Day 30 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

National Poetry Month – Farewell

What a great time!
Everyday a new poem
flung out to the universe
let loose, to settle
on our shoulders – tongues –
in the corners of eyes.
Things we thought unsayable
coalescing into a great swell
across fields of sorrow and joy.
Memory planted – rooted
like sycamore, oaks, pine,
into our consciousness,
rising up to light us all.
I’ll miss the shared poems
of friends – words from
writers new to me,
this sharing, this long luscious ride
in the pony cart of life
along the highway of free-verse,
rhyme, poignant prose and haiku.
Though this month is gone
we will remain faithful
to the things which move us.
We’ll come together again
pen on paper scratching
to define ourselves.
Until next April
may the metaphors be with us,
every one.

Day 29 - 30 Poems In 30 Days

(written after misreading “The Redress of Poetry” by Seamus Heaney)

The Red Dress of Poetry

Oh, let us flaunt our poetry.
Dress it in something slinky or
something soiled and inky.
Let us read in quiet bedrooms,
in crowded subways,
down by the fishin’ hole.
May we press it in our mouths
till it becomes diamonds
we hang from our ears.
Simmer it in the stew-pot of words
we’ve praised and cursed
till it becomes sustenance –
wheat free – gluten free
or banned by the FDA.
Carry it in in our silk purses,
in our sow’s ear pockets.
Be not ashamed ­– wear it
to the laundromat, the post office,
dress it up in something
that can’t be missed,
something to remind us
of living, of dying, of blood-shot eyes,
of the stars from which we came.
Let’s go out-on-the-town everyone
just to wear the red dress of poetry.

Day 28 – 30 Poems in 30 Days – Haiku counts - I think?

Elysian Fields

Will I be a blessed dead?

Write poems forever

in the meadow of beauty.

Day 27 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

The Women Gather

The girls (women now), come home again.
Here where our fathers and mothers
gathered love and laughter
plentiful as the eggs Grandma
used as an excuse to marry our Grandfather
when she was 15.

This is the land our parents hoed,
toiled for sustenance.
Lived by milk from a single cow,
the drought or plenty of summer gardens,
mornings of more chores,
nights beneath home-made quilts

Here where they hired themselves out
for maybe a dollar a month
to support their mother,
widowed when baby Glenn was two,
illiterate because she was female

What ties us together 
cannot be contained in this poem.
It’s about blood,
about Hill Grover Cemetery,
our names carved on stones.
The coming together

to honor something imperceptible
yet solid and unbreakable.
Though miles and our own families
separate us daily we gather again
just to breathe together - the same air
as our mammas and our papas.

Day 26 - 30 poems in 30 Days

Music Brings Me Home

Here is the music where I belong
grandfathers and aunts strum
an old-time song,
hands clap time,
laughter rolls up amid the crowd,
leather-soled shoes upon the floor,
familiar tunes, some quiet, some loud.

Now Dave and Geri bow down an old modal tune
that wrings my heart calls forth
Grandma’s laughter beneath the moon,
Papaw’s fiddle on the shelf,
family food, sweet and warm
honeyed tea and lemonade chillin’
and out-back everyone’s a’playin’.

Then here comes Ginny and Kaye,
syrup throats let loose, like I would pray,
ballads and hymns that framed my youth,
taught me what was right, 
perfect harmony that warns
big dangers everywhere and how
sometimes love can be a gruesome sight.

Oh, I am coming back tonight –
the chords of G, and C, and E
float out across the dome of evening
land in my ear, my lap, my life,
wrap the shawl of music
‘round my shoulders – Hallelujah sisters
This is the music which brings me home.

Day 25 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

When You Expect it Least

The fire sputters a gentle song
in early evening darkness,
turns and falls into itself.

There will be rain tomorrow
but tonight another split log
yields to the lick of flame,
throws shadow and light
into this late April evening.

We laugh, pass the bottle,
tell another story
so true it’s hard to believe.

