Looking Forward to Poetry Month

It is just around the corner – National Poetry Month! I have not forgotten so I’ve put together a little scavenger hunt. I think that this time I’m going to go easier on you. There will be a little more flexibility. I’ve been trying to be more spontaneous and to that end I thought that I’d give you “either/or” prompts. Of course anyone who wants to be an over achiever is welcome to do both sides of the coin, so to speak. The prompts will number 13 as that is the number of M-W-F posting days according to my schedule (and since I’m doing it I get to choose). In keeping with the theme of flexibility you are free to post them all at once, every day, every other day, just the 2 that tickled your muse, or do them all once with the either and then do them all again with the or. (Have I exhausted or confused you? Sorry.) Without further ado – 2022 NPM Flex:

1. Write a Bob and Wheel poem or write a poem using the word “elastic”
2. Write a Cascade poem or write a poem using the word “limber”
3. Write a Decima poem or write a poem using the theme of roses
4. Write an Alouette poem or write a poem using the word “yield”
5. Write a Golden Shovel poem or write a poem incorporating the theme of change
6. Write a Blues Stanza or write a poem using the theme of resilience
7. Write an Irregular Ode or write a poem using the words “spy” and “deep”
8. Write a Kyrielle or write a poem on servitude
9. Write a Espinela poem or write a poem on the theme of passion
10. Write a Nonet poem or write a poem using the words “joint” and “bent”
11. Write an Ottava Rima or write on the theme of vision
12. Write a Waltmarie poem or write about healing
13. Write a Rant Prose poem or write about blindness

As always, put a link in your page to this post so that others can join the fun. And of course, comment to me so that I can come read your delightful work and be amazed and awed by the immense talent of the WP community!!

Looking at Pollution

Yes, I’m still thinking about this poisoned planet. I’m just as guilty as the next person. I traded my old car for a hybrid. But that isn’t enough. I’ve tried to reduce my waste and increase my recycling. But I’m not making even a tiny dent in the problem. I buy most of my clothes second hand. I reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as is comfortable. And that is the crux. I don’t want to be uncomfortable. I still want my internet, and the electricity that powers it. I insist on my cell phone, the microwave, the refrigerator, the air conditioner, the hot water heater… All the billionaires that are in a race to make space travel a commercial enterprise have one goal – to colonize space and escape the mess we’ve made of this planet. Why not empower the people here to develop clean technologies, to replenish the planet, to renew the forests, revive the lakes, rivers, and oceans?? What if…

If only I were so gloriously incandescent
As the sun at noon or when the moon is full
I am only a child of the mud is my lament
To be a star child is the greatest pull
Like the moon spat out from Theia’s union
Instead I defile this conjoined rock dull
Ruin my home and nature’s communion
Work to excise this gravity and from the planet cull
My soul into galaxies light years away
Among the other stars find truths and lies awful
When I’m rejected because this planet I betray
Judged and convicted for crimes and branded unlawful

This is a poem form called The Cycle. It was invented by Paul Emile Miller as a classroom exercise in meter and rhyme. It consists of 3 quatrains, The meter is complicated: L1 & L3 are tetrameter composed of a trochee followed by a dactyl and 2 iambs. L2 & L4 are iambic trimeter. The rhyme scheme is abab cbcb dbdb
To be honest my poem is a bastardization of The Cycle in that I used the rhyme scheme and I initially attempted to follow the metrical instructions. After many starts and stops, I gave up on the meter and just went completely off the rails and did my own thing…

Looking Bruised and Battered

I had a wonderful vacation in Florida with my sisters. The weather was typical of March. We had a day of 78F followed by a day of 56F. It rained and then was sunny. It was clear then foggy. But the ocean was right there and the beach was snow white. The sand was soft – so very soft compared to the sand at the Indiana Dunes. I was loath to return but with Sparky waiting for me I came home (even if he kept sending me photos of snow).

I can hear you asking how the title ties into this post so I’ll do a little show and tell. First the show:
The pictures above were taken 2 days after the injury so not as red as initially.

This one was 9 days later. The hand actually looked worse instead of better!

As you can see I had some nasty bruising on my hand, elbow and upper arm and there was more bruising that was a little higher up… It was on the first leg of my trip home. The flight was delayed due to thunderstorms. We boarded by walking across the tarmac and up a flight of very steep and narrow stairs in a torrential downpour. They were sending us across one at a time so that no one had to stand in the rain waiting to board. I started and the woman after me literally sprinted past me midway to the plane. She disappeared into the plane and I hauled my suitcase and soggy self aboard. I managed the suitcase into the overhead and took my seat. I had just buckled my seatbelt when the running woman came up the aisle searching for a spot for her luggage. I saw movement in my peripheral vision and instinctively threw my arm up to protect my head. She hit my hand with the wheel on her suitcase  (note the semi-circular mark on the back of my hand) and then grazed my elbow and upper arm. It hurt but I didn’t see any injury (until later). Instead of apologizing for hitting me or asking if I was okay, she scowled at me as if I had done something to her. Anyway, karma is never kind. She was seated next to a person who was vomiting violently and loudly (in defense, several passengers had stomach upset because the flight was very very turbulent) and then she fell down a flight of stairs at the Orlando airport because she was in too much of a hurry to take the elevator since the down escalator was out of order…

