Looking at Nonce Forms for NPM

National Poetry Month is upon us and I’m doing another NPM Scavenger Hunt. I was inspired by several WP poets to consider nonce forms. What is a nonce form? Nonce forms are essentially poetic forms created by poets for one-time use. The funny thing about nonce forms is that poets will latch onto a new form and use it – just for the fun or novelty. When enough people use a nonce form it becomes recognized as a received form and from there with repeated use is recognized as a valid poetical form. From there it can become “mainstream”. To my absolute delight, Sangeetha (Mindfills) and David (The Skeptics Kaddish) have been doing a collaboration where they have been making up and writing nonce poems. Before that Murdoch Mouse (Twisting Tails) wrote some nonce forms. Even my friend Saintvi decided to develop a nonce form. I couldn’t let them have all the fun so I developed a couple nonce poetry forms too!

This year the theme is NPM Nonce Scavenger Hunt and because saintvi asked if there would be any wiggle room, I added BONUS themes and words. Since April is a shorter month there are only 12 prompts. I’m not going to make any rules other than the prompts need to be completed in April, add a link back to this page in your post so others can join if they want, and leave a comment here so I can visit and read your amazing poetry!

1. The Tail by Michael “Mouse” Murdoch – a poem of single syllable lines. Words of more than one syllable can be broken (but only if the broken syllable is a real word). Loose rhyme is expected. The theme should be a “tall tale” or at least a tale! BONUS: Have some fun with this one!
2. Melinda’s Whimsy by saintvi – a poem of 3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) where the rhyme is A/a/a/b, a/A/a/b, a/a/A/b where A indicated the same end word. The meter is iambic trimeter for L1-L3 with L4 having 7 syllables. BONUS: Include a whimsical creature.
3. Inetersperse by David Bogomolny in his collaboration with Sangeetha for their “Creativity Forms Verses” project – a poem of at least 5 lines where the last word of every line must be monosyllabic and be different from the last word of every other line. Also it must occur in one additional place elsewhere in the poem. Rhyme and rhythm are optional. BONUS: Use a color.
4. Inside Out poem by murisopsis – a syllabic poem consisting of a minimum of 3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) with the first stanza having a syllable count of 12/8/8/12, the next having 8/12/12/8, followed by 12/8/8/12, and so on. No rhyming required and no maximum on the number of stanzas. BONUS: Use the theme of growth.
5. Troiku by Chevrefeuille – this poem consists of an initial haiku the lines become the first line in the subsequent 3 haiku stanzas. Because the 3rd stanza will begin with a 7 syllable line it requires a “letting go” of the traditional form and “free-styling”. BONUS: Use the word cloud.
6. DoReMiDo by Sangeetha – a poem of 4 stanzas of 4 lines per stanza and 4 syllables per line for 16 syllables per stanza. The four corners (syllables #1, 4, 13, 16) of each stanza must rhyme. BONUS: Include a reference to singing or song.
7. Running Repetition by murisopsis – consists of a minimum of 2 stanzas of 7 lines each. The stanzas can be written as 7 lines or broken into a quatrain followed by a tercet for emphasis. The rhyme scheme is: x/a/a/a/b/b/C where C is the same phrase repeated as a refrain in all following stanzas. The refrain is broken into 2 parts separated by a dash to indicate a catch in breath. BONUS: Use some aspect of running or repetition.
8. American Paragraph by David Bogomolny – a collection of American Sentences that consist of 17 syllables concisely written without unnecessary words or articles and should include a turn or enlightenment. BONUS: Use the word flag at least once.
9. The Mouse by Michael “Mouse” Murdoch – a 3 line poem with a title written all in lower case. The title is the same as the first line. L1: 2 single syllable words having the same number of letters per word. L2: 4 syllables in 2 words. L3: 8 syllables in 4 words. No restriction or prohibition of subject or rhyme. BONUS: Just do this one please!
10. Dizzy by murisopsis – a poem of 10 lines with 10 syllables per line with a rhyme scheme of: a/b/c/a/b/c/a/b/c/a. Requires words of motion be included in the poem. BONUS: Use the word dizzy.
11. Silver Shovel by Monty Vern – a variation of the Golden Shovel where you take a line or lines from an existing poem (make sure to credit the original poet and poem). Use each KEY word as an end word in your poem skipping words like a/an/and/the/or etc. that are not essential to the meaning of the line. Keep the end words in order. The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem the line(s) were derived from. BONUS: Use a poem from a WP poet.
12. The Helipad by Sangeetha from the “Creativity Forms Verses” nonce forms – a poem of 9 lines. All lines begin and end with the letter H which is capitalized and bolded. All words in line 5 are also capitalized and bolded. All lines should be the same length including spaces. This will form the H indicating a helicopter landing pad! BONUS: Use an animal in the poem.
13. The Zig-Zag Sonnet by Christine Bialczak – a nonce form of sonnet where the first word of L1 rhymes with the last word of L2 and the first word of L3 rhymes with the last word of L4 and keeps repeating for 14 lines. The poem has three quatrains (4 line stanzas) and then concludes with a coda of 2 lines. There are 10 syllables per line and a total of 14 lines. This was a late entry because Christine slipped this one in and I couldn’t resist!!