We hum our own lullabies
to the glowing coals that
arouse the still cool ground,
warms our hands and
memories of other evenings.

Later we lie down alone,
dream of touchable skin,
that could kindle into flame,
blaze our own incandescent light
across all is left of our time.

Day 24 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

The optional prompt was to write a poem that features walls, bricks, stones, arches, or the like.  I only have one wall but it’s the content that matters:

Souls of April

I heard a single morning bird
Just before 5 a.m.  So bright,
un-shy to be the first to greet
the wall of another April day.

I’d spent the night in my day clothes
deep in the sweet bed of fiction.
Both found and lost as a 12 year old
in their last summer of mystery.

I’ll drive 300 miles today as another writer’s
language bounces inside my metal carriage,
rings my ears with sweet description,
places I have known or dreamed about.

At 5:30 a few more birds joined the chorus
and by 6:00 the air was full with songs
no cage or prison cell could restrict.
Oh, what luxury this life has given now.

Day 23 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Today’s prompt (optional, as always) from NaPoWriMo - Find a poem in a language you don’t know, and translate it into English based on the look of the words and their sounds. – I chose a German (because I don't know German) poem Wandrers Nachtlied by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  I did find it interesting that when I looked up the English translation it spoke of hills and trees and woods.

Dark Vagrants

Under alien hands
Fast the ruin
Created foreign lands
Pure dung
Beneath our mountain hips
Vulgar strip mines
Stripped vistas bare
Rude in morning light.

Here is the original German version:
Wandrers Nachtlied II
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Über allen Gipfeln  
Ist Ruh,         
In allen Wipfeln       
Spürest du   
Kaum einen Hauch;           
Die Vögelein schweigen in Walde.         
Warte nur, balde     
Ruhest du auch.

Day 22 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Today’s prompt was to write a children’s poem – Since today was busy I gave it a quick try - I followed (sort-of) the nursery rhyme format and came up with this:


There once was a girl, there once was a boy
And each one has a brand new toy.

He didn’t want his, she didn’t want hers,
She’d rather have his, he’d rather have hers.

But they both were too stingy to figure it out
They argued and tussled and began to shout.

They quarreled and crumbled and started to fight
Then Momma walked and set things right.

She picked up both toys as quick as a wink
And then they were gone in one quick blink.

Now here is the girl and here is the boy
And neither of them has even one toy.

For Momma said fighting, you must not do
For it only results in both of you blue.

So come now my children and follow this rule,
You must not fight, you must never be cruel.

Day 21 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Dream of New York City

Never been to New York City.
Not exactly,
well once, trying to get to Connecticut,
on a freeway we were lost
but Ron said “you’d better look now
‘cause you’ll never come here with me again”.

I thought I “always” wanted to go
be anonymous
on a street of thousands
cloth myself, oh so fashionably,
a pair of red high-heels clicking on the sidewalk.
Wander into the Flatiron Lounge.

Sip a cocktail (or seven) with Kim Cattrall
discuss the pleasure of
an elegant 12th floor apartment,
complete with sex in the city,
my breasts resplendent – no curtains on the widows,
to come to the thrum of a sleepless place.

But, my friend, I’m here,
black Sketcher tennis shoes,
silent on the wooded path,
my favorite jeans, the ones with the hole I patched
(because I’m not ready to give them up)
an iron-on blue star right on the thigh

above where my next tattoo will go.
Reliable denim guards my legs, ankles, genitalia.
I drink from a shaded spring,
talk with the oriole, a big voice tree frog,
gage the board feet of sycamore and beach,
pillow my head on white tipped moss.

I know the twigs and fern
as well as they know me,
listen to the hum of morning as
it sings its earthen chant
into my blood, into the familiar river
into my womb.,

Day 20 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

What This Day Brings

The first Monday
after the first Sunday
after the first full moon
after the vernal equinox.

