The Teacher – Rhea’s Story ~ Poetry by Thomas Davison

The Heroines Among Us

A sweet and heartfelt writing, Thomas Davison’s tells the story of the woman who helped him learn to teach incarcerated students. He gives recognition to the heroine acts of Rhea Edmunds!

From the author: This poem is dedicated to Rhea Edmunds – who has taught in all-male prisons for 20 years with no recognition, support, and for very poor pay. Rhea, who is a woman of color – took me, a 63 year old white guy – under her wings four years ago when I started. Everything I know about teaching incarcerated students I learned from her. With deepest respect and love – Rhea this is for you. 

The Teacher – Rhea’s Story

She quietly enters the classroom
And finds thirty all-male
Blue clad inmates sitting
Patiently – waiting
Waiting for her arrival.
They all greet her respectfully
With great deference
Some even reverently.
She is a tall woman
Six feet one inch
With a lean muscled frame
Just beginning to soften
With thinning wisps of graying brown hair
Obviously past retirement age.
She holds herself erect
Her demeanor and temperament
Shout out to the world,
This was once – a very strong – proud women
Always in control
She wonders to herself – not for the first time
“Do I deserve all this praise and adulation?”

Today is green-book day
The last day of class
Of this sixteen week learning journey.
Bitter-sweet day – green-book day
Where each student must stand before the Teacher.
Speak to classmates
Speak with no restrictions
Speak with no boundaries.
Speak of knowledge
Learning – life – dreams – takeaways
About the real world outside.
Some speak well – polished – professional
Others stutter hem and haw
But all speak.

All have something to say
Many read straight from the green covered
Small paper journals.
Journals they received from the Teacher
On the first day of class
Just for this day.
Speakers – direct personal comments to the Teacher
Words of thanks – of praise.
Most recite the Teacher’s – First Day Words
Words such as honor – respect – integrity.
Some scorned – the Teacher’s First Day Words
Branded them – insincere – platitudes.
Now they preach the First Day Words by rote
As only true believers can articulate them.
All have changed because of the Words
Some have changed drastically
But all have changed.

After today – they will return to the daily routine
The broken long arm of the law
The Prison.
For most – the Teacher is the first true role model of their lives
A surrogate mother-figure.
After each has spoken
The Teacher delivers her Final Words
Much like the First Day Words.
She speaks of pride – duty – love of family and friends
She speaks of becoming a dependable person.
Her voice is melodic – soothing
Yet it rings with strength and power
That bely her aged body.
The students sit mesmerized
Listening like sponges
Soaking up the doctrine
The life lessons.
All inhabitants of this prison
Recognize she is a woman of honor
All know
She is The Teacher.
Incarcerated felons and prison staff – all
Appreciate and respect this quiet woman of learning.
The Teacher dismisses the class
But – no one leaves
All arrange in a line by her desk.
They remain for their turn
A personalized farewell
A firm handshake for each eager student.
The Teacher is finally alone
The last student has departed to his bunkhouse.
She collapses exhausted
Audibly dropping her tired old frame – into her chair
With a loud sigh.
She speaks aloud – “One glorious week off – to rest and recover”
Another expressive sigh.
Then it all starts over again – at the beginning
Thirty new felons – the First Day Words,
The sixteen week journey
The growth – development – transformation
The Final Words.
Craving – longing – almost overpowering need
From these men
The search for what exactly?
To locate – a person to teach and mentor them
Confirm by example
How to be – a good person.
She stands wearily and begins packing the tools of her trade
Perhaps it is time to truly retire?
Is it worth it?
She wonders – not for the first time
Little pay – less support – no recognition.

She appears her age now
Face lined with a lifetime of experiences
Protesting – fighting – causes – prisons.
Her tired eyes rest upon the heap of green-books
Slowly the internal fire returns to her eyes.
She straightens her back – her jacket – her scarf
And she straightens her mind.
She opens the classroom door
Exits into the dirty dimly lit hallway
Back into her persona.
She is the Teacher again
She embraces the ramrod – no-nonsense look
She breathes in the role.