Looking Over the Books

We are nearing tax filing time again. Sparky has a philosophy for paying taxes which is: If you are getting a refund you file as soon as you get your W-2. If you owe, you wait until the last minute to send your money and taxes in. Not really a bad plan. His motivation is that it is better to have the money in your possession (and theoretically earning interest) than being in the hands of government not earning you personally any interest. To that end he believes that it is better to owe a little rather than get a refund.

We got our W-2 statements in the mail at the end of January. Yes, I know they are available online but we don’t have a printer and we don’t file electronically (too complicated and not free). In addition we had a stack of 1099 statements for interest that we had to look over. The complicating factor is still the inheritance from my mother. So after pouring over these things and scribbling on note pads and adding and subtracting, we will owe the government a little money. We will also owe the state a little too. Which isn’t a surprise.

As I was pouring over the books (because I do keep track of our monthly expenses) I decided to see if we were living below, within, or beyond our means. I also keep a spreadsheet to track my wages and the hours I work. I’m permitted to work a total of 900 hours per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). This last fiscal year I worked 134 hours which was about a third of what I’d worked the previous year. So I’m not even close to the limit. Which is a wonderful spot to be in! The good news is that we are not living extravagantly. Other positives are that my pension started Feb. 1st giving us a steady infusion of cash. The last positive is that Sparky got a raise for his part-time substitute work.

We have been blessed and we are feeling very fortunate to have invested wisely, worked hard, and lived frugally. Now we are having discussions on how to do the most good with what treasure we have.

Looking for Lost Marbles

Lost, scattered
Rolling near and far
I crawl around searching knowing they’re gone

A sad futile effort yet I persist
I find lost dreams
But marbles
Can’t be

This is a Tetractys poem. It is a syllabic form of at least one stanza. The stanza has 5 lines with the following syllable count: 1/2/3/4/10. Each following stanza is inverted from the previous one.

As more and more of my friends become caregivers for parents experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s, it has become a frequent topic of discussion. Not only do I see the decline in my in-laws and the parents of friends, but I’ve begun to question what the future holds for me and Sparky. At least I know that my sons are willing to look after us!

Looking at Abandonment

This is my offering for the W3 Poetry Prompt this week as put forward by Punam – to write a Pantoum about abandonment. The Pantoum is a Malaysian form of interlocking 4 line stanzas where the 2nd and 4th lines become the 1st and 3rd lines in the following stanza. The rhyme scheme is abab, bcbc, cdcd, etc. And the last stanza utilizes the 1st and 3rd lines from the 1st stanza as the 2nd and 4th lines. There is no set line length or meter.

I embrace the great abandonment
As the sun sets over the hill
I know that love was heaven sent
Feel that you love me still

As the sun sets over the hill
Streams of water run from my eyes
Feel that you love me still
I see the angels in the skies

Streams of water run from my eyes
Wealth and comfort I leave behind
I see angels in the skies
Hope that greater riches find

Wealth and comfort I leave behind
I know that love was heaven sent
Hope that greater riches find
I embrace the great abandonment

There are lots of different kinds of abandonment. People abandon hope, dreams, faith, love, homes, and even family and children and spouses. Anything you can have can be abandoned. The greatest and most final abandonment is of this life. Death separates us. We feel abandoned by those who have died.

