NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-Nine

Today’s prompt was to write a poem based on things I remember using specific details, and without worrying about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. Well, since today is the retirement reception for a dear professor from my alma mater, I will share a poem I wrote to read at the reception tonight. This poem is rich in imagery and detail about Peter’s life and my memories of us together. I can’t think of a more fitting poem to share on this “things remembered” 29th day of NaPoWriMo.


as far as a rhapsody is concerned,
gershwin has it down pat
and peter is his master.
he cruises over the keys like
a winsome boy heading to the fishing pond–
at once owner and guest,
inviter and intruder.
he wrestles a tango out of the notes making love look like precision.
but these are not miraculous things
and the miracle is not the man,
merely a part of him.

a kilt clad, bagpipe blowing sicilian with scottish flare,
his tuscan ease belies a deeper sense of altruistic lifelines–
heart gaping open, family fuels his faithful friendship
and beware the fellow who maligns either one.

hereos of the underdog do not always begin the journey with such an intent,
but when the eyes of the heart are open to see truth, miracles happen.
and so peter’s discoveries,
by accident and sagacity, were not always sought by quest.
and as it is, life is full of small serendipities–those places where stranger and ally meet.
it was here in this place that we met.
he was pounding out gershwin on pianos across the east coast,
red hair flapping in the rhythm of the rhapsody, and i was a member of the band.
although the concerts are not what I remember most.

even years later, when i was the american in paris seated at a sidewalk cafe, eating warm goat cheese salad and sipping red wine,
the memories came back to me,
warm as a bahama breeze.
the memories were of touring–the bench seats in the back of the van crammed to capacity, all of us thrown together in that small space.
tour bred a kind of fierce and unexpected intimacy;
the conversations quickly shifted from superficial to raw and real.
after tour, the friendship between us continued.

together we commuted to school in a classic little blue vw bug.
we talked about life.
we argued politics.
we threw down poetry,
he constantly reminding me not to scorn or judge too quickly.
those poems, scrawled on yellow notepad paper in black ink
indelibly marked me for life.
his unconditional love and crazy sicilian joie de vivre,
also indelibly marked me for life;
we are here because in one way or another,
he has indelibly marked us all.

and so the sonata of his life plays on–same piece, new movement.
it is my hope that this new movement resounds with beauty and grace and miracles;
and that peter continues to inspire hope and love in us all.

Peter with his wife, Kathy

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty Eight

The prompt for today was to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning.

the singer

sighing, she prayed another day to sing.
breathing out, she exhaled all of her worries;
resting, she settled into the tall grass;
buzzing, bees set about their pollen work;
grazing, the cows stopped chewing to listen;
breezing by, the butterflies danced to the tune;
lilting, her voice sang across the meadow;

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty Seven

Today’s prompt was to write a long line poem (17 syllables-ish). As always the poem took on its own life. To me, this is one of the greatest mysteries and joys of being a poet. Poems are living things.

rummage sales and rodeos

i relish the rhythm of rummage sales and rodeos for reasons

known and unknown. the freeing feeling of cleaning cupboards and claiming

a few coins in return. everyone needs to slough off the dry, dead skin:

a necessary step for growth. and after, when the road is rough and seems

impossible, remember few things feel as good as a successful

ride on a wild, bucking bronco; the prize always goes to endurance.

and yet I savor the release,
the pure freedom found in free falling.

relishing rummage sales and rodeos–cleaning out and hanging on–

a perplexing enigma, a mysterious wonder and a truth.

NaPoWri Mo 2016 Day Twenty Six

a song for women

darkness fades into night
ripe from the vine
heirloom virtues

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

the sun also rises
peering into windows
stopping shadows

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

we are tenfold strong
sweet and delicious
nail like

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

women of the earth
imagine greatness and
rise up

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

shun oppressive evil forces
love one another
seek peace

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

darkness fades into night
mama always said
dream big

arise and sing sisters! sing the song of beauty and truth!

Peace  NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-Five

Today’s prompt was to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. Any poem will do to provide your starter line. Of course I chose a line from Mary Oliver’s newest work, Blue Horses.

Peace of God

Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.

Maybe it is exactly the piece of God within us that longs for peace.

Maybe the peace that we long for is the divine sense of order trying to organize the chaos.

Maybe the chaos surrounding us is exactly what creates the desire for beauty.

Maybe I  could be wrong but what of the chaos beyond explanation?What of bigotry and hatred?What of war and injustice?

Maybe as we connect with our piece of God to create beauty, maybe in that space is where we find peace.