She is greeted enthusiastically by staffers and former students
As she strides down the long hall of the education building
In the prisons center
It’s heart.
Her manner is complete calmness
She seems impervious to the dangers surrounding her.
She whispers aloud – not for the first time
“Who needs better – pay – support – recognition?”
She glances down at this semester’s stack of green-books she is carrying
Impressive – full – bulging.
Each book represents a life – a potential salvage
A victory over the system – a win.
Books she will add to the hundreds of others saved
Through her years teaching – in the prisons.
She smiles softly to herself
And mutters – not for the first time
“It is enough.”

“The justice system is broken –
I can never be powerful enough to change the system!”
She recognizes the system is too big – too powerful –
She would lose that fight.
She chuckles
“I can beat the system – one reformed inmate at-a-time.”
She considers the numerous green-books collected at her home
For the first time today – she smiles fully.
She understands – she can win
Make a difference
Help these young men to change course.
She walks boldly onto the prison Yard
She nods – in recognition – to former students.
Greeting each by their surname
Mr. Brown – a nod
Mr. Jackson – another salute-like nod.

A rookie felon – fresh to the prison
Is walking the prison Yard
With an older companion.
He observes the tall woman hauling a clear – see through plastic bag
Stuffed with something green.
He stops amazed
To observe the ritualistic greetings
The display of mutual respect.
The rookie – inquires of his walking companion (a lifer)
“Who is that woman?”
The lifer responds
“Her – you don’t know who she is?”
“Why son – she is theeee one and only!
“She is the Teacher.”

~ Previously published – Third Estate Art, Quaranzine, Volume 2, August 9, 2020


Thomas Davison obtained his doctorate as a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Davison has been teaching entrepreneur-focused business coursework at two prison facilities in Marion, Ohio. He has been deeply moved by his personal observations and interactions with his incarcerated students and has been motivated to create poems and short stories about the day-to-day lives and experiences of his felon-students. Thomas has recently created a not-for-profit (NFP) business, Entrepreneur Services for Felons (ESF). Thomas has dedicated 100% of his writing profits to this NFP, which provides free, one-on-one support services for felons and ex-felons. 

The Heroines Among Us – September Series

The Heroines Among Us

Happy September, Ponderbots!

August had us filling our psyches with little things to keep us going and boy oh boy did the artists deliver on some amazing work! Thank you to each artist for bringing us such great things to appreciate.

For this month, I wanted to take some time to celebrate women! Everywhere we look there are women in the background who may not even realize how inspirational they are. Women tend to take on many roles and wear multiple hats. They are both strong and fierce while also being tender and open. This combination is a powerful force. Both real and fictional, young and old, women have a special way of bringing hope and inspiration.

To the encouragers, protectors, and challengers, this series is full of artists’ expressions in dedication to the heroines who influence us to greatness. Stay tuned for upcoming art!

Mia Savant

Summer & Other Paintings by Nina Budgadze

It’s the Little Things

Nina Budgadze paintings are filled to the brim with pleasing images and color combinations! She pulls you into the simple moments and makes you want to jump into the scene and be nowhere else but there.

The Meeting
The House of Cats
The Lovers
Place for Secret Meetings
The Road


Nina Budgadze


The Green Stone & Other Poems by Meg Smith

It’s the Little Things

Serene poetry to fill your heart and mind by Meg Smith! A good read of treasuring little things!

The Green Stone

This, she gave to me
and said, “It’s a gift,This is for our survival.”
We’re meeting in a coffee shop,
her words the song of my ancestors.
We have both emerged from our tombs.
This stone, this close moon, opens a place
where we both breathe.

The Comet Pilgrimage

Your sleep is a fine place of ice, dust and light —
just as we declared before your sacrament.
Now, this walk is just for me —
on the same street, but a new night —
and the mark of the constellation
falls in the bright trail of an agent,
less than forever.

Fairy Pendant

Counting out flowers,
memory keeps its passage.
A chain, a novel, a voice
cries of fever, at night.
This and more, we keep,
as servants of time’s thief.
This, and more, we keep.


