98th Musketeers' Inspirational Title Challenge: Introduction and Acknowledgement

a writing by Conrad Kruger van den Bergh

Dear Musketeers, fellow writers, poets and friends!

Once again the coveted baton arrives to the shores of South Africa! A huge thank you to a great friend and gentleman Sir William Willis and the Musketeers, for once again entrusting me with such a great and noble privilege! This would be my third challenge title and as always, it remains a task which I humbly yet proudly accept!

Sir William indeed presented us with an outstanding title in the 97th Musketeers Inspirational Challenge; that is "And You'll Go Fly Your Magic Carpet, Far Above The Sky”; inspired by the beautiful songs and lyrics of Dr. Hook, one of the greatest bands ever.

Our poets responded magnificently and the poems and writings included anything from gentle flights of nostalgic imagery, to majestic contemporary visions of all that is beautiful and which sometimes can only be noticed by the keen eye of the poet.

It was indeed a pleasure to read through all the challenge presentations and compositions. I for one can sometimes only sit in awe at the skill and talent of the vast international Voicesnet community. Thank you once again Sir William for taking the lead on what can only be described as an incredible successful 97th Challenge Title run!

Like before, I knew that I would indeed have my work cut out for me to come up with a decent 98th title challenge to match those of the many previous ones. As for my previous challenge titles, I once again kept the reliable old pencil and notebook handy, scribbling down a few thoughts that came along; pondering if they would illicit enough emotion and inspiration.

I am a great reader of classic texts and books. I suspect it would be fair to say that to some extent, that I have probably read a great chunk of what can loosely be classified as “…the most influential classics…”, not only from the Western literature tradition, but also from the African literature tradition, the Middle Eastern and the Far Eastern ones.

Out of all the incredible text and writings out there, there is one that moved me the most, and still does. That is the original English translation of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables.” With beautiful paragraphs such as “…the night was serene. Not a cloud was in the zenith. What mattered is that the earth was red, the moon retained her whiteness. Such is the indifference of heaven,” …one can only admire Hugo’s writing skills.

So, I thought it would be great to turn to old Uncle Victor for some inspiration this time around! Of the many well-known passages and quotes from this novel, I looked for one which can lift us up.

So, without ado, I hereby declare (***drumroll***) that thanks to Victor Hugo, the title for the 98th Musketeer Inspirational Challenge will be a quote from “Les Miserables", which is:

“For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life.”

Please feel free to play around with the title a bit to suit your own particular poetic needs. Anything in more or less the same line of thought would do just fine!

I am looking immensely forward to reading what all our friends and fellow poets will be able to come up with! Once again; may our imaginations run wild; may we explore the deepest part of our hearts, and may everyone enjoy the 98th Musketeers’ Inspiration Challenge title!

Thanking each and every noble poet in advance for taking on this title, and once again, a warm thank you to the noble Sir William and the Musketeers for allowing me to present to our most fabulous writing community the 98th Musketeer’s Inspiration Challenge Title!

Warm regards dear friends! XXX

Conrad K van den Bergh
8 March, 2019

As previously presented by Sir Richard Gildea, here is a list of all the previous noble challenge titles:

“You may borrow my pen but don't use my ink”
(1) by Keith Lumbard, UK
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“A Small Lump of Clay” with “A Transient Name"
(2) by Roy Kneale, UK
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“Whither the Wind blows, there Falls the Seed”
(3) by Jacinta Ramayah, Malaysia
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“You may lead my horse to water, but you can’t make him Drink”
(4) by Richard Gildea, UK
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“Though Nothing Can Bring Back the Hour of Splendour in the Grass, Of Beauty in the Flower”
(5) by Nancy Crossland, USA
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"All Cards are Marked and All Fates will Collide"
(6) by William Willis, Scotland
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"The Fragrance of the Virtue Rises to the Heavens"
(7) by Drsudarsan Damodar Prasad, India
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"Fasten your Seatbelts, it's going to be a Bumpy Night"
(8) by Marcia Schechinger, USA
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"Two Hearts Beating As One"
(9) by Elizabeth Squires, Australia
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"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be"
(10) by John Trent, USA
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"The no mind not thinks, no thoughts about no things - The Buddha"
(11) by Pattra Shuwaswat, Netherlands
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“The Child is Father of the Man"
(12) by Dowell Oba, Nigeria
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"The Rise and Fall of Notes"
(13) by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark
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"Just Give me a Cowboy/Cowgirl Poet"
(14) by MarVenea Rainwater, USA
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“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into”
(15) by Susan Mary Burns, Ireland
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“I may be lying in the gutter but I’m looking up at the stars”
(16) by Tony Grannell, China
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"Per Ardua Ad Astra"
(17) by Pauline Miller, UK
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“Heady bit of bungee jumping, this pride leaves you hanging alone at the end of it”
(18) by Rita Singh, India
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"Too Lightly On Life's Scales Compassion Weighs"
(19) by Roy Kneale, UK
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“How Can A Bird That's Born For Joy, Sit In A Cage And Sing”
(20) by Christine Shaw, UK
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"I Hesitantly Walked Through The Portal Not Knowing What Lay Ahead"
(21) by Maggie Pollock, Scotland
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Dreams aspire to reach the sky, "When Doves Fly"
(22) by Richard Gildea, UK
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"Let your life dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf....to the music of love, faith, trust and pixie dust.."
(23) by Nishu Mathur, India
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"A Tiny Seed Of Love Was Sown"
(24) by Linda Lee, Spain
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"That It Will Never Come Again, Is What Makes Life So Sweet"
(25) by Edwin Jepson, UK
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"Acrostic Challenge"
(26) by Denis Barter, Canada
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"The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side Of Life"
(27) by Dwayne Rankin, USA
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"Forty Two"
(28) by Andy Fardell, UK
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"Only When You Drink From The River Of Silence Shall You Indeed Sing"
(29) by Hina Firdose, India
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"No Man Is An Island"
(30) by Lynne Colgrave, UK
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"One Cannot Educate the Human Heart"
(31) by Marie Smith, UK
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"The Mountains of Conviction"
(32) by Dhal Bahadur Jirel "Ravi", Nepal
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"The Man In The Arena"
(33) by Charles Sides, USA
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"Zero Covers All"
(34) by Satheesan Rangorath, India
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"This Afternoon, All Clocks Went Wrong"
(35) by Michelle Klemm, Germany
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“Embrace the Uncertainty of Life”
(36) by Richard Gildea, UK
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"If Ever I Must Sing As Poets Have”
(37) by Matthew Bill, USA
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"If Adversity Gets the Better of You”
(38) by Milagros Gastanes, Philippines
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"The Charles A. Sides Memorial Challenge"
(39) by William Willis, Scotland
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“Everyone Has A Secret”
(40) by Jean charles Laws, UK
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"My Life, A Book Without Pages"
(41) by Taurai Mutoti Charumbria, Zimbabwe
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“When the Sun illuminates, upon the Sapphire Skies”
(42) by Gladys Padron, USA
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"D-Day"
(43) by Andy Fardell, UK
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"We build too many walls and not enough bridges"
(44) by Hsien Lou, South Africa
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"We're all on a journey"
(45) by Roy Kneale, UK
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"We live in times of Deep Regret"
(46) by Alan Brown, UK
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“Whom the Cap Fits, Let Him Wear It”
(47) by Samson Olajide Iyanda, Nigeria
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“Of Scars and Stories"
(48) by Anna Urviya Hasan, India
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"Traditions for my Christmas Soul"
(49) by Karyn Henry, USA
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"Hands across the Sea"
(50) by The Musketeers, UK (& France)
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"My Train is running at its fastest”
(51) by Reginold Ajay Jacob, India