The trip back was nearly all day – arriving at the Pensacola airport at 10:00 AM for my 12:10 PM flight. I didn’t have any lunch. We arrived late in Orlando and my flight was boarding as I approached the gate. That flight was full of screaming and crying kids as they left “the happiest place on earth”. Obviously the boundaries for happy do not extend to the airport! Anyway, they gave me a bag of pretzels (8 mini ones that were so very tiny) and a can of cranberry cocktail. That was lunch at 3:40 PM (whatever time that really is since I kept crossing time zones and with the time change that my watch hadn’t registered). Arriving in Chicago I managed to get all my steps in for the day since I walked from one end of the airport to the other. I bought a nearly inedible pizza because it was the only place without an hour wait for a $15 hamburger. After a short and bumpy commuter flight, Sparky met me at the airport. I was finally in my own home at 11:00 PM. There is no place like home!

Looking at Climate Change

Bees die and birds drop from the sky
Storm clouds release an acid rain
We argue and science deny
Nations shrug and call us insane

Oceans are warming, ice caps melt
Bees die and birds drop from the sky
Climate shifts can surely be felt
While sitting on hands we ask why

The earth warns us the end draws nigh
Drilling and fracking makes impacts
Bees die and birds drop from the sky
Drought grips us as the parched ground cracks

Species extinction happens fast
What does it take to open eyes
All others have died and we’re last
Bees die and birds drop from the sky

And here we are still talking about climate change. This was a topic that was mishandled from the start. A real marketing disaster. It should have never been tagged with “Global Warming” as too many had difficulty connecting the dots between melting ice caps and weather extremes swinging hot and very cold. It is a shift, a change in climate. And that change does not bode well for the earth or for human beings. The question remains, do we care enough to make serious changes in how we live? Or will we just wait until the choice is made for us. I’m thinking it will be the latter. I’m feeling a little sad.

This is a Quatern – a French form of 16 lines in 4 quatrains. Each line has 8 syllables. The first line becomes the refrain that is repeated as the 2nd line in the 2nd stanza, 3rd line in the 3rd stanza, and the last line in the 4th stanza. There is no required meter or rhyme. That however didn’t stop me from inserting a rhyme that moved with the refrain!

Looking Winded

I don’t know about you but I’m completely out of breath. I’ve got a stitch in my side and I’m doubled over with my hands clutching my knees as I gulp air. I shouldn’t be surprised. It always happens when I don’t pace myself. This year started off at a dead run. I barely had time to close the door before we were out of the house and on our way to Florida. That was followed by the idea that we should have a sisters only retreat (again in Florida). I was able to hop on a plane and make that trip in record time. In between and woven through the travel was ceramics class, a research study, church meetings and obligations! And magically (or maybe maniacally) I managed to clean house, cook meals, sort and prep for a garage sale and even blog 3 times a week and read & comment on those blogs I follow. That puts us a mere 11 days before National Poetry Month and I’m exhausted.

I was never a track star. In 7th grade the girls were all lined up in the gym and told to race to the other end. The gym teachers (and the track coaches) were all standing around with stop watches. We ran. I finished in the middle of the pack which I thought was pretty good. That was until we were all then lined up single file and had to individually run to the center line and back. I could hear the comments the track coach was making to the gym teacher, “Runs too slow.” “Runs like she is carrying a cup of coffee.” and the most damning “Runs like a girl.” I didn’t hear what they said about me. But then I was shorter than almost everyone so even if I kept up I was working harder to cover the same distance. And it seems to still be the case. I feel that no matter how fast I go I never cover as much ground as I should.

Which brings me back to being winded. The only thing you can do once you get to the point of gasping for air with a sharp pain in your side is to stop. So I’m stopping for a breather. I’m not going to clean any thing. The laundry can wait (we have enough clothes that I could forego laundry for a month and not run out). We have restaurant gift certificates that we need to use. And I’m going to just breathe. I should be ready to jump into National Poetry Month and sprint through April with nary a care in the world…

Looking at the Grass

Upon a blade
The temperatures freeze vapor
Appears warm in an ice coat
Because few words melt
Rather the god of glass grass
Spreads anxiety and insincerity
Run people
This course finds criticism
Hustle away from responsibility
Even the bushes and buds
Hide but are found

Spring is trying very hard to arrive. It isn’t getting much traction though. As soon as a tree dares push a bud onto a branch, we get more cold. Yesterday there was fog in the evening and this morning everything was coated in a thin glaze of ice. I was looking at the grass and every blade was encased in ice. I know that beneath the ice the grass is still supple but currently it is immobile. I feel that at times I am frozen in place and though everyone around me is running toward their own destinies, I am simply waiting for mine to find me… Which is the better course?

