Little cherub on mama’s lap, 
surrounded by strangers,
crammed into narrow pews
in a room she does not know.

No color, no toys, no talking. No joy. 
She squirms, but just a little.
Everyone stands in unison.

An organ plays, slow and plodding.
Grownups sing, low and droning.
She doesn’t recognize this song, 
but music! Music is a familiar friend!

She listens, watching mama’s lips move.
The hymn ends. She knows what follows music.
She claps her little hands together 
and gives a cheerful, “Yay!”

The congregation laughs.
Thank God for laughter amidst sorrow, and
thank God, too, for toddlers who 
haven’t yet had to learn 
the somber intricacies of mourning. 

Day Five of National Poetry Writing Month! Our prompt today from talks about the “juxtaposition between grief and joy, sorrow and reprieve,” and asks us to:

write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment – or one that the poem invites the reader to think of as inappropriate.

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Violets (a triolet)

Sweet violets in the garden grow

in dappled shade and summer breeze.

Such vibrant beauty to behold! 

Sweet Violet’s in the garden. Grow

strong and wise and free and bold! 

May laughter always flow with ease.

Sweet! Violets in the garden grow

in dappled shade and summer breeze.

Day four of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). The muses at have provided this prompt for the day:

Today, let’s try writing triolets. A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

My poem today is also a celebration of my sweet granddaughter Violet’s second birthday. Happy birthday, pumpkin!

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Reverse Engineering

Passing Through the Lot on a Hot Day

Whose parking lot? I have no clue.
She probably lives in Timbuktu;
Security cams all turned on me,
She’ll see each car I’m prowling through.

Your big ‘ol mutt is onto me,
entering your car without a key.
Apart from dog drool, crushing heat; 
the brightest day you've ever seen.

Mutt jerks her leash, the collar breaks.
I know I’ve made a big mistake.
Her bark so loud, now sirens wail.
She pins me hard, there’s no escape.

The lot is filled; lights blue and red.
I alibi, cops shake their heads.
They haul me off, the jail’s close by.
I’ve made my bed, so here I’ll lie.

Day Three of National Poetry Writing Month! Today’s prompt from

Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite. For example, you might turn “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” to “I won’t contrast you with a winter’s night.” Your first draft of this kind of “opposite” poem will likely need a little polishing, but this is a fun way to respond to a poem you like, while also learning how that poem’s rhetorical strategies really work. (It’s sort of like taking a radio apart and putting it back together, but for poetry).

Okay, so maybe I didn’t quiiiiiiite follow the prompt, but I kinda did, in spirit at least.

The poem I chose to use is Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Here is Frost’s poem:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost - 1874-1963

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

To see how others have responded to the challenge, go to and check out the comments section for links to other participating poets.

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NaPoWriMo 2023: Day Two ~ Surreal

Day Two of NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is inspired by poet Paul Celan, and asks us to:

“begin by picking 5-10 words from [a specified] list. Next, write out a question for each word that you’ve selected (e.g., what is [fog]?) Now for each question, write a one-line answer. Try to make the answer an image, and don’t worry about strict logic. These are surrealist answers, after all! After you’ve written out your series of questions and answers, place all the answers, without the questions, on a new page. See if you can make a poem of just the answers. You may find that what you have is very beautifully mysterious, and somehow has its own logic. Happy writing!”

The words I chose are: fog, clove, gutter, salt , thunder, ghost, acorn, elusive, and song (not in order of use). Nothing “beautifully mysterious” came of it, but an interesting challenge nonetheless. Herewith:

What Is…

A pig, a dentist and a cup of hot spiced wine.
[Sounds like the beginning of a bar joke];
that which climbs out of empty bottles.

The smell of old sheets, the color of forgotten.
Wrinkled memories calling bs.
What the dog seeks beneath the bed.

There is…
a giant underfoot,
looking straight, but seeing crooked,
[humming] mathematical paint splatters
hung on a fence to dry.

[Don’t turn around lest they be seen,]
pillars crying at being left behind.

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April Showers Bring…

Jules Verne. From the Earth to the Moon. London, Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, 1873 

It’s April, and we all know what that means: NaPoWriMo!

It’s National Poetry Writing Month, and the well-versed souls at are once again supplying us with inspiration, motivation and creative prompts to help us in the challenge of writing a poem a day for the entire month of April. I always have the best intentions of meeting the challenge, but sometimes life happens. We’ll see how it goes this year.

For April 1:

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they never said you can’t try to write a poem based on a book cover — and that’s your challenge for today! 

As a resource, we were sent to The Public Domain Review’s collection “The Art of Book Covers 1820-1914.”

I chose to use a cover to Jules Verne’s book From Earth to the Moon. My endeavor:

To the Moon

When first we breached primordial ooze, 
our lungs inflating from newfound air,
we turned skyward with clouded eyes, and
there it was:

a moon!

We grew a spine (well, some of us),
strengthened lengthening limbs,
climbed mountains and – 
finding our voice – we howled 

at the moon. 

Torsos stretched, gaining balance.
Minds stretched, gaining wherewithal.
Desires stirred beyond mere survival.
Straining upright, we reached yearningly to

touch the moon.

Stripped of innocence, we clothed our bodies.
Sloughing naivete, we cloaked our intentions.
Finding pride, we adorned our personhood.
Growing listless, we set a goal: we would walk

on the moon. 

Scarred and marred from our abuse, at a distance
Earth nonetheless appears a shiny bauble; a marble
expendable in our cosmic game, because we believe
if all else fails, we will simply move 

to the moon. 

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Wordless Wednesday ~ snow white

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Half Life

We likely all know the trope of whether a half-filled glass of water is half full or half empty. In truth, the glass is completely full: half water and half air. Both are vital to our survival. 

Like the cycles of the moon, our lives are said to wax and wane. Coming into my seventh decade, I am by force of nature inarguably waning, and yet my life is full to overflowing. As the cycle continues, I am quite curious as to where I will find myself at my own next new moon. 

whole moon half-hidden

wax and wane like hide and seek

steadfast in the sky

For dVerse prompt: Haibun Monday ~ Mezza Luna

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Magnet Poem #4

a lazy rain-beat symphony,

luscious and raw through shadowy mist.

a forest sings of dreams and time,

and I recall

how sweet spring moonlight smells.

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Murmur Murmur

Well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? But here I am, back in Stanza-land, and what better way to come back than a writing prompt from the folks at dVerse? Today, Sarah challenges us to choose from a number of paintings by artist Lee Madgwick, and use the painting as inspiration for an original poem.

I will post the painting below, but first, the poem.

Murmuration refers to the phenomenon that results when hundreds, sometimes thousands, of starlings fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky.

Murmur Murmur

Murmur, murmur, murmuration.
Endless swirling iterations.
By what compelled? No explanation.
I won’t venture speculation.

Like pointillistic illustration,
a thousandfold their compilation.
As one they dance their presentation,
and none claim “leader” designation.

At dusk they merge, no hesitations;
mingling, calling salutations.
This roiling mass staves off predation
as they scope night’s destination.

Starling flock cooperation;
flights that defy computation.
I murmur my appreciation.
Murmur, murmur, murmuration.

Murmuration, by Lee Madgwick
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Wordless Wednesday ~ 6/15/22

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