Friday, July 13, 2012

Bad Signs and Omens

Face in a window, window cracked....bad sign...

It's Friday the 13th - superstitions abound. Mustn't rock a rocking chair if no one is in it. Mustn't open an umbrella indoors. When I was in Rome several years ago, I wrote a poem about "bad signs" - all a part of the world of superstition. You'll find it below. And don't miss the post (and wonderful illustrations) of my fellow blogger, Julie Paschkis, over on Books Around the Table - she's thinking Friday he 13th, too!

Yellow hen in the left hand,
left hand touching dead fish,
dead fish on a white plate:
Bad signs, sorrow-bait.
Listen for bells, don't wait.

Bells on the right: Bad night.
Bells on the left: Love in doubt.
Bells straight ahead: Watch out.
Bad sign. Touch salt.

Salt spilled in the morning hours,
flowers tossed in the afternoon:
Tears soon, sighs soon.
Tall flowers in a short vase,
black sky: Hide your face.

Face in a window, window cracked:
Bad sign, worry and waste.
Bread in half, in half again,
crumbs in a circle: No friends.
Circles in a square, squares in a line,
lines in a circle: Bad signs.

Circling swallows, no rain:
Roll the dice. Try again.

Roll the dice...try again....

Dead fish on a white plate...bad sign....
 The Poetry Friday round-up today is over at CHECK IT OUT, so head over there to...check it out.


  1. Oh, that's my kind of poem, Julie. I love the way you take the warning cadences and move them over the lines. Brilliance!

    Steven Withrow

  2. I'm not buying any bells after reading your poem. Nice one!

  3. Just be sure to keep all bells behind you, Douglas!
    P.S. Every bad omen in the poem is imaginary (depending on your state of mind) so I think you and bells should be okay.

  4. I second Steven's comment -- great poem! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Oooh, so many ways of thinking about bells, lines and signs! I third Steven's comment, too - love the "beat" of this poem, Julie.

  6. I was just going to ask if these omens are real - in Rome, maybe? - so thank you for answering! I really like this.

  7. Superstition is a great topic and your poem does it justice. Even so-called sophisticated people hang on to a few of the superstitions brought along from the past. And, some of the sports superstitions are totally unbelievable. (No changing/washing of underwear during the playoffs, or what-have-you. Eeew.)