Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End poem prompt

C’est fin! (Just realized I never completed posting the last April writing prompts). Here's hoping you got a poem, or five, inspired by all these great writing prompts. There's enough fodder here to fuel poems throughout the summer—which I plan to do. At random.

So even if I didn't post my own poems under some of these prompts, it doesn't mean I won't do it later. I'll post creation date under my poems.

Since I type my poem titles in CAPS, it should be fairly easy to spot my work. (I also post random poems on this blog—the titles are in CAPS to distinguish from prose.) The date should also be a giveaway.

As for my blog titles for these April poem prompts, they were so eclectic, I picked one strong generic idea that seemed like it might be a fruitful writing prompt.  —MH

PAD: Two-for-Tuesday prompt, pick one (or both):
Write a finished poem.
Write a never finished poem.

NaPoWriMo: 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).



It's odd how the life you
always envisioned
was never that obvious.
Hiding in some dark alley,
perverse dreams enticing you on,
like fool's gold or carrot sticks,
stubborn dreams that never materialized
haunting you—
but those hopes and aspirations,
abandoned by roadside ditches
amid thistles and blue chicory
and a paucity of water,
were the only things
that kept us going.


inspired by sugar is smoking by Jason Schneiderman
this prompt was surprisingly fun, better than the erasure found poem idea from April 26, which I didn't find as satisfying.

Molly Fisk: April 30 prompt: At the finish line
What a wonderful month of poems! Congratulations everybody! (And if you want more, we start visual prompts on May 1st.)

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a poem where something (big or small, abstract or concrete) comes to an end.

Ten more poems to go. Will I finish this in time for NaPoWriMo? Not bloody likely.

I've pulled poems from prompts because I can't find anything this way. I did try & post the link to the prompt whenever possible.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Prose poem prompt ( PROTESTING AT THE GROVE)

PAD: take a line from one of your poems (preferably one of your April poems), make it the title of your poem today, and then, write the poem.

NaPoWriMo: write a poem that contains at least five words in other languages. You could perhaps write a poem that takes place in a foreign country or, like our featured blogger for the day, write a poem based on overheard conversation (inclusive of foreign words). So whether you have to dig deep into what you remember from high-school Spanish, or use a dictionary to translate a few interesting words into other languages, why not drop a Mohrrübe or an asciugamano into your work today (even if it seems de trop.

Molly Fisk: April 29 prompt: Here is a little extra ___________ just for you.

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a prose poem. Not sure what a prose poem is? Visit: http://bit.ly/4B4diE


Hot July on the Russian River. Bathers and Bohemians. Encampment. We posed as hookers as Bohos slaked their thirst on our side of the river. Northwoods Lodge: FBI agents, Bohos and us. Only there were no cameras. Maybe stealth ones.

Rose refreshed her lipstick in the mirror, looked me in the eye, said: I don't know if you gals are working tonight, but there's a bust going down. Tonight. Was I undercover, or under the covers?

Poet Karla Anderdatter was talking to the river on the Monte Rio Bridge. That's where we bonded. Beauty queen-activist Mary Moore rallied us. Things got ugly at the protest. I was clubbed on the back as I outran the law, camera in hand. Snap!

Did we cross the river? We went skinny-dipping, and the Bohos came to us to slake their thirst. The famous optometrist returning from Russia. Nothing wrong with his eyes. Leering at our flesh, he fed us the news.

Simone got her story on Helmut Kohl. I hardly knew who he was. I took photos. No need for words. Judy Bari also wrote for The Paper (Now The North Bay Bohemian). Newspapers and Bohemians. Full circle! These wild wolf women. Somewhere I have the negatives. Somewhere.

While we angled for more stories at the oasis, someone said sneak into the Grove? So I dropped my cover and we blew the joint. A US Olympic swimmer, he broke a world record for the backstroke. He also could've been lying. Somewhere I have notes. Somewhere. He took me in after midnight. Not much to see in the dark. A large parking lot. Lights in the distance. Maybe atomic ghosts.  We howled at the moon.

Not much else to tell, so I took him home. He was sleek as a seal. We did the backstroke and the butterfly and the breaststroke. Dropped him off at the gates at dawn. Was I sleeping with the enemy? All that water under the bridge. Tide coming in. Moon falling into the arms of the sea.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

COLOR 2 poem prompt

PAD: write a shadorma. For those new to the shadorma, it’s a fun little 6-line poem that follows this syllable count: 3/5/3/3/7/5.