(Photo credit to Derek Savoia)

Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, Oriental dancer, and events producer, living in Lowell, Mass., U.S.A. Her publication credits include The Cafe Review, The Horror Zine, The Starlite Virtual Poetorium, and Atlantic Currents: Connecting Cork and Lowell.


Her most recent poetry books, Pretty Green Thorns,Night’s Island,This Scarlet Dancing and Dear Deepest Ghost are available on Amazon.

She welcomes visits to,

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Melodies to Ponder: Musical Mentions – Hell Froze Over by Coleman Row

My Dear Ponderbots!

Ponder Savant has a new page! I would like to introduce you to Melodies to Ponder: Musical Mentions!

This page is dedicated to giving honorable mentions to music and musicians who leave me captivated. I will periodically be adding new music to the list, introducing and inviting you to participate in the enjoyment!

The first to debut on this page is Coleman Row! Take a look below.

Mia Savant

This song really takes you by surprise. With a haunting beginning, the acoustic guitar slowly sets the groundwork, accompanied by an almost a grunge style melody, which builds into a fiddle duet. Impressive harmonies join to meet a chorus that you didn’t know you needed in your life. This unique mashup of folk and metal styles may seem strange, but it’s one that creates absolute magic.

Musicians: Coleman Row

Informed in equal parts by heartfelt folk ballads and anthemic hard rock, Scottish folk duo Coleman Row merges trad fiddle, rocky guitar riffs and soaring vocals. The result is an entrancing sound made intimate as it is all performed by just two musicians. Since their official formation in September of 2019, Coleman Row have been regularly appearing at Open Mics and busking across Glasgow. Most recently, the duo have been writing and releasing new music recorded during lockdown.

See More of Their Work:

A Lover is Needed & Other Poetry by Walid Abdallah

It’s the Little Things

Take a load off and come read the sweet poetry of Walid Abdallah! Get swept up in the romance and let it fill your heart with elation!

A lover is needed 

A lover is needed for an everlasting love relation
A true lover that meets my expectation

A lover with true emotional qualification
A lover to accompany my heart in its destination

A lover never knows how to betray
A word of separation they never say

A lover that always be there in time of need
A lover that always waters the love seed

A lover that always stays near and shows care
A true lover that always shows love anytime and everywhere

A true lover should be a permanent and eternal friend
Whether near or far only true feelings they send

A lover that should know how I feel before speaking
A lover that never believes in heart breaking

A lover that must dive deep into the bottom of my heart
A lover that never says bye or knows how to depart

In hard times they never change or leave
But in me they always believe

They should always show me love and respect
And give me true heart feelings more than I expect

They should always be around all the time
And never leave me even for some time

They should stand unbearable man
And show love and endurance as possible as they can

Whoever finds in themselves these qualifications
They have just won my eternal love and great expectations

Ask Me

Ask me whatever you want, my dear

My heart will answer truly I swear

Ask me why God created the earth

Only to receive your happy birth

Ask me why God created the sun

Only to help you spread warmth, light and fun

Ask me why God created the moon in the sky its place

Only to lighten the universe sharing your face

Ask me why God created the stars so bright

Only to be like your teeth when it is night

Ask me why God created me

Only to fall in your love as forever will be

Ask me why I love you

Only for the life into my veins you flow

Finding you 

Finding you is getting my life again

Forgetting my sufferings and pain

You put me on the right way

After being lost, being astray

Now I love life for your sake

Forgetting all what is false or fake

You are the one I ever searched for

Because of you, I tasted the love I never knew before

Forever Young

My heart is forever young
A divine hymn to be sung

I love everyone and always forgive
As twice as I take, I always give

I try to be nice as possible as I can
Of peace and love I am a great fan

Life is short to waste in hate
Let tolerance be our only fate

Love people and nature around
Only the base of justice we must found

Leave good mark on each heart you meet
Let your nice memory your main good feat

Whenever you go spread love and affection
Be much nicer than people’s prediction

Treat everyone equally be always fair
Show everyone your respect and care

Being respectful is something you never regret
You will be rewarded more than you expect

We are on earth to make it a paradise
Listen to me and follow my advice

Dream big and complain less
Sadness never lasts and neither does happiness

Think positively and always be optimistic
You can’t change your fate by being pessimistic

Let live, love and learn your goal
Carve them deep in your soul

The heart that doesn’t know envy lives longer
It has better destiny and grows stronger

My heart is forever young
A divine hymn to be sung

.Forget….? Not Yet

I was a little kid one day
I knew nothing but how to play

Once we had a big house and a tree
Every day I used to see

I was playing with other boys
Around the tree with different toys

I always had a dream in my head
To grow up, be bigger than a kid

I always had a wish
Never to know grief or anguish

Did I forget…..?
Never….not yet.

