Thursday, August 10, 2017

We Lost One Of The Really Good Ones This Week…

Janine J. Daniel, otherwise known online as Spinny.

Janine was an amazing poet and visual artist. Her drawings were incredibly talented and beautiful.
I have known Janine through online poetry boards and e-mail since 1996, over 21 years now.

I just found out tonight that my old and dear friend and poetic collaborator Spinny Janine has passed away after a brief illness.

To give you all just a bit of a sense of who Spinny was:
“I am just a bit heartbroken at the moment. I think a few of you here knew Janine, she was active in online poetry for a number of years, and a talented artist. She also had a perpetual child-like innocence about her, and yet a wicked sharp sense of humor. I have been friends online and across several poetry boards with Janine since 1996, eons in internet time. I just learned from a mutual friend on Facebook that Janine has passed away after a brief illness, unexpectedly.

I know I’m not here enough, but I can’t think of any better place to place a tribute to my friend than in the only surviving online poetry board I know of where poets that knew her words still write.

I will post here a poem that I wrote in 2005 trying to describe my friend’s light in the world, and then an epic poem that we co-wrote many years ago. Read them or not, but she deserved the post at the very least.


This was something I wrote back in 2005 in a poetry board Janine & I shared for many years. I was trying to describe how Janine was in the world. I can’t think of another better tribute to a friend I’ve known so long:

Gossamer Soul…
If there is a font of kindness you have drawn it’s draught surely,
In the well of imagination you have bathed by Moonlight,
Dancing upon clouds you rain smiles upon the Earth,
Even filled with tears to bursting you are a light among shadows,
Knowing that to be human is to feel pain you still exude joy,
Worry not that your empathy is leaden. (It isn’t so.)

If you impart laughlight into darkness then you have sung your brightest song.
Whirl upon your pedestal amidst the soulflowers,
Itself merely the earthen hill where the sunrise is your backlight,
Innocent wisdom becomes you,
As we are all graced to know your name,
When you light upon your castle’s ramparts,
Rainbow wings folded shut and having done what you must…

Be filled with knowing that this is enough.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/28/2005

Author’s Comments:
For Spinny.


Co-written by Janine & I:

Flight To Cupid’s Castle…

I am the Faerie Princess Miriam,
From the land of Zillmere,
I feel confused and scared ,
Of the task facing me,
A curse has been cast across all the land,
I trembled with fear ,
When the witch Zarinda raised her hand,
“Let it be heard”, screeched the crazy old crone,
“No more will I be cast down and spat upon by man,
A blight will pustulate across the earth,
Then all things will perish and rot unto death,
And only true love can stop the plague!”
So now I must journey,
To find a solution,
To vanquish this curse.

I am the poor Prince of Elves of Ellendae,
Aeronel, child of Elven rulers am I,
And upon our beautiful kingdom is an ancient covenant,
True love only may be the reason a ruler takes a royal spouse,
Or down will come crashing the kingdom,
‘Twill be sunken beneath the sea,
Leaving only the Emerald Castle upon a lonely island,
Surrounded by an ocean of tears from sea to sea,
And upon my majority of yesterday,
I have one week to be upon my journey,
For I must travel the world in search of love,
And never may see the Emerald Castle should I fail,
And upon this Friday I must set my course and sail.

I’ve been travelling across the dying land,
I’m very tired and my wings are cracked and dry,
I haven’t seen any living creatures for hours,
I’ve seen devastation all around and I can’t help but cry,
For the last three hours I’ve been following some tracks,
Of man, beast or elf I know not what,
Now I’m lying prostrate and hidden behind a rock,
And I think I’m going quite out of my mind,
For up ahead resting under a tree I’ve spied,
An Ellendae Elf….. I can’t believe my eyes,
He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,
And that’s why I think this must be a dream,
If I wake myself up will he still be there?
I will approach him then if only I dare!

I’ve sailed my magic balloon o’er the Ellendae sea,
And touched down at it’s shrinking edge,
‘Twixt dried out creatures out of water I’m wandering,
And I’ve cried out my tears at the land’s condition,
Not a living thing to sight nor sound,
The sun’s heat is all pervasive in shimmering waves,
Ahead is the remnant of a mighty white oak in a ring of rocks,
A place to rest my weary bones after battling currents of air,
And sip a few draughts of enchanted Elven wine,
From a golden rune covered flask,
And carry on to the sight I see before me,
For might it be the answer to the world’s prayers,
It’s Cupid’s Castle standing dancing in the heat shimmers,
And what is this, a beautiful Faerie hiding behind a rock?

