve had contact with him but not sure why I have not. I have yet to understand those who publish or edit. It is a mystery to me. Take care.


      • That is very strange indeed, Renee, and I don’t like it either. Sounds like something is going on over there. I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t seem professional. When dVerse got involved with that publication it was on its first issue and I guess things were going well then…perhaps something has happened. I’m sorry that you got your hopes up…I got mine up for you too. Was looking forward to seeing your work published by them. But perhaps something else will come your way. There is an online magazine called The River Muse…have you heard of it? They just had a Winter Writing Challenge (of which I submitted to) and the winner will be published in their next issue. They are reputable and I believe they take submissions. Why don’t you give them a try? It certainly wouldn’t hurt. Do you know Laurie Kolp…a member of dVerse? She is the Assistant Creative Writing Editor over there. They’re doing a good job with their magazine.

        Take care…and keep me in the loop if you should find something…I’m interested! xoxo


        • I will. I will look into The River Muse and see how that is. How long are they taking submissions and do they take submissions on a regular basis? I have seen Laurie on different sites as one who comments. I have never been involved with dVerse as it seemed to me it was tied into ‘form’ and I so like my prose. I have a problem with form as my mind doesn’t quite work like that, although I have tried. I will let you know.


          • I don’t know the details of how/when they take submissions. I’ve entered things with two of their writing challenges so far. I just have the feeling that they won’t jerk you around in letting you know whether they’re interested in your work or not. dVerse is not all about form writing…there is an Open Link Night where any style of writing is accepted. They have several administrators who write articles about different styles of poetry, writers, etc. and they have an offering called Form-For-All where we are instructed in a particular form and then invited to try. Many people bend the rules to accomodate their style of writing and it’s all done in fun. They really are a great bunch of supportive and nice people. I’ve really enjoyed the group. I would love for you to give it a try. You never have to join in with a particular form. Many people write in free-style…you would fit right in. You could take a look at their site and see how you feel…no pressure.


            • Hi Gayle, I hope I did not offend you in any way but it was only my own impression and I am happy to stand corrected. I will look into it for sure and see what it has to offer. All I can do is give it a try. You have been so very kind as so many other people have in the Blogging arena that I visit. Do take care.


          • No, of course you didn’t offend me, Renee…never. I just thought you may enjoy the group. I’m certainly not the biggest joiner but I have been warmly and respectfully welcomed…I think you may be surprised. You have a lot to offer. 🙂


            • Glad. I tend to just say what I think most times (not untactful but I’m a realist). I did go go d’Verse and will try to join in at some point but not very good with prompts, although I do see there are places you don’t have to go with a prompt. I so wish their background wasn’t black (tends to be harder for me to read) but I am now following so we shall see. It was Claudia that asked me initially to join d’Verse and I see now that she is one of those who is part of that group. (Always a day late and a $ short.) Thanks again! LOL (Oh! It looks as though White Cat Publications took Nain Rouge off altogether. If Mark doesn’t respond I will email once more just to let him know that the pieces I sent are now back in my ballpark to do with as I please. Have a Great rest of the weekend.


          • I understand. You can submit your work as you feel comfortable and as often or not as you like. I’ve seen others comment on the black background…perhaps it’s more “pub” like. 🙂

            Yes, Claudia is one of the administrators that writes articles or invites us to follow a prompt. Lovely person.

            Well, maybe Nain Rouge wasn’t getting much traffic…I can’t begin to know what went wrong there. Off to other opportunities! I like your idea to email Mark and take control of the situation though. Weekend went well…will be seeing the wee baby early in the morning. 🙂 See you soon.


            • So glad you are enjoying your little bundle. Is it sunny there? Please send some my way , would you? I surely need a pick me up at this time. We have had more clouds than sun for months now. A mild Winter but too many clouds for my liking. Take Care


  11. You rose to the occasion well. This has an almost other-worldly ambiance to it that I like and I like the idea in closing of “nodding rest” as often this is all we get. Bravo!


    • I love when I get a “bravo” from you, Jamie…high praise indeed. Yes, sometimes just a fleeting bobbing of the head is all we get. Thank you!


      • I was popping through to make sure I didn’t miss something and saw your response … must have missed it … and spent this whole day as “a fleeting bobbing head” … oh, my … good thing I wasn’t driving.



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