One day I had black hair
Satisfied with my parent’s care

I knew nowhere but my parents’ embrace
I knew that is our house and our place

I still remember my white kite
Flying over our house before my sight

Going to school with friends of my age
Once I was young … a little page

Once we had a full life of our own
Once we had our sun and moon

Did I forget…..?
Never ……not yet.

Suddenly I grew up a thousand years
With cries, grief and tears
It was the first time to hear about Zionist occupiers
Of our own life, they are deifiers

Everything turned upside down one day
My black hair turned into grey

They destroyed our house and tree
Heard lots of desperate cries…Alas, it was me!

And showed up one Zionist
And said to me “Get out, terrorist”

Did I forget…….?
Never….,not yet.

My own parents, they brutally slew
Our house and tree, they fiercely up blew

I had no ability even to weep
As terror into my heart began to creep
Our own life, they have stolen
Our house and tree have fallen

Zionists shouted, “We came to take your land”
Your sky, desert and sand

They said, “Of our own land-get out
With guns’ and tanks’ shouts

Did I forget?
Never, not yet

I began to walk away and run
Under flaming sky and weeping sun

They forced me to desert my land, what a vile!
In my own country, everlasting exile!

All houses, schools and mosques, they demolished
All our friends and relations, they perished
Under my feet I lost my way
In my country, I became astray

My parent slept in eternal peace
They took every comfort and left me no piece

Did I forget?
Never, not yet

I was looking for a place to settle
With no food and water was so little

A while passed and saw some kids like me
They ran away, they did nothing but to flee

We lived together
We were brother to brother

Recalling what happened before our eyes
And our cries reached the skies
Everyone, his story, told
With weather was so cold

Did I forget?
Never, not yet

We promised each other
To defend our country together

We would get back our land
Arm with arm and hand to hand

We are stronger with the power of faith
We have no fear to face

Together we would sweep them out
With our faith, without doubt

The day will come so soon
And get back our sun and moon
Did we forget?
Never, not yet

Pain and torture, they invent
With horror and deliberate intent

Every time they kill one of ours
The more we gain powers

One day they would taste pain
They created a mad world, so insane

They make our streets full of bones
We are much stronger with stones

Keep demolishing houses more and more
We have more stones and they are our weapon and cure

Did we forget?
Never, not yet

As long as there is a drop of sweat
We are not afraid to be killed or hit

As long as there is a drop of blood in our vein
Our struggle would never be in vain

To achieve our own dream
Their hopes must steam

To see a green branch of leaves
Only when the last Zionist leaves

Our relations whose lives they sacrifice
In a procession direct to paradise

With prophets and martyrs, they live together
An eternal life that would never wither

Did we forget?
Never, not yet

The land is ours and forever will remain
Despite all people, they kill and detain

On the land where Jesus Christ once put his feet
The same land will witness Israel’s defeat

Zionists in our land they plant envy
God is watching and destiny

We have God’s right
With which dawn overcomes long night

Did we forget?
Never, not yet

Al Aqsa weeps and calls
Its lobbies and halls
So many martyrs on its land, no matter
For the pigeon again to come and flutter

Despite all Zionists’ crimes, the world turned the deaf ear
Our dream is getting closer, it is very near

For our country we come like water flow
Yearning for our clear sky and its blue

We never surrender or agree
To be slaves after being free

Did we forget?
Never, not yet

Our waiting will never be so long
Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa to us they belong

We will get our right back
And put an end to the night so black
We will get our life again
And get our land every mount and plain

Al-Aqsa will open again to pray
And will never be an easy prey

Our kids will never be slaves
With freedom every newborn behaves

Did we forget?
Never, never, never, not yet.