“mornings after”

maybe she
won’t need him again
maybe she
knows that he
is just a phantom haunting
her empty spaces

NaPoWriMo: pick a color. How many synonyms are there for your color (e.g., green, chartreuse, olive, veridian)? Is your color associated with a specific mood (e.g., red = passion, rage, blue = hope, truth). Look around the room, take a walk — note everything you see that is your chosen color. Then start writing, using the color as a guide.

If you’re having trouble getting started, here are a few examples of “color” poems — Federico Garcia Lorca’s Romance Sonambulo, e.e. cummings’ All in Green Went My Love Riding, and (a personal favorite) Diane Wakoski’s Blue Monday.

Molly Fisk: April 28 prompt: The buds are just flushing the trees

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a poem that’s less than 140 characters. If you’re on Twitter, tweet it! Be sure to use hash tag #30dpc.

10,000th TWEET

Fitting that my 10,000th tweet 
was in tribute to Seamus Heaney:
for 10,000 birds have taken flight 
across the dark shoulder of the night.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

MECHANICAL poem prompt

PAD: write a mechanical poem. Either you’re mechanically-inclined, or you’re like me and hit things to make them work after they break (which, by the way, rarely works).

NaPoWriMo: Think of a common proverb or phrase — something like “All that glitters is not gold,” or “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Then plug the first three words of the phrase into a search engine. Skim through the first few pages of results, collecting (rather like a poetic magpie) words and phrases that interest you. Then use those words and phrases as the inspirations (and some of the source material) for a new poem. Happy writing!

So I did a "found poem" search with this exercise. Mostly regrettable examples.


When it comes to eating, I get that everyone wants to be Italian.

I gleaned some good lines here and there:
beyond the blue event horizon 
blow a heart with smoke 
may the words of my mouth 
blow a man with a dream

And some were just bizarre:
I find that a duck's opinion of me obscene  
blow a cow up with a bazooka
women make love to an octopus
OK, I just don't want to know about that octopus. One CSI: LV show had me going in circles about a prostitute who was in the fishtank and an octopus that got shot and slimed a tram enroute to Mandalay Bay, one man stabbed, another killed by a ricocheting bullet—with an autistic kid as the only witness. How do you spell surreal? And only the octopus survived.

But my favorite Googleism by far is:
sometimes when I'm alone I pretend I'm a carrot
(An original Google line; not in a million years would I have come up with that one.)

I found that typing the first part of a question yielded better results. Check out my Google Poems: Why? How? I posted them on 7/21/13 but was collecting them here and there.

Molly Fisk: April 27 prompt: These are the moving men

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a poem using the object to construct an extended metaphor. For more about extended metaphor: http://bit.ly/xSuQbw

Friday, April 26, 2013


(Sorry I was on the road, and mostly without internet. I'll post the missing prompts  ASAP.)

PAD write a casting poem. Casting can take on several meanings, including casting a spell, casting a line (such as in fishing), casting the actors in a play, and I suppose even the act of creating a cast.

NaPoWriMo Ronald Johnson took a copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and erased whole words and even lines, while maintaining the relative position of the remaining words. You can see a brief excerpt here.

Today, I challenge you to perform an erasure of your own. You don’t need to start with a poem as long as Paradise Lost, of course, but a tolerably long poem is usually needed to furnish enough material so that the final product isn’t just a few words long (though erasure haiku might be a fun new subgenre). A few long poems that might respond well to erasure could be Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, or Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott. Go ahead and copy and paste the text into a document, and then start whiting-out words. Or make a photocopy of a long poem you like, and mark over words on the copy. You can form a whole new poem just by taking words away! Once you’re done, you can leave the spaces as they are (I rather like the “ghosted” look of all that empty space), or take the left-over words and keep playing with them, reforming new poems from them. Happy writing!


Beyond the seas
we take up the burden
by the earth—
a clear flame of truth
separated from
theories of religion
as the perfect meaning
is often lost to us
we are more sacred instinct
than the surge and fret of time,
the spirit often lost
while the letter of tradition
is retold with unlimited unction.
a poet's work
this song of America
make us feel the poetic force
These poems touched
with sweeping music
of Time and Space
open the mind.
to sing the first
harmony of the universe
The conjunction of
of poetic vision,
gaze into the future,
the social miseries lose
their finality of woe,
in the eternal human march.