Looking Like an Ass

I just want to say that there is nothing quite as embarrassing as having your bare behind exposed to the world and a scope inserted. Well, nothing except when you are so relaxed (thanks to the drugs you’ve been given to convince you to cooperate) that you pass gas in the face of the gastroenterologist. Yeah, not enough drugs to make me not care that I just ripped a juicy fart. I remember it all very clearly. The nurse patted my arm and said, “You won’t remember this so you don’t need to apologize.” She was wrong. I remembered. I felt shame and mortification. I remember thinking, “I hope it wasn’t a really stinky one.” I however have spotty recall on other events of the day. I don’t know how I got from the procedure room to the recovery room. I don’t have any recollection of post op instructions (though Sparky said I appeared awake). I vaguely remember the car ride home. Once home I was torn between eating and sleeping. Sleeping won and I took a 2 hour nap on top of the 1.5 hour drug induced nap. What I wish I could forget was the prep for the colonoscopy. A friend said she took some little pills and drank lots of clear fluids – easy peasy. I told the doctor no citrus flavored stuff. I told the pharmacist no citrus flavor. I had to drink 2 doses of lemon flavored nastiness. The first dose (16 oz) was awful followed by 32 oz of water in 1 hour. Nothing happened until 3 hours later then it was all out chaos. I crawled into bed at midnight. The alarm went off at 4:00 AM when I was obliged to repeat the process. It was like drinking liquid dynamite. I sat on the commode drinking the required 32 ounce water “chaser” as my entire intestinal tract was made quite empty. Again. I’m hoping this is the last time for another 5 – 10 years. Maybe by then they will have made some advances!

And now you know why I wasn’t reading your posts and commenting….

Looking at a Battered Box

The following is a Loop poem, stanzas of 4 lines, where the last word of the 1st line becomes the first word of the 2nd line and so on. Easy enough but it also requires a rhyme of x/a/x/a. There is no required syllable count, meter or limit on stanzas.

What mystery is held in this
This flimsy wooden box made
Made by a boy with his father’s help
Help to fashion a box I would not trade

Trade-in the old and buy a one new
New is fine but I’d never shun
Shun the cheap keepsake box
Box that holds precious love and fun

Fun times gather dust and age
Age yellows memories past
Past the sorrows and things long gone
Gone the tears but the joy will last

Last night I dreamed of a young boy
Boy who forgets the door to shut
Shut my eyes to recall the face
Face of wonder asking, “How? What?”

I had been dusting (I hate to dust so had pawned that task off onto Sparky who promptly never dusted after his first go round). So he had said he’d help and I resolved to simply remind him every couple of weeks. After 3 months the dust was so thick I could draw pictures in it. So I dusted. While dusting I also decided to rearrange a few items and discovered a small “craft” that son #1 had made in Tiger Scouts. It was a very rickety little box made of balsa wood and glued together. Sadly it had seen better days and the glue had started to flake away making it on the verge of collapse. I paused. Instead of simply tossing it I took it to the craft room and applied some rather heavy duty craft glue to the corners and then added some stiff paper reinforcements to the inside. It should, hopefully, hold together for another 30 years. I can hardly remember when they were so young. But holding that box brought back so many memories… I have it now in a much safer (dust free) place along with some of my other “treasures” that no one but me would value.

Looking at Jars

When Sparky and I married, we bought our first home built in 1922. It had been owned by a HS shop teacher. When we took possession, the son had removed everything he wanted and left a boatload of other items. To our delight (well mostly Sparky’s), he left behind his father’s extensive collection of nuts, bolts, screws, nails, tacks, washers, brads, and assorted other items. All of them neatly sorted and stored in old glass jars. These treasures were located in the garage (lining all the walls and on every ledge) and in the basement where he had had his workshop. When we moved from that house to our current abode, Sparky dutifully packed up every one of those jars to bring to our new home. Over time we have consolidated jars to make room for more nails and screws. We have a ton of jars but instead of scattered around the garage or basement, they reside neatly in two large cabinets with drawers just the right size to accommodate the height of most of them. Those that are too tall are stored in a set of 4 school lockers positioned horizontally.

We had to tidy the garage. Sparky decided to organize his collection of jars. As he was sorting I noticed quite a few vintage jars. Jars that just might be worth a little money. He was not willing to part with them because there were no replacement containers. Still it was a little like a stroll down memory lane. I remember the French’s Mustard in the funny shaped glass pot. Mostly I remember the time my mother took the jar out of the refrigerator and it slipped out of her hand. The lid hadn’t been screwed on tightly and when it hit the floor mustard shot up and splatted on the relatively new kitchen carpet (a big deal in 1968). She was so worried that it would stain. It didn’t but the kitchen retained the stink of mustard for weeks! There were the Gerber Baby Food jars. I remember those as my great-grandmother lived on baby food in her later years – mostly the strained apricots and Blueberry Buckle. To this day I still remember those flavors but you can’t find them in the jars anymore – it is all very eco-unfriendly plastic squeeze pouches!