This day brings
the good china, clean
and stacked on the table
beside iridescent glasses,

folded lace table cloth,
a potted Easter Lily
white as tomorrow,
pure as our memories of the dead.  

Day 19 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

The Banquet of June

By nine-thirty the dew is dry.
He goes out to the green yard,
cuts grass, trims the fence lines
pulls weeds from a flower bed.
But his mind is stays inside
wrapped around a cotton dress
white in the shadowed rooms,
her supple sway
amid morning chores.
her torso
pale as April legs.
At noon she calls him in.
He pauses, kisses three rose buds,
climbs the steps,
opens the screen door
ready again for her feast.

Day 18 - 30 Poems in 30 Days


The last time you didn’t listen to me
I was talking about the river
and that old sycamore tree.
How all winter I offer
prayer-ties to this touchstone
while she guards the dark water.

It is spring now, I feel her stir,
draw up from root, to limb, to branch
the assurance of another leafing season.
No direction, instruction, distraction,
no “I’m too busy” – just her
gentle patience in soft morning light.

But you weren’t listening
off on some quiet journey of your own.
Preoccupied with mail, coffee,
the evening news.
Wandering the caverns of
the empty work pages of life.

What I wanted to say was
I’m still here, that I long to plough  
that deep unnamed place
from which my sap still rises, flows,
my skin still sheds and
my hands still bud with poems.

Day 17 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Draft #1 - I used the prompt to write a poem in which you very specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses and an older prompt from Sacred Way Poets Workshop - Write a poem using all three of these – “dancing, a pitch-black room, and the smell of lilacs”  

Drawn From The Smell of Lilacs

This pitch-black room is darker than that cave
deep under an eastern meadow,
which holds the dull fecal scent of decay
mixed with full nostril odor of old damp earth.

Where 23 years ago I brought my children,
their glossy checks, straw-strewn hair,
worn scuffed shoes, and torn play clothes,
their hesitant eyes which grew
round and large when all light left.

My daughters smooth hands, now far away,
red and chapped from years of dishwater,
bound by the rings of their days,
their soiled cuticles, dark from
tunneling their own lives.

I am drawn again to the darkness
unknown above ground,
the lure of a flowing stream
which sings an old amniotic lullaby
I can almost remember.

Still, even without light,
I somersault at noon,
swallow the salt of gone years,
bless the days still left for me,
dance to the rhythm of lilacs.

Day 16 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

How Will You Remember Me

I don’t want to be a memorial bridge,
just a name for a passage over water.

Not white cross beside the road,
a reminder that someone died.

I wish to be a poem
that someone memorizes, or

creases carefully
to carry in their pocket.

Day 14 - 30 Poems in 30 Days.

Betula Praise

Redbud blooms are not red –
not pink or lavender
but another luscious color.
And oh, how April welcomes them.

While white birch gather
by morning streams,
lift their barrens limbs
in praise. As I

flow south with the great river
notice how the sky
variegates its blueness
throughout this day.

Watch this White Lady
stand in light-filled grace,
a sky ladder leading up
and up and up.

Day 14 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Twenty Questions That…

Are you going to wear THAT?
How soon will you quit college and get a job?
Why did your husband change jobs AGAIN?
Is your son still listening to that devil music?
What makes you think YOU have a chance?
Can you really afford those gaudy boots?
Why don’t you call more often?
Did you go to church today?
Is your daughter still seeing THAT boy?
Why can’t I eat that candy bar?
When are you going to slow down?
Why don’t you take better care of yourself?
Why did she throw it away – it wasn’t THAT spoiled?
Why don’t you turn off that squalling music?
Why do you think THAT prize is a big deal?
Why do you wear your hair like THAT?
Who picked THIS restaurant?
Why did you waste your money on a card for me?
Why don’t you ever talk about your father?
How soon are you coming back to visit?

