I Came Upon …From Simply Put,  a collection of poems

I CAME UPON THIS DOOR© -arlene s bice

When roaming a medieval town

I came upon this door

by accident, I thought                                                      

tucked into

a hidden lane

a short distance away

it summoned me

come closer, enter after knocking

I remembered it, but how?

I have never been here before

The lamp bid me as welcome

as a candle in a window

it felt familiar

as I paused

letting my senses


to warn or

to comfort, I did not know

But I felt I had been here before

a long, long time ago

The knocker beckoned

my hand to grasp 

let it fall

send echoes

down the hall

of stone


secretive, empty

with stories to tell of times

amidst this forgotten pall

As memories came to mind

visions of men, women

revealed to me

I wondered

what string or crumbs

brought me here

to revive

those stories of long ago

of folks, kindred who must not be left, thoughtlessly, behind   


Filed under Poetry

Maps, a poem from Simply Put, a collection

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay 

MAPS AS PROOF-arlene s bice©

Every now and then

I’ll sit on the floor after dragging down

the pile of maps folded on my bookshelf.

These are the rainy-afternoons-do-you-remember-when-maps.

I don’t buy souvenirs

but I save my maps, some worn others not

emoting moments, some seeking a thing not found

others of finding surprises-quite-unexpected-but-joyfully-held.

Maps are my proof.

I’ve stepped out of the mold, leaving behind

my mother’s daughter; creating my own  true self

becoming a-woman-who-loves-and-saves-her-maps.

And I’ll continue

to travel on roads new to me, soaking in

the atmosphere of another’s world, seeing it differently

then I will be making a deposit-in-the-bank-of-memories-for-a-rainy-day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Poetry, reflection

The Paths Not Taken

Image by bertvthul from Pixabay 

The Paths not Taken © Arlene S. Bice

There were so many paths I could have taken but had no clue they were open to me. That applies to my personal life and also to what could have been my career, though it would have been a precursor to finally becoming a writer. Before I reached that point I would have liked to be an interpreter of Italian, Spanish, and/or French languages. Perhaps I would have worked in the UN building or translated films for closed captioning. I would have liked living in Europe and worked on document and letter translations. Alas, I settled for the delight in listening to foreign languages being spoken all around me when I went up to New York City wholesale district to buy jewelry for my gift shop.

I would have enjoyed owning and running an Inn, a B & B or a wee hotel with a wishing well in the mountains or a small, picturesque village. It would be a hands-on performance with personal interaction with the guests. In later years traveling through the Rocky Mountains with my second husband, we stayed in a snug motel nestled in a mountainside. It had less than 10 units, with an intimate restaurant attached that was charming. The husband and wife lived there. He was a former cross-country truck driver who now opened and cooked in the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. We were lucky to have stopped on a Saturday.  I noted to keep it in mind and return when my kids were fully grown and on their own. Life and love got in the way again. I never returned.

After I reached the mid 50s, I traveled to western North Carolina to Blowing Rock, suggested by a friend who felt I would love the town. I did. It too, had a snug motel, less than 10 units, but in the center of town, a half block off Main Street. I felt like I was staying at my aunt’s house. That’s how cozy and personal the feminine touches presented my room. The owner also lived in one of the units. These were the Blue Ridge Mountains. Real Estate in town was affordable. When I next returned a couple years later properties were sky high in price. The town was even prettier but I waited too long.

I learned some Spanish as a teen, loved the melodic sound of the words. The culture came easily when I visited my brother Albert a dozen times over the years in Puerto Rico.  Visiting my son Ken in Cadiz, Spain where he was stationed in the Navy reinforced my passion for all things Spanish. I read a lot of books with a Spanish backstory and history early in my fervor for reading. My loosely-laid plan was to retire in Puerto Rico. Instead my brother Albert came to live with me in Macon, North Carolina for his last couple of years before he passed.

Learning Italian came fairly easily. I had been exposed to the culture growing up since all of my girlfriends were of Italian descent. Angelo, my fiancé  was born and raised in Italy before coming to America as a 14 year old. I took classes but he refused to speak Italian at home. It would have made the language a bit smoother in my speech. Yet when we were in Italy, he left it up to me to make arrangements. Go figure. When I returned to Italy after he passed over, the language stumbled with a conversation or two. An invisible pat on my back was definite when I held a conversation at a gas station with a kindly older gentleman without struggle or difficulty. Whoo hoo! I did it!