Among the other jars were lots of Welch’s jelly jars (no doubt grape), Maxwell House Instant Coffee (not my parents’ favorite but a quick alternative when they were in a hurry), and Vaseline jars that are so old that they have an actual screw on lid instead of the snap on kind. Some of the jars are foreign to me, like the Dromedary Fire Roasted Pimentos. And some are very familiar like the variety of pickle jars that after nearly 100 years still smell like pickles! Are there any jars that bring back memories for you?

Looking at Handkerchiefs

This weeks Poet of the Week for the W3 poetry prompt is Michelle Ayon Navajas. Her prompt on David’s blog The Skeptic’s Kaddish is to take out your handkerchief. During the Renaissance period, a handkerchief was considered a powerful symbol of women. Giving this item to a woman meant true love, honesty, commitment, and righteousness. If by chance you don’t have a handkerchief, explore your creative side and imagine you are holding one right now. Write an ode to your handkerchief and make it sound like a love ode.

I call myself modern I’m not prone to weeping
Yet I hold hankies close to my heart for their safe keeping
The first is thin as tissue, lilac and pressed
Trifold clipped when to the nines my mom’s mother dressed
Still indented from the brooch that held it to her breast
The next has dainty needlework in each lacy corner
Dad’s mom tuck’d it in her sleeve like the one who borne her
Another is less fancy made of coarser cloth
It bears a tiny hole sign of damage from a moth
Great grandma’s – present when she pledged her troth
All these ladies hankies are precious in my mind
A history of my grandmas separate and yet combined
But the most valuable is not a pretty square
It is my father’s handkerchief a big cotton affair
When I remember him that handkerchief is there
Prone to nosebleeds he always carried two
Mother tried to keep them white but no matter what she’d do
They’d end up yellow with brown blotchy stains
Soaked and bleached even now every stain remains
When opened wide all hurts it could contain
It wiped noses, scraped knees and blood that was seeping
And now holding it with love, I’m once more weeping

Looking Irish

Because it is Saint Patrick’s Day (and everyone’s Irish today), I’ve decided to poem about it!

There is a fire in my hair
A smoldering ember in my soul
Play with danger if you dare
Know my rage will consume you whole

Many try to match this mane
Bottled dyes from the barber’s chair
This hue they can never gain
There is a fire in my hair

Famine, war, a hardscrabble life
From the sea or mining coal
The flame kept burning through the strife
A smoldering ember in my soul

Perseverance is the key
Go through life on a wing and a prayer
Hear the wail of the banshee
Play with danger if you dare

Heavy is oppression’s yoke
On the outside we play the role
My people are a hardy folk
Know my rage will consume you whole

I’ve got more than my fair share of Irish ancestors. Yeah, I got the hair, fair skin, and mostly not the temper. But that small spark remains and once fanned into full blown anger is a force to be reckoned with. As I’ve gotten older I’m much less likely to burst into a bonfire. In fact there are many who think I’m “safe” meaning they can make cutting remarks or take advantage of me. The truth is that fire is never safe. You can pretend to have mastery but in one unguarded moment your sleeve can catch fire and your life is never the same…

The poem above is a rhyming Cascade. The first stanza’s lines are repeated in order as the last line in subsequent stanzas. I added the rhyme simply because I like a challenge. The 1st stanza can be as long or short as desired but must have a minimum of 3 lines.

Looking in the Spam Folder

I have finally made the “big time”. You see for a longtime I had so few readers that the spambots ignored me. Well no more! I would get maybe 1 or two comments tagged as spam a month! And many times they were just someone who posted from a phone instead of a laptop – not spam after all. So far I’ve had 10 spam comments in the last two days! And they are comical. Some were just straight up solicitations to “improve my website” with multiple links to their services or a list of products that they were certain I’d jump to buy. Another said things like “I really like your blog. I’m going to recommend it to my friends. Please follow me.” Another wanted to interest me in product to “enhance my manhood”. And a couple were in a language I didn’t recognize (but Google Translate indicated were Turkish). But the best was so funny that I copied it here:

“The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, but I truly believed you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you can fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.”

What makes it funnier is that it was a comment on my 2021 NPM Scavenger Hunt where I list the prompts! It is painfully obvious that they didn’t read the post. As for responding – not on your life! If there is one lesson I learned it is “Don’t feed the trolls.” So I’ve deleted the comment. I am however highly amused. They must have never been told that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!!

Have you been plagued by spam? Have you had any that were so outrageous that they made you laugh?