all in season

My word! We’re closing in on NaPoWriMo 2019! Today’s prompt was to write a poem that was specific to a season, engaged all five senses, and included a rhetorical question. I played with the Japanese tanka and dodoitsu form with this one, but it just needs more work! My time is up for the day, however, so there’s the offering. Enjoy!

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it’s just a game

state policy and numbers’ games
go hand in hand straight to the grave
peer ahead and peek behind
protect your bum from prick-n-grind
and keep to the code for fond acclaim!

to feed our soul

I let a copper penny lie
on my picnic bench
next to jam and breads so sweet
but what think you caught his eye?

The gleam of unspent currency
a siren song to trap his fancy!
He lands and hops and jabs his beak
alights and soars — uncommon thief!

I spooned some jam onto my bread,
my lunch hour nearly over;
from afar, I heard him croak:
“Dear heart, you kept the better part.”

And let to us this lesson be,
our treasure is in what we share.
While shiny objects come and go
it matters more to feed our soul.

in memory of . . .

I’ve had a few days off from the NaPoWriMo game: some for gramma time and others for work travel. The day 22 prompt immediately brought to mind a friend I lost track of long ago, an aspiring pianist who gave me a glimpse into the highs and lows of true musicianship, and her grief at losing the physical capacity to play to that standard. I tried to capture some of that fragmentation in the combined imagery and poem, but also include the poem below as the JPEG is not necessarily readable.

In Memory Of . . .
Early days was laughter —
her fingers dancing lightly and without care:
a spill of giggles in F# major
a belly-laugh in pentatonic triplets
a gurgle of Lydian pleasure.

Middle days was fear —
her fingers driving contact through skeletal pain:
in blitzkrieg counterpoint
with diminished Locrian scale
a true Neapolitan spectacle.

Final days were tears —
her fingers twitching with wordless nightmares:
a tone-dead arpeggio sinks beneath
it’s relative minor in harmonic enigma
and she finds no tonic, no promised rest.

Sing hey!

Sing hey, for the break of day!
Arinna asked Talol to come out and play!
Talol peeked out and wet his pants
from fear that Arinna would ask him to dance.

Sing hey, for the mid-day gleam,
of Talol’s burnished peaks nearly three miles high!
Arinna beams down on his snow-clad thighs,
to free up Nez Quarre, still a bit winter-shy.

Sing hey, for the setting sun!
Talol bids farewell to the web Arinna spun!
Arinna coyly waves as she slips into the deep,
to dance among the salmon and the elephant seal.

won’t i rise?


If you unlock your hell for me
with just a gentle twist of key
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

Long soiled hands can wipe away
the soot and rain from our cracked mirror
if you unlock your hell for me.

What if together we nursed new life
into toothless dreams held captive?
Won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

But fair is fair and our tête-à-tête
requires for you, a key from me! But only
if you unlock your hell for me.

Is pride our worst sin? Or is it greed?
If I unshackle you and you free me, 
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

It’s a curious thing how rising flame 
can promise birth, a new-found spring. 
If you unlock your hell for me,
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

The prompt from Day 5 of NaPoWriMo challenged us to write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. I tried to use all three elements. For folks unfamiliar with the villanelle form, it consists of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. I chose two phrases from outside texts that felt like they were in opposition: “If you unlock your hell for me” from Our Hells by Carl Sandburg, and “Won’t I rise with holy wind in my sails?” from Lifted by Craig Morgan Teicher. Let me know if it works! It was an interesting exercise to be sure . . .

to chase away the night


I hope the sparrow who greets this new day 
sings of shooting stars and the rising sun 
sings of leaving home and choosing to stay 
sings of dew and spider webs freshly spun.
I hope the cricket who has fallen mute
finds shelter in leaves that litter the ground  
finds shelter in bark or under a root
finds shelter beneath a granite cold bed.
I hope the red fox who creeps through brown fern
can avoid the hunter who lives next door
can avoid the bloodhound’s eager concern 
can avoid the grey mouse’s bloated form.
I hope the green day brings with it fresh eyes
to chase away the dreams black from this night.  

who knew?

First, the glint became the spark became the seed.
                     Who knew eyes could still dream?
Second, the seed grew like a weed and crowded out hopes and forgotten dreams.
                     Who knew resentment ground wheat in paired stones?
Third, the weed, once a seed, was plucked from a garden now littered with debris.
                     Who knew Uriel would forever bar the gate back home?
Fourth, the weed, now a scrub tree, fights to send roots deep under fault lines.
                      Who knew seismic energy was just one danger?
Fifth, the scrub tree shades a bloom, yet unformed.
                      Who knew a scrub tree could foster new life?
Sixth, the scrub tree sheds its leaves to fertilize soil for the new seed.
                      Who knew the pearl of great price grows only from sacrifice?
Seventh, the scrub tree is chopped and well-seasoned.
                     Who knew that in dying, life still lights a fire?