bridge to nowhere

Today’s final NaPoWriMo challenge asked participants to “write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact.” Enter Atlas Obscura with the “bridge to nowhere” in Dunbar, Scotland. As the article suggests, it does provide grist for the grind mill of imagination . . . or at least the opportunity to question how nowhere and somewhere are defined. Enjoy!



god’s lioness

 two women walking along tree-lined path
How do you stand alone and free?
~dance with me  

How do we cross the great divide?
 ~side by side

How do you soar when others float?
~of wings we boast

Look you! From pillar to post,
from sea to sea and land to land
from my mouth to your tiny hand:
dance with me side by side--of wings we boast!
NaPoWriMo Day 29  challenged us to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. I selected Ariel, and decided to experiment with the ovillejo poetry form, popularized by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The ovillejo is a 10-line poem comprised of 3 rhyming couplets (or 2-line stanzas) and a quatrain (or 4-line stanza).


greetings from olympia

Wish you were here? Yesterday was wet. 30 degrees difference in the air. Jane still wears flip-flops. She doesn’t care. We wander Olympia’s streets; sip wine, snack, fondle old works of art. A few pink blossoms cling to trees, still barren of leaves. The men in blue are everywhere to be seen. Ah, Arts Walk: clarion call to embrace a divided community. It starts with an all-skate: pick up litter, shovel feces, scrub off graffiti but no amount of scrubbing covers up years of poor planning, of devil-may-care-go-stick-a-gun-in-your-ear-and-pull-the-trigger-already-and-why-in-gods-name-are-you-still-here? Jane and I sidle past a cast-off stray with a staked claim to an empty doorway. He pokes accusing toes at us through torn wool socks and ragged duct tape. They lost the good fight. We step under the lintel next door, into warmth and light and another glass of blood-red wine.

NaPoWriMo Day 28 challenged us to write a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard. After a few muddled attempts, I realized my mind was still working through last evening’s experience, so I reprised a poem I wrote in 2016, Olympia Almanac.

The postcard was found online at

the morning crier

It’s 4 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
              scrapes nails over chalkboard  
                              Sól lights her pine-fed torch
                                              stabs bloody fingers deep in earth
I play possum to your prod
               shun the unwashed kiss
                              oak floor groans with your retreat
                                             a williwaw births new gooseflesh
It’s 5 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
              plays tug-o-war with nature’s plow
                              fairly caught in lusty writhing
                                              to seed cocoon with eggs and sperm
I slide quivering toes
               ‘cross tangled flannel sheets
                              sticky scent muzzles my nose
                                            fingers of aftershave close my throat
It’s 6 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
               stills fledgling cries with worms and seeds
                                       an eggshell silence fills warming air
                                                      nest hardens 'neath Sól’s watchful gaze
I creep slowly past
               our cast-off socks and empty cans
                                the coffee pot gurgle carries a sour bite
                                               that stays our anxious, seeking hands


the downhill slide

trampoline under tress
Too old to trampoline?
Too young to die!
Who knew at forty-nine,
time had passed me by?
But hark – look again!
No age bias here.
Long before 40,
I had other ailments:
Back blown from tear-off,
knees from running bases,
torn calf dancing hip-hop
high blood pressure
(too many cookies).
The world spins crazily
from a car that tossed me aside;
mice have eaten my tendons,
my eyes are going blind!
Seems like this is the best time
to get on that trampoline!
I’ve nothing to lose,  
and everything to gain.
Just heed the warning sign --.
This toy is suitable
only for those on a downhill slide.

Day 25 of NaPoWriMo challenged us to write a poem that takes 
the form of a warning label -- for our very ownselves! Google brought 
me to 13 Strange Signs and Unnecessary Warning Labels -- an adventure 
in strange, indeed!

on granite she built

on granite she built,
for children yet to be born

our taproot anchor,
she cast seeds of early dissent
we still trace her footsteps

to feed the next generation,
we crumble bare rock
sink roots and spit seeds

on granite she built,
and still feeds our dreams


eight little words

rusted metal gate
eight little words
fill ears with fear
who knew?
who knew diamonds could sting?
eight little words
fleece eyes with tears
you knew!
you knew our gospel truth!
eight little words
meet in the middle
they saw —
they saw the rusted iron gate —
eight little words
squeeze snakes through clenched teeth
who knows?
who knows the taste of despair?
eight little words
to carry such weight


Day 23 challenged us to honor a poem based in sound, perhaps something overheard, like a song lyric or phrase. Often for me, the written word echoes in my inner ear like a clarion bell, refusing to let go until I do something with it. The imagery and story found in Verse #2 of Ms. Wieland’s poem for NaPoWriMo yesterday certainly captured my inner ear. Consider the many understandings prompted by: “I’m cornered in the circle of your arms.”

clogyrnach poesy . . . i think

wine, grapes and flower stems
Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge handed us starter dough in the form of improbable statements. After taking a peek at them, I retired to R.L. Brewer’s List of 86 Poetic Forms for Poets, and decided to try my hand at the Welsh poetry form clogyrnach. It seems similar to the limerick – albeit more strict in syllable count. As far as rhyming component – thank god for online resources! And coffee. Lots of coffee. I’m not sure these really work for me — but as first drafts go, I guess they’ll stand. Maybe I’ll revise with wine in hand later. Cheers!
A mouse can’t eat an elephant!
You say to me, so desolate.
Might I inquire,
where is the choir
for hire?

