Saturday, April 21, 2018

Day 21

The prompt for Day 21 is to write a danger poem.  We are entering the season for wild fires in the northern part of the province where I work.  I can think of few situations as dangerous as that.

Stag and Beast

An antlered head lifts.
Heat comes on dark wind
up the valley, relentless
pursuit of elevation.

Climbing hills more quickly
than frantic hares, wild-
eyed, running blind ‘til

their muscles seize, tremor,
one futile last effort pitches
small bodies forward,
then—terrible work—done.

Listen: crackling dry twigs
become snap of bleached
bone on forest floor.  Hell
rises to claim this land for

its own victory before spring
rains quench parched soil.
A stag faces westward,
feign stamps its hooves

before retreating eastward
where a river runs its course. 
Eventually, the fire will
run its course. Life moves on,

waits, on cool rains to soothe
the raging beast—fitful slumber—
until next drought, next spark,
and the world leaps ablaze.

Day 20

For today’s prompt, we were to take a line from an earlier poem (from this month) to begin a new poem for today.  I've started this poem with a live from one of my Day 4 poems, Case of Goodbyes.

Travels Abroad

You’re going on a trip, searching
for trinkets from far-away lands,

places like India, or Morocco,
that hold history like sweets on a dish,

as if you might learn your own past
from swallowing theirs.  When

you return to this place of origin
you will recognize it by the dust

on the soles of your shoes,
particulate evidence that you have

found the cradle of your infancy.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Day 18

This poem is a combination of the PAD prompt—to write a temptation poem—and today's NaPoWriMo prompt which was to write a poem structured as a line-by-line response to a previously written poem (preferably a poem with which you are unfamiliar.)  The poem I am responding to is found at the end of mine.

Recalling Paradise Lost

My father’s hidden secrets lived
to stretch the seams of our pockets, but
only heroes carry flags with deeper meaning.

I'm tempted to look, I know what’s there—
the words upon it writ in ancient Celtic script
would lead me to a blinding edge beyond the trail.

Impossible to find a map, retrace his steps,
to navigate a path between sharp blades,
the things I could not touch but only see.

I stand on hand-lathed legs
to view old memories.  Long forgotten are
the names of streets I wandered as a child.

It hurts to speak of what was—
imagined lives of family, where hope lets go
unless tethered to the frosted ground.

Like manic pigeons anxious to take flight,
they mound themselves prepared to leap
but none survive the splash, the sizzle of the fire.

Plane Truths
by Richard Osler

To plane a heart this fine to true.
Each piece peeled off into a curl so taut
it cannot be unfurled.

Wooden whorls, fisted shut, beyond bloom
as if each slice, thin as hand-pressed paper,
must turn back finally on itself.

How many times did I watch, wend
my way past band saw, table saw
cast-iron drill press, candle sticks

in the shapes of birds—dowel beaks
and birch wings—and rocking horses
made of pine, oak and ash,

to the armourer's bench worked with scars
and greet my father?  Only here distance
could slip off easily like the shavings

cut by the plane's bright blade and clench
up in drifts across the floor for me to sweep
and throw into the black pot-bellied stove.

Day 19

So, I skipped over Day 18 as I am not quite satisfied with the poem I am working on for that prompt.  I will return to it soon (because it will drive me crazy to have left a blank spot!)

For today, the prompt is to take the word thread and add words in from of it to create the title of the poem...  then (obviously!) write the poem.

The Last Thread

seams that bore the weight
of our relationship
began to take our shape over time

carefully stitched, mended
when the fabric was stretched taut
I heard the sound of velvet tearing

there I was, trying
to keep this garment presentable
long past the point

it needed
to be ripped into strips, used
as dusting rags but I couldn’t notice

until the last thread had been broken

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Day 17

Today's prompt (and, I'm almost caught up now!) is to write a Love/Anti-Love poem.  Well...  I tried my best with this one!

A Question about Dessert

Where is this going?

This not quite
you and I thing,

This jello mold
that hasn’t quite set yet

Because as much as
I love jello
I really can’t stand this
sitting, waiting, wondering
in the fridge thing
much longer.

Day 16

The prompt for today is to write a favourite poem.  I had a difficult time choosing one favourite thing to write about...  so I wrote this last night while suffering from insomnia!

Contemplation on My Favourite Part of the Day

When the bustle of the busy day subsides
and the house falls quiet around me,
I slip into my bed and pull the comfort
of a still and silky night over myself.

I lie there, letting sleep elude me for a while,
luxuriating within the spaciousness of the bed,
feeling the coolness of cotton sheets against my skin.
A pillow cradles my head as a mother does
a newborn.

I think
how fortunate it is to be alive,

and I am blissfully content in this moment,
in this body,
in this bed,
in this place in my life,

until gratitude rocks me to sleep.

Day 15

Day 15—the half-way mark for this year's April challenge.  I will miss the daily prompts once the month has ended.  (Feel free to offer ones that tickle your fancy, and I'll be sure to give it a whirl!)

Today's prompt was to write a metaphor poem.  Now, as a speech-language pathologist, I'm hoping that other SLP's would understand the wobbly table when I write,  and words bouncing around, as metaphor for a communication disorder we often work with.  However, for those of you who are not SLP's, I'll tell you that as I wrote this piece, I was thinking about a child I'm working with who stutters.

What I Want to Say but Can’t Get Out

My table wobbles when I write
and I cannot keep my words from
sliding to and fro before they
fall completely off the page
to hit the floor like marbles.