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“Without I write, I would remain dumb!”
(52) by Denis Barter, Canada
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“Memorial for Bob Macchia”
(53) by The Musketeers, UK (& France)
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“Seize not my Treasure from Me, because I'm far too Great to Crawl at your Feet”
(54) by Rufus Brughs, Nigeria
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“Out of wreckage and destruction, springs a welcome sprig of hope”
(55) by Christine Shaw, UK
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“With pen in hand, my thoughts I give”
(56) by Betty Janko, USA
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"My page is a canvas, and my pen is a brush, as I paint with words a portrait of us...”
(57) by Elizabeth Trondsen, Canada
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"The ‘Mary Anne Shovlin’ Memorial Challenge”
(58) by The Musketeers, UK (& France)
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"Light a candle, make a prayer for the lost souls; ......................"
(59) by Peninnah ng'ang'a, Kenya
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"We all are victims and victors of our decisions, still if I could wish...."
(60) by Edorh Edeyinkor Sunday, Nigeria
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"Tis the Season, Let us be kind to one another" - Bah Humbug!
(61) by Dawn Horner, USA
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“Did I say that's how we first met; probably not!”
(62) by Sucheta Dutta, India
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“A Working Class Hero is Something to Be"
(63) by William Willis, Scotland
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“Is Too Much Knowledge A Dangerous Thing?"
(64) by Tobias Kerins, UK
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“The Narrator for the Spaces in between”
(65) by Dale Costello, Australia
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“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it" & "Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened."
(66) by Nishu Mathur, India
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“...in your room of gentle love, on that delicate round table of your kindness…"
(67) by Conrad Kruger van den Bergh, South Africa
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“I walk like I’ve got oil wells, pumping in my living room’’
(68) by Raghunandan Ram, India
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"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on”
(69) by Nancy Crossland, USA
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"WHAT MAKES A POET SING”
(70) by John Starks, USA
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"'The inner child' (its influence on our past, present and future)
(71) by Susanne Rowell, Germany
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"What happened, to the ‘Last Straw’ that broke the Camel’s back”
(72) by Kenneth Malvyn Clark, UK
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"Christmas Dreams"
(73) by Anna Banasiak, Poland
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“A solitary figure standing at the Shore" / “Things my Father told me”
(74) by Denis Barter, Canada
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“Yes, these are my treasures beyond compare”
(75) by Betty Janko, USA
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“Laugh and the World Laughs with You"
(76) by Pauline Miller, UK
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I don’t know much, but I know ‘I Love You’
(77) by Rita Singh, India
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"On the 'Sands of Time' I place my print"
(78) by Rufus Brughs, Nigeria
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"For only a strong Woman knows how to let go of her problems"
(79) by Conrad van den Bergh, South Africa
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"Happy to be born a Human, for the love of God and Man"
(80) by Drsudarsan Damodar Prasad, India
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A Memorial Challenge for Marie Josephine Smith R.I.P.
(81) by The Musketeers, UK (& France)
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"The Life so short, the Crafts so long to Learn "
(82) by Kenneth Malvyn Clark, UK
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"When you give happiness, you receive happiness / I thank God, He gifted me to you."
(83) by Mobani Biswas, India
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"Three things cannot be hidden for long: The Sun, the Moon and the Truth."
(84) by Drsudarsan Damodar Prasad, India
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"Triumphs and or Tragedies........................................."
(85) by Adam Archer, Australia
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"The Rhythm of Life"
(86) by John Starks, USA
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A 'Memorial Challenge' to Honour the Life of Jeff (JJ) Humphrey R.I.P.
(87) by The Musketeers, UK & France
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"My beloved one, who offered me his/her hands"
(88) by Roche Igot Rosos, Philippines
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“A cherished memory I would share with you”
(89) by Denis Barter, Canada.
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"One Of Life's Greatest Gifts"
(90) by Roy Douglas Kneale. UK.
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"Let My Pen Write of the Dreams I Hold Dear!” as a beginning title.
(91) by Betty Janko. USA.
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"Love And The Universal Karma"
(92) by Pat Kelbaugh, USA
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"I too have become a Poet at heart, 'cause I hear the love's first sweet notes!"
(93) by Drsudarsan Damodar Prasad, India
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"To Succeed In Life, you need three things. a Wishbone, a Backbone and a Funnybone"
(94) by S.zaynub Kamoonpuri, Tanzania
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"The Christmas Craze"
(95) by Chad Martinez, USA
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"Every heart sings a song incomplete, until.............."
(96) by Richard Gildea, UK
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"And You'll Go Fly Your Magic Carpet, Far Above The Sky."
(97) by William Willis, Scotland

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