Day #30

National Poetry Writing Month: Day#30

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo for this year. The challenge today was to write a poem of farewell. Seems so appropriate. I will miss these little (frustrating, hairpulling) prompts. Here is my last poem for the month. Seems appropriate for Mother’s Day, too.


life seems full—
coming and going,
ebb and flow,
welcome and release.
i roll with the flow of tide waters
rushing in where angels fear to tread
but the tide on the ebb—
slowly retracting,
moving just out of reach,
 playing almost out of sight—
leaves me with a sense of emptiness.
the water recedes
i am left
bone-dry and bare-naked.
iwillmissyou(she whispers)
when you ebb away,
but ee knew a little something
about the mystery of
you can move just out of reach,
you can play almost out of sight,
but i will never be without you:

i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart).

ee cummings

Day #29

National Poetry Month: Day #29

The prompt for today was called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. There were twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem. I used ten because my day was too full to work all twenty into my poem.

the new road

i wonder…

emily says dying is a wild night and a new road.
i say dying is sort of like walking too close to the rails when the chicago el whizzes by: whooosh!
nowyouseeme nowyoudon’t!
dying tastes like a quiet color
in explosive rainbow proportions.
i hear the clacking coming;
i feel the rush of wind
and touch the steamy air
just before that silver bullet train starts whizzing toward me.

i wonder if the actual moment of death feels like being a rider on the train watching the people stare as i pass by them.

i wonder if death feels like new life.

i wonder if becalmanddie would make a good slogan on a billboard advertising dying.

perhaps emily is right after all;
perhaps the billboard sign should be lit in blinking neon lights
guiding the way home on the new road (which just happens to pass a tad too close to the el train tracks).


Day #28

National Poetry Month: Day #28

Today the challenge was to find a news article, and to write a poem using (mostly, if not only) words from the article!

the ordeal


he hopped a fence
bound for Hawaii
despite dangers
he stowed away.


displaced in ethiopia.
a somali woman
in a stick hut


distraught and alarmed
clutching her headscarf
she waits and hopes
to reunite.

Day #27.5

I had another photo calling for a poem yesterday, so I obliged the photo with this small poem. This small city, Csesky Krumlov, is nestled in the arms of a river and remains one of my favorite city-places on earth. From the moment you enter her gates, Csesky Krumlov begs you to listen to her stories.

stone stories

listen! lift your head, open your eyes, uncover the ears of your imagination!

the hooves of warrior horses gallop over cobble stone roads
creating security, stirring fear
with every clack clack clacking thunder.

oh, the stories the stones could tell!

of the treacheries of friends and the declarations of lovers whispered in secret places;
of the bravado(trueorfalse) and regales of battles fought and won;
of the newborn cries and the mourner laments mingled with sighs of joy and relief;
of the discordant songs of drunkards and the glorious melody of cathedral choirs vying for attention;
of sizzling meat in fireplace pits and beggars looking for a morsel.

imagine! imagine! imagine the stories of the stones!

the streets of the ancient city still resound with hoary myths of history and hooves of warrior horses clack clack clacking thunder.

throw back your head! toss away your measured imagination! and listen to the voices on the wind.


Day #27

Today’s prompt was to write a poem based on a photograph. I chose a photo from a lovely (unexpected) visit to the beach.

inhale: calm and cloudless air.
sun-kissed water
separating cobalt sky from
emerald green grass.
cool-crisp ground
makes the perfect bed
lying under golden willows.
eyes closed, listening–
the rustle of the leaves,
the call of a bird,
the pop of a skeet gun,
the crack of a driver,
the coolness of fingers,
the softness of breath.
exhale: quiet devotion.


Day #26

National Poetry Month: Day #26

Today was a very busy day and the prompt was too complex for my available time. I decided instead to rework a poem I wrote for my dear daughter’s eighteenth birthday. I love her so.

eighteen years

my heart
roars like a lioness;
she rides the blue sky
independent spirit
rising high
in beauty and grace
she rides
she rides
a reflection of me
a piece of my souI
our bones
fit together
in the difficult places
connected by sinew
in the curves and valleys
we fit
although often
we fit through
a hard scraping
of bow
against taut string
a powerful symphony
or unrelieved cacophony
but even the dissonance
the discordant sounds
of souls too thick with
love to disengage
I really should have known.
she captured
my heart
the moment her heart
began to beat
in sync with mine.