(Found poem from WALT WHITMAN Leaves of Grass


a plot of ground
far from the water
sucking the shore
salt smell of waves
awakened the boats
Beating death by 
drowning the
taste of the sea


(found poem from
Inland by Edna St. Vincent Millay)


Molly Fisk:  April 26 prompt: terpsichorean \turp-si-kuh-REE-uhn\ , adjective:

1. Pertaining to dancing.
noun: 1. A dancer.

I even saw Major West that evening tapping his foot and picking up his feet in terpsichorean splendor with Mrs. West."
-- Jackson Bailey, My Love and I

They're agile, they're flexible, they're terpsichorean."
-- Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full

Terpsichorean comes from the name of the Greek muse of dancing, Terpischore. The word is a combination of the Greek terpein, "to delight," and -khoros, "chorus."

30 Day Poetry Challenge:  Circle all the verbs in a magazine article. Use as many of them as you can to construct a poem. Title your poem with the article's title.

More info on APRIL A POEM A DAY here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SOUND poem prompt

in the koi pond
PAD: take the phrase “Everyone (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “Everyone Thinks I’m Crazy,” “Everyone Knows the World Is Round,” “Everyone Needs to Leave Me Alone,” or whatever it is that everyone is doing (or not doing).

NaPoWriMo: Today, let’s try another musical form — the ballad. Traditionally, ballads were rhymed poems that told a story of some kind, and were often set to music. They were sometimes set in four-line verses, with an ABAB rhyme pattern, employing alternating 8 and 6 syllable, iambic lines. This 8/6 iambic pattern is sometimes referred to as ballad meter. The use of this type of pattern was not universal, however, and old ballads often involve different syllable counts, as well as refrains that break up the verses.

The form has generated many sub-genres over the years, including the sentimental ballad (think “Danny Boy“), the gruesome murder ballad, and of course, the power ballad. The form’s come a long way from the folk songs with which it began, but the narrative aspect of the ballad remains intact.

Your ballad could be sad, or funny. It could tell a tale of love, or murder, or just something silly. If you have any musical talent, it might be fun to try and actually make a tune for your ballad! Happy writing.

Molly Fisk: April 25 prompt: The sounds that fish make when no one is listening...


The sounds that fish make
when no one is listening
in the koi pond, do they mouth
& baise-moué l'ail to the sky
and dream of swimming among the stars?
But in the depths of the ocean,
there's a piscean clack & growl,
the sonic boom and tump of black drumfish
travels up canals through bedroom walls—
their song akin to water-boarding, or a hydraulic engine.
At Strawberry Cove, the first high tide after the full moon,
we'd wait for the grunion run, they'd crawl out of the sea,
the only fish that must be caught by hand.
But the town drunks and Asians gathered them up in buckets
In a bioluminescent sea, we heard shoals of herrings
fart out a Morse code—like an angry army of Jimmy Choos
let loose in Grand Central Station at rush hour.
Those droning toadfish, those heavy metal rockers
sitting by the dock of the bay, no Country Joe & the Fish
singing We don't give a damn, drive Sausalito houseboaters
stark-raving-mad on warm summer nights.
Cusk eels jackhammering in the key of sea,
force sleep-deprived oceanographers inland.
We listened to miked pirañas, castenetting
like SETI radars in the Steinhart Aquarium.
Runaway seahorses, chirping clownfish,
yellow croakers, pistol shrimp, cod & haddock
thrumming up an aquatic din—
fishily belting it out in the name of love.
From Ensenada to Point Lobos
fish are chorusing a grand stadium "wave."
No passive acoustics, they sing the body electric
with a cacophony of barks and grunts
worthy of a Liberian ship engine with thrown rods.
Midshipmen looking for love in all the wrong places,
might have stumped Aristotle and sailors alike.
But no one has ever heard a butterfly fish make a sound.
Merely a whisper and sigh of fin and wing, like rustling leaves.


30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a poem inspired by a YouTube video.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

AUTO poem prompt

PAD: write an auto poem. Auto could mean automobile, automatic, automaton, or any number of possibilities.

NaPoWriMo: think about words buried in words. In particular, think about the words buried in your own name. Plug your name into an anagram generator, like this one, and try writing a self-portrait poem using words that are generated. (Don’t worry if it takes a minute or two to generate the anagrams — you’d be surprised how many different ones a name will generate — mine generted 107,144 anagrams, and I didn’t even use my middle name)!