I don’t think he saw me hiding behind my rock,
I felt shy, nervous and excited all at once,
Should I trust this stranger with the beautiful smile?
Can I know someone just from the gleam in his eyes?
I pondered on these questions and became dismayed,
When the Elf left the clearing and quickly disappeared,
I cautiously stepped out and followed along the track,
He led me to a castle and I watched him enter a door,
What do I do now I wondered and I could feel my heart beat race,
My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to have a peek,
I opened the door slightly and surreptitiously looked inside,
He was waiting right there for me and he held out his hand,
For the first time that day we were standing face to face.

The Faerie lass has followed me in,
It was time we were introduced in close to proper manner,
We seem on the same path here in the blasted land,
So I think I will greet her and offer friendship’s hand,
She is a sight to behold of great beauty,
Though her travels have been difficult it’s plain to see,
“Dear Faerie lass I am one Aeronel Ellendar by name,
and the Prince of the Elves of Ellendae,
I can see you thirst and have travelled far,
Care you beautiful lady for a sip from this golden jar?”
“‘Tis Elven wine and magic, too,
For it will restore your strength to you,
And I would not see harm come upon you,
Even though I have a quest I must see through.”

“Sir Elf I shall if I truly may,
For a long flight it was to come this way,
And while we are sharing names so politely,
I am Miriam of Zillmere and Princess of the Realm.”
I curtseyed in greeting and took a sip,
My wings gained back their shimmer and shine,
And all in all ’twas a pleasant find,
Here in this strange castle that looked so lovely,
Amidst a blasted blighted land that needed a tender hand,
Yet I wondered how could it be I would find,
A true love in the midst of this place and time.
“Do you know oh Prince of Ellendae,
The name of this castle of such good cheer,
And precisely what it is doing here?”

“Why, ’tis Cupid’s Castle we are in this day,
And the reason for my quest leads me here,
Though I can not speak of it’s nature until it has been fulfilled,
I think to speak with Cupid I will be thrilled.”
“This land has suffered greatly it seems,
And I should love to see this awful blight gone away.”
I thought then again how strange to find,
A Faerie of such beauty in a land so ill and awful,
And I wished not her company to lose,
For there was a terrible loneliness in even this place,
It struck me strange that such should be,
For this was the Keep Of Love in which we stood.
“Might we go, sweet Princess,
And find the master of this castle without delay?”

I held my breath and held my tongue,
For if this truly was the Keep Of Love,
I should seek it’s master at once and without delay,
For He would be my best hope of vanquishing the curse,
For the crone had declared I must find true love,
Outside the borders of sweet Zillmere,
Or the blight would pox the world entire,
And only death and lifelessness would endure,
And I could not speak of the true nature of my quest,
And like the Elven Prince I could not dally,
For many lives hung in the balance,
So willingly I took his handsome hand.
“Kind Prince please lead on,
For I seek also to speak with the castle’s master.”

I walked towards the center of the keep,
The Princess’s hand held within mine,
And somehow I was unsettled and felt unsure,
A feeling I’d never known before,
I had her constantly on my mind,
Though I should be thinking of the task to hand,
And the thick and stout walls as we walked echoed each footstep,
And with each step the hanging plants grew more flowers,
A lush array in which butterflies danced riots of colors,
And we quietly marvelled as love birds flew in sweeping arcs cooing,
And nightingales sang in sweet duets of birdying notes,
Small creatures in pairs of many kinds,
But not a single person did we spy,
Until at the central fountain did we arrive.

I walked along with the handsome Elf,
And it seemed as if I was falling under some spell,
For the castle had a sweet beauty and cheer,
But the butterflies in flight had cousins in my stomach,
And I felt nervous at every step,
And I could not ever remember feeling this way,
Even as I noticed the Elf looking my way so strangely.
Then we came upon the central courtyard,
And four great eagles stood at the compass points,
And a beautiful fountain rose at it’s center,
A soft rosy marble and filled with pink light,
It’s plumes misting to incredible height,
And rainbows danced in amongst the spray,
And it seemed at first a dove was flying our way.

“Hold fast ye two and move another step not!”
A great voice rolled over the pretty Faerie and I,
And I saw a white winged man settle upon the ground,
A great bow in his strong hands and quiver upon his shoulder,
And all set in gold and rubies and white roses,
And he held out his hand in a halting gesture,
And at this Miriam of Zillmere gasped a single word.
I found my arm around her shoulder,
And I knew fear for her safety in great measure,
As Cupid stared at us with a rose red gaze,
And then he spoke in a quiet yet powerful voice.
“You may not come near the waters of my fountain,
For ’tis there my arrows are dipped!”
“I am Cupid, Eros, Cherub of Love,
Son of Venus, child of Aphrodite,
And you walk my grounds uninvited.”