Day 13 - 30 Poems in 30 Days


It is easy
to surrender
to the blue evening.
The lull – the pull
of that forgotten place
on the sharp edge
of memory.
The azure labyrinth
where sapphire
moon shifters
entice me to forget
about tomorrow, today.
To lie gentle
and free as
a turquoise prayer
of gratitude.

Day 12 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Learning To Love My Neck

I am an older woman now.
I wish to love my neck again.
Not focus on the flawless ones
of young girls, to love this now-creased stem
which holds my head
that holds my brain – in which
these word flow, swim, converge.

The seven bony segments C-1 to C-7
the cartilaginous discs, the hyoid bone,
cricoid cartilage, trachea, isthmus
sternomastoid muscle.
For all these years
this neck has guarded
the jugular road of my life.

I want to do-away with turtle necks,
let my scarfs hang long and loose,
wear a low-cut red dress or blouse,
expose the delicate décolletage
to other eyes, the sun, the moon.
To flaunt the knowledge lines
that ring my present life.  

So come now, you carnival hawkers
try to pull me in – guess my age.
I’ll keep my dollar bill
not be suckled in for one cheap prize.
I know the years I’ve tickled this earth,
that I have lived and loved
more than you could even bear.

Day 11 - 30 poems in 30 days

Day 11 - prompt (optional, as always) from NaPoWriMo - Poets have been writing about love and wine, wine and love, since . . . well, since the time of Anacreon, a Greek poet who was rather partial to that subject matter. Anacreon developed a particular meter for his tipsy, lovey-dovey verse, but Anacreontics in English generally do away with meter-based constraints. Anacreontics might be described as a sort of high-falutin’ drinking song. So today I challenge you to write about wine-and-love. Of course, you may have no love of wine yourself, in which case you might try an anti-Anacreontic poem.

The Shiraz of Love

There is something about shiraz-merlot.
Its bottle, tall and dark, waits – beckons
like a lover, years ago young,
years ago gone.

Sweet – vital as the just ripe pear or peach
that hangs, a foot
above my fingertips.

But this – this tumbles easy
into the wide-brimmed goblet,
dances in candlelight.
Passion’s red kiss anoints my lips.

A promise fulfilled,
on my terms, my time
with a price I can now afford pay.

Day 10 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

NaPoWriMo Assignment - Day 10: Once upon a time, poetry was regularly used in advertisements, most notably the Burma-Shave ads:  Today's, challenge is to write your own advertisement-poem. You don’t need to advertise Burma-Shave. Any product (or idea) will do. Perhaps you could write a poem advertising poetry? It certainly could use the publicity!


Pause For Poetry

Sometimes we want to pause and breathe
Pay homage to a blooming tree.
To know that we are not alone
To feel some words down in our bones.
We need to send our love or loss
To leave this world of hard chaos.
So take a little time today
And tell us what you have to say.
To live a life above ho-hum
Just stop and read, or write a poem.

Day 9 - 30 Poems in 20 Days

Sorrow’s Room

So here I am again, in this old room of grief
cluttered with teacups, creased and tinted photographs,
lace-edged handkerchiefs, stories so faded my children
can’t hear how they sing in the corners,
can’t remember who said what.

I thumb the lives I walked beside,
the ones who bounced me on firm knees,
kissed my cuts and bruises, my cheek, my forehead,
my always anxious lips. My mother’s son, and mine,
that left before we saw their faces.

I need hip-boots to slosh the flood of tears gathered
in tissues, pillow cases, quilts, on the shoulders of
friends and strangers.  I come raw again into this chamber
sob for what I did or didn’t say, for who I did or didn’t touch,
for the unanswered letter tucked deep in the drawer.