Molly Fisk: April 24 prompt: trees near churches

                  —Oh, what a tangled web we weave
                        Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, 1808

This morning I awoke with dreadlocks.
My granny would've dubbed it a mare's nest. 
What was I doing last night, 
dream-cruising with the Hells Angels? 

I contemplate the massive tangle 
strand by matted strand, or rather, twig by twig—
the catalyst from yesterday's losing battle 
with an overgrown crepe myrtle slowly dying for years—
falls out around me like a deconstructed nest
at an archaeological dig. 

As I crashed about in the underbrush, 
a hummingbird watched with vested interest. 
Patrolled and scolded me. Form follows form. 
I was flocked with a wreath of crepe myrtle
wings, stained the color of dying royalty, or sorrow.

I spray my nest with Neat's Foot oil,
bottled with enough patience to tame
a horse's tail or the industrial-sized "kitchen" 
nesting at the back of my neck.

Born with an abundance of impatience,
I once whacked my matted hair off at the nape. 
I was Samson, I was Delilah. Shorn
of my long locks, I was defrocked. 
I yanked on my hair to make it grow.

My mane is my Familiar, curled on my shoulder
like a ship's cat, or a feathered serpent
hissing protectively down the curve of my spine
to the trinity of sacrum, ischium and Ilium.

There was so much duff trapped in my hair, 
I had to sweep it out the door.
Soon, the birds will follow like gleaners
to scoop up my hair to line their nests.


30 Day Poetry Challenge: Instead of writing a poem, compose it out loud. Use a tape recorder, your smartphone, or have someone else write it down for you. Don’t over think it! Spend no more than 15 minutes “writing.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NOTE poem prompt

PAD: Two-for-Tuesday prompt. In fact, this is one I include with every challenge. Here are your options:
Write a love poem.
Write an anti-love poem.

NaPoWriMo: 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. Here’s an example by Thomas Hardy:

Birds at Winter

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly! – faster
Shutting indoors the crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The Flakes fly faster
And all the berries now are gone!

Triolets were in vogue among the Victorians — all those repetitions can add a sort of melancholy gravitas to a poem, but watch out! They can also make the poem sound oddly gong-like. A playful, satirical poem, on the other hand, can be easily written in the triolet form, especially if you can find a way to make the non-repeating lines slightly change the meaning of the repeated ones.

Note bene: I found the example so awful, so I reduced it to an equation. I also I didn't rhyme (oh no!), but then, I have trouble with rhymed verse. Never was fond of it. —MH

A    (repeat 3 x—make it interesting)
B    (repeat 2 x—make it interesting)
C     new line  (rhymes with Line A)
A —repeated line
D     new line
E     new line (rhymes with Line B)
A —repeated line
B —repeated line


On the crest of the ridge, the full moon
rises with the fire of sunset in her arms
and holds the remains of the longest day.
On the crest of the ridge, the full moon
seeks the sun's solace—a slender night
while clouds shimmer in unearthly hues.
On the crest of the ridge, the full moon
rises with the fire of sunset in her arms.


(hey I never said I would write my responses on the day posted...so I'm two months late.)
Molly Fisk: April 23 prompt: short shrift n.
1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.
2. Quick work.
3. a. A short respite, as from death. (etc.)

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a poem that fits on a post-it note. Stick it somewhere public. (Don’t forget to take a picture of it before you leave it!)

Alluvial rocks from the base of Frenchman's Mountain

Alluvial rocks from the base of Frenchman's Mountain (4,052 ft)—sometimes erroneously called Sunrise Mountain, North Las Vegas (eastern side of North Las Vegas—facing west). 

Some rocks look like the sparkly blueschist embedded with garnets we used to find in Sonoma County. Granite/volcanic, sedimentary mudstone, metamorphic rock—a new one for me: Vishnu schist. I like the black schists and pink granites of the Vishnu Group—from the ancient core of the continent. 

Geologist Garry Hayes says: "Most of the rocks are mica and garnet-bearing schist and gneiss, and they are 1.7 billion years old, some of the oldest rocks in the American West." 