Her Love 

For the eyes with which I can see

For the heart without which I can never be

For the love of my life as a whole

For my eyes, heart and soul

Although now I can’t see her

She has all my love and care

She is the only cure for my pain

She is the love, I can’t explain

Her love no words can ever express

And will ever remain until after my death

Only for her- these lines – I dedicate

For the love determined only by fate

There is a great myth, I once read
About early mankind, it was said

That was called tale of creation
Was narrated after Eve temptation

When man and woman were in the same body
When one dress was enough for both to embody

At that time man was predestined with only one wife
Throughout his whole life

He didn’t have for a lover to look
All was in his lot, in his book

They loved each other by nature
And nothing could change this feature

Man and woman were forever together
Nohing could make their love wither
Not only one body, but also one soul
Doom and lot drag them and enthrall

They have their own life and happiness
And never knew solitude or loneliness

The soul was in love with the soul
Even before being created at all

They own everything, even the universe
Always together from birth to death

They had the land, not the sky
They could walk and swim, but not to fly

They heard about Gods’ in the skies
Whoever stares up would lose their eyes

The sky means suffer and fear
Where Gods are cruel and unfair
In order to laugh and have fun
They sometimes removed the sun

Gods’ hands were of good and evil
Sometimes hands of merciful and others of devil

There was a God of war
And other of love and adore

There was a God of hate
And a God for improving fate

Suddenly there was a fierce war among Gods
And turning people into bugs or even buds

They began to throw balls of fire
They had their dream and a desire

Separating man away from his wife
Without caring about their life
People began to Gods pray
Despite being victims and prey

For stopping the irony of these conflicts
In turning people into insects

Nobody could hear or care
To stop that nightmare

Till Zeus participated in the game
And became “king of Gods” his name

Zeus easily stopped the war
But couldn’t fix the violations happened before

Man and woman from now on are separating
Can’t any more weld and became impossible their meeting

From now on man lost his own lover
And has to search for her forever
Rarely some succeed in finding her
Some fail although she is very near

People are cursed to hesitate
Can’t make up their mind by fate

Man must walk everywhere and wander
To meet either success or surrender

Even if his lover is very near
He can’t make sure and say “that’s her” is this fair.

I Need You

I need your eyes to see my way
I need your smile to make my day

I need your love to live my life
I need your heart to forget strife

I need your soul to have a being
I need your mind to appreciate my feeling

I need you by my side
I need you in my heart to reside

I need you my angel and Princess
I need you to give me eternal happiness

I need you my dear forever
Promise not to leave me, never

If you will, you can

If you will, you can reach your goals
Man with ambitions never falls

Go for your dream, be ready to fight
Beat your weakness, overcome your night

Always live happily and dream big
Make dreams a crown to be your wig

Let your actions make your noise
Always make success your voice

No room for the weak on this land
Plant your dreams even in rock or sand

Create wings and learn to fly
Conquer your fears and never cry

Wander about the earth to find yourself
Never give up, never put your dreams on a shelf

Never waste your time in regret
Your dreams are closer than you expect

When you fall down, stand up at once
Everyone must taste failure at least once

Success after tiredness is very sweet
Set plans to create your feat

Surround yourself with the optimistic
Get rid of the nasty and the pessimistic

In order to reach the success shore
You need to cross the deep moor

If you will, you can
Snatch your dream, be a man


Walid Abdallah is an Egyptian poet and author. He is a visiting professor of English language and literature in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the USA, his poetry includes “Go Ye Moon”, ” Dream” and “My heart still beats” And has several translated poems which won prestigious prizes in the USA like “Cause”, “Egypt’s Grief”, and “Strangers’ Cross”, his books include Shout of Silence, Escape to the Realm of Imagination, and Man Domination and Woman Emancipation.

Two Frogs & Other Poems by Lynn White

It’s the Little Things

A little cheer may come to you by reading these sweet poems by Lynn White! Follow these stories of frogs, a turtle, and a chicken!

Two Frogs

I loved the pond near my auntie’s.

Just a short walk from the village.