I knew of course their names,
And yet these two beings walked my grounds,
A halo of mystery surrounding their purpose in my domain,
And never have I been denied sight,
Nor knowledge of every corner of any creature’s heart,
Save this time with the Elf Prince and Faerie Princess.
I drew my bow and strung an un-dipped arrow,
Prepared to strike if some evil was afoot,
And quite confused at this entire scene.
Being a God of Love is a lonely position,
For one can never see with clarity,
When one’s own heart is involved,
And could not give a magical love away on one’s own behalf,
Knowing that such had been induced rather than earned,
Yet this was the only unclarity I had ever seen,
And of these twain I was most wary.

“Speak now and tell me your purpose in this castle,
Beginning with your royal highness of Zillmere!”
Cupid said unto me with great power,
Eyes flashing rose-colored daggers our way
“I am told Lord Cupid that I cannot say without ruin,
Yet a God I may not disobey so you shall hear.”
“I am charged by the evil witch Zarinda to find true love,
Outside the bounds of sweet Zillmere in the barren lands,
And within the span of one month or the blight will spread,
Engulfing all the land and ending all life upon the world.”
At this news Prince Aeronel gasped and looked wild,
As if some great shock had struck him like an arrow.

“Now yon Elf please speak your tale.”
I heard Cupid’s velvet and power voice say.
“Lord Cupid I find this quite strange,
Especially on the heels of Princess Miriam’s revelation,
For I am charged to find true love outside dear Ellendae,
Or the seas will swallow the world within the month,
Leaving only the Emerald Elven Castle Eadaeling to stand,
And nothing left living in all the world,
Just the dead floating in a sea of tears.”
I heard the princess gasp in shock at my revelation,
And Lord Cupid looked both perplexed and ponderous,
And I could see he was deep in thought.
“I can see no lies in either of your hearts,
And these secrets you reveal are unknown to me,
Which has never before come to be.”
“Stand fast and move not lest you destroy all.” said Cupid.

These magic folk of royalty posed quite the issue of the age,
For if they truly were charged to seek true love,
It could not be bespelled from a magic arrow,
It must arise of it’s own accord within their hearts,
Lest all the world be blighted, flooded, or both,
And somehow I must make them understand that I could not,
Should not and dare not give them the arrows,
And surely that is what they sought here upon my grounds,
‘Twas plain to see they’d hoped a God of Love come to rescue,
An avenue from peril to be saved.
‘Twas then I spied a glimmer of hope,
For in revealing their secrets to me the veil was lifted,
I could again see within their hearts plainly,
And knew my mother had granted life back to the world.
It was upon me to make these twain see their salvation.

“I shall be forced to kill one of you twain,
For in so doing I can end one curse and help the other,
And save the world from devastation.”
“You must choose among you which it must be.”

I gasped in horror at the God’s proclamation,
And an awful feeling stole my very breath,
And I, Princess Miriam of Zillmere wept crystal tears,
For I did not wish to die while so young and hale,
And then the terror invaded my brain in white agony,
For when my thoughts turned to the death of Aeronel,
I found that this I could not face nor bear,
He was kind and handsome and young and brave,
And had done his best to save the world as he was charged,
And in that moment a realization stole my sight with tears,
For I knew then what love was in truth,
And what the threat of loss of love was in horrid truth,
For I had fallen in love with Prince Aeronel!
“It must be I, oh Cupid, hurt Aeronel not!”

“Nay, ’twill be I and not Miriam!”
My brain had gone to white fire,
I, Prince Aeronel of Ellendae,
I could not let this beautiful creature that I,
That I loved?!
I could not fathom a world denied her beauty,
A world where such a kind heart was laid waste,
And dearly as I wished to live I could not let her die,
So I leapt forward ready to throw myself in combat,
Willing to face an armed and angry God for her sake,
And knew I would die upon the moment,
Yet Miriam and the world would have a chance to live,
For my death would negate my duty,
Giving all else a chance to live including beautiful Miriam.

When both these royals flew at me,
Showing their nobility in truth,
And revealing the truth I had seen in their hearts,
I knew the day was won,
For they held true love right there in their hearts,
Beating strong and true,
So I froze them still in mid spring,
And called them each by name,
“Miriam, Aeronel, can you not see now clearly?”
“Has love so blinded you?”
I waved my hand and conjured us clear of castle and fountain,
And we all stared in awe as tiny green shoots rose all about,
And the land slowly came back to life.
A great bush of white roses grew in half circle round lovers twain,
And I placed a white rose in Miriam’s golden hair,
And another upon Aeronel’s chest,
And with tears in all our eyes I made them husband and wife,
And thus terrible Winter was held at bay,
For in their loving was birthed young Spring.

Spinny; AquarianM

By: Janine Daniel & Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 09/10/2001


Daniel and I and our poem have been chosen for “Feature Poets” (October 15 thru November 15, 2001) by Literary Angels for their website at

This poem was given an award by Mystic Wings from
Flowing Quills Poetry forum called
“Mystic’s Award for a Magical Moments Poem” 13th September 2005


Goodbye, my friend –


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