“It is required of every man,” the ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Marley’s ghost haunts me still.
It was His will to offer me absolution and contrition,
but Marley’s mission seems to go beyond that.
He has become somewhat of a practical joker.
Never mind the poorhouse, Marley had better
go to the nuthouse and reduce the surplus population
of whatever plane he is assigned to remain upon.

I praise high heavens for the transformation I was afforded.
Nephew Fred has embraced the opportunity
to take this old fool back into the familial fold.
Cratchett is a devoted partner and friend;
more friend than Marley ever was, I’d say
without a doubt. But if it was without young Tim,
I’d never had gotten him to branch out
and become the clark I expected.

Tim. He walks amongst us as if his deformity
was not at all normality. I assure him
it was we who were crippled in our minds
to find him less alive in his malady.
I work less; I walk more. More involved
as a human being than being a businessman.
And all the better for it, I might add.

The true spirits visit as well, but in celebration
of the man I have become. Even the Future Spirit
smiles more; at least he does not waggle
his boney finger in my direction as much.
For that I am most grateful.

My moral remains. A fool and his money are happily separated
when it is used to fete humanity. To Hades with vanity,
I, Scrooge will be as good a man as this world
has seen lo these many Christmases.
God bless us, I have tried. Everyone!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

“Fable” Poem


I mourn the death of words,
last gasps of a once hearty muse.
Of late it refuses to feel inspired
having been mired in grief and despair.

It is there that she lays,
splayed in her former glory,
a story retold more times than it should.
But, I cannot dismiss it as good.

I do not find comfort there where
she once played, things said linger
and reverberate and as of late
leaves me with these stingers where my heart bleeds.

It needs release, but please, let these sessions
end with my true expression, and not the depression
that has laced her loss. The cost keeps mounting
as I am left counting the corpses and divorcing

myself from all former numbers. My mind staggers.
It lumbers, a drunkard inebriate and confused
feeling used and abused and choosing to dispatch
each night until well past mourning slumbers. My words

have hung themselves out to dry, and try
as I might they just don’t feel right.
Words, last gasps of a once hearty muse
remain mired in grief and despair.
She’s no longer there!

© Walter J. Wojtanik

Poetic Asides 2017 April PAD – Day 18: Life / Death Poem


The day lasts long after your light dies
as grains of slumber entice your sleep,
but fight the urge, don’t close your eyes.

Our lives are rife with hellos and goodbyes,
and offers of friendships that we keep.
The day lasts long after your light dies,

and friends remember how you were wise
beyond your years, and your loss they will weep.
But fight the urge, don’t close your eyes.

The end of life’s long day is smattered with highs
and depths of despair that run deep.
The day lasts long after your light dies.

And those left behind will want to wail and cry
as remnants of you lie fast asleep,
but fight the urge. Don’t close your eyes

lest you be forgotten and your glad surprise
fades, as into lost memory you seep.
The day lasts long after your light dies
but fight the urge, don’t close your eyes.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik

Death Poem


Silence does befall this place,
and in the night I see your face.
Every feature haunts my mind
in the darkness of this room I find
your piercing eyes, your turned up nose…
these shadows offer no repose.

This stillness in my heart does ache
and I can tell, make no mistake
the love I carried, I carry still.
For surely I’ll carry you until
my own eyes finally close,
these shadows offer no repose.

But, until that fateful day
I’ll still have so much more to say
to fill the vacuum of this night
and keep your visage in my sight.
For in spite of how our ending goes,
these shadows offer no repose.

© Walter J. Wojtanik


My alias precedes me,
even if my history doesn’t.
A Nantucket sailor on a whaler?
Not absurd though it sounds as if I’ve been around;
from classroom to classless seafarer, dare I
step away sight unseen from the Merchant Marine?
A man obsessed and depressed in Manhattan,
following death as she follows me.
Ahab’s Pequod offers refuge in this centrifuge
chasing the great white; following death as she follows me.
Narrator, philosopher, sometimes poet. You know it
isn’t easy when you’re among only men adrift at sea.
Let me introduce myself. I am Ishmael. Call me.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge – Day 9: Call Me ____


High above the ground I perch
a once green leafy thing hanging by a string,
Now, I’m orange, brown and old
and waiting for the other leaf to drop.
A rapid fall in fall is all I have left.

Why am I hanging in the lurch?
Why wasn’t I created as some other thing?
The winds grow strong and bitter cold,
I pray to God that it will stop!
And yet soon, this branch will be bereft

of me! From here my senses search
but the steel blue clouds are threatening.
They say winter approaches, but I’m not sold,
until suddenly I hear a “pop”!
I begin my descent and slowly I drift!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Poetic Asides Poetic Form – Rimas Dissolutas



A stone
marks your presence,
yet the essence of you
lives within me.

Memories and heart felt emotions
fill the corners of my rapturous soul.
Amidst these rows and rows of monuments,
of marble and granite.

You are both remembered
long since you departed with pieces of my heart,
buried with you, as much as pieces of your lives
live within me.

I come to celebrate you,
feting each life as a part of me,
a solid foundation
upon which I was built.
The only guilt I bear
is not being there to tell you,
“I love you” often enough.

Of granite and stone your time has been marked,
a stark reality to the soft and caring souls you were
in this life of love and wonder. Under this marker you lie;
deep within my heart you remain, an eternal blessing.

Rest comes shrouded in stone,
shadows of death left to languish,
grounded in seclusion; isolation.
Marked in granite,
planet Earth receives all that remains.
Spoils for the soil.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

dVerse Poets Pub – MTB: As a Cubist Poet


She walks unencumbered where once he had lumbered and stood. A good man lost to the world, leaving her soul yearning and giving a burning sensation in her brain. It will never be the same. And yet, she walks in elegance and grace, her face hidden in a forbidden tear. He is not here to share her heart. At the start they vowed never to be far apart, barring the unforeseen. But this scene is missing something, incomplete as her feet shuffle and keeps her perpetual in her motion. She has a notion they will meet again, face-to-face in elegance and grace.

Without him she walks
within loving memories.
Shadows of her heart.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

Presented at dVerse Poets Pub – Haibun Monday: A Little Romance


Death be not proud,
but for crying out loud, can you stop?
Plucking two “roses” in one pop? Really?

The last generation is decimated
I am deflated and sad and have had

All in passing, we are now
that “last” generation.
No elation!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

For dVerse Poets Pub – Quadrille #12: Rose

*** I received news yesterday afternoon that my Mother’s sole surviving sibling had passed away. She was the best aunt and we grew up with her always near. Thirty years after my mother’s death, and within two weeks of each other I lost two women who filled the role of “Mom” in my life. Two beautiful roses have joined the eternal garden, much to our chagrin!