Art always held a special place in my heart. I tried a few times to make room to develop techniques. My first husband fought any attempt I made to improve myself or expand knowledge of any kind. My mother followed the same pattern after I left him. She would not stay in the house with my kids who were by then 14, 12, 10, and 8 so I could attend classes. Again I was forced to stay home and read about artists and the art they created. When I was able to pursue art, nearing my 60s, my writing had already taken all my efforts and challenges. I wondered what my life would have been like if I had never married.

All roads led to writing. It was an early desire that never faded, but kept popping up here and there to keep the fire smoldering until I was able to pursue it, to learn the craft, then to finally share what I learned with others.

Leave a comment

Filed under reflection

A Poem I Wrote Many Years Ago About Italy

Image by Peter H from Pixabay 

(Inspired by Dun Aengus by David Whyte)

(Publ. in Life & Labyrinth and Simply Put)

ITALY –© arlene s bice

And when you go,

try to go before the season

when tourists fill every place.

They take the soul of place away.

See Italy as its people have,

from centuries ago to the present.

Join them with colorful pottery pitchers

of wine on each table alongside baskets of

bread yet warm, with the scent of hot oven-baking

still floating from the kitchen to your table to your nose

to whet your appetite.

Walk the narrow cobbled streets

where the clatter of horses’ hooves fill

your ears even though that time is a long way

passed. Throw open a casement window in your

castle bedroom to sweep your eyes over clay tiled

roofs to the mountains in the distance. Mountains that

pierce clouds as you do, driving down the mountain, the

road carrying you through the cloud slowly that it lays

on your shoulders, imbeds itself into your pores, mouth

and your brain.

Soak in sounds of the squeeze-box;

a strolling soprano sings with all his being

as you stroll along the canals of Venice holding

hands most sensuously not ignoring strangers, but

saving them for the trattoria, where everyone shares a

moment or announced event; they will cheer your good news.

Drink in the crisp, clear water

spouting out of the mountain, like

champagne surging from a wedding fountain.

Place a small offering in the roadside box with the

Madonna, even though you aren’t Catholic, never will

be & don’t believe that stuff. Do it anyway, be Italian

while you are here.

Drive along the Costera Azura

not falling off the mountain into the

azure blue water like you expect to do

at the next sharp turn where you meet a bus

coming the other way. Italians have been driving

this road for centuries and do fall off crashing onto the

rocks below, but you won’t. You have too much to take

home to hold onto when there are only memories to make

you smile with inner glow; you once lived with a joyful heart in Italy.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, reflection, travel

Stroke of Luck

Photo by Paweu0142 Fijau0142kowski on Pexels.com

Stroke of Luck © Arlene S Bice

There were many times in my life when I was thankful for the stroke of luck that I made on a particular choice, turn in the road, or chose a horse to put my hard earned $2 on to win. As I got older and wiser and became aware of angels that looked after me and guides that made me aware of choices, and ancestors who whispered in my ear, I realized those times were not luck at all. They were synchronicity moments. Following my intuition had new meaning. The books that educated me were treasures.

Seeing a double, double rainbow filling the entire blue sky in International Falls on the Minnesota side of the Canadian border, was a vision to remember not for the pot of gold at the end of it but for the moment of what it was, a thing of breathtaking beauty. Seeing it was pure luck.

Early one afternoon on our return trip home, Angelo and I stopped at a K-Mart with only three cars in the large macadam parking lot. I was annoyed at him over some little thing that I don’t remember. We parted inside to look on our own. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t really look, and headed back to wait in the car when I looked up at the sky, stunned! I turned to go inside to find Angelo. He must see this, I thought. I didn’t see him anywhere. “Never can find I him when I want him,” I grumbled as I went outside to fill my eyes again where the entire sky was filled with a double, double rainbow!  I had never seen such a sight and knew I would not see it again in my lifetime.

There he was! He had been inside looking for me to see this glorious sight, gave up and came out again. We marveled together, marking the moment in time to always be treasured. Surely this entire incident was a stroke of luck. The annoying slight was instantly forgotten along with the camera tucked into the luggage somewhere. Good luck only goes so far.