The sun cannot rise in the west!
Our life together was so blessed.
With parallel play
we made our own hay.
Such a fray,
in this nest.

The clock can never strike thirteen,
when fingers sore must shell the peas.
My kitchen burdens --
they will never end;  
now I blend
butter beans.

A circle cannot have corners.
No end in sight for our mourners.
A thorn in my side,
their wails no delight;
Such a blight,
the hoarders.

Little Jack Horner tells no lie.
Stars will forever hold the sky.
Perched on his stool
his thumb a tool
a plum spools
from his pie!

By frozen heart I do abide
to hide away from hue and cry.
Your love was pretend,
your promises bent;
I regret,
pigs can’t fly!


The Perfect Hole

man fishing from a streambank

Child’s Play
filched from robin's beak
a siren song for rainbow trout –
she baits his hook

Anatomize This
flash of thin blade
belly leaks dragonfly nymphs –
her dance of finding 

No Matter. There’s Time. 
boots mired in mud  
hasty cast snags his black ghost –
sun clears the tree-line

Memory Fails
you fish hidden streams –
we are snails on dry land
porters of your dream

Find the Perfect Hole
dream of still days
a daffodil echo in time –
we yearn to return

Today’s NaPoWriMo effort combines multiple prompts into one poem. Day 16 was to focus on play; day 17 to retell a family anecdote. My sibs and I spent a lot of time trout fishing with our dad in Wyoming after our parents divorced. This was play; it was also an affordable source of winter food. My brother still wonders why I didn’t go into biology given my fondness for dissecting trout to find treasure in their bellies. We’d grumble about being porters for dad’s fishing gear and the long days scrambling through bushes, but as adults we have raised our children with a love of the outdoors. Keeping with the fishing theme: for day 18, I selected stanza 10 from a Fishing Haiku post and found a list of barely remembered – or perhaps never known – names for hand-tied flies. Day 19 asked us to write a descriptive paragraph and then cut words to make a poem. Day 21 required a consideration of the narcissism in our lives. I used the call for rebellion for day 20’s prompt as my encouragement to break the haiku sonnet rule. Hope you enjoyed!

I am the Giant of the Great Seas

ships sailing on water
I am the Giant of the Great Seas!
No ship may sail upon these waters.
This task in payment of a debt
given me by heaven-sent

folk who spared my sister’s seed.
I am the Giant of the Great Seas!
By shield and spear I cast you down,
your blood to mix with salted foam,

to keep alive her still unborn.
No ship may sail upon these waters.
I am the Giant of the Great Seas!
My task continues while she strains,

and groans to birth the babe in vain.
Your death gives life to those to come.
Your tears unwept. My promise kept.
I am the Giant of the Great Seas!

Here at the mid-point in NaPoWriMo, the challenge was to write a poem
about a villain in an unfortunate situation who is revealed to be human,
but still evil.  I toodled around the internet looking for a fairy-tale
outside the usual, and found the Adventures of Ciad, Son of the King of
Norway. Then I perused a lengthy list of poetic forms, and tried
my hand at using the quatern to capture the rhythm of the story. Here’s
to the Giant of the Great Seas.

insomnia always has a reason

setting moon with  trees
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down?
2 Henry IV (3.1.8-9)
to sink
she sank --
simple, see?
black silk rippled only once
her rapid descent
a clicking trot --
from flippers
to feathers
and now
to feet;
toes in muck
she strains to walk
the box maze lit  
with golden tea-cups;
at the center
the maître d'
serves her flies
she spits out nails  
that spin like lightening bugs;
she slaps and runs
but can’t escape
midnight moon’s final jest
and with a gasp she comes to wake.
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on. . . 
The Tempest (4.1.168-169)
Day 14 of NaPoWriMo encouraged a bit of dream play. 


a cliché-a-day is how to pay the piper

chair in front of filled bookshelves
ignorance is free
while truth costs 30 silver pence

April showers bring only sludge
that slowly birth the sun’s defense

winter cooks hibernate
their tarnished snores fill the air

ungreased wheels forget to squeak
while crowbars pry up penny nails

he burrows deep beneath the roots 
and grants the cat his flapping tongue

questions hide from prying eyes
and books come in one color

the milk’s so thick it will not spill
the hotcakes mold and shrivel

with hair piled high, she sits alone
trapped by her fun-house image

as slow as eyes snared by insomnia
find your strength in sameness

you only need a single hand
to make our circle straighten

Day 13’s NaPoWriMo challenge asked us to play with “turning cliché’s on their head.”

Voila . . . hope it works!


shorebird cry

Your delight at a new-found surprise went unacknowledged, and so another nail in the coffin of crushed dreams was driven home. But what a delight, filled with choices! Ramble wooded trail or old logging road? Turn shoreline left or shoreline right? Bats arrow inland, on the prowl for evening bugs. Mid-day, seal pups sun. Old owl perches under the fir canopy, waiting for the rush of small feet. Find historical tributes to the displacers and displaced. This is where past, present and future community gathers; and the place you could not bring her.

sunbeam to shadow
tardy feet wander this trail
a shorebird cries

The day 12 NaPoWriMo challenge was to write a haibun about the natural landscape of where we live. Woodard Bay Conservation Area is a gem.