Gary says the pink one is orthoclase feldspar. It was different than quartz in that it fractured with smooth planes. It's related to the moonstones we find at Point Reyes. I once found strange pink dradel-like gobs embedded in granite in the Trinity Mountains that reminded me of it. 

Frenchman Mountain was named after Paul Watelet, a European immigrant who claimed  a mine after a 1912 gold strike. Watelet was a Belgian, probably a French-speaking Walloon, the locals thought he was from France.

The Great Unconformity, 1.7 billion year old Precambrian granite and schist. I am trying to contemplate how tectonic plates moved the mountain 50 miles.

Some folklore I found online: 
"I've lived in the Vegas valley since 1978, i met some local teens who were born in the valley I hung out with them at the base of Frenchman mountain at the end of Bonanza Rd. there was a porch and a cave at the foot of the mountain where teens gathered to drink and smoke pot. I remember stories of an old woman living in the mountain inside a cave, the story was she had owned the mountain or had inherited it from her family and chose to live there some time during the late 1930s to the mid or late 1960s when she was found frozen to death. Has anyone else heard about this story?" 
 I wonder if that was Paul Watelet's mine? His daughter?

Chris Callaghan, our host said: "I've lived here since 1960. The cave and parties are true, kids from my high school did this. The old woman was still there in the mid-60's. Don't think she really owned it, just lived there, an early squatter. It was very far away from town in those days. I remember when she died."

Pretty cool finding Vishnu schist studded with garnets in her back yard! And mica schist/gneiss. Sandstone, limestone and shale sediments metamorphosed and recombined with metamorphosed lava flows to form Vishnu schist. Even older Zoroaster granite metamorphosed into gneiss. 

Geologic remnants of the Grand Canyon and the Great Unconformity right in her  back yard. Who knew. She was right about that other rock—it is resin. It burns. Smells like pine. Unless, of course she has a strain of amber in her yard as well!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Walking in circles, Earth Day, Calico Canyon/Basin—Red Rock, Nevada

Walking in circles, Earth Day, Calico Canyon/Basin—Red Rock, Nevada. Still really paying for that little stroll.

 Sznnyx! Caught napping again. So that's how I channel the pain. Full drill: TENS unit electroshock, Advil, Ice & elevation. Sznnyx!

May 2: Finally requested from my PT a localized anti-inflammatory that is injected directly into the cranky knee via a negative electrical charge. Feels like a 30-minute session with fresh nettles. But it does the job. I loves me my TENS unit—II just crank it up and bliss out when I drive, or have to wait in the doctor's office. Of course, I look like a bad rewiring job with electrodes and wires dangling from my knee. I notice people give me a real wide berth when I wear it while shipping, or running errands—strike running, more like waddling.
The gimp is walking in circles. Again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013



When my uncle was a teenager,
on a dare, he hopped the zoo fence
and swiped a lone guinea pig.
He stuck it in his jeans jacket
and brought it home. Aww,
it had babies, so he built a hutch
for his baker's dozen of guinea pigs—
Within months they had litters—and so on.
He tried to give them away. No such luck.
Picture my uncle trying to thumb a ride
across the Golden Gate Bridge to West Marin
with dozens of guinea pigs wheeking
and chuffing and piddling while chewing
their way to freedom from cardboard boxes.
They ate him out of house & home.
In fact, there were so many guinea pigs,
that they ate their feces, then they ate
each other. Too bad he didn't know
any Incas. Roast quwi tastes like chicken.
So one night, my uncle hitchiked out
to the zoo, climbed back over the fence
laden with boxes of squealing guinea pigs.
The zookeeper must have scratched his head
to find hundreds of guinea pigs in the pen
that weren't there the day before.




When my uncle was a teenager, 
on a dare, he hopped the zoo fence 
and swiped a lone guinea pig. 
He stuck it in his jeans jacket
and brought it home. Aww,
it had babies, so he built a hutch
for his baker's dozen of guinea pigs—
Within months they had litters—and so on. 
He tried to give them away. No such luck.
Picture my uncle trying to thumb a ride
across the Golden Gate Bridge to West Marin
with dozens of guinea pigs wheeking
and chuffing and piddling while chewing
their way to freedom from cardboard boxes.
They ate him out of house & home.
In fact, there were so many guinea pigs, 
that they ate their feces, then they ate 
each other. Too bad he didn't know
any Incas. Roast quwi tastes like chicken.
So one night, my uncle hitchiked out 
to the zoo, climbed back over the fence
laden with boxes of squealing guinea pigs.
The zookeeper must have scratched his head
to find hundreds of guinea pigs in the pen
that weren't there the day before.