Wearing Brave NaPoWriMo 2016

This morning, Evan read my poem “Wearing Brave” over my shoulder. Then he told me he had an idea for poem and asked me to write it down. He even titled it all by himself. Of course, I happily assisted. 😊 Below you will find both my poem and the Ev inspired one. Love that Little Wonder and the way he thinks. I think his poem would make a great children’s book.

wearing brave

if bravery were a color
it would be red i suppose,
for all the souls who bled to live
a truth which nobody knows.
it would be the red fire of courage
burning for causes without names,
for lives that hang in the balance,
for truth spoken without shame.
it would be the way that love rejoices
as darkness resurrects into light,
as undaunted, courageous voices
echo on to continue the fight.
if bravery were a color
it would be red i suppose,
for all the souls who bled to live
a truth which nobody knows.

Blue Dogs All The Way
(inspired by the story of Little Wonder)

If blue were a color, and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d bark like a dog and wag like one, too;
I’d be a best friend, a wagging true blue.
If I were a dog, and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d dig a big hole and hide my bone well
Under the bushes where no one could tell.
If I were a bone hiding dog who was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
The day after hiding my bone I would run
Happy and healthy out under the sun.
If I were a slap happy dog who was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d dig up my bone from under the trees
and chew all day with the birds and the bees.
If blue were a color and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I would love the world full of rainbow hues
and wonder all day with thoughts that amuse.


NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-Three

sonnet twenty-eight

uncle walt and pastor frank in cahoots
with history denied me of my roots.
they sold in bulk and cloaked in white guises
blockbuster religion in two sizes:
the backslidden sort which only pollutes
and golden girl size with attributes
perfectly pressed and winning all prizes.
a beige hell without a rainbow in sight
would have been my certain undoing
i headed to find reprieve for my plight
and sought the nearest altar. pursuing
tradition instead of truth. then contrite,
ran away, my faith at last renewing.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-Two

Today’s prompt challenged me ton write a poem in honor of Earth Day. In school today, we celebrated with a beautiful display in the gym. The classes created banners and creations from recycled materials. They sorted trash and made promises to keep the earth green. Of course, in music class we sang songs about the earth, and I (being a Class A Tree Hugger) loved it.

lost beauty

i reckon the end will come
for all of us
sooner than we imagine,
but who will be here to care?

i reckon the once vibrant seas
will overflow with floating carnage, vacant of life,
but who will be here to care?

i reckon no longer will we
pass heirloom treasures on
to the future generations,
but who will be here to care?

i reckon decay will overrun us,
scattered by the reckless
perpetuated into the future,
but who will be here to care?

i reckon when the last tree
is felled by mankind
the forests will lie barren,
but who will be here to care?

i reckon the poison of greed
demanding births the realization:
you cannot eat money,
but who will be here to care?  

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty-One

The prompt today was to write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, I could write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, I could write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back.

I chose to write from the perspective of a star at creation…

a star is born

in the beginning lived only chaos, tumbling
over and through the great void of darkness falling
toward divine disorder. a call rang out awakening
the light; a call of hope and grace slowly sliding-
each into her place. sky beings gathered;
dust bunnies, hushed in anticipation, beginning
the great dance of joy. i saw the first spark glowing,
a tiny ember of ordered cosmos swirling
headlong to defeat the chaos.

what could I do but join in the dance of the sky gods?
boldly i twirled toward chaos, anarchy scattering.

i wondered at the great mysterious changing
of the universe.
i wondered at the divine disorder coursing
headlong through night skies.
i wondered at the sky ablaze with sparks changing
embers to starlight.
i wondered at the power of this grace sculpting
cosmos from chaos.

(Illustration credit: Click here)

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty

 Today’s prompt was to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. I decided to write about my beautiful children. 🙂
a mother-song

in this i sing a truth-song to myself–
of baby-bearing
and nurture-days consumed
by little people and big wonders.

first came the truth-seeker,
my great-protector(still)
a gallant wise-heart.

the side-kick entered
with light-bearing joy,
an angel-boy.

then the fairest-of-them-all,
a God-gift of pink delight within
the package of a generous-heart.

these three and this earth-dweller
thought her soul complete.

but dare i utter my life-journey
of joyous blessing,
and forget to tell
of hardship unspeakable?
my care-wretched life lie
dashed and defeated, until

heaven sent little-wonder,
a joy-bucket of life-zest.
my little warrior-prince.

the truth song of my heart
finds melody in these four
and also in the three heaven-dwellers
who passed over earth and shot
straight to the arms of God.

when my mind and soul are sea-weary,
the melodies of the hearts-of-my-heart
carry me home.