Photo Credit: Raija Rantola

Photo Credit: Raija Rantola


Surrounded by strife
I smile benignly.
I’ve lived a life
surrounded by strife.

Removed, as with a knife,
stress is taken away Divinely.
Surrounded by strife
I smile…benignly.

P. Wanken


Posted for 100 Days of Summer 2014 (Facebook Group): 73 ~ Water/Meditation.  


Author’s Note:
Thank you to fellow challenge contributor, Raija Rantola, for letting me use this photo in my post.

Pardon Me…


pencil and paper


It would be so easy to just log on to a computer and let my fingers dance across the keyboard, or pick up a phone and leave a message. It would be faster—and less painful as the deed is done more quickly (ok, maybe less painful just for me).

But that is not as it’s meant to be.

Before me: paper and pencil. Yes, pencil—not even a ballpoint pen that will let ink flow until I’m finished. No, it’s a pencil. I’ll have to let the thoughts in my head percolate while I periodically take time out to sharpen it; and even though my pencil has an eraser, the act of writing by hand affords me the time to process and choose my words carefully—to decide on just the right way to convey my message. (Hmm…I wonder if he knew what he was doing when he gave me the paper and pencil.)

Staring at the blank page, I know I have (short of any 11th hour changes) only a few hours in which to write my message and I face one problem: how does one fully convey remorse and ask for forgiveness? I know God has forgiven me and I’ve reached a place of peace—how do I begin to help a grieving family find that same peace?

God help me.



Written for Flashy Fiction — Image Prompt:  A Loss For Words?. Posted for day 87 in 100 Days of Spring – 2013.

The Death Of A Man


image courtesy of Digital Blasphemy

image courtesy of Digital Blasphemy


by P. Wanken

The drive home was taking longer than expected. Exhaustion from a whirlwind of activity following Dad’s death doubled each minute, lengthened each mile. I may not have graduated from college as Dad hoped his only son would, but I had always been a sensible and responsible driver and knew that I couldn’t change that now—except the nearest town was still at least two hours away, and I needed to sleep.

Pulling over to the side of the road I made sure no part of my car was still in the road. There wasn’t a lot of space, but I managed; and I left my parking lights on just so I could be seen in the darkness of the night, unlit by the new moon.

Just a short nap was all I needed; reclining my seat back, I quickly drifted off.

Not knowing how long I had been out, flashes of light caused me to bolt upright in my seat. Rubbing my eyes and blinking them into focus, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. Fireballs, falling from the sky—more than I could count!

Having seen enough “end of the world” stories played out on the big screen, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was it. This was how it was all going to end. I would die along the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Alone.

Pinching my eyes closed in spite of wanting to see what was happening, I prayed. I wasn’t exactly praying one of those “in-the-face-of-doom-bargaining-with-God” prayers. But I certainly saw my life from a perspective of what was important and what wasn’t. I had just buried my father, for goodness sake. Death was very fresh in my mind. I prayed that I would have a chance to make something of my life.

My life mattered and I wanted the chance to live in a way that mattered.

Bird songs filled the silence—beautiful, melodious bird songs. Opening my eyes again I was startled to see the sun had already risen above the horizon.

It was morning? Had I prayed all night long? What became of the fireballs that had rained upon the earth? Had it happened? Or had I been dreaming?

I stepped out of the car and stretched my aching limbs. I listened to the sounds of morning. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There was a light breeze carrying the scent of honeysuckle. The only thing that seemed different—I felt renewed. I remembered my prayer and my desire to live a life that mattered.

Settling back in behind the wheel, I smiled, remembering the care Dad had taken in growing honeysuckle in his garden.



Written for Flashy Fiction — Image Prompt: Tears From Heaven. Posted for day 83 in 100 Days of Spring – 2013.



With the tenderness of an angel
whose prayers are as constant as breathing
and the determination of an eagle
that flaps her wings over the water that holds her prey,
she empties herself of all ambivalence, fear, and doubt,
filling herself with all that is pure and holy;
the enemy, dazed, scurries from her presence,
her words rise as incense to the heavens.

P. Wanken


Inspired by The Sunday Whirl’s Prompt #76: dazed, incense, ambivalence, empties, holy, scurries, breathing, fear, flaps, prayers, water, and tenderness. Also posted for Day 87 at “100 Days of Summer” — click here to go to their Facebook page.





(Photo credit: Hello Turkey Toe)

dusk settles;
a shiver, linked to evening air,
races through me,

not a trace of sun
empty of essential warmth
I watched the sun set as the moon rose

pencil poised
tall, like a fence post,
ready to record chain of requests

following a recipe for absolution,
I too plead to be forgiven,
and check in with the operator…

“Prayer Hotline is now open.”

P. Wanken


Inspired by The Sunday Whirl’s Prompt #71: dusk, link, trace, empty, essentials, rose, pencils, fence, chain, recipe, forgiven, and operator. Also posted for Day 54 at “100 Days of Summer” — click here to go to their Facebook page.