(So here's the spillover—yesterday's post leaked over into today's attempt, but Molly's stealing with permission informed the piece. Or maybe it's a volta. Now, what to name it?)


PAD: write an express poem. This might be about an express train or express delivery. It might have something to do with expression painting. However you come at this prompt, be sure to express yourself.

NaPoWriMo: Early on in the month, I asked you to write a valediction — a poem of farewell. Today, let’s try the opposite, and write poems of greeting. There’s lots of things you could greet. The spring? Your new stapler? A favorite classmate? An addition to the menu at your local cafe? The subject’s up to you — now get out there and say “hello!”

Molly Fisk: April 17 prompt: Stealing with permission.

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Use volta (a poetic turn) in a poem of any length (it can be a sonnet, or not). For more about the volta: http://bit.ly/IoiYLd.

volta, ( Italian: “turn”) the turn in thought in a sonnet that is often indicated by such initial words as But, Yet, or And yet.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


                    DOWEN Albertina Soepboer 

Here it is, heading west, there's no mistaking it
the rigors of the pen writing samscaras.

It requires wading in, holding the pen flat, like a spade
the only way to carve out a track to lead out back.

The frission it creates when you think you're done
but the pen enters the house of memory at will

Reminding you it harkens a memory of two women
in an abandoned house, furrowing their brows at dusk.


SAVED poem prompt

PAD: Two-for-Tuesday prompt. Here are your options:
Write a possible poem.
Write an impossible poem.

NaPoWriMo: write a “translation” of a poem in a language you don’t actually know. Go to the Poetry International Language List, pick a language, and then follow it to a poet and a poem. Generally the Poetry International website will present a poem in its original language on the left, and any translation on the right. Cut and paste the original into the text-editing program of your choice (and try not to peek too much at the translation). Now, use the sound and shape of the words and lines to guide you, without worrying too much about whether your translation makes sense.

DOWEN Albertina Soepboer (Frisian)

Hie it hoeden west, miskien hie it net
de rigels fan ús noateskrift skansearre.

It requiem waaide fan ’e flat, ôfdwaalde
fûgelkloft út de triedden om it bytfabryk.

Frissele frijden wy yn azem sûnder fleis.
In hûs fan stien streamde fol, bruts ôf.

It reinde wer. Ik harke nei de twa dowen
yn ús bline stege, fuorre har de triennen.


Here it is, heading west, there's no mistaking it
the rigors of the pen writing samscaras.

It requires wading in, holding the pen flat, like a spade
the only way to carve out a track to lead out back.

The frission it creates when you think you're done
but the pen enters the house of memory at will

Reminding you it harkens a memory of two women
in an abandoned house, furrowing their brows at dusk.

Molly Fisk: April 16: How do you want to be saved?

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Do you find it difficult to express one sense (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) more than others in your writing? Paying special attention to that often ignored sense, write a poem with exaggerated sensory detail.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lunch with Carol Drinkwater

Lunch with Carol Drinkwater (All Creatures Great and Small), and "Olive Farmers", at La Note, Berkeley, California. then a reading at Mrs Dalloway's for Carol's new book. Fun event and afternoon. I was newly on crutches with a torn meniscus, so I was in a lot of pain, and don't remember much. — with Gail Austin Andersen, Donna Champion, Linda Forde, Anjuli Sherin, Clive Lindemann, Arnold Ambiel and Carol Drinkwater.

Gracenotes from Paisley Abbey

Memory: Paisley Abbey. Neil was singing some Rabbie Burns in the apse because of the acoustics, and a startled steward popped his head out, and then, began to harmonize with Neil. The Abbey was filled with the strains of My Love is like a Red, Red Rose. Goosebumps on the heart. A moment locked in tine.

The steward took a shine to Neil, and
we got a down-home back room tour of the bowels of the abbey. He showed us some finds from an archaeological dig lift from the old sewer: tweezers, gambling dice, chorale music—gracenotes scratched on a piece of slate roofing. Notes from the past.

added, rev. /4/2017

Friday, April 12, 2013



Zelda Fitzgerald once said
"Nobody has ever measured,
                    not even poets,
how much the heart can hold."
But sometimes when the heart becomes weary
after the dance of so much benign neglect,

a secret locked in a room of stale promises
shatters like seven years bad luck,
escapes, mercurial. Leaving us wanting.
The things we envisioned,
the life we might have lived.
Banking on a future that will never come.
Instead, we square off, like duelists at dawn
taking measured steps, as if numanistics
could save us from ourselves and each other
laying blame in the dark attic of the self.