Day 8 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Frying Pan Poetry

A universe of adjectives waits for the verbs of passion,
forgiveness, solidarity, living and lust – words that twist themselves
over dark highways, through the green vines of dusk,
into the cluttered bedrooms and dens of living.
Lexicons that spiral into a torrent, scatter themselves upon animals,
the thin skin of the dying and the newborn,

the fragile bones of the forgotten, the full lips of longing,
the altars of what we can’t forget, the hastened prayers
let loose in the torture of desire, the whiskey tinge of need.
All these come and go, hop a boxcar bound for tomorrow’s promise.
Patient as spring daffodils, urgent as labor they ready themselves
to jump into the frying pan of poetry

Somewhere there is a poet - deep in the margins of life
who wades morning and midnight, wears a shawl of uncertainty
lunges toward the yellow paper that waits like a hungry animal,
like ice cream, watermelon, chocolate, soup beans and lard-fried potatoes.
A page to be consumed by the ink of life that scrawls the past and present
as it scratches for a way toward tomorrow, toward an unwritten bible.  

Day 7 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Dark Chocolate
Languid as midnight
it curls against my tongue
to hum a lullaby
in the perfect-pitch voice I wish I had.

To ooze down the throat
softer than butterscotch,
quieter than a tulip bloom,
easier than my lover’s name.

It washes through
all unnamed losses
to rest as velvet
in my palm.

To cull the hours spent
in useless  dusting, eating, sleeping.
Oh, sweet love
Come let me taste you once again.

Day 6 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Which Way Do You Drive Home
All day I drive
past silent churches,
spring green streams,
along forsythia edged roads
the car rolls up and over miles
of curves and narrow drives.

Sometimes I ride the brake
or gun the throttle
pass cars, long-haired sleepy dogs,
a truck piled steep with turkey crates
where sorry faces hang
like lost directions.

Feathers, fleeting like your face
behind an April evening,
wash the highway.
The sky, blue as your eyes,
empty as your presence
next to me.

Eight hundred thirty-seven miles
I drive – mostly north but sometimes
east and west, watch the rear-view mirror,
ponder where morning will find us.
Wonder why I can’t remember

Day 5 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Day Five of 30 poems in 30 days – NaPoWriMo Assignment - write a “golden shovel.” This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool. You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem!

I chose the poem Dust of Snow by Robert Frost.  I know the language is archaic but it’s a start that I may work on later (after I’ve caught up on my 30 in 30 poems).

Dust of the Crow (After Robert Frost – Dust of Snow)

Perched high and solitary in the
Pines which lined the way
To evening shadows where a
Caw could claim the crow
Then here the evening shook
And dusk began to drift down
As travelers hurried on

A mite of dust fell straight on me
From under the blue-black wing of the
Winged-one, higher than the dust
And mourning doves where something of
Memory like November snow
That whistled silently from
Another day white with a
Ghost of the dark green hemlock
As I stood firm against that tree

For years this land has
Harbored corvus, given
Graciously everything my
Days could do to fill this heart
And offered more than a
Momentary fleeting change
The Spring pleasure of
Coltsfoots yellow mood
Of service bloom and
Shinny bobbles I have saved
To leave as gifts for some
Crow to gather, then leave and part
To fly and claim another way of
Giving this and that to a
Familiar stranger in the day
To others who feel, like I
That his song and wing had
Chased away all sorrows we rued.

Day 4 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

NaPoWriMo – Day 4 - write a lune. A lune is a sort of English-language variation on the haiku, meant to better render the tone of the Japanese haiku than the standard 5-7-5 format we all learned (and maybe loved) in elementary school. There are a couple of variants on the lune form, but just to keep things simple, let’s try the version developed by Jack Collum. His version of the lune involves a three-line stanza. The first line has three words. The second line has five, and the third line has three.

April 7 - Lune


Morning comes again

the sun is always out

we must look.

Day 3 - 30 Poems in 30 Days

Charm Against the Freeze

Eighty gallons of regular gas;

Potato chips to break your fast;

A map upon the passenger seat;

All the speed limits you can beat.


Six whole states;

No problem to make;

Just eight more hours;

Till everything flowers.