The above is a little free verse since I am feeling a bit trapped. I suppose letting the poetry have some free rein will eventually bring me back to the main road.

Looking Lost Again

I’m starting to think that some things like to be lost. Like glasses – they seem to sneak off at every opportunity. And those pesky socks are forever wandering away from their mates. Yes, I’ve lost my calm, my temper, and my fitbit. I’m a creature of habit. I wouldn’t last 2 minutes in a spy novel as I’d be in the crosshairs of the assassin like clockwork. Fortunately my life is far from a murder mystery or spy story. Instead I’m living with inanimate objects that are able to transport themselves to odd locations to evade capture and use. I take my fitbit off for only one thing – to shower. I place it on the charger. I come back and it is missing! I looked high and low. I thought my mind was going. I was certain that I had placed it on the charger. After spending nearly 2 hours looking for it (without recording any of my steps) it reappeared. Just like that – poof – it was right where I’d left it on the charger.

I gleefully grabbed it only to discover that somehow it had already accumulated 11,591 steps! What!?!?! I pondered for a nanosecond and the light went on. You see Sparky had been complaining that his charger wasn’t working. Since we have identical fitbits (his band broke and he went from a black band to a grey one like mine), he thought he’d put his on my charger. Then he left to play pickleball. When he returned he placed it back on the charger to “top it off”. Except his fitbit was still on his dresser buried under all the stuff he tosses there. So the mystery was solved.

Now I’ve got to find a sock. It shouldn’t be too hard – it is a black sock with yellow smiley faces all over. I’m guessing it is hiding inside a sleeve or pant leg somewhere. Still I suspect it is taking a vacation from being worn. Of course it would be easier if I could find where I left my glasses….

Looking for Pi

I didn’t get the math gene. My sister got all the math ability. She tells me that mathematics requires the performance of a function but what the rules of this poem refers to is enumeration. That is to enumerate is to specify each member of a sequence individually in incrementing order. Either way numbers are everywhere. Some of them are kind and willing to assist in everyday life but when you elevate them to the realms of mathematics they metamorphose into wild things. For this reason I have never been one to trust that simple addition won’t become a quadratic equation if I blink or look away. My sister and I used to celebrate Pi Day. She even had a special shirt and I have a Pi plate (and yes we are having pie today). I’ve written the following poem in hopes of appeasing the fickle pi.

Escapes my grasp


Perches beyond reach
Sings pretty songs eluding capture
I try
To remember the tune

Numbers don’t add up

Disguise them
Dress them in bright words
Make them strut on stage spouting lines
Force them to count syllables for fun
I teach them to sing my songs

The above is a Cadae, an experimental form based on pi. The name is the alphabetical equivalent for 3.1415. The form consists of 14 lines within 5 stanzas. The number of lines per stanza is based on pi and the number of syllables per line is also based on pi (3.1415926535897).

Looking Sunny

Spring was attempting to arrive in Northern Indiana. Key word was attempting. I left on an airplane on the 8th of March headed to Florida and the “sister’s Reunion” and arrived amid full sun and very pleasant temperatures. It felt like summer. I’ve been able to read your posts and even read comments on my blog. Commenting is another matter altogether. I tried to reply to comments using my iPad. It was very spotty. One reply would post and the next would evaporate into the ether of the interwebs. I attempted to comment on your posts with absolutely no success with the phone. So commenting was a gamble that I often lost. I’m posting this from my sister’s computer but have limited time. Forgive me for not being present on your posts – I am going through WordPress withdrawal! The symptoms include moments of agitation because I miss reading your posts, a nervousness that you will forget me, and that pervading angst that I need to respond to all your comments. I am however taking very strong medicine to counteract the symptoms and it is working. It is amazing what walking on the beach, collecting sea shells, laughing with my sisters, and having a generally good time will do!

Looking at the Angles

I want to preface this one because if I don’t people will start asking me questions and jumping to conclusions. This poem is not about domestic violence. It is about being loved despite our stubbornness. It is about rejection of love that heals, forgives, comforts. It is about the love our Creator has for us from His point of view…

All rough edges
Your sharp corners poke me
Gently I hold you
Angles pressed in flesh
Willingly I hold the points of your pain
My tears will wash clean our mutual hurts

All rough edges
And corners that cut me
Will heal given time
Leave permanent scars
Become a touchstone
Remind me we’re one heart, one mind, one soul
I refuse to believe violence subverts

This is a duodora, a poem form created by Dora Tompkins as a quatorzain (a 14 line poem) composed of 2 septets (7 line stanzas). The poem is syllabic with the following count per stanza: 4/6/5/5/5/10/10. The first line of the 1st stanza is repeated as the first line of the 2nd stanza. The last lines of each stanza rhyme. All other lines are unrhymed. The rhyme scheme is:
A/x/x/x/x/x/b, A/x/x/x/x/x/b