BROKE poem prompt

Zelda Fitzgerald once said
"Nobody has ever measured,
         not even poets, 
how much the heart can hold."
But sometimes when the heart becomes weary
after the dance of so much benign neglect,
a secret locked in a room of stale promises
shatters like seven years bad luck, 
escapes, mercurial. Leaving us wanting.
The things we envisioned, 
the life we might have lived.
Banking on a future that will never come. 
Instead, we square off, like duelists at dawn
taking measured steps, as if numenistics 
could save us from ourselves and each other
laying blame in the dark attic of the self.

PADI: write a broke poem. The poem could be about a broken record, broken relationship, or someone who is just flat broke (no money).

NaPoWriMo: “write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.” Honesty is the best policy, after all, so get it off your chest! And if you’re interested in the complete list of experiments, you can find them all here.

Molly FIsk: April 12 prompt:
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. (Robert Frost)

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Write a limerick for a stranger. (For more information on the limerick, visit http://bit.ly/q1wV0)


Me & Mary Robinson, 7th, & 1st woman president of Ireland (photo)

Mary Robinson signing her memoir, Everybody Matters: My Life  Giving Voice, at Book Passages. A last minute impulse visit led to meeting her. She was so amazing. It was a FULL house at Book Passages. Mary's driver got lost enroute from Palo Alto, so we started late. Lots of old  Irish friends: Pat and Uta, Leslie...

What Mary said: everyone matters—that the individual is capable of changing society, the the world. Law and morality. Very empowering. Got a chance to chat with Mary at the end. Someone took a photo of us together, lovely. Thank you Jane Bark for driving us there!

This makes two Irish presidents I've met—Mary McAleece. I will have to dig up my notes.  We also met the inimitable Mo Mowlam, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, at UC Berkeley ca. 2000—she was a real firecracker, despite suffering from cancer.

My grandfather met Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, Ireland's first president of Dáil Éireann in San Francisco during the Irish War of Independence. Somewhere, there is a lost photo of them together, leaning on a car. We have a photo of Liam Mallows in our lower field. 

I have NOT, however, met, nor will I ever plan to meet Margaret Thatcher.

Me & Mary Robinson, 7th, & 1st woman president of Ireland (1990-1997)
Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first female president of Ireland (1990-1997); she was appointed the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). In her memoir, Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice, she writes of her pioneering work on behalf of women’s rights, the separation of church and state, and world peace. Mary Robinson's social advocacy also includes Oxfam, the GAVI Alliance, vaccinating children worldwide, and the Council of Women World Leaders, and she is one of the “Elders,” led by Nelson Mandela dedicated to bringing peace and justice.

Thursday, April 11, 2013



If only I had some carrots…
I, who left the stars behind
for the proverbial city lights

no longer dream of moonlight.
it's a case of insanity.




If only I had some carrots…
I, who left the stars behind
for the proverbial city lights
no longer dream of moonlight.
it's a case of insanity.


PAD: take the phrase “In Case of (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles could include “In Case of Emergency,” “In Case of Oversleeping,” “In Case of Snoring,” or something else.

NaPoWriMo: write a tanka. This, like the “American” cinquain, is a poem based on syllables, with the pattern being 5-7-5-7-7. They work best when those final two 7-syllable lines contain a sort of turn or surprise that the first three lines might not wholly anticipate. You can string a bunch of them together to make a multi-stanza poem, or just write one!

To get you going, here’s an anonymous example from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth:

On Komochi Mountain,
from the time the young leaves sprout,
until they turn red,
I think I would like to sleep with you.
What do you think of that?

Molly Fisk: April 11 prompt: If I had carrots...

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Find a poem you love. Translate it in some way. It could be from its original language to another. It could be from one voice into another voice. Rewrite something contemporary in a way that makes it sound old or something old into modern English.

