74th Musketeer Challenge - January 2017.

a writing by Denis Barter

And so we come to the end of Anna’s Challenge. A month that was filled with surprises and pleasure, as her “Theme” inspired a great number of responses, that covered a multitude of interesting ‘dreams’! I’m sure most of us scratched our heads wondering what Dream might be uppermost in our mind. Especially so as Christmas was on our doorstep. As was to be expected, the response was phenomenal!

Now the New Year is up and running, but we see little throughout the world has changed! In truth, did we truly expect a date on the calendar, to make a difference in worldly affairs? Despite what we might have hoped for, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer has to be a resounding No! Nothing more than a pipe dream perhaps? Certainly one would have to be the supreme optimist, to think a date on the calendar, would bring about changes, that the whole world would rejoice in accepting! Unfortunately such are the ways of men, that resolutions will never change the path mankind treads, without there is universal determination and resolve, to bring about those much needed changes!

Being somewhat of a realist and pragmatist myself, I was not one bit surprised to turn on the TV, and see yet more images of mayhem, murder, and genocide taking place around the world! Perhaps subconsciously, Anna, with her December Musketeer Challenge topic, had us focus on those “Dreams” which were uppermost in our thoughts at Christmas! Certainty a most apt and pertinent theme, with it being the month when most Christians celebrate a remarkable birthday! What else is there left for us to do, except ‘dream’ of better times? Her theme allowed us to fantasize and express our most passionate ‘desires’ in a variety of ways, as suited ourselves best!

Whatever our ‘dreams’ might be - even thoughts of a Utopian world - Anna allowed us to express our thoughts on things in a manner that matters most to us. Perhaps nothing more than a dream where we, despite our many differences, could live together in peaceful harmony? A fantastic dream indeed, that is one which so many desire, but always seems to be unattainable! Ever a ‘war’ out of reach. Certainly her Challenge gave us much food for thought and expression, and reaped - as many of us expected - a veritable plethora of responses that was both varied and eclectic!

Furthermore, with her Challenge, Anna allowed - even excited some of us, to express in various ways, our individual ideas and hopes, for the future! Whether we think of them as unattainable goals or whatever? They are indeed Dreams, we hope one day, to see fulfilled!

Speaking for myself, and knowing Anna was a relatively new Member of the VN community, once she had stepped up to the plate, as it is said, we were away to the races, so personally, I feel most strongly, that she deserves a round of applause for her most valiant effort. All the more incredible and pleasing, when one considers English is her second language. Writing in English can be a daunting task even for those of us born into, and brought up with its many vagaries and contradictions, whilst in the eyes of many outsiders, that is, it borders on the diabolical! Lol! As for myself, had I to use a foreign language? I regret to say, chances are - except for a few feeble murmurings - I would be dumb struck!

Okay, so you can all stop wishing on a star and cheering, as it’s not going to happen - Yet!!

So it’s time to move on yet again. With yours truly, being honoured and asked to carry the baton again, I, after some considerable thought as to what I would like to see testing your poetic capabilities and skills, have decided to give Members a greater choice in how they write their responses. Besides giving you a choice of format - be it rhyme, prose, free verse or even as a rant, or blog - write in the format that suits you best - I am offering Members, two - yes two options! In fact you are encouraged to write on both, if it suits you so to do?

My “triggers” for your inspiration are quite simple, and hopefully, widely encompassing - my opinion at least! It should allow the Poet within you, to venture into realms you’ve not broached before. In other words, I’m hoping my themes will not prove restrictive in any way. Au contraire, it is hoped they will encourage you to investigate alternative options, and encourage you to investigate fields of thought you’ve not attempted before! Why not give your muse free rein, and let your byzantine juices flow! As you are well aware, or at least, should be, there is a “background censorship” active on VN, so just keep your responses clean! That’s all I ask! LoL!

To paraphrase my friend William Shakespeare - as I am often wont to do - Let us once more into the fray, my beloved VN poets, and pen me lines to read, that will fill my head with unimaginable poetic delights - as you may tender - that will once again prove to be the epitome of excellence! Lines to which I can respond with perhaps flattering falderal! No criticism shall be levelled against any or all! No crap! Let’s go to town and have some fun! Fondest to one and all. Now to the Challenge(s).

Firstly: “Things my Father told me.” As that might prove restrictive, it will be quite acceptable if Mother replaces Father, for I know not of your circumstances. Even a combination will be acceptable.

Secondly, if that doesn’t excite you? Imagine “A Solitary figure standing on the shore”. Hopefully that will allow your poetic imagination to run riot, as you describe circumstances that this pictorial image, fosters within you. Be it hope: pathos: sadness: future plans: lost horizons: regrets! The list is endless, Write on whatsoever suits you best!

So I’ll end by saying, Good Luck, Bonne Chance, and have fun. That above all, is the most important condition of all!

Ciao Rhymer aka Denis. January 6th, 2017.

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