You watch with pursed lips when I write.
Sometimes you take my pencil as if
your hand knows what I want to write.
It only proves that you can write.

Your table doesn’t wobble like mine does.
You probably don’t realize my frustration
with having a body generate its own earthquake
every time I want to share a thought.

If only you could show me,
help me steady this damn table,
without that look on your face
that tells me I’ll never be much of a writer
and, perhaps you’re right.
But, you will never get to read
the love songs I write for my dog.

Day 14

I am working up in the beautiful community of Norway House, MB this week!  I've been without internet access since Monday, and have fallen behind in my daily postings.  So, I'm playing a bit of "catch up" with the Poem a Day Challenge.

The prompt for Day 14 was to write a report poem.  I sketched out both of these poems while sitting in the Perimeter Aviation terminal from 6am to 8am Monday morning.  I'm pleased with both pieces, and so I can say something good came out of a delayed flight.  Hopefully, after reading them, you might agree!

This first one was loosely inspired by the recent reconnecting of one of my university roommates.  It really has been difficult to stay in touch with people, despite the world of technology and the immediacy offered through texts, chat,  emails and the like.

The second poem is my somewhat whimsical reliving of a common country pastime from bygone days... the barn dance.

Missing Persons Report

I’m here to file a Missing Persons Report
in hopes of reconnecting with my past—
with people—to understand the elements
that helped to shape my current form.
My college roommate—one part sister,
two parts friend—has not been seen
nor heard from since the days we left
to travel separate paths.  My fault, not hers.
Life hasn’t proven easy nor conducive
to the art of correspondence.
It boils down to this:  time—too little—
and stress—too much.  This combination
culminates in anxious thoughts
that bind my limbs and gag my mouth.
Hoodwinked at times, perhaps I’ve been
the person missing all along…

I’m here to file a Missing Persons Report. 
Have you seen me lately?

My Report on The Barn Dance

And now the barn, no longer plain,
transforms into a place where dreams begin,

and now musicians take the stage,

and now the strains of fiddle float through air
to thrum an invitation—dance!

And now suspendered gents approach the girls
whose faces, flush with yearning, smile “yes!”,
then couples, young and old alike, pair off,

and now the music picks up speed,
and how our feet do fly and move in rhythm!

And now the peals of laughter rise
to join this country ho-down symphony,

and now the music skips a beat,
(or so it felt, to look into your eyes.)

And now, the dance comes to its close.

Outside the night feels fresh against my face,
and now he plants a kiss upon my cheek,
and now, the evening stars escort me home.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Sonnets are like Pringles...

... I can never write just one.

So, in follow-up to yesterday's bug-inspired poem, I found myself composing a second sonnet today.  Something about patterning, working within a specific line format, iambic meter...  maybe I just need a bit more structure in my life!  (And, now that I've posted this, I am returning to the work at hand—creating something out of the list of 10 words supplied by the CV2 contest organizers for this year's 2-Day Poem Contest.)


I’ll write a sonnet to myself this day
to sing of great achievements with no shame,
for I have faced great odds and found my way
despite the many obstacles that came.

Adversity once knocked me to the ground
and not just once, but countless times before.
A woman’s destiny has long been found
as “less than” and subservient, not “more.”

But, woman’s strength is in her will to rise
above denial’s constant hum of doubt.
With sisters by her side,  she’ll reach the prize
to stand together with triumphant shout!

Supporting one another, hand in hand
is how we must proceed across the land.

Day 13

Here is the prompt for day 13 of the PAD Chalenge:  pick an insect (any insect), make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

I could not have imagined writing a sonnet to a bug...  so thanks to Robert Lee Brewer over at his blog, Poetic Asides, on Writers Digest for shaking me out of my comfort zone.

If I had been the Spider, You the Fly

If I had been the spider, you the fly,
upon my web you’d dance before we’d dine.
Then, sitting down, we’d feast (not you, but I.)
I'd savour every morsel with fine wine.

When we first met, you lured me to your web
then spun me with distortions—words untrue—
‘til over time I felt my spirit ebb.
(I’d feel quite justified devouring you.)

But, I’m no Spider Queen on silken throne
nor you a juicy bug I’d care to eat,
distasteful in all ways.  You’ll not atone—
Too filled are you with ego-fuelled conceit.

I’ve swept your dusty cobwebs out my door.
Good riddance to bad rubbish evermore!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Day 12

Today's theme is lamentation. 

Expanding into Life

I hear the chirrup of birds out my window.
Perhaps, they never stopped singing, but
their trills sound miraculous to my ears—

denied the lyrical notes of happiness far too
long—my forlorn self chose silence over joy.
But, how does one let go of Sorrow’s hand?

The greening of spring brings a new season.
Perhaps, time’s passage has done its work,
and Nature has been put right in the world.

Somehow, my soul has built a new foundation
with all the pain that tried to obscure beauty
from my sight.  A fundamental new spark has

burnt open my eyes, and true sight gives all a
new appreciation of life.  I’m filled.  The void,
where suffering was endlessly consumed, now

expands with each new breath I take.  I’ll sing
my own song this day, and every day forward
my tremulous voice grows stronger.  Soon, I

will become an ode to my own joy!  Let others
wear black sackcloth for me no longer.  My
countless days of lamentation are over.

Day 21

The prompt for Day 21 is to write a danger poem.  We are entering the season for wild fires in the northern part of the province where I wor...