A link back to APRIL A POEM A DAY info

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



In his book of dreams he sees her

and he tells himself it's a sure sign
but the suffering that haunts him
is a burden they can no longer bear
and his darkness seeps in until
she's adrift, cast off in a flood,
the surcease of the sea
relentlessly pounding the shore
offers little solace.
White foam horses
madly galloping on the strand,
hell bent for the lip of the whirlpool.
The edge of the known world.


SUFFERING poem prompt

In his book of dreams he sees her
and he tells himself it's a sure sign
but the suffering that haunts him 
is a burden they can no longer bear
and his darkness seeps in until 
she's adrift, cast off in a flood, 
the surcease of the sea 
relentlessly pounding the shore
offers little solace. 
                   White foam horses
madly galloping on the strand, 
hell bent for the lip of the whirlpool.
The edge of the known world.

PADI write a suffering poem. A person or animal in the poem could be suffering. The poem itself could be suffering.

NaPoWriMo: write an un-love poem

Molly FIsk: April 10 prompt: His book of dreams.

30 Day Poetry Challenge: Listen to an excerpt of Joe Brainerd’s “Remember” here: http://buff.ly/14GJb1c Write your own version.

Thatcher, drinking and Drinkwater

Peculiar sensation of being depressed because I'm depressed—sort of like a Gemini moment after immersing myself in too much negative Thatcherism yesterday. So I had two glasses of wine. I'm sure Katelin would approve.
Carla Stone I approve.
Katelin Me too, but not blaming the Iron Bitch. Hope it helped.

Maureen Hurley Indeed. Maggie Thatcher milk snatcher

Katelin Have you noticed how the news organizations in Britain don't quite know how to handle the coverage and the ensuing blowback? No matter if they slant pro or anti, they are getting slammed. Some of them are trying a even hand - now- and still failing. Poor news media.

Gregory An original concept: Happiness through a bottle....

Katelin An oldie but a goodie.

Maureen I'm out of milk.

Donna Margaret Thatcher is not worth getting depressed about. My homeowner's insurance--now THAT'S depressing. Being out of milk--that's depressing, too.

Maureen  Meanwhile, Danny Boyle to create Thatcher closing event: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/.../danny-boyle-to-create.../

Donna Look, you're having lunch with Carol Drinkwater on Saturday (restaurant still not disclosed!).

Maureen I'm doin' taxes now—it's killin' me. Not quite a poll tax but it points to the role Thatcher played in paving the way for financial deregulation, and how that corruption so easily took root on Wall Street. Ah, the Bush years—will we ever climb out from under?  So very looking forward to it and will be sad to miss Carol's reading but I need to pick Neil up at the airport around 5 PM. I'm sure he'd give his eye-teeth to also be there. 

She worked with Olivier!!! Wow, what a career. I bet she'll have things to say about Thatcher too. What book is she reading from at Diesel? 4 PM, right? Wonder if we can swing by later and catch a few moments. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Drinkwater

Carol Drinkwater (born 22 April 1948) is an Anglo-Irish[1] actress, author and film-maker, best known[1][2][3] for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the television adaptation of the James Herriot books, All Creatures Great and Small (1978–85), which led to her receiving the Variety Clu...

There's also an Irish in California Meetup at 6:30-9 PM (Tim Ferry's Yahoo group) at the Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley CA 94705. Maybe Niall MacDonagh Himself will be attending—amazing, he is. Amazing family history as well.

Donna Carol will, probably, be reading from one of her "olive" books. She just finished making a documentary film about the olive tree (she will be selling the DVD, too). She will be at Mrs. Dalloway's Books and Garden Center at 4 p.m., on College Ave. Her mom is Irish. I'm sure that Carol will be at Mrs. Dalloway's for a couple of hours. Come by, if you can. She's also doing a reading of some sort at KJB Winery in Kenwood the next day, but the winery has turned it into a "fund raiser" event with food and wine tasting for $40. Carol gets nothing!

Maureen  Carol Drinkwater presents The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France (Penguin, $16) Saturday, April 13, 4:00pm, A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books. Her series of memoirs about her experiences reclaiming a Provence Olive Farmhave become best sellers in the U.S. and abroad.
2904 College Avenue, (and Russell, off Ashby) Berkeley, CA 94705
info@mrsdalloways.com Phone 510.704.8222

Donna Her prose reminds me, a bit, of your writing. Personal recollections, filled in with factual information.

Neil Are you ale to pick me up on SAT...? I thought you'd be working...

Maureen See Drinkwater note above...