Leave a comment

Filed under reflection

From a fun writing prompt: what do i see outside my window?

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Me & Dr. Seuss© arlene s bice

After dozing over a book at 3 o’clock

I came awake with a sudden shock  

drums were pounding loud and clear

pulsing the air, it made me fear

what was going on this lovely day

I leapt to the window to see what may

be causing such a fracas, be causing disarray

my eyes flew wide, my mouth fell away

it was a king being carried high above

the crowd was calm, no push or shove

neatly they walked, the queen was aside

on her own seat of pomp and pride

but this I cannot believe at all

not thrones, but toilets is what I saw

yes, yes, the crowd carried them too

seats of their own, all white, not blue

ahah! I declared to myself, I know that load

of toilets from Goodes Ferry Road

that disappeared some time ago, remember

toilets that hung on the trees even in December

it seemed like a zillion sat on the ground

lay upright and sideways all year ‘round

so this group of royals won the fame

it will be added to that reigning name

they absconded with the funds

and showed everyone their buns!

PS: there really was a large collection of toilets in a small wood on Goodes Ferry Road

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

From Simply Put…a collection of poetry


arlene s bice ©

I find myself calling on a word that

is lovely to say as it rolls around my tongue

tingles in my ear and bursts into the universe

on paper it turns the page into a bit of happiness

that I share with others that they may enjoy it, too

but I wonder

do other ears tire of hearing

the same old, same old words expected from me

when I open my mouth to speak, to astonish another

with a new idea, using the same old, same old words

excited as I am that I cannot call upon a word unused

often by me

so many words that I love to say;

delighted, sensuous, passionate, positive, synchronicity

words of a musical bent that sing in my head in the kitchen

fettucine, proscuitto, zuppa inglese, freschi, funghi, castagne

words that sound more promising on the Italian menu than

at the cafe

foreign words slipped into our language

may need practice; yet once you learn, say them

they become fun to form in your mouth even for one

who prefers to write than to talk, to listen to the rhythm

in the voice of someone else, to hear if they are using their

same old, same old words.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, reflection, writing

Just Add Books

Photo by M. Tpabnha at Unsplash

My Favorite Chair- arlene s bice(C)

Some may think a favorite chair

is one to sit in with comfort, where

perhaps you read a favorite book

nestled in a sunny, window nook

a chair in chintz, cheerily over-stuffed

with several pillows all plump and puffed

a chair passed down from great-grandmother

or maybe a relative of some kind or other

a chair all squeaky with groans as you sit at rest

wiggle your tush, to make a satisfying nest

ah, such a picture this all makes just for you

always ready to pick up a book, to start anew

but oh, no! that’s not what comes to mind for me

what I like, is a chair that suits me perfectly to a tee

it’s a chair piled high with wonderful books galore

waiting patiently for their turn to be read before

a new package of books appears at my open door.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Poetry

Songs that linger in your mind. . .

photo by Ri Butov from Pixabay

Jerry Vale Songs- arlene s bice

There are so many songs

each one brings back a memory

a treasure that still shines


warm scenes of tenderness

love, dancing

two bodies as one

a song sung softly in my ear

in a sensuous Italian

being held close

desired and full of desire

days of long ago

still kept, to relive

store away

relive again

and again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Poetry

New review (glowing)on Running with the Horses

I’m thrilled to share this glowing review with you:

The wide-ranging destinations — and atmospheres — of this latest literary journey of Arlene Bice’s were already inviting to me as I embarked on this book. I knew from previous experience that her memoir journeys always include what attracts and fascinates me: history, culture, human nature, discovery, synchronicity and, most especially, the mysterious and mystical.

The varied experience that has shaped her life, which she has approached with an open heart, gives her the gift of observing and listening with a kind and respectful wonder. This delighted curiosity helps immerse me in scenes and imparts a wonderful sense of place that feels both real and timeless.

I savored the vicarious travel here on several continents — destinations like Ireland and Australia, the Canadian wilderness, along with the down-to-earth perspective from bus rides with the locals to the ruins of Tulum, Mexico, or the landscapes of Tahiti.

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, horse racing, Ireland, European travel, Australia, Cairns horse racing,, travel