Day #25

Today the challenge was to write a poem that uses anaphora. Anaphora is a literary term for the practice of repeating certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple clauses or, in the case of a poem, multiple lines. The phrase “A time to,” as used in the third Chapter of Ecclesiastes, is a good example of anaphora.

I chose to use today’s challenge to honor my friends Joe and Mary Drouillard who celebrate their sixtieth year of life and thirty-fifth year of marriage tonight at a gathering of friends. This poem is for Mary and Joe and all the other “Marys and Joes” out there who know about the cadence of life and enduring love in relationship.

thirty-five years

the cadence of the years marches on
like a demanding taskmaster who knows
the click of steel toe boots on cement tick
tick ticks off time.

the cadence of the years marches on
like a faithful friend who knows
the rhythmic certainty of cadence brings
comfort and consolation.

the cadence of the years marches on
like an ardent lover who knows
the joy of passionate pursuit and finds
shelter and security in love.

the cadence of the years marches on
without reprieve
without permission
without forgiveness.

but you.

you are
my reprieve
my permission
my forgiveness.

you are
my demanding taskmaster
my rhythmic certainty
my ardent passion.

the cadence of the years marches on
and I wouldn’t choose to march with anyone

but you.

Day #24

The prompt for today: to write a poem that features masonry–walls, bricks, stones, arches, or the like.


I never knew
my great-grandfather the mason
but his song beats in my heart
and runs through
the veins of my children.
great-grandpa wolfgram
laid the units of our family–
units of love and integrity,
devotion and dedication,
hard work and equity.
and those units were bound
(and bind us still)
by his mortaroffaith–
a durable cement
that overcame
the great depression,
early death.
the structure of our family–
built brick upon brick,
secured stone upon stone,
laid in unique designs,
sprinkled with a twinkle of quick wit–
this structure
beats strong
in every pulse
of our shared bloodline.
I never knew
my great-grandfather,
the mason,
but every day
the generous way
he slathered
over our lives
rises like an archway
firmly rooted on earth, but
pointing toward heaven.

Day #23

Today’s prompt is an oldie-but-a-goodie: the homophonic translation. I had to find a poem in a language I don’t know and translate it into English based on the look of the words and their sounds. I chose Finnish poet Eeva Kilpi (her poem can be read below in Finnish).

that day

sand in jasmine hair,
sunning yellow cats sitting
on a red couch;
the jade pool invites a sky and
the red couch, lips.
the sun talked some magic
and carats were the encore
when merlot colored tulips
spoke to me.
come some happy, come–
the new coming cadence attained.

Sano heti jos minä häiritsen
Sinun jäljiltäsi katson itseäni
Jo puolivälissä tiskiä
Rakkaus on lepo
Sinun tuoksusi minussa
Koiratta on kuonoa
Meidän tulisi sanoa toisillemme
Kun suru häipyy
Nukkumaan käydessä ajattelen
–Eeva Kilpi

Day #22

Today’s prompt challenged me to write a poem for children. I was inspired by Ev who grew grass from seed in his preschool class and lovingly placed an earthworm he name Mr. Smarty Pants in it. We had this conversation on the way home from school.

Ev: Worms like to eat dirt, Mama. Did you know that? I don’t particularly like to eat dirt, it tastes nasty. But worms like it.

Mr. Smarty Pants

Worms like to eat dirt.
I can’t imagine why.
My tummy might hurt
if I gave that a try.

The taste must be ghastly;
I’m certain I would hate it.
But worms don’t think it’s nasty.
They like their food with grit.

So little wormy,
leave your grassy home.
I love how you are squirmy
when you leave the dirt to roam.

Come give my hand a tickle
as you crawl out from the grass.
Then I can feel you wriggle
when you eat your dirt repast.