I could get right up close

and peer into the water.

That was how I saw the frogs.

They were not easy to catch but

I managed it eventually, one at a time.

I kissed each carefully

to make sure they were real frogs,

didn’t want one of those prince things.

Then I put them in my shoe and placed

my other shoe on top

so that they couldn’t jump out.

I walked back barefoot

over the rough ground

and the village street.

I discovered that my mother and auntie

were afraid of frogs.

Perhaps they would have preferred princes.

They didn’t like the barefoot walk either.

My dirty feet would show them up,

they said.

My uncle said they were good for the garden

and I would not be allowed to take them on the bus

when I went home.

So I watched them leapfrog through his garden.

I hoped they’d be happy there.

He told me they were,

but I never saw them again.

First published in Scrittura, September 2018

Brenda’s Turtle

When I was a child,

Brenda’s turtle walked

into the hot, hot embers.

No one knew why.

So badly burned

we thought him ready

for an easeful, sleepy death.

“No, no” said the vet,

“very resilient, turtles,

could live to be a hundred.”

I would like to tell you

that he made the hundred,

but he’s not quite there yet,

though he still seems happy enough.

First published in Vox Poetic, May 2017


“Happy Easter!” you said.

I’m trying to smile

as I thank you.

“She’s called Rosamunde”, you said,

a pretty name for a pretty chicken.

I try to smile as I thank you.

for Easter eggs to come.

I wonder if I should show you my new garden,

but perhaps now is not the best of times.

I wonder what Rosamunde will make

of it’s neat patchwork of flowers

and it’s spotless deck.

I try to smile

as I thank you

for Rosamunde

your generous gift

of Easter eggs to come.

First published by Nine Muses Press, March 2020


 Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal and So It Goes.


Find Lynn at: 


Kisses & Other Poems by Jackie Chou

July Online Open Mic

Come and enjoy the wondrous poetry of Jackie Chou! Her calm and sweet writing is soothing to the soul.


Your kiss is Ben and Jerry, Haagen Dazs
The union of our tongues
Awakens my sweet tooth
I want to freeze this moment before it melts
Lick my lips for its leftover taste

Your kiss is a temporary tattoo
Imprinted on my cheek
I cherish for as long as I can
Before time washes it away

Your kiss is a trophy in my heart
I keep as a memento
Until we grow old
Our youthful fling
Only a memory


my muse is the guy from the green day song
when i come around
i wait for him on my threadbare couch
to no avail
i work up a sweat, pull my hair out
i cry copious tears, pound the walls
still he would not come
i am all alone with my inadequacy
and he won’t even let me pursue him

when he finally comes
I don’t know if he’ll stay long enough
for me to capture him
he prohibits me from trying to keep him


My anger is the black side of the yin and yang
One day I’m a gentle breeze
Tickling the surface of your placid heart
Making little ripples of impact
My lips like cotton candy puffs
Whispering sweetness into your ears
The next day I’m a gale
Turning a glint on an incense
Into a fast and far spreading fire
Making havoc out of nothing
My mean streak surfacing
Like the face of a cloudless moon


Jackie Chou is a poet residing in sunny Southern California who writes free verses and Japanese short form poetry.  Her work has been published in Dreamwell One Hundred Memories anthology, JOMP 21 Dear Mr. President anthology, Spectrum, Lummox, Creative Talents Unleashed anthologies, and others. She was nominated for a Best of the Net in 2017 by Hidden Constellation.  

One-Liners Abound – Shola Balogun


Shola Balogun is a Nigerian poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is the author of The Cornwoman of Jurare and Other Poems, The Wrestling of Jacob, and Praying Dangerously: The Cry of Blind Bartimaeus. He also screenplayed The Secret Place, The gods Are Liars, Wrestling with Shadows and Deliverance from The Rod of the Wicked, based on the messages of Dr. D. K. Olukoya, which have been made into short films. Balogun studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, West Africa. His work has appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies, most recently in Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, The Invisible Bear, a Journal affiliated with Duke University’s English Department Graduate Poetry Working Group, Durham, North Carolina and The Tau: The Literary and Visual Art Journal of